Thursday, 18 December 2008

Pacific 'A Tree (Poney Poney Remix)'



French electronic pop band Poney Poney remixed Swedish electronic pop band Pacific's new single 'A Tree', but we didn't get it in time to put on the single so you can download it for free here:

Pacific 'A Tree (Poney Poney Remix)'

The Pacific single ('A Tree') is out this week, which you can get on 7" and a specially priced digital EP on iTunes which includes a Tobias D remix.

Also, as it's Christmas, we've put all Half Machine albums on iTunes for £4.74, which is cheap at half the price.

Pacific 'Reveries'
MIT 'Coda'
Francois Virot 'Yes or No'

1ove x

NEU!

I love NEU!




Some Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger related videos:

Kraftwerk 'Koln II' (with Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother)



NEU! 'Hero' live 1974



La Dusseldorf 'Viva'

Friday, 28 November 2008

Pacific! 'A Tree' single




HMR012
7" and download
Released Monday 15th December

A - A Tree
B - Do It!

The download will be a digital EP, featuring remixes of A Tree by Poney Poney and Tobias D.

Artwork by Vogue and Playboy illustrator Stephane Manel

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Banjo or Freakout





Much has already been said:

Pitchfork
Gorilla Vs Bear
Pinglewood
Drowned In Sound
Guardian

Banjo or Freakout releases his debut 7" ('Mr No') on No Pain In Pop in January and a 12" EP with us in March(ish) featuring 4 amazing new recordings, plus a remix/ re-interpretation of 'Mr No'.

Download Upside Down (demo)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Albums of The Year



We listen to a lot of music every day between the two of us. We like a lot of it and dislike a lot more. We disagree on most things and agree on a few. So here is Richard and Patrick's albums of 2008. Albums we've enjoyed throughout the year, regardless of 'cool' or any other standard measuring device.

We've (in an act of rare modesty) not included the three albums released on Half Machine this year. However, they would all of course feature in everybody else's lists:

MIT 'Coda' (HMR005)
Pacific! 'Reveries' (HMR009)
Francois Virot 'Yes or No' (HMR011)



So, in no particular order, here are our favourite albums of the year:

Benji Hughes 'A Love Extreme'
Solange 'Sol-Angel and The Hadley St. Dreams'
No Age 'Nouns'
Nagisa Ni Te 'Yosuga'
Various 'NotWave'
Various 'Calypsoul 70: Caribbean Soul & Calypso Crossover 1969-1979'
Arthur Russell 'Love Is Overtaking Me'
Lindstrom 'Where You Go I Go Too'
Alphabeat 'This Is Alphabeat'
Q-Tip 'The Renaissance'
The Mae Shi 'HLLLYH'
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 s/t
Mirror Mirror 'The Society for the Advancement of Inflammatory Consciousness'
Scarlett Johansson 'Anywhere I Lay My Head'
Syclops 'I've Got My Eye On You'
Juvelen '1'
Meneguar 'The In Hour'
Lil' Wayne 'Tha Carter III'
Vampire Weekend s/t
Crystal Stilts 'Alight of Night'
Various 'Italians Do It Better: After Dark'
Zombie Zombie 'A Land For Renegades'
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 'Dig Lazarus Dig!!!'
Ratatat 'LP3'
White Denim 'Workout Holiday'
Laura Marling 'Alas, I Cannot Swim'
Mystery Jets '21'
Evangelicals 'The Evening Descends'
Hot Chip 'Made In The Dark'
Gang Gang Dance 'Saint Dymphna'
Portishead ‘Third’
Squarepusher ‘Just A Souvenir’
Times New Viking ‘Rip It Off’
Fleet Foxes s/t
Bon Iver ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’
Sigur Ros ‘Me_ su_ í eyrum vi_ spilum endalaust’
Mount Eerie ‘Lost Wisdom’
Various ‘Dreams Come True: Classic First Wave Electro 82-87’
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik s/t
Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves ‘Roll With You’
Kleerup s/t
Amadou & Mariam 'Welcome To Mali'

NB - We've probably forgotten just as many as we've included.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Francois Virot






















Francois Virot releases his debut album in the UK next week.

Landing somewhere mid-point between Animal Collective, Elliott Smith, David Bowie and The Shins. ‘Yes or No’ is a lo-fi freak pop masterpiece, and remarkably full sounding, considering it’s only guitar, voice and handclaps!











NME Review:
























CMU Newsletter:

"Lyon's own guitar strummer and hand-clapper extraordinaire Franois Virot is the latest in line to step up to the freak-folk throne. Original and full of magic beans, Virot's voice has that distinct childlike lilt to it that is not too dissimilar to the familiar trilling tones of one Joanna Newsom. However, like the Yin to her Yang, he transfers the whimsical wailing of his vocals to a much more jovial place, a place close to the crazy, energetic offerings from the likes of Animal Collective and Deerhoof. Virot, used to providing his talents on the drums to bands No Snow and Clara Clara, is taking some time off from his work in the background. 'Yes Or No', Virot's debut solo LP, is a little ball of lo-fi wonderment; lusciously experimental while still managing to retain the delicate quality of childlike neofolk. 'Cascade Kisses' could be 'Toothpaste Kisses' after its initial opening, but the rhythmic handclaps and louder acoustics turn it into something so much bigger and better. Album opener 'Not The One' is an unrestrained freak-folk stunner, while softer tracks like 'Young Sand' invoke similarities to Devendra Banhart; gentle, surreal and uncomplicated. 'Yes Or No' is an essential addition to the already blossoming freak-folk genre, and it is clear that Virot has finally found a place where he belongs."



Subba Cultcha:

Francois Virot is wonderful and so is this record. Imagine Animal Collective released a Syd Barrett covers EP-whilst it probably won’t happen ‘Cascade Kisses’ gives you a pretty accurate reading of what it could no, should sound like. Yet it’s not fair to make such a comparison-it’s not fair to compare anyone, even in ripping off someone else you’d put your own stamp on it right?

Elsewhere ‘Say Fiesta’ is a lo-fi interpretation of ‘Come on Eileen’ but it’s not, it’s just the closest I can come to describing the gaiety offered up on ‘Yes or No’. Each song is crafted carefully, the ramshackle tenderness of the guitar and the nasal yet endearing heck, maybe great vocal performance. Francois Virot is an enigma, his songs have a sense of mischief and ingenuity and perhaps on this occasion the clue is in the artwork; stark yet cute. This is cool as, end of.

Check out his Blogoteque session here from which this video of 'Say Fiesta' is taken



Buy the album for only £6.99 from us here

Thursday, 16 October 2008

When Fucked Up Met Ezra and Moby
















Fucked Up played a 12 hour gig in New York's Lower East Side this week, with guests including J. Mascis, Cromags, Vivian Girls, Tim Harrington from Les Savy Fav etc etc.

Vampire Weekend's Ezra played too. Singing on covers of the Descendents, and Blitz.



















Fucked Up & Moby 'Blitzkrieg Bop'




Head over to the Brooklyn Vegan for more.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Mirror Mirror - NME Radar

"There's no contest - this lot are the weirdest of them all"






















'New Horizons' video:

Friday, 10 October 2008

Whatever I Do Is Right: The Re-emergence Of The Clean













The Clean were a New Zealand based band, formed in 1978. They were one of the quintessential Flying Nun bands, alongside The Verlaines, The Chills, The Bats etc.

Their debut single 'Tally Ho!' surprisingly reached number 19 in the New Zealand charts followed by a few number 1's. Despite this the Clean are little-known outside of New Zealand, although their influence is surprisingly far-reaching. They became a staple of US college radio in the 1980s, Stephen Malkmus of Pavement cites them as a major influence, and the band's droney 80s output is a direct forerunner of bands such as Yo La Tengo and Camper Van Beethoven.

I played 'Tally Ho!' at a club once, clearing what few people were there and scaring the loitering few outside. Skills.

'Tally Ho!' (1981)



It seems their influence is coming back around once again. Bands like Times New Viking, Shocking Pinks, The Thermals etc taking bits from them.

Having heard the new single by Love Is All ('Wishing Well'), you can't help but notice it sounds just like 'Tally Ho!':

Love Is All 'Wishing Well' (2008)



I recently got in to Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts, the first song on their EP 'Crippled Croon', sounds a lot like the Clean too. Although they're good enough to admit their influence on their myspace page:

Crystal Stilts 'Crippled Croon'

Buy this Anthology. Does all you need.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Mirror Mirror

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Back at the end of last year I stumbled across a band from Brooklyn, New York called Mirror Mirror.

After some emails went back and forth they kindly sent me an albums worth of demos, which we took 'New Horizons' and 'Lock Up Your Sons' from to put out as a UK only 7"



















Head over to the Half Machine shop to buy it.

Sounding like Syd Barrett if he'd joined the Moonies, nothing else sounded like this single in the UK 2008.

20 Jazz Funk Greats called it "pagan drone psyche folk"

The Times called New Horizons "A floaty, spaced-out intro to this US collective’s Syd Barrett-like kaleidoscopes."

Drowned In Sound - "this is a strangely unsettling double-A in the way that Brian Eno or even Robert Wyatt’s childlike intonations occasionally suggest suppressed trauma – spooky, in short."

Stills from the 'New Horizons' video:

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Read an interview with David on the Dazed website

There's loads of really good bands coming from New York this year - Telepathe (who MM's Ryan also plays guitar for), Crystal Stilts, High Places, Chairlift etc etc.

Mirror Mirror's debut album The Society Of The Advancement Of Inflammatory Consciousness is out now on Cochon

Friday, 26 September 2008

Solange 'Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams'

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Beyonce's little sister, and former Destiny's Child backing singer, Solange recently released her second album - 'Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams'. It, perhaps surprisingly, is really, really good. Cee-Lo Green, Mark "anything for a few quid" Ronson, Q-Tip, Neptunes and Lamont Dozier all worked on the album. She also samples Boards of Canada on 'This Bird', Marvin Gaye (on 'Ode To Marvin') and The Dap Kings (on '6 O'Clock Blues').

It's a 21st century re-imagining of Motown's 60s pop and Philly soul. Lead single, 'I Decided' has a nod to two of the best songs to come from peak period Motown - Martha & The Vandella's 'Heat Wave' and The Supremes 'Where Did Our Love Go?' (which it samples). It's just fucking brilliant.

Solange - 'I Decided'



Martha & The Vandellas - 'Heat Wave'



The Supremes - 'Where Did Our Love Go?'



I watched her on the Tyra Banks show this morning, where she talked about not having ADHD and that she fancies John Mayer (apparently he's quite famous in America). There was also a bit about single 'moms' (which Solange is) and how they can't afford to pay their gas bills and stuff, so Solange and Tyra "holler" Banks gave them a load of Solange's 'Baby Jamz' toys ("a hip-hop/rhythm inspired toy line for preschoolers") and set up spa sessions for them. So if you want some new hip hop/ rhythm based kids toys, check eBay. I'm pretty sure those single mothers are going to sell that shit and pay the bills as soon as Tyra's back's turned.

She also played two songs, 'I Decided', and 'Sandcastle Disco', which is the next single in the US:



According to Wikipedia - "She is currently working with a Private Equity firm to help finance special projects in distribution, promotions and marketing music with Music World Entertainment and Geffen. The Private Equity firm is focusing on buying and selling music licensing rights to the movie industry and consumer products like Coca-Cola, Alcohol beverages and Proctor & Gamble Company products. The music for commercials will be the first deal of its kind for a female R&B singer."

Skills.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Sun Ra 'Space Is The Place'




Sun Ra--space-age prophet, Pharaonic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader--lands his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. With Black Power on the rise, Ra disembarks and proclaims himself "the alter-destiny." He holds a myth-vs reality rap session with black inner-city youth at a rec center, threatening "to chain you up and take you with me, like they did you in Africa" if they resist his plea to go to outer space. He duels at cards with The Overseer, a satanic overlord, with the fate of the black race at stake. Ra wins the right to a world concert, which features great performance footage of the Arkestra. Agents sent by the Overseer attempt to assassinate Ra, but he vanishes, rescues his people, and departs in his spaceship from the exploding planet Earth.

Trailer:

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Watch the whole thing here

Sun Ra Arkestra playing at the Natural History Museum:

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Samuel Buck Rosen



Sam Buck Rosen is somebody we've been in to for a long time now. He was recommended to me at 4am in a Belgian jazz bar by Vampire Weekend's Rostam. Since then I've amassed quite a collection of Sam's music - 33 songs at the moment, which is quite a prodigious output for a 19 year old.

It takes in distorted tropical dance pop, country death songs, a glitch-y take on dub-step via 50s crooned ballads (all completely lo-fi of course).

There's going to be a UK 7" soon-ish, which will probably have this song on there. It's the first song I heard by him and is called 'Trenchtown'

Sam Buck Rosen - 'Trenchtown'

He has toured the US with friends like Vampire Weekend, Nat Baldwin etc etc and has also tipped up on the indie credibility barometer - Daytrotter - performing four songs, including a newer version of 'Trenchtown'.

Sam Buck Rosen - 'Liquidator (live)':

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Benji Hughes 'A Love Extreme'




Benji Hughes is a genius and his album, 'A Love Extreme', is brilliant. Go and buy it. It's just come out on New West Records and is two discs of psych country pop, space synths, torch songs and ode's to the Flaming Lips.

You can download an MP3 of 'Why Do These Parties Always End The Same Way' from Spinner

'Waiting For An Invitation' (live):



'The Mummy' (live)

Friday, 5 September 2008

MIT 'Rauch (COMA Remix)'




MIT, who released their critically acclaimed debut album 'Coda' in March, have posted a free download of 'Rauch (COMA
Remix)' on their myspace

Feel free to use the download for whatever you want, re-posting etc.

COMA are signed to Kompakt records and are based in MIT's hometown Cologne.

We will be releasing a 12" single and download of 'Rauch' early next year featuring remixes by Luke Abbott (Border Community), Shitdisco and more TBA.


MIT = HOTT

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Jerry Wexler 10/01/17 - 16/08/08



Legendary record man Jerry Wexler, who helped shape the sound of R&B, guided the careers of titans such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Led Zeppelin, and helped launch Atlantic Records into a powerhouse, has died at his home in Florida, according to Rolling Stone. He was 91.

Wexler began his career in the late 1940s as a journalist, writing for Billboard magazine. He invented the phrase "Rhythm and Blues" for the publication for use on what was then known as their "Race Music" chart. In 1953, Wexler joined Ahmet Ertegun as co-head of Atlantic Records, a post he would hold until 1975. The two were instrumental in bringing the R&B music they loved to a wider audience, further incorporating it into the burgeoning sounds of rock'n'roll.
As both a record mogul and producer, Wexler was a tireless promoter of his wares, and in constant pursuit of exciting new sounds in modern music. Of his many successes with Atlantic, a mid-1960s distribution deal with legendary soul imprint Stax was one of his greatest. The arrangement brought Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MGs, and countless others into the fold, introducing the world to the gloriously loose Muscle Shoals sound that characterized the Stax catalog.

Booker T & The MG's - 'Green Onions':



In 1966, Wexler signed a young singer by the name of Aretha Franklin, encouraging her to sing in a more natural, less measured style. Her subsequent work with Atlantic-- in particular, the recordings she completed in Muscle Shoals-- remain some of the finest albums of any era.

Aretha Franklin - 'Respect':



The late 60s brought a string of British rockers seeking to bump elbows with the soul musicians they'd been ripping off, and Led Zeppelin, Cream, and the like linked up with Atlantic, thanks to Wexler. In 1968, Wexler brought British chanteuse Dusty Springfield to Tennessee to record the legendary Dusty in Memphis, which Wexler himself produced.

Dusty Springfield - 'Son Of A Preacher Man':



Also in 1968, Wexler and Ertegun agreed to sell Atlantic to Warner Seven Arts (later Warner Brothers), a deal that lost Atlantic a sizeable amount of money. He told Rolling Stone, "What a mistake. Worst thing we ever did."

Ertegun left Atlantic in 1975, eventually picking up some A&R work for Warner Brothers that netted the label new-wave pioneers like the B-52s and Gang of Four.

Gang of Four - 'To Hell With Poverty':



He struck out on his own later in the decade, producing records for Bob Dylan, the Staple Singers, Linda Ronstadt, George Michael, and many others. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, becoming one of the very first non-performers to achieve the honour. It's not difficult to see why.

Wexler retired to Florida in the late 90s, where he largely cut himself off from the business elements of the music industry. He is survived by two children, and his wife, writer Jean Arnold.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Pacific!



Pacific! are releasing their debut album on Monday 18th August (on our label - skills). Ruddy good it is too. Think Phoenix, Air, Daft Punk, Beach Boys, ELO, 10CC etc etc, via Sweden.

Stephane Manel, the French illustrator who does all the drawings for Vogue and Playboy, has drawn all the artwork. You can see more stuff by him here, including his videos for Pacific's 'Hot Lips' and 'Number One' and his video for the new Chromeo single.

There's also a 12" single and download out this week. It has remixes by frYars, Popular Computer (who has also remixed Hot Chip, Midnight Juggernaughts etc) and Triangles (Luke Smith from Clor and producer of Shitdisco's and To My Boy's albums). There was also a remix by Lord Skywave (Simon Lord from Simian and Black Ghosts) that you can download free (link below). His debut album is out now on This Is Music.



Get it from iTunes here:
Pacific - Sunset Blvd - EP

Allmusic.com have also given Reveries 4 stars and a very nice
review

The UK press have been saying nice stuff too:

"An expertly assembled electronic tribute to West Coast harmonies" - Q
"Few singles this year envice as much pure, awestruck joy as Sunset Blvd, church bells and all" - Guardian
"A brilliant evocation of Francopop" - NME
"Sun-kissed electro pop" - Times
"Like the Beach Boys, if Brian Wilson was a Blitzkid" - Independent
"The essential soundtrack to your summer holidays" - Artrocker
"A perfect blend of hipster chic and top-down summer tunes" - Gay Times (album of the month)
"Very impressive - 4 stars" - Zoo
"A magical journey to 60's California, across to 80's Sheffield, stopping off at a Paris club circa 2000, then back to rainy Sweden to spread some sunshine" - Disorder
"Gallic-style groove with big pop hooks" - Daily Star
"Perfect pop" - New Noise
“Clipped beats, lovely harmony, they deserve to be catapulted to fame very soon.” - The Fly

Download Pacific! 'Sunset Blvd (Lord Skywave Remix)

The excellent Daily Growl blog have posted a nice review (and a couple of tracks to download too).

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Mixtape Vol. 1




Having a week where I refuse to do any work and sit around at my parents house is all well and good, but it does get a little boring. So I made a mixtape. It's badly mixed (most of these songs aren't 'mixable' and I hadn't used this program for recording or mixing before) and there's a few skips and stuff. I was thinking of re-recording it so it sounds better, but I can't be arsed, Neighbours is on in a minute.

So here you go, some songs that I like all as one long MP3. It's 45 minutes long. which is how long it takes me to get to work in the mornings, which is handy.

Tracklisting:

Half Machine Mixtape Vol. 1

1. Bring It On Home (Live 1963) - Sam Cooke
2. Memories - Leonard Cohen
3. I Don't Want To Grow Up - Scarlett Johansson
4. Midnight - Yazoo
5. Baby - The Associates
6. A Little Lost - Arthur Russell
7. Lost Cause - Beck
8. The End - Nancy Sinatra
9. Modern Girl - Sleater-Kinney
10. On Fire - Sebadoh
11. Drinker's Peace - Guided By Voices
12. Brulee - Ratatat
13. On The Town Square - Robert Wyatt

N.B. I didn't include J. Dilla, which seems to be a mixtape regular at the moment. Maybe next time...

Download it HERE

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Death of a Ladies' Man



Leonard Cohen seems to be going through a bit of a resurgence in popularity at the moment after doing the festival rounds this summer. I didn't get to see him (so pissed off - damn my Glastonbury aversion), but it jogged my memory of how much I was obsessed with him when I was at college.

There is a second hand record shop near my college called Golden Disc ('Stolen Disc' to the locals due to the amount of nicked cds in there) where I used to spend money I had for lunch on records. One of my purchases was the 'Best of Leonard Cohen':



I listened to it obsessively for ages afterwards, then kinda forgot about it.

When in Music & Video Exchange a few years later, on one of many weekend excursions there, I picked up a vinyl copy of 'Death of a Ladies' Man'. It came out in 1977, I hadn't heard any of it before and didn't know much about the album, but it was Leonard Cohen and a quick scan of the liner notes revealed it was produced by Phil Spector (another long time obsession of mine), so for £2 I couldn't go wrong.



One listen and I quickly realised that, although not 'classic' Cohen, it was one of my favourite albums by him. 'Memories' was the song that hooked me - "won't you let me see...your naked body??".

NB - I think Lenny is taking the piss slightly in this video:



'Memories' reminds me of 'Baby Let's Stick Together' by Dion from his 'Born To Be Together' album , also produced by Phil Spector. Loads of his trademark echo, especially on the drums.



This period of Phil Spector is usually overlooked, but to me 'Born To Be Together' and 'Death of a Ladies' Man' is some of his best work. You should get both albums. Jason Pierce, Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Loog Oldham and Pete Townshend have all called 'Born...' genius. Dion doesn't like it though - "I don't think we ever really finished it".

'Death of a Ladies' Man' turned out to be Leonard Cohen's lowest selling album ever. They wrote it in three weeks, Spector saying "we wrote some great fucking music". Cohen, however, moaned that Spector's mix "stripped the guts out of it" and claiming it was "an experiment that failed". But with Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg on backing vocals on the most famous of the songs here - 'Don't Go Home With Your Hard-On' and with songs as good as any Cohen or Spector have worked on before you can't go wrong with this album. It's cheap too.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Psychedelic Horseshit vs Half Machine Records

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The debut UK single by Psychedelic Horseshit comes out on Monday (28th). I sent Matt from the band 50 copies the other day, to which I got this email in reply:

"to: half machine records
subject: new wave hippies ep

dude, got the ep's today, what the fuck is with the spaces in between the tracks. they were strung together with care. THERE ARE GUITAR AND DRUM PARTS CHOPPED IN HALF. i am beyond pissed off. this is why bands are supposed to get test pressings. this thing is a piece of junk now, completely worthless, and all copies must be burned or otherwise destroyed. i am deadly serious about this. if this gets out i will personally make it my job to see to it that every copy is retreived and destroyed. starting at yr offices.

-matt horseshit"

So, as requested we'll be setting all copies we can get our hands on alight. We'll film it and post it on youtube to prove to Matt (and you) that we really have thrown just over a grand down the drain. We're kind of like a poor mans KLF...

There will be copies in shops (we have a distributor who has already sent copies out, but not many), so if you want one get it now! Or buy from us at http://halfmachinerecords.bigcartel.com/

They won't be around for long...

The rich version of Half Machine Records (the KLF):

Saturday, 28 June 2008

30 Years Ago A DJ Saved My Life: The Re-emergence of Italo Disco



Italo Disco has made a bit of a comeback in the six months, with Glass Candy, Invisible Conga People, Mirage...well the whole Italians Do It Better roster basically. Which is no bad thing, I've long been a fan of 'space disco' (as it used to be called). But what most people seem to forget is that most Italo disco was shit:



'Italo disco', as a term, originated from Germany and this bloke in particular, not Italy.

As cool as it is now, people also don't realise it later morphed in to 'euro disco' and 'Hi-NRG', with Stock, Aitken and Waterman stealing the sound (disco with synths and drum machines basically) for their PWL pop monster. Which was mostly bad.

However, there were some great moments:

Giorgio Moroder 'The Chase'

t>

Indeep 'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life' (later remixed by Mirage on the After Dark compilation)





I remember when I played Glass Candy at a club I was booked to DJ at in Southend about 3 years ago (it was before GC went disco and still sounded quite no wave), I was asked to stop playing at that point, 15 minutes in to my planned hour long set. Still got paid in full*. So hearing the Glass Candy album 'B/E/A/T/B/O/X/' last year was a bit of a surprise, it sounded like Madonna gone balearic house in places:



I haven't fully got in to the Chromatics album yet, but the After Dark compilation is well worth getting, even just for the Mirage remix of Indeep and this from Farah:



You should also head over to the Italians Do It Better shop and pick up the Tiedye 'Nothing' 12" (a cover of Metallica's 'Nothing Else Matters') and the Invisible Conga People 12" 'Cable Dazed'.


*If you're interested, the other songs I played in that set were 'Get In To The Groove(y)' by Ciccone Youth and 'Fur Immer' by Neu. All dancefloor fillers...

Friday, 27 June 2008

Lil' Wayne



"The greatest rapper alive".

So say you, Dwayne.

So Lil Wayne (Dwayne Carter) has sold a million copies of 'Lollipop' in the US and pretty much fuck all over here.

"I don't write shit 'cos I ain't got time."

However, 'Lollipop' is a tune and the lyrics make no sense - "I told her to back it up/Like burp, burp." - what?



What I like about Wayne most though is summed up in this quote - "Wayne will ignore all incoming beefs and infuriate challengers even further by offering the lethal "I don't listen to your records"

Monday, 23 June 2008

We Jam Econo





One of my favourite stories about San Pedro's finest, the Minutemen, is when D Boon and Mike Watt played together for the first time. They had no concept of tuning; thinking it was a matter of preference as to whether you liked your strings loose or tight.

I love this band - they're one of my favourites of all time, and as i'm not going to sit here and tell you how great Radiohead are ... here are a few tidbits to show why this fucking awesome band deserve much more attention in Boris Johnson's London.

(Kudos to Hot Club for trying...and failing)





Before you read this, press play above

The Minutemen were formed in January 1980 by Mike Watt on Bass and D. Boon on guitar. The two friends had been jamming together for almost a decade and when punk rock came on to the scene it gave them the opportunity to go up and give starting a band a try. The first band they formed was the Reactionaries in late '78 which lasted through '79. The Reactionaries consisted of D. Boon on guitar, Mike Watt on bass, George Hurley on drums and Martin Tamburovich on vocals. When Watt and Boon formed the Minutemen, George Hurley had already joined another band called Hey Taxi! and Martin was out. They initially recruited drummer Frank Tonche for the few first shows, but punk rock scared the shit outta him so George Hurley was back for good. From the very beginning, the Minutemen had a very original non-traditional punk rock style fusing, rock, pop, jazz, funk, country and punk rock. They began playing in April of 1980 and became the first band to be a part of the SST family thanks to Greg Ginn of Black Flag. As a result the Minutemen released their debut 7" Paranoid Time in the summer of 1980. The record was unlike anything that had ever been done, the songs were so short, terse and volitile; from the very start the Minutemen were beginning to be recognized as a very revolutionary band. By 1981 the Minutemen were a part of the burgeoning underground hardcore scene that was being brought to attention by other southern California bands such as the Circle Jerks, Secret Hate, Saccharine Trust, the Descendents, Fear, X, Agent Orange; bay area bands like the Dead Kennedys and Flipper and other bands across the country such as the Bad Brains, Minor Threat, the Dicks, 7Seconds, the Meat Puppets, the Misfits and Husker Du. Cut at the end of '80 and released in '81 the Minutemen released their first 12" the 15-minute long EP The Punch Line. With this record the Minutemen had stretched out even more and were rapidly establishing their own style. In 1982 they released the even more intricite album LP What Makes a Man Start Fires?. The following year Minutemen went on a hectic tour with Black Flag that left them longing for American Soil. That year they also released an 8-song EP called Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat which was lead into an even more jazzy direction. Then news came out that Husker Du was going to be recording a double-LP and Minutemen wanted to match them by recording twice as many songs. As a result the masterpiece Double Nickels on the Dime was released in 1984. This album encompassed every incredible aspect of the Minutemen; 45 fucking songs! By this time the Minutemen had established a reputation as a very straightforward thinking working class band that put out records as much as they could and toured relentlessly. But sadly 1985 marked the end for the Minutemen; they released two more records that year, the EP Project: Mersh and their final album 3-Way Tie for last, which proved to people to never expect the same thing from this band, they had branched out so far and were now conquering 3-4-minute songs. They toured with REM and performed their last show on December 13, in Charlotte, NC. Sadly the saga of the Minutemen came to tragic end on December 22, 1985 when D. Boon was killed in a van accident. It marked the end of an incredible band, an amazing person and an era with so much unacknowledge significance.

In 2005 some bright spark was clever enough to release a fantastic docufilm called We Jam Econo. It's great despite D Boon occasionally rocking the 'fat ginge' look. Clip me.



~Pj

Dean's Favourite UK Garage Songs

Hello,

I'm Dean, I'm Half Machine's boy, if I had a record label I'd probably name it after an album I like, probably Straight Outta Compton Records or something just as stupid.

Photobucket

Richard told me I could contribute something to this blog, so I thought that I would pay homage to my favourite genre of music ever. UK Garage, so I bring you my top 10 (in no particular order) UKG songs to ever grace the scene:

"Melody" - Masterstepz

Besides being known for blatantly being (C)Ashley Cole's boyfriend he made a fantastic tune that no UKG DJ would be without. Alas, nobody wants to sell their copy and as such you cannot find one anywhere for love nor money. The song's sheer brilliance is rounded off with the inclusion of what sounds like someone shaking a can of spray paint at the start of the song, either that or Masterstepz was shaking some can of lube, ready for bum fun with Cashley.

Look

"As I Am" - Sound of One (Todd Edwards Remix)

Ah the delights of hearing songs where you end up thinking the remix is the original version, only to hear the original version and realise that someone literally has polished a turd. Todd Edwards, the Stock Aitken & Waterman of the Garage scene, every song uses exactly the same blueprint but yet I still pretty much love every one of them, even the DVNO remix that pretty much everyone hates...



"Burning" - Anthill Mob

One of the most hit and miss garage acts out there, for every gem they make there's another that is so gash it taints the songs you love. "Burning" is an absolute gem, just whatever you do, AVOID any of the remixes again, they will just taint the original, this was one of the songs that kick started the scene in 1995 and naturally, try and find a copy for less than 75 notes on fleabay if and when they turn up...

Quality video too...




"Jump" - Double 99

NOT to be confused with the inferior "Jump 98" that came to be the more popular version, this version first appeared on the incredibly rare "Double 99 - R.I.P" 2x12" album from 1997, this song was always going to live in the shadow of the classic "Ripgroove" (Which made it's debut on the same album), however, in my opinion "Jump" is a much better proposition as it's just one of those tunes that is guaranteed to get a party going.

I'd go here if you really want to buy one of the seminal UKG albums...


Boris D'Lugosch presents Booom! - Hold Your Head Up High (Julian Jonah Remix)

Before Boris went off and scored a huge hit remixing Moloko, Julian Jonah took this song and created an absolute monster, featuring one of the nastiest basslines I've ever heard on a song that kicks in after nearly 2 minutes of gentle build up, this really is the Walker's Family Favourites of the UKG world, it's got the nasty bassline for the boys and the female empowering vocal for the laydeez. Seriously, it's all killer.

Video

Love

Dean
xxx

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Winning Sperm Party



Winning Sperm Party is a relatively new (at least in terms of me finding out about it) blog/label that dedicates itself to championing the ever burgeoning wealth of great Scottish music at the moment. What i find particularly inspiring about it is there approach of visiting the best of these bands every month and helping them record an EP that they then release as a free download via their website.

Releasing music this way is always going to be far cooler and more fun than signing a record deal.

So far, Winning Sperm Party's releases have included two particular gems in the Plaaydoh and Dirty Summer EP's.

Also, in terms of and admirably lo fi way of doing things here is the Dirty Summer video for their song Camp Carnival


Dirty Summer ‘7 Minute Song’:




Kind of makes you wish you were 16 and from Dunfermline
FIFE FOR LYFE

Love from Damn Shames xxx

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Why my Dad hates Royal Trux:
The Welcome return of Lo-Fi

Hello.

I am Patrick. I became involved with Half Machine Records at the end of last year, helping out wherever possible and dressing slightly less preppy than Richard.

I can't remember which, of the many sunday newspapers my family used to read, had decided to run an article on how Royal Trux spent a considerable amount of their record advance on acid, heroin and fur. It was detailed enough for my Dad to develop a considerable amount of dislike for the band and questioned why I would waste my money (his at the time) on such filth. The cover of 97's 'Sweet Sixteen' album didn't help much either.



...you can get a gist of the offending article here


In July, Half Machine are proud to release 'New Wave Hippies' by Psychedelic Horseshit... and I for one am getting erect at the thought that my beloved lo-fi is returning under the guise of Shitgaze. Think about it, the chequered shirts are there, the weather is heating up...wouldn't it be great to trade in last summer's Skins parties for something more like this:




Or this:




(I recently learnt that the young Jason Lee featured in the above Sonic Youth video has fallen victim to Scientology. Is there anyone those fucks won't fuck?)





4-tracks are cheap.


Fly the Flannel.


PJ

Half Machine Records/ Chrome 'Half Machine Lip Moves'



When I came to name this label in 2006 I wanted a name that didn’t really mean much to anybody. I didn’t want to have a label whose musical output was defined by its name (for example a label called WAH PEDAL RECORDS would probably only ever release bad funk by white people with dreads). So I settled on Half Machine Records, after one of my favourite albums – Half Machine Lip Moves. Nobody I had met, at that point, knew who Chrome were, so it seemed like a good idea (I’ve since met Steve Webbon who signed the band to Beggars Banquet in 1980, who told me a few things about that band, not to be repeated here…).

Chrome were based in San Francisco, USA. The core duo of Helios Creed and Damon Edge released the album in 1979 on Siren (re-released on Beggars Banquet in 1980). Half Machine Lip Moves sounds like a collision between Suicide, The Stooges, SPK and Cabaret Voltaire. It’s nasty sounding industrial sci-fi noise made by a glam rock band.



A little bit of history:

Under the innocuous name of Chrome, two San Franciscans — Damon Edge (vocals, synths, etc.) and Helios Creed (vocals, guitar, etc.), with part-time rhythm-section assistance by the Stench brothers of Pearl Harbor's band — created an often awesome series of pre-industrial LPs that explore a dark state of mind only hinted at by '60s psychedelia. Taking cues from Suicide, Can, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Residents and anyone who ever made home tapes in their bedroom, the pair's dense, chaotic science-fiction epics are vivid vinyl nightmares — a thick blend of mechanical noises, filtered, twisted voices and fantastic, bizarre lyrics — that flesh out a frightening world both absorbing and repellent. Though conventional song structures are preserved to the point where tracks can be distinguished (indeed, the duo's early efforts aren't all that far from semi-normal guitar rock), Chrome's strength is its ability to create sounds of horrible beauty that transcend discreet musical units. If not as conceptually out there or as ear-splitting as the noisemongers and goth-rockers that followed the duo, Chrome's sonic intensity is still something to behold.

Review of Half Machine Lip Moves from Julian Cope’s Unsung website:

Side 1
TV As Eyes
Zombie Warfare
March of the Chrome Police
You've Been Duplicated
Mondo Anthem

Side 2
Half Machine Lip Moves
Abstract Nympho
Turned Around
Zero Time
Creature Eternal
Critical Mass

Damon Edge - drums, moogs, tapes, etc
Helios Creed - guitars, vocals, bass, etc.
Gary Spain - bass, violin, etc.
John L. Cyborg - "data memory"


A mighty industrial metal scraping noize devolves into a 1973 Stooges riff that sounds like it was recorded in a tin shack in 1957, cheapo drums start crashing away like The Trashmen. The only lyric you can make out is the sneered "I dunno whyyy!" at the end of every line. After 90 seconds a Faust-like dissolve through grinding, chattering zounds, creepy moog organ, analog tapes running backwards and flipping off the spindles . . . . the noise slowly fades as a chugging metal riff builds and BUILDS -- with acid lead guitar flourishes and a tambourine accompaniment! The jam that follows exists somewhere between NEU! and Judas Priest. Another abrubt edit, bells & scraping, then a new trashcan beat with hyper-distorted barely audible vocals buzzing like a bee and whining like a dog. An occasional spiral circus guitar riff, miscellaneous clanking and feedback. The beat changes again into yet another funky robot trashcan groove, with new squelchy guitar interjections, still many miscellaneous strands of noise burbling in & out of the brew whenever it feels right. The vocalist is actually singing words now, strangled drunken mumbling that makes the "recorded in a dumpster behind the Qwickie-Mart" sound of the Beastie Boys most fuzzed-out vocals sound crystal clear.

You've just made it through the first two tracks of Half Machine Lip Moves, entitled "TV As Eyes" (one of the best song titles ever I must say) and "Zombie Warfare". Welcome to the unique soundworld that is Chrome!

I can't imagine what people thought of this deeply mysterious band from San Francisco in the late 1970's, to the extent very many people were aware of them at all at the time (or even today.) But there are some artists who come along and are clearly "from another time" -- not necessarily "the future" but just "not from now", and though there is a "futuristic" vibe going on here I wouldn't say anyone else has copped the Chrome sound these past 25 years, nor ever will again in the future. I think one of the key things that makes them so unique is that they came along right at the end of the analog era, and in some sense took the analog audio tomfoolery of your VU's, Fausts and Zappas to the furthest extreme it would go. Then everyone went digital, so the kinds of blurry swiping tape-manipulated zounds found here are virtually unduplicatable today (unless one were to use the old analog equipment, but even then good luck figuring out what's going on here or how to recreate all thoze noizes!)

But equally important, they don't just fuck around with the tapes, they RAWK! Helios Creed lays down badass heavy metal rhythm guitar riffs and berzerker psychedelic leads (often backwards and/or played at the wrong speed.) Damon Edge's drumming is a perfect balance between kraut-motorik-funky and crazy-drunk-garage-band.

So the vibe created is definitely very Sci-Fi, but no gleaming clean surfaces from Beyond The Year 2000 here. It's a bit like in the original "Alien" movie (also from 1979 coincidentally), where the technology is "advanced" but the space ships are dank & dirty and all the equipment keeps breaking down. Science will not only bring forth smiling nuclear families with robot maids flying around in hover cars, but also ever-more-crowded metropolitan slums and squalor and new designer chemicals to help stave off (or feed?) dread and paranoia. To borrow a term coined nearly a decade later, Chrome's is a "CYBER-PUNK" vision of the future.

And could a band possibly be more "underground"? You can't hardly make out a single word on the whole record. The tracks all blur together, and many of the "songs" are really just a series of random riffs and interludes spliced together. Someone is even credited with "data memory" in the musicians list, presumably a purely technical function like turning the tape machine on and off and manipulating it's speed. We may never know.

Chrome had released two LP's before this one, the ultrarare "The Visitation" (1977) where they don't quite have their sound together (Creed wasn't aboard yet) and "Alien Soundtracks" (1978) which is also a classic though to me sounds like a warm-up for the dense majesty and mystery of "Half Machine Lip Moves." The Edge-Creed team made several more obscure records through the early 1980's, eventually embracing drum machines, more intelligible lyrics and a generally less outlandish sound (sort of goth-industrial-dance rock with a hint of metal -- but still definitely mysterious and "underground.")

One of my Personal Top 25 albums of all time, this is certainly one of those records you can keep returning to and find new things buried in all those layers of ZOUND.

All but one of the tracks from this album ("Critical Mass") are included on Cleopatra's excellent "Chrome Box" 3CD set which covers the years 1978 - 1983.

Review from Sounds magazine 4th October 1980:



‘Meet You In The Subway’ from the Ralph Records ‘Subterranean Modern’ compilation, released in 1979:




Chrome newsletter: