Thursday, September 28, 2006

going under cover (and other rubbish titles)

well now.
i know it's not been long since the last one, but i woke up this morning thinking about cover versions.

and so, after hoovering and general house-work, i made up a list.
then i made that list into a compilation.

xPQwRtz a 3rd compilation

so here we are - xPQwRtz number 3 - cover versions.

19 tracks in all and a printable cover again.
as usual i may well have missed out something important.
i may even have done something that's been done before - i don't really do much blog reading, web surfing etc so i don't know what's going on out there.



age of chance - kiss
marc riley & the creepers - baby's on fire
soup dragons - our lips are sealed
shop assistants - what a way to die
bIG fLAME - testament to the slow death of youth culture
bogshed - gathering the mushrooms
pop will eat itself - like an angel
shrubs - another age
big black - my house
dragsters - rosemary
dog faced hermans - bella ciao
stretchheads - i should be so lucky
cud - the urban spaceman
14 iced bears - coming down
television personalities - respectable
ciccone youth - into the groovey
pigbros with the membranes - word up
swans - love will tear us apart
world domination enterprises - funky town


*note: most of this taken form my old scratchy records so please excuse the quality.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

plaid cymru

during the time i was sauntering between my folks' house and the small-holding in darkest wales welsh language bands seemed to appear in one big lump out of the undergrowth.
i know lots of them were around already of course, but it seemed like a sudden thing that peel was playing them and then there was a feature on some of them on (i think) snub tv (though i may be wrong).

datblygu | hwgr-grawth-og

i recorded the tv thing and watched it over and over.
were anhrefn on it? i don't remember. they were a bit straight punk for me (nowadays they'd be emo i suppose).
my favourite part was datblygu doing "casserole efeilliaid" ("the casserole twins").
oh i loved that song.

i was spending more and more time in wales and seriously considered learning welsh - i even made moves to start, and dipped into a few books on it.
then i realised what hard work it'd be.

tynal tywyll | '73 heb flares

then there was the adoreable tynal tywyll.
a welsh primal scream if you will.
shimmering, byrds-y guitars and a bobby-gillespie-out-of-the-valleys singer.
perhaps they did more than just the one 7" i bought.
i never found out.
but it's a great single - a real lost gem.
i may well stick it up here at some point - maybe the next compilation installment.

then this came out:

datblygu | wyau

it was on the turntable forever.
didn't understand a word.
didn't care.

you know, there are friends of mine who i love dearly who say stuff like,
"urgh. sorry but if it's not sung in english and i don't understand it then i don't really like it because i don't get the point of it."

that's an attitude that drives me crazy.
and it's that attitude that makes bands sing in english.
and it spoils so many bands.

i'm thinking now of my time living in italy a few years ago.
i know this is nothing to do with my life as an indie-kid, but i've made myself think and now i need to get this out.

take consorzio suonatori indipendenti for example.
CSI are a heavily political band and having them sing their agitprop in english about what they see to be the problem in italy would make a mockery of them.
but then in terms of their sound, if they sang in english they could well be all over the music media all over the world.

what am i trying to say?
i don't know really.

oh, perhaps i do - i LOVE bob hund but they wouldn't be who they are if they sang in english.
i love the welsh bands as much for being bloody-minded enough to sing in welsh as for sounding great.

that said i love melt banana and they sing in english.
kind of.

note: i promise to try not to digress from the 80's indie thing anymore.

Monday, September 18, 2006

nightingales - a lesson in lyricism

nightingales | urban ospreys

i came to the nightingales perhaps a little bit late.
i bought my first nightingales record in 1987 - it was the "urban ospreys" single and it's still one of my all time favourite records.

i loved the tangled guitars, how they bullied each other from seperate speakers but seemed to hang together just right.
and i loved the words.

nightingales | pigs on purpose

that summer i found a copy of the "pigs on purpose" LP in cob records, bangor.
it was a bit beaten up (i still have it and adore it - though nowadays i play the cherry red reissue) but it played OK and stayed on my turntable the whole of the rest of that year.

initially, i think, nightingales helped me see some kind of historical context into which my favourite bands of the time - the shrubs, bIG fLAME, you know the ron johnson lot - fitted.
i'd just started listening to beefheart, the incredible string band and red crayola and links were made in my head that made everything sit just so.

and it wasn't simply the jagged, nervey, broken music.
in fact more importantly than that it was the lyrics.
robert lloyd is superb with a pen.
he writes intelligent, clever, deadpan words that create worlds.
it's been said before (and i forget which journo it was) that lloyd is one of britain's greatest lost songwriters.
forget morrissey - he was good but surely he was far too interested in quoting literature to be truly great.
i love nick hobbs' otherworldly songwriting for the shrubs, i adore the dark americanisms of david thomas, the bruised romanticism of phil wilson.
for me robert lloyd is the truest of English writers.

it's not simply about singing in an accent - it's about a certain tone, like setting a scene in which you know it's raining without the song once saying "it was a rainy night".

you know?
sure you do.

the worst all-dayer | telford | 1986

telford has an ice rink you know.
it was built in the early to mid eighties and to this day i can't imagine anyone going.
i presume that telford probably has an ice hockey team or somesuch too.
a couple of friends have been and said they'd never go again.
they appeared to find skating round and round in circles a bit boring.
i could probably have told them that and saved them the entry fee.

however, one day i went to telford ice rink.
there was a, excuse me, "punk all-dayer" going on.
you read right.
it was, if i remember correctly, late summer 86 and even back then the line up didn't fill me with enthusiasm.
but stuff like this didn't happen in telford and so i went along.
getting off the bus at telford town centre it seemed like every neo-goth/punk/grebo in the midlands had gone along.
frankly i found it a little bit frightening.
i didn't know anyone else that was going, it was a hot saturday afternoon, hundreds of strangers on their best pixie boots and studded belts were looking at me through cider-filled sunglasses and i was very conscious of not really liking new model army.

new model army were to be the headline act.
below them were red lorry yellow lorry, alternative radio (NOT TV - shame), a couple of local bands whose names have disappeared in the mists of time, joolz "the punk poetess" (cough) and, of all people, the bible!

having been rather afraid and lonely during most of the day there was a moment i remember feeling part of the event.
it was the moment the entire audience groaned, shrugged and then gritted it's teeth as joolz launched into yet another diatribe on anarcho-feminism (accompanied i'm sure by a beardy bloke with a bongo - crass have A LOT to answer for).

red lorry yellow lorry | talk about the weather

after joolz anything would feel refreshing, and indeed i quite enjoyed red lorry yellow lorry.
they were a bit lumpen and tuneless but i bought an album by them so they must have done something OK.

by this point i was feeling a little bit more comfortable in the cold goth-strewn ice rink and had a wander about.
i saw a couple of girls i knew and said hello.
both (seperately) gave me exactly the same half arsed "oh hi" as they swooshed their heavily back-combed hair and clung on to their older, drunker boyfriends.

bible! | walking the ghost back home

that was the beginning of feeling the need to sink back to a corner and observe.
but the worst was to come.
the bible! came on.
in amongst all these depresso-goth-punk acts the bible! to me and me alone sounded great.
uplifting chiming guitars, tunes you could hum, i went to the front of the stage and applauded.
looking over my shoulder i realised that as i had moved forward the rest of the gathered throng had moved to the bar to wait for the band to finish.
i was alone.
but i really enjoyed the bible!
as soon as theyd finished i sheepishly left and went home.
that week i bought the bible!'s "walking the ghost back home" and it just wasn't the same.
it sounded middle of the road, something your mum might enjoy.
the brass was too shiny, the lyrics to self-righteous.
a shame really as they were the only bright point in a very dark day.

Friday, September 08, 2006

indie girls - a slight aside

xPQwRtz | a 2nd compilation

i've had a few conversations with friends over the last few weeks who have said, "i liked the xPQwRtz compilation but there were no girls singing any of the songs!".

honestly, i'd not noticed that at all.

so in order to redress the balance here's xPQwRtz #2.
a compilation of 18 of my favourite songs from the 80's with girls singing.

i know you'll probably find some glaring omissions (don't mention the flatmates - i know. but i never did like them much. sorry).
as with the last comp it's all in alphabetical order.



archbishop kebab - holli kapolli
baby lemonade - secret goldfish
beat happening - i let him get to me
cannanes - cardboard
cocteau twins - ivo
dog faced hermans - mary houdini
marine girls - leave me with the boy
miaow - sport most royal
opal - fell from the sun
primitives - really stupid
rosehips - the last night
shop assistants - all that ever mattered
sindy arthur - girls on reins
strawberry switchblade - since yesterday
sugarcubes - birthday
talulah gosh - i told you so
twins & rig veda - dance with a fish
we've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it - rules and regulations

*excuse the scratchiness of some of these - most of them were taken from my dodgy old vinyl.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

nirvana vs tad | birmingham | 1989

i didn't take a whole lot of notice of the indie-rock movement that was coming out of the american north west - you know, sub pop and all that.
i just didn't see anything in it that was new or exciting or, i dunno, fresh i suppose.
but a friend of mine dug it all to death and was buying a lot of 7"s and playing them to me whenever i saw him.

he convinced me to go with him to see nirvana play at edwards no. 8 in birmingham.
i'm guessing it was part of the "bleach" tour.
in preparation for it i bought "bleach" and it left me cold.
to me it just sounded like pub rock with american accents.

i wasn't holding out much hope for the evening - in fact i was more interested in seeing what the venue was like as i'd never been there before.
edward's was a nice place for gigs - a low ceiling meant not there wasn't the greatest sound in the world, but it had the atmosphere that i like to this day: a bit claustrophobic, sweaty, dark, you know.

tad | wood goblins

thing is, i wasn't really expecting what i got when the first band came on.
the tour was a double header with tad.
tad were FANTASTIC.
from the first chugging chords of the opening song i was enthralled.
everything seemed to be in E.
in fact the bass player did nothing more than dampen 3 of his strings and hit his E string hard for the entire set.
and tad doyle himself?
a huge man, he was witty, clever, and a little frightening.
AND he'd got a colgates sticker on his guitar!
to this day i've no idea where he got it from.

tad had stolen all their licks from early black sabbath and budgie albums and made the most wonderfully grinding noise.

the high point of their set was tad (who was, i'm guessing, about 20 stone of huge american flesh) stage-diving into the crowd of weedy, thin, pale birmingham indie boys who had mistakenly crowded the front of the stage.
i bet some of them went home broken.

after tad, nirvana just seemded pointless to me.
i watched them, i got bored.
20 minutes into their set someone at the front of the stage knocked cobain's microphone stand and it fell into the audience.
cobain, like a spoilt child, stormed off stage and refused to come back on for almost 15 minutes, until he had been assured that his performance wouldn't be spoiled again.

from that moment i hated him.
i thought him pointless.
by the time "nevermind" came out i couldn't care less.

hyped pub rock?
i'd rather listen to dr. feelgood.