FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

It’s Immaterial can be classified firmly in the one-hit wonder category, thanks to Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune) hitting the Top 20 in 1986. It was hardly an overnight or sudden success for this Liverpool-based band as they had been kicking around since 1980, releasing a handful of flop singles on small labels and recording four sessions for John Peel at various times.

Hopes were high for the follow-up to the hit single, but despite it being a jaunty and big-sounding number which received a reasonable amount of airplay on BBC Radio 1, it barely scraped into the Top 75.

mp3 : It’s Immaterial – Ed’s Funky Diner

A three-minute pop gem.  As lifted from the album Life’s Hard Then You Die, a record that at the time seemed a bit of a mess with all sorts of genres and pace of music to absorb but which has actually aged pretty well and offers much to enjoy and appreciate.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG (on a Monday) : #121 : THE GYRES

From wiki:-

The Gyres were a Scottish indie rock band formed in 1994 in Blantyre near Glasgow, consisting of Andy McLinden (vocals), Paul McLinden (guitar), Peter Lyons (guitar), Mark McGill (bass) and Paddy Flaherty (drums).

The Gyres played numerous gigs in the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan, supporting and touring with Cast, Oasis, Reef, Echobelly, Bon Jovi, and David Bowie. The band enjoyed limited success, and eventually disbanded after walking away from their independent record label, Sugar Records, whose funding had dried up. The remaining members renamed themselves Point Blank, and released an album called 50/50 at the start of the 2000s, then disbanded not long after the release of the album.

This was their third single. It reached #71 in the UK charts in 1997. My copy is from an Indie compilation from back in the day. It’s OK….better than Cast and Reef anyways.

mp3 : The Gyres – Are You Ready?

JC

A RE-POST TO BUY SOME TIME

The series on the New Order singles has come to an end and I’m still weighing up options for its replacement. All will be revealed next Sunday. Or maybe not. In the meantime, I thought I’d re-post something as it is almost a New Order single, albeit written and recorded by a genius from Edinburgh.

mp3 : Paul Haig – The Only Truth

Released in Sepember 1984, the production is credited to B-Music/Dojo; in other words Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson. How many of you wanted to shout out ‘Confusion’ just before Paul’s vocals kicked in?

The b-side is also worth a listen for a number of reasons – it’s a fun and fast-tempo cover of a Suicide classic that was produced by Alan Rankine.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Ghost Rider

JC

BONUS SERIES : THE ICA WORLD CUP : ROUND 3 (Part 2)

Honestly…..this week’s four ties are mouth-watering affairs so I want to publish the latest full-time scores and then give you the stuff of nightmares.

The Durutti Column 4 v Echo and the Bunnymen 35
The Police 24 v Pete Wylie 15
XTC 17 v Half Man Half Biscuit 22
The Charlatans 9 v OMD 30

I’ve a feeling Drew will be very keen to vote this week………….

Round 3 : Matches 5-8

New Order v The Fall

Anthony H Wilson and Mark E Smith will be pissing themselves laughing at this….as indeed will Rob GrettonBarney Sumner is known to be a fan of Manchester United while MES was a City follower, the team he adopted as a kid just to annoy his dad.  The establishment against the noisy neighbour.  The tickets to see this one will fly out of the door.

New Order must be cursing their luck with the draws having already been asked to take care of hardy overseas opponents in LCD Soundsytem and The Go-BetweensThe Fall have had the slightly easier tasks of taking on Queens of The Stone Age and SBTRKT.  The interesting news for the both sides is that while they each have multiple and guest ICAs, (three for New Order and four for The Fall), the selections for both are coming from their initial ICAs, both of which were penned by me….and what emerged from the coin/dice stuff is quite staggering:-

Age Of Consent (from Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983) v Cruiser’s Creek (single, 1985)

Talking Heads v The Housemartins

New York v Hull…..certainly brings home the romance of the cup.

Talking Heads have had all sorts thrown at them thus far – Close Lobsters, Massive Attack and Kitchens of Distinction have represented very different types of challenges and the latest match is no different.  The Housemartins have progressed quietly to this stage by overcoming Gene and Julian Cope but, thanks to an ICA full of catchy and enjoyable pop songs, they pose a threat to the biggest of names and the most revered of line-ups.

Both songs selected this week have one-word titles which come in at a little over two-and-a-half minutes in length.

TH(NYC) opting for something which, despite being almost 40 years old, still sounds vibrant and fresh – they’ve also drafted in Brian Eno on production duties to the line up.  TH (Yorks.) go with something that, although a flop single from 1986, typifies so much of their output.

Paper (from Fear of Music, 1979) v Sheep (from London 0 Hull 4, 1986)

The Velvet Underground v The Clash

Just as the audience begins to come to terms with the all-Manc tie which opens up this week’s offerings, this curve-ball delivers another strike.  Two of the most admired bands in the competition, each having the firepower to go all the way, but only one will still be on their feet in six days time.

NYC or London?

Warhol or Rhodes??

Reed/Cale/Morrison/Tucker or Strummer/Jones/Simenon/Headon???

It’s all down to you.

The Clash are going for their third successive American scalp having beaten MGMT and R.E.M. in previous rounds, while VU have disposed of The National and Talk Talk with great ease. You may have to take your time with this one….

Foggy Notion (from VU : recorded 1969, released 1984) v Armagideon Time (b-side,1979)

The Jesus and Mary Chain v The The

Here’s a Scotland v England clash to complete a remarkable set of match-ups this week.

JAMC have had very comfortable wins over The Wondermints and Rod Stewart, and while this is a tougher assignment altogether, the names in other ties in this section of the draw surely demonstrate that it could have been a lot worse.

The The are going for a hat-trick of wins over Scottish acts having done enough to dispose of Simple Minds and The Skids.  This is yet another step up in quality and, as is so often the case, much will depend on the random aspect of things:-

Never Understand (from Psychocandy, 1985) v Slow Emotion Replay (from Dusk, 1993)

Have fun….and happy listening.

Voting closes at 10pm on Friday 20 April.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #162 : JOSH RITTER

A GUEST POSTING by FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

JC writes (again): – For those who may have missed yesterday’post, FoRW suggested this as a double ICA but I felt they were more than worthy of two separate pieces. I’ve kept his intro which is written for both and this is the same intro as yesterday with the first JR feature. Here’s FoRW………..

I’ve never really been into what you would call classic American rock or anything too rootsy. Its only in the last couple of years that the word Americana hasn’t had me running for the hills. Two of the few exceptions are a couple of Joshes that in my mind are forever entwined. I first heard them at roughly the same time with Josh Rouse’s 2nd lp and Josh Ritter’s 3rd lp. Since then subsequent releases seem to arrive at roughly the same time..

They also don’t match the usual profile. Josh Rouse grew up in Nashville but was an anglophile with The Cure and The Smiths his favourite bands. Josh Ritter was largely ignored in his home country and found his audience first in Ireland. For ages I assumed he was Irish and just sang with an American accent. So intertwined in my mind that I’ve ended up doing a double ICA LP. The ICA is from when I first came across them both. Both Josh Rouse’s Dressed up Like Nebraska and Josh Ritter’s Golden Age of Radio (for some reason I never bothered to track down his debut) have some good points but both took a big leap with their next albums.

ICA 162: Josh Ritter

Josh Rouse has made the VV before and Winter in the Hamptons was very close to making the list.

Josh Ritter hasn’t yet graced VV and I am guessing he is going to be more divisive. Hopefully there’s a tune or two that talks to a few.

Side 1

Snow is Gone from Hello Starling. Produced by the guitarist from Irish band The Frames , the LP got to number 2 in the Irish charts and was featured on a lot of Irish based blogs I was reading at the time. It is full of great sing along songs with a production that reminded me of a lot of Irish records I liked at the time. There about 5 or 6 tracks that could have made the ICA but this one never fails to get me shouting along to the chorus when driving

Wolves from The Animal Years : The songs from this follow up to Hello Starling are loosely based on the life and books of Mark Twain. Another galloping chorus. I guess we all have our own wolves

Right Moves from The Historical Conquests : Something about this is so rooted in American classic songs that my first thought was that this was a cover. A broader sound palette with a bit of a kitchen sink production style. Keeping to the theme , another rollicking chorus

A Girl in the War from The Animal Years: A change of pace. Worth it for the “dove from above” reference which with the general biblical references suggests that it isn’t a Vic Reeves tribute. Always loved this lyric

“I got a girl in the war Paul her eyes are like champagne They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain”

The Curse from So Runs the World Away: Softer vocal which makes a nice contrast. An everyday tale of a mummified pharaoh who wakes up and falls in love with girl who visits the museum he is housed in. Josh Ritter does like to cram his songs with lyrics and this tale of love could have made the song as a short story series

He opens his eyes falls in love at first sight
With the girl in the doorway
What beautiful lines and how full of life
After thousands of years what a face to wake up to
He holds back a sigh as she touches his arm
She dusts off the bed where ‘til now he’s been sleeping
And under miles of stone, the dried fig of his heart
Under scarab and bone starts back to its beating

She carries him home in a beautiful boat
He watches the sea from a porthole in stowage
He can hear all she says as she sits by his bed
And one day his lips answer her in her own language
The days quickly pass he loves making her laugh
The first time he moves it’s her hair that he touches
She asks, “Are you cursed?” he says, “I think that I’m cured”
Then he talks of the Nile and the girls in bulrushes

In New York he is laid in a glass covered case
He pretends he is dead people crowd round to see him
But each night she comes round and the two wander down
The halls of the tomb that she calls a museum
Often he stops to rest but then less and less
Then it’s her that looks tired staying up asking questions
He learns how to read from the papers that she
Is writing about him and he makes corrections

It’s his face on her book more and more come to look
Families from Iowa, Upper West Siders
Then one day it’s too much he decides to get up
And as chaos ensues he walks outside to find her
She’s using a cane and her face looks too pale
But she’s happy to see him as they walk he supports her
She asks “Are you cursed?” but his answer’s obscured
In a sandstorm of flashbulbs and rowdy reporters

Such reanimation the two tour the nation
He gets out of limos he meets other women
Her speaks of her fondly their nights in the museum
But she’s just one more rag now he’s dragging behind him
She stops going out she just lies there in bed
In hotels in whatever towns they are speaking
Then her face starts to set and her hands start to fold
And one day the dried fig of her heart stops its beating

Long ago in the ship she asked, “Why pyramids?”
He said, “Think of them as an immense invitation”
She asked, “Are you cursed?” He said, “I think that I’m cured”
Then he kissed her and hoped that she’d forget that question

Side 2

Homecoming from Sermon on the Rocks: Recorded in New Orleans and full of slippery word play. I am a bit of a sucker for songs with Home in the title.

Wings from Hello Starling: Another change of pace. Can almost hear the campfire crackling. A lot of Josh Ritter’s songs have biblical references more in a Nick Cave than a Cliff Richard kind of way ( a less threatening Nick Cave and a more threatening Cliff Richard). The songs are timeless with stories that feel old and slightly other worldly

New Lover from Beast in the Tracks: Every decent artist needs a break up LP and this is Josh Ritter’s. Written after the breakdown of his first marriage and way better than the Dylan pun of the LP title, it tracks the disintegration of the relationship through to finding some kind of peace by the end of the LP. I love the lyric of this and the small details eg the nod to Othello in this verse

“But I will not chase your shadow as you go from room to room,
Droppin’ handkerchiefs and daggers, smokin’ guns and other clues
For what someone did with someone and who did what to who.
I’ve got a new lover now, I hope you’ve got a lover too.”

At the end there is the pay back and the bitterness that still lingers

“I hope you’ve got a lover now, hope you’ve got somebody who
Can give you what you need like I couldn’t seem to do.
But if you’re sad and you are lonesome and you’ve got nobody true,
I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me happy too.”

Myrna Loy from The Gathering: From the latest LP released last year and the first one that is a bit of a misfire , a bit too rootsy and folky even for me. However I do love the haunting piano and brushed drums on this. Also I’m a sucker for songs about famous people and this is typical Josh Ritter subject matter. This pulls on the early life of an film actress who was at her peak in the 30s and 40s (married and divorced 4 times!) and someone she left behind.

Joy to you Baby from Beast in the Tracks : After New Lover there is finally acceptance and recognition and so the ICA ends with a song of hope and also with a lovely simple guitar line.

FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #161 : JOSH ROUSE

A GUEST CONTRIBUTION by FRIEND OF RACHEL WORTH

 

JC writes: – FoRW suggested this as a double ICA but I felt they were more than worthy of two separate pieces.  I’ve kept his intro which is written for both and I’ll be re-producing it tomorrow when the second JR features. Here’s FoRW………..

I’ve never really been into what you would call classic American rock or anything too rootsy. Its only in the last couple of years that the word Americana hasn’t had me running for the hills. Two of the few exceptions are a couple of Joshes that in my mind are forever entwined. I first heard them at roughly the same time with Josh Rouse’s 2nd lp and Josh Ritter’s 3rd lp. Since then subsequent releases seem to arrive at roughly the same time..

They also don’t match the usual profile. Josh Rouse grew up in Nashville but was an anglophile with The Cure and The Smiths his favourite bands. Josh Ritter was largely ignored in his home country and found his audience first in Ireland. For ages I assumed he was Irish and just sang with an American accent. So intertwined in my mind that I’ve ended up doing a double ICA LP. The ICA is from when I first came across them both. Both Josh Rouse’s Dressed up Like Nebraska and Josh Ritter’s Golden Age of Radio (for some reason I never bothered to track down his debut) have some good points but both took a big leap with their next albums.

ICA 161: Josh Rouse

Side 1

1: 1972 from 1972 : An ache of a song and a sound that feels anchored in the Californian singer songwriters of the 70s which not long ago would have had me reaching for the skip button. This kicked off his LP 1972 whose summery sounds often concealed a dark heart of lost, lonely, drifting lives. “Could this be all?” . 1972 was his 4th LP and saw him in the middle of a trio of 3 fantastic lps which together could have formed their own ICA.

2: Hollywood Bass Player from Country Mouse City House: After a messy break up Josh Rouse got married and moved to Spain. Thus begin a run a 4/5 lps which were all very pleasant but just a bit chocked full of contentness for my miserable liking.  This one though echoes back to his golden trio of LPs and despite immersing himself in Spanish culture is an American as can get , full of LA finger clicks , claps and “alright”s. Listening to this , feels like we should be right in the middle of glossy film starring a Ryan or two.

3: Miracle from Under the Cold Blue Stars : Josh Rouse’s 3rd LP was a loose concept built around a couple in the 1950’s and the breakdown of their relationship, told from both perspectives. I’ve struggled over the lyrics and I think that the point of view of the 2 protagonists alternates across the songs. Then again I may be a mile wide on this . The concept doesn’t get in the way of the LP being crammed full of great songs. It was this LP that moved him from the one of many to someone who I would start to look out for each new release. This one shows his knack for finding a riff that hooks itself around the catchiest of pop songs. This is the relationship high song before the dark clouds gather.

4: Streetlights from Nashville: The follow up to 1972 (and the 3rd LP in his real purple patch) continued the trend of summery song whilst toning down some of the 70s summer sounds. Right from the slightly meandering intro this is just gorgeous. Its as if he stumbles into the song and before you realise it builds and builds with pedal steel and strings washing over you

5: Quiet Town from Subtitulo: Another one from his run of “contentment” lps. This steers very close to Everybody’s Talking and is another song summer. Even manages to carry off a bit of whistling. A lot of earlier Rouse songs are about characters who are trapped or trying to get out of a town , a relationship or a life. However he we have a middle aged sound of comfortable security and acceptance.

Side 2

1 Hey Porcupine from Home : Home was Josh Rouse’s 2nd LP and the 1st one I bought on the strength of a review that said it was like a country Lloyd Cole album. The sound isn’t life changing but it is full of songs that gradually worked their way in. There is an echo of a certain kind of late 80s jangly guitar band

2 Ugly Stories from Under the Cold Blue Stars: Well the dark clouds have well and truly gathered and the relationship is only going to end one way. “Unfair , so unkind to have wasted my time on such a silly dream”

3 Directions from Home : the rougher sound of the his 2nd lp is made for shout/singling along to and this track especially has been belted out on many a car journey. A warning , a wake up call , an admonishment or a bit of all 3

4 My Love is Gone from Nashville“and I sleep with the TV on , its the only sound now love’s gone”

5 Pheasant Feather from the Embers of Time : His last LP (there’s a new one coming later this year) was a return to that sense of melancholy (the strings are still there effortlessly moving things along) and his best for while

“Through the years, been up and down
I’m still in love, but it’s different now
Wish someone would tell me what to be”

The best thing about doing this ICA is that I’ve always wanted to see him play live and despite having all his LPs have never seen him. However, in doing a bit of an internet search I found out that Josh Rouse was playing the Garage in Islington in April , so bought a couple of tickets. The power of ICAs!

FoRW

HALF TIME SCORES

Have particulary enjoyed reading all the additional words that have come with so many comments thus far this week and it’s interesting that some of you have been struggling with your selections this week…..that’s how it should be as we get down to the sharp end of the competition.  Once again, there are a few scorelines which aren’t truly reflective of the quality that’s on offer from both sides…and the possibility of Sting & co getting into the last 16 (and possibly further) seems to bothering a few folk!!

Oh and C, if you’re reading this…..you really can’t tease us with hints of why you had to vote for the Durutti Column song without sharing the sordid details……

Durutti Column 3 v Echo & The Bunnymen 28
Pete Wylie 12 v The Police 19
XTC 14 v Half Man Half Biscuit 17
The Charlatans 6 v OMD 25

In this round, the half time songs will feature actual club songs, and I’m beginning with one that’s associated Hibernian FC:-

mp3 : The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith

And here’s the rendition from their fans back in 2016 when their side lifted the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years:-

Remember….if you haven’t voted yet, you have until 10pm this coming Friday.

JC