After providing five years of free content, we ask you to consider a donation to keep iJamming! independent and active. You can give as little or as much as you like: just click one of the buttons below.

Amazon Honor System Click Here to PayLearn More

Why donate? Read this.

CLICK ON BUTTONS AT TOP OF PAGE FOR SECTION INDEXES.
OR SEARCH iJAMMING!

Enter search words here 

This page last updated
Fri, Jun 24, 2005 14:51


THE CLASH: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO THEIR MUSIC PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 8 2005
A CHRONOLOGICAL SONG-BY-SONG ACCOMPANIMENT TO THE ENTIRE CLASH CATALOGUE. WITH ADDITIONAL SECTIONS ON COMPILATIONS, FILMS, DVDs AND SOLO CAREERS. Available online through amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and at all good bookstores.


HEDONISM Tony Fletcher's debut novel is available mail order in the USA from Barnes&Noble.com. It's available mail order in the UK from amazon.co.uk or musicroom.com.
More info on Hedonism here.

REMARKS REMADE The first ever R.E.M. biography fully updated with ten new chapters covering Reveal and beyond. Available at UK bookstores, amazon.co.uk and musicroom. Available at select stores in the States and through BN.com.

MOON The American edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com, bn.com and amazon co.uk. More info here

DEAR BOY The British edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com and amazon co.uk. More info here.

Limited hardback editions of Dear Boy/Moon remain available through amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and barnes&noble.com.


Never Stop: The Echo & The Bunnyment Story is out of print.

HOME

The iJAMMING! HITLIST
JUNE 2005

1) ALBUMS

MARK MULCAHY - IN PURSUIT OF YOUR HAPPINESS (Mezzotint)

Ignore all you've read about Mulcahy's status as an almost-ran: anyone capable of an album so softly-stated and yet so emotionally resonant is a greater artistic success than any number of short-term sensations. Blessed and cursed with a voice that leaps out of speakers even at a whisper, Mark has finally learned to treat it with respect, keeping his volume low and his intonation clear; armed then with strong tunes, simple arrangements and personally powerful lyrics, he has made the strongest album of a long and varied career. 'Be Sure' is as fine a ballad as you'll hear from The Boss or The Man; 'A World Away From This One' sees his voice in near hymnal form. Bonus marks for rewriting the Pretenders hit as 'Propstar.'
Highlight: In the right hands, 'Have Patience' would surely be a hit. But Mulcahy plays the song so close to his heart that you're reluctant to let him share it with the masses.

ALAN STIVELL 70/95 – ZOOM (Disques Dreyfus)

Double compilation of the Breton harpist and all-round folk pioneer – a man of whom I would probably know nothing but for my friend Geoffrey Armes writing regularly about him in his excellent unpublished memoir Music Matters. As an archivist of Celtic culture, Stivell (his name means 'fountain' in the Breton language of his Normandy birthplace), performs and sings compositions titled in several languages: this set includes 'Lands Of My Fathers,' 'Suite des Montagnes,' 'Rouantelez Vreizh,' to name but three examples. Picked up for nothing at a stoop sale - proving that it's always worth searching.
Highlight: 'Stok Ouzh An Enez (en Vue de L'ile') features harp, guitar and Alan's gentle voice singing in Breton. It was released in 1979, the height of my immersion in post-punk power-pop DIY mania, but it sounds just as fresh as anything I listened to back then.

GEOFFREY ARMES – ELEMENTAL RED (geoffreyarmes.com)

…Talking of whom, Geoffrey's previously-reviewed second solo album continues to grow on me. Acoustic songs with flamboyant little 12-string flourishes are a throw back to a 1970s style perfected by Gordon Lightfoot, Pentangle, and the aforementioned Celt Stivell; it's poetic, emotive and very cinematic.
Highlight: 'Gypsy Hill,' for all the shared childhood experiences.

PHIL FOXMAN - UP ANTENNA (456)

Call this friend's corner: I've known Sydney-born Phil through his years both in London and New York, and consider him among my tightest. But though I wouldn't say a bad word against him, nor would I falsely praise him. Up Antenna (released only in Australia thus far) is the album he's been threatening for so long – a mostly upbeat collection of infectious solo songs that could well be hits in the right hands. Get beyond the surprisingly poor choice of opening track 'You'll Never Find' and you're looking at any number beautiful semi-acoustic sing-alongs.
Highlight: 'Arms Around The Sun' offers the classic arrangement style of solo John Lennon without sounding derivative.

MERCURY REV: THE SECRET MIGRATION (V2)

Their statement is still grandiose, their arrangements remain epic, but with middle age Mercury Rev have learned to refine and restrain, making The Secret Migration a work of overall beauty such as they've never mustered before. Yes, on a number like 'Diamonds,' Jonathan Donahue's voice can sound overbearingly similar to his compadre Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips, but consider the two groups as flip sides of the same gold coin and count your riches.
Highlight: 'Across Yer Ocean' offers just the right amount of pomposity and purpose.

BENZOS: MORNING STANZAS (Stinky)

New York emo-electronic heads fail to fully deliver on eagerly anticipated debut. The promise of early live shows – Radiohead on a dance groove – is abandoned for conventional rock. The more the album proceeds, the more you can hear them over-reaching.
Highlight: 'All The King's Men' starts the album strongly; it never again reaches such heights.

YOUTH GROUP – SKELETON JAR (Epitaph)

Australian alt-rock classicists perform painlessly emotive songs in style of producer Chris Walla's Death Cab For Cutie, with the kind of musical modesty some of us wish for from Coldplay, and with the guts found lacking in Keane or Athlete. As such, we can forgive Skeleton Jar an inherent similarity of content, as we do vocalist Toby Martin (yes, that same last name) opening 'The Frankston Line' with the words "The day is gray, don't love you anymore."
Highlight: 'Baby Body' builds from arpeggio'd guitar verses to taut chorus with sweet harmonies and multiple swear-words: no easy balancing act.

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK – LORDS OF DOGTOWN (Geffen)

Make it beyond Social Distortion's stodgy cover of The Clash's 'Death or Glory' and you'll find a skateboard movie compilation that somehow balances early 70s hard rock (Ted Nugent, Allman Brothers, Foghat, Nazareth) with classic glam (Sweet, David Bowie, T. Rex, Rod Stewart). Unless you're the kind of freak who can listen to all these acts alongside each other, you'll probably want to rip this down to a 30-minute treat.
Highlight: For sheer balls, Sparklehorse's concluding, gentle, heartfelt rendition of Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' deserves commendation.

CAESARS – PAPER TIGERS (Virgin/Astralwerks)

The modern music industry is such that if a song off your last album makes it onto a TV commercial – as with the Caesars' 'Jerk It Out' and the iPod Shuffle spot – you stick it on your new album too. Fortunately, Paper Tigers itself is anything but filler, and though the craze for garage-rock inspired English language Swedes may be fading, Caesars have sufficient songwriting talent to see them through: the sing-along power-pop anthems are balanced out with acoustic tracks, psychedelic work-outs and proper ballads. Primary songwriter Joachim Ahlund has a killer voice, and, any group that makes such regular and expert use of the Farfisa organ is alright with me.
Highlights: 'Not The Fall That Hurts,' 'We Got To Leave' and 'Soul Chaser' should be on everyone's singalongasummershuffle.

MARTIN PETER – ENOUGH OF THIS?! (Angora Steel)

German wunderkind's amalgamation of electro, industrial, metal, hardcore, techno, and breaks. Alec Empire guests on 'Bypass,' Felix Neuenhoff shows up on several cuts and the delightfully named Diskette brings class to 'Biker.' What's left are electronic instrumentals of various degrees of accessibility, from the easy-going 'Edinburgh' to the could-it-be-anything-but-furious 'Hatefuckkillwar.'
Highlight: Mark Stewart brings his distinct (and typically undermixed) yelp to the relatively structured 'Pyschoville'. (MP3 available here.)

THE GENIUS OF CLYDE MCPHATTER (Revola)

Much of what he sang with The Drifters sounds tame to modern ears – 'White Christmas' anyone? – but McPhatter's role in bringing Harlem gospel to rhythm and blues can not be over-stated.
Highlight: 'Have Mercy Baby' from McPhatter's pre-Atlantic era with Billy Ward's Dominoes will send shivers down your spine – all the more so when you realize it was recorded in 1951.

2) BOOKS

RHYTHM AND THE BLUES: A LIFE IN AMERICAN MUSIC – JERRY WEXLER and DAVID RITZ (Alfred A. Knopf)
Jazz, blues, soul, rock, the history of Atlantic Records – and with it that of American popular music – all jump off the page in the renowned producer's autobiography

WHERE YOU'RE AT – PATRICK NEATE (Penguin)
English white boy traverses the Globe in search of hip-hop authenticity. Frequently trips over his own untied shoe laces in the process – which makes for a more entertaining read.

LUC SANTE – LOW LIFE: LURES AND SNARES OF OLD NEW YORK (Farrar Straus Girrar)
The true - and truly seedy - history of New York City, as viewed from the downtown slums.

200 BEATS PER MINUTE - EDDIE BEVERAGE (Sure Shot)
Read review here

3) MOVIES

BEYOND THE SEA (2004)
You may not be a Bobby Darin fan going into Kevin Spacey's starring role/directorial debut, about the teen idol turned Vegas entertainer turned political activist and folkie, who died aged just 37. But chances are you'll come away with a new found respect for the man – and for the risks that he took in what he always knew would be a short life on earth.

WILDSTYLE (1982)
Much like The Clash movie Rude Boy, Charlie Ahearn's docu-drama of early 80s hip-hop – with graffiti in a starring role above the movement's other art forms, DJing, MCing and breakdancing – should not be viewed for its acting or its plot, but for its historical importance. The party scenes shot at The Dixie in the South Bronx and the Lower East Side Amphitheater on the Lower East Side are priceless.