Cover Me – Number 46

elvis

I Want You – Scarfo

Originally by Elvis Costello and his Attractions

By SWC

For those of you who thought I was not serious and merely creating clickbait by announcing that the Mudhoney version of ‘Pump It Up’ is better than the Elvis Costello original – stand by.

Because, here we go again.  It is with some confidence that I can say that the Scarfo version of ‘I Want You’ is miles and miles better than the Costello original.  It really is.

I love the crunchy guitar sound at the start of this and the way it builds away alongside Jamies trademark whispery vocals, which as ever, are seething with venom.  Gradually it gets faster and faster the guitars gets more spiky, the vocals more desperate and spitting, the drums more urgent.  Marvellous.

A few weeks ago I posted a reason as to why Scarfo are perhaps the great lost band of Britpop, and this track I think adds further weight to that argument, should have been massive, but if they were we wouldn’t have had the Kills I suppose, so swings and roundabouts.  This track originally saw a release as a limited edition 7” which was released for Christmas by Deceptive records, then it eventually got a wider release as track four on the CD Single of ‘Cosmonaut No. 7’.

Here are two more Scarfo’s tracks as I don’t own any other covers by them.

Skinny

Car Chase

 

The Greatest Britpop Albums In the World….Ever…Number 19

lush

Number 19 – Lovelife – Lush

By SWC

I was massively surprised by ‘Lovelife’ when I first heard it.  Largely because I expected the band to follow the lead of their earlier work, which was, I think it is fair to say, firmly embedded in shoegaze.  They were definitely more Slowdive than Sleeper.

Single Girl

So when the lead single from it dropped in early 1996, the wonderful ‘Single Girl’ it was easy to say that the sound had shifted.  The sonic soundscapes had vanished and been replaced with a marvellous happy indie pop song full of hooks and accompanied by a killer singalong chorus.

Now it would be very easy I think to post the next two singles that followed it, both of which sort of stuck to the same formula ‘Ladykillers’ and ‘500’.  Happy pop songs, killer chorus, and massive hooks.  All three of them are stone cold classics.  So if you don’t mind I’ll skirt over two of them, despite them being the hits and point you in the direction of two of the other tracks from this album.

The reason for this is because the whole album is stacked with quality, and unlike a lot of the so called Britpop era album (that would be you Cast), still stands up well, and doesn’t sound dated.  It does that because of the downright splendid songwriting on display.

Papasan

Is an excellent example of what I mean by the songwriting on display.  It is a marvellous little song, the voices of Miki and Emma taking it in turns to bring a lump to your throat and to make the hairs on your arm stand up.

As does ‘Tralala’ which despite sounding like another happy indie pop song is actually the complete opposite.  It is an atmospheric delight.

Tralala

 

Mr Men Thursday – 4 – Mr Nosey

Nosey

Nothing to see here, just a piece of music tenuously linked to a fictional character from a childrens book selected by SWC.

Nobodys Business (Nosey Parker Mix)– Peace by Piece 

Badger is trying to keep score in this silly little series.  Apparently if you pick a song where the title of the band matches the Mr Man’s mood completely then you get two points and you get one for nearly matching it.  So after round four the table stands like this and if you fail miserably and have to go random then you get nil points

KT ……Two Points (Played One)

Badger….Two Points (Played One)

SWC…..Two Points (Played Two)

Which is why I went obscure this week – if the sudden points angle hadn’t been revealed last week in the pub you would have Wolf Alice today – blame Badger.

 

 

The Charity Shop Countdown – Number 26

tiger

Tiger Bay – Saint Etienne

Bought from PDSA Shop Totnes

By Badger

Hug My Soul

Ok let’s get the argument out of the way first.  This is Saint Etienne’s best album (depending on who you ask, but if anyone gives you a different answer, you can consider them an idiot).  Yes you have ‘So Tough’, yes you have ‘Foxbase Alpha’ both of which I own and kind of adore, yes you have any of the others that you might want to discuss but come on ‘Tiger Bay’ is a different beast entirely compared to them.  This folks, is the sound of something that is near perfect.

If for whatever reason you need evidence you can start right at the beginning with ‘Urban Clearway’ which sort of suggests that this is going to be a dance album, it has a four to floor beat which is pumping, as I think the phrase goes.  It has the best ever example of an instrument being ‘barely there’ – that organ, it’s there just and it’s lush.

Urban Clearway

Then you could head down to ‘Like A Motorway’, which sounds exactly like what you would get if Kraftwerk (see yesterday) recorded with Giorgio Moroder and then laid some breathy vocals over the top of it.  It also doesn’t have a chorus, which adds to it magnificence.

Like A Motorway

Then you could move on to ‘Hug My Soul’ which is simply the finest moment of the bands career, a song so sultry that it is practically waiting for you in a doorway, below a neon sign saying ‘HOTEL’, with a feather boa draped around its shoulders.  It’s huge and that chorus, oh my, absolute bliss, the musical equivalent of taking a lift on the back of swan.

‘Tiger Bay’ is the sound of a band being more adventurous, the sound of a band who have utterly nailed their ambitions of grandeur.

European Me – Nummer zwölf

kraftwerk

Tour De France Etape 1 – Kraftwerk

By SWC

Kraftwerk are I think Germany’s first entry in this series, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if any other German acts will feature, which will probably be a massive insult to Dirk and Walter.  I know that Badger has at least one Die Toten Hosen record somewhere so perhaps, that will get an airing later on.  Saying that, if there is a better, more influential and frankly more awesome German act that Kraftwerk, I would genuinely love to hear them.

Kraftwerk as I have sort of hinted a few lines up, are legends.  They practically invented dance music, they definitely invented the slightly insultingly titled Krautrock and the set the scene for Robot pop, something that was copied, and taken to a new level years later by French geniuses Daft Punk.  I could have picked one of about twenty tracks of theirs to feature here but  I took the easy route because wonderful as it is, I don’t think anyone wants to hear all 22 minutes of ‘Autobahn’ and everyone in the world already knows about ‘The Model’ – although the Ride cover version of that might feature later in the Cover Me Series.

“Tour De France” first came out in 1983 and was a minor hit for Kraftwerk (it peaked somewhere in the 20s).  I first heard it about ten years later when I was sitting in the lounge of my friend Martin’s house drinking sherry.  Seriously that’s how I rolled when I was 18, he had proper sherry glasses and everything and it was in the slightest bit pretentious.   It is brilliant because of its use of samples, it is full of mechanical sounds and voices all to do with cycling and it is as fantastic as I hope that I have made that sound.

Etape 2

Etape 3

The A to Z of EP’s – B

krankenhaus

B is for British Sea Power (obviously)

So I have plumped for ‘Krankenhaus?’ this week, largely because it is wonderful but also because of something that happened to me the other day.  I had to go to the hospital (Krankenhaus is the German word for hospital, do keep up) – it was only a check up, I’m fine, thanks for asking though.

Anyway, there I was in the hospital waiting for my appointment, I am a little early and so I sit in the waiting area and watch the television screen.  Now when you are hospitals a load of questions run through your mind, questions like “Am I Ok?”, “What if I faint when they do the blood test?”, “Why are the walls all pink?” and the one which I spent the longest amount of time pondering “how long has Dion Dublin been presenting Homes Under the Hammer?” – Because that is playing on the TV in the waiting area.

My name is called and I go into a little room and the nurse asks me if I can provide a urine sample.  So I trudge off to the loo.  There is one toilet in the area, a unisex one and when I get there it is occupied, so I sit down opposite the door and wait, I tut under my breath at the length of time it is taking the person to do their ‘business’.  I also find myself frowning because the longer the wait, the worse the smell that greets you (sorry, but it’s true).

About six minutes later a little old lady struggles out of the door complete with a walking frame and I immediately fell rotten for tutting – so I jump up and help her with the door and her bag.  Only she thinks I am doctor, despite the fact I am wearing jeans and a T-shirt. She grabs hold of my arm and asks me to take her to the eye clinic.  I look around for a nurse who are all massively conspicuous by their absence (they are behind the numerous columns sniggering I think) so I trundle off with the lady.  It turns out the eye clinic is an entirely different building.  I pass precisely seven toilets on route and by the time I get there I know the lady’s entire medical history.  I take her to reception and tell the staff what has happened.  Then I wander back to the area where I am supposed to be.

The toilet is occupied again when I get back.  I think do I go back up the stairs and use the one there or do I wait again.  So I wait, a chap with a neck tattoo strolls out of the toilet and off back to the seating area.  Now, far it be it from to discuss a man’s ablutions but fella, if you are reading, you should seek help, because I think you may have left half your bowel behind in that room.

So I hold my nose and produce my sample – it takes about ten seconds and then I wash my hands and open the door.  Or at least I try, the lock is stuck, I try it one way, then other, then I try it again.  It is stuck fast. It is not budging. I reckon the lock has seized due to the godawful reek left behind by neck tattoo man.

Twenty minutes it took to release me.  I had to pull the emergency cord.  When the door eventually opened a small crowd had gathered and I’m fairly sure a few of them smirked when I walked out holding my small bottle of piss.

Here are the tracks from Krankenhaus.  Enjoy.

Atom

Down On The Ground

Straight Down The Line

Hearing Aid

The Pelican

Next week – the letter C

50 Songs About the Weather – Fifteen

Alcatraz

Gravity’s Rainbow – The Klaxons

I had a holiday romance once, when I was fifteen, I went to a holiday camp near Scarborough with my parents and the lad I met there was literally the only person worth talking to in the entire place.  On the last day before we were both leaving (me back to Devon, him back to Hornchurch in Essex), we walked hand in hand along the beach and then quickly, badly and rather embarrassingly we snogged each other behind a sand dune.  It was for both of us the first time we had kissed anyone and afterwards there was a definite sense of ‘glad that is all over and done with’ as we walked in near silence back to the holiday park.

Of course I promised to write to him.  I grabbed his address and hugged him, I’m fairly sure I batted away a tear as well as my dad drove away towards the motorway.  He wrote me one letter, inside that there was a photo of him standing next to a tree and he was wearing a really terrible pair of maroon trousers and in the picture he looked absolutely nothing like I remembered him looking like. I never wrote back, largely because, I, with my newly found confidence and experience with boys, had better things to snog.

All of which fun and games leads me to Raphael.  It leads me back to a restaurant in San Francisco, a wonderful plate of ribs, a decent bottle of wine and a shared slice of pecan pie.   He had phoned me around 2pm, just as I was on a ferry coming back to shore from Alcatraz – which is a wonderful trip should you ever be in the area – and we’d arranged to meet at 8pm in the bar.

He is there when I arrive, looking mighty fine and he greets me with one of the awkward hugs where you kind of turn your head just in case. We are lead to our table and the evening is frankly a blur, it is a delight, I feel comfortable, relaxed and like I have known him far longer than the 30 hours that I have.

Around halfway through the main course, his phone rings, he looks at it quickly and then dismisses it and apologises.  Five minutes later it rings again and again he dismisses it.  Ten minutes later it rings again and I say

“Do you want to get that, it’s obviously important” and he replies

“It’s work, it can wait” he smiles and I continue to eat.

We leave the restaurant around 10pm and walk together and in around 20 minutes his hand has joined mine and at that point nothing much matters.  We walk and folks we end up at my hotel – it is late and we kind of stand there on the street and we know, we both know that something is going to happen.  I’ll be honest I wanted it to happen and he definitely did.

“Coffee?” I say, I’d like to say that I asked in a teasing kind of way but probably didn’t.  Before long we are sitting on my bed, my head is spinning a bit, not because I am drunk but because it is all going a bit quickly, and I am slightly nervous and I feel like I am on the moon or something.  There is a bit of kissing and fumbling and then, the phone, his bloody phone rings again.  It’s like midnight or something, no one phones you at midnight unless it’s important.  I stop what I am doing and tell him to answer it.  He tells me it doesn’t matter and I stop and I sit up.

“There is something you are not telling me here”.

“No, there isn’t” he says but it’s unconvincing and then he tries to continue where we left off, but the mood has changed and I ask him to leave. Which he does, I mean he moans a bit and tries to change my mind but he does leave.

I sit on the bed and shake my head and then I grab my phone and I send him a message I use What’s App and it reads

“You are married aren’t you, that or you have a significant other – be honest with me please”.

I sit and wait and then I notice something.  His profile picture on What’s App is a photo of him, a lady and a small boy, standing together, smiling, posing in front of some building.  It could be his sister, I tell myself, I mean it would be weird, but it could be.  But I feel the happiness of around two hours ago crashing, falling, hurtling back to earth.

My phone buzzes.

“Does it matter?” the message reads

I respond almost instantly, “Not any more it doesn’t” and I press delete.

Golden Skans

As Above, So Below

Cover Me – Number 47

kasabian

47 – Out of Space – Kasabian 

Originally by The Prodigy

Also covered by Azaliea Banks

By SWC

I get the feeling that Kasabian are kind of derided by many.  I’m not entirely sure why, because for a bit, a little bit, say two years, Kasabian were outstanding.  Their first album in chock full of brilliant tracks, like ‘Club Foot’, ‘LSF’ and ‘Cutt Off’.  For a while, I’ll even go as far as to say that Kasabian were the first band in ever such a long time that gave me that shivery feeling of expectation.  The first since Oasis I would say.

And then, they kind of lost it.  Shame.

So let’s have a vote – which is the best version of this song.  You get Kasabian’s version which stays quite close to the original but adds a certain something to it.  Then you get the original with its ‘boings’ and its sped up drum machines and its gabbering vocals and then you get Azaliea’s version, in which she pretty much reinvents it – a version that would have featured in this list as well, had I not forgotten that she had recorded and plumped for another track that she has covered.

Over to you.

Oh and Badger forget to add the Elliot Smith track to Number 49 in this list a few weeks back so here is a bonus track.

Which is actually the best thing we have posted in ages.

The Greatest Britpop Albums In the World…Ever.

EMG

Number 20 – Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers

By KT

Design For Life

You can file this one in the “Should have been much higher list” but it was voted down by SWC and Badger because “Its not the Holy Bible”.  Frankly I blog with idiots and that long forgotten plan of my own blog (‘The First of Lifes Pleasures), where I have full artistic control, and am not forced to choose songs that have a link to the Mr Men (not even the Little Misses, who, were far better) seems an awful long way away.

Anyway….”A Design For Life” is for me one of the greatest singles ever released.  From those opening strings, quickly followed by the call to arms statement of “Libraries Gave Us Power” through to the bit when the guitars all kick in around 60 seconds, right up to the end with its echo-y drums, all of it is amazing.

With that one song Manic Street Preachers conquered the universe.

The album was rapturously received as well (and guys, features regularly in rundowns of THE BEST ALBUMS EVER MADE, unlike The Holy Bible).  Where people expected their first record since the disappearance of Richey Edwards to be dour, mawkish or overly sentimental (my sister for one, who after hearing The Holy Bible went full on kohl make up for about six months and starting listening to bands like Bush, was disappointed that the album was not ‘more unhappy’ and it was also ‘way too radio friendly’), ‘Everything Must Go’ was kind of the complete opposite, it was accessible, intelligent, emotional and superb all at the same time.

Yes it was seen as a fresh start (one journalist reviewed it as the sound of a band cleansing their souls) and even the album cover with its simple stark image, three men, clean shaven was a massive change from the previous three.  Whereas before the Manics would have famously snubbed the mainstream, this was them opening their arms and wanting to be heard, listened to and embraced by the public.  The singles from it, echoed that and pretty much every time you turned on the radio between May and November 1996 all you heard were tracks from this album,

Kevin Carter

I mean even the non album tracks were pretty incredible

Removables

“It’s not The Holy Bible” because this is an album of records released during the Britpop era, but even if we were going through the Best Manic Street Preachers Albums Ever… this would still be at the top.   ‘Everything Must Go’ is one of the greatest records ever released and that is pretty much all you need to know about it.