Desert Island Dick – 2

Never Understand – Jesus and Mary Chain (1985, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Psychocandy’)

It dawned on me on the walk home from the village shop that I probably wouldn’t be able to write about the Jesus and Mary Chain or various other bands in the Parish Magazine either.  The devilish side of me wanted to put ‘Reverence’ on the list just because of the chorus, but sense soon kicked in, because in reality, no one who is remotely serious about music would take ‘Reverence’ to a desert island, particularly if you have every other Jesus and Mary Chain track to choose from, which I did.  

If I was actually on the proper Desert Island Discs, the Jesus and Mary Chain track that I would select would ‘Never Understand’ for two reasons.  Firstly, obviously, because it’s a bloody chaotic mess of a song and every second of it is brilliant because of the chaotic mess that is swirling around it.  The second reason is because when it gets dark and the wild beasties start circling around my little camp, having the ability to play this as loud as possible for a few minutes a day would probably scare off even the hardest of hungry flesh eating mammals.

Talking of scaring off terrifying carnivores, if I had to choose a bunch of songs that I would take to a desert island that I could play to stop me being eaten alive, then after ‘Never Understand’ had finished it would be swiftly followed by a quick blast of My Bloody Valentine– and by the way – that is a series just waiting to be written “Songs to stop you being eaten alive”.

You Made Me Realise – My Bloody Valentine (1988, Creation Records, taken from ‘You Made Me Realise EP’)

‘You Made Me Realise’ is colossal, a brain achingly noisy, reverb inspired, ear splittingly incredible song.  The musical equivalent of being stood on the middle of Dartmoor as hailstones the size of golf balls fall all around you.  Dangerously brilliant in other words.

On the way home I discounted about seventy songs from my final list of three, some I tossed aside like old crisp packets, like this one for instance, I mean it’s great and I love it to absolute bits but would I want it on a desert island as the darkness rolled in, probably not.

Territorial Pissings – Nirvana (1991, Geffen Records, Taken from ‘Nevermind’)

Others my conscious wrestled with me like Tarzan meeting a crocodile whilst swimming across a lake. 

The Rat – The Walkmen (2004, Record Collection Records, Taken from ‘Bows + Arrows’)

Seriously several villagers lives would be enriched by them exploring that song and it shames me that it didn’t make the final list.

There were also one or two songs that I had to discount because the reasons for picking them are simply way too personal to share with retired colonels, shop keepers, gardeners and farmers.  Songs that were I interesting and/or famous enough to be on the real Desert Island Discs I would be able to weave an emotional tale of what that record meant to be, whilst grannies around the country adjusted their embroidered pillows which have my face on them and remarked about what a lovely chap I am.

Songs like this

Summer Babe (Winter Version) – Pavement (1991, Big Cat Records, Taken from ‘Slanted and Enchanted’)

And definitely this

Shine A Light – Spiritualized (1991, Dedicated Records, Taken from ‘Laser Guided Melodies’)

Which left me by the time I got home, with three tracks and tomorrow I’ll share the final piece that I wrote for the Parish Magazine.

A Month Curated by A Ten Year Old #11

Wildfire – SBTRKT (featuring Little Dragon) (2011, Young Turks Records, Taken from ‘SBTRKT’)

why is he wearing a mask?” asks my daughter as the next song in the shuffle erm, shuffles into view, “Does he had Covid?”

The man in the mask is the DJ and producer behind the mysterious dance act SBTRKT.  A chap who is known to his parents as Aaron Jerome but prefers to remain (slightly at least) anonymous when performing and DJing – hence the use of masks – many of which are modern interpretations of ceremonial masks wore by members of the native societies around the world (if Native societies is the right word).

I relay this back to my daughter, and she looks a bit blank and we spend the next half an hour or so looking on the Internet at the different types of masks worn in various African and South American communities.  We learn about African rituals such as the Goli masquerade which is performed by the Bauole people of the Ivory Coast at funerals and other important occasions.  A single performance of this dance can last an entire day.

Wait…A dance that lasts an entire day” she repeats, I nod and she shakes her head “Crazy people” she tuts sagely. I think about debating with her about what the Bauole people might think about some of our dances but I think better of it and tell her instead about the time her mother and I stayed up all night dancing at a club in Brighton as various bands and DJs threw big beats and tweaking acid house in our general direction.  We danced to things like this

Cowgirl – Underworld (1994, Junior Boy’s Own Records, Single)

Well I say danced, I mainly stood around tapping a foot in time to the music, whilst smoking a cigarette and trying to look unfathomably cool.  I probably failed.  I also may have shrugged a few shapes to this though

Secrets – Sunscreem (1996, Whirling Records, Taken from ‘Change Or Die’)

As the sun came up for the next morning we strolled along the beach and grabbed breakfast in a café and then fell asleep on the train home. 

The track that follows SBTRKT is by an act that I know very little about apart from the fact that Steve Lamacq always plays her music. 

Oh, M’s (name changed) big sister listens to this, she’s really cool.  She’s an emo and she also likes someone called Nirvana”. 

M is my daughters best friend and her big sister is just about 13.  I offer to play my daughter some Nirvana but she is too busy singing along to this.

Club Cougar – Nadine Shah (2020, Infectious Records, Taken from ‘Kitchen Sink’)

I suddenly feel every one of my 47 years so I listen I go and listen to Nirvana in the lounge on CD.

Come As You Are – Nirvana (1993, Geffen Records, Taken from ‘In Utero’)

Tomorrow – Eat Lights, Become Lights

Retrospective Musical Naval Gazing – #1 (1991)

The recent rundown of the best tracks of the year has sent me into some sort of musical nostalgic revelry.  I have for the past month or so been compiling list of playlist of my favourite tracks from every year since 1991.  These may or may not turn into some sort of series over the coming months but until then, over the next few weeks I will present five or six tracks one from each year 1991 to 2021 of the songs that made my end of year top tens.

Let’s start with music that is now well over thirty years old, and if that doesn’t make at least one of you feel utterly ancient then I’m going to give up and go and live out my days in a comfy home and watch daytime telly.

1991 was a landmark year for me, for a start it was the year that I became a proper music aficionado.  It was the year I started going to gigs with mates and the year that I kind of threw off the shackles of childhood and starting investigating girls, cigarettes, alcohol and staying out later that ten pm. It saw, according to last three pages of my old CDT text book, brilliant life changing music releases from Nirvana, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, Leatherface, The Wonderstuff and the KLF but the track that topped my singles of the year list was this: –

Pearl – Chapterhouse (1991, Dedicated Records, Taken from ‘Whirlpool’)

Which is still sounds brilliant today.  The drum sample, the whispered vocals, the feedback laden guitars, everything.  In the summer of 1991, shoegaze sounded fresher and more exciting than pretty much anything that I had listened to before.  That was of course until the Reading Festival when Nirvana arrived on a Friday afternoon played before Chapterhouse and killed the scene dead.

Nirvana featured in the Top Ten as well, with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ being placed quite low at Number Seven.

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana  (1991, Geffen Records, Taken from ‘Nevermind’)

At number two in my rundown that year was this:-

The Concept – Teenage Fanclub (1991, Creation Records, Taken from ‘Bandwagonesque’)

It was the brilliant run of singles lifted from ‘Bandwagonesque’ that made me start to enforce the One Song per Band rule, because below ‘The Concept’ at Number five was ‘Starsign’ such was the draw of ‘Bandwagonesque’ at the time.

Elsewhere in the Top Ten at Number Three and Nine respectively were these two blasts of indie pop marvellousness.

Size of A Cow – The Wonderstuff (1991, Polydor Records, Taken from ‘Never Loved Elvis’) – I listened to ‘Never Loved Elvis’ again the other day and I’d forgotten just how must reliance there was on fiddles and mandolins running through it.

After the Watershed – Carter USM (1991, Rough Trade Records, Single) – Of course, Carter USM would be catapulted into musical history a few weeks later when live on TV at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, Fruitbat would suddenly fly through the air and rugby tackle a clearly baffled Philip Schofield to the floor.

100 Songs with One Word Titles (55 – 51)

And so our jaunty hike through the lower regions of the Greatest Songs with One Word Titles comes to an end.  We’ve reached the virtual café at the end of the path if you like.  Next week I will deal with one number a day, but before then there are of course a few loose ends to tie up.  The song that was lying in 8th place after five votes were counted, was ‘Hysteria’ by Muse but then thankfully the Gods of Common Sense intervened and the normal bashing of prog rock mentalists from South Devon begun.   Moving on….

55. Sliver – Nirvana (1990, Sub Pop Records, Taken from ‘Incesticide’)

About halfway through ‘Sliver’ you can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment that Nirvana crossed from being a Black Sabbath influenced rock band into a more punk orientated band with one eye on success.  Whilst I will happily admit that it was ‘Nevermind’ and more probably ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ that gave me my first introduction to Nirvana (although I did see their 1991 Reading Show), it was ‘Sliver’ on 12” that actually turned my head as to how amazing they were.

54. Sun – Caribou (2010, City Slang Records, Taken from ‘Swim’)

‘Sun’ is a terrific blast of throbbing tech house.  It bleeps and tweeks and sparkles, whilst a techno house beat throbs away wonderfully.  It’s kind of the musical equivalent of walking through a wood at dusk, as the sunlight breaks through the trees every now again. The distorted voice that just repeats the word ‘Sun’ over and over again adds to the dazzling nature.

53. Original – Leftfield (1995, Sony Music, Taken from ‘Leftism’)

A track that only featured on here a few days ago, when the magnificent ‘Leftism’ was given the ‘Nearly Perfect’ Treatment.  I’ll repeat myself a bit if that’s ok .  ‘Original’ is magnificent, it was back in 1995 when it first surfaced and it remains so today.  It is a slow paced dubhop (If that even exists) that is brooding and menacing and Toni Halliday from Curve never sounded as good as she did here.

52. Windowlicker – Aphex Twin (1999, Warp Records)

‘Windowlicker’ was according to Richard D James, inspired by eerie lounge music that soundtracks porn films.  Whether this actually true or not is anyone’s guess.  Remember Richard D James once started the rumour that he told Madonna that the he would only remix one of her songs if she let him record her grunting like a pig, and people believed that.  Although it is absolutely possible that ‘Windowlicker’ is inspired by porn soundtracks because it is downright sleazy and full of distorted groans of some form of carnal pleasure (and its bloody ace).

And finally…

51. Queen – Perfume Genius (2014, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Too Bright’) The bottom half of the Top 100 is topped by the wonderful ‘Queen’ by Perfume Genius, another track that has already been on this blog once already – as part of the not very much missed but definitely coming back ‘Never Ending Playlist’ in the early ‘ramshackle’ days of No Badger Required. Its one of the few songs that exist that have a wordless chorus, with Mike Hadreaus just letting a tuneful groan. 

Major League Music = #6 – Seattle Mariners

Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle – Nirvana (1993,DGC Records)

On occasion in this series, I am lucky enough to be able to call upon the services of a couple of people who I happen to know live in the cities (or near at least) that I am featuring.  Today I am featuring Seattle, and that means I get to introduce you all to Joe. 

I’ve never met Joe, physically at least.  I’ve met him on Zoom a bunch of times, and in meetings that are supposed to be about quite important stuff, we spend about 45 minutes of the allowed hour talking about music and baseball.  He is a huge Seattle Mariners fan and an ardant supporter of the local music scene.  So today’s bit about the baseball team, at least two of the tracks and the new local band recommendation all come from him.  Here he is…

The last time I saw the Mariners play in a post season match I was 18 years old.  They lost to the New York Yankees (more of them next week – SWC).  That was in 2001.  Since 2001, I’ve got married (twice), had two kids, three dogs, nine cars, a mortgage, travelled the world, been in four bands, punched Macauley Culkin (long slightly libellous story, probably for another time – SWC) and got a full time job.  You might think that clearly I’ve been too busy to watch the Mariners in the World Series.  Nope, they’ve never been past the divisional section since 2001.  Heck, they’ve never been to the world series.  Ever.  I love the Mariners, but they suck.  Actually, at times I love the Mariners because they suck. 

Music in Seattle doesn’t suck though.  Jimi Hendrix for example was born in Seattle, and we gave the world Nirvana, Sub Pop Records, The Sonics, Tiny Vipers, Mudhoney, Band of Horses, The Posies and a host of others. On the downside we also gave the world and I hope I get the phrase right ‘sax wanker’ Kenny G (Pretty much spot on Joe – SWC), no matter how many times this city apologises, it never seems quite enough.

Thanks Joe, here’s some music from three of the bands in that list

The Witch – The Sonics (1965, Etiquette Records)

Development – Tiny Vipers (2009, Sub Pop Records) – I’d never heard of Tiny Vipers before meeting Joe, but I totally recommend them if you like bands like Waxahatchee or Bright Eyes perhaps.

March to Fuzz – Mudhoney (1991, Sub Pop Records)

And, this weeks new band is Antonioni, which comes personally recommended by Joe, and you know what, they are very good indeed.

Mary Bell – Antonioni (2021, Lauren Records)

Next Week we meet the Yankees of New York

The Sunday Shuffle #26

Only Memories Remain (demo version) – My Morning Jacket (2015, Capitol Records)

Today’s randomly chosen track was picked by my phone on the way back from an evening drinking session at a mates house.  I say session, it was all very refined, three bottles of local Devon ale and a small rum and ginger for the walk home.  The walk home isn’t far, about a mile and to make things interesting for me, I decide that whatever song was playing when I reached Badger Corner would be todays randomly shuffled track.

Badger Corner is so named because about two years ago, when walking back at almost the same time of night, a badger leapt out the hedge and attacked me.   Well, it leapt out the hedge at least, and made me scream like a four year old who has been told its time to leave the playpark because mummy has to go to Asda and pick up some broccoli.   After leaping out the hedge, teeth bared, fangs (probably) dripping in blood, the badger growled like some form of devil dog and ran off up the hill.  I’m pretty sure I heard it laughing its badgery laugh in the field behind the hedges about ten minutes later when I’d stopped shaking.  I may have said this before, but badgers rock.  They are the animal equivalent of Lemmy from Motorhead.

On this occasion though, there were no badgers, well none that I saw at least, then again I was making as much bloody noise as I could without being a public nuisance. 

The song that was playing (loudly) when I reached Badger Corner was ‘Only Memories Remain’ by big bearded alt-country superstars My Morning Jacket.  It is taken from their seventh album ‘The Waterfall’.  ‘Only Memories Remain’ is a tremendous track, a song which is essentially saying goodbye to a loved one.  It’s sparse, soulful and really showcases the range of Jim James’ voice.  It feels kind of intimate but warm and welcoming at the same time.  I think he sound a lot of Lennon around the time he recorded ‘Jealous Guy’ on it, which considering he is from Kentucky and not Toxeth, that is quite an achievement.  

The version that came on was the demo version, so here just in case you were interested is the album version.

Only Memories Remain – My Morning Jacket (2015, Capitol Records)

This was the song that preceded it by the way and probably did enough to keep the badgers away, although I like to think of them behind the hedge, all moshing away, whilst ripped to the nostrils on Jack Daniels.

Milk It – Nirvana (1993, Geffen Records)

The Boxing Day Shuffle

Something In The Way – Nirvana (1994, DGC Records, Taken from ‘MTV Unplugged In New York’)

Hey folks. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day. I’m not going to say much today, but just gentle nudge you along to kitchen where there is a cup of tea waiting for you. Oh and the dishes need doing and the leftover turkey that the cat has spewed onto the floor needs clearing up. When you’ve done that three of the presents you bought the kids are broken already, so can you find the receipts please and whilst you are at it, that awful jumper that your mother bought you – that can go as well….

Next Week will see a bit of a change – as I’ve had some ideas that I am going to test out.