Thursday, 27 June 2013

Eton Crop - Peel Sessions 1983-88

Revised and expanded edition of an earlier (now deleted) post. Includes three sessions in completion, with only two songs missing from a total of twenty that the Crop recorded for the John Peel show.

Someone should contact the relevant authorities and put out a missing persons alert for Eton Crop: there is virtually no information about the group out in the junk-jumbled jungle of cyberspace whatsoever.

Eton Crop formed in 1979 in Nieuwkoop, South Holland, and released a total of 12 singles and four albums over the next 15 years. Frequent visitors to the UK, they toured with many of the "pre-C86" groups like The Membranes and The Three Johns, the latter with whom they shared a not too dissimilar musical approach. While many groups from that era downed tools towards the end of the decade, Eton Crop battled on into the mid-nineties, their last full length album, Get Real!, appearing (on cd) in 1992, eventually bowing out in 1994 with the 4 track ep Everybody.

Despite their longevity and high output, with many comparatively short-lived groups from that era reforming following reissues of their back catalogues and internet-generated interest ranging from those with first hand experience of the groups to a younger generation of fans not even born at the time, it seems the Crop have vanished from the face of the earth. A few of their artefacts have (ahem) cropped up on blogs in the past, but most of the links to the sonic delights have long expired. Even after much trawling through Google images I could only find the one band photo (posted above). But who knows, maybe they're still out there somewhere plotting their "next move" or playing the odd squat gig in a vacant room above Dr. Bongo's Coffee House.

The Crop recorded five sessions for Peel in the space of  five years - a total of twenty tracks, eighteen of which are included in this post. Their third session  from 1985 gained a limited commercial release in 1988. Cobbled together by my good self from tracks found on old cassettes, files on the John Peel Wiki, and the alluded-to Strange Fruit 12".

He Didn't Say Anything
Gay Boys On The Battlefield
Boring Isms

Get Something For Doing Nothing
Quality In The Grooves
Boy Meets Tractor

 Harry Nelson-Pilsbury
 It's My Dog, Maestro
You Won't Get Me Out In The Rain
Paraffin Brain
A Bundle For A Dead Dog
Jolly Adventures With Janus McManus
Banana Battle
A Jolly Cheerful Crowd
 Pavel Morozov The Bastard
Beating The Sicilian*

* Thanks to Stuart, missing track added 22/01/2014.

Update 6/4/2016: Upgrade of 2nd session aired on Gideon Coe's 6 Music show.
 Now includes Quality In The Grooves!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Felt - Complete BBC Sessions 1984-86

Well, so much for taking a breather from blogging!

I was rummaging through the 6 Music schedule online t'other day when I espied a Felt session that was to be broadcast on the Live Music Hour between 3 and 4am on June 24th. Although the listing didn't specify which particular session, the splinters in the eyes from the matchsticks that snapped under the weight of heavy eyelids proved to be worthwhile, as the featured session was none other than the group's very first for Janice Long from September 1984. I'd previously - and somewhat hastily with the benefit of hindsight -posted two songs from this session only last month after they were broadcast on Gideon Coe's show (the post has since been deleted), not expecting the complete session to be appearing on the airwaves quite so soon.

The songs were segued together so smoothly, I chose not to split the songs into individual tracks, so have simply left it as one single file.

By coincicence, over the weekend while I was attending the Scared To Get Happy happening in London, a friend thrust a pile of audio dvds into my hand. Among the multitude of Peel-related guff was a marginally superior quality recording of the Andy Kershaw session from 1986, although it seems to stem from the same source - All The People I Like...still abruptly fades out around the 3'10 mark.

And for completists sake, I've included the second JL sesh that I purloined from Fruitier Than Thou. Caspian Sea had approximately ten seconds missing from the intro, so I've tacked this on from a woefully inferior recording I had, with not necessarily professional results!

That should keep you amused for a while, dear reader.

Update 16/12/2014 - New, upgraded, pristine-ish files for '86 JL session culled from a recent Gideon Coe airing now available to download from link below.

Dismantled King Is Off The Throne
Roman Litter
Vasco Da Gama
Crystal Ball

The Day The Rain Came Down
Caspian Sea
I Didn't Mean To Hurt You
Ballad Of The Band

When The Dawn Starts Creeping In
Rain Of Crystal Spires
All The People I Like Are Those That Are Dead
Sapphire Mansions

Friday, 14 June 2013

Pop Off Tuesday - Peel Sessions 1998-99

As we approach the first anniversary of Maggot Caviar at the end of this month, I've decided to celebrate in true style by taking a breather. But not before we've had a bit of a weekend blow-out!

Mysterious London-based Japanese duo who have about as high a profile as Lord Lucan and Eton Crop combined. Delve into your favourite seach engine of choice and you will merely fing a brief outline of the group on discogs, four youtube clips, and the photo posted above.

Formed in 1995, the group released their debut single the following year, before signing to the Pickled Egg label of Leicester, going on to sporadically release a further two singles, one 10" ep, and two full length albums between 1996-2002..

Creating a curious blend of quirky ambient soundscapes mied with lounge jazz guitaar and vocal stylings, with a nod to the prevaling post rock genre of the times, the group recorded these two sessions in the dying months of the old millenium.

It Was A Strangely Emotional Moment For Me
Mad Tea Party
Mother Awake Her

Viola Fora De Moda
Ms Boo Boo's Return
A Field Of Blue Clover

Friday, 7 June 2013

Yeah Yeah Noh - Peel Sessions 1984-86

All three sessions YYN recorded for John Peel, plus broadcast highlights from their set at the ICA, London as part of the 1984 ICA Rock Week.

What's interesting listening to these recordings in chronological order is how rapidly the group were developing in such a short (18 months to be exact) time frame, before it all suddenly ended with band members retreatingto monastries from rock 'n roll excess burnout, hospitalisation through inter-band fisticuffs, and the bass player moving to Liverpool.

Shortly after the group broke, these sessions were gathered together for the long out of print album Fun On The Lawn Lawn Lawn; the final session was released independently by Strange Fruit in 1988. A handful of tracks ended up on the Cherry Red best of cd Leicester Square.

YYN are due to play their second gig of the year on June 22 as part of the Scared To Get Happy festival. Staged to coincicide with the release of the 5cd Cherry Red box set of the same name, the ten acts confirmed to play are the Wolfhounds, Blue Orchids, BMX Bandits, 14 Iced Bears, Brilliant Corners, Mighty Mighty, The Primitives, Popguns; The June Brides round off proceedings, scheduled to take to the stage at 11pm. More details on YYN's Facebook page.

Last month they played their first gig of 2013 at The Victoria in Dalston.  features of the live setThere are several clips from the show currently circulating on youtube, including this one of new song Shooting From The Hip.

1st 28/7/1984
Prick Up Your Ears
Beware The Weakling Lines
Starling Pillowcase

Temple Of Convenience
Another Side To Mrs. Quill
Crimplene See Lifestyle
See Through Nature

Superimposed Man
Stealing In The Name Of The Lord
(It's) Easier To Suck Than Sing
Cottage Industry
Blood Soup

Beware The Weakling Lines
Another Side To Mrs. Quill
Cottage Industry

Soup Dragons - Janice Long Session 1986

Several years before they reinvented themselves as long-haired lovegods and took to baggifying lesser known Stones tunes, the Soup Dragons started life as a credible punk pop thrill-billy Buzzcocks rip-off.

Two, possibly three, band members hobnobbed on and off with the BMX Bandits at various stages in their ongoing career. Sean Dickson and Sushil K. Dade would later go on to more critically acclaimed projects as The Hi-Fidelity and Future Pilot AKA respectively.

The Soup Dragons recorded three sessions for the BBC during 1986,  two of which were for John Peel (the second being all covers and included an interpetation of The Red Krayola's Listen To This). Sandwiched inbetween them was this session for Janice Long recorded sometime during the summer months of that year. As far as I'm aware, all four songs are exclusive to this session and were never comitted to vinyl.

Slow Things Down
Make My Day
Same Old Story
Lindy's Realised

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Melt Banana - Peel Sessions 1999-2003

Complete BBC recordings by Melt Banana to get you firing on all cylinders in time for the weekend. All excellent quality audio, with the live set from Brighton sounding partcularly vibrant - as you'd expect from a recording made on a good old fashioned Sony tape deck!

Curiously, this session isn't listed on the Keeping It Peel site.
 Track list details unavailable.
File split into three parts.

Peel 3/10/2001
Transmitted live to air at Maida Vale 3 in front of a small studio audience.
Track list details unavailable.
File split into three parts.

Transmitted live to air. Peel sounds husky-voiced during the outro.
File split into four parts.


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Monkey Steals The Drum - Peel Sessions 1999-2000

Short-lived combo from Ormskirk who hung around the turn of the century long enough to record two sessions and release two singles.

After sending in a demo cd at the tail end of the century, Peel chose to broadcast Injured Birds, an instant indie classic if ever there was one, as well as being an instant fave with Peelie himself, and one that promised greater things. Peel hastily arranged studio time at Maida Vale and the first session was in the bag before the century was out.

Fans may have anticipated Injured Birds as being the debut single (it was aired regularly by Peel), but My Chinese Burns was chosen instead, backed by two songs, Forvincent and Disco Kill, released mid-2000 on both 7" and cd fprmats by Action Records.

Injured Birds - the same demo version Peel first broadcast in late '99 - eventually saw the light of day in January 2001, released on cd only by the Shifty Disco label and limited to 1000 copies. The same month, the group's website announced that an album would be "coming soon", but it never materialised. The group continued to make sporadic live appearances as late as 2003, but there were no further record releases or radio sessions.

Tragically, singer/guitarist Christian Ashcroft committed suicide in 2006.

My Chinese Burns
St. Germain
Disco Kill

Mars Moss
That's A Cool Picture
Four By Zero
Person Of The Year

Injured Birds

Monday, 3 June 2013

Primal Scream - Janice Long Session 7/7/1986

Carefree summer fun continues, not only weather-wise here in the British Isles, but also in the virtual exotic, tropical paradise that is Maggot Caviar. Erm, yes...

Of the three sessions Jim Beattie-era Primal Scream recorded for the BBC, the Janice Long recordings are probably their most realised studio efforts of the time. Beattie's melodic magician's hat guitar lines have a vibrant, warmer texture than the tinny jangle of before, possibly enhanced by the medium wave reception on the night.

The radically different arrangements to Silent Spring and Imperial are more satifying to my ears than their laboured Sonic Flower Groove incarnations that emerged a year later. Velocity Girl is a faster, tougher take than the Crystal Crescent  b-side, with the addition of a second verse, but, despite a brave attempt, could never top the original. Fever Claw had been a regular in their live set since 1985 but the song never made it onto vinyl.

So cast your minds nostalgically back to a time when the drugs were no stronger than a morning dose of Haliborange, and the anorak-attired had yet to have their innocent bemuffed ears assaulted by the MC5 and the cod-cock rock copyism that ensued.

Velocity Girl
Fever Claw
Silent Spring

Saturday, 1 June 2013

June Brides - Marc Riley Sessions 2009-2012

The first day of June is upon us, so it seems appropriate to celebrate the non-existance of summer with some summery pop tunage courtesy of the June Brides.

Phil Wilson takes time out from his superhero status of saving the Buckfastleigh duck population from floods, foxes and fatal diseases, to lead his band oop north to promote The Junies first single release in a quarter of a century, copies of which can still be obtained from Occultation Recordings.

A January Moon
Every Conversation
In The Rain
The Instrumental

Up To London
Found A Friend
Heard You Whisper

Debut comeback session on national radio since the evils of rock 'n roll lured Phil Wilson away from nigh on two decades of civil servant monotony and anonymity. Initially starting out as a trio, with Arash Tarobi and Andy Fonda on bass and drums respectively, Phil was joined  for this session by old bandmates Jon Hunter and Frank Sweeney.

Bees had yet to return to the fold, and Phil was at first reluctant to trade under the June Brides monicker, preferring to continue where he left off as solo artist before his career was truncated after just two singles for Creation.

2010 saw the long awaited release of God Bless Jim Kennedy, strangely his first ever full length album proper. (Discounting compilations, lest we forget, There Are Eight Million Stories... was classed as a mini-lp, a format in abundance, particularly on the Creation label, around the mid-eighties, featuring a maximum of eight songs and usually retailing for no more than £3.49). Vinyl copies of GBJK are still up for grabs on Amazon.

Phil Wilson has never been exactly prolific as a songwriter, so it's unlikely fans will get to hear any great lost albums or rarities collections on a par with The Stooges Complete Funhouse Sessions. However, there are a couple of gems in The Junies slim but perfectly formed cannonette that have escaped digitisation for posterity on the satan's frisbee format.

In truth, not much different to the more familiar version nations across the globe have come to know and rejoice in. The backing track is the same, but the vocals and trumpet parts were re-recorded during sessions for There Are Eight Million Stories.... The middle eight is filled out with some choice "na-na-nas" in place of the yet-to-be written lyrics. There is also an alternate lyrical line before the "let's talk a little now" coda. The single mix is more trebly, giving it an over all thinner sound, with the guitars quite low in the mix.

If you purchased last years summer pop smasheroo, A January Moon, with the bonus cd, you'll be familiar with the incorrect tracklisting. While there may be no Phil Wilson solo version of This Town, let us console ourselves with this obscure Junies version instead, which quietly slipped out on the Ideal Guesthouse  compilation around the time the band called it quits in 1986.

Basically the same as the single but minus the bass and drums, this alternate "acoustic" mix gives the song a completely different feel. It seems the Junies were not only innovators of a whole new musical genre -dub in reverse - but may have also paved the way for every band and its Aunt Fanny  to board the Unplugged bandwagon in the mid-nineties.