dirty martini

old music for new people

top one nice one get sorted July 31, 2007

are you the little girl who immortalised the above phrase into rave culture over altern8 beats and sonic whooshes? I hope to god you don’t now listen to the klaxons and think it’s the same thing.

i was actually quite afraid of the techno rave of the early 90s with its belgian hoover noises and scary choir samples. it wasn’t really for girls – even gas masks, vicks and curtain style hair aside, the music itself was a bit evil sounding. but the bf loves it, hence this mix. i do have a soft spot for old skool in general, and did frequent sterns as a jailbait 15 year old with her wannabe dj boyfriend.

imagine my curiosity when i heard about nu-rave. imagine my disgust when i actually heard it.

yes, partly i hate it because it makes me feel old in the same way that leggings do. but mostly i hate it because if there’s one thing i hate, its indie music. nu-rave might as well be called ‘how to kill dance music in one easy step’. put a fucking band in there. that is so not the point. if you don’t like dance music, you’re not a raver, end of. oh, and the nme dd not, have not and never will have anything to do with dance music.

yes, the happy mondays and the whole madchester scene mixed genres. because they couldn’t remember their own names least of all what type of band they were. and bez needed something to dance to. there is none of the originality, danger or excitement of the old rave scene. where’s the new hacienda? this is a sanitised, mtv-approved movement for kids who got picked up from school every day.

the crowd are the principal reason this will not work. whether the latest movement is original, meshed or outright plagiarism, its the mass market that drive a scene. the only people who like indie music are public schoolboys and girls. old skool ravers were real people. big brother provides a nice illustration of this point – apparent inventor of indie music emily, who clearly hates herself for being white, and pink haired old comedy cheesy quaver tracey.

students, of course, are equally responsible for this travesty as the nme. deprived of proper rave because they’re born too late, trying to appropriate something that belonged to a previous generation. is it me, or have students regressed back into the desperately seeking irony twats they were in the 80s?

in the mid 90s, one of my lecturers accused us of being ‘benettonized’. the explicit meaning being that we had mobiles we couldn’t pay for, nice clothes we’d worked all summer for and spent our grants on nights out at the ministry of sound. the implicit meaning being that students were supposed to be rich but act poor and listen to music that made you depressed and therefore a more authentic pauper. but the line had been blurred thanks to over generous government funding for education. now only those who are prepared to take on £30k debt or have rich parents go to university and we’re back where we started. well let me tell you, irony has no place in dance music.

true ravers will seek out the old skool, so this mix is for them.

Proper rave for grown ups and Tracey from BB8 – download here 

acen – close your eyes – xxx mix

zero b – lock up

cubic 22 – night in motion

isotonik – different strokes

prodigy – charly – joey beltram mix

quadrophonia – quadrophonia

ace of the space – 9 is a classic

messiah – temple of dreams

kevin saunderson – tronik house

channel x – rave the rhythm

cls – can you feel it

human resource – dominator

prodigy – android

lfo – lfo

toxic two – rave generator

altern8 – infiltrate 202 – joey beltram mix

bizarre inc – plutonic

digital orgasm – running out of time

praga khan – injected with a poison

westbam – mayday anthem

orbital – chime – joey beltram mix    

 

 

barbecue soul and an underage drinking session July 27, 2007

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ok, i don’t want this post to be premature, especially as its raining right now….but, we had a good weekend before last. sunny, reasonably hot and a red sky at night which enhanced our all day in the garden pimms drinking experience.

now i’m waiting on the next one. how sad that we’re reduced to hoping for one more summer’s day in this total washout. more importantly, there are thousands of people who have been evacuated from their homes due to flooding. whilst the uk crisis can’t be compared by scale to what happened in new orleans, for those affected its every bit as devastating. for once i’m lucky to live in a flat, miles from any water. like many natural disasters, those far removed from the flooding are carrying on with business as usual, transport permitting.

oh for reliable summers, not too hot like last year, and not hot and humid like 2003, just warm and sunny with the occasional scorcher. the summer of 1991 was significant for many reasons, and one particular barbecue party stands out.

i don’t actually remember there being any food, although there must have been, what i do remember is the drinks table. piled high with super strongbow, budweiser and k cider. various lurid hip flask bottles of 20/20 fruit wine. my favorite was the coconut one for the ridiculous blue colour. the most drinkable were the orange and green – kiwi? numerous spirits from which we mixed lethal concoctions.

long forgotten drinks of the 80s/90s – taboo and mirage. low % spirits for girls, basically. taboo survives but i haven’t seen mirage since about 1993. pernod and black – why did anyone drink this? that peach wine they used to sell in clubs. snakebite premixed in a bottle. thunderbird – people used to debate whether the red or the blue label was best; they were both horrible

test tube cocktails anyone? i had a particularly eventful 17th birthday thanks to 9 or 10 of these deceptively small treasures. the forerunner or vodka bars and trays of sweet inspired shots.

anyway, copious amounts of alcohol made for a messy night. it was a warm summer night and the dangerous combination of 30 or so 15 year old girls competing over half as many slightly older boys/men (never quite sure what to call them at that age) could have caused carnage. but it was a peaceful night. these days someone would probably get shot. 

somehow we were all out into the early hours – must have used the age old trick of everyone staying at someone else’s house and for once no one’s mum called and unraveled the decepeton. so we sat under stars, on blankets, just having a laugh and chilling out all night.

1991 summer party groovesdownload here

hi-five – i like the way

after 7 – after 7

r.kelly – she’s got that vibe

janet jackson – alright

st etienne – only love can break your heart

jazzy jeff – summertime

color me badd – i wanna sex you up

prince – gett off

natural selection – do anything

ll cool j – around the way girl

de la soul – ring ring ring

heavy d – now that we found love

 

90s girl bands – all credit to the spice girls. no really… July 26, 2007

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 so, a while back i did a post on the premier r&b girl bands of the 90s, and this is the b list. the ones who now work in telesales, stay at home with their kids or ‘went back to college to study fashion’.

its funny that the spice girls are still credited with opening up the market for girl acts, in a decade widely remembered for the proliferation of drippy irish boy bands. in the same way that nkotb didn’t invent boy bands, the spice girls were far from an influence on ooh, about 50 or so r&b girl groups that came before them. i laughed when i read an early US review that claimed the spice girls sounded ‘a bit like tlc’. yeah and mya sounds a bit like aretha.

so, being the same age as baby spice i was far too old to get caught in the spice trap and managed to navigate the irritation of my then new boyfriend fancying geri halliwell. we’re still together, and he denies everything.

these groups didn’t go on to conquer the world (destiny’s child) and don’t enjoy regular royalty payments by being featured on countless classic r&b compilations (jade, swv). they probably only had one good album each, that wasn’t quite successful enough to guarantee a follow up.

such groups don’t really exist today as it’s not commercially viable to put any money into new acts that will have limited success. at least this lot managed to shift a few units, if not a platinum amount. so, if they think they’re skint now, they should thank their lucky stars they weren’t born ten years later…check out the 90s girl band premier league and the even more unfortunate one-hit wonders. and the no-hit wonders.

90s also-ran girl bands – download here

zhane – sending my love

zhane’s early work was club friendly but little substance…so they did a reverse nelly furtado and wrote some nice material for their second album. also check out ‘crush’.

assorted phlavors – make up your mind

this group, with their typical mid 90s sound, suffered somewhat from arriving on the cusp of timbaland and missy‘s late 90s r&b revolution. along with…

allure – head over heels

…mariah’s girl group, who are still together but have suffered from delays and non-starters with their second and third albums.

braxtons – slow flow

yes, as in, toni‘s sisters. the group thing didn’t last long but tamar has had minimal solo success. did a fairly pointless cover of diana ross’ ‘the boss’.

for real – like i do

identikit 90s r&b group with no distinguishing features. briefly attempted to differentiate themselves with the original version of this track and its accompanying motown-style video.

nuttin nyce – in my nature

nastier than jade and more vocally challenged than swv, their main competition at the time. most of their tunes now sound very dated.

kut klose – surrender

slinky slow jam specialists, in my opinion they did grind’n’b much better than the slightly desparate sounding changing faces.

mokenstef – he’s mine

popular track from another faceless r&b group that doubtless prompted a thousand catfights in the (then very few) r&b clubs across the country.

sista – i wanna be with you

sista‘s album was shelved but has since leaked, and you can hear proto-missy all over it.

good girls – just call me

perennial old skool half-hour favourite, in the hard to find remix version. despite this, the good girls found chart success elusive, perhaps due in part to their odd penchant for acid wash denim, which was seriously passe by 1992.

 

100% acid jazz July 14, 2007

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in contrast to the frenetic house, techno, new jack swing and jungle scenes of the early 90s, genres that mirrored these scenes but with a slowed down tempo started to arise. ambient and balearic became the comedown music of choice for tired clubbers, and jazz jungle emerged for those too knackered, or rhythmically challenged, for drum and bass.

acid jazz may have been a backlash against the studio produced sounds of the time, or just a natural regression back to a more organic era. i don’t think, for the first few years, i really thought about it that much or recognised acid jazz as any different. one of the first really big tracks, ‘always there’ by incognito, was remixed into a us garage anthem anyway, as were many brand new heavies tracks. acid jazz probably blended more effortlessly with the house and garage crowds than the more obvious affiliate of new jack swing.

acid jazz, thanks to its socially conscious and intelligent lyrical content, was a saving grace for me at university when looked down upon by miserable indie kids and oh so alternative rockers alike. they felt able to decimate house and garage music for its lack of lyrical content, jungle for its london-centric, chavtastic appeal and well, they just dismissed r&b entirely. stating a preference for acid jazz usually left them speechless and for that i was grateful. i’ve never understood quite why fans of such insipid and regressive music feel they have superior taste but i never miss an opportunity to put them in their place.

it’s so true that you will never see your first year uni friends ever again. and that you really need music in common in order to suddenly become flatmates with a bunch of strangers. on my first night at university i sat in my room in the grubby halls of residence and wondered how on earth i was going to cope. to my left, a mature student was blaring out eric clapton, across the hall, elton john.  i wandered downstairs and found a group of greasy helmet heads swaying to suede. after an uncomfortable night in the local pub in which we discovered none of us had anything in common, we awoke the next day to the sound of a latecomer unpacking her belongings to the dulcet tones of michael bolton. she played him every sunday morning until someone broke into her room and stamped on the cassette.

once the caring sharing and huggy early nineties had given way to laddism and ibiza, acid jazz faded. soon it was viewed as too worthy and retro to compete with the futuristic beats and sculpted r&b unleashed by timbaland, the neptunes and roc-a-fella.

the live instrumentation in amerie and beyonce’s work are a nod to the principles of acid jazz and should we ever return to the crystal wearing, cleansing new age era then perhaps it will resurface. well, we’ve revived everything else. in fact the 90s revival is well overdue – i seem to remember spending my 21st birthday at an 80s night in 1997. 

90s jazz funk classics – download here

brand new heavies – close to you

carleen anderson – mama said

clusterfunk – do me right

corduroy – mini

d’influence – midnight

diana brown – masterplan

incognito – don’t you worry ’bout a thing

jamiroquai – blow my mind

leena conquest – boundaries

liquid soul – i want you to want me

repercussions – promise me nothing

young disciples – apparently nothing

 

yuppie soul…for wannabes and estate agents alike July 13, 2007

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yuppies were everywhere in the late 80s. inspired by wall street and dressed by armani. or more likely, next, in fact i think the blame for the continuing success of next and its unflattering, boxy clothes can be laid squarely at the feet of the yuppie movement.

think del boy falling over in an underground wine bar trying to impress snooty trophy wives while hapless trigger looks on in his blue suit. being the average man on the street, never mind the underdog, was not a celebrated thing in the late 80s. my parents knew someone who aspired to be a yuppie. if he held a barbecue, it was a ‘dinner party’ by virtue of the fact that he would provide a musical backdrop of ‘now thats what i call classical music’. the fact that he worked at asda didn’t hold him back – he assumed the look, the lifestyle and the self delusion.

it’s sad to watch the ex-yuppies now, especially those that were young at the time. they cling desperately to their trench coats and briefcases, and we don’t invite them out for after work drinks. unless we want them to pay.

dodgy, drab fashion and buck teeth aside, the most hilarious part of the yuppie image was the mobile phone. or the brick, as its now commonly known. not dissimilar to lugging around your own portable phone box, and requiring an antenna that would spear anyone within fifty feet.

it’s no surprise that some of the soul artists that broke through at this time were white, and very middle of the road. they were reflective of the audience. the music was criticised as manufactured and lacking in grit, but its a hell of a lot better than most of the crap we’re forced to endure today. ‘pop’ does mean ‘popular’ after all…

smooth wine bar grooves for the upwardly mobile – download here

al jarreau – we’re in this love together

alexander o’neal – hearsay

sade – hang on to your love

mica paris and will downing – where is the love

luther vandross – give me the reason

whitney houston – you give good love 

lisa stansfield – live together

simply red – a new flame

wet wet wet – angel eyes

tracy chapman –  fast car

terence trent d’arby – if you let me stay

michael bolton – soul provider

 

there’s (another) storm brewing July 10, 2007

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ok, so this really is summer. we get a few hours a day of sunshine. then you notice the enormous grey cloud ahead and within an hour…lightning and torrential rain. it always used to thunder on the last day of school, mid july. but that was usually due to high pressure on the back of a heatwave.

quiet storm isn’t so much a soul genre with artists identified as belonging to it to the exclusion of others, like new jack swing. most soul and r&b artists have some songs in their back catalogue that could be called quiet storm. its relaxing music that differentiates itself from slow jams in that the content is less obvious and less of a booty call. it has roots in jazz, soul and early electronica.

the music sounds refreshing, if it was a drink it would be long and ocean blue with lots of ice. it sounds aquatic and soothing at the same time, like a jacuzzi.

80s quiet storm soul – download here

bb&q band – genie
midnight star – curious
royalle delite – i’ll be a freak for you
loose ends – slow down
sos band – tell me if you still care
cool notes – you’re never too young
luther vandross – see me
princess – after the love has gone
joyce sims – come into my life
alexander o’neal – a broken heart can mend
jucy – sugar free
five star – let me be the one

 

 

70s baby 80s child… July 9, 2007

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i’m proud to be a disco era baby, born the same time as saturday night fever.obviously this means i don’t have very clear recollections of disco, but there is evidence that it had an influence on my infant years.  a photo exists of me at about 18 months old, looking terrified as my dad, a bee gees lookalike in obligatory tight shirt, sporting shoulder length flicked hair, beams.  my mum, in my christening photos, looks like a member of hot gossip.

I also don’t remember saturday night fever first time round, but an eight track cartridge of the soundtrack became one of the first albums I played, along with abba and the wombles, whenever I could get near the stereo – a big wooden Baird monstrosity, like the tv. eight tracks were fairly childproof, which perhaps explains why my parents had one, since they weren’t exactly early adopters…they only got into cds about 5 years ago.

my recollection of the novelty disco that followed – ymca, ottawan, boney m – is sadly slightly sharper. I can clearly recall stomping around our majorca hotel singing ‘hands up, baby, hands up…’ and forcing my very straight and very unenlightened dad to march up and down with me in a camp fashion to ‘in the navy’ by the village people. if asked what activity I wanted to take part in, apparently the answer was always the same – I wanted to go to the disco.

still, the first time I really heard chic was probably as an underage clubber in one of those great cheesy late 80s/early 90s clubs that are slowly becoming extinct. you know, carpet on the walls, lots of mirrors, peach wine (this was before alcopops) and a fat dj. during their retro half hour, a pointless exercise since no one in the club was over 18, they would play some disco before the obligatory birdie song and god awful jive bunny style 50s rock and roll.  if you weren’t around then, you have no idea how much clubs have improved over the last 15 years. unless you’ve been to a chicago rock café, in which case, you know.

disco was a nice introduction to music, let’s face it, punk was around at the same time so I had a narrow escape. to me, as to many others, it is a soundtrack to hazy flashbacks of high chairs and swirly 70s brown and orange wallpaper that prepped us for the clubbing mayhem of the 90s. it paved the way for dance music in all its forms and its appreciation belies the frankly pathetic ‘disco sucks’ movement perpetrated by US rednecks. get back in your caravan and turn up your insipid MOR rock – the glitterball is here to stay.

12 dazzling disco gemsdownload here

average white band – let’s go round again

 

 

black ivory – mainline

chic – my forbidden lover

dan hartman – instant replay

delegation – heartache no9

diana ross – the boss

jean carn – was that all it was

loleatta holloway – runaway

melba moore – this is it

odyssey – native new yorker

rose royce – is it love you’re after

sheila and b devotion – spacer