Christmas Posts 2016 part 6

Hmm, I didn’t intend to stop blogging for ten days, but went off on holiday, and was focused on that. Not least the fact that I saw my beloved Cure in both Manchester and London.

I have also been thinking about my end of year lists, both in terms of tracks (to be presented, as always as the Festive 50) and albums. Those will appear here shortly, but for now, on with the Christmas posts.

I have featured the Wedding Present many times here over the years, and rate them hugely as a band. That’s singer and Weddoes Mainman David Gedge who can be seen above. Their first contribution come from their 1992 single ‘No Christmas/Step Into Christmas.’ The story of this single and its place in Wedding Present history has been told many times so enjoy the music – can be found on the Hit Parade compilation.

In 2008, the year they topped the 17 Seconds Festive 50 chart with ‘The Trouble With Men’ the band released this gorgeous single.

And yes ‘Step Into Christmas’ is indeed the Elton John song. The Weddoes have done a number of great cover versions over the last thirty years, though it seems unfair to purely focus on these when David Gedge is such as amazing songwriter himself…but I give you this.








Album Review – Wedding Present


Wedding Present  -‘Going, Going…’ (Scopitones)

‘They’ may say not to judge a book by its cover, but the fog, rain and shadow on the cover of the Wedding Present’s ninth studio album certainly sets the tone in a most apt way…

In many ways, this might well be the Weddoes’ most ambitious album to date, and overall, this largely succeeds. The first quarter of the record has more in common with post-rock acts like Mogwai or Godspeed than it does with the band’s contemporaries on that legendary c-86 tape (now, of course, thirty years ago). The opening ‘Kittery’ is as atmospheric as the album cover, and hell, you don’t even hear David Gedge’s voice until the third track.

In their decades long career, the Weddoes have, of course, been here before. 1991’s Seamonsters album, produced by Steve Albini (who would go on to make records with the likes of PJ Harvey and Nirvana), was contrary to the expectations of those expecting more records like their first two more janglier records George Best and Bizarro.

Yet to paraphrase what John Peel (one of the band’s most vocal champions) used to say about The Fall, with the Weddoes they’re always different, always the same. The two singles (well, promotional tracks, whatever we want to call them in 2016) to do the rounds ‘Bear’ and ‘Rachel’ are perhaps more immediately accessible than some of the other tracks on the record, and might more immediately find a home next to the likes of classic tracks like ‘My Favourite Dress’ ‘Montreal’ or the great comeback that was ‘I’m From Further North Than You.’

How do they all fit together on one album? Well, at times it might seem a lot to take in – but remember, children, indie is shorthand for independent and not just white boys with guitars. That’s music that thinks outside of the box, and that’s what Mr. Gedge and his men and women over the years continue to do once again.

Long may their chimneys smoke.


Going, Going is out now on Scopitones





17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2015: part 11


Hello from the greater Edinburgh area, where I seem to be fighting some hideous virus in the run-up to Christmas. Not much fun…

As I’ve mentioned numerous times on the blog, 1992 was the year the Wedding Present released a 7″ a month, the A-side an original, the b-side a cover. So for December 1992, the a-side was an original ‘No Christmas’ and the b-side was a cover of Elton John’s 1973 single ‘Step Into Christmas.’ These two tracks can still be found on the Hit Parade compilation, which pulled together all of the releases.

Not the only time the Wedding Present have alluded to Christmas, of course.

In 2008, they released the rather wonderful ‘Holly Jolly Hollywood’ single, and as far as I can tell, this is also still available.

Meanwhile, David Gedge and co. have announced that September 2, 2016 will see the release of the new Wedding Present album, entitled Going, Going…, for more details of which you can read here

Album Review – Cinerama


Cinerama -‘Valentina.’ (Scopitones)

‘David Gedge’s other band!’ trumpets the sticker on this album. That’s ‘other’ in the sense that since 1985, David Gedge has been the frontman of The Wedding Present. The Wedding Present are the band who, amongst other things made history by scoring 12 Top 30 hits (one a month) with a single back in 1992. David Gedge is the man of whom the late, lamented John Peel once said ‘he’s written some of the best love songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Era. You may dispute this, but I’m right and you’re wrong!”

Cinerama came into being in 1997 when the Weddoes went on hiatus, and Gedge collaborated with his then girlfriend Sally Murrell on a different sort of sound. Whilst the heartfelt love-songs continued, they owed far more to 1960s orchestral pop with flavours of soundtracks. By 2004, while Gedge was working on what became Take Fountain, he decided that the album sounded more like a Wedding Present album, the album was issued under that name. It has long been a stated ambition of Gedge’s to record and release a Wedding Present album in the style of Cinerama. So the album he has done it with is the 2012 album Valentina.

Still with me? Good. Because while this project has obviously taken a while to come to fruition, it demonstrates that David Gedge doesn’t always need a wall of raging guitars to show off his songwriting skills. Whilst the Cinerama version follows the same tracklisting and order of the original Wedding Present one, we now have a vastly different take on the songs, demonstrating sympathetic arrangements and an intelligence necessary to carry the project through (which is lesser hands than David Gedge might well have fallen flat on its face).

It might be questioned whether it’s necessary to be familiar with the original version of the album in order to enjoy it. On it’s own, it stands up fairly well, but it gives more sense to the concept behind the project if you’re aware of both albums. Valentina had never been one of my favourite Weddoes albums but I found that going back and listening to both versions side by side gave more of an insight into what had been done.

Some tracks, such as ‘You Jane’, definitely are as good as the Wedding Present version, and I think ‘Mystery Date’ in this version is even more heartfelt and moving. What does perhaps hold the album back a bit is that it can be a bit much to take in one listening; having listened to the entire album several times finding that I needed to break it up a bit.

On balance, though, it’s good to see that David Gedge has revisited his back catalogue in a different way, rather than simply recording an acoustic version or commissioning dance remixes, as might have been done by other (lesser!) acts in times gone by. It’s perhaps not the most obvious place to start for a newcomer to the work of David Gedge, but for those who are fans or want to investigate further, it’s an worthwhile addition to the catalogue.


Valentinais out now on Scopitones.

17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2014 part 1


A few weeks ago, I did a mammoth post about the awesome Wedding Present re-issues that came out at the end of October. You can never write too much about the Wedding Present, so I start off this year’s annual Christmas posts with the final of the twelve 7″ singles that the band released in 1992 (artwork at the top of the page). Keeping in with the other eleven releases, side A was a Wedding Present original ‘No Christmas’ and the b-side was their take on another cover, in this case Elton John’s ‘Step Into Christmas.’

You can find both these tracks on the Hit Parade compilation.

In 2008, the Wedding Present released another Christmas-themed single entitled ‘Holly Jolly Hollywood’ featuring vocals from Simone White, and you can see the video below ( apparently some Weddoes fans didn’t like this – to hell with ’em!):

You can still download it on iTunes and other online sites.

Album Review – Wedding Present (re-issues)

The Wedding Present

The Wedding Present, Top of the Pops for ‘Brassneck’ 1990

“The boy Gedge has written some of the best love songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Era. You may dispute this, but I’m right and you’re wrong!” The late John Peel.

Blimey. This is how to do re-issues. For these eight discs – five albums, one mini-album and two compilations, Edsel have been staggeringly comprehensive. Not only do they contain the original albums – but they are all presented here in 3 CD plus DVD editions with attendant b-sides, radio sessions done for John Peel, Mark Goodier and Andy Kershaw amongst others, and all promotional videos. Additionally there’s TV performances, and entire gigs from the respective period. If there’s much else recorded or filmed by the Wedding Present between 1985 and 1997, and you’re still seeing gaps here then you’re presumably not so much a fan as an obsessive stalker.

Much like The Fall, The Wedding Present have only had one consistent member over the years, singer and guitarist David Gedge. Like the Fall, the band’s line-up changes are many, the dicography sprawling and they had many, many entires on John Peel’s Festive Fifty. The band rose from the ashes of Leeds band The Lost Pandas, which included David Gedge (vocals, guitar) and Jaz Rigby (drums). The Lost Pandas became The Wedding Present (or The Weddoes as they were often referred to) when Peter Solowka (guitar) and Shaun Charman (drums, backing vocals) joined the band for the first lineup. Their first single ‘Go Out And Get ‘Em Boy!’ was released in 1985 on their own Reception Records. The first four singles and selections from the Peel sessions are compiled on Tommy, which was originally released in 1988 (****). Not only does the album feature fantastic singles like the aforementioned ‘Go Out!’ and ‘My Favourite Dress’ (which remains one one of this scribe’s favourite Weddoes songs), it also features a Peel session’s take on Orange Juice’s ‘Felicity’ which shows their roots well.

The band’s first studio album was 1987’s George Best (****1/2). Named after the legendary footballer, who adorns the front cover, this album still sounds gloriously fresh nearly thirty years later. The band weren’t happy about being lumped in with the C86 crowd (despite the fact that they appeared on the original NME cassette from which the ‘movement’ took its name), but – and I don’t mean this as an insult – you can see why journalists at the time might have done so. Starting off with the wonderful ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’, herein lie 14 tales of love and frustration, worth it for the titles alone (though a few years later they’d got fed up of being mocked about this in the music press) – until you hear the tunes. It was so good to hear people singing in their own accents at this point in time. And amongst the extras on this package are the two singles that followed in 1988 -‘Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm’ and ‘Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?’

By late 1989, the band had signed to RCA. Their second studio album Bizarro (****) actually managed the feat of both sounding tougher – and also saw them get actual top 40 success. It’s typical of the album that a song like ‘Crushed’ sounds far more acerbic than much of the material that had been on independent releases. ‘Kennedy’ made the lower reaches of the top 40 and a re-recorded version of album opener ‘Brassneck’ would get them their first (albeit uncomfortable) Top Of The Pops performance. ‘No’ is an underrated gem which perhaps could have been a single. Oh, and one of the covers that appears on this package is their take on Tom Jones’ ‘It’s Not Unusual’ which as ever, they managed to make their own.

The Bizarro album lead into the next stage of their story, which saw them working with the legendary Steve Albini. Ahead of their third album, 1991’s Seamonsters, (****1/2) they worked with Albini on two EPs, one a reworking of ‘Brassneck’ (which can be found on the Bizarro package) and the other the 3 Songs EP. The latter’s lead track was a cover of Steve Harley’s ‘(Come Up And See Me) Make Me Smile’ which Harley loved, saying that of all the versions (and there’s about 120 covers of it in existence) the Weddoes were the only ones who had truly understood the venom in the song. Seamonsters isn’t a venomous album, exactly, but Albini helped them to deliver a suitably intense album of psychodramas, on songs like the single ‘Dalliance’ and the brilliant ‘Dare.’

1992 was a different story entirely. As has been well-documented, this was the year that the band released a 7″ single (then a format considered to be on the way out) on the first Monday of each month. Working with different producers, including Lightning Seed Ian Broudie and former Stones producer Jimmy Miller, the band equaled Elvis Presley by scoring 12 top thirty hits in a 12 month period. Collected together on Hit Parade (****1/2), each song was a gem and utterly varied from the angry ‘Sticky’ to the beautiful California’ and their first (and criminally, so far only) top ten hit, ‘Come Play With Me.’ The b-sides included their versions of songs as diverse as Isaac Hayes’ ‘Theme From Shaft’ Mud’s ‘Rocket’ and the Go-Betweens’ ‘Cattle And Cane.’ It was an unusual approach in 1992 – and it would see the band part ways with RCA in early 1993. No matter now – this is an artistic triumph.

Signing with Island for their next album, Watusi (***1/2), 1994 saw a rejuvenated Wedding Present making lo-fi ’60s-influenced pop. This has been described as being an atypical Wedding Present album, but to these ears -and looked at with the benefit of a couple of decades’ hindsight, it makes sense. You really shouldn’t deny yourself the joy of songs like ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah’ or ‘Swimming Pools. Movie Stars.’ And ‘Click Click’ still evokes an earlier Weddoes sound. This may be one of the underrated albums in their entire catalogue. It was, however, the only album that they made with Island – and yet, given the sounds that Blur would be making a couple of years laer, or that Pavement were doing at the time, you wonder why it didn’t pick up more fans. No time like the present.

For their last two album releases in the first part of their story, the band were with Cooking Vinyl. David Gedge has joked that the 20th anniversary tour for the Mini album (***1/2), originally released in 1996, may be an early night for him, as the original album was only six songs long. And it was a pun of sorts. It’s a mini album, and therein lie six songs about cars and travel. Opening with ‘Drive’ this combines the 60s sound of Watusi with a sound reminiscent of the Reception-era stuff. The final studio album, Saturnalia, (****) which followed later in 1996 saw a new approach yet again. In the sleevenotes, Gedge says that there isn’t a distinctive sound to this album – which was their most experimental. Album opener ‘Venus’ hints that the sounds to follow may take you to unusal places, as it mixes indie-thrash with a more twee approach towards. ‘2, 3, Go’s outro sees the song fade out among feedback and an old advert they found lying around in the studio. And great as ‘Snake Eyes’ is, the album’s highpoint is ‘Montreal’ which has to rank up there with the band’s best songs of love gone wrong. Actually, it’s one of their best songs, period.

And then, in early 1997, the band went on hiatus. Gedge was feeling the need to work by himself for a while, which would result in the very different – but excellent Cinerama. The band would re-appear in 2004, and ten years later are still (thankfully) with us. In terms of stats alone they have done pretty well for the period covered by this review: all nine releases reached the top fifty of the album chart (with Seamonsters reaching no.13); eighteen singles making the UK top 40. They were long-championed by John Peel, who they recorded nine sessions for between 1986 and 1994, and scored 44 entries in his legendary Festive Fifty between 1985 and 1996. But this body of work is a most impressive thing, so make sure you treat yourself.

The re-issued versions of George Best, Tommy, Bizarro, Seamonsters, The Hit Parade, Watusi, Mini and Saturnalia are out now on Edsel.

From Bizarro ‘Kennedy.’

From The Hit Parade ‘Sticky.’

From Watusi ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah.’

Album Review – Wedding Present


Wedding Present -‘Valentina’ (Scopitones)

Four years since their last studio album, El Rey, the Wedding Present return with what is their eighth or ninth album (depending on how you’re counting). As with those other John Peel faves, The Fall, there remains a sense with the Weddoes that they are ‘always different, always the same.’

Whereas sometimes (and more frequently with me when I have really got saturated with it all) heartfelt lyrics, with associated honesty and pain seem to descent into MOR dross, David Gedge and his changing band of merry men (and the occasional woman), have demonstrated that it is possible to write about human emotions and be very cool indeed, in a way that has not mellowed over the course of more than a quarter of a century. And he and the world containing him are all the better for it.

This is not to say that this is the Weddoes’ greatest album – for my money that’s still a toss-up between Seamonsters and George Best – and I think album opneer ‘You’re Dead’ really isn’t the best place to get started on it. But there’s a good number of songs here to add to the list of great Weddoes songs – including ‘Back A Bit…Stop’, ‘End Credits’ and first single ‘You Jane.’ It certainly holds its own well next to albums like Watusi and the aforementioned El Rey. If you’re a Wedding Present fan, you will love it. If you haven’t (really) heard them before, this is not a bad place to start.


Valentina is released on Scopitones on March 19.

The return of The Wedding Present!


This week, The Wedding Present have released their rather fine single ‘You Jane’ which is taken from their forthcoming eighth or ninth (depending which website you check) studio album Valentina.*

The video is here:



The tracklisting for the album (released on March 19 in the UK) is as follows:

You’re Dead (stream here)
You Jane
Meet Cute
Back A Bit… Stop
Stop Thief!
The Girl From The DDR
Deer Caught In The Headlights
524 Fidelio
End Credits
Mystery Date

The lineup has changed a great deal over the years -though, seemingly, under far happier circumstances than The Cure or The Fall. The band’s line-up on this album is David Gedge [vocals, guitars & percussion], Graeme Ramsay [guitars, piano, harmonium], Pepe le Moko [bass & backing vocals] and Charles Layton [drums & percussion].

Not only that, but it is also twenty-one years since the band’s seminal third album Seamonsters.

So enjoy this, wish I could find the proper video…

*Obviously, whether you count Mini as a full album or not will factor in here, too…

Some covers for Friday


OK, just what it says on the tin.

Badly Drawn Boy -‘Thunder Road (Bruce Springsteen cover).’ mp3

Bruce Springsteen -‘Dream Baby Dream (Suicide cover).’ mp3

Lemonheads -‘Different Drum (Michael Nesmith cover).’ mp3

Franz Ferdinand -‘Womanizer (Britney Spears cover).’ mp3

Wedding Present -‘Back For Good (Take That cover).’ mp3

Pop Will Eat Itself -‘Love Missile F1-11 (Sigue Sigue Sputnik cover).’ mp3

Joy Zipper -‘Wave Of Mutilation (Pixies cover).’ mp3

Killers -‘Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself? (Morrissey cover).’ mp3

…and two covers by the Ukrainians of Smiths songs. but which ones…

Ukrainians-‘Batyar.’ mp3

Ukrainians -‘ Koroleva ne polerma.’ mp3

Christmas Posts 2011 #11


The Wedding Present have made a significant contribution to Christmas over the years.

In 1992, they famously released a 7″ single a month, all of which made the top thirty (and were later collected, with attendant b-sides, all of them cover versions, on the Hit Parade 1 and Hit Parade 2 compilations). That Deecember they released ‘No Christmas’ with a cover of Elton John’s ‘Step Into Christmas’ as the b-side.

Wedding Present – No Christmas.’ mp3

Wedding Present -‘Step Into Christmas.’ mp3

This was their single in 2008; the b-side was a rather fab version of ‘White Christmas.’

Wedding Present -‘Holly Jolly Hollywood.’

Not only that, but next year marks 21 years since they released Seamonsters (produced by Steve Albini, who would go on to work with Low, PJ Harvey and of course, Nirvana). They are touring this but they have also lined up some dates for the end of this year:

29 December: Glasgow Garage

30 December: Leeds O2 Academy

31 December: London Camden Dingwalls

Their eighth studio album has been pencilled in for release on March 12, 2012. Get that in your diaries…