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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Punk & New Wave 1978: The Scream - Siouxsie and The Banshees (November 1978)

This is a revision of a piece I did last year as some of the links on it were dead. Some new links and information have been added and I thought it would be good to revive it a little for your listening pleasure. 

There's lots of links below, so click on them to enjoy the music.

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 The Scream - Siouxsie and The Banshees
Polydor
Produced by Steve Lilywhite
Released 13th November 1978
UK Chart #12


Siouxsie and The Banshees
    Siouxsie Sioux – vocals
    Steven Severin – bass guitar
    John McKay – guitars, saxophone
    Kenny Morris – drums, percussion 


2005 Remastered Deluxe Edition
 Bonus Disc
     Rarities, Sessions & Singles
    Riverside Session
2-1 Make Up To Break Up 4:34

Features Peter Fenton on Guitar
    John Peel Session 1
2-2 Love In A Void 2:40
2-3 Mirage 2:41
2-4 Metal Postcard 3:35
2-5 Suburban Relapse 3:07
    John Peel Session 2
2-6 Hong Kong Garden 2:42
2-7 Overground 3:14
2-8 Carcass 3:44
2-9 Helter Skelter 3:35
    Pathway Demos
2-10 Metal Postcard 4:05
2-11 Suburban Relapse 3:55
2-12 The Staircase (Mystery) 3:08
2-13 Mirage 2:55
2-14 Nicotine Stain 3:13
    Single A-Sides
2-15 Hong Kong Garden 2:55
2-16 The Staircase (Mystery) 3:14

Singles on The Scream?
One of the things that's actually quite striking about The Scream is the absence of the Debut Single, Hong Kong Garden. The other thing that is very clear from the album is that there isn't actually even a future single on it! Well, that's sort of not so true because Metal Postcard was released as a single in West Germany in June 1979 with a German vocal and entitled Mittageisen and released in the UK at the end of September with the flip side Love In A Void (it would reach #47 in the charts in the UK). In France and the UK it was released as a Double A-Side.

Love In A Void appeared on The Once Upon A Time/ The Singles album (1981) and also on the 2006 Deluxe Editon of Join Hands, whilst Mittageisen wouldn't turn up on an album until the Downside Up Boxset of 2004.

Many of us would have bought the single on Import as Polydor did not release it for another couple of months after the initial release in West Germany.


A-Side: Mittageisen

A-Side: Love In A Void

The A-Sides of the first two Siouxsie and The Banshees singles were added to the 1989 CD Reissue of The Scream. They were both also included on the bonus disc of the 2005 The Scream Remastered Deluxe Edition. The B-sides did not appear on an album until Downside Up Boxset in 2004.

Polydor
Released 18th August 1978
UK Chart #7

Polydor
Released 23rd March 1979
UK Chart #24

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Released 23rd October 2006


Six of the songs that form The Scream, the Debut Album from Siouxsie and The Banshees, had previously been heard on two sessions for John Peel on BBC Radio One prior to the band signing to any record label (29/11/77: Mirage, Metal Postcard, Suburban Relapse, 6/2/78: Overground, Carcass and Helter Skelter). 

The getting signed part was important especially as the band wanted creative control and Polydor Records gave them just that. The decision to not include the debut single or the follow-up was an interesting one and also to not necessarily have a possible "future single" included must have caused Polydor some anxiety.

The Scream is a fantastic Debut from the band and it immediately showed that they were more than prepared to move beyond the confines of "Punk" as it had been defined by the music press and the media. Along with the likes of Joy Divison and Magazine, Siouxsie and The Banshees were clearly blazing a trail for a new and vital Post-Punk sound.

There was a lot of expectation about the album prior to release and it didn't disappoint, though I have to say that I do favour more the Peel Session versions of some of the songs! The reviews were pretty good with Sounds saying it was The Debut Album of the Year and their writer Peter Silverton  gave it five out five stars in his review. Record Mirror also gave it five stars with Chris Westwood saying: The Scream "points to the future, real music for the new age... It is vital, it's moving. It's a ... landmark." Ian Birch of Melody Maker was also postive whilst noting that the album's texture was not unlike that of Wire or Pere Ubu

Kris Needs of ZigZag said, "I can't think of another group who could have made an LP so uncompromising, powerful and disturbing, yet so captivating and enjoyable... It is certainly a special classic to join milestones like Diamond Dogs (Bowie), Roxy Music's first and Lou Reed's Berlin. This is music of such strength and vision that you just can't not be moved by the time they swing into the final climactic passage of 'Switch', the closing track." Needs qualified the sound as "huge, sometimes awe-inspiring" and commented that drummer Morris created "one of the best drum sounds I've ever heard – the deep echo and floor-shuddering mix accentuating his muted Glitter Band stomp"

Adam Sweeting began his review by saying, "This is a chilling, intense masterpiece", then noted that the musicians "have perfected a group sound which is powerful but streamlined", adding that "the words and music combine to produce coolly dazzling images".

Paul Morley writing for the Christmas issue of the NME in December 1978 said, "It is easy to gain attention by doing something which is crudely obviously out of the ordinary, but the Banshees have avoided such futile superficialities: it is innovation, not revolution, not a destruction but new building. It has grown out of rock – Velvets, Station to Station, Bolan".

I loved that line by Morley "it is innovation not revoultion, not a destruction but new building". When you play this album and then listen to say, Give 'em Enough Rope by The Clash, which was released around the same time you can really see just how different the sound of "Punk" was in those days and exactly where it was going to go!

Julie Burchill of the NME was unimpressed, stating that the Banshees sound was "a self-important threshing machine thrashing all stringed instruments down onto the same low level alongside that draggy sub-voice as it attempts futile eagle and dove swoops around the mono-beat. Their sound is certainly different from the normal guitar-bass-drums-voice consequence. But it’s radically stodgy, loud, heavy and levelling, the sound of suet pudding" but then she seemed to be one of the only ones being negative about the album so I guess her opinion doesn't matter that much! 😀

Thirty Nine years on I still think the album sounds great and innovative and it clearly was a harbringer of what was to come with the whole Post-Punk scene.

It's influence was widespread impacting the likes of Robert Smith (The Cure), Peter Hook (Joy Division), Jim Reid (The Jesus and Mary Chain) - he said regarding Jigsaw Feeling, "it was brilliant, amazing. That's a reason why I made music". Shirley Manson of Garbage cites it as one of her all-time favourite records. Even Faith No More state that this first album by Siouxsie and the Banshees was one of their influences!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

S4L Radio Show Playlist #14


Apologies for the lack of picture sleeves this week I was having a problem with Discogs that was constantly causing the computer to freeze up (and for the lack of commentary as I have a bug at the moment and got to a stage where I felt incapable of thinking let alone writing!). Hope that doesn't spoil your enjoyment of the music which once again is a very eclectic choice

Listen to The Playlist Here

On The Playlist This Week
Capital Radio - The Clash
Normally known as 'Capital Radio Two' this is the 'Cost of Living EP' version.

The Shine - Dave Hause
From the excellent 'Devour' album and one of my favourite songs of Mr Hause.

Shine On - The House of Love

Shine - Pillar
A fine cover of the classic Collective Soul tune (which is another of my favourite songs, although the band are I think criminally underrated).


Fall - The Darling Buds
Taken from the second album 'Crawdaddy' which is loaded with great songs and some fine singles that really should have done better chartwise.

Stop Killing Me (Live) - The Primitives
One of their classic singles performed live in Madrid back in 2012.
 
Revolution Baby - Transvision Vamp
Three albums and a handful of hit singles and then they were gone but Wendy James has continued to release music firstly as a Solo Artist, then with Racine and currently doing the Solo trip again with a couple of albums under her belt and a new one currently in progress.


Spin This Web - The Adult Net
I recall getting this track on a Free NME EP years back. Always quite enjoyed some of the early work of the former member of The Fall, Brix Smith.


The Punishment of Luxury - OMD
Title track of the new OMD album and it's an absolute belter. Can't recall the last time I felt so enthusiastic about an album of theirs. My friend Alyson is a huge fan and tells me that their current tour they have been quite spectacular.


Puppet Life - The Punishment of Luxury
Seemed entirely fitting to follow that with a band with the same name as the OMD song. Another Indie gem.

The Crucial Three
The Puppet - Echo and The Bunnymen
Read It In Books - The Teardrop Explodes
Seven Minutes to Midnight (Peel Session Version) - Wah! Heat
You just couldn't imagine what on earth would have happened if McCulloch, Cope and Wylie had really made an effort to actually do something together. No doubt there would have been a lot of friction and who knows what music that could have created! It was not to be and they each went their own way onto various levels of success with Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and the various incarnations of Wah!

Something Old
Children of the Revolution - Kirsty MacColl

Something New
American Made - Margo Price

Something Borrowed
True Colours - Aztec Camera

Something Blue
Big Blue Sky - Bebo Norman

In Memory of My Heart - Buddy and Julie Miller
No Surrender (Bruce Springsteen Cover) - Holly Williams

The Parting Shot
Until We Meet Again - Flogging Molly


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Revisiting: Green - R.E.M. (1988)

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Green - R.E.M.
Warner Bros.
Produced by Scott Litt and R.E.M.
Released 7th November 1988
US Chart #12
UK Chart #27



Air Side

Metal Side
Personnel
 R.E.M.
    Bill Berry – drums, percussion, backing vocals, bass guitar on "You Are the Everything", "The Wrong Child", and "Hairshirt"
    Peter Buck – guitar, mandolin, drums on "Eleventh, Untitled Song"
    Mike Mills – bass guitar, keyboards, accordion, backing vocals
    Michael Stipe – vocals


Additional musicians
    Bucky Baxter – pedal steel guitar on "World Leader Pretend"
 Keith LeBlanc – percussion on "Turn You Inside-Out"
    Jane Scarpantoni – cello on "World Leader Pretend"


Singles On Green
(They were released on different formats and where different tracks appear I'll try and add links for those particular songs

7" US Single
A-Side: Orange Crush
Released December 1988
UK Chart #28

UK 3" CD Single


UK Cassette Single
A2/B2 - Ghost Riders (Previously Unreleased)*

*was also included as the B-Side of the UK 7" and the Limited Edition 7" Box Set that included Tour Poster

UK 12"
B1- Ghost Riders

US 7"
A-Side: Stand
Released January 1989
US Chart #6
UK Chart #48
** Not totally sure why the US single had the same B-Side as the Orange Crush 7"!

UK 12"***
B2- Skin Tight (Live)

*** Another UK 12" had Memphis Train Blues and Eleventh Untitled Song as the B-Side and the same track listing was on the UK 3" Mini CD Single

UK 7" Die Cut Sleeve
A-Side: Stand
B-Side: Pop Song '89 (Acoustic Version)

US 7" and Cassette Single
A-Side: Pop Song '89
B-Side: Pop Song '89 (Acoustic Version)
Released May 1989
US Chart #86

US 7"
A-Side: Get Up
B-Side: Funtime
Released September 1989
Did Not Chart

Others
B-Side: Turn You Inside-Out
Spanish 7" Promo

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R.E.M.'s Green album is my favourite LP of theirs. Maybe because it was the one that really hit home to me (I had heard some of the others and a few songs had struck me as being good but I wasn't totally drawn in by them) and it was the first one I bought right there on the spot in a record shop whilst it was blaring out over the sound system on the day of its release.

Unlike their previous albums, Green was released on a major label and of course sounds were heard far and wide that the band had sold out because of the move! It's always a shame when people think like that. They can be so precious about protecting that Indie/Alternative label that they often fail to actually take note of the band or artist's attitude towards such a move. For R.E.M. signing to Warner Bros. gave them a much bigger platform and also it gave them creative control over their releases (that is very important). If they had stuck around with I.R.S. Records I'm not totally convinced that they would have had such huge success seeing that MCA Records (who distributed I.R.S. Records) felt that they were not much of a priority and yet were putting pressure on the band to sell more records! There's only so much you can do in such circumstances and R.E.M. went label hunting for any who might be interested in them. Though some labels offered the band more money it was Warner Bros. who were offering them total creative control. They picked what was the best for them as a band I think no matter how loud the dissenters were shouting!

The album overall is a real mixture of sound mixing up Pop, Rock and a quieter acoustic side with instrumentation ranging from mandolin, accordian and steel guitar. Mike Mills said it was quite experimental resulting in an album that was "haphazard, a little scattershot". Peter Buck said that the album didn't feature "typical R.E.M. songs". Band biographer David Buckley wrote, "Sonically, Green is all over the place, the result being a fascinatingly eclectic album rather than a unified artistic move forward". Whatever the case I think it's an absolute belter of an album.

The album was released on this day back in 1988 and on the following day (8th November) in the USA, timed nicely to coincide with the 1988 Presidential Election that was between Republican George H. W. Bush (who had born much criticism from the band) and Democratic Nominee Michael Dukakis (who the band had been supportive of). Bush of course won by 53.4% of vote!

It's very fitting to be posting about this album on the eve of the anniversary of last year's Presidential Race where America made the bizzarest decision to elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States! I say fittting because my favourite song on Green and the only song to have the lyrics printed on the inside cover of the album was World Leader Pretend!

If the song was a dig at George H. W. Bush back in 1988 it surely seemed to fit in 2016 the Reality TV Star and Businessman Donald Trump (though of course it's up for grabs whether he should ever be called a good businessman!).

World Leader Pretend
written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe

I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it's all, it's all for nothing
I know the barricades
And I know the mortar in the wall breaks
I recognise the weapons, I've used them well

This is my mistake
Let me make it good
I raised the wall
And I will be the one to knock it down

I've a rich understanding of my finest defences
I proclaim that claims are left unstated
I demand a rematch

I decree a stalemate
I divine my deeper motives
I recognise the weapons
I've practised them well
I fitted them myself

It's amazing what devices you can sympathize
Empathise
This is my mistake, let me make it good
I raised the wall
And I will be the one to knock it down

Reach out for me
Hold me tight
Hold that memory
Let my machine talk to me
Let my machine talk to me

This is my world,and I am the World Leader Pretend
This is my life, and this is my time
I have been given the freedom to do as I see fit
It's high time I razed the walls that I've constructed

It's amazing what devices you can sympathize
Empathise
This is my mistake, let me make it good
I raised the wall
And I will be the one to knock it down

You fill in the mortar
You fill in the harmony
You fill in the mortar
I raised the wall
And I'm the only one
I will be the one to knock it down


The catalogue of failure, broken promises, insults, attacks on the media, poor response to national tragedy, failure to deal with home grown terror (by stating "it's a mental health thing and not a gun thing") and the continuing despair surrounding Trump's tenure as POTUS can be seen elsewhere on news sites on a daily basis and go to prove that he's one World Leader Pretend who clearly has bitten off more than he can chew!

A huge World Tour was undertaken in support of the album with some being filmed for what became the Tourfilm video, here's a few selections from it.






Sunday, 5 November 2017

S4L Radio Show Playlist #13 Dance, Dance, Dance To The Radio!


Dance To The Radio...as you do when no one is watching! 

That's the theme this week... Dancing, and that gives a lot of room to move about various musical stylings! Hopefully it should prove to be an interesting collection of tunes for your listening ears and for your shuffling feet!

The only place you can go from Joy Division to Emmylou Harris and not have to question why!! 😎

The Playlist

On The Playlist This Week:
Transmission - Joy Division
The performance is from the BBC show Something Else.

When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fightin' - Slade
Was recently reminded of this little beauty from the 1981 album We'll Bring The House Down due to a cover version by Punk band The Wall.

Come Dancing - The Kinks
Another from the early 80's when The Kinks had a little bit of a resurgence.

New Dance - Secret Affair
Taken from their excellent 1979 Debut Album.

Dancing With Myself - Gen X
Whilst it didn't do much for the band which was on its last legs it did catapult Billy Idol to MTV fame when it was released in the USA.

Shake - Eddie and the Hot Rods
B-Side of the Teenage Depression single and a great cover of the old Sam Cooke number. Otis Redding of course has a mighty fine version also.

Land of A Thousand Dances (Live) - The J.Geils Band
Released as a single in 1982.

We Got The Beat - Masked Intruder
Taken from A Tribute To The Go Go's: Our Lips Are Sealed album released in 2013 on Solidarity Recordings.
Masked Intruder are a Pop punk band from Madison, WI. All the band members hide their identity by wearing different color ski masks. Each member is referred to by the color of their ski mask. The band is made up of Blue on lead vocals and guitar, Green on guitar and vocals, Yellow (aka Orange) on bass and vocals and Red on drums. That's about all I know about them!

Twist and Shout - The Isley Brothers
The song was made way more famous when The Beatles recorded it but I do love the Isley's version. It was originally recorded in 1961 for Atlantic Records by The Top Notes.

Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
1971 single from the Queen of Soul. Not quite the Rock Steady that Alton Ellis was singing about in 1968!!

Rock Steady - Alton Ellis
He was known as the King of Rocksteady.

At The Hop - Danny and The Juniors
A rock and roll classic

King of the Bop - Nipple Erectors
Not a rock and classic but the first recording to feature future Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan back in 1978!

The Majestic - Dion
B-Side of The Wanderer from 1961.

Into The Groovey - Ciccone Youth
Sonic Youth and friends give Madonna's Into The Groove a little makeover!

Dance Floor Anthem (I Don't Want To Be In Love) - Good Charlotte
Single taken from their Good Morning Revival album back in 2007.

Pogo Dancing - Chris Spedding and The Vibrators
 Released in 1976 on the same day (and same label - RAK) as The Vibrators Debut Single We Vibrate.

Dancing In The Dark (Live Orchestral Version) - Amy MacDonald
Filmed at a show in Luxembourg backed by The German Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2010.

I Came To Dance - Nils Lofgren
A live version filmed as part of Rockpalast in Germany and released as a DVD by Eagle Rock.

The Parting Shot
Save The Last Dance For Me - Emmylou Harris
The song has been recorded by so many but I have to say I love Emmylou's version that was a B-Side to Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and also featured on her 1979 album Blue Kentucky Girl.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

QSP - Quatro, Scott & Powell

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QSP - Quatro, Scott & Powell
Warner Music Russia (!)
Released 2017

Get three of the top 1970's Pop/Rock Superstars together, with over 150 years of musical experience between them, stick them in a studio and let the magic happen!

(Don, Suzi and Andy)

It's kind of how it went with the collective known as QSP that features Suzi Quatro - Bass and Vocals, Andy Scott (The Sweet) - Guitar and Vocals and Don Powell (Slade) - Drums.

All three were a huge part of my musical life back when I was a kid. There was always the debate as to who was better Slade or The Sweet (Slade won it hands down every time in my book!) and of course the Detroit Dynamite Suzi Quatro was probably one of the first posters on the wall for many a young boy back then! I had seen video of Suzi and Andy working together before back in the 1980's so it was a real surprise to see Don joining them and making a classic little Supergroup!

The album was released in Australia earlier this year when the band were touring and it's only recently been issued here in Europe as a Deluxe Edition. Whilst a number of Cover versions are included on the album the band actually wrote some songs specifically for the album.

I was actually very impressed with it.

QSP
Listen Here:

Tracklist
 1 Slow Down 3:45
2 Long Way From Home 6:14
3 Tobacco Road 3:42
4 If Only 4:42
5 Bright Lights Big City 5:45
6 Pain (Band Version) 4:08*
7 Just Like A Woman 5:12
8 Mend A Broken Heart 3:24*
9 The Price Of Love 5:05
10 Broken Pieces Suite 5:54*
11 I Walk On Gilded Splinters 5:57*
12 Late Nights Early Flights 3:52
13 Little Sister 3:09
14 Fever (New Track) 5:38*
15 Tossin' & Turnin' (New Track) 3:17*
16 Pain (Orchestral) 4:03

* Not included on the playlist due to not being available on You Tube.

Stepping Back to the 1970's
Suzi, Andy and Don!

Five of their Best
Click on The Links To Watch/Listen
Suzi Quatro

The Sweet

Slade

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