Tuesday, July 29, 2008

illness as art

The tracks in this post came from a tape called 'Illness as Art', done for me in September 1989 by a friend of mine called Nicola. I can't remember how I first got talking to her but she'd recently spent a couple of years at school in America so she seemed terribly exotic to the 16 year old me.

Her tape introduced me to lots of interesting stuff including the Dandelion Adventure, whose Puppy Shrine album I bought soon after getting the tape. However, the tracks that really stayed with me betrayed her time at school in the US, consisting of what used to be called 'College Rock'.

Camper Van Beethoven - The Day That Lassie Went To The Moon

Camper Van Beethoven - Opie Rides Again/Club Med Sucks*

* if i was being true to Nicola's compilation I'd have removed 'Opie Rides Again' as this was edited off my tape.

CVB were one of those touchstones of US alternative music in the late 80s, like Violent Femmes - for example, I'd heard of 'Take The Skinheads Bowling' long before I ever heard it.

The Feelies - It's Only Life

This was the other stand-out track from this tape (via Shallyboy's music, not available on eMusic). That's a heck of a Lou Reed affectation on the vocal - the influence further underlined on the rollicking cover of "What Goes On" later on in the album. On the whole they're like a US Echo & The Bunnymen - Marc-o, if you're out there, is this the Paisley Underground?

Visit - Camper Van Beethoven
Visit - The Feelies
Buy - Popular Songs Of Great Enduring Strength And Beauty by CVB
Buy - Only Life by The Feelies (pricey import)

Image from here

Friday, July 25, 2008

drop me in for the badda-das

Bad News was the spoof New Wave of British Heavy Metal band featured in the first series of The Comic Strip Presents... This metal spoof was in production at the same time as This Is Spinal Tap.

Obviously Tap has had more long-term success but Bad News put a quintessentially English-toilet-circuit spin onto the pretensions of musicians, heavy metal or otherwise. Sometimes they overdid the 'we can't play our instruments' jokes but anyone who has ever been in a band (especially one that has been in a recording studio) will wince in recognition at some of the studio dialogue here.

The lines 'drop me in for the badda-das' and 'I've never had to move my arm up and down so many times in my life' definitely passed into Johnny Domino lexicon.

Bad News - Excalibur

Bad News - Warriors Of Genghis Khan

Bad News - Hey Mr Bassman

The characters were in the main extensions of the Young Ones archetypes - Ade Edmondson's Vim Fuego had the same barely-controlled rage as Vyv (just slightly more coherent), Rik Mayall's Colin Grigson was self-important, effete and pretentious in the same way as Rick, and Nigel Planer is just as dopey being Den Dennis as he was as Neil.

It's pretty clear that the Bad News boys had been listening to the infamous, hilarious Trogg Tapes. For more band-based shenanigans see also Father Ted's A Song for Europe - "play the f**king note!"

Buy - Bad News
Visit - Bad News