Lucky in London

NOT all of us are lucky enough to live within the hallowed environs of the M25 – and that’s something each of us are going to have to deal with in our own unique way – but for those privileged to inhabit ‘that’ London, it just keeps on getting better and better.

Not only do you get to read about the antics of the oafish politiclown Boris Johnson in the Evening Standard while travelling around in big circles on the underground ‘Tube’ train-railway, you also get a choice of two top gigs tomorrow night. Two great gigs! In one night! Unbelievable!

Early doors is the opening night of a nationwide tour by the increasingly wonderful Wild Palms at Electrowerks. They are currently plugging what I have eventually come to realise is easily their most accomplished single to date, the superb To The Lighthouse / Draw In Light. More details here.

Later on tomorrow is one of two UK dates for the It’s a Kind of Magic tour, at the latest talk-of-the-town London nite-spot, XOYO.

Fear not. Despite the unfortunate name, as far as I’m aware there is no Brian May / Roger Taylor element to this tour, whatsoever. In fact, I’ve no idea what it’s all about and I can’t really be arsed to find out but it seems like an interesting line up with record-playing by Pilooski, the Magician and Mikix the Cat (I’m not making this up), and live appearances by the Aikiu and the Krays (vee Londontown: kudos), which I am reliably informed will be “a rollercoaster ride of joyful acid house, discofied percussion and the energy of a thousand twisted raves”.

Clod-hopping northerns, effete Eurotrash, non-teabagging Yanks and the like may want to console themselves with the filtered funk and glitterballs mix of the Krays’ We’re Ready When You Are by DJ Mehdi, a bendy and tastefully minimal Egyptrixx mix of the Aikiu’s Just Can’t Sleep and a thumping, jazzy two-step remix of Mikix The Cat’s The Key by Kingdom, all courtesy of those nice people at Outpost.

I don’t have a clue who any of these people are to be honest, but these tunes rock. I will be playing them this Friday night .. and crying, alone, in my damp Mancunian hovel, not going to see 808 State at the Ritz. Have a drink for me – and all the rest of us poor unfortunates outside the sacred circle of the M25, especially those who work on Saturday mornings – you lucky, lucky Londoners.

I’m getting all kinds of stuff sent into the blog for review or whatever which is lovely and everything – everyone loves free music, right? – but also a bit frustrating. You see, I don’t think you people understand exactly how corruptible I really am. There is a direct and unambiguous correlation between the amount of free stuff you send me – booze, drugs, clothing, airline tickets, reverse-engineered Roswell technology, and vinyl in particular – and the amount of coverage your artist gets.

Obviously, this only applies if I actually like your artists’ music.

Or unless you happen to send me some really mind-blowingly amazing free stuff.

In the meantime, you can rest assured that, apart from a few links to mp3s, nobody has sent me any freebies in exchange for positive coverage of the acts featured here, more’s the pity. They all come highly recommended anyway, I suppose.

Lovers of four-to-the-floor trad-house will find something to love in This Moment, a quietly euphoric piece of slow-mo disco nonsense remixed by NYC’s Kap10Kurt from the original track by French Horn Rebellion (who I have previously dismissed out of hand for having an unreasonably irritating moniker), and a Minitel Rose remix of Turn You Inside Out by Jimmy Edgar, which is slightly more uptempo and at times strangely reminiscent of the big Italian piano tunes of yore. Very sweet.

If you’re one of those people whose weekends are all about getting shit-faced in dirty basements with big bleeps and a truckload of bottom-heavy swagger – or even if you wish you were one of those people – V Skank by Berlin’s Sick Girls, will be right up your strasse. It’s taken from the Sick Tricks Urban Bass compilation they’ve put together for BBE Records. Hardcore: U know the score.

The Girls – who, in the manner of Berlin, may not even be girls – have also put together a rather superb mix which embodies their entirely admirable mission statement that “the bass has to kick ass!” and includes tunes by Zinc, Si Begg, the excellently-named Mumdance & Brodinksi and even UK novelty rave stalwarts Skin Up. Listen and love here.

Lawson Bee, late of Snitch, provides a Londontown perspective on the same mindset in his Autumn mixtape. The first few tunes, a collection of soulful, sleek and trippy little house jams, make it seem like this is going to be the best mix you’ve heard in years but then it all gets a little bit too angular and edgy, for these ears at least. Call it a generational disconnect, call me a boring old fart, but either way it’s not really for me.

That first quarter of an hour though .. Maybe I should give it another listen. What do I know?

Not a lot, clearly. I would, however, hazard a guess that it’s only a matter of time before the music of Dominique Young Unique finds it way into the mixes of Lawson Bee and the Sick Girls.

Inhabiting – like die Antwoord, Major Lazer and a good 50 per cent of the passengers on the top deck of your average British bus – a crazy, mixed-up world where electro collides with hip hop and techno, rubs up against dancehall and jumps all over booty bass and crunk, Young Unique comes on like a little chipmunk gangsta girl, like Yo Majesty’s rougher, tougher little sister.

She looks about 12-years-old but the Tampa native is in fact a worldly-wise 19, which is probably just as well given her love of tattoos and the sentiments of songs like Show My Ass and Pussy Popping (it all goes on down South apparently). She is an unstoppable force. Submit to the inevitable.

Young Unique’s high-octane, unashamedly freaky sound is very deranged and current and now, but it also references some very cool old tunes, and there’s a definite pop sensibility at work beneath the uninhibited mayhem and bowel-loosening bass. How big a role the shadowy svengali David Alexander plays is currently unclear. Either way, I think we may hear more of Ms Young Unique in the future.

Meanwhile, for all of you wondering exactly what ever happened to the fabulous Anglo-German soul songstress Terri Walker – and from the viewing figures on my interview I know there are literally tens of you out there who are wondering exactly that – here is a short film of her in the studio, unplugged, performing her own lovely version of a Hagstromm track she guests on.

Be My Baby is out next week. Can someone please organise some stupid Facebook group to make this record number one? That’d be great. I’ve got stuff on this week or I’d be all over it. Thanks.

That’s about it for now, apart from to say to Manchester-based lovers of sweet disco music that NYC Gallery and Studio 54 legend Nicky Siano is returning to the city (he made his debut in a pub just round the corner from our house a couple of years ago) for a gig at the Band on the Wall on November 12, preceded by the world premiere of his film Love Is The Message.

Suffice to say, if you liked the Robert Stigwood Organisation’s version of New York’s late Seventies nightlife in Saturday Night Fever, you’re going to love Nicky Siano’s film, which portrays a night at the Gallery in 1977 and features music from Frankie Knuckles, David Mancuso and Siano, plus a cast of thousands dancing the night away.

Feel good, lose yourself disco vibes until 3am. Maybe even if you have work the next morning ..

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