Wed 12 Aug 2009
New old sounds
Normally EMJ is dedicated to posting on new music, admittedly we do trip back in time a bit every now and then, but after some extensive browsing today I found so many great old gems I’d never heard/heard of before I thought it’d be interesting to share some with my fellow music lovers. Admittedly most of these were found on the eternally amazing WFMU’s website, from one of their DJ’s compilations posted in 2006, called Obey The New Wave: 1980 and all that– UK DIY, etc. I highly recommend you download all of the tracks here, however this is a selection of my favourites, along with some other gems I found today. Exposing some throbbing veins of glistening ’80s dance pop, thumping weirdo rock, ocassional abstract disco electronica but mostly amazing DIY indie dub/post punk, these songs highlight how it’s important to remember to acknowledge the past and how it shapes music from today and the future. I hope you find this music interesting, entertaining and enlightening, as I do.
Arabian Prince is ex-NWA rapper Mik Lezan from Compton, California. His band was best known for such aggressive and archetypal rap classics as ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and ‘Fuck The Police’. Yet Lezan’s solo work under the guise of Arabian Prince is a fresh, meaty ensemble of ’80s droning disco electro, awash with blatant sea-sounds, clap-track-esque drums and glistening OTT organs. The interludes’ overly produced drum track and the staunch, simple rapping are highlights. This song, off his 1990 cassette Situation Hot, has a fun, rollicking retro sound in the vein of Afrika Bambaataa or Grand Master Flash, and is instantly catchy.
A sweet, synthy scopey song from French New Wave group Ruth features kooky girl vocals interchanging with stroppy boy vocals while tinkling arpeggios and trumpet cascade over the bouncy rhythm section. Thiery Müller, Phillippe Doray and Ruth Ellyeri only released one album as Ruth, under the same name as the track below, but they left an indelible mark on French New Wave with their sophisticated, glitzy dream pop sound. Müller is still releasing material under the name Ilitch, and collaborates with a number of musicians and groups, including Nicholas Littlemore of Teenager/Pnau/Empire of the Sun.
The Flying Lizards
A trippy, psychedelic segue into girl chant post punk riot electro, seething like hot trash on a sidewalk, bubbling with a ferocity and eventually sizzling out like a disintegrating solar system. The Flying Lizards exhibit exuberance in their galactic noise gallops, with sci-fi stereo sounds crashing in waves all around you. Seriously cool.
Extending on that psych-trip vibe, Fatal Microbes take the shouty girl vocals and add dolops of British angst and political misfortune in a lyrical sense, and swirling guitars with droopy bass sequentially smashed with percussion and an all-round ’60s beat vibe. Authentically wacked out and glam, ideas in spades, utterly thrilling to listen to. With a diction to match the 1-2-3 teaching intonation of Princess Chelsea.
Dum Dum Dum
With an offbeat vibe, existential malaise and trippy almost-dub bass fighting with raucaus guitar work and epicly layered vocals, Dum Dum Dum’s eponymous track reeks of super fun self-indulgence and a freaky nightmare. It’s short and sweet, bitterly cold and entirely awesome.
Banned from Radio 1, the song ‘Christine Keeler’ has a sweltering X-Ray Spex-like sax and boombastic rhythms coupled with Gang Of Four-like chanting and rhythmic vocals perpetuated by antsy percussion. Gl*xo Babies has an awesomely riveting, tight as fuck and catchy as hell sound. Originally called Glaxo Babies, they were forced to change their name to Gl*xo Babies by pharmaceutical giant Glaxo. The Bristol group disbanded in 1981 and members went off to join various other bands, notably Dan Catsis joined The Pop Group and later formed Maximum Joy with fellow Gl*xo Baby Charles Llewelyn. ‘Christine Keeler’ was their second 7″. Typical English punk skewed by a political bent and an offbeat aroma illustrated by thoughtful instrumentation makes ‘Christine Keeler’ a must-have if you have a penchant for tight post punk.
Echoey snare, gristly guitar and erratic, reverb-laden complaining vocals amidst a flurry of scuzz jazz horns and progressive riffs. A funky, freaky forray into exciting punk/jazz/puke/freak-out.
We. Are. All. Animals! Stuttery, epileptic Manchester punk, rubbery basslines bending and breaking at the end of every four bars, psychotic lyrics and mind melting bass all synched harmoniously together, this song psychs out and constantly changes and progresses. A stark, strong incredibly memorable song that instantly became one of my favourites before I was even done with my first listen.