THE ALTERED IMAGES SINGLES (7)

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What a comeback!!

Altered Images might have been battered and bruised from he criticism that came in the wake of the release of Pinky Blue but they bounced back in style with their seventh single.

The band had gone into the studio in the autumn of 1982 to work alongside producer Mike Chapman who had rightly received huge credit for his work on Parallel Lines by Blondie.  But it was a band with a different line-up; drummer Tich Anderson (who had been a co-founder of Altered Images) and guitarist Jim McKinven (who had joined after the first two singles had been recorded) had left the line-up and in their place came the multi-talented Stephen Lironi who would fill-in at the initial sessions on both drums and guitar. It was also a band with a different attitude no longer afraid to make music which harked backed to their new wave roots.

The first thing to emerge from the new collaboration was Don’t Talk To Me About Love, a song that I’m prepared to say is a timeless classic in the history of the pop single. It was incredibly unexpected both in terms of quality and sound.  If it wasn’t for the fact that Clare Grogan had such a distinctive vocal style I don’t think any of the fans of old would have guessed which band was behind the music.

It was released in March 1983 and sold well enough in its first week to enter the charts at #36.  The band continued to work really hard at promoting the single with appearances all sorts of TV shows and it was no surprise that the following week it had jumped twenty-four places before then going Top 10 on the back of what was a memorable Top of the Pops appearance with Clare looking sexier than ever in a leather skirt.

Incidentally, this was proving to be a particularly golden time for Scottish music as Eurythmics, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and Big Country were all enjoying singles success for the first time in their careers.  As indeed were New Order as Blue Monday began its first rise up the charts.

This single was released in 7″ and 12″ editions:-

7″

mp3 : Altered Images – Don’t Talk To Me About Love
mp3 : Altered Images – Last Goodbye

12″

mp3 : Altered Images – Don’t Talk To Me About Love (extended version)

The 7″ also came as a picture disc.  Sad man that I am, I pinned said disc on my wall so that the lovely Clare gazed down on me…….

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The b-side is a bit disposable and forgettable, but its more than made up for by the fact that the extended version of the single works so well.

Enjoy

NB : About three hours after this post originally appeared, the full 12″ version was added as a link and not simply the abridged extended version as made available on certain CD compilations.  Please see comments section for detailed explanation!!

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #21 : THE LEMONHEADS

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Another fine guest contribution today, this time courtesy of Jen whose long-time love for The Lemonheads comes through nice’n’clear.  She’s gone for a chronological approach that demonstrates how much the band’s sound changed and evolved in a little over a decade and she’s also included a fair proportion of cover versions, none of which are the song that got them the commercial breakthrough here in the UK:-

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM – THE LEMONHEADS

1. So I Fucked Up…[Laughing All The Way To The Cleaners 7” EP, 1986]

Punk was still new in Northern California in 1986, the year the Lemonheads put out their first record. Both singers here, and that great relief of shrugging off your potential and embracing your god given destiny.

2. Hate Your Friends [Hate Your Friends, 1987]

Seventeen and speeding around the San Francisco suburbs with my friends. No sleep for a week, sitting around the living room staring at each other, these lyrics will speak to you.

3. Ride With Me [Lovey, 1990]

Alone. Driving. Loud.

4. Different Drum [Favorite Spanish Dishes, CD EP, 1991]

This is the record where the Lemonheads became a pop band. Dando kept Ronstadt’s POV, singing about a “boy” instead of changing the lyrics to “girl.” It’s hard to remember how bad-ass that was in 1991.

5. Skulls [Favorite Spanish Dishes, CD EP, 1991]

If you take a violent, funny Misfits song (so any Misfits song) and cover it slow and acoustic, the song becomes an amazing sad classic. It’s a good trick. It works every time, as many bands have discovered since Dando.

6. Alison’s Starting To Happen [It’s A Shame About Ray, 1992]

Is Dando more idiot, or more savant? Is it an act, an accident, a joke on us?

7. Frank Mills [It’s A Shame About Ray, 1992]

From the 1968 “Hair” soundtrack. This song was a gift, for us kids hanging out in the park. No school. No work. Lots of characters.

8. The Great Big No [Come On Feel, 1993]

My favorite of the big pop songs.

9. He’s On The Beach [Big Gay Heart, CD EP, 1994]

Kirsty MacColl song about her friend that disappeared in the early 80’s. She started getting beach postcards from Australia. The Lemonheads crush this tune, sending it galloping through the streets of Boston.

10. Hospital [Car Button Cloth, 1996]

Is he trying? Is he not trying? Is he finger-painting with melted crayons? Who calls an album car button cloth? Dando was a sun-slapped gorgeous boy running through the sprinklers with terminal cancer, singing about the cherry flavor of his medicine. He knows rock and roll is for the ugly. He will destroy his own beauty.

Bonus Track: Pin Yr Heart [The Outdoor Type, CD Single, 1997]

As the curtain falls on his first act, he covers Nikki Sudden. Right?

mp3 : The Lemonheads – So I Fucked Up
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Hate Your Friends
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Ride With Me
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Different Drum
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Skulls
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Alison’s Starting To Happen
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Frank Mills
mp3 : The Lemonheads – The Great Big No
mp3 : The Lemonheads – He’s On The Beach
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Hospital

mp3 : The Lemonheads – Pin Yr Heart

Enjoy.

NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Part 23 of 48)

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There’s an incredible amount of the CD86 bands who came from Scotland…and here’s yet another.

The Fizzbombs were a short-lived four piece from Edinburgh consisting of Katy McCullars (lead vocal), Margarita Vasquez-Ponte (guitar/vocals), Angus McPake (drums) and Ann Donald (bass).  This fabulous little number, which would later appear on CD86, was released as a single on Nardonik Records in 1987:-

mp3 : The Fizzbombs – Sign On The Line…

It was the band’s only release with that line-up.  They would release an EP in 1988 by which time Katy had moved on and Margarita was on lead vocal duties after which Fizzbombs were no more.

However, Margarita was a mainstay in other Edinburgh-based indie bands of the time, most notably Rote Kapelle and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes (of which Angus was also a member), the latter having a career that saw eight singles/EPs and two LPs between 1986 and 1990 without ever coming close to any commercial success.

Here’s the b-side of that Fizzbombs single….it comes with a warning that it’s a bit tuneless and fuzzy and goes on for far too long:-

mp3 : The Fizzbombs – The Word That

Enjoy

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #17 : BABY’S GOT A GUN

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This particular song I only have via picking it up on a homemade compilation from an old blogger and so I’m totally indebted to a blog called Worthless Trash for the following:-

Baby’s Got A Gun, consisting of Garry Borland (vocals), Richard Simpson (guitar), Jacqui Crane (bass) and Murray Dalglish (drums) formed in 1985 in East Kilbride and were noted for the inclusion of Murray Dalglish formerly a drummer with The Jesus And Mary Chain.  The following year they moved to Edinburgh where there were more gig opportunities.  Jock McDonald of The Bollock Brothers became the band’s manager after catching one of their gigs which led to the release of this 12″ EP on his MBC label.

01 – Suicide Girl
02 – I Don’t Mind
03 – I Don’t Wanna Be Found
04 – She’s A Sidewalker

Released in April 1987, it was pretty much ignored by the music press. The 4 tracks are best described as sounding like C86-era Soup Dragons if they had been hooked on Fulham Fallout rather than Love Bites. The first two tracks, produced by Donald MacLeod, were recorded in early 1987. Side two came from a self produced demo recorded the previous year.

In 1990 Baby’s Got A Gun would release a single Take The Ride and an album Up for the No Mercy label in a more rockier direction, though by that time both Jacqui and Murray had been replaced by a new rhythm section.

mp3 : Baby’s Got A Gun – Suicide Girl

It’s a cracking bit of music that is ridiculously catchy and with a fab guitar solo thrown in too.

Enjoy.

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #20 : NEW ORDER

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I do like to make things tough for myself with these imaginary albums.  I should stick to bands who came and went in a flash leaving fans with 20-30 songs in total instead of a body of work that stretches back across four different decades during which time their sound changed and evolved somewhat. Or maybe I should take Tim’s advice from yesterday and go with the 11th band/singer that pops up via random shuffle…

I thought I’d better get this piece in just to show I’m not totally relying on the very welcome guest contributions.  But I have made one slight adjustment to make life easier on this occasion by introducing a one-off rule that I must have a vinyl copy of the songs which means, for this particular compilation, that anything post 1990 is ruled out as everything since then is on CD….but having said that, there’s not much would have made the cut in any case.

I was a fan of Joy Division and was pleased that the rest of the band decided to keep things going after the suicide of Ian Curtis but I initially changed my mind after the first time I caught New Order live which was early 1981 at the now demolished Plaza Ballroom on the south side of Glasgow.  To be frank, they were a shambles and the songs didn’t sound anything the way I expected. It almost felt as if Curtis was irreplaceable as a singer, as a presence and as a songwriter.

And then a couple of months later, the debut single was released and I knew that everything was going to be OK, albeit there were wobbles along the way with the debut LP in November 1981 being a bit more patchy than I’d have liked with not many tracks being as good as the debut and follow-up singles from earlier in the year.  But from the release of Temptation in May 1982 through to hitting #1 with World In Motion exactly eight years later there were few who could match the Mancunians in quality.  Here’s my, sure to be controversial, imaginary album:-

SIDE A

1. Age Of Consent (from Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)

The patchiness of the debut album made me nervous about how good or otherwise the follow-up was going to be. New Order hadn’t disappointed on the singles front and musically were taking things in all sorts of directions.  I put the needle into the groove of the opening track on the new album and was completely blown away to the extent that I thought the rest of the LP to be a bit of a letdown.  But after another two or three plays I realised that it was a really good album….but its opening track was an exceptional piece of music and all these years later I still think it is the greatest piece of indie/pop/dance ever written.

2. The Perfect Kiss (12″ single, 1985)

There was a recent brilliant observation from a reader that Soft Cell always seemed to make tremendous 12″ records which they then edited down to a more manageable form for release in 7″ format or as an album track.  I have absolutely no doubt that this is the case with The Perfect Kiss.

There is not a single second wasted on the full near nine minutes on the 12″ which includes all sorts of weird sound effects including frogs croaking and sheep bleating and is the sound of band brimming with confidence and self-belief. The album version on Low-Life and indeed the even shorter 7″ version are both great bits of music but the full version is just majestic.

3. Lonesome Tonight (b-side to Thieves Like Us single, 1984)

Hooky’s bass lines are behind some of the greatest New Order moments and there’s few better examples than this of him driving a song along and almost challenging his band mates to come up with something as classy and as cool as the notes he’s hitting.  On this much under appreciated song they more than succeed.

4. Temptation (12″ single, 1982)

Having slowed things down a tad with the last song its time to take listeners to the pinnacle of the New Order sound, with what I have long said is the greatest ever 45 in the history of the pop single.  (It’s just as well that Age of Consent remained as an album track as I’d have found it impossible to choose between the two).

Whoever it was that came up with the wiki entry for the song has written something extremely astute by saying that the 7″ version is a more structured version with a commercial synthpop feel while the 12″ is more chaotic with the emphasis on electronic rhythms rather than melody.

I love both versions and regard them as completely different songs, almost to the extent that I considered including each of them on this imaginary album.  But in the end it is the 12″ version that always wins the day…it never fails to put a huge smile on my face whenever I hear it and there’s a real special sensation when John Blain Hunt airs it at his Little League nights as I close my eyes and shake my thang on the dance floor imagining that it is the early 80s all over again and I am resplendent in my raincoat, 28″ waist skinny jeans and bouffant held together by a ridiculous amount of hairspray looking like the perfect blend of Bunnymac, Edwyn, Barney and Moz. Dreams Never End.

5. Run (album version, from Technique 1989)

I love every single second of Technique and consider it to be the band’s most consistent LP in terms of quality – a view that isn’t widely held among the other big fans of the band of my acquaintance.  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.

SIDE B

1. Love Vigilantes (from Low Life, 1985)

This was a band who specialised in providing the wow factor with opening tracks on their albums.  Even the disappointment that was Movement had a belter of an opener in Dreams Never End (although the Peel Session version of the song was/is better) and I’ve already said my tuppence worth about Age of Consent.  In later years, Paradise, Fine Time, Regret and Crystal would all get their respective LPs off to a great start with only Who’s Joe on the 2005 LP Waiting For The Sirens’ Call being a letdown in this respect.

But Love Vigilantes is something else altogether; a ghost story delivered over a jaunty upbeat indie tune that seemed to take a glance over to Robert Smith at The Cure and deliver a ‘beat that’ challenge (which to be fair he just about did shortly afterwards with the release of Inbetween Days, the best New Order song written by someone else!). As my dear friends from Canada would say…..awesome.

2. True Faith (12″ single, 1987)

The sheer brilliance and crossover appeal of this record can be seen from the fact that it reached #4 in the UK when, other than Blue Monday and Confusion (both of which sold well with dance fans), the band had struggled to make much of impact sales wise in the single market.

True Faith is an extraordinary record that admittedly benefits from the input of uber-producer Stephen Hague who had previously helped to refine the sounds of Pet Shop Boys in a way that maintained their credibility while making them huge pop stars.  But there is evidence that the song itself is a belter as seen by the fact that it was given an extensive indie dance remix by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osbourne in 1994 and that version of True Faith also went Top 10 in the UK.

Oh and the original release was also accompanied by an amazing promo video.

3. Ceremony (7″ single, 1981)

The one with the bronze cover, although I could have just as easily used the 12″ version with its dark green cover with gold writing as the two versions are identical.

The songwriting credits indicated that this was a Joy Division song and eventually we would get to hear their take on things with an Ian Curtis vocal via its inclusion in the Heart and Soul box set released in 1997.   But back in 1981, it was an indication that New Order were determined to carry on as best they could and even although it was clear that Barney wasn’t anything like as good a singer as Ian the powerful delivery of the music more than made up for it.  I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I first listened to this record and whenever I have heard it in a live setting ever since it has had the same impact.

It was interesting that just six months later the band, having recruited Gillian Gilbert as a new member, felt it appropriate to re-record Ceremony and re-issue it as a single, this time in 12″ form only in a cream and blue sleeve. It was a marginally shorter version in length and sounded more New Order than Joy Division.  If that had been the only version it would be considered a very fine record, but it’s not a patch on the first version.

4. Blue Monday (12″ single, 1983)

This song was in and out of this imaginary album on at least ten occasions.  I had settled on the running order for 9 out of the 10 tracks but just couldn’t make my mind up on what to put in as the penultimate track on Side 2.

Contenders included the 7″ version of Temptation, Love Less, Your Silent Face, the album version of Sub-Culture, As It Is When It Was, Cries and Whispers, 1963, Bizarre Love Triangle and Vanishing Point.  But it is impossible to ignore the claims of what was and still is one of the most groundbreaking bits of music that has ever been recorded.

I had a short-term relationship in the summer of 1983 with a girl I had met on the dance floor of Strathclyde University Students Union.  I was a regular at that venue but this girl wasn’t, and after a couple of dates it was clear things weren’t really going to work out, not least because our musical tastes were so different. She was real disco diva who had only gone to the Student Union to keep a friend company but had taken a shine to me on account of my constant dancing and she assumed I was someone who would have been happy going along to any club or venue. But I’ll always remember that she was an even bigger fan of Blue Monday than I was which says all you need to know about the crossover appeal of this piece of music.  It is a genuine classic.

5. Leave Me Alone (from Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983)

It just somehow seems appropriate that,having started things off on this compilation with the opener from 1983 album which once and for all determined that New Order would do their own thing and not be mere JD copyists,  it should close with this lovely little underrated number.

So there you have it folks.  My imaginary New Order album of 10 songs.  It has a high number of singles on it but then again this was a band who, together with their much-loved and much missed manager and their equally much-loved and much-missed label owner, knew a cracking tune when they heard it and wanted to get it out to as wide an audience as possible.

mp3 : New Order – Age Of Consent
mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″)
mp3 : New Order – Lonesome Tonight
mp3 : New Order – Temptation (12″)
mp3 : New Order – Run
mp3 : New Order – Love Vigilantes
mp3 : New Order – True Faith
mp3 : New Order – Ceremony
mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday
mp3 : New Order – Leave Me Alone

Enjoy.

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #19 : ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION

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I really am chuffed to bits that so many folk are wanting to contribute to this series and after The Robster’s ingenious and entertaining piece on Super Furry Animals the other day it’s now the turn of a new guest to do something just as ingenious and entertaining.  So here is Tim Badger, a good friend and travelling companion of S-WC:-

Just two guys messing around (An Imaginary Compilation of sorts)

The other day S-WC and myself were in a car driving up the M5 on our way to Worcester to watch some cricket. Do not judge us on this, we are getting on a bit.

Anyway, S-WC was surfing the net in the car and he started talking about the Imaginary Compilation Series on T(n) VV. For the next twenty minutes or so we discussed bands that we would like to see in the series. There were so many, too many to write about if we are all honest. So he said, let’s do one by random. He plugged my iPod into the car and said – which ever band plays the 11th track you will produce an imaginary compilation on. No exceptions. We then discovered one exception – if that band doesn’t have ten commercially available tracks. I agreed on the basis that he did the second 11th track if that makes sense – he agreed.

So we sat in the car driving a bit slower towards our destination, track ten came on, it was Karma Police (doing an Imaginary compilation for Radiohead, would for me take forever). I realised then that I was nervous, genuinely concerned – what if it was Hall & Oates ( I have one song by them on my iPod (Maneater since you ask), again don’t judge me)? What if was Radiohead again? The Smiths? Ministry?….

It was, if you haven’t guessed by scrolling down the page already…Asian Dub Foundation. The 11th song was as it happens one of my favourites by them Buzzing. But this was a band that I hadn’t really listened to for about ten years since I saw them live down at the Eden Sessions in Cornwall.

So – here goes, ten songs by Asian Dub Foundation….

According to Wikipedia Asian Dub Foundation are an English electronica band that plays a mix of rapcore (nope me neither), dub, dancehall and ragga, also using rock instruments, acknowledging a punk influence. Their distinctive sound also combines indo dub basslines, searing sitar inspired guitars and traditional sounds, shot through with fast chat conscious lyrics.

In the late 90s and early 00’s Asian Dub Foundation released two wonderful records, these being (Mercury Music Award Nominated) Rafis Revenge and the seminal Community Music;  the latter is described by some as the most important record ever released. It isn’t quite that, but it is certainly utterly wonderful. Both are angry, overflowing with polemic lyrics and a strong sense of trying to right the wrongs of society. These two records are their best – and obviously make up the bulk of this compilation. If you need an introduction to them, start with those two records. It was these two records that took them from being whispered about underground urbanistas to overground in your face forces to be reckoned with.

Anyway enough chitter chatter, heres the tunes.

Side One

1.Taa Deem : from Community Music

Perhaps the not obvious album opener. I mean technically its not even their song – this is a remix of the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan track – but they pretty much turn it into a cover version. It is a five minute blend of bhangra, breakbeats and punky guitars. After a couple of listens you will try and sing along to it. In Bengali.

2. Oil : from Tank

Oil is another obvious single, the lyrics of which lash out at (I’m guessing here) George W Bush, “petro-junkies” and “SUVs with warheads”. ‘Oil’ also refers back to Michael Moore’s use of interviews with US tank soldiers in Iraq in his film Fahrenheit 9/11, in which the the soldiers admitted they played death metal as they drove their war machines into battle. Lyrically this song is wonderful, its angry and completely unapologetic about it, and whilst I cringe a little as I quote the most memorable lyric ‘No Iraqi, ever called me Paki’, you can’t help but agree with everything they say.

3. Rebel Warriors : from Community Music

Obviously you all know that this song was inspired the Bengali poem Bidrohi by Kazi Nazrul – what Asian Dub Foundation did was roughly translate the song from Bengali and used the song to support a modern take on Nazrul’s original stance. The poem was chosen in part because of its significance to the Indian independence movement and because of its place in Indian traditional culture and its powerful and unifying lyrics. Its a bit like what Oasis did with the Slovakian protest poem ‘Wonderwall’.

4 Real Great Britain :  from Community Music

One of their more recognisable tunes. I love the way that the breakbeats in this blend in with the guitars making one heck of an angry noise, but then, some trumpets join in and it becomes a pop record. Albeit a pop record all about the shifting sands of British multiculture.

5. Naxalite : from Rafis Revenge

Back in 1997 when ADF are beginning to make some inroads into the mainstream, they needed a radio friendly record – but instead of actually releasing one (which they had in the cupboard with ‘Buzzing’) they decided to release this instead, a massive shout out to the 1960s peasant uprising in West Bengal. The radios didn’t play it, well not much anyway. It didn’t chart. The band didn’t care.

Side Two

1. Flyover :  from Tank

A lot of ADF’s roots have been in jungle and drum n bass, and they I think got lost in the Roni Size inspired bandwagon that started rolling in 1995 – the genre runs through each of their albums, ‘Flyover’ is for me the best exponent of this – a riot of ragga vocals and pumping drums which is almost as incendiary on the stereo as it is live.

2. Blowback : from Enemy of the Enemy

‘Enemy of the Enemy’ was the album that was supposed to make ADF household names, it never happened, largely because the band refused to mellow in order to win popularity. ‘Blowback’ starts with an Afghani sample and I think its one of the most important tunes on this album. However for most the band seem to be preoccupied with the events of a few years earlier in the United States – “Blowback is the CIA term for the unintended consequences of secret operations. Or when the Monsters you’ve created, like Saddam, no longer serve your interests and start to bite you. September 11th was the biggest blowback of them all…”. The general audience reaction was ‘Yeah, we know, can we have less politics now…’.

3. Change A Gonna Come : from 12” single of same name

The day after the iPod chose ADF for me, S-WC turned up at my house with a 12” record under his arm. He said – you have to include this – so here it is. ‘Change..’ was I think the bands first single although I may be wrong. It takes the bands punk funk bhangra reggae fusion and turns it upside down. Again your ear is drawn to the inevitable political message but on this occasion you can focus on the music as well.

4. New Way New Life : from Community Music

This song celebrates the achievements of Asian Communities and is I think the song that sums up ‘Community Music’ the best. It underlines the magnificent sound of ADF, at their prime, the sound of them winning their power struggle. The sound of that dhol battering away oppression. Considering that, still, some fifteen years on bigotry and hatred is rife in society, and for some the Asian population are considered the enemy, this is a massively important statement.

5. Buzzing : from Rafi’s Revenge

Easily their best record.

This is not a lie, at 3.27am this morning, I woke up and wondered if I still had the Dylan Rhymes remix of this track. So I got up and wandered downstairs to the vinyl cupboard. I couldn’t find it, so make do with the album version. Mrs Badger arrived about nine minutes later and said ‘Tim, what the fuck you doing?’ – Mixtape was my answer, she sighed and went back to bed.

That last sentence perhaps sums up the pain it has taken to do this, and this from a band that I like, but don’t love, most of the imaginary compilations have been on bands that the author adores. It is probably harder to do it on a band you don’t understand or listen to everyday.

I presented S-WC with the ten tracks about five minutes ago, he smiled, and said he would have included nine of these – I think I know which track he would have left off, but that is faint praise from a notoriously grumpy bastard.

I’d also like to apologise, I’m not a writer, I’ve definitely waffled and I have definitely borrowed a couple of sentences from Wikipedia. But I hope you enjoyed this and the music.

mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Ta Deem
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Oil
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Rebel Warriors
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Real Great Britain
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Naxalite
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Flyover
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Blowback
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Change A Gonna Come
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – New Way New Life
mp3 : Asian Dub Foundation – Buzzing

I would also, finally say, please try this, stick your iPod on, wait for the 11th track (it has to be 11 – I don’t know why ask S-WC) and then produce a mixtape on that band –whoever they are. Oh and S-WC got a real tricky one on the journey home, he’ll tell you more I’m sure.

Tim Badger

CAN’T STAND………………

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Last Friday’s guest appearance by Fay Fife at the Big Gold Gig led me to search the archives for this posting over on the old blog back in September 2011…..

Is this a classic of the post-punk era or a cartoon joke that all too quickly wears thin?

The one album released by The Rezillos back in 1978 divided opinion then and even today, it took me a while to determine which side of the fence I come down on. Visually, there were few like them at the time (although plenty since have stolen some of the ideas). Musically, they were like lots of other acts as they raced through their songs at a blistering pace with spiky guitars to the fore. There’s an awful lot of the guitar work that sounds very like the debut LP of The Clash while the tunes are as poppy as many of those performed by Buzzcocks – the big difference being that when co-vocalist Fay Fife comes to the mic there’s no mistaking that this is a band from Scotland.

It contains 13 tracks all told and clocks in at a mere 31 and a bit minutes. There are ten band compositions (most of which were written entirely by Jo Callis (who would find huge fame and fortune a few years later with Human League) and three covers. The covers are truly bizarre – one is of a huge hit for the Dave Clark Five, another a huge hit for Gerry & The Pacemakers and one of an obscure b-side on a Fleetwood Mac single. And until I was doing the research for this piece, I had assumed the last of these covers was actually a Rezillos original!!

It was August 1977 that saw the band release their debut 45 on a small indie label and although it wasn’t a hit, it showed enough promise for Sire Records to offer a deal. Three more singles and the LP followed between November 1977 and July 1978 followed by a further single in November 1978 when the band called it a day – of sorts.

What happened was i splintered in two out of which came The Revillos…who were active up until early 1984 without ever achieving much success.

Going back to the debut LP. This was one I owned for years and played a fair bit. To my late teenage ears it was as thrilling as anything ever put out on vinyl. But as my tastes matured so my fondness for this record diminished and I probably didn’t listen to it again after maybe 1982. In fact I must have at some point given my copy away to someone around this time but I honestly can’t remember. No matter though as I saw a copy in a shop a few months back and handed over £5 for it.

It’s not as great as I remember – the cover versions of the 60s hits are pretty awful – but at the same time I found myself really enjoying at least six of their own songs and thinking they were great tunes that have aged well. And while it’s not an album that I could play in its entirety over and over and over again the way I did all those years ago I do very much regard it more of a classic than a cartoon joke.

mp3 : The Rezillos – Flying Saucer Attack
mp3 : The Rezillos – No
mp3 : The Rezillos – Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
mp3 : The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops
mp3 : The Rezillos – 2000 A.D.
mp3 : The Rezillos – It Gets Me
mp3 : The Rezillos – Can’t Stand My Baby
mp3 : The Rezillos – Glad All Over
mp3 : The Rezillos – (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures
mp3 : The Rezillos – I Like It
mp3 : The Rezillos – Getting Me Down
mp3 : The Rezillos – Cold Wars
mp3 : The Rezillos – Bad Guy Reaction

I’m more than happy to have the LP back in the cupboard again. And knowing that some of their stuff will now be popping up occasionally on random play on the i-pod is a good feeling too.

Enjoy

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #18 : SUPER FURRY ANIMALS

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Here’s another guest contribution from The Robster whose musical memories and opinions can be enjoyed on a regular basis over at Is This The Life? I’m quite taken, not only by his contribution, but by the fact he’s designed a cracking album cover to go with it……

JC’s excellent Imaginary Compilations series is one of the best ideas for a blog item I’ve come across.

Following my Nick Cave contribution I got to thinking about numerous other compilations I could put together using the same rules – 10 songs over two sides of a vinyl LP that sound like it could be a properly coherent album. I don’t want to be greedy and take over this series with my stuff but my offer of a second piece has been kindly accepted. This time, I’ve decided to tackle the work of one of my faves, a band I had the immense pleasure of seeing recently – Super Furry Animals.

However, to put a different slant on it, I’ve chosen to do a b-sides comp. SFA are one of those bands who have made some cracking b-sides over the years, which made this task very difficult indeed. I’ve had to leave off some wonderful tunes, but what I’m left with is something I think works really well. The title is also the title of one of the tracks on my original long list that didn’t make the final cut. But it’s a great title so it stuck. I’ve compiled it into one of my podcast formats – a single file containing all songs and a short gap between the two ‘sides’. Pick it up at the bottom of the post. Here goes:

DEATH BY MELODY: An Imaginary B-Sides Compilation
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS

SIDE ONE

1. Tradewinds :  b-side of Juxtaposed With U (2001)

Starting off with a song that could (should) soundtrack your summer. A cool funky reggae sound with a hazy psychedelic bent. It was the b-side of what was at the time my least favourite Furries single. While the a-side has grown on me over time, I was always a fan of Tradewinds.

2. Don’t Be A Fool, Billy b-side of Hometown Unicorn (1996)

And this one has long been one of my all-time fave SFA songs. Quite why they buried it on the b-side of such an early single is beyond me. Not only should it have been on the debut album, it really ought to have been a single in its own right. It did appear on the 1998 compilation ‘Out-Spaced’, but even then it was tucked away in the middle of the record, so easily overlooked.

3. (Nid) Hon Yw’r Gan Sy’n Mynd I Achub Yr Iaith : b-side of If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You (1996)

Trans.: This Is (Not) The Song That Is Going To Save The Language.

A typically lovely melody with an acoustic lilt, but offset with the buzzy guitar and slightly off-kilter key changes.

4. Happiness Is A Worn Pun :  b-side of Juxtaposed With U (2001)

Bowie circa Aladdin Sane could have written this. He’d have probably left out the Sasquatch though. Bit too strange for Dave, I reckon. Both b-sides of Juxtaposed With U are still better than the lead track.

5. This, That And The Other : b-side of Northern Lites (1999)

Another lazy, laid-back summer song, perhaps one for the evening this one. Sometimes it’s not the tune that makes the song, it’s everything else and the mood it creates. This is a great example of a song’s ambience taking centre stage while the melody drifts along in a low-key manner.

SIDE TWO

1. Charge : b-side of Ysbeidiau Heulog (2000)

The one where SFA sound like Man… Or Astroman? on steroids. Really rather rare, this one; Charge appeared on the b-side of the limited edition vinyl-only Ysbeidiau Heulog, the only single taken from the Welsh language album ‘Mwng’. It isn’t even included in this year’s deluxe reissue of said album. Shame – it’s a rip-roaring start to side-two.

2. Arnofio/Glo In The Dark : b-side of Something 4 The Weekend (1996)

This one picked itself really. It’s a favourite of the band who are actually playing it in their current live set. Of course, it meant nowt to half the people at the Cardiff show I attended last month, but to the otherwise initiated it was a treat.

3. Edam Anchorman : b-side of Rings Around The World (2001)

One of my fave SFA singles had this little monkey hiding almost unnoticed on its flip. It reminds of so many other things that have come out much more recently, but as is the norm for the Furries, they seemed to be ahead of their time back in 2001. One of the biggest, most anthemic choruses they’ve done.

4. These Bones : b-side of Run-Away (2007)

An unashamed pop song that will lurk around your head for weeks, keeping you grinning like a fool. The one track here not sung by Gruff Rhys. Not sure who is singing here, but my guess it’s guitarist Huw Bunford.

5. The Roman Road : b-side of It’s Not The End Of The World (2002)

A little bit of Americana to finish things off and another delightful tune. It’s a nice contrast to its brooding A-side and remains one of the band’s maturest moments. I mean that in a good way – a cracking song.

Hidden bonus track: Cryndod Yn Dy Lais : b-side of Play It Cool (1997)

I know this isn’t in keeping with the true spirit of JC’s original 10-track vinyl LP concept, but think of it as, I don’t know, a limited edition bonus 7″. Or something. Either way, I couldn’t resist putting this final little gem on here. It’s a tender, heartfelt ballad that I think starts off sounding like Shangri-La by the Kinks. It rounds things off really nicely. The title, by the way, translates as Tremor In Your Voice.

Link to the podcast is here

The Robster

JC adds…..

I’ve a few SFA singles in the collection and I knew five of the tracks selected by The Robster but what he’s done here is pull together what could be a cracking LP if released in that format.  Here’s a taster for it with the opening track on side one which is, as he says, a song that should soundtrack your summer.

mp3 : Super Furry Animals – Tradewinds

Enjoy.

NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Part 22 of 48)

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In a parallel universe a band called East Village are feted the world over while a bunch of blokes called Teenage Fanclub never got known outside of their home town……

There’s no question at all that this lot from London, who consisted of Paul Kelly (vocals/guitar), Martin Kelly (bass), Johnny Wood (guitar) and Spencer Smith (drums) were hugely influenced by the likes of Big Star, The Byrds and the sound of 60s Rickenbackers but in the late 1980s such music was waaaaay out of fashion.

They had actually began life as Episode Four and in 1987  released a self-financed EP before changing their name to East Village and releasing two EPs for Sub Aqua in late 1988, a period in which they also supported The House of Love and McCarthy.

The subsequent collapse of their label left them somewhat in limbo and it wasn’t until 1991 that new material in the shape of a new single came out through the newly established Heavenly Records.  Not long after though, the band broke up leaving behind songs recorded for an intended debut album which eventually saw light of day in 1993 with most folk thinking it was another cash-in on the now fashionable sounds of the 60s and not realising the sad tale of a band who were just ahead of their time.

Paul Kelly and Spencer Smith would become part of the Saint Etienne touring band in the mid 90s so it is hardly a surprise that Bob Stanley, in compiling the tracks for CD86. would look favourably on his old mates and include them on the compilation even though they had next to no connection, musically, with the movement.

mp3 : East Village – Vibrato

It’s a fine piece of music that clocks in at just under two minutes in length. It was actually given a release as a single in 1991 on an Australian label called Summershine but I’ve not been able to track down its  b-side which is called Violin.

Instead, I’ve gotten hold of the four great tracks from their debut EP for Sub Aqua in June 1988:-

mp3 : East Village – Cubans In The Bluefields
mp3 : East Village – Break Your Neck
mp3 : East Village – Strawberry Window
mp3 : East Village – Kathleen

As I said, somewhere in a parallel universe…….

Enjoy

REVIEW : BIG GOLD DREAM (and BIG GOLD GIG)

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The next few days will be a bit chaotic round here as posts that had been planned get shifted around thanks in part to some more guest contributions that I don’t want lying around too long and also the fact that I want to pen a review of something a few hours after getting home.  Those of you who are fans of the CD86 series shouldn’t worry too much as the next instalment has merely been delayed by 24 hours.

It really had to be something quite remarkable and special to get me to spend my Saturday morning typing away instead of my usual chilling and relaxing and charging my batteries, but it is fair to say that the the sights and sounds in Edinburgh on the evening of Friday 19 June are covered by that description.

A little bit of background to begin with.

For almost a decade now, there have been efforts made to deliver a documentary entitled Sound of Young Scotland which endeavours to tell the full story of the independent music scene up here from the post-punk era through the 80s and into the early 90s.  The gathering of material by director Grant McPhee, including old footage and interviews with many of the protagonists, began back in 2006 but every time it seemed as if the project would come to full fruition something would get in the way of its completion, most often a lack of finance.  But at long last, things are ready and after all these years it has been revealed that the project is now a pair of documentaries titled The Big Gold Dream – Scottish Post Punk, DIY And infiltrating The Mainstream and Songs From Northern Britain – The Country That Invented Indie Music.

The first of them is named after a Fire Engines song and the second after a Teenage Fanclub album title. It would be easy but lazy to say that the first documentary is all about Edinburgh and documentary number two is all about Glasgow but given that is the way the story began and panned out it makes sense for Big Gold Dream to focus somewhat on the capital city and for its world premiere to be part of the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

I had given up any thoughts of getting along to this event when my dear mate Jacques the Kipper got in touch to say he had managed to get his hands on two tickets and that one of them had my name on it. I only found out less than 48 hours beforehand but the sense of anticipation and excitement kicked in immediately.  This was likely to be one of the events of 2015 and what a way to get things going after turning 52.

The actual documentary was a joy to watch and listen to and I have no doubt that when it receives its inevitable DVD release that I will rush out and buy it.  It comes in at just over 90 minutes but it felt as if we had only been sitting there for about half an hour as the time flew by.  Being a nostalgic look at the music scene from 1977 to around 1983 it certainly brought back loads of memories but it also, and this surprised this self-confessed fan boy and anorak, revealed a lot things I hadn’t previously an inkling of.

I’m just too young to have been part of the movement that was in the vanguard of embracing and celebrating punk rock.  I do know that my home city was forced to turn its back on it in the wake of what had been a ‘riot’ at a gig by The Stranglers in 1977 at a venue owned by the council with the outcome being that punk gigs from then on were refused licences.  This led to shows taking place just over the boundary in the town of Paisley (mainly at a venue called the Bungalow Bar which had a small almost incidental advert every week in the entertainment pages of one of Scotland’s biggest selling Sunday newspapers) but it also allowed the ‘rival’ city 45 miles to the east to steal a march on things as its council was happy to allow punk gigs.

And so it was that, in Scotland’s equivalent of The Sex Pistols at the Free Trade Hall that begat Factory and all that followed, on 7 May 1977 the White Riot tour, featuring The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Slits and Subway Sect hit the Edinburgh Playhouse and kickstarted a revolution.

One of the first things to happen was the formation of a new label called Fast Product. It was founded by Bob Last and Hilary Morrison and run from a tenement flat in Edinburgh that soon became one of two great hangouts for budding musicians inspired by the punk scene…….that and a nearby pub not far from the School of Art called The Tap Of Laurieston.

The story of Fast is told in great detail with contributions from a stellar cast of just about anyone who was every anyone in the Edinburgh and indeed Scottish music scenes as well as the likes of Paul Morley.  The label initially concentrated on releases by bands from the north of England – The Mekons, Gang of Four and Human League – but in March 1979 it released a single by local band The Scars followed by a number of sampler EPs that featured other Scottish acts such as The Flowers, The Prats and The Thursdays.

Fast was the first Scottish indie label of note and so the emphasis on its role within the film is ideal to highlight the essential contribution of who are, in general, lesser known bands and musicians – certainly in comparison to those associated with Postcard.  Big Gold Dream then takes the story forward into the dissolution of Fast and Bob Last’s formation of a new label called Pop Aural whose roster included The Fire Engines, the instigation and collapse of Postcard, the second coming of Alan Horne with Swampland Records and weaves in the stories of bands such as The Rezillos, Josef K, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, The Associates and a talented solo singer called Paul Quinn.  Oh and not forgetting the life and times of Davy Henderson (Fire Engines/Win/Nectraine No.9/The Sexual Objects) whose often funny and larger than life anecdotes are littered throughout the documentary.

But there was more to come….

Being part of a Film Festival and a world premiere, the screening was followed by a Q&A session featuring Jo Callis (Rezillos and Human League), Ken McCluskey (Bluebells) , Malcolm Ross (Josef K, Orange Juice and Aztec Camera) and Vic Godard before something truly special and unique in the shape of a one-off Big Gold Gig by Stool Pigeon who consisted of the afore-mentioned Messrs Goddard and Ross together with Russell Burn (Fire Engines and Win) on drums and under the direction of the two talents that are Mick Slaven and Douglas Macintyre who seem to turn up and get involved with any decent music revival in Scotland nowadays.

They played an energetic and enthusiastic set of songs that were relevant to the era covered by Big Gold Dream

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Set List

1. Holiday Hymn (Subway Sect/Orange Juice)
2. Falling and Laughing (Orange Juice)
3. Stool Pigeon (Subway Sect)
4. Ambition (Subway Sect)
5. It’s Kinda Funny (Josef K)
6. Be My Wife (David Bowie)
7. Nobody’s Scared (Subway Sect)
8. Born To Lose (Johnny Thunder & The Heartbreakers)
9. Candyskin (Fire Engines)
10. Sweet Jane (Velvet Underground)

The boys were joined for the closing half of Candyskin and all of Sweet Jane by a further co-vocalist:-

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That dear friends, is Fay Fife from The Rezillos (and who will be the subject of a re-posting later in the week as part of yet another late alteration to the blog!!)

One thing the documentary did was make me realise and appreciate was just how important The Scars were to the development of the post-punk scene in Scotland. I’ve only ever been familiar with their one LP, Author Author, released in 1981 on Charisma Records and to be honest I’m not a fan of it. But it became quite clear from the film and the Q&A session afterwards that their one-off single for Fast Product back in March 1979 had lit the touch paper for many musicians, including the four boys that made up Josef K.

mp3 : The Scars – Horrorshow
mp3 : The Scars – Adult-ery

Your humble scribe hangs his head in shame at never having featured these superb pieces of music before.

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #17 : BABY CHAOS

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Baby Chaos formed in 1992 in the town of Stewarton which is just over 20 miles south-west of Glasgow. A four-piece consisting of Chris Gordon (vocals/guitar), Grant McFarlane (guitar), Bobby Dunn (bass) and Davy Greenwood (drums), they were very much influenced by the rock sounds from America that were so popular at the time.  I saw them back in 1994 on an eclectic bill that was part of Sounds In the City type event that Glasgow was host city to and they were very good at what they did, albeit it felt as if the increasing growth of Britpop would soon see them pushed somewhat to the margins and into hard rock/Kerrang territory.  Which turned out to be the case….

Over a three-year period between 1993 and 1996 they recorded and released a handful of singles and two albums, all of which were given the thumbs-up in the specialist rock publications but which were mostly ignored by the more mainstream music weeklies.

The departure of their drummer through a heart problem led to the band breaking up but frontman Chris Gordon remained active in other bands as well as at the production desk which was partly the reason why Baby Chaos remained a band that many up and coming rock musicians namechecked as being an influence.

Like many other bands from that era, the idea of reforming was an attractive and reasonably lucrative one and so earlier this year, the first new material in almost 20 years from the band was released, again to a fair amount of critical acclaim.

I’ve a couple of their early singles on CD sitting on the shelf.  This was their fourth single which came out in late 1994 around the time of their debut LP, the brilliantly titled Safe Sex Designer Drugs & The Death of Rock’n’Roll:-

mp3 : Baby Chaos – Hello Victim

Enjoy

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #17 : BUTCHER BOY

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The image used today brings back a whole bundle of great memories.

The Vinyl Villain blog was about to turn 5 years of age back in the Autumn of 2011. I was looking to do something special and unique to mark the occasion when I learned that one of my favourite but largely unheralded groups had run into some difficulties over a planned show to showcase their new LP and so I decided to step in and offer my services as a promoter.

It was a fantastic if occasionally stressful night for me. Butcher Boy were on magnificent form and delivered a tremendous set that seemed to consist of their greatest songs; it was also the case that having contacted Adam Stafford to ask him to do the honours of support act I got to meet him for the first time and form a friendship that remains in place today.

So, as a belated birthday present to myself, I thought I’d turn the compilation album spotlight on Butcher Boy. Readers of old will be aware of the band as I used to feature them a lot on the defunct blog, but here’s a quick lesson for anyone who need it.

The band was formed by lead singer, guitarist and songwriter John Blain Hunt who was well-known in the Glasgow indie music scene as the organiser of a club night called National Pop League. Their first recordings appeared in 2006 on the How Does It Feel To Be Loved label compilation The Kids at the Club with their debut LP, Profit In Your Poetry, coming out on the same label in April 2007.

I picked up the album at the end of that year having read all sorts of positive things about it online while I was living and working in Canada with reviewers mentioning influences as diverse as The Smiths, Tindersticks, Felt, Belle & Sebastian, R.E.M. and Go-Betweens on many occasions. I quickly fell under its spell and in early 2009 I wrote about it on the blog asking the question if it had been a one-off release as Butcher Boy had seemingly disappeared off the radar. I got an e-mail from one of the band members informing me that a new LP, called React or Die, was coming out in 2009 along with some live shows in some unusual venues across Glasgow. I got myself along to one such venue in a bowling club in February 2009 not far from my house and was knocked out by how good they were in the live setting. I introduced myself to a couple of the band after the gig and soon discovered that they were all incredibly nice people and were genuinely surprised to be getting such incredible support from bloggers such as myself.

Some very firm friendships were formed that night and firmed up over the coming months all of which would ultimately lead to one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me when, in the late summer of 2010 I was asked to come along to the first playing of the rough mixes of what would be the band’s third LP which, due to them looking for a new label. would take nearly another nine months to make it onto the shelves. And when it did, I was humbled and stunned to see my name listed in the list of those being thanked.

Helping Hands came out on Damaged Goods Records in the summer of 2011 but as I mentioned earlier the band were frustrated at not being able to play an initial live show to support it until I stepped in. The next year and a half saw them play, what was for them, a high number of gigs and increase their fanbase on the back of tremendous reviews for Helping Hands, culminating in two very prestigious support slots – one for Belle & Sebastian at the Glasgow Barrowlands and the other for Scritti Politti in London.

The band, which in addition to John Blain Hunt consists of Maya Burman-Roy (cello), Alison Eales (keys), Helena Flint (viola), Fraser Ford (guitars and bass), Findlay MacKinnon (drums), Basil Pieroni (guitar), Cat Robertson (violin) and Robert Spark (bass and guitars) have been quiet for a few years, partly down to John getting married and concentrating a bit more on his day job, but the good news is they were back in the studio earlier this year and new material will hopefully be with us before 2015 is out. In the meantime, here’s my imaginary album.

SIDE A

1. When I’m Asleep (from React or Die, 2009)

A number that has often been used to open gigs (it did so at that first gig I ever saw them play), it is in some ways untypical of the band as it leans heavily on Basil playing the mandolin and Alison’s accordion skills. It’s a slow and lovely number that builds to a marvellous crescendo as the strings, acoustic guitars and piano kick in, all underpinned by some marvellous percussion going on in the background.

2. There Is No-One Who Can Tell Where You’ve Been (from Profit In Your Poetry, 2007)

A tune that is played more than any other within Villain Towers as I’ve taken its first thirty seconds and turned it into a customised ringtone for my mobile phone. All those influences that the early reviewers pinpointed can be heard in its perfect two and a half minutes. It’s also evidence that John is a fine singer although he personally considers that he is merely OK….but what it does highlight is just how talented he is as a musical arranger.

3. Helping Hands (from Helping Hands, 2011)

Standing in the recording studio back in 2010 and hearing this for the first time was a genuine ‘wow’ moment in my life. It was the sound of an already great band taking a giant leap forward and coming up with their epic song. The band’s slow numbers are often built them up in layers and this is no exception with the first minute or so not being anything more than a fragile vocal accompanied by a piano. The next minute or so adds an acoustic guitar and percussion but in a way that you almost have to strain to hear them, and then just before the two-minute mark the strings kick in for a short while before there is a short instrumental break.

The second half of the song continues to expand in texture before the final section of what is now quite clearly a love song on so many levels – to places as well as an individual – goes deep into the richness of what is Tindersticks territory as the strings and regular ‘pop’ instruments blend perfectly and make the most wonderful sounds. My only grumble is that it all ends too quickly….I could have taken another three or four minutes of the closing music very happily.

4. Profit In Your Poetry (from Profit In Your Poetry, 2007)

This is the sort of song that made me really fall for the charms of the band. Basil shows off his guitar playing skills in a cross between Duane Eddy and Chris Isaak and drives along a great piece of indie-pop that is infectiously catchy and impossible not to dance to. Go-Betweens would have been proud of this one….

5. You’re Only Crying For Yourself (from React or Die, 2009)

Another indie-disco belter with Maya’s cello in particular dragging this one along at a fair lick. Best use of the instrument on an indie record since Monkey Gone To Heaven in my humble opinion.

SIDE B

1. Imperial (from Helping Hands, 2011)

The track chosen for release as a physical single and so has a special place in my heart as the only bit of vinyl that I have by Butcher Boy – everything else is on CD or is a download.

While I think it’s a great little bit of pop music, I don’t consider Imperial to be one of the band’s best ten songs but I do think it makes a great upbeat opener for side two of the imaginary album. There’s a fair bit of backing vocals in here which always make me laugh…none of the band are all that keen on singing live and I’ve seen them in rehearsals being cajoled (ahem!!) by John to get their act together before the upcoming gig(s)…..but being true and utmost professionals they always get it right on the night. Well, almost….

2. I Know Who You Could Be (from Profit In Your Poetry, 2007)

Back in 2007-08 there was a now largely forgotten TV series from the USA called Moonlight. It was a ‘paranormal romance drama’ featuring vampires and private detectives! It wasn’t loved by the critics although it attracted a loyal following of almost 8 million viewers. It only lasted one series of 18 episodes before being cancelled.

The reason I mention this is that the final scene in episode 14 closed to the sound of this song…in its entirety. The scene was actually written and shot to fit in with the music which is quite astonishing when you think about it. Evidence that John could easily have found an alternative career as a composer for the entertainment industry.

3. Every Other Saturday (from Helping Hands, 2011)

OK….I’m maybe laying it on thick about John’s composing talents by placing this instrumental at this point on the imaginary album but it fits in perfectly. The band have only released three albums but there’s other bits of music that have been written for special one-off projects including Chic’s Day, for which he wrote a score for its screening at the Glasgow Film Festival in June 2009. (click here for more details). Some, but not all of this music made it onto Helping Hands two years later.

Butcher Boy also played at the Glasgow Short Film Festival in February 2012 when they soundtracked a series of home movies from the 60s and 70s taken by Alexander Ogilvie, the dad of the band’s bass player. There’s a great piece of footage on you tube in which the home movie footage is accompanied by Every Other Saturday

 

4. Keep Your Powder Dry (from Profit In Your Poetry, 2007)

Robert Spark is actually a fairly new recruit to Butcher Boy on bass on the first two albums was played by Garry Hoggan whose contribution to this track is invaluable but which only became clear to me on about the twentieth or so listen.

And that is what I think makes Butcher Boy LPs such great works. You think you’ve heard all there is to a song and then something else grabs your attention – it might only be a couple of unusual sounding notes on one or more instruments or or it might be you pick up on the way the piano, bass or rhythm guitar is being played throughout the track in a way that adds so much to its overall texture as in this catchy, danceable uptempo number.

5. This Kiss Will Marry Us (from React or Die, 2009)

All three albums have closed with melancholic and moving tracks and so too is this imaginary compilation although it’s not an actual album closer. This beautiful love song, tucked away in the middle of the sophomore album is one of John’s best lyrics and he came up with a tune to match. And like the previous song you’ll pick up things and nuances after multiple listens that only add to your enjoyment.

mp3 : Butcher Boy – When I’m Asleep
mp3 : Butcher Boy – There Is No-one Who Can Tell Where You’ve Been
mp3 : Butcher Boy – Helping Hands
mp3 : Butcher Boy – Profit In Your Poetry
mp3 : Butcher Boy – You’re Only Crying For Yourself
mp3 : Butcher Boy – Imperial
mp3 : Butcher Boy – I Know Who You Could Be
mp3 : Butcher Boy – Every Other Saturday
mp3 : Butcher Boy – Keep Your Powder Dry
mp3 : Butcher Boy – This Kiss Will Marry Us

Enjoy. I most certainly do.

BIRTHDAY PRESENTS

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Your humble scribe turns 52 years of age today.  My body is beginning to get its own back on me for decades of abuse and neglect.  My hearing is going, I need glasses to read, my hangovers last a minimum of two days and when I go out to indie-discos or to gigs where I don’t have a seat, my bodyfat, creaking bones and underused muscles prevent me from gyrating in the way my mind believes I still can. Oh and in recent weeks I’ve developed a foot problem near my heel which hurts like hell when I’ve been walking about or merely standing up for a few hours.  And yet in my mind I still think I’m 22……

I know some of you may well be tempted to offer birthday wishes via the comments section and I will therefore be so bold as to offer my heartfelt and sincere thanks in advance. But what I’d really like you to do is have a listen to these magnificent seven previously unfeatured acts from Scotland and when you like what you hear – and I can say that with confidence as I know you all have great taste – then please click on the provided links and spend your currency on physical product. Here they are in alphabetical order:-

BASTARD MOUNTAIN

Turns out that you can’t buy anything by Bastard Mountain, so this post hasn’t gotten off to a good start!!  This lot were a sort of one-off supergroup of Scottish indie/folk musicians comprising Pete Harvey & Neil Pennycook from Meursault, Jill O’Sullivan from Sparrow & the Workshop, Rob St. John from eagleowl & Meursault, Rory Sutherland from Broken Records & Reuben Taylor formerly of James Yorkston & the Athletes.

A one-off album, Farewell, Bastard Mountain was recorded in October 2012 featuring a mixture of new songs and new versions of stuff released previously by bands associated with the individual musicians. The idea was to make an ad-hoc largely improvised record on the back of minimal rehearsal and while it may sound like a recipe for an umitigated disaster, the results are stunning and often beautiful.

For one reason or another, it took until May 2014 for the album to be released on Song, By Toad Records, with two live shows to promote it; I was fortunate enough to make it along to the Edinburgh gig and hear the entire record gorgeously and perfectly performed.

mp3 : Bastard Mountain – Meadow Ghosts

More details here: http://songbytoad.com/2014/05/bastard-mountain-launch-shows-tomorrow-and-thusrday/

HONEYBLOOD

This duo may well be all over the newspapers today as last night they were one of the ten acts shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year (it’s not a calendar thing – the competition is open to any album that was released in a 12-month period since the 2014 competition long list was announced in April of that year).

Honeyblood came together in late 2012, consisting of Stina Tweeddale (vocals and guitars) and Shona McVicar (drums and vocals) and their blend of low-fi indie rock, heavily influenced by early PJ Harvey, Throwing Muses and The Breeders quickly gained them a fair following across their native land, and just as Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad had done previously they signed to Brighton/Brooklyn-based Fat Cat Records with the label releasing the self-titled debut album in the summer of 2014.  Within a matter of months, McVicar decided to quit the band but was replaced seamlessly by Cat Myers.

A review of the band in The Guardian here in the UK said “The lead track on their self-financed and self-recorded debut , ‘No Spare Key’, sounds like Taylor Swift’s ‘We’re Never Getting Back Together’ performed by two Scottish goth-girls doing an impression of the Jesus and Mary Chain in a tomb, or an enervated, dejected Haim in need of a square meal.” 

See what you think from this re-recorded version lifted from the debut LP:-

mp3 :  Honeyblood – No Spare Key

More details here : http://honeyblood.co.uk/

PAWS

This is another lot who are on Fat Cat Records and who were also on the shortlist for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, but for their sophomore rather than debut LP.

PAWS are one of the most exciting and lively acts around right now.  I was late on picking up on them but became a convert just about a year ago after catching them perform in a tiny pub venue in the east end of Glasgow on the launch night of a cultural festival linked to the staging of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

They formed in 2010 with a line-up of Phillip Taylor (guitar and vocal), Josh Swinney (drums) and Matt Scott (bass) and by late 2013 had released a number singles as well as debut LP Coke, played every small venue imaginable in Glasgow and Edinburgh and toured extensively, often as the support act, across the UK, Europe and North America.  They had also lost a founder member with Matt Scott moving on but again there was a seamless transition with Ryan Drever stepping in.

This time last year their latest LP Youth Culture Forever was released to great critical acclaim and rightly so.  Twelve loud indie punk/rock tunes over 42 minutes – the first eleven flash by in just over half an hour before the closing track stretches out to almost twelve minutes.  PAWS are a long way removed from the sort of music most normally associated with T(n)VV but I can’t recommend them highly enough to you.

mp3 : PAWS – Tongues

More details here : http://www.wehavepaws.com/

SACRED PAWS

Not to be confused with the previous act….nor with Honeyblood albeit this is another all-female duo with a guitar and drums line-up.

Sacred Paws are a relatively new band in terms of releasing records with their 6-track debut LP, snappily entitled 6 Songs, being released in March 2015 but the two musicians Rachel Aggs (guitar/vocals) and Eilidh Rodgers (drums/vocals) have been part of other bands and their local music scenes respectively in London and Glasgow and their demos have been kicking around on the internet since 2012.

The EP is on Rock Action Records which has been formed by Mogwai.   So you might think that Sacred Paws are another duo whose music is heavily influenced by the Glasgow noisters….well think again.  It’s more the offspring of Vampire Weekend and Sleater Keaney

mp3 : Sacred Paws – Vince

More details here : http://rockaction.co.uk/releases/4196/6_songs_ep

TEEN CANTEEN

Enough of these all-female duos….it’s time now for an all-female four-piece.

Teen Canteen, aside from having a tremendous name, make tremendous old-fashioned pop music that makes you want to just dance and sing along. The band consists of Carla Easton (lead vocals/keyboards), Sita Pieracinni (vocals/bass), Amanda Williams (vocals/guitar) and Deborah Smith (vocals/drums). Note right away the emphasis on all four members contributing on vocals as that is central to their sound, not just on record but in the live setting.

My mate Aldo had been raving about Teen Canteen for a while as he had caught them on a number of occasions since 2013 and I got to see them late last year at a gig at a small venue on the south side of Glasgow not too far from my home and I was highly impressed.

You can still pick up copies of their excellent 7″ single You’re Still Mine/Vagabond (on glittery vinyl no less!!) and so rather than offer up one of those songs for your enjoyment I thought I’d offer a recorded as live version of a previous sold-out single :-

mp3 : Teen Canteen – Honey

More details here: www.teencanteen.co.uk/

TUFF LOVE

More female musicians, but this lot also include a boy drummer when they play live.  Tuff Love are centred around Julie Eisenstein (guitar/vocals) and Suse Bear (bass/vocals) and specialise in catchy songs of an indie-pop bent that wouldn’t sound out-of-place at a C86 evening albeit there are noticeable influences from later acts such as The Breeders, Elastica and Bikini Kill.  They formed in 2012 and are on Lost Map Records for whom there have been two enjoyable 10″EPs over the past year – Junk, on white vinyl, was released in May 2014 while Dross, on pink vinyl, hit the shops and on-line places in February 2015

If I have one criticism of Tuff Love is that they have proven to be inconsistent in the live setting, sometimes even within the same short show!  I’ve seen them be the best band of an evening and I’ve seen them be the most disappointing band of an evening, struggling to get the sound right to for the venue and the occasion.  But both EPs are well worthy of your attention. The track chosen here is from Dross:-

mp3 : Tuff Love – Slammer

More details here: http://lostmap.com/tuff-love/

WITHERED HAND

Withered Hand is the stage name adopted by singer/songwriter Dan Willson. He’s not Scottish born and bred but has lived in Edinburgh since 1996 and with a Scottish wife and family is very happy to be pigeon-holed as a Scottish act (indeed his latest LP was nominated but not shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year.)

Willson came very late to the music industry, initially as part of Edinburgh-based and highly unsuccessful rock bands, but shortly after turning 30 years of age he got an acoustic guitar and tried a whole new direction and in August 2006 he began performing as Withered Hand.  He was a total natural with his fragile vocal delivery complimenting perfectly his mature,  intelligent, thought-provoking and often amusing lyrics that brought a smile to the face of any listener.  A number of low-fi home recordings led to him getting increasingly noticed and in 2009 his debut LP,  Good News, was released on SL Records. It seemed to be universally praised and was a real ‘word-of-mouth’ grower with some magazine reviews being some nine months or so after it was first released!

Much was made of the fact that a lot of the songs refered to Willson’s religious upbringing – he is a lapsed Jehovah’s Witness – but there was much to admire in his wry take on life and love from someone whose upbringing and development, even in his 20s and 30s, was more unusual than most.

It took five years for the follow-up album to appear and New Gods, released on Fortuna Pop!, brought Withered Hand a whole lot of new fans.  The songs are fleshed out by guest appearances from some of the finest musicians Scotland has produced in recent years including King Creosote, Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines, Stevie Jackson and Chris Geddes of Belle & Sebastian and Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit and the end result is a tremendous blend of indie/pop/folk/acoustic music of what seems like short stories set to memorable tunes. Here’s one of the singles lifted from it:-

mp3 : Withered Hand – Horseshoe

More details here : http://witheredhand.com/

And with that I’m off to see if being 52 is bearable…..

Enjoy.

 

AN UPDATE ON AN OLD POST

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In April 2014 I featured CD2 of a single by Idlewild with the following words:-

Back in 2000, Idlewild released a hugely enjoyable LP called 100 Broken Windows.

Four singles were lifted from the LP, all of which charted – none higher than #23 and none lower than #38 when they were all deserving of a minimum of Top 10. It was an era when singles came out in multiple formats, which was usually 2 x CDs but sometimes you’d also have a 7″ single thrown in.

It’s no real surprise that many acts ended up putting remixes or different versions of previously released material to fill up all the required b-sides, while cover versions were also a popular way of doing similar.

CD2 of the third single lifted from 100 Broken Windows is a perfect example of what I mean as it featured an acoustic version of the most recent single and a cover of an Echo and The Bunnymen track that was bound be well-known to and therefore be of appeal to most of the band’s fans:-

The acoustic version is quite lovely and rather fragile. Not only does it show how good a song it is but it helps display a softer and highly accomplished side of the band that is all too often neglected. The cover however, in the opinion of someone who is a fan of both bands is rather pointless and bitterly disappointing. It just sounds like a pub covers band’s take on the song…

The third single lifted from that album was These Wooden Ideas and the other week I picked up CD1 and gave it a listen.  One of its two b-sides was a really decent Idlewild original which, coming in at just under two minutes was probably disregarded from the LP purely on the basis of its shortness, while the other is yet another cover, this time of a Bob Dylan number from 1964 and I’m delighted that this time, the Idlewild boys did it proud.  As a guitar-driven band it’s really interesting to hear the band going down the route of a song that leans heavily on piano and a vocal that isn’t totally reliant on Roddy Woomble.

So all in all, five tracks over 2 x CDs with just the one duff song to endure.

mp3 : Idlewild – These Wooden Ideas
mp3 : Idlewild – There’s Glory In Your Story
mp3 : Idlewild – When The Ship Comes In
mp3 : Idlewild – Actually It’s Darkness (acoustic version)
mp3 : Idlewild – Rescue

The other week I mentioned how underrated Gene were. I’d say that Idlewild fall into the same category – a band who released a ridiculously good number of singles and albums over the years and who never got the fame they deserved. They were never ever hip enough….

And since I feel this post is kind of short-changing regular readers, I thought I’d throw in another tremendous but more traditional cover of Mr Zimmerman’s number:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – When The Ship Comes In (live)

Enjoy.

THE FICKLENESS OF MUSIC CONSUMERS

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It took a long time for Lemonheads to become overnight sensations and then they were gone in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

It was back in 1986 when the band formed in Boston, with the principal talent being Evan Dando who was guitarist, co-vocalist and main songwriter. Four albums into their career and they were hardly known outside college radio in the USA, so Dando upped sticks and moved to Australia where he hooked up with two other musicians, wrote some songs and recorded an album and a cover version or two. It was said cover version – Mrs Robinson – that brought them some fame, certainly in Australia and the UK, and all of a sudden in 1992 the media went crazy for the handsome Mr Dando.

The fifth LP, It’s A Shame About Ray, saw the band add ‘The’ before their name and the album took off after its re-release with a new inclusion of the hit cover.  By 1993 the band were spending a fair bit of time in Europe, particularly the UK, and seemed set to really crack things when a new song, Into Your Arms was a Top 20 hit at the end of the tear with the sixth LP Come On Feel The Lemonheads going Top 5. It also helped that Dando had formed froendships with the members of Oasis who could do no wrong at this point in time.

The next single, in early 1994 was seen by all concerned as the one to propel The Lemonheads into the stratosphere:-

mp3 : The Lemonheads – It’s About Time

A tuneful and catchy radio-friendly number that surely would find favour with the record buying public.

Except, it didn’t stalling at a lowly #57.

The summer of 1994 wasn’t kind to Evan Dando as his often referred to drug habit – he’d been upfront enough about it before to mention it interviews and to even write songs about it (including one which appears on this CD single) – really took its toll and led to shows being cancelled and a media backlash. One of the world’s most beautiful people of 1993 was all but forgotten by the end of 1994. And it took him until 1996, a full three years after the last album, to get new material out. But his ship had sailed…

Here’s the other tracks on the CD single of the hoped for big hit:-

mp3 : The Lemonheads – Rick James Acoustic Style
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Down About It (acoustic)
mp3 : The Lemonheads – Big Gay Heart (acoustic)

Enjoy

THE ALTERED IMAGES SINGLES (6)

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The oh dear moment and the realisation that the bubble was about to burst.

Altered Images had somehow pulled off the feat of maintaining a fair degree of street cred with the serious music critics while moving ever closer to being a pure pop band.  Things changed however, in May 1982 with the release of the sixth single and second album.

The patchy debut album had been given the benefit of the doubt thanks to the brilliance of its few high points but no such R-769793-1232058444.jpegslack was cut for Pinky Blue.  Eleven songs in all of which only the already released singles were up to the mark.

The album’s release was supported by the issuing of the title track as the band’s latest 45.  It did manage to spend six weeks in the charts but without really making an impact on the record buying public as it never got higher than #35. Once again, it was released in 7″ and 12″ editions:-

7″

mp3 : Altered Images – Pinky Blue
mp3 : Altered Images – Think That It Might (Dance Mix)

12″

mp3 : Altered Images – Pinky Blue (dance mix)
mp3 : Altered Images – Jump Jump / Think That It Might (Segued Dance Mix)

Not only was the quality of the A-side disappointing but the b-sides simply took tracks from the parent album and gave then the re-mix treatment…with the seven inch single featuring an instrumental version. It was, overall, a release with very little imagination applied and all-in-all a bitter disappointment.

The one small mercy is that the 12″ version of Pinky Blue comes in at less than five minutes and so the torture ends quickly enough.  Oh and I suppose a second small mercy is that the cover version of Song Song Blue (originally written and released by Neil Diamond) wasn’t issued in the UK as a 45….that was left to the poor people of Holland and Germany who received no comfort or joy from the b-side being See You Later, another sub-standard track from the LP.

Drastic action was needed if Altered Images were to maintain their place at the higher echelon of the pop hierarchy.

 

NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Part 21 of 48)

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“McCarthy – the great lost band of the ’80s they redesigned my idea of politics and pop, it could be intelligent, it could be beautiful. They were frail, tragic, romantic idealists. The songs soothed your body but exercised your brain. They were my education, my information and they are partly to blame for the realisation of the Manic Street Preachers. I still fall in love with this album every six months, it makes me feel guilty because it’s so good” – Nicky Wire

Formed in 1984 by four school mates who had all attended the same comprehensive in Barking as Billy Bragg, this lot released nine singles, one EP and three albums of rather excellent left-leaning indie-pop before calling it a day in 1990.

Malcolm Eden (vocals and guitar), Tim Gane (lead guitar), John Williamson (bass) and Gary Baker (drums) named themselves McCarthy as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the notoriously right-wing Republican senator of the 50s and following a self-financed debut single they were signed to Pink Records in early 1986 for whom two singles followed.

It was no real surprise given the band’s political leanings that the NME included them on the original C86 tape with this Smiths-esque number:-

mp3 : McCarthy – Celestial City

The band was on September Records by the time of the release of debut LP I Am A Wallet in October 1987 which, given its tracks contained very direct attacks on capitalism, mainstream politics, the British monarchy, the right-wing press (particularly on its coverage of AIDS) and the organised religion, was unsurprisingly ignored by most publications and broadcasters….but not John Peel.

The album didn’t contain the earlier singles as they had been recorded for Pink Records, and it is one such single that was included on CD86 – it also made #35 in the 1987 Festive Forty:-

mp3 : McCarthy – Frans Hal

This is your wonderfully poppy b-side whose title alone must have tickled Peelie:-

mp3 : McCarthy – The Fall

The band specialised in angry song titles such as Should The Bible Be Banned, The New Left Review, We Are All Bourgeois Now and The Drinking Song Of The Merchant Bankers but they never ever got beyond cult status.

When they called it a day in 1990, guitarist Gane and his French girlfriend, who herself had sung on a number of McCarthy records, decided to form a new band with said girlfriend – Laetitia Sadler – taking on vocal duties. That band was called Stereolab whose own efforts in left-leaning pop music would find a bit more success. And I just can’t leave today’s posting without including these two classics:-

mp3 : Stereolab – Ping Pong
mp3 : Stereolab – French Disko

Enjoy

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #16 : AZTEC CAMERA

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Here’s an absolutely outstanding song from an otherwise underwhelming album:-

mp3 : Aztec Camera – Killermont Street

The closing track on Love, the record that spawned Somewhere In My Heart the band’s biggest and best known hit.

Killermont Street was the location of one of the bus stations that served Glasgow in the 60s and early 70s and in due course would be the street on which the new Buchanan Bus Station would be built in 1977. This is where a young Roddy Frame would need to make his way to head home of an evening and back to East Kilbride a journey that I’m sure saw him sitting on the top deck of the bright red bus dreaming of future days when his talents would take him all over the world.

And when that came to pass, it seems so fitting that he would see fit to pen this wonderful tribute to his adopted home city and to link it to the actual nearby town where he grew up, both of which by the late 80s were suffering as a consequence of the policies of an unsympathetic right-wing government content to see a dismantling of the traditions that had built Glasgow and its surroundings.

This one is dedicated to Drew who resides Across The Kitchen Table.  We must be due a pint again soon amigo…..

Enjoy.

I DON’T WANT TO TURN AROUND AND FIND I GOT IT WRONG…

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One thing I regret about my lifelong addiction to music is that I only picked up on Magazine after the band broke up, and so, until they reformed a few years back, I never got to see them in the flesh.  Part of my ignorance of the band was that I was very much a Buzzcocks boy, and was too stubborn to take notice of those friends who said I should check out the work of the man who was the real inspiration behind the band but who had left before success to pursue his own musical dreams.

So it wasn’t until 1982 that I bought my first Magazine LP – a compilation effort called After The Fact. For weeks, it was the only thing I was listening to….and so the next logical step was to buy all of the band’s back catalogue.

Magazine quickly took their place as one of my all time favourite bands. And just as I was really getting into the band I became a really happy chappy when I read that Howard Devoto was in the midst of recording a solo LP.

Prior to the album, there was a single – Rainy Season. It wasn’t anything like I expected as it was far lighter and poppier than the stuff that Magazine had done. But, I thought then, and still think today, that it is a fantastic record that really should have cracked the charts.

Then the LP – Jerky Versions Of The Dream – hit the shops.

It was a real let-down. I thought it was a rather limp and dull affair and other than the initial single, nothing really jumped out at me. I probably listened to it no more than three or four times, before loaning it to someone. I never ever asked for its return.

But not long after starting the original blog and re-igniting my passion for vinyl I found a second-hand vinyl copy while I was living and working in Toronto in the summer of 2008 together with a copy of the follow-up single taken from the album.

I was therefore able to listen to Jerky Versions Of The Dream for the first time in more two decades and was pleased to realise that it is a work that has aged well. I’m not saying it’s a tremendous and ‘must-have’ record, but it is certainly far better than I recall it being back at the time of its release.

It came on the scene just around the same time as a band called The Smiths were emerging while there was also the huge distraction of so many fresh sounding and exciting bands that I was seeing in and around my home city.  I suppose with hindsight that I was comparing it with all of what was going on and feeling it just wasn’t good enough…..but now I’m prepared to admit that Howard’s debut album that came out just at the wrong time in my life to be properly appreciated.

Here’s the two singles in their 12″ glory:-

mp3 : Howard Devoto – Rainy Season (12″ version)
mp3 : Howard Devoto – Cold Imagination (12″ version)

And how about I throw in the b-side to the latter single simply for the stellar cast that played on it:-

mp3 : Howard Devoto – Out Of Shape With Me

Barry Adamson (bass guitar)
Howard Devoto (guitar & ARP Bass)
Andy Diagram (French horn & trumpet)
Dave Formula (F.S.E. & piano)

Enjoy.

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM #16 – LAMBCHOP

I’m delighted that another regular reader and occasional commentator has taken up the opportunity to make a contribution to the series.  Jules who is behind the blog Music from Magazines gives us his thoughts on the wonderful world of Lambchop:-

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Where does one start with a Lambchop imaginary album? not “I sucked my bosses dick” lyrically fine but a tad naive musically.

SIDE ONE

SUNRISE

Lets start with what else… an overture. written as part of score to played live to accompany the film Sunrise (1927). The film was directed by F.W. Murnau probably more famous for Nosferatu (1922).

mp3 : Lambchop – Sunrise

I’VE BEEN LONELY FOR SO LONG

Many years ago I worked in a pub with a CD juke box, was able to burn CDs and had the keys to said juke box (lucky customers) but one track that got a loads of plays at end of an evening was this cracking cover of Fredrick Knights southern soul classic from 1972.

mp3 : Lambchop – I’ve Been Lonely For So Long

THE OLD GOLD SHOE

NIXON is such an amazing album it could be the dream LAMBCHOP compilation on its own, but that would be a tad silly and defeat the whole point of this excercise. On a classy holiday in Teneriffe I had Nixon and The Mountain by Steve Earle on my CD walkman all the time, The number that wormed its way in though was The Old Gold Shoe.

To be honest dont often understand the lyrics, but they are funny, last line “think of me as the fifth Beatle”. Also some nice Lambchop trademark background sounds.

mp3 : Lambchop – The Old Gold Shoe

I’M A STRANGER HERE

This is from Hank, its what Lambchop is about, if you dont like this number then I hate to be the bringer of bad news but a lot of there stuff is very similar.

Me, I think its sodding brilliant both lyricly and musicly.

mp3 : Lambchop – I’m A Stranger Here

IS A WOMAN

Absolutly gourgeous song to end side 1.

Starts with the usual Kurt Wagner lyrics that confuse people like me (Love? Loss? Longing? buggered if I know) and then morphs into a lovely lazy skank.

mp3 : Lambchop – Is A Woman

SIDE TWO

THE DECLINE OF COUNTRY AND WESTERN CIVILIZATION

A review of this track (from the Prepared album) if my memory serves me right, said it was like a punk number amongst the quite; well they had a point, it comes in with a bang naming the total shitbag scumsucking filth that was Nathan Bedford Forrest. moves on to more Wagner rants and then turns into a love song at the end….I think.

p.s. and name checks Jim Nabors (more later)

mp3 : Lambchop – The Decline of Country and Western Civilization

CIGARETIQUETTE

Realesed an album called “How I Quit Smoking” then later released a song with the line ” Im smoking again”. Patches might have helped.

Nonetheless this is great pop song.

mp3 : Lambchop – Cigaretiquette

UNDER THE SAME MOON

More old school lambchop

More to the the point I think I understand the words.

“Sylvester’s three on a tin roof
Kathy Dick and the burden of proof
If you’re lookin’ at me you’re lookin’ at the truth
Under the same moon

An incense burned and a rusty comb
A name and an address of a retirement home
Two neighborhood dogs who won’t leave me alone
Under the same moon

A dollar and a donut lie under the bed
A woman with a basket and a shaved head
Pressed between the pages of the book we both read
Under the same moon

A powerful thirst and a crying shame
An old rugged cross and a lip that is lame
Two lovers that remember the first time they came
Under the same moon

A dress in the closet and some shoes on the rack
A harmonica and a hat that is black
If you leave this town you ain’t never comin’ back
Under the same moon

A car alarm and a bottle that breaks
A receptionist and a creek full of snakes
Stay up all night if that’s what it takes
Under the same moon”

The Boo Hoo bits at the end have thrown me a bit though.

mp3 : Lambchop – Under The Same Moon

UP WITH PEOPLE (LIVE)

Because if you have got this far you will expect nothing less.

mp3 : Lambchop – Up With People (live)

THEONE

Not one to quote The ToryGraph regulary but I was there, and its true….

“The power to still a beery crowd with beauty”

“Backed by just string quartet and bassist, with a beautiful song for his wife. Wherever he may be creatively, he had the power to still a room and touch everyone in it very deeply.”   Andrew Perry

And yes it is a truly Beautiful song.

And yes I was truly Beery.

And yes I shed a tear.

mp3 : Lambchop – Theone

p.s. the line “Gomer Pyle was just a man” refers to a TV character played by (you guessed it) Jim Nabors.

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Jules