Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Nineties Soundtrack Flashback Part One

I was watching a zombie film last night, the remake of Dawn of the Dead, I think. Zombie films have blurred for me, to be frank. Not that I don't love them, it's just they shamble towards you en masse, and they all have zombie in the title. Their name is, literally, legion. Anyways, the song rolling over the credits was People who died by The Jim Carroll Band. It's a fine slice of punk, written by a neo-beat junkie poet survivor, which showed up originally on the film about his life, the Basketball Diaries.

It was a fine soundtrack, with a rare Soundgarden song from the Superunknown sessions (the decent Blind Dogs), a Pearl Jam rarity, PJ Harvey, a Flea track (which is effectively a RHCP track from the One Hot Minute era band), and the first song that I ever heard by the Posies. It was a great soundtrack, that hasn't really stood the test of time. It features generic Graeme Revell work, weak late era Cult, a poor showing from Rockers Hi-fi, and a shocking grunge cash-in band called Green Apple Quickstep. Can't imagine the film has held up too well either, even though it was a favourite back in the day.

I'm going post the two standouts, People who died by Jim Carroll and Coming Right Along by The Posies, the best grunge age teen angst Hendrix workout drawn from their benchmark Frosting on the Beater album.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Hold Steady / Viruses

Went to see The Hold Steady last night. Got there early for a wristband, got in the entry queue within a few minutes of it forming... Sadly it was not to be the show I'd hoped for. Rough Trade, who should be commended for getting a band such as The Hold Steady to perform an instore, had a very dodgy stage set up at the back of the store. There was a raised area for the drummer, and the bassist was also up there. The rest of the band were not on a raised stage. This meant, unless you were six foot seven and a half, or within ten yards of the crash barrier you were unlikely to be able to see 3/5 of the band.

That said, the kids on the rail must have got one hell of a view, and as close to the band as you're ever likely to get these days. Stuck behind a very tall businessman with a perplexing amount of dandruff, I was stuffed, and very envious of them. If you add to this a classic Superfan (Super-loud clapping 'WOO!' 'YEAH!' [then, to the rest of the crowd] 'MAKE SOME FUCKING NOISE! THEY DESERVE IT!!!') thirty feet to my right, and a set featuring weaklings such as Magazines and Navy Sheets while ignoring their first two albums; then you've got a pretty average show from a first class band. Shame. Still, I got a setlist, which is something I'll put with all the other setlists from bands I cherish. Particularly enjoying the high visibility tape.
Acid yellow. My favourite.

Other News... I've been struggling with viruses over the last couple of days, and have added a few more security layers on my desktop PC. I'll be interested to see how they work out. If it isn't a virus, then I'm getting hacked, and I'll have to do a bit more, security wise. Though God knows why anyone would bother. It's not like I spend my afternoon off diving into a sea of gold coins.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Something New, Something Old, Something Wild

I came joint second in a short story competition (of sorts) today. Saw this posted on Pitchfork a few months ago, and sent a few entries in. The two older ones that had been kicking around the hard drive for a while didn't make the cut, but the fresh one did. It's sort of about golf (something which I've only ever played on a Gameboy), but not really. I'll post another link when it goes live on their site.


After giving it some thought, I've decided my favourite turn of the century band was Six by Seven. They were everything I liked about indie rock at the time. A sombre frontman, massive guitar build ups, a wall of sound style attack. I posted on DiS recently that "[their] first three albums are solid as a rock, and yet they're still playing (and selling out?) little venues. Pound for pound, the most inventive, musical 'straight ahead' indie band of their day, and they still absolutely kill live."

And they do. I've seen them five times now, and they've always, always annihilated the opposition, leaving anyone they've shared a stage with floundering in their wake. The first time I saw them at Manchester University, almost ten years ago now, they were a well oiled machine. When they played the Sound Republic on an Xfm session they'd almost peaked, but they really peaked for me just before the release of their third album when they supported Placebo. They were notoriously difficult to interview, being moody bastards; and when I got to them after the second album came out they dispatched me and my borderline stupid fanboy questions with some ease. It's a shocking interview, so I won't reprint it... They've changed their line up almost continously since then, and released albums of variable quality.

But as of last year they've begun playing with their original line up, and the reports are coming in that they're back to their best. They've got a fresh download only Glastonbury live album in the bag on the website, but you've better off going to see them at Club AC30 next month to fully experience their awesome explosive power.

Until that point, I'll leave you with two of their earlier works. Unlike most bands around this time, Six by Seven didn't just churn out shit b-sides. Sometimes you'd get a cover, sometimes you'd get alternate versions of album tracks, or re-recording that surpassed the original. For your listening pleasure, I offer up these two rarities

Six by Seven - Your Town
Six by Seven - Helden

The first track they closed with supporting Placebo in 2001, introducing it as a new song. They lied. Some years later I found their second single 88-92-96 in a record shop with it on a b-side. It's a rip-roaring rollercoaster ride of venom spitting hatred and bitter resentment about wasting time in a dead end town.I was living in Sunderland at the time. No wonder I associated with it. Helden is a Peel session version of the David Bowie classic that they released on the England and a Broken Radio e.p. As always, investigate their records, and see them in this original incarnation while you still can.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Devaluing your record collection one track at a time - Soundgarden Superunknown Singles Box

That rarities comp Kim Thayil spoke about doesn't look like it'll ever see the light of day, so I'm ripping the B-sides of the Soundgarden Singles Box they released with Superunknown. There's tons of good stuff in there, so it took a while. But it's here.

1. Cold Bitch
2. Exit StoneHenge (Kim Thayil sings!)
3. Beyond The Wheel (Live - Toronto 93)
4. Fell on Black Days (Live - Detroit 93)
5. Birth Ritual (Demo)
6. Jesus Christ Pose (Live - Sturgis 93)
7. My Wave (Live - Long Island 93)
8. Spoonman (Steve Fisk Remix)
9. Girl U want (Devo Cover)
10. Fell on Black Days (Demo - Early Version)
11. Kyle Petty, Son of Richard
12. Like Suicide (Acoustic)
13. Kickstand (Live 93)

Download them all *here* (and don't say I never do nothing nice for you).

Omitted Tracks: All Superunknown originals, the video version of Fell on Black days which is basically just a live studio take (do you need four versions?). Interestingly, there must be at least four full concerts from August 1993 in the A&M vaults (Toronto, Sturgis, Detroit, Long Island). While they were never considered a great band outside of a club setting, surely one of those shows would be up to snuff as a live record? Cash raking internet only release?

And while we're at it, there are as many b-sides again for the rest of their A&M catalogue, as well as a few soundtrack appearances. Fresh Deadly Roses, Blind Dogs, Can you see me?, Into the Void (Sealth), Stray Cat Blues, Karaoke, Jerry Garcia's Finger, Big Bottom, Earache My Eye, She's a politician, Slaves and Bulldozers (live). UMG is missing a mid price, double disc trick there.