Posts Tagged ‘The Smiths’

features, music

The best parody of The Smiths ever – from, err, Horrible Histories

By Stefano on June 12th, 2013

The BBC’s Horrible Histories has had some wonderful musical parodies in the past (the theory of evolution set to Bowie’s Changes springs to mind) but this one is something else. A chronological account of the life of Charles Dickens set to the music of The Smiths. It is spot on too. The level of detail is superb, the Morrissey style vocal mannerisms, the occasional sudden break, the funky Marr-esque guitar, they are all there.

It is about four Smiths songs in one but Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Know and This Charming Man feature prominently.

And don’t miss its excellent finale- and what is he doing with that Gladioli?

Oh, and isn’t that Al Murray on drums. Now that is what the licence fee is for.

More fantastic TV kids shows for adults here.



features, music

Early demos from The Smiths show up on YouTube

By Stefano on March 20th, 2013

smiths

Now this is amazing. Some early demo tapes of The Smiths, noted by Slicing Up Eyeballs, have just popped up on YouTube. They are called “The Pablo Cuckoo Tape” run for forty minutes and feature work in progress versions of songs that would eventually grace the band’s first album and early singles.

The track to listen to first is Reel Around The Fountain which has a fuzz guitar sound in places that didn’t make the cut for the version that appeared on Hatful of Hollow (and The Smiths). Accept Yourself sounds great, while These Things Take Time is a bit of pain in the ear with Morrissey struggling to hit the high notes.

The quality of the cassette is rough bit it is fascinating nevertheless.

It has caught the attention of Smiths’ drummer Mike Joyce who tweeted today, “A fan of The Smiths? An early recording you’ve probably never heard before. An early recording you’ve probably never heard before.”

The uploader’s explanation of the tape’s origins:

In May 1983 (exact date unknown), while preparing to record their debut album, The band ran through & recorded a selection of songs at a rehearsal in band manager Joe Moss’ jeans warehouse (Crazy Face). The cassette tape was recorded for Troy Tate in order to give him something to work with before going into the studio. It’s pretty rough, but considering it was recorded on cassette with a stereo Mic pointing into the room, the quality isn’t too bad. Morrissey’s vocals are a bit distorted – maybe singing too close to the mic or maybe the cassette Mic was too close to the PA but everything else is surprisingly clear. There is some tape flutter at various points. I was lent the master cassette by a source close to the band who made the recording, let’s call him Pablo Cuckoo, in 1997 with a view of trying to put it out as a semi-official release. As it was recorded before the band had signed to Rough Trade, technically he had the rights to the recording. But a combination of poor sound quality & threats from Warner Bros. meant that the idea was shelved.



music

Smithsfest – a two day Smiths festival at the ICA in March

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013

smiths

If there’s one band that you could probably take and turn into a mini arts festival without actually playing a note of their music it is The Smiths. From their cover art, through to their musical influences and passion for films, The Smiths are still IMO the most interesting British pop band of the last 30 or so years.

So no surprises then that the ICA have chosen the band for a festival at the end of March. With Morrissey and Marr still putting the dampeners on any reunion talks this is probably as close as you’ll get to the band this year.

The details haven’t been fully announced but the ICA website says

Over a two day festival comprising talks, performance, art and film, Smithsfest will survey the artistic and cultural impact of The Smiths, one of the most iconic, seminal and controversial guitar bands in the history of pop music.

Among the stuff confirmed so far is the London debut of Terry Christian’s solo show Naked Confessions of A Recovering Catholic while Mark Simpson, author of Saint Morrissey, will be in discussion exploring the question Morrissey: Saint or Sinner?

From our perspective though the highlight will be a double-bill of the superb films Taste of Honey & The Leather Boys both of which will be introduced by legendary 60s actress Rita Tushingham.

There is some less cerebral stuff too including the chance to get a Moz Makeover with Open Barbers, and confront MozTerMind: ask him anything about the Smiths/Morrissey and he knows the answer! DJs The Readers Wifes play a Smiths inspired set, plus there’s an exhibition of exclusive Smiths and Morrissey photographs by legendary rock photographer Tom Sheehan.

It will be held on 29 March 2013 – 30 March 2013 – and to keep up to date with the latest news and buy tickets go here. Spotted by.



features, Gallery, music

The British films that inspired The Smiths’ record sleeves

By Stefano on February 11th, 2013

the-smiths-the-complete-picture-originalIt is incredible to think that The Smiths were together for just five short years. In that time they managed to release four official albums, a few compilations of sessions, singles and oddities and of course, a run of some of the most amazing and unique 45s ever.

And one of the things that made The Smiths’ singles and albums so special was there sleeves. Handpicked mostly by Morrissey, they feature a series of cover stars most of whom dated from the late 50s and early 60s, and for Smiths fans they gave an real insight into the singer’s world – who his heroes were and the influences that shaped him.

Some of those cover stars were familiar, like Yootha Joyce, the star of two very successful seventies sit-coms. Others like French actor Jean Marais from Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphée, were a bit more obscure.

Not surprisingly quite a number of the stars featured in British films from the 60s, so I have rounded up those covers and attempted to give a little more information about the films they came from. Most of them are very watchable – a couple of them are classics.

I have added YouTube links to each one. Two of the films are available in a full version on YouTube, the rest are clips and trailers.

Click on for the gallery and links.

William It Was Really Nothing - Charlie Bubbles

Picture 6 of 7
Picture 6 of 7

Films like Smashing Time chronicled the lives of naive northern types as they visited the by then Swinging London of the mid 60s. What makes Charlie Bubbles so unique is that it takes a journey in the opposite direction. A road movie of sorts the film features Bubbles played brilliantly by Albert Finney, as a famous writer who lives in London returning to his Salford roots to see ex-wife Billie Whitelaw (as featured on the sleeve). It is a bizarre film especially because there is very little dialogue - and this even though it was written by acclaimed playwright Shelagh Delaney. Whitelaw is superb as the embittered ex wife and the scenes between her and Finney are the strongest in the film. Moz fave Yootha Joyce also pops up as one of Finney's old flames and Liza Minnelli makes her screen debut as Finney's personal assistant/lover. The over arching theme of the film is the way in which Finney feels uncomfortable in the south in London, but how he is viewed with suspicion because of that success by the people he meets up north. A sentiment which may or may not have had parallels with Morrissey. Charlie Bubbles whole film



features, music, T-shirts, Polos & Shirts

The 12 most iconic rock and roll band t shirts of all time

By Stefano on November 22nd, 2012

There was a time when the only people who would wear band T shirts were metal heads still loyal to their ageing rocker heroes, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin fans, who a decade on hadn’t bought any other new items of clothes, and Teenage Fanclub fans who’d give them a quick iron and pop them on each time their favourite Glaswegians hit their local venue

Then a few years back rock T shirts suddenly became cool in an ironic way. The Kate Moss set started wearing Ramones shirts and pretty soon you couldn’t move in Top Shop for vintage rock band shirts and disco diva fifteen year olds desperate to snap them up.

Things then got way out of hand and in parts of north London your pre school child wasn’t properly dressed without a Pistols or Clash T shirt.

One only feels sorry for those earnest aging rockers whose enquiries about Sonic Youth records to youngsters sporting the Goo t shirt were met by blank stares.

Nevertheless the band T shirt is back and is likely to remain a staple for both kids looking for cool designs and adults wanting to broadcast their musical taste.

So the other day we began arguing in the office about which is the most iconic band T short of all time. A couple of Flat Whites and bit of Facebook research later and we had a list of contenders.

Surveying the list it becomes obvious that band T shirts fall into one of four categories.

1 The classic band logo - This is the band’s whose ident is captured in one little graphic device. The band’s brand if you will and the illustration that appears on their drumkit, behind them at gigs and obviously on their merch. Band logos have included some of the finest and most iconic pop art emblems of the recent decades and not too surprisingly our list is dominated by them.

2 The classic album cover - Oddly there aren’t as many of these in the list as you might think. In fact if you peruse any list of the great albums of all time you’ll find that many near the top like The Beatles albums for example, have not been widely replicated on T shirts. The ones that work well tend to have designs that are either black and white or two basic colours. So Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures looks great on your chest, whereas Ziggy Stardust less so. I think The Smiths may have got lucky here. Morrissey famously designed most of their single and album covers or rather appropriated them from 60s films. For reasons of taste (or maybe even budget) they were almost always two colour affairs that look great as T shirts.

3 A logo taken from an album cover – This works occasionally. Think The Stone Roses whose debut album sleeve was covered in lemons – the exact same fruit that became the motif for their most iconic T shirt.

4 Something utterly off the wall that the band ends up championing – see number two.

Anyhow, here then is our list of the ten most iconic rock and roll T shirts of all time. It was close but sadly Ned’s Atomic Dustbin didn’t quite make the cut.

12 Sonic Youth

Picture 1 of 12
Picture 1 of 12

As worn by hipsters across the planet. One wonders how many of them are on nodding terms with the album from which the print is taken - Goo. The image is a Raymond Pettibon illustration based on a paparazzi photo of Maureen Hindley and her first husband David Smith, witnesses in the case of the "Moors Murders" serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, driving to the trial in 1966.

Stockists

Sonic Youth Goo  AC/DC Motorhead Stone Roses The Who Nirvana Joy Division Inspiral Carpets Ramones Smiths Beatles Stones 



Designer Spotlight

Ute Ploier

By admin on December 17th, 2007

Uteploiers1_2
Ute Ploier has been making
a name for herself in the menswear market. After starting her own label in 2003,
she was awarded the 2004 menswear award at the Hyères Festival. Her current collection ‘Time-loopers’ is said to
reflect on the modern mans armour – role play, social connotations and issues
of masculinity. I just like her Morrissey t-shirt.

Given the whole
Morrissey vs NME thing, it’s pretty risqué at the moment to even wear a Mozza
t-shirt. People might confuse me with an old ex-pat who spends his time lamenting
the lack of English accents in Knightsbridge. Morrissey’s version of England is
probably filled with monocle-wearing man with bowler hats shouting ‘Pip Pip’ at
each other whilst stopping off to play a game of croquet before getting back to
the old lady. The shirt is nice though.




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