New Release-Free!-for limited time

Hello Shindiggers, have you downloaded Berkoff Give Me Something yet? It is a free download from our website, with White Plastic Moccasins, a track from England's Dreaming Spires also currently up as a complimentary download. I was keen not to put an inferior track as a free download, so we are doing 2 of my best songs. Hope you enjoy them, and spread them around. Berkoff is under a BBC ban, also we may be charging for it in future so don't miss out on the free download.

For newcomers, Village Green Machine is the name I , Mark Lemon, use. I record all the instruments on Village Green Machine songs. I record every week, there's more stuff coming out next year. In the meantime, I hope you find England's Dreaming Spires a really rewarding enjoyable album. The CD and mp3s are available from the website and downloads from ITunes and most major sites. Look out for more complimentary downloads in the future.

The Shangri_Las

and The Hollies

I always try to get 60's sounds, and always try to be experimental, so I call the music retro experimental. EDS is influenced by a lot of British and American pop, there are shades of Shangri-Las and The Four Seasons, The Hollies, The Searchers, as well as the supposedly hipper Kinks, Stones Beatles and Syd Barret's Pink Floyd. I like all that and many more, including ofcourse the Tamla stuff, northern soul in general, and the grittier r&b of Stax.

Probably like a lot of people reading this, I prefer to look backwards for music rather than worry too much about what is happening now. I mean, if 2009 were full of great stuff I'd listen, but like you I am really pissed off with most of the modern stuff. Its great there is a good retro underground scene, and inevitable that people like myself will want to make new music inspired by it.

I set out to make great records, as I call them. If you like EDS I can tell you the recordings done since are up to scratch. But we don't want to flood the market, and are in the process of producing, and working through the material to put together LP 2.

I am keen to play live, I know great musicians who can play the stuff really well but I am waiting for the right time to do it.

OK thats the really important stuff, now I am going to relax and unwind with a few more thoughts. PS a few thousand more thoughts!

Last week I was talking about 80s music, which we generally agree was not a great time. But actually, there were plenty of rebels back then, who didn't want to churn out horrid angular sounds for mass consumption. DJ Treblebooster mentioned in response to my last blog Terry Hall with Colorfield- has anyone got an album by them or Funboy 3, perhaps they were good? Lloyd Cole, I was and still am a fan. The Beat, a great first album although the second was marred by over ambition in my opinion. Madness, my respect for them increases as time goes by. Dexys, plainly were a serious deal with the great talent they displayed. PS It was the mainstream stuff which I think often stank. And by '87, it was getting pretty disgusting, and when I think of the amount of money those people were earning, while I have been, well never mind.

The Smiths

The Smiths were and are my favourite 80s band by a long way. I just bought The Queen Is Dead, Morrissey never mentioned which Queen he meant. Of course I had the vinyl years back, but I just bought a CD. To me now it sounds like 80s art music, production wise. But the songs are great, mostly. And, Meat Is Murder, I bought this too and I think these were their best records generally. What struck me on my renewed acquaintance with these sounds is the sincere quality in Morrissey's voice- they were of course dazzling alternative pop stars, very self assured, and flying in the face of everything with a lot of style. They had a charismatic young frontman, unique, urbane, a gifted poetic lyricist and melody writer. Still inspiring love and derision in equal measure it seems. Linked symbiotically of course to Johnny Marr who really was only a lad, with the most prodigious guitar playing talent imaginable. There he was with his weird Davy Graham? tunings and very original creative ideas, with his store of great influences, an absolute dazzling prodigy. Johnny played the coolest guitars, had the best hair, and wore some great clothes, he was artistically original, and it seems this is the stuff of the great pop band, and they were a great band I think. I believe they were beset by many problems. Morrissey of course ran foul of one of the parents of a Moors murder victim for writing about it. Predictably the right wing tabloid press hated them, no wonder considering Morrisseys outburst about the queen mother. M was into the 50s in a big way, with his James Dean /Elvis inspired hair, a rockabilly sensibility was never far away. PS I will confide God am I really going to admit this, yes I am, that, Morrissey and I share a vocal tutor, in as much as I do the Italian operatic exercises Morrissey must have learnt with Tona De Brett. Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke provided a solid backdrop for Johnny's adventures, indeed the band jelled in an amazing way and something about them convinces me to this day that they were THE band, not just of the mid 80s but one of the best ever. They were extremely British, and interestingly were working class and bohemian, and I think this is where many really connected with them. Working class, bohemian, intelligent, dissatisfied with mainstream culture- is this you? In a lot of ways its me, I must say. I'm not saying I'm intelligent, but the other points yes that's me. Also there was a political element in The Smiths. It kind of goes without saying they were anti establishment. This tied in perfectly with the rebellious 80s youth. I have to say I was growing up alongside the emergence of The Smiths, and by about '87 I think they were one of the most important things in my life. I felt very alienated from the yuppie thing, I was a deep kid and there was a sort of showy vulgarity and shallowness going on. In retrospect I now think, working class people had every right to improve their situation, and I must confess to a certain intrigue now with the aesthetics at least of the 'establishment'. But back then I was a full on rebel. Politics was so polarised, the right were absolutely organised and firmly in power, while the left wing it seemed all died their hair green, espousing ideas which were then eccentric but which now are probably firmly entrenched in conservative policy! Ominously, it was the real start of the popularisation of the new age movement. That was one horror the old establishment could not be accused of harbouring. Which brings me to my next point, which is that I think we now have a swing from the far left, in other words ideas which were radical in the eighties are now pretty much mainstream. One of my nephews tells me the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Is he right? I know this is supposed to be a music blog but this is so interesting, please do comment I hate living in an ivory tower. Would you be happy to fly in a plane piloted by someone who had done a load of acid? That, you know, is what is happening in British society.

Arthur Lee

A while before the great Arthur Lee passed away, he visited the House Of commons and was photographed with a number of (I think all) Labour MPs. Which kind of proves what we already knew, that the 1960s/70s intellectuals with their acid, pot and pot pourri of heady radicalism were filtered through into high level politics.
I mean, I've been around, but I'm making pop records not trying to run a country. My worst fear is that liberalism contains the seeds of its own destruction.
Anything goes man,... yeah right can you see where we're going?
Pop music remains an important part of our culture as a blessed anodyne. Long may that be so....oh and God bless The Ramones and The Left Banke

Mark Lemon

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