FROM THE SOUTH WEST CORRESPONDENT…WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX (5)

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mp3 : Strangelove – Living with the Human Machines

Strangelove were one of those bands that should have but never did. Formed in 1991 they centred around singer Patrick Duff. They release three albums before splitting in 1998. This comes off their second album ‘Love and Other Demons’ and was the first single from it (and its not the best song off it – see Beautiful Alone for that – if that was released today Radio 1 would play it every twenty minutes). It peaked at Number 53. They were good mates with Radiohead and Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers. That is kind of reflected in the sound, it’s a bit like Radiohead, a bit like Suede, a bit like Gene, a bit like this and a bit like that, a lot like The Smiths.

I have very fond memories of Strangelove and Patrick Duff in particular. When this record came out I interviewed them before a gig at the London Astoria where they were supporting the wonderful Whipping Boy (hope they are in this box!) and Patrick Duff spoke openly about his problem with amphetamines and a growing thirst for vodka. He needed half a bottle before going on stage just to calm his nerves, despite the blatant alcoholism he was articulate, intelligence, and very witty. He had a habit of falling asleep through interviews which I think didn’t help him that much (or maybe, probably, I was just a terrible interviewer). I think I wrote once that if it wasn’t for the alcoholism, then their first two albums would have been masterpieces, and I maintain that view today . The gig at the Astoria was packed for Strangelove and they were tremendous (not as good as Whipping Boy, but who was?). Patrick Duff released a solo record in 2005 and it’s worthy of a listen. I’m told he lives in Devon now on the wilds of Dartmoor, I’m kind of hoping I bump into him next time I’m in Chagford.

Note from JC

I only have two Strangelove singles in my vinyl/CD  collection but what I do have is Quality with a very large capital Q…

mp3 : Strangelove – Beautiful Alone

mp3 : Strangelove – Sway

The latter is extremely lovely.  It also has a very fine cover on the b-side:-

mp3 : Strangelove – Moon River (live acoustic version)

Oh I forgot about this – a track from some compilation LP given away by a magazine back in 1994:-

mp3 : Strangelove – Time For The Rest Of Your Life

Essential listening if you’re a fan of Suede and Moz.  As the SW Correspondent says, a band that should have but never did….

Enjoy.

LAY DOWN THY RAINCOAT AND GROOOOOOVE…

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Back in the early 80s,  I spent almost every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night within the student union at Strathclyde University,  I wasn’t a fashionista – I probably had about ten different shirts to choose from (five of which were black) and maybe three pair of jeans (two of which were black). But no matter what clothes were nearest to my skin I never went anywhere without my fabulous olive-coloured raincoat that I’d persuaded my dad to give me….

The raincoat was in homage to Ian McCulloch who I thought was one of the coolest men on the planet.  He, along with his bandmates, always seemed to be photographed wearing some sort of coat although thinking back that’s probably more to do with them insisting their photoshoots take place in the likes of Iceland.

Without fail the student union ‘disco’ would feature at least one Echo & The Bunnymen song during the course of the evening and without fail it was cue for me to get up on the dancefloor and do my thing.  Sad poseur that I was, I inevitably tried to dance while wearing my raincoat.  It might have been draped over a chair or wrapped under a nearby table, but the second a Bunnymen track began to blast out, I’d race to where the coat was and put it on.  I now accept that I must had looked like a dickhead…..

Then in 1983 I saw the video to the new Bunnymen single, and wouldn’t you know it Mac was on the stage of the Albert Hall doing his thing – but without a coat. From that moment on, the raincoat never again was seen on the dancefloor….

All of this came back to me the other day when the single from 1983 came on via shuffle as I sat on a train heading to the football.  I smiled at the memories.  It was also a sharp reminder that it’s a belter of a track:-

mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – Never Stop (Discotheque)

That’s the 12″ version which I bought on vinyl at the time and still have all these years later.  The b-sides were a ifferent version of a track that had featured on the 1982 LP Porcupine as well as what I assume is an early demo-type version of what would later become a hit single:-

mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – Heads Will Roll (Summer Version)

mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – The Original Cutter

I’m very fond of Heads Will Roll, so I thought I’d also add the LP version to this posting.

mp3 : Echo & The Bunnymen – Heads Will Roll

Admit it.  It does make you want to dance.

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Parts 28-35)

Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 or more at a time from the archives..

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(28) Butcher Boy – Imperial b/w Juicy Fruit : Damaged Goods 7″ (2011)

One of my all time favourite bands.  That I was able to promote one of their gigs in Glasgow in 2011 will always be a memory to treasure.  

This is the thing they’ve ever made available on vinyl.  Still not prepared to make Juicy Fruit available on the blog as the 500 copies of the single have never sold out….

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(29) Captain America – Flame On b/w Buttermilk b/w Indian Summer : Paperhouse Records CD (1992)

Between calling themselves Captain America and ripping off the logo from a chain store, it can’t come as too much of a surprise that all sorts of injunctions soon forced changes and led to this 1992 single being deleted very very quickly. Captain America arose from the ashes of The Vaselines and sound a bit like the way Teenage Fanclub sounded in 1992.  The name was soon changed to Eugenuis which was the nickname some had given to frontman Eugene Kelly

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(30) Champion Doug Veitch  – Margarita b/w Margarita (Mix Mescales)  b/w One Black Night (remix) : Conga Records 12″ single  (1986)

Read more about Champion Doug Veitch here

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(31) Cinematics – Be In The World (demo) : Promo one-sided 7″ bought at a gig when band supported Editors : (2005)

Read more about  Cinematics here

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(32) Clare Grogan – Love Bomb (extended) b/w Love Bomb (dub) ; Love Bomb b/w I Love The Way You Beg : London Records 12 ” and 7″ singles (1987)

The ill-fated solo single that featured a few times over at the old blog…..and always with an apology.  Written and recorded with the help of Davey Henderson (ex- Fire Engines and Win (etc!!) this was a huge flope and led to an LP that was already in the can being shelved.  That more or less was the end of Clare’s musical career – tv and the stage awaited before the 21st Century phenomena of Rewind Festivals and appearances singing the old hits from the Altered Images days.

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(33) Clean George IV – First Blast Of The Trumpet Against The Monstrous Regiment Of Women b/w The Great Highland Crack Epidemic (Black Spring Recordings 2007)

As written back in 2007 when this single was first mentioned on TVV:-

Clean George IV make a kind of racket they like to call ‘pop-rock’.  Originally from Edinburgh they have been together for around a year (in various guises/lineups), have already supported Babyshambles and Clor and count Bloc Party’s singer, Kele Okereke, and drummer, Matt Tong, among their fans, as well as a veritable legion of other indie players…

They comprise of mainman/flagship George McFall and various musicians stolen from other bands. They say they are equal parts Eno, Devo, Erasure and Country (Big).

It was one of the other bloggers who alerted me to this.  Could very well have been Ed over at 17 Seconds.  Saw it in a shop soon after and bought it.

Hugely misogynist title.  Don’t take it literally……..

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(34) Close Lobsters – Going To Heaven To See If It Rains b/w Boys and Girls : Fire Records 7″ (1986)

I used to have a copy of this 7″ single but alas haven’t seen it in the collection for ages. Must have loaned it out and forgot all about it. I’m terrible for doing that with vinyl and books:- mp3 : The Close Lobsters – Going To Heaven To See If It Rains mp3 : The Close Lobsters – Boys and Girls Released in October 1986, this was the debut single. Still sounds great after all these years. Both sides of the single. Please don’t argue

Read more about Close Lobsters here.

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(35) Cocteau Twins –  Bluebeard b/w Three Swept b/w Ice-Pulse b/w Bluebeard (acoustic) : Fontana CD (1994)

Read more about Cocteau Twins here.

2013 Update

It takes about three times as long to pull out and paste pieces from the archives as it does to put a new post together thanks to the the search engine to the archives taking forever.  This particular post has been a brute.

AN INDIE BAND FROM SCOTLAND IT TOOK ME NEARLY 25 YEARS TO CATCH ONTO

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The front and back of the three-track 7″ debut single for Sarah Records by The Orchids.  Worth well over £100 if you’ve still got a half-decent copy.  Released in January 1988 and has the catalogue number of SARAH 2.

Being lazy, let me just lift from wiki:-

The Orchids are a Scottish band that achieved success with Sarah Records. Formed near Glasgow in 1986, the Orchids released a series of underground singles on the influential Sarah Records . The group’s line-up comprised James Hackett (vocals), John Scally (guitar), Chris Quinn (drums), Matthew Drummond (guitar) and James Moody (bass). Their producer, Ian Carmichael, often played keyboards on their records. The group split up in 1995, playing their final gig at the Sarah Records farewell party.

The Orchids were musically one of the most interesting Sarah bands and certainly developed far more on that label than any band except, perhaps, The Field Mice. Starting with a fairly conventional melancholy guitar pop sound on Lyceum and contemporaneous singles, they moved on to become more keyboard and sample/effects-based for their second and third albums, Unholy Soul and Striving For the Lazy Perfection, developing a more electronic sound, possibly as a result of their producer, Ian Carmichael, who was a member of dance band One Dove.

Their entire back catalogue was re-released on CD on LTM in 2005. The band had already reformed in 2004 with new bassist Ronnie Borland, and released their fourth album Good to Be a Stranger in February 2007. The album was issued on Madrid based label Siesta, with the band playing live gigs for the first time in twelve years. In 2010 the group released a fifth album, The Lost Star through Pebble Records, mixed by a returning Ian Carmichael.

A few friends over the years had mentioned The Orchids to me, but having completely missed out on them in their day, and not willing to pay the really silly money that come with any material released on Sarah Records, I never chased things up. A while back tough I stumbled across a posting about them elsewhere and that’s when I found out about the re-releases on LTM so I promptly sent off for all three of the LPs.

The great thing is that they also include the very hard to find 45s that weren’t ever made available on the original LPs meaning I’ve had almost 60 songs to learn and love.  Not surprisingly I suppose, I’m finding myself much more attracted to the earlier material – the stuff described as having a fairly conventional melancholy guitar pop sound, and have certainly fallen for the charms of SARAH2:-

mp3 : The Orchids – I’ve Got A Habit

mp3 : The Orchids – Give Me Some Peppermint Freedom

mp3 : The Orchids – Apologies

Great mention of Irn Bru in the lyric of the lead track…….

All of this leads me to announce that as of tomorrow, the Saturday Scottish single returns, with more re-posts from the old blog until I catch up with things again later this year

Enjoy

I’M GETTING SO FORGETFUL IN MY OLD AGE

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Can’t believe that I didn’t include this in the list of songs about wanking the other day:-

I’m crawling, I don’t know where to or from
The center of things from where everything stems, is not where I belong
I have the city sickness growing inside me
So this is where I ran for freedom where I may not be free

I have these hands beating with love for you
You’re not here to touch
Sent you away, what else can I do
When I need something that much?

I’m hurting, babe, in the city there’s no place for love
It’s just used to make people feel better, it’s not like us
I got this sickness as I got off the train
Now it chafes away at my heart, until nothing remains

I have these hands beating with love for you
And you’re not here to touch
Sent you away, what else can I do
When I need something that much? That much

I’m okay afterwards, afterwards lasts for minutes only
I’m okay during, you kind of fill up my mind
It’s just that, before may last forever
It’s just that, before may just fuck my mind

I have these hands beating with love for you
And you’re not here to touch
Sent you away, what else can I do
When I need something that much? That much

From 1993, one of my favourite ever songs by one of my favourite ever bands:-

mp3 : Tindersticks – City Sickness

I have to admit however that the band’s best days are behind them.  Between 1993 and 2003 Tindersticks released some astonishing bits of music via LPs, singles and soundtracks.  As a live act they were a truly special spectacle, especially when they were accompanied by an orchestra.

There was a five-year hiatus until 2008 but what has been released since then is a shadow of the past triumphs.  The departure of half of the band to has left a huge vacuum that hasn’t been filled. It’s still lovely to listen to Stuart Staples extraordinary vocal delivery but the music has been too much of a letdown.

City Sickness is a great single.  It also has a wonderful sleeve (front and back) as pictured above, Here’s the other tracks that came with it:-

mp3 : Tindersticks – Untitled

mp3 : Tindersticks – The Bullring

Enjoy

BLOWS ME AWAY EVERY SINGLE TIME

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Someone on Discogs described this 1990 single as having the voice of an avenging angel having a bad day and guitar chords like a firing squad.

I wish I could sum up songs as brilliantly as that.

The only reason this never made my 45 45s at 45 countdown all those years ago is that I missed out on it when it was originally released.  My first exposure came via an end of the year round-up on some late evening show on Radio 1.  I bought the CD single the next time I was in a shop and paid almost £5 for the privilege.

Since rekindling my love for vinyl I’ve got my grubby hands on bits of plastic both here and over in Canada.  This is a record that should be in every music fan’s collection:-

mp3 : Fatima Mansions – Blues For Ceausescu

That’s the version on the 7″ double A side Kitchenware Records single…..it’s lyrical genius with Cathal Coughlan reflecting on how a popular uprising in Romania brought down a dictator yet closer to home in the UK and Ireland nothing changes……..

Flip over to the other song on this double A side effort and you’re in for a laugh:-

mp3 : Fatima Mansions – 13th Century Boy

It is scarily reminiscent of the chart-topping sounds of Stock, Aitken and Waterman until the last 30 seconds or so when it goes weirdly out of tune.  I only wish that somehow Radio 1 had picked up on this as a potential chart-fodder, played it to death on daytime shows and propelled it into the higher echelons of the chart. Imagine the shock of all the kiddies and their mums and dads as they flipped over to hear what other poptastic stuff this new band were capable of and Ceausescu came blaring out of the speakers.

Here’s the even more bizarre offering that was on the 12″ single:-

mp3 : Fatima Mansions – On Suicide Bridge

In 2008 while browsing around a record store in Toronto, I came across a 12″ bit of vinyl on Radioactive Records that included this remix of the single, which isn’t all that great but one for the completists:- :-

mp3 : Fatima Mansions – Blues For Ceaucescu (Only Solution Mix)

Meanwhile, here’s an ever darker and rockier version recorded as a Peel Session – with amended lyrics (including no direct mention of the assassination of Lord Mountbatten at the request of the BBC):-

mp3 : Fatima Mansions – Blues For Ceaucescu (Peel Session)

Immense.

FROM THE SOUTH WEST CORRESPONDENT….WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX (4)

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mp3 :  The Nubiles : Tatjiana (all over me)

The Nubiles for those of you who have never heard of them or, like me, forgot they ever existed, were formed in 1993 in Oxford, when Tara Milton, former bass player with Five Thirty (nope, me neither) joined forces with some other faces from Oxford bands. Their sound can best be described as indie with a slightly punk edge, in that their songs sneer a little bit. Their website stated that they displayed the kind of primal energy not seen since The Who. To be honest, that’s pushing it a bit. These Animal Men, perhaps, but certainly not The Who.

They split, (combusted if I remember rightly) in 1998 after releasing, one relatively well received album Mindblender on which this song features.  Tatjiana is their best song by a country mile (that country being, the size of Brazil). They reformed briefly in 2007, but quickly realised that they all hated each other still and that the tunes sounded even less like The Who than they did in 1995. They are apparently on ‘a hiatus’ at the minute. Oxford is slowly weeping into its Pringle sweaters I would imagine.

Now Tatjiana is a great two and a half minutes-ish of music, listen to it, you will hum for the rest of the day I guarantee it. It’s a sneering ode to the five knuckle shuffle (sorry). It contains the immortal lyric,“Just a Dream and a Tissue and you are all over me”. I mean what’s not to love about that.

BUT (it is a big one) the problem is, that as everyone knows, the only timeless song about er, bashing the bishop, is Orgasm Addict by Buzzcocks (come on name another one – JC – here’s another series for you – “songs about wanking” and no I Touch Myself by The Divinyls doesn’t count). In this case, The Nubiles are trying really hard to be The Buzzcocks, and if they tried that instead of the nonsense about The Who people might have got it a bit better.

Note From JC

Two songs from the New Wave era immediately sprung to mind:-

mp3 : The Vapors – Turning Japanese

mp3 : Squeeze – Touching Me, Touching You

Then there’s a song from 1990:-

mp3 : The Beautiful South – Tonight I Fancy Myself

Billy Bragg has also referenced the act:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – St Swithin’s Day

I’m sure there’s a few others out there….I once heard it argued that Pump It Up by Elvis Costello & The Attractions was about wanking but I’m not convinced.

All yours dear readers…..