Italians do it better they say. Well they sure don't do it worse.
Only an Italian band could get away with using that much digital piano, fretless bass, chimes on every bar, reverb on the snare, over the top melody, over the top guitar, over the top everything, and still manage to touch me right in the heart in the end, when "ironic listening" is swept aside.
This is a guilty pleasure I don't even feel guilty about. Cheesy? No way. Italian music should be judged on whole different terms. It is beyond cheesiness.



To celebrate Christmas I give you a song that has nothing to do with Christmas, FIERTE by FRANCKY VINCENT.
FRANCKY VINCENT is very well-known in France as one of the prime Zouk singers from Les Antilles (and more recently for appearing in a sorry real TV show, let's pretend that never happened). His trademark is salacious lyrics, moreso than any sound. However his biggest hits in metropolitan France happened in the 1990s, and they sound rather cheap. Few remember his 70s recordings for the A3 label, backed by the band TABOU N°2 and produced by JACOB DESVARIEUX of the wonderful band KASSAV.
Let's repair this mistake with FIERTE.
By the way, I took the liberty of editing this song to erase parts I like less and repeat over and over parts I like more.



My favorite video of 2010.



If you've been reading older posts here, you already know I feel THE MACKENZIE is the best band in NEW BEAT, that Belgian bastard son of Acid-House, born in the late 80s when, by mistake, a DJ played the 12" of FLESH by A SPLIT SECOND at 33 RPM instead of 45.
What I hadn't said is that I perversely play these MacKenzie 12" at 33 RPM so that they play even sloooooower than they already are.
Today I recorded and upped one of them; and I added a cumbia on top for good measure.



Stay tuned, next time I have an hour to kill I will upload THE SOFT BOYS LIVE AT THE PORTLAND ARMS.



We really wanted to be on the forefront of that ENIGMA revival but goddamn Lou-Reed-lookalike Ben Stiller has two years on us.Though truth be told, he used the original album mix of SADENESS, I'd have chosen the superior B-sided US VIOLENT MIX.



Oh man LESLIE NIELSEN is dead.
That makes him the third star of AIRPLANE!, one of the best movies ever made, to leave us this year, after Peter Graves and Barbara Billingsley.
So now I am concerned about LITTLE ROSSIE HARRIS. Yes, this kid:
Seventeen years later, this kid would become half of the duet responsible for this masterpiece:



I'd never noticed before how much Ben Stiller looks like LOU REED.



I'm going to travel today. If I had an iPod, this is the song I'd play during the trip. But I don't have one - which is why I keep posting youtubes instead of downloadables. I do however have a mental jukebox that never stops. Anyway pretty soon wifi will be in the air everywhere and we won't need to actually store mp3s no more.



Great, another Krautrock-influenced band... I thought I would have had enough of these by now, but it turns out I don't. Lüger are good. They represent the Pan-European axis as they are from Spain. And the song is called "Swastika Sweetheart".The album this song is from is self-titled, it exists on vinyl, and it contains other great tracks - like "Bedlam in a Sugar Plum Fairy Reception".



The 1994 documentary CRUMB was about the famous cartoonist Robert Crumb. But the most interesting part (for me) was the other Crumb, Robert's brother Charles.



This song does not feature autotune, African beats, or Snoop Dogg. It's not Witch-House and it's not Grind-Step. The lyrics do not contain the words "Fuck" or even mention sex at all. There's no 80s synths or sequencers on it. And yet, it IS the best song I've heard this year: THE BEES' I REALLY NEED LOVE.



Black metal in 1969? With bagpipes? You'd better believe it. Courtesy of ESP Records (who else?), I give you CROMAGNON.



So we were near Bordeaux, staying in a Château, no less. With some very good friends whose interests are food, wine and music. So we basically spent the week being treated with excellent food, delicious wine and fantastic music. I discovered FRANCIS BEBEY, whose album AKWAABA gave me a slap in the face so hard my cheeks are still red.



I've listened to this song a thousand times today while working. And it's only four o'clock.



Wow. A TV footage from THE LEFT BANKE performing Shadows Breaking Over My Head! A song that was not even a single as far as I know. And with real vocals too! Thanks BEDAZZLED.



I remember when this was on TV. Was it... seven, eight years ago?
Anyway, by the time I had set up the VCR and found a tape I could erase, I had missed the first two songs. Not that it would matter much today, all my video tapes are in the basement and I have no machine to play them.
Still, the power of these two songs struck me so hard, I remember everything so vividly. The shape of the room, the color of the couch, the clothes my girlfriend and my friend Rémi were wearing that night...
For years I've patiently waited for someone to upload these two rare LEO FERRE TV appearances. And now here they are:



It took YAKHYA FALL only two songs to pop up in my personal pantheon of the world's finest guitar players: dig the delayed solo on JANGAAKE, and the Sterling-Morrisonesque solo on NDAGA SEERI BOY.
Discovered both these gems by STAR NUMBER ONE DE DAKAR on THIS COMP containing exhaustive, interesting, historical liner notes on the thick booklet by Florent Mazzoleni.
On the blog linked to, I found the whole albums, featuring yet another magical guitar moment on yet another extra slow track: WAALO.



That QUICKSPACE vid put me in a Cullinan mood. Time to share one of the most bizarre offering of this genius musician.
In 2001, under the name DOUGAL REED, he decided to imagine what the most classic album of YACHT-ROCK, FLEETWOOD MAC's RUMOURS would have sounded like, had cheap speed replaced pure coke. Yes, he actually did the whole album.
Here are TWO HIGHLIGHTS. But really the only reason I didn't upload the whole thing is laziness.



Yes, in spite of having always been so ridiculously underappreciated, QUICKSPACE did manage to appear on television once (in Japan). And now it's on Youtube. Even though the video has only been watched twenty-two times, one of the Youtube users who commented it got it right: "Quickspace is", indeed, "great band ever".




"I used to be against world peace. But then Bono came out for it and the scales just fell from my eyes." - Randy Newman

RANDY NEWMAN wrote a million great songs. Most of them are on TWELVE SONGS, SAIL AWAY, GOOD OLD BOYS or on what is to me the masterpiece album of yacht-rock, TROUBLE IN PARADISE.
There are some that EVERYONE KNOWS, some written IN THE 60s, and some JUST TWO YEARS AGO.
And some were written for WALT DISNEY:



Am I crazy for liking this song? Anybody can see how cheesy it is, but there's something sweet about its naivety... Isn't there?
Or do I associate it with childhood because KID CREOLE put this song in the charts when I was a child?
Twenty-five years later, my brother is on first-name basis with August Darnell, and my three-year-old daughter listens to this 1961 version of the same song all the time... What a carve up.



On April 29th, 1967, Sky Saxon's THE SEEDS played the Hollywood Bowl, opening for The Supremes. This was the biggest venue they'd ever played. What I didn't know was that it had been recorded. I'd never heard a real live by The Seeds before (except the faux-live at Merlin's Music Box), and it sounds just like I imagined it would: chaotic but fun. Of course the sound quality is not great, but what the hell.
2.Pushin' Too Hard
4.Up In Her Room
5.Can't Seem To Make You Mine

Enjoy - and stay tuned as someday I'll upload the mono mix of A WEB OF SOUND.



I read the following text on a forum, and felt an uncontrollable urge to copy and paste it here for your reading pleasure.
Anton KK from Moscow tries to prove that yacht-rock is actually cooler than black metal:

"True Norwegian black metal vs True Californian yacht rock

Californian yacht rock is much more true simply because it's a much more demanding life-style. To be a true black metal fan all you need is long unwashed hair, a can of corpse paint, a few spikes and an axe. To be a true yacht rock fan you obviously need a beard, a hairy chest, a yacht, an endless supply of coke and a hot blonde.

Californian yacht rock is much more expensive to record - in true Norwegian black metal you can spend 100 kronen on an entire album and if you don't even have that hundred you can always chop the producer with an axe and claim that the sound was not raw enough. In true Californian yacht rock you need to spend at least $1 000 000 on a record with 20 % spent on perfect smooth production and top West Coast session players (Russ Kunkel on drums is mandatory) and the other 80 percent spent on coke to make it even more smooth."

Oh, and in case you wonder where I stand,press PLAY:



So İ am now ın Turkey, and like eveytime I go somewhere, I try to dıscover a glimpse of the local musıc scene.
And so I gıve you HASAN YILMAZ, whom İ'd describe as the Turkısh equıvalent to Syrian OMAR SOULEYMAN.



Once a year, I browse through my LPs and take out the ones I never play to sell them and make room in my shelves so I can keep on buying more LPs. So yesterday I traded 30 records I never play for 4 I'll play a lot, including that one by RICET BARRIER (artwork by Jean Teulé) that includes A TRULY EPIC SONG.
I don't have the courage to translate the lyrics in English. If you don't speak French, just read NIGHT-SEA JOURNEY, a wonderful short story by JOHN BARTH, basically the same story:

"One way or another, no matter which theory of our journey is correct, it's myself I address; to whom I rehearse as to a stranger our history and condition, and will disclose my secret hope though I sink for it.
"Is the journey my invention? Do the night, the sea, exist at all, I ask myself, apart from my experience of them? Do I myself exist, or is this a dream? Sometimes I wonder. And if I am, who am I? The Heritage I supposedly transport? But how can I be both vessel and contents? Such are the questions that beset my intervals of rest.
"My trouble is, I lack conviction. Many accounts of our situation seem plausible to me- where and what we are, why we swim and whither. But implausible ones as well, perhaps especially those, I must admit as possibly correct. Even likely. If at times, in certain humors- striking in unison, say, with my neughbors and chanting with them 'Onward! Upward!'- I have supposed that we have ever after all a common Maker, Whose nature and motives we may not know, but Who engendered us in some mysterious wise and launched us forth toward some end known but to Him- if (for a moodslength only) I have been able to entertain such notions, very popular in certain quarters, it is because our night-sea journey partakes of their absurdity. One might even say: I can believe them because they are absurd.
"Has that been said before?
"Another paradox: it appears to be these recesses from swimming that sustain me in the swim. Two measures onward and upward, flailing with the rest, then I float exhausted and dispirited, borood upon the night, the sea, the journey, while the flood bears me a measure back and down: slow progress, but I live, I live, and make my way, aye, past many a drowned comrade in the end, stronger, worthier than I, victims of their unremitting joie de nager. I have seen the best swimmers of my generation go under. Numberless the number of the dead! Thousands drown as I think this thought, millions as I rest before returning to the swim. And scores, hundreds of millions have expired since we surged forth, brave in our innocence, upon our dreadful way. 'Love! Love!' we sang then, a quarter-billion strong, and churned the warm sea white with joy of swimming! Now all are gone down- the buoyant, the sodden, leaders and followers, all gone under, while wretched I swim on. Yet these same reflective intervals that keep me afloat have led me into wonder, doubt, despair- strange emotions for a swimming!- have led me, even, to suspect . . . that our night-sea journey is without meaning.
"Indeed, if I have yet to join the hosts of the suicides, it is because (fatigue apart) I find it no meaningfuller to drown myself than to go on swimming.
"I know that there are those who seem actually to enjoy the night-sea; who claim to love swimming for its own sake, or sincerely believe that 'reaching the Shore,' 'transmitting the Heritage' (Whose Heritage, I'd like to know? And to whom?)is worth the staggering cost. I do not. Swimming itself I find at best not actively unpleasant, more often tiresome, not infrequently a torment. Arguments from function and design don't impress me: granted that we can and do swim, that in a manner of speaking our long tails and streamlined heads are 'meant for' swimming; it by no means follows- for me, at least- that we should swim, or otherwise endeavor to 'fulfill our destiny.' Which is to say, Someone Else's destiny, since ours, so far as I can see, is merely to perish, one way or another, soon or late. The heartless zeal of our (departed) leaders, like the blind ambition and good cheer of my own youth, appalls me now; for the death of my comrades I am inconsolable. If the night-sea journey has justification, it is not for us swimmers to discover it.
"Oh, to be sure, 'Love!' one heard on every side: 'Love it is that drives and sustains us!' I translate: we don't know what drives and sustains us, only that we are most miserably driven and, imperfectly, sustained. Love is how we call our ignorance of what whips us. 'To reach the Shore,' then: but what if the Shore exists in the fancies of us swimmers merely, who dream it to account for the dreadful fact that we swim, have always and only swum, and continue swimming without respite (myself excepted) until we die? Supposing even that there were a Shore- that, as a cynical companion of mine once imagined, we rise from the drowned to discover all those vulgar superstitions and exalted metaphors to be literal truth: the giant Maker of us all, the Shores of Light beyond our night-sea journey! -whatever would a swimmer do there? The fact is, when we imagine the Shore, what comes to mind is just the opposite of our condition: no more night, no more sea, no more journeying. In short, the blissful estate of the drowned.
" 'Ours not to stop and think; ours but to swim and sink....' Because a moment's thought reveals the pointlessness of swimming. 'No matter,' I've heard some say, even as they gulped their last: 'The night-sea journey may be absurd, but here we swim, will-we nill-we, against the flood, onward and upward, toward a Shore that may not exist and couldn't be reached if it did.' The thoughtful swimmer's choices, then, they say, are two: give over thrashing and go under for good, or embrace the absurdity; affirm in and for itself the night-sea journey; swim on with neither motive nor destination, for the sake of swimming, and compassionate moreover with your fellow swimmer, we being all at sea and equally in the dark. I find neither course acceptable. If not even theh hypothetical Shore can justify a sea-full of drowned comrades, to speak of the swim-in-itself as somehow doing so strikes me as obscene. I continue to swim- but only because blind habit, blind instinct, blind fear of drowning are still more strong than the horror of our journey. And if on occasion I have assisted a fellow-thrasher, joined in the cheers and songs, even passed along to others strokes of genius from the drowned great, it's that I shrink by temperament from making myself conspicuous. To paddle off in one's own direction, assert one's independent right-of-way, overrun one's fellows without compunction, or dedicate oneself entirely to pleasures and diversions without regard for conscience- I can't finally condemn those who journey in this wise; in half my moods I envy them and despise the weak vitality that keeps me from following their example. But in reasonabler moments I remind myself that it's their very freedom and self-responsibility I reject, as more dramatically absurd, in our sensless circumstances, than tailing along in conventional fashion. Suicides, rebels, affirmers of the paradox- nay-sayers and yea-sayers alike to our fatal journey- I finally shake my head at them. And splash sighing past their corpses, one by one, as past a hundred sorts of others: frfiends, enemies, brothers; fools, sages, brutes- and nobodies, million upon million. I envy them all.
"A poor irony: that I, who find abhorrent and tautological the doctrine of survival of the fittest (fitness meaning, in my experience, nothing more than survival-ability, a talent whose only demonstration is the fact of survival, but whose chief ingredients seem to be strength, guile, callousness), may be the sole remaining swimmer! But the doctrine is false as well as repellent: Chance drowns the worthy with the unworthy, bears up the unfit with the fit by whatever definition, and makes the night-sea journey essentially haphazard as well as murderous and unjustified.
"'You only swim once.' Why bother, then?
"'Except ye drown, ye shall not reach the Shore of Light.' Poppycock.
"One of my late companions- that same cynic with the curious fancy, among the first to drown- entertained us with odd conjectures while we waited to begin our journey. A favorite theory of his was that the Father does exist, and did indeed make us and the sea we swim- but not a-purpose or even consciously; He made us, as it were, despite Himself, as we make waves with every tail-thrash, and may be unaware of our existence. Another was that He knows we're here but doesn't care what happens to us, inasmuch as He creates (voluntarily or not) other seas and swimmers at more or less regular intervals. In bitterer moments, such as just before he drowned, my friend even supposed that our Maker wished us unmade; there was indeed a Shore, he'd argue, which could save at least some of us from drowning and toward which it was our function to struggle- but for reasons unknowable to us He wanted desperately to prevent our reaching that happy place and fulfilling our destiny. Our 'Father,' in short, was our adversary and would-be killer! No less outrageous, and offensive to traditional opinion, were the fellow's speculations on the nature of our Maker: that He might well be no swimmer Himself at all, but some sort of monstrosity, perhaps even tailless; that He might be stupid, malicious, insensible, perverse, or asleep and dreaming; that the end for which He created and launched us forth, and which we flagellate ourselves to fathom, was perhaps immoral, even obscene. Et cetera, et cetera: there was no end to the chap's conjectures, or the impoliteness of his fancy; I have reason to suspect that his early demise, whether planned by 'our Maker' or not, was expedited by certain fellow-swimmers indignant at his blasphemies.
"In other moods, however (he was as given to moods as I), his theorizing would become half-serious, so it seemed to me, especially upon the subjects of Fate and Immortality, to which our youthful conversations often turned. Then his harangues, if no less fantastical, grew solemn and obscure, and if he was still baiting us, his passion undid the joke. His objection to popular opinions of the hereafter, he would declare, was their claim to general validity. Why need believers hold that all the drowned rise to be judged at journey's end, and non-believers that drowning is final without exception? In his opinion (so he'd vow at least), nearly everyone's fate was permanent death; indeed he took a sour pleasure in supposing that every 'Maker' made thousands of separate seas in His creative lifetime, each populated like ours with millions of swimmers, and that in almost every instance both sea and swimmers were utterly annihilated, whether accidentally or by malevolent design. (Nothing if not pluralistical, he imagined there might be millions and billions of 'Fathers,' perhaps in some 'night-sea' of their own!) However- and here he turned infidels against him with the faithful- he professed to believe that in possibly a single night-sea per thousand, say, one of its quarter-billion swimmers (that is, one swimmer in two hundred fifty billions) achieved a qualified immortality. In some cases the rate might be slightly higher; in others it was vastly lower, for just as there are swimmers of every degree of proficiency, including some who drown before the journey starts, unable to swim at all, and others created drowned, as it were, so he imagined what can only be termed impotent Creators, Makers unable to Make, as well as uncommonly fertile ones and all grades between. And it pleased him to deny anay necessary relation between a Maker's productivity and His other virtues- including, even, the quality of His creatures.
"I could go on (he surely did) with his elaboration of these mad notions- such as that swimmers in other night-seas needn't be of our kind; that Makers themselves might belong to different species, so to speak; that our particular Maker mightn't Himself be immortal, or that we might be not only His emmissaries but His 'immortality,' continuing His life and our own, transmogrified, beyond our individual deaths. Even this modified immortality (meaningless to me) he conceived as relative and contingent, subject to accident or deliberate termination: his pet hypothesis was that Makers and swimmers each generate the other- against all odds, their number being so great- and that any given 'immortality-chain' could terminate after any number of cycles, so that what was 'immortal' (still speaking relatively) was only the cyclic process of incarnation, which itself might have a beginning and an end. Alternatively he liked to imagine cycles within cycles, either finite or infinite: for example, the 'night-sea,' as it were, in which Makers 'swam' and created night-seas and swimmers like ourselves, might be the creation of a larger Maker, Himself one of many, Who in turn et cetera. Time itself he regarded as relative to our experience, like magnitude: who knew but what, with each thrash of our tails, minuscule seas and swimmers, whole eternities, came to pass- as ours, perhaps, and our Maker's Maker's, was elapsing between the strokes of some supertail, in a slower order of time?
"Naturally I hooted with the others at this nonsense. We were young then, and had only the dimmest notion of what lay ahead; in our ignorance we imagined night-sea journeying to be a positively heroic enterprise. Its meaning and value we never questioned; to be sure, some must go down by the way, a pity no doubt, but to win a race requires that others lose, and like all my fellows I took for granted that I would be the winner. We milled and swarmed, impatient to be off, never mind where or why, only to try our youth against the realities of night and sea; if we indulged the skeptic at all, it was as a droll, half-contempible mascot. When he died in the initial slaughter, no one cared.
"And even now I don't subscribe to all his views- but I no longer scoff. The horror of our history has purged me of opinions, as of vanity, confidence, spirit, charity, hope, vitality, everything- except dull dread and a kind of melancholy, stunned persistence. What leads me to recall his fancies is my g rowing suspicion that I, of all swimmers, may be the sole survivor of this fell journey, tale-bearer of a generation. This suspicion, together with the recent sea-change, suggests to me now that nothing is impossible, not even my late companion's wildest visions, and brings me to a certain desperate resolve, the point of my chronicling.
"Very likely I have lost my senses. The carnage at our setting out; our decimation by whirlpool, poisoned cataract, sea-convulsion; the panic stampedes, mutinies, slaughters, mass suicides; the mounting evidence that none will survive the journey- add to these anguish and fatigue; it were a miracle if sanity stayed afloat. Thus I admit, with the other possibilities, that the present sweetening and calming of the sea, and what seems to be a kind of vasty presence, song, or summons from the near upstream, may be hallucinations of disordered sensibility....
"Perhaps, even, I am drowned already. Surely I was never meant for the rough-and-tumble of the swim; not impossibly I perished at the outset and have only imaged the night-sea journey from some final deep. In any case, I'm no longer young, and it is we spent old swimmers, disabused of every illusion, who are most vulnerable to dreams.
"Sometimes I think I am my drowned friend.
"Out with it: I've begun to believe, not only that She exists, but that She lies not far ahead, and stills the sea, and draws me Herward! Aghast, I recollect his maddest notion: that our destination (which existed, mind, in but one night-sea out of hundreds and thousands) was no Shore, as commonly conceived, but a mysterious being, indescribable except by paradox and vaguest figure: wholly different from us swimmers, yet our complement; the death of us, yet our salvation and resurrection; simultaneously our journey's end, mid-point, and commencement; not membered and thrashing like us, but a motionless or hugely gliding sphere of unimaginable dimentsion; self-contained, yet dependent absolutely, in some wise, upon the chance (always monstrously improbable) that one of us will survive the night-sea journey and reach...Her! Her, he called it, or She, which is to say, Other-than-a-he. I shake my head; the thing is too preposterous; it is myself I talk to, to keep my reason in this awful darkness. There is no She! There is no You! I rave to myself; it's Death alone that hears and summons. To the drowned, all seas are calm....
"Listen: my friend maintained that in every order of creation there are two sorts of creators, contrary yet complementary, one of which gives rise to seas and swimmers, the other to the Night-which-contains-the-sea and to What-waits-at-the-journey's-end: the former, in short, to destiny, the latter to destination (and both profligately, involuntarily, perhaps indifferently or unwittingly). The 'purpose' of the night-sea journey- but not necessarily of the journeyer or of either Maker! -my friend could describe only in abstractions: consummation, transfiguration, union of cantraries, trancension of categories. When we laughed, he would shrug and admit that he understood the business no better than we, and thought it ridiculous, dreary, possibly obscene. 'But one of you,' he'd add with his wry smile, 'may be the Hero destined to complete the night-sea journey and be one with Her. Chances are, of course, you won't make it' He himself, he declared, was not even going to try; the whole idea repelled him; if we chose to dismiss it as an ugly fiction, so much the better for us; thrash, splash, and be merry, we were soon enough drowned. But there it was, he could not say how he knew or why he bothered to tell us, any more than he could say what would happen after She and Hero, Shore and Swimmer, 'merged identities' to become something both and neither. He quite agreed with me that if the issue of that magical union had no memory of the night-sea journey, for example, it enjoyed a poor sort of immortality; even poorer if, as he rather imagined, a swimmer-hero plus a She equaled or became merely another Maker of future night-seas and the rest, at such incredible expense of life. This being the case- he was persuaded it was- the merciful thing to do was refuse to participate; the genuine heroes, in his opinion, were the suicides, and the hero of heroes would be the swimmer who, in the very presence of the Other, refused Her proffered 'immortality' and thus put an end to at least one cycle of catastrophes.
"How we mocked him! Our moment came, we hurtled forth, pretending to glory in the adventure, thrashing, singing, cursing, strangling, rationalizing, rescuing, killing, inventing rules and stories and relationships, giving up, struggling on, but dying all, and still in darkness, until only a battered remnant was left to croak 'Onward, upward,' like a bitter echo. Then they too fell silent- victims, I can only presume, of the last frightful wave- and the moment came when I also, utterly desolate and spent, thrashed my last and gave myself over to the current, to sink or float as might be, but swim no more. Whereupon, marvelous to tell, in an instant the sea grew still! Then warmly, gently, the great tide turned, began to bear me, as it does now, onward and upward will-I nill-I, like a flood of joy- and I recalled with dismay my dead friend's teaching.
"I am not deceived. This new emotion is Her doing; the desire that possesses me is Her bewitchment. Lucidity passes from me; in a moment I'll cry 'Love!' bury myself in Her side, and be 'transfigured.' Which is to say, I die already; this fellow transported by passion is not I; I am he who abjures and rejects the night-sea journey! I....
"I am all love. 'Come!' She whispers, and I have no will.
"You who I may be about to become, whatever You are: with the last twitch of my real self I beg You to listen. It is not love that sustains me! No; though Her magic makes me burn to sing the contrary, and though I drown even now for the blasphemy, I will say truth. What has fetched me across this dreadful sea is a single hope, gift of my poor dead comrade: that You may be stronger-willed than I, and that by sheer force of concentration I may transmit to You, along with Your official Heritage, a private legacy of awful recollection and negative resolve. Mad as it may be, my dream is that some unimaginable embodiment of myself (or myself plus Her if that's how it must be) will come to find itself expressing, in however garbled or radical a translation, some reflection of these reflections. If against all odds this comes to pass, may You to whom, through whom I speak, do what I cannot: terminate this aimless, brutal business! Stop Your hearing against Her song! Hate love!
"Still alive, afloat, afire. Farewell then my penultimate hope: that one may be sunk for direst blasphemy on the very shore of the Shore. Can it be (my old friend would smile) that only utterest nay-sayers survive the night? But even that were Sense, and there is no sense, only senseless love, senseless death. Whoever echoes these reflections: be more courageous than their author! An end to night-sea journeys! Make no more! And forswear me when I shall forswear myself, deny myself, plunge into Her who summons, singing...
"'Love! Love! Love!'"



I'm glad that many people enjoyed THE COMPLETE DION & THE WANDERERS that I posted a while ago. I got some enthusiast feddback. I also had one message from a completist who told me that my post was slightly incorrectly titled, as that set was not quite complete.
Indeed, one more single was issued as DION & THE WANDERERS. I had not included it in this last post, cos it's from a different session (held on March 2nd, 1966) and, unlike the other twelve tracks, was not produced by TOM WILSON but by Dion's usual producer for Columbia Records, Robert Mersey.
But they're still a part of the DION & THE WANDERERS canon, so they should be here. Consider these songs bonus tracks.
"So Much Younger" is the b-side, a very rare nugget, as Dylanesque as it gets, and "Two Ton Feather" is a drum-heavy remake of a song Dion had already cut with Tom Wilson (for the record, there are at least two more versions of this song, one more shuffly named "Drop Down Baby", recorded during Dion's blues period, and a poppier version recorded in 1967 with the Belmonts, named "Jump Back Baby").


And as a bonus bonus, here is a video of DION & THE WANDERERS on television, miming a song the Wanderers don't actually play on, 1963 hit RUBY BABY. (Note that the youtube vid is misdated, the song is from 1963, but the video itself was shot in 1965).
Oh, by the way, since my last post in which I mentionned the LP-only official Dion album WONDER WHERE I'M BOUND, the great reissue label Now Sounds has issued it on CD for the first time. If you like this music, can afford it, and still buy CDs, please encourage their archival work and GET YOUR COPY.



So in all this time, and in spite of the sad and untimely death of the great blog new-beat.be, I've discovered quite a lot of NEW BEAT. Lately I've been touring again and had the pleasure to come back to Brussels, where I went straight to the cheapo bins, where all the forgotten new-beat 12" patiently wait for someone like me, someone who still cares about them. I came out with an awesome comp called NEW BEAT TAKE TWO which featured as a bonus a song that is neither new beat nor Belgium, plus it predates new-beat era by a good ten years, but it's great and sortof rare on vinyl, so I'm really glad I got it: MAX BERLIN's ELLE ET MOI!
Lots of greatness on this comp, many discoveries among classics by KINGS OF AGREPPO , EXPLORERS OF THE NILE, or PUBLIC RELATIONS... and then, one of the most succesfull hits of the genre knocked me off my socks like it does every time I play it... Yes, no matter how much I search, I will always come back to CONFETTI'S' THE SOUND OF C.



Twelve years on and this is still the mind-blowingest shit I've ever watched.



So I played a gig in Bucarest this weekend, in a big ass place that used to be Ceauşescu's palace (pictured up here). Romanian people are really nice, their food is really heavy, DAN DEACON was headlining and entertained the shit out of everybody, and thanks to the runners who picked me up at the airport and were playing a CD in the car, I got to discover a sample of the local electronic scene. The compilation they were spinning was put together by Romanian bloggers called FRESH GOOD MINIMAL. The highlight of their comp was a dude called BOGDAN. Enjoy.



So last night I got home at 11 after a radio interview, microwaved a TV dinner, and went straight to bed. I turned on the TV with the unrealistic hope that something interesting might be on. And I got lucky: a movie had just begun, a movie everybody else but me had already seen, JOHN CARPENTER's CHRISTINE.
What a great flick. it slipped right up in my Top 5 Carpenter movies, alongside The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness, and, er, two others.
Beautiful car, excellent performance by Keith Gordon (whatever became of him?), brilliant direction, and of course, the music... THE MUSIC.



Since neither Sundazed nor Columbia came up with the idea of releasing this set officially, I had to go and do it myself.


A little history:
Dion DiMucci is one of the few enduring stars of the doo-wop era. A hitmaker with THE BELMONTS in the late 50s, he remained a hitmaker as a solo act in the early 60s. He then became the first rock'n roll singer to sign with Columbia Records, and the hits kept coming.
And then, out of the blue, he changed direction and started cutting some gritty blues covers. Columbia didn't follow him down that road, and they only released a handfull of sides, when they had more than enough material for a whole album.
He changed direction again and decided to play folk-pop. He wrote some songs, chose some good covers, his friend BOB DYLAN gave him a couple of tunes, and he put together a band, which he named THE WANDERERS.
They went into the studio with genius producer TOM WILSON. Wilson had worked with Coltrane, Sun Ra, Dylan... and would later produce The Velvet Underground, The Mothers of Invention, Soft Machine... In my book, if he's not the best record producer ever, he's second only to PHIL SPECTOR (incidentally, Dion worked with both).
There were exactly two sessions, on September 20th and October 4th of 1965.
The twelve songs they recorded all showcase superior, unique genius. Dion is at the top of his game both on vocals and on guitar, his songwriting is diamond perfect, his band is loose just the way I like it, that Tom Wilson sound is unmistakable, this is better than perfection, this is heaven.
Yet, for some mysterious reason I cannot and will never understand, Columbia shelved the whole thing. They released a couple of 7" and left everything else in the vaults.
Dion at this time was addicted to heroin, too weak to fight back. Instead, he bought himself out of his contract, cut a remarkable reunion album with The Belmonts for ABC Records, and then went back to his old label, Laurie Records. For Laurie, he went full-fledged folk, and his first folk single, ABRAHAM, MARTIN AND JOHN went top five. Dion was back. So Columbia decided to release an LP with some of the songs they'd been sitting on.
Released in 1968, WONDER WHERE I'M BOUND contains five songs from these sessions, four from his previous blues period, and one doowop from 1963. Although it's a great collection of songs, it's also an incoherent mess. Plus, in 1968, folk-pop was smelling funny, and the album flopped.
Here's what they should have released:

1- I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound
2- Now
3- Knowing I Won't Go Back There
4- Tomorrow Won't Bring The Rain
5- You Move Me Babe
6- Farewell
7- All I Want To Do Is Live My Life
8- My Love
9- Two Ton Feather
10- Time In My Heart For You
11- Baby I'm In The Mood For You
12- Wake Up Baby

I'm convinced that, had this set been released as an album in 1965, it would be considered a classic.

If you are as obsessed as I am, you might wanna know who plays on these tracks. You can see them on this picture.
CARLO MASTRANGELO plays the drums. He was already in The Belmonts.
PETE FALCIGLIA plays the bass. Also an Italian-American from the Bronx, he cut a couple of sides as a lead singer with The Belmonts for Sabina Records, after they'd split with Dion.
JOHNNY FALBO is a session man, a great guitar player.
Not on the picture, AL KOOPER needs no introduction, he's an extraordinaire session man and a great singer-songwriter in his own right. He plays the piano and the organ on these tracks, as anyone with ears could tell.

So there you have it, an album that never was, a missing link in the history of American music. I hope you enjoy it as much as I constantly have for many months.



So after seventeen years, six albums - including two classics, three really good ones, and let's pretend the last one didn't happen - and about twenty brilliant singles, SUPERGRASS have decided to split.
I am sad, as they were important to me in my teens, and therefore will remain important to me forever. I am glad, though, that they decided to play their farewell gig in Paris, France, where they've always had a loyal, loving fanbase. I'll be there for sure. WILL YOU?

Here's a selection of rarities. Well, they were once rarities, now they're all on youtube:

A song I played a thousand times in 1995, long before I found out it was actually A KENNY ROGERS COVER.

My favorite deep cut, the CLOSING TRACK FROM IN IT FOR THE MONEY, and its OUTTAKE, their (failed) attempt at beatboxing wihout laughing.

Their FEATURING ON DR JOHN's ANUTHA ZONE, an attempt at going back to that Gris-Gris sound, with Wurlitzer work pointing the way to MARY, the best single on their third album.



If you say LUCIO BATTISTI, most people will answer, "Ah, ANCORRA TU".
Sorry, but as much as many would like to see Italian singers as pleasant in a cheesy, almost ironic way, most of Lucio's songs actually display genius melodies and arrangements, sometimes psychedelic, and more often than not, genuinely enjoyable without nudging and winking. Case in point: NON E FRANCESCA. A great song to begin with, with a magical coda that elevates it to masterpiece status.



Before Kraftwerk, before Manuel Göttsching, before Giorgio, before just about everybody really, there was PIERO PICCIONI.
I usually don't trust Library LPs collectors. Traditionally they are sort of weird and they have an annoying tendency to overrate their records based on how rare they are more than on how they sound.
But ADD (N) TO (X)'s BARRY SEVEN is an exception. His two long-out-of-print European library compilations (one focused on France, the other on Italy) are amazing from start to end.
I don't know what this music was used for (if at all), but I know it was recorded in 1970, and it sounds about 20+ years ahead of its time.



What if somebody told you there was a camera rolling in the studio while one of your favorite album was being cut? Would you completely freak out?
Well, now you know how I feel.
Lo and behold, here's 40 minutes, yes FORTY FUCKING MINUTES of LIKE FLIES ON SHERBERT sessions:

Alex Chilton -Like Flies on Sherbert Session from Greg Spradlin on Vimeo.



Okay let's go a thousand miles away from SISTERS LOVERS, ALEX CHILTON and all things depressing.

EL GUINCHO is my favorite musician that ever came out of the Canary Island - and I've heard so many of them. His album ALEGRANZA was released two summers ago and it still fills me with joy just as much as the first time I heard it.
And like other sample-heavy albums that educated me when I was younger (finding the songs sampled by, say, De La Soul or the Beastie Boys made me discover so much good music I otherwise wouldn't have known of), it allowed me to find these two pieces of great exotic music, sampled respectively in the two opening cuts of his album, PALMITOS PARK and ANTILLAS.
Both these songs are magnficent.

The first one is an early-60s Cuban doo-wop, Y SABES BIEN by LOS ZAFIROS apparently a huge band and a huge hit in their native island, I must admit I had never heard of them.

The second one, surprisingly, is not a Zouk from les Antilles like the title of EL GUINCHO's tune suggests, it is actually a Kenyan duet called ORIANGO & KIPCHAMBA, and the song is called PELINA. Courtesy of AWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICA.



For two days I couldn't listen to SISTERS LOVERS...
Now I can't listen to anything else.



So I'm sitting here devastated by the news of ALEX CHILTON's death.

Here is a mixtape showcasing FIFTEEN YEARS OF GENIUS, including originals and demented covers, songs he sang and songs he produced, classics and lesser-known-of or rare songs.
We purposely excluded songs from the mighty depressing SISTERS LOVERS, because it's hard enough as it is.
However, there is over half of the 1975 sessions that were later released as BACH'S BOTTOM because it's fucking great.


1- THE BOX TOPS : Neon Rainbow (1967)
2- THE BOX TOPS : I Shall be Released (1969)
3- ALEX CHILTON : The EMI Song (Smile For Me) (1970)
4- BIG STAR : Thirteen (1972)
5- BIG STAR : O My Soul
6- BIG STAR : Morpha Too (1973)
7- SCOTT ADAMS : Mojo Man (1974)
8- ALEX CHILTON : Walking Dead
9- ALEX CHILTON : Take me home and make me like it!
10- ALEX CHILTON : Every time I close my eyes
11- ALEX CHILTON : All of the time
12- ALEX CHILTON : Oh Baby I'm Free
13- ALEX CHILTON : Jesus Christ (1975)
14- ALEX CHILTON : Bangkok
15- ALEX CHILTON : Can't seem to make you mine (1977)
16- ALEX CHILTON : Boogie Shoes
17- ALEX CHILTON : Hey! Little Child
18- ALEX CHILTON : Hook or Crook (1979)
19- THE CRAMPS : Garbage Man (1980)
20- ALEX CHILTON : No More the Moon Shines on Lorena (live) (1982)

And here's a few Youtubes:

Alex, age 16, singing THE LETTER on TV, not able to keep a straight face.

With Big Star in the studio, cutting #1 RECORD in 1971.

On MTV in 1985, playing a coupla BOX TOPS HITS on his acoustic guitar.

And of course the ultimate tribute, ALEX CHILTON, the song, by The Replacements.


We are actually crying right now.
Mixtape coming very soon.


Lately, I've been doing a lot of XTC.
They have so many great songs to choose from.

My favorite right now is BEATING OF HEARTS because it sounds so modern (but I suppose it may say more about today's production values than about the song itself).

My favorite album is of course 25 O'CLOCK, the one they made under the alias DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR, pretending it was actually the reissue of a forgotten psych album from the 60s.

I always will have a soft spot for SCARECROW PEOPLE, for it's the first XTC song I ever heard, when I was 10.

But when it comes to lyrics, I'D LIKE THAT is a major acheievement, containing the best metaphor used in song lyrics since DEWEY COX'S MID-60s PERIOD :

We could grow high, really high
Like a really high thing

If that ain't deep poetry, I don't know what is.



Catchy bassline + sensational vocal arrangement + fantastic lyrics + a beat you could dance to + LSD video = THE BEST SONG IN THE WORLD.



It's a sad day when a drummer gets thrown out of his own gig for smoking a fag on stage. But it's also fun to watch.


FAB FIVE FREDDY was not only part of the best show ever in the history of television (no, not YO! MTV RAPS but of course TV PARTY), he is not only many other things that he is, but for us French people he is also important for being instrumental in the birth of French hip-hop. Mais c'est UNE AUTRE HISTOIRE.



I never really liked BOB MARLEY. He never did anything for me. Sure, I like the odd track, like some EARLY 60s SOUL SINGLES, or some of the ORIGINAL SCRATCH-MIXED VERSIONS of what would become Catch a Fire, but that's just about it. In my mind, he was neither the best songwriter nor the best singer to come from this small island where it seems every other person is madly talented.
Plus, it's hard to like a guy who's worshipped by every braindead dreadlocks-sporting White-ass loser.
And then the other night, my friend MOGADISHOW played me this live album called TALKIN BLUES. Now I remember hearing that title a thousand times, back in high school where every kid was a Marley fan, and around the time it was originally released, but I never bothered to listen to it since I don't like Marley. But man I was in for a shock. This album is a live session recorded hastily for the radio. It seems that Marley's voice is close to being broken, and for my money he never sang better than here. THE WAILERS also play with a feeling of urgency that was never captured on a studio album. And now I have to admit it: I do like Bob Marley after all. I used to think I was original, I had to BURN ALL MY ILLUSIONS.



Something's been bothering me lately: why would anybody waste their precious time listening to an American band trying to sound like South-Africans, when they could spend this time doing something much more rewarding, like listening to Afrikaners trying to rap like Americans - like MY NEW FAVORITE BAND?



DALE HAWKINS died yesterday.
He was a rock'n roll legend.
He laid the groundwork that CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL and to some extent NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE would develop upon.



Sure Ennio is #1, but that doesn't mean the other Italian soundtrack composers should be forgotten. Praised be Piero Umiliani, Armando Trovaioli, Piero Piccioni, and...



Some people say ZZ TOP jumped the shark when they came up with the idea of blending MIDI-track and sequencers with their usual boogie. Fuck that!
Sure, in retrospect, now that we know they'd turn out to sell millions, one could see this move as selling out. But think about it: had that kind of rock (digital Southern rock) ever been tried before - or since for that matter? Wasn't that a bold move, one that requires major TexMex cojones? I say that was a highly original idea, completely groundbreaking, and the resulting album, ELIMINATOR, is easily one of the best albums of the eighties. So if someone comes a hatin' on the Top, THROW EM IN AND WAVE EM.



Let's go BACK TO MONO WITH THE STEREOS. I would like to thank my friend GEORGE for introducing me to this great feelgood stomper.



PIERRE VASSILIU is one of the severely underrated French singer-songwriters from the 70s, in spite of having opened for the BEATLES in Paris, of being signed on the major French label Barclay, and of having one big hit, QUI C'EST CELUI-LA ? (with AN AWESOME B-SIDE NAMED "FILM") - 1972. Yet, between 70 and 78, he released a row of five of the most gorgeous, tender, poetic albums – not to mention ONE GREAT ORPHAN SINGLE - 1974.
After collecting those for a while, just when I thought I had it all (including a rare album of French bossa-nova recorded as LES MASQUES and featuring EDU LOBO - 1969), I checked whether there was truth in the legend according to which he was singing on the French version of Disney's Robin Hood - 1973. And guess what, it is TRUE and TRUE.



WILLIE MITCHELL is the first genius who died in 2010. Sadly, we're sure many will follow. WILLIE was one of the greatest architects of sound. Nobody else could get that signature drum sound (spiky hi hat, dry and fat snare) which is still imitated to this day. He shaped the sound of ANN PEEBLES, SYL JOHNSON, and of course AL GREEN (including the Reverend's very recent -and pretty good- albums). Without his productions to sample, the WU-TANG CLAN would also have sounded very different. He also released some instrumental albums, including THIS CLASSIC COVER OF A YOUNG RASCALS TUNE.