millionreasons: (marnie)
In the '80s, TV channels went 24 hour and they had to fill them with something that people would watch at 2 a.m. (remember The Hit Man And Her?). One of those things was Rockin' In The UK, before its name was changed to the preferable Transmission. It was indie, but, like, proper, indie: MBV, the Heart-Throbs, Sarah Records: the music was more to my taste than Snub TV, which was mostly Butthole Surfers and Front 242 every week, or even Peel himself, where you'd be falling asleep listening to some jangles and be torn from slumber a few minutes later by Napalm Death or a Beligian hardcore track. Anyway, that's where I first heard this song, which is lovely, all determined drums and hammond and fake trumpets. This should have been a massive hit - they could've given Aztec Camera a run for their money.

millionreasons: (marnie)
This isn't the best song, musically, on Viva Hate with its stompy drums, meagre accoustic guitar and Morissey's almost yodel over the top of it all. Lyrically though, it's an epic poem, a 7 minute 41 paean to love and loss and leaving and Salford. The importance of moving on.

How that line struck a chord: "I could list the details of everything you wore or said, or how you stood that day," before I got old enough to realise that love isn't obsessional and secretive. But I did use the line "Love at first sight may sound trite, but it's true you know," on someone, once, long ago.


Oh, winter push on, Winter is so long, Winter moves on.
millionreasons: (marnie)
1988 was the year of Morrissey's much-anticipated solo album, although this song wasn't on it: it was a b-side, if I remember correctly. In December, he played his first solo gig in Wolverhampton. I've written here about how I didn't go.

Anyway, the song, which I love. It has great melodies, great hooks, lovely shimmer of a guitar, Moz's typical strength in adversity lyrics and lovelorn swoop of a vocal. It used to be Mozzer's final song of his live set, and the crowd would boo instead of the recorded version's applause when he sang: "This is the last song I will ever sing - "



Don't talk to me - no - about people who are nice
Because I have spent my whole life being ruined because of people who are nice
millionreasons: (marnie)
We're half way through and I need to get a move on if I'm to be finished by Xmas. Next up: The Fall! I'm a big fan of this song: Brix's threatening bassline, Mark E at his most declamatory, the uneasy backing vocals, like witnessing a muffled argument through the wall. I think at this point they were working with Michael Clarke, which explains the slightly Vic 'n' Bob dancers in this video.


Check the record, check the record, check the guy's track record -
millionreasons: (marnie)
How do I love this song? Let me count the ways:
1) The lyrics, including these wonderful couplets:
Mixing pop and politics - he asks me what the use is/I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses,
It's a mighty long way down rock 'n' roll/from Top Of The Pops to drawing the dole,
It's a perfect world we'd all sing in tune/but this is reality, so give me some room -
So join the struggle while you may/the revolution is just a t-shirt away!

2) The politics - I prefer Billy when he's subtle, singing here about the importance of (despite everything) optimistic political activism, of needing to believe that you, we, despite numerous setbacks, are making progress. The song is 28 years old and is as relevant as ever. I kind of wish it weren't.
3) The build up. The drums don't even kick in properly until verse four. The chorus is delayed and delayed until you want, need, it to spill over into the rousing choral of Great! Leap! Forwards! And when it does, it satisfies.



The fact that it references Fidel Castro, or his brother at least, seems almost too apt today.
millionreasons: (marnie)
ah-har har har ha
ding ding ding hey ah
(etheral instrumental break)
nah har argh ar
la har ah har da ah
whispers hee he
Be still come to me ah-ah
(hee heee be still)
listen to me
(hee heeargh swear ah ah ah ah)
yes it's ah ah ah ah
ree hee ah ha ha
Be den de dem de end
(repeat to fade)

millionreasons: (marnie)
Are we at peak Fall in 1988? Brix Smith was still in the band, co-writing, and so the songs are still quite pop with (synth) horns, stylophone bits that are signalling to an alien planet, and heavy basslines, a sort of reggae beat on this one. I am not of the avant-garde, I much prefer the slicker side of The Fall.



Older viewers may remember the Curious Orange on This Morning With Richard Not Judy (TMWRNJ):-

millionreasons: (marnie)
I didn't realise that Overlord X was a Hackney boy, I thought he was American. This song is about Edward Earl Johnson, who was executed in 1987 for a crime he most likely didn't commit. This from back when rap was by necessity political; nowadays even Kanye "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" West is a Trump suporter and it's left to musical theatre actors to speak out against the establishment.



The song is actually quite hard to listen to: it's very spare, sparse, no soul samples or melodies, just hard truths.
millionreasons: (marnie)
Silver Rocket, the song that launched a thousand club nights. Ok, one club night.  It's not as frantic as Teenage Riot, but after a sinister start, we're off there with panicky guitars, driving drum-beats, and anguished vocals. And a middle feedback instead of a middle eight.



- you got it/you ride a silver rocket/you can't stop it/it's burning a hole in your pocket -
millionreasons: (marnie)
I heard this recently on the last episode of Season 1 of Mr Robot, a delicate piano version. Apparently, it was an  homage to Fight Club, I thought it was because the creator is a few years younger than me, so the Pixies are part of his worldview.



Anyway, this is a great song, sinister guitar, wailing from Frank 'n' Kim, a feeling of world weary eeriness.
millionreasons: (marnie)
I saw Mudhoney play earlier this year. They did Touch Me, I'm Sick, but not this song. I did wonder if they, proto-grungers, were jealous when  Nirvana signed to Geffen, leading to international fame, whilst they were playing a Sunday afternoon slot at a festival. But hey, they're still alive.

Anyway, this song is no TMIS, or even Hate The Police, but a heavy, woozy paean to sex 'n' drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll.

millionreasons: (marnie)
I've never heard of Spit and the title of this song, Road Pizza, which I assume refers to squished victims of cars, doesn't bode well. Here goes:



Ok, it's vaguely Cramps-y hardcore, with cutlery instrumentation, a surfcore repetitive guitar, and a man shouting about pizza, like a drunk at Highbury station at midnight. It takes a long instrumental break, presumably when the singer went for an extended toilet break, and then kicks in again for two minutes at the end. Unlike records by those other JP harcore faves, Napalm Death or The Happy Flowers, this song lasts 7 minutes rather than 7 seconds. It's not half bad.
millionreasons: (marnie)
Let me tell you a secret. I preferred James when they were hippy indie folkie types then after they adopted the baggy sound, got remixed and started appearing on Saturday morning kids' TV and flogging t-shirts. Come Home is a great song, but Sit Down gets on my nerves - it's a bit too Shine compilation.

This is a proper song, with a verse, a bridge, a rousing chorus, an instrumental bit, a middle eight, chorus chorus chorus. Harmonies, whistling, jangles.

The lyrics seem pretty apt in these early days of the Dystopia:

Today, I won`t think of any sad things
Will not think of torture, or the rape of nature
Just today, I won`t touch those sickening papers
Will just let myself get swept away by this beautiful day

What for, tell oh me, tell oh me, what for

The sunset tonight is beyond all words, in the sky above the square
The starling spiral dancing on air.

What for, tell oh me, tell oh me, what for

I would prefer to be anywhere away from here
Oh I would prefer to be anywhere away from here
I would prefer to be anywhere away from here
I would prefer to be anywhere away from here

What for, tell oh me tell oh me, what for?

millionreasons: (marnie)
Yesterday, I said that I don't like comedy bands. I do, however, like sly irony, which the Pooh Sticks have in spades. This song is about having all the cool records by the cool bands: Orange Juice, The Pastels, The Velvet Underground, The Seeds, The Monkees, The Ronettes - but on tape. As this was the medium that  most of my "record" collection was on at the time, I could relate. What would the modern day equivalent be, I wonder? I've got it on Spotify? I've seen it on youtube?

I like the middle 8, which references The Sun Is In The Sky by the Soup Dragons, which Martin Whitehead of Subway Recordings failed to send to his punters (later, I bought a copy when they were having a sale - presumably they found a stash in a cupboard).

The live version has the divine Amelia Fletcher riffing off the Primitives and wailing "stop killing me, you're killing me," although on this version, she's singing "I'm alright with you" - a Pastels song from '87. God, I'm such a nerd.

millionreasons: (marnie)
I don't know how I feel about comedy bands. They have to be funny, I suppose, rather than just wacky. One thinks of that irritating Where's Me Jumper song, or the one that rhymes Francois Mitterand with "the heater on". Even Half Man Half Biscuit start to become tedious after too many puns. So here's the madcap Stump with their funny noises, slide guitar, zany lyrics ("Lights Camel Action") and mugging in the video. I mean, it's not dreadful shit, but I don't feel like my life is in anyway ameliorated by listening to this song.

millionreasons: (marnie)
Hey hey, it's the Fall. I think that when I originally heard this tune I didn't realise, despite having watched both Another Country and Chariots of Fire, that the poem/alternative national anthem, Jerusalem*, was the basis for the song's lyrics. I thought it was just MES growling over some plonky bass, poppy keyboards and understated guitars. Although I'm not sure "It was the fault of the government" was in the original Blake poem.



*Originally called And did those feet in ancient time.
millionreasons: (marnie)
Ah, world music. Womad, Andy Kershaw, Graceland, The Four Brothers on Blue Peter. White people wrapping their hair up in scarves and wearing brightly coloured harem pants at Shambala festival.

Anyway, this is really nice, male voice harmonies, chiming guitar, shuffling drums. It's so laidback, it feels like it's just going to meander off next door.

millionreasons: (marnie)
It's weird how McCarthy (and Stereolab) wrote pertinent, left wing, poetic lyrics but you can never ruddy hear them. They're always too low down in the mix. This song is a somewhat overly-literal take on the Bible, pointing out how violent the stories in the testaments are; the point being that the tabloids, Mary Whitehouse (still going in 1988) and the moral "majority" wanted various TV programmes, films and video games banned, but the Bible is chock full o' gory tales. It's a good job that despite the didactic tone this is a very lively tune: sweet vox, hyperactive drums, jangle to the max.

millionreasons: (marnie)
Euphrates isn't just a river in Egypt, it's also a Pixies song. I like the way the tune starts as if it already began several minutes ago and you were just too slow to catch up. A rousing chorus, a zigzaggy guitar, plaintive vox, all done in 2 mins 32: there's nowt not to love here.


Alright!
millionreasons: (marnie)
It's the Fall! We've got quite far without encountering Mark E and the gang (don't worry, there're a few more to go before we get to number 1). THis is quite a jaunty song, is it not, with the Hammond and the skiffle drums and rolling bass and the almost boogie-woogie guitar. Even MES's barking can't quite bring it down.


Baghdad! Space Cog! Analyst!

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