I Am The Mouth

All the links on yesterday’s long-overdue Chain to all things Blur made me realise they were yet to feature in this section.

Well, that makes today’s choice of record a no-brainer, since there is one early Blur single which is so overlooked that the band didn’t even bother to include it on their “Best of…” album.

Let me get something straight: “The Best of Blur” was not a “Best of..”, it was a Greatest Hits album, the title chosen because of it’s alliteration.

And how do I know it’s a Greatest Hits album? Because every track on it was a hit single, that’s how.

If it was a “Best of…” album then it would contain a smattering of album tracks. It would have “Tracy Jacks” on it for a start.

But no, today’s track was bumped in preference to the extremely shonky “Music is My Radar”, one of those “Exclusive New Tracks!” which have absolutely no right appearing on a “Best of…” compilation at all, especially not when it’s at the expense of one of the brighter highlights among many highlights of a band.

I’m thinking, of course, of their fourth single, the one that bridges the gap between debut album “Leisure” and follow-up “Modern Life is Rubbish” whilst appearing on neither; of a single which criminally only peaked at number 32 in the UK charts in 1992.

I’m thinking, of course, of “Popscene”:

39541

Blur – Popscene

I don’t need to say anymore, do I?

Thought not.

More soon.

I Am The Mouth

Blimey, where does the time go? Has it really been three weeks since I wrote one of these?

Well, this is a pretty straight-forward one.

Moloko were a duo from Sheffield comprising of Mark Brydon (a musician and producer who had previously worked with the likes of Chakk, Sly and Robbie, Human League, Psychic TV, Boy George, Art of Noise, Cabaret Voltaire, Krush and, erm, The Funky Worm) and Róisín Murphy (who hadn’t). The two met at a party in 1994 when Murphy approached Brydon with the chat-up line: “Do you like my tight sweater?” All of my sweaters are tight, I suspect not for the reason that Murphy’s was though.

The only record I’ve ever heard played out by Moloko is “Sing it Back”. That’s a great record, such a great record that today’s choice never gets a look in, which is a shame, because it has exactly the sort of groove, propelled along by a brass riff (I’m sure someone will now point out to me it’s not brass, it’s woodwind, but I’m pretty sure it’s a saxophone) which lends itself to some rather exotic shape pulling on the dancefloor. At least it does in my living room when nobody else is looking and I’ve had a few. Which is often.

c4de380e8949a92d07976b9f4aab0347_1000x1000x1

Moloko – Pure Pleasure Seeker

More soon.

I Am the Mouth

The issues with posting mp3 links which caused me a problem with this week’s “This is Pop” thread seem to have reappeared, so this weeks’ edition of “The Chain” is going to be delayed, I’m afraid. It sorted itself out last time, so “The Chain” will appear soon enough. In the meantime, to fill the void, I’ve already written all of this week’s posts, so I’ll start posting them a little early.

There’s much to love about The Charlatans, so it’s slightly odd that more often than not the tune by them that gets played out is their first Top 10 single “The Only One I Know” from way back in 1990, or their biggest hits, both from 1996, “One to Another” and “North Country Boy”.

It’s the song which they always close their live set with which gets the thumbs up from me; originally released as a single in 1991, this is the US version which popped on the B-Side of “Weirdo” a year later:

the_charlatans_uk_weirdoprint-169026

The Charlatans – Sproston Green (US Version)

Majestic.

More soon.

I Am The Mouth

When was the last time you heard a record by The Housemartins being played out that wasn’t “Happy Hour”?

Apart from when “Caravan of Love” gets its annual outing in department stores on the run up to Christmas (so, anytime from early September onwards), I mean.

Take nothing away from “Happy Hour”, it’s a bloody great tune. At the end of the video, there are three of the four members of the band dancing solo (drummer Hugh Whitaker doesn’t strut his stuff; in 1993, he was jailed for for assaulting his former business associate with an axe and setting fire to his house on three occasions, so he probably had other things on his mind at the time); when we were at college, me and my mate Keith would emulate guitarist Stan Cullimore’s moves (not be confused with former Ulrika botherer, dogger and professional footballer Stan Collymore) performing what we used to refer to as ‘The Wacky Stan Dance’.

It’s odd that’s pretty much the only record by The Housemartins that gets an airing; they were a consistent singles band, but only ever released nine, so it’s not as if there’s too many to choose from.

Rarely, for example, do you ever hear this one, an absolute rip-roaring belter, which was written on the same day as “Happy Hour”:

capa

The Housemartins – Me and The Farmer

Oh go on then, here’s the “Happy Hour” video, just so you can check out that dance:

More soon.

I Am The Mouth

Two for the price of one again today at the Alternative Alternative Disco, where often overlooked or just plain forgotten records by Indie acts past and present are dusted down and given an airing.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always had a bit of a thing for female fronted Indie bands; if I thought about it, I’d probably say this can be generally be traced back to my childhood love of Blondie and then The Pretenders.

But if I wanted to look specifically at Indie bands, then there’s no doubt we’re talking about The Primitives.

Hailing from Coventry, The Primitives success flared briefly. I first stumbled across them – no surprises here – when listening to John Peel, although truth be told they had already crossed my radar, for I’d seen a photo of Morrissey wearing a t-shirt for their excellent “Stop Killing Me” single (I know have this as a painting, hanging on my living room wall). But it was courtesy of Peel that I first heard one of their records – “Thru The Flowers”, the first record I bought by them.

A few months later, their debut album, the appropriately titled “Lovely” was released, and my love of them was further strengthened when I bought a copy of their album from the local Our Price store, where the chap on the till commended me on my choice. I don’t think that ever happened again, or if it did, I don’t remember it. It’s never as good as the first time.

As well as containing the aforementioned singles and a whole host of other equally, erm, lovely jangly guitar pop jewels, there was the smash hit “Crash”, which peaked at #5 in the UK Chart. It was the first time a band I had championed prior to them having some chart success had a hit, and I felt vindicated.

Their fame was short-lived; they soon usurped (equally briefly) by Transvision Vamp as the peroxide blonde fronted band of choice. The follow-up album, “Pure” had less memorable songs and although a couple of them – today’s choice included – were minor hits, their moment in the sun had gone.

Today’s choices come from the 12″ single released in the wake of “Lovely” and as a precursor to “Pure”; the single itself could easily feature in my fledgling “Clap, Clicks & Whistles” thread (and probably will, in a few months, when hopefully you’ve all  forgotten about me posting it here), and the other song was the second track on the B-side of the 12″, and was the song I was thinking of when I got distracted and posted the Inspiral Carpets instead a couple of weeks ago. It’s an absolute belter, despite the decision to alleviate the lovely Tracey Tracey of lead vocals and allow lead guitarist PJ Court have a go instead.

way-behind-me-front

The Primitives – Way Behind Me

The Primitives – All The Way Down (Beat Version)

The Primitives reformed back in 2009, and have received some pretty warm reviews for their new material; I was lucky enough to catch them live (for the first time) when they supported The Wedding Present at Koko in Camden in 2010 as part of their tour to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the “Bizarro” album.

I’d heard a few live recordings by them back when they were in their pomp and found them to be a little disappointing, so I approached the gig with more than a little trepidation. I need not have worried, they were great, dashing out much of the “Lovely” album along with others from their not so large back catalogue.

To my eternal shame though, as one late 80s classic ended, just as Tracey announced “We’re going to do one of our new songs now”, I turned to my mate Gary and, in a voice in a lot louder than I had intended, asked “Pint?”

Oh come one, we’ve all thought that at sometime or another when a reformed band makes that mid-gig announcement, haven’t we?

(Sorry Tracey.)

More soon.

I Am The Mouth

I didn’t really expect to revisit the output of one Stewart Godard aka Adam Ant so soon after starting this thread, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

On Saturday night, when I was out enjoying some gorgeous nosh, a friend and occasional reader of these pages and I got chatting about the reruns on Top of the Pops I mentioned the other day.

He’s a little younger than I am, though not as much as he claims, and we were talking, amongst other things, about which editions we could actually remember seeing.

I do have a vague recollection of seeing Sparks, mainly because Ron Mael’s curious moustache and death stare, though I wold struggle to say which song I saw them perform.

But when one of the editions I did remember when got reshown, I found myself bellowing “Yes! Four stages Adam!”

Which sounds like some kind of recovery plan, but in reality refers to the time that Adam Ant performed today’s tune – which never gets played out, and I have no idea why, because it’s such an absolute gem – and practically was given free reign of the Top of the Pops studio.

adam-ant-goody-two-shoes-1982-2

Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

And here, if you’re interested, is that multi-stage performance on Top of the Pops:

Kudos to the Top of the Pops producers for recognising a genuine pop star and allowing him to do what he wants, even if it is a bit Benny Hill in places, and does feature Adam frankly not being arsed to lip-sync at one point, and also allowing him to display his proficiency on the polystyrene crumbling column as an instrument.

But still, “Goody Two Shoes” is one hell of a record: a blistering assault on the media’s obsession with digging up the dirt on the famous and successful. Oh, how so very little changes.

More soon.

I Am The Mouth

So there I was, trying to decide what song I would post this week, on our visit to that perfect Indie Disco where songs which don’t normally get played “out” get a spin.

I had alighted on one and was mulling over what to write about it, when the phrase “…a keyboard that would make Clint Boon swoon…” came to mind to describe it. Which made me think that perhaps there was a more appropriate band I should focus on this week instead.

Yes that’s right, none other than  The Clint Boon Experience the Inspiral Carpets.

Very much a “singles band”, I think, and much played back in the day (by which I mean,  when I started DJ’ing at college, circa 1989), the Inspirals, along with bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and The Charlatans, very much saved my bacon. When I first started DJ’ing (I wrote about that here, in case you care to catch up), for the first few months my co-DJ Danny and I realised that perhaps the appetite for an Indie Night just wasn’t there amongst our fellow students.

See, this was a time when post-Smiths “indie music” wasn’t the bankable commodity it became after Britpop followed Grunge followed Shoegaze followed Madchester, and that time just happened to coincide with when we took over the fortnightly indie night. For the first couple of months, to say we struggled to break even most weeks was an understatement. The venue we played in had a capacity of 400, and often we would struggle to get anywhere near the treble-figure mark attending. There was talk of the night being axed altogether, and Danny and I scratched our heads as to what we could do to save it. We certainly didn’t want to go down in Students Union history as being the guys who killed the only alternative music night.

And then we got lucky. Suddenly this new sound, this distinctive baggy, Madchester groove, started getting more airplay on the radio,  and before we knew it, the “kids” were suddenly asking us for us to play all these new bands predominantly from the North West, sometimes bringing us records to play, all turning up to our night wearing flared trousers and hooded tops, keen to look cool and show off their Bez dance, if those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

Danny and I seized the moment with both hands, which is four hands if you think about it, seeking out and playing more and more of this stuff: Northside, New Fast Automatic Daffodils, The Mock Turtles…and then the existing indie bands, your Primal Screams, your Soup Dragons, started releasing their own brand of indie/dance crossover and having…bloody hell, what’s this..?…hits! Suddenly, our little indie night was the place to be seen every other Tuesday night, and  before we knew it Danny and I achieved a very low level of fame, hosts of “that night where they play the cool stuff” before the more commercial Saturday Night DJ’s had sunk their teeth into them.

Inspiral Carpets were very much a “must-play” band for us back then; but if you hear them played out these days, I guarantee you it will probably be either “Dragging Me Down” or “Saturn 5” which has the dust blown off its grooves; fine singles both, but it’s in the direction of an earlier, less polished, single that I want to lovingly prod you.

Actually, no, make that two singles: for when I decided it would be the Inspirals that would feature here this week, I couldn’t make up my mind which of two to post. So here you go, have them both, because they are both absolute corkers.

Firstly, a song which, when Hel and I used to share a flat, we would sing whenever watching ‘Match of the Day’ and a certain ex-Man City and Everton forward would get a mention:

inspiralcarpets-joe-uk-12-a

Inspiral Carpets – Joe

…and secondly, the follow-up single, 2:03 of pure upbeat, swirly-organed pop joy, guaranteed to leave you with a ridiculous grin on your face:

findoutwhy

Inspiral Carpets – Find Out Why

Hopefully you’ll understand why I couldn’t decide on just one of those to post.

More soon.