Sunday, June 29, 2003

like sand gleaming through a silver wave

I really should come clean and declare that I used to be in a band with Marc from the Liberty Ship , no crime in itself but I thought I should mention it before I give my completely unbiased opinion on the bands new mini-lp on sunday ...small lives. Ever since we went our seperate ways I've harboured a grudge agains Marc, I truly believe that all the time that he was in bulldozer crash with me he was writing songs but saving all the really good ones for his next band who turned out to be the liberty ship. Exihibit A ..... cabin fever with the ghost of East Village hanging all over it, rickenbackers and 12 strings abound, that chiming sound could have inspired a thousand fanzines , but no one really writes proper paper zines any more ,maybe it's time people did, I used to love it when a new one would drop though my letterbox, maybe everyone just got too old to write them, it was quite strange that everyone stopped writing them at the same time, can we blame the internet? I'm a right one to talk though seeing as it must be well over 12 years since I wrote a proper fanzine. I remember it was quite a thrill getting 1000 copies printed....mind you, it's not so thrilling now that I've still got 850 left in the loft. Back then I thought I was doing something worthwhile, I thought I was intelligent and clever because I could write a fanzine and get 150 people to buy it. I thought I was being different. I thought I could change people lives by inspiring them to listen to and maybe even buy music with my own words. I used to buy loads of records some I'd never heard before, inspired by other fanzine writers to get them no matter what. Thankfully I didn't make too many mistakes, maybe I was just lucky enough to trust the right people, I just hope I didn't get people to waste money on records I'd recommended to them and for them to find them a dissapointment. These days one of the places I visit on a regular basis for recommendations is Tangents , Alistairs' blog also inspired me to do this one , so if you haven't been before have a look.

her face so soft in the dark but her kiss like a sunny day

A band that have been one of my favourites for quite a few years, recorded about 20 odd songs and I've only got them on a battered old tape .(Actually I've now put them onto cd-r , two discs that follow the same tracklist as the tape, I had too before the tape finally snapped!) They are called the Big Scientists a band from Derby, who are/were one of the best undiscovered synth pop bands ever, inspired mostly I reckon by kraftwerk, human league, and early depeche mode (while vince clarke was still with them.)The tape I have still makes me smile when I play it, whilst at the same time it saddens me because it's got songs on it that would have been hits at the time if they had been released on say a label like mute or some bizarre or virgin or emi. The songs aren't just bleepy synthy type songs they have some truly glorious melodies that you instantly fall for like the first girl/boy you kissed you just can't help yourself, you instinctively know they are good, and thats all within the first ten seconds of every song. Some of my favourite moments in pop are on this tape .They nearly all seem to be bittersweet songs, the music bounces along like the happiest day of your life but when you listen to the words on most occasions it's the total opposite.... quite dark songs of let downs, heartbreak ,racial hatred , love and tears. Every time I play it I hear so many beautiful sounding moments that I just wish someone somewhere would release them so everyone could enjoy them, it seems a bit daft writing about songs that aren't even available for public consumption but this might just be the start of my attempt to get them released , even online somewhere would be nice. The last song on the tape is a song called "White Town". Wasn't that the name of another band from Derby who had a number one record? Actually one of the songs whenever i say hello has just been released on the American NinthWaveRecord labels latest compilation CD Electricity 2, it's a new version that Jyoti has released under the White Town name but sounds just as good as the original, if no-one will release the Big Scientists versions maybe we can persuade Jyoti to re-record them all as White Town? In my best Mrs Doyle voice from Father Ted ..... "oh, go on ,go on , go on".

Thursday, June 26, 2003

i'm gonna walk up the side of the mountain then walk down the other side of the mountain

It was my 36th birthday on Monday, I had the day off work, I think I always do when it's my birthday, not really sure why, I never really do much, just spend it on my own, usually buying myself the presents I wish other people had bought me , how ungrateful is that?. In my twenties I used to feel like I was getting so old when it was my birthday but these days it doesn't seem to bother me ....bring on the mid-life crisis! I did get one really good present ,R bought me Grandaddy's new l.p. Sumday which on the first few listens seems better than "the sophtware slump", sometimes the guitars remind me of the Lavender Faction ,sometimes the vocals remind me of the Boo Radleys and sometimes the synth sounds remind me of Daft Punk . I didn't think a band with beards could sound as good as this, well except for the Beatles just before they split.

With some of my birthday money I went and bought myself some waterproofs for when I go to work on my bike, ain't nothing worse than getting soaked to the skin before you've even done a days work, it's not so bad on the way back , I can handle getting wet then, I might be tempting fate though because we've been having some gorgeous sunshine summer weather lately , 26 degrees apparently in the North East today. Riding my bike is all part of my new trying to get fit campaign, I've started doing sit ups and press ups aswell, maybe that mid-life crisis is just around the corner? The bike ride is only 4 miles there and back but it's got to get me a little bit fitter, I've even been going out riding on an evening with my sister-in-law, not that we get very far before she's got a stitch. I've been doing it for about 4 weeks now and I do feel better for it. Everyone should get on their bikes, stop driving those cars.

Not only was Monday my birthday but it was also the official release date for Slipslide's debut album The world can wait on Matinée. The main man in Slipslide is Graeme Elston, who I have known since he was 17 and in a band called The Very Dabs, who I thought were the bees knees the first time I saw them playing live at the Broken Doll in Newcastle back in 1989, Total Pop Experience! He's since gone through a host of band names ....the Love Parade,Pure and Eva Luna, releasing pearl after pearl after pearl. Wouldn't it be nice if some label did a compilation of all those bands releases, so we can have them all in one place? At last he's managed to record a full l.p. of songs, which I've been waiting god knows how long for, it was certainly worth the wait though, if only for the last track "the world can wait" which apparently nearly didn't make it onto the record, imagine if that had had happened , we would have been deprived of possibly his best song yet, a great combination of the orchids, sugargliders and edwyn collins all at their very best. Listen to it, sing along to it and fall for it , just like I do everytime it's on, soundtrack to my summer.

While the sun was in the sky today I laid on my back looking up at the clouds trying to find something in them, me and Susan Robinson used to do it when we were kids I can remember we once saw an elephant, I even wrote a short story about it, no elephant clouds today though but I swear puff the magic dragon was up there. Everyone should lie on their backs on the grass and find something in the clouds at least once a week in the summer.