Infinite Variety & Earthquakes & Tidal Waves


Infinite Variety

If I had to list every act that the members of The Cathode Ray had ever plyed their trade in then this would likely become an overly long post. Instead I’ll just say that singer Jeremy Thoms was once upon a time a Revillo, going under the gloriously bad but somehow perfect for that band moniker of Fabian Wonderful, while Neil Baldwin was bassist of TV21 and guitarist Steve Fraser used to be a Scar.

Various bloggers have mentioned the influence of Buzzcocks, Wire and Blur on the music of The Cathode Ray and, sure enough, the single Resist does come over as the closest thing we’ll ever get to hearing what a collaboration between A Different Kind of Tension era Buzzcocks, early Wire and Blur at the height of Britpop might have sounded like.

The Cathode Ray have a new album Infinite Variety out shortly on Stereogram Recordings, a label based in Edinburgh whose roster includes Lola in Slacks and James King and The Lonewolves. If such an award exists, Stereogram surely must be in the running for best Scottish independent label in 2015.

Written and produced by Fabian, sorry Jeremy, this is their new single Resist, which the band themselves describe as ‘a sort of crazy punk rock/krautrock oompah hybrid.’ I find it almost impossible to believe that anybody that follows his blog won’t approve heartily of this track:

To coincide with the release of Infinite Variety, the band will perform a half hour in-store set at the Elvis Shakespeare Book & Record Shop on Leith Walk in Edinburgh on Record Store Day (Saturday, April 18).

Here’s The Cathode Ray Facebook page and here’s the Facebook page of Stereogram Recordings.

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves

Dot Dash are one of those groups that appear incapable of writing a bad tune. They’re also one of the most underrated bands in America in my not entirely humble opinion.

Their third album, Half-Remembered Dream, was one of my favourites of 2013 and since then a new lead guitarist, Steve Hansgen, formerly of Washington D.C. hardcore pioneers Minor Threat, has slotted seamlessly into their line-up. Now they have just released a new album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves on Canadian indie label The Beautiful Music.

I’ll be covering Dot Dash in more detail soon but if you want a taster from the album – which I would definitely recommend – head over to this Bandcamp page where you can download a free MP3 of track three from the album, Rainclouds.

For more on Dot Dash, here’s their Facebook page.

For my post Three Girl Rhumba & A Band Called Dot Dash, click here. For Wire & A Band Called Dot Dash (The Sequel), click here.



Peter Cook Revolver

So far this year, I’ve featured a couple of performances from The Rich Kids and Rezillos from 1978’s new music show Revolver. And today’s post features two more.

I’m not sure about regional variations but on STV, Revolver aired on Saturday nights at eleven o’clock. 45 minutes later it was followed by a quick religious spot called Late Call, which usually consisted of some Church of Scotland Minister telling you about his friend Jesus. Then the channel would shut down for the night.

Many including myself have very fond memories of the show; even back then the idea of Peter Cook playing the part of an old school ballroom manager fallen on hard times and forced to book new bands that he despised like The Jam and X–Ray Spex was infinitely preferable to the unfunny, narcissistic (and worse) DJs on Top Of The Pops or the earnestness of Bob Harris on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The audience certainly seemed to enjoy themselves as you can see here. This is I Don’t Need to Tell Her by The Lurkers:

Revolver is sometimes remembered as a punk and new wave show but there was also a smattering of just about every genre of music that was popular in the late 70s at some point during its eight episodes: reggae, disco, power/pop, rock’n’roll and heavy rock. Nick Lowe made an appearance the same night that The Rezillos were on. As did Elvis Costello, The Motors, Matumbi and an act called Brent Ford (geddit?) and the Nylons that I have very little recollection of – some of the band wore nylons over their faces like robbers and they played high octane cover versions of sixties classics.

Kate Bush turned up on the pilot of Revolver to sing Them Heavy People. XTC appeared on that show too and in later weeks there were Siouxsie and The Banshees, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Buzzcocks, Boomtown Rats, The Jam, Rich Kids and Eddie and The Hotrods and more but some folk still hated the show and ratings were never that high.

‘I enjoy pop shows as well as the next person, but I can honestly say this is the biggest load of garbage seen in years,’ one Evening Times reader complained. ‘Top of the Pops has nothing to fear from this awful show.’

Revolver only lasted for a single series which is a pity. From the final show this is The Only Ones with Another Girl Another Planet, one of the greatest songs ever recorded and featuring former Beatstalker Alan Mair on bass, a man who will be releasing a debut solo album this year which I’m looking forward to hearing.

The Lurkers play live tonight at The Wunderbar in Midsomer Norton. Here’s their official site.

And here’s the Facebook page of The Only Ones. Alan Mair can be found on Facebook too.

New Street Adventure & Moonlands


Two for Tuesday logo version

New Street Adventure have just released a third single from their debut album, No Hard Feelings, which came out late last year on Acid Jazz Records and launched at London’s 100 Club.

The band fuse infectious soul grooves with indie guitar riffs and lyrics that are nearer The Style Council or even The Streets than anything you’re ever likely to hear on any 4/4 Sixties stomper.

Last December they recorded a much praised session for the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show on BBC 6Music and their music has been given a spin by everyone from BBC London’s Robert Elms to the unofficial Mayor of Sunset Strip, Mister Rodney Bingenheimer, on his legendary KROQ show.

According to Artrocker: ‘[they] could one day be mentioned alongside the big names of British Soul Music’ while Paul Moody of Q Magazine noted: ‘Every now and then a young band comes along who shake you from your reveries about pop’s golden past and remind you that there are still classic chapters to be written.’

The Big A.C.

New Street Adventure will be playing a London date at The Jazz Cafe in Camden on Thursday night and will then be live in Brighton, Hamburg, Birmingham and Newcastle-under-Lyme before the end of the month. Hopefully they head north of the border sometime soon too.

The official promo for The Big A.C. showcases the talents of Levanna McLean, AKA the Northern Soul Girl, whose videos featuring her dancing along to northern classics on the streets of Bristol, the Clifton Suspension Bridge and on Glastonbury Tor, can be truly said to have went viral on YouTube. She was even invited by Pharrell Williams to dance at the 2014 Brit Awards where she managed to stay on her feet throughout. Unlike a certain older blonde a few weeks ago.

This is The Big A.C. Enjoy.

For more on New Street Adventure:

Moonlands are a new band from London/Brighton consisting of Lucy Elliott (vocals, guitar), Joel Frosh (guitar), Josh Fry (bass, backing vocals) and Joel Brooks (drums).

They describe their sound as ‘a mix of pop melodies with an ethereal backdrop to create a big atmospheric sound’ and influences include Haim, Anna Calvi, Cocteau Twins, Sonic Youth, Radiohead and Bombay Bicycle Club.

They only got together last year but have made fantastic progress already and are now gigging on a fairly regular basis – including a recent date at the Finsbury in London with another of my favourite new bands, The Jacques. Gigslutz have just named them as ‘Ones to Watch’ and they’re hoping to make an even bigger impact this summer during the festival season and that ambition seems entirely realistic.

Filmed and recorded live on two camera phones, a DSLR and a four track recorder this is Prom Song from their debut EP which came out last summer. I think I detect a little Nicole Atkins here, albeit an indie take on that particular artist, and frankly, that is no bad thing.

For more on Moonlands:

Top of the Pops & Hanging Around

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Here are The Rezillos performing Top of the Pops, not on Top of the Pops but Revolver.

The first Rezillos album Can’t Stand the Rezillos was released in July 1978 and like the single Top of the Pops, the album speedily made its way into the UK top twenty.

Within four months, though, the band had imploded.

Extraordinarily enough the second Rezillos studio album, Zero, is finally set to be released and is due out on March 10 via Philadelphia based Metropolis Records.

Anybody who has seen the band live in recent years or heard the session they recorded last summer for Billy Sloan will know that they sound surprisingly fresh and irresistible as ever. This is a band that clearly never lost the ability to whip up taut, hook-heavy gems like Tiny Boy and Groovy Room, songs that possess the same kind of clamorous energy that helped earn them their reputation all those years ago.

Stranglers March On Tour

The band is touring with The Stranglers in the UK this month including dates in Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Glasgow.

I saw both bands together at the Apollo back in 1977 and that night, Tory councillor Bill Aitkin, chairman of Glasgow District Council’s licensing committee and a group of fifteen or so committee members attended the event to monitor the behaviour (or misbehaviour) of ‘punk’ fans and to find out if punk concerts were suitable for the young people of the city. This kind of thing actually used to be depressingly common back then.

Not long into into the headliner’s set, Hugh Cornwell instructed the lighting crew to shine a spotlight up onto the balcony where the councillors were seated and made some disparaging remarks about them. The audience promptly booed them and you had to suspect that this might further give them the hump and the city’s unofficial punk ban would continue.

The next day the politicians got their say in the local press.

Talking about the dress sense of the crowd, Aitkin noted that some punks had shocked a number of his colleagues and claimed they resembled walking ironmonger shops with their chains and razor blades – obviously he had no idea of the amount of gear that the bouncers confiscated from fans during searches as they waited to enter the concert hall.

Aitkin also commented that the event was noisy and exuberant but at all times the fans had remained good natured, cheerful and ‘a credit to the city’. Apparently the council group even joined The Stranglers afterwards in their dressing room and had an enlightening discussion.

It was decided to finally welcome punk bands to the city.

The Stranglers have been playing Glasgow on a fairly regular basis ever since. Last year they fitted in a date at the O2 Academy during a sold out tour that celebrated their 40th anniversary. This time round the band will be at the same venue where they intend to dip into some of the less obvious music from their seventeen albums worth of material. The show has already sold out.

This is the song that was pencilled in to become the third Stranglers single although Something Better Change was eventually chosen instead. This is Hanging Around:

Here’s the Facebook page of The Rezillos. For The Stranglers’ Facebook page, click here.