Thursday, September 15, 2016

Everybody Up! - Epilogue

OH YES WE CAN LOVE - A History Of Glam Rock

Purchasable here:

And here's the top pop picks from each disk!



Honourable mentions: BILLY FURY "Jealousy", CURVED AIR "Back Street Luv", VINCE TAYLOR AND HIS PLAYBOYS "Brand New Cadillac"


T. REX "Metal Guru"

Honourable mentions: MICK RONSON "Growing Up And I'm Fine", THE OSMONDS "Crazy Horses", ROXY MUSIC "Virginia Plain"


SPARKS "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us"

Honourable mentions: KISS "Rock And Roll All Nite", SAILOR "A Glass Of Champagne", FOX "Only You Can"


Argh...  This is too difficult...  Fuck it.  TWO WAY TIE!!!

THE RUNAWAYS "Cherry Bomb"

BONEY M. "Rasputin"

Honourable mentions: MAGAZINE "The Light Pours Out Of Me", ADAM AND THE ANTS "Antmusic", BLONDIE "Rip Her To Shreds"


Sorry to be predictable, but it has to be EARL BRUTUS "The SAS And The Glam That Goes With It" (here performed by their latest incarnation, THE PRE NEW)

Honourable mentions: MARILYN MANSON "The Dope Show", SUEDE "Metal Mickey", MORRISSEY "Glamorous Glue"


(See you all back here next week for "Each Holding An ORB" - it's only twelve years late!)

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Everybody Up! 21 - Unstoppable (Except At The End)

14. THE DARKNESS "Growing On Me"

Fad retro metal here from the flavours of the half a week from 2003, featuring the constantly inappropriately-dressed frontman Justin Hawkins, who would eventually produce an imagination-free cover of "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" under the guise of British Whale, with a video featuring darts supremo Phil "The Power" Taylor.

(DON'T look it up.  It's not worth it.)

I did not fall under the spell of these particular flashes in the pan at the time, when they were suddenly selling out arenas and contending for Christmas number one before completely disappearing, though many of my contemporaries did, so I have had plenty of exposure to their works.

I must say that this isn't nearly as bad as I remember - "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" was always the more annoying of their main two singles, and this one is relatively inoffensive hair metal, with the jarringly high voice of their lead singer deployed as a special weapon rather than all over the bloody place - so you could say, it's grown on me!!! (cymbal crash, mild jeering)  Ooh, tough crowd...

15. GOLDFRAPP "Strict Machine"

Another act who had a brief flirtation with mainstream success, Goldfrapp draw a shocking lineage from our friends Fox, who back in the day (and on one of the earlier disks) built a reputation on a coquettish frontwoman and off-kilter pop stylings - in this case, strictly electronic in flavour, like Moloko taken to its logical end.

As it's all very "ooh, I might have sex with you and it might be a bit pervy", I really don't have a great deal else to say about this, so let me pull the curtain back a crack on this business we call show: sound engineers rate diva-ish antics by artists they process on the Alison Goldfrapp Scale, and let's just say no-one else tops that out.

16. THE ARK "Clamour For Glamour"

Here come some Swedes.  Seasoned swedes, at that, with a career spanning nineteen years between 1991 and 2010.  And pretty popular ones as well - in Sweden at least, with three of their five albums going to number one.  A stark contrast to their career in the UK, which was crowned by a single reaching 121; turns out we're not the centre of the universe after all!

You would be forgiven for thinking, after the run we've been on, that this track was largely included due to the word "Glamour" in the title.  But no: I'm pleased to report that they are thematically correct, being both glam AND rockers, and this is a pretty good offering.

I did promise myself I wouldn't just parrot facts out of the book that came with the compilation - for one thing, it gives you less incentive to buy it, and I do actually recommend you do so - but it would be remiss of me not to mention that they toured with The Darkness at one point since, well, we've just mentioned The Darkness.  So, y'know...  There's that.

17. FOXY SHAZAM "Unstoppable"

Oh my sweet lord Schumacher, we've actually made it to the final track of the final disk of the compilation, some approximately seventeen years after starting to write about it!  It's not pat on the back time yet, though; to be frank I usually drift off a bit on this disk after Marilyn Manson, so let's have a quick listen to this one and see if it evokes any distant memories...

(twenty minutes later)

...No.  It hasn't left an impression.  OK, so as an essentially new offering, what do we have here?  Well it's definitely glam in a good many ways, including the stomping beat, marching bass and inspirational riff, coupled with the Freddie Mercury-esque vocal (they really should have shelled out for Queen.  A bit of "Seven Seas Of Rhye" would have gone down a storm at the end of the last disk).  They're also American, despite sounding very English - it's usually the other way round, so that's quite heartening to hear for once!

It's obviously not the most heavily played or well remembered song on this collection - which is a by-product of ending a glam retrospective in the 2000s, I guess - but it's a perfectly cromulent offering, and one which I was glad to re-listen to tonight as I finally wave a fond farewell to the compilation.  It's been a journey not without its rough patches, but one that was very much worth taking.

Perhaps you'd like to follow in my footsteps?

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Everybody Up! 20 - Hair Design By Nicky Clarke

10. EARL BRUTUS "The S.A.S. And The Glam That Goes With It"

Long time favourites of this writer, Earl Brutus were arguably the most underrated band of the nineties - although I could probably give you a list of ten to twenty "most underrated bands of the nineties", depending on time, mood and level of inebriation.

Completely out of step with the mainstream perception of "indie" music at the time, with neither a sharp image nor sickening youth on their side, and a penchant for nodding to both punk and classic rock at a time when both were considered extraordinarily passé, their crunching wall of guitars, samples and popular culture sloganeering struck a chord with this oddbod at the very least.

This is probably their best known offering.  Named after an inscription on a VHS video spine, this is the perfect summation of what Earl Brutus did, and their continuing legacy band The Pre New still do: a simple but catchy guitar hook; an excellent shout-along chorus ("you are your own reaction", in this case); and a bit in the middle where it all breaks down and goes a bit sketchy, before crashing perfectly back into step to career down the hill to the end.


11. GAY DAD "To Earth With Love"

And now for something completely different: Cliff Jones, music journalist, like many of his kind (and, let's face it, your esteemed writer - I will not be a hypocrite about this) actually wanted to be a rock star.  So he tried and he tried and he eventually came up with this - an absolute photofit of the kind of thing that was getting indie bands signed at the end of 1997 by a music industry desperately, gluttonously eating itself up in search of a quick buck.

And signed did he get, to the eventually ill-fated London Records, and out did it come, getting to number 10 in the charts.  And lo, did they go on to do nothing of consequence, being arguably the biggest case of Emperor's New Clothes since good old Sigue Sigue Sputnik.  See?  I can do continuity.  Who said I couldn't?  (smashes bottle) WHO SAID I COULDN'T???


The exact opposite of Earl Brutus, then - had all the right moves for the time but no individuality and consequently no lasting legacy.  No surprise mentions on major terrestrial television, no love from The Quietus, no enduring iconography - nothing but this two bit writer resentfully banging out a tattoo of mediocrity upon his barely mid-range laptop.  And when my rancid tapping comes to an end, well: what remains then?...

12. MARILYN MANSON "The Dope Show"

An interesting personal case of full circle, here: some time ago, a friend of mine (hello, Christian!  Though you're not reading this!) opined that the Marilyn Manson album "Mechanical Animals" was the closest we would get to a glam rock album in this day and age.  He was right on the money as well - the drum patterns, the gender play, even some of the riffs fully support that assessment.

And here we are with a vindication of that position - the inclusion of that album's lead single.  A perfect example of how to piss off middle America, the song actually starts with a shout of the word "DRUGS!" and progresses as idiot-baitingly as you would expect.

But as is the norm with mid-period Marilyn Manson, there is actually a great tune buried under the controversy - and a glam rock tune at that, albeit one spiked with ketamine to achieve a funereal crawl, fighting for its own breath under the weight of its own diseased guitars.  Which a very funny way of saying I really like the song, but there you go.

13. PULP "We Are The Boys"

Oh fuck off Jarvis.

Some time ago, a friend of mine (hello, Dan!  Though you're not reading this!) opined that we would look back upon the music of the nineties with great affection, aside from one band.  That band, dear reader, was Blur.  Time has proved him wrong, for it is Pulp.

What appeared at the time to be innovative storytelling pop - and to be fair, hindsight hasn't dulled that - now grates, with the knowledge that every one-fingered keyboard intro will bring a tale of Jarvis Cocker's favourite hero, one Mr Jarvis Branson Cocker, and how incredibly great he is, and how every girl that's turned him down in the past is a sad, fat slag who made the wrong decision in not shagging him, despite the fact that he looks a creepy, lanky hobo scarecrow on dope.

It's a shame how grating this has become for me, as I was a big fan back in That Day - and "Intro" and "His 'N' Hers" are still pretty good, it's just the post-fame albums that are quite this formulaic - but I just can't do Pulp anymore. 

Oh, and just so I've actually said something about the song, it's from the "Velvet Goldmine" soundtrack, where Bowie's obvious reluctance to be involved in speculation about his sex life led to Britpop bands being tapped up to do glam-style songs.  That went exactly as well as you'd imagine.

Join us next time for the end.  Really truly, honestly, the end.  We're not pulling A Godawful Small Affair-job and chucking in another entry in the wrong order - if we did, not even a picture of a weasel could redeem us.  So join us next time for the omega.