Third Light Home, September/October

Sleevenotes: It’s been a while, the world hasn’t really got any better, but there are still records. Regular listeners — if anyone can remember that far back – will know I have a nerdish obsession with independent record labels: this broadcast is part one of a multiple-part road trip/odyssey through the world of coloured vinyl, limited cassettes, screen-printed and tip-on Stoughton jackets and all things related to the black stuff. Well, for now, I’m just playing the records from a featured bunch of labels I worked my way down the west coast of America talking to this summer. The book should be out in early 2019, published by Omnibus press. As I get closer to publication I’ll start adding some more salient detail to do with the actual book into the broadcasts – once I’ve, er, written it – but for now, it’s mainly just the music put out by the good folk at Mississippi, Sahel Sounds, Constellation Tatsu, Gnome Life, Superior Viaduct, Recital, Vin du Select Qualitite and Light in the Attic records (and one or two other bits and pieces early on). (And, in an attempt to keep the spirit of John Peel alive, when I say ‘Virginia Trance’ by Henry Flynt, I actually mean ‘Congo’ by Henry Flynt. Though, in truth, I meant to play the former.) The journey starts out in Portland with Mississippi Records.

Part two, back in London, hopefully will follow shortly. Thanks for listening: in the words of John Coltrane, ‘May there be peace and love and perfection throughout all creation.’

Third Light Home, December 2016, Sleevenotes

It’s hardly an original thought to note 2016 has been something of a dog of a year. Brexit, May, Farage, and now Trump. Where do these people come from? There’s always the music, though, and in 2016 that current has run as strong as ever under the bullshit of daily life. After my European ‘special’ here comes another melancholic post to reflect world events. I say ‘melancholic’, but the music of Americans Jeff Parker, Makaya McCraven, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, and even put upon old bluesman James Davis, seems full of joy. And here’s a fine video of America from another age, to accompany the track from Marisa Anderson’s new lp, Into the Light.

Marisa Anderson / Into the Light from JODI DARBY on Vimeo.

And here’s something perhaps a little more gloomy from Brooklyn resident Billy Gomberg.

 

There’s another track from Gomberg’s excellent lp, Slight at That Contact, featured in the show.

Still, it’s not all laughs and party tunes. Jason Molina’s cover version of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘I’ll Be Here in the Morning’ almost never fails to make my eyes water (there’s an unbelievable 37 copies of this ‘limited’ 7″ single for sale on Discogs – don’t buy it, stick it to the Record Store Day profiteers and just listen to it here); and F.J. McMahon’s 1969 track ‘The Spirit of the Golden Juice’ (culled from the fine Numero Uno compilation of lost recordings, Cosmic American Music) was recorded in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Ah well, thanks for listening and happy Christmas.

 

Third Light Home, August 2016

I’ve got no wish to add to the hundreds of thousands of words written about the EU referendum. We’ve heard more than enough about the self-serving politicians who got us into this mess. I just thought I’d let the music do the talking and produce an entirely European-based show for Little Englanders everywhere. Hopefully Brexit voters can listen to it on repeat while stuck in a six-hour traffic jam on the M20 outside Dover. For enlightened Seeks Music listeners the world over: please don’t think we’ve all got St George’s flags attached to the fishing rods of our garden gnomes. Fantastic record labels like Rune Grammofon, Clean Feed and Sonic Pieces (from Oslo, Lisbon and Berlin respectively) will forever be a feature of this show. I love egg and chips, the tea and the rain, a good curry, the seaside and fourth division football grounds as much as I love Tubby Hayes, the Tindersticks, Disco Inferno and Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou . . . I just hate small-mindedness and right-wing zealots. One Love, Third Light Home, east London.

Third Light Home new show, February 16

There’s a paragraph early on in David Stubbs’ fine tome, Future Days, Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany, where he points out that Krautrock isn’t about strong vocal performances. Seventies German music was far more about ‘texture than text,’ he writes. ’The inadequacies of Ralph Hutter’s vocals are not an inadequacy of Kraftwerk, but one of the group’s key defining factors. Had Tangerine Dream featured a Jon Anderson-type vocalist, it would have undermined one of the strong implications of their early work — that the cosmos is awesome and that, for all the ego and subjectivity of humans, it is indifferent to us. It’s not all about us.’ He goes on to point out that Germany (and the world) had already had enough of one impassioned vocal performance, one set of ‘fanatical dreams and loathsome prejudices’ imposed upon everyone. In terms of music, it’s why I’ve always struggled with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and the rest — it’s just too much, I can’t breathe in here. Far better, as Alice Coltrane once pointed out, to remember we’re all nothing but grains of sands on the infinite beach of the universe — give me the aerated motorik pulse of Neu!, the windmilling drums of Cul de Sac, the simple understated beauty of Joan Shelley and Josephine Foster any day. You can hear the rumbling enormity of the cosmos (as well as the horrors of the twentieth century) in the tape work of Else Marie Pade; and I’m sure even David Bowie, who seemed to age with great dignity, came round to such a humble point of view in the end. (All are featured in the programme.)

But enough of that heaviness. Here’s Vic Mars’ video for a track from his new lp, The Land and the Garden

I was also pleased to read in Future Days that Neu! were apparently good footballers. I saw an excellent Michael Rother gig (thanks, Kevin & Rudi), appropriately enough, in a kind of nightclub/gig venue underneath Stamford Bridge this month. Roman Abramovich’s millions have at least been put to some good use in installing an excellent soundsystem (in a club that feels like a smaller, spruced up version of Rock City in Nottingham). It felt like seeing Neu! live, and I imagine Rother was a skilful, diminutive but tough attacking midfielder, sort of Luka Modric and Alan Ball rolled into one. With the exceptions of New Order, Pat Nevin and John Peel, the intertwined history of football and music is not generally a happy one . . . but then there was Half Man, Half Biscuit, and, in recent times, Derek Hammond of Yeah Yeah No has produced a fine series of books detailing lost aspects of football culture . . . and now, in flagrant contradiction of the sentiment in the opening paragraph above, please indulge us in a second of internet self-promotion, and don’t delay in placing your orders with all good newsagents and booksellers (or here) for The Heyday of the Football Annual, myself and Doug Cheeseman’s humble offering in the overcrowded retro-football marketplace. Features folk troubadour, Bert Jansch fan and Birmingham City midfielder Trevor Hockey, Honor Blackman’s thoughts on life at Craven Cottage, Liverpool’s Billy Liddell playing electric guitar, Glasgow Rangers’ squad ‘swinging the Clyde blues’, and much more. (Original hardback, annual-size printing, disappearing fast.)

ps, both Josephine Foster and Joan Shelley are in the UK on tour this month.

The Antiswarm’s Top 10 Lists of 2015

So it’s been a slow year for the Antiswarm with only 2 shows posted, but in these days of sensory overload I feel quality not quantity needs to win the race. Having said that I promise to do better next year! So to try and redress the balance (a bit) here are my top 10 tracks and albums of 2015. Before I started my faulty memory told me  it had been a fairly quiet year compared to the last few music wise but I was pleasantly surprised by my trawl through Spotify and iTunes. And so, here are the fruits of me meticulously poring over this year’s musical landscape so you don’t have to. Any additions, corrections or just general chat are welcome at antiswarmjim@gmail.com and you can follow me at TheAntiswarm on Twitter. Perhaps I’ll get the hang of Instagram next year. Who knows eh?

 

Top 10 Tracks (in no particular order)

1. Boil Yer Blood – Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind

Last year Jim dissolved the Jim Jones Review saying that the Rock n’ roll thing had run it’s course. He’s now persuing a more mysterious vibe with the Righteous Mind and with a new album coming in 2016 Boil Yer Blood was the first taster for his ravenous fans. It did not disappoint!

2. Lung – Blanck Mass

3. The Great Confuso Pts I,II and III – Blanck Mass

Having given us the fantastic Big Dumb Flesh album in May,  Benjamin John Power in his Blanck Mass guise rounds the year off nicely with the Great Confuso EP. Part II is a little bit too crazy for me but is bookended by 2 of the best bits of music I’ve heard all year. Truly an artist maturing with every release.

4. Everything is in Colour – Cherushii

Joyously random find on Youtube. From Stockholm I think and the standout track from the ‘Memory of Water’ Album. Perfect 90s style ambience

5.  Silverlake – Eagles of Death Metal

My wife and I were at the London gig with these guys a week before all the insanity in Paris took place. The band and crew are such lovely people and our hearts go out to them and all the fans involved. We hope to see them back in the UK soon and that they will be remembered for the right reasons not just because of the shootings. This was the best track on their latest album ‘Zipper Down’.

6. Sticky Hulks - Thee Ohs Sees

This track just blows my mind constantly….on  a loop….constantly…..on a loop….seriously……listen to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7. Hogre – Evight Morker

One of the many great tracks on the Prins Thomas triple mix pack ‘Paradise Goulash’ (awesome name). Very crisp electronica. Good in the morning I find.

8.  Daffodils (feat. Kevin Parker) – Mark Ronson

I’ve had a soft spot for Mark Ronson for a long time. I was gutted when the second single ‘Feel Right’ (way better than Uptown Funk in my opinion) was too filthy to play at home in front of my 9 year old but at the same time I like the fact that he didn’t clean it up. Daffodils is amazing and it features Kevin Parker from Tame Impala so I basically can’t lose. This opened up my DJ sets for most of the summer. Check out this live version with a cheeky Riders on the Storm bassline and some seriously eccentic lead guitar antics!

9. Gosh – Jamie XX

The end of this sounds so much like Belfast by Orbital that I was immediately transported to a rave in 1992. So much good old school house being produced at the moment. If you like this sort of stuff check out Tuff City Kids and Paul Woolford’s Special Request project.

10. It’s Just (House Of Dupree) – Leon Vynhall

Again just amazing house music with a really weird intro.

 

 

Top 10 Albums (in no particular order)

1. Sour Soul – Ghostface Killah and Badbadnotgood

For me Ghostface is one of the greatest rappers ever. He tells a story like no other and the marriage of his vocals and Jazz trio Badbadnotgood’s backing tracks is unique in my opinion. It’s like listening to Rakim spit over the Superfly soundtrack only better. It also features Antiswarm favourite Doom and has some incredible instrumental tracks as well. Killah!

2. Pattern of Excel – Lee Bannon

Not so much an album as a bunch of interesting soundscapes that morphs into something vaguely coherent. It’s a real grower so give it time and it will reward you.

3. El Reino Invisible – Leandro Fresco

I like listening to this in the morning as it’s very atmospheric and chilled. Kompakt released this and the quality of their output is always top notch. A close second on this label would be the Kolsch ’1983′ album. The Germans stayed strong this year.

4. Undertow – Drenge

A bit of QOTSA, a bit of Ian Brown and something quite unique makes this a really enjoyable album plus they have a great drummer. I need to see them live!

5. Currents – Tame Impala

Undeniably good. Also a great video to boot.

6. Mutilator Defeated At Last – Thee Oh Sees

Took a while to grow on me but this is on par with the last 2 albums in terms of quality i.e. excellent. They straddle a sort of proggy, garage, indie style I’ve never heard anywhere else and live they are a demented gonzo affair with 2 drummers. Very, very good!

7. A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Pt 4 Wizards of Oz – Amorphous Androgynous

Long after the Antiswarm was knitting together the psychedelic strands twitching over the horizon from Australia, the Amorphous Androgynous give us an in depth look at the OZ scene both new and old. If you’ve never heard the Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble comps you are in for a treat and this edition doesn’t disappoint.

8. Contrepoint – Nicholas Godin

Ok so an album inspired by Bach played by an enigmatic Parisian dandy might sound pretentious. It is, but it’s also great and reminds me how much I miss Air in their heyday.

9. Kingsman OST – Henry Jackman

Childish but it makes me feel like I’m a spy on my way to work! Henry Jackson turns in a brilliant fusion of dark electronica and orchestral pieces in his score for a film that along side The Men from Uncle hopefully paves the way for more playful spy/adventure films. Hans Zimmer take note.

10. In Colour – Jamie XX

It’s weird for me to see other end of year lists and agree with them but Jamie XX and Tame Impala have made the sort of albums this year it would be churlish to deny. There’s one duff track in the middle. Delete it is my advice. Here’s the brilliant Special Request remix of ‘Loud Places’. Enjoy!