….ing Bands – #5 – Spring King

Who Are You? – Spring King (2016, Island Records, Taken from ‘Tell Me If You Like To’)

Until Robbie Savage, the weird haired, celebrity dancer and ex footballer, pitched up with a few million quid in his back pocket, and purchased Macclesfield Town Football Club whilst accompanied by a BBC Camera Crew, the most famous thing about Macclesfield was, Spring King (probably). 

A band who were briefly in 2015 touted as being one of the bands who might just drag indie guitar music out of the landfill site.  They were described as being full of youthful exuberance and were the sort of band that you expected to see turn up in an episode of Skins, playing an absolute stormer as an out-of-control house party raged around them (if Skins was still on in 2015 that is).

Spring King pitched their sound, and by sound I mean indie guitar racket, somewhere between post punk and garage rock, the guitars were cranked up and were susceptible to decent amounts of deliciously fuzzy feedback and distortion, the drums throbbed , the vocals yelped and yowled and the indie world quivered in anticipation.

They had the backing too, Zane Lowe for one, championed them very early on, playing their demos before they had even been signed.  He then brought them to the worlds attention again by making them the first band to be played on Beats 1 Radio.  The NME also adored them as well and after a high energy set at the influential SXSW festival they looked set to take over the world.  This is the song that Zane played to the entire music community.

City – Spring King (2016, Island Records, Taken from ‘Tell Me if You Like To’)

Given the exposure that this bought the band, it was a little surprising that they didn’t take over the world.  However, you could argue that it also did the bands legs.  ‘City’ was seen as a statement of intent from a band with huge potential, but when their debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ was released a few months later it was received with lukewarm reviews.  Words like “Comfortable” and “Risk Free”, “Predictable” and “Rushed” featuring heavily in them.  I’ve just listened to it and some of that is a bit harsh.  This track for instance is very good

Heaven -Spring King (2016, Island Records, Taken from ‘Tell Me If You Like To’)

Of course, fans of the band will tell you that the major label that they were signed to, told them to cash in on the hype and that is what the problem with their debut album was.  It’s not their fault.  However, in the space of about six months, Spring King went from being pretty much the most exciting new band in the UK to a band making exactly the same sort of landfill indie that they were supposed to rescue us from.

Counting Up from Two – #1

Two Weeks – FKA Twigs (2014, Young Turks, Taken from ‘LP1’)

I’m sort of catching up with all the songs that I had listed to write about before I decided to write about songs with one word titles (well its been 72 hours) for three months.  ‘Two Weeks’ by FKA Twigs was going to be the next posting in the ‘Its’ Monday Let’s Swear’ Series.  The reason for that is that ‘Two Weeks’ is utter filth. 

It is a song that is all about sex, lust a bit more sex and then doing the sex whilst dropping some ecstasy and talking about sex at the same time.  It is the sort of song that if it were a movie you would have to pay to watch it if you were staying at a Travelodge.  Ultimately it is about wooing a man away from his sexless relationship but its uncompromising, very explicit and most importantly, brilliant

It contains lines such as

My thighs are apart for you when you’re ready to breathe in

and in case that wasn’t subtle enough this one

I can fuck you better than her” (which given the chap is in a sexless relationship isn’t exactly erm, hard)

In the video, just after that line is delivered, milk, gushes from the fingers of FKA Twigs, which is either extremely clumsy and wasteful of her given the price of milk these days or a metaphor for something which I don’t understand.

But as we all know, the It’s Monday, Let’s Swear Series ended about twelve weeks ago with Bobby Gillespie going mad in front of his bathroom mirror and besides today is Thursday.

So, ‘Two Weeks’ can instead usher in another new series.  A series that will count upwards from two, (I know, humour me) until we reach a number where we cannot find a song with that number in the title (My guessing is 26, no one has made a song with the number 26 in the title, surely). I am pretty sure that another blogger may have already done this, so if I am copying you, sorry.

Here are some more songs that have the number two in the title

The Two of Us – Jesus and Mary Chain (2017, Artificial Plastic Records, Taken from ‘Damage and Joy’) – a song which is comes from the Jesus and Mary Chain’s seventh studio album ‘Damage and Joy’ which also happened to be their first in nineteen years.  It was kind of good as well, unlike a lot of comeback albums – yes I’m looking at you The Libertines.

Two Chords – Summer Camp (2013, Moshi Moshi Records, Taken from ‘Summer Camp’) – which starts off trying to be a break up ballad but turns into something more like a 70s soft rock epic, only good.

Two Fingers – Jake Bugg (2012, Mercury Records, Taken from ‘Jake Bugg’) – which despite being the fifth track to be released as a single from Bugg’s just about ok debut album, was proclaimed by Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe to be ‘The Hottest Track in the World’ when it was released in September 2012.  It may have been a slow week for singles or possibly highlight that Zane Lowe is an idiot.

Next week, the number three. 

(the return of) Lost Indie 45s – #11

Big Big City – Schtum (1996, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘Grow’)

If anyone asks me why I turned vegetarian 30 odd years I ago, I tell them it was a moral choice, and that I wanted to play no part in ruthless slaughter of animals for food because meat is murder, maaaaan.  For the record, the real reason is that I fancied a girl who was vegetarian and did it solely to impress her, which in case anyone is interested turned out to be as good a reason as the other one as I haven’t eaten meat since 1990 (apart from that time when drunk on my 22nd birthday, when I simply forgot I didn’t eat meat)

Anyway, in 1996, six years into my vegetarian status, I went to interview an up and coming band from Derry called Schtum (which is still one of the worst band names in the history of band names) in a smoky back room in a London pub.  When I arrived, the band were all tucking into bacon rolls.  I mean it was 2 o’ clock in the afternoon what else would they be doing.  Being polite young chaps, they immediately offered me one. 

Now unlike most vegetarians, I don’t miss bacon.  I can’t stand the stuff, hate the smell, detest the taste and I really can’t understand the utter fuss about it.  So instead of telling the band that I was a vegetarian, and I considered their mutual devouring of the best side of a pig, slightly offensive, I bit my tongue and told them that I didn’t like bacon. 

Which utterly bemused them, and the entire interview descended in a lengthy conversation about the wonders of bacon, the joy of Frazzles Crisps and how useless a fried breakfast must be without bacon (and occasionally when I managed to steer it back, a discussion about the band and their music).  I mean is that incredible that someone doesn’t like bacon?  Don’t answer that.

Six weeks later a parcel arrived for me at the student union paper office.  It contained a copy of ‘Big Big City’ on CD which was wrapped in a TShirt.  The Tshirt had on the front a picture of some bacon frying in a pan with the bands name stamped over it.  Hmmm.  Thanks.

Schtum revolved around the vocal talents of a chap called Christian O’Neill and they had a couple of minor hits in the mid 90s.  ‘Big Big City’ was the second of those but is easily their best song.  It is a warts and all ode to their hometown of Derry.  It’s angry, catchy, noisy and rocks like a bastard, which obviously makes it brilliant.

Here’s the first of the minor hits from the mid 90s

Skydiver – Schtum (1995, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘Grow’)

Of course, ‘Big Big City’ must never be confused with this.

Brilliant Radio Stations From Around The World – #1

Fanatica INDIE – Based in Santiago, Chile (link opens a web radio player)

I said on here a while ago about an App called ‘Radio Garden’ which allows you to listen to any radio station in the world (nearly).   One of the joys of Radio Garden is that you can lose hours just wandering down radio rabbit holes listening to offbeat stations playing weird and wonderful music that you may never hear anywhere else if it wasn’t for the power of the Internet. We will explore some of those stations in this series – mainly because there appears to be a radio station in Hungary that appears to only play incredible gypsy punk (or at least it does when ever I tune in).  Anyway, these rabbit hole radio stations planted a seed of an idea in the back of my mind.

That seed has now sprouted into this series.  A series in which I will choose a radio station from somewhere in the world and listen to it for one hour so that you don’t have to.  I will then post the best tracks that it plays.  I may tell you something about the place where it is based as well. 

First up Fanatica INDIE, an English language (apart from the adverts, which are in Spanish) station based in Santiago Chile. 

Santiago for those who didn’t listen in geography is the capital city of Chile and is one of the biggest cities in South America, some six and a half million people call it home, which is more than half of the entire population of Chile.  The fact that it has a radio station that plays mainly indie pop fills me with joy for some reason.  The fact it appears to have no actual DJs either is in this case a blessing.

It has just gone noon (in Santiago that is) on a Wednesday when I tune in for the purposes of this piece and the first track I hear Fanatica playing is this

Aries – Gorillaz (featuring Peter Hook and Georgia) (2020, Parlophone Records, Taken from ‘Song Machine, Season One, Strange Timez’)

Which is not a bad start of an hour at all, ‘Aries’ is an incredible track, full of that trademark Hooky bass, which sounds like he has just simply given Damon Albarn an entire bassline from something from ‘Low Life’ to sing over.  Which he does very well indeed.

Twenty minutes or so later after some crazy adverts which feature people speaking very fast about I think, ‘toilet paper’ and ‘donkeys’ – (my Spanish isn’t great), this brass blessed blast of brilliance fills the room.

Nobody – Mac Demarco (2019, Macs Record Label, Taken from ‘Here Comes the Cowboy’) but that segues marvellously and almost seamlessly into this

Oh Baby – LCD Soundsystem (2017, DFA Records, Taken from ‘American Dream’)

Which may just be the greatest thing I have listened to all bloody month.

I think that this is the point of this series.  I know that I can listen to each of these tracks at home just by asking Alexa but I would never listen to them in the same hour, and that is the joy of the radio and the added thrill of simply not knowing what is coming next. 

I haven’t listened to ‘Oh Baby’ is such a long time and it such a wonderful song.  I also know that it is likely that I have peaked early in this series because right now Fanatica INDIE is the best radio station in the world and it will probably take a radio station broadcasting out of the back of bombed out milk float in Srebrenica that plays a Galaxie 500 7” back to back with a Bob Tilton flexidisc to top it. 

If you need more evidence of the absolute brilliance of Fanatica INDIE in Santiago, the last song played in my allocated hour was this

Can’t Do Much – Waxahatchee (2020, Merge Records, Taken from ‘Saint Cloud’)

Three hours later, I’m still tuned in

A Short Series about Shapes – #1 – Triangle

Triangle – Field Mice (1990, Sarah Records, Taken from ‘Skywriting’)

I said on Friday that I wouldn’t mention the One Word Countdown ever again.  A promise that lasted precisely 72 hours.  Sorry.  I was going through the list of songs that I voted in my Top 30 but no one else did.  One of those was ‘Triangle’ by The Field Mice, a song which is just too darn good to ignore (it is according to me, alone, the 19th best song with a One Word Title.  Ever.)  So in a petulant two fingers to the world I’ve devised an entire series to place it into and that really is the last time I will mention the One Word Countdown.  Probably.

I first heard The Field Mice on the John Peel show.  It would have been the summer of 1991 because I remember John Peel talking about them splitting up.  About six weeks later I found myself in possession of Indie Top 20 Vol. 12, a series of releases that packaged together a bunch of tracks from the Indie Charts at the time.  I had this on cassette, which was bright yellow and very low in quality.  Track eleven on that cassette was ‘Triangle’ an eight minute blast of indietronica that experiments with about ten different genres of music including acid house, and krautrock and it sounds a lot like the sort of thing New Order would have released about five years earlier.

It was quite a departure for the Field Mice because their earlier tracks took a more lo fi indie stance that was steeped in twee nostalgia with a nod towards the sort of ethereal sounds that perhaps bands like The Cocteau Twins.

Let’s Kiss and Make Up – The Field Mice (1989, Sarah Records, Taken from ‘Snowball’)

That track was of course covered a year or so later by their drinking buddies Saint Etienne.  There version is a piano led house stomper and it is almost as beautiful as the original.   The version below is the Sarah Cracknell version which is the only version I can find but I think the original single had a different singer.

Let’s Kiss and Make Up (Sarah Cracknell Version) – Saint Etienne (1990, Heavenly Records, Taken from ‘London Conversations’)

Of course New Order have a song has the word ‘triangle’ in the title.

Bizarre Love Triangle (Extended Dance Mix) – New Order (1986, Factory Records, Taken from ‘Substance’)

Which always sounds tremendous wouldn’t you say.   Easily one of New Order’s finest moments a proper head rush of synth pop, electronic hooks and another incredible drum opening, but its Bernard Sumner who makes ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ so addictive.  The way he delivers that opening line captures such as evocative image in my mind, especially the way word ‘Shot’ is almost spat out, as if right there and then, someone has hit him in the face with something fired out of a pea shooter.

Every time I think of you, I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue

Bizarre Love Triangle was covered by the Australian indie folk act Frente in 1994, and they had some relative success with it

Bizarre Love Triangle – Frente! (1994, Mushroom Records, Taken from ‘Marvin the Album’)

The Frente! version strips the song back into a semi acoustic track that sounds almost, almost as beautiful as the original, which brings us almost back to where we started because I first heard this version on an Indie Top 20 Compilation Album.

Major League Music – #22 – Cincinnati Reds

South of Cincinnati – Dwight Yoakam (1984, Reprise Records)

Before I start, I can’t spell Cincinnati, I always miss the third ‘n’ out, and I know I will do it here at least once, and because I am too lazy and arrogant to even consider using a spell checker it will stay in the piece.  So, apologies in advance if you happen to be a big fan of Cincinnati.

If you ask true Cincinnati Fans how many World Series they have, they will tell you it is five and quickly change the subject.  If you ask any other baseball fans how many the Reds have won, they will say five, but in reality, it should be four because of the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.

The 1919 World Series Final was played between The Chicago White Sox, who were overwhelming favourites and the little fancied and unfashionable Cincinnati Reds.  However, on the morning of the first game – October 1st 1919 – there was a sudden surge in betting on the Reds and their odds fell remarkably.  Rumours abound that the series had fixed.  Rumours that grew and grew, especially after the White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte made a massively wayward pitch with the second ball of the match.  Further bad throws followed, alongside some terrible batting from the White Sox and before we knew it links to New York based gangsters had surfaced.  The Reds ended up winning and a bunch of White Sox players were then banned from baseball (including No Badger Required favourite Shoeless Joe Jackson) for match fixing (despite being cleared criminally) and the Black Sox Scandal was born and in reality, the White Sox should and would have won had they not accepted the bribes.

Putting that to one side, The Reds were pretty much unstoppable between 1975 and 1976, when they won back to back World Series (beating the Red Sox in 1975 and then Yankees in 1976).  A feat not seen since the early twenties.  The next won the World Series in 1990, where they swept the favourites Oakland.  That was the last time they won the thing. 

That won’t change this year because as I type the Reds are on the back of five match losing streak which has led to their elimination from this year championship, that fate was sealed with a 6 -1 defeat to the Pittsburgh Pirates (more of them later).  There are still 21 games to play by the way, so the Reds have been terrible.  The Royals by the way should be eliminated next week.

Usually when I research the musical history of a city in America my go to place is Wikipedia because there is usually a helpful guide of ‘Bands from…’.  Cincinnati is no different, only there is a notable exception.  The list of bands from Cincinnati is missing perhaps the biggest and most influential act to have emerged from Cincinnati in recent years, that being The National.

Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National (2010, 4AD Records) 

But lets dial it back about fifty years, because before Matt Beringer unleashed his sexy baritone on our ears, there was another band of brothers who put Cincinnati on the musical map.

I Guess I’ll Always Love You – The Isley Brothers (1966, Tamla Motown Records)

One last band from Cincinnati that you all need to know about and that is Afghan Whigs who in the mid nineties rode the wave of the grunge bandwagon and very nearly became megastars.

Debonair – Afghan Whigs (1993, Elektra Records)

This weeks new band that have never previously been heard of are Scarlet Street, a band who despite coming from Cincinnati sound a lot like Idlewild did back in the days of ‘American English’.  So not bad at all.

Patron Saint of Bad Ideas – Scarlet Street (2022, Strictly Commercial Records)

Next week the Phillies are in town, so I get to go all Fresh Prince on your asses.

Someone Else’s Nearly Perfect Albums – #2

The second instalment of this side project by some of the readers of this here blog comes courtesy of Middle Aged Man.  It is an album which has inspired a new series that will surface here in a few weeks’ time.  The Slow Readers Club are a band that I hear all the cool DJs on Six Music playing and are one that to my shame I have barely listened to, before this landed in my inbox that is.  That has now been remedied.  Middle Aged Man is spot on folks, ‘Build A Tower’ is a remarkable record.

Build A Tower  – The Slow Readers Club (2018, Rough Trade Records)

(Chosen by Middle Aged Man)

Build A Tower is the Slow Readers’ third album and is the one that is if not career defining is certainly career making as it was only after its release that the four band members were able to give up their day jobs and turn professional, at least they managed a year or so before Covid struck.

Its quite an unusual album for an indie band (at least the indie bands I listen to), as each individual song has a clear intro, verse and chorus, and most impressively both the chorus and the verse are sing-along-able. But that’s not to say it is a ‘pop’ album, it is definitely a guitar based indie record, but then coming from Manchester it was bound to be :

On The TV – The Slow Readers Club (2018, Rough Trade Records)

I have two daughters, one who knows her music and has been to see ‘The Readers’ with me a few times and one who is in her mid twenties and is a typical radio one/MTV listener who can tell me who is number one in the charts ( do they still exist?) and has no interest in her dad’s music or anything involving guitars.  Anyway it must have been a couple of months after the album was released and I would always be playing the CD in my car. I was giving her a lift to the railway station, we were chatting away and she started to sing along to the chorus, I joined in and then she stopped and a look of absolute horror appeared on her face as she realised she had been singing along to one of dad’s bands. If that doesn’t tell you just how catchy this track is nothing will.

To give you another idea how catchy the song is , here’s a link to a Manchester crowd singing along to the guitar , not the words just the tune itself (warning one for existing fans only as the Manchester crowd are not quite in tune)

Lunatic – The Slow Readers Club (2018, Rough Trade Records)

The opening track of an album sets the tone and ‘Lunatic’ does the job perfectly within 5 seconds. your toes are tapping, your head is nodding, your arms are swinging, and after hearing the chorus twice you will be singing along to the third and then the woo woos kick to carry you through to the end. ‘Lunatic’ lyrics also provides the album title ‘ Build A Tower’ giving an indication how crucial to the album it is. I researched other album titles that came from song lyrics rather than song titles – the top 2 examples were prog bands so not sure if its another series for this blog. And when performed live gives rise to the only choreographed crowd movement I have ever seen and participated in that doesn’t include clapping

(I know the photo doesn’t quite do it justice, but trust me no one has 2 arms raised clapping, it is just one arm pointing upwards)

You Opened Up My Heart – The Slow Readers Club (2018, Rough Trade Records)

If I was a musician I would be able to correctly explain the structure and how the individual elements/ instruments combine to create the wonderful whole, but I’m not so here’s a non musical description, beginning with a simple few notes on the guitar repeated before the drums and then bass play off the guitar notes. I don’t know how it is achieved but those few notes which seem to be picked out individually on the guitar combine to have the familiarity and repetition of a riff but are more uplifting and joyous.

Lives Never Known – The Slow Readers Club (2018, Rough Trade Records)

My prime listening to music time/spot is washing up after tea, (we do have a dish-washer but I claim that the pots and pans need hand washing), I’m left alone in the kitchen, I turn on the speaker and sing loudly to my heart’s content. This is one of my kitchen favourites as it also makes me feel happy with my life as it ponders what might have happened if you had made different life choices.

Not Afraid of The Dark – The Slow Readers Club (2018, Rough Trade Records)

To finish off – yet another great song – I hope you enjoy listening to The Slow Readers Club and the good news is there is another 4 albums to explore.

The One Word Countdown – # 1

Don’t walk away…..

Atmosphere – Joy Division (1979, Factory Records, Taken from 12” single)

Points 250

Back in 2009, the NME decided to do a countdown entitled “Release the Bats – The Top 20 Goth Anthems of all time”.  Now, despite the awful name, that actually isn’t a bad idea at all and indeed it is one that I might borrow, repackage and generally smartened up a bit (working title “Goth! Show Me Magic”).  I mean the NME list didn’t contain one song by Clan of Xymox so it can’t be taken that seriously. 

Stranger – Clan of Xymox (1983, 4AD Records, Taken from ‘Clan of Xymox’)

At the top of that list was ‘Atmosphere’ by Joy Division.  A song that is so far away from being a Goth Anthem that its practically wearing day glo and refusing to drink the snakebite and black it won for being top of the list.  So, it is excellent to be able announce that a new award can be thrust upon ‘Atmosphere’.  It is officially the Greatest Song to Have a One Word Title. Ever!!

Before I start waxing lyrical about ‘Atmosphere’ I need to thank some people.  So ladies and gents please be upstanding for The Musical Jury.  Some of them have made themselves known already and I hope you have checked out their respective blogs (all of which flick this nonsense into a top hat) but I won’t name them all because some asked to stay anonymous, but each and every one of the deserves a huge slap on the back and several pints of whatever it is that they drink.  Thank you firstly for persevering with this half arsed idea of a series and secondly thank you for agreeing with me – because sitting at the top of my own personal list of One Word Titles was ‘Atmosphere’ by Joy Division.

It very nearly wasn’t Joy Division though because with two sets of votes to come ‘Atmosphere’ sat in about 14th, sad and nearly unloved and then it scored maximum points for those last sets of votes and rocketed up to the top, catapulting over Pulp, Primal Scream and New Order (who were top) on the way.

‘Atmosphere’ is outstanding of course it is.  It’s one of the greatest songs ever recorded, even if it is bleaker than a foggy November morning in Grimsby.  The way that synth reverberates is the musical equivalent of an icy stare from a spurned lover, Ian Curtis’ baritone is deep and mournful and is full of emotive power, the bassline is stark and well, atmospheric and the way the guitar echoes at the 3 and a half minute mark is as vast as it is glorious and the drums at the start might be just be greatest use of a drum anywhere in the world.  Face facts ‘Against All Odds’ Fans.

But all that erm, atmosphere was given a whole new level of meaning, and a whole new level of gloom and ultimately despair (brilliant gloom, and despair it has to be said) when it is used to bring about the closing credits or ‘Control’ the film about the life of Ian Curtis. 

I really don’t need to say this, but there is a spoiler here, for those who are somehow unaware of how the life of Ian Curtis ends and I’ll be honest there is no Disney style happy ending or Dallas style dream sequence.  Its shot beautifully in black and white and you see Curtis’ wife (played to perfection by Samantha Morton, an actress almost born to play that role) walk into their house, just as the opening strains of ‘Atmosphere’ can be heard its deliberately hushed and then there is this scream – and that scream gets me every single time.  Even though I know its coming.  The first time, though, its pierces your heart and then as the tragedy unfurls, ‘Atmosphere’ comes to the fore and it is incredible and intense and does everything to remind you why Joy Division were one of the most important bands to have ever existed.

Let’s end with some other One Word Tracks by Joy Division all of which come straight from my digitally remastered copy of ‘Substance’ – regardless of what I’ve put below.

Warsaw – Joy Division (1978 Enigma Records, Taken from ‘Warsaw’)

Incubation – joy Division (1980, Factory Records, Taken from ‘Komakino’)

Transmission – Joy Division (1979, Factory Records, Taken from ‘Transmission’ single)

Thanks for reading this series.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Next week some old favourites, and I mean that in the loosest sense of the word will reappear, probably temporarily until I can think of another topic for a countdown (apart from Goth! Show Me Magic that is).

I’m going to stop mentioning One Word Titles now

Stop – Mega City Four (1991, Big Life Records, Taken from ‘Sebastopol Road’)

The One Word Countdown – #2

I heard you stop outside the door…..

Babies – Pulp (1992, Gift Records, Taken from ‘His N Hers’)

Points 245

My first memory of ‘Babies’ is playing it around midway through my first ever stint as a DJ at the university indie club.  This would have been around late November 1994 and I had a packed dancefloor, Britpop was just about to break, Oasis were becoming huge, Blur had been in the Top Ten and nobody liked grunge anymore.  ‘His N Hers’ had been a firm favourite with me since I heard Gary Crowley play ‘Razzamatazz’ on his Sunday radio show about three years ago, and people everywhere were slowly falling for the kitschy charms of Jarvis and his band.  Or so I thought.

Razzamatazz – Pulp (1992, Gift Records, Taken from ‘His N Hers’)

Because two minutes into ‘Babies’, the dancefloor is clearing slowly to this weird off kilter indie pop so that only the really cool kids remained (the same one who had asked me to play Gorkys Zygotic Mynci and the Pastels about twenty minutes earlier) and Andy the indie club head honcho is hastily handing me a 12” of ‘No Good’ by the Prodigy, which saves the dancefloor and a disaster is avoided.

Fast forward about six months or so and Britpop is definitely king and there I am again behind the decks at the indie disco, and I risk ‘Babies’ again and the floor is absolutely packed by the time the chorus has kicked in for the first time.  The same fickle creatures who wandered off to the bar and elsewhere when I last played ‘Babies’ are also there trying to dance like Jarvis, which basically involves them standing still and moving one arm and occasionally putting a finger on your lips and pouting or sucking in your cheekbones.  All of them will tell the person that they are standing next to at the bar in ten minutes that they have been into Pulp since about 1986 or something.  Saying that, they know all the words, and my dancefloor is heaving and remains regardless of what I play next so I’m pleased.   Jarvis was clearly indie clubs new champion and that was fine by me.  

But…..(and just in case you are wondering I am rolling my tongue firmly into my cheek here, which on reflection Jarvis would probably enjoy watching me do)

I’m not sure that this is the right place to call out Jarvis here about ‘Babies’ because everyone loves it – including me – considering ‘Babies’ is now officially the second best song with a one word title in the world – but and in this day and age of exploitation – ‘Babies’ is lyrically suspect and by suspect I mean ‘Confessions of a Driving Inspector’ suspect.

A young lad, who we are led to believe is Jarvis, is in love with a girl and one afternoon after school he and this girl listen to her older sister have sex or some sort of saucy shenanigans with another boy in her room.  Jarvis, then decides that he and I quote “has to see as well as hear” and so he goes into her room and hides in her wardrobe.  We don’t know how long he hides in the wardrobe for it could be days for all we know.

So presumably, Jarvis waits in the wardrobe on the off chance that this girl comes home, with a boy and they have sex without her once going to the wardrobe first and opening it and seeing Jarvis pretending to fix a shelf or something.  Where was the younger sister all this time, did Jarvis make his excuses or did he break in unbeknown to the younger sister in the middle of the night.

Anyway, Jarvis gets lucky as she is with some guy called David, but then if I am recalling this correctly, on another occasion – so he is a serial voyeur (or has he just moved in…) – the older sister spots him and then has sex with him in case her tells her mother (can we add blackmail to the list of crimes here, burglary, voyeurism, blackmail, sexploitation, , it’s like a 70s sex movie version of ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’).  But there is a twist, the younger sister just happens to hear and confronts Jarvis. 

But of course, Jarvis loves the younger sister, despite perving on and then banging her older sister so Jarvis doing his best Robin Asquith impression tells the younger sister that

 “I only went with her cos she looked like you…”

Well that’s alright then Jarvis.  I’m sure both these women feel valued.

I’m joking of course, ‘Babies’ is marvellous and the content of the lyrics and the characters it introduces and the awkwardness and the social inadequacy of it are why we Pulp are so endearingly magical.

Two other Pulp songs, both almost as lyrical suspect as ‘Babies’ were also considered

Underwear – Pulp (1995, Island Records, Taken from ‘Different Class’)

Lipgloss – Pulp (1992, Gift Records, Taken from ‘His N Hers’)

The One Word Countdown – #3

What is it that you want to do…..

Loaded – Primal Scream (1990, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Screamadelica’)

Points 240

It starts, as we all know, with a trumpet riff, a lazy, reverb groove loosely tracked by a guitar.  Then you get that snatch of dialogue from ‘The Wild Angels’ “What is it you want to do…?” and frankly all hell breaks loose. A crash of an electric guitar, a lazy bongo drum beat, more samples (from The Emotions and an obscure Edie Brickell track) and suddenly the UK had its first genuinely brilliant, genuinely genre bending indie dance classic.

When ‘Loaded’ landed in February 1990 it was the band first hit record, and it blew the mind of a certain 14 year old boy who up until that point, only really listened to ‘Now That’s What I Called Music Vol. 8’.

It was everything about ‘Loaded’, the effortless cool nature of the music, the samples that were so perfect, the look of the band.  Everything.  I sat gobstruck as the band appeared on Top of the Pops, as Bobby Gillespie who according to my dad “Looked Half Dead” stood centre stage, clearly miming and pretty much french kissed the microphone as the trumpet riff (despite there being precisely no trumpet players on stage) and the looping shuffle of guitar swirled away behind it.  They didn’t even pretend to play or sing and yet it was so cool.  It was at that point that I knew that I wanted to make as glorious a racket as Primal Scream did, I wanted to have a good time and I definitely wanted to have a party.

‘Loaded’ set the precedent for nearly everything that followed, bands that were usually associated with a scuzzy grunge sound suddenly experimented with dance – The Soup Dragons, The Farm, The Shamen and even The Stone Roses who twisted ‘Fools Gold’ to the point that it also became a rave anthem.  That sound that indie dance sound, was the soundtrack of the next summers and let’s be honest it was brilliant (apart from The Farm) as bands competed to make the next great indie dance record.

Obviously, the Musical Jury agreed it with me.  Because out of all the songs on the list to choose from, none of them was selected by our Musical Jury members as often as ‘Loaded’ was.   If every person who voted for placed it one position higher it would have easily have won the entire thing, but they didn’t. Regardless, ‘Loaded’ is an astonishing piece of work and was a record that seriously changed my life.

There were a bunch of other Primal Scream songs that were considered, none of which I think would have done as well ‘Loaded’.

Rocks – Primal Scream (1994, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Give Out, But Don’t Give Up’)

Accelerator – Primal Scream (2000, Creation Records, Taken from ‘XRTMNTR’)

Kowalski – Primal Scream (1997, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Vanishing Point’)