Categories
Indie Rock New Wave Post Punk Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Fall – Hit The North

Day 30. I’ve become kind of caught up in the excitement & humour of the Twitter account-cum-Political Party, the Northern Independence Party (or NIP) & the prospect of it achieving a small amount of success in the form of some councillors & maybe an MP or two. They’re already standing former Labour MP Thelma Walker in the upcoming Hartlepool by election, a seat which Labour has held since 1945 & which Sir Keir “Keith” Starmer (aka – The Abstainer) is likely to lose to the most corrupt & murderous UK government in living memory. Sadly, the electoral commission is saying that NIP failed to register on time (as a legit political party, that is). They are however pressing on with their campaign, only standing their candidates as independents for the time being.

On another of the fledgling party’s social media posts, they asked their followers what song should become a free North’s anthem. I could think of no finer a song to fill this position than this rowdy & romantic New Wave classic by Mancunian Post Punk heroes, The Fall. I hope you’ll agree.

Hit the North
Hit the North
(Hit the North) my Cat says eeeee-ack
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Ninety-five percent of hayseeds
(Hit the North) are corn-pones, guaranteed
Hit the North
Computers and fashion hotels
Cops can’t catch criminals
But what the heck, they’re not too bad, they talk to God 
Religious

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Manacled to the city
Manacled to the city (hit the North)

All estate, all es, all estate agents alive
Yell down nights in hysterical breath
Those Northern Lights, so pretty
Those big big big wide streets
Those useless MPs
Savages

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
(Manacled to the system) Hit the North

From the back third eye psyche
The reflected mirror of delirium
Eastender and Victoria’s lager
The induced call, mysterious
Comes forth

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North
Hit the North

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Experimental Literature Post Punk

The Mark E Smith Guide to Writing Guide (Video & Transcript)

What follows is a short spoken segment which Mark E Smith, reluctant Working Class Autodidact & erratic frontman of The Fall, recorded for Greenwich Sound Radio in 1983. Smith was already becoming respected for the poetic & eccentric content of his band’s lyrics (see The N.W.R.A below), which he whittled down from huge blocks of prose written with a similar methodology to Kerouac’s Spontaneous Prose technique.

Here we hear Smith not only giving an insight into his writing process (about 50/50 chance of being serious) but also some poetry. Please enjoy the audio & the transcript I have provided below. The section which describes the process was taken from here, while the poetry & prose which follows was transcribed by myself.

Hello I’m Mark E. Smith and this is The Mark E. Smith ‘Guide To Writing’ Guide.

Day-by-day breakdown

Day One: Hang around house all day writing bits of useless information on bits of paper.

Day Two: Decide lack of inspiration due to too much isolation and non-fraternisation. Go to pub. Have drinks.

Day Three: Get up and go to pub. Hold on in there a style is on its way. Through sheer boredom and drunkenness, talk to people in pub.

Day Four: By now, people in the pub should be continually getting on your nerves. Write things about them on backs of beer mats.

Day Five: Go to pub. This is where true penmanship stamina comes into its own as by now, guilt, drunkenness, the people in the pub and the fact you’re one of them should combine to enable you to write out of sheer vexation. To write out of sheer vexation.

Day Six: If possible stay home. And write. If not go to pub.

Using this method, this is a poem I wrote called London.

(Mock American Accent) I’d just got over to London, get me a pint of your fine old British ale.

London.

Decadent backbone of former empire.

Spittle chinned Southerner looking forward to next holiday.

Digitale Croydon, fourteen pound per hour.

An immigration backlash type situation here

And there’s an Indian clerk in the backroom with a literature degree,

His boss is a roofed architect over-bathed, intense.

Project Victoriana Punish,

His clothes are flapping United Nations:

Japanese pants, odd boots, Euro shirts.

Is no shirt, his mind is Parisian

Fifties situationist

and ‘neath his designs you have no choice,

Stay where you are.

He is looking down on you from his tech drawing board.

Take the chicken run, run to the bog

You can do it

Do not

Warning! rumours of grey cancer builders greatly exaggerated

Manchester.

Dear TV Times,

Your majesties, I have concocted, through the noble invention and the blarney craft of the humble Northener, a system where by constant annoyance by the telephone can be erased. This entails explosive charges, left to me by a dead sailor from Bury, being wired up under every windowsill, close proximity to my ears. When phones ring and are inconvenient to the ears I just press table lamp-like what next to my bed and they blow up. I got the idea from a book.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Reg Varney.

Please note: all herbs is available from P.O. Box 935 GTV Manchester. Once you get a bit of pain I was splitting myself, them hilly-billies.

Manchester is

Manchester ship

cringing for punishment

As promised above. It’s good to read the lyrics as you listen. The Annotated Fall also has some great notes on them.

When it happened we walked through all the estates, from
Manchester right to, er, Newcastle. In Darlington, helped a large
man on his own chase off some kids who were chucking bricks and
stuff through his flat window. She had a way with people like that. 
Thanked us and we moved on.

‘Junior Choice’ played one morning. The song was ‘English
Scheme.’ Mine. They’d changed it with a grand piano and turned
it into a love song. How they did it I don’t know. DJs had
worsened since the rising. Elaborating on nothing in praise of
the track with words they could hardly pronounce, in telephone
voices.

I was mad, and laughed at the same time. The West German
government had brought over large yellow trains on Teeside docks.
In Edinburgh. I stayed on my own for a few days, wandering about
in the, er, pissing rain, before the Queen Mother hit town.

I’m Joe Totale
The yet unborn son
The North will rise again
The North will rise again
Not in 10, 000 years
Too many people cower to criminals
And government crap
The estates stick up like stacks
The North will rise again X4
Look where you are
Look where you are
The future death of my father

Shift!
Tony was a business friend
Of RT XVII
And was an opportunist man
Come, come hear my story
How he set out to corrupt and destroy
This future Rising

The business friend came round today
With teeth clenched, he grabbed my neck
I threw him to the ground
His blue shirt stained red
The north will rise again.
He said you are mistaken, friend
I kicked him out of the home

Too many people cower to criminals
And that government pap
When all it takes is hard slap

But out the window burned the roads
There were men with bees on sticks
The fall had made them sick
A man with butterflies on his face
His brother threw acid in his face
His tatoos were screwed
The streets of Soho did reverberate
With drunken Highland men
Revenge for Culloden dead
The North had rose again
But it would turn out wrong
The North will rise again

So R. Totale dwells underground
Away from sickly grind
With ostrich head-dress
Face a mess, covered in feathers
Orange-red with blue-black lines
That draped down to his chest
Body are a tentacle mess
And light blue plant-heads
TV showed Sam Chippendale
No conception of what he’d made
The Arndale had been razed
Shop staff knocked off their ladders
Security guards hung from moving escalators

And now that is said
Tony seized the control
He built his base in Edinburgh
Had on his hotel wall
A hooded friar on a tractor
He took a bluey and he called Totale
Who said, “the North has rose again”
But it will turn out wrong

When I was in cabaret
I vowed to defend
All of the English clergy
Though they have done wrong
And the fall has begun
This has got out of hand
I will go for foreign aid
But he Tony, laughed down the phone
Said “Totale go back to bed”
The North has rose today
And you can stuff your aid!
And you can stuff your aid!

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Categories
Dream Pop Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Jesus & Mary Chain – Head On

Day 27. This is actually the second time this particular song has appeared during a Song of the Day series. The first time was during the Cover Versions series, in the form of the excellent cover by Pixies. This original version is a solid piece of dark Post Punk Pop, late ’80s style. The Reid brothers are on top form here. Stylish synthetic bass rhythms & stupendous rhythms are central to the composition, with the distorted swirls of electric guitar adding colour depth.

As soon as I get my head around you
I come around catching sparks off you
I get an electric shock from you
This secondhand living just won’t do
And the way I feel tonight
I could die and I wouldn’t mind
And there’s something going on inside
Makes you want to feel
Makes you want to try
Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky
And I can’t stand up
I can’t cool down
I can’t get my head off the ground
As soon as I get my head around you
I come around catching sparks off you
And all I ever got from you
Was all I ever took from you
Yeah, the world could die in pain
And I wouldn’t feel no shame
And there’s nothing holding me to blame
Makes you want to feel
Makes you want to try
Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky
And I’m taking myself to a dirty part of town
Where all my troubles can’t be found
I said yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
And I’m taking myself to a dirty part of town
Where all my troubles can’t be found
Makes you want to feel
Makes you want to try
Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky

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Categories
Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Wire – Kidney Bingos

Day 14.

A fellow member of a Facebook group, the best indie album ever, posted this video tonight, asking if anyone else was into mid ’80’s Wire. Oh yes, I certainly am. I love this period of Wire , this song is a personal favourite & I was surprised to see so little Wire in previous series of Song of the Day (except for Outdoor Miner way back in the A-Z series). As an added bonus, I have included a live version recorded for KEXP in 2011. Enjoy.

Natural splits sunburn jets pride marks smart bets
Strikers luck pitch backs heap tips pit slacks
Dressed pints demon shrinks bread drunk dead drinks
Stretch clubs models box draw skin black shocks

Money spines paper lung kidney bingos organ fun

Flag stunt rock stone dole axe crash dive
Breath thrift take speed double take weekends
Skull row drugs hall colour bars sex calls
Sparkle finds rented rings pretty things clipped wings

Gold street spy fleet scandal food poor treat
Fire run club gun rule mob burn some
Bomb time pop crime stock frame steady climb
Fresh name donor game fair meat all the same

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Categories
Indie Rock New Wave Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Cure – A Forest

Day 9.

Another one inspired by Mark Fisher’s writings today. Just read his post about The Cure’s seminal trilogy of albums (Seventeen Seconds, Faith & Pornography) & this song gets mentioned quite a bit. It’s a great song by a great band & is one of the songs which helped to shape & define the angular, jerky nature of Post Punk & the ghostly ephemerality of Goth. Fisher, in his piece, also speculates about whether Robert Smith spectral, effect-laden guitar sound was also a key influence in the formulation of My Bloody Valentine’s dreamlike Shoegaze sound.

Come closer and see
See into the trees
Find the girl
If you can
Come closer and see
See into the dark
Just follow your eyes
Just follow your eyes

I hear her voice
Calling my name
The sound is deep
In the dark
I hear her voice
And start to run
Into the trees
Into the trees

Into the trees

Suddenly I stop
But I know it’s too late
I’m lost in a forest
All alone
The girl was never there
It’s always the same
I’m running towards nothing
(Again and again and again and again)

And again

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Categories
Electronic Music New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): New Order – Temptation

Day 6.

Not really much to say about this one. I’ve been listening to New Order a lot recently & YouTube throws this one at me randomly quite a lot. It’s one of my favourite, if not my favourite, New Order songs. I recently shared this video on Facebook & posited the question, ‘does a more beautiful blending of melancholia and joy exist?’ If it does I’m yet to find it.

Heaven, a gateway, a hope
Just like a feeling inside, it’s no joke
And though it hurts me to see you this way
Betrayed by words, I’d never heard, too hard to say
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home

Each way I turn, I know I’ll always try
To break this circle that’s been placed around me
From time to time, I find I’ve lost some need
That was urgent to myself, I do believe
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home

Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
Oh, you’ve got grey eyes
Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
You’ve got grey eyes

And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before
No, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go

Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Oh no, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before

Categories
Indie Rock Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Killing Joke – Eighties

Day 5.

Famously the song that “inspired” Kurt Cobain to write the riff for the Nirvana hit Come As You Are, Eighties is a fearsome slice of Post Punk savagery. With the famous pummelling riff, the angular rhythms & the soaring chorus, Eighties was one of the essential building blocks of Alternative Rock as we know it today. Like yesterdays song, this came on randomly while I watched music videos on YouTube this afternoon. I instantly decided to feature it as tomorrow’s Song of the Day.

Eighties, I’m living in the eighties
Eighties, I have to push, I have to struggle
Eighties, get out of my way, I’m not for sale no more
Eighties, let’s kamikaze ’til we get there

And we sang
You do it this way

Eighties, by day we run by night we dance, we do
Eighties, I’m in love with the coming race
Eighties, I’ve got the best, I’ll take all I can get
Eighties, I’m living for the eighties

Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push
Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I struggle
Eighties, I’m living

Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push
Eighties, push, push, struggle

Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push

Check out some great music with the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Electronic Music Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Church – Under The Milky Way

Day 4.

Okay, okay. I missed a day (or 2) & I’m sorry. This song came on randomly after I was listening to New Order on YouTube the other day. It’s stunning, cinematic Synth Pop from the end of the ’80’s, with just enough Indie cool to keep it in the company of bands like Echo & The Bunnymen & the aforementioned New Order on many a mixtape. Also a great song for a movie soundtrack, as evidenced by its appearance in a pivotal scene of madcap time-travel yarn Donnie Darko.

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

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Categories
Indie Rock Post Punk

Pool Sharks – Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? b/w Sexyman

“We don’t overtly reference politics in the songs, but the themes we
use are critical of religion, traditional hierarchies, the cynicism
of capitalism,” explains Pool Sharks frontman Joey Whitehead. I wonder, in this context, of the title for this song is in fact inspired by a fierce debate on Twitter earlier this year based on whether or not white people wash their legs. The debate spiralled out of control & became a frank, if heated, discussion, over whether or not you should wash your legs. This kind of absurdity is emblematic of the breakdown of society which the collapse of late capitalism brings with it. This conversation is a surreal microcosm of greater, further reaching questions around race, class, community & social mobility.

Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? is a mournful lament to the soul crushing daily grind of the dreaded 9-5 world & the feeling of being controlled or owned by your job. This is particularly timely in a UK at the end of decades of rolling back worker rights & protections while facing the greatest “bonfire of workers rights” we’ve ever faced as a society. It’s a song about what Karl Marx referred to as alienation. Pool Sharks explain in their press release how the central character in the song is being “disconnected from his own identity and the parts of his life that matter.” This parable of late capitalist existence is set to pounding, Post Punk rhythms with distorted guitars & vocals. The press release mentions bands like Parquet Courts, Gang Of Four & The Cribs &, while this is accurate, the biggest sonic similarity I feel for this song is early ’00’s Post Punk revivalists Bloc Party & their biggest influence, The Cure.

B-side Sexyman seems to compare more, sonically, to the bands own list of influences, particularly Gang Of Four. Angular stop-start rhythms, stabbing guitars & a spacious arrangement underpin this tale of Jesus Christ as “a salesman, selling the concept of a saviour to people’s chaotic and unhealthy lifestyles, which they willingly accept.” this is a fierce satirisation of the “predatory nature of organised religion.”

On the subject of the high concepts of the lyrics, Joe Whitehead chuckles, “People usually just end up liking the chord sequence.”

Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? is out on the 9th October as part of Safe Suburban Home’s current run of limited edition cassettes. You can preorder it here.

Pre-save to Spotify here

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Categories
New Wave Post Punk Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Covers): Queens Of The Stone Age – Never Say Never

Day 24. It was a toss up between their version of The Kinks’ classic Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy & this, their cover of the ’80’s Post-Punk/New Wave classic Never Say Never by Romeo Void.

Queens Of The Stone Age imbue the Post-Punk rhythms with a hard Rock muscularity that a) makes the song rock harder than the original & b) adds a layer of sleaziness which the original doesn’t quite match. In fact I’d argue the original has a sense of wide-eyed innocence which Josh Homme’s fuzz-laden lead guitar steamrolls right over. A great cover of a great song.

If time itself was his demeanor
There’d be no sunlight or a glimmer
Of sunlight landin’ on the street
Some say girls must be discreet
Some say girls must be discreet
Nursing their fathers locked inside
They masqueraded as his bride

I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
But there’s somethin’
In your eyes that says
Maybe that’s never
Never say never

They slump by the courthouse with windburn skin
That man could give a fuck
About the grin on your face
As you walk by, randy as a goat
He’s sleepin’ on papers
But he’d be warm in your coat

I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
But there’s somethin’
In your eyes that says
Maybe that’s never
Never say never

There’s no easy way to lose your sight
On the street, on the stairs
Who’s on your flight
Old couple walks by, as ugly as sin
But he’s got her, she’s got him

I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
But there’s somethin’
In your eyes that says
Maybe that’s never
Never say never

I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together
I might like you better
If we slept together

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Covers) Spotify playlist.

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