Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Generation Mod

Mod created the world in six days ... and it was good. On the first day, the be-suited sharp set distinguished themselves from duffel coated 50s traditional jazz fans (Trads) by identifying with the caffeine fuelled heartbeat of modern jazz; the Moderns established a precedent in music and style that spilled into the next decade. On the second day, a crowd of working class kids discovered 60s soul, invested their disposable income on multi-coloured amphetamines and gathered at all-night rave-ups; an offshoot clique of suede headed peacocks broadened the musical palette with Jamaican ska. On the third day a parallel of punk rock, with a fresh faced mod-father as its feather headed spokesman, inspired kids to stitch targets to musty parkas and glory to the new wave; this mod revival swelled in ranks and battled through to the early eighties. On the fourth day, a new decade witnessed an independent record label christen a music genre of the same name, as a family of beat bands reclaimed mod in all its acid jazzy moods and fancies. On the fifth day, a gathering of mid-nineties musicians re-invented lad-rock, reclaiming it as British. On the sixth day, inspired by the moderns, the suedes, the revivalists, beatniks and the brit-popper - yet another batch of bands site mod as their musical motivation. These bands and their fans are… Generation Mod! (Richard Searle. Generation Mod. Well Suspect Records (2016)).

No matter how you choose to define your modernist self; be it Italian shoe obsessed, or mohair suit specific; three-finger button-down slim-fit fanatical, a bouffant comb-overed middle-aged polo-shirt wearing scooter enthusiastic... or simply a kid in a target T,  the mod scene has, and always will be, about the music; Generation Mod is a celebration of that fact.
       Released on the fresh faced Well Suspect record label, this compilation features an eclectic and contemporary musical reach that will appeal to most mod tastes, soul, ska, beat and psych.
Dogtooth - Get In Get Out; they are only 13,14 and 16 years of age and they rock!  A band to watch. 
Dave's Doors of Perception; south London's nastiest noisiest garage psych band, make their Farfisa drenched debut with Falling.
Motown legend, Martha Reeves, called Samuel S. Parkes "the genuine spirit of Northern Soul," Samuel opens side one with Let Me Go. 
Dirty rock slags, The Get Go, turn their attentions to the Ike and Tina Turner classic, Nutbush City Limits
Italy's finest, The Mads,offer the melodic stomper What I Need.
French Boutik, reinvent the torch song with Mieux Comme Ca.
Men Of North Country get extra Northern with They Don't Know.
There are a total of fourteen tracks including fine offerings from Andy Lewis, The Moons and New Street Adventure, but possibly the highlight is the track, also released as a limited edition seven inch single for Record Store Day, Private Jones - I Got By In Time; if you don't manage to get yourself the seven, then order Generation Mod now; it's gonna be hot!  


Monday, 21 March 2016

Men Of North Country: This City.

It’s been 3 years since Tel Aviv’s indie-soul outfit, Men Of North Country, released their critically acclaimed debut LP, The North, on Acid Jazz Records. In the meantime they have been keeping themselves busy, touring Europe no less than five times, including Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic and were greeted with excitement all over Europe’s Mod and Soul scene; that hard work has apparently paid off.

MONC's much anticipated second album, This City, won't disappoint; it still contains the sixties inspired dance floor killers of its predecessor, but the musical palette has broadened, sonically its a much harder edged record, yet the lyrics and vocals convey a spectacular soulfulness; it turns out that the bands 'tricky second album' is a masterpiece.

The band describe their sound as 'space mod lounge music that emerged from the Bauhaus inspired architecture of Tel Aviv and a thousand other influences:most of them unexpected'. Twelve tracks infuse Northern Soul, Post-Punk and Nu-Wave influences into heady visions of the city’s buildings, streets, bedrooms, clubs and bars, while remaining dedicated to their brass section extravaganza and the three-minute pop-nugget charm.

Side one of the vinyl kicks off with Running, a track that Craig Charles has championed, (resulting in a digital single release of the song with two extra tracks not featured on the album).
Track two, (this reviewers favourite track on the album) is a tribute to obscure Stax singer and Wu Tang Clan favourite, Wendy Rene, an epic heart thumping monster of a soul song with a horn arrangement of omnipotent proportion.
Track 3, All In, sounds like a hit record waiting to happen, and track 4, Boy, is the kind of song that raises the small hairs on the back of your neck, puts a lump in your throat, and haunts your every moment with a melody that is near impossible to shake from your head.

If you didn't manage to get a seven inch copy of the bands storming cover version of Lou Pride’s Northern Soul classic, I’m Com’un Home (In the Morn’un), then stop stressing; it kicks off side two.

This City is an exceptional recording by a remarkable, if little known band; believe me when I say... you need this records.

The Skateboarding Mods are back!

'We are the Skateboarding Mods... we are the Skateboarding Mods … we are ... we are ... we are the Skateboarding Mods.'
       So, sang the feather-headed faces on the hills, slopes and skate places of England's grey and concrete land. The skateboarding modernist scene famously peaked in 2012 when crews of sharp skaters formed into mod squad crews; some even sponsored skateboard events, riders and races ; but what are they doing now?

The skateboard clothes industry cottoned onto the skateboarding mod culture pretty quickly, sharper cut sk8 threads appeared more frequently on the racks, and sixties graphics adorned the shoes and shirts of skate-park dwellers as skaters embraced the tidier lines of the skateboarding mod image, rather than the generic scruffy sk8-punk look that had become tired and clich├ęd. Many skateboard components developed similar clean-cut styling, wheels, and decks especially; but the mod teams and crews have taken a back seat of late. We tracked down some of the original mod skaters to investigate.

Probably the most well known skateboarding modernists were the Blackheath Pandas; Jason Danger, (not his real name), a late-comer to the group, admitted that he only purchased a skateboard to be accepted by his Panda peers.
       He said, when inebriated..'I carried it around, looked sharp and that, but never actually road the thing. Their f**king lethal'. Jason is no longer a member of the Blackheath Pandas.

Rob The Mod, a Panda who has competed in official UK slalom skateboarding races commented on the potential hazards of the sport. 'I've had a couple of 'offs' I crashed on my first race, cracked a rib. I was wearing my favourite Onitsuka Tiger Nippon 60 trainers, they look book but have bad grip on the board. I slid off the deck.... I won a prize for the 'best bail'.
      Vans, the traditional sk8ters shoe of choice (currently celebrating their 50th year) have introduced a number of 'mod friendly' designs, cool suede's and chukka boots, to help prevent skateboarding mods, such as Rob, from similar injury.

Founder members of the Self-Proclaimed British Skateboarding Association have also embraced the slalom skateboarding culture, racing internationally as well as competing in domestic events. The spBSA have evolved from a simple skateboarding mod crew to a skateboarding mod business, launching a slalom specific skate company, Slalomskateboards.com. Based on retro design and mod friendly imagery, the multifunctional hybrid slalom deck, simply called The One (a nod to the pea-cockery and one-upmanship essential in becoming a mod 'face') looks set to introduce some modernist style into this seasons slalom races.

So, dig out that old Fred perry, turn up your 501s, grab yourself some waffle sole chukks boots and race those slalom skaters on the sharpest new skateboard in the pack; you too, can be … The One.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Corduroy / Private Jones. Records Store Day single.

The first release on the re-launched Well Suspect Records label is a double A side Record Store Day, limited edition (500 copies), white vinyl seven inch single, featuring Private Jones' audacious cover version of The Jam's I Got By In Time; and a previously unreleased version of Chowdown recorded live by the funky beatnik outfit, Corduroy in 1992.

Taken from the forthcoming Well Suspect compilation, Generation Mod (SUSS04), Private Jones have re-imagined Paul Weller's punky rocker, featured on The Jam's debut album 'In The City', as a Tamla Motown stomper; expect to hear this on on talcum powder sprinkled dance-floors; a DJ box essential.
The flip side is a recently discovered live recording of Corduroy, from one of the Acid Jazz groups' earliest gigs, playing one of their live favourites, Chowdown. This funky instrumental captures the band at the beginning of their career, playing in a small and sweaty basement club in London's Soho. One for the beardy hipsters..video below.

This is bound to be a highly sought after item, so get down your local record shop very early on Record Store Day (April 16th); or if you don't fancy losing out to the in-crowd, here's a link.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Well Suspect Records

In 1984, before Eddy Piller started Acid Jazz Records, he release a number of 'mod revival' bands on an independent record label especially created for the purpose, that upstart label was the now infamous, Well Suspect Records ...... and Well Suspect Records is being re-launched in 2016 with Richard Searle (Corduroy) behind the wheel and he has apparently, lots of good things planned.
Soon to come is a limited edition Record Store Day seven inch featuring a previously un-released Corduroy track; more on that nearer the time. 

First up, by way of re-establishing the labels historic catalogue, is The Beat Generation And The Angry Young Men Deluxe Edition. Back in 84', this was the first retrospective to acknowledge the impact of the Mod Revival and its knock-on effect in collecting circles; many of the featured tracks were already demanding high pocket money prices (Directions, Small Hours, Long Tall Shorty) and these days far more. This reissued digital deluxe edition revisits and freshens the original; losing two tunes but gaining five extra tasty maximum R&B numbers (from the Italian group, The Mads) recorded between 1979 and 82. Best played loud, this compilation has influenced much of the indi-rock and brit-pop elite of the current generation of 'angry young men'....and women.

Track listing:
1. The Mads - The Mods Are Back in Town
2. Directions - It May Be Too Late
3. Long Tall Shorty - That's What I Want
4. Small Hours - Underground
5. Les Eslite- Career Girl
6. The Mads - Psycho R'n'r Art
7. Purple Hearts - I'll Make You Mine
8. Long Tall Shorty -I Do
9. Directions - Weekend Dancers
10. The Mads -This Is What I Get
11. Les Eslite - Frustration
12. Small Hours – The Kids
13. Purple Hearts - Hazy Darkness
14. The Mads - Mrs Kate
15. Long Tall Shorty -All by Myself
16. Les Eslite - Get a Job
17. Purple Hearts - Concrete Mixer
18. The Mads - Velvet Gloss

Release date 18th March. Get it here.  CD 13th.