damaged goods - The I-94 Bar
Effortlessly cool instrumental soundtrack music by a band drawn from the UK Medway scene. The Senior Service make epic songs.
If you don’t know the names Jon Barker (organ), Graham Day (guitar), Darryl Hartley (bass) and Wolf Howard (drums and percussion), you’ll know the bands they’ve played in, like Billy Childish and the Buff Medways, The Mighty Caesars and The Prisoners.
Hammond organ to the forefront, The Senior Service march to a drumbeat made familiar by predecessors like Booker T and the MGs. This is their second album and it could have filled the soundtracks of any number of spy movies, film noir thrillers or whimsical British dramas.
He wears more hats than an international milliner’s house model but prolific UK musician/artists/poet Billy Childish keeps making idiosyncratic, vital music. Here’s his latest - and of course there’s a back story.
Childish put his band Musicians of the British Empire (MBE) on hiatus a couple of years ago so wife and bassist Nurse Julie could have a baby. CMTF is the reformed MBE and this four-track EP apparently announces a return to live shows.
This re-issue of a 1994 album by Medway’s finest sounds as brattish and vital as anything else around now, the perfect blend of punk rock and beat pop. Fashions come and go but Billy Childish remains a constant.
You think you work hard? By the time Thee Headcoats released this they had eight albums under their belts and fuck knows how many singles. Formed after Thee Mighty Caesars ground to a halt, they were an influence on everyone from Jack White to the Black Lips, Thee Oh-Sees and Jon Spencer.
Billy Childish is one of those artists who lives in a special and hallowed musical place. Loved or at least admired by mainstream music taste arbiters and demographic setters, these people sit firmly on the fringes and don’t give a flying fuck. They do things their own way and that’s why the rest of us love ‘em.
Billy’s been courted by the music aristocracy and has shrugged his shoulders. He lays it all out in the surging organ-tinged opener “A Song For Kylie Minogue”, right down to a request from Beck to collaborate musically. “As long as I get to sing it, boy, and you just play,” isn’t arrogance; it’s downright genius. Who doesn’t want to co-write with that Loser and make a million bucks? Billy Childish! You want to use me poetry, Kylie? "Go ahead, girl, it’s all for free".
We’re not claiming to be a “hip” or “cutting edge” forum at the I-94 Bar but here’s the conundrum: No-one other than the readership of similarly backward-looking but worthy publications like Mojo or Shindig is going to know about The Galileo 7. And that’s shit.
At the risk of sounding like a haughty communications lecturer talking to a bunch of undergrads, the more media fragments, the more isolationist its bubbles become. Which means, dear Barflies, that YOU have to dig deeper to find stuff that’s not disposable, commodified or bland.
The Galileo 7 is none of the above.