The Wedding Present graced Exeter this week. They were due to play The Cavern, but that venue is closed at the moment due to a fire that happened there back in September. So they played the larger capacity Lemongrove, which suited them better. When I arrived at ‘the Lemmy’, I spotted David Gedge at the t-shirt stand, and managed to get a selfie with him.
This was my third Wedding Present gig and I have to say surprisingly the best one yet. The previous times I had felt that the gigs were ok but they were hardly going to attract any new fans. Everything that is good about The Wedding Present shone through that night, the wit and wry observations about life. A friend of mine who also attended, said that it was the best gig that they had done in years. He had been following The Wedding Present since C86, and probably has everything they have released as The Wedding Present and Cinerama.
The album Going, Going… really threw me on the first listen. It is a whopping 20 track beast. The first 4 tracks are instrumental with minimal vocals, I was looking around wild-eyed thinking that ‘the Weddoes’ had gone Mogwai. The rest of the the album is more conventional Gedge lyrical observations.
After reading reviews of Going, Going… from other notable blogs , it has been accused of having filler in it’s 20 tracks. I would be inclined to believe this, but some of the tracks that they say are filler are my favorites. I came to the conclusion that it was machine gun technique, if you fire enough bullets something’s going to hit. This is a slightly unfair view as this is my favorite album they have done since Seamonsters, and that came out 25 years ago.
This is a great jangly piece of pure pop, from Sheffield combo The Seaside. I must of heard it on Radio 1’s Evening Session and it had me hooked. No one has heard of them before or since that great single was released. I was tidying up the cupboards and I found the homemade information sheet that came with Idolise.
I had lost this sheet, and thought that if I found it again I would be able to track down some more of their songs. Alas this would not be the case. But years later I heard that they made one other song; Begging Bowl which appeared on the compilation Lemonlime which was released in 1995.
The Seaside : Idolise
Wild C. Wilder
This week I really wanted to see Spiritualized at the Barbican, but I couldn’t organise it around work. I kept on telling myself; it won’t be like Glastonbury 92 and 98, Royal Albert Hall 2011 or Salisbury Arts Centre 2006. The Spiritualized gig was a classic and I was gutted. Not to worry I had tickets to Kirstin Hersch just down the road.
Admittedly I knew very little about her solo career. I have a copy of Throwing Muses Hunkpapa, and that is my only knowledge of Kirstin’s work. After a listen on Spotify, the wife surprisingly asked if she could come along too. What I heard was Throwing Muses ‘unplugged’, this is a very over simplified description and does not really do the songs justice.
The gig was a seated event, which suits me these days. Despite the venue not being a fair size it felt very intimate. It was just Kirstin, her guitar and book. There was no dramatic lighting or stage effects, everything was laid bare. This added to the raw and stark emotions that are conveyed in Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, her latest album.
The album title was inspired by her son Wyatt and his fascination with an abandoned apartment building inhabited by coyotes, often visiting these creatures during the album’s recording. From the press release:
While the songs were written in the last 5 years over a turbulent period in her life, the prose was inspired by her autistic son Wyatt and his fascination with an abandoned apartment building inhabited by coyotes. Wyatt often visited and even filmed the coyotes during the recording of the music, yet suddenly his intense fascination came to an end.
Revolver are arguably the most southern shoegazing band. Formed in London but two of the trio where from Winchester, which is about as close as my home town on the south coast as the shoegaze scene got to. Their first album Baby’s Angry was a collection of early releases (very typical of indie bands in the early nineties). This had fey vocals and a barrage of effects laden guitars.
Cold Water Flat by comparison is a very BIG album, lots of production and a barrage of instruments mostly played by Mat Flint . They wanted to make an epic. This was very brave for their proper debut album. The first single of the album was Cradle Snatch this caused a minor disturbance in the music press for allegedly ripping off The Verve. There is no denying that it sound like Storm in Heaven era The Verve. By the time Cold Water Flat hit the shelves in 1993 the whole shoegazing scene was in decline. The only other release after was I Wear Your Chain, this also failed to get Revolver noticed outside select indie circles. At this point they called it a day and gave up. Matt Flint (vocals/guitar) went on to take up bass duties with Death in Vegas.
Revolver – Cold Water Flat
I Wear Your Chain
Nothing Without You
Cold Water Flat
Makes No Difference All The Same
This came out in what I fondly remember as the golden era in indie music 1992. I remember watching the charts to see if Reverence made it in the top 40. Often wondering how the radio stations were going to cope with lyrics like, ‘I wanna die just like JFK, I wanna die on a sunny day.’ It got into the top 10, banned from Radio 1 and Top of the Pops.
It has much more venom than the previous album Automatic, it spits out bile. It is a real grab you by the throat album. Teenage Lust has a bass line that reverberates in your spine. Catchfire is drenched in feedback, and when you think they can’t saturate it in anymore. The song goes to another level in feedback. These two songs capture the very heavy slow burners that appear alongside, feedback infested pop such as Far Gone and Out and Tumbledown. There are moments that could be straight out of Darklands such as Almost Gold. I am not sure why but Sugar Ray reminds me of Automatic, this could possibly be because the previous album contained the similarly titled songs UV Ray and Sunray.
Jesus and Mary Chain : Honey’s Dead
Far Gone And Out
Good For My Soul
I Can’t Get Enough
Originating in Barnum, Colorado, A Shoreline Dream is Ryan Policky (vocalist/guitarist/producer) and Erik Jeffries (guitar). They have been creating music for the last decade. Whirlwind was conceived after recent death of singer Ryan Policky’s father, and a murder occurring right next door to where A Shoreline Dream writes, practices and records.
The dark inspiration is captured perfectly by the layers of filthy guitars and insistent drums. What drew me to this duo was the comparisons to Bauhaus. Despite the many layers within the song it has an unmistakable bleak 80s gothic style.
Another slice of retro rock from Spitfire. It is the type of single that you can almost smell the leather through the cigarette smoke. Fuzzy and raw just how a Spitfire single should be.
At this point in their career, Spitfire had worn thin their ‘Rock God’ ironic image. They were seen as a novelty band by many, which was not a true reflection of their actual brilliance. So swagger over and listen to Minimal Love.
Spitfire : Minimal Love
The Ballad of Jet Harris