100 Songs with One Word Titles (70– 66)

Did you guess right?  The two tracks from yesterday that topped two individual sets of votes were ‘Columbia’ by Oasis and ‘Atlas’ by Bicep.  Interestingly the two people who voted those two songs at the top of their respective lists were the youngest members of the musical jury.  None of the songs today troubled the tops of any individual lists but all of them did score at least one Top Fifteen placing.   Todays quest is to guess which of these scored the highest individual placing.

Let’s kick off with a bit of classic shoegaze

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

In the Guinness Dictionary of Indie when you get to ’shoegaze’ there are only seven words used to describe this particular genre.  They are “Go and Listen to ‘Pearl’ by Chapterhouse” and then there is a picture of Chapterhouse on stage at the Purple Turtle heads bowed, stage covered in effects pedal, smoke machine primed and everyone who can be seen is wearing some form of stripey jumper.  A song so good it defined an entire genre and whilst Ride may have sold more records and generally had better tunes (spoiler see tomorrow for proof), they would have killed for a song as addictive and beautiful as ‘Pearl’.

69. Lately – Sea Power (2003, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’)

Clocking in at nearly 14 minutes, you would expect ‘Lately’ to be the longest song in this list, but without giving too much away, it isn’t quite that.  It is wondrously epic though.  It starts slowly as a sort of love song, rising and just as it sounds like its all going to come crashing in, it collapses.  Of course it re builds and then collapses again, like a musical house of cards.  Then it finally does kick off and lyrics about Neolithic and Jurassic rock take over as it descends into chaos.  Utterly marvellous and disappointingly low.

68. Tender – Blur (1999, Food Records, Taken from ‘13’)

I saw Damon Albarn live last year in a cold old church in Totnes High Street.  He was promoting his latest solo album.  At the end of the gig he came back on to play three Blur songs, he played ‘The Universal’, ‘End of A Century’ and ‘Beetlebum’ accompanied by a string quartet and despite their stripped back quality it all felt decidedly average.  However, had Albarn played ‘Tender’ accompanied by a string quartet I would have gone away thinking ‘Gig of the Year’ easy, because ‘Tender’ is far and away the greatest thing Blur the band, or any of its members in their post Blur lives, have ever recorded.

67. Sidewalking – Jesus and Mary Chain (1988, Blanco Y Negro Records, Taken from ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’)

When the Jesus and Mary Chain first recorded ‘Sidewalking’ they were unsure it would ever be released.  It was after all a bit of a departure from their normal sound.  It dabbled in samples (famously it samples a hip hop drumbeat) and beats that was quite unexpected.  Of course Jim Reid, said that there had always been a hip hop element to his music.  Everyone else had obviously struggled to hear it over the previous five years’ worth of records.

66. Then – The Charlatans (1990, Situation Two Records, Taken from ‘Some Friendly’)

I should have been at school when I bought ‘Then’ on 12 inch.  I’d been to the dentist and my dad had bumped into a mate of his called Irish Joe (he was from Sevenoaks) – he gave me a fiver and pointed me in the direction of the bus station.  I was 15, school was about a mile walk away and the bus stop was next to the record shop and it would have been rude to not at least look inside.

Major League Music #3 -St Louis Cardinals

The Spirit of St Louis – Sea Power (2004, Toys Factory Records)

I’ve never been to St Louis, so I can’t personally vouch for this but, apparently the first thing that you do when you arrive there is look up and say, “that is a bloody big arch”.  A reference of course, to the Gateway Arch, the largest arch anywhere in the world and as it happens the largest man-made structure in the Northern Hemisphere.  It has fast become the number one reason to visit St Louis.    Saying that you would need a very good reason to go there as St Louis also has the highest murder rate in all of the USA.  Which is saying something.

One reason to go there would be to see the St Louis Cardinals, the city’s baseball team.  Which is the second most successful team in the history of Major League Baseball with 11 World Series Titles.   They are also one of the fiercest rivals of my beloved Kansas City Royals and each year they play each other six times split across the two cities in what is called the ‘Show Me Series’.  The rivalry stems from the 1985 World Series (which Kansas won in the seventh and final match).  So obviously The Cardinals are rubbish.

Last week the first of the six games took place and St Louis won 6-5.  Meaning that, as I type, the Royals have now lost four in a row.  Like I said, its going to be a long season. 

Musically speaking there is only really one place to start and that would be with St Louis’ most famous son, Chuck Berry.  If only because it makes me think of his cousin, Marvin, in the film Back to the Future, shouting down the telephone about a new sound as Marty McFly rips it up on the stage in front of his future parents.  Face facts Bill and Ted fans, that is cinemas greatest ever guitar solo.

Johnny B Goode – Chuck Berry (1958, Chess Records)

For me the best artist to have come out of St Louis in recent years is Angel Olsen.  Her third album ‘No Woman’ is a thing of absolute beauty and is something that you should all listen to at least once a week.

Shut Up Kiss Me – Angel Olsen (2016, Jagjaguwar Records)

But easily, one of the most success acts to have come out of St Louis, in, well ever really, is Akon.  His 2006 track ‘Smack That’ reached number one in ten countries including the UK where it went platinum.

Smack That – Akon featuring Eminem (2006, Konvict Records)

And here is this weeks randomly picked local band.  I’ve gone for Beau Diamond, who for the second week in a row, are a band that claim to make a kind of indie garage rock sound.   Let’s be the judge of that shall we….

Masquerade – Beau Diamond (2021, Self Released)

Next week: Detroit…

The Sunday Shuffle #7

Apologies To Insect Life – Sea Power (2003, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’)

The first Sunday Shuffle of 2022 is a real belter.

There are not many songs written about Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but the best of them is this punky and slightly sinister sounding single by the band we most now call Sea Power. I admit it maybe in limited company but it matters not because its terrific track.

When the band first emerged their sound was somewhere in between the pop sentiments of The Psychedelic Furs and the claustrophobically edgy rock of early Joy Division and this track is a sort of testament to that sound. ‘Apologies to Insect Life’ is full of really crunchy guitars, clever words (“Oh Fyodor you really are a most attractive man”) which are delivered in a breathlessly painful yelp and collide with the military drum roll which wraps the song up.

‘Apologies to Insect Life’ was released back in 2003 as a double A side – heres the other side.

Carrion – Sea Power (2003, Rough Trade Records, Taken from ‘The Decline of British Sea Power’)

And here is an old demo of ‘Apologies’

Post Number One

Not Phil Collins.

Hello. This is a blog about music and not, badgers. If you are looking for a blog about the removal of badgers, you are in the wrong place. You are also a bastard because badgers are brilliant. Apart from when they jump out of hedges and growl at you for waking them up, then they are vicious snarling beasties from the bowels of Hell itself. Possibly. They are still cooler than you and I though.

Anyway, welcome. Feel free to say hi in the comments below.

The plan is to try and post at least one song a day. Sometimes those songs will be part of a series, like this one for instance…

Cheer It On – Tokyo Police Club

Which is the first entry in the series called “Bands who have a city in their name”.

Sometimes the song won’t form part of any series, its just been posted because it came up randomly on my iPod. For the next week at least, until I work out how to do this properly, all posted songs will be courtesy of a random shuffle. Sometimes, they will be great, like the one below, in fact and its possible that on occasion they might be rubbish, and possibly even the actual band, Garbage.

True Adventures – Sea Power

A little word about the music. It will be available for a week or so and then the links will be removed. If you like what you hear, download the artists music, or stream it on one of those streaming services that we all use so the band get paid. Thank You.