Wednesday, 27 February 2008



As topical as Billy Childish gets, he remains railing against those who served to set up the slop that this generation currently has to wrestle and contend with.

It took me a very long time to become comfortable with Billy Childish when back in the early nineties, while I was a youth training college on a business administration NVQ course (very Thatcher), after seeing their countless mentions on weekly Damaged Goods adverts in the NME and Melody Maker I finally saw Thee Headcoats opening for Mudhoney and they truly looked out of place.  With their tiny aged amps placed against the huge stacks of grunge heavyweights it just felt amateur.  I was so incredibly wrong.

Clocking in at just over two minutes this is a storming garage rock onslaught that sees Childish spitting a gaggle of obscenities towards the powers that be and the people that put them in place so many years ago.  It’s a pessimistic piece.

When Childish screams “I ain’t gettin’ better, it’s just gettin’ worse” he causes me to worry for the world.  Then he adds “you said it was punk rock, now we’re on our knees and we’re all sucking cock”.  Things really are that bad aren’t they.

Eventually he gets to grips of the mentality of what it’s all about with the refrain “save your own skin, everyone’s a loser”.  And with that you can see why Childish has entered some kind of regression to stronger, more analogue times that still appear able to exist within his head.  If only more of us could reject modern society with such aplomb.

The Manic Street Preachers could do worse than cover this song.

Thesaurus moment: hoard.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008



The Stone Roses were always a weird proposition.  I wasn’t into them at the height of Baggy.  Indeed I remember being frightened of those bands and the people that were into them (most notably my friend’s older brothers and friends).  For me The Stone Roses represented those people in the studio audience of The Word that danced and looked awful and terrifying all at the same time.  I was too young to understand, I didn’t know what was going on.  My gut instinct was that crappy people were into the Stone Roses and time has not necessarily proved me wrong.

I think drugs have a lot to do with appreciating the Stone Roses experience.  And that has just never been me.  All I ever heard was the basic repetition, sly guitar and light drums that sounded electronic.  What was going here?

In their absence the Stone Roses managed to take on some kind of mythical indie rock status.  While they were away there was no evidence to tarnish their legacy or their position as music gods and thus the hype grew and grew (their coming album was entitled “Second Coming” for fuck’s sake).  And I must admit to getting caught up in it myself, even to the point I bought this single at the point of entry (day of release).  In my defence it was offered on promotion.  That was how the CD singles charts used to work.  On the week of release many would be on the shelves priced at £1.99 but the following week once they had charted the prices would rise to a more RRP level/degree of £3.99.  So it was buy now or pay more later, which was in the end saw me buy copious/ridiculous amounts of CD singles and part of the reason why I now struggle to move around my apartment.  Indeed I was suckered by the machinations of the music industry just like everyone else.

“Love Spreads” is a lumbering piece of work.  Certainly it didn’t justify the five year wait; this was not a creative high.  That said it is a passable song.  There is something almost nautical in the creaking sound of John Squire’s guitar and when Ian Brown’s vocals finally drop in it seems to add a drive to proceedings, a dull roar.  The lyrical sentiments are somewhat muddied.  To use the line “let me put you in the picture” does feel a term appropriate to an arrogant return from absence.  And that’s not pleasant.  By this stage Oasis was slowing taking over music and their influences were taking notes.  Still, who returns to the fold with an almost six minute song?

Following on the release came “Your Still Will Shine”, a track also lifted from their highly anticipated new upcoming album.  For a fan this must have been cause for concern as the flat construct with its acoustic approach that already felt tired before Brown’s vocals even dropped in.  I wasn’t buying it.

The third track “Blackout” clashes like a healthy hybrid of G-Funk and classic, like Parliament wrestling with the Happy Mondays with a wizard playing piano while Squire is the time and space to breathe and indulge.  And it’s not awful.

The Stone Roses always duped lots of people.

Thesaurus moment: mendacity.

Monday, 25 February 2008



I have to concede that back in the day I did fall hook, line and sinker for Pearl Jam.  I didn’t really understand the apparent feud that was occurring between them and Nirvana; I didn’t strike me that anything they were doing was particularly wrong.  These guys looked just as troubled and from my side of the fence, their posturing was earnest and pained, not false and laboured.  Sure they went straight onto a major label and thus lacked Sub Pop cred but their songs sounded great and to a trouble teenager in the early nineties that was all that mattered.

“Even Flow” was easily the best single to be lifted from Ten.  It still saw Vedder at his most lyrically earnest but the song possesses bounce which the band could probably have done with more as too many times early on their songs would meander into unnecessary guitar breaks and modern solos, not that this song avoids being guilty of such a transgression.  The rumble present here counteracts such effects.

“Thoughts arrive like butterflies”.

The single houses one of best known Pearl Jam b-sides in the form of “Dirty Frank” which is a downright funky stomper that unsurprisingly will have appealed to the Red Hot Chili Peppers fans in the audience.  It even comes with a weird En Vogue vocal take off.  This was definitely a bad that did not care too much about its punk/indie credentials (at least at this stage).

Finally the CD ends with a remix of “Oceans” which doesn’t sound a whole lot different to the version from the album (crapper sounding drums, more echo on the vocals).  I’m guessing this was the version originally intended for release as single, the one they made the surfer video for.  Again, something else Nirvana would not have been caught dead doing.  Still, it’s a blissed out track with no real literary meaning just a vehicle for which Vedder was able to display his range and sensitive soul.

I used to love “Even Flow” but time has not been kind on/to any of us.

Thesaurus moment: spent.

Sunday, 24 February 2008



At the moment I find myself encountering numerous amounts of one man electronica aggro outfits. They try hard, they really do but these skinny and zitty sea monkey types come nowhere to even holding a candle to the sheer presence, importance and efficiency of Alan Vega and his legacy as lightning rod of Suicide.

On the eve of entering his sixties, the world of Alan Vega is an uglier proposition than ever as he acts as a mirror and serves us with a timely broadcast and state of the union address.

Despite the barrage of noise attached to this record there is a surprising amount of empathy amongst the overt blasts of apparent apathy, you sense that this is a man that is concerned for his children and the world that they will grow up in.

With vocals delivered as if recited and address through a PA at a rally descending into a riot it is a very tough listen to get through, quite removed from the buzzing drone of Suicide, now replaced by heavy beats often provided by his wife. Outside right now contractors are constructing a new super market behind my apartment and with the window open at times I am finding it tough to distinguish which sounds are originating from this record and their machinery.

In an industry that is swamped and over-run by chancers, at the Dirty Three ATP earlier this year Alan Vega was one of the runaway highlights for me and he was never more scathing than when launching into the eco conscious “Warrior, Fight Fa Ya Life”, a sci-fi horror story of a song heading straight into science fact if Mr Vega amongst millions is to be believed. “Psychopatha” deals with the issue of parents accounting for their kin fighting in Iraq, a similar ground addressed in “Traceman”, a song with a heavy stench of death applied. “Crime Street Cree” benefits from repetitive beats that sound like helicopter blades pierced with machine gun fire taken from a battle field while “Gun God Game” proves the fastest paced of the crop. The album closes with “Devastated” with Vega sounding defeated and in pain musing “how’s the future going to play out for our kids?”

At times the record out and out loses all coherence but if ever you need a wake up call or indeed need to deliver one, feel free to call on Alan Vega.

Thesaurus moment: cranky.

Alan Vega
Mute Records

Tuesday, 19 February 2008



With the desire and demand for Nirvana product far outweighing supply suddenly an import market was born. And this was the pricy prize release that could only be afforded by the fortunate (at the time).

The six song Hormoaning EP was a collection of two unused studio tracks and all four songs from the Peel session recorded on 21 October 1990 all of which were cover versions. The record was released in Australia and Japan in February 1992 to coincide with the band’s Asian tour. Later half the tracks would appear on Incesticide but for the longest time (with the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” single off the shelves and thus its b-sides with it) it felt like the only place “Even In His Youth” could be heard. Thus one day when feeling particularly partisan and flush I parted with £21 to Andy’s Record to buy the Japanese version of this CD.

The record opens with their cover of “Turnaround” originally by Devo. This has always seemed like a strange selection of cover to me as it has seemed to be a song Devo have buried themselves. It is the b-side to “Girl U Want” but other than a collection of demos, correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think it has appeared focally on any of their releases. Regardless it is a great song that Nirvana enhances and does a lot of justice to.

Next up follows the Craig Montgomery version of “Aneurysm” that features on the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” single and not on Incesticide. This version is somewhat flatter than the aforementioned session cut and thus fails to compliment one of the best non-album (studio album) tracks in the band’s collection.

Another cover follows in the form of “D-7” which was originally by The Wipers. This is track was also recorded as part of the Peel session and later appeared on the “Lithium” single as a b-side. The song itself is a brooding, sounding almost slovenly and intoxicated in its build up before the song explodes to a twice the speed race to the finish that includes a weird rattling and whistling dose of feedback while Kurt screams his head off. This would not be the only song of The Wipers that the band covered as they would also cover “Return Of The Rat” for another compilation.

With tracks four and six Nirvana introduced the world to The Vaselines, an obscure eighties indie band from Scotland that were twee and a blatant inspiration to Belle And Sebastian and the like. Later to appear on Incesticide the songs “Molly’s Lips” and “Son Of A Gun” are something of a perfect correlation of indie song with a nursery rhythm. With insane repetition the lyrics are instantly memorable and thus songs that immediately win both hearts and minds. The greatest gift.

While not being spectacular this was a good solid EP. A handsome release.

Thesaurus moment: gratuity.


Sunday, 17 February 2008



A number of years ago my mother caught me listening to this song on Christmas Day morning and she appeared to become rather worried about me. The sentiments that were coming from the song appeared to be echoing my sense of loneliness and feeling unloved on such an important day in the calendar. I think what she failed to understand what just how reassuring the track being, serving as a reminder that melancholy can be universal and at a time when these emotions appear most it is good to acknowledge and indulge in these things in order to provide a sense of worth in existence. The value of such things can never afford to be underestimated.

There is a real vulnerability being displayed on this record. The level of humility and desired closure being aired serves as a rare gesture of guarded optimism and potential wish fulfilment. It is maturity at its most immature.

Musically the song glistens as it glides through proceedings at a downbeat pace with low notes and a suggested melancholy which eventually builds to a rising sense of grace. Taken on a bad day it might sound overblown and unnecessarily wondrous but if despatched to a sensible mind the beauty floods right out.

Lifted from The Boatman’s Call this is the most evocative of moments for Cave, where his muse is obvious to all he just does not care, seemingly happy to put it all out on the line and get battered in the process. This arrival at a new stage.

Elsewhere on the release “Come Into My Sleep” is a majestic romp with a gloriously humming pulse and yet another clear message even it is sounds sent from a swamp. Nice Hammond from Harvey.

Also from The Boatman’s Call, present here is the “band version” of “Black Hair”. It’s a very different vintage, surprisingly calmer and no longer necessarily reminiscent of Tindersticks.

The less said about “Babe, I Got You Bad” the better.

All this hard work is necessary.

Thesaurus moment: arrival.

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Tuesday, 12 February 2008



It must be somewhat galling to have the song of your career hijacked.  Even if they won’t admit, this is the story of the Inspiral Carpets.  Sure they rubbed shoulders with the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays as part of the Madchester scene but amongst their floppy catalogue there is nothing that exudes the might, power and force of this song.  It was born on a good day.

The fresh ingredient added to “I Want You” was Mark E. Smith, if indeed you could describe him as fresh.  Certainly the man remains cool as fuck to this very day.  And his impact on proceedings is felt immediately on the video mix as he slaps on a trademark cheeky, nonsensical introduction before the band does something strange and new: they rock out.

There is a dense force attached to the method in which “I Want You” bursts out of the gates, it almost feels/sounds industrial in execution.  What happened to the playful psychedelic keyboard bars of their usual output?  Here it seems was a new drive and passion, a blistering onslaught issued defiantly by the composers.

In many ways collaborating with Smith does the band a disservice because quite frankly it sounds more like a Fall song than an Inspiral Carpets.  “I think you should remember whose side you are on”.  Ultimately it is the song and the listener that wins, so why worry about logistics.  And regardless when the second version of the song pops up Smith-free, the song retains its bulk and might, only losing a large dose of the strange.

Elsewhere “We Can Do Everything” sounds somewhat like Mudhoney fronted by Julian Cope while the fuzzy guitars find themselves eschewed in place of the returning bulky keyboards for “Inside Of You”.  This is not a consistent act.

Back to “I Want You” and the other reason to love this single is how it got Mark E. Smith on Top Of The Pops.  Most sensible trains of thought would consider this reality impossible but suddenly here he was on primetime TV screens.  Some things in life just need to be grizzly and real.

And finally my own personal great moment with this song came after a John Peel tribute gig I was DJing at back in January 2005 when I closed the night to this song and it proved a very popular choice.  When it comes to tunes, I know my onions.

Thesaurus moment: burgle.

Friday, 8 February 2008



Possessing some of the chunkiest guitar on a Morrissey song in like forever, here is a new Morrissey single which serves as a good excuses for a new Best Of/Greatest Hits compilation. Never let it be said he doesn’t make money out of his catalogue.

The return of Morrissey is one of the greatest things that could happen to music at this time. The man still looks fantastic and has the quick wit and sharp tongue that is sadly missing from the latest generation of dandy fops attempting to rock the charts and sadly failing.

Morrissey has always served to represent a corner of England of the darkest humour and ironic self depreciation of self mockery that isn’t really meant but all the same serves as a shield for saying what you really think and really mean – this is irony irony.

Here like a true baby he begins with the lines “I was wasting my time trying to fall in love” before launching into some kind of “live and learn” conclusion that seems to put it all into perspective for Morrissey, too much fucking perspective if you ask me. It all sounds rather needy to me, I know we’ve been here before. Then he finally plays us all for suckers by informing of how he is “OK anyway.” What kind of message is this one? What is to be taken from this? Quite frankly Mozza, I don’t think your audience wants to grow up. In a lot of respects I don’t really think they want to meet someone and fall in love. Shame.

The flipside here deals a live version of “Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself” in a weird harmonica moment. Its not strong.

The day I knew I had grown up was the one where I admitted to myself “yeah, if I were a teenager I’d laugh at me too.”

Its always good.

Thesaurus moment: ripe.


Thursday, 7 February 2008



This was actually the first R.E.M. song that I properly fell in love with.  I heard it in the era of “Out Of Time” and those songs were OK, a bit hippy not necessarily the alternative offering I was being told to believe they were, but this was something different.

As ever being objectionable in his selections this track was regularly played by Danny Baker on his show seemingly as a gesture that he had been into the band long before the current crop of MTV chart hits helped the band find and expand its audience.

“Stand” is a reassuring bounce of a movement.  The composition is one designed to empower and encourage.  In execution the music isn’t entirely different to that of “Shiny Happy People” but the measured sentiments and wiser chosen words feel a world away from such blatant pop sensibilities.  Before you realise it, you have been subjected to a rally call.

Like most great songs this one is memorised from the off.  The songwriting is tight and the hooks bold.  The chorus is punctuated by one big solo syllable word and the rest just naturally follows.  As Michael Stipe offers instruction the echoing response of Mike Mills emphasises the command.  With application there is promise of a better future.  There can be no faulting a track that repeatedly requests/commands that the listener think about their circumstances.

Opening sounding like a fairground carousel it is not subtle but sometimes it is not necessary.  This song will ease your day.

Thesaurus moment: mount.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008



Few album-opening songs possess as much punch as “Search And Destroy”.  As James Williamson powers his way into proceedings before quickly pulling back on the reigns, the horse has already before Iggy Pop has even entered the fray.  And when he does his arrival is akin to championship fighter smashing his way to title.  It is a song that leaves the listener out of breath let alone the orchestra that created it.  The result is music composed on a knife-edge, a rare example of a band sounding like they are playing for their lives.  Very few acts have ever accomplished this.

Raw Power was the third Stooges album.  Technically the original band had long officially broken up.  However David Bowie took Pop to London where he was hooked up with Williamson as the Asheton brothers returned to fold with Ron now relegated to bass.  This was a new Stooges and whether it was a better one remains open to debate.  However regardless of who was backing him and where, it would always be Pop front and centre taking and delivering the shots.

This is a very different animal to both “Fun House” and “The Stooges”, the guitar is more reckless, not as thick but more schizophrenic as the pace is upped and hooks grow wider.  That is until label insisted ballads.

Of course no record could ever sustain the intensity and gold of “Search And Destroy” and immediately the tempo of the piece calms with “Gimme Danger”.  Suddenly now the guitar feels reduced in the mix as a meandering heavy baseline rumbles through and subtle cowbell inhabits proceedings.  Thankfully Pop manages to carry the song and by the time Williamson actually wakes up the song does accomplish something of a gnarly cacophony.

“Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell” feels an amusingly sloppy piece of work where the vocals of Pop sound throaty, angry and about to give out at any second.  This may or may not to be something to do with the excessive nature of Williamson’s intrusive solos that fortunately only feel laughable as opposed to a spoiling factor.

By the time record arrives at the title track the personality of the piece has long been established and it’s not strictly the best one.  The track experiences a weird piano accompaniment that perhaps distracts from the rest of the playing, not least the Asheton brothers who really do feel in the shade.  Then for the final minute the song is subjected to a jarring solo from Williamson that could just as easily go wrong as it does right.

Of course the main bone of contention with this record has always been the mix.  More or less as ever with these things the powers that be (Columbia) wanted a pop album (well, one with ballads) but naturally the players wanted a rock album.  However Pop did get to produce the recording of the album only to fuck it up (for example using only three tracks of a twenty four track tape) which led to Bowie coming on board to remix the results, which he did in a single day, save for “Search And Destroy” which Pop insisted remain his mix and is perhaps why the track always served as an initial shot in the arm only to be dulled by the blunt takes that followed.  In his defence, Bowie didn’t have much to work with.  And this was LP version that I bought from Clacton indoor market circa 1996.

Then in the nineties Henry Rollins happened across the master tapes in Europe and for a while was suggested to do a modern remix of the album.  Eventually that idea fizzled out as Pop also declined to do the job.  However when Columbia decided to go through with a reissue of the album Pop felt the need to do the job.  And the job pretty saw him endeavouring to make Raw Power the loudest album ever complete with a new degree of distortion.  In addition to this though the bass sound is vastly improved and a general increase in speaker smasher power.

Personally I always found the Bowie mix to muddy and trudgy with the band occasionally slipping into sounding like some kind of Doors off cut.  However equally this is perhaps down to my aged vinyl copy.  The modern mix is just the one, it rasps and snatches in all the right players and slaps the listener across the face and grabs the attention in a manner previously not experienced (by me).

Ultimately though this record feels like too much hard work, that there was too much effort involved without a conclusive decision.  “Fun House” is The Stooges masterpiece, not this over the limit spectacle.

Back to “Search And Destroy” though and for years this has now been a much used and covered song.  Of note was the manner in which even the Red Hot Chili Peppers were not able to ruin the song when they did a cover of it on the Beavis And Butt compilation.  Also in addition to this the fact that Wes Anderson used the track as Steve Zissou’s hero storm in The Life Aquatic made for one of the most pleasing moments of sync in modern movie history.  There are not many songs you could imagine the man saving the day to.

Sometimes you only need one song from an album.

Thesaurus moment: procrastination.


Tuesday, 5 February 2008



For the Root project/experiment Thurston Moore created 25 improvised one-minute guitar works that he sent out to a number of artists from various genres to remix and generally mess around with.  Being Thurston Moore naturally the individuals he chose to post pieces to were people at the top of the guy and very likely to do something individual and interesting with his pieces.

The initial limited edition run of the CD version of Root came housed in numbered hoover bags, which was how the original tracks were posted to their recipients.

As stated above Root boasts a rich and varied line-up of collaborators including amusingly probably the only time that Blur and Mogwai will ever appear on the record.  In addition to these heavyweights UK indie found itself well represented by also having Stereolab and Bruce Gilbert on the team.  From here more traditional remixers appear in the no less gnarly propositions of Alex Empire, V/Vm, Third Eye Foundation and Add N to (X) while further spanning the globe Moore managed to get Merzbow from Japan on board before touching base with people closer to home such as Derek Bailey.

It opens as if being presented with a lecture from Bailey offering direction and sonic tutelage in a Mark E. Smith manner.  Class can begin.

Unsurprisingly Root offers mixed emotions and a varied experience to/for the listener.  Naturally it’s far from entirely enjoyable but what else would you expect from something so abstract.  Indeed often contributions are next to unlistenable (Mark Webber I am looking at you).

Early stars of the project arrive in Luke Vibert and Blur, the first of which reworks the pieces into subtly string laden bouncing pieces of funk while the later indulges in a heavy dose of creased meandering repetition before eventually breaking into a smoky jazz finale.  Here are two efforts that appear to have travelled a long way.

Of the unknowns Mellowtrons score highest with their driving panel and succulent groove before later Echo Park pull off a similar trick while employing a blissful female sample sprinkled on top.  Then late on the big beat of Twisted Science vs. Burzootie serves to thrill in the face of so much drone and distortion.

The winner of the piece turns out to be Cheap Glue and their version “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” which achieves joy by employing a dumb sample of a drunk man complaining about getting his “fucked head kicked in” while a bouncing groove inhabits proceedings in a sedate motion that serves to operate some degree of sympathy and humility.  Then it all ends with a cheeky Casio outro.  So much to like.

At the end of the day this is not a release I can imagine listening to on a regular basis but as an experiment and adventure into sound Thurston Moore has done a lot worse.

Thesaurus moment: germination.

Monday, 4 February 2008



This is a dense album, layered and far from what I would have ever expected from Serge Gainsbourg.  This is the sound of man obeying his muse and trickling in the most majestic fashion.

In many ways Histoire De Melody Nelson is/was Gainsbourg’s Lolita.  And that Lolita was Jane Birkin even though everything was legal even if complicated.  This is a slow moving vehicle, one explicitly laidback and drawn out for sensual reasons exhibiting a rare calm in the face of impending ecstasy, beautiful and damaging in equal measures.

Time has expressed some contention in the creation of the record (tension between collaborators and friction between producers) but the resulting work remains an incredible piece of music, most definitely groundbreaking for a piece rubbing up against the mainstream delivered by what was considered a pop artist.

Before I had even heard the original work I knew this record (these songs) as various modern acts have served to cover and sample the pieces (most notably Blonde Redhead and David Holmes).  There is something truly succulent in what it offers.

Spread over seven tracks (seven pieces) you particularly get the impression that internally Gainsbourg is going through hell while at the same equally making life hell for those around him, affected by his moods and tone.  The man was an expert at manipulation; he had to be considering his achievements/accomplishments.  And I’m not talking strictly about music here.

It begins with a stage whisper in the ear of the listener as the sense of some kind of confession kicks in.  This is an expansive record, a one man musical taking in a very flawed personality as subtle grooves and hard string sections bed out the spoken word delivery of Gainsbourg.

There is no rush with this record, no reason to ruin the mood and disrupt the pace with crude orchestration.  In delivery it is almost like a trip hop record, the kind of music you can easily find yourself being lost in.  You do not need to understand French in order to translate the communication that is being delivered.  It is about obsession, one person and the ruin that such motions can bring.

Over the course of the seven tracks there are many goosebump moments are the direction is expertly judged and distributed to maximum effect.  This is a huge sounding record and with good reason as it came with a huge toll.  Then there is the seedy as hell “En Melody” with some of the filthiest, filthiest bass playing to ever emerge from France.  That and some of the scariest laughing ever to grace recorded music.

The album is book ended with similar pieces of music in the form of “Melody” and “Cargo Culte”, so when the latter drops in to close proceedings it marks the end of the story and you hope the reclamation of Gainsbourg’s sanity.  Which remained forever debatable.

A workable soundtrack to fucking.

Thesaurus moment: bleu.

Sunday, 3 February 2008



Not the most obvious selection from Badmotorfinger as a single, part of me thinks that it was chosen just because the track is short and contains a bit of pace.  And even then the version of the song here is an edit.  Time was of the essence.

“Rusty Cage” is a multi layered Soundgarden song.  It opens with a sense of twinkling and a new day rising before an explicitly Geezer Butler-esqe rumbles through proceedings and the track speeds off.  Then in drops Cornell’s voice exclaiming how he is “going to break my rusty cage and run”.  Fair enough.

Towards the end it all begins to limp which kills the song slightly but by this stage the band has done enough.  They’re justified even if I still have no idea what their rusty cage actually is.

The second track on the disc is “Touch Me” which features the vocal talents of Stephanie Barber, whoever she was (it turns out she was the wife of Bruce Fairweather of Green River and Mother Love Bone).  It is a cover of an old band called Fancy that nobody in the right mind will ever recall.  All in all it just appears one big excuse for a shout while hardly harbouring a nod to either Mudhoney or The Doors.

Finally “Show Me” closes the release which, despite being written by Ben Shepherd, manages to sound like a Guns N’ Roses song mostly thanks to the vocal projection of Chris Cornell.  It’s not strong.  Then again they were touring with them.

Other releases of the single featured cover versions of “Earache My Eye”, “Girl U Want” and “Big Bottom” as b-sides.  We were screwed in the UK.

Johnny Cash later covered the track.  He was wrong.

It is funny to note the single attached to the CD single that states that this is a limited edition release of 5000 (although for some reason the number stamped on the back of my copy is 5244).  How green was their fucking valley?

Thesaurus moment: mishap.

A&M Records

Saturday, 2 February 2008



This is an incredible single.  I have to concede that I have taken more from the material of Mission Of Burma since they returned rather than when they initially/originally roamed the earth.

“Dirt” is a fierce full of empathy and resignation.  The lyrics and message are mature and reassuring seemingly aimed/offered to the listener at times of confusion and actions of irregularity by associates.  Lines such as “don’t waste your time, trying to find the reason why, they will do what they must do” coupled with the observation “it’s not fair, the only intention’s to hurt” are crisp and direct motions, the kind of words that abstain/absolve a mind and conscious of responsibility.

I regularly find myself coming back to this song every time I feel fucked over.  In many ways it is a sort of recovery anthem, a sonic pause for thought and empowerment gesture before gearing up to move on.  The fact that I am listening to this song and incriminating party is not often is all I need to satisfy my mind that what I am doing is right.  And what a potentially harmful thing that is.

Mission Of Burma will forever be a fantastic act.  They have done too much good stuff now to permanently blemish their legacy.  This is the handy mid point between Husker Du and REM that regularly comes with a side order of corruption and distortion.  It all unravels so well.

It’s not too late.

Thesaurus moment: clean.

Matador Records

Friday, 1 February 2008



I was actually the owner of this song long before the Lemonheads made it famous.  I can’t say that I was necessarily into before that point but I was there, just about.  I bought the record on twelve from the Time Records stall in Clacton’s indoor market mostly based on how the cover gave off strong alt rock vibes and the fact that it had been released on Domino.  Then over the years I would come to confuse them with both Slint and Scrawl.

Smudge was one of Australia’s finest.  There has always been a nice stream of noisy alternative rock bands spewed from down under.  Indeed according to some people (some sources) in the past it has been claimed that the term “grunge” was actually applied to Australian bands ahead of their Seattle counterparts.  I guess in that heat things can get low and lazy, naturally slacker like.

“The Outdoor Type” is a glorious jaunt.  It works either quiet or cranked.  Compared to the more famous cover version of the song by the Lemonheads, the vocals here are less Evan Dando, more a played down J Mascis drawl.  As is the sound of the guitar.  And regardless of whose performing the song, the sentiments are perfect, ideal pop for any Generation X listener.  There was always room for the celebration of staying home and doing nothing.

All in all this is a very strong EP and collection of songs.  With “Scary Cassettes” the band explicitly wear their influences on their sleeves referencing Sebadoh with an almost embarrassing degree of reverence before “Dave The Talking Bear” executes the quiet loud quiet formula of the Pixies with perfection.

With this they smarten up with a couple of acoustic led compositions (“Not Here For A Haircut” and “Berlin Chair”) which serve to display their range and songwriting strength.  With this a Mark Mulcahy/Miracle Legion element is added to proceedings.  It wins.

Ultimately the band never quite hit the heights of the heavyweights they resembled which I guess would make them more akin to Gumball in the grand scheme of indie rock history.  Not a thing to sniff at.

Thesaurus moment: neighbours.