BARFLY TOP TEN: Light Brigade, Four Stooges and Filth guitarist Bob Short
The Barman has been pleading for a Top Ten list. I have a Top Ten list but everyone is gonna fucking hate it. For once I'm standing up and demanding some attention for something I believe in.
Normally, I let you ignore my records. Normally, I just go with the inferioty complex. But I bought my friend's in on this and I don't like them being ignored. Fuck you all. You're gonna listen to this fucking record. And you can happily call me a cunt.
I noticed that the way to actually push things through social media is by being a repetitive rude cunt.
If you ask me what the 10 most important things that musically consumed me, it was the ten songs on the album Going Underground by the Light Brigade. Which other songs did I dedicate 100 hours plus a piece to? A thousand hours. Forty days. A tenth of the year.
No songs more obsessed me. Musically, fuck all else actually mattered. Other new albums this year? James Williamson did a good one.
The easiest cop-out is to call this record a Velvet Underground tribute but tribute albums are inevitably piecemeal. A blur of people's visions. Someone inevitably always has to do a Ramones version of a slow song and someone else has to slow a fast one down into an overblown ballad to try and force meaning onto lyrics that have none.
No. I wanted a whole thing. A big dramatic chunk. I wanted to make an original album out of covers and I didn't really mind what I had to smash together to achieve that on some post modern kind of way. Game on.
Because albums aren't about bunging a few random songs together and getting a pat on the back. Albums are like writing a novel. They have to have unity and themes... some of which are phrased in ways that bypass language.
Well, there is a lyrical consistency to the songs hanging off the Velvet's family tree, so that was easy. I decided to dodge the smack songs even if I did strive for an opiate sound. No point in being too obvious.
There were some aesthetic choices. 808 style drum sounds tempered by organic percussion. An eighties sound but without the hand of god snare thwack. A guitar synth pedal to introduce something familiar yet unique. The sort of things rockists really turn their noses up at.
I'm not asking for your money though I'll more than happily take it. I want you to click on this link.
I'm asking for your time. You can sit in the dunny and take a dump for forty minutes. But press this link. on your phone. Put it in the background and do some emails. Finish reading this. Just give this fucker its day in court. Thank me fucking later.
1. Ocean. Ripley Hood on vocals doing one part Iggy and two parts Bowie. Steve Lorkin breaks out a baseline worthy of Fun house Stooges. And I go full wah pedal. We'll we are three of the four. Plus Ripley gets to riff on about the Scottish play and you know how actors are.
2. I'll Keep it with Mine. Dylan gave this song to Nico for the Chelsea Girl album. It was a delightfully frothy pop song until Nico got her fingers on it and turned it into a funeral dirge. But this album could turn a little too dark if we mined that vein. So why not throw in some Flaming Groovies and Johnny Thunders guitar. Maybe chuck some Phil Spector drums into the mix. Who do I know who sings classic style pop songs. Maria Mitchy-Merle from Glen and Glenda. Crikey. That's sorted then.
3. Chorale. My very favourite John Cale song. If you haven't heard it, it's because it only appears on a couple of live albums. But what can I add to a song about the Streets of New York after dark. A hint of Gershwin? The beat of John Carpenter's Escape from? Obscure tease of Jack Nitzsche? Bonus points for following the train of thought.
4. Venus in Furs with Alley Brereton on vocals and a touch of Zep's Kashmir and a bit of Grieg. Smash a window as we hit the window. Hit the Wah Wah on the fade out but go to zero just as the going starts getting good.
5. Stan Armstrong and I go a ways back. He used to sing with the Psychsurgeons. I played guitar with Filth. Filth infamously played a version of White Light White Heat whilst baptising audience members with remaining blood from the Psychosurgeon single. The Psychsurgeons once performed "Raw Power" at the Paris Theatre and, after an extended intro, Stan was thrown on stage. These memories filtered around my head when it came to making this version of "White Light". Bringing in fellow Four Stooge to slam in the bass line didn't hurt either.
6. Saeta is a Nico song released as a single in the early eighties. There was an album recorded and legend has it the tape was stolen in an attempt to extort more money off of the record company to buy more smack. Saeta is a word for a Spanish funeral procession and the song was rerecorded as "The Line" on a later album. Despite months of pondering, I am still unsure what Nico was rattling on about. It sounds vaguely Fascist but that could be just her accent. I decided to sing it about death.
7. Which brings us to Jesus as sung by Alley Brereton. Was Lou singing a hymn? I tend to think it's a song about being broken and unfixable.
8. I prepared a backing track and sent it off for Robert Brokenmouth to do his worst with Some Kinda Love. He sent back a whole Smallpox Confidential all over the thing. On this, Robert sounds like someone you wouldn't want to be trapped in a shed with. But if you have already read his top ten list, you know that. For consistency and technical reasons, I had to pull back on the Smallpox a little and they'll probably assault you with their original take at some point.
9. I always was a little dubious about Pale Blue Eyes. It scans like a love song when you listen but if you read the lyrics it kind of comes off sleazy. I thought I'd add some pregnant pauses and push the sleaze. It also has some great porn style synth guitar bits.
10. The grand finale. I'm sticking with you. I always thought the original tried to hide too much behind camp. As I produced the Glen and Glenda album, I learnt no one does an absolutely sincere reading of a song better than Maria Mitchy-Merle. The proof is here.
"Going Undergroiund" by The Light Brigade is reviewed here.