I’ve got to be honest, I’m starting to worry slightly. Since I started this blog about two months ago, at least three of the bands in the right-hand column have split up. First there was Death From Above 1979. Then Hope Of The States called it a day. And now Arab Strap have decided that, ten years since ‘The First Big Weekend’ appeared that they will finish.
It’s amicable enough and you can read all about it here on the Chemikal underground website. It just seems a sad, sad day for music, especially for my beloved scottish indie scene but uncharacteristically, the press release says it more eloquently than I could.
The band leave behind a fabulous back catalogue; check it out at the band’s own website, and on insound. They were a truly unique band, who wrote about life honestly, and recognised that sometimes being honest may not always be easy, or easy to listen to. ‘I work in a shit bar…’ from ‘I work in a saloon’ or the immortal ‘It was the biggest cock you’d ever seen. but you’d no idea where that cock has been’ has passed into folklore, from the opening track on 1998’s Philophobia, Packs Of three. Peurile? Only in the same way that some people might accuse Trainspotting of being pro-heroin; that you’re not lokking at the whole picture and just dealing with the first bit you encounter. Personally, the most resonant lines for me are from ‘Here we go’, again from Philophobia:
” How am I supposed to walk you home, when you’re at least fifty feet ahead?’
Buy Arab Strap on Amazon. I recommend starting with eiether The Last Romance or The Week Never Starts Around Here.
There are certain bands whose importance cannot be understated. I could probably spend all night making a list of how they changed things, but let us just say…Without Joy Division, bands like U2 and The Cure would have sounded radically different, the entire ‘goth’ movement would have been hugely unlike what it is (Ian Curtis was the inspiration for The Crow), the ‘indie’ scene would have been radically, utterly different (and worse) and I’d have to have to have a different all time song instead of Atmosphere. There are possibly people who have never heard these songs (it’s that gap in your life) so watch both of these then go and buy all the stuff you can on Amazon, if you don’t buy second hand vinyl (and shame on you). In all seriousness, if I had to grab one record out of my collection if the flat was on fire, it would be the 12″ of Atmosphere/She’s Lost Control (yes, I could probably buy it on a compilation CD, but if you make remarks like that, you’re not quite getting it, are you? Hmm?)Yes, Joy Division became New Order after Ian Curtis’ suicide – but let us not focus on this. Instead, these two songs will change your world. The only song in the world that is more heartbreaking than Love will tear us apart is The Winner Takes It all by Abba – but that’s a post for another time…
Every so often, you hear something that is just the equivalent of a putting your fingers in the plug socket…er, only in a pleasurable way, that is. A few years ago, on hearing the Rapture’s House Of Jealous Lovers 12″ I knew I would not be the same again.I have been trying to post on Norwegian band 120 days for a while, and finally I have! One of the things that held me up was as I tried to find out what was available usually pointed me in the direction of the place where (I am assuming) they took their name from, the Marquis de Sade’s The Last 120 Days of Sodom. I have also struggled to find a useable photo. I haven’t read the book, but I did track the band down to their myspace page and also to Vice Records, where the following mp3 comes from:
Also go to 120 days on myspace where there are two other tracks to stream, So This Is Suicide and Sedated Times. These tracks are less krautrocky but still have something amazing.
The myspace seems to be their only website, but if i get any more information I will post it here. Come Out is one of the most amazing tracks I have heard so far this year. As far as I can tell, the album will be out in October in the US and Norway, but there is no listing for it on amazon at the moment.
Another band who are making my ears tingle appreciatively..hand on, cat, off my shoulders when i’m trying to type…er, make me want to know more are London band Scanners:. They remind me of the Duke Spirit, Life without Buildings and THe Pretenders. See what you think…
OK so it’s my personal opinion, but there’s something about the ‘Cloudbusting’ video that just hits the spot. The second single from Kate Bush’s ‘The Hounds Of Love’ LP, this is just something special.
Donald Sutherland (he of Don’t Look Now and Pride and prejudice fame, as well as being Keifer Sutherland’s Dad) stars as Wilhelm Reich, and Kate stars as his (on-screen) son Peter. Considering the video is now over twenty years old it still packs a punch. Oh, and the songs pretty damn amazing as well.
I sat in bed this morning, faced with two dilemmas; what to post about, and what to get my brother for his birthday (I have asked several times; he doesn’t know).
Anyway, the focus of the post is About A Boy: Book, Film and Soundtrack.
Like a lot of people, I read About A Boy when it came out. While High Fidelity presses the right buttons in terms of how a lot of blokes feel about music, and indeed, the male psyche (I know a lot of women who are passionate about music too, it’s just that the book managed to link both). About A Boy the book manages to deal with the male psyche with regards to the issue of settling down, and also (something that I see a fair bit of as a teacher) – Is it sometimes necessary to learn how to follow the crowd, at least a little bit, in order to fit in at school? Answer: Actually, sadly, YES. The book is brilliant and the film didn’t disapppoint either. Nice to see Hugh Grant doing something other than just playing Hugh Grant.
And the soundtrack…strange to think this was only Damon Gough’s second solo album. Coming between The Hour Of Bewilderbeast and Have You Fed the Fish? it’s actually my favourite Badly Drawn Boy LP. And the reason why I am posting it for our kid’s birthday is that I remember the pair of us dancing around his flat to this song, much to the delight/terror of his flatmates. Happy Birthday our kid!