Monday, 30 November 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
I'll leave it to Michael Palin "These are wonderful images, showing just how revealing the lives of ordinary people, doing day-to-day things can be. They are glimpses of a country in doubt, sometimes in pain, but full of an indomitable spirit."
Why I like this book so much I think is that it covers pretty much the time I've been alive as result it seems that on every page there is a memory hiding
You can buy "England My England" here
Monday, 23 November 2009
Trevor Jones on the band website - " A lot of these songs focus on the tricks that we use, the games that we play, and the skills we develop to stop ourselves becoming unglued"
I'll start with the title track and lp opener. It features some beautiful guitar playing. Lyrically it is the most explicit in terms of the songwriter as an observer and recorder. In this case the pay off is heartbreaking
Alaska - Miracle Mile
"The bundle at her breast, it's all they could hope for
From hair of fading nylon to perfect plastic toes"
On a separate note the band's website has been redesigned and has some great stuff on it.
You can also buy Alaska on the site here
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
Lots of synth with off the scale vocal gymnastics
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
This God Like Genius is one of this country's most under-rated songwriters. He has
- recorded one of the best early 80s pop singles
- formed a folk band
-been in a britpop supergroup
- written and toured with an ex member of one of the Uk's biggest boy bands
- released an lp with Nigel Kennedy
- been an early singer with a bunch of New Romantics
Most people know that Stephen Duffy was one of the original members of Duran Duran before he left and was replaced by Simon Le Bon. He then went on to form a group called Tin Tin and kept the Tin Tin name as well as one of the songs " Kiss Me" when the band broke up. Kiss me, released in 1985 became one of those singles that everyone probably knows without really knowing much about who recorded it. Rather than post this which I'm sure you can get on 100 80s compilations or 80s blogs I've gone for the other great single from the first lp "Ups and Downs" (which was strangely part produced by Smiths and Blur producer Stephen Street)
Icing on the Cake - Stephen Tin Tin Duffy
Return to Yesterday - The Lilac Time
After supporting Dr and the Medics and appearing on TV with Roland Rat (boy did the record company know what to do with this band) Stephen Duffy started on the second lp "Paradise Circus" released in 1989. In his own words "I was obsessed with Crosby Stills and Nash , Neil Young and Iris Murdoch and thought myself an amalgam of all five" whilst "I would get on the train to Phonogram to meetings that confirmed our belief that they had signed us by mistake. They wanted a hit. On the way home a girl waved. You are the girl that waved at trains through the cool September rain. It didn't even make the top 100"
The Laundry - Lilac Time
After finally leaving Phonogram, The Lilac Time signed to Creation records for 1 lp "Astronauts" a much more stripped down sound, closer to the essence of the first lp now that the pressure from Phonogram to have a hit was no longer there.
In Inerva Gardens - The Lilac Time
The Lilac Time went into a prolonged hibernation during which time Stephen Duffy recorded "Music in Colours" with violinist Nigel Kennedy (after discovering a shared love of Aston Villa) in 1993 as well as solo lp "Duffy" in 1995.
Natalie - Stephen Duffy and Nigel Kennedy
He finally also had another hit. After all the great songs he'd written, this was the annoying "Hanging Around" recorded as Me Me Me with Alex James from Blur and Justin Welch from Elastica. Thankfully it was a one off.
In 1999 Stephen Duffy reformed the Lilac Time and since then the band have released 4 lps all on different labels. These records are much more consistent in sound with a big reliance on acoustic instruments
The final incarnation for Stephen Duffy is the one off Devils lp. The story goes that he found an old tape of songs he'd written with the early version of Duran Duran and after a chance meeting and reminisce with Nick Rhodes the two of them got together and recorded the songs ( not changing the lyrics and using only early synths) and released them on the "Dark Circles" lp in 2002. If you are thinking Rio or Planet Earth then think again. These are more like the early synth bands such as pre Dare Human League , Cabaret Voltaire etc. A glimpse of what might have been and not a whiff of a beach in Sri Lanka.
Dark Circles - The Devils
In 2004/05 Stephen Duffy finally hit payday in that he co wrote 2 songs for Robbie Williams greatest hits package and then co wrote the whole of the singers next lp (The one before the career threatening Rudebox). This turned into to touring as guitarist on the accompanying world tour.
As his the lyrics form his last lp says
“In dazzling obscurity
He played his songs for free
And a royalty
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
In my first year at poly the nme issued the infamous tape "C86" showcasing all things indie. It has been credited with shoving indie guitar bands into the limelight and kick starting a movement. As with most things hindsight tends to have over inflated its importance, but at the time the bands who featured and others with a similar sound tended to dominate the singles i bought (a majority with some spectacular exceptions couldn't keep the quality going over an lp)
1.Primal Scream - "Velocity Girl"
2.The Mighty Lemon Drops - "Happy Head"
3.The Soup Dragons - "Pleasantly Surprised"
4.The Wolfhounds - "Feeling So Strange Again"
5.The Bodines - "Therese"
6.Mighty Mighty - "Law"
7.Stump - "Buffalo"
8.Bogshed - "Run to the Temple"
9.A Witness - "Sharpened Sticks"
10.The Pastels - "Breaking Lines"
11.Age of Chance - "From Now On, This Will Be Your God"
1.The Shop Assistants - "It's Up to You"
2.Close Lobsters - "Firestation Towers"
3.Miaow - "Sport Most Royal"
4.Half Man Half Biscuit - "I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)"
5.The Servants - "Transparent"
6.The Mackenzies - "Big Jim (There's no pubs in Heaven)"
7.Big Flame - "New Way (Quick Wash And Brush Up With Liberation Theology)"
8.Fuzzbox - "Console Me"
9.McCarthy - "Celestial City"
10.The Shrubs - "Bullfighter's Bones"
11.The Wedding Present - "This Boy Can Wait"
Thursday, 12 November 2009
"There and Back Again" - takes its name form a compilation that Sarah records brought out before it ceased to exist. Therefore there is a distint emphasis on all things twee
"Noisebox Music Collection" - a site from the US although loads of posts on UK indie bands. Remit is a bit wider than the previous site and not scared to get poppy
"Town Full of Loser" - has some great compilations (including posts that focus on who has appeared that week on "later") and a real varied mix of music
"2 U I Bestow" - focus on Irish music both new and old. If you like melody then this is a great place to discover new stuff
"indie.fference" - indie is in the title embraces everyithing form the jangletastic Man from Delmonte to dodgy early 80's act Blue Zoo.
Coincidence v Fate - this has some great lost tracks posted
Anyway happy reading
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I've know idea how I ended up seeing the Alarm . They were touring on the back of breakthrough singles 68 guns and where were you hiding. I went with a a few friends I'd met in halls of residence so I can only assume there was nothing else was on that night (one of them had the lp). I remember 2 things
1) Me and my friends seemed to be the only people in the audience who didn't have hair like the band. (the amount of hairspray must have been a fire risk) It did prompt a bit of a discussion as to where all these people were in the daytime
2) The bands following were intense. Before they came on the audience performed their own version of a Blaze of Glory. I've never experienced an atmosphere like it. It was as if they had already played a set and were coming on for an encore. As a result of the atmosphere and the energy the band put in we all ended up leaving genuinely shocked at how good they were.
We didn't convert though (none of us had the hair for a start) we went home and listened to the one fan's lp and all agreed it sounded like a different band
Anyway here is what they are probably best known for
68 Guns - Alarm
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
I've posted the lps final and title track. It is a largely spoken piece before ending with a "this is a slow fade" refrain. Along with the opening track which it shares it lyrical theme it provides a great bookend to the lp
"When it is over it is gone, say nothing lies where memory belongs except maybe regret , this is a slow fade"
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Before going to poly i spent 8 months living in Worcester doing voluntary work. The flat I shared wasn't in the best part of town being right next to the sauce factory. One of my co - volunteers was someone called Jez who was 3 years older and therefore had an extra 3 years worth of music collection all stored on C90 tapes. Luckily all I had with me was a small tinny tape recorder and so over the 8 months I worked my way through his collection and discovered loads of stuff that over time became favourites that last to this day.
He had a copy of "7 Singles Deep" by the Icicle Works. All i knew about them at the time is the one hit wonder tag of "Love is a Wonderful Colour". After some tape to tape recording, for a period of time i could not stop playing these 7 songs.
On starting poly, I saw they were playing live in the first term and rushed out to get tickets, even persuading a couple of doubting new friends to come along. They were doubting because at the time the Icicle Works were a bit of a joke with the esteemed music press with each single seemingly greeted with scathing reviews.
Live, I think they were one of the best bands going. Ian Mcnabb was a natural front man and all the songs seemed much bigger than they did on record. The band often seemed to change the arrangements adding snatches of cover versions , extra verses , longer instrumental breaks in.
The 2 tracks I've posted really stick in my mind. Hollow Horse was just a rush of energy and Birds Fly with its manic drumming and almost chanting chorus created what seemed like just one mass of dancing and singing. I'm afraid listening back to the 2 studio versions I've posted they don't come near to capturing how i remember them live. Having said that they are still mighty fine songs!