I've got to tell you that in the last month I've listened to Baxendales CD more than any other record. This CD single has songs that are not on that record. It is essentail listening for any fan of Baxendale. The first song ("Summer Of Hate") is just great; every bit as fine as the A-side of the "Tin Dreams" 7". It is a song where Tim Benton sings about hating summer because his girlfriend has gone for the summer and all the summer type things become plain annoyances. Musically and vocally it is fab. "Hey Steve" is a 2 minute ska-ish ditty that is fun. The final song is a nine minute 'F**k Ibiza - You're Better off at home' mix of "Summer of Hate" which at -3:20 becomes a new totally different version of "Hey Steve" (from -2:41 till the end) as well.
November 14, 2000
Imagine if Ian Curtis had sung for Depeche Mode instead of Joy Division. Update the sound to the current club friendly climate and you have a pretty good idea of what the five and a half minute "No Shuffle Mix" of Innerstrings on this EP sounds like. And it IS a good thing. The song really does it for me at least... The second song, the 8 minute "Original Mix" is nothing special to me. It is an instrumental version with nothing that unique going for it, unlike the vocals on the first song. The final six minute "First and Last and Always Mix" is more like a different mix of the first version. It's my second fave of the three mixes, though not as knock out as the "No Shuffle Mix" which places the vocals more out front.
There are 2 genres of books I love to read: Speculative Fiction (Science Fiction's new identity) and Crime Fiction. My favorite author for Crime Fiction is Andrew Vachss. His stories take place in contemporary NYC and center on his great character Burke. One of Andrew Vachss books is called Strega. Strega is a character that he uses in many of his books (like most of his characters). This version of Innerstrings has completely different vocals from the CD version. I think the male and female voices are those of Sonovac. Anyway, the female voice is like how I have envisioned Strega, who Burke calls a 'witch'. This song and the A-side of The Busy Signals 7" are my faves of this week's Newbury Comics gullbuy adds.
My song of the week is "All the Young Designers". I reminds me of if Orchestral Manouvers In The Dark (OMD) were lighthearted like Baxendale. It is a great song that I think of every time I open up the computer. I don't know if they are thinking of Web Designers, but that's how I choose to view it. The 2 songs on the B-side are short and are meant to be played together. "Explorin" has an open air feel in it and the sound of wonder, and "Whale Watch" is a misty instrumental that works well coming after the other song. Bad Jazz is quite the label for sure. They defy sticking to one genre and seem to pull the best choices out of whatever sound they DO want to release.
Virgin has just released 2 versions of the Magazine "Best of" CD. There is a single disc compilation called "Where The Power Is . The Best Of Magazine" and there is the triple disc collection "(Maybe It's Right to Be Nervous Now)". Magazine is the band fronted by Howard Devoto after he left The Buzzcocks early in their career, right after the Spiral Scratch EP. Magazine also had Barry Adamson in it. I'm not sure what tracks are on the single disc, but this collection is described on the outer box as "A collection including Rarities, B-sides and Peel Sessions".
CD1 / Real Life - Second Daylight Era
This disc has the most songs I consider crucial out of the three discs. The songs I completely recommend are 'Shot by both sides' (alternative recording), 'My mind ani't so open' (B-side of 'Shot by both sides'), 'Touch and Go' (single), 'Goldfinger' (B-side of 'Touch and Go'), 'Give Me Everything' (single), 'I love you you big dummy' (B-side of 'Give me everything' and a Capt. Beefheart cover), 'The light pours out of me (version)' (B-side of 'Upside Down'), & 'Back to nature' (from the album 'Secondhand daylight'). There are 4 live songs mixed in the 15 here. I've never been much for live versions- if you like them maybe you will enjoy these.
CD2 / The Correct Use Of soap - Magic, Murder and the Weather Era
From this disc I love 'The Book' (B-side of Thank you falettin me be myself'), 'Sweetheart contract' (from the album 'The correct use of soap'), 'In the dark' (B-side of 'About the weather'), & 'Come Alive' (alternative mix). There are 4 live songs on this disc mixed into the 15 as well.
CD3 / 15 Peel Sessions from 78-80.
My 5 faves are 'The light pours out of me', 'My mind ani't so open', 'Give me everything', 'Boredom', & 'Look what fear's done to my body'. The July 24, 1978 version of 'Boredom' is particularly interesting as it was one of the songs from The Buzzcock's Spiral Scratch EP. When Howard Devoto left Buzzcocks he made a clean break and did not do any of the songs he had written with them. He starts off this version of 'Boredom' with a cocktail-ish swagger completely unlike the original. To me the change is not very successful (I loved the original). About a half minute into it though he breaks out into a very Buzzcock-ish version that is about as rocking as Magazine (always a somewhat prog sounding band) get, except for the B-side of their first songle, the wonderful 'My mind ain't so open'. If you have never listened to Magazine it is time to change that. If you know Magazine you will find fresh reasons to love them all over again in this 3 CD set.
Do you remember the 2 singles by the band Shook Yang 2 years ago? Pale Man Made sound so close to that band that I would not be surprised if I found out they were the same band with a new name. Pale Man Made are from Durham in England and have been compared to Clinic. "Populux" is my favorite of the three songs. It has fine out of tune female vocals similiar to The Parcels 7" of 2 summers ago, and a guitar and cheap electronics sound that works wonders for them. The second song "Sounds of the 80's" is not very distinctive. It's my least favorite, reminding me of a less engaging Delgados. "Fluoride", the seven minute final song is pretty good too, with a Clinic meets Delgados meets Shook Yang sound.
Baxendale's latest single is on a new offshoot of the same label The Cherry Orchard are on, Riviera Records out of France. The songs are top notch Baxendale, which is a mighty fine thing if you love them as much as I do. Both are exclusive to this 7" and are really 'must have' songs if you follow this band. This could end up being frustrating because this French released 7" was released in an edition of 750 copies. I like The A-side "Tina Dreams" best of the two, it's very celebratory and fun with it's role call of girl's names. The B-side is mostly sung in Spanish and is more of a breathy ode to a girl than a song I could really love.
The latest EP by long running Japanese band Citrus. There are 5 songs here. The first song "Blue Mercedes (Simply Eternal Reality)" is very melodic and new wave. The remaining 4 songs are more low-fi and crazy sounding. The title song (#4, "Wispy, No Mercy") is my second favorite of the 5.
Ellis Island Sound is a side project of Pete Astor from The Wisdom Of Harry and David Sheppard of State River Widening & The Wisdom Of Harry. As Ellis Island Sound they have many singles, a US Released 10", and one full length. This newest release has two great instrumental songs. There is a Star Trek episode (the original Kirk/Spock series) where Spock experiences the time of mating for Vulcans, when he must return to his planet and mate with his chosen partner, or die. There is a certain theme music that is played when he is on the planet and sees the girl, and must fight the challenger for her affection to the death. The A-side of this single reminds me of that song. It is my favorite song of this weeks OM adds. It is organicly otherwordly, with an ancient Asian feel and a hint of the strange. The B-side is fine, but not up to the greatness of the A.
Miho Moribayashi & Migget are Hi-Posi. Without any releases outside of Japan they have managed to make a name for themselves that is based on a great sound that is identifiable as theirs, with songs titled and sung in Japanese. For that reason I can't tell you what the songs are called. The second song I can tell you though, as it is a cover version of The Buggles song "Video Killed The Radio Star", stretched out of it's original shape far enough to make it almost unrecognizable. The last of the 3 songs is a version of the first song. The first song is stacatto fast electronic new wave, with Migget's Kahimi Karie/Takako Minekawa styled voice. The Buggles cover starts like a Martin Denny song. It is slightly slower than the original and has a touch of Island beat to it. The vocals are split between Miho's vocodered voice and Miggets. The overall effect of the cover is very successful at making the song their own while honoring the original. The third song is not an instrumental version of the first song, it is just a completely different take on the same song. It may as well be a separate song. Gone is the new wave feel, replaced by a 4/4 dancefloor sound planted into a traditional song structure.
This Hi-Posi EP came out directly after the one above. It has 4 songs on it : 2 versions of 2 songs. One of them even has an English subtitle. That one is "Der Computer No. 3" (#'s 2 & 4 on the disc). The first song is so similar to the first song on the other EP that Hi-Posi could be Helen Love! This is not a bad thing. The two songs in question both are completely uplifting & upbeat. I didn't realize how similiar they were until writing this review. Having just made the comparison to Helen Love I now think that it is not such a bad one. Both bands play electronic hyperpop percolating songs that sound very similiar from one song to the next. Both bands manage to avoid the obvious trap of having the listener bored by hearing the same song rewritten so many times, especially when that 'same song' was derivative to begin with. That is the art of both Hi-Posi and Helen Love: that their songs thrill and fascinate from one to the next despite their tight stylistic margins.
Many songs spread between 2 CDs. Trattoria is the label run by Cornelius. The CDs are split into 'Don Quijote' and 'Hamlet', which is a bit more creative and fun than calling them 'CD 1 & CD2' I guess. Each disc has 15 songs taken from the most recent batch of Trattoria releases. I found myself knowing some of the songs already. The songs I knew were excluded from being my faves, as I always look for new sounds when I pop in a disc. My faves were Salon Music "Chew It In A Bite", 00100 (Yoshimi from The Boredom's side band) "Jackson's Club Sunspot", Money Mark's "Maybe I'm Dead" (remixed my Cornelius), & Omoidehatoba's "Vuoy". There are lots of other great songs on these discs, but as I said I choose songs I've never heard before as my faves. Best to just pick up this disc, put in a CD and start checking songs to find your own faves.