Saturday, 30 April 2011

Photography: Photos of Mark E Smith and The Fall - Frome, May 2010

The location - Frome, Somerset, UK
When - May 2010

Listen and read about Creation Records first 50 singles......

More Creation-related stuff.... There is a webpage where you can listen to all of the first 50 singles that were released on Creation Records..... there's stuff from Primal Scream, The Pastels, The House Of Love, Felt and many more...

From Stylus magazine here's a link to an extensive guide on Creation's first 50 singles....

And here's the place you can listen to them all....

Creation Records Classics #1

To celebrate the release of Upside Down: The Creation Records Story, I'm going to be revisiting some great bands the label played home to and a selection of their finest tracks....

SONG FOR TODAY: Lo Fidelity Allstars - Vision Incision

This group were very hot property in 1998, and excitement was brewing around their sample-heavy disco-punk. I remember a particularly great performance of this song on Jo Whiley's old show on Channel 4, and remember it being played many times on The Evening Session and the band receiving lots of coverage on Radio 1's The Breezeblock. Unfortunately the band's characteristic frontman The Wrecked Train left and the band carried on without him but declined musically. 

Upside Down : The Creation Records Story - PREVIEW

Upside Down creation records Story Logo'Upside Down' is the upcoming film about legendary record label Creation. Expect lots of stories about drugs, money trouble,  rock 'n roll excess and some of the greatest music of all time.

Also expect to see and hear from: Oasis, Primal Scream, Boo Radleys, Teenage Fanclub, Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Super Furry Animals and lots more......

Upside Down: The Creation Records Story - New Trailer from Upside Down The Movie on Vimeo.

The DVD is out on May 9th and promises to be a treat for all fans of Creation and the excellent bands it played home to over the years.

Friday, 29 April 2011

The dumbing down of the NME

So once an informative and intelligent resource for serious music lovers, the New Musical Express has now sunk to the depths of having manufactured novelty acts like Lady Gaga on the front page. Plus this is an ACTUAL piece of news headline on the NME website earlier :

Victoria Beckham: 'Kate Middleton looked wonderfully elegant at the Royal Wedding'


It's a good job the world still has music writers like myself. 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: The Jesus & Mary Chain - Darklands

Today in the alphabetical odyssey we are up to the letter J and it's a classic from the Mary Chain.... a song that was played many times on my old internet radio shows and can be expected to be played many more times on my forthcoming Melksham Community Radio show later in the year (hopefully)... anyway here's 'Darklands'.

SONG FOR TODAY: Idlewild - A Film For The Future

OK apologies for no 'Song For Today' yesterday.... I didn't leave work till 4:30am this morning and as a result now have an aching head, an aching back AND I have to do it all over again at 12pm today.... anyway today we reach the letter 'I' and remember how Idlewild and Roddy Woomble used to sound..... from 1998, this track that i heard on The Evening Session began a love affair with this band's music that has lasted over a decade and will do for many years to come.... Let's hope they end that 'hiatus' soon....

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

LISTEN TO: Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues - Stream

It's sometimes a very sleepy album, and definitely more of a 'night time' record, but Fleet Foxes second album 'Helplessness Blues' is growing on me more and more, and ahead of the album's release next week, here is where you can hear the album in full for free.....

 Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues by Bella Union 

SONG FOR TODAY: The High Fidelity - A Change Is Gonna Come?

During the late 90's this band were very cool indeed. Fronted by Sean Dickson of The Soup Dragons, this band produced some extraordinary indie-pop. The debut album 'Demonstration' was disappointing after all the brilliant singles, but this track with its Spector-esque strings at the end is fantastic.......

Poly Styrene (1957-2011) A Tribute....

Sad news today that Poly Styrene, singer with X Ray Spex has died aged 53 after losing her battle with cancer. 

She was one of the first female punk icons and remained a rare presence in a largely male-dominated business, having formed her band after seeing The Sex Pistols perform on her 18th birthday.
"We can confirm that the beautiful Poly Styrene, who has been a true fighter, won her battle on Monday evening to go to higher places," a statement on her website said.
Former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock praised her "general joie de vivre nuttiness".
"I did see her not that long ago so it's sad. Again, somebody from the punk rock scene has died far too young and it's a loss," he told BBC radio

Marianne Elliott-Said was born in 1957 in BromleyKent. Her mother, who raised her alone, was a British (Scots-Irish) legal secretary. Her father was a dispossessed Somali aristocrat.
As a teenager, Marianne was a "barefoot hippie". At age 15, she ran away from home with £3 in her pocket, and hitchhiked from one music festival to another, staying at hippie crash pads. She thought of this as a challenge to survive. The adventure ended when she stepped on a rusty nail while bathing in a stream and had to be treated for septicaemia.
In 1976 she released a reggae single "Silly Billy" as Mari Elliot. Later that year, after seeing the Sex Pistols, she was inspired to form the punk band X-Ray Spex.After watching a very early gig by the Sex Pistols in an empty hall on Hastings Pier, playing a set of cover songs, she was so inspired that she put an ad in the paper for ‘young punx who want to stick it together’ to form a band. So it was that, as Poly Styrene, the singer with X-Ray Spex, she was described by Billboard as the "archetype for the modern-day feminist punk"; because she wore braces, stood against the typical sex object female of 1970s rock star, sported a gaudy Dayglo wardrobe, and was of mixed race, she was "one of the least conventional front-persons in rock history, male or female".

In 1978, after a gig in Doncaster, she had a vision of a pink light in the sky and felt objects crackling when she touched them. Thinking she was hallucinating, her mother took her to the hospital where Marianne was misdiagnosed with schizophreniasectioned, and told she would never work again. Although she missed playing at the time, in hindsight, she felt that getting out of the public eye was good for her. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1991 After the original version of X-Ray Spex broke up, Poly Styrene recorded a solo albumTranslucence, in 1980. The album abandoned X-Ray Spex's loud guitar work for a quieter and more jazzy sound that anticipated the 1990s dance band Everything But the Girl. In 1986, she released the EP God's & Godesses [sic] on the Awesome record label. A New Age solo album, Flower Aeroplane, followed in 2004. In 1983, she was initiated into the Hare Krishna movement and recorded at their recording studios while living as a devotee at Bhaktivedanta Manor. In 2007, she was invited to the Concrete Jungle festival in Camber Sands, where she and the gathering's organizer, Symond Lawes, agreed to initiate a 30-year celebration of X-Ray Spex's debut album, Germ Free Adolescents. They decided to hold a live show at the Camden Roundhouse, which was a sell-out event on 6 September 2008. A live album/DVD of this event, Live @ The Roundhouse London 2008, was released in November 2009 on The Year Zero label by Future Noise Music. She made a guest appearance at the 2008 30th anniversary concert of Rock Against Racism in Victoria ParkLondon, performing "Oh Bondage Up Yours" with guest musicians Drew McConnell (of Babyshambles and Helsinki) and 'Flash' David Wright playing saxophone. That same year, she dueted with Goldblade's John Robb on a remix of Goldblade's "City Of Christmas Ghosts". In March 2009, she joined other members of PRS for Music in criticizing Google for allegedly not paying their a fair share of royalties to musicians. This followed Google's removal of millions of videos from YouTube because of a royalties dispute with the organization.
She released a solo album titled Generation Indigo, produced by Martin Glover (aka Youth from Killing Joke) in March 2011. She released a free download of "Black Christmas" in November 2010. Poly Styrene announced "Virtual Boyfriend" as the first single from her new album Generation Indigo via Spinner Music, as well as the launch of her brand new website. "Virtual Boyfriend" was released on 21 March 2011, and featured an animated promotional video directed by Ben Wheele. Generation Indigo was released on 28 March 2011, via Future Noise Music. The album received critical acclaim, including a perfect 10 out of 10 score in Artrocker magazine, and 8 out of 10 in The Telegraph newspaper. Generation Indigo was also chosen as Album of the Day on UK radio station BBC 6 Music.
Poly Styrene described herself as "an observer, not a suffering artist writing from tortured experiences. I was playing with words and ideas. Having a laugh about everything, sending it up."
She lived in St LeonardsEast Sussex.[4]
Her daughter Celeste Bell-Dos Santos is the frontwoman for the music group Debutant Disco based in Madrid.
In March 2009, Poly Styrene took part in the inaugural Instigate Debate night. The night's theme was modern day consumerism. Other current issues were also discussed.
In February 2011, in an interview published in The Sunday Times magazine, which largely focused on her past and present relationship with her daughter Celeste, Poly Styrene revealed that she had been treated for breast cancer, and that it had spread to her spine and lungs. 

Her death comes as very sad news, especially since last night I was thinking about including 'The Day The World Turned Day Glo' as a future 'Song For Today' on this blog, and what only must have been a few months ago she was a guest on Steve Lamacq's Roundtable on 6Music. Thoughts go out to her family and friends. 

The music lives on, and let's remember how great it was.....

Monday, 25 April 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Gay Dad - To Earth With Love

To many this lot are long forgotten, but many admirers of 'Post-Britpop' will remember this tune with fondness.... Think of how big they could've been if they didn't have such a stupid name....

SONG FOR TODAY: Feeder - We Can't Rewind

Two Songs For Today since I missed yesterday's.... First here's Feeder with a track from the 2001 album 'Echo Park' that surely should've been a single....

Saturday, 23 April 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Eels - Last Stop:This Town

From the 1998 album 'Electro Shock Blues' here is a classic from the Eels. Sleeve notes mention special guest 'Elton Jones', although I have not yet researched into whether this was in fact a guest appearance from Mr Reginald Dwight or not.....

Friday, 22 April 2011

SONG FOR TODAY: Dodgy - If You're Thinking Of Me

So followers of the 'Song For Today may have noticed that there is an alphabetical running order going on, so today we reach D. Followers may also have noticed that no band or artist has featured as Song For Today more than once yet (to keep the diversity strong) so that rules out any more from D.A.F for the time being. Instead I'm opting for a bit of Dodgy, a very underrated group and very successful during the Britpop years. They parted company with vocalist Nigel Clark in 1998 and regrouped with a (frankly crappy) new line up and sound. Luckily that incarnation of Dodgy didn't last long and a few years later the proper line up reunited again. They've been touring and gigging for the last couple of years and have quite a few festivals to play this summer including one which I will hopefully be going to. Here from the album 'Free Peace Sweet' is 'If You're Thinking Of Me'...

SONG FOR TODAY: The Charlatans - The Blonde Waltz

'Tellin' Stories' is definitely my favourite Charlatans album, but 1999's 'Us And Us Only' comes very close. And from it here is the stunning 'The Blonde Waltz'...

Thursday, 21 April 2011


What I define as Post-Britpop is music from the years 1997-2000. After Oasis released the massively hyped 'Be Here Now', the bubble had got as big as it possibly could and burst with the realisation that the album that was meant to be Britpop's ultimate crowning glory turned out to be its anticlimax. So from late 1997 the hope was that one of the smaller British groups were about to do what Oasis should've done and released an era-defining record. Some hoped that things would get better again once Oasis released a better record (which we thought they would do soon) but the hype and the buzz around new music didn't seem as vibrant as it had done in the previous couple of years. So the main golden age of Britpop was over and the darker, more solemn Post-Britpop age was here.

Some of the bands from the mid 90's were coming back with more brooding, bleak sounds (Pulp for instance), while some were getting a tiny bit heavier and moving towards rock (The Bluetones, although they were to soon resort back to run of the mill indie). Some tried flirting with more cutting edge electronic production (Suede), some couldn't do much  to disprove theories that they were nothing more than just 60's copyists (Ocean Colour Scene), while elsewhere there were plenty of promising new bands like Astrid, Ultrasound, Coldplay, Astronaut, Gay Dad and many others who (mostly) disappeared after a few years.

Post-Britpop effectively ended in 2000 after most of the promising new bands failed commercially and Oasis returned with a fourth album worse than the third one, leaving everyone with the feeling that things had to be freshened up slightly and that a new era was underway.

Definitive Post-Britpop albums

The Boo Radleys - Kingsize
Gene - Revelations
Pulp - This Is Hardcore
Blur - 13
Suede- Head Music
Gay Dad - Leisure Noise
Ash - Nu Clear Sounds
Cast - Magic Hour
The Bluetones - Return To The Last Chance Saloon
Shed Seven - Let It Ride
Ocean Colour Scene - One From The Modern

Soon I will be looking more in depth at some of the bands of that era who came and went, until then some of them may pop up on my daily 'Song For Today'...........