Friday, December 26, 2008

Pop Calendar



I'm not sure what word is for people who are addicted to popping bubble wrap - they have a word for everything these days... Anyways, those trying to ween themselves off can cut their addiction down to one bubble a day... Poppers click here!

Bubble calendars could be considered a little kitsch but considering they have used Helvetica Neue I think it's quite wonderful... Alternatively, buy a Helvetica Neue T-shirt from ilovetypography.com

RIP Harold Pinter



Harold Pinter, the British playwright and political activist who won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, has died at the age of 78. Pinter was Britain's most successful post-war playwright and his most famous works included 'The Caretaker', 'The Homecoming' and 'The Birthday Party'..

RIP Eartha Kitt



The acting and singing legend was 81...

Slumdog Millionaire



Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire is a great film. Set in India, the movie tracks the exploits of two brothers and a girl they 'adopt' growing up in the slums of Bombay (later Mumbai.) The younger brother Jamal appears on 'Who wants to be a millionaire' and the answer to each question is expertly related via flashback to events of the trio's adventures growing up in (and trying to escape) the slums... On the verge of the final question the show ends for the day and Jamal is arrested on suspicion of cheating - after all, how can a boy who grew up in the slums possibly know the answer to all these questions! The older brother Salim has meanwhile become a runner for the local gangster and the girl Latika they grew up with is more or less a prisoner as the gangster's girlfriend. Slumdog Millionaire is essentially a love story between Jamal and Latika - Jamal trying to find the girl (after the two brothers lose touch) by appearing on the world's most famous TV show.

The film is visually stunning and the casting is amazing - each of the main characters is played by three actors as the children grow up... There are definite nods to Trainspotting in Boyle's black humour and also Fernando Meirelles' 'City of God' in the lawless dog-eat-dog world of the slums.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas (or name that tune!)

Happy Christmas to all my avid readers - you know who you are...

Fresh from writing pop classic Mary Celeste (lyrics by the wonderful Keith Haworth) I started on something new yesterday. After a while I realized I had blatantly ripped off two of my favorite songs, but at what point does conscience take over and you scrap the song? I would say scrap it as soon as you realize but some, mentioning no names (Chris Paltry) say let the courts decide...

Anyways, if anyone can name the songs I have ripped off in the verse and chorus I will scrap it (although the bridge is definitely a keeper.) The horns in the verse are a big clue and maybe the end of the chorus on the last chord change...

Name that song!

Answers on a postcard to...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lost in the Stars

Los Angeles is considered the entertainment capital of the world... That may be the case but you wouldn't believe some of the shite bands I've seen around town this year... However, there's also some really cool music out there and here are my 10 LA bands to look out for in 2009 (in no particular order...) and why they may or may not make it...

1) Warpaint: think Bat for Lashes with groove...



Your drummer leaving the band could be considered a bad thing - but when she leaves to star in a Hollywood movie opposite Heath Ledger (and still has a sister in the band) an avenue of possibilities opens.

WHY? They are better than Bat for Lashes!
WHY NOT? A celeb audience at your shows is no guarantee of success...

Warpaint on MySpace!

2) ExDetectives: think The Railway Children meets Radiohead...



A debut EP and West Coast tour are promised for early 2009 and getting on the road (out of LA in other words) is probably a good move...

WHY? Music is due a U-turn away from indie dance back to intelligent art-rock...
WHY NOT? LA is not a good place to make it for a band playing intelligent music...

ExDetectives on MySpace!

3) The Happy Hollows: think a grungy Yeah Yeah Yeah's...



Sarah Negahdari is the anti-pop star: quirky and funny, and the powerpop three-piece are always an entertaining gig.

WHY? Great live and effortlessly cool!
WHY NOT? The kids may not be ready for a grunge revival...

The Happy Hollows on MySpace!

4) David Shane Smith: think Leonard Cohen covered by Beck.



Poet troubadour DSS is comfortable with either an acoustic guitar or a sampler...

WHY? Only Conor Oberst has come close to the lyrics of Dylan - until now...
WHY NOT? The kids will say Leonard who?

David Shane Smith on MySpace!

5) The Fresas: think Be Your Own Pet with a sense of humour...



East-LA indie chicks with matching outfits and great harmonies...

WHY? Great image and a fun live show!
WHY NOT? The songs maybe a little too jokey...

The Fresas on MySpace!

6) STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION: think lo-fi David Bowie.



The loop guru is currently incorporating additional musicians into the SLR line-up.

WHY? Unbelievably talented musician, singer and performer!
WHY NOT? Again, LA isn't the ideal place to break a leftfield artist like Robertson...

stanleylucasrevolution on MySpace!

7) Lemon Sun: think Glasvegas playing songs written by The New Radicals...



One of the best live bands I saw in 2008 - had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand...

WHY? Great live band...
WHY NOT? The recordings I've heard so far don't capture the live experience!

Lemon Sun on MySpace!

8) Brookline: think Pink Floyd with a pinch of Radiohead.



The stylish OC hipsters have the chops and the looks and that can go a long way...

WHY? Young, good looking and talented...
WHY NOT? Need to write a couple of hits...

Brookline on MySpace!

9) The Rhone Occupation: think The Bends era Radiohead meets Elliott Smith.



The Rhone Occupation are geeky but cool - they don't look like The Band and that works for me...

WHY? Entertaining live show and sensitive well-written songs...
WHY NOT? They sound too much like Radiohead...

The Rhone Occupation on MySpace!

10) boxViolet: think The Ting Tings covering The Sisters of Mercy.



The LA duo have a liking for elaborate orchestral stabs and indie guitars...

WHY? Strong image and some catchy songs...
WHY NOT? I'm not sure the indie kids are ready to embrace anything remotely sounding like goth...

boxViolet on MySpace!

So have any of these bands got what it takes to make it big in 2009? I say let the kids decide...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Casual Carousal at Breakfast Club Gallery



Breakfast Gallery is an interesting space - probably an alley between two buildings that someone converted into a gallery. It is therefore a long narrow room with a lounge area on one side. The concrete floor is not ideal for standing around for a few hours in the winter...

The artists were an eclectic mix of anti-bands:

Sasha Gransjean: jazzy acoustic existentialism from party organiser Sasha. First time I've seen a trombone for a while...

David Shane Smith: David could well be the new Leonard Cohen. Poetic lryics and finger-picking acoustic guitar but updated with a sampler and some other electronics that elavate him into lo-fi Idle Tigers or Beck territory. The American Momus? Possibly...

The Fancies: average acoustic musings from a band featuring possibly the tallest women I've ever seen!

stanleylucasrevolution: short but powerful set featuring a couple of new songs and the essential NS40...

Box Violet: boy/girl duo with a setup like The Ting Tings - he plays drums and samples/she plays guitar. The sound wasn't great and their best song sounded like The Mission's 'Wasteland' but aside from that they were cool...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

RIP Oliver Postgate

Oliver Postgate died this week... Postgate produced children's TV shows such as Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, The Clangers and probably his best known show: Bagpuss... A genius who lives on through his magical storytelling expertise...

Here is the BBC News Obituary...

Ivor The Engine



Noggin the Nog



The Clangers



Bagpuss

Friday, December 12, 2008

CSS at Echoplex



CSS are undoubtedly doing it for the kids! However, if they saw the kids at the Echoplex last night they might want to stop - I've never seen such a bunch of crusty LA scenesters. Still at least they were short...

The show was good - CSS are always entertaining with their hybrid of Blondie meets Elastica blended nicely with the current indie dance fad...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RIP Bettie Page



You ... have me
As far as I could see,
Roped and trussed just like Dear Bettie Page

Ooh, and I know, that it's fine
That sweet taste of Gwendoline
I don't want to disengage

The Jazz Butcher

Pinup Queen and sexual revolutionary Bettie Page died Thursday night at Kindred Hospital in Los Angeles, where she had been on life support since suffering a heart attack Dec 2nd...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Stone Top 40

It's that time of year when the lists of the Top albums of 2008 start coming out...

Despite missing out on the Culture Deluxe Top 50 albums of 2008 which is topped by the excellent Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, STANELYLUCASREVOLUTION's 'Evolutionary Sunset Call' made #26 in the Condemned to Rock 'N' Roll Top 40 of 2008...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oasis at The Pearl



Matt Costa pops up occasionally supporting English bands touring the US - he needs to stop. Sure, his acoustic musings have an English flavor - Billy Bragg, Syd Barrett and Nick Drake to name but three but the dude (I use this word only in context) is from Huntingdon Beach for gods sake!

(B)Ryan Adams and the Cardinals sound like Diesel Park West - in other words, what U2 sounded like when they discovered America. However, they are more 'Rattle and Hum' than 'Joshua Tree'. Bryan does sing like Bono but his "nobody likes us" routine is a little tiresome: we don't - get over it!

Oasis played exactly the same set as the LA gig but I don't think anyone cared as they were fantastic from start to finish. The smaller venue and standing crowd contributing to a great and celebratory atmosphere. Both Gallaghers seemed in a better mood and Noel was even quite chatty in places - no doubt happy to have his entourage such as Russell Brand and Ricky Hatton sitting in the closest section of seats.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Plagiarism begins at home...

Oh dear, I read with glee that Coldplay are being sued by Joe Satriani for using "substantial original portions" of his 2004 song 'If I Could Fly' on their single 'Viva La Vida' - the titular track from their most recent craptacular..

The evidence seems pretty damning - you can listen to the iTunes preview of 'If I could fly' here...

I don't expect the lawsuit to reach court - the parties will come to some 'arrangement' and we will see Coldplay and Satriani performing the song together at the Grammys. A win/win situation? Shame on you Mr Paltrow...

Oasis at Staples Center



Oasis started off a little flat for the first half of the set. I don't know whether it was the mix, Liam's nasally vocal delivery or a combination of both but I was still enjoying Chris Sharrock's drumming, which was (of course) amazing throughout. It wasn't until Liam started a row with someone in the audience and Noel delivered an immaculate version of 'The Masterplan' that the gig really kicked into gear - Liam returning with a swagger to deliver a blistering version of 'Slide Away'. The rest of the set was plain sailing and even the songs from the new album sounded good. The encore included the obligatory 'Don't Look back in anger', 'Champagne Supanova' and 'I am the walrus'...

Rock & Roll Star
Lyla
Shock Of The Lightning
Cigarettes & Alcohol
Meaning of Soul
To Be Where There's Life
Waiting For The Rapture
The Masterplan
Songbird
Slide Away
Morning Glory
Ain't Got Nothing
Importance of Being Idle
I'm Outta Time
Wonderwall
Supersonic

Don't Look Back In Anger
Fallin' Down
Champagne Supernova
I Am The Walrus

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Six inches of fluff...



Resident Radiohead artist Stanley Donwood has launched Six Inch Records and a very fine proposition it is too, although I'm not sure what Alan McGee would make of it all... "They're living in the past, it's like owning a tram company or something!" Well, trams are making a comeback don't you know - take Croydon (please) for example... you can get stabbed on a bus, train or tram there...

Read all about Six Inch Records here and look out for the splendid blog about how to make a sleeve out of the material beer mats are made from...

I'm not sure what any of the bands sound like but that's not really the point is it?

Pinnacle or bust?

Indie distributor Pinnacle has gone bust...

Pinnacle was responsible for over 400 indie labels, such as Rough Trade, One Little Indian, Drag City and Fierce Panda.

Another nail in the coffin of indie labels or a fresh opportunity... I would say let the kids decide but WTF do they know?

Read the full story here...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ExDetectives at The Airliner



I went down to The Airliner last night to see ExDetectives... After the revolving door of bands that were being herded in and out of the venue last time I was there it was almost a relief to find only the downstairs bar open and no lines to get a drink...

ExDetectives were cool - the highlights being 'Golden' and 'Time to run' with Alex drumming like a man possessed...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Adrian Bewley - Guilty White Boy



Adrian Bewley's Beat EP (2004) featured a certain Ian D. Matthews on guitar so it's little wonder that it's taken four years to overcome that set-back and release a debut full length cd 'Guilty White Boy'...

I'm probably not the best person to review a cd in the acoustic singer-songwriter genre so I'll keep it short and sweet. The cd is actually very strong and full of good performances both by Adrian and a number of guest musicians, who add just the right amount of texture without overwhelming the acoustic guitars and vocals... There are touches of country, folk, blues and jazz and the best songs have more than a little 10,000 Maniacs about them which is a good thing. Adrian's lyrics are always interesting and he really stretches himself on songs such as 'Montgomery Clift' and 'Times Square 1948'...

Not really my cup of tea but an enjoyable listen nonetheless...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God Put A Smile Upon My Face

Coldplay's Mr Paltrow has announced to the Daily Express that the band will split up at the end of 2009... Unfortunately, I don't think that will happen - although it would still give them time to crank out another couple of appalling albums...

Expect an announcement about comments being taken out of context some time in the next 13 months...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Insight

The legendary Martin Hannett and Tony Wilson at Strawberry Studios mixing some Pauline Murray...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

RIP Mitch Mitchell

Drummer Mitch Mitchell, last surviving member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience has died in Portland aged 61.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brookline and sinker...

Thanks Keith - this tag was too good to leave on the shelf for long...

Brookline (and more recently SLR supergroup) drummer Rob Ray has a starring role in the Staind video 'Believe'. I've seen the extended 10 minute film (thankfully not featuring Staind) and it's brilliant but I'm not sure whether it's officially available yet. So until then...

Kaiser Chiefs at Music Box

I would usually have a field day with a support band called 'Hockey' but I'm not one some giving someone stick for having a shite name... Hockey are another band who play a watered down version of 'Combat Rock' and don't do it very well...

Credit to Kaiser Chiefs for continuing their tour without the stricken Peanut, who was left in Brazil (time for a name change methinks...) recovering from appendicitis. KC coped pretty well as a four-piece (a roadie stood in to play a few keyboards parts here and there) and the stripped down lineup sounded even more like Blur than usual... I hadn't heard any of the new songs except the one that (groan) goes 'what do you want for tea? I want crisps..' but they sound like a cross between 'Sunday Sunday' and 'Eton Rifles' - in other words, the same as every other song they've ever done...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION at eVocal

SLR played an epic and memorable show to celebrate the release of 'Evolutionary Sunset Call' or as it's fast becoming known: 'the orange one'...

The OTAI orchestra played Sean onto the stage with some classical music which I probably should know the name of but oh well... The set started with some solo songs including a rare outing for 'Two ways' which Sean admitted was only the second time he's ever played it - the first time was when he hit the record button. After 'Intro in C' the strings came back for 'Insatiable' after which the full band came on for 'New Stone 40', 'We still love them' - which sounded brilliant with Derek's saxophone stabs and finally 'Brand New Way'. The highlight of the latter was the extended playout with the Brookline guys proving once again what great musicians they are... The keen eared will know the playout of 'Brand New Way' is also the end of 'Downhearted' and so the transition into a taped 'Happy Sun Day' complete with samples from Obama's victory speech proved a poignant and fitting end to a great set...

The full set was:

Consultation Valley Ruse
Believe in yourself
Baby baby come on
Two ways
Is a with dubs
Intro in C
Insatiable
I'm trusted in the C (outro)
New Stone 40
We Still love them
Brand New Way
Happy Sun Day

After a 30 minute break Sean, Vince, Derek and Justin came back on and did three amazing jams - which were almost as good as the official set...

The OTAI strings


SLR vs Drugstore Cowboy


The OTAI band


The post gig jam...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gentlemen fake polaroids...

Found a nice little MAC utility that turns your pictures into Polaroids, complete with those weird colors you only get from an instamatic...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Last Shadow Puppets at the Mayan

Much as I was ready to write a scathing review The Last Shadow Puppets were excellent... The live show is a million times better than the CD, which is drowned in a sea of merseybeat reverb. No such problems live, and with the assistance of a 20 piece orchestra the sound was at times thrilling...

Amongst songs from the 'The Age of the Understatement' there were four covers: Leonard Cohen's 'Memories', Bowie's 'In The Heat of The Morning', The Beatles 'I want you (she's so heavy)' and Love's version of Bacharach & David's 'My Little Red book'. Only the latter was a little disappointing - if you're going to bring some Arthur Lee to LA baby you better bring it perfect! And what's with all these bands covering 'I want you (she's so heavy)' - another great version and you can't beat two suited and booted mop-top Northern lads belting out some Lennon & McCartney!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Deconstruction 19

Episode 19 of Deconstruction features:

01 Intro
02 The Happy Hollows - Tambourine
03 ExDetectives - Closing Bell
04 Figurines - Childhood verse
05 STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION - We still love them
06 Brightblack Morning Light - Everybody daylight
07 Brookline - Mind Tree
08 Boxcutter - Windfall
09 Trentemoller - The forest
10 Zend Avesta - Free jah
11 Glasvegas - Gerladine
12 The Dears - Lights off
13 Cao Fang - In summer
14 Mint Royale - From Rusholme with love

For your ears only!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Newton's third law of blogging...

When Isaac Newton wrote his third law: 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction' I doubt he was talking about blogging... Apparently they didn't even have the internet 300 years ago...

Anyways, two days after I mentioned Jefferson Starship in my review of the ExDetectives show at The Derby I got a MySpace friend request from them... Who starts a MySpace page for a band that split up 25 years ago?

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Dears at The Key Club

You've got to hand it to Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak - it would take most bands years to recover from such a drastic line-up change but The Dears haven't missed a step and are back with a new album and tour.

The previous incarnation of The Dears was amazing live so I was a little concerned seeing a new lineup playing a new album I'd only heard a couple of times... However, the new songs sounded great live and the five new members are accomplished musicians - definately a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. The old songs sounded good (Lost in the Plot, 22 - Death of all romance and Bandwagoneers) although 'White only party' was too much for the drummer and bass player to handle!

Only stuck around for a few songs of Secret Machines and this proved to be a good move as we ran into The Dears outside and I got to say a quick hello to Murray!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

ExDetectives/The Tail at The Derby

The opening band Versaille were three goths who sounded like Keane - I'm not even going to go there...

ExDetectives played a solid set including a new arrangement of my least favorite song 'Return', which is morphing from Jefferson Airplane into My Bloody Valentine and suits Meriah's vocal a lot better. At least it didn't morph into Jefferson Starship...



The Tail celebrated Halloween a couple of days early (at least I hope thats what they were doing...) with Maiana dressed as a character from Cats (ie a cat) and Ted doing his best Pirates of the Caribbean. There's no doubt their songs are damn catchy although somewhat stuck in an 80's timewarp. Ted's swashbuckling guitar was again the main focal point and reminded me a little of James Honeyman-Scott, which is an improvement on the Andy Summers vibe I was getting last time I saw them...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brookline at Detroit Bar

Worst band-name of the year so far goes to Satellite Crush, who at best sound like they have been moonlighting by writing songs for the Jonas Brothers - jangly pop with some reasonable harmonies. However, the last three songs were fucking awful... You know those first four chords you learn on the guitar? Well just repeat the same four chords over and over, only get a bit louder in the chorus but keep playing the same chords. Appalling...

Warpaint were cool - Bat for Lashes meets Cowboy Junkies with Tony Allen on drums.

Brookline were back to sounding their best but after seeing them three weeks this month in the same venue I spent more time talking to OC hipsters outside...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stupid Cut...

Kissing girls and liking it is one thing but posing with a blade when knife-crime has reached epic proportions - stupid and irresponsible...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SLR/Brookline at Detroit Bar

If there's any advantage to writing a blog that no-one reads it's that whatever you write is unlikely to come back to haunt you. However, there's always the possibility of being one Google search away from a black eye... And so last night I was talking to a vaguely familiar guy called Shane who is a friend of the Brookline guys. He mentioned that he was in a band (isn't everyone?) and they were called 'Free Lions'. I saw them a while ago at Spaceland and here's what I said:

"Free is supposed to be a magic number but there was precious little magic in evidence, except for wanting them to disappear. Marks out of ten? Is zero a number?"

I'm not sure I believe in karma but I brought a camera to the show with no memory stick! However, I will not be be softening my jornalistic stance - if I think your band is shite I will write about it in my blog without fear of reprisal.

Anyways STANLEYLUCASREVOLUTION picked the perfect set and were at their menacing, manic best. Samples of Sarah Palin being asked about the Bush doctrine took on a sinister note when played along the usual mixture of religious fanatics. Sean played the following:

Consultation Valley Ruse
Gods don't worry
We still love them
Insatiable
Is a with dubs
New Stone 40

Brookline sounded a little flat after the last couple of times I've seen them but apparently singer Brandon was a bit under the weather.

Grainy cell phone shot of SLR:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sliding Away...

It may be a sign of the times but I really had to force myself to muster enough enthusiasm to listen to new albums by Oasis and The Verve.

It's interesting The Verve should name their album 'Forth' because I don't see any progression forwards. 'Forth' is no 'Urban Hymns' that's for sure - there is a distinct lack of anything approaching a great song and what has happened to Richard Ashcroft's voice? The singing isn't bad except it doesn't sound like Richard Ashcroft - too smooth and polished... 'Love is Noise' sounded great live but in the cold light of (velvet) morning is just an uninspiring Hacienda nostalgia trip...

'Dig out your soul' perhaps should have been called 'Dig out your Beatles collection' because you'll find the same songs there done better. They even rip off the same Beatles song (Come Together) twice, give a name check to magical mystery tour and you know when they sing about a revolution where they got that from...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tegan and Sara at The Music Box

'How cute - a family!' Taking a young nephew to see a show is fraught with danger...

Tegan and Sara were pretty good - not really my cup of tea but despite only knowing a few songs I had a good time. Most of it sounded like a spikier Alannis Morrisette especially when Tegan was singing... Matt Sharp from The Rentals came on for the encore and they did one of the latters songs. Oh and by the way, Vote NO on Prop. 8...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Black Kids at The Mayan

Voxhaul Broadcast are like a less preppy Vampire Weekend and not as good...

The singer of The Virgins sounds remarkably like Joe Strummer, and the music is 'Combat Rock' era The Clash, albeit played by Hard Fi. I wonder what the New York equivalent of Slough is - plenty of white trainers, skewed baseball caps and Nike vests in evidence - Aiii!

Black Kids are great - such a joyous fun performance. One hopes they can survive the indie dance-pop backlash that is surely just around the corner but if they continue to write songs of the calibre of 'Hit the heartbreaks' and 'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You' then there shouldn't be a problem...

Monday, October 13, 2008

I started something I couldn't finish... Part 4

and so we come to 1983! Before I start I would like to apologize to drummers, Australians, people who wear wigs, fat blokes wearing makeup and the Scottish. Best line: 'shame they didn't warn him about young boys...'

Jan 1983

1) Phil Collins – You can’t hurry love (2 weeks at #1)

“Just trust in the good times, no matter how long it takes”

Pleasant enough remake of the Motown classic! Amusing video featuring three ugly drummers from Genesis… 6/10

2) Men at Work – Down Under (3)

“Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder - you better run, you better take cover”

They’re from Australia don’t you know… where women glow and men plunder… Humorous song about being Australian, if that’s possible… 6/10

Feb 1983

3) Kajagoogoo – Too Shy (2)

“Modern medicine falls short of your complaints - Ooh, try a little harder”

Catchy song with its “Too shy shy, hush hush, eye to eye…” chorus! Kaja, the band that launched a haircut… silver on top with black underneath. Probably a wig! Didn’t reach these heights again – despite getting rid of Limahl… 7/10

Mar 1983

4) Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (1)

“People always told me be careful of what you do - don't go around breaking young girls' hearts”

Shame they didn’t warn him about young boys! I’m surprised this one only stayed at the top a week – good song with its hypnotic bass line and stylish video… Sales of gloves and white socks increase…7/10

5) Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the heart (2)

“We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”

A classic line… hmmm… Bonnie rasping voice and an over the top video help this reach the top… 5/10

6) Duran Duran – Is there something I should know? (2)

“Don't say you're easy on me, you're about as easy as a nuclear war”

A good video is just as important as a good song in 1983 and this was a great video… The bad haircuts, bad make-up and frilly blouses of Planet Earth have disappeared and now the band has a more tailored (Taylored?) look and cool haircuts. Even Simon doesn’t look as fat as usual. A good song despite its contrived opening - a great verse and bridge let down slightly by a wordy chorus… 8/10

7) David Bowie – Let’s Dance (3)

“(Let's dance), Put on your red shoes and dance the blues”

Less is more for Bowie in this lyrically simple tune. Funky bass and some nice sax accompanied by a stylish Bowie in the obligatory cool video… 8/10

8) Spandau Ballet – True (4)

“Why do I find it hard to write the next line”

Gary Kemp turns balladeer and Tony Hadley holds back just enough for this to be a classic song of it’s time… 8/10

May 1983

9) New Edition – Candy Girl (1)

“My girls like candy, a candy treat”

The US boy band featuring Bobbi Brown amongst others, release a cheesy song that sounds much like the Jackson 5… 4/10

10) The Police – Every breath you take (4)

“I feel so cold and I long for your embrace”

Andy Summers clipped guitar notes and Stings plodding bass line set the backdrop for The Police’s best known song… A classic, kind of… (8/10)

July 1983

11) Rod Stewart – Baby Jane (3)

“Now you're moving in high society - don't forget I know secrets about you”

Average outing from Rod… no Maggie May but slightly less embarrassing than Do ya think I’m sexy... 6/10

12) Paul Young – Wherever I lay my hat (3)

“For I'm the type of guy who gives girl the eye, everybody knows”

Paul Young could sing, no doubt about that, but unfortunately he couldn’t write. You can only release so many covers before you get found out… this was a cover… 7/10

Aug 1983

13) KC & the Sunshine Band – Give it up (3)

“Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na na! Baby give it up, give it up”

Harmless white disco effort from KC and his band. Song of the year? Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, no… 5/10

Sep 1983

14) UB40 – Red red wine (3)

“Red, red wine goes to my head - makes me forget that I still need her so”

Pleasant enough reworking of the Reggae standard! Unfortunately, for the Brummy boys there were only so many gems tucked away in the Reggae vaults… 7/10

15) Culture Club – Karma Chameleon (6)

“Loving would be easy if your colours were like my dream - Red gold and green, red gold and green”

Wow – was this really up there for 6 weeks! Seems longer somehow… this sounded like a farewell song somehow, and so it proved for Culture Club… their career over in about 12 months… (7/10)

Nov 1983

16) Billy Joel – Uptown Girl (5)

“She's been living in her white bread world”

Billy’s most commercial effort to date… to date model Christie Brinkley who appeared in the video. It worked, they eventually married! This song however was a slap in the face who preferred Billy the piano troubadour. (6/10)

Dec 1983

17) The Flying Pickets – Only You (2)

“All I needed was the love you gave, all I needed for another day…”

More Christmas weirdness as an all male ‘a cappella’ group cover Yazoo’s electro-pop classic. A novelty at best… (5/10)

Ian’s Top Ten Number 1’s of 1983

1. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
2. Spandau Ballet – True
3. Duran Duran – Is there something I should know?
4. The Police – Every breath you take
5. Paul Young – Wherever I lay my hat
6. UB40 – Red red wine
7. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
8. Phil Collins – You can’t hurry love
9. Kajagoogoo – Too Shy
10. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon

The Tail at The Airliner

Support band The Rhone Occupation were very good - Elliott Smith meets Thom Yorke...

The Tail played an confident and well received debut show. The songs are catchy power-pop dominated by Ted Scarlett's excellent guitar work. However, the guitar effects are a little overwhelming for me and sound like a cross between 'Dreamtime' era Billy Duffy (which is fine) and Andy Summers treacly chorus fx which have not dated well... The girls in the band are accomplished musicians and Maiana Lila Noce is a good singer but needs to connect with the audience more...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I started something I couldn't finish... Part 3

A punk from Croydon, a man wearing a dress and the perils of buying prophylactics, anyway - enough about me, here's my review of 1982. Best line: 'do you vant fries viz your order?'

Jan 1982

1) Bucks Fizz – Land of Make Believe (2 weeks at Number 1)

“Shadows, tapping at your window. Ghostly voices whisper will you come and play?”

The Fizz prove the exception to the rule that representing the UK in Eurovision is a bad career move! However, being in a near fatal coach crash is and later this year their career takes a hiatus in which it would never recover… Harmless song if you like that sort of thing… (4/10)

2) Shakin Stevens – Oh Julie (1)

“Stay with me, baby, lay with me, baby!”

Shaky chalks up his 3rd Number 1. Was this a cover? If not it certainly sounds a lot like one… Another Rock’n’roll cliché and another number 1! (4/10)

Feb 1982

3) Kraftwerk – The Model (1)

“She's posing for consumer products now and then”

Only Kraftwerk could use “consumer products” in a song and get away with it! The appetite for electronic music has been whetted over the last 12 months by some young pretenders and it’s good to see the grand masters reaching the top spot! Beautiful electronics from those efficient Germans… (8/10)

4) The Jam – Town Called Malice (3)

“Rows and rows of disused milk floats stand dying in the dairy yard”

Another Jam single straight in at number 1! Weller bids farewell to the institutions of milk floats, Steam trains and Sunday’s roast beef over a Motown inspired beat complete with Hammond organ. Lyrically a nod to Ray Davies’s Village Green but Weller was always honest about nicking from Davies, Marriott, Lennon and McCartney… Backed with the funky Precious, an excellent single… (10/10)

March 1982

5) Tight Fit – The Lion Sleeps Tonight (3)

“A wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh, a wimoweh”

My spell-check just crashed! What can I say about this one? A remake I believe and totally unforgivable! (2/10)

6) Goombay Dance Band – Seven Tears (3)

“Seven tears have flown into the river; seven tears are running to the sea”

From what I remember this had a bit of a jungle feel too, or was I still having those nightmares about The Lion Sleeps Tonight… Certainly had a world music feel to it before world music was popular… Alas, this song was popular (3/10)

April 1982

7) Bucks Fizz – My Camera never lies (1)

“Wonder why you’re wasting your time with another disguise ‘cos there’s no compromise”

…and that was one of the better lines! Last of the hat-trick of number 1’s for the chirpy Buck’s Fizz! Didn’t the hot girl leave at some point? Wonder if she puts Buck’s on the CV! Not as strong as the previous hits (it that’s possible!) (3/10)

8) Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony and Ivory (3)

“We all know that people are the same where ever you go - there is good and bad in everyone”

This record did little for racial harmony – probably because the two parties involved were on different continents for its recording and promo video! I’m sure McCartney was holed up in Kintyre following his recent marijuana bust in Japan. Insipid song… 5/10

May 1982

9) Nicole – A Little Peace (2)

“Just like a bird that can no longer fly - I'm feeling that way some times”

Another Eurovision winner hits the top! I think she was a young German… wonder what she did after this… “Do you vant fries viz your order?” 5/10

10) Madness – House of fun (2)

“Box of balloons with the feather-light touch - pack of party-poppers that pop in the night”

Only in the UK could a song about world peace be followed by a song about buying prophylactics! Madness reach number 1 for the first time and a lot of fun it is too – a whole house full to be sure… Fun video too... 7/10

June 1982

11) Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes (2)

“We don't follow fashion - that would be a joke!”

Indeed. Marginally better than Prince Charming and quite a catchy (in an influenza sort of way…) song about the press, who would very soon be saying Adam who? 6/10

12) Charlene – Never been to me (1)

“I've been to paradise but I've never been to me”

You should go – I have you can get some good one-ways deals at the moment… Awful song and corny as hell… 3/10

13) Captain Sensible – Happy Talk (2)

“You've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream - how you gonna have a dream come true”

Surreal - A punk from Croydon getting to #1 singing a song from a 30 year old musical!!! Shouldn’t have worked, but the Captain stays faithful to the spirit of the original and makes a damned good song! 7/10

14) Irene Cara – Fame (3)

“I can catch the moon in my hand - don't you know who I am”

Catchy theme tune to the TV series about talented kids dancing around in the school cafeteria. 6/10

Aug 1982

15) Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen (4)

“You in that dress - my thoughts I confess verge on dirty”

A pleasant enough song from Dexy’s but this would be the albatross that everything that came after would be judged upon… No-one had a clue what Kevin Rowland was singing about, but no-one at the school disco cared! We just liked to do a little jig and go crazy to the fast bit at the end! (8/10)

Sep 1982

16) Survivor – Eye of the tiger (4)

“Went the distance now I'm back on my feet - just a man and his will to survive”

This really was an eclectic year at the top – but not in a good way… Another movie tie-in – Rocky I think… Interesting accented intro but then degenerates quickly into hair-band cliché, complete with helium induced vocals… (5/10)

Oct 1982

17) Musical Youth – Pass the Dutchie (3)

“'Cause the spirit of Jah, you know he leads you on!”

An African-American friend was dismayed when I told her Musical Youth were not in fact from Jamaica – they were from Birmingham! Nice little Reggae sing-a-long about food, apparently, although I’m sure there were some Ganga references thrown into the pot… (6/10)

18) Culture Club – Do you really want to hurt me (3)

“Precious kisses, words that burn me - lovers never ask you why”

It seems amazing looking back but how someone looked and dressed was still a big deal in 1982…Was he a boy or a girl? All that did matter was George had a great voice and this was a good song… 7/10

Nov 1982

19) Eddy Grant – I Don’t Wanna Dance (3)

“I love your personality - oh but I don't want our love on show”

The UK has gone mad for Reggae – three consecutive songs at #1. Perhaps the UK has finally embraced its multi-racial society! Average song… 6/10

Dec 1982

20) The Jam – Beat Surrender (2)

“And as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end”

The last single… not their best but a pounding rhythm and some excellent horns guarantee Weller gets his wish to go out on top! 8/10

21) Renee & Renato – Save your Love (4)

“Save your love my darling, save your love - for summer nights with moon and stars above”

There’s nothing like saving the best for last – and this is nothing like it! Cheesy song with a hilarious video featuring the two conspirators and their combined weight of at least a tonne! (2/10)


Ian’s Top 10 Number 1’s of 1982

1) The Jam – Town Called Malice
2) The Jam – Beat Surrender
3) Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen
4) Culture Club – Do you really want to hurt me
5) Captain Sensible – Happy Talk
6) Madness – House of fun
7) Kraftwerk – The Model
8) Musical Youth – Pass the Dutchie
9) Irene Cara – Fame
10) Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

Morvern Callar (2002)

Morvern Callar is a movie you should love because A. It has the brilliant Samantha Morton in the title role and B. it's arty. However, Morton has her hands tied by an almost non-existent script and indeed there is very little (if any) dialogue in the first hour. The thin plot surrounds the unexplained suicide of Morvern's boyfriend, who leaves a note on his computer along with his first (and definitely last) novel, with instructions to print and send the book to the first of a list of publishers. Morvern changes the author's name on the manuscript to her own and starts printing the novel. With the body still warm she goes out with her friends to party - think 'Shallow Grave' without the humour...

The second half of the film is a little better with Morvern leaving the dreary unnamed Scottish town where she lives for a holiday somewhere in Spain. The film suddenly bursting into color as Morvern and her friend ditch their cheesy 18-30 hotel and go off into the Spanish countryside as the film turns road-movie. In the meantime, the publishers fly out to Spain to meet Morvern and well, you can probably guess the rest...