The TSOBO Top 200 tracks of the Decade – Number 186

swimming

Number 186 – The best song about Bangor, since, well ever…

Queens Parade – Swimming Tapes (2017)

Recommended by SWC

There used to be a brilliant amusement arcade near the end of the Central Parade in a small seaside town of Herne Bay.  It was called Neptunes.  It had a sort of underwater theme and it was full of machines that you could put pennies in and win a load more.  I used to fill those machines with copper coins and nearly always I’d come out with the same amount as when I went in.  Next door there was a small café that sold brilliant cakes and toffee that was so hard you needed a hammer to break it.  I used to go there regularly with my grandparents in the early to mid eighties.

A few weeks ago I revisited Herne Bay with my own family and we took a wander along the promenade and I was amazed at how much the seafront had changed.  All of the little businesses were gone and it was filled with flats.  A lot of the old grand Georgian houses were still there, many were care homes now and not hotels and then we came across Neptunes.  It was all boarded up and looked an absolute mess and the site was depressing and for some reason I felt that my childhood memories were being tarnished by this awful site.

Why am I telling you this?  Well it would appear Swimming Tapes sort of felt the same.  ‘Queens Parade’ is a similar seafront promenade, in the bands hometown of Bangor. It is a place that they grew up and the songs talks about playing arcade machines and generally larking about.  Now the street in largely one big car park.

Also in contention

Souvenirs

 

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The TSOBO Top 200 tracks of the Decade – Number 187

black honey

Number 187 – Full of bubbling and playful menace…

Madonna – Black Honey (2015)

Recommended by Ed

The original pressing of this single from Brighton’s Black Honey was an extremely limited edition.  It had just 5 physical copies.  All of which were immediately sold via Ebay.  This was a brave move for a band that weren’t exactly that well known when they did it.

Still, the plan worked because you can’t find those five original copies for love nor money now.   It helps that ‘Madonna’ was also released when the actual Madonna was in the news.  Cast your minds back, at the Brit Awards in 2015, Madonna performed and tripped over her cape and fell arse over (pointy) tit into the front row of the crowd.

Black Honey’s track is not a tribute, as such, to the no longer actually very good singer (I mean she was, she was amazing, now sadly she is a little embarrassing).  What it is a nod to late nineties and an infectiously brilliant single full of sun soaked guitars and wonderful hooks that evoke memories of Ride in their heyday.

Ed- Ucate Me – Week Three – My Year Nine Tutor Group

jhus

Did You See? – J Hus

Last week I met my Year Nine group. I am their form teacher.  I get to see their smiley faces every day at twenty to nine and I get to teach them English on a Wednesday and a Thursday.   They are an alright bunch.  Most of them.  There are already obvious leaders in the class.  Some of the lads are massively confident, and massively popular with the girls.  Some of them talk like they live in the Bronx (despite not actually owning a passport), some of the girls drop words like ‘batty’ and ‘sket’ into conversation like I would drop words like ‘mate’ or ‘please’.

On my third day in the school I walk into their form room and I hear music blaring out of a phone owned by one of them (a lad called Josh).  Technically phones and such like are banned in the school, but most of us turn a blind eye as long they aren’t used in the class.  So I after I have say good morning to them all I ask Josh to turn it off.  He does so with a shrug (his girlfriend Aleesha tuts at me and rolls her overly made up eyes at me) and then says

“What’s up Sir, don’t you like J Hus?”

Now.  When I was at school there was nothing worse, absolutely nothing worse, than the teacher who claimed to like the kids music, even if they genuinely do.  We had Mr Duncan, the science teacher at my school who claimed to be into Nirvana and wore Red Hot Chilli Peppers Tshirts under his shirt. I used to see him coming out of Canterbury’s Penny Theatre on rock night, with his arm draped over a girl who was about 20 years younger than him.

But I actually do like J Hus.  Apart from his preference for carrying knives, which is just daft, I think he has done good things for UK hip hop.  But I don’t tell them that.  I say,

“Luca, can you shut the door please”.

Which he does.  I then tell Josh that as he asked, I preferred Vince Staples to J Hus.

Loca –Vince Staples

Which is met with some derision, largely because they refuse to believe that a rapper can be called Vince.  Honestly it’s supposed to be a grammar school.  The silent indie kids in the corner, frown at me and my pathetic attempts to win favour with the urban kids.

Seizing on the moment Josh announces to the class that my favourite song ever is probably ‘Baby Shark’. Cue Laughter. Mine included to be fair.  Although I make a note to make sure that he gets a bad grade for his next essay (actually he’s a bright kid and will probably do very well). I’m tempted to change my ring tone to it and get my mate to phone me the next day during registration.

An hour or so later I take the group for English, and the earlier conversation gives me an idea.  Some of you may know that J Hus was jailed just before Christmas for being caught carrying a knife in Westfield Shopping Centre in London.  Before his music career he was quite well involved in gang culture, something which believe it or not has taken hold even in leafy Canterbury (I mean they are hardly Crips and Bloods but there has been stabbings and a few rucks).

When they all file in I hold up two books in my hand.  I tell them I am letting them choose which book they want to read this term.  There will be a vote and the book with the most votes will win.

In my left hand I hold ‘The Amnesia Clinic’ by James Scudamore.  A story set in Ecuador about friendship, opposites and how fantasy sometimes blurs the reality (this was supposed to be the book we were going to read).

Morning Bell Amnesiac – Radiohead

In my right hand I hold ‘Brighton Rock’ and tell them about that.  A thriller about gangs, murder, love, betrayal and obsession.  But ultimately, it’s about gangs. I say.

Gangs – Honeyblood

‘Brighton Rock’ wins hands down.

Cover Me – Number 14

this is how

This Is How It Feels – Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

Originally by Inspiral Carpets

Another track I expected to be pretty close to the very top of this rundown.

A few years back I dug out of the loft a box full of my old school books, on the back of my physics text book I had written all the words to ‘This is How It Feels’.  I was 14 at the time and indie music was pretty new to me.  I remember at the time that I had a taped copy of one of the Sugarcubes albums and a copy of something by The Mission that I found in a Woolsworths bargain bin (75p I am never getting back) and that was it as far as alternative music was concerned.

Then I heard this.  For me, this remains the most influential Madchester moment, yes you have ‘Fools Gold’ yes you whatever it was that the Happy Mondays had at the time.  Back then I always preferred Inspiral Carpets to any of them.  For a while, anyway.  I think it is fair to say that this song radically changed what I listened to.  By February 1991 I was watching bands like Neds Automatic Dustbin live and travelling to London to see the Family Cat.

Carter, are perhaps the ultimate covers band.  They have so many brilliant ones that it was difficult to pick just one.  Badger and I a while ago sat down and ranked all the ones we could think of in order of brilliance and this came out at the top – but it could have been so different.

I know JC for instance will have put Carter’s version of ‘Rent’ near the top of any Covers Countdown that he would be doing.   Ed told us the other day that his favourite Carter’s cover was Bedsitter (that was second) and Badger almost persuaded me that the bands version of Trouble should be a contender.

The TSOBO Top 200 tracks of the Decade – Number 188

communions

Number 188 – Summery vibes from Copenhagen….

Don’t Hold Anything Back – Communions (2016)

Recommended by SWC

In the middle of the decade I was taken to Copenhagen by my wife for a special birthday treat.  It is a beautiful city full of culture, architecture, brilliant people, excellent food and great music as well.  Communions are one of about six brilliant bands from Denmark that emerged in the middle part of this decade.  The majority of them play angry post punk (and we mean Iceage and Yung – both of whom definitely feature later on in this rundown).  Communions on the other hand sound like the best bits of Real Estate and the early Stone Roses.  They also sound a bit like The Strokes – as so many bands who have emerged this decade do.

In 2016 they released ‘Don’t Hold Anything Back’ a song that is so summery and embedded in pop music that it defies their icy Danish roots. It is full of handclaps and woozy hazy guitars that bring back memories of afternoon walks in the countryside.  It is a remarkable four minutes or so.

ALSO IN CONTENTION 

Come On, I’m Waiting – Which is taken from the bands debut album ‘Blue’ (from 2017) and tips its hat in the direction in the The Cure and that band from Manchester which we are contractually obliged to never mention again.

Seascapes – Taken from the bands debut ‘Cobblestones E.P’. From which the jangly nature of the guitars earnt the band those comparisons with early Stone Roses records.

The TSOBO Top 200 tracks of the Decade – Number 189

ill

Number 189 – Sparkling pop harmonics with a stomping beat….

Stuck On A Loop – the ill (2018)

Recommended by SWC

It’s only been a couple of weeks since we posted this on our end of year rundown so I’m guessing that you all will have downloaded by now.  So we keep this short in case we repeat ourselves.

‘Stuck on a Loop’ is the kind of record that knocks you off your feet.  It sounds like a cross between the Slits and Bananarama.  It has a hook that burrows into your mind and stay there.  It is more than an earworm, it is a brain worm.

It begins, as you will know, with some distorted guitars, then it is joined by a drum beat that, if you haven’t submitted already, pounds you into submission. The vocals are raging and chaotic and bloody wonderful.

Also In Contention

Well the whole album could have literally have been included on the Top 200, such is its unique brilliance. But let’s go with

Bears – which is just a stunning sensuous six minutes of music. Intense and brooding.

The TSOBO Top 200 tracks of the Decade – Number 190

jimjames

Number 190 – Hypnotic spiritual Americana….

State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U) – Jim James (2013)

Recommended by SWC

Jim James, is of course, the singer in My Morning Jacket, one of the leading lights of the Americana scene.   He is one of a select band of people who will appear in this rundown more than once.

In 2003, My Morning Jacket released a record called ‘It Still Moves’, a brilliant, expansive album that propelled them from being a small time alt rock band into one of America’s biggest acts.  When I first heard this album, I was stunned in silence by the power and range of James’ vocals.  I’ve been a big fan ever since. If you need a comparison – he sounds a lot like Paddy McAloon in his heyday – which is a great thing obviously.

In 2013 between the release of the sixth and seventh My Morning Jacket albums, James decided to make a solo album ‘Regions of Light and Sound of God’ which concentrated on matters of the temporal and spiritual kind – which may sound a bit pretentious – but pushing that aside, it is actually a shimmering slab of brilliance.   An album which kind of betters everything the band have released since ‘It Still Moves’.

The lead track from was this single ‘State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U)’ is which James strips back everything to him repeating the vowels around a simple piano riff which are then joined by various instruments and a gathering drama.  It is hypnotic and wonderful all at the same time.

Also in Contention:

All Is Forgiven which is tinged with jazz and tortured howling

Actress which is all strings, crooning and just a hint of a dance beat.