ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN SINGLES : #004

aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser

004 – THE BEAT – ‚Ranking FullStop’ (Two Tone Records, ’79)

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Hello friends,

Oh no, not a Ska-record again!’, I hear you shout! Well, what shall I say? You better get used to it, because this music really formed my life from rather an early age on . Consequently, there will be quite some Ska records in this series, nothing wrong with that, if you ask me!

But why do I like this genre so much? I mean, I’m not a dancing man, not at all. So even the coolest rhythms hardly make me move my feet. So there must be another reason, and I think it is because I met so many very nice people in this scene, it is hard to believe. The people I met were the most tolerable, impartial, friendly persons you can imagine. And I am talking about regular fans here as well as ‘stars’ of one sort or another.

I won’t go too much into detail, but a mate of mine became some sort of manager for a German Ska band in the late 80’s and I often needed money then, so I worked for him occasionally. He did a big festival two years in a row, ‘Skankin’ Round The Christmas Tree – and I was responsible for all things backstage by and large. And obviously that’s where you meet bands and get to know them better.

The Beat, or, for JTFL (and other potential US-readers as well, of course), The English Beat, came from Birmingham. I suspect there isn’t all too much to say about them or their importance to second wave Ska which hasn’t already been said elsewhere. What some people don’t know though, or, perhaps rather forgot about, is the amount of really good bands that rose from the ashes of (former members of) The Beat: General Public, Fine Young Cannibals, Two Nations and of course Ranking Roger’s solo stuff, which was good throughout.

For the 111 Singles project, I went for The Beat’s debut single, but, as you will be astonished to learn, I left the A-Side behind: a cover of Smokey Robinson’s Tears Of A Clown’. It is a neat song, but – in my humble opinion – not nearly as good as the B-Side:

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mp3: The Beat – Ranking Full Stop

If you really want to be pedantic, you could argue that the version I have, the one with the silver injection labels, state this record to be a double A-side, but no, ‘Ranking Full Stop’ had always intended to be seen as a B-side.  Quite why, I have no idea – because it is a song that REALLY kicks ass, even after all these years!

I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do, see you soon.

Dirk

 

 

 

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 14)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – The Eton Rifles

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Jam – The Eton Rifles

Released as a single in September 1979.

JC

A SOLO RECORD FROM A MEMBER OF BUTCHER BOY!

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Last year’s compilation album You Had A Kind Face was the first time Butcher Boy had released new music since 2017, but you have to go all the way back to 2011 for when a fully formed LP was released.

The void will be filled in to an extent this coming March, thanks to the debut solo record from the band’s keyboardist, Alison Eales.

Alison is actually much more than a keyboardist.  She’s been immersed in music her entire life, to the extent that she achieved a PhD a few years back, with her thesis offering a critical history of the Glasgow Jazz Festival from its inception in 1987 through to 2015.  She sings with the Glasgow Madrigirls, a 40-strong choir closely associated with Glasgow University and whose work has featured on a number of film and television soundtracks.  Oh, and anyone who has ever caught Butcher Boy live on stage will know her backing vocals are an important element to many of the songs.

She has been working away, in a low-key manner, on her solo material for many years, hoping that her dream of landing a deal with a record company would allow the songs to one day see the light of day.  The dream is about to become a reality, thanks to London-based Fika Recordings where she joins an impressive roster of artists that includes, among others, Darren Hayman, The Just Joans, Randolph’s Leap and The Smittens.

Mox Nox is the name of the debut album, and it comes out, digitally and on vinyl, on 24 March.  It was recorded at the famous Chem 19 studios with in-house producer Paul Savage of The Delgados at the helm.  A video for its first single, Fifty-Five North, has just been released:-

It really is a lovely piece of music, with a hint of some of the gentler sounds that were occasionally offered by the late Kirsty MacColl. It’s an ode to Glasgow from someone who is not a native but now calls it home after many years of studying, performing and working. 

Alison will be performing at two shows (matinée and evening) this coming Saturday, the 14th of January, at the Lexington in London, on a bill alongside Ballboy and The Just Joans, while I’m intending to get along to the 13th Note in Glasgow on Thursday 19 January where she opens at a show for the launch of the new album by local band, Marshall Chipped.

I’ve already put in my pre-order for Alison’s album, and I’ll no doubt give it a review on TVV in due course.  If the debut single is anything to go by, then it’s something to look forward to.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 13)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – I’m Stranded

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Saints – I’m Stranded

Released as a single in September 1976.

JC

MY FIRST NEW PURCHASE IN 2023

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It was towards the end of last year that an e-mail from a very unexpected source landed in the TVV inbox.  I was so taken aback that I was scared to open it in case it was a spam or piece of junk.

The e-mail was from Amelia Fletcher

Yup…..Amelia Fletcher, one of the most revered and adored musicians in the world of indie-pop, and whose work has been the subject of a few posts over the years, most notably this ICA in March 2022. 

It turns out that Amelia had quite liked a few of the things that have been written round these parts and had taken note of the contact address. She wanted to know if I would be interested in music from a new artist.  How could I possibly say no……..

The artist in question was Marlody.  That’s her picture at the top of this posting.

Amelia described Marlody as being an incredibly talented performer and someone she and all involved at Skelp Wax Records believes is ready to make an impact.

A link to the debut album was provided, along with a press release.

Marlody’s first album I’m Not Sure At All takes anxiety, weakness, fear – and turns them into strength: powerful melodies, the sweetest harmonies you ever heard, and lyrics that insist on the possibility of hope, without losing sight of the possibility of despair.

Dominated by her extraordinary keyboard playing, Marlody’s songs are illuminated – and sometimes made sinister – by occasional bursts of programmed percussion, submarine bass and distant, chiming digital bells. These are deep, darkly beautiful pop songs.

When she was a girl, Marlody was one of the higher-achieving classical pianists of her generation, winning competitions and destined for greatness.  She hated it, and threw it all away.  In the intervening years, putting more and more distance between herself and her classical origins, she listened to Yo La Tengo and Shellac and a hundred other things that took music to new, untutored extremes.  ‘I’m Not Sure At All’ is the outcome.  

There are musical echoes: the infectiousness and daring of some of the vocal melodies might remind you of Kate Bush, the intimacy might remind you of Cate Le Bon, the stabs of anger and pain might remind you of Liz Phair.  The keyboard is sometimes as smooth as Fleetwood Mac; other times it’s as raucous and distorted as Quasi.  The harmonies are from another place again – you could imagine hearing them in an Unthanks recording.  

I’ll admit to not knowing all the references in the press release, and to being a bit wary of something being described as being as smooth as Fleetwood Mac as I’m not a fan.  But I was more than happy to give the album a listen.  And I’m really glad I did.

The album opens with what was the advance single. It’s called Summer. My thoughts soon turned to names that weren’t referenced in the press release. One was Tori Amos, thanks to the way the piano is played, while the other is Anne Briggs, a UK folk singer whose name I only became aware of after Green Gartside released two cover songs on a 7″ single in 2020.

Summer is an incredible calling card for the album.  It’s whatever the folk-equivalent is of toe-tapping, given that I found myself keeping time to the song by drumming my fingertips on my thighs. But on further listens, I came to realise it’s actually a tragically sad song, one that, if stripped of its tune, would bring a tear to any eye given it’s the words and memories of a child whose mother has died and whose father isn’t coping all that well.

There’s nothing quite as ‘folky’ across the rest of I’m Not Sure, with it dominated largely by ballads and slow-tempo pop tunes.  There were times it reminded me of the sort of record that Anne Clark (aka St Vincent) would likely make if she stripped things right back to vocals, keyboards and occasional contributions via a drum machine.

I can only imagine that Marlody would be an intense but beguiling live performer, someone whose voice and playing demands 100% attention.  The album is similar, best appreciated with no distractions, ideally through headphones on the first few listens so that all of its nuances and beauty can be appreciated. 

Up till now, I’ve been making do with digital versions of the songs, but I’ve ordered my vinyl copy which should be with me soon after its official release this coming Friday, 13th January.  It’ll be my first new purchase of 2023.  I bought it direct from the record label, via bandcamp, but I’m sure your friendly local indie record store can arrange to get you a copy if you prefer.

If you happen to live in the south of England, then you’ll have the opportunity of seeing Marlody in person when she plays two shows to launch the album.

The first is on the evening of Saturday 14 January at the Unitarian Meeting House in Tenterden, which is the area in Kent when Marlody is from.  Click here for tickets.

The second is on the afternoon of Sunday 15 January, is at the Betsy Trotwood, a wonderfully intimate venue in the Clerkenwell area of London. Click here for tickets.

There is every chance that I’m Not Sure will be a much talked about album in the coming weeks and months, so I reckon it would be well worth the effort to get to either of both shows so that you can boast about how quick you were to pick up on things

Amelia Fletcher is right…..Marlody is an incredibly talented performer. 

JC

FROM THE 7″ PILE OF RECORDS (1)

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Sundays here at TVV have been taken up in recent months by the ICA World Cup.  I was so thrilled by the level of interest and the amount of interaction via the comments section that I planned, in my head, a variation on the theme for 2023.

But then I got thinking.

This is the year I turn 60 years of age.  I’ve a few plans in hand that will see me travelling the globe at various times, to the extent that I won’t always be in a position to keep a check on how votes might or might not be coming in.  So, sorry to say, the plans for a variation of the ICAs (it would have been on the basis of Imaginary EPs!), won’t see the light of day…well, for now anyway.

So, I’ve decided that Sundays should be turned over to the pile of 7″ singles that sit here in Villain Towers.  I’ve now accumulated so many in recent years, often via second-hand markets in shops or online, that they have outgrown the space that has been set aside for them, and they are kind of crammed.

It’s now become a bit of a chore to go and fish just the one of them out for listening purposes, and what I need to do is pick up a large number in the one visit, as it makes things easier.  This has led me to also make a fresh, higher-quality rip with each listen for the purposes of this new series for 2023. Here’s wiki on the one I’m starting off with:-

What You Do to Me is a song recorded by Scottish rock band Teenage Fanclub. The song was released on 27 January 1992 through Creation Records, as the third single from the band’s third studio album, Bandwagonesque. The song was written and sung by vocalist and guitarist Norman Blake.

The song peaked at number 19 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock Tracks chart in the US, and number 31 on the UK Singles Chart.

The 7″ version that sits in the cupboard has a few pops and clicks, but all that does is add to the authenticity.

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me

It is actually a 4-track EP, with two songs on either side of the vinyl. Here’s what comes on straight after the two minutes that make up the single:-

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – B-Side

It’s one of Gerry Love‘s compositions, and very good it is, too.

Flipping things over to the b-side:-

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Life’s A Gas
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Filler

The former is a fairly faithful take on a T.Rex song, while the latter is a Raymond McGinley number (and very good it is too!) which means the EP gives you songs from all three of the principal songwriters.

But there’s more.  After 1:56, Filler seems to come to a complete stop, but there’s then there’s a slight gap before a short (55 seconds) uncredited instrumental kicks off. The fact it’s just an extended drum solo could mean it’s all the work of Brendan O’Hare, in which case you’ve got original material from all four members contained with one compact piece of vinyl

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Hidden Drum Solo

With apologies, if in fact the drum solo is the end of Filler and not a separate song!

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #334: THE SUBS

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First up, apologies that this series has gotten a little bit out of sync.  It’s meant to be an alphabetical run through of Scottish singers/bands where there’s at least one song on the laptop’s hard drive. I was doing OK till a few weeks ago:-

#332 : The Styng Rytes
#333 : The Submaries
#336 : The Suede Crocodiles
#337 : Sugartown
#338 : Sunset Gun

Yup…..I missed out #334 and #335.  I’ll sort things out today and next Saturday/

As it turns out, #335 involves a cut’n’paste from a 2019 posting.  It’s the best and easiest way.

As you’ll come to see, today’s piece owes an immense debt to the good folk over at the ever-informative and entertaining For Malcontents blog which I came across doing my research on today’s songs which I’ve picked up from the Big Gold Dreams box-set. It’s very much of interest as it features what must have been the first ever professional recording to involve Derek Forbes.

The Subs were a very short-lived Glasgow quartet, comprising Callum Cuthbertson (vocals), Kevin Key (guitars), Derek Forbes (bass) and Ali MacKenzie (drums). They were seemingly the winners of a 1977 talent competition organised jointly by Stiff Records and Chiswick Records that led to them releasing a single, on yellow vinyl, on 1 Off Records, an offshoot of Stiff:-

mp3 : The Subs – Gimme Your Heart

Their story was told, in May 2014, over at For Malcontents:-

Originally known as The Subhumans, the band made rapid headway after forming in the white heat of the punk revolution. They recorded a demo which impressed London’s best independent label, Stiff, who invited the lads down south, where they took part in a Stiff audition night at the Royal College of Art. Stiff must have liked what they saw as they quickly signed the Glaswegians for a one-off single (on their 1-Off imprint) which was recorded at Pathway Studios in the capital and produced by Larry Wallis, an early member of Motörhead and also a Stiff recording artist at the time.

Live favourite Gimme Your Heart was selected as the A side and the single’s centre came adorned with a typical Stiff slogan ‘The shape of things that win’.

Reviews were generally good with fanzine Next Big Thing, calling the 45 the ‘best Scots vinyl offering since Good Sculptures’, while NME picked up on the ‘Neanderthal Man drumming from Ali Mackenzie’ and Cuthbertson’s ‘suitably disgruntled’ vocals, which I think were both meant as compliments.

‘The Subs created quite a ripple at the Rochester Castle in what was one of the group’s first London gigs,’ Nick Tester wrote in April ’78 in Sounds, a magazine that was obviously rooting for the band: ‘The Subs are in fact like a stainless steel carving knife, rawness combined with a clean edged melody which utterly carves up any opposition in these supposed Power Pop times. Enough hooks to hang your C&A bondage pants out to dry.’

Despite recording one of the finest Scottish singles of the era, even by the blink and they’ll be gone standards of the day, The Subs were destined to enjoy only a very brief shelf life and sadly Gimme Your Heart would be their one and only release.

Drummer Ali Mackenzie left the band and they roped in Brian McGee of Simple Minds to replace him for a support slot they’d nabbed for a Graham Parker and The Rumour gig at Strathclyde Uni. The show was deemed a success but before long bassist Derek Forbes decided to join McGee in Simple Minds and guitarist Kevin Key took up the invitation to expand the ranks of The Jolt into a four piece.

Ali Mackenzie notably set up independent label Cuba Libre, which released records by James King and The Lonewolves, The Cuban Heels (who he later joined) and The Shakin’ Pyramids, whose 1981 album Skin’ Em Up he also produced.

As for Cuthbertson, well, he later carved out a career as an actor with a string of appearances in theatre, TV and film, appearing most recently in BBC Scotland sitcom Gary Tank Commander and the 2013 romcom Not Another Happy Ending, where he played the pub quiz fanatic father of Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan).

I’ve gone digging and come up with the b-side of the single:-

mp3 : The Subs – Party Clothes

Both sides of the 45 still sound quite excellent.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 12)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Psycho Killer

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

From the album Talking Heads : 77

Part 13 of this series will be posted up next Monday.

JC

KIDS, EH #4

A GUEST POSTING by SWC

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JC writes…..

Before I hand over to SWC, a little bit of explanation. One of his previous posts over at No Badger Required, in which he offered up the views and opinions of his daughter, made me laugh so hard that I asked if a future instalment could be offered up to TVV.   He’s been a as good as his word….in fact, he sent this over just prior to Christmas and I’ve had to sit on it waiting for the blog to get up and running again.  Given that yesterday saw a somewhat sad but brilliant post about the passing of Alan Rankine, I thought this made for the ideal way to try and put a smile on our collective faces.

Here’s SWC……

“For those of you who haven’t ventured over to my little corner of the Internet, which is more commonly known as No Badger Required, this is the fourth instalment in a series that I am calling ‘Kids, Eh’. It is a series in which I randomly pick three songs from my music library (or rather an algorithm picks them for me), give my daughter a pencil and some paper and tell her to write what she thinks about them.

“We started this series when she was nine, and I have learnt four things, firstly that she is a harsh critic, no song has yet to score more than eight out of ten.

How Did This Happen! – Bodega

“Secondly, she hates shouty, angry records that “Don’t say anything”. Thirdly, she has a knack of being able to bring some form of creature into every review she does, so far we’ve had hippopotamuses, toucans, crocodiles and cats and fourthly, now aged ten, and armed with her own Alexa, my daughter has developed a love of music by bands like Air, Four Tet, Boards of Canada and Massive Attack (but only the album ‘Mezzanine’, the rest are a bit “meh” apparently). She, dare I say it, has cool taste in music, so this might be quite interesting.

“All the songs today are randomly picked from an iPod Playlist that I called “Another Playlist” when I compiled it. There are over 4000 songs in this playlist and as we sit in the lounge five days before Christmas, armed with paper, pencils, custard creams, a half-eaten box of Roses, and some Wasabi Peanuts (they are mine) I’m ready to press the shuffle button.

“Will there be Christmas songs?” my daughter suddenly asks. I tell her there might be. I know that the Fucked Up version of “Do They Know Its Christmas?” is definitely on there, but I don’t tell her that, because she will definitely hate it. “I hope its not that stupid song that talks about the “the bells ringing out” J (name changed of irritating boy in her class) in my class keeps singing it to annoy the teacher”. That isn’t on there, I tell her. I finally press the play button and I have to say I grinned when the first song came on because it was this absolute banger.

Soon (Andrew Weatherall Mix) – My Bloody Valentine

Now in reality, this is one of the greatest remixes to have ever grace anyone’s stereo, full of loops, samples, twists, “Here We Go’s” and “Ahhh’s” it is extraordinary, outstanding, a proper floor filler. My daughter catches me nodding my head along to it and I tell her that the man who remixed this, was a genius and that in a perfect world he would have been Minister of Culture. She looks at me blankly and frantically scribbles on her pad.

About four minutes in she tells me that she likes the little “Ah ha” bits and then she puts her pencil down. I type verbatim the bits in italics are my interjections.

“It keeps saying the same thing, ’Here We Go’ but doesn’t tell you where they are going, they might be going to the zoo to see the giraffes [ ooh, she’s gone early on the animals] or to the shops. It’s quite good I suppose but it just does the same thing over and over again. I like the ‘Ah Ha’ bits but it is not as good as ‘Kelly Watch The Stars’”. [I might confiscate her Alexa, if she keeps up that nonsense]

‘Soon’ gets a six out of ten. Which on the Kids, Eh scoreboard makes it the fourth-best song in the world. So Far at least.

Next Up

Dead – Pixies

It’s the version from the ‘At the BBC’ album so it’s slightly faster and slightly rawer than the album version but all the same it’s still a bloody marvellous ninety seconds or so if you quickly skirt over the biblical violence backstory. Although I think a certain ten year is about to disagree with me and tell me off for playing a song which has the word ‘crapper’ in it.

“He said a rude word, I don’t like it [now thankfully, my daughter hasn’t grasped the full concept of a swear word, but thanks to Howard from the Big Bang Theory she knows that “crap” is a bad word. She hasn’t noticed, yet that someone has written ‘FUCK’ in red pen on the bench at the park, but she knows that is a very rude word], the singing is all weird and he keeps repeating the rude word. He sounds like he is going to have a sore throat in the morning, he should try singing a bit quieter, or let someone else sing, I’m glad actual Pixies don’t sound like that”.[She used to have a pixie living in her playhouse when she was five, only she could understand it because it spoke ‘half German and half Italy’]

That my friends, is all she has to say about it. She could be right about Black Francis letting someone else sing though. ‘Dead’ scores one out of ten. Which still places it higher than ‘Husbands’ by Savages, which was erm, savaged when my daughter reviewed it.

Finally, we come to the last song of the day, well actually I skipped one because Pixies came on again

Here Comes Your Man – Pixies

The last song of the day is this, which might go down quite well

Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis

Which, if we are all absolutely honest with ourselves, is one of Britpop’s finest four a half minutes, from the piano at the start, through Noel’s singing about “Starting revolutions from his bed”, the brilliant drumming and the way the song all moulds together rather excellently. ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ is definitely in the top five Oasis tracks.

“Who’s Sally, and why is she waiting, what’s too late, is she being dumped?” my daughter asks me. I tell her I’m not entirely sure. “Well, he shouldn’t tell her to wait, that’s rude and its rude to be late, Uncle Bill is always late, my chips went cold the last time he was late”. I nod in agreement, so did mine as it happens. “It is a nice song though. I like the singing, much better than the last one. I like this one best today. Can I add Oasis to my playlist please.”

With that she scores ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ a relatively unheard of seven out of ten and goes off to play Minec.

SWC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 11)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – New Rose

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Damned – New Rose

Released as a single in October 1976.

EDIT : 11 JANUARY 2023.

Thanks to hamirthehermit for pointing out that the Nutley Brass mp3 for this one skipped, jumped and ground to a halt all to early.  A fresh file has now been made available should you wish to give it a listen.

JC

ALAN RANKINE : AN APPRECIATION

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There’s not many things that would have had me change the plan to have the blog take an extended holiday over the festive period.  The unexpected death of Alan Rankine, at the age of 64, is something that I just cannot let go unpassed without comment.

I’m typing these words 24 hours after hearing the news, and I still can’t quite come to terms with it.  I’ve tried a couple of times to put a piece together, which would go beyond the work he did with the Associates including with Paul Haig and the Cocteau Twins, as well as his time as a lecturer at Stow College in Glasgow where he did so much to launch the careers of a number of bands, not least Belle and Sebastian. 

The right words, however, just wouldn’t come, but just as I was about to give up, an e-mail arrived from flimflamfan.  I think he’s captured it perfectly.

“In recent weeks there have been significant deaths for me (for many) in the world of music.  Each of them a shock but nothing to what was announced yesterday: Alan Rankine, The Associates, dead.   

“Prepubescent me has experienced his fair share of musician deaths: Elvis – I was caught up in everyone’s else’s grief but I was sad, Marc Bolan – he and Bowie ignited a flame in this young pup – still his death was not felt as keenly as I had thought.  I won’t go through a list of postpubescent significant others (it’s a long list), suffice to say an ache hung over yesterday, as if a close friend or family member had died.  Normally, I would attempt to work through my feelings by going through the body of work that was left behind.  It didn’t work.  That only raised remembrances of Billy which made my entire situation considerably worse.  I think this ache is going to take a while to dull. 

“Despite both Alan and Billy going onto involve themselves in many other projects it will always be The Associates, phase one and the two glorious studio albums and accompanying compilation album that cemented the band’s musical genius in my mind.  Genius is a term that is often banded about but I challenge anyone to find another band or artist who sounded like The Associates then and who sound like The Associates now. 

“The song that brought the band to my attention was the cover of Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging. I was a Bowie fan.  This was heresy. I listened only to confirm my absolute hatred for it.  That did not occur.  I loved it.  Just loved it.  The audacity to release the single, unapproved, just weeks after Bowie is… here’s that word, again… genius.  Maximum exposure for a band with one release so far – which included the wonderful Mona Property Girl – not bad, eh?  The next song that I was to hear just floored me.  The Affectionate Punch was/is, will always be, a thing of beauty.  I couldn’t afford the single so had to wait till I could find a second-hand copy of the LP. I did. I still have it. It’s been played within an inch of its life.  There are many that are more adept to work through the technical aspects of what the band were doing.  I had no idea then and I’m no further forward now.  My own, possibly inadequate description, would be Primal Pop.  When I first heard the, at times, cacophonous Transport to Central (1st release, on The Affectionate Punch) it moved me to tears.  It still has that power all these years later.  It remains my favourite song by the band and is a thing of joy.

“The Affectionate Punch LP grabbed life by the throat and screamed ‘fuck you’.  Sulk, on the other hand, is a more polished affair than its predecessor. Sulk gently removed one or two fingers from life’s throat but stared it firmly in the eye and gently whispered ‘define us if you dare, you bastard’. Packaged with the sublime compilation, Fourth Drawer Down, The Associates crammed a delicious sense of breadth, scope and bonkersness and peppered it all with angular post-punk guitars and joyful pop sensibilities into those initial three LPs.  To say nothing of Alan’s work on Peppermint Pig, or later, his inspirational work at Stow. 

“I wish I was at home so that I could connect with my vinyl.  Instead, it’ll be digital. There’ll be less of a connection but no less majesty. 

“You are Alan Rankine.  You and Billy Mackenzie are The Associates.  Together you helped define a post-punk generation and continue to do so. 

“Alan. Enjoy your next adventures.  Say hello to Billy.  Thank you! “

flimflamfan

Here’s some tunes:-

mp3: Associates – Boys Keep Swinging
mp3: Associates – Transport to Central
mp3: Cocteau Twins – Peppermint Pig (12″ version)
mp3: Paul Haig – Big Blue World (12″ version)

The blog is now back and open for business as normal.  But rest assured, the remainder of the Nutley Brass tunes will still be coming your way as bonus postings each and every afternoon.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 10)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – (I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea)

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: Elvis Costello & The Attractions – (I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea

Released as a single in March 1978.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 9)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Shot By Both Sides

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: Magazine – Shot By Both Sides

Taken from the album, Real Life, released in June 1978.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 8)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Born To Lose

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Heartbreakers – Born To Lose

From the album L.A.M.F., released in October 1977.

JC

ALL IS QUIET…..

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I wasn’t sure if I’d find time to do this.  Spent a few days in bed with the flu over Xmas.  Santa’s actual arrival in Villain Towers was delayed 48 hours, and I still wasn’t really myself until the end of the week.

But I was determined to deliver a bonus posting today, and to maintain the practice of one of these appearing early on in every new month.

mp3: Various – All Is Quiet

Dancing Is Not A Crime – Affleck’s Palace
Dare – The Wedding Present
Widow – Woking Men’s Club
N95 – Kendrick Lamar
Saints – The Breeders
Action Hero (Marc Riley Session) – Spare Snare
Pale Shelter – Tears For Fears
Midnight On The Murder Mile – Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine
Gangs – Do Nothing
Found Love In A Graveyard – Veronica Falls
Firewater – Django Django
Little Fix – Sprints
This Poison – Magazine
Sorry For Laughing – Propaganda
God Forbid – The Wild Swans
Might Be Stars – The Wannadies
Grand Final Day – Ducks Ltd.

Got my timings a bit messed up. Could have changed the last song for something else and kept it to around the hour mark.  As it is, you’ve an extra 90 seconds of music to endure this month.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 7)

Skids

I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Into The Valley

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Skids – Into The Valley

A top ten hit in March 1979.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 6)

The-Clash-1978

I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Tommy Gun

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Clash – Tommy Gun

Released as a single in November 1978.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 5)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Boredom

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: Buzzcocks – Boredom

From the Spiral Scratch EP, released in January 1977.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 4)

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I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Adverts – Gary Gilmore’s Eyes

A single that reached #18 in the UK charts in September 1977.

JC

THE TVV 2022/2023 FESTIVE SERIES (Part 3)

0_The_Undertones_ar

I bought a second-hand CD a long time ago, specifically for the purposes of having a bit of fun on the blog, and I’ve decided to use the normally quiet festive period, when the traffic and number of visitors drops quite dramatically, to go with it.

The CD was issued in 1996.  It is called Beat On The Brass, and it was recorded by The Nutley Brass, the brains of whom belong to New York musician Sam Elwitt.

The concept behind the album is simple. Take one bona-fide punk/post-punk/new wave classic and give it the easy listening treatment.

There are 18 tracks on the CD all told.  Some have to be heard to be believed.

Strap yourselves in.

mp3: The Nutley Brass – Teenage Kicks

And, just so you can appreciate the magnificence (or otherwise) of the renditions, you’ll also be able to listen to the original versions as we make our way through the CD in random order.

mp3: The Undertones – Teenage Kicks

The debut single, from October 1978.

JC