AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #262 : QUICKSPACE

A GUEST POSTING by SWC

About twelve years ago Tim Badger, after a desperate plea from his wife, apparently sold his entire vinyl collection to a bloke called Roy who lived in Plymouth. Roy paid him £5000 for it, which he handed to him in a grubby white envelope. Badger used the money to buy a new sofa, two wardrobes, an expensive dining set and a set of wheels for his wife’s road bike. On one drunken night out in Exeter, Badger admitted that he actually cried when Roy’s Volvo reversed out of the cul de sac where he used to live and drove away with his vinyl. Considering I know for a fact that there was at least one Nik Kershaw record in the back of that Volvo I would imagine it was tears of joy.

Fast forward twelve years and to the first Wednesday in September 2020. My wife, daughter and I have just been to lunch at Mrs Badgers. She is doing well Mrs B, the happiest I’ve seen her since, well, since I dropped her and Tim off at the airport a few years ago. She even baked me a cake that met my vegan tendencies (Lime and Coconut) and didn’t once mock me for ‘eating quinoa’.

As we are leaving, Mrs Badger tells me that she has something for me, and she walks off to the garage and opens the door. She tells me to look in the two red and two boxes behind the old wardrobe. Which I do. They are full of records and CDs. There are at least one hundred pieces of vinyl and about 50 CDs. I recognise most of the CDs from Tim and my charity shop excursions but the vinyl is new to me…

“He would have wanted you to have them”, Mrs Badger says with a smile, there are tears in her eyes. Then she breaks with convention and hugs me, which is nine weeks of social distancing out of the window. My wife is smiling at me, she knew….she definitely knew….

I can’t say no. I can’t tell her that I don’t have the room for a hundred pieces of vinyl and some (more) boxes of CDs. I bend down and look at the records, there are some great records in here, I think to myself. I look at Mrs Badger, and say “I thought he sold….” She looks at me and tells me that, these were the ones he didn’t want to sell, records that he loved, “although” she says with a smile “I’m not sure why that’s in there?” pointing at a Cast 7” (Its ‘Alright’ on blue vinyl and he kept that very quiet).

I wasn’t supposed to be writing anymore, I told myself at the end of the 45 @ 45 series that my days of blogging and guest contributing was over (if the truth be told, I’m supposed to be moving abroad, but Covid has sort of shot that idea in the leg). But here I am, with the first of 100 or so seriously good records that belonged to my best friend, in my hand, and its sort of tradition that when I’m given a box of music that I write about it, right… (please agree with me…)?

So, preamble over….the first record out of the box is ‘Quickspace’ by Quickspace, A record I already own as it happens, but this is a beautiful looking album. It has a green-y coloured card sleeve with holes in it that reveal the tracklisting on the inner sleeve which is a lovely kind of orange and red colour. It was released on the Kitty Kitty Corporation in 1996 (Choosy 6). There are actually three Quickspace records in the box and I had no idea that Badger held them in such high regard and as such it seems only fitting that we start with an ICA.

For those in the dark, Quickspace formed in 1994 and were called back then Quickspace Supersport. They were formed by Tom Cullinan from the ashes of Th’ Faith Healers. They play a sort of ramblingly excellent lo-fi indie krautrock. In 1996 they ditched the Supersport (and replaced three members of the original line up) and became just Quickspace.

Some of these recordings are taken from records that have sat in a garage for the best part of two years, so they might sound a bit scratchy, but hey its lo-fi indie, its authentic, right…?

SIDE ONE

Friends (Single) (1996) (Choosy 4)

Anyone want a random drummer fact…thought not, but here is one anyway. In 1996, Quickspace unveiled a new drummer. His name was ‘Chin’. He didn’t have a surname. He plays the drums on this, the band’s first record as ‘Quickspace’. A feisty three and a half minutes of lo-fi indie brilliance which was adored by John Peel and featured somewhere in the top half of the 1996 Festive Fifty. It’s easy to see why.

7 Like That (Taken from ‘Precious Falling’) (1998) (Choosy 13)

The second Quickspace Album was a seventy-minute krautrock classic called ‘Precious Falling’. It’s another stunning looking record, the vinyl version has a gatefold sleeve with a lovely tree drawing on it. Musically I think it’s their finest hour and ten minutes, it’s an album in which the band added more depth to songs which were perhaps a bit simple before. ‘7 Like That’ is one of three or four tracks on this album that are irresistible slabs of tweaky indie pop.

Song for NME (Taken from ‘Suposport’) (1997) (Choosy 11)

In 1997 Quickspace released a compilation album ‘Suposport’ which packaged together all the band releases before Supersport was dropped from the name. The final track on that album is this little gem. ‘Song For NME’ is a slightly faster version of the previously released ‘Song For Someone’ but it was recorded especially for the then-popular weekly music rag and whilst we are on the subject, this is the greatest track to have ever featured that music rag in its title – even better than Thee Headcoats ‘(We Hate The) Fuckin NME’. That good, folks.

The band also recorded it again for especially for John Peel (and called it ‘Song for BBC’) and that makes it doubly brilliant.

Scubaplus (Take from ‘Superplus’ EP) (1995) (Domino Records RUG40T)

The third and final Quickspace Supersport Single was ‘Superplus’. The lead track was a 14 minute Krautrock epic. The band then dissected the track into three additional stems called ‘Proplus’, ‘Scubaplus’ and ‘Standard 8’.

Fundamentally it’s the same track just with a different emphasis on each track, which sounds pretentious but definitely isn’t. ‘Scubaplus’ is the best moment on it if you ask me, largely because it has some cool underwater effects on it but also because it is basically the sound of a bunch NEU! fans trying to be NEU!

Hadid (Single) (1998) (Choosy 11)

‘Hadid’ is a lovely little track that I think pays homage to the bands drummer at the time ‘Chin’. He was only supposed to be a temporary drummer and left the band before the release of ‘Precious Falling’. ‘Hadid’ is again a spiky little indie-pop gem that nestles itself into your ears and sits there snugly until bedtime.

Side Two

Rise (Single) (1996) (Choosy 5)

In the autumn of 1996 when the world was going crazy for bands like Northern Uproar, Quickspace released the follow up to ‘Friends’. The band had apparently turned down several substantial offers from various record companies and decided to stay fiercely independent on their own Kitty Kitty Corporation label (well in the UK at least). The result of that decision was ‘Rise’ another five-minute blast of indie drone rock. I happen to think it’s the best single that they ever released.

Quickspace Happy Song #2 (From ‘Precious Falling’) (1998)

This kind of sums up everything I love about bands like Quickspace (and perhaps Ligament and Novak as well). The fact that stayed independent kind of meant that they could release what they liked when they liked. They could name songs the same thing but changed a number at the end (see also ‘Song For…’). Which is what they did here. In June 1998, the released this as part of the ‘Precious Little EP’ a song that they described as being only the second happy song that they had ever written. Hence ‘Quickspace Happy Song Number Two’. The EP version is slightly different from the album version, but I don’t have it so the album version will have to do (I think its eight seconds longer).

Precious Mountain (Single) (1997) (Choosy 10)

I bought this on 12” when I was still a student. We had some decks set up in the lounge of our house (we were students, come on) and I remember sticking this on at some ungodly hour on a Saturday morning just annoy my housemates. Cue one of them, Irish Mike (who was not actually Irish) strolling into the lounge picking up the sleeve, and calling me a pretentious prick. I raised an eyebrow, sipped my cup of Lapsang Souchong and muttered “Pretentious, moi?” as the fourth minute of this cowboy influenced slab of Krautrock throbbed away behind me.

Do It My Own Way ( This version From ‘Suposport’) (1997)

‘Do It My Own Way’ was the B Side to the bands slightly chaotic 1995 debut single ‘Found A Way’. If you ask me, the band got it the wrong way round. ‘Do It Your Own Way’ is miles better and miles more radio-friendly than it’s A-Side, which is probably exactly why the band stuck it on the B Side. It also houses one of the catchiest choruses the band ever recorded.

Goodbye Precious Mountain (From ‘Precious Falling’) (1998)

A long time ago I wrote about this song and the morning after a party where I sat in a room and listened to this song whilst chaos involving a straggler unfurled two rooms away. It was a long story and I won’t repeat it now, but ‘Goodbye Precious Mountain’ is extraordinarily brilliant. An epic adventure of a tune that unfolds like it was written to play on the closing credits of a blockbuster movie. One where at the end only the hero and a significant other are left on the screen in a desert or windy moor and slowly the camera pans up and away from them as the strings sweep away majestically.

SWC

JC adds…….

I had no idea that SWC’s recent contributions via his 45 45s @ 45 series had intended to be his swansong, albeit I knew he was highly preoccupied with the possibility of moving abroad to live and work and thus wasn’t too concerned when he hadn’t been in touch in recent weeks.  I’m surely not alone in being delighted that he has decided to write a little bit more and so today’s ICA also marks what will be Part One of Burning Badgers Vinyl, yet another new and occasional feature on the blog.

Here’s the wee kicker……it’s going to be a joint venture from myself and SWC as I’m going to be afforded the opportunity to offer up some words on some of the vinyl/CDs that were in the red and blue boxes, albeit it will be on songs/bands with which I have a passing knowledge (I couldn’t have offered anything at all on today’s band, but in passing, I’ll say that I enjoyed (mostly!!) acquainting myself with the songs, especially the ICA closer which is reminiscent of a Tindersticks instrumental).

It’s a real honour to have been asked and I just hope I can do the series justice.  Watch this space…..

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT…..Q-TIPS

download

Dirk aka Sexyloser chose the letter Q

Before I start a note to my sponsor – Just for the record ‘Graham’, I’m not trying too hard (see Jay Talkin’ two weeks ago), what you read is a mixture of wit, talent and arrogance some of us have it, some of us don’t and jealousy is really bad attribute to display publicly. Whilst I’m on the subject of talent, what I type is nothing compared to the daily brilliance of the JC, and the likes of Drew over at ‘Across the Kitchen Table’and countless other bloggers who really should be doing this stuff professionally. The reason I don’t do a blog daily is because by Friday no one would be reading anymore (that and having an 18 month old takes up most of my spare time, I write this as she naps). Some people don’t like certain types of music, other people do like it. Don’t call me an idiot just because I was nasty to one of your heroes. Get over it, or start your own blog dedicated to what you like – I’ve even thought of a name for it for you ‘Killing the Bland’ (that’s a relatively obscure Prolapse song that I hope features in Saturdays Scottish Single sometime soon). You can thank me when you have one million readers.

Anyway…Welcome to the letter Q. I have three bands on my iPod who start with Q. Which is lucky. None of them are Queen, Queensryche or strangely, Quicksand, as I do own an album by them. It’s not the Quads either Dirk, sorry.

I’ll start with the obvious… Formed from the ashes of stoner rock band Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age revolve around the genius that is Josh Homme. Their best record is perhaps ‘Rated R’ which features the classics ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ and ‘Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’. The former is a three minute blast which name checks various narcotics and substances and very little else, but we all know that. If you don’t download it…Now…and then come back and finish reading this.

I think I said previously that the most recent album (their sixth?, I forget) by QOTSA’…Like Clockwork’ was my favourite of last year. Considering that for most of his career Josh Homme has crafted a fine knack of not giving a shit, ‘…Like Clockwork’ is as close to perfection as you can get. I’ll start by mentioning ‘If I had a Tail’ a track so damn sexy is pretty much rubbing itself against as you listen to it. The song features Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys but I’m buggered if I know where. Much of this record wouldn’t sound out of place in a sleazy bar, it’s a dirty, filthy kind of record, and that is great. But it has its tender moments, ‘The Vampyre of Time and Memory’ is a very low key, piano led ode to memories which I think wouldn’t sound out of place on the last Daft Punk album. It is a simply stunning record, from probably the greatest balls out rock band on the planet right now.

mp3 : Queens of The Stone Age – If I Had A Tail

Following the rock trend, next up we have Quasi with ‘Repulsion’which is taken from the 2010 album ‘American Gong’. I’m kind of hoping that most readers will be aware of Quasi, but if you may have missed them here’s the brief…they are a male and female duo who both grew up in South California, moved to Portland to make music, got married and then divorced, the two of them also feature on many Elliot Smith records and the odd Sleater Kinney album. They started recording in 1993 and I think American Gong is their ninth studio album.

It was a bit of change of direction for them as it was their first proper rock record, usually concentrating on drum centric keyboard pop records. It was also their first as a three piece, as they added someone to play bass, whose name I forget but was in Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.

Repulsion was the first single to be released from ‘American Gong’ and it’s a lot of fun. It reminds me of early Dinosaur Jr records, which is no bad thing, the voices of the main two people Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes sound lovely together. This was my first experience of Quasi and from this I downloaded ‘American Gong’, but if you are curious then the tremendous music streaming site Epitonic has some more free stuff of theirs.

mp3 : Quasi – Repulsion

Finally we come to Quickspace, who were formed in 1994 and were originally Quickspace Supersport. Singer and founder Tom Cullinan was formally in Th’ Faith Healers but formed Quickspace to develop a more tuneful and experimental band. The first review of Quickspace that I remember called them ‘the Stereolab that rocks’ that is no bad thing at all. It’s not strictly true, as they favour a more drone rock style but y’know still good.

Quickspace are one of those band that I think a lot of people would find it hard to like, I think they are the nearest contemporaries that The Fall have, perhaps slightly more tuneful. In the late 90s they shunned big money offers from major labels and instead set up the Kitty Kitty Label and that is where they released most of their records. These include the terrific singles ‘Friends’ and ‘Rise’ both of which were minor indie hits thanks largely to radio play by uber fan Steve Lamacq. In 1998 they released their second album proper ‘Precious Falling’ to much critical acclaim and it featured perhaps their best known songs ‘Hadid’, and ‘Quickspace Happy Song #2’ . Personally I love them.

mp3 : Quickspace – Quickspace Happpy Song #2

S-WC