Friday, 31 August 2012

YEAH YEAH NOH - Thames Poly, London 2/11/1984

Classic early concert featuring all the customary haphazard ingredients: incompetent soundmen, broken microphones, malfunctioning instruments, apathetic 'crowd', and inbetween song audience berating at its most cutting.

Set list
Crimplene Seed Lifestyle, Bias Binding, Starling Pillowcase, 1901, Prick Up Your Ears, Cottage Industry, Another Side To Mrs. Quill, Brown Shirt, Jigsaw.

Don't forget to tune in your trusty DAB's to Marc Riley's 6 Music show on Monday September 10th at 7pm to hear 21st century YYN live in session. Check the group's Facebook page for updates.

For more archive gubbins from deep within the fetid bowels of nostalgia, please visit The Yeah Yeah Noh Ropey Audio Emporium.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

VINDALOO SUMMER SPECIAL - Rockin' With Rita (Vindaloo 7" 1986)

Summer may be almost at an end and John Peel would have been 73 years old today, so let's keep both spirits alive with this summer pop shoulda bin hit from 1986.

Written by Ted Chippington, this would be The 'Gales final stab at attaining that elusive Top 40 placement before Rob Lloyd threatened in a Radio 1 interview with Janice Long that he would jack it all in to become a greengrocer. (Coincidentally, it's John Nester who now runs a fruit 'n veg market stall). The single had financial and distributional backing from WEA, who'd signed the fledgling Fuzzboxes on the strength of their debut Vindaloo ep. Copies of the single came with a triangular sticker of the type that holidaymakers were prone to placing on the inside of the rear windscreen of their cars to display to the world how widely travelled they thought they were.

If not reaching a commercial peak, the band were certainly at a publicity peak - video shoots for the single in Blackpool, miming to the track on childrens music tv show Razzmatazz, and an amusing appearance on Central News that saw the band advocating Balsall Heath as a tourist attraction - even going as far as producing special Balsall Heath sticks of rock! Suffice to say, the only daytrippers likely to boost certain sectors of the town's economy would be after dark visitors seeking the fun and attractions of the infamous red light district.

The commercial failure of the single sadly spelled the end of Vindaloo. Ted went off to try his luck in the USA, Fuzzbox braced themselves for fame and fortune after recording their debut album with Lloyd in the producers chair (Bostin' Steve Austin would be released before the year was out), while The Nightingales went on an 18 year hiatus.

Rockin' With Rita, along with bside Let's Surf, were later reissued on the compilation album A Baker's Dozen, the latter reappearing as a bonus track on the 2005 Caroline True cd reissue of In The Good Old Country Way. The former was excluded not only from that package but also Ted Chippington's 4cd box set Walking Down The Road.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

BOB & VI - Keep Lying, I Love It (Vindaloo 7" 1986)

Here's a lost eighties classic if ever there was one.

Bob (Robert LLoyd/The Nightingales) and Vi (Subversa/Poison Girls) entered Zella Studios in Birmingham sometime in September 1985, and along with assorted members/associates of their respective bands, cut this one-off curio unleashed to the world at large the following year. Curious in the sense that musically it was almost a normal pop song by both bands standards, albeit one that had apparent nods to the 1950s, and (with hindsight at least) seems like a precursor to the material Lloyd would later produce with the New Four Seasons.

The song was played frequently on Rock 'n Pop, an hour long show on BBC Radio WM dedicated to the regional music scene that went out on Sunday afternoons presented by Mark Davy (affectionally known by the musicians he championed  as Dark Gravy). Initially, I assumed the song was a cover of some obscure doo-wop type ditty, until the day I bought the single and discovered it was self-penned by Lloyd with lyrics co-written with Subversa. The b side, O Boy, while appearing to betray a Buddy Holly influence, is also an original, this time written by Poison Girls guitarist Richard Famous.

Suffice to say, the record didn't propel either into the limelight and any notions of producing a double concept album about illicit and doomed affairs with unorthodox age gaps had to be curtailed. Keep Lying later appeared on A Bakers Dozen - a Vindaloo compilation comprising (unsurprisingly) thirteen tracks by (also unsurprisingly) Vindaloo artistes. Other than that, to my knowledge, neither of the tracks have been commercially available in any form on any format since.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

JASMINE MINKS - Peel Session 17/2/1986

We started this Sunday in a mellow mood, so let us end it that way.

This was the Minks only session for Peel, who seemed to get into them a bit late, the band by this time already veterans of the fledgling Creation roster.

All the songs on this session would appear on their eponymous full length album proper a few weeks later, albeit (to my ears) in inferior form. Much as I love the album, there does seem a lack of depth in the production and warmth in the semi-acoustic guitars. But Jim Shepherd and Adam Sanderson wrote fantastic songs and the strength of the tunes overrides any studio shortcomings.

Sanderson would quit the group in the summer, but the band continued with a new line up and released two more albums on Creation before the end of the decade.

The original line up continues on an off/on basis to this day, having played shows in London and the Indietracks festival in 2012.

1. Ballad Of Johnny Eye 
2. Cry For A Man  
3. You Take My Freedom  
 4. I Don't Know.

As a wee extra, one of my favourite Minks songs by the original line up with Adam Sanderson. Tucked away as a bonus track on the Cold Heart 12" (Creation 1986), I don't think this track has ever been reissued on cd (or SF's as we are prone to referring to them here in the House of Cale - Satan's Frisbees). Apparently, Alan McGee initially had reservations about releasing Cold Heart as a single, then went on to produce the label's then most expensive sleeve art for it.

SHONEN KNIFE - Peel Sessions 1991-92

As August bank holday brings customary bank holiday weather and signals the end of yet another British summer that wasn't, we who dwell on this green and pleasant isle can look forward to something other than moaning about the weather this winter when Shonen Knife tour the UK in October.

Recorded just nine months apart, these were the only two sessions the Knife recorded for Peel, when the band were at their short-lived indie cred peak here in a UK doused in the bleached dirt sweat of Nirvana mania.


Friday, 24 August 2012

VICTORIAN PARENTS - Dead Red Grass Of Home (7" 1981)

Unless you were a resident actively out on the town in Lichfield, Staffordshire or a regular attendee at Comsat Angels gigs, chances are this band will be unfamiliar to most of you.

As an 11/12 year old who in pre-pubescent naivety probably thought that all bands, if not orginating from London, then certainly deemed it necessary to decamp to the capital in order to achieve fame and fotune, it was a revelation to discover a band who not only came from my hometown but one that made records too!

Steve Johnson (vocals/guitar), Clinton Beale (guitar), David Phizacklea (bass) and Roy Thomas (drums) released this self-financed debut single in early 1981 on their own Ellie Jay label (cat. no. EJSP 9579) - copies of which are probably still being used as draft excluders on the fire exit door to the stockroom of the Lichfield branch of WH Smiths. A five track cassette version was simultaneously released which included three bonus tracks recorded live at (I think) the Lichfield Arts Centre.

The single garnered interest from Polydor records who put out follow up single, All American Hero, and an album, Silence Follows (which I hope to post at a later date - time and band consent permiting) before the year was out.

Despite the high hopes Polydor had for the band, a UK tour supporting the Comsat Angels, jaunts across Europe, and an appearance on the (Old Grey) Whistle Test (clips of which can be found on youtube), the album's release met with poor sales and no further releases were forthcoming, the band quietly calling it a day in December 1982.

For more info, memorabelia etc etc, please visit the Victorian Parents Facebook page.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

CODEINE - Peel Session 22/12/1992

2012 has, it seems, seen every band from the mid-eighties who recorded a session for John Peel reform, hoping to achieve some future glories denied them in the past. Codeine, however, came to prominence in the early nineties as grunge's undernourished outcasts in a desolate limbo of lethargy.

Although I was aware of the band, it wasn't until I heard their second session for Peelie that I took a greater interest in them. By the time I purchased my clear vinyl copy of The White Birch in either late '94/early '95 I was oblivious to the fact that the group had already split up.

Towards the end of the decade bands like Tortoise, Mogwai, El Hombre Trajeado, The Yummy Fur and no doubt other minor players who upon the realisation that there was no financial security to be gained in the post-rock genre and so opted to form sanitised versions of Josef K instead, all cited Slint as a point of reference to which all gratitude was indebted. It seemed Codeine were sidelined to the point of extinction...

... until back in the spring when the Numero Uno label announced the release of a 6LP/3CD box set When I See The Sun, plus individual deluxe vinyl reissues of their three albums, with the band temporarily reforming to play a handful of live dates to promote the releases.

Although the deluxe reissues boast a plethora of rare non-album tracks and previously unreleased material, including three songs from the aforementioned 1994 Peel session, this, their debut from December 1992, has not been included in the package.

1. Jr  2. Tom  3. Smoking Room  4. Broken-Hearted Wine.


For the Codeine completist, here are four songs that didn't make it onto the Numero Group's deluxe vinyl reissue series.

Realise and Broken Hearted Wine were originally issued as a white vinyl 7" single in 1992 as part of the Sub Pop singles club.  The songs spawn from several 1992 sessions at three different studios as the group attempted to record what was supposed to be The White Birch album. Stephen Immerwahr was unhappy with the results, so what emerged was the six track Barely Real ep/mini LP instead.

Something New is the 'electric' version recorded at Dessau in 1992 and curiously omitted from the new expanded Barely Real album. A four track acoustic version of this song appeared on the bside to Tom issued as a blue vinyl 7" on Sub Pop the same year. This version is also on the bonus disc of The White Birch.

Pea was a collaboration with Bitch Magnet and was issued as the b side to their Valmead single in 1990. A different version was included as a bonus track on the original cd issue of Frigid Stars. There's also a nice acoustic demo take on the vinyl reissue.

Track list

Realise, Broken Hearted Wine, Something New, Pea.

And finally, an ultra rare live concert recording:
VUB, Brussels 10/2/1991


Saturday, 4 August 2012

YEAH YEAH NOH - Westfield College, London 14/2/1986

Last London show of the original 20th century incarnation of  the proverbial perennial Peel favourites Yeah Yeah Noh. This was the third of five farewell concerts the group performed following the announcement at the beginning of the year that they were calling it a day after a career (in the public eye at least) that spanned little over 18 months.

While sound quality isn't great, the atmosphere is electric and emotionally charged - press reviews claimed that grown men left the venue with tears in their eyes - at what was a sold out show with an uncharacteristically large and appreciative crowd going by the standards of other live recordings I've heard of theirs.

They must be pricks if they haven't got record players!

After a 26 year lay off, they're back and forging ahead with a new line up, new songs and new arrangements of old songs - if it's a nostalgia trip of greatest non-hits regurgitating indie pop memories of cosy nights in reading tatty fanzines whilst listening to Peelie with your first love you're after, then you're out of luck.

The group's next gig will be at The Musician, Leicester August 25. They are also scheduled to appear live in session on Marc Riley's 6 Music programme on September 10.

For more info go to the official YYN on Facebook.

For more archive live recordings, studio rareties, gigography, memorabelia etc, why not wamble your way over to The Yeah Yeah Noh Ropey Audio Emporium.