I’ve said on a number of previous occasions that the period from late 87 through to mid 90 wasn’t one when I kept up with much of what was going on musically. My immense gaps have been filled in over the years, initially by Jacques the Kipper and increasingly so from the many fine bloggers who were immersed in things at the time and write so eloquently about it these days.

One of the finest songs from that period was this 1989 single from a Manchester band:-

mp3 : Dub Sex – Swerve

Dub Sex were a band seemingly impossible to pigeon-hole. They made raw, angry sounding music with a pop bent to it and nothing at all like so many of their peers and neighbours who would go on to enjoy, and in many cases waste, fame and fortune. There wasn’t all that much released – one flexi disc, four singles, one LP and one compilation between 1987 and 1989 . After the inevitable split, vocalist Mark Hoyle and bass player Cathy Brooks formed Dumb but again with no signs of obvious success.

The years have been kind to Dub Sex. By all accounts they were a blisteringly good live act fondly remembered by many who caught them back in the day; I think there’s also a great deal of goodwill towards them with the fact that their music has dated much better than many of the tunes which were better known back in the day. Swerve, which also had the distinction of making the Peel Festive 50 in 1989 (at #39), is a tremendous record in which Mark growls to his audience that ‘the choice is yours’ driven along by a tune that wouldn’t have been out-of-place on a Pixies release.

The band did get back together a few years back, playing shows to sell-out audiences in 2014 along with a new 7″ single specially put together for Record Store Day. That’s about as much as I can fill you in on – there will be, I’m sure, readers who can say a lot more. Here’s the two hugely enjoyable and still fairly contemporary sounding b-sides to Swerve:-

mp3 : Dub Sex – I Am Not Afraid
mp3 : Dub Sex – The Big Freeze

And here’s how I first heard the band – courtesy of its inclusion on a Peel Sessions compilation CD.  This version is about a minute longer than the single version:-

mp3 : Dub Sex – Swerve (Peel Session)




I make no apologies (again) for going into the archives over at the old blog for today’s piece.  It was one I stumbled across when searching for Dick Van Dyke’s adventures that were recounted just the other week.  This is from another of my old Sunday Correspondents gang who goes by the name of Cullen Skink.  He didn’t half select some banging tunes……….

If there’s a city outside Scotland whose impact is recurrently felt on The Vinyl Villain, it must be Manchester with its Magazine, Morrissey, New Order

I lived there as a student in the late 80s and early 90s, a period when Manchester gained its reputation for being the centre of the music world.

I was certainly enthralled by the musical heritage. My all-time favourite bands were Buzzcocks and The Fall. Joy Division/New Order too – though I eschewed The Smiths. And I was intoxicated by the contemporary scene: a huge Happy Mondays fan, I followed the Inspiral Carpets for a while, though wasn’t arsed about the Stone Roses

But you can hear all those bands any time, so here are some others that I loved around that time – bands that deserve to be glorified not forgotten. As behoves a VV Sunday Correspondent, let me turn once more to ye olde vinyl…

The Bodines made glorious, glimmering pop music, the pinnacle of 80s indie before syncopated funky-drummer beats took over. There’s a good case to be made for Therese (1987) as the greatest single ever. Certainly it should be on heavy rotation on all music radio.

mp3 : The Bodines – Therese

Laugh‘s funky swagger jumps out of this fantastic single from 1988. It drags you onto the dancefloor and shouts in your ear. They missed the Madchester bus, until they regrouped in time for the second wave as Intastella.

mp3 : Laugh – Time To Lose It

A forgotten music of the time is that loose agglomeration of ugly noiseniks that pointed sharpened sticks at earnest ears. I thought Dub Sex were Manchester’s best, though I wonder if anybody else did…

mp3 : Dub Sex – Swerve

As the Madchester phenomenon peaked, bands were chewed up and spat out as the media trendsetters moved on – to grunge or whatever the next big thing was. But of these second-wave bands, the New Fast Automatic Daffodils meant the world to me, and Big might be my most loved record of the time. As far as I was concerned it was indie-dance crossover on a par with Loaded or Fools Gold.

mp3 : New Fast Automatic Daffodils – Big

To my eternal chagrin I never saw The World Of Twist, though their concerts have become the stuff of legend. I just never imagined it’d be over so quickly – a couple of miraculous singles, a disappointing album, then nothing (and their frontman Tony Ogden died far too young in 2006).

mp3 : World Of Twist – Sons Of The Stage

Oh and while I’m in this mood, we’d better have some Mondays after all…

mp3 : Happy Mondays – Freaky Dancin’ (live)

Don’t sit down……

Cullen Skink, Sunday 25th April 2010