JUST FOR THE ONE TRACK I DIDN’T HAVE

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I was doing a bit of browsing in the Monorail record store a couple of weeks back.  There was still some stock left over from Record Store Day 2022, including a 12″ EP by Electronic which I took a closer look at.

Six tracks in all, consisting of remixes made between 1989 and 1992.  Here’s the thing…..I thought I had everything that had been released during that period, thanks to me buying the albums and singles, with a mix of vinyl and CDs…..but I was looking at a sleeve which has a remix of the album track Gangster that I wasn’t aware of.

The dilemma then facing me is whether to fork out a reasonably substantial amount of money for just one song I don’t have.  It did go through my head to just seek it out digitally and save money via a download, but that thought passed very quickly.  About a nanosecond, I reckon.

So I took home the EP.

I didn’t rush into it….the remix I didn’t know was the third track on Side A, which meant I listened to the extended mix of Getting Away With It and then a DNA remix of Get The Message prior to Gangster (FBI Mix).

I was a bit nervous that I’d end paying for a duff piece of music.  The original version of Gangster from the eponymous debut album from 1991 has long been a favourite.  As I said when I included it on the Electronic ICA:-

Track six on the debut album and the one which provides a reminder of Technique, the last truly indispensable album ever released by New Order, complete with a lyric in which Bernard makes a number of torturous rhymes.

Turns out the remix is even more akin to the New Order record, straight from the opening notes:-

mp3: Electronic – Gangster (FBI Remix)

It got me wondering how I had missed it back in the day, and it seems it was made available on the 12″ version of Disappointed issued in America by Warner Brothers.  I stand to be corrected, but I don’t think it was ever made commercially available on vinyl or CD in the UK until a few weeks ago.

Worth every penny. For the record, the b-side consisted of the 12″ remix of Feel Every Beat, the remix of Idiot Country that had been included with the UK release of Disappointed, which itself was the final track on the RSD 2022 release.

JC

10″ OF BLACK VINYL FROM 1995

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In 1995, Matt Johnson made, what I still consider, to be an ill-advised move with the release of Hanky Panky, an 11-track CD in which he covered songs originally recorded back in the day by Hank Williams.

It was an audacious project, with Matt choosing to shy away from many of the best-known Hank songs in favour of those he felt ‘moved him most on a raw emotional level’ (as per the sleeve notes).

He later added, again in the sleeve notes, that what he and the band had looked to achieve was to The The-ize the music by stretching and twisting it around a bit, while trying to stay true to the emotional essence at the core of Hank Williams’ work.

The end result fell awkwardly between two stools.  Some songs did sound very much like The The, such as the only single taken from the album:-

mp3: The The – I Saw The Light

The problem is that while the music is familiar enough to fans of The The, it seemed forced in respect of the lyrical content, given it was written and recorded originally by Williams as a gospel number.  It just jarred too much to be truly enjoyable.

Other song interpretations were more in keeping with a C&W vibe, but I just don’t feel Matt’s voice can really do the genre justice.

As it turned out, as I learned a few weeks ago when I picked up a copy of the 10″ single, the really stripped back stuff was kept off the album and released instead as the b-sides.  On these, Matt provides only the vocal, with the only other playing being the guitar work of Eric Shermerhorn.

mp3: The The – I’m Free At Last
mp3: The The – Someday You’ll Call My Name
mp3: The The – There’s No Room In My Heart For The Blues

I wasn’t expecting all that much from the EP, and so I’m not all that bothered that it’s one of those pieces of vinyl that I’ve played once and will unlikely do so again…and it wasn’t an expensive purchase, with copies readily available on Discogs for a couple of pounds.

Some of you out there might like it, which is why I’ve offered it up today.

It’s worth mentioning that the sleeve notes for the album stated that Hanky Panky would be the first of an occasional series of albums celebrating the great singer/songwriters.  The fact that no other albums were released in a similar vein perhaps indicates that Matt learned a lesson from the way the Hank Williams tribute was responded to by fans and critics alike.

JC

SOME SONGS MAKE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 58)

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Last time up in this series, Jonny the Friendly Lawyer presented us with  Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event, recalling it as a song that took him back to 1985 when he found out his girlfriend had been cheating on him.

It got me thinking about a song I’d long been considering, reluctant however to bring it forward as the lyric is just too brutal in so many ways to make for a ‘great’ story. But, as JTFL was able to point out, when it comes to songs, the subject matter doesn’t have to be all sweetness and light to make for a great lyric.

This one is as far from a love song as it is possible to get.  It is prose rather than a lyric.

You’d already been about half an hour with your pre-clubbing shower. I had always planned to have a look in your special Winnie the Pooh book. The place was marked, and it was there in blue and white. It just said simply, “Paul stayed last night.” Next I was on the bog, and you got down on one knee. You were protesting your innocence, and you started to cry just as I started to pee. You said, “I didn’t shag him, he slept on the couch in the kitchen. He might as well be a girl, he’s a good for a laugh, and he’s good for bitchin’.” You said you’d never be willing or able. And he looks like he was made on a fucking table. Although, to be fair, I think he hides the bolts quite well, but as soon as he opens his mouth you can just tell. I had just assumed you’d completely gone off shagging, and I can just see you with your new Uni pals, standing bragging. Now he’s your boyfriend and I know you were talking shite. But you still denied it when I met you at someone’s birthday party the other night. You said, “I didn’t shag him, he stayed on the couch in the kitchen. He’s just like one of the girls, we have a good laugh when we’re sitting bitchin’.” The words that you used to think turned me on just made me laugh. “Do you want to suck my cunt?” in real life just sounds naff. And when we were with your friends, I just as might as well have been no one. And you can’t get over your dead dog – well, it takes one to know one.

mp3: Arab Strap – Piglet

Pain, disbelief and then the visceral anger in dealing with the inevitable break-up. I reckon we’ve all said things in the heat of the moment that we later regret and acknowledge as having gone too far.

From Philophobia, released in 1998.  It’s an album packed with incredible short stories.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #315: TRUMPETS

A GUEST POSTING (and Invitation) from JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

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I love the sound of a trumpet in rock music.  Yes, there are plenty of songs and bands we all love that feature a full brass section, or at least a trumpet accompanied by a sax or whatnot.  But I’m not talking about those.  I mean just a trumpet, either as part of the instrumentation of a song, or as the featured lead instrument.  So here’s an imaginary compilation of my favourite songs with a trumpet.  All the tunes are by bands that would typically show up over here at JC’s place.  Otherwise, there’d be way too many to list.  (So our host will have to do without ‘Penny Lane’ this time out.)

Cake: Short Skirt/Long Jacket.

Cake are sort of an acquired taste, but I acquired it.  Groovy bassist, solid drummer, ace guitarists, and Vince DeFiore on trumpet.  If you’re okay with John McCrea‘s vocals, you’ll probably like the band, too.  This is a single from the band’s fourth album, Comfort Eagle, released way back in 2001.

The June Brides: Every Conversation.

This one’s the only song I know by this band, which was included on some anorak-Postcard-Creation compilation or other.  It’s a fun track played in a lovably amateurish way that I still like to listen to almost 40 years on.

Beulah:  Gene Autrey.

Anyone remember Beulah?  They’re a forgotten favourite of mine.  Kind of the equivalent of Clearlake, whom I thought were genius and no one ever heard of (see ICA #279).  Beulah were from San Francisco and released four great albums to no acclaim whatsoever.  The idea for this post comes from this song, incidentally.  I have it on a playlist and was driving around (that’s what we do in LA) and all of a sudden the trumpet solo erupted out of the speakers.  You wouldn’t know it’s coming from the beginning of the tune, and then–bam!  Magnificent music.

The Teardrop Explodes: Reward.

Bless my cotton socks, it’s the arch-druid and his band’s biggest hit, a non-album single from 1981.  I read someplace that the band included the trumpet because they were inspired by Love‘s 1967 psychedelic classic, Forever Changes.

Calexico: Alone Again Or.

Speaking of which, here’s a version of the lead track from Forever Changes. Calexico are in fine form here.  It’s loose, the hand-claps give it kind of a flamenco vibe, and the trumpet solo is perfect.  Loads of bands covered this song, including the Damned, but I had other plans for them.

The Damned: Grimly Fiendish.

Is this where the Damned went Goth, or was that just the album cover?  Not sure, but we’ve moved quite a bit forward from New Rose with a jazzy trumpet solo.  This was released as a single in 1984.  Christ, I’m old.

Belle & Sebastian: Dress Up In You.

Here are some truly insulting lyrics, sung very sweetly.  Like our friends Cake and Calexico, Belle & Sebastian had a trumpet player on board for most of their career, including this track from 2006’s The Life Pursuit.  Toss up between this song and Stars of Track and Field.

Talking Heads: Houses in Motion.

Everyone’s played it straight so far but not, of course, the Heads.  This tune, from 1981’s Remain in Light, features fourth world pioneer Jon Hassell on a trumpet solo given the full Eno treatment.

Sloan: Everything You’ve Done Wrong.

I don’t know too much about Sloan, except that they’re from Canada and have had the same lineup for over 30 years.  ‘Everything’ is a straight-up radio-friendly pop tune wearing its trumpet on its sleeve.  This song was released in 1996, and I’m beginning to wonder if trumpet is just out of style nowadays?

The Beta Band: Dry the Rain.

Another 90’s highlight.  This song always seemed to me like an indie Hey Jude.  Goes on for a while and ends with a sing-along chorus with trumpets over the top.  I only saw the band once, and they were fantastic, but I can’t remember if they did this number.

Elvis Costello: Shipbuilding.

EC’s best ever lyrics, according to the man himself.  Shipbuilding really is a monumental song.  It would have been a classic before jazz legend/tragedy Chet Baker got into the studio, but his trumpet part is one of a kind.  If there’s a “best trumpet solo in rock” it’s this one.

Honourable mentions:

The Who: 5:15.

The ‘oo were my favourite band growing up, and Quadrophenia was and still is my Favourite Album of All Time.  This would have been top of the list, except Entwistle‘s playing a french horn, not a trumpet.

Sublime: Wrong Way.

A great song by doomed ska-punk luminaries Sublime, with a funky trombone solo.

The Cows: Heave Ho.

Oh, man, the Cows were a riot in action. This raucous number typifies their sound, right down to the singer’s trusty bugle.

XTC: That Is The Way.

This was going to be in the mix until I read the liner notes and saw that it’s Dick Cuthell (Specials, Madness, Pogues, Eurythmics) on flugelhorn.

…and now, the Invitation.

It took me ages to narrow this list down to just ten songs.  That’s why it’s eleven songs.  But I’ve got a whole second set, which I sent to JC.  I’m curious to see if anyone else shares my interest in trumpet in rock and, if you do, which songs you’d pick for an ICA.  So, I invite the TVV crowd to suggest some songs in the comments.  Let’s see if they include the rest of mine or, even better, are trumpet songs I haven’t heard yet.

JTFL

THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING SERIES FOR SUNDAYS (Part 53)

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The Fall released a new record in July 2017. It was their 32nd studio album – New Facts Emerge – nobody had any idea it would be their last.

MES gave UNCUT magazine a lengthy and decent interview for a lengthy feature.  The opening paragraph comments are priceless:-

“There are some fucking weird people around, aren’t there?” says Mark E Smith, taking a sip of Jameson’s in Manchester’s Crown & Kettle public house. He’s talking about musicians, a group of people he famously detests. “I suppose you meet a lot of ’em. I’m not one to talk, but a lot of them can’t give it up, can they?”

The interview also acknowledged that the band had been reduced to a four-piece, with Elena Poulou having taken her leave the previous year when she and MES separated and then divorced.  New Facts Emerge proved to be a disappointing effort, with Elena’s keyboards replaced only by more guitars, bass and drums, leading to an even heavier and more pounding sound, which is no surprise given the way the current and now-long standing musicians had been performing on the most recent releases.

No singles were lifted from the album, which would indicate Cherry Red Records were perhaps thinking the band was treading water and that the next set of songs, maybe with someone new brought into as Elena’s replacement, would be slightly more commercially-orientated. Sadly, with MES passing away a few months later in January 2018, (with a gig in Glasgow proving to be his last ever), the theory was never put to the test.

The label had previously issued a 7″ single for Record Store Day on 22 April 2017.  It was done, seemingly, without MES’s knowledge far less blessing, which left him a bit pissed off to say the least.  In the olden days, this would have led to him ripping up the contract and seeking a new home, but seemingly tired of battling with record company bosses, he told Uncut that “Cherry Red are all right (to work with)”.

It wasn’t even as if a really old track had been resurrected. Masquerade had been released in February 1998, on 10″ vinyl and 2 x CD singles, on Artful Records, selling enough copies to reach #69 in the singles chart.  The RSD effort didn’t even offer up any new version, with the b-side being a remix that had been included on the original 10″ release:-

mp3: The Fall – Masquerade
mp3: The Fall – Masquerade (PWL mix)

All in all, a rather limp ending to the singles/EP career of The Fall, but it certainly wasn’t planned that way…MES’s body finally gave up on him before any new music could be written, recorded and released.

I’d like to thank everyone who has stuck with this series, and I’ll apologise to those of you who aren’t fans who probably feel it has long overstayed its welcome.  The first part was actually just over a year ago, on 13 June 2021, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing the research involved for each release.  I haven’t always enjoyed the music, but it’s fair to say there have been way more hits than misses.

One thing I will add is that if a fairly recent book on The Fall had been in print when I began this series, then my life would have been a lot easier.

You Must Get Them All : The Fall On Record is a 656-page hardback epic written by Steve Pringle, issued by Route Publishing.  I don’t think at this stage you can get it anywhere other than via the publishers, and while as yet I’m only just over halfway through its contents, it does feel as if it’s the first book to tell the full chronological story by concentrating on every release, weaving in the various line-up changes and the live and often punishing touring schedules.  Click here for more details.

Tune in next week for the start of a new(ish) Sunday series…..its success or otherwise will rely heavily on audience participation/involvement.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #312: SOUP DRAGONS

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I’m going full wiki this week:-

The Soup Dragons formed in Bellshill in 1985. The line up was Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice) who replaced Ian Whitehall, and Sushil K. Dade (bass). The original drummer, Ross A. Sinclair, left the group after the first proper album, This Is Our Art, to pursue a career in art, and was replaced by Paul Quinn. Most of their songs were written by Sean Dickson.

The Soup Dragons recorded their first demo tape, You Have Some Too, after playing a few local gigs, and this was followed by a flexi disc single “If You Were the Only Girl in the World”.

They signed to The Subway Organization in early 1986 and their first proper single (The Sun in the Sky EP) was Buzzcocks-inspired pop punk. The band’s big breakthrough came with their second single for Subway, “Whole Wide World” which reached No. 2 on the UK Independent Chart in 1986. Dickson and McCulloch also moonlighted in BMX Bandits at this time.

The band were signed by former Wham! co-manager Jazz Summers‘ label Raw TV with further indie hits (and minor UK Singles Chart hits) following during 1987 and 1988. Over the course of six singles (the first three collected in 1986 on a US-only compilation, Hang Ten), they gradually developed a more complex rock guitar sound, which culminated in their first proper album This Is Our Art, now signed to major label Sire Records. After one single from the album – “Kingdom Chairs” – was released, they then returned to original label Raw TV and Big Life Records.

In the year following This Is Our Art, The Soup Dragons’ sound underwent a change from an indie rock sound, to the rock-dance crossover sound; this was mainly due to being without a drummer and buying a sampler and drum machine and experimenting with sound with the release of the album Lovegod. This change can be attributed to the rise of the ecstasy-fueled acid house rave scene in the UK. In 1990, they released their most successful hit single in the UK, “I’m Free”, an up-tempo cover of a Rolling Stones song with an added toasting overdub by reggae star Junior Reid, which reached No. 5.

Subsequent albums continued in the band’s own style and in 1992, they enjoyed their biggest US hit with “Divine Thing” which reached No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit No. 3 on the Modern Rock chart.

The Soup Dragons disbanded in 1995.

Paul Quinn joined Teenage Fanclub.

Sushil K. Dade formed the experimental post rock group Future Pilot A.K.A. and is now a producer for BBC Radio 3.

Sean Dickson formed The High Fidelity, came out as gay, had a breakdown, then met his husband and established a successful career Djing as HiFi Sean.

Jim McCulloch joined Superstar, wrote and recorded music with Isobel Campbell, and formed the folk group Snowgoose.

Ross A. Sinclair had a successful career in art, winning a number of international awards and becoming a Research Fellow at Glasgow School of Art, and still makes music to this day.

The story of The Soup Dragons is traced as part of the 2017 documentary Teenage Superstars.”

A group whom I thoroughly enjoyed throughout their career.  Why I’ve never got round to compiling an ICA is beyond me…..it’s a genuine failing on my part.

mp3: The Soup Dragons – Hang Ten!

A personal favourite…..two minutes and a few seconds of rollicking, fun-filled indie-pop.  But really, today’s choice could have been one of many fabulous songs they delivered over the decade they made music.

I’ll also take this opportunity to mention that Hi-Fi Sean’s next album, which he’s written and recorded with David McAlmont, is being issued by Last Night From Glasgow this coming September.  I was lucky enough to be at LNFG’s HQ a while back when a test pressing had been delivered, and I got to hear the opening track.  On the basis of those few minutes, it promises to be one of the best albums of 2022.

JC

FAC 6 : ELECTRICITY by ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK

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The short series dealing with the contents of the Use Hearing Protection box set.  FAC6 has featured before on the blog, back in September 2018, when I had a look at all three versions of Electricity/Almost.  A lot of what follows, is taken from that post.

The first version was FAC6, released in May 1979.

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark had originally recorded both sides of the single with Martin Zero (aka Hannett) at the helm in Cargo Studios in Rochdale. They felt, however, that it was overproduced and so, at a studio in their home city of Liverpool, they re-recorded both songs with production being shared by the band and their manager Paul Collister. As a compromise, and not wishing to totally upset the volatile Hannett, it was agreed by Factory Records that the b-side from the Cargo sessions would be used.

Four months later, with the duo having now signed to DinDisc Records, the debut single was re-released, (catalogue # DIN2) but with it featuring the Hannett-helmed version as the a-side.

Neither release bothered the charts, but after a later single, Red Frame White Light (DIN6) managed to become a minor hit, DinDisc decided to re-release Electricity as part of the marketing campaign for the debut album. It also had the catalogue #DIN2, but it was different from the earlier DinDisc take on things as both sides of the 45 were the album versions, as produced by OMD and Chester Valentino (an alias adopted by Paul Collister).

But this series is, of course, only about the early Factory releases, so here, taken straight from the vinyl within the box set are the two songs on FAC6:-

mp3: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Electricity
mp3: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Almost

Incidentally, when I wrote about FAC6 back in September 2018, I mentioned that if you were lucky enough to have a good quality copy of the artefact, you could ask for and get in excess of £100 if you put up for sale.

Scratch that.  The asking price for it nowadays is substantially over £200.

JC

PICK ‘N’ MIX

A GUEST POSTING by flimflamfan

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In recent days, JC has entertained us with 8 Days of Indietracks Compilations and it’s been an enjoyable journey from this ageing indiepop kid.

Following the post for 2013 I wondered, as I sat on the beach, if I had transferred any indiepop compilations to my phone. I wasn’t too surprised to learn that I had, hello CD86 & Scared To Get Happy. Hmmm…. what’s this lurking in shadow of indiepop compilations, why it’s Pick ‘n’ Mix. At this point you’re most probably thinking “Pick ‘n’ What? Never heard of it.”

Torn between CD86 and Pick ‘n’ Mix (Scared To Get Happy, over 5 CDs requires considerably more commitment), I chose Pick ‘n’ Mix. I hadn’t listened to the compilation in over a decade. I nestled into my perch, stared longingly over the sea and hit play.

Felix D’ Arcy – Pictures From The Pavement

About 45 minutes later, CD1 was complete. I may have forgotten to mention Pick ‘n’ Mix is a 2 CD compilation. 13 songs that I hadn’t heard in the longest time, all of which seemed instantly recognisable – like bumping into an old friend in the street. That’s actual, real people, on tarmac streets (litter optional).

Leaving Mornington Crescent – Seventeen

Memories, fast, furious and welcome popped into my head: club nights, gigs, popfests, launch nights and late nights. Lots of late nights. Phew!

My intention was to listen immediately to CD2. However, the weather had other ideas, and I was rained off. On my speedy and damp walk back, I promised myself I’d listen to CD2 the following day. I did. I experienced the same rush: faces, places and any other word that will fit here to make up UK government health advice…races? No, that doesn’t make sense. Not making sense never stopped the UK government, but I digress…

I made a bold statement to myself that I’d write something up for TVV. To my utter astonishment here it is…

Hyperbubble – I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too

Pick ‘n’ Mix was released in 2009 by Bubblegum Records, Glasgow.

Glasgow is often regarded as a supportive hub for musicians/artists etc. but that hadn’t been my experience, or that of those behind Bubblegum, at that time back in 2009 as Glasgow ran mostly as a closed shop.

The same people owned numerous venues many espousing ‘independence’ despite being owned by large companies with relatively tight control of venues. Pay to play was rife – even in the ‘cooler’ establishments.

Zipper – Cosa de Artistas

When Bubblegum began it had lots it wanted to achieve. Key among those achievements was to challenge pay to play and to change negative perceptions of indie and indiepop. It seemed others agreed, myself included, yet Bubblegum was largely derided by the Glasgow ‘scene’. It seemed no matter what the label did, or did not do, in its brief existence, it just wasn’t good enough. Some examples…

When Pick ‘n’ Mix was launched (what a great night that was) free copies were given to the first 50 people alongside all of the previous releases, a fanzine and vegan sweets etc. The next 50 ‘only’ received free copies of Pick ‘n’ Mix, a fanzine and vegan sweets. Not good enough.

The label put on a staggering number of bands. There was, in most cases, an agreement that the bands would be paid a specific amount of money. Even if the gig ran at a loss, the band got their agreed amount. No band ever paid to play. Not good enough.

Probably the most generous food and drinks rider most of the bands had received. Not good enough.

Managing Glasgow Popfest – covering all costs on a DIY no sponsorship basis. Not good enough.

It put on free Indietracks warm-ups gigs. The line-up included bands appearing at Indietracks or bands whose members would be attending Indietracks. Not good enough.

For reasons unknown to those close to the label, and to the label itself, the animosity seemed inexplicable. Apparently, it was twee. Twee was somehow perceived as a threat?

Hari and Aino – On My Usual Catch Up With Celia

A little backstory can, I think, be helpful, but now to the matter in hand.

Pick ‘n’ Mix contains 27 songs. The label was advised by close friends – some in bands – not to release a compilation “they don’t make money.”

Undeterred by financial loss, Bubblegum put out an over-reaching call to a number of bands fully expecting a high percentage of rejections – due in part to the exceptionally tight timescale to get the CD completed for the hoped for launch date. Few rejections were received, which meant the original idea of a single CD compilation became a 2 CD compilation.

The roster for the CD is a real globetrotter: Brazil, Sweden. USA, Wales, Spain, France, Norway, Scotland, Indonesia, England, Australia & Japan (thanks, internet).

Le Ameida – Nunca Nunca

All indiepop sounds the same? Here’s another list to confound that theory… ska, pop, synthpop, twee, indiepop, rock, girl-group, bubblegum punk & shoegaze. Why have I left this excellent compilation languishing in the dark? I have no idea.

It’s so evocative of a specific time when a small group of people really did try to do things a little differently. Obscurity knocked (did you see what I did there?) as it has for many small DIY labels over the years.

I recall that at the Pick ‘n’ Mix launch I had a wholly stilted dance where I thought I must look like someone’s dad. I’m now only too aware that in the intervening years dad would be replaced by grandad. Where’s my dancin’ shoes?

Amphetameanies – Nothing’s OK

JC has written about Bubblegum before (here and here). On those occasions, I have been transported to thoroughly enjoyable times. Indirectly, the Indietracks compilations, stirred something in me and I’m delighted to have re-found Pick ‘n’ Mix and the memories it holds. Thanks, JC.

Does anyone else have experience of a local, relatively unknown DIY label that they hold in regard?

P.S. In an attempt to get ‘facts’ straight I sought support from the internet. For some bizarre reason some streaming sites have I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too as The Lovely Eggs. Although written by The Lovely Eggs it is in fact a cover version by Hyperbubble. However, pop fact, The Lovely Eggs did play 2 Bubblegum gigs.

Helen Love – Oh Sugar Candy

flimflamfan

WELL WORTH WAITING FOR

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Those of you who drop into Adam‘s Bagging Area will have read his glowing take on the Pet Shop Boys performance at the Manchester Arena when they played there in late May.

He’s not alone in praising the show, with just about every reviewer rushing to give it five stars, whether it was the set they had seen in Manchester, London, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow or Hull.

I’m not going to waste your time by repeating what everyone else has said suffice to add that the Glasgow gig was jaw-dropping in many places. They are at Glastonbury this coming weekend, and while the festival goers are unlikely to get the full two-hour extravaganza, they will not be cheated as the set will no doubt be drawn entirely from the songs they aired during the recent sojourn around the UK.

Suburbia, 
Can You Forgive Her?
Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)
Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can't Take My Eyes Off You)
Rent
I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More
So Hard
Left to My Own Devices
Single-Bilingual / Se a vida é (That's the Way Life Is)
Domino Dancing
Monkey Business
New York City Boy
You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk
Jealousy
Love Comes Quickly
Losing My Mind
You Were Always on My Mind
Dreamland
Heart
What Have I Done to Deserve This?
It's Alright
Vocal
Go West
It's a Sin
West End Girls
Being Boring.

Far too many highlights to mention, but if forced to choose just the one, it would be Left To My Own Devices, which really came into its own when blasted out at full volume in front of 12,000 ecstatic fans who had waited two years for a great night out – the tour had originally been scheduled for Spring 2020.  Neil and Chris stuck to the 7″ version that went to #4 in the singles chart at the end of 1988.  I’d have loved it if they had treated us to this take on things:-

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (Disco Mix)

Eleven plus minutes worth.  As made available on the 12″ version of the single.  It’s one I’ve long been on the hunt for a good quality copy at a reasonable price, but no joy.

JC

CAN OPENER

A GUEST POSTING by FRASER P

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In the origin story of post-punk there are two names that consistently crop up in citations of prime influencer (from outside the mainstream likes of Bowie, I mean). The first is of course the Velvet Underground, well represented in the archives of this blog. The other is German group Can, strangely absent. Is it just that JC can’t be arsed digitising 18 minute tracks of improvised sub-psychedelic avant-garde kraut rock? Or that you the readers have an understandable Fear of Prog, founded on previous trauma inflicted by 1970s contemporaries such as Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd, and labour under the misapprehension that Can fall into the same Slough of Despond occupied by Tangerine Dream, King Crimson and ELP?

Some of you on the other hand, will already know that (sweeping hyperbole alert) Can are one of the most important groups in the history of modern ‘alternative’ rock music. The space devoted here to bands such as The Fall, Buzzcocks, Cabaret Voltaire, PIL, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Finitribe and Stereolab is the reason why we have to have some space devoted to Can, and why you should listen to them. You don’t have to like them, but you owe it to yourself in order to better understand those musicians who venerate the quartet from Cologne.

Summing up Can in a thousand words or so is a mug’s game, but luckily for you I’m willing to make a fool of myself trying. So where to start? That’s the very problem that many of you will have, trying to find a way in to a back catalogue of such diversity spanning a little over 10 years and as many main studio albums, not to mention a prodigious afterlife of compilations, live recordings and archive cabinet tomb raiding. What exactly did the likes of Mark E. Smith and Pete Shelley hear in music that seems at first glance to be the bloated hippy prog antithesis of Live at the Witch Trials or Another Music in a Different Kitchen?

The first point to make is that despite the four core members of the group coming from either a jazz background (drummer Jaki Liebezeit and guitarist Michael Karoli) or from avant-garde classical (bassist Holger Czukay and keyboarder Irmin Schmidt), Can produced rock music that is neither jazzy nor pseudo-classical. There is a refreshing lack of instrumental virtuosity on display, no gratuitous guitar or keyboard wanking or five minute drum solos on 20-piece kits complete with chimes and a massive gong. No, instead there is a fair bit of repetitive rhythmic grooving, dissonant guitar chops and eerie washes of keyboard electronics. Where the vocals are intelligible they often deliver lyrics that fall into the same category as late-period Scott Walker for impenetrable obscurity.

To say Can’s music sounds like nothing else of the time is an utter cop-out, but it’s a cliché with more than a germ of truth. To coin another cliché, it’s rock music, Jim, but not as we know it. There is a clear difficulty in drawing comparisons with other bands or even particular sub-genres of rock music, and it’s this evident ‘difference’ that appealed to the people that would turn rock music inside out in the late 70s and early 80s. They were bored shitless by The Beatles, Led Zep, and Pink Floyd, and the inability to complete the phrase “Can sound like…” was an instant plus.

Searching for comparisons often brings me to Miles Davis’s electric period from Bitches Brew through to Agartha. Although there are certain sonic and methodological similarities, Davis’s fusion of jazz and rock always retained a jazz feel – in the parlance it still ‘swings’. Can’s music doesn’t swing, but it pulses. Can took the improvisational method of jazz, but not its blues roots, and the improvisational method came just as much from the classical avant-garde sensibility.

The method changed little throughout Can’s existence, even though the superficial style of their music did. From the beginning they set out to improvise around some figure, chord sequence or rhythm that one or other of them might start. They would then play around with it, sometimes refining parts into more structured pieces or sometimes just letting it flow, often for a very long time, recording everything. Their first vocalist, American Malcolm Mooney, recounted how once after about half an hour of riffing vocals over the band going hard at a repetitive looping sequence, he left the studio and went for lunch in a nearby café, read the paper, and eventually wandered back to find the instrumentalists still cranking out the same monster groove as when he had left about an hour before. Naturally he just picked up the microphone and joined in again.

On their first releases, Monster Movie, Soundtracks, Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi, this practice produced some fairly heavy-sounding music that led to comparisons with Hawkwind, though largely for want of any better reference points. Even the occasional loony free-improv episodes like Ege Bamyasi’s ‘Soup’ didn’t sound properly psychedelic, being neither dreamy nor druggy because they grew out of Stockhausen, not LSD. Only the Art Ensemble of Chicago were making similar (non-electronic) sounds to ‘Soup’ but few rock critics had ever gone that ‘far out’ into the jazz avant-garde.

Onto Jaki’s propulsive and sometimes downright funky lockgroove rhythms, Irmin Schmidt typically layered sheets of synthesiser and electronic noise, dissonant chords and occasional melodic figures. Michael Karoli’s guitar was perhaps the most conventional melodic rock element in the band, and its lyrical moments are what most listeners might latch onto at first, but it frequently comes in jagged, chopped chords that evoke those Miles Davis electric albums, or piercing abrasive fuzz lines unheard again until Keith Levene hit his stride with PiL. After Mooney succumbed to a mental breakdown, second vocalist Kenji ‘Damo’ Suzuki brought a further point of difference with his heavily accented singing, screeching and shouting, sometimes in English, sometimes Japanese, sometimes mellow and soporific, sometimes just weird and disturbing.

For a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist, bassist Holger Czukay is a wholly minimal presence in Can’s sound, often dropping only a couple of notes or a short run every other bar just to anchor a chord. During one of their later gigs, he achieved a long-held ambition by playing just one note all night. It was at the mixing desk, post-performance, that Czukay’s more significant contribution was made, editing, splicing and dubbing sections from the hours of tapes to produce the final album cuts. Liebezeit hated this unspontaneous artifice, but tolerated it, fortunately, since live recordings expose the shocking reality that improvisation can sometimes lose its focus. “We made music,” said Czukay, “then found a use for it later.”

Along the way, some of it even found a use in the creation of a few concise moments of almost pop perfection like ‘Moonshake’, ‘I’m so green’ and ‘I want more’ (the last a minor hit in 1976, also covered by Finitribe in their early pre-techno phase). Quite how these shorter, more structured pieces emerged from the endless jams isn’t clear, but they became more common in the later years and the long pieces shrank into minority.

The later albums also feature more music that reflects specific genres such as reggae, African or even disco stylings. Throughout their career Can would periodically play around with genres or world musics, often tongue in cheek, branding certain tracks as part of their ‘Ethnological Forgery Series’. This could produce some hilarious effects like the almost-blues trumpet vamp of E.F.S. Nr 7 on the Unlimited Edition outtake collection. There is not a big enough tongue in the world however, to fill the cheek of E.F.S. Nr 99 on their final album, a wretched version of Offenbach’s ‘Can-can’ dance, the kind of classical rock that would ordinarily have me addressing my turntable with a hammer. In a career littered with more bad puns than a Jimmy Tarbuck show, the horrible inevitability of Can’s ‘Can-can’ was perhaps a way of admitting that it was time to… can it. Shame, as the rest of that last album is quite good.

Not all the people who cite Can as an influence produced music that bears their imprint. It’s not front and centre of much that Julian Cope or Bobby Gillespie have done. But once you’ve listened to Can you can certainly hear echoes of it in The Fall’s love of a churning repetitive groove. Likewise in the Buzzcocks. Or Cabaret Voltaire’s Three Mantras (both tracks). And Metal Box, which even came packaged in an actual can. And more, and more… If you accept that in the Gospel of Post-Punk the first commandment was ‘thou shalt not try to sound like somebody else,’ then you will understand why Can were so appealing to their disciples, and why it’s not necessary to hear a clear imitation of their sound in order to discern their influence.

In trying to find some tracks to introduce you to Can’s music, I encounter the same problem shared by the publishers of Can compilations: the length of many of their best pieces. 1979’s Cannibalism (sleeve notes by Pete Shelley) samples their 1969-74 United Artists LPs by trimming some 10 or 20 minute tracks down to 5 or 6 minute excerpts. This gives you the diversity but not the full long-form workout experience. The tracks below are full length album tracks (with the exception of Hunters and Collectors which is the single version with about a minute trimmed from it), one from each of their main albums between 1969 and 1975, an attempt to give some sort of representation to their variety of styles. The first three exemplify their harder, rhythmically driving style, followed by a couple of their poppier short tracks, then a more impressionistic mid-period track, and finally a more structured but dark and funky pop-rock piece that came more to the fore in their later albums.

Father Cannot YellMonster Movie (1969)
Mother SkySoundtracks (1970)
Oh YeahTago Mago (1971)
I’m So GreenEge Bamyasi (1972)
MoonshakeFuture Days (1973)
Dizzy DizzySoon Over Babaluma (1974)
Hunters and Collectors Landed (1975)

If I had to give recommendations on what albums to buy first, I would probably say Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days. You could also do worse than invest in Cannibalism (the first of three Cannibalism compilations) and the Incandescence collection from their later Virgin period, 75-79, if you can still find it anywhere.

FRASER P

MORE THAN A MONTH WITHOUT PLAYING ANY RECORDS

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Before getting to the main business of the day, a huge thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes last Saturday.

18 June 2022 came at the end of a really busy period which began with a four-day trip to Ireland to visit my late brother’s memorial (first time since 2019 thanks to COVID restrictions) and then hosting a ten-day visit from my Florida-based niece and her friend, some days of which involved me happilly traipsing around scenic parts of Scotland.  All of this was the reason the Indietracks series was pulled together in advance, and I was pleased/relieved that it went down well with many of you.  Things should be now getting back to normal except…….

…….It was back in late-May when the workies arrived to wrap this ridiculously impressive piece of scaffolding around Villain Towers.  It’s been a long time due as the house, which was originally built in the late 1800s/early 1900s, has needed a replacement roof, along with guttering and downpipes, to prevent the increasing problems of water getting into the Towers, as well as the property of the family living in the bottom half of the building.

I’ve never lived on a building site before, and had no idea what to expect.  The scaffolding took two days to put up, after which the roofers went to work on a six-week contract, starting at 8am and finishing at 4pm, Mondays – Fridays.  The noise has been incredible, all sorts of battering and hammering right above us, which has made it impossible to do anything creative around the blog, which means I’m busy at the weekends, while musically I’ve been reduced to listening to music via the i-phone and wireless headphones.

It’s also been the case that, at the height of the summer and the long periods of daylight we enjoy in Scotland at this time of year, that the blinds have been draw and the curtains closed to maintain a degree of privacy as you can never tell which part of the walkways around the building you will next spot someone passing by at a height you can’t quite fathom.  All in all, it’s been a strange time, although I’m not for a single second having a dig at the roofers, as they have been doing an outstanding job.

As such, the turntable has been neglected somewhat, and so, for now, the regular Monday series will need to be be shelved for a couple more weeks.

Here’s Tracey with an appropriately titled number:-

mp3: Tracey Thorn – Raise The Roof

The closing track from the 2007 LP, Out of The Woods, it was also released as a single.  One of the remixes, originally made available as a b-side, was included on Solo: Songs and Collaborations 1982–2015, a compilation CD I picked up a while back and referenced in this post a few months back:-

mp3: Tracey Thorn – Raise The Roof (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Re-Animation)

I had to look things up on those involved in the remix.  Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve is the name adopted by Erol Alkan and Richard Norris, two of the UK’s leading dancefloor gurus.  They certainly deliver a beguiling and interesting take on things.

JC

THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING SERIES FOR SUNDAYS (Part 52)

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Here’s a contemporary review of the Wise ‘Ol Man EP, released on Cherry Red Records on 19 February 2016, thus ending the run of singles/EPs specifically issued on Record Store Days.

The Fall’s current line-up has been its most durable one since Mark E. Smith started the band in the mid-’70s, and that’s really saying something. Just go to Wikipedia and see if you can nail down a halfway steady lineup through the Fall’s career. Smith, his wife/keyboardist Elena Poulou, guitarist Pete Greenway, bassist David Spurr and drummer Keiron Melling have enjoyed a steady string of studio albums, EPs, and live albums for the past ten years or so. The Wise Ol’ Man EP serves as a companion piece to the previous year’s Sub-Lingual Tablet, featuring a handful of new songs along with reworked Tablet tracks.

As is true to recent Fall tradition, Wise Ol’ Man goes down as smoothly as a pint of motor oil. Age may mellow some artists, but Smith seems to be going the opposite direction as the years pass. His lyrics and their meaning are being tucked further and further back into the mix, his vocal delivery relies on growling and stretched vowels more than ever, and the band he has chosen to surround himself with plays with all the serenading power of a two-ton hammer. Newcomers to the Manchester phenomenon won’t be able to tell if Wise Ol’ Man is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders or the sound of a band coming apart. Let it be known that the Fall never makes things easy, for neither themselves nor their fans.

The title track, a new song that kicks off the EP, really injects the “punk” into the group’s post-punk origins with a three-chord pattern that absolutely pounds. Poulou sings the title’s three words while Smith moans, howls, and laughs at the top of his voice, sounding very much like a man who is amused by the fact that he knows something we don’t. “Wise Ol’ Man” turns up again on the EP’s second half, misleadingly labelled as the ‘Instrumental’ version since there are plenty of vocals to be heard on that one. Another new song, “All Leave Cancelled”, also gets two renditions. The first is an eight-minute sludge pummelling with vocals that screech, keyboards that sustain noisily, and a bass part that could never get clean after ten showers. The version of “All Leave Cancelled” that closes out the album is two minutes long, sounds substantially cleaner, and features no vocals. Sub-Lingual Tablet‘s legacy is carried on by “Dedication”, a remix of “Dedication Not Medication”, and “Venice with Girls”. The skewed disc-pop of “Dedication” sounds about as far-out and futuristic now as it probably would have back in the late ’70s, while “Venice with Girls” has a sliver more in common with the late ’80s/early ’90s Britpop movement.

This is all just to get you ready for “Face Book Troll / No Xmas For John Quay”, seemingly a medley of two new songs where Smith uses his one-of-a-kind voice to goad his band into reaching new heights with their noise. Splicing a studio recording with a live one, this track bulldozes full speed ahead for over seven minutes. Smith’s voice cracks over the cacophony, the last beat falls, and the appreciate audience bellows its approval. Thus ends another Fall release, one of many that have come before and, for all we know, just as many to come. Wise Ol’ Man won’t go down as one of the essential puzzle pieces to the story of the Fall, but it at least boasts a killer title cut.”

This was written by John Garratt for the popmatters website.  It’s not the worst review in terms of how the music sounds, but it fails on a number of fronts such as dating Britpop to the late 80s/early 90s, and then there’s the ‘burn them at the stake’ offence of failing to recognise that No Xmas For John Quays, far from being a new song within a medley, dates all the way back to 1979 and the debut album Live At The Witch Trials. The version on this latest release was recorded at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on 28 November 2014.

mp3: The Fall – Wise Ol’ Man (edit)
mp3: The Fall – All Leave Cancelled
mp3: The Fall – Dedication (remix)

mp3: The Fall – Wise Ol’ Man (instrumental)
mp3: The Fall – Venice With The Girls (remix)
mp3: The Fall – Facebook Troll/No Xmas For John Quays

mp3: The Fall – All Leave Cancelled (X)

I could feasibly end the series here in that the final 45 released by The Fall in MES’s lifetime would prove to be another RSD effort in 2017, a 7″ single in which both tracks had previously been available.

Tune in next week for what, unfortunately, is a bit of an anti-climax, but which somehow seems appropriate given the sprawling and occasionally shambolic nature of The Fall’s single and EP releases. Besides, one more week makes for prefect timing for what kicks-off on Sundays come the month of July…..

JC

59

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There are two ways to get to Villain Towers from Glasgow city centre.  The best and quickest way is to take a train from Central Station, with it being just one stop and five minutes to Dumbreck, itself a couple of hundred yards away from the tower’s turrets.

The alternative is to take a 59 bus, which nowadays is a pale imitation of its glory days some twenty-five years ago when it used to meander from the south side through the centre, over to the west end via Glasgow University every twenty minutes or so.  Now, it’s merely an hourly service, from the city centre to the south side only.

The bus makes it way through Pollokshields, an area of the city celebrated in song by the 1990s on the debut album Cookies, released on Rough Trade in 2007:-

mp3: 1990s – Pollokshields

Two years later, the follow-up album, Kicks, also contained a track harking back to the part of the city where the members of the band grew up:-

mp3: 1990s – 59

Yup….a tune in which taking a journey on the bus (presumably into the city centre) is made all the better by the appearance of an attractive member of the opposite sex.

1990s called it a day in 2012, probably not too long after I caught them as an excellent opening act for Cornershop at a gig in one of the outlying housing schemed of Glasgow as part of the annual Celtic Connections festival that takes place every January.

However, the band got back together again not too long ago and their third album, Nude Restaurant, will be coming out later this year on Last Night From Glasgow, the wonderfully inventive label that I’ve mentioned a few times before. Click here for more details.

Oh, and the reason for all this today instead of the usual Saturday feature?

Your humble scribe is 59 today.  I might celebrate it with a bus journey.

JC

THE EIGHT DAYS OF INDIETRACKS COMPILATIONS (8)

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The final day of looking back at the Indietracks compilations.  I hope some of you have enjoyed what’s been offered up over the past seven posts and again today.

The 2019 version, which was the last ever as the 2020 Festival was cancelled after the COVID outbreak and the organisers have since advised they have no plans to resurrect things going forward, contains 43 songs, with, as far as I can tell, only five of the acts having previously featured on TVV in one form or another –  The Catenary Wires, Jetstream Pony, Randolph’s Leap, Spook School, and Withered Hand.

I mentioned yesterday of how COVID seemed to bring an end to many new and emerging bands before they really got any chance, but I’m pleased to say this lot, according to their bandcamp page, are still on the go with shows coming up next month in Cheltenham, Oxford, London and Manchester.

mp3: cheerbleederz – staying up late

The trio, consisting of Kathryn Woods (guitar), Sophie MacKenzie (bass/vocals) and Phoebe Cross (drums), are from London.  I;m not going to make any bold claims that what they do is ground-breaking in the grand scheme of things, but judging by what you can listen to over at this SoundCloud page, they make a lot of infectiously upbeat, catchy and enjoyable music, which likely makes for a great night out in the live setting.

cheerbleederz will be releasing their debut album, even in jest, on Alcopop Records this summer.  I think I might keep an eye out for it, even if this fat and balding and soon to be 59 years old music snob is probably not their target audience…..

JC

THE EIGHT DAYS OF INDIETRACKS COMPILATIONS (7)

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The 2018 Indietracks compilation contains 40 songs, with, as far as I can tell, just two of the acts having previously featured on TVV – Life Model, and The Smittens.

Again, this is one I’ll likely return to for future postings.  It’s maybe worth pointing out that, as time went on, the compilation CD was giving space to lesser-known acts, and the festival ‘headliners’ for 2018 – The Lovely Eggs on Friday, British Sea Power on Saturday and Honeyblood on Sunday – were not included.

Today’s offering comes from Worst Place, the opening act on the main stage on the Friday evening, and who, by all accounts, went down a storm, leading to a fair bit of on-line coverage over the following weeks and months.

mp3: Worst Place – Dreamer

The four-piece band formed in London in 2016, but judging from what’s on this SoundCloud page, have just six original songs to their name, which is backed up by not too much product being available on the bandcamp page.

There’s also been nothing since early 2019, which makes me think the band is no more, which is a real pity as I quite liked what they were doing. I also came across a video for another single:-

It really does feel as if a lot of young bands, the world over, lost all their momentum when COVID took its toll.

JC

THE EIGHT DAYS OF INDIETRACKS COMPILATIONS (6)

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The 2017 Indietracks compilation contains 44 songs, with, as far as I can tell, just six of the acts having previously featured on TVV – Just Joans, Kid Canaveral, The Orchids, Perfect English Weather, The Wave Pictures, and The Wedding Present.

I’ve gone for a band whose very name I’ve long wanted to feature on TVV after seeing it on a poster in the window of the 13th Note in Glasgow, advertising that they were making an appearance at said venue, albeit I had missed them by a few days.

mp3: Crywank – I Am In Great Pain, Help Me

From bandcamp:-

Crywank are a UK based anti-folk band. They formed in Manchester. Jay is from Barnsley, Dan is from Darwen. They mostly write sad songs and have been told they are the worst named band in the country.

There’s a wiki page which adds plenty more.

The band is a duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist and founder Jay Clayton, (who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns) and drummer Dan Watson, who joined in 2012.  The group have independently released eight full length albums and have previously toured the UK, Ireland, Mainland Europe, Russia, South East Asia, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada.

Crywank announced in 2019 that they were intending to break up after a world tour in the summer of 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was cut short before they could tour round the USA.

On May 1st 2020, Crywank released their seventh album entitled Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth.  On August 28th 2021, despite previously announcing that Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth would be their final album, Crywank announced their eighth studio album Just Popping In to Say Hi would be released on September 13th of that same year.

Going back to the bandcamp page, there’s info that the eighth album is actually a solo release by Jay, who now lives in Toronto, but with the full permission of Dan who I assume is still in England.  It will be the final Crywank album with it consisting of songs dealing with the break-up of the band, with Jay intending to continue writing and performing under the name of Lovewank, with the idea being to concentrate on love songs.

Here’s the link to the bandcamp page if you want to find out more.

If nothing else, the appearance of Crywank at Indietracks gives you all the proof you need to realise that the festival was far from one-dimensional.

JC

THE EIGHT DAYS OF INDIETRACKS COMPILATIONS (5)

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So….in case you missed it last week…..this short series features music from the compilation albums that were issued on an annual basis from 2012 to 2019 to commemorate the staging of the Indietracks festival, with the idea being that each post will have a tune by a singer or band never feature previously on TVV.

The 2016 compilation contains 41 songs, with, as far as I can tell, only two of the acts having previously featured – Emma Pollock, and Spook School.

Loads of choice, to the extent that I’ll likely return to this particular compilation again in the future. For now, here’s something I think many of you will like:-

mp3: Expert Alterations – Such A Stupid Fool

A fine little number which comes in at ten seconds under two minutes, during which it ticks plenty of indie-pop/twee boxes.

Expert Alterations are from Baltimore. The trio of Patrick Teal (guitar/vocals), Alan Everhart (bass) and Paul Krolian (drums) first got together in 2013, citing the c86 movement as a real inspiration.  Their initial release was a self-released five-song cassette EP in 2014, which the following year was issued on vinyl by Slumberland.

At the same time, the band signed to the Brooklyn-based Kanine Records for whom the debut album, You Can’t Always Be Liked, was recorded in 2015 and released later the same year.  Such A Stupid Fool, the song included on Indietracks 2016, is from the debut album.

Whether the band are still together or not, I can’t say, but there’s been no new music from them over the past seven years.

JC

THE MONDAY MORNING HI-QUALITY VINYL RIP : Part sixty-one: LONG HOT SUMMER

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It’s always the same when the calendar flips round to June…..I get all nostalgic for bygone, warm and carefree days.  Blame it on the fact there’s another birthday fast approaching….gawd only knows what state I’ll be in this time next year as the 60th approaches.

This takes me back to the late summer of 1983, and in particular the first few weeks of moving into my first flat with fellow students.  It was a gloriously happy time. Seems only right to offer up all four tracks from the 7″ single:-

mp3: The Style Council – Long Hot Summer
mp3: The Style Council – Party Chambers
mp3: The Style Council – The Paris Match
mp3: The Style Council – Le Depart

Then again, as you’ll hear from the fact there’s a bit more wear and tear via the pops and crackles on the 12″ take on things, it was the one on more regular rotation:-

mp3: The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (extended version)

Oh, and I can’t really let this all go without fast forwarding twelve months and the album version of one of the b-sides – a reminder of 1984 being the first time I visited the capital of France, along with the then love of my life.  All the way there, and beyond to Venice, and back to Glasgow, via Interrail on a student bargain ticket:-

mp3: The Style Council – The Paris Match (album version)

Mick Talbot plays piano, Chris Bostock (of Jo Boxers) plays double bass, Ben Watt plays guitar and Tracey Thorn takes the vocal to a new level.  I’m guessing Paul Weller simply sat in the studio, watching on with a huge grin on his face.

JC

THE WONDERFUL AND FRIGHTENING SERIES FOR SUNDAYS (Part 51)

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I’m going to wiki today:-

The Remainderer is an EP by the Fall, released on 9 November 2013. It features five new songs by the group and a medley of two Gene Vincent covers.

The Quietus described the title track as “full of mischief and malevolence” and the rest of the EP as “answering the call of the weird”. Pitchfork noted the longevity of the line-up as “an encouraging sign that stability has yet to ossify into stagnation with this ongoing iteration of the band, who formidably exercise their elasticity over the course of these six wildly divergent tracks”.

The Line of Best Fit commented that the EP “isn’t necessarily consistently solid, but it’s decidedly close. Fundamentally though it’s reaffirmation of their aptitude for quantity and quality”.

NME found the EP to “sound like someone’s brought Elvis back to life”.

mp3: The Fall – The Remainderer
mp3: The Fall – Amorator!
mp3: The Fall – Mister Rode

mp3: The Fall – Rememberance R
mp3: The Fall – Say Mama/Race With The Devil (live)
mp3: The Fall – Touchy Pad

Again, you’ll find it’s MES (vocals), Peter Greenway (guitar), David Spurr (bass), Keiron Melling (drums) and Eleni Poulou (keyboards) with Cherry Red Records the label.  The days of line-ups constantly changing and shifts from one label to another were firmly in the rear.

Two more weeks left in the series.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #311: SOUND OF YELL

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Cribbed from bandcamp:-

Stevie Jones is a prolific musician, composer and producer, and a key figure in the underground Glasgow music scene for more than two decades.

Imagine the universe of Sound of Yell as an artist’s studio or a theatre props store, where instead of paints and brushes and jumbled boxes there are instruments and sounds and motifs mingled together, some to melodious effect, others fusing to conjure an eerie dissonance.

Overseeing this Aladdin’s cave of sound and song is Jones, whose balance of the deliberate and the spontaneous has become a signature developed through countless collaborations – including Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, Alasdair Roberts, Emma Pollock and Arab Strap – the groundbreaking quartet El Hombre Trajeado (alongside guitarist RM Hubbert) and stints composing music and sound design for Scotland’s leading theatre companies.

There have been two albums – Broken Spectre (2014) and Leapling (2020) – both of which were released by Chemikal Underground.

I’ve a copy of the debut album, and it’s quite unlike anything else I have in the collection.  I’ve a feeling the song I’ve selected from it won’t appeal to many regulars, but who knows?

mp3: Sound Of Yell – Scuttling

It’s the first of eight tracks on Broken Spectre.

JC