Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Addams Family Theme

ORIGINATION duh
LAST LISTENED TO not really ever
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT i'm beginning to notice that mostly unexpected tunes are showing up these days, which does kinda make a mokery of my 'not a chance' type rating
RATING

WTF? Where the hell did this come from? Can i please have it removed now? Jeez.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Peelander-Z - S.T.E.A.K.

ORIGINATION the interwub
LAST LISTENED TO yesterday
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT highish
RATING

Crazy Japanese punk. With portions of wonky English. I would like to cook for you steak. Medium rare! Fantastically nuts. Go, watch the video. See?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bernard Herrmann - Main Title From Cape Fear

ORIGINATION Cape Fear
LAST LISTENED TO years ago
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT are low
RATING

Chances are you'll know something of Bernard Herrmann's work, although you may not know it was is. He was one of the most respected composers to work in film during the 20th century and as such scored nearly a hundred films during his lifetime. His best known work is probably the scores he did for Hitchcock, including such films as North By Northwest, Vertigo and Psycho. Other well known work of his includes Citizen Kane (his film score debut), The Day The Earth Stood Still (wherein he pioneered the use of the theremin in film) and Cape Fear (where his score was used in both versions). The last piece score was for Taxi Driver and he was to die mere hours after recording it.

The Main Title From Cape Fear is up there with his strongest themes. It opens on a descending brass piece, which is followed by a very sinister string part that makes for a frank warning of descent into fear and madness that is to follow in the film. The brass part is particularly effective and, indeed, it is one of the main leitmotifs throughout the film. It drops in out of both this piece and the film, often following on from a quiet tense string section. In the Main Title he uses this device several times, whilst each time increasing the tension in the strings to an almost unbearable level. It ends without reaching resolution as, of course the film is about to begin, where the audience will begin their descent into fear.

In recent years this music has been somewhat co-opted by The Simpsons. They used it in their Cape Fear episode, which was a parody of the film that featured Sideshow Bob (voiced by Kelsey Grammer, best known as Frasier) and contained the famous rake scene. Ever since it has become something of a theme for Sideshow Bob and has no doubt subsequently reached a bigger audience than probably both films put together.

You can find more info about Bernard Herrmann on imdb.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lemuria - Hunk Of Heaven (again)

ORIGINATION Strange Games & Things
LAST LISTENED TO last night
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT rather high
RATING

Ah, what a lovely song. Especially on such a grey and yucky day as it it here this morning. You can find my original post here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Groundhogs - Split (Part Two)

ORIGINATION Split
LAST LISTENED TO yesterday
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT reasonable
RATING

The Groundhogs were formed in the mid-'60s, playing mostly as a power-trio led by guitarist and vocalist Tony McPhee. They began playing the blues, but moved into psychedelia and later towards prog. This type of music was quite popular around the band's creative high point at the start of the '70s. They managed to score three hit albums in the UK, but that was as far as it went, as commercially and critically they were judged to be not quite as good as the competition.

Split was one of their most successful albums and on it The Groundhogs were living in the land between blue rock and psychedelia. Evidenced especially in the first side, which contained four tracks named Split - Part One, Two, Three and Four. Of these four tracks, Split - Part Two is the strongest (although not nearly as strong as Cherry Red on the B-side). All three players are in top form here, playing good material that makes great use of their trio grouping. McPhee's guitar is clearly the star of the piece, however there is a beefy presence from both the bass and drums, which are doing more than just supporting the front man.

Lyrically the Split side of the album deals with schizophrenia, which is a topic that can easily fall into clich├ę. However, the style of playing (and writing) here means that, frankly, it's not all too clear what they're on about. This may or may not be the point. The only obvious reference, other than the disjointed music, is the final vocal on this track – a cry of 'I must get help before I go insane'. The kind of thing i can really do without first thing in the morning.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Don't ring my bell, please

The intercom in my flat hasn't got a buzzer. Oh no. It's got a bloody bell on it and it is a frightening bell. To be awoken by which it somewhat akin to being slapped hard in the face. And all for a letter containing the cover details for my new monitor, which is handily now covered for frozen food loss. Brilliant. No song is going to make it through such rubbish.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Wonder Stuff - Inertia

ORIGINATION Never Loved Elvis
LAST LISTENED TO March
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT lowish
RATING

It's The Wonder Stuff doing their Wonder Stuff thing: shiny indie pop with added violin and grooviness. Nice organ.

Argh. That's it for today. Too much after effects to do this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Rolling Stones - Can You Hear Me Knocking?

ORIGINATION Sticky Fingers
LAST LISTENED TO last night
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT fairly good
RATING

If this song was by any almost other band, it would be a very good song. As a Stones song it only qualifies as good. Which is a shame, but really there's no changing it. It is a song that is essentially split in two pieces: firstly the actual with-words song, then an extended jam piece with some funky percussion.

The song portion is a good piece of blues rock, being especially notable for Billy Preston's soulful organ and some choppy guitar chords. The chorus is also pretty catchy and, as with the rest of this portion, there is something of a Southern feel to it. More than any other Stones song, this clearly inspired the Black Crowes who took the sound and pushed it out over a whole, very good, album.

The second portion of the song takes place mostly through two solos. First up is Bobby Keyes on tenor sax. He played on many Stones songs of the period and, against the odds (just think of your sax solos in rock history), produces a tasteful solo. New boy on guitar Mick Taylor is on next and gets the longer solo. It's blue in tone and quite laid back with some nice, understated support from both Preston and Keyes. Taylor runs on until Keyes's sax comes back in more forcefully just before the end of the tune.

All in all, it is a pretty good song. However, it is no Gimme Shelter, so it will never be anything better than good.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Box Tops - The Letter

ORIGINATION dunno
LAST LISTENED TO not sure
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT variable
RATING

Today is a bit of a weird one. Last night i listened to a cover of The Letter by Mongo Santamaria, famed Latin percussionist. This morning i have the original in my head. It's not every day that happens. However, i don't think i have a copy of the original, so there really isn't much i can say about it. I seem to recall that it is ok and that the chorus is quite catchy, but that's as far as i can go. Anything else is up to you.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

nah, it's gone

Well, there was something. Earlier on. When i woke up. Only thing is, by the time i actually got out of bed i had forgotten it. Hardly a surprise as many hours had passed. A whole host of cocktails and an addictive Murakami novel will do that. I'll leave you to work out the order yourself. Tomorrow i shall attempt to get it together…

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ben E King - Supernatural Love

ORIGINATION 7"
LAST LISTENED TO a bit last night
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT ok-ish
RATING

By the middle of the 70s, many a soul star of the previous decade had either stopped recording or adapted to the sounds of funk and disco. Ben E King was no exception to this rule. Other than he did both, but lets not quibble.

After 5 years with no record contract spent in the hell of the oldies circuit, King was re-signed to Atlantic records in '75 and recorded several albums. Straightaway he had a hit single with Supernatural Thing.

It is a smooth piece of '70s soul, much in the style of Al Green (although not quite as smooth). It rolls along at a steady pace, with drumming that sounds very much like Al Jackson, Jr. (drummer for Green and a member of Booker T. & The MGs; also more accurate than a drum machine, apparently). In a similar vein is the guitar and bass, which have something of a Stax sound. The bass rolls along steadily with the drums, whilst two guitar tracks pick and chop their way around this steady rhythm. The rest of the tune is carried by some down-low organ and a some quiet bongos. Finally, on vocals, King is backed with a female group that give some great call and response.

Other than the great, rolling rhythm, the real stand-out feature of the song are the choruses. After the call and response vocals, there are a few short stop and start sections that have a lot of power. Interplanetary! Extraordinary! Beautiful.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Pretenders - Brass In Pocket

ORIGINATION don't know
LAST LISTENED TO not the slightest
CHANCE OF WAKING TO IT apparently there was a bit of one
RATING

I have never owned this track, so i can't claim to ever have listened to it. I think i do have a cover by Suede, however, from an abysmal NME covers compliation. Anyway, i don't care much for this track in either form and that's all i have to say about that.