Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Desert island Discs 9 Cake by Trashcan sinatras

9 Cake by Trashcan Sinatras 1990

How can you not love this sugar rush of jangly guitars. Every now and then an lp comes along that just ticks all my pop boxes and usually at a time when I'm starting to drift away from music. This came out as I left poly and the bands I loved had all either broken up or started to release lps that somehow weren't quite as good as their last one.

However when I heard this on the radio I was convinced the band was going to be massive and lead a new surge of smart guitar pop bands

However band luck and bankruptcy mean that the band remain one of the ultimate should have been bigger than the beatles

Like the debuts of 2 other bands coming up later on, the clever wordplay of the lyrics tripped over themselves from the title onwards.

Obscurity knocks
Always at the foot of the photograph, that's me there
Snug as a thug in a mugshot pose, a foul-mouthed rogue
Owner of this corner and not much more
Still these days I'm better placed to get my just rewards
I'll pound out a tune and very soon
I'll have too much to say and a dead stupid name

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of "oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems"
Calendars crumble I'm knee deep in numbers
I've turned twenty one, I've twist, I'm bust and wrong again

Rubbing shoulders with the sheets till two
Looking at my watch and I'm half-past caring
In the lap of luxury it comes to mind
Is this headboard hard? Am I a lap behind?
But to face doom in a sock-stenched room all by myself
Is the kind of fate I never contemplate
Lots of people would cry though none spring to mind

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of "oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems"
Calendars crumble I'm knee deep in numbers
I've turned 21, I've twist, I'm bust and wrong again

Know what it's like
To sigh at the sight of the first quarter of life?
Ever stopped to think and found out nothing was there?

They laugh to see such fun
I'm playing blind man's bluff all by myself
And they're chanting a line from a nursery rhyme
"Ba ba bleary eyes - have you any idea?"

Years of learning I must be a veteran
Of "oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems"
And the calendar's cluttered with days that are numbered
I've turned twenty, I've twist, I'm bust and wrong again
Ought to be learning
Twist, I'm bust and wrong again
Feel like a veteran
Twist, I'm bust and wrong again
Calendar's cluttered
With days that are numbered
And I know what it's like
To sigh at the sight
Of the first quarter of life

The lp then appeared on the fledgling Go Discs (home of Beautiful South and the Bathers - they had a pretty good hit rate) with its hazy sleeve that mirrored the fact that you had to strain to hear the lyrics among the charging acoustic guitars. Strain I did as every song threw up a nugget every other line.

They've matured in sound and made arguably better lps (the 2 come backs of Into the Music and Weightlifting would be both on this list without the 1 lp rule) but Cake gets the nod as it came with that joy of "finding" someone making music that was just so in tune with what I liked but seemed to have gone for good

The follow up single showed they were no one tune fluke - here is a low key version played by the older and more mellow band

The highlights for me are 2 slow songs again chock full of quotable lines

Funny by the Trashcan Sinatras which has some of my favourite lines ever

I know her face so well
but the colour of her eyes escapes me for a moment

I know she doesnt play the field
But she likes to know the strength of the team

The band have a great website which you can find here -  and one of the best fansites which is a digital forever evolving museum to the band here

If you are yet to be convinced have a punt on the cd here and try to listen without smiling


  1. It's this or Weightlifting for me, although my iPod seems to have a soft spot for Fez.

  2. i remember thinking 'What a great name' but never really listened to them. Will do so soon.

  3. I'm a bit diverted... You've got me watching my DVD of Trashcan's 'Midnight At The Troubadour'. A nice set, just wish there were subtitles to translate the chat between songs! Not the flashiest band, but tight and pretty entertaining. Likely the closest I'll ever get to seeing them play live...

    Also listened to Cake & I've Seen Everything this evening. It's been a long while. I've never noticed the quirky lyrics on the early albums (no lyric sheets in my CDs). Some catchy tunes...


    - Yup, that really is the title. There are so many factors influencing this selection. Some of it comes down to the pleasant results of discovering his debut "Being There" (1993) in a record store used bin. Blind purchases that pay off are always special, aren't they? Anyway, the record was a really good, highly polished pop/folk music; an album I cherished because of it's smart, literate songs and of course it's obscurity. I shared it with my pal Eric, who loved the it too. Several years passed...

    Then about 10 years ago, I noticed in the paper that 'Martyn Joseph' was playing a gig in Toronto, first time ever in Canada. It was mid-winter... depressed and bored, I asked Eric if he wanted to check out this Welsh folksinger guy. We wound up driving 30 miles through a blizzard, temps of -30'C to find this little folk club, which was freezing inside; we had our snow-parkas on! After a harrowing cab ride from his hotel, MJ showed up to a crowd of 12 people, most completely unfamiliar with his music... We didn't expect much, thought he'd be miserable with the weather and the empty seats. No way! Martyn warmed up the place immediately, played and spoke with passion, energy, humility & goofinesss. He played his heart out for 2 1/2 hours, and I can safely say that all 12 of us were blown away, moved to tears with many a song. He's a wonderful storyteller, hilarious, witty and empathetic as well as a masterful guitarist.
    After the show he sat down with a few of us and we chatted like family. Not often an artist gets to know the names and backgrounds of the entire audience! Talk about intimate and interactive! Simply an unforgettable experience. Of course, positive word-of-mouth travels fast, and MJ now returns to TO yearly to SRO crowds of 300+... however he still greets & chats with the flock as they leave, like a vicar after mass. A charming, kind and talented Welshman is Martyn Joseph.

    Anyway, all of this background will hopefully explain this high placement of what might seem a journeyman folk-singer. I admit to partiality because of the personal interaction element, but I sincerely do love the music, and particularly this album. There's another long story relating to another MJ concert and chat linked to WIWTBMH that I'll spare you details on, except to say each song has a marvellous story behind it... I've chosen this one because there are no songs about political/social lament and injustice, which is certainly a component of some of his work. This one deals strictly with faith/doubt & human relationships; poetic & melodic and there isn't a bum track on it...

    Major shortage of clips for this album, but here's taste of some of his other work...

    Working Mother: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XINdn6NSs4
    Have An Angel Walk With Her: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW6Mc-XVONc
    Talk About It In The Morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXb-UQJINbo
    Cardiff Bay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwNWf7oTJjk
    Good Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WSt47YWZnk
    Wake Me Up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfyhMU_68QE

  4. Di and went to see him a few years back , mainly, I have to confess, because too many people told me that I sounded like him... the same vanity had connected me with David Bridie of My Friend the Chocolate Cake a few years before that and that worked into a firm (but distant) friendship. It was about a 300 seater and he played with a keyboard player. It was a great night out; not the most innovative of writers; some might say 'meat and potatoes' but, if that's your appetite it can be perfect. And there were one or two chicken skin moments: he spoke and sang a song for Paul Robeson (who I love off the back of my Dad) and also did a quiet version of U2's 'One' which was mesmeric. It might even have been you that got me into him TT. Hisd recent stuff has been a bit underwhelming but 'Whoever...' is an album I don't possess and I've committed to buying Top Tenners that I don't possess so...

  5. Hate to agree Trev, but every album after this was a big slide downhill for me, and every gig after the first few a little less magic, as the newer albums were spotlighted. However, my buddy Eric & the growing numbers at gigs beg to differ...
    Thunder & Rainbows is a nice compilation of his work up til this album.

    1. I have Thunder and Rainbows TT; use it as a source for the other albums...

  6. Like Trev,I was torn between this and 'Weightlifting' but strength of songs outweighed nostalgia in the end. I remember first hearing 'Cake' on a friends cassette player while sitting by the pool one evening. It was an immediate hit. I bought the album on my next visit to the local record shop.I still can't believe they had it on the shelves here in Israel.If there's one bad point to the album, it's that the vocals are too lost in the mix. With such great lyrics they should be heard!
    #9 Roddy Frame - Surf. One man and his guitar have never sounded better
    Tim - Martyn Joseph is a new name for me. Listened to all the clips. 'Working Mother' does sound like Bicycle Thieves era MM, no? Other tracks have a bit of Brucie in there. Overall not bad at all

  7. Phil: Working Mother is a hoot when MJ plays across the pond, as he deftly explains lyric references (HGV, Harrowgate, Alicante) to us foreigners, without missing a beat. Took me a few listens to realize the song is about a hooker! MJ tackles some heavy subjects - wifebeating (Half A Man), suicide (Good Man), capital punishment (Dic Pedaryn), casualties of war (Good In Me Is Dead), Alzheimers (Carried In Sunlight), all powerful and moving, but always with shards of light shining through the despair.
    Also agree about the mix/production on early Trashcans. Andy Chase gets it perfect.

  8. Totally agree with comments on the production mix. If anything it got even worse before finally getting it right with the 2 more recent releases.
    not sure why ive not got any mj or made more of an effort to seek stuff out.
    Seamus if you do listen to some more just avoid the happy pocket , the only one that doesn't really work


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