I suppose you could call Cicero a one hit wonder; while he did make a few other pretty good pop singles, none had the impact that this one did (his only top 40 hit, it climbed to #19 just in time for Valentine’s Day, which is damn good timing). Though US-born, David Cicero (for it is he) was raised in Livingston in Scotland’s central belt, so his Scottish accent – one of the most striking things about this record – is genuine. The other striking elements are of course the bagpipes (again, the real thing) and the whole Pet Shop Boys production, complete with unmistakable Neil Tennant backing vocals.
For me, the extended mix is the winner here.
Link: Cicero – Love Is Everywhere (password: salad)
1. Love Is Everywhere
2. Love Is Everywhere (Extended mix)
3. Mind Gap (Extended mix)
A marvellous cassette-only compilation from 1991, released by a small Swedish label, Records From The Cookie Nose Tower. From the title, it would appear that the concept is that it contains Swedish and British acts, though the scattering of Japanese bands (Bridge, Roof, Venus Peter and Marble Hammock) rather undermines that premise.
Regardless, it’s another sparkling selection of early 90s indiepop, with early and rare stuff from then-or-future Sarah luminaries Blueboy (on what may have been their recorded debut?), Brighter and The Orchids (is this really the first time The Orchids have appeared on this blog? Now there’s an oversight), what in retrospect looks like a jarringly big-name contribution from Stereolab, inevitable appearances by Louis Philippe and Momus, and who is that hiding behind the pseudonym Cerise? It’s only Amelia Fletcher, doing a solo version of Heavenly‘s debut single from the previous year!
Oh, and the Swedish and Japanese bands aren’t bad either. Incidentally, Are You Mr. Riley and The Rileys are the same band, they just changed their name… in the middle of this compilation album, it would appear.
Link: Various Artists – Grimsby Fishmarket 4 Norrkoeping 0 (password: salad)
1. “Eusebio” – Louis Philippe
2. “Song About Girls” – Bummer Twins
3. “Walking Back To You” – The Cherry Orchard
4. “This Friendship Of Ours” – This Perfect Day
5. “Chick House” – Roof
6. “Barriers Of Mine” – Are You Mr. Riley
7. “Silent Sigh City” – Happydeadmen
8. “Shaunty” – Joe Clack
9. “She Fakes Apples” – My Finest Hour
10. “I Fell In Love Last Night” – Cerise
11. “Kymri” – The Apple Moths
12. “Jennifer Anywhere” – The Kitchen Cynics
13. “Room” – Bridge
14. “Turn Over” – Momus
15. “Into the Morgue” – Mary-Go-Round
16. “Next Summer” – Brighter
17. “New World” – Venus Peter
18. “Chelsea Guitar” – Blueboy
19. “Not Unusual” – BJ Eagle
20. “The Light That Will Cease To Fail” – Stereolab
21. “High Rise” – The Cherry Orchard
22. “Windmills And Milestones” – Bummer Twins
23. “Wood Dust” – Joe Clack
24. “Ralph De Bricassart” – Happydeadmen
25. “Time Will Pass” – The Rileys
26. “And When I Wake Up” – The Orchids
27. “Birds of Prey” – Marble Hammock
Being the pretty fab and stupidly unobtainable Richard X “re-production” of Saint Etienne‘s debut album Foxbase Alpha. Some interesting reinterpretations and a few that actually surpass the originals. In particular, this version of “London Belongs To Me” is definitive and a candidate for any future Saint Etienne “best of”.
By the way, there is a reason why I’m sharing this on Boxing Day particularly, which you’ll either get immediately or be pondering over for ages…
Link: “Foxbase Beta” by Saint Etienne (password: salad)
1. This Is Radio Etienne
2. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
4. Carnt Sleep
5. Girl VII
7. She’s the One
8. Stoned To Say The Least
9. Nothing Can Stop Us
10. Etienne Gonna Die
11. London Belongs To Me
12. Like The Swallow
13. Dilworth’s Theme
My mp3 players have a habit of dying just before christmas, though to be fair I thought my last one was on the way out this time last year and it managed to hang on for an extra twelve months, despite being literally held together with sticky tape by the end. But the USB connector came hopelessly loose earlier this month, so last week I got a new mp3 player, and thought “I haven’t played The Field Mice in a while, I think I’ll load their entire discography onto this thing”. Which I did, and have spent the last few days reacquainting myself with Bob Wratten and Michael Hiscock‘s brand of bedsit melancholia. I’d forgotten quite what a bonkers mish-mash of musical styles Skywriting is (and incidentally, “Humblebee” is still a pointless throwaway that goes on far too long, which is pretty much how I feel about all non-musical sound collages, apart of course from Yazoo‘s “I Before E Except After C”). Conversely, I very well remembered how magnificent For Keeps is, but it was nice to have it confirmed. And it was also great to hear “Missing The Moon” again. To be honest, this song is the main reason I went straight to the Field Mice discography.
“Missing The Moon” isn’t a christmas song, and once again it’s not even a song that came out at christmas (16 September 1991 according to Discogs). It does however contain a fleeting reference to “the night before christmas”. And it’s a (non-christmas) cracker, with Bob Wratten and Annemari Davies sharing lead vocals, sequencers going crazy, and an electric guitar sorta-wigout to placate the synthpop-hating indie kids (though I can’t see that working, really).
I don’t actually have all that much Sarah stuff on vinyl (mostly later 7″s and anything by Heavenly), but I’m chuffed to own this on 12″, it might even be one of my Desert Island Discs, or at least one of my Tracks Of My Years (now, how do the criteria for those two things differ, do you reckon?)
Link: The Field Mice – Missing the Moon (password: salad)
1. Missing The Moon
2. A Wrong Turn And Raindrops
3. An Earlier Autumn
Wishing all my readers a tolerable christmas…
I haven’t milked this particular gimmick in over a month, so it’s high time I posted some more songs that share their names with musical acts and vice versa.
Dusty Springfield was a popular target for tributes from the indiepop community in the 1980s/90s… well, I say popular, but that’s based on the fact that I can think of a whopping two examples off the top of my head. Of course one is the ace Chicago indiepop band The Springfields, named after Dusty’s original band, The Springfields. Kind of like how the Chemical Brothers started out as the Dust Brothers, named after the Dust Brothers. Except I think the Springfields managed to avoid any legal threats. In contrast, equally ace janglepopsters The Haywains managed to sidestep any potential confusion by not naming themselves Buddy Holly And The Crickets or anything like that, and simply stuck to singing about Dusty Springfield.
I think everyone knows I like Stereolab. Texan experimental rockers Transona Five clearly like Stereolab too. I’ll be honest, I did deliberately pick their most Stereolab-like track for this, but I think it proves my point.
And finally, a very clear reference to a well-known performer, but what’s this Scissor Sisters song actually got to do with Paul McCartney? Well, nothing really. But apparently Jake Shears had a dream in which he chatted with Paul McCartney about songwriting, and it would appear that the inspiration he got from this was to name a song after Paul McCartney. You’d kind of hope Macca would have given him better advice than that, I mean, not even Paul McCartney ever named a song “Paul McCartney”. Macca’s own song here is from his 1980 album McCartney II, the one that sold a trillion copies off the back of the rocking single “Coming Up” only for buyers to find the rest was weird synth noodlings which most people only played once. “Temporary Secretary” was a single. It flopped.
I thought that maybe I should do a straight post of a single or something, so I delved into my shoebox of CD-Rs and picked out this 1991 EP by Melbourne janglers The Sugargliders, which revolved around brothers Josh and Joel Meadows. Soon after this, they started an association with Sarah Records, and I suppose you could say they’re pretty much exactly the sort of band Sarah Records were known for. This early EP isn’t up to the same level as their Sarah stuff, but it’s pleasant enough on its own terms.
I’m sorry I don’t know where I got this rip from; there’s a little bit of crackling on it but it’s not bad.
Link: The Sugargliders – Butterfly Soup EP (password: salad)
- Book of Dreams
- Police Me
Here’s a Pulp single from 1991, roughly the time that they started to get taken seriously by the music press. It was also around this time that they were getting chummy with Sheffield’s FON Studios / Warp records axis, as evidenced by the B-sides here, one of Russell Senior‘s weird-outs remixed by the team of Parrot (Funky Worm / Sweet Exorcist) and Winston (Forgemasters).
Plucking a CD at random from the drawer, I find myself grasping a copy of “Magic Style” by The Badman, a track from that early-90s “toytown techno” craze which, er, doesn’t sample the theme from The Magic Roundabout. If anything it’s more of a re-worked cover version.
It does however feature a load of samples from the film version of said series – not the 3D-rendered 2005 version with Ian McKellen as the voice of Zebedee (it’s the part he was born to play, darlings) but the 1970 feature Dougal and the Blue Cat. I would guess that Mister Badman found a VHS of said film, thought “hurrah, I’ll sample the theme and make a spiffing anthem that the E’d-up young folk will love”, then got into the studio only to discover that the theme wasn’t actually used in the film and he was stuck with recreating it from memory. Like I say, that’s a guess. In any case, the result isn’t too bad, probably less cloying than sticking some breakbeats behind the original theme would have been.
Speaking of which… of course I can’t post a Magic Roundabout-themed rave choon without acknowledging “Summers Magic” by Mark Summers, a bigger hit that came out around the same time. Nowadays it’s probably more associated with the Pegg-Frost-Wright movie The World’s End, though it’s disappointingly absent from the soundtrack album. From memory, I think the version in the film is the original mix (and whichever one it is, in the movie it’s cut together with “The Only Rhyme That Bites” by MC Tunes vs 808 State anyway) but this is the one that counts…