OVERDOSING ON COVER VERSIONS (7)

The rather wonderful picture for today’s piece was taken by Mike from Manic Pop Thrills during a performance back in 2014 by BMX Bandits at a now-closed tiny pub in Glasgow called the Bowler’s Bar. It was part of an event, curated by Adam Ross of Randolph’s Leap, which itself was part of an extended music/arts festival associated with Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Click here for gig review.

I’ve waxed lyrically before about the regal status in Scottish indie-pop that has rightly been bestowed upon Duglas T Stewart. Thought I’d throw up a few of the covers versions his band have recorded over the years, along with some of the originals (you’ll hopefully understand why I balked at the last of them).

mp3 : Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – After I Made Love To You
mp3 : BMX Bandits – After I Made Love To You

mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – That Summer Feeling
mp3 : BMX Bandits – That Summer Feeling

mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us
mp3 : BMX Bandits – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us

mp3 : BMX Bandits – Hopelessly Devoted To You

Enjoy

BONUS POSTING : THAT SUMMER FEELING

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Just spent two or so hours browsing round Across The Kitchen Table. I did so as part of my efforts to catch up with everyone’s work over the past four months as I’ve been unable to find enough time to read what others are saying while keeping this place going and dealing with work etc. That’s three of the blogs down but many more to go.

Drew is one of the best bloggers out there in terms of the breadth of music on offer. You might not be the biggest fan of the songs he posts one day but rest assured he’ll be along very soon with an absolute belter. He wrote rather wonderfully the other day about this single from 1984:-

mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – That Summer Feeling

It came out in the UK on Rough Trade Records.

I later picked up an alternative, longer and even more languid version of the song courtesy of its inclusion on a sort of best-of compilation:-

mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – That Summer Feeling (alt)

I veer towards the single version in terms of a personal preference but there’s something rather lovely and laidback about the alt version.

Oh and yesterday’s featured Scottish act did a rather lovely cover. There’s a lovely backing vocal courtesy of Norman Blake:-

mp3 : BMX Bandits – That Summer Feeling

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #38 : BMX BANDITS

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I’m doing a direct lift from a posting last December.

Duglas T Stewart is the nearest thing we have in Scotland to a King of Indie Pop. I can do no better than steal these wonderful words penned by Michael Pederson for The Skinny back in 2012:-

Duglas T. Stewart is the founder of BMX Bandits; a pop spokesman for love, magic and fairytales. Whilst BMX Bandits have shared members with many brilliant Glasgow bands (such as Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and The Soup Dragons), Duglas T. Stewart has been the effulgent yellow yolk that’s spanned it all. Kurt Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits… and, well, flocks of us convincingly concur.

And if you need more on his band, this the bio from their own website:-

BMX Bandits were formed in 1985 by songwriter and lead vocalist Duglas T Stewart out of the ashes of The Pretty Flowers, a short-lived group that featured Stewart alongside Frances McKee (The Vaselines), Sean Dickson (The Soup Dragons) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub).

Their songs mix melodic qualities and humour with, at times, raw and heartbreaking pathos. Stewart has written many of the group’s works solo including ‘Your Class’, ‘The Sailor’s Song’ and ‘Doorways’ but also has collaborated with many of the other members. Stewart’s most regular songwriting partners have been Francis Macdonald, Norman Blake and, more recently, David Scott of The Pearlfishers and original Bandits lead guitarist Jim McCulloch.

Starting with the exuberant E102 in 1986, BMX Bandits released a series of singles on Stephen Pastels’ 53rd & 3rd label, where they were label mates with The Vaselines and Beat Happening. Later they joined Alan McGee’s Creation Records. BMX Bandits released three albums on Creation. The group’s most celebrated song is the autobiographical ‘Serious Drugs’, recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993.

Stewart split with his long term musical partner Francis Macdonald in 2005 but 2006 saw a new wave of live concert activity and the release of My Chain. Stewart’s writing on the album was compared to Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone and even Alan Bennett. The line up was expanded by the arrival of Stewart’s friend David Scott and new female vocalist Rachel Allison. The follow-up, 2007’s Bee Stings, was influenced by classic girl group pop plus the mellow A & M sound of the late 1960s and early 70s.

The band’s most recent album release BMX Bandits In Space (Elefant Records in 2012) was hailed by some critics as their most accomplished release so far, “a stunning, brilliant and beautiful album”. A highly acclaimed feature-length documentary called Serious Drugs – Duglas and the Music of BMX Bandits was premiered in Glasgow in 2011, followed by a series of international festival screening and a DVD release.

The line-up of the group continues to be ever changing with the latest addition to the line up being multi-instrumentalist Chloe Philip (pictured above). Despite all the changes in personnel the heart and soul of the group remains the same, an extended musical family led by the inimitable Duglas.

I’ve lost count of how often I’ve either see Duglas in the flesh, either on stage with his band or more often than not as part of the audience watching singers and bands do their stuff. He’s always been one to champion new and emerging musicians and I imagine many of them get a big kick when he sidles over to them and offers his sage advice. Everyone with any interest at all in the music scene in Scotland knows, respects and loves Duglas T Stewart. Long may he reign.

mp3 : BMX Bandits – Little Hands

A single from 1993, released on Creation Records.

 

NEXT YEAR’S NOSTALGIA FEST (Part 48 of 48)

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The final entry in this series pays homage to Duglas T Stewart, the nearest thing we have in Scotland to a King of Indie Pop.

If you are scratching your head in bewilderment, then allow me to steal these wonderful words penned by Michael Pederson for The Skinny back in 2012:-

Duglas T. Stewart is the founder of BMX Bandits; a pop spokesman for love, magic and fairytales. Whilst BMX Bandits have shared members with many brilliant Glasgow bands (such as Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and The Soup Dragons), Duglas T. Stewart has been the effulgent yellow yolk that’s spanned it all. Kurt Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits… and, well, flocks of us convincingly concur.

And if you need more on his band, this the bio from their own website:-

BMX Bandits were formed in 1985 by songwriter and lead vocalist Duglas T Stewart out of the ashes of The Pretty Flowers, a short-lived group that featured Stewart alongside Frances McKee (The Vaselines), Sean Dickson (The Soup Dragons) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub).

Their songs mix melodic qualities and humour with, at times, raw and heartbreaking pathos. Stewart has written many of the group’s works solo including ‘Your Class’, ‘The Sailor’s Song’ and ‘Doorways’ but also has collaborated with many of the other members. Stewart’s most regular songwriting partners have been Francis Macdonald, Norman Blake and, more recently, David Scott of The Pearlfishers and original Bandits lead guitarist Jim McCulloch.

Starting with the exuberant E102 in 1986, BMX Bandits released a series of singles on Stephen Pastels’ 53rd & 3rd label, where they were label mates with The Vaselines and Beat Happening. Later they joined Alan McGee’s Creation Records. BMX Bandits released three albums on Creation. The group’s most celebrated song is the autobiographical ‘Serious Drugs’, recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993.

Stewart split with his long term musical partner Francis Macdonald in 2005 but 2006 saw a new wave of live concert activity and the release of My Chain. Stewart’s writing on the album was compared to Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone and even Alan Bennett. The line up was expanded by the arrival of Stewart’s friend David Scott and new female vocalist Rachel Allison. The follow-up, 2007’s Bee Stings, was influenced by classic girl group pop plus the mellow A & M sound of the late 1960s and early 70s.

The band’s most recent album release BMX Bandits In Space (Elefant Records in 2012) was hailed by some critics as their most accomplished release so far, “a stunning, brilliant and beautiful album”. A highly acclaimed feature-length documentary called Serious Drugs – Duglas and the Music of BMX Bandits was premiered in Glasgow in 2011, followed by a series of international festival screening and a DVD release.

The line-up of the group continues to be ever changing with the latest addition to the line up being multi-instrumentalist Chloe Philip. Despite all the changes in personnel the heart and soul of the group remains the same, an extended musical family led by the inimitable Duglas.

I’ve lost count of how often I’ve either see Duglas in the flesh, either on stage with his band or more often than not as part of the audience watching singers and bands do their stuff. He’s always been one to champion new and emerging musicians and I imagine many of them get a big kick when he sidles over to them and offers his sage advice. Everyone with any interest at all in the music scene in Scotland knows, respects and loves Duglas T Stewart. Long may he reign.

It was the wonderful debut single which was put on CD86. Here it is in all its glory, together with the b-side:-

mp3 : BMX Bandits – E102
mp3 : BMX Bandits – Sad?

Thanks for bearing with me over the past 48 weeks.  All the songs on CD86 have now been posted and I’ve done my best to offer some info as well some personal words and thoughts on all of he bands.

There will be a short postscript over the next two Sundays after which the plan, from Sunday 10 January 2016, is to introduce a new 19-part weekly series.

A SCOTTISH SUPERGROUP (OF SORTS)

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Duglas T Stewart is the nearest thing we have to pop royalty in Scotland.

Back in 1986, he formed BMX Bandits who are still going strong today. Over the years, Duglas’s band has had almost as many members as have at one time been part of The Fall – the wiki entry on the band has some 25 musicians listed as current or past members.

To be fair, a number of the names were only in the band on a temporary basis, often for a one-off single or as part of a live band for a few shows. Back in 1991, an incredible line-up came together for the recording of what would be the band’s second studio LP and in particular its lead-off single Come Clean which, as the back of the 12″ single says was performed by

Duglas Stewart, Joe McAlinden, Norman Blake, Francis MacDonald, Gordon Keen and Eugene Kelly,

all of whom have, over many many years, been hugely influential in the development of the indie music scene in Scotland as performers, writers and producers amidst a myriad of bands including of course Teenage Fanclub and The Vaselines, but also the lesser known but hugely admired Captain America, Eugenius and Superstar.

Come Clean is a cracking pop song which captures perfectly so much of what was going on musically around these parts in 1991/92 and if it wasn’t for Duglas’s distinctive and unusual vocal style (he’s not the most classical singer you’ll ever hear in your life) then you could have been guessing at a few bands as being behind the songs (no real surprise really given how interchangeable everyone seemed to be).

mp3 : BMX Bandits – Come Clean

The two other tracks on the 12″ contain a song on which Duglas allows someone else to sing (I’m pretty sure its Joe McAlinden) along with a track lifted from the debut album C90 and which remains a live favourite all these years on:-

mp3 : BMX Bandits – Retitled
mp3 : BMX Bandits – Let Mother Nature Be Your Guide

These three tracks appear on one side of the vinyl. Flip it over and you get a tremendous tongue-in-cheek tribute to Madchester and baggy…..or perhaps a sly dig at their good mates Soup Dragons who had abandoned the sort of indie guitar music that had dominated their debut recordings and gone down the route of dance with a touch of the Happy Mondays:-

mp3 : BMX Bandits – Come Clean (Jumping On Someone Else’s Funky Train Mix)

Great fun.

MY FRIENDS ELECTRIC (4)

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Most bloggers are blokes…..its an undeniable fact. But some of the best and most enthusiastic bloggers are from the fairer sex as perfectly demonstrated by today’s Friend Electric.

Last week’s posting from Matthew highlighted that some bloggers had subsequently been able, through their talents, to carve out some sort of career in mainstream journalism and the talents and brains behind Last Year’s Girl is a fine example of this.

It’s probably easier just to cut’n’paste from the ‘About’ section of what should more accurately be described as a website rather than a blog:-

According to Wikipedia, that first port of call for general knowledge and pub quiz answers in the information age, the term “blog” was first coined in 1999. Curiously that’s when I began blogging myself, although I’d never have given those early teen-angst fuelled online diaries so lofty a title. My blogging is as old as blogging! That’s actually pretty neat.

I’m 31 and still can’t walk in heels. Apparently, this is actually due to being born with flat feet and not, as I previously suspected, because I’m not graceful. I live in Glasgow, in the west of Scotland; with a boy I met on Myspace, two rambunctious kittens called Scooter and The Big Man and our monkey companion Moriarty. We got married in 2010, which was hilarious.

I describe myself as a journalist by profession because every time I’ve considered doing something else I’ve realised that I’d still have to blog about it when I got home. At the moment I’m using my Masters in the subject alongside my law degree, writing content for the online news resource of a top UK law firm. After hours I write for all sorts – generally on music – such as national arts site The Arts Desk, The Herald and Is This Music?

My friend Tyler once described me as having “Clarkson Syndrome: she hates everything.” He meant it as a compliment, which is fine because I took it as one. I think that tells you everything you need to know about my personality.

I adopted Last Year’s Girl as an online handle in 2003, when Jesse Malin sang it at me from the stage in King Tut’s (it’s a lyric from his song “TKO”). I’ve blogged here on my own domain since 2005: mostly about music, media law and overpriced make-up. Big hugs to my Web Hedgehog for tech support and things.

Oh, and you can call me Lis, and email me ; lisamarie@pixlet.net.

Last Year’s Girl is actually a bit like a quality on-line newspaper – you click on the home page and you are immediately given the option of visiting a load of sections as well as the chance to listen to Last Year’s Girl Radio. It’s not simply about music either….the current headings as I look at the page include What’s On Glasgow, Feminism, Fashion and #team14; the latter is primarily about the cultural programme which is supporting the staging of the 2014 Commonwealth Games here in Glasgow (an event which my day job is very heavily linked to and why July is such a busy month).

There’s also a section where Lis highlights gigs she has either been to or is looking forward to – one visit there and you will soon see that we have a habit of bumping into one another at music venues on a regular basis.

Last Year’s Girl comes very highly recommended and is written by one of the nicest and most affectionate people on the planet and who in recent weeks has even gotten herself on a new locally, based television studio as a reviewer. Maybe it won’t be too long till she’s famous to a wider audience – she deserves it.

These tunes are for you Lis:-

mp3 : Heavenly – Atta Girl
mp3 : Camera Obscura – Modern Girl
mp3 : BMX Bandits – The Next Girl
mp3 : Aztec Camera – Orchid Girl

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 21-25)

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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(21) Blood Uncles – Let’s Go Crazy b/w Shake : Virgin  7″ (1987)

Consisting of Big John Duncan (ex-Exploited), John Carmichael and Colin McGuire, their debut EP on a local indie lable attracted the interest of Virgin Records.  Their career consisted of two singles, including a frantic cover of a song by Prince, and one LP, none of which got near the charts.  Big John would later be part of the live act that was Nirvana…..

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(22) Bloomsday – Strange Honey b/w Night Storm : Island Records 7″ (1990)

Chris Thompson is one of the great lesser-known talents of the Scottish music scene.  He first came to attention via Friends Again and has made a number of very different albums under the guise of The Bathers.

Back in 1990, he took time to form Bloomsday.  This was a very talented group indeed.  As well as Chris, you’d find Neil Clark on guitars and Stephen Irvine on drums – both had been part of Lloyd Cole & the Commotions.  All songs on the one LP the band released in 1990 – Fortuny – are joint compositions. Oh and for good measure, the bassist on all the records was Mark Bedford of Madness.

It’s a very fine record, albeit parts of it have dated a wee bit.  One day I’ll get round to featuring it on this blog.  In the meantime here’s the one 7″ they released. It was on a major label too – Island Records:-

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(23) BMX Bandits – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us b/w Thinkin’ ‘Bout You Baby b/w Hole In My Heart (demo) b/w My Generation : Creation Records CD single  (1993)

Read more about BMX Bandits here

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(24) Botany 5 : Love Bomb b/w Satellite : Virgin 7″  (1990)

Botany 5. consisting of Gordon Kerr, Steve Christie and Jason Robertson entered into the studio with the Blue Nile’s Callum Malcolm. The resulting ‘Into The Night’ (1991) was preceded by two well-received singles, ‘Love Bomb’ and ‘Nature Boy’, the group’s mellow meditative soundscapes bearing comparisons with the likes of Talk Talk, The Orb and Animal Nightlife. Before being lost forever to the music business jungle, the Botany 5 trio completed a series of acclaimed live shows aided and abetted by former Orange Juice drummer Zeke Manyika

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(25) Bourgie Bourgie  – Breaking Point b /w Apres Ski: MCA Records 7″ (1984)

Click here for one of the most lovingly put together websites on t’internet.  You can read more about Bourgie Bourgie and everything else that Paul Quinn has ever been involved in here

Readers of old will know just that (25) remains one of my all time favourite pieces of music.