FROM THE SOUTH WEST CORRESPONDENT…..

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Hi JC.

Wondered if you might be interested in this at all….

From the South West correspondent – Whats in Your Box (with thanks (and apologies) to Across the Kitchen Table)

I’ve just had a recent trip home to Kent and as I was leaving my old dad said to me – as you are here you may as well take that box with you. What box I said. That one over there its full of your old cd’s you left it here in 1998. 1998! Sweet Jesus.

So I thought what’s in here then and started to unpick the Sellotape. But then I stopped, what if I did this completely at random – I have no idea what’s inside here – pull out one CD at a time and review it……and send it to the Vinyl Villain

So today I pulled the first CD out. …

It was….

Built To Spill ‘Car’ – A single from 1995.

Which isn’t that bad a start to be honest although I dread to think what else may be inside here. Built To Spill were according to Wikipedia formed in 1992 by Doug Martsch, Brett Nelson and Ralf Youtz. Martsch was the leader of the band and said that he would change the line up of the band for each album they make. Which adds him to my growing list of Rock stars who think that they genocidial dictators. Sadly I don’t think he was good to his word as in 2013 – Brett Nelson is still with the band. No idea what happened to Ralf Youtz though.

The song appears on the City Slang Album ‘There’s Nothing Wrong with Love’ which was released in 1994 and like a lot of America Indie rock from that time it sounds a bit like Pavement, a bit like Sonic Youth and a bit like Dinosaur Jr, or maybe that’s just my lazy thoughts, although Martsch does site Dinosaur Jr, Pavement and Camper van Beethoven as strong influences. Modern bands such as the Strokes and the god awful Death Cab for Cutie list Built To Spill and as influence to them. But don’t let that put you off. Matt Groening inventor of the watchable cartoon loves them and that’s a good thing.

So the first CD, relatively well known American lo fi indie act – if I remember myself from 1998 correctly I would have boxed up my CDs in alphabetical order (we all do it, stop guffawing) – so anyone want to guess what might be up next….

JC – I’ll do the next CD next week. Let me know if you want me to continue.

As ever

SF

Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m intrigued by what else might well be in this particular box.  This was something completely new to me and SF is spot on with the description of it being atypical mid-90s American indie rock but that’s not necessarily a  bad thing.   Keep em coming SF.

mp3 : Built To Spill – Car

Enjoy

RECALLING THE EXCELLENT DEBUT SINGLE (Part 1)

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I’ve always, over the years, tried to come up with some new ideas for a series of postings.  Here’s another one which might take off…..

It’s usually the case that debut singles are among the best songs that any singer or band will release over the course of their career, whether that is one over in the blink of an eye or one which carries on for decades.  I thought it night be nice to share some of these with you.

I’m starting off with something from one of the finest combos to ever come out of the Irish city of Cork.

mp3 : The Frank and Walters – Fashion Crisis Hits New York

Originally released on Setanta Records in their native land, the song picked up a bit of airplay here in the UK.  My initial exposure came via its inclusion in one of the many compilation tapes put together for my in the early 90s by Jacques the Kipper.  I tracked down a CD version of it and fell in love, not just with the single, but the other tracks on the disc.

To my great delight, Mrs V also fell for the charms of The Frank and Walters and we soon got along to see them play live at small venues in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The support act was an up and coming English mob who called themselves Radiohead,  Then we got to see Frank & Walters play larger venues as they toured in support of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine.

The live shows got them excellent press and before long they had inked a deal with Go Disc! Working with producers as talented as Edwyn Collins and Ian Broudie, great efforts were made to turn them into a chart band, and eventually in December 1992 these bore fruit when After All hit #11 in the UK charts. Sadly, that was it as far as fame went.  A re-mix of the debut single narrowly missed the Top 40 in early 1993 after which the band disappeared from view for three years.  By the time they returned, the fan base had moved on.

There’s been a lot of excellent material released by the Frank and Walters – six LPs and countless singles in all – but I’m not sure if anything has ever bettered the debut.

Here’s the other tracks on the initial CD which are very much a sound of what was indie-pop in the UK around the time that grunge was taking hold….I remain very fond of the song Angela Cray.

mp3 : The Frank and Walters – Rasputin

mp3 : The Frank and Walters – Daisy Chain

mp3 : The Frank and Walters – Angela Cray

Enjoy.

RETURN OF THE HACK

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It’s been almost four weeks since I sat in this chair in front of the keyboard and thought about this blog.  All the recent posts were composed in a frenzy of energy before I went on holiday and put into a daily schedule.  I’ve been back from Canada for well over a week but left so exhausted/jet-lagged by the trip, not to mention feeling rundown from having a chest infection that won’t shift, that I haven’t had the energy to get my brain in gear.

I’d love to spend ages boring you rigid with the events of the past two weeks – after all you should have to suffer the same way my colleagues at work have heard over and over again about my adventures in Toronto and slightly further afield, but I will resist that self-indulgent temptation.  For now anyway.

Instead let me share with you something two things that have annoyed me in recent days.

It’s now been the best part of six weeks since the original TVV met its demise at the hands of blogger.  Thanks to advice from a number of readers I have been able to access some of the material in an indirect way which is why I’m able to fill the new place with inane ramblings from the old place.

One of the things that often accompanied a dmca notice was a notice being served on the place where I pay a monthly subscription to host my files (box.com) saying I was breaching copyright.  Box, without failure, always immediately deleted the ‘offending’ file.  The thing about many of these dmca notices was they were in respect of posts that were week, months and in some cases years old with the links having often been long removed so I wasn’t all that bothered that the box file was ever deleted.

With TVV having gone forever I thought that, unless a dmca was served in respect of stuff at T(n)VV then my box files were safe.  But I came back from Canada to find four separate e-mails from box advising that they had received notices about breached copyright.  But with none of the songs being available via a link I’m bemused as to how someone could serve such a notice…unless off course it’s the fact that summaries of the old posts with the tracks featured can be found over at Hype Machine and the continued appearance on those pages is causing offence.

And it’s worth mentioning that in three of the four emails from box, I was informed that the files removed were in relation to around ten different songs by Belle & Sebastian (the other was an obscure b-side by Echo & The Bunnymen).  Any of you other bloggers had similar experiences??

The other annoying thing?  It’s probably saddened me more than anything now I’ve had time to reflect on it.

I was initially excited by the news that High Land Hard Rain, one of my favourite LPs of all time, was going to be performed by Roddy Frame at a special show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 4 December.  It is one of just three specially arranged shows which will mark 30 years since the LP was released.  The one fly in the ointment was that the date coincided with a planned week’s holiday with Mrs Villain but with nothing having been booked I was going to ask her to look at either going out early or delaying by a few days so that I could go to the show.

Until I saw how much I would have to pay for a decent seat – £45 plus booking fee.

This is just greed on the part of all involved and I’m sorry to say that I can’t absolve Roddy from blame.  If he was going out on tour with a new record there is no way as an artist whose hit-making days are behind him would go dare dream of asking for more than maybe £20.  I’m sure that as a sop to his fans such a gig would include a handful of tracks from the LP for which he is most fondly regarded by most.  £45 is just too rich for my tastes…and I know I’m not alone as there’s a couple of other long-time fans who equally have shied away from the gig.

I’m sad because this marks the first time in my life when I have put the cost of a gig before the value of the experience of being there.  It’s not that I can’t afford the ticket – and even if I was that skint I’d save the money by not doing something else such as miss out on a couple of football matches.

It’s the plain and simple fact that I’m not having my fandom and dedication taken for granted.  I’ve seen Roddy Frame play live many times over the years and I’ve always enjoyed it.  I’ve bought all the records/CDs over the years and  I even got a an overpriced but attractive t-shirt the last time I caught him in Glasgow (it’s a bad habit of mine but when I really enjoy a gig I do buy something to commemorate it such as a t-shirt or tour edition CD).

But this time I’m giving it a miss. Right now I have no regrets.  But just to make sure I will be taking that holiday so I’m out of the country on the night of the gig.

It’s good to be back dear friends.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The Boy Done Wrong Again

mp3 : Roddy Frame – The Boy Wonders (live at Ronnie Scott’s, 2005)

Enjoy.