Wednesday, May 09, 2007

yummy fur | comic book heroes without capes

i really can't remember where i first read about yummy fur.
i certainly hadn't heard them as, if they were being played by peel, that didn't help as i stopped listening to the peel show in the late 80's.

yummy fur | music by walt disney but played by yuri gagarin, thus a political record

actually, now i think about it, i think i simply got a slampt! flyer amongst a bunch of other flyers and fanzines.
reading through it most of the descriptions didn't fill me with enthusiasm.
but the yummy fur one stuck out - something about tiny beefhearty big flamey songs.
so i ordered the 10 track 7" and when it arrived i immediately fell in love.

it's a terrific record. short. punchy. fun.
i guess that what made it stand out even more for me was that it came at a time when i was being inundated with noise - cassette releases by cock ESP, dogliveroil, pain jerk, all those "noise artists" on labels like betley, face like a smacked arse and the like.

they were great in their way, and i enjoyed the noise thing, but i was beginning to really miss tunes.
songs you could sing along to instead of white noise and screaming electronics.

yummy fur | kodak nancy europe or police eyeball convention plastic ghoul show

it seemed like ages before the next yummy fur record came out.
was it about a year?
it may well have been.

the second single was more of the same but just as exciting.
another 10 tracker too!
i just adored it.
i'd not felt like this about a record for years and years and years.
i thought, and still think, "british sounds" was terrific.
a song i wish i'd written.
an excellent ron johnson plays pop hook and great lyrics,

"i'm not american,
don't call me thurston,
i like my accent."

all in that lovely glaswegian yelp.

yummy fur | night club

the second single had been put out by my friend paul's guided missile label and, not long after the "night club" LP got a split release with slampt.
there are some really good songs on it, but it felt a little too long.
10 songs on a 7" was poerfect for the pop that yummy fur were making and to stretch that out to 17 songs over an album was just a little much.
that said there are some top tunes on it and you really should have it in your collection.

after that yummy fur got a bit patchy.

yummy fur | policeman

"policeman" was a top idea for a single, but "plastic cowboy" was a bit of a waste given that it was only three songs, two of which were just reworkings of songs on the "night club" LP.

the "supermarket" single on vesuvius suffered from dreadful production - all the records before, even though being recorded on 4 and 8 track machines all sounded bright and thumpy, this was just mushy.

the next couple of singles, "shoot the ridiculant" and "roxy girls" failed to excite - in hindsight the "roxy girls" record isn't bad.
but the "ridiculant" record is just pish - poorly thought out casio keyboard buffoonery - sorry paul, but you shouldn't have released it.

yummy fur | male shadow at three o'clock

but then "male shadow at three o'clock" came out.
it was a vesuvius released six track 10" and it's still my favourite yummy fur record.
t has the lyrical wit of the early songs coupled to some quite astonishing music.
pure tongue in cheek pop fun.
"st john of the cross" is a stunning, "colonel blimp" is laugh out loud funny.

yummy fur | sexy world

not long after ,"sexy world" was released and was another great record.
you could hear the progression of the band from 4 track indie punk to pop ballad writing indie stars in the making.
you could also hear that this was the end.
ideas that had been played aroudn with had started to be used again and again.
you know, there's only so many times you can mention nina hagen, smack and the german disco scene before the joke turns to mud.

yummy fur | bull & gate | 1999

i saw the band at the bull & gate in north london just as they were splitting up.
they were pretty good (though i much preffered gag, who'd played support).

the band broke, john became the 1990's and the other lot went off to form some band called franz ferdinand - i group that i find insufferably boring.
to me they are the yummy fur without the wit or song writing ability of mr. john keown.

funny that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

the new wave of new wave of broken heavy metal

it's the late 80's.
something's going on in the world of indie and i don't quite understand it or like it.
there's all sorts of talk about dance music and i find it all a bit frightening.
i don't do dancing.
that's not entirely true - i tried to do dancing for a short while but i felt just like what i was, a skinny and pale indie kid trying a bit too hard to not feel too conspicuous.

i just didn't get it.

so instead i headed off through my past.
i rediscovered my metal roots through a subtle blend of bands from north london (and ipswich!) and the USA.

terminal cheesecake | bladdersack

terminal cheesecake were ferocious.
a huge mouldering sonic attack of sheet metal guitars, grinding bass and shouty druggy vocals.
listening back to them they're not a million miles away from the other bands i loved at the time - dog faced hermans, membranes et al - terminal cheesecake were definitely a left field indie metal band. albeit it a badly tripped out psychedelic buttholes inspired version.
if you can them then my advice is buy them.

silverfish | silverfish ep

then there was silverfish's first 12".
dunno what to say about silverfish. you probably already know.
all i want to say is simply that their first 12" was an astonishing blast of filthy rock.

stupids | peruvian vacation

my favourite of all the UK metal type bands was the stupids.
they were skatecore i suppose, weren't they?
i loved loved loved them - their AC/DC at 200 mph riffs, their geeky singing drummer and their childish humour (just check out "killed by a cripple" or "jesus do what you have to" from their "retard picnic" LP).

that was the UK then.

killdozer | little baby buntin'

from the USA i got really into killdozer.
grinding guitar, churning bass, thumpy drums and honest-to-god laugh out loud lyrics.
i never saw them live but was told by a friend who did that the funniest thing in the world was to see a short-arsed singing bass player standing on a box to reach the mic.
that's the kind of band for me.

rapeman | two nuns and a pack mule

i'd continued buying big black records right up to the end and so when rapeman was announced i was at the front of the queue for my copy of the 12", "budd".
that was a good record, but "two nuns and a pack mule" was simply astounding.
it continues to be my favourite albini record.
it pisses all over anything by shellac.

i suppose all of this is what made me start making stoogey rockish music with my band rather than the noisy out of tune indie i'd been making previously.
i don't know whether or not that matters.

i think what i'm trying to come to terms with is an inate rockism in my record collection.
does that matter?
is it because i'm from that hotbed of rock that is the midlands?
why am i telling you all this?
more importantly why are you reading it?
and is there any point?

well, i think that if there is a point it is simply this - you should never lie to yourself about what you like, what you love, what you hate.
don't be guided by what is or isn't something you should be into.

if you like that record at number one in the charts then buy it and play it.
if you like the latest eric clapton album, then go for it.

there you are.
sermon over.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

billy be childish

some time ago i mentioned a cassette that stuart mctell had sent me with all sorts of exciting things on it - from swell maps to happy flowers, cult figures to sexton ming.

as you'll know if you've been paying attention, i still have this cassette and occasionally i still listen to it - even though i have most fo the songs on record nowadays.

in 1990 i started a new band. it was called pimp. we needed a second guitar player and the drummer worked with a guy he thought would fit in.
the chap in question did indeed fit in.
he was a third generation mod - he got it off his dad.
he loved the milkshakes, prisoners, all those medway bands.

james taylor quartet | mission impossible

apart from buying a couple of LPs by the james taylor quartet in the mid eighties, the medway scene was something i'd never really delved into.
just never seemed to get round to it.

thee mighty caesars | john lennon's corpse revisited

i knew thee mighty caesars from stuart mctells cassette, but little else.
after visiting my guitarist's place and listening to a bunch of records i decided i should investigate.

thee headcoats | the kids are all square this is hip!

i ordered a headcoats LP from hangman records and when it arrived there was a list of other things i could buy.
included in the list was a bunch of LPs by sexton ming.

sexton ming | 6 more miles to the graveyard

i'd loved the 3 or 4 songs by him that were on that compilation cassette and so i ordered a couple of records.
i guess sexton is probably an acquired taste. i know people that love him and i know people that loathe him.
for me he's just a really funny, surreal and very clever writer who happens to make the occasional record.
he came out of the medway poetry/punk scene along with billy childish.

i started to correspond with the girl who ran hangman records' mailorder.
her name was kyra.
at the time i had no idea that she was billy childish's girlfriend and a member of thee headcoatees.
she had some of my cassettes to listen to and a couple of the short stories i'd published.
she suggested hangman stuff i might be interested in.
i bought one of sexton's books, "the man who created himself", thought it was terrific and so ordered one or two more along with one by billy childish.

when they arrived the book by billy had been signed, "to crayola, love billy" along with the date.
i wrote to him directly and thanked him and he sent me an invitation to the opening night of an exhibition he was holding in north london. sorry, the date and location escape me, but thee headcoats played too.
he gave me the same feeling that john robb had given me a few years before - here was a man who was totally pro-active, energetic and enthusiastic about other people making art and music.

a year or two later i was putting together a cassette compilation called "disasterous zoological experiments" for release on my label and sexton gave me a handful of songs to use.
there was a note with it, "bill says that you are OK and i can trust you. here's some songs" - that's basically what it said.
the note's been lost in the mists of time so i can't quote it word for word.

wild billy childish and the blackhands | live in the netherlands

i never bought a huge amount of records by billy or any of his bands.
when the press picked up on his stuckism movement they never really got to grips with the fact that he'd been doing the same thing for 20 odd years.
and that's why i didn't buy a great deal of his records.
you only need five.
any five will do.
my favourite childish band is actually the blackhands.
kinda deep south blues with a hint of, dare i say, lo-fi calypso.
something like that.
i think i like them best because they don't quite sound like all the other childish groups.

singing loins | steak and gravy

i also really dug and still LOVE chris broderick's the singing loins - i'd bought their collaboration LP with billy and liked it so much i bought their two LPs proper.
both records are terrific modern english folk poetry.

i've kept in touch with bill on and off over the years and he's always genuinely interested in what i was doing.
and then in 2001, when i left the UK for a year, he kindly played a live set at my leaving party.

most of the people there were strangers.
most of them were japanese girls.

which made me very happy.