Thunder Picks #008


Last week you might have wondered where the column had gone? Well, truth be known, I was broken following the FARR Festival – and who was the architect of my downfall that weekend? Yes, our esteemed editor, not that that will come as surprise to those of you that know him. On the face of it, he may seem like an affable chap, without a bad word to say about anyone, who will lend you his cat print sweat shirt at 6am on a chilly morning in a field, but behind that faade of pleasantness, there is a darkness in his heart that will chill you to the bone. Its only when you look into those cold, emotionless eyes, when youre on your knees outside a Dalston pub,  at lunchtime, having had 6 pints for breakfast, 24 hours after you left home to play a few records, that you realise its all his FAULT! And if it wasnt, well, one might have to take responsibility for ones own actions and that would never do. Anyway, the upshot of all this is that last week I was thinking of knocking Thunder on the head, giving up booze, selling my records and going to live in the Scottish Highlands. On my own. In a hut. Or a cave. Maybe with a goat. So I wasnt really doing deadlines. But things are a lot better this week, so heres a bumper edition of THUNDER PICKS!


John Heckle Live at Thunder November 2011


As were approaching Thunders second birthday, I had a rummage around down the back of the sofa at Thunder Towers (aka I looked on my desktop) and I only went and found a live recording of John Heckle at our second ever party in November 2011! John, who as you all know is a jet-setting international house music superstar these days, was just on the brink of blowing up back then, having released his amazing Second Son album on Mathematics, so as a fledgling party we were pretty pleased with ourselves when we got him to come and play for us. And as you will hear, he smacked the arse out of the night. To repay him for his efforts, we decided to keep him up all night at the afters, so he fell asleep on the train home and some toe-rag pinched his record bag. Fortunately, a keen eyed British Rail employee spotted them in lost property a few weeks later and they were reunited with Mr Heckle, so alls well that ends well. Of course, this isnt much of a problem on his private Lear Jet these days heres the mix.



Two New Releases from Innerspace Halflife


Ive known about Hakim Murphy for a while but Innerspace Halflife, his project with Ike Release, only really registered when they released the absolutely sublime Post Industrial EP earlier this year. Tip toeing between real deep house and techno without being anything like tech-house, its a thing of beauty and record I would urge you all to buy on sight if you are given the chance.


In the last few weeks the guys have put out another two records. I thought Id missed the boat to tell you all about the first, 1000 Light Years Of Acid, because its limited and became available during my flirtation with living in a cave.  Ive had a look around though and fortunately both Kristina and Juno still have copies. Out on Swedens Skudge label, its unsurprisingly a slightly more big room affair, with the B-Side really being just straight up techno really. The stand out for me though is Electric Gaze, the first track on the A-Side.



Hot on the heels of that, in the last couple of days Village Hidden In The Sound has also hit the shops too. This is more in the housey vein of the Post Industrial EP and also excellent, in fact, I possibly prefer it. Not sure though, need to live with them both for a few days. In the meantime, you can have a listen to this and make your own mind up.



Two New Releases on Lets Pet Puppies


Chicago's most improbably (and brilliantly) named house label, Let's Pet Puppies, is back after a 4 year break with two jacking beasts that are up there with the best records they have ever released. First up something is LPP do best digging up unreleased tracks from Marcus Mixx. Well I think they are unreleased, they use the artist name M+M and Im not familiar with them nor cant find any mention of them anywhere. Both contain the trademark Marcus Mixx sounds though and like LPPs first release, Without Make Up/The Spell, have a certain eerie feel. This certainly supported by the insert, which consists of a black and white picture of a house, shrouded in darkness, at the end of a lonely looking woodland track. The accompanying text is probably everything else you need to know about this record, There is only one hill in Chicago. On top stands an anaemic corpse of a house, raccoons and rats having long since replaced the family who lived there. Holes in the roof expose what was a teenager's bedroom, ceiling and walls plastered with faded flyers. An adolescence spent at all-night parties, a bed seldom slept in. The basement smells of sweat and stale smoke, even after all these years. Its chequered floor is riddled with gaping holes where it was literally danced through, its walls a tapestry of cardboard screenprinted posters harvested from street poles. In the centre of the room strains a single wooden post, a forgotten Atlas supporting the decomposing structure above. Carved on it is a lone sign of the hoards of energetic teenagers and raucous parties once rocking the place: M + M.  


Next up are remixes of Jody Finchs Jack That Big Booty, which came out on Tenya records in 1987. Back then it was a big a Music Box track, the vocal imploring the crowd to 'Jack Your Big Booty' and it unwittingly set the template for many of the ghetto house booty tracks that followed in later years, from the like of Paris Mitchell, DJ Deeon and DJ Funk. Let's Pet Puppies actually re-released it a few years ago but this time we have two acid versions from the one and only Derrick Carter. Given his involvement and the background of the track, I thought there simply MUST be a crazy story behind these mixes! So I asked Derrick, who said, No crazy story. Just doing it for my friend [Thomos], who lives around the corner that I get drinks and chicken with, and ride scooters with sometimes. I'd always liked the track and I've owned the original since it was first released so I thought it would be a cool thing to do. As I started working on it, I decided to keep it true to the sound of that era. So born of chicken eating and scooter riding, these mixes might well be an improvement on the original but given the original is rarer than a scooter riding chicken with gold teeth, you might as well buy this.


Both are available in Kristina, Phonica, Rubadub etc. And heres the original.



Floating Points Wires


Everyone loves Sam Shepherd, right? Hes really maturing as a producer, moving the nu-discoesque sounds of his early releases through to the excellent, diverse sounds of the Shadows EP to this, Wires, a real tour de force. Its kind of part Mizell Brothers, part 4 Hero and part film score. But at the same time, its none of those – its original and bloody brilliant. Real musicians and wonderful arrangement, one for the headphones at home rather than the dance floor. Limited 1000 numbered 12s with inserted gold screen print from Kay Shin, they probably wont be around for that long.



Party of the Week (part 1) TBC


Back in the midnoughties, before the days of Thunder (and having a family) I was involved in small DJ collective called Controllata, along with my two good mates, Jimmy Piercy and Scottie Johnson. We had a lot of fun for a while playing places like Horse Meat Disco, Faith, Disco Bloodbath and East Village, before adult life barged its way in and it all fell by the wayside.


Older and wiser, last year over a pint we decided to kick off another small pub based night, using a very simple concept like minded souls get  together to play few records in a pub whilst drawing on the pool of DJs kicking their heels mid-evening in London before they play their main gigs. Hence the night was christened TBC – unannounced guests playing for love and/or beer, sans booking agent.


We managed get the likes of Ashley Beedle (Black Science Orchestra), Neville Watson (Rush Hour), Luke Howard (HMD), Andi Hanely (Body and Soul NYC), Toby Tobias (Rekids), alongside local heroes like Jake and Louis (Idiots Are Winning), Michelle Kelly (Breaking Even), and Elles (Legendary Children) all come down to play. We even picked up two new residents, Katie Barber and Will Webster, along the way, before the venue lost its music licence.


So, after a brief early summer hiatus TBC is back this Friday 2nd August in a new home the wonderful Star by Hackney Downs, which with its Funktion 1 sound system and terrace actually overlooking the Downs, is the perfect spot to idle away a summers Friday evening. If you want to hear me playing Cure records, thats where Ill be. Oh and its free!


Party of the Week (part 2) Bad Passion with Last Waltz


The Bad Passion boys have been around the block a bit the last few years, putting on great parties, playing great music, dabbling in production and also producing some of the best flyers Ive seen in the last 10 years. This Saturday they join forces with the Last Waltz boys, who are behind DADA, one of Newcastles more discerning parties, and have been fast getting global attention with a string of releases and others lined up on such labels as Endless Flight, Tusk Wax, World Unknown, FutureBoogie, Magic Wand, Ene Records and Lets Play House as well as their own imprint Object of Distraction.


You can read more about the Last Waltz boys in this interview they recently partook with our esteemed Editor (who hopefully hasnt broken them too) and theres also more info about the party, which is in a secret location, itself.


Thunder Anti Pick Records Released in Paper Inner-Sleeves


This has annoyed for years and thought it was a cheap skate phase that would eventually die out, but no, its still going strong. It doesnt matter theyre hand stamped or individually numbered or even if you cut up a bit of Nans curtains and stick them on the paper sleeves (yes, I mean you Mojuba), if youre putting out a record and expect me to pay the best part of a tenner for it, put it in a proper fucking sleeve. Thanks.


From The Vaults Freestyle Orchestra Odyssey


And finally, because ending on a moan would be a bit crap, heres the record I most enjoyed playing at FARR before I plunged into my pit of self loathing. Sampling Ashford and Simpsons Bourgie Bourgie its a joyous affair that makes you feel like the sun is shining even when it isnt. But it is shining! So have a great weekend yall x


Miles 'Thunder' Simpson