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The MOJO CD - 2017 The Best Of The Year

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The first of the year's "best ofs", for some reason MOJO's CD contains a couple of tracks from reissues, as if there isn't enough new music to fill the 80 minutes of the disc, which of course is nonsense. As usual it is a largely populist-centric shiny disc, with a few obscure albeit mainstream entries for that "hip" factor, and as ever there are some glaring omissions. Even if we forget my home in the more esoteric hovels at the end of the rock spectrum, why no UNKLE, or Laura Marling, for starters? Anyway, here goes...

The War On Drugs - Pain
Possibly the worst band name currently extant? Actually despite the title this is quite pleasant, in a diluted electrified Waterboys stylee.

Songhoy Blues - Bamako
The funky afros git down. Not bad, at all.

Paul Weller - Satellite Kid
Paul Weller is 60 next year.

Ghostpoet - Immigrant Boogie
The heaviest thing here, musically and lyrically, it lurches along while the main man imagines the unimaginable plight of refu…

Frank Zappa - Halloween 77

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Halloween 77 is an unusual box set containing all six concerts that were filmed for the Baby Snakes movie, with all the music in high-res WAV on a USB stick, and a Zappa Halloween costume and mask. Or, for those of us with more sense than money and no desire to have six concerts with the same set list, a mere 3-CD version of Uncle Frank's celebration of that lovely American cheesy horror fest and primary school bullies' night out Halloween at The Palladium, NYC, containing the whole set from the 31st October show.



A collision of extraordinary musicianship and occasionally toe-curling non-PC, some might say mysoginist lyrics that defies categorisation, Halloween 77 showcases a band that are drilled to perfection, and the musicianship on display here is of the highest quality. Thankfully the worst of the lyrics are only a minor intrusion into this gargantuan musical feast, and even the base scatalogical humour of the lyrically cringeworthy Punky's Whips is eventually oversha…

The MOJO CD - Neu Decade

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This month the MOJO cover CD features sounds from across Western Europe that contributed to the musical zeitgeist that serenaded David Bowie during his brief stint in the German capital in the later years of the 1970s, to tie in with their feature article on Mr Jones' time in Berlin. Twelve of the fifteen tracks are German and the CD forms a loose collection of the less obvious Kosmische Musik of the times, less obvious because more than likely licensing issues prevented the use of the usual suspects. This makes it far more interesting than it might otherwise have been, and Neu Decade seems at times like a trawl through the lesser played slabs of vinyl in my small, yet perfectly formed Krautrock collection.


Developing free from the constraints of a deeply ingrained blues and latterly, rock'n'roll heritage, these bands and artists naturally ventured well beyond those base building blocks of all British and American alternative musical culture to forge something entirely new…

When is a review not a review? When it goes Grrrrnnnnggghh, that's when...

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This started out as a review of an album entitled Synchromysticism by a band of renegades calling themselves Yowie...

Apparently first used after an incident in Prague Castle in 1618 that initiated the Thirty Years War, “defenestration” is the act of throwing someone out of a window. This begs the question that, being Prague, it must have been spoken in Slavic tongue and therefore was not “defenestration” at all, but some semi-guttural utterance us pampered Anglos would have no hope of pronouncing. Anyway, nitpicking at the technical niceties of language while simultaneously having a dig at the limitations of Wikipedia aside, the drummist and de-facto leader of this band of American lunatics goes by the name of Defenestrator. If that isn’t a reason to review an album I don’t know what is, and boy, do I need a reason right now.

You see over the past couple of months I have lost my writing mojo, and no doubt that provokes a sigh of relief from you, dear long-suffering reader. In fact i…

V Ä L V Ē - #1 [the theosophical society]

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With every other member of Knifeworld being involved in at least three other bands as well as having parallel solo careers, as musicians, DJs, and sword swallowers, it would be remiss of the Knives' resident bassoonist Chloe Herington to sit at home putting up shelves, don't you think? She did too, so with the help of "a spectacular array of rather fetching collaborators" adding saxophones, found sounds, and fragile electronica, this somewhat beguiling EP was produced.

It sounds like anything that required electricity to power it was plugged into a single socket in next door's garage while they weren't looking via stacked three-plug adapters, such is the tottering fragility of the music herein. Some say that avant garde music is often unnecessarily indulgent, and wilful for the sake of it, but this is another creature entirely, blown on the winds of a febrile imagination.

If I am forced to describe this music in two words, that epithet is "dangerously c…

Colouratura - Colouratura

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"Colouratura - n. elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody, especially in operatic singing."

So says the dictionary, and thankfully we can ignore what follows the comma, but the rest applies.

An album made in small hours in their spare time by Nathan James, who wrote the music, and Ian Beabout who twiddled knobs in his fast becoming inimitable fashion, this unusual trip throws the genre book out the window. Over the course of its 50 minutes, a seamless journey split into definable songs or tracks for convenience, but playing as one piece, Colouratura in its first three tracks covers spectral if unsettling ambience, plaintive ballad and Faustian space rock, which gives an idea of the "scattergun set to stun" nature of this record.

The height of the realised songwriting on the album arrives on Sea Shanty, which sways along in proto-Procol Harum fashion before a middle eight that rides the swell in triple time. Nathan James is a fine singer with a good range and emo…

The Fall - New Facts Emerge

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New Facts Emerge is the 32nd album from that strange mental institution burning that goes by the name of The Fall. Led by Mark E. Smith, it is entirely probable that you or I is at least distantly related to someone who has been in The Fall, or at the very least is only three steps removed from a plucky musician with a career death wish to back Smith's by now embarrassingly random splutterings. They seem to be drawn to Smith like moths to a flame, and he has got through approximately 70 of the poor fuckers since crawling out of Prestwich with the first line up back in 1976.

Over the years this band has belted out some stonkingly classic records, and even now and well beyond their prime have until fairly recently managed to pepper their albums with blasts of righteous indignation that make the former fan such as I still occasionally part with readies for a shiny disc. Yes, we still buy CDs, for like Mr Smith we are now quite old. The last time I did this was back in 2008 for Imperi…