Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Red Guitars formed in Hull and early singles as well as lp "Slow to Fade" all did well in the indie charts as well as getting a lot of night time radio play. In 1985 singer Jeremy Kidd left and was replaced by Robert Holmes. The second lp released in 1985 "Tales of the Expected" had a much more polished, mainstream sound. The fact it is so different is still surprising as the guitarist responsible for some of the african style playing from the first lp was still there.
The band split after the second lp. With Lewis going on to form The Plant Wilson and Holmes releasing on solo lp "The Age of Swing" which was a pretty good lp.
I've posted the lead off single from the 2nd lp to compare with yesterday's post. I love the sparkly guitar although I think it was an odd choice for a single. It reminds me a bit of Prefab Sprout not in terms of style and definitely in terms of the vocals but it does meander along and take in some interesting diversions It also is one of those songs where there is a mumbled outro and not matter how hard I listen I've no idea what he sings
National Avenue - The Red Guitars
You can find the band's website here which seems to have wiped the second lp form history which is a shame as it has some great songs on
The 2nd lp is a nightmare to get hold of , however you can get the first here (it has the early singles on as extra tracks including yesterday's post "Good Technology"
Monday, 28 June 2010
The Red Guitars released 2 lps but with a change in singer and main songwriter, the lps they released sounded like they were by different bands. In the early days the band married indie guitars with sparkling African style playing and rhythms at a time when it was pretty revolutionary and way before Paul Simon recruited South African musicians for Graceland.
This week's monday moment however comes from an early pre debut lp single and is a straight forward bit of European guitar music. It was one of those songs that I heard on Annie Nightingale's sunday request show and immediately stopped whatever I was doing to turn the volume up
My monday moment is after about 10 secs when the first spike of guitar happens. It is one of my favourite lyrics bu the last verse really does it for me as relevant now as it ever was except maybe it would now be "There is a box set that I've got to see"
We've got photographs of men on the moon
We've got water that is good for us
We've got coffee that's instantaneous
We've got buildings that are very tall
We've got cigarettes that are low in tar
We've got policemen can tell us who we are
We can reproduce a work of art
We've got missiles can tear the world apart
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology
We've got trains that run underground
Aeroplanes that fly very fast
We've got music that is popular
We've got machines that sound like orchestras
We've got ability to transplant a heart
We've got freezers full of body parts
We've got computers that can find us friends
We know roughly when the world will end
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology
We've got animals with transistors in
We've got pills that can make you slim
We've got factories turning frozen chickens out
We've got ovens that cook in seconds flat
We've got plastics that are indestructible
We've got deodorants that make us smell of flowers
We've got detergents to clean up the sea
We've got sounds can turn you inside out
Sometimes I wonder what it is all about
There's lots of leisure time to sit and work it out
There's a TV show I've got to see
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology
Good Technology - The Red Guitars
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Friday, 25 June 2010
Thursday, 24 June 2010
For those of you that have kind of missed the downbeat acoustic music of Everything but the Girl when they discovered dance music, then you should really rush out and get Tracey Thorn's new solo lp "Love and Its Opposite". This really is an adult orientated lp and I don't mean in the sense of mainstream american rock, but in the themes that it addresses.
It looks at all the traumas and worries that middle age brings, from dealing with a hormonal teenager, to watching friends marriages disintegrate around you. The music is subtle without ever falling into the dreaded dinner party backing trackswith acoustic and electronic backing blending so well. The lp contains 2 covers , one fits perfectly to the extent that I had to check the credits as the lyrics are so in line with what Tracey Thorn writes on the rest of the lp. Only a cover of Lee Hazelwood's "Come on Home to Me" grates a bit but mainly because it feels like it has come from another lp
She shows again that she has one of the best female voices in music and is one of this county's undervalued songwriters with lyrics that show humour, nostalgia and regret.
If you go to her website here you can download 2 tracks from the lp including the best one "Oh Divorces". In fact the website is well worth a visit as it is jam packed with stuff including a monthly spotify mix tape that she pulls together.
The honeymoon, the wedding ring
The afternoon handovers by the swings
You can buy Love and Its Opposite here and this hmv version has a bonus disc of demos on it
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Monday, 21 June 2010
Listening to Trick of the Light again I still can't quite understand how it wasn't a summer hit. My monday moment is right at the start when the repeated guitar notes strike up and continue to weave in and out of the rest of the song. Although pushing a close second is when David McComb sings "Now you remind me very much of someone that I used to know" and you can hear the ache in his voice.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Friday, 18 June 2010
I have time for both but in between the 2 extremes they made one timeless classic lp "The Colour of Spring" which is one of the best produced lps I've heard.
You can buy Talk Talk's lps here , avoid the countless compilations which almost match the record companies stripping of the Smiths carcass and go for the main releases
Thursday, 17 June 2010
You can buy the trilogy here
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Lps like buses , well a load have come along that I've bought so over the next couple of weeks I'll share what I've spend my ill begotten gains on.
I was a big Del Amitri fan , well except when they let their neil young obsession take over and loved Justin Currie's first solo lp "What is Love" which his own myspace page describes as "eleven thunderously dreary dirges" . There wasn't a lot of joy in them and they included one of the best musical rants going in "No Surrender".
Well things have lightened a tad on "The Great War", there are even a couple of tracks that at a push could be described as breezy pop songs especially "I can't let go of her now". As ever though even these hide lyrics of self loathing and despair. The centre piece track is another 8 + minute state of the nation address with the cheery chorus of
"I hate the world they gave me"
Whilst not as good as "No Surrender" it is a bit of a sister song to this track although this time the bile is addressed internally rather than to the world as a whole
"My body's a riot, my minds the police
I feed myself lies to enforce some peace
Tell people I love them, shake idiot's hands
And sometimes I hug them as custom demands"
However it is the ballads where the lp comes alive , helped by the fact that Justin Currie's vocals are better than ever.
I can't imagine this lp will get him any new fans which is a shame because the rather than 11 dreary dirges ,there are 11 examples of classic songwriting
You can here a couple of the tracks at his myspace page here
You can buy "The Great War" here
On a separate note I've got to quote his biog from his myspace site , which really made me laugh
Justin Currie was born in a van near Paisley in 1964 in a hailstorm so vicious that it took a team of panel beaters a month to separate his forehead from the roof. Later on, perhaps in the nineteen eighties he started to sing in a strange breathless way, cramming too many words into odd amounts of bars and found himself, with his group of twee schoolboy punks, Del Amitri, getting firmly up the collective nose of the Glasgow white-soul cognoscenti. Much more loathed than loved, and revelling in their outsider status, Del Amitri attracted a dense little coterie of followers in the United States of America who duly set up a nationwide tour funded by busking, badge selling and the refrigerators of those fans' generous parents. Driven half-mental by their experiences the group came home, ditched their indie twiddling and embarked upon a course of songwriting so sickeningly mainstream and Americanised that it led to a long career being spoilt stupid by the radio and recording industries of the English speaking world. Limos to the pub, ponds full of chips, week-long parties in Bognor, that sort of thing.
By 2002 the thing had run it's cliched course; the group's fortunes were dwindling and, dropped by a record firm grown weary of their whining, the two chief writers put the band into cryogenic suspension and set about writing two LPs; a Justin Currie Alone affair and an entirely co-written electronic pop masterpiece. Justin's solo record is called "What Is Love For?" and features eleven thunderously dreary dirges many of which he is currently airing live to pained looking crowds of people in dingy Glasgow basements. When forced by penury, politeness or acute fear he can sometimes also be heard to trawl out tired versions of his withered hits.
Justin is unmarried and lives a quiet life of standing up and sitting down in Scotland with his two pet television sets.
To end a reminder of when the jangle in Justin's life was king
The King is Poor - Del Amitri
Monday, 14 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Lazy Sunday and top of the shuffle pile is a track from phase 2 of the Gobetweens. This is the closing track from the "Bright Yellow Bright Orange" lp. It is one of those bittersweet melodies that Grant McLennan seemed to be able to bash out two a penny. What I like about it is its simplicity and the fact that at 2 mins it leaves you wanting more
Unfinished Business - The Gobetweens
You can buy the lp here
Saturday, 12 June 2010
There was a period when if you went to a party it wouldn't be long before this would come on, there are only so many rooms full of people worse for wear yelling "lager lager shoutin" before the attraction wears off.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
It is probably one of the most schizophrenic lps I own with tracks ranging from a gospel feel to a Led Zeppelin type thrash and a track that sounds like it was written for Prince. However it did contain 2 of their best tracks that they had been playing live for a while, "Little Girl Lost" and "Starry Blue Eyed Wonder" which I did read was about Mike Scott (although listening to the lyrics I think this was over imaginative journalism.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
The lp is full of the catchiest tunes that are just the right side of quirky. Be warned though they do tend to stick in your head like glue (and they are to be avoided if the 'rock n rawl' posturing of the likes of Kasabian is your thing!)
Monday, 7 June 2010
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Lazy Sunday and top of the shuffle pile this week is something from Mr. Cheekbones Peter Murphy. I was never a big fan of Bauhaus apart from the obvious ones Bela Lugosi's Dead etc. However I really liked some of his solo stuff. I assume this was a single as it was on the compilation "Wild Birds 1985-95"
What do I like about it, well it chugs along nicely and his vocal is a bit more restrained than usual and the better for it
All Night Long - Peter Murphy
Saturday, 5 June 2010
His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne's T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God
Are you one of them?
He dressed up like a clown for them
With his face paint white and red
And on his best behavior
In a dark room on the bed he kissed them all
He'd kill ten thousand people
With a sleight of his hand
Running far, running fast to the dead
He took of all their clothes for them
He put a cloth on their lips
Quiet hands, quiet kiss
On the mouth
And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid
On a different note I'm experimenting with moving form mediafire to the box so hopefully the link will run smoothly - leave a comment if you have any problems
John Wayne Gacy - Sufjan Stevens
You can buy Illinoise here
Friday, 4 June 2010
Shallow as I am I bought this because it looked so dam good. It looked so good that I ignored the fact that I'd started the author's debut novel and had to give up on it after about 100 pages (it was a comic novel that I didn't find funny and with a main character who annoyed the socks off me).
I'll admit I'm a bit of a sucker for books broken down into smaller novels and put together in a slip case, even if deep down I know I'm being suckered into paying a lot more than for the same thing in one volume.
By calling the book "Skippy Dies" and having that death occur in the first few pages Paul Murray has removed the risk of "spoilers". Set in a privileged Dublin boarding school, the novel starts with the untimely death of pupil Daniel (nicknamed Skippy because when he speaks he sounds a bit like the famous kangaroo) in a doughnut eating competition, with his best friend and child genius Ruprecht. The rest of the novel deals firstly with the build up to the death and then the aftermath. The first book/part "Hopeland" is a comic delight as it focuses on a a group of friends and captures the absurdity of school life for boys in their early teens to perfection (almost a strange relation to Inbetweeners). This is balanced by a focus on some of the teachers/priest at the school , mainly History teacher Howard who is going through his own relationship crisis
In the second book/part, "Heartland" various strands bound off in all kinds of directions, bringing in true love, alternative dimensions, the role of the Irish infantry in the first world war, the place of religion in modern education, a blossoming career in drug dealing, and the perils of playing Frisbee on your own. It is a mark of Murray's storytelling skill that he keeps things just about under control and balances the emerging dark heart with outrageous set pieces and dialogue that is really funny.
It is only in the third book/part "Ghostland" where despair takes over that you feel he loses his way a bit. There is little to light this third part despite a major finale and a slight sense of redemption for one character at the end. I found the gloom a bit too bleak with the actions of some characters so extreme , they just didn't seem to add up based on what had gone before
Still despite this what comes before makes it worth a go, it is a big novel with big ideas, and there is a real interest in discovering how the hell it will all fit together in the end.
You can buy Skippy Dies by Paul Murray here (this is the all in one volume version)