what were you listening to in 1991?

smash hits 1991 album sleeve cassette cd

this beautiful double cd arrived in the post a few days ago and is helping to brighten the grey abyss that is january in hackney. it will no doubt have an influence on the music played at the next dirtyconverse disco which is scheduled to take place on saturday 12 february…two days before Love Day 2011. pure disco love.

this brightly coloured package of early nineties treats was the first EVER album i owned (at the age of 10-nearly-11) and my original copy is the double cassette edition. it’s still intact and works fine on my jvc tape deck BUT disco practicality dictates that i must own it on cd if i am to share it with an audience. so i now own two copies. smash hits fan #1.

highlights from ‘smash hits 1991’ (as i remember them) include sophie lawrence’s cover of the donna summer classic ‘love’s unkind’ and ‘just another dream’ by cathy dennis. CATHY DENNIS!

(totp dance moves to die for)

back to 2011 and having listened to half of cd1, i’ve just reactivated an absolute belter of rock ballad by roxette, which is best described as the musical equivalent of a swoon. ‘fading like a flower’ was on repeat in 1991 and 20 (!!!) years later…stilljustasgood.

trust me – it’s worth braving the ten second emi-sponsored ad to watch the official vid on youtube. backlit blonde hair, 80s-cum-danny-zuko-grease dance moves and that leather jacket, marie fredriksson, you are Invited to our lovers’ disco…

full tracklisting:

  • 1. Good Vibrations – Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch
  • 2. Thinking About Your Love – Thomas, Kenny
  • 3. One And Only – Hawkes, Chesney
  • 4. Happy Together – Donovan, Jason
  • 5. Just Another Dream – Dennis, Cathy
  • 6. Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave) – Roxette
  • 7. Get The Message – Electronic
  • 8. Over Rising – Charlatans
  • 9. Promise Me – Craven, Beverley
  • 10. More Than Words – Extreme
  • 11. I’m Too Sexy – Right Said Fred
  • 12. International Bright Young Thing – Jesus Jones
  • 13. Chorus – Erasure
  • 14. Love’s Unkind – Lawrence, Sophie
  • 15. Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy – Sonia
  • 16. Shocked – Minogue, Kylie
  • 17. GLAD – Appleby, Kim
  • 18. Are You Mine – Bros
  • 19. Footsteps Following Me – Nero, Frances
  • 20. Love And Kisses – Minogue, Dannii
  • 21. Baby Baby (I Know You’re A Lady) – Grant, Amy
  • 22. Charly – Prodigy
  • 23. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
  • 24. Everybody’s Free – Rozalla
  • 25. Now That We’ve Found Love – Heavy D & The Boyz
  • 26. 3am Eternal – KLF
  • 27. I Wanna Give You Devotion – Nomad
  • 28. Alright Alright – Urban Soul
  • 29. Winter In July – Bomb The Bass
  • 30. Pray – MC Hammer
  • 31. Peace – Johnston, Sabrina
  • 32. Do The Bartman – Simpsons
  • 33. Insanity – Oceanic
  • 34. Move Any Mountain – Shamen
  • 35. 7 Ways To Love – Cola Boy
  • 36. Gypsy Woman – Waters, Crystal
  • 37. Ring My Bell – Monie Love & Adeva
  • 38. Can I Kick It – Tribe Called Quest
  • 39. Call It What You Want – New Kids On The Block
  • 40. Crazy – Seal

honey honeycombs

top on my list of music to mildly obsess over this week is the honeycombs – a 60s beat group with a rare example (certainly at that time) of a female drummer. the delightful honey lantree – whose brother john was the bassist in the band – hopped from hair salon assistant to the holloway road studio of independent music production lej joe meek when her boyfriend guitarist martin murray decided to form the band. pretty cool…

honey lantree from the honeycombs

they are best known for super-60s pop stomp ‘have i the right’ which is all sorts of amaze and was number one in the uk charts in 1964. i read somewhere that the distinctive drumming was enhanced by actual stamping on the stairs of joe meek’s studio, recorded by microphones connected to the bannisters by bicycle clips.

the honeycombs teeter along the fine line dividing sixties suave and ‘little bit gay man’ with their beautiful matching tailored suits and sharp demi-quiffs – appaz, guitarist martin murray was a hairdresser before forming the band which could explain their well-informed sense of style. perhaps.

by taking her beehive onto every young person’s black and white tv screen and no doubt inspiring a plethora of impressionable young girls to join bands, honey lantree gets hero status. she also has a prrroper london accent and remains amazingly fashion conscious, sporting a sharp royal blue box-shouldered jacket in an interview where she talks about working with joe meek.

although 50 years on the band are still performing, honey took the graceful path, retired early and is no longer drumming. she is probably now someone’s very cool nan…

i bought a ‘best of’ the honeycombs album last week and despite being dubbed one-hit wonders it’s surprisingly good. highlight alongside ‘have i the right’ has to be the slightly sinister ‘eyes’, which seems to be all about eyeing up people in bars (or maybe just full-on stalking) – great lyrics, and of course, superb drumming:

everyone loves jackie deshannon, surely?

isn’t she just wonderful? not least because her real name is actually SHARON, and being wise enough to know that a name like sharon wouldn’t sell records – even in the 1960s – she created jackie dee shannon, as a non gender specific nom-de-song (pretty forward thinking of her, no?).

i would have gone for jackie-shaz, personally, but each to their own. anyway, dee shannon soon became deshannon and this wee blond rock star hit the stage, singing all manner of treats including dirtyconverse favourites, ‘when you walk in the room’ and ‘needles and pins’.

the searchers borrowed both of these gems and made them more famous in the uk, and they were well cool. badge of approval.

AND, after the beatles toured with her (well, she toured with them) they wrote a song called ‘ticket to ride’, which if you listen to the opening guitar riff, could sound less like ‘when you walk in the room’:


jackie-shaz also co-wrote the subtly theatrical ‘bette davis eyes’ which was immortalised in beautiful 80s techni-colour surround sound synth by kim carnes in 1983. and she hung out with eddie cochran, swoon. pure…love…her.

and so, it was to my delight to note that one of my NFBs, tennis have covered a jackie-shaz track. this wee cover is ACERS. cannae wait to go see them play live in london on jan 7 @ the lexington.

lovers lovers lovers

given that i can count on the fingers of one hand the number of good all-lesbian bands (organ, le tigre…struggling already) i was ever so excited to stumble upon lovers. a pack of three (surely they must be) lesbians from portland, oregon.

lovers dark light album sleeve

(the sleeve of the new album is VERY misleading if i’m wrong about the lez-thing)

listen to ‘barnacles’, ‘peppermint’ and ‘figure 8’ from new album dark light and you will see why i think lovers are ACERS:

they seem nice, don’t they? joce played ‘barnacles’ at the last disco and is a little bit obsessed with it too. i hope they come to the uk now that synth is in fashion and their new album is likely to become all sorts of cool. very good. there’s a bit more stuff on their myspace.

lead singer carolyn berk is not quite as marc jacobs modelling-hot as katie sketch but she does a good plaid shirt and wears her jeans awfully well. and she comes with two lovely friends. whatsnottolike? hope they don’t fall out and hate each other before they have a chance to travel a bit further than the west coast of america.

dark light is lyrically well-lez – “you hold on dear like a barnacle on a ship of fears” – and synth-cally it’s a postal service-the xx crossbreed. i like it. and my only question now is, why, in the uk when packs of lesbians decide to make music do we get stuck with shite like voodoohussy and the likes of this:

axe girl

the seattle subsonic blog will tell you more about the loverly lovers should you wish to stalk them a bit.

museum of bellas artes

i first heard about these swedish goddesses about a years ago. almost a year to the day, in fact – just checked when i downloaded their mp3 ‘who do you love’.

this is a cover of a song by lesser-known 60s girl group the sapphires and is pure cool. echoes and a beat that sounds like a car door shutting, over and over. who do you love. yeah. pure cool. listen, please:

download it here. and be their 509th (at the time of writing) friend on myspace.

NOW they have a new song out called ‘watch the glow’ which is just as good without being too samey. love. listen:

the car door shutting beat has turned into a paper-shuffling beatbox with a few more advanced synth noises thrown in but the echoey voices are still there. this is the sort of super-hyped slick swedish electro-pop that’s probably making robyn’s ears turn a bit red. love, love, love…

this lot are like the sapphires locked in a casio-branded box with a turntable offering unlimited record scratching opportunities. and ‘cos they’re swedish they’re instantly ultra-fash. new age fun with a vintage feel, 60s girl band in a synth – what’s not to like?

wikipedia says of the sapphires: “their sound was comparable to much of the music released on motown in the 1960s”

the sapphires

you can ride the pony

WOW. new video for MEN’s ‘off our backs’ is now on stereogum. love love love this band.

the song has been around for a wee while now and has featured in discos plural along with the delight that is ‘credit card babies’why don’t you adopt, borrow someone’s cock?

i actually can’t decide which song i like more so will go with the brilliance that is the new ‘off our backs’ vid. it’s acers, watch it NOW.

despite being very queasy about the amount of hair in this 3.5 min masterpiece i had to watch it three times in quick succession because it was so amaze. jd samson (le tigre) clearly wasn’t taking the piss when she called her other former band ‘hirsute’

i think what is most brilliant about ‘off our backs’ is that at a passing glance it could easily be coming in from the mouth of an x-factor contestant or taylor montana perry (or whatever their names are). same for the opening shot of the video which does the boyband-in-a-sunset thing perfectly. and slow motion trampolining, well. my newfavouriteband one direction are almost certainly having classes in the x-fac house to perfect that requisite boyband skill as we speak.

it’s only when the lyrics kick in (‘you can ride the pony’) and the slow-mo crotch shots (think american apparel without the weight loss) start sweating out of the screen that all is revealed. there’s hairy backs, hairy legs, hairy stomachs and hairy faces (i’m still blocking that hairy armpit image). there’s rippling, wobbling, gripping and pseudo-bumming through denim. it’s truly amazing what happens when you slow down a co-ed tug-of-war.

the chorus may sound wholesome like b*witched (ha – subconscious denim reference) but those innocent wee irish pixies would be blushing like nuns in a rash clinic if they read MEN’s lyrics.

this belting disco tune is released on 8 november. naturally it will be on the disco playlist for the following saturday. ooh, and appaz a full-length record called ‘talk about body’ is to be released next year. exciting. less exciting: the MEN ladyfest gig in LDN is on disco night so i can’t go.

one eye closed

i love cocknbullkid. love love love. so it was hard containing the lots of excitement i had upon discovering that she has unveiled a new single (and video). especially as the discovery was made at 2.30 in the afternoon on friday. that was three hours away from the freedom of the train home and unmonitored iphone viewing/listening bliss.

so there it is. ‘one eye closed’ is great BUT i think ‘cocknbullkid’ (yep, eponymous song) is way better. that’s the wee free track that appeared back in the summer month of july. and is still available by signing up to her mailing list.

it leapt out of one of my (typically long) playlists a few months ago, with all the drama of an auditioning luvvie who’s been on the dole for a couple of years and has just eaten her last baked bean (minus the cringe). whatasong.

i think i was expecting ‘one eye closed’ to have a bit more of that, which is why after the first listen, i was a bit deflated: i was waiting for the punchy chorus and it didn’t come. BUT i have a lot of time for cocknbull so i listened to it again: opening bars – great; 80s style guitar riffs that wouldn’t look out of place on a girls aloud track and every indication that something good is about to happen…key change, yes, but chorus…? oh, not quite.

i’m not obsessive, but i did listen one more time: “let me shoot straight from the hipbone” i think the lyrics said… ok the slightly naff 80s falsetto chorus is growing on me a bit and there’s a belting bit of synth at around 3mins that was probably donated by kelly marie (if she was still alive and feeling like she was in love, she’d have updated herself to make that noise).

i’m prepared to hope that it’s one of those record company things where they get an artist to put out an inferior song prior to the earthmoving jcb of a song that is destined to go POP a few months later, showering the world with cock. and bull. and kid. if that’s the case, then i don’t mind waiting.

FYI: i didn’t listen a fourth time. i put this on instead:

wow. still. totes going to xoyo in december to see her.