BACK CATALOGUE. Grace Jones ‘Nightclubbing’

 

‘Nightclubbing’ is this week’s Classic Album on Double J and I’m using it as a jumping off point to play a couple of other Grace Jones tracks on this week’s Fat Planet. The album was one of three that Grace recorded between 1980 and 1982 with the studio band The Compass Point All Stars, led by Sly & Robbie. Between this record, ‘Warm Leatherette’ and ‘Living My Life’, Grace delivers exquisite takes on post-punk and electro pop songs of the era, including covers of Iggy Pop, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Smokey Robinson, Joy Division and Gary Numan. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Grace Jones ‘Nightclubbing’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Jóhann Jóhannsson ‘Orphee’

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s solo album ‘Orphee’ was one of my most played records last year; a beautiful suite of works that soundtracked quiet moments at home; contemplative moments staring out of train windows, and moments of much-needed respite on cross-city excursions. It’s heartbreaking to hear of his passing, as he was an artist with so much more to give; although actively making music for 15 years, he was clearly in the middle of an incredible creative stride. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Jóhann Jóhannsson ‘Orphee’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Pecker ‘Pecker Power’

I love the cover artwork on this reissued 1980 Japanese cosmic dub from producer and percussionist Pecker (aka Masahito Hashida) titled ‘Pecker Power’. The album features dub heavyweights Sly & Robbie and Augustus Pablo along with members of The Wailers and vocalist Minako Yoshida. Given the players, it’s a curious take on classic dub from the era, with two Japanese Bob Marley covers thrown into the mix. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Pecker ‘Pecker Power’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Degrees Of Provenance Playlist

Last April I started a new playlist on Spotify – ‘Degrees Of Provenance’’ – music that has inspired the artist on my record label, Provenance. Since then, the playlist has been constantly morphing, with a different member of the Provenance family curating the playlist each month (currently featuring selections by Medicine Voice). Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Degrees Of Provenance Playlist”

BACK CATALOGUE. Peter Gabriel ‘Melt’

Other than ‘Games Without Frontiers’, the only thing I knew about Peter Gabriel’s early work was that his album covers were weird and bizarre. The covers of his first four albums all seem to riff off 70s and 80s horror tropes – all disconnected, indistinct faces in one form or another. I’ve only recently started listening to these records, appreciating them for something other than the artwork. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Peter Gabriel ‘Melt’”

BACK CATALOGUE. A trip through the flipside of Björk’s career

Björk’s voluminous catalogue contains thousands of curios for playlist fanatics. I am one those fanatics, an obsessive Bjork collector, endlessly shuffling my thirty-year compendium of Bjork-related tracks into various combinations, or stacking my complete collection of physical releases into increasingly idiosyncratic order.

In doing so, I know only too well that her discography can be sequenced in such a way to make any argument whatsoever about her work as a composer and producer. Bjork as studio genius, classical composer, dancefloor junkie, folk singer, remix devotee.

To celebrate the release of Utopia, I’ve created a unique Björk playlist, one that takes an intentionally subjective slice though her career.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. A trip through the flipside of Björk’s career”

BACK CATALOGUE. Laurie Anderson ‘Big Science’

‘O Superman’ seemed to come at the right time in my life. As a kid, I had just started to understand that music needn’t be guitar, bass, drums and was excitably tuned in to anything with an otherworldly flavour. It was the time of Star Wars and Doctor Who’s golden age, so perhaps that’s no surprise.
‘Big Science’ is Laurie’s debut proper with this wonderful cover shot of an artist caught in the headlights. The photo was taken during one of her performance pieces by video producer Greg Shifrin. It wasn’t intended for an album cover, it was apparently taken by happenstance, grainy and out of focus.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Laurie Anderson ‘Big Science’”

BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most important female artists of the 90s

More 90s recall this week as Double J continues its month-long retrospective, asking the question ‘Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?’. This week’s list is my favourite of the three thus far, ‘The 50 most important female artists of the 90s‘;

I was asked to write about a few legends, and I even managed to stop hyperventilating to write something vaguely intelligible about the woman at #1.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most important female artists of the 90s”

BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s

Double J’s all-month-long 90s retrospective continues this week with another ‘Best Of’ list, sure to have a few of you wailing at both the inclusions and exclusions. ‘The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s‘ includes a few contributions from me, including tunes from 808 StateCibo Matto (pictured), Transglobal UndergroundThe Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and GusGus.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s”

BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s

Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?

That’s the question Double J is asking all throughout June, as they go deep on the decade that shaped so many of us musically. There are charts galore as part of the 90s celebration, starting with ‘The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s’. Despite growing up in Scotland during the 90s, I wasn’t entirely oblivious to the Australian music scene. There were a few choice acts that made their way up and over the crest of the globe, but only one of my favourites has made its way into this particular ‘Best Of…’ list.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s”

BACK CATALOGUE. 5 moments when Eurovision was nearly cool

The annual Eurovision Song Contest has nearly always scored nil points when it comes to credible artists belting out top-notch songs. Yet, there have been a few moments across the decades where it seemed like cool might prevail against the onslaught of kitsch.

I’ve selected a few well-known artists that put their career on the line in hope of a Eurovision win, and you can watch performances from all of those on the Double J website. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. 5 moments when Eurovision was nearly cool”

BACK CATALOGUE. Sunday Night At The Movies – Soundtrack For An Imaginary Australia

Mix for FBi Radio’s ‘Sunday Night At The Movies’, first broadcast 12th December 2010.

Growing up in Scotland, I spent the first 30 years of my life in ignorance of what truthfully represented Australian culture. However, some of the most cherished music that I listened to in my late teens and early 20s was, in fact, born of this country – and this mix compiles music from that time. Listening from a distance, halfway around the world, these artists (and particularly the tracks represented here) became a soundtrack for an imaginary Australia.

What surprises me most, sadly, is that many of these artists are rarely discussed or referenced here in Australia – indeed, their personal impact would seem inversely proportional to their local legacy.

Features extracts from:

Alan Lamb – Night Passage
Dead Can Dance – The Host Of Seraphim
The Foetus All-Nude Revue – Diabolus In Musica
SPK – The Doctrine Of Eternal Ice
Single Gun Theory – Words Written Backwards (Radio Baghdad Edit)
This Mortal Coil – Dreams Made Flesh *
Future Sound Of London – Papua New Guinea (Dumb Child Of Q Mix) **
Severed Heads – Big Car Crash
Dead Can Dance – Chant Of The Paladin
The Foetus All-Nude Revue – Shut
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Watching Alice
Alan Lamb – Last Anzac
Single Gun Theory – Wild Blue Seas
Harold Baigent – Opening Narration from ‘The Road Warrior’
Dead Can Dance – Orbis De Ignis
Single Gun Theory – Closest To My Heart

* interpreted by Lisa Gerrard
** featuring Lisa Gerrard vocal sample from ‘Dawn Of The Iconoclast’ by Dead Can Dance

Photo: Dead Can Dance via 4AD

BACK CATALOGUE. Three Heads Meet Messmer And Koo Koo

Mitch Jones & Michael Tee stand as two of the key figures in the history of alternative music in Sydney. Together they founded M-SQUARED Records – home to a cluster of now seminal local post-punk artists such as SYSTEMATICS, THE MAKERS OF THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST, YA YA CHORAL, PROD and their own band, SCATTERED ORDER. Nearly 30 years after the fact, SCATTERED ORDER reformed their original line-up earlier this year, and started both playing live and recording once again. I was asked to DJ at their second ‘reformation’ gig with THE MAKERS OF THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST and A SLOW RIP last month – a gig which also represented one of the last live events at the Abercrombie Hotel in Chippendale before it closed its doors.

This mix is essentially my DJ set trimmed to a neat 43 minutes, and features Australia music from the M-SQUARED heyday (1979-1983), both from label artists and beyond. Witnessing this music now, some 30 years later, I’m not particularly aware of the impact that each artist or track may have had at the time, instead I chose to respond to the sounds that still have resonance today. Indeed, listening end-to-end to this mix, this feels like the start of a much longer continuum, and it becomes clear (almost immediately) that there are many current local bands and artists that – wittingly or otherwise – are fostering a unique Australian tradition that began over three decades ago.

Tracklisting:

  • Severed Heads – Introduction / 1982 [from Adenoids 1977 – 1985 Disc 4]
  • Systematics – … And The People Are Blowing Their Minds / 1981 [from Boxed Brownies]
  • Ronnie and the Rhythm Boys – Hey Joe / 1979 [from Little Bands EP]
  • Ya Ya Choral – God’s Buzzsaw / 1983 [from Such A Dutch Man]
  • Yclept Dinmakers – I Think A Shell / 1982 [from Klinger The Blowies]
  • Hiroshima Chair – Reset / 1980 [from Reset]
  • SPK – Mekano / 1979 [from Auto Da Fe]
  • Severed Heads – Food City / 1981 [from Clean]
  • The Limp – Rony Club / 1981 [from A Selection]
  • Essendon Airport – Runway Rock / 1979 [from Sonic Investigations (Of the Trivial)]
  • Microfilm – Summer House / 1981 [from From Belgrade With Love]
  • Prod – Fish Hook / 1980 [from More Songs That Will Never Be Released]
  • Negative Reaction – Untitled A01 / 1980 [from Negative Reaction]
  • Zyé yé yé – I Want To Live / 1981 [from Primitive Calculators]
  • Laughing Hands – Two / 1981 [from Dog Photos]
  • Severed Heads – Much About Bones, Hello Donald Merry Xmas / 1980 [from Adenoids 1977 – 1985 Disc 1]