Monday, August 28, 2006

1986 - first time in a recording studio?

having played a bit we decided we should release a cassette.
we had 11 songs.

there were some old punks who ran a community arts centre and they often recorded local bands so we hired them.
turned out we weren't even recording in the arts centre.
no, we were in their flat on the 8th story of an 8 story block.
being old punks they were a bit grumpy.
and a bit stinky.
but loveable all the same.

recording should have been fine as we were drum machine driven so there was little setting up to do.
except i had a very cheap gibson es333 copy and it wouldn't stay in tune.
in fact, by the time you had tuned the final string the first one was already out again.
and it was difficult to play given that i had painted the entire thing, including the fretboard (!), in blue and white stipes using acrylic paint.
that was fine and dandy when playing live but we were making no friends in this squat-by-numbers we'd, ahem, booked.

so the whole thing was a pretty miserable experience.
the vocals were done sitting on the toilet with the door shut to deaden the sound - the light didn't work in there and it smelt a lot like it was used by slightly dirty vegans.
which of course it was.

but, by the end of the day we had our 11 songs recorded and we were happy.
i printed some covers at work the next week and we had our first release:

cheese engineers | batman

listening to it now it's pretty poor.
we thought we'd made it when, during a piece about bands doing the batman theme in sounds, john robb had mentioned his favourite was "batman" by the cheese engineers.
he was obviously trying to be as obscure as possible as we may have called the tape batman but it didn't contain that or any other theme song.
in fact the picture had been drawn by my friend's then 7 year old sister and i thought it was neat.

never trust a journalist eh?

crystal clear - how to not get featured in a fanzine

it was the middle of 1988. my band had played around enough by now for fanzines here and there to start wanting to talk about us.
which was nice.

st. christopher | crystal clear

there was a guy whose name escapes me (brett?) who had a 'zine called "crystal clear" - named after st. christopher's first 7".
he seemed to like us and would often come over to see us rehearse (we were using my folks' garage at the time - you could here us right down the street every sunday afternoon), and talk about doing a 'piece ' on us in his 'zine.

one weekend we'd been asked to go up to york to do a gig with st. christopher and the pale saints at the spotted cow.
it's a long way to york from telford.

brett lived in stafford which was about a half hour drive away from us.
he offered to drive us up for the gig and we gratefully accepted.

the gig was fun though only attended by approximately a dozen people who each paid £1.50 or so to get in.
i think it was here that i was given this flexidisc:

pale saints/savlons/kerry fiddles

i would have been given it by a girl who iw ouldn't get to know until some 15 years later.
life's odd like that.

anyhow, we had fun even with no real audience and at the end of the night packed everything into the car ready to be driven home.
i opted for the passenger seat and promptly fell asleep.
about every 10 minutes of the 3 hour journey back home i would be forcably shoved by our fanzine-writing chauffeur as he tried to drive with me slumping across the gear stick and onto his shoulder/arm/thigh.
i probably dribbled on him too.

poor guy managed to get us home safely.
but to this day i've never heard from him again, and we certainly didn't appear in his fanzine.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

a hip to the hop to the hippety bippety bop (or something)

remember when people used to have "ghetto blasters" and breakdance on street corners and carry their music on their shoulders rocking the block with the electro beat?

it only happened in movies didn't it?

at my school, as with (i imagine) every other provinicial school across the UK, there were a few boys who got into breakdancing.
they'd flatten big boxes or steal a sheet of linoleum and play herbie hancock's "rockit" endlessly while pretending to be a robot or having a seizure on the floor.

and, for my sins, i joined in.
only for a short while i hasten to add!
i learned how to do the windmill and had brusied elbows and shoulders for a fortnight.
this also coincided with not having a girlfriend.
funny that.

anyhow, other than herbie hancock i didn't really get the electro thing.
it left me a bit cold.
i'd much rather jump over things and ride around backwards for a bit on my BMX.

i did however like the idea of wandering about carrying an oversized portable stereo.
it didn't last long.
but i have to admit that it did happen.

you'll be pleased to know that i look back at that brief time with huge embarrassment.
especially when i think about the old-timer who crossed the road to politely ask, "would you mind turning that down please son?"

as i've pointed out i didn't really like electro or hip hop very much then.
so what was my favourite thing to annoy the neighbourhood with?

pastels | heaven's above

it was a pastels bootleg i found at a record fair.
it had two live recordings on it, some demos and a bunch of session type things.

it was tinny and a bit weedy.

i've currently misplaced it but if it turns up you can be sure i'll let you know.
the highlight was "truck train tractor" in it's original form when it was called "25 unfinished plays".

wandering the streets making everyone listen to the pastels didn't last long - perhaps a couple of months at most.
i quite quickly realised how silly i looked.
and my arms ached.

de la soul | 3 feet high and rising

it wasn't until "3 feet high and rising" came out in 1989 that i got hip hop.
it had rapping and beats and samples.
but it also had an indie kinda sound - scratchy, a bit thin, wonderful.
i loved it.

after all, it was the daisy age.

Friday, August 11, 2006

sonic youth & john zorn | south bank show | 1989

through the 80's the south bank show had some pretty good documentaries.
the smiths' one immediately springs to mind.
but one episode of the south bank show changed what i listened to and how i listened to it in a totally life-altering way.

the program was called "put blood in the music" - it was a documentary on the new york music scene and i was watching it because sonic youth were on.

what i wasn't prepared for was 30 minutes on john zorn and the effect that watching him had on me.
i had recorded the program - again because of sonic youth, but it wasn't them i watched.
over the next few weeks and months i kept returning to the john zorn piece.
i still watch it at least once or twice a year, just to remind me of how important music can be.

john zorn | spy vs. spy: the music of ornette coleman

i bought "spy vs spy" within a week of the south bank show airing - life would NEVER be the same again.

"spy vs spy" and the interview with zorn taught me how important musical heritage was.
not about classifying, more about connecting.
like seeing the footsteps from robert johnson through bee bop, 60's garage punk, beefheart, prog, punk and into 80's indie as a continuous journey that embraced all types of music.
even the ones i didn't like.

the cure | birmingham | 1987

pastels | truck train tractor

why is there a pastels record in a post about the cure you might ask.

there's no reason other than the day that i went to see the cure i had printed myself a pastels t-shirt.
as i mentioned before i was a screenprinter in the 80's so lunchtimes were often taken up making screens of record covers and stuff and making them into t-shirts that i wanted.
i had a nice 14 iced bears one - blue with this cover on it:

14 iced bears | balloon song

the pastels one was actaully a print of the back of the "truck train tractor" cover. the drawing of a lady.
you know.

but i'm still not talking about the cure am i?

i'm trying to put it off.
i never liked them.
oh, i tried quite hard.
i bought 3 or 4 albums.
i even did a couple of cure cover versions in a short-lived and not very good duo called i use a pink comb.

here's the short cure anecdote.

i had a friend who was a huge cure fan and i had a car.
the cure were playing the NEC and he asked if i'd take him over if he bought the tickets - we'd not been to a concert together for a very long time.
mainly as he didn't really want to see any of the bands i liked.
so i took him.
it was a nice warm evening as we drove down the M6 to the NEC and joined the queue.

that was about the height of my evening.

i don't remember who supported but by the cure's second number i had fallen asleep in my seat and didn't wake until my by now rather annoyed friend poked me in the shoulder and said, "it's all finished, we can go now".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

snub tv - or how to link the darling buds to napalm death

i used to watch snub TV religiously - as i used to watch the tube religiously.

napalm death | scum

i've already admitted to my continuing love of metal.
it's nothing to be ashamed of (apart from tygers of pan tang of course).
i'd bought napalm death's "scum" album and when no-one was looking i'd play it very loud in my room and want to jump about and shout a bit.

one evening snub did a feature on napalm death and exteme noise terror.

i watched it, laughed at the naivety of some of the things the band had to say - i still have the video somewhere and i love them. trying so hard to be right on but without the vocabulary to really get their point across.

anyhow, as i watched i thought, "i know that bass player from somewhere".
i looked at my napalm death record but he wasn't on it.

a few days later i was in the local record shop and there he was - the bass player from napalm death.
shane embury himself.
turned out he lived a few roads up from my house.
we exchanged cursory hello's and then he asked if the records he'd ordered had arrived.
they had and he bought them.
it was a bunch of darling buds records - various different versions of their singles and stuff - you know, poster bags, picture discs, the usual nonsense.
after he'd left i was told he was a huge darling buds fan.

to this day i find this fact hard to imagine.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

xPQwRtz - a compilation

i thought it might be nice to make a compilation of some of the things i've been talking about.
i'm sure most of you have the songs included, but nevertheless here it is.

xPQwRtz compilation cover


beware it's a big file - 98MB
it includes 25 songs and a nice cover for you to use.

the track listing is:

3 action - if only i had the guts
14 iced bears - inside
a witness - camera
age of chance - bible of the beats
big flame - xpqwrtz
bob - prune
bodines - god bless
bogshed - six to one and likely
buuy off the bar - stretch out
cannanes - i think the weather's affected your brain
death by milkfloat - your independence (depends on me)
june brides - heard you whisper
mccarthy - in purgatory
mctells - push
membranes - everyone's going triple bad acid, yeah!
noseflutes - body hair (up in the air)
patrik fitzgerald - irrelelvant battlespigbros - excessive
shrubs - blackmailer's heartache
soup dragons - quite content
swell maps - h.s. art
television personalities - miracles take longer
verlaines - it was raining
wolfhounds - stars in the tarmac
yeah yeah noh - cottage industry

yes, i know it's in alphabetical order.


Monday, August 07, 2006

buy off the bar | birmingham | 1988

buy off the bar | parboiled

do you like buy off the bar?
well you should.
i have friends who think they were a bit of a joke.
perhaps they weren't cool enough.

buy off the bar were from holland and seemed obsessed with the length of their favourite songs.
so much so that instead of saying one of their songs was 1:30 the timing would say "the same as buzzcocks orgasm addict".
that kind of thing.

i thought that was a great idea.

in 88 they did a short tour of the UK with the mctells and my band was asked to support them at the birmingham gig.
it was at sinatras - as i've mentioned previously i loved that venue.
we were really excited.
it was to be the only time we ever played birmingham.
odd that.

buy off the bar/golden strings | split

i've never been one for being late.
i like punctuality.
in fact i like punctuality so much that i'm often an hour early for everything.
as a result i spend a lot of my life sitting around waiting for stuff and getting a bit frustrated.
we arrived for the gig about 2 hours before the soundman got there.
so we wandered around birmingham for a bit.
eventually buy off the bar turned up in a mini bus with the mctells.
the only buy off the bar record i had at this point was the then just released "parboiled" mini album.
i introduced myself to the band and, during our chat told them how much i liked the new record.
"oh. thanks. we have all the other records in the van if you want them. i'll sort them out for you after the show", said a BotB chap whose name escapes me now.

as i've mentioned i like punctuality.
and i've said above that buy off the bar and the mctells turned up together.
that's not entirely true.
one third of the mctells - mark to be precise - wasn't there.
he was driving up from london seperately.
he was about an hour late and i wasn't very happy.

until i saw him pull up outside the venue.
i was so blown away i instantly forgot being mad about his timekeeping.
it was a hot and sunny summer evening and mark pulled up outside the club looking like a 50's filmstar (he always dressed well) in suit and raybans.
his girlfriend sat next to him dressed to match.
he was driving a triumph herald coupé. a light blue one.

that day he officially became the coolest man i'd ever seen.

the gig?
well - about 20 people came.
not bad for midweek i suppose and anyway i didn't care.
we went on first to mild applause from the punters, but encouragement from the other bands.
mctells played a blinder - they were so good live - fire engines meet june brides at 100 miles an hour.
then buy off the bar took the stage.
they were fantastic. trumpets blared, drums rattled and guitars went SplAaAAAaAAnnnGGGG!

buy off the bar | it's up to billy

after they'd finished we were chatting and the BotB chap (whose name still escapes me) called me over.
"i have those records for you".
"ooh! thanks very much!", i said.
i looked at them and smiled, thanked him again and began to walk away.
he grabbed me, "that'll be £5 for the album and £2 for the single."
i was so embarrassed i paid him.

from the wilds of wales to chester

during 87 and 88 i lived between my parents home in telford and my girlfriend's home in the depths of powys.
living there is a whole other story involving morris minors, pet goats, sheep, and a donkey.
but that's not a story for here or now.

harriet (she was also in the colgates with me) shared my taste for records - in fact when we met it appeared we had identical collections - and we used to go record shopping a lot.
there was a small record shop in oswestry that we visited now and then.
it's where i bought both of these from:

bogshed | brutal

swans | children of god

and we used to go into shrewsbury a lot.
there were a couple of shops there that were always worth investigating.
there was one called durants which no longer exists - they used to have boxes of unsold 7"s under the counter which, if you asked nicely enough, you could rifle through.
i found this:

primal scream | all fall down

and across town, hidden in the basement of a shopping precinct was a tiny shop that sold second hand clothing, sticks of incence and some old records.
it was run by a guy called john who was also responsible for putting gigs on in shrewsbury (he put us on a number of times with pale saints, 14 iced bears, rosehips). he now runs caroline true records.
the only things i remember getting from his shop were these:

fire engines | candyskin

yeah yeah noh | cottage industry EP

but our favourite place to go record shopping was chester.
it was an hour's drive away but it's a beautiful little city.

there were two record shops there at the time that i liked - both of them now gone - and we'd spend hours going through the racks.
i always came home with something great and i was always SO excited when asked, "fancy going to chester this weekend?"

of all the shopping trips there the one that sticks in my mind more than any other is the day i found all four of these:

television personalities | mummy you're not watching me

television personalities | they could have been bigger than the beatles

membranes | the gift of life

verlaines | hallelujah all the way home

you can imagine what that did to me can't you.

mind you, after that things were never the same going to chester.
there was always something to buy but it was never ever going to be as exciting as that day.

how could it be?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

after C86, V87

various artists | gimme shelter

early in 1987 there was an advert in melody maker for a video, the proceeds of which would go to the shelter campaign for the homeless.
initial copies of the video were only available through the melody maker order form - a few months later the video was released through the cartel with a different cover. still for charity though if i remember right.

i think this video should be looked after and cherished like so many people cherish the "C86" cassette/LP.
think about the track listing of "C86" and then take a look at the track listing of this video:

john peel - introduction
shop assisitants - i don't wanna be friends with you
talulah gosh - talulah gosh
14 iced bears - balloon song (live footage)
pastels - crawl babies
big black - fish fry (live footage)
world domination enterprises - hotsy girl
sperm wails - lady chatterley
dragsters - i'm not an american
laugh - paul mccartney
3 action - i get around
close lobsters - never seen before
bmx bandits - what a wonderful world
bats - made up in blue
wedding present - you should always keep in touch with your friends
ac temple - ulterior
wolfhounds - cruelty
mctells - virginia mc
verlaines - doomsday
mighty lemon drops - out of hand
that petrol emotion - keen
jesus and marychain - never understand
membranes - kennedy 63 (live footage)
june brides - in the rain
chills - i love my leather jacket
telelvision personalities - the painted word
sonic youth - schizophrenia (live footage)
pigbros - excessive
janitors - wall star
pop will eat itself - sweet sweet pie
bambi slam - don't it make you feel
stump - buffalo
soup dragons - can't take no more
james taylor quartet - blow up

i loved this video at the time - i would watch it endlessly.
there was just so much there. so much music. so much everything.
seeing the shop assistants miming on top of a block of flats was amazing at the time, or seeing june brides' "in the rain" video.

the more i think about it, the more difficult it is to explain just what this video was like for me and my friends in a small town 1987.
we couldn't get to london regularly to check things out.
we could go to birmingham and manchester but the bands weren't always there.
we could of course buy the records and read the music press - when it covered this stuff - the press then as now is was more concerned with the big bands of the day.
so to get an idea about what these bands really looked like, how they dressed etc, this video was priceless.

AND the money went to a good cause.

Friday, August 04, 2006

ron johnson - the greatest label in the world?

my favourite label of all time, ron johnson put out some fantastic records (and one or two really bad ones).
i won't go to into the label as rhodri covers ron johnson beautifully here.

but i do want to have my say about the label and, more importantly i suppose, some of the bands i loved.

various artists | the first after epiphany

if you're not familiar with ron johnson and you can find a copy of "the first after epiphany" on eBay then you should buy it.
it's a great overview - it has everything you need to show what the label was all about: stump, a witness, shrubs, jackdaw with crowbar, bIG fLAME.

shrubs - take me aside for a midnight harangue

the shrubs.
other than bIG fLAME (who kind of don't count as they're my favourite band anyway) shrubs were my favourite ron johnson band.
when "bullfighter's bones" was on C86 i thought it was an astonishing song.
i bought the "take me aside for a midnight harangue" LP and was surprised at how gentle it was - intricate dual guitars that seemed to be playing completely obtuse things that only just fit together.
most ron johnson releases would be likened to captain beefheart and generally that was wrong.
but with the shrubs it was reasonably near the mark and after all nick hobbs, the shrubs singer, had worked with the magic band in the early 70s.

shrubs | blackmailer

my favourite shrubs song was and is "blackmailer" (or "blackmailer's heartache" as it was titled on the album). on the album it was a sublime, drifting thing.
like the ghost of something sinister.
the version of "blackmailer" on the "blackmailer" EP though is a different beast altogether.
played at quantum speed the guitars clatter and the drums go haywire while hobbs' vocal takes on the role of dervish - shouting, yelping, heading for another place - not so far off the mark actually, as only last year nick under his alias of nikolai galen released a solo album for improvised voice which is the nearest thing to speaking in tongues i can think of.

if i was ever able to make a final list of my top 5 LPs i would struggle to decide which albums were in and which weren't.
the only thing of which i'm certain is that "take me aside for a midnight harangue" would be in there.

shrubs remain a legendary (to me anyway, and a few people i know) band.
they deserve to be - they sounded mythical.

a witness | loudhailer songs

a witness.
for a short time i corresponded with vince from a witness.
he was a nice chap (i recently met up with him again and he's still a nice chap) - somewhere i've got A4 sheets of typed a witness lyrics that he sent me.
he also sent me a mix tape that contained swans next to jimi hendrix which at the time i found very odd indeed.
i sent him my band's first cassette and he said he liked it except that we should lose the drum machine and get a drummer.
a witness had recently done just that, getting alan brown of bIG fLAME to drum with them.

a witness | i am john's pancreas

i'm torn about which part of a witness i like the most.
i love the drum machine driven attack of "loudhailer songs" and the album "i am john's pancreas" is quite simply one of the best records of the 80's - it's just been reissued on CD by euphonium. go buy it.

but i also love (for different reasons) the later a witness of their peel sessions - they weren't released by ron johnson but came out as an album on strange fruit.

sadly the death of rick aitken, a wintess' guitar supremo, ended the band.
both rick and a witness will always be missed by anyone who loved the band.

great leap forward | a peck on the cheek á la politiqué

great leap forward.
after bIG fLAME split alan brown started making dance music - well, no, not quite. but he'd bought a witness' drum machine from them and began the great leap forward project.
it sounds like the obvious next step after bIG fLAME to me.
whiteboy funk with scaping guitars and great bass lines all smothered in intelligent, intellectual lyrics.
great leap forward were the top dancefloor band that never was.

stump | mud on a colon

the first record i bought by stump wasn't on ron johnson. in fact they only released one record on ron johnson (not counting compilation appearances).
they were always a ron johnson band though - even once they'd signed a major deal they remained a ron johnson outfit.

stump | quirk out

"quirk out" was my first stump record.
that old friday night TV favourite "the tube" had made a video of the band doing "buffalo" and it was stunning - it later turned up on the "gimme shelter" video compilation.
i ordered the album - a 6 track EP really - and collected it during my lunch break one wet wednesday afternoon.
wednesday afternoons at sixth form were dedicated to sports and other such activities.
i was being made to do table tennis that afternoon, the only good thing about that was that table tennis was played in the hall and it was raining very hard outside.
i spent 2 long hours knocking a tiny ball across a table at a friend who didn't want to be there either, knowing my stump record was sitting in a bag in the changing room.
finally - and it seemed like forever - it was time to go home.
i barely managed to change from gym kit to normasl clothing before i was rushing up the road to listen to it.
"tupperware stripper" was funny as all hell, "buffalo" didn't disappoint after the tube performance - what a record.

other notable ron johnson releases.

mackenzies | new breed

mackenzies promised so much.
their 7" release "new breed" was fantastic.
but then they, along with a bunch of ron johnson bands, got into remixes and the whole thing went belly up.

twang | sharp

as with mackenzies, twang's first single was a great record. harsh, whiteboy non-funk. brash and agressive.
their other releases were a bit poo.

noseflutes | the ravers

noseflutes were interesting.
still are.
probably the least listened to of my ron johnson records, but when i do i always wonder why i never listened to them more.
a little bit beefhearty (now i'm doing it!), some great african styled percussion - in fact quite a world music-y feel now i listen back.
the lyrics were always great - check out "body hair (up in the air)" from the "heartache is irresistable" EP.

so, that's the bands that remain top of the pops for me when it comes to ron johnson.
a label that was always exciting, and in the mid 80's released records that sounded like nothing else.

the soup dragons & my favourite jumper

another band i never saw.
some friends from 6th form went to wolverhampton to see them but i stayed home.
to this day i have no idea why i didn't go along.

soup dragons | whole wide world

"whole wide world" was a great single.
both songs were around a minute and a half and they raced along and left me smiling.
soup dragons sounded like buzzcocks on speed - a great ball of buzzsaw guitars and singalong melodies.

there was a small piece about them in sounds which included a colour photo of them.
i fell in love with sean's jumper and so my girlfriend's mum knitted me one.
i gave her the photo and a few days later i was wearing the jumper!
and i adored it.
in fact it stayed with me until only 5 years ago when it finally got lost - i'd not worn it for a long time (honestly!).

anyhow, i can't find the picture of the soup dragons and that jumper so a picture of me wearing my replica will have to suffice.

me in that jumper 1986

this is more or less what it looked like:


soup dragons | hang ten!

soup dragons' next single was also a blast - "hang ten" was ridiculously catchy and stayed on my turntable for weeks and weeks.
and the 7" was on blue vinyl!
oh the joy.

i liked the next few singles, and soup dragons became a band i bought whenever something new came out.
until they did "backwards dog".
it just wasn't right.
as for their 'baggy' phaze - the less said about that the better.
but for a short while soup dragons were the bees knees.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

sonic youth, or how i broke christmas 1986

you remember the girl who stopped me seeing bogshed?

sonic youth | bad moon rising

well now, one day she was in the record shop when i went in.
she was arguing with ian who owned the place.
i said hi and flicked through the second hand records while i listened to them.
ceri (that was her name) had ordered sonic youth's "bad moon rising" but decided she didn't want it after all.
ian was always a bit funny about that kind of thing.
after all, he'd be stuck with a record that few people in telford would want and he only just made enough to keep the shop going - even then, especially in small towns like ours, high street stores like woolworths were taking all the sales of chart records and that's where the money was.

i didn't know much at all about sonic youth.
i'd read about them in the NME and stuff, but i didn't really know what i was letting myself in for when i eventually stopped the argument by saying, "i'll buy the record instead of ceri".
she smiled and thanked me and a shiver went down my spine.
teenage lust - it's a powerful thing.

i got home with the album and didn't know what to make of it - it seemed so strange and otherworldly, but i worked hard at understanding what was going on with sonic youth.
then "starpower" was released as a single and "evol" followed soon after.
i loved "starpower" - i could understand it. it was almost a pop song and it fitted much easier into my frame of reference than, say, "ghost bitch" or "brave men run".

sonic youth | evol

i asked for "evol" for christmas that year.
then i acted like a silly child.
i saw the record sat on the shelf in the record shop.
then one day i noticed it was gone.
when i got home i had a dig about in the usual places that my folks hid our christmas presents and found a 12" wrapped in christmas paper.
i sneaked it into my room, carefully unwrapped it, put a cassette in my deck and stuck the album on.
by the time i'd got to the locked groove of "expressway to yr skull (madonna, sean and me)" i had fallen in love.
all the things in "bad moon rising" that i didn't get were now easily accessible through "evol" - the churning, oddly tuned guitars were still there but this time there were - how do i put it? - tunes?
yes, tunes.
i wrote the tracklisting on the cassette case and re-wrapped the album before putting it back as i'd found it.

that was only about a week before christmas.
and it was a week filled with endless plays of "evol".

then christmas morning came.
the family opened our gifts.
i unwrapped the album for the second time and said thanks.
"is that the right one?", asked my mum.
"yes", i replied, "thanks".
"you don't seem very keen - aren't you going to play it?", she asked.
"maybe later", i said.
then the penny dropped with her and my dad.
they gave me a hard stare and told me i was 16 and shouldn't be acting like a little boy.

they were probably right.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

housemartins 0, hull 2

i've only been to hull a couple of times.
the first time was to help a friend of mine move up there to do his degree.
i found a smashing record shop and spent a good hour or so looking through the records.
can't for the life of me remember what it was called - it appeared to be in the basement of a house (or at least that's how i remember it). down some steps outside and into the store.

i went back up there once to check the shop again but couldn't find it - i went through a stage of travelling long distances to record shops.
how the internet has changed life eh?

but that's not the reason for this entry.

apart from "sheep" i didn't like the housemartins - i bought their "london 0, hull 4" album, listened to it once and filed it away.
i think it might have been due to the overkill of the "happy hour" video on TV.
it was everywhere.
drove me mad.
perhaps i ought to dig the album out and listen to it again.
though i doubt time will have been kind to it.

however, there were two bands from hull that i really liked.

one of them was 3-action. a band that seems to have been written out of the history of 80's indie pop.
i'd not heard of them until they appeared on the "gimme shelter" video (man, i really ought to write something about the "gimme shelter" video. it's as important a document as the "C86" album).
the footage on the video was a live recording of "i get around" and it was ramshackle, falling apart, amateur, but GREAT.

3-action | a breath of fresh air-gency

i checked my cartel catalogue - yes, i was sad enough to buy the distributors catalogue and browse it, marking off things as i bought them.
3-action had two 12" EPs out on ediesta and i ordered them both (i later foudn they'd released a 7" but could never get hold of it).
"i get around" was an instant top tune. very surfy, like a schlock jan & dean, trumpets blaring and two chord chugging guitars.

3-action | <don't lose that> stealin' feelin'

"if only i had the guts" from the other 12" was the killer though.
another two chord wonder, but this time far more spiky and a little bit lurchy.

death by milkfloat | the absolute non-end

death by milkfloat were the other band from hull.
the BEST band from hull.
the trebliest bIG fLAME-y guitars scratched like fingernails on a blackboard, the bass was all thundering funk and the drums were a rollercoaster of jazz mess.
and their longest song came in at under two minutes.
for a long time they were THE band for me.
they captured all the best bits of my favourite bands, mashed them all together, and spat them out in bursts of pure joy.

death by milkfloat | uninformation

in 1988 vinyl drip released "uninformation" and death by milkfloat could do no wrong.
they're still welded into my iPod and i still listen to them just about every day.