Cheap double CD compilation featuring, but not limited to, artists on this Glasgow label. Featured Creeping Bent artists are Vic Godard, The Nectarine No. 9, The Secret Goldfish, The Leopards, Revolutionary Corps. of Teenage Jesus, Speeder, Adventures In Stereo, and several others. Best of the non-Creeping Bent bands would be The Bitter Springs ("Its Business"), and Jazzateers ("Heartbeat"). Jazzateers were a Scottish band from the early 80's era when Orange Juice and Josef K were at their peak. There is a Jazzateers compilation out on the German label Marina Records that this song is from. the Speeder song sounds like Thurston Moore as he sings in Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia". Speeder's song "Hey What Do I Know" was the song I didn't expect to like that leapt out at me the most. Along with The Bitter Springs and the Jazzateers it is my favorite thing on these 2 discs. The second disc in this set is all cover versions. The 2 songs I don't know the original artists of are "Frownland" (Van Vliet) and "These Days" (Browne). I take it that the 'Browne' who wrote "These Days" is Ian Browne, but I don't know what band he was in (Happy Mondays? Stone Roses?). The stuff I do know are the covers of songs by Sun Ra, The Nectarine No. 9, Shop Assistants, a Velvets/Orange Juice collage, T-Rex, Johnny Thunders, Lou Reed, and Subway Sect. There are 18 songs on disc 1 and the 10 on disc 2. Even if you only really like 7 songs out of these (as I did) this is a great value for the price and may expose you to a new band you might not have otherwise heard (like the excellent Bitter Springs and Jazzateers).
May 9, 2000
My favorite song of the week, and the first taste from their second full legnth of the same name. 2 more new originals follow the radio edit of "the Facts Of Life". I never thought they could top "Child Psychology", though it was so harsh. Just last week I was chastised by one of WZBC's own DJs as I used that songs catch phrase ("life is unfair, kill yourself or get over it") in a story during a break. Black Box Recorder have kept that cheshire cat smile while writing their new lyrics, but the taste is less acidic and more secret. "The Facts Of Life" is a major hit of a song right now in the UK, and it really deserves it. It has a melody as strong as you could get, and the beautifully deadpan vocals of Sarah Nixey. John Moore (instruments) and Luke Haines (instruments) complete the trio, filled out to a six-piece for gigs by James Banbury (keyboards and of the Auteurs), Gideon Miller (bass) and Tim Weller (drums). The band specialize in darkly mesmerising, sweetly melodic tales of teen trauma and beyond. The other 2 songs ("Soul Boy" and "Start As You Mean to Go On") are consistent in theme and tone to 'The Facts Of Life', minus the magic gloss that makes the main song so amazing. With a few listenings the subtleties of these 2 songs make them very intersting as well though, and they will be exclusive to this EP.
CD2 of this 2 single set starts with the longer album version of the title song. Myself, I prefer the radio edit. This EP also has 2 exclusive originals as well, though. They are "Brutality" and "Watch The Angel, Not The Wire". From the biography on their website: "We like the idea of writing songs for disturbing, disturbed people and getting our friends to sing them." I believe it is Black Box Recorder's intention to sound so monumentally normal that they will frighten the life out of you and in Nixey they have the perfect mouthpiece - here is someone who manages to pull off the impossible feat of sounding like she's in a state of hysterical boredom, like a demented Stepford Wife, bored by privilege, spouting poisonous nursery rhymes. You cannot take your eyes off her for a second.
"Borough Of Kings" is an Air-like song with male vocals smoothly vocodored a-la "Kelly Watch the Stars" from Air's groundbreaking Moon Safari LP. Bridge and Tunnel are a London band named after the term Manhattanites have for the weekend warriors that drive over the bridges or through the tunnel from Brooklyn and Queens (Long Island) or New Jersey to flood the best clubs. Bridge and Tunnel have an obvious affinity for these kids, as "Borough Of Kings" is about Brooklyn, even name checking the subways which connect to that area. In addition to the original version are 2 high profile remixes by Tim 'Love' Lee and by Saint Etienne. The other Bridge & Tunnel original ("Flussabwaerts") is a cinematic instrumental which further enforces the comparison to Air. All 4 songs are top notch.
Following hot on the heels of last week's 'Espresso EP' add to the gullbuy is the latest import only full length by The Cherry Orchard. Quite a delight it is. In fact, this is my favorite record of this weeks add (though BBR's "The Facts Of Life" would be my favorite song). The sound is pure summer. Light sophisicated pop with an accent on easy. Songwriting is high quality, as is production, brass, backing vocals, and general spirit. "Bubblegum Popgirl" even directly honors the song "Barbarella" by Loveletter (Simon Fisher Turner's latest band). "Barbarella" appears on Siesta's 'Songs For The Jet Set' Volume 1. The Cherry Orchard credit themselves as "starring Jason Smith, Saraq Onyett, co-starring Rachel Beavan". Their songs remind you of eavesdropping on the couple in 'A Man and A Woman' ('Un Homme Et Une Femme') if everything had worked out and they were at the breeziest point in their relationship. It is feelgood music that makes you feel hopeful. His vocals recall Nick Heyward of Haircut One Hundred updated into a Siesta Records worldview sound. I love all the songs, but 4 in particular stand out for me: "Everybody Knows", "Bubblegum Popgirl", "Something Special", and "This World Is Such A Groovy Place".
Cinerama is David Gedge's post-Wedding Present band. The A-side actually charted in england, making this the first ever Elefant release to enter the charts. Elefant is a label from Madrid that seems to only put out high quality releases, always in beautiful packages. Most of their 45 sleeves have 60's mod fashion imagery, and colored vinyl to match the scheme of the sleeve. This single is pink, and contains a beaut of a song on it's (exclusive) A-side. The female vocalist he has in the band sings throughout, which is rare for Cinerama, as David Gedge usually sings, as he does on the B-side "King's Cross". Back the the A-side, "Pacific" sounds like a happier Black Box Recorder with her voice and the sparse but ultra catchy and well produced music. The song is a jewel, and might have been my song of the week if not for "The Facts Of Life".
Clinic recall Gang Of Four's "It's Her Factory" (The B-side of their first 7", "At Home He's A Tourist") on the A-side with the mouth blown melodica throughout. The first song on the B-side ("The Majestic") is an instrumental that allows you to hear the loose reverb coils of the guitar amp, woodblock, and single toned slide whistle, set to a regimented marchlike beat that pays dividend on it's own starkness. For me, the best song is the last one though. "The Castle" is like an electronic-less Add N to X. In fact there are some electronics in it, but the approach is much more 'garage' than Add N to X, and the electonics sounds like an organ run through an effects pedal. I'll add Clinic to my list of Chicks On Speed, Ladytron, Mum & Dad, Lolita Storm, and Add N to X: bands messing things up in a glorious way that scoops me right up out of easy-land and makes me want to twist things (as The Contortions, The Pop Group, and The Scissor Girls did) once again.
Split single with 2 of the under bands of Scotland who have made subversion their stock and trade. Gilded Lil have out many singles but no LP. They feature a vocalist that (to Boston readers) sounds like Meaghan McLaughlin in her SK-70 or Bloodletter recordings, or to those who don't know what that would mean, like Janis Joplin (though it's a shame you don't know Meaghan: she has an incredible voice she can shift into overdrive exactly like Gilded Lil's vocalist does). Gilded Lil's music reminds me of the 70's band Black Oak Arkansas -jacked up blues based rock, not in the Jon Spenser style which leaves me cold, but in a rolling sloppy way that sounds right and unforced. The Male Nurse cross Yummy Furs-ish guitar with Mark E. Smith (Fall) styled vocalizing. - At least prior to this 7". I remember reading that The Male Nurse went 'prog' with this release, and that may be taking it a bit far, but I can see that person's point. Some songs by the 70's German prog-rock band Nektar sound not too far from the drum, key, and sound sweeps I hear at times in this song. Throughout it remains the traditional reverb driven picked guitar which has been their signature, though the Fall styled vocal is completely gone. in the same way that The Yummy Fur moved forward on their recent split single, The Male Nurse have succeeded in my book. This is an interesting song, lacking some of the novelty which scored them so much airplay on their past singles, but opening the door to who knows what on their next release.