SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #204 : MEAT WHIPLASH

I previously wrote about today’s featured bandback in 2015.  There’s little I can add to what was said before. There’s a lot of name-dropping for such a short piece.

Meat Whiplash from East Kilbride were amongst the first to be signed to Creation Records.

The line-up was Paul McDermott (vocals), Stephen McLean (guitar), Edward Connelly (bass guitar) and Michael Kerr (drums). They took their name from a B-side track by The Fire Engines. They then became The Motorcycle Boy when Alex Taylor (of The Shop Assistants) joined the group in 1987.

Meat Whiplash only ever released one 7″ record. It was in September 1985 with a sleeve featuring actor Robert Vaughan that had been printed up by Bobby Gillespie and hand-folded by their record label’s owner, Alan McGee.

The band were the opening act at North London Polytechnic on 15 March 1985 on the occasion of the infamous “riot gig” by Jesus and Mary Chain.

That one 7″ single was included on CD 86 and here it is along with its b-side. It’s a bit high on the noisy and tuneless scale:-

mp3 : Meat Whiplash – Don’t Slip Up
mp3 : Meat Whiplash – Here It Comes

JC

SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 32)

30 years since this was composed and recorded.   It’s a shameful indictment of successive governments, in both London and Edinburgh, that so little has changed across many communities with the result that the issues raised in this pop hymn to isolation, depression and utter misery are just as abundant as they were after a decade of Thatcherism.

Husband don’t know what he’s done
Kids don’t know what’s wrong with Mum
She can’t say, they can’t see
Putting it down to another bad day
Daddy don’t know what he’s done
Kids don’t know what’s wrong with Mum

So this is how it feels to be lonely
This is how it feels to be small
This is how it feels
When your word means nothing at all

There’s a funeral in the town
Some guy from the top estate
Seems they found him under a train
And yet he had it all on a plate

So this is how it feels to be lonely
This is how it feels to be small
This is how it feels
When your word means nothing at all

Husband don’t know what he’s done
Kids don’t know what’s wrong with Mum
She can’t say, they can’t see
Putting it down to another bad day

So this is how it feels to be lonely
This is how it feels to be small
This is how it feels
When your word means nothing at all
So this is how it feels to be lonely
This is how it feels to be small
This is how it feels
When your word means nothing at all

mp3 : Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels

There is also a radio mix of the song, concerning two lines of the second verse.

‘There’s a funeral in the town’ was changed to ‘Black car drives through the town’, while ‘Seems they found him under a train’ is replaced by the less gruecome but arguably more chilling and moving ‘Left a note for a local girl’

mp3 : Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels (radio mix)

And while I’m here…..from the 12″ vinyl sitting in the cupboard:-

mp3 : Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels (extended)

JC

45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 15)

A GUEST SERIES


31. Birdhouse In Your Soul – They Might Be Giants (1989 Elektra Records)

Released as a single in March 1990 (Reached Number 6)

A song that reminds me of being a school and in particular about a girl who I’m going to call Lucy. Lucy was the first girl I ever kissed. A rather fumbled affair which took place on the corner of the road that leads to my dad’s house. About ten people inadvertently witnessing this embarrassment, including a lad who lived three doors down, Paul, who took great pleasure in telling literally everyone in the street what he’d witnessed. I didn’t mind really, my social status climbed about three rungs that week.

Another witness was Danny. He actually managed to break the kiss up (which lasted about ten seconds) by crashing his bike into us and laughing at me. Danny was an arse, and I am confident, that, despite not speaking or seeing him for 29 years, he is still an arse right now. I think he will still have the same high pitched squealing laughter and will probably have the same rubbish haircut and still be wearing chinos that are took small for him. Two years from that kiss, by the way, and it’s not relevant, I’m just sort of proud of this fact, my brother beat the shit of out Danny in a park. I say ‘the shit’ he hit him three times, once, in the stomach, once on the shoulder and third one in the face, before Danny ran off crying for his mother. I forget the reason why, it was probably something to do with football. That or the fact that my brother just didn’t like him.

Anyway, back to Lucy. We got to together on a school trip to a farm, about seven days before that kiss. It was dead romantic, I stood in a barn full of cows and shit whilst Lucy’s best friend, Penny, asked me the question. This was because Lucy had lost her voice. She genuinely had. I hadn’t really ever been out with girls at that stage, I kind of shrugged my shoulders and said “If you like”. For the next few days at school we walked around holding hands, and stuff, quickly shoving them in our pockets when the teachers ambled past.

One evening, the evening before the kiss, we went on our first (and last) date. This was to the Ice Rink, the place where everyone in the Medway towns goes on a date. We had a burger (or a cheese sandwich in my case, as I was proudly pushing my new found status as a vegetarian) and then held hands as we tip toed around the ice rink, trying not to fall over and trying not to embarrass ourselves. We had both ignored the fact that neither of us could ice skate or had any interest in it.

Eventually we gave up and we sat together in the little café on those rubbish plastic chairs that make it sound like you are farting when you wriggle around, we talk about life, parents, school, music, as I nervously pushed the tomato shaped sauce bottle around on the table.

It was then that I realised that Lucy’s favourite band on the planet was Bros. Something which you can’t ignore even when you are 14 and trying to be cool. I mean I don’t think Bros had been in charts for a good six months at this stage. Still she was my girlfriend and I could probably change rubbish tastes. I told her that Bros were shit and that there were a million better things to listen to (even back then I was a wannabe music critic)

When I got home after the date at the ungodly hour of seven pm, I made her a tape, with all my favourite songs on it – I mean that’s what you do when you have a girlfriend – right?

Side One – Track Two – was this song, because at the time it was one of my favourite songs in all the world. The next day I proudly handed the tape to her – which had a crappily drawn heart on it or something and she hugged me. After school I walked her home and the kiss happened.

The next day in the middle of a history lesson about Florence Nightingale, she sat behind and handed me a note. It said “Sorry, but it’s over.”

That is exactly what it said. Still eight days was my new record for how long I’d had a girlfriend for.

Let’s fast forward a bit.

Lucy for her sins, moved away at the end of 1991 (and I barely spoke to her after she dumped me in double history) but she stayed in touch with Penny. One lunchtime, towards the middle of 1992 Penny came up to me in the common room at school and handed me a tape and a little letter. It was from Lucy. I was surprised because I’d literally not given her a single consideration since she left the school.

The mixtape contained some fairly decent indie bands and such like (ok, it had The Mission and the Sisters of Mercy on it, but you know decent enough). The letter said (amongst other things), ‘I never got the chance to say thank you for the mixtape, it changed my taste in music totally. Bros were shit.” And there on Side One – Track Two, was ‘Birdhouse In Your Soul’.

This was also on the cassette, can’t remember exactly where though.

Box Set Go – The High

SWC

 

 

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (3)

 

The third month of the new feature. The charts of March 1990 had Beats International at the top for a while, but from the aspect of singles making their entry during the month, one act kind of stands out….and they are actually up first.

Elephant Stone – Stone Roses

Three months after Fool’s Gold had given Stone Roses a first major hit, a re-issued Elephant Stone matched the achievement with a #8 placing on the week of entry, 3 March 1990.  Rather surprisingly, it dropped down two places immediately after, eventually slipping out of the Top 75 altogether after six weeks.

A Lover Spurned – Marc Almond

In at #32 on 3 March and managed to crawl its up three more places the following week. A very rare instance of a Marc Almond-penned single cracking the top end of the charts. This was his 14th such single and only his third to reach the Top 40, with his other hits all being covers.

Love Shack – B52s

A band that had enjoyed minimal success prior to this over the previous 12 years, with just a 1986 re-release of a double-A single consisting of Rock Lobster/ Planet Clare selling in any sort of numbers. Tailor-made for radio with its catchy and shout-along chorus, it was no surprise that after entering the charts on 3 March at #33 it hung around for almost three months, peaking at #2 for three weeks, kept off the top spot initially by Beats International and then by German dance-act Snap, whose song The Power would first enter the charts later in the month and enjoy two weeks at the very top in late March/early April.

Loaded – Primal Scream (single version)

A band that had been regarded as something of a joke throughout the late 80s. This was something completely different. It’s an example of a song that actually didn’t do all that much sales-wise but whose influence would prove to be so much greater. It came in at #47 on 3 March and just over a month later it reached its peak of #16. It was out of the charts by the time the summer arrived, but it proved to be a massive hit in the clubs all year long, setting the tone for the huge sales of the album Screamadelica when it hit the shops some seven months later.

De-Luxe – Lush (from the Mad Love EP)

I didn’t think I was going to be able to salvage any new entries from the chaert of 10 March until my eyes got all the way down to #55. The debut EP disappeared as quickly as it had come in as would be the case throughout Lush’s career. Eight times they made the Top 75, not once did any of the singles stay longer than three weeks – even the big hits from the mid-90s which developed the habit of coming in high on the week of release (Single Girl : #21, Ladykillers : #22, 500 (Shake Baby Shake): #21) before crashing and burning.

Strawberry Fields Forever – Candy Flip

One–hit wonders with this debut effort, with the follow-up stalling at #60 and two further efforts not cracking the Top 75. In at #18 on 17 March and it eventually got as high as #3. The duo of by Danny Spencer (vocals, keyboards) and Ric Peet (keyboards) named themselves after candyflipping, the name given to the taking of ecstasy and LSD at the same time. It’s no surprise that they turned their attention to a rave/acid house take on the Beatles song

Made of Stone – The Stone Roses

The cash-in continues. At least Elephant Stone hadn’t been on the debut album so there perhaps were legitimate reasons for its re-issue so that folk could own and enjoy it.  Made of Stone had bombed exactly 12 months later with a placement of #90. This time around, it came in on 17 March at #20, which proved to be its peak as it dropped down immediately.  Silvertone Records weren’t quite finished mind you…..

This Is How It Feels – Inspiral Carpets

Having been linked into the Manchester/baggy movement, it was no real surprise that Inspiral Carpets were next to come off the conveyer belt as far as the charts were concerned. This Is How It Feels is an almighty piece of music, one that I featured just yesterday on the songs as short stories series. It’s a disgrace that the sentiments from the song are just as applicable today as they were 30 years ago. Entered the charts at #22, got up to #14 a couple of weeks later and was only ever bettered, performance-wise, by Dragging Me Down two years later.

Chime – Orbital

Further evidence that dance music from the clubs and the fields where the raves were happening was crossing over into the mainstream. Orbital, consisting of brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll, took their name from the M25, the orbital motorway that circles Greater London and which was central to the rave scene and party network in the South East of England during the early days of acid house. Chime was the debut single and its appearance in the charts, initially at #28 on 24 March led to an invite to appear on Top of The Pops during which the brothers wore t-shirts making a protest about the impending introduction of the Poll Tax in England, a measure that had, on its earlier introduction in Scotland, created civil unrest, as it would also do in England later that very same week of the TOTP appearance (the director avoided any close-up shots of the brothers, concentrating instead on the audience….the single climbed to #17 the following week)

Orbital would prove to be one of the biggest, most important and influential dance acts to emerge out of the UK at any point in history – but that’s really for friends of this blog to highlight rather than me.

Your Love Takes Me Higher – The Beloved

The success of Hello, as covered in the first entry of this series, led to the label opting for a re-release of a single that had flopped in February 1990. An absolute belter of a track, one that found favour with the ravers and the indie-kids alike in terms of dancing, it didn’t transfer to sales as it came in at #40 on 24 March, going up one place the next week and then disappearing.

Pictures Of You – The Cure

The 18th successive single to go Top 50; there would be a further eight such successes before the release of Gone, which stalled at #60 just before Xmas 1996. It’s actually quite astonishing that Pictures Of You charted as well as it did, coming in at #28 on 31 March and inching its way up to #24 a couple of weeks later as it had been around for the best part of 12 months as a track on the Disintegration LP. Fans of The Cure again demonstrating brand loyalty, and even today the second hand market for many of their singles is a healthy one in terms of the price they fetch.

She Bangs The Drums – The Stone Roses

First released in July 89 when it made #36, a fairly decent showing for an underground band with no track record of success, Silvertone decided to re-issue She Bangs The Drums just two weeks after the re-release of Made of Stone. It meant that the chart of the final week of March 1990 had two Stone Roses 45s inside the Top 50. World domination beckoned, didn’t it?

Cobra Bora (Call The Cops Mix) – 808 State (from The Extended Pleasure of Dance EP)

Between November 1989 and March 1991, 808 State would release six singles/EPs, all of which, with the exception of The Extended Pleasure of Dance EP, went Top 10. I’d love to have been able to give you a reason but I can, in all honesty, say that I didn’t even know this EP existed until typing these words out. When I later go and track down a copy, it’ll be the first time I’ll have ever heard it.

Hope some of these bring back good memories.

JC
(aged 56 years and 9 months)

 

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #244 : THE BEATLES

A GUEST POSTING by JULES

As a kid (I’m 59) I was sort of aware of The Beatles; All You Need Is Love, Here Comes The Sun, and of course Yellow Submarine but it was listening to the Ray Moore late night show on Radio 2 under the bed covers on a transistor radio that I had my epiphany.

The theme music was an instrumental version of Here, There and Everywhere.

Enthused with the knowledge that my top sleeping song was by The Beatles I saved up my pocket money and bought Revolver. Wow what a cracker not a duff track on it (er well see above) but this one made realise that popular music can be different

Tomorrow Never Knows

Next step down to the record shop for the “Blue” album – oh my what treasures as I discovered all the hits and random good stuff.

Back In The U.S.S.R.

Hey mum it will soon be my birthday any chance of the “Red” album? Well, what the thunder and lightning is this? No odd cool stuff just songs hmm…..Oh hang on these are good as well.

I Should Have Known Better

Back to the record shop

Sgt Pepper, later on at school we could bring an album to play at music class, never the coolest kid but this boosted my street cred (remained a virgin). Like a lot of things some lyrics ain’t aged well but at least we do try to improve.

I used to be cruel to my woman
I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene
And I’m doing the best that I can (Ooh)

I admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
Yes I admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better since you’ve been mine
Getting so much better all the time

Getting Better

It was around this time that Dad informed me that Paul wrote all the music and John all the words, also if he wants to be Back in the U.S.S.R. no one is stopping him. As for myself I was getting to like George.

If I Needed Someone

Started trawling through The Beatles section on a more regular basis along with the discount box where I bagged Magical Mystery Tour double e.p. along with The Clash e.p. The Cost Of Living. And John Lennon’s Live Peace In Toronto. Sadly didn’t have enough cash for The Beatles In Italy, went back next week….

I’m A Loser

Some of the early LPs had good selection of covers for me the stand out track on their first album was a slow love song penned by Lennon and McCartney.

Ask Me Why

The last “proper” album I bought was Let It Be mainly because it was universally slagged off, and for good reason, Paul was pissed about the strings imposed on The Long And Winding Road (rectified with the horn section on Wings Over America) plus a rehashed charity song (Across The Universe) and studio out-takes and an old composition not considered worthy before, but on one track they got their mojo back and played like a rock band.

I`ve Got A Feeling

Oh bugger I forgot Ringo

The last album recorded was Abbey Road and featured the only Beatles drum solo.

The End

And his dulcet tones on the final obvious track

Goodnight

As a bonus bonus track The Rutles did the “Blue” album in one song.

Shangri-La

Goodnight and Good-luck

Love, Jules

45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 14)

A GUEST SERIES

32 – Heartburn Destination – Dracula Legs (2014 Too Pure Records)

Released as a single March 2014 – Unknown Chart Position

I’ve told some of this story before. A few years back I had to pop over to a place called Dayton, which is a city in Ohio (and the birthplace of Kim Deal, Pixies fans) for a few days. I arrived around 10pm in the evening and after a quick pit stop at a bar for a spot of dinner I end up at my hotel. The hotel is ok, its downtown and in a relatively nice area. I decide that having been up for about 26 hours, I should try and get some sleep.

Try as I like, I can’t, as the moody bloke from Faithless, sang, get no sleep. For two hours I look out of the window at my surroundings, I take a few photos out of the window of things like traffic lights, a passing truck, I unfold and refold my tshirts and I still refuse to feel tired.

I think about going for a walk, but as I get to the hotel door I see a police car tear along the road and I think better of it. So I check out the hotel, the pool and gym are both shut. The lounge reserved for residents is pitch black. There is a small bar downstairs, which is empty, but open. I ordered a rum and coke and watch what I assume is a re run of baseball game (one of the teams are the Cubs). By now it’s about one am, still not tired (on reflection I was massively over tired). It was then I spotted the staircase.

When I’m away from home I tend to take a running kit with me. Running is a great way to see a city, especially if it is just waking up. However, in my sleep deprived state, call it delirium if you like, I thought for some reason at one thirty in the morning, it would be a really good idea to change into my running gear and run up and down the fire escape stairs in this hotel.

So that is what I did. There were eight floors, twenty four flights of stairs, and at first slowly I begun to trot up and down them. By the fourth loop I’d got the time down to just under 5 minutes. I was having fun. Then the somewhere between the fifth and sixth floor I was told to knock it off by the night duty security guard.

He marched me back to my room – gave me the number for room service, and wished me good night. I switched on my ipod and within an hour I fell asleep, which I probably should have done about five hours ago. The first song I heard was ‘Heartburn Destination’ by Dracula Legs.

Dracula Legs are a five piece band from London who burst out of nowhere back in 2014. They play a brand of indie rock that I once described as sounding like the kind of music that Nick Cave would make if he moved to countryside and took up organic gardening. I’m still not quite sure what I meant by that but I stand by it, because that it is what it sounds like. A rollicking four minute rockabilly indie stomper. The organic gardening analogy sounds better I think.

The single was backed with this

Cold Licks

 

SWC

 

 

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF LUKE HAINES (23)

And now the end is near……and I think it’s fair to say that this series has demonstrated that Luke Haines will do things his way.

I’m a fan going back decades, but there have been times in listening to the back catalogue where I’ve been bemused and borderline-bored and so my thanks to those of you who have refrained from offering up your words of criticism when confronted by some more nonsense on recent Sunday mornings.

2016 saw the run of concept albums come to a halt with the release of Smash The System. One of the most noticeable things about this collection of songs is the comeback for the singing voice – there’s hardly any mumbling or whispering and next-to-no spoken word. It’s an album that initially leans on electronica, but before too long the acoustic and electric guitars are picked up and deployed to great effect….only for it all to descend into what could be a parody or tribute (it’s hard to tell with Mr Haines) of folk rock. The album veers all over the place, often catching even the most keen interested listener off-guard, and as such it provides further evidence to those who don’t like his stuff that Haines’s head remains wedged firmly up his own backside.

Maybe I expected a bit too much from the album as I wasn’t entirely convinced by much of its contents on initial listens – but at the same time I felt there were a handful of outstanding efforts that would always find a place on the i-pod. Over the past couple of years, my tolerance levels have increased and I can now listen to all the way through without reaching for the skip button, albeit the temptation is still there.

I think that there’s just too much going on lyrically, with countless references to real people, some of whom have featured in previous albums recorded by Haines in one guise or other. The song titles alone namecheck Ulrike Meinhof, Vince Taylor, Bruce Lee, Roman Polanski, Marc Bolan and The Incredible String Band, with many others featuring in the lyrics. As I mentioned earlier, the music is incredibly varied, ranging from experimental electronica to fill-on power-pop that, in a different period, would have earned regular exposure on the radio.

The title track was released as a single:-

I can’t, however, not let this review pass without drawing your attention to the best impression of glam-rock I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. If they still made the show Stars In Their Eyes, then Mr Haines would surely win…….

mp3 : Luke Haines – Marc Bolan Blues

Smash The System got a few songs out of Haines’s system and it really was no surprise that he returned to the challenge of more concept albums about fantastical subject matters and situations with the release of I Sometimes Dream of Glue in 2018. In these situations, it’s best to let the record label PR provide the explanation:-

It started sometime after World War II – in the late 1940’s. A convoy of British Special Services trucks had been dispatched to RAF Middlewych, their cargo – 10 tonnes of experimental solvent liquid. Sticky and deadly. The mission – to drop the toxic liquid over Germany and finish the job of carving up Europe for good. The trucks never made it to their airfield destination, coming off the road – most probably helped by saboteurs – some five miles out of London…

Just off the Westway, in the motorway sidings, you can see a small sign. Actually you probably can’t see the sign as it is the size of a child’s fingernail clipping. The sign says ‘Glue Town.’ The name of a village. There is little or no documentation of Glue Town. You will not find any information about it on the 21st Century internet. Gluetown is a rural settlement born out of mutation. Of the estimated 500 or so dwellers, no one is thought to be over 2 1⁄2 inches tall. The citizens of Glue Town exist on a diet of solvent abuse and perpetual horniness. The residents only leave to carry out daring night-time ‘glue raids’ on Shepherds Bush newsagent shops. On a tiny screen in the town centre, an old Betamax cassette of ‘Michael Bentine’s Pottytime’ plays on a loop all day and all night. The reduced size villagers go about their daily business pondering whether the lessons of Pottytime can show them a way out of their drudge lives of sexual abandonment and human sacrifice…”

All of which means it’s no surprise that the album is a bonkers listen. 25 years on from The Auteurs bursting onto the scene and the frontman is regaling us with strange tales of the unexpected in which sex and glue sniffing feature prominently. There’s also another ode about football hooliganism, but in a surreal way in which the boot-boys are Subbuteo figures come to life, with everything sung over what some reviewers at the time perfectly described as pastoral music – the sort of stuff that, as a non-Englishman, I associate with Morris Dancing….of the type in the Smash The System video.

Only one of the fourteen tracks on ‘Glue’ extends much beyond a duration of two-and-a-half minutes which means everything skips along at a decent enough pace. It also means that just as your brain is coming to terms with what you’ve just listened to, it’s time for the next one to begin. Overall, it feels like a creepy soundtrack to an X-rated version of Camberwick Green, Chigley or Trumpton, a series of stop-motion animated TV series for children aired by the BBC in the 60s and 70s…..and it provides fans with another decent enough listen without ever threatening to make a high appearance in a rundown of favourite albums of all-time. Much like almost all of the Haines solo releases.

mp3 : Luke Haines – Everybody’s Coming Together For The Summer

The year ended with a low-key digital only release of the Glue EP, three tracks that were possibly inspired by the process of piecing together the concept album. Here’s a fun filled few minutes from it:-

mp3 : Luke Haines – Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue

There were no releases in 2019 but this year will see the release of an album on which Luke Haines has collaborated with someone fairly well known. Here’s the promo blurb:-

Beat Poetry For Survivalists is the new collaboration between Peter Buck & Luke Haines.

Peter Buck was the guitarist for the biggest band in the world – REM.

Luke Haines was the guitarist for the Auteurs. The Auteurs were not the biggest band in the world. They were pretty good though.

Luke Haines also does paintings of Lou Reed.

One day, Peter Buck bought one of Luke Haines’ Lou Reed paintings. They had never met before but decided that the fates had brought them together and they should write some songs together and make an album.

‘Beat Poetry For The Survivalist’ is that album. With songs about legendary rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons, The Enfield Hauntings (of 1978), a post-apocalyptic radio station that only plays Donovan records, Bigfoot, and Pol Pot.

Luke Haines and Peter Buck will be touring the UK in April 2020, including Hebden Bridge Trade’s Club on 13th April and two shows at 100 Club in London on the 15th and 16th April.

I’ve got tickets and made travel and accommodation arrangements to go to the show at Hebden Bridge, which happens to be on Easter Monday. Jacques the Kipper is coming along for the adventure. It was only after doing all this and paying for everything up front was it announced that extra shows were being added……including Glasgow on 12th April! Typical isn’t it???

That’s the end of this particular singular adventure series. I’ll be holding off starting a new one for a short while as Sundays, for the next few week at least, will become a day in which SWC’s 45 45s at 45 will feature….which I’m sure will come as a welcome change to most of you.

JC