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SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 122)

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From wiki:-

The Wake were founded in Glasgow in 1981 by Gerard “Caesar” McInulty (formerly of Altered Images), Steven Allen (drums) and Joe Donnelly (bass), the latter soon replaced by Bobby Gillespie. Steven’s sister Carolyn Allen also joined on keyboards, and remained in the band thereafter.

The Wake released their first single on their own Scan 45 label, coupling together “On Our Honeymoon” and “Give Up”. This single eventually caught the attention of New Order manager Rob Gretton, who helped the band sign to Factory Records in 1982 and record an LP (Harmony) at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.

This was followed by a number of singles on Factory and its Belgian sister label Factory Benelux. In 1983, The Wake toured with New Order, and thus received critical attention but were often unfavourably compared to their more celebrated labelmates. Gillespie was asked to leave in 1983, subsequently playing drums with The Jesus and Mary Chain and achieving fame with his own band Primal Scream.

After an amicable but short-lived stint with Caesar’s ex-classmate Martin Cunning on bass , Alexander ‘Mac’ Macpherson permanently replaced Gillespie. That same year the band recorded a session on John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 programme. The band toured extensively and scored an indie hit with their 1984 single “Talk About The Past” which featured Vini Reilly of Durutti Column on piano.

The recording and release of their seminal 1985 album Here Comes Everybody marked the apex of their career. Further releases were few and far between: one more single “Of The Matter” emerged in 1985 before their last release for Factory, a 4-track EP entitled “Something That No One Else Could Bring” finally appeared in 1987.

In 1988, disillusioned with the lack of proper promotion and indeed apathy from Factory Records, The Wake left the label and signed to Bristol’s legendary Sarah Records, releasing two singles and two LPs, the last being 1994’s Tidal Wave of Hype. By this point, once again down to a three piece featuring McInulty, Allen and Steven, they also shared personnel with another Glasgow-based band on Sarah, The Orchids, with whom they had also played a few live gigs. When Sarah shut down in 1995, The Wake effectively dissolved.

In autumn 2009, The Wake (McInulty and Allen) came together once again to record a new album, “A Light Far Out”, but it wasn’t released till April 2012 on LTM Records In July 2013 The Wake performed at the Indietracks Festival.

I saw The Wake on a number of occasions back in the days including at least three support slots for New Order. They weren’t the easiest band to take to – they always looked and sounded so dour and miserable and at a time when The Smiths were taking the world by storm The Wake seemed very much out of touch.

I’ve picked up a second-hand 7″ copy of FAC 88, the aforementioned indie hit which featured Vini Reilly on piano:-

mp3 : The Wake – Talk About The Past
mp3 : The Wake – Everybody Works So Hard

Enjoy

GANGSTA RAP

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A hit single in 1998 took Catatonia out of cult status and into the rooms and CD collections of the general public thanks to having the great idea of writing a song which directly referenced two of the then most popular characters in TV fiction.

It’s true that Mulder and Scully will always be the song most associated with the band and there’s no denying that it is a catchy and clever pop song with absolutely nothing to do with the sci-fi or paranormal subject matter of the TV show, but I think their previous single, released at the back-end of 1997 remains their finest non-Welsh lyric moment:-

mp3 : Catatonia – I Am The Mob

A surprise Top 40 hit in as far as radio play was near non-existent thanks to lyrics about kneecapping, oral sex, murder, extortion, all on the back of a stupendous opening line which pays the ultimate tribute to The Godfather.

The CD single has three other tracks on it:-

mp3 : Catatonia – Jump Or Be Sane
mp3 : Catatonia – My Selfish Gene
mp3 : Catatonia – I Am The Mob (Luca Brasi Mix)

While Jump or Sane is more or less a bog-standard filler for a single, the band obviously realised that the piano ballad My Selfish Gene was too mainstream sounding to be thrown away as a b-side and it became the final track on the triple-platinum selling LP International Velvet.  It’s a song which shows off the vocal talents of  Cerys Matthews.

The remix of the single is also reasonably entertaining.

Enjoy

A WALL OF NOISE (PEEL VERSION)

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The Wedding Present recorded an awful lot of sessions for the John Peel Show, and indeed for many other BBC radio programmes.

It was often the case that they took the opportunity to unveil new songs which wouldn’t be released for weeks or even months. On the 28th October 1990 they played four songs which would be part of the Seamonsters LP that came out in May 1991, more than six months later.

I remember hearing something that night and just thinking how loud it was – loud as in just a total wall of noise. It was not the sort of sound I normally associated with the band.

It took until the release of the Peel Session box set in 2007 before I could relive those moments from all those years ago. Of the near 100 bits of music spread across the six discs, this was the first I played..I felt like a kid on Xmas Day getting the present they’ve been dreaming about for what seems like forever:-

mp3 :  The Wedding Present – Dalliance (Peel Session)

Give it a listen. The noise that so startled me back in 1990 comes in at the 2 minute 21 seconds mark. It is just after the Boy David has poured his heart out – again – and said “after all you’ve done, that I’m so…I still want to kiss you.”

Wow.

Dalliance is one of the greatest ever songs about the feeling of total and utter despair from being strung along and let down at the very last moment. It’s a song I always imagined could be turned into a real tear-jerker by the original Tindersticks line-up if they had taken hold of the song and given it an arrangement with strings and keyboards.

The Peel version is shorter than that which was released on the LP – partly because it was played faster. I’m not sure if the band, having listened to the results of the Peel Session decided a change of pace was required. It makes the Seamonsters version even more intense….the wall of noise maybe doesn’t quite have the same impact, but it then seems to build and build and build in a way that doesn’t happen on the Peel version.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Dalliance

Oh and let’s not forget the live version in concert for French radio.  It let’s you hear just good this band were and continue to be on stage:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Dalliance (Black Sessions)

Simply thrilling honeys.

INDIE, POP, HONKY-TONK OR COUNTRY?

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I’ve long been embarrassed at how slow I was to catch-on to R.E.M. and always had pangs of jealousy towards those who cottoned on from the start and got to see them before they became staples of the arena/stadium tours.

My excuse?

I was way too engrossed in UK jingly-jangly indie pop and the fact that in the early 80s my home city seemed to be the centre of the musical universe to pay any attention to what was coming out of the USA .

Besides….one look at the cover of this 1984 single and noticing that one of them had long hair was more than enough to put me off taking the band seriously at the time no matter what some folk were saying in the music papers.

But I should have trusted my ears and not my eyes. For quite simply, this single, which is rather astonishingly more than 30 years old, is quite wonderful:-

mp3 : R.E.M. – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville

A sad tale of long-distance love told over a quite exquisite tune that can’t quite make its mind up if it is indie, pop, honky-tonk or country.

Such is my belated love for this track that on the only occasion business has ever taken me to the Washington DC (it was back in 2002 and I was delighted to learn that the conference venue, which was where I was also staying for three nights, was the Watergate Hotel), I used a spare afternoon to hop on a commuter train out to Rockville, where I had a walk around for about an hour and took some photos. It was, and I guess still is, a lovely little town.

Here’s yer b-sides of the 12″ single that I picked up second-hand a couple of years ago:-

mp3 : R.E.M. – Wolves
mp3 : R.E.M. – 9-9*
mp3 : R.E.M. – Gardening At Night*

*Recorded Live at ‘The Eldorado’, in Paris on Good Friday 20 April 1984 in mono

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That equated to around £6 or $9 (US) for the ticket.

Enjoy.

THE 500th POST On T(n)VV

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With thanks to everyone, whether you’ve submitted a guest post, left a comment, sent me an e-mail or simply dropped in for a look.

It’s sometimes been a bit of a struggle keeping the new blog going – I’m not sure it will ever give me the same sense of excitement and satisfaction as the old blog – but every now and again there’s something drops into the inbox or comments section that makes me realise that it is still all worthwhile.

I thought I’d celebrate by featuring some songs ripped from the vinyl collection that I don’t think have ever appeared previously on this or the old blog.

mp3 : The Jam – Happy Together
(From the LP The Gift (which I still I have in its pink and white gift wrapping))

mp3 : Meursault – Settling
(from the LP Something for The Weakened (in recognition of one of the best bands to have come and gone in the few short years I’ve been doing this nonsense – good luck with the new venture Neil)

mp3 : The Cramps – Jailhouse Rock
(from the NME compilation LP The Last Temptation of Elvis (in acknowledgement of my first ever gig more than 35 years ago))

mp3 : Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone
(from the LP Highway 61 Revisited (the original 1965 mono version – gifted to me by someone a few weeks ago when they learned I had a passion for vinyl))

mp3 : Randolph’s Leap – I Can’t Dance To This Music Anymore
(from the LP Clumsy Knot (just a way of sneaking in a track from my favourite album of 2014))

Here’s a live ‘unplugged’ version of the Randolph’s Leap song which was filmed in a pub very very close to my place of work in the east end of Glasgow and which was the venue for some of my most magical musical memories this past 12 months.

Enjoy.

And here’s to the next 500 bits of nonsense.

WHAT COMES INTO YOUR MIND WHEN YOU HEAR THIS SONG?

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mp3 : Iggy Pop – Lust For Life

For years, it was always the downstairs alternative disco within Strathclyde University’s Student Union.  Level 8 was the main place for live acts and a half decent indie and pop disco but two floors down, in what usually functioned as the main dining hall, you’d find a DJ playing more obscure and cult material. Iggy Pop featured every week, alternating between The Passenger and Lust For Life (it was vinyl in those days and I’m guessing that was the only LP that the student union had!)

Moving forward more than a decade and the song became synonymous with the opening few minutes of the film Trainspotting as Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewan Bremner) sprint down Princes Street in Edinburgh pursued by security guards after a shoplifting incident gone wrong. The joy and surprise of seeing so many familiar locations come to life on the big screen was part of what made that film so special, and every time I walk up Leith Walk and pass its junction with Calton Road I instantly recall the moment where Renton sprints down the sorts set of stairs and seconds later narrowly avoids getting killed by a car emerging from a side street as Iggy’s song pounds away in the background.

Almost 20 years later and I’ve a third abiding memory and that’s of Johnny Marr and his cohorts blasting out a tremendous live version from the stage of the O2 Academy in Glasgow. In a gig packed with many highlights, including some astonishingly good versions of Smiths songs, the unexpected blast of Lust for Life was just as much a stand-out.

It wasn’t originally released as a single in the UK but was readily available on import from the Netherlands where it went Top 3, with this same track on the b-side as had been put on the UK release of The Passenger:-

mp3 : Iggy Pop – Success

1977?  Still sounds incredible and fresh today.

THE MOZ SINGLES (41)

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I don’t like the annual nonsense of Record Store Day. The concept itself is sound but all too often real fans are left out in the cold as things are snapped up and shoved on e-bay for astronomical amounts within a matter of hours, so I tend to give the event a miss and drop into a couple of my favourite stores a fed days after and see what is still generally available.

Which is why I’ve never shown any interest at all in trying to get my hands on a 10″ single release for Record Store Day 2012, limited to 1000 copies:-

mp3 : Morrissey – Suedehead (Mael Mix)
mp3 : Morrissey – Now My Heart Is Full (live)
mp3 : Morrissey – We’ll Let You Know (live)

The main track was given the remix treatment by Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks, with Ron adding some keyboards. It’s dreadful.

The live tracks were from a 1995 concert at the historic Theatre Royal in London which had been broadcast on BBC Radio 1. They’re almost as awful as the remix….

Total waste of time and money. Glad mine were, ahem, sourced.

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