Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The High Llamas are nominally a group, which usually includes Microdisney bassist Jon Fell and a rotating cast of others including keyboardist and cellist Marcus Holdaway, percussionist Dominic Murcott and drummer Rob Allum. They derived their name from a character played by Michael Nesmith in the Monkees.
They make 'melodic pop'. But without the bite of Cathal's lyrics, they've always lacked a certain something for me. They produced a remix album in 1998 - Lollo Rosso (red lettuce) with remixes from Kid Loco, Cornelius and Schneider Tm, and released instrumental tracks such as these:-
mp3 : The High Llamas - The Space Raid (Kid Loco)
mp3 : The High Llamas - Minting Tindmills
High Llamas website
Buy High Llamas product
I'm running late for work this morning, and have no time to be original. So here's a posting which is really a complete copy of something that Toad wrote a few months back.
Sometimes bands cannot deny that some of their songs are flattering imitations of others - for instance Start by The Jam is a near note-for-note copy of Taxman by The Beatles.
And how about these two:-
mp3 : Paris Motel - Mr Splitfoot
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand
Close enough if you ask me.
For more info on the actually quite splendid Paris Motel, have a read here. Mr Splitfoot can ne found on the 071 EP, but sadly, not on their excellent debut LP In The Salpetriere.
Footage available at The Video Villain. Including a stunning Nick Cave performance from an Austrailian awards show.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Either way, it is worth bringing to you notice.
mp3 : Banderas - She Sells (7" mix)
mp3 : Banderas - She Sells (Apollo 440 mix)
The latter is for Ctelblog, erstwhile contributor to TVV who is now branching out with his own blog right here.
I'd also like to bring to your notice the fact that the consistently wonderful Contrast Podcast has reached No.100 this very day. Details are right here.
The theme was simply, '100'. I was surprised these didn't feature:-
mp3 : Haircut 100 - Love Plus One
mp3 : Sonic Youth - 100%
Congratulations Tim on reaching your century. Keep on Keepin' On.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Edwyn Collins is coming home to play his first gigs in Scotland since suffering a devastating brain haemorrhage. The ex-Orange Juice singer hasn't performed here since collapsing in 2005, and has confirmed shows at Edinburgh Queen's Hall on April 21 and Glasgow's Oran Mor the following night.
The singer said: "It will be very emotional in Glasgow because that's where Orange Juice recorded their first record Falling And Laughing. But Edinburgh will be good too as it's my home town. It's been a long time."
The singer will perform tracks from new album Home Again, plus Orange Juice songs and his 1995 solo hit A Girl Like You.
His wife and manager Grace revealed he had to re-learn the lyrics after his illness.
She said: "He dipped his toe in the water again with gigs in London last year. The shows were great but left him exposed to the world. Some reviewers cut him some slack in the circumstances... but that wasn't needed."
Remarkably Edwyn finds it easier to sing than to speak.
Grace said: "He suffers from aphesia, an umbrella term for people with speech and language problems. No two people have the same symptoms. In his case he's been blessed with being able to sing. Doctors reckon his memory for songs comes from a different bit of his brain which initiates speech. He can't yet play guitar - his right arm still doesn't work properly - but for Edwyn it's a huge achievement to sing. He's practised every day for the last year to get the flow of the words and memorise them again. He's managed to nail 15 songs."
Both Edwyn and Grace can't wait for the Scottish gigs.
She said: "Edwyn's really looking forward to it. When people ask where he is from he says, 'All over Scotland'. His family are from the Highlands, he was born in Edinburgh then moved to Dundee and his formative years were in Glasgow where he formed Orange Juice. It's wonderful to think he's coming home with his band to Scotland where he's had such fantastic support."
Tickets for the Scots gigs are on sale now priced £17.50.
And you won't be surprised to know that I'll be there on both nights.
There really is only one song that is appropriate this evening:-
mp3 : The Candy Twins - Edwyn Collins Is Back
Now, if you like the mp3, you must go and buy it. Thats what I did after Jacques the Kipper passed it on to me....Start off by visiting them on myspace right here.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
A few odds'n'sods today.
First up is the little bit of light-heartedness that shows the softer side of Cathal Coughlan - and yes, the anonymous commentator got it spot on :-
mp3 : Martin Stephenson and Cathal Coughlan - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
I picked this up as a 7" single at a Daintees concert sometime around 1991 or 1992. It's a disposable little cover of the Gershwin song that originally appeared in the 1937 film Shall We Dance?, sung by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
It was a proper Kitchenware Records release - SK049. It also appeared as a track on the CD release of the Daintees' single Big Sky New Light.
Second up is one of the best records ever to have been made by a band from Edinburgh - and I was reminded of it just last night when Matthew from Song, by Toad was mentioning Josef K and Orange Juice in one of his postings. But its neither of them....
mp3 : Fire Engines - Candyskin
Mojo magazine put this at No.42 in the all-time Indie Top 50.
An Edinburgh quartet purveying No-Wave-inspired, nursery slopes treble-funk garnished with David Henderson's inscrutably adenonial yelp. Fire Engines wheeled in a string section to add serene glissanados to their righteously infectious second single, Candyskin. The moment (at 20 secs) when the violins erupt above heroically out-of-tune denture-endangering guitars remains absurd and sublime. Fire Engines split soon after, Henderson helming the more orthodox Win; meanwhile Candyskin's alloy of spiky riffs and hipster hauteur would be bequeathed to acknowledged heirs, Franz Ferdinand.
I'd love to say I own this particular piece of vinyl that was released on the Pop Aural label in 1981. But my copy sits on a 1992 compilation called Fond that came out on Rev-ola, a division of Creation Records (proof, if any were needed, that Alan McGhee knows his stuff).
So you've had the cover version, the forgotten but loved 80s indie single - all that's left for this post is some obscure but brilliant b-side. Will this do???
mp3 : New Order - Lonesome Tonight
As found on the reverse of Thieves Like Us, released in 1984.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Fatima Mansions, named after a run-down Dublin housing estate, was to be a vehicle for his world-view, and Andrias O'Gruama (guitar), Hugh Bunker (bass), Nick Allum (drums) and Zac Woolhouse (keyboards) were enlisted for the supporting roles.
Coughlan's lyrical fixations of religious bigotry, imperialism and death was spelled out in parables of increasing hysteria and black humour, while the safety of Microdisney's rock arrangements was abandoned in favour of an all-out aural assault.
Against Nature (1989) was lauded as a startlingly well-rounded debut, establishing a broad territory from the driving single Only Losers Take The Bus, to the synth-pop pastiche of 13th Century Boy, and the occasional brooding ballad like Wilderness On Time. The single Blues For Ceausescu (1990) took the band on to a higher level of ferocity and invention, heralding in the eighteen-track onslaught of Viva Dead Ponies (1990).
Meanwhile, regular gigging quickly built their reputation as an extraordinary spectacle, with Cathal hurling his hulk around the stage like a man possessed. In early 1991, Cathal performed some acoustic gigs billed as Fatima Mansions Singular, showcasing the control and mellowness of his voice - 'I know you all think I'm a brute', he observed.
Normal service was resumed with the release of Valhalla Avenue (1992), which contained the customary doses of rancour and strident guitar riffing on tracks like Evil Man and Go Home Bible Mike. The album's ferocious tone did not prevent it from becoming their biggest seller yet, reaching #52 in the UK. They even had a surprise Top 10 single later that year with a near-psychotic reworking (for which read - makes Machine Head sound like Sarah Records) of Bryan Adams' Everything I Do (I Do It For You), although this was largely due to the Manic Street Preachers' flip-side cover of Suicide Is Painless.
While their uncompromising style may have ruled out any greater commercial success, their standing as a live act secured a support slot on a U2 tour. But Cathal refused to be on best behaviour for the big occasion, infamously causing a near riot on the Italian leg with some on-stage Catholic baiting.
Cathal continued his prolific output by releasing the almost-unlistenable 20 Golden Showers (1993) under the name Bubonique, featuring compatriot comedian Sean Hughes, followed by a new Fatima Mansions album, Lost In The Former West (1994). Once again this was not for the faint-hearted, tackling international affairs with the usual rage and humour. But it was as if his heart was no longer in it and Fatima Mansions simply faded away. Cathal continued to make music as a solo artist but would never again reach the heights he did in Fatima Mansions.
mp3 : Fatima Mansions - 1000%
mp3 : Fatima Mansions - Blues For Ceausescu
mp3 : Fatima Mansions - Only Losers Take The Bus (Dump The Dead)
Cathal Coughlan website
Buy Cathal's new album
Buy Fatima Mansions albums
A PS FROM JC
There will be some more Cathal Coughlin coming your way soon - something a little less intense than any of his stuff with Microdisney and Fatima Mansions - something most folk might find surprising.
Oh and there is some related footage now available at The Video Villain.
Friday, February 22, 2008
But it's not that fact that's making me angry as I type these words some five minutes after the programme has ended.
The first fifteen minutes or so were amazing - clips of Orange Juice and Josef K interspersed with some old footage of the legendary Alan Horne. Then a little bit about the bands that were directly inspired by Postcard but who instead signed for major labels and enjoyed chart success - Altered Images, The Bluebells and Associates.
Then the programme, as far as I'm concerned, lost it.
On the one hand we were informed that the mid-80s pop acts such as Hue & Cry, Deacon Blue, Del Amitri and Wet Wet Wet were symbolic of a new emerging confident Scotland - on the other it was said that The Proclaimers being so popular was the result of the fact that Scotland never had it so bad in the 80s and early 90s.
Then we were told that the reason Hue & Cry and Deacon Blue went out of fashion was down to their singers taking high-profile roles in pro-nationalist political movements.
This part of the programme lasted longer than the Postcard segment on which so much of the pre-show hype has been about. It was dull, it was patronising, it was contradictory and it was a real fucking re-write of history. It was like a 15 minute party political broadcast for the SNP dating back to 1992.
And it was obvious where it was leading to - an assessment that it was the footsoldiers of Scottish pop from that dull era who gave us so much pride and self-belief in our Scottishness that nearly 10 years later we voted for devolution in a referendum and a further 8 years later we elected our first minority nationalist government.
I hung-on till the end to see who the writer of the programme was. We got details of where the archive clips came from, of who the researchers were, who was responsible for the cameras, lighting, production and writing - but not one single credit for a writer or team of writers. Strange that....
So.....I feel I must apologise to those of you who tuned in on the recommendation of this blog. The old clips from the early 80s were great...but it was kind of revealing that Alan Horne himself didn't take part, nor was there any sign of Roddy Frame/Aztec Camera who got passed over in a micro-second in Edith Bowman's voiceover, while Pat Kane got at least 10 minutes worth in one way or another.
Caledonia Dreaming - an opportunity missed. And a real bitter disappointment.
mp3 : Aerogramme - Shitty Lies
mp3 : Teenage Fanclub - Dumb Dumb Dumb
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Here's a song, originally by the dance troupe who last night were given the accolade of 'Best British Live Act' at the Brit Awards 2008. as performed by the band who should have won it but who will never appear on the radar of any of the judges:-
mp3 : The Wedding Present - Back For Good
I really don't know whay I'm even giving the oxygen of publicity to The Brits. Whoever first reckoned they should be re-named 'The Shits' got it spot on.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Peter Solowka's parents emigrated from Ukraine to England at the end of World War II, and naturally their son grew up with some appreciation of his roots - particularly the traditional folk music. Initially, nothing came of that 1986 jam, but some 12 months later, at another Peel Session, the band drafted in a specialist musician for the balalaika, flute and violin parts, and they recorded four songs with full Ukrainian vocals.
Before long, bootleg tapes of the session began to circulate widely, but it would be fair to say that fans of the Weddoes had a mixed reaction - some loved it, many were appalled.
In 1989, another Peel Session saw yet anpther output of Ukrainian music. By now, more fans had grown accustomed to what was happening, and the band and their label brought together all the sessions and released a 10-inch mini-LP called Ukrainski Vistupi V Johna Peela. It was a record that sold almost 30,000 copies and reached number 22 in the charts....
And from that LP, comes this rather recognisable tune:-
mp3 : The Wedding Present - Davni Chasy
In 1991, after the recording of Seamonsters (which I reckon is the best LP the band ever made), Peter Solowka left The Wedding Present. Within months, he had formed a band called The Ukrainians, who are still bounding along 17 years later.
The Ukrainians play music which is a mix of contemporary Western and traditional Ukrainian styles, reflecting the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of their members, using electric guitars, mandolins, accordions, violin, electric bass guitar and drums - and singing in Ukrainian.
That's the opening paragraph that you'll find on the band's excellent website, which can be found right here.
Now I have to be honest and say that I don't own any original stuff by the band, but a few months back, I did find, at the excellent Plain, Or Pan? blog, four rather incredible tracks which I listened to.....which I listened to repeatedly because they left me lost for words with their magnificence.
If I tell you that the songs came out in 1993, on an EP entitled The Pisni Iz The Smiths, you might work out why:-
mp3 : The Ukrainians - Batyar
mp3 : The Ukrainians - Koroleva Ne Polerma
Enjoy. And thanks to Mark Hodkinson's great little book The Wedding Present - Thank Yer, Very Glad published back in 1990 for the info on the genesis of the Weddoes involvement with folk music from Eastern Europe. Oh and I will be ordering something soon direct from The Ukrainians as payment for these long-deleted songs appearing here.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The bloke is in fact my wee brother. His name is Stevie. I don't see him that often as he lives in Florida with his wife and two kids (indeed, it is his youngest who is the Face of The Vinyl Villain on these very pages). In fact, it was his 40th Birthday Weekend that I last saw him, although with a bit of luck, we should get together sometime later this year.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a bit of vinyl in a second-hand shop that was always going to be posted here at some point, and given my brother is now indeed a fully-fledged citizen of the Land Of The Free, it seems somehow appropriate (oh, and also because Charlie Burchill's granny and grandad live next door to our mum and dad in Glasgow):-
mp3 : Simple Minds - The American (12" version)
I asked Stevie, as he is a regular reader, if he wanted any songs posted in TVV to mark his birthday. At first he was reluctant - he feels he has a narrow and safe taste in music that would be deemed boring in these pages. And he rarely listens to new stuff nowadays, other than what he might pick up in the blog.
Anyway, Stevie eventually sent over a list of five tunes and while they wouldn't be the type that you would neccessarily expect to normally find here, I bet there's plenty who will enjoy them:-
mp3 : Deacon Blue - Loaded
mp3 : Del Amitri - Always The Last To Know
mp3 : Hothouse Flowers - I Can See Clearly Now
mp3 : The Proclaimers - Sunshine On Leith
Stevie's fifth selection was his favourite song of all time. I thought I'd post a rare version of it for him:-
mp3 : Automatic Baby - One (live)
Automatic Baby consisted of Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton. The band's only performance was an acoustic version of One during an MTV concert for President Bill Clinton.
Now...should Hilary C get into the White House, what supergroup would form, and what would they perform?
Monday, February 18, 2008
mp3 : Marc Almond - Exotica Rose
mp3 : The Clash featuring Mikey Dread - Rockers Galore .....UK Tour
The former can be found on the back of the 1990 single A Lover Spurned. It's a great bit of fun - Marc at his playful, gayful, seedy and sordid best as he recounts the tale of the secret life of a burlesque dancer. Bordello Rock methinks. Mrs Villain picked up the single for 5p in a charity shop....
The latter is a b-side that dates from 1980. The Clash had always embraced reggae/dub from the beginning, and in a sense it culminated in the release of Bankrobber. The b-side is essentially a re-working of the single with fresh lyrics from Mikey Dread who had recently toured with the band.The promos from both A-sides can be found here at The Video Villain.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
In time, trying to ride the twin horses of Cathal Coughlan's raging anger and Sean O'Hagen's romantic almost countrified music they split. Cathal went on to form the almost psychotically angry The Fatima Mansions and Sean the laid back High Llamas.
Signed to Rough Trade, they were best known for their later album The Clock Comes Down The Stairs. They followed this by moving to Virgin and releasing Crooked Mile.
But, for me, their best work is their earliest stuff from Love Your Enemies (Microdisney 82:84). Originally called We Hate You South African Bastards, this drew together early singles and unreleased tracks. The sleeve notes by Cathal ended:
"Some of you (the Freemason pederasts, for instance) may be a trifle confused or even annoyed by the packaging and name of this record. For all your dumb coyness, I don't think you need to be told. Just don't go anywhere, don't call anyone. Bastard."
Anyhow, enjoy something from the album:
mp3 : Microdisney - Helicopter of the Holy Ghost
And as a bonus:
mp3 : Microdisney - Loftholdingswood (Live)
The album can be bought here.
A good fan site is here
While I will do my best to satisfy all requests left behind in the comments boxes or sent in by e-mail, I'm not guaranteeing anything. Especially when I get yet another request for Pale Blue Eyes by Paul Quinn & Edwyn Collins - I just can't go posting it every other week.
First up is a response to a request from one of the many anonymous folk who leave comments - someone who said they had stumbled upon TVV looking for a Friends Again download, only to come tantalisingly close. Well Mr/Ms/Lord/Sir Anonymous, I'm not sure which song you were after, but I hope this will do:-
mp3 : Friends Again - Honey At The Core (original 7" version)
Next is for SP-fan, who simply said 'Please, after a long time - can somebody re-upload those rare versions of Scritti Politti singles?' Again, I'm not sure exactly which ones are wanted, so I'll gamble on these:-
mp3 : Scritti Politti - Lions After Slumber (early version)
mp3 : Scritti Politti - A Slow Soul (early version)
And finally, jonstone98 asked for this:-
mp3 : Lloyd Cole & The Commotions - Perfect Blue (alt version)
Keep 'em coming dear readers.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The Breeders were kicking around as a band long before they ever got into a recording studio. It was the brainchild of Kim Deal and Kelley Deal. They happened to be twin sisters. But before they could really do anything with the band, Kim found fame as bass player with The Pixies.
In late 1989, seemingly tired of her band's refusal to record songs she had written, Kim re-formed The Breeders as a side project. She did not however, include her sister in the band - instead recruiting a group of close friends and fellow musicians including Tanya Donnelly from Throwing Muses.
Their debut album Pod, recorded in Edinburgh, Scotland, was released in 1990. Not long after, The Pixies broke-up. Whether or not the two events are linked, no-one is really prepared to say, but you can draw your own conclusions.
Kim decided to concentrate fully on The Breeders, and her twin sister came on board for the next set of recordings, which resulted in the four songs on this very fine 1992 EP:-
mp3 : The Breeders - Do You Love Me Know?
mp3 : The Breeders - Don't Call Home
mp3 : The Breeders - Safari
mp3 : The Breeders - So Sad About Us
That's the order the songs appear on the CD, and yet it was named Safari after track 3. Indeed a promo video for Safari was made - and of course you'll now find over at The Video Villain.
The fourth track is a cover version of a song by The Who (a song that had also coincidentally been covered some 14 years earlier by The Jam). It has been suggested by some that it is a sarcastic attack by Kim on the break-up of her other band.
This particular line-up of The Breeders proved to be short-lived. Tanya Donnelly went off to front her own band - Belly - while there was also a change of drummer.
Mark III of The Breeders would then find some fame and fortune in 1993, with the hit single Cannonball and the LP Last Splash. Incidentally a different, more refined version of Do You Love Me Now? from Safari was recorded for The Last Splash.
The Breeders themselves broke up not long after, and reformed again in 2002 for the album Title TK. Then of course The Pixies reformed.
But now, Kim has brought The Breeders back, and a new LP is due in 2008. The band is also going to tour extensively. You should go see them if you get the chance.
CD Information : Safari - 4AD Records (BAD 2003) released April 1992
Friday, February 15, 2008
Keeping TVV going has rekindled a love to find records and CDs in second-hand shops and on e-bay. The plan is, over the next few weeks, to bring a number of these, often hard to find things to your attention. And I'm starting with Village Fire - Five Offerings From James.
This basically, is an EP dating from 1985, which takes the first two 7" singles released by the band and puts them on a 12" record. I never actually owned this for years, only having the songs on cassette and/or VHS tape. I then saw it in a shop in Glasgow in early 2007 - it wasn't going cheap, but it was in mint condition. And I got it for less than seems to be the going rate on e-bay on the few occasions it pops up.
I often wondered why it was that I fell for James when I first heard them - and it took more than 20 years for the penny to drop. I'll quote from Page 74 of the book Folklore (the band's biography) by the incomparable Stuart Maconie:-
Even by the high standards of the early 1980s, something of a golden age of alternative pop in the UK, JimOne is an earprickingly different release. What's The World rattles .....over a clattering drum pattern right out of the Bonanza theme via Orange Juice's Falling and Laughing.
Fire So Close is clearly influenced by Scotland's Postcard Records roster, but significantly there's as much Kinshasa as Kilmarnock in the song's ebullient guitar and drums interlude.
It's paragraphs like those two above that make me realise I should either plagiarise or just stick to supplying the mp3s. So here goes:-
mp3 : James - What's The World
mp3 : James - Folklore
mp3 : James - Fire So Close
mp3 : James - If Things Were Perfect
mp3 : James - Hymn From A Village
But the real bonus for you all is surely to be found over at The Video Villain. In March 1985, James made their first ever TV appearance - one that I have as piece of treasure on VHS. It was live on the BBC2 show Whistle Test. They played two songs live at the ICA in London. They subsequently put one of the performances on a DVD compilation which is why this clip can now be found on youtube - with a far superior sound that exists on my manky old bit of tape.
It truly is wonderful - Maconie describes the band as being 'in their best geography teacher chic'. It's a far cry from the stage presence that the band would demonstrate just five or so years later...
And Ed......if you're reading, thanks for agreeing to hang back from posting at least one of these songs during the past few days.
Record Information : Village Fire - released June 1985 (Factory Records FAC 138). Currently unavailable.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
With thanks to a Mr John Greer of North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland for the following info in an e-mail:-
Caledonia Dreaming NEW
Friday 22 February 2008 : BBC Four, 9.00-10.00pm
Scotland has produced some of the world’s most original and influential pop music. Caledonia
Dreaming charts the musical journey of a nation and the continued influence of the small Scots indie label, Postcard Records.
Unlike Liverpool and London, Scotland of the 1960s and 70s didn’t have much of a home-grown music scene but that all changed in the 80s with the creation of Postcard Records and their iconic ‘Sound of Young Scotland’.
From humble beginnings in a tenement flat in the west end of Glasgow, Postcard went on to champion artists such as Orange Juice and Aztec Camera and open doors for bands including Simple Minds, Texas and Altered Images. Caledonia Dreaming highlights Postcard’s continued impact on Scottish pop, inspiring bands like Franz Ferdinand, Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian and Travis, amongst many others.
As Del Amitri’s Justin Currie reveals, Postcard Records and its artists were truly credible and iconic: “If you saw Edwyn [Collins of Orange Juice] in the street from the top of a bus it was like seeing Elvis.”
And, for Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Postcard’s impact lives on: “It did have an influence on us, certainly. Not just in terms of sound, in terms of attitude, both the attitude to the music and the way you put music into the world.”
Postcard Records made the Scottish music scene the most exciting in the UK. The major record
companies were desperate not to miss out and A&R men flooded to the city to join in the Glasgow pop gold rush of the 80s. However, as Caledonia Dreaming reveals, the success of Postcard was to be its undoing.
By the mid 80s, Scottish musicians had abandoned the punk DIY ethics of Postcard Records, signed with major record labels and embraced their commercial side.
Hue & Cry, Del Amitri and Deacon Blue were slick, sculpted and radio-friendly creating a brand of music known as Scottish blue-eyed soul but as fans grew tired of this saccharine sound, a new breed of Scottish musicians would once again rediscover and reinvent the Postcard Records sound.
Narrated by Edith Bowman, Caledonia Dreaming features interviews with Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Fran Healey & Dougie Payne from Travis, Del Amitri’s Justin Currie, Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian, Clare Grogan and Steven Lironi from Altered Images, Hue & Cry’s Pat Kane, amongst others.
Should be well worth an hour of anyone's time...even if it does contain the pompous arse known to all and sundry as Pat Kane.
I know this is going to kill the bandwith limits. It's almost 15 minutes worth of romance in one song:-
mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Babe I'm On Fire
The promo is available in two part over at The Video Villain. And if you always though Mr Cave was a po-faced individual with no sense of humour, you should be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
The song is available on the LP Nocturama.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
More Scottish electronic pop with The Shamen. And there was always more to The Shamen than their novely hit “Ebeneezer Goode”.
Formed in the 1980s as a psychedelic group, like so many others they became influenced by acid house and the ecstacy generation. Their 1989 album “In Gorbachev We Trust” saw increasing use of sampling.
But it wasn’t until their third album, “En-Tact”, released in 1990, that they really hit their stride. This spawned the hit singles "Move Any Mountain (Progen '91)", "Hyperreal" and "Make It Mine". They were by now a duo comprising Colin Angus and Will Sin. Also notable was the appearance of rapper and DJ Mr. C (real name Richard West). The transformation into a successful dance act was complete.
In May 1991, The Shamen headed to Tenerife to film a video for "Move Any Mountain." On 23 May, Sinnott drowned in an accident off the coast of La Gomera.
Colin Angus later said: "When it first happened, I was still reeling from the shock of Will's completely unexpected and tragic death,and I couldn't think about the Shamen at all, couldn't see how anything could continue. But as I came to terms with it and thought about the situation I realised that what the Shamen's about was positivity and thatpositivity is like the spirit of the music and positivity acknowledges the need for change. So for those reasons I elected to carry on and also I knew that the name Shamen really meant a lot to Will and that was one of the main attractions for joining the band for him."
With Mr C now a full member of The Shamen, and Jhelisa Anderson providing guest vocals, the Boss Drum album followed in 1992. Boss Drum featured The Shamen's biggest hit: "Ebeneezer Goode". "Ebeneezer Goode" was accused of promoting drug use owing to the refrain "Ezer Goode, Ezer Goode" -homophonic with "E's are good" - and to double entendre drug references throughout the song (though I never did understand what “Got any salmon”meant). Despite ― or maybe because of ― the subsequent storm of publicity, the song stayed at the top of the UK charts for 4 weeks.
Although the single was a commercial hit, it was considered a 'novelty record' and severely impacted on the 'underground' credibility of the band. Subsequent singles such as "Boss Drum" and "Phorever People" were chart hits, and they were voted "Best New Act" by Radio 1 listeners at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party in 1992, but some long term fans believed they paled in comparison to earlier singles.
Mr C. has since continued as a DJ and become a successful night-club owner– The End. He has also released a number of records on his own label. Colin Angus is recording under the name Pablo Sandoz. He is assisted by mattcatt in producing a fusion of electronic and acoustic sounds. They are now joined by the voice of Barda Meinhoff. Current work includes a soundtrackf or an animation by David Normal entitled 'Pyramid - love supreme dream' plus a second track for an animation by Ken Adams entitled 'Fleet'.
A couple of more unusual Shamen tracks below:
mp3 : The Shamen - Jesus Loves Amerika (Fundamental)
mp3 : The Shamen - Possible Worlds (Peel Session)
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In 4th place was the oldest song on the ballot paper - one that dated back to 1972. It picked up 6 votes, which kind of surprised me given the songs that you will normally find at TVV don't feature this bloke too often:-
mp3 : David Bowie - Andy Warhol
The bronze medal (7 votes) has been grabbed by a song that is more synonymous with TVV. It's from the 80s and while not jingly-jangly/The Sound of Young Scotland, it was part of the fabulous Kitchenware scene around Newcastle that produced so many brilliant moments two decades (sigh..) ago.
But being the perverse character that you've come to love (?), I'm shoving up the re-recorded version that appeared just last year:-
mp3 : Prefab Sprout - Faron Young (acoustic)
And so to the last men, or more accurately, women left standing. These two set the pace from the off, and it was only the last vote cast in an e-mail that gave us a result of 9-8.
The close but no cigar award goes to :-
mp3 : The Monochrome Set - Cilla Black
I have to admit that I was surprised at this. Maybe it was the fact that I was threatening originally to only post the Top 3 in the ballot that led to so many folk asking for one of the least-known songs on the list. But you have chosen well. For it is a slice of near perfect pop.
Which leaves us with your winner. And personally, I am delighted.
It's from a band that in many ways was the whole reason that TVV got started.
Away back in the midst of time, long before I ever got the USB Turntable, I used to read a handful of blogs and occasionally download songs for the i-pod. One day, I plucked up the courage to ask for a long-lost song over at a stunning blog called Let's Kiss And Make Up. The awfully nice man who ran the blog was not only very obliging, but praised my musical taste and that made me feel really good about life. The song was called This Girl, Black Girl - an obscure b-side.
Weeks later, I decided that I also had loads of obscure b-sides that deserved to be thrown out to a discerning audience......and TVV came into being.
Thanks Colin. For everything. (And yes, that is akin to a line of yours that I've ripped off.... again)
mp3 : The Go-Betweens - Lee Remick
And given the tradition is for the winner to come forward a say a few words, here's a great cover version...and yup, it's an obscure b-side:-
mp3 : The Wannadies - Lee Remick
So thanks to everyone who took the time to vote, and also to those of you who didn't but still came by to see how it was all going. The past seven days have seen more visitors to TVV than at any other time since it began, and while I know most of the traffic has been down to Morrissey fans directed over from various places to read the recent gig review, I'd like to think some of the casual visitors will have found reason to come back again.
Couple of quick announcements.
For the past few weeks, I've been privileged enough to be allowed to contribute to the weekly Contrast Podcast. This week, I have, by sheer coincidence, managed to combine an introduction and a song that captures the essence of the past week. Go here for a listen. I insist. Then you can leave behind a comment and say which famous Scotsman I most sound like.....
And finally, a big thanks also to ctelblog who put together another great posting and dance track that has had to wait its turn in the wings while all of this unfolded. But I promise it will appear tomorrow or the day after ...and I'll then be back at some point with more of the guitar-led rubbish. Be warned, I've been rummaging among the CDs and the vinyl......
And I don't know about you, but reckon this post has had just about enough 'thank yous' to go with any speech at any election results declaration.....
Monday, February 11, 2008
You voted in your dozens....some of you more than once, but that was well within the rules. Four quite fabulous people with quite fabulous songs specifically about them or named after them, all gained 5 votes each.
But sadly, it was only good enough for a share of 5th place, and they now have to leave the warmth and comfort of the Celebrity Blogcabin on the last but one day:-
mp3 : Special AKA - Nelson Mandela
mp3 : Scritti Politti - Jacques Derrida
mp3 : Sons & Daughters - Johnny Cash
mp3 : The Plimptons - William Shatner
A couple of questions arise from this part of the result.
(1) Would Johnny Cash have picked up more votes if he had stood as a candidate for The Frank and Walters?
(2) Did folk vote for the largely unheralded The Plimptons thinking they were going to get a track by either The Wedding Present or The Bodines?
Who Knows?? And frankly (and waltersly), who gives a flying fuck??
Thanks for staying up so late to watch and endure our extended results service. The conclusion will arrive sometime on Tuesday evening.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Thus far, those who got only 1 or 2 votes have taken the walk of pain and shame. Today, it's the turn of the folk who could only garner 3 or 4 votes.
So.....it is time to take your leave of :-
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian - Seymour Stein
mp3 : The Frank & Walters - Laurence Olivier
mp3 : Jonathan Richman & The Moden Lovers - Pablo Picasso
mp3 : The 1990s - Hayley Mills
..all of whom tied in 10th place with 3 votes each.
Only one candidate picked up a final total of 4 votes, and departs with a very respectable showing of 9th place:-
mp3 : The Lucksmiths - Danielle Steele
Tomorrow will see the departure of those who got only five votes - including one of the early front-runners....
To those of you who have grown a bit bored with this piece of nonsense, bear with me. There is a neat little tie-in on Tuesday...
And to those who have made recent requests for old mp3s to be re-posted, have a little patience.....your wishes will all come true in due course.
Ciao for now.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Above is where I thought most of you would tell me to shove my ballot paper (i couldn't be arsed to find post a photo of my arse...)
But a big big big thank you to all who took the time to leave a comment/send an e-mail.I had originally planned just to post the Top 3, but as all twenty-five candidates received at least one vote (after I rigged it somwhat....), I think it is only right that I count it all down in reverse order.
Four candidates got only one vote - and are thus the first to be ejected or outed from the Celebrity Blog Logcabin:-
mp3 : Charlotte Hatherley - Kim Wilde
mp3 : P - Michael Stipe
mp3 : Cake - Frank Sinatra
mp3 : Ryan Adams - Sylvia Plath
Now given that so few of you were interested in these songs, I'm expecting no downloads from the fileden account.
Big Brother is watching you........
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
A favourite live track is his track "A13" - an unlovely road running from East London to the Essex Coast. This is done in a combination of the music of Route 66 and the romanticism of early Bruce Springsteen. The V&A site even has an article from Billy about the A13. Worth reading in full.
But here is an extract:
One of the fondest memories of my childhood concerns the time my father let me drive his green Morris Oxford very, very slowly across the field that served as a car park behind the beach. It was my first ever driving lesson and it ended abruptly when I nervously stamped the brake pedal down to the floor and father banged his head on the windscreen.
I must have been about twelve years old yet I can still feel the leather of the driver’s seat warm on my bare back and hear the bonk as father, sitting half-sideways and caught unawares, hit the Triplex hard. What great days. Every visit we would buy a plastic football and lose it before we went home and sometimes, if the tide was out, my little brother and I would walk almost to Holland it seemed, watched over through parental binoculars as we jumped in the puddles all the way back.
Shoeburyness. That name brings back memories of days spent far away from the cares of home, when everything was fun except bedtime. The beaches are still there but the green Morris Oxford has gone the way of so many precious things and I shall never see it again. Me and my dad have joined the Saxons and the Peasants Revolt in history but the A13 is still there, rolling through a Springsteenesque landscape in which riverine Essex takes the place of the New Jersey shore, a tarmacadam trail to the Promised Land.
Billy is a witty performer and not above poking fun at his own earnest reputation. A favourite is "Unisex Chipshop" with Billy and Bill Bailey performing at Glastonbury 2004 what Billy clams is his son's favourite track.
"I used to buy my chips from an oppressive chip shop regime.
The girl who worked there she seemed happy but I knew it was not what it seemed
"Do you want salt and vinegar?" was what they made her say
But in the language of the ghetto that means "Help! I'm a woman in chains"
I used to see her. In my dreams I would see her running naked through the woods in Rainham
If I had some tigers I'd train them.
To protect her. From the sexual fascism that was lurking...
round the gherkins!
I leaned across the counter and we would talk.
I carved her name - Debbie - on a little wooden fork
But into the shop came a skinhead gang
They snatched the fork from my hand
Debbie she looked at me
To assert my masculinity
I said "OI!"
They said "WHAT!"
I said "...nothing"
You can buy BB themed stuff from his website and his book can be bought from here
mp3 : Billy Bragg - A13, Trunk Road To The Sea
mp3 : Bill Bailey & Billy Bragg - Unisex Chip Shop (live - Glastonbury 27 June 2004)
A little PS from JC :-
ctelblog has just captured what I, and so many others love about BB. If you don't already own it, then his book about Englishness, a link to which is given above, is essential reading, as is the hugely-readable and often enlightening BB bio by Andrew Collins.
And here's a hard to find version of the song ctelblog has brought to everyone's attention:-
mp3 : Billy Bragg - A13, Trunk Road To The Sea (Peel Session, 27 July 1983)
Billy videos over here
mp3 : Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx - Gold Digger
mp3 : Cornershop - England's Dreaming
Nothing from the 80s - and nothing remotely related to the Sound of Young Scotland either. Videos are in the usual place.
Tune in tomorrow for the results of Celebrity Blog Brother. You've still time to vote - even if you have done so already....
Monday, February 04, 2008
I was obviously first of the blocks on the internet with the Morrissey concert review - there's no other way to explain the fact that the number of daily visitors yesterday went up from an average of just under 400 to a figure approaching 600. Most visitors yesterday seemed to come in via Google having typed in the search words 'Morrissey - Edinburgh' and most left having helped themselves to one or more of the songs. Without leaving behind an opinion.
Now let me say from the outset that I'm not really grumbling about this. After all, if every reader of every newspaper felt the urge to pick up his or her pen and send something off for the Editor to read and then shove on the Letters Page, we would be bored out of our skulls.
I'm just delivering a short reminder lesson for the community of bloggers. If you want to increase your traffic for whatever reason, stop concentrating on the purists searching out the rare and obscure track, or stop writing self-centre meandering pish. Go populist. Write about Morrissey or Pete Doherty. Or go for the computer-literate teen market and write about the bands on the cover of the latest edition of Kerrang.
Alternatively, go porno. Our mutual friend ctelblog last week called his contribution Erotic Animals. During one of my periodic stat searches watching the Mozza fans come in and out, I noticed that someone from Italy had found us through Google have typed 'Erotic' and been directed to the posting about 90s UK dance music. He (and I'm assuming its a he) didn't stay long.
The photo above is a magpie, well known for its thieving abilities. It, and today's mp3, is for all the casual visitors from yesterday, and indeed for those who may also come into just today to read a concert review.
mp3 : Suede - To The Birds
Taken from the b-side of the 1992 CD single The Drowners.
And while I'm on the subject of b-sides, here's one for Mrs Villain, who for the third successive week is going to find herself out on the road at work this week, driving round northern parts of the UK in appalling conditions, and kipping up in various Travelodge hotels:-
mp3 : The Skids - Out Of Town
Taken from the b-side of the 1979 vinyl single Masquerade that I picked up for pennies last week. It's a slightly different version from that previously released on compilation CDs. So if you're a fan of Dunfermline's dandiest ever band, feel free to do what you like.
Videos are in the usual place.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
The 2008 performance was one of the best but I know there will be some who wouldn't have liked it due the fact that the awkward old sod played a set list that was in many parts, pretty obscure on a tour that is supposed to be promoting a greatest hits issue. More on that in a moment.
One thing I noticed right away. Much of the hysteria that builds up pre-gig, something that has always been there stretching back to the days of The Smiths, was missing. And all because pre-show there was a series of short films played to a seated audience who sat and watched them rather than get themselves worked up with the inane "Morrissey, Morrissey Morrissey etc etc etc" chants as if this is going to bring forward the starting time of a tightly organised show.
The great man took to the stage at 8.55pm. He and his band gave us 20 songs, nipped off for 2 minutes and came back for a one-song encore. There were new songs as yet unreleased, some crowd-pleasing Smiths covers, past singles, album tracks and b-sides. A real rag-tag of a set-list that never once lost my attention.
And a word or two about the band. A while back - maybe 12 years or so ago - I stopped going to see Morrissey in concert because of his band. At the time, I thought they were no better than a glorified pub outfit, only comfortable playing some of the rockabilly stuff he was churning out, and totally destroying the slow-tempo moody numbers. Worse than that was the way they destroyed the old songs by The Smiths. But credit where it's due - the band last night were hugely talented, energetic and exceptional. And Morrissey knows this, for they all got their couple of minutes in the spotlight to show off their skills without it ever turning into an orgy of self-indulgence.
But it is of course in the end, all about the main man. The fact that he had cancelled a couple of London shows a few days ago and looked and sounded rough during a TV appearance on the Jonathan Ross show had me a bit worried beforehand. The voice largely held up - in fact it got better as the show went on. There were a few crowd-pleasing sing-a-longs at the very beginning during which he seemed to purposely miss out a few lines. But before long he was in just about full voice and full flow on stage. He had his customary dig at Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, he playfully slagged off an obscure Scottish town (Falkirk) and even encouraged a little bit of stage invasion towards the end.
The set-list in full:-
1. Last Of The International Playboys
2. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
3. I Just Want To See The Boy Happy
4. How Soon Is Now?
5. That's How People Grow Up
6. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
7. Billy Budd
8. One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
9. Irish Blood, English Heart
10. Death Of A Disco Dancer
11. Life Is A Pigsty
12. The Loop
13. Sister I'm A Poet
14. All You Need Is Me
15. Stretch Out And Wait
16. Something Is Squeezing My Skull
18. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
19. The World Is Full of Crashing Bores
20. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
21. First Of The Gang To Die (encore)
By my reckoning, that's 5 songs from the days of the Smiths, 5 songs as yet unreleased, 5 songs from his most recent couple of albums, and the remaining 6 songs a mix of well known singles and things you just would never have expected.
Highlights? Playboys was an inspired opening track - reviews of the London shows that had taken place had reported this as being the encore song so it certainly took me by surprise. Death Of A Disco Dancer and Please, Please, Please were the best of the old Smiths songs. Above all else, just like the last time he came to Scotland, it was the performance of Life Is A Pigsty that will be remembered.
And yet is was different from the last time round. The second half of the song was a lot more hushed with Morrissey's vocals to the fore - last time round it was a real crescendo of drums and percussion - this time it faded into a gorgeous keyboard part which segued into an impromptu Auld Lang Syne. It brought the house down.
The one sad thing to say is that I wasn't accompanied by Mrs Villain, my usual companion at Morrissey gigs. She was double-booked on a weekend break away with a group of friends. Instead, I was lucky enough to be in the company of Matthew Young, better known to many of you as the talent and brains behind Song, By Toad. And I'm sure he'll put up his own review in due course. It should make for interesting reading as Toad doesn't really regard himself as a Morrissey fan, but I know he enjoyed it.
Oh and before the gig, I met Kate - aka Mrs Toad - for the first time. She's fairly perfect in every way and far too good for that green-toed reprobate. But I digress.
Here's a couple of cover versions just to round things off:-
mp3 : Morrissey - That's Entertainment
mp3 : Morrissey - A Song From Under The Floorboards
There's some Morrissey stuff over at The Video Villain.
And while I'm doing cover versions, a couple of requests have been made in recent days, so here they are:-
mp3 : Pete Wylie - Stay Free
mp3 : Paul Quinn & Edwyn Collins - Pale Blue Eyes
I reckon that's about the fourth time I've posted Paul & Edwyn here at TVV. If you really like it, check out what I've done at The Video Villain.
Ciao for now.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
I have lifted those words from Comrade Colin over at the consistently brilliant And Before The First Kiss. I can't improve on them. But I will offer a different version of the great song:-
mp3 : Placebo - Pure Morning (Les Rythmes Digitales Remix)
This was originally made available as a bonus track on the CD single of You Don't Care About Us. The Video Villain now has some Placebo footage posted for your enjoyment.
Oh and thanks for all the votes cast this far in Celebrity Blog Brother. There are still four days left to use your opinion to sway the final outcome.
Someone mentioned there was a problem with the Weddoes mp3 of a couple of days back. So sorry. It should be resolved now.