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What's new in iJamming!...
(Last updated
Mon, Feb 3, 2003)12:21 PM
30 Albums, 5 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies
An obituary by Chris Charlesworth
Back On The (Flying Saucer) Attck
The iJAMMING! interview
Featured Mix CD
Grandmaster Flash Essential Mix Classic Edition
30 Albums, 10 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies.
Eight Days in A Week's Music:
Ed Harcourt, Vines, Candy Butchers, Timo Maas, Ashley Casselle & Adam Freeland, Aerial Love Feed, and enough little club nights to shake several sticks at.
Tony's (lengthy) trip down nostalgia lane from his visit home at the end of April. Stop-offs include Death Disco, old Jamming! Magazines, life-long friendships, road trips to Brighton, Damilola Taylor and political frustration, Morrissey-Marr, Zeitgeist, Oasis, Dexys, Primal Scream, the current British music scene and more.
Jack magazine comes out of the starting gate with the banner headline "best new men's mag in years."
Why I re-wrote the book: The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography, due out this summer through Omnibus.
Chemical Brothers, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Paul Westerberg, Skywalking, Joe Strummer, Radio 4, and Aquatulle.
A weekend with John Mayer, Sugarcult - and Elvis
Michael Greene's Grammy Speech: An Invitation to Download?
Plus: 10 things they forgot to tell you at the Grammys.
What the Hell Is Going On Here?
From the Jamming! Archives:
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
The iJamming! interview:
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
The Best Of 2001
Tony Fletcher's Top Albums, Concerts, Singles and Books - and comments on the Village Voice Poll
MUSING on The Manhattan 'Edge':
Will the Island Ever Again Be A 'Cultural Ground Zero?'
hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured wine region 3:
Featured wine region 4:
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
Featured vine:
Finally, a worthy rival to Chardonnay.
The iJAMMING! interview:
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
Featured wine region 1:
The full iJamming! Contents
The Monthly Hitlist:
July 2002
Albums Songs Books Movies

CAPITOL K - Island Row (XL)
Difficult to define, and therefore all too easy to ignore, Capitol K shifts in and out of the experimental electronic beat, slows up and speeds down, takes cultural corners at wide angles, and thankfully entertains more than it confuses.
GREEN DAY - Shenanigans (Reprise)
B-sides and rarities by Green Day still better than a-sides by most fourth (or is it eighth?) generation U.S. Punk bands.

COUSTEAU - Sirena (Palm Pictures)

Gorgeously beautiful second album from British quintet. Imagine Tindersticks as fronted by Bryan Ferry, with just a hint of Nick Cave's underlying malice, and you're half way toward their grand majesty. Sirena means Mermaid, by the way. Here's pictures of some.

CHUMBAWAMBA - Readymades (Republic/Universal)
A return to folk roots for the agit-rockers. I have a soft spot for the Chumba collective that extends way back before 'Tubthumping' but repeated listens can't convince me this is close to being their strongest set of songs.
BIS - Plastique Nouveau (SpinART)
Half a dozen catchy new songs; the three remixes courtesy of modern electro hipsters Adult, Ectomorph and the ubiquitous Tommy Sunshine suggest that eternal hipsters Bis know where to get their bread buttered. And Toasted.
RUBYHORSE - Rise (Island)
It's epic, as any Irish band that decides to relocate to Boston is likely to be, but it's not yet over the top
KING TUBBY/ROOTS RADICS - Dangerous Dub (Greensleeves)
Part of last year's 25th Anniversary re-issues, I'm just been getting back into this pioneering dub album.

SUPERDRAG - Last Call For Vitriol (Arena Rock)
Having revived their career by returning to the indies, Superdrag continue to rock like it's 1965. Unlike other bands on this page, they still sound relevant doing so. (Just.)
DOLEFUL LIONS - Out Like A Lamb (Parasol) Read full review
KOOP - Waltz For Koop (Quango))
Swedish acid jazz duo take eight years to perfect debut album; hopefully the accompanying DVD renders the wait worthwhile. Licensed from Berlin's ever-reliable Jazzanova-Compost label
THE LACKLOVES - Star City Baby (Rainbow Quartz)
More excellent psyche-mod rock from a label that's collecting sixties-obsessed guitar bands like they've gone out of style. Which in the case of the Lackloves, who are doing everything right except looking forward as well as backwards and sideways, they have.

SPACE MONKEYZ Vs. GORILLAZ - Laika Come Home (Astralwerks)

Dub reworking of Damon Albarn's surprise sci-fi cartoon hit hip-hoppers, by what appears to be an equally fictional production outfit. Whatever, with bass lines and reverb effects straight out of Studio 1 circa 1976, and appearances by U-Roy, Earl 16 and Terry Hall, this is 21st Century dub delivered strictly roots style, the closest to King Tubby this side of trenchtown.

APHRODITE - Aftershock (V2)
Drum and bass DJ pioneer casts his production net wider on second solo album. The use of rappers Big Daddy Kane, Rah Digga and, especially, toasters Deadly Hunter and Barrington Levy (on the single 'All Over Me') makes it solid state from head to toe.
BELLY - Sweet Ride: The Best of (Sire/Rhino)
I had forgotten just how striking Tanya Donnelly's voice was. And hopefully still is. Feed The Tree indeed.
YOUSEF - Mixer (Razor&Tie)
So many mix CDs hit my doorstep that I can barely find words to distinguish them, but Radio 1 substitute and Cream resident Yousef delivers as solid a brand of hard-stepping house from the likes of Ian Pooley, and Joeski & Onionz as I've heard all year.
Not so much the follow up to Don't Breathe A Word (reviewed here) as its companion, the two albums were recorded almost simultaneously. I have a nagging suspicion the best songs were used first time around.

LOOPER - The Snare (Mute)

A soundtrack to the novel The Peacock Manifesto (hmm, that idea sounds familiar) by founding Looper member Stuart David, The Snare has much less in the way of dance beats than the superb cut 'Mondo 77' on the Vanilla Sky album that first piqued my interest, but it's intriguing and moody film noir.

JOHNNY ROTTEN on Tommy Vance (no label)
My thanks to ijamming! Surfer Robin Heath for sending me CDs of this seminal 1977 appearance on Capitol Radio by a then 21-year old Rotten, who proved he was nobody's musical naif in playing tracks from Kevin Coyne, Peter Hamill, Can, Dr. Alimantado and Lou Reed. Wish I was that sussed at his age.
THE THE - Soul Mining, Infected, Mind Bomb, Dusk (Epic/Legacy)
Four superb Matt Johnson albums spanning the course of a decade (back when he was prolific) repackaged and remastered. No bonus tracks though, and no liner notes either.
DIRTY VEGAS - Dirty Vegas (Capitol)
You, me and everyone else.
THE WHO - The Ultimate Collection. (Universal)
No matter how often these songs get re-released, you can't but get off on hearing the hits back to back. The 'bonus' four 'unheard' versions is your usual dubious collectors incentive, and as usual, it works. Love the acoustic 'Happy Jack.'
VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Last Minute Soundtrack (PalmPictures)
Leftfield, Spacer, Amon Tobin, Luke Vibert & BK Cole, Aphex Twin and Mocean Worker. You get the picture. And if you don't, just get the soundtrack.
EMINEM - the Enimen Show (Interscope/Aftermath)
I've never let mysefl get offended by Eminem, having preferred to see him as an actor in character. A deranged actor, perhaps, playing some pretty psychotic characters. But an actor nonetheless, meaning - an entertainer.
STARECASE - First Floor (Kinetic/Hope)
Another Bristol act trying to put a face and a name to dancefloor anonymity, Starecase's debut is excellent mid-tempo techno with the occasional shimmery vocal. Fails to fully establish their identity, but reeks of class.
NEIL HARRIS - Sprockets Take NYC (no label)
My old ffrr/JiveElectro A&R mucker mixes up modern electro like he was born to be a DJ; from Sexafonic's bootleg mix of the Beatles 'Because', to T-Roks' interpretation of the old standard 'Money,' stopping off with old timers Depeche Mode and Human League, and new sensations Golden Boy/Miss Kittin and Felix da Housecat, he mixes different strands of the trend in infectious style. To be honest, this CD pisses all over a made-to-order compilation like Defining Tech (Orbisonic), which includes all the right names (Fischerspooner, Peaches, Adult and the aforementioned 'new sensations') but quickly reveals how tired this icily cool, overly ironic genre really is.
VIOLENT FEMMES - Violent Femmes (Slash/Rhino)
Or, how to get over two hours out of a forty-minute album. Originally released in 1983, the Milwaukee semi acoustic punk-rock busking trio's debut album was a revelation in both the USA and the UK, where I remember being taken aback by 'Blister In The Sun', 'Kiss Off' and what I thought was the Buzzcocks-like 'Prove My Love' ("Why can't I get just one fuck?") Reissued with requisite demos and a full live album assembled from their early days makes for overkill (i.e. three versions of 'Kiss Off'), but helps re-establish Violent Femmes as a post-punk classic.

ROBERT PLANT - Dreamland (Universal)
Delicate blues vocals, restrained arrangements
, an elderly guy coming to grips with dying. As proof, he offers a cover of 'Song To The Siren,' not that we need another.
WARREN ZEVON - My Ride's Here (Artemis)
Neither the most consistent nor prolific of geniuses over the years, but then what genius ever is? Still, the acidic lyrics of 'Lord Byron's Luggage', 'MacGillycuddy's Reeks' (with its dot-com morality) and 'Hit Somebody!', along with the gleefully drunken melodies, suggest a return to peak form - if it's not too late.
BOX CAR RACER - Box Car Racer (MCA)
Blink 182 side project. Any reason this turbo-charged punk act couldn't be their main outlet?
SUBLIMINAL RECORDS - The Story So Far (Subliminal)
Amidst the morass of mix CDS, this triple disc compiled by the fiercesome trio of Richard F, Jose Nunez and Melvin Moore (one disc a piece) represents both good value and great variety.
'Two Months Off' - Underworld
'We Americans' - The Briefs
'Love Story' - Layo & Bushwacka!
'My Coco' - Stellastarr*
'Daisy Cutter' remixes - Two 4 Joy/'Roamers' remixes - DJ Vela (Dangerous Drums)
After I hooked up with former Zeitgeist singer Jaf in London, his old guitar playing comrade Corin Arnold contacted me from Berlin where he now lives, Djs, and runs this excellent break-beat label. Lots of good releases; this one marries nu school beats with old school techno.
This Must be The Place - The Adventures of Talking Heads in The 20th Century - David Bowman (Harper Collins)
Their name may no longer be in the headlines, but Talking Heads' importance in the greater scheme of things should never be underestimated, and Bowman's always energetic, occasionally poetic, painstakingly researched and frequently revelatory biography helps remind us why. Of particular fascination is the detailed rivalry between Tina Weymouth and David Byrne for control of the group.

Hell's Kitchen - Chris Niles (Akashic)
Full disclosure: Chris is a friend and neighbour of mine who neglected to mention that she'd had four novels published until I stumbled across her bio on-line. A native of New Zealand who's also resided in Hungary and London before settling in Brooklyn, in Hells Kitchen Niles has obviously also lived and learned the nightmares of home-hunting in Manhattan. Hell's Kitchen is a darkly comic novel of treachery, murder and romance among hapless young arrivals searching for 'affordable rent' in a New York that considers that couplet an oxymoron; an easy and effortless read, it has many a sharp plot twist and a keen eye for the kind of detail that continues to make this city impossible - at some times to love, and at others to leave.

9-11 Artists Respond Volume One
(Chaos! Comics/Dark Horse Comics/Image)
9-11 The World's Finest Comic Book Writers & Artists Tell Stories To Remember Volume 2
(DC Comics)
It would be almost insulting to call the people who contributed to these two books mere 'cartoonists' or 'comic book artists'. Story-tellers, painters, letterists and poets, in their depictions of September 11 and its aftermath, they have found a visual form to reflect the horrors of that day and the uncertainty of the weeks that followed. Volume 1 opens with P. Craig Russell's 9-11 recasting of the 1st World War poem 'In Flanders Fields'; Volume 2 closes with 60-year veteran Joe Kubert's starkly drawn 'What Of Tomorrow?' in which he retraces his own life from the Great Depression through the Second World War and the Civil Rights years, concluding optimistically and that "There is no alternative" to "a world that must eventually live in peace." Inbetween these two master-pieces lies every point of view and every personal perspective: some which cry out for vengeance, others which pray from tolerance, many which detail the artist's experience that fateful day and yet others that paint portraits of the heroes who died. There are some complex historical allegories and a fair few futuristic perspectives. There's even a take on the apparent futility of being a cartoonist in a time of war: Brooklynite Brian Vaughn's 'For Art's Sake' shows himself arguing across the drawing board with his father, who ruefully quotes John Adams' statement "I was a soldier so that my children could be merchants, so that their children could be artists," as vindication that it is their job to "help our country cope with tragedies like this one...and do it as best we can." Over these two publications (and yes, the proceeds do go to charity), these artists have done that job better than most of us ever could. I'll treasure these souvenirs as much as any densely-worded historical analysis.

Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, the complete chronicle of The Who 1958-1978 - Andy Neill & Matt Kent (Barnes & Noble)
If it's a tragedy that this coffee-table size Who compendium was published the same day that John Entwistle died, then it's something of a blessing that the authors had already chosen to end their chronicle in 1978, back with the passing of Keith Moon. That way, this exhaustive book reads more as a celebration of a 'creative, working entity' than as a companion to a group that insists on continuing despite itself. And what a celebration it turns out to be. Aided greatly by the authors' close contacts with the Who themselves, which has enabled access to many previously unseen photographs and documents, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere fills (literally and metaphoricaly) the wide open space that previously existed between Richard Barnes' cheerily anecdotal 'Maximum R&B' and Joe McMichael's and Irish Jack Lyons' well researched but poorly designed 'The Who Concert File'. More than just a day-to day chronicle of the Who's activities for twenty years, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere is a beautiful souvenir, with priceless images galore. The Who story itself has been told many times before, of course, and Matt Kent and Andy Neill (both of whom I know personally; I'm listed in the acknowledgements for introducing them to their publishers) refrain from offering fresh critical analysis. In fact they refrain from offering much criticism at all, which is both the text's weakness and its strength; this book is all about hard facts and glorious images.

All the same, the pair have dug up a healthy amount of new information, including one of Keith Moon's previous bands that I'd barely heard hint of back when I was researching Dear Boy : Mark Twain and The Strangers, featuring future Action bassist Mike Evans. As the photo right shows, Keith was out there drumming before he looks like he should have been out of short trousers. There are those obsessives who will want to read this book cover to cover; I prefer to have it on hand to dip into as and when the muse andt he music takes me. The $40 cover price is more than fair given its hefty weight and full color layout across 250 glossy pages; and while I hesitate to say that Who fans can't survive without it, I would suggest that it's a more essential purchase than any new 'ultimate' collection - or indeed, a concert ticket for what's currently only half the founding members offering only a fraction of this book's lifetime experience.

You expect me to go see movies on top of all the above music and literature? The only dollars I spent at the cineman this past month were on LILO & STITCH, which I thoroughly recommend to anyone with a cartoon-crazed kid over age five, with an Aloha Hawaii fixation or simply looking for some lovable dumb fun as respite from summer sun.

The other two movies I watched, both on TV, were starkly different takes on modern war. When released back in 1997, THE PEACEMAKER - starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman on the trail of nuclear weapons stolen by misguided Balkanites trying to blow up New York City - must have seemed like so much spi-fi nonsense; viewed through the prism of 9-11, however, it managed to come surprisingly close to explaining the faulty logic of those who would envelop others into their war. The shot of the Serbian leader flying over the Manhattan he intends to destroy with the nuclear weapon in his suitcase, looking down at the (then still-standing) World Trade Centers, was eerie; the rush of police and fire departments later responding to the ground threat around the United Nations was uncomfortably close to 9-11 reality.

Though so much else in the movie was your usual Hollywood nonsensical plot bending, The Peacemaker nonetheless explained itself much better than the box office smash BLACK HAWK DOWN, which I rented on video. I knew up front that Ridley Scott's portrayal of the October 1993 battle in Mogadishu - in which 18 American soldiers and up to 1000 Somalians were killed in a botched American attempt to capture a Somalian warlord - concentrated on the front-line action while skimping on background detail. But in that regard Black Hawk Down failed to emulate Saving Private Ryan, and especially in the wake of September 11, it wasted a golden opportunity to educate your average war-hungry American film-goer about foreign policy. So much more chould have been made of explaining both the (noble if mis guided) American mission, and the Somalian rebels' reasonings for opposing that mission, for as Peter Bergen's book Holy War Inc. explains, Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were actively involved training forces there to attack the Americans. Indeed, Bin Laden took credit for the loss of American life after this battle, and the the subsequently rapid U.S. withdrawal from Somalia was seen by Al-Qaeda and its allies as a sign of American cowardice, leading to ever-bolder attacks that culminated in the events of September 11.
Given that the movie was in production long before 9-11, it's maybe forgiveable that Black Hawk Down ignores this connection; far less excusable is the visual treatment of Somalians as so ignorant in life and expendable in death. Blink during the subtitles and the beginning and end of the film and Black Hawk Down is nothing more than a modern version of the old cowboys-under-seige-from-the-Indians western; unfortunately, we know which side is viewed as the cowboys.
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iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2002.