BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : ROUND 2 (Part 8)

And so we come to the end of March and what will be the final ties of Round 2.  There’s been a fair bit tension the past seven weeks albeit most of the ties have been settled by reasonably comfortable margins.  The last eight teams are the usual mix of big names and cult heroes and perhaps offering the opportunity to allow some lesser lights a chance to progress.  But before all that, here’s what you made of last week’s tasty offerings….and in case you missed it, the amazing match report from Jonny the Friendly Lawyer on The Stranglers v The Police in which he works in at least sixteen song titles….

Down in Guilford the Stranglers/Police match has a brief stoppage while Sting gets a manicure on the pitch.

The old codgers bring on the nubiles from the stands which distracts Andy Summers, the leading side’s demolition man.

Jet Black smuggles an ice pick to make your ears burn into his sock, thinking it might be necessary to straighten out the scoreline.

Cornwell observes that when the clock is running down you make the best of what’s still around and urges the band to (get a) grip (on themselves) before the canary falls down the coal mine. The ref shouts for both sides to rehumanize themselves and get on with it.

5 Minutes of added time when Stewart Copeland realizes he’s American and doesn’t know what he’s doing on the pitch. King of pain JJ Burnel abandons protocol and turns to karate, intimidating the 3 blondes until they’re so lonely, not standing so close to each other at the far edges of the touchline.

Sting, refreshed from his attentions can’t standing losing and hears the voices in his head shouting that Greenfield has just been hanging around the entire game. At the death it all boils down to who wants the world? most…

Stranglers stage massive comeback and win on penalties because they’ve got an extra band member.

Sadly for Jonny, his prediction of that particular result didn’t come through…..

The Stranglers 10 v The Police 26
Daft Punk 22 v Emiliana Torrini 14
The Clash 28 v R.E.M.(2) 12
The Skids 17 v The The 22

Matches 29-32 of Round 2

The Lemonheads v Prefab Sprout

The Lemonheads have been waiting ages to play their second match having been involved in Game 1 of Week 1 of Round 1 when they took care of business against Spoon.  Not that the wait truly troubled uber-stoner Evan Dando who just quietly sat in a corner waiting on his side being called to the pitch to strut their stuff.  I think Evan would have been initally pleased to be up against someone of a kindred spirit in Paddy McAloon whose Prefab Sprout may have the potential to go all the way, as demonstrated in an easy win against The Blue Aeroplanes last time out. But Evan’s winning and wholesome smile would surely have been masking some pain when he learned what Paddy is throwing at him in this tie.

Ride With Me (from Lovey, 1990) v When Love Breaks Down (from Steve McQueen, 1985)

Julian Cope (2) v The Housemartins

I feel I should quote from strictly rockers opening remarks when he penned the first of what turned out to be towo ICAs for Julian Cope : “He is the only artist I feel remotely qualified to compile an Imaginary Album for; he is the artist I’ve seen live most and own more albums than any other. Following the Archdrude through thick and thin sometimes feels more ordeal than pleasure and his prolific output occasionally appears to shoot wide but, in his words, he is always ‘true to my metaphor’ and never fails to deliver on attitude, enthusiasm and sheer energy. ”

My own words for The Housemartins were : “The self-styled ‘fourth best band in Hull’ only released two studio albums and nine singles in their all too brief time and some might argue this isn’t enough to merit an ICA, It’s also true that two of them (Paul and Norman) went onto enjoy more fame and fortune in later bands or as solo artists, one of them (Stan) did all sorts of things before becoming a very succesful writer of children’s book and TV scripts for a young audience and the other (Hugh) was part of other indie-pop outfits before he ended up in jail.”

It’s clearly a game of contrasts and having, respectively, seen off Joe Strummer and Gene last time out, once again it’s a battle of English Roses.

Don’t Jump Me Mother (a cover version b-side, 1995) v We’re Not Deep (from London 0 Hull 4, 1986)

The Pixies v Billy Bragg

I won’t waste time insulting your intelligence by saying much about these two teams.  But it does match up one of the finest ever from New England against the bloke who wrote A New England.  And it also offers the contrast of something live that is raw and energetic against one of the most unapologetically tear-jerkers of all time.

Vamos (live from Brixton Academy, 2004) v Tank Park Salute (from Don’t Try This At Home, 1991)

Ride v Asian Dub Foundation

Outside of the ICAs, these two haven’t featured too often on the blog.  The Ride effort came from SWC while ADF was courtesy of his sidekick Tim Badger;  makes sense just to cut’n’paste from their pieces.

Ride are probably one of the most unsung bands of the last couple of generations, they were pioneers of the much missed Shoegaze scene and with their debut album ‘Nowhere’ they created one of the best records of the nineties (those who remember my 40 albums to hear before I am 40, would have read all about this if I had time to finish it – that album folks is the 6th best ever.  Also as a sub note – it was really hard to not simply just pick the tracks from ‘Nowhere’ here in the ICA.

Asian Dub Foundation in the late 90s and early 00s released two wonderful records, these being 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.  It was these two records that took them from being whispered about underground urbanistas to overground in your face forces to be reckoned with.

Vapour Trail (from Nowhere, 1990) v Real Great Britain (from Community Music, 2000)

JC adds…..You got your wishes, boys…..maybe you should let KT vote on this one!  The closing date for votes this week is Friday 6 April at 10am.

The numbers for the draw for Round 3 are as follows:-

1. The Fall
2. Talking Heads
3. Edwyn Collins
4. The Velvet Underground
5. New Order
6. The Charlatans
7. Lightning Seeds
8. St Etienne
9. The Jam
10. Half Man Half Biscuit
11. Pete Wylie
12. The Wedding Present
13. Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
14. Orange Juice
15. Pulp
16. Pavement
17. The Jesus and Mary Chain
18. XTC
19. The Smiths
20. The Durutti Column
21. OMD
22. Wire
23. Echo & The Bunnymen
24. Butcher Boy
25. The Police
26. Daft Punk
27. The Clash
28. The The
29. Lemonheads or Prefab Sprout
30. Julian Cope or The Housemartins
31. The Pixies or Billy Bragg
32. Ride or Asian Dub Foundation

Not a huge range of diversity it has to be admitted, but so much to look forward to…first four ties of the round will be revealed next Saturday with the remainder to follow throughout April.

JC

 

IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (16)

I could have sworn that Up The Bracket was the debut 45 by The Libertines – it was certainly the first time I ever heard the band back in the day and I’ve long said that the song was one which immediately grabbed my attention, offering much enjoyment with both the vocal and the playing.

There had, however, been an earlier 45 just three months earlier in June 2002, one that had sneaked into the charts at #37 despite what I suspect was next to no plays on the radio or the satellite TV channels which hosted a fair bit of indie music at that time. The use of the words ‘fucking’, ‘pissed’ and ‘cunt’ saw that to that, not forgetting the very clear references to sniffing cocaine and rent boys. It’s a track that saw the band work alongside Bernard Butler with the ex-Suede man in the producer’s chair, and although Mick Jones would go on and do great things with them in a similar position later on, I tend to think that this was the band’s career highlight:-

mp3 : The Libertines – What A Waster

The 45 was in fact a double-A side with a real punky/new wave effort on offer….I’m guessing this would have gotten some air play….assuming the sweary word was edited out….it’s decent enough, but not a patch on What A Waster:-

mp3 : The Libertines – I Get Along

In fact, listening again it could almost pass for something by Razorlight whom critics were quick to dismiss as one-trick and show-off ponies.

If you’re fortunate enough to own this 7″, which came out on Rough Trade, you can get £25 and upwards on the second-hand market.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #159 : PIZZICATO FIVE

A GUEST POSTING by ALEX G

from the We Will Have Salad blog

Alright, finally got this ICA finished! Only been sitting on it for about two years…

You have Saint Etienne to thank for this one. Back when Matador Records started repackaging Tokyo band Pizzicato Five‘s music for an international audience back in the mid 1990s, the alleged similarity between the two groups was quite strongly played up (at least in the UK press), and I think this must be the main reason I took a chance on the introductory compilation Made in USA. Apart from the obvious language difference (Pizzicato Five perform mainly in Japanese – there, you’ve been warned!), the comparisons were not unwarranted.

Saint Etienne fans will recognise a lot of the same traits in P5: the merging of sixties pop and nineties dance, the imagination and intelligence that undercuts their dalliances with kitsch, the (then) backroom duo + girl singer set-up (though one of the backroom boys left just as the group were starting to make waves internationally), and more regrettably, a fondness for releasing music in obscure formats that most fans don’t have a hope in hell of ever owning. Just to put the seal on it, Saint Etienne remixed P5 on several occasions, though with somewhat underwhelming results.

Because Made in USA was the album that tastemakers and TV and film editors picked up on the most, it became a “greatest hits” album by default, and it would be too easy for this Imaginary Compilation Album to turn into a slightly modified version of that collection. Fortunately, with Pizzicato Five being so ridiculously prolific, there was plenty of material to choose from. I have included one song which is also on Made In USA, but in a different version, so this imaginary compilation can be considered a sort of companion piece to that real one.

I’m sure that another Pizzicato Five fan might come up with a completely different set of ten tracks, as might I on a different day. “LOUDLAND!” and “Contact” are perhaps the wildest of the wildcard selections here, with “Happy Sad” and “The Night Is Still Young” the safest inclusions, but really there are so many ways you could go with a P5 compilation that even getting close to a definitive selection would be nigh-on impossible. That’s my excuse anyway! What I can say is that this is a selection of tracks I enjoy and I think other people might like too. Which is pretty much the whole point, right?

Side one

Mon Amour Tokyo (English-language single version – original appears on Happy End of the World, 1997)

Introducing your dynamic duo: Maki Nomiya (vocals) and Yasuharu Konishi (keyboards, guitar and backing vocals). I think it’s a good idea to start with the track that sounds most like a theme tune – in this case the theme to a retro action movie, the sort where the hero wears a leather jacket with a beige turtleneck sweater underneath. This was was also P5’s only UK top 75 entry, which surprised me a bit as I don’t remember ever hearing it played anywhere, and there’s another song on this compilation which I could have sworn was a minor hit. Having not played my CD single of this for years, another surprise was that it’s got an English language version on it, and that’s the one I’ve included here. Don’t get used to it, it’s going to be mostly Japanese from here on in…

This Year’s Girl #5 / Baby Love Child (from This Year’s Girl, 1991)

This is the only song on this collection dating from P5’s time as a trio, featuring Keitarō Takanami on keyboards and guitar. And in case you’re wondering: yes, they did start out as a quintet, but that line-up didn’t last very long. Pizzicato Five were active from 1985 to 2001 but it wasn’t until 1991 that they really found their feet: that was the year that they changed labels, promoted former backing vocalist Maki Nomiya to frontwoman, and shifted away from Swing Out Sister-esque sophisti-pop to the dance-meets-retro style which they continued to explore for the next decade. One of the first fruits was “Baby Love Child”, one of a few P5 songs that have brushed the fringes of public awareness over the years. In this case its recognition is mainly owed to being used – once! – in “Futurama”, in the 2002 episode “Leela’s Homeworld” to be exact.

Baby Love Child is the one song on this ICA which also appears on Made In USA, but instead of the English language version on that collection (or the misconceived remix released as a single ahead of it) I’ve opted for the original Japanese version, which also has small differences in the arrangement – though that need not concern you unless you intend to get as trainspottery as me! For a bit of colour, I’ve also thrown in the short interlude that preceded it on “This Year’s Girl”.

The Night Is Still Young (Readymade MFSB Mix) (from A Television’s Workshop EP, 1994)

While 1991’s turning-point LP This Year’s Girl fell squarely into the realm of “alternative dance”, its immediate follow-up Sweet Pizzicato Five was a proper no-holding-back club-oriented dance album, and while they never went quite so full-on again, there were enough such numbers down the years to maintain their appeal to clubbers as well as the retro crowd. This song in particular is a key track which they revisited several times over the years, beginning with a 1993 single.

The original was more of a house track, but if P5 had to choose a definitive version, I suspect they’d go for this disco-type arrangement which they originally cut for a children’s TV show. The chorus hook, which is also the Japanese title, translates as “7pm in Tokyo”. “The Night Is Still Young” is a perfectly good title as well, but I don’t know why they changed it. Also of note: the first appearance on this ICA of P5’s band catchphrase, “a new stereophonic sound spectacular!”. You’ll be hearing that again…

LOUDLAND! (from Pizzicato Five TM, 1999)

P5 never really sounded at home in the “rock” idiom, though I enjoy their occasional visits. This particular song starts off deceptively quiet, starts to live up to its title (CAPITAL LETTERS AND AN EXCLAMATION MARK!), then swings around into a chorus straight out of the flower power era. Strange but charmingly so.

Triste (single edit – original appears on Romantique 96, 1995)

By way of contrast, just a simple pop song pepped up with a horn section. This is the single edit but you’re not missing anything from the album version, which just carries on the “repeat to fade” for another 30 seconds (too long really) before crashing awkwardly into the track after it.

Side Two

Darlin’ Of Discotheque (single version – custom instrumental edit) (Darlin’ Of Discotheque EP, 1999)

Working on the principle of “What would Saint Etienne do (if they were Japanese)?”, this is your Stoned To Say The Least / Cool Kids Of Death-style overly long instrumental. Actually, the 11:27 full length version of this is not entirely instrumental, but it does take seven and a half minutes before Maki bursts into song. As you might expect, the radio edit majored on those final four minutes, which is fair enough and exactly what we’d all do in the circumstances. Then along came the next album, Pizzicato Five TM, with “Darlin Of Discotheque” on it as a seven-and-a-half minute instrumental. Also fair enough, but the catch is that it wasn’t an instrumental edit of the single but a completely different version, and in my opinion an inferior one. Hence this custom instrumental edit, not available in the shops!

Happy Sad (bilingual version from the US compilation The Sound Of Music, 1995 – original version appears on Overdose, 1994)

The feelgood 60s pop-soul vibe is strong on this track, which I always thought was a minor British hit, but apparently wasn’t. In fact, not only was it not a hit, but Discogs doesn’t list it as having been released as a single in the UK at all. I hadn’t realised that both of the formats I have it on are US imports. It was issued as a single there to tie in with its appearance in the fashion documentary film “Unzipped”, and there were actually two different videos: the original Japanese one, with Maki and session guitarist Gemi Taylor larking about in disco gear, which suits the track perfectly; and the US one, with moody black-and-white clips of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista et al., which… didn’t, so much. The former can be found on YouTube; the latter seems to have disappeared, but it’s no great loss. Anyhow, this is still one of my favourite Pizzicato Five songs and on this mix you get the benefit of verses in both English and Japanese.

Contact (from Romantique 96, 1995)

A Serge Gainsbourg song covered with a nod to Kraftwerk (there’s either a quotation or an outright sample from “Pocket Calculator” in there), with guest producer Towa Tei (then recently departed from Deee-Lite) bringing the bleeps and bloops.

I Hear A Symphony (single version – a very different version appears on The International Playboy & Playgirl Record, 1998)

Up for a bit of pretend orchestra-conducting? Go on, nobody’s watching (yet). A suitably big finish.

Finish? Well, we’ve got two sides of about 21 minutes each, so that’s a vinyl album right there, and strictly speaking “This Year’s Girl #5” and “Baby Love Child” are separate songs, so technically I’ve already given you ten tracks. But I don’t want you to feel cheated, so…

CD bonus track

Tokyo, Mon Amour (from Romantique 96, 1995)

Let’s imagine we’ve gathered up the Pizzicato Five catalogue and taken it back in time to, say, 1986. What shall we give those early adopters who’ve shelled out extra for a shiny unbreakable compact disc? Something smooth, something lush, something, shall we say, “romantique”? Something suitable for playing late at night in a modernist apartment with parquet flooring, a settee in the middle of the room and a picture window looking out over the city lights. I think this should hit the spot! Glass of wine, anyone?

ALEX G

JC adds………….It’s contributions like this that make me incredibly proud of this little corner of the internet and everyone who is part of it.  I had no idea of the existence of Pizzicato Five until the email with the words and tunes dropped into the inbox.  Having read the piece and immediaely appreciating that love, attention and care that’s gone into the text and the incredible artwork which Alex pulled together, I couldn’t wait to listen…..and when I did, I loved it. I hope you all feel the same.

HALF TIME SCORES

It’s been a fascinating first half across all four games.  The Clash are destroying R.E.M. and thus laying down a marker for the remainder of the tournament while many others have, seemingly, unwillingly cast their votes for The Police on the basis that the song representing The Stranglers isn’t regarded as one of their best or most accessible. Both ties already look formalities.

The other two match-ups are much closer affairs.

Daft Punk and Emiliana Torrini have both enjoyed small leads before being pegged back, although the French are now on a bit of a roll and the current gap is at its widest.  The The began their match at a blistering pace racing into an eight goal lead at one point, but the killer combination of Jobson and Adamson have steadied the ship and The Skids could yet make history by being the first to mount a comeback win of seismic proportions.

The Stranglers 6 v The Police 22
Daft Punk 16 v Emiliana Torrini 12
The Clash 22 v R.E.M.(2) 9
The Skids 14 v The The 17

This week’s half-time, as per the newly adopted practice, comes from the ICA of a singer or band knocked out in the last round by one of the above eight sides:-

mp3 : Radiohead – National Anthem

Remember….if you haven’t vote yet, you have until midnight this coming Friday.

JC

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG (on a Tuesday) : #118 : GROOVY LITTLE NUMBERS

The Groovy Little Numbers were from Bellshill and were the brainchild of Joe McAlinden, himself a former member of The Boy Hairdressers alongside Norman Blake.

Joe McAlinden, who was (and still is) a multi-instrumentalist, joined forces with Catherine Steven (vocals) and  Gerard Love (bass, vocals) to form Groovy Little Numbers in 1987. The group also incorporated a brass section from the Motherwell Youth Orchestra comprising Colette Walsh (tenor saxophone), John McRorie (alto sax), Kevin McCarthy (baritone sax), Mairi Cameron (trumpet), and James Wood (trumpet).

There were two EPs, both on 53rd & 3rd, released in January and August 1988. This is the lead track from the second of them:-

mp3 : The Groovy Little Numbers – Happy Like Yesterday

A marvellously, upbeat and catchy track.  The two b-sides weren’t bad either:-

mp3 : The Groovy Little Numbers – Shoot Me Down
mp3 : The Groovy Little Numbers – A Place So Hard To Find

Joe would later join the BMX Bandits in 1991 and nowadays he records as Linden, while Gerry became part of Teenage Fanclub. That’s of course, the abbreviated story!!

JC

TRUE CONFESSIONS : JACK AND DIANE

A GUEST POSTING by THE FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

Father VV

Please hear my confession.

Growing up in the 80s I was a bit of a Little Britainer as far as music was concerned and especially snobby when it came to anything out of the states. There was only really Talking Heads who i had anytime for and like most early teens had a bit of a crush on Debbie Harry. I had an especially big distaste for anything that sniffed too much of rock n rawl.

However, one track came along which I really should have hated but became a secret vice that even today raises a smile on the rare occasions it pops up on shuffle. At the time i was a compulsive compliation tape complier and would force them onto anyone who I knew. I can safely say that this track has never appeared on any of these tapes.

The whole thing is a tad ridiculous to the point of parody (college football star and debutante! , I ask you) and it is by a man who felt the need to insert an animal between his first and surnames.

I have a secret love for Jack and Diane by John “Cougar” Mellancamp.

The thing gives me strange small pleasures such as a first line “ a little ditty” not story , not song , not tale but ditty. There was the other worldliness of the Tastee Freez ( I had no idea what this was was , but it sounded like a wonderful place) and what an earth was a chilidog. It is easy to forget in this time of access to everything how mysterious some American references were.

There’s the weird choral, gospelly bit in the middle , the fact for years, I thought it was the Bottle bank and not the bible belt that would come and save my soul. I kind of love the fact that the thing would all fall apart with out the handclaps

There was also the thrill of sex. I wasn’t sure what Bobby Brooks were but as a 15 year old I could certainly imagine what “Let me do as I Please” was all about

“Hey, Diane, let’s run off behind a shady tree
Dribble off those Bobby Brooks
Let me do what I please”

This was 1982 when I was into anything with a synth and I tried to kid myself that that bit of electronic percussion in this meant that it was okay. I must have known that this was a bit desperate as on endless afternoons round friends listening to the new Soft Cell or OMD single I never said “Hey I’ve bought that great John Cougar single with me to listen to”

Reading up on the track for this post (okay I’ve looked on Wikipedia) I’ve found out that that the whole thing was based on Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams and that Mick Ronson played on and helped to arrange and produce it. If I had known that in 1982 it may have given me a bit more courage to champion the song. Actually maybe I should have just focused on one of the bleakest lines in pop music which just felt so true to a pretentious teenager and held its own with anything Ian Curtis et al have come up with “Oh yeah life goes on , Long after the thrill of living is gone”

mp3 : John Cougar Mellencamp – Jack and Diane

Thus ends my confession and I am off to listen to angst filled thin men with guitars as penance, and make myself a chillidog

FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Parts 28 and 28a)

Here to Stay is a song by New Order and produced by The Chemical Brothers. It was released as a single in April 2002.

It was the closing track from the movie 24 Hour Party People, and was the only new song composed specifically for the film.  The track was released without major marketing, but still reached #15 in the UK chart.

The single was B-sided with the track “Player in the League”, New Order’s failed entry for ITV’s football highlights programme The Premiership. The track was originally slated for inclusion on Get Ready, but was dropped.

The version offered up today is the full-length edit, as made available on the soundtrack to 24 Hour Party People, which I still believe is a very fine and often very funny movie.  Here To Stay isn’t the worst thing New Order ever released…in fact it’s one I quite like but I do always associate it with the closing titles of the movie and remembering how much I was smiling at, and inwardly applauding, Steve Coogan‘s portayal of Anthony H Wilson.

mp3 : New Order – Here To Stay

I’ve gone digging deep for the b-side:-

mp3 : New Order – Player In The League

I’m guessing the original version for the TV programme was an instrumental and it was revisited after it was rejected with the lyrics added……it makes for a more than decent b-side.

Part 28a??  Well, the thing is, a couple of months after Here To Stay, a rather wonderful mash-up was made available as a b-side to Love At First Sight, the latest single by Kylie Minogue:-

mp3 : KylieNewOrder – Can’t Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head

Poptastic stuff.

JC

BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : ROUND 2 (Part 7)

jimdoes has come up with a superb way on introducing this week’s four ties, but beforehand we need to dispense with the business of who got through in Week 6 although those of you who saw the half time scores will know three of the match-ups turned out not to be competitive:-

Stone Roses 9 v OMD 31
Wire(2) 36 v Farmer’s Boys/Higsons 4
Everything But The Girl(2) 9 v Echo & The Bunnymen 30
Martin Stephenson 19 v Butcher Boy 21

I think the best summary for this week was provided by Matt when he said “A couple of occasions where the better song beat the better band here”;  I’d also like to give a special thanks to Micky who, as ever, voted late on by e-mail, especially in the knowledge that the MS v BB game was very close – Micky is experiencing some lousy and painful stuff in his personal life just now and it meant a lot to me that he took the time to make sure he could take part in the competition this week.

And now, it’s over to jimdoes….but before your read his words, I’d suggest you play the short video at the top of the page….it might help explain things, particularly to to non-UK readers!!

Matches 25-28 of Round 2

Here’s the next round of matches – we keep saying that ‘this match would have made a great final’ and ‘some are too tough to call’ but Match 27 has got to be the best match yet – fans of other teams will be relieved to avoid these two big guns and to see one of the favourites have to go home early.

The Stranglers v The Police

This is a veterans match if ever there was one. The Stranglers (who last round saw off Roddy Frame but, by playing one of their best songs might have peaked too early) will be shuffling around the pitch with a combined age of 281. Whereas The Police are a man down on their opponents but still clock up an impressive combined age of 206. Sting got all Tantric on Captain Beefheart in the previous round and looks to have brought his A-game to this tie with a song that needs no introductions (he says as he introduces it) – but can The Stranglers’ effort – described in the original ICA as “half-baked unintelligible sci-fi conspiracy nonsense about some whack-ass alien visitation” – cause an upset?

Just Like Nothing On Earth (from The Gospel According to The Meninblack, 1981) v Message In A Bottle (from Regatta de Blanc, 1979)

BOOKIES VERDICT

The bookies are using the incredibly scientific method of counting up the comments on their respective ICAs to work out odds on this round of matches and this tie is VERY close. There were 14 comments each, but more words were written about The Police so they are marginal favourites.

ODDS: The Police 5/4(FAV); The Stranglers 2/1.

As Ray Winstone would say in that “charming” cockney way of his – “CAAAAAM ON… AV A BANG ON THAT.”

Daft Punk v Emiliana Torrini

France v Iceland. Technology v Nature. Robot v Woman.
Daft Punk certainly got lucky in the last round – in the ‘Luck’ derby or ‘Le Derby de luque’ as they say, they comfortably saw saw off The Lucksmiths. Torrini ‘foiled’ Foil (I’ll get my coat) – in one of just two matches to have gone to penalties so far.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (from Discovery, 2001) v Wednesday’s Child (from Love In the Time of Science, 1999)

BOOKIES VERDICT

Daft Punk – 6 comments, Torrini – 21 comments;

ODDS: Daft Punk 4/1; Torrini Evens(fav). Torrini proved more of a hit with readers making her the surprise favourite in this tie – but bookies have been known to get it wrong.

Ray Winston says, “OI MAAAAAATE! GIT ORN IT!”

The Clash v R.E.M (2)

Tie of the round. Tie of the tournament so far. The TV companies didn’t have to think twice. I can’t even begin to decide who will win – or to even write a proper preview. Good luck to both of them. At least this tie shows that the draw is completely random and their are no warm balls in the bag at Vinyl Villain Towers. (JC adds….worth recalling that R.E.M. saw off Radiohead last time out and so will be gutted to pull out such a plum once again)

London Calling (from London Calling, 1979) v Disturbance At The Heron House (from Doucument, 1987)

BOOKIES VERDICT

The Clash – 30 comments, R.E.M. – 16 comments;

ODDS: The Clash (with home advantage) 1/2 (FAV); R.E.M. Evens.

Ray Winston says, “FAAAA*******CK”

The Skids v The The

Will Stuart Adamson run rings around Matt Johnson? Are The The over-confident and looking for who they might draw in the next round? Do the Scottish team have the wrong studs on and will they be slipping all over the pitch? With two players having the same name, will The The be difficult to mark?

The Skids had too much for Elbow in the previous round and The The beat another Scottish team, Simple Minds in what could be a good omen for them going in to this fixture.

Circus Games (from The Absolute Game, 1980) v I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life) (Special Mix) (b-side, 1983)

BOOKIES VERDICT

The Skids – 12 comments, The The – 9 comments;

ODDS: The Skids 4/1; The The 3/1 (FAV) Another tight one for the bookies to call.

Ray Winstone says, “EYE EYE IT’S THAT TYME AGAIN! OOOOOOOOH NICE! LAAARVE IT!”

Remember, vote responsibly and if voting ever becomes an addiction, seek help. Votes close on Friday 30 March at 10pm.

jimdoes

 

YESTERDAY’S POST PROVIDED THE EXCUSE…..

…..not than any was really needed.

The Wedding Present had signed to RCA in 1989, a move that led to some fans from the earliest days accuse them of selling out and leaving behind their indie roots. The first album for the new label was Bizarro and the first single lifted from it was Kennedy, the track that I have long admitted was the one that introduced me to the band thanks to it being heard in an Edinburgh record shop.

In February 1990, a full four months after Kennedy had dropped out of the charts after a three-week stay, a second single was taken from the parent album. Only it wasn’t……

The new single, Brassneck, was the opening track on Bizarro, but the version which came out as a single was quite different. David Gedge, in an on-line interview with a fan, has explained the rationale:-

I personally didn’t think that the album version captured the intensity the song had when we played it live. I don’t think the Bizarro version is bad, or anything… but around that time we’d become interested in the idea of working with the American engineer, Steve Albini, and so there was a feeling that perhaps we could re-record it with him as a way of seeing how an Albini / Wedding Present relationship might work. I think the Albini version of Brassneck added more colour and depth… and sounds more succinct than the Bizarro version.

The other noticeable thing is a change in the lyric right at the end of the song. It’s only one word, but it is significant in terms of the sentiment of the song. The chorus throughout the album version has ‘I just decided I don’t trust you anymore’ and this is sung four times. On the single, it is only sung three times with the final time now being ‘I just decided I don’t love you anymore.’ David Gedge believed that the alteration added poignancy, and who are we to argue?

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Brassneck (single version)

The 12″ came with three new tracks, two of which were original compositions while the other was a cover of a little-known American band called Pavement. But then again, you already knew that if you read yesterday’s posting:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Box Elder
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Don’t Talk, Just Kiss
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Gone

All four songs remain firm favourites with fans more than quarter-of-a-century on.

Brassneck reached #24 in the singles chart and, outside of the run of singles released in a limited edition each month throughout 1992, remains the highest chart position of any 45 by the band.

JC

IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (15)

The debut release from Pavement is a bit of an oddity.

From Stockton, California, the band was formed in 1988 by Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg, with the legend being that they looked to try to make money from performing at open mic nights, mostly through performing cover versions with the occasional original thrown in for good measure. In January 1989 the duo decided to enter into a local studio with the intention of cutting some tracks for a single, with the $800 costs borrowed from Kannberg’s father.

The ensuing outcome were five, incredibly low-fi tracks, that were put out on an 7” EP, Slay Tracks 1933-69, on Treble Kicker Records, a label conceived and developed by the duo. The pressing was restricted to 1,000 copies with minimalist information about the band, other than a contact address in Stockton, with the and the pseudonyms S.M. and Spiral Stairs being adopted. In later years, the sounds you hear on Slay Tracks would come to be described as slacker, although at the time the music was impossible to easily pigeon-hole.

There’s a very extensive entry for the EP at wiki which draws upon a range of press reviews at the time and subsequently interviews given by the duo to provide an informative and entertaining story. All of the songs were Malkmus compositions and the use of radio static was deliberate as it was seen as the third instrument in top of the guitar anD bass. The use of drums was an afterthought and only came about as studio owner and session engineer, Gary Young, thought they might add something and he ended up adding them to two of the tracks while Malkmus and Kannberg improvised on two of the others. The lead track, however, was entirely drum and percussion free.

It was an EP that, unusually in the pre-internet age, got picked up almost entirely via word-of-mouth through mentions in low-circulation fanzines. It was as much down to the fact that, in an era where image and glossy production were seemingly the be-all and end-all, such a sh!77y sounding recording managed to feel exciting, new and unique. It was punk rock more than 20 years on.

mp3 : Pavement – You’re Killing Me
mp3 : Pavement – Box Elder
mp3 : Pavement – Maybe Maybe
mp3 : Pavement – She Believes
mp3 : Pavement – Price Yeah!

The move from underground to overground, certainly in the UK, came via The Wedding Present namechecking the band in interviews and then covering one the Slay Tracks as a b-side on one of their singles, Brassneck, in 1990, and I’ll come to that in a separate posting quite soon.

All the while, Pavement continued to do their own thing and indeed they weren’t aware that they were being quoted so highly in the UK. They continued to record more low-fi EPs in 1990 and 1991, although there was a gradual expansion into a full band, and in due course a debut LP, Slanted and Enchanted, was released in 1992. Over the next seven years, they would enjoy increasing commercial success without ever really hitting the big-time in any consistent way.

If you want to pick up a vinyl copy of the debut EP, be prepared to fork out something in the range of £150-£200.

Slay Tracks was a hugely influential and important debut single, and to some, Pavement never bettered it. That ‘some’ however, are just muso snobs, for the band would progress on to much better, more listenable and accessible things in the times ahead.

JC

HALF TIME SCORES

Thus far, most comments and votes have followed a pattern….almost all have gone OMD, Wire and E&TB.  Matches 21-23 are, to all intent and purposes, done and dusted….

Stone Roses 6 v OMD 22
Wire(2) 26 v Farmer’s Boys/Higsons 2
Everything But The Girl(2) 6 v Echo & The Bunnymen 23

The final tie could be a cliffhanger….neither side has ever established a substantial lead and both have enjoyed spells of being in front. It’s the first genuine contest in weeks

Martin Stephenson 13 v Butcher Boy 14

This week’s half-time, as per the newly adopted practice, comes from the ICA of a singer or band knocked out in the last round by one of the above eight sides:-

mp3 : Mike Garry and Joe Dudell ‘St Anthony- An Ode To Anthony H Wilson’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

If you don’t know this half-time song, then ypu’re in for a real treat. If you do it, then you’ll no doubt want to listen again.

I’ll re-post what Swiss Adam said when he pulled together the Weatherall ICA:-

Mike Garry’s wonderful poem for Tony Wilson, a celebration of the Factory boss and ‘Manchester music, marijuana, majesty and Karl Marx’, was set to music by Joe Dudell, a string quartet version of New Order’s Your Silent Face. Weatherall took it back to the electronic roots of Power, Corruption and Lies. Released to raise funds for cancer charities and The Christie hospital – go buy it.”

I’ll endorse his request that you go buy it.  I have.  Click here.

Oh and finally, if you haven’t voted yet this week, you have until midnight this coming Friday.

JC

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #158 : THE JAZZ BUTCHER

A GUEST POSTING by FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

The Jazz Butcher is some ways are ideal for an ICA. No wild variations in style and a catalogue of LPs all of which are a bit patchy. Actually getting to grips with their discography is one of the biggest challenges with various compilation lps and some tracks appearing on more than one album. Then there is the slight variations of name , sometimes Jazz Butcher Conspiracy , sometimes just Jazz Butcher and sometimes something else entirely.

The line up changes with the weather (same with record labels) with songwriter and singer Pat Fish being the only consistent factor. All in all they are a tough band to keep track of.

When they are good they are fantastic in a jangly guitar, smart lyrics way . However each LP also either has something that is head scratchingly awful at best and annoyingly novelty record like at worst.

1.  Next Move Sideways (from Fishcotheque)

Signed to Creation Records in one of Alan McGee’s punts this was my first exposure to the band. Bought on the basis of a review that compared them to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions , Pat has since complained that the LP came out sounding too smooth and tidy , which is probably why it is still my favourite . This gallops along in a way that allows you to forgive the 80s sax that suddenly appears.

2.  Harlan (from Condition Blue)

Into the 90s and more of a groove than a song. Features what is described as aquamarine guitar by Peter Astor from another jangly band The Weather Prophets. The song is typical Jazz Butcher material in that it is inspired by American short story writer Harlan Ellison.

3. Keeping the Curtains Closed (from Fiscotheque)

Another one from the 1988 LP that is still my favourite and by far their most consistent. This one where i do hear an echo of Lloyd Cole. I really like the guitar on this and always feel it is over a tad too soon.

4. Shame About You (from Last of the Gentlemen Adventurers)

More upto date from a recent crowd funded LP. Nothing overly special but zips along and always brings a smile to my face despite a sense of regret in the lyric.

5. City of Night (from Big Questions)

Change of direction and pace. Always found there was something slightly desperate (ride the tube with nothing much to say , stare at the people you can see right through) and seedy about this song (I’ve seen the handcuffs on your shelf , i would like to help , I’d like to help myself)

6. Human Jungle (from Big questions and countless compilations)

Starts with a Walk on the Wild side rip off and then morphs into a big pop song about an obscure 60s tv show staring Herbert Lom as a psychiatrist who sorted out complex cases in 60 mins. Certainly beats the ‘i love you , you love me’ focus of a lot of pop songs.

7. Southern Mark Smith (from A Scandal in Bohemia)

Probably if you know one song by the Jazz Butcher it will be this one. Pat Fish describes it as “The Albatross. A record, I feel, of its time. We were young(ish) and cocky and I think it shows. I still haven’t learned to sing on this one, which bugs me too. Still, it was cheap and cheerful, and it helped us to meet an awful lot of people”

8. Get it Wrong (from Fiscotheque)

Back to the gentle jangle of 1988. Pat’s paean to adultery. This is here more for the lyric than the annoying 80s sax.

I keep getting letters about divorces.
Just like cowboys changing horses, people use each other up and leave.
One mistake and it all turns bitchy,
listening to records by Lionel Ritchie.
I’m not sure if he deserves it or even if they do.
Jealousy is just messed up pride, it only twists you up inside.
We don’t feel it, we don’t need it

9. When Eno Sings (from Illuminate)

Following Pat’s belief that “fan songs are cool” Jazz Butcher have a lot of fan songs

And dome-heads everywhere
can throw their hats into the air
when Eno sings

The “Eno male choir like” backing vocals are spot on as well

10. Mercy (from Last of the Gentlemen Adventurers)

I think LPs should finish on a slow song so here you go

Bonus Ep : The Slightly Irritating Hat Trick

The Jazz Butcher songs are laced with humour which can make you smile but then can stick around as slightly annoying interludes – here are 3 of them and 3 more fan songs

Olaf Palme

Peter Lorre

Just Like Betty Page

Friend of Rachel Worth

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG (on a Monday) : #117 : GOODBYE MR MACKENZIE

One of the comments in last week’s entry in this series indicated some bemusement as to why I had featured a song I didn’t like, especially when it had come with a lazy cut’n’paste from wiki.

Just to clear things up, I started this Saturday series as a way of giving myself a day off while keeping up the daily postings, if that makes sense.  I’m going through all the Scottish acts in the vinyl, CD and digital collections, in alphabetical order, and putting up one of their songs.  117 entries in and we still haven’t got past the letter ‘G’ indicates there’s still a fair way to go before Zoey Van Goey get their turn.  Also worth mentioning the series will go back to a Saturday once the ICA World Cup 2018 has been won.

from allmusic:-

The arty British pop band Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie may be best known for the fact that Garbage’s Shirley Manson was once a member, but there is more to the group’s story, including chart successes and record company conflicts. Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie formed in 1981 out of the ashes of the Clan, which itself was created from the lineups of Lipstick and Irrelevant. The band’s first lineup comprised singer/guitarist Martin Metcalfe, drummer Derek Kelly, bassist Jamie Waterson, and keyboardist Ewan Drysdale; Chuck Parker replaced Drysdale within a matter of months.

The band released its first single, Death of a Salesman, in 1984, and added two background vocalists, Shirley Manson (who also played keyboards) and Hilary McLean, in the next year. The Mackenzies’ 1986 single The Rattler reached number 13 in the U.K. indie charts, and the group made several TV and radio appearances in the wake of the song’s success. On the strength of their 1987 Face to Face single, which was another indie Top 20 hit, Capitol signed Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie in 1988.

The group released a string of singles over the next year (including a re-recorded version of The Rattler), all of which hovered in the mid-regions of the Top 100. Their 1989 album Good Deeds and Dirty Rags fared slightly better, charting at number 27; however, Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie and Capitol parted ways; the Mackenzies signed to Parlophone and Capitol released a B-sides and live collection, Fish Heads and Tails, at the end of the year.

In 1990, the group toured with Debbie Harry and released two singles, Love Child and Blacker Than Black, that met with indifference: Blacker Than Black topped out at number 62, while Love Child failed to chart at all. With two albums’ worth of material recorded and waiting to be released, the Mackenzies left Parlophone and signed to MCA. The newer of the two albums, Now We Are Married, was released in February of 1991, while Hammer and Tongs, which was recorded in 1989, came out the following month. Poor chart showings for the records and conflicts between the label, management, and the group resulted in MCA dropping Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie in 1992.

The following year the band changed gears, creating the side project Angelfish, which put Manson’s smoldering sensuality and vocals at the forefront. The year 1993 also saw the debut of the band’s own label, Blokshok, on which they released the live Mackenzies album Live: On the Day of Storms. Angelfish’s video for the single “Shock Me” received some airplay on MTV, where famously, guitarist Steve Marker saw it, leading to Manson being asked to join his new project Garbage. After Manson left, the rest of the Mackenzies carried on for two more albums, Five and The Glory Hole, as well as a collection of covers, Jezebel. The group played its final gig at the end of 1995.

The Rattler is their finest moment but as it has been featured previously, and more than once, on the blog, I thought I’d pull out another of their singles, from 1988 and the first released by Capitol:-

mp3 : Goodbye Mr Mackenzie – Goodbye Mr Mackenzie (12″ version)

They did a decent take on an early Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds song as one of its b-sides:-

mp3 : Goodbye Mr Mackenzie – Knockin’ On Joe

Most of the band still work together as The Filthy Tongues. But that’s a story for another day.

JC

THE NEW ORDER SINGLES (Part 25-27)

Yup….it is the cover of Get Ready, the album released by New Order in 2001.

Three singles were lifted from it.

mp3 : New Order – Crystal (radio edit)

The ‘comeback’ single was released in August 2001; the first new song in eight years and sort of fitting that it went to #8 in the singles chart.  The critics went wild for it but to this fan of such long-standing it was distinctly ordinary.  Never had New Order sounded so much like an average white rock band.  It was released on 2 x CD singles and, as had happened ever since the move away from Factory a number of remixes were offered up as the b-sides, although CD1 also had one other otherwise unavailable track:-

mp3 : New Order – Behind Closed Doors

If only it had been a cover of the Charlie Rich country hit from the 70s…..but to be fair it did turn out to be more  unusual songs in the discography of the band – one that if played in isolation with no hints might catch out a few folk with the vocal not quite sounding fully like Barney till about 2mins in.  It still doesn’t disguise the fact that for a band who were so adept with b-sides for much of their career that this is far from stellar.

Moving forward to November 2001 and what proved to be a #29 hit, which is about right for such a plodding effort:-

mp3 : New Order – 60 Miles An Hour

It’s b-sides consisted of a remix of the single, three remixes of album track Someone Like You and one new track:-

mp3 : New Order – Sabotage

Nope, it’s not a cover of the Beastie Boys song. In fact, it’s a far better song than many which found their way onto  the parent album. It’s something of a throwback in some ways to the Low-Life/Brotherhood era with some great bass licks from Hooky midway through.

And just one month later, the song given the remixes as b-sides to 60 Miles An Hour was issued as a 45 in its own right….albeit one with a difference Here’s wiki:-

Someone Like You is a single released by New Order in December 2001. The single is unusual in New Order’s back catalogue in the respect that it was issued primarily as a club DJ vinyl release. “Someone Like You” was remixed by Futureshock, Gabriel & Dresden, James Holden and Funk D’void. The Gabriel & Dresden 911 Vocal Mix was recorded on September 11 and all releases with its inclusion has these sleeve notes: “Recorded September 11th, 2001 and is dedicated to the men, women and children who senselessly lost their lives that day”.

mp3 : New Order – Someone Like You (Gabriel & Dresden 911 Vocal Mix)

Methinks this 12 minute explosion of sound is one for Swiss Adam and ctel.

JC

BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : ROUND 2 (Part 6)


Thanks for getting so many votes in by the earlier than usual deadline. As this post appears, I’ll be 70-odd miles away from home, making the most of a brilliantly nostalgic night with ex-players from Raith Rovers FC at a commemorative dinner/piss-up recalling the six games we played in the UEFA Cup in 1995, including the night when we dared to dream of knocking out Bayern Munich as we led 1-0 at half-time in the Olympiastadion.

Alas, there was no giant-killing, but it was fun while it lasted.  So which of our four teams from last week could call on the international class and experience of Klinsmann, Papin, Babbel and Kahn and which had to rely on brave warriors such as Sinclair, Lennon, Coyle and Dair ?

Rod Stewart 6 The Jesus and Mary Chain 30
XTC (2) 24 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 15
The Smiths 28 Husker Du 12
The Durutti Column 22 Paul Quinn 15

To all Paul Quinn fans, I’d like to offer a heartfelt apology.  My behaviour, as manager, in fielding the 12” version of Change of Attitude in the original ICA was totally out of character and a momentary lapse in my normally high standards of behaviour.  The 7” might have gotten through but in all honesty, it was a tad arrogant on my part to field such a self indulgent b-side in the first place…on reflection and with hindsight, it was an error for which there is no feasible excuse.  Good luck to Vini and his crew in the next round and the remainder of the competition.

Moving on now to this week’s match ups and I’m hoping after eight successive near walkovers that some minor excitement at least can be generated.

It does open with a tasty match-up with the bonus of it being a Liverpool/Manchester rivalry while the remaining three games will hopefully get you thinking a bit…..all teams may well need the luck of the Irish to get through.  Happy St Patrick’s Day.

Matches 21-24 of Round 2

The Stone Roses v OMD

The Stone Roses have been suggested in some quarters as having the ability to go all the way in the competition although there are some correspondents who think they lack the neccesary depth.  They weren’t pushed too hard in Round 1 against Yellow Magic Orchestra but even so, will need an improved performance to see off OMD whose professional and polished performance last time out saw them deal a mortal blow to trhe much fancied Super Furry Animals.  This tie has a similar sort if feel to it and much will depend on the toss of the coin and the roll of the dice…which might just favour the Liverpudlians in that their song is better-known amomg the masses.

All Across The Sands (b-side, 1987) v Messages (from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, 1980)

Wire (2) v The Farmer’s Boys/The Higsons

The art-school veterans who go by the name of Wire got through Round 1 by a the odd-goal in 45 in a titanic battle againt Supergrass with the reward being a home match against one of the acts representing the ‘Sounds of Young Norwich’ ICA.  Last time round the reliance was on The Higsons who came through a close one against The Jayhawks.  Will the manager be allowed to stick with the same starting line or will the coin and dice enforce a complete set of new players?  Turns out that The Farmer’s Boys will be on the bench yet again, and given the might of the opposition song, the fates may have conspired to prevent them ever setting  foot on the playing surface.

Outdoor Miner (single, 1979) v Conspiracy by The Higsons (single, 1982)

Everything But The Girl (2) v Echo & The Bunnymen

I know I’m overusing the word intriguing in describing so many of these 2nd round ties but I make no apologies for doing so again.  The Bunnymen took care of Leonard Cohen last time out, although it needed the use of The Cutter to ensure progress.  They could end up with a similar type of tie again depending on whch EBTG comes out via the coin and dice.  In Round 1, Tracey and Ben went with Draining The Bar, a piano-led ballad, which was more than enough to hammer The Libertines.  Both sides will likely need to be at, or close to, their best to progress. Either way, Echorich will be sad that one of them will have to leave.

Cross My Heart (from Baby The Stars Shine Bright, 1986) v Zimbo (live) (b-side, 1983)

Martin Stephenson v Butcher Boy

This is just such a brilliant tie on paper.  Two of my all time favourites, neither of whom at the start of the World Cup I’d have given too much chance of reaching this stage; but now one of them is going to reach the last 32 and possibly take on a really big gun.  The romance of the cup etc.

Martin Stephenson, to the chagrin of many, removed Andrew Weatherall from the tournament, albeit he needed the might of The Daintees backing him on Crocodile Cryer to deliver.  Butcher Boy were up in a real Indietracks type battle against The Magnetic Fields last time out and came through despite being the lesser known of the combos.  Which tunes are going head-to-head this time?

Rain (from Boat to Bolivia, 1986) v Helping Hands (from album of same name, 2011)

Yup.  Two ballads make for a fine match-up.

Closing date and time for entries is Friday 23 March, at 10pm UK time.

Next week will see jimdoes take to the stage to introduce matches 24-27.  I know which games are coming up. I don’t envy him.

JC