Friday, 31 October 2008


Miss Black glides down the street to an internal Hammer Horror soundtrack, she stops to check her hair and make-up in the vast windows of Top Shop – a blood-curdling scream… there is no reflection… just a vacant day-glo mannequin gazing back… the Hammer Horror organ music spills out into the high street, and Miss Black takes flight…

Ladytron – Miss Black

Quick! Hide! It’s Darren Spooner - skeletal-thin and dirty-faced. He’s been at the grease-paint again, and he’s wielding a bull-whip with dastardly intent… WHIP-CRAAAAAACKKKK - the werewolf howls and a menacing electro-glitter-beat kicks in.

Mother nature’s beasts gather and circle: eager to please and hungry for blood… For he is the Beastmaster…

Relaxed Muscle – Beastmaster

Groping around in the darkness, your heart races. A howling gale has just blown up, the unmistakable CREEEEEEEAAKKKKKK of a coffin lid sends a shiver down your spine…

[Rod explanation below – thanks to Go Faster for the funny pic]

The Moontrekkers – Night of The Vampire

[this was famously banned by the BBC as being “unsuitable for people of a nervous disposition”. Joe Meek throws down a spine-chilling tape collage and The Moontrekkers stomp out a surf-guitar & Clavioline-fuelled nightmare. Real horror-show!]

[And now an explanation about the Rod Stewart picture: A little known group called The Raiders arrived at Joe Meek’s studio for an audition. Joe was enjoying the noise until their vocalist, a young Rod Stewart, opened his mouth. Joe stood with his fingers in his ears going LA-LA-LA until Rod stopped, and was promptly dismissed. Meek signed the band and they became his house band from then on. Conclusion: even Joe Meek who was famously tone-deaf couldn’t bear the sound of Rod’s gravelly tones]

Eeeeeeek! This one really gives me the heebee-geebies. It’s the bit where he starts sounding like an evil demented muppet talking to itself “do you know the beast who discovered the internal calculus?” Scary…

Evariste - Connais-Tu I'animal Qui Inventa Le Calcul Integral

[there’s a French wikipedia entry on Evariste, and not much else - here’s a rather poor Google English translation (click the link to Joel Sternheimer - his real name). It seems Evariste had a PhD in theoretical physics, but decided he wanted to make frightening psychedelic records to scare the be-jeezus out of folks like you and me.]

In need of a little light relief after Evariste brought the heavies ‘round? How about Future Bible Heroes’ ode to the joys of being a vampire:

“I survived for 700 years and I still look seventeen”… hmmm, me thinks they may be exaggerating a teeny bit.

Future Bible Heroes – I’m A Vampire

[psssst! Spiked Candy made a trick or treat post last Hallowe’en, and it seems there are still a few mp3 links working including Stella’s wordily titled ‘Si vous connaissez quelque-chose de pire qu'un vampire, parlez m'en toujours, ça pourra peut-être me faire sourire’ (translation: ‘If you know of something worse than a vampire, tell me, it will make me smile’).  Spiked Candy has been VERY quiet for a while now, we hope she comes back soon]

Thursday, 30 October 2008

I spy (with my little eye)

Everyone out there’s ranting on about James Bond double-o seven… Now we have no idea what a Quantum of Solace is, and we couldn’t really give a flying Nick Nack.

Let’s go back to a time when Bond themes were good, and when CGI wasn’t relied upon as a valid plot-replacement device: It’s 1969, Jean-Jacques Perrey unleashes The Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound of Jean-Jacques Perrey. Track 7 is his very own Moog-ed up homage to Her Majesty’s number 7 spy - a poignant, understated little ditty, which probably wasn’t even considered for official Bond-theme material because its composer was French!

Jean-Jacques Perrey – Mister James Bond

[Space Age Pop has a nice little biog of Perrey including links to get hold of his albums.]

Rewind three years: At the height of her fame, Petula Clark must have been itching to get her voice ‘round a Bond theme. But Mister Barry snubbed her, so she penned her own, complete with comedy dying sound effects.

Petula Clark – L’Agent Secret

[Dans Mon Café posted this song in January 07. It’s all gone quiet over there at the moment, and I imagine the mp3 link is long-dead now. However, a helpful reader left a comment with the lyrics in English and French, so you can see all the ways those secret agents died, and how to be the best!]

Here's something every spy should carry in their briefcase:

But there are other spies too y’know…

Plastics will tell you all about the most elusive spy ever to operate out of Tokyo:

Plastics – Top Secret Man

[I love Plastics, they’re like Japan’s answer to Devo and The B-52s. If anyone out there knows where I can hear more Plastics, please write in.]

And talking of Devo, here’s their De-volutionary cover of the US Danger Man theme from Duty Now For The Future.

Devo – Secret Agent Man

[I much prefer this earlier jerkier garage-version featured in the short film In the Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-evolution. Things to look out for: Booji Boy’s wayward hand-jiving; 2 ape-masked men paddling the behind of a strange looking china-doll lady; the monkey-masked man that goes “SE-CRET!”; and the home-made electronic drums that look like car hub-caps. One thing to ignore: the idiot who introduces the video]

Devo – Secret Agent Man

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Femme Fatale

Warning! There is a big fat shameless name-drop in this post.

Last weekend John Cale presented a tribute concert to Nico at the Royal Festival Hall, 20 years after her tragic death. We couldn’t go, but here’s our own little L’Amour Electronique tribute to the teutonic femme fatale…

The first time Verity and I saw Stereo Total in London, we snuck backstage (we had a big box of 120 Miss Pain Heartbreaker seven-inches that we’d picked up on the way to the venue – so it wasn’t particularly easy to sneak anywhere). We went searching for Brezel, and I rather gracelessly stumbled in on him taking a piss. He didn’t seem to mind though, and even chatted with us for a while afterwards. We gave him a copy of our single and went merrily on our way.

When they got back off tour he sent me an email it went:
“thank you for your 7 inch. It is a Hit !!”

We stayed in touch on and off, and when we played in Berlin he gave me a seven-inch which he explained as: two remixes of Berlin’s biggest smackheads – Nico and Christiane F. It came with a little bag of powder, of which he advised: “Don’t take it – It’s not drugs!”

When we got back off tour, I played the record. It too was a Hit !! In fact it’s been a constant feature in my record box, and I’ve played the Christiane F remix just about every time I’ve DJ’ed since.

Here’s the Nico side:

Brezel Goring – Eulogy To Lenny Bruce (featuring Nico)

I’ve just been re-reading Sylvie Simmons’ A Fistful of Gitanes (by far the best English language Serge Gainsbourg biography out there, if you ask me). It was there that I first discovered Serge had recorded with Nico - here’s an extract from the book:

“Banned in France for its nudity [!], it [Strip-Tease] starred Christa Päffgen as a dancer desperately seeking work in the nightclubs of Paris. Serge had taken the statuesque German blonde into the studio to record the theme song, but he didn’t like her sombre, death’s-head voice and binned the tape. It would be another two years before Päffgen moved to New York, where she was taken up by Andy Warhol and introduced into The Velvet Underground under her better-known name, Nico.”

Strip-Tease (1963) (Clip 1)

Strip-Tease (1963) (Clip 2)

Incidentally, the title track to Strip-Tease was recorded by Juliette Gréco in the end, but the Nico version surfaced on a box-set Le Cinéma de Serge Gainsbourg 10 years after Serge’s death (you can imagine him muttering in his grave about that one…)

Nico – Strip-Tease

Bonus mp3 – it’s Francoise and Brezel’s cover of Nico’s ode to the residents of the Chelsea Hotel (from their Do The Bambi album)…

Stereo Total – Chelsea Girls