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B&S ON SUNDAYS (10)

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Books

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Books is an EP released by Belle & Sebastian in 2004 on Rough Trade Records. The EP features “Wrapped Up in Books” from Dear Catastrophe Waitress, two new songs — “Your Cover’s Blown” and “Your Secrets” — and “Cover (Version)”, a remix of “Your Cover’s Blown” by the band’s keyboardist Chris Geddes. The front cover features Alexandra Klobouk. The EP reached #20 in the UK singles chart.

from all music

Books is the third single from Belle & Sebastian’s 2003 album Dear Catastrophe Waitress. “Wrapped Up in Books” comes from the album. The other three songs are exclusive to the EP.

While the charming, low-key “Books” is a fine song, it is firmly in the B&S tradition. “Your Secrets” is also pretty typical fare, but very strong and catchy with the added perk of some lovely weeping pedal steel guitar. The real interesting track here is the mini-epic “Your Cover’s Blown.” It starts off as a slinky disco number with some wonderfully sexy vocals from Stuart Murdoch, has a lovely sunny chorus, and a spooky spy music bridge. Add to it typically literate and funny lyrics and you have a winner that is equal parts Pulp, Squeeze, and always uniquely Belle & Sebastian. The group’s creative renaissance continues to amaze. “Cover” is a funky remix of “Your Cover’s Blown.” The band’s Chris Geddes is responsible and he turns the track into a glittering dancefloor confection that wouldn’t sound out of place between the Rapture and !!! on indie dance night, or even in a Larry Levan mix.0

This is everything that the previous single wasn’t.  It’s got a brilliantly catchy and enjoyable lead track (one of many excellent songs on Dear Catastrophe Waitress) while the three other songs have a certain wow factor.  Your Secrets is a quality b-side, one which is up there with some of the earlier material, but as the reviewer indicates, the real joy is to be found in the funky and groovy Your Cover’s Blown and its remix.  This was the band taking a chance and really pulling it off.  One of my favourite B&S tracks simply for the fact it’s such a departure from the norm and so well pulled off.

mp3 : Belle & Sebastian – Wrapped Up In Books
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian – Your Cover’s Blown
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian – Your Secrets
mp3 : Belle & Sebastian – Cover (version)

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG :#33 : BIS

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A wee treat for y’ll today (or maybe not as there will be some, indeed possibly many, who just don’t get Bis and will be appalled by this particular release).

The Optimo Singles Club was a short-lived Glasgow label which was an offshoot of a very famous Sunday-night club here in the city. The club was founded in 1997 and ran until 2010. I never went near it, for at the age of 34 I genuinely believed my clubbing activities were over, although I was more than familiar with its venue – the Sub Club – which was famous for opening its doors and making its floor available to all sorts and styles of music, including indie ever since 1987 (when I was of an age to go inside!!).

Anyways….in 2002, the Optimo Singles Club released an EP called Fact2002 on which could be found Bis doing electro-flavoured cover versions of songs originally released on Factory Records. And here they are:-

mp3 : Bis – Love Will Tear Us Apart
mp3 : Bis – Hurt
mp3 : Bis – Shack Up
mp3 : Bis – Looking From A Hilltop

Enjoy

ALL ART IS QUITE USELESS (according to Oscar Wilde)

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Endless Art is a wonderful song by Irish indie outfit A House, released initially as the lead track on the Bingo EP (1990), and then as a single from their 1991 album I Am the Greatest. And it features Edwyn Collins at the producer’s desk.

It reached number 46 in the UK but should have done so much better – the trials and tribulations of being on a small indie label that couldn’t get disrtibution to match initial demand. The lyrics begin with the line ‘All art is quite useless according to Oscar Wilde’ and for their remainder are mostly a list of the names and birth and death dates of artists from various fields, with the chorus remark: “all dead but still alive, in endless time and endless art”. The lyrics are not really sung as such….not it’s not quite a spoken word track either. I think its genius.

For the first appearance of the song on the Bingo EP, the band received some criticism for the fact that the artists listed in the song are all male, so they recorded a second version where all the artists are female. and called it More Endless Art. Equally genius

mp3 : A House – Endless Art
mp3 : A House – More Endless Art

There was also a cracking video which for 1991 can be seen as quite ground-breaking.

Enjoy

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #82 : STONE ROSES

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A GUEST POSTING FROM S-WC

 

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So I was reading Swiss Adam’s excellent blog the other day where he mentioned that he was going to see The Stone Roses live. This got me thinking. What would an Imaginary Compilation Album for them actually look like??

I mean you could take ten tracks from their debut album and that would pretty much be perfect – but you can’t do that. Plus you wouldn’t get ‘Fool’s Gold’ or any of the wonderful B Sides that hid away on their early singles. Seriously some of those B Sides are better tracks than most bands write in their entire careers (I’m talking to you Shed 7). So I made a playlist on my Ipod of all their records and during a long train ride yesterday, I set about producing an ICA. Its taken from a collection of 42 songs, none of which are the new releases. I’ll leave it you to as to whether or not that is the right thing to do or not. Its sort of in chronological order as well, not intentionally – its just the way I ordered it.

SIDE 1

1) All Across the Sands (B Side – Sally Cinnamon)

So this is one of those B Sides that I mentioned just now. Great bands have to have great B Sides – and remember ‘Fools Gold’ was originally a B side (sort of) which means that they kind of have one of the best B sides ever. ‘All Across the Sands’ is a track just as beautiful as the track it backed. It has a kind of Beach Boys vocals going and the lyrics of this are just heartbreaking. It kind of reminds me of ‘Made of Stone’ or perhaps that should be the other way around – and to top of all of that – you get John Squire’s emotive solo as well

2. Made of Stone (Single)

As I mentioned it. ‘Made of Stone’ is according to Ian Brown, one of the best three Stone Roses songs. When I play this I immediately think of that night on the Late Show in 1989 when the power went down and Brown berated the BBC for being ‘amateurs – wasting our time’. Musically and lyrically this is pretty simple. The lyrics evoke fiery death on the road and I think capture what it felt like to be broke, young but free…”Sometimes I fantasise/When the streets and cold and lonely/And the cars they burn below me”….Its just perfect.

3. She Bangs the Drums (Single)

Perhaps this is the definitive Stone Roses song – its definitely a contender. I love all of this song, the way the hi-hat tingles, the way the bass builds, the way the guitar soars and then that lovesick opening line “I can feel the Earth begin to move/I hear my needle hit the groove”. Basically you get thirty years of guitar pop stripped down to this song. Ultimately this is why I fell for the Stone Roses, the belief and hope of turning from a teenager into a young adult is recorded right here in front of you. “The past was yours but the future’s mine” . Absolutely. And to make it even better they put the next song on the B Side….

4. Standing Here (B Side to She Bangs the Drums)

This is pretty much two songs in one – the first is the noisy guitar sound looping around Brown singing “I really don’t think you could know that I’m in heaven when you smile”. That in itself is enough – this was a song that featured on a tape that Our Price Girl made for me when we were massively into each other – she wrote that lyric around the edge of the tape in flowery italics. She was young, don’t judge her. Then in the last, what, two minutes of this you get Ian Brown suddenly turning into Art Garfunkel repeating the mantra “I could park a juggernault in your mouth/And I can feel a hurricane when you shout..” This made you remember that behind all the macho posing the Roses did, actually there was a lot of admiration and sweetness there.

5. This Is the One (From ‘The Stone Roses’)

As I said you could pick 10 of the first album and you would have a Best of’ album but I wanted to make this album include tracks that don’t normally feature on the best ofs. So I’ve omitted ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ for that reason. It was impossible to leave out this sparkling little gem. It’s a song that reminds me of Bank Holidays. It’s also the song where Brown sounds the most menacing the bit where he talks about ‘burning the town where I was born’ is brilliant.

Side 2

1. Fool’s Gold

Released six months after the debut album and not included on it, Fool’s Gold was the Roses’ first UK Top 10 single and was, arguably, the song that made their reputation. Who remembers that episode of Top of The Pops where the Happy Mondays were on as well? Essential. I can’t really say anymore. Apart from this has to be the full version. Embrace all nine minutes of it.

2. Love Spreads (12” Single)

In 1994 I was a trainee journalist, lazily editing a student newspaper in Surrey. One morning I walked into the office and this 12” was sitting on the desk. I ran home to play it. Given that I was wearing Doc Marten Boots and smoked 20 Marlboro a day at the time, this was a big achievement. I put the needle down and took a massive intake of breath….

Twenty seconds later I started it again, after checking the label to see if I hadn’t actually put on something by Led Zeppelin by mistake. Then after playing all the way through, three times. I smiled. The Roses were back. Oh and watch the video. Pause it at 3.40…That’s Beck there with the beard. Straight up.

3. Something’s Burning (B Side to One Love)

Another B Side but this is is actually better than the A side. Its dark, soulful and almost jazz like. It has a minute long spaced out into and the Browns vocals just kind of slide in at their sneering best.

It’s a classic low key Roses moment, the bass bobs and weaves and the drums shuffle away beautifully. At this point the band were in the creative best stretching that dance rock sound they’d made their own. A very cool record and massively understated.

4. Begging You (12” Single)

More than 20 years after its release ‘Begging You’ sounds fresher than most of the other Roses tracks released at this time. It’s a record I didn’t like when I first heard it. But listening to it again just yesterday – I realise that I missed the point. This kind of sounds like a drum and bass record – and it sounds like The Beatles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. Both of which are good things.

5. I Am the Resurrection

The best end of an album ever recorded. John Squire once said in an interview that the only thing that he did to excess was guitar solos. He was joking I think. I’ll tell you the truth, every time I hear the end of this record (which lets be honest takes up over half of the songs eight minutes) it fills me with joy. I play it and then I want to run around the living room like a child whose eaten too much sugar. I was caught in a rain shower (read deluge) the other day and this came on the iPod and I just grinned and knew that I wouldn’t be going inside for eight minutes at least because I wanted to run and jump in puddles.

So there you go. I missed out Elephant Stone as well. Can we have that as an bonus track (Track 90 on the CD perhaps…)

S-WC

ROCK, POP, INDIE MAGNIFICENCE

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Recollections of sitting alone in a cafe having a bite for lunch. One of the staff was mucking about on a laptop creating a mix of music for the patrons to enjoy or endure. All of a sudden, amidst the non-descript singer-songwriters with their whimsical ballads with a twist of indie-folk, this came blaring out:-

mp3 : Radiohead – Bones

It’s the fourth track on the 1995 LP The Bends. In some ways it is a sort of forgotten Radiohead classic. It is squeezed onto the album right after two hit singles – High And Dry and Fake Plastic Trees, and right before one of their best loved songs and then another hit – (Nice Dream) and Just. But there’s no way that Bones should ever be regarded as a filler track.

Great tune. Killer chorus. And an ambiguous enough lyric to spark a debate. Is it merely about growing old or is it about the physical pain that a mental breakdown brings? Who knows? And who really cares?? Just turn the volume up and enjoy the music. It’s rock, it’s pop, it’s indie all at once. It’s also magnificent.

Especially played live.

Enjoy

THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week Ten)

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JC explains….

The delay in this appearing is entirely my fault.  Mid-July has proven to be busy and a tad stressful and indeed if it wasn’t for the fact that I pre-prepare so much of this place up to four weeks in advance then it’s likely it would have ground to a halt at some point over the past ten days.  I think however, what follows in this, the last of this imaginative and often hilarious guest series is well worth the wait. Over to Tim Badger….

I’ve really enjoyed this little challenge and I’m amazed at just how much decent music can be found in the various charity shops around the small Devon towns that I visit on a regular basis. Some charity shops are now setting up their own music shops – they are worth checking out – there are some real bargains to be found in them. For instance, you can get SEVEN Madonna albums in the Exeter Oxfam Music Store for around £15 – I mean that is incredible right? You can also get 5 REM albums for £10 as well – one of them is ‘Reveal’ but don’t let that put you off. Embrace your charity shops folks, they are your friend.

Over at our blog (When You Can’t Remember Anything – blatant plug sorry) – SWC and I are currently counting down 200 songs (currently at 165 at the time of writing – probably near 155 by the time I actually send this to JC) that we think are brilliant. Underworld are at 168 in that list – and I argued that the Underworld song should be ‘King of Snake’ – because it’s my favourite song by them. Its also the first track in the film ‘The Beach’ which is my favourite book so it’s a song I love for various reasons. SWC wasn’t having any of it – he said “nope, the only Underworld song you ever need to hear is ‘Mmm Skyscraper I love you’. All the rest are irrelevant until you have heard that.” I agreed having never heard the song and then forgot about it.

Fast forward about seven months to last Thursday. SWC arrives at my house to give me this weeks CD – the last one in this particular £20 challenge. He puts in on the kitchen table, helps himself to a (large) slice of the (yet uncut) carrot cake on the side and says “Thank me later” with that he is off into the night, like a music Milk Tray Man – only armed with a CD, dressed in shorts and Tshirt, and without having to break into my house via a skylight after fighting off twenty heavily armed baddies. Actually on reflection, not like the Milk Tray Man at all.

The CD is the debut album by Underworld ‘dubnobasswithmyhead’. I listened to it on a drive down the coast the next day with Mrs Badger and naturally he is right. This is without doubt the a wonderful album and the fact that he found it in exactly the same shop as I found his last CD (the wonderful PDSA shop in Exeter) underlines and reinforces everything I have said up in the first paragraph and embracing charity shops. Buy it. Download it. Fuck it email me and I’ll email it to you if you need a copy of it (and believe me you need a copy of it). Its essential.

mp3 : Underworld – Mmm Skyscraper I Love You
mp3 : Underworld – Cowgirl

Incidentally as we are talking charity shops, the other day I was in the aforementioned Oxfam Charity Shop and I spent £25 on ten CDs. Here just because I like you all is one track from each of the CDs I bought. So from us to you all for all the kind messages about this series – if you like an ICA on Charity Shop CDs.

Side One

Hey Dude – Kula Shaker

From ‘K’ – An album which SWC actually loves. Unashamedly. It is alright, its just a shame that they went down the swastika route.

The Wild Ones – Suede

From ‘Dog Man Star’ – £1.99 Bargain.

Surface to Air – The Chemical Brothers

From ‘Push the Button’

My Drug Buddy – The Lemonheads

From ‘It’s a Shame About Ray’

Bedouin – The Orb

Taken from ‘Orblivion’

Side Two

Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Dub – Apollo 440

Taken from ‘Single of the Same Name’ – 50p utter Bargain.

Let’s Get Tattoos – Carter USM

Taken from ‘Worry Bomb’ – I already owned this but my vinyl copy is scratched.

She’s Lost Control – Joy Division

Taken from ‘Permanent’ – A greatest hits CD present for SWC.

Nice Guy Eddie – Sleeper

Taken from ‘It Girl’.

End – The Cure

Taken from ‘Wish’ – present for the wife this one.

Thanks all

Tim

SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (BUT NOT IN SUMMERTIME)

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The Wannadies released many a great single in the 90s and the early part of the 20th Century. They were a hugely entertaining live act as well with one particular show some 15 years or so ago at King Tut’s in Glasgow being a particular stand out.

They are probably best remembered for You And Me Song which was a bit of a flop when first released in 1994 but which soared to #18 some two years later after it featured in the soundtrack to the hit movie Romeo + Juliet – the updated one directed by Baz Luhrmann.

Despite their singles being infectiously catchy and radio-friendly, The Wannadies only enjoyed chart success on two further occasions – the aptly named Hit in 1997 reaching #20 and today’s offering for your ears, which was the follow-up to the re-released You And Me Song:-

mp3 : The Wannadies – Someone Somewhere (single version)
mp3 : The Wannadies – Why
mp3 : The Wannadies – Goodbye

A paltry #38. The UK CD-single buying public were too busy looking out for the next great Britpop act to pay attention at that time to the great stuff coming out of Scandinavia. Fools.

Here’s the LP version which tags on another minute of music at the end:-

mp3 : The Wannadies – Someone Somewhere

Enjoy.

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