Friday, January 29, 2016

Top 5 Records (January)

1: Flyying Colours
2: Metric - pagans in Vegas
3: New Order - music complete
4: Wolf Alice - my love is cool
5: The Twilight Sad - nobody wants to be here & nobody wants to leave

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Mirage - tomorrow never knows

To be honest i'd never heard of The Mirage before i got this record (and apparently they were never that big) but the music is not bad at all though some of it isn't of the greatest sound quality (especially the lost sessions) and sounds like it was recorded in a toilet... on a dictaphone... that was a bit broken.

It maybe isn't that original either, you can certainly hear their influences which are clearly laid out. But the influences are pretty good...  the title track for example is a cover of that Beatles song which pretty much heralded the British psychedelia scene. The Mirage do a good job of it though the best songs are arguably elsewhere on this compilation.

The highlights of this compilation are songs such as "The wedding of Ramona Blair", the song is full of quirky psychedelic sounds, some of which are pretty hard to recognise. It has a nice pop feel too, it  qualifies as a lost psychedelic classic.

"Ebenezer Beaver" is another solid track with psych guitar menace and some cool echo and keyboards.  "Mrs Busby" is another good track, though sounds like you are hearing it through some else's wall. The percussion sounds a bit like fuel air explosives and the organ screeches through you like a buzz saw. Of course these are by no means bad things.

So while this isn't a "lost classic", it is well worth checking out for some delicious psych sounds.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

MV : "Chwyldro" by Gwenno

Synths Cymraeg.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Movie : A-1 Headline (2004)

A-1 Headline is a refreshingly cerebral film, a murder investigation thriller without buckets of blood and ultra-violence (not that these are bad, just that its nice to have a change). Angelica Lee stars as a reporter with a debt problem. Not only are debt collectors in the shape of Anthony Wong and Eric Kot hanging around wanting her money her boyfriend has died in a car crash. And when Anthony Wong turns out to be an ex-cop and suggests the car crash wasn't an accident then Angelica begins an investigation into what really happened with her rather gormless photographer friend in tow played by Edison Chen.

Had Angelica's boyfriend uncovered a plot to cover up the death of a model because of the involvement of a son of a tycoon? Well yes and is the editor of the newspaper covering it up? Well maybe. And what is the role of the police in all this? The film is an enjoyable exploration of HK from it's gadget obsessed (and debt stricken) youngsters to the super-rich and the influence they can exert on society, even the forces of law and order. There is some action but most of the film is slow burning investigation. There is also a slightly romantic subplot involving Anthony and Angelica, even if she says he reminds her of her Dad!

One criticism of the film is that it ends very neatly with various parties coming clean about their parts in corruption and maybe a bit of a damp squid with little suspense but maybe we are just too used to big action set-pieces and plenty of spent cartridges. The sudden about-face by Anthony about one of the key parts in the plot also confuses slightly. But this is a very enjoyable film with good characters and a good script, some may call it boring however i call it intelligent and dare i say it quite realistic?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gwenno - y dydd olaf

Its synthpop but maybe not quite as you know it. This is Gwenno's, ex of the Pipettes, debut solo album and is an adventurous sonic exploration of retro-futuristic sounds... and its all sung in Welsh and Cornish too! Sonically it is from the future we never knew but should be living in now, think the likes of Stereolab perhaps though with a more sparse and organic feel.

"Patriarchaeth" for example intermixes the organic and the (retro) electronic to produce a glorious sound. "Amser" is the sound of a Century 21 space age cocktail lounge. "Chwyldro" settles into a really satisfying groove with swishing echoing effects. Its very different and its also very good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Susan Christie - paint a lady

It might sound really odd these days that record companies could pay for albums to be produced and then not release it but it did happen quite a bit in the olden days, and Susan Christie's album "paint a lady" is an example of one. She had a minor hit with a novelty pop song in the late 1960s and then went onto make an album of psychedelic folk however it was not released by Columbia as it was not thought commercial enough.

Happily the album was finally released in 2006, 36 years late, and what do Columbia know? Its a really nice record, a bit strange perhaps and unpredictable with its sometimes haunting and sometimes funky melodies and introspective atmosphere but it wasn't too far out for 1970 by any means. Pick of the album is the cover of "Ghost riders in the sky", one of the best versions of this song i've heard.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Device - 22b3

The only album by 80s US rock band Device, and its really of its time, a really tasty AOR masterpiece. Chock full of 80s soft rock, big chords, big beats and bigger hair. Its really enjoyable in fact especially the ballad "Who's on the line" which is a wonderful song but others score too like the choppy "Who says" with its power rock chorus to die for and the punchy "Hanging on a heart attack".

Friday, January 1, 2016