JUST 60 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME IS ALL I’M ASKING….

It’s been a while since I put one of these together….I know that some of you quite like them and it does save me coming up with anything imaginative to write today.

mp3 : Various Artists – One side of an old C120 (Precisely)

Track Listing

If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
Brimful of Asha (Fatboy Slim remix) – Cornershop
Seether – Veruca Salt
Speed-Date – Arab Strap
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem
Sub-Culture – New Order
Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
Wrote For Luck – Happy Mondays
Slave To The Rhythm – Grace Jones
To Lose My Life – White Lies
Totally Wired – The Fall
Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
Love Plus One – Haircut 100
Ever Fallen In Love…? – Buzzcocks
Blue Boy – Orange Juice
Kennedy – The Wedding Present
Roi (reprise) – The Breeders

TRUE CONFESSIONS : EVERYBODY HURTS

A GUEST POSTING by THE GREAT GOG

I don’t generally like being negative about things, other than the usual racist, sexist type stuff that would offend any right-minded individual. So, True Confessions is a tricky one. Having read and confirmed my understanding of the series’ premise with JC, I do still feel the need to unburden myself about a song that anyone who knows me will be amazed to find that I’m not all that keen on. So, my motivation is that by putting this in writing, it’ll help me understand why I don’t like the song, because on the face of it there’s no rational reason why I wouldn’t like it.

It’s fair to say I like R.E.M. Indeed I like R.E.M a lot. I have all the studio albums and various other recordings too – not the insanely expensive stuff, but enough that anyone perusing the shelves Chez Gog would be in no doubt that I’m a fan. I’ve even listened to Around The Sun in its entirety within the last six months. I was also the first person to play the band on the student radio station I frequented back in the mid-80s – “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville”, not that you were asking. So why would I have a dislike of one of their songs, and which one is it?

Ah! R.E.M., you say. Here we go. Why he doesn’t like “Shiny Happy People”. Er, no. I’m OK with that one, their first Top 10 hit in the UK. It is in fact their second UK Top 10 hit, a couple of years later, that I really struggle with – “Everybody Hurts”.

After I’d decided to write this piece, I had a chat with a mate with whom I regularly discuss matters musical. His take on it was that I’d got fed up with it being the soundtrack to heartstring-tugging film footage on various charity appeals on the television – you know, with the “please text your donation” message scrolling at the foot of the screen. I disagreed. There is far more chance of me donating on hearing Michael Stipe singing (even if it’s a song I don’t like) than there would be from watching a video with dancing weather forecasters and singing newsreaders – I’d probably just go and brew up if I had to witness that.

The other reason for disagreeing was that when I first heard “Automatic For The People”, it was the one song that I identified as “filler”. Shows what I know! True, it’s quite dirge-like and I’m certainly one for more upbeat songs, but there are other downbeat tunes on the album and I don’t have any real issue with those; in fact I’ve just played “Nightswimming” twice whilst typing this to confirm that point.

If I’ve got to put it down to anything (and I’m still not convinced), it’s the orchestration…

mp3 : R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts

As I wrote that last sentence, I had a lightbulb moment – surely the live version that I’ve spent years skipping on the CD, surely that is string-free (apart from guitar and bass obviously). Having sat and listened to it for six minutes and fifty seconds, I am now convinced. This particular live version is great, even with the crowd singing. Strange really, because I wouldn’t normally have any sort of issue with a bit of orchestral backing, but for me the song is enhanced by its absence here.

mp3 : R.E.M. – Everybody Hurts (live in Dublin)

So, mission accomplished. I have achieved my objective in understanding what it is about “Everybody Hurts” that makes me dislike it – the studio version anyway. I have also discovered that there is a version out there for me and I’ve owned it for a number of years and just haven’t bothered with it. I genuinely had no idea where this was going when I first started typing and have to admit at being quite surprised where the last hour and a bit has taken me. Thanks, JC – and take this as evidence that a supposedly negative series can have a positive outcome.

THE GREAT GOG

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #147 : THE FALL (4)

Another guest ICA from Jonder

THE FALL’S GONE MAD: DECADE TWO (1987-1996)

The mid-80’s were a peak of commercial success and artistic invention for The Fall.

Mark E. Smith‘s play “Hey Luciani” made its debut in 1986, followed two years later by the ballet “I Am Kurious Oranj”. The Fall hit the charts in 1987 with There’s A Ghost In My House and Hit The North, followed in 1988 by Victoria.

1. Jerusalem (live) – Smith contrasts William Blake‘s anthemic vision of England with a complainant from the 20th century nanny state (“it was the fault of the government”.) The album “I Am Kurious Oranj” is a mixed bag highlighted by Big New Prinz, a dramatic revision of 1982’s Hip Priest. In the stage production of “Kurious Oranj” (inspired by the life of William of Orange), The Fall provided musical accompaniment for Michael Clark‘s dance troupe.

2. Bremen Nacht (Alternative) – The 1998 LP “The Frenz Experiment” took a step sideways from the path of chart success. “We had had two Top 40 singles. So everybody expected a commercial album, and that was the last thing I wanted to do,” Mark later said. Bremen Nacht is a strict lesson in The Three R’s (repetition, repetition, repetition), demonstrating that The Fall had not lost sight of its core principles.

3. Dead Beat Descendant – Brix left in the summer of 1989. A few unreleased studio tracks were combined with a live set to fulfill the Beggars Banquet contract with the album “Seminal Live”. From the first live Fall album (“Totale’s Turns”) through “The Twenty Seven Points”, “2G+2”, and “Live Uurop VII-XII”, studio recordings have been scattered among live Fall performances. Dead Beat Descendant is a hidden gem.

4. Black Monk Theme Part 1 – 1990’s “Extricate” is an astonishing and essential Fall album. Martin Bramah, a founding Fall member, returned on guitar. Kenny Brady joined on fiddle, and The Fall expanded to a septet. It’s hard to avoid hearing “Extricate” as a divorce album, but the songs aren’t necessarily about Brix: Mark had married and divorced a second time before “Extricate” was released.

5. The Mixer – Martin Bramah left The Fall again before 1991’s “Shift-Work” album, leaving Craig Scanlon as the sole guitarist. Kenny Brady remained on fiddle, and with his help The Mixer became one of the loveliest melodies in The Fall’s repertoire. Dave Bush programmed electronic rhythms on this and the next few albums. “Shift-Work” was mostly tame, with the notable exception of Idiot Joy Showland, a virulent critique of Madchester bands.

6. Free Range (7″ Version) – this single from 1992’s slight “Code: Selfish” album is an example of what Smith and his fans claim to be his psychic or “pre-cog” abilities. The lyrics may refer to the history of Balkanization, or they might presage the coming Bosnian War. Smith seemed to predict the 1996 Manchester City Center bombing in the song Powder Keg, and Terry Waite Sez preceded Waite’s kidnapping.

7. A Past Gone Mad – this track from 1993’s “The Infotainment Scan” contains the unforgettable declaration, “If I ever end up like U2, slit my throat with a garden vegetable.” “Infotainment” was another strong Fall album. Brix contacted Mark to compliment him on it, and he responded by inviting her to rejoin The Fall.

8. City Dweller“Middle Class Revolt” (1994) marked the return of the two drummer lineup (steadfast Simon Wolstencroft and the peripatetic Karl Burns). Behind The Counter was this middling album’s single. In City Dweller, Salford’s native son proclaims, “Get out of my city, you mediocre pseuds.”

9. Don’t Call Me Darling – Brix came back, cowriting and duetting with her ex. There’s not a lot of love among Fall fans for this 1995 LP (“Cerebral Caustic”), but it’s full of playful humor. Darling contains one of my favorite MES lines: “People hate beauty/ I cannot fathom it.” Mark fired Craig Scanlon after this record. Scanlon had played guitar with The Fall since 1979.

10. Cheetham Hill – another duet, this one with producer Mike Bennett, from the 1996 album “The Light User Syndrome”. Brix would leave The Fall again after the tour to promote this LP. She’s in top form as a guitarist here, and Julia Nagle‘s keyboards are equal parts melody and noise. It’s a wonderfully aggressive sounding album, a fine end to the second tenure of Brix and The Fall’s second decade.

BONUS TRACKI Want You – despite what Mark E. Smith said about Madchester, he regarded The Inspiral Carpets well enough to lend an impassioned guest vocal to their 1994 single. Mark also made a live appearance with The Clint Boon Experience. A decade later, ex-Fall members Steve and Paul Hanley joined Inspiral Carpets’ Tom Hingley in his group The Lovers.

JONDER

2017 : SOME HIGHLIGHTS : SONS OF THE DESCENT

It was back on 30 May 2017 that Jacques the Kipper took over this little corner of the internet to compose a glowing review of the debut album from Sons Of The Descent in which he offered as short commentary on all 11 of its tracks.

You won’t be too surprised that I picked up the album on the basis of his review and I also accompanied him along to see the band’s live debut when they were the main support to The Wendys at a gig in Glasgow back in September.

I’m delighted to say that the album more than lives up to the praise heaped on it by my sparring partner while the duo of Hugh Duggie (ex Foil) and Ian White (ex Wendys) brought all their considerable experience to bear to deliver great live renditions of the standout tracks.

I’m sure you won’t mind if I do simply reproduce much of what JtK said back in May, along with a few other cut’n’ pastes of other reviews:-

“What do you expect when a member of best-known-in-the-90s indie band, The Wendys teams up with a former member of late-90s noiseniks, Foil, to make music? Probably not an album that contains more hooks than Vinnie Jones’s rucksack on a wild fishing weekend. But that is indeed what has happened on Lazy Glamour, the first album by Sons of the Descent, a self-produced masterpiece of electronica and guitars.” (The New Vinyl Villain)

“Edinburgh’s Sons Of The Descent have released their brilliant debut album, Lazy Glamour. With influences on the album as diverse as David Bowie, Happy Mondays and Wire you will not be disappointed with this monster groove cauldron of an album.” (Louder Than War)

“Old pop groups may fade away, but what of those who never quite became ‘stars’? Plenty of acts remain independent and making music for, well, the love of it, we assume. This duo were, respectively, signed to mega-indies Factory and Mute, and their 10 tracks follow in those footsteps – mixing the introspective (some might say doominess) of the Manc mega label with shades of electronic pop that spawned the likes of Depeche Mode. In truth we’ve no idea where they’ve been since the 1980s, but they’re welcome back any time.” (Is This Music?)

“Hugh Duggie and Ian White are the waggish brains behind this low-key smorgasbord of quietly crafted off-kilter pop gems. The effect of such pick-and-mix diversity is akin to turning the pages of a collection of fictional miniatures culled from a twilight zone occupied by Hogarthian pub bores and other animals. A textured subtlety peppers every song, some laced with a sly, dry-as-bone wit to offset the darkness.” (Product Magazine)

Again, the album is available via bandcamp, as a digital release for £8 or as a CD for £10, sums of money you won’t regret spending. You can also listen to all ten tracks to try before you buy. Click here

This is the album opener

mp3 : Sons Of The Descent – Look At The Sky

“If you enjoy a bit of Mark E Smith style vocalising over the first of those hooks I talked about, then I reckon you’ll like Hugh imploring you to “Look At The Sky”. Notable also for the first use of “Englandshire” in a song – that I’m aware of anyway. Also the source of the album title.” (Jacques the Kipper)

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 9)

Only a band as perverse as New Order would choose to release a new single and new alum on the same day – but that’s exactly what happened in May 1985 with The Perfect Kiss and Low-Life.

Having enjoyed chart success with each of Temptation, Blue Monday, Confusion and Thieves Like Us, there was perhaps a sense of supreme confidence that fans would buy both releases. It turned out to be a bit misplaced, perhaps as it was the first time the band had ever included a 45 on an LP, a move that got a bit of press criticism at the time.

The Perfect Kiss is one of their most defining and timeless moments and it certainly should have done a lot better than stick at #46 in the singles chart. It is part of a truly outstanding album, one which went to #7.

I’m going to be lazy today and lift from the Discogs site:-

New Order’s 9th single. Released 13 May 1985 as 7″ promo and 12″. It is the first New Order single to be included on a studio album at the same time. The song has some famous musical elements, e.g. frogs croaking and, at the end of the track, some bleating of (synthesized) sheeps.

Lasting nearly 9 minutes, the 12″ single version only appears on the vinyl and cassette editions of Substance, while the CD omit 44 seconds of the climatic finale. The full version was eventually released unedited on the 2-disc deluxe edition of Low-Life, marking its first appearance on CD.

The versions on the album Low-Life and all post-Substance compilations are 4:48 edit, omitting the third verse (the one that mentions the song’s title) and fading out before the climax. Most 7″s have on their A-side another version,  further edited down without the percussion introduction.

Jonathan Demme directed “The Perfect Kiss” video, set in the band’s rehearsal room. It shows the band playing the song live from beginning to end. The video got cat# Fac 321.

And so, to try and wrap up all of the above :-

mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (12″ version)

The two b-sides:-

mp3 : New Order – Kiss Of Death
mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Pit

mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (album version)
mp3 : New Order – The Perfect Kiss (7″ version)

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #103 : FOUND

I’m quite surprised that this is the first time FOUND have featured on these pages. They’ve been around a while and have a fair number of fans, particularly here in Scotland. Here’s wiki with a very full backstory:-

FOUND are an experimental pop band and arts collective from Edinburgh, Scotland. The founding members, Ziggy Campbell, Tommy Perman and Kevin Sim met while studying fine art at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. They began working on sound art installations together whilst in their final year at college in 2001. Each project they do is given a catalogue number and documented on their website.

In 2005 they formed a band in order to play live music at the openings of their Stop Look Listen exhibition tour (which toured from Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen to The Meffan, Forfar and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh).

They recruited the keyboardist Gavin Sutherland in 2005, and then Alan Stockdale joined on drums and percussion at the beginning of 2006.

In 2006, FOUND released their debut single, “Mullokian” (SP4502), and album, Found Can Move (SPCD01), on Tommy Perman’s label Surface Pressure Records. They released two more singles from that album: “Static 68” on the Scottish label Creeping Bent and “Synth Like Minds” on the Hamburg based label, Aufgeladen Und Bereit.

In October 2006, FOUND took part in the inaugural BBC Electric Proms with an unusual collaboration with multimedia comedians, (nobleandsilver).

In 2007, FOUND were commissioned to create a major sound installation to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. They produced a piece called Etiquette, which was funded by the PRSFoundation’s award for new music and uses some of the technology developed by Reactable. Etiquette was displayed at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop’s Magazine 07 exhibition, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Newhaven, Edinburgh.

In 2009, together with Simon Kirby from the University of Edinburgh, FOUND created Cybraphon, an “autonomous emotional robot band” in a wardrobe, for which they won a BAFTA.

FOUND’s second album, This Mess We Keep Reshaping (FNC-085), was released on Fence Records.

The group released their third album Factorycraft on Chemikal Underground in March 2011. After some line-up changes, the group, now a duo of Campbell and Sim released their fourth album CLONING in November 2015. The group released their fifth studio album Terra Nova on the 1st July 2016.

With so much to choose from, I’ve plumped for one of their more accessible and hugely enjoyable numbers.  It’s a single that was lifted from their third album on Chem:-

mp3 : FOUND – Machine Age Dancing

JC

LOOKING BACK AT 2007 : A GUEST CONTRIBUTION

Huge thanks to Walter

(A Few Good Times In My Life blog)

Hi Jim,

It is a long time ago since I announced a contribution to your request for looking back in music for this year. Since then I often thought what about to write. Should I name all the great records that was released in 2017 or should I write about the newest trends in music?

I couldn’t make a decision for myself and almost struggled typing a few words for this contribution. Then I wrote down the albums that impressed me much this year, remembered the gigs I went and some other highlights that happened to me. And once I found an accordance. Remembering the days of our gathering in Glasgow I recalled the Saturday morning when we met at Mono cafe-bar. Drew bought a copy of Mark Lanegan‘s latest album and we shortly talked about the greatness of this record. Mark Lanegan is one of those artists I follow since his first days with Screaming Trees over Queens of the Stone Age and many collaborations such as Isobel Campbell and Mike Watt.

Gargoyle was one of those albums that stood the test of time and many times I returned to this record. This is one of his best records he released during the last years. Filled with dark and sinister songs he made them great by singing with his terrific baritone that makes him play in the same league like Lee Hazlewood. In July I was lucky enough to watch him live presenting the album in Stuttgart. I saw a man who doesn’t make many movements on stage. Just standing in front of the microphone and saying less more than ‘thank you’. After all it was an amazing concert filled with the best of his current album and a short retrospective of his career. A highlight was he gave as a bonus a very special version of Love will tear us apart. Truly one of the best records of this year.

mp3 : Mark Lanegan Band – Death’s Head Tattoo
mp3 : Mark Lanegan Band – Emperor
mp3 : Mark Lanegan Band – Goodbye To Beauty

Hope everything is well in Glasgow.

Take care.

Walter