WYCRAS Best 50 Second Albums – Number 38

Cypress

Black Sunday – Cypress Hill (1993) – Chosen by SWC

Hits from the Bong

I’m going to start with a nod to a mate of mine, Jon, or to give him his proper name Giovani (if you are anywhere near Hampstead, pop in to his hairdressers, its in the small arcade in the high street). He claims that ‘Hits From Bong’ is basically ‘Son of A Preacher Man’ by Dusty Springfield with rapping on it. I’ve just listened to it and twenty years later, I realised he is right.  Although that’s a good thing, a very good thing.

As a kid, with the obvious exception of Public Enemy I didn’t really do rap music. That was until at college I developed a crush of a girl who I shall call Vicky, as that is her name. One night in a pub, she was talking to me about going to see Cypress Hill in Brixton in a few weeks – I immediately in a desperate attempt to be cool and keen said I was too, I hadn’t given it two thoughts until about seven minutes before that. Then I spent the next two days blackmailing my mate John (different one) to go with me.

Man it was, erm, ‘foggy’ that night. I’m talking inside Brixton Academy, outside it was beautiful.. For the second time in about eighteen months I’d been blown away by a rap group – they rapped when they stage dived, they rapped in silly cartoon voices, the brought out massive smoke machines that pumped the air full of burning weed. The sat in massive fuck off armchairs on stage and they were amazing. I left that show on the arm of Vicky (short lived, a story for another time, probably number 26 or so in this rundown) but a convert to hip hop and I’ve never looked back – that is why this record is so important.

In fact I would say that ‘Black Sunday’ is one the greatest rap albums of all time.

Insane In the Brain

Listen to this song. It’s incredible – from the cartoon bounce that hops along in the background and that horse-y effect that runs through it. The way that B Real shouts out the title and Sen Dog shouts it’s back at him. Amazing interplay that is rarely seen on other records.

But its not just about the rapping – there’s the ‘bass’ as well

Cock The Hammer

The bassline to this is luscious, it doesn’t just vibrate, it crackles, at first it sounds a bit sinister but the breakbeat kicks in at just the right moment and Cypress Hill go a bit opera on us. It’s stunning.

Every now again I’ll stick on a rap album at home – usually when I am on my own and feeling peckish, hip hop is great to make sandwiches to – honestly, try it, I mean it didn’t involve to mean that but it just is.  Anyway, an album will be on and suddenly you will hear the influence of ‘Black Sunday’ running through quite a few of the seminal hip hop albums of the last twenty years.

You can hear it in Wu Tang Clan records, in Outkast records, in fact you can hear it ‘Maxinquaye’ by Tricky.  If it wasn’t for Cypress Hill opening the doors the way they did – we wouldn’t have had the success of say Outkast and The Fugees.  The formula was there  tried and tested. ‘Black Sunday’ helped to make that all possible and that is why it still sounds incredible today.

 

Monday Morning Long Song

sleep.png

We raised this series a few weeks back.  Its time to switch off the phone, the tablet, the laptop (after downloading the music obviously) and just dive into one track.

We’ve done a list of 90 songs, all of them over nine minutes long.  Every Monday for a while (until the WYCRA League of Nations is finished) we will post one and you guys can immerse yourself in its brilliance.

We started with Cornershop and here is track two – a band who made long drawn out space rock drone-y epics something of a speciality.  The wonderful Spacemen 3

Big City (Everybody I Know can be found here)

And if that doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy then you are probably an ostrich or something.

 

 

Tim Badgers Musical Snakes and Ladders – Roll Five

snakes

No rubbish photos this week I’m afraid.  We did try to recreate SWC looking like a floundering fish with asthma, but we had to throw him back in the end.  Sorry about that.  You will remember that the momentum was with me last week as I surged up the table from last to second from last.  Here’s what happened on Roll Five

KC who has benefitted from the luck of the dice up until now, is starting to suffer, because this time she rolls a two taking her all the way to 53.  There are no ladders in sight for her at the moment.  53 brings us this slice of brilliance

Jesus Don’t Want me for Sunbeam – Nirvana – which KC describes as ‘A desperate cry for help.  Obviously.’

Next up SWC, who is in last place, as I keep reminding him and he rolls a 5.  Now a five takes him to 20 and a ladder.  Sort of.  This ladder takes up a whole TWO places to 22.  that ladder is, as he point out “fucking pointless”.

Square 20 gives us this

The Sulphur Man – Doves – which is “Well its Doves so its great” he’s still annoyed about the pointless ladder I think. Maybe Square 22 will cheer him up.

Loco – Vince Staples – “I love Vince Staples, I was this close to flicking my little plastic person out of the window at a passing bus, but this has saved it”.

Which leaves me, I am high in confidence, a five would do me nicely, I don’t want a six because that’s a snake an a drop back to Number 3! I roll a two.  Bit of an anticlimax I’m afraid both in the game and musically because a two takes me to Square 36 and

Entirety – East India Youth – Who offered so much with their first album and the second one well, I’ve barely played the thing.

So the odds KC still leads at Square 53 her nearest Ladder is at 60 so she is at 5 -1

Badger is second at 36 nearest Snake is at Square 40 25 – 1

SWC still last but catching up, so he’s now more like a disabled antelope on crutches with heavy shopping 350 – 1

The Saturday Song Challenge – Angel

angel

Robbie Williams.  Really.  Is it because I am a girl?  Hmm.  I hope you’ve done better than that.

Let’s have a look at the answers.  Ok, I’ve heard of three of these, and I have been told by SWC and Badger that there is a musical stipulation matter that needs addressing for the four point track.  I have no idea what that means, I’ll let them write that bit.

Despite a few decent efforts at crawling, there will be no special awarding or deducting of 1000 plus points this week – so let’s see what you lot came up with then.

JC was apparently up early to play golf.  Ok, see that last paragraph, I mean to add on the end, ‘Unless you get up early to play golf, in which FIVE points will immediately be deducted’.  Good walk spoiled.  Although saying that the golf course near my dads house did when I was a teenager house the best magic mushrooms in the area.  Still a terrible sport though, if you can even call it that.  He gives me five answers and then immediately changes his mind to five more.  Which as SWC points out, ‘might have been a mistake’.  Maybe its the thrill of whacking a tiny ball about but he does get two right answers which makes up for having MINUS FIVE already.

Angel – Massive Attack – and Badger points out that bonus points would have been given for the ‘Blur Mix’ – but no one mentioned that.   JC you get TWO points for this one.  Dirk also mentions Massive Attack which takes him back to ZERO points.

Angels – The XX – which is featured for I think the fourth time on this blog.  Making it obvious and the ONE point answer.

JC you now have MINUS ONE points”.  Which is a good score in golf, so I’m told.

A lot of people suggesting The XX including Drew which brings us to the contentious bit.

He suggests Saint Etienne, which technically is the correct answer, but, Badger choose the ‘Casino Classics’ version of it which means I need a Badger to explain.

“The Casino Classics version of ‘Angel’ is attributed to Broadcast not Saint Etienne.  his would have got you FOUR points but as we are being deliberately picky, we decided that a mention of Saint Etienne could have TWO points – but only if no one said Broadcast“.

Got that.  no me neither.

Angel – Broadcast

Either way Drew you have FIVE points, no SIX points because I like the Kirsty MacColl song you recommended and for now you are the NEW LEADER.  Woo and indeed Hoo.

Swiss Adam I think he’s called, also mentions Saint Etienne and The XX, so he gets back up points for those, and then the obligatory deduction for mentioning Robbie.  All of which puts Swiss Adam on ONE point

Over to Jez who gives us three wrong answers, but gets a point for the recommendation of Gene, always nice to hear Gene. Jez has ONE point.

The Swede claims he was late to the party, once I arrived a party a whole day late, it was awkward, so I share your pain Swede.   You got no right answers either, but I love the Rod Stewart track so you can have appoint for that.  The Swede has ONE point.

C – Lovely C, gets a point just for being C and being correct in guessing NOT Madonna.  C now has TWO points.

Now over to Charity Chic who rather charmingly once made a tape for his beloved containing 22 tracks called ‘Angel’.  None of which are on our list and apart form the already mentioned Rod, none of which I really liked.  I hope Mrs CC was more appreciative than me CC.   Although I think you deserve points for effort.  CC has THREE points.

Walter makes me laugh,  he won’t go down the pop angle but then mentions Pharrell Williams.  He also mentions Limp Bizkit which loses him points.   Walter has THREE points.

Last weeks leader Matt is back with some suggestion and this is where JC’s mind changing comes a cropper, because Matt suggests

Angel – Belly – and gets THREE points for that. Taking him to SEVEN and back in the lead he goes.

Last months winner the ever charming Rol offers five wrong answers (again) but gets points for The Eurythmics much to the disdain of the ‘cool boys sat in the other office’. This gives Rol THREE points.

Rigid Digit loses more points for offering up Iron Maiden,  who I hate simply because my ex liked them – you are down to MINUS THREE I’m afraid.

Bluebetty offers a long list – we have to take the first FIVE blue, all of them were wrong as well.  GM Free offers five answers from him and then rather cleverly five from ‘his wife’ as well.  GM ‘your wife’ gets one for Sarah Maclachlan, you get nowt, sorry.

Which leaves George and George in a perfect world you and I would be lacing daisies into each others hair right down whilst Patsy Cline plays in the background.  Sadly as we are all acutely aware it ain’t perfect, but you can have SIX points for your answer, its not right but I’m charge.   Which takes you to FIVE points and third place.

Which leaves with the FIVE point answer.  It’s this.

Angel (Touch Me) – The 2 Bears.  Which is lovely as well.

All of which brings us to next weeks challenge

the word is ‘Yeah’ or Yeah, Yeah or Yeah Yeah Yeah and so on.

Outfits. Jumping. Shouting.

basement

SWC – At the time of writing we don’t know.  One of four things will have happened overnight.  Firstly nothing will have changed apart from a slightly bigger number of public school educated people will be sitting in Parliament, working out ways to bankrupt the country.  Secondly no one won and there are arguments going on all over the place about ‘deals’ and ‘coalitions of chaos’ – which still sounds better than ‘Conservative Government’.  Thirdly Jeremy won outright, in which case right now all of WYCRA are viciously drunk and intend to be so for the next three days or so.   Finally Tim Farron won, which probably hasn’t happened to be fair because hell hasn’t frozen over and there are not massive queues on way to the airport. 

I just wanted to get that out of the way.  Now, here’s KC and frankly writing doesn’t get any better than what is coming.  Brace yourselves.

You will remember that Daniel asked me to dinner.  Two days later I am getting myself ready for the dinner. I have literally thrown all my clothes on to my bed and tried on about thirty outfits, some made me look stupid, some made me look old, some made me look like a lesbian, some made me look like a geography teacher, one made me look a prostitute. I’m probably being self deprecating here, but that’s what it felt like.  Whatever I put on didn’t feel right.  I have about an hour left, I am also ridiculously nervous. Which is part of the problem I think.

At times like three things tend to help me, a stiff drink, which I can’t do because I’m driving, a cold shower, which I can’t do because it would mess up my hair, or music, played loudly, which I can do.  It needs to be something fun, something bouncy, something that makes me want to dance.  Something like this

Jump N Shout

Job done.  I throw on a new pair of jeans, a pair of killer boots, and a top.  This may sound arrogant, but I scrub up all right, even one the male neighbours says hello to me on the way out of the flats- earning himself a dirty look from his frumpy old fishwife.  I get to my car.  Which obviously fails to start for the couple of times and ends up with me headbutting it like Michael J Fox in Back to the Future Two (Best film ever made – SWC).

I get to the restaurant.  it is a new place, just opened.  Italian.  I can do Italian.  I must remember not to spill tomato sauce down my top or flick olives across the table with my fork.  I look around, he’s not here.  Oh.

Same Old Show

Red Alert

I wait.  And Wait.  It is now half eight.  He is half an hour late.  At this point I am angry.  I phone him.  Answerphone.  I shout ‘YOU FUCKING COWARD’ (expressed in capitals to show that I am shouting) down his answerphone message and strop off.  Then two minutes later the phone rings.  It’s him.

“Give me ONE reason” I tell him before I stop.  Something is wrong here. There is a sniff at the other end.

“I hit a dog” he says, “I’m down at the Western Way Car Park, should have phoned”.  More sniffing.

Oh Jesus.

I get down there and he is sitting on a bench.  He looks lovely in a kind of dishevelled kind of way, illuminated by a flickering lamp post.  Nice shirt, he’s even washed his hair.  I sit on the bench next to him.  He is holding his phone.

“Don’t listen to that message” I say.

It came out of nowhere he tells me, the dog ran out of the road, a chocolate brown Labrador, followed by its owner he thinks.  It avoided the van in front and then as Daniel swerved to avoid that van he hit the dog.  He sat with it, with the owners, until the vet arrived but it was too late.  Way too late.   So sad.

“It wasn’t your fault” I tell him (and it wasn’t), and then, we sat there for about an hour in virtual silence and then I sighed, probably louder than I should have done.  I stood up and held out my hand and said “Come On”.  His hands were freezing.  We walked and talked our way across the city, along the river, a city that I live and worked in but a city I realised that night that I barely knew. I marvelled at churches I had never seen, statues I’d never looked at and parks I never knew existed.  Eventually we arrived back at the car park, it was 1am.  Three hours we’d been walking.

We got to the car park.  We stood there looking sheepishly at each other.  We both spoke at the same time.  Then he kissed me.  Then I kissed him back and well my head was kind of doing this

Bingo Bango

“I’ll phone you tomorrow, today, later.  Promise”.  I told him as I fished in my bag for my car keys, hands shaking.  He nods.  He looked a bit lost to be honest.  I waited until he’d got in his car before I drove off, because I didn’t want to think about what would happen if he didn’t.

I got in, feet killing me, head a bit swirly, but happy.  I tried to replay what had just happened that night.  It felt very strange, an unsure kind of strange.

 

 

 

Rest Day Thursdays – Six – SWC

Voting-Box

With apologies to KC and in particular The Great Gog whose words should be here.  That was before the Government announced an election.  Now, I’m not one to get political on your arses and I don’t want to stand here and tell you what way to vote (although the WYCRA manifesto clearly states on page 6 ‘Keep Left’ – that is your decision.  However, its your choice.  It’s your choice to choose between five more years of austerity, the selling off of the NHS, a new dementia tax, tax breaks for the rich.  Five more years of robots such as Teresa May, Boris Johnston, Michael Gove, Michael Fallon, Jeremy Fucking Hunt and Jacob Rhys Mogg.  Or you can choose something else, the scrapping of tuition fees, the renationalisation of our railways, investment in the public services, more police officers, a non private health service.  Five years of innovative people like Keir Stamer, Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry, Tom Watson, Yvette Cooper, I could go but what’s important is that you do the right thing today.  You must Vote.

Do The Right Thing

The Fear

WYCRAS Best 50 Second Albums – Number 39

xx

 

Coexist – The XX (2012) – Chosen By Badger

Angels

After their first album dropped, the xx were absolutely everywhere.  Or rather the music was, it was on adverts, trails, sport clips, those quietly drawn out virtually minimalist bleeps, scratches and whispery vocals.  The debut had near universal acclaim and very quickly made them (reluctant) stars.

The problem was, what do they do next?   How could they possible deliver something as good, something as adored or different as the first, would they even bother?  

What they did was come back with a record, that is possibly better than the first, an album that doesn’t disappoint in anyway at all.  Yes it kind of sticks to the template of the first one, with its barely there music for the middle of the nigh, but you kind of don’t mind that, because it so compelling.  It’s like your reversed the first album on the CD player and its kept going and there was a secret third side that you never knew about it.  

Chained

‘Coexist’ is a essentially an album about relationships and its beautiful, ‘Angels’ has this guitar on it that sounds like a bell (which has become something on a trademark I suppose), which overlaps the vocals.  ‘Chained’ is a track that is all whispery vocals and post dubstep breaks, with lyrics about ‘letting enough light in’.  Its marvellously touching. At times there is barely enough sound, yet there is atmosphere and I’m trying hard not to sound pretentious here.  

Reunion

And yet there in the middle of the album you get two tracks that are just expansive and forward thing, as close to dancefloor bangers as you will ever get from the xx, if you like dancefloor bangers that don’t actually bang that is. ‘Reunion’ in particular samples a Jamaican steel drum and just loops it back over your head time and time again.  It’s seamless and wonderful.           

Missing

‘Coexist’ also has pop songs, ‘Missing’ is shamelessly pop centring around a build and the way in which they swap vocals on is brilliant, with the deliberate pauses inserted in it by Jamie Smith, almost like you are supposed to imagine them slowly going up to the microphone whilst the other one dawdles off for a cuppa.

 

 

 

 

WYCRAS Best 50 Second Albums – Number 40

verve

A Northern Soul – The Verve (1995) – Chosen by SWC

 

History

The Verve were never the most stable band on the planet.  At the end of 1993 after touring their first album – the equally wonderful ‘A Storm in Heaven’ the band were teetering on the brink of collapse, and superstardom.  Back then they were very a shoegaze band though – listen to ‘Gravity Grave’ as mopey floppy fringed and feedback obsessed as anything My Bloody Valentine ever recorded. But then Ashcroft wrote this line

 

I’ve got to tell you a tale/Of I how I loved and how I failed”.  

 

This one line and the one further down the page – sum up and reveal the tension and instability of this album.  Midway through recording this album, Richard Ashcroft suddenly upped and left the studio.  He wasn’t seen there again for three whole months. The reason he left is to try and save his dissolving relationship.  He failed as and then Ashcroft returned to the studio and finished the album

 

So It Goes

 

I’m just a poor little wifeless fella/Another drink and I won’t miss her” is what he told us before entering into a two month blow out of drink and drugs.  Thankfully when he returned to the studio the music that the band were making that complimented his emotional state.  If that is entirely plausible.  It was intense music, often harrowing and very personal.  It was I think the musical equivalent of a man standing in a corner screaming at everything in utter despair.  And the promptly after the release off ‘History’ as single – at the time, and probably still, their finest single – he split the band up.  The band were racked by internal conflict anyway it was inevitable.  The sleeve to ‘History’ featured the message ‘all farewells should be sudden’.

 

But then a few weeks later he reformed the band with a new guitarist (first Bernard Butler, which didn’t work, so Simon Tong took over) and that paved the way for the success that followed with ‘Urban Hymns’ (which I think remains to this day in the Top 20 best selling albums in the UK ever)

 

I love ‘A Northern Soul’, all of it, for me it reminds me of a happy time, the first steps of my fledging relationship with Mrs SWC, a time where instead of attending lectures we skipped off to the Surrey countryside and drank cider cocktails and attended boot fairs looking for cheap 7” records. 

 

I love the self-belief flowing through this record, despite the obvious heartbreak, despair and anger that runs through it.  Within a week of hearing this record for the first time I was convinced that everything The Verve did should be adored.  

 

Frankly it’s a sodding miracle that this record is as powerful as it is. 

 

This Is Music

 

New Band of the Week – INHEAVEN

INHEAVEN

I think this might be the last New Band of the Week – for a while at least. We’ve saved the best till last though.  This weeks band INHEAVEN are probably the best new band to have grace our ears in the last eighteen months or so.  I absolutely love them.  They are also Julian Casablancas’ favourite new band as well.  I mean his opinion isn’t as important as mine, but that’s two people who are telling you to listen to them.

Not going to do any of the usual gumpf about their background because it doesn’t matter just listen to them and revel in their greatness.

Treats – INHEAVEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Badger’s Snakes and Ladders – Roll Four

Firstly, here is a blurred photograph of the game we are playing with.  I have recreated it on the lounge floor to show the exact positions at the end of Roll Four, in which I, Tim Badger, stage a Lazarus like recovery.

20170601_090124-e1496304446848.jpg

That’s me in blue/purple it was a rushed photo taken on my phone, sorry, you don’t come here for photography tips – luckily. KC is yellow and rolling first.  She rolls a 1.

“Shit” she says.  One takes her to Square 51 – the 50 – 59 squares on this game are pretty dull there are no ladders or snakes at all until Square 60 which if she lands on is pretty much game over as it goes to 97.  Her rolling 1 means she will be on that line for at least one more week.  Square 51 is

Always Like This by Bombay Bicycle Club, a band who I know divide opinion but a band who KC happens to like and her review is “Miles better than you two probably think it is”.

Next Up SWC who is green and on Square 14, he rolls a 1 as well.  He looks at me and picks up the dice, and checks it over.  “Double Shit” he says.  He moves his piece to Square 15 and I tell him that Square 15 is

Kissing on You – Honeyblood – which he describes as “Thoroughly undeserving of a roll of one and too good to be a B Side” – which means he likes it.

Which leaves me – and I roll a 6.  A 6.  This takes me to Square 13 and a ladder! I triumphantly count out my six and make a whooshing noise as I climb the ladder all the way to 34.  I am back.  I punch the air and KC gives me a look that kind of kills my moment of triumph.  I mean I have moved from third to second in a meaningless game of Snakes and Ladders for a blog that no one actually reads but it did feel good.

Anyway Square 13 gives us

Supersonic by Oasis – which you don’t me tell you is one of the greatest songs of the last thirty years.  More importantly Square 34 takes us to

Just Saying by Jamie xx which is brilliant and rather apt because I’m just saying that I am back in the game mofos.

So the odds

KC – Square 51 still leading by 17 squares goes out to 5 -1 – nearest ladder at 60

Badger Up to Square 34 a jump of 27 in one week reduces rapidly to 25 – 1 – nearest ladder at 43, nearest snake at 40

and SWC floundering like a fish with asthma goes out to 75 – 1 – nearest ladder at 20.

 

Sorry again for the photo, I’ll try and take a better one next week.