Shiny Sleek Machine

Grace Jones’ classic 1981 album Nightclubbing has been given a well-deserved reissue with the usual deluxe treatment of unreleased tracks, remastering, remixes and all that lovely stuff.

There are two extended mixes of “Pull Up To The Bumper” on the reissue but not this one for some reason. I can’t remember where I got this from and there seems to be some confusion over its origin and availability. But wherever it came from it’s still brilliant, really bringing out the rubbery funkiness of the great Sly and Robbie rhythm section.

I danced to this on many nights back when it was a new record — Lord, what an amazing time for new music that was — and even though I knew it wasn’t really about parallel parking I’d never listened to the words close enough to realize just how filthy it really is.

Download: Pull Up To The Bumper (Larry Levan Garage Remix) – Grace Jones (mp3)

On The Beach

Here’s another gem I dug out of the old box o’ 12″ singles. Like the Soul Family Sensation record this is from 1990 and has a trippy, blissed-out vibe but is driven by a euphoric House beat. With its ocean sound effects and the lovely spoken-word sample of actor Rod McKuen whispering “I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back” it’s all very sunkissed and Balearic, perfect for dancing on a beach with a thousand other people on Ecstasy all waving their hands in the air.

I never went to Ibiza but did once go to an insane all-night club in a warehouse outside Alicante where everyone seemed to be out of their heads on something or other and the music was brain-meltingly loud — it was quite an intense experience that didn’t end until the next morning. Some Spanish kids I knew took me there and I don’t think they went to bed the entire weekend I spent with them. I was only in my late 20s but they made me feel old with my quaint notion of things like getting some sleep. Crazy kids, those Spaniards.

A Man Called Adam were a British duo who I think are still making music in one form or another. I used to have their debut album The Apple but couldn’t tell you if it was any good or not as I don’t have it anymore — which I guess means it probably wasn’t.

Recorded from the vinyl so forgive any imperfections, I haven’t done that for a while.

Download: Barefoot In The Head (12″ version) – A Man Called Adam (mp3)

Something for the Weekend

I first heard this at the Lyceum soul nights I used to go to. I think Steve Walsh played it, and it was one of those very rare moments when a record literally makes you stop and think “What the fuck is this?” because I wasn’t sure what the hell I was hearing — some guys rapping/chanting over an electronic beat (Kraftwerk it turned out) — but whatever it was it sounded brilliant.

It was also the first time I saw anyone body-popping as there were two kids dancing near me like herky-jerky robots (this was before Jeffrey Daniels appeared on TOTP). When it was over I asked one of them what the record was called and he said “Planet something”, so the next day I went to my local Our Price and asked if they had some funky electronic record called “Planet something” and the man handed me the 12″ of “Planet Rock” — which I still have and it still sounds bloody amazing today.

New Monday

Another fabulous new track by Glass Candy who seem to be on a roll at the moment which bodes well for their long-promised next album whenever it appears.

This is from the After Dark 2 compilation of similarly throbbing and trippy Eurodiso put out by their label which also comes in mixed version that you can download for free — which you should do because it’s terrific.

New Monday

Disclosure have been getting rave reviews for their terrific debut album Settle and it’s mix of slinky electronic R&B and pumping dance beats. It’s quite the feat considering they’re two white English brothers from Reigate barely out of short trousers.

This track is a Garage/House number of the kind I used to dance to back in the days when I could make it through a whole extended 12″ single on a dancefloor without my knees and lungs begging for mercy. I believe the club kids nowadays call this sort of thing a “banger”.

Sleeve Talk (Redux)

As a sequel to last weeks post here’s another great Neville Brody sleeve from the early 1980s, this one featuring his own illustration. Good though it is, the record is even better and I would have bought it even if the sleeve had been covered in sick.

In case you didn’t know, Defunkt were an underground jazz-funk combo from NYC whom the NME once said were “to funk as the Sex Pistols were to rock”, and this extended version of “The Razor’s Edge” from 1982 is a sweaty, funktastic, nine-minute workout for your hips.

Download: The Razor’s Edge (12″ version) – Defunkt (mp3)

I Love Your Live Action

I was in two minds about going to see budding pop princess Charli XCX live at a tiny club in Boston on Saturday night. Not that I think there should be an age limit on enjoying modern pop music, but I did have a nagging doubt that maybe, maybe, someone of my advanced years shouldn’t really be at the concert of a 20-year-old member of the social media generation who makes videos that look like Instagrammed Tumblr blogs and sings lines like “You were old school, I was on the new shit” where “old school” probably means music made in the 1990s. Was I just being some ridiculous oldest swinger in town?

But I love her album so I went anyway and I’m very glad I did because she was tremendous and the crowd, while leaning very young (and gay), had a smattering of more, um, senior folk too, so I wasn’t alone.

The genre of synth-heavy dancepop she works in is more of a studio medium and isn’t exactly noted for live performance, but — damn, girlfriend — Charli didn’t just have the goods vocally but as a performer she was one of the most energetic and feisty I’ve seen in years. With her intensity and wild black hair I kept thinking of a young Siouxsie Sioux singing Britney Spears songs, and the way she was jumping around for the whole show I think she must have injected herself with pure Red Bull before she hit the stage. She really got the sold-out crowd going too and, being right at the front, I found myself in a minor mosh-pit of bouncing, dancing bodies which I think I really was too old for.

I don’t have any decent video of the show I went to but this clip from the night before in Montreal is pretty much the same as the gig I was at.

My only gripe is that her set was really short and she didn’t play an encore either which surprised me considering the wild response she was getting. But then I went outside after and there she was on the street mingling with the crowd and posing for photos. Maybe the encore is too much of a conventional, rockist gesture for der kidz now, and hanging out together after the show and sharing photos is the new thing. How should I know? I’m old.

New Monday




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The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com

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