Late Night Stargazing

It’s funny how you remember little landmarks in your life; tonight’s tune comes from the first CD that I ever bought online. Not the first CD I ever bought, mind: the first CD I bought online.

Because it is more renowned for the spectacular Dry The Rain, The Beta Band’s 3 EPs – which, you’ll be surprised to learn, features all of the tracks from their first 3 EPs – the other tracks are often overlooked.

I really like this one (and pretty much all of the others on it too):

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Having posted something by The Aliens last week, one of the acts which rose from the ashes of The Beta Band, I thought it only right I posted something by Steve Mason, former member of the same band.

This is from his fourth solo album and I think this song is the closest he has got to sounding like The Beta Band’s finest moments:

Steve Mason – About The Light

And here’s the song that reminds me of; if you only know one Beta Band tune this is the one to know. And if you’ve seen High Fidelity (and I imagine you all have) you will know it intimately:

The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Two fairly dull anecdotes: firstly, one night when Hel and I still shared a flat, her feller, and now husband, Neil came round. I mention Neil every now and then, mostly in the context of us finding we both love certain Dire Straits and Kris Kristofferson records and aren’t ashamed to announce it to the world. So I think it only right to point out that he doesn’t only like those (he’s a massive Mogwai fan, for a start, a band I’ve never really got to grips with, which I’m told is because I’ve never seen them live); on this particular evening I threw a playlist on that I’d made, and it included this song. Neil looked at me in something approaching wonder and said: “Have you put The Beta Band on this playlist?”

Yes, yes I had.

More male bonding inevitably followed.

Second dull anecdote: when I finally graduated, I spent a year back home, living with the folks, working in a motorway restaurant, trying to work out what I would do next, waiting for something to happen. My Dad had opened an account with a certain online retailer named after a river, and I ordered two CDs from them: the first two CDs I ever bought online.

The first was The Beta Band’s majestic The 3 EPs; the second was Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy by It’s Jo and Danny. If ever there was a twee indie sounding album title and band name combo, that’s it (and that’s what first attracted me to it, truth be told).

Anyway, I think I’ve posted this before, but in any event this is the opening track from said album, and it’s bloody great:

It’s Jo and Danny – Solar Plexus

Listen to that. It’s bloody great.

More soon.

Sounds Familiar…

Did you ever hear a record, and think it’s the mid-way point between two other songs?

Or more specifically, the mid-point between two versions of the same song?

I’m not explaining this very well.

Probably easier if I illustrate.

Here’s song a):


Primal Scream – I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have

…which, through Andrew Weatherall’s utter brilliance (Swiss Adamâ„¢) mutated into this:


Primal Scream – Loaded

But somewhere in the middle, sits this:


The Beta Band – Dry the Rain

See what I mean…?

Ah, ok. Just me then.

More soon.

The Sample Life

Not done one of these for a while, and it occurred to me to revive it when I was thinking about what to post in this week’s “Late Night Stargazing” thread.

It was going to be one of these records. Can you guess which one?

It could’ve been oh-so different for The Beta Band. Following the critically-acclaimed “The 3 E.P.’s” – acclaimed both as individual releases and as the combined album they forged together – and an eponymous album that they freely admitted they hadn’t quite nailed it on, The Beta Band holed up in a studio to give it another crack.

I would imagine you all know the story by now, but just in case you don’t:

The Betas finished their “Hot Shots II” album and pencilled this in for the lead single from it:


The Beta Band – Squares

Any concerns that they had failed to nail it again were dispersed: “Squares” is magnificent, prime trippy Beta Band gold, sampling as it does, this:


The Günter Kallmann Choir – Daydream

But there was a problem. For just as they were ready to roll with the release of “Squares”, a previously unheard of act called I Monster released a single which featured exactly the same sample from exactly the same tune. What are the odds of that happening?


I Monster – Daydream in Blue

The weird thing is, I feel like I’m being unfaithful to The Beta Band by posting that.

“Daydream in Blue” was a smash hit, or so my befuddled memory tells me. I had it in my head that it reached the top of the UK charts, but a little research tells me it only got to No. 20.

But the damage was done. The Beta Band elected to postpone the release of “Squares” for a couple of months, but by then, the British record buying public were all Gunther-ed out, and it failed to make the Top 40.

Still, if you asked me now which I’d rather hear, it’s The Beta Band every time.

More soon.