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THE CINERAMA SINGLES (7)

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The next release on Scopitones was the album Disco Volante. The fact that The Wedding Present had metamorphosised into Cinerama was seemingly still lost on quite a few folk – my copy of that particular CD has a sticker in the top right hand corner which has the words ‘THE NEW ALBUM BY DAVID GEDGE FROM’ followed by, in type that is twice the size, ‘THE WEDDING PRESENT’.

It’s eleven tracks didn’t include Manhattan while Wow had been re-recorded in an extended form. Lollobrigida was there as was what turned out to be the fourth single of the year in November 2000:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Your Charms

The single version is a little shorter than the album version, dispensing with the opening fifteen seconds or so in which the musicians on flute, cello, violin, trumpet and french horn are warming up in that way they do when you go to a classical concert, opera or ballet. It’s as rich sounding as you’d expect with that amount of instruments involved. And it’s a classic Gedge lyric about falling head over heels.

As ever, two b-sides:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Reel 2, Dialogue 2
mp3 : Cinerama – Girl On A Motorcycle

The former had been aired a year earlier via a Peel Session with its title more than a nod to the fact that many of the songs were really soundtracks for movies being imagined by David Gedge and his bandmates as there’s a co-credit for Simon Cleave on this one.

The latter, is for once, a bit of a throwaway number. I’m guessing it was written and recorded for possible inclusion on the album but didn’t make the cut. It was the first b-side in which the quality noticeably dipped.

Two albums down. Six flop singles and gigs being played to small audiences in venues half the size of those that had hosted TWP. Was it time to rethink things?

COMPLEMENTARY BONUS POSTING : FATHER SCULPTOR

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Dave’s OCD EP this morning has clearly prompted this stroll down memory lane.

It began in February 2011 when I went along to a gig at King Tut’s at the suggestion of Drew (Across The Kitchen Table); there was a huge buzz about a band called Spector and we both wanted to see what the fuss was about. To be honest, they were dull and not worth bothering about.

But we were both taken by the appearance of one of the support bands – Father Sculptor – and in the subsequent review of the gig on the old blog I raved about them. To my total surprise, an e-mail appeared in the Inbox a few days later from the band, not only thanking me for the kind words but telling me they were avid readers of The Vinyl Villain and it had meant a lot to them to get a mention.

Thus began regular exchanges of correspondence – I was usually among the first to get a listen to their new material which they would in due course post online at their website, always without fail giving it very positive mentions on the blog. The bands consited of five young men, all studying in Glasgow, although none were actually from the city. In time, they began to get a wider press with positive write-ups in the NME and The Guardian newspaper, as well as a range of web-based music outlets.

The band scrimped and saved towards their ambition of actually making a physical record instead of merely making things available as downloads and I was thrilled, delighted and honoured when they asked if I could promote a show for them in Glasgow for the launch of what would be a self-financed debut EP on 12″ vinyl.

The gig took place in Stereo on Saturday 13 April 2013. There was a more than decent turnout and the boys played a terrific set. I spent some time with them the following morning during which it hit me that they were on the verge of greatness but there were some things that could easily tear them apart – one being they weren’t a completely cohesive unit and so there were bound to be fall-outs, especially given how young and relatively inexperienced they were; secondly they would soon be facing up to a situation where they were no longer students and the pressure would be on some if not all of them to find employment which would bring its own pressures to bear.

As it turned out, their wasn’t much more after the release of the EP, with Dave’s post earlier pulling the various threads together. There’s many a band out there like Father Sculptor who, having shown great early potential and in their case getting some amazing stuff out there via the internet and on vinyl, don’t get what they fully deserve. I do miss them.

Here’s some of the stuff that came out between 2011 and 2013:-

mp3 : Father Sculptor – Artiside
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Ember
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Blue
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Rhein
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Frances
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Dysmirror
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Lowlands (radio edit)
mp3 : Father Sculptor – The Swim
mp3 : Father Sculptor – Sault

Enjoy

OCD EPs : #1 : FATHER SCULPTOR

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A GUEST POSTING (AND IDEA!!) FROM DAVE GLICKMAN

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The Background…..

And then one day, you just have to have it all…

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I come across a band where I eventually decide that I have to get my hands on everything they ever recorded. It usually starts innocently enough – one album purchased on iTunes or a couple of songs downloaded from my favorite indie music blog. Perhaps I’ll find a b-side collection on a fan site and pick out a few favorites or come across a video of a particularly stellar radio or television broadcast. And then suddenly, the obsession kicks in. What else in their catalog is still purchasable? Where can I find the best quality rips of those broadcasts? And, by god, why didn’t I download all those b-sides when I had the chance?

Maybe this sounds all too familiar to you or perhaps I’m just sharing my own personal demons. Collecting anything, after all, must be a mild form of psychological illness, albeit a rather benign one. I take solace in the fact that when bit by the bug, I tend not to be a full “completist”, limiting myself to studio tracks, outtakes, alternative versions, unreleased tracks, compilation contributions, tour disks and broadcasts. Knowing that there is a place on the internet where I can get my hands on bootlegs of every Morrissey show is good enough for me; I don’t need to have each and every one in my personal library.

With all this in mind and in the spirit of T(n)VV’s ICAs, I thought I might propose a corollary concept: OCD EP’s are short collections of the best or most interesting obscure, off the beaten track songs that only the most ardent, and dare I say obsessed, fans might be familiar with and have in their libraries. I have in mind a few of these EPs from my own collection, which is where I found the courage to title this piece as number 1 in a series (number 2 is forthcoming, but I make no promises after that). I have no expectations that others will join in as has been the case with the ICAs, but please feel free to contribute your own if so inclined. Guidelines of your own choosing of course, though these were my thoughts as I put together the first one:

• It’s an EP, not an album. So 4-6 tracks max and no hidden tracks.

• No album tracks, a-sides or anything easily purchasable at a digital music store.

• Not so sure about b-sides. I suppose if they are very obscure and hard to find they could be worthy inclusions. But, just for example, The Smith’s “These Things Take Time” would hardly qualify.

• Focus on songs that even the average fan of the band might not be familiar with – unreleased tracks and sessions, outtakes and alternate versions and otherwise obscure or difficult to access songs.

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As I’ve mentioned before, this blog has played a major role in reconnecting me with the indie music scene, filling in the gaps during the years that I was focused on other things and introducing me to new music. So, let’s start with a group that I never would have heard of were it not for JC’s promotion – Father Sculptor. One advantage of choosing a more recent band is that there is only a limited catalog of tracks to find; the counter-balancing downside being the lack of other collectors and established fan sites on which to find them. In this particular case, there isn’t likely much new to discover, as it seems that after just a couple of years, the band disappeared from the scene. I have no background or insight into what happened to them other than noticing that their website and social media presence is no more. Perhaps our host, who seems to have had some relationship with them in the past, can share some additional information?

To my knowledge, during their short lifespan, Father Sculptor released only two EPs – Vi, which collected a series of singles that had previously been made available as free downloads from their site, and Faith & Violence. Stand out tracks for me included Aristide, Frances and Swallowed in Dreams. Beyond the EPs, my library contains a radio edit of one of the Faith & Violence tracks that was posted on this blog a while back and five other songs that I found in various corners of the internet (which may or may not be by the band – more on that later). No tough decisions this time, as these five tracks, listed chronologically, comprise my Father Sculptor OCD EP:

Side One

1. Velvet Fall (2011)

On their website, Father Sculptor had artwork posted for what appeared to be their first single, Velvet Fall/Two of Swords (demo). However, it seemed that the tracks were never made available for download from the site or for purchase anywhere else. My guess is that the single was never released. Searching the web for “father sculptor velvet fall” brought up nothing relevant, however, one day a couple of years back I did find a “Velvet Fall” video on a relatively obscure site with no mention of the band name (I can’t find that video today).

Is it this Father Sculptor debut single? I can’t say for sure, but it certainly sounds like it could be. While not as good as the tracks on Vi, it is certainly listenable.

2. Two of Swords (demo) (2011)

The video for Two of Swords (demo) is quite easy to find and clearly labeled as a Father Sculptor song. In contrast to Velvet Fall, this song is excellent and ranks up there with my other favorite tracks from the band. It would have been interesting to see what would have come of it with a full work up in the studio.

Side Two

3. Faith & Violence – Coming Soon (video backing track) (2013)

Prior to the release of Faith & Violence, a promotional video was posted on the Father Sculptor website. It didn’t include any snippets from the new EP, but was instead backed with this short wordless song. Of course the music may or may not be a Father Sculptor composition, but I’m inclined to believe it is until I find out otherwise.

4. Blackshirt (2013)

Not long after the release of Faith & Violence. A video for Blackshirt was posted on the web. Perhaps this was intended to be the follow-up single to the EP or maybe an early peak at a debut LP. There was no way for me to know as only a couple of months later, traces of the band on the web began to disappear. In any case, it is a quite enjoyable song that would have fit comfortably on the preceding EP.

5. Ray (2014)

Naturally I assumed that there would be no more Father Sculptor after 2013. Yet, a year later another video appeared. Ray is an instrumental that I would have to guess was something they were working on at the time that they disappeared but had yet to add vocals to. I quite like it and fairly recently discovered that it bears some resemblance to Intro by The xx.

Dave G

JC adds…..with apologies that the link to Velvet was’t working properly at the start of the day.  Sorted now.

B&S ON SUNDAYS (1)

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Much of what will appear in this new series will be lifted from wiki as I’m reserving the right to have lazy Sundays for a bit. The idea is to feature all the EPs and 45s released over the years by Belle and Sebastian.

It was back in 1996 that debut LP Tigermilk came out, followed just a few months later by If You’re Feeling Sinister. So you had the very unusual circumstances of two albums (albeit one of which was near impossible to get a hold of) and no singles. That changed in May 1997 with the release of the Dog On Wheels EP on Jeepster Records, but as wiki reveals:-

The four recordings on the EP actually pre-date the band’s début album Tigermilk, produced whilst band members Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David were on the Beatbox music course in Glasgow. Murdoch, David and Mick Cooke are the only long-term members to play on the songs. The drums were supplied by David Campbell, whilst Brian Nugent played flute on “String Bean Jean”, and Gerry Campbell, a tutor at Beatbox, provided keyboards on “The State I Am In” and “Belle & Sebastian” as well as lead guitar on “String Bean Jean”.

The sleeve notes also credit Mark McWhirter, Michael Angus and Steve Mackenzie so that means (not for the first time) that wiki gets it wrong!!

Four really good songs.  The lead track has a Latin feel to it, not least the trumpet solo about halfway through;  the second track is an earlier version of what was the opening song on Tigermilk and which to this day is among the most popular of all B&S songs amongst fans; listening now to tracks three and four you can hear their demo nature in contrast to the polished sounds on If You’re Feeling Sinister but given they would never get any other airings via re-recordings they are well worth having.

mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Dog On Wheels
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – The State I Am In
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – String Bean Jean
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian – Belle and Sebastian

The EP did make the UK charts, entering at #59 on 24 May 1997, before dropping out of the Top 75 the following week.

A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (11)

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON FRIDAY 9 MAY 2008

(and featured again in this form on 4 March 2015)

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Is this the song in my self-indulgent rundown that stands out like a sore-thumb?

In terms of a world-wide audience, it’s probably the best-known of all of the 45s (so far). It’s certainly got the most identifiable opening notes (that is unless you get confused with Call It What You Want by Credit To The Nation which sampled the intro).

First time I heard this was as the opening song on a cassette made up by Jacques the Kipper. It was a time when every six weeks or so, we would thrust a tape into each others hands along with set of cryptic clues for each song, and challenge the other, not just to identify the track, but also offer a few observations.

His clue for the opening song was ‘Vodka’. Sheer genius if you ask me…..the boy should have become a copywriter with an advertising agency.

But back to the song…

It’s about as far removed as you could ever imagine from the twee stuff that I listened to so much over the previous decade, and it could almost be classified as the dreaded stadium rock. And yet…

There’s just something very special and outstanding about Smells Like Teen Spirit that is difficult to pinpoint. I can’t argue that it’s anything unlike you’d ever heard before, given that it has a riff that is very similar (some say identical) to More Than A Feeling by 70s soft-rockers Boston. Nor is there a case to be made that the vocals are completely different from other folk given that Kurt Cobain’s style of quiet/shout/quiet/shout was something you heard from Black Francis on many Pixies songs. And yet…

The song did seem to arrive like a bolt out of the blue. Yes, there had been some coverage in the UK music papers about some sort of scene based around the city of Seattle, but how many times before had we read about a scene in Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco or any other American city that had petered out before it crossed the Atlantic. But then Nirvana came across to the UK to promote Nevermind. There was a live appearance on an early evening chat-show on Channel 4 hosted by Jonathan Ross. He introduced the band who went straight into a heavy-metal riff, and then Kurt took over on a completely indecipherable lyric that was a low-moan or a scream…

In the middle of the tune, he sang the words,Just Because You’re Paranoid Don’t Mean That They’re After You’. Then he started screaming again. The song finished in a flurry of feedback not seen in any TV studio since the heyday of Jesus And Mary Chain, before the drums were kicked over and the band stormed off to muted applause and a bemused chat show host who had his finger in his ear. Jonathan Ross than, in a brilliant piece of improvisation said ‘That was Nirvana – doing a song that none of us were expecting. They’ve asked me to mention that they are available for children’s parties and bar mitzvahs…’

It was a truly astonishing piece of TV, and the most ‘punk’ thing I had seen in years, and I knew right then that Nirvana were the genuine article. (The song they played was Territorial Pissings). It was the sort of thing that won’t happen nowadays as prime-time TV live shows are no longer really live and bands won’t behave in that way for fear of upsetting the label bosses.

Of course it all went badly wrong almost immediately, and the band nowadays seem to be loved and admired more for the dead rock star syndrome rather than anything else. The fact that it all ended before there could be any critical backlash or before they fell out of fashion, means that there are very few reasons why music historians and commentators can ever make critical comments about Nirvana, other than be horrified at some of the copy-cat acts that came in their wake. But that’s just nonsensical – you never read anyone blaming The Beatles for every single four-piece band that’s walked the planet since 1963 do you?

mp3 : Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
mp3 : Nirvana – Drain You
mp3 : Nirvana – Even In His Youth
mp3 : Nirvana – Aneurysm

I never did get to see the band live on stage. Mrs Villain and myself had tickets for a Glasgow gig that never happened as Kurt Cobain committed suicide shortly beforehand. I immediately went back in for my refund, but Mrs V kept her ticket as a memento. Seems she was the clever one as she could probably get far more than its face value if she was to put it on e-bay…

Oh I’ve  tracked down the Jonathan Ross clip as well. Even if you’re no fan of the band, it’s worth having a look just to see how fresh-faced he was back in 1991. And check out his hair, as well as the ad-libbing (turns out I didn’t repeat it 100% word-for-word, but I wasn’t far off).

Enjoy

AGGRESIVE TRASHY DANCE-POP

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That was one of the descriptions meted out to Hey! Elastica, a short-lived but rather wonderful Edinburgh band from the early 80s who I featured more than a few times over on the old blog before google had its evil way with it.

There was a huge hype about them – visually they were quite stunning, while the sound they mad was tailor-made for radio play. The indie kids and students loved the sound and yet it had the potential to crossover to younger folk more in tune with mainstream pop.  Jacques the Kipper was, like me, rather fond of them as we would discover many years later when we bonded over our tastes in music.

Hey! Elastica signed what I’m led to believe was a rather substantial contract with Virgin Records. Four flop singles and one flop album later, it was all over. October 1982 was the debut single and March 1984 was the LP. Seventeen crazy and wild months that left us with no more than 14 different songs and a load of happy memories for those of us lucky enough to ever catch them live. They could have been and should have been the Scottish B52s.

Here’s each of the singles……………

Debut Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Eat Your Heart Out (12″ version)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Clay Hips (First Movement) (12″ version)

Second Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Suck A Little Honey (12″ version)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Suck A Little More

Third Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Party Games
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Elastican Chant No.2

Final Single

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – This Town (12″ version)
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – That Town
mp3 : Hey! Elastica – Twist That Town

The other 8 songs that made it onto the sole LP are available on request….

BONUS POSTING : THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week Five)

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SWC writes…..

Badger was sort of right last week, I do have this habit of winding people up. Most of the stuff I say is completely true though. I am sucker for inane little facts, snippets of information and nuggets of knowledge that make your socks roll up and down your legs and shout ‘Golly’. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out earlier today that the red waxy stuff that adorns Edam cheese was invented by the grandfather of Huey Lewis from Huey Lewis and the News fame. Almost as happens as I was when I found out that the Afrikaans word for an ‘elephants trunk’ is ‘slurp’ and that octopuses have beaks. That’s how happy.

I was less happy when I found out that Mrs Badger was to pick this week’s charity shop CD. This is not because she has bad taste in music, as shown by our own recent experiment with our wives iPods over at our own blog (both better and miles more eclectic than ours). Rather it is because she is bound to make it difficult for me. So it was with some fear when Mrs SWC and I turned up at Badger Towers last Sunday for lunch, the CD was going to be presented to me after the trifle (actually it was a very nice trifle). Also just to set the record straight, The Badgers and the SWCs often have lunch together, it’s a fairly regular thing, we don’t just get together to give each other CDs bought from various branches of Scope.

After the trifle, whilst the tea is being made and the dishwasher loaded by Badger – who is looking resplendent in his favourite frilly pinny – Mrs Badger pops a bag containing the CD on the sofa beside me and immediately starts talking to my wife and our daughter about things like ‘pretty dresses’. It is a very clever move. She told me earlier that Badger has no idea what it is, because he ‘was bound to tell me, after one or two glasses of wine’ (true he would).

I leave the CD where it is, my hand twitching slightly, the CD appears to be sinking into the sofa, seemingly burning a hole in the bag. I’m rubbish at poker. I grab the bag and peek inside.

It is ‘Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits’ it cost £2 from the Whipton branch of Scope in Exeter.

Now it is about now that I should confess a few things. Firstly, ‘The Graduate’ starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman is one of my favourite films, and its soundtrack is a musical masterpiece. It’s largely because Anne Bancroft looks wonderful in every scene in that film and that bit where Hoffman goes ‘Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?’ is one of cinemas finest minutes.

‘Sound of Silence’ is one of the finest records ever recorded and despite being nearly 50 years old it has aged excellently (and if you disagree then the door is over there). These two famous tracks come from the soundtrack and are also featured on the Greatest Hits CD.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Sound of Silence
mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Mrs Robinson

Let’s talk cover versions for a second if I may, I’ll come back to the confessions later

Now despite ‘Sound of Silence’ being nearly half a century old, it has rarely been covered but a few months back the unintentionally hilarious act Disturbed decided that the world needed a nu metal version of it. I haven’t got it but I played it on You Tube just a moment ago and a massive piece of sick arrived in the back of my mouth. It is as awful as it sounds.

‘Mrs Robinson’ has been covered as we know, by the Lemonheads, which isn’t bad to be honest.

mp3 :  The Lemonheads – Mrs Robinson

Another track on the CD ‘Cecilia’ has been butchered by well-known arsehole and Chelsea Fan Suggs. He took an already awful song and made it fucking awful.

Here’s the original if you want it. It sucks massively though

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia

Second confession. I rarely buy Greatest Hits CDs largely because they often are just record companies flogging a long dead horse. There are four exceptions to this rule, Buffalo Tom’s ‘A Sides’ (which The Robster will agree with), Super Furry Animals ‘Songbook Vol. 1’ (which everyone should agree with). ’21 Singles’ by the Jesus and Mary Chain’ and ‘Straw Donkeys’ by Carter USM (ditto). Every other Greatest Hits compilation is a rip off. I may add ‘Melting Pot’ the Charlatans one to that good list in the near future.

Now despite only costing £2, this Greatest Hits CD is a rip off, it contains a number of live tracks that are ruined by polite applause included ‘Homeward Bound’ one of S&G’s better tracks. Seriously if you want to listen to Simon and Garfunkel go and buy the ‘Sounds of Silence’, ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ albums. All three are excellent; don’t waste your cash on one of the several million compilations.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Homeward Bound (with added clearly piped in ‘polite applause’)

Third Confession – Paul Simon, despite nowadays being a domestic violence sympathiser, was at the time – one natty mofo. On the cover of this CD he has a zapatista moustache (kind of) and a white beret. Only a real rock star could wear a white beret on an album cover. Would you see Thom Yorke or Morrissey or Kanye West wearing a white beret on an album sleeve – no you would not, because they are just shallow fawns toking on fashions crack pipe (possibly). Simon also appears to be holding a golden acorn which is probably symbolic of something.

Fourth Confession – The song ‘The Boxer’ is utterly wonderful. No, no, Stay with me. I listened to this CD in full on my way to work on Monday morning – I had an hour’s drive so bunged it on. Now maybe it was a combination of Devon’s rolling hills and the beautiful sunshine but the bit where the thunderclaps drums kick in just after the vocals go ‘Lie la lie’ for the first time sent shivers down my spine and despite it being an obvious Dylan rip off – it’s a beautiful thing.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer

Bringing it back to facts and inane pieces of information. There is a bridge in Bickleigh, Devon which goes over the fast flowing River Exe that legend has it was the inspiration for S&G’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. They stayed in the nearby cottage and spied the fast flowing river and the rest is POP HISTORY. Another lesser known fact is that I once saw a yellow Mark II Ford Capri stuck in a tree near the same bridge. At least one fact in this paragraph is not actually true. All three in the opening one are.

mp3 : Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Here is the skinny

Bought from Scope, Whipton

you can google Scope to find out more about their ongoing brilliant work in providing disabled people with the same opportunities as the rest of us.

Price £2.

Money Left £11

Weeks Left 5

Oh, before I go and just because here is an ode to the lovely Anne.

mp3 : Mega City Four – Anne Bancroft

SWC

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