A week of tracks from a pile of CDs that were at the front of the Cupboard – #5

Before the Internet and social media in general, keeping in contact with your favourite bands was decidedly tricky. When I started to properly listen to music, there was generally speaking an address on the back of your record or CD in which you could write to the band.  This generally meant having your name added to a database and every now and again you would get something through the post.  Essentially it was a mailing list masquerading as a fan club but some bands used to send you brilliant things. 

The Frank and Walters for instance used to send out flexi discs every so often that you would have to weigh down on your record player with a 2p coin in order to make them play properly.

Happy Busman – The Frank and Walters (1992, Go! Discs, Taken from ‘Trains, Boats and Planes”)

Other bands used their mailing list fan clubs to surprise people.   Spiritualized once sent a 7 inch record to 500 people on their mailing list.  It was a specially recorded version of ‘I Want You’ with a shortened version of ‘Feel So Sad’ on the B Side – I know this because my mate John got one through the post and I didn’t.  Each one was individually stamped and it was a thing of absolute beauty.  I did one get a much coveted green lolly from the Ludicrous Lollipops though.

Feel So Sad (7 inch version) – Spiritualized (1991, Dedicated Records)

The Manic Street Preachers used to send fan club members free tickets to their shows – they did this for every tour up until the release of ‘The Holy Bible’ although I was a member of their fan club from about a week after the original release of ‘You Love Us’ I never ever got a free ticket.  

In 1994, to promote the release of their single ‘How Does It Feel to Feel?’, Ride played a gig at a tiny venue in London (the Highbury Garage, capacity 600) and made the gig only available to fan club members.  Tickets were £5 each and every person who bought one got to appear in the video to the new single.  You can see me (or my hair at least) flying through the air at around the 85 second mark should you be interested.

How Does It Feel to Feel? – Ride (1994, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Carnival of Light’)

That gig was the first time that I ever went to a gig on my own.  I wasn’t supposed to be going on my own, but my mate John couldn’t come as his dad had grounded him after finding three bags of high quality skunk in his underwear drawer. 

The second gig that I attended on my own was also a secret gig that wasn’t a fan club but one that had been announced quietly in a small advert in the Melody Maker.  In October 1994 Dinosaur Jr announced a gig at again the Garage in London and tickets would only be available on the door.  So I stuck a notice up in the students union to see if anyone wanted to come along and at 5pm on the day of the gig I waited in the Union for twenty minutes for all the grunge kids to turn up and no one did.  So I went on me own and they were great.

All of which brings us to the final CD from the pile at the front of the cupboard because the CD directly underneath the Dodgy Greatest Hits album is ‘Bug’ by Dinosaur Jr.

No Bones – Dinosaur Jr (1988, Blast First Records)

Budge – Dinosaur Jr (1988, Blast First Records)

(oh and with the exception of yesterdays post, which was a slightly recycled post from a piece that I wrote for but never sent to the Vinyl Villain about two years ago, all of the tracks that have appeared this week are taken from one of the ten new series that will grace this blog this year.  Yep TEN. And that doesn’t include next week, in which I attempt to somehow blend the art of the short story with a music blog)

The Sunday Shuffle – #18

Freak Scene – Dinosaur Jr (1988, SST Records)

More running this morning.  I decided that whatever song was playing the moment I reached three miles would be the selected song – and I was rather pleased when this absolute stone cold classic fired up around just before. 

For a song that is just over three and a half minutes long it is chock full of wonderful moments.  For instance, that guitar bit at the start, that is now, probably one of the most instantly recognisable intros in alternative rock.  Back when I was lad, just hearing two seconds of that fire up would be enough to send me running to the dancefloor to entertain people with my Kermit in a Blender Impression.  

Then you have the riff.  Or rather, the first riff.  A riff so big that you can park a bus in it.  It jumps in from literally nowhere at thirty seconds and then explodes again about eight seconds later into this ridiculously heavy section that jangles away like a heavy rock version of the Troggs.   Ah man its so wonderful. 

Not quite as wonderful as the break that occurs around one minute in, when the heaviness is almost forgotten, and a pop song emerges as guitars strum away like something on Postcard Records and the vocals go all summery until J Mascis forgets all that and brings in that riff.

Or riff number two if you like, a whirling, snarly beast of riff that literally snaps the song in half like an angry elephant stomping through a wood.  Its one of rocks music finest 40 seconds and that almost gently brings us to the line that launched a thousand club nights called ‘Freakscene’ across the land – you know the one….

Just don’t let me fuck up will you, cos when I need a friend It’s still you

Just Immense.

Randomly Shuffled Songs #2

Headache – METZ (2012, Sub Pop Records, Taken from ‘METZ’)

The great thing about Random Shuffles is that on occasion your phone, iPod and other device that plays music will throw up something that you had long since forgotten about. Enter METZ, and in particular their debut record, which, is also called ‘METZ’.

It was a record I played an awful lot when it first came out, but haven’t really listened to since 2017. At the time I really liked its ferociousness and the sheer pace of the whole thing. You get ten songs in less than 30 minutes and I totally accept that they might not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you ask me there is something beautifully chaotic about their music.

Of course METZ is also a city in France, so this can also be the second instalment in the “Bands Who Have A City In Their Name” series, that I am not really doing yet.

METZ do not hail from the city that they are named after, but rather are from Ottawa in Canada. Their music has been described as sludge punk. I’m not sure what that is or whether there is or ever has been a thriving sludge punk scene. If you want a lazy comparison METZ sound like those early Dinosaur Jr records which were I imagine highly influential in the sludge punk world, particularly as they were writing songs about sludge back then.

Sludgefeast – Dinosaur Jr (1987, SST Records, Taken from You’re Living All Over Me’)