Scrawl – He’s Drunk/plus, also, too (Rough US 51) (1989)

ScrawlA thoroughly gratuitous posting to celebrate seeing Scrawl tonight at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival near Rye, Sussex.

When I first moved to Columbus, Ohio in the late 1980s, Scrawl were my favorite local band. They were also the favorite local band of people living in my house, so I never needed to buy the trio’s Lps when originally released. But when I moved out, I had to get my own copy. I telephoned Magnolia Thunderpussy to reserve the then recently released 1989 CD two-fer re-issue. It took me less than 15 mins. to cycle down High Street from my house on W. Blake Ave. to the store, by which time, some douchebag had finagled my copy claiming, when asked, that, oh yeah, he was the one who called to ask them to hold one behind the counter. For some reason, maybe because I was simply too crestfallen and bitter, it was some time before I managed to pick it up.

Fast forward a couple of years to when I was writing for the Ohio State University student newspaper, The Lantern. I was writing an interview feature on observational comedienne Reno, who was in town for a while workshopping her new act. We hit it off and exchanged CDs, she lent me PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me while I loaned her my hard-won Scrawl compilation. Shortly, I returned the Harvey (which I didn’t really care for) and waited for my disc. And waited. And waited.

Fifteen years later I was still waiting. In the intervening time, I’d move to England and, having periodically mourned the loss, finally decided enough was enough. It was easy enough to locate Reno on the interweb; I e-mailed, first lightly asking after her health, then reminded her of the situation and, for the lols as much as anything, requested the return of my CD, if she was finished listening to it. I even described the spine to help her locate the disc in her collection. To my pleasant surprize, she still had it and sent it forthwith with a kindly note attached. I think she was a/bemused at my tenacity and hope she got some material out of the episode.

I am playing the disc to gee me up for gettin’ down tonight.

UPDATE

All tomorrow's parties yesterday

All tomorrow’s parties yesterday.

Great time had by all last night, Scrawl were as powerful as ever I’ve seen them, the first time being in 1987! It was, however, a surreal experience watching all these very drunk indie kids and indie old people (99% white, 75% male) appreciating ironically giant purple octopus installations, arcade gambling and walls painted with signs that said Fun Times; ah, the kitsch charms of a Pontins holiday park. It was as if some architect with way too much time on her hands set out to design a venue to be appreciated ironically by very drunk indie kids and indie old people; and yet the contrivances were genuine, the detail true to life.

Let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t tripping on anything stronger than Guinness.

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Published in: on November 30, 2012 at 11:28 am  Comments (2)  

Rolf Harris – Stylophone by Dübreq (DBQ 72 1)

Stylophone by Dübreq

“If you can write, you can master the Stylophone in 15 minutes,” intones Rolf Harris warmly as if it’s a good thing.

I wish I had the capacity to upload last Saturday’s 30p pseudo-scientific 7″ vinyl ad for the pocket keyboard; failing that, I wish I was a dance producer so I could sample Rolf barely containing himself as he hypes “one of the most remarkable applications in modern electronics”, occasionally laughing in disbelief at this glissando-ridden wonder instrument. But I can’t and I’m not, so I’ll just take the piss.

The a-side culminates in a version of “Silent Night” perpetrated by a Stylophone Quartet: “Imagine your family or friends gathered round Christmas Eve playing this,” he muses, full of awe.

The horror. The horror.

Published in: on November 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm  Comments (10)  

Phil Spector’s 20 Greatest Hits (1976)

Back to MonoSPECTOR IMPLICATED IN OWN SUICIDE                   Deceased Producer Calls Allegations “Libelous”, Claims He Was “Not Even In House” When Self-Murder Took Place

(Hollywood, CA) — It is not in dispute that Phil Spector went out on the town early in the evening of Sunday February 2, 2003, visiting such Tinseltown hot spots as Trader Vic’s, Dan Tana’s and House of Blues, and managing to consume a large quantity of alcohol in the process. It’s what the eccentric 60s record producer did when he arrived at Pyrenees Castle, his turreted, 33-room Los Angeles mansion, that a Los Angeles trial means to find out.

“All that night, Spector had been charming, complimenting his appearance, reminding himself of famous singles he’s made, basically flattering his ego,” Spector’s Brazilian chauffeur, Adriano de Souza testified. “But on the way home, fuelled by alcohol and medication, he turned nasty, berating his ridiculous wig and yelling about how all his music sounds like Christmas records.”

According to driver de Souza, it was shortly after Spector got home alone in the small hours of Monday that he heard a single shot from within. De Souza says he rushed in to Spector’s office to find the music mogul laying lifelessly sprawled on a faux Louis XIV chair, his head tilted back. The bottom of his mouth had been blown off and a 36-calibre Colt revolver was found under his left leg. At this point, de Souza claims Spector uttered the phrase,”I think I killed myself.”

The dead producer challenges this, claiming he was misheard and what he actually said was, “Someone’s been and shot my chin off along with bits of my brain, honestly.” He posits to being the victim of “accidental murder”, posthumously telling one interviewer, “I wasn’t even in Pyrenees Castle at the time of my suicide.” Defence lawyers point to the fact that the gun was not registered to Spector. However, prosecutors have argued that Spector was a malicious “demonic maniac” who has a history of torturing himself and who, on other occasions, had pointed loaded guns at himself and pulled the trigger, only for the hammer hit an empty chamber.

“He’s been bat shit nuts for years,” said one prosecutor. “It’s a wonder he didn’t top himself years ago.”

The trial continues.

Published in: on November 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm  Comments (2)  

Sister Sledge – We Are Family (K50587) (1979)

NEWS IN BRIEF

FOLLOWING #1 RECORDS, SISTER SLEDGE NOW ACTING “LIKE THEIR SHIT DON’T STINK”                Neighbour Dismayed At Family’s New Attitude

(Philadelphia, PA) — They were fine when their first thirteen singles failed to reach the Billboard Top 40, but since twice ascending the top of the US R&B music charts with the songs “He’s The Greatest Dancer” and the title track to their third Lp We Are Family, a neighbour says sibling disco act Sister Sledge now walk around “like their shit don’t stink.”

“They’re all ‘Nile Rogers’ this and ‘Grammy nominations’ that,” spat 71-year old neighbour Lula Mae Bulkhead. “Flouncing around their newly redecorated art deco-style semi thinking they’re God’s gift, even that one who looks like an alpaca.”

“It makes we want to puke,” the crotchety septuagenarian spinster added. “And it’s only gotten worse since the Bucs [Pittsburgh Pirates] started using ‘We Are Family’ as a sort of theme song.”

“At least we can be sure those nice kids from Throbbing Gristle next door but one won’t turn into such twats,” Miss Bulkhead observed. “I mean, they’ll never have a hit record, will they?”

Published in: on November 19, 2012 at 9:17 am  Comments (6)  

David Bowie – Pinups (RS1003) (1973)

TIME-TRAVELLING BOWIE TO RELEASE COVERS ALBUM OF SHITTY ARTISTS HE WILL INFLUENCE IN THE FUTURE                                                                       

Pinups Lp To Be Made Up of Latter Day Songs That Sound Like David Bowie

What would you do if you had a time machine? Travel to the future and bring back information to help civilisation, say, medicines to cure our most virulent diseases or a power source to break our crippling dependence on fossil fuels? Maybe you’d find out the results of major sporting events and selfishly make a fortune backing the winners? You might simply want to meet civilisation’s great thinkers of the past: DaVinci, Jesus Christ, Aristotle, Shakespeare or whoever discovered fire. Or perhaps, if you ventured ahead many millenia, you’d return with the meaning of life itself.

Well, if you were orange-mulleted pop star David Bowie, you’d journey forward a decade or two and reappear with a clutch of lame songs you’ve inspired for an Lp of cover versions with a twist. The time machine, a Teriberns-2000, was developed in collaboration with his Mainman management team and has allowed the former David Jones to see both how his current “Glam Rock” incarnation gives impetus to the next generation of Goth no-hopers like Bauhaus, and how his later self’s “plastic soul” and electronic collaborations with Brian Eno will directly galvanise “new wave” mediocrities such as ABC, Duran Duran and Gary Numan.

“It’s a dismal legacy,” sighed Bowie himself, “of whiny crooning and psuedo-psychology.” He went on to apologise profusely for his “dire impact” on popular music.

The quickly recorded, stop-gap Lp, done with little thought as to song arrangement and designed, as much as anything, to capitalise on Bowie’s current crest of popularity, will not only feature all of the lame-os above, but such upcoming shameless Bowie rip-offs as “A Girl Like You” by Edwyn Collins, “Party Hard” by Pulp, as well as Suede’s “This Hollywood Life” and Blur’s “M.O.R.”.

“Some of them, like the Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Love My Way’, really do sound uncannily like La Dame,” averred Mainman boss Tony DeFries of one forthcoming influencee. “A lot shittier, obviously, but still.”

Of course, Bowie’s anticipated influence extends beyond music and on to a school of cultural thought embracing cynical image manipulation that is due to be twisted as mere “style over content” and motivate many rampantly commercial artists, including one of the 80s and 90s biggest stars, Madonna; though interestingly, Bowie chose not bring back any of her songs to cover.

“The saying goes that only a few hundred people bought the first Velvet Underground record,” writes fresh-faced music journalist Clifford Snoats in his review of Pinups. “But that each one of them was inspired to start a band. Something of that same phenomenon will happen with Bowie, multiplied several fold given that he’ll shift that much more product. But what the saying doesn’t tell you is that 99.9% of those VU bands truly sucked ass, as is also the case here.”

“And I mean could-suck-the-chrome-right-off-a-tail-pipe sucked,” he added. “Spandau Ballet’s ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’? Seriously, what the fuck is that?”

As to what else the future will hold, Bowie would not be drawn, apart from saying that he would “sell a shedload of piss-poor albums in the 80s and then marry a Somoli supermodel.”

Published in: on November 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm  Comments (6)  

Paul McCartney – Flowers In the Dirt (PCSD 106) (1989)

Transcript of Prince Asbo’s recently discovered audio diary, found on a CD-R in deepest Kent. We warn you, some readers may find the following distressing.

Day 335 without any post from Ekolad and 476 days since we’ve heard from Farmer Glitch…I find myself growing ever more light-headed and my hands shake as I adjust the weight of the tone arm [inaudible] with only scraps of scritchy soul jazz and Beatles related records to keep me going…had to resort to cannibalizing scores of Lps for supplies…[inaudible, possibly “I have grown a”] full beard…[audible panting as if out breath, followed by muffled speech]…fewer boot fairs…chaz shops picked over…what’s it all for?…I mean, look at this, a Flowers In the Dirt from Etchinghill purchased last summer–is that what it’s come to?…the first Macca solo “comeback” record in a long line touted as “his best since Band On the Run” is pretty energetic as these things go…saw him on tour behind Flowers…Elvis Costello co-writes…includes fold-out lyric sheet, heavy day-glo yellow inner sleeve…but it’s not enough to keep Thrifty Vinyl readers entertained [1 minute inaudible] tried to inject variety with different types of reviews, stories, fake news, surreal conceits, etc [apparent random words sounds like “big fire queer jumping townhouse gruffy (sic) smile insolvent”]….but all in same oh-so arch “voice” [shuffling obscures audio]…smug, not enough intellectual rigour to match pretensions, laboured know-it-all [begins sobbing], over-cooked big words critic speak clichés, no humanity…[sobbing then goes on for a full 3 minutes]…all same kind of “worthy” records, no silly or kitschy stuff…mummy, why is the stereo cabinet getting dark?…so very cold…if only…had help….[after a minute of heavy breathing, transmission ends].

Last known photo of the one called Prince Asbo.


Published in: on November 14, 2012 at 9:16 am  Comments (7)  

The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar” b/w “Bitch” and “Let It Rock” (RS19100) (1971)

NATION’S 8-12 BOYS NAME FAVORITE ROCK SONGS Yet Even Critics Fail To Recognise Pop Obscurities

(Columbus, Ohio) — A survey of American boys age 8-12 published yesterday by the Ohio State University Center For Cultural Studies has revealed the young demographic’s heretofore unhinted micro-knowledge of classic rock ephemera, which has both astounded and baffled cultural academics. Responding to an OSU questionaire, the nation’s pre-teens identified works so obscure that they are, according to lead researcher Jamie Tan, “undocumented in any late 20th Century popular music reference book,” and includes such lost gems as “Wear Your Ringpiece Around My Neck”, “Love Me Poo”, and “The First C*nt Is the Deepest”.

“I’d never even heard of the singles ‘Little Douche Poop’ and ‘Good Vibrators’,” claimed music writer Dominic Priore, “Let alone the Bitch Boys, the unknown California band who apparently recorded them.”

Shaking his head in disbelief, high-brow critic and Bob Dylan scholar Greil Marcus said, “I thought I’d studied every Dylan track going but given that these precocious tweenies cited ‘Only A Homo’ and ‘Quim The Eskimo’ as the best Bob songs, well, I guess I have a lot more research to do.”

Boys from across the country were even happy to sing some of their most esteemed numbers: “Sh*ttin’ on the dock of the bay,” trilled one budding vocalist. “Watchin’ the turds roll away!”

Another lad happily crooned, “Riders on your mom!”

“Riders on your mom!” he added.

Other arcane songs featuring on the list of decades-old songs well-loved by pre-pubescent boys are, “Every Little Clit Hurts”, “Wet Dream Believer”, “Magic Busts”, “Wanky Panky”, “Itchy Poo Park” and “It’s My Farty”.

“The titles are vaguely familiar, yet I simply fail to recognise any of these records,” said fabulously wealthy rock writer Clifford Snoats. “It’s like these kids live in an alternate universe or something.”

For some reason, the only classic rock song previously known to music critics to appear in the survey was the 1971 Rolling Stones b-side, “Bitch”.

Stifling giggles, no doubt at their adult counterparts’ lack of pop culture awareness, the nation’s pre-teen boys mentioned a few disco songs from the 70s they also admired such as “Piss You”, “Shite Fever” and “Booger Ooger Ooger”.

Published in: on November 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stevie Wonder – Innervisions (1973)

“The artist is the creator of beautiful things.” — from the Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)

Like many Wildean bon mots, this means less than it says. Or rather it says less than it means, raising, as it does, more questions than it answers. To begin with, what is beauty? Well, in life as in drama it’s often more effective to show than tell and, apart from, like, nature and shit, one can do worse than point to Stevie Wonder’s 16th solo album (his third or fourth “grown up” Lp, if you prefer) for an example of thoroughly satisfying beauty. A musically progressive and melodically bold five-star album, Innervisions stands head and shoulders above all other Wonder records for me, unburdened by the occasional oversentimentalism and unctuous filler of previous and subsequent ones. Anyone who professes to like pop music should have this in their collection.

“Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated,” Wilde further pronounced. “For these there is hope.” If so, I live under rainbows of hope, being compelled to buy Innervisions on vinyl and bask in its beauty despite having a CD copy for 20 years or so.

A cropped image of the album’s arresting inner gatefold.

Published in: on November 11, 2012 at 10:59 am  Comments (4)  

Prince & the Revolution – “America” b/w “Girl” (203089) (1985)

America

Given the amount of compromise it takes to achieve public office, it’s easy to be cynical about politricks in general and popular elections in particular. Nonetheless, we are celebrating the re-election of President Barak Obama at the Lyminge Democratic Headquarters by listening to all 21:46 Oxfam-purchased mins. of Prince’s frenetic and paranoid “America”. And as our President steers the mighty USS Democracy a few incremental degrees to the left, making a substantial positive difference in the longer term we hope, we note that we prefer the stomping twelve inch version of Around the World In a Day‘s fourth single since it features more groove and less of the the chorus whose melody is a not-very-clever blue note reworking of Ward and Bates’ “America the Beautiful”.

We are then relaxing as we contemplate the atmospheric pleading of the flip side.

Published in: on November 7, 2012 at 10:28 am  Comments (3)  

Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight) (2000)

Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

AREA LADY UNRESPONSIVE TO REPEATED ENTREATIES BY LOCAL MAN                                             Blames Hearing Loss

(Columbus, Ohio) — In what local officials are calling “remarkably cold”, an area lady has remained unmoved by serial pleas from a local man for her to “hear him tonight”.

“We know that the local man has asked the area lady to hear him tonight at least six times,” said Columbus City Council spokesperson Wilson Hayes. “The Council finds her lack of response remarkably cold given the couple were dancing in the moonlight at the time.”

It is possible, said one eyewitness, that the music to which the pair danced was simply too loud to engage in a dialogue. The local man refuted this saying he “felt love for the first time” and “delight” that he knew was “true [because of] the look in [area lady’s] eyes” which does not require aural communication.

“I just feel like I won’t get [area lady] out of my mind,” he added.

When reached by Thrifty Vinyl reporters for comment, the area lady signed that she was unable to hear the local man tonight as she has been profoundly deaf since birth.

Published in: on November 6, 2012 at 9:44 am  Comments (4)