The Hill Views #2

SO, a little later than planned – I continue my stream of consciousness.

I mentioned last time that my year of 2016 was going to end with seeing Adam Ant perform “Kings of the Wild Frontier” again – but this time at the Roundhouse in Camden. Earlier in the year I was at his Brixton gig, which for me was an exciting and joyous occasion. I was given his first three records as Christmas and Birthday presents when they came out originally and I remember listening to them as a teenager as excited about the music as I was about his outfits and stripe across the nose. I knew about the Bow Wow Wow situation and firmly sided with Adam at the time. The pompous and magnificent drums, the chants of “we are family” ringing around my ears gripped me then, and it gripped me with my inner child at Brixton. It was marvellous. And here we went again at the Roundhouse as a sort of Christmas time gig. The energy he has on stage was incredible – time and time again racing around the stage, performing those tracks with exactly the same passion as before. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. It was a fantastic end to the year. You wanna know what he played – well here is a link:

http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/adam-ant/2016/roundhouse-london-england-43fb33f7.html

Sadly his 2017 US tour has been tinged with sadness with the death of his guitarist Tom Edwards at the age of 41. However, with the support of Tom’s family the tour goes on and Adam continues to wow his audiences.

Finishing off 2016 like that was great, but it’s made me think about what I want to see this year. I’ve decided on “no nostalgia” but that’s going to be hard enough with some of my old favourite bands like The Wedding Present, Sigur Ros, The Primitives, Buffalo Tom, Teenage Fanclub and The Jesus and Mary Chain all touring at the moment. Either with new songs or without. I’ve nothing in the diary so far so I’ll have to keep you posted. I’m still resisting the urge. I’ve got to find some new things to listen to.

Anyway, I can still write about these “old” records – I think the joy of seeing Adam Ant was that it really switched me back on to what grabbed my attention musically in the first place – what sounds excited me, why, and how these things led me to explore other musical avenues. I can remember thinking “what else is out there” and then spending hours in our local record shop, flicking through lp sleeves, 7inch singles in the “alt” or “punk” or “Americana” or “Aus/NZ” sections… just picking out record sleeves that looked enticing, not really knowing what the music was going to be but making judgements on the artwork and what instruments were listed on the back cover (if any).

So what came after The Tubeway Army and Adam Ant’s records? Perhaps you will be dismayed to hear that I spent time in the company of Dire Straits, Genesis, Marillion (with Fish), ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, amongst others – whilst also finding my synth feet with Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, etc.

It was only a matter of time before I decided to go deeper underground – to find the sounds that would really piss off my parents, and at the same time make me gasp or just think “what the hell is that?”

the-fall-hip-priest-and-kameradsMy elder sister came back one day from school having bought a record called “Hip Priest and the Kamerads” by The Fall. So she basically gave me my love of Mark E Smith’s band of not so merry men. She also introduced me to Ian Dury and the Blockheads but I drew the line when she started playing Simply Red records. I guess you can’t blame me for nicking her The Fall and Ian Dury records as punishment but “Hip Priest” was probably one of the records that completely changed my attitude to music. So basic in some parts, so reliant on the rhythm section – the sparse drums, the bass guitar driving the music and the tinny guitar all holding up some insane rantings from Mark E Smith.

Anyway. To the reason for this blog. There is one other record that I hold up as being pivotal in influencing my attitudes to recorded sound.

That record is by Dog Faced Hermans and is called “Humans Fly”.

dog-faced-hermans-humans-flyStarting off with the hand drawn logo on a mysterious black and white cover, to a tracklisting including songs called “How much vegetation have you got” “Mary Houdini” “Incineration” and “El Doggo Speaks” – I had to have it. I was curious about there being brass instruments being played on it, and when I got this mysterious beast home and started to play it I knew this was the kind of music I wanted to hear forever. It’s dis-chordant, it’s insane, it’s like nothing I’d ever heard before. I couldn’t marry up the beats which seemed to be in a different time signature to the guitars and singing. No, not singing, not speaking, not shouting. I still can’t describe Marion Coutts vocals adequately. The effect on me hearing her back then was again quite like nothing had gone before. How could you do that with sentences? It just blew everything away into a new universe. Of course you don’t need “verse chorus verse chorus middle 8 outro”. Why the fuck would you want that formula anyway? Bung a trumpet break in there why don’t you. Oh ok. Yeah. Smash it up. Dribble all over boring old Top 40 / Major Labels faces with their lame boring old formula. Sell a million records – Sod that. Let’s just sell 10. That’ll do.

Oh it’s classed as “post punk” now, but it was always more anarchic than that to me. They improvised heavily. If you remember Chumbawumba then if you said they copied Dog Faced Hermans and were a mainstream and sanitised version of them then you might be 0.2% closer to understanding what I mean. I put this down as the first truly “indie” or “alternative” record I ever bought. It was the one that I had found for myself, not relying on anyone giving it to me, or saying “listen to this” or hearing about it by word of mouth.

It was there in the record racks, all mysterious and strange looking, with its plastic protective sleeve. Calling out to me to take it home to play.

When the needle hit that groove, and I turned up the volume to drown out my screaming parents protests I knew that Humans did indeed Fly. I knew that the amount of vegetation I’d got, was not enough. The rain it DID raineth and when El Doggo Spoke, everyone would listen and it would be me controlling the volume.

Rob Boyd – 7th Feb 2017

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Chau 2016! Balance del año

400dpiLogoEste 2016 fue el segundo año de Argie Pop Records, 2 vueltas completas al sol y cuando miramos para atrás nos maravillamos de las increíbles aventuras que compartimos con todos Uds.

Por empezar, mantuvimos vivo a nuestro podcast, casi con asistencia perfecta durante los fines de semana, salvo algún podcast especial más largo, todos de alrededor una hora de música. Sonaron muchos artistas nuevos y clásicos, siempre buenas canciones. Es un honor poder mostrar canciones de artistas emergentes de todas partes! Atentos a 2017 por si hay sorpresas con este podcast…

A principios de Abril 2016 organizamos la primer noche de SKA 2 Tone, el debut de la Malambo Ska Band con los Papas Ni Pidamos nada menos que en Makena, una noche mágica que quedo en el recuerdo de todos!

TAPA DE DISCO EN 1425x1425A mediados de Abril 2016 editamos el LP de Angel, nuestro #APR0003Estoy Aqui“, un manifiesto a la guitarra y a la melodía! Un gran disco de un gran artista.

Entre Mayo y Septiembre estuvimos convocando y eligiendo cuidadosamente los artistas y temas que conformaron nuestro segundo compilado de bandas emergentes, ya no solo de Argentina sino de Latinoamérica toda! Saludame al Barba, nuestro #APR0004, fue editado el 21 de Septiembre de 2016, coincidiendo con la Primavera del cono sur.

barba1425x1425Este disco es increíble, con 18 artistas de México, Ecuador, Chile y Argentina. Si no lo escucharon todavía, no dejen de hacerlo.

Y luego empezamos a acelerar para el fin de año. En Noviembre editamos el LP de Pórtico Limón, nuestro #APR0005, llamado “Volumen I“, una explosión del funk podrido de Buenos Aires. unnamed-1Una gran banda que presento su disco en Niceto Lado B a principios de Diciembre, y ahí estuvimos también!

Traffic CityEn Diciembre llegaron nuestros amigos de Traffic City, editando su primer EP llamado “Barracas“, nuestro #APR0006, con un soul y funk setentoso plasmado con gran gusto y estilo por Mariano Gallegos y su combo.

xmas-not-so-much-1425x1425Y luego llegamos a las últimas semanas del año y recibimos las dos sorpresas más esperadas! Primero, el single navideño de Entre-Knobs, nuestro primer single editado por Argie Pop Records, el #APR0007, llamado “Xmas not so much“, con la música del trío indie y las voces inconfundibles de Rob Boyd y Flor Gavirati.

msb-too-much-pressureY para cerrar el año, la Malambo Ska Band con su cover de los míticos The Selecter, nuestro #APR0008, “Too Much Pressure“, grabado en vivo en Makena el 2 de Abril pasado.

Finalmente nuestro amigo Rob Boyd comenzó a publicar sus críticas a discos y conciertos en directo desde Londres, nuestro único corresponsal internacional, con The Hill Views!

Es decir, un año increíble para Argie Pop Records, un gran logro haber llegado hasta acá, manteniendo nuestra postura de independencia absoluta y la convicción intacta de que se puede ayudar a los artistas emergentes a difundir su obra.

Por ahora nos despedimos y los esperamos con más sorpresas en el 2017! Felicidades!!

The Hill Views #1

jmj1So when Carlos invited me to write some reviews, I started off thinking I was going to do a traditional type thing, choosing a record and reviewing it. I began with huge excitement writing up a review of Jean-Michel Jarre’s new lp “Electronica” which featured collaborations with such electronica pioneers as Vince Clarke, Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Sebastien Tellier, Gary Numan amongst other such luminaries. Not only that, but it was a 2 volume opus harking back to the quality of Equinoxe and Oxygene. However, I got a bit bogged down in trying to describe each track in the style of an experienced music reviewer/columnist and found I couldn’t really find enough adjectives or comparisons to use – and my referencing of other bands isn’t particularly good either. I just like what I like, because it sounds nice or excites my ears.

And so, we find ourselves at this point. You are reading this, expecting some long boring old review comparing Jean-Michel Jarre to some solid old oak trees, dependable, been around for ages, growing old gracefully – and I’m afraid I’m going to let you down. All I can say is that as I was listening to it, I began thinking how brilliant Oxygene and Equinoxe were/are, and how Electronica really reminds me of them. jmj2And then he went and announced a world tour – so off I went to the 02 Arena in London in October to see him. Truly brilliant musically and visually, it was a great show – I would say quite light entertainment really, plus we also were treated to a sneak peak of Oxygene 17 from the latest addition to those disques – celebrating its 30th Anniversary.

So then I took delivery of the third part of Oxygene the other week, and everything comes full circle.

It’s been a strange year musically for me really as a fan. All the gigs I’ve been to have been nostalgia trips, bands reunified or celebrating some sort of anniversary or other. I’ll tell you more about all that in later posts, but interestingly the night after I was watching Jean-Michel Jarre at the 02 Arena, on the Friday, on the Saturday I was at the 02 Shepherds Bush Empire watching The Mission. (You will note that 02 seem to have acquired most of London’s larger venues and we can’t escape the corporate sell-a-thon).

Poles apart stylistically but tethered to my personal musical loves. The Mission were the second band I ever saw live (the first was The Pogues in Southampton 1987 on the ‘If I should Fall From Grace with God’ tour – oh Kirsty MacColl how I miss you). The Mission I saw originally at the London Astoria in 1987 and then again during their residency there in March 1988 on the Children Play tour. I remember the first time, bouncing down into the mosh pit in my flowing paisley shirt, and falling down immediately in the melee but being picked up by the friendly eskimos. The gig then was fast, loud, passionate, bombastic, filled with ego and wine. It completely switched my focus from stuff like Jean Michel-Jarre and poppy folk like the Pogues and routed me in a different direction from then on – I would explore all types and style of music to find something that really grabbed my attention.

I love the album “Children”. I think it was their finest record although everyone else seems to think Carved in Sand is better and that Butterfly on a wheel is the best Mission song. I disagree – It’s all about Beyond the Pale and Tower of Strength for me, as well as 1969/Garden of delight. Songs that literally carried you aloft and raised your spirits.

Well, until they went and released “Another fall from Grace” this year. I contributed via their pledgemusic campaign so got hold of the deluxe cd version, (the cd album, and instrumental version of the album and a dvd of rare live footage from their support slot with U2 in Leeds 1988 or thereabouts. The live footage is pretty rubbish quality but it’s interesting to see the band in their pomp.

mission1Anyway – the actual lp is stunningly good. It harks back to “God’s own medicine”, and has the pomp of “Children”. Also featuring original members Wayne Hussey, Simon Hinkler and Craig Adams it takes me back to the excitement I felt when I first heard their music on the “Serpents Kiss” 7 inch single. Another fall from grace, also gets better with each listen. For example, it took me about 5 listens to fall in love with “Phantom Pain”. I skipped that track the first time, but now can’t get enough of it.

So you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that when they bounded on stage at Shepherds Bush for their 30th Anniversary tour – I was completely taken aback by how good they sounded, albeit older and greyer and less hair. I felt I was back there in 1987/88 – feeling the same feelings, loving the warmth and friendliness of the crowd, the inclusivity of it all. Utterly marvellous. I really recommend the new lp. Forget about the instrumental version and the dvd which are a bit pointless to be honest – nice to have, but pointless.

So there you go – a first glimpse into my world. I’m seeing Adam Ant this coming Sunday for the second time this year (30th anniversary of Kings of the Wild Frontier”) so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Rob Boyd – 14th December 2016

PS – Gary Numan also contributed to The Mission‘s LP

 

 

Muy pronto! The Hill Views…

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Rob Boyd es el cantante y compositor de Rapid Results College, una banda británica que hemos incluido en algunos podcasts semanales. También hizo lo suyo con The Hillfields, Partition y The Wyrd Interactions!

Rob es un gran amigo mío y  por lo tanto de Argie Pop Records, y tenemos el inmenso orgullo de poder anunciar que muy pronto estaremos incorporando una nueva columna dentro de nuestro portal, las Hill Views, donde leeremos lo que Rob tiene para contarnos sobre la música que está escuchando. Pronto, muy pronto, aquí!!!

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