RICHARD’S MONTHLY ‘10 FANTASTIC SONGS’ (JUNE 2005)
DOC HORROR – Ants !
A short and lovely evocation of fifties America that I sometimes sing to my baby Antoine- I think he likes it. Inspired Talya and myself to come up with an idea for an accompanying animation where Doc Horror and our former bass player Jim North fight it out in an environmental thriller involving building-eating wasps.This song contains the incredibly witty juxtaposition of the following two lines :
‘There’s something moving in the distance, don’t know what it is.’‘Giant mutant vampire ants, that’s what it is.’
Reverie factor 9/10 : 50’s loner lounging about, anti-hero with gun and rich Daddy, shimmering American desert haze, piled up empty cans of beer, giant B-movie insects.
Doc Horror is the lead singer of ‘Zombina and the Skeletones’ and you can check out his work at our sister site www.lowsleysound.co.uk
I’m not sure you’ll find this song on it.
BARRY BIGGS – Sideshow
One of the first singles I ever bought – I lost it during my teens and spent years looking for it before finding it in Hairy records, Liverpool. A one-hit wonder but oh what a hit ! This extraordinary recording has three particular marvels – the uniqueness of its sound, a blend of reggae and soul the like of which exists nowhere else – the truly incredible atmosphere, warm and eerie at the same time- and a fabulous primitive synth solo which comes from absolutely nowhere and gatecrashes the context.This record is BLOODY MARVELLOUS! To boot, Barry, an enormous man in a pink suit, resembled no less than Fats Domino himself judging from a relatively recent TOTP 2 clip.
Reverie factor 10/10 : Clubs, clowns, 1970s American cities, intense sadness, waltzers, a collector of vital organs in a revolving room, some incredibly weird alcohol, the colour silver.
JULIAN COPE – S.P.A.C.E.R.O.C.K with me
From the largely crap ‘Interpreter’ album, England’s second greatest living male eccentric after Tom Baker produces my favourite rock’n’roll riff of all time. I can listen to this seven or eight times consecutively with no problem.
Cope employs an female opera singer to great effect. Usually I don’t like operatic voices, and this always excites me, like the electric violin (which is an instrument I usually hate as a sick-making excess) employed by the Doctors of Madness to sound like a direct line from the fourth dimension, or the fingers-down-blackboard saxophone of the early Psychedelic Furs albums, an instrument usually as dull and wet as a rotting car sponge. There’s a very scary bit where she follows a four-note keyboard riff, and a thrilling marrow-tingling bit at the denouement where she ups an octave.
Cope hasn’t changed that much since Fried – his interest in the natural universe has simply expanded from the earthly terrain to the wider cosmos.
Reverie factor – 9/10 : The Silver Surfer, Sqwubbsy (Cope’s model alien with a big flat head like the Sontarans in Dr. Who), and a benevolent version of Madame Castafiore (from Tintin) dancing in the solar system, a voice that fills the Universe.
KAISER CHIEFS – I predict a riot
I saw this on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ and have to say it’s brilliant and for some reason reminds me of Lene Lovich (with T-shirt and jeans).
ZDOB SI ZDUB – Bunica bate toba
The Moldovan entry for the 2005 Eurovision song contest – the French commentators described the singer as the ‘Moldovan Iggy Pop’ and although said with all the flippancy and disrespect of big-ears Wogan it’s actually true – a performance and song that rocked Kiev to its foundations and was actually really INTERESTING! There’s a fantastic old lady in the group who, smiling and dignified, gets up from a chair every now and again to play a weird instrument – something like a Eastern European washboard but I couldn’t really tell! They sung in what seemed like some strange hybrid of a language – Moldoglish? Mercifully and miraculously it was fascinating and not the usual cod American English like all the rest.
I’m scared to hear it again on the Internet in case it was only great in the context, but nope, I reckon this is a group to watch all the same.
JEANNE CHERHAL – Douze fois par an
Title song from an album by a French chanteuse who is relatively new to me – if you like Kate Bush you will like this, and if you like Kate Bush as much as me you will love it.
Kate with a bit of jazz at the edges……….oh, and sung in French………and not quite as good, but then again nobody makes such godlike music……………but she has the same way with piano chords…………….with a bit of jazz thrown in……….
KATE BUSH – All we ever look for
One of umpteen Bush songs that are so amazing and beautiful and perfect in every way that it makes life a slightly easier and softer thing. Is she the quintessentially English alien or the quintessentially alien Englander? As Morrissey would say,
Reverie factor – 10/10 : The trees and the streams and the fields and the cows and the skies of the England I love, and Cheltenham train station Platform 2, where I remember digging this song incredibly while waiting for the Brum Express.
DOCTORS OF MADNESS – Mainlines
Seventeen minutes of genius taken from the album ‘Late Night Movies, All Night Brainstorms,’ the greatest music ever made in the history of mankind.
Reverie factor – 10/10 : Just about bloody anything that is fascinating, disturbing, alien, gritty, mind-blowing, frightening, crazy, stark or beautiful. Train tracks by rusting rotting signal huts in bleak industrial middle-of-nowhere Germany. For a more detailed analysis, a story, ‘Escape to vinyl,’ will I hope shortly be available on this website.
RICKY SPONTANE – The Last Refuge
I recently had the rough mixes back from our latest recordings and this I am delighted to say is really great. It’s acerbic, it’s tense, it’s punk, it’s fun with nagging FEAR. What’s more Steve and Talya sound like they REALLY do, and I finally achieved a 24 year old ambition by having a guitar bit that sounds like Mick Jones used to sound.
God, what a bighead I am including this in the ten!
ASHA BHONSLE – Aaj Ki Raat
The woman whose voice fills every inch, pocket and corner of the Cosmos with its unearthly mesmer.
This piece of Bollywood wonder is particularly astonishing for its heavenly chorus – as the sleeve notes say on my prosaically titled ‘Beginner’s GUIDE TO Bollywood’ CD,
“Hear Asha raise her voice an octave on the chorus, leaving the back of your neck bristling.”
…….and this is EXACTLY what happens every time I hear it. Next time I may film the back of my neck and see just how much the hairs bristle.
Expect at least one track from India every month.
Reverie factor – 9½/10 - Orange mountains, spaghetti Westerns, theramins the size of skyscrapers, and……… oh my God………..it’s full of STARS!………………………………………….