Archive for the ‘HMV Store – Oxford Street’ Category

Power Pill

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Listen: Pac Man (Mickey Finn’s Yum Yum Edit) / Power Pill
Pac Man (Mickey Finn's Yum Yum Edit) / Power Pill

How strange was that Grammy award acceptance speech from Dave Grohl a few weeks back? Dear me, he doesn’t at all seem comfortable that his Foo Fighters rock music possibly needs a fresh breath to creatively compete with newer genres, much more reflecting the sound of technology and instincts of a younger generation. This either minutes before or after an embarrassing attempt to musically collaborate with Deadmau5.

Yes, he proclaimed some rather curious mentions about singing into a microphone, learning to play your instrument, implying as long as that instrument isn’t a computer, one’s heart, imperfections and all, will prevail with better music resulting.

Huh? I guess to him, his band’s processed and polished output, to these ears at least, all apparently now recorded in his garage then tweaked to old school sonic perfection in a most high end mastering facility, is the real deal. Rock’s new soul. To each his own I suppose.

Point being, soulful music can be made on machines just as with traditional instruments if the creator has the heart he was mentioning, and the talent. His comments were not unlike Mitch Miller dismissing Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones in the early 60′s. Quite disappointing from a guy known to be supportive, friendly and a comrade.

Case in point, Power Pill. This one-off side track from Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, has more relevance today than many of the current metal posing as punk tunes being force fed down the pike by totally tuckered guitar playing 40 somethings. Check the timeline, the ‘Pac Man’ single is twenty years old.

The early 90′s, even the late 80′s, were indeed the formative periods for electronic music’s stronghold beginnings, finally surfacing in the DNA of a generation whose parents opened their ears and record shelves to Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Faust, Neu, Can, Henry Cow and many more.

Released by Roger Ames’ brilliant FFRR label, you need both the 12″ and the desperately hard to find 7″ of this one. My favorite version, Mickey Finn’s Yum Yum mix, miraculously made it to the 7′s B side in edited form.

I first heard ‘Pac Man’ on a BBC Radio 1 John Peel evening session program, driving around in Gary Crowley’s car after a rather late night at Jake’s. Never mind. I made it to the Oxford Street HMV that very next morning to scarf one of the five copies in their rack. I know, very short sighted leaving the other four behind.

The Boo Radleys

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Listen: Wake Up Boo / The Boo Radleys
Wake Up Boo / The Boo Radleys

The Boo Radleys never entered my life before ‘Wake Up Boo’, and I must say they never did again. No idea what they look like, how many members there are, if they still exist, nothing. A fleeting comet.

One thing for sure, when I heard this, midday on Radio 1, it was like nothing else before it. Pumped up Squeeze with horns….on helium. I was hooked. Inked in a stop at the Oxford Street HMV specifically to lock down a 7″ hours later.

So that’s my Boo Radleys story. I was tempted to Google them, check out youtube, but decided to abstain. I’ll never know more than ‘Wake Up Boo’. It’s all good.


Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Lightning Blue Eyes / Secret Machines

Listen: Lightning Blue Eyes / Secret Machines SecretMachinesLightningBlueEyes.mp3

Christmas 2004. I finally had a few weeks off and planned to catch up on a bunch of new records I’d been meaning to get to since November. For a few years, I made it a point of stopping at the original HMV store on Oxford Street every London visit. Luckily, I looked after a bunch of Columbia’s UK acts, and ended up there about four times a year. No one else would touch the English groups. Our chairman didn’t like the UK stuff, so they were hot potatoes. HMV really jumped on the vinyl resurgence curve early. Well before any of the other chains. Then and now, the purists put their nose in the air to the place but I say they’re wrong. HMV stocks all the indie and worthy major label 7″ singles at cheap prices, usually 99p week of release. And the vinyl portion of the floor is set up famously, just like a record shop in the day. The 45 wall is nirvana, with box lot size helpings of just about everything. I would grab tons of titles and listen later. So that Christmas break I allocated time. I’m pouring over the first two Secret Machines singles I’d gotten that month earlier but still hadn’t played, and notice Brandon and Ben Curtis were in the lineup. Hold on, these guys were in UFOFU, a band I had released on The Medicine Label. It had to be the same guys. So I listened. Wow, they’re great. I’d heard their name a lot, mostly from the junior A&R kids at Columbia. What a great bunch they were, especially Keller and later Christian Stavros. I had wrongly assumed Secret Machines were alternative radio fodder, formula hard rock. No. This was the real deal. I went out on Christmas Eve and got the full length. As if by magic, I had a new band to be crazy about. How fun.
Now it was countdown to an upcoming show and sure enough, they were awesome. I was so pleased to see Brandon and Ben getting their just rewards. I turned some friends on to them as well. Everyone was in. Brandon came by Columbia just before Christmas ’05 and played me the new album. A few songs really stood out, ‘Lightning Blue Eyes’ in particular. All of them were pretty long. I remember we talked about some singles edit, and he went off to try a few. This was one, and it’s a smash waiting to happen. Don’t think it got much play, but I could be wrong.

No matter, Secret Machines shredded the tent at Reading the following August. The place was rammed. The crowd went berserk.

I’m making an exception by posting ‘Lightning Blue Eyes’. You see, it’s only available as a blue see through glittery reeking of some marketing angle pressing. I hate colored vinyl. Should be illegal, a controlled substance. Records should be black, just like God created them. For this single though, an exception.