BURNING BADGERS VINYL (Part 17): COMPULSION

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Burning Badgers Vinyl – The Lost EP’s #5 – Casserole EP – Compulsion (Fabulon Records 1993)

“So why do they call you Badger then?” the woman asks a tea sipping Badger in the lounge of a hotel in Worcester. We are all at a conference in Worcester, it is the first break and we have hot footed it to the lounge to get the comfy seats. I look at Badger and I see a plan forming in his head. He’s trying to work out which story to tell this woman. He usually opts for one of three tried and tested stories. He rarely opts for option four, which is the true reason – the last person he told that to was KT and he was drunk then.

The first story is that Badger has a secret badger hide in his garden, there every day at dusk he wanders down to it and throws peanuts, monkey nuts and jaffa cakes (because badgers love the smashing orange-y bit) on to the ground and watches gleefully as the badgers emerge from the ground and frolic playfully in his garden. People tend to believe this, but they always question the jaffa cake bit, I’ve told him to change it to digestive biscuits as I can totally imagine a badger eating a digestive biscuit.

The second is that Badger once played the part of Badger in a stage version of The Wind in the Willows and loved the costume so much that he kept it and now performs at children’s parties as ‘Super Badger’. His wife having lovingly sewed a giant ‘SB’ on to the front of the costume. He tends to tell visitors from America this version of events. No idea why.

The third reason is that he had a dog when he was a child called Badger and his dad was fonder of the dog that he was of Tim. So when the dog passed away, his dad started calling Tim, Badger and it just sort of stuck. That one to be fair is a conversation stopper and usually reserved for people he doesn’t like.

“Well…” he says, giving the woman a pearly white smile, who is called Pauline and is from Blackburn, and is totally flirting with Badger by the way (Ten hours later in the bar about four minutes walk from the hotel where we are sat, she will whisper something suggestive into Badgers ear, and then get up and nip to the ladies. Badger will then down his pint, grab me by the arm and say “we are leaving. Now.”).

” it’s because at the bottom of my garden…..” he looks at me and I, knowing my cue, come in all prepared “Are those Badgers still eating jaffa cakes..?” I say.

About three minutes later, a bald man chips into the conversation, he wasn’t asked to comment but kind of seized on a dramatic pause. He also from Blackburn and is called Derek. “You ever eaten badger…?” he asks. I nearly choke on my Twinnings Earl Grey and Badger looks amazed. “Well, no, I haven’t, I mean bearing in mind, I basically consider the ones in the garden to be pets” he says, hoping that will finish off that conversation. It doesn’t, however stop Derek.

“Rather like beef” he says, “we found one on a road over the moor at Ilkely once, freshly killed, by a car, so the wife and I popped it in the back of the pickup, took it to a butcher friend of ours and made a casserole out of it, it were very nice” he says.

At this revolting thought people start to drift away from the lounge and back to the relative comfort of the conference room. Badger looks at me and says “Should have gone with the dog, then again Derek has probably eaten one of those as well”. This sadly is true, as Derek tells us later on that evening. He munched on a poodle called Fido (probably) in Vietnam, it was a bit like chicken apparently. In case you were wondering his favourite road kill treat is ‘squirrel’.

All of which decent reasons for turning vegan lead us the last of the Lost EP’s found in Badger’s box and it once that fills my ears with joy because it’s the second EP released by brilliant Irish punk poppers Compulsion.

To say that I loved Compulsion is something of an understatement – I once went to see them at a venue called The Forum in Tunbridge Wells (which literally used to be a public toilet), with my mate Dave. After the gig we legged it to the train station and arrived there exhausted to see the last time slowly chugging its way out of the station. Drunk on cider and the thrills of seeing a wonderful band we decided to walk home, in the dark, fuelled on Lion Bars and Paprika flavoured Kettle Chips, not realising, or rather not caring really, that it was nine miles.

I can’t believe that Badger had this incredible piece of music and didn’t tell me about it. I used to bang on about Compulsion all the bloody time to him. For the record, not once did he turn round and say “You know what I’ve got one of their early and pretty rare EPs stashed away in my garage, nestled in between an old Daisy Chainsaw 12” (more of them in a later piece) and something by long forgotten shouty industrial types Nitzerebb, come round and I’ll let you have it” (it was genuinely housed in between the two bands I have mentioned above, and no I won’t be posting the Nitzerebb tracks because they are utterly useless) .

Compulsion split in 1997 I think, two of the members went on to far greater success, Garrett Lee who played guitar (I think) went to release cool coffee table drum and bass as Spring Heel Jack and then reinvent himself as uber producer Jacknife Lee.

Sid Rainey who played bass (I think) went on to write children’s stories and his books ‘Underground Ernie’ are very popular with Cbeebies viewers everywhere. I think they may even be voiced by the leader of the Labour Party, Gary Lineker.

Josephmary the shouty singer disappeared from the music scene when the band split and now lives in Ireland. I hope he’s well, because he was brilliant.

‘Casserole’ is incredible, six tracks of frantic pop punk that if I was thirty years younger would make me throw myself around the lounge, especially the first two tracks. The lead track is this

mp3: Compulsion – Accident Ahead

Which has possibly the best opening line in musical history,

“looks like raw liver, her face….”.

It also has a tremendous riff running through and a stupendously catchy chorus which will stick in your brains for days.

Track 2, starts, almost as brilliantly as ‘Accident Ahead’. The opening line goes

“Professor Green was the author of everything, his students claim”.

It’s far more poppy than ‘Accident Ahead’ and less angry as well. In fact this is almost certainly the bands finest moment, apart from ‘Mall Monarchy’ that is.

mp3: Compulsion – Yabba Yabba Yes Yes

Here are the rest of the tracks that make up the ‘Casserole EP’.

mp3: Compulsion – Crying
mp3: Compulsion – How Do I Breathe?
mp3: Compulsion – Here Comes Ambrose Beasley

I did hope this would be a tribute to the character from Emmerdale who used to run the Woolpack pub, but obviously that was Amos Brearly, not Ambrose Beasley, who as far as can tell, has never appeared in Emmerdale.

mp3: Compulsion – Security

SWC

JC adds……

Up until this point in time, I only had one track in the collection by Compulsion, and it is the aforementioned very minor hit single which was part of one of the indie CD compilations back in the day:-

mp3: Compulsion – Mall Monarchy

This was released in March 1987 and reached the giddy heights of #87.

Oh and for any of our overseas readers who didn’t quite understand the cultural references:-

jaffa cakes

Underground Ernie

cbeebies

The Leader of the Labour Party (Not, Gary Lineker)

Emmerdale

The Woolpack Pub

Amos Brearly

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT….SOME MORE LOST CLASSICS

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Ben, Tom and Mal(l) – Some more classics that should have been bigger hits than they were

So bands who don’t use guitars (by that I mean the electric lead ones I’m ignoring the bass), all of them are rubbish, right. Let’s look at the case for the prosecution. Keane. Yup, Keane. Terminally piss poor, much maligned Keane. Keane made a big fuss about big different because they used a synth or a piano instead of a guitar. Essentially Keane were middle class, fairly well to do lads from Sussex then achieved massive international and mainstream success based around the piano rock sound. Sadly, they suck massively they just peddle out bland, tuneless donkey wank and need to be stopped. Here endeth the prosecution.

The defence for bands without guitars begins and ends with one band. Ben Folds Five. A quirky indie band from North Carolina who were known for their humour as much as their tunes. When asked why they were called Ben Folds Five what with them being a threesome, Ben Folds replied it sounds better than Ben Folds Three. They formed in 1993 at the height of the new explosion in US sound brought about by Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam and described their music as ‘punk rock for sissies’. Despite having no lead guitar, Ben Folds Five did rock, they did have a punk sound, with raw energy, passion and perhaps best of all, tunes. Ben Folds Five also made a record with cast of Fraggle Rock. Keane never did that (Fraggle Rock wouldn’t have them).

They are best known perhaps for ‘Brick’ which gave them success in the States and here in the UK, but for me the standout Ben Folds Five track in ‘Underground’. An ode to the moshpit and the scene that Ben Folds Five were up against, this peaked in the Uk at Number 37. I remember reviewing it as ‘the bastard son of Randy Crawford and Fleetwood Mac’. I was 19 and admit now to have never heard Randy Crawford, so I was probably trying to be clever. It is great though and should have been a much bigger hit.

mp3 : Ben Folds Five – Underground

Staying on the American Indie Rock theme, next up we have ‘Velvet Roof’ by Buffalo Tom, The Robster has already waxed lyrical about this record on his increasingly excellent blog ‘Is This The Life’. Everything he put is right of course, but for me, Buffalo Tom, are one of the greatest bands to come out of the USA in recent years. They are very much on a par with the likes Dinosaur Jr (good mates, I believe) and that alt rock scene that we all fell for in the early 90s but they had something different, perhaps sit was that not many people (at the time) were fans, or because they seemed like nice guys, I’m not sure. I remembered being really annoyed when aged 18, some guys in my college who thought they were cool because they wore ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ Soundgarden T Shirts starting listening to Buffalo Tom. It was almost like I didn’t want this band to be cool, that and the Sondgarden fans were cooler, more attractive, taller, more muscular, and more popular with the girls than me. One of that crew went on to form middle of the road indie band ‘Airhead’ so I’m certainly having the last laugh now. They were awful.

‘Velvet Roof’ is a tremendous record, and should have been a massive hit. It’s a simple song, built over one gigantic riff, and it’s that riff that sells it. All of their singles were pretty good, I’d recommend their singles collection ‘Asides’ not something I would usually do, because it’s a singles collection, but it’s really worth a listen.

mp3 : Buffalo Tom – Velvet Roof

And finally, we come to ‘Mall Monarchy’ by Compulsion. What. A. Tune. This was staple indie disco fodder for every indie club in the mid 90s and was the nearest thing Compulsion got to a hit record, all their other records were scuzzy, punk rock rackets – bloody brilliant mind you. They came to be around 1992 and were lumped in with The New Wave of New Wave that the bloody NME invented. What Compulsion essentially were was a four piece from Dublin (with a Dutch drummer) with a tendency for shouty vocals and fantastic live shows. The debut album ‘Comforter’is excellent, and I still wear (just) my Comforter Tour T Shirt with pride (well when cleaning the car).

‘Mall Monarachy’ should have done very well, it didn’t, I remember watching it on The Word in 1994 and thinking, ‘Yup their time is about now’. Looks like I was wrong, or the public was. They released a second album a few years later called the ‘Future is Medium’ which saw them all dye their hair orange and wear black boiler suits. The idiot singer from My Chemical Romance did that a few years ago and everyone hailed him and them as geniuses. For Compulsion it just meant that they didn’t sell that many records. They split soon after. Garrett Lee from Compulsion turned his hand to production and dance music – using the name Jacknife Lee – who some of you will have heard of. He produces Snow Patrol now. I’m devastated that Compulsion split so that Snow Patrol could have decent production.

mp3 : Compulsion – Mall Monarchy

SW-C