The WYCRA 200 – Number 116

pale

Number 116 – Shimmering wonderful shoegaze

Sight of You – Pale Saints – Chosen by SWC – Taken from ‘Sci Fi Lo Fi’ LP (2009)

If Badger’s lucky number was 117, then 116 is my non lucky number even though it contains the number 11, because 116 was in my street, growing up as a child where Andrew lived. Andrew was my nemesis, the boy who taught me how to hate.  Andrew was the perfect child, he was clever, he was brilliant at football, wonderful at cricket, the faster runner in the school, tough, popular, he always had the best bike and the best football and most annoyingly really good at hide and seek. I never beat him at anything, much as I tried, I always failed. So for that matter I hated him more and more each day.   Despite being all these things, he was frankly a shit winner, boastful in it to the point of rubbing your nose in it. If you were playing cricket he wouldn’t just score say 50 – which would be enough to win the game because he’d bowl us out in about five minutes, he’d have to score 220 and then whack the bowl over the fence into the weird cat woman’s garden, never to be seen again.   Then laugh. So I hate the number 116.

When I was back in Kent visiting my dad a few weeks ago, I happened to bump into Andrew’s dad, Alan, who was actually alright. We got talking and I asked how Andrew was, I kind of hoped that his life had turned out badly and that after a flirtation with some scarlet woman he’d lost everything and now lived in a shack just outside Cheam spending his days toasting a solitary sausage against a single bar gas fire, sad and lonely, wearing a dead’s tramps clothes, and crying into his Batchelors Cup a Soup (chicken and mushroom flavour – the flavour of losers everywhere).

Nope. Andrew went to University, where we he studied physiotherapy. Oh right, I said, how’d that turn out – hoping here that he failed, and is now doing the above.

Nope, he got a first and then mastered in Calf and Metatarsal Injuries. Right, brilliant, then he lost everything and now keeps himself warm by eating Pot Noodles covered in fluff, rocking himself to sleep whilst cradling a can of Tennants Super? (I didn’t say that)

Nope, now he is chief physio at Old Trafford and Manchester United Football Club.

At this point I vomited – inside at least.

Then his dad told me that Andrew’s sister is Chief Consultant at St Thomas Hospital, London. At this point I excused myself because my eye was beginning to twitch.

Where was I? Oh yes music, The Pale Saints were a much unheralded shoegaze act from the mid 90s that kind of faded away without troubling anyone. ‘Sight of You’ is marvellous. It is pretty much the dictionary definition of Shoe Gaze and if it you look in the Guinness Book of Indie Pop you will see a picture of The Pale Saints and they are indeed staring at their shoes in it.

Incidentally the album I took this from, is a compilation album released by Rob Da Bank a few years back and it is an odd Shoegaze compilation featuring the likes of Chapterhouse, Ride, Slowdive but strangely no Adorable or Moose, yet contains the questionably shoegaze Dinosaur Jr. It does contain Ultra Vivid Scene though.

Mercy Seat

The WYCRA 200 – Number 117

soup

Number 117 – Badger’s Favourite Number in all the world

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons – Chosen by Badger – Taken from Single of the Same Name (1990)

My Dad lives at Number 117, a house he has owned for forty years or so. I grew up in that house, had my first alcoholic drink in that house, shortly followed by my first kiss and it was the house it which I received by A Level Results which eventually saw me leave that house. All of this is my way of saying that I am quite fond of this number and those numbers in that order. I’d go as far as to say it follows me around a bit.

For instance, Mrs Badger and I were married on 11th July (117), the hotel room we had on honeymoon in the sun kissed Caribbean island of The Bahamas was 117, and when she had her bike accident, the bed number she was in whilst in hospital was 1-17, something which strange as it seems soothed me greatly.  Oh and the bus which used to take my to my favourite record shop as a lad in Leeds was the 117.

So it is no surprise that the responsibility for writing about this number should fall to me. However, pretty much everything that you need to know about this record has already been written about over at Drew’ s place. I can’t add anything to that, other than this is a tremendous record, even with the added Junior Reed bit which some people kind of don’t like very much.

So here are a couple of other songs that I also love with the word ‘Free’ in the title

Free Satpal Ram – Asian Dub Foundation

Get Free – The Vines

The WYCRA 200 – Number 118

59 sound

Number 118 – Channelling their inner Springsteen

The 59 Sound – The Gaslight Anthem – Chosen by SWC – Taken from ‘The 59 Sound’ LP (2008)

Those of you that are into maths (I mean why wouldn’t you be), will have already twigged that 118 is of course, 59 times two. That wasn’t planned, it is a coincidence. Coming soon So Solid Crew’s ’21 Seconds’ at Number 42 and the White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ at Number 14.   Its quite early in the morning and my brain isn’t functioning properly enough to think of any more songs with numbers in the title right now.   Anyway, let’s talk about The Gaslight Anthem via a dinner date with Angelica Huston.

A few summers ago, Mrs SWC and I were on holiday in Los Angeles, we were having a wonderfully luxurious time in a five star hotel in Santa Monica – before you start we were upgraded by our holiday rep due to a booking error (it was great, we were deliriously out of place). We had a room on the 15th floor overlooking the beach and the ocean and the hotel bar and restaurant on the roof, was frequented by Hollywood royalty. One evening we were early for dinner and the restaurant was empty about from three people eating together in a small private booth.   It was Angelica Huston and a couple of others, one of whom I’m told was Warren Beatty. That’s how out of place Mrs SWC and I were, we were wearing shorts and flip flops, they were wearing $5000 watches and carrying handbags worth more than my entire wardrobe. Anyway, we finished dinner and wandered down to the beach in Santa Monica only to find it packed, no not packed, rammed, with people, heaving. We hung around thinking there must be something going on, we were right. It was a party and there right at the end was a stage, and best of all it appeared to be free. A few bands played that we had never heard of and then the headliners came on, another band who we’d never heard of, The Gaslight Anthem.

One hour later, and with the time dangerously close to midnight (when Mrs SWC turns back into a church mouse) the band played ‘the 59 Sound’ and the place just erupted. It might have been the location, a beach near the ocean, the sun long since set across the sand, but right there that song sounded immense. Then they were gone and we staggered back to our hotel.

Great Expectations

Old White Lincoln

The WYCRA 200 – Number 119

carlyle

Number 119 – A quietly ignored classic from the middle of the Britpop era.

On and On – The Longpigs – Chosen by Badger – Taken from ‘the Sun is Often Out’ LP (1996)

There is a film called ‘Face’ which if you haven’t seen, you probably should. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, its quite a good film, the story of a former criminal played by Hamish MacBeth star Robert Carlyle (I like to put like that when talking about Robert Carlyle, just on the off chance that he is reading this, to remind him that he made that awful TV series), who is lured back to criminality for one last job. That job is a ram raid and lots of money is stolen from it. Cue repercussions in the criminal team, most notably from Phil Davis who is brilliantly insane in the film. MacBeth, sorry Carlyle gets away at the end with his girl and his not so bright friend.

The second reason is aswell as Carlyle and Mad Phil Davis it also features as one of the crime team a certain Damon Albarn. Yup, Damon from Blur, acting. Well he may call it acting; I would describe it as something very different to that. Something akin to a wardrobe being filmed for 90 minutes. Albarn barely utters one word in the film. You get the idea that the film makers wanted Albarn on board in the film to cash in on the Britpop thing (it being a Brit crime caper) but realised he was as wooden as the pirate in Family Guy and by then it was too late.

Thirdly, the soundtrack is outstanding. It has ‘Waiting for The Great Leap Forward’ by Billy Bragg on it plus Bragg gets various mentions throughout the film, plus Gene, Alex Reece and Puressence and it has if you haven’t already guessed got ‘On and On’ by The Longpigs on it. ‘On and On’ is one of the loveliest moments that the Britpop era threw up. A sweet ode to love that is complimented by a swirling organ and an adorable vocal.

It is a terrific single. The Longpigs debut album ‘The sun is Often Out’ was also pretty remarkable, an eight out of ten record that was lumped in with a bunch of six out of ten records. I’ll say here that ‘ignored’ was not quite right, it went Top 20 in the UK, deservedly so but the Longpigs like so many great bands disappeared all too soon.

Here are a couple more tracks from the soundtrack

London Can You Wait – Gene

Feel The Sunshine – Alex Reece

The WYCRA 200 – Number 120

Delakota

Number 120 – Dragged out of the Bargain Bucket in the Loft

The Rock – Delakota – Chosen by SWC – Taken from Single of the Same Name (1998)

I applied the Jamie XX Rule here. Delakota were basically The Senseless Things, only without Ben Harding and Mark Keds (so Cass Browne and Morgan Nicholls). The sound is a long way removed from the Senseless Things sound. Delakota made an indie dance kind of sound. Half Madchester, Half Loaded era Primal Scream and they were brilliant. ‘The Rock’ was their second single and easily their finest moment. The band stood out a bit because they promoted the single by doing a gig in a cave (The Rock, geddit?) and being on BBC2’s ‘Newsnight’ programme.

They released an album ‘One Love’ to massively favourable reviews, then they supported Embrace around the UK and then the band vanished. Never to be heard of again. ‘The Rock’ was to be confined to the great big bargain bucket in the sky full of great lost records. There it would sit just behind ‘Maniac’ by Sensitize and just ahead of ‘Ginger’ by David Devant and his Spirit Wife.

There it would have stayed too, had I not have been sorting out some records one wet winters day. There I sat in my loft with a box of vinyl and a vinyl to Mp3 recorder, ripping the vinyl in my collection starting with the letter D. After sitting through ten minutes of various mixes of Deejay Punk Roc’s ‘My Beatbox’ (seriously Google it, terrible record) I’d just about had enough of ripping vinyl and decided to do one more before getting some lunch. The next one in the box was an unmarked Go Discs promo. I stuck it on, it was ‘The Rock’ and sounded just as majestic as I remember it. A hazy woozy sun soaked doozy of a record.

So what happened next for the boys of Delakota? Well Morgan Nicholls went on to make records with The Streets, and now plays keyboards for Muse, and Cass I believe was the drummer with Gorillaz for a while.

I have no other records by Delakota, I seem to remember the first single was called ‘C’mon Cincinnati’ maybe I’ll track that down but until then, here are two other songs that featured the word ‘Rock’ in their titles.

Rock and Roll Heathen’ – Sunflower Bean

Rock On’ – Love Inks – a truly lovely cover of the David Essex classic.

And one by and band with Rock in their name

Last March of the Acolytes – The Rock of Travolta – which is actually a tremendous name for a band.

The WYCRA 200 – Number 121

Gish

Number 121 – A nostalgic trip down memory lane

I am One –  The Smashing Pumpkins – Chosen by SWC – Taken from ‘Gish’ LP (1991)

The first band to really suffer from being written about before, because obviously you should be reading about ‘Today’ here. However, back at the start of this blog we made the decision to try and not feature any tracks that we had already written about on these pages. ‘Today’ great as it, and easily my favourite Pumpkins moment met that criterion, also I’ll add that it would have been a bit higher up this list.

So you will have to settle for my second favourite Pumpkins moment. You can blame Our Price Girl if you like, for it was her who introduced me to the Smashing Pumpkins. It was during one of my regular Saturday morning trips to Our Price, I had in my hand a cassette, bought for me by an Aunt, who had no idea what sort of music I was into. You can’t blame her, I was 16 and I also had no real idea what sort of music I was into. But in my hand was ‘Greatest Hits’ by Bananarama and with no disrespect, I knew I wasn’t into that, saying that ‘Robert De Niro’s Waiting’ is Number 19 in this list.

The good thing about knowing some of the staff at Our Price Girl was that you can take tapes back and exchange them without a receipt. You stood there, waited for the right moment and then spoke to them.   Our Price Girl was standing by the ‘Indie/Alternative’ section, and she was refilling the CDs. I kind of knew her quite well by this point, and I’d sort of joined her social circle a bit – by this read, dragged a couple of my mates along to the same clubs that she was going to, in the off chance of suddenly bumping into her – see my Mercury Rev story over at JC’s page for another example.

Anyway, I said hello and complimented her on the shade of purple her hair currently was. It turned out this was a bad thing to say because her mum didn’t like it and was trying to make her go swimming every night so she would have to continually wash her hair. Eventually I got round to the tape I held in my hand, I explained the problem, and showed her the Bananarama (a sentence I have used again regularly in the bedroom).

When she’d stopped laughing, she took the cassette, disappeared for a moment, came back fiddled with the till and walked back over. She put an album in my hand, and then folks, I think we had a moment. I took the cassette from her and she held my hand, just slightly longer than she probably should have done, her hand slowly moved away, and she looked at me with those kohl eyes of hers and said “Try this, I’ve been playing it all week, I love it. If you don’t like bring it back next week, I’ll do you a receipt, see you tonight, yeah?” and with that she disappeared. I stood there for about three minutes, largely because I wanted to flick through the new vinyl releases but also wondering what had just happened. There was definitely something.

I popped the cassette into my walkman on the bus on the way home. This was the first track and I decided there and then that I loved the Smashing Pumpkins.

Suffer

Siva

 

The WYCRA 200 – Number 122

 

Number 122 – An anthem for the Scottish Referendum.  Apparently.

All Under One Roof, Raving – Jamie XX – Chosen by SWC – Taken from ‘Pay Close Attention’ LP (2014)

Its sometimes got very difficult when deciding on tracks for this list.  We wanted only one track per band, then we got the issue of solo acts, or tracks that feature artists already featured, do we include them?  We decided that solo acts were fine, so you might get Bjork and the Sugarcubes, you won’t get The Smiths and Morrissey though, because his solo stuff is arse.  Tracks that feature artists were ok as well, so we could allow 808 State featuring James Dean Bradfield and have a Manic Street Preachers track for instance.

All of which stuff and nonsense brings us to Jamie XX – one of the reasons for our argument, in the first place.  His solo work is totally different from his work in a band, that band being The XX and that was the deciding factor.  Now don’t take this for granted that The XX will be included in this list, they may not be, all I’m saying is that we’ve counted it as two separate acts, like Bjork and the Sugarcubes, Babyshambles and the Libertines, Oasis and Beady Eye etc. Make sense?

Good.

Jamie XX’s single ‘All Under One Roof, Raving’ contains snippets of the short film ‘Florucci Made Me Hardcore’.  They are woven into this wonderful single along with loads of other 90s rave memorabilia.  The music though  is all Jamie XX and its incredible.  You get steel drums, garage beats, and a  buzzing little bass line.

For some reason this track became intrinsically linked with the Scottish Referendum of a few years back, the ‘One Roof’ being a thin metaphor for the Union (according to the press that is, not to Jamie).  Another apparent link was as the track builds towards in final push, the garage beats kick harder than ever and the vocal snippets fight each other “It’s not going away” and “It’s here to stay” says one voice.  Before you get “It’s just one of those things, It’s just progression” from another one.  Hmm, I remain unconvinced.  I’m not sure that Jamie would have thought to much about the Scottish referendum to be honest.

But if this is true, it makes this a deeply political record and as such the most exciting and refreshing political musical moment in decades – well since that well known anti tory anthem “Things Can Only Get Better”.

Gosh

(Oh and tomorrow sees the return of an old friend)

 

 

The WYCRA 200 – Number 123

psyche

Number 123 – Influential electronic pioneer meets Superstar DJ to rework a ballet score

Psyche Rock (Malpasso Mix) – Pierre Henry/Fatboy Slim – Chosen by SWC – Taken from ‘Metamorphose – Mette Pour Les Temps Present (1997 This Remix)

Fans of the cartoon series ‘Futurama’ will know this, sort of.  Because the composer of the theme for Futurama was some influenced by the 1967 original of this that he virtually copied it note for note for the theme tune.

This was originally a ballet score released in 1967, in 1997 Fatboy Slim and a host of other DJs reworked the score into a dance record.  The Malpasso Mix of the standout moment ‘Psyche Rock’ is to me, Fatboy Slims greatest ever remix.  It has all the usual Fatboy fun stuff the big beats, the catchy bleeps and everything.  BUT…

The reason why this is such a favourite of mine is because it sounds almost identical to the music from 1968 Disney Classic ‘The Love Bug’ in which car with a heart ‘Herbie’ and his owner washed up ex professional racer Dean Jones battle the evil rich super villain , Peter Thorndyke, played with sneering brilliance by David Tomlinson from Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomstick fame.  A film that I watched on video eyes agog in wonder of its magnificence, at my eighth birthday party.

Other tracks from the reworked score include

Jericho Jerk – Funki Porcini

Psyche Rock (Medal Time Machine Mix) – Ken Abyss

 

The WYCRA 200 – Number 124

kol

Number 124 – Whiskey Stained rock with a southern twang

Mollys Chambers – Kings of Leon – Chosen by SWC – Taken from ‘Youth & Young Manhood’ LP (2003)

Just realised how much music from the years 2000 onwards there is on this list.  We also appear to have  almost entirely dismissed the 80s.  You can blame Thatcher for that if you like.  Also I was quite young in the 80s and came to most of the decent stuff from it later on in life, unlike Badger who did try and crow bar Duran Duran, The Thompson Twins and The Bangles into this list, and I refused to do it if any of those bands featured (true story – Badger). Anyway…

We arrive at the Kings of Leon.  And I would imagine that there are some of you out there who would prefer to listen to the Bangles than the Kings of Leon.  Nearly everyone would I think prefer to look at, at least two of the Bangles than the whiskey flavoured, tobacco stained beards of Caleb Followill and co.

Indeed if it were not for their debut album ‘Youth & Young Manhood’ they probably wouldn’t feature at all, although I have a soft spot for ‘Camaro’ mainly because it reminds of an episode of The Simpsons and a song about a 4×4 vehicle.  But…

During our One Song A Day series – 149 randomly picked tracks from a series of six iPods – one of the featured tracks was ‘Red Morning Light’ from the aforementioned debut album by Kings of Leon.  That track was until ‘Lonely Boy’ by the Black Keys was posted about a month ago, the most downloaded track on this site.

‘Molly’s Chambers’ was the lead track on the bands debut Ep ‘Holy Roller Novocaine’ EP (actually come to think of it, there are an awful lot of debut singles in this list too), but it made the world sit up an pay attention.  Essentially its a couple of minutes of new wave revivalism spliced with a southern twang that was very reminiscent of the Altman Brothers.  That, however, was a formula that set the path to world domination.

 

The WYCRA 200 – Number 125

Elbow

Number 125

Powder Blue – Elbow – Chosen by Badger – Taken from ‘Asleep at the Back’ LP (2001)

SWC recently wrote about Elbow over at JC’s place as part of his wonderful ICA series.  It was one of the occasions when we decided to do a random ICA on a band picked for us by the iPod. I really enjoy those trips SWC and I take.  The first time we did it, I was a bit apprehensive, largely because the iPod could throw up something unexpected or something you don’t like, or something by a band that you rarely listen to or own one track by.  We’re looking to do more of that sort of thing, next year, only on these pages, how it will we are not yet sure.  Possibly in the form of a cup competition. I’m only half kidding.

Another idea we’ve had is the WYCRA awards – each day or couple of days we have an award – so for instance, best use of the word ‘Verisimilitude’ in music would end with us posting the Teenage Fanclub song of the same name, you get the idea.

Anyway, ‘Powder Blue’ is my favourite Elbow moment and their debut album from which it is taken from ‘Asleep At the Back’ was the first great album to come out Manchester this millennium, that might be a bit harsh on Doves though.  ‘Powder Blue’ is a tremendous song, you’ve already decided this after about a minute of the mournful, dreamlike brilliance of Garvey in it, but then the clincher is right near the end, when this saxophone joins in the procession towards the climatic smashing of bottles at the end.

Incredible.  Here are a couple of others from the debut

Newborn – and just because when SWC did the ‘randomly selected’ ICA someone moaned that we didn’t include

Scattered Black and Whites – he didn’t include it because it wasn’t randomly selected, that was the point, silly.

 

 

 

 

 

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