Something for the Weekend

“I was a bit uptight. I don’t think I was angry—I probably was. I was always trying to stop smoking. I was always two days on, two days off. I was forever withdrawing from cigarettes. I was probably angry about that. I probably wrote a lot of these songs when I was two days off the fags.”– Kevin Rowland, Mad World

One of the many, many brilliant things about this clip is the presence of Mick Talbot on keyboards. I had no idea he’d played with Dexy’s.


Something for the Weekend

This clip — the Human League’s first ever appearance on television I believe — is from a show called Mainstream which I have no memory of and can find no information about on the internets. I may have scrubbed it from my memory though because the presenter was such a smug prick, he’s like the most superior and condescending record shop clerk in the world.

Shiny Sleek Machine

Grace Jones’ classic 1981 album Nightclubbing has been given a well-deserved reissue with the usual deluxe treatment of unreleased tracks, remastering, remixes and all that lovely stuff.

There are two extended mixes of “Pull Up To The Bumper” on the reissue but not this one for some reason. I can’t remember where I got this from and there seems to be some confusion over its origin and availability. But wherever it came from it’s still brilliant, really bringing out the rubbery funkiness of the great Sly and Robbie rhythm section.

I danced to this on many nights back when it was a new record — Lord, what an amazing time for new music that was — and even though I knew it wasn’t really about parallel parking I’d never listened to the words close enough to realize just how filthy it really is.

Download: Pull Up To The Bumper (Larry Levan Garage Remix) – Grace Jones (mp3)

Something for the Weekend

I’m currently reading the book Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s and in the chapter on this song I discovered the sad fact that Waitresses’ lead singer Patty Donahue died of cancer in 1996. I had no idea.

Like most people I only own their two famous singles (still have them on vinyl) which are both brilliant and Patty had the perfect deadpan sass for them, sounding like she was chewing gum and going “Oh yeah?” to you the whole time.

The book is a goldmine of great anecdotes and interesting facts which I highly recommend. It’s also sent me on several YouTube journeys so expect a lot of 80s videos in the coming weeks.

I Love Your Live Action

Friday night I’m walking down the street toward the venue where I’m going to see Angel Olsen in concert when who should walk quickly by me in the opposite direction all on her own: none other than Ms. Olsen herself. For a second I thought she was doing a runner and wanted to shout after her “COME BACK, YOU HAVE A SHOW TO DO!” Thankfully she must have just popped out to get some smokes or something because an hour or so later there she was on stage with her band.

Olsen’s voice is so extraordinary she can silence a room by just standing there and singing, so not surprisingly the best part of the concert was when the band left her alone on stage with just that voice, a guitar, and her intense “don’t fuck with me” stare that has probably stopped several men in their tracks in the past.

Not that Angel is some deathly serious no-fun zone, she was funny and chatty which usually I enjoy but there were times when I thought she was maybe a tad too nonchalant and breezy which often undercut the emotional impact of her material. I also wish that the whole band had come back for the encore instead of just her doing a quiet solo number again. Would have been better to finish in big style with the rocking, anthemic “High Five” instead of tossing it off three songs into the set.

These are minor quibbles though, it’s quite something to hear that voice in person and wonder how something so heart-stopping and elemental could come out that sweet-looking girl in the baseball cap.

This was the first concert I’ve been too since I got my iPhone but I only took a few photos and didn’t shoot any video because I didn’t want to be one of those people. Thankfully there were very few distracting phone screens being held up (except for some twat in the front who I swear spent half the gig texting someone) but this guy to the left of me shot the video above.

In case you’re wondering about the banter at the start, someone in the audience asked her where she got her shoes so she made a joke about how smelly they were after being on a long tour.

New Monday

Wolf Alice are a rock band from London who have only released one EP and a handful of singles so far. I don’t feature much new guitar-driven rock music here because frankly I find a lot of it boring and predictable, but I can still be turned on by some big noisy riffage like these these tracks from their latest EP Creature Songs out later this month.

It’s all very “alternative rock” and won’t win any prizes for pushing envelopes but sometimes crashing guitars and a big chorus can still really hit the spot.

Something for the Weekend

Photographers call the time of day when the sun is either just coming up or going down “the Golden Hour” because the light is so gorgeous and this whole thing positively glows with the sunlit glamour of rich rock stars in their upscale summer vacation spots and designer linen clothes. Even the purple sky seems designed to go with her peach outfit to create a perfectly 1980s colour palette.

I bought this when it came out in 1977 when I probably should have been buying Clash singles and hating this sort of thing. There was a time when I was embarrassed about that but I think it’s great and maybe even the last really good James Bond theme song.

This was shot in Martha’s Vineyard where they also filmed Jaws so feel free to insert your own joke about Carly Simon’s teeth.