Friday, 26 June 2015

Chop's Gigs - May

Only one gig in May which keeps this nice and short. I have been to two gigs already in June but haven't managed to write up the gig reports yet.

Dead Rat Orchestra perform Tyburnia at Apiary Studios on Friday 29th May 2015 - Another interesting project from the Dead Rat Orchestra following last years' wonderful trip along the canals & waterways. This time they were providing a live soundtrack for James Holcombe's Tyburnia film charting the history of public execution and playing in venues as close to the former locations of regional gallows as they could find.



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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

50 years of tunes - 1987 - R.E.M. "Document"

I didn't get into R.E.M. until Out Of Time broke huge in the summer of '91 having previously dismissed them as being a bit too Indie for me. The 90s was the decade when I broadened my musical horizons a bit and R.E.M. had a lot to do with that. I worked my way back and discovered the joys of their early I.R.S. catalogue which is full of gems. Their debut album Murmur might be my favourite but Document runs it very close.

1987 - R.E.M. "Document"

Released: September 1987
Label: I.R.S.
Producer: Scott Litt and R.E.M.


Side one – "Page side"

1. "Finest Worksong"
2. "Welcome to the Occupation"
3. "Exhuming McCarthy"
4. "Disturbance at the Heron House"
5. "Strange" (Bruce Gilbert, Graham Lewis, Colin Newman, Robert Gotobed)
6. "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

Side two – "Leaf side"

7. "The One I Love"
8. "Fireplace"
9. "Lightnin' Hopkins"
10. "King of Birds"
11. "Oddfellows Local 151"

(All tracks composed by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, except as indicated)



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Friday, 19 June 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Carry On Films RESULT

I've not quite made it through all the films (I'm up to 17 at last count). It turns out watching one movie a day doesn't leave much time for getting anything else done but I will make it through the rest as soon as I can. Partly this failure was due to finding I couldn't watch a film EVERY night but it was also a result of my youngest deciding he wanted to watch them too.

He caught on around Carry On Cabby and since then I've tried to make sure we get to watch them together. Hearing George literally laughing out loud has made the films even more enjoyable and it's lovely to see him experience the series for the first time. He's not voted as he sensibly pointed out to me he's not seen them all yet, but I might come back and do a mini update when he has.


Thanks to everyone who voted, the top five were pretty clear from quite early on though the final order changed as more people voted. Up The Khyber & Screaming were neck and neck all the way and it came down to a very few votes. Cleo was clear in 3rd, while Camping & Doctor comfortably ahead of the film in 6th place. I've included the full list so you can see where your favourite came.

1. Carry On ... Up The Khyber (1968) - This is a big favourite of mine too. I placed it second in my top 5 but it could easily have been my number one. Sid James is in fine form as Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond, Joan Sims is back playing Sid's screeching wife, Kenneth Williams is wonderful as the Khasi of Khalabar and Bernard Bresslaw gets to play another tribal warlord, Bungdit Din, reprising a similar role in Follow That Camel. There's some brilliant one liners all the way through but the best is saved for last with the British completing a black tie dinner amidst the destruction of their garrison.


2. Carry On Screaming (1966) - I didn't see this one properly until a few years ago so it still seems quite fresh to me. Harry H Corbett makes his only Carry On appearance as Detective Sydney Bung. Of the regular cast only Kenneth Williams (Dr. Orlando Watt), Jim Dale (Albert Potter), Joan Sims (Emily Bung - screeching again, this time at Harry H. Corbett) and Charles Hawtry (in a great cameo as Dan Dan the Lavatory Man) appear. Star of the show though is Fenella Fielding as Valeria, in her second and final Carry On, who makes me feel all unnecessary.


3. Carry On Cleo (1964) - Surprisingly this is the only top 5 entry to include Kenneth Connor. He was a mainstay of the early films appearing in all but Spying up to this point but Cleo was his last until Carry On Up The Jungle in 1970. Sid James & Kenneth Williams are in fantastic form, the Infamy! Infamy! line one of the most memorable of the series. As is Amanda Barrie's performance as Cleopatra *loosens collar*.


4. Carry On Camping (1969) - Sid & Bernie attempt to take their girlfriends to a nudist campsite but fail miserably. Peter Butterworth is brilliant in the role of money-grabbing farmer Josh Fiddler. Kenneth Williams plays Dr Soaper, the head of an all girls school, with Hattie Jacques reprising her role as Matron from Carry On Doctor. Probably the most famous Carry On scene sees Barbara Windsor's bikini top fly off into the face of Dr Soaper during an outdoor aerobics session.


5. Carry On Doctor (1968) - Frankie Howerd makes his Carry On debut as Francis Bigger a charlatan faith healer. Jim Dale is at his physical best in the starring role of the clumsy but well meaning Dr Kilmore. Barbara Windsor (who had previously appeared in Carry On Spying) has a small but memorable role as Nurse Sandra May, which led to her becoming a regular fixture. This was the first of three hospital based Carry Ons, which do tend to merge into one, but I think it's the best. Hattie Jacques is great as Matron, a role she has first played back in 1959 during Carry On Nurse.


I've updated my personal top five which I originally published back in 2007, Screaming and Doctor replacing Camping and Sergeant in my affections. I've really enjoyed watching them all again and reckon they've stood the test of time better than you might expect.

1. Carry On Cabby (1963)
2. Carry On ... Up The Khyber (1968)
3. Carry On Screaming (1966)
4. Carry On Cleo (1964)
5. Carry On Doctor (1968)

Full list of scoring films (the rest didn't get any votes though I'd recommend both Carry On Nurse & Carry On Regardless as good early Carry Ons).

1. Carry On ... Up The Khyber (1969)
2. Carry On Screaming! (1966)
3. Carry On Cleo (1964)
4. Carry On Camping (1969)
5. Carry On Doctor (1968)
6. Carry On Jack (1963)
7. Carry On Cabby (1963)
8. Carry On Cowboy(1965)
9. Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)
10. Carry On Abroad (1972)
11. Carry On Matron (1972)
12. Carry On Teacher (1959)
13. Carry On Cruising (1962)
14. Carry On Don't Lose Your Head (1966)
15. Carry On: Follow That Camel (1967)
16. Carry On Girls (1973)
17. Carry On Constable (1960)
18. Carry On Sergeant (1958)
19. Carry On Spying (1964)






Wednesday, 17 June 2015

50 years of tunes - 1986 - Metallica "Master Of Puppets"

Much like Marillion in 1985, this was the first Metallica album I bought on the day of release having discovered the band and Thrash Metal in general via the awesome Ride The Lightning LP.

I was lucky enough to see Metallica live on this tour. It was at Hammersmith Odeon and only about three days before Cliff Burton died in a coach crash. Finding out Cliff had passed away was my John Lennon moment. A really heartbreaking shock that floored me at the time. I don't think Metallica were ever quite the same again.

1986 - Metallica "Master Of Puppets"


Released: March 1986
Label: Elektra
Producer: Metallica & Flemming Rasmussen

Side 1
1. "Battery" (Hetfield, Lars Ulrich)
2. "Master of Puppets" (Hetfield, Cliff Burton, Kirk Hammett, Ulrich)
3. "The Thing That Should Not Be" (Hetfield, Hammett, Ulrich)
4. "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" (Hetfield, Hammett, Ulrich)

Side 2
5. "Disposable Heroes" (Hetfield, Hammett, Ulrich)
6. "Leper Messiah" (Hetfield, Ulrich)
7. "Orion" (Hetfield, Burton, Ulrich)
8. "Damage, Inc." (Hetfield, Burton, Hammett, Ulrich)


(All lyrics written by James Hetfield)



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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

50 years of tunes - 1985 - Marillion "Misplaced Childhood"

Misplaced Childhood is a very special album for me. Marillion were one of the first bands I became seriously engaged with and this was the first of their albums I bought on release. It led to me going to my first ever gig and the beginning of my obsession with live music.

1985 - Marillion "Misplaced Childhood"

Released: June 1985
Label: EMI
Producer: Chris Kimsey

Side one:
1. "Pseudo Silk Kimono" 2:15
2. "Kayleigh" 4:04
3. "Lavender" 2:28
4. "Bitter Suite" 5:54
a. "Brief Encounter"
b. "Lost Weekend"
c. "Blue Angel"
d. "Misplaced Rendezvous"
e. "Windswept Thumb"
5. "Heart of Lothian"
a. "Wide Boy"
b. "Curtain Call"

Side two:
6. "Waterhole (Expresso Bongo)" 2:13
7. "Lords of the Backstage" 1:53
8. "Blind Curve" 9:30
a. "Vocal Under a Bloodlight"
b. "Passing Strangers"
c. "Mylo"
d. "Perimeter Walk"
e. "Threshold"
9. "Childhoods End?" 4:33
10. "White Feather" 2:24


(All lyrics written by Fish, all music composed by Mark Kelly, Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas)



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Friday, 5 June 2015

Chop's Gigs - April

Did I forget to do this last month? I must have been distracted watching Carry On films.

Sharon Van Etten at Shepherds Bush Empire on Wednesday 29th April 2015 - Sharon Van Etten's recorded voice does funny things to me. Are We There was my 2014 album of the year and I'd been itching to see her live ever since. Turns out her live voice does funny things to me too.


Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Shepherd's Bush Empire on Monday 20th April 2015 - The Sad Miafioso brings the set to a suitably epic conclusion some two hours after it started. The band leave quietly one by one the sustain of guitars and the drone track continuing past the point where the lights are switched on to indicate the curfew has arrived.


Wire at The Lexington on Thursday 16th April 2015 - A brilliant night that left my ears ringing gloriously. My words can't really do them justice so I'll end with a quote from the Guardian's Dorian Lynskey who summed the night up on Twitter "Wire at the Lexington. Fierce, unpredictable, immune to nostalgia, great".


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

50 years of tunes - 1984 - Minutemen "Double Nickels on the Dime"

Kind of a hardcore Ummagumma, a double album with each band member getting a side to sequence and the fourth side being the left over "chaff". I hadn't even heard of the band when I saw them support Shellac at the Scala in Kings Cross. This was long after guitarist and singer D. Boon had tragically passed away and saw Mike Watt & George Hurley play as a two piece with just bass and drums. It was a full frontal assault on my senses, I obviously knew none of the songs but could sense this was something special.

Double Nickels was the first Minutemen album I bought and despite the fact it's an epic featuring over 40 tunes I fell for it straight away. The album is packed full of ideas, the song titles give you some idea of the band's sense of humour, and with most of songs being under 2 minutes the album simply flies past.

1984 - Minutemen "Double Nickels on the Dime"

Released: July 1984
Label: SST
Producer: Ethan James

Side D:
1. "Anxious Mo-Fo" (D. Boon, Mike Watt) 1:19
2. "Theatre Is the Life of You" (Boon, Watt) 1:30
3. "Viet Nam" (Boon) 1:27
4. "Cohesion" (Boon) 1:55
5. "It's Expected I'm Gone" (Watt) 2:04
6. "#1 Hit Song" (Boon, George Hurley) 1:47
7. "Two Beads at the End" (Boon, Hurley) 1:52
8. "Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth?" (Watt) 1:49
9. "Don't Look Now" (John Fogerty) 1:46
10. "Shit from an Old Notebook" (Boon, Watt) 1:35
11. "Nature Without Man" (Chuck Dukowski, Boon) 1:45
12. "One Reporter's Opinion" (Watt) 1:50

Side Mike:
1. "Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing" (Watt) 1:33
2. "Maybe Partying Will Help" (Boon, Watt) 1:56
3. "Toadies" (Watt) 1:38
4. "Retreat" (Watt) 2:01
5. "The Big Foist" (Watt) 1:29
6. "God Bows to Math" (Jack Brewer, Watt) 1:15
7. "Corona" (Boon) 2:24
8. "The Glory of Man" (Watt) 2:55
9. "Take 5, D." (Joe Baiza, John Rocknowski, Dirk Vandenberg, Watt) 1:40
10. "My Heart and the Real World" (Watt) 1:05
11. "History Lesson - Part II" (Watt) 2:10

Side George:
1. "You Need the Glory" (Hurley) 2:01
2. "The Roar of the Masses Could Be Farts" (Vandenberg, Watt) 1:20
3. "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" (Hurley) 3:05
4. "West Germany" (Boon) 1:48
5. "The Politics of Time" (Watt) 1:10
6. "Themselves" (Boon) 1:17
7. "Please Don't Be Gentle With Me" (Jack Brewer, Watt) 0:46
8. "Nothing Indeed" (Hurley, Watt) 1:21
9. "No Exchange" (Hurley, Watt) 1:50
10. "There Ain't Shit on T.V. Tonight" (Hurley, Watt) 1:34
11. "This Ain't No Picnic" (Boon) 1:56
12. "Spillage" (Watt) 1:51

Side Chaff:
1. "Untitled Song for Latin America" (Boon) 2:03
2. "Jesus and Tequila" (Boon, Joe Carducci) 2:52
3. "June 16th" (Watt) 1:48
4. "Storm in My House" (Boon, Henry Rollins) 1:57
5. "Martin's Story" (Martin Tamburovich, Watt) 0:51
6. "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love" (Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony) 0:40
7. "Dr. Wu" (Donald Fagen, Walter Becker) 1:44
8. "Little Man With a Gun in His Hand" (Boon, Chuck Dukowski) 2:53
9. "The World According to Nouns" (Watt) 2:05
10. "Love Dance" (Boon) 2:00




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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1983 - Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

It took me several attempts over a number of years, more than 15 in fact, to get my head round this album. It was the one the music press always talked about but with hindsight probably isn't the best Waits album to start with. 1999's Mule Variations got me reconsidering Tom then a chance conversation on a football forum led me to Small Change and from there the whole world of Waits opened up. I only got round to picking up a copy of Swordfishtrombones last year but it's become an instant favourite and I can now see what the critics were banging on about all those years ago.

1983 - Tom Waits "Swordfishtrombones"

Released: September 1983
Label: Island
Producer: Tom Waits

Side one:
1. "Underground" – 1:58
2. "Shore Leave" – 4:12
3. "Dave the Butcher" (instrumental) – 2:15
4. "Johnsburg, Illinois" – 1:30
5. "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six" – 4:30
6. "Town With No Cheer" – 4:22
7. "In the Neighborhood" – 3:04

Side two:
8. "Just Another Sucker on the Vine" (instrumental) – 1:42
9. "Frank's Wild Years" – 1:50
10. "Swordfishtrombone" – 3:00
11. "Down, Down, Down" – 2:10
12. "Soldier's Things" – 3:15
13. "Gin Soaked Boy" – 2:20
14. "Trouble's Braids" – 1:18
15. "Rainbirds" (instrumental) – 3:05


(All tracks composed by Tom Waits)



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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

50 years of tunes - 1982 - The Fall "Hex Enduction Hour"

It took me a long time to get into The Fall and I've still only scratched the surface but as far as I can tell this is their magnum opus.


1982 - The Fall "Hex Enduction Hour"


Released: March 1982
Label: Kamera
Producer: Grant Showbiz, Mark E. Smith & Richard Mazda

Side one:
1. "The Classical" (The Fall)
2. "Jawbone and the Air-Rifle" (The Fall)
3. "Hip Priest" (The Fall)
4. "Fortress / Deer Park" (Mark E. Smith, Craig Scanlon, Marc Riley, Karl Burns)
5. "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed." (Smith)
6. "Winter (Hostel-Maxi)" (Smith, Scanlon)

Side two:
1. "Winter 2" (Smith, Scanlon)
2. "Just Step S'ways" (Smith)
3. "Who Makes the Nazis?" (Smith)
4. "Iceland" (Smith, Scanlon, Riley, Steve Hanley)
5. "And This Day" (The Fall)

(All lyrics by Mark E Smith)



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Friday, 15 May 2015

Collaborative Top 5 - Carry On Films VOTE

A slight change of tack for the next collaborative top five. I thought it would be nice to work on a subject with a definitive number of options and save all the faffing about with nominations. Everyone loves Carry On films, don't they? I certainly grew up watching these. I loved them then and I still love them now (apart from the last few where things went a little bit awry).


So, simple task - give me your 5 favourite Carry On films in order if you can but out of order if that's too tricky. The vote is open for 31 days during which time I'm going to attempt to watch them all in order.

Carry On Sergeant (1958)
Carry On Nurse (1959)
Carry On Teacher (1959)
Carry On Constable (1960)
Carry On Regardless (1961)
Carry On Cruising (1962)
Carry On Cabby (1963)
Carry On Jack (1963)
Carry On Spying (1964)
Carry On Cleo (1964)
Carry On Cowboy(1965)
Carry On Screaming! (1966)
Carry On Don't Lose Your Head (1966)
Carry On: Follow That Camel (1967)
Carry On Doctor (1968)
Carry On Camping (1969)
Carry On ... Up The Khyber (1969)
Carry On Again, Doctor (1969)
Carry On Up The Jungle (1970)
Carry On Loving(1970)
Carry On Henry (1971)
Carry On At Your Convenience (1971)
Carry On Matron (1972)
Carry On Abroad (1972)
Carry On Girls (1973)
Carry On Dick (1974)
Carry On Behind (1975)
Carry On England (1976)
Carry On Emmanuel (1978)
Carry On Columbus (1992)

Here's a short introduction to the film series, cribbed from Wikipedia, for my overseas readers who might not me as familiar with them as us Brits;

The Carry On series is a long-running British sequence of comedy films, stage shows and television programs produced between 1958 and 1992. There were thirty-one films. Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas were the series' sole producer and director respectively. They mostly employed the same crew and a regular group of actors. The main cast predominantly featured Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas and Jim Dale. The Carry Ons comprise the largest number of films of any British series and, next to the James Bond films, are the second-longest continually-running UK film series.