Thursday, 31 January 2008

Fashion - Citinite

Recently I have digressed from the main thrust of this blog with tape and CD single rummaging. It’s time to get back to my vinyl roots with a brilliant Fashion single from 1979. I consider this to be one of the best things I’ve posted so far. I mentioned in an earlier post that I first heard Fashion when they supported The Tubes in 1979. They received a less than enthusiastic welcome from some sections of the crowd, partly because we were expecting Squeeze and probably more because they looked and sounded so strange. I think you could say the audience was split between those who got it and those who didn’t. Obviously, when you see a band for the first time you’re not going to remember the whole set but I clearly remember Steady Eddie Steady and Citinite.

Citinite was one of the standout songs of their set. Where most of the songs were short and edgy this was longer and haunting, with a long instrumental passage. I can’t remember if the live version had the treated vocal and “wind” effect heard on the single but in my mind they were there.

mp3: Fashion - Citinite (1979)

About 10 minutes after their set they walked through the theatre, presumably on their way to the bar, and the people who had earlier been so vocal in their condemnation were strangely quiet at this point. I’ve no idea what the band’s motivation was, maybe they were just thirsty, but I took it as their way of saying “Screw you! Say it to our faces.”

The treated vocal makes it difficult to understand the whole lyric but the album featured a lyric sheet so I have printed the words below.
he’s a small man
inside a tall one
girl of the street
bought at twilight
flat on the windscreen
faces reflection
flat on the windscreen
faces reflecting
tongue thru her lipgloss
turns me inside out
leaves me in no doubt
turns me inside out

she’s got concrete looks
windows are closed eyes
see her shimmer
in her dress of a thousand lights
bought in shop windows
if the price is rite
bought in shop windows
if the price is rite
smile so enticing
turns me inside out
leaves me in no doubt
turns me inside out

laser lover – video friend
monotone – romance
data readout – digital display
data readout – digital display
she’s a sheet of glass
but she’s real to me
she cannot decay
but so real to me

citinite, citinite, citinite
citinite overpass
citinite neonlite
citinite hologram
citinite terminate

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

More tape rummaging...

I was so impressed with Davy’s Lettraset work on his tape in this post I thought I would share one of my efforts. I borrowed and taped a copy of Killing Joke’s first album (apparently mistaking the Malicious Damage label name for the album title) and attempted to copy the albums graphics when writing the tracklist. Judge for yourself how good my effort was (see below).

I never did buy the album - home taping was killing music, you know.

mp3: Killing Joke - Wardance (Buy)

The next post will be an old record, I promise.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Raiding the tape archive…Squeeze live

I’m having great fun converting my old tapes to mp3. This is from Radio One’s In Concert slot that they used to do on Saturday nights in the early eighties. I haven’t got the whole show before anyone asks. My guess is I turned the radio on half way through, thought "this is good", and found a blank tape in time to catch the encore of a concert in Oxford promoting the East Side Story album. I would have split the tracks up, but if you listen to it they don’t really give me a chance. Just enjoy hearing a band at their peak playing three great songs together they way they intended.

mp3: Squeeze - Up The Junction/Messed Around/GoodbyeGirl (Live1981) (11MB)

Buy Squeeze

Friday, 25 January 2008

The mini 90s CD rummage part 2 - Siouxsie

This little gem was from the bargain bin and cost 99p back in 1995. For that I got the wonderful latter era Siouxsie & the Banshees single O Baby, plus a live version of Swimming Horses and a live cover of Japan’s All Tomorrow’s Parties (only joking Velvet’s fans).

mp3: Siouxsie & the Banshees - OBaby
mp3: Siouxsie & the Banshees - SwimmingHorses (Live KROQ)
mp3: Siouxsie & the Banshees - AllTomorrow’sParties (Live KROQ)

Buy O Baby here
Buy the live songs here

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The mini 90s CD rummage – Booth and the Bad Angel

Having read this blog I decided to have a mini rummage through my small CD single collection. CD singles never really took off in my house. It wasn’t the format but the price that put me off. It’s a shame because to this day I still think of the singles as the most important part of my record collection. I’ve got singles by groups whose albums I would never consider buying because even the unlikeliest bands could, however implausibly, come up with three minutes of magic. To me singles should cost between £1 and £1.50. Some CD singles were £3.99!!! That’s what I paid for most of my albums. It’s still only £1 less than I pay for most CDs now. All (usually) for one good version and three crappy remixes of the same song. If I’m coming across as a grumpy git it wasn’t like that, I just changed my priorities.

That long winded introduction explains why I only have 30-40 CD singles and most of them cheaper than average or from Woolies bargain bin. There are still a few good ones like this favourite from 1996, definitely not from the bargain bin:

mp3: Booth and the Bad Angel - I Believe (Edit)
mp3: Booth and the Bad Angel - IBelieve (LongVersion)
mp3: Booth and the Bad Angel - WhenYouSmiled

“Why be a song when you could be a symphony?” I always loved that line. I loved I Believe the first time I heard it and for me that line was the main hook. If anyone wants to write it off as 6th form poetry that’s fine - it works for me. Amazingly, I knew Angelo Badalamenti from his soundtracks but had no idea who Tim Booth was. Of course I had heard Sit Down by James, in fact I loved that song, but I hadn’t heard anything else by them and assumed they were one hit wonders. I certainly didn’t know Tim Booth was their singer. This will give you some idea how out of touch I was in the 90s.

Buy Booth and the Bad Angel here

Some more 90s CD single foraging, sorry rummaging, to follow in the coming weeks…

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Jumping on the bandwagon…Now with added video

There are a few “my brush with fame” posts doing the round, so here’s my small contribution.

Having arrived early for a Kraftwerk concert in what was the Hammersmith Odeon back in 1981, I was looking around when Sal Solo walked down the aisle and sat in a seat a few rows behind me. Coincidentally, I had seen Classix Nouveaux just a few weeks before. I wondered whether to bother him, but since he was dressed in full stage gear I figured he was hardly incognito so I decided to say hello, making a point of saying I liked some obscure album track to prove I was a "true" fan. He was polite and patient and signed the back of my ticket (see above) so I went away happy. Not a great story but a good excuse to post a couple of tunes.

Here are both sides of an early Classix Nouveaux single. I remember these as being the highlight of their show:

mp3: Classix Nouveaux - The Robots Dance (1980) (Buy)

mp3: Classix Nouveaux - 623 (1980) (Buy)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

I’ve got a new toy…Have some more B-Movie…

I’ve just taken delivery of a cassette deck bought for £10 (including delivery) from Ebay. Seems to work fine.

This is the first thing I’ve converted from tape to mp3:

mp3: B-Movie - Welcome To The Shrink (1981)

This (I think) is from their John Peel session recorded on 31st March 1981 and broadcast on 7th April 1981. I also think it’s a second generation copy because it fades out early. If memory serves I ran out of tape before the song finished so I "dubbed" it onto another tape and faded just before the break. I don’t think I missed much but it was 27 years ago…

Sunday, 20 January 2008

This is why I need a second blog…

I was horrified to read tonight about the death of John Stewart.

The BBC news site describes him as the writer of Daydream Believer and former Kingston Trio member but he was so much more than that. From the late 60’s on he released a string of excellent solo albums in that grey area between folk, country, singer/songwriter and soft rock. On the Allmusic site they describe the moods of his music as literate, earthy, bittersweet, reflective, intimate, earnest. That sums him up pretty well but I don’t expect the average post-punk/new wave fan will be that bothered. Well, there will be more of that in a couple of days but just for today I’m going to stray from the “brand”.

I grew up with John Stewart’s music because I had an older brother who bought all his records. Here’s a small selection of some of my favourites.

mp3: John Stewart - July, You’re A Woman
mp3: John Stewart - The Last Campaign Trilogy
mp3: John Stewart - California Bloodlines
mp3: John Stewart - Mother Country

These are taken from the 1974 Phoenix Concerts album. To quote the Allmusic review: “John Stewart' Phoenix Concerts is regarded as one of the classic live records of the folk singer/songwriter genre, and it's easy to see why.”

For the curious here is his not entirely serious version of Daydream Believer from 1971, well after The Monkees version.

mp3: John Stewart - Daydream Believer

These songs will be available 7 days.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

What did he say?

I really haven’t got time for this but just to keep the more cantankerous readers happy here’s a Saturday post.

This single is from industrial music pioneers Chrome. I bought it without hearing it because it looked interesting and was on Beggars Banquet. I wasn’t disappointed. I was immediately drawn to the incessant beat and general air of menace. Apart from the “this is the new age” chorus I always thought of it as an instrumental. The pissed off dalek voice on the verses suited the tone of the record but didn’t appear to be saying anything. Imagine my surprise when I bought the album (Red Exposure) and it had the full lyric printed. The weird thing is, once you know it’s obvious what he’s saying.

mp3: Chrome - New Age (1980)

For the curious here are the words. Try listening without reading them first and see how much you can decipher.

I’m on the outside looking at the inside
Nobody’s inside looking at the outside
I’m all alone
Eight, eight
This is the new age
Eight, eight
This is the new way

I’m on the inside looking at the outside
Looking at the outer zone
I’m not strange, nothing’s strange
There’s nothing strange about me
Eight, eight
This is the new age
Eight, eight
This is the new way

I’ve got a big old steel
I’ve got a Chinese card
I’ve got a specimen
In my back yard
Eight, eight
This is the new age

Written and performed by Damon Edge and Helios Creed.

Red Exposure isn’t currently available on CD but New Age can be found here.

Friday, 11 January 2008

The Passions

If The Passions are remembered at all it’s for their solitary hit I’m In Love With A German Film Star (their 4th single and only hit). This song fitted in nicely with the electronic/New romantic songs of the era even though as far as I can tell it only features guitar, bass and drums. The production, particularly the tape delay, gives it its atmosphere.

mp3: The Passions - I’m In Love With A German Film Star (1981)

I’m guessing their follow up Skin Deep is their attempt at a dance track, possibly influenced by Talking Heads I Zimbra. I’m not normally impressed by songs that just repeat the title over and over but this one is worth sticking with mainly for Barbara Gogan's vocal which seems (at least partly) to anticipate Liz Frasers style.

mp3: The Passions - Skin Deep (1981)

I recently found an article on The Passions from ZigZag issue 105 (September 1980). It’s easy to forget when listening to old records by bands who ended up as footnotes in musical history that these bands started out full of hope and ambition. The full article is below if you are interested.

The albums Michael and Miranda, Thirty Thousand Feet Over China and Sanctuary(Cars Driven Fast) will be available for download from March. See The Passions website for news.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

More classic synth pop…

First things first…

Happy New Year to all...

Hope you all enjoyed this blog last year. If so you know what to expect. Here’s more of the same…