BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : SEMI-FINAL #1

This has been fun hasn’t it?   But now we are getting into the really serious part of the competition.

The result of the final game in Round 5 was:-

The Jam 23 Lloyd Cole & The Commotions 11

The score doesn’t quite reflect how decent a contest this was and it really is quite amaxing that Weller, Foxton & Buckler are still going despite their ICA featuring just album tracks and no singles or b-sides.

Here’s who is still standing….Billy Bragg, The Clash, The Jam and Pulp.  Not too shabby a line-up and I’m thinking that many of you will have had initial thoughts that they could all go a long way depending on the vagaries of the draw…talking of which…..

Semi Final 1 : Pulp v Billy Bragg
Semi Final 2 : The Jam v The Clash

PULP v BILLY BRAGG

Babies v Between The Wars

Blimey……this offers a tough choice between two very different types of songs.

The Pulp ICA was compiled by Tim Badger

After about ten years the wilderness, Pulp emerged with this tale of teenage tea time obsession. It begins innocently enough with Jarvis talking about afternoons with girls in bedrooms – before he goes well a bit perverse and then delivering this withering punchline “I only went with her ‘cause she looked like you!”

and the track on offer from Billy was on an ICA stitched beautifully together by Walter.

With no backing band but his own electric guitar, Billy Bragg sang ‘Between the Wars’ as a first-person narrative of a miner hoping his hard work would be rewarded by care from the government his efforts helped support. Another song about the miners in the 80s and maybe one of his most emotional ones.

Both are outstanding pieces of music and very representative of what made both acts such essential listening. Which one are you prepared to give the nod?  A place in the ICA World Cup Final is at stake…

JC

CONVENIENCE

A short time ago, I put up a posting celebrating the single What A Performance by the 80s indie band BOB. It was a well received effort, but what I was most taken by were comments from folk whose views I really respect pointing me in the direction of another single by the band:-

Friend of Rachel Worth : Love Bob, was planning an ICA as felt they had a lot more creativity and variety than most. Convenience is the hit that got away.

Strangeways : Also agree about ‘Convenience’ – what a song

Nev : Convenience has to be in my top 20 of 45s of all time – love it!

I’ve now tracked down said 45, and am happy to confirm that the contributions were bang on:-

mp3 : BOB – Convenience

Released on 7″ and 12″ on House of Teeth Records in 1989, the lead track was voted in at #31 in that year’s Festive Fifty (which itself was of vintage quality as I hope to demonstrate quite soon). It’s a tremendous little pop song that I’m only sorry I didn’t pick up on back in the day.

Here’s the wonderfully named b-side of the 7″

mp3 : BOB – I Fall Upon The Thorns Of Life! I Bleed!!

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #173 : THE BREEDERS

a guest posting BY jimdoes

The Breeders have got a new album coming out next week (JC adds……well, they did have back in February when jimdoes sent this over!!) and to commemorate it I thought I’d do a quick ICA (if there is such a thing)

First up I’m a big fan of Kim Deal and did think about a Kim Deal ICA as she’s guested on quite a few records as well as made some formidable music with The Breeders – in all their various guises. I’ve tried to include something from each of their albums (they’ve been around for 20 years!) – otherwise there might be more songs from Last Splash. And I know The Breeders are more than just Kim Deal but she’s the singer and it’s her band, so I’m going to talk about the music and her. She’s the coolest Kim in music (sorry Kim Gordon, it was a close one) and The Dandy Warhols even wrote a song about her – which I’ve always thought of as a bit weird because they could never be as cool as Kim Deal and the song isn’t anywhere as good as anything by The Breeders.

SAINTS (From ‘Last Splash’)

There’s something about Kim Deal that makes me smile – maybe it’s because I imagine her smiling whenever she’s performing. Anyway, this is a track that I always put on compilation tapes that I gave to people in the Spring. “Summer Is Ready When You Are” – what a great line.

PACER – The Amps (From ‘Pacer’)

I’ve included The Amps as part of The Breeders because they pretty much were – when The Breeders went on hiatus, Kim Deal formed The Amps – as she’d done when Pixies had some down time. And they still play a few Amps songs live. Kim Deal could always write a good pop song and this is one of my favourites.

BANG ON (From ‘Mountain Battles’)

Here’s one you can do a sort of shuffling dance to (honestly) – it’s got a great beat. And Kim Deal is still smiling. And I love the way it ends – “missing gah”.

OFF YOU (From ‘Title TK’)

Kim gets all sensitive and introspective – but does it with such grace. Possibly the closest she gets to not smiling.

IRIS (From ‘Pod’)

I’ve been obsessing about this song recently. It’s so good. One of the things I’ve always loved about The Breeders is you not one song sounds like it could have been a Pixies song – they just seem so apart from that bit of Kim Deal’s legacy. This one is maybe closest as it does have that LOUDquietLOUD thing going on though. Pod is one of my favourite albums but it’s always been one that I listen to in it’s entireity – it always seemed a shame to delve in to one track, but if you don’t know it this is a good starting point.

CANNONBALL (From ‘Last Splash’)

The hit single. Impossible not to include this on an ICA. One of the best songs of the 90s. One of the best songs of all time. My daughter loves it.

SAFARI (From ‘Safari’ ep)

Released on an ep after Pod, a belter of a track. It wouldn’t have been out of place on Last Splash.

I AM DECIDED – The Amps (From ‘Pacer’)

Considering that Pacer is such a rough and raw sounding album, it contains some of Kim Deal’s poppier moments – to my ears anyway.

FORTUNATELY GONE (From ‘Pod’)

More pop music. More smiles. Sugar sweet. Ba-Ba-Ba-Baa.

DIVINE HAMMER (From ‘Last Splash’)

And if this one doesn’t make you smile too, then I give up.

jimdoes

ANOTHER FROM THE C87 BOXSET

The booklet for the C87 boxset has this to say:-

Rosemary’s Children only left behind a legacy of one single and a mini-album but remain a high point of pioneer Mike Alway‘s idiosyncratic el label.

Southern Fields, released in July 1986, was an absolute gem, the sublime folf-rock half of a release that also included the more psychedelically strained (Whatever Happened To) Alice?.

Mini-album Kings and Princes (1987) followed – ‘a royal treat spiced with exotic landscapes, folk follies and direct Englishness’ according to one critic – a mix of noisy post punk, folk and jangly pop. Band member Dave Pearce went on to pioneer exprerimental lo-fi music with Bristol act Flying Saucer Attack.”

My own take is that the single and its b-side are decent enough without being classics but I can see why so many folk recall it in glowing terms about it. It’s perfect if you really do look back at the 60s as THE golden era of pop music, from which so many that have followed can trace their roots. There’s no denying the summer of love had a huge influnce on this particular combo. Even the name of the band screams 1967……

mp3 : Rosemary’s Children – Southern Fields
mp3 : Rosemary’s Children – (Whatever Happened To) Alice?

JC

SOUNDS

It is now more than 37(!!!) years since the April 1981 release of the 45 which took the new-look The Human League into the charts and onto our television screens via Top of the Pops. Synth-pop had duly arrived with a bang.

The Sound of The Crowd was an extraordinary single that still sounds superb all these years on. It was full of catchy little chants such as ‘Get Around Town’ and ‘Arse Around’ (sorry that should read ‘Pass Around…but I’m sure the way it was put down on record was deliberate) and yet it was impossible to fully sing along to without making an idiot of yourself thanks to phrases like ‘Make a shroud pulling combs through a backwash frame” which I’m sure is one that Ian McCulloch has always wished he’d come up with.

This was the first release in which Susanne Sulley and Joanne Catherall featured as backing vocalists to Phil Oakey. There can be no argument that their contributions were every bit as vital as the tune itself in creating the pop hooks which made it such a natural tune for daytime radio.

The visual element they brought with them was also a huge factor in raising the profile of the band – if you want evidence for that claim then just look at the fact the first TOTP appearance came when the band was sitting outside the Top 50 ; the show’s producers obviously believed that the contrast between these two young and attractive teenagers and the bloke with the funny haircut would get people talking.

Further evidence that TOTP saw the band as naturals for the show? The second appearance came a few weeks later when the single was at #15….having dropped down from #12 the previous week, thus breaking the rule-of-thumb on the show in those days that you would only be invited to perform if your song was rising up the charts.

I’m sure that many who had been interested in the band from the early days would have been appalled at the apparent sell-out. The Sound of The Crowd was a million miles away from Being Boiled and about half that distance from Empire State Human but there were no grumbles from me as the song became part of the soundtrack of my final few weeks at school and its follow-ups were aired at the student union disco nights as I found my feet at University.

Here’s some cuts straight from the 12″ vinyl:-

mp3 : The Human League – The Sound Of The Crowd (Complete)
mp3 : The Human League – The Sound Of The Crowd (Instrumental)

JC

CHARGED PARTICLES (V2) : Part 3


Pleasant Surprise

I can’t stand the Foo Fighters. No, that’s not exactly right. It’s more correct to say that I like everything about the Foo Fighters except their music, which I find to be boringly ordinary emo. Fake anthems.

By all accounts, though, Dave Grohl is a great guy that’s nice to everyone. My friend’s daughter saw him at the mall and told him she was a drummer and he grabbed her phone and took a selfie with her. He organized and performed at a tribute to Bob Mould of Husker Du. He plays benefits all the time. Yeah, he’s a good guy and a monster drummer, I just never liked his kind of music.

So anyway, I’m at the gym where there’s a kid called Chris I’m friendly with who really knows his music. No matter what comes on the radio he knows it. We quiz each other about songs in a good natured way. When I told him I was going on tour in England last year (where I met JC!) and would be traveling around in a van, he laughed and said, “Have fun. I know what that’s like.”

Really?

Chris looks like he’s about 20 years old but, come to think of it, he’s pretty heavily tattooed.

“Dude, you tour around in vans?”

“Well, not that much anymore. Sometimes if I’m doing solo stuff.”

Not anymore? Solo stuff? Who was this guy? Turns out he’s Chris Sheflett, Foo Fighters’ lead guitarist. I’m still not crazy about the band’s music but I like when internationally successful musicians, selling out stadiums of 80,000 people, turn about to be regular folks that are fun to talk to.

Congregation – from the band’s 2014 LP Sonic Highways

JTFL

A RE-POST TO BUY MORE TIME (11)

From 5 January 2010

DON’T GIVE ME LOVE, OH NONE OF THAT STUFF COS……….

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby

This was the fifth single by The Wonder Stuff and the first to trouble the charts, sneaking in for the one week at #40. But 13 out of their next 14 singles all hit the Top 30 in the UK, including a #1 hit with Dizzy, a collaboration with comedian Vic Reeves in October 1991.

It’s easy to forget nowadays just how massively popular this lot were at the beginning of the 90s…..at one point they headlined a gig with almost 20,000 in attendance at Walsall football stadium near their own home town. It’s also a scary thought to realise that this bit of vinyl is now more than 20 years old.* (it’s actually 30 year old now!!!)

Even if you’re not a fan, have a listen to one of the b-sides for its inspired attack on the pop-tastic machine that was Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Poor little Rick Astley…….

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Astley In The Noose
mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Ooh, She Said
mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Rave From The Grave

Happy Listening

JC