BORN TO DO COVER VERSIONS

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From Rolling Stone magazine:-

LCD Soundsystem’s tragically nostalgic dance-rock epic ‘All My Friends’ is arguably the best indie-rock song of the ’00s. The B-sides to the single were all cover versions, hinting that the song was a classic the minute it was released.

Scot rockers Franz Ferdinand, who’d already taken bracing, contorted grooves to the pop charts, were born to do ‘All My Friends’ and they turned in an incisive, raging guitar-grinding version with singer Alex Karpanos boozily crooning James Murphy’s forlorn lyrics about losing touch with your friends as you grow older and more ambitious. Musically, they pull of a wonderful trick of interlaying their version with references to legendary post-punk bands like New Order and the Gang of Four that LCD and Franz share as influences. It’s an A-plus history project you can get way down to.

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – All My Friends

It really is a cracking, crackling energetic cover that is among the best things that FF have ever laid down.  But then again, they’re a band who have never shied away from tackling cover versions throughout their career, some without question more successfully than others as evidenced here:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sexy Boy
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Get Up and Use Me
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – What You Waiting For?
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sound and Vision

I’m quite fond of the first two of the four featured above, not convinced by the third as I’ve no time for the original (albeit Mrs Villain is a fan of Gwen Stefani) while the latter is fun enough for the fact that Girls Aloud are on backing vocals!

I never ever got round to mentioning that the FFS project turned out to be one of the best surprises about 2015. The idea of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks combining into a supergroup for an album and live performances didn’t seem like a good idea when first mooted but then I gave the album a listen and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was but that was nothing compared to seeing them perform at the Glasgow Barrowlands which turned out to be a fun-filled and hugely entertaining gig. This was the night when I did truly understand the FF boys were born to do cover versions.

Watch this entire 70 minute performance while you have spare time over the festive period

You can perhaps do it tomorrow when I’m taking a day off blogging. I’ll be back on Saturday with the latest in the re-run of the 45s series

Happy New Year when it comes.

I DIDN’T LIKE YOU VERY MUCH WHEN I MET YOU

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It was back in 1987 that a new band from Stourbridge in the heart of the Midlands in England came to critical prominence through the release of two singles on their own Farout label. The second of them featured a cracking sing-a-long chorus referred to in the title of today’s posting:-

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Unbearable

The Wonder Stuff signed with Polydor Records not long after and over the next six years went on to enjoy a great deal of success with four Top 10 albums and a bundle of hit singles including a #1 hit when they backed Vic Reeves on his remake of Dizzy in October 1991.

But with the success came the critical backlash and there was a feeling among the band that it wasn’t much fun anymore. Much of their enjoyment in the early days came from the live performances and having caught them of an evening at the Glasgow Barrowlands in 1989 I can vouch for how good they were – it was a frenzied, boisterous and incredibly entertaining night – but as the venues got bigger and the set lists had to become centred around all the hits (especially the one that wasn’t really theirs) there was a sense that it was all getting a bit routine and treadmill like.

They called it a day in mid 1994 and closed with a headlining set at an outdoor festival in front of 30,000 fans. Three months later Polydor issued a best-of album that went Top 10 and promoted it through the re-release of Unbearable, including the original b-sides as well as making a second CD available with the re-recorded version of the song that had appeared on The Eight Legged Groove Machine, the debut LP back in 1988:-

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Ten Trenches Deep
mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – I Am A Monster
mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Frank

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Unbearable (re-recorded)

Enjoy

MOZ AND MEXICO

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A few months back, a work colleague brought my attention to an article on Page 38 of Volume 416 Number 8949 of The Economist (published since September 1843).  The subject matter isn’t all that new….various t’internet boards have mused on Moz and Mexicio for more than 15 years now…but I thought it was worth passing on to TVV readers.

“The lugubrious strains of Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now waft across a sunny beach in Acapulco. If that song in that setting surprises you, then you do not know about the strange affinity between Mexicans and Morrissey, the morbid, underdog-loving front-man of The Smiths, a British band of the 1980s, who then went solo.

In Mexico City a band called Mexrrissey is hard at work recording an album of his songs in styles ranging from trumpet-blaring mariachi to throbbing norteño.  Its creator, disc jockey Camilo Lara, calls it Girlfriend in a Conga, a play on one of The Smiths’ wickedest songs (which puts the girlfriend in a coma). It’s not a tribute album. Morrissey’s lyrics, dripping with black humour, are translated into the mischievous Spanish of Mexico City. Morrissey’s First of the Gang to Die, about a murdered gangster, fades out in its Mexican version with ay güey, pobre güey (“hey dude, poor dude”).

Mr Lara says the bitter melodrama of Morrissey’s poetry strikes a chord in Mexico, where even in soap operas the poor make it up the social ladder only through lies and deceit. In Mexican street music, the exuberant melodies overlie bleakly funny lyrics about loneliness, depression and self-pity. The jubilant trumpets, like Johnny Marr’s guitar in The Smiths’ heyday, can strike hammer blows to the heart. Among Chicanos in the United States, Morrissey fandom is even more intense.

He returns the affection with almost ludicrous tenderness. Famously, he once described Mexicans as “so terribly nice. They have such fantastic hair and fantastic skin and usually really good teeth. Great combination!” As the son of Catholic Irish immigrants to Britain, he appears to empathise with uprooted émigrés to the United States. In “Mexico”, Morrissey sings of breathing “the tranquil cool lover’s air/ but I could taste a trace/ of American chemical waste/ and the small voice said: ‘What can we do?’” Chicano concert-goers sport “Moz” tattoos.

In his autobiography Morrissey describes the Mexican gait with the bemusing eccentricity that is one of his trademarks: “There is a certain Mexican movement of the head, telling we from elsewhere that they know very well how they are thought not to matter. Because of this they have abnormal strength and love, with anchored hearts beyond the imaginations of royal dictatorships.” That makes Mexicans swoon. “There is this violent country. And then there is this Brit from Manchester who sees us with eyes of love,” Mr Lara says.

Morrissey has not endorsed his album. Nor did he comment on Mexrrissey’s sold-out concerts this year in London’s Barbican theatre and elsewhere, where fans sang along in English over the Latin rhythms.

Lovers of Mexican music hope the album will build an international audience for it, as the Buena Vista Social Club did for Cuban pop. Mexrrissey might be happy with viral Gangnam-style success. Either way, the bond between Mexico and the melancholy Mancunian can only get stronger.”

And with that….here’s some tunes:-

mp3 : Morrissey – First Of The Gang To Die
mp3 : Morrissey – Mexico

Incidentally, I still haven’t gotten round to buying Moz’s debut novel far less reading it.  The various reviews indicate that I’m not missing much.

PS

Quick reminder that I’m looking for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.

SEVEN PLUS MINUTES OF FILTHY FUNKING…AND A FLACCID COVER

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I first heard this piece of magnificence courtesy of its inclusion on a tape compiled by Jacques the Kipper:-

mp3 : Prince & The Revolution – Erotic City (Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive)

The song was originally released as the b-side to Let’s Go Crazy in 1984 (in edited form for the 7″) and later again in 1986 on the 12″ version of Girls & Boys. I feel however that I must warn readers, who may be easily offended, that the song features some sweary words. Or maybe he is really saying funk……

The song is significant for being the recording debut of Sheila E, the singer/drummer/percussionist who would not only become integral to the output of Prince over the next five years but would later go on to enjoy a reasonably successful solo career. I was also intrigued by the fact that among the small number of acts who have been brave enough to tackle a cover version are this lot who got a mention on T(n)VV a short while back for what I had thought would have been the one only time and so I went out and tracked down the CD single on which it appears as a b-side.

mp3 : Semisonic – Erotic City

It sounds, rather sadly, like a wedding band’s take on it.  Limp and hugely uninspiring.  And a contender for a place in the Top 10 worst covers of all time which is shaping up for a post at somepoint in the future.

Enjoy

NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Postscript 1)

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There’s a cracking 10-track compilation LP sitting in the cupboard;  actually there’s a few but for today there’s just the one under the microscope.

It’s called A Different Kind of Tension – and it’s not to be confused with the LP of the same name  by Buzzcocks – that was released in 1986 on the Pressure Of The Real World label. It has the prefix PRLP1. I have no idea at all whether there was ever a PRLP2 or any other release at all on the label. Google search came up with nowt.

It was an album I picked up back in 2008 while temporarily living in Toronto and it cost me the equivalent of £3.  As it turns out, two of the tracks on the album were also included on the CD86 compilation and were part of that recent 48-part series.  The idea of today and next Sunday is to offer up the other eight songs as a postscript or perhaps more appropriately, an encore to the series.

Here’s side A of the album:-

1. The Mighty Lemon Drops – Like An Angel
2. Soup Dragons – Whole Wide World
3. One Thousand Violins – Like One Thousand Violins
4. The Wolfhounds – Cut The Cake
5. The June Brides – Every Conversation

Songs 1 and 2 were on CD 86 as too were different songs by the bands performing songs 4 and 5.

Here’s some relevant info on the three ‘new’ songs:-

One Thousand Violins formed in Sheffield, and the featured track is a b-side from their debut single Halcyon Days on Dreamworld Records which was released in 1985. However, it proved more popular and so enduring that it ended up gathering enough votes to make John Peel’s Festive 50 the same year. Further singles and an album soon followed, but before long musical and artistic differences led to them breaking up.

mp3 : One Thousand Violins – Like One Thousand Violins

The Wolfhounds rather splendid ditty Anti-Midas Touch was on CD86.  This however, is their 1986 debut single on Pink Records.

mp3 : The Wolfhounds – Cut The Cake

I’ve already said everything before about The June Brides and have recommended that you pick up this compilation album. Their debut single was on CD 86. This was the wonderful follow-up:-

mp3 : The June Brides – Every Conversation

Enjoy

PS

Quick reminder that I’m looking for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.

A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (32)

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON THURSDAY 10 APRIL 2008

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Now come on…..all of you knew it was only a matter of time before the great man made an appearance….

The fact he’s as low as #32 might surprise some of you, while the fact I’ve gone for a single that isn’t one of his better known may make it a double surprise.

Are you interested enough to learn that Edwyn Collins released about a dozen or so singles in the UK as a solo artist over the best part of 20 years up to 2008? And of these only A Girl Like You bothered the charts. But then again, it bothered the charts all over Europe and beyond (#6 in Australia…), making Edwyn more money for that particular four minutes of work than the rest of his recording career, and indeed his producing career, put together.

So to the majority of people, Edwyn Collins is a something of a one-hit wonder twice over – with Orange Juice and Rip It Up in 1982 and then A Girl Like You in 1994.

I’m not saying all of his solo singles have been instant classics, but it still baffling that he’s only struck gold on one occasion. Another single from the Gorgeous George LP really deserved a much wider audience. It’s long been my view that if something this easy on the ear with such a heartfelt lyric had been given to someone like Robbie Williams to record, then we would have been looking at an instant crowd-pleasing #1……

Having said that, the arrangement from the chart heavyweights would probably have made it unrecognisable from the original….

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If You Could Love Me

I’ve got both CD 1 and CD 2 of this single as well as a 12″ vinyl version, and between them, they offer up an additional seven songs as ‘b-sides’.

CD1

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – In A Broken Dream
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Hope And Despair
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Insider Dealing

The first of these tracks is a cover version of a song from the 70s, originally released by Python Lee Jackson (with vocal by Rod Stewart). The second is a re-working of the title track of an earlier solo LP by Edwyn. The third is an instrumental clocking in at over 8 mins in length.

CD2

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If Ever Your Ready
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Come To Your Senses
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You (Victorian Spaceman Mix)

The first, produced by Bernard Butler, is a misspelling of a track that Edwyn has recorded and released previously. If Ever You’re Ready is also on the LP Hope and Despair, with further different versions available on the b-sides of the singles 50 Shades of Blue and Don’t Shilly Shally. The second is a great track and in my view, wasted as a giveaway on a CD single, while I’m sure you know about the original version of the third…

12″ vinyl

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If You Could Love Me (M.C. Esher mix)

Somehow I don’t think this will be the last appearance Edwyn makes in my nostalgic and self-indulgent consideration of great 45s.

THE STYLE COUNCIL SINGLES (4)

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The huge success of the first three singles by The Style Council, particularly the Top 3 chart position of Long Hot Summer, was clear evidence that Paul Weller wasn’t ever going to need to reform The Jam.

While some fans were really struggling to move on and accept the new band, I was one of those who thought TSC were producing some great stuff, albeit I was more than baffled by the overly pretentious sleeve notes that really made little or no sense at all.

Long Hot Summer and all the other tracks on that EP had been on very heavy rotation, and I was thrilled to read that the follow-up single was going to be called A Solid Bond In Your Heart, simply as I remembered that The Jam had, a couple of years earlier, given that very name to one of their UK tours. So I was expecting something really special….a song that would somehow blend the chic sound of Long Hot Summer and the funk/pop of the later singles by The Jam.

Instead, I found myself listening to a single that had the most appalling saxophone sound all over it. I remember playing it something like three or four times in a row looking for something to like about it….I mean Zeke Manyika  was drumming on it so there had to be something my ears could pick up on…..but no, that bloody awful saxophone dominated everything. I was bitterly let down by it. It sounded as if was a record written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley

But clearly I was in a minority, for it was a record that sold very well, climbing to #11 in the pop charts.

mp3 : The Style Council – A Solid Bond In Your Heart

To be fair, I really liked the b-side which to this day is one of my favourite TSC compositions:-

mp3 : The Style Council – It Just Came To Pieces In My Hand

And I suppose I really should finish things off by shoving up the third track that came on the 7″gatefold sleeve version of the single….but I’ll warn you, that saxophone features prominently:-

mp3 : The Style Council – A Solid Bond In Your Heart (instrumental)

The Jam’s earlier version eventually appeared as a track on the Extras CD released in 1992 and then a slightly extended version was included in the Direction Reaction Creation boxset in 1997.

mp3 : The Jam – A Solid Bond In Your Heart (extended)

Seemingly a contender for the final ever 45 by the band, it was a late call instead to go with Beat Surrender.

Part 5 of this series will return in the new year with a tune that was, IMHO, a return to form.

THE GREATEST CHART RUNDOWN OF ALL TIME…..??

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I mentioned the Festive 50 from 1981 in passing yesterday. Here it is, in its full glory, from the unplayed 60-51 and then those which were aired, ten at a time, on 23, 24, 28, 29 and 30 December.

60: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Hong Kong Garden’
59: Sex Pistols: ‘Pretty Vacant’
58: Fire Engines: ‘Candy Skin ‘
57: Special AKA: ‘Gangsters’
56: Fall: ‘Totally Wired‘
55: Anti-Pasti: ‘No Government‘
54: New Order: ‘In A Lonely Place‘
53: Magazine: ‘Shot By Both Sides‘
52: Bauhaus: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead‘
51: Joy Division: ‘She’s Lost Control‘

50: Altered Images: ‘Happy Birthday’
49: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Switch‘
48: New Order: ‘Procession’
47: Fall: ‘Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul’
46: Echo And The Bunnymen: ‘Over The Wall’
45: Killing Joke: ‘Psyche‘
44: Joy Division: ‘Isolation’
43: Joy Division: ‘Twenty-Four Hours’
42: Dead Kennedys: ‘California Uber Alles’
41: Only Ones: ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’

40: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Icon’
39: Pigbag: ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag’
38: Sex Pistols: ‘God Save The Queen’
37: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Israel’
36: B-Movie: ‘Remembrance Day’
35: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Jigsaw Feeling’
34: Laurie Anderson: ‘O Superman’
33: Fall: ‘How I Wrote Elastic Man’
32: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘Suspect Device’
31: Ruts: ‘In A Rut‘

30: Fall: ‘Fiery Jack’
29: Heaven 17: ‘No Fascist Groove Thang’
28: Killing Joke: ‘Follow The Leaders’
27: Killing Joke: ‘Requiem’
26: Public Image Ltd: ‘Public Image’
25: Theatre Of Hate: ‘Legion’
24: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘Johnny Was’
23: Jam: ‘Going Underground’
22: Scritti Politti: ‘The Sweetest Girl’
21: Specials: ‘Ghost Town’

20: Undertones: ‘Get Over You’
19: Birthday Party: ‘Release The Bats’
18: Clash: ‘Complete Control’
17: Sex Pistols: ‘Holidays In the Sun’
16: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘Alternative Ulster’
15: Altered Images: ‘Dead Pop Stars’
14: Joy Division: ‘Transmission’
13: Jam: ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’
12: Damned: ‘New Rose’
11: Joy Division: ‘Dead Souls’

10: Clash: ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’
09: Dead Kennedys: ‘Holiday In Cambodia’
08: Cure: ‘A Forest’
07: Joy Division: ‘Decades‘
06: Undertones: ‘Teenage Kicks’
05: Joy Division: ‘New Dawn Fades’
04: New Order: ‘Ceremony’
03: Joy Division: ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’
02: Sex Pistols: ‘Anarchy In The U.K.’
01: Joy Division: ‘Atmosphere’

I suppose I do have to make the claim that this was the greatest chart rundown of all time given just how many of the songs have appeared on t’blog(s) in the past.

There’s no doubt you could make many a decent indie compilation LP in a ‘perm any 10 from 60 sort of way’.  This would work well I reckon….

SIDE A

mp3 : Public Image Ltd – Public Image
mp3 : The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
mp3 : Magazine – Shot By Both Sides
mp3 : Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster
mp3 : Specials – Gangsters

SIDE B

mp3 : Undertones – Get Over You
mp3 : Scritti Politti – The Sweetest Girl
mp3 : Joy Division – Transmission
mp3 : The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
mp3 : The Cure – A Forest

Enjoy

A MAGICAL AND WONDROUS MOMENT IN POP MUSIC HISTORY

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Click on the mp3 below and have a listen. Said moment happens at the nineteen seconds mark when the strings so unexpectedly kick in.

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin

Candyskin was released in May 1981 and was the second single to be released by Fire Engines. It came out on Pop Aural Records, the Edinburgh-based label which provided so much of the storyline for the superb Big Gold Dream documentary as reviewed earlier this year. Frontman Davy Henderson is one of the stars of said documentary, regaling the audience with hilarious and often hard-to-believe yet true tales of the life and times of a would-be pop star in Scotland’s capital in those dark and dangerous days when punks were sneered at and regarded with outright hostility just for the crime of looking and sounding different from the norm.

I was completely unaware of Candyskin till September 1983 when I finally moved out of the family home and into a student flat at the beginning of my third year at University. This noisy, abrasive and unconventional single was owned by a flatmate and it was one of his all-time favourites…….it didn’t take me long to understand and appreciate why. About 19 seconds…….

The b-side is another crazy sounding piece of music, the title of became the name of one of the short-lived bands to come out of the C86 movement as mentioned in Part 25 of the just completed series:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Meat Whiplash

The single would be voted in at #58 in John Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1981. You might be wondering why this could be but in those days the great man read out the names of those songs that were voted in at 60-51 just before the end of the rundown. That was the year that Fire Engines recorded two Peel Sessions, the first of which included this take on one of the most popular political songs of the era:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang

The second session offered up this:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin (Peel Session)

Enjoy

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #54 : A.R.KANE

ANOTHER GUEST CONTRIBUTION FROM ALEX G

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A.R.Kane. The very name suggests something obscure, difficult, hidden from the masses. According to AllMusic, they were “arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it’s true that they always seemed to be more of a critics’ band. You won’t find A.R.Kane listed on officialcharts.com; they never achieved the crossover success of contemporaries like The Jesus and Mary Chain or My Bloody Valentine. Even when they lucked into a hit as part of the MARRS project, their song was the overlooked “AA” side, with A.R.Kane themselves credited only in the small print. If they were tempting fate with the name, then they got bitten.

The creative core of A.R.Kane consisted of Londoners and longtime friends Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala, who started making music together after being inspired by a performance by Cocteau Twins on The Tube. (Quite possibly this one: http://bit.ly/1OdJYwV. Now form a band.) They were still just messing around when, a couple of weeks later, Tambala told someone at a party that he was in a band, and was asked what sort of music they played. “A bit Velvet Underground, a bit Cocteau Twins, a bit Miles Davis, a bit Joni Mitchell,” he bluffed. A few days later, he got a call from One Little Indian Records, offering this intriguingly genre-busting group an audition. Well sure, why not? Somehow (Tambala: “Maybe ‘cos we were iconoclasts, black, actually quite good, and sexy”) A.R.Kane managed to wing it, and ended up snagging themselves a recording deal.

Such eclectic influences aside, how to describe what A.R.Kane actually sound like? Well, the path of least resistance would lead to “shoegaze”, although by the time that scene properly exploded and gained its mocking moniker in the early 90s, A.R.Kane had already left the building. And for much of their kaleidoscopic second LP, it simply doesn’t apply anyway. Their staunchest supporter, music journalist and essayist Simon Reynolds, favours “oceanic rock”, but he’s never got anyone else to buy into that. It fell to band member Alex Ayuli, ex-advertising copywriter, to come up with the description “dream pop”. That stuck. More than that, it became such a widely-used term that nowadays, Wikipedia has a “List of dream pop artists”, and although it’s merely by an accident of alphabetisation, it’s only right that A.R.Kane are top of the list.

A little note before we continue… the name A.R.Kane was inconsistently punctuated (AR Kane, A*R*Kane, A. R. Kane, that thing they did on “New Clear Child” that I can’t reproduce in regular text), which I imagine is down to the whims of graphic designers. But Rudy Tambala’s Facebook page has it as A.R.Kane (two dots, no spaces), and I figure he would know, so that’s what I’m going with.

To the compilation, then, which is broadly but not strictly chronological. The first side (“Dream side”) covers their early EPs and debut album, the second (“Pop side”) covers everything else. If you’re really not into the feedback-heavy proto-shoegaze stuff, then skip straight to side two where you’ll find the catchy alternative dance choons.

Dream side

1. Baby Milk Snatcher (EP version) (from Rough Trade EP “Up Home”, released March 1988)

“[My Bloody Valentine] were a jangly indie band until we put out Baby Milk Snatcher. Suddenly they slowed it all down and layered it with feedback.”

So said Rudy Tambala in an interview for The Guardian in 2012. An influential record, then? Well, maybe (it came out four months before MBV’s You Made Me Realise, so draw your own conclusions), but also a great track in its own right and an important turning point for A.R.Kane themselves.

Debut “When You’re Sad” was a (relatively) conventional song, and the Lollita EP had, by their own reckoning, been about taking on producer Robin Guthrie’s sound more than developing their own. And the dance rhythms of the MARRS single, well, they would return later but for the time being they were a complete outlier. But Up Home was the real A.R.Kane, and its lead track distils their myriad influences – indie rock, dub, ethereal, jazz, the gamut – into possibly their finest moment. (It reappeared on their debut album, but in a shorter, inferior version. This one is definitive.) I think they do live up to their name here, as quite honestly it is a bit too arcane for serious hit potential, but I’m surprised to discover that it didn’t even make John Peel’s Festive Fifty. Now that’s an injustice!

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Baby Milk Snatcher

2. When You’re Sad (short version) (One Little Indian 12” single, released August 1986)

Back to the start, and A.R.Kane’s debut is actually pretty catchy under all that noise. Not a sniff of chart action, of course. JAMC’s “Some Candy Talking” was in the top 20 at the time, and this should have appealed to the same crowd, but it wasn’t to be, even after One Little Indian wisely vetoed the duo’s favoured title “You Push A Knife Into My Womb” (which is what Tambala still calls it).

The fade-out here seems rather abrupt, and you might imagine that the long version would go on after that. But no, the long version ends in exactly the same way – it’s just got a long and rather uninspired drum solo tacked onto the start of the track. It doesn’t really add anything except length, so I’ve gone with the short version instead.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – When You’re Sad

3. Sperm Whale Trip Over (from Rough Trade LP “Sixty Nine”, released June 1988)

For me, the real meat of A.R.Kane’s early period is the EPs, but their debut album Sixty Nine (strangely, almost always rendered in discographies as 69, despite being spelled out as words on the LP itself) is also well worth investigating.

The stream-of-consciousness title of this track reflects in the music, more than making good on the “dream pop” tag. No prizes for spotting the hidden meaning of that repeatedly-referenced “L. S. Dream”… “trip” is the operative word!

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Sperm Whale Trip Over

4. The Butterfly Collector (from 4AD EP “Lollita”, released July 1987)

The one “proper” A.R.Kane release on 4AD.

Alex Ayuli already had a bit of history with the label: in his old job as an advertising creative for Saatchi & Saatchi, he was behind a TV ad campaign for Thomson Holidays and approached 4AD supremo Ivo Watts-Russell for permission to use This Mortal Coil’s version of “Song To The Siren”. Upon being turned down, Ayuli arranged for the recording of a soundalike version instead, which duly appeared on the TV ad, causing confusion for a lot of viewers who thought 4AD had “sold out”. I don’t know what effect it had on Thomson’s business but, regardless of their non-participation, it did help to shift a lot of This Mortal Coil LPs.

At any rate, when Alex and Rudy, dissatisfied with One Little Indian’s low budget and meddling with their titles, turned up on spec one day at the 4AD offices, Ivo was clearly willing to let bygones be bygones. And poaching a promising act from under the nose of a rival was something he was definitely up for.

So it came to pass that A.R.Kane joined the 4AD roster, and released the acclaimed “Lollita” EP, produced by their idol Robin Guthrie. Oh, and then they accidentally had a number one hit, but we’ll leave that hanging for now. Meanwhile, enjoy this slow-burner, which I would say is one of the few A.R.Kane songs where the music serves the lyric rather than the other way round. What can you expect? Well, let’s just say that despite its initial sentiments, it’s unlikely to ever turn up on Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – The Butterfly Collector

Incidentally, the Lollita EP was number two on Melody Maker’s singles of the year for 1987 (remember what I said about them being a critics’ band?). Number one was The Sugarcubes“Birthday”, and second to that is surely a good result in anyone’s book.

5. Is This Dub? (from Rough Trade EP “Love-sick”, released October 1988)

Alex and Rudy always said that their biggest influence was Miles Davis. That may not be particularly obvious in the preceding tracks, but maybe this one, a remix of B-side “Is This Is?” (sic), will make it a bit more evident. Or not. Beggar & Co.’s Kenny Wellington brings the brass.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Is This Dub?

Pop side

1. Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance) (original mix) (from 4AD single credited to MARRS, released August 1987)

At this point we backtrack a little. Rudy and Alex’s brief time on 4AD produced two singles: the Lollita EP, and what was supposedly a collaboration with art-pop experimentalists Colourbox. Surely by now everyone knows the story of MARRS, but suffice to say that the “collaboration” was really more of a split single, Colourbox creating the more popular “Pump Up The Volume”, while A.R.Kane were responsible for the flipside, “Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)”. The disc became a major hit, that to this day gets spoken of in awed tones for its influence on British dance music. Supposedly, it was also the first independently-distributed number one, though I’ve also seen the same claim made for “Save Your Love” by Renee and Renato. We don’t talk about that, natch.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)

Though “Anitina” came out under the MARRS banner, I have no hesitation in inlcuding it here since the group themselves clearly consider it an A.R.Kane song. Both the original and remix versions are included on their 2012 singles compilation (in contrast to Colourbox’s supposedly complete box set released a few months before, from which “Pump Up The Volume” is conspicuously absent), and it was regularly played on their recent tour. The way Ivo tells it, Colourbox actually wanted to do the B-side as well, but “Pump Up The Volume” had taken them so long that Ivo, keen to get it out while it was still hot, refused. Had Colourbox got their way, “Anitina” would probably have become the next A.R.Kane single instead. The fractious creation and well-documented legal troubles around the record put a strain on those involved: Ivo fell out with everybody, Colourbox split up, and A.R.Kane got booted off the label. Their new home Rough Trade naturally attempted to play up the MARRS connection in promoting their next releases, but considering that these were the very un-“Pump Up The Volume”-like “Up Home” EP and “Sixty Nine” album, it didn’t do them much good.

A.R.Kane did eventually return to something MARRS-y, but their would-be follow-up “Listen Up!”, released a year on from “Pump”/”Anitina”under the name ARK and with the members credited pseudonymously as Hays-Ze-Haze and Xero Tyme, has pretty much been written out of their history. Seemingly an attempt to ape the more popular “Pump Up The Volume”, it comes across more like a second-rate copy of “Tired of Getting Pushed Around” by Two Men, A Drum Machine And A Trumpet. I like Tired Of Getting Pushed Around, but that does leave “Listen Up!” as A.R.Kane’s rehash of a rehash of someone else’s flipside to their own record. Which is a bit of a comedown, wouldn’t you say?

2. Miles Apart (Robin Guthrie mix) (from Rough Trade Germany EP “Rem’i’xes”, 1990, original version appears on Rough Trade LP “i”, 1989)

Second album “i” (yes, that’s the title, quotation marks and all) was a much lighter, dancier affair than their debut. Sprawling over four sides of vinyl, it was a right old mish-mash of styles, including throwbacks to the layered feedback of “Sixty Nine” but also house, funk, ambient, acoustic pop, even a bit of glam rock. Robin Guthrie’s not-too-radical remix of the poppy “Miles Apart” appeared on 1990’s Rem’i’xes (see what they did there?) mini-album.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Miles Apart (Robin Guthrie mix)

3. In A Circle (from “i”, 1989)

A good showcase for the eclecticism of “i”. Rudy Tambala’s sister Maggie takes the lead as A.R.Kane go all chamber-pop on us. It’s in the spirit of the earlier material, but with practically the opposite sonic approach – not layered, noisy and fuzzy, but minimal, precise and clean. You wouldn’t expect A.R.Kane to pull this off, but I think they do.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – In A Circle

“i” got good reviews and topped the independent charts, but there’s a huge gulf between having an indie number one and a mainstream hit (just ask Half Man Half Biscuit). At this point it was becoming clear that A.R.Kane weren’t going to make a living from music long-term, and when Rough Trade, finding trade rougher than they’d planned for, were forced to cut their roster, the duo found themselves not just without a label, but also without the inclination to look for a new one. Ayuli moved to the USA, and that, it seemed, was the end of A.R.Kane. But then they received an unexpected offer from a famous fan…

4. A Love From Outer Space (Solar Equinox Mix) (from Luaka Bop single, 1992 – original version appears on “i”)

It was late 1991, and with Talking Heads on a hiatus from which they never returned (the split was made official in December of that year), David Byrne was free to concentrate on other projects, one of which was his boutique “world-beat” record label Luaka Bop.

Disregarding (or perhaps unaware of) the fact that A.R.Kane had split up, Byrne licensed the band’s Rough Trade output and released the compilation Americana at the start of 1992, along with a set of remixes by John Luongo of “i” track A Love From Outer Space.

The remixes aren’t a long way removed from the original album version; the song still sounds a bit like The Beloved, while at times the lyric seems to be anticipating the future McBusted. Now there’s a combination of reference points you don’t see every day!

Incidentally, the extended and dub versions were the “Lunar Eclipse Mix” and “Venusian Dub” respectively, which suggests that though Tambala didn’t do the ALFOS mixes, his choice of “Martial Mix” and “Venusian Mix” as titles for his remixes of Saint Etienne‘s “Avenue” the same year might have been a little bit of cross-promotion. (Angling for a UK release of ALFOS, perhaps? Wouldn’t blame him.)

mp3 : A.R.Kane – A Love From Outer Space (Solar Equinox Mix)

Anyway, Americana got good reviews and solid sales, and the upshot was that Byrne put up the funding for a new album. Which brings us to…

5. Sea Like A Child (album version) (from Luaka Bop LP “New Clear Child”, released September 1994)

You will have noticed that I’ve only left space for one track from the “New Clear Child” era.

There is a reason for this: “New Clear Child” is pretty bad. Not meaning good. Full of lyrical platitudes atop over-produced passionless music, “New Clear Child” is the A.R.Kane album nobody talks about.

The opening track “Deep Blue Breath” is interesting though overly slick, and the closing track “Sea Like A Child” effectively revisits the dream pop of old in a more minimal style, but what happens in between is, in the immortal words of Steps, better best forgotten. (Interviewed for The Quietus, Tambala says “A few of the tracks are really there, but as an album it painted out some of the crucial flaws”. Yup. Bland.)

Still, “Sea Like A Child” – the album’s first and only fully-released single – brings us full circle (sort of), is actually pretty decent, and is the last track on what is, to date, the last proper release by A.R.Kane, so it gets the last spot here as well.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Sea Like A Child

“New Clear Child” sold rather well by Luaka Bop’s standards, and an offer was on the table for a follow-up, but Alex and Rudy decided to call it a day (again). But a version of A.R.Kane with some of the previous live band (lacking Ayuli’s involvement, but with his approval) toured in 2015, and Tambala has since been working on new material and is keen to make A.R.Kane a going concern again, so a proper reunion looks likely in the near future. Which probably won’t make them any less arcane, but then that’s not really the point, is it?

Alex G

JC adds…………

The bizarre thing is that while reading the book on 4AD that I mentioned in passing a couple of weeks back during the posting on Cocteau Twins, I had found myself fascinated by the section on A.R.Kane and thought to myself that I must try and learn a bit more about them beyond the M/A/R/R/S single….and lo and behold Alex’s e-mail dropped in.

It’s a very fitting way to close the ICA series for 2015 but it will return again early next year.  There’s already a high-quality contribution waiting in the wings from one of our regulars featuring a band that hasn’t previously been mentioned on T(n)VV and I know that another would-be contributor is working away on an ICA from a band still going strong almost 40 years after they first came to our attention.  I’ve also got a couple more of my own in draft form as I try to narrow things down to ten songs but please feel free to continue to fire over your own ideas as and when they come to you.

 

 

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

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The final entry in this series pays homage to Duglas T Stewart, the nearest thing we have in Scotland to a King of Indie Pop.

If you are scratching your head in bewilderment, then allow me to steal these wonderful words penned by Michael Pederson for The Skinny back in 2012:-

Duglas T. Stewart is the founder of BMX Bandits; a pop spokesman for love, magic and fairytales. Whilst BMX Bandits have shared members with many brilliant Glasgow bands (such as Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and The Soup Dragons), Duglas T. Stewart has been the effulgent yellow yolk that’s spanned it all. Kurt Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits… and, well, flocks of us convincingly concur.

And if you need more on his band, this the bio from their own website:-

BMX Bandits were formed in 1985 by songwriter and lead vocalist Duglas T Stewart out of the ashes of The Pretty Flowers, a short-lived group that featured Stewart alongside Frances McKee (The Vaselines), Sean Dickson (The Soup Dragons) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub).

Their songs mix melodic qualities and humour with, at times, raw and heartbreaking pathos. Stewart has written many of the group’s works solo including ‘Your Class’, ‘The Sailor’s Song’ and ‘Doorways’ but also has collaborated with many of the other members. Stewart’s most regular songwriting partners have been Francis Macdonald, Norman Blake and, more recently, David Scott of The Pearlfishers and original Bandits lead guitarist Jim McCulloch.

Starting with the exuberant E102 in 1986, BMX Bandits released a series of singles on Stephen Pastels’ 53rd & 3rd label, where they were label mates with The Vaselines and Beat Happening. Later they joined Alan McGee’s Creation Records. BMX Bandits released three albums on Creation. The group’s most celebrated song is the autobiographical ‘Serious Drugs’, recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993.

Stewart split with his long term musical partner Francis Macdonald in 2005 but 2006 saw a new wave of live concert activity and the release of My Chain. Stewart’s writing on the album was compared to Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone and even Alan Bennett. The line up was expanded by the arrival of Stewart’s friend David Scott and new female vocalist Rachel Allison. The follow-up, 2007’s Bee Stings, was influenced by classic girl group pop plus the mellow A & M sound of the late 1960s and early 70s.

The band’s most recent album release BMX Bandits In Space (Elefant Records in 2012) was hailed by some critics as their most accomplished release so far, “a stunning, brilliant and beautiful album”. A highly acclaimed feature-length documentary called Serious Drugs – Duglas and the Music of BMX Bandits was premiered in Glasgow in 2011, followed by a series of international festival screening and a DVD release.

The line-up of the group continues to be ever changing with the latest addition to the line up being multi-instrumentalist Chloe Philip. Despite all the changes in personnel the heart and soul of the group remains the same, an extended musical family led by the inimitable Duglas.

I’ve lost count of how often I’ve either see Duglas in the flesh, either on stage with his band or more often than not as part of the audience watching singers and bands do their stuff. He’s always been one to champion new and emerging musicians and I imagine many of them get a big kick when he sidles over to them and offers his sage advice. Everyone with any interest at all in the music scene in Scotland knows, respects and loves Duglas T Stewart. Long may he reign.

It was the wonderful debut single which was put on CD86. Here it is in all its glory, together with the b-side:-

mp3 : BMX Bandits – E102
mp3 : BMX Bandits – Sad?

Thanks for bearing with me over the past 48 weeks.  All the songs on CD86 have now been posted and I’ve done my best to offer some info as well some personal words and thoughts on all of he bands.

There will be a short postscript over the next two Sundays after which the plan, from Sunday 10 January 2016, is to introduce a new 19-part weekly series.

A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (33)

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON WEDNESDAY 9 APRIL 2008

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Every now and again, a band does come along and deliver on the hype.

An old fogey like myself took a while to latch on to Arctic Monkeys in as much as I waited until they actually released a record that was widely available in the shops. By then, they had thousands of fans who had downloaded demos from the Internet and started up all sorts of sites, forums and discussion groups.

At this point in time, and it was only back in 2005, my use of a PC outside of work was mainly was restricted to sending e-mails to friends, typing up golf newsletters and football fanzine articles. Music directly onto your computer? Away with ye laddie and dinnae be so stupid.

It was also a time when I was watching a lot of MTV2 thanks to my recent purchase of a satellite TV package. The advertisers love the 15-24 ‘consumers’, and so the videos in between the ads were aimed largely at them. That’s when I first saw Arctic Monkeys and I was both amused and impressed by the song and promo for I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor.

Around the same time, I was able to buy tickets for a Maximo Park NME tour in early 2006 – one that would see them headlining above other bands yet to be announced. I could have made a packet on my tickets when it was announced that one of the support acts would be Arctic Monkeys….

By the time the tour came to town, Maximo Park had enjoyed a fair bit of success, but it paled into insignificance next to a band whose first two singles charted at #1 and whose LP was the fastest selling debut of all time. I could have made a fair bit of money on e-bay for that gig.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one delighted by the fact that Arctic Monkeys didn’t rest on their laurels, nor did Domino Records seek to cash in with single-after-single-after single from a debut LP that was potentially full of them. New singles and EPs came out at regular intervals in 2006, all of which maintained the high standards of the earlier recordings (including Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? with its prediction of a critical backlash at some point in the future proving that singer Alex Turner, as well as having a sense of humour, also knows his history), followed by a second LP in 2007 which was every bit, if not better than the debut.

By now the hysteria had worn off in as much that the songs didn’t automatically hit #1, but live they continue to be a huge draw, with 2007 being dominated by outdoor events in front of crowds of up to 50,000. All this and they are only half my age…

Again, there’s a number of songs that could have been selected, but in the end, I’ve gone for something which lyrically is as good as anything ever penned by any living Englishman..

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – When The Sun Goes Down
mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Stickin’ To The Floor
mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – 7
mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Settle For A Draw

A fantastic short film, Scummy Man, was made to accompany this song, with an edited version put together to form a promo video. Both can be found in the usual places on t’internet.

Enjoy

THE STYLE COUNCIL SINGLES (3)

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As promised, here’s the second scheduled posting today but it’s nothing to get excited about, particularly on the back of the recent superbly-written guest contributions.

It was just five weeks ago that I wrote extensively about the third single by The Style Council as part of the re-run of the 45 45s at 45 series from 2008. Click here if you missed it.

Here’s the 7″ version (its sleeve is pictured above) together with a remix as well as the album version of one of the songs which appeared on the b-side of the 12″:-

mp3 : The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (7″)
mp3 : The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (Club Mix)
mp3 : The Style Council – The Paris Match

The club mix was made available on an import-only LP Introducing The Style Council which rounded up material released on the first three singles.

Enjoy

PS

Quick reminder that I’m looking for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.

IN WHICH S-WC AND BADGER HAVE A DRUNKEN DISCUSSION (Part 2)

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Album of the Year 2015 – Part 2

Tim Badger writes……

My wife has been doing wonderfully well since her accident she is recovering brilliantly and is now able to hop around the house on crutches with the dexterity of gazelle on amphetamines. It is I think slightly embarrassing that here I am on the afternoon after the afternoon before at 4.10pm just about to get out of bed because I have had a ‘slight headache’.

She has won an award, the clever thing. It is some women in business thing, and as I slowly drag myself down the stairs, clutching onto the bannister for near life, like a newly walking child, she is sitting in the study (I say study, I mean small tiny spare box room), typing her speech up. She has been reading a book by a chap called Max Atkinson, who writes about the use of three-part lists in speeches. Why am I telling you this, well all will be revealed.

The night before ended with S-WC and I listing our Top 15 albums, the last 40 minutes or so of this were a ferocious argument about whether or not we were going to allow EP’s into the list. In the end I relented, we had yet to reach a decision on the Top 5 – I mean we know what they are – but not in what order. Side One of this compilation will be the tracks from 10 to 6 and where I can remember I’ll add what parts of the conversation that decided that. obviously I’ll embellish it make me sound cool and to make S-WC sound like Brian Blessed on Botox – which by the way is exactly what he looks like.

I head into the study I intend to give my wife a kiss and tell her that I am sorry for being such a lightweight. I am 48 years of age and I really should know by now that drinking the best part of a bottle of rum, six pints and three glasses of wine (I think) is not the greatest idea in the world. I remember telling my taxi driver telling me that “I was absolutely fucking shedded’ I have never used the word ‘shedded’ in my life before. I hang my head with shame.

My wife is typing away, she has her back to me, suddenly she stops and holds up one hand. Then she starts speaking “Before you step one foot inside this room, darling, you must a) Shave, b) Shower and c) Clean your teeth. Not necessarily in that order”. This reader is the three-part list I referred to above. Delivered with style and authority, the word ‘darling’ has never been said with such menacing threat. I turn around and creep back along the corridor to the bathroom.

Half an hour later I am sitting on the couch in the study cradling a cup of tea like it was my last possession. At least I am washed, shaved and my mouth no longer feels like it has a couple of angry wasps having post break up sex in it. Actually you remember that bit from Itchy and Scratchy (the cartoon within a cartoon on the Simpsons) where Scratchy (he is the cat, right?) gets his tongue pulled out by Itchy so it goes right to floor and the some dynamite gets put in it and then lit – rolled back up and his head explodes, that’s how I felt earlier on.

My phone rings it is S-WC, of course it is, he chuckles down the phone at me as I groan about my head and the last hours events. At least it sounds like his hangover was just as bad as mine. I end up inviting him round for lunch tomorrow so we can finish off the list.

It is tomorrow and S-WC are I are laughing about the Christmas Do, neither of us have been into work since then – both having sensibly taken the rest of the week off, but we understand that there is some scandal involving at least one high-ranking manager, a park bench and a ‘lady of the night’. This cheers us massively.

So here are the five we did decide upon on the evening.

10. Kagoule – ‘Urth’

Up until about six weeks ago Kagoule were the best band I’d never heard of. Within the first 60 seconds of ‘Urth’ you’ll get the picture. It’s all knotted guitar riffs and stuttering drum beats. They sound like the Smashing Pumpkins or the Pixies but hail from Nottingham. It is a thrillingly confident debut. We argued about Wolf Alice again at this point, as S-WC drunkenly slurred that this was ‘one of two debut albums, better than Wolf whatsit’.

mp3 : Kagoule – Glue

9. Braids – ‘Deep In the Iris’

Another female fronted band, and another band from Canada. I think more than half of the records in our Top 20 are female fronted. This is definitely the gloomiest record of the year but never has gloomy sound so enthralling, songs about rape, break up, female objectification all wrapped up with this wonderful vocal and in ‘Miniskirt’ it houses one of the best tracks of the year – I think S-WC posted that earlier in the year so here is something else by them

mp3 : Braids – Taste

8. Viet Cong –‘Viet Cong’

“It’s a stupid name, then again I was once in a punk band called ‘Cock Ring’ so I am hardly one to talk”.

S-WC is very drunk, he tells me about Cock Ring, they played three gigs, one at a festival in Stoke Newington, London, where they got bottled off, then split up on stage during a gig in Godalming.

Godalming is the birth place of punk rock. Viet Cong are being forced to change their name, and are yet another Canadian band. They formed from the ashes of post punk pioneers Women and you know what it sounds a bit like Echo and the Bunnymen circa 1981. Kind of.

mp3 : Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

7. Hooton Tennis Club – ‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’

“Another ridiculous name” our boss states, he was with us until the end; S-WC is very hard on the boss, he is trying to bond with us.

S-WC chips in, “There are very few bands with the word ‘Club’ in their names that are shit”. The boss says “what about Bombay Bicycle Club?” S-WC takes a massive gulp of his rum and ginger beer (it is as disgusting as it sounds), and says without irony:-

“Brilliant band”.

Even when he is drunk, I can’t tell if he is joking or not.

mp3 : Hooton Tennis Club – Jasper

6. Lonelady  – ‘Hinterland’

A record I wanted in the Top Five (and is fourth in my personal list). This is a record that is meticulously perfect. It was recorded at the artists home which overlooks a motorway flyover on the outskirts of Manchester. The voice of the singer is infectiously wonderful. S-WC states that at Glastonbury this year, their show was the highlight of the entire festival, before adding apart from ‘Run the Jewels’.

mp3 : Lonelady -Bunkerpop

So that was the ones we agree on. Now we have five albums (well four and one EP) in front of us and a small discussion.

5. Ought – ‘Sun Coming Down’

Canadian band…Yawn… Ought make indie rock that sounds like how walking round an unknown city makes you feel . Nervous, anxious, occasionally hostile, yet wonderfully vibrant, different and exciting. Its bloody wonderful and you know what it sounds a little bit like The Fall.

mp3 : Ought – The Combo

4. Dan Deacon  – ‘Glass Riffer’

A few years back Dan Deacon made one of the greatest records of all time. It was called ‘America’ and no one bought it. This year, he made a record almost as good and again hardly anyone bought it. This is simple stuff, one bloke and some electronic stuff. The result is a glowing tribute to electro pop.

mp3 : Dan Deacon – Feel the Lightning

3. Yung – ‘Alter’

The record that sparked the great EP debate of a couple of days ago. S-WC puts his case simply as this:-

” ‘Nobody Cares’ is the best single track released this year, it’s the greatest three minutes of guitar music to come out of Denmark ever and very nearly the greatest guitar song made this decade, if the Libertines made this record instead of the godawful bilge they churned out at the start of the summer we would be making Peter Doherty out to be some sort of fucking god”.

Quite.

mp3 : Yung – Nobody Cares

2. Hop Along  – ‘Painted Shut’

Another minor argument, S-WC thinks this is the best record of the year, I say it’s the second best. We actually had a tie with the points so let my wife decide and she sided with me. Obviously.

Its kind punky, kind of folky, a bit like Bright Eyes if they were fronted by a women who can actually sing. Its very nearly the perfect record and entirely brilliant.

mp3 : Hop Along –Horseshoe Crabs

1. Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I just Sit’

Just astonishing. The most lovely song on this album is one about house hunting. “Depreston”, it’s called—a quiet little ballad that just kind of submits itself to the noise around it. It’s the details that make this album so compelling, even down to the safety rail in the shower. Then she tells us how much it would cost to rip the whole house down again and again.

mp3 : Courtney Barnett – Depreston

And that is that.

Sorry I have gone on a bit….Oh and in a blatant bit of self publicity, our blog ‘When You Can’t Remember Anything’ is kind of up and running again….Please check it out. Google Wycranything and you’ll find it. (or just click here)

THE BADGER

JC adds……I wasn’t quite expecting this to arrive so soon after Part 1 and it’s therefore had to be squeezed in ahead of what was originally intended to be today’s posting which will now appear 12 hours later than planned.