Creation 1990. CRELP 082
Creation were in the habit of putting out endless badly compiled and pointless compilations whenever their bank balance was a bit low, which with Kevin Shields’ studio bills to pay, it often was. This one is certainly badly compiled and some of the tracks are awful, but it isn’t pointless because there are some rare gems amongst the garbage.
First up is The House Of Love with a sublime live acoustic version of Shine On recorded live, apparently during one of Guy Chadwick’s meltdowns. It was originally on a flexi given away at gigs, and Creation, being hopelessly disorganised had lost the tape, so this was mastered from a rather damaged flexi. It sounds surprisingly listenable given the source and it’s well worth downloading the album for this track alone.
Next is a My Bloody Valentine rarity – an instrumental taken from a 7″ single given away free with the first few copies of Isn’t Anything. It’s unlike anything else they recorded, in that it uses a drum loop – in fact the same drum loop Madonna later used on Justify My Love, and works really well. It’s doubly welcome here because it sounds much better than the original 7″, although it has more recently been included as an extra track on the re-issue of Isn’t Anything. The same comment applies to the excellent Momus track (I’ve posted a rip of the terrible sounding original 7″ already – this pressing is much better).
The rest are dodgy album out-takes and rejected singles. Mostly it’s not hard to see why they were rejected, although if there are any bands here you particularly like, they’re worth having. The Jazz Butcher track is rather good, but this Peel session version is inferior to the officially released one which I’ll post at some point. Of interest is the Nikki Sudden track which was recorded with Peter Buck of REM – and anyway you can never have too much Nikki Sudden.
4AD 1980. BAD11
This is a very peculiar release, not for the first time on this blog. Like this post, it’s an extremely early 4AD release, and like The Fast Set, not much like the style they became known for, either the music or the artwork. In fact it was 4AD’s first compilation.
What makes this odd is that all the bands on this compilation were unsigned at the time. Only Modern English went on to become 4AD regulars – apart from that all the bands here disappeared without trace. It has to be said that were this not on 4AD, it would be of no interest to anyone, apart from, maybe, the people appearing on it.
The music itself is somewhat experimental gothy synth based stuff and it’s really not that great. Most bizarre, although I kind of like it, is the Red Atkins track – a 65 year old who sounds like a busker, and who, apparently is recording again.
So, this is really only for 4AD obsessives.
Subway Organization 1987. SUBORG4
I’ve been quite rude about the Subway stuff I’ve posted in the past (sorry Tom), but I must say, digging this out decades after I last heard it was a pleasant surprise. Yes, it has all the features of Subway which I don’t think have aged too well, but somehow here it works much better.
Stars of the show are The Flatmates with the final track, Love Cuts. It has all the Flatmates’ hallmarks – corny tune with worse lyrics, badly played and sung but I actually really like it, although I’m not really certain why. It’s the bit at the end which particularly works – all they’re doing is strumming their way through the chords which make up the song, but it had me jumping around the room. They obviously knew it was good – it’s the only time I can think of that a Flatemates track goes beyond a couple of minutes. The preceding track by Bubblegum Splash, The 18.10 To Yeovil Junction achieves something similar although not quite as well. The Razorcuts come up trumps with the hilarious Big Pink Cake. If you’re going to be twee, you might as well go completely over the top with it. The rest is fairly standard Subway stuff, good if that’s what you’re into, although Rodney Allen just makes me want to listen to Billy Bragg, who did the same thing infinitely better.
This is a sequel to Take The Subway To Your Suburb which I’ve re-upped. In fact the two albums were released together on CD at some point (in Japan I think).
The Pink Label, 1987. PINKY 15
“One Of The Dads” asked for some McCarthy recently. I’m pretty sure I don’t have anything other than this rather fine Pink compilation, but they were a great label with a strong identity, so I hope he enjoys it.
That Petrol Emotion have appeared here before and will do again in future; Keen was their first single. Rumblefish were quite a favourite back in the day – I’m an absolute sucker for an earnest pop song with a trumpet part, but they have a retrospective out, so I can’t post anything other than this. There’ll be more from the June Brides at some point too. Of all the tracks here it’s The Wolfhounds’ Anti-Midas Touch which is most familiar, which is odd as I have nothing by them other than this. I guess Peel must have played it a lot.
I’ve done a spot of re-uploading in the last few days. Anything with 4shared, zshare or slingfile links will work. A few ultramegabit links still work too. If you’ve missed anything, it could well be up again. Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed.
Barracuda Blue Records 1987. 12UTA9
As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t had much time lately to post stuff here, or to do vinyl rips. That’s because I became a dad for the first time last week, so priorities have shifted a bit. Things are calming down now so I’ll get back to it, but from now on the pace will be a bit slower.
I’m also having filehost trouble – all music bloggers get it at some point. Ultramegabit are taking down files much faster than they’re supposed to, bitshare are terminally unreliable and my 4shared account is pretty much full. So I need another free filehost who doesn’t take files down, but have no time right now to look for one. Any suggestions gratefully received.
In the meantime, here’s a rather obscure EP which is mostly a Marc Bolan tribute. The real draw here is Nikki Sudden whose massive body of work is consistently worthwhile. Here he contributes a rather pleasing acoustic version of Sailors Of The Highway. The Times later signed for Creation and are mostly an Ed Ball solo project – his version of The Slider adds a nice grungy element to the song. I know nothing at all about the Necessitarians, nor why of the three tracks they contribute only one is a Bolan cover.
There are more detailed notes about this release than I can be bothered to write here.
Sub Rosa 1996. SR110
This is the third and final compilation released in tribute to the late French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The first is here, and the second, which is a companion to this one, is here. Essentially this album is a remix of Folds and Rhizomes; the various artists have swapped tapes and reworked each others contributions. It’s a pretty successful project – after all the contributors mostly represent the cream of 90s electronica. As usual, I reckon Mouse On Mars is the highlight, both the Scanner remix of Subnubus and their remix of the fourth track which seems to include everyone.
This is mostly minimal electronica. If you want to know more, the links above give a more detailed description of what to expect.
SST 1988. SST 249
The cover of this album implies that it’s a film soundtrack, but as far as I can tell it wasn’t. It’s just SST artists from the late 80s covering songs you’ll mostly be familiar with. Apart from Sonic Youth the bands represented aren’t that well known, but SST had a house sound during this time, so if you like late 80s US punk, you’ll feel at home.
Inevitably some of it works, some of it doesn’t. I reckon SOS is by far Abba’s best song but their voices grate so this was an open goal as far as I was concerned – but the version here is rather lacklustre. Highlight for me is Tales Of Brave Ulysses – it betters the original in my view, and the cover of Hawkwind’s Master Of The Universe works well too. There’s also a competent cover of the Beatles Wild Honey Pie which is worthy of mention for the guitar work.
Durtro Janana 2006. Durtro Janana 1963
I’ve been listening to compilations a bit lately, mainly because I usually neglect them and forget the hidden gems they contain. This one is a bit of a beast; five full CDs and 75 artists, so it is a bit overwhelming but there’s so much interesting stuff it’s essential if you’re into the offbeat.
It was put together by David Tibet (of Current 93) who obviously has a hell of an address book as a benefit for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). While it lacks the stylistic coherence of most of the compilations I’ve posted here in the past, the quality is mostly very high, and some effort has been made to make to album flow. Realistically, you’ll never play the whole thing in one sitting, so the CDs are made to work pretty well as standalone albums.
It’s so vast and so varied I don’t really want to attempt a description – I’ll be typing all day. I bought it for the Bonnie Prince Billy track, but soon realised it’s full of stuff I like, or at least stuff I would like if I’d heard it. There are the avant garde names you’d expect, but also people representing his interest is the weirder end of folk, such as Bill Fay.
Really the best thing to do is look at the tracklisting below and to trust me that there’s very little filler.
Posting a charity album here might seem like a really bad idea, but it is sold out now. If you enjoy it, you could assuage any guilty feelings you might have by donating to Medecins Sans Frontieres here. They do really useful stuff providing medical help in places where it wouldn’t otherwise be available.
Virgin Ambient 1994. AMBT4
This is another installment of Virgin’s groundbreaking Ambient series. This one was so influential that it spawned a whole new genre, or at least gave it a name. Like the previous albums I’ve posted from this series, it was compiled by Kevin Martin and, as far as I can tell, features all exclusive tracks. Isolationism is ambient music, but with a dark, threatening edge, and this album contains all the most important musicians in that area. Like most of the albums in this series, it’s carefully compiled to function as a coherent whole, while the quality of individual tracks is high. These aren’t discarded tit bits left from other projects, even from the big names; Aphex Twin’s contribution is as good as anything he’s done.
Blast First! 1989. BFDJ 1 – 10
Ripping this boxed set of 10 7″ singles was a job for a rainy day, and since it rained yesterday, it got done at last. It’s a compilation from the heyday of Paul Smith’s consistently excellent Blast First! label, containing mostly exclusive tracks from bands which are too important to ignore. Detailed info is hard to come by, but there’s only one track here (by Sun Ra) which I know is definately available elsewhere. To add to the confusion, this also came out on CD, cassette and LP as Nothing Short Of Total War with a different tracklisting on each format.
Sonic Youth are at their chaotic best, mixing the fairly conventional rock sound they perfected on Daydream Nation with the more experimental material they were better known for back then. They also appear as their bizarre Ciccone Youth alter ego. For me though, Steve Albini’s contributions; 2 tracks as Big Black and another as, well, I can’t bring myself to type it, are the highlight here. There’s an electrifying version of Kerosene, a truly depressing track about small town nihilism and a surprisingly laid back take on He’s A Whore. Dutch Courage by the unmentionable band is a shockingly badly recorded live version, but oddly, all the better for it. Big Stick contribute a version of their classic Drag Racing, which frankly is the only thing they did really worth hearing. UT, the all women New York noise monsters are here with a re-recording of Evangelist, the stand-out from their In Gut’s House album which I’ll post another time. Dinosaur Jr. are reliable as always, and there’s a suitably unhinged live version of a track from Locust Abortion Technician by the Butthole Surfers, slightly ruined by being way too long to fit on a 7″.
Blast First! was known as a noise label, and so this boxed set is predictably noisy. There was more to Paul Smith than that though, and like Alan McGee over at Creation, he used the label as a platform for his own musical interests. That side of him appears on disc 9, which has a rare 60s recording from Sun Ra paired with a Glenn Branca piece from his orchestra of electric guitars project.
As you might imagine, the box is a bit inconsistent in places, but overall the quality of the music is remarkably high. The essential tracks more than make up for the filler; this was a compilation the label made a real effort with, and it shows.