When i was twelve, dancing round my bedroom with my t-square in my hands, there was one band I wanted to be in…… Mud. Why this bunch of Chinnichap chancers?, well Mud always seemed to be having a bloody good laugh. Gurning around on Top of the Pops, employing their roadies as backing dancers, winking at the cameras and generally just arsing around….and getting paid for it…..and having number one hits! That a job for me I thought, and Ray Stiles was just the coolest dude on the planet with his drape suit and brothel creepers. I so wanted to be Ray Stiles. Then… they were in a film, the pretty incomprehensible (to a 12 year old) “Never To Young To Rock”. But they got to piss about…with pop guns and sing their biggest hit…in a transport cafe…during a custard pie fight! Bliss. My illusions were shattered when I read an interview with singer Les Gray who was denouncing the up and coming punk rock. Maybe the impending years of playing Batley Variety Club were weighing on his mind or he could feel his now 14 year old fan base disappearing, (I didnt btw). I found this remarkable because with » Continue Reading.
Back in the early eighties, my mate ran a record shop. Every week on the counter was placed the Music Week/Gallup charts, the top 75….. I knew what was in the top ten, twenty and thirty, We had Top of the Pops and the Radio One chart rundown. This document showed the minor movements at the arse end of the charts. It showed producers and songwriters, more useless knowledge to cram into my brain. You could watch unknown acts scrabble for a foothold on the fun 40, major acts under achieving to the fury of their record companies. I followed the chart misfortunes of Radio Stars and Fad Gadget as their singles crept towards the holy grail of the number 39 spot, only to plummet into oblivion the following week. Ever since I was interested in music I knew what was number one, you just know…its like knowing the alphabet.
Recently talking to the now non record store owing mate, we both admitted to not knowing what was number one, but when did I STOP knowing. I went onto the Official Chart site and started trawling. Alright I wasn`t born until 1962 so I can be forgiven for not knowing » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Band Leader David Jaggs recently got married, so anyone expecting an album full of love songs will be sorely disappointed. He`s angry, and shouting and the guitars are turned up to 11. However this is not Motorhead. The Ragamuffins deal in spritely pop/soul of a joyous kind with earworm choruses and this album seems aimed at a live audience. Rattling off with the frentic “I Won`t Weep” ( For England) the pace rarely lets up. Former live ballad “Oxygen” has been reshaped as a powerpop anthem and the title track comes over all Bruce Springsteen. The quietest track, “Line Up The Stars” is the song Robbie Williams has been searching in vain for years for. From then on its back to the guitars with added motorik beats especially on “Put On A Brave Face” and” Kosmische Stadt” with choruses aplenty. Quite marvellous!
What does it all *mean*?
Its always enjoyable to find a young, enthusiastic band with a back catalogue to collect and to share with your friends. The Ragamuffins dont claim to reinvent the wheel, only to upgrade with nicer alloys.
Goes well with…
Saturday nights, sharp suits, a bit of dancefloor action, » Continue Reading.
A three cd box set of everything by Liverpool newwavers Yachts is due at the end of March. Comprising the Yachts and Yachts Without Radar albums plus assorted b sides and singles . Eagerly awaited by us powerpop fans it will contain everything from The Chuddie Nuddies, Do The Chud https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvgHXyse-JI to the final Yachts single (that I know of) A Fool Like You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-P3uBTlwcw
I`ve just been playing my Mojo 2000 Light Years From Home covermount cd and this gem popped up from Sadies Expression. To my ears it sounds not unlike some late period A-ha track or something from one of Mortens solo efforts. Have we done a disservice to the Norwegian popstrels filing them under cheekbones and plinky plonky synths, when there was always a bit of early psych to their ouvre?
Wouldn`t it be great to have a job where you can really get job satisfaction. Where the pride in your work can be seen in your body language. Josh Kilnghoffer, Sparks touring guitarist and Red Hot Chilli Pepper 5:30 onwards
Catching up with my Top of the Pops 2 backlog, ( I know, I`m still on 1981) and the number one sound of Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin for four weeks pop pickers. Now I cant remember ever seeing the video and so was delighted to see Thomas Dolby making a cameo appearance, 2:24 in if you cant be bothered wading through the whole song. This made me wonder…..are there any other videos with pop star cameos? I know of one other but its very obscure.
After managing to get Taylor Swifts “Shake It Off” out of my head, since stumbling on it via You Tube a few weeks ago, I`ve now gone and done it again. Intrigued by the look of the video for “I Fink Your Freeky”, I stumbled further into the world of Die Antwoord. I now have the hook of “Enter The Ninja” pinballing around in my brain, only to be replaced by one of their other song “Fok Julle Naiers”. Really, if you listen to either, its not my fault. You were told. If your still humming it a week next Tuesday you have only yourself to blame.
Here they come, waving their cheques, telling you how brilliant you are, making all your dreams come true. Then it all goes wrong, the single stiffs, the album isn`t promoted, the guy who signed you leaves the company, so you reach for your pen. There are few things more entertaining than venting your spleen against “The Man”. The ones I know are mainly from the punk era, The Clash`s pissed off “Complete Control”, Sex Pistols up yours of “EMI”, Nick Lowes sardonic “I Love My Label”, Wreckless Erics fed up to the back teeth ” Take The Cash”. The Yachts did two I`m bloody annoyed classics, “Dont Call Us” and “Out Of Luck” on their Yacht Without Radar album. Now here are Aha, clearly giving WEA the finger, from their 2000 comeback album “Minor Earth, Major Sky” Anymore for anymore?
So…….. when did cars stop being manufactured without bumpers…….and hubcaps?. Whatever happened to the manufacturers of supermarket pricing guns? Is there no call for the purchase of Beechnut chewing gum from railway station vending machines ? When was the last time your gulley was cleared by a wagon with a big hose and what happened to the operatives thereof ? All these things just disappearing from life and the man dont give a …
Can any Afterworders find a bigger collection of hair within a band, Afros not included….
Popping up on my Ipod today was ABCs “Stranger Days”, from the album “Skyscraping”. Released in 1997 it reined in the overt orchestral flourishes of ” The Lexicon of Love” and the rockist bombast of “Beauty Stab” to produce an excellent pop album. It should have been massive but copies were spilling out of bargain bins all over the country at the time. Coming after the unloved “Up” and “Abracadabra” albums maybe the general public had given up on ABC, their time had gone, but it is a gem waiting to be discovered. Better even than their recently much hyped “Lexicon of Love 2”
In a similar vein, there is The Mighty Wahs ” Songs of Strength and Heartbreak”. Bankrolled by Sony Records featuring everything and the kitchen sink to achieve Wylies dream of stardom, the album teeters on the edge of bombast but with enough cheek and mischief to pull it off with a swagger. Sony rejected the album, Wylie eventually getting hold of the master tapes and unleashing it onto a disinterested public. With Sonys backing this album would have made Pete Wylie the star he always believed himself to be. It includes the bona fide classic anthem » Continue Reading.
2016 has been a pretty shoddy year for celebrities passing on but as we get older I suppose thats only to be expected as the people we grew up with age alongside us. I was shocked by Bowies passing, unexpected, start of the year and all that but not upset. I think Marc Bolan was the first of my heroes to die but I was too young to feel anything, life is for living, punk was exploding, exciting times. I was off on an early holiday to Greece, copy of Mojo to hand for the plane journey and flicking through it noticed that Frank Tovey had died. I welled up, I didnt know why. Frank aka Fad Gadget died on 3rd April 2002, he was 45. He left a wife and two children. I wasn`t a massive fan, never saw him live, had some but not all of his output, so why did it upset me so much? In a pre Twitter/Facebook world I found out about his death a month after it had happened. He had sort of retired from music, with a brief reappearance to support Depeche Mode, good old Frank I remember thinking but I still didnt » Continue Reading.
O2 Institute Birmigham
Are you a miserable curmudgeon?, all the joy sucked out of your life? You probably need a dose of Katzenjammer. The Norwegian four piece are doing a short tour in support of their current album “Rockland” which shows a maturing of their songwriting skills and less reliance on the four girls/fifteen instruments notoriety of old. Highlights are Marianne Sveens poignant “Lady Grey” and the anthemic Anne-Marit propelled “Rockland” which I`m still humming round Asda a day later. The set then gathers momentum with Turids vampish “Mother Superior” before rattling into the barnstorming Solveig showstopper ” Bar In Amsterdam” and “Hey Ho On The Devils Back”. After the encore of bluesy hoedown of “Aint No Thang” its hard to tell who enjoyed the gig most, audience or band? I`ll go for Birmingham 1 Katzenjammer 1. Replay in Manchester on Sunday with penalty shootouts in London and Edinburgh next week.
A right mixed bag of 30 plus males and females. Very few cameraphones in attendance, no chatting during the songs, no jostling or shoving. If only all gigs were like this.
It made me think..
The O2 is great little venue. Katzenjammer do » Continue Reading.
The Mill House, Clayton Le Moors
The burden of being a Nominee for Folk Singer of the Year could be onerous but from bluesy reimagining of the folk standard The Blacksmith with added raunch to the apologies for the dourness of some of the songs, Lucy Ward endears herself to the captivated audience. The 25 year old singer/songwriter has a powerful voice and a collection of brooding and intense songs which are played in pin drop silence in this intimate venue. Highlights are For The Dead Men and The Last Pirouette from her current album Single Flame, which deal with campaigns for justice and the end of the world respectively. A new song, Lion, is inspired by the Shot at Dawn Memorial at the National Arboretum and is an astonishing hair on the back of the neck tribute/anthem. ( Do check out the YouTube video of this song featuring The Brighouse and Raistrick Band ). To end off an enthusiastically received set, what could be better than Elbows, One Day Like This…. on a ukuele! Dour, I don`t think so, entertaining, absolutely !
Fiftyish plus, gentlemen sporting interesting facial topiary, ladies with long flowing » Continue Reading.