The A to Z of EP’s – F

family

F is for The Family Rain

Every now and again, a new band will emerge and have a noise that sounds new or fresh or at the very least exciting.  A band that on their early records promise so much and lure you into a false sense of anticipation with respect to their debut album.

The Family Rain are one such band, a band who started out life as a Darkness style  cock rock act, before realising that they ‘might’ actually be able to string together a few decent tunes by not being a cock rock act.  Back then of course they were called something else, that being Rock Pirates, which is a terrible name.  When they realised they had some actual musical talent, they changed their name to the Family Rain and decided that a brand of stomping filthy bluesy gutter rock was the future.

Their early EPS were incredible, particularly the one that I have chosen today, ‘Pushing It’, an EP full of swaggering riffs, rattling bass and pounding drums, it was a sound that was fresh and exciting. The press was quick to label them as ‘the new Biffy Clyro’ and people sat and waited for their album, seemingly not put off by how the press had labelled them.

However, before that arrived, a band called Royal Blood arrival and sort of pushed the Family Rain out of the way, then the debut album ‘Under the Volcano’ arrived and collectively everyone went ‘meh’. Realising this the Family Rain split in 2016.

Pushing It

Friction

The Truth (demo)

Friction (Chester Watson Remix)

50 Songs About the Weather – Twenty

burglary

Wash In the Rain – The Bees

By Badger

The other week Mrs Badger and I set off to Marks and Spencers, we needed to get some ingredients for a cake that she was making.  We decided to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.  As we walked to the door, pushing a trolley with a wobbly wheel, Mrs Badger spied an old man standing in the car park, looking a bit lost and upset.

I looked at her and said “That cake won’t make itself…” which is man code for “Don’t go over and see if he is ok…”.  So Mrs Badger ignores me and walks over and sees if the man is ok.

In precisely a minute she is calling me over.  I push the trolley to one side and amble over.  The man is George, he is 89 and it turns out he has shut his car keys in the back of his car, along with his shopping and the car has locked. He is really upset about it.  It also turns out that his wife died about a month ago.

“Tim, can we drive him to his house so he can get his spare set of keys”, which of course is the right thing to do.  So off we go.  We make small talk on the way, he tells us a lovely story about his wife and my wife looks at him and smiles. We get to his house, a stunning little bungalow in a lovely part of town.  Then I pull over and switch the engine off and tell him that I’ll wait here.  George sits there and then says

“My house keys are also in the back of my car”

Oh.  He tells me that the small bedroom window is open and that there is a ladder round the side.  “Tim” my wife snaps, “Go and get the ladder”. I was just about to suggest that.

So at 8.25am on a Saturday morning I am in a strangers garden, carrying a ladder, dressed largely all in black.  I placed the ladder against the window, and notice that I can probably reach my arm through and unlatch the bigger window.  Which is what I do.  Now, I’m 50 years of age, and I shouldn’t really be climbing through windows at that age particularly when it’s not my window and it’s raining.

I look back to my car, Mrs Badger is speaking to George, and not even watching me – I mean I could have fallen and I’m being really heroic here, a wave and a mouthed “You’re brilliant” would be nice.

Then I look across and notice that two sets of neighbours are watching me.  I wave at one of them and point to the car, just in case they thought I was Britains stupidest burglar. I give them the thumbs when the bigger window opens easily.

I slide myself through the window.  It’s a struggle I’ll be honest, not because I can’t fit, I can, but because for some reason there are around 25 small statues of elephants on the windowsill and I am trying not to knock them off the window.  Then as I do that, I fall forward.

Luckily I fall on to the bed. My face buries itself in the man’s nicely folded pyjamas, they are yellow, the obvious colour for old men to choose when buying pyjamas. I look up and the elephants are still on the sill. I look around the room and I am suddenly hit by the feeling of sadness in the house, it feels lonely, quiet and unhappy.

I shut the window (both windows) and walk out of the bedroom.  Now I am in strange house, and I realise that I have no idea where his spare keys are.  I walk into another room when looking for the front door and it is full of teddy bears.  Full of them.  I stare and then feel slightly creeped out and back out of the room and remind myself to not mention it to anyone.

Then my phone buzzes.  It is my wife or at least a text from my wife…

”Hurry up, the keys are on the sideboard in the hallway, the round one opens the front door, oh and the police have arrived.  Do you want me to drive off at high speed, leaving a massive tyre burn mark on the road?”

Brilliant.

Another buzz.

“Cos, I’ve always wanted to do that, and then stick my arm out of the window, and give the rozzers the bird”.

I find the keys and get the hell out of there.

Sorry for anyone who is expecting KT she is having a couple of weeks off, don’t worry she is fine, she has just gone on holiday (China, as you’ve asked).

The Bird and The Bees – The 2 Bears

Cover Me – Number 42

dusty

I Just Don’t What To Do With Myself – The White Stripes

Originally by Bacharach and David – also covered by Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick and Marcia Hines and I wish I had the Dusty version because its miles better

Around the time of their fourth studio album ‘Elephant’ – The White Stripes could do very little wrong.  ‘Elephant’ was the first album of theirs to top the UK album charts.  It also spawned ‘Seven Nation Army’ and that itself catapulted them into the Top Ten of the Singles Charts.

Four months later, the band released the second single from the album, a cover of the Bacharach and David classic ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’.  It was a fairly simple cover, keeping at the start, as close as possible to the original, a bit whispery, a bit moody the vocals blending nicely with Jack White’s, now customary bluesy guitar licks – which was probably something close to what Mr Bacharach had in mind when he first penned it.   Then about halfway through it all kicks off it ends up being (intentionally) as far away from the original as it is possible, especially when the riffs kick in and almost push the original bits out of the way.  You may also remember Kate Moss pole dancing in her pants in the video.

The White Stripes are of course quite famous for their cover versions, here is another one a version of ‘Conquest’ originally recorded by Patti Page back in the fifties, which appears on ‘Icky Thump’ and is pretty staggering.

Conquest

He does it quite a lot as a solo artist as well.

I’m Shaking

Which was of course, first recorded by someone called Little Wille John.

The Greatest Britpop Album In The World….Ever

Auteurs

Number 15 The Auteurs – New Wave

By SWC

I am going to start with  two incredible relevations.   Firstly, transit punk popsters Midway Still invented, what we would call today ‘the mash up’ and secondly, Luke Haines, the gobby upstart who fronts The Auteurs, invented Britpop, and you know what, the two thing are connected.  Well they are in my world at least.

Back in the day before digital downloads, bands used to give stuff away with their singles and albums, this was sometimes a poster or a gimmicky thing.

The vinyl version of the second Midway Still Album ‘Life’s Too Long’ you got a free a 7 inch single.  The single contained two tracks, side A was a cover of the Frank Sinatra staple ‘Fly Me To  The Moon’ and the B Side was called ‘A Day in the Life of A Showgirl’ which was basically a merging  of the Beatles tracks ‘A Day In the Life’ and the Auteurs single ‘Showgirl’ and it was incredible.  And that folks was as far as I am concerned, the invention of the mash up.

What that track made me do though, was check out The Autuers, because at the time they were everywhere, and Luke Haines was the new angry shouty kid on the block (described memorably by Melody Maker as a ‘hugely punchable bloke with long hair in a velvet jacket’).  So I got myself a copy of ‘New Wave’ – and the rest is history.    I would imagine that Luke Haines would hate the fact that I consider this to be a Britpop album but it definitely is and judging by the fact that it was released in February 1993, it is probably the first Britpop album.

If you have not heard it, then you should probably rectify that fairly soon.  ‘New Wave’ is almost perfect.  A wonderful bunch of songs about stuff like fame and class, completed with bitchy lyrics, rattling guitars and vocals which properly sneer and which at times feels like they are almost narrated by Haines.  The style and the manner of it quickly generated comparisons with Morrissey, but when you play ‘New Wave’ back, the real similarity should have been made with Ray Davies.

Showgirl

Valet Parking

American Guitars

Idiot Brother

Enjoy.

 

 

 

Mr Men Thursday – Eight

Messy

Mr Messy

Mess on A Mission – Liars

By Badger

Sorry for the short break in posts.  We are back.  Just in case you missed us.

Mrs Badger and I did a bit of childminding for Princess SWC the other day.  The second the front door closed, she looked at me, whilst holding a cuddly toy badger and said, “Mummy said that you would help me build a den”.

Mrs Badger quickly stands up and says that she is going to “make some sandwiches” and exits stage left.

Two hours later, Princess SWC has dismantled both of their sofas, moved all of their dining chairs, cushions, duvets and blankets and has created what she described as “a mountain prison”.  The prison contains twenty three soft cuddly toys.  My job is ‘prison guard’ and I have to turn a blind eye (often distracted by ‘an elephant in the garden’) as Princess SWC dives underneath the pile and runs off with the prisoners laughing.  It is the most fun I have had in years.

The Scores

KT – Played Two – Four Points

SWC – Played Three – Four Points

Badger – Played Three – Three Points

 

 

Cover Me – Number 43

Wicker

How Do – Sneaker Pimps

Originally by Paul Giovanni and Magnet

Now the original as we all know features in a very famous scene in the 1973 film ‘The Wicker Man’.  A scene in which Britt Ekland tries to seduce Edward Woodward by singing him this through the wall, the fact that she is completely starkers was missed by me, I was purely concentrating on the intricate guitar plucking of the band Magnet.  Although of course, it wasn’t actually Ekland doing the singing and nor, fact fans, was it her in the nude scenes, but was in fact a body double (the girl was in fact played by Ex Leicester City and Blackburn midfield hardman Robbie Savage).

The Sneaker Pimps version features on their excellent 1996 album ‘Becoming X’, where they have changed the name of it to ‘How Do’ and that also features in another famous scene involving ladies with very few clothes on which can be found in the 2006 film ‘Hostel’.  Although it is a terrible film.

Apparently the song has also been covered in recent years by Doves, Isobel Campbell, The Go! Team and featuring for the second time in a week The Mock Turtles.  I would genuinely love to hear the Mock Turtles version of this, I can imagine that any sensuality (which is after all what the original song tries to convey) has been stripped away and is as erotic as a night out in Grimsby on a Tuesday. But I may be wrong.

Here’s the Dovs version, which as you can imagine is all kinds of brilliant.

Willows Song – Doves

The Greatest Britpop Albums In the World…..Ever

Supergrass

Number 16 – I Should Coco – Supergrass

By KT

Yet again we are faced with a situation where we have an album that should have been ranked much higher than it is.  This time it is the seminal debut album by Oxford’s Supergrass.  An album which is pretty much the epitome of what a Britpop album looks and sounds like and one that SWC and Badger have again contrived to vote down because they ‘hate Alright, particularly the stupid plinky plonky piano bit’.

Ah ha.  Moving on.

The very first thing that I ever read by SWC on a blog was a tale he told about being arrested for minor bin arson when he was a young lad, and to be honest they should have thrown away the key at such blatant criminal behaviour, it was linked to ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ and that was number 94 in something called the WYCRA 200.  However, his story and this song reminds me of the time when I got arrested for shoplifting when I was 14, again like most things in life, you can blame Alice.

Caught By the Fuzz

There we were on a day trip to Tiverton of all places (if you have never been to Tiverton, you can consider yourselves lucky) and we were bored and had been larking around and ended up in Boots, where we picked up various bits of make-up and that sort of thing and generally pissed about with them.  Suddenly Alice popped a couple of lipsticks in her bag and walked out of the store.  Outside and around the corner she is stood waiting for me and then she casually hands me a lipstick before we strolled away like nothing had happened.

An hour later we were in Woolworths where again Alice managed to fill her bag with pick and mix sweets – there we sat in the park munching our illegally gained strawberry creams, laughing like two criminals on the run (well one criminal one accomplice), and Alice looks at me and tells me that “it was my turn”.  The shop of choice was WHSmiths – and I decided to lift a couple of pens, so that we could tag the local benches with our names and leave a rude message about a girl called Louise from our school.

So in I went, I browsed the magazines, reminding myself to pick up a copy of Select, a bit later on because it had a free tape on it, and then I hovered around the pen section. Nonchalantly I stood there and scribbled with a red one on the bit of test paper that they used to have next to them and then selected two of the black ones.  I gave it a quick look around, and then popped them in my pocket.  What I didn’t noticed was the man standing almost directly behind me.  He, being the grass that he is, went and told the staff straight away and as I marched towards the doors towards what I thought was massive cool points, I felt a hand on my shoulder – I looked over towards Alice who was waiting by the books and she quickly legged it out of the store and to freedom.

One hour I sat in their little room, for most of that time I had been in tears and I felt sick because I’d eaten too many stolen strawberry creams, before my Dad walked in (thankfully it wasn’t my mum who would have strung me up there and then).  He spoke to the manager and shook his hand and then he walked over to me and said,

“Come On Al Capone”.

I had to wash up the dishes for a month and do various other tasks and write to the store and say sorry and he made me make a donation to charity for the price of everything else that Alice and I had stolen (about twenty quid).

On the plus side he never told my mum until about five years later, and he never grassed up Alice either.

Lenny

Mansize Rooster

 

Mr Men – Thursday – Seven

fox

Mr Snow

By SWC

I’ve never read Mr Snow but apparently he was a snowman that was ordinary until he was brought to life by Father Christmas.  When we had snow a few weeks ago, my daughters ‘Snow Alien’ lasted less than nineteen hours – and she was devastated when she looked out of the window after breakfast to see all that was left of him was the three carrot noses.

I have loads of songs with ‘Snow’ in the title so I’ve made a playlist and the first one that comes up with be the track of choice.

Oh, not a bad choice

The Fox In the Snow – Belle and Sebastian

Which puts me I think level with KC on four points

 

The Charity Shop Countdown – Number 23

slinky

Slinky – Milltown Brothers

Bought from PDSA Shop Exeter

By Badger

In January 1990, the NME picked a bunch of bands that they were tipping to be massive successes over the coming year.  That list consisted of six bands, Carter USM, The Charlatans, The Mock Turtles, New FADS, The Hoovers and Milltown Brothers.  Which if you ignore The Mock Turtles and The Hoovers (nope me neither) was not a bad list.

Milltown Brothers were on that list due to their debut EP ‘Coming From the Mill’ a rousing slice of janglepop that underlined them are potential stealers of the throne currently occupied by the Stone Roses.

That EP lead to a brief A&R battle between a couple of record labels, both of which wanted to release the bands next single, which happened to be ‘Which Way Should I Jump’.  In the end A&M won the battle and released the single, which scrapped the Top 40 (although should have done much better).

Which Way Should I Jump

The album ‘Slinky’ followed which went Top 30 and spawned a couple more singles which included ‘Here I Stand’ which I seem to remember being the theme tune to a BBC drama about people in the North (It was called ‘Preston Front’ – Wiki Checking Fact Ed).

Here I Stand

Around two years ago, in something called the WYCRA 200, I was rather unkind to the Milltown Brothers.  In my defence, I was writing about the Pixies at the time and a gig I went to where the Milltown Brothers supported them and I suggested that they were rubbish.

Anyway, a week after that review Mrs Badger bought me this, she apparently needed change for something and only had a five pound note and found this in the shop above for a pound.   Turns out it is quite a bargain and actually really rather good.

Apple Green