Monday, November 19, 2012

The Christians - Ideal World (TR808 Mix)


I'm not one for previewing music online before I buy it. If I read a review of an album by a band I haven't heard of and it sounds like I might like them, I just order the disc and cross my fingers. Don't get me wrong, I don't just order things for the hell of it. I usually check out a few reviews online from different sources just to make sure it's something I'll likely enjoy. This system works remarkably well. I'd say seven out of ten items I order with this method end up in constant rotation.

Then, every once in a while, something I ordered like this shows up in the mail and blows me away. Such is the case with Cherry Red's reissue of The Christians eponymous debut album. I had never heard of this UK band which released their first album in 1987. It's possible they were off my radar because they aren't the typical British 80s band (Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, etc). Rather, they are a wonderful mix of northern soul and pop music with an emphasis on the former. I really can't say enough about this album! I am a sucker for vocal harmonies and anything steeped in blue-eyed soul and The Christians supply soul in spades.

The song I'm uploading is a remix of "Ideal World" which strips down some of the pop instrumentation of the album version in favor of the vocal harmonies. It gives me shivers!


Artist: The Christians
Title: Ideal World (TR808 Mix)
From: 'Ideal World' CD Single
Time: 4.23





Friday, April 1, 2011

The KLF - America: What Time Is January?


What is there to say about The KLF? They are one of my favorite bands of all time, and if you're into sampling or remixing, these guys are a gold mine. This week's track is taken from an "unofficial release" CD which contains tracks that were released only on vinyl. This track is a remix of "America: What Time Is Love" and the first thing you'll notice is the awesome bagpipes. Enjoy!

Artist: The KLF
Title: America: What Time Is January?
From: The Lost Sounds of MU Vol. II
Time: 7.22





Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Dove - Why Don't You Take Me (Stephen Hague Mix)


Scottish band One Dove was one of those musical entities that I stumbled upon completely by accident. The year was 1993 and the band had just released their first (and only) album titled Morning Dove White. One of my friends who owned a local indie record store happened to be playing one of the singles off the album and I was immediately transfixed. Dot Allison's dreamy, ethereal vocals coupled with a near perfect trip-hop soundscape instantly appealed to me. I bought the album that day and it fast became one of my very favorites. For eighteen years I've been recommending the album to everyone I know and I have yet to find a single person who didn't like it. It really is that good. The best part? The album is not out-of-print or rare, so you can pop on Amazon right now and order it for less than $2!

However, the track I'm posting this time around is a bit harder to find. It's taken from a UK promo CD for one of One Dove's lesser known songs titled "Why Don't You Take Me." This was meant to be the third single from the album, but the band broke up before it could get any real promotion. Stephen Hague was tasked with remixing the track and he did an admirable job. Though it's not an extended version (it only clocks in at 3:44) it is still a very satisfying mix of the original song.

Some of you may know that Dot Allison moved on to relatively successful solo career, releasing four albums under her own name between 1998 and 2009. Though her solo work has its moments, it is substantially less compelling then her work with One Dove. Beg, borrow, or steal a copy of the their full length album. It is so worth it! Enjoy the track...

Artist: One Dove
Title: Why Don't You Take Me (Stephen Hague Mix)
From: Why Don't You Take Me (Promo CD5)
Time: 3.44





Monday, January 10, 2011

Wire - Life In The Manscape (7-inch Version)


I can't say I'm a huge Wire fan, but every once in a while they release something that catches my ear. Such is the case with this week's track. I picked up the CD single for "Life in the Manscape" at a used CD store for 50 cents. Knowing that Wire didn't always do it for me, I knew that I wouldn't be out much if I made the purchase and decided to never listen to it again. Well, I did listen it again. And again. And again. In fact, it soon became my favorite Wire song.

The song was released in 1990 and came out in a particularly accessible era of Wire's career (in stark contrast to some of their earlier experimental work in the late 70s and early 90s). I'm a pop music fan so I tend to shy away from anything too experimental, but this track hooked me the first time I heard with its pop sensibility and smooth synth sound. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Artist: Wire
Title: Life In The Manscape
From: Life In The Manscape CD5
Time: 3.54





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pop! - Tingly (I Wish My Brother George Martin Was Here)


I've been a huge Frente! fan since I first heard their 1991 EP Whirled which contained great songs like "Labour of Love" and "Oh Brilliance." While I did indeed really like the band, it turns out that the element of their music I was truly smitten with was the hypnotizing voice of their lead singer Angie Hart. I've always had a thing for accents and her breathy, pixieish Australian accent is just so riveting!

In between the first Frente!'s first album (1992's Marvin The Album) and second album (1996's Shape), Hart lent her vocals to a song called "Tingly" in 1995. This was not a Frente!-based project, but rather a one off collaboration with Tony Stott and John Richards of the band About Six Feet. The three of them called themselves Pop! and only recorded the one song before going back to their respective bands.

Frente! broke up in 1997 (citing exhaustion) leaving Hart to pursue other projects. In 1998, she teamed up with husband Jesse Tobias (who had previously toured with Red Hot Chili Peppers) to form the band Splendid. They released an album and a number of EPs before the band (and her marriage) broke up in 2004.

Since then Hart has released two solo albums (Grounded Bird and Eat My Shadow) which are both excellent. Frente! have also reformed and are planning to re-release Marvin The Album sometime in 2011.

This week's track is a remix of "Tingly" taken from the Tingly CD single which Pop! released back in 1995. It's got a very 1960s retro sound much like Saint Etienne or even Dusty Springfield. Enjoy!

Artist: Pop!
Title: Tingly (I Wish My Brother George Martin Was Here)
From: Tingly CD5
Time: 3.53





The Blog is Back!

Well it's been a little over a year since I last posted a track here on the blog and (for what seems like the 50th time) I've decided to do my best to resurrect it. There were a number of factors that conspired against the posting of new tracks, foremost of which was legality. With certain organizations suing the pants off of people making music available for download (even rare and out-of-print music) it just didn't seem like a good idea to continue posting tracks for download. In fact, it still doesn't seem like a good idea. Which brings me to the biggest change in relation to the blog: tracks are now streamable rather than downloadable. Everyone still gets to hear something rare, and I avoid the legal issues of handing out music. Sure, there will be some of you computer aficionados who can figure out how to download the tracks to your hard drive by looking at the page code, but that can't be helped. I just want to share some rare bits of music with people and this seems like the best way to do it.

There are a few other changes I'm implementing as well. For the most part, all of the previous tracks have been taken from CD. While I still
love CDs (and continue to collect them at a ridiculous pace), I've also gotten more into vinyl 12" singles lately. Between record store visits and flea markets, I've managed to acquire a little over 500 80s 12" singles in the past 12 months. While I'm in no hurry to transfer them to CD (the process is painfully slow), I can definitely see myself grabbing the occasional mix from vinyl and encoding it for streaming here on the blog. I'm lucky to have some very high end equipment which will allow me to transfer said vinyl to digital format preserving them in very high fidelity.

Secondly, my musical taste has evolved since I first started posting tracks back in 1997(!). I still love my 80s synthpop music, but I've also grown to love music in other genres. Man cannot survive on Depeche Mode alone! So, I'll probably be mixing the tracks up a bit. Most of what I post will be synthpop and electronic music with the occasional track that I think has a tangential relationship to those genres. I promise it will all be good music!

Well, that's about all for now. I'll be uploading the first track in the next day or so. I'm guessing there won't be a new track every single Sunday like there used to be, but I'm committed to updating the blog as much as possible. I still maintain an up-to-date listing of all my CDs at www.thefirstcut.net/catalog if you're interested in browsing through the collection.

I look forward to hearing from you and discussing some great music!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sinéad O'Connor - Jump In The River (featuring Karen Finley)












I have a huge appreciation for the music of Sinéad O'Connor. The Lion & The Cobra was released when I was only twelve years old, but it had quite an affect on me. I still remember the first time I saw the cover; this bald woman, hands crossed over chest, screaming at the top of her lungs. It's as if she was feminism incarnate -- wailing like a banshees at the patriarchy. Even at twelve years old, I knew this woman was fierce, and that image of her has never left me. And who could forget songs like Mandinka, (I Want Your) Hands On Me, and Troy?


Next came the album that made her a household name. 1989's I Do Not Want What I Have Not Got (with help from the Prince-penned "Nothing Compares 2 U") thrust her into a very uncomfortable position; musical icon. She's talked about her uncomfortable courtship with fame many times over the years, and she's much happier when she's out of the public eye. Of course, tearing up a picture of the Pope on SNL probably doesn't help achieve that goal. Oh the indiscretions of youth!

Many people think that "Nothing Compares 2 U" was the first single released from that album, but it was actually "Jump In The River." It came and went largely unnoticed, but it's actually quite a good song. She teamed up with feminist shock performance artist Karen Finley for a re-recording of the track. The first four minutes of the song are largely the same as the single version, but then you hear Finley's howling and barking marking the transition to her portion of the track. In true Finley style, she proceeds to scream a stream of obscenities that would put a sailor to shame. She was, after all, one of the "NEA Four."

Anyway, I think it's a great version of the track and I hope you enjoy it!

Artist: Sinéad O'Connor
Title: Jump in the River (featuring Karen Finley)
From: Jump in the River CD5
Time: 7.21