Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Ex ‎– "Too Many Cowboys" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 25) 1987



Dunno about Too Many Cowboys for a title? How about Too Many Tracks?
Nothing particularly ground breaking, music wise on this long collection of live and studio cuts, from Ex Van Crass. It sounds like The Ex gave a pretty highly charged Live performance,which is probably where they are the most relevant; otherwise its just standard,and very dated ,mid-eighties protest punk. Time hasn't been as kind to this sort of soapbox punk,but it stubbornly refuses to go away, unlike most of the other groups on the Ron Johnson roster, who nearly without exception broke up in or around 1988. But the music of the quirkier side of the labels output seems far fresher and relevant than The Ex's contributions;and it's The Ex who are still around today.No doubt sounding exactly the same, despite the members pushing sixty years of age.
This is no bad thing?

Tracklist:

1 Red & Black 5:47
2 White Shirts 3:53
3 Adversity 0:30
4 People Again 4:12
5 Knock 2:46
6 Hands Up, You're Free 3:06
7 Ignorance 2:54
8 Butter Or Bombs 4:11
9 Dumbo 3:18
10 How Can One Sell The Air 5:46
11 Business As Usual 5:56
12 Olympigs 4:19
13 Choice 2:58
14 A Job / Stupid 2:40
15 Oops 6:32
16 No Fear 5:04
17 Vivisection 1:19
18 A Piece Of Paper 6:37
19 They Shall Not Pass 3:28


Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Ex ‎– "1936, The Spanish Revolution" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 11) 1986



Apparently, this was one of the great loss makers for Ron Johnson Records......I quote Dave Parsons (Mr Ron Johnson)....."The Ex double-single was a fiasco of Rough Trade's making - they sold it at a price that was lower than the manufacturing cost and because it was reviewed as such amazing product for such amazing price felt that they couldn't put the price up - it sold 15000 copies and RJ lost £15000! Fantastic."

The Ex were a Dutch Crass basically, but had a little more imagination with their limited musical ability.
The soapbox nature of their political ideology, if it can be called an ideology, gets a tad tiresome, as does the endless bleating of Crass.
Personally if you follow any political dogma, and constantly bang on about it, you're as much an enemy as those pricks who feel a need to control other peoples lives.
For me Anarchy should be as politicianless, as much as leaderless; but as always there's always someone, some Human, who wants to be the leader, unopposed if necessary, to crush our collective spirit in a different, but the same, way.
The Ex, in my opinion, were not a Ron Johnson band,and like the Sewer Zombies later on,I cannot explain their appeal!?

Tracklist:

A1 They Shall Not Pass 3:47
A2 El Tren Blindado 3:06
B1 People Again 4:30
B2 Ay Carmela 3:13


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Stump - " The Complete Peel Sessions 1986-88" (a Die or DIY? Compilation)


Stump were exactly the kind of group that Peel would love. Quirky, over-clever, slightly irritating,and popular on the campus, primarily with the geekier end of the university chess club.
For some reason I can't remember Peel playing 'The Cardiacs' at all?....they tick all the Peel Band boxes twice over!?
Naturally, Stump did four sessions before they were drowned in infancy by the moozik biz......and here they are......:

Track Listing:

01 Kitchen Table [26-01-86]
02 Orgasm Way [26-01-86]
03 Grab Hands [26-01-86]
04 Buffalo [26-01-86]
05 Tupperware Stripper [24-06-86]
06 Big End [24-06-86]
07 Satisfaction [24-06-86]
08 Bit-Part Actor [24-06-86]
09 Living it Down [13-01-87]
10 Eager Bereaver [13-01-87]
11 Alcohol [13-01-87]
12 Bone [13-01-87]
13 The Song's Remains [13-09-88]
14 Thelma [13-09-88]
15 Seven Sisters [13-09-88]
16 Straight And Narrow [13-09-88]

DOWNLOAD the remains of a once noble tree HERE!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Stump ‎– "Quirk Out" (Stuff Records ‎– STUF/U2) 1986



Then Stump mysteriously appeared in a high gloss sleeved mini-album on some unknown label called 'Stuff Records'. Obviously to anyone with half a brain cell, this label was a crass attempt by major label wankers Ensign to try and resemble an Independent set up so as not to alienate Stump's fan base......which it did. They even had it distributed by The Cartel, so a stealthy,but doomed, effort was indeed made.
The catalogue number was good anyway....Stuff U2!
The tunes are the usual tremolo heavy, herky jerky, slidey quirk out's that the group were synonymous with. The intensely irritating 'Buffalo' is included, along with a decent tune that could have been written by a person skilled in the art of classic songcraft, "Our Fathers".If there was a Beefheart equivalent to this tune, it would be from fan base losing "Blue Jeans and Moon Beams" rather than fan base rebuilding "Doc at the Radar Station"; and benefits greatly from a total lack of.... 'Quirk Out'! 

Tracklist:

A1 Tupperware Stripper
A2 Our Fathers
A3 Kitchen Table
B1 Buffalo
B2 Everything In Its Place
B3 Bit Part Actor


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Stump ‎– "Mud On A Colon EP" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 6) 1986

Peculiar London Based Anglo-Irish combo who sounded like Captain Beefheart's Magic Band fronted by Jimmy Cricket. Slightly annoying and 'clever clever'; these show-offs nearly made it as a chart band!?....They signed to a 'proper' record label and consequently were never heard of again.....the same old story. The fact that they were snapped up by one of the shitter 'proper' record labels (Ensign?!) couldn't have helped their prospects for lucrative longevity.
The original singer was none other than that irritating bloke from The Shrubs, Nick Hobbs, who was sacked for being 'too serious'!? Then he got replaced by the slightly less irritating Mick Lynch (who died earlier this year, RIP).
An EP is about all i can take in one sitting, so luckily Ron Johnson didn't inflict a full album on us...leave that to Ensign.
It didn't help that they used a fretless bass! One of thee most awful instruments ever devised, alongside the soprano sax, and the Yamaha DX-7.
Stump, as a whole, were a kind of hip novelty band, who one struggled to take seriously, even though they weren't at all funny(?)....maybe Nick Hobbs should have stayed on? 

Tracklist:

A1 Orgasm Way
A2 Ice The Levant
B1 Grab Hands
B2 55-0-55


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Twang! ‎– "Sharp" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON14) 1986


Here's another version of 'Sharp' by the very sharp and funky post punk disco combo Twang! One of their very few official releases from a very short career......other groups should learn by their example and split up, especially any group, or relations of, from 1990 onwards(except a few very rare exceptions of course).

Tracklist:

A Sharp
B Eight At A Time


Bonus track:
"Whats the Rub?" -from some free flexi disc what came with a magazine or something in 1986.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Twang! ‎– "Kick And Complain" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON22) 1987

Twang!'s razor sharp post punk funk gets the Ron Johnson treatment as it falls off the cliff into near total obscurity.
The choppy lead/rhythm guitars sit in the foreground of the mix, and slash through that absurdly massive gated snare drum nonsense that dominates the midfield, like a bacon slicer attacking a rabid  mousse aux chocolat!
The eighties fashion for creating drum sounds that suggest a Norwegian Icebreaker being dropped onto a Nazi submarine pen ruined a  lot of records dynamics; but this one manages to negate the claustrophobia by keeping the lead instruments sharp and free of those horrible early digital effects units.

Tracklist:

A1 Cut Candidate
A2 Cold Tongue Bulletin
B1 Sharp
B2 Every Home Should Have One


Monday, 20 March 2017

Twang! - "Peel Sessions 1986" (a Die or DIY? compilation)


Twang! were a mixture of Josef K, The Pop Group,and the kind of stuff that could get in the charts in the eighties, like Haircut 100 and Living In A Box.A kind of spiky post-punk speed funk, in the mould of Postcard Records,but with lashings of aggression.
Like The MacKenzies, they were rather under-represented on vinyl, releasing a single, an EP, and a twelve inch dance remix piece of desperate rubbish.
Again they were best represented by their two peel sessions from 1986.But with a spectacular lack of success they split up around the time of the Acid House phenomenon....like every other good band did.

Track Listing:

01 Eight at a Time(12-2-86)
02 Cold Tongue Bulletin(12-2-86)
03 Big Dry Out(12-2-86)
04 Law Suit Man(12-2-86)
05 What's The Rap_(29-12-86)
06 Every Home Should Have One(29-12-86)
07 This Is Intrusion(29-12-86)
08 Here's Lukewarm(29-12-86)

DOWNLOAD what every home should have HERE!

Mackenzies ‎– "A Sensual Assault 12" EP" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON15) 1986


When one purchases a MacKenzies record, one doesn't intend to purchase an Art Of Noise/Trevor Horn remix atrocity.......but thats what you get with this EP. Massive and extremely dated digital drum machine sounds, and stereo panned gated reverb nonsense. Almost the worst release on Ron Johnson, only bettered, or worsened, by The Sewer Zombies LP.
They weren't the only group on this label to fall into the eighties 'remix' trap. A Witness and Twang! bid it too......but not quite to this extent of awfulness.

Tracklist:

A1 Mealy Mouths
A2 Trouble
B1 Mealy Mouths (Radio Edit)
B2 Jim Jam


Saturday, 18 March 2017

MacKenzies ‎– "New Breed (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 9) 1986


Incredibly this is the only official release of the original MacKenzies style, before they lost interest and chased some disco cred with the follow up.The fact that they failed to see that they already made very danceable  tunes is nothing short of unbelievable and tragic.
The Indie/Dance crossover tracks they did after this solitary single, were far less danceable in my opinion,and incredibly dated and boring.
Ironically this single is far less dated and the very opposite of boring.....a classic.

Tracklist:

1 New Breed
2 Dogs Breakfast
3 bonus track from c-86 compilation - "Big Jim(There's No Pubs In Heaven)

Friday, 17 March 2017

The MacKenzies - "The Legendary Peel Sessions of 1986" (a Die or DIY? Compilation)


Whereas I was complaining that The Shrubs put too much on one record, The MacKenzies didn't put enough stuff on any recorded music format....until now!
Their entire vinyl output was an excellent 7" single, and a not so excellent 12" EP of naff  eighties dance remixes of 'Mealy Mouths'.
They did, however,record two Peel sessions before they broke up; the first of which was so admired by the venerable DJ that he repeated it a record seven times!?
A tragically under-recorded and long forgotten, late flowering of the Postcard sound was The MacKenzies. Fast choppy indie-funk, that made those pale young men just wanna dance,even without the aid of a fistful of disco biscuits.
The MacKenzies would fall victim of the ensuing 'dance' revolution,but not before releasing, a fine single,and one of the very rare 'shit' records on Ron Johnson. The Peel Sessions are the only place where this fine group's well-oiled machinery was ever captured in action.
The bastard offspring of the Fire Engines and Josef K,this group flickered into existence only briefly like a man made heavy element in a particle accelerator.Whose existence can only now be proved by mathematical theory as we wait for the next unstable creation to form.If they had stayed around like an inert gas,or The Fall,they would have been a cult element on the periodic table of pop. Like number 117, Ununhexium, or Uuh; which some lunatics believe is the basis of an anti-gravity system that could propel mankind deep into the cold heart of empty space,where only the most distant stars inhabit.....rather like the music star system.Its best to stay earthbound rather than reach for the stars only to find out that they harbor no life,and confirm that we are,after all, alone!
What I am saying is, that it's best to stop before one does something you're gonna be ashamed of artistically and personally.
If Dire Straits had stopped after their first single, we'd have thought that they were a pretty good group.....but no;and the rest is a tragic example of why one should bow out well before the crest of the wave starts to form.

Track Listing:

01 New Breed (10-2-86)
02 Man with No Reason (10-2-86)
03 Give Me Everything (10-2-86)
04 Gobstopper (10-2-86)
05 Milk (30-7-86)
06 Big Jim (30-7-86)
07 Mealy Mouths (30-7-86)
08 Jingle (30-7-86)

DOWNLOAD the legend HERE!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Shrubs - "Peel Sessions 1986/87" (a Die or DIY? compilation)


Surprise! Surprise! The Shrubs did some(2) Peel Sessions.
The usual complex skewed guitar interplay, rolling drums, and manic vocals; resulting in a glorious, abstract, art damaged collection of Shrubbery.
Congratulations to the BBC's Dale Griffin(RIP), who managed to blend the vocals further back in the mix to previous releases by the group.Obviously the Singer (Nick Hobbs) must normally have been in the control room asking for his vocals to be louder; as is a normal pastime for most musicians in the recording studio.
Rule number one for a producer is to never have musicians in the control room during the mixing process....they think that they're 'Artists'!?

Track Listing:

01 John Corpse [22-06-86]
02 Blackmailer[22-06-86]
03 Animal[22-06-86]
04 Assassin[22-06-86]
05 King Um [26-08-1987]
06 Papa Chaperon [26-08-1987]
07 Sullen Days Are Over [26-08-1987]
08 Bullfighter's Bones (Bonus C-86 track)

DOWNLOAD directly to your musical garden HERE!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Shrubs ‎– "Take Me Aside For A Midnight Harangue" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 23) 1987


What did I say about not allowing The Shrubs to do an LP?....this would have made three great EP's.
The Beefheart Influence looms large, leaning towards an amphetamine fueled Magic Band 'Shiny Beast" era. Morris-Teper rather than Horn Rollo; but whereas the good Captain took a break from the manic-ness  with the occasional poem,field recording, or calm instrumental. The Shrubs are in top gear for nigh on the full 13 Tracks, only ending with a calming Peon-esque instrumental.
However, the music is fantastic; the guitar interplay is worthy of The Magic Band itself, filtered through a very English psyche! There can be no higher compliment than that.

Tracklist:

A1 Mysterious Places 2:58
A2 Luke 2:20
A3 Fashion Show 3:33
A4 Middle Men 3:52
A5 Claykiln Mouth 3:35
A6 Blackmailer's Heartache 3:11
A7 Rivers Of Toads Flow Forever 3:24
B1 Sinister Missions 3:06
B2 John Corpse 3:57
B3 Hail Chauffeurs 4:28
B4 Serial Revelry 2:42
B5 Farmers 4:45
B6 Edith 4:04
B7 Albert Ross 0:54


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Shrubs ‎– "Blackmailer EP" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 17) 1986


Its spring again and the Shrubs are in bloom, nurtured from dormant seeds sown thirty years previously.
These particular Shrubs are a variety nourished by equal quantities of Trout Mask Replica and Pere Ubu, resulting in wiry green shoots tipped with bitter tasting but, nutritionally rewarding berries.
Side A's two seeds were germinated in This Heat's Cold Storage, under the auspices of Henry Cow and The Work's Tim Hodgkinson.
Side B's were re-potted from the BBC's John Peel Show, after being cultivated by the late Dale Griffin in june 1986.
Again, I reiterate, that these Shrubs' tendrils must be pruned back to EP length, as Album length tendrils can irritate due to the annoying sound of the Nick Hobbs warbler which likes to nest among these very leaves.
Thankfully, the leaves of the 'Blackmailer' variety are perfect for these Shrubs.

Tracklist:

A1 Blackmailer 1:59
A2 River Of Toads 2:36
B1 Assassin 2:27
B2 Animal 3:01


Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Shrubs ‎– "Full Steam Into The Brainstorm" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 10) 1986


Now, musically, The Shrubs were fine exponents of the Captain Beefheart dueling guitars in challenging time signatures method of composition.
But, unlike the Magic Band, they didn't have a singer to match the music.Former Henry Cow manager, Nick Hobbs had the microphone, and he irritates the fuck out of me! His over enthusiastic forced warbling outstays its welcome very quickly; as does his obvious desire to sound as weird and unusual as he thinks he is, which sounds as contrived as Don Van Vliet but without the artists sense of the Abstract that the late Beefheart obviously had.
Formerly called The Kevin Staples Band(despite not having anyone called Kevin Staples in the group!), they changed their name to the forgettable Shrubs'' moniker  before they released this debut EP on Ron Johnson Records. And, the 'EP' format definitely suits them, to limit the listeners exposure to the grossly annoying Nick Hobbs, File under annoying lead singers, alongside Steve "Shirley" Solomar of The Spherical Objects, and Alan Jenkins of The Deep Freeze Mice.

Tracklist:
A1 Carbreaker 3:38
A2 Dead Teachers 2:55
A3 Warm Sea 3:20
B1 Black Saloons 3:33
B2 The Dealer 4:42
B3 Bullfighter 3:45


Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Witness ‎– "I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors" (Vinyl Drip International ‎– SUK 10) 1989


For the completists out there,here's the contrived farewell single from A Witness, with a prime example of what crud was happening in music around the dark days of 'Madchester' stuck on the b-side. The 'art' of the remix had started,and they were nearly ALL shit, and a total rip off and/or cop out. I quite liked Vince Clarkes remix of  "Wrote For Luck" by the sub-moronic Crappy Mondays, but apart from that....shit.
On BBC 4 last night, i was gobsmacked to see listed an hour long documentary on ,so-called, 'Classic Albums', and couldn't believe it when the album in question, was the worst album of all time, "Screamadelica". Seeing the persons responsible for this crime against culture, talking deadly serious and pretentious nonsense about this terrible affront to civilization , as if it was up there with Beethoven's Ninth, or Michaelangelo's Sistene Chapel frescoes (before renovation);left me open mouthed in astonishment.... Fuck Me! Gillespie probably thinks he is Beethoven and Michaelangelo reincarnated.Come back in the form of the lank haired scottish poseur genius himself to punish us.
How they droned on about that fucking terrible "Loaded" Andy Wetherall remix, as if it was some kind of genius, was nothing short of sickening.I had to stop this self-torture and go and do something more intellectually stimulating, like have a shit!
Indeed, A Witness did one of these things on track three, that makes "Loaded" look like the act of genius Bobby Gillespie thinks it is, and the genius that he thinks he is.
Despite the contrived surrealism of the title track, and the dumb crapness of the remix; the version of the song that began modern pop music, "Tomorrow Never Knows", is a pretty decent attempt at a genuine classic, so 3/10 isn't too bad after all,or, after Weatherall.
A Witness fell off a cliff after this,as their guitarist and band leader Rick Aitkin literally did the same and died!

Tracklist:
A1 I Love You, Mr Disposable Razors
B1 Tomorrow Never Knows
B2 Razors Lifestyle Mix


Thursday, 9 March 2017

A Witness ‎– "I Am John's Pancreas" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 12) 1986


Atonal, Angular, Discordant, drum machine driven pop from Stockports finest alternative music combo........its a classic.....can't be arsed to write ought else.

Tracklist:

A1 Smelt Like A Pedestrian
A2 O'Grady's Dream
A3 Car Skidding
A4 Red Snake
A5 Dipping Bird
B1 Sharpened Sticks
B2 The Loudhailer Song
B3 Legs Be Sturdy
B4 4.49 Stool
B5 Hard Days Love


Bonus Track
Red Snake 12" version

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A Witness ‎– "One Foot In The Groove EP" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON30) 1988

A very listenable EP from the later incarnation of 'A Witness' with a human drummer. It has a couple of tracks that have that 'I'm sure I've heard this before' quality about them,like Macca felt when he wrote 'Yesterday'. The Riff to 'Raw Patch' had to have been written before surely..... but it hasn't. It has that classic simplicity like an Indie 'Smoke On The Water'.
"Zip Up" would also have been an indie classic if it had come out a year earlier, but unfortunately this record along with every good group in 1988 got swamped by the drugged up dancing hordes of the Magic Roundabout,or whatever those blissed out Chav's and 'luvved up' former football hooligans called the M25 London orbital motorway? 
I can confirm that A Witness never resorted to shaking a tambourine,dusting off the Wah-Wah and getting 'Funky'.They just split up and left all that nonsense to fellow c-86 band Primal fucking Scream.

Tracklist:

A1 Raw Patch
A2 Faglane Morris Wind
B1 Zip Up
B2 Nodding Dog Moustache


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

A Witness ‎– "Loudhailer Songs" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 5) 1985


A Quintessential Ron Johnson group was A Witness, and this is an early release for both of these entities.
Looking at the front cover and you'd expect some Industrial group like Einsturzende Neubauten to occupy the grooves within, but no!..... yet another unique take on the classic Guitar Bass Voice and Drums format.....in this case Drum Machine.
Gravelly Bass, Atonal Guitar, and a nasally vocalist singing surreal lyrics over some uncomfortably grating,angular,tunes......this is possibly their best record?  

DOWNLOAD and hail louder songs HERE!

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Witness - "Peel Sessions 1985-88" (a Die or DIY? Compilation)


'A Witness' was another of that batch of unclassifiable mid-eighties bands from the north of England that fitted very comfortably on Ron Johnson Records. Again we have a vague Captain Beefheart influence filtered through the very unique landscape of post-punk northern Britain.
The necessitated use of a drum machine ,after the original drummer left, ironed out a lot of the wavering time signatures, but later in their career they managed to secure the services of one Alan Brown from excellent bIG fLAME to fill in on drums. This was an undoubted improvement.
They managed four Peel sessions before the untimely death of atonal guitarist Rick Aitkin via, among all things that cause death in the annals of Rock'n'Roll, a mountaineering accident!? Not something you'd find Keith Moon or Jimi Hendrix doing, too dangerous.Father Yod of Ya-Ho-Wha 13 managed to die in a bizarre hang-gliding accident, thats about as close as we can get to mountaineering in Rock, or on Rock, or in this case Off Rock,as in 'Falling Off'.

Track Listing:

01 The Loudhailer Song [15-12-1985]
02 Smelt Like a Pedestrian [15-12-1985]
03 O'Grady's Dream [15-12-1985]
04 Sharpened Sticks [15-12-1985]
05 Faglane Morris Wind [16-11-1986]
06 Nodding Dog Moustache [16-11-1986]
07 Raw Patch [16-11-1986]
08 Hard Day's Love [16-11-1986]
09 Take me to the earth [10-01-1988]
10 McManus Octaphone [10-01-1988]
11 Sunbed Sentimental [10-01-1988]
12 Zip up [10-01-1988]
13 I love you mr disposable razors [20-11-1988]
14 Life - the final frontier [20-11-1988]
15 Helicopter tealeaf [20-11-1988]
16 Prince microwave bollard [20-11-1988]

DOWNLOAD without witnesses HERE!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Killjoys - " Demos,Peel Sessions, Live, and Singles 1977-78" (a Die or DIY? Compilation)


As previously mentioned ,Birmingham spawned two reasonably well known second wave punk groups in 1977; the excellent Prefects, and the somewhat less excellent Killjoys, fronted by one of the few punk frontmen with naturally curly hair.
The killjoys managed one pretty decent single on the near perfect Raw records, and a couple of other tunes for the label compilation "A Raw Deal", but quickly descended into trying to write 'competent' pop songs like the ones in their second Peel Session from 1978.
This was a nasty habit that infected Kevin Rowland for most of the eighties and beyond, as he became the living embodiment of the oft used phrase; "like punk never happened".
Especially during Dexy's hillbilly phase! Probably thee worst ever band image ever imposed on the listening public, alongside "Come On Eileen" being admissible for evidence for crimes against humanity in the international court of human rights.
OMFG!? Rowlands throaty whine fills me with an unstoppable desire to slice my ears off and fill the remaining holes with sound absorbent insulation foam.
Hard to believe that our Kevin was once the angry looking sneery focal point for Brum's second ever punk band. 
Not only did the vocalist go on to create great aural evil, the female bass player, Ghislaine, went on to commit more crimes against rock in New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Band 'Girlschool'!! .....terrible stuff.

Track Listing:

01 Naive(Raw Single 1977)
02 Johnny Won't Go To Heaven(Raw Single 1977)
03 At Night(Alternative Take 1977)
04 Recognition(alternative Mix 1977)
05 At Night (Rough Mix 1977)
06 Back to Front[Peel Session 11-10-77)
07 Naive[Peel Session 11-10-77]
08 Recognition[Peel Session 11-10-77)
09 At Night [Peel Session 11-10-77]
10 Spit On Me[Peel Session 01-02-78]
11 Smoke Your Own[Peel Session 01-02-78]
12 All The Way[Peel Session 01-02-78]
13 Ghislaine[Peel Session 01-02-78]
14 Recognition[Studio Demos 18-10-1977]
15 Back to front[Studio Demos 18-10-1977]
16 At night[Studio Demos 18-10-1977]
17 Is That What She Said (Live 1978)
18 Johnny Won't Get To Heaven (Live 1977)
19 At Night (Raw Deal compilation 1977)
20 Recognition (Raw Deal compilation 1977)
21 Naive (Unedited Version)
22 Johnny Won't Get To Heaven (Unedited Version)

DOWNLOAD to kill your joy HERE!

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Prefects - "Peel sessions 1978-79" (a Die or DIY? compilation)


The Nightingales were ,of course, once, non-stereotypical 'punk' Group, The Prefects. They even got a birth on The Clash's 'White Riot Tour',with the Slits,and The Subway Sect.The tour that more than anything else spread the seeds of Indie music to fester. Mainly thanks to the Prefects and Subway sect rather than the Clash.
As punk groups from Birmingham went, we had The Killjoys, who sang in a cockney accent(?), and The Prefects, who sang in that classic slovenly brummy drawl, complete with rounded consonants.Its a rule that local Punk groups should sound like where they come from.Its Fook Off rather than Fak Off.
They never released a record in their lifetime, except a posthumous single on Rough Trade that was culled from these Peel sessions.
They obviously were too intelligent to carry on in the limiting 'Punk' groove, and went on to greater, and less popular things in the magnificent Nightingales


Tracklist:
01 Things In General (11-08-78) 3:09
02 Escort Girls (11-08-78) 1:37
03 Bristol Road Leads To Dachau (11-08-78) 10:08
04 Agony Column (11-08-78) 2:59
05 Going Through The Motions (08-01-79) 5:02
06 Faults (08-01-79) 1:35
07 Total Luck (08-01-79) 4:21
08 Barbarellas (08-01-79) 1:34
09 625 Lines (Live 1978 Bonus) 1:30
10 VD (Live 1978 Bonus) 0:13

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Nightingales ‎– "Hysterics" (Ink Records ‎– INK 1) 1983


The Nightingales second album betrays a definite Beefheartian leaning, with dueling slide guitars , like a post-punk Zoot Horn Rollo and Antennae Jimmy Semens, but from Birmingham(UK),the birth place of Heavy Metal!? Although one doubts that Robert Lloyd would have made the band wear dresses, feed them only on beans and lock them in a house; as the late Captain did to his group.
This album was without doubt a huge influence on the future Ron Johnson Records stable. 

Tracklist:

1 Big Print 3:50
2 This 3:55
3 The Happy Medium 1:50
4 Nothing But Trouble 3:45
5 The Bending End 4:35
6 Lower Than Ever 2:45
7 Insurance 6:15
8 Whys Of Acknowledgement 2:40
9 Bachelor Land 2:50
10 Crafty Fag 3:35
11 Ponces All 3:50
Bonus tracks:
12 How To Age(Crafty Fag B-side) 6:24
13 The Crunch - Version 2(The Crunch 12") 4:48
14 All Talk
(The Crunch 12") 1:51
15 Look Satisfied(The Crunch 12") 3:20
16 Not Man Enough(The Crunch 12") 4:13

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Nightingales ‎– "Pigs On Purpose" +all the classic early Singles (Cherry Red ‎– BRED 39) 1982

Wow! How good is this classic debut album from The Nightingales. Its got the lot; cheap sounding weedy guitars played with amphetamine fueled  strumming, repetitive bass-lines, busy speedy drumming, intelligent and funny lyrics delivered amateurishly by that weird 'bloke next door' himself Robert Lloyd.
I remember "The Crunch(12" version)" being played in my local Goth club circa '83, and the dance floor was full of black clad whirling dervishes; I wish one had a smart phone back in those days!?....then it was back to The Sisters of Mercy and Alien Sex Fiend, and things calmed down(Yawn!).

The Nightingales also released a string of singles to rival The Buzzcocks on Cherry Red/Rough Trade/ and their own Vindaloo records.
Starting with.....:



"Idiot Strength" - (Rough Trade ‎– RT075, Vindaloo Records ‎– UGH4.)1981



"Paraffin Brain / Elvis, The Last Ten Days" (Cherry Red ‎– CHERRY 38) 1982



"Use Your Loaf" (Cherry Red ‎– CHERRY 34) 1982



"Urban Ospreys C/W Cakehole" (Cherry Red ‎– CHERRY 56) 1983

All these frankly Brilliant singles are,of course included in the file ,with just one flick of the trigger finger.
If there is a stand out single from this repertoire,then it has to be "Paraffin Brain" and, the fantastically titled, "Elvis, The Last Ten Days". I have restless nights worrying whether this work of genius actually made it to number one in at least one of the infinite number of universes that theoretically populate the wider cosmos. If there was actually a reason for the existence of the multi-verse (which of course there isn't!) then this single would be it......but then of course there would be a universe where 'One Direction' got to number one and have utter awfulness like The X-Factor,Rap Music and U2.....SHIT!...its this universe isn't it!!!!!????...FUCK IT!

Tracklist:

1 Blood For Dirt 2:59
2 Start From Scratch 2:24
3 One Mistake 2:40
4 Well Done Underdog 1:47
5 The Crunch 4:51
6 The Hedonist's Sigh 2:25
7 It Lives Again 3:01
8 Make Good 2:24
9 Don't Blink 4:03
10 Joking Apart 2:17
11 Yeah, It's OK 5:15
12 Use Your Loaf 2:07
13 Blisters 4:35
14 
Idiot Strength 3:11
15 Seconds 2:50
16 Paraffin Brain 3:03
17 Elvis The Last Ten Days 2:56
18 
Inside Out 3:01
19 
Under The Lash 2:15
20 Urban Ospreys 4:26
21 Cakehole 3:20

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Nightingales - "The Complete Peel Sessions 1980-86" (a Die or DIY? compilation)

Two hours of birdsong anyone? Compiled from eight John Peel Sessions, here's every track the 'Gales recorded for the venerable BBC DJ from 1980 to 1986!
The Nightingales were where the 80's started, morphing out of non-aligned 'punk' band 'The Prefects', they set the template for all the non-butch indie groups that followed. Vocalist Robert Lloyd, had NHS glasses years before Morissey even had his singing lessons......one doubts very much that Robert Lloyd ever had a lesson in anything musical, ever;an undoubted advantage for originality in music?
They could also beat any hardcore punk band for speed, with one of the fastest guitarists this side of the Wedding Present,and/or even Napalm Death.
Definitely from The Fall's neck of the woods ethically,but The Fall sound like Heavy Metal compared to The Nightingales. They were like a band who had been locked in a cupboard since birth and then played their interpretation of rock'n'roll as described by their rescuers who hated Rock music......although that is so far from the truth, as these chaps were probably the most clued up and sophisticated exponents of anti-pop in the early eighties.


The Sartorially Elegant Robert Lloyd in about 1982

Track Listing:


01 Start from Scratch[01_10_1980]
02 Butter Bricks[01_10_1980]
03 Torn [01_10_1980]
04 12 Years[01_10_1980]
05 Return Journey[07_06_1981]
06 One Mistake[07_06_1981]
07 Bush Beat[07_06_1981]
08 Inside Out[07_06_1981]
09 Give 'em Time[03-03-1982]
10 Which Hi-Fi_[03-03-1982]
11 My Brilliant Career[03-03-1982]
12 Son Of Gods Mate[03-03-1982]
13 Blood For Dirt[30-06-1982]
14 Joking Apart[30-06-1982]
15 O.K. Chorale _ The Crunch[30-06-1982]
16 It Lives Again[30-06-1982]
17 Urban Ospreys [29_03_1983]
18 Yeah It's OK [29_03_1983]
19 The Bending End [29_03_1983]
20 The Why's Of Acknowledgement [29_03_1983]
21 Only My Opinion [29_03_1983]
22 Look Satisfied[12_05_1983]
23 All Talk[12_05_1983]
24 This[12_05_1983]
25 Not Man Enough[12_05_1983]
26 How to Age[03_03_1985]
27 Heroin[03_03_1985]
28 First My Job[03_03_1985]
29 Part-Time Moral England[03_03_1985]
30 Down In The Dumps[18_03_1986]
31 Coincidence[18_03_1986]
32 Rockin' With Rita[18_03_1986]
33 At The End Of The Day[18_03_1986]

DOWNLOAD the nightingales who sang in barclays bank HERE!

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Noseflutes ‎– "Mellow Throated" (Rictus Recordings ‎– REAP 002) 1991

The Noseflutes did eventually succumb to a disinterested world and go their separate ways after their 1991 swansong "Mellow Throated".
Yet another high quality collection of off-kilter experimental alternative Pop tunes, for listeners with more than half a brain. And to think they were once called 'Extroverts In a Vacuum' and 'Shitstormer' among other rejected monikers.......both better than The Noseflutes I suggest,but..hey....a much missed group of individuals whatever they called themselves.

Tracklist:

A1 Mellow Throated
A2 Ossified
A3 Give Me The Keys
A4 Lurkin' In The Jerkin
A5 Dappled Offspring
A6 Oven Of Arson
B1 Farrago
B2 Gum Goddess
B3 Pressed Fur
B4 Much Decorated
B5 The Soiler


Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Noseflutes ‎– "Zib Zob And His Kib Kob" (Rictus Recordings ‎– REAP 001) 1989



Unlike many of their peers,The Noseflutes managed skillfully to totally ignore the 'Dance' revolution of 1988, and carry on doing exactly what they had been doing for close on a decade. Even The Fall had a fucking DJ in the group around this time, and actually had their drummer play the 'Funky Drummer' beat. Martin Bramah amazingly returned to the line up(briefly) and swapped his earlier discordant guitar style for choppy Issac Hayes Wah-Wah guitar!? I vividly remember going to see The Telescopes around 1990, just after their skull crushingly noisy "Taste" album, to discover that they had 'turned on, tuned in and dropped out', complete with the aforementioned wah-wah guitar, Maracas , and dancy rhythms. I went to receive the expected ear damage, but left (early) with a headache.What a pile of shit!....the only other choices we had were that beyond terrible American 'Rock' revival Grunge crap, or Dance like a drugged up spastic to the shittest album ever made,none-other than Primal Screams "Screama-fucking-delica".
None of this nonsense for The Noseflutes however. Still obviously sticking to Beer as the drug of choice, and making disjointed, intelligently surreal avant-pop, with a palatable sense of humour and irony. A Tambourine cannot be shaken without a strong sense of the Ironic.
Finally,Two reasons that this album is a submerged classic;1-,Its called "Zib Zob And His Kib Kob"*; 2- It has "Spitball on my Kisser" on it; and 3-...(Yes there are three reasons!)....it stands as a testament against the Hive mind.

*as previously mentioned this was listed in the Sunday People's "101 most Awful Album Titles On Record" list sometime in 1996, which figures, as that was the era of the reprehensible Brit Pop aka Brit Shit, era......also 'Zob' is a french slang word for a Penis, which describes the compiler of that very list superbly.

Tracklist:

A1 Needle To The Sackcloth
A2 Yellow
A3 Charms
A4 Spitball On My Kisser
A5 On The Same Level As Too Much
A6 Fruitfly
B1 Puffing Collapse
B2 Pump Ass
B3 Eminent (You Call Me That)
B4 No Plans
B5 Thug Thug Thug
B6 Treated Older
B7 Paradise Smells Wonderful To Me
B8 Families Disappear


Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Noseflutes ‎– "Heartache Is Irresistible" (Ron Johnson Records ‎– ZRON 28) 1987

The Noseflutes first outing on the nearly impeccable Ron Johnson Records was this partially flawed 12" EP. It contains at least three surreal indie-pop classics, in "Rotting Honeymoon","Hanging a Scarface", and the immaculate "Body Hair(Up in the Air)"!; which would have been a massive hit if done by some giant of showbiz like Keith Harris and Orville, or PJ and Duncan.
The title track is something to be avoided,it's like those World music records that Peel insisted on playing in between the good stuff.  This was a good reason to tape his shows to fast forward through the 'Bhundu Boys' between the Sonic Youth and Laibach tracks. Strictly for right-on middle class intelligentsia fakes,and definitely not for me!

Tracklist:

A1 Heartache Is Irresistible
A2 Rotting Honeymoon
B1 Hanging A Scarface
B2 Thousand Pound Coat
B3 Body Hair (Up In The Air)


Friday, 24 February 2017

The Noseflutes ‎– "Several Young Men Ignite Hardboard Stump" (Reflex Records ‎– LEX 5M) 1986


Well would you believe it? That cover photo is of a person falling to their death from the World Trade Center 25 years before this was replicated en masse.
No doubt some '9/11 Truth Seekers' will see this as the start of the conditioning that led to us accepting the 'official' story and willingly giving away our human rights in the name of security?
What did The Noseflutes really know?....well, they certainly knew how to write an unconventional disjointed pop song or two, and had a real talent for great album titles.This one didn't manage to make The Sunday People's "101 most awful album titles on Record" in sept 1996, but their second album "Zib Zob and his Kib Kob" did.
As the 'People' is in fact nothing more than a moronic comic for intellectual pondlife and Brexit/Trump supporters, this is a compliment;what could be worse than having any fans among these scholarly also-rans. The fact that the author of this list, one Gary Leboff, obviously has irony blindness, speaks volumes about his qualifications to be a serious journalist; the Times would not be calling at any time in the future let's say.
Not the best Noseflutes Album by any stretch of word, but still a fine collection of abstract pop tunes for the discerning ex-university pub dweller.......and with such a classic album title as that, it demands your attention at least!? 

Tracklist:

A1 Perfect Cockney Hard-On
A2 Romance Takes Control
A3 Dreamboat
A4 Bullet Enters Brad
A5 This Is My Home
B1 Lumbo/The Harmony Of Dogs
B2 Holiday Time
B3 Past Promise Broken In Previous Life
B4 Why Is Everyone A Man?
B5 The Sugar Ranch
B6 Cowboy Factory


Thursday, 23 February 2017

The Noseflutes ‎– "Girth EP" (Reflex Records ‎– 12 RE 11) 1985


These chaps have got a sense of humour haven't they? Either that or they are drunk or both?
One word punchlines are hard to come by, but 'Girth', is one of the best. It can raise a grin at the most inappropriate of times.
Always partial to a surreal but piss taking track title, The Noseflutes , display many Beefheartian traits in their compositions; but with classic British  sardonicism from some downright weird music hall,slash, Pub tradition.
Never really been a fan of groups with more than five members in them. The Noseflutes had anywhere between five and nine over the years, but they don't sound like they do; so fuck knows what all these extraneous members did during these complex surreal pop tunes.
At least there was no Bez, Paul Rutherford,Chas Smash, style extraneous band member; they all seemed to contribute,however minimally to the process. Kind of in a Rick Wright (Pink Floyd) kind of minimal contribution way.
Too many band members does however aid the post rehearsal fun factor down the pub; which i reckon was the main reason for having all their mates in the band.
Anymore extraneous band members come to mind?.....Sid Vicious?....That dancer with Howard Jones?.....answers on a postcard please.

This is a great EP by the way!

Tracklist:

A1 Girth
A2 Sawdust And Glass: Kicking Ass
B1 Give Me The Keys
B2 Shallow For Deep