FROM THE ARCHIVES – 31 DECEMBER 2012

A VERY SHOUTY SHOUTY RECORD

Mrs Villain and myself have some common tastes in music but far more differences that most would imagine.

Santa Claus brought her a digital radio with the intended use really being in the summer when she’s out in the garden or over at her allotment where she grows vegetables.

She has been road-testing it this past few days and mostly it has been tuned into Kerrang Radio. It’s not been as bad as I thought – there’s been a few half-decent bands appeared now and again but even then it’s been the better-know Hard Cafe establishment-types rather than any obscure indie-rock bands.

Mrs V has a penchant for what I call shouty-shouty music….the sort where either the vocalist’s very loud delivery is meant to signify his angst or anger. Not exactly my cup of tea….but as Mrs V has pointed out, I do have an an occasional shouty lyric that gets me dancing. Here’s the evidence:-

mp3 : Pixies – Tame

The second track on the outstanding 1989 LP Doolittle. Just about every fan of Pixies will have this in their all-time Top 10 songs by the band. Here’s a live version:-

mp3 : Pixies – Tame (live)

It’s also a song that was given an unofficial remix a few years ago – one that I think is a bit on the cracking side:-

mp3 : Pixies – Tame (McSleaszy remix)
mp3 : Pixies – Tame (McSleazy extended remix)

McSleazy is regraded by many as the best-ever in the mash-ups/bootleg genre which was incredibly popular around the turn of the century. His real name is Grant J Robson and he’s from the town of Paisley which is just down the road from my home city of Glasgow. I’ve taken this from his own site:-

McSleazy started in 1999 as an outlet for some electro tunes GrantJRobson had made. BBC Scotland had an amazing show called ‘Electronica’ which aired these experiments, and McSleazy was go. Shortly after inception, Electronic Arts commissioned 8 tracks from McSleazy for their racing game ‘Superbike 2000’. McSleazy, as a live band, played at many places including legendary club night Optimo, T in the Park and supporting Jimi Tenor.

As a DJ tool, McSleazy mixed up some tunes together “just to see the reactions on peoples faces”, and he was on the mash-up path. “The Best Bootlegs In The World Ever” featured McSleazy’s Song 2 v Don’t Call Me Baby bootleg in ’99, Radio 1 jumped on the bandwagon and the internet took care of the rest. A short while later, McSleazy founded Get Your Bootleg On (now GYBO5) which became – and remains – the online home of the mash-up.

MTV Mash followed, which featured dozens of McSleazy creations across it’s three series and led to DJing trips across Europe, and to Bootie in San Francisco. The Franzie Boys ep, featuring four Franz Ferdinand v Beastie Boys tracks, immediately sold out it’s initial run through HMV orders alone and received a thumbs up from both bands as well as a nod in Q magazine’s top tracks of the year.

DJing stints included becoming a ten year resident of the NME Stage at T in the Park and touring with The Charlatans and Embrace as support. Mixing duties continued with the Popjustice album 100% Solid Pop, and an official remix of The Charlatans ‘You Cross My Path’. McSleazy was given his own show on XFM and then went on to provide music for New Line Cinema’s Antonio Banderas film Take the Lead. Mashups continued to dominate the landscape, and McSleazy worked on Activision / Freestyle Games’ award winning DJ Hero, contributing music which formed part of the final product.

In 2010, Grant’s musical output stretched beyond McSleazy. The first pieces of work credited to GrantJRobson began to emerge, in a very different vein to the earlier electro work. Early pieces such as Wilbur’s Lullaby were warmly received, and had a more orchestal / soundtrack feel to them. This led to Grant being asked to provide the soundtrack to a promo film for fashion chain White Stuff.

After a trail through the hard drive, a seven track EP of instrumental McSleazy experiments called Pop Round My House was put online by McSleazy in April 2011. The intention was to air some unreleased material, and give bootleggers and pop-song writers something to play with. The future aims to consist of writing more under the GrantJRobson banner, but that doesn’t mean that McSleazy won’t, at some point, generate a little bit more music.

And that dear readers brought an end to the posts across 2012, a year in which I hadn’t been as prolific as before,  but as I said, I was happy enough to have kept things going especially as there were a couple of times I did feel like calling it a day, but that I was intending being here for a wee while yet….certainly up to and beyond the impending 50th birthday. (and I certainly will do all i can to gry beyond the now impending 56th birthday in six months time).

Happy New Year when it comes to your timezone.

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 30 DECEMBER 2009

FROM UNDER THE COVERS (Parts 64, 65 & 66)

When I saw that Glasgow’s very own The Twilight Sad had recorded a cover version of a great David Gedge song for the b-side of one of their singles earlier this year, I knew I just had to have it.

It wasn’t what I expected. But that made it all the better.

That’s three cover versions I now have by this lot – they’ve all been of songs that I’ve adored for a long, long, long time. And all of them get the TVV seal of approval:-

mp3 : The Twilight Sad – Suck
mp3 : The Twilight Sad – Half A Person
mp3 : The Twilight Sad – Twenty Four Hours

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 29 DECEMBER 2013

CULT CLASSICS – BIG TEARS by CONCRETE BULLETPROOF INVISIBLE
a guest posting by Phil (of the former Corn Poppy blog)

Is there an implication that a bunch of people actually liked a bona fide cult classic? I’m not sure anyone else ever heard this. But here’s a disc that in that parallel universe would have been a smash – Big Tears by Concrete Bulletproof Invisible. CBI were actually Doll by Doll with Glen Matlock on bass. Wikipedia says:

Doll by Doll were a London based rock band formed by Jackie Leven in 1975. They came to prominence during the New Wave period but were largely ignored by the music press of the time – their emotional, psychedelic-tinged music was judged out of step with other bands of the time.

The original line up was Jackie Leven – vocals and guitar, Jo Shaw – vocals and guitar, Robin Spreafico – vocals and bass, and David Macintosh – vocals and percussion. This line up only recorded one studio album Remember before Spreafico was replaced by Tony Waite (1958–2003). In this configuration they released the albums Gypsy Blood (produced by John Sinclair) and the eponymous third album, Doll By Doll, before the band split up.

At the time of final LP Grand Passion, only Leven was left of the original line-up, joined by Helen Turner (vocals and keyboards) and Tom Norden (vocals, guitar and bass) with a number of guest musicians, including David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Mark Fletcher (bass) and Chris Clarke (drums) played with the group live. Doll By Doll finally fell apart in 1983, though Leven, Shaw and Macintosh plus ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, released a single Big Tears under the name “Concrete Bulletproof Invisible” in 1988. Leven became a prolific solo artist, releasing a series of albums featuring more folk orientated material.

In 1983 Jackie (from the Kingdom of Fife) had been mugged and half strangled leading to him losing his voice for a time and giving up singing all together. There were no more Doll by Doll albums and nothing else from Jackie until the mid 1990s when he started to release a string of albums which gave him a genuine cult following. But this one single did sneak out.

Big Tears was a Matlock song, on the b-side was Braid on my Shoulder, written by Leven. These are a cracking pair of songs with all the punch of Matlock’s best powerpunk swagger and Jackie’s still powerful voice. There was a UK 12″ version which added Good Thing and a US 12″ with Love Kills. This was Concrete Bulletproof Invisible’s only record but the name was used as the title of a John Foxx instrumental (the song is credited to Foxx/Leven).

Jackie Leven had a chequered career often on the verge of greater success, never quite grasping it. Sometimes it seemed like deliberate sabotage on his part. In 2000 or thereabouts he settled in the Hampshire village of Botley, just opposite the pub, often popping out for a pint (usually with a vodka in it) or to tour Germany or Norway. A friendship with crime author Ian Rankin led to Rankin naming his last two novels after Leven lyrics. He died in November 2011 six weeks after releasing one of his best albums (Wayside Shrines). One day a song of his will be used in a car advert and suddenly everyone will love him.

mp3 : Concrete Bulletpoof Invisible – Big Tears
mp3 : Concrete Bulletpoof Invisible – Braid On My Soulder
mp3 : Concrete Bulletpoof Invisible – Good Thing
mp3 : Concrete Bulletpoof Invisible – Love Kills

PHIL

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 28 DECEMBER 2009

WHEN THINGS WERE AT A REALLY LOW EBB…

I’ve written before about how tough things were for James back in the late 80s and how it was the generosity of a bank manager who was a fan that got them out of a particular hole and allowed them to continue writing and performing.

The story of the single Ya Ho really illustrates just how bad things were.

It was originally scheduled for release in September 1987, but wasn’t issued until 12 months later. However, the catalogue number didn’t change, which is why it is NEG 26 when the previous single What For had the number NEG31. Having been shelved, Ya Ho was only resurrected to coincide with the very belated release of the LP Strip-Mine.

The version released as a single is different to that released on the album, being the original mix produced by Hugh Jones before Steve Power was drafted in by the label to remix songs in an effort to make it sound more commercial.

I’d been on the look-out for this single for a while and some sites had it on offer for the £15-£30 mark which I was thinking of paying but shied away from. Then about six weeks ago I found a copy in a Glasgow shop for just £3. A bargain and a half:-

mp3 : James – Ya Ho
mp3 : James – Mosquito

The band also released a 12″ version of the single which had two additional tracks on the b-side (and was therefore known as Ya Ho & 3). Now if any reader has these b-sides – Left Out Of Her Will and New Nature – I’d love to be passed on copies…….*

Oh and to show just how annoying the record label were becoming , have a listen to the soul-less, artificial and more commercial version:-

mp3 : James – Ya Ho (album version)

*I do love it when readers do help me out…..

mp3 : James – Left Out Of Her Will
mp3 : James – New Nature

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 27 DECEMBER 2016

OVERDOSING ON COVER VERSIONS (2)

All the greats eventually get the full-blooded cover version treatment with singers and bands queing up to pay tribute to those who greatly influenced them. The late Leonard Cohen has had his songs covered more than most, including various compilation LPs over the years which have been commercially released or given away free with music magazines. There’s even been specially curated gigs at which some of the great and good have appeared on stage to pay tribute.

So many tracks to choose from, but I’ve gone for one which, in its original recording, is not much more than a gravelled voice and some backing oohs and aahs over a toy synthesiser with its cheap drum pattern:-

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song

The opposite tack was taken by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds who, in a drink and drug fuelled frenzy one day in a studio, eventually cut what became an infamous 33 minute version of the track in which all sorts of musical genres are eventually thrown in. It’s not for the faint hearted:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tower of Song (full length)

An edited version was made available for inclusion of the tribute/compilation album I’m Your Fan, released in 1991:-

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Tower of Song (album version)

Here’s two more versions worth giving a listen:-

mp3 : Lloyd Cole – Tower of Song
mp3 : Martha Wainwright – Tower of Song

And finally, the daddy of them all in which Lenny C is given the shoegaze treatment:-

mp3 : The Jesus & Mary Chain – Tower of Song

Outstanding.

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 26 DECEMBER 2017

A TAD TENUOUS


Bummed, the album released by Happy Mondays in 1988, is, by any definition a classic of its time that has aged rather well, partly as a result of the quality of the songs but also the great production from Martin Hannett.

One of its tracks, Lazyitis, was remixed and given the new title Lazyitis – One Armed Boxer. This version featured Karl Denver, a Glasgow-born singer (his real name was Angus Murdo McKenzie which is about as Scottish as it gets), who had enjoyed a string of yodelling hits in the UK at the beginning of the 60s.

mp3 : Happy Mondays feat Karl Denver – Lazyitis – One Armed Boxer

You have to admit that the cast who came together alongside the Happy Mondays to compose this song – Lennon/McCartney, David Essex and Sly & The Family Stone – is fairly impressive!

It’s here today as 26 December is known as Boxing Day in the UK…and there was no chance that I’d feature the Morrissey song about that sport, so Happy Mondays it is (even though it is not that day of the week)

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 25 DECEMBER 2007 (and most Xmas Days)

HO, HO, HO.

Here’s the obligatory Christmas posting, featuring, without any question, the best festive-themed song ever. If only for including the line..’Christmas in Glasgow.’

Natives of Cork, Ireland, they were once known as The Sultans of Ping FC, then just The Sultans of Ping, before eventually becoming The Sultans.

Their career initially lasted from 1988 to 1997, but they reformed again in 2005, and continue to be hugely popular in their native land and in Japan.

This particular offering was on the b-side of a 1993 single – during their period as The Sultans of Ping – that just missed breaking into the UK Top 40.

mp3 : The Sultans of Ping – Xmas Bubblegum Machine

Merry Christmas Everyone.

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 24 DECEMBER 2010

THAT’S ALL VERY WELL JENS, BUT ITS FUCKING BALTIC OVER HERE….

This was from a newspaper report on 5 December 2010:-

After a week of the heaviest snow in Scotland for nearly 50 years, forecasters are warning that it could persist into the New Year. Although they are predicting less snow, there is no prospect of the mounds of white stuff melting away.

Temperatures are expected to remain mostly below zero for several weeks, with widespread danger from ice and freezing fog.

According to the Met Office, between 30 and 50 centimetres of snow has fallen in the last few days across Scotland. The last time there was anything comparable was in November 1965.

Temperatures towards the end of the week fell below minus 10 degrees centigrade in many places. The coldest place on Thursday night was Braemar, which registered minus 20.4 degrees, with minus 16.8 in Aberdeen, minus 15 in Edinburgh and minus 10 in Glasgow.

The coldest place all week was Altnaharra in Sutherland, which registered minus 21.1 degrees on Wednesday. The remote hamlet was besieged by journalists, who found local people shrugging their shoulders and getting on with it.

The Met Office is predicting the cold weather will continue for at least the next 30 days, with periods of snow, sleet, freezing rain and fog. “For the remainder of December and into the start of the New Year, temperatures look set to remain well below average for much of the UK, with often widespread frost and ice,” warns the official forecast.

And do you know something…..they got it right. Its been a nightmare. Maybe it will inspire someone over here to write something as wonderful as this chap from Gothenburg:-

mp3 : Jens Lekman – The Cold Swedish Winter

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 23 DECEMBER 2008

GIG REVIEW : MALCOLM MIDDLETON’S ‘BURST NOEL’

FAIRFIELD CLUB, GLASGOW : FRIDAY 19th DECEMBER

Now I could take the really lazy way out and simply direct you to a website where my compadre and boozing partner for the evening (Mike of Manic Pop Thrills) has already penned a glowing review, as well as provide a link to an amazing album of snaps from the event.

But that wouldn’t be the done thing…..

As I mentioned in the preview, it was initially actually a bit of a toss-up between going to the inaugural Burst Noel shindig and making a return visit to see Martin Stephenson for a second successive night. In the end, it was the great line-up, combined with the intrigue of getting along to another different venue in Glasgow, not forgetting the attraction of the celebrity DJ, that led to a night out in the environs of a club that still bears the name of a long-closed shipyard in the Govan area of the city.

And while I know from talking to a friend who had his first ever sighting of Martin at the Accies Club last Friday that I missed out on something pretty special, I am willing to utter the phrase….. je ne regrette nien.

All three support bands on this bill had their moments, although technical difficulties (i.e. a violin that wouldn’t allow itself to be miked up) meant that Strike The Colours had to cut the set to a mere 4 songs. I hadn’t seen The Phantom Band before last week, nor indeed heard any of their stuff, but I reckon there was enough to make me want to find out more about them, and I’ll probably purchase their debut LP when it hits the shops in early 2009.

I was familiar enough with De Rosa in that I’d seen them live on a few occasions and have a copy of the debut LP Mend in my collection. Their set was topped and tailed with familiar songs, but the bulk of it was drawn from as yet unreleased material that was more than satisfactory and which went down well with most of the audience, which I reckon was about 300-strong.

But none of them came remotely close to matching the performance of headliner Malcolm Middleton. This was a gig unlike any other I’ve ever seen from him – for one thing he didn’t automatically close his eyes when he was singing lead vocals – and he was more than happy to trade words with members of the audience.

It was a set list that drew from all four of his solo albums, as well as a couple of new songs. And it confirmed what I’ve always maintained in the face of incredulous non-believers – that Malky makes music you can dance to.

I’ll admit things were probably helped by the fact that I had enjoyed a few vodkas over the previous few hours at incredibly low prices (£1.24 for a generous measure), and that I was in a great mood thanks to the efforts of the support bands and the DJs. But from the moment you walked into the venue and saw the low-stage with minimalist backdrop, as well as the old fashioned disco lights, it was clear that this was a night when fun, fun, fun was the name of the game.

And just as with The Wedding Present the other week, it was a fantastic one-two near the end that proved the personal highlight – in this case We’re All Going To Die and Death Love Depression Love Death which led to a spontaneous bit of pogoing from your scribe (and I can only apologise to anyone who was there and found themselves distressed by the sad efforts of a fat bloke in an old Blur t-shirt thinking he was 20 years younger…).

It was not far short of midnight, and after around an hour on stage that Malky called a halt to proceedings, with a truly wonderful and moving version of Love Comes In Waves that showed off not only his talents as a song-writer and guitarist, but demonstrated that he fronts a band that has got better and better with each passing show.

If I thought that was the end of the joy and festivities, I was well wide of the mark. The dance floor was filled for the next 45 minutes or so with an eclectic mix of songs – I won’t publicly admit to liking all of them, but hell, it was a party and parties are there for dancing……and making a fool of yourself. So a big thumbs up has to go to superstar DJ Aidan Moffat and his wonderful sidekick Noj for the way they kept the entertainment going in between the band performances through a combination of great music, hilarious patter and the way they organised and managed (in the loosest sense of the word) the funniest game of musical chairs you could ever hope to witness.

All this, plus a quick chat (and photo) with the gorgeous Emma Pollock, made it a night to remember.

So……. I do insist that if Malky organises a follow-up in 2009 that every last one of you make your way to Glasgow so that you can be reminded just how much fun a decent Xmas night out really can be….. and if we can turn it into a two-day/night bender involving a gig with The Daintees, then the world will seem a nigh on perfect place.

mp3 : Malcolm Middleton – Death Love Depression Death Love
mp3 : Malcolm Middelton – Love Comes In Waves

JC

FROM THE ARCHIVES – 22 DECEMBER 2006

THIS NATION’S SAVING GRACE

Last week it was Morrissey who made a long-overdue debut on the blog. This week it is the band dominated by the mercurial, (isn’t that always the adjective that you have to apply?), talents of Mark E. Smith.

I’m referring of course to The Fall.

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t someone who loved this band from the outset. I did hear them on John Peel time after time, but I didn’t quite ‘get it.’ And things weren’t helped by my first live experience of the band back in late 1982 (it might have been early 83) at Night Moves in Glasgow.

I’d gone along to see the Cocteau Twins but stayed on to watch the main act, which turned out to be The Fall. It was a pretty poor gig – the sound was all over the place and the band were not even talking to one another far less having any communication with the audience. Thankfully, it turned out to be a short event (maybe 30 mins at the most), and then there was an hour or so of ‘indie-disco’ to send everyone home in a good mood.

So I more or less ignored them for a while. But a couple of years later, a move to a new record label – and a crucial change in personnel – led to the release of a run of records that were easier to listen to, and to the horror of the hip-priests, The Fall got radio-friendly with a broader appeal. I started paying attention again.

With a recording history going back almost 30 years, featuring dozens of singles, EPs and albums, there’s plenty to choose from. But I’m sticking with a song that has turned into something quite personal in recent years.

I’ve been lucky in that almost all of my close friends are still alive*. But there is one who passed away a couple of years ago after a long illness, and I do think of him every now and again. Especially at this time of year.

This is for AGF. And while he would have abhorred The Fall – he was a classical music buff – he would have been very amused that there is a song out there that makes me think of him every time I hear it.

mp3 : The Fall – Edinburgh Man

It’s a 1991 release, originally on the LP Shift-Work. It’s also available on a multitude of compilations, but surprisingly not on 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong – 39 Golden Greats which is pretty much indispensable.

 

*that was a situation which would change over the next few years….there’s been a lot of tragedy since 2006 and I wouldn’t have coped anything like as well without the amazing support from so many blogging friends.

JC

AND NOW THE END IS NEAR….

This will be the final original post on the blog in 2018. I’m going to take a wee break over Christmas/New Year and so what will appear here over the next couple of weeks are archive postings relating to the date in question.

I thought I’d finish off with a look back to three weeks ago and the Simply Thrilled St. Andrew’s Night Shindig, the one in which we had Aidan Moffat and his sidekick Noj appearing as guest DJs.

The review has been delayed by my going off on holiday almost immediately after the gig and I was concerned that my initial euphoria would have worn off somewhat by the time I got to the keyboard, but that’s not been the case. If anything, it’s a night that I look back on with ever-increasing amounts of happiness and disbelief that it turned out the way it did, and in particular the realisation that I spent time sharing a DJ booth with more than one modern-era hero….

Here’s what I put on Facebook the following morning:-

“Here’s the set list from the sold out, five-hour long Simply Thrilled St Andrew’s Night Shindig which I helped put on last night at The Admiral in Glasgow.

When I say set list, it’s the ones we remembered to write down (it got enjoyably chaotic towards the end)

I think you’ll find there truly was something for everyone…keep scrolling past the indie obscurities that took up the first 2 hours before the party truly got started…

Mouths Full of Blood – Kathryn Joseph
J is for Jamie – Butcher Boy
Trees and Flowers – Strawberry Switchblade
In Recognition – The Proclaimers
Steal The Keys (1996 Tears) – The Just Joans
A Better Ghost – Butcher Boy
Number One Son – Camera Obscura
Gettin’ Dirty – BMX Bandits
Sometimes Always – Jesus & Mary Chain
Coming In From The Cold – The Delgados
Think That It Might – The Wedding Present
You Lost Me At Hello – Tesco Chainstore Massacre
Crawl Babies – The Pastels
Big Rock Candy Mountain – The Motorcycle Boy
The Life and Times of Alex Johnston – Edinburgh School for the Deaf
Seems To Be – Shop Assistants
The Cabbage – Teenage Fanclub
The Day I Was A Horse – The Vaselines
Fotzepolitic – Cocteau Twins
Dark Matter – Siobhan Wilson
Love Is A Momentary Lapse In Self Loathing – Malcolm Middleton
Give Him A Great Big Kiss – The Secret Goldfish
With Handclaps – Y’All Is Fantasy Island
Fast Blood – Frightened Rabbit
Donald in the Bushes With A Bag of Glue – Ballboy
Fall Forever – Honeyblood
Hang Ten – Soup Dragons
Foxheads – Close Lobsters
Lost Weekend – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
Cath – The Bluebells
Don’t Talk To Me About Love – Altered Images
I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists
Candyskin – Fire Engines
Darts of Pleasure – Franz Ferdinand
The Shy Retirer – Arab Strap
Rip It Up – Orange Juice
Shampoo Tears – Win
Breaking Point – Bourgie Bourgie
The Rattler – Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
I Travel – Simple Minds
The Honeythief – Hipsway
Radio – Teenage Fanclub
Oblivious – Aztec Camera
A Girl Like You – Edwyn Collins
Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade
The Boy With The Arab Strap – Belle and Sebastian
Jailbird – Primal Scream
Heaven or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins
Obscurity Knocks – Trashcan Sinatras
Old, Old Fashioned – Frightened Rabbit
Happy When It Rains – Jesus & Mary Chain
Blue Boy – Orange Juice
Promised You A Miracle – Simple Minds
Rattlesnakes – Lloyd Cole and The Commotions
Do You Want To? – Franz Ferdinand
Good God – Jock Scot
My Big Kilmarnock Bunnet – Alexander Brothers
Shout – Lulu
Japanese Boy – Aneka
Feels Like I’m In Love – Kelly Marie
Do You Think I’m Sexy? – Rod Stewart
Thorn In My Side – Eurythmics
Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera
Rocks – Primal Scream
Shang-A-Lang – Bay City Rollers
It’s Shite Being Scottish – Trainspotting
Ebeneezer Goode – The Shamen
New Emotion – The Time Frequency
Once In A Lifetime – Talking Heads
Donald Where’s Yer Troosers? – Andy Stewart
Into The Valley – The Skids
Party Fears Two – Associates
Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat
Swastika Eyes – Primal Scream
Eurodisco – Bis
Modern Girl – Sheena Easton
Highway to Hell – AC/DC
500 Miles – The Proclaimers
Don’t Leave Me This Way – Communards
Heart of Glass – Blondie
Sisters are Doing it for Themselves – Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin
It’s Raining Men- The Weather Girls
Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle
Loaded – Primal Scream
Everything Flows – Teenage Fanclub
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

One of my FB friends, Steve Fleming, made the observation that there was a Scottish theme running right through all the artists until near the end and wanted to know what had happened. I replied by saying that folk were having fun…it was party central….the dance floor was mobbed…and Aidan Moffat was on the decks and knew exactly what he was doing!!! Robert, one of the founders of the Simply Thrilled concept, was a bit more direct when he added “Moffat got pished is the real answer Steve”

Aidan and Noj took over the decks around 11pm when the rest of us had fulfilled our duties of initially playing the indie-schmindie and getting a few folk onto the dance floor. Their set began with this:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Do You Want To?

If you look at the above set-list you’ll see that they went straight into full on party mode. None of us would have dared play the disco classics alongside some traditional Scottish music for such an extended period…well maybe we would have if we too had filled the floor and kept it that way

I was on door duties at the time and could only look on in admiration at what the dynamic duo were achieving and then the night took on a totally surreal feel for me as I got to welcome, and provide a wristband to, around a dozen people whose names had been given to us as a guest list by Aidan’s – namely all members of The Twilight Sad and their wives/girlfriends/mates – all of whom were coming along to fully join the party which was now very much in full flow.

Before too long, James Graham, lead singer of the Sad, had joined Aidan in the DJ booth, from where he took the lead in some communal singing and/or danced his ass off. The atmosphere was like no other…..and can best be summed up by Robert’s own posting to the Simply Thrilled Facebook Page the following day:-

“The people behind Simply Thrilled have collectively and individually been putting on nights for more years than we care to mention but last night for us was by far and away the best we have ever been part of.

It was a party …

We just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along but also to Aidan and Noj who just made its so special. Their set was like a lesson to us on how it should be done and I think it’s safe to say we learned something last night that we will definitely be putting into practice in the future. We should probably also thank the Twilight Sad and especially James who by default turned in another guest DJ (although I don’t think he played a tune .. but he was in the mix).

And we think playing Belinda “Carlisle” was a tenuous act of genius.

We also think our second night being a sell-out is pretty good going so much so we are already starting to plan our next night which is happening in the new year, until then have a great festive period and we will see you soon.”

In terms of the St Andrew’s Night Shindig, I don’t think I can add much to that. In terms of this little corner of t’internet, my thanks, as ever, to everyone who has taken the time to pay a visit over the past 12 months, with a very special appreciation from me to those of you who have taken the time to leave comments, send e-mails or contribute guest postings. I wouldn’t still be keeping things going without your incredible backing and support.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs of 2018, from an album that I’ll be giving a mention to at some point when normal service resumes after Monday 7 January 2019:-

mp3 : Port Sulphur (featuring James Kirk) – Orient Express

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone.

JC

I SAW THE LIGHT

The Jesus and Mary Chain emerged blinking and battling into the sunlight at a period when I temporarily stopped caring so muc about music to an extent that I got very cynical about things, genuinely believing that there would be very little to emerge in the following years that would thrill or excite, far less sound unlike anything that had come before. I was 25 years old and my pessimism/doom’n’gloom turned out to be well wide of the mark, as I hope I have proved on many occasions through postings on this little corner of t’internet.

My thoughts on the JAMC were clouded by the fact that the noises coming out of the speakers were just a variation on the shock of punk rock, taking the sacred cow of the Velvet Underground who had been lauded by so many of the indie bands on the 80s and throwing some feedback on top. The antics of the stage performances, where fights and riots would be instigated from a ‘couldn’t give a fuck’ attitude seemed no different or more confrontational than that of The Birthday Party who themselves had grown up and subsequently grown weary of it, and therefore it was only a matter of time before the Brothers Reid did similar.

I didn’t mind some of the songs I was hearing but not enough to make me rush out and buy anything….until the day I was exposed to a b-side and a cover version at that:-

mp3 : The Jesus and Mary Chain – Surfin’ USA

The Beach Boys were, and still are, a band that I ever quite ‘got’. The 80s were a particularly annoying time for me as so many journos from that period were fond of wanking themselves into a frenzy over Pet Sounds being the greatest album of all time. I’ve listened to that album in my teens, 20s, 30s and 40s and never once been remotely impressed with it. Hearing this wonderfully energetic and irreverent take on the song, not to mention the sampling of the religious nutters at its end, at a period in history when there were some bad bad people on the right (and on the rise) in the land of the free, made me smile and made me take a liking to the JAMC.

A few weeks later, I got my hands on the 12” single on which it had appeared. This was the era when vinyl didn’t sell out instantly and you could find copies of singles hanging around the shelves many months later. It was my first exposure to this:-

mp3 : The Jesus and Mary Chain – Darklands

Hadn’t until now apprecaited that they made such great pop singles, tuneful and memorable and at exactly the sort of pace and tempo that so often fitted my mood.  The five minutes that converted me.

Many years later, a former member of JAMC offered his band’s take on it….and in doing so made it sound like one of his own:-

mp3 : Primal Scream – Darklands

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #201 : THE WAVE PICTURES

A GUEST POSTING by PHIL H

The Wave Pictures consist of Davy Tattersall (vocals and guitar), Franic Rozycki (bass guitar) and Jonny Helm (drums).

The Wave Pictures are a little difficult for some people to get their heads round. They are a properly independent band, self-releasing many of their records, constantly touring the indie clubs and pubs of Britain, Europe and the world, and embodying a truly punk ethic in terms of doing things their way (e.g. improvised recording sessions, single mic set-ups, vinyl-only issues on obscure labels). But they are at odds with much of what’s come to define the ‘indie’ sound: whilst some of their early recordings exhibit the kind of lackadaisical attitude and jangly guitar work that has come to exemplify “indie”, their later releases exhibit a virtuosity that those who think that the guitar solo in ‘Rip It Up’/’Boredom’ is the high watermark of civilisation will probably find a bit much. I know friends who find Davy’s increasingly lengthy and bluesy guitar solos a bit of a turn-off, and their metamorphosis from Leicestershire’s answer to The Modern Lovers to a blues rock trio isn’t everyone’s idea of progress. ‘Instant Coffee Baby’ – their 2008 breakthrough album – is fundamentally different in style than their two 2018 LPs (‘Brushes with Happiness’, ‘Look Inside Your Heart’), with the jangle of the former giving way to a bewildering mix of late-night stoner blues, 60s power pop and faux country-rock. But throughout there are some constants, most notably the oblique and surreal lyrics, delivered in Davy’s thin, tremulous voice, which some have compared to other non-singers like Reed, Richman, Goddard.

Did I mention they are prolific? Since 2008 they’ve released a dozen or so ‘proper’ albums, collaborative efforts with Stanley Brinks and Darren Hayman as well as four albums covering the songs of artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Jason Molina, Herman Dune and Daniel Johnston. Coupled with their early self-released CDRs, that makes something like 300 different songs to choose from when compiling an imaginary album, plucked from albums varying in style from the semi-improvised late night blues of ‘Brushes with Happiness’, the power punk of ‘Great Big Flamingo and Burning Moon’, and the lo-fi genius of ‘Sophie’ and ‘Instant Coffee Baby’.

The ten tracks I have plumped for are a little obvious – mainly singles and live favourites – with only a couple of curveballs thrown in. They come from 10 different records/years so give a fairly good overview of the band’s career: presented in no particular order, this then is The Wave Pictures, Britain’s only indie rock blues power punk trio.

Side One

Stay Here and Take Care Of The Chickens

Whilst this might sound corny, this opener from 2011s ‘Long Black Cars’, pretty much summarises what The Wave Pictures are about: good tunes and good times. For a moment, the guitar solo threatens to break into Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, but Davy just pulls it back in time, thank God. With its call and response refrain, this is a live favourite and one that asks the urgent and insistent question – just who is going to look after the chickens? Music to put a smile on your face.

Pea Green Coat

Recorded with Sir Billy Childish, ‘Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon’ is the Wave Pictures most incendiary album where they filter the sound of the Medway delta through their own warped world view to produce something that is visceral and insistent but still cerebral and witty. Pea Green Coat doesn’t make a lot of sense to me – just who is the woman in a Pea Green Coat, and just why do they owe Davy £3000? – but it’s got a killer riff. The Wave Pictures show they can rip it up.

Three Songs Called Louise

The b-side to the single Strawberry Cables. The a-side is pretty good and demonstrates Davy’s preoccupation with fruit (see also: Avocado Baby, Strange Fruit for David, Apple Boy) but this is arguably even better: the lyric about the jet plane’s wing stretching out just like a diving board gets me every time.

I Love You Like a Madman

This is a little bit of an outlier in the Wave Pictures’ discography, a northern soul stomper complete with a horn section. In an alternative universe people I’d like to imagine people dancing at weddings to this rather than “Come on Eileen”. The lyrics about staying with your in-laws at Christmas and your partner wanting to plunge a pair of nail scissors in your neck because you’re being a dick resonates with me for reasons I can’t share here.

Roosevelt Sykes

Named after a US blues musician (nicknamed the Honeydripper), this track from 2018’s “Look Inside your Heart” is more inspired by the afrobeat of the Bhundu Boys or The Four Brothers than delta blues (see also: ‘Red Road’ parts one and two). A joyous little tune.

Side Two

Missoula

A track that wouldn’t be out of place on ‘Transformer’: three chords, syncopated ba ba bas and unabashed sentimentality as Davy proclaims earnestly, “I love you”. Elsewhere the Wave Pictures have covered Lou Reed’s ‘I Love You’, just in case we missed the Velvety reference points. Rock and roll plagiarism for sure but an absolutely wonderful song: is there any middle-aged man out there who can’t relate to the lyric about a ‘beer belly bouncing in the afternoon’? From City Forgiveness, the 2013 double album rightly regarded by some as a career-high as there’s very little filler amongst its 20 tracks.

Pool Hall

In which The Wave Pictures set down the blueprint for the gentrification blues. As one reviewer notes, it sounds defiant, as if the Wave Pictures would play on even if the venue around them was torn down brick by brick. A great single from 2016’s excellent ‘Bamboo Diner in The Rain’, which followed hot on the heels of the less essential vinyl-only acoustic album ‘A Season in Hull’.

The Little Window

From the bluesy, drunk, improvised ‘Brushes with Happiness’ (2018), the story of a drift through an unidentified European city where Davy loses his blue purse, takes a tram ride and meets a female boxer who agrees that all national anthems are basically horrible. Meandering lyrics and a slight tune, but it’s enchanting and entrancing nonetheless.

Long Island

A stomping, piano-driven track that seems to be about a club that has a raffle every Friday night, where a boy burnt his tongue by drinking soup straight from the urn and where tortilla dip accompanies every round. First released in lo-fi form on ‘Sophie’ in 2006, this version is from the Pigeon EP released in 2008.

Now You Are Pregnant

Another live favourite. Possibly a song about falling in love with the girl at the shoe shop on the day Johnny Cash dies. There are two versions of this, and the version sung by drummer Johnny “Huddersfield” Helm is worth checking out too. The refrain – ‘It’s not like Elvis’ – is both joyful and heart-breaking, and speaks of disappointment and unrequited love: the final acoustic guitar solo and strings are very redolent of The Go Betweens too, and there’s no higher recommendation than that.

Bonus track

Orange Juice by Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures

Not about that Orange Juice, sadly, but the reparative value of vitamin C, alcohol, caffeine and love. This is a song that my kids like because of the verse about there being so much shit on the streets you can’t even move (hence the Itunes warning of ‘explicit lyrics’ ahead). This is another one that can’t help but bring a smile to your face, and it seems a good place to finish.

PHIL H

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #200 : THE GO-BETWEENS (3)

The visit earlier this year to the cinema to enjoy Right Here led to me going on a bit of a Go-Betweens binge immediately afterwards; I even managed to slip Bye Bye Pride into a pre-matCh play list at a Raith Rovers game not too long ago.

It also got me looking again at the two previous ICAs in November 2016. I still think they stand amongst the best in the entire series, but it also made me realise just how many superb songs had been left off. This was partly down to me trying really hard to stick by my first principle of an ICA, namely that it shouldn’t necessarily comprise what I think are the ten best songs, nor should it be my ten favourites songs, but instead should hang together as a ‘perfect’ LP with five tracks on each side. Oh, and I also wanted to ensure there were five songs from each of Robert Forster and Grant McLellan.

Thus it is that the landmark 200th ICA is my stab at a third volume for possibly the greatest band to ever emerge from Australia….sometimes I do think it is them but on other days I can’t see past The Bad Seeds. This time around there’s a co-composition, which I really should have found room for previously but in looking at both volumes, I’m still struggling to see where it would have fitted in and at what other song’s expense. But there’s five lead vocals from each of them.

SIDE A

Lee Remick (debut single, 1978)

The one which made it all possible. My thinking behind it not being included on either of the previous volumes is that, by the time I made my own discovery of the band some five years later with the release of Before Hollywood, they had developed a more sophisticated and less jarring sound. Lee Remick, and indeed its superior b-side Karen, are both great little numbers but in the grand scheme of things have the feel of demos rather than finished products.

Robert’s autobiography and the documentary helped shed a bit more light on things and made me appreciate just how much of an achievement it was getting the band and new label up and running in Brisbane in the late 70s given how in so many ways the city and the state of Queensland was ridiculously insular and backward-looking, with a particularly oppressive police regime which wasn’t slow in using violence against anyone wanting to be creative in a modern way; not that Robert, Grant or record-label owner Damien Nelson ever really got caught up in such stuff, but Brisbane in the late 70s was the least likely of the big Australian cities to spawn a band like The Go-Betweens and it was no real surprise that before too long they were on the move to elsewhere in the country and then to the UK.

To Reach Me (from Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express, 1986)

The fact the band had two main singer-songwriters was both a strength and a weakness. On the upside, it allowed listeners to enjoy two quite different approaches to work with Grant for the main (but not exclusively) being the arch-exponent of great pop songs, often about love and life while Robert was a bit more celebral (but again, not exclusively). This one kind of crosses the two in that it’s a love song (of sorts), set to a complicated yet catchy tune with a lyric that is almost Cave-esque with its imagery. It’s all quite magical.

The weakness? The music press, lazy in extreme, wanted a sole focus of attention for the interviews and profiles. The band didn’t play the game and lost out.

The Clock (from The Friends of Rachel Worth, 2000)

I wasn’t too sure about Robert and Grant’s decision to reform the band after more than a decade. I had my doubts about whether they were capable of recapturing the magic of the golden era, especially given that the other key members were nowhere to be seen. I certainly haven’t listened to the three final albums anywhere near as much as I did the earlier material, and indeed would still say I wasn’t wholly familiar with them in comparison in particular to Before Hollywood, Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express, and 16 Lovers Lane. The binge of recent weeks, however, has seen them get more airings than any others, and while I’m still not sure about Bright Yellow Bright Orange (2003), the albums on either side are now much more appreciated.

The Clock, on first, and indeed subsequent early listens, seemed a little bit inconsequential, but it’s one of those from which an exposure to repeated listening reveals a bit of musical depth, even although it is not really close to much of the 80s output.

Hammer The Hammer (single, 1982)

The band’s fifth single, but the first to feature Grant on lead vocal (and as such, the first of his own compositions to be chosen for a 45). I hadn’t until reading the book quite realised how little interest Grant had in music until he was pestered to form a band by Robert, a point also reinforced by the film. This meant that Robert, having been keen to pursue such a career had more than a head start in terms of having sufficient songs of quality to issue as early singles with Grant first of all learning the rudiments of bass and acoustic guitars before really turning his attention to song writing.

There’s a great bit in the film where Robert describes the song writing issue it as being akin to him driving a car, and he’s away ahead of Grant, but out of nowhere his friend appears in the rear view mirror, getting ever closer and eventually passing him, which he felt happened with the writing and recording of Hammer the Hammer, and which would continue thanks to the likes of Cattle and Cane, That Way and Dusty in Here, all of which were among the strongest and most enduring songs on the band’s sophomore LP.

Robert’s response was to seek to up his own game and start penning songs that would have him catch up……………….

Part Company (single, 1984)

The band had been very unlucky timing wise with the debut album.  Rough Trade had been very enthusiastic but then along came The Smiths and the label decided to put all its eggs into that particular basket.  The Go-Betweens were offered to, and accepted by Seymour Stein at Sire Records.  It proved by a poor fit, with the label not quite sure exactly how best to pitch the band to the record buying public. An expensively produced album, Spring Hill Fair, was recorded in rural France but it wasn’t a terribly happy experience for all concerned.  Despite this, the album still manages to incorporate some of their finest moments, including Part Company, which was Robert’s attempt to compose a song that was more literate than before and the first stage in catching-up to the quality of the songs of his mate.  But it was bonkers of the label to have it as the lead single.

Robert still plays this at solo gigs….and it never fails to be met with huge acclaim.

Side B

Head Full Of Steam (From Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express, 1986)

Don’t Let Him Come Back (new version, 1986)

The opening track to side-B of this ICA is one of the great long-lost singles of the 80s.  The bitter experiences around the recording of Spring Hill Fair had made the band determined to get it right next time around, which they more than did with Liberty Belle….the album which was certainly the high point of the band’s time as a four-piece.   They also brought in a few friends to assist on some songs, and Tracey Thorn supplies a wonderfully understated backing vocal which perfectly complements that of Robert, whose deadpan performance is just perfect.

The b-side to the single was a real treat.  It was a superb re-recording of a very early song, originally issued as the b-side to 1979 single People Say, and in which Grant, Robert, Lindy and the other Robert give us something which could easily be held up as the definitive indie-jangly song of the era.

Apology Accepted (radio session 1986)

The original version closes Liberty Belle….and as much as I loved it when I first heard it in the mid 80s, nothing prepared me for just the majesty of this radio session, broadcast on the Janice Long Show on BBC Radio One in May 1986 and made available when the parent album was released in an expanded 2-CD form in 2004.  It has a slightly faster tempo than the original, but for me its the way that the piano solo in the middle of the song is brought to the fore that makes it the superior version….but it was a close run thing.

Bachelor Kisses (from Spring Hill Fair, 1984)

The NME review of this, when it was released as the second 45 from the album stated:-

“Song of the week.  Only when we’re confronted with a song so perfectly turned, lines so finely balanced and a melody so achingly sweet as Bachelor Kisses are we forced to notice how hollow most contemporary pop rings.”

High praise indeed, particularly when you recall that for the NME in 1984, contemporary pop in their eyes had an indie-bent and included bands such as The Smiths, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Scritti Politti and Prefab Sprout.  I’m not sure I’d go as far as the NME reviewer did as I’ve long felt that Bachelor Kisses gravitates towards soft-rock territory in some ways but it’s a song of which I grew increasingly appreciative of in later years as bitter-sweet love songs came to mean something in my life.

Finding You (from Oceans Apart, 2005)

If nothing else, reading the book and watching the film brought the realisation that I had been so wrong to have dismissed Finding You simply as a mid-tempo piece of sombre sentimentality.

It wasn’t widely known, but at the time Grant was battling all sorts of demons in his life.  The Go-Betweens had reformed but, and this comes out especially in the film, he was a desperately unhappy and lonely man.  It’s really little wonder that it was tunes and lyrics such as this which were pouring out of him, although it did take a contribution from Robert to provide the final touch, thus delivering one of the few genuine Forster/McLennan compositions.

And its chorus captures my own issues with this blog after all these years….don’t know where I’m going, don’t know where it’s flowing…………but the thing is, these ICAs, and in particular the stuff it has enabled me, and hopefully you as readers, to find over the now 200 efforts, makes it worth it.

JC

PS : ICA 201, a guest contribution, will appear tomorrow.

TODAY I FEEL LIKE LISTENING TO THIS LOT

Normal service is resumed after the holiday.

They’ve had the singles treatment over 19 consecutive weeks, an ICA and a handful of songs featuring on other postings. So here’s an imaginary 4-track EP with stuff I’ve not played here before:-

mp3 : The Clash – What’s My Name (live at Belle Vue, Manchester 1977)
mp3 : The Clash – Guns On The Roof
mp3 : The Clash – Brand New Cadillac
mp3 : The Clash – Rock The Casbah

Track 1 is lifted from a TV clip that was filmed for inclusion on So It Goes, the weekly music programme devised and presented by Anthony H Wilson (or plain Tony as he was known in those days). That’s why you get the added lyric of ‘here we are on TV…..‘in the middle. It’s a far more raw and energetic version than appears on the debut album.

Track 2 takes the riff from Clash City Rockers, which itself ripped off the 1965 single, I Can’t Explain by The Who, and has Joe pontificating on state-sponsored terrorism while taking its title from an incident closer to home when Paul, Topper and a bunch of hangers-on ended up in trouble for shooting at pigeons from the roof of their rehearsal rooms having been mistaken for terrorists shooting at passing trains.

Track 3, lifted from London Calling, is the well-known and well-loved cover of the 1959 song by Vince Taylor which The Clash considered to be one of the first and best British rock’n’roll records

Track 4. Nope, this version hasn’t been featured before. It’s lifted from the album that never was – Rat Patrol From Fort Knox – recorded by the band and fully produced by Mick Jones over a three-month period between November 1981 and January 1982. It would likely have been a double album, which coming on the back of London Calling and Sandinista was too much for CBS to accept, but even worse was that the rest of the band, along with newly re-instated manager Bernie Rhodes, rejected it feeling some songs were too long and others had too many overdubs and samples.

The songs were then given to Glyn Johns to rework and remix into what became Combat Rock….it was only years later when the Rat Patrol sessions were released in bootleg form did many folk come to the realisation that the strive for commercialism had been at the expense of the beginning of the break-up of the band with Mick Jones utterly devastated by what had happened.

Bonus Track

mp3 : The Clash – The Beautiful People Are Ugly

This would have been the opening song on Rat Patrol if it had been allowed to see the light of day. A touch on the pop side perhaps, but again it was Mick trying to prevent the band from pigeon-holed by critics and fans alike.

JC