Thursday, 22 December 2016

Gem Or Ashtray (G-I)

General Public - General Public. One that I wanted to like, but never really did. Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger's distinctive vocals, but without much of what made The Beat great. 80s sound. Ashtray.

The Gist - Love At First Sight. Another one from someone-who-used-to-be, in this case Stuart Moxham, the songwriter for the Young Marble Giants. As the Gist, he and his brother Phil (also from the YMG) had a great little instrumental on the C81 tape. The A-side is a slight but pretty song with dodgy vocals drenched in 80s sound.  The B-side (below) is better, sounding like a demo for a TV theme, written by another Moxham brother, Lewis. Not a gem but a curiosity to keep.

Girls At Our Best - Go For Gold. Oh, I remember this one now. Absolute gem. It's 80s indie day at Gem Or Ashtray. Callow middle-class female vocals delivering spiky lyrics backed by Wilko Johnson guitar (they wish) and drumkit-last-birthday drums. So many indie bands sounded like this, back then, but hardly any of them had the songs. This is sarky as you like, and catchy as hell.

Celibate Rifles & The Hard-Ons - Where The Wild Things Are EP. Early-90s punky rock, or rocky punk. I used to love this sort of thing. Now I just remember loving it. Give it six months.

Hefner - Christian Girls. Another band I saw live and then bought the single. Hard to believe quite how indie I used to be. B-side includes clumsy pedal steel. Obviously I'm keeping it.

Helen And The Horns - Freight Train. The most middle-class record in the box, possibly in human history. Sounds like a Radio 4 announcer auditioning for Kiss Me Kate. Gem.

Immaculate Fools - Immaculate Fools. A taste of the madeleine. Takes me back to somewhere I'm not sure I want to be - in a Banks's haze and Rothmans fog in the attic room of a large terraced house in Wolverhampton. Masses of acoustic guitars, plenty major 7ths and a gravelly voice that should be him out of the Psychedelic Furs but isn't. I might have seen them the same night as Helen and the Horns (in the  Wulfrun Hall - the little one behind the Civic Hall). Great record though. I'd forgotten. Gem.

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