I spend hours trying to look my best/But I still meet you the day before I wash my hair
And can you really have stayed till three?/Orange slices and that Fall LP
Warm hands and the things you say/you get lovelier every day
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In January, David Bowie died and there was an official mourning period during which every pub, club, party or anywhere else music is played, had to play a DB song. Colin Vearncombe also died but nobody much noticed. I'm one of the few people who can name a Black song other than Wonderful Life, without recourse to Wikipedia. This is my favourite. It’s tres 80s with its electronic drums and soprano sax solo but it has an uneasy bassline and haunting minimalism, I think.
2. Citizen Helene - PS I Don't Love You.
I like their Marine Girls-y output. The singer, Helene herself, is such an utter talent.
3. Alessia Cara - Here
“I'm an anti-social pessimist”. Honey throated, Portishead*-sampling teenage songstress sings my introvert song. “We're congregating next to the refrigerator. I'll be in the car when you're done.”
4. Mass Gothic - Every Night You Gotta Save Me
Girl group drums, ooh-oohs, handclaps, tambourine, upbeat chorus chorus chorus; what's not to love?
I heard it on an advert. So sue me.
6. Popguns - Send Me Shame
In March, Did died in the Brussels terrorist attacks, and in April, we moved house. Those three weeks were the most stressful of my life, dealing with bereavement at the same time as hard fear, caused by the seller making threats, that the house would fall through and we'd have to start the process all over again, having already lost one house and two buyers. We exhanged whilst walking up the road to the wake in Hartlepool and everything moved so quickly. The line in this song "And yesterday is like another year now" kept playing in my head. The four days in which he was missing before being declared dead on Good Friday moved at a peculiar slow-fast pace. The whole Easter weekend, especially with its themes of death and resurrection, was weird and fragmented and (in)distinct.
7. The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop
This was the last song played at Did's funeral/wake/party.
8. Delores Haze - Fuck The Pain Away
Swedish riot gurls
9. Ezra Furman - Take off Your Sunglasses
Gender-queer New Yorker, wearing his influences on his sleeve.
10. Deacon Blue - Love and Regret
I started cycling to work and regularly passed a boat on the canal called Dignity, so of course I started singing Dignity by Deacon Blue. This lead to listening to old DB songs, then found out that they were still going, then booked a ticket to go see them, then went to see them! They didn't play this song though.
It was the day before the day before yesterday
When we thought everything would now go our way
We inherited a fortune of innocence
And they took it all away
We'll face this new England like we always have
In a fury of denial
We'll go out dancing on the tiles
Help me down, but don't take me back -
13. Marsheaux - Eyes Without A Face
picosgemeos-recommended baroque cover version.
14. REM - You Are The Everything
In the autumn, I listened to Green for the first time in years and thought about what a romantic record it is. Full of love and warmth and humanity. I don’t really like REM because a) Michael Stipe’s voice b) that annoying video in which he’s hiding the fact he’s shaved his head c) they seem like a basic’s idea of an indie band, but these songs stuck to my head and wouldn’t leave.
15. Dawn Chorus And The Blue Tits - Teenage Kicks
I bought Sharon Signs To Cherry Red, released on Cherry Red, which is no longer a repository for depressed sensitve teens, but a
re-issue record label. The compilation features obscure female fronted (and mostly female backed) groups and singers from the early '80s, some of whom I knew (Marine Girls, Kamikaze Pilots, Grab Grab The Haddock, Trixie's Big Red Motorcycle, Mari Wilson) and a plethora that I didn't. Many of them sound influenced by the big names of the day: Blondie, Siouxsie, Clare Grogan, but some sounded different.
The key influential song Sharon Signs To Cherry Red is very funny and redolent of the Shangri La's output, in theme if not the execution.