Tag Archives: 1994

A yuletide number

Another song that mentions christmas but probably isn’t really a christmas record.

Dubliners Blink are probably best known for something almost entirely peripheral to their own musical career: they were the original Blink who forced the American Blink to add 182 to their name. As for this lot, they were one of that wave of wryly humorous Irish acts that got lumped together as some kind of music press-invented “scene” in the early-to-mid-1990s, along with the likes of Sultans of Ping F.C., The Pale, The Frank And Walters and the oldest and best of the bunch, A House. Blink were at least pretty good at both the wacky and melancholy ends of the scale, and this song from their debut album A Map Of The Universe By Blink sits right in the middle. And it’s… a tiny bit christmassy. Not much, though.

Link: Blink – Christmas 22

The Name Game – 4

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.

Link: “Breakfast In Bed” by Dusty Springfield
Link: “Dusty Springfield” by The Haywains

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.

Link: “Estrogen Blaster” by Transona Five
Link: “Transona Five” by Stereolab

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.

Link: “Temporary Secretary” by Paul McCartney
Link: “Paul McCartney” by Scissor Sisters

The Name Game – 2

You wouldn’t know I used to be a really good writer. I was. Seriously. And look what life has done to me.

At least I don’t have to put any effort into this gimmick! First up for this installment, The Sabres Of Paradise. I don’t think there’s any doubt here that the band was named after the song – heck, Andrew Weatherall probably chose it expressly to wind up Jeremy Healy (who in case you didn’t know, was half of Haysi Fantayzee before becoming a top DJ). “Wilmot Meets Lord Scruffage” is easily the best of today’s tracks.

Link: “Wilmot Meets Lord Scruffage” by The Sabres Of Paradise
Link: “The Sabres Of Paradise” by Haysi Fantayzee

There’s definitely no connection in this instance. Also no similarity at all between the slightly-too-upbeat 80s synthpop of Modern Romance and the gloomy Yeah Yeah Yeahs number with which they share a name.

Link: “Burn It!” by Modern Romance
Link: “Modern Romance” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

And no connection here either. Catch (not to be confused with The Catch, who became The Tourists) were an indiepop band of no particular renown. For the last twenty years I’ve been carrying around the idea that one of them was Angus Deayton’s son, but now I come to check it out, this turns out to be nonsense. As for the song, you were going to get The Cure here, but then I found this Sunscreem CD. They never did release the album this was supposed to presage.

Link: “Dive In” by Catch
Link: “Catch” by Sunscreem

 

 

 

 

The Name Game – 1

Every music blog needs a gimmicky series, so here’s one for you! I post pairs of songs, the title of one is the artist of the other. The song may be named after the artist, or the artist after the song, or there may be no connection…

So first, here’s a very 1985 pop-rock number by a former teenage heartthrob, and some 21st century janglepop referring to the artist in question:

Link: “She Knows All About Boys” by David Cassidy
Link: “David Cassidy” by Betty And The Werewolves

So you get the idea. I don’t think there’s any connection in this next pairing, but two cracking tunes. The first is a fine bit of 70s funk, one of those soundtrack staples that you hear on TV and film all the time and might not know what it is (like I didn’t until this very week) and currently being used by the Beeb to promote “Last Chance Lawyer NYC”. The second is a soul classic that surely needs no introduction:

Link: “Low Rider” by War
Link: “War” by Edwin Starr

And finally, here’s one where the artist is named after the song. Both of the songs in this pairing are folk standards which have been recorded by zillions of people, so as far as “Nancy Whiskey” (the song) goes, I just went for the version I’m most familiar with. As for the artist Nancy Whiskey (born Ann Wilson), I thought it was a bit of a cheat to use the best-known Chas McDevitt version of “Freight Train” (because the song’s not called “Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group Featuring Nancy Whiskey”) so I found this very different solo recording instead.

Link: “Freight Train” by Nancy Whiskey
Link: “Nancy Whiskey” by Shane MacGowan and the Popes

Oh, sod it, here’s the classic version of “Freight Train” as well…

Link: “Freight Train” by Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group featuring Nancy Whiskey

 

Undercover Cardigans

One thing that bothers me about The Cardigans‘ discography is the way that the international version of “Life” messed up the album’s concept by cherry-picking songs from the proper Swedish version of the album, and their previous long-player “Emmerdale”. The two albums have quite distinct feels (actually, all six of their studio albums have quite distinct feels): “Emmerdale” is full of gentle-sounding but quite bleak songs with cellos and woodwind and that, while “Life” is a much more “up” album full of character-driven slice-of-life songs. But the international version of “Life” just throws together a mishmash of songs from both LPs, and though “Emmerdale” was later released internationally in its original configuration, “Life” never was. So now there are two albums out there with a bunch of tracks in common, which they shouldn’t have.

Anyway, this Canadian-only EP features the re-recorded version of “Rise & Shine” from the international “Life”, along with “In The Afternoon”, also on the international “Life” but from “Emmerdale” really, plus three slowed-down cover versions of songs by Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. Alright individually, though a bit much back-to-back, and anyway their best effort in this vein is Sabbath’s “Iron Man” from “Emmerdale”. “Mr Crowley” does offer the chance to hear the group’s menfolk doing a cappella harmonies though.

Bafflingly, on Allmusic, it says that this EP contains a unique re-recording of “Rise & Shine”, though nobody else seems to think it does. It certainly sounds like the “Life” recording to me.

Link: The Cardigans – Under The Covers EP (password: salad)

1. Rise & Shine
2. The Boys Are Back In Town
3. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
4. Mr. Crowley
5. In The Afternoon

 

P5 7pm x13

Sharing thirteen versions of this song, is definitely overkill. I had planned to share a three-track single and then got carried away and started gathering all the versions I have. I will highlight my favourites as we go along…

Pizzicato Five

The song in question is “Tokyo Wa Yoru No Shichiji” (literally “7pm in Tokyo”, but known in English as “The Night Is Still Young”), a 1993 single which was the first major release by Japanese alt-dance oddments Pizzicato Five after they’d slimmed down to a duo of Maki Nomiya and Yasuharu Konishi.  It’s one of their straighter club dance tracks, rather than one of their quirky “modern retro” things like “Twiggy Twiggy” or “Baby Love Child”. At this stage they were still unknown in the West but the single would eventually appear on Matador’s second P5 compilation, The Sound Of Music, where I first heard it. The original version is still a favourite…

Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (single version) – recommended pick!

The original single also featured an instrumental version (which I don’t have) and this mellower remix by Yukihiro Fukutomi:

Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (talking toolbox mix)

Then in 1994, they revisited it in two very different versions. On the EP “A Television’s Workshop”, they did it in a more disco arrangement with rhythm guitar and strings. Nice! I suspect that if P5 themselves had to choose a definitive version, this might be the one. Probably the most immediately likeable version as well.

Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (MFSB Readymade Mix) – recommended pick!

The other 1994 version was this remix (by Fukutomi again) which appeared on their album Overdose:

Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (One Year After mix)

In 1995, during a promotional tour for The Sound Of Music, the duo did this live acoustic version for KCRW Los Angeles.

Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (KCRW acoustic session) – recommended pick!

And when P5 finally split in 2001, their farewell compilation Pizzicato Five RIP (on their Japanese label Nippon Columbia, not Matador) featured yet another remix.

Link: Pizzicato Five – The Night Is Still Young (The Final Episode)

Karia Nomoto

Since the split, both halves of the duo have revisited the song solo. Yasuharu was first, producing this 2006 version for his protege Karia Nomoto, aka Karly. “The First Cut” is the album version (the album being Dance Music, which I will share at some point), and is somewhere between the original and the Readymade MFSB arrangements:

Link: Karia Nomoto – The Night Is Still Young (The First Cut)
Link: Karia Nomoto – The Night Is Still Young (Karly Mix)
Link: Karia Nomoto – The Night Is Still Young (Kagami Mix)

Maki Nomiya

Maki Nomiya waited a bit longer, and then put versions of “The Night Is Still Young” on four consecutive albums! The deluge started in 2012 when she marked 30 years in the business we call show by recording an album of “self covers”, including this:

Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (“30” version)

I’m not sure that really adds anything to the previous versions. However, Nomiya’s more recent takes on the song, actually do something different with it. First is the swing arrangement on her 2014 live album Miss Maki Nomiya Sings Shibuya-kei Standards:

Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (live) – recommended pick!

…which she also did a studio recording of for her 2015 album What The World Needs Now Is Love.

Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (swing studio)

And her most recent re-invention of the song is this distinctively Japanese “bon odori” version, tacked on as a bonus track to her 2016 album Un Homme Et Une Femme. It’s a little bit cheesy, but an interesting twist all the same.

Link: Maki Nomiya – The Night Is Still Young (bon odori version)

 

 

Picnic In The Summertime

I don’t know how the weather is holding up elsewhere (it’s alternating between sunburn and monsoon on a roughly 90-minute cycle here) and I may have missed the moment, but I’ve uploaded this now, so here it is. This 1994 single is from the tail-end of cardiac groovemasters Deee-Lite‘s career, when Lady Miss Kier and Super DJ Dimitri were plodding on without founding member Towa Tei. 

Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (various single mixes, 1994)

Link: Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (Ronin’s Down Tempo Mix)
Link: Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (Guru’s Jeeper Self Mix)
Link: Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (LP version)
Link: Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (H-Man Happy Trails Mix)
Link: Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (Sampladelic Jumbo Jungle Mix)
Link: Deee-Lite – Picnic In The Summertime (Picnicapella)

A visit to the Melody Inn

idhasingleThere was a weird moment in 1994 when country music was suddenly the in thing with London hipsters and everyone was gushing about how they’d always loved Gram Parsons, and during those six hours, Creation Records signed up a young Swedish singer by the name of Idha Ovelius, whose husband was Andy Bell, then of Creation signings Ride (and later of Oasis). Was it basically down to nepotism? One doesn’t like to say it, but, well… yeah. Still, it resulted in a couple of pleasant if ultimately inconsequential albums (Melody Inn, 1994, and Troublemaker, 1997) and a handful of actually quite decent singles.

Here’s the debut single, complete with its three non-album B-sides. The first three songs are originals (so “She” is not a tribute to either Sacha Distel or Elvis Costello), while “Coming Down” is a cover of a song by pyschedelic rockers United States Of America. Sometime Small Face, Face and Bloke, Ian McLagan provides keyboards on the first two tracks, and of course Andy Bell plays guitar.

Link: Idha – Get Undressed (re-upped, sorry about the glitch on the earlier rip)
Link: Idha – Do Right By Me
Link: Idha – She
Link: Idha – Coming Down

Idha now works for a Stockholm architect’s practice (as a structural engineer, says Wikipedia) so thanks to her, a lot of flashy modern buildings in Southern Sweden won’t be falling down any time soon.