How NOT to write about music in the time of Coronavirus – 4. ‘The Jerk’

Tonight You Belong To Me; Steve Martin & Bernadette Peters The Jerk 1979

The temptation here is to talk about how the post-The Jerk cover versions – and there are plenty of post-The Jerk cover versions, for this is a well-loved song and performance, from Eddie Vedder & Chan Marshall to Zooey Deschanel & Ben Schwartz, from Fiona Apple & Jon Brion to The Copacetics, to the cutesy four-year-old – get it so wrong. (Well, not the four-year-old.) They go too schmaltzy or too cute, can’t resist the temptation to show off their musicanly chops, over-complicate something that does not need additional layers, throw in the odd knowing wink through a misplaced note or intonation.

That is the temptation here, but fuck. These days are so long and so draining.

I am fatigued, even before I wake.

It takes me five good cups of coffee even to turn my computer on, some days.

I don’t want to be negative here. My only intention with this post is to share something that is near enough my conception of beauty, it is so joyous and direct and life-affirming. A simple (yet complicated) pleasure – but aren’t simple pleasures what we are all seeking right now? (I say complicated too, because my enjoyment of this performance is tied up both in nostalgia for a future that never came, and inability to comprehend love companionship.) Increasingly, I catch myself staring into the patterns of branches in trees, the way they form their own maps: a flower in the weeds by a street sign; my daughter’s face when she discovers something new and illuminating. This is what this performance makes me feel like, and I am wrong to deny the others their joy in covering a song they too love, even if I feel they have it wrong.

The moment when Bernadette brings out the trumpet…

That moment.

How NOT to write about music in the time of Coronavirus – 3. Idles

idles mr motivator

This is brilliant.

I have no words, no energy left to explain this. It takes two hours to type out two sentences of music criticism these days, in between the student trauma and the home schooling and the walks to nowhere and the unforgiving Zoom meetings. I leave my video camera and mic on constantly now, might as well document this decay. I leave  the porchlight shining, the music muted, the intolerance of tolerance at an all-time low.

This is brilliant. It reminds me of way underrated lower-case Welsh band mclusky, and some fucking righteous shit I’d have been sweating out my sexual frustration to during the early 1980s – The Cravats or Membranes, say. I don’t know. Give me your own examples. It makes me wish I wasn’t reduced to this quivering mass of overheated blubber every hot spring evening. It makes me wish I too had grabbed the mic and made the floorboards shake with the sound of stamping feet. I had no idea Idles sounded like this, no idea whatsoever. Do they? Do they really? I mean, WHAT THE FUCK?

This is brilliant. The lyrics are as smart as the video as are smart as the music is as smart as the repetition is as smart as the sardonic vocals is as smart as the call-to-arms. I too want to dance round my suburban blue rinse hours like a twat for hours on end to IDLES to IDLEs to IDLES to IDLES. How d’you like them clichés? Reality is, of course: I can manage about two minutes before I collapse in a blubbered heap of indifference and fatigue, fatigue that begins and ends nowhere. My god, this is brilliant. Please. Don’t even get me started on the video. Too much personal ecstasy to bear. So many moments.

God damn, this is brilliant. This is Tropical Fuck Storm great.

Like Kathleen Hannah with bear claws grabbing Trump by the pussy
Like Delia Smith after ten Chardonnays baking me a nice cookie
How d’you like them clichés?

Let’s seize the day
All hold hands
Chase the pricks away

A tribute to Holger Czukay

Holger Czukay

Once I was blind, now I can see
Once I was blind but now I can see
Now that you’re in love with me
You made a believer out o’ me, babe
You made a believer out o’ me
You Doo Right, 1969

“The bass player’s like a king in chess. He doesn’t move much, but when he does he changes everything.” – Holger Czukay

1. Public Image Ltd – Poptones
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQtO6R4qkg0 

2. The Raincoats – Adventures Close To Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slAf8Mqt63I

3. Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8C7Ke-62ok

4. Electrelane – To The East
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlSfPmqiplY

5. Siouxsie And The Banshees – Happy House
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amR6-neQBPE

6. Kraftwerk – Autobahn
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-G28iyPtz0

7. Tricky – Hell Is Round The Corner
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3R_3h6zQEs

8. The Fall – Rowche Rumble
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qOeuzeNfQ8

9. Spacemen 3 – Walkin’ With Jesus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRuoXqpL6ZM

10. Joy Division – Atmosphere
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EdUjlawLJM

11. The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbU7oVz0Uq0

12. David Bowie – Sound And Vision
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRc2_-BCljQ

13. Primal Scream – Kowalski
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xBzYsE4y1k

14. Hole – The Void
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHlZQ_9noWQ

15. Suicide – Frankie Teardrop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUOUNBTjexU

16. Oasis – The Shock Of The Lightning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPc2plEHrHA

17. Talking Heads – Life After Wartime (live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jShMQw2H2cM

18. Roots Manuva – Witness The Fitness
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y94oPOE-Ro0

19. Galaxie 500 – Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvzOHYgm89k

20. Pavement – Home
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X73Vpkq2kxU

21. Happy Mondays – Step On
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M0xdLO_bmo

22. Lumerians – Burning Mirrors
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFQJOfOMsmQ

23. Bushwalking – No Enter (live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce6VcZUZ0zc

24. The Deadnotes + The Legend! – Real Bad Man
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8lSPvcenmA

25. The Black Angels – Black Grease
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PG9Rh-qmdg

26. Spoon – Can I Sit Next To You
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_yJYNF_Qas

27. Stereolab – Ping Pong (live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GURBRgAwhpc

28. The Jesus And Mary Chain – Mushroom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcbV6Rksa9A

29. Teen – Better
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjLGlG68oh8

30. Hookworms – Away/Towards
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkEpKNPa9ig

31. Thee Open Sex – I Do Not Know What
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6jFHSNNbc0

32. Talk Talk – It’s My Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ixRWvrkUHo

33. The Mars Volta – Goliath
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrwMMF2QS14

34. Neu! – Autogallo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAXYMOgHQI4

35. Blondie – Heroes (live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABEqQKlWLC0

36. Law – Hustle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLzJKZkiEyY

37. Young Fathers – Shame
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PdYvkaYsaU

38. Massive Attack – Teardrop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7K72X4eo_s

39. Portishead – Wandering Star
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEQNAZGoZrw

40. The Bastards Of Fate – Huge Magic
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbhRQP2kOHc

41. Life Without Buildings – The Leanover
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SL4_DsUlH8

42. FKA Twigs – Pendulum
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8yix8PZKlw

43. Goldie – Inner City Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx9-fjlh7Y4

44. The KLF – 3 am Eternal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXEOESuiYcA

45. Radiohead – There There
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AQSLozK7aA

46. The Flaming Lips – Take Me Ta Mars
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yydRJDWQa-Q

47. Moonshake – Capital Letters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRVc3dnSQZs

48. U.N.K.L.E. – Unreal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htvAIG30BGs

49. Rattle – Starting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCO_-58KKWw

50. DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InFbBlpDTfQ

51. Effi Briest – Mirror Rim
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv6or_RcgoE

52. Gang Gang Dance – Princes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80XH6uc1R-I

53. Malaria! – Kaltes Klares Wasser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAg4VmBY7so

54. D.A.F. – Der Mussolini
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSgGNd6thrc

55. Der Plan – Gummitwist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arl9QNEpJzs

56. Alternative TV – Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MvSVqo29iU

57. Tunabunny – I Miss You
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp8UIrxNCxU

58. Pylon – Cool
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj8NXWkqcqI

59. Blank Realm – Cleaning Up My Mess
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_la-vhGuQw

60. John Steel Singers – State Of Unrest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sggltrFcf5Q

61. Las Kellies – Perro Rompebolas
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJbwAjDHRfY

62. Loop – Mother Sky
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMC_fwJUnSs

63. Pere Ubu – Final Solution
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VelS-YCtHV4

64. Gong – You
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-pjcqjeTeI

65. Pete Shelley – Homosapien
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HwmO_GZfzI

66. Faust – It’s a Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRxvQmTTz5I

67. The Red Crayola – Born In Flames
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caxV4Zz1WhA

68. Suburban Lawns – Janitor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RBRJVUsI48

69. Buzzcocks – Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F7pS9lARK4

70. Th’ Faith Healers – Spin 1/2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkiL2bbngdk

71. Pram – Sea Shells And Distant Squalls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh5FFtrU38k

72. Prolapse – Killing The Bland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWyHsJjFH0M

73. Clinic – Walking With Thee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozltNOVtnsg

74. Swell Maps – Full Moon In My Pocket
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RjxNT_CgFU

75. The Walkabouts – Eveningland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-N0BBs2ErY

76. Eurythmics — Le Sinistre
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFjqAzVjDaE

77. Moebius-Plank-Neumeier – Pitch Control
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkcwEKiYtMg

78. Vanessa Paradis – Joe Le Taxi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ulay2FvUEd8

79. David Sylvian – Nostalgia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBupS5PMMsc

80. Yoko Ono – Mind Train
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK-k0kCSJcM

81. The Church – Chaos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7MhrXlivv0

82. Tony Conrad & Faust – Outside The Dream Syndicate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGMnDcwoXns

83. Keith Hudson – Pick a Dub
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi26OuAXC3E

84. Dr Alimantado – Just The Other Day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay1c_oQUVUg

85. Nora Dean – Ay Ay Ay
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugQvB3RHlAc

86. Phew – Signal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvpzY852egg

87. Will Tang – Love Bites (Andy Votel remix)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UNmFe668Wo

88. Nista Nije Nista – Kollektives Gedächtnis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOjsyJvuc40

89. Muscles Of Joy – (untitled)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu8mPTAcSpg

90. No Mas Bodas – Carousel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6uQxmsbwv0

91. The New Sound of Numbers – Complete/Like Children Do
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gs96ajYNNQ

92. Warpaint – Disco//Very – Keep It Healthy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie6plcFQ330

93. Keith Hudson – Pick a Dub
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi26OuAXC3E

94. Dr Alimantado – Just The Other Day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay1c_oQUVUg

95. Nora Dean – Ay Ay Ay
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugQvB3RHlAc

96. Tony Conrad & Faust – Outside The Dream Syndicate
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGMnDcwoXns

There’s an awesome Spotify playlist that in the grand tradition of Can does not contain all the songs above, but several extra and different, which can be found here thanks to Lucy Cage.

Originally published on Collapse Board

Most Played Songs in my iTunes Library

Sugababes

This is taken from the last six years. I have not included any act twice, despite several of them appearing way more than once (e.g. easily the majority of the top 50 most played songs is made up of Dexys and Beyoncé).

The top entry is the song I played when I finally submitted my revised PhD thesis.

1. Sugababes – Push The Button

2. Girls Aloud – Sound Of The Underground

3. Beyoncé – Hold Up

4. Dexys – Now (live at Duke Of York’s Theatre)

5. Estelle – American Boy (Radio Edit w/ Kanye)

6. La Roux – in For The Kill

7. Emiliana Torrini – Jungle Drum

8. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Murder On The Dancefloor

9. Amy Winehouse – Hey, Little Rich Girl

10. Dandy Livingstone – Rudy, A Message To You

11. Billie Eilish – Bury A Friend

12. Little Mix – Shout Out To My Ex

13. Prince Buster – Too Hot

14. Taylor Swift – Lover

15. Mitski – Nobody

16. Tropical Fuck Storm – You Let My Tyres Down

17. Baby Rose – All To Myself

18. Cornershop – One Uncareful Lady Owner

19. Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

20. The Distractions – It Doesn’t Bother Me

How NOT to write about music in the time of Coronavirus – 2. Jim Bob

2020WTF jimbob

One year, two videos.

 

I wrote 2020 WTF! at the end of 2019. Back then I made an educated guess that the things that seemed so awful and negative – terrorism, war, knife and gun crime, school shootings, toxic masculinity, polarised opinion on social media etc – wouldn’t miraculously disappear with the final bongs, fireworks and boogie-woogie piano notes of the New Year.

So I took a punt and included the song on what will be my new album (out later this year). I’d always planned on releasing 2020 WTF! as a single around about now. Little did I know how lacking of a third verse it might end up sounding. How elephanty in the room it is. But the sentiment in the song remains the same. Uplifting and moving songs at difficult times are great. ‘Imagine’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ do their trick just fine. But sometimes what you need is 26 seconds of punk rock discombobulation and despair to scream at the wall.

Take care.
Jim Bob x

 

I wrote We’re All Going To Die in the mid of 2015, shortly before we moved back to England. Back then I made an educated guess that despite the celebration of life that goes on continually around us – Eamonn Holmes, Piers Morgan, Donald Trump, #boristhebutcher, Michael Gove, that far right twat who hides his posh double-barrelled name behind a prison sentence – sooner or later it would come to a close, perhaps not at the end of the year though.

So I took a chance and uploaded the song to YouTube, where it lay there festering for several years despite the inclement truth of it. I’d never planned on releasing it as a single, and still don’t. Little did I know how in its erudite composition and subtle key shifts, people might end up claiming it as prescient, timely, set to break the Internet one day (hopefully, before we all die). But the sentiment in the song remains the same. Maudlin and well-meaning songs during these times are crap, ‘Imagine’ triply so. But sometimes what you need is one idea, repeated 30 times – some claim 31 – of upbeat remonstrance to scream at the world.

Bit late to take care now, don’t you think?
Everett True x

With apologies to Jim Bob, whose 26-second thrash I enjoyed very much

How NOT to write about music in the time of Coronavirus – 1. Al Green

Al Green How Can You Mend

The last time I wrote on this blog was 12 March, over a month ago.

I have not given up listening.
I have not given up caring.

When the children are around (Daniel was here for three weeks straight, starting in March) then I shy away from playing music, same reason I have always done – too much competition. As Pete Shelley once sang, “Little girls/Little boys/Have you ever heard your mommy shout/Noise annoys”. There is one main room in this house, and at all times I need to hear the conversation that is going down in case it breaks out. Sometimes I might play a little low level Electric Light Orchestra or Sonic Youth, to give up in despairing frustration 10 or 15 minutes later. Easier to give in to the far more uplifting, cheering sound of children’s voices. No music in the world can match that.

When the children are not around, then I usually wallow in the silence. Let it feed over me, calm this sullen soul. This perennial lockdown is nothing new to me: if I but had a partner (a relationship) I think I could well be as happy as I have ever been. As it is, I have intense periods of work followed by intense periods of isolation followed by intense periods of work. And so on. The loneliness sucks but I draw comfort from the fact I cannot be the only person who knows this now (not like before). I do not watch television (generally) or play music (generally). I do not care. I enjoy the wallow… enjoy is not the correct words. I accept the silence. I live in the spaces, the gaps in between.

I have not given up listening.
I have not given up caring.

It does strike me however that nearly all the people I can see playing out their new roles and ways of being on social media seem more passionately involved with music (or tv or football or quizzes) than me. Sometimes I wonder if I should be bothered, but my life has been stuck in this waiting room for several years now – dating back to Brisbane, easy – and it is so difficult to change habit. I am stuck staring at walls, not even staring. I am stuck lounging on the sofa, not even lounging. I mended the back gate yesterday. It took five minutes but that burst of activity should see me through the next six months.

I thought up the title of my next autobiography earlier: I Coulda Been Jim Reid. It would have been a short book, though: just one line.

But I didn’t want to be.

Stuff that I want to talk about, I have no one to talk about with. God, I wish I had that person to talk with.

Video conference me.

This feels like an Al Green kind of day. Kind of melancholy, kind of blue but also kind of OK with Al singing sweet sympathy into my ear, reassuring, cajoling. Everything feels more achievable when the sweet Reverend is in the room, everything feels like maybe it might just about turn out alright even through all the melancholy and heartbreak. What paralysis of the soul cannot be cured by a few well-placed “la la la’s” from the Reverend, and what distant tremor of loneliness cannot be assuaged by that sweet, sweet electric organ, and what isolation chamber cannot be broken by subtle repetition and reflection and the gentlest, whisper-it percussion?

I may not be able to mend a broken heart but I fixed the back gate yesterday.

How NOT to write about music – 164. The Distractions

The Distractions - Nobody's Perfect

The last six mornings now, I have been listening to the two CDs that make up the reissue of The Distractions near perfect 1980 debut album Nobody’s Perfect.

Comfort music.

Despite the fact the reissue boasts 34 extra tracks, The Distractions didn’t actually have that many songs beyond the album – there are a handful of magical singles (including one of the three greatest singles ever released on Factory Records) and loads of alternative mixes (all worth lingering among) and early stuff (one song sounding wonderfully like Kleenex), a rather sparky attempt to engage with the early 1980s new cool (brass, etc), some needless reggaefied zeitgeist mixes…

Comfort music. I have several other albums currently wrestling for my attention on the morning train to Clapham Junction – most notably these two, and this one – but none fill the peculiar need I have right now for comfort, for reassurance that some stuff remains constant, that life continues unabated no matter what fear is disseminated among us, and you can still draw solace and joy and hope from it. These are strange times, the smell of fear all around is palpable, and we need to draw comfort where we can. Last week, some Course Leaders experienced an unusual spike in attendance in classes at BIMM London – and we suspect it is because students are looking to draw solace from certainties, that stuff remains constant, even that – despite the best efforts of our leaders to prove otherwise – leadership can be a decent thing,  that…

Same reason I enjoy eating my way through a box full of Maltesers at five am, and am binge-watching my way through seasons of Sabrina The Teenage Witch (and also love the new Taylor Swift album), I suspect.

Comfort music.

On the reissue, there is even a new stereo mix of the album included (a labour of love, clearly) that aims to capture the band as intended – and why  not? It is rare indeed that something this pure and magical and unsung comes along, and some of us have been waiting for near four decades for this album to be given the treatment it deserves.

It is hard to pin down highlights when near everything is a highlight, when near everything is supercharged comfort music. There is the Chelmsford-devouring debut 12″ You’re Not Going Out Dressed Like That … a record that I first heard when I was 17 or 18, a record that to this day I cannot listen to without being reminded of a) the radiogram in my parents’ living room, b) leaving the house late morning to sit the first of my ‘A’ Levels, c) hope and awkwardness and an uncomprehending ability to cope on any level of social interaction at all, d) a darkened room staring out into a courtyard waiting for friends to knock on my door but they never do.

They never do.

Chelmsford, 1979
I had a summer job at Cundell’s Corrugated Cardboard factory, a 20-minute bike ride away from my parents’ house in Rothesay Avenue, where I shared a bedroom with my three brothers. I preferred the morning shift, starting at 6am working through to 2pm. I was used to getting up early, due to my paper round of seven years. Mornings were fresher. All you did for the job was stand at the end of a conveyor belt, one other bloke stood opposite. You’d wait until about 43 sheets of cardboard had come down the chute, counting patiently, stack them neatly, and shove them down the belt to another bloke, who’d throw them on a palette. Within days, my hands were a welter of paper cuts. We’d smoke just to keep ourselves awake: frequently only the burning stub of a cigarette between our fingers would remind us of where we were. I’d sing along loudly to The Jam’s ‘When You’re Young’, tears of frustration running down my face. I’d been turned down by eight universities, the new term had already started. I thought I was stuck there for life.

I still loved my punk rock, my pop music. I still dared to dream that romance existed, that there was a future outside the 9 to 5. I had to believe that. I would play my vinyl upstairs on my Dansette when my brothers weren’t around, laying out all the seven-inch coloured vinyl on the floor (I stole to finance my habit). I played my 12-inchers and LPs downstairs on my parents’ 70s radiogram, a monstrous, cheap, ridiculously tinny affair – but at least you could stack them. I devoured the music papers with the zeal of a late-come fanatic. All of them, every week. (I also had a day job at a newsagents.) I bought records on the writers’ say-so, and because I liked the covers.

The Distractions’ ‘You’re Not Going Out Dressed Like That’ 12-inch on TJM was one of my favourites. The four songs had such energy, melody, enthusiasm, awkwardness – it was The Undertones, but somehow more on a level I could relate to, no tongue-in-cheek ironies here. I loved the rough, clearly unfinished production, the way it made the songs seem way more human and personal. The lyrics spoke directly to me.

“Well, I won’t miss you when you’ve gone/And I won’t talk behind your back/The time will come when you look back and see/If the time should come when you have a reason to come back/Well, do what you want, it doesn’t bother me,” Mike Finney sang in his trembling Mancunian accent. (Most of the songwriting, but by no means all, was managed by guitarist Steve Perrin.) Man, I so wanted to say those words to even one person – one girl – that might have some sort of regret because they’re didn’t notice me… trouble was, I couldn’t even find one. So I kept playing the music regardless, imagining myself into situations that were entirely unobtainable. Guitars churned and spun, the drums rattled and thundered in their own intimate way, and throughout those damn melodies soared and hurt and twanged at my heart strings…

“When I saw you last night/I got too close again/Though we stayed apart/I clung to you like glue/And though I tried so hard to prove to you I wasn’t giving in/I forgot to give you time to prove it too,” The Distractions sang on ”Nothing’, before a minimal guitar solo as great as anything even from the Buzzcocks or The Jam – damn, I knew how that felt. There was such jubilation present, too: impossible to hide on the rampant closing song ‘Too Young’ that soared and burnt and scoured and ran wild with the  exhilaration of being young like even anything from way up in Scotland (Restricted Code or The Scars, for example). These, for me, were my pop star gods – it didn’t matter whether they sold 100 or 10 million records. These were my pop star gods.

It was the music alone that kept me going through that long hot, turbulent, deeply troubled summer.

Song of the day – 200: The Distractions

Then there was this – with quite honestly (at 1.52) the single greatest drum part in the history of recorded music.

Bit of detail

The Manchester band were label mates with Joy Division in the late 1970s before they were signed to Island Records by legendary A&R man Nick Stewart (he signed U2). Nick is actually putting out this reissue on his own label which brings the story full circle 40 years on. Nick remembers it well:

“In 1979 I went up to Manchester to meet Tony Wilson of Factory Records, with whom I forged a firm friendship. Joy Division weren’t interested in signing to Island Records, so Tony suggested I check out another local band who’d just recorded a single for Factory called ‘Time Goes by so Slow’… I loved it from the moment I heard it… and quickly struck a deal for The Distractions to join Island. My first signing!”

The band split in 1981, and released a wonderful follow-up a few years later in 2012.

I wrote about that here.

In the months since I was sent an advance promo of End Of The Pier, it’s found its way onto my iTunes playlist several times – shy and unannounced like a former drunkard of a friend – and each time, I stop what I’m doing momentarily and listen, surprised, caught unawares again, wanting more, wistful, wishing that I could stop this relentless chase, this thrill of the new when no one nears me gives a fucking second glance at what I do. The music I make this days, when I make it, is clearly me: this hesitation, this clumsy renewal with the heart of pop music serves The Distractions well, very well.

Comfort music.