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The End

After 13 years of (almost) daily updates, it is with a certain amount of relief that I can announce that Doklands is no more. It's been tremendous fun, and I value those people who I've met along the way, but after so long it's going to be so refreshing to not have opinions about everything. May each and every one of you enjoy yourself as much as I have here.

--dok
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13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me

Here's the young Roky Erickson with the 13th Floor Elevators with their garage classic You're Gonna Miss Me. There are so many great elements to this song. One is undoubtedly Erickson's harmonica playing, a violent shriek that follows his singing without respite. Then there's the famous electric jug playing of Tommy Hall. Yes, that juddering undercurrent that runs throughout the song is nothing other than an amplified jug. Legend has it that it was always filled with cannabis, and over the years the sound of the leaf infused into the ceramic itself. And last, but hardly least is Erickson's performance, patterned after the likes of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and James Brown. Apparently he was a rather insecure young man and wanted it to seem as if his singing was a natural expression of his authentic wildness: in truth he practised for hours on end in seclusion so no-one would realise how much hard work and dedication it took to get that voice. Find this as the opening track of the band's debut, The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators (1966).

13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me
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Van Morrison - Let the Slave (incorporating The Price of Experience)

In 1984 Van Morrison was in the middle of a journey that was to take him through Scientology and Theosophy and into a turbulent relationship with religion that has never seemed to go away. In other words, he was just about the least cool man on the planet. Did I know that at the time? Did I buggery, I just wanted to hear his new album, A Sense of Wonder. It's a real mixed bag of old blues and r'n'b songs and some dodgy Celtic adornment. But at the heart of it is one of the greatest things he ever did, his cover of Mike Westbrook's Let The Slave.

It's a setting of a text by William Blake, taken from his work of epistemological liberation America, a Prophecy. The original has some brilliant moments, but for me it's always spoiled by the vocal performance of Phil Minton. With Van that's never a problem, he manages to be plainspoken, gutsy and fuelled by emotion. His call for social revolution is inextricably linked with the spiritual. Still brings a tear to my eye. Just don't go digging too deep in this era of Van's work, this is as good as it gets.

Van Morrison - Let the Slave (incorporating The Price of Experience)
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Compressorhead - Compressorhead

Some bands are metal but only one is literally metal. Compressorhead are Fingers, Stickboy and Bones, a band of actual robots. They get guest vocalists in to do the tricky singing part, which in my book is a bit of a cop out. It must be possible to get a set of horns and some weirdly resonant sheet metal to handle that end of things, surely? The band are fuelled by compressed air anyway, imagine that tonne of metal used as the backing for some full scale intonarumori bruitism action. Until that crossover comes, here's what the band sound like when relying on a flesh-based singer for their signature theme. From the 2017 album Party Machine.

Compressorhead - Compressorhead
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Bear Bones, Lay Low - Lord

Here at Doklands we've heard a fair bit of Ernesto Gonzales, codenamed Bear Bones, Lay Low. His 2019 release Ses Kondi might be his best yet.

A lot of his early music was based around drones, and like much of the best of that genre was all about finding the rhythms hidden inside the drone, the subtle pulsing and beating of marginal discord. The same sort of feeling is present within Lord, but in a much more exciting way. It's already very rhythmic stuff, a sort of ecstatic trance music, but what Gonzales has done here is to go deep inside the rhythm, to find the beat within the beat: not to play it, but to make you add it yourself as you hear his contribution. This is not music to be a passive bystander to, it demands your participation.

Bear Bones, Lay Low - Lord
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The Danglers - Derek

I've held back on sharing Derek for many years because (a) it could fairly be described as terrible and (b) this rip of it sounds as if it was recorded off the radio. Still, I remained obsessed with this stupid song for years. It's from the deliberately naff school of '80s indie music, halfway between messthetics and naff; songs made as an art laugh, not because they demanded to be heard. It's tat, but it's idiosyncratic tat. I know absolutely nothing about The Danglers other than the fact that this comes from their sole release, a 10" mini album called Books and Parcels (1983).

The Danglers - Derek
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Jeffrey Lewis - A History of Punk on the Lower East Side

Do you want to listen to the of the best histories of punk in a single performance? Jeffrey Lewis's punk timeline is a bit sketchy at times, especially when he draws it through the weird folk and freakout bands of the 1960s but he can be forgiven just about anything for his dry delivery and the fact that he performs part of every single song he mentions. And hey, he's sticking up for his hometown too. This is a classic recording that never got a proper release, copyright and licensing restrictions proving entirely insurmountable. This low bitrate version from 2004 is all there is as far as I know.

Jeffrey Lewis - A History of Punk on the Lower East Side
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Gentle Stranger - Obvious As Snow

Look, I'll be honest with you, I just don't get the Gentle Stranger aesthetic. Are they the soundtrack to an invisible dadaist theatre troupe? Are they a improv DIY jazz trio? Are they a live sampling jam band? I don't know and have to treat each new moment they bring with bewilderment, trepidation or exhilaration. Things seem marginally clearer on Obvious As Snow, the final track from Love And Unlearn (2020). They send us home with a smile on our faces, as long as crawling inevitability and droning existential dread is what makes you smile. Hey it may be ghastly and terrifying, but at least you can hear it coming.

I'm trying to tell it's really good, btw. No need to thank me.

Gentle Stranger - Obvious As Snow
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Jamie Harrison - Blue Prints

I am so sick and tired of being the only person I know who listens to Jamie Harrison's music. I'm also sick of how many different Jamie Harrisons there are out there, and I want mine to grow gargantuan and consume all the others. MY Jamie Harrison is the folk singer, the one who plays quirky tunes that sound as if he's trying to make all his mates laugh and cry at once. They're songs of friendship and togetherness and stupid in-jokes, and they've got this strange sense of communal intimacy about them.

Harrison recorded today's song twice, once as Blueprints from the album The Struck World And The Bad Planet (2010, great album but sound quality not all it could be) and as Blue Prints from Honesty! Fraternity! Night-Vision! (2017). That's what we'll listen to today, a song full of fluidity and propulsion. A song that threatens to fall apart, but that gets rescued, and us with it. I think it's the best thing he's ever done. He sounds so mournful and handsome and young!

Jamie Harrison - Blue Prints
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The Clash - Justice Tonight / Kick It Over

I loved The Clash as a teenager. Not trying to claim there's anything special in that, I think it was pretty much obligatory to do so. But as the years went on they started to sound a bit iffy, their politics seeming more and more like clothes to be worn to suit the occasion. Really badly cut clothes at that. It was when one of their dreariest songs got stuck on a jeans advert that I lost all faith.

Or almost all. The Clash's cover of Willie Williams' Armagideon Time has always remained there on the mental playlist, and rightly so. Absolutely one of the top few punk/reggae crossover numbers, and a recording so on fire that they even included the studio engineer telling them to wind things up rather than try to re-record it. Justice Tonight / Kick It Over is the extended dub mix that showed up on Black Market Clash, and it's everything you want it to be. 9 minutes of Paul Simonon's bassline? Yes please.

The Clash - Justice Tonight / Kick It Over
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