Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Digital Help!

Beatles movies are a bit like their albums: always revered as timeless works of genius, yet they never quite hit the spot and there's always something not quite right about them.  Wherein of course lies much of their charm: The Beatles were never an 'albums band' just as much as they were never actors or born-movie stars. What they did produce howver were some damn fine singles and - more often than not - some pretty good visuals to go with them, even well before the 'video age'. Just as in A Hard Day's Night the most memorable scenes involve their splendid singles (witness the Fab Four frolicking on a cricket pitch to Can't Buy me Love), the movie Help is perhaps most loved and remembered for the skiing antics accompanying Ticket To Ride or (a personal favourite) lolling about in a living room miming along to You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.

The Beatles' second full length movie (sic.) has just been re-issued in restored digital quality on DVD and Blue-ray, with the usual treasure trove of extras surrounding the making of, filming of, restoring of etc.
For those who don't know it's a mid-sixties comedic romp involving the pursuit of a ring worn appropriately by Ringo, taking in various locations, most notably the Austrian mountains and the Bahamas. It's a sort of Marx brothers meets James Bond affair with the inevitable Goon-style British humour. Unsurprisingly The cheeky Beatles later quipped that the film was shot in a "haze of marijuana".

Full info here:

Monday, 10 June 2013

Single of the year: OMD - Dresden

"..set the dials to overlaod, my head is ready to explode.."

taken from the recent OMD album English Electric. Remix by John Foxx and the Maths also avilable.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Never Mind The Tubular Bells

Virgin Records will be 40 this month, as will Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, the first release on Branson's label.

The historic Oldfield/Branson/Bells happening has been well documented in the past but here's a kind of definitive version of events as published in's "How We Made" series this week.

How we made: Richard Branson and Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells

..and just out of interest here's the tile track of the first Gong release on Virgin, which was actually released the same day as Tubular Bells, yet with the serial number V2002 came in a close second . .

Thursday, 28 March 2013

1983 v. 2013 / 2.0

I'm still waiting for my copy of the new Depeche Mode album, Delta Machine, which the whole world and his dog seems to have heard by now. (Ama-zon are respecting their delivery date this time instead of pleasantly surprising this patron as they usually do by delivering early..)

So in the meantime here's the second installment of the occasional series in which we compare what music bands are producing now as opposed to what they were doing thirty years hence.

And indeed here are ver Mode with their January 1983 inter-album single Get The Balance Right. This song did in fact see the band moving away from the sloppy pop songs (See You) of A Broken Frame to their more 'socially aware' output which would become so evident in their Construction Time Again album later in the year.
The video, and presumably the recording of the song, was the first to prominently feature new member Alan Wilder who played such a large part in the group's sound and indeed character until his departure,  ten years or so into the future. The 12" 'Combination' mix of GTBR was particularly ace, and is apparently hailed by some as being the first "house" track given it's bass-heavy rhythm and chunky sound.

Fast forward to 2013 and thirty years, ten studio albums, hundreds of live dates and as many personal crises later and we are in a very different mode (cringe..) indeed. That said, the March 2013 single Heaven touches on by now regular topics of religion, redemption, suffering etc. in a reet bluesy number, but which definitely hits the spot in being ultimately catchy and, well, Depeche Mode-y. New album awaited with the usual trepidation.

We'll be comparing further 1983/2013 singles and perhaps some album tracks later in the series. Stay tuned..

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The happy couple

Love these photos of John & Yoko, posted over at Meet The Beatles For Real, marking the couple's wedding anniversary.
The pic shows John & Yoko during the trip to Scotland they took in June 1969 with their respective offspring, Sean and Kyoto, after all the 'honeymoon' fuss with the Hair Peace / Bag Piece stunts.

I like the way the photos show them as both 'normal' people but at the same time sort of alien to the rest of everyone else as they visit schools and other places in small Scottish communities.

Why have all these kids got matching caps? 

Sadly, the happy (extended) family had a car accident later on in the trip, Golspie on July 1st to be precise, apparently due to John's rather wreckless driving...(well he was used to being driven round London in a Rolls rather than driving a mini around the highroads and low-roads of Scotland). John, Yoko and Kyoto all had to have stitches. "If you're going to have a car crash, try to arrange for it to happen in the Highlands. The hospital there was just great," Lennon quipped.
July 1st was also the date recording was start to begin for what was to become The Beatles' Abbey Road album. John didn't make it until the 9th. Naturally Yoko went with him although they had a double bed brought into the studios from Harrod's so Yoko could still get plenty of rest. She was carrying Lennon's child.

see also: Beatles' Bible entry  for July 1st 1969

Monday, 4 March 2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Scarfolk Council: a blog

A little off the musical radar, just came across this very amusing blog, or faux-blog, produced by Scarfolk Council. Here's the blurb :

Scarfolk is a town in North West England that did not progress beyond 1979. Instead, the entire decade of the 1970s loops ad infinitum. Here in Scarfolk, pagan rituals blend seamlessly with science; hauntology is a compulsory subject at school, and everyone must be in bed by 8pm because they are perpetually running a slight fever. "Visit Scarfolk today. Our number one priority is keeping rabies at bay." For more information please reread.

Scarfolk is a marvellous yet rather unsettling politically-incorrect alternative world. Something like what would've happned if we'd never had punk rock or Thatcher or any of that rubbish. It's Life On Mars, but worse..  here are a few publications available..:

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

1983 v. 2013 / 1.0

I'm really glad that a lot of bands who were making good music 30 years ago are still coming up with the goods today, simply because most modern music is rubbish.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark are a case in point. Here they are standing proudly, flags aloof on the cover of Smash Hits (issue Feb 17th - March 3rd 1983) with an interview inside on the subject of their new album Dazzle Ships and new single Genetic Engineering (ad also inside).

..and as if by some strange coincidence the band have recently given news of their new album English Electric, out in April, with some tasty teasers of what's to come. Ironically enough the new tracks seem to take things up where Dazzle Ships left off, and that's just fine by us.

OMD - Atomic Ranch from 100% on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Happy (80th) Birthday Yoko Ono

..not that being 80 years old means anything to such an active and generally marvellous person like Yoko Ono. Excellent post and pictures of Mrs John Lennon over here. May she live until 100 and beyond....

PS I know this post is a day late but yesterday i was busy with other stuff...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

7 x 7

..and 30 years of playing this song on this day ...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Fast Cover Mode On

Possibly the fastest cover version ever to be produced ? Here's the usually very interesting Parralox and their version of Depeche Mode's new single Heaven which came out just 5 days ago.

Monday, 4 February 2013

OMD / eighty-three / auto industry

Thank you to Vibracobra23 for uploading this (on my request!) It's the complete OMD session recorded exactly 30 years ago in January 1983 as a preview of some Dazzle Ships tracks - namely Genetic Engineering*, Of All The Things We've Made, ABC Auto Industry - which were officially released a few weeks later. The sesh was topped with what I reckon was a cracking version of Bunker Soldiers, sadly ignored on the official Peel sessions CD release.
Anyway here it is at last in all its glory, complete with Peel banter twixt the tracks which gives it a nice authentic feel.

*note: the band were apparently more content with this particular mix of Genetic Engineering than the finished official release. 

Monday, 14 January 2013


Welcome back to here readers. First post of 2013.
The whole world and his dog were talking about the new David Bowie album last week, but I didn't bother.
Another big announcemnt today as far as we're concerned is all the official news of OMD's new album English Electric due in April. Official media have today posted details, track-listing and a nifty little video for new track Decimal.

Echoes of Dazzle Ships-era Time Zones /ABC Auto-Industry, upgraded (and recycled), but we'll go with it.
Tracks also include the new single Metroland (Metropolis+Radioland?), out in March, Helen of Troy (cf. Joan of Arc), Kissing the Machine (presumably a remake of the McCluskey/Bartos track from ages ago).

Dazzle Ships is 30 years old this year.