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The Primitives – Scenester LP Review

The Primitives

Everything’s Shining Bright The Lazy Recordings 1985-1987
(Cherry Red CDBRED 560)

A fitting, comprehensive double CD companion to ‘Lovely’, Cherry Red’s re-release of the Coventry band’s ‘hit’ material, ‘Everything’s Shining Bright’ has The Primitives how many prefer them, however; at their fuzzy, distorted best.
As the blonde band most likely, and fronted by Tracie Cattell (think; a young June Whitfield on sugar mice) with her sweet voice winding languorously around the shambolic, pedal-to-the-metal guitars and tidy, collected drums, it’s easy to hear what grabbed the attention of the mighty RCA records.
‘Thru The Flowers’ is a distorted delight, with a beautiful guitar interlude in the middle. ‘Across My Shoulder’ marks an early appearance of the whining feedback and grinding guitars that featured on so many records of the period, although rarely in a pure pop context like this one.
‘She Don’t Need You’ is another that hits the ground running, with a deft winding vocal and a jarring dead halt. I always cared for the tin-can echo of ‘Really Stupid’ a classic, mocking thrash of a song that made even indie fans want to shake a shoe to it. A bit.
‘We Found A Way To The Sun’s lively, romantic opening chords and syrupy lyrics are an obvious tribute to the New York band everyone referenced in those far off days. The welcome use of Eastern rhythms informs ‘Where The Wind Blows’, a jangly number with a characteristic vocal from Tracie.A personal favourite, the country-tinged ‘Stop Killing Me’ is a high spot, closely followed by the psychobilly workout, ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’.
The slow, relaxed guitar arpeggio of ‘Laughing Up My Sleeve’ and ‘Ocean Blue’s pleasing impact percussion recalls the New York band once more, this time in romantic mood. The slightly faster treatment of the guitar-heavy ‘Shadow’ does the song many favours, and the echoey voice and winding, magical beat has a suggestion of danger to it.
A new(er) version of ‘Thru The Flowers’ graces this CD; a sweeter, countrified voice and twangy guitars blended with some pizzicato strings works well, without over-egging the pudding. ‘Everything’s Shining Bright’ peps up the shaking rockabilly beat and romantic vocal, to good effect.
The inclusion of some demo material reveals their rawness; ‘Nothing Left’, with the vocal rarely getting to the sweet spot, and lacking punch; ‘Really Stupid’ is gloriously fuzzy, and even though the vocal has the same weakness, there’s a hint of quality in it. Live demos follow but add little to the story, and our first CD ends with a soft, warm vocal and the lively twang of another version of ‘Nothing Left’.
The second CD is a mixed bag of unreleased sessions and a live set at the ICA, both from 1987, which show what can happen when a band aim to be shambolic. Aside from an affecting ‘Nothing Left’ , a lively ‘Out Of Reach’ and the slow, well executed ‘Don’t Want Anything To Change’ , the latter of which hints at a possible future direction that never happened, the extras here add little to the story of one of the 80’s finest pop bands. The band’s trademark fuzzy sound and Tracie’s sweet voice are a little lost bouncing around the ICA’s hard white walls. Most songs sound rushed, as if the place was about to be closed down by the authorities, which I suppose was a possibility, given some of the artwork which graced its walls at the time. Turn up the volume, bass and treble fully and enjoy. BUY HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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August 16, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Indie Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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The Primitives @ The Lexington

The Primitives @ The Lexington – 4th April 2014

Last night saw Buzz Saw Indie Jingle Jangle maestros The Primitives play the first of 2 nights at the very intimate Lexington venue in Islington, London. In the space of a year I have had the good fortune to see The Primitives perform at the Scared To Get Happy festival and the 100 Club to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the brilliant and timeless Lovely album. Last night saw The Primitives return to the Capital to exclusively preview songs for their first album of new material since 1991’s Galore.

As a live act The Primitives are a thrillingly exciting and vibrant band, and with the sweet vocals and charismatic stage presence of the diminutive Tracey Tracey makes The Primitives a band not to be missed. It is somewhat hard to fathom that it is nearly 30 years since The Primitives formed, because they sound and look as fresh as the ‘Flower Man’s’ Daisies.

Special guests The June Brides were a highly regarded Indie band that formed in 1983, and they made their mark in the mid 1980s with a number of singles, EPs and an Indie chart-topping album There are Eight Million Stories. They also allegedly refused to appear on the NME’s highly influential C86 tape, claiming that they did not want to be tagged with the ‘Jangly Pop’ moniker.

However, after witnessing the last 25 minutes of their trumpet and viola driven set I could not help but think that they were very much part of a willfully obscure and some might argue pallid Indie guitar scene, with bands that did have something of a Punk ethos of being deliberately incompetent. The June Brides could quite easily have been mistaken for a bunch of university lecturers who happened to gate crash the stage last night, and their set included most of their mid 1980s output, including the ones that I am familiar with Every Conversation and This Town, which were delivered competently enough but slightly hampered by Phil Wilson’s somewhat flat vocal delivery.

Now the moment we had all been waiting for had finally arrived and The Primitives took to the stage and ripped straight into I’ll Stick With You, followed a few seconds later by the appearance of Tracey Tracey to rapturous applause. The Primitives clearly enjoy playing together and their infectiously short, sharp and downright catchy Indie Pop songs sound timeless, and it was such a joy to hear all the classics last night, including Stop Killing Me, Out Of Reach, Really Stupid, Thru The Flowers, Crash and Buzz Buzz Buzz, and with a sprinkling of new material that blended in seamlessly with their majestic 1980s output.

It was great to hear my current favourite tracks Really Stupid and last year’s brilliant 45rpm Lose The Reason played back to back, and what struck me was how good the new material sounded. Lose The Reason is gloriously catchy and sweet on the ears and is easily a match for anything on Lovely. The Primitives sound like they have no need to try and recapture their glory days as their music is timeless and their devotees including me are eagerly anticipating the promise of an album of new material.

Tracey Tracey owned the stage last night and was on sparkling form along with the rest of the band. Bands that reform usually leaves me cold and it can be quite painful watching bands play past their sell by date to ever diminishing returns. However the same can’t be said of The Primitives who still sound so fresh and relevant, and witnessing them live does not feel like a trip down memory lane at all. The Primitives performance last night shows the band have lost none of their melodic verve and Indie Pop sensibility.

Photos by: Mute Elephant Music © all rights reserved 2014

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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April 9, 2014 By : Category : Features Front page Gigs Indie Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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The Primitives @ the 100 Club

The Primitives @ the 100 Club – September 2013

Last night saw Indie darlings ‘The Primitives’ celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their acclaimed debut album ‘Lovely’ at the 100 Club. Cherry Red Records have added this Indie pop gem to their mightily impressive back catalogue, and the newly expanded reissue of ‘Lovely’ comes as a 2-CD set, which features the original album and a bonus disc that brings together most of the bands B sides and other rare tracks from that 2 year period. ‘The Primitives’ went from being an Indie guitar band that was loosely tied to the C86 scene to chart superstars thanks to the success of the hit single ‘Crash’, and the subsequent album ‘Lovely’, which debuted at number 6 and stayed in the charts for 10 weeks in the summer of 1988.

It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since the release of this enduringly popular album, and just one listen to this record will surely have even those with out any sense of melody at least wriggling their toes to such songs as ‘Spacehead’ ‘Thru The Flowers’ ‘Stop Killing Me’ and ‘Dreamwalk Baby’. This album fizzes from start to finish with shimmering jangly guitars, Tracey Tracey’s sweet vocals, and a really catchy guitar sound that makes this listener think of an electric saw melodically cutting through a sheet of hardboard.

‘The Primitives’ are going through a new phase of popularity since coming back onto our radars after a period of some 18 years. However, the band was reunited by tragedy when their original bass player Steve Dullaghan died unexpectedly in 2009. But for ‘The Primitives’ and their devoted fans something good came out of this loss, and over the past 4 years fans have been treated to a series of live shows, and a first album from the band in 20 years. ‘Echoes and Rhymes’, which saw ‘The Primitives’ record a covers album of girl fronted obscure pop gems from the 1960s, and their infectious sunshine pop is all over this album to such an extent that they virtually make the songs their own.

After witnessing ‘The Primitives’ for the first time ever at the ‘Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop’ launch night back in June, it was hard to believe that they had ever been away as they played brilliantly to a rapturous audience. I was wondering if ‘The Primitives’ could top that performance at the 100 Club, and I felt privileged to be among this sell-out crowd last night. ‘One of the great things about watching a band at the 100 Club is just how intimate this venue is, and being so close to the stage and the band makes a gig even more special. The anticipation of seeing ‘The Primitives’ made me quite forget that there was another legend in attendance last night. Erstwhile drummer of ‘The Smiths’ Mike Joyce who was supposed to be playing a DJ set. Whoever the DJ was he deserves some credit for priming the audience with plenty of anthemic punk and new wave gems, which set us up nicely for the arrival of ‘The Primitives’.

The anticipation of the 100 Club audience could be felt, and it was exciting to say the least to be witnessing ‘The Primitives’ this close up. However, no ‘Primitives’ gig would be complete without ‘The Flower Man’, who stood rooted to his usual spot right at the front of the stage in front of Tracey Tracey’s microphone. I witnessed this scenario back in June, when ‘The Flower Man’ presented Tracey Tracey with a rather lavish bouquet at the end of the show, and surely Interflora’s best customer would be armed with another bunch of flowers this time. However, if he did present any flowers to Tracey Tracey then I sadly missed it this time, due to the heaving and swaying crowd.

‘The Primitives’ jostled through the crowd and took to the stage to a rapturous reception, and just blasted through a set, which included the entire ‘Lovely’ album. Every time the ‘The Primitives’ launched into a song, the crowd came surging forward time and again, with fans literally falling on the stage, to the amused concern of Tracey Tracey who politely tried to get the audience to move back a little. However those were her only words to fall on deaf ears, as the fans took no notice of her light hearted please for calm. It is easy to see why people could not stand still for a single minute, as ‘The Primitives’ have such an impressive back catalogue of airy and brilliantly melodic songs, which were played to stunning effect last night.

However, the gig was not without its odd moments. At regular periods during the show the lights kept coming on, which is always an indication that the night is over and it did make me think back to the times when I used to stagger out of the 100 Club after the Northern Soul all-nighters. The problem with the lights was not without its plus points as it made taking a couple of pictures slightly easier. This was a euphoric performance and the audience would not let ‘The Primitives’ finish, and they managed an encore to the delight of everyone, including ‘The Flower Man’. I can only assume that if he did bring a bunch of flowers then they would have been well and truly destroyed by the crowd.

I am always skeptical when bands reform and most reunions fall flat, and it usually ends up with bands doing badly what they used to be so good at. However, the same cannot be said of ‘The Primitives’, who clearly enjoy being on stage together. Their welcome return to the stage and the recording studio could not have come any sooner. ‘’The Primitives’ youthful vigour still shines through, and last night’s show absolutely bristled with energy and fizz. They are simply a band that no one could get tired of seeing live.

After the gig had finished I had the good fortune of meeting Tracey Tracey and Paul Court. They were so down to earth, and unaffected by their status as Indie pop darlings, and they happily had photos taken, and signed records and t-shirts for the fans. However, the night was not without calamity, as I staggered up to Tracey Tracey who graciously posed for a photo with me, which I subsequently deleted by mistake and I am still trying to come to terms with it today. I told her how much I used to love ‘The Primitives’ in 1988 (and still do), and I cheekily asked her how she managed to look so young, in which she smiled, shrugged her shoulders and I blushed like a naughty schoolboy.

The night was fully made perfect by an excellent DJ set from none other than Smiths’ legend Mike Joyce who kept the buzz and atmosphere spot on. Does it get much better?

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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September 29, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Gigs Indie Live Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Indie Icons – The Primitives

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Cherry Red Icons

Fronted by indiepop blonde bombshell Tracy Tracy, The Primitives emerged from the independent scene of the mid-80s that spawned The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, The Wedding Present and Primal Scream. Their sound distilled the shimmering guitar jangle of the Byrds, the buzzsaw style of The Ramones and 60’s girl group melodies into two and a half minute pop gems. Regular session guests on John Peel’s radio show, with many an appearance in his Festive Fifty, their career was boosted/hindered when Morrissey named them as one of his favourite bands.

A widely acclaimed first album, Lovely, made them the UK’s indie darlings, while the huge success of the single ‘Crash’ saw them cross over to a mass audience. Further chart success followed, along with two more studio albums, Pure and Galore, plus extensive tours of Europe and the US, before the band called it a day in 1992. Guitarist Paul Court and drummer Tig Williams continued to work together on various musical projects throughout most of 1990s, while Tracy contributed vocals to Band of Holy Joy amongst others, and also recorded with several outfits working in the dance music field. In 2008, Mojo Magazine voted the Primitives’ second single ‘Really Stupid’ one of the Top 40 UK indie singles of all time.

The band were reunited in 2009 by the untimely passing of their original bass player Steve Dullaghan, (RIP) reforming to play a show in his memory later that year in their home town of Coventry; their first show together for 17 years. Bolstered by its success they went on to tour the UK in April 2010, receiving a rapturous response, followed by a headline slot at the Indietracks festival and shows in the US and Europe.

In 2011 the Primitives released the Never Kill A Secret EP through Fortuna Pop! The record featured two brand new songs and two covers of semi obscure female fronted songs. The two covers were a precursor to their latest album Echoes and Rhymes, released on Elefant records in 2012. They found time to speak to eyeplug.net recently…

01. You’ve had few line-up changes in your history. What would you say kept you together so well?

Probably the fact that no one is interested in any music we’ve done separately, so if we’re going to be involved with making music then it seems it can only be The Primitives. plus we’ve never fallen out much.

02. You’re currently touring with a re-release of ‘Lovely’ to promote. How is the tour going? Are the audience basically your ‘old faithfuls’ or are there many new faces in there?

The Lovely tour starts September 21st, but yes we have a mixed range audience. Some very dedicated fans from the first time round and some new ones too.

03. What is your opinion of the current pop scene? What aspect of it are you excited by? What aspect do you dislike?

There’s always something to like, because there is so much out there and so much more is accessible. There’s a lot of that clueless Topman ‘indie’ stuff about too.  I don’t know their names, because I’m not interested in them.

04. What are your thoughts on the reissue of ‘Lovely’, particularly the bonus tracks? Are you pleased to see them out again? Do you think any are closer to the sound you started with?

We were never totally happy with the album, because as I’ve said before, it was kind of thrown together with stuff we’d recorded mainly throughout 1987, so it felt more like a compilation album. Hearing it in 2013 I can appreciate it for what it is. I still have niggles about bits of it and I’m not sure if some of the versions of the songs are the best, but there’s plenty to like. I don’t think it’s ever boring, which would be the worst thing.

The bonus tracks are fine. They’re mainly B sides and it’s nice that ‘Things Get In Your Way’ has been made available again, coz it’s a good little song and we only ever did that live in the studio version, which was buried away on a ‘Crash’ b side. You also get ‘Way Behind Me’ which is in a similar style to ‘Crash’ but possibly better. It was originally on our 2nd album Pure, but ended up on the US release of Lovely as it was released later the same year as Lovely. Beat version of ‘All The Way Down’ is also a big favourite.

05. Did you have mixed feelings about any of them? Which ones and why?

The live tracks maybe. They were recorded with a couple of mics out in the audience and don’t sound so good, but then again I guess they capture the atmosphere like a better recorded version of an old bootleg cassette

06. Are you writing any new material? If so, are you at the demo stage or studio recording?

Yes we’ve been in the studio recording new stuff… possibly for an album, for release early next year.

07. How has the appearance of new technology affected you? Do you like to keep up with the latest kit, or do you prefer your old, tested equipment? What are your reasons?

We use modern recording techniques with vintage gear, because that’s what is available to us and we were happy with the overall sound of our covers album ‘Echoes & Rhymes’ which we recorded in 2011 in this way.

08. How did you arrive at your sound? How much were you affected by your peers and how much by those you admired?

We originally sounded like The Birthday Party, The Gun Club and The Cramps. When Tracy joined we realised she probably wasn’t going to be into shrieking into the monitors with her top off, so a few pop songs were quickly written, almost in a mocking way at first i.e we’ve got a pretty little girl fronting the band, let’s sing about flowers and stuff. But we kept our original racket and I guess we were looking towards that Marychain nice songs with noise thing.

09. Which musicians/bands/singers did you admire when you were first playing? Why? How far do you feel they influenced you?

Bo Diddley, Rowland S Howard, Velvets, The Cramps, The Fall… it’s really just about the approach and attitude. When I was 15 and trying to learn to play guitar I wasn’t interested in being able to play ‘Purple Haze’, I wanted to just put D and G together and play ‘Waiting For The Man’ or play that Bo Diddley rhythm.

10. How do you feel The Primitives fit into the current pop scene? Do you feel you have younger kindred spirits? Who are they?

I don’t think we fit in at all. I’m sure there are some modern bands with affinities to the Prims… l’ll check Last FM and get back to you.

11. What’s your world like? Books? Films? TV shows? Pastimes? Why are they so vital or important to you?

Nuts In May
Vision On
Planet Of The Apes
Svankmajer’s Alice
Poor Cow
Night Of The Hunter
Comet In Moominland
Bedazzled
Blue Jam
Dog Day Afternoon
Midnight Cowboy
Buffalo 66
Psycho
Memoirs Of A Sword Swallower
The Wicker Man
The Thing
Performance
Dead Man’s Shoes
The Fan Man
Sexy Beast

Just some stuff I like that helps displace stuff I don’t.

12. Who would you say has inspired you the most, and why?

I think I would have to say The Velvet Underground. I started listening to them when I was 14 and I thought I was the only person in the world that knew about them. They felt like a secret friend for a couple of years, until I met other people who listened to them too. They’re more or less a household name these days, but they still represent a sort of benchmark for the other stuff…the hidden away stuff.

13. Who do you wish had never been born, and what do you wish had never been invented?

I’ll go for everyone’s favourite mass murdering christian hypocrite Tony Blair, for the obvious reasons and for setting the precedent that anyone trying to become PM these days has to have the demeanor of a particularly cheesy after dinner speaker at a gorgonzola convention. I wish the bidet to be uninvented – they’re supposed to be posh, but really they’re just little monuments to a certain human bum function problem, right there staring you in the face in the bathroom. Why not just have a hydraulic sink?

14. How do you see The Primitives developing over the next year or so? Will you embrace change? Will you stick to the template? A middle course?

We will go backwards, while looking sideways at the future.

Web Links
Offical Site: the-primitives.co.uk/
Facebook: facebook.com/ThePrimitivesOfficial
Twitter:  twitter.com/PRIMITIVESband

Tour dates  
ents24.com/
Sept 2013
21 Bath Moles
22 Glasgow King Tut’s
23 Edinburgh Electric Circus
24 Manchester Sound Control
25 Leeds Brudenell
26 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
27 Southend Chinnerys
28 London 100 Club

Link to buy the current Releases
Echoes-And-Rhymes-The-Primitives/
Lovely-~-25th-Anniversary-Edition/
Everythings-Shining-Bright-Lazy-Recordings/

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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August 29, 2015 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Front page Icons Indie Interviews Picks Tags:, , , ,
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Cherry Red Album Reviews – July 2013 by Scenester

The Primitives

primitives

Lovely The Primitives – Cherry Red double CD CDBRED 578

The current upsurge of interest in the 1980’s does have a saving grace. The decade that is almost universally loathed for its opportunistic, lightweight pop noodlings was the setting for some extraordinarily beautiful, nostalgic and plaintive music. Step forward Coventry’s Primitives.

Devotees of the jangling guitar sound, driving, metronomic bass and drums, and Tracey Tracey’s lemon and honey voice, ‘Crash’ burst its way into the already tightly packed pop charts like a souped-up mini through a pile of tea chests. This followed the comparative failure of two excellent singles, ‘Stop Killing Me’ and ‘Thru The Flowers’ but they’re on this ‘re-release plus’ of their debut album, so no grumbles from me.

The template was established from day one, but not slavishly adhered to; a little Country & Western whine gave ‘Carry Me Home’ a separate identity, and the Eastern stylings of ‘Shadow’ brought sophistication and showed an awareness of the emerging Bhangra music scene that indie fans might have been unaware of before this.

Reverting to type never did them any harm, and with standouts like ‘I’ll Stick With You’ and ‘Run, Baby Run’, it’s not surprising they took this course.

The clean, breezy atmosphere of most of their work is a sugared pill, as lyrics reveal themselves to contain joyful brush-offs like ‘Way Behind Me’, abrupt warnings like ‘Crash’ and the mocking humour of ‘Spacehead’.

The pot was kept boiling, in terms of musical style and quality, for a few more years, but ‘Crash’ represented the peak of their success. Remixes and cinematic use have followed, testament to the enduring strength of this irresistible track. Happily, The Primitives are touring once more, and you can check out Long John’s review of their appearance at the recent ‘Scared To Get Happy’ gig, elsewhere on Eyeplug’s site.

Disc 2 is a mixed bag of alternate takes and live tracks that would probably have been best left on the editing suite floor. A slowed-down ‘Crash’? An acoustic ‘Way Behind Me’? Even Primitives completists might balk at the presumption of releasing material like this.

The return of their sweet, tuneful sound is more than welcome, and this re-release would fill a fun shaped gap in anyone’s record collection. Buy HERE!

Microdisney

Microdisney_Clock

The Clock Comes Down The Stairs – Microdisney  – CDMRED 581

Cherry Red are offering us an opportunity to catch up on Microdisney, a duo from County Cork who infiltrated the world of rock in the early 80’s with artistically valid intentions, if little commercial success.

This, their fourth album, sees singer Cathal Coughlan and guitarist Sean O’ Hagan in confident form, penning thoughtful tales of life, love gone sour, drug addiction, ambition and much else besides. The sparse, unobtrusive backing from Sean O’Hagan and supporting cast is balanced with the strong singing style of Cathal Coughlan, reminiscent of Scott Walker, as big personal issues are tackled head-on. A hint of twangy guitar punctuates, without overpowering the songs.

In ‘Horse Overboard’, it’s the sweetness of the music, with its suggestion of steel drum that lulls the listener into a false sense of security as an old salt recounts the break-up of his marriage.

Thwarted ambition and the inequality of life in the 1980’s is rolled out on the Dickens-like ‘Past’, as girl, in her search for employment, ends up losing her home and possessions and finds herself on the gin house floor.

Atonement is, unsurprisingly, a favourite theme, and well realised with the surreal ‘Humane’, a typically intense view of the father/son relationship with madcap farmyard imagery. ‘Genius’, with its deceptively happy tune, tells the tale of a philanderer who returns home to face the consequences of his infidelity, all the while trying to convince himself of his great talent by repeating ’You’re a genius, you’re a giant’ in his head.

’Are you Happy’ sees us back in break-up aftermath mode, this time the former lover haunting our narrator like an old ghost, all to a nervous soundtrack of alienation with a five mile run-out.

‘Goodbye It’s 1987’’s twanging guitars and stentorian vocal delivery perfectly suit the tale of urban isolation in a climate of impending war.

The tragedy of youthful drug addiction is played out in ‘Money for Trams’, with a tense bass rumble and a snaking sound to the drums building a suitably uncomfortable atmosphere, only topped by the screamed refrain of ‘Take Your Stinking Clothes Off’. As a piece of theatre, it works brilliantly, but beggars the question, who would enjoy it as a piece of pop music?

Added bonuses include B Sides and Peel Sessions that often prove more illuminating than their official LP versions, ‘Genius’ in particular. The upbeat rhythm of ‘464’ takes us to late night Jazz club territory, but not for long. This tale of a corny attempt at seduction ends up with the narrator bemoaning the loss of a friend’s former home to the wrecker’s ball.

The broad church of 1980’s pop/rock music saw its courage and tolerance tested with Microdisney’s sweet and sour tales of life. Give it a try, but take care; the taste may not be easy to get out of your mouth. Buy HERE!

Microdisney

Microdisney_Enemies

Love Your Enemies – Microdisney ’82-84 – CDMRED 579

This re-release of Microdisney’s third album (original chart-unfriendly title: ‘We Hate you South African Bastards’) may sound like a Odds ‘n’ Sods collection of early singles and alt-versions, but proves to be revealing and contains material superior to the original. Championed by the late, great John Peel, this CD reprises the sessions they did for this essential show, among other material

As befits the title, we’re on typically uncomfortable ground with ‘Helicopter of the Holy Ghost’, with its snarling organ, hand claps and smooth guitar, and Cathal Coughlan’s distant vocal telling the tale of a lovers’ parting, with empty promises traded. ‘Michael Murphy’s spy film-theme feel, compressed organ sound backed with guitars is a good spacer for some of the more fraught moments on this particular album.

Title track ‘Love Your Enemies’ comes over as a meditation on living in a totalitarian state, to a trip hop style beat, the lyrics filled with nightmare scenes of oppression and self-abnegation. It was perhaps seeing such scenes regularly on 1980’s television that led to the duo giving such a vituperative title to their third LP. ‘Fiction Land’, with its lapping guitar, is the perfect backing for this remembrance of a happy day, (or night?), tinged with loss and regret.

‘Pink Skinned Man’s lament, with slow, mournful guitar, lays bare a man’s dissatisfaction with a relationship. Told in the debased imagery of a financial transaction, his final departure is told like someone refusing to throw good money after bad.

With plenty of time to extemporise, ‘Patrick Moore Says You Can’t Park Here’ has electronic drums, lapping guitar and a long echo, offering us a peaceful guitar-led instrumental to sweeten the pill.

‘Hello Rascals’ surreal carousel organ is an inebriate man’s wild dream, his mind filled with memories of how loved and cared for he was as a child, now homeless and forgotten. Recalling ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ dreamier moments, I doubt anyone could remain unaffected by it.

‘Pretoria Quick Step’s country guitar over a synthesised drum and cymbal beat makes an effect desert-like, the gods in discord, us looking at the far horizon for escape. Loftholdingswood’ is a true rocker, with pounding piano chords, a climbing-the-stairs beat, the lyrics a shaming of a reluctant friend into joining an important demonstration. The later version ‘Leftholdingswood’ is more robust still, and the message strong as ever.

‘Teddy Dogs’ with its more conventional 80’s pop beat, and an almost Duran Duran feel to it, hides lyrics of the most disturbing nature. The pointlessness of existence and the certainty of death, likely by violent means, all make this a dark treasure. The later version on the same CD surpasses even this.

‘464’ is a far superior cut to the original, all screaming voice, fuzzy, scratching backup, and the refrain of ‘Bring back the street, I liked it so’, sung with bitter memories flooding the mind .

‘Dreaming Drains’, with characteristic twangy guitar, and like some forgotten psychodrama from late night 1960’s television, the tale of a derelict socialite whose personality defects are a source of fascination to his hosts.

‘A Friend With A Big Mouth’s pedestrian beat and twangy guitar tells a child-like tale of dependence and revenge, opening with a clear reference to children’s favourites, Jack and Jill. A dream that is rudely interrupted by an unwelcome friend sees the friendship destroyed.

Whether you had an opinion on Microdisney before or not, your first listen to this incendiary CD is certain to provoke one. Buy HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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June 29, 2015 By : Category : Front page Indie Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Scared To Get Happy: A Story Of Indie Pop 1980-1989

Event: Saturday 22nd June, 2013 @ 229 The Venue, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN

ROOM 1
7.00pm to 7.30pm – THE WOLFHOUNDS
7.45pm to 8.15pm – MIGHTY MIGHTY
8.30pm to 9.15pm – BRILLIANT CORNERS
9.30pm to 10.15pm – BMX BANDITS
10.30pm to 11.15pm – THE PRIMITIVES

ROOM 2
7.00pm to 7.45pm – YEAH YEAH NOH
8.00pm to 8.45pm – 14 ICED BEARS
9.00pm to 9.45pm – BLUE ORCHIDS
10.00pm to 10.45pm – POPGUNS
11.00pm to 11.45pm – JUNE BRIDES

Now in its 35th year Cherry Red Records (along with Rough Trade) can lay claim to be one of the longest and most successful independent records labels in the UK. Co-founders Lain MacNay and Richard Jones started the label in 1978, in order to release singles by Punk band ‘The Tights’. Lain MacNay initially operated Cherry Red Records as something of a ‘hobby’ from his Wimbledon home, and today Cherry Red Records has an enormous and mightily impressive back catalogue, and they claim to release up to an astonishing ‘50 albums a month’.

On the 24th June comes the release of the eagerly anticipated ‘Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989’. This mammoth 5 album box set contains some 127 tracks by Indie bands that enjoyed limited success to those that eventually went on to become household names in the 1990s. According to the Cherry Red Records website, the inspiration for the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ box set came in the form of the ‘Nuggets: Original Artifacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968’. Both of these compilations focus on somewhat obscure and neglected bands, and ‘Scared To Get Happy’ like ‘Nuggets’ serves as an intriguing and essential guide for those curious enough to see beyond the smattering of famous names that litter the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ compilation. You can grab a copy HERE!

Last night saw Cherry Red Records launch the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ compilation in fine style at London’s ‘The Venue’ on Great Portland Street. With 10 bands split evenly between 2 rooms, it left the audience a little spoilt for choice. However, ‘Mighty Mighty’ was an easy choice for this particular audience member, and somehow this Birmingham 5 piece were bizarrely under my radar until last week. Their set consisted of ‘Maisonette’, ‘Settle Down’ (where Hugh Harkin sank to his knees and implored the audience of 30 and 40 something’s to do just that), ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ ‘Built like A Car’ and their hilarious debut single ‘Everybody Knows A Monkey’. At one point in the set Hugh Harkin calls out for Bridget Duffy to join them on stage. The ex ‘Sea Urchins’ band member was nowhere to be seen, or did she hide when her name was announced? Many of us also know Bridget from her shop ‘What The Butler Wore’ which has been catering for my own and other like minded ‘Dedicated Followers Of Fashion’ sartorial needs since 1995. This impressive set was backed by singing fans at the front of the stage while holding their beers aloft. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, then you can view the YouTube clips attached here or catch a glimpse of their classic amusing videos to ‘Maisonette’ and ‘Built Like A Car’.

The Brilliant Corners’ were afforded the luxury of an extra 15 minutes, and an ensemble containing at least 6 members (starting to get beery eyed at this point) saunter onto the stage with Dan Pacini brandishing a trumpet and Davey Woodward a taped up acoustic guitar. ‘The Brilliant Corners’ story dates back to 1983 and they decided to reform to celebrate their 30th anniversary by playing at the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ launch party. They appear slightly fey especially with the introduction of Amelia Fletcher to sing ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him’. Other songs included the slightly silly and amusing ‘Brian Rix’ and ‘Teenage’, which Davey Woodward awkwardly introduced and pondered the merits of singing such a song considering the age of him and most of the audience. However, this did not matter at all as the song was received rapturously. Seeing ‘The Brilliant Corners’ on stage made me think that the so-called under appreciated Indie Pop scene of the 1980s does indeed have a lasting legacy, which can be seen in Bands like ‘Belle and Sebastian’ and more recent Indie upstarts like ‘The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.’

‘The Brilliant Corners’ really did grab my attention to the extent that I missed the start of the “Blue Orchids’ in room one.  This post punk band featured ex ‘Fall’ members Martin Bramah and Una Baines, and my introduction to the Blue Orchids came in the form of a live appearance at the nearby ‘Social’ a few months ago.  What made that particular gig so compelling was the chaotic performance from an inebriated and out of tune frontman Martin Bramah. Last night I was expecting something similar and to my surprise this was a much more sedate, and sullen performance from Bramah and the rest of the “Blue Orchids’. The ‘Blue Orchids’ did step up a gear towards the end with tracks like ‘Work’ and the brilliant ‘Disney Boys’. ‘The Fall’ may release about 40 albums a year, but can they really claim to have done a 45rpm as brilliant as ‘Disney Boys’ coupled with ‘The Flood’?

Now it was back into room 2 to see the already started ‘BMX Bandits’ who hail from ‘Bellshill’ North Lanarkshire, Scotland. This was another band I was eager to see, and it was such a shame that their set partially clashed with the tail end of the ‘Blue Orchids’. The song I was most looking forward to the ‘BMX Bandits’ performing was ‘Serious Drugs’. Sadly I missed it and in fairness it did not really matter as they performed such a sweet and plaintive set that I quite forgot that Duglas T Stewart the long haired, and bearded front man could have been a member of ZZ Top, as opposed to being a member of a band that plays such fragile and wistful Indie Pop as the absolutely charming ‘So Many Colours’ ‘I Wanna Fall In Love’ ‘Girl At The Bus Stop’ and ‘Disco Girl’.

Now the moment I had been looking forward to was the appearance of ‘The Primitives’ and the ‘Lovely’ Tracy Tracy. They came on to a rousing reception and ripped through a set of songs that had enough hooks to hang all your coats and hats on! ‘The Primitives’ brilliantly played so many catchy tunes including ‘Stop Killing Me’ ‘Thru The Flowers’ ‘Really Stupid’ and the massive 1988 hit ‘Crash’, that it was rather difficult for anyone to remain dead still. The most impressive thing about ‘The Primitives’ unlike other bands that reform, was that it never at all felt purely nostalgic. They still retain their youthful vigour and sounded so fresh and relevant after all these years, that it makes the mind boggle why they ever split up in the first place. One side splittingly funny moment came at the end of the gig, when a fan brandishing a bunch of flowers produced them with a flourish and handed them to Tracy Tracy who accepted them without even a hint of surprise, which suggests that this has become something of a routine for both fan and singer alike.

* Editor says: ‘Apologies to any bands that were missed this time around, one set of Eyeplug reviewers got stranded on their way to the show, so LongJohn did an even more super solid job splitting his timings wherever he could! Big Thanks to all at Cherry Red!

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Front page Gigs Indie Live Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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