This has been a great day for Switzerland with the opening of the world’s longest and deepest rail tunnel – well done guys! (Details, here)
Until this moment, I think most right-thinking people would have regarded Switzerland’s finest achievement to date as being this track, “Film 2” by the short-lived but stupendous post punk band Grauzone. Others, of course, might debate this point and argue that hand crafted timepieces, cuckoo clocks, cheese with holes in it and/or, err, the Swiss Roll were superior. However, they would simply be wrong and, in the process, look faintly foolish.
Formed in Berne in 1980, Grauzone managed one LP and a handful of singles before disbanding two years later. Film 2 was the opening track on their only LP and is a pounding, relentless, bludgeoning instrumental. Play loud!
To celebrate Peter Hook’s 59th birthday (crikey!), what better way to mark the occasion than to acknowledge the moment when he could have been the contender for lead vocalist in New Order ….
As Joy Division imploded (or dissolved .. ?) in 1980 following Ian Curtis’s suicide, it took a few months for New Order to emerge from the debris. Their debut LP “Movement” was a mixed bag but, for me, this was by some distance the towering, stand-out, track.
Unusually Hooky takes the vocal duties on this one and, while this track is sublime, one gets the sense that he was never a natural … the tension in the shoulders; the shouting; it was always a strain ..
Nonetheless, this is pop perfection. The LP version, the Peel Session, live in 1981 and then live in 1987 …
Posted to mark the 59th birthday of John Lydon who, over the years, has gradually morphed into another example of the Great English Eccentric … Anyone debating the use of the word “English” is referred to his stated allegiance in his autobiography “Anger is an Energy”!
“Another” is a classic piece of P.I.L. genius. Jah Wobble’s pounding bassline, Keith Levene layering shards of guitar and John Lydon warbling on about lord knows what over the top – perfection!
Released as the B-Side to the “Memories” single in 1979, sharp eared listeners will recognise that “Another” is a version of “Graveyard” from P.I.L.’s career high Metal Box. A previous post from that landmark LP can be found here.
The vinyl version and then live from April 1980!
The only song I’ve posted twice …. separately and inadvertently! Previously here.
The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, Magazine, The Damned, Black Flag, P.I.L, Members, Ruts, Husker Du, Wreckless Eric, Dead Kennedys, The Jam, Ian Dury, The Specials, Elvis Costello, Theatre of Hate, Sisters of Mercy, The Cure, Mekons, Tom Waits, Sister Sledge, The Police, Chic, Robert Wyatt, Bruce Springsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, Giorgio Moroder, Blondie, Psychedelic Furs, Donna Summer, Sugarhill Gang, … errr, Crispy Ambulance …. you can’t touch this.
Talking Heads, Ramones, Television, The Smiths – you’re still in the frame.
Bleak? You want bleak? Ian Curtis at age 23 falls apart as he contemplates a disintegrating marriage, guilt, disability and distant stardom. Stunning.
This is a crisis I knew had to come,
Destroying the balance I’d kept.
Doubting, unsettling and turning around,
Wondering what will come next.
Is this the role that you wanted to live?
I was foolish to ask for so much.
Without the protection and infancy’s guard,
It all falls apart at first touch.
An extraordinary record.
Pere Ubu’s debut single released in 1975 was years ahead of its time.
Posted today on the 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbour because “30 seconds …” is about the U.S. Army Air Force’s Doolittle raid on Tokyo in April 1942. The aim of the raid was to demonstrate that Japan, itself, was vulnerable to American air attack and it served as retaliation for the attack on Hawaii.
Sixteen U.S. Army Air Forces B-25B bombers were launched without fighter escort from the USS Hornet; each with a crew of five men. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China—landing a medium bomber on Hornet was impossible. Fifteen of the aircraft reached China, and the other one landed in the Soviet Union. All but three of the crew survived, but all the aircraft were lost.
The lyrics and then the track, below.
Flew off early in the haze of dawn
In a metal dragon locked in time
Skimming waves of an underground sea
In some kind of a dream world fantasy
Sun a hot circle on a canopy
’25 a racing blot on a bright green sea
Ahead, the dim blur of an alien land
Time to give ourselves to strange gods’ hands
Dark flak spiders bursting in the sky
Reaching twisted claws on every side
No place to run, no place to hide
No turning back on a suicide ride
Toy city streets crawling through my sights
Sprouting clumps of mushrooms like a world surreal
This dream won’t ever seem to end
And time seems like it’ll never begin
And a one way ride
And no place to hide
30 seconds over Tokyo
Friday night, what could be better than a 22 year old album track by The Fall?
Around this time, Mark E. Smith was in reflective mood on a fairly regular basis. “Just Waiting”, “Time Enough At Last” and “Married, 2 Kids” from Code:Selfish; “Bill Is Dead” from Extricate, and; “Edinburgh Man” from Shift Work.
“Rose” is also from Shift Work and I do struggle to pin down why I love this track so much.
It is partly the “Theme From Shaft” funk guitar chops; it is partly the droll, laconic delivery; it is partly the bassline that never stops, and; partly, it is the flute/woodwind melody riding over the whole thing.
In the end, the sum is considerably greater than the parts. Perfect pop music.
There is a letter marked urgent.
I have not yet read it
Spending an evening fuming about the ludicrous, inaccurate, unambitious, embarrassing, hyperbole peddled by Andrew Marr in his self styled “History of the World”.
Suddenly remembered that I’d loaded up the first three Stiff Little Fingers LPs on MP3 for perusal after dozens of years of neglect.
Midway through listening to “Nobody’s Heroes”, I realised that the riff from the title track was remarkably similar to that used by The Chords in their epic “Maybe Tomorrow” single released in early 1980. On one level, a real “The Jam by numbers” mod workout with Rickenbackers in full working order. On the other, a classic piece of mod-pop-punk genius …. you choose.
The original studio version and then a snippet from Top of the Pops. Reassuringly, Jimmy Saville does not appear to be lurking round the back on this occasion.