Chicks With Disks

Music is the best.

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Flowers In The Dirt

Paul McCartney: Flowers In The Dirt
The Paul McCartney Archive Collection

The album.

In 1989 Paul McCartney released »Flowers In The Dirt«, and he was finally able to step out of the »established superstar/middle of the road« trap that be created with all his George Martin/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson/frog chorus collaborations. With a little help from Elvis Costello he nodded to his Beatle past, and at the same time tried to get to grips with new methods of production by teaming up with Trevor Horn – and suddenly he was accepted by the NME/Q editors and their readers. While the Costello/McCartney collaboration produced some georgeous songs, the real pearl on this album is »This One« – a wonderful love song with a nice message, some surreal twists and turns to keep it from resembling another silly love song, and arranged like a late outtake from »Magical Mystery Tour«. And, strange as it seems, the album and its various styles and producers are held together by a certain 80s gloss and a reliance on craftsman-like arrangements (Yes Paul, we know certainly well that you can tart up a nice riff like »Rough Ride« to become a four-minute hit single, thank you very much…).

The deluxe edition.

Like the previous nine entries in the series this comes with audio and visual additions: two sets of McCartney/Costello demos (acoustic and band rehearsals), the music videos from this album plus a couple of documentaries, a 112-page book with background and interviews, and three more scrapbooks with photos, handwritten lyrics and letters. There’s also a download section with 13 B-sides and remixes plus 4 additional demos. All this in a solid slipcase which (as expected) fits in nicely with the other Archive collections. The presentation, manufacturing and care for detail is really exceptional. There’s carefully selected paperstock, embossed covers, intelligent design choices (see the »Flowers« exhibition catalogue or the »This One« photobook) – and it all gives a real insight into the making of the album and its reception. And it will certainly keep you busy for a couple of days at least.

The complaints.

As soon as this release was announced there was a storm of complaints from fans. The decision to offer all the collectors rarities (the B-sides etc.) as »dowbload-only« is surely one of the all-time stupid record label mistakes – the SDE website pointed out why it was especially silly to produce a deluxe package, appealing to hardcore collectors and fans who want to have a physical product, and then failing to include a quarter of the content in the actual box. And with 60 minutes of demos spread over two CDs, why not include a couple of the non-Costello songs? (Three of those have been made available on McCartney’s website since.) But: this isn’t some record company repackaging gone wrong. Like the recent Bowie reissues, this was curated by The Artist himself, and it’s his vision that is presented here. If he wants to dedicate a whole book to his wife’s pictures, or doesn’t want certain songs or demos included – like it or not: he’s the one who’s doing the decisions.

The people complaining about the price, however, should look around a bit. If this set wasn’t released as a »record industry« item but instead as an art book, no-one would think twice about it – they would rather be pleased about the »bonus CDs and DVD« included! Considering the production quality of the whole set (not counting the two typos I spotted…) this really is a bargain. Let’s just hope that further installments will be released without interference from the marketing department – just keep ‘em coming and we’ll buy them all.


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Two Originals (The list)

Releases in the Two Originals series with gatefold paintings by Patrick von Spreckelsen:

The Allman Brothers Band
David Crosby & Graham Nash
The Doors
The Faces
Roberta Flack
Fleetwood Mac
Aretha Franklin
The Grateful Dead
Iron Butterfly
J. Geils Band
Led Zeppelin
Little Feat
Gordon Lightfoot
Herbie Mann
Curtis Mayfield
Van Morrison
The Mothers Of Invention
Ted Nugent
Carly Simon
Percy Sledge
Stephen Stills
James Taylor
Vanilla Fudge
Tony Joe White
Neil Young


The Konkurrenz Label

Konkurrenz-Label 1980-1982

Kon-Box 6


Konkurrenz KON 15 • Phonogram 6435 200
12×12″ box set with all albums and singles released by the label (box not officially released)

Kon-Box 2


KON 1: Geisterfahrer • Schatten voraus
Album 6435 078 • Cassette 7106 078

Das Ufer • Pestkreuze • Scharlach • Terror/Liebe • Sand am Meer • Es tut nicht mehr weh • Das Haus • Schatten • Wasser • Vertrauen

KON 2: Die Schönsten • Linientreu
12“ Single 6005 105

Linientreu • Spätkapitalismus I • Spätkapitalismus II

KON 3: Matthias Schuster • Ritual
12“ Single 6005 106

Ritual I • Ritual II • Ritual III • Ritual IV

KON 4: Jeannette & das Land Z
7“ Single 6005 124
Poupée de cire, poupée de son • Raumpatrouille

KON 5: Die Kapazität • Bündig
12“ Single 6005 133

Die Tänzerin • Jede Hilfe • Blechspielzeug • Bewegung • Eckstein

KON 6: Christian Lunch • Shark Bait
Album 6435 105

A Message From The Boss • Strangling Of A Small Dog • PCH • Monika Po • Animal Life • Poho Muzak • Jokes On You • Butzmania • Mambo Jambo • Ivory Coast • Party boys • Cha Cha Cha • Denken Str. • Bitchen Egyptian • Bauhaus Retreads • Hausfrau Dub • Tears from Jürgen Wo • Music For Senile Buddhist Quartet • Weltsendeschluß

KON 7: ExKurs • Fakten sind Terror
Album 6435 115

Warten • Fakten • Bewegung • Steril • Natur • Angst • Friedhof • Ausblick

KON 8: Matthias Schuster • Atemlos
Album 6435 116

Für alles auf der Welt • Umarmung • Schlaglichter • Language Trainer • Habari Gani • An Rah Robeel • Atemlos • Harakiri • G.F. • Geschichte der Nacht • Verlangen • Mussuri Sana • Der schwarze Engel

KON 9: Carlos Peron • Impersonator
Album 6435 132

Her Heäd Is Bräkin • Intu Foör • Impersonator • Méthode • Dog Muzzles • Einsatz • Infiltration • Ordal • Oui, Oui • Frigorex • The Winner • Dom Pedro’s Chamber • Quadra • Light Conversation • Bust Food • Méthode Total • Devin T. Race • The Princess Side Saddle • Ricky

KON 10: Geisterfahrer • Fest der vielen Sinne
Album 6435 133

Fest • Nacht der Löwen • Mein Kind • Angriff • Zeit der Chancen • Himmel auf Erden • Madish Ahb’el • Schnee Blind • Blumen • Leiser Tod • Möchte bei dir sein • Die Stimme der Erde

KON 11: Tom Robinson
7“ Single 6005 183
Tango an der Wand • Alptraum Tango Dub

KON 12: The Red Crayola With Art & Language
7“ Single 6005 124
Rattenmensch/Gewichtswächter • Zukunftsflieger

KON 13: Die Kapazität • Leichte Stimmen
Album 6435 143

Musik für kleine Mörder mit Blick auf den See • Kurzfilm • Bemühe Dich • In meinem Zimmer • Kaum • Gesellschaftskritik für Anfänger • O.S.R.L. • Keiner Hört auf Mao Tse-Tung (Propaganda-Mix) • Je mon fou • Kleine Cryptic • Unser Mann • Musik für die Heilanstalt • Christy Brown

KON 14: Detlef Diederichsen • Volkskunst aus dem Knabengebirge
Album 6435 162

Wahrhaftige kleine Musik • Pissnelke 2000 • Knastbrüder erinnern sich • Der Egokrat und die Multimaus • Bin ich nicht schön? • Alle haben Krebs • Wir sind alle Kellner • Zuckende Chanäleon-Lichter • Animierdamen • Warum gibt es keine Marsmenschen? • Die Wogen glätten sich • Helmut hört heisse Hits • 505 Christen spielen mit Gott • Schmeisst eure Chromteile weg • Christina ist ein Schwein

Kon-Box 5 Kon-Box 4Kon-Box 3

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Music You Will (Probably) Never Hear

We listened to another one of these strange compilations that came with Songlines, Uncut, MusikExpress, The Wire or Spex. It’s the first »free« CD from The Word:

Word CD1

Word Of Mouth – The 15 tracks everyone’s talking about (compiled by some promotion company, and given away with issue 17 of The Word in 2004)

1. Nick Drake: Rider On The Wheel
From 2004 if you believe the credits on the sleeve! Cozy acoustic guitar picking from the hipsters’ favourite misfit.

2. Fountains Of Wayne: Hackensack
One of the most perfect pop songs ever written. Great lyrics, wonderful tune, fabulous harmonies. If you didn’t know this band then, it’s existence on this little CD excuses everything The Word ever did wrong. »I saw you talkin’ / To Christopher Walken…«

3. John Martyn: Under My Wing
The great man (apparently a quite unpleasant company) with a fine contemporary track. Is that a flute among the Dad Rock noodlings? Nice!

4. Bebel Gilberto: Cada Beijo
Wow – adventurous sounds for the Word reader! Still, it’s smooth enough to fit into the whole Sunday-afternoon-on-the-sofa-with-a-glass-of-wine mood. It’s Brazilian like you expect, but with a few weird orchestral sketches and almost dub effects. Flute again.

5. Jim White: Bluebird
Another ominous guy with an acoustic guitar, but way more interesting than that Drake fellow. This goes for the David Lynch/soundtrack feel. Produced by Joe Henry, from the wonderfully titled LP »Drill A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See«.

6. Franz Ferdinand: Shopping For Blood
Whoever sequenced this platter had a heart of gold – even the Franz fit in here perfectly. Was this the time when their first album came out? This doesn’t sound as choppy or new wave-y as one would expect.

7. Delays: Long Time Coming
Echo-y and psychedelic intro to a timeless paisley underground scorcher. Psych pop at its best.

8. Jolie Holland: Old Fashioned Morphine
Another classic – and we’ve all used it on numerous CD-R comps as a surprise. Sounds at first like one of those old 78 discoveries that you find on a MOJO CD.
Word office favorite C.W. Stoneking probably stole his whole sound from this cut. (And whoever is Isabel Eberhard, and should we know her?)

9. Amp Fiddler: Eye To Eye
Shitty band name notwithstanding, this (again) goes for the slightly weird underwater atmosphere, with shifting backing sounds, as if you’re panning across a big cinematic panorama. Somebody was still listening to the first Massive Attack album.

10. Juana Molina: Quien?
The great Miss Molina (whose 2013 album is highly recommended) with a wonderful Tropicalia track. With lots of little twists and turns.

11. Grand Drive: The Real Thing
You would expect this fitting better on an Uncut/Americana sampler, but it grooves along quite well. It’s probably that »raw« guitar sound that saves it, including a slightly Crazy Horse-y solo.

12. Zero 7: Morning Song
More Sunday afternoon underwater music (What were they smoking in the Word office when they commissioned this compilation?). Another unexpectedly remarkable track. We never heard of Zero 7 again.

13. Kathryn Williams: Thirteen
Yes, we can almost hear Mark Ellen giggling at that song title. The Big Star song, of course, sung by that summer festival favourite, »girl in summer dress with an acoustic guitar«. The following 70 Word platters had LOTS of this stuff.

14. Dogs Die In Hot Cars: Somewhat Off  The Way
The stinker on this disc. They should get slapped for their band name alone, and the song is a car crash of pretension, ill-advised backing vocals and dreadful piano tinkling.

15. Sufjan Stevens: The Dress Looks Nice On You
Don’t we all love to hear stuff like that? It’s back to slightly romantic boys with acoustic guitars. Mr. Stevens is Professer Quirky himself and he doesn’t disappoint.

Like we mentioned before, this is wonderfully sequenced, has a nice – slightly disturbing – overall atmosphere (without trying too hard), and works really good even ten years later. The mix of established names, record company promo fodder and a few leftfielders thrown in (Fountains Of Wayne, Juana Molina!) certainly pleased the sales people and the editors in equal measures.

For your historical entertainment, here are Mark Ellen’s sleeve notes: »Survey after survey points to the same truth. No recommendation is as powerful as Word Of Mouth. It’s the music you hear round at somebody’s for dinner that you actually go out and buy. It’s the tune that comes with a warm testimonial from a trusted friend that you listen to with an open mind. Every month WORD encourages famous, interesting people to name the favourites that they would strongly recommend to the magazine’s readers. It’s in the same spirit that we offer up fifteen of the most talked-about songs of this summer, each accompanied by a testimonial from a member of WORD’s extended family.May they lighten your traffic jams this summer and provide you with a new favourite or two. And if you don’t like anything you’ll know exactly who to blame.«