….ing bands #8 – spinning coin

Raining on Hope Street – Spinning Coin (2017, Geographic Records, Taken from ‘permo’)

About twelve years ago, I used to go to something called spinning classes. This is for those of you who don’t know, basically sitting on an exercise bike whilst a lad young enough to be your son barks orders at you about “Cranking it up another level” while hi energy dance music blares about the place at an uncomfortably loud level.

You sit there and pedal, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and occasionally you have to rise out of the seat because apparently, we are “climbing the mountain”. Everyone groans, and wipes the sweat out of their eyes, their midriffs wobbling in time with the bikes, whilst the lad at the front barely breaks into a sweat and ‘Sex on Fire’ blares out in order to spur you on. I look around at the red faces of my colleagues and glance a look in the mirror at the front. If my Sex is on Fire then it is a rubbish one. I’ve never felt so unattractive.

Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon (2008, RCA Records, Taken from ‘Only by the Night’)

I have no idea why I signed up for these classes. I enjoyed the first one, it was something different but by the fourth class I knew all the words to various Katy Perry and Swedish House Mafia songs, and that was never a place I wanted to be.

I walked into my fifth spinning class a bit early, and there was only one other person in there. I exchanged the usual pleasantries. The chap looks vaguely familiar, he wasn’t here last week though. I select a bike at the back because after chatting with a bloke after the class last week, have realised that if you sit at the back, the instructor cannot tell which level you are on, so you can in effect take it easy. Or cheat if you like.

A few women enter the room and the newbie says hello and the ladies all say hi back and then there is some whispering. More people join us, and again they all start whispering when the new guy says hello to them. I know this guy from somewhere I’m sure of it. One of the regulars is talking to him now, and he is posing for a photograph with them, even the instructor is getting in on the act now. Then it dawns on me who this chap is.

He is a television presenter. He is fairly famous – in fact he is far more famous now than he was then, but even so, famous enough for women and men in lycra to get a bit giddy with excitement just by being in the same room as them. He is he tells us in town ‘recording’. I sit there on my bike whilst everyone talks to the presenter. A man comes over to me and asks if the presenter is “somebody important or something”. I pretend I have no idea. I am also relieved that I am not the only one who isn’t queuing for a photo with him.

Eventually the class gets going and its awful. Normally the instructor sits there and barks orders at us. Today he sings along to the music and encourages everyone to join in. He looks me square in the eye when he notices that I am not singing along to whatever cheesy pop song is playing at the time, “You at the back, I can’t hear you” he yells – and everyone looks at me. I frown and pedal slightly faster.

Spinning Coin are a band from Glasgow who are signed to the Geographic Label (or were). A label owned by members of the Glasgow indie band The Pastels. Spinning Coin sound a lot like The Pastels, which is of course a very good thing indeed.

Albany – Spinning Coin (2016, Geographic Records, Taken from ‘Albany’ single)

Crawl Babies – The Pastels (1986, Glass Records, Taken from ‘Up for a Bit with the Pastels’

Major League Music – #11 – Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona – Kings of Leon (2007, RCA Records)

There is a terrific bar around the corner from Chase Field, the home stadium of the Phoenix D-Backs.  Its called the Salty Senorita and back in 2009, when I was there, you could buy a bucket containing eight bottles of Corona and a dustbin sized plate of Nachos for just over $15. I very much doubt that deal is still on the table.  It was in this bar that I watched (well it was on in the background) Game 4 of the 2009 World Series, which inevitably the Yankees won. 

The Diamondbacks are a relatively new baseball team.  Having been only played their first game in 1998.  They finished dead last in their first season but by their fourth in 2001, the team had progressed and went on to win the World Series.  It remains their only championship to date.

In recent years the Diamondbacks haven’t fared that well, with only one post season appearance in the last ten years (and they lost that to Dodgers) and right now there is nothing to suggest that is going to change, as they sit fourth in their division (out of five) as I type they have just been thrashed by the San Diego Padres.

Musically, Phoenix has been hailed as something of a rock mecca. In the 1960’s it certainly saw a boom in art rock bands when acts like Alice Cooper (back then he was in a sort of Beatles tribute band called the Earwigs) and The Tubes started playing regular gigs in the city and by 1966, they were called The Spiders and were having relative success.

Don’t Blow Your Mind – The Spiders (1966, Mascot Records)

Elsewhere in Phoenix, one of the biggest bands to have emerged from the city in recent years are Jimmy Eat World (although they are from Mesa, which is close enough).  After three albums of being largely ignored, the band achieved their breakthrough in 2001, when they released their fourth album ‘Bleed American’.  The biggest single from that was ‘The Middle’ and it’s a jaunty little punk pop affair.

The Middle – Jimmy Eat World (2001, Interscope Records)

But for me by far the best musical export to have come out of Phoenix is CeCe Peniston who almost reached number one in 1991 with possibly the only CeCe Peniston track that anyone can remember ‘Finally’.

Finally – CeCe Peniston (1991, Polydor Records)

And this weeks new band have been clawed back from the boundary ropes of obscurity, after first being thwacked down the ground by James Vince, to the relatively safety of long off, is Barefoot, who make “hook-centric, soaring indie rock in the vein of Thrice”, but as ever we will be the judge of that.

Air You Call- Barefoot (2021, Self Released)

….ing bands #4 Kings of Leon

Mollys Chambers – Kings of Leon (2003, Sony Records)

I was squashed inside the New Band tent at Glastonbury on a Saturday afternoon the last time I saw the Kings of Leon.  I can imagine that it will be a long time before I see them play anywhere like that again as they are more likely to be headlining than playing a relatively small tent.  I am also guessing that if that ever happens I probably won’t want to see the Kings of Leon anyway.

It was about two weeks before the bands debut album ‘Youth and Young Manhood’ was due for release (but the reviews had already been incredible and it Is a record that if it were not for the awful honky tonk toss fest that is ‘Talihina Sky’ that ends it would have crept its way into the Nearly Perfect category) but the band had been tearing up the UK and the day before the festival, The Guardian, pretty much the go to place for decent unbiased music reviews back then, called the band:

the kind of authentic, hairy rebels the Rolling Stones longed to be”

Seemingly about 750,000 read that review and agreed because nearly all of them were trying to get into the New Band Tent (Now the John Peel Stage) on that afternoon. 

And of course, the band were amazing live. For once the hype appeared to be justified.  By the time, about 20 minutes later the band played the extraordinarily brilliant ‘Holy Roller Novocaine’ the crowd was pretty much whipped up into a frenzy.  Each song, whether we knew it or not was greeted with rapturous applause and everyone just stood there chanting “Leon, Leon, Leon” it was all a bit primal to be honest but at the same everyone in that tent, knew we were witnessing something very special indeed.  I saw a lot of bands that weekend, but none of them even got even remotely close to topping that gig.  Still to this day one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Holy Roller Novocaine – Kings of Leon (2003, Sony Records)

The Kings of Leon were back then incredible, incendiary live shows, tremendous dress sense, even better facial hair and the tunes and swagger to match all that.  They looked and acted like rockstars.

Spiral Staircase – Kings of Leon (2003, Sony Records)

All of which we know. 

What we don’t know of course, is why in the name of everything that is sane and holy did the band manage to go from being the new improved Rolling Stones to the sort of band who record dire shitshows like this

Waste A Moment – Kings of Leon (2016, Sony Records)

in just over ten years….