November Music Month: Ooh-Ooh…. Oo/Oo/Ooh-Ooooohhh

November 27th, 2012 by Dan

Remember when dance music went pop and got in the charts and the popular tunes kept being revealed as vocal frauds? Well I say “revealed” but it was usually not that secret due to failed lip synching exams. Anyway : Black Box! After annoying Loleatta Holloway by nicking her acapella of Love Sensation, chopping it up over some plinky plonky house music and giving it a grammar error for a title they hired Martha Wash to do a bit of singing which ended up going into their own black box to help make a full album. Here’s an example:

Hmmm… I won’t slag off the hit singles (apart from their awful cover of Fantasy) as I loved them at the time, bought them all and eventually threw them away in a house move and then bought them again on CD because I’m like that… and they’re damn fine pop dance. I always wanted Martha Wash to perform them live as it would be interesting to see how she coped with the stuttering cut & paste aspects and thanks to YouTube I found an example of the very same song as I posted above:

That was fun, wasn’t it?
We never talk about the re-recorded Ride On Time with Heather Small vocals, though. Oh no.
Bonus news footage! Poor Martha:

Absolute Joy

November 24th, 2012 by Dan

Scritti Politti played in Windsor last night so we spent an hour and a half on a series of motorways (and only 25 minutes to get home) and visited The Firestation. It would not be a shock to reveal that the venue used to be a fire station, would it? It’s rather nice and I found myself sipping a refreshing lager beer on a Friday evening like it was the nineteen nineties again, waiting for all the fun to begin. After a late start we found our way up to the seated area with other young old gits and sat watching the young folk down on  the ground standing still except for the Top of the Pops Corner which  consisted of a lady and a flamboyant man who pulled some shapes during the more up-tempo numbers.

What was it like? Well…

The band need explaining as it’s a complicated list of people I’m vaguely familiar with:

Firstly we have the man who is Scritti: The Marvellous Green Gartside who did a little introductory speech for most of the songs in the Scritti Politti Songbook before switching his voice into that special warm soulful sound that doesn’t seem quite real but definitely is. Green had a cough but this didn’t appear to affect him at all and I was hypnotised by his performance of so many songs that I’ve loved for so long.

Rhodri Marsden was on keyboards and programming with a guitar for one song (Umm) and I recognised him from Dream Themes who we’ve seen live before. If you ever need a band who perform charming versions of old TV themes then they’re your men. If you’re interested in the programming of these live versions of the songs I can recommend the interview here which includes this: “what often happens is that I create a MIDI file with all the parts as I THINK they are. Green then works through it and corrects any mistakes I’ve made, and then creates / chooses all the sounds for the parts on his Mac. So by the end of that process we have a recreated Scritti song in Logic Pro which we then use to work from.” Now you know.

Dicky Moore played guitar and we know him better as Bearcraft whose Honey single from last year was on  my Annual Big List Of Good Stuff. you’ll like it, honest. Here it is:

Hot Chip’s Rob Smoughton aka Grovesnor played drums and some electronic elements from what I could work out. Great band and even though the sound system was “a couple of hi-fi speakers” according to Green the performance was top notch and a great teaser for a big full tour next month. They’re doing gigs with Saint Etienne who we’ve already seen this year, what are the chances of that happening?


Seeing the cream of the song book performed live, which is something I never thought I would see/hear. Absolute, The Word Girl, Wood Beez, The Sweetest Girl , Umm, Die ALone, Brushed With Oil and many more.

Green deciding to be a middle aged white man doing rapping on several songs from the Anomie & Bonhomie album. He was pretty good.

The bit on Die Alone where Green did the Meshell N’DegeOcello bits in a deep voice then quickly carrying on with his regular lines in his usual singing voice.

Their performance of A Day Late and a Dollar Short: one of my favourite new tracks and done in a very energetic way.

One new song which I don’t know the name of. No news on a new full album but  can be patient.

Here’s a musical taster for the different ages of Scritti Politti:

If it’s not already sold out here’s a link for next month’s Saint Etienne / Scritti Politti tour: click!


November Music Month: I really don’t know how long I’ve been up for

November 21st, 2012 by Dan

Chungking: Stay Up Forever (2007)

Chungking are not that well known but I bought both of their albums (their first one is a remake of their actual debut, it’s confusing) after discovering their music on That Internet. This song is from the second long player which is more electropop than the debut and it once became a terrible earworm that kept me awake nearly all night, helped by too much caffeine and alcohol.

I’ve dug out both albums from the CD Mountain for another listen and here’s some other singles:

Why weren’t this band famous? Where are they now?*

Just bought some of their CD singles for pence, how handy.

*I could use this internet to investigate of course.

November Music Month: I don’t need you calling round here no more

November 19th, 2012 by Dan

Sarah Cracknell: Anymore (1996)

Oh Sarah Cracknell, you marvellous woman! Her solo album was plagued with record company kerfuffles but I even bought this track on cassingle, I was such a Saint Etienne fan. The cassingle is long gone but the album has recently been given the respect it deserves with a two disc deluxe edition just like all the Saint Etienne albums have had.
Bonus Cracknell moments:

November Music Month: Dance with me pretty boy tonight

November 18th, 2012 by Dan

The Pipettes: Pull Shapes (2006)

I have no defining memories relating to this song but once heard (and seen) it is never forgotten. Total pop joy and it turned up again in one of my favourite comics of recent years. Yes, Phonogram was great and the Pull Shapes issue of volume 2 is available in the trade paperback (Amazon link) if you like that sort of thing. You really should like that sort of thing.

The Pipettes returned for album number two after a bit of a regeneration into a more 80′s influenced band and are now in limbo. Shame. Both albums are very good and you could even push the boat out by listening to them while reading the Phonogram books. Eagle-eyed sorts might notice that my blog logo at the time of posting is another Gillen / McKelvie comic book panel, as it seemed appropriate to my ‘manifesto’ (I do not have a manifesto).


November Music Month: She likes to wake up and just fake it

November 12th, 2012 by Dan

Shakespear’s Sister – Goodbye Cruel World (1991/1992)

This one came out twice as a single (how odd but then it is a good track) and I remember the original best due to the free fold-out poster with the 12″ vinyl and the superb remixes of Black Sky on the b-side. It came out again after they had a massive hit with Stay, which makes sense. The re-release appeared when I had swapped to CD singles and they did a double disc digipak thing with considerably less essential extra track that I bought anyway because I’m like that. Anyway, it’s great and the video is one of their most definitive. The album this is from (Hormonally Yours) was going to get the deluxe double disc treatment this year but there’s been a bit of a delay, and Siobhan has reissued its follow-up recently, adding some songs that she had already added to a reissue of the album that came after that one. It’s confusing these days.

Mmmmm Black Sky (remix)! :

This is not one of their hit singles:

‘Modern’ interviews! Sorry but they’re from Loose Women:

November Music Month: The second only makes you wonder

November 11th, 2012 by Dan

Propaganda: Duel (1985)

I was a weird child, unsurprisingly. As well as the usual childish throwaway pop my early record purchases were synthpop albums like Dare and Upstairs At Eric’s, bought in Belgium to make things even more odd. It was inevitable that ZTT would attract my admiration with their pretentious brand of futuristic pop and after going a bit OTT on Frankie Goes To Hollywood (did I have a t-shirt? Probably. I can’t remember now) I fell for Propaganda in a big way. They were described as “ABBA in hell” in the music press and I must have read about them in Record Mirror or Smash Hits and tracked down their music via the radio, obsessed a bit and bought everything they released. I still have those 7″ singles and a cassette of their A Secret Wish album and the collection now includes multiple reissues and remix packages so they have stood the test of time. Duel is their big pop moment full of glamour and doom which appealed to the 12 year old me and I drove my brother slightly mad with this record as he preferred less Germanic sounds. The screaming in their remodeled version called Jewel may not have helped keep the peace but that one still gets played today.
Spot the deliberate mistake:


November Music Month: He was white as a sheet / and he also made false teeth

November 8th, 2012 by Dan

Avalanches: Frontier Psychiatrist (2000)

This reminds me of when my husband was my boyfriend, bloody ages ago. It keeps cropping up on the iPod in the car and has become one of our tunes, which is pretty weird when I think about it. The album it comes from has some amazing tracks and I finally bought it in a charity shop last month.

November Music Month: Stop, think it over, and rewrite your tune

November 7th, 2012 by Dan

Beatmasters featuring Betty Boo: Hey DJ / I Can’t Dance (To That Music You’re Playing) (1989)

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: I Can’t Dance to that Music You’re Playing (1968)

Double bill for sampling reasons! Beatmasters were one of those Rhythm King records artists in that golden era where pop dance took off and I was always buying 12″ singles. See S’Express and Bomb The Bass for more examples of that fine label… and we also have Betty Boo aka Alison Clarkson aka one quarter of the original She Rockers line-up then 50% of Hit & Run who I had completely forgotten about until writing this. So many female rap records. Anyway, the track is heavily ‘inspired’ by the Martha & the Vandellas song of the same name, as you can see/hear.

November Music Month: Bang bang bang bang

November 6th, 2012 by Dan

Dead Or Alive: My Heart Goes Bang (Get Me To The Doctor) (1985)

I was never really a fan of Dead Or Alive until recently when I heard some of the old 12″ mixes and decided they were actually quite fun. This song is indebted to the You Spin Me Round template in that it’s a slightly mad gay disco song with repetitive lyrics and I really like it. I ended up buying the first two of their pop era albums and if you like this song you’ll enjoy those albums.