A new year, a new start, a new favourite band to devote your life to! With 2013 almost upon us, we’ve hand picked 5 ace new bands to put you ahead of the cool curve next year. Haim, Cheatahs, Palma Violets, Savages and Daughter are all destined for big things in the coming months. Namedrop ‘em now and you’ll look like some sort of clairvoyant Lester Bangs come the summer. Scroll down to give them a listen, each with a short description of why you should be getting excited about them and what’s shaping up to be a vintage year for new guitar-based music.
Haim (comprising Este, Danielle and Alana Haim) will be soundtracking your summer with a folk-meets-R&B-pop sound that recalls equal parts Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush and Belinda Carlisle. It’s quintessential California pop, like swigging down on a bubble-gum fizzy drink with sand between your toes, waves lapping at your feet. Expect a debut album in the Spring, with the band now signed to Polydor.
God, Cheatahs’ SANS EP was one of the most exciting things we heard this year. Lead single The Swan matches Ride melodies and My Bloody Valentine’s shoe-gazing, wavvy vibes with Dinosaur Jr drive. Now signed to Wichita Records (making them stablemates of The Cribs, Best Coast and Les Savy Fav), this East London based four-piece push the tunes to the fore without compromising shimmering soundscapes. We can’t wait for the album.
Winners of the NME Track of the Year with their single Best of Friends, Palma Violets are being tipped as next year’s The Libertines or The Vaccines. And while this London four piece’s raucous guitars would certainly put them in the good company of those two bands, there’s more than a whiff of Echo & The Bunnymen’s post-punk experimentation in there too. Like a sonic crossbreed between The Walkmen and The Clash, these lot will be unavoidable by the Spring. Their debut album lands on 25 February 2013 through Rough Trade.
Another London based-band, Savages are an all-female post-punk offering that’s dark and intense. Think Public Image Limited, Siouxsie and The Banshees and Joy Division and you’d be on the right track. A formidable live band with a cult following building around them, it’s harsh, more than a little bit angry and ear-searingly cool. Angular and erratic, they’ll be the panda-eyed alternative to Haim’s sun drenched melodies for anyone with a bottle of black hair dye to hand next year.
Something a little softer to round off the list, Daughter are take the open-heart approach of Laura Marling and wrap it in shimmering sounds you’d expect from Sigur Ros or The XX. It’s delicate, gut-wrenching stuff, and with the mighty 4AD label behind them, expect these forward-thinking folkies to go mainstream pretty quickly.
Any bands we’ve missed? Who are your big musical hopes for 2013? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The number one Christmas single! Once the preserve of Noddy, Roy and Shane and now a toss up between some TV karaoke dork and a Facebook inspired campaign to revive the career of an old metal band.
This is a terrible shame as the playlist below highlights quite how many great Christmas records there have been.
Adding to that list are some of the tracks from the new A Christmas Gift For You – Elefant Records’ compilation of yuletide goodies. What is great about this album is that it the label’s artists are all delivering brand new Christmas tunes. There’s no ironic covers of Mistletoe and Wine here!
In case the Spanish record label has passed you by, they combine both English and Spanish speaking band all of whom probably share a passion for Saint Etienne, Phil Spector’s Christmas album and Andy Williams’s TV festive specials.
The highlight here is provided by the recently reformed 80s power pop classicists The Primitives whose You Trashed My Christmas starts off like a indie thrash before the sleigh bells and harmonies kick in and its goes all Wizard! Magical stuff. The recent Primitives album has some very wonderful tunes on it too.
The album also sees the return of the Magic Theatre, a band whose London Town album of a few years ago was a time travelling affair in which a guy from the 60s ends up romancing a girl from the 1880s, all set to gorgeous strings and poppy melodies. Christmas Lights sounds like a refugee from that album with its gentle vocals, subtle strings and hummable chorus.
Other highlights include the Phil Spector-ish I Just Wanna Hold Your Hand On Christmas Day by The Yearning which sounds not unlike this magical mob and X-mas song by Edine Avec Mitnik Et Son Orchestre – which is a lovely duet sung in English.
I have a theory that it takes a decade or two before we can properly appreciate the popular culture from an earlier decade. Much of what we love about the 60s, from The Beatles to Peter Blake, was hideously unfashionable in the 70s and didn’t really return to the mainstream until the mid 90s. Similarly the shoulder pads and wonky keyboard bands of the 80s were held in high disdain for decades and it wasn’t until the noughties that we remembered how much fun some elements of that decade’s music were.
And now it has to be the 90s to turn to be re-assessed. Sure the first ripples of a 90s revival are already starting to appear. Watching Danny Boyle’s amazing Olympics opening ceremony I was struck by how much of it made me think of the optimism and colour of the early Blair years. Then a couple of weeks later I was off to see the climax of the games – a gig by the band who eventually won the Brit Pop war – Blur. In fashion too the heritage brands that had such a resurgence in the 90s are back and selling well.
The first books about the 90s are also on the horizon. Alwyn Tuner wrote a very fine mini ebook about the 1992 election and its ramifications for politics and he will have an apparently more definitive tome on the 90s available very shortly. There will also be an interesting examination of London in the 90s soon which looks among other things at the art school roots of Brit Pop and the way in which Hoxton was transformed from a seedy east London no go zone to the home of the main movers in Brit Art.
Musically too there are the first rumblings of a 90s revival with Jake Bugg doing a very impressive impersonation of The La’s on his debut album and the growth of 60s obsessed psych bands, many of whom would have been very at home at the fringes of Brit Pop.
So now seems as good a time as any to take a look back over some of the 90s most neglected bands. I asked on Facebook and Twitter send in their nominations and ended up with about 50 bands to choose from.
There are so many that could have made the list from gothic popsters Jack through to harmony drenched power pop of Silver Sun. Maybe we ‘ll look back at them another time.
For now though here are ten, plus a whole load more on the Spotify list below.
At the turn of the decade Five Thirty's take on Jam style power pop, albeit with a lot of twists and turns, was unique. Some blistering live performances and an exhilarating single, Air Conditioned Nightmare, made them one of London's hottest acts for a few brief months. An album, Bed, followed soon after, but the big break never came and they split in 1994. There's no Five Thirty on Spotify, but some great videos on YouTube.
It has been a busy week for Scott walker. After releasing his brilliant but slightly bonkers new album on Monday and becoming our ultimate pop icon yesterday, he has also teamed up with Curzon Cinemas to choose his top ten films which you can watch at home.
Not surprisingly given his off the wall musical tastes, his film selection is also fairly offbeat and challenging, There’s a full list below with some words from the man himself.
If you do fancy watching them you can do on a Samsung Smart TV with the Curzon on Demand App on board or watch via your PC or iPad at CurzonOnDemand.com .
We are big fans of Curzon on demand at Brandish as it give you access to streaming thousands of art house movies priced at between £1.70 and £4. It is kind of like Lovefilm’s smarter, savvier film buff big brother.
Here’s the list with words from Scott
First of all let me say what a privilege it is to be asked to curate this mini season of films on Curzon on Demand for Curzon Cinemas. An invaluable establishment that has over the years offered and offers still to me and countless other ‘cinephiles’ the very finest of cinematic treasures in the most conducive surroundings.
Though this choice hardly represents a definitive list of my all time favourite films and is conditionally drawn from the Curzon’s embarrassingly impressive catalogue, it nevertheless contains some unmissable glories and current works that have impressed.
A film like Angelopoulos’ The Travelling Players, is a work I’ve not seen since its initial release in the 70s but have fond, if hazy, memories of, so the impulse here is re-acquaintance of which I’m very much looking forward.
There are others like Le Quattro Volte. A film that truly casts a spell. Extraordinary, as for stretches of time, seemingly nothing much is happening and there is virtually no dialogue. Still you find yourself utterly absorbed from beginning to end, only later to be left wondering quite how this magic was achieved. Or, The White Ribbon – a meticulous essay on the making of a Nazi. Haneke is one of the great film-makers of our time and The White Ribbon in my opinion is his finest.
Those familiar with the legendary works of Mizoguchi like The Life Of Oharu or Ugetsu Monogatari, will be able to witness one of his greatest and most influential pre-war films, The Story Of The Last Chrysanthemum, as well as the later wonderful tale of a ‘floating world’ artist, Utamaro And His Five Women.
There is Chabrol’s La Cérémonie. A work that has two outstanding central performances from Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Bonnaire. A compelling crime drama that Chabrol has joked is “the last Marxist film” where once again the bourgeois get theirs in style.
I’ve included Match Factory Girl. Possibly my favourite Aki Kaurismäki film though I am spoiled for choice as I find his work particularly appeals to my sense of humour. He’s Bresson with laughs. Not easy to pull off. I have also chosen his Take Care Of Your Scarf, Tatjana. A must for caffeine addicts everywhere.
There’s Il Divo. This is really what great cinema is all about. The director Paolo Sorrentino has taken a subject whose interest could easily find itself confined to Italy and the parameters of Italian politics and yet through amazing film making technique and fascinating use of sound, transforms into an unforgettable dream work that must be seen.
And, finally, Béla Tarr’s beautiful, spare, cinematic farewell,……The Turin Horse. I wouldn’t hold him to it though.
This week sees the release of a brand new album from 60s icon Scott Walker. And what a joy it is too with its instantly hummable tunes and striking yet subtle orchestration. It’s a return to his salad days and sure to be adored by anyone who loved his Walker Brother hits.
Well not quite. Bish Bosch is actually the third in Scott’s trilogy of albums which began with Tilt in the mid 90s and continued with The Drift a few years ago. It is unorthodox, unsettling, unpredictable, maybe even chaotic and in many ways stunning. Take the ‘single’ Epizootics which starts off with what sounds like a cow farting over a strange drum pattern in and it’s hook, for want of a better word, is strange fanfare over which Scott sings passionately. And that’s one of the more accessible tracks on it.
Oddly Bish Bosch does include a sleigh-bell infused Christmas track, but it shouldn’t dent Shane McGowan’s New York Christmas royalties cheque too greatly for The Day The Conducator Died (an Xmas Song) is a seven minute drone that focuses on the death of Romanian dictator Nicolau Ceausescu. It is a beautiful piece of music, but I doubt there is much karaoke mileage in it.
Like most other Scott Walker diehards I am utterly bemused by the album. In many ways I love it’s diversity and Scott’s sheer bloody mindedness in creating it, but I can’t help but wish that Scott would make an album a little more akin to the quintet of LPs that bore his name in the late 60s and early 70s. For Scott 1-4 along with the sadly neglected, even by Scott himself, Til The Band Comes In, contain some of the most passionate and majestic pop music ever written.
On those album the deep baritone singer, who could potentially have been the Sinatra of is generation had he stayed in the US, mixed his own stunning originals with covers of then little known continental artists like Jacques Brel and Michel Legrand. Scott’s voice is liquid gold, the orchestration courtesy of Wally Stott, is both dazzlingly inventive and beautifully subtle. And as for the melodies they swoop and soar before wrapping themselves around you,
For me though the main reason why Scott must just be pop’s ultimate thinking persons icon is that he was in many way so out of kilter with the time he lived. Although he was no stranger to the hip 60s clubs and was on good terms with the rest of British pop royalty Scott’s interest, passions and even the way he dressed made him stand out as a maverick, even then.
First up take the lyrics of his mid 60s hits. On thanks like Mrs Murphy and Montague Terrace In Blue Scott peers into the life of ordinary people in way that the recent new wave films – Saturday Night and Sunday Mon ring, Room At The Top, had a few years earlier. Very few others (ok Ray Davies) were writing in this way at the time.
Then when psychedelia hit and the Fabs and the Stones shared their worldwide messages of love, peace and optimism, Scott was singing songs about lonely men, evil dictators and the horrors of war – lyrics that were totally at odd with age.
And while San Francisco bands were pioneering a new kind of hip progressive rock music, Scott was rubbing shoulders with the squares featuring next to crooners like Val Doonican and family entertainers like Lulu on TV shows and singing the songs of MOR session hacks like like Tony Hatch.
He even looked different too. Not for Scott the Paisley and Kaftans that was de rigeur in the late 60s. Look instead at the cover of his Sings Songs From His TV Series album. Rather than hop aboard a fashion bandwagon Scott looked timelessly stylish in classic, shades, corduroy trousers, scarves and black jumpers. In many respects Scott was the James Dean of his era, an existential icon that seemed to be looking at the world in a different way to the rest of us.
Finally there is Scott’s huge influence. Bowie is obviously an enormous fan. And when Walker finally made a live appearance (of sorts) at the Barbican a few years back, British pop royalty, from Damon Albarn to Jarvis Cocker were queuing up to sing his songs.
So, I am voting Scott as pop’s ultimate icon. How about you?
Let’s set the record straight first of all. The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is without a doubt the best Christmas song there’s ever been, and likely ever will be. The 1987 classic is often highlighted for its dry, humorously dark take on Christmas, full of alcoholism and drug addiction, and features the most fractious relationship in pop duet history. “Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it’s our last” may be the line that everyone remembers, but it’s the crushingly down-to-earth, cynical regrets of call-and-response line “I could have been someone / Well so could anyone!” that really tugs the heartstrings. It’s a beautiful song, perfectly produced and arranged and is rightfully on track to compete for this year’s Christmas number one, 25 years after it narrowly and wrongly missed out on the title to a vapid Elvis cover by the Pet Shop Boys.
But for many, Fairytale of New York is where their knowledge of The Pogues begins and ends. Skewed by the stereotype-enforcing image of sometimes drunken, shambling and warbling frontman Shane MacGowan, many miss the beauty, poetry and keen political charge of The Pogues’ wonderful back catalogue. MacGowan may well be an alcoholic, but at his best, he’s also a genius.
When The Pogues first appeared on the scene in the early 1980s, they arrived like a hurricane. MacGowan, an Irish punk living in London, pulled together a band whose ability as technically marvellous traditional folk musicians was matched by their raucous live energy and politically astute punk ethics. Teetering on the brink of collapse with every note, The Pogues’ working class liberalism was a perfect match for their punk-infused-folk tunes, a stark contrast to the safe, sanitised synth-pop that dominated the airwaves that decade.
While banjo runs and tin whistle airs collided heroically against punk rock screams, MacGowan’s unique, wry lyrics are where the real magic of The Pogues lays. It’s often overlooked how evocative a storyteller MacGowan can be. Whether documenting a surreally drunken, liberating dream encounter with Irish Republican Brendan Behan in Streams of Whiskey to the solemn, seedy dissolution of big city life in The Old Main Drag, MacGowan’s romantic style deserves to be as revered as Bob Dylan’s lyrical work.
MacGowan’s alcoholism and drug addiction would eventually lead to the band’s demise in 1996, and while the albums Waiting for the Herb and Pogue Mahone (written following MacGowan’s 1992 departure) are still wonderful, they lack the bite and vitriol of MacGowan-era Pogues, a spark the band only reclaimed once they began reuniting with the troubled frontman once more for their shows since 2001.
The Pogues first three albums however (1984’s Red Roses for Me, 1985’s Rum Sodomy & the Lash and 1987‘s If I Should Fall from Grace with God) are absolute gems. Fairytale of New York may well be the hit, but no self-confessed punk or folk fan’s record collection is complete without those choice Pogues cuts. Likewise, as a live band The Pogues are still a force to be reckoned with; even as men of advancing years, their annual Christmas and St Patrick’s Day shows are the stuff of legend, joyous riots that all fans of live music should experience at least once.
If you’re still not sure where to start, here’s a handful of our favourite Pogues songs.
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
“If I should fall from grace with God where no doctor can relieve me / If I’m buried ‘neath the sod but the angels won’t receive me / Let me go boys”
The Pogues at their very finest in our opinion: a wild song of proud Irish nationalism and rebellion, there’s anger, hope and euphoria all scrunched tight as a fist as MacGowan decries centuries old British influence over Northern Ireland, and highlights the little-known plight of Irish slaves during the colonisation of America. A live highlight.
The Old Main Drag
“In the cold winter nights the old town it was chill / There were boys in the cafes who’d give you cheap pills / If you didn’t have the money you’d cajole and you’d beg / There was always lots of tuinol on the old main drag”
A sad, reflective (arguably autobiographical) tune from MacGowan documenting an Irish immigrant’s disillusionment and decline upon arriving in London’s “Big Smoke”. The Old Main Drag in question is the Red Light District of Soho and/or Kings Cross, areas of the capital that even today are where you end up when you fall through the cracks of London society. Keep an ear out for that sustained, discordant note at the end; chilling stuff.
The Body of an American
“He fought the champ in Pittsburgh and he slashed him to the ground / He took on Tiny Tartanella and it only went one round”
Perhaps best known now for appearing at the close of hit TV show The Wire, The Body of an American sees MacGowan tearing through one his fastest, funniest and also saddest lyrics. Describing the manic attempts to have an Irish national repatriated upon his death in the USA, it turns to farce as the mourners get a bit too “piskey”. Jim Dwyer, the dead man in question, lead a troubled life that saw him pulled from his native Ireland to become a pro boxer, making loads of cash before having his reputation ruined for refusing to throw a match. It’s riveting stuff if you can keep up with MacGowan’s fast-paced delivery.
“”Come on you rambling boys of pleasure and ladies of easy leisure / We must say adios until we see Almeria once again!”
Written in tribute to a four day party in the middle of a desert the band had while filming the movie Straight to Hell (incidentally one of the maddest films of all time), it’s the sort of soundtrack few parties can ever live up to. To have been on that particular four day bender would have been quite an experience, if this song is anything to go by.
“We walked him to the station in the rain / We kissed him as we put him on the train / And we sang a song of times long gone / Though we knew that we’d seeing him again”
A bit more ambiguous this one, describing the life and times of both a pub and a guy named Jimmy, who goes off to seek his fortune only to return home to find his his old way of life (and those who inhabited it) no longer exist. It also sings of some of the best qualities of the Irish people, not least the hope they’re able to express even upon the loss of someone dear. With the whole song able to be viewed as a metaphor for an Irish wake, it’s joyful rather than sorrowful.
Thousands Are Sailing
“Ah, no says he twas not to be, on a coffin ship I came here / And I never even got so that they could change my name”
We’ll throw this one in as a bonus, as it’s not written by MacGowan, but by Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron. Another beautifully evocative tale and tune, it tells of “the ghosts” of the Irish that “haunt the waves” following the mass migration to the United States over the centuries.
Here at Brandish Towers we are huge psych fans. From the bonkers nursery rhymes on acid tunes of early Floyd through to the dream pop melange that is The Horrors we can’t get enough of it.
Here then are our favourite Psychedelic albums of 2012. It does of course beg the question what exactly is Psychedelia?
Literally it is mind expanding music which over time has come to be associated with bands in thrall to its golden age of the late 60s.
These days it has become more of a catch all term though for bands who take mind expanding music from the past (Kraut Rock, Shoegazing, Dream pop and even a bit of prog) and give it a contemporary spin.
This year has all been about the huge success of Tame Impala. They are, however, the tip of a very large iceberg. Labels like Trouble In Mind in the US and Ample Play in the UK as well mags like Shindig and blogs like The Active Listener show just how exciting and diverse the psych scene currently is.
Here then are our favourite 15. What have we missed? Tell us in the comments. Spotify playlist below too.
The second album from Brooklyn's biggest Floyd fans, Paint Me A Dream is a wonderfully trippy listen that incorporates elements of psych, early prog and kraut rock. The stand out track, Rippled also has a whiff of The Church's epic Priest=Aura opus, while Translucent Lucy is prime Brit 60s psych pop. Only available via bandcamp (and on vinyl too) at the moment.
Everton and England footballer Leighton Baines may have just revealed himself as the player with the best taste in music, after revealing his top albums of 2012 on the club’s website.
The defender picked Dr John’s “Locked Down” as his album of the year, saying he was impressed by The Black Key’s Dan Auerbach who had produced the album.
Baines also picked Richard Hawley’s “Standing on Sky’s Edge” as another of his favourite records of the year, rounding off his top album list with choice cuts from Jack White, Paul Weller, Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan, The XX, Neil Young, Mark Lanegan, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power and Eugene McGuinness.
Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerisim’ is one of Everton defender Leighton Baines’s albums of 2012
Baines had particularly strong praise for “Lonerism” by rising stars Tame Impala saying that the album “builds on the psychedelic sound that Innerspeaker possessed and while still full of distortion, fuzz and effects, it is also more melodic and the songwriting is improved from Kevin Parker, whose multi-tracked vocals are very Lennon-esque.”As for debut albums, Baines went for Toy, Melody’s Echo Chamber and By The Sea, while picked out Haim, Savages and The Wicked Whispers as ones to watch in 2013.
It’s a refreshingly current and tasteful pick from Baines, whose indie taste sets him apart from the dance and hip-hop fans that make up the majority of professional footballers. Having said that, we remember a time when all footballers were obsessed with Phil Collins, so basically anything is an improvement over that.
Baines joins the slim ranks of footballers with equally good taste in music, who include retired ex-West Ham defender and Scotland star Christian Daily (who had his own band and counted Weezer as one of his favourite groups) and Graeme Le Saux, who revealed Joe Jackson’s “It’s Different For Girls” as the first record he ever bought. Pat Nevin was a big The The fan too; seems the Scots are the footballing nation with the best musical taste then!
Today’s Spotify playlist brings together tracks from twelve songwriters whose 2012 albums might have passed you by.
It’s actually been a pretty good year for one man and his guitar type troubadours with stunning albums from Richard Hawley, Paul Weller and the young pretender Jake Bugg. Monday also sees the release of Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch, which is likely to be as brilliant as it is, well, bonkers.
There are a few that you may have missed, especially from British songwriters, so here are twelve great albums ranging from the quirky 60s pop of Suzi Chunk through to the return of cult legends Bob Lind and Bill Fay.
The number one album is astonishing and IMO by some distance the album of the year.
Do you agree with the choices? What have we missed? Check out the Spotify playlist below. If you want the top den debut albums of 2012 go here and for a round up of the year’s best music polls check out this brilliant blog.
One of the year’s most unlikely comebacks, Fay was a feted 60s songwriter whose two albums from that era are often described as the missing link between Nick Drake and Ray Davies. Musically he is still in the same territory on Life Is People and tracks like There Is A Valley are likely to win him many new fans
Spotify have revealed the artists making waves through their music streaming service in 2012, publishing the lists of most streamed albums, tracks, and artists, both globally and in the UK, as well as the most used apps in the desktop Spotify application.
Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is by far this year’s most popular song on Spotify, topping the global and UK streaming lists, as well as being the most shared song on Spotify. Gotye himself also places 5th on the ‘Most-streamed male artists’ list on Spotify too
Moving onto albums and David Guetta’s ‘Nothing But The Beat’ takes the top spot, followed again by Gotye with ‘Making Mirrors’.
Rihanna bags the most-streamed female artist award, while Guetta claims the same title for blokes, with Coldplay topping the list of most streamed bands.
When it comes to applications within Spotify, TuneWiki, the sing-along karaoke app with (sometimes dodgy) crowd-sourced lyrics tops the charts.
Check out the full breakdown of artists and albums topping the Spotify streaming charts during 2012 below.
Most-streamed tracks of 2012 (global)
1. Gotye featuring Kimbra – ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’
There aren’t that many musicians that can describe das utterly unique. Jimi Hendrix is one though. His amazing body of music, and the astonishing way in which he played his guitar, simply rewrote the rule book in the late 60s. Many bands, often featuring accomplished musicians like Cream, followed in his wake, but none could get near the magic of Jimi and his band.
So on one level covering a Jimi song is a bit of dumb move. How you can hope to compete with something that was so distinctive? Yet many foolhardy musicians have tried to plunder the Hendrix songbook, often with unintentionally hilarious results,
We have pulled together ten of them here. Each is in its own way slightly bizarre but also rather memorable too. Spotify play list at the bottom of the page
The Gil Evans Orchestra – Crosstown Traffic – Jazz bloke Gil Evans loved Hendrix so much that he made an entire album of his songs and gave them a very funky jazzy vibe. When it works, like on Crosstown Traffic, it works brilliantly. We have also included his mellow version of Angel – which wouldn’t sound out of place at some schmoozy wine bar – not very Jimi.
The Cure – Purple Haze – In which Jimi goes goth-lite. Robert Smith was always a big fan of Hendrix – there’s a bit of Hendrix on his early 80s psychedelic collaboration Blue Sunshine. This takes the original and slows it down and adds some modern sounding drums and odd vocals. Kind of fun though.
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Hey Joe – Ok so Hey Joe isn’t actually a Hendrix original, and yep I prefer The Leaves version, but it is probably more associated with Jimi than anyone else. Here the Aussie goth balladeer turns the drama up to eleven and delivers a stunning, yet very eery version. It is from the covers album Kicking Against the Pricks.
Soft Cell - Hendrix Medley - Yep you read it right. In the early 80s Marc and Dave had a bash at three Hendrix classics as part of the Art Of Falling Apart debut album sessions. It is all tortured vocals, synths and drum machines. Voodoo Chile is the oddest of the three. Borderline unlistenable. Marc Almond recorded some more great 60s covers later as Marc and The Mambas.
Jamie Cullum -The Wind Cries Mary - Piano lead easy cheesy version from the jazz vocalist. Actually rather good IMO.
Booker T and The MGs – Foxy Lady – One of of several great funky versions of the track. This instrumental take from the Green Onions fellas is easy soul crossver gold.
Dion - Purple Haze – This might just be my favourite, Dion made a couple of great folk pop albums in the late 60s and this slowed down acoustic version of Purple Haze is genius. Nothing like the original, but it maintains its fragile beauty.
XTC – All Along The Watchtower – Swindon’s finest post punk psychsters used to do a blistering version of this when they played live (so I am told). This takes the Hendrix version of the Dylan song and adds squeaky vocals and dub bass before descending into a bizarre reggae-ish finale.
Spongehead – Love or Confusion – 80s Brooklynites with a bonkers version of the tune.
Are you experienced? At bidding? Well you need to be quick. If you are a Jimi fan then you need to get here asap as they have a brilliant selection of Jimi’s stuff from the 1960s which only has a few hours left to go.
Flip through the gallery to see what’s up for grabs. The guitar has a starting bid of £120k which doesn’t actually sound that pricey. The hat is a bargainous £4k
Incidentally Jimi would have been 70 today. Happy Birthday fella.
My obsession with Nellcote began after reading Robert Greenfields, “Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones”. This book tells the story of the shocking, decadent, madness behind the making of the seminal double album.
The recording took place during the blazing-hot summer of 1971 in the basement of the Keith Richards’ owned palatial mansion, Nellcote. The book freezes forever in time a moment when the Stones and their counterculture audience found themselves at a crossroads. The author was at the time a groundbreaking music journalist and he was there to witness the debauchery night after night for weeks on end of wives, girlfriends and a crew of assorted hangers-on smoking marijuana and hashish, snorting cocaine and injecting themselves with heroin, whilst the Stones descended like coal miners to the infamous dank, humid basement to lay down tracks.
As the Stones were writing the songs that eventually made up “Exile”, a variety of celebrities, among them John and Yoko Ono and Gram Parsons, descended on the villa, and so did a sinister band of local drug dealers known to one and all as “les cowboys”. While the work of recording any album is rarely joyful and the Stones themselves were already known to be perfectionists in the studio, the process that brought “Exile on Main Street” into the world became a display of extreme group dynamics unparalleled even in their own tortured history. Literally and figuratively, this was a record made in hell.
Now when you put it like that how could you not become obsessed?! As a lifelong fan of the intense relationship between Keith and his common-law wife Miss Anita Pallenberg the book is a treat as it documents their crazed reign as the King and Queen of Nellcote.
A couple of years back my enthusiasm was ignited once again when Dominique Tarle’s beautiful photos of Nelocote and its inhabitants were exhibited in London. His photos were hypnotising. There was Anita in all her lithe, European glory holding court with a young Marlon on her hip – the coolest Mother I’ve ever seen (excusing all her very naughty habits), Jagger sweating and pouting in the sweltering heat, Richards stretched out playing guitar in front of a huge fireplace, dwarfing Anita who sits at his feet. The photos are a visual feast for any Stones fan.
When planning our wedding I knew first off I wanted to hire a Villa for the wedding and invite all our friends. Which, is exactly what we did (see here) and also to convince my bloke we should visit Nellcote on our honeymoon. Well one of the skills imparted to me from God is persuasion and so my campaign began until he conceded.
Once we decided to do it we decided to do it in style so we hired an Alfa Romeo Spider Duetto from Rent a Car Classic.
So with a car promising to be an “Italian answer to the swinging London madness, it is the “Dolce Vita”! Even if the Spider Duetto is not in Fellini’s movie and will stay forever Dustin Hoffman’s car in “The Graduate”, the Spider Duetto incarnates wonderfully this “sweet life”, mixing classical style and unbridled creativity.” Oh you may laugh at the pigeon English but doesn’t it sound like fun?
On arrival on Nellcote (it’s now owned by a Russian businessman) – it is hidden down a road close to the sea but so easy to miss (and we did, several times), we saw a van just starting up to come out. I ran up to the man and begged him to let me in to take closer pictures. I explained I was a major Stones fan and he laughed and waved me through but indicated I should go no further than the lawn. I did as I was told. I then came back through the gates, he left and then like a sign from God the gates opened again!I lit up like a lightbulb but my bloke said no and now being a wifey I had to obey. He explained the consequences for trespass in France were grave and I had to settle for a few cheeky behind the gates shots.
However, to see Nellcote in all its glory you really need to see from the sea so the next day we headed down to the beach at Villefrance and worked out that we could swim around the headland to view it properly. I have never moved so fast. Clothes off, into the sea and bombed around the headland. I could see my bloke laughing on the beach. I didn’t care because as soon as I got around the headland and saw the balcony that Keith Richards had sat on and strummed his guitar while looking out to see it was all so worth it. Sad as it sounds it was the closest thing to a spiritual experience without actually being one that I’ve ever had. A moment in time suspended just for me to look at and gaze in awe.
There was a point somewhere in the 1960s when The Rolling Stones were arguably the best dressed band on the planet. They mixed traditional Saville Row threads with flamboyant shirts, cravats and scarves better than anyone. They were the epitome of pop art cool. Check here for evidence.
But then the coolest of the lot of them, Brian, went swimming, Keef got strung out on heroin and Bill grew his hair out. And from a sartorial point of view things went downhill.
Never mind though because there was always Mick. Trouble is that somewhere around 1969 Mick’s style compass completely went AWOL. Probably about the time he wore that white dress in Hyde Park (sadly our pic agency doesn’t have that image!). Throughout the 70s and well into the 80s, he strutted across the stadiums of the world wearing an increasingly bizarre series of onstage costumes. Maybe that’s the point, they were different, daring and bit camp – just like Mick. Sadly like most of the Stones 80s output they looked pretty crap too.
So please don’t get me wrong I really love the Stones and always will, but I still take great pleasure in presenting you with Mick Jagger’s top ten crimes against fashion. Enjoy. I only wish that we could have shared this one with you too.
And if you want to read about some under rated Stones albums go here. Pics copyright PA
They were written off as the Boyzone of Britpop – a band whose image and not music gave them a spot on Top Of The Pops even before their debut single had troubled the charts.
However there was always more to Menswear than their angular cheekbones and fancy threads. And I am not the only person who thinks so. For seventeen long years after its 1995 release the band’s debut album Nuisance has finally gone platinum. This of course begs the question who has actually been buying it in recent years. People with taste that’s who for Nuisance is actually a cracking good listen. I guess that a lot of kids have bought the album unaware of the band’s awkward history and they are hearing not just echoes of hype, but some rather good tunes. Here Sean Hannam explains why you should give Nuisance another listen.
They were indie’s ultimate pin-ups – NME darlings who wrote great pop-punk songs, enjoyed the druggy delights of London nightlife, shagged groupies senseless and then imploded in dramatic style. No, not The Libertines, you fools, Menswear. And they really couldn’t have picked a more appropriate name for their debut album than Nuisance.
Yep, back in the mid ’90s, when Pete Doherty was still a record company marketing man’s (crack)pipe dream, these youthful Britpop socialites had it all – good looks, massive hype and, unlike The Libertines, fantastic tunes. Menswear appeared on Top of The Pops performing I’ll Manage Somehow before they had even released a single and signed a record contract after only five gigs.
Their debut album, 1995′s Nuisance serves as a great reminder of the heady days when freaky Japanese girls would visit Camden pub The Good Mixer in the hope of getting a glimpse of floppy-haired Menswear frontman Johnny Dean and his razor-sharp cheekbones. From the guitar and Hammond mod stomp of 125 West Third Street to the pounding piano and blaring horns of Stardust – rumoured to be a dig at Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie (“He’s a superficial fucker,”) – Nuisance is a fantastically cocky Britpop classic that has more hooks than a second hand clothes stall on Camden market.
Check out The One. If Pete Doherty didn’t nick that sound and that tune for a track or two on the first Libertines album, then my name is not Carl Barat.
Daydreamer, the first song the band ever wrote, is awesome – a menacing, robotic New Wave stutter that sounds more like Wire than Elastica ever did. PopJunkie’s favourite however is the lovely summery ballad Being Brave, which ushers in warm evenings with its sweeping strings and epic, sing-a-long chorus. We’re also partial to the groovy Monkees sound-a-like Sleeping In, which is basically Last Train To Clarksville diverted via the Northern Line, and the Blur-like Little Miss Pinpoint Eyes – a cautionary tale of a posh bird from Hampstead who ends up strung-out on heroin and disco tunes. It really deserves to sell for more than the pitiful £2 or so you can get it for now.
After Nuisance, Menswear returned with a new single, the Beach Boys influenced We Love You, but nobody seemed to care – all except those freaky Japanese girls, that is. The band’s second album, the Japanese-only release, Hey Tiempo, was a massive success in the Far East. Shortly afterwards, the group disbanded. But they left them this to remember them by. So put your prejudices aside for 40 minutes and give it a spin. Who knows you might fall in love with it.
Annoyingly Nuisance isn’t on Spotify, but the single Being Brave is along with some cracking covers versions – The Zombies and Public Image. Enjoy.