Posts Tagged ‘Sire Records’

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The Soup Dragons were a Scottish alternative rock band of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Named after a character in the 1970s children’s television show The Clangers, the group is best known for its cover of the Rolling Stones’ song “I’m Free”, which was a top five hit in the United Kingdom in 1990, and “Divine Thing”, a Top 40 hit in the United States in 1992. The Soup Dragons were formed in Bellshill, a town near Motherwell, in 1985.

The line up was Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice) who replaced Ian Whitehall, and Sushil K. Dade (bass). The original drummer, Ross A. Sinclair, left the group after the first proper album, “This Is Our Art”, to pursue a career in art, and was replaced by Paul Quinn. Most of their songs were written by Sean Dickson. The band recorded their first demo tape, You Have Some Too, after playing a few local gigs, and this was followed by a flexi disc single “If You Were the Only Girl in the World”. The band signed to The Subway Organization in early 1986 and their first proper single (The Sun in the Sky EP) was Buzzcocks-inspired pop punk.

The band’s big breakthrough came with their second single for Subway, “Whole Wide World”, which reached No. 2 on the UK Indie Chart in 1986. Dickson and McCulloch also moonlighted in another band BMX Bandits at this time.  The band were signed by former Wham! co-manager Jazz Summers’ label Raw TV with further indie hits (and minor UK Singles Chart hits) following during 1987 and 1988. Over the course of six singles (the first three collected in 1986 on a U.S. only compilation, Hang Ten), they gradually developed a more complex rock guitar sound, which culminated in their first album proper “This Is Our Art”, now signed to major label Sire Records. After one single from the album “Kingdom Chairs” they then returned to original label Raw TV and Big Life Records. In the year following “This Is Our Art” their sound underwent a change from an indie rock sound, to the rock-dance crossover sound, this was mainly due to being without a drummer and buying a sampler and drum machine and experimenting with sound with the release of the album “Lovegod”.

This change can be attributed to the rise of the ecstasy-fuelled acid house rave scene in the UK. In 1990, they released their most successful hit single in the UK, “I’m Free”, an up-tempo cover of a Rolling Stones song with an added toasting overdub by reggae star Junior Reid, which reached number five. The single also appeared on the soundtrack to British science fiction comedy film The World’s End. Subsequent albums continued in their own style and In 1992 they enjoyed their biggest U.S. hit with “Divine Thing” It also hit number three on the Modern Rock chart and its video was nominated by MTV as one of the year’s best, though beaten by Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. The Soup Dragons disbanded in 1995. Paul Quinn joined Teenage Fanclub. Sushil K. Dade formed the experimental post rock group Future Pilot A.K.A. and is now a producer for BBC Radio. Sean Dickson formed The High Fidelity, came out as gay, had a breakdown, then met his husband and established a successful career Djing as HiFi Sean.

Jim McCulloch joined Superstar, wrote and recorded music with Isobel Campbell, and formed the folk group Snowgoose.

The Albums: Hang Ten!(1986) This Is Our Art (1988) Lovegod (1990) Hotwired (1992) Hydrophonic (1994)

Ross A. Sinclair had a successful career in art, winning a number of international awards and becoming a Research Fellow at Glasgow School of Art.  He still makes music The story of The Soup Dragons is traced as part of 2017 documentary Teenage Superstars.

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I’ll take Manhattan in a garbage bag with Latin written on it that says “It’s hard to give a shit these days…”

Indeed, Lou Reed always gave off the vibe of someone who didn’t give a shit – and moreover, someone who didn’t take any shit.  But beneath that hip veneer was an artist who cared deeply, and had the talents to express himself and his keenly-felt beliefs in song.  He was ready for a new start in 1988 when he began recording his first album for Sire Records after his second stint at RCA had concluded. New York would be an album-length reflection on the city that had been his muse, as gritty and grimy and thrilling as the city itself.  Recording with just two guitars, bass, and drums, New York was both an answer to the slick, high-gloss 1980s and an embrace of the primal sound of The Velvet Underground.  Upon its release in 1989, Reed’s high-concept, back-to-basics endeavor paid off.  New York earned him a No. 1 single and is still recognized as one of the finest and most cohesive of all his solo albums.  Rhino has just revisited the album as an expansive 3-CD/2-LP/1-DVD box set with a whopping 26 previously unreleased tracks among its treasures.

The decision was made to primarily record the twin guitars first – singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer Reed on the left channel, Mike Rathke on the right channel – then Reed’s vocals and next, co-producer Fred Maher’s drums.  Rob Wasserman would later overdub his bass parts.  This approach ensured that Reed’s dense words would be front and centre.  The rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness, near-spoken delivery of “Romeo Had Juliette” set the sonic tone for the album: the backings are tight and spare, and never detract from the lyrics (sometimes in free verse without the expected rhyme scheme) yet are still varied in mood and tempo.  Co-producer Maher remembers in David Fricke’s exemplary liner notes that “people were always trying to talk Lou into singing.  But knowing what was quintessential Lou, I wanted to put that voice in front of everything.”

New York offers snapshots of the Koch-era city at the brink, playing like a movie in miniature at 57 minutes.  That length caused consternation for some Sire executives but hardly seems indulgent in the CD/digital era.  Their trepidation over how the album would sound on two sides of vinyl has been rendered moot here, anyway, as it’s presented on two platters (four sides of vinyl) in addition to CD.

Reed’s language is harsh but his attitude is affectionate on “Halloween Parade,” subtitled “AIDS”: “You won’t hear those voices again…you’ll never see those faces again,” he laments.  Underneath the cool aura and descriptions of boozers and hookers, Reed underscored the tremendous loss felt by New York’s artistic community due to the scourge of AIDS.  His heart-breaking realization that “it makes me mad and mad makes me sad/And then I start to freeze…” epitomizes this haunting reflection.

Reed earned a No. 1 single on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart with “Dirty Blvd.”  The three-chord rocker contrasts the rich and the poor in typically frank, blunt terms (“Give me your tired, your poor, I’ll piss on ’em/That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says…”).  But Reed’s comes to the fore with the song’s affection for young Pedro, a victim of child abuse living on welfare at the Wilshire Hotel: “He’s found a book on magic in a garbage can/He looks at the pictures and stares at the cracked ceiling/’At the count of three,’ he says, ‘I hope I can disappear, and fly, fly away.”  Reed’s pal Dion DiMucci brings a bit of New York verisimilitude as he chimes in on the closing background vocals, touchingly affirming Pedro’s prayer.  “Endless Cycle,” too, touches on child abuse and the ravages of drink and drugs over a gentle yet hypnotic, almost country-style gait.

With the aggressive “There Is No Time,” Reed calls for political action.  It’s one of the most urgent tracks on New York and like “Dirty Blvd.,” one that speaks loudly in 2020.  “This is no time for political speech/This is a time for action/Because the future’s within reach/This is the time,” implores Reed before the song concludes in a barrage of feedback.  He’s similarly pointed in the ecologically-minded “Last Great American Whale,” widening his scope to castigate those who would destroy nature.

The bitingly cynical “Busload of Faith” is seemingly a contradiction in terms; Reed observes that “You need a busload of faith to get by” while excoriating those who would profess to espouse faith (“You can’t depend on any churches/Unless there’s a real estate you want to buy”).  It’s one of his darkest lyrics set to one of the album’s most accessible melodies and catchiest choruses.  To a twangy quasi-country beat, a Dylan-esque flow of words, and a poppy refrain, “Sick of You” is startlingly recognizable today as Reed name-checks the Trumps and then-prosecutor Rudy Giuliani among the characters in its increasingly surreal narrative.

On the back cover of the original LP, Reed urged listeners to play New York in one sitting from start to finish, “as though it were a book or movie” – or a play.  On the tour supporting the album, Reed staged five performances on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, which most recently housed the musical Frozen until the outbreak of COVID-19.  The surroundings of the St. James would almost certainly have heightened the inherent theatricality of the song cycle.  The imagery of the “Statue of Bigotry” recurs in “Hold On,” an encapsulation of the darkness that had enveloped the city and that he had catalogued throughout New York.  “You better hold on – something’s happening here,” he intones over a churning but energetic rock rhythm.  That darkness, alas, hasn’t abated; the lyric mentions Michael Stewart and Eleanor Bumpurs, two African-Americans shot by police in 1983 and 1984, respectively.

It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Reed’s turbulent portrayal of New York circa the late eighties with current events today.  On “Xmas in February,” the artist demands attention to be paid to disenfranchised veterans.  Classic rock riffage abounds on “Strawman,” an anthem decrying racism, hypocrisy, and the “greed is good” mentality (“Does anyone really need another President, or the sins of Swaggart Parts 6, 7, 8 and 9/Does anyone need another politician caught with his pants down, money sticking in his hole?”).  He takes further aim at hypocrisy on the punk-ish inner monologue “Good Evening Mr. Waldheim,” pointing his finger not just at the diplomat Kurt Waldheim (whose career ended in a swirl of revelations about his complicity in Nazi war crimes) but also the Pontiff, Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan.

Yet it’s not all sturm und drang.  Reed co-wrote “Beginning of a Great Adventure” with Mike Rathke.  Over a jazz-inflected, finger-snapping backing, the singer turns to the personal, ruminating on parenthood with wry humour.  (Reed had no children.)  New York ends on a nostalgic note with “Dime Store Mystery,” subtitled “To Andy-honey.”  The Velvet Underground’s Maureen Tucker dropped in on drums for this elegiac but jagged, pensive salute to their old friend Warhol who had died in 1987 at just 58 years old.  This track was recorded live by Reed, Rathke, and Wasserman with Tucker.

The wealth of supplemental material explores New York from every angle.  The second disc reprises the album’s fourteen tracks in sequence from various live performances again featuring Rathke and Wasserman.  On these dates (Washington, DC; Baltimore; London; Richmond, Virginia; Copenhagen; and Upper Darby (outside Philadelphia), PA) which are assembled in the manner of a single concert, Reed and his band played New York for Act One, and a “greatest hits” encore set for Act Two, but that encore is not represented on this disc.  The live take on “Dime Store Mystery” from the Virginia show has Maureen Tucker guesting.  (She and her band Half Japanese opened one leg of the tour.)

A live show from the same 1989 tour, recorded in Montreal, Canada, is included on DVD but again only has Act One of Reed’s touring show.  (It was previously available only on VHS and Laserdisc as The New York Album.)  Reed clearly believed in these songs, uncompromisingly sharing them from city to city and in doing so, revealing the universal truths that propelled them.  Though his vocals were often detached, there’s no doubt in these visceral and utterly confident audio and video performances that he believed every word and knew how to communicate them to an appreciative audience.  In addition to the concert, the DVD also contains two audio bonuses: the entire album in high-resolution stereo, and a chat with the late artist.

The third CD compiles 14 rarities and previously unreleased tracks including rough mixes, work tapes, alternates, the single remix of “Romeo Had Juliette” and its acoustic B-side version of “Busload of Faith,” the non-LP side “The Room,” and live versions of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” and Reed’s solo hit “Walk on the Wild Side” from the Richmond second act encore.  Both “Dirty Blvd.” and “Sick of You” are heard in two versions: first, mainly instrumental demos from August 1st, 1988 and then in rough mixes from late in the month made at NYC’s Mediasound studio.  These tracks – many of which were sourced from cassettes now residing in the Lou Reed Archive at the New York Library for the Performing Arts – collectively illustrate how seriously Reed took the recording and compositional aspects of his music; on the work tape of “Endless Cycle,” he sings the bass and drum parts as he envisions them.  There’s terrific energy even on the simple instrumental take of “Last Great American Whale” from a work tape of Reed and Rathke rehearsing.  The frequently raw rough mixes are equally compelling.  Some lack central elements of the finished mixes such as the drums on “Sick of You,” while others like “Strawman” are strong and seemingly finished in their own right.  (Tantalizingly, the notes and images show that more demos and rehearsals relating to New York exist within the Archive, though it’s difficult to argue with the curated selection here.)

It’s no surprise that New York sounds so good on this deluxe set, as it was recorded and mixed by Jeffrey Lesser whose diverse credits include Rupert Holmes’ Widescreen, Barbra Streisand’s Lazy Afternoon, and Strawbs’ Deep Cuts.  (Lesser even provided some background vocals with Reed.)  The stellar remaster comes courtesy of the set’s co-producer, Bill Inglot, and Dan Hersch.  The 3 CDs, 2 LPs, and 1 DVD are housed in what’s by now a familiar Rhino format, the LP-sized hardcover.  The full-sized 16-page booklet has David Fricke’s essay, archivist Don Fleming’s notes, lyrics, original credits, and copious images.

New York just might be Lou Reed’s most powerful solo statement.  More than 30 years on, it’s more relevant than ever as it captures the energy, drama, violence, tension, excitement, sadness, and passion that still animate the city.  Rhino’s deluxe reissue makes for a worthwhile trip back to that dirty boulevard.

New York is available now 

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Chris Frantz is a lover, not a fighter. That’s apparent from the relationship that the drummer and co-founding member of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club shares with both of those groups’ fellow co-founder, bassist Tina Weymouth. Together as marrieds since 1977, now living in Fairfield, Connecticut with their two sons, Frantz and Weymouth have been a unit since they were art students at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early ’70s, before they both played music, before they befriended fellow RISD student/guitarist David Byrne, and before that trio moved to NYC’s Lower East Side in 1975 to join the area’s burgeoning art-punk scene.

Along with sharing those times in the twilight of punk and the ensemble’s vividly imagined growth along the lines of innovative twitchy Afro-funk and ambient pop, Frantz—in his first memoir writings, Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina—portrays the glories of that rise and the joys of friendships made. Frankly, too, Frantz writes how and why it all went wrong with Byrne, how Lou Reed and Brian Eno also sought to fleece Talking Heads in their own ways, and so much more—all while managing to be jovial and justifiably appreciative of all the good that went on with both of his bands and steering commendably clear of gossip. With that, Frantz has created something novel with Remain in Love—it’s seemingly the first-ever gracious and grateful biographical rock read.

Ril

Chris Frantz met David Byrne at the Rhode Island School of Art & Design in the early 1970s. Together – and soon with Frantz’s future wife, Tina Weymouth – they formed Talking Heads and took up residence in the grimy environs of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where their neighbours were Patti Smith, William Burroughs and a host of proto-punk artists who now have legendary status. Building an early audience and reputation with many performances at CBGB alongside the Ramones, Television and Blondie, Talking Heads found themselves feted by Warhol and Lou Reed, and signed to Sire Records. A band whose sensibility was both a part of, and apart from, punk, their early albums quickly became classics; until the Brian Eno produced masterpiece Remain in Light, saw them explode. Soon, however, relations within the band started to become strained as David Byrne started to take control of a band that had always operated democratically. Chris and Tina started recording as Tom Tom Club in the early ’80s; in the process creating a hybrid of funk, disco, pop, electro and world music that would have a huge impact on the club scene around the world.

Warm and candid, funny and heartfelt, Remain in Love charts the rise and fall of a band who combined the sensibility of artists with extraordinary songwriting vision. It is another classic New York memoir in the mould of Patti Smith’s Just Kids and a book which shares secrets and stories Talking Heads fans have been curious about for decades.

This EXCLUSIVE bundle comes with a 10″x14″ paper placemat that is a replica of the original Pleased To Meet Me promo item from 1987, a bumper sticker, a 3″ Patch and a limited edition cassette. The cassette features a previously unreleased interview with Paul Westerberg recorded just before the release of the Pleased To Meet Me album. Brief excerpts from the interview were originally included in a radio promo LP that was released in 1987 but this marks the first time that the complete interview has been made available.

Pleased To Meet Me is the critically acclaimed fifth studio album by the American rock band The Replacements. Released in 1987 by Sire RecordsPleased To Meet Me is the only album recorded by the band as a trio, after original guitarist Bob Stinson acrimoniously left the band.

Following last year’s widely acclaimed Dead Man’s Pop release, Pleased To Meet Me will be receiving a similar ‘deep dive’ treatment with a 3-CD/1-LP deluxe boxed set, which will tell the story of the album in ways not previously possible with more than 50% of the content previously unreleased

  • New remaster of the original album by Justin Perkins, who was also behind the boards for our Dead Man’s Pop regimaging
  • 1986 demo session with Bob Stinson – his last recorded Replacements performance
  • Additional 1986 demos with the band as a three-piece outfit (sans Bob)
  • Previously unreleased rough mix of the album with alternate track listing
  • Studio outtakes from the album recording sessions (Memphis, 1987)
  • Rare single mixes

The making of Pleased To Meet Me was a transformative journey for The Replacements, one that began with the combustible Minneapolis combo on the brink of collapse and culminated in one of the definitive albums of the band’s career. That transformation is chronicled in-depth on the group’s latest boxed set, Pleased To Meet Me (Deluxe Edition).

More than half of the music (29 tracks) on this Deluxe Edition set has never been released, including demos, rough mixes, and outtakes as well as Bob Stinson’s last recordings with The Replacements from 1986.

The music is presented in a 12 x 12 hardcover book loaded with dozens of rarely seen photos along with a detailed history of the Pleased To Meet Me era written by Bob Mehr, who authored The New York Times bestseller, Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.

Pleased To Meet Me was recorded over three months at Ardent Studios in Memphis with legendary producer Jim Dickinson before it debuted in June 1987. The collection opens with a newly remastered version of the original 11-track album along with a selection of B-sides and a version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” that was remixed by Jimmy Iovine. All of the music included in this boxed set has been remastered by Justin Perkins, who remastered the band’s widely acclaimed 2019 boxed set, Dead Man’s Pop.

The second disc explores the creative process behind Pleased To Meet Me with 15 unreleased demos recorded at Blackberry Way Studios in Minneapolis during the summer of 1986. The first seven of these demos represent the last recordings made by all four original members of The Replacements. After those demo sessions stalled out, singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson and drummer Chris Mars made the painful decision to part ways with lead guitarist Bob Stinson after recording five albums together.

The disc’s remaining eight demos feature the band as a trio and include “Shooting Dirty Pool,” two versions of “Kick It In,” and “Even If It’s Cheap,” whose opening line (“Pleased to meet me/the pleasure’s all yours”) would ultimately inspire the title of the album.

The collection’s final disc features 13 previously unreleased rough mixes by studio engineer John Hampton that include the majority of the album along with non-album tracks like “Election Day” and “Birthday Gal.” These rough mixes are also featured on the 180-gram vinyl record included in the set.

Rounding out the collection are several unreleased tracks (Westerberg’s “Run For The Country” and “Learn How To Fail,” Stinson’s “Trouble On The Way”) along with a selection of outtakes (“Beer For Breakfast” and “I Don’t Know”) that debuted on the 1997 compilation, All For Nothing/Nothing For All.

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After making his way through the first part of a world tour, he had no idea that his Brussels show would be his last for the unforeseeable future. Pre-coronavirus, everything was in place for the release of Cavetown’s first studio album, Sleepyhead, which is out now via Sire Records. Art gallery pop-ups featuring his own paintings, U.S. press visits, and fan events were all locked in.

Despite this sudden halt, the singer is making the most of his down time since Sleepyhead was released on March 27th. “I’ve been looking forward to having some time off,” says Skinner. “It just kind of came earlier than I expected. I’m looking at it as an early break, even though it’s obviously terrible for so many people. But you gotta look for the good things in it—so at the moment, I’m relaxing and just being a person for a second.”

Robbie Skinner, now twenty-one, has connected with more than a million devout YouTube subscribers by performing from his bedroom since forming the experimental musical project Cavetown at the age of fourteen. Learning to play guitar from his father, director of music at Cambridge University, at the age of eight, and having a mother who was a professional flautist, Skinner was born into music. After releasing his self-titled debut in 2015, its follow-up 16/04/16 in 2016, and his 2018 breakthrough Lemon Boy—along with covers, digital mixtapes, and other reworked material—Cavetown’s fourth album is a new chapter in Skinner’s DIY art.

Recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered by Skinner in (where else) his bedroom, Sleepyhead was the result of constantly writing. There’s no structure to his lyrical madness—he just tends to write until there are enough tracks for another album. It’s another chapter in Skinner’s own book of life, something he’s already uncovered in Lemon Boys’ lo-fi tales of social anxieties, unrequited love, and other misanthrope adventures.

Sleepyhead is a continuation of Cavetown’s revelations in sexuality, awkwardness, and self-confidence drawn in by drifty vocals moving along a digi-melodic landscape only Skinner could manufacture, from its Weezer riff and swell on opener “Sweet Tooth” through the more delicate, acoustic-and-pop-steered reminiscences of “Things That Make It Warm” and “Wishing Well.” Sleepyhead reveals less naiveté and more self-assurance gained through life’s perplexities.

According to Skinner, he has no clear songwriting process. He first penned “Feb 14,” a tale of a special Valentine’s Day that he still thinks about, and the remainder of Sleepyhead unraveled from there. “I just write what’s in my head,” he says. “I don’t tend to write with an overarching theme, because I’ll lose interest too quickly. So the album’s kind of all over the place.”

He says that the songs that just fall out of him tend to be the better ones. “There’s an idea, and you just sit down, and before you know it, it’s 2:00 a.m., and I finished a song I’m really stoked about,” he shares. “Sometimes I have so many ideas that I will half start songs and just walk away from it. I get stuck with it and then come back to it later when I forgot how it goes, and then take a fresh stab at it again.”

An ode to his boyfriend, “Sweet Tooth” was written on a tour bus, and felt like an appropriate number to open Sleepyhead with. “Starting with a big song is a bold intro I thought worked,” he says. Sounds of a tape reel opens the more nostalgic closer “Empty Bed,” sending the record off on a more comforting, analog note with abstract beats around a childhood tale of parting ways with his stuffed animal at the age of eight, taking meds at thirteen, and a selfless love refrain of “take care of you for me” before the tape reel ends. “It just sounded like a closing track with some good comforting vibes,” says Skinner.

Sleepyhead is clearly set in place where Cavetown is now. Recently signed to Sire Records, he still retains control of his production and says the enhanced sound quality and added equipment gave Sleepyhead more depth. “I’ve definitely learned a lot,” he says. “I’ve tried to keep my process and my involvement with all of the songs pretty much the same. I’ve always produced and written everything myself and still do that.”

When choosing a label, Skinner wanted a company that would accept his music as is and not push him to do anything differently. “When I met with Sire, they basically just said ‘What you’re doing is working—it’s you,’” says Skinner. “‘You’re doing something right, so why should we change anything about your process?’” Over the years, Skinner has learned to stand up for himself more and has realized he’s lucky that he’s surrounded by people who care for him and continue to encourage him. “I know when to say, ‘This is the way I want to do it,’” he says. “‘You can tell me whatever you think is better, but I want to do it this way.’”

Collaborating with other artists is something he couldn’t tap into before, and when he does, he prefers working with friends. He mentions a friend who’s a filmmaker, who never watches films, and says he’s not much different when it comes to music. “He knows nothing about films,” says Skinner. “I feel like I’m like that with music. I’ll listen to my friends’ music, but I don’t really know anything about any other music, which I think surprises people sometimes.”

Skinner recently co-wrote and produced mxmtoon’s 2019 album The Masquerade, and has been working closely with Chloe Moriondo, who also duets with Skinner on Sleepyhead’s “Snail,” on her upcoming debut. Skinner recently held a recording session with Chicago-based video blogger and singer-songwriter Tessa Violet, who isn’t far behind Cavetown in the bedroom pop popularity realm with 1.5 million followers.

“I’m slowly opening up to working with more acquaintances, or people that I don’t know so well, just to see how that feels,” says Skinner. “As long as I like the music, I really don’t have any goals or specific people I want to work with.”

At the moment, he’s decompressing, self-isolating, and looking forward to finishing up his European dates when the time comes. Now that Sleepyhead is out, he wants to make more videos, have more listening parties and other virtual events on YouTube, and, perhaps most of all, perform the songs.

“I think because they are all such new tracks, I still love them all so much” he says. “I think after a bit of time, I will start to get sick of them. I’m actually starting to get sick of ‘Sweet Tooth,’ unfortunately, because I worked on that one the longest. But I’m going to try not to listen to it so I can forget how it sounds.”

Being confined has also given him time to think about his career and the oft-tumultuous trajectory of the music business. Right now, he’s living and creating in the moment, and not trying to visualize the next few years of Cavetown. “It’s not about an amount of time, because things have been changing so much for me in just a year recently,” says Skinner. “Either I’ll skyrocket, or I’ll just become a nobody again, which is fine. It seems like at this point those are the two paths. It’s good to not dwell on that too much and let it be, so I’m just going with the flow, and I’m fine with it.”

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On this day (March. 28th) in 1980: Northern Irish punk-pop band The Undertones released the single “My Perfect Cousin”, backed with “I Don’t Want To See You Again” & “Hard Luck (Again)”; the A-side would appear on the band’s forthcoming sophomore Sire Records album, ‘Hypnotized’ while the B-sides were exclusive to the single; it would reach UK number 9, the highest chart position for the group up to that point…One of the great pop singles of the early 80s with the kind of lines `he’s got a fur-lined sheepskin jacket, my ma said it cost a packet’, `he thinks that I’m a cabbage ‘cos I hate University challenge’ and the immortal `his mother bought him a synthesizer, got the Human League into advise her’ that today’s pop stars can only dream of writing. And the video is ace — look out for the famous subbuteo scene — what we all did for entertainment in those days.

Fantastic lyrics, Feargal’s superb voice and so unpretentious and real, especially the video which probably cost all of ten quid.  Brilliant and timeless. The music video to the song was largely filmed at the home of the O’Neill brothers, and was directed by Julien Temple.The song was performed on Top of the Pops on two occasions: 10 April and 24 April 1980.

Brain Drain is the eleventh studio album by the Ramones, released on March 23rd, 1989.
It is the last release to feature bassist/lyricist/vocalist Dee Dee Ramone, the first release to feature Marky Ramone since his firing after Subterranean Jungle, and the last studio album on Sire Records.

Though their glory days appeared to have concluded along with the ’70s, punk rock’s founding heroes the Ramones continued to churn out album after album with almost religious dependability throughout the ’80s. It culminated in their 11th LP, Brain Drain.

Brain Drain’s recording was not a happy time for the group, which by this time had become almost irreparably damaged by the wear and grindof touring, assorted personal demons and substance abuse, not to mention the sheer frustration of a life lived in the rock and roll trenches with little hope of improvement.

And yet, hope still sprung eternal in the Ramones’ almost child-like state of suspended animation — as evidenced by Brain Drain’s impossibly optimistic opener, “I Believe in Miracles,” its conciliatory closer “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” and the notable return of beloved drummer Marky Ramone, after a five-year absence.

Sandwiched in between were a dozen stabs of typically unpretentious punk rock in the lauded Ramones tradition like “Zero Zero UFO,” “All Screwed Up” and the almost hardcore-intense “Ignorance is Bliss” — but to say they were any more distinctive than recent efforts would be a stretch (plus, there was a new, suspiciously metallic tone to Johnny’s guitar to match a foreign hardcore bite about some of Joey’s vocals).

To be fair, some tunes were indeed a cut above the rest, including the prickly “Don’t Bust My Chops,” the anthemic “Punishment Fits the Crime” and Joey’s innocently obsessed “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind.” But Brain Drain’s singular standout was the unusually melodic “Pet Sematary.”

A song inspired by, and composed-to-order, at the bequest of bestselling horror author Stephen King (a self-professed Ramones mega-fan) for the soundtrack to his movie by the same title, “Pet Sematary” greatly benefited from this mainstream association and went on to become one of the band’s most successful radio and video hits, but it still couldn’t push Brain Drain’s sales to unusual heights.

And of course the punk rock gods giveth and taketh away: Now that Marky was back in the “happy” family, it was bassist (and chief songwriter) Dee Dee’s turn to take his leave, in order to embark on an ill-fated, much-derided (and thankfully short-lived) rap career under the name of Dee Dee King.

Luckily, Dee Dee would carry on contributing songs (usually the best ones!) to “da brudders'” next few studio albums (while letting his mini-me replacement, C.J., tour in his place), but things would never really be the same for the Ramones and, by 1996, they were history – albeit rock and roll history.

End of the Century

The Ramones always had one foot in the future and one in the past. Even as the Queens quartet was rewriting the rock rulebook with its blitzkrieg bop, the band regularly revisited such golden oldies as “Let’s Dance” and “Needles And Pins.” For the album “End Of The Century” – released twenty years ahead of the new millennium – the Ramones tapped into the legendary Phil Spector to produce, and the collection includes a cover of the ’60s hitmaker’s “Baby I Love You,” as well as the propulsive “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?” and a version of “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School.”

End of the Century is the fifth studio album by the American punk rock band the Ramones, released on February 4th, 1980, through Sire Records.

In contrast to punk’s typically nihilistic viewpoint (so punk rock!), this 1980 effort proceeded to boldly go where no Ramones LP had gone before it: into galaxies of pop-oriented song craft never visited by the group’s famously aggressive and austere signature sound. The Ramones had hinted at this looming evolution on their previous LP, Road to Ruin, in 1978 but it was pushed to new heights on End of the Century – something underscored by the presence of infamous producer Phil Spector.

The highest-charting album of the band’s career, End Of The Century celebrates its 40th anniversary this week and captures Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky in top form.

Formed in 1984, Dinosaur Jr carved a singular path through the latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s, issuing a number of highly influential albums in the process before finding a home with Sire Records. Cherry Red Records has announced details of an epic Dinosaur Jr. album reissue campaign coming this September: The four Warner period ’90s albums ‘Green Mind’, ‘Where You Been’, ‘Without A Sound’ and ‘Hand It Over’ have been lovingly remastered, expanded and reissued on coloured double vinyl and double CD editions, with related singles, b-sides and previously unreleased material. The entire collection is available now

Dinosaur Jr. consisted of J Mascis on guitar and vocals, Lou Barlow on bass and Murph banging the drums. Their first album came out in 1985 and they had a huge underground hit with the 1988 single Freak Scene. Lou Barlow left shortly afterwards to form the highly regarded Sebadoh,

“Without A Sound”, was their sixth record, emerged in the summer of 1994, in the wake of personal bereavement and the departure of longtime drummer and founder member Murph.

Performed primarily by J Mascis, “Without A Sound” continued the band’s growth in popularity and commercial achievement, reaching #44 in the US (their highest ever album placing there) and featuring the hit singles ‘Feel The Pain’ and ‘I Don’t Think So’. Released to positive reviews, “Without A Sound” also took Dinosaur Jr around the world, including dates in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and into the mainstream as the group contributed ‘Blah’ to the hit US TV show Melrose Place.

Collected together with related B-sides, unreleased mixes and a complete live recording made in London in 1994, and accompanied by in-depth sleevenotes from Mojo’s Keith Cameron (based on recent and exclusive interviews with J Mascis), this edition provides a glimpse of a band at the height of their international appeal and accessibility.

“Hand It Over”, their seventh record, appeared in the spring of 1997 following a lengthy absence, and would prove to be the band’s final album-length offering for a decade.

Performed primarily by J Mascis, “Hand It Over” appeared at a time of declining international interest in American alternative rock, but nevertheless received widespread approval and appreciation amongst critics and reviewers. The album was accompanied, unusually, by an EP of non-album songs recorded for the Matt Dillon movie Grace Of My Heart and, later, a vinyl only ‘I’m Insane’ 7” single, all of which are collected here alongside a previously unreleased concert recording made in Stockholm and two tracks performed for ABC TV in Australia.

Dinosaur Jr carved a singular path through the latter half of the 1980s, issuing three highly influential albums in the process before finding a home with Sire Records, who issued “Green Mind” in 1991 as the alternative American rock scene the band had long been part of exploded globally.

Produced by a stripped down line-up of the group (in fact, J Mascis himself plays almost everything), the album and Sire’s international reach took Dinosaur Jr’s reputation to a new level, aided by the singles ‘The Wagon’ and ‘Whatever’s Cool With Me’, a non-album EP of new material and live recordings, all of which are included here alongside a previously unreleased live recording capturing the group at the Hollywood Palladium in June 1991.

Critically lauded on release, “Green Mind” remains one of the band’s strongest collections, and a firm fan favourite.

‘Where You Been’, their fifth record, emerged in 1993, at the height of enthusiasm for grunge and the alternative American rock scene the band had long been part of.

Produced by a new line-up of the group (longtime drummer Murph and new bassist Mike Johnson completing the three-piece), the album became the band’s most successful up to that point, reaching #50 in the US (where it sold over a quarter of a million copies) and #10 in the UK album charts, and spawning the hit single ‘Start Choppin’.

Released to unanimously positive reviews, and containing many tracks that would become staples and fan favourites, ‘Where You Been’ continued Dinosaur Jr’s global ascent, being issued simultaneously across the US, Europe, Australasia, Asia and South America.

Collected together here on vinyl for the first time with related singles, B-sides and John Peel session recordings,

To celebrate the deluxe reissue campaign of Dinosaur Jr.’s classic Warner Years albums ‘Green Mind’, ‘Where You Been’, ‘Without A Sound’ & ‘Hand It Over’ via Cherry Red Records, singer & guitarist J Mascis spoke to Keith Cameron from MOJO Magazine about recording these much loved albums.

Order the Warner Years albums reissued on deluxe gatefold 2LP & deluxe expanded 2CD editions

Tegan and Sara have returned with the lead single “I’ll Be Back Someday” from their forthcoming album, Hey, I’m Just Like You, The infectious track is a reinvented version of what the sisters found on their old cassettes when they were digging through inspiration for their first memoir, High School The cassettes were from the 1990s, recorded the two were between the ages of 15 and 17. That nostalgic, punk rock energy is definitely apparent on the catchy track.

“To the end my friend, oh what a lie/ If I could pretend, if I could lie,” they sing, emitting pure teenage angst on top of fiery electric guitars.

““We had been begging for an electric guitar, and on our 16th birthday, we got one,” Sara Quin said in a release of the time period “I’ll Be Back” dates to. “Of course, we had to share it, so it became a weapon that we stole from each other’s rooms, barricading ourselves behind locked doors with guitar in hand. Screaming over the small amplifier, we tested our voices by writing punk songs, shredding our thumbs on the strings.”

The rest of the album, which was recorded in Vancouver, BC earlier this year with an all-female team including producer Alex Hope, will consist of more reinventions of those ’90s tapes, showcasing the remarkable talent the “Closer” artists had even at such a young age.

Tegan and Sara also recently announced an acoustic, interactive North American tour that will pair with the album. For the first time in decades, the duo will play by themselves, and will hit more intimate venues, reading excerpts from High School.The Quins will play songs from the new album as well as catalog classics, and share video footage from their teenage years.

Hey, I’m Just Like You is set for release on September. 27th via Sire Records. Just a few days before that, High School will be published on September. 24th by MCD X FSG (USA) in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.

I’ll Be Back Someday – the first single from our new album Hey, I’m Just Like You – out Sept 27.