AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #151 : FACTORY RECORDS

As mentioned in the day before yesterday’s posting on The Railway Children, I’d forgotten the fact that they were, for a short time, on Factory Records. In finishing off the post and referring to a possible ICA from any fans of the band out there, it hit me that a label-based ICA could be a good idea, and indeed would be open to a number of volumes from guests.

In going about the task, I decided that the rules would have to be no Joy Division/New Order/Electronic/Happy Mondays or singles that were well-known hits back in the day. I also decided that there shouldn’t be more than one song by a particular singer or band. So with all that in mind, here’s my stab at a Factory Records ICA:-

SIDE A

1. Section 25 – Looking From A Hilltop (Restructure) (FAC 108)

Section 25, consisting of brothers Larry and Vincent Cassidy, signed to Factory in 1981. They didn’t, initially, seem to have anything that made them really stand out from the crowd and seemed to fit in with the doom & gloom raincoat wearing brigade that were so attracted to the label (Incidentally, I include myself in that put-down).

In 1984 they underwent a seismic transformation for their third album From The Hip. They added Jenny Ross (who was in fact Mrs Larry Cassidy) on vocals and keyboards and, with the help of Bernard Sumner in the producer’s chair, moved to a more pop/electro sound. One of the LPs most enduring tracks was Life From A Hilltop which was, in due course given a bit of a remix and released as a single which subsequently turned into a much deserved underground club hit. Still sounds great all these years later.

2. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Electricity (FAC 6)

The first single by OMD and less polished that the later re-recorded and better-known versions for DinDisc.

The story goes that following a successful debut gig at Eric’s in Liverpool, at which they supported Joy Division, the duo sent off a tape of their demo to Tony Wilson in the hope of having it released on Factory. The boss wasn’t that keen on it, but his wife, Lindsay Reade, thought Electricity sounded good and so he decided to release it on a one-off basis with it becoming just the third piece of vinyl to be issued by the label, with 5,000 copies pressed up. It received a fair bit of critical praise and although it didn’t chart, set the duo up for a multi-album deal and the initial steps along the road to fame and fortune. How different might have the Factory story turned out if OMD had been offered and signed a long-term deal with the label…..

3. Cath Carrol – England Made Me (album track from FACT 210)

Cath Carrol had long been part of the wider Manchester scene before ending up on Factory Records. Her career in music began in 1979 as one of the mainstays behind the fanzine City Fun, while at the same time she was part of the band Glass Animals. She was initially more successful as a writer, ending up on the staff of NME, although her mid-80s band Miaow did enjoy a bit of success on the indie-circuit.

There were a number of years and different locations utilised for the solo album England Made Me and the expense involved is often cited as one of the factors behind the financial demise of Factory Records. Whatever hopes everyone had were never realised and despite a reasonably warm critical response to the bossa nova/dance sound that dominated the LP, it bombed in the shops. I’m not arguing that any this track is among the label’s finest moments, but it does fits well on this particular ICA at this point.

4. Revenge – I’m Not Your Slave (FAC 279)

Revenge was the name that Peter Hook took for his band when he issued his solo material in the wake of the decision by Bernard Sumner to put New Order to the side. A much-derided project at the time, particularly in comparison to what Sumner was achieving with Electronic, much of the material hasn’t aged all that well, although I remain fond of this particular single.

5. Stockholm Monsters – National Pastime (FAC 107)

Finishing this side off with the b-side to a single. Stockholm Monsters weren’t, it seems to me, taken that seriously by anyone outside of Factory – the fact they had a stupid name for a band didn’t help matters; still, it could be worse, they could have called themselves Crispy Ambulance.

This was actually a late addition to the ICA…it’s a song I’ve known since its 1984 release as it was played a lot by one of my flatmates who declared it a bonafide classic.  He even managed to persuade the student union DJ to air it a few times on the ‘alternative disco’ Thursday nights.  I’ve never owned a copy of the single and it is an expensive one on the second hand market, but a couple of week back Swiss Adam featured it over in the Bagging Area and I nicked it from there when he wasn’t looking!  Feels right to let him say a few words…

Opening with clattering drums and a low slung bass, then a beautifully naive topline and a wonderful non-singer’s vocal. Produced by Peter Hook and lost by a record company who wouldn’t pay for pluggers and promotion because they believed the music would sell itself. If this was the only song they’d released, they’d still more than deserve a place in a version of mid-80s indie scene. A little slice of perfection.

Indeed.

SIDE B

1. Durutti Column – Requiem For A Father (album track from FACT 14)

This ICA just has to include Durutti Column, an act every bit as important to the Factory story as any other . It was, of course, for the most part a solo project for Vini Reilly whose approach to writing and recording has always been idiosyncratic and, consequently, a tad on the inconsistent side.

I’m not his biggest fan and don’t actually have that much in the collection, relying on the recommendations from other blogs as well as this guest ICA to broaden my horizons. I’ve gone back to the debut album, The Return of the Durutti Column, released in 1980 and which was a genuine band effort featuring Pete Crooks on bass and Toby Toman on drums. It is a track reminiscent in places of Young Marble Giants.

2. A Certain Ratio – Do The Du (Peel Session) (from FACT 16)

Another band that has been the subject of an ICA – and more than once thanks to Echorich and Swiss Adam, two of the finest and most knowledgable writers out there. Click here and here for reminders. A Certain Ratio were an act that I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to back in the day, something which I now regret as I’ve come to realise, with the benefit of hindsight, that I missed out on something very decent.

Do The Du was the opening song on Side A of The Graveyard and The Ballroom, their first release on Factory in February 1980. It was a cassette release with Side A – The Graveyard – being 7 recordings in a studio of that name and Side B – The Ballroom – being 7 recordings live at the Electric Ballroom.

3. The Wake – Of The Matter (FAC 113)

As I said when I featured The Wake on this blog back in December 2014, they were a Scottish act whom I saw a few times back in the day as support to New Order. The Wake were the first band that Bobby Gillespie was part of, and although he had long departed by the time this single was released in 1985, it is one that has a twee-like sound not unlike early Primal Scream.

4. The Adventure Babies – Camper Van (FACD 319)

A single from 1991. It is followed in the Factory discography by FACT 320 which is the number given to Pills’n’Thrills and Bellyaches by Happy Mondays, the album that really launched them into the stratosphere.

The Adventure Babies turned out to be the final band ever signed by Factory before the label suffered the bankruptcy. This was the lead track from their debut EP, released in 1991, and it is as far removed from a ‘Factory-type’ song as can be imagined. I really liked it at when it was released and bought it on 12″ vinyl, but time hasn’t been that kind to it.

5. Steve and Gillian – Loved It (FACD 251)

This side opened with an instrumental and so I thought it would make sense to end it with something similar.

FACD 251 was a one-track CD pressed to commemorate the opening of the new Factory Headquarters in 1990. Loved It was recorded at the home studio of Steve Morris and Gillian Gilbert and the samples are from the Channel 4 ‘New Order Play At Home’ documentary. The track was later re-released in October 1993 on the album The Other Two And You which came out on London Records.

So there you have it. A real mixed-bag of things, rather like the label itself.  Hopefully, there’s something for everyone. Oh, and if any of the above stated info is wrong, it is entirely in keeping with the label’s philosophy of printing the myth rather than the truth….

JC

PS : FAC 51 was The Hacienda.  This is ICA 151 which closes with FACD 251.  FAC 151 was interesting.

JUST 60 MINUTES OF YOUR TIME IS ALL I’M ASKING….

It’s been a while since I put one of these together….I know that some of you quite like them and it does save me coming up with anything imaginative to write today.

mp3 : Various Artists – One side of an old C120 (Precisely)

Track Listing

If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
Brimful of Asha (Fatboy Slim remix) – Cornershop
Seether – Veruca Salt
Speed-Date – Arab Strap
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem
Sub-Culture – New Order
Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
Wrote For Luck – Happy Mondays
Slave To The Rhythm – Grace Jones
To Lose My Life – White Lies
Totally Wired – The Fall
Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
Love Plus One – Haircut 100
Ever Fallen In Love…? – Buzzcocks
Blue Boy – Orange Juice
Kennedy – The Wedding Present
Roi (reprise) – The Breeders

CHARGED PARTICLES (16)

THE GUEST SERIES FROM JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

 

Charged Particle Covers

Isolation – Mercury Rev.  This would be the John Lennon tune, not the Joy Division one.  I’m not the biggest Mercury Rev fan, truth be told, but I like this cover more than the original.  I think it’s the brushed drums, the relaxed vibe, and the extra instrumentation (Lennon’s version was just him on piano with Ringo purporting to be a drummer and Klaus Voorman’s bass mixed so low you can’t hear it).  The acoustic guitar “solo” is kind of funny, too.

Satisfaction – Devo.  Bending the rules here to exclude the (I Can’t Get No) from the title to qualify this song.  In America during the late 70’s everyone dropped whatever they were doing promptly at 11 pm on Saturday to watch Saturday Night Live.  (You’re all familiar with SNL across the pond, right?)  When DEVO played this song in 1978 I was at some suburban party with a bunch of other teenagers.  We had absolutely no idea what to make of them.  YouTube the video — it’s still remarkable.

 

Depression – Dirty Projectors.  My son turned me on to Dirty Projectors when he was in high school.  At the time he was getting into vocal music and found the technique of “hocketing” really intriguing (example: ‘Remade Horizon’ from DP’s LP ‘Bitte Orca’).  Dirty Projectors were really capable at that type of singing, and were generally really interesting, creative and unique.  One of the interesting, creative and unique things they did was reinterpret the whole of Black Flag’s album Damaged, without having listened to it for a period of years.  Suffice to say, it doesn’t sound anything like Black Flag – or anyone else for that matter.

JTFL

 

BONUS POST : CHARGED PARTICLES (14)

THE GUEST SERIES FROM JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

 

You Say You Want A Revolution?

Revolution – Built to Spill

Revolution – Los Lobos

Revolution – Spacemen 3

Revolution – Bob Marley & the Wailers

Both dear departed Elliott Smith and briefly reunited but dearly departed again Grandaddy recorded versions of the Beatles’ song by the same name.  They’ll feature in this series down the road.

JTFL

 

FIVE FANTASTIC HOURS

There are times when I know that I’m an incredibly lucky fella.  Last Saturday was one such occasion.

I wangled my way into helping out at the latest Strangeways event and ended up doing the 9pm-10pm slot where the hope is you gradually build up the atmosphere for the later part of the evening. What I didn’t know until I got there was that my set would be followed immediately by the main guest DJ for the night , a bona-fide indie-pop star in the shape of Gavin Dunbar, bass player with Camera Obscura and drummer in the live rendition of Ette.  Happy to report that there were folk dancing by the time Gavin took over but he took it to a whole new level which was then maintained all the way through to the end thanks to Hugh and Robert, who make the whole thing look effortless.

Here’s the full playlist for the evening…..the change in colours is where someone took over….first hour was Carlo, then myself…and as indicated Gavin did 10-11 before handing over to the mainstays for the final two hours.

The First Big Weekend – Arab Strap
My Favourite Wet Wednesday Afternoon – The Siddeleys
Push – The Cure
Like A Daydream – Ride
Little Baby Nothing – Manic Street Preachers
Sixty Eight Guns – The Alarm
The Eton Rifles – The Jam
Her Jazz – Huggy Bear
Atta Girl – Heavenly
Don’t Talk, Just Kiss – The Wedding Present
Really Stupid – The Primitives
Thorn – MBV
Surfin’ USA – The Jesus & Mary Chain
Orange Appled – Cocteau Twins
Hounds Of Love – Kate Bush
And She Was – Talking Heads
Bring On The Dancing Horses – Echo & The Bunnymen
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side – The Smiths
Theme From S’Express – S’Express
Love Vigilantes – New Order
Picture This – Blondie
Pulling Mussels From The Shell – Squeeze
The Look Of Love – ABC
Reward – The Teardrop Explodes
Give Me Back My Man – B52s
There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis – Kirsty MacColl
(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville – R.E.M.
Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths
Ask Johnny Dee – The Chesterfields
What’s The World – James
Crocodiles – Echo & The Bunnymen
Domino Dancing – Pet Shop Boys
Don’t Go – Yazoo
What! – Soft Cell
The Boy Wonders – Aztec Camera
William, It Was Really Nothing – The Smiths
Atomic – Blondie
Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
Debaser – Pixies
Party Fears Two – Associates
Boys and Girls – Blur
Do You Remember The First Time? – Pulp
Intergalactic – Beastie Boys
Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand
Last Nite – The Strokes
Sparky’s Dream – Teenage Fanclub
Blue Monday – New Order
Something For The Weekend – The Divine Comedy
Baggy Trousers – Madness
Tears Of A Clown – The Beat
Gangsters – The Specials
Blue Boy – Orange Juice
Dirty Dream #2 – Belle and Sebastian
Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken – Camera Obscura
He’s On The Phone – Saint Etienne
West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys
Raspberry Beret – Prince
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
Inbetween Days – The Cure
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
Young Americans – David Bowie
Pretty In Pink – Psychedelic Furs
Don’t You Want Me? – Human League
Rock Me Amadeus – Falco
Crash – The Primitives
Enola Gay – OMD
Love Plus One – Haircut 100
Last of The Famous International Playboys – Morrissey
Here Comes Your Man – Pixies
Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads
Public Image – Public Image Ltd
A New England – Kirsty MacColl
Getting Away With It – Electronic
The Night – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Sheila Take A Bow – The Smiths
Trash – Suede
Sabotage – Beastie Boys
Just Like Heaven – The Cure
Girl From Mars – Ash
Lust For Life – Iggy Pop
I Am The Resurrection – Stone Roses
I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor – Arctic Monkeys
Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
Cannonball – The Breeders
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
At The Indie Disco – The Divine Comedy
Nothing To Be Done – The Pastels

I had my set together in advance, but ended up dropping one song so that Gavin would come on as planned bang on 10pm…it was running very slightly behind schedule and besides, I felt that Really Saying Something by Bananarama, which was due to slot inbetween Pet Shop Boys and Yazoo, might have reduced the dancing numbers a bit….the synth-pop just seemed right at the time.

But here’s the full 60 minutes in a continous mix.

mp3 : Various – Enjoy This Trip

 

JC

PS : Happy birthday to Mrs Villain. 52 weeks away from her bus pass……