Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise review

29 06 2022

Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise is a new six disc boxed set of the complete recordings made by Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – comprising four CDs and two NTSC/region free DVDs. The boxed set is released by Cherry Red on 26 August 2022.

Bill Nelson’s Red Noise - Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise review

The collection features a newly remastered edition of the album Sound On Sound along with new 5.1 surround sound and new stereo mixes by Stephen W Tayler (Rush, Peter Gabriel, Howard Jones, Kate Bush, Rupert Hine).

Sound on Sound was originally released in February 1979 on Harvest / EMI and spawned the singles Furniture Music and Revolt Into Style. One of my favourite albums from the late 70s, this collection from Cherry Red is the definitive Red Noise release. Disc one comprises an excellent remaster from the original master tapes. It packs more of a punch and has a sonic sparkle missing from previous CD re-issues.

The spikey new wave / drums and guitar of Stay Young sound newly powerful with this remaster. The album delivers a mix of glam / art rock and new wave styles that populated so much good music from 1979, which also happens to be my favourite musical year. Sorry for repeating myself, I know I’ve said that before in this blog.

Feeling at home with the likes of The Stranglers, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Skids and Magazine, Sound On Sound is the only album Bill Nelson released with this art-rock spiked with new wave hybrid style. Subsequent releases headed off into a more synth driven style with Quit Dreaming And Get on the Beam (1981), The Love That Whirls (Diary of a Thinking Heart) (1982) and one of my other Bill Nelson favourites, the mini-LP Chimera (1983). Such a rich vein of form.

“Your relatives are white and all your children have record players
They listen to Tom Robinson, the Beatles and the Byrds and Leo Sayer”
A Better Home In The Phantom Zone

Sound On Sound would have still been popular with fans of Be-Bop Deluxe, as the music was a natural evolution, not a cash-in on the popularity of the late 70s new wave acts that were a feature of the charts during this era. Nelson’s guitar work shines through, his solo on The Atom Age remains one of his finest from this period. The arrangements are rich, with new layers and moods rising to the surface throughout the songs, which are short and sharp. Nelson’s pop sensibility remains intact, even though the edges are rougher than what came before.

The original album ends with Art / Empire / Industry, with its delightful Autobahn meets Buzzcocks end section and the song that was my introduction to Red Noise, the classic single Revolt into Style. I’ve still got my treasured 7″ vinyl copy, and it still sounds so like the future.

“And though I know the time is almost 1984
It feels like 1965″

The bonus tracks are not just included to pad out the release. The slower pace of Wonder Toys That Last Forever and Acquitted by Mirrors feels like a bridge between Red Noise and what would come next for Bill Nelson. The urgency displayed in the February 1979 BBC Friday Rock Show session tracks is a delight, and the performances sound fresh and representative of the Red Noise live sound, more of that on the next disc in the boxset.

“Oh, Oh
Here comes the red noise
Absolute a go-go
Wonder toys that last forever”

Disc Two is Red Noise Live At The De Montfort Hall, in Leicester, recorded on 8 March 1979. This previously unreleased live set is a delight, and was originally engineered by John Leckie. The recordings for this disc were mixed from the original 24-track master tapes at Chimera Arts, Box, Wiltshire in March 2022 by Stephen W Tayler. I often find that live albums included in deluxe editions are the discs I rarely return to, but not in this case. The concert is one of the most exciting parts of the boxset. The arrangements and vocals differ enough to bear up to repeated listening. For Young Moderns is a highlight, as is the inclusion of Red Noise’s take on two tracks from Be-Bop Deluxe’s Drastic Plastic album, Possession and Superenigmatix.

Disc Three is where things get really interesting. These new stereo mixes, with all tracks remixed from the original 24-track master tapes in March 2022 by Stephen W Tayler, are an important part of the boxset. Comparing the two mixes, I’ve lived with the original album since 1979, so it is always going to be my preferred version, but these new mixes are wonderful. They are in the main slightly less abrasive and more widescreen, with drums processed more than on the original release and synths / keyboards often pushed to the fore. The difference with tracks such as For Young Moderns is very noticeable. Its almost Be-Bop Deluxe play Red Noise!

Stay Young is a standout of the new stereo mixes, with the bass more prominent, along with the enhanced synth and organ lines. The Atom Age sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday, and the early Roxy Music influence on the album shines bright on this track, more than any other.

I was not so keen on the new mix of Revolt Into Style, which does not hit the mark for me (I don’t like the effects on the drums), but its the only minor mis-step for me of these fresh new mixes. Wonder Toys That Last Forever feels superior to the original mix, with a fuller sound and a great bass upgrade. My Light is a previously unreleased song, recorded for the Sound On Sound album. I can see why it was not included. Its a good song, but would not have fitted with the frenetic pace of the original album. New mixes of Instantly Yours, Ideal Homes and Disposable, tracks recorded at RAK Studios, London during May 1979, are welcome additions and would possibly have formed part of the shelved follow-up to Sound On Sound.

The new mixes are never going to replace the original album, here in all its remastered glory, but the idea and the execution is good.

Discs four and five (not supplied for review) features a 96 Khz/24-Bit 5.1 Surround Sound Mix of Sound On Sound and 96 Khz/24-Bit 5.1 Surround Sound Mixes of the bonus material, plus video content – a promo video for Revolt into Style, plus Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric), Furniture Music and Stay Young from BBC TV’s Old Grey Whistle Test, originally broadcast in 1979.

Bill Nelson

Disc 6 consists of Bill Nelson’s original 1978 demos for Sound On Sound. They are a fascinating insight into the original thoughts behind the songs, but are not recordings that are likely to be returned to often, unlike the other discs in the collection.

The booklet includes an introduction written by Steven Wilson, and a lengthy piece about the background to the formation of Red Noise and the Sound On Sound album and live shows.

Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise is a well put together box-set, and will appeal to all fans of the Red Noise era. If you are new to the album, but are a fan of late 70s new wave and art-rock, I would recommend the 2 CD version of the album, that includes the remastered album plus the new stereo mixes.


Buy from Amazon
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise (6 disc box-set)
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Sound On Sound (2 CD set)

Buy from Burning Shed
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise (6 disc box-set)
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Sound On Sound (2 CD set)

Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise (6 disc box-set)

Disc One: Sound On Sound Remastered

Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric)
For Young Moderns
Stop / Go / Stop
Furniture Music
Radar in My Heart
Stay Young
Out of Touch
A Better Home in the Phantom Zone
Substitute Flesh
The Atom Age
Art / Empire / Industry
Revolt into Style

Bonus tracks

Wonder Toys That Last Forever
Acquitted by Mirrors (B-side of ‘Furniture Music’ EP)
Stay Young (BBC session 17.02.1979)
Furniture Music (BBC session 17.02.1979)
Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric) (BBC session 17.02.1979)
Out of Touch (BBC session 17.02.1979)

Disc Two: Live At The De Montfort Hall, Leicester 1979
Previously Unreleased

Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric)(live)
For Young Moderns (live)
Furniture Music (live)
Out of Touch (live)
Stop-Go-Stop (live)
Atom Age (live)
Possession (live)
Superenigmatix (live)
Substitute Flesh (live)
Phantom Zone (live)
Radar in My Heart (live)
Art / Empire / Industry (live)
Revolt into Style (live)
Stay Young (live)
For Young Moderns (Encore) (live)

Disc Three: Sound On Sound New Stereo Mix

Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric)
For Young Moderns
Stop / Go / Stop
Furniture Music
Radar in My Heart
Stay Young
Out of Touch
A Better Home in the Phantom Zone
Substitute Flesh
The Atom Age
Art / Empire / Industry
Revolt into Style

Bonus tracks

Wonder Toys That Last Forever
Acquitted by Mirrors
My Light
(previously unreleased) Recorded for the “Sound on Sound” sessions
Instantly Yours
Ideal Homes
Disposable

Disc Four: Sound On Sound

96 Khz/24-Bit 5.1 Surround Sound Mix

New Stereo Mix Original Stereo Mix

Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric) (5.1 mix)
For Young Moderns (5.1 mix)
Stop / Go / Stop (5.1 mix)
Furniture Music (5.1 mix)
Radar in My Heart (5.1 mix)
Stay Young (5.1 mix)
Out of Touch (5.1 mix)
A Better Home in the Phantom Zone (5.1 mix)
Substitute Flesh (5.1 mix)
The Atom Age (5.1 mix)
Art / Empire / Industry (5.1 mix)
Revolt into Style (5.1 mix)

Disc Five Additional Red Noise Sessions
96 Khz/24-Bit 5.1 Surround Sound Mixes

New Stereo Mixes Original Stereo Mixes

Wonder Toys That Last Forever (5.1 mix)
Acquitted by Mirrors (5.1 mix)
My Light (5.1 mix) Recorded for the “Sound on Sound” sessions
Instantly Yours (5.1 mix)
Ideal Homes (5.1 mix)
Disposable (5.1 mix)

RAK Studios, London May 1979

Video Content

Previously Unreleased

Revolt into Style (Promotional video 1979)
Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric) (BBC TV Old Grey Whistle Test – 1979)
Furniture Music (BBC TV Old Grey Whistle Test 1979)
Stay Young (BBC TV Old Grey Whistle Test 1979)

Disc Six Bill Nelson Red Noise Demos

1978 – Previously Unreleased

Acquitted by Mirrors (demo)
For Young Moderns (demo)
Stop Go Stop (demo)
Furniture Music (demo)
Radar in My Heart (demo)
Stay Young (demo)
Out of Touch (demo)
A Better Home in the Phantom Zone (demo)
Substitute Flesh (demo)
The Atom Age (demo)
Revolt into Style (demo)
Waiting for the Night (demo)
My Light (demo)

Sound On Sound (2 CD set)

Disc One: Sound On Sound Remastered

Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric)
For Young Moderns
Stop / Go / Stop
Furniture Music
Radar in My Heart
Stay Young
Out of Touch
A Better Home in the Phantom Zone
Substitute Flesh
The Atom Age
Art / Empire / Industry
Revolt into Style

Bonus tracks

Wonder Toys That Last Forever
Acquitted by Mirrors (B-side of ‘Furniture Music’ EP)
Stay Young (BBC session 17.02.1979)
Furniture Music (BBC session 17.02.1979)
Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric) (BBC session 17.02.1979)
Out of Touch (BBC session 17.02.1979)

Disc Two: Sound On Sound New Stereo Mix

Don’t Touch Me (I’m Electric)
For Young Moderns
Stop / Go / Stop
Furniture Music
Radar in My Heart
Stay Young
Out of Touch
A Better Home in the Phantom Zone
Substitute Flesh
The Atom Age
Art / Empire / Industry
Revolt into Style

Bonus tracks

Wonder Toys That Last Forever
Acquitted by Mirrors

My Light (previously unreleased) Recorded for the “Sound on Sound” sessions
Instantly Yours
Ideal Homes
Disposable

Buy from Amazon
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise (6 disc box-set)
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Sound On Sound (2 CD set)

Buy from Burning Shed
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Art / Empire / Industry: The Complete Red Noise (6 disc box-set)
Bill Nelson’s Red Noise: Sound On Sound (2 CD set)





1979: Revolt Into Style: 76 Year Defining Tracks – 3 CD set review

30 12 2021

Cherry Red are continuing their review of the late 70s music scene, with the latest 3 CD set Revolt Into Style released on 21 January 2022 and concentrating on 1979, which just happens to be my favourite year in music.

The four hours of music contained in the 3 CD’s includes more obscure offerings sitting alongside some of the major new wave artists who were spewing out three minute classic singles that are on offer here, along with choice album cuts from The Stranglers, Madness, Tubeway Army, Ian Dury, Squeeze, XTC and more.

Disc One opens with the track that gives it’s name to the compilation. Former Be-Bop Deluxe front-man Bill Nelson, with the second single from his band Red Noise’s only studio album Sound-on-Sound. The single version of Magazine’s Rhythm Of Cruelty is included and is a perfect example of how there was a real pop sensibility seeping into the new wave and alternative music of 1979.

The Dr. Feelgood R&B / new wave of The Cannibals You Can’t is one of the less well-known songs on this compilation. The Only Ones are represented by the fine 7″ version of You Got To Pay, and another highlight on the first disc is a rarely heard gem by Scotland’s Fingerprintz, with the unbelievably catchy Night Nurse.

The Staircase (Mystery) is one of the finest early Siouxsie And The Banshees singles, and as a non-album track, is a welcome addition here. Replicas Me, I Disconnect From You by Tubeway Army signals the beginning of Gary Numan’s firm hold on the UK charts that would last for several years into the mid-80s, with Numan continuing to delight his audience right up to the present day.

The final X-Ray Spex single Highly Inflammable is a more synth infused pop song than their earlier four iconic single releases, and the first incarnation of the band split soon after this release in mid 1979. Victims Of The Riddle (Part 1) was the first single from Toyah and features on the wonderful Sheep Farming In Barnet deluxe edition that was released by Cherry Red in 2000.

Despite the mighty Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3 being released in 1979, Cherry Red have included an album track for this compilation, choosing Sink My Boats from Do It Yourself. The inclusion of this fine track will hopefully turn more people on to this excellent album.

Disc Two opens with Up The Junction, one of Squeeze’s finest singles (and one of the bands greatest lyrics). The quality continues with one of The Clash’s lesser known tracks, Groovy Times from The Cost Of Living EP.

The Skids Masquerade was produced by Bill Nelson, and remains one of the band’s strongest singles, of which there were many!

Former Deaf School guitarist and 80s production heavyweight Clive Langer with his band The Boxes contribute The Whole World, that also features future Siouxsie And The Banshees / The Creatures drummer Budgie on bass (and of course, drums). An early Zoo Records recording of Read It In Books from Echo And The Bunnymen is another highlight of the second disc, as is the Gang Of Four’s At Home He’s A Tourist.

The Jags Back Of My Hand was a top 20 hit and was all over the airwaves in 1979. Bouncing Babies (Zoo version) from The Teardrop Explodes still sounds great (as does the whole of the band’s catalogue). Adam and the Ants Whip In My Valise was the b side to the Zerox single, and was recorded by the pre-Kings of the Wild Frontier line-up of the band. The next version of Adam and the Ants from 1980 onwards were one of the 80s biggest and most influential bands.

Birmingham band Fashion offer a John Foxx / Ultravox sounding single Citinite. A later line-up of the band released one of my favourite 80s albums in 1982, with Fabrique. The Undertones were another great late 70s singles band and Here Comes The Summer was one of their most memorable early hits.

The Pretenders second single Kid is a piece of pure-pop perfection from the original, classic line-up of the band led by one of the best new wave vocalists and songwriters, Chrissie Hynde. When You’re Young by The Jam was a non-album single, but was included on a later re-issue of Setting Sons and on compilations such as About The Young Idea: The Very Best Of The Jam.

The Ruts Something That I Said was a top 20 hit for the band, and was re-recorded for their album The Crack. A rare mis-step on the compilation is the inclusion of The Stranglers Don’t Bring Harry, not one of the bands finest moments, and the fact that any track on their 1979 album The Raven (Duchess, the title track or Baroque Bordello) would have represented the bands output from this year so much better.

The final disc in the compilation opens with one of XTC’s greatest singles, and their first big hit, Making Plans For Nigel, with a drum sound that would be so prevalent over the early years of the next decade.

Manchester band Passage contribute the wonderful stop / start Taking My Time single and one of Kirk Brandon’s early bands The Pack are represented with the Rough Trade single Number 12.

The Human League’s Empire State Human has always been one of my favourite tracks from the band, along with their near perfect take on You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ from the same album as Empire State Human, Reproduction.

Work All Week by The Mekons has an intro similar to The Vapors Turning Japanese, whilst Public Image Ltd offer the single version of Memories, which, of course, is followed by punk pastiche band The Monks (featuring former Strawbs members Richard Hudson and John Ford) with Johnny B Rotten.

Chris Sievey (later known for the comic persona Frank Sidebottom) and his band The Freshies are represented by Children Of The World from the EP The Men from Banana Island Whos Stupid Ideas Never Caught On in the Western World as We Know It. Prisoners is the debut single from The Vapors and starts the journey for a band that are still releasing quality music today – check out their 2020 album Together that features a career highlight with Girl From The Factory.

Another rarely heard track is 7 Teen by The Regents, a top 20 hit late in 1979. The Boys (who also released Christmas songs as The Yobs!) supply the Chris Spedding (Motor Bikin’) meets Roxy Music influenced Kamikaze.

The Carpettes Easy Way Out was a Beggars Banquet single from late 1979, and still sounds powerful today. A raw, early Scritti Politti track Messthetics from the Work In Progress EP is rhythmically and musically challenging but does hint at the wonderful music that was to come in the next few years from Green Gartside’s band.

Spizzenergi’s classic Where’s Captain Kirk? is another highlights from this year. I’ve still got the 7″ single somewhere.

1979: Revolt Into Style is a great collection, and also does a good job of highlighting some of the less well-known alternative / new wave songs from 1979, whilst documenting the rapid move into the post-punk and electronic era of UK music.

Buy 1979: Revolt Into Style

Disc One

Bill Nelson’s Red Noise – Revolt Into Style
Eddie And The Hot Rods – Media Messiahs
Andy Arthurs – I Feel Flat
Magazine – Rhythm Of Cruelty (single version)
The Cannibals – You Can’t
John Cooper Clarke – ¡Gimmix! Play Loud
Dead Fingers Talk – The Boyfriend
The Only Ones – You Got To Pay
Glaxo Babies – Who Killed Bruce Lee?
Sham 69 – Questions And Answers (single version)
Fingerprintz – Night Nurse
Siouxsie And The Banshees – The Staircase (Mystery)
The Squares – Stop Being A Boy
The Fall – Rebellious Jukebox
Alternative TV – Graves Of Deluxe Green
Patrik Fitzgerald – All Sewn Up
Tubeway Army – Me, I Disconnect From You
The Outsiders – White Debt
The Members – Soho-A-Go-Go
Three Party Split – Dubious Parentage
X-Ray Spex – Highly Inflammable
Jonnie And The Lubes – I Got Rabies
Toyah – Victims Of The Riddle (Part 1)
Ian Dury And The Blockheads – Sink My Boats

Disc Two

Squeeze – Up The Junction
The Clash – Groovy Times
The Records – Girls That Don’t Exist
The Skids – Masquerade
Clive Langer And The Boxes – The Whole World
Echo And The Bunnymen – Read It In Books
The Faders – Library Book
Gang Of Four – At Home He’s A Tourist
Joy Division – Disorder
The Numbers – Alternative Suicide 11 The
The Jags – Back Of My Hand
The Teardrop Explodes – Bouncing Babies (Zoo version)
The Cravats – Burning Bridges
Adam And The Ants – Whip In My Valise
Fashion – Citinite
The Undertones – Here Comes The Summer
Cult Figures – Zip Nolan (extended mix)
Pretenders – Kid
The Quads – There Must Be Thousands
The Jam – When You’re Young
The Cheetahs – Radio-Active
The Ruts – Something That I Said
The Teenbeats – I Can’t Control Myself
The Stranglers – Don’t Bring Harry
The Barracudas – I Want My Woody Back

Disc Three

XTC – Making Plans For Nigel
The Revillos – Where’s The Boy For Me?
The Monochrome Set – The Monochrome Set (single version)
Passage – Taking My Time
Swell Maps – Real Shocks
The Zipps – Friends
Disco Zombies – Disco Zombies
The Pack – Number 12
The Human League – Empire State Human
The Wall – Kiss The Mirror
The Mekons – Work All Week
999 – Found Out Too Late
The Outcasts – Self Conscious Over You
Public Image Ltd – Memories (single version)
The Monks – Johnny B Rotten
The Freshies – Children Of The World
The Vapors – Prisoners
Madness – Bed And Breakfast Man
Secret Affair – Glory Boys
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Dance Stance (demo)
The Regents – 7 Teen
The Lurkers – New Guitar In Town
The Boys – Kamikaze
The Carpettes – Easy Way Out
Scritti Politti – Messthetics
Spizzenergi – Where’s Captain Kirk?
Notsensibles – I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher

Buy 1979: Revolt Into Style





News: NOW That’s What I Call Punk & New Wave CD & Vinyl Collection

3 12 2021

NOW That’s What I Call Punk & New Wave is a new compilation that features 89 tracks across 4 CDs, and also collects 34 tracks across 2 punk-tastic neon pink vinyl LP’s.

The CD offers a mouth-watering 88 tracks (plus the Toy Dolls!) and includes most of the eras heavy-hitters (The Stranglers, The Jam, Skids, The Police, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, The Cure, Siouxsie And The Banshees and Ramones) but delves deeper with slightly less well-known but equally as important songs from this golden era for singles.

I was impressed to see my favourite Generation X single King Rocker, plus a song I never tire of hearing in Milk And Alcohol from Dr. Feelgood. I was also pleased to see many songs from my favourite year for music, 1979.

Ultravox! feature with Rockwrok whilst Magazine’s Shot By Both Sides hints at the greatness to come from this seminal Manchester band. Mink DeVille deliver the Latin flavoured rock ‘n’ roll of Spanish Stroll, whilst New Zealand’s Split Enz serve up a fine slice of new wave pop with I Got You.

Midge Ure’s Rich Kids are a welcome addition along with one of my all-time favourite new wave singles in The Knack’s My Sharona.

Honourable mentions also go to Eddie & The Hot Rods with Do Anything You Wanna Do (featuring the best use of handclaps in a pop single), The Motors Airport (what, no Dancing The Night Away I hear you say?), the pop infused psychedelia of Reward from Liverpool’s The Teardrop Explodes and Blondie’s 60s beat influenced Denis. Has there ever been a more perfect pop single?

The vinyl version weighs in with a leaner 34 tracks, and for the most part sticks to the more well-known artists, but this just means you need to buy the vinyl for that authentic 70s listening experience and the CD version to wallow in this energetic late 70s time-capsule.

Buy NOW That’s What I Call Punk & New Wave CD from Burning Shed or Amazon

Buy NOW That’s What I Call Punk & New Wave neon-pink vinyl from Burning Shed or Amazon

TRACKLISTING

NOW That’s What I Call Punk & New Wave CD

CD 1

The Clash – London Calling
The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)
The Stranglers – No More Heroes
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden
The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops
Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner
X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents
The Damned – Love Song
Skids – Into The Valley
XTC – Making Plans For Nigel
Squeeze – Cool For Cats
Tom Robinson Band – 2-4-6-8 Motorway
Elvis Costello – Watching The Detectives
Joe Jackson – Is She Really Going Out With Him?
Jags – Back Of My Hand
Secret Affair – Time For Action
The Motors – Airport
The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl
Patti Smith – Because The Night

CD 2

The Jam – Going Underground
The Police – Can’t Stand Losing You
The Boomtown Rats – Rat Trap
Blondie – Hanging On The Telephone
Pretenders – Brass In Pocket
Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
Lene Lovich – Lucky Number
Toyah – Ieya
Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog
Bow Wow Wow – Go Wild In The Country
Hazel O’Connor – Eighth Day
Tenpole Tudor – Swords Of A Thousand Men
Generation X – King Rocker
Dr. Feelgood – Milk And Alcohol
The Barracudas – Summer Fun
The Piranhas – Tom Hark
Sham 69 – If The Kids Are United
The Vibrators – Automatic Lover
Department S – Is Vic There?
The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
Mink DeVille – Spanish Stroll
Yellow Dog – Just One More Night

CD 3

The B-52’s – Rock Lobster
Devo – Whip It
The Flying Lizards – Money
Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach
The Cure – A Forest
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
Joe Jackson – It’s Different For Girls
The Regents – 7 Teen
Squeeze – Up The Junction
The Tourists – I Only Want To Be With You
Split Enz – I Got You
The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink
Simple Minds – Love Song
Ultravox! – Rockwrok
Marianne Faithfull – Broken English
Grace Jones – Private Life
The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – What A Waste
Rich Kids – Rich Kids
Sham 69 – Angels With Dirty Faces
The Dickies – Banana Splits
Jilted John – Jilted John

CD 4

U2 – I Will Follow
The Members – Sound Of The Suburbs
The Ruts – Babylon’s Burning
The Boomtown Rats – She’s So Modern
X-Ray Spex – Identity
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Christine
The Jam – Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
Ramones – Baby, I Love You
Blondie – Denis
Pretenders – Kid
The Stranglers – Duchess
The Teardrop Explodes – Reward
Adam & The Ants – Kings Of The Wild Frontier
Bow Wow Wow – C30 C60 C90 Go
Public Image Limited – Public Image
Magazine – Shot By Both Sides
The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
The Knack – My Sharona
Eddie & The Hot Rods – Do Anything You Wanna Do
Skids – Working For The Yankee Dollar
The Vapors – Turning Japanese
Toy Dolls – Nellie The Elephant

NOW That’s What I Call Punk & New Wave Vinyl

Disc A
The Clash – London Calling
The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
The Stranglers – No More Heroes
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden
The Rezillos – Top Of The Pops
Ramones – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
The Members – Sound Of The Suburbs
The Ruts – Babylon’s Burning
Iggy Pop – Lust For Life

Disc B
The Jam – Going Underground
The Police – Can’t Stand Losing You
The Boomtown Rats – Rat Trap
Blondie – Hanging On The Telephone
Pretenders – Brass In Pocket
X-Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner
The Runaways – Cherry Bomb
Jilted John – Jilted John

Disc C
The B-52’s – Rock Lobster
Devo – Whip It
The Flying Lizards – Money
Squeeze – Cool For Cats
XTC – Making Plans For Nigel
Tom Robinson Band – 2-4-6-8 Motorway
Joe Jackson – Is She Really Going Out With Him?
Patti Smith – Because The Night

Disc D
U2 – I Will Follow
Skids – Into The Valley
Adam & The Ants – Dog Eat Dog
Dexys Midnight Runners – Geno
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach
The Cure – A Forest
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart





The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings review

14 07 2021

The Vapors are releasing a 76 track deluxe 4CD clamshell box set containing the band’s first two studio albums New Clear Days and Magnets along with B-sides & single versions. The set also includes two discs of previously unreleased demos, rough mixes, alternative and live versions, including the band’s performance at The Rainbow, supporting The Jam on their Setting Sons tour in December 1979.

The material has been mastered from the original master tapes retrieved from the EMI Archives, and still sounds crisp and powerful.

The first disc contains The Vapors debut album New Clear Days from 1980. Containing the band’s signature track Turning Japanese, the album is much more than the massive hit single. Cold War captures perfectly the post-punk influenced new wave sound of 1979 / 1980.

My favourite track on the album is the nuclear paranoia riddled Bunkers.

“I went down the road to see the end of the movie
‘Cause I really like the part where the heroine dies
She takes away so many million secrets
But she tells just a few before she closes her eyes”

The agitated bass-line and wonderful drums and percussion backbeat drives this frenetic album highlight. Waiting For The Weekend and the album closer Letter From Hiro also serve as powerful statements.

The remainder of disc one collects the remaining tracks released during this period, including the single Prisoners, b-side Here Comes The Judge (Live), a single edit of News At Ten, a shortened edit of Turning Japanese and the first of three previously unreleased tracks, Move (Demo), which has a guitar sound reminiscent of the style of John McGeoch, who was a member of Magazine around this time.

The expanded version of second album Magnets from 1981 opens with single Jimmie Jones, followed by the Bowie influenced, more experimental sound of Spiders, which showed that the band’s musical vocabulary was expanding. Spiders should have been a hit single, it was made for the airwaves of 1980.

Isolated Case is a Banshee’s influenced, post-punk slice of pop, and has aged well. Live At The Marquee has an interesting, intelligent arrangement and a killer, speed infused 60s pop chorus.

“But we’re alive at the marquee”

Its a real shame that the lack of record company promotion harmed the prospects of Magnets, as it has a much more varied sound than the debut, and deserved to be heard by more people. Maybe that time is now?

I have a lot of love for Daylight Titans, with it’s Banshees meets The Comsat Angels flavour.

“But what hurts me is I never get the time
To say or do even half of what I’m feeling”

Can’t Talk Anymore adds some Dave Edmunds / Nick Lowe pop sensibility to a dark lyric. The haunting title track Magnets closes the original album running order, with a slow-burning arrangement and a powerful mantra to close the song.

The motorcade is never-ending…”

B-side Galleries For Guns and the single / remixes, plus an archive interview with Dave Fenton, complete disc two.

Disc Three is New Clear Days (Alternative Versions). Containing demos, alternative versions and rough mixes of the songs from the album. One of the highlights is Turning Japanese (Alternative Version), which has added synths and percussion and sounds like it could be from slightly later than 1980. Its interesting to hear, but the original is still the best! Another highlight is the spirited Letter From Hiro (Rough Mix).

Just as interesting is the final disc, which comprises Magnets (Alternative Versions) & Live At The Rainbow 03/12/1979.

This disc contains two previously unreleased songs. A studio cut of Secret Noise, which probably would have been more suited to the debut album, and a live version of Caroline recorded at The Rainbow in 1979. The Rainbow show highlights the band before they were successful. Its strange hearing a live performance of Turning Japanese with no roar during the iconic intro.

The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings is a great way to collect the recordings from the first incarnation of the band, and its also a good opportunity for a timely reappraisal of the band’s second album, Magnets.

The Vapors reformed in 2016 and in 2020 released their excellent third album studio album Together, that included a career highlight in Girl from the Factory. So hopefully lots more to come from this great band.

Buy The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings 4 CD Boxset

Disc One: New Clear Days (Expanded Version)

Spring Collection
Turning Japanese
Cold War
America
Trains
Bunkers
News At Ten
Somehow
Sixty Second Interval
Waiting For The Weekend
Letter From Hiro

Bonus Tracks

Prisoners
Sunstroke
Here Comes The Judge (Live)
News At Ten (Single Version)
Wasted
Talk Talk
Waiting For The Weekend (Single Version)
Billy
Turning Japanese (Edit)
Move (Demo)

Disc Two: Magnets (Expanded Version)

Jimmie Jones
Spiders
Isolated Case
Civic Hall
Live At The Marquee
Daylight Titans
Johnny’s In Love (Again)
Can’t Talk Anymore
Lenina
Silver Machines
Magnets

Bonus Tracks

Galleries For Guns
Jimmie Jones (Single Version)
Daylight Titans (Single Version)
Spiders (Single Version)
Interview With Dave Fenton

Disc Three: New Clear Days (Alternative Versions)

Spring Collection (Demo)
Turning Japanese (Alternative Version)
Cold War (Rough Mix)
America (Demo)
Trains (Rough Mix)
Bunkers (Demo)
News At Ten (Alternative Version)
Somehow (Instrumental)
Sixty Second Interval (Demo)
Waiting For The Weekend (Demo)
Letter From Hiro (Rough Mix)
Turning Japanese (Edit) (Demo)
Prisoners (Demo)
Wasted (Rough Mix)
Spring Collection (Rough Mix)
Turning Japanese (Alternative Extended Mix)
Cold War (Rough Mix Edit)
America (Instrumental)
Waiting For The Weekend (Rough Mix)
Cold War (Alternative Rough Mix)
Turning Japanese (Instrumental)

Disc Four: Magnets Alternative Versions & Live At The Rainbow 03/12/1979

Jimmie Jones (Rough Mix)
Civic Hall (Rough Mix)
Live At The Marquee (Rough Mix)
Johnny’s In Love (Again) (Rough Mix)
Galleries For Guns (Rough Mix)
Secret Noise
Galleries For Guns (Alternative Rough Mix)

Live At The Rainbow 03/12/1979

Caroline
Somehow
Bunkers
Sunstroke
Cold War
Waiting For The Weekend
Sixty Second Interval
Spring Collection
Turning Japanese
America
Prisoners

Buy The Vapors – Waiting For The Weekend: The United Artist & Liberty Recordings 4 CD Boxset





1978 – The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo compilation review

24 08 2020

1978 – The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo is a new 3 CD set from Cherry Red, released on 28 August 2020.

The 79 tracks (from a marketing view-point, maybe there should have been 78 tracks!) cover the well-known punk and new wave hits from the year, along with lesser-known regional acts from Manchester, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The collection also includes an entertaining 48-page booklet that includes details on every track included in the compilation.

The first CD features some of the era’s big-hitters. Opening with Sham 69’s Borstal Breakout from January 1978, followed by one of the hardest-hitting singles by The Stranglers, 5 Minutes. The percussive Emergency by 999 is another highlight, as is the early Gary Numan release – Oh! Didn’t I Say by Tubeway Army.

Automatic Lover by The Vibrators fits in with the short-lived power pop movement of bands such as Tonight (Drummer Man) from the Spring of 1978. She’s So Modern by The Boomtown Rats reminds you what a powerful force the band were from 1978 to around 1981, with an amazing run of pop / new wave hit singles.

A pre-fame Japan offer Don’t Rain On My Parade and are a world away from the sound they settled on from Quiet Life in late 1979, that showcased their move from new wave guitars to something more sophisticated on the cusp of the 80s synth-pop explosion.

Concrete Jungle by The Coventry Automatics is an early track from the band that would soon become The Specials, with their mix of new wave and ska already starting to develop into the style they would use so successfully from 1979 onwards. The Only Ones Another Girl, Another Planet was unbelievably never a hit but is a classic single from this year, and sits well in this collection.

Magazine contribute the early single Touch And Go. Irish band Pretty Boy Floyd And The Gems Spread The Word Around is a song I missed at the time, but is worthy of inclusion here. The Steve Lillywhite produced When The Tanks Roll Over Poland Again by The Automatics has a great guitar sound and Jilted John’s only hit single (produced by Martin Hannett!) is one of the biggest selling tracks on this album.

The second CD opens with the track that gave the compilation it’s name, X-Ray Spex with The Day The World Turned Day-Glo, a song that has aged well. What a guitar sound! Up Against The Wall by the Tom Robinson Band is driven by a powerful guitar riff from the late, great Danny Kustow.

Tyne and Wear band The Carpettes (who I saw at least once in my local venue, Woolwich Tramshed) supply 2ne1, whilst the Midge Ure fronted Rich Kids offer the title track from their only studio album, Ghosts Of Princes In Towers, an album I still love.

Another couple of favourites sit on CD 2 – the John Foxx fronted Ultravox with Slow Motion and the Status Quo pastiche / Mike Oldfield mentioning Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie by Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. I’ve still got a double 7″ vinyl of this single somewhere. I must dig it out.

The third and final disc opens with my favourite Public Image Ltd song, their debut single Public Image. Stiff Little Fingers 2nd single Alternative Ulster and Life’s A Gamble by Penetration are also highlights. Penetration’s Pauline Murray releases a new solo album in the Autumn.

Johnny Thunders full-length album version of You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory is included here, although I prefer the short, stripped back Pete Wylie (Wah!) version, as part of the Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me) single in 1983. The Saints Are Coming by the Skids features some of Stuart Adamson’s earliest incendiary guitar lines. Again, the compilers choose a deeper cut from one of the era’s biggest bands with In The Crowd from The Jam’s All Mod Cons album.

The punk-pop of Destination Venus by The Rezillos is a forgotten tune from this era. Flashing In The Subway by pub-rockers Tyla Gang comes from the more blues / Dr Feelgood side of new wave rock. RIP Sean Tyla. 10:15 Saturday Night by The Cure is a less obvious choice for this compilation, and so stands out amongst some of the more standard new wave blueprint tracks.

If you are a fan of punk and new wave and want to delve deeper than the hit singles, this Cherry Red compilation offers good value for money and is an entertaining collection from a vintage year for music.

Buy 1978 – The Year The UK Turned Day-Glo on Amazon

Disc One

Borstal Breakout – Sham 69
5 Minutes – The Stranglers
Emergency – 999
Don’t Tango On My Heart – The Doll
Oh! Didn’t I Say – Tubeway Army
Automatic Lover – The Vibrators
I’m A Boy – Cyanide
Bad In Bed – The Electric Chairs
Lost Lenore – Attrix
Stuck With You – Zones
Party Clothes – Subs
You’re A Disease – The Outcasts
She’s So Modern – The Boomtown Rats
I’m Civilised – Menace
Moonmidsummer – The Freshies
The Kids Are Alright – The Pleasers
Don’t Rain On My Parade – Japan
Concrete Jungle – The Coventry Automatics
Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones
Touch And Go – Magazine
Spread The Word Around – Pretty Boy Floyd And The Gems
When The Tanks Roll Over Poland Again – The Automatics
Stella’s Got A Fella – Social Security
Chloroform – The Bleach Boys
Jilted John – Jilted John
Rat Up A Drainpipe – The Members
Glandular Angela – The Exits
Why Don’t You Do Me Right? – Alternative Tv

Disc Two

The Day The World Turned Day-Glo – X-Ray Spex
Up Against The Wall – Tom Robinson Band
Central Detention Centre – Gyro
Ain’t Got A Clue – The Lurkers
The Backstreet Boys – Patrik Fitzgerald
Nobody Loves You When You’re Old And Gay – Dead Fingers Talk
I Can’t Resist – The Reaction
I Can’t Wait – The Jolt
Kinnel Tommy – Ed Banger
Loving A Killer – The Stoat
A.C.A.B. – The Rowdies
Start All Over Again – No Sweat
I Believe – The V.I.P.S
2ne1 – The Carpettes
Ghosts Of Princes In Towers – Rich Kids
Kung Fu International – John Cooper Clarke
Ringing In The Streets – The Ripchords
Slow Motion – Ultravox
Love Is Blind – Nightshift
Rock’n’roll Ain’t Dead – The Questions
Cortina Cowboys – Blue Steam
Birmingham Reggie – The Others
Live In A Car – UK Subs
It’s Alright – The Turn
Teenage Vice – The Teardrops
Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie – Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias

Disc Three

Public Image – Public Image Ltd
Alternative Ulster – Stiff Little Fingers
Light At Your Window – The Detonators
Fibre – Spizzoil
Life’s A Gamble – Penetration
28/8/78 – Scritti Politti
Europeans – Europeans
Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.) – Wreckless Eric
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory – Johnny Thunders
The Saints Are Coming – Skids
It’s The New Thing – The Fall
Alphaville – The Monochrome Set
In The Crowd – The Jam
Starry Eyes – The Records
Weekend Girl – The Bozos
Destination Venus – The Rezillos
Flashing In The Subway – Tyla Gang
10:15 Saturday Night – The Cure
Larger Than Life – The Parrots
Wrong Street – Nicky & The Dots
New Town – The Vitamins
Love Song – Passage
What She Wants, She Needs – Eater
Never Met Suzi – Time Machine
White Christmas – Slush





The Stranglers – In The Shadows (deeper cuts)

10 07 2018

Here’s my latest playlist for you to listen to, hopefully enjoy and share. My previous playlists have been themed – Alternative Jewels (say hello to the modern) and Date Stamp – the 80s (part1)  This is the first playlist dedicated to one band.

That band is one of the most successful UK new wave bands, The Stranglers. I have avoided most of the band’s most well-known songs, though I let a few slip through into the playlist. The list could have been a lot longer, it took remarkable self-restraint to leave songs out, so forgive me if your favourites are not included.

USA EP

The playlist gets underway with Goodbye Toulouse and Hanging Around, from the band’s debut album Rattus Norvegicus. Neither tracks were singles, but they highlight the raw psychedelic sound of the bands first few albums, and were staples of the live set for years to come.

English Towns is the representative from the No More Heroes album. although I have also included 5 Minutes (one of their most powerful singles) and it’s B side, the ballardian Rok It To The Moon, that both feature on the No More Heroes CD re-issue from 2018.

Outside Tokyo is a beautiful, bittersweet spiky waltz from Black And White, the final Stranglers studio album produced by legendary producer Martin Rushent. Curfew is a paranoid, dystopian tale driven by Burnel’s barracuda bass perfectly coupled with Jet Blacks jazz tinged drums, and a classic Burnel / Cornwell jointly sung chorus.

Walk on By is the definitive version of this song for me. I have probably heard it hundreds of times – blaring out of my transistor radio on its release in 1978, on 7″ vinyl, cassette, CD and live, yet I never tire of the song. Its so easy to get lost in the middle section with the wild solos from Dave Greenfield and Hugh Cornwell.

wob

The title track to 1979’s The Raven is another song that never grows old. I could not leave out Baroque Bordello, the song with one of the best intros in the bands large catalogue. Listen to this, and tell me that the band were not influenced by prog rock!

G.m.b.H is a hybrid of the 12″ and 7″ versions of Bear Cage, from the US import album IV, that lots of fans bought on mail-order from ads in the back of NME or Melody Maker (this was pre-internet) to get the previously unreleased, Doors influenced track Vietnamerica. It took me years to track down the rare USA CD issue of IV – and its not for sale, so don’t ask!

“You can keep your Brussels and Amsterdam 
Give me back my summer in Dresden, man” 

Second Coming (which sounded amazing live at the time) and the single Just Like Nothing On Earth feature from The Gospel According To The MenInBlack, which found The Stranglers at their most experimental. Weird and totally wired.

“A woman in Wellington wet her whistle with a wild man,
From way back when.”

Who Wants The World (yes, it did cost 79p) scraped into the lower reaches of the UK singles chart in 1980, but is still a great single, and continues the UFO theme of The Gospel According To The MenInBlack.

wwtw

Ain’t Nothin’ to It is an often overlooked track from La Folie, the album that included the bands biggest hit, Golden Brown.

My playlist ends in 1983, with the 7″ mix of Midnight Summer Dream, and the haunting Never Say Goodbye from the acoustic diversion of the Feline album.

I hope you enjoy this playlist – please follow me on Twitter @mrkinski to find out about future playlists that I put together.





The Stranglers – The Classic Collection

6 03 2018

Take a stroll over to your CD cabinet. Do you have a copy of the first 7 albums from The Stranglers? Nope? Ok now is your time to rectify this. Parlophone have reissued the bands 1977-1982 studio albums under the name The Classic Collection.

The Raven

These reasonable priced reissues (all single discs) have unfortunately not been remastered, which is a bit of a missed opportunity. So if you already own the albums, you will probably stick with what you have, but I would recommend purchasing the new expanded version of Live (X-Cert) which has an additional 8 previously unreleased on CD tracks from the original concerts at The Roundhouse in 1977 and Battersea Park in 1978. I dare you to listen to the version of Nice ‘n’ Sleazy from Battersea on this reissue without picturing in your mind the on-stage antics from the video. You know which one I mean.

If you don’t have the albums, The Classic Collection offers a quick and easy way to collect some of the finest albums of the late 70s / early 80s. Key non-album tracks from the period are included on each album, along with lyrics (that are more readable than previous CD releases), pictures from the era and a history of the band written by David Buckley (the same history appears in the sleeve-notes of each individual album).

The band’s debut album Rattus Norvegicus still sounds dangerous and raw, 40 years after its original release.

From the violence of Sometimes, the harsh beauty of Goodbye Toulouse through to the new wave classic Hanging Around, the band’s debut still delivers on so many levels.

Every time I hear Peaches, I’m transported back to my school-days, and album closer Down In The Sewer is a dripping with acid, punk-Prog powerhouse of a song.

1977 also saw the release of No More Heroes. The title track is one of the band’s enduring classics, but the album contains often overlooked tracks such as Bitching and English Towns.

This re-issue includes two of my favourite early Stranglers tracks, the edgy paranoia of Straighten Out and the precursor to the post-punk sound of the bands 3rd album, the single 5 Minutes.

“Got anything to say? No? Well shut up!”

1978 saw the release of the bands 3rd album, Black And White. To me, this was the best sounding Stranglers album. There is a real consistency that runs through every single song.

Always a great singles band, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy was one of their finest. Like the earlier Peaches, Sleazy is a mutated version of reggae that is simply a classic Stranglers single. Outside Tokyo slows the pace before the snarling Sweden (All Quiet On The Eastern Front).

All 4  band members sound amazing throughout this album – with my favourite Hugh Cornwell guitar sound and the mighty barracuda bass from JJ Burnel. There is a beautiful symmetry on the epic Toiler On The Sea, and this reissue is topped off by the inclusion of yet another classic Stranglers single, their cover of Bacharach & David’s Walk On By. Better than the original, yes I think so.

As I mentioned earlier, the 2018 re-issue of Live X-Cert is the definitive version. The album captures the band in their most raw state.

Highlights include an incendiary 5 Minutes, a venomous Straighten Out and a speed-driven Hanging Around.

The extra tracks include a breakneck speed version of Down In The Sewer, with Bitching, Peaches and my favourite live version of  Nice ‘n’ Sleazy.

My only tattoo is of The Raven logo on my arm, so you can probably tell that this is my favourite Stranglers album. One of my few regrets is that there was no official live album released from this period, as the band switched up to another level live in 1979-1980. Track down footage of the band from this period on YouTube, you will not be disappointed.

The title track is many fans favourite song. To my ears, The Raven features JJ’s best vocal and some wonderfully inventive guitar lines from Hugh, topped with a driving, almost jazz-like percussion track from Jet and inventive, rhythmic synth lines from Dave Greenfield, delivering an absolutely beautiful song that I never tire of hearing. And I’ve heard it a lot.

Although I followed the band from early 1977, I was not allowed to see them live (my parents hated the band!) until 1979, with their gig as special guests of The Who at Wembley Stadium in August 1979 being my first live MIB experience. Hearing songs from their soon to be released album The Raven was a great way to start a long list of memorable Stranglers gigs.

nmh

Anyway, back to The Raven. Ice and Baroque Bordello still send shivers, and the band did not let up with the string of classic singles, delivering two more in the shape of Nuclear Device and Duchess. This 2018 reissue also includes the single and extended mix of one of the bands best later period singles, Bear Cage.

The most experimental Stranglers album, (The Gospel According To) The Meninblack was released in 1981. Apparently featuring a guest appearance from some bloke called Charlie, this album heralded in the darkest period in the band’s history. Just Like Nothing On Earth still sounds like the future, and Two Sunspots really should have been released as a single. Second Coming has grown into my favourite song from the album over the many years since the albums release.

Another great single (which cost me 79p back in the day, fact fans) is included on this 2018 reissue – Who Wants the World, along with a track that was only available at the time on a US import album,  Vietnamerica.

The final album in The Classic Collection reissue series is from later on in 1981, La Folie. Most people will know this album from the huge hit Golden Brown, but the album offered much more than this iconic single. Let Me Introduce You To The Family may not have performed well in the charts, but it was a great single, and sounded amazing live. Tramp, with its powerful chorus, is the one that got away, and should have been the follow-up to Golden Brown.

Ain’t Nothin’ To It and The Man They Love To Hate were standout album tracks, and the fine production from Tony Visconti gives the band a new edge for the emerging decade.

So there you have it – a welcome reissue of the first 7 classic albums from one of the UK’s best bands.

Buy The Classic Collection on Amazon

Rattus Norvegicus (1977)

No More Heroes (1977)

Black And White (1978)

Live X-Cert (1979)

The Raven (1979)

(The Gospel According To) The Meninblack (1981)

La Folie (1981)

 





The Comsat Angels – Fiction

16 11 2015

fiction2015Edsel records have issued remastered and expanded versions of the first three albums from the influential Sheffield band The Comsat Angels.

The Comsats released their third album Fiction in 1982. The final album in the Polydor trilogy, its an underrated album. Opening with one of the bands most haunting songs, the post-apocalyptic After The Rain.

Zinger has a slight Talking Heads feel, and a strong, fluid bassline. Now I Know has always been one of my favourite tracks from Fiction. The simple arrangement is the songs strength.

“So she took a drink from the radio”

Ju Ju Money (which was considered for the bands debut album) was finally included on Fiction. This take is a much more confident and powerful version of the song originally recorded in 1980.

The tribal drums on the reflective More place the album firmly in it’s time – with the post-punk music of Wah!, Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Cure, whilst also fitting in with some of the pop sensibilities of established acts such as Peter Gabriel and his fourth album.

Pictures has not dated – ambient keyboard swirls wash under the hypnotic beat that accompanies one of Stephen Fellows most reflective and sombre lyrics.

“Tear out all the pages one by one
Put them in the fire”

The most powerful song on Fiction is Birdman – with the return of the Fellows guitar harmonics! This song must have sounded amazing live in the early 80s – the rhythm section of Bacon and Glaisher was world class. Birdman still sounds amazing, even after all these years.

According to the informative sleevenotes, Don’t Look Now was improvised in the studio. Some wonderful interplay between all the band members on this song, including some guitar parts that surely influenced an Irish stadium rock band a few years later. Cough.

The final track on the main album What Else!? has always reminded me of The Beatles. Its a great 60s infused pop song – and I mean that as a compliment, pop is not a dirty word in my house.

fiction

Remastering / extra tracks

The remastering on the main album is more noticeable on Fiction compared to the first two albums in the reissue series. There is a noticeable increase in volume and power in these tracks compared to the previous CD reissue.

The bonus disc has two great Comsats singles – opening with one of my favourites – (Do The) Empty House with its trademark harmonics. It’s History was released prior to Fiction, and has a killer chorus. How this song wasn’t a massive hit single, I’ll never know.

The rest of the second disc is made up of a mix of b sides and album out-takes plus a couple of live recordings and a Peel session from late 1981.

Fiction (Deluxe 2CD edition)

DISC ONE
1. After The Rain
2. Zinger
3. Now I Know
4. Not A Word
5. Ju Ju Money
6. More
7. Pictures
8. Birdman
9. Don’t Look Now
10. What Else!?

DISC TWO
Bonus tracks
1. (Do The) Empty House
2. Red Planet Revisited
3. It’s History
4. Private Party
5. For Your Information
6. After The Rain (Remix)
John Peel Session
7. Now I Know
8. Ju Ju Money
9. Our Secret
10. Goat Of The West

VINYL – 180 gram heavyweight black vinyl
1. After The Rain
2. Zinger
3. Now I Know
4. Not A Word
5. Ju Ju Money
6. More
7. Pictures
8. Birdman
9. Don’t Look Now
10. What Else!?

Buy the album

Buy Fiction Double CD from Amazon

Buy Fiction vinyl on Amazon

 

Also available…


Buy Waiting For A Miracle Double CD from Amazon

Buy Waiting For A Miracle vinyl on Amazon

Buy Sleep No More Double CD from Amazon

Buy Sleep No More vinyl on Amazon

 

Buy Chasing Shadows / Fire On The Moon Double CD on Amazon

Buy Chasing Shadows vinyl on Amazon

Buy Fire On The Moon vinyl on Amazon

Visit The Comsat Angels – Sleep No More website





The Comsat Angels – Sleep No More

15 11 2015

sleepnomore2015Edsel records have issued remastered and expanded versions of the first three albums from the influential Sheffield band The Comsat Angels. The bands second album, Sleep No More, is a much darker album than their debut from the previous year. The guitar is more prominent, and the songs have a real feel of urgency.

It may not have sold as many albums as those by The Cure or Siouxsie & The Banshees from the same era but Sleep No More is easily as rewarding as Pornography and Ju Ju.

The Eye Dance opens up the album at pace, and the urgency remains with the hypnotic layered guitars and insistent drums of the title track.

“It’s late but there’s no tiredness
I can see the city glow
And I’m sure there must be somewhere
We can go”

Be Brave has a wonderful bass line from Kevin Bacon and the lyrics display a nagging paranoia that continues into the next track, the powerful Gone.

Dark Parade is the most intense track on the album, with lyrics that chronicle the loss of life in a late 70s failed US hostage rescue attempt.

Restless passed me by on first release, but is a firm favourite now. It’s mechanical rhythm works really well with the treated guitar and deep bass notes.

After the frenetic Goat Of The West, the album slows down for its final two tracks. Light Years is the albums final dark moment of the main album, containing some of the finest guitar parts from Stephen Fellows on Sleep No More.

sleep

The band saved the best for last with one of my favourite songs of all time, the beautiful and uplifting Our Secret. The track is well sequenced as it gives a hint at the direction of the next Comsats album, Fiction.

“We will never
We will never
We will never
Give it up”

The extra tracks on disc one are important songs in the Comsats canon. Eye Of The Lens seems to foretell the surveillance heavy society we live in today, and is one of the bands finest singles.

Another World has some wonderful atmospheric keyboard work from Andy Peake and more expansive percussion from Mik Glaisher, one of the best drummers to emerge during the post-Punk era. At Sea is a slow-burning piece that explodes into life towards the end of the song, and displays the band at their most experimental.

Remastering / extra tracks

As with Waiting For A Miracle, the noticeable remastering difference is on the bonus material. Tracks such as the EP version of Gone sound much brighter on this version of the CD.

The bonus material includes a handful of demos plus John Peel and Richard Skinner tracks from the era.

Sleep No More (Deluxe 2 CD edition)

DISC ONE
1. The Eye Dance
2. Sleep No More
3. Be Brave
4. Gone
5. Dark Parade
6. Diagram
7. Restless
8. Goat Of The West
9. Light Years
10. Our Secret
Bonus Tracks
11. Eye Of The Lens
12. Another World
13. At Sea

DISC TWO
1. Mass
2. Dark Parade 1 (Demo)
3. Goat Of The West (Demo)
4. Be Brave (Demo)
5. Gone (Alt. EP Version)
John Peel Session
6. Be Brave
7. At Sea
8. Eye Of The Lens
9. Dark Parade
Richard Skinner Show
10. Gone
11. Total War
12. Eye Dance
13. Be Brave

VINYL – 180 gram Heavyweight black vinyl
1. The Eye Dance
2. Sleep No More
3. Be Brave
4. Gone
5. Dark Parade
6. Diagram
7. Restless
8. Goat Of The West
9. Light Years
10. Our Secret

Buy the album

Buy Sleep No More Double CD from Amazon

Buy Sleep No More vinyl on Amazon

Also available…


Buy Waiting For A Miracle Double CD from Amazon

Buy Waiting For A Miracle vinyl on Amazon

Buy Fiction Double CD from Amazon

Buy Fiction vinyl on Amazon

Buy Chasing Shadows / Fire On The Moon Double CD on Amazon

Buy Chasing Shadows vinyl on Amazon

Buy Fire On The Moon vinyl on Amazon

Visit The Comsat Angels – Sleep No More website





The Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat Angels

29 09 2013

The Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat AngelsThe Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat Angels is not a history of the band, but a book focussing on what really matters – the bands music and songs.

The paper-back sized (note, this is not a “coffee-table” sized book) includes a 22 page introduction that has an exclusive q & a with band members Kevin Bacon (the band’s original bassist), singer / guitarist Stephen Fellows, drummer Mik Glaisher, keyboard player Andy Peake and later years bassist Terry Todd. The q & a provides a unique insight into the band’s chemistry, and sheds light for the first time on the band’s future.

Former live guitarist Nick Robinson also gives an insider’s view of the post Jive era of the band, and also shares some memories of the band as a fellow Sheffield musician.

The main bulk of the book is a discussion of the Comsat’s studio albums, discussing the song composition, individual playing style and performances of all band members and the lyrics, interspersed with quotes from Stephen Fellows.

The Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat Angels is a fascinating glimpse inside the bands music, which encourages you to listen to the albums again, so in that sense, it does it’s job.

Mark Kermode correctly states in his introduction that the book focusses on the music, not the cliched “life on the road” tales or discussions of band’s haircuts and fashion found in many rock tomes. So if you are looking for a more straight-foward rock biography, this is not it. But if you are already a fan of the band, then The Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat Angels does offer new insights, that you will not find elsewhere.

The Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat Angels is available in two formats – with a choice of colour pictures on white uncoated paper or black and white on cream uncoated paper – and has 162 pages with 24 photographs, 3 musical scores (Sleep No More, Gone, Shiva Descending), discography, gig list and a foreword by uber-fan and renowned film critic Mark Kermode.

“Written with all the devotion and attention that the Comsats require and deserve.”

Simon Armitage

Buy The Concise Musical Guide to the Comsat Angels from The Burning Shed store.

Buy Comsat Angels music

Sleep No More (MP3 album) from Amazon

Time Considered As a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones: the BBC Sessions 1979-1984 – from Amazon

My Minds Eye from Amazon

The Glamour from Amazon

To Before from Amazon








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