Rest Day Thursday – 4 – SWC

barry

Two songs this week two slightly different reasons for posting them.  Here’s the first

Seductive Barry – Pulp – Hence the picture.  This came on the ipod the other day and I’d forgotten how tremendous it was and come to think of it the entire ‘This Is Hardcore’ album was.    I love Barry from EastEnders.  If you get a spare five minutes, Google ‘barry at the bowls’ today.  It will seriously improve your day, how ever good it has been.

Poodle Rockin’ – Gorkys Zygotic Mynci – Mrs SWC and I were invited to a house warming party the other day.  The house was purchased by a couple of gay blokes – both hairdressers, both wonderful people.  They have three poodles.  One, a beautiful black thing is called Princess Rihanna Poodle Paws.  I. Kid.  You. Not.

 

WYCRAS Best 50 Second Albums – Number 43

Blur

Modern Life is Rubbish – Blur (1993) – Chosen by KC

For Tomorrow

Badger – By quirk of fate, this album was the next one to be written about by KC on a Fridays – so we’ve bought it forward a few days, rather than just repeat ourselves.

A few weeks after I get back from Spain I have a job interview, it’s a basic job for an administration assistant in a Recruitment Agency.  The job is based right in the centre of Exeter City.  I am quite nervous it is the first job interview I have had in about ten years.  Things have very much moved on since I last had an interview.

On the day of the interview I arrive in the centre a bit early, having taken my mum’s advice and given myself plenty of time to get there, get parked etc.  In fact I have about an hour to kill.  I go and grab a coffee in a nearby café.

Half an hour to go.  I start to aimlessly wander around the shops.  Next door to the office is the Oxfam shop, this is one of three Oxfam shops in Exeter, one is a book shop, one your average run of the mill charity shop and the other is a music shop.  I walk in the music shop, by accident really, because what I want to look at it is books.

It is here that I find three things, firstly a copy of this record, ‘Modern Life is Rubbish’ – a record that as it happens and as we are here, is one of my favourite records of all time.  A record that is just quite glorious for beginning to end.  I’m not sure what happened to my last copy, I have a sneaky feeling that my ex husband ‘liberated’ a few of my CDs to a charity shop in Bristol, anyway.  I am delighted to find a copy.  I am also delighted to find a copy of ‘His n Hers’ by Pulp another record that I love and one that will feature on a Friday fairly soon.

The third thing I find in this shop is ‘Daniel’ (and I’ve changed his name for reasons that will become obvious in a few weeks time, if that’s not too much of a spoiler).  He works behind the counter in Oxfam.  He is in his late twenties, attractive, tall, his hair is all over the place but you can work on that.   He has a wonderful smile.

“£4” he tells me, followed by “Bargain, I love this Blur record”.  I smile and tell him I do to, and that I’d lost my old copy.  I checked the clock behind him I have fifteen minutes to get next door.

“You look smart” he said, I tell him I have a job interview next door with the recruitment agency and that it was my first interview for about ten years and that I was quite nervous.  I stop and I realise that I am gabbling.  I do this when I am nervous, I also according to my mum do it when I am in the presence of someone that I am attracted to.   I feel myself blushing, when I was younger I blushed at everything.  I remember watching a James Bond film with my dad and when a ‘sex scene’ came on (I mean it wasn’t sex, it was kissing and a bit of rolling about) I blushed like crazy and my parents thought I had a crush on Roger Moore for decades.  I didn’t, now Daniel Craig, that’s another matter.  Anyway…

Daniel (yup you can see what I did there) hands me the CDs, offers me a bag and then with a smile, which kind of makes my knees wobble a bit, says

“Good Luck, come back and tell me how it went, I’m sure you’ll be fine”.

Oh god.  I blush again, a deeper more embarrassing blush and say “Ok”.  I try to smile back, I mean I want to but if I do it will come across like I’ve got wind or something.  So I kind of just smirk.

I dash out of the shop, pop the CD bag into my other bag, take a massive deep breath and go in for the interview.

An hour later, I walk out of the building, my stomach grumbling, take another deep breath and sit on the bench, hungrily eyeing up the bakers across the road.  It went ok, I answered the questions, I didn’t drop my water everywhere or swear, which is rare achievement for me these days.

Someone taps me on the shoulder.  I look around, and its Daniel.

“So” he said – blimey I think to myself, he’s either massively over friendly or really desperate.

“Do you want a cup of tea?” I ask him, praying that its the second bit of the last sentence and I point at the bakers across the road.  Then I realise that I have just come across like the second bit of that sentence as well.

We have tea, I have a cake as well.  We chat, we exchange numbers, but before that I ask him importantly if he has anyone special in his life.  He says no.  He tells me that he is ‘between jobs’ having given up his last job in Winchester to come back to Exeter to look after his mother after his dad died (his dad died after falling off a cliff on the South West coast path).  I just want to hug him there and then.  God, that sounds like something my mother would say, but its true.

“I’ll phone you” I tell him, knowing that I will sit in my flat with his number in my hand for like an hour before doing so trying to work out what to say before stumbling around a conversation and sounding daft.

He nods.

I walk off and I feel like skipping.

Chemical World

Sunday Sunday

 

 

 

WYCRAS Best 50 Second Albums – Number 44

Tricky2

Pre Millennium Tension – Tricky (1996) – Chosen by SWC

Vent

Man, this is a scary but brilliant record.

There are guitar sounds on here that sound as sinister as hell itself. The lyrics are by and large angry, intense, claustrophobic and paranoid. There are drum loops that don’t just splutter but positively choke the life out of you. The opening track ‘Vent’ starts out with a sampled string noise and then you hear Tricky going ‘Don’t push me, ‘cause I’m close to the edge’ – he sounds stressed and then he and Martine repeatedly wail ‘Can’t hardly breath’ over and over. It is a mood setter that’s for sure.

The rest of it is in a similar vein, fuzzed out sounds, garbled lyrics, disorientating music, and a paranoid feel to it. Whereas debut album ‘Maxinequaye’ pretty music set the scene for an entire scene, this one dismantles it right in front of you. If ‘Maxinequaye’ is the sound of trip hop blossoming from spring into summer, this album is it moving from summer into the drizzly murky autumn mornings, its cold and evil out there, I’m sure he felt that whilst recording it in Jamaica.

But the songs are just as outstanding – ‘Makes Me Wanna Die’ is beautiful, a rare moment of light in the dark perhaps. ‘Lyrics of Fury’ a cover of the Eric B staple is brilliant and reinforces that perhaps Tricky was more of a hip hop act that we ever gave him credit for. It’s certainly the most upbeat moment of the record.

Makes Me Wanna Die

Lyrics of Fury

It is a heavy album, lets be fair about it. The lyrics are dark, the music is intense and the vocals of Tricky in particular are hypnotic. At the time there was no in the music world making stuff like Tricky did, not even close. The talent and his talent in fact was unique. Absolutely incredible.

New Band of the Week – The Van Ts

vants

Blood Orange – The Van Ts

Hot on the heels of FEWS come Glasgows wonderful The Van Ts.  Now a quick apology, I’m in a bit of a rush today, as I’ve forgotten that the car needs a MOT.  So here is a very quick and dirty run down on The Van Ts – who are great.

Hometown – Glasgow

The background – The Van Ts revolve largely around two Scottish twins called Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson (the Van Ts – you see) and very soon they could be the most important things in your life. They formed a few years back and immediately got a reputation for being a brilliant live act. They are actually a foursome though, with a further female and a long haired drummer called Shawn being added to the fold. Their debut EP ‘Laguna Babe’ was released in 2015 to much praise.

Their music has been described as ‘surf rock’ with lyrics inspired by a John Hughes film. Which is kind of right. I’ve a song by them which rhymes ‘instamatic with social fanatic’ which a tiny bit brilliant.

The Hype – The Van Ts seem to delight in throwing sunny pop riffs into a blender set on “crush,”

File next To – The B 52s and La Butcherettes, Honeyblood perhaps

Check Out – Last years ‘Coming of Age EP’ from which ‘Blood Orange’ is taken, is worthy of your attention as is previous single ‘Growler’ from ‘Laguna Babe’.

 

 

Tim Badger’s Musical Snakes and Ladders – Roll Two

snakes

So you join us at the start of Roll Two, with SWC in the lead on 5, followed by KC on 4 and me at the back on 2.   The problem I now have with this ‘idea of mine’ is to make it work on a blog. I mean there is only so much suspense I can ring out from three people throwing a dice. Which we all do. There. We have a bit of an audience, a lady from KC’s office has started watching and is now banging on about ‘Snakes and ladders’ and how her daughter lost two pieces from her set on an aeroplane. We look at her like she is mad but feel her pain. Anyway I digress, but before I go – a couple of rules we’ve made up.

If you land a square that has already been landed on (so if I roll a two and go to four) we will post something by the same band but a different song chosen at random.

If two people land on the same square we will post two songs by the same band. Simple, now on we the ‘ahem’ snake action.

KC rolls a two. This puts her on six and that put her on a ladder that goes all the way up to 24.

“Yes, in your face, losers” she shouts.

I raise a mature eyebrow, fearing for her bravado, and that she might have called us ‘losers’ too soon. So she gets two songs today.

Six is

A to B” by the Futureheads and her one line review is “Rather pleasant if slightly noisy pop punk from Newcastle (probably)’.

Twenty Four is

Yonder is Closer to the Heart” by Parquet Courts which brings forth “Sounds almost exactly the same as the last song, apart from the accents are different”. She’s right as it happens.

SWC rolls a six which moves him to 11.  He is very pleased about landing on Square 11

“Do I get another go for a six?”

“NO” KC, other lady and I shout almost at the same time.

Square Eleven gives us

Omega Dog” by the Dears and SWC’s review of that is “Bloody excellent stuff, even the Damon Albarn impression”.

I look both my competitors in the eye and roll. I hope the menacing look transferred to the dice and it repays me by giving me a four to put me on the ladder. It bounces off the edge of the box and spins a bit before landing on one. One. Great. I am on square 3.   Which is

Please don’t Wait for Me” by Yak and here is what I think of it “a passable seven minute mix of shoegaze, swirly indie pop and grunge”.

So that’s the end of round 2. Here are the revised odds

KC – 4- 1 (Square 24)

SWC – 7 -1 (Square 11)

Badger 1000 – 1 (Square 3)

Next Roll Three…I bet you can barely wait.

The Saturday Song Challenge – Gone

gone

They say that the table doesn’t lie. The monthly winner is now really a five horse race thanks to the awarding of 1000 points each to Rol, C, Swede, Jonny and Echorich. SWC and I decided last night that this might be a little unfair – so we are going to give you guys on -998 points a chance. Next week’s song (which will be revealed at the end) will have a top score of 1010 points. So if you get the most obscure track we will give you the points. The first person to do so. Call it double or quits.

So let’s talk about ‘Gone’ and we’ll start with the first comment we received. Hello Swiss Adam – he mentions a very long and very good single by David Holmes and Sarah Cracknell called ‘Gone’ and immediately the little bell I have next to my desk goes ‘Ding’ because that is a right answer.

Now its weird because we thought this would be a difficult one to get and listed it at four points. But it turns out we were wrong as Drew (one point), JC (one point), and Walter (one point) all suggested it as well. This takes Swiss Adam to – 995, drew to – 997, JC to -999 and Walter to – 998 as it stands. Rol must be feeling the pressure.

Incidentally last week in the ‘Dr Barnardo’s’ Shop in Newton Abbot I picked up a copy of ‘This film’s crap, let’s slash the seats’ by David Holmes for 50p. Just saying.

Gone – David Holmes/Sarah Cracknell

Next up we had a lot of good but not right suggestions from the Swede who gets a point for trying and for reminding me of the wonderful Midlake.   Similarly The Great Gog can have a point for ‘Gone Daddy Gone’ by the Violet Femmes, I mean its not right but it is a great song.

Let’s see what Drew has to offer.

‘Kanye West’

That will do. Couple of points for that Drew, that puts you on – 995 Oh ok, you can have an additional point for Irma Thomas, which I have just played and loved (-994).   JC can have a point as well for mentioning Kanye as well (-998 JC).

Gone – Kanye West

Staying with JC – he’s getting some more points, because he asks for ‘Gone’ by Sons and Daughters – still the best band named after a soap opera (when will somewhere form ‘The Flying Doctors’…?) and gets three points for it, which takes him down to (-995 now). Dirk also gets a point here which puts him up to -997.

Gone – Sons and Daughters

For some reason The Robster has never played this game before, until now, he pops up with ‘Gone’ by The Popguns. Its not right, but it is good as some bloke once said on a telly programme. So I will give you a point. That point should by rights be taken straight away though for the sheer mention of Pearl Jam, but as it’s your first time I’m going to let you off. Pearl Jam join Morrissey on the list of bands that will ‘never score you points’.

Oh, I’d forgotten about Rol, sorry Rol, Rol, had a self imposed task this week to provide five correct answers which would receive any marks something he achieves with skill and dexterity – although he gets the obligatory bonus point for Julian Cope. It’s Julian Cope of course you get points for him.

Dirk offers a load of answers, all of which were wrong, although there is a point for him for ‘Gone’ by Pond. Which should have been included but wasn’t. Dirk goes up to -996.

There were additional bonus points for C, CC and George as well this week.

Which takes us to the last two correct answers, the five pointer and the one pointer. I’m going to leave the one pointer to Rigid Digit

U2 – Gone

Correct RD and have a bonus point for your suggestion of the Jesus and Mary Chain which I’ll take away again for your Bucks Fizz one.

The five point one is one that I thought someone would get

Gone – The Beta Band

So the table Rol has 1005 points, C has 1003, Swede has 1002 and that is pretty much all you need to know I think. But remember next week, there are 1010 points on offer for the correct five point answers.

Next week’s word and the scoring will be decided by SWC is ‘Forgiveness’ which I think is quite tricky.

Upgrades, Limos and Backstage Passes

Delorean

My mum makes me wear the stupid donkey hat all the way to the check in point at the airport. It’s my own fault I suppose because I have made them get up at 6am to take me to the airport as my car died on me the night before (the exhaust fell off halfway down my road, leaving my new neighbours wondering what exactly had moved in around the corner from them).

I must look stupid. A woman in her thirties, wearing a straw hat, which has a donkey on it, dragging a pink suitcase with a dodgy wheel, at 7.30am. My mum and dad are hugging me now and dad is saying louder than he perhaps ‘If you can’t be good be safe’ which I cringe at slightly. I say slightly, I go bright pink like my suitcase and cover my face with the hat.

So I am off to Spain. I am off to see Alice, my best friend and I can’t really wait. I need a holiday. Strangely I had been thinking about just that prior to the tickets arriving, even more strange was the fact that I spent twenty minutes looking at a ‘singles holiday’ to France. I’m not looking for a new bloke, not yet, but I really do need to meet some new people, right now my mum is my go to friend for shopping and that’s just not where I want to be as I enter my 33rd year.

Anyway, I check in and the young guy on the desk looks at me. He smiles and talks to me in a voice so camp that to say anything about him working as a check in guy for an airline would be dangerously close to being a lazy stereotype.

“Late for a hen do, sweetie?” he says.

“Erm, yes, should have flow yesterday, couldn’t, car problem”.

“Oh, poor you. You need a bit of a pampering then”. And he upgraded me. What a superstar. That is the first time that has ever happened to me. What upgraded means on this flight is sitting in front of the curtain instead of behind it with slightly more leg room, no free champagne or oysters.

At the airport, I am met outside departures by Alice, she is wearing a pair of the biggest sunglasses and a hat that matches mine, which I quickly put back on again after seeing she is wearing hers. It is nine thirty am.

We hug and scream and shout and then she drags me outside for ‘A Surprise’, where we are met by ‘Alphonse’ – who is tall, dark, handsome, muscular and wearing a chaffeurs hat and uniform. I kid you not. Alice has hired a limo, or rather, it transpires, she has borrowed a limo. Alice works in ‘event management’ she manages a couple of clubs in the town and knows everyone. Absolutely everyone.

We go back to Alice’s new apartment and it is fabulous, of course it is, it overlooks the sea, it’s cool, it’s brilliantly decorated, it looks like something from a film. We spend the next three hours just sitting around and gossiping. She tells me about her love life, which for those interested, is not that much more active than mine.

“There are a lot of chancers out here” she tells me, a few months back she had a brief fling with a guy called ‘Malky’ who is a Liverpudlian guy who works in one of the clubs. She looks quite upset when she reveals that one morning in his bathroom she was looking for some toilet roll and found a couple of thousand ecstasy tablets instead and I’ll refer you back to the paragraph about lazy stereotyping.

“So that didn’t last” she says with a grin. “I’m too busy for all that” she laughs.

I’ll be honest here, she is stunning. Of course she is. I’m not just being nice because she is my best friend. She is beautiful and could take her pick. I’ve seen her stop conversations in a crowded room just by looking at someone.

I update her with what’s going on in my life which didn’t take long to be fair. Although she laughs like a drain when I tell her about mum confronting the ‘other woman’ in Bristol. She gives me a cross look when I tell her I haven’t messaged Kris yet.

“I would have been on him quicker than a ferret at the rabbit farm” was her actual response, which makes me laugh so much I drop my drink all over the tiled floor.

Eventually we go out into the sun, we have lunch, and we walk along the beach and we stare at the sun burnt Brits on holiday.

It’s around 5pm when Alice says to me back at her place that we are going out to see a band that night. They are playing at one of the places that she is involved with and we have backstage passes. I have never been backstage anywhere, not even at school when I was Juliet in the production of Romeo and Juliet. I am very excited although I am also exhausted.  The band a called Delorean and they are from Spain but at just about to go ‘International’

I have never heard of them of course, Alice was always the one who found the bands, even as kids, she would turn up in my bedroom with a new CD or tape of a band and stick it on and they would be ‘our new favourite thing’. She puts their CD on when we get changed and its really good.

Now, I’m going to do that swirly thing that happens in movies here and drag you back to the present time and in fact, the office kitchen. When I was discussing this bit of writing with SWC and Badger I gave them a list of the records that I wanted to include – I mean the music is kind of secondary to be honest – they are just records that are attached to a story or a period of my life. SWC called it ‘safeguarding’ I think by this he was making sure I was a silly girl writing about how much I loved Shania Twain or something that would seriously damage his credibility. On seeing this bands name he looked at me and said “Interesting…” to this day he is the only person I know who has this CD other than me and Alice (and its bloody ace, SWC).

Back we go to Spain – The band were amazing live, and after the gig I drank Corona with them and Alice and a few others. It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, maybe it was the time, the place, the location, but it was.   I wake up the next morning at 9am the sun bursting through the curtains, I sit up and then I realise that I still have one shoe on. It must have been a great night.

Real Love

Endless Sunset

Infinite Desert

Rest Day Thursdays – Three KC

coolio

“Anything at all?”

“Yup”

Ok – I’m tempted to go down the obvious route and post something ‘terrible’ like Paloma Faith or something, but SWC has promised/threatened to change the passwords if I do that – claiming that “we have to draw the line somewhere”.  Then I thought about Bolthrower.  I have one track of theirs on my ipod, but its terrible and I really must delete it.  So instead lets have

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio – Because its a lovely summery song and that is really the only reason you need and talking of summer how about something by

Turn Off the Light – Nelly Furtado – Another track which I imagine you secretly all love.  It is a great pop song.

Its back to SWC next Thursday so expect obscure post punk rock with added flutes from Albania or something.

 

WYCRA’s 50 Best Second Albums – Number 45

Belle and Seb

Number 45 – ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister – Belle and Sebastian (1996) – Chosen by Badger

Me and the Major

So it was I think back in 1998 when I first stumbled across Belle and Sebastian, there I was idly flicking through Teletext on Channel 4 – they as it happens ran a pretty good music page, Planet Sound it was called, and it was quite indie friendly, which you would expect from Channel 4. I discovered Belle and Sebastian because their 1997 single ‘Dog On Wheels’ was voted Single of the Year by Planet Sound. A title which I scoffed at for being overly indie and a bit ‘wimpy’, I think I may have called them ‘saps’. Then I listened to them, again and again, thanks largely to my wife (or not quite wife at the time).

‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ has pretty much been a permanent thing in my life since 1999. It is such a lovely album, its poetic, it’s funny, as wonderfully melodic as it is ramshackle, as close to Dylan as it is the Velvet Underground. I totally love it and yet I don’t really understand it at all. I’ll also add that like so many of the albums on this list, the first side is flawless.

In Stuart Murdoch, famously, publicity shy, we have something special, not only a wonderful songwriter but also a singer who engages and speaks to his fans, fans who have by and large grown up with them. He delivers songs that are cynical, romantic and slightly odd. The lyrics are full of characters as well – perhaps the only other popstar of recent years who has done that as well would be Jarvis Cocker I think. Take ‘Me and the Major’ we meet a grumpy old chap who wants to listen Roxy Music. The song itself is a rollocking folk rock strum with added harmonica.

What Mrs Badger loves about Belle and Sebastian is that there is escapism. Usually through the medium of music or books. This I think is clear in ‘Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying’ which sees Murdoch staring out the window at the rain pondering life itself, it’s a song about frustration, probably creative frustration and it’s a wonderful pop song.

Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying

On top of all that There is ‘Seeing Other People’ which is far and away their greatest song. A song that when it was left out of the WYCRA 200 I was so enraged with SWC that I refused to speak to him for four hours. It has that piano hook at the start. Its upbeat, jazzy, joyful and sad all at the same time. It’s a song about the sexual experimentation of two lads and its done with sympathy and humour ‘you’re going to have to go with girls/you might be better off/at least they know where to put it’.

Just brilliant.

Seeing Other People

WYCRA’s 50 Best Second Albums – Number 46

dig your own

Dig Your Own Hole – The Chemical Brothers (1997) – Chosen by SWC

Block Rockin’ Beats

It is Colossal. Simple as that.

‘Dig Your Own Hole’ propelled The Chemical Brothers from the clubs to musical superstardom. It took their trademark large beats and funky bassline and gave them number one singles, Grammy awards and Glastonbury headlines sets. This wasn’t big beat anymore – this was ‘stadium dance’.  Apparently.

This album is incredible, a massive mixture of psychedelia, acid house, hip hop, big beats, funky beats and tunes. Massive tunes. Tunes so big that they have their own postcodes and accompanied everywhere they go with a huge flashing purple sign which says ‘TUNE’. You could say, that ‘Dig Your Own Hole’ was the Chemical Brothers’ rock album because at times it seriously fucking rocks.  Actually that’s most of the time.

Any album that opens with a tune as big and as pile driving as ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ is going to be good – all wonky noises, spiky breaks and intense beats – pretty much the musical equivalent of a buffalo on very strong acid. Good is perhaps understating the entire album – look at the contributors, Kool Herc on ‘Elektrobank’, Noely G (before Oasis went all rubbish, so actually pretty amazing) on ‘Setting Sun’ adding his vocals to a deranged chaos or sirens, loops and bloody racket. Giving the Chemical Brothers one of the most mental number ones of all time (incidentally it knocked ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ off number one and was itself knocked off the top by Boyzone). People at the top of the game literally falling over themselves to work with the Brothers.

Setting Sun

Then it all starts to calm down, another guest crops up, one Beth Orton, who gives us a wonderful vocal of ‘Where Do I Begin’ which is one of the best folk songs that has ever been recorded. Twenty years later it still sounds as fresh and great as ever.

Where Do I Begin

That slowly leads us to ‘the Private Psychedelic Reel’ which is just a wonderful wonderful piece of music, spiralling melody accompanying musical whooshes and a giddy rush of bleeps. It’s just the perfect end to a virtually perfect album.

The Private Psychedelic Reel

Twenty years on there has still been nothing quite like ‘Dig Your Own Hole’. This was an album that gave them a whole new audience, a whole new bunch of minds to mess up. An amazing album.