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Monday, 24 November 2014

La Haine – Original Soundtrack

Proof if ever it were needed that soundtracks rarely work outside of the context of their film. La Haine is no different, with the music during the film one of the stars, but sadly the CD is sparsely populated, stylistically disjointed and padded out with music from ‘Metisse’; a film I’ve never seen. I can’t even remember most of these songs featuring and the most memorable and best track has been omitted.

The genres covered are old disco, a bit of reggae, some hip-hop and plenty of sub-standard funk. I seen to remember lots of decent French hip hop in the film, but there’s limited representation on the disk. The high points however, are as follows;

Bob Marley – Burnin’ and Lootin’
A great song that I heard for the first time in the film. A bit too catchy, but quality social conscience and inspiring lyrically.

The Gap Band – Outstanding
Quality old disco/soul track complete with vinyl crackle. Maybe I forgive them for ‘Oops Upside your Head’. (Having seen the picture of them I definitely do and also want to join the band!)

Is this actually them? I have my doubts looking at image on the track.

Sadly these guys look more likely. I'll let you decide.

Timide et Sans Complexe – Putain de Planete
Quality French hip-hop but from the Metisse soundtrack selection. Maybe I’ll give it a watch.

So a disappointing experience all round. Possibly better suited to hardcore funkmeisters than Into the Valley readers.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Rough Trade – Counter Culture 12

If 2009 was a vintage year for the Counter Culture series then 2012’s installment is headed straight for the bargain bins. Having said that the series always throws up some choice offerings and this year is no different, however the nuggets of goodness are decidedly thin on the ground. Here’s your edited highlights…

The Chromatics – Into the Black

Haunting semi-electronic cover of the Neil Young song. A little New Orderesque and a band I’ll definitely be checking out further.

Slugabed – New Worlds

Chilled funky electro from the genre of music that is ideal for ‘driving around London in the rain at night.’

Keaton Henson – 10am Gare du Nord

Quality camp acoustic ditty from an artist I’d never heard of, in the same vein as Elliott Smith. Apparently he’s an artist and a poet too…mmm, interesting.

Opossom – Girl

Against my better judgement I like this sixties inspired Beach Boys/Velvet Underground homage. Sounds a bit like Django Django.

Toy – Motoring

Old school indie; always a treat but hardly original.

Savages – Flying to Berlin

Like a cross between Joyce Mckinney Experience and Sons & Daughters. Possibly my favourite track on the compilation, well on some days anyway.

Honourable mentions to Francis Bebey (African Electronic Music 1975-1982 sounds like something I should be exploring), the excellent Allo Darlin’ (which I’d heard before) and maybe Metz for their shouty but dated ‘Wet Blanket.’

Now for Counter Culture 13 and then I’ve caught up with the times!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Bleeding Rainbow – Waking Dream

Pick of the Week 58 – Bleeding Rainbow

Distinctly old school indie from this Philadelphia based combo. Reminiscent of early Lush, the Charlottes and the Shop Assistants, this has grown on me a lot over the past year. They could win awards for looking the most awkward and uncomfortable in this video, but that’s no bad thing. A band to watch out for in the future.  

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bob - Leave the Straight Life Behind

The year was 1988 when I first heard BOB. It was their first session for John Peel and what a cracker it was, including the classic 'Trousercide'. I set about quickly buying as many Bob records as I could: 'Swag Sack', 'Kirsty' and 'Convenience'. 

Not long after I saw them live in Hull at The Adelphi and it was a smashing do. After that I was completely hooked and I waited for every new release with a sweaty anticipation, buying records from a mail order booklet called Rhythm. The news of a new album, 'Leave the Straight Life Behind', nearly gave me a fatal attack of giddiness. Sadly, it wasn't quite as good as their previous stuff, too well produced. Nevertheless, I saw them again a couple of times live and they were without doubt some of the best popular music concerts that I had the pleasure of going to. Then that was it. No more BOB. Just a little bit, life dimmed.

Until recently, when I was lurking around HMV window shopping and there, there on the CD rack was a brand new pristine copy of 'Leave the Straight Life Behind' on CD. Those old feelings came rushing back. Wait a minute, £15! HMV, you're having a laugh. But then Mrs. evlkeith noticed a number of bonus tracks: all of the five BOB sessions plus four additional songs. New BOB material! 

So why have I got this obsession with BOB? What's so great about them? They are perfect pop. And that's it. Twinkly indie guitars, lead lines played as intervals on the top two strings, a bit of organ and two blokes singing in harmony, one guy with a slight (very slight) hint of gravelly lowness and the other bloke with a lighter tone. Their voices mesh like Heinz tomato soup and cheese. Some ditties are designed purely for dancing and some are more laid back numbers that I always imagine would be great for listening to when lying on warm grass at the end of a summer's day.

Of the new stuff there's nothing that tops their previous classics but still, it's great to hear them. The biggest surprise was a different version of 'Bloodline' that is fast becoming one of my favourites. There's also a BBC Radio Humberside Live Session version of 'Convenience' but it's not as good as the single version. Here's hoping that someone releases all of the other older BOB stuff soon on CD.

If you've never heard any BOB, then dip your toe into their soda streamed poppy waters. You would have to be very harsh of heart to dislike their jingly jangliness.