GREAT ALBUMS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT (1) : BALLBOY

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This may, or may not, become a regular feature. It’s also one in which there is much potential for guest contributions. A couple of years back there was a fine response to the idea of ‘Cult Classics’ where a largely unknown song would be brought to the attention of T(n)VV readers; this time I’m thinking about unknown LPs.

I’m kicking things off with a band to whom I was introduced by Jacques the Kipper.

Ballboy are pretty well-known in the UK as they were perennial favourites of John Peel but they never really made it beyond our shores. It’s also quite clear that they have a far bigger following in Scotland than anywhere else and I’d like to think this look at their proper debut studio album from 2002, A Guide For The Daylight Hours, will be its first exposure to a number of you.

The first thing that jumps out are the finest set of song titles since Moz was at the height of his pomp with The SmithsYou Can’t Spend Your Whole Life Hanging Around With Arseholes; I Wonder If You’re Drunk Enough To Sleep With Me Tonight; I Lost You, But I Found Country Music; Sex Is Boring; Meet Me At The Shooting Range.

The songs, as you’d imagine from the titles, involve a wry look at love and life – success and failures alike – which bring to mind the lyrical genius of a David Gedge, Jarvis Cocker or Paul Heaton. Or in one case, Nick Cave in his Murder Ballads phase.

The thing is though, the tunes are more than a match for the song titles…..being an great mix of jingly/indie guitar (or lovely acoustic guitar on the slower numbers) and fantastic sounding drums/bass guitar brilliantly underpinned by swooping organ or piano. Oh and there’s great use occasionally of a cello and a violin……

I won’t go into any detail on any of the songs and let them speak for themselves. Well, that was the intention but in recent times I’ve come to think about the opening track in a different way thanks to S-WC and his on/off relationship with Our Price Girl back in the day. If this had been written and recorded back then, I’m sure he would have adopted it as his theme song:-

mp3 : Ballboy – Avant Garde Music

It would have been great if The Badgers had covered it mind you……………………….

Here’s some more brilliance.

mp3 : Ballboy – You Can’t Spend Your Whole Life Hanging Around With Arseholes
mp3 : Ballboy – Something’s Going To Happen Soon
mp3 : Ballboy – I Wonder If You’re Drunk Enough To Sleep With Me Tonight
mp3 : Ballboy – Sex Is Boring
mp3 : Ballboy – Meet Me At The Shooting Range

The last of these closes the album.  It’s as black and frightening a lyric as you’re likely to ever hear.  And the cello never sounded sadder…………..

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #18 : BALLBOY

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Saying that Ballboy are a four-piece indie-band from Edinburgh just doesn’t do them justice.

They’ve been with us for more than 16 years now during which time they have recorded and released five albums and eight EPs/singles as well as recording a number of Peel Sessions back in the days as the famous DJ was a huge fan of their music.

I feel like being lazy today so I would simply ask you to have a look at their webpage if you want or need more info.  Just click here.

They are one of Scotland’s best kept secrets.  They haven’t released a proper studio album since 2008’s I Worked On The Ships but there have been some suggestions that new material is in the pipeline. I certainly hope so.

So many great songs to choose from today.  Given it is Independence Day over the pond, this seems appropriate.

mp3 : Ballboy – Born In The USA

It’s not a cover………..

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Parts 11-15)

Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 at a time from the archives..

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(11) Associates – 18 Carat Love Affair b/w Love Hangover : WEA  7″ (1982)

Read more about Associates here

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(12) Aztec Camera – Walk Out To Winter 12″ b/w Set The Killing Free b/w Walk Out To Winter : Rough Trade 12″ (1983)

Read more about Aztec Camera here

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(13) Baby Chaos – Hello Victim b/w Rotten To The Core b/w Skinny : East West CD single (1994)

Formed in 1992 in the town of Stewarton by a group of school mates, Baby Chaos consisted of Chris Gordon (vocals/guitar), Grant McFarlane (guitar), Bobby Dunn (bass) and Davy Greenwood (drums).  They were discovered by former Happy Mondays turned A&R man, Nathan McGough and after an appearance on a BBC 2 music programme were signed to East West with debut single ‘Sperm’ being released in late 1993.

Three more singles and an LP followed over the course of 1994, a year which saw them play the inaugural ‘T In The Park’ as well as at the week-long Sound In The City event in Glasgow (which is where I saw them for the first and only time).

They were described by some as Scotland’s answer to the sound of post-Seattle grunge and were compared by others to Manic Street Preachers.  They never quite got a distinctive enough sound of their own to stand out.  Perhaps the best indication that they wouldn’t get much of a local following was when they were briefly championed by Kerrang magazine at a time when Glasgow really didn’t have all that much of a hard rock scene.  Tell you what though, their hometown isn’t all that far from where Biffy Clyro have their roots.  Perhaps Baby Chaos were just a decade or so too early. Not the sort of stuff normally featured on TVV but it’s a CD single that sites on the shelf.  One that I paid 25p for…

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(14) Ballboy : All The Records On The Radio Are Shite b/w Stars and Stripes b/w Building For The Future b/w Welcome To The New Year : SL Records 7″ EP (2002)

Read more about Ballboy here

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(15) The Bathers – Fancy Dress b/w Ju Ju Peach: Go Discs 7″ (1987)

Read more about The Bathers here

Enjoy!!