Thursday, 23 April 2015
As anyone who visited an independent parchment store last Saturday can attest, Parchment Store Day 2015 was a resounding success. 1,500% more parchment was sold than on the previous Saturday and Parchment Store Day 2015 had a 24.3% increase in bound parchment sales and a 97.2% increase in single-sheet parchment sales from PSD 2014. And while some have accused the day of being a bad thing for parchment merchants, it definitely brought a lot of people to independent parchment stalls.
Parchment Store Day was founded several decades ago in resistance to the decline in independent parchment shops and the lamentable rise of WH Smith’s user-friendly A4 Plain Paper Refill Pad.
As is traditional, a number of parchments were created specifically for Parchment Store Day, including exclusive parchments from the likes of Foo Fighters, David Bowie and Ludolph of Saxony (c. 1295-1378).
Unfortunately, some of the rarer Parchment Store Day manuscripts have already appeared for re-sale down the marketplace.
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
April 18th is your chance to camp outside an independent record shop in the freezing cold only to find that all the best stuff was either sent to an entirely different outlet or the greedy bloke in front of you basically bought everything just so he could immediately sell it all on eBay.
The list of exclusive releases has just been announced, and here are some of the best:
Gay Dad - Transmission
The groundbreaking rock group’s second album reissued with extensive liner notes including an in-depth account of that time they overran at Leeds Festival 2001 which meant that Carling Stage headliners Hefner were forced to cut their own set short so as not to breach curfew.
Patti Smith - Complete Album Boxset
...even though you’ll only ever bother listening to the first one and maybe ‘Because The Night’ at a push.
Some reprint of a shoddy punk 7-inch that’s of interest only to the frazzled old speed casualty who has too many patches sewn onto his leather jacket and hangs around the library an awful lot
A Hawkwind Record With A Spaceship On It
Scab-covered Rat Infestation - People Who Don’t Hold The Exact Same Beliefs As Me Are Inhuman Monsters Who Should Be Violently Assaulted
Timely reissue of the grindcore classic, released on Fuck The Man Records Ltd.
Birdman Original Soundtrack
Is your Facebook account failing to make you feel self-important enough? Why not spin this tense compilation of free-jazz drumbeats while you yell pompously at your friends, family and colleagues?
Lou Barlow - The Basement Tapes
Wait, aren’t all Lou Barlow releases basement tapes?
Pink Floyd - The Soft Bulletin
British prog legends have a right old giggle covering The Flaming Lips’ 1999 album in its entirety TO SEE HOW THEY BLOODY LIKE IT.
Foo Fighters - Here Comes Dave Grohl Thinking He’s Made A Garage Rock Record Again Even Though It Sounds Like An Inarticulate Steely Dan
Ghostbusters Original Soundtrack
Only listen to this if you are a man. Only men are allowed to make, star in, watch, listen to or enjoy Ghostbusters. Men only, get it? MEN. It’s a bit like all music, in that respect.
Friday, 20 February 2015
Plans are underway for the music magazine NME to drop its cover price and instead be given away for free, wrapped around portions of fish and chips. The NME’s owners hope to increase the publication’s dwindling readership because fish and chips remain generally more popular than fold-out posters of Johnny Marr.
High in starch, greasy and often battered, Kasabian’s Tom Meighan appears regularly in the NME.
Friday, 13 February 2015
Courtney Love has just received her warmest reviews in about 15 years for her role in the experimental opera Kansas City Choir Boy. The New York Times praised Love’s “bewitching presence”, Rolling Stone deemed the opera “slyly punk rock” and Billboard Magazine called it “much better than you would expect”. As a consequence, every other washed-up pop-star of yesteryear is now jumping on the operatic bandwagon. Here are Spinal Bap’s pick of the many other operas currently in production: (they mainly involve prostitutes and death but that’s high-art for you)
While on vacation from rap-funk group the Red Hot Chili Peppers, bassist Flea moves to Japan, finding temporary work as a male geisha. During this time, he falls madly in love with naval officer Lieutenant Pinkerton, played by Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. Pinkerton sets sail again, returning three years later with the demo tapes for the new Chilis album. They sound so bad that Flea pierces his own neck with the nearest drumstick, bleeding to death as the backing chorus sings a poignant rendition of Suck My Kiss.
Boy George plays a gypsy prostitute who enchants the local soldiers with his garish make-up and big hat. After a passionate affair with a Spanish military drummer named Don Moss, the Carmen Chameleon decides a career change is in order, becoming a DJ and then a bullfighter. “Do you really want to hurt me?” George sings to the furious, snorting bull. The bull does really want to hurt him after all. It charges, killing Boy George and sending his big hat tumbling to the ground. The bull is cheered by Morrissey.
Fran Healy falls in love with a Parisian prostitute. She ignores his warnings that it’s always raining on him, gets drenched when they embrace, contracts a severe case of the indie-sniffles and sadly dies. Unable to bear the pain, Healy beats himself to death with a soggy piece of drift wood.
Escaping the clutches of the evil Hawkwind, Lemmy attempts to begin a new life as a prostitute, finding little work on account of his body odour and facial warts. He is offered the chance to sell his own hair but as that would impede head-banging he instead forms Motorhead. During one European tour, Lemmy considers aiding a group of young, idealistic revolutionaries in overthrowing the French government, resolving that his time would be far better spent drinking, snorting, gambling, fornicating and amassing a dubiously large collection of Nazi memorabilia. No tragic ending this time as Lemmy is indestructible.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
On this third album, Adam Granduciel finally managed to make his miserable Dire Straits-ish textured roots-rock into something actually entertaining by dressing up as an extra-terrestrial barbarian warrior and singing about meat sandwiches.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Soused
A renowned artsy singer-songwriter teamed up with a notoriously loud heavy metal band to collaborate on an opus that was so out-there it would take literally centuries for the world to fully comprehend their ground-breaking compositions. But that’s enough about Loutallica, let’s talk about Scott O))). The robe-clad drone duo did their claustrophobic rumble shtick while Scott “tunes are for numpties” Walker crooned words like “Behold. The hidden dance. Of the tree babies. Hi-ho. She goes. Upon heaving bump quilt. Contorted leper trim. Higgledy-baa-baa-never.” A thousand musos stroked their chins so hard that their faces actually started to flop out of themselves like Javier Bardem’s jaw in Skyfall.
Warpaint - Warpaint
Remember 2013? Remember how excited you were about the prospect of a second Warpaint album? What happened next? Warpaint? More like Bore-paint! Listening to Warpaint’s second album was like staring in jaded futility at one of those magic eye pictures, waiting for something to happen, waiting for something interesting to emerge out of that impenetrable, shapeless pattern. Nearly 12 months later, still nothing has materialized. Warpaint? More like Yawn-paint! One newspaper feature on the band screamed Warpaint on their new album: “Sexy was an adjective we’d use”. The only logical conclusion is that sex with Warpaint must be intolerably dull. Warpaint? More like Wartchingpaintdry!
Royal Blood - Royal Blood
Generic chuggy stoner riffs. A singer who sounds like Freddie Mercury. And an English drummer in a baseball cap. Dave Grohl is a big fan.
Lenny Kravitz - Strut
“Baby baby / STRUT! / Let me see you walk / STRUT! / Baby / Let your body talk / STRUT! / Talky-talky-talky / STRUT! / Walky-walky-walky / STRUT! / Something something move / STRUT! / Something something prove / Baby baby baby”
Perhaps he lost his real lyrics somewhere in that preposterous scarf.
Beck - Fawning Maze
MOJO magazine’s favourite album of 2002.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Joust
An ambitious concept album based on the old codes of chivalry in medieval jousting tournaments. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about knights, armour, horses and King Henry II of France. For extra authenticity, Walker held onto a jousting stick for the entire recording session and now has quite a poorly arm.
Swans - To Be Kind
What do we want?
The same loud dirging chords played over and over again while a misanthropist moans about lambs and lungs and shit and then actually pretends to be leader of the 1791 Haitian slave rebellion Toussaint L’Ouverture.
When do we want it?
For the next three hours or so.
Aphex Twin - Sigh-woe
Wire magazine’s favourite album of 1996.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Doused
An ambitious concept album based on the cultural history of fire. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned tuneless phrases about flint, gas, the sun, Satan, Prometheus and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. For extra authenticity, Walker doused himself in lighter fluid, set himself on fire and experienced third-degree burns. Still suffered less pain than his listeners.
Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit
“Fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ fuckin’ rantin’ / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / I stepped in a fuckin’ shit and it smelt a bit like a fuckin’ piss and there’s fuckin’ sick on the crotch of me fuckin’ jeans and fuckin’ snot all over me fuckin’ shitty shirt sleeve / fuck it / I’m fuckin’ ‘avin’ a rant here, yeah? / Fuckin’ fuckin’ observational reference to something from off of culture and shit / Spongebob Squarepants has got a nutrigrain bar stuck up his yellow arse, mate / fuck off John Cooper fuckin’ Clarke, you look like you’ve borrowed Paul McCartney’s bottle of fuckin’ hair dye, you frazzled old fucker / off me head I mistook the piss-bowl for a sink and now someone’s done a fuckin’ youtube of me washin’ me hands with pissy urinal cake, you c***”
Taylor Swift -1984
Swift’s 1984 was an ambitious concept album on which the Nashville country star reinvented herself as an anti-totalitarian socialist intellectual taking satirical dystopian pot-shots at nationalism, censorship and government surveillance. Set in the bleak near future, the dark electro-clash of opening track ‘Welcome to New York’ painted the Big Apple as a grim metropolis where citizens are indoctrinated into dancing forever, thus permanently prevented from using their individual brainpower or physical energy to enact social or political reform, with Swift’s robotic vocals serving to extenuate the dehumanising effects of urbanity. ‘This Love’, meanwhile, was a haunting minimalist ballad influenced by the likes Grouper and Christina Carter that dealt with the psychological after-effects of having your noggin shoved into a cage full of rats. 1984 proved such a powerful record that it single-handedly influenced Russell Brand’s decision to transform himself from a shoddy TV presenter, shoddy film star and shoddy jester into the horniest political activist since Martin Luther King Jr.
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Aroused
An ambitious attempt to create a post-millennial equivalent of Marvin Gaye’s sexually-charged masterpiece Let’s Get It On. Over Sunn O)))’s signature guitar rumblings, Walker crooned the kind of unrepeatable filth that would make even Prince blush. About as erotic as being trapped in Francis Bacon’s meat freezer while Edwina Currie from TV’s celebrity jungle gives you a detailed description of John Major’s grey discharge.
Future Islands - Singles
Did you see it? Did you see it on the telly? (Of course not, but did you see it on the internet after it was on telly?) Did you see him? Did you see what he did? He did a dance. A dance! While singing! Dancing and singing! Imagine that! This was Elvis’ Ed Sullivan performance for the WhatsApp generation. Wonderfully or depressingly so, it was literally the best thing that happened in the whole stupid year.
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Multi-membered Staten Island rap crew the Wu-Tang Clan have revealed details of their forthcoming album, A Better Tupperware. Capitalizing on the success of Inspectah Deck’s game-changing 8 Diagrams line about how “Wu-Tang keep it fresh like Tupperware”, the Wu have formulated an entire concept record based around the long-thriving manufacturer of plastic food containers.
“You think I’m kidding? That’s where I keep my sandwiches / One I filled with tuna and the other’s got ham in it”, spits Deck on the album’s centrepiece, ‘Pioneer the Tupperware’. Ghostface Killah follows this with four verses narrating the biography of innovative Tupperware sales representative Brownie Wise (1913-1992). Ghostface’s moving tribute concludes with the heroic lines, “Wise by name, wise by nature / Her Tupperware parties sure took the lead / Truth be told, her food don’t get old / Only Brownie I ever loved that wasn’t full of weed”.
Other highlights of the album include Method Man blessing the Clan with his presence by briefly popping his head through the studio door between shooting scenes for some TV cop drama. Admittedly going slightly off the food preservation topic, Meth’s verse is still a remarkable 20-second tour de force during which he manages to compare himself to a wolf, a horse, a serial killer, another wolf, Muhammed Ali, Barack Obama, a werewolf (that by day is a wolf), all four of The Beatles, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Gillespie, several Al Pacino characters (not the Cruising one), a couple of superheroes, Genghis Khan, Mahatma Gandhi and Shan-Yu from Disney’s Mulan.
Musically, A Better Tupperware sees RZA utilizing classic Wu tropes while also evolving the aesthetics of the crew’s backing tracks. His compositions use field recordings taken from large Tupperware factories, samples of Tupperware lids popping on and off and back on again and, having now exhausted dialogue from every vintage kung fu movie ever made, several soundbites from Chris Farley’s 1997 martial arts comedy flop Beverly Hills Ninja.
Unfortunately, the RZA could not find any archive recordings of deceased Wu member Ol’ Dirty Bastard rapping specifically about Tupperware. Nevertheless, he still felt it necessary to shoehorn in a few scrapings of poorly-recorded ODB vocals retrieved from his increasingly bare barrel of demos. “Dirty, dirty, dirty”, announces a gruff voice virtually obscured by the static fuzz of a cheap phone-line, “dirty, dirty, dirty...” It’s the ODB reduced to single-word, two-syllable, single-minded monotony. “Dirty, dirty, dirty,” continues Ol’ Dirty, “dirty, dirty dirty / Here comes Dirty / He’s dirty, dirty, dirty / You’d better watch out / Fo’ dirty, dirty Dirty...” This goes on for about four minutes before Raekwon interrupts with, “That’s enough, son / I think yo’ dead, son / But truth be told, son / I think we’re all done”.
A limited edition pressing of the album will come sealed in an authentic ‘Wu-ware’ Tupperware container retailing at 3000 times the price of a standard storage tub.