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Indie Rock Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): The Jesus And Mary Chain – Just Like Honey

Day 10 (J) & we’re having a look at the feedback-drenched bubblegum pop of Psychocandy-era The Jesus And Mary Chain. Featuring a young Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) on drums, Just Like Honey riffs on the same drum beat as the Phil Spector produced Be My Baby by the Ronnettes. We might take the marriage of abrasive guitar noise with ’60’s influenced pop melodies a little for granted now, but when Just Like Honey (and earlier singles like Never Understand) came a long, it was a breath of fresh air which revitalised the Post-Punk landscape.

Listen to the girl
As she takes on half the world
Moving up and so alive
In her honey dripping beehive
Beehive
It’s good, so good, it’s so good
So good

Walking back to you
Is the hardest thing that
I can do
That I can do for you
For youI’ll be your plastic toy
I’ll be your plastic toy
For you

Eating up the scum
Is the hardest thing for
Me to do

Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey 
Just like honey
Just like honey

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Indie Rock Music

Manic Street Preachers – Gold Against The Soul

Welsh rock group Manic Street Preachers, London, 2nd June 1993. Left to right; drummer Sean Moore, bassist Nicky Wire, singer James Dean Bradfield and guitarist Richey James Edwards. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

With the impending release of the deluxe edition of Manic Street Preachers sophomore long player, Gold Against The Soul on 12th June, now seems like a good time to have another look at this overlooked & under-loved album.

Sandwiched between the hugely ambitious flop of their debut album Generation Terrorists (“we wouldn’t be happy unless it sold sixteen million”) & the Post-Punk terror of their bleak masterpiece The Holy Bible, sits Manic Street Preachers first steps away from the upbeat anxiety of the former & towards the desolate internal strife which characterised the latter. Gold Against The Soul was produced by Dave Eringa (who had produced their Motown Junk single, three years previously) at Hook End Manor, an Elizabethan mansion formerly owned by Pink Floyd guitarist, Dave Gilmour.

With production levels more polished & commercially accessible than Generation Terrorists, Gold Against The Soul brings to mind The Clash’s sophomore album, the Sandy Pearlman produced Give ‘Em Enough Rope. A lot of the raw, punk edge seems to have been rolled off and replaced by shimmering concessions to radio friendliness. Also like Give ‘Em Enough Rope, Gold Against The Soul has, despite early indifference, grown in stature in the eyes of the bands fans.

The lyrics are definitely darker & more focused than Generation Terrorists. Lead single From Despair To Where is about the crushing realisation of the futility of adulthood. La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) is named after a line from Vincent Van Gogh’s suicide note & describes the hypocrisy of how we treat veterans & parade them around at the Cenotaph every year. Symphony Of Tourette is a cross between an apology/explanation for some of the offensive statements the band members made around the time (“Let’s hope Michael Stipe goes the same way as Freddie Mercury”, “I hate Slowdive more than Hitler”) & a longing for the social freedom which the writer imagines Tourette’s syndrome affords a sufferer.

The album kicks off with some incredibly powerful riffing on the excellent Sleepflower, one of this writers favourite ever album openers. This ode to insomnia certainly carries a lot of weight & (I read in this article) uses the same guitar amp that was used on the bands independent single, Motown Junk, three years previously.

The singles from this album are beautifully produce & have gone on to be staples in the Manic Street Preachers live show over the years. From Despair To Where is a masterclass in rock radio production. La Tristesse is pure power pop. Roses In The Hospital has a loose limbed, almost Madchester feel to it, instantly dispelled by the profanity in the chorus: “We don’t want your fucking love” – or the cringeworthy radio edit which swaps that line for the songs title sung to the same vocal melody. Life Becoming A Landslide drifts effortlessly between elegaic pop verses, soaring, anthemic choruses & intense crunchy riffing.

On 12th June 2020, the deluxe edition of Gold Against The Soul will be released. The band have put together this trailer, featuring a number of clips of live performances of songs from the album.

Manic Street Preachers have confirmed the re-issue of a deluxe edition of their 1993 second album ‘Gold Against The Soul’ on 12th June 2020.

Available as a  120 page  A4 book featuring unseen images from the band’s  long time photographic collaborator Mitch Ikeda, many personally annotated by Nicky Wire and original typed and handwritten lyrics from the band’s own archive.  It will contain two CDs featuring the remastered album, previously unreleased demos, b-sides from the era, remixes and a live recording of The Clash song ‘What’s My Name’.  

Also available is a 180g vinyl version of the original album with download codes to the extra tracks on CD1 and a digital version featuring all the songs.

Pre Order signed copies of the book via the official Manics store: http://smarturl.it/MSPGATS/store

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Electronic Music Indie Rock Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Radiohead – Idioteque

Day 9 (I) & we’ve finally hit a vein of pure Radiohead. After the success of OK Computer in the late ’90’s, the music industry had high hopes & expectations for Radiohead’s follow up. Radiohead however, made one of (if not the) most dramatic left turns in music history. During the touring & aftermath of OK Computer, Thom Yorke & the boys had been listening to a lot of the electronic music which was starting to really gain momentum at that point. We’re talking Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada & Squarepusher to name a few.

Thom Yorke & Johnny Greenwood twiddling knobs & patching parameters, 2014

Radiohead took these new influences on board wholeheartedly, and emerged from the studio with Kid A, an album of experimental electronic music incorporating all of these influences. Despite the “moral panic” & hate from so-called “hardcore fans” over this change of direction, Kid A isn’t quite the departure it seems at first listen. Scratch the surface and you still find all the elements which made Radiohead great in the first place.

Idioteque, despite initial indifference, has in later years taken it’s place in the Radiohead catalogue as a firm favourite for me. This BBC performance (which serves as the “official” video) gives an excellent insight into how Radiohead would play these experimental songs live to the same high standard as their more rock-based material.

Who’s in a bunker?
Who’s in a bunker?
Women and children first
And the children first
And the children

I’ll laugh until my head comes off
I’ll swallow till I burst
Until I burst
Until I

Who’s in a bunker?
Who’s in a bunker?
I have seen too much
I haven’t seen enough
You haven’t seen it

I’ll laugh until my head comes off
Women and children first
And children first
And children

Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time
Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Throw it in the fire
Throw it in the fire
Throw it on the

We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening
Happening
We’re not scaremongering
This is really happening
Happening

Mobiles squerking
Mobiles chirping
Take the money run
Take the money run
Take the money

Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time
Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time

Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time
Here I’m alive
Everything all of the time

The first of the children [Repeat until fade]

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Indie Rock Music Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: The Drum – Diskin

When Pop-Punk goes bad.

I can’t begin to guess what a happened to Nottingham Pop-Punk band, China Drum, between their 1997 album Self Made Maniac & their 2000 album (after name change to The Drum) Diskin. Before the release of this gnarled & twisted album, they were probably best known for their excellent Pop-Punk cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights.

The influences on this record are much more diverse & interesting than the Pop-Punk by numbers of their previous albums. They seem to have been listening to a lot of Grunge & Alternative Rock music. This and more experimental music, perhaps Radiohead’s OK Computer.

The alien song structures, analogue synth warbling & delayed electronic textures rub up quite well against the neo-Grunge guitar riffing & Diskin seems to arrive at something completely new & original. Even now, 20 years on, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like it. Highlights for me include downtempo tracks like Horns Front & The Beast (which seem to carry a fair Placebo influence), as well as the more abarsive noise jams of opener HK & Hold This Thought While I Lose My Head (apparently renamed as Head on Spotify?).


As I said above, Diskin is very unique & if you haven’t heard it before then you should definitely give it a listen.

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Indie Rock Music Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Minutemen – History Lesson Part 2

This blogpost is dedicated to the memory of D. Boon. RIP.

Day 8 (H) & it’s History Lesson (Part 2) by Minutemen. You almost certainly know a Minutemen song, even if you’ve never heard of them. Their song Corona was made world famous by it’s use as the theme music for Jackass. I find this amusing as, lyrically, it’s a very intelligent song about US foreign policy in central America. For it to be then used for a show like Jackass. Hilarious.

D. Boon, 1985

History Lesson (Part 2) is about the origins of the Minutemen (“Me & Mike Watt played for years”, “we drove up from Pedro”) and also engages in some mythmaking & world building for the Punk Rock community. “This is Bob Dylan to me” is intended to equate the acclaim Dylan enjoys with Punk Rock music, lending it a sense of legitimacy which we take for granted in 2020. There was a time when this music was viewed as obscene & talentless noise. In the here & now, it is the fountainhead of most of the music we listen to from Hip-Hop to Alternative Rock. The lyrics also take pains to point out the normality of the band members, D. Boon, Mike Watt & George Hurley. This is what is being addressed by the opening couplet “Our band could be your life, real names’d be proof”.

Our band could be your life
Real names’d be proof
Me and mike watt played for years
Punk rock changed our lives

We learned punk rock in Hollywood
Drove up from Pedro
We were fucking corn dogs
We’d go drink and pogo

Mr. Narrator
This is Bob Dylan to me
My story could be his songs
I’m his soldier child

Our band is scientist rock
But I was E. Bloom and Richard Hell
Joe Strummer, and John Doe
Me and Mike Watt, playing guitar

As a bonus, while searching for a decent video of History Lesson (Part 2) I found this lovely video, from 2009, of bassist Mike Watt reading the lyrics & explaining a little about what they were saying and how they were wrote. Notice how Watt’s eyes seem to tear up and he chokes slightly on his words when he mentions bandmate D. Boon. Boon was killed in a road vehicle accident in 1985, when Minutemen were at the peak of their power & facing a bright & successful career. I hope you enjoy.

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Sharon Van Etten & Josh Homme – (What’s so funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?

Despite my favourite version of this classic Nick Lowe tune being the wonderful version by the cast of the amazing Marvel TV show Legion, I have a lot of time for both Sharon Van Etten & Josh Homme. They don’t dissappoint here as they deliver an epic, melancholic pop version of the song, complete with orchestral percussion & reverb drenched piano chords. This is probably more in Van Etten’s wheelhouse than Homme’s, but he seems to adapt to it perfectly well.

I’m loving Josh Homme’s pink bunny onesie in the artwork. Tempted to end this sentence with a smiley.

And as bonus, because I mentioned it, here’s the Legion Cast recording. If you haven’t seen it, please watch. It’s so weird that I suspect the producers were trying to give David Lynch a run for his money.

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Indie Rock Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Belle & Sebastian – Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying

Day 7 (G) and we’re going with some delightfully twee, melancholy pop music. Belle & Sebastian’s Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying is an ode to feeling constrained by your environment. About the overwhelming desire to break free from the monotony of everyday life.

Taken from their second album, If You’re Feeling Sinister, this is one of my favourite Belle & Sebastian songs. I hope you’ll agree.

As there is no official video fro Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying, I have found this fan made video which which utilises edited footage from the film IL POSTO. It seems to work very well, in my opinion.

Ooh! Get me away from here I’m dying
Play me a song to set me free
Nobody writes them like they used to
So it may as well be me
Here on my own now after hours
Here on my own now on a bus
Think of it this way
You could either be successful or be us
With our winning smiles, and us
With our catchy tunes, and us
Now we’re photogenic
You know, we don’t stand a chance

Oh, I’ll settle down with some old story
About a boy who’s just like me
Thought there was love in everything and everyone
You’re so naive!
After a while they always get it
They always reach a sorry end
Still it was worth it as I turned the pages solemnly, and then
With a winning smile, the boy
With naivety succeeds
At the final moment, I cried
I always cry at endings

Oh, that wasn’t what I meant to say at all
From where I’m sitting, rain
Washing against the lonely tenement
Has set my mind to wander
Into the windows of my lovers
They never know unless I write
“This is no declaration, I just thought I’d let you know goodbye”
Said the hero in the story
“It is mightier than swords
I could kill you sure
But I could only make you cry with these words”

Oh, get me away, I’m dying…

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Song of the Day (A-Z): Dinosaur Jr – Feel The Pain

Day 6 (F). Feel The Pain is an essential indie anthem. The urban golf video is just wonderful too. I generally prefer the classic Dinosaur Jr lineup of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow & Murph, but there’s still plenty of good stuff to be found in the ‘90’s lineup.

I feel the pain of everyone 
Then I feel nothing 
I feel the pain of everyone 
Then I feel nothing 

I feel the pain of everyone 
Then I feel nothing 
I feel the pain of everyone 
Then I feel nothing 

Is it up to me? 
You won’t wait to see 
Screwed us both again 
About as close as you dare 
I feel the pain of everyone 
Then I feel nothing 
I feel the pain of everyone 
Then I feel nothing 

Is it up to me? 
You won’t wait to see 
Screwed us yet again 
About as close as you dare 

Hey now, take it back 
Get off me, you’re sad 
Trailin’ on your scene 
Just try and keep it clean

And because I want to share it and we could all use some wholesome content right now, here’s a pic of J holding a koala:

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Indie Rock Music Poetry Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): The Cribs – Be Safe (feat. Lee Ranaldo)

Day 2 (B) of the Song of the Day challenge.

Be Safe is a bit of a weird one. It’s a collaboration between Wakefield indie rockers The Cribs & Sonic Youth guitar maestro Lee Ranaldo. Only Ranaldo isn’t playing guitar. He’s giving a spoken word performance of one of his excellent poems.

There isn’t an official video for Be Safe, and rather than just link to the official audio I found this excellent fan made video. It’s perfect to me.

One of those fucking, awful black days
When nothing is pleasing and everything that happens
Is an excuse for anger
An outlet for emotions stockpiled, an arsenal, an armor

These are the days when I hate the world
Hate the rich, hate the happy
Hate the complacent, the TV watchers
Beer drinkers, the satisfied ones

Because I know I can be all of those little hateful things
And then I hate myself for realizing that
There’s no preventative, directive or safe approach for living
We each know our own fate

We know from our youth, how to be treated
How we’ll be received, how we shall end
These things don’t change

You can change your clothes
Change your hairstyle, your friends, cities, continents
But sooner or later your own self will always catch up
Always it waits in the wingsIdeas swirl but don’t stick
They appear but then run off like the rain on the windshield

One of those rainy day car rides, my head implodes
The atmosphere in this car, a mirror of my skull
Wet, damp, windows dripping and misted with cold
Walls of grey, nothing good on the radio, not a thought in my head

I know a place we can go and I’m falling
Love so hard that you wish you were ten

Lets take life and slow it down incredibly slow
Frame by frame
With two minutes that take ten years to live out
Yeah, let’s do that

Telephone poles like praying mantis against the sky
Metal arms outstretched
So much land traveled, so little sense made of it
It doesn’t mean a thing, all this land laid out behind us

I’d like to take off into these woods and get good and lost for a while
I’m disgusted with petty concerns
Parking tickets, breakfast specials
Does someone just have to carry this weight?

Abstract typography, methane covenant
Linear gospel, Nashville sales lady, stocky emissary
Torturous lice, mad Elizabeth

Chemotherapy bullshit

I know a place we can go and I’m falling

The light within you shines like a diamond mine
Like an unarmed walrus, like a dead man face down on the highway
Like a skunk, eating it’s own tail
Steam turbine, frog farm

Two full closets burst open in disarray, soap bubbles in the sun
Hospital death bed, red convertible, shopping list, blow job
Deaths head, devils dancing, bleached white buildings, memories 
Movements, the movie, unfeeling, unreeling, about to begin

I know a place we can go and I’m falling
Love so hard that you wish you were ten

I’ve seen your hallway, you’re a darn call away
I’ve hear your stairs creak, I can fix my mind on your yes
And your no, I’ll film your face today in the sparkling canals
All red, yellow, blue, green brilliance and silver Dutch reflection

Racing thoughts, racing thoughts, all too real
You’re moving so fast now, I can’t hold your image
This image I have of your face by the window
Me standing beside you, arm on your shoulder
A catalog of images, flashing glimpses then gone again

Untethered to the posters soak in me, every clear afternoon now
I’ll think of you, up in the air, twisting your heel
Your knees up around me, my face in your hair
You scream so well, your smile so loud, it still rings in my ears

I know a place we can go and I’m falling
Love so hard that you wish you were ten

Imitation, distant, tired of longing, clean my teeth
Stay the course, hold the wheel, steer on to freedom
Open all the boxes, open all the boxes
Open all the boxes, open all the boxes

Times Square Midday, newspaper buildings
News headlines going around, you watch as they go
And hope there’s some good ones, those tree shadows in the park
They’re all whispering, shake some leaves

Around six p.m., shadows across the cobblestones
Girl in front of bathroom mirror, she slow and careful
Paints her face green and mask like
Like my cheese, portrait with green stripe

Long shot through apartment window
A monologue on top but no girl in shot
The light within me shines like a diamond mine

Like an unarmed walrus
Like a dead man face down on the highway
Like a snake eating its own tail
A steam turbine, frog pond

Two full closets burst open in disarray, soap bubbles in the sun
Hospital death bed, red convertible, shopping list, blow job
Deaths head, devils dancing, bleached white buildings, memories 
Movements, the movie, unreeling, about to begin

Oh, great by me
Yeah? Mine were alright, wasn’t my best one but who cares?
That’s the spirit

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Indie Rock Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (A-Z): Idlewild – Actually It’s Darkness

As a way to ease the boredom of lockdown I have decided to participate in the Song of the Day challenge proposed by fellow blogger William. I will be choosing a song a day for each letter of the alphabet. Also inspired by William, I will reproduce the lyrics to the song where possible (ie. unless it’s an instrumental song).

For day 1 (or day A) I have chosen Actually It’s Darkness by Idlewild. This was the second single to be released from their excellent second album, 100 Broken Windows. As far as I know it’s the only single to chart in the UK top 40 with the word ‘actually’ in it’s title, reaching #23 in March 2000. It’s a melodic slice of post-R.E.M. indie pop with typically clever lyrics, catchy hooks and a chorus which is anthemic in an understated way.

You thought the fire could protect you from it
But why have you been so, why have you been ill informed?
I felt that fire could protect me from everything
You’re just too gullible

Actually it’s darkness, I don’t know what I’m scared of
It’s darkness, I must be scared of something
You must be scared of something, quite quite special

You shed a shade of shyness
You shed a shade of shyness
You shed a shade of shyness
Why can’t you be more cynical?

I knew the winter could protect me from it
One box if film won’t make it all go cold
I thought that winter could hide me from everything
I’m just too gullible, for words

Actually it’s darkness, I don’t know what I’m scared of
It’s darkness, I must be scared of something
You must be scared of something, quite quite special

You shed a shade of shyness
You shed a shade of shyness
You shed a shade of shyness
Why can’t you be more cynical?

I don’t look the same in the photograph
I need to look the way I did in the photograph
By mentioning places it will all become clear
If we speak the same language, you’re a deeper darker reason…

You shed a shade of shyness
You shed a shade of shyness
You shed a shade of shyness
Why can’t you be more cynical?

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