Thursday, 22 December 2011

Clandestine Classic XXI - Between John & Yoko

Magic SeedThe 21st post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

It's Christmastime, there's no need to be afraid. Because whilst I did consider featuring a festive clandestine classic, I figured my last post covered that, so let's crack on with a conventional choice. Actually, being conventional seems slightly at odds with also being clandestine, but let's not get ourselves sidetracked with semantics.

I don't know much about Easy, other than that they hailed from Sweden. In the early 90s I picked a Mute compilation album (International, it was called) out of the bargain bin and today's classic, Between John & Yoko by Easy, was on it. Far and away the best track on the compilation, I played it to death and immediately set about tracking down the album from which Between John & Yoko was taken. That album, pictured left, was called Magic Seed, a title that might suggest psychedelia (particularly when accompanied by that fractal cover). However, the album is actually a far rockier affair than you might expect, featuring (and I'm quoting Documentary Evidence here) "hypnotic vocals, grinding bass, oceans of melodic guitars and solid drumming". Poor drummer - just solid...

But anyway. Magic Seed was released in 1990, and is a uniformly good album. Not spectacular, but definitely good. Between John & Yoko is the stand-out track though, by some margin. Listening to it again for this post, I find that yes, I can tick off the hypnotic vocals, grinding bass, melodic guitar and even the solid drumming. But there's more going on too. Wilfully obtuse lyrics - 21 years later, I'm still not entirely sure what they're about. Danceability (okay, yes, admittedly only danceable for the sort of indie-kid who bounces about at club nights with names like Popscene). And too many influences to count: I think I spot some early REM sounds in there; I imagine I can hear some Marr-esque rhythm-guitar-as-lead touches; the singer has listenend to some Robert Smith too, I fancy; and so it goes on.

I think Magic Seed was Easy's only album, which is a bit of a shame. Luckily, you can still find it on Amazon, so I suggest you go and buy it now. Like last month's Furniture track, I didn't expect to find too much for the file sharers amongst you, and again I wasn't wrong. But YouTube at least lets you listen to this clandestine classic, and sample a flavour of an incredible album. I particularly love the video's very literal visual interpretation. Hmm. Between John & Yoko - how could we dramatise that? Enjoy.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Alternative Christmas tunes... choose your mood!

Don't know about you but I'm sick to death with the X-Factor procession that is the modern Christmas chart. I've also heard enough of Slade, Wizzard, Mud et al to last a hundred Yules. Wouldn't you rather hear some less well-known seasonal tunes? Ones to suit your prevailing views on the Christmas season...? I know I would.

All that's left, then, is to answer the following question:

Christmas makes me feel... Sentimental | Upbeat | Maudlin | All of these

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

It's all about meme

Stolen (post title an' all) from Sunset Over Slawit, who in turn stole it from Sunday Stealing...

  1. If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say?
    Buy my book.
  2. If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be?
    God. Only question 2 and I'm already starting to remember why I have quite such an intense dislike for memes like this. I mean, come on - that's a ridiculously hard question, like saying "what's the best film ever?" or "who's your favourite band?" The options are near limitless and every day would result in a different answer! Argh! But today, for now, I'll say Morrissey. Why not?
  3. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?
    Annapolis. First class?
  4. What do you think about most?
    Missed opportunities.
  5. You have the opportunity to spend a romantic night with the music celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
    Oh, for Christ's sake! Do I have to answer this? Oh, alright then... I used to have a bit of thing about Louise Wener out of Sleeper.
  6. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
    Easy... but not something I'm prepared to reveal here.
  7. What's your strangest talent?
    Missing opportunities.
  8. What would be a question you'd be afraid to tell the truth on?
    I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave earlier... two questions earlier, to be exact.
  9. Ever had a poem or song written about you?
    Of course not. But some feel tailor-made.
  10. When is the last time you played the air guitar?
    I don't know but I played real guitar last Friday.
  11. Do you have any strange phobias?
    Memephobia. This is therapy.
  12. What's your religion?
    Humanist.
  13. What is your current desktop picture?
    My partner, Ms Pip.
  14. When you are outside, what are you most likely doing?
    This month, raking up sodding leaves.
  15. What's the last song you listened to?
    Smithers-Jones by The Jam
  16. Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band?
    See! Bloody memes with their unanswerable questions! Smiths? Jam? Weddoes? Gene? Let's say Gene. Where are they now?
  17. What was the last lie you told?
    "I will answer every question in this meme fully and honestly."
  18. Do you believe in karma?
    Only as a type of chameleon.
  19. What is a saying you say a lot?
    "Yes, I'll rake those leaves up today."
  20. What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength?
    a) I miss opportunities. b) Self-awareness.
  21. Who is your celebrity crush?
    Define celebrity - its meaning seems to have been diluted recently.
  22. Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word: heart.
    Break.
  23. How do you vent your anger?
    With a roar to the heavens when I belt another shot into Row Z.
  24. Do you have a collection of anything?
    Music. CDs, tape, vinyl.
  25. What is your favorite word?
    Meme (insert string of wink-faced emoticons here, laugh like a loon, clap self on back heartily, etc)