Into the Unknown

Navigating the Eastward Passage

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

End of an Era

Well, I'm now officially free from the realm of retail employment with nothing much of anything to do for the next couple of weeks before starting my new job. Thought it would feel stranger than it is at the minute, having been at my job for over four years but .... still, got to listen to some decent music to close my last day - Steppin' Out of Line: The Anthology by the Au Pairs. Have to say I've been very impressed by this group over the last few months since hearing You on the Rough Trade Post Punk vol.1 compilation. That cut made me go and find some more and in my searching I found 'Headache for Michelle' and 'Come Again', another two excellent songs. Although these three tracks are probably the best on the 2 disc anthology (along with the demos of the third album from 1983) there is very little if any real filler material - these folks had quite the strike rate. The bass really stands out to me, with it's throbbing, PiL like resonance married to the punk funk stylings of Delta 5/Contortions/Bristol scene - particularly on the slower 'Headache for Michelle'. The band were actually contemporaries of Delta 5 and Gang of Four in the Leeds/Birmingham area of central England from 1979-1983, cutting two albums, a live disc and a couple of EPs, none of which really sound too similar whilst still being recognisable as the Au Pairs, before disbandind after tensions became too great (as usual). Overall, a very nice package with excellent music.

On other topics, think I've been spending too much time surfing the blogosphere already - and I still have 2 weeks of time to kill! Two sites everyone should be reading religiously are those produced by Jay over at Agony Shorthand and Dave at Lexicon Devil, both of which are extremely informative and engaging to read. Both sites cover a wide selection of styles but are centred on rock'n'roll, especially that old Punk rock we're so keen on round these parts (for further evidence type SST into the search engine on Lexicon Devil!). Ignore any criticism this guy throws at them in his sporadic bouts of self important whining. Seriously, I know that Jay voted him most thin-skinned blogger a while back but it doesn't come close - I assume there is some back story to it all but why can't he just keep it to the music? Besides that small whinge I actually don't dig his site much (that said, if you are looking to get into the more esoteric sounds of the 60s and 70s it could very well be an invaluable resource), the writing style is just too self important - a 'look what I found/own/wrote' style of prose, basically the sound of someone being obscure for the sake of being obscure (hey, I do it myself sometimes too) - and just not really engaging, sort of like reading an encyclopedia (in that you know its full of no doubt useful and important information but you just can't bring yourself to finish any more than the odd article).

Another good read is 20jazzfunkgreats, for all your dissonant and funky needs (sometimes at the same time. Although I don't dig everything they post over there (actually, probably about 70%) they do cover a lot of good stuff from the post punk/no wave era and even when I don't really like the music its still good to read. Also, they introduced me to the joys of DJ Scotch Egg - everyone should find a copy of his KFC-core album purely for 'Tetris Wonderland', oh how it takes me back to the days when the Game Boy ruled the roost (I only had a Sega Game Gear).


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