aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser

008 – B-MOVIE – ‚Nowhere Girl’ (Decca Records, ’82)


now, today I’m in a bit of a dilemma. Why? Because in my humble opinion, I am confident that the 7” version of today’s feature is inferior in comparison to the 12” version. Much inferior, in fact. But this series is about the 111 best 7” singles, it’s not a musical request programme – so I have to stick to my own rules, I’m afraid!

‘Nowhere Girl’ was first issued as a 12” on Dead Good Records in 1980, only 850 copies were pressed. Do me a favor, listen to this first version on youtube (it’s easy to find (“first version”)) and let me know what you think:

(JC adds……. Click here!)

I really don’t know if I like it or not. If you compare the 1980 version to the well known 1982 12” version on Some Bizarre Records, you will understand why I’m interested in your opinion. I really cannot make my mind up! But today we have the 7” version of the 1982 re-release, one which you don’t hear all too often, I would think! And the German pressing, too … which makes no difference at all, of course!

Inferior (version) or not, this tune has always struck a chord with me. And not only with me, apparently. Old readers may already know this, but when I was much younger and much prettier than I am now, I used to DJ regularly in two clubs in town. No big discotheques, for sure: at the end of the day the first one was just a bar, but a bar with DJs. And the second one was a ‘real’ club with quite a big dance floor. The problem with the second one was that no-one ever came there, by and large, because it was quite a bit off town center.

Still I had a handful of regulars there, and I played whatever they wanted (and what I had with me in my box full of vinyl, obviously. Back then, you had to carry all the stuff, which limited your playlist down quite drastically. When I see DJs nowadays with a fag in one hand and a USB stick with 10 million songs on it in the other hand, I could kick their head in, believe me) – consequently, all of us always had a good time there. I think there wasn’t a single evening on which ‘Nowhere Girl’ was not requested to be played, honestly. The people who came there just LOVED it and really everyone danced to it, always!

The first club though, the bar, was a very different beast. If it was crowded, and it very often was, there were only a few square meters left for you to dance on, but only very drunken girls did that occasionally. Mostly when attending a hen party, probably. But once a few girls danced, others wanted to dance as well, so pretty soon I had to take good care of what to play next.

In the beginning I often failed to succeed in finding the correct segue, it must be said: it was rather hard for me to understand that the students just wanted to party and by no means were interested in my brave attempts to ‘educate’ them musically. I was torn, you see, between dumbing down my turntable offerings to a degree I could still live with more or less proudly and a landlord who summed it up one night in saying: “Oh Dirk, can’t you just FOR ONCE play something with recognition value!?”. She was probably thinking of bloody ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ or some similar atrocity …

Now, to cut a long story short: B-Movie’s ‘Nowhere Girl’ (the 12” version thereof, of course) always did the job. It pleased the crowd, it pleased me, and it pleased Lexi, the landlord, who, sadly, died last year, and she was just a few years older than me, bugger!

So this is for you, Lexi:



mp3 : B-Movie – Nowhere Girl

But will it please you as well? Oh, I hope it does …

Take good care, friends,



A Guest Posting by Ady Hodges


Garbage are one of those bands I have a sweet spot for, which has been compounded by the fact that I have never seen them live, despite having tickets twice! The first time I had to give the tickets up and the second time the gig was cancelled. Allied to this was the fact that in 1998, I was living in both Edinburgh & Portsmouth and they played in Edinburgh one of the weekends I was in Portsmouth & vice-versa.

I decided with this ICA that I wanted to include selections that covered their complete career to date, rather than focus on their more well known early work, to provide a more comprehensive career retrospective.

Complete Garbage – A Garbage ICA

Side 1

#1 Crush (from the Romeo & Juliet Soundtrack)

This track has never appeared on any Garbage album, despite that it is quite well known, as it has appeared in numerous TV shows & films, most notably in Baz Lurhmann‘s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. There is a dark gothic air of menace here that is present in some of the best Garbage songs. As a song, it has an unusual structure, building through a driving beat with guitar and electronic flourishes to a pseudo chorus section, before fading back, as Shirley Manson lists the things she would do for her #1 Crush, ending on the “I will die for you” line that epitomises the stalkerish lyrics.

It’s All Over But The Crying (from Bleed Like Me)

Garbage quietly broke-up in 2003, but this proved short-lived and they issued a new album, Bleed Like Me in 2005. This beautiful, delicate ballad comes from that album and shows how well Garbage do heartbreak.

Breaking Up The Girl (from Beautiful Garbage)

Despite being know for being quite dark and gothic, Garbage have a pop heart. This is illustrated very well in this bright happy single from their 3rd album, although its layered, Spectorish backing vocals are still hiding some pretty depressing lyrics.

Special (from Version 2.0)

This smart jangly single is from the second album. It uses part of the Pretenders “Talk Of The Town “in the outro, something Chrissie Hynde was quite happy with, as she waived any royalties or writing credit. I love the lyrics, as there is quite a lot of venom in them;

“Do you have an opinion, a mind of your own?
I thought you were special I thought you should know,
but I’ve run out of patience,
I couldn’t care less”.

Even Though Our Love Is Doomed (from Strange Little Birds)

Strange Little Birds was the 2016 Garbage album and this track is proof that they could still do a fragile ballad like no one else. A lot of that is to do with Shirley Manson’s haunting voice, giving life to the tragic lyrics.

Side 2

Tell Me Where It Hurts (from Absolute Garbage)

This was the one new track on their first official greatest hits album. To my mind this is another track, that is reminiscent of the Pretenders, with Shirley Manson sounding very like Chrissie Hynde here. A string-drenched track that literally explodes into life, which makes it a great way to start side two.

Only Happy When It Rains (from Garbage)

Garbage’s first UK top 30 single and the first US hit remains one of their best loved songs and one of my personal favourites. This is because at its heart it is a great little grunge-lite song. The lyrics are tongue in cheek, parodying a lot of the grunge and alternative rock bands of the time, as is the deliberate callback to the similarly titled Jesus & Mary Chain track.

Automatic Systematic Habit (from Not Your Kind Of People)

Released seven years after Bleed Like Me, Not Your Kind Of People was a comeback album of sorts. This is the opening track, more electronic and less rocky than a lot of their work, but still recognisably Garbage. The lyrics are very defiant, “I won’t be your dirty little secret”.

Flipping The Bird (from No Gods No Masters)

A selection from the most recent Garbage album, No Gods No Masters. It’s another of their more poppy moments with some very eighties synths, that once again disguise some vicious lyrics, this time about sticking it to the people you can’t stand.

Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!) (from Beautiful Garbage)

Another very poppy, almost bubblegum track, driven by a funky rhythm, which is quite unusual for Garbage. Once again there are some Spectorish flourishes in the backing vocals, handclaps and chimes.

You Look So Fine (from Version 2.0)

Garbage’s ballads are often quite cinematic, and this, the closing track on Version 2.0, is the best example in my mind. You can see why they were chosen to record a Bond theme song, although I’m not a particular fan of “The World Is Not Enough” myself. The way this track ends with the refrain “Let’s pretend, happy end” is a perfect way to end this ICA.




I hope you didn’t mind that last week concentrated on just one single.  The reason for asking is that I’m sticking again today to just one single. the second to be taken from Introspective.


Left To My Own Devices was released on 14th November 1988.

I wrote about the single at some length back in 2017.  I’m going for a slightly amended cut’n’paste from that piece.


Of all the Pet Shop Boys singles, my favourite is Left To My Own Devices. My first exposure to the song had come thanks to it being the opening track on the album Introspective.  Just over 8 minutes in length, it was something to behold.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (album version)

I was quite bemused when I read it was going to be issued as a single given it was such a strange and almost surreal lyric. OK, the word love was contained within the chorus but it wasn’t quite boy meets girl or boy meets boy or girl meets girl material what with it also wittering on about Che Guevara drinking tea and setting the sounds of classical composer Claude Debussy to a disco beat. But somehow the madcap approach worked as it reached #4 in the UK singles chart when it was released in November 1988.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (single edit)

But it turns out that the album version wasn’t the one in which Neil and Chris, along with producers/engineers/orchestral arrangers Trevor Horn, Stephen Lipson and Richard Niles had really thrown the kitchen sink. Nope, for that you had to get the 12″ version which extended out to an incredible eleven and a half minutes, beginning with an unlikely drumroll before incorporating house, disco, brass, strings, operatic backing vocals and a more deliberate spoken rap from Neil. What’s not to love?

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices (disco mix)

The b-side is a bonkers sounding bit of music, the sort of thing that seems to accompany a character in a film having a drugs-induced breakdown or panic attack. And in the typically perverse way the boys were behaving at the time, the short version (3:38) was put on the CD and 12″ releases, with the full version (5:13) available only on the flip side of the 7″:-

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – The Sound Of The Atom Splitting (extended version)

I went to see Pet Shop Boys last May at the cavernous Hydro in Glasgow.  The set was a Greatest Hits type of evening, and so there were many highlights.  The best, as far as I’m concerned, was Left To My Own Devices, which came in around a third of the way into the set.  Full volume in front of 12,000 ecstatic fans.  I was only sorry they performed the short version of the tune.  I’d happily have danced away to the near 12-minute take on things.





The one previous post on Thomas Leer dates from June 2010. It also looked at Robert Rental, with the basis being that they were two pioneers of electronica music who just happened to have been raised in the same blue-collar former shipbuilding town of Port Glasgow.

One of Thomas Leer’s earliest singles was included in the Big Gold Dream box set. Here’s the blurb from the booklet:-

“Born in Port Glasgow, Thomas Leer played in short-lived local bands before decamping to London and forming Pressure, then self-releasing his solo single Private Plane.  Having hooked up with fellow emigre Robert Rental for The Bridge album, Leer moved to Cherry Red for 4 Movements.  Lead track Don’t boasted a mix of electronic drum beats, disco bass and nouveau torch singing which mined the playful fourth world funk of mid-era Can.

mp3: Thomas Leer – Don’t

4 Movements was released as a 12″ EP in July 1981.  Don’t is a bit of a hidden gem…..there’s a touch of Soul Mining-era The The in the music.




Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds got to appear on Top of The Pops back in 1995, thanks, in the main, to the Kylie Minogue effect.

Where The Wild Roses Grow got as high as #11 in the singles chart.  One of the two extra tracks on the CD single is a wonderful short story set to music.

There was a thick set man with frog eyes
Who was standing at the door
And a little bald man with wing-nut ears
Was waiting in the car
Well Robert Moore passed the frog-eyed man
As he walked into the bar
And Betty Coltrane, she jumped under her table

“What’s your pleasure?” asked the barman
He had a face like boiled meat
“There’s a girl called Betty Coltrane
That I have come to see”
“But I ain’t seen that girl ’round here
For more than a week”
And Betty Coltrane, she hid beneath the table

Well, then in came a sailor with
Mermaids tattooed on his arms
Followed by the man with the wing-nut ears
Who was waitin’ in the car
Well, Robert Moore sensed trouble
He’d seen it comin’ from afar
And Betty Coltrane she gasped beneath the table

Well, the sailor said “I’m looking for my wife
They call her Betty Coltrane!”
The frog-eyed man said “That can’t be;
That’s my wife’s maiden name.”
And the man with the wing-nut ears said
“Hey, I married her back in Spain!”
And Betty Coltrane crossed herself beneath the table

Well, Robert Moore stepped up and said
“That woman is my wife.”
And he drew a silver pistol
And a wicked bowie knife;
And he shot the man with the wing-nut ears
Straight between the eyes
And Betty Coltrane, she moaned under the table

Well, the frog-eyed man jumped at Robert Moore
Who stabbed him in the chest
And as Mr Frog Eyes died he said
“Betty, you’re the girl that I loved best”
The sailor pulled a razor
Robert blasted it to bits
“And Betty, I know you’re under the table”

“Well have no fear,” said Robert Moore
“I do not want to hurt you!”
“Never a woman did I love near
Half as much as you
You are the blessed sun, girl
And you are the sacred moon.”
And Betty shot his legs out from under the table!

Well, Robert Moore went down heavy
With a crash upon the floor
And over to his thrashin’ body
Betty Coltrane she did crawl
She put the gun to the back of his head
And pulled the trigger once more
And blew his brains out all over the table

Well Betty stood up and shook her head
And waved the smoke away
Said, “I’m sorry, Mr barman
To leave your place this way.”
As she emptied out their wallets she said
“I’ll collect my severance pay.”
And then she winked and threw a dollar on the table

mp3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane

Still scratching my head with the decision to leave if off the Murder Ballads album



aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser

007 – BLANCMANGE – ‚I’ve Seen The Word’ (London Records, ’82)


Hello friends,

grievously underrated – that’s always the first term I think of when it comes to the subject of Blancmange.Yes, especially with fresh berries!’, I hear you say, ‘but this old synth-pop duo with that name sucked mightily!!’

Oh, you could not be more wrong, you ignorant little twerps: just because they used synthesizers, it doesn’t automatically make them unlistenable to! And just because they came to our attention together with quite a lot of – admittedly – crap new wave bands, it doesn’t automatically make them a crap new wave band as well! And, finally, just because they had a string of hit singles (“Blind Vision,” “Don’t Tell Me,” “Living On The Ceiling,” “Lose Your Love,” “That’s Love, That It Is” and “Waves), it doesn’t make them lose their indie attitude.

Those of you with a certain age might remember the groundbreaking Some Bizarre Album’, the label-compilation from 1981. It paved the ground, at least it did for me, for music I never heard before since then.Sad Day, Blancmange’s contribution to the compilation, was fine, but certainly not my favorite. Perhaps I was too cool to enjoy instrumentals back then. Most probably I was. In fact, it was Depeché Mode’s ‘Photographic that blew me away. Still, it is Blancmange that Daniel Miller out of Mute Records once described as The Maiden Aunts of Techno… not entirely wrong, if you ask me. And also, if you ask me, if Blancmange were the aunts, then Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft would have been the uncles of Techno …. but I digress.

Either way, in order to come to the music (and to an end here, I’m sure you’ll be relieved), one year after the Some Bizarre-compilation, more or less along with Living On The Ceiling’ and ‘Feel Me’, this little gem came to my attention:



mp3: Blancmange – I’ve Seen The Word

One of the more tranquil choices within this series, I agree. Nothing wrong with that though, as far as I’m concerned. In my humble opinion this song is their finest hour, although by and large all they ever released has stood the test of time and is still well worth listening to … singles, albums, everything.

You know what to do now.

Take good care & enjoy,









Back in part 1 of this series, I mentioned that when it comes to the second-hand market it’s always been about wanting a particular record and me being happy enough to pay a price which I think is reasonable and fair.

Sometimes I look at a price and think, ‘no way’, and that a record isn’t worth it.  That’s why I’ve shied away from ever getting into a bidding war for a copy of Falling and Laughing, the first single on Postcard Records, and the only one I don’t have,

As for today’s purchase, which was made in September 2020, it all boiled down to the fact that I bought all the very early singles by The Twilight Sad on vinyl, but the albums were CD purchases.  The later albums were bought on vinyl, and that led me to begin to look for original copies of the band’s first two albums to complete things.

I spotted this during the COVID lockdown when holidays weren’t happening and money wasn’t being spent in the normal way.  As such, I didn’t hesitate to fork out £55, plus £5 for P&P, for what the seller said, and was truthful about it, was a near mint vinyl copy of Forget The Night Ahead, the second studio album.

The vinyl version is spread across two records and is housed in a gatefold sleeve. It’s a far cry from the CD version.  I’m thinking it would maybe have been £20/£25 tops when it had been released on Fat Cat Records in October 2009.  If it hadn’t been the case that there was some spare money floating around, there’s no way I’d have paid £60 for it.  But I made the call that it would be worth it just to be able to put the needle into the grooves of a song like this:-

mp3: The Twilight Sad – Reflection Of The Television

I’m fully acknowledging everything Fraser said in his guest posting last time out in this series, and the tremendous contributions that came in via the comments section.  I know full well that a purchase such as this doesn’t help at all with the issue we all have about the cost of vinyl; if anything, it only adds to the problem in that neither the band nor the label gained financially from the transaction.

I really am uneasy about paying such high prices, but this was a rare instance when ‘the collector’ in me came to the fore.  It was inevitable that, at some point, I’d look to pick up a copy of Forget The Night Ahead, and it really was about hoping to do so without, in future years, feeling I had paid too much.  So, the question most relevant to this posting is whether I’d have been better to wait things out.

There are, as I type this, three copies listed on Discogs.

One can be shipped from America for $99.89 plus $28.50 shipping, (approx £106 at the current exchange rate) with all the customs nightmares such purchases entail these days.

Another can be sent over from Italy for 110 euros plus 16.90 euros shipping (approx £112 at the current exchange rate)

The third is via a UK seller, not linked to a shop, who is asking for £100 plus £6 for P&P.

In other words, if I was on the market today, I’d be expected to pay almost double what I did just two-and-a-half years ago, which just seems ridiculous.The average selling price or the album on Discogs over the past 18 months or so has been £50-£60, although not all these have been rated as mint copies.  The highest price achieved by a UK seller has been £75 in November 2021.  A copy, where the sleeve was described as having a split to outer sleeve at top, with a small corner dink, went for £50 in late December 2022.

I’m therefore feeling OK about what I paid.  I’ll finish up with the observation that as I now have just about everything I’ve really been looking for via the second-hand market (I picked up a second-hand copy of the Twilight Sad’s debut album in a shop), I can’t see me paying that much for any such record ever again.

I won’t ever stop browsing, mind you.



A Guest Posting by Chat DGP


David Glickman writes………………………………

I’d been wanting to write an ICA on The Joy Formidable since I saw them play live last fall. While I did pick out the ten songs I wanted to showcase, I haven’t been able to find the time to put pen to paper (or perhaps, pixels to screen). Rather than let another project die on the vine, I decided to try leveraging the newest and scariest writing tool available to the public. What follows is ChatGPT’s response to the prompt:

“Write an article about the ten best songs by The Joy Formidable in the style of an imaginary compilation album from The (new) Vinyl Villain blog”

It’s not what I would have written, of course, and it lacks the engaging storytelling of a typical ICA from JC, SWC and others. That being said, it took only seconds to create and includes about half of the songs that would have been in my version. For the record, I would have found room for “Austere”, “The Leopard and the Lung”, “Liana”, “Absence” and “Out of the Blue” in place of “This Ladder Is Ours”, “Cholla”, “Little Blimp”, “Passerby” and “The Last Thing On My Mind”.

How soon before blog writing is no longer a human endeavor? (Discuss)

-David Glickman


Welcome to The Vinyl Villain, where we celebrate the timeless art of vinyl records. In this edition, we’re excited to present “The Joy Formidable: 10 Best Songs” – an imaginary compilation album that highlights the best of this Welsh rock band’s impressive catalog. With their unique blend of dreamy soundscapes, powerful vocals, and heavy rock riffs, The Joy Formidable has captured the hearts of fans around the world. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the ten best songs by The Joy Formidable.

1. “Whirring”

We kick off our compilation with “Whirring,” the lead single from the band’s 2011 debut album, “The Big Roar.” With its explosive guitar riffs, driving drums, and soaring vocals, “Whirring” perfectly captures the band’s signature sound. This anthemic track builds to an epic climax that showcases the band’s talent for creating dynamic, high-energy rock songs.

2. “This Ladder Is Ours”

Next up is “This Ladder Is Ours,” a standout track from the band’s 2013 album, “Wolf’s Law.” This track features a powerful bassline, propulsive drumming, and ethereal, dreamy melodies that blend seamlessly with the band’s hard-hitting rock sound. The chorus is a soaring, anthemic masterpiece that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.

3. “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade”

From their debut album, “The Big Roar,” comes “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade.” This track is a perfect showcase of the band’s ability to create intricate, multi-layered soundscapes. With haunting vocals and intricate guitar work, this track is a standout from the band’s early years.

4. “Cholla”

“Cholla” is a high-energy rock anthem taken from their 2013 album, “Wolf’s Law.” With its driving drums and heavy guitar riffs, this track perfectly showcases the band’s ability to create infectious, catchy hooks. The chorus is an explosive explosion of energy that will leave you wanting more.

5. “A Heavy Abacus”

One of the band’s most popular tracks, “A Heavy Abacus,” is a standout from their debut album, “The Big Roar.” With propulsive drumming and churning guitar riffs, this track is a perfect example of The Joy Formidable’s talent for creating massive, stadium-ready rock tracks. The chorus is unforgettable and will have you singing along in no time.

6. “Little Blimp”

“Little Blimp” is another highlight from “The Big Roar.” This propulsive, high-energy track perfectly showcases the band’s unique blend of heavy rock and dreamy, atmospheric soundscapes. The song builds to a soaring chorus, making it a standout track in the band’s catalog.

7. “Passerby”

Taken from their 2016 album, “Hitch,” “Passerby” is a haunting, ethereal track that showcases the band’s softer side. With delicate, finger-picked guitar and ethereal vocals, this song is a stunning showcase of the band’s ability to create intimate, emotional ballads.

8. “Cradle”

“Cradle” is a powerful, atmospheric rock track that perfectly showcases the band’s ability to create epic, cinematic soundscapes. This track, taken from “The Big Roar,” features sweeping guitars and soaring vocals, making it a standout in the band’s catalog.

9. “Silent Treatment

“Silent Treatment,” taken from their 2013 album “Wolf’s Law,” is a moody, brooding track that showcases the band’s ability to create dark, introspective rock songs. With eerie, haunting guitar work and atmospheric soundscapes, this song is a standout in the band’s catalog.

10. “The Last Thing On My Mind”

Rounding out our compilation is “The Last Thing On My Mind,” a standout track from The Joy Formidable’s 2011 album, “The Big Roar.” This track features driving drums and explosive guitar riffs, as well as powerful vocals from lead singer Ritzy Bryan. The song’s infectious chorus is sure to get stuck in your head, with its catchy melody and soaring harmonies. “The Last Thing On My Mind” is a perfect example of the band’s ability to create high-energy rock tracks that are both musically complex and incredibly catchy. With its memorable hooks and powerful performance, this track is a perfect way to end our compilation of the ten best songs by The Joy Formidable.

Chat DGP

JC adds……………

I’m not the sort who keeps up with these things and until David’s e-mail dropped in, I’d never heard of Chat DGP.   I find it quite bemusing.  It’s surely not the future…….is it?



Thanks again for all the feedback after the initial part of this series.

The Top 10 of the singles chart in the final week of February 1983 was a very strange mix.  Michael Jackson, Bonnie Tyler, Kajagoogoo and Toto were in the top four places, but underneath all of that, you would find:-

mp3: Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (#5)
mp3: Tears For Fears – Change (#7)
mp3: Madness – Tomorrow’s Just Another Day (#8)
mp3: Fun Boy Three – Tunnel Of Love (#10)

For the sake of completeness, Musical Youth and The Thomson Twins made up the remainder of the Top 10.   There were also a couple of very interesting singles entering the chart a bit lower down, but they’ll be part of next month’s story.

I didn’t think to look at the album charts last time round, mainly on the basis that I reckoned the month of January would be skewed by the unusual sales activity that occurs every festive period.  As it turned out, I actually missed that Feline, the Stranglers seventh studio album, had been released in the second week in January and had gone into the charts at #4.  The album had been preceded, in late 1992, by this single:-

mp3: The Stranglers – European Female

Nobody realised it at the time, but Feline would be the last of their albums to reach the Top 10 and that European Female would be just about their last original single to reach the Top 20.  Up until now it had been continuous success for The Stranglers going back to 1977, but their commercial and critical peaks had now been scaled.




And now we reach what I think is my favourite phase of the Pet Shop Boys between September 1988 and June 1989, and the three singles that were lifted from their third album Introspective, itself released in October 1988. And it’s why I’m temporarily deviating away from looking at all singles from an album in one posting.


Domino Dancing was released on 12th September 1988

Perhaps already tiring of being pigeonholed as purely a synth band, Pet Shop Boys in March 1988 had decamped to Miami for some recording sessions.  This was around the same time as when Heart had raced all the way to #1, and given what they were working on in the studios is perhaps the best indication as to why they had been so ambivalent to the previous 45.

They chose to work with Latino producer Lewis A. Martinée, the results of which saw far more musicians play on a PSB track than ever before.   The credits on the single list two additional keyboard players, a guitarist, a four-piece brass section and a backing vocal group in the shape of The Voice Of Fashion.

More than 20 years after the event, the memories of the recording sessions still could bring real excitement to Neil:-

“All the musicians on it are Cuban. There’s tons of people playing on it. This trumpet player came in who couldn’t really speak English and he played loads of notes for the solo, and so I said, ‘Can’t he play the tune, and then halfway through play loads of notes?’ and he did that, and it was great. And he came up to me afterwards and hugged me. I hate it when the solo has none of the tune in; it’s the jazz version of a remix not having any of the song in.

We made the seven-inch version, and then Lewis Martinée expanded it to the twelve-inch version on the album. Towards the end there are lots of edits, all done by hand. You could see all the white sticky tape going past. When Lewis Martinée finished the mix we suggested to him that he did a mix without the drums and that was done in half an hour. I’ve always liked that mix.”

All of which explains why I’m going to go beyond just the 7″ version.


mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Don Juan

Despite having a latin-sounding title, the b-side is a complete contrast to Domino Dancing having been recorded in London and featuring just Neil and Chris.  It’s a decent enough song but sounds rather sparse in comparison to the single.

The record-buying public didn’t really take to Domino Dancing as it only reached #7, which was seen as a bit of a let-down after two consecutive #1s.

But for me, the real majesty of the song can be found on the 12″ and CD versions, as well as on Introspective:-

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (disco mix)

Here’s the mix without the drums that was referred to by Neil in his comments above. It becomes a totally different song:-

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (alternative mix)

It was also included on the 12″ and CD versions of the single.  A few years later, when Introspective was given an expanded re-release, the demo version of the song was provided.

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing (demo version)

This had been recorded in Los Angeles in 1987, and the really interesting thing is the lack of lyrics for the verses, as they hadn’t been completed yet.





Much of today’s info comes from elsewhere on t’internet:-

There Will Be Fireworks (TWBF) was formed in 2008 by Glasgow schoolmates Nicholas McManus, Adam Ketterer, Gibran Farrah, and David Madden.  A self-titled debut album was released in July 2009 and was followed up by the Because Because EP in December 2011, both on their own label, The Imaginary Kind.

In 2012, they signed to Comets & Cartwheels, for whom they recorded and released the album The Dark, Dark, Bright in November 2013, since which point things have been very quiet.

I’ve only one song in the collection, and it comes courtesy of its inclusion on a compilation CD Avalanche Records Alternative Christmas, which was pulled together ( think in 2009) by an Edinburgh label/record with the proceeds going to some local charities.

mp3: There Will Be Fireworks – In Excelsis Deo

I’ve now discovered that the track also appeared on the above mentioned Because Because EP.

Those who wrote about TWBF often cited Frightened Rabbit as an occasional influence, and listening to this track, I can see why.





The Price of Vinyl

(In which the author shamelessly recycles part of his comment on JC’s original post)

Back in 1980 when I was a student with grant money in my pocket (ah, those were the days), a new release LP would cost between £3 and £4 from boutiques such as Phoenix on Edinburgh’s High Street, or the small Virgin shop on Frederick Street. I still treasure my copies of Siouxsie and the BansheesThe Scream and Joy Division’s Closer, snapped up on release day for the same amount of money as a paperback novel or a couple of pints of beer.

Second-hand rummaging in Greyfriars Market on Forrest Road could net you some classic back catalogue for around £2 a pop. Amongst the bargain gems I unearthed there are four early Can LPs on their original United Artists labels and a 1969 US copy of The Stooges’ first. I recall that Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Pictures at an Exhibition was competitively priced at just £1, or better still, 6 copies for a fiver. My brother took his copy in to flog, and the guy just pulled open a massive drawer full of them and rolled his eyes.

Today, once I’d managed to find ye olde recorde shoppe somewhere, I wouldn’t be able to walk out of it with a new release vinyl LP until I’d left at least £25 on the counter, or probably more. In relative terms, that’s up to twice as much as I should be paying if the price of LPs had gone up by the average amount of most other consumer goods since 1980. Depending on whose calculator you choose, you should need about £4 to £4.50 today to buy what £1 would have got you 40 years ago.

Those days are gone now, and in the past they must remain (That’s enough of The Corries – Ed), for nowadays, vinyl is a niche product whose pricing dynamics are very different from the good old days. In 1980 vinyl was effectively the only way anyone could buy music, except for cassettes, which everyone knew were shit and strictly for home-taping. Even though sales of vinyl recently exceeded CDs for the first time since 1986, the actual numbers underline how nobody really buys music in physical formats anymore, and that the economies of scale in the record manufacturing business in 1980 most certainly do not apply today. Globally, some 19 million vinyl LPs were sold in the first half of 2021, pipping the 18 million CDs sold, but in 1981 consumers bought more than 1 billion vinyl LPs as well as half a billion singles.

In strict cost and profit margin terms, that still shouldn’t account for the hyper-inflation of vinyl prices today, but the niche product effect means that customers are prepared to pay a premium for the retro cachet of the plastic disc. A large part of the niche is also driven by a collector mentality. Much new vinyl is of ‘special editions’ and colour pressings. Some store owners report that if there are both black and colour versions of the same LP, the colour versions will sell out long before the black ones. Some also blame Record Store Day for fuelling this tendency, as they witness people paying stupid money for some frankly shit music purely because of the limited nature of the release.

These pumped-up prices for new discs have an inflationary effect on second-hand vinyl. Many of the buyers are the same collector/hipster buyers of new vinyl, and at the same time the supply of good used vinyl has shrunk in proportion to the decline of physical music media in general. Edinburgh has very few used vinyl shops any more. Here in New Zealand where I live now it’s the same, and the supply of genuinely worthwhile purchases is limited to say the least. That’s not to say bargains can’t be found – not so long ago I found a factory-sealed original pressing of Simple MindsEmpires and Dance to replace my discarded scratched copy for a mere $20 (£10). You cannot, however, walk into a used record shop these days and find yourself wishing you had more cash.

Record fairs are a different matter, and this is where I think the best shopping can be done. Although the sellers are often wise to the value of their merchandise, they are rarely too greedy and value for money can be had. The selections on offer are also more appealing to the ‘Serious Music Enthusiast’, bypassing the sort of badly mauled pop crud that is largely banished to charity shops. At Wellington’s last record fair I scored the expanded version of Stereolab‘s Margerine Eclipse (three discs) for $30, two Style Council LPs for a combined $35, and a mint copy of Nino Rota‘s Concerto per archi (bear with me, I’m a Serious Music Enthusiast) for just $10. For the first time in years, I am in need of larger record shelving.

I foresee the day when, in my old age, I will liquidate a large part of my collection to fund new hearing aids, or at least when we have to downsize to a small unit in a retirement village that definitely doesn’t have room for a thousand LPs as well as all my books and a commode. I see that some people are currently asking over $500 for that Stooges LP, and Can’s Tago Mago in the daft envelope sleeve might net me $300. PiL’s Metal Box, which I hardly ever play because it’s such a pain to get out of that bloody film can, is good for another $200. Even at a modest estimate, I could easily generate $10,000 from my collection and still keep a sentimental hold on some of my most precious darlings, those records of my youth that I saved lunch money to buy because I just had to make them part of my life. Even though I can listen to it all on Spotify, there’s a tactile and talismanic magic to some of those 12-inch plastic discs that will never be lost to music lovers of my generation.

mp3: The Stooges – 1969
mp3: Can – Paperhouse
mp3: PiL – Albatross

Those of us old enough to have fallen in love with records before the digital era have to acknowledge our own part in creating the collectability of vinyl, but it’s still an irritation that prices have been driven skywards by beardy hipsters in pursuit of the same bogus ‘authenticity’ that they seek in vinegary ‘natural’ wines or fermenting the fuck out of everything they eat. But one day, ONE DAY, by God I’ll make the bastards pay.




The picture above suggests that today’s music is taken from a strictly limited edition 10″ record on blue vinyl.   I’d really love if it was, but instead they are from a CD single.  Mind You, it’s the same four songs as can be found on the vinyl.

mp3: Sonic Youth – Sugar Kane (The Short and Sweet Version)
mp3: Sonic Youth – Is It My Body
mp3: Sonic Youth – Personality Crisis
mp3: Sonic Youth – The End Of The Ugly

Sugar Kane was released in February 1993, and was the third single to be lifted from Dirty, which had been released the previous July.  The version issued as a single isn’t all that short and sweet, coming in at a few seconds under five minutes, but it’s still a full minute shorter than the album version, with most of the reduction coming from the slowed-down instrumental section in the middle of the song.  It’s up there among my all-time favourites from Sonic Youth. It’s as near a pop song, with a rock edge, as they ever recorded, driven along at a frantic pace by both the twin buzzsaw guitars of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, and the astonishing playing from the rhythm section of Kim Gordon on bass and Steve Shelley on drums.  It’s damn near perfect. No.  I’ll withdraw that observation. It is absolutely perfect.

The b-sides make for a good mix.

Is It My Body is a cover of one of the most popular songs ever recorded by Alice Cooper.  It’s from 1971 album Love It Till Death, and was also issued as the b-side to the hit single I’m Eighteen.

Personality Crisis is another famous song from the 70s, being the opening track on the eponymous debut album by the New York Dolls, released in 1973.  It was one half of a Double-A side single along with Trash, a 45 that was a flop back in the day but is arguably the Dolls best known song all these years later.

The End Of The Ugly is a Sonic Youth original instrumental number that was initially only available via this single but would, in 2003 be included on the ‘Deluxe’ edition of Dirty.

Sugar Kane reached #26 in the UK singles chart which, at the time, was the highest position of any Sonic Youth 45, although Bull In The Heather, released as the lead single from 1994’s Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, would reach #24.


PS : The fact this appears the day after a Sonic Youth ICA is purely coincidental.  I’ve had this one in the pipeline for a while, and it kept shifting thanks to a combination of the Cost of Vinyl new series and a range of guest contributions.

HSP’s piece on Sonic Youth that was posted yesterday should have been up ages ago.  He sent it me ages ago, but I had forgotten to covert the email into an actual piece for the blog.





Your Happily a Bit More Grown Up Michigan Correspondent

Hybrid Soc Prof

This is long, if you want to jump to the point where things really get started, skip the first four paragraphs…

My first experience as a radio programmer/broadcaster was as the morning classical music DJ at WSRN in/at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Not a lot of students wanted the classical gig, and I saw it as a way to get a foot in the door in hopes of getting the Saturday night 60s show in the future. I had a half-decent knowledge of mainstream classical classics having played the violin for many years as a kid and also that the Boston Pops was something my parents would actually let us watch – as a family – after we finally got a TV (my dad assembled/soldered every transiter, resister and wire in the Heathkit TV kit he bought, because why would you want to just buy a working one?!) when I was ten.

The selection at the station wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t small either and I skimmed through it while whole sides of LPs were sent out the airwaves from the top of Clothier Hall. One day I found Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians (1978) – which had what struck me on the basis of its weird minimalist cover (maybe half presaging the sonogram on Unknown Pleasures?) – and I took it into the back studio to see what it was like. I didn’t know shit like that existed. There was both absolutely nothing and way way way too much to it. It wasn’t orchestral but, emotionally, it drew out the same emotions. I bought a copy and it was rewarding as the most fascinating close listen I’d ever done and as the perfect white noise for studying.

I got the Saturday night 60s slot fall of my sophomore year but also took to dropping a needle on anything in the newly arrived and processed bin that looked interesting. I don’t know why, but apparently it took us a long time to get Brian Eno and David Byrne’s collaboration in My Life in the Bush of Ghosts that showed me angular, fractured, experimental world music awash with sampling, followed soon thereafter by Byrne’s impossible to genre-ize music for Twyla Tharp’s dance program, The Catherine Wheel. (It was about this time that Young Marble Giants came to campus – talk about utter excitement confusion around minimalist rock [was that rock?]) And, the next spring, Koyaanisqatsi was presented as the Fri. night movie on campus and the accelerated, decelerated, bottom-up, top-down visuals of every kind of landscape on the planet blended with ten gazillion arpeggios from Philip Glass… I was transfixed, who needed drugs, though, actually, imagine what that would have been like with a microdose or full tab?! The early 80s were nuts.

The 60s show shifted towards the thousands of cuts on Nuggets, Pebbles, Boulders, regional US, and international collections of garage/punk music and in the middle of my junior year I got the Friday night freeform show where I did what I could to model the DJs on WFMU in East Orange, NJ, who seemed to have total control over every genre and could make sets comprised of 4-6 different kinds of music cohere. I am SURE there were moments, sets, 30-minute stretches and hours that were just unlistenable but, like the guy turned into a newt in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I got better.

I didn’t come across or discover Rhys Chatam, Glenn Branca or Z’EV’s noise music then, and when I did, I didn’t like it but it did like the band I finally discovered them through.

Sonic Youth.

Or at least after a bit of work and time spent with Evol and, almost immediately thereafter with, Sister, I liked them. I was listening to the second/first “industrial” Ministry record a lot and the Annual Village Voice Pazz and Jop Poll put Evol near the top of its list for best record of the year. It sounded like there might be overlap in their sounds, so I went back and found the original review, and then another in the NY Times (where Branca, noise, experimental classical and more got mentioned), so I bought it.

At first I was worried that this was going to be a repeat of the god-awful experience of buying Frampton Comes Alive on the basis of published praise and record sales… but it turned out to be much more akin to buying The Wonderful and Frightening World of… The Fall, because of great reviews. Everyone knows, now, what Sonic Youth are, but figuring it out in 1986 was a different thing altogether… I needed that stuff from Ministry, David Byrne, Young Marble Giants, Philip Glass and Steve Reich to help me along. The more I listened the more listenable it got, which led to more listening. The one thing that really pissed me off was that I never got to see them in NYC before I left for Santa Cruz and grad school in late summer 1987.

And so what happens, the week my seminars started at UC Santa Cruz fIREHOSE opened for Sonic Youth in a tiny little bar called OT Price’s… literally walking distance from the apartment I’d found!! I was ridiculously excited; I’d loved the Minutemen and been hit hard by D Boon’s death and had high hopes that Ed fROMOHIO would be a decent stand in, alternative, or replacement (he wasn’t.) fIREHOSE came out, played an energetic punk/post-punk set and the crowd had a good time… too nostalgic for the past I probably could have given them a better chance but, well, I didn’t. When the stage had been reset and more drinks downed, Sonic Youth came out and jumped right in.

I don’t recall the set list but they were committed. The problem was the experimental atonal, retuned sounds of New York seemed to confuse and worry the post-hippy, pop punk crowd in the bar. By the third tune the crowd was waffling, by the fourth a number had turned to conversations with friends and away from the band. By the end of the fourth the band was pissed and after five they put down their instruments and walked off. Where the hell had I moved?! The show had been really good and these surfer wankers couldn’t get it! Aaargh!!!

Now, among other things, I was completely forgetting how many spins of Evol it had taken before I could digest, appreciate and come to love it, but I was young, filled with piss and vinegar, insecure and overconfident at the same time and quite capable of being a smug shit. Put another way, after a decade in NY and NJ growing up a really intense athlete and intellectual, getting used to the Central Coast of California took some time (and it took a while for folks there to get used to me.) To their everlasting credit, the band returned after the crowd – to its credit – kept clapping and cheering for quite a while. They played 5-10 Dictators and/or Dictators-adjacent tunes, the crowd loved it and the show came to an end.

This is the second Sonic Youth ICA, the first (#68 from 2016, by jimdoes) is REALLY good. We share only the first tune – I Love You Golden Blue – because I pulled The Diamond Sea and Dirty Boots in favor of other tunes from Washing Machine (which meant no music from that disc) and Goo after checking the original. There are moments when I was putting this together from the 30 tunes I initially pulled out for consideration that it was really clear that Sonic Youth had a very specific sound that informed and filled a lot of their songs. It’s not that they’re homogenous, just similar enough to be quite notable if you listen to a lot of their almost thirty years of music all at once.

This compilation has an A side and a B side… all I’ll say beyond that is that I think I now believe that the quintessential Sonic Youth song is Trilogy, with B) Hyperstation – included here – the quintessence of their essence.


  1. I Love You Golden Blue, from Sonic Nurse (2004)

  2. Shadow of a Doubt, from EVOL (1986)

  3. Sunday, from A Thousand Leaves (1998)

  4. Making the Nature Scene, from Screaming Fields of Sonic Love (1995)

  5. Disappearer, from Goo (1990)


  1. Screaming Skull, from Experimental Jet Set, Trash And No Star (1994)

  2. Sugar Kane, from Dirty (1992)

  3. Incinerate, from Rather Ripped (2006)

  4. Trilogy: B) Hyperstation, from Daydream Nation (1988)

  5. Tuff Gnarl, from Sister (1987)





It really doesn’t seem right that The Indelicates have only ever appeared once on TVV prior to today, and it was courtesy of a wonderfully compiled ICA, courtesy of Rol back in November 2017.

As Rol said in his intro, they are a duo whose records are rarely played on the radio, nor are they given much space in the mainstream or specialist music media.  They emerged at a time (2005) when many folk were beginning to acknowledge that the way music was going to be discovered, listened to and ‘consumed’ was totally different to what had gone before. It maybe didn’t quite turn out quite as envisaged at the time in that streaming was a concept/idea rather than a reality (and the re-birth of vinyl was just a glint in a few eyes), but the bio from the official website offers a biting summary:-

“The Indelicates consumer lifestyle brand is the family business of Simon and Julia Indelicate, a Mom and Pop enterprise based in Lewes, a small town in Western Europe.

“The band first performed at the peak of the landfill indie craze that nobody remembers fondly in 2005 and released their debut album, American Demo, on some record label or other in 2008.

“Luckily, the music industry promptly collapsed completely and they managed to rescue their minor back catalogue from the wreckage. Unwilling to be deterred by mere financial calamity they immediately started work on Songs For Swinging Lovers, their easy second album.

“Since then, the list of things they have invented includes: Crowdfunding, Virtual Reality Music Videos, Living Room concerts, Gamergate, Being against Romantic Nationalism, Bandcamp, Super Special Editions, Footnoted lyric books, The New DIY and a range of puppets. Having done all of these things first, it has fallen to other people to be successful with them. And that’s absolutely fine.”

All of which should indicate that The Indelicates are far from your average run-of-the-mill musical combo.  I’ll hand back to Rol, who is such an exceptionally talented writer, to offer his take on why they never became better known.

Of course, I realise The Indelicates won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. They’re a difficult band to pin down. One minute they’re indie pop, the next they’re cabaret. One minute Jacques Brel, the next Carter USM. At times Kate Bush, occasionally Victoria Wood. They also have a very distinct lyrical voice, and they’re uncompromising in that voice. Just like Jim Bob, Morrissey, or Joe Strummer: they say what they have to say and don’t care one hoot if you don’t like it… they’re certainly not bothered about upsetting the BBC with their lyrics and not getting airplay… but then again, why should they be? Not even 6Music will touch them with a bargepole. (I never understood why Lammo wasn’t all over them. Maybe Peel would have loved them. Whether they’d have loved him back is another question entirely…)

Villain Towers is home to six artefacts courtesy of The Indelicates; the first two albums on CD, three 7″ singles (all from the debut album) and one EP, again on CD. It’s the EP that I’d like to draw to your attention today.

Having initially issued all their music in digital form as free downloads from a website, the duo released a 7″ single, We Hate The Kids, in April 2006 (while also making it, along with the b-side and some remixes, available via the website).

It took until February 2007 before the next physical release, in the shape of The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock & Roll EP, a CD release to tie-in with a tour of Germany.

mp3: The Indelicates – The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock & Roll
mp3: The Indelicates – Sixteen
mp3: The Indelicates – Heroin
mp3: The Indelicates – Unity Mitford (acoustic)
mp3: The Indelicates – Stars (live)
mp3: The Indelicates – The Last Significant Remix

All five of the songs on the EP would later be re-recorded and included on the debut album, American Demo, which was released in April 2009. I recently gave the album a listen again in its entirety…..and it’s an absolute belter, well worth tracking down if you don’t have a copy.




There’s not been any enough jangly pop on this blog in recent times. As an apology for those who have to expect such things round on the little corner of t’internet, here’s a quite magnificent debut 45 that dates back to 1984

mp3: The Woodentops – Plenty

Released on Food Records, it was actually the second single to be released on the then new label that had been founded by David Balfe (ex-The Teardrop Explodes) and which would, a few years later, become the home of Jesus Jones and, later on again, Blur.

Plenty is a wonderfully jaunty single.  It was so good that Geoff Travis immediately made an audacious and successful bid to snatch The Woodentops away to his Rough Trade Empire, which was then riding very high from the hits of The Smiths.

Here’s the other two tracks on the debut 12″, all taken from a copy of the vinyl occupying a spot on the shelves of the large antique storage cupboard in Villain Towers, not too far away from the myriad of singles released by The Wedding Present.

mp3: The Woodentops – Have You Seen The Lights
mp3: The Woodentops – Everybody

The b-sides, and Everybody in particular, give an early indication that they were a cut above most indie bands of the era.

This guest ICA from Strictly Rockers, written back in April 2016, will take the story forward to that point in time.  The Woodentops are still going strong and a UK tour is scheduled for next month.*

*oops on my part.  As Mike from Manic Pop Thrills pointed out, the tour I had looked at on-line at the band’s website actually happened in 2022 and isn’t next month.  Sorry!




On the 14th August 1987, the ITV network across the UK broadcast Love Me Tender: A Tribute to the Music of Elvis Presley.  It’s a two-hour show to mark the 10th anniverary of Elvis’s death and it consists of singers and bands from all eras and all genres offering their take on some of the songs he was best known for.

The British Film Institute website provides an exhaustive list of those who were involved in some shape or form.  Pet Shop Boys stand out as just about being the only non-guitar or traditional rock based act taking part.

Such was the reaction to their appearance that the duo decided to do a proper recording and release it as a stand-alone single.



The single certainly divided opinion.   Elvis Presley, while not the first to record it, had been the first to have a hit with it in 1973.   A decade later, Wille Nelson enjoyed success with the song.  Both versions were derivative in that they were along the lines of what you’d expect a break-up song to sound like.  Pet Shop boys, however, went all HI-NRG and dancey on us.  The sort of sound that appealed to those who hadn’t carried any torch for Rent.  It was all over the radio stations after its release on 30th November 1987.  Just over three weeks later, and it was a most unlikely Christmas #1.


mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Always On My Mind
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Do I Have To?

The b-side is a ballad.  It sounded quite different to most previous PSB tracks, but, as now can be seen with many of the b-sides, it was a sort of trial run for the sort of sound they would introduce on albums many years down the line. It’s rather gorgeous, albeit I didn’t fully appreciate it until those later albums got me more familiar with this side of PSB.


Heart was released on 21st March 1988. It’s a bit of a strange one in that the duo went back to the well of Actually to lift a fourth single from it, a full six months after the album had been released.  To be fair, it wasn’t a straight lift as a new mix that was, in places, noticeably different from the album version.


mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Heart
mp3: Pet Shop Boys – I Get Excited (You Get Excited Too)

The normal course of events for a fourth single to be taken from an album is to slide in around the #20 mark and then quickly disappear from you.  Not in this instance as Heart spent three weeks at the top of the chart.

The duo, despite continuing to air the song in the live settings in acknowledgement of its success, have both said it feels a bit lightweight and straightforward compared to many earlier and indeed later singles. It’s also the case that the b-side, while being enjoyable enough, didn’t really bring anything new to the table, being another HI-NRG dance number.

The fact that Heart proven to be their final #1 single probably adds to their feeling of annoyance and a view that chart positions aren’t everything.  It was also the case, although we didn’t know it at the time, that Neil and Chris were in early 1988 working on material that was radically different to what they were most associated with.  But that’s for next week.

Worth mentioning at this juncture that, despite yielding two #1 singles and two other top ten hits, as well as a non-album single also being a #1 hit, Actually never got any higher than #2 in the album charts, all of which led some snobbish critics to dismiss them as lightweight and inconsequential. How wrong could they be???





Only one track on the hard drive from this lot, courtesy of the Big Gold Dreams box set.  Here’s the blurb from the accompanying booklet.

After two singles with The Green Telescope, Lenny Helsing and friends formed The Thane of Cawdor, then merely The Thanes, who embarked on a lengthy run of ’60s-styled bubblegum garage that lasted far longer than the decade that inspired them.

This debut single, from September 1987, was released in 7″ and 12″ formats, and was produced by Jamie Watson, former vocalist with Persian Rugs, whose Chamber Studio and Human Condition label did so much to foster Edinburgh’s indie underground.

Helsing and Co. released the Thanes of Cawdor and Better Look behind you albums and several singles, with a Rev-Ola compilation, Evolver, taking stock of Thanes material up to 2001.  A reformed line-up joined real-life Scots 1960s beat combo, The Poets, and continue to play a thriving European pysch-garage circuit

mp3: The Thanes – Hey Girl (Look What You’ve Done)



aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser

006 – BILLY BRAGG – ‚The World Turned Upside Down’ (Go! Discs, ’85)


Hello friends,

before I started writing this, I was wondering whether there are many bands or artists which I have seen live more often than I saw Billy Bragg. The answer is: a handful, if at all. The Ramones come to mind, so do The Jesus & Mary Chain and New Order.

But today it is Billy Bragg and there are many reasons why I enjoyed his performances so much back in the mid/late eighties and early 90’s. I think that he, a bit like The Clash, more or less managed to express exactly my views. Views of politics and also views of unreturned love. His records included lyric sheets, which, with English not being my first language, should be made a compulsive thing to do for every artist worldwide! I hung on every word he sang and felt entirely what he felt. Even today I know every single word as well from ‘Life’s A Riot With Spy vs Spy’ as from ‘Brewing Up With Billy Bragg’, his first two albums from ’83 and ’84.

So when I first had the chance to see him live, I went of course. This was before he was accompanied by The Blokes or any other backing combo, I should add – just Billy and his guitar in a small Cologne club. And he blew me away, there is no other way of describing it! God knows, Billy Bragg is not the most talented singer on earth, but sure enough he is one of the funniest persons you have ever witnessed:

In between his numbers, he always had some anecdote to tell to the audience, some political stuff, but mostly little funny things which made you laugh out loud. If memory serves correctly, there weren’t two songs which he would have segued into another – there was always his little speech: I thought it was awesome!

Years later I saw him performing a big open air festival in Belgium along with The Cramps, The Buzzcocks, Nick Cave and others. It was held on an abandoned aero field. Just rectangular concrete with no shade whatsoever, and it was a thousand degrees there in the sun. Billy entered the stage in the late afternoon and played his heart out. And still, after five or six years, he had this habit of telling his little stories, which I hadn’t expected, but I thought was great … perhaps even better than some of the songs he wrote at that time. One poor guy, most probably no longer entirely sober, was spotted by Billy from stage when pissing against a fence at the very back of the audience. So Billy yelled at him at the top of his lungs and made everyone in the audience turn around to watch this poor fellow putting his dick back to where it belongs in sheer desperation …. priceless!

By and large I lost interest though after ‘William Bloke’ … the album had its moments, but I wasn’t totally convinced. But Billy Bragg meant so much to me, it would not have been possible not to have one of his singles included in the box with the 111 best singles in the world. I chose the ‘Between The Wars’ – EP, his second single, which comes with four tunes, in fact: the title track, ‘Between The Wars’, ‘Which Side Are You On’, (a version of) ‘It Says Here’ and the one I went for, which is a cover of a Leon Rosselson song. If you didn’t know that though, you wouldn’t detect he is covering the tune – I always thought he sings it as if it was his own composition.



mp3: Billy Bragg – World Turned Upside Down

Which song would you have chosen?!

As usual, enjoy!






A guest posting by Leon MacDuff

thumbnail_giorgio moroder romance 83

Romance ’83: A Giorgio Moroder ICA

1983 was a good year for Giorgio Moroder. It certainly wasn’t his first annus mirabilis – after all you can’t dismiss 1979, when he resurrected the careers of Sparks and the Three Degrees (don’t be put off by the sappy ballad “Woman In Love”, there’s disco gold in them there elpees), pausing just long enough to pick up the first of his three Academy Awards. Or 1977, the year he changed the course of popular music forever, armed only with a single kick drum and a borrowed Moog (and, to be fair, a Donna Summer, which always helps). Nevertheless, 1983 was a good’un.

Now well established in L.A., he was in demand as a soundtrack composer as well as a record producer. And while especially during his Hollywood years (of which 1983 is slap bang in the middle) he may not have been averse to the odd bit of musical cheese, on the whole he was doing good work which doesn’t get the attention that his disco era productions do. Sure, there may be nothing as groundbreaking here as “Chase” or “I Feel Love” but nevertheless 1983 saw Moroder very much in his pomp. Trevor Horn has been described as the man who invented the 80s, but Giorgio Moroder is surely a strong contender too, so here’s forty minutes of the great man at work.

Side One

(1) Nina Hagen – Zarah

I feel like I should be more familiar with Nina Hagen. From what I’ve heard of her usual material, she’s a highly idiosyncratic performer with a remarkable voice, and she has had a pretty colourful life which you can read about elsewhere. But actually I mostly know her for her Moroder-produced album “Fearless” (and its German-language version “Angstlos” which also has a couple of different songs). You don’t have to tell me it’s not representative of her career as a whole, I do know! I really like the album though, not least because Moroder throws everything at it.

The single Zarah is a part-translated version ofIch weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n”, a signature song of Swedish actress Zarah Leander who introduced it in the 1942 film “Die große Liebe” (according to Wikipedia, “the most commercially successful film in the history of the Third Reich”, which is quite the double-edged sword). Leander herself had rather an interesting life too, with her career in Germany leading to (probably incorrect) accusations of collaboration with the Nazis… but again, there are other places you can read about that. I’m really supplying the rabbit holes today, aren’t I? Anyhow, it’s a strong opening, and to answer your inevitable question: one minute and 28 seconds, that’s how long it goes on like that for. It’s worth sticking with…

(2) Irene Cara: Flashdance… What A Feeling!

I could hardly ignore this, Moroder’s biggest hit of the year, and one of his biggest ever. The Flashdance soundtrack was mostly split between Moroder and Phil Ramone, but it was Moroder who got the title track. The lyrics were written by Irene Cara and regular Moroder collaborator Keith Forsey in the taxi on the way to the studio, and the song won the three of them an Oscar – Moroder’s second following a Best Original Score prize for the Midnight Express soundtrack six years earlier.

In the film, the song is used in an audition scene, the triumphant feel-good nature of which is slightly undercut by the obvious-once-you-spot-them switches between multiple body doubles… and something not entirely dissimilar happens with the song’s standard commercial release, which suffers several clumsy edits (to pick just two, listen out for the clunky cut-and-shut at 0.54 and Cara’s held note being suddenly cut off at 3.14) and for good measure is also saddled with a guitar solo that isn’t even trying. Still, you’d have to admit it’s pretty iconic for anyone who grew up in the 1980s, which is probably most of us, yes?

(3) Debbie Harry: Rush Rush

Movie soundtracks are to a large extent hostages to the fortunes of their parent films. You can pour heart and soul into a great soundtrack but if nobody likes the movie, your work’s just not going to get noticed. In all honesty I’m not sure Moroder’s song score for Scarface is really that much better than his work on D.C. Cab or Superman III, but it hit the jackpot in terms of being attached to a movie that garnered both critical plaudits and popular success. And it IS a good collection with a decent spread of pop styles, albeit somewhat lacking in star power – aside from Debbie Harry of course. You’ll remember that Giorgio and Debbie already had some history, Blondie’s Moroder-produced “Call Me (Theme From American Gigolo)” being a massive hit back in 1980. I’ll be honest, “Rush Rush” isn’t in the same league, but it does seem a shame that they didn’t work together more. Rush Rush itself also got a bit overlooked; I’d got the impression that Harry was in a bit of a career slump at the time but checking it out, I see her solo album Koo Koo had actually done pretty decent business so it’s surprising this didn’t get a bit more attention.

If you watch those TV shows where they try to prove an old painting is by a recognised artist (and therefore worth squillions) then you’ll know where I’m coming from when I suggest this one may really be more “studio of Moroder” than “by Moroder”. France Joli’s album “Attitude” has Giorgio credited as executive producer, but reading between the lines, it would appear that regular collaborators Pete Bellotte and Richie Zito were the ones actually putting in the studio hours (and Moroder has no writing credits either – this one’s by Bellotte/Zito but the album draws on a large pool of contributors, including former Jo Jo Gunne frontman Jay Ferguson and hi-NRG star Hazell Dean). But Moroder and Bellotte are credited for this 12” remix so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, I guess.

Quebecois singer France Joli scored a disco classic right out of the gate with 1979’s “Come To Me” but never quite managed to repeat the trick. “Attitude” is a good try, though – both this and the album’s other single “Girl In The 80s” sound like they have real hit potential (and they really do showcase the classic Moroder sound, even if they were put together by his understudies), but ultimately failed to make much of a splash.

(5) Irene Cara: Romance ‘83

The success of “Flashdance… What a Feelingled to Moroder being commissioned to do a full album – What A Feelin’ – for Irene Cara, and shocker: it’s rather good! Cara, who’d self-composed most of her previous album, was keen to emphasise that it was really more of a Moroder project, though her lyrics – which occasionally slip into the blandly motivational but are more usually engaging and even witty – hint at the potential of an ongoing creative partnership which sadly never came to be. Cara might not have appreciated the comparison, but to my mind What a Feelin’ gives an idea of what a Donna Summer album might have sounded like in 1983 had Geffen allowed her partnership with Moroder and Bellotte to continue. It’s certainly a stronger collection of songs than Summer’s own album that year, “She Works Hard For The Money” which has the title track and maybe a couple of other decent numbers but falls back on a lot of filler.

As for this track… a good old Giorgio Moroder synthpop special which despite the of-its-time sound (and title) is really rather prescient, what with the isolating effects of technology being an even bigger issue now then they were forty years ago. And of course it gives its name to this ICA, because it was just too good a title to pass up!

Side Two

(1) Paul Engemann: Scarface (Push it to The Limit)

The Scarface soundtrack offered a moment in the spotlight to several of Moroder’s regular backing singers including Beth Andersen (who you’ll have heard duetting with Limahl on The NeverEnding Story – though you’re unlikely to have seen her doing it as Limahl’s associate Mandy Newton lip-synced the part for the video and promotional appearances) and E.G. (Elizabeth) Daily, who went on to do her best “girls from The Human League” impression on Together In Electric Dreams before becoming a successful voice actor. Also getting his turn up front was Paul Engemann, who briefly became a bankable star off the back of this track, and got himself featured on several subsequent Moroder soundtracks – as well as on “Reach Out”, a cheesily “motivational” commission for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Truthfully, I think this one’s a bit cheesy as well, but apparently quite popular at the time, especially stateside.

(2) Chaka Khan: No See No Cry

I think it’s fair to say that Superman III does not have a good reputation. It did well at the box office (by this stage the Superman name pretty much guaranteed a good return), but was savaged for its incoherent plot and excessive emphasis on comedy. Giorgio Moroder had a different reason to feel disappointed, as he’d been commissioned to write a suite of original songs only for them to be barely used in the actual film. We did at least get to hear them via the soundtrack LP, which featured Moroder’s songs on one side and selections from Ken Thorne’s orchestral score on the other. I’m not entirely sure that No See No Cry actually appeared in the film at all but Chaka gives it her usual class, even if the song sounds more suited to Shalamar… who we’ll hear in about 11 minutes’ time.

(3) Nina Hagen: Flying Saucers

One thing I do know about Nina Hagen is that UFOs are one of her recurring obsessions (supposedly she saw one while pregnant and it blew her mind, or something). Hence this endearingly daft bit of breezy synthpop from the Fearless album. That’s all I’ve got on this. Just listen and enjoy…

(4) Giorgio Moroder and Joe Esposito: A Love Affair (12″ remix)

In the midst of all the soundtrack commissions and reinventions for other artists, arguably the least interesting album Moroder was involved with in 1983 was his own. Solitary Men, on which he formed an ad hoc duo with former Brooklyn Dreams frontman Joe Esposito, is itself a reinvention, of sorts, but sadly it’s the reinvention of a pioneering dance producer as a purveyor of rather undistinguished synth-based soft rock. The album’s main selling point was the inclusion of the duo’s AOR ballad from Flashdance, Lady Lady Lady, and if you enjoyed that one then there was plenty more like it, including a cover of Nights In White Satin with, alas, none of the iconoclastic disco sheen Moroder had previously brought to his 1976 version. The best track, and really the only one that approaches the energy he was putting into his work for others, is this one. And I suppose Moroder knew it, since it was also the album’s single and was (in Germany and Italy anyway) favoured with this slightly more exciting 12” mix. All in all though, if you want to explore Moroder’s catalogue then I strongly suggest that Solitary Men is not the place to start.

(5) Shalamar: Deadline USA

Toward the end of ‘83, Moroder had no fewer than four new albums issued in the space of a month, as Fearless, What A Feeling and Scarface were joined by the rush release of the soundtrack to minor comedy D.C. Cab. The unexpected addition of the album to the Christmas release list was due to the film itself being brought forward: new drama The A Team had been the smash hit of US TV’s Fall season and as its breakout star Mr T also had a prominent role in D.C. Cab, distributors were understandably keen to strike while the iron was hot.

Unfortunately the film itself was nothing special, and it just ended up getting lost in the Christmas rush – as did the soundtrack album, which is a shame because it’s really not bad at all. As with Flashdance, a couple of tracks were farmed out to Phil Ramone, but the majority is Moroder’s work and showed he could work in what might nowadays be termed an “urban” style. It also offers up more name recognition than either Flashdance or Scarface had: DeBarge, Peabo Bryson, Stephanie Mills and even veteran rock’n’roller Gary “U.S.” Bonds were all involved, along with Irene Cara, whose opening song The Dream is weirdly addictive despite being a pretty blatant (and even more platitudinous) retread of the Flashdance… What A Feeling formula.

I’m not entirely sure of this, but I think Deadline U.S.A. is pretty much a solo track by Howard Hewett, the only original member of Shalamar left following the recent departure of Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel. The depleted Shalamar were probably still the biggest name act on the soundtrack, and got its biggest chorus, but it didn’t do much to halt the band’s commercial decline.

Moroder, on the other hand, emerged from 1983 with his reputation further enhanced. Sadly, other than his existing regulars, he never really worked with the headline stars of his 1983 output again, apart from a remix credit for Blondie’s single “Bad Girl” twenty years later. Nevertheless there were plenty of triumphs yet to come: ‘84 alone gave us Together In Electric Dreams, The NeverEnding Story, a commission for the Olympics, a divisive restoration of silent movie classic Metropolis complete with all-star soundtrack, and, bizarrely, a duet between Janet Jackson and Cliff Richard. Alright, maybe that last one wasn’t quite so much of a triumph. But all that is for another time, maybe…