Archive for the ‘Virgin’ Category


Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Listen: Atom Bomb (Edit) / Fluke

When I excitedly played ‘Atom Bomb’ for a close friend, who also doubles as an electronic music hater, being sure it would be the one to change his mind, he instead proceeded to point out the song’s lack of a chorus. My retort was, the whole song is a chorus. Indeed that’s all it is. Neither of us were accurate of course. But it did frame how a traditional song addict could dismiss this whole genre, based on structure.

That scenario is luckily not my problem. Either it’s good music and I like it, or not.

Never loved a Fluke song before or after ‘Atom Bomb. To be clear, I liked but didn’t love those other singles.

Still can remember my first hearing of ‘Atom Bomb’. Having just landed at Heathrow via the morning flight out of JFK meant an evening London arrival. Once clearing customs, and successfully boarding a modern day miracle known as the Heathrow Express, I fired up my transistor to Radio 1. Don’t forget, this was before Wifi and apps. I was just in time to catch the very last track on Jo Whiley’s and Steve Lamacq’s Evening Session, a UK premier of ‘Atom Bomb’.

Wow, did it sound good. Those first few new records I’d hear once firing up Radio 1 after arriving in London have always made for a memorable moment. In the case of ‘Atom Bomb’, a lasting one.

The Chemical Brothers

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Listen: Do It Again / The Chemical Brothers
Do It Again / The Chemical Brothers

Filing singles is such good therapy. It keeps my mind alert, tests logic and organizational skills, and certainly cleans through one’s memory capacity, kinda like hitting the refresh button.

But mostly, filing records lets me discover records I’d totally forgotten I had, and even more fun, had forgotten existed.

So is the case with ‘Do It Again’. One of the classics they performed last September in NY.

Did I mention that I fucking love The Chemical Brothers live? Right up there with the most seminal. No one can touch them, now or ever.

I do wish they had many more 7′s. That was the one bummer about dance music, it moved folks from 7″ to 12″. How stupid was that?

The Future Sound Of London

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Listen: We Have Explosive (7″ Edit) / The Future Sound Of London FSOLExplosive.mp3

May ’97 in London had a few really rainy, cold days. You’d have sworn it was February. Perfect, just as England should be.

I know, I was there. I think it was a trip to hear the new Primal Scream album, maybe meet with them about releasing it through Columbia via Creation Records’ deal with us. And just by coincidence, The Cramps were playing two nights at The Astoria….just by coincidence. Working at major labels, where the entire senior staff were asleep at the wheel musically, did have it’s benefits.

‘We Have Explosive’ had peaked at #12 a few weeks earlier, and was still all over Radio 1. Can vividly remember shivering in Gary Crowley’s car, as he unsuccesfully atempted to coax heat out of the dashboad, on our way to Jakes from the Sony Building, via Marble Arch on a nasty day in nasty traffic, and this one lifting the mood 1000%.

Not only one of the best artist names ever, turns out FSOL were also tops at documenting a precise musical snapshot of that very moment in time.


Monday, January 11th, 2010

XTCSensesPS, XTC, Steve Lillywhite, Virgin

Listen: Senses Working Overtime (Single Version) / XTC [audio:]

You have to hand it to Steve Lillywhite. He can produce a record alright. God, he was on a roll during this early 80′s stretch. XTC, Peter Gabriel, The Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, Joan Armatrading, U2. If you couldn’t make great records with that bunch, you’d be pretty useless – but seminal ones as they turned out to be – well not necessarily that easy.

Having a great engineer is the magic formula – one who can eventually learn the craft and rise to the occasion. Such the case with Hugh Padgham, Steve’s original engineer who produced this – and The Police among others.

Early on, XTC opened a US tour for The Police, the only time I got to see them. And I’m honestly not sure how many times thereafter they returned. Their saga is long. And this is a well known hit, but never one I tire of.

The Skids

Monday, December 7th, 2009

SkidsValleyPS, The Skids

Listen: Into The Valley / The Skids SkidsValley.mp3

It baffles to this day, how ‘Into The Valley’ never even got a US release. Sure it wasn’t going to get a fair shake at American radio, but if that were the criteria, we’d have a backlog of unused vinyl, enough to fill the Great Lakes. Virgin was releasing plenty of other records of much less likely potential then as well. Whatever, such a great single. They had several, but none to top this. Not for me.

Their trademark sound didn’t take long to prove it’s worth in The States, once leader Stuart Adamsom formed Big Country. Now I did hear Matt Pinfield play ‘In A Big Country’ the other day and it sounded great.

Public Image Ltd.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

pil-pil, Public Image, Public Image Ltd., PIL, Johnny Rotten, John Lydon, Virgin

pil-pil-ps,Public Image, Public Image Ltd., PIL, Johnny Rotten, John Lydon, Virgin

Listen: Public Image / Public Image Ltd. PublicImage.mp3

It could have been awful, and left a nasty void, had John Lydon not delivered as powerful and contemporary a debut single for his new band as this. Do you remember the video that accompanied it? Equally great.

Johnny Ramone always planned to quit before the band got “fat, bald or lazy”. Despite everyone coaxing he and Joey back to the stage after their ’96 retirement, they did leave a timeless image of themselves, just as John planned, by never doing so. Whether by design or not, The Sex Pistols are in the same boat.

Lydon often hung out with Michael and Howard at Elektra around the time ALBUM was released in ’86. What a fucking hysterical guy. No question, he was a great night out.