Goth! Show Me Magic – #6 – Number 1

1. Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus (1979, Small Wonder Records, Taken from the single)

And so this short stomp around the much maligned Goth genre ends here on Halloween with a record that is by many considered to be the first actual, proper bonafide Goth record.  Whether it is or it isn’t that is largely irrelevant because it is fantastic, and you can hear the roots of everything that came after it sprouting out of the song.  Yes, the Cure made Goth bearable, yes, the Sisters added the pomp, yes, the Banshees added some flair and a bit glamour, and yes Nick Cave largely turned it mainstream (and sexy) by making Goth records with Kylie Minogue – but it without ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ I very much doubt any of that would have happened.

Where the Wild Roses Grow – Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue (1995, Mute Records, Taken from ‘Murder Ballads’)

The formula is simple and if you follow this across each of the songs in this rundown it fits nearly all of them (apart from the ones that aren’t Goth).  The low rumbling bass that descends brilliantly, the guitar with the echo effects turned up to the level that states ‘spooky’, the low deep singing, which is done deliberately to add atmosphere and to make it sound sinister, isolated and at times grim.  On ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ it works.  It really works, but sadly on other Goth tracks it really doesn’t.  But that is the Goth formula or if you want the science:-

Goth = lbx2 + egy3 /sv

Where ‘lbx’ is a low rumbling bass and ‘egy’ is an echo-y guitar effect obviously.

‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ literally cakewalked to the top of this informal rundown of Goth’s greatest moments.   It is a tremendous piece of work as well and for the second musical jury inspired countdown in a row, my choice of Number One is the same as the one that was voted at the top. I was for the record the only person who stuck this in their Top Five though.

Found Love in A Graveyard – Veronica Falls (2010, Captured Tracks, Taken from ‘Veronica Falls)

One last thing about Bauhaus, who, for those in the dark, and that is perhaps the best place to be where Bauhaus are concerned, were formed in that rock and roll mecca, Northampton. So whilst Leeds may have been the epicentre of darkness, it was Northampton that roosted the bats, the purple velvet cloaks and the sharpened fang dentists.

 ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ was the first song that Bauhaus wrote and recorded together, knocking it off in one sitting just six weeks after they formed.   They never really topped it, no matter what people want to argue.

Legend has it that the band turned up at the Radio 1 studio a few weeks after it was released and blagged their way into John Peel’s studio.  In an interview a few years later Peter Murphy the singer in Bauhaus said that they turned up at the reception and said

Hello, we’re Bauhaus and we’re friends of John Peel. We’d like to go up please.”

Apparently this worked, and the band ambled into the studio and stuck the record in front of him.  Peel, ever the professional, said

We’ve got Bauhaus in the studio, they’re from Northampton and they have a new single out called Bela Lugosi’s Dead. It’s nine-and-a-half minutes long and this will probably be the first and last time I’ll play this.”

The rest was history as listeners jammed the switchboard demanding it be played again.  Or so the story goes.  I’d give John Peel more credit than that, he always did have a knack for picking great songs.

Happy Halloween folks.



Major league Music – #29 – Milwaukee Brewers

Pimp Juice – Nelly (2002, Universal Records, Taken form ‘Nellyville’)

By the time this gets published we will be one or two games into this years World Series.  It is between The Astros of Houston who have reached their fourth World Series in six years.  They have been in awesome form having swept past the Mariners (sorry Joey), and then the Yankees (hooray) without losing a game. 

The Astros will be playing and in all honesty probably beating the Phillies of Philadelphia.  The Phillies are the seasons surprise package and have reached the finals through the Wild Cards.  They have beaten the well regarded St Louis Cardinals, last years champs the Atlanta Braves and the highly fancied San Diego Padres to get here, but I suspect that they are going to get trounced by the Astros.

Milwaukee is in Winconsin and has also found itself in the shadow of its two big city neighbours.  To the south of it literally just over the state border into Illinois, comes Chicago, home of the Bears in football, the Bulls in basketball, the Fire in Soccer and in baseball terms, the Cubs and the White Sox.  To the North lies Green Bay, home of the Packers, who are comfortably one of the biggest draws in American Football.  

Mlwaukee has the Brewers, an unsuccessful baseball team and the Bucks, a mildly unsuccessful basketball team.  The Brewers are one only a handful of teams that have never won the World Series.  They finished as runners up 40 years ago in 1982, and that remains the only time that they have ever reached the finals.  Post season appearances are also rare.  Their last was in 2018, where lost narrowly to The Dodgers.  That was their fourth since 1982. 

This season the Brewers were one game away from a place in the post season matches, but a late season losing streak placed up against a late season winning streak from the aforementioned Phillies did for them.

Musically, Milwaukee often finds itself in the shadow of its two big city neighbours, Chicago to the south, and to the east across Lake Michigan, Detroit – who I didn’t mention in the sports bit above because nearly all sports teams from Detroit are useless.

Milwaukee’s most famous musical sons are probably Violet Femmes who most of you will have heard of and are largely famous for their self abuse anthem ‘Blister in the Sun’ – which fact fans was the first English language song to ever be played on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta,  the irish Republic’s Gaelic radio station.  I’ve leave you all to insert you own Catholic repression gag here.

Blister in the Sun – Violet Femmes (1983, Slash Records, Taken from ‘Violet Femmes’)

Elsewhere the female singer songwriter Julia Holter was born in Milwaukee (although she is based in Los Angeles) and her 2011 album ‘Tragedy’ is considered by some to be something of an avant garde masterpiece. 

Try to Make Yourself A Work of Art – Julia Holter (2011, Night School Records, Taken from ‘Tragedy’)

Finally,  a band who only got a mention on here a few weeks back, but evoking the Earth, Wind and Fire Clause, Arrested Development can claim Milwaukee as a home, as Speech, one of the main figures in that band was also born and raised in Milwaukee.

Like Marvin Gaye Said (What’s Goin On) – Speech (1996, Chrysalis Records, Taken from ‘Speech’)

All of which brings us to the penultimate previously unheard of band of the serie, who are this week Holy Pinto who come recommended by Bartees Strange and that folks, believe it or not is hard to ignore round these parts.  Holy Pinto, is basically the work of Aymen Salah, and Milwaukee is his adopted home.  He was born in Canterbury, Kent and so for perhaps the last time we evoke the Black Rebel Motorcyle South Devon Clause.   Holy Pinto are great by the way, especially if you like Jens Lenkman.

We’re All Doomed Forever – Holy Pinto (2022, Self Released, taken from ‘Us Married’)

Next week – I’ve saved the worst till last – the Washington Nationals.  Baseballs equivalent of Fort William FC.

Someone Else’s Nearly Perfect Albums – #7

Rather like buses, you wait for one article about bands from Leeds to come along and all of a sudden, we’ve arrive at the fifth one in a week.  Welcome, then to the seventh instalment of the increasingly excellent ‘Someone Else’s Nearly Perfect Albums series.  This week we welcome back Mr JC from the always excellent ‘The (new) Vinyl Villain’ blog and this week has chosen the debut album ‘Songs to Remember’ by Scritti Politti.  An album which on release climbed all the way to Number 12 in the UK charts and was for a while at least one of the biggest selling records to be released on Rough Trade Records.  

‘Songs to Remember’ is not an album I was familiar with but upon listening to I did recognise some of the songs and I agree it is an excellent record far better than I expected to it be.   If you would like to tell everyone about an album that you think is nearly perfect, then please get in touch via the comments page and I’ll do the rest. Until then, here’s JC.

This is an album in which myself and a now former close friend from schooldays really bonded in late 1982 and early 1983 before he went off to make a name for himself in London. I do, these days, find it hard to listen to it without recalling those halcyon days of 40 years ago when we made our carefree way around the indie and alternative nightspots of Glasgow (there weren’t many!) having usually listened to Songs To Remember before leaving his house – it was always his place we left from.

My introduction to Scritti Politti was not through the early left-wing post punk material, but via the inclusion of The “Sweetest Girl” on a tape given away by the NME.  A gorgeous song that wasn’t quite a ballad nor a full-blown radio friendly song.  But if felt about as perfect as pop can possibly be.

I eventually bought the 12” version of the single and also being mesmerised by its b-side, a sort of electro/funk/rap hybrid called Lions After Slumber.  It was passed onto my mate with an enthusiastic recommendation, one that he was happy to endorse.

More singles followed.  The fact that Faithless and then Asylums In Jerusalem/Jacques Derrida (it was a double-A sided effort) had also failed to trouble the charts made us think we were the coolest of hipsters for adoring such an unknown band.

The NME carried an advert advising that the debut album was coming out.  It was to be called Songs To Remember.  We both raced out and bought it on its day of release….clearly loads of other cool hipsters did the same as it entered the charts….the proper album charts, not the indie-schmindie variety, at #12. 

This ‘overnight’ success did not change how we felt about Scritti Politti or the debut album.  And all these years later, I still think it has not a duff moment, but given it’s been a near eternity since me and the former mate last had any meaningful and civilised conversation, I can’t say if he feels the same way.

So why am I offering it up as a near-perfect rather than absolutely perfect album?  There’s two reasons.

Firstly, it’s only nine songs long, and while some of them did and do extend out to beyond five or six minutes to provide an album that takes more than forty minutes to listen to, it still felt back in the day as if we were being conned as only four of the tracks hadn’t previously been released as a single or b-side.  In other words, there was less than twenty minutes of material that was new, and it didn’t feel good value for money.

Secondly, it turned out that one of the new songs was also making a big impression on a cool bunch of similarly-aged hipster friends living in Clydebank, a former shipyard town just west of Glasgow.  They would take part of one of the lines in said song and name their fledging group after it….and thus Wet Wet Wet came into being.  There’s no way an album can be seen as perfect given what it gave birth to.

I’ll finish by admitting that it’s genuinely impossible for me to select three songs from this album as the companion music to these words.  I’ll leave it to SWC……..

{challenge accepted, heck I’ll go one further}

The Sweetest Girl – Scritti Politti (1982, Rough Trade Records)

Lions After Slumber – Scritti Politti (1982, Rough Trade Records)

Faithless -Scritti Politti (1982, Rough Trade Records)

Getting Havin’ & Holdin’ – Scritti Politti (1982 Rough Trade Records)

Goth! Show Me Magic – #5 – Number 2

2. This Corrosion – The Sisters of Mercy (1987, Merciful Records, Taken from ‘Floodland’)

As line ups go, the Sunday line up for the 1991 Reading Festival Main Stage was weirdly eclectic. It started with the wonderful indie pop sounds of The Family Cat, it went a bit grunge (The Screaming Trees), a bit more indie (Kitchens of Distinction, Senseless Things) before things took a distinctive downright weird route.

Given that the headline act was The Sisters of Mercy, you would have perhaps have thought that there would be a leaning, however small to music that might be described as Goth.  Although this would have of course mean most of the Goth bands out there playing in the sunlight and the organisers would have to have upped the insurance in case any of them melted.  So instead of that we got, hip hop, pub rock and transit rock before the main event.  Each one playing to an increasingly bemused and slightly larger crowd of Goths.  They didn’t even have the smaller Melody Maker stage to fall back on to as that saw New Fast Automatic Daffodils followed by the Fatima Mansions and The Blue Aeroplanes.

So most of the hardcore Goths just got slowly drunk in front of the man stage.  There they sat and watched a hip hop act called Gang Starr come on and leap around the stage in the sun as a DJ sat behind a massive set of decks and made hand signs to the audience.  Then they got mildly interested in the pub rock sounds of the Godfathers and finally there they sat utterly bored by Neds Atomic Dustbin.

I was quite close to the front when Neds Atomic Dustbin played and around halfway through their set, a women dressed in a white bridal gown ghosted here way through the crowd.  She seemed almost wraith like.  I watched her – to be fair she was more interesting that hearing songs about “Killing televisions” and she went straight to the front and there she stood.  A bunch of Goths embraced her and then I lost sight of her.

An hour later she was crowd surfing and then throwing dead, decaying roses on to the stage in the general direction of Andrew Eldritch as the Sisters stormed through a set of Goth rock classics.  It was like a weird outtake from Tim Burton’s ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’

For a short while it looked like the Greatest Goth Anthem of all time (according to a small amount of people spread over three continents) would be an actual tie.  Right up until the last votes came in and then the song at Number – #1 grabbed that extra vote.  The reason being that the last Jury Member to chose a different Sisters song completely.

Temple of Love – The Sisters of Mercy (1982 Merciful Records, Taken from ‘Some Girls Wander by Mistake’)

‘More’ also got a solitary vote.  A song I seem to recall the Sisters performing this on Top of the Pops as a bemused audience of Fila Trainer wearing kids looked on, slightly frightened by the odd chap on stage wearing sunglasses and a frilly black shirt.

More – Sisters of Mercy (1990, Merciful Release, Taken from ‘Vision Thing’)

Goth! Show Me Magic – #4 – Number 5 – 3

5. Wasteland – The Mission (1986, Mercury Records, Taken from ‘God’s Own Medicine’)

In Leeds (where else)?) in the early part of 1986, Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams left the Sisters of Mercy to form a band called The Sisterhood, that quickly evolved into The Mission and they recruited a member of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and a sometimes member of Pulp on the way.  I’m not sure why Hussey and Adams left the Sisters of Mercy, lets say it was musical differences, because their styles are quite different.

Certainly, The Mission were more accessible, and they had almost instant success with ‘Wasteland’ (although I think the band might have been all mysterious and called it ‘IV’ or something) climbing to Number 11 I the UK Charts in 1986.  A debut album ‘God’s Own Medicine’ followed.  

By 1990, the band were pretty popular in the UK, and were like The Cure (see below), even appealing to an audience who were some distance from the Goth scene.  They supported U2, they played festivals, and at times, very nearly released pop music and for a period of time the band were one of a few that stepped out from the Goth scene – they were really popular amongst fans of bands like the Wonderstuff for instance.  This in itself was the reason that ‘Carved in Sand’ the third album, was passed around the alternative set in my school like it was popping candy. 

Butterfly on a Wheel – The Mission (1990, Mercury Records, Taken from ‘Carved In Sand’)

4. A Forest – The Cure (1980, Fiction Records, Taken from ’17 seconds’)

I may have said elsewhere that the Cure pretty much invented Goth as we knew it in early part of the eighties.  They did this by slightly abandoning their post punk roots, buying a smoke machine and recording the albums in the dark to say money of the electricity.  The result of all that was the release of ’17 Seconds’.  A dark, gloomy masterpiece that paved the way for so much more.

Yes you could argue that bands like the Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus were already making this type of music, but it was The Cure who opened the door and if you ask ordinary non music folks to name a Goth band – they will say The Cure.  It was The Cure that made it, by and large what it is today. 

‘A Forest’ was the only single to be released from ’17 Seconds’ and it saw The Cure crack the Top 40 for the first time.  Of course a few years later, the band would sell their smoke machines and invest in a couple of trumpets but not before they had released two more distinctly Gothic album, one of which was ‘Pornography’ an album which manages to out Goth even ’17 Seconds’.

A Figurehead – The Cure (1982, Fiction Records, Taken from ‘Pornography’)

3. Spellbound – Siouxsie & the Banshees (1981, Polydor Records, Taken from ‘Juju’)

Again, like so many others in this series, Siouxsie and the Banshees started out in life as post punk band.  As music progressed, they changed their musical style and by album three, ‘Kaleidoscope’, they were already being hailed as a major influence on the emerging Gothic scene.  In 1981, they recorded a bunch of new songs for their fourth album ‘Juju’ – one of those was ‘Spellbound’.  A song that was described by the NME at the time as being “A glorious electric storm”.  The NME would about a week after ‘Juju’ was released claim that the Banshees were “one of the greatest bands on the earth”.   It remains to this today one of the greatest Goth anthems of one time.

More than half of the Musical Jury included ‘Spellbound’ in their Top Five Goth Anthems, and the ones who didn’t, picked this slice of dark electro pop instead.

Cities in Dust – Siouxsie and the Banshees (1986, Polydor Records, Taken from ‘Tinderbox’)

Goth! Show Me Magic – #3 Number 10 – 6

10. Sea Within A Sea – The Horrors (2009, XL Records, Taken from ‘Primary Colours’)

Now.  It is not my place to ever doubt the wisdom, brilliance, eccentricity or general stupidity of the Musical Jury, but MJ#7, ‘Sea Within A Sea’ is definitely not a Goth song.  What it is, is seven and half minutes of Krautrock marvellousness.  If you had chosen anything, literally anything from their Birthday Party tribute album that masquerades as the bands debut (2007’s ‘Strange House’) then I would have warmly shaken you by the hand and shouted “YES, exactly this”.  But no….

You see the Horrors, should have been at the forefront of a new Goth scene at the start of the last decade.  They had the name, they had the black clothes, they had way too many Bauhaus records and they even had a band member called Spider. Luckily for us, they started to hang around with Geoff Barrow and made ‘Primary Colours’ instead.

Talking of Birthday Party Records.

9. Release the Bats – The Birthday Party (1982, 4AD Records, Taken from ‘Junkyard’)

8. Mercy Seat – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1988, Mute Records, Taken from the single of the same name)

Sir Nicholas Cave is the only artist who features on this countdown twice (although come to think of Wayne Hussey, might – I’ll have to check).  Cave is for some the lord high duke of Goth, with his black hair, albums about murder and this frankly bonkers five minutes of screeching and wailing. 


You know what, ‘Release the Bats’ just seems too sexy to be a Goth record, this is a record that almost drags you to bed whilst holding a tub of fromage frais.  Everything about it is sexy, the bass is sexy, the drums are sexy in the way that they stutter and stomp, the guitars are sexy in the way that they stab and prod and of course, Nick Cave pretending to be James Brown can only ever be described as being extra specially sexy and folks, Goth is not supposed to be sexy.

‘The Mercy Seat’ on the other hand almost certainly is gothic in its nature.  I mean it’s about a man sitting on death row about to die quoting the Bible and simmering in his own brooding intensity.   Its still too sexy to actually be Goth though.

7. Incubus Succubus – Xmal Deutschland (1982, Zickzack Records, Taken from ‘Incubus Succubus’)

Over to Hamburg now (noticed how few of the Goth Top 20 are American) and a bit of Xmal Deutschland who in the early eighties gained a little bit of success.  They are something of an enigma in the Goth world in that they are an all female band (when they first started at least, a chap name Pete joined the band in 1984 and before him one called Wolfgang arrived in about 1983).  Singer Anja Huwe was quickly marketed by record executives as a ‘German Siouxsie Sioux.

6. She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult (1985, Beggars Banquet, Taken from ‘Love’)

The Cult were another Yorkshire band, although this lot were from Bradford, and for a while they were one of more successful bands lumped into the Goth market.  Out of all of the records that my brother gave me when he abandoned Goth, the second album by post punkers, The Cult was the one that got played the most.  In fact, pretty much the only track that ever got played on that album was ‘She Sells Sanctuary’.  I couldn’t tell you a single other track on it.

Goth! Show Me Magic – #2 – Number 15 – 11

A lot of the pubs that I drank in when I was in my late teens, had a small Goth contingent.  They were all a bit like Dominic, in that they dressed the part and walked the walk.  Around 1994, a lot of that changed, the Goths sort evolved, and a new crowd emerged from them.  Yes they still dressed in black, yes they still wore the boots, the chains and the make up but some of them started getting piercings and the music that they listened to sounded a lot like metal.   Suddenly the singer from the Sisters of Mercy was no longer the Gothlord of Darkness but someone called Marilyn Manson was.

Thankfully, Marilyn Manson did not feature in any of the votes from the Musical Jury, which is good because I suspect I would have deleted them from my email queue if they did.  What did appear in the list were a bunch of bands that I had by and large never heard before, largely because they were all releasing records in the eighties, when most music was dreadful.  Incidentally, all the record sleeves from todays acts could have been (and perhaps were) designed by the same person.   

Anyway first up, were Play Dead, a band from Oxford, who gained a reputation on the live circuit following several high profile tours with other names in the Goth genre, like The Cult and The Sisters of Mercy – both of whom will feature here later this week.

15. The Tenant – Play Dead (1983, Jungle Records, Taken from ‘The First Flower’)

Next up, The Virgin Prunes.  The Virgin Prunes originate from Dublin and came out of the same (and I’ll quote this exactly) ‘Surrealist Street Gang’ that contained Bono, and the brother of The Edge (who was also in the Virgin Prunes).  It seemed that they were considered surrealists because they gave each other stupid nicknames.

The band had two singers, Gavin Friday (real name Fionan Harvey) and Guggi (real name Derek Rowen) and were known for their outrageous live shows.  But for the first time in this series, I have to ask, are they Goth? 

14. Pagan Lovesong – The Virgin Prunes (1982, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘Pagan Lovesong’ Single)

13. A Day – Clan of Xymox (1985, 4AD Records, Taken from ‘Clan of Xymox’)

Once on the way back from the pub one night a friend of mine played me about twenty seconds of music by Clans of Xymox, I hastily dismissed them as ‘Gothic Pomp Rock’.  A friendly argument ensured about whether Clan of Xymox were Goth or not.  About an hour later, when home, my friend told me to listen to their debut album, “Give it a proper listen” he said.   I pretended to do that and messaged back about four minutes later saying “Listened to some of it.  Definitely Goth”.

I’ve listened to that debut album a lot recently, it’s still Goth, but folks, it is really rather good.  He has decent taste my friend, he also opened my eyes to the brilliance of O.M.D’s ‘Dazzle Ships’ as well.  That is not Goth.

12. Snake Dance – The March Violets (1984, Rebirth Records, Taken from ‘Natural History)

The March Violets were from Leeds, used a drum machine, had echo laden guitars, doomy sounding basslines and a female backing vocalist.  They could have been the Sisters of Mercy , but in fact it turns out that every band from Leeds who were recording in the mid eighties sounded like that.  

Not convinced, well here is more evidence (although they don’t have a female backing singer or a drum machine)

11. The Rose of Avalanche – Velveteen (1986, Fire Records, Taken from ‘First Avalanche’)

The Rose of Avalanche were from Leeds, and claim that the Rose in their name depicts beauty and the Avalanche depicts the power of the music.  Which to be honest puts me off them before I have even pressed play.  But, actually ‘Velveteen’ is kind of excellent in a not very Goth kind of way.  It sounds more like the type of thing that Spacemen 3 were releasing about a year later when they released ‘Perfect Prescription’. 

Goth! Show Me Magic – #1 – Number 20 – 16

At the end of the One Word Title Countdown I asked another favour of the Musical Jury – “Tell me you five favourite Goth records” I chirped down the email wire to them.  It was at the time a good idea, but sadly nearly all of them voted for the same three records in their Top Fives, and thus rendered the whole idea quite pointless. 

Still I have scrabbled together a Top 20 of some kind and it kicks off with this modern day Gothic rock ‘banger’.  There is a great video accompanying it as well.

20. Marching Song – Esben and the Witch (2010, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Violet Cries’)

The first Goth I ever met, was called Dominic and he was friends with my brother.  He was the real deal.  He only wore black, he had massive hair, black nail varnish, chains, winkle picker shoes, bought his girlfriend black roses and pretty much only drank snakebite and black in the pub.  Soon after hanging around with Dominic my brother embraced the Goth world.  Out went his Bon Jovi tapes and his Police vinyl and in came various pieces of vinyl by Bauhaus, the Sisters of Mercy and The Danse Society along with some chains, black jeans, a trench coat and a pair of big old boots.

19. Godsend – The Danse Society (1982, Society Records Taken from ‘The Danse Society’)

(I have just remembered that the Sisters of Mercy headlined Reading 91 and I was there, so I reckon I probably met a couple of Goths there – anyway)

My brother went on holiday to Scarborough later that year, and met a girl, she was called Richelle or something like that – I suspect she was called Rachel but wanted to appear other worldly and strangely ethereal so she misspelled it deliberately.   They were for a week at least the only Goths on the Holiday Park and their romance blossomed over an old Siouxsie and the Banshees tape and a complete lack of anything else to do.  My brother for the record was a rubbish Goth given that he smoked Benson and Hedges and had long blonde hair.

A month or so later my brother met Richelle in London town at a club called The Underworld in Camden.  They went to see a band called Rosetta Stone, a band who were according to the press the ‘Future of Gothic Rock’.   Richelle, and this relationship, was, according to my brother the real thing (bearing in mind that his last girlfriend was a midget woman called Carol, who had a laugh like a pig being slowly tortured).  That was until Richelle stopped answering his letters and refused to return his calls.

18.  The Witch – Rosetta Stone (1992, Cleopatra Records, Taken from ‘Adrenaline Deluxe’)

About a month after there had been no contact, my brother embraced death metal and one day when I got home from college and went to play my Chapterhouse 12”, I found a copy of ‘More’ by The Sisters of Mercy next to it, his records had seemingly become mine. 

Goth is, judging by the responses I got from the MJ, it appears a wide and varied genre, for instance these two distinctly Non Goth records featured on at least one occasion

17. The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen (1984, Korova Records, Taken from ‘Ocean Rain’)

16. Requiem – Killing Joke (1980, EG Records, Taken from ‘Killing Joke’)

Major League Music – #28 -Miami Marlins

Miami – Foals (2010, Warner Records, Taken from ‘Total Life Forever’)

As I type the Major League has pushed on to the post season, which is not necessarily going by the book.  After a distinctly average season, The Phillies have come good at exactly the right time and have somehow managed to knock out the defending champion the Braves. Elsewhere the Padres in an incredible display of power hitting knocked out the Dodgers and the Mets.  Meaning that either Phillies or Padres will be in the World Series.

There they will be playing either Houston, who are looking exceeding good, having routed Seattle earlier in the week (Seattle having routed the Blue Jays) or The Guardians of Cleveland or the Bloody Yankees – that is tied at 2 games each with one to play (it having been delayed by rain).  The Houston Astros do appear to be coming good at the right time, but the Padres are looking excellent as well and sadly you can never write off the bloody Yankees.

The Miami Marlins are a relatively new baseball team having only been in existence for around 30 years.  They were formed in 1993 (as the Florida Marlins) and in 2012 they moved to a new stadium and changed their name permanently to the Miami Marlins.  Despite their short life, the Marlins have managed to win the World Series twice (1997 and 2003 both as Florida).

What is interesting about the Marlins success is that they have gone on to win the World Series after qualifying as a Wild Card.  They were the first team to do that, but it will be replicated this year if either the Phillies or the Padres go all the way.  The Marlins remain one of only two teams (the other being the Rockies) who have never won a division title.

Musically, Miami has always unsurprisingly been associated with latino music.  It has given the world people like Gloria Estefan and her Miami Sound Machine.  It also gave the world KC and his Sunshine Band, and various rappers such as Pitbull, Flo Rida, DJ Khaled and under the Black Rebel Motorcycle Clause, it also gave us Robert Van Winkle, who is the king, the big daddy, the OG of all rappers, Vanilla Ice.  The most amazing thing about Vanilla Ice, is that he has a pet goat called Pancho.

Hotel Room Service – Pitbull (2009, Polo Grounds Records, Taken from ‘Pitbull starring in Rebelution’)

In terms of guitars and such like, Miami hasn’t exactly set the world alight in recent years.  One the best indie bands to have come out of Miami in the last twenty years or so was The Brand.  They forged the harmonies of the Beach Boys with the slacker instincts of say Weezer and for a while they were very good indeed.

Trypophobia – The Brand (2017, Taken from ‘Fascinator’)

Before The Brand there was also Radioboxer who in 2011 released the very good indeed album ‘Magic City Ruse’. 

Rain is Gone – Radioboxer (2011, Flower Blade Records, Taken from ‘Magic City Ruse)

All of which brings us dragging and kicking to this weeks new and previously unheard of band who are the charmingly named Mold. They are a three piece who play in their words, anxiety infused psych noise rock. 

I Can See the Ghost – Mold (2021, self released, taken from ‘No Silence’)

Next week we head over to Milwaukee

Someone Else’s Nearly Perfect Albums – #6

This weeks guest nearly perfect album comes courtesy of Swiss Adam from the marvellous Bagging Area blog. A blog that is a big inspiration to me as well as one where I have been introduced to oodles of new and exciting music. A blog which I urge you all to check out.

The album of choice is one that was already on the long list of records that I was going to write about, but as you will see, and like all the other submissions in this excellent series, Adam has, reviewed it far better than I could ever do. Anyway, here’s Adam.

Echo And The Bunnymen ‘Crocodiles’

During the heatwave of August this year I agreed to write a couple of Nearly Perfect Album posts for this blog and asked to be drawn one at random. That threw up an album I have largely swerved since its release (no spoilers) and couldn’t very well write about as being nearly perfect. Another blogger agreed to do a swap with me and offered something much more up my street in return… Echo And The Bunnymen’s 1980 debut Crocodiles (a most un-heatwave record though, Crocodiles is much more suited to autumn).

Crocodiles is a fully realised debut album, dark and cocksure, a post- punk Scouse statement of intent. Built around the three-way democracy of the instruments- Will Sergeant’s jagged, textural guitar playing, mantras in place of solos, the monumental basslines of Les Pattinson and the urgent thumping of Pete de Freitas’ drums, a kind of icy, dark psychedelia splattered through the prism of post- punk Liverpool. Over this urgent brew Ian McCulloch sings of going up and going down, stars being stars, pictures on his wall, pride, monkeys, meeting at the barricades, low lights, knees hurting, mixing up the medicine, happy death men, hair slicked back and all that jazz. The front cover has four young men in austere demob coats, brooding in the woods at night. Manager Bill Drummond said that the tree Mac and Les are leaning against was the Bunny God, its twisted trunk a manifestation of the ears of a mighty rabbit deity. The cover sets the tone for what is inside. It is moody, bleak and despairing. It is also lit up, orange against black.

Going Up (and that’s the title to set out your stall with isn’t it?) opens the album, fading in on a wash of effects and drones before de Freitas cuts through with his floor toms. Will slashes through the murk and then Ian arrives, tongue in cheek, leaping in with the line, ‘ain’t thou watching my film…’. It builds intently, Ian imploring ‘let’s get the hell out of here’ before collapsing. The band recover for a slow burning post punk coda, Ian vaguely audible in the distance.

Going Up – Echo and the Bunnymen (1980, Korova Records)

Rescue was the group’s second single, a ringing descending guitar line and Mac’s psychodrama lyrics, hollering with both self-doubt and confidence. ‘Is this the blues I’m singing?’ he asks over and over as his three bandmates carve out a niche to bunker down in. They may have written and recorded better songs than Rescue in the years that followed but they never sounded more up for it.

Rescue – Echo and the Bunnymen (1980, Korova Records)

Villiers Terrace is the stuff of Bunny legend, a visit to an invented Liverpool address where they mix up the medicine and roll on the carpet, biting wool and pulling string. There are allusions to drugtaking (and at this point the Bunnymen didn’t indulge in much more than a few bevvies) and it may be partly inspired by stories of Hitler chewing the carpet as the Russians rolled towards the bunker. The band are on full power, piano added to the guitars, drums and bass. It’s all very urgent and driving.

Villiers Terrace – Echo and the Bunnymen (1980, Korova Records)

All That Jazz powers in almost like the record button was pressed a fraction too slowly. ‘Where the hell have you been?’ Ian asks, another question without an answer, as Pete thumps his drum kit. When Will starts slashing at his guitar the drama turns up a notch again and then the clanging guitar line over the chorus is a further shot of adrenaline. Les Pattison’s bass playing is stunning throughout entirely self-taught and playing upstrokes rather than the downstrokes most fledgling, self-taught bass players would go for, a distinct and powerful sound. The first chorus paints a picture at odds with the fringes and overcoats of the Bunnymen themselves, ‘waiting with our best suits on/ hair slicked back and all that jazz/ rolling up the Union Jack’. The dead stop ending is heart stopping too.

All That Jazz – Echo and the Bunnymen (1980, Korova Records)

Crocodiles closes with Happy Death Men, five minutes of discordant piano, tom toms, shattering glass and more pounding rhythms. ‘Happy Death Men/ stand in line’, inspired by seeing soldiers on TV, lines of them in busby helmets, not showing a flicker when one of them keels over, passed out. The music builds, Will Sergeant duelling with his amp, no solos but shards of Bunny guitar.

Happy Death Men – Echo and the Bunnymen (1980, Korova Records)

In the following four years the Bunnymen would go on to make at least one more Nearly Perfect Album (1984’s Ocean Rain, as close to perfect as it could be, maybe only denied it by the ‘c-c-c- cauliflower/ c-c-c- cucumber’ lines) and in 1981’s Heaven Up Here, an album which is, let’s face it, perfect in every way