1 Comment

Adapted from wiki:-

The Cinematics were an alternative rock band founded in 2003 and disbanded in 2011. The band consisted of Scott Rinning, Larry Reid, Adam Goemans and Ross Bonney. The members originally met while at school in Dingwall but the band itself was formed in Glasgow, signing to TVT Records in 2005 after playing at an In the City showcase gig in Manchester.

They would go on to make two albums, the second of which was on Orchard Records after TVT went bankrupt. There was also a handful of singles and EPs.

The band never really got beyond cult status in their native city and by 2010 had relocated to Berlin where work began on a third LP but it was never released.

I did see them on a few occasions, the first being in 2005 when they were a decent support act to Editors at a packed King Tut’s in Glasgow. This was one of the singles from the debut LP, A Strange Education, which came out in March 2007:-

mp3 : The Cinematics – Chase





Back in 2004/2005, the UK charts were seemingly dominated by a plethora of emerging guitar-led bands, very few of whom lasted the course beyond the debut LP. One of my favourite records from the period has turned out to be Capture/Release, the debut LP by The Rakes. Now I’ve tried over the years to be an avid reader of blogs, but I haven’t read too many pieces that have mentioned far less praised this particular record. Which is a bit of an oversight in my humble opinion…..

The Rakes never really fitted in with any genre – some thought they were from the post-punk art scene like Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park or Bloc Party, while others thought they were just another London band like Razorlight or The Libertines who owed their success to a lazy, fawning media.

I first heard the band through seeing some of their videos on MTV2 and thinking that they were infectiously catchy songs. I’ll be honest and admit I never rushed out and bought anything right away, nor did I go along and catch them playing live. But in due course, maybe about a year after it came out, I picked up a second-hand copy of their debut LP and gave it a listen. Eleven brilliant pop songs in just over 30 minutes – and a record that really should have gotten a lot more critical acclaim at the time.

I bought follow-up LP Ten New Messages not long after it was released in March 2007, and it too became a bit of a favourite, although like a lot of records that I bought in 2007 wasn’t listened to all that often as I spent a fair chunk of the year working in Canada and far away from the record collection. And then blogging sort of took over and bands like The Rakes, The Libertines and The Futureheads, all of whom had released some cracking stuff over a two-year period, were sort of forgotten about as I delved further and further back in time and listened to loads of old vinyl for the first time in years.

The band released their third LP in 2009 – Klang – but it proved to be a flop and the band called it a day this time seven years ago. The sum of their career was nine singles and three LPs, none of which ever hit the Top 20.  But they were far better at what they did than many others who made money and a career out of it.

Here’s the four more than decent  singles from the debut album.

mp3 : The Rakes – Strasbourg
mp3 : The Rakes – Retreat
mp3 : The Rakes – 22 Grand Job
mp3 : The Rakes – Work, Work, Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)





….it’s always been one of my favourites.

Loads of great things were said about Prince on his sad and untimely death earlier this year, including on this blog from a couple of guest contributors who were huge fans.

He was another who I admired rather than adored, but every now and then I’d hear his new single and rush out and buy it. As happened in June 1991 when my purchase of the 12″ vinyl helped it get to #4 in the UK charts:-

mp3 : Prince & The New Power Generation – Gett Off (Extended Remix)
mp3 : Prince & The New Power Generation – Gett Off (Housestyle)

For those of you interested in such things, the absolutely fabulous housestyle version was produced and remixed by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley. Oh and on other 12″ versions of the single it is known as the ‘Urge Mix’. The two tracks between them combine to make almost 17 minutes of music.

I also now have the 7″ single in the collection, and here’s your b-side which was originally scheduled to be included on the LP Diamonds & Pearls but removed at the 11th hour when Gett Off was finished off just in time. So why not….

mp3 : Prince & The New Generation – Horny Pony





Released in February 1978. It didn’t get near the charts. Indeed, I’d be surprised if it got much in the way of radio play. I know for sure that John Peel would have played it as it was performed in session in January 1978, one of three such sessions that Wire did for his show. But his listeners weren’t that enthusiastic, never once voting the quartet into the Festive 50 during their late 70s/early 80s heyday.

But it’s considered a classic of its ilk nowadays:-

mp3 : Wire – I Am The Fly

The flip side of the 7″ was one of the most popular tracks from the previous LP, Pink Flag, that had been released in November 1977:-

mp3 : Wire – Ex-Lion Tamer

And to round things off:-

mp3 : Wire – I Am The Fly (Peel Session)




This was in the charts around the time of my 16th birthday in June 1979. It’s a record that reminds me of my first ever proper job which lasted for about six weeks over that summer.

It was in a Glasgow store of Halfords. I actually told a few white lies to land the post, in that I said to the store manager when I went for the interview that I had decided to leave school at the earliest opportunity, which was on my 16th birthday, when in fact I was always intending to go back in August 1979 to sit exams that I hoped I could pass and go onto university.

Anyway, the six weeks that I spent in the shop were great fun. It was mostly lads maybe three or four years older than me, but they seemed awfully grown up in so many ways, especially the fact that they went out to the pub after work every Saturday night – I was always young-looking for my age and stood no chance of getting served. Everyone liked their music, but we all had different tastes, so the solution was to just have Radio 1 on in the background all day long – and the Sparks record was on very heavy rotation.

By the time I had started work, just about everyone had more or less forgotten about Sparks after a bundle of hit singles in 1974 and 1975 – they were probably regarded as a bit of a novelty act thanks in part to the fact that Russell Mael had a singing voice that hit higher notes than just about any other bloke on the planet, but mainly to the fact that Ron Mael when appearing on telly stared intensely at the camera and freaked everyone out. Oh and he also had a moustache and haircut that made him look awfully like Adolf Hitler….

The Number One Song In Heaven was totally unexpected. The only way you could tell it was Sparks was the distinctive vocal – but what Russell was warbling over was something mind-blowing and astonishing.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that very few bands used electronic keyboards to any great effect 30 years ago. Sparks went for it in a big way, deciding to recruit Giorgio Moroder into the band – an act of absolute genius. Moroder, Italian-born but German-based, was well-known for his work on disco music on the Casablanca label, particularly with Donna Summer, as well as the fact that in 1978 he’d won an Oscar for his soundtrack to the movie Midnight Express (the single The Chase – Theme From Midnight Express used to amaze my dad – we had wall-mounted stereo speakers and it sounded as if the music was actually crawling its way across the wall as it moved from one stereo speaker to the other)

Anyways, the first thing the public got to hear from the Maels/Moroder canon was this:-

mp3 : Sparks – The Number One Song In Heaven

I was sure this was a truly massive hit, so I was surprised to learn that in fact it only reached #14 in the UK charts, although it did hang around the Top 40 for almost two months (which was why it was on heavy rotation on the shop radio).

Strangely enough, I didn’t play the A-side all that often, for the version of the song that was put on the reverse was far superior, but at 7 plus minutes long wouldn’t ever have gotten played on daytime radio:-

mp3 : Sparks – The Number One Song In Heaven (long version)

It was where prog met glam met disco met film soundtrack on one piece of 7″ black vinyl – one that, sadly, is no longer in the collection.

So there you have it. The celestial song which cleared the decks for the likes of Soft Cell, Pet Shop Boys, Human League and Heaven 17 (as well as many other inferior versions of electro-pop) to come along in the 80s and make a fortune.


Leave a comment

From wiki:-

“In the wake of punk, small record labels began to spring up, as an outlet for artists that were unwilling to sign contracts with major record companies, or were not considered commercially attractive to those companies. By 1978, labels like Cherry Red, Rough Trade, and Mute had started up, and a support structure soon followed, including independent pressing, distribution and promotion. These labels got bigger and bigger, and by 1980 were having top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart. Chart success was limited, however, since the official top 40 was based on sales at large chains and ignored significant sales at the scores of independent record shops that existed. Iain McNay of Cherry Red suggested to the weekly trade paper Record Business the idea of an independent record chart to address the problem, and the first independent chart appeared in 1980, published in Record Week, and later licensed to Sounds.

To be included in the indie chart, a record had to be distributed independently of the corporate framework of the major record companies; the genre of music was irrelevant.

The first weekly independent chart was published on 19 January 1980.”

What I’m intending to do is feature many of the songs that went to #1 in the indie singles chart in the 80s, but not in any sort of series as doing so would require a degree of discipline that I don’t think capable of providing. But it does make sense to begin at the beginning with the first ever 45 that made the top of the chart.

It does somehow seem apt that this particular 45 was on Rough Trade as it was, without any argument, the best-known indie label in the UK during the late 70s and 80s. There’s also something reassuring by the fact that the band involved had an annual name change policy that was seen by some as a mere marketing tool but by others as a way of continually confirming the most indie of credentials.

I haven’t ever owned own anything ever released by Spizzoil in 1978, Spizzenergi in 1979, Athletico Spizz 80 in 1980, The Spizzles in 1981 or Spizzenergi in 1982. I don’t ever recall seeing them play live and so what follows is a short tale pulled together from a few different sources.

Spizz was vocalist/guitarist who founded the band in August 1977. His real name was Kenneth Spiers. He had started out as a solo act By the following year, he had recruited Pete Petrol (real name Pete Hyde) and the duo, having supported Siouxsie & The Banshees and recorded a Peel Session, were signed to Rough Trade and issued two 7″ EPs as Spizz Oil.

The following year, the name was changed to Spizzenergi; Petrol left after falling out with Spizz but three new musicians were recruited. Two more singles followed including this in December 1979:-

mp3 : Spizzenergi – Where’s Captain Kirk?
mp3 : Spizzenergi – Amnesia

It’s 2:15 of superbly silly, atypically enjoyable post-punk that no doubt got the musos shaking their head in complete disbelief. It was released at the same time as the first Star Trek movie which no doubt helped raise its profile, and as mentioned was #1 in the first ever UK Indie Singles Chart when that was published on 19 January 1980, a position it proudly held for 8 weeks before being replaced by UB40‘s debut double-A side single Food For Thought/King.

By this time of course, Spizzenergi were, on the face of it, no more but as Atletico Spizz 80 they added a fifth member and released a further single on Rough Trade before being snapped up by A&M Records for whom they released two singles and an album; in 1981 as The Spizzles, it was two singles and an album.

The only commercial success while at A&M was the debut LP Do A Runner reaching #27 in July 1980, and come 1982 they had been dropped and were back at Rough Trade, again as Spizzenergi with a further two singles.

The group then disbanded but in 1987 Spizz came back as a solo artist with a re-working of his most famous single.

There’s lots more over at this wiki page.

Incidentally, R.E.M. recorded a fairly faithful cover version of the song to give away free as the Fan Club single in 1992.

mp3 : R.E.M. – Where’s Captain Kirk?




Sorry for the lack of a posting today.  Been a bit busy at work and things on over a few evenings recently that I couldn’t quite keep on top of things.

I’ve been in Birmingham today on work stuff and will soon be boarding a train back to Glasgow, during which time I will do a bit of catching up including posts for the rest of the week and hopefully reading and enjoying all the stuff that other bloggers have been posting at their place.

Just one thing to add.  Was lucky enough to see The Pixies at Glasgow Barrowlands last Friday.  They were, as the saying goes, the dog’s bollocks.

Late addendum at 11pm

I got reasonably near the front at one point last week….

Older Entries