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I’m So Sick Of Snow Patrol-ah!

December 2, 2011

When people discover that I’m into music in a big way they will ask the inevitable question, “What music do you like then?” My standard glib and non-commital reply has always been, “Oh you know, anything released before 1986,” which, on the one hand tells you nothing, but on the other hand tells you everything you need to know. Why get into the present when there’s so much from the past just waiting to be discovered? Of course, just to be contrary, I’m very much into the present. Two albums currently on heavy rotation (do iPods rotate?) are Skying by The Horrors and Ersartz G.B. by The Fall. Both current, both new, yet crucially both steeped in a wide variety of pre-86 reference points. The Horrors album seems to have taken early Psychedelic Furs and the pre-pomp Simple Minds as its year zero. But that description doesn’t do it justice at all. Full-on, relentless and played by musicians at the top of their game, The Horrors would be my band of choice if I was 17 and had the waist size for skinny black jeans and the gall to wear pointy boots in public. Spotify it then buy it. And that’s an order.

The current version of The Fall are brilliant – tight, taut and tense with seemingly their leader’s approval to, like, get down. The album is all Sabbath riffs and rockabilly rhythms, wonky keyboards and slabs of cement basslines. On some tracks, Mark Smith sounds like an angry dog attacking an old slipper (eg the lyric that healines this piece). On the rest he sounds like a demented Dalek on downers. This may just be the best Fall LP since Extricate. It’s that good. In fact, if this album and The Horrors one aren’t in the Top 5 of any of those Best Albums of the Year lists that should be appearing any day now, I’ll turn my copy of Telephone Thing into a trendy ashtray and smoke myself silly.

Photo ‘borrowed’ from Flybutter via Flickr. Ta!

Another current obsession is Elliott Smith. I’ve written much about him in the past (use the ‘search‘ box on the side there). I love Elliott and return to him time and time again. This week I have been mostly obsessing over Alameda, from his Either/Or LP. It’s not just the way he practically whispers the lyric. Or the ghostly harmonising backing vocals. And it’s not just the way he sounds like he plays guitar with 10 fingers. On each hand. Nope. It’s the way (muso alert! muso alert!) the song goes from monochrome misery into a burst of technicolour joy over a pair of E flat and G minor chords. “For your own protection over their affection, nobody broke your heart. You broke your own…” Majestic is the word I’m looking for. My Christmas holiday task is to master this song on the guitar. Easy chords but a difficult picking arrangement. Pop round at New Year to hear me murder it if you fancy.

Here y’are:

Alameda (Either/Or)

Alameda (Alt. Lyrics)

Alameda (Live WMUC circa June/July 1997)

Oh aye. Is it snowing on your desktop too? Nothing to do with me….

UPDATED AUGUST 2012….UPDATED AUGUST 2012….UPDATED AUGUST 2012

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5 comments

  1. Best you not check out Pitchforks review of The Fall’s new album (2.2 out of 10).
    Their reviews do leave a lot to be desired though…like why get a reviewer who constantly reviews dance music to do an indie review?


  2. Ersatz is a grower but Greenway and Happi Song ruin it for me. Also the fact that the cunt was on stage for 10 mins at the Edinburgh gig and for the rest of the tour has done 80 minute sets, total fud.


  3. Hi!
    I lived in LA when Elliott died. He was supposed to play at All Tomorrows Parties in Long Beach, south of LA 18 days later and that would be the first time I would see him live. It still saddens me that he died way too early and I never get to see him live.

    A couple of weeks after his passing there was a memorial tribute concert at Henry Fonda. Lots of local artists around Silverlake and some more well-known (Beck, Beth Orton, M.Ward, X) performed his songs.

    Beck did a pretty good job playing Clementine, Alameda and Rose Parade. I have the songs on a harddrive somewhere, and you might find them online. I can dig in my archive if you would be interested.

    Keep up the blogging! Just discovered it, lots of good music here, right up my alley.


  4. I’d love to have seen Elliott live too. Being something of a regular gig-goer throughout the 90s, I’m surprised I never managed to see him, although I think he played in Glasgow once, or twice at the most.

    Nice story. Thanks for visiting. Cheers!


  5. I was lucky enough to see Elliott at Glasgow Garage in 2000. I hadn’t heard much of him before that but went with a friend who was right into him. Wasn’t the best concert I had ever seen but he had that certain something that made me go out afterwards and get everything he had recorded. Now one of my fave all time artists, I wish I had appreciated him more nefore I saw him.



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