Same Title, Different Song

A couple of tracks from acts that I love this morning.

First, from their third – and my favourite – album, “Surrender”:

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The Chemical Brothers – Out of Control

The Chemical Brothers, of course, often employ guest vocalists (they’ve worked with Noel Gallagher, Tim Burgess, Hope Sandoval, Beck, Wayne Coyne, Beth Orton, Richard Ashcroft, Q-Tip, Kele Okereke, Will Mason, Fatlip, Klaxons, Lightspeed Champion…the list goes on) and, of course, on “Out of Control” it’s the turn of Bernard Sumner and Bobby Gillespie to make appearances; the above is the extended album version.

Similarly ground-breaking and influential are Super Furry Animals, who apparently I mention too often round these parts. If I do, so be it: it’s because they’re effing amazing.

From their sixth album, “Phantom Power”:

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Super Furry Animals – Out Of Control

The reason this song title has sprung to mind today is because this week Lush announced the imminent release of their first new material in twenty years, a four-track EP (yes, just like they used to in the good old days) entitled “Blind Spot EP”.

In the press release, Miki Berenyi said: “It certainly took some time to set up, but once we were in the studio, everything came together incredibly quickly. It was great fun! It’s been a long time since I’ve written Lush lyrics, and I realised early on with this EP that what I wrote about then is not what I feel comfortable writing about now. My perspective, and what is close to my heart, has changed, and I think that’s conveyed in the songs.”

Bass player Phil King adds: “I know I’m biased, but I work for a music magazine and so much of the music I hear played in the office sounds non-descript or derivative. Emma has this way of writing unusual chord changes and manages to weave lovely melodies over the top, and it immediately sounds distinctive, like Lush.”

I have a policy of not posting mp3s here that either haven’t yet been, or have only just been released, so you won’t be getting anything from me here – but you can have a gander at the video for the lead track from the new EP, called, you guessed it, “Out of Control”:

I think it’s fair to say that’s a real return to their earlier, ethereal, oh-go-on-then-if-I-absolutely-have-to-say-it-“Shoegazey” sound rather than their later Brit-poppy days, and that’s no bad thing. (I say that as if I don’t like their Brit-pop phase, but I think we’ve established in previous posts that’s not the case)

It’s scheduled for release on April 15th, but you can pre-order it here.

Enjoy.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Evening all.

Just so you know, this week’s selection comes with one of those Parental Guidance stickers right across it.

Also, I’m writing this with the Wales v France match on the TV in the background, so if this is posted a little later than usual, you’ll know why.

Let’s get straight to it; we’ll pick up where we left off last week and a song that in all honesty should be the theme tune to this thread:

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132. St Etienne – Join Our Club

Released in 1992, as you can see as a double A-side with “People get Real”, which the band had wanted to release as a single in its own right, but met opposition from their record label, Heavenly. So, they set about creating the most commercial record they could, and “Join Our Club” was the result. This was the second single to feature Sarah Cracknell, after founder members Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs had ditched the idea of using a variety of lead singers – a concept which features (and works, but very little that St Etienne produces doesn’t) heavily on their debut album “Foxbase Alpha”, but which the duo decided against once they had worked with La Cracknell.

Next, to New Young Pony Cub (or NYPC as they are apparently now known), and this oft-over-looked single from their second album:

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133. New Young Pony Club – We Want To

New Young Pony Club are one of those bands that don’t really ever seem to have quite broken through, despite supporting Lily Allen on an early tour, and also claiming a spot on the 2007 NME Indie Rave Tour, along with the likes of CSS, The Sunshine Underground, and Klaxons. I suspect that CSS and Klaxons, indie-press darlings that they were at the time, probably gained most of the attention on that tour.

An ex-flatmate of mine told me once that the next band had won some TV talent show or another – suffice it to say it was The X Factor – but since he also once tried to convince me that every song title on Andrew W.K.’s “I Get Wet” album has the word “Party” in it, and since his favourite groups were Kasabian and Mumford & Sons, and since he once came home telling me he’d just heard the most awesome Britpop band ever (he was talking about Longpigs, who you know, are alright and of course gave us Richard Hawley, but…), and since he used to eat Doritos whilst sitting on the toilet, I am, frankly, sceptical. If he’s right about any of those points (particularly the Doritos bit), I’m sure one of you will enlighten me.

Anyway, here’s:

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134. Fangs – S.I.C.K.O.

And well, that leads me rather nicely onto this:

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135. The Charlatans – Weirdo

When you think about it, it’s a miracle that The Charlatans are still going, let alone that they’ve been one of the most consistent UK singles bands for the past twenty-going-on-thirty years; when they started out they were considered little more than Madchester wannabes (a tag which, I’m pleased to say, they’ve consistently proved wrong on many times since, having outlived all of the main scene protagonists. No need for The Charlatans to reform, nosireebob. And no seven year wait for a second album, either) and they’ve constantly been beset with drama and tragedy. In 1992, original keyboard player Rob Collins managed to get himself mixed up in an armed robbery being committed by a friend, and unwittingly ended up being his getaway driver. He ended up getting a four month stretch at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for that. Rob’s car related bad luck didn’t end there though: he was killed in a car crash in 1996. In 2013, drummer Jon Brookes died from a brain tumour that had been diagnosed in 2010.

But The Charlatans always seem to bounce back, and of all the varied and wonderful singles they’ve released, “Weirdo” is probably my favourite, not least because the 12″ single contains the US version of “Sproston Green” which they always, but always, end their live sets with.

Anyway, since we seem to have drifted into the territory of songs with vaguely insulting titles, we may as well have the king of such things:

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136. Goldie Lookin’ Chain – Your Mother’s Got A Penis

You have to love ’em, don’t ya?

Well, we’re now into Parental Guidance time, so please only continue if you are above the age of 18 and have the bill-payer’s permission. Or something.

Have they all gone? Good, then I’ll continue.

A song now that I mentioned in passing on these pages some time ago:

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137. Fatboy Slim – Star 69

…and which I’m therefore not going to dwell on any further here. It just fits here, okay?

Many years ago, when I was working as a “chef” in a motorway service station restaurant, I bunked off one Sunday to spend the day with my friend Richard, who had invited me and a few others round for a day of roast dinner, drinking and watching films. The only film I can recall that we actually watched that day was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” starring Whoopi Goldberg. I remember nothing about the plot.

So why am I mentioning this now, I hear you wonder? Well, the only thing that I do remember is Richard commenting that “Nobody swears like Whoopi swears”. That may have been true in 1986, but no longer I fear. I say this not in any kind of “Kids of today, eh?” rhetoric, but because…well…here’s Peaches:

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138. Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away

Saucy.

And speaking of sauce, no selection of rudeness would be complete without a nod in the direction of the Purple One:

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139. Prince – Sexy M.F.

Much as Fatboy knew that releasing a single with the words “What the Fuck” repeated quite a few times was unlikely to attract much airplay and so tucked it away as a AA-side, Prince knew to abbreviate his title and provide an edited version for radio use.

A change of pace now. Just as bands often punctuate their live sets with slower songs to give the audience a chance to get their breath back, so does Friday Night Music Club, and the moment has arrived where I get to do one of the things I love to do most these days: have a good sit down.

Still room for some abbreviated swears though.

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140. John Grant – GMF

And whilst we’re having a few moments of quiet cursing, here’s eels, who aren’t afraid to dispense with the abbreviations:

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141. eels – It’s A Motherfucker

Many years ago, I had a (now ex) friend round at my place once when I happened to play “Gorecki” by Lamb. If you don’t know the song, it’s a quite, quite beautiful, fragile thing, not a million miles away from Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, neither of which would be out of place in my “Late Night Stargazing” thread (and which will feature there soonish, once I stop thinking of songs I’d rather post there). Anyway, she had never heard it before, and made me play it another two or three times. As she loved it so much, I did what I often do when someone tells me they like a song I’ve played them: I made her a mix CD with it on.

She was very grateful. Or rather, she would have been had I not, in her words, “totally ruined it” by placing this song immediately afterwards:

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142. Tenacious D – Fuck Her Gently

I am 46 and single. That may go some way to explaining why.

It seems appropriate, then, that I post this next: a band that I’m quite simply staggered to see I’ve not posted anything by here before. This is something I shall have to rectify immediately:

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143. Teenage Fanclub – Some People Try to Fuck With You

I went to see The Fannies (see? even their nickname is rude) in Bristol about ten years ago, when they were promoting their greatest hits album “Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds – A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub”, and I took the opportunity to purchase some official merchandise, namely a t-shirt bearing the band’s moniker upon on it. I have subsequently learned that wearing such a t-shirt gains you some disapproving looks from people who are unaware of the band’s existence. I no longer wear it outside.

It’s not often that I post a Number One single on these pages, but here is one such occasion:

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144. Cee Lo Green – Fuck You

Of course, Cee Lo had to change the lyrics to “Forget You” in order that the single might attract any airplay, but we’re having none of that cleaned-up-version nonsense here tonight.

Now to something a lot less well known, which is a shame as it’s rather fine:

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145. The Bird and The Bee – Fucking Boyfriend

(Apologies if I seem to be rattling through these now. It’s because I am. Got a bit too engrossed in the rugby, see).

So, finally, the closing track from their first album “Life’s Too Good”, an album which properly introduced us to the wonderfully bonkers Bjork (though the Festive Fifty-topping “Birthday” had seriously whetted our appetites). This is one of the few songs in their canon not to include Einar butting in with an incoherent rant, a practice which always came perilously close to spoiling their songs in my book. Almost, but not close enough.

I was once discussing Welsh popsters The Automatic with a work colleague, who bemoaned the presence of Alex Pennie on their early records (Y’know, when they were kinda famous); he hated his vocal style and found him intrusive.

“Ah,” I said, nodding sagely “like Einar from The Sugarcubes.”

He looked at me blankly.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I have rarely felt older.

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146. The Sugarcubes – Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow

That’ll do you for tonight.

More soon.

From Leeds With Love

In 2009, I deliberately made myself feel very old indeed by going to see The Wedding Present on their tour to mark the 20th anniversary of their “Bizarro” album.

The idea was one which many bands have employed both before and since: pick a seminal recording from your back catalogue and perform the whole thing live, with the set list reflecting the running order of the track-listing of the album in question.

I’ve been to a few of these gigs: I’ve seen The Lemonheads play the “It’s a Shame About Ray” album, Teenage Fanclub play “Bandwagonesque”, The Jesus & Mary Chain do “Psychocandy”, Ride relive “Nowhere”, Primal Scream perform “Screamadelica”, and The Wedding Present do both “Bizarro” and “Watusi”. They are all usually accompanied by a Greatest Hits set, and are mostly attended by men of a certain age, like myself, who generally suppress the desire to join the mosh-pit, preferring to pick a good place to stand, preferably equidistant between the stage, the bar and – most importantly – the toilets.

Anyway: Camden KOKO’s 2009, and in between songs Wedding Present main man David Gedge indulged in some fairly good-natured banter with some of the sweatier, more vocal chaps down the front. One exchange went along these lines:

Sweaty Punter: “Leeds United are shit!”

Gedge: “I know. I support Man Utd.”

Sweaty Punter: *silence*

This Sweaty Punter was quite clearly an amateur, a new kid on the block, if you will. For the signs about Gedge’s football allegiances have been clear since…ooooh…1987 when The Wedding Present released their era-defining album which was named after and featured this chap on the sleeve:

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For the uninitiated, that’s George Best, and he even agreed to appear in some of promotional shots for the album. Mind you, this was during his drinking days so I wouldn’t want to swear he knew what he was agreeing to.

And from that album, comes today’s cover version:

The Wedding Present – Getting Nowhere Fast

When I first heard the “George Best” album – which, incidentally, remains one of my favourite albums ever, almost thirty years since I first heard it – I had no idea that was a cover version, nor, for that matter, did I  when I bought my second vinyl copy of it 2 weeks after I got to college, my first copy having been pinched after I misguidedly took it to a house party.

But a cover version it was, and here’s the original, part of a self-financed Double A side 7″ single released on the band’s own Record Records label in 1980:

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Girls At Our Best – Getting Nowhere Fast

Girls At Our Best (! optional, it seems) also hailed from Leeds, but their football team of choice is, sadly, undocumented.

Now, I’m going to say this very quietly, because this is not something I usually say about a song The Wedding Present have covered: I think I prefer the original. Don’t get me wrong: I bloody love the Wedding Present version, but ever since my late teens I’ve always had a thing about female-fronted indie/alternative bands. See also: The Primitives, The Darling Buds, The Flatmates, My Bloody Valentine, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Echobelly, Sleeper, 10,000 Maniacs, The Audience, Lush, Kenickie, The Cardigans, and many, many more….you get the drift. I’m not sure if this is because I really liked Blondie and Dusty Springfield when I was a kid, or some deep-rooted underlying Freudian psycho-sexual issue I have that I really should have addressed by now. I’ll plump for the former.

Anyway, you decide which you like best. It matters not which, they’re both fecking marvellous.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Morning all.

Today’s choice is by a group who were massive in the early 1990s, and who have, on occasion, been accused of being a little on the pompous side. When you write lyrics like “Who put brown owl eyes on a butterflies wings?” (from their 1992 single “Born of Frustration”) you can kind of understand why.

No such issues with this morning’s record though (although “We could cross the race divide, bridge a gap that wasn’t really there” comes close), which is an unabashed feel-good love song that will have you tap-dancing through the puddles.

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James – Just Like Fred Astaire

Lovely that, innit?

More soon.

Same Title, Different Song

One of the reasons I avoided watching The Who at Glastonbury last year (apart from the fact that I would much rather watch FFS, a decision which, having watched the footage when I got home, I was completely correct in making) was that I had been so disappointed by them when I last watched them at the same place in 2007.

And one of the reasons I was so disappointed by them then was that they didn’t do this, to my mind one of their greatest singles:

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The Who – Substitute

On balance though, I would have been more impressed had they performed this entirely different song with – you guessed it – the same title:

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Clout – Substitute

I bloody love that record, and it is at least partially responsible for this blog.

Whilst it’s a record I seem to have always known – I listened to a lot of Radio 2 as a kid – I didn’t come into ownership of my own copy until I wandered into the Fopp record store that used to be in Cardiff one day about 10 years ago and came out owning it, on a double compilation album called “Guilty Pleasures Rides Again”. I hadn’t noticed it on the track listing when I decided to buy the CD, but when I got home and listened to it and it got to this track I remember thinking “What the hell is this doing on an album I’m supposed to feel guilty about liking?”

And then I realised I’d been thinking it for the previous ten tracks on the same CD (ELO and Manfred Mann are in that ten track bunch, for Christ’s sake – what’s wrong with liking them??)

I feel a new thread coming on…..

Anyway, imagine my surprise when several years later I found that Clout’s “Substitute” was in fact a cover version, the original having been done by (and I’m open to correction here, in case there’s an even earlier version I’m unaware of) this pair of housewives’ favourites:

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The Righteous Brothers – Substitute

More soon.

Apropos of Nothing

When I was DJ’ing at the end of the 80s/start of the 90s, I bought this on 7″ single, only to find that I had inadvertently picked up the “Radio Edit”, which substitutes the phrase “Big Mac” for the phrase “Milk Shake” (it may actually be Big Shake, I’m not sure).

The reason for this alteration was that the Poppies (for it is they) doubtless wanted their record to be played on the BBC (particularly Radio 1 although I doubt they would have sniffed at it being played on Radio 2, 3 or 4 or…that’s the lot. Pre-digital days, see) and the BBC – to it’s eternal credit and possibly detriment – doesn’t do advertisements.

See, the publicly funded BBC is supposed to be impartial, to not show bias or preference to any person, party, corporation or company.

I say supposed there like I think they don’t manage it. Let me clarify:  The BBC may have many faults (failing to commission a third series of Sharon Horgan’s “Pulling” for example), but lack of  impartiality isn’t one of them.

The BBC, as ever, is under attack from the UK Government. This seems to be an ongoing situation, and sadly isn’t restricted to the current regime. The Conservatives are constantly baying for it to be either closed down or privatised (their “answer” to everything, it seems), and Labour were no better when they were in. Generally, the given reason for this is that it is biased one way or the other.

Is it fuck.

As Simon Blackwell, writer/producer with a fine pedigree (Veep, The Thick Of It, In The Loop, Peep Show, Four Lions, Have I Got News For You) recently tweeted:

Like the NHS, the BBC is an institution us Brits should be proud of. We’ll miss them both when they’re gone/sold off.

Anyway, I seem to have gone on a bit of a rant rather than just posting the record, so I’ll shut up and do just that:

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Pop Will Eat Itself – Def Con One

More soon.

How Not to Do a Cover Version

As I’ve previously mentioned, when doing a cover, it is often best to try and pick an obscure one that your average Joe Public won’t realise is a cover.

That said, try to remember to pick one that doesn’t make you look like an utter sleazebag.

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Robert Palmer – I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On

Now, I’m sure Mr Palmer was a perfectly lovely guy. But this choice of cover, coupled with the rather lazy rehash of the “Addicted to Love” video which accompanied it, always made me feel a little icky. Like he had just wheeled up at a primary school, proffering a bag of Haribo Tangfastics and the promise of puppies. Or, like he was standing up in Court and giving his testimony under oath.

Or like this (apologies, embedding this has been blocked by “the author”, but you can click the link and just watch it on YouTube):

Adam Johnson, take note.

Compare it with the breezy “Ooops, sorry Mister, did I do that?” innocence of the original:

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Cherelle – I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On

I’ll leave you to chew on that.

More soon.