Friday, 29 July 2011

Swell Maps - International Rescue (1999)

Noisy and experimental, Birmingham's Swell Maps experienced little commercial success during the course of their chaotic career, but in hindsight they stand as one of the pivotal acts of the new wave: not only was the group an acknowledged inspiration to the likes of Sonic Youth and Pavement, but their alumni -- most notably brothers Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks -- continued on as key players in the underground music community.

Although Sudden (vocals/guitar) and Soundtracks (piano/drums) formed the first incarnation of the Swell Maps (named after the charts used by surfers to gauge wave intensities) as far back as 1972, the group did not begin to truly take shape until 1976, when the siblings enlisted bassist Jowe Head and guitarist Richard Earl. In the spirit of punk's D.I.Y. mentality, they formed their own label, Rather Records, and issued their debut single -- the brief, jarring "Read About Seymour" -- in the early weeks of 1978. Local media support soon won the Swell Maps a distribution pact with Rough Trade, but they did not resurface until over a year later with the single "Dresden Style."

In mid-1979, the band released its full-length debut, A Trip to Marineville, a crazy quilt of punk energy and Krautrock-influenced clatter. After the release of the speaker-shredding single "Let's Build a Car," the group recorded one final studio LP, Jane from Occupied Europe, before breaking up. A series of outtakes and singles collections -- 1981's Whatever Happens Next, 1982's Collision Time, and 1987's Train Out of It -- followed, while the members followed their own career paths: Sudden formed the Jacobites, Soundtracks joined Crime and the City Solution, and Head played with the Television Personalities. All later enjoyed solo careers as well.

Gloriously chaotic compilation of singles, outtakes and unreleased bits and bobs, this record seems to collect together a wonderful bunch of Swell Maps' punkiest numbers and dispenses with their more experimental outings. To remedy that, I have included the two songs, English Verse and Monologues, which make up the b-side of their second 7", Real Shocks.

Here's a taste:


01 International Rescue
02 Real Shocks
03 Black Velvet
04 Ammunition Train
05 Ripped & Torn
06 Spitfire Parade
07 New York
08 Forest Fire
09 Winter Rainbow
10 Dresden Style
11 Vertical Slum
12 H.A.K.
13 I Really Love You
14 Hey Johnny! Where's The Chewing Gum?

Bonus 1 English Verse
Bonus 2 Monologues

Get it HERE.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mbaraka Mwinshehe & Morogoro Jazz (1971)

Mbaraka Mwinshehe was one of the most popular guitarists and singers in East Africa in the late '60s and early '70s. It's beautiful music, and obviously heavily influenced by the rumba drifting East along the Congo, but this music lacks the fluidity and suppleness of someone like TPOK Jazz, it feels slightly more rigid or regimented. Or maybe its my ears.


01 Expo 70 No. 1
02 Expo 70 No. 2
03 Bivelina
04 Sarakasi Ya Yasinta
05 Urafiki Mwisho Wa Mwezi
06 Afrika Tuko Tayari Kufa
07 Pole Dada
08 Watalii

Get it HERE.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey & His Inter-Reformers Band - Sound of the Moment (1980)

I'll start by apologising for the lack of recent posts - I've been rather busy with one thing or another and just haven't been able to make the time for music posts.

However, I'm returning with the sweet musical sunshine. I picked up this beautiful chunk of balmy Nigerian juju heat at a recent bootsale and it's helping to make up for the lack of sunshine here.
If you've never heard the juju, then this is as good a place as any to start your habit. If you have, then you'll know the score: gloriously woozy slide guitars, mesmeric talking drums and sublime vocal harmonising all blended up into a lazy psychedelic gumbo.

Previous Ebenezer Obey posts can be found here.


Side One: Kaiye Mi Ko Dun Ko Dero / Aja Kole Ba Agbo Kan / Ewure Ile Komo Oyi Ode / Mo Mo Iyi Enia Mi / Omode Yi Nwo Mi Loju / Ade Komolafe

Side Two: Chief Muraina Adisa Makinde / Borikan Ba Sunwon / Folaranmi / Kenimani Sebi Ogun Ni

Get it HERE.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Super Jhankar - Naag Mani (1991)

This is a cassette of fantastic bangra style remixes of songs from the 1991 Bollywood movie, Naag Mani which starred a former Miss India.

Compare and contrast the movie original with the SUPER JHANKAR BEATS version that follows:


01 Mera Long Gawaacha
02 Dil Toot Gaya Tha
03 Chann Pardesi Mere
04 Aashiqon Ka Naam Hum
05 Parbat Ki Unchaai
06 Dushman - E - Jaan Ko Hum
07 Dil Jo Hamaara Aahen
08 Zindagi Men Jeete Jee
09 Pal Pal Meri Jaan
10 Aao Khelen Sanam Sanam

Get it HERE.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Flamenco Sevens from the Franco Era - Various Artists (2011)

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a few old Spanish singles at a boot sale and I thought I'd share them here.

Flamenco is the product of the collision of the musics of the European Roma with those of the Sephardic Jews and the Moors in Spain. These distinct cultural groups found common ground during the years of the Spanish Inquisition when all were persecuted by the Christian ruling classes. The musical cultures mixed after the Moors, Jews and Gitanos were exiled from the cities of Southern Spain and moved into the mountainous regions in the 16th Century.
"...the beasts were at the rack in the stables and the travellers were at the other end in the kitchen, separated from the stable by two stone steps. At that time, this was the normal arrangement in nearly all Spanish inns. The whole building was but one long room of which the greatere part was occupied by the mules and the lesser by the humans. But it was all the merrier for that. As the zagal saw to the pack animals, he kept up a steady stream of repartee with the innkeeper's wife, who replied with all the liveliness of her sex and station until the more serious minded innkeeper came between them and interrupted the exchanges. They soon started up again, however. The inn rang to the sound of the castanets played by the maids, who danced to the raucous singing of a goatherd. Travellers made each other's acquaintance and invited each other to supper. Everyone gathered round the stove, said who they were, where they were going and sometimes told stories. Those were the good old days; now our inns are more comfortable, but the boisterous social life which the travellers of those days led had a charm I cannot describe to you."
Jan Potocki The Manuscript Found at Saragossa

These singles all look like they date from between the early 1960s to the early '70s and they were possibly produced for the growing tourist market, as this was the time when General Franco started to build the large resorts around the golden coasts of the Mediterranean. But I could be wrong.


01 Sevillanas - Juergo Gitana
02 Malaguenas - Alfonso Labrador y Cuadro de Baile
03 Fandangos de Huelva - Roque Montoya, Beni de Cadiz y Soledad Jordan
04 El Porompompero (Rumba) - Manolo Escobar y sus Guitarras
05 Fandangos de Huelva - Juergo Gitana
06 Sevillanas - Alfonso Labrador y Cuadro de Baile
07 Alegrias de Cadiz - Juergo Gitana
08 Soleares - Cuadro Flamenco
09 Ave Maria no Morro - Manolo Escobar y sus Guitarras
10 El Primer Bautizo (Bolero Flamenco) - Manolo Escobar y sus Guitarras
11 Tarantas - Cuadro Flamenco
12 Te Canto Con Mis Guitarras (Vals Bulerias) - Manolo Escobar y sus Guitarras
13 Sevillanas - Roque Montoya, Beni de Cadiz y Soledad Jordan
14 Soleares - Roque Montoya, Beni de Cadiz y Soledad Jordan
15 Tientos - Roque Montoya, Beni de Cadiz y Soledad Jordan

Get it HERE.