Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Fall - Finsbury Park 27/07/1986

Ah! There you are!

Belated happy new year to avid perusers of blogness one and all, wherever you may be. Yours truly has been on an extended monastic sabbatical in a secret wilderness location (not Rugby), practising the disciplines of daily matutinal meditation and self-pampering with liberal honeyrock massage sessions, whilst subsisting on a diet of boiled organically-grown brown rice, EU restriction-free lettuce burgers, and natural mineral water sourced from the more remote reaches of the Himalayas. I have attained complete oneness with the universe, dear reader, and I now know my wu from my VU, my bokwa from my Sun Ra, and my Bhagavad Gita from my Rockin' With Rita.

Mr. Rooksby has been posting some interesting early eighties live recordings of T'Fall of late over at I Love Total Destruction. Not to be outdone, I thought I would muscle in with my first post of 2014 with my first ever Fall post.

There are precious few live recordings of the Bend Sinister-era that have surfaced in my orb, but this is one of the best, audio-wise. Playing as support to The Damned's 10th anniversary shindig, the group rip through a set largely made up of new songs from the imminent aforementioned album's release, yet kicking off with Cruiser's Creek, already sounding like a bonafide pop classic, despite being barely a year old, and treating fans to City Hobgoblins, which in Fall-terms is like a lost composition discovered on a manuscript of sepia-tainted sheet music unearthed from a medieval burial ground.

Beggars Banquet released the 5 Albums box set last year, gathering up post-86 long players and tidying up loose ends. Rumour has it Bend Sinister is also due for the deluxe makeover. It would be nice if the album received similar treatment to the beautifully-packaged omnibus editions of Wonderful and Frightening World... and This Nation's Saving Grace, complete with meticulously researched booklet, executed with the skill and dedication of a caffeine-addicted jazz archivist with OCD.

We shall see.

1. intro
2. Cruiser's Creek
3. Hot Aftershave Bop
4. Living Too Late
5. US 80s-90s
6. Terry Waite Sez
7. Riddler!
8. Mr. Pharmacist
9. City Hobgoblins
10. L.A.
11. Gross Chapel-British Grenadiers
12. R.O.D.
13. Bombast

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Yeah Yeah Noh - Sumo, Leicester 21/12/2013

Christmas isn't Christmas nowadays without YYN's annual pre-festive spirit warm up in what is generally considered their hometown, despite the fact that all but Derek either live in or are from Birmingham.
Second gig with new keyboard player Fiona Hodgson, following the departure of Eva Landsberg to concentrate on whatever it is departing musicians concentrate on. First ever performance of new song She Pulls The Petal From The Flower, and Queen's Highway, first unveiled at the Peel All-dayer in Preston back in October. For the grey hairs wishing to relive their student days as cappacino-supping armchair socialists, Cottage Industry is also here.
The set kicks off with a radical new arrangement of Blood Soup. The song has been transformed into a medium paced rave for the middle aged who've lost that luvved up feeling and whose recreational highs are gained from nothing more nefarious than sucking on an aniseed ball or two.
YYN are set to go into the studio in January to record a new ep, slated for release in February. Several shows have already been scheduled for 2014, the next being in March at The Cross, Moseley supporting Vic Godard and The June Brides.
Thanks once again to Mr. Symons and his magical contraptions for doing the honours.

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Beta Band - Black Session 10/6/2004

Hearts around the globe may have skipped a breakbeat or two with the unexpected appearance of The Regal Years, a 6 cd retrospective comprising every note the much-missed group committed to vinyl, along with a healthy two disc dose of rarities and largely unreleased material, as well as stray b sides.

Retailing at little more than the price of a single cd, the expansive set should appeal to a new generation of fans and those of us who witnessed them first hand who, if like me, bought everything they ever did on vinyl and wore out their copies through excessive spinning and frequent moves from one unsafe address to another until arriving at semi-detached sanity.

Minor gripes about the release: there appears to be no evidence of remastering, and aside from some entertaining liner notes in the accompanying booklet by non-founder member Richard Greentree, little or no involvement from the band itself. The rarities perhaps rely too heavily on radio broadcasts, with several songs duplicated more than once, the set concluding with highlights from the last gig at Shepherd's Bush Empire - the full set had already been released as a bonus disc with The Best Of compilation. The debut Breezeblock session from 1998 (posted elsewhere on this blog) would have been a far worthier inclusion in my humble opinion.

But the package does include the sketchy demo tape that features Gordon Anderson which ultimately clinched the deal with Parlophone, as well as the 1997 Radio 1 Steve Lamacq session containing the ultra-rare Shepherd's Dub and the version of Dry The Rain which was my introduction to the band and had not heard since the original broadcast.

With The Aliens seemingly orbiting distant galaxies and Mr. Greentree presumably settled in a career in carpentry in Pompey, only Steve Mason continues to raise his public profile - this year saw the release of his strongest solo set to date with Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time. Whether The Regal Years is a taster/tester for the eventual - and in today's musical climate, inevitable - reunion remains to be seen. And with Velvet Underground out-takes still being excavated from the vaults half a century after the fact, it's probably only a matter of time the fans will be treated to super deluxe editions of The Betas three albums with appropriate demos and out-takes.

Until whenever, here's a session that you won't find on the box set, recorded for a French radio station in front of a small audience just a matter of months before the break up. This was the second time the band had visited the Parisian studios, the first around the time their eponymous debut album in 1999. Both these sets surfaced briefly as bootleg cds about five or six years ago, along with other artists that had recorded sessions for the show. Sound quality is excellent, the performance is spot on (as you'd expect), marred only be some clumsy track splitting.


Inner Meet Me
She's The One
Lion Thief
Dog's Got A Bone

Monday, 2 December 2013

Folk Devils - Peel Sessions 1984-85

Great unsung punkified blues combo whose slim output has yet to receive a cd reissue.
The original incarnation of the group released just three singles/eps and recorded these three sessons for John Peel before imploding amid the capital's notorious heroin underground at the end of 1985.

In 1987, frontman Ian Lowery emerged with a new Folk Devils line-up who signed to Beggars Banquet and released The Best Protection 12" and the album Goodnight Irony - a collection of earlier singles and unreleased material. Lowery would finally issue his first full length album proper at the end of the decade, under the King Blank monicker, but to these ears the disc was a toned down affair of the Folk Devils ferocious potential.

Lowery would continue working as a solo artist until his untimely death in 2001.

The Peel sessions have recently been doing the rounds on youtube, mostly likely in better audio quality than the files presented here. But if you're sensible enough not to risk having your hard drive hijacked by all manner of malware by using online youtube to mp3 converters, then this post's for you.

While not exactly compatible with the C86 bracket, the revitalised interest in that scene in recent years has seen the group overlooked on recent - and possibly imminent - releases on the bailiff-baying reissue market. It would be nice if Lowery's works with the various bands and projects he was involved in were compiled on a box set. Should that time not arrive, thankfully there's the official Facebook page with lots of rare and unseen photos, unreleased songs and much more.

More info on Wikpedia.

Where The Buffalo Roam
Beautiful Monster
Tight Sleep
What's That Smell?
Big Car, Big Car
Broken Head
Ink Runs Dry
This Traitor Hand
It Drags On
Under The Bridge
Dead Heat
Fact fans: the first session was produced by one Mark Radcliffe - wonder if he's given them a spin on his afternoon show on 6 Music lately?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A Witness - Peel Sessions 1985-88

All four sessions A Witness recorded for Uncle John before their career was truncated by the tragic death of Rick Aitken. There's very little to be found on the net concerning the group, although some interesting live footage has surfaced recently on youtube. For the uninitiated, I'll direct you to Wikipedia. Accusations of laziness will be counteracted with the fact that there's nothing more I can add to the scant and semi-reliable information already available on t'net. So there!

The Loudhailer Song
Smelt Like A Pedestrian
O'Grady's Dream
Sharpened Sticks
Faglane Morris Wind
Nodding Dog Moustache
Raw Patch
Hard Day's Love
Take Me To The Earth
McManus Octaphone
Sunbed Sentimantal
Zip Up
I Love You Mr. Disposable Razors
Life - The Final Frontier
Helicopter Tealeaf
Prince Microwave Bollard

Friday, 25 October 2013

Peelfest! #2

Today marks the ninth year since the passing of Uncle John, so in what's becoming a nascent tradition here at Maggot Caviar, here are five more sessions, one from each decade of Peel's broadcasting career.

Futile to speculate as it may be but it's curious to think how (and where) exactly Peel would fit in with today's music climate if he hadn't passed away so unexpectedly. Already feeling marginalised at Radio 1 in the final year of his life, it's tempting to think he would have found a home at 6 Music, even if it was at the expense of his youngest son's career, and continue to both delight and confound we the audience with strange sounds from the unknown, much like Tom Ravenscroft continues to do today.

First up is a set from Davy Graham recorded live on air in 1968 during one of Peel's short-lived Night Ride shows. Today the live session is the norm and seems to have consigned the pre-recorded Maida Vale sessions into the annals of history along with decades of accumulated master tapes sealed in the BBC vaults.

Bruton Town
I'm Ready
Rock Me
Good Morning Blues

Jumping forward a decade we have the first of two sessions The Selecter taped at Maida Vale. My knowledge of this Coventry combo doesn't extend much beyond the hits On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Missing Words, plus a vague recollection of singer Pauline Black hosting a children's tv quiz show in the early eighties. However, a few weeks after returning to my hometown after a baker's dozen years languishing in redneck obscurity on the Sussex coast, I witnessed Selector Acoustic perform at the Tudor Rooms -  a venue usually the reserved for wedding-related functions - in Tamworth to an audience of no more than 20 people that were largely made up of the support band Fishnet Parachutes and its spouses. Just last Sunday gone I saw the full line up turn in a superb set at Birmingham Academy as support to Pil. I didn't have this session in my personal archive, so I've unashamedly copped the link from the Museum Of Radio Sessions.

They Make Me Mad
Carry Go Bring Come
Street Feeling

Isle Of Sheppey's finest popstars ever to grace the international stage recorded just this one session for John Peel; next Halloween marks the 30th anniversary of its first broadcast. Two of the songs taped at the session would be included on their hair-pulling outingly rare lone album (posted elsewhere on this blog) from 1986. With the formation of the Strange Fruit label a couple of years later many a Peel session became commercially available for the first time, initially in the 12" ep format housed in generic monochromatic sleeves. Amid the first batch of more financially viable releases that included the likes of The Damned, New Order and Stiff Little Fingers, at Peel's behest the Twa Toots session became the fledgling label's tenth release. Fans who may own the compilation Don't Send Me Flowers, the versions of Yo-Yo and A New Depression are not the same as those included on the album, and have been unavailable commercially since.
Please Don't Play A Rainy Night In Georgia
A New Depression
Lovely Day 
Admittedly, I've posted this session once before, but upon the realisation I have little from the nineties that hasn't already been splattered across youtube or pressed up on the Satan's Frisbee format. But with the release of Euros Childs new album Situation Comedy this week it seems fitting to repost this session here.
Meirion Wyllt
Dwm Ath Sain
Young Girls, Happy Endings
Patio Song
The Wisdom of Harry was the turn of the century nom de plume of former Loft/Weather Prophets mainman Peter Astor. After an unsuccessful dalliance with the majors, Astor found some success in France as a solo artist at the start of the nineties. Towards the end of the decade he began releasing a series of limited edition 7" singles as WoH later compiled of the Stars Of Super 8 album the following year. Continuing with the soporific melodic pop template of his previous outfits but adding subtle electronic beats and unique samples, debut lp proper, House Of Binary,  released in 2000 remains, to these ears, Astor's most satisfying work to date. One more album in under this guise, Torch Division, surfaced in 2003 in a more stripped down lo-fi vein. This is the only session WoH recorded for Peel, which includes a breathtaking cover of The Fall's Rebellious Jukebox, whereby Astor succeeds in making the song his own. The following month Astor was in attendance at the Peel Acres Christmas party where he performed Lawrence's rare Denim song I Will Cry At Christmas.
Shiny Shiny Pimp Mobile
I'm Gonna Make My Life Right
Rebellious Jukebox
Hail Tinseltown

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Bina - Kershaw Session 26/9/1991

In an age of Big Brothery nosy parkery on a level that not even George Orwell could have forseen, it's kind of heartwarming to know that there are some people out there in the real world who have managed, quite literally, to escape the net.

Born in Tanzania, Bina Mistry was a merchant banker living in London by the time she released her debut album, Ajnabee (Stranger) in 1991. Later that same year four songs from the album were re-recorded for the BBC and first transmitted on Andy Kershaw's show in November.

Later Bina would contribute a song, Hot Hot Hot, to the film soundtrack Bend It Like Beckham and release a more commercially-orientated cover of My Boy Lollipop as a single, far removed from the ghazal style recordings presented here.

If anyone has any information on Bina Mistry, please leave a comment below.

Ay Dar Masty
Beautiful People Are Never Faithful
Teaching Me Like This