Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rocktimistic Top Five #1

Cave – Hunt Like Devil LP
The debut longplayer from Chicago’s Cave treads the same lineage as Wooden Shjips great self-titled debut of last year—one chord, two note swing from The Stooges to Krautrock to Spacemen 3—but trades the ceaseless reined-in precision for heavy whump. Way in-the-red motorik drums countdown to the apocalypse whilst gtr solos sound like a freezeframed video of a shattering car windscreen. Thankfully Cave know that to peak you also have to know how to roll back the intensity, whether through gloopily dripping synth, vocoder hymns or, most beautifully, the sound of an echoed gtr dizzyingly chasing its own tail. My ‘rock’ LP of the year so far.

The Filmography of Sady Baby
In the pre-BitTorrent era there were hundreds of films that I’d read about that I was dying to see—Italian thick-ear thrillers, horror flicks slashed to ribbons by UK censors, arthouse abstractions—but now that I can download a thousand hard-drives full I can’t be bothered. Except for the bizarre 80s Brazilian hardcore porn flicks of the mysterious Sady Baby. These watch like the desperate run-on descriptions of a twelve year old trying to convince his schoolmates that he’s seen an cert 18 movie: the man was walking through the woods and then he attacked a woman and then he joined a gang of mercenaries and then someone wanked off a pig and then they had an orgy and then a punk ran in with a chainsaw and then…. And all this is to a totally pirate soundtrack of 70s and 80s radio hits, so if you’ve ever wanted to see diseased looking street-whore types fucking and sucking to Elton John and The Cars you’re in luck. Just don’t expect to be able to watch one all the way through in one sitting and certainly not for the reasons you usually can’t with porn.

Recommended: In the Heat of the Hole (1985), Sexual Emotions of a Donkey (1986)

The Rolling Stones - Undercover of the Night
I remember hearing this as a kid first getting interested in pop when it came out in 1983, and it sounding like grey stodge compared to the records that were exciting me. Never being a Rolling Stones fan it’s taken hearing Dan Selzer play some remix of it at his recent London DJ appearance to get me to listen again and, fuck, it sounds amazing; possibly the best Stones song after “Stray Cat Blues”. Jagger crying diamond crocodile tears about the global geo-political situation over a hip-hop heavy drum beat and dub fx. The post-Thriller expensive and ‘controversial’ video is great too—aimed at gobbling up MTV airtime whilst also taking the piss out’ve the perceived viewer. The wtf vid for “Too Much Blood” from the following year is a must-watch too.

V/A – Network: the Box Set
One thing the unceasing flow of free music from the internet has almost destroyed for me is the joy of a bargain. Scoring a promo copy of an anticipated album for a couple of quid is kinda meaningless in the post-Rapidshare age, and unexpected charity shop gems just don’t seem to exist anymore. Anybody’d be fucking churlish to cock a snook at this 5 CD box set of classic house and techno for less than nine quid though. This spans the late 80s to mid-90 output of pioneering UK label Network and running from Detroit techno and NY garage to Northern English bleep and orbital rave. The enthused and funny booklet is a joy too. (Its pop at pop crit: “like trying to knit a gas jumper”).

Autistic Daughters – Uneasy Flowers LP
I know everyone else can hear the echoes of late-period Talk Talk in Shearwater’s excellent Rook but I remain resolutely deaf. Where I can hear the spirit of Spirit of Eden is in this second album by Autistic Daughters (feat. long-time NZ experimentalist Dean Roberts). It’s there in the three-dimensionally open sense of space, the clang of the guitar, the non-macho feedback and the unafraid quietness. The beautiful “Bird in the Curtain” reaches back even further into Anglo artrock, sounding like a flaming galah referencing Robert Wyatt.

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