Friday, May 19, 2006

Bionic Parts

Mocket - What Do Babies Want? (Remix) - 3'18

Very little is known about Mocket, at least to me... What is most defintely known however, is that this particular slab of vinyl is a furiously loud burst of energy, predating the sound of the likes of Help, She Can't Swim by about eight years.

Released in this remixed form as an episode of the 1999 Sub Pop Mailorder Freaks Singles Club which is presumably like the proverbial hen's teeth, the original, and quite frankly not much different version can still probably be picked up on their slightly easier to find 1997 debut LP "Fanfare", released on Olympia's K Records.

No blind spots, in the leopard's eyes

Lush - Outdoor Miner - 2'41

Back when singles ascended the charts naturally, rather than a high entry followed by immediate freefall that is the norm today, it looked like Wire's Outdoor Miner might at last provide the band with some commercial success.

Unfortunately, the story went that despite sales indicating the single ought to enter the hot top 40, presumably granting Wire with a lot more airplay and a probable appearance on the BBC's Top Of The Pops, it was that very week that the powers that be decided to descend upon EMI for chart fixing - meaning that legitimate or not, Outdoor Miner's sales would be null and void.

As such I suppose, Wire would only ever continue to be a cult curiosity rather than a genuine commercial viability. But before the likes of Elastica or Menswear decided to pilfer through Colin etc's songbook for their own aims, the unlikely Lush put their take on the unfortunate Outdoor Miner on the back of their For Love EP.

Who are The Sweeney?

The Sweeney - Why? - 2'42

One night, back as an indie disco DJ, we were going to be blessed with an appearance of Steve Lamacq. The idea of him being an indie night club draw makes me laugh now, but my boss at the time certainly made a big deal out of his booking.

In preparation, Steve's people had faxed ahead a setlist of potential numbers he might play, to make sure that we both didn't play anything on there before he arrived, and presumably also didn't trump his big number. I can't for the life of me remember what it might've been, and in fact his entire list was a pretty uninspiring, indie-by-numbers affair. All except for his opener.

The Sweeney were currently receiving fairly heavy rotation on the John Peel show with a song called "Why?", and it'd been a staple of my set at the club for a month or so already. But I was quite surprised to see it heading Pac-A-Mac's shopping list of britpop standards (it was 1996 after all), but granted him kudos and refrained from airing it myself earlier in the evening.

Needless to say I felt pretty stupid when midnight struck and Steve made his grand entrance to the theme tune of that much loved 70s cop drama, also called The Sweeney.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hips, Lips, Tits, Power...

Silverfish - Crazy - 3'19

It must've been some kind of playlist mixup at Radio One.

As a teen my clock radio was set for 5.50am on Saturdays, to get my ass into work as a weekend internal mail dogsbody at the Yorkshire Evening Post.

At that kind of hour, especially in 1992, the last thing I ever expected to hear on fab FM was Sultans of Ping FC (Where's Me Jumper?).

Actually no, the last thing anyone could expect is Silverfish's Crazy (from the Silverfish With Scrambled Eggs EP, Creation 1992), but it's exactly what followed.

I believe it's a cover of a Frank Sinatra standard, though I can't find any reference on the web to confirm. If that's true, even though I haven't heard the original, there's no way ol' blue eyes could deliver the song's sentiment as sincere as Leslie R does here.

Polytechnic of Doom

Prolapse - Love Like Anthrax - 4'33

I once decided it might be cool to get into gig promotion, and thanks to a drunken night out with Prolapse at Bedford Esquires' Saturday night indie disco, they were going to my first target.

My university was always starved of live acts, not being the most glamourous of venues and presumably being just that little bit too close to London's hipper venues for bands to consider. Regardless, I convinced the student's union entertainments manager that Prolapse were the shit and that we ought to put them on.

As one of the DJ's at one of the most popular indie nights in Luton, I refused to play the hits that anyone wanted to hear, and as such was always relegated to the first couple of hours of the night when there was hardly anyone in. I used to convince myself that the core group of kids that turned up early did so especially to hear whatever leftfield singles I'd scored from Rough Trade that week - but I'm sure it was more to do with the happy hour beer prices the club ran before eleven.

So what possessed me to think that putting a band like Prolapse on mid way through the proceedings of the Saturday indie disco, by which point attendance would be at a capacity level, I'll never know. But I did it.

To make matters worse perhaps, earlier in the day, my uni hosted some intercity athletics meet. And in his infinite wisdom, my entertainments manager decided giving away free tickets for the gig to all participants was a sure fire way of filling the venue in hope that Prolapse would spread the word to other bands that it was worth playing because a decent crowd would be guaranteed.

Obviously, yer average meathead sports guy doesn't really appreciate a giant, hairy bloke with an indecipherable Scots brogue, playfighting with a four foot nine blonde chick reading from a book on stage, backed by a band hammering out the most angular noise. And the athletic fraternity in attendance that night got vocal with their displeasure. Despite the capacity attendance, I bet it was the worst show Prolapse ever played. And so I decided to pack in the promotion idea altogether.

Regardless, if there was one band that were destined to cover Gang of Four, it's Prolapse. Their interpretation of Love Like Anthrax featured on the flipside of their final 7" for Cherry Red Records in 1995.

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