THE MOZ SINGLES (Part 9)

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Of the most recent singles, this is probably the one that is most popular among fans.

It will always have a special place in my own memory, given it was the song that opened his 45th birthday gig in Manchester back in 2004, during which both myself and Mrs Villain hung onto one another for dear life as we willingly got dragged into a mosh pit down the front. We then showed a huge amount of common sense by retreating some 20 yards from the stage where we watched the rest of the show in a bit more comfort and a great deal more safety.

And yet…..when you compare it to many of the early Morrissey singles, it’s a tune that’s really quite ordinary, albeit it’s a song that has a catchy enough chorus:-

mp3 : Morrissey – First Of the Gang To Die

It was the second single taken from You Are The Quarry, and while it didn’t match the Top 3 position of Irish Blood, English Heart, its performance in reaching #6 in the UK charts meant at the time it was his third-highest single chart position, and more incredibly, First Of The Gang To Die became the best-performing follow-up single he had released in his solo career.

It’s a song that clearly means a lot to Morrissey as he’s performed it live more than any other.

But as I mentioned earlier, while it is one I have fond memories of, I don’t rate it as one of my all time favourite Morrissey tunes, although I do love his Buddy Holly impression near the end when he sings ‘he stole all hearts away-a-hay-a-hay-a-hay….’

The single was released on vinyl and CD, and there were three tracks which, in old money, would be called b-sides:-

mp3 : Morrissey – My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye
mp3 : Morrissey – Teenage Dad On His Estate
mp3 : Morrissey – Mexico

The first of these is one of the very best-ever Morrissey b-sides, and a song that is arguably superior to some of those which appeared on You Are The Quarry. However, I feel that while Mexico has a nice enough melody, it is somewhat let down by an unusually dull lyric, and while Teenage Dad… has an engaging and sarcastic lyric, it is very badly let down by a pedestrian and plodding tune.

But I’m sure there will folk out there prepared to tell me that I’m well wide of the mark with such observations.

Incidentally, the photo used on the sleeve would appear to have been taken the same day as the photo that features on You Are The Quarry as the suit, shirt and tie combo appear to be identical.

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 92)

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From last fm a few years ago:-

Popup are from Glasgow. They are Adi, Damian, Michael and Nicholas. Some might say that they’ve worked up a storm – others might say that Scottish weather is too turbulent to notice.

They rehearse in a drafty old tobacco factory near the River Clyde where they sit close together to keep warm. This is how they write their songs – by sitting close together until an idea sneaks in through a crack in the wall. There are many cracks – things break – guitar strings, drumsticks, amplifiers, hearts and tempers, and so Adi, Damian, Michael and Nicholas have nowhere to hide – no option but to be honest. They can only be themselves or be Popup. And so Popup simply sound like popup – like Adi, Damian, Michael and Nicholas from Glasgow, and without a word of a lie.

They have played a few hundred shows in the UK, Europe and the USA. Some highlights include sets at T in the Park, Latitude, The Wickerman Festival, The Borderline (London), The Paradiso (Amsterdam), The Knitting Factory (New York) and at SxSW 07 & SxSW 08. They have released two singles and one album on Art/goes/pop records in the UK, and one album on Team Love Records in North America.

You can see that they were once fairly active.  A couple of really goof indie-pop singles were released back in 2006 and then the debut LP appeared in 2008.  In 2010/11 they were seemingly hard at work writing and recording a follow-up but I can’t ever recall seeing that it was ever released.    The band’s twitter account has been inactive since December 2012 which would indicate they have broken up.  Which is a bit of a pity, cos I really enjoyed them on the couple of occasions I caught them live.  Here’s the second of their singles (which as you will spot makes more than a nod to early Franz Ferdinand):-

mp3 : Popup – Chinese Burn
mp3 : Popup – Stagecoach

There’s a few clips of Popup kicking around on YouTube. They’re well worth a bit of your time.

MY FIRST EVER PICTURE DISC

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There was a while when picture disc singles were all the rage. This was the first one I ever bought. A single that hit the charts in February 1979, peaking at #17.

The thing was, nobody meaningful in the UK seemed to take The Cars all that seriously, (by that I mean music journalists – the fact they got a couple of Top 40 hits means enough people liked them to buy things – or maybe we were all suckers for the picture discs).

They did however, do quite well over in their own country. I suppose that we Brits had enough of our own home-grown new wave singers and bands to talk and write about that we could ignore what was happening over on the other side of the big pond. Maybe it was also the fact that the early releases were produced by Roy Thomas Baker who had a close working relationship with Queen. But they were never really hip or trendy in the UK despite the early singles and LPs being a great mix of spiky guitars and pop-orientated synths.

Just What I Needed had in fact been the band’s first success in the States in 1978, but was only released over here as the follow-up to My Best Friend’s Girl. After that, more or less nothing. But back home, they continued to greatly outsell the likes of Blondie and Talking Heads, both of who had emerged around the same time, but both of who enjoyed great critical and commercial acclaim in the UK and across Europe.

Most people nowadays think of the hit song Drive when any mention is made of The Cars, which is a dreadfully dull and dreary song that conquered the charts, not once but twice, both pre and post-Live Aid (the second time being when when it was used as the soundtrack to a particularly emotive video appeal associated with the fundraising)

The Cars broke up in 1988. While most of the lead vocals on their songs were handled by guitarist Ric Ocasek, it is bassist Benjamin Orr, who died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 53, who sings on this great wee bit of pop:-

mp3 : The Cars – Just What I Needed

There’s no way I’m not going to make any case for The Cars being a band that should be in everyone’s record collection, but I will defend the greatness of their early hit singles in the UK. They sound a bit like Squeeze…….

(Originally posted in June 2009)

EVERY MUSIC FAN’S BETE NOIRE?

sd048_450Triggered off in part by that XTC posting the other day featuring a photo of a concert ticket from 1979….here’s a re-post of a rant from August 2009, together with the various comments folk left behind…..

 

I’m guessing almost everyone who read this blog likes going along to see live music, in all its shapes and forms, whether it is unknown, unsigned bands in tiny sweaty venues or the weekend-long music festivals that dominate the summer months (or what passes for summer these years in the UK) and all points in between.

Sadly, there are certain companies we have to deal with when trying to get our hands on many of these valuable bits of paper that will gain us admission to the venue. Its changed entirely from my early concert going days in the late 70s and early 80s where you basically went along to the box office at the venue, handed over cash and got a ticket in return. The amount you handed handed over was the price on the ticket.

Nowadays, its usually over the internet or at a centralised booking office and it never reflects the price of the actual gig.

Music fans – and indeed fans wanting tickets for the theatre or sports events – have been getting robbed by these faceless tossers for years, and other than actually taking the drastic action of not going to the gigs at all, there’s very little we can do. If you google the word ‘Ticketbastard’ you’ll quickly get hours of horror stories to cast your eye over.

In the end, its not been an outrageous mark-up that’s got me pissed off, but instead something so small and insignificant that I almost didn’t notice. But when I thought of how many times this small difference would add up to a huge profit, I thought it worth mentioning.

Now, we all know that the ticket agencies levy their service charges somewhat in proportion to the price of the tickets. So, for a sports event later this year at £67.50 a ticket, the service charge is £6.08 per ticket, while a gig ticket at £18.50 gets hit with £2.25 service, and a £9 ticket gets £1.25 (interesting that the music levy is more than 10% of the face value while the sport ticket is marginally below it).

But….there is also a processing fee on top of this…..and it was the amount charged for the music gigs that annoyed me.

On 10th October 2009, I’m off with Mrs Villain to see Jonathan Richman at the Oran Mor in Glasgow, while exactly one month later, we’re off the see Airborne Toxic Event at the ABC in the same city. It was £18.50 per brief for the former, and £9 per brief for the latter, plus that service charges I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Both sets of tickets were ordered the same day, using the same credit card and over the same PC with the same email address. Both sets of tickets were posted out on the same day, and both arrived on the same day, in identical envelopes and with identical packing.

And yet…..the Jonathan Richman tickets cost 65 pence more to process.

Why? Anyone out there know the reason???

OK, its only 65p, but as I said earlier, add up all the 65 pences and you soon get a fair whack of money for fuck all. And there’s no logic….my Morrissey tickets earlier this year were a whacking £32.50 each, with £4.50 service charge on top. But the processing fee was less than that applied to the Jonathan Richman tix.

Feel free to use the comments section to vent your own frustration.

mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner (Twice)
mp3 : The Airborne Toxic Event – Does This Mean You’re Moving On?

I’ve a funny feeling this posting might just end up with a dmca notice….so I hope you’re onto this quickly swissadam. Thanks for asking for it yesterday:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Ghost Rider

Happy bitchin’.

11 RESPONSES TO “EVERY MUSIC FAN’S BETE NOIRE?”

Mona Says:

August 6, 2009 at 5:39 am
Indeed all those early morning hikes to the (Glasgow) Apollo to get in line back in the 70’s, I was invariably the first but at least I would get a ticket! we have the same shit out here in Australia and what exactly is all this money for…the recent gigs by I think it was The Police had the front seats auctioned off by the promoter, which is just scalping under a different name…I could go on…Regards/
Ed Says:

August 6, 2009 at 7:54 am
When it’s people who do it as a small business (see Ripping Records in Edinburgh, for instance) I’m sympathetic for a couple of quid, but Ticketmaster are just ripping us off left, right and centre. Another of my rants wuold be tix going on sale at times that mean you can’t get there; it’s one thing skiving school if you are a student (that that I condone this) BUT if you work for living like most of us do, then you may not be able to access the internet site from work or spend a small fortune on your mobile trying to get through…GRRR!
Coop Says:

August 6, 2009 at 8:24 am
A new development that really cheeses me off is that some venues/companies now ask you to print the tickets of yourself and charge you a fee still for the pleasure off wasting your own fucking ink. Unbelievable!
JC Says:

August 6, 2009 at 8:51 am
Ed, Like you, I have no problems with Ripping Records or other small shops in cities and towns who sell the tickets incl the booking fee. Its the big boys with their hidden and inconsistent charges that really get to me.
swissadam Says:

August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am
Thanks for the Paul Haig re-post. Agree completely about tickets- extortionate and booking fee system makes little sense. What pisses me off is tickets go on sale at say 9.00 am, 2 mins later all sold out, then re-appear on ticket selling websites, double price and upwards. When the Specials sold tickets for the Manchester Apollo gigs back in June standing tickets immediately jumped to £65, within minutes of them selling out.
condemnedtorocknroll Says:

August 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm
I have had my fair share of ticket problems (mainly to do with tickets selling out superhumanly fast and then reappearing for crazy prices on auction sites, or selling out because apparently everyone but me had some pre-sale code). And I agree that we are all being burned being slaves to the Ticketmaster. I miss the old days of lining up and first come, first serve. Thankfully, quite a few of the bands I see just aren’t popular enough to sell out quickly. I dread to think what would happen if I wanted to see David Bowie live again – I’m thinking I won’t get third row again.
Jim Says:

August 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm
That’s one thing that really pisses me off about King Tut’s. If you want to get a ticket online, you need to go through Ticketmaster. A recent gig I’d planned on going to was only a fiver, by the time Ticketmaster added their booking fee and a bonus charge for me picking up the ticket at the bar, the price had nearly doubled. I’m off to see Beerjacket in Tut’s on Saturday and he is so pissed off at Ticketmaster – apparently he’ll see no money from any tickets sold through them – he’s been arranging to meet people and sell them tickets himself, for the proper price. That’s great for me, not a problem to go meet him and get some tickets, but sucks for both people who are buying online and then for him when he doesn’t even get their cash.As Coop said, the new trend for charging you an extra couple of quid to print the ticket yourself – and I’ve seen a few times where this has been the ONLY option – is another kick in the nuts.Booking fees really get my goat. And I don’t even have a goat!
a Tart Says:

August 7, 2009 at 1:48 am
I live literally less than 10 blocks from the venue where Yo La Tengo will play and I cannot get tickets other than by online via TicketBastard who will take a $23 dollar ticket and after all their fucking service charges and fees end up taking $38 off me! That’s FIFTEEN FUCKING dollars of FUCKING FEES!!!! I am literally screaming at my computer and my wife is looking at me rather horrified even after I’ve explained why. Yes, welcome to ‘merica, land of the free to rape you in every way we possibly can. /rantthank you sir, for the space, love as always, xoxo
Agnes Says:

August 7, 2009 at 6:17 am
I’m with Mona, here in Oz ticket prices are scandalous. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re so bloody far away from everywhere else and it costs more to get here, but if that’s the case then I object! That’s a geographical fee that is, and it’s not our fault we’re at the end of the bloody world! Rubbish.Example ticket cost: $83 AUS to see Sigur Ros at Festival Hall which is basically a big barn with plastic seats and old wooden floors. Hardly a palace. That reminds me of merchandise costs too – $45 for a shirt as well! The sad thing is that I write this and I’m still thinking to myself “yeah but it was worth it”. That’s how they get us in the end.
Mona Says:

August 7, 2009 at 10:16 am
Indeed how do they justify these prices, upcoming Ry Cooder + Nick lowe @ Palais in Melb $140, that is 70 quid and that is before the extra’s. pearl Jam advertised as a value for money $99!!!Regards/
Ah Fong Says:

August 10, 2009 at 8:21 pm
whats with the same fee to pick up at the venue OR have them posted? and does anyone remember buying at the door with no booking fee? or am i just an auld bastart?do venues/promoters get cash from these companies, or does it just relieve them of the hassle(?!) of printing and selling themselves?ticketmaster are the ryanair of music.any chance of richmans ‘into the mystery’?

 

IT’S MEANT TO BE A TUNELESS TAKE DUMBASS….

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The bio of Violent Femmes in the on-line edition of the magazine Rolling Stone says:-

“..too bad the Violent Femmes‘ tuneless take on Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” actually makes you pine for Boy George”

It’s such sentences that remind me irony isn’t always a strongpoint of Americans.

At the risk of stating the obvious…..IT’S MEANT TO BE A TUNELESS TAKE DUMBASS.

Personally, I never did care much for the music of Culture Club. That’s one of the reasons I have a great deal of fun listening to a wonderfully bitter, twisted, and yes tuneless, cover version:-

mp3 : Violent Femmes – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? (7″ edit)

The original took the world by storm. It was #1 or #2 in twelve different charts around the world selling who knows how many millions of copies. But that doesn’t make it a good song.

It’s trite, it’s inspid and, well boring is the word that springs to mind. It’s also wholly unrealistic.

The protagonist is heartbroken because a love affair has come to an end. And he’s willing just to let it slip away and take all the agony, pain and heartbreak imaginable without wishing any ill on the other person. The lyrics are sickly, syrupy and unreal:-

You’ve been talking but believe me
If its true you do not know
This boy loves without a reason
I’m prepared to let you go

If its love you want from me
Then take it away
Everything is not what you see
It’s over today

Do you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?
Do you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?

Gordon Gano on the other hand, with just a few little word changes here and there, ends up turning into a quite shocking tale of someone revelling in the hurt, pain and misery of a break-up:-

I’ve been talking but believe me
I know that its true now that there no more
I’m in love and loves the reason
I’m not prepared to let you let me go

So if it’s love you want
Then take all of me
It’s this love I want
I can finally see

Do I really want to hurt you?
Do I really want to make you cry?
Yes, I suppose I want to hurt you
You told the truth but it was still a lie

Methinks the man from Rolling Stone didn’t actually listen to this re-interpretation before making his ill-advised comments.

C’mon…..whose take on the song is closer to reality?????  Here’s the other tracks on the CD single:-

mp3 : Violent Femmes – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? (full length)
mp3 : Violent Femmes – Dance Motherfucker Dance!
mp3 : Violent Femmes – To The Kill (live – November 1990, The Palace, Melbourne, Australia)

Enjoy

(Originally posted on 7 August 2008)

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT…..Q-TIPS

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Dirk aka Sexyloser chose the letter Q

Before I start a note to my sponsor – Just for the record ‘Graham’, I’m not trying too hard (see Jay Talkin’ two weeks ago), what you read is a mixture of wit, talent and arrogance some of us have it, some of us don’t and jealousy is really bad attribute to display publicly. Whilst I’m on the subject of talent, what I type is nothing compared to the daily brilliance of the JC, and the likes of Drew over at ‘Across the Kitchen Table’and countless other bloggers who really should be doing this stuff professionally. The reason I don’t do a blog daily is because by Friday no one would be reading anymore (that and having an 18 month old takes up most of my spare time, I write this as she naps). Some people don’t like certain types of music, other people do like it. Don’t call me an idiot just because I was nasty to one of your heroes. Get over it, or start your own blog dedicated to what you like – I’ve even thought of a name for it for you ‘Killing the Bland’ (that’s a relatively obscure Prolapse song that I hope features in Saturdays Scottish Single sometime soon). You can thank me when you have one million readers.

Anyway…Welcome to the letter Q. I have three bands on my iPod who start with Q. Which is lucky. None of them are Queen, Queensryche or strangely, Quicksand, as I do own an album by them. It’s not the Quads either Dirk, sorry.

I’ll start with the obvious… Formed from the ashes of stoner rock band Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age revolve around the genius that is Josh Homme. Their best record is perhaps ‘Rated R’ which features the classics ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ and ‘Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’. The former is a three minute blast which name checks various narcotics and substances and very little else, but we all know that. If you don’t download it…Now…and then come back and finish reading this.

I think I said previously that the most recent album (their sixth?, I forget) by QOTSA’…Like Clockwork’ was my favourite of last year. Considering that for most of his career Josh Homme has crafted a fine knack of not giving a shit, ‘…Like Clockwork’ is as close to perfection as you can get. I’ll start by mentioning ‘If I had a Tail’ a track so damn sexy is pretty much rubbing itself against as you listen to it. The song features Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys but I’m buggered if I know where. Much of this record wouldn’t sound out of place in a sleazy bar, it’s a dirty, filthy kind of record, and that is great. But it has its tender moments, ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’ is a very low key, piano led ode to memories which I think wouldn’t sound out of place on the last Daft Punk album. It is a simply stunning record, from probably the greatest balls out rock band on the planet right now.

mp3 : Queens of The Stone Age – If I Had A Tail

Following the rock trend, next up we have Quasi with ‘Repulsion’which is taken from the 2010 album ‘American Gong’. I’m kind of hoping that most readers will be aware of Quasi, but if you may have missed them here’s the brief…they are a male and female duo who both grew up in South California, moved to Portland to make music, got married and then divorced, the two of them also feature on many Elliot Smith records and the odd Sleater Kinney album. They started recording in 1993 and I think American Gong is their ninth studio album.

It was a bit of change of direction for them as it was their first proper rock record, usually concentrating on drum centric keyboard pop records. It was also their first as a three piece, as they added someone to play bass, whose name I forget but was in Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.

Repulsion was the first single to be released from ‘American Gong’ and it’s a lot of fun. It reminds me of early Dinosaur Jr records, which is no bad thing, the voices of the main two people Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes sound lovely together. This was my first experience of Quasi and from this I downloaded ‘American Gong’, but if you are curious then the tremendous music streaming site Epitonic has some more free stuff of theirs.

mp3 : Quasi – Repulsion

Finally we come to Quickspace, who were formed in 1994 and were originally Quickspace Supersport. Singer and founder Tom Cullinan was formally in Th’ Faith Healers but formed Quickspace to develop a more tuneful and experimental band. The first review of Quickspace that I remember called them ‘the Stereolab that rocks’ that is no bad thing at all. It’s not strictly true, as they favour a more drone rock style but y’know still good.

Quickspace are one of those band that I think a lot of people would find it hard to like, I think they are the nearest contemporaries that The Fall have, perhaps slightly more tuneful. In the late 90s they shunned big money offers from major labels and instead set up the Kitty Kitty Label and that is where they released most of their records. These include the terrific singles ‘Friends’ and ‘Rise’ both of which were minor indie hits thanks largely to radio play by uber fan Steve Lamacq. In 1998 they released their second album proper ‘Precious Falling’ to much critical acclaim and it featured perhaps their best known songs ‘Hadid’, and ‘Quickspace Happy Song #2’ . Personally I love them.

mp3 : Quickspace – Quickspace Happpy Song #2

S-WC

THIS IS POP…

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Today is going to be one of the highlights of the week’s golf in Hilton Head as I’m scheduled to play over a course which has, for years, hosted a tournament on the PGA Tour.  I thought it would therefore be appropriate to feature an old posting from someone who will be with me today – Mr John Greer – and given that some words on XTC a few weeeks back proved to be one of the most popular ever to feature on the blog, I’ve gone back to what he said on 7 June 2009:-

I remember the first time I ever saw XTC it was in 1978 on the music show Revolver;  I was in the bar of St Andrews University, I worked for the University , I wasn’t a student.

Revolver was an ITV music show, which preceded Channel 4’s The Tube; it only ran for one series of 8 episodes and had Peter Cook as the manager of the fictional nightclub where the show was being filmed.

XTC played their single This Is Pop and the following Monday I had to buy it. It seemed to be totally different to any of the other singles of the day with a very angular sound. Their appearance on Revolver can be seen on youtube if you have a search.

The previously released single Statue Of Liberty had been banned by the BBC for having the line “sail beneath your skirt”, this song showed off the band’s great early sound which was a hybrid of punk, reggae and ska. Andy Partridge preferred to call their style of music ‘New Pop’ rather than ‘New Wave’.

mp3 : XTC – Statue Of Liberty

1979 saw the release of the band’s most successful album Drums and Wires, with the wonderful single Making Plans for Nigel. It was during the accompanying tour that I saw them for the one and only time at The Odeon in Edinburgh.

Lead singer Andy Partridge had always suffered from stage fright, but he struggled on until he suffered a breakdown on stage during one of the first concerts of the English Settlement tour in Paris in 1982. It was reported that his wife had thrown away his supply of Valium. According to the band’s biography, Andy had the drug prescribed to him as a teenager during his parents’ divorce and over the subsequent years, having never been withdrawn from the drug he had become overly-dependent on it.

The European and British dates were cancelled and after one show, the U.S leg was also abandoned, and in due course XTC withdrew from live appearances and became almost exclusively a studio band, only occasionally performing live on radio shows.

As with most people my music buying changed with age, marriage and becoming a father and the subsequent 5 albums passed me by, but I did buy the occasional single found while trawling in record shops.

I also did with hindsight, a very stupid thing; I sold all my vinyl albums, 12-inch singles and singles. I thought CDs were easier to store and transport when we moved house, – and on a few occasions on this blog JC himself has talked of the agony of and woes of losing many classics in a change of address.

Indeed it was JC, who gave me the compilation CD, Fossil Fuel as a birthday gift, that started my interest in listening to XTC again. The early singles were as good and fresh as ever and I liked the newer material.

Over the years XTC have influenced many bands, it’s hard not to listen to The Futureheads without hearing a similar sound, and I recently read an article where Coldplay credit Andy Partridge’s writing as being a major influence.

In 2003, I heard a single on Radio 2 and thought it was pure XTC; it turned out to be aband from my own Kingdom Of Fife – indeed they were from my old stomping ground of St Andrews – Dogs Die In Hot Cars, with their minor hit I Love You Cause I Have To.

On Boxing Day 2007, I was standing doing the dishes in the kitchen, feeling quite sorry for myself, as I’d been down to Berwick to see Raith Rovers suffer an unexpected defeat to Berwick Rangers, when Bob Harris played, again on Radio 2, a track that lifted my gloom for a wee while.

It was the wonderful Wrapped in Grey by XTC. At that moment I thought it was a new track but I later found out it was from their album Nonsuch. It prompted me to download the album. I had the singles from Nonsuch on Fossil Fuel but I’d never heard this track.

mp3 : XTC – Wrapped In Grey

I read recently the band felt it was one of their finest moments and would be perfect to release as a single; they loved the Pet Sounds feel to it. But the band were in dispute with Virgin Records and after pressing thousands of singles, they were recalled and destroyed.

During their long career, XTC have also released material under a variety of pseudonyms, including two albums of psychedelic outings as The Dukes of Stratosphear, a Viz comic’s promotional single as Johnny Japes and his Jesticles, and a Christmas-themed single as The Three Wise Men.

My younger brother had also been a XTC fan and I think the concert in Edinburgh in 1979 was the only gig we ever attended together. He did have the The Dukes Of Stratosphear albums and the track I always loved was Vanishing Girl. The albums were a homage to 60’s pop and psychedelia. If you were to listen to Vanishing Girl alongside the Small Faces it wouldn’t seem out of place.

mp3 : The Dukes of Stratosphear – Vanishing Girl

As recently as 2007 XTC were still releasing new tracks via their own online streaming webpage.

As a footnote, a very good friend of mine and reader of this blog, Iain Fenton always hated XTC, after Andy Partridge made a statement to the NME or Sounds that “ all the Scots were good at, was growing ginger hair!!! …… At this point, I have to explain that when I still had hair it was ginger ( well….. strawberry blonde)….

 

THE MOZ SINGLES (Part 8)

sunday

Now, this is just a hunch, but I reckon that in any poll of 1,000 fans asking for a list of their Top 10 favourite Morrissey singles, there will be at least 999 who include this. And the one who doesn’t is a liar.

Released in June 1988, Everyday Is Like Sunday has proven to be one of the most enduring songs of the solo career, having being played on most of the solo tours, particularly those since the 2002 comeback.  The single went to #9 in the UK charts which is a hugely impressive achievement given that the song had been available on the LP Viva Hate for a few months beforehand. And while I imagine that many fans would have bought the single for the sake of keeping up the collection (that was certainly my reason at the time), the fact is that the three extra tracks provided on the b-side of the 12″ single are as good as anything else Morrissey had released as a solo artist at that time in his career.

It was like a throwback to his early career with The Smiths when the release of a new single was every bit as eagerly anticipated for the b-sides as well as the ones you would see them perform on Top of The Pops.

mp3 : Morrissey – Everyday Is Like Sunday
mp3 : Morrissey – Sister I’m A Poet
mp3 : Morrissey – Disappointed
mp3 : Morrissey – Will Never Marry

The lead track (but not its b-sides) was once the subject of a dmca.  It’s been filed differently this time.

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 91)

phantom

From wiki:-

The Phantom Band is a Glasgow-based band consisting of Duncan Marquiss (guitar), Gerry Hart (bass), Andy Wake (keyboards), Rick Anthony (vocals and guitar), Iain Stewart (drums) and Greg Sinclair (guitars). They are often generally described as indie-rock but are known to utilize a variety of genres and styles. The band’s debut album Checkmate Savage was released in January 2009 and the follow up The Wants in October 2010.

The band initially performed and released material under various names, never sticking with the same band-name for long: NRA, Les Crazy Boyz, Los Crayzee Boyz, Tower of Girls, Wooden Trees. In 2005, using the adopted name Robert Redford, the band released a one-off CDR titled The Mummy and Daddy Dance on their own temporary label “Extreme Nudity”, self distributed to independent record outlets in the UK, before removing all reference to it from their online presence and reforming under a new name, Robert Louis Stevenson. The sought-after release now only changes hands on online auction sites, and the only element trackable from the band’s current incarnation is the presence of the track “Crocodile” (formerly “Crocodile Dundee”) on their 2009 album Checkmate Savage.

Under the title of Robert Louis Stevenson, they played a number of exclusive live shows in Glasgow (Stereo, Nice’n’Sleazy) and Edinburgh (Wee Red Bar) and released a limited run of 150 audio cassettes under band member Nobodaddy (Andrew’s DJing alter-ego) and Hugo Paris’ home imprint, ‘Sweat on Cassette’.

In 2006 the band began using The Phantom Band as their name (apparently in reference to their elusive activities up to that point) and in 2007 released a 7″ single Throwing Bones on London based Trial & Error Recordings. The critical acclaim of this single, their first fully distributed release, was the impetus for their signing to Chemikal Underground.

After signing with Chemikal Underground the band began recording their debut album early in 2008. Despite planning on recording the album in a few weeks in the labels Chem19 studios in Blantyre, the whole session ended up spanning many months and was mixed at Franz Ferdinand’s studios in Govan. Checkmate Savage was eventually released in January 2009 to critical acclaim and it peaked on the UK Albums Chart at number 181 in February of that year.

The recording sessions for the band’s second album were apparently quite difficult- even more so than the first record. Much of the music was written in the studio and under quite tight time constraints and this seems to have led to some difficulties within the band. Sometime in the summer of 2010, between the records completion and its release, the band parted ways with original drummer Damien Tonner.

The Wants was released in October 2010 to critical acclaim. On the day of its release the band travelled to the United States of America to appear at the CMJ festival in New York. Directly after this the band supported Frightened Rabbit on a string of dates during their headline tour including shows in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, New York and Chicago.

The plan had originally been to post The Howling which was the debut Chemikal Underground single on the basis that the 45rpm version is a couple of minutes shorter than the LP version while there’s also an unreleased track on the b-side. But then I spotted that the single version of  Throwing Bones  (which would be later re-recorded and included on the debut LP)  is a much rarer beast so thought I’d pull that out of the cupboard instead:-

mp3 : The Phamtom Band – Throwing Bones (single version)
mp3 : The Phantom Band – The Riff

Then I thought, what the hell:-

mp3 : The Phantom Band – The Howling (single version)
mp3 : The Phantom Band – The Tall One

Enjoy.

THE WOW FACTOR

WOW

Between 1998 and 2004, David Gedge took a break from The Wedding Present and instead released music under the name of Cinerama.

In essence, it was a duo of the great man (on his releases he was known by his full name of David Lewis Gedge) and his then-girlfriend Sally Murrell, augmented by guest musicians. The initial songs were a long way removed from the guitar-driven indie-pop of TWP, and instead were often heavy on strings, keyboards and lush instrumentation. Lyrically however, they didn’t stray too far away from the subject matters that Gedge is such a master of  – the joys of love, lust and romance, the misery of infidelities and heartbreak and the utter pleasure of revenge. Oh and there was also the occasional belter of a cover version.

The fourth single is an absolute masterpiece.

As you’ll hear, it is one of the songs about infidelity. What I love about this lyric is how the protagonist spends the first two and half minutes detailing all the nagging doubts about cheating on his girlfriend, even as he climbs the stairs to a bedroom. And then…….

…….he utters “But don’t close the door because I’m still not sure.”, after which there is a gap as he makes his mind up. A gap that is about two seconds in length…………….just long enough to let the listener know he’s feeling guilty but just short enough to let the listener know that lust has again triumphed over love.

Song writing of the raw and brutal variety.

mp3 : Cinerama – Wow

The CD single was released back in 2000,  and thanks to the production involving Steve Albini, it’s not a million miles removed from the brilliance of Seamonsters, the classic 1991 LP by TWP. I reckon its one of the best songs David Gedge has ever penned. And the b-sides are rather good as well:-

mp3 : Cinerama – 10 Denier
mp3 : Cinerama – Gigolo

Later on, there was also an near seven-minutes-long  extended version of the single made available on the LP Disco Volante on which the band were now a five-piece, backed with additional musicians on flute, cello, violin, trumpet, french horn and accordion.

mp3 : Cinerama – Wow (extended version)

Wow is a word I expect t0 be using a lot over the next 10 days or so.  Just a matter of hours after this post is published I will be boarding a plane and crossing the Atlantic. My eventual destination is Hilton Head Island in South Carolina where I will playing a lot of golf in the company of some great friends, including occasional TVV contributor Mr John Greer.

Mostly it will be the scenery which leads to the use of the word but hopefully I will also be able to utter it after the occasional spectacularly good hit of the golf ball.

In the meantime, TVV will continue in my absence with the usual weekend and S-WC features interspersed with a short run of old reposts from the old blog before normal service resumes on 14 May.

SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL TO BEGIN THE MONTH OF MAY

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The review in the NME on 16 April 2004 said it all rather eloquently:-

Pete takes his hands from the rudder of the good ship Albion to release this lovelorn ballad. Still, it should be glaringly obvious – even to those without a passing interest in the Libs’ never-ending soap opera – that this brilliant. Encased within the twinkling piano arrangements of old chum Wolfman, Pete proves himself capable of weaving both hope and honesty into the lining of his exquisite melodies. That it’s actually a bittersweet dedication to Wolfman’s broken marriage and the romantics they’d watch from a Paddington station bar matters little – it’s Pete’s choked croak that musters the shivers.

Soulful, sublime.

It was an all-star indie cast who assembled at Britannia Row Studios in London to make this possible including Julian Taylor (bassist with Rialto), Matt White (guitarist with The Egg), Ned Scott (keyboardist with The Egg) and Carl Barat (guitarist with The Libertines and later with Dirty Pretty Things).

The boys done good. On both halfs of the single.

mp3 : Wolfman, featuring Peter Doherty – For Lovers
mp3 : Wolfman, featuring Peter Doherty – Back From The Dead

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Pete would still be with us 10 years on such was his the extent of his headlong plunge into hedonism.

Enjoy.