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A Mid-Winter Hitlist


Got to hear and see a lot of great music, old new borrowed and blue, over this mini-Holiday weekend. In no particular order…

CITY REVERB
Everyone’s favorite Chill-out/Blue Room DJ Chris Coco’s new music project is a group effort, and City Reverb’s the upcoming album [Lost City Folk and the] Grace Reunion will surprise those who think they have him pegged. (I blame touring with Robbie Williams.) Hear more at his myspace and personal web pages; or go see the group’s debut live show this Sunday in London.
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MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO
April brings Autoimmune, the latest album from one-man band Jack Dangers, still alive and well and banging out the same style of techno-industrial-hip-hop beats for which he has long been loved and admired.

KEXP’S MUSIC THAT MATTERS:
The Seattle web station’s fortnightly, DJ-personalized Podcasts make me realize how rapidly I’m losing touch with the musical underground, but they simultaneously serve to keep me up to date with it, so the cup remains very much half full. DJ Shani’s debut Podcast was full of just one great act after another, with music from acts like Ed Askew, John Maus, Sapat, Ariel Pink, No Age and Red Martian and barely a dud in the whole hour-long package. Especially, I was brought up to speed with…

MIRACLE FORTRESS
Graham Van Pelt, founder of Montreal performance spaces the Electric Tractor and Friendship Cove, and member of Think About Life, also records and plays live as the intriguingly named and eclectically electronic Miracle Fortress. Check this Renaissance man’s music at, of course, his MySpace page.

MOJO’s OK COMPUTER

Give it up to a MOJO compilation CD for once. The disc that comes with the February issue mixes old school electronica like the Human League, Severed Heads and Tangerine Dream with recent buzz acts Fujiya & Miyagi, Matthew Dear and The Knife, and (re?)introduced me to the music of Xela, the Peppers and the Gentle Rain. There’s even an oddly-placed slice of classic acid house from Farley Jackmaster Funk. PS: You get a free magazine with the CD.

FABRIC LIVE 31: THE GLIMMERS
But if you want a real electronic music mix CD from across the ages, get this. Part 31 of the excellent FabricLive series, Ghent’s Glimmers mix Roxy Music and the Human League with Freez and LCD Soundsystem, Howie B and Mekon; they pause to bring in some proper modern rock music with Sons and Daughters, and they cut right back to dub roots with Black Slate and Urban Jungle. There’s even a Freddie Mercury remix in there. Every track makes sense in its sequencing and arranging: as such, this may be the best all-encompassing dance mix CD since As Heard On Radio Soulwax by 2 Many DJs – who, perhaps by no coincidence, also hail from Belgium’s dance capital of Ghent. Must be something in the air(waves).
(You can hear a mini-mix from the Fabric set at the Glimmers’ My Space page. Read my interview with 2 Many DJs here.)

THE HISTORY OF ROCK’N’ROLL Parts 1 and 2:

A boring title perhaps, but this ten-fifteen year old BBC/WGBH dual effort to distill the whole history of popular music into an 8-part series was not to be sniffed at – not when the likes of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brian Wilson and Bo Diddley were filmed sat at their instruments showing how they came about their groundbreaking sounds. Phenomenal footage. And a reminder that we need to get our local Rock Doc night back into gear.

The Year of GLitter: Noel Edmonds and Tony Blackburn introduce Suzi Quatro performing “Can The Can” and Sweet doing “Blockbuster” on TOTP’s Christmas 1973 special. You can link to the rest of the whole show – featuring Slade and all the others – from the relevant YouTube page

GLAM ROCK TOP 10: Clearing out the videos at home so I could finally figure what I still have, I came across this BBC retrospective on the glam years, presented as a TOTP style Top 10 by a deliciously self-effacing Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman (RIP) and Tony Blackburn. We’re still trying to figure the reasoning behind excluding David Bowie from the Top 10 Glam Acts of all time, though we presume it was because he would not take part in the “Where are They Now?” aspect of it all; the late 90s/early 2000s profiles on the likes of Mud, Suzi Quatro, Alvin Stardust and Slade were almost as much fun as watching their original Top of the Pops performances. Though I can’t truly put a year on this TV show, one thing for sure: it pre-dated the convictions of both Jonathan King and Gary Glitter for equally egregious sexual offences. My wife and older son had to put up with my reminiscences of singing “My Coo-Ca-Choo” and “Cum on Feel the Noize” at my primary school assemblies, and suffer my singing along with every clip of every song to prove I had not forgotten any of the words. Not that it was hard to remember them in the first place… Ah, the innocence of it all.

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