Thursday, April 12, 2018

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures




Unknown Pleasures is one of the touchstones of the alternative music scene. It is the Rosetta Stone of new wave, from its deep vinyl grooves you can decode the influence in bands as diverse as Interpol and The Cure, Editors and Mogwi. Without the sonic template of Unknown Pleasures U2 would have never found a voice and a direction. Those early U2 records sound like smudged facsimiles of Joy Divisions latent power.

Unknown Pleasures was san genesis, an individual and eviscerating blend of punk fury, existentialist dread and post war industrial decay. An audio document that could have only been produced at a certain junction, immediately post the Sex Pistols and from a specific location, the UK . Despite its historical position it still sounds as vital and eerie as it did in 1979.

Inspired by a combination of the first wave of UK punk rock, and the American racket of The Stooges and The Velvet Underground Joy Divisions sound was a happy accident. Peter Hook’s high trebly bass playing a result of the cheap equipment the band initially used. Hook was forced to play higher than normal in order to be heard. His bass carried the melody of the songs, Barney Sumner’s guitar spiking the sound with caustic riffs and metallic textures. The whole sound was anchored by the breath taking human drum machine rhythms of Steven Morris.

The unusual combination of sounds marked the band out from the standard three chord thrash of the second generation of punk. Its not that the band could play any better than their peers, the reality is the opposite of that. They simply played to their strengths and in the process created a unique and potent sound. The majestic noise the band created was heightened by the poetic lyrics and sorrowful croon of Ian Curtis.

Curtis’ death hangs over the music of Joy Division draping it in a solemnity, carving it into memorial stone, yet on Unknown Pleasures, Curtis lyrics are troubled and questioning but not the extended cry for help of Closer. They have a depth that was out of time with the plastic nihilism of the moment more John Paul Sartre than Johnny Rotten.

Amazingly Sumner and Hook where disappointed with the production of Unknown Pleasures. They believed that producer Martin Hannett had emasculated their sound. Stripped away the fierce loud clanning punk rock and hollowed them out. Listening to the live tracks on the bonus disc you can see that he did prune away the volume but the harsh reality is that the songs are better for it.

Hannet’s use of found sound, breaking glass and empty lift shafts, coupled with a pioneering use of delay resulted in sound that owed as much to dub as it did to punk. The music is bathed in shimmering ether, the taut rhythms seem to ripple, the minimal bass lines stretching time. Sumner’s guitar adds textures, obtuse broken riffs, corrosive discordant tints over the restless clatter and hum.

The record has stuck with me since I first heard it as a callow fourteen year old. Other records that I loved at the time have fallen by the wayside, their adolescent angst unable to translate themselves into my adult life. There is something honest, harrowing and timeless at the heart of Unknown Pleasures that has kept me hooked. In my opinion it is the greatest debut LP of all time. If you don’t own a copy your music collection is missing a major cog, go and buy this record today.

Tony Heywood ©

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

China's Underground Club Scene

A great mix of tunes from China




Panic Radio Playlist 21st March 2018

Panic Radio March 21st 2018
• Pulp – Common People
• Marisa Anderson – Cloud Corner
• Finley Quaye – Butterfly Lovers
• Pixies – Bone Machine
• Guess the a-side - The Wedding Present – All Above Eve
• Sandy Shaw – Hand in Glove
• Robert Foster – I am So Happy For You
• Slonk – We’re Going to Be Fine
• Shopping – The Hype
• Junk Shop – Noel Coward – Nina
• X Ray Spex – I am Cliché
• Idlewild – The Wooden Ideals
• Long Track – Rising the Titanic (Big Drum Mix)
• Diana Ross & The Supremes – Love Child
• Mismatched socks – Circumstance
• John Tejada – Heal
• Location Kent – Kate Bush – Sunset
• Location Kent – Siouxsie and The Banchees – Cities in Dust
• Location Kent – Sawhney – Beyond Skin
• Why?- One Mississippi
• Cover Version of The Week – Meshell Ndegeocello – Waterfalls
• August Greene – Optimistic
• Portishead – Roads
• DJ Taye – Pop Drop (Featuring DJ Pay Pal)
• One Dove – Why Don’t You Take Me (rank outsiders mix)


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Second Hand Music Special

Playlist July 13th Second Hand Special Panic Radio

1. Blondie – Rapture
2. The Killers – Jenny Was A Friend of Mine
3. Buzzcocks – Everbodys Happy Nowdays 
4. Guess the a-side – Disapointed – Everyday is Like Sunday B-side
5. The Cocteau Twins – How to Bring A Blush To Snow
6. Johnny Cash – Goodnight Irene
7. Nick Drake – Northern Sky
8. Lemonheads – Into My Arms
9. Rockingbirds – We Had It All
10. Jack Johnson - Banana Pancakes
11. Monaco – Sweetlips
12. Moloko – The Time Is Now (Francios K Main Vocal Mix)
13. Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Women
14. Money Mark – Information Contraband
Location London
15. Soul II Soul – Joy
16. Leftfield – Open Up
17. The XX – Shelter
18. Bille Ray Martin – Loving Arms
19. KLF – 3 am Eternal
20. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
21. Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper
22. Smith and Mighty – Higher Dub

My playlist from the radio show on WCR FM. A second hand music special playing tracks from CDs and LPs I have picked up second hand from car boot sales, charity shops, jumble sales, second hand record shops, market stalls and school fetes. 



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Panic Radio Site

I have launched a new site that is focused on the radio show that I do weekly on WCR FM in Warminster Wiltshire on a Wednesday evening. The show is called Panic radio and below is a link to the site and also a link to the Mixcloud account that carries some of the shows. The one below is the third anniversary cover version special.

Panic Radio
Mixcloud 






Friday, February 10, 2017

Prince Panic Radio Tribute





My Radio show tribute to Prince. Two hours of Prince originals, b-sides, remixes and cover versions. I hope you enjoy it.

Track listing for the show

  • Lets Go Crazy
  • Anotherloverholenyohead
  • Guitar
  • She's Always In My Hair
  • Mavis Staples - Time Waits For No One
  • Purple Dub - Take Me With You
  • Chaka Kahn - I Feel For You
  • Star Fish and Coffee
  • Sign O The Times
  • Colonized Mind
  • Balltimore
  • Raspberry Beret
  • Kiss 12" Mix
  • You Got The Look
  • The Time - Jerk It Out
  • Gett Off (club mix)
  • Controversy
  • Musicology
  • The Family - High Fashion
  • Seven (acoustic version)
  • Supercute
  • When Doves Cry
  • The Cross
  • A Case of You (Joni Mitchell cover)
  • Sometimes in Snows In April


Panic Radio is live on Warminster Community Radio on Wednesday evening 9pm to 11pm. If you have music you would like me to consider then please email (tony.h at wcrfm.org.uk).

The WCR Website is here - http://www.wcrfm.org.uk/

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Albums of Year 2016

Top 20 LPS 2016 Panic Radio - Highway Five




1. Ed Scissor and Lamplighter – Tell Them It’s Winter
2. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
3. Towel – Wipe Me Dry
4. Serpentwithfeet – Blisters
5. Giaka – Security
6. Daughter – Not Too Disappear
7. Yussef Kamaal - Black Focus
8. Moor Mother – Fetish Bones
9. Ash Koosha – I AKA I
10. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
11. Lucy Dacus – No Burden
12. Higher Authorities - Neptune
13. Karl Blau – Introducing Karl Blau
14. Beans on Toast – A Spanner in The Works
15. Richmond Fontaine – You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To
16. Jah9 – 9
17. Olga Bell – Tempo
18. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
19. David Bowie- Black Star
20. Cavern of Anti-Matter - Void Beats / Invocation Trex

Monday, December 07, 2015

Top 20 LPs 2015 - Panic Radio List




1.       Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free
The new king of alt.country? Former Drive By Trucker releases a LP that is full of great songs that much like the Courtney Barnett record spins the mundane into pure song writing gold. An emotional record that wears its hard won smarts front and centre. A joy to listen to.
2.       King Midas Sound/Fennesz – Edition 1
Dread and Jah, bass heavy KMS working with Austrian electronic artist Fennesz is a musical marriage made in some sort of smoke filled heaven. Like Massive Attack drowning in claustrophobic reverb and dub. Eerie, grainy, creeping and infectious.
3.       Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think Sometimes I Just Sit
Debut LP proper from Courtney Barnett after a series of great EPs. The ability to turn snapshots of the mundane (buying a house, the daily commute, driving) into a series of little musical epiphanies is amazing.
4.       Roots Manuva – Bleeds
The return of Roots Manuva. UK hip-hip/grime with the advantage of hard won experience, doubt, fear, religious rebirth not the usual subjects for grime. Dark, bruised and wonderful.
5.       Jam City –Dream A Garden
A cross pollination of club music signifiers and mid 80s dream pop indie.  Like a dubbed out Cocteau Twins. A rain streaked faded Polaroid of effected guitars, beats, floating vocals and a deep rooted sense of ennui.
6.       Darkstar – Foam Island
A huge shift for Darkstar from retro synth pop of their early releases to austerity electronica. The sound of social contract collapsing via interviews and electronic soundscapes. Calypso beats, dub, soft focus electronica. Protest music of a different hue.
7.       Torres –Sprinter
New York born living in Nashville her second LP with shades of early PJ Harvey (it’s produced by Rob Ellis). Despair, rage, loss. Brutally honest and hook heavy. From a whisper to a scream.
8.       Holly Herndon – Platform
Dense modern laptop electronica. The sound of modern technology, dance floor moves, digital sludge, post modernism and a haunting vocals. The sound of the Future?
9.       JLin – Black Ballet
A do love a bit of Footwork but most of that comes in single sized chunks. Jlin takes those frantic machine rhythms of footwork and she bends them into new shapes. Dam funky.
10.   Jenny Hval - Apocalypse Girl
Feminism, melody, electronics, noise, American cultural imperialism, gender politics. That makes it sound really dry but its rude, explicit, funny, quite “pop” and very catchy.
11.   Sherwood and Pinch – Late Night Endless
Old School dub master meets new school electronica. A beast of a record full of BASS, reverb and big dry echoes. Much more than the sum of its talented parts.
12.   Grasscut – Everyone Was A Bird
More organic less electronic than the first two LPs but still a delight. Fan submitted spoken word piece, nature based lyrical themes and soaring strings.
13.   Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space
Working with the British Film Institute PSB splice film and news clips with post rock and electronic backing. Funkier than it sounds on paper.
14.   Lonelady – Hinterland
This is like a lost factory record release. Shades of ACR, Section 25, and early New Order. Fragile guitar melodies, industrial murk, Brit funk but a modern twist in the production.
15.   Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
Fantastic return after 10 years away. Snaps, snarls, the guitars bite yet it is joyful at the same time. Knocks the New Order and Prodigy come backs out of ring with a series of beautiful jabs.
16.   The Unthanks – Mount The Air
Folk detour that was started when I picked up a copy of the first Unthanks LP second hand. A lovely mixture of dark folk themes and solid gold harmonies and melodies.
17.   The Band of Holy Joy – The Land of Holy Joy
One of my favourite bands of the late 1980s this is their 19th LP! Johnny Brown is a lyricist with a sharp eye for detail. Bittersweet stories of those living on the fringes of society set to a romantic spring laden ramshackle indie racket.
18.   Floating Points – Elaenia
Late period Talk Talk refracted through an electronic and post rock prism without the god fearing lyrics. Might be higher up the list if I had longer to listen to it.
19.   Romare – Projections
Smoky vocal samples, African drums, garage, house, jump cuts. A lovely collage of various dance forms into a fun, funky and clever record.
20.   Bill Ryder Jones – West Kirby County Primary
Former member of the Coral and Artic Monkeys tour guitarist BRJ’s solo LP is a bleak and beauty collection mainly recorded at home. Strong songs with clever little lyric touches, a fragile voice and a sense of loss. One to get lost in.


Monday, March 31, 2014

New Order - Drop the Guitar Live in Chile 2014



New Order have previewed their first new track since 2005's Waiting for the Siren's Call. Played live in Chile as part of Lollapalooza Chile on the 30th March 2014. The song is the first new material since Peter Hook left the band. Although Hooky is no longer a member the song has the familiar bass rumble, a spidery guitar part that is very mid period (circa 1985) New Order and a Barney vocal that is prime New Order. It sounds more like New Order than the recent Bad Luienent stuff although the only difference live is Stephen Morris. Sound like a return to form to my ears.



More information here:

Fact Magazine - http://www.factmag.com/2014/03/31/new-order-unveil-first-new-song-in-nine-years-listen-here/

Slicing Up Eyeballs - http://www.slicingupeyeballs.com/2014/03/31/new-order-new-song-drop-the-guitar-santiago-video/

Consequence of Sound - http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/03/watch-new-order-debuts-drop-the-guitar-their-first-new-song-in-nine-years/


The Redemption of Martin Hannett - Book and DVD Release


The genius of Martin Hannett (Joy Division, New Order, U2 and Happy Mondays producer) is too be celebrated with a new book and DVD film both released in April.

Hannett's story,he died of a heart attack in back in 1991 aged only 42, has gone mainly unrecorded despite the wealth of material produced on Factory Records.

Cerysmatic Factory who have seen the DVD outline it below:

featuring contributions from Tony Wilson Vini Reilly, Bruce Mitchell, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner, Tosh Ryan, Steve Hopkins (Invisible Girls), Mark Radcliffe, Dave Formula, Reni and Andy Couzens (Stone Roses) plus many othera.

This is no flash expensive BBC documentary, it's a gritty warts 'n' all tale of experimentation, laid bare with the minimum of trickery and a host of wide-eyed observers...."

http://news.cerysmaticfactory.info/2014/03/martin-hannett-he-wasnt-just-the-fifth-member-of-joy-division-dvd-documentary-review.html

You can order directly from here:

http://www.ozitmorpheusrecords.com/

This is great interview between Tony Wilson & Martin Hannett. .



The song being "produced" is Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls - The Visitor have a listen below. Listen to the snare drum!



There is also a sample from the video in the first two tracks from The Durutti Column's A Paean To Wilson.