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'


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.


Dean's Favourite UK Garage Songs


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.


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.


"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.




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

Love from Damn Shames xxx

Sunday, 15 June 2008

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


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. 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.


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:

Holy Fuck at Primavera 2008

I didn’t go to Primavera. But everybody that did seemed to be at Holy Fuck’s set at 3am. During their final song (‘Lovely Allen’) there was a mass stage invasion, including members of Les Savy Fav, Man Man and 3000 Spaniards:

A friend sent me a picture to rub it in:

"It was unbelievable... gig was fantastic anyway, and then suddenly there were people onstage, and then me and my friend just looked at each other and were like 'we must be there too'. The band just looked insane with happiness, like they couldn't really believe what was going on, and then I turned around and Les Savy Fav were standing behind me hitting drums.”


Lovely Allen video:

More pictures at the Young Turks website

Dennis Wilson

Dennis Wilson’s debut solo album, ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’, is being reissued on cd (along with the half finished ‘Bambu’ album) soon. It’s about time. The album has been out of print since it’s initial vinyl and cd issues. I bought the gatefold vinyl version on eBay for £55 a few years ago, worth it though.

Dennis was the cool one in the Beach Boys, he surfed, he shagged Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac recorded ‘Wish You Were Here’ for him after he died), he owned Sam Cooke’s Ferrari and 65 foot yacht.

He also lived with Charles Manson…

"Dennis Wilson was killed by my shadow because he took my music and changed the words from my soul."

Yeah, nice one Charlie. Weirdo.

Anyway read the blog about the album here

Beach Boys singing Surfer Girl off their nuts in Australia:

1980 interview:

My favourite Beach Boys song, ‘Forever’, was written and sung by Dennis -

Without Dennis and with Brian having gone a bit mental, the Beach Boys went a bit shit. And recorded this for the Cocktail soundtrack (I do quite like it though):

Saturday, 14 June 2008


Psychedelic Horseshit are fucking awesome. Other people seem to agree too, which is nice as we're putting out their debut UK single in July and it'd be good to sell loads and spend the profits on cans of Ting and multipacks of Monster Munch.

There's a Vice interview here

Spin Magazine article on shitgaze, featuring Times New Viking and Pink Reason too:


Drowned In Sound have written about the single here, which was nice.

And reviewed their UK gig with Yeasayer here

The Fly reviewed the gig too

The Daily Growl wrote nice things and posted one of the b-sides here

You can buy the single from the end of July on 7" only from...everywhere.

Here's the sleeve. Matt hand made it and brought it over to give to me at ATP a few weeks ago. A work of art...


Sunday, 8 June 2008


So, as this is our first post I guess we should introduce ourselves - we're a record label of no repute based in London, England.  We've been a record label since May 2006, before that we've been involved in club nights (in the Southend 'scene'.  Whatever that was), managed bands (some successful, some not so), DJ'd all over the shop (Berlin gay clubs being a favourite), worked at a better record label and so on.

We've released a few things so far, mainly on vinyl.  We like vinyl better than cds and downloads.

This is a list of stuff we've put out if you're interested:
May 2006:
MIT - 'Deine Eltern EP' 12"
Neils Children - 'Stand Up' 7"

November 2006:
Theoretical Girl - 'Red Mist' 7"

August 2007:
MIT - 'Good Book' 7"

March 2008:
Stardeath & White Dwarfs - 'Toast & Marmalade For Tea' 7"

April 2008:
MIT - 'Coda' cd album and download

And we have these things coming up:

June 2008:
Mirror Mirror - 'New Horizons' 7" and download

July 2008:
Psychedelic Horseshit - 'New Wave Hippies' 7"
Pacific! - 'Sunset Blvd' 12" and download (including remixes by frYars, Popular Computer etc)

August 2008:
Pacific! - 'Reveries' cd album and download
MIT - 'Rauch' 12" and download (including remixes by Luke Abbott etc)

And then after that we're putting out the debut single by Sam Buck Rosen, former touring partner (and room mates) to Vampire Weekend, the debut UK release by Francois Virot (probably a couple of 7"s and the debut album 'Yes or No' - think Animal Collective/ Elliott Smith/ Shins etc) and also the second single by Pacific! later in the year.

Busy times.

You can listen to some stuff at our myspace

In the meantime, check out Pacific's website and the video for 'Number One' both by French artist Stephane Manel: