45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 17)


29 : Cannonball – The Breeders (1993 4AD Records)

Released as a single in August 1993 (Reached Number 40)

Another record I can’t play on guitar and for the second post in a row I get to say that something rocks like a bastard, which is exactly what ‘Cannonball’ does. It is also bloody brilliant, but I’m kind of figuring that you all know that by now. You mustn’t whatever you do confuse this track with the David Gray track which has the same name. They are very different. Gray’s ‘Cannonball’ doesn’t rock like a bastard, it more sways like an abandoned windbreak at a lonely Welsh beach. It’s shit as well.

In my second year as a student I was asked by the Students Union to be a judge at a ‘Battle of the Bands’ kind of contest (I suppose that my editing of the music pages gave me some form of experience). Something which I reluctantly agreed to do. I mean, secretly I was honoured and amazed that they even asked, but I nonchalantly said that I would check my schedule and get back to them. Which I did twenty minutes later, saying yes.

The event itself was pretty awful. There were ten or so entrants, mostly pub rocking student bands who could neither play, sing nor write their own material. I’ll bypass most of them if you don’t mind, but I will touch briefly on ‘Anita’. Anita was a dance student, who played an acoustic guitar, well, she knew two chords, and thought she could sing. Worse than that she thought she could sing Joni Mitchell songs. She couldn’t. She was embarrassing the entire human race by just being there. The fact that she lived next door to the future Mrs SWC, was something I ignored when I was asked to comment on her performance by the compare (a fat oaf who genuinely changed his middle name to ‘Disco’ when standing for the Entertainments Chair Position). I told her that she should stick to dancing. She didn’t speak to me or Mrs SWC again from that afternoon.

Anyway, the two best student bands around were (and I’ve changed their names because one of them got signed and did quite well) my mates band ‘Tea Towel’ – who didn’t get signed – and ‘Knobheads’, who did. I think you can work out which band I thought I was better. Knobheads sounded like Pearl Jam and in comparison Tea Towel sounded like Radiohead. I couldn’t understand the appeal of Knobheads, also they all had the looks of models, and were way more talented than I would ever be, but you know, Pearl Jam.

The problem was that Knobheads were playing their own material and Tea Towel were not, they were doing cover versions of songs like ’Breakfast at Tiffanys’ which didn’t help them. Still, apart from that they were better musicians, had a better singer and had bought me at least two bottles of Becks that day.

Anyway, it came to the final, a shoot off between these two bands. They had thirty minutes to wow the audience and the judges. I mean I’d already nailed my colours to the mast by telling Knobheads that I would ‘actually rather read The Sun on a bus to Woking’ than listen to them again. I mean, it’s hardly Simon Cowell is it?

Anyway Tea Towel come on and do very well, they ended with a new song, a cover of this as it happens,

Grassman – Dodgy

But without the gospel choir. A song which itself very nearly made this list. It was remarkable, but not remarkable enough.

Knobheads strode out full of confidence, wearing shades, and looking it has to be said, like an actual band. They were a five piece, only one of whom was actually a student, something, I tried in vain to point ou.  They had a singer, a lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. They played twenty five minutes of their Pearl Jam inspired angst rock and I tried to not yawn too obviously. Then they said for the last song they were going to end with a cover. Which is when they blew the roof off the place.

The singer grabbed another guitar and the rhythm swapped his guitar for a Gibson Flying V, and they launched into a full on enslaught of ‘Cannonball’ and I have to say it sounded bloody amazing. Three lead guitars, a crashing bass, stage divers, and trashed speaker at the end. If they did that all the time instead of having seven songs that sound exactly like ‘Even Flow’, then I might have upgraded The Sun to the Guardian.

It was, and believe me, if you knew the back story about me and that band (another time), you would understand how much it pains me to even type it, the best thing I’d seen live for some time. The bastards.

The B Side of ‘Cannonball’ contains an Aerosmith cover version – an ode to Chris Hoy, so I’m told.

Lord of the Thighs





a guest posting BY jimdoes

The Breeders have got a new album coming out next week (JC adds……well, they did have back in February when jimdoes sent this over!!) and to commemorate it I thought I’d do a quick ICA (if there is such a thing)

First up I’m a big fan of Kim Deal and did think about a Kim Deal ICA as she’s guested on quite a few records as well as made some formidable music with The Breeders – in all their various guises. I’ve tried to include something from each of their albums (they’ve been around for 20 years!) – otherwise there might be more songs from Last Splash. And I know The Breeders are more than just Kim Deal but she’s the singer and it’s her band, so I’m going to talk about the music and her. She’s the coolest Kim in music (sorry Kim Gordon, it was a close one) and The Dandy Warhols even wrote a song about her – which I’ve always thought of as a bit weird because they could never be as cool as Kim Deal and the song isn’t anywhere as good as anything by The Breeders.

SAINTS (From ‘Last Splash’)

There’s something about Kim Deal that makes me smile – maybe it’s because I imagine her smiling whenever she’s performing. Anyway, this is a track that I always put on compilation tapes that I gave to people in the Spring. “Summer Is Ready When You Are” – what a great line.

PACER – The Amps (From ‘Pacer’)

I’ve included The Amps as part of The Breeders because they pretty much were – when The Breeders went on hiatus, Kim Deal formed The Amps – as she’d done when Pixies had some down time. And they still play a few Amps songs live. Kim Deal could always write a good pop song and this is one of my favourites.

BANG ON (From ‘Mountain Battles’)

Here’s one you can do a sort of shuffling dance to (honestly) – it’s got a great beat. And Kim Deal is still smiling. And I love the way it ends – “missing gah”.

OFF YOU (From ‘Title TK’)

Kim gets all sensitive and introspective – but does it with such grace. Possibly the closest she gets to not smiling.

IRIS (From ‘Pod’)

I’ve been obsessing about this song recently. It’s so good. One of the things I’ve always loved about The Breeders is you not one song sounds like it could have been a Pixies song – they just seem so apart from that bit of Kim Deal’s legacy. This one is maybe closest as it does have that LOUDquietLOUD thing going on though. Pod is one of my favourite albums but it’s always been one that I listen to in it’s entireity – it always seemed a shame to delve in to one track, but if you don’t know it this is a good starting point.

CANNONBALL (From ‘Last Splash’)

The hit single. Impossible not to include this on an ICA. One of the best songs of the 90s. One of the best songs of all time. My daughter loves it.

SAFARI (From ‘Safari’ ep)

Released on an ep after Pod, a belter of a track. It wouldn’t have been out of place on Last Splash.

I AM DECIDED – The Amps (From ‘Pacer’)

Considering that Pacer is such a rough and raw sounding album, it contains some of Kim Deal’s poppier moments – to my ears anyway.


More pop music. More smiles. Sugar sweet. Ba-Ba-Ba-Baa.

DIVINE HAMMER (From ‘Last Splash’)

And if this one doesn’t make you smile too, then I give up.




The Breeders were kicking around as a band long before they ever got into a recording studio. It was the brainchild of Kim Deal and Kelley Deal. They happened to be twin sisters. But before they could really do anything with the band, Kim found fame as bass player with The Pixies.

In late 1989, seemingly tired of her band’s refusal to record songs she had written, Kim re-formed The Breeders as a side project. She did not however, include her sister in the band – instead recruiting a group of close friends and fellow musicians including Tanya Donnelly from Throwing Muses.

Their debut album Pod, recorded in Edinburgh, Scotland, was released in 1990. Not long after, The Pixies broke-up. Whether or not the two events were linked, no-one is really prepared to say, but you can draw your own conclusions.

Kim decided to concentrate fully on The Breeders, and her twin sister came on board for the next set of recordings, which resulted in the four songs on this very fine 1992 EP:-

mp3 : The Breeders – Do You Love Me Know?
mp3 : The Breeders – Don’t Call Home
mp3 : The Breeders – Safari
mp3 : The Breeders – So Sad About Us

That’s the order the songs appear on the CD – alphabetically as it turns out – but it was track 3 Safari for which the promo video was made. It’s a belter of a track that wouldn’t have been out of place on any Pixies record.

The fourth track is a cover version of a song by The Who (a song that had also coincidentally been covered some 14 years earlier by The Jam). It has been suggested by some that it is a sarcastic attack by Kim on the break-up of her other band.

This particular line-up of The Breeders proved to be short-lived. Tanya Donnelly went off to front her own band – Belly – while there was also a change of drummer.

Mark III of The Breeders would then find some fame and fortune in 1993, with the hit single Cannonball and the LP Last Splash. Incidentally a different, more refined version of Do You Love Me Now? from Safari was recorded for Last Splash.




This #1 hit from April 1996 is a genuine timeless classic

mp3 : The Prodigy – Firestarter (edit)

It also gave the former NME scribe turned novelist turned socio-pop commentator Paul Morley a #1 hit, a situation that nobody from the post-punk Manchester scene could ever have imagined when he was part of The Negatives, a group set up as an antagonistic joke and which also numbered famed photographer Kevin Cummins in its line-up. Morley’s writing credit came from one of the two cracking bits of sampled instrumentals:-

mp3 : The Art of Noise – Close (To The Edit)
mp3 : The Breeders – S.O.S.

The former had been a Top 10 hit back in 1984 while the latter was one of the many outstanding tracks on the 1993 LP Last Splash.

Firestarter took The Prodigy out of the dance/rave scene and right into heart of the cultural mainstream and along with the likes of Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Orbital and others helped create the sort of critical mass that enabled dance music to become such a mainstay of the festival circuit across Europe and so drive bring a welcome end to line-ups that were becoming increasingly one-dimensional and dull thanks to the plethora of sub-standard indie-guitar Britpop line-ups.

Here’s the other tracks that you will find on the CD single:-

mp3 : The Prodigy – Firestarter (empirion mix)
mp3 : The Prodigy – Firestarter (instrumental)
mp3 : The Prodigy – Molotov Bitch

The Empirion Mix doesn’t feature any of the samples and stretches out to almost eight minutes and it demonstrates, from about the 1:40 mark onwards just how hardcore and good a tune Firestarter is on its own. Nice companion piece to Moaner by Underworld as featured on the blog a few weeks back…




Weather and Feminism

But to start with a bit about the weather and something completely different. Recently the weather in the South West has been terrible, awful, most of it is underwater and I swear I saw a Merman the other day in the local branch of Waterstones.

So yesterday as I trudged back from the sandwich shop clutching my avocado and pine nut salad sandwich (I say sandwich shop, I mean, ridiculously expensive deli) a song came on my Ipod. It was ‘Sennen’ by Ride and as I walked through the lakes and wind lashed more rain into my face, I smiled, because this song made me feel warm, dry and a little bit cosy.

For those of you who don’t know, Sennen is a beautiful beach in Cornwall (check it on the Interent – I thoroughly recommend a visit), right at the end near Lands End. It is one of my favourite places on Earth and I firmly believe that it has never rained there.

The song itself by Ride is a sunny type of song, and in the perfect world, when the weather forecasters say ‘Rain, Wind, Hail, Plague of Frogs’ they should then be forced to say ‘Never mind all that though, here’s Ride with Sennen, now smile you miserable toads’. So if its wet, damp and your lounge is full of mud, here’s Ride with ‘Sennen’. Hope for the four minutes or so that you listen to it, it makes you smile as much as it did me. Play it in the rain and grin like a loon.

mp3 : Ride – Sennen

Anyway back to the box choice, Bandit Queen, for those who don’t know, where a Manchester three piece fronted by former Swirl (nope, me neither) singer Tracey Gooding, released one album ‘Hormone Hotel’ in the mid 90’s. (which is what has come out of the box).  A second album was recorded and never released until the power of the Internet allowed it to be self released in 2010. They came across on the ‘feminist angle’ back then and they seem a fitting choice for today because as I type it is Simone de Beauvoirs 106th birthday and if the Google Doodle is correct, she’s looking good on it. There were also named after the Indian Freedom Fighter Phoolan Devi and were strongly influenced by Frida Kahlo (even putting her on the cover of Hormone Hotel) so you get the agenda that they were addressing.



I have chosen the lead single of the album ‘Miss Dandys’, a spiky little pop song all about crossing dressing gigolos.

mp3 : Bandit Queen – Miss Dandys

The bands bio states that they sit perfectly in between The Breeders and Throwing Muses and you will see why, they have that clever lyric writing going on that the Throwing Muses had and they have the angriness of The Breeders, although Miss Dandys is no ‘Cannonball’. Decide for yourself.

mp3 : The Breeders – Cannonball

I remember quite liking this when I was a student and I made it Single of the Week in my column in the Student Rag I know this as in pen next to the song I have written ‘SOTW’, today I checked the archives and it beat ‘Mansize Rooster’ by Supergrass to that accolade, so I think I must have been drunk when I listened to it. I mean its good, but its not that good. The album promised much, and kind of delivers, you get much more of the same, decent indie pop, well worth an investment if you can find a cheap copy, (or give me a shout and I’ll see what I can do).