The June issue of Record Collector arrived on Thursday; in its review pages I’m covering the excellent new Earthling Society album, reissues of TV Smith’s Cheap and the first two albums by early punksters The Boys and an Easy Action boxset covering Nikki Sudden’s career, The Boy From Nowhere How Fell Out Of The Sky. It’s a 6-CD set, starting with Nikki’s work in Swell Maps, though sadly not including their seminal team-up with Cult Figures for their classic ‘Zip Nolan’ single and then culling material from Sudden’s solo albums, his liaisons with Dave Kusworth as the Jacobites, recordings with the Waterboy himself, Mike Scott, a previously unreleased full-band radio session from late in Sudden’s life and a collection of other radio sessions. Of course, again, this is something that isn’t of itself particularly in the space rock field – though he’s playing a very Brock-esque guitar style in ‘So Many Girls’ – but Sudden’s songs were irresistible conflagrations of classic rock styles, his love of Marc Bolan is well-documented and can be heard not just in his song arrangements but his eclectic rhyming couplets (not selected here, but appearing on a posthumous round-up of unreleased material from his Treasure Island/The Truth Doesn’t Matter LPs, is the classic “all the Babylonians/playing their euphoniums” occurring just as “Judas Iscariot went by on his chariot” ). I’m picking up on this particular release here simply because it is such a labour of love, and one that I’m thrilled to be covering in an RC ‘lead’ review, and if only one or two people wandering past this blog prick up their ears at the opportunity to acquire a copy of such an in-depth appraisal of a singular songwriter and musician, one who absolutely lived – and if the stories are true, died – the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and dream, then I’d be chuffed to have added listeners to this magnificent release.
I picked up (digitally speaking) a copy of a new science fiction magazine, Adventure Rocketship!, which I believe has taken its title from the song by Robyn Hitchcock, and which is well-worth mentioning here since its debut issue, subtitled Let’s All Go To The Science Fiction Disco, has taken a specific focus on the interchange between literary science fiction and popular music. There are interviews with Michael Moorcock and Mick Farren among others and some intelligent contextual analysis of the ways in which SF and music have met, including a fascinating rumination on the influence of J G Ballard on post-punk, particularly on Joy Division – though ironically Ballard himself is revealed to have had a metaphorical sweet-tooth when it came to music and wouldn’t likely have been selecting any of these records as part of a Desert Island Discs show – though the author of this piece, Jason Heller does select Hawkwind’s ‘High Rise’ as being “done out of clear solidarity with post-punk”, slightly out of context claiming it as a 1979 Hawkwind song when it had been in their set since at least June 1977. Pedantry aside, and I guess really that eighteen months difference does shift the perspective on the intentions behind this song, it’s one of a collection of intriguing pieces that has kept me reading over this bank holiday weekend. Aside from the Ballard feature, and the Moorcock and Farren interviews that are very focused on the SF/music correlation theme, there’s a good piece on The Orb with interviews with Alex Paterson and Youth – even if the conspiracy theories that abound in it aren’t ones that I’d sign-up to, and piece on Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen’s Phonogram comics that I’ve not yet dug into but as a huge admirer of their work am really looking forward to getting my teeth into. I hope this publication goes from strength-to-strength and on the basis of the first issue I’ve high hopes that it will do so. I see there’s a paperback version of this listed on Amazon and as well as the Kindle edition, but I picked up my download via Cheryl Morgan’s always thought-provoking blog and through her Wizard's Press imprint. So while I’ll add the Amazon link here, Wizard’s Press is the place to go to in order to support small press and purchase this one, which I’m absolutely sure is of interest to visitors to this blog.
Finally, Record Collector have a psychedelic day at The Borderline in-conjunction with those lovely people at Fruits de Mer records (who very kindly sent over their first ever promo 7” vinyl featuring Soft Hearted Scientists and tracks from FdM’s massive Strange Fish LP series due soon and which I’ll be covering in print) and featuring, among others, The Pretty Things (who are headlining) and Sendelica. Tickets for this 10th August event are available here; I’m hoping to get along, funds permitting.