May 18, 2011

RhoDeo 1120 Aetix

Hello, Aetix calling here, todays show centers around one man Matt Johnson a man with a mission, he's fallen of the radar this last decade, and his musical output isn't too big, yet he was responsible for some great albums. His evocative voice still caries over the messages/lyrics he wrote. Lyrics that tend to get stuck in your head. Enjoy !

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

At the age of 15, Matt was hired as a tea boy for the DeWolfe music publishing company, and within three years, he was working in their recording studio as an assistant engineer. That year (79) Johnson formed the first incarnation of The The with synth player Keith Laws; after playing their debut gig opening for Scritti Politti, the group issued its first single, "Controversial Subject," on the 4AD label in 1980. A year later, contractual obligations forced Johnson to issue the LP Burning Blue Soul (wavetrain 9th wagon) under his own name. The result, was an unusual and compelling work which mixed extensive studio experimentation with Johnson's evocative voice.

In 1982, The The -- now essentially a Johnson solo project, backed by a revolving coterie of musicians -- recorded the album The Pornography of Despair, which a dissatisfied Johnson chose not to release; a 1983 single recorded with Orange Juice's Zeke Manyika, "This Is the Day," formed the centerpiece of The The's proper debut, 1983's Soul Mining, an excursion into dance-flavored pop.

Illness sidelined Johnson for much of the following year, and The The did not return until 1986's Infected, an eclectic commentary on the state of Britain in the modern world. The The still only consisted of Johnson, but augmented by session musicians and featured friends such as Orange Juice drummer/singer Zeke Manyika and Rip Rig & Panic singer Neneh Cherry. It was also unusual for having a full length accompanying film. Costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, Infected: The Movie was shot on locations in Bolivia, Peru and New York. Different songs were directed by different directors, mainly Tim Pope and Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson (Coil). Throughout 1986-1987 Johnson toured the world extensively with Infected: The Movie, showing the film in cinemas in place of performing live concerts.

By 1988, The The was an actual band again, Johnson having recruited ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, ex-Julian Cope bassist James Eller and ex-ABC drummer David Palmer as full fledged members. This line-up, plus guest singer SinĂ©ad O'Connor, recorded the album Mind Bomb, which debuted at #4 in the UK Albums Chart. In 1989 the band embarked on a lengthy world tour in 1989–90, The The Versus The World. The live film of the same name, directed by Tim Pope, was filmed during the three nights The The performed at London's Royal Albert Hall at the end of the tour.

In 1990 the studio EP Shades of Blue was released. This included cover versions of Fred Neil's "Dolphins" and Duke Ellington's "Solitude" as well as a new original song "Jealous of Youth" and a live version of "Another Boy Drowning" from Burning Blue Soul. This and a later EP of remixes, 1993's Dis-infected, were compiled into a 1994 full-length album for the North American market called Solitude.

In 1993, the five-piece line-up issued the album Dusk, which debuted at #2 in the UK and spun off three Top 40 singles in the UK, led by "Dogs of Lust". Another world tour followed, the Lonely Planet tour, at which point the band's line-up was reshuffled. Another full length film, directed by long time collaborator Tim Pope, was made for this album. From Dusk Til Dawn was shot in New Orleans and New York and along with Johnson and Johnny Marr also featured various characters from the New York underground scene.

Now permanently relocated to New York, The The's next project was 1995's Hanky Panky, an album that consisted entirely of Hank Williams cover tunes. In 1997 an experimental album called Gun Sluts was recorded but left unreleased by the band after it was rejected for being too uncommercial by their label. The The severed their eighteen year relationship with Sony and moved to Interscope, on Trent Reznor's Nothing Records imprint.

In 2000, The The, now consisting of Johnson, Schermerhorn, Nashville bassist Spencer Campbell and drummer Earl Harvin, released NakedSelf and embarked on yet another lengthy world tour, the Naked Tour, this one lasting 14 months. NakedSelf remains The The's final studio album to date.

Since 2003 The The have concentrated primarily on soundtrack work, scoring numerous documentaries, films and video installations. The The also launched 'Radio Cineola' in January 2010, a monthly broadcast from their official web site featuring previews of upcoming releases, works in progress, chats with collaborators and from the vault, previously unheard material. The shows are presented by Johnson and other guests.

During The The's more prolific period of releases, from Soul Mining (1983) to Dusk (1992), most artwork used on the albums and single releases was produced by Johnson's brother Andrew Johnson, using the pseudonym Andy Dog. The artwork has a distinctive style, and sometimes courted controversy, most notably the initial release of the 1986 single "Infected" which featured a masturbating devil and was withdrawn from sale and re-issued with an edited version of the same drawing.

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

Infected was The The's second album, it's reputed that the album used 67 different musicians and 3 producers. The money lavished on it and its companion full-length video seemed at the time to be extravagant for an obscure band, but Epic must have still been prepared to take a risk at the time.
Many of the tracks carried on with Johnson's main topics of his feeling of alienation from society as all whole and the melancholy that this generates in young males. However around this time Johnson was becoming aware of "World Issues" or the culture clash between the West and Islam. The song "Sweet Bird of Truth" is about a pilot trying to save his plane whilst flying over Arabia and was released just prior to the Reagan Libyan bombings which affected sales when record shops refused to promote it.

The The - Infected  (flac 421mb)

01 Infected 4:30
02 Out Of The Blue (Into The Fire) 5:11
03 Heartland 5:06
04 Angels Of Deception 4:38
05 Sweet Bird Of Truth 5:04
06 Slow Train To Dawn 4:14
07 Twilight Of A Champion 4:22
08 The Mercy Beat 7:23

09 Infected (12" Version) 6:12
10 Sweet Bird Of Truth (12" Version) 7:37
11 Slow Train To Dawn (12" Version) 6:35

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

For this album, instead of recording with numerous session musicians as he did previously, Matt Johnson assembled a genuine band behind him to play the bulk of the instrumentation (additional flourishes were nevertheless provided by sessioneers, most notably keyboard player Wix). Instead of the darkly polished dance-pop styling of earlier albums Soul Mining and Infected, Mind Bomb opens up the music to reveal a slow, winding textured world of sound, thanks in no small means to ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Lyrical subjects include politics, religion, and romance. The band would also play a world tour and record a follow-up, Dusk.

Still, Mind Bomb is still very much Matt Johnson's record. His mug hogs the album cover, his maniacal whisper is ubiquitous, and he wrote all of the songs except the best one, "Gravitate to Me," which he wrote with Marr. "Gravitate" is aggressive, not didactic, but left to himself, Johnson can get pretty preachy. in the end it's serious, dance-influenced rock of the highest order.

The The - Mindbomb ( 304mb)

01 Good Morning Beautiful 7:31
02 Armageddon Days (Are Here Again) 5:40
03 The Violence Of Truth 5:40
04 Kingdom Of Rain 5:53
05 The Beat(en) Generation 3:08
06 August & September 5:45
07 Gravitate To Me 8:09
08 Beyond Love 4:22

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

As the follow-up to the much acclaimed Mind Bomb, Dusk, found Matt Johnson (and his varying crew of marauders) carving one of his most accomplished products to date. Dusk leaves behind the infected dance beats that served as the framework for many of his previous albums and replaces them with steamy acoustic-based rhythms that shimmer, while the guitar work of Johnny Marr adds a touch of otherworldliness, without which the record would have been left to stand alone on its strange blend of honky tonk gospel pop.

Johnson's songs seem to be mostly uplifting tromps through standard subjects ranging from love to happiness to helpfulness. As quality reigns through these songs, the tempo can become overbearing. In the end, the songs and the major concept of the album are not so much rooted in the joy of love, but in the approaching darkness of loneliness and seclusion just around the corner.

The The - Dusk ( 237mb)

01 True Happiness This Way Lies 3:09
02 Love Is Stronger Than Death 4:38
03 Dogs Of Lust 3:09
04 This Is The Night 3:50
05 Slow Emotion Replay 3:55
06 Helpline Operator 4:48
07 Sodium Light Baby 3:45
08 Lung Shadows 4:34
09 Bluer Than Midnight 3:43
10 Lonely Planet 5:27

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx

previously elsewhere on this blog (Rhotation Eight-X 03, deletedpage )

The The - Soul Mining (30th Ann Deluxe Ed) (flac 470mb)

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx


djbethell said...

Gawd Bless ya'! This is a beautiful find as I no longer have a record or cassette player.
Brilliant stuff. Thanks,
D x

Ed said...

Looking for Giant!!
Loving the blog, as always

Ed Dupuis said...

Re-Up please

Thanks a lot

Kenny said...

Sorry, sir, but Soul Mining is missing track 8 Perfect.

Rho said...

Hello Kenny no it isn't, i thought of adding it. Originally Perfect is an addition and Matt didn't particularly like the fact that it was added to the album as he felt it should end with Giant. He took the chance to have it removed at the 2002 and 2014 remaster, there it ended up on the bonus disc...

Anonymous said...

Might I request a repost of Soul Mining? No worries if it is long since gone -- your blog is such a treasure house, I could close my eyes and bump into glories! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho. Please could you re-up this set (The The)?