Saturday, February 28, 2009

communiqué #22: radio silence

Apologies to all my fellow siblings for the absence of communication over the past week. I have not intended to be aloof. I have needed this time away to collect myself and take stock of where I stand up in the soup. MIA, certainly. But only temporarily. And hopefully no longer alone and spiked and nailed to a signpost on the sharp curve of the road.

Things are moving. Good things are growing. From a junction which has history, regret, and a knapsack full of dogged ambition. Or devotion.

Touch wood, leaves and stems and seeds, I don't - we don't - fuck up again.

BIG STAR: I'M IN LOVE WITH A GIRL from "Radio City" LP (Ardent/Stax) 1974 (US)


Monday, February 23, 2009

happy monday

A madchester swan song. Sewn out of a pig's ear.

Produced by
Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth.

HAPPY MONDAYS: STINKIN' THINKIN' from "Yes, Please!" LP (Factory) 1992 (UK)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

stain removal therapy

THE MODERN LOVERS: OLD WORLD from "The Modern Lovers" LP (Beserkley) 1976 (US)



One from Declan McManus, deftly outdancing Mick in the ring of a wintry Sunday afternoon with the eclipsing KO of truth.

illustration by ib, from a photographed tattoo floating on the ether.



Saturday, February 21, 2009

dirt wreck tree

photograph by manfred schweda.

From a previous post featuring Sandy, the first - proper - which kicked off this blog:

"By the time of his fourth release in 1972, the last cut for Vanguard, Sandy was already deep in the grip of a heroin habit and the industry suits were at a loss as to how best market him. Cast adrift without a label to support his talent, this pioneer of fusion struggled through the next decade just to reach an audience.

This album, as per virtually all Bull recorded, has a fragile crystal clarity.

SANDY BULL: EASY DOES IT from "Demolition Derby" LP (Vanguard) 1972 (US)


Friday, February 20, 2009


"the inquistion tribunal", 1812-19 by francisco de la goya y lucientes.

SERGE GAINSBOURG: LUNATIC ASYLUM from "L' Homme à Tête de Chou" LP (Philips) 1976 (France)


green mohair suit

A golden nugget in every sense. A jackpot of bile delivered on slick pedal steel.

I could wax lyrical on this for at least a couple of dense paragraphs, but why bother ? You've heard it all before, I'm sure. The sound of a jug band player with a failing liver and a gilded splinter through his heart.

Just be f@cking thankful it ain't Sydney Devine.

Gram Parsons: lead vocal, rhythm guitar, piano, organ;
Chris Hillman: harmony and lead vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin;

Sneaky Pete Kleinow: pedal steel; Chris Ethridge: bass, piano.

Written by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman.
Produced by Henry Lewy and Larry Marks.

THE FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS: SIN CITY from "The Gilded Palace Of Sin" LP (A&M) 1969 (US)


Thursday, February 19, 2009

sewn up like a kipper

"fishmongers" by frans snyders, 1579 - 1657, antwerpen.

Recorded at Milo and Matrix Studios, London.

CAMPAG VELOCET: BON CHIC BON GENRE from "Bon Chic Bon Genre" LP (Pias UK) 1999 (UK)

done come

Arranged by Billy Strange. Long out of print, but currently available via compilation.

The lyrics here are as irritatingly maudlin - and unintentionally hilarious - as Ervin Drake's "September of My Years", but Hazlewood's lowing burr elevates the performance into something genuinely affecting. The strings, though, almost blow it in the final bars.

Last orders. I wonder if Bernard Manning ever covered this in cabaret ?

LEE HAZLEWOOD: MY AUTUMN'S DONE COME from "The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood" LP (MGM) 1966 (US)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Not included on the original '73 LP release, this working demo from a pre-studio home session is to my ears superior in every sense to the final recorded version. But you knew I'd say that, right ?

Of course, most of the time "sorry" doesn't cut the mustard. But just as often, it's all that's left which can be said.

Photograph by
Scott Peterson.

JOHN LENNON: AISUMASEN (I'M SORRY) [HOME VERSION] from "Mind Games" CD (Apple / EMI) 1973 / 2007 (UK)


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a pair of brown eyes

With a nod, perhaps, to Van; porcine, disagreeable bastard that he is (albeit quite excellent). If you've ever seen the video for this one you might recall Shane MacGowan scrabbling in a trench puddle for his eyes. Or is that just a figment of a whiskey fueled half life ? I can no longer remember.

Where are my reading glasses ? I am feeding the seagulls.

Recorded at Elephant Studios, London. Produced by Elvis Costello.

THE POGUES: A PAIR OF BROWN EYES from "Rum, Sodomy & The Lash" LP (Stiff) 1985 (UK)


Sunday, February 15, 2009

i am beg mac

Forgoing any commas out of respect for the original. Mark E. takes 1982's "Hip Priest" - from "Hex Induction Hour" - for a whipcracking walk around the block in a resurrected version as part of the soundtrack commissioned for contemporary dance darling, Michael Clark. The album title itself is a nod in the direction of the 1960's art house cinema of Swedish director, Vilgot Sjöman.

With Brix Smith on guitar. Produced by Ian Broudie and Mark E. Smith.

Paul Gadd would be proud. I, however, am not altogether fond of high theatre and its unholy mix of tap dancing egos. Air kiss this, motherfuckers.

THE FALL: NEW BIG PRINZ from "I Am Kurious Oranj" LP (Beggars Banquet) 1988 (UK)

THE FALL: HIP PRIEST from "Hex Induction Hour" LP (Kamera) 1982 (UK)


brothers grimm

Out of the ashes of the monumental Neu!, featuring brothers Klaus and Thomas Dinger, Nikolaus van Rhein, and Harals Konietzko.

Produced by La Düsseldorf and Konrad Plank.

RIP, Klaus. Fetch me a f@cking engel with tinfoil wings. And a stick to beat it with.

from "La Düsseldorf" LP (Germaohon) 1976 (Germany)

a word from our sponsor

In an effort to curtail this before it turns into 'Car Crash Radio' proper, my intention herein is to desist from unburdening my woes in unflinching detail. To anyone who may have received a voyeuristic kick out of my ramblings, please accept my apologies.

If you work for the BBC, leave a tip on the way out. In the words of Nazz Nomad, "Move Along, folks; nothing to see here."

Produced by Jimmy Miller and mixed by Andy Johns.

THE ROLLING STONES: DOO DOO DOO DOO DOO (HEARTBREAKER) from "Goats Head Soup" LP (Rolling Stones Records) 1973 (UK)


Saturday, February 14, 2009

i was so much older then

A young ib deliberates cautiously on the cruelty of expectation. He has no advice for his older self beyond "fucked if I know" and "don't play with matches".

Friday, February 13, 2009

root of seed

I miss your smile. I miss your smell
mingled with mine and your laugh
over nothing substantial. It's the
inconsequential parts of 'a' to 'b' and
the journey between them which makes
me want to bury my face in your soul.

THE ROLLING STONES: WE LOVE YOU from "We Love You b/w Dandelion" 45 (Decca) 1967 (UK)

THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS: WE LOVE YOU from "Psychedelic Furs" LP (Columbia) 1980 (UK)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Avoid placing live ornamental fish in freezer compartment. In spite of advice to the contrary, this should by no means be regarded as a humane method of disposal.


mark e. smith, 2005.

The Fall will be performing a two night stint in Glasgow shortly, overtime included. Shiftless though i am, I may yet make it.

Written by Craig Scanlon and Mark E. Smith, from their follow-up to the blistering "Extricate". Lite. No Brix.

This one is for Löst Jimmy, who - along with his co-workers at "The Factory" - recently suffered a nastily enforced wage cut. See Moving Like A Parallel
ögram!, formerly "Me, Myself & Mötorhead".

THE FALL: SHIFT-WORK from "Shift-Work" LP (Fontana / Cog Sinister) 1991 (UK)

domino effect

dragon lake, siberia.

Curiously, in the aftermath of my deliberation on astral orbits, I awoke to learn that a US commercial satellite and an obsolete Russian sputnik had collided over the frozen wastes of Siberia.

Domino effect - I hear -
is what the physicists fear.

You have heard this one before. Every time is like the first time; you can't bind what wants to come undone.

THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND: FIRST GIRL I LOVED from "5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion" (Elektra) 1967 (UK) [r]


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

child of the moon

illustration: "la voyage dans la lune" by george méliès, 1902.

"I saw the new moon late yestreen,
Wi' the auld moon in her arm:
And if ye gang to sea, maister,

I fear we'll suffer harm."

- from the anonymous Scottish ballad:
"Sir Patrick Spens".

knit one, purl one; satellite of love (part ix):

Tonight I couldn't find the moon. The clouds
were thick but invisible in the black overhang,
not even the North Star could be seen, it is
bullshit anyway; it is only a dead satellite and
radio static. A google eye for government hire.

I walked my son home from his Valentine dance.
His face, though red with exertion, was solemn.
He was pissed that his teachers had partnered
him off with some girl. He was more irritated than
shy. Girls, who needs them ? he said. Wise man.

THE ROLLING STONES: CHILD OF THE MOON from "Jumpin' Jack Flash b/w Child Of The Moon" 45 (Decca) 1968 (UK) [r]


sibling whispers #22: long may you run

If you are an admirer of veteran survivor, Neil Young, you might want to check out this exclusive interview with Neil - "You Got to Move" - by my friend, Richard B. Simon, contributing editor to Relix Magazine amongst other things.

From Neil's last album with long running collaborator, David Briggs, who succumbed to cancer in 1995.

Neil Young: vocals, guitars, pianos, flute, accordion, harmonica;
Frank "Poncho" Sampedro: guitars, vocals, bass marimba, pianos, oberheim;
Billy Talbot: bass, vocals, vibes; Ralph Molina: drums, vocals.

photograph by kembell, zimbabwe, 2007.

NEIL YOUNG + CRAZY HORSE: MUSIC ARCADE from "Broken Arrow" LP (Reprise) 1996 (US)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


It's still like a fridge out there, and still as a pool on
a beach. My eyes are wide open and dry as old bark.
Last night's indiscretions have been preserved in ice.

photograph by ib.

BOB DYLAN: YOU'RE A BIG GIRL from "Blood On The Tracks" LP (Columbia) 1975 (US)

Monday, February 9, 2009

the way it is

You can't think your way out of an avalanche. You can only feel.

I woke up this morning with "I Just Can't Help Believin'" playing in my head. It sounded sweet and honest and laced with caffeine. The snow outside was uncommonly deep and soft. By mid afternoon it was grey and lumpen and tubercular. Funny what comes to mind, and how one's appreciation of it changes as day turns to night. It was all good while it lasted, Elvis.
Blink and it's gone.

Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and originally recorded by Mann in 1968.

Photograph by Vincent J. Musi for an article on the Sicillian catacombs by A.A. Gill in february's edition of National Geographic.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

lucid ardor

ar•dent |ˌɑːd(ə)nt|
enthusiastic or passionate : an ardent baseball fan | an ardent suitor. See note at eager .
• archaic or poetic/literary burning; glowing : the ardent flames.

ar•dent•ly adverb

ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French ardant, from Latin ardens, ardent -, from ardere ‘to burn.’

It's snowing again. And all I can see are the empty spaces between each flake.

From a bootleg which, until very recently, was quite unknown to me. With a grateful tip of the hat to my siblings over at Art Decade.

BIG STAR: FEEL (ROUGH MIX) from "Ardent Studio Sessions (1972-73)" CD (Bootleg) 1973 (US)

BIG STAR: THE BALLAD OF EL GOODOO (ROUGH MIX) from "Ardent Studio Sessions (1972-73)" CD (Bootleg) 1973 (US)

photograph by robert anderson, 1993.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Please adopt a senior CEO.

Poor Charlie. They've threatened to take his bonus away.

Every year in the financial services sector, bonuses are being cruelly slashed in a bid to punish the innocent. Charlie is only one of several senior executives unable to underwrite that third luxury home; the private island in Malaysia; a string of well educated personal escorts.

That's why it's imperative we dig deep in our pockets and do something about this frightful state of affairs. Today.

For only £3 per month, you can sponsor a senior CEO just like Charlie. No fuss. No stress. All that's required are your bank details, and we will do the rest.

Come on. Won't somebody please adopt an elderly wretch like Charlie ?

Now the tax payer is obliged to bear the financial burden of bailing out the banks, there is a groundswell of furious debate as to whether the continued practice of paying out grossly excessive bonuses can be countenanced. Expect to see an advertisment like this coming to a space near you in the none too distant future.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

drugstore cowboy

LESTER BANGS & PETER LAUGHNER: DRUGSTORE COWBOY / I'M SO BORED / G'BYE LOU from "The Creem Office Sessions: 1975 / 6 x MP3 (WFMU) 2007 (US)

zero tolerance


Fuck. If I sank any lower, I'd be breakfasting in the apartment directly below.

It is a temporary flat, set aside for women seeking a quiet life - alone - and over the years that I've lived here it has housed many changing faces. Estranged partners and husbands come and go with impunity and by invitation only. Late at night, I have often heard the sounds of splintering furniture merge with fracturing bones and the softer crunch of cartilage.

I no longer call the police like some overwrought character actor in a B-Movie with the receiver cradled against my cheek.

Zero Tolerance is a fictitious comfort zone for yuppies and social workers.

gravest hit

Erick Lee Purkhiser:

October 21st, 1946 - February 4th, 2009.

Sadly, a fellow blogger alerted me to the news that Lux Interior bit the bullet
yesterday in a hospital in Glendale, California as the result of an existing heart condition. Sorry, Ivy.

RONNIE COOK & THE GAYLADS: GOO GOO MUCK from "Goo Goo Muck b/w The Scotch" 45 (Norton) 1962 (US)


when he comes to ring your bell

BEG 1.

For the uninitiated, The Lurkers were the UK's visceral answer to the Ramones, formed in Uxbridge, West London in 1976. This was the first ever release on the legendary Beggars Banquet label. Mine is on blue vinyl, and hey; who would have thought that the sentiment which prompted me to buy this then would continue to resonate with the same neanderthal inarticulacy more than thirty years later ?

I am
the product of arrested development. An unimal.

Pete Stride: vocals; Howard Wall: guitar;
Manic Esso: drums; Arturo Bassick: bass.
Recorded at Magrite Studios Management.

THE LURKERS: SHADOW from "Shadow b/w Love Story" 45 (Beggars Banquet) 1977 (UK)


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

three piece sabatier

HAR 5144.

Produced by Mike Thorne - in what was to be the first act in a long affair - Wire's debut release for Harvest was essentially little more than a foretaste to the broader canvas of "Pink Flag". More succinctly, as a humble 7" it rejuvenated Harvest - a label not associated with the cutting edge for some time - overnight in the eyes of a younger audience, and at the same time time underpinned the provocative with a sense of jaded purpose.

To paraphrase an early guest post on Art Decade:

This is the soundtrack of mundane revolt; of dangerously sharp utensils lurking in the kitchen drawer.

Colin Newman: vocals; Robert Gotobed: drums;
Bruce Gilbert: guitar; Graham Lewis: bass.

WIRE: MANNEQUIN from "Mannequin b/w Feeling Called Love / 12XU" 45 (Harvest EMI) 1977 (UK)

WIRE: FEELING CALLED LOVE from "Mannequin b/w Feeling Called Love / 12XU" 45 (Harvest EMI) 1977 (UK)

WIRE: 12XU from "Mannequin b/w Feeling Called Love / 12XU" 45 (Harvest EMI) 1977 (UK)



The tiny clatter of dust motes colliding.

One of Cécile Schott's unearthly music box and mechanistic sound collages, originally commissioned by
Atelier De Création Radiophonique for a radio broadcast.

COLLEEN: WHAT IS A COMPONIUM ? (PART II) from "Colleen et Les Bôites à Musique" EP (leaf) 2006 (US)


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

zabriskie counterpoint

"you can't

cool off in the mill pond...
you can only die."

Unusually grim fare from American folk innovator, John Fahey; recorded in the wake of his rehabilitation from alcohol addiction and depression compounded by a debilitating infection.

After collaborating with Cul de Sac and overseeing the release of a double CD retrospective on Rhino in the mid nineties, Fahey - revitalized and uncowed by populist expectations which had dogged him through the better part of two decades - began work on a new album, while living out a motel room in Salem, Oregon. Alienated, especially, from those traditionalists who once formed the major part of his audience, "City of Refuge" was originally released on Portland's Tim/Kerr Records in 1997.

Recorded and produced by the same team behind that LP - Scott Colburn and Jeff Allman - "The Mill Pond" was released in April of the same year on Little Brother Records, another Portland sibling. Allman was responsible, too, for providing those disconcerting electronic sounds bubbling under Fahey's barbed vocals and guitar.

I like this 'newer' Fahey, immensely. Out of print for too long, a vinyl rip of the complete EP may still be available on WFMU, where regular, Lukas alerted me to it through an excellent post a couple of years back.

I make no apologies for resurrecting it here; a slack jawed witch bobbing back up on its ducking stool, spilling pond water and a curse.

JOHN FAHEY: GHOSTS from "The Mill Pond" 2 x 7" 45 (Little Brother) 1997 (US)



Slide guitar by Bill Homans.

Between the 1972 Presidential election and the breaking rains of the Watergate scandal, Vietnam veteran, Bill Homans and his brother, Peter recorded ten songs with a bunch of friends and financed a small print run in the hope of courting the attentions of a major label. It never happened.

The album was recently re-released on CD by German label, Normal Records, but is currently out of print as I understand it.

Illustrator uncredited: from the 1987 Abacus paperback edition of Stephen Wright's "Meditations in Green" (1983).

MERRY AIRBRAKES: A HAPPY SONG FOR HANOI from "Merry Airbrakes" LP (Normal) 1973 (US)

Monday, February 2, 2009

the heart which rules the head

artist unknown.

Not the Jerry Garcia led improvisation from the officially repackaged soundtrack, but two keyboard based outtakes from Richard Wright (one assumes, in concert with either Waters or Gilmour) as part of fifteen segments from those original sessions to the Antonioni classic which never made final cut. Tentative and archly fragile - reminiscent of Erik Satie, or Vladimir Cosma - the question immediately arises as to why they were ever excluded in the first instance.

Finally released as a bootleg of superior audio quality in 2004, these meditative explorations reveal a facet to Pink Floyd previously only hinted at in more reflective moments.

Unless, of course, you are already of the opinion that Pink Floyd spent quite enough of the 1970's noodling away in a corner specially reserved for the asinine and self-indulgent. I, too, am often in two minds; but ultimately I beg to differ.

PINK FLOYD: LOVE SCENE (PART ONE) from "The Complete Zabriskie Point Sessions" CD (Two Certain Somebodies) 1970/2004 (UK)

PINK FLOYD: LOVE SCENE (TAKE TWO) from "The Complete Zabriskie Point Sessions" CD (Two Certain Somebodies) 1970/2004 (UK)

"dress for success"

the future of british telephone banking.

This latest - a seminar,
from the Bank of England no less, offering advice on "what and what not to wear" to female banking staff - positively beggars belief.

In the midst of economic meltdown, the Davos summit, and widespread industrial action as the result of UK based jobs being tendered out to EU member nations, leading banking executives are convinced that dress code must be singled out as the utmost priority. Incredulous, I listened on BBC Radio 4 to the minutes from a leaked memo outlining key points on their own internal summit; with a stern caution, aimed at female
employees exclusively, that certain accessories - 'inappropriate' jewelry and make-up, etc - might lead to unwelcome comparisons with "prostitutes". It read:

"Shoes and skirt must be the same colour. No-nos include ankle chains – "professional, but not the one you want to be associated with" – white high heels; overstuffed handbags; an overload of rings, and double-pierced ears."

I f@cking kid you not.

Presumably, those "In It To Win It" imbeciles poised precariously on the top rung of a bonus laden ladder feel that spending investors' cash on a flippant "Dress For Success" seminar is of greater importance than promoting transparency and fundamentally sound business acumen.

The Bank of England appears to be suffering from an identity crisis. It is not Camelot, and the affairs of a leading financial institution should certainly not be conducted with all the gravitas of staging a National Lottery.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

top of the world, ma...

white heat ?

When I was growing up, I was criminally obsessed with the films of James Francis Cagney, Jr: Public Enemy No.1. Repeats of repeats of repeats on Sunday TV. Old people with false teeth smiling at me over a whiskey. You know the score. For every Edmond O' Brien there has to be some f@cker prepared to light the fuse.

In the seventies' it was James Caan. These days, it's James Caan't.

My father's aunt could name every last one of the Bowery Boys, I swear...

A spinster who worked all her life in a shoe factory less than 200 yards from her house, she spent most of her free time in church. I know. She would save up for the summer months and take coach holidays to Italy and France to immerse herself in a Passion Play.

Big romance without the guilt. Consummation without torn pantyhose. Intact.

She outlived both my father and his brothers.

There is much to be said for living a pure life. And as much to be said against.

"Ha! He'll never get to heaven, now!"

I watched a John Wayne movie last night. It reminded me why I liked James Cagney.

Written by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn.
Arranged by Gordon Jenkins.
Recorded March - May 1959, Studio A, Hollywood.

mi par d'udir encora

benjiamino gigli:

March 20th, 1890 - November 30th, 1957.

Regarded - quite rightly - as one of the greatest tenors in recent history, I first heard this recording from Bizet's "Les Pecheurs Des Perles" (1863) on a scratchy 78rpm - slotted somewhere in between the hits of Roy Orbison - as a child. It remains one of the few operatic performances I am prepared to confess I enjoy.

I have no real inkling as to how it got in there. My dad was contrary and often mysterious. Most of the time he refused to reveal much, stoically hushed.

There is something profoundly ordinary and human in Gigli's expression which leaves more celebrated voices for dead. Something of Kafka and the mouse folk.

Little Caesar; full of holes. And bleeding on the sidewalk. Edward G. Robinson.

Conducted and arranged by Rosario Bourdon for RCA Victor, I gather this piece was recorded sometime between 1929 and 1932.

BENJIAMINO GIGLI: MI PAR D'UDIR ANCORA (Bizet: Les Pecheurs Des Perles) from "Benjiamino Gigli: Historical Recordings (1927-1951) CD (Gala) 1990 (Italy)


step we gaily...

francis bacon and our william

delight in a public display of their new found sobriety.

photograph by john minihan, london, 1989.

"Interlude: conversations at Hotel Rif and ‘Prelude #2′ from six preludes for piano, performed by Bennett Lerner. Curated by Claudia Gould and Stephen Frailey."

Sadly missing, are the sounds of seagulls outside my window as I prepared this post. Their call punctuated "The Garden" very nicely, I thought.

PAUL BOWLES: INTERLUDE / PRELUDE #2 from "The Voices Of Paul Bowles" Cassette (Tellus) 1989 (Morocco)

PAUL BOWLES: THE GARDEN from "The Voices Of Paul Bowles" Cassette (Tellus) 1989 (Morocco)



I have read some quite beautifully written passages
on pawn shop windows through the 1940's and 50's,
Words of excellence in description of knives, trumpets
and open razors; engraved wafer blades and back lit
mother-of-pearl handles. Banjos and harmonicas.

There is little illicit magic in those shops any more.
25% OFF! they scream; All Cheques Cashed Inside!
It is as big a business, just legitimized and louder.

I have lost some fine things to pawn shops through
the intervening years. Tickets uncashed. Memories
rewritten. Chased away forever as the foam on small
beer settles and cold beads collect on the side of a glass.
Things which make music are the hardest loss to bear.

Inside is the worst, with all those unclaimed items
littering the aisles. Nothing hidden. Pinned out; splayed.
Like somebody's mother in an armchair after Saturday's
night out. Or face down on the concrete of a car park.

Like watching crows with pushchairs picking through
the belongings of the newly dead or simply departed.
Paying over the odds, finally, but glad to have profited
out of their next door neighbour's idiocy or crisis.

Even should you open the door hesitantly - the glass
whispers on oiled hinges now - there is no going back.