Friday Night Music Club

So, as I mentioned last week, I spent the majority of Sunday in an increasingly wet and muddy Victoria Park attending Field Day.

Consensus amongst my group was that we’d rather catch The Avalanches and Air in the relocated Return of the Rural tent than any of the other headliners – and, yes, that included PJ Harvey, sacrilege, I know – but in terms of staying dry and relatively mud-free it was a pretty smart move.

Oh and because of the music too, of course.

We arrived just at the tent just as The Temper Trap were finishing, which just happened to coincide with quite the downpour, so we happily ventured inside, where the resident DJs were whipping the crowd up into a pre-Avalanches frenzy by dropping this little beauty:

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294. Naughty By Nature – O. P. P.

Now I’m not going to pretend that I was particularly fond of rap or hip hop when it first reached these shores – the Beastie Boys was about as far as my taste stretched – and O.P.P. was not a song that even crossed my radar until some 10 years or so after it was released in 1991. In fact, it’s probably one of the records that is responsible for me revisiting all of those classic tunes and realising I would totally have to re-evaluate my position.

And yes, to those who know me, that does mean having to admit I was wrong. It does happen.

Hearing it again last week was a joy, in particular watching lots of people of around about my age trying to bust the same moves they used to roll out when this first came out, with varying degrees of success, I think it’s fair to say.

Me? I have no moves.

Of course, O.P.P. features a sample of this early 70s classic:

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295. Jackson 5 – ABC

Which got me thinking: song titles with abbreviations, acronyms or just letters (but not words) – there’s got to be a few of them, right?

Right! Yup, belt yourself in folks, it’s theme time again here on a Friday night, and I promise everyone of these is a belter. Which means no “YMCA”, obviously.

No list of abbreviation titles would be complete without this next one, though:

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296. Ottawan – D.I.S.C.O.

I believe Dame Edna Everage got her specs back eventually.

Somewhere in the darkest, most ill-informed recesses of my brain, I had stored the information that they were called Ottawan because they were from Ottawa, Canada. Nope. French, apparently. Not even French-Canadian. Just French. With a bit of what Wikipedia rather vaguely refers to as “Caribbean” thrown into the mix. Ah well, you’re never too old to learn, eh?

Keeping things on a disco-y vibe, here’s some Philly soul:

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297. MFSB featuring The Three Degrees – TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia)

Now that’s value for money: not just one set of abbreviations, but two. As you can see, TSOP stands for The Sound of Philadelphia, whilst the MFSB stands for…ermm…well, let’s just say the clean version is “Mother Father Sister Brother”, whilst the considerably less clean version has at least one of those changed for something altogether fruitier.

And yes, that really is The Three Degrees, they of “When Will I See You Again” fame, and one time favourite band of Prince Charles. Like that’s a recommendation.

Now it’s not often that I post two songs by the same artist in the same thread, and I’m not about to start now, but this does come awfully close.

In 1982, Michael Jackson released his “Thriller” album. You don’t need me to tell you what a massive album that was, I assume? Thought not. It was accompanied by what seemed to be a never-ending stream of singles from it. “Thriller” contained 9 tracks. 7 of them were released as singles. Unbelievably, “Thriller” itself was the last of them, presumably because the video took so long to do. The next track was the 6th:

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298. Michael Jackson – PYT (Pretty Young Thing)

Thanks for clarifying what the “PYT” referred to for us there, Michael.

Although, given the allegations which dogged his adult life, I don’t think he really needed to, did he? I mean, the signs were there for us all to see when you think about it. He looks like he’s growling in that cover shot, leaning out the window of a Ford Cortina, Bubbles the monkey strapped in the passenger seat, a bag of tempting sweeties just out of shot.

On the subject of “Thriller”, the song, not the album, one of my favourite pub quiz facts: it was written by a chap called Rod Temperton from the exotic town of Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, who used to be in Heatwave, a late 70s/early 80s disco band best known for their 1976 hit “Boogie Nights”, after which the brilliant movie by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Mark Wahlberg as blessed in the “downstairs area” porn star Dirk Diggler, is named. If you haven’t seen it, go away and do so right now. We’ll wait for you, I promise.

Have they gone? Right, let’s carry on.

Something bordering on contemporary now: a record that’s only ten years old, which is about as recent as I get round these parts.

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299. Rihanna – SOS

Heavily sampling Soft Cell’s version of “Tainted Love” (more about that over the weekend), the song was originally intended for Def Jam label-mate Christina Milian for her third solo album “So Amazin'”, but she turned it down and it was given to Rihanna instead. “SOS” went on to become Rihanna’s first US number one single, whilst Milian’s album absolutely tanked and she was dropped by the label. Them’s the breaks.

And so to the 300th song in this thread, and I can’t think of a better song to inhabit this position (well, I can, but it’d probably be a Quo one and you’d all moan) than this:

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300. The Shamen – L.S.I. (Beat Edit)

You have to love Mr C’s rapping interlude’s, don’t you? Altogether now: “Love Sex Intelligence…coming on like a seventh sense!”

Wait a minute – seventh? No, no, no, no, no. Master Fry says there’s more:

Time for some proper Old School rave stuff now:

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LFO – LFO

In case you’re interested, LFO stands for Low-Frequency Oscillator, a function on what used to be called synthesizers, but now are just called keyboards.

And now, as they say, for something completely different, and to a song which I have been thinking about posting in my “Same Title, Different Song” thread, along with one by Monty Python’s Flying Circus:

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302. Shonen Knife – S*P*A*M

I own far too few Shonen Knife songs; I posted their fab “Space Christmas” song about six months ago here (just before Christmas, funnily enough), and own this, and their wonderful cover version of The Carpenters’ “Top of the World” (which I’ll get round to posting sooner or later), and that seems to be about it. I thought I had more than that. But every time I hear something by them, I have a smile on my face. Mental note to self: buy more Shonen Knife.

Ok, time to get loud. Here’s the Manic Street Preachers:

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303. Manic Street Preachers – P.C.P.

Lifted from their seminal 1994 “The Holy Bible” album, and released as a Double A side along with “Faster”, the boys caused quite the stir when they appeared on Top of the Pops, dressed like this:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the military regalia, and in particular lead singer James Dean Bradfield’s balaclava, were construed by many as a show of support for the IRA, and the BBC received 25,000 complaints, which seems a suspiciously round figure to me.

If any of you are disturbed by Bradfield’s attire, I can temper that somewhat: he came into Boots the Chemist in Cardiff when I worked there, and asked me to show him where the Athlete’s Foot powder was kept. Pop stars, see? They’re just like you and I. Except with icky fungal foot conditions.

Two to go for tonight. Penultimately, some Blur.

By 1997, the Britpop war between Blur and Oasis was over, and few could argue that from a commercial perspective, Oasis had won. Yes, Blur’s “Country House” had beaten Oasis’ “Roll With It” to the Number One slot in the singles, but “The Great Escape” album – though it had its moments – paled in comparison to its predecessor “Parklife” and racked up sales of 2.54 million worldwide. Oasis’ “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory”, on the other hand, managed 22.4 million. I love Blur, but that’s fairly comprehensive.

So the band went off, regrouped and rethought things. What they came back with, the eponymous “Blur” album, from memory, surprised, shocked, delighted and just plain pissed off fans in equal measure. Gone were the upbeat chirpy cockney numbers, in came a more lo-fi, stripped down sound (see: “Beetlebum“) tempered by the occasional blast of sonic noise terror and whooping (see: “Song 2“).

See also, this:

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 304. Blur – M.O.R. (Alan Moulder Road Version)

And so finally, since we’ve mentioned Britpop, to a track from, to my mind, the greatest album from that brief period; to a title that takes abbreviations to a whole new level, and a song which displays classic Jarvis witticisms, slow burn atmospherics which would become more prevalent on their follow-up album “This Is Hardcore”, building to a crescendo which is just, well, Pulp:

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305. Pulp – F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E.

More soon.

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Friday Night Music Club

Hello, good evening and welcome to what is for us lucky folks in the UK is that rarest and most beautiful of things: a bank holiday weekend.

For those of you outside the UK, that means we have Monday off.

And for what I think is the first time in my working life, I have been astute enough to book today off too, giving me a glorious 4 days off on the trot.

And how will I be spending it, I hear you ask? Predominantly, perched in front of my laptop writing guff for you all to enjoy read, interspersed with the occasional missive to the agency who manage the flat I live in about where they can stick the £150.00 “administration fee” they want to charge me to renew my tenancy agreement.

So before, I get all grizzly about that, let’s get going with a non-themed, just tunes Friday Night Music Club.

But first some admin: inspired by The Robster over at “Is This The Life?” I’m using a different file-sharing service this week. I’ve grown a little tired of people telling me they can’t use the Zippyshare link to songs on their phones, and even more so about the pop-ups that Zippyshare seem to generate, and the content of some of the ads they insert, which I definitely do not approve of, and which I hope none of you have clicked. I’ve road-tested the new one and it seems to be waaaaaay better, but I’d be grateful for your feedback (Cath, Llyr, Kay) as to whether it’s an improvement or not.

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262. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

When I was in my final year at college, I would often spend a Friday night round at my mate Daints’ flat. Daints was the singer in the band that I attempted to play lead guitar in, and I would often seek sanctuary round at his. Occasionally we would rehearse or, heaven forbid, write a song; more often we would sink a few beers, smoke a few fags (USA folks: that doesn’t mean what you think), play a little Tetris (this does nothing to negate any nerd thoughts you may have had about me, does it?) and indulge in what today is annoyingly termed “banter” but back then was just some mates having a laugh.

On one such occasion, Daints was ribbing (again, not what you USA folks might think) one of his flat-mates (a nice enough girl called Paula, who my friends and I all referred to, rather unkindly I can see with the benefit of hindsight, as “Baked Potato” because of her resemblance to one) about her love of The Cure, by pointing out that there out-put at the time (i.e. when this came out) was nothing more than “chart music”. He spat the phrase out with such distaste that she had no chance of recovery.

Still, it’s perfect Friday Night fodder, and let’s be honest, whilst I have no clue about what bothers the charts these days, there’s nothing wrong with our favourite bands being successful, right? Hence it’s inclusion here.

Next, an oft-overlooked single from what I think is one of the greatest debut albums in recent history:

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263. Franz Ferdinand – Michael

Now, the closest you will get to a theme this week, and a man who apparently had no “G” on his keyboard :

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264. Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

Let’s just examine some of the lyrics for a second:

“You’re A Vegetable (You’re A Vegetable)
Still They Hate You (You’re A Vegetable)
You’re Just A Buffet (You’re A Vegetable)
They Eat Off Of You (You’re A Vegetable)”

Erm, okay Michael.

Who knew he had so much in common with Thatcher?

Or the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for that matter (Let’s not go there – Legal Ed.)

Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa indeed.

Ok, moving on to my favourite type of record to play when DJ’ing.: long ones.

The benefit of dropping long record are threefold:

  1. You don’t have to think about what to play next for a while;
  2. You can dash off to the toilet and get back in plenty of time for the next tune;
  3. Generally, people don’t like to walk off the dancefloor mid-record, as it makes it look like they didn’t know what they were dancing to in the first place. Long records test their endurance in a way that Bear Grylls can only dream of, allowing you chuckle about  those who start dancing and who then feel compelled/become determined to see it out to the end of the song, however knackered they may look 3/4 of the way through.

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265. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up

That’s just shy of 12 minutes worth of funky grooviness right there, and if you can’t make it to the Gents and back in that time, then I’d suggest you contact your GP.

Next up, a song you will all know, but a remix of it that I first came across when I picked it up on a compilation CD in a Virgin megastore sale, and which has such a fantastically 80s bass-line it almost makes me want to be the next Mrs John Taylor:

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266. Duran Duran – Girls on Film (Salt Tank Remix)

And for all you lonely people (by which  here’s the original video, directed by 10cc’s Godley and Crème and banned by the BBC for what will become fairly obvious reasons if you watch it (by which I mean Dad, do not watch this when Mum’s around):

Moving swiftly on….and following on from my recent Kate Bush posts, here’s a remix of a 1992 tune by Utah Saints, which samples La Madame Bush, this version released in 2008:

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267. Utah Saints – Something Good 08 (Van She Tec Mix)

…and which had a simply splendid video to accompany it:

Terrible gag at the end, mind, but as a former Cardiffian, I can’t help but love it.

Next up, a tune that simply sounds good played next to that one:

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268. Simian Mobie Disco – Audacity of Huge

I first came across the next record when I was DJ’ing at college; originally called “Pro>Gen”, it got it’s first release when the band’s sort-of original line-up was still intact, by which I mean before Will Sinn had tragically drowned off the coast of Tenerife.

Truth be told, it did little to bother the charts on it’s first release, but post-Sinn, in that way that records tend to do when someone involved with creating them dies, like the general public rubber-necking a car crash, it was much more successful when it got re-released as “Move Any Mountain”.

Here’s the original:

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269. The Shamen – Pro>Gen

I worked with The Shamen once. *CLANG* Name-dropping alert!!

We booked them on the Synergy Tour when I was at college and one of my many duties was to ensure their rider demands were met. On this occasion, one of them was that all of the performers were provided with a hot meal.

No problem, I thought: they can have something from the college refectory, same as every other band that had come through our doors. If it’s good enough for the Manic Street Preachers, The Blue Aeroplanes and Carter USM (CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!), it’s good enough for this lot, reasoned I.

So, they were provided with menus of the day’s delicious offerings, from which they all ordered, and I dispatched a couple of members of my team to go and collect their chosen sustenance.

Mr C. was, I recall, not happy about the standard of the slop that he was given, ranting off about how he hadn’t eaten properly for days and how he couldn’t eat what he had been given.

I stood up and looked him in the eye.

“We have to eat this shit every fucking day, mate” I said.

Mr C sat down again.

I still love his rap in this though.

After the gig, I ventured into the dressing room. Now I’m not saying that they weren’t all diabetics, but there were an awful lot of syringes laying around in there.

I once played “Pro>Gen” at a house party, and the now ex-girlfriend of one of my best mates started singing “E’s are Good” when it got to the chorus, not in any ironic “they all sound the same” kinda way, but in a genuine “that’s what this record is, right?” kinda way.

Lucky escape, mate.

At the same house party (shout out to the Hilldrop Massive!!), I played this, and a man I’d never met before, or since, practically exploded with excitement, came and hugged me, and then would not shut up about the fact I’d played it for the rest of the night. So, in his honour:

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270. Double Trouble & Rebel MC – Street Tuff (Scar Radio Mix)

Two more songs for tonight. Firstly, the song which they invariably use to mark the end of one of their gigs; this is essentially the sound of The Charlatans flicking the lights on and off, stacking chairs and starting to mop the floor around you:

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271. The Charlatans – Sproston Green (US Version)

But it’s not our end of night tune. That honour goes to another act that needs no introduction, and which, if you timed listening/reading to all of this just right, will be pretty much perfect:

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272. The Chemical Brothers – Midnight Madness

The video is rather fun/disturbing (delete as applicable):

That should do you for this week.

More soon.