I bought these three little charmers in London, after my visit to All Tomorrows’ Parties.
Ciccone Youth The Whitey Album
As you and I know, this is basically Sonic Youth going experimental and electronic with a few guest musicians pulled in. I remember back in the 1980s hearing bad things about it, but this was from a source then hostile to the Sonic Youth project. More recently I had heard very good things indeed about the cover version of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted To Love’ and eventually seen its video. It has Kim Gordon singing the tune over a montage of shots of soldiers from the Vietnam War doing stuff. On record, ‘Addicted To Love’ is a corker, with the Youth nailing the kind of classic pop sound towards which they have always had a tendency. The other tracks had been described to me as mere pissing about, but they are not unlike the kind of discordant soundscapes Sonic Youth themselves produced in the period, except that here the noise is made more with synths than guitars. Oddly, the record as a whole reminds me of the Byrne/Eno/Talking Heads axis that would have been roughly contemporary with this record (or a bit earlier? Chronology never my strong point).
The Clangers Original Television Music
In fairness, the title is misleading – I don’t think the Clangers themselves actually made this record. As you know, the Clangers live on another planet and talk in strange piping voices. There is a Soup Dragon who lives in a cave, and she serves them soup. Once this plant grew on their planet with musical notes for fruit. The soup dragon ate all the notes and music came out of her whenever she opened her mouth. This story is recounted in the opera The Iron Chicken and the Music Trees, act one of which is included on this disc.
Mudhoney March to Fuzz: Best of and Rarities
A double album, the first disc of which in particular supports the proposition that Mudhoney get a bit wearing in large doses. They still have their peaks though, with tracks like ‘You Got It’, ‘Touch Me, I’m Sick’, ‘Hate the Police’ and ‘When Tomorrow Hits’ showing off why this band are worth taking seriously. That last song is particularly impressive, with its doomy comedown style lyrics and sound contrasting nicely with the WOAHHHHH! up-for-it-ness of the other tracks.
The second disc of rarities and b-sides is more enjoyable over all, featuring classics like ‘Drinking For Two’ and their awesome cover version of ‘Revolution’. The presence of all the covers and the theoretically throwaway nature of all the b-sides give this an enjoyably varied style while showing off the band’s muso talents well.
I showed all three of these records to my good friend The Pinefox, and he was shocked that I could like any of them, with the exception of the Clangers.