Collection: The New Issue of Uncut!

I got this two days and forgot to post it. I also forgot to include the CD it came with as well in the picture but it’s not related to The Clash in any way. I do like Uncut, although I don’t purchase it regularly. I did love their special issue devoted solely to The Clash though, so naturally I was excited to get this. It’s a great  article – I particularly loved the section were Paul Simonon made some very insightful comments regarding their infamous trip to Belfast in 1977. I must say I echoed his sentiments wholeheartedly indeed. Better still – I’ve finally been able to get some locations for the pictures taken of them here. I’d only been able to identify a few taken in Royal Avenue prior to getting this magazine. It’s not just The Clash that provided the only bit of interesting reading in the magazine though for me – there’s also a lengthy interview with Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac). I’m sure I’ll find a new band worth investigating in their review section too, although I haven’t read the reviews section really yet. Nevertheless it’s a worthy addition to my ever-growing Clash collection!

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Unforunate events and new Pet Shop Boys songs.

Afternoon all, it’s been an unforunate two days. There was a bad car accident yesterday just opposite the family business. The driver of the vehicle was killed – he had an apparent heart attack at the wheel and lost control, crashing into pedestrians in the process. An awful event indeed. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain his family and friends are going through right now. Simply heartbreaking. They’re very much in my thoughts. Incidentally, today also marks the 10th anniversary of the death of my grandfather, whom I was very close to. It’s also been announced today that the famed Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney has passed away too. Very sad news – I studied his poem Mid Term Break as part of my GCSE English coursework. It was one of the favourite pieces of poetry I studied, and it moved me an awful lot. I just hope this marks the end of the unfortunate series of events here in Northern Ireland.

On a slightly lighter note, Pet Shop Boys have unveiled snippets of the two upcoming Love Is A Bourgeois Construct b-sides! The two digital bundles (including the B-sides) will be released on September 2nd. Both tracks are dance songs, very much continuing on with the overall sound of Electric. They’re definitely more experimental in style though, I don’t think they could have fitted on the album.To be honest, both songs share more similarities with each other than they do with Electric’s songs I think. Anyway, here’s a brief breakdown of my initial thoughts below.

Entschuldigung
Well, this most certainly has a pulsating arrangement. It’s a very hard dance track. To be honest, I’m struggling to think of a harsher dance track in Pet Shop Boys history. It doesn’t sound all that dissimilar to the legendary German group Kraftwerk. Very appropriate too, considering the title of the song is German for “sorry” and the lyrical content. The song is essentially Pet Shop Boys apologizing to German fans, because despite frequenting Germany often they are unable to speak German. As you could imagine, German phrases are abundant in Entschuldigung. There’s not a hint of English to be found in the sample (nor Neil or Chris’ voices either). I’m totally illiterate in German myself, so I can’t offer anything in the way of a translation. At 5:02 in length though, it’s the longer of the two B-sides.

Get It Online. 
Still a dance track, but less harsh sounding. Get It Online is very retro in sound actually – and in my opinion it sounds even more like a Kraftwerk song than Enshuldigung. Get It Online also contains a number of foreign phrases too, although again I can’t translate any of them. English does feature this time though. Also, so does Chris – I’m fairly sure that’s him singing “whatever I want, whatever I want, I can get it online” through a vocodder. At least if it’s not, it sure as hell sounds an awful lot like him. Also it seems like my initial theories that the lyrics would discuss illegal downloading have been thwarted. You can hear samples of people saying “proceed to checkout!” which – coupled along with the line quoted earlier – seems to suggest it’s more about the dominance of internet culture. How it’s now an integral part of our daily lives, and let’s be honest: what can’t you do on the internet? It’s also a rather short 3:36 in length. That may not be no bad thing though because it does sound like it contains minimal lyrics. I could see this being a Chris Lowe track actually – there’s no hint of Neil Tennant in that sample at all.

So – that’s my brief thoughts on both tracks. Very tenative I know, and subject to change.I like both songs so far, although my favourite would be Get It Online at this point. Both songs stylistically aren’t that far removed from one another really. I don’t know when the tracks were recording, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were recorded around the same time. Of course, we won’t know that for sure just yet. In any case, I’m looking forward to hearing them in full!

Collection: Last Week’s Amazon Order and a suprise one.

Afternoon all, I’m just back from my walk. My legs felt this one moreso – which I suppose is a good thing.

Anyway, after forgetting to do so a few times, I can finally share my Amazon order from last week now that it’s all here. The first CD arrived on Wednesday which was obviously Joe Strummer’s birthday. Naturally, I didn’t want to make any posts that were unrelated to Joe on that day. Anyway, I got the 2CD version of Atomic: The Very Best of Blondie which comes with the bonus Atomix disc (a compilation disc of remixes). There’s also Mirage which is only the third Fleetwood Mac album I have on CD, Ghost In The Machine which is my first Police studio album and Bleach (Special Edition) by Nirvana. I actually have all of Nirvana’s studio albums now. I’ll post a picture of my burgeoning Nirvana collection soon.  This should have been my last Amazon Order for around about six weeks, but something surprising happened last night. I’ve been searching for Earthquake Weather by Joe Strummer for around about six months. I can even remember traipsing around a record fair back in April trying to find it. It’s very rare because it’s been out of print for years. Why they’ve never reissued it, I do not know. Anyway, last night I searched again (I check for it on a semi regular basis). To my disbelief, my favorite Amazon Marketplace seller – Zoverstocks – had received one copy of it very recently. It goes without saying that I ordered it straight away. It’s just too rare of a record to pass up. I search Zoverstocks for it pretty often and they’ve never had a copy of it in. It could have been months before they had it again; it could have even been never. Along with The Future Is Unwritten soundtrack and the Let’s Rock Again! DVD, it was something I was missing. Those two are also very easy to purchase online anyway. Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty lucky right now!

Sound of The Week Returns (!) and album testing

Evening all. I’ve had a total non-day as I’m rather tired. I’ve been trying desperately to finally finish Six Feet Under – only two more episodes to go. After I finish it I think I’ll start Mad Men. Anyway, it’s crazy to think that this time next week September is upon us. This year has flew in at a scarily fast pace. September looks set to be an incredibly busy month for music too. I know I bleat on about Madonna’s MDNA Tour and The Clash’s Hits Back and Sound System releases, but that literally is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s Arctic Monkeys, Janaelle Monae, MGMT, Chrvches, Nine Inch Nails to name but a few. Personally, I can’t wait.

Anyway, the song I’ve been listening to a lot of recently – the past few weeks actually – is by Ladyhawke.  Perhaps surprisingly, I only know a select few tracks from Ladyhawke and I’ve never listened to either of her albums in full. Anyway – I actually discovered this song by pure chance. I’ve also been listening to Only Over You by Fleetwood Mac recently (from Mirage). One day I was listening to it on Youtube, and I read some of the comments. One of them said that Ladyhawke’s song Morning Dreams basically ripped the song off. Naturally, I looked the song up to hear for myself. I have to say there’s definite similarities between the two, mostly in the music. That coupled with the fact they have this very serene sort of atmosphere. I don’t mind one iota though – I love both songs. I think it was an intentional homage too. When I researched more about Ladyhawke I discovered that she is a massive Fleetwood Mac fan. In fact, when she stated her five favourite albums of all time no fewer than three of those were Fleetwood Mac albums. I must say, I love her taste. I’ll definitely need to hear her two albums soon I think.

Also, in the midst of trying to redecorate my room and get fitter I also finally listened to an album that I’ve been meaning to do for ages. It was End Of The Century, which is the fifth album by The Ramones. I was underwhelmed by Road To Ruin on the whole. Mainly because I felt it was very… predictable. That they needed fresh ideas by that point. Thankfully, there were fresh ideas in End Of The Century but I did still feel it was pretty mixed in terms of quality. I loved songs like Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio? and Danny Says. Songs that were completely different and simply could never have featured on a prior record. It was the songs were they tried their more traditional sound were it fell flat though. Songs like I’m Affected were attempts to sound like Ramones of old and thanks to the production, it just fell flat. The heavy handed production did spoil it a lot for me. A shame really, because there were some good ideas, and when the album worked for me it was brilliant. It’s just a shame that it was so inconsistent.

So that’s it for this week. An unusual one really, what with Joe Strummer’s birthday and what have you. This coming week will be quiet for me musically as I attempt to get healthier, get caught up with reading and the like. Although on Friday I’m going to order from an online site that I’ve never used before. It’s called Punk Rock Shop and there’s no prizes for guessing what band I’m looking to purchase merchandise from. I was delighted to discover that they had the ultimate Clash T-shirt design I was after (previous searches for the design were a fail). Anyway, I cannot wait to get a few bits and pieces from it. As you could guess, when they arrive I’ll be sure to post a picture. See you soon!

Finally finished Passion Is A Fashion.

So at long last – and boy it took a while – I finished this book! A quick backtrack through the blog says that I started this on the 9th July. Oh dear me. I took far too long to read it. I should have had this finished somewhere between two weeks to a month ago, but I went through a phase of finding it very difficult to read. Sometimes I get that, and it can last up to a month. Not good. I’m a fast reader, so it’s almost like I burn myself out or something. I didn’t even think that was possible! Worse still, my reading halted just as Mick Jones got sacked from the group. It wasn’t even like I had that much to read. Anyway – don’t take that as a comment against this book itself. I absolutely loved it. It’s very funny, informative yet easy to read (yes, in spite of my odd reading habits). It was my first actual Clash biography, so there was plenty of new information to digest. Too much for one read actually, I’ll definitely need to re-read this. My next book will be going back to Heavier Than Heaven, which is a biography on Kurt Cobain, and finishing that. I’m up to the start of 1994 in that, so obviously I’m nearly finished it too. The reason I didn’t finish? Yep, you guessed it, reader’s block (as I’ll refer to it from now on). I know I got another book by The Clash on Friday there, but I won’t start that for a bit. I want to finish Heavier Than Heaven then look at getting stuck into some novels because I could do with a break from just reading various music biographies over and over. After all, you’ve got to mix things up, right?

Town Trip Part II: Upstairs, Downstairs

So, after picking The Killers shirt and briefly flirting with the idea of getting a Velvet Underground one (which I didn’t in the end) it was time to see what records to buy. This was when my plans sort of went out the window. I wanted to get Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. Did they have it? Not at all – in fact they had no Nine Inch Nails records whatsoever. Great.. Hm, what to buy? I checked the DVD section for Simon & Garfunkel’s Central Park show – no luck. So I just went with the CD version of the concert. Decided to look for Fleetwood Mac’s The Dance live album. Gone (although stupidly enough, they had put it by the till. I only found it once I had paid). What a stupid display move that was. Then I remembered I had spied Route 19 Revisited, which was a book about the making of London Calling. Was it in still in the display where I found it? Nope! So, back downstairs I went to the book section. Found it, along with two other Clash books. Joe Strummer & The Legend of The Clash and The Clash Talking to were the titles. I’ve been considering purchasing the latter, but I’ve never seen the former in town before though I knew of it. Stupidly I forgot to look inside Joe Strummer &The Legend of The Clash although it has good reviews. As for The Clash talking it was a stupidly dear price – £12 if I remember – for a rather short book that is just a compilation of quotes. I want it, but £12 just seemed excessive, I can get it online much cheaper. Anyway, back upstairs and I still wanted more records. Then I remembered I had liked Vampire Weekend’s new album. They didn’t have that either. Honestly I think they were in the midst of doing a display revamp or something. Then I remembered Disclosure’s debut. Surprisingly I found the deluxe edition of that for a decent price, so I snapped it up. Then I spotted The Essential Paul Simon. I have Songwriter ripped to my hard-drive because I bought it for my Dad for Father’s Day, but this collection had a lot of songs on it absent from Songwriter. I only have Graceland & The Rhythm of The Saints on CD myself. By this point, I had about enough money left for two postcards, and to my surprise they had a new Clash one in. Ironically, the first Clash item I ever got was a postcard from HMV. The only other one that caught my interest was the Nevermind cover. After that – I just wanted to get out. HMV can be very draining. I do love what I got (I always do), even if it was a slightly unexpected batch though!

Town yesterday Part I: Shirt Alert.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was in town shopping. I know I said I would post this late last night, but I did have an impromptu post to make. Also I decided to get stuck back into my reading. Anyway, town yesterday had mixed fortunes actually. I went into a shop called Fresh Garbage to see their band T-shirts. They haven’t had a Clash shirt the two times I’ve been in before, but this time they did. It was of the cover of The Clash. It looked really nice. Alias, I had a budget to work with and I couldn’t buy it. Next time Clare, next time. Anyway when I got to HMV my plan was roughly this: get a Killers shirt and a Clash shirt, and work with whatever money I had left. They had The Killers shirt in my size (as you can tell) but The Clash London Calling T-shirt was obviously proving a very popular choice. They only had two left – both XL. I’m trying to loose weight at the moment, and my Killers shirt size is L, and even then it’s going to be a bit baggy. The Clash one would have just looked ridiculous. I’m carrying a bit of extra weight at the moment, but not that much. Anyway it’s no big deal. I mean London Calling is such a common shirt design and I do want something a bit different – much the same way as I didn’t want an Unknown Pleasures shirt  of Joy Division’s straight away. I’ll most likely get both at some stage though. The Killers shirt is actually rather sizable history for me – it’s my first T-shirt of the band. Yes, after nine long years. I’m going out tonight and I’m going to wear it for the first time. I need to loose some weight and get my hair done but once that happens, you might even see a picture of me in it….

The Mystery Video

Evening all – I wasn’t planning on making another post tonight. I’ve got to get stuck back into my reading because I am desperately behind. Anyway, something cropped up in the last forty-five minutes or so which I felt warranted a brief post. Friday night is music night on BBC4, and this week it was a series of programmes on world music. Specifically the program I’m referring to was an A-Z of world music. My Dad was watching it, whilst I was busy on the computer – I can’t say it’s my preferred music style really. Anyway, what happened next took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to know any artist that would be featured here, except for perhaps a brief piece on Paul Simon/Ladysmith Black Mambazo (the latter were featured actually). Imagine my surprise though when my Dad simply said “Clare!” and I looked up. Lo and behold – there was one Joe Strummer, with Johnny Depp too. I know – apologies for the amount of Joe Strummer posts on here lately but it was his birthday after all. Besides: I had no idea this incident would happen. It was a brief clip in between the main segments of the show. Johnny did most of the talking, and he was refering to the act that was the next letter in the show. Essentially, it was a brief introductory segment if you will. Joe said nothing actually except making a passing comment in response to something Johnny Depp said. It lasted roughly a minute. Sadly the clip took me and Dad by surprise and we totally missed who the act was. It was definitely late 90s/early 00s (My money is on late 90s), and it seems to be taken from some sort of interview. It looked like they were backstage at a festival actually. Sadly they didn’t specify the clip’s origins, and a video/Youtube search online has proved utterly hopeless. I’ve never seen this footage before in my life. I’m sorry for this post being so vague, but that’s honestly all I have to go on. I’ll search more tomorrow and if I find anything, I’ll be sure to post it here as I assume this is rare footage.

Flashback: Deal Sealed.

Okay – the absolute final post in these birthday celebrations. I promise. Last week, I discussed what made me re investigate The Clash. This is the natural sequel. So – this is it folks. The moment where I realized I was a fan. Which is probably why it’s a special Clash performance for me – not to mention one of my all time favourite individual performances. This was the moment it all made sense. Light-bulbs turning on, a door opening… whatever slight cliche you wish to use. You could say it was my calling. Sorry, just had to make that joke. This is Know Your Rights from the 1983 US Festival. Admittedly the complete performance isn’t a patch on their Topper Headon era shows, but this is a gem I think. As I knew nothing about live Clash performances at this stage I wasn’t any the wiser as to what performances were them at their best. Anyway, from the first time I watched this I was mesmerized really. The lyrics of the song are brilliant and definitely play their part, but watching The Clash perform it is something else. Joe Strummer as a front-man was quite simply, hypnotic. And this is coming from someone who seldom gets mesmerized merely watching someone. For Joe though it’s an exception. It’s his passion, his drive. It’s so raw and kinetic that I found it simply intoxicating. My eyes were locked to the screen. His performance, even his physical look….. I just knew watching this for the first time I had found someone very special. In that moment – I had never seen anything like it before in my life, nor have I since. Morever, I got it. I suddenly understood why Joe Strummer was a massive inspiration to millions, and why The Clash mattered so much to so many people. Without knowing anything about Joe’s personality, I just knew we had a gem in this man and his loss was a sore one. And through discovering more about his personality, those views have merely been validated. Now, I can simply articulate what makes me drawn to him that little bit better. Although frankly there were always been something about it I’ll never be able to rationalize I think. I had been wanting some inspiration for a while, prior to discovering The Clash. When I saw this performance, I just knew Joe Strummer was the one. Ten months later, I still feel the same way.

Love Is A Bourgeois Construct tracklisting announced!

Afternoon all – I’m just back from a spot of record hunting. It was a very strange day actually, with somewhat mixed results. It happens sometimes though. I also got some new CDs in the post so later on, you can expect a double whammy of such posts.

Anyway, in a rather important bit of news for Pet Shop Boys fans, the track listing for the Love Is A Bourgeois Construct single packages has been unveiled! It was previously announced that two new B-sides – called Entschuldigung! and Get It Online – would be included. A relief indeed considering Vocal didn’t have any original tracks as B-sides. The remixes for the single are done byDave Aude, Little Boots, The Penelopes and Claptones. The only one I’ve heard of from that quadrant is Little Boots. I really like her though – Nocturnes is one of the best albums of this year in my opinion. So if that remix lives up to expectations it could become a personal favorite. You can read the full list of remixes on the official Pet Shop Boys website. I rather liked the Vocal remixes actually, so I’ll be interested to see what I make of these. Altogether, there’s seven remixes and two b-sides. They’ll be released in two digital bundles, the first containing four tracks, the second containing five on September 2nd. The CD release is coming September 30th. It’ll include all nine tracks. The CD single isn’t eligible for chart (due to running time limits), but the digital bundles are. That’s probably why the CD single is coming a few weeks later. They’ve also said that a vinyl release will come at a later date, but there’s no indication just when that will be. In any case, I can’t wait to hear these B-sides after Electric proved to be a terrific album. The only downside for me? The graphic used on the site. I really hope that’s not the official cover and it’s just a placeholder image. If that’s official it’s surely the laziest Pet Shop Boys cover I’ve ever seen. Time will tell though. 

So, that’s it for now. The beauty of these walks means my writers block is shifting, you’ll most likely hear from me later on. See you then!