The Pitchfork 500 Old Skool Evolution – Run DMC to BDP

Authenticity is a funny old thing. In most musical genres you care to mention, there’s always a die-hard bunch of fans who complain that these new artists aren’t as good as the old ones, things were much better in the old days, blah de blah de blah. Of course, they are missing the whole point that the artists they so venerate were in fact reacting to the status quo of their own time, and were trying something new and revolutionary. Wanting new music to be like the old is just hypocrisy.

Run-D.M.C. – It’s Like That
Crash Crew – On the Radio
Rammelzee vs. K-Rob – Beat Bop
Boogie Down Productions – South Bronx

In that respect, hip hop is exactly the same. Even today, you still get people harping back to the old days of these artists, with Run DMC often spoken of in revered tones. Yet these acts – Run DMC in particular – were trying something new in a genre that had only really started to get mainstream attention. With Run DMC, it was mixing hard, tough beats a million miles away from the jauntiness of earlier hip-hop, mixed with some of the best rapping ever committed to vinyl.

Listening afresh to “It’s Like That”, you’re struck by how little fat there is on the record. It’s totally stripped to the bone (unlike the superfluous and pointless Jason Nevins remix). You could drive an Escalade through the gaps between the beats. You really don’t need me to tell you this is a great record, do you?

Crash Crew’s “On The Radio”, by comparison, is much more like the hip-hop that preceded it. You know the drill, a bunch of rappers, a funky backing track, and lots of bragging. Perfectly nice in its own way, and the record cover is frankly superb. There aren’t enough scrambling bikes in music these days, you know.

I Like The Bikes

As for Rammelzee vs. K-Rob’s “Beat Bop” – blimey, it doesn’t half go on. A bit like a cross between Rappers Delight and the The Message, it’s entertaining enough, and certainly forward-looking, but sheesh, 10 minutes?

Boogie Down Productions “South Bronx” is notable for KRS-One’s fantastic rapping style. Rather than going 10 to the dozen, trying to get as many words out as possible, he makes a statement.

Then pauses.

Then makes another statement.

Then pauses.

In the 300mph world of rapping, he was a revolutionary; by being that bit more thoughtful, he gives you space to consider every word he says. And he had a lot to say; this track is a furious denouncement of MC Shan and his track “The Bridge”. Poor Shan had the temerity to state that the Queensbridge Projects was the birthplace of rap. Bad move, Shan. Backed by Ced Gee (of the Ultramagnetic MC’s), KRS-One goes off on one, and after an opening tirade (“So you think that hip-hop had it’s start out in Queensbridge\If you popped that junk up in the Bronx you might not live”), he goes on to explain how hip-hop really got started in New York. It’s a direct forerunner of the East Coast/West Coast beefs of the 90’s.

I called this article “Evolution”. And what I mean is that these tracks are a bit like the first fish that crawled out on land – a bit ungainly and caught between the simple elegance of what preceded them and the huge diversity that would follow them (I’m really not sure that the Crash Crew would want to be likened to a lungfish, but I’ll bet they’ve never been called that before.)

Because next up it’s the fury and rage and power of Public Enemy, then the polar opposites of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, and with them, the realisation that there’s rather a lot more to this music than bragging and slagging. These acts showed the way, with small and big changes here and there that started to turn rap into a huge global megaforce.

MP3: It’s Like That by Run DMC

MP3: On The Radio by Crash Crew

MP3: Beat Bop by Rammellzee and K-Rob

MP3: South Bronx by Boogie Down Productions

Buy Run DMC’s “It’s Like This – The Best Of” (CD/MP3)

Buy Crash Crew’s “Back To The Old School 2 – We Are Emcees” (CD)

Buy “Bi-Conicals of the Rammellzee” (CD)

Buy BDP’s “Criminal Minded” (CD/MP3)

Inappropriate Songs (Part 312 of an ongoing series)

In case you haven’t already heard, Morrissey collapsed onstage during a show in Swindon last night. Here’s been unwell this year – having to cancel shows due to illness – and he’s currently in hospital under observation. Let’s hope that whatever he is suffering from is treated quickly and that he gets better soon. For all his faults, he is an amazing lyricist and one of the most original and influential musicians of the last 30 years. He’s given me countless hours of solace and joy, made me laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time) and generally made this world a much finer place to be in.



So, as a get well soon tribute, I looked in my iTunes to see what I could post. And the first song I thought about posting was “Still Ill”.


Then I thought, right, a much more chirpy number will be better. “Cemetry Gates”?

Oh dear, this really won’t do.


I really need to get a grasp of myself here.

So eventually I’m settling on two of his greatest songs, one from their greatest album which deftly defines my issues this morning, and one “Ask”, probably the last excellent Smiths song, which neatly encompasses everything that is great and wonderful about their music – that line “Spending warm summer days indoors” says pretty much all you need to know about him, and The Smiths. I love spending warm summer days indoors, me, much to the chagrin of Mrs Loftandlost.

I’ve not been so enamoured of his solo work, but occasionally one pops up and smacks me in the gob, so to speak. Unfortunately the last one to do that is called “First Of The Gang To Die”.

Oh, sod it. He’d only laugh.

Get well soon, Moz.

MP3: Bigmouth Strikes Again by The Smiths

MP3: Ask by The Smiths

MP3: First Of The Gang To Die [Live] by Morrissey

Buy “The Queen Is Dead” (CD) (What do you mean, you don’t have this?)

Buy “Louder Than Bombs” (CD) (Just for Ask, really)

Buy “You Are The Quarry” (CD/MP3)

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Run Rabbit Run

Writing a music blog has its ups and downs. Sometimes, you get the feeling that every song you listen to, you’re doing it to see if it will fit into the blog and you spend your time trying to find an interesting thing to say about it (and usually failing). For the worrisome types like me, that can get very wearing.

But other times, you hear something new and within the first ten seconds you just think “This is special. Really, really special”. I’ve had it in the past with the likes of Grizzly Bear and Broken Social Scene. I got that today with Frightened Rabbit.

Hailing from the same record label – Fat Cat Records – as The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks, they come from the charming Borders town of Selkirk. Maybe it’s the beautiful rolling countryside or the elegant Courtroom in the Market Place (you can tell I’ve been on Wikipedia, can’t you?), but they are an altogether cheerier proposition than their labelmates.

The Glory Of Selkirk

The Glory Of Selkirk

That’s not saying much, mind.

So anyway, I caught the video to their new song “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”, and it blew me away. I mean, the video is a thing of sheer beauty, with that crystal clear digital look illuminated by swaying torches, but the song is something else.

Starting with a chiming guitar line reminiscent of Johnny Marr’s gentler moments, the song turns into a rollicking singalong replete with strings by Hauschka and a horn section. I can’t stop playing it. As singer Scott explains:

“’Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ was the title I had in my mind before I even started writing the album; I was becoming more and more interested in the idea of a rejection of the habits and behaviour most people see as normal, and in turn embracing a certain madness. It’s about losing your mind in order to reset the mind and the body. Forget what’s gone before and wash it out. This is not necessarily a geographical journey, as the ‘swim’ can involve any activity in which you can lose yourself. It’s a good introduction to the record as the theme unravels therein.”

That’s what you get if you go and live in tiny seaside towns in Fyfe. Must try that myself, as it seems to have done him the world of good.

No Wonder They Are Frightened With That Lot Behind Them

No Wonder They Are Frightened With That Lot Behind Them

Then, digging around a bit, I found a b-side, a marvellous cover of N-Trance’s “Set You Free”, which somehow turns a Euro-trance number into something Bonnie “Prince” Billy would have knocked out in his prime. Utterly fantastic.

Anyway, the single is out in November and there’s a whole bunch of live shows here. Must get me a ticket for that Troxy show.

I really like this blog writing business, you know. And I think I’m going to be exploring this lot’s back catalogue….

On another note, thinking of Selkirk reminded me of the phrase “Gone To Falkirk”, which reminded me of this:

Surrealism at its very finest.

Buy “Midnight Organ Fight” (CD/MP3)

MP3: Set You Free (N-Trance cover) by Frightened Rabbit

MP3: I Feel Better by Frightened Rabbit

Brix Trax

I’ve been resisting the temptation to write about the Pavement reunion. Resisted until now, at least, because whilst them playing shows in Austin or New York or Lamar, Nebraska is kind of interesting in a “Pavement reforming and not doing any shows in the UK? Well, that’s nice” way, they’ve just announced a show at Brixton Academy on May 11th, 2010, which is rather more interesting for me.

Some Pavement, Yesterday

Some Pavement, Yesterday

But serious, one show?

Look chaps, when The Pixies reformed they did four shows there and they sold out at around 1 Planck Time. So, come on boys, pull your fingers out and do some more shows, eh?


Another Pavement

Another Pavement

But it will be fun to see them live again. I only saw them once, at a Reading Festival when they had a power cut on stage and had to spend 10 minutes goofing around. Not that they had any trouble doing that, mind you. A great, great band, managing to be shambolic and musical and lyrical in quite a way no-one else has matched. Except The Fall, of course.

Anyhow, tickets go on sale on Friday from the usual moneygrabbing shysters ticket agencies. Good luck!

MP3: Cut Your Hair by Pavement (Live at the Brixton Academy 1999)

MP3: Spit On A Stranger by Pavement (Live at the Brixton Academy 1999)

MP3: Rattled By The Rush by Pavement (Live at Brixton Academy 1999)

Update: Apparently they’ve added another show on the 12th May. Hurrah!

Buy “Slanted and Enchanted (Luxe & Reduxe 2CD Edition)”

Buy “Crooked Rain Crooked Rain [Special Edition]”

New Music – Mixtapes and Cellmates

Stockholm is a truly lovely place. Beautiful buildings lie dotted around about a thousand islands, so you’re never far from a bit of waterfront from which you can survey the city’s glacial beauty.

Snowy Stockholm

Snowy Stockholm

And glacial it is, because it’s usually fucking freezing. And between October and April, dark. Still, it gives those charming people time to hole up in front rooms, bars, cellars, and anywhere else where you can play guitar and drums and keyboards and sing your hearts out. Plus, there’s a decent welfare system which allows you to drop out of work for a while to persue your life’s dream. Which is presumably why Stockholm, and Scandinavia in general, is home to so many great bands.

She's Got A Beard!

She's Got A Beard!

Now, I’m not sure if Stockholm band Mixtapes and Cellmates are great at the moment, but on the basis of new single “Soon”, they’ve certainly got a chance. A fraught slice of angsty rock, it reminds me of that superb song by Rilo Kiley1:

You’ve got to love any song that does that weird pause thing – which I have been racking my brain for hours now to remember the proper name for it. “Portions For Foxes” does it. This song does it. You know, when a song goes dur-dur-dur-pause-DUR! Anyone? Anyhow, I really rather like this. It’s something of an earworm. The new album “Rox” is out on October 28th and you can pre-order here. I suggest you do.

MP3: Soon by Mixtapes and Cellmates

1 Which I’m not posting the mp3 for, because I’m going to do it when I get to the Pitchfork 500 missing list for that year. And yes, that’s not the proper video, but you can think the British Music Industry for not wanting me to post a video. A frickin’ video, I ask you.

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All Work And No Play Redux

All Work And No Play Makes Loft And Lost A Dull Boy
All Work And No Play Makes Loft And Lost A Dull Boy
All Work And No Play Makes Loft And Lost A Dull Boy
All Work And No Play Makes Loft And Lost A Dull Boy

So here we are again. Pretty much two weeks of constant work, with a special highlight of being called back into the office at 11pm and not leaving till nearly six hours later. Fun. Mind you, it’s strange being in a huge office block at stupid o’clock, working alongside the cleaners (poor buggers, some of them using their short breaks to catch up on their sleep. Many of them work two or three jobs. If anyone wants to understand the real face of immigration, and how these people get abused by everyone around them, go and sit in any big office at 3am and see how hard these people really work, for very little money. They need all the help and protection they can get. Anyway, /rant).

And of course working stupid hours means very little time for music. I’ve got approximately 26 million records to listen to, comprising Mew, School of Seven Bells, Monsters Of Folk, The Flaming Lips, Volcano Choir and that effing sodding Warp 20 Box Set that’s undoubtably great but going to take about a week to get through. Notwithstanding all the other stuff that’s around, new tracks and Word CDs and the like. Then there’s records I haven’t even got yet but will soon, like Richard Hawley.

I think I’m going to invent some magic time machine that stops time around me and lets me sit there in peace, listening to all this fabulous new music. Then, I could flip a switch and everyone round me would suddenly come to life again. Great idea, eh? What do you mean someone’s already thought of it? Oh. Oh dear.

Anyway, this week I have mostly been listening to The Jayhawks.

They are a band that have always hovered on the edge of my conciousness. Always heard their name, vaguely associated them with some sort of easy/country-rock, never really gone out of my way to listen to them. But browsing through Amazon the other week, it did one of those “other people who bought this also bought…” and The Jayhawks new compilation was there. Hell, I’ll buy that, how bad can it be?

And it’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s damn good. Hailing from the Twin Cities, Gary Louris and Mark Olson make the kind of warm, emotional, heartfelt country rock sound so beloved of later bands like Wilco (before they went all arty). They never quite made it big, suffering from the usual misfortunes of many a great band, with founding members buggering off at just the wrong moment, but they are still around and touring, and amazingly for a band whose recording history spans 15 years, the songs at the end of the CD (it’s in chronological order – take that, The Best of Roxy Music!) are as good, if not better, than the ones at the start. And the song “The Man Who Loved Life” was played at Jeff Buckley’s funeral.

I wholeheartedly recommend you listen to the tracks below, then go out and buy the CD. Twice.

MP3: Blue by The Jayhawks

MP3: Big Star by The Jayhawks

Buy “Music from the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology” (CD/MP3)

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The Liverpool And Manchester

Liverpool and Manchester. Two of England’s greatest cities, separated by a mere 35 miles, they have a rivalry that has festered for hundreds of years. The economic rivalry drove both cities to build huge Victorian edifices in their city centres. The football rivalry – the cities are responsible for the two most successful clubs in English football – regularly boils over into rancour with Manchester United fans singing about Hillsborough and Liverpool fans singing about the Munich Air Disaster1.

The musical rivalry, however, has been generally much friendlier. Indeed, Factory Records and Zoo Records used to do joint shows in places like Leigh. The musical heritage both cities have given the world are simply astonishing; with Liverpool generally being the more psychedelic. Since punk they have given us bands as diverse as The Smiths, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Doves, The Teardrop Explodes, 808 State, OMD, The Fall, The Coral, Stone Roses, Lightning Seeds and Happy Mondays. Oh, and Echo and The Bunnymen and New Order.

Which leads me onto the point of this post. Those last two bands have got albums out tomorrow. Well, Echo and the Bunnymen have, and Barney Sumner (with a guest appearance from Steven Morris on many tracks) is back as Bad Lieutenant2. Both bands were hugely influential back in the day, and now have to deal with the fact that so many other bands sound like them. And when so many people sound like them, how can they stand out from the mass? Worse, how can you stop sounding like the bands that you’ve influenced?

This second question strikes you on first listen to both records. With Bad Lieutenant’s “Never Cry Another Tear”, your first thought is “Doves!”; with EATB’s “The Fountain”, it’s “U2!”. Now, this might turn out to be a problem, but thankfully a few listens to each complicates things nicely. With Bad Lieutenant, the Doves-alike singing of Jake Evans tends to distract you from the fact that, on the stronger songs like “Summer Days on Holiday”, a mix of pure-bred Barney guitar-pop and the rather more grandiose Doves is actually a rather tasty one.

“Sail On Silver Water” is a lovely bit of dreamy pop, followed by “Love Vigilantes”, sorry, “Shine Like The Sun”, which does the whole soaring chorus, perfectly written to be played from the main stage at Glastonbury at about 7.55pm just as the sun is setting. “Falling Trees” polishes the album off nicely with the sweet line “We’ll use our love for a shelter”. Barney’s getting all soft on us in his old age.

That'd Be The Album Cover Then

That'd Be The Album Cover Then

In Echo’s weird U2 Feedback Loop, you begin to remember just how good they were at doing portentious, dramatic stadium rock without sinking into the over-egged tosh that U2 have a habit of falling into. Opener “Think I Need It Too” sets the scene marvellously, all echoey guitars and droll vocals, and the album keeps up the pace rather nicely. “Drivetime” makes a decent stab for the, errr, drivetime radio market. Nice move, chaps. Ian McCulloch’s voice is a begrizzled drawl, sounding like he’s been hanging out with Mark Lanegan (this is no bad thing, by the way).

There’s a couple of right shockers on both albums. BL’s “Poisonous Intent” is aptly titled, because you want to round everyone up involved in making the song and give them some Kool-Aid, and Echo’s “Life of 1,000 Crimes” seems to refer to the band’s crimes, of which this song counts for at least 476.

I'm Liking That Guitar

I'm Liking That Guitar

With both albums, I was left with a strange feeling of enjoying them rather more than expected, mixed with a sadness that Bad Lieutenant in particular could have done better. Maybe what they should do is meet up with Johnny Marr. After all, this is a guy who has constantly reinvented his style, from playing with The Pretenders to Modest Mouse and The Cribs. Maybe that old dog could teach these old dogs some new tricks.

But the Echo and the Bunnymen album is better. Ian McCulloch has gone on record to say that he thinks this is their best album since “Ocean Rain”. You know what, I think he might be right. Liverpool 1, Manchester 0.

1 You’ll never catch Arsenal fans being so coarse. We just sing songs about facial tics.

2 Funnily enough, EATB did the same thing as “Electrafixion”, back in the late 90’s.

MP3: Think I Need It Too by Echo And The Bunnymen

MP3: Falling Trees by Bad Lieutenant

Buy Bad Lieutenant’s “Never Cry Another Tear” (CD/MP3)

Buy Echo And The Bunnymen’s “The Fountain” (CD/MP3)

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Doolittle, Doolive

This whole “Doing A Whole Album From 20 Years Ago Live” thing is a curious matter. When bands like Teenage Fanclub do “Bandwagonesque” and Tindersticks play “Second Album”, it’s really nice, because you’ve kind of forgotten about them, and it’s lovely to be reminded afresh about what great bands they are. But the Pixies did the whole reunion thing five years ago. And that was a fantastic, angry, furious, joyful reunion, the audience’s rapture at the sheer inconcievability of the whole event absorbed by the band and reciprocated hundredfold in superb performances.

So this feels odd, especially as we’re back to the Brixton Academy again, scene of their great triumph back in 2004. “Doolittle” is possibly rock’s finest hour, a pure distillation of strangeness and sex and lust and religion and monkeys and Spanish surrealism and Biblical fury and environmentalism, all wrapped up with screaming and yelling and dischords and songs with so many hooks you could hang a whole bunch of coats on. But there’s a touch of redundancy about the whole thing, especially when the night kicks off with a bunch of B-sides.

The Most Redundant Set List Ever

The Most Redundant Set List Ever

The Pixies were never a B-sides band. Some, like New Order, hid their best songs away on B-sides and obscure releases on tiny Belgian record labels staffed solely by beer-quaffing nuns. But The Pixies released two astonishing records, and frankly you just need “Surfer Rosa” and “Doolittle”, and find “Isla de Encanta”, “Caribou” and “Cecilia Ann/Rock Music” somewhere. That’s pretty much it. The B-sides are pretty much entirely redundant. Buy the new, limited edition extended “Doolittle” with the B-sides, say the adverts at the start. No thanks, say the crowd.

Then, Kim starts that bassline, the lights drop out, and “Debaser” precipitates a frenzy. Everyone goes mad. Then comes “Tame”, one of their fiercest and most deranged songs, and everyone goes mad again. So it goes.

Hearing “Doolittle” song by song, you are struck by how much variety their songs feature. Even when they try to be poppy, in a Velvet Underground meets Beach Boys of “Here Comes Your Man” (featuring a great video of the band nodding their heads in approval), it comes across as pretty weird. The weirder songs are weirder still. “Mr Grieves” is still so bloody odd. “Tame”, “I Bleed” and “Gouge Away” still have such bewildering power twenty years on that your are left feeling breathless (aside from the huge crush at the front).

At the end of “Gouge Away”, the band bow and jape and joke at the front, with the display behind showing a video of the band bowing, japing and joking, soaking up some of the loudest cheering I’ve ever heard at a gig. And the first encore, ending with “Into The White”, feels a bit tacked on. But the second encore starts with “Isla De Encanta” and then jumps straight into “Broken Face”, whereupon every single person in the place goes utterly mad, yet again. Frank “Black” Black “Francis” actually looks, for the first time, like he’s enjoying it up there. Then it’s “Where Is My Mind”, and the night is over.

You know, I never thought I would say this, but I’m starting to wonder if they should give touring a rest for a bit. I mean, it’s wonderful to see them but some of the joy seems to have seeped out of Black “Francis” Frank “Black”. Ok, he wasn’t exactly a particularly cheery soul to start off with, but there’s a definite feel of him going through the motions. You know, calling this the “We Never Made Any Fucking Money From Doolittle So Give Us Some Now Tour” might be more appropriate, and who can begrudge them getting some belated glory? Lord only knows they deserve it, what with totally reinventing rock music and all.

So, maybe they need a break. But then again, who cares? They are still one of the best live acts out there, and show up bands twenty years their junior with ability to just sound so damned good. Much better than the Ally Pally shows from a few years ago, but sadly not quite touching the heights of their reunion shows.

And they are still the best band in the world to see a fat, bald middle-aged man screaming at the top of his lungs. Frank, Joey, Kim and Dave, we salute you.

MP3: I Bleed (live) by The Pixies

MP3: Gouge Away (live) by The Pixies

MP3: Hey (live) by The Pixies

MP3: Silver (live) by The Pixies

MP3: Tame (live) by The Pixies

MP3: Broken Face by The Pixies (Live)

Buy “Doolittle” (CD/MP3)

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Some Thoughts On Radiohead

The other week, I was listening to a live Radiohead show from Seville. A number of thoughts struck me. The first was that, on form, they are an astonishing live band. To be able to replicate intricate, neo-jazz-dub-funk-rock numbers like “15-Step” live, and to do it well, shows that they are superlative musicians.

Second, that people who talk during rock shows should be shot.

But the main, overriding thought about them was, “I wish they would stop thinking they are Autechre meets Pink Floyd”. Because, since OK Computer, I’ve found them a hard band to love. And I know that this just isn’t the agreed alt-rock opinion, but frankly very little they have done since then has been great music. Sure, it’s been interesting, fascinating, and sometimes bewildering, but it’s not music that sits in your head. There’s precious little emotion, except of the We-Are-All-Doomed variety. When they do get back to their guitar roots, such as during “There There” or “Wolf At The Door”, they suddenly make sense again, and you remember what made them the greatest rock band of the 90’s.

I Did Rather Like This Bit

I Did Rather Like This Bit

And it seems like I’m right up against those arbiters of indiedom, Pitchfork. In their Top Albums of the 2000’s list, Radiohead’s “Kid A” comes top1. What, better than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? Or You Forgot It In People? Yellow House? It’s not that I’m against established rock bands experimenting, far from it. And I’m certainly not against bands being different – albums such as Boredom’s “Vision Creation Newsun” and Tortoise’s “Standards” are two of my top records of the Naughties – but there’s something about Radiohead’s last four albums that don’t just work for me.

It’s immensely frustrating watching a brave, hugely talented band trying something different and finding that it doesn’t quite work. Even more frustrating to find most other people praising them to high heaven, rather than looking back and going “Hold on, this sounds just like something Aphex Twin would reject for not being good enough”. Maybe it’s just me being cloth-eared. Who knows?

Back When They Were Good*

Back When They Were Good*

Ok, so maybe I’ll have a Damascene conversion one day, scales dropping from my eyes as I declare “Kid A” to be the Eighth Wonder Of The World, but somehow I doubt it. In the meantime I’ll be that moany bloke in the corner who says “Ooh, why don’t they play their guitars a bit more these days? These electronic beats is making my ears hurt” whilst everyone else is enjoying themselves to “I Will”2.

Top live band, though.

*Of course, they are still pretty good now. I’m just messing with you.

1 Which brings me to another point – The Avalanches at number 10? Seriously? I liked them as much as the next man back in 2000, but let’s just say they got old quick and really haven’t recovered.

2 I wonder if anyone has ever enjoyed themselves to that song? No, me neither. Gosh, I’m a miserable sod today. It’s the drizzle. Always brings out the maudlin in me.

MP3: 15 Step by Radiohead (Live From Seville 2009)

MP3: There There by Radiohead (Live From Seville 2009)

MP3: A Wolf At The Door by Radiohead (Live From Seville 2009)

MP3: These Are My Twisted Words by Radiohead (Live From Seville 2009)

Buy “Kid A [2CD & DVD]” (If You Have To)

Buy “Radiohead Limited Edition 7 CD Album Box Set” (Pretty Good Value For £30)

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A Go-Between Dream

I had a dream the other night. Me and the missus went to one of the more salubrious venues to watch The Go-Betweens play a show, starting with an acoustic set, followed by a full electric set. Very good it was too, until I had to take a big metal cage up Bloomfield Road in Bath. Look, it was a dream, you know.

The Go-Betweens and a Couch

The Go-Betweens and a Couch

But on waking, I suddenly felt rather sad. Because, of course, we’ll never see them play live again, after the tragic death of Grant McLennan in 2006. One of the finest songwriters of his generation, he could write catchy easy-rock numbers ready for drivetime radio, which cunningly hid beautifully crafted lyrics about life and love, mostly in small towns. He was a superb foil to the rather more esoteric Robert Forster, and thankfully the two of them realised this and got back together 11 years after a break in 1989.

Now, one day I’ll reach “Cattle And Cane” in the Pitchfork 500 list1, so I’ll write about their majesty then, but for the moment I’ll leave you with a few slightly more obscure Go-Betweens songs, plus a cracker from the sadly missed Grant McLennan.

This song soundtracked the demise of a relationship in which I’d been a fool:

MP3: Haven’t I Been A Fool By Grant McLennan

This one soundtracked another messed up relationship; it was put onto a C90 by a mate who worked with me at Plonkey’s Pizza in 1988 (seriously) and I was stoked (to use the current parlance) to find it on the extended edition of Tallulah:

MP3: I Just Get Caught Out (Alternative Version) by The Go-Betweens

And this one is just great:

MP3: You Won’t Find It Again by The Go-Betweens

And if you doubt their greatness, they even have a bridge named after them. How cool is that?

1 Speaking of the Pitchfork 500, the next article is currently gestating in a dark, dank recess of my brain. I’m hoping it will burst out, Alien-like, at some point this week or next. Yes, I know it’s been a while.

Buy “Intermission – The Best Of The Solo Recordings 1990-1997”

Buy “16 Lovers Lane” (CD) (One of the best albums ever)

Buy “Tallulah” (CD) (Not quite as great as 16 Lovers Lane, but still fantastic)

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