Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The future of music: Part 2123

Got Cable TV through from the ever wonderful Leah Stafford at Sainted PR. I wish, I thought, as I downloaded this thing I'd never heard of; like I need yet another new band yadda yadda yadda. And then.

Well I reckon it's the freshest, finest and most original thing I've heard since the last time, which was some time ago. Apparently they're signed to the Sufjan Stevens co-owned label, Asthmatic Kitty, and seem to plough a suitably "we are the new obscurists" furrow with their references to their sound being like "that mysterious black object that the creepy family is staring at on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Presence album" and their About Fol Chen on MySpace being all convoluted and strange, but hey, they're young and fabulous so who gives a fuck. It's from their forthcoming, imaginatively named album Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made.

Apparently they have a singer called Melissa Thorne, her voice on this lead off track is like having the most drop dead gorgeous sexual person approach you in a Las Vegas cocktail lounge after you've ordered the best Martini ever and suggesting, through droopy eyelids and bored lips, that maybe you'd like to go back to her motel and have the most dirty sex you'll ever have a chance of having; of course it never happens, but it sounds as good as that would be. With an impreceptible pinch of Janet Jackson and that deadpan drum machine that Prince invented, but used here in as classy a way. Apparently Angus Andrew from Liars is guesting on vocals as well, but I didn't notice.

I was in a Vegas cocktail lounge, finishing my drink.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cachaito, he's gone. And Lux has gone with him.

On July 26th 2001, I went to a see cachaito play at Ocean in Hackney. Ocean was a great venue, but unfortunately it was right in the middle of Hackney so getting there, parking or hanging out often posed a problem. I took an old mate of mine who hadn't heard of the legendary Buena Vista bass player, let alone heard his recently released solo album. As it turned out it was one of the best gigs I've ever been to (another being Steppenwolf in 72, I know, I know but you had to have been there); the band were wondrous, apart from the cool-as-fuck presence of the man himself, I mean look at the picture above, there was this fantastic flute player, a tall, gangly Algerian guy who threw these lithe and deadly cool moves and a couple of percussion players who weren't the usual look-at-me -I'm-the-crazy-drummer.

The crowd was a ripe cross section of East London. There were the usual knitted muesli brigade and there were local bloods in big hats as well as old punks and dreads. To a man and woman we were all blown away and won over. There were raised eyebrows from the jazzier purists when Cachaito threw some decks action into the mix but to the rest of the audience this was like lighting the blue touchpaper. The place went up.

The album that the majority of the set came from was one of the most original and refreshing albums released that year, his eponymously named album still sells and I recommend you all rush out and buy it.

Anyway, he's upped and died and the world is once again short of one of the best. It's amazing isn't it, Cliff and Dubya are still walking the planet, Dick Cheney draws breath and Cachaito and Lux Interior have left the room.

There's very little I can say that would paint a real picture of the unique Lux Interior from The Cramps. They ploughed a pretty straight furrow but their furrow was a thing of rare and sibilant beauty. To see the man in full flow, pants down and microphone stuffed into his mouth while the lovely Mrs Interior, Poison Ivy, ground out the crunchy riffs was really a thing of rare beauty. Here they are in the delicate Bikini Girls With Machine Guns, which I have in shaped vinyl. (Sorry about the ads on the clip but it was the best quality I could fine.)

New stuff, old stuff?

So the wonderful Natasha at Toast sends me news of KIG's new release Head, Shoulders, Knees n' Toes. Soon to be gracing the charts via a release on AATW. Now y'know this will do the business, releases on AATW usually do. I'd never heard of the band but Funky House as a genre has been on the radar for a while. In fact ever since my friend, and relation, Fab Four Freddie C told me that he'd tired of his burgeoning grime career due to the number of dim young men carrying guns and that Funky House was the future. I nodded sagely and pulled my woolly cardigan closer.

On the strength of this track I reckon he may be right. You see, when someone says "House" I imagine the loping deep bass of Chicago and Detroit with a smattering of Italo-house piano stabs but KIG has Britain through it like a stick of rock. With an edge of soca beats and a touch of dancehall this couldn't have been made anywhere else but London. That said I went and checked out the original version of this track, the track and video had been put together by the band themselves and once a head of steam builds up an outfit like AATW/Island step in, remix and re-release. Now that is all well and good but often some elusive edge of greatness gets lost in the corporate mix. Here's the original.

Now here's a link to the new version - click here - it might just be me but I reckon the original wins by a nose. What do you reckon? In the overall scheme of things it doesn't really matter, I know, and I hope KIG go on to do all the things they deserve to do. This track is cracking and as a genre this music is urban UK, well urban London at least; and let's be honest shall we, outside of London doesn't really matter.