A Month all about Names – #15 – Annie/Anne

Annie – Elastica (1994, Deceptive Records, Taken from ‘Elastica’)

When I was 12 my school for its end of year production did a performance of the musical Annie.  A show that I was persuaded to take part in.  I was persuaded to take part by a girl called Claire who lived down the road from my Nan who was a couple of years older than me and who I had, it is fair to say, something of a crush on and I think she probably knew it and used to her advantage knowing that the choir (some of whom doubled up as random orphan children) were a couple of short. I was awful in it, the music teacher (the aforementioned Mrs Allington from a couple of weeks ago) recognised my complete lack of singing voice shunted me to the back of the stage where my voice would be drowned out by the music and other more tuneful voices.  Claire, by the way, played the part of evil Agatha Hannigan, the boozed up manager of the orphanage where Annie lived before she was adopted by billionaire Daddy Warbucks.  Claire, was excellent in this role, unsurprisingly.  This was my first and last ever performance in a musical.  Claire hooked up with a blonde haired kid called Gareth about six weeks into my second year at school.  Gareth also lived down the road from my Nan and my brother gave him a dead arm once during a game of it. 

I have always found the premise of the musical Annie, a bit concerning.  Even more so these days.  A billionaire whose nickname is ‘Daddy’ sends his secretary into an orphanage and randomly chooses an orphaned vulnerable child to live with him for a week.  There are no criminal background checks made, no one raises an eyebrow as to why a reclusive billionaire, might suddenly want a child (a massively ginger female chid at that) to talk to.  No one even checks that Daddy Warbucks is actually a billionaire like he says he is.   Dodgy.

There are quite a few Annie songs (none from the Musical or the utterly terrible remake starring Jamie Foxx – actually whilst I am here, the original Daddy Warbucks was played by Albert Finney, but he was the second choice for the role.  The original choice was Sean Connery.  Also film fans, Sean Connery was the original choice to play Gandalf but turned it down because he thought ‘Lords of the Rings’ was far fetched. 

Anyway I digress.  Here are four more songs from the music library with Annie in the title, starting with some post rock brilliance from Quickspace.

Death + Annie – Quickspace (1998, Kitty Kitty Records, Taken from ‘Precious Falling’) – ‘Death + Annie’ is the opening track of ‘Precious Falling’, which was an ‘album I played in the run up to my finals when I was University, it is a wonderful blend of Krautrock, post rock and sweeping cinematic soundscapes.  Next up, the Boo Radleys

Annie & Marnie – Boo Radleys (1998, Creation Records, Taken from ‘C’Mon Kids’) – ‘Annie & Marnie’ was originally one of the B Sides for the ‘What’s In the Box’ single.  A single that saw the band roundly stick up their middle fingers to the more commercial sound that their previous album ‘Wake Up Boo!’ had.  It was a good move because the album that followed ‘What’s In the Box’ – ‘C’mon Kids’ was all sorts of excellent (unlike ‘Wake Up Boo!’).  Next up, some lofi indie from Mac DeMarco.

Annie – Mac DeMarco (2012, Captured Tracks, Taken from ‘2’) – ‘2’ is the second album from Canadian singer Mac DeMarco and is according to him an album that he recorded entirely in only his underwear.  Finally, vintage transit pop from the greatest French band of all time (face facts Daft Punk).

Without Annie – Les Thugs (1986, Closer Records, Taken from ‘Radical Hystery’)

Tomorrow – Julie, who whoa whoa loves me truly.  Probably.

Retrospective Musical Naval Gazing – #3 (1993)

In 1993 I was at college and my end of year lists were written on the reverse of some old Sociology notes all about Robert Merton and his theories of Anomie.  It was a great year for music but what stands out is not what is on that list but what isn’t.  The Boo Radleys don’t feature, Bjork doesn’t feature, Suede don’t feature, The Breeders don’t even feature and if (and possibly when) and my list is rewritten, this is the one year that would almost certainly be entirely changed.  1993 is undoubtedly influenced by my girlfriend at the time.

Pushing all those missed opportunities to one side, this, topped my Top Ten.

Today – Smashing Pumpkins (1993, Hut Records, Taken from ‘Siamese Dream’) – which was for about three months everywhere.  It was the track that all the cool people in all the cool pubs were dancing to.  It has one of those guitar riffs that is instantly recognisable (if you forget that another band Stiltskin ripped it off chord for chord about two months after it was released and went straight in at number one) and is one of the few tracks from grunge explosion of 1992 and 1993 that has stood the test of time.  Talking of which let’s look at the track at Number Two.

Sodajerk – Buffalo Tom (1993, Beggars Banquet Records, Taken from ‘Big Red Letter Day’)

In 1993, Buffalo Tom were something of a well kept secret, despite the fact that they had played on the main stage of the Reading Festival and had in the previous two years released a series of essential singles that should have turned them into one of the biggest bands in the world but for some reason unbeknownst to the entire human world, they did not.

1993 was the year that I turned eighteen.  I remember having a small party on the edge of some woods.  We had a few bottles of cider, a tinny stereo and some home made cake.  My girlfriend made me a tape for that party and that tape dominated the party due to it being more relevant and exciting than anything on offer that evening.  That tape which rose to legendary status in our friendship group, provided the tracks at numbers three, six and nine on my end of year Top Ten.

At Number Three was this: –

Thundersley Invacar – Collapsed Lung (1993, Deceptive Records, Single) – A Thundersley Invacar was a small (usually) blue car designed especially for those with disabilities, my wife’s grandad had one.  Collapsed Lung were a kind of half rap half grebo act who a few years later would become household names when they had a hit with ‘Eat My Goal’.  ‘Thundersley Invacar’ was one of their first singles but it definitely wasn’t the third best record released in 1993.  It might scrap into the Top Thirty if I were to rewrite this list.

Something else that probably wouldn’t make the Top Fifty if I rewrote this list would be this track sitting at Number six: –

Eject – Senser (1993, Ultimate Records, Taken from ‘Stacked Up’)

I remember absolutely raving about the debut album by Asian Dub Foundation when it came out in 1998 and sending tracks from it to a mate of mine who sent me a letter (remember letters, they were great) telling me that “Asian Dub Foundation are shameless Senser rip off merchants”).  They weren’t they were much better.  Number six, what the hell was I thinking?

The only track from the list from 1993 that might be in the right place on the original list was the track at Number Nine

Stutter – Elastica (1993, Deceptive Records, Taken from ‘Elastica’)

The One Word Countdown – #40

A Rhumba Involving Three Girls….

Connection – Elastica (1995, Deceptive Records, Taken from ‘Elastica’)

Points 103

By and large the decision as to which song to include in the countdown was mostly easy.  It wasn’t quite so for Elastica.

Breaking with convention, I’m going to start with the one word title that got away as it was ‘Stutter’ that got me into Elastica.  I adore its punky brilliance and it was almost impossible to choose between them. 

Stutter – Elastica (1995, Deceptive Records, Taken from ‘Elastica’)

I loved the fact that Elastica were clearly ripping off 80s post punk bands like Wire and the Stranglers, yet still managed to sound fresh and exciting.  Of course, both Wire and The Stranglers, perhaps, seeing pound signs, quickly issued legal papers (which the band settled out of court).

Despite the obviously influences, musically, at least, Elastica didn’t really sound like any of the other bands that they were being lumped in with by the press (according to the Melody Maker, they sounded like Oasis, who Justine Frischmann described famously as making ‘plodding classic rock power ballads’, something which wasn’t that far from the truth.  The response to that was a less than favourable review in the Melody Maker – which used the title ‘This Charmless Twang’).

For all the brilliance of ‘Stutter’ and ‘Line Up’, ‘Connection’ is archetypal Elastica.  It has that usual ferociousness that Elastica had come to rely on, a thrashy guitar riff, a frantic bass (stolen this time from Wire’s  ‘Three Girl Rhumba’), but this has added guttural grunting and a whole lot of very suggestive thrusting going on, add that to taunting lyrics, it’s a sweaty two minutes of excellence.

There was one other track by Elastica that I did consider, but in reality it was never going to get the nod above ‘Stutter’ or ‘Connection’ but Blue by Elastica is also a fine track.

Blue – Elastica (1995, Deceptive Records, taken from ‘Elastica’)

We may as well see and hear why Wire got so annoyed with Elastica.

Three Girl Rhumba – Wire (1977, Harvest Records, Taken from ‘Pink Flag’)

I Am the Fly – Wire (1978, Harvest Records, Taken from ‘Chairs Missing’)

Its fairly obvious really, especially on ‘Three Girl Rhumba’.  I always expect that grunting noise to kick in every time I hear it. It really raises the question as to what on Earth Elastica thought they were doing.

The Ramshackle Brilliance of the Chart Show Indie Chart #1

The indie chart rundown on Saturday Lunchtime Music Programme ‘The Chart Show’ was brilliantly ramshackle and had a real cobbled together feel to it, bands names were often spelt wrong, the wrong videos were played for the wrong songs, the snippets that appeared on the screen would seem to be made up – for example

When he is not performing on stage, singer Robert Smith likes hot air ballooning over Cheshire, walking his poodle Trevor and challenging his wife to a jaffa cake eating contest”.

But it was for about five minutes every three Saturdays, indie music heaven and some genius has plopped a load of these on You Tube, if I had a hat, I would tip in your direction Sir.

What I thought would be fun is to select a random Chart Show Indie Top Ten, obviously I can’t show the videos – but I can talk about the music that features within the You Tube Clips if that makes sense ….I’ve started with the chart from March 11th 1995. 

So cue the weird fairground horse carousel montage that they used to introduce the chart……

The first three records are all going down the chart and we are treated to about ten seconds of each before a big FFWD button speeds them off.  They are all by acts who start with an E.  Eat Static are at ten, and looking by them, they have probably ingested a fair few E’s of the own, they are replaced by Edwyn Collins who is replaced by this

Waking Up – Elastica (1995, Deceptive Records)

After Elastica is another band who start with an E.  Eight Story Window.  Now in 1995, I was all over the music scene, I was at the time probably arranging gigs and I was definitely receiving around thirty different records a week to review for the student rag.  I have never heard of Eight Story Window, not then and not now.  Why the Chart Show played this I have no idea.  Songwhip appear to have nothing by Eight Story Window so I can’t post anything by them –  but I can guarantee you wouldn’t have liked it anyway.  

After about two minutes ‘I Will’ by Eight Story Window is booted (that by the way is the most press that Eight Story Window have had in 26 years) and they are replaced briefly by ‘No More Affairs’ by Tindersticks, which is going up the chart, it doesn’t stop it getting the boot after about eight seconds where it is replaced by

Rattled By The Rush – Pavement (1995, Matador Records)

Which is also going up the chart but we only get to hear ten seconds or so before that too is booted for another climber.  I mean they could have played that or indeed the track at four instead of Eight Story bloody Window.  The song at number four is

Kung Fu – Ash (1995, Infectious Records)

As you will see as this series progresses, Ash and Pavement would appear to be indie’s Poison because they seem to be on every single indie chart run down that I’ve watched.  Even when they have stopped releasing records.

After nine seconds, ‘Kung Fu’ gets the heave ho and is replaced with number 3 which is

Solitary Party Groover – Drugstore (1995, Roadrunner Records)

Which again is going up but is not played.  Drugstore were very much underrated and are much missed around these parts. 

When I watched this video for the first time, I was genuinely excited by what could be in the top two – this is March 1995, the height of the all conquering Britpop, surely we are getting Oasis or Pulp or Blur (or the ones signed to an indie at least)….Nope we are getting Salad.   And not good Salad either – and I’m fairly sure by the time this was released Salad were signed to a major.  

Drink the Elixir – Salad (1995, Island Records)

Which thankfully leaves the screen quickly and ushers in the Number 1 indie record and again its massively disappointing.  Britpop Boo Radleys were not a great thing.  I think even they would agree with me.

Wake Up Boo – Boo Radleys (1995, Creation)

They get the full video treatment the snippets tell us that Sice from the band likes being thrown over the edge of Niagara Falls in a barrel and that Martin Carr is a Morris Dancer at the weekend and then it too is fast forwarded and something by The Corrs come on.