Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nevermind the Dead Boys...

From the gloomy skies of Cleveland came a blast of melody-drenched power-pop from a little-known trio called the Mice. Fronted by singer-songwriter Bill Fox, the Mice only existed for a short time, but they left us with one single and two 12"s of great power-pop jams filled with smoke stacks of sweet, sweet harmony.

Mice - More Than I Can Talk About

Mice - Not Proud of the USA

Sweet Baby Jesus

When I was a nipper living the darkest reaches of Cornwall I used to read Maximumrocknroll magazine religiously and just wish I was a part of the East Bay scene circa 87/88 - Operation Ivy, Isocracy, Rabid Lassie, Crimpshrine, Sweet Baby Jesus... it was such a vibrant scene and so different from the UK punk I was used to. Time moves on, people change. I am in the Bay Area now, but Gilman Street is a different place and I am a different person. I had a forgotten how good this shit was until some local bike heads posted some East Bay stuff on their blog Mash. The kid in the pic is Garrett (who is no longer a kid) who was lucky enough to be part of the scene back in the day. We did a little reminicing and pulled a track out to use in a video we are putting together of Garrett riding his bike. I'd forgotten what an amazingly tight powerpop band Sweet Baby Jesus were...
Sweet Baby Jesus - Pathetic

check this video of the singer now....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

John Peel's Record Box

... I will move off Peel related posts soon, but the discovery of these old shows has had me listening to Peel almost constantly. I was digging around in the mp3's that made up Peel's record box - for those unfamiliar, Peel had a box of 7"s separate from his collection with a hundred or so 7"s which he deemed extra special for whatever reason. The box kind of summed the man up really - from the obscure (XL Capris), to the well known (White Stripes) to his obvious choices (Undertones) and the downright wierd (Bill Oddie)!. As a mix aseries of mixtapes its an amazing listen. There are torrents out there with all these tracks on. But for now - here's a few of my own favorites to whet your appetite.

The first is one of the more obvious choices - the Undertones, not Teenage Kicks which everyone has heard but one of the b-side tracks from that EP:
Undertones - Emergency Cases

Next up, the totally obscure Mike Spenser & The Cannibals murdering the Standells
Mike Spenser & The Cannibals - Good Guys

Peel always championed reggae on Radio One, against a lot of popular opinion. This Upsetter's tune finds them at their best with a boss rocksteady number:
Upsetters - Key Card

Over time, the big man slipped in a bunch of obscure stuff... a few of these turned up in his box. XL Capris were a punk band from Sydney Australia, along the lines of Razar and News - very obscure and collectable amongst the Killed By Death crowd, this track is both collectable and ripping...
XL Capris - My City Of Sydney

Easily one of my favorite 60's psych bands are the Misunderstood. After reading an in depth history in Ugly Things magazine I was hooked. When Peel moved to Riverside California to DJ on the radio, the Misunderstood were one of the bands he really championed, even persuading them to move to London to further their careers. Unfortunately due to singer Rick Brown draft dodging to Thailand and becoming a monk (that's a whole other story) they never really got the recognition they deserved. Check out this barnburner from their Riverside days....
Misunderstood - I Can Take You To The Sun

Peel was always a fan of Mod revival, playing all of the Chords 7"s and of course the Jam who had a few sessions on his show. It is odd that those bands don't appear in his box, instead he has the Quads. A pretty obscure band, whose 'There Must Be Thousands" 7" is seldom heard, easy to get and is a total ripper
Quads - There Must Be Thousands

What makes the box so intriguing is that in amongst the obscurities and must-haves he had records like by Bill Odie and even Status Quo (not surprising to anyone who saw the man DJ). This actually sounds pretty good.
Status Quo - Down Down

Monday, August 18, 2008

John Peel October 31 1978

So this weekend I listened to the 1st of 400! tapes that the Peel Yahoo group uncovered recently. This one from October 78. A little crackly, but just amazing to hear a show from all those years ago. He was just so far ahead of the game, playing lots of great punk stuff like the Undertones, 999 and the Clash as well as sessions from the Damned and Wire. amongst the more well known stuff he drops tracks by Kleenex and Prag Veg... some classic Burning Spear and even some Kraut rock from Can. I can hardley wait to hear the rest of these shows..... enjoy!!

John Peel Oct 31 1978

Wednesday, August 13, 2008



...Sometimes time passes by so fast that your forget how much fun you are having until much later. Many years ago I played guitar in a band in Leicester called Nerves. We were on the dole and skint, but had a shared love for all things fast. While everyone else was going metal or emo we just wanted to sound like USHC bands of old like Negative Approach and the Necros. We had no gear, it was 1993 and we lived in the Midlands. We knocked a few tunes out, did a few gigs, drank cider, even put out a couple of records.... one of which lay dormant under our mates bed until he threw most of 'em out. Even though we made no real impact on the world around us, we had a fucking blast. THAT is what being in a band is all about.....having a laugh...and we sure has hell did that. To Iain, Stu and Lee...thanks for the memories. To Jono, thanks for the pictures and driving our sorry asses around in Lee's Dad's van. Here's a couple of tracks from our infamous "Thirteen Style Strike" EP.

Nerves - Sucked In
Nerves - Over And Out

Friday, August 8, 2008

Northern Soul Compilation

In the spirit of tonight's Bricks And Mortar I put together a Northern Soul compilation for your listening pleasure... most of my all time top dancefloor bangers. Get on it, get the talc out and hit the dancefloor....

Northern Soul

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bricks And Mortar Friday Aug 8th

Yes people it is that time again..... Bricks and Mortar, tomorrow night at the Mad Dog In The Fog, Haight @ Filmore, San Francisco. Guest DJ's: Jeff from the Radio Reelers and Alice. Plus your no-mark residents Brooksy, Neck & Dougie.

Bricks & Mortar

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Escalators

.... I don't have much (if any) time for psycobilly, I went to the Klubfoot in the 80's and saw some bands, had the shit scared out of me by a bunch of psychopathic hardmen with quiffs wrecking to sped up rock n roll. So I was pretty dismissive of a band made up of ex-members of the Meteors. In 1982 two members of the original line-up left to form the Escalators, the result was the 'Moving Staircases' LP which has a tremendous blend of Wire-esque post punk, some DIY home-recorded charm all wrapped up in the guitar shimmer of the Psychadelic Furs. It really is a lost post-punk gem, taking cues from much of what was happening in dreary old England at the time. Not half as depressive as Joy Division but having some gothic overtones, not strictly punk, but enough snap to have easily fit in with the artsy '79 crowd. Originally coming out in 1983 on the Big Beat label, the reissue comes to you courtesy of Ace records.

Escalators - Young Men

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

Complete with Doc Martens, braces, and cropped heads, Noddy and crew pushed their way into the British music press with raging tracks like "The Shape of Things to Come" and "Raven". SLADE would return to their long-haired, Glam-hippie ways only a year later, blaming their ANIMALS bass-player-turned-manager for coercing them into adopting the skinhead look.

Here's a great pre-fame, pre-Glam clip of SLADE performing "Wild Winds Are Blowing". Looking good guys, looking good...

A couple tracks:

Wild Winds Are Blowing
The Shape Of Things To Come