Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight) (2000)

Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

AREA LADY UNRESPONSIVE TO REPEATED ENTREATIES BY LOCAL MAN                                             Blames Hearing Loss

(Columbus, Ohio) — In what local officials are calling “remarkably cold”, an area lady has remained unmoved by serial pleas from a local man for her to “hear him tonight”.

“We know that the local man has asked the area lady to hear him tonight at least six times,” said Columbus City Council spokesperson Wilson Hayes. “The Council finds her lack of response remarkably cold given the couple were dancing in the moonlight at the time.”

It is possible, said one eyewitness, that the music to which the pair danced was simply too loud to engage in a dialogue. The local man refuted this saying he “felt love for the first time” and “delight” that he knew was “true [because of] the look in [area lady’s] eyes” which does not require aural communication.

“I just feel like I won’t get [area lady] out of my mind,” he added.

When reached by Thrifty Vinyl reporters for comment, the area lady signed that she was unable to hear the local man tonight as she has been profoundly deaf since birth.

Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 9:44 am  Comments (4)  

New Order – Substance (FACT 200) (1987)

The Smiths, Jesus and Mary Chain, Stone Roses, Echo & the Bunnymen, Primal Scream, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

The British excel themselves in over-rating their 80s bands, crediting them with God-like powers when, in fact, they are all very, very ordinary. With the exception of a handful of singles from the above (e.g. “How Soon Is Now”, “Just Like Honey”), mostly these pop groups were good at getting on the cover of the NME (and now, Mojo), helping spotty bedsit layabouts justify their mopiness and not much else.

It was with this prejudicial frame of mind, I set about listening to the notionally chronological compilation of 12″ mixes by one of the grand-daddies of hyper-regarded 80s pop, New Order.

Let me start by saying I’ve always admired their graphic style and I absolutely love “Blue Monday”. If all NO songs were as classy as their sleeves or as lively and soulful as “BM” we’d be talkin’ 10 fuckin’ stars here. But they aren’t and we aren’t. The first two singles, “Ceremony” and “Everything Gone Green” are promising, picking up where their old band left off, incorporating a more dance-y vibe without sacrificing Joy Div’s appealing murkiness. After that, as the band becomes more commercial, obviously funky and techno-savvy, it’s all downhill. The problem is not so much the music, which is inventive enough, but Bernard Sumner. He simply isn’t that technically good or, more to the point, interesting a singer. His flat, feather-light tone, banal melodies and awkward, deeply uninspired scansion are embarrassingly exposed without the cover provided by the earlier atmospherics. And the lyrics: “Oh, love is found in the east and west/But when love is at home, it’s the best”. He actually sings that on “Theives Like Us”, ugh.

So keep your New Order albums, I’m happy with the early 12″s I already had.

Published in: on June 12, 2012 at 8:38 am  Comments (4)  

Tricky – Ponderosa 12″ (12BRW 299 DJ) (1994)

And what of the late-lamented Trip Hop?  To a man (or woman), I think you’d find that each nominal participant dismisses the term out-of-hand.  Unlike Punk, Hip Hop, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Funk performers, all of whom name-check their sub-genre (usually followed by “…will never die!”), Trip Hoppers seem embarrassed by the designation. Maybe it’s because the term was a media imposition, rather than an organic, scene-created slang.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that the performers were largely low-key, skunk-addled, insular types, not given to label foisting or co-operation. Perhaps the style is too ill-defined to constitute a genre.

Anyway, get ready for the Trip Hop revival set for April 2014.

Meanwhile, here’s a Whitstable-thrifted “pre-release, promotional advance copy” of Tricky Kid’s loping, rolling second single. Kook merchant Martina Topley-Bird is the main vocalist inna Mockney Sparra stylee à la Lily Allen, with TK mumbling like a tramp in a doorway, occasionally doubling T-B’s lead. As a woozy groove, it’s not too bad, though hardly singles (or club) material one would have thought and I’ve no idea what the song is about apart from its vague air of menace and paranoia. And “smok[ing] till…senseless”.

Note on Tricky’s press release, Peady’s phrase “totally unique”. Yes, I know promo material is not usually any kind of repository for grammatical correctness, but please, let us never try to intensify a superlative again. Unless we’re trying to be funny.

Published in: on May 11, 2012 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Tom Tom Club – “Wordy Rappinghood” b/w “Elephant” (12WIP 6694) (1981)

Ask the Cats Protection League in Hythe and ye shall receive (in exchange for a pound).

Published in: on May 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm  Comments (3)  

Madonna – The Immaculate Collection (1990)

No retail shopping for me on Record Store Day, just cheapo chazzing. In fact, I already had Immaculate Collection on CD*, but couldn’t resist this early singles double Lp helping of the pop martinet whose musical and visual image mongering takes David Bowie’s similar chameleonality to absurdly cynical lengths and whose glamorisation (leading ultimately, and ironically, to normalisation) of sexual fetishism has virtually defined all solo female pop singing subsequent.

The liner notes offer a remarkable balance of slavering and intellectual pretension. Oh, Madonna, you so bad!

More Herb Ritts action on the inner sleeves.

*I will likely Music Magpie the compact disc version.

Published in: on April 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rare Grooves

One last dance collection from 1987, this one totally focused on looking over its shoulder to the recent past for inspiration. Released on the little known Jam Today label, thankfully featuring just three tracks per side, and promising ‘all tracks in original and untouched form – ABSOLUTELY NO REMIXES OR EDITS’ this is obviously meant to appeal to the cash-strapped purist who like his/her rare grooves untarnished by contemporaneous production techniques. So no bolstering with drum machines, no stuttering samples or carelessly applied James Brown grunts here.

The time period covered is 1979-1982, and the style is instrumental disco, with Atmosfear’s “Dancing In Outer Space” a strong opening track; its uptempo groove laced with pleasingly kitsch Moog frills. Also from ’79, Stop’s “Iauwata” combines energetic percussion with cocktail piano vamps – you can hear Shakatak coming around the corner – whilst Powerline’s “Double Journey” from the following year strips the format back with space-inducing lashes of dub-echo and some furiously tight slap-bass noodling.

But then when you think you have this compilation pegged, along comes the proto-electro vocoder funk of “Inside You” by Contact-U, and finishing with a mellow funk jam from little-known Brit saxophonist Dave Chambers and his ensemble.

To be honest, most of this stuff sounds suspiciously like groovy elevator music, rather than smokin’ hot dancefloor rarities, but perhaps that is actually part of this collection’s curious appeal today.

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dance Mania – Full Length 12″ Extended Or Remixed Versions

Yet another dance collection from 1987, but by contrast with the previous post, Needle Records’ decision to cram ten full-length mixes onto a single platter (not an uncommon practice back then) sacrifices sound quality in the name of ‘value for money’. It’s probably short-sighted sales tactics like this that allowed CD to dominate the market so quickly.

Content-wise, this collection keeps one eye firmly on classic funk and disco sounds that evoke the feeling of previous eras, reminding us that, despite the wave of new House and Hip Hop sounds crossing the Atlantic, there was still a big appetite for ‘rare grooves’ in the UK, typified by the subtly tweaked ‘club mix’ of Maceo & The Macks’ 1974 classic “Cross The Tracks”, and the ‘House Mix’ of Philly disco number “Let No Man Put Asunder” by First Choice.

Most contemporaneous styles are represented, with the harder-edged House grooves of T-Coy  and House Master Boys, mellow rappin’ and go-go funk  from Kool Chip and Black Britain respectively, both sides finishing with syrupy, anodyne eighties soul from Lanier & Co and 52nd Street. A somewhat confusing blend, but as the sleeve notes say “Mash It Up!”

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rob Olson’s Chicago Jack Beat Vol.Two

Another collection from 1987, on then-Mute subsidiary Rhythm King, but this is House Music from Chicago, and far more agreeable to my forty-something lug-holes. I already had Volume One, so its nice to find the sequel. I still have no idea who Rob Olson is/was. Perhaps I should google/research for this post, but I’m enjoying the mystery of it all (anyone can pretend they’re an expert with just a few taps on a laptop, but I’m happy to admit my ignorance on this occasion).

Suffice to say, Mr Olson executive- produced this compilation which, like Vol.1, takes a welcome detour down some of the less well-known/over-exposed tracks from Chi-town’s golden age of House. Of particular interest to me are “J.B. On The One” by Duane & Co (an orgy of James Brown grunts and latin cowbells) and Matt Warren’s “Bang The Box” (minimal 808 workout) both of which were playlisted by John Peel and recorded from his radio show onto cassette by my House-loving former self for further listening on the Cortina’s tape deck.

The decision to only include 3 tracks per side, which would’ve probably seemed a bit mean back then, now provides some welcome loudness and presence sadly lacking in many of the vinyl dance compilations of the era.

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Kraftwerk – The Model (12″ EMI 5207) (1981)

“But people will know it’s a three-year old single. We’ll never get away with it–we’re trying to move forward here.”

Ralf Hütter was worried. Market research indicated the British public’s preference for new single “Computer Love”‘s b-side, Man Machine album track and 1978 German single,”The Model”. Some at EMI (UK) boardroom level were suggesting re-releasing the single with “The Model” on the a-side.

“But what about the iconography, if you use the Man Machine colour scheme and typography for this single, the public will be confused. We’ll trying to push Computer World, remember?”

“Just put the words ‘the model’ on the Computer World computer screen, no-one’ll know the difference,” piped up a junior executive helpfully.

“I like your thinking,” said the chairman, turning to face the junior executive in his executive swivel chair. “Call up the art department and make it so.”

“It’s not right aesthetically ,” argued Hütter, a note of panic rising in his voice. “And besides, it’s not even that good a song. I mean the rhetorical point about models being vacuous maneaters in love with themselves and the camera isn’t exactly groundbreaking, is it? The melody, such as it is, is banal and the way it’s sung is pretty obvious, too, all ennui and monotone.”

“You know, you’re right,” the chairman smiled malevolently. “We shouldn’t re-release this on grounds both artistic and aesthetic. But, Hütter, we are re-releasing it. Someday you’ll thank me. But if it makes you feel better, the record’s label will still show ‘Computer Love’ as the a-side and ‘The Model’ as the flip with the corresponding matrix numbers on the dead wax.”

In February 1982, “The Model” became Kraftwerk’s only UK number one–indeed, their only chart topper anywhere. Kraftwerk were able to buy a few more bells and whistles for Kling Klang and Ralf Hütter sent the EMI executive a fruit basket with a humble Danke note.

Published in: on October 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm  Comments (3)  

Stardust – “Music Sounds Better With You” (Roulé 305 12″) and Air – “Kelly Watch the Stars” (Source 12″)

A pair of late 90s French house 12″ singles full of the muffled-sound-breaking-into-bold-bass-relief effect so popular around the turn of the century. They still sound fresh. The Newquay bootfair seller identified them as evidence of her misspent DJ youth, though she can’t have played these records too much as they were virtually mint.

Great singles from bands whose albums I find a bit spotty. I was particularly pleased with the Stardust twelve as I’m not sure it was available domestically on vinyl. It cost the woman selling £9 back in the day!

Published in: on August 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment