Tuesday 12 February 2008

...with a gut provided by a brewery, and bloody great SIZE TWELVE FEET...

...as promised, it's the Blubbery return of the Hellbellies.

I say return, I mean debut. But it's a return for the Mutant Rock (not the wrestling eyebrow type of Rock). It's only a mini LP, and the tracks were included on a CD re-issue of their first full-lengther (hurr hurr) Flabbergasted (which I will attend to another time. If I haven't already. I'll have to check. If I have, then I'll do Shootin' and Steamin' instead), although that too seems to be out of print these days. Anyway, here it is in all of it's slightly crackly vinyl glory.

The Blubbery Hellbellies - At Large (Upright Records; 1984)

1 - I Don't Wanna Get Thin
2 - Perfect Woman
3 - Walk Tall
4 - Please Release Me
5 - The Green, Green Grass of Home

Big on the old accordion, At Large is possibly the most pleasing listen of the Blubbery's cruelly brief and meagre output, but that might just be the nostalgia and creaky old bones talking. After all, Flabbergasted has "Food Poisoning" on it. Still, take the (admittedly fun) near-filler off that album, and I reckon you're left with a record the size of this one. "I Don't Wanna Get Thin", a Blubbery staple, is the most typically Hellbellie on the record, but the real fun is to be had with "Perfect Woman" (not unlike "Food Poisoning", only even better) and the the two endearing and slightly shambling covers that close side two.

Because I'm a gloriously kind and munificent man, I've stuck the Hellbellies' quite simply awesome cover of "Champion the Wonder Horse" in the rar for your delectation, delight, and drug-addled demented devouring. Listen to it, be enthused, and then try and get it out of your head. You can't. It'll be there for weeks. It's like musical crack. Just don't tell Amy Winehouse, she'll be all over it like a bony, tattooed munter of a rash.

Monday 11 February 2008

Hello? Hello?

Hello! Yeah, I know. It's been forever. Soz. I do have excuses all lined up. Work has been mental. Quite literally at times, but I guess that's an occupational hazard of working with Incapacity Benefit. Also, I built me a new computer. Unfortunately, I installed Vista. Nothing unfortunate about that per se, but there is when you consider that my previous machine is XP. You try getting the little buggers to talk to each other. No, didn't think so. All my lovingly prepared music, therefore, resides on the other machine, not this. I guess I could just use the other one, couldn't. But then, what would have been the point of all the time, money and effort on this? Answer me that, Brainstein.

Yeah, so basically I'm a lazy little toad and I've been doing stuff. Also, I've been giving thought to the whole direction of this thing. Whilst there has always been a rather hearty Garage-type presence in the Blogiverse, Blogtinent, Blogland, whatever (damn you Blogosphere, I WILL come up with a better term), I've noticed a distinct upsurge in ones dealing with the type of trash I've tried to carve a tiny, fetid internet niche for here. Consequently, several of my lovingly prepared vinyl adventures have been rendered redundant by the big bastard elsewhere of the internets (I could point you in their direction I guess, but hey, you're all worldly netsubjects (damn you netizens, I WILL come up with a better term), you've probably all been there a million times or more (they will start appearing in the links, though. They're places I like run by thoroughly trashtastic seeming folk, so I reckon you should probably go and marvel all over their sites). Where was I going with this? Well, I confused myself briefly, but I've remembered now so I shall tell you. But I will do so in a separate paragraph, as this one is getting distinctly crowded.

New paragraph! So yeah, there'll still be the trash of the kind I've been purveying so far (probably a little more of the Psycho, something still underserved by Blogbourhood (it's not working, is it)), but I'll probably start introducing a wider range of deserving mutiedom. Basically, if it strikes me as sufficiently mutated for my ears, then it'll go on my blog. This may involve the occasional massive riff, so don't say you haven't been warned. It'll all be bloody good, though.

Oh, and it will definitely involve anything else I have by the Blubbery Hellbellies, you can count on that (comments are the way forward. I'm a right sucker for them).

Tuesday 4 December 2007


So I was undecided about posting the live albums last time. So now I'm decided. I'm funny like that (although being asked helps - I'm always open to requests within the scope of this meandering mess. Cheers, chief!).

The Milkshakes vs. The Prisoners (Media Burn; 1985)

A1: The Milkshakes - Shimmy, Shimmy
A2: The Milkshakes - Pretty Baby
A3: The Milkshakes - Did I Tell You
A4: The Milkshakes - Club MIC
A5: The Milkshakes - Black Sails
A6: The Milkshakes - Bo-us Diddley-us
A7: The Milkshakes - Remarkable
A8: The Milkshakes - Brand New Cadillac
A9: The Milkshakes - Hound Dog
B1: The Prisoners - Melanie
B2: The Prisoners - Reaching My Head
B3: The Prisoners - Hurricane
B4: The Prisoners - American Jingle
B5: The Prisoners - 96 Tears
B6: The Prisoners - A Taste of Pink
B7: The Prisoners - Love Me Lies

A quality live album from start to finish. Just a plain old quality album really, never mind the live bit. With the exception of the first couple of singles, it's probably my favourite slice of The Milkshakes. Energetic, full of vim, vigour, fun and tunes - it really is the sound of band right at the top of their game, a game that everyone wants to join in with. Bruce in particular does himself proud on this.

Swap "The Prisoners" for "The Milkshakes" in that paragraph, and you have a fair comment on the second side, too. Although you'd have to take out the Bruce Brand bit, obviously. Storming out of the blocks with the very best available version of "Melanie", there is barely a chance to draw breath until the arrival of "American Jingle" (which the eagle-eared amongst you will recognise and the tune that ended up as the little jingly bit between "Whenever I'm Gone" and "Who's Sorry Now" on The Last Fourfathers). Driven, powerful, impassioned, the chaps turn out a fearsomely tuneful garage racket that temporarily renders all other forms of music quite redundant. The onslaught eases slightly through the second part ("A Taste of Pink" is welcome, but I've never really been a fan of 96 Tears in any of its incarnations) before we close with another of Graham's peerless pipe workouts, a wholehearted and thrusting take on "Love Me Lies". Quality.

The Last Night at The Mic (Empire; 1985)

A1: The Prisoners - Coming Home
A2: The Prisoners - Revenge of the Cybermen
A3: The Prisoners - There's a Time
A4: The Prisoners - Runaway
A5: The Prisoners - Little Shadows
A6: The Prisoners - Sitting on My Sofa
A7: The Prisoners - Don't Call My Name
B1: The Milkshakes - Brand New Cadillac
B2: The Milkshakes - Nothing You Can Say or Do
B3: The Milkshakes - Soldiers of Love
B4: The Milkshakes - Jezebel
B5: The Milkshakes - Comanche
B6: The Milkshakes - You Did Her Wrong
B7: The Milkshakes - It's You
B8: The Milkshakes - Please Don't Tell My Baby
B9: The Milkshakes - Farewell to the Mic

Sound quality is a bit of a dip from t'other split live album, but still passable. The main attraction with this one is the slightly less "obvious" tracklist, in particular the triumvirate of "new" songs ("new" because one is a cover, and the other two would probably have ended up on record sooner or later, had fate not intervened. Stupid fate). "Runaway" is an alright way to spend two minutes - the fellas do their best with it, but there's only so much you can do with it, really. "Little Shadows" foreshadows The Prime Movers whilst still feeling entirely Prisoners, whilst "Sitting on My Sofa" probably leans more JTQ-ward. The Milkshakes, meanwhile, do their Milkshakes thing, possibly lacking a little of the freshness of the previous album and suffering a little more than The Prisoners from the dip in sound quality (whilst crystal clear production is so far down the list for both groups that it isn't even on the list (it's probably on the anti-list), you still need a certain level of aural clarity). It's all good though, just not as all good as the other album, really.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Two Weeks Too Long

An entire fortnight. I know, I know - it's not good enough. To be fair, there's been a lot of stuff going on, but hey - you haven't come to a blog like this to hear me witter and moan. I'll try not to leave it so long in future, I promise.

Anyway, to help ease the undoubted pain of two weeks without the trash, here's the rest of the Prisoners stuff for you to feast your ears on and then track down and buy from whichever grubby corner of the earth you can find it in (naturally I've left out the albums proper - you can quite merrily get these from your local CD vending emporium, something I heartily endorse and yea, even encourage. Of course you'd prefer to hear them in wonderful vinylphonic crackly sound, so you'll still end up on ebay, frantically clicking. I'm undecided about the split live LPs. I'll get back to you on that one).

The Prisoners - There's a Time (Munster Records; 1999)

A1: There's a Time
A2: Revenge of the Cybermen
B1: I'm Looking For You
B2: 96 Tears

I guess the date there could/should say 1983 - after all, that's when the songs first emerged. However, this is a bit of an oddity - a late reissue of the early single (the A side) coupled with previously unreleased songs from the same sessions. The reissue is of Spanish origin, the original was French (on Skydog records). Confused? I know I am! Well, a bit. Actually, not at all. Did sound good, though. Like, whatever. Regardless, it's a four song set that anyone would be proud to call their own. And now you can, too.

The Prisoners - Shine on Me (Deceptive; 1997)

1: Shine on Me
2: Judgement Song
3: Small

Not a reissue, but something of an oddity all the same. A singular child born of a brief reunion. A shame more wasn't made of it, as the three songs ("Judgement Song" in particular - despite it's late appearance, it's firmly one of my favourite Prisoners songs) make you feel like they'd never been away. Still, if Graham had been one for forever looking backwards, then we wouldn't have had the magnificent Solarflares albums (still to come, I will get round to them though) and the Prime Movers, amongst other things (one of those other things being the frankly sexually good Graham Day and the Gaolers album, which I trust you have all eagerly snapped up with indecent haste. I might put the "Get Off My Track" single up at some point now that it's no longer in print, but I really must insist that you go buy the album).

The Prisoners - Rare & Unissued (Hangman; 1988)

A1: Coming Home (live)
A2: Revenge of the Cybermen
A3: He's in Love (radio session)
A4: Trophies (demo)
A5: Far Away (radio session)
A6: Ain't No Tellin' (demo)
A7: Come to the Mushroom (live)

B1: Happyness for Once (demo)
B2: Be On Your Way (demo)
B3: Buccaneer (demo)
B4: Deceiving Eye (live)
B5: Mourn My Health (demo)
B7: Pop Star Party (demo)
B8: Mourn My Health (demo 2)

I often find that rare and unissued compilations serve only to reinforce a single point - that things remain rare and unissued for a bloody good reason. This, however, flies forcefully in the furry face of this opinion. The Prisoners simply accumulated a bunch of rare and unissued stuff because they were too busy striding from one musical masterpiece to another to sit down and collect the goodies that had happened to fall by the wayside along their path. You have live tracks demonstrating the full force of their on stage goodness, radio session tracks that sound as good as any studio effort (testament to the wonderfully live feeling captured on their very best records), unreleased demos that many another band would kill to have as an a-side, and demos to some of their better known efforts that leave you unable to decide which you actually prefer. Some of these are incorporated on the CD re-releases (with additional demos and the like), but I guess I just prefer them collected here together where they belong. Whether this is because I'm right and this is how it should be or because I'm an old curmudgeon who has been listening to it like this for twenty years, I've really no idea.

Answers on a postcard, please.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

It's been a long time...

...about a week, actually. I did consider the Eric B & Rakim route in completing that title, but ultimately decided against. Wisely, in my opinion. I just don't think I have what it takes to pull that off, if I'm honest.

Anyhoo (as only really irritating people say), I'm back. And not only that, I'm back in the garage - the Medway one at that.

The Kravin' "A"'s - Krave On! (Hangman; 1991)

A1: Pay Day
A2: Tripwire
A3: Girlse Like That
A4: High Time
A5: I'm Gonna Leave (Scream & Shout)
A6: You Know It Is
A7: Sometimes
B1: Baby What's Your Game
B2: Look Back and Laugh
B3: Free Girl
B4: Beatnik Girl
B5: Bad Time
B6:Lyin' Lyin' Lyin'
B7: Take My Hand

I thought about a picture of the cover (the Beatles mock-up sets a tone that shall be taken up further later on), but then I decided against it. Why? Well, you can see that anywhere, and I thought the space would be better used with this picture of big bad Bruce Brand:

Never has trap rattling looked so mightily fucking cool. Well, apart from when Nick Knox did it. Anyway, the Kravin' "A"'s. Bruce has drummed the good drum for many a great outfit (too many to list in their entirety, so I'll just pick The Len Bright Combo to mention here, because they were bloody marvelous too), but not the Kravin' "A"'s. Oh no. Here Bruce stepped off the drumstool and into the guitaring limelight. I mentioned the Beatlescopycover, and this is a theme continued in good ol' Hasty Bananas' sleevenotes. This, however, is where the Beatles nonsense stops, really. A key difference is that the "A"'s (as nobody calls them) are good. Plus, this miniature classic of an album takes a chock-full grab-bag of early sixties-esque beatpop-type influences, fuses them with their contemporaries and previous experiences and predilections and makes something that sounds like nothing but The Kravin' "A"'s. More fun than you can shake a stick at (if shaking a stick at fun is your idea of a good time), more tunes than anyone has a right to shake a stick at, and not a duff song to be found. I'd pick out a favourite or two but, well, I've already done the tracklisting. I quite simply adore this album, and so should you.

Kravin' "A"'s - Pushin' and Shovin' (Screaming Apple; 1993)

A1: Born Yesterday
A2: You're Lookin' Fine
B1: Right Now
B2: (Don't Gimme) No Lip

The only other Kravin' "A"'s release, a quality little EP that squeaked into existence a couple of years after the album finally got a release (it had been recorded a good two or three years previously as I recall). As worthwhile an experience as the album, although the Beatlesyness floats dangerously near the surface at times (that time being most of the time during the verses of the first song). Thankfully, it would take more than that to dent as splendid a collection of songs as this, so try not to worry too much. Just click, wait a bit, listen, and then frug yourself senseless. Here's Bruce with very little hair. He's still cool though, he couldn't be anything other if he tried.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Brief interlude...

I'm sorry. Hellgate: London has taken over my life. Well, the spare time part of it, at any rate. It has seriously impinged on the trashabillydelic onslaught on the musical interwebs, I can tell you. Anyway, I'll be back soon with more wonderful chunks of garagesomeness (I have some thoroughly deserved days off soon. All two of them) and, in the mean time, you could do worse than check out the two latest linky additions - Thee Head Vein, which does a nice overlapping line in some awesome music and Last Night from Glasgow Indie Eyespy, the weird, wonderful, occasionally disturbing yet ultimately fulfilling trawl through the people, sounds and peoplesounds of Glasgow at night. Sort of like David Attenborough's "Planet Earth", only with more music talk and weirder creatures.

Right, I'm off to shoot rare zombies in Piccadilly Circus. It's quite true to life in that respect.

Saturday 3 November 2007

A Quick One...

No, not the Who, just a really quick post whilst listening to the footie. The other half of the neo incarnation of Happy Drivers (before the chap from Wampas joined and they went psycho), including the studio version of "Nervous Man" (as enquired about).

Happy Drivers - Indians on the Road (Crazy Love; 1988)

1: Indians
2: I'm Not a Hero
3: Tear it Up
4: Nervous Man
5: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
6: Crawdad Hole
7: Chez Maria

Very much more of the same, but this is certainly no bad thing. If anything, the world could have done with quite a bit more of it. And that's all, I can't concentrate, Ronaldo just hit the post. Enjoy.