Monthly Archives: January 2015

Voices Whisper Look At The Loon

Okay I’m a bit stuck here with how I start this post is it “Back to the Future” or “Forward to the Past”? Or is it just – “I have seen the future of 21st Century rock music and it’s the 1970s?”

It could be all of them or it could be none………..all I know is that The Vintage Caravan have unleashed a couple of excellent slabs of vinyl in Voyage. Listening to them in my newly retro-ised back room (complete with lava lamp, guitar and dimmer switch) if I close my eyes I can see – me aged eight looking cool in my two tone flares (purple at the front, pink at the back) topped off with a mega-collared Toulouse-Lautrec print shirt…………..

………….okay maybe there are some things from the 70s that shouldn’t be revisited but good music definitely should be.

There’s a lot of excellent music coming out of Sweden at the moment (as discussed with my mate Mr F only last week) and this trio of musos must be close to the forefront. If you like your music heavy with the occasional lighter shade, extended passages of guitar, bass, drum interplay and none too subtle drug references (Expand Your Mind, Psychedelic Mushroom Man, etc) then you need to hear this.

And of course if you really want to get the full effect you also need to get a lava lamp………

…… suitably weird video follows…………… 

The Vintage Caravan – Voyage – Double Vinyl (2014)

    • Craving
    • Let Me Be
    • Do You Remember
    • Expand Your Mind
    • M.A.R.S.W.A.T.T.
    • Cocaine Sally
    • Winterland
    • Midnight Meditation
    • The King’s Voyage
    • Psychedelic Mushroom Man

Rate – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 14, Vinyl Singles – 13, LPs – 7, Downloads – 5, Total Tracks: 270, Time: 19h 28m 45s

Dickie Davies

Instant Funk – Got My Mind Made Up / Wide World Of Sports (1979) – Vinyl

Well the only thing that I ‘got my mind made up’ about here is that the title track may have worked at Boogie Nights (courtesy of the Magnet Leisure Centre) back in the 70s with hormonally charged teenagers but now it does nothing. I sort of suspect that even back then it would have only worked in conjunction with a couple of Malibus.

For the B side I was hoping for a starring role by Dickie Davies and on that front I was disappointed as the track is an instrumental. However while this may just be a funk jam that doesn’t really go anywhere it is in fact much better than the A side in that it is less contrived and feels more real.

Rate – 2/5 Condition – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 14, Vinyl Singles – 13, LPs – 6, Downloads – 5, Total Tracks: 260, Time: 18h 33m 46s

What The Hell???

Tokyo Dragons

Tokyo Dragons – What The Hell (2005) – Vinyl

Hmmm back to the vinyl singles for a few tracks now and this one is a real disappointment.

It starts off well enough but then the vocals kick in and the banality of the lyrics (“I know it’s wrong and I know it ain’t right“………..really?) is only surpassed by the ‘rock by numbers’ approach to the rest of the song.

Sorry but the best thing about this single is the B side (did I mention that it’s a one-sided promo?)

Rate – 1/5 Condition – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 14, Vinyl Singles – 12, LPs – 6, Downloads – 5, Total Tracks: 258, Time: 18h 26m 38s

No Longer Chaos And Confusion

Hawkind and In Search Of Space: For me this is where it all started, when I first realised that the music I liked didn’t have to top the charts or be on the radio. It was also the first time I realised that not everyone shared my taste in music.

My first venture in to ‘proper’ music buying (rather than TOTP rip-off LPs) was via Sweet, then Slade and finally Queen – all fully endorsed by my parents. The only real arguments came from my uncles who thought Freddie Mercury was gay because he wore nail varnish – I fought his corner much to their amusement (and how wrong was I…………)

Indeed my music was so accepted that I was allowed to take an LP to my grandparent’s house when we visited – it would play in the background, I would strain my ears to hear it, my parents knew I’d be quiet while listening and my grandparents liked to think that they were trendy (the only music that ever played on their stereo, other than my LPs, was Scottish for some bizarre reason – Highland Pipes & Drums, Andy Stewart, folk songs, that sort of things. Why I don’t know, they came from the East End but managed to fall in love with Scotland.)

On my first serious record buying trip to the Notting Hill Tape and Music Exchange I came across an old battered copy of In Search Of Space, in its original cover and scratched to bits but only costing 25p. I liked the artwork and bought it. Over the following days I played it to death and through the hiss and crackle decided this was my sort of music – in  my head I was a long haired, way out, hippy I didn’t seem to recognise that the person I saw in the mirror every morning was a 16 year old schoolboy with a short back and sides.

It was this LP that I took to my grandparents the following Sunday and dutifully put on the stereo.  About 8 minutes into “You Shouldn’t Do That” there was a cry of “What the hell is this?” from my grandparents and the record was taken off.

I was never allowed to take records to their house again………….

For me this LP has stood the test of time, whilst the original one I bought is long gone I still listen to the reissued CD on a regular basis. The ad-hoc, improvised nature of some tunes, the early use of electronics, the acoustic undercurrent and the overall “off our heads” vibe still works. Unfortunately the CD has the addition of three tracks taken from singles (including the ubiquitous Silver Machine) and this is a case where an enhanced release actually decreases the impact of the original. The album should end with Children Of The Sun, it’s the perfect finale. Or maybe I’m just being a boring old fart.

Hawkwind – In Search Of Space (1971) – CD 1996 Reissue

    • You Shouldn’t Do That
    • You Know You’re Only Dreaming
    • Master of the Universe
    • We Took the Wrong Step Years Ago
    • Adjust Me
    • Children of the Sun
    • Seven By Seven (Original Single Version)
    • Silver Machine (Original Single Version) (Live at the Roundhouse)
    • Born to Go (Live Single Version Edit) (Live at the Roundhouse)

Rate – 5/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 14, Vinyl Singles – 11, LPs – 6, Downloads – 5, Total Tracks: 257, Time: 18h 22m 52s

I’m Tired Of Looking For Answers

Towards the end of last year I was given some vouchers at work for achieving all my goals, being nice to colleagues, toeing the management line, single-handedly saving the Company or something along those lines (you get the idea – I forget why I got them now if truth me told). Anyway I found myself in the rejuvenated vinyl section of HMV this morning and decided to take a punt on First Aid Kit, I’d heard good things and so grabbed a copy of “Stay Gold”.

It’s exquisite, an album of emotive tracks that only female singers can pull off (imho). With lyrics like those below, this is definitely one for listening to on a Sunday evening with a whisky in one hand as you wonder where the years have disappeared to…..-

I am in love and I am lost
But I’d rather be broken than empty
Oh I’d rather be shattered than hollow
Oh I’d rather be by your side
Now I can’t believe that it’s been five years
Since we both stood here looking out at this city
With minds so bold and thoughts so clear
We said
We are gonna get out of here
Run from all our fears
Follow what we once held dear
When will we get out of here
Shattered & Hollow

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold – Vinyl (2014)

    • My Silver Lining
    • Master Pretender
    • Stay Gold
    • Cedar Lane
    • Shattered & Hollow
    • The Bell
    • Waitress Song
    • Fleeting One
    • Heaven Knows
    • A Long Time Ago

Rate – 4/5

Listening Since Day One

CDs – 13, Vinyl Singles – 11, LPs – 6, Downloads – 5, Total Tracks: 248, Time: 17h 25m 27s