Home

MY POLITICAL PROTEST SONG FOR TODAY

5 Comments

I’ll do my best to avoid watching any coverage of today’s inauguration ceremony and instead immerse myself in music. Here’s one of my favourite songs of recent years. Such a positive message even if few in power really want to listen:-

mp3 : British Sea Power – Waving Flags

You are astronomical fans of alcohol
So welcome in
Are rising in the East and setting in the West
All waving flags

We’re all waving flags now
Waving flags
But don’t be scared
And you, you will be here for a while
And it’s all a joke
Oh, it’s all a joke
Oh

Are here of legal drinking age, on minimum wage
Well, welcome in
From across the Vistula, you’ve come so very far
All waving flags

We’re all waving flags now
Waving flags
But don’t be scared
‘Cause you, you will be here for a while
And it’s all a joke
Oh, it’s all a joke
Oh

Beer is not dark
Beer is not light
It just tastes good
Especially tonight

So welcome in, we are barbarians
Oh welcome in, across the Carpathians
Oh welcome in, we are from Slavia
Oh welcome in, across the stadion
Oh we cant fail, not with Czech ecstasy
No we won’t fail, not with Czech ecstasy
So welcome in

It was released in January 2008 as the first single from the LP Do You Like Rock Music? There were 2 x 7″ singles and a CD version – all had different b-sides while one of the pieces of vinyl had a lovely and melancholy instrumental version of the single:-

mp3 : British Sea Power – Waving Flags (Wandering Horn Instrumental)

Always brings a lump to my throat.

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #61 : BRITISH SEA POWER

8 Comments

A guest posting from Tim Badger

british_sea_power

Drape Yourself in Greenery – A British Sea Power Imaginary Compilation.

I love British Sea Power, I love the way that they sing songs about ice caps, the coastline, George Orwell, places in Bhutan and insects. I love the way that they play gigs in caves, embrace small festivals (including running their own at the Uk’s highest pub The Tan Hill Inn), run their own crazy club nights in which the basically tested songs from their next album and then sold them as limited edition EP’s, and soundtrack films about Britain. I love the way that they have taken a brass band on tour with them, and then done gigs with them in small mining towns and then made an album of their songs rearranged into brass. I love the way that when I saw them live a few years back they had a poet supporting them. I love the way that they recently appeared on comfy middle class Sunday night TV programme ‘Countryfile’ and didn’t once come across as pretentious rock stars trying to be cool. They went on it because they were fans of the show. I love the way in which they support authors, write books about their mums, and set up their own Book Club. Oh and I love their merchandise. I think that’s everything – oh I’m quite keen on the viola player too. That is definitely everything. Nope, hang on – One last thing – I love the way that ‘Open Season’ the second BSP album has a secret track on it that up until 17 seconds ago, I didn’t even know existed.

I first saw British Sea Power at the Cavern Club in Exeter, this was three days after the single ‘Apologies to Insect Life’ was released and I adored their raw Pixies-ish sound, a sound that has mellowed over the year. I was hooked instantly. I’ve seen them on every tour that they have done ever since and once travelled to Worthing to see them play in a 1930’s art deco jazz venue housed on a pier. I’ve also seen them in a cave, at several festivals and an old abandoned hospital. I’ve also danced with a 9ft polar bear during the filming of a video of theirs, but I’m not saying which one.

A couple of weeks ago British Sea Power was announced as the headline act of the Sea Change Festival in Totnes. I was in Totnes and spoke to the guy in the record shop organising the festival – I asked him how he got British Sea Power to headline a festival where the biggest venue will be a 500 capacity Arts Centre, he said he baked them a cake shaped like a duck and they accepted on the basis of that alone. I think he was joking.

I’ll shut up here for fear of being labelled an indie schmindie fanboy by all and sundry. But if you are fed up with gloomy no personality rock bands, then BSP will rescue you.

Here is my imaginary compilation – with four additional tracks that I just couldn’t find the heart to leave out – that can be released separately as an EP – but I’ll get the band to launch it at a club night housed in a docked submarine or something.

Side One

North Hanging Rock (from Open Season)

Beneath the tiny quiet piano chords and some graceful arcs of feedback you can make out the twittering of birds and the crushing of leaves underneath some feet. Then you hear a whisper and Yan the singer starts ‘Drape yourself in greeney, become part of the scenery’. He is singing about death of course, but he could be singing about anything – it’s just a lovely lovely track.

Observe the Skies (from Valhalla Dancehall)

One of the bands more radio friendly tracks, and one that I find myself humming every time I hear it. It makes really good use of some keyboards and is a close to a conventional pop record as you will get from British Sea Power.

Hail Holy Queen (from Machineries of Joy)

Hail Holy Queen is apparently an homage to a French Body Builder turned erotic movie star. This song I think underlines the quieter side to the band brought about by the introduction of the aforementioned viola player (Abi Fry) – here you get Hamilton on vocal duties and he uses this mysterious falsetto to warbles “I’m at your feet/I’m at your command/Hail Holy Queen of the scene” and then you get this viola that meanders along and I think it sounds almost exactly like ‘Venus In Furs’ by the Velvet Underground and that makes it one of their finest ever songs.

Remember Me (from The Decline of British Sea Power)

If you needed proof that British Sea Power are actually fantastic, then this their first proper single emphatically proves the argument. ‘Remember Me’ has the possibly the most urgent, compelling and exciting opening to a record that I have heard. There must be a full 90 seconds of pounding drums, guitars and seaside sound effects before you even hear a single word uttered. A swirling psychedelic fury filled bastard of a song, a song according to my blogging partner swc, that is so good is sounded like Joy Division had reformed.

Like A Honeycomb (from Open Season)

The first three tracks of ‘Open Season’ are a whirl of backbeats, guitars and knackered sounding synthesizers, then you get ‘Like A Honeycomb’. A track that sounds like it was recorded for high school proms, that switches between synths and folky strumming and vocals that stamp all over a chorus – you get Yan vocals on this one “In between the morning and the evening light/That’s how the days go by” – and you get the lyrics delivered with gruff abandon. It’s wonderful.

Side Two

Waving Flags (from Do You Like Rock Music)

A massive call to arms, the band re released this last year at the time of the election as an Anti UKIP record. This is a song that urges unity and wants us to welcome our European cousins who were at the time arriving in the Uk. The message is one of reassurance, that we can all be friends, live and work together like a happy family. Indeed, do one Farage.

No Lucifer (from Do You Like Rock Music).

Possibly the greatest example of the lyrical brilliance of BSP – this rears up full of brawn and gusto and the cries out “give me the dummy, tit” and then you get surrounded by the familiar chants of “Easy” – which I am told is a tribute to Shirley Crabtree, a wrestler better known as Big Daddy – who used to knock people over with his massive belly.

Stunde Null (from Valhalla Dancehall)

Apparently the titled refers to the zero hour in Germany at which World War II ended. Again this is a Yan song in which he sounds almost triumphant when declaring that “You’ve been on standby for half a century” and you get this fuzzy bass and those synths again before the song soars upward in a this wonderful chorus and those great punky guitars again.

Down on the Ground (from Krankenhaus EP)

Down On The Ground should have been a massive hit but for some reason they chose to hide this track as track three on the wonderful ‘Krankenhaus EP’ – behind the equally excellent ‘Atom’ (see below) – but again here is an example of some of the fine tracks that this band record and seemingly just chuck away. This song made me smile almost as much as I did when I got given a toy aeroplane to play with when I was four.

Lately (from The Decline of British Sea Power)

Well I can’t think of a better way to end the album. The rocks in at nearly fourteen minutes evolving from a simple guitar melody into a geological chant of “Do You like my megalithic rock” then “Do you Like My prehistoric Rock” and so on – and then descends into a full on Mogwai style guitar wall of noise.

 

Become Part of the Scenery – The Free EP

So there are four songs that I wanted to include but had to leave off – here they are

Atom – (from Krankenhaus)

Simply because the line “When you get down to the subatomic part of it, that’s when it breaks you know, that’s when it falls apart” is too good a line to ignore.

2. Favours In the Beetroot Fields (from The Decline of British Sea Power)
3. When a Warm Wind Blows Through the Grass (from Machineries of Joy)
4. Carrion (from the Decline…)

And there we have it. I could have done several of these if I am honest. Please enjoy and buy all of their albums tomorrow.

Tim B.

mp3 : British Sea Power – North Hanging Rock
mp3 : British Sea Power – Observe The Skies
mp3 : British Sea Power – Hail Holy Queen
mp3 : British Sea Power – Remember Me
mp3 : British Sea Power – Like A Honeycomb
mp3 : British Sea Power – Waving Flags
mp3 : British Sea Power – No Lucifer
mp3 : British Sea Power – Stunde Nulle
mp3 : British Sea Power – Down On The Ground
mp3 : British Sea Power – Lately

mp3 : British Sea Power – Atom
mp3 : British Sea Power – Favours In The Beetroot Fields
mp3 : British Sea Power – When A Warm Wind Blows Through The Grass
mp3 : British Sea Power – Carrion

JC adds…….

BSP were on my list of bands to feature in an ICA but when Tim offered to do this, I willingly stepped aside. I’m a big fan of the band, owning most of their records and catching them live on four occasions. Tim however, is a bit of an uber-fan but he’s not alone in this regard as they are the sort of band that really do attract a devoted following,

I think this is down to a combination of factors such as their constantly innovative approach to their craft with every album being different in style from its predecessor, the wit and intelligence of the song-writing, the blistering live shows which usually involve some sort of crowd participation or just simply that they are a perfect cult band content to make people happy at the price of not chasing commercial success.

In his accompanying e-mail to this piece, Tim said ‘I loved every minute of writing this.’ That certainly comes through in the writing. He also hinted that it broke his heart for two other named songs not to make the cut. Well, I’m not having that:-

mp3 : British Sea Power – The Pelican
mp3 : British Sea Power – Canvey Island

Enjoy.

FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT..WHAT’S IN YOUR BOX (25)

8 Comments

The Shoebox of Delights – #8 – Chosen by Badgerman
It Ended On An Oily Stage – British Sea Power

R-1229418-1202247169.jpeg

After yesterday’s lively debate, I think it would make sense to hand over to S-WC for a bit of light-hearted relief….although whether you find it amusing will I guess, depend on your sense of humour.

——————————————————————————-

Remember a few months back when I was asking for advice around my iPod Friday, and I decided to go down the cover version route, well here is an update on that ‘teambuilding idea’. I have to be quite careful here so from the end of this sentence everything I write up to the word ‘Anyway’ somewhere down the page will be a complete and utter lie. If by some extraordinary chance any of this actually happened it will be a massive coincidence, also I wasn’t there, so I can’t be telling the truth. That ought to cover me.

So it is the turn of Mike (not his real name) to do his iPod Friday, he has been in the office for a few years, a few months back, Mike went through a small transformation, his hair changed, he grew a small beard, smartened his act up, looked like he started washing in the morning that sort of thing. It didn’t take long to work out that Mike had a new girlfriend, it turned out that the girlfriend in question was someone else in the office, and Mike had left his wife of ten years to be with this new girlfriend. These things happen, it’s no big thing, people get bored of gossip quite quickly – actually I don’t, I retain the information and embarrass them with it when drunk at Christmas Parties, but I’m letting daylight in on magic here.

Mike’s squeeze wasn’t in the office when he started his iPod Friday in fact I haven’t seen her in a couple of days, she is probably ill I thought to myself. The first track, and I kid you not is Without You not the popular Mariah Carey version, oh no, this is the original Nilsson version, in all its heartbreaking brilliance. Its an odd choice to be honest for an opening song, I mean it’s a great record but when you are playing songs to stimulate debate and show off your personality its fucking weird. It gets worse, much worse, very quickly, Crying by Roy Orbison worse. Three songs later (much the same sort of songs) I get an email from another correspondent from these pages which reads ‘He’s going Mad, bet you a bottle of rum we have I will Always Love You by Dolly Parton before long’. I buy him a bottle rum two hours later. Because he is right. We also get Yesterday by The Beatles and You Keep Me Hanging On by The Supremes. Yup, ladies and gents we were getting Mike’s break up mixtape right there and then. Forty minutes of songs about how much he loved this girl and she wasn’t even there to hear it. It was, erm, awkward to say the least.

Oddly it mellowed about a bit, and there was some gems in there, Creep by Radiohead for one, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash by the Rolling Stones for another. Then the boss wanders over and puts an arm around Mike who we have all just noticed has destroyed a stapler on his desk and is frankly a mess of snot, tears and well, staples. Mike gets up and throws no, hurls, his coffee mug at the desk where his (presumably) ex sits just as the opening strings of Elbow’s A Day Like This starts up. Seriously you cannot make that shit up. With that Mike is gone. As exits go, that was impressive. I secretly hoped that the cup bounced and hit someone else, not because I don’t like them, just because, (it didn’t) and that he walked straight into a cupboard or came back for his wallet or something (he didn’t).

Another email comes in from the same chap as above, ‘You’re writing about this aren’t you’. Possibly was my response. ‘If you don’t I will’ was the return. The next email was from the boss ‘iPod Friday is cancelled until further notice’. Good it was Badgerman next week and he was bound to play Muse.

Anyway (see, that is journalistic planning at its finest) what relevance is this to British Sea Power, well there isn’t one, not really, but there is a cover version on the B Side of this, a cover of the Mum classic Green Grass of Tunnel, which is pretty ace and had I known about it early, I would have included on my iPod Friday. And also the lead track, is sort of relevant as Mike’s cup ended on Tidy Desk. Sorry that’s a terrible link.

So here is the CD out of box, backed with the cover version and two of my favourite BSP tracks.

mp3 : British Sea Power – It Ended on an Oily Stage
mp3 : British Sea Power – Green Grass of Tunnel
mp3 : British Sea Power – Atom
mp3 : British Sea Power – Monsters of Sunderland

Enjoy your week folks.

S-WC

JC adds…….

S-WC, in his covering e-mail, didn’t know whether this incident was comic or tragic.  In a sense it is a bit of both and being a bit of a sick fuck I veer towards it being hilarious.  It is, as Aldo said when I gave him a sneak preview, like an outake from The Office.  Oh and I now know that Tim Badger drinks rum.

I love BSP and they are on the list of bands that will one day get the Imaginary Albums treatment but not for a while as I’ve a few already written and waiting their turn to appear (including some cracking guest postings….keep them coming)

As for this series, S-WC needs another random selection for next week.  Thus far we’ve had 8, 17, 18 and 25 – all other numbers between 1 – 28 remain available.