May 20, 2008

Seams burns tunes and Blood Looms and Blooms looms in June


Leila is working on her third studio album, Blood, Looms and Blooms, and like Portishead her last album was released before Rice Krispies were invented* (last album cover is pictured, with the words edited out in a pathetic nod to minimalism).

Taster single Mettle is a dense, trippy paean to the likes of My Bloody Valentine, so I'm expecting a full-lipped snog of post-trip hop, post-post-rock, and post-post-post-everything from her new long player. Expect it in June.

Incidentally, I only stumbled across Leila by accident.

In these new-fangled days of "burning" and "ripping" and other overly dramatic words for data transfer, it's easy to top and tail a copied album with some of your old faves. When my chum Seams gave me some of her tunes on a compact diskette, she sneaked in some late-90s Leila goodness and I was a convert.

While we're talking about sticking tracks onto the end of albums, you'll discover a treat if you rifle through my CD collection. On the end of my copy of Radiohead's In Rainbows (paid £0.00 and now I feel guilty) , you will find the Rainbow theme tune, Rainbow's classic 70s hit Since You've Been Gone, and two tracks from Mariah Carey's platinum-selling LP Rainbow.**

Back to the recommendations. Also look out for Boredom's Super Roots 9 on Thrill Jockey Records. The disc consists of one track, LIVWE, which is a grand symphony of rolling drums, stormy harmonies and wailing choirs. It doesn't change much over its 40 minute duration, but it's worth it for the opening jingle bells. I think it's Japanese but I may be wrong.***

And finally, a gripe. There is no excuse for Jamiroquai: he makes me want to smash in my eyeballs with guns. So there is definitely no excuse for Jamie Lidell's new offering Jim. Luke Vibert's remix of A Little Bit More rocked my world, but this Michael Buble toss rocks me to sleep.

*not true, but it's been a while.

**quite obviously a lie

***not a lie. I'm quite right. *puffs chest*


May 15, 2008

Ever decreasing memories of lifted bosoms and a DJ Shadow dump

Hulk flick

Edit: no wonder this post was so nostalgic. I've just realised (a month later) this was my 200th blog post. Hurrah! Light a candle or summink!

Ten years ago I flipped my first disc onto a spindle in public. I was rocking big beat in a rough bar. I broke the decks. I bombed.

But Fat Roland (yes, that's me pictured) was born unto the world, and the rest - as they allegedly say - is hysterical.

My head is seeping with memories as I think back through my decade of DJing. Little snapshots.

Electrical tape, perfectly parallel, pretending to be Tron lines on a floor. Long, smooth, edgy drum 'n' bass mixes and my DJ mates nodding in appreciation. Deciding to dump the beatmixing for John Peel-style weird track choices. My mate Fil signing the letter T when I play something he liked.

Sweating in a hooded top as I played the 'cool DJ' role with a bunch of energetic South Africans at Manchester Apollo. My wedding DJing phase, oh my wedding DJing phase. Lifting someone's ample bosom, two handed, from the needle-knocking danger zone. Lending my decks to LTJ Bukem's former musical partner and learning to mix jungle just by watching.

Some record label guys thrusting a pure white, unlabelled 12" at me - and my joy when I realised it wasn't crap. The sunshine last August and the couple dancing near the front. Beat-mixing at a skate park five gruelling hours a day over ten days, which included putting on a long DJ Shadow track while I had a poo. Being chased from Rusholme with said chum Fil, covered in wallpaper paste and flyposters.

I have slowed down, like an 80-year-old driver. Work is my steering wheel, and I just can't get enough cushions of spare time to rise me high enough to drive (by drive I mean DJ) safely (by safely I mean often). I'm tempted to delete that last sentence, but no, I'll just keep typing. Be damned.

I now find myself working three doors away from my first ever gig, and Facebook has put me back in touch with some of my pals from that time.

It all comes full circle. Like a record. Although not in ever decreasing circles, like what a record actually does. That would be depressing.


May 4, 2008

A hundred blinking goths, Jabba goes J-Ho, and sodden notes drying on radiators

Last FM

There are many things I should have resisted.

An invitation to Ara, Manchester's leading goth night. I arrive dressed in white. A hundred six-foot black and purple people, some of them dressed as crows, don sunglasses.

A record company showcase featuring a nascent All Saints. The room is full of Manchester celebrities. I spill MC Tunes' pint. His response didn't rhyme, but it certainly had bite.

Buying the Kooks' album. What was I thinking? It makes me sick to even think of it. I gave the CD away in a tombola at my 33-and-a-third birthday bash.

Getting my ears pierced in a strange attempt to cure a throbbing hangover. I looked like Jabba The Hut trying to be Lindsay Lohan. I decided that getting things pierced somehow doesn't cure hangovers.

Sledging with £1,300 in my back pockets.

There are many things I should have resisted. However, there is one thing I have resisted, but should have given in to quite some time ago.

Yes. I am finally on Last FM. Be the first to find me here.


May 1, 2008

Confusion in our eyes that says it all - we've lost Control (well, almost)

Sound Control

Oh plop tarts. I was busy enjoying a bit of summery pop courtesy of King Of All The Animals, and I surf onto a site that tells me Sound Control have been silenced.

The most joyous moment of my life was discovering the blue, mottled knob-laiden monster that is the Roland JP-8000 in Sound Control's Salford store.

I spent half an hour in acid nirvana as I took that synthesiser to buttock-wobbling depths and combover-raising zeniths. As I slapped the cash on the counter, I made my best purchase ever and the "Roland" part of my DJ name was born.

Yes, I named myself after a bloody keyboard.

The staff at the Salford branch would always take time out to teach dimwits like me the finer points of sound modules and weird samplers, even if was a Saturday afternoon and the shop was full of greasy teenagers in pseudo-army shirts playing Wish You Were Here.

I was even allowed into their store room to peruse their nuts.

A great aspect of Sound Control is they give a damn about maintaining your gear. Now everyone who owns anything musical will see their beloved Stratocaster / digital drum kit / electronic zither (delete as appropriate) crumble before their weeping eyes.

The Salford branch remains open while administrators tout the business for all the rupees they can get. But the Manchester branch closed a few days ago, along with nine other Sound Control and Turnkey stores from Southampton to Glasgow.

I don't want to listen to King Of All The Animals now. I'm need comfort music so I can retreat to my happy place.

Doctor Adamski's Musical Pharmacy it is, then.

Edit: Music Thing wants your help in tracking down all the music equipment shops in the world ever. Go to it!