Monday, December 18, 2006

 

Peel Sessions 34


Last week-end I was alone at home, sitting in front of a blazing open fire, listening to some music while casually flicking through the pages of the latest batch of music mags to arrive here. My relationship with the music press is a strange one, I guess it's akin to an addiction, even when I think it's 100% rubbish I will still buy the next months editions, often I will only read a part of the articles as I think there is a limit to the amount of Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Oasis ......... articles one can consume in a lifetime, and then there is something interesting that grabs me, and so it was that I was happy to stumble across the Jarvis interview in December's Mojo. His comments on the great Britpop movement "There was no real kinship between bands. It was sad. There was no unity to it..........When success came people just got into it for themselves. There was no revolution; everybody just got into personal ego problems or drink problems or drug problems. Then everyone got a hangover and made bad tempered, downer albums", this got me thinking. Despite all of the obvious ego problems, and yes the remark about downer albums, I thought was spot on, this period in the UK did give us some very good music, even the first Oasis album sounded fresh, snotty and urgent at the time. Britpop, I do hate that term, had it's own royal couple in Damon Album and Justine Frischmann who held court in indie HQ Camden Town. Damon was of course the tonsils behind Blur and as for Justine she was founder of one the periods better bands Elastica. Inbetween parties and ligging obligations the band managed to record their excellent self titled album in 1995 after a string of successful singles, the album entered the UK charts at no.1. The band were not ashamed of their new wave roots and did not hide their influences, an advert for band members asked for Wire fans! They were accused in the press of lifting a melody here or a keyboard riff there from their late 70's heroes, this led to an eventual out of court settlement with the Stranglers for the loan of a part of 'No More Heroes'. Plagiarism aside the band remained extremely popular but creative inertia put an end to this as we waited six years for the follow up 'Menace', that as with the Stones Roses before them was deemed to be unworthy of all the fuss. Shame they could really have been something.
They graced the BBC studios on four different occasions for John Peel, the first of which was in September 1993, just one year after their forming from which 'Line Up' is taken, I think it still sounds very fresh today, true it does sound just a little bit like Wire's 'I Am The Fly', but I wouldn't have it any other way. Their last session was recorded in September 1999, just months after fellow original guitarist Donna Mathews quit the band. Their version of Trio's novelty hit 'Da Da Da' managed to put a smile on my face and the memories rushing back. These two songs can be found on the album 'BBC Sessions' that is currently only available in the US on Koch as the UK, Strange Fruit release is no longer on catalog. Seeing as Christmas is just around the corner I'm going to treat you to a song that was recorded for, well yes Christmas, 'I Wanna Be a King Of Orient Aah', their spelling not mine!
As for what has happened to Justine, well she split up with Damon in 1999, they're still good friends!!! She has co written with M.I.A. and produced demos for White Rose Movement. She has presented Television in the UK and gone back to school. If anyone cares there is an interesting interview with her from four years ago here.

Comments:
Thanks for the songs, I still think that "Line up" was one of the best indie rock songs from the 90s.. Justine : What a waste !
 
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