Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Touch and Go The Magazine Story...Show # 149

Howard Devoto left his first band Buzzcocks after twelve live gigs and the release of Spiral Scratch EP in 1976. After getting a band together John McGoech (guitar), Bob Dickinson (keyboards), Barry Adamson (bass), and Martin Jackson (drums) the band Magazine was formed in 1977. The band would get a record contract with Virgin Records and Dickinson would leave the group. The single "Shot By Both Sides" was then recorded. The song was previously written by Devoto and Pete Shelley of the band Buzzcocks. The punkish single would crack the top 50, the band would have four early singles including "Shot By Both Sides". The others were "Touch and Go", "Goldfinger", and "My Mind Ain't So Open". The band would get a new keyboardist Dave Formula and then the band would record an album. In 1978, Real Life was released. The album was one of the first post-punk albums alongside with Public Image Limited. The album itself would feature nine tracks one of them being a re-recording of "Shot By Both Sides". The version on Real Life was less raw and more polished. The album also featured keyboards, odd lyrics courtesy of Mr. Devoto and music that could be at times gloomy, but also sharp, pointy, and arty. "The Light Pours out of Me" is an example of this. Other tracks that showed off the bands new post-punk, yet different style were "Motorcade", "The Great Beautician in the Sky" a winding circus-like song, and the strange pop song with piano, synthesizers, and a steady drum beat "Parade". In 2007, and expanded version of this album was released with bonus tracks (the four tracks being the early singles mention earlier).

Secondhand Daylight came next in 1979, the band also got a new drummer John Doyle (Jackson left the band shortly following the bands first tour). The album was not like their debut, it was a darker album featuring more keyboards, snyths, and darker lyrics. The album is an album that sounds very icy, songs such as "Feed the Enemy" and "Permafrost" illustrate this point perfectly. The album does have its moments, "Rhythm of Cruelty" is an upbeat song on this album. The song is closer to the sound of the bands first album Real Life. Overall, Secondhand Daylight was an overlooked album by most because of how different it was. 

The Correct Use of Soap was released in early 1980. This album showed the band returning to the earlier sound they once had with Real Life, but also combining elements of Secondhand Daylight. The album opens with the new wave-ish track "Because Your Frightened". The song is a features crunchy guitar riffs with melodic pull-offs. The song lyrically is more like original Devoto sarcastic and humorous, when the lines "Look What Fears Done To My Body" are repeated in the chorus. "Model Worker" is a more upbeat song musically featuring light piano in the background, synthesizer keyboards similar to Real Life in the choruses, solid drumming, chunky bass and clever Devoto lyrics, this time being about factory life. The album also featured a cover of the Sly & The Family Stone song "Thank You (Fallentinme Be Mice Elf Again)", the fast paced "Philadelphia", and "A Song From Under The Floorboards" (a song compared to "The Light Pours Out of Me"). 

In 1980 Play (a live album) was also released. McGeoch who had been involved with Siouxsee & The Banshees became a full member of that band, so Robin Simon was brought in as a replacement. After touring Simon would leave to be replaced by Bob Mandelson. Magazine would have just one more album before splitting up for good, it would be titled Magic, Murder, and the Weather. Released in 1981, the album did not do well, and most people do not even know it exists. Just after it's release Devoto left the group to pursue a solo career. In the 90's Devoto focused more on being a photo archivist. In 2001, Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley recorded an album together titled Buzzkuntz, under the band name ShelleyDevoto. The album is an experimental electronic album. In 2002, Devoto appeared in the film 24 Hour Party People, a film about a record label in Manchester (where Devoto is from).

In 2000, Magazine released a three CD box set titled Maybe It's Right To Be Nervous Now. This box set catalogued a large majority of material from the bands catalogue including B-sides, alternate mixes, and outtakes. On the third disc there is a collection of the bands BBC sessions done for John Peel. Included on the disc is also a re-working of a Buzzcocks song "Boredom" with organ. It is remade into a more Magazine sounding song. Also in 2000 a compilation/greatest hits type CD was released titled Where The Power Is. The album contains songs found on the box set. It is a great CD for people who are just getting into the band or for hardcore fans and completists. Finally in 2007, all of Magazine's studio albums were expanded and re-released with bonus tracks. In February of 2009, Magazine plans to reunite for some live shows in the UK.

Here's the Play List:

1. Pointed Sticks – its o.k.
2. Rich Kids – only arsenic
3. Public Image Limited – memories
4. The Stranglers – (get a) grip (on yourself)
5. Devo – through being cool
6. XTC – this is pop
7. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – moods for moderns
8. Gang of Four – damaged goods
9. The Police – on any other day
10. Teenage Head – ain’t got no sense
11. Young Canadians – don’t tell me
12. Arson – coho coho
13. Hot Nasties – secret of immortality
14. Wire – French film blurred
15. Talking Heads – new feeling (live)
16. Magazine – touch and go
17. Magazine – rhythm of cruelty
18. The Diodes – midnight movie star
19. Arctic Monkeys – the bad thing
20. The Strokes – whatever happened
21. Radio 4 – too much to ask for
22. Queens of the Stone Age – 3’s & 7’s
23. Mando Diao – tv & me
24. The Hives – uptight
25. The Hives – the hives meet the norm
26. The Gruesomes – I wish you were her
27. The Heatseekers – you been runnin

Here are some Magazine videos:

Shot By Both Sides (Top Of The Pops 1978)
The Light Pours Out of Me
Model Worker (Live 1980)
A Song From Under The Floorboards (Live 1980)
Permafrost (live 1980)
Definitive Gaze (OGWT)
I Can't Control Myself (Devoto reuniting with the original Buzzcocks members)

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