The One Word Countdown – #45

Oh it’s Richard Osman’s brothers band….

Number 45

Trash – Suede (1996, Nude Records, Taken from ‘Coming Up’)

Points 94

When Bernard Butler left Suede just after the release of ‘Dog Man Star’, the future looked kind of bleak for Suede.  Butler, was musically the bands inspiration and Suede sort of thrived on the fact that Butler and Brett Anderson clearly didn’t get on that well. But strangely, the evidence points to the fact that Bernard Butler leaving Suede was the best thing that could have happened to them.

The reason for this lay in a tape sent to Simon Gilbert, the bands drummer, by his cousin, one Richard Oakes, a 17 year old Suede fanboy.  The tape featured Oakes playing the guitar bits from the first Suede album.  It was so good that Anderson at first thought that Gilbert was listening to some early demos that Butler had left lying around.  Within a month Oakes had been recruited and within eighteen months, ‘Trash’ had been written, recorded and a new pop direction had been outlined by Suede.  Well, ok, glam rock pop aimed directly at the ‘social misfit market’ and never had been a bit weird or a bit left out felt so brilliant. Suede returned triumphant and left Bernard Butler kicking his heels and making very similar (but not all together that great) pop songs with David McAlmont.

‘Trash’ worked for reasons, firstly it was just so ridiculously catchy.  The other week I was in a pub and ‘Trash’ came on in the background and one hour later I was still humming it as I waited at the bar.  Secondly, it worked because it wasn’t the dark and complex (but brilliant) music that ‘Dog Man Star’ contained, this was something altogether different and with the obvious exception of the ‘The Living Dead’, it’s easily Suede’s finest four minutes of music, still.

There were two other songs by Suede that were considered but ultimately rejected as neither of them are as good as ‘Trash’.  They were

Heroine – Suede (1994, Nude Records, Taken from ‘Dog Man Star’) – which has a kind of feel to it that makes me want to listen to it in a really seedy bar in downtown London at a ridiculous time of the morning as I sip a strong Hurricane cocktail and wait for the greasy spoon across the road to open.   The second one was, of course,

Lazy – Suede (1996, Nude Records, Taken from ‘Coming Up’) which was the third single from ‘Coming Up’ and the third consecutive Top Ten hit for the band, which sort of backs up my early paragraph about Butler leaving being the best thing that ever happened to the band.

Here is Butler’s finest hour as a solo artist, conveniently, it has a one word title.

Stay – Bernard Butler (1998, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘People Move On’) – which climbed all the way into the Top 20, but very few people would I think recognise it if it came on the radio now.

The Ramshackle Brilliance of the Chart Show Indie Chart -#5

This week 17th August 1996 and going up at Number Seven

Becoming More Like Alfie – The Divine Comedy (1996, Setanta Records)

In August 1996, I had just past my 21st birthday and was on the cusp of moving to London for the first time. We’d found a flat to rent in Plumstead, South East London and had gone to look round the area. It must have been sunny or we had too much cider at lunch, because we took on the flat, despite Plumstead being full of knuckle dragging racist bellends who struggle to walk and clap at the same time.

The flat itself was quite nice, a stones throw from Englands highest security prison, Belmarsh, two stones throw from the biggest local authority housing estate in Europe and three stones throws from a relatively decent Woolworths.

Next door to Woolworths was a shop called We Selfridges. The ‘We’ being really small so it looked like ‘Selfridges’. It just sold fridges. It was a joke that got less funny every time I saw it.

One the highlights of our ten months in Plumstead was a Sunday afternoon walk to Woolworths. Once we walked past a blazing row between a clearly jilted man and his former squeeze, which ended with him telling me as I walked past that the lady in question “had slept with half of Plumstead.” If this lady had found more one man in that place even worth having a drink with, she would have done well.

Anyway, in that branch of Woolworths I once found a copy of ‘Cassanova’ by The Divine Comedy for £1.99. Which was a bargain. Even if it by no means their finest work.

Elsewhere in the chart – at six – a record I remember being sent an advance copy about four months before it actually came out

Trash – Suede (1996, Nude Records)

At five, possibly the worst track I’ve ever encouraged you to click on

Mouse In A Hole – Heavy Stereo (1996, Creation Records)

At three, a record that somehow never got to be the theme for ‘Deal or No Deal

What’s In the Box (See Whatcha Got) – The Boo Radleys (1996, Creation Records)

At two, was this nugget of tremendousness. A record I’d never heard before today.

Encyclopedi-ite – Sammy (1996, DGC Records)

But at number was something even better, possibly one of the best records that I have posted on this here blog

Phasers On Stun – Urusei Yatsura (1996, Chemical Underground Records)

In Praise of the Band TShirt #3

Happy Busman – The Frank and Walters (1992, Go DIscs! Records, Taken from ‘Trains, Boats and Planes’)

I’m on a beach in Bermuda. I have been there a week, Bermuda, not the beach, this is my second weekend here. I have spent the morning feeding giant turtles and eating tremendous nachos in a small bar surrounded by Spaniards who are still, a week on, drunk, and celebrating their World Cup win.

In the afternoon I take a walk along a beach, its deserted once you get about fifty metres from the beach bar, I see no one for about an hour. I just walk, idly kicking sand about and enjoying my solitude. I probably have the iPod for company but I genuinely can’t remember what was playing so lets pretend it was this, although it definitely wasn’t. I see a couple walking towards me, hand in hand, they are undoubtedly English holidaymakers, as the lady is carrying a Waitrose carrier bag.

Another stand out tell tale sign that they are English is that the bloke is wearing a Frank and Walters T Shirt. This is the first Frank and Walters T Shirt I have seen in about fifteen years. What’s even more astonishing is that it is identical to one I had about 20 years earlier. I got mine for Christmas in 1991 and wore it one evening when my uncle was in town. He and my dad got pissed on whiskey and my uncle asked me about ten times, who Frank and Walter were, finding it funnier every time he asked.

This TShirt was blue and orange and on the back it read “Jonathan and Eko’, in homage to the DJs who hosted the legendary ‘Feet First’ club night in Camden many years ago. Anyone who went to a gig anywhere in London would be given a Feet First flyer the second they left the gig. You knew a band had made it, if their name featured on the ‘Now Playing….’ bit of those flyers.

I went to ‘Feet First’ a couple of times, the first time I went Credit to the Nation played (about a week before ‘Call It What You Want’ was released).

Call It What You Want – Credit to the Nation (1993, One Little Indian Records)

The second time was a very secret Suede gig to promote the release of ‘Stay Together’. So secret in fact that the queue to get into Feet First that night stretched back along Camden High Road so far that you had to walk to Chalk Farm to join the end of it.

Stay Together – Suede (1994, Nude Records)

‘Happy Busman’ was the second EP released by the Frank and Walters, it troubled the lower regions of the Uk Top 50. There were three other tracks on it. Songwhip has two of them.

Humphrey – Frank and Walters (1992, Go! Discs Records)

The World Carries On – Frank and Walters (1992, Go! Discs Records)

The Ramshackle Brilliance of the Chart Show Indie Chart #2

This week 24th September 1994

I said last time that the Indie Chart was ramshackle and brilliant, and it was most of the time. However, on occasions the choices of music were baffling and frustrating and I think probably hinted that various record companies or promotional companies had their fingers in various pies.

The chart from September 24th 1994 is a really good example of this. It adopted the usual format, ten songs, counted down, brief snippets of eight songs were played and two songs got extended plays. Yet despite having some brilliant tracks in that Top Ten, The Chart Show choose to play two songs by bands that look and sound almost exactly the same. I’ll explain.

Back in September 1994, indie music was I think enjoying a bit of boom, Britpop had arrived and bands like Oasis and Blur had just started making guitar music relatively interesting again. It had however, led to the creation of about a hundred identikit bands, who all looked the same and sounded the same, basically white boys with guitars. A bandwagon that the Chart Show gleefully supported in it’s selected choices.

On this weeks chart the two songs it choose to give extended clips of were the songs at number 8 and at Number 1.

Number 8 was ‘Detroit’ by Scottish glam rock enthusiasts Whiteout. ‘Detroit’ is awful, the very epitome of landfill indie. Next to Whiteout at the bottom of the landfill indie pile, trying to shove Molly Half Head off of them are These Animal Men, who somehow, inexplicably are at Number One, so the Chart Show dutifully play it.

This is the sound of youth – These Animal Men (1994, Hut Records)

This, by the way, is what it replaced at the top of the chart

We Are The Pigs – Suede (1994, Nude Records)

(and Songwhip, mercifully, can’t find anything by Whiteout, its so awful even the Internet doesn’t want to hear it)

Now, if you put Whiteout and These Animal Men in a room together, I’m pretty sure that even the managers of Whiteout and These Animal Men would struggle to pick them out if they were asked to.

There were of course, eight other tracks that were in the Top Ten, none of which were played by the Chart Show, but all of them are better than the two that were played. I understand the show having to play These Animal Men what with them being Number One and all – but below are the tracks going up or staying put, which they might have played instead.

Hi Fi Killers – Sammy (1994, Fire Records) (number 9) – which I had never heard before today. Sounds a lot like ‘Bossanova’ era Pixies if they were fronted by Lou Reed, which is a good thing I suppose. I suspect that the Chart Show didn’t play this video because after about twenty seconds, it will give you a headache. The next two at seven and six were both of which were going up the chart and would have been better choices.

Starcrossed – Drugstore (1994, Honey Records) (number 7) – Let’s have some context, there is more inspiration and emotion in the first twenty seconds of ‘Starcrossed’ than there is in the entire careers of Whiteout and These Animal Men combined.

Are We Here? – Orbital (1994, FFRR records) (number 6) – Orbital I think had just headlined Glastonbury and were one of the biggest bands in the UK at the time.

Everythings Cool – Pop Will Eat Itself (1994, Infectious Records) (Number 3) – yup even the third single from the sixth(?) PWEI album would have been a better choice.