Friday, September 30, 2011
.....and you're all invited to come along to my party which is being held in the building pictured above!!!
Some men when they hit middle-age and worry about growing old buy a fast car or a speedboat. Or at the very least take up membership of an expensive gymnasium. Me?? I started a music blog......
And here we are, 5 years to the day and some 1700 posts later (and that must somewhere in the region of 7000 songs!!!) still battering out the same tired old cliches. Loads of folk to thank for me getting here......but hopefully you know who you are and won't mind that I don't list any names......
I had a great post planned for today....but it's going to have to wait a wee while as something else I reckon is a bit more worthy.....namely the fact that I am, kind of, really throwing a 5th Birthday party in the building up at the top of this posting.
The truth of the matter is that to mark the 5th Birthday I wanted to do mark the occasion with a special event but wasn't sure if I could pull if off. Taking inspiration from fellow Scottish-based bloggers like Matthew (Song By Toad) Ed (17 Seconds), Mike (Manic Pop Thrills), Lloyd (Peenko) and Jim (Aye Tunes) who have all either started up record labels or promoted gigs, I got my finger out......and thanks to the help of the wonderful collective known as Butcher Boy, I'm now arranging and promoting a gig that they are headlining!!
The date is Saturday 19 November and the venue is the Langside Halls on the south side of Glasgow, running from 7.30 - 10.30pm and Butcher Boy will play their first hometown gig since the release of Helping Hands a few months back
I'll be adding a support act in due course and I've also arranged for the bar (with very reasonable prices) to be open as well. The cost of each ticket is £8 plus an 80p booking fee. It will be fully seated and I've made 150 tickets available via this link:-
I don't know what possessed me to go ahead with this venture as everyone I know who goes down the gig promotion trail tells me it's a nightmare....but fun if successfully pulled off.
So it's fingers crossed.
The band have been hugely helpful in all of this and I really am grateful to them for agreeing to perform. All I need now is 150 folk to come along and show their appreciation.....
mp3 : Butcher Boy - Keep Your Powder Dry
mp3 : Butcher Boy - Why I Like Babies
mp3 : Butcher Boy - The Day Our Voices Broke
That's one track from each of their three superb LPs.
Oh one thing I meant to mention......
The way I've organised the tickets is via an on-line service that you pay by card and get an email confirming you can come along. In a wee twist to the usual, anyone coming along will receive a ticket as they come through the door as a souvenir....something like a specially designed postcard. But I'm still working on that....in the meantime I've a sound man to worry about, the rider for the band, finding that elusive and appropriate support act and sleepless nights that enough folk will come long.
As for that pre-planned and appropriate posting scheduled for today.....well please tune in early next week when all will be revealed. In the meantime, here, once again are all the songs that I ever featured on TVV in the first 10 postings covering Friday 30 September - Wednesday 11 October 2006
mp3 : James - Fire Away (extended version)
mp3 : Lloyd Cole - Butterfly (The Planet Ann Charlotte Mix)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica - Eat Your Heart Out (12" version)
mp3 : A House - Endless Art
mp3 : A House - More Endless Art
mp3 : David Kitt - Me And My Love
mp3 : Julian Cope - Bagged-Out Ken
mp3 : The Triffids - Rent
mp3 : Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Rent
mp3 : The Jam - When You're Young
mp3 : The Jam - Smithers Jones
mp3 : Albert Hammond Jnr - Hard To Live In The City
mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit - Albert Hammond Bootleg
mp3 : The Beta Band - Dry The Rain
mp3 : Billy Bragg - Greetings To The New Brunette
mp3 : Arab Strap - Afterwards
mp3 : The Pale Fountains - Thank You
It somehow seems appropriate to stop there.......Top 20 tunes to turn you on today.
I'm going to take a wee break for a few days....back on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
All this month has been about looking back and talking mostly about singers/bands/performers that are well known. Today, in the last of the series, I want to look at my one of my favourite discoveries of the past 5 years and I band who I hope will soon get the fame and fortune their songs deserve.
It was July 2009 when I first became aware of Cats On Fire. I had been tipped off by Dougie, a golfing mate of mine who in turn was a mate of Basil Pieroni the guitarist in Butcher Boy. Cats on Fire were coming over from Finland to play at Indietracks and Basil had arranged a warm-up gig for them at the Flying Duck in Glasgow.
I toddled along to the gig in the company of Comrade Colin. It's fair to say that we were both completely blown away by the performance that night. I immediately bought copies of the band's two CDs - The Province Complains which dated back to 2007 and Our Temperance Movement which was at the time only available in their native Finland or direct from the band at shows (it has since had a wider release). They have been constant companions on the i-pod ever since.....
Cats On Fire were formed in 2001. At the heart of the band is vocalist and main songwriter Mattias Bjorkas. At the moment, according to this official site, they are a three-piece with Ville Hopponen on guitar and Kenneth Hoglund on bass. When I caught them live in 2009 they were a five-piece, so I'm guessing they are on the look-out for a drummer and someone to play keys. Despite this they have been in the studio over the summer months which means new material is hopefully going to appear in 2012.....and maybe if we're really lucky another gig in these parts.
Despite being around for a decade the band have only officially 3 released EPs as well as the afore-mentioned 2 LPs, along with a one-off digital single and then in 2010 a compilation LP which brought together all the tracks on the now near-impossible to find EPs as well as a few other odds'n'sods. So not much more than 40 songs in total...
The thing is.....just about everyone of them is an absolute belter.
Cats On Fire are the perfect indie-pop band. They have a front man full of charisma and talent with a superb voice, but all the band members are exceptional players. They are a cross between The Smiths, Friends Again, Trashcan Sinatras, The Cure (pop song Cure that is, not gothic Bob), Belle & Sebastian, Butcher Boy, The Go-Betweens and the Sound of Young Scotland that was Postcard Records. Oh and loads of bands on Sarah Records as I'm now discovering thanks to Comrade Colin's brilliant Sunday series.
I don't care if anyone turns round and says there's nothing much original about them and that the tunes are a re-hash of what was stylish for a short while in the 80s. What I hope TVV has shown over the past 5 years is that the 80s had so much more great music to offer than the songs that sold in the millions and made the charts. Cats on Fire take absolutely everything I love most about music - great guitar-led tunes with a hook that grabs you instantly combined with a fantastically swooning and crooning vocal.
Back in 2009, Tessa Harris writing in the NME said that Cats On Fire had found their sound....but that unfortunately it belongs to The Smiths. It also referred to some of the other influences I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago but then damned the band by saying they lacked the intensity and energy of their influences. Sorry Tessa, but you weren't around 20 years ago to be able to stand up such a statement. I saw all of the great bands that Cats On Fire have been compared to, and Mattias and the boys more than hold their own in all ways, including on record and as live performers. Here's the proof:-
mp3 : Cats On Fire - Solid Work (2003)
mp3 : Cats On Fire - My Friend In The Comfortable Chair (2004)
mp3 : Cats On Fire - Higher Grounds (2006)
mp3 : Cats On Fire - The Smell Of An Artist (2007)
mp3 : Cats On Fire - Horoscope (2009)
And some visuals........
If you like a lot of what you've heard at this blog over the past 5 years, then I really do urge you to check out Cats On Fire. You will not be at all disappointed.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Personal circumstances prevented me trying to organise Paul Haig Day III back in April. I'm quite sorry about that as Days I and II on 6 April 2009 and 2010 respectively were by far the most exciting days I've had as a blogger as folk the world over used their spaces on the interwebby thing to post a track featuring the very talented Mr Haig, whether it was from his early career with Josef K, his solo career or his collaborations with other musicians including the late and great Billy Mackenzie.
It was also a huge thrill for me that PHD II saw his manager get in touch and offer the opportunity to post an exclusive mix of one of Paul's songs.
Relive those great days by clicking here and here.
I couldn't possibly let the run up to the 5th Birthday go past without featuring Paul Haig. For PHD III the plan had been to post an entire LP from back in 1988, one that has a few rare tracks and different mixes. So instead, I'm delighted today to feature the 12 tracks that made up the vinyl version of European Sun - Archive Collection 1982-1987. After each mp3. there's a short description of each song as described on notes on the back of the sleeve:-
mp3 : Paul Haig - Running Away
7" version of the first solo single, recorded in Brussels 1982. Written by Sly Stone, produced by Paul Haig
mp3 : Paul Haig - Chance
Short version of B-side from Heaven Help You Now. Written and produced by Paul Haig
mp3 : Paul Haig - Justice
Unreleased 7" version, recorded Summer 1982. Written and produced by Paul Haig
mp3 : Paul Haig - Swinging For You
Unreleased 7" version, recorded in Brussels 1987. Written and produced by Paul Haig (A different version would appear on the 1989 LP Chain)
mp3 : Paul Haig - Shining Hour
From the unreleased second solo album, November 1984. Written by Paul Haig. Produced by Alan Rankine
mp3 : Paul Haig - Fear And Dancing
From the unreleased second solo album, November 1984. Written by Paul Haig. Produced by Alan Rankine
mp3 : Paul Haig - Psycho San Jose
Spaghetti Western home recording, Summer 1987. Written and produced by Paul Haig (on 8 track)
mp3 : Paul Haig - Ghost Rider
cover version of Suicide's road classic, with help from Malcolm Ross and David McClymont in December 1983, with Paul Haig and Alan Rankine co-producing. B-side of Big Blue World 12" single.
mp3 : Paul Haig - Torchomatic
12" single, recorded in Brussels in 1987. Written and produced by Paul Haig
mp3 : Paul Haig - Endless Song
b-side of Big Blue World 12" single. Written by Paul Haig and co-produced by him and Alan Rankine
mp3 : Paul Haig - Closer Now
outtake from 1985 LP The Warp Of Pure Fun. Written by Paul Haig and co-produced by him and Alan Rankine
mp3 : Paul Haig - The Executioner
collaboration between Paul Haig and Cabaret Voltaire. Recorded in 1984 but never released. Produced bu Paul Haig, Richard Kirk and Stephen Mallinder
Now I will be the first to admit that a number of these tracks aren't up there in terms of the best Paul Haig has ever recorded, but the whole point of originally starting up TVV was to make available songs which might otherwise be hard to obtain (I know.....it's changed a lot since the early days). But today's posting is intended to be in the spirit of those distant pioneering days when nobody cared or visited.......
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
One of the best things about starting TVV is that I've gotten the opportunity to speak to, and indeed get to know quite well, a few folk who play in bands. Until I was putting stuff on the internet I would never had dreamed of going up to a musician and striking up a conversation for fear of making a complete dick of myself. I was totally in awe of their abilities and talents - even the ones I didn't think were all that able or talented - just the fact they had the guts and courage to stand on a stage and deliver a performance was enough to make me look on and say 'wow'.
The first musician I plucked up the courage to talk to was Malcolm Middleton. He was doing an in-store acoustic gig in Glasgow to promote his 2007 LP A Brighter Beat. There weren't that many of us there and I had already got a hold of the album a couple of days earlier at a different shop so it wasn't as if me being in the audience would bring any sales. During the performance he asked if anyone had any requests and for a couple of seconds there was a silence that was almost embarrassing - almost as if nobody knew any of his material and were just hanging around cos it was a free gig. So I shouted out Devastation and Malcolm replied - 'good choice' and proceeded to play said song.
Afterwards I went up and thanked him and as we were chatting I mentioned that I was a blogger not long started and wanted to write about his new LP but didn't want to post an mp3 as the songs weren't widely available. He told me not to be daft and put as many songs up as I liked - whether folk bought the record or not he wasn't too bothered - he just wanted his songs to be heard. And with that we wished each other good luck....
That was it for me. I had learned that musicians were just ordinary folk just doing a job like the the rest of us and were as easy-going and approachable as the next person along the line. Malcolm broke the ice for me and since then, as i mentioned at the start, I've been lucky enough to talk to a good number of artistes and even befriended a number of them. And that's something I could never have imagined 5 years ago.
I've more or less bought everything Malcolm has released over the years since and gone along whenever I've been able to see him play live in Glasgow and sometimes in Edinburgh. I've spoken to him a couple of times since then - not that we're on first name terms or anything as I just talk as a fan and admirer of his work. He did once give me a mention on his website after I gave a big thumbs-up to a double-live CD that came out in 2010 which was a big thrill for me. And as we get near the end of this wee series marking 5 years of TVV, I thought I'd taken Malcolm at his word and post all 7 of the 7" singles that sit in the cupboard:-
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Loneliness Shines
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - No Modest Bear
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Point Of Light
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Beep Beep I Love You
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Pick Me Up
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - We're All Going To Die
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - We're All Going To Die - The LK Remix
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Blue Plastic Bags
mp3 : King Creosote - Choir
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Red Travellin' Socks
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Whistle
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Zero (edit)
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton - Bad Stuff's Free
The songs Point Of Light, Pick Me Up, Whistle and Bad Stuff's Free were only made available as b-sides and I reckon they are as good as, if indeed not better, than some of the songs better known from being on the LPs.
And here's the great man as filmed by the equally great Matthew from Song By Toad at the Fence Festival a couple of years back:-
Monday, September 26, 2011
Is this a classic of the punk-era or a cartoon joke that all too quickly wears thin?
The one album released by The Rezillos back in 1978 divided opinion then and even today, it took me a while to determine which side of the fence I come down on. Visually, there were few like them at the time (although plenty since have stolen some of the ideas). Musically, they were like lots of other acts as they raced through their songs at a blistering pace with spiky guitars to the fore. There's an awful lot of the guitar work that sounds very like the debut LP of The Clash while the tunes are as poppy as many of those performed by Buzzcocks - the big difference being that when co-vocalist Fay Fife comes to the mic there's no mistaking that this is a band from Scotland.
It contains 13 tracks all told and clocks in at a mere 31 and a bit minutes. There are ten band compositions (most of which were written entirely by Jo Callis (who would find huge fame and fortune a few years later with Human League) and three covers. The covers are truly bizarre - one is of a huge hit for the Dave Clatk Five, another a huge hit for Gerry & The Pacemakers and one of an obscure b-side on a Fleetwood Mac single. And until I was doing the research for this piece, I had assumed the last of these covers was actually a Rezillos original!!
It was August 1977 that saw the band release their debut 45 on a small indie label and although it wasn't a hit, it showed enough promise for Sire Records to offer a deal. Three more singles and the LP followed between November 1977 and July 1978 followed by a further single in November 1978 when the band called it a day - of sorts.
What happened was i splintered in two out of which came The Revillos...who were active up until early 1984 without ever achieving much success.
Going back to the debut LP. This was one I owned for years and played a fair bit. To my late teenage ears it was as thrilling as anything ever put out on vinyl. But as my tastes matured so my fondness for this record diminished and I probably didn't listen to it again after maybe 1982. In fact I must have at some point given my copy away to someone around this time but I honestly can't remember. No matter though as I saw a copy in a shop a few months back and handed over £5 for it.
It's not as great as I remember - the cover versions of the 60s hits are pretty awful - but at the same time I found myself really enjoying at least six of their own songs and thinking they were great tunes that have aged well. And while it's not an album that I could play in its entirety over and over and over again the way I did all those years ago it is more a classic than a cartoon joke.
mp3 : The Rezillos - Flying Saucer Attack
mp3 : The Rezillos - No
mp3 : The Rezillos - Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
mp3 : The Rezillos - Top Of The Pops
mp3 : The Rezillos - 2000 A.D.
mp3 : The Rezillos - It Gets Me
mp3 : The Rezillos - Can't Stand My Baby
mp3 : The Rezillos - Glad All Over
mp3 : The Rezillos - (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures
mp3 : The Rezillos - I Like It
mp3 : The Rezillos - Getting Me Down
mp3 : The Rezillos - Cold Wars
mp3 : The Rezillos - Bad Guy Reaction
I'm more than happy to have the LP back in the cupboard again. And knowing that some of their stuff will now be popping up occasionally on random play on the i-pod is a good feeling too.
And a quick reminder of the look......
Sunday, September 25, 2011
'Here comes the railway track...'
Twee as fuck this is certainly not. Oh no. I just love this song so fucking much though. Like, best 30 second intro to any song ever. It's what the (hip) kids-at-the-club might call a 'mash-up' or something. I dunno. It has the thrust (oh yes) of the Sisters 'This Corrosion' and the squalling feedback tendencies of pretty much any Jesus & Mary Chain B-side. You might also choose to rinse out with some early Telescopes or Valentines as well, just for good measure. And to avoid audio indigestion. It's just adorable, no? This track was part of the 7" single known as 'My Secret World' - AKA Sarah #09 - and it was released in 1988. Can't you tell it came out then? It just has that feel to it, I reckon. Anyway, The Golden Dawn - another Glasgow band on the seminal Bristol label - only had two singles out with Sarah which is something of a Great Pop Injustice in my view. I refuse to believe the tracks put forward for single number three (and rejected by the label) were really that bad. But then I never heard them so what the fuck do I know. Oh, the folks (Robert Smith and Kenny Forte, specifically) behind The Golden Dawn were also involved with Christine's Cat, a wee emsemble who were featured earlier in this exclusive (!) Vinyl Villain series. That was a most glorious din. So is this track. Play loud! Repeat!
The Golden Dawn - 'The Railway Track' (2.10)
PS, Worth watching, for real. This was the A-side.
Comrade Colin, Sunday 25 September 2011
Note from JC
I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that this is turning into a fantastic series.........even if none of you can be arsed eveer leaving comments!!!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Now I never thought I'd feature anything by Right Said Fred on TVV. But there was a charidee EP released back in 1992 which might be of some interest:-
mp3 : The Rockingbirds - Deeply Dippy
mp3 : Flowered Up - Don't Talk Just Kiss (edit)
mp3 : St Etienne - I'm Too Sexy (edit)
For those who perhaps don't know, Right Said Fred were absolutely massive in the UK in 1991 and 92. Their first three singles, all of which are covered on this EP, went Top 3. Since then, they have continued to record and tour without achieveing much in the way of chart success....but they have an incredibly loyal fan base that ensures their gigs tend to sell out.
The EP features three of the best-known artistes on Heavenly Records and all profits from the release went to supporting the AIDS charity, The Terence Higgins Trust. As with most charity records, the cause is better than the music.....none of the three songs featured do all that much for me I'm afraid to say. But feel free to disagree.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Edwyn Collins has released three singles from the excellent Losing Sleep LP. Here's each of the b-sides:-
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep (instrumental)
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - You're Gonna Love This One
mp3 : Edwyn Collins - To Die For
I'm particularly pleased to be able to provide a chance to listen to the third of these tracks as it was only made available in very limited numbers on the b-side for a release for Record Store Day 2011.
And here's the promos for the first two singles and a live version of the third:-
And that's Will Collins on joint vocals with his dad........
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I finally got to see The National play live last month at the fourth time of asking and it was every bit as stunning and memorable as I hoped it would be.
Just about all the stuff I have of theirs is on CD. But I did pick up a vinyl single when it was released at t he tail end of 2010. And it's on lovely purple vinyl as well!!!
mp3 : The National - Terrible Love (alternate version)
mp3 : The National - You Were A Kindness
As it states, the single is a different mix from the version which opens the LP High Violet while the b-side was a previously unreleased track.
Here's some more stuff from a truly exceptional live band:-
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
None of what follows are my words. I lifted all the info straight from another source. I make no apologies for it as the info is so sound and perfectly provided that it makes sense just to do a cut'n'paste job.
Jamie Wednesday was a British 80's jangle-pop band that released eight songs on three records between 1985 and 1987. At first they were called The Ballpoints and then Dead Clergy and finally settled on Jamie Wednesday.
The band consisted of:
James Morrison - acoustic guitar, lead vocals
Leslie Carter - bass guitar, backing vocals
Dean Leggett - Drums and percussion
Lindsay Lowe - Trumpet
Simon Henry - Saxophone
The story is that James and Dean and Lindsay and Simon were in the studio rehearsing or recording or something and they needed a bass guitar player. Leslie was in the studio recording with another band and James saw him. James had known Leslie from before and in fact they had performed together. James asked Leslie to come and play bass for Jamie Wednesday.
They recorded and released two EPs and contributed to two compilations on the Pink Records label but they never sold well and the band remained virtually unknown. In an interesting sidenote, Jamie Wednesday are responsible for the name of the band Pop Will Eat Itself when an article about Jamie Wednesday in the NME, written by David Quantick mentioned that pop music is ever-recycling its ideas and that eventually, pop will eat itself.
Jamie Wednesday split up in 1987 just before a scheduled appearance at an opening gig. James Morrison and Leslie Carter stuck together and filled in for that gig. Thus was Carter USM born. James and Leslie became Jim Bob and Fruitbat respectively.
Dean Leggett went on to play drums for a band called Bob - a band which has played with Carter USM many times. Lindsay and Simon were a couple and Fruitbat reckons they still are. Last he heard, they were playing in a jazz band.
A few weeks ago I posted the first ever Carter USM 12" and shortly afterwards my friend (and past contributor to TVV) cullenskink dropped by the house and left behind the two 12" singles that Jamie Wednesday released back in 1985 and 86 during their short career.
This was the debut:-
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - Vote For Love
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - The Wall
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - White Horses
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - Buttons and Bows
The first and last tracks are Morrisson/Carter compositions while the middle two are covers - and yes, it is yet another version of the theme song from the 60s children's TV show as previously featured on TVV with versions by Trashcan Sinatras and The Wedding Present.
Here's the follow up:-
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - We Three Kings Of Orient Aren't
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - I Think I'll Throw A Party For Myself
mp3 : Jamie Wednesday - Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream
The first two are band compositions and begin to give a flavour of the sorts of lyrics that would dominate the Carter USM songs a short while later.
So big thanks to cullenskink for these and also to the bloke behind this page from where I got so much of the info......
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Sometimes when browsing I'll see something that I know I won't particularly like but am sure will go down well with some readers and so I will hand over some cash. Such is the case with today's offering which I picked up for £3.
It features The Merton Parkas, a band I only know of thanks to it being where Mick Talbot began his career. You can see from the record sleeve that this was a band who firmly nailed their mast to the Mod movement which enjoyed a bit of a revival in the late 70s when it was linked to The Jam and the release of the film Quadrophenia.
The Merton Parkas released four singles and one LP in 1979. all on the Beggars Banquet label. Only one of them scraped into the Top 40. Within 12 months it was all over for the band, but of course Mick Talbot would, in the early to mid 80s, become one of the best-known musicians in the UK thanks to being one-half of The Style Council.
This particular 12" was issued in 1983 - I guess as a cash-in to Talbot's new found fame and popularity. It features all four of the singles and two of the b-sides:-
mp3 : The Merton Parkas - You Need Wheels
mp3 : The Merton Parkas - The Man With The Disguise
mp3 : The Merton Parkas - Give It To Me Now
mp3 : The Merton Parkas - Put Me In The Picture
mp3 : The Merton Parkas - Plastic Smile
mp3 : The Merton Parkas - In The Midnight Hour
Oh and the minor hit was enough to secure them an appearance on Top Of The Pops:-
More 'before they were famous stuff'coming tomorrow.
Monday, September 19, 2011
'Oh Madchester, so much to answer for.......'
It's not just 45s I pick up when browsing around second hand stores...this compilation LP from 1990 has now found its way into the cupboard.
I was already familiar with many of the tracks as they had been copied onto a compilation tape back in the day by Jacques the Kipper. This was an era when we had just met one another at work and a lot of the early fun was putting together 90 minutes worth of music on cassette, handing it over with a set of cryptic clues and asking the other to try and identify what the track was and who had recorded it. Theses tapes tended to be a mix of old and new with a few strange b-sides or remixes thrown in. It was great fun and it introduced both of us to a range of acts we might not otherwise have gone near.
As I was mentioning, a lot of tracks from this compilation made one of JtK's tapes but until the other week I hadn't realised that - I just assumed he had gone on a mad buying spree from one of his regular trips to Manchester. Hit The North has 14 tracks on it, distinctly split onto two halfs on the vinyl with and indie side and a dance side. I'm guessing the label were hoping to appeal to as wide a selection of punters as possible - those who loved only the guitar based bands and those who love going down to The Hacienda. It's an album that has more acts on it who are now long forgotten and mere footnotes than who became household names, and while some of it has dated rather poorly, it's still well worth dipping into. It's a bit like a cheap bag of pick'n'mix sweets....there will some in here that are quite tasty and others you will want to spit out right away before you feel too sick. There is at least one genuine indie classic on it......
The album was on Bop Cassettes, a short-lived Manchester-based indie label and to coincide with this particular release a t-shirt was also available through Joe Bloggs Clothing Inc, the brand very synonymous with the baggy movement.
Have a listen anyway:-
The Indie Side
mp3 : New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Lions
mp3 : The Jerks - Didn't Quite Make It
mp3 : The Australians - The Girl Who Loved Her Man Enough To Kill Him
mp3 : Rig - B.R.O.
mp3 : The Rainkings - Sunlight Fades
mp3 : Paris Angels - Don't Fake Mine
mp3 : The Bedflowers - In Love With 25 People
mp3 : The Man From Delmonte - My Love Is Like A Gift You Can't Return
The Dance Side
mp3 : Lavinia & Social Kaos - Soul MC
mp3 : Ruthless Rap Assassins - Here Today....Here Tomorrow
mp3 : Rowetta - No More War
mp3 : Krispy Three - Destroy All The Stereotypes
mp3 : All Of My Life - All Of My Life
mp3 : Revenge - Jesus I Love You
And as for the one track that I reckon deserves to be labelled classic.....here's the promo:-
Sunday, September 18, 2011
S. 'But, come on, you have to admit, he really does sound a bit like Tim Booth?'
C. 'FUCK OFF! MELIA IS KING!'
S. 'I mean, even the music.... it's... I mean, it IS James written all over!'
C. 'FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF...!'
S. 'You will die deluded, then, really you will'
[falls over, hitting head against table, apparently, in a Southern Comfort induced Coma, into the, well, rather lean cleavage of one N_____ Y____ ]
St. Christopher - 'All Of A Tremble' (2.32)
1. Yes, this actually happened. In a Student Union (where the fuck else?) circa 1990-ish. I kept good (hungover) diaries back then. In my head, as well as on paper.
2. The full story of, and further offerings from, St Christopher will appear shortly. Once I have lived down the sheer embarassment factor here, obvs.
Comrade Colin, Sunday 18 September 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Mentioning the compilation C90s from days of old made me think of this which was probably the first ever Teenage Fanclub single I ever heard thanks to Jacques The Kipper putting it on a tape:-
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub - God Knows It's True
I've said before that the Fannies are a bit hit and miss with me, but this is a piece of music that I've long adored and reckon to be one of their finest ever. It dates all the way back to November 1990, and was the last thing they released on the Paperhouse label. Within 12 months it was Creation Records and commercial success to go with the critical acclaim that had long been theirs.
I was chuffed to pick up a mint condition copy of the 12" for just £3 a short while back and resisted the temptation to rush home, record the tracks and shove them up on TVV that very day. Instead I've waited till the Saturday when I will take the train out through their home town on my way to a football game later on today....and as the train pulls into the station I will consciously make an effort to ensure this is the song playing on the i-pod.
The other tracks on the 12" consist of a cracking b-side that could easily have been released as a single and a couple of instrumentals which to me show the boys liked to listen to bit of Sonic Youth and Dinosuar Jr just as much as the west coast Americana that they claimed were the biggest influences:-
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub - So Far Gone
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub - Weedbreak
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub - Ghetto Blaster
Friday, September 16, 2011
Blood & Chocolate which I reckon is EC at his best:-
mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions - I Want You
mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions - I Hope You're Happy Now (acoustic)
A bitter, twisted, haunting song of obsession, despair, torture and heartache. It's certainly no love song....although you might lulled into a false sense of security from the opening 50 seconds. It's hardly a surprise that this single got next to no play on the radio....
As I said the b-side is a great version of a track that I first heard played live on a BBC telly show:-
mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions - I Want You
mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions - I Hope You're Happy Now (acoustic)
A bitter, twisted, haunting song of obsession, despair, torture and heartache. It's certainly no love song....although you might lulled into a false sense of security from the opening 50 seconds. It's hardly a surprise that this single got next to no play on the radio....
As I said the b-side is a great version of a track that I first heard played live on a BBC telly show:-
Thursday, September 15, 2011
So I looks at this single in a box in a shop in Glasgow. £2.50 for a split single between a band called The Blisters and occasional TVV favourites Urusei Yatsura. Never heard of the main band and certainly not that sure if I've ever heard this particular track by Urusei Yatsura. Oh it's on red vinyl.....but £2.50?? What if it's a total dud??? Do I really want to waste my cash.
You'll know that those last two sentences never even entered into my head when I saw this piece of vinyl. I'm a saddo for things like this.....there's quite a few bits of vinyl sitting in the cupboard gathering dust just because I took a punt for a few bob in the hope it might make something interesting for the blog only to discover that it's just not very good.
Now clearly this bit of vinyl has some merit otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here typing these words. So without any further ado, here's that track by the band featured on TVV a few times before:-
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura - Pampered Adolescent
This was actually one of the band's very earliest releases coming just a few months after their debut mini-LP All Hail Urusei Yatsura that was released in January 1995. It's a little bit less polished than the material that would later emerge on Che Records from late 96 through to mid 98 when they just about became famous, but still well worth a listen. Indeed they themselves probably realised that as well as they would go on to re-record it and make it available as an extra track on the 1997 single Fake Fur. So it was a song that I should have known.....but I cant just rhyme off every b-side in the collection. (Maybe when I was younger I could but that's being nearly 50 for you....)
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura - Pampered Adolescent (later version)
Very reminiscent of pavement dontcha think??
But what of the other side. This mysterious mob called The Blisters. On first listen.....it sounds awfully familiar...the spiky guitars and that voice.....awfully like one of the most successful bands to come out of Glasgow in the 21st Century. But this is some eight years earlier...so it can't possibly be. Let's hit wiki.....
Alex Kapranos (born Alexander Paul Kapranos Huntley, 20 March 1972 in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire) is a UK based musician who is the lead singer and the guitarist of the Glasgow band Franz Ferdinand. From the early 1990s, he was a fixture of the Glasgow music scene, running live nights at the 13th Note, most notably The Kazoo Club. While working as a chef, bartender, lecturer in IT at the city's Anniesland College, and other various jobs, he played in some of Glasgow's popular bands, including The Blisters (later known as The Karelia), long-standing ska stalwarts The Amphetameanies, Quinn (now known as A Band Called Quinn) and The Yummy Fur. He is also known to have contributed to Urusei Yatsura and Lungleg recordings.
And sure enough this track was composed by A Huntley and The Blisters:-
mp3 : The Blisters - A Dull Thought In Itself
Now I know it's not a hugely valuable piece of plastic in itself, but the fact it's one of the earliest recordings by someone who many years later became incredibly famous makes it well worth the £2.50 that I handed over.....
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Back in the late 1980s there was a short-lived live music programme broadcast on BBC Scotland called FSD which to be honest I don't remember too much about. It went out fairly late at night and it coincided with a period when I wasn't really caring much about music as it wasn't long after I'd lost loads of boxes of 7" singles in a stupid incident I'd rather forget about. But I do remember seeing an Edinburgh band performing an incredible cover version of a single originally released just a wee while earlier by someone who was probably the biggest and most-talked about star in the pop world at that point in history.
I didn't go after the song as I wasn't buying much in the way of music at the time....but a few weeks ago, courtesy of a browse across the internet, I found someone selling a copy for a couple of quid plus postage. So I bought it....and then a few days later found another single by the same band in a second-hand store so I bought that as well.
Blood Uncles, for it is they who are the subject of today's TVV trip down memory lane, released an EP in 1986, then two singles and an album in Spring/Summer 1987 before bowing out with the cover version in October the same year. Their guitarist was Big John Duncan formerly of punk/thrash combo The Exploited, and who would later in life play a few live gigs with Nirvana when they were at their commercial peak.
Play these loud:-
mp3 : Blood Uncles - Beathag
mp3 : Blood Uncles - God Says No
mp3 : Blood Uncles - Let's Go Crazy
mp3 : Blood Uncles - Shake
Admit it.....the cover of the Prince hit is manic...maybe not magically so, but not tragically so either.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
See.....the thing is.....I have hundreds of 7" singles. Most of them have one track on the a-side and one other track on the b-side. Some might have one-track on the a-side and two tracks on the b-side. I've even got some bits of 7" plastic that have a grand total of four tracks, with two on each side. But these tend to be EPs or promos given away with music newspapers back in the day when they were meaningful publications....
However.....there is only one 7" record, that plays at 45rpm, with a total of ten tracks on it - five on each side.
Is it a multi-track single or is it a short LP released in the format of a single. Either way, I'm glad to have ownership of one of what was intended to be just 1,000 copies pressed of Ten Short Songs For Modern Lovers released back in October 2010 by the always brilliant Aidan John Moffat. By god they are short - ranging in length from 22 seconds to 74 seconds. And here they are:-
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Number On My Hand
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Less Than Three
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Sort It Out
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Mizzle
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Whisper It
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Buckfast Beauty
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Roar
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Buttoned
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - Twice
mp3 : Aidan John Moffat - End Of The Night
Not always entirely the stuff of romance you have to admit......but I find, as I do with everything the bearded wonder releases, something to marvel at and enjoy. And if you don't like Aidan, just be pleased it's all over and done with in a little over 8 and a half minutes.
20 Sep update.......
Rather disappointingly, there has been a copyright notice served on my file host in respect of these tracks...no idea who it was that asked for it. I'd be surprised if it was Aidan or anyone at Chemikal Underground....it could well be someone who is trying to sell a copy of the single and doesn't want the tracks to be readily available. So apologies if you do want to download but can't......
You could of course always send me an e-mail.....
Monday, September 12, 2011
My good friend Ed from over at 17 Seconds has an occasional but always exceptional series entitled Does There Have To Be A Reason?
I really did feel like stealing his series name for this 1986 piece of plastic:-
mp3 : Martin Stephenson & The Daintees - Slow Lovin'
mp3 : Martin Stephenson & The Daintees - Tribute To The Late Reverend Gary Davis
Other than being an occasional but not avid collector of records, I had no reason to shell out money for this single which was only made available on 7" as I have both tracks on vinyl and CD thanks to my copy of the LP Boat To Bolivia. But I'm glad I did as i didn't realise until playing it that the single version is slighlty sorther in length (3:23 as opposed to 4:01) which technically makes it a different recording.
So technically there WAS a reason.....
Nice and relaxed way to ease into the week.......
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Shed a tear, watch it fade...'
Secret Shine (once known as Amelia's Dream) were a Bristol-based band who recorded four 7" singles / EPs for Sarah in the early to mid 1990s. Although their early material was quite typically 'Sarah', in terms of its pop shape, indie form and twee sound, the band fairly quickly drifted into effects-laden shoegaze territory with later releases, especially the 1993 album 'Untouched' (Sarah #615). Indeed, even on this first single, 'After Years' (Sarah #53, 1991), you can hear shades of Pale Saints, Lush.. even, in fact, The Stone Roses (whenever I play this record I always think of 'Sally Cinnamon' for some reason). Anyway, make your own minds up and have a listen. Also, what's so great about Secret Shine is that unlike many/most of the Sarah bands they are still a going concern - a new album was just released last year (go take a peek).
Secret Shine - 'After Years' (3.25)
Comrade Colin, Sunday 11 September 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
It's hugely satisfying when any of the browsing expeditions brings something I didn't even know existed:-
mp3 : Leftfield/Lydon - Open Up (Original 12" mix)
mp3 : Leftfield/Lydon - Open Up (Chemical Brothers 12" remix)
Open Up has featured on TVV before. It was #19 in the run-down of my all time 45 45s back in 2008. Here's a reminder of what I said at the time:-
John Lydon makes his appearance in the chart at #19 with what I think is the greatest dance record ever made.
You will have gathered by now that I’m no expert on dance music – I leave that to friends like ctelblog who has the most incredible blog over at Acid Ted which is quickly becoming the ultimate Encyclopaedia of Dance/House/Rave from the late 80s and early 90s.
And I’m not going to kid on that the song made me go out and buy all sorts of similar stuff – dance music remains something that I will dip in and out of rather than spend lots of time on.
I didn’t know too much about Leftfield until this 1993 collaboration with John Lydon, but my love for this single led me to buying their CD of the time and discovering to my great delight that it also contained a collaboration with the great and hugely-underrated Toni Halliday of Curve.
The CD confirmed a number of my prejudices about the dance genre – while some of the stuff was among the personal highlights of 1993, there was just too much that I failed to get, and so it became a CD that was ideal for the skip function.
I don’t think John Lydon has ever delivered a better vocal in his life. I know that when he was a young punk 17 years earlier he did insist his musical influences were hugely varied from prog-rock to reggae and all parts in-between, but I don’t think any of us could ever have imagined him doing something quite like this Open Up.
Can anyone really listen to this and resist the urge to jump around like a mentalist?
The single that I bought in 1993 was a CD as indeed was just about everything else I bought at that time in history. I had no idea that back in 2002, the London-based label Simply Vinyl put it out as a 12" release with the remix from Ed and Tom on the other side. Bloody bargain for £2.
Here's your promo from 1993
Friday, September 09, 2011
Picked up a 12" copy of this for just 50p not too long ago. Then I picked up a copy of the LP Waiting, from which the single was lifted, for just £1 the day after in a totally different shop. Until then I had no idea that David Byrne had been behind the production desk.....
Fun Boy Three are a band that don't get the praise they merit in blogland. Maybe it was because they formed from the messy break-up of critically-acclaimed The Specials or maybe it is because Terry Hall would enjoy more success later on his career with The Colourfield. I don't know....
I liked them a lot. They made great pop music and yet the lyrics were often edgy and confrontational, particularly in regards to dealing with nasty night-wince racist bigots. They weren't afraid to have fun...although whenever you looked at Terry Hall performing with them on any telly programme of the era he seemed a right miserable sod. The sum of their recording career was two LPs, both of which went Top 20 and eight singles (nine if you include their collaboration on Really Saying Something by Bananarama), most of which also went high in the charts.
Their final hit was a cover of a song that Terry Hall had co-written with Jane Wiedlein of The Go-Gos and it reached #7 in the singles charts in mid 1983.
What I hadn't appreciated until I played it was that the single is a completely different mix from that which originally appeared on the LP.
mp3 : Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (single version)
mp3 : Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (LP version)
I'm also sorry to say that the six minutes plus remix version made available on the 12" is a bit of a disappointment.....it probably seemed a god idea at the time, but some songs will always sound at their best when kept down to the three minute mark:-
mp3 : Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (special remix version)
The other track on the 12" is well worth a listen.....much better and way more original than I ever imagined it would have been:-
mp3 : Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed (urdu version)
Anyone else listen and think of Blancmange doing Living On The Ceiling???
And finally, a cracking live telly performance:-
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Featuring Belle & Sebastian yesterday leads very nicely into today's vinyl offering featuring as it does the not inconsiderable vocal talents of Monica Queen who of course made a stunning contribution to the song Lazy Line Painter Jane.
Monica first came to prominence with Thrum, a band formed in the early 90s in the small town of Bellshill, which is located about 10 miles south-east of Glasgow. For a place that is home to only around 30,000 residents it is remarkable to think that it has spawned the likes of BMX Bandits, Mogwai, Soup Dragons, Teenage Fanclub and The Vaselines as well as singers such as Sheena Easton and Sharleen Spiteri as well as the four members of Thrum - Johnny Smillie (guitar), Dave McGowan (bass), Gary Johnston (drums) and Monica on vocals.
Over a four-year period they would release four singles/EPs and one full-length album, none of which sold particularly well, although there was plenty of positive press for the band. The best way to sum up Thrum is that they took the sounds of vintage Americana so loved by the likes of Teenage Fanclub but added a touch of the Americana of the 90s that was very much in vogue - Buffalo Tom, Grant Lee Buffalo etc. And Monica Queen was constantly being compared to Maria McKee who had enjoyed success with Lone Justice before hitting #1 in the singles chart with Show Me Heaven in 1987. That there was more than a hint of country-rock about Thrum also led to some saying they were a guitar band fronted by a Dolly Parton soundalike....
Now you'll have spotted a lot of bands and singers have been name-checked in the above paragraph....and to me that was what was wrong with Thrum. They had loads of influences and soundalikes, but to me they never quite became distinctive enough in their own right to stand out from the crowd and I never really got interested.
The band broke up in early 1995 and two years later came that memorable performance on the B&S track and there were other duets with the likes of The Jayhawks and Shane McGowan but still no fame and fortune. Back in 2002, Monica Queen sneaked out a solo LP called Ten Sorrowful Mysteries, a copy of which I picked up cheap in Glasgow shop maybe a year later. It's an album I do enjoy as a work to listen to when I'm a bit stressed and needing something soothing to relax to - it is full of lovely slow-paced tunes which allow Monica's vocals to really shine through.
There was a further solo LP in 2005 called Return Of The Sacred Heart (but I only learned this from doing background research for this piece) and then earlier this year it was announced Thrum had reformed and were releasing new material.
This led me to borrow (from my boss at work - he has an incredibly varied taste in music and is a huge dub reggae fan) a vinyl copy of their 1994 LP Rifferama and give it a fresh listen all these years later. There's 10 tracks in total, including three of their singles and a fresh version of the lead track that featured on their debut EP.....but I'm still not convinced that it's a forgotten classic, although it does have its moments. It's a pity as I really did want to love the record enough to convince me to go along this coming Saturday to see the reformed Thrum headline at the famous King Tut's in Glasgow, but it's not to be.
However, all of the above is of course only my opinion and I'm sure loads of you, given the chance to hear what they sound like, will tell me Thrum are in fact an excellent act fully deserving to be much better known, so here's the singles that feature on the LP:-
mp3 : Thrum - So Glad
mp3 : Thrum - Here I Am
mp3 : Thrum - Purify
And here's some live footage which shows they an excellent live act:-
Which led me to discover a brillaint film, put on you tube by the aforem mentioned Johnny Smilie:-
Kind of made all my posting irrelevent!!!!!
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
There are times when you rummage through the boxes of second-hand vinyl, take the bit of plastic home, give it a listen and quickly realise that you've wasted your money.
Thankfully in this case I only wasted £1.50. Now you might be wondering how I can be wittering on about wasting money on a single that was no different from the LP version when I knew exactly what I was getting for my money:-
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian - White Collar Boy
Released in June 2006, it was the third single lifted from the LP The Life Pursuit, but it only reached #45 in the charts despite being released on three different formats all offering different and previously unreleased b-sides. I guess Belle & Sebastian fans aren't anoraks after all.
In recent years I've not been one to race out and buy B&S singles upon release but haven't been averse to picking them a while later if they are going cheap. As I knew the single well from repeated plays of the album, what I did when I got home was put on the b-side:-
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian - Baby Jane
Surely I'm not alone in thinking this is uttrerly dreadful??
I hadn't realised until the record started rotating that it was an awful cover of a truly awful original released by Rod Stewart back in 1983.
This truly awful......
I'm sorry for inflicting all this upon you....
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Not all of the vinyl I buy nowadays is second-hand or retro. But when I do buy newly released stuff I tend to wait a while before posting it....I'd rather anyone really interested in the songs will pay to get a hold of them rather than take the free download route.
This 12" only single has sat in the cupboard very patiently since September 2010 waiting its turn.
I've written before about The Twlilight Sad and among the pieces I've said that the gig they played at the Glasgow ABC back in April 2010 was one of the best I've ever been to in the 30+ years I've been watching live bands. They are an act that never seem to disappoint, with something new and interesting to take out of every release. This 12" is no exception.
It features two previously unreleased songs as well as radically different remixes of two songs from the LP Forget The Night Ahead.
mp3 : The Twilight Sad - The Wrong Car
mp3 : The Twilight Sad - Throw Yourself Into The Water Again
mp3 : The Twilight Sad - The Room (Mogwai remix)
mp3 : The Twilight Sad - Reflection Of The Television (Errors remix)
Beautiful and brutally uncompromising at the same time, the title track demonstrates everything there is to love about The Twilight Sad, from the slow piano-led intro, the pounding drums that let you know the distinctive Scottish-twang vocals are coming.......and then that the wall of noise that comes with the chorus. Stunning....and even at seven and a bit minutes it feels too short.
The other new song is one that could easily have made a single - it is hard to believe that the band were prepared to leave it off the LP on the basis that they felt it would only have worked as an opening track and they had already earmarked Reflection Of The Television for that purpose.....talking of which....
I love the original versions of the two tracks that have been remixed on this EP.....and don't think that any remix can better them. But what is enormously pleasing about these versions is that they are so very distinctly different it feels as if we have been given two brand new songs and not remixes.
Here's a promo:-
And how about this for an acoustic version???:-
Monday, September 05, 2011
In 1988, you weren't supposed to pay anymore than 99p for this 7" single:-
mp3 : Billy Bragg - She's Got A New Spell
mp3 : Billy Bragg - Must I Paint You A Picture (extended version)
In 2011, I paid £1.50 which I don't think is too bad. The single and sleeve are both in very good condition.
The thing is, I had no reason to buy it other than I could and I wanted to. The A-side is no different to the version found on Worker's Playtime, while the extended b-side I have from buying both Billy Bragg boxets a few years back. But the fact of the matter is that this blog-writing malarkey has re-ignited a passion for vinyl. I had a fair collection back in 2006...and while I haven't added all that much in the way of LPs, the number of 7" and 12" singles has grown enormously. As I said back in a very early posting that one of the ideas behind the blog was to try and make available some otherwise unavailable bits of music - stuff long out of print or never released on CD, and still I go round all sorts of places looking for bits of vinyl....not necessarily featuring songs you can't get anywhere, but simply because I like them and wished I had bought the bit of plastic back in the day (or else re-purchasing it to replace something lost or stolen).
One of the other things I've tried to consistently do is offer other less-known recordings of the songs in the hope someone might find something new to enjoy or perhaps pick up something they might have been looking for. Not sure if this falls into either category, but I think it's worth a listen:-
mp3 : Billy Bragg & The Blokes - Must I Paint You A Picture
This is taken from a CD I picked up quite a while back now at one of Billy's tours which features 12 songs (10 of them Woody Guthrie tracks from the Mermaid Avenue project plus two 2 of Billy's original songs). As you can hear, this is a live performance....a simply beautiful rendition made ultra-special by the incredible skills of Ian McLagan on the Hammond organ......
Wipe away those tears now.....
Sunday, September 04, 2011
'Fell from a stool in a pub / where they played punk rock...'
After leaving Factory Records in 1988, Glasgow band The Wake promptly signed for Sarah Records and went on to release two outstanding singles ('Crush The Flowers' in 1989 and 'Major John' in 1991) and two pretty fantastic albums ('Make it Loud' in 1990 and 'Tidal Wave Of Hype' in 1994) for the seminal Bristol label. The track below is the 'aa' side from Sarah #21; the 'Crush The Flowers' 7" single. Yes, ok, so they did sound a wee bit like New Order at times but with Sarah they really moved away from the imposing shadows of Sumner and Hook (at least a wee bit). Anyway, have a listen and think what you like, but I reckon this is one of the best songs they ever recorded, as much as I adore the Factory material as well.
The Wake - Carbrain (2.46)
Comrade Colin, Sunday 4 September 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Normally on a Saturday I'm to be found taking a look at a song by The Smiths. I will return to that particular series in October, but for today I thought I'd have a quick look at the band who supported Moz & Co the first time I ever saw them away back on 2 March 1984 at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
The support act were Red Guitars, one of the three bands from Hull that The Housemartins thought were better than themselves. They consisted of Jeremy Kidd (vocals), Hallam Lewis (guitar), John Rowley (guitar), Louise Barlow (bass) and Matt Higgins (drums). They were another of the bands from the early-mid 80s who were happy enough to play at gigs that were seen as supporting left-wing/socialist causes in the UK and internationally (the hint is in the band's name....) and naturally enough got some positive press in the NME.
But the music they were making did mark them out as well worth a listen. Their first single was Good Technology, released in 1983 on their very own label which was called Self Drive Music. It was a hit in the Indie Charts and at student discos up and down the land. They were a band that always seemed to be out on tour and were considered a very good act which is probably why they landed the job of supporting The Smiths on their first ever UK-wide tour.
Despite being a well-respected band, they never really achieved mainstream success - indeed the debut single, which was re-released in 1984 at the time of Slow To Fade the debut LP - is their best-known song and is reckoned to have sold around 60,000 copies between the two issues.
It was a copy of the 1984 re-issue that I picked up a few weeks ago, bringing the total of Red Guitar singles in the cupboard to three - all from 1984 and all on the label mentioned above:-
mp3 : Red Guitars - Good Technology
mp3 : Red Guitars - Paris France
mp3 : Red Guitars - Steeltown
mp3 : Red Guitars - Within 4 Walls
mp3 : Red Guitars - Marimba Jive
mp3 : Red Guitars - Heartbeat Go
The constant touring added to the pressures of running their own record label led to tensions and lead singer Jeremy Kidd quit in late 1984, just a short time after the release of said debut LP. The band continued on bringing in a new vocalist in Robert Holmes for vocals, but were never the same again, even among the critics.
Even all these years later, the debut single still sounds great.....here's a clip made for the The Tube:-
Friday, September 02, 2011
Regular readers might have noticed that I didn't say too much about Record Store Day 2011 which took place back in April.
I suppose it's cos I'm not that fond of what it has turned into....
Matthew over at Song By Toad, not for the first time, perfectly put into words what I felt in a series of posts prior to RSD 2011 - here, here and here.
If you can't be arsed reading all of his fine words....this is the really relevant part:-
"Record Store Day this year has been absolutely beset with anyone and everyone throwing together all sorts of limited run releases. The idea, I suppose, is to generate scarcity and drive people down to record shops in their hundreds to snap up these precious things. Things which, as one Twitter wag said, we usually wouldn’t pay more than a fiver for on the other 364 days of the year.
This kind of artificial scarcity kind of irritates me, frankly. Song, by Toad Records make short runs of things, not because we are trying to generate false demand, but because we are genuinely nervous of over-stretching ourselves financially, so this sort of contrived stuff kind of gets on my nerves. Also, ever since the CD bubble burst in the early 2000s, the music industry has been hysterically grasping after one imaginary cash cow after another. For a while it was live revenues, and now I am sort of worried it might be collectors, vinyl and special editions.
The problem with this is that prices get driven up, everyone gets a bit carried away and then everything calms down shortly afterwards, and we go back to trying to find the next saviour. The people who suffer are the fans, who get over-charged (hello LiveNation) and the bands, who in this case get bad material released or good material wasted on limited run novelties.
Now, as a music fan, I love collectable editions and will always pay for them but I don’t like this kind of rarity being so contrived. It just bugs me. And also, as the Knox Road article also points out it is also, most notably in the bigger markets, in danger of creating a eBay profiteering gold rush. This benefits no-one except a shower of cynical wankers.
This kind of artificial scarcity does, in my opinion, and to contradict Matt Picasso, punish fans. It effectively turns us all into scrabbling retards, like those idiots who queue outside Harrods for the Winter sales. The plodding, workaday determined music fans are the people who have kept bands, shops and labels afloat while everyone else buggered off to illegal download sites and I think they deserved to be treated with a bit more respect, honestly."Drew's experience of RSD 2011, as detailed here in the always fine blog Across The Kitchen Table, seems to back up many of Matthew's fears (albeit Drew got what he was after!!!)
Me?? I stayed away. There was an important football game on that day.....and I'd probably have got angry at some of the folk queuing up.
I've since crawled around some of the stores and picked up most of what I probably would have been looking for anyway, paying the same price as what was being asked for on the day. Yes, I hate the fact that these bits of vinyl cost me waaaaaaayyyyy more than normal, but I'm consoled by the fact that the profits did go into the pockets of the record shop proprietors and not the greedy fuckers on e-bay who, as ever, were buying simply to make a profit from fans.
And again being true to the spirit of TVV, here's something from RSD 2011. Well, I do have everything they've ever released on vinyl......and it's not from the 80s!!!
mp3 : Grinderman - Evil (album version)
mp3 : Grinderman - Evil ('The Michael Cliffe House' Remix)
mp3 : Grinderman - First Evil
mp3 : Grinderman - Evil (Silver Alert Remix)
Track 2 is a a remix by Factory Floor, a London-based act that specialises in noise.....read here for more.
Track 3 is a stripped down version featuring just Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
Track 4 is the one of real interest, featuring a vocal by Matt Berninger of The National. Sadly, not a duet with Mr Cave.....
There was a video too:-
Not expecting too many of you to like today's offerings.......