Posts Tagged ‘James’


Heavy Rotation Vol. 45

May 23, 2010

Hey, readers. Sorry about the lack of insightful yet hilarious intro. Instead, please enjoy this.

It will keep your eyes busy while your ears are otherwise occupied. And remove at least 4-5 hours of your previously free time.

Like intros? Most of these have those:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

The Fall – Serum.mp3
From 2002’s underrated* The Unutterable, a heavily electronic album that seems to be stealing pages from several different electronic artists (var. Big Beat artists, some swing/samba distortion a la Foetus). This track in particular seems to be quoting (of all bands) Infected Mushroom**, I shit you not. It’s all densely layered breakbeats and acid squiggles, with Mark E. Smith’s overenunciated Mancunian drawl coloring in the spaces, ranting-uh and raving-uh about godknowswhat.

* (Let’s be honest, when you release something like 1,300 albums over the course of 3.5 decades, you’re bound to end up with a few labelled “underrated.” It’s just simple math.)
** (If you’re not familiar, and there’s really no reason you should be, Infected Mushroom are an Israeli trance group that travels the harsher, more psychedelic side of trance. Many labels have been carelessly applied to their pounding, acidic trance. Psytrance and goa are the ones that have stuck.)

Echo & the Bunnymen – Proxy.mp3
Apparently, the Bunnymen are back together. Despite all my musical expertise, I thought that they had pretty much said the hell with it after 1997’s Evergreen, which would have been the last album of theirs I purchased.

I have since been informed (by MEK and Wiki) that a.) they’ve been releasing albums every four years or so for the past 12 years and b.) the world does NOT revolve around me and my CD purchases. So… good for them!

This track is all kinds of bouncy fun, full of sixties-ish piano and harmonizing. In fact, it’s so great you’ll swear they never missed a beat all these misinformed years.

James – Dr. Hellier.mp3
Speaking of bands that have reformed (or not), here’s James with a timely body-as-world analogy that speaks in metaphors about disease-as-international-tension, which is then completed through the titular Dr. Hellier’s invasion of the body/country via a Fantastic Voyage-esque capsule in an effort to save it/them/everyone from themselves/himself/itself.

Speaking of things we’ve spoken of before, James released an album in 2008, so it could be argued that they’ve been back for at least two years already. Not only that, but this mysterious MEK also recommended this tune and told me (more or less) to hijack his “Fantastic Voyage” description and claim it as my own.

Blancmange – The Game Above My Head.mp3
This track is everything good about the 80’s: huge, lush synthwork, chilly overtones, the faux-est of faux handclaps and minimal, oblique lyrics. It’s like an audible Nagel print. Not only that, but it was released in 1984 (on their second album, Mange Trout), the eightiest year of the 80’s.

It’s the kind of electro-perfection that’s bright enough to snare the pop tarts, yet dark enough to engage the goths.


Moullinex & Xinobi – Discotexas (Digitalfoxglove Mix).mp3
You absolutely know the title came first. And with a title this kickass, you have to follow through. Moullinex, in conjunction with Xinobi (with valuable support from Digitalfoxglove) do exactly that, laying down a vintage 909-ish 4/4, some big-as-Texas strings and anchoring the whole ball-o’-disco to some sexed-up slap bass.



Heavy Rotation Vol. 40

April 18, 2010


That’s a big, evil number. All black balloons and used-up jokes. Let’s not head down that road. That way lies madness. Or if not madness, then some form of doom-laden clichefest that is somehow supposed to distract you from the fact that life is continuing its unstoppable Sherman’s March to the Sea, black balloons or no.

40 got you down? The previous volumes all have smaller numbers:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

James – Born of Frustration.mp3
Leading off with a return to a simple time, it’s fan favorite James who spent most of the late ’80s – early ’90s making intelligent alterna-pop, blowing past the throngs who were waiting for the “next Smiths” and splicing atmospheric ear candy onto a sparse, jangly spine.

If someone ever asks what “alternative rock” sounds like, this would be an excellent example. It sure as fuck isn’t everything that followed the “grunge years.” Oh, and it’s got a lot of falsetto, so it’s perfect for the shower.

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio.mp3
What James would sound like if they were fronted by a fully-matured male. Atmospheric, intelligent, etc., drenched in melancholy and a weary, dark nostalgia. “You can never go home,” they say, and since I can’t find anything in the music world that disagrees with that sentiment, I’d have to agree. The leadoff single from their upcoming album High Violet, and if this is the statement of intent, I’d have to mark it a solid “buy.”

The Big Pink – Introduction to Awareness.mp3
I’ve featured this pair of shoegazers before with their crushing single, Velvet. Still the oddest of bands, formed by a former member of Atari Teenage Riot, whose noise terrorist pedigree would seem to lend itself to a more aggressive brand of music.


(Fun fact: Alec Empire (the founding member of Atari Teenage Riot) released a “tribute” album to Elvis Presley featuring the so-bad-it’s-good track title “Jailhouse Cock Rocks the Most.”)

The Lowbrows – Midnight Pirates.mp3
The Lowbrows are back. Of course, they didn’t actually go anywhere, and thank god for that as they continue to kick out jam after muthafuckin jam with no discernible drop in quality. Like Linda is Tonight and Danse Macabre, Midnight Pirates takes a bunch of unrelated ideas and runs them through some sort of filtering system that removes anything “non-kickass”  and delivers another dance floor devastator.

Starts out with some slow-moving body blows and some early-90s rave synth stabs before taking the governor off at the 2:11 mark and sending the juggernaut crashing through the VIP room and right onto the dance floor. Another drop and jaw-crushing build later and the dance floor is set to explode.

Simian Mobile Disco – Born to Synthesize (The Lowbrows Mix).mp3
Electro near-rockers SMD get themselves manhandled by the staggeringly good Lowbrows, who take this pulsing track and insert a wobbling, tweaking bassline and some very gorgeous pads. Uplifting, blissed-out and powerful.



Heavy Rotation Vol. 4

June 28, 2009

Another round of amazing tracks, brought to your courtesy of Fancy Plans. All killer, no filler.


Gary Numan – I Die, You Die
Numan’s late 70’s-early 80’s work promised a bright, shiny dystopia lying somewhere between the Jetsons, Blade Runner and 1984. Perhaps not so bright and shiny. However, the impression given was that the future of rock would be shiny synths and affectionless vocals, dealing with conspiracies, cyborgs, brain implants and the pure love of a man for a sex machine.

None of this happened. The future of rock became the endlessly echoing of post-grunge riffage and nu-metal detritus, which just kind of sucks. On the bright side, all of this can be easily avoided by ignoring the mainstream and your radio.

This is not love
This is not even worth a point of view
In Echo Park, I
Pause for effect and whisper ‘who are you?’

They crawl out of their holes for me
And I die: You die
Hear them laugh, watch them turn on me
And I die: You die
See my scars, they call me such things
Tear me, tear me, tear me

human people

Human People – I’d Run Just Like You
In just under two minutes, Human People manage to encapsulate everything that was great about the New Romantics and synthpop in general. Beautiful, shimmering snyth lines, a propulsive bass line and some dark, but not too dark, lyrics.

Like any great entertainer, they leave you wanting more. I’d kill for a good 6-minute version of this track. Perhaps I’ll get my wish, as this is only a demo.


James – Ring the Bells
A blistering kiss-off to apathy, religion and general indifference, this track kicks more ass than any song relying on this much acoustic guitar should. It starts a quietly before building to the chorus, subsiding briefly before returning to beat you into submission. Definitely worth screaming along to, preferably at a high rate of speed after nightfall.

When you let me fall, grew my own wings
Now I’m as tall as the sky
When you let me drown, grew gills and fins
Now I’m as deep as the sea
When you let me die, my spirit’s free
There’s nothing challenging me

😦 – embedding disabled…


Murder City Devils – I Want a Lot Now
With drums that echo Iggy Pop’s classic “Lust for Life” and shouted lyrics that bring all that’s right about wanting to just be the fuck out of the house and up to no good somewhere else to a full-on, head-stomping peak, this song will lay your stereo to waste.

We are not responsible for any hard drinking, drug snorting, fist fighting or casual sexing that may result as a result of this song. Rocks so hard that you may forgive your fellow roadtrippers for drumming along on the dashboard.

I’m feelin’ cooped up, you know it sure is shitty
I don’t want to live here anymore
I know it’s late
I said I know it’s late
I don’t wanna go home
I don’t wanna go home

Livin’s no good across the lake from the city
Don’t want to live there anymore
Take your dad’s car and we’ll go to the city
Just like last week and the week before


Primal Scream – Come Together
A song about the unquantifiable power of music, when it becomes something more than the sum of its parts and transcends, uplifts and unifies. Ramblin’ Rooster knows what I’m talking about.

Those rare moments when a song can conjure up all the great hazy memories you have about staying out for far too long. Exchanging your responsibilities and better judgement for a few hours of sonic bliss. Today we dance, tomorrow we die.

From Primal Scream’s first masterpiece Screamadelica, featuring Adrian Sherwood’s restrained dub production, all echoes, reverb and masterful sampling. A gospel chorus turns up around a third of the way through, aiding the sample of music-pushing preacher, just in case you were missing the point of good music getting you closer to God.

This is a beautiful day
It is a new day
We are together, we are unified
And in one accord
Because together we got power
Apart we got power

Today on this program you will hear gospel,
And rhythm and blues, and jazz
All those are just labels
We know that music is music

(Not really a video, per se, but if you want to hear the track without downloading, click this:)

Switching file hosting due to some rampant popups at Mediafire. All in one zip file – take ’em all, ditch what you hate. (Link will open in new window.)

Heavy Rotation V. 5 (zip)


[All music posted on Fancy Plans… is kick ass and too awesome to be contained. All music is also posted temporarily and, due to it’s high level of ass-kicking, should not be distributed without a prescription and care should be taken while operating heavy equipment or dancing around the living room (clothing optional, but do remember that the blinds are open/kids are still awake).
Should you wish to have your brilliant artistic statement forced back into confinement, please email me at Feel free to leave a comment, as that will probably be noticed sooner.
By all means, if you like what you hear (and you will), please support the totally rocking artist(s) by purchasing some music or heading out to see them live.]