Archive for the ‘The Stone Roses’ Category

The Charlatans

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Listen: Love Is The Key / The Charlatans

7″ singles became less desirable as a format for radio through the 90′s, and by the new millennium, few were available as promo only pressings. Well, not so much in the UK luckily. Possibly driven by guilt, the vinyl conscience music industry still pressed limited copies for radio and jukebox, often with zero packaging. Seemingly an insult at the time, and very disposable, fast forward ten years and I’m well happy to have saved every last one.

Such is the case with The Charlatans’ ‘Love Is The Key’. Being an early possessed band follower, my attraction to their 45′s waned as time progressed, but given those first few gems, I always would give a listen to each new release, and usually winced with disappointment. The more than basic, information only sleeve above, which looks rather nice a decade later, didn’t help.

Unexpectedly, a revelation greeted me: ‘Love Is Te Key’ wiped clean the band’s by then dodgy slate of single releases, each one more dull than it’s predecessor. This record sounded hot on first listen. A return to form, as others have said way too many times. Despite the buried vocals, and Tim Burgess’s much publicized move to LA, this still sounded very British, especially it’s amusing faux funk, which only The Stone Roses had managed to master previously.

The Thompson Twins

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Listen: The Gap / The Thompson Twins ThompsonTwinsGap.mp3

You know how it is when a band or artist suddenly gets critical mass? That brief moment when you feel part of mainstream society, because like the mass public, you too can’t get enough. Seems every song is a hit, and the hits just keep coming. To name a few: The Pretenders, Hole, Eurythmics, The Stone Roses, Culture Club or most recently Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas.

When the stars lined up in that way for The Thompson Twins, I felt liberated. ‘The Gap’ was always the standout track from INTO THE GAP, but didn’t quite enjoy the chart showing of the three prior singles, all big successes, pulled from it. By then, the record had sold tons and pretty much anyone who wanted ‘The Gap’ had it on the full length.

As a show opener, nothing could top this song. It’s eerie, medieval drone kept the pop side just dark enough to pretty much outlive it’s counterparts as a long laster. Every so often, when browsing through my shelf for some other title, I’ll just stop and know ‘The Gap’ will hit the spot – like tonight.


Monday, December 21st, 2009

BassomaticPS, Bassomatic, William Orbit, Mark Ronson

Listen: Fascinating Rhythym / Bassomatic BassomaticFascinatingRhythm.mp3

William Orbit, the guy behind, or should I say, the guy who basically was Bassomatic, became the most in demand remixer/producer after ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ hit. For good reason. Despite it’s inability to live beyond the acid house goes mainstream period of 1990, when it peaked at #9 in the UK, it’s a pretty fantastic song. The accompanying SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE BASS takes the prize as best-ever tongue in cheek album title, and quite frankly one that made me want to hear it. I did. I own the disc, but can’t remember if it was as great as the title implies. It may well be, but I didn’t give it much of a chance. Someday.

I was in London when ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ came on Radio 1. Gary Crowley was driving us along Holland Park Avenue from St. Peter’s Square during a bumper to bumper Friday rush hour in late September. We’d been to the pub and were desperate to get to Brown’s and see Jake. It was pouring but Oxford Street was hopping. And the radio was jamming with KLF, Andy Weatherall’s version of Primal Scream, Orbital, The Stone Roses and Deee-lite. Seems like all England wanted to do was dance. We got caught up. Almost didn’t want to arrive, it was like one great track after the other.

You’d return home and I learned as soon as that plane touched down at JFK, it was time to leave the great party on the radio behind. Back to the US airwaves it was.

William Orbit was then much like Mark Ronson is now. Had a few monsters so along comes all the politically correct and connected acts paying big bucks for the same magic wand to elevate them up the credibilty and financial ladder. These things always end in tears of course but some great remixes came out along that path.

Back to square one. Nothing by Bassomatic topped ‘Fascinating Ryhthm’ that I know of. And that is perfectly okay.

The Stone Roses

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

She Bangs The Drums / The Stone Roses

Listen: She Bangs The Drums / The Stone Roses SheBangsTheDrums.mp3

I remember seeing The Stone Roses in the smallest place, somewhere along Portobello Road. Damn if I can remember the name, but it was definitely a pub. I saw Pulp there a year or so later, playing to about 30 people. Jarvis had his best Scott Walker outfit on: brown wide courds, hip huggers, complete with a thick white belt and matching jacket. Everyone I was with turned their noses up and met me down the way instead of watching. Duh. The Stone Roses though had a mob scene going on their night – must have been around ‘91-ish. I never thought they looked amazing. There was just something clutsy about their stage language. Ian Brown couldn’t really sing of course. Still, this one did sound great live. That I vividly recall. I’m right back to the moment every time I hear it. It’s one of the defining songs of that period (another is The Charlatans ‘Sproston Green’), although everyone sights ‘Fool’s Gold’ as The Stone Roses’ seminal track. I disagree.

Brett Anderson

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Love Is Dead / Brett Anderson

Listen: Love Is Dead / Brett Anderson 01 love is dead (01).mp3

My first time seeing Suede was March ’92 in Brighton, opening for The Fall. I’d missed them the night before and was in a state. I loved their demo that had been made at the Island studios just before I left the label. After the show, I was jaw dropped and wide eyed. This was the real deal. They captured the ultimate British sound, bringing to the grooves, well, all the poison of London. Suede hit me dead center – I realized what I’d been waiting for. Even though it’s not that long ago, I harken back to that early 90′s period with Blur, Pulp, and The Stone Roses getting their footholds in pubs along Ladbroke Groove and Camden Town. Still, for me, Suede glistened above them all. Never did they disappoint live. No small contribution coming from Mat’s bass on that front. Brett had the physical swagger, and Mat the rhythmic. I really wanted to sign them and so took the band round to meet all the Warner Brothers people in Burbank a few months later. It was a memorable trip – these English guys very out of place in LA – and for their first time ever. We crammed into a rented convertible (that somehow I ended up with) and went to Santa Monica Pier, stopping at a few garage sales along the way, everyone wearing long sleeves and pants in blazing California sun. Before leaving town, the earthquake of ’92 hits. It’s pretty freaky driving to LAX without one working traffic light on the way, yet risking it just to get home. Even though he started out with a bang, Brett’s writing just kept getting better and better. COMING UP, their third album, is a masterpiece. A formula was patented and kept working. So it’s brave and commendable that Brett chose a more stark and personal path for his solo releases. He’s begun to establish himself as a songwriter and singer of real depth, his voice more powerful than ever. This solo single, his first, was a nice treat on release. Don’t know what I was expecting, so the unexpected really worked – it’s a much played favorite.