The Great One Word Title Countdown – The Didn’t Quite Make It List #1

Here – Pavement (1990, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Slanted & Enchanted)

Today and tomorrow will celebrate the 11 songs that didn’t quite make it into the Top 100, songs for sole reason that they simply didn’t get enough points. They are songs that are, unlike yesterday’s offerings, at least loved by someone.   Each of the songs listed today, only get one vote and then it was quite low down in the Top 30.  For what its worth I fully expected all five of these to feature much higher up the chart.

The first song is ‘Here’ by Pavement.  Which for the record is one of the best songs on one of the best albums ever made, and had I not opened up this nonsense to all and sundry would have probably been in the Top Ten.  Talking of probably being in the Top Ten, here’s Daft Punk.

Contact – Daft Punk (2013, Columbia Records, Taken from ‘Random Access Memories’)

 ‘Contact’ is incredible, a six minute long techno blast that samples Gene Cernan, who was the last man to walk on the moon.   For those of you who care about this sort of thing, the last sentence spoken by a human on the moon was this genuinely “Let’s get this mother out of here”.  

Talking of mothers and samples and Daft Punk for that matter, here’s Ye.

Stronger – Kanye West (2007, Def Jam Records, Taken from ‘Graduation’)

Ye may not have made the Top 100 but the fact that he scored more points than Pavement, LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk combined irks me in a way that I can’t explain. 

Mannequin – Wire (1977, Harvest Records, Taken from ‘Pink Flag’)

What I also can’t explain is why it took me so long to fall for the erm, wiry charms of Wire.  Twenty seven years ago, a guy I knew gave me a copy of ‘Pink Flag’ as a present.  I think I may have listened to it two or three times before placing it in a box and forgetting about it.  Six months ago after listening to a Chumbawamba cover version of ‘Mannequin’ I revisited ‘Pink Flag’ and its extraordinarily good.

Finally for today we have Chemical Brothers, again an act I expect to do very well – maybe I chose the wrong song for them, although I’m struggling to think of a better one word song for them that this epic blend of big beats and hip hop

Galvanise – Chemical Brothers (2004, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Push the Button’)

Major League Music – #9 Texas Rangers

Texas Never Whispers – Pavement (1993, Big Cat Records)

Every week the Major League publishes it’s ‘Power Rankings’, basically a run down of which teams are hot and which are not.  My team the Kansas City Royals are currently so far away from being hot that they are hiding inside a large freezer.  They currently sit rock bottom of the Power Rankings and so are once again seemingly the worst team in the Major League.  The team currently at the top of the rankings??  The bloody Yankees.

Today’s team are the Dallas based Texas Rangers, (who are currently 17th in the Power Rankings) who I know very little about.  What I do know is that they have previously been owned by what some people might describe as a right shower of shit.  In 1989, the club was sold for $89 million to a consortium headed up by George W Bush, or the King of Stoopid as he is known round these parts.  In 1998 the club was sold again to a man who is more hated in Merseyside than Piers Morgan and Boris Johnson put together, Tom Hicks.  In 2010, Hicks sold the club to its current owners.  Meaning for the first time in at least thirty years the Texas Rangers appear to be owned by individuals who do not appear to be morally bankrupt assholes. 

The change in ownership in 2010 also coincided with an upturn in the fortunes of the Rangers, who reached two successive World Series Finals but lost them both (to San Francisco and St Louis respectively).  They remain one of the few teams to have never won the World Series and judging by their form over the last two seasons that isn’t going to change anytime soon. 

Musically, Dallas is all about folk and country music having given the world people like LeAnne Rimes, Old 97s and Maren Morris, none of which I am in that much of hurry to listen to.  Away from fiddles and videos shot in big ol’ barns, Dallas has spawned at least two bonafide legends. 

Firstly, Meat Loaf was born and grew up in Dallas and he remains to this day the only singer to have released a Christmas album in March, that’s how leftfield and relevant Meat was.  The second legend to have been born in Dallas was hip hop pioneer Vanilla Ice, who could regularly be seen in Dallas nightclubs on open mic nights.  When he’d finished cleaning the tables, he sometimes was allowed to clean the toilets.

Aside from Ice and Loaf one of the biggest musical acts to have come of Dallas in recent years is Erykah Badu, who apart from Michael Stipe, remains the best person to have performed on Sesame Street.

Love of My Life (an ode to hip hop) – Erykah Badu (2002, MCA Records)

In 2002 the Dallas formed choral rock band The Polyphonic Spree had a (somewhat surprising?) Top 40 hit in the UK with ‘Light and Day’ and has since been used to advertise Sainsburys, which I suspect is exactly the audience that Tim DeLaughter was looking for when he wrote it.

Light and Day – The Polyphonic Spree (2002, 679 Recordings)

There were of course several members of The Polyphonic Spree when they first started out, one of them was a young lady called Annie Clark, who a few years later went on to be better known to us as St Vincent.

Digital Witness – St Vincent (2014, Republic Records)

And this weeks previously unheard of band dragged back from the cliff edge of obscurity to the relative warmth of the car park café is the wonderfully named and Internet unfriendly Hen and the Cocks, who apparently sound like “what Green Day would sound like if Patti Smith was their singer”.  Well, we will be judge of that (they sound like a bit like Babes in Toyland though).

Speed – Hen and the Cocks (2021, Unknown Label)

Next Week – Colorado

Oh and its my birthday today, feel free to shower me with gifts I don’t mind them being late.

It’s Monday, Lets Swear #8

Box Elder – Pavement (1989, Treble Kicker Records)

In 1989, in the middle of an English class, my friend Jason was asked to read a page or two from whatever Shakespeare book we were reading at the time. He ploughed in, giving it gusto and character. Suddenly, the teacher, a frightening old spinster held together by coffee, hairspray and tweed, stops him mid sentence and tells him he is reading the wrong page, “Pages 32, Chapter 3…” she snaps.

In four seconds, Jason went from being a slightly insignificant lad to being a shoo in for the next class captain because he just looked at the teacher and said “Oh, Fuck, sorry”, to gasps and generally gapes of amazement, I’m pretty sure one of the cool girls, moved her chair a foot closer to Jason. We all expected Jason to be thrown in the school dungeon for at least a week but the spinster barely batted an eyelash and asked him to carry on. Pandemonium ensued (silently), has she heard…? Was swearing now ok in the classroom?

With five minutes to go, the spinster told us to put down our books and she said “Many of you will be wondering, why I didn’t punish Jason for his cussing earlier” eager nods from the room, Nick, the class spanner, rubbed his hands expecting a very public dressing down for Jason. The spinster continued “It was because his swearing was unintentional and most importantly, like all forms of acceptable swearing, subtly unexpected, almost like Jason forgot where he was.” The spinster suddenly went up in everyone’s estimations, until three minutes later she gave us all an essay to do on the use of ‘Cussing and Cursing’ in ‘The Merchant of Venice’.

The swearing in ‘Box Elder’ by Pavement is brilliantly unexpected, coming at the end of a catchy chorus all about escaping a dead end town. It’s so well done that like Jason, Malkmus seems to have forgotten that the tapes are rolling. It’s brilliant because when he utters the curse, you know, just how awful life must be and that’s why he needs to go to Box Elder, MO. But its so fleeting so ambivalently done that it just makes you smile with pleasure.

‘Box Elder’ is taken from Pavement’s very first EP, the wonderful and if you can find a copy on vinyl, valuable, ‘Slay Tracks (1933 – 1969)’ and it marked the arrival of not only the band as one who are destined for greater things but also highlighted Malkmus’ talent as a songwriter.

Slay Tracks had four other songs on it, all of them are essential but ‘You’re Killing Me’ is probably the best of the bunch and of course, The Wedding Present made ‘Box Elder famous before Pavement really had a chance to but they left the swearing out.

You’re Killing Me – Pavement (1989, Treble Kicker Records)

Box Elder – The Wedding Present (1990, RCA Records)

Nearly Perfect Albums #13

Gold Soundz – Pavement (1994, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain)

Welcome to the 100th No Badger Required post. If you read more than one thank you. If this is your first visit, welcome.

In 1994 when I moved into the Halls of Residence at University, the first two records that I played on my stereo were the first two Pavement albums, in order obviously.  I turned the volume up, flopped myself on the bed and waited for all the indie slacker kids to come knocking on my door. 

The reason I did this was because of my mate Richard.  A year earlier he had gone to University in London and when I visited him in his Halls of Residence, every room that I walked past was playing Pavement and me being the naïve indie bedwetter that I am, foolishly thought that Guildford students would be the same as Mile End’s. 

Around track four of ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ there was a knock on my door. 

Cut Your Hair -Pavement (1994, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’)

I opened the door expecting to see a slacker in a plaid shirt, hailing me into a new and exciting world.  Instead I was met (genuinely) by an old man in a full vicars cloak and dog collar.  He was the father of the girl who had moved into the room next to mine – and he asked me incredibly politely if I would mind turning it ‘down a notch’.  But its Pavement…I whispered meekly, before nodding, and glumly shuffling back to the stereo.

I had to wait a full two weeks before someone knocked on my door and complimented me on the music that was blaring out (and that was Pop Will Eat Itself, the music that is, Pop Will Eat Itself didn’t knock my door, that would have been mad and totally unexpected).

‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’ is obviously a nearly perfect album full of wonderful wry observational songs with catchy and unusual melodies that highlight influences that stretch well beyond the obvious Sonic Youth ones – ‘Silence Kid’ for instance clearly rips off an old Buddy Holly record but it works.

Silence Kid – Pavement (1994, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’)

Elsewhere you get songs about suburbia (‘Elevate Me Later’), skateboarding (‘Range Life’) and extended jams (‘Filimore Jive’) and ultimately it would be a career highlight for any normal non superhuman band.  But here is the kicker, this folks, isn’t even the greatest Pavement record out there. 

Elevate Me Later – Pavement (1994, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain’)

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.