Monday, March 12, 2018

The Fall - Scherzo Schist

Well...  I promised in my previous posting that if I found it, I'd immediately post it here - so here you all are. Special thanks to blog friend Ji De for hooking me up - finally - with this long sought-after bootleg collection of ostensibly hard-to-find Fall tunes I first heard about on the Symphony Of Ghosts blog more than a decade ago.

Here's the track list and sources:
01  In The Park (Acklam Hall)
02  The Man Whose Head Expanded (live) [PBL video version]
03  Couldn't Get Ahead (live) [The version on the VHS8489 video]
04  US 80's-90's (live). (What's That Noise 7", also on Backdrop)
05  Kimble (Peel Session)
06  Why Are People Grudgeful? [more funky, more upbeat version. 12" mix?]
07  Noel's Chemical Effluence (The 27 Points)
08  Crying Marshall (Filthy Three mix from the F'Oldin' Money single #2)
09  Powder Keg (Version) (0161 compilation)
10  Spencer Must Die (Peel Session)
11  Beatle Bones [Peel Session '96, Beefheart cover]
12  Touch Sensitive (Peel Session version)
13  Inch [the main version from the Inch CD single]
14  Calendar (from Masquerade double EP)
15  Das Katerer (The Post Nearly Man version)
16  Two Librans (demo) (Voiceprint Ltd. giveaway CD promo)
17  Blindness/Blindman (Voiceprint Ltd giveaway CD promo)
18  Life Just Bounces (In the City) (same version as on A World Bewitched)
This set of "rarities" didn't turn out to be as 'rare' as I had hoped... For example, I'd previously provided "Calendar" in my Masquerade posting from a while back, along with "Das Katerer" in my The Post Nearly Man writeup, "Inch" in my posting of the same name and "Kimble" way back in 2011 with the Kimble EP here.  And a lot of these other songs are available on the
excellent The Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004 box set (which every self-respecting Fall fan should have already long had as part of their collection) and other more mainstream band releases (Backdrop, The 27 Points, etc.).  But there are enough true obscurities included here to make this disc worth acquiring... plus, it's nice to have everything all in one easy-to-access package.

So, this isn't an essential bootleg by any means... but overall, still worthwhile.

So for your consideration, here's The Fall's Scherzo Schist bootleg, compiled by that same secretive group of British fans that brought you King Of Moscow Road back in 2005.  Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

The Fall - King Of Moscow Road

I ran this one down more than a decade ago in my search for any and all things Fall-related, from a now long-defunct music blog (Symphony Of Ghosts). Here's a description of this disc from the website, and the circumstances by which it was acquired:
"Fan bootleg sent out by unknown group of an eBay seller or 1 or 2 other fellows working together to spread some rare Fall joy to a few select fans - not known to be for sale..."
Here's the track lineup:
01 I'm Bobby (Excerpt - MES Solo)
02 Words Of Expectation (Live)
03 Rowche Rumble (Live)
04 In These TImes (Piccadilly Radio Session)
05 Oswald Defence Lawyer (Piccadilly Radio Session)
06 Cab Driver (Version Of City Dweller)
07 A Past Gone Mad / Passable
08 War (Goodier Session)
09 Don't Call Me Darling (source unknown)
10 'Ol Gang (Live Masquerade EP)
11 Christmastide (Levitate bonus CD)
12 My Ex-Classmates Kid (Rude All The Time version)
13 Janet VS Johnny (Fall Vs 2003 EP)
14 Mod Mock Goth (RNFLP-Narnack version)
15 Recovery Kit #2 (RNFLP-Narnack version)
16 Portugal (RNFLP & Sparta FC single hidden track)
17 Theme From Sparta FC (video edit version)
Some of these songs you may have seen provided elsewhere, on other Fall boots and releases (including some I've recently posted here)... while others are true band rarities. Take them as offered for what you will.
(One thing I'm still kicking myself over in regards to this disc: on the Symphony Of Ghosts site, the moderator mentioned that he received both this disc AND another fan-fabricated bootleg (Scherzo Schist) on the same day in the mail from an unknown provider in the UK. For some reason - either stupidity or oversight - I failed to download the music on the latter disc at the same time as King Of Moscow Road. Of course, the files for Scherzo Schist have long been unavailable off of this blog, and I've been searching for them ever since (ten-plus years now), with no luck whatsoever... Annoying.)
In any case...

Here, on what would have been Mark E. Smith's 61st birthday, I offer to you in his honor The Fall's King Of Moscow Road bootleg, compiled by mysterious and unknown British individuals in April 2005. Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

Happy Birthday, MES - you're not forgotten down here, 'cock'.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Various Artists - Not All That Terrifies Harms 7"

Another Barbara Manning-related post...

Late in 2016, I provided a requester, Jon Der, with a link to my World Of Pooh Land Of Thirst posting from a few years back, and in the process had a great back-and-forth dialogue with him about bands we were mutual fans of, including this one and The Fall (my all-time favorite band, as I've mentioned ad nauseum (and recently shown) here on this site). Jon clued me in to the news that an in-depth oral history of World Of Pooh had just been published in the then-latest issue of Jay Hinman's Dynamite Hemorrhage fanzine, a podcast/magazine devoted to underground alternative music; it was that article that sent him on a search that led him to my site.

Information on the great but obscure World Of Pooh is extremely hard to come by in this day and age, so of course I was champing at the bit to read the story. As the article was (then) not an online posting, but a print story only, Jon kindly scanned it for me from the magazine copy he had in his possession.

All in all, "World Of Pooh: The Oral History" is a superb and informative article. Band members (guitarist Brandan Kearney, bassist Barbara Manning and drummer Jay Paget) and other friends/scenesters from that time offer up their recollections and reminiscences of those heady, frenetic bygone days, the creation, rise and dissolution of an underground and generally unheralded-in-their-time rock band. The piece filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about the group.

I was especially interested in the section regarding the writing and recording of The Land Of Thirst, the band's sole LP release and one of my all-time favorites. When I did my write-up on this album all those years ago, I did so under the assumption (based on clues provided in the Trouser Press Record Guide review and other sources I'd found like this blog posting from almost a decade ago) this this disc was the brilliant but intense product of a vicious, painful breakup saga then unfolding between Kearney and Manning. To quote that post:
Apparently, [they] had been dating for a while, and by the time the record was being recorded, their relationship was on the rocks. They took out their relationship strains not directly on one another, but like most other couples with problems they addressed their angers and frustrations with one another indirectly, in their case through the songs (I understand they broke up soon after this record came out - which makes sense, since the band also ceased to exist around that time).
However, in the course of reading "The Oral History", I became aware that what I considered to be gospel and the "true Hollywood story" regarding WoP and their music wasn't quite accurate.

The first (and most important) point of correction is the most pertinent and far-reaching, in terms of my understanding this band - Manning and Kearney were never a couple, per se. Sure, they spent a lot of time together in their musical and social pursuits... but this didn't develop into any sort of romantic attachment. There was already more than enough madness swirling around in their lives while they were in the band. But that craziness had nothing to do with any sort of long-term "lover's spat", and more to do with the weird, tense and uncertain atmosphere inherent in being in an obscure band playing in San Francisco's indie/underground scene in the late '80s/early '90s.

That isn't to say, however, that the members of World Of Pooh didn't play up on this boy-boy-girl dynamic. The back cover of The Land Of Thirst infamously displayed an S&M/bondage-themed photo of three people that the band found in a porn shop on Polk Street in the city, with the implication being that the picture portrayed the actual band members and their relationship (it wasn't, and it didn't). Barbara Manning said:
"We chose the picture on the back on purpose - I think it might have been my idea, even... The idea [was] that we were selling ourselves as this threesome."
Brandan Kearney continued:
"We did have some misgivings about using the photo... but it looked enough like us that it was hard to say no... Besides, we were always using sexual imagery... I sometimes worried that we were confining Barbara, or that she'd feel like we were. The picture is ambivalent, which struck me as poignant at the time. It's not very well thought out, but you could say that about any decision we made back then."
In short, the group played at being weirdos and freaks, with Kearney and Manning upping the ante by semi-pretending to be more than just band mates... and people believed it. And oddly, after a while, the members of World Of Pooh began buying into that narrative as well. As Manning observed in the article:
"I feel like we were people with a weird relationship portraying people with a really weird relationship. Over time, the distinction vanished."
In the wake of the album release, and in the process of living up to this created narrative in the city's music atmosphere of the time, tensions began rising within the group. This led to bickering and conflicts between the members that eventually began being displayed in their live performances - many times exacerbated by prodigious booze consumption before and during their act. A friend of the group provided the following memory/assessment in the article:
"[Those] onstage disagreements of whatever were literally showstoppers. The big question was always: would they stop sniping at each other long enough to play another song let alone finish the set? Intraband relations seemed to be getting worse the more shows they played, but musically they kept getting better and better... For a while they were one of the best bands in the city. Talking to other fans at their shows, we had the feeling that they weren't going to be around much longer... The last time I saw them, it was their biggest show to date and by then they were outright arguing on stage in between songs... Despite how great the music was, the set felt like a fiasco and, by the time they left the stage, I had the distinct impression that it was going to be their last show."
This friend was almost correct regarding the timing of the band's demise - it was pretty much over for World Of Pooh by the end of 1989. However, circumstances intervened somewhat in early 1990.
Brandan Kearney: "People assume we broke up after our East Coast tour, but we'd essentially broken up before the tour... the strain Barbara and I were under was not sustainable... In the midst of this uncertainty, we accepted an offer to tour the East Coast for about a week... This gave us a reason to hold things together, but I think it also gave us the sense of an attainable endpoint..."
After (and despite) well-received shows in Boston and New York in March of 1990, World Of Pooh broke up immediately after the end of this tour.  There were a couple of posthumous EP releases (G.H.M. later in 1990; A Trip To Your Tonsils in 1991), but even those led to more trouble and conflict within the group.  The tracks on the latter EP were part of a set of eight or so that World of
Pooh had been developing for a planned full-scale album follow-up to The Land of Thirst (the EP included the only four tunes closest to completion, remixed and remastered by Kearney). During the final mixing of these EP tracks, Kearney added some sound effects that Manning, when she heard it/them, interpreted as negative coded messages directed at her personally... with the result being that the relationship between the two fully ruptured, and they didn't speak for many years. Fortunately, they eventually reconciled, even reuniting for a one-off show in late 2015.

Kearney pithily summed up the rise and fall of his band, and their overall dynamic:
". . . when you scrape away the dazzling veneer of also-ran indie-rocker glitz, you're really just talking about emotionally unstable people with very little impulse control and a dangerously high alcohol tolerance."
He also had this to say regarding their only album:
"The only thing that bothers me about the album's latter-day reputation is the myth and lore of Our Unhappy Relationship, which I sometimes worry is the only reason people are still listening to it. The fact is, Barbara and I were getting along just fine when we recorded The Land Of Thirst. People sometimes present it as some indie-pop version of Rumours or Shoot Out The Lights. I know we brought this on ourselves through public displays of madness and worse, but most of that stuff happened after the LP had been written and recorded. Love it or hate it, The Land Of Thirst was the product of a somewhat crazed but extremely close and supportive working relationship, and I dislike seeing it portrayed as an album by and about people who were at each other's throats. Terrible things happened, to our eternal discredit, but most of them happened later on."
So, from the horse's mouth itself, I hereby stand corrected.

The very end of the article listed World Of Pooh's entire discography, all of the music they released on Nuf Sed and all of their compilation appearances. I knew that some of the stuff listed there (like the band's rare early-career cassette-only releases No Little Taxis Shining Their Light and Dust) I'd never have any hope in hell of ever tracking down. But as for one-off compilation tunes, my WOP collection was fairly complete, except for one selection: a cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Dominance and Submission”, included on an obscure 7" EP in 1992. Being the obsessive completest that I am, I made it my mission to track down a copy of this record and song, and after an exhaustive search, found the vinyl for sale from an overseas source - couldn't buy it fast enough.

Enjoy the Not All That Terrifies Harms 7", a ridiculously hard-to-find joint release by Ajax and Nuf Said Records in 1992, scorched off of my vinyl copy, featuring some rare releases by San Francisco bands both legendary and obscure - including Thinking Fellers Union Local 282's "Trevor" (a track otherwise only available on a 1995 Japanese import compilation) and the only source for World Of Pooh's Blue Öyster Cult cover (which, of course, is excellent).

And as an added bonus, here's a link to the entire issue of Dynamite Hemorrhage #3, now online, containing "World Of Pooh: The Oral History" - a much cleaner version of my scanned copy from earlier last year.

Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Fall - TV Appearances 1978-2004

And for my final posting in my week of Fall-related releases in the wake of the death of Mark E. Smith, here's a fan-assembled compilation (in .mp4 format) of television appearances, videos and interviews by the band over more than a quarter-century. You could say that this amalgamation serves as the visual
companion to The Fall's Complete Peel Sessions 1978-2004 box set, released in 2005. There are some superb and iconic performances featured here, from the band's appearance on Tony Wilson's So It Goes program in the late 1970's to the "Cruiser's Creek" video. Get ready for over TWO HOURS of Fall goodness!

Enjoy and remember what we'll all be missing, now that Mr. Smith is no longer with us. And as always, let me know what you think.

R.I.P., Mark.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Von Südenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions

In August 2004, German electronic collective Mouse On Mars released their eighth album, Radical Connector.  On this album, the group continued its shift from a pure electronic sound (evident on some of their earlier '90s albums like Vulvaland and Autoditacker) to a warmer, more poppier and almost danceable vein, a sound the band had begun fully experimenting with on their previous album, 2001's Idiology.

One of the songs on Radical Connector included a funky and thumping, although somewhat leaden and plodding, tune called "Wipe That Sound", which featured Mouse On Mars' percussionist Dodo Nkishi on vocals:

The album received generally good reviews, but it wasn't considered a significant departure from what the band produced on Idiology.

The next year, Mouse On Mars produced a Wipe That Sound EP, reworking/reimagining this track with guest vocals from The Fall's Mark E. Smith. In lieu of my own words, I'll refer to an analysis of this EP track provided by the blog Music Geek Corner:
"It's a major re-thinking: the track begins with a new drum part whose offbeat hi-hat accents work well to diffuse the original's clompiness. Smith's vocal, of course, adds a completely new texture to the track - but what's often overlooked about Smith is his skill as melodic minimalist. Smith essentially adds a two-note chorus to the song (the recurring bit about the garden), and it provides an effective hook to the track. The string synth part also makes this version more song-like (and commercial, in fact - although the multiple tracks of crosstalking MES are unlikely to contribute to that direction)."
I really didn't follow Mouse On Mars back in the mid-2000s, so I don't know when or how I first became aware of this track. But once I heard it, I thought it was fantastic, and quickly ran out to acquire the song. I heartily agree with every word of Music Geek Corner's analysis above.

I think it was sometime in late 2006/early 2007 that I got word that Smith's work with Mouse On Mars members Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner wasn't just a one-off; they had joined forces into a supergroup of sorts called Von Südenfed. At first, it seemed sort of weird to me that Smith would expend so much time on and effort with an electronic music group, a genre that in the past he'd expressed nothing but disdain for. But, after reflection, I realized that his work with the group was no weirder than his previous collaborations with other unlikely musicians, included Coldcut and Edwyn Collins. Plus, I'd enjoyed what the combo had released on that EP in 2005. So I was somewhat looking forward to hearing what this musical meeting of the minds would generate.

The collective's first release, Tromatic Reflexxions, came out in 2007; I had it rush-delivered to me via mail order. And I have to say that I was NOT disappointed. The album is actually very funky, quirky and dancable, and Smith is in fine form here. He actually sounds happy on some of the songs, perhaps because he's free of the structures (mostly self-imposed) inherent in his main group.

On this album, they even redo the 2005 version of "Wipe That Sound" (retitled "That Sound Wiped" here), and actually improve upon what I thought was already near-perfect. In the Von Südenfed version, they open up the song and the beat, allowing Smith more space to rant and croon - yes, he's actually singing here! - about the "yellow-helmeted bike messenger" who "don't look like no goddamn singer-songwriter" to him. Just a superb effort:

There are so many other great songs on this album - including the very dancable "Fledermaus Can't Get It" and my personal fave "The Rhinohead".

All in all, I found this disc to be a superb addition to the Mark E. Smith canon, and came at a time when he and The Fall were enjoying a critical resurgence of sorts, with the band's album release that year (Imperial Wax Solvent) making it into the British Top 40 (their first appearance of a Fall album there since 1993's Top Ten The Infotainment Scan). I was looking forward to hearing more from this group... but later that year, in December 2007, Smith sent out a notice on the official Fall website that he had been "sacked" from Von Südenfed. There was some confusion as to whether this was true; from all indications, Toma and St. Werner kept the door open for Smith to rejoin them. But for some reason this never happened, and now with Smith's death, never will... which is a damn shame.

At least we have their sole release as some consolation. Here's Tromatic Reflexxions, released by Von Südenfed (with group member Mark E. Smith) on Domino Records on May 21st, 2007. Have a listen, and as always, let me know what you think.

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Fall - Demos & Rarities


Nabbed this one donkey's years ago from an online source; I think it was The Ultimate Bootleg Experience (T.U.B.E.), although it's been so long now, I simply don't recall.

No matter; this is a superb collection of heretofore unreleased/hard-to-find Fall music, recorded between 1981 and 2002. Here's the track lineup:
01. Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul (1981 demo)
02. Neighbourhood Of Infinity (1983 demo)
03. C.R.E.E.P. (1983 demo)
04. Hey! Mark Riley (1985 demo)
05. Whizz Bang (1989 Peel Session, never broadcast)
06. Simon’s Dream (1990 demo)
07. Middle Class Revolt (Prozac mix, Drum Club remix 1994-95)
08. Middle Class Revolt (Orange In The Mouth mix, Drum Club remix, 1994-95)
09. Bonkers In Phoenix (1994 demo)
10. The Chiselers (1996 demo)
11. The Ballad Of J. Drummer (1996 demo)
12. The Horror In Clay (”Post Nearly Man” 1998 demo)
13. Nev’s Country (”Hot Runes” 2000 demo)
14. Rubber (”The Unutterable” 2000 outtake)
15. Weirdo (”The Unutterable” 2000 outtake)
16. Iodeo (”Green Eyed Loco Man” 2002 demo)
17. Dramatic (”Country On The Click”/”Real New Fall LP” 2002 outtake)
18. 1983 MES Interview
Not much else needs to be said regarding this offering - it's real, it's rare, it's The Fall!

So enjoy the band's Demos & Rarities bootleg, posted online way back in the mid-2000s (probably around 2006, although I'm dating it from the last song included), and a pain in the butt to track down nowadays. So it's provided here for your edification and convenience.

As always... well, you know.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Mark E. Smith And Ed Blaney ‎– Smith And Blaney

A late-2000s one-off "collaboration" between Mark E. Smith and on-again/off-again band member, manager and Fall second-in-command Ed Blaney. I use the term "collaboration" loosely, because it appears to be mostly a Blaney effort, with Smith (as vocalist) present on maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the dozen tracks. And speaking of that effort, it doesn't seem that Blaney put very much into it here - three of the seemingly half-thought out songs on this disc ("Transfusion" (a cover of a Nervous Norvus tune), "The Train" and "Ludite" (misspelled in the track list)) appear twice in various forms, or barely modified at all. Included on this track list is a version of The Velvet Underground's "We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together"; needless to say, Patti Smith's definitive cover version of this song has nothing to fear from the Smith/Blaney go at it. Frankly, in my opinion, a lot of these tunes sound like leftovers from the Are You Are Missing Winner debacle from years earlier, that Blaney was also involved in (see previous post for details on that disaster).

With that being said, there are some songs and portions that are somewhat interesting, and differ in some ways from the music The Fall generally puts out. But there's nothing truly essential on this disc; it's mainly for Fall completists only, and not worth breaking the bank over...

Instead of doing that, you can get it here for free! Here's Smith And Blaney, released on Voiceprint Records on October 13th, 2008. Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think.

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