BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : ROUND 2 (Part 2)

Without any question, Dirk’s match report wins comment of the week. Probably wins comment of the year….

Back from a short trip to the Dutch coast in order to escape the Carnival season that started in my area last week. I guess I’m too old by now to wear false tits or something along those lines for four days in a row and drink way too much, that’s why we chose to go away and boycott the carnival by and large. So, a bit belated, but here you are, JC.

SBTRKT v The Fall: well, a most dull game, it must be said. It’s not easy to tell which team was the most boring one to watch, both performances jangled my nerves mightily because of whatever the noun for ‘repetitive’ might possibly be. The Fall though were a little bit less repetitive than SBTRKT, but just a tad. That’s why they won in the very last second. As Johan Cruyff said about this match: “Football is a game of mistakes. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins.”

Kitchens of Distinction v Talking Heads: much (!) more my kind of a game, this! Both teams were great and Kitchens were brilliant up to the last minute. Still ‘Artists Only’ has always been one my favorites by Talking Heads, so that’s why they succeeded in the end. But it was close! Arsene Wenger was right when he commented above game as thus: “Football is an art, like dancing is an art – but only when it’s well done does it become an art.”

Sonic Youth v Edwyn Collins: an easy score for Sonic Youth, because they entered the pitch with one of the best line-ups they could possibly have chosen. Poor old Edwyn failed here, it must be said! Perhaps he should’ve remembered Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s words: “If you are too nice, you will just get eaten alive. The football world is not always a nice place.”

The Velvet Underground v Talk Talk: as with the first game in this round, this one was rather bitter and not a great joy to watch! At the end of the day though the Velvet Underground won by following Gary Neville’s advice: “With good coaching, proper motivation and the right club structure with organic growth, you can achieve an awful lot in football.”

But did he get all four predictions spot on??  Not quite…….

SBTRKT 3 The Fall(3) 33
Kitchens of Distinction 18 Talking Heads 22
Sonic Youth 9 Edwyn Collins 30
The Velvet Underground 25 Talk Talk 14

KoD made a fist of things in the second half but ran out of time before being able to completely close the gap.  The other three were never in doubt from early doors and I’ll be the first to admit that things weren’t exactly mouth-watering or tense in the same way as many of those that were drawn out in Round 1, but I think this week more than makes up for it.

Matches 5-8 of Round 2

New Order (3) v The Go-Betweens (2)

Both sides were expected to reach at least the last eight of the tournament but it’s just not to be. New Order took no chances in Round 1, fielding Blue Monday in what proved to be a surprisingly one-sided triumph over LCD Soundsystem, a move that some commentators feel may come back to haunt them in later stages. The Aussies also had to play hard to see off The Woodentops, and they took a bit of a risk on using The Wrong Road, one of their album tracks rather than a classic 45, although it does give them better options for this immense match-up.

Here’s the very crucial coin toss and roll of the dice.

Football.  Bloody Hell.

Vanishing Point (from Technique, 1989) v Was There Anything I Could Do? (from 16 Lovers Lane, 1988)

The Charlatans v Carter USM

The Charlatans took a really laid back approach last time round, fielding a live and acoustic version of The Only One I Know, which might have been enough to defeat the cult of The Mekons but a similarly low-key performance this time round would certainly spell danger no matter the opponents, never mind the deadly South London duo.  The same applies to Carter USM who used up a lesser-known b-side in Re-Educating Rita to see off the countrified challenge of Dwight Yaokam.

If either is serious about getting into the final 32, they will surely need to offer up songs in this round that will appeal beyond the immediate fanbase.

Coin…..Dice….oh my!!  It’s fair to say these most certainly do that…from their wonderful and distinct introductions right through to the last notes.

Weirdo (from Between 10th And 11th, 1992) v Bloodsport For All (from 30 Something, 1991)

The Lightning Seeds v Big Audio Dynamite

Another all-English tie that comes under the heading of intriguing. The Lightning Seeds used up a hit single last time out, but it was a cover in You Showed Me which proved adequate to provide them with an easy win over Gemma Ray. Big Audio Dynamite used one of their strongest efforts in the shape of E=MC2, which enabled them to thump The Streets by 32-9 in a tie that, on paper, appeared to be one which would be a close call.

Before the songs for this round came out, the bookies had this one as a potential draw. Afterwards….they remain of the same opinion.

Pure (from Cloudcuckooland, 1990) v Medicine Show (from This Is Big Audio Dynamite, 1985)

The Cramps v Saint Etienne

Filth v Finesse.
Raw post-punk v dance-chic.
Poison Ivy v Sarah Cracknell.
Lux Interior v Bob Stanley.
Dirk v The Robster.

The contrasts in this one are a complete joy to behold. One of those ties that you really want both to go through, but sadly there can only be one winner.

Both were expected winners in Round 1 and so it proved, each racking up more than 28 points – The Cramps fielded I Wanna Get In Your Pants to defeat Shit Robot while How We Used to Live saw off the challenge of The Sugarplastic.

Might be different this time, but it could well be that one of them racks up a high score again.

What’s Inside A Girl (from A Date With Elvis, 1986) v He’s On The Phone (single, 1995)

 

Please have your votes in by midnight on Friday 23 February….as ever, you don’t have to vote in all of the ties.

Tune in next Saturday for matches 9-12.

JC

 

SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter Nine)

A GUEST POSTING by FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

Hi Jim

Loving the above occasional series. I am a bit obsessed by a song’s lyrics. Some of my favourite songwriters can turnout an amazing phrase or concept but for me the skill of a song as a short story is where every word earns its place and not a phrase is wasted for the sake of scanning,

The examples you have shared so far all stand on their own two feet on the printed page.

Loads to choose from but gone for this , part character study and part story. Put out of your mind National Express and the arched eyebrow . I hesitate as wondered if a short story song could have a chorus and then realised that was giving this way too much thought.

The thing I love about this is that take out any line and the whole is diminished. The subtle changes in the chorus all add to the picture and only in a couple of places is the phrasing slightly forced. The only place where the words alone don’t quite have the full impact is that they miss the sadness of the way Neil Hannon sings the final “No , you couldn’t be”. Kind of a upper class sister song to Labelled with Love

David (Friend of Rachel Worth)

Lady of a Certain Age

Back in the day you had been part of the smart set
You’d holidayed with kings, dined out with starlets
From London to New York, Cap Ferrat to Capri
In perfume by Chanel and clothes by Givenchy
You sipped camparis with David and Peter
At Noel’s parties by Lake Geneva
Scaling the dizzy heights of high society
Armed only with a cheque-book and a family tree

You chased the sun around the Cote d’Azur
Until the light of youth became obscured
And left you on your own and in the shade
An English lady of a certain age
And if a nice young man would buy you a drink
You’d say with a conspiratorial wink
“You wouldn’t think that I was seventy”
And he’d say, “no, you couldn’t be!”

You had to marry someone very very rich
So that you might be kept in the style to which
You had all of your life been accustomed to
But that the socialists had taxed away from you
You gave him children, a girl and a boy
To keep your sanity a nanny was employed
And when the time came they were sent away
Well that was simply what you did in those days

You chased the sun around the Cote d’Azur
Until the light of youth became obscured
And left you on your own and in the shade
An English lady of a certain age
And if a nice young man would buy you a drink
You’d say with a conspiratorial wink
“You wouldn’t think that I was sixty three”
And he’d say, “no, you couldn’t be!”

Your son’s in stocks and bonds and lives back in Surrey
Flies down once in a while and leaves in a hurry
Your daughter never finished her finishing school
Married a strange young man of whom you don’t approve
Your husband’s hollow heart gave out one Christmas Day
He left the villa to his mistress in Marseilles
And so you come here to escape your little flat
Hoping someone will fill your glass and let you chat about how

You chased the sun around the Cote d’Azur
Until the light of youth became obscured
And left you all alone and in the shade
An English lady of a certain age
And if a nice young man would buy you a drink
You’d say with a conspiratorial wink
“You wouldn’t think that I was fifty three”
And he’d say, “no, you couldn’t be!”

mp3 : The Divine Comedy – Lady of a Certain Age

FoRW

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #155 : THE TRIFFIDS

A GUEST POSTING by THE SWEDE

I don’t remember exactly how many times I saw The Triffids live, around fifteen I’d guess, but I do know that the first time was in a sparsely populated, subterranean, Romford night-club in 1984. Also in attendance that night was early champion John Peel. By 1989 I’d seen them headline prestigious London venues such as The ICA, The Town & Country Club and both The Shaw and Dominion Theatres. The world, it seemed, was their oyster, but despite critical praise and a devoted fanbase, the mass sales, required by major label Island, never materialised and the band drifted back to their native Australia, then drifted apart.

In May 1994 David McComb returned to the UK to play a handful of shows in support of his only solo album, ‘Love of Will’. I caught McComb, accompanied by his band The Red Ponies (featuring a pre-Bad Seeds Warren Ellis on psychedelic fiddle), in a cramped and sweaty Borderline, where they played a blistering set, comprising tracks from the solo album, classic Triffids material and well chosen covers from the likes of The Velvet Underground, Ray Charles, The Beatles and Prince.

It’s almost too heartbreaking to dwell on David McComb’s subsequent fate for too long. After undergoing a heart transplant at the age of 33, his final three years were spent plagued by ill health and personal demons. He recorded more music, but much of this remains officially unreleased. David died on February 2nd 1999, two weeks short of his 37th birthday. Gone, but never forgotten. (JC adds – this ICA has been timed to coincide with David’s birthday – he would have turned 56 tomorrow)

The Triffids left a towering body of work and selecting just ten pieces from it for this compilation has been a painful task. I’ve attempted to showcase the band’s versatility, from the snappy pop of ‘Beautiful Waste’ and ‘Trick of the Light’ through to ‘Lonely Stretch’ and ‘Stolen Property’, altogether darker offerings that often became even more intense in concert. I’ve also tried to make it a damned good listen. I hope you enjoy it.

1 Trick of the Light (Calenture 1987)
2 Red Pony (Treeless Plain 1983)
3 Bright Lights Big City (BBC Session 1985)
4 Jesus Calling (Raining Pleasure 1984)
5 Lonely Stretch (Born Sandy Devotional 1986)

6 Stolen Property (Born Sandy Devotional 1986)
7 Beautiful Waste (7″single, 1984)
8 Falling Over You (The Black Swan 1989)
9 Hell of a Summer (Treeless Plain 1983)
10 Monkey On My Back (BBC Session 1985)

THE SWEDE

LOVE SONG

Happy Valentine’s Day.

It is damn near impossible to get across the effect that the above sleeve had on me as a 15-year old. Let’s just say that it went a long way to confirming that I was a heterosexual with longings for peroxide blondes.

Picture This is that very rare thing – a post-punk/new wave love song. And oh how I wished I could be part of Debbie’s finest hour….in fact I’d willingly have settled for 30 seconds.

mp3 : Blondie – Picture This

This is the 45 that was used as the precursor for the album Parallel Lines. Its b-side was a rather mournful sounding number that would also find its way on to the album

mp3 : Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate

As I’ve said in other posts, slow songs and ballads were not my forte back in the late 70s and I wasn’t all that keen on the b-side as it was nothing like new wave, more dull plod-rock. I’ve, however, grown to like it over the years and now appreciate it as an example of Blondie working hard not to be pigeon-holed into one particular genre. But it wouldn’t make an ICA…..

Oh and one more thing….. who said it is near impossible to look stunning in yellow?

JC

HALF TIME SCORES

SBTRKT 2 v The Fall (3) 20
Kitchens of Distinction 9 v Talking Heads 15
Sonic Youth 5 v Edwyn Collins 19
The Velvet Underground 15 v Talk Talk 9

(as at 11 pm on Monday 12 Feb)

Fewer goals scored in the first half this week….has the competition lost its shine already??

Worth mentioning also that nobody has yet, in any of the previous ties, been able to turn round a half-time defecit.  The whistle went a little bit early this week as I couldn’t have the post interfering with a Valentine’s Day special, so maybe history can be made.  But somehow I don’t see SBTRKT creating it. Or indeed any of the others….nobody has yet turned round a five-goal defecit (although the Fannies came mighty close last week)

One other thing….I’m dispensing with the banging pop tunes normally played at half-time  – something that should go down well with Swiss Adam among others.  Instead, you’ll be treated to something from the ICA of a singer or band knocked out in the last round by one of the eight sides competing so you can realise what your previous voting patterns have deprived the tournament of:-

mp3 : Associates – Party Fears Two

Remember….if you haven’t voted yet this week, you have until 10pm this coming Friday.

JC

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG (on a Monday): #112 : GENEVA

From wiki:-

Geneva were formed in 1992 by vocalist Andrew Montgomery and guitarist Steven Dora. They recruited second guitarist Stuart Evans, bass player Keith Graham and finally drummer Craig Brown. Craig was later replaced by Douglas Caskie.

One of their demos found their way to Nude Records who signed the band in 1996. and released their debut single “No One Speaks” the same year. The band garnered enough press to headline NME’s annual Bratbus tour of up and coming bands in early 1997. The band released second single “Into the Blue” to coincide with the tour.

Geneva released their debut album, Further, early in June 1997. The album mixed power pop with darker brooding songs. It reached No. 20 in the UK Albums Chart, and included further singles “Tranquilizer” and “Best Regrets”.

The second album, Weather Underground, was released in March 2000, after more than a year of wrangling with the band’s record label. It was preceded by the single “Dollars in the Heavens” (which only made the UK Top 60) and followed by the single “If You Have To Go”. The band split later that year.

The band were often lumped in with labelmates Suede and other contemporaries such as Gene and Strangelove. I previously featured the excellent debut single and so this time round I’ve gone for one of the others:-

mp3 : Geneva – Tranquilizer

One listen and you’ll see why the comparisons mentioned above were made.

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 18)

I’m being lazy this week and re-hashing an old post from January 2016 which I entitled

‘When John Denver went to Ibiza.’

My effort come up with an ICA for New Order in June 2015 placed Run as the final track on Side A when I said:-

Run is one of the most outstanding songs on the album and rather bravely the band went for an edited single release in due course in which about 45 seconds are chopped off and by editing down the dreamy instrumental finish to the song and replacing it with more of the re-recorded vocal with Barney’s voice given more prominence than the original mix. It’s a decent enough mix and does a job of giving us enough changes to think of it as a new song altogether but it’s not a patch on the original.

The remix was in fact worked on alongside Scott Litt who at tht point in time was known for having worked on couple of LPs by R.E.M. The fact that he would also work on the multi-million sellers Out Of Time and Automatic For The People albums in the 90s and become one of the most talked about producers of that era was all in the future…..

Run 2 is really quite a different version. To expand on what I said in the ICA piece, the long instrumental section at the end of the original is replaced by a repeat of the chorus while there’s also greater prominence given to Bernard’s vocal and guitar and Hooky’s bass lines in an effort to make it more appealing to radio stations. Despite this, Factory Records didn’t press up all that many copies and it wasn’t the easiest thing to find in the shops.

The record, which was released only on 12″ vinyl which played at 33 1/3 rpm, stalled at #49 in the UK charts which was the poorest showing by a New Order single in a long while. But this where the fun really started…..

After the release, John Denver (or more accurately John Denver’s lawyers) sued the group, claiming that Run 2, in particular the instrumental part, sounded too similar to his hit Leaving On A Jet Plane. The case was settled out of court, and as a result the single in it’s remixed form was, for a very long time, out of print save the original few thousand copies made available in 1989.

As a result, Run 2 was a bit of music much sought after by fans, especially outside the UK (it was never made available at all overseas). There was much anticipation when Run 2 was listed on the track lists of compilation LPs released in 1994 and 2005, but in fact it was always the original version from Technique that was included.

But finally in 2008, a deluxe edition of Technique was released that included the extended mixes of Run 2 and the track MTO that had been on the b-side of the 12″. But even now, the regular mix of Run 2 and minus mix of MTO a are otherwise unavailable.

Unless someone rips them from vinyl:-

mp3 : New Order – Run 2
mp3 : New Order – Run 2 (extended mix)
mp3 : New Order – MTO
mp3 : New Order – MTO (minus mix)

Oh and nowadays, the credits for all newly released versions of Run are attributed to Sumner, Hook, Morris, Gilbert and Denver.

PS: Here’s the album version.

mp3 : New Order – Run

JC