Archive for the ‘Chrisitan Stavros’ Category


Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Lightning Blue Eyes / Secret Machines

Listen: Lightning Blue Eyes / Secret Machines SecretMachinesLightningBlueEyes.mp3

Christmas 2004. I finally had a few weeks off and planned to catch up on a bunch of new records I’d been meaning to get to since November. For a few years, I made it a point of stopping at the original HMV store on Oxford Street every London visit. Luckily, I looked after a bunch of Columbia’s UK acts, and ended up there about four times a year. No one else would touch the English groups. Our chairman didn’t like the UK stuff, so they were hot potatoes. HMV really jumped on the vinyl resurgence curve early. Well before any of the other chains. Then and now, the purists put their nose in the air to the place but I say they’re wrong. HMV stocks all the indie and worthy major label 7″ singles at cheap prices, usually 99p week of release. And the vinyl portion of the floor is set up famously, just like a record shop in the day. The 45 wall is nirvana, with box lot size helpings of just about everything. I would grab tons of titles and listen later. So that Christmas break I allocated time. I’m pouring over the first two Secret Machines singles I’d gotten that month earlier but still hadn’t played, and notice Brandon and Ben Curtis were in the lineup. Hold on, these guys were in UFOFU, a band I had released on The Medicine Label. It had to be the same guys. So I listened. Wow, they’re great. I’d heard their name a lot, mostly from the junior A&R kids at Columbia. What a great bunch they were, especially Keller and later Christian Stavros. I had wrongly assumed Secret Machines were alternative radio fodder, formula hard rock. No. This was the real deal. I went out on Christmas Eve and got the full length. As if by magic, I had a new band to be crazy about. How fun.
Now it was countdown to an upcoming show and sure enough, they were awesome. I was so pleased to see Brandon and Ben getting their just rewards. I turned some friends on to them as well. Everyone was in. Brandon came by Columbia just before Christmas ’05 and played me the new album. A few songs really stood out, ‘Lightning Blue Eyes’ in particular. All of them were pretty long. I remember we talked about some singles edit, and he went off to try a few. This was one, and it’s a smash waiting to happen. Don’t think it got much play, but I could be wrong.

No matter, Secret Machines shredded the tent at Reading the following August. The place was rammed. The crowd went berserk.

I’m making an exception by posting ‘Lightning Blue Eyes’. You see, it’s only available as a blue see through glittery reeking of some marketing angle pressing. I hate colored vinyl. Should be illegal, a controlled substance. Records should be black, just like God created them. For this single though, an exception.

The Lightning Seeds

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Sugar Coated Iceberg / The Lightning Seeds

Today I got an email from my pal in LA, Christian Stavros, and he wrote: ‘currently listening to a playlist of my fave bands from growing up’, proceeding to list, amongst others, The Lightning Seeds. Do you remember they had a hit in the US ages ago with a song called ‘Pure’? It was a surprising hit too, as it sounded so English. It actually reminded me of the Jonathan King classic ‘Everyone’s Gone To The Moon’. Lead singer Ian Broudie (also a top producer) has a similar voice and delivery. This was around ’89 when sounding English was becoming a problem, unlike in the ’60s & ’70′s. Years later, when I worked for Columbia and was Suede’s US A&R guy, I was always fighting to get attention for them at the label. The radio department would argue: but they sound so English. I’d always say, ‘I know – that’s the point’. But guess what, I lost the argument and Suede didn’t get the play they deserved, or any play actually. So…i proceed to ask Christian if he’s heard this single, and happily he hadn’t. I say happily, because it was really fun to turn him on to it. I pulled it out, and it just sounds great.