Thursday, 15 December 2016

Gem Or Ashtray? (A-B)

My 7" singles are out of the garage and in the living room. There are plenty here that I never listen to. The charity shop awaits. It's time to play Hidden Gem Or Future Ashtray?

ABC: That Was Then But This Is Now. Hidden gem. I'm surprised. Since ABC reformed for the Mums and Dads circuit (and recorded a pretty passable Christmas song), Radio 2 has rediscovered the singles from Lexicon of Love, which will never have the freshness and serious/joke tension that they did the first time round. No one ever plays this, which has a punch to it, and isn't taking the piss.

Airport Girl: The Foolishness That We Create. Overlong twee indie. Ashtr... no, wait, it's a hidden gem. Saved by a cracking B-side "Striking out on your own" (which I can't find on Youtube).

American TV Cops: Atrocity Girl. I saw them live, aeons ago at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester, and it's a great title. Then I barely played it. Turns out it's a pop-punk gem. Best line: "The party's over, your boyfriend's dead." I can't find a video for it, so here's the song that the title refers to.

Aswad: Ways Of The Lord. Which are straight and narrow, apparently. Grit your teeth through the preaching and you'll find, as usual with Aswad, a pop-reggae gem. The dub version with fewer lyrics is better still.

Bearsuit: Drinkink. They made a great record called Hey Charlie, Hey Chuck. I think it was great anyway. John Peel played it so often when I was driving over to visit the future Mrs H that I probably just have happy associations with it. Anyway back in the early noughties (i.e. in the final days when music was hard to access) they didn't have it in Selectadisc, so I bought one of their other records instead, and it just gives me a headache. Ashtray.

Beautiful South: Song for Whoever. I never saw the Housemartins live, but did see the BS at their second or third gig when they were still raggedy and indie. They used a huge PA which collapsed and could have killed someone if the audience hadn't dived for cover. Innocent days. The meta-pop thing was interesting for five minutes, but now it's just annoying, and the BS went onto far worse things - particularly the interchangeable female singers, directly contradicting the stern message of this song. Prejudices about the BS aside, will the record be saved by the B-side? On musical terms it's a good track but the lyrics are another critique of songwriting. Can't be doing. Ashtray.

B-Movie: The Soldier Stood Alone. The single before Remembrance Day. This is nearly as good. Gem.

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