A nasty/under appreciated gem from David Bowie's Berlin period, "Beauty and The Beast" is sheer perfection/pure malice in musical form. Ominous squibs of sound coalesce around an almost crocodilian groove and Robert Fripp's hissing, poisonous guitar line. Then Bowie makes one his most memorable vocal entrances with a sound somewhere between a croon and a scream. Things just get nastier from there - David playing the hipster, killer android on the lead vocal, while the backgrounds get all down and dirty on chorus. Then, as if he's suddenly come his senses after committing some atrocious act, Bowie howls over the break: "I want you to believe me!/I wanted to be good!/I wanted no distractions!/Like every good boy should!" - before sliding back into the sociopathic sleekness of the last verse. The genius of the tune is that it suggests all manner of violence/bad shit without actually describing any act of mayhem. Therefore the imagination runs riot. A brilliant/evil track.
This is a great song to listen to on days when nothing seems to be going right. In my case: when driving my blind sister around in a delapidated taxi, with broken windows, and a gas meter on empty. The best line in my opinion is: "Blind or crippled, Sharp or dull. I'm reading the Bible by a 40 watt bulb. What price freedom. Dirt is my rug.
Well I sleep like a baby with the snakes and the bugs". I love this track! Keith Richards played lead guitar and sings backing vox on this one. Their voices/styles mesh together very well. It's one of the more bluesy tracks on the record, but it's done very well...not like a lame neo-white boy blues revival thing. It's actually believable...after all, IT'S TOM WAITS FOR CHRIST SAKE! I think this is one of the more powerful songs on the record. Well...maybe a toss-up between this one and "Chocolate Jesus"...or "Hold on"...or "Get Behind the Mule" (you can't beat the lyric: "Punctuated birds on the power line. In a Studebaker with the Birdie Joe Joaks. I'm diggin all the way to China with a silver spoon, while the hangman fumbles with the noose..."). Hell...it's just a damn good record.
Back in the mid 90's, my booty was real far into the UK underground indie scene. For a short time, I was buying virtually all the 45's from a small coterie of labels and, of course, making sure I kept the inserts intact.
The Slampt Underground Organisation were, for a time, the UK's most uncompromisingly independent label. Their hearts were in the right place and their principles tight - against 'selling out', and for 'making music in your bedroom'. There was a real affinity with the riot grrrl / Olympia scene in the US, and Slampt had a way of looking at things not unlike Calvin Johnson and K records.
Avocado Baby were Pete and Rachel, the founders and organisers of Slampt. They released a handful of tapes and 45s on their own and other tiny record labels.
Steal Yo Sixes is about playing ludo. It's pretty daft, and the lowest lo-fi imaginable with a toy horn, xylophone and tape hiss being the only instruments. Still, it has an undeniable childlike charm, and due to its obscurity and short length, makes perfect mix tape / CD-r fodder.
There a line, "When we play ludo, why do I always lose-o?" that gets across the feel perfectly.