Friday, November 04, 2011

Episode 373

Songs To Learn And Sing - Episode 373

Back after another hiatus. Last night's show featured some great new music from Burrows and Dark Captain along with some mid-80s Creation highlights from Peter Astor's The Loft and The Weather Prophets - Why Does the Rain still sounds amazing to these ears. We also played Odessa (City on the Black Sea) by the Bee Gees. Released in 1969, Odessa is the opening track from the the album of the same name. Odessa was their sixth album and for those of you only familiar with the band's 70s disco output, check out the video below.

Dark Captain (formerly known as Dark Captain Light Captain) have just released their new album Dead Legs & Alibis on LOAF Recordings and the East London quintet have come up with the goods again. Dead Legs & Alibis is the band's follow-up to their 2008 debut full-length Miracle Kicker, which harvested critical praise across the board, and was one of my favourite albums of the last few years. Submarines, the lead single off the new album has been on repeat play round my place for the last few weeks. Check out its video below.

Burrows is the nom de plume of Kate Glavey and In Winter is her debut album. The album is described as being, "Inspired by shifting weights and the music of Dirty Three". In Winter was arranged and mostly recorded in Granny studios in Waterford by Kate and John Haggis. Hand-printed CDs and a limited run of vinyl are available. Check out the title track below.

Episode 373 - 03/11/11


Patrick Kelleher – Finds You (Thread Pulls Remix)
Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands – Gouge
16 Horsepower – Clogger
Charlotte Gainsbourg – Terrible Angels
Crystal Stilts – Shake the Shackles (playing Grand Social, Fri 04)
Crystal Stilts – Silver Sun
Bee Gees – Odessa (City on the Black Sea)
Burrows – In Winter
Burrows – Wartime
Dark Captain – Submarines
Dark Captain – Fade
Future Islands – On the Water
Casiokids – Olympiske Leker
Jape – Too Many People
Richmond Fontaine – Lost in the Trees (playing Workman's Club, Fri 04)
Rachael Dadd - Balloon
Ladytron – Ace of Hz
Arthur Russell – Let’s Go Swimming (Gulf Stream Dub)
High Places – Dry Lake
Trembling Bells – Man Is As a Garden Born
Josef K – The Missionary
The Loft – Why Does the Rain
The Weather Prophets – Your Heartbeat Breathes the Life Into Me
Canon Blue – Chicago
The Decemberists – E. Watson
Bonnie Prince Billy – Black Captain
The Band – The Weight
Dum Dum Girls – Just A Creep

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Flaming Lips, Cornelius

The Flaming Lips, Cornelius - Dublin 1999

Transmissions: A Fortnight of New Digital Sound was staged at Dublin's Olympia from August 31 to September 12, 1999. Some amazing gigs were held as you can see from the flyers below. It was also the first time that an Irish audience got to see Wayne Coyne's fake blood, glove puppet and minature camera routine that became a feature of most Flaming Lips' gigs for the following couple of years. Cornelius supported the Flaming Lips and were mind-blowing. The video below is from a show in North Carolina also supporting the Flaming Lips about two weeks prior to the Dublin date. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Go-Betweens

The Go-Betweens - Streets of Your Town 7'' (Limited Boxed Edition) + Ticket Stubs

Following a great Go-Betweens post over at the Underground of Happiness I thought I'd post some scans of the Beggars Banquet Boxed Edition of the Streets of Your Town 7''. Streets of Your Town was taken from the band's sixth album 16 Lovers Lane and released as a single in 1988. Beggars released the single in a number of different formats: 7'', 12'', CD Single and this 7'' Boxed Edition. The label released a number of these 7'' boxed editions for their artists at the time. I remember seeing one for The Fall's Jerusalem single and I can only assume that the reason behind the different formats was to ensure that fans bought  multiple copies of the single to help it achieve a higher chart placing.

The Go-Betweens - Streets of Your Town 7'' (Limited Boxed Edition BEG 218B)

The different copies of Street of Your Town sold enough to give the band their highest charting single in the UK: it reached No. 80 on 8 August 1988. The Go-Betweens box housed the 7'' single along with a band photograph, a street plan and a button badge. Streets of Your Town would be re-released the following year but the second edition only charted at No. 82.

The Go-Betweens - Streets of Your Town 7'' (Front)

Streets of Your Town remains one of my favourite Go-Betweens tracks. I bought the 12'' single and played it to death on my old PYE record player, I always loved the contrast between the beautiful upbeat tune, Amanda Brown's poppy backing vocals and Grant's dark melancholic lyric:

"Don’t the sun look good today?
But the rain is on it’s way
Watch the butcher shine his knives
And this town is full of battered wives."

The Go-Betweens - Streets of Your Town 7'' (Back)

Band Photograph from Streets of Your Town 7'' (Limited Boxed Edition)

Street Plan from Streets of Your Town 7'' (Limited Boxed Edition)

The street plan is of Sydney's King Cross area with a note at the bottom: "Dear Banquet, we all, well most of us, live somewhere on this map. You guess where. Johnny"

Streets of Your Town - Button Badge

The Go-Betweens - The Mean Fiddler, 3 June 1997

I got to see Forster & McLennan play live in Dublin in 1997. After the gig Grant autographed my ticket stub: "To the boy". My friend had her stub also signed by Grant: "To the girl".

Forster & McLennan - Vicar Street, 4 June 1999

Two years and one day later the guys returned to Dublin for another amazing night. The band filmed two different videos for Streets of Your Town, below is the lesser known first version.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Metropolis II

Metropolis II directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

Metropolis II is a short film directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the directors of 2010's Catfish. Metropolis II is named after its subject Chris Burden's die cast Hot Wheels cityscape. Burden has created a completely functional miniature cityscape of overlapping and interweaving roadways that contains 1,200 cars speeding around at up to 230 miles per hour. He’s also installed electric trains, ending up with something that resembles Fritz Lang’s vision of the future, hence the name Metropolis II. It took Burden four years to create his kinetic sculpture and it is currently being moved to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it will be reinstalled. 

In an interview with the New York Times last year Burden revealed that Metropolis II  includes, "1,200 custom-designed cars and 18 lanes; 13 toy trains and tracks; and, dotting the landscape, buildings made of wood block, tiles, Legos and Lincoln Logs... every hour 100,000 cars circulate through the city... It has an audio quality to it. When you have 1,200 cars circulating it mimics a real freeway. It’s quite intense."

Joost and Schulman use two beautiful pieces of music to soundtrack their hypnotic film: Tortoise's Ten Day Interval and Windmill International A by Mahogany. Check out their film below, I highly recommend sitting back, turning up the volume and watching in full screen.

Brett Bert wrote a brilliant article for Vanity Fair on Metropolis II back in January.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Episode 363

Songs To Learn And Sing - Episode 363

This episode revisits Heartbeats by Grimes. We first played this on the show back in March when Halfaxa, the debut release from Grimes was released on Lo Recordings. I've been playing Halfaxa a lot recently and I think that Claire Boucher aka Grimes has produced one of my favourite releases of 2011 so far. If you've yet to have the pleasure of falling under the spell of Grimes then check out the Laurel Halo remix of Heartbeats and the brilliant video of the track.

Grimes - Heartbeats (Laurel Halo Remix) by Lo Recordings

This episode also featured new music from Gothenburg, Sweden. Next Stop: Horizon are Pär Hagström & Jenny Roos and She's a Ghost is taken from the duo's debut album We Know Exactly Where We Are Going. 

Dirk from Tapete Records has the following to say about their music: "Their music is so special that I had to really, really rack my brain a bit to come up with some composition of words to possibly explain their sound. Here‘s what I got down on paper: 'Kurt Weill-esque, achingly unique, anarchic and melodramatic music of bizarre beauty.' I would also like to add that their music sounds archaic and totally contemporary at the same time. How the hell they do this is beyond me… but it's true." Dirk Darmstaedter, Tapete Records. There's nothing I could write that would better Dirk's description of the music created by Next Stop: Horizon, so watch the great live version of She's a Ghost and listen to a few tracks from the album.


Episode 363 – 25/08/2011


Hauschka - Iron Shoes
OMD - Electricity
Dark Captains - Submarines
Metronomy - The Bay (Erol Alkan's Extended Rework)
The Doomed Bird of Providence - Fedicia Exine (I Am a Vowel Mix)
The Field - Looping State of Mind
Seeland - Local Park
Bjork - Crystalline (Omar Souleyman Remix)
Grimes - Heartbeats
Elephant - Ants
Astrid Williamson - Pour
Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love
Ingrid Olava - Warrior Song
Smoke Fairies - Hotel Room
Trumpets of Death - The Press Gang
Ann Scott - Universe
Next Stop : Horizon - She's a Ghost
Scott 4 - Deutsche LP Record
Efterklang - Falling Horses
Beach House - Lover of Mine
Tarwater - In a Day
Roll the Dice - Idle Hands

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sonic Youth & Nirvana - Sir Henrys 1991

 Sonic Youth & Nirvana - Sir Henrys 1991

It's been exactly 20 years! It's one of those gigs that has taken on mythical status. Truth be told not an awful lot of people were there for Nirvana's performance, but the place was stuffed by the time Sonic Youth took to the stage. I had bought my ticket earlier that summer and was really excited about Sonic Youth playing my home town. I had gotten into Sonic Youth around the release of Goo and had worked back through their back catalogue to Daydream Nation, Sister and Evol.  I didn't know who Nirvana were but I can clearly remember Krist Novoselic wearing a purple Dinosaur Jr t-shirt and thinking that was kind of cool. Sonic Youth were amazing. I brought along a disposable camera to the gig and took no photographs of Nirvana - that's how much I cared about them! Out of 24 snaps the above shot is the only remaining photo. 

The great thing for me about this photo though is that you can clearly make out Thurston's Brendan Behan t-shirt. A friend of mine had a stupid altercation with a bouncer and was thrown out of Henrys before Sonic Youth came on stage. He walked around to the front of the Grand Parade Hotel and met the band. He told them what had happened and they let him watch the gig from the side of the stage and afterwards Thurston gave him the Brendan Behan t-shirt. When we came down the stairs out of the venue there he was holding his treasured t-shirt. Footage from the Henrys gig can be seen on Dave Markey's 1991: The Year Punk Broke, his film chronicling the Sonic Youth tour. 

Kurt takes a nap during soundcheck, Sir Henrys, Cork

Postscript: My good buddy Jim Comic has just informed me:

I designed and printed the tickets. I'll always remember the promoter, Des Blair, bringing in a fax of the Nirvana logo (you can see the fax lines on it), as you'll recall faxes were pretty poor quality, plus the logo was tiny (no such thing as e-mailing high res eps or pdf logos back then). My first reaction was, "Who are they?" Then I said "this won't be great, you sure you want it on?" He said,  "I don't know but it's in the contract so I have to include it." So I photocopied it, we made a bromide of it and pasted it on to the design by hand with pritt stick and made the plates from a new bromide of the entire ticket.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Episode 362

Songs To Learn And Sing - Episode 362

This episode featured The Dream Machine by Sukia a record I haven't played in years. The Dream Machine is taken from Sukia's one and only album, 1996's Contacto Especial con el Tercer Sexo. This was one of my favourite records of the 90s, it still sounds brilliant, completely fresh, and totally nuts. The record was produced by The Dust Brothers and the late Jerry Finn and released on The Dust Brothers' Nickel Bag label in the US and on Mo Wax Records in Europe. My vinyl copy of the album came with an extra 12'' of remixes of The Dream Machine. Sukia, who took their name from an Italian satanic vampire paranormal porno comic book, were from California and combined Moog-driven grooves, analogue synths, toy keyboards, found samples and space-age pop aesthetics to create a darkly humourous album that is definately a lost classic. 

Episode 362 – 18/08/2011


Dutch Uncles - The Ink
Mint Julep - Aviary
Bjork - Cosmology (Matthew Herbert Remix 1)
Bjork - Crystalline (Serban Ghenea Remix)
Bjork - Crystalline (Matthew Herbert Remix)
Black Sheep - Leila Khaled
Brian Donor - Get Off Your Pretty Face
Amon Duul II - What You Gonna Do
Vessels - Meatman, Piano Tuner, Prostitute
65 Days of Static - Dance, Dance, Dance
Actress - Paint, Straw and Bubbles (Zomby Remix)
Fever Ray - Seven
Rachel Dadd - Balloon
Channel One - Soubresaut
Seefeel -Faults
Grinderman - Heathen Child (Weatherall Remix)
Konk - Baby Dee
Sukia - The Dream Machine
Link Wray - Jack The Ripper
Microdisney - Singer's Hampstead Home
Iggy Pop - Nightclubbing
That Petrol Emotion - Scum Surfin'
Erland & The Carnival - Map of an Englishman

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The 10 Best Music Memoirs

 The 10 Best Music Memoirs - A Highly Subjective List

I mentioned both Julian Cope's Head-On and Bill Drummond's 45 in a recent post on Zoo Records and this got me thinking about great Rock 'n' Roll memoirs. Ian Hunter's Diary of a Rock 'n' Roll Star is always mentioned when people write about the greatest music books, having never read it It's not in my own Top 10. Here's the list...  

No. 10
White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s by Joe Boyd

White Bicycles is Boyd's brilliant memoir of how he got started in the music business. He toured Britain with Muddy Waters in 1964 and by the decade's end he was producing Fairport Convention and The Incredible String Band for his Witchseason production company. In between he produced Pink Floyd, co-founded the UFO Club, supervised Dylan's electric debut at Newport and launched the career of Nick Drake. Considering what Boyd went on to do in the following decades (producing soundtracks for Deliverance and A Clockwork Orange, and producing albums for Nico, Vashti Bunyan, Billy Bragg, REM and 10,000 Maniacs among others) a second or third volume of memoirs would be just as captivating.

No. 9
Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith by Mark E. Smith

Renegade is ghost written by Austin Collings and is fasinating and frustrating in equal measure. Fasinating for the honest, no holds barred detail on one hand and yet frustrating for the way other details are never touched upon. Renegade is however hilariously funny and at times comes across like a 240 page rant from a man consumed by his art. Smith delivers words of widom ("If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly") and put-downs ("I remember Nick Cave when he used to write on heroin, he'd show me lyrics. I'd be like, 'Nick, what you doing?'") like no other. Renegade is really complemented by Dave Simpson's The Fallen.     

No. 8
Things The Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett

Things the Grandchildren Should Know tries to answer the question: "How does one young man surive the deaths of his entire family and manage to make something of his life?" The Eels frontman's memoir is an inspiring story that's really well written with an unflinching candor that allows the reader to trust the writer completely. Compared to most of the books on this list, where it helps if you're somewhat familiar with the artist's music, you definately don't need to be a fan of Eels to become completely absorbed in this brilliant book. One thing is for certain though if you aren't already intimate with the Eels' back catalogue you'll be checking it out after reading this. Also highly recommended is Parallel World's, Parallel Lives the 2007 documentary, in which Everett talks with physicists and his father's former colleagues about his father's Many Worlds theory of quantum mechanics.

No. 7
Black Vinyl, White Powder by Simon Napier-Bell

Napier-Bell's memoir of 50 years in the  music business. A behind the scenes account from the man who at various times has been a songwriter, producer, manager and journalist. Napier-Bell co-wrote Dusty Springfield's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, and managed The Yardbirds, Marc Bolan, Japan and Wham! Black Vinyl White Powder is an incredibly authoritative, brilliantly researched, fantastically entertaining and really well written book. His account of the planning and staging of 1985's 'Wham! in China' tour, the first by a Western pop group, is worth the cover price alone.     

No. 6
What's Welsh For Zen by John Cale

Officer of the Order of the British Empire, John Cale's What's Welsh For Zen is co-written by Victor Bockris who has also written biographies of Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith and William Burrroughs. Bockris also co-wrote Uptight: The Story of The Velvet Underground. Dedicated to Velvets bandmate Sterling Morrison, What's Welsh For Zen is not only a really well written book, it's also beautifully designed and illustrated by Dave McKean. Cale takes us from a house in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons to New York in the 60s, from the Velvets to Paris 1919 and the Island Years, from key productions and collaborations to CBGB's in the late 70s, from the disastrous Velvets reunion to the critical success of Songs For Drella.

The cast list along the journey is incredible: Aaron Copeland, Andy Warhol, La Monte Young, Nico, Patti Smith, Nick Drake, Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Terry Reily, Iggy and The Stooges and The Modern Lovers to name a few. Cale is one of the few artists from the era that is still relevant and writing fantastic new music rather than falling back on past glories, indeed since the publication of this memoir Cale has released two fantastic albums, HoboSapians (2003) and blackAcetate (2005) which rank up there with any of his previous work. A new 12'' EP is due to be released in September on Domino's Double Six imprint and a new album will follow in 2012.

No. 5
45 by Bill Drummond

45 was written as Bill Drummond entered his 45th year and takes the form of a series of short essays about various stages of his career, including stories about Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, the KLF and the K Foundation. We also get accounts of making soup in Belfast, ordinance survey maps and the wars in former Yugoslavia. Worth reading alone for his account of travelling to Nashville to get Tammy Wynette to record her vocals for the KLF's Justified and Ancient: "'How's it sound Bill?' came the voice from the other side of the glass. How do you tell the voice you have worshipped for the past twenty years, one of the greatest singing voices of the twentieth century... that it sounds shit? 'It sounds great, Tammy.'" 45 is highly entertaining and if he ever sits down and writes the full story we will have an amazing memoir.

No. 4
Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance by Dean Wareham

Black Postcards, Wareham's memoir of his time in both Galaxie 500 in the 80s and Luna in the 90s, is a remarkably honest account of Wareham's time in both bands, we get the thrills and excitement of life in a band but he's also not afraid to write about the downsides of touring in a moderately successful band.  At times Wareham portrays himself entirely unsympathetically and this makes the story so much more believeable. Ultimately Black Postcards completely deflates the Rock 'n' Roll myth. A great companion piece to Matthew Buzzell's 2006 Luna documentary, Tell Me Do You Miss Me.

No. 3
Head-On: Memories of the Liverpool Punk-scene and the story of The Teardrop Explodes (1976-82) by Julian Cope 
Repossessed: Shamanic Depressions in Tamworth & London (1983-89) by Julian Cope

Head-On was originally published in 1994 and was re-published back-to-back with Repossessed in 1999 as a "twofer" (you can flip Repossessed over and start Head-On on the other side). Quite simply Head-On and Repossessed are two of the best books ever written about Rock 'n' Roll. Head-On, as the subtitle suggests, covers the Liverpool punk scene and the rise and fall of The Teardrop Explodes. It is an essential read for anyone interested in the UK punk and post-punk music scenes. Repossessed picks up the story after the demise of The Teardrops, when Julian retreats to his family home in Tamworth, releases the two Mercury solo records before signing to Island records and storming the charts once more with a string of hit singles from his 1986 album, Saint Julian. Both books are extremely entertaining, hilariously funny and full of self-deprecating humour. After reading these memoirs you will have simply one question: where's part three? 

No. 2
Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part In Its Downfall  by Luke Haines
Post Everything: Outsider Rock and Roll by Luke Haines

These are the two most recently published books in this list. Bad Vibes covers the story of The Auteurs whilst Post Everything covers the Black Box Recorder and solo years. Both books are brilliantly written and hilariously funny. Haines comes across as completely egocentric and totally bitter and twisted, the anecdotes come fast and furious and absolutely destroy the Britpop myth. These are laugh-out-loud books which send the reader straight back to the back catalogue to rediscover why we always loved Haines to begin with. At one point in the narrative Haines is recording three albums for three different labels when he gets a call from his manager telling him that he's lost his record deal, "Which one?" he retorts. Brilliant stuff.

2009 William Heinemann

No. 1
Nico: Songs They Never Play On The Radio by James Young

1999 Arrow

Songs They Never Play On The Radio isn't a biography of Nico in the traditional sense, it's James Young's memoir of his time as her keyboard player between 1982 and her death in 1988. In 1982 he was a student at Oxford when Alan Wise, a Manchester promoter and old school friend asked him to join Nico's band for a short tour of Italy. So begins a crazy seven year journey, touring the world and recording with the former Warhol starlet. Young has written a simply wonderful memoir occupied by losers, addicts, outsiders, musicians and drifters. The book is quite bleak and tragic at times but is also really funny, and gives us amazing fly-on-the-wall detail of life in a touring band in the margins of the music business. John Cooper Clarke, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg and John Cale all appear in the story. Cale actually admits in his own memoir (What's Welsh For Zen, No. 6 above) that Young's unflattering depiction of him is entirely accurate for the time. I love this book, I've two copies of it - I lent my first copy to so many people over the years it's now nearly falling to pieces.

Young has described Songs They Don't Play On The Radio as: "A marginal book about marginal people, it wasn't like being on tour with Madonna. Ultimately I suppose it was an ‘Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground’ kind of thing...copping off on someone else’s fame. I did try to get Nico’s name off the cover. The title was simply ‘Songs They Never Play On The Radio’ and I definitely didn’t want a picture of Nico on the jacket either. Bloomsbury absolutely did not see it my way. There was a stand-off...don’t get published, return the advance, or hitch your trailer to the Warhol wagon."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Episode 361

Songs To Learn And Sing - Episode 361

This episode featured a couple of tracks from Mice Parade's 2010 album What It Means To Be Left-Handed. I didn't really get into this record when it was released last year but I've come back to it over the past few weeks and it's really growing on me. The album is book-ended by two beautiful tracks. I love the cover of Tom Brosseau's Mary Anne which closes the record. The album opens with the gorgeous, frolicking Kupanda, performed by Mice Parade and kora player Abdou with Swahili vocals from Rwandan/Ugandan-descended singer Somi. It's great stuff. Track eight on the record is Mallo Cup, a Lemonheads cover and below is a nice solo acoustic version by Mice Parade's Adam Pierce.  

Mice Parade "Mallo Cup" from BeatCast on Vimeo.

Episode 361 – 11/08/2011


Eat Lights : Become Lights - Monorail
Damon & Naomi - How Do I Say Goodbye
Ann Scott - Universe
Smoke Fairies - Hotel Room
Agnes Obel - Riverside
Elephant - Allured
Elephant - Ants
John Stammers - The Fridge (Band Version)
Crystal Stilts - Through the Floor
Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands - Gouge
Metronomy - The Bay
Dark Captain - Submarines
Crystal Fighters - Plage
Comet Gain - Working Circle Explosive!
Comet Gain - Herbert Huncke Pt2
Bjork - Crystalline (Omar Souleyman Remix)
Bjork - Tesla (Omar Souleyman Remix)
Patrick Cleandenim - In My Baby's Eyes
Seeland - Local Park
Richmond Fontaine - The Chainsaw Sea
Darren Hayman - It's Easy to Hang With You
Sleeping States - Gardens of the South
Sleeping States - Showers in the Summer
Darren Hayman & the Secondary Modern - Nothing You Can Do About It
Mice Parade - Mary Anne (UK Surf Version)
Mice Parade - Mallo Cup
Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell - Picking Wild Mountain Berries

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

eX-Girl - Flyers

 eX-Girl - Flyers

In July 2002 eX-Girl played Ireland for the first time and I was lucky enough to catch their gig at The Lobby Bar in Cork. Now a lot has been written about this infamous little venue, and sadly it shut its doors a number of years ago. I saw some amazing gigs there over the years: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, The Handsome Family, John Cooper Clarke and Peter Bruntnell. I also saw Cat Power perform probably the worst gig I've ever witnessed. When I think about The Lobby Bar however the one gig which always comes straight to mind is eX-Girl's 2002 performance.

The band played a stormer of a gig that night. It was a balmy summer's evening and The Lobby was absolutley stuffed, the place only held about 110 punters comfortably, and the windows were opened to leave in some air. I can remember looking to my right out the window and spotting a load of people dancing on the traffic island in the middle of Anglesea St. in front of the City Hall looking up at the Lobby and watching eX-Girl on stage in through the open windows. A crazy night. It was also the first time at a gig that I saw a band sell a load of homemade merchandise, people went mad for the tote bags the band had brought from Japan. Below are some flyers from a couple of different eX-Girl shows.    

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Zoo Four - To The Shores Of Lake Placid

Zoo Four - To The Shore Of Lake Placid

Following last week's post on Bill Drummond's The Man I've pulled out this wonderful compilation album from 1982. Bill Drummond was the bass player in Big In Japan and he formed Zoo Records with David Balfe (who played keyboards with The Teardrop Explodes) in 1978 to release Big In Japan's single From Y to Z and Never Again. Zoo Records would go on the release singles by The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen and others.

The label released two albums. Fire Escape in the Sky: The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker (Zoo Two, 1981) was an album compiled by Julian Cope and this compilation, To the Shores of Lake Placid (Zoo Four, 1982), a label compilation. Zoo One and Three were never issued. I found my copy of To the Shores of Lake Placid at a record fair in Cork in the mid-90s and as a huge Cope and Bunnymen fan I was absolutely over the moon. This is a beautiful gatefold package with a four page stapled insert of band photographs. The compilation is a mixture of previously unavailable tracks, b-sides and session tracks. Favorites for me, apart from the Bunnymen and Teardrop tracks, are Those Naughty Lumps' Iggy Pop's Jacket and Big In Japan's Society For Cutting Up Men, videos for both tracks are below.  

Big In Japan

The sleeve has the following inscription: The music on this record has been taken from the play 'To The Shores Of Lake Placid', which ran from August 24 1978 to February 21 1981. The play is the first in a trilogy, the second of which, as yet untitled, began on November 10 1981 at 'Club Zoo', 'The Pyramid', Liverpool, and will close at 'Erics', Liverpool on November 15 1983. All titles are performed by the original cast.

Echo & the Bunnymen

The Teardrop Explodes

The New Mersey Beat an episode of Rock Family Trees, Pete Frames's series for the BBC,  focused on this period of music from Liverpool. The episode tells the interweaving stories of the Liverpool bands from the late 1970s, and the scene that centred around the local club Eric's where most of the bands played. All the main Zoo Records' players, apart from Julian Cope, are interviewed. It's a predictably hilarious episode of the programme: my own favourite bit is when Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch discuss Ian's decision to quit the Bunnymen in 1988: Will is determined to continue telling Mac that loads of bands have continued with new lead singers. "Name one," says Mac and Will replys, "Mud." Legends.  

Bill Drummond would go on to publish the brilliant 45, his memoir which covers some of this period. Julian Cope's Head-On memoir also recalls this period. David Balfe would launch Food Records, sign Blur, sell Food Records to EMI in 1994 and escape to "a very big house in the country." Mac obviously rejoined the Bunnymen and released the classic comeback album, Evergreen. They bring their "Ocean Rain - with Strings" tour to Dublin's Olympia in September. I'm excited!