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.

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