A week of tracks from a pile of CDs that were at the front of the Cupboard – #3

Another thing that my daughter and I used to do on our daddy day care Thursday was to write down a load of things that we wanted to do on a piece of paper and then screw them all up and place them inside a bowler hat with a cat’s face printed on the side of it.

My daughter would then excitedly pick one out of the hat and that would be our adventure for the day.  We’d had lots of great days doing this, we have for instance climbed the tower of Castle Drogo, (which was fact fans, the last castle to built in England) and shouted the word “PANTS” as loud as we could from the very top of it.  Much to the amusement of the National Trust volunteers who opened the door of the tower for us.

The Tower – Wye Oak (2014, City Slang Records, Taken from ‘Shriek’)

On a sunny Easter Sunday, we climbed Haytor Rocks on Dartmoor and as a prize we ate some chocolate Easter Eggs at the top as the wind did its best to blow our coats off.  We have, at the Totnes Rare Breed Farm sat like a pair of old ladies with fluffy blankets on our laps and then had guinea pigs plonked precariously on them, which we have stroked and wanted to take home with us.  We have then eaten jam sandwiches and slightly stale biscuits in the café next door as we waited for the steam train to pull into the station that sits opposite.

Railway Jam – Saint Etienne (1993, Heavenly Records, Taken from ‘So Tough’)

Its not always been fun though.  We visited a really rubbish softplay in Dawlish once, that took my daughter about five minutes to work her way through and though the slide was good and usually landed her into a pool of balls with an excited yelp the rest of it was a bit boring.  The morning was rather spoiled when two brothers who were the only other children in the softplay area, decided to have a fight half way up the foam climbing frame resulting in the younger of the two bawling his eyes out and his mother screaming at the older one and then him crying as well.

Crying Lightning – Arctic Monkeys (2009, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Humbug’)

It was about ten minutes after we hotfooted out of that softplay café that I found the charity shop that gave us the third CD in the pile that sit at the front of cupboard. That folks is ‘Fever to Tell’ by New York art rock geniuses Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  An album that for some reason I had failed to purchase when it came out in 2003.  It is of course a work of wonder and come highly recommended.

Pin – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003, Interscope Records)

Black Tongue – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003, Interscope Records)

Retrospective Musical Naval Gazing – #13 (2003)

In 2003, I changed jobs, a sort of sideways promotion if that makes sense.  I walked into my new office on my first morning found my desk in the corner of the room and immediately made it my own space.  I had a relatively big cork board to stick things like wall planners and such like to ,but instead of boring corporate things like that I stuck up a big picture of Jarvis Cocker flicking the V’s at the camera after he was arrested for apparently assaulting Michael Jackson (in reality what happened, is that Jarvis fed up with the hero worshiping and media fawning over Jacko during his ‘overblown and egowanktastic’ performance of ‘Earth Song’ at the Brit Awards that Jarvis got on stage and wiggled his backside at the audience and Jacko’s people took exception to it).  Within a week of it being there I had been asked to take it down as it ‘gave the wrong impression’.

One person had complained apparently, not that it makes a great deal of difference but that person was overtly Christian and had a picture of Jesus on her pinboard and I said that I would remove Jarvis if they removed Jesus as I found that just as offensive.  I may have inflamed the situation by suggesting that Jarvis was far more relevant that Jesus but I held my ground.  An impasse developed alongside evil stares from across the room. 

The poster stayed up until October, and then in January 2004, the space was filled with the NME calendar – more of that tomorrow.

At the end of 2003, the White Stripes topped my tracks of the year for the second time in three years.  This time it was with their guitar slinging anthem ‘7 Nation Army’.  In the office Fantasy Football Championship I even named my team ‘The 7 Nation Army’ as it had players from 7 different countries in it.  I genuinely thought that I was being really clever until some smart arse with a sharp eye and an evener sharper pencil pointed out that there were eight nations in my team and rendered the whole joke meaningless.

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes (2003, XL Recordings, Taken from ‘Elephant’)

Whilst The White Stripes may have made the best track of the year, they didn’t make the best album (as great ‘Elephant’ is). That was a one horse race that featured Dizzee Rascal, he turned up from the ‘estates of Bow’ brought with him a bunch of tunes that were in your face, delivered at 100mph, grime music that referenced Tony Blair, gangs and somehow managed to blend hip hop with theatrical operatic noises and not make it sound awful.  It made it a double first for the geniuses over at XL Recordings. ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ came second on the track chart as well just beating Franz Ferdinand into third.

Fix Up, Look Sharp – Dizzee Rascal (2003, XL Recordings  Taken from ‘Boy In Da Corner’)

Darts of Pleasure – Franz Ferdinand (2003, Domino Records, Taken from ‘Franz Ferdinand’)

Elsewhere, my top ten contained these two belters at numbers five and six respectively.  The first one, remains one of the greatest indie ballads of all time (and according to the NME, the greatest indie first dance ever).  The second remains one of the few Indian language tracks to chart in the UK, and at the time hinted at a much anticipated bhangra fuelled summer.  Something that sadly never materialised.  It also samples Busta Rhymes and the theme from Knight Rider making it impossible to dislike.

Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003, Interscope Records, Taken from ‘Fever To Tell’)

Mundian to Bach Ke – Panjabi MC (2003, Nachural Records, Taken from ‘Legalised’) – which if you want or need a translation means ‘Beware of the Boys’.  There is a Jay Z version of this as well, which sold over 10 million copies in the USA.

100 Songs with One Word Titles (60 – 56)

Of course the song from yesterday that appeared in the most individual lists was ‘Hello’ by The Beloved.  It had one more vote than the other four.  Todays poser is which of these five songs was lying in 8th place in the countdown after five lists had been returned (and then subsequently failed to get another point for the rest of the voting period)?  We start in New York and a with reminder that no one loves you like I do folks.

60. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003, Interscope Records, Taken from ‘Fever to Tell’)

Someone at the NME absolutely loves ‘Maps’ because on two different occasions it has topped some bizarre chart (says me!) that they were publicising.  In 2009, it was voted the Greatest Alternative Love Song of all time, beating Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and Blur’s ‘To The End’ in the final three fisticuffs that always seem to erupt at weddings.  Two years later in a barrel scrapping attempt at journalism ‘Maps’ was voted ‘The Greatest Indie First Dance Track’ beating ‘Just Like Heaven’ into second place.  I mean only an idiot would choose that for their first dance. 

59. LFO – LFO (1992, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Frequencies’)

Talking of charts ‘LFO’ was once voted the 92nd Greatest Song of the Nineties by some blog or other.  It claims that “LFO continues to push buttons, it’s opening notes and stomach rattling sub-bass throb still capable of making adrenaline flow in waves”.  Which is absolutely true, it’s a monster of a tune and almost certainly one of the first songs that I attached the word ‘banger’ to.

58. Slow – Kylie Minogue (2003, Parlophone Records, Taken from ‘Body Language’)

There have been several versions of Kylie over the years from the original Neighbours Kylie, via indie Kylie, Dance Kylie, SexKylie and here on ‘Slow’ we get probably the best version ‘Electroclash Kylie’.  I’m not sure what version we are on now, possibly ‘Glastonbury Legend Kylie’.  Anyway, ‘Slow’ is all keyboard blips and scratchy beats and sultry vocals that at times barely whisper but always hammer home brilliantly.

57. Perfume – Paris Angels (1991, Virgin Records, Taken from ‘Sundew’)

Now then, there might be an issue here….One of the MJM has taken issue with ‘Perfume’….”Isn’t ‘Perfume’ called ‘Perfume (Loved Up)’ and doesn’t that not mean a bracket and does that not mean more than one word and does that not mean expulsion?  Or are we saying that the (Loved Up) bit is a remix?  I mean its great and I love it and it can have 20 points, but we need to know”. 

Well, I’m saying it’s an alternative version and therefore counts.  If anyone wants to disagree I’ll be outside the Dog and Duck with a bike chain at eight thirty.

56. Hysteria – Muse (2003, East West Records, Taken from ‘Absolution’)

More pointless chart nonsense this time from something called Musicradar.com – which might be a bit prog rock.  In 2011, ‘Hysteria’ was voted the song with the Greatest Bassline of All Time.  It beat something by Rush into second place and two Queen songs into third and fourth.   All I can say is that readers of Musicradar.com have clearly not heard ‘Debaser’ by Pixies.

A Linked Series – #3

A Date with the Night – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (2003, Polydor Records)

The third instalment in this chain link fence of a series sees us move, from the grungy sawdust bar in Atlanta, where Tilly and the Wall and have just finished playing ‘Night of the Living Dead’, to a party in converted warehouse apartment in downtown New York.  Somewhere in the lounge area, the hip, trendy and semi famous are gyrating away to a splendid mixture of gonzo disco noise and post punk playfulness that is blaring out of the stereo.  This is because someone has just shoved ‘Date with the Night’ onto the stereo and, as the phrase goes, shit has going down.

In 2003, the hype that followed Karen O, Nick Zimmer and Brian Chase around was almost as infectious as their songs.  It was believable to see this band, actually being the future of rock music.  Especially when they had songs are catchy and as easy to dance to as ‘Date with the Night’ and singers as aurally impactive as Karen O.

In ‘Date with the Night’ Karen O sounds incredible, like a cross between an over excited 10 year old at a boy band gig and a wailing rock goddess who just happens to be out on the pull.  When you add her vocals to the frankly ridiculously drumming (which is sort of like a contorted 70s disco groove) and the art rock riff that underpin the song, it just makes it all better (also it contains no bass whatsoever).  It has hooks in all the wrong places, and just sort collapses at the end in a triumph sigh.  Its marvellously out of sorts but I have a feeling that its deliberate because it sounds so perfect.

So where do we go next – we can stay in New York and pick up one of the several brilliant bands that call it home.

New York City Cops – The Strokes (2001, RCA Records)

Or we could go another date (Wall are also from New York, so that would be a double link).

Last Date – Wall (2016, Wharf Cat Records)

We might of course, fancy more bands with double words in their name.  Which could lead us several ways – but this probably isn’t one of them

Cough, Cough – Everything Everything (2012, RCA Records)