Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Different Kinds of Tensions...Show # 147

Buzzcocks originally formed in 1975 hailing from Manchester, England. Howard Devoto (real name Howard Traford) was on vocals, Pete Shelley (real name Peter McNeish) on Guitar, Steve Diggle on bass, and John Maher on drums. Shelley and Devoto (who were friends from school) decided to form a band after seeing the Sex Pistols perform live in Manchester in 1976. The band would get their name Buzzcocks from a TV show Rock Follies, which used the line "That's buzz, cocks" based on British slang. After getting their initial band line up, the band opened for Sex Pistols in Manchester in 1976. Touring briefly the band would record and release the four track EP, Spiral Scratch. The EP would contain four tracks "Breakdown", "Time's Up", "Boredom", and "Friends of Mine". The EP would be raw and loud backed by a band inspired by punk, sung by the odd yet intellectual lyrics of Howard Devoto. The EP was also independently released on the bands own label, New Hormones. Buzzcocks were the first punk band to have their own independently released album, it proved that you could do it yourself, supporting the DIY ethic of the emerging punk scene. A bootleg of these sessions containing fourteen tracks of the band playing with Devoto is also available, it is titled Time's Up. This would not last, Devoto wanting to return to school would leave the group only months after Spiral Scratch was released; In 1978 he would form the new wave group Magazine. The band would not split up after this despite losing their singer. Pete Shelley would take over as vocalist and guitarist, Steve Diggle would move from bass to guitar, and Steve Garvey would eventually be brought in as the bass player; Bassist Garth Smith would play for the band for a short time before being replaced by Garvey.

The band would then get a record deal with United Artists Records. The band would be a singles band the first being the song "Orgasm Addict" in 1977. The single was too controversial (lyrically) for radio. Garth Smith would be replaced with Steve Garvey after this single. The next and second single "What Do I Get?" cracked the top 40 charts. The band now fronted by Shelley was more pop oriented, lyrically the subject matter would mostly pertain to the topic of love, but other topics were also used. In 1978 Another Music in a Different Kitchen was released, the bands first full length album. The album would contain songs originally sung by Howard Devoto in the bands early days, but were re-sung by Shelley on this album. The songs "Fast Cars", "You Tear Me Up", and "Love Battery" were the songs done originally written and performed with Howard Devoto. The album would be the first pop punk album, it contained repetitious rhythms, simple solos, all packaged in undeniably catchy songs. "I Don't Mind", "Sixteen", Autonomy", "Fiction Romance" and "Get on Your Own" are all perfect examples of Buzzcocks catchy pop yet punk style.  "Moving Away from the Pulsebeat" was a simple yet longer song by the band which showcased Maher's excellent drumming abilities. The album would also contain brief intros and outros. Before the first track "Fast Cars" some of the song "Boredom" is performed by the band. The album would have a single that would do well chart-wise "I Don't Mind" would go to # 55 on the UK charts.

In 1978, Love Bites was released. The Martin Rushent produced album showed the band coming into their own not having any influence by their previous vocalist, Howard Devoto. It is a more shiny and pop album than Another Music; The album featured 11 songs. "Real World" opens the album which features harmonics and traditional buzzing guitars lyrically it is about love and life (as a good majority of the bands songs are). "Ever Fallen In Love" one of the bands catchiest songs and one of their signature songs is also featured here, the song is a romantic pop song that is about romance gone wrong. The album also contained two instrumental tracks ("Late For The Train", and "Walking Distance") and Steve Diggle's first lead vocal track on an album "Love Is Lies" an acoustic track. Other highlights include "Nothing Left", "Sixteen Again", and "E.S.P.".

A year later the band released their third album A Different Kind of Tension in 1979. The album which was made after tours supporting the bands two previous albums was made at a time when the band was showing signs of wear and tear; Another reason for this is because of their alcohol and drug consumption. The album came off sounding as more of a New Wave album. The album which I consider their best also featured more Steve Diggle songs that any previous album. It was a more sophisticated album and was inspired lyrically by literature. The title came from American writer William Burroughs, and the track "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" (which was a single not included on the album) was about the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Diggle's songs included "Sitting Around At Home", "Mad Mad Judy" and "You Know You Can't Help It". Shelley's songs were also brought up a notch with songs like "Paradise", "Raison D'etre", "I Don't Know What To Do With My Life", he also had some songs that seem of a darker nature lyrically and musically ("Money" and "Hollow Inside"). "I Believe" is a longer track in which the band follows along the same repetitious rhythm and Shelley gives his opinions and views; the song ends with the line "There is no love in this world anymore" being repeated over and over again. The album ends with "Radio Nine" a short 41 second outro that emulates a radio station tuning into Buzzcocks songs "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" and "Why Can't I Touch It?", songs that were singles for the album, but not put on the album.

Singles Going Steady was released in America in 1979 to coincide with their first American tour. The album contained 16 tracks which were all of the bands UK singles and B-sides. It featured songs such as "Ever Fallen In Love", "What Do I Get?", "Love You More" and "What Ever Happened To". The album also contains the songs "Everybody's Happy Nowadays", "Harmony in My Head" (one of Diggle's finest songs), and "What Can't I Touch It?" (a six and a half minute track fuelled by a heavy hypnotic bassline). Some people compare this album to being similar (impact and quality-wise) as Nevermind The Bollocks (Sex Pistols), and London Calling (The Clash). In 1980 the band was signed to Liberty Records. They would release the Parts 1, 2, 3 EP which featured a series of singles (3 singles, with the B-sides totalling six songs). The EP showed a band that sounded confused and the songs had things such as horn sections. The EP's songs were induced by drug addiction and the chaotic nature of the band just before its demise. There were three Diggle songs, and three Shelley songs. In 2001, Singles Going Steady was re-released with bonus tracks that included the Parts 1, 2, 3 EP. Around 1981 the band would start demoting songs for a fourth album, they would also have to deal with record label conflicts (United Artists were bought out by EMI Records). The band broke up in 1981 and Shelley would pursue a solo career. Other band members would form other groups (Diggle and Maher formed the short lived Flag of Convenience, Garvey would play with Motivation).

In 1989, Buzzcocks would reform with the same line up as in 1980 for a reunion tour of the United States. Maher and Garvey would leave the group shortly after and Maher would be replaced by Mike Joyce (The Smiths) on drums and Tony Barber would take over the bass. In 1993, Trade Test Transmissions would be released, the bands first album with the new line up. The band would also open up for the band Nirvana on some European tour dates as well. Three more albums would follow in 1996 All Set, in 1999 Modern, and in 2003 Buzzcocks. In 2003 the band also secured an opening slot for the band Pearl Jam on their American tour. Finally in 2006, Flat-Pack Philosophy was released. It is an album that sounds like a return to the early Buzzcocks style. The band continues to tour.

In October of 2008, Buzzcocks Released their first three albums in special edition format, with numerous bonus tracks. More information on these releases can be found in my A Different Music in a Different Kitchen Post, my Love Bites post, and my Different Kind of Tension post. In June of 2008, I also did a radio special celebrating the music of Buzzcocks, which can be found in my Harmoines in My Head Post.

Here's the play list:

1. Stray Cats – rumble in brighton (live 82) 
2. The Jam – news of the world
3. Undertones – here comes the summer
4. The Numbers – when I get older
5. The Wipers – can this be
6. DM3 – high rotations
7. Northwest Company – eight hour day
8. 49th Parallel – citizen freak
9. White Stripes – handsprings
10. Generation X – day by day
11. The Scavengers – twentyone
12. Only Ones – out there in the night
13. Buzzcocks – mad mad judy
14. Buzzcocks – raison d’etre
15. The Demics – the least you could do
16. The Gruesomes – who dat?
17. Hot Nasties - I am a confused teenager
18. The Onoffs – your loss
19. The Draytones – keep loveing me
20. Carbon/Silicon – the news
21. Marble Index – not impressed
22. Sloan – G turns to D
23. Arctic Monkeys – fluorescent adolescent
24. The Hives - Untitled (Live Hurricane Festival)
25. The D4 – rocknrule
26. Sex Pistols - pretty vacant
27. X - adult books
28. The Jam - in the city

Monday, May 21, 2007

Stop Making Sense...Show # 146

Forming in 1974, Talking Heads began as a three piece group. The group consisted of David Byrne (vocals/guitar), Tina Weymouth (bass), and Chris Franz on drums. The group formed while at school (Rhode Island School of Design). The name Talking Heads would come from a term that is used when filming in TV. In 1975 the group got an opening spot for the Ramones at CBGB's. A year later in 1976, another member would be added to the group, Jerry Harrison (formerly of The Modern Lovers). He would be the Keyboardist and another guitarist for Talking Heads. The group got a record deal through Sire Records (as did Ramones) and released their first single Love → Building on Fire in 1977. It was recorded when the band was still just a three piece group. It was also produced by Tony Bongiovi (also known as Tommy Ramone). The band’s first album would also be released shortly after in 1977, it would be titled Talking Heads ‘77. The album would also be one of the first albums labelled under the New Wave genre. It featured songs such as "Psycho Killer", "Don't Worry About the Government", "Uh-oh When Love Comes to Town". The album would make it to the charts despite low album sales (#97 on the Billboard charts), it would be their first, but minor taste of success. The lyrics would not be your of your normal topics they were intelligent and were of varying topics, they were also delivered in a quirky, sporadic style.

1978 saw the release of More Songs About Buildings and Food. The album drew more on the bands funk influences as opposed to the first which seemed to be fueled by the energy of the new and emerging New York punk scene at the time. The album did not do as well in sales, but it did display the energy of the band as did the first album. The album would reach # 29 on the Billboard charts, and it would also feature a cover of the Al Green song "Take Me To the River". The album showed that the band was still full of energy. Songs such as "Found a Job" a funky five minute piece, "Artists Only" a keyboard new wave track, and "Stay Hungry" a song eerily similar to the more recent Red Hot Chilli Peppers track "By The Way". The band who was known as an Art-Rock, New Wave band, definitely showed it on this album. The album was also produced by Brian Eno (Roxy Music, David Bowie), he gave them a new sense of direction and song structure.

In 1979, Fear of Music was released. Eno once again worked with the band. The album would jump into a different musical direction while still remaining New Wave. African rhythms would be added to the mix. The album mostly written and recorded in the live setting, was a step into a different direction for the band, yet again. The first song of the album "I Zimbra" is a African vibed song with lyrics inspired from a Dadist poem. "Life During Wartime" is a powerful track, lyrically and musically. The song is about guerrilla movements in the US and live underground music scenes, referenced in the lyrics "This ain't no party/This ain't no disco/This ain't no fooling around". The album also contained the eerie and melodic "Heaven" and "Air" a song about air pollution. Also Robert Frip known for the work he's done with King Crimson, added some guitar to the tracks. The album is just as good as any in the bands catalog.

Remain in Light came in 1980. It was yet again produced by Brain Eno he is even credited for some of the music compositions. The band jumped further into the African rhythms, but also added funk with a New Wave spin. The album contained the track "Once in a Lifetime" which would do good in the UK but not in the US. There also seems to be some early New York rap influence on this album as well with the song "Houses in Motion". This would be the groups last album with Eno. The band would go on tour in support of the album then take a short break and embark on some side projects. In 1983 the band returned with Speaking in Tongues. The album had a more 80's vibe, it also featured the song that would be a big hit for the band "Burning Down the House". The album also featured the pop masterpiece "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)". The band would go on a tour which would be filmed and can be seen in the film Stop Making Sense, which was directed by Johnathan Demme. This would also be the bands last tour. In 1982, a double live album was released titled The Name of The Band Is Talking Heads. The album featured songs from the bands early and later career. In 1984, Stop Making Sense, the soundtrack from the film was released, consisting of live performances from the film.

David Byrne would then direct his first film titled True Stories in 1985, which was a musical comedy. Little Creatures another Talking Heads album was released in the same year. The album was said to be more of a pop album than any of the previous albums by the band. The album drew in new influences such as Country. The album contained great tracks such as "And She Was", "Stay Up Late", and "Road to Nowhere". In 1986, the album True Stories was released, which was named after the Byrne film. It is a collection of odds and ends from the bands catalog, but there are some great worth while tracks on it. "Wild Wild Life" (which would be the bands biggest hit), "Love For Sale" (created for the film), and "Radio Head" (the song where the modern band Radiohead got their name from). Apparently Byrne originally did not want his vocals on the tracks, but those of the actors in his musical film instead (these would be later released as B-sides).

1988 saw the release of the last Talking Heads album Naked. This time the band combined the sound of Little Creatures with Remain in Light and Latin and world music. The album contained songs such as "Blind" and "Mr. Jones". The band would then go on hiatus for a while. After recording one more song for a movie "Sax & Violin's" in 1991, the band called it quits. Byrne would go onto his solo career and Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz would continue recording with their side project Tom Tom Club; They were recording since 1981. Jerry Harrison would also do solo projects and produce albums such as Foo Fighters (on the song "Walking After You"), Von Bondies, No Doubt, and Live. In 1996, the group wanted to reunite for an album, but Byrne did not want any part of it, so the band got some guest musicians and released an album called No Talking Just Head, and the band would be known as The Heads. In 2002, when the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame they played together for one last time. Despite playing together again, Byrne still says there will be no reunion for the group.

In 2003, a boxset Once in a Lifetime was released compiling material from the bands career on to three discs and a DVD containing the bands music videos. The set also contains a few rarities and B-sides. 2004 saw the release of a greatest hits album The Best of the Talking Heads by Rhino Records. In 2005, Talking Heads Brick Boxset was released. The album contained all eight studio albums remastered with bonus tracks. It was a dual disc boxset which meant that one side was the remastered CD with bonus tracks (which includes B-sides, demos, and outtakes), and the other side was a DVD that contained a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of the album and videos of the band. In 2006, all the albums were released individually in the dual disc format.

For more information on the band visit

Here's the play list from the show:

1. Magazine – my mind ain’t so open (bbc session)
2. Gang of Four – return the gift
3. Devo – wiggly world
4. 4/4 – all wound up
5. The Fans – you don’t live here anymore
6. Blondie – hanging on the telephone
7. The Victims - TV freak
8. The Diodes – tennis (again)
9. The Diodes – headache
10. Pointed Sticks – waiting for the real thing
11. Wire – fragile
12. Wire – champs
13. The Police – low life
14. Talking Heads – paper
15. Talking Heads – mind (alt version)
16. Ultravox! – frozen ones
17. Bureaucrats – feel the pain
18. Modernettes – teen city
19. Ride Theory – walk the line
20. Young Rival – dead end scene (demo)
21. Television – double exposure (1974 demo)
22. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – ignore that door
23. Tricky Woo – altamont raven
24. Tricky Woo – alright
25. Fiction Plane – anyone
26. Fiction Plane - death machine
27. Exploding Hearts – boulevard trash
28. The Caesars - may the rain

Here's some Cool Talking Heads Videos:

David Byrne on Letterman 1983 Part 1
Talking Heads on Letterman Part 2
Once in a Lifetime Music Video
This Must Be the Place Video
Found a Job from the Stop Making Sense Movie
Born Under Punches Live in Rome 1980
Psycho Killer 1982

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pump It Up.. The Elvis Costello Story & Show # 145

This post used to feature information about Elvis Costello & The Attractions.  For more information on Elvis Costello & The Attractions visit these links:

Get Happy: An Article On Elvis Costello & The Attractions Get Happy! Album

Here's what was played on the show:

1. Ramones - carbona not glue
2. The Damned - neat, neat, neat
3. Ugly Ducklings - nothin'
4. The Jury - who dat?
5. Midnight Angels - i'm suffering
6. The Pretty Things - buzz the jerk
7. 13th Floor Elevators - you're gonna miss me
8. The Dogs - my life
9. Dead Boys - sonic reducer
10. Teenage Head - something else
11. The Gruesomes - the witch
12. Young Canadians - Hawaii
13. 999 - emergency
14. The Clash - pressure drop
15. The Saints - lost and found
16. Madness - the prince
17. The Beat - twist & crawl
18. The Selector - street felling
19. The Specials - nite klub
20. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - accidents will happen
21. Elvis Costello & The Attractions - clean money
22. The Features - city scenes
23. Albert Hammond Jr. - postal blowfish
24. Arctic Monkeys - balaclava
25. Queens of the Stone Age - era vulgaris
26. The Stooges - end of christianity
27. KO & the Knockouts - go-getter
28. King Beez - little girl

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What Do You Call That Noise?...Show # 144

Coming from Swindon, in London England, one of the first incarnations of XTC was in 1976, but they were then known as Star Park. After going through a few name changes, they changed thier name to XTC (taking its name from the drug known as Ecstasy, XTC being the shorter street name for the drug) in 1977 after being turned down by CBS. An EP titled 3-D was then released in 1977 on Virgin records. The band consisted of Andy Partridge (guitar/vocals), Colin Moulding (bass), Terry Chambers (drums), and keyboardist Barry Andrews. They were a British New Wave Pop band that came out at the time of the UK punk explosion in the late 70s. Influenced largely by the New York Punk scene, XTC also had a vareity of influcences. Bands such as The Clash, Sex Pistols, Dub Music, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys and The Beatles were some of the msuical influence that built up XTC's sound.

White Music was released in 1977. It featured Catchy but odd pop songs such as, "Statue of Liberty", "This is Pop?", and "Radio's in Motion". The album also contained a cover the Bob Dylan song "All Along the Watch Tower", in true XTC style. None of punk inspired pop songs charted. In 1978 Go 2, was released. The album featured a different tracklisting in the UK than in Canada/The US. The album's cover is also very unique. Instead of a typical cover, it features typewriter text. After a quick US tour there would be some line up changes amongst the band. Keyboardist Barry Andrews would leave the band and would go on with Robert Fripp to form The League of Gentleman. Another guitarist was added at this time David Gregory. Gregory was added instead of finding another keyboardist. XTC would then record the single "Life Begins at the Hop", their first single to chart. The album Drums & Wires followed in 1979. The record was a more poppier album than the first two. It would reach #37 on the charts. Black Sea came out in 1980, which produced more hits for the band. "Sgt. Rock", and "Generals and Majors" were singles. English Settlement would be released next in 1982. It would be a double album that gave the band a top ten hit, "Senses Working Overtime". 

In support of English Settlement in 1982, while the band was on a major tour, Partridge suffered a complete mental breakdown, causing panic attacks. The tour would be canceled. Also at this time drummer Terry Chambers would leave the band. Partridge said that the band would never perform on stage again. They then announced that they would be a studio only band, not performing live, except for some TV appearances. This would last from 1982 until the present. Mummur was released in 1983, and the band had a new drummer Pete Phipps. The Big Express followed in 1984, and Skylarking in 1986. The Todd Rundgren produced album brought the band back to commercial success, despite the fact that Partridge was not happy with the finished product. The band would continue to record, and in the late 90s the band would no longer be with Virgin Records. 

XTC would go independent in 1998. Partridge discovered around this time that the record company was with holding royalties from the band. After a settlement, Partridge and Moulding built their own studio, and formed their own label Idea Records. When recording their next album Apple Venus Volume 1, Dave Gregory left the band. The band would continue to record and release albums despite losing Gregory who had a great impact on XTC's sound. The next album Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) was released in 2000.

Here's the play list:

1. Big Audio Dynamite – v. thirteen
2. Public Image Limited – f.f.f.
3. Rich Kids – empty words
4. The Police – bombs away
5. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – radio, radio
6. Gang of Four - at home he's a tourist (bbc)
7. Only Ones – another girl, another planet
8. Active Dog – nothing holding you
9. AKA – 634 dog
10. Hot, Hot, Heat – get in or get out
11. XTC – life begins at the hop
12. Talking Heads – artists only
13. The Mods – out of your hands
14. The Odds – say you mean it
15. Wire – too late
16. The Pretenders – the wait
17. Iggy Pop – five foot one
18. Offspring – I got a right
19. Love Me Nots – move in tight
20. The Rapture – whoo! Yeah alright…uh-huh
21. Joe Strummer & the mescaleros – globo a go-go
22. The D4 – mysterex
23. Sloan – living with the masses
24. Sloan – HFXNSHC
25. X – we’re desperate

Here's some cool XTC Videos:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Another Band, Another Planet... Show # 143

The Only Ones were formed in 1976 by Peter Perrett. John Perry was on guitar, Alan Mair on Bass and Mike Kellie on drums. The band was influenced by bands such as The Clash, Buzzcocks, Ramones, but also bands such as New York Dolls, 60s garage and psychedelic music. The band was lumped in with the late 70s Punk and early 80s New Wave movement. The band is more of power pop band that just came out at the time of punk, but never the less are punk in nature.  The band was known for Perrett's sleazy romantic pop songs.

After independently releasing a single in 1976 ("Lovers of Today") the band got a record deal with CBS in 1977. Their first album The Only Ones was released in 1978 and contained the single and one of their best songs, "Another Girl, Another Planet". The album received good reviews, but the band would never really gain mainstream or popular status. In 1979 Even Serpents Shine came out and Special View was released in America. Basically Special View was like a compilation-type album for America (similar to the US release of the first Clash album). In 1980 Baby's Got A Gun was released. Both Even Serpents Shine and Baby's Got a Gun were slightly different than the first Only Ones album, but still maintained the Only Ones Sound.

In 1981, the group split up. They would release three albums, but would gain a cult following partly due to the fact that "Another Girl, Another Planet" was liked so much by fans. The band would have many post-humous releases after this. In the 80's Perrett would record and release solo albums, and one in the 90s. In 2007, The band reunited. The Only Ones did a UK tour in June of 2007 and toured thorough out 2008 and 2009.

I also played a new track from Queens of the Stone Age titled, "Sick Sick Sick". The song features Julian Casablancas from The Strokes and will be on the Upcoming Queens of the Stone Age album Era Vulgaris.

Queens of the Stone Age - Sick Sick Sick Video

Here's the play list:

1. Ultravox! – rockwrock
2. Demics – talk, talk
3. Vibrators – wake up
4. Blam Blam Blam – there is no depression in New Zealand
5. The Radiators – prison bars
6. Sex Pistols – did you no wrong
7. Johnny Thunders – leave me alone
8. The Gruesomes – serves you right
9. Smugglers – to serve, protect, and entertain
10. Tricky Woo – let us sing
11. Marble Index – we can make it
12. The Strokes – the way it is
13. Arctic Monkeys – d is for dangerous
14. Queens of the Stone Age – sick sick sick (featuring Julian Casablancas)
15. Neil Young – see the sky about to rain (live Massey Hall 1971)
16. Undertones – I told you so
17. Buzzcocks – nothing left
18. Generation X – live medley (Live in Sheffield 1978)
19. Carbon/Silicon – the system
20. Nirvana – stay away
21. Nirvana - territorial pissings
22. Pearl Jam – grievance
23. Pearl Jam - God's dice
24. Soundgarden – no attention
25. Soundgarden - Ty Cobb
26. Rage Against The Machine – tire me