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