your granny on bongos



04.10.1986 - Melody Maker

oh this album.

Posted on 26 August, 2014
Reblogged from dreammason  Source


Forgotten Frenz - 20 Overlooked Fall Songs: No. 9 - Tommy Shooter

With 12 entries to go, I could almost complete the series with the whole of “Imperial Wax Solvent”, the most bewilderingly ignored album of The Fall’s career. Almost never discussed critically, “IWS”’s relative neglect may be circumstantial - no singles were taken from the album and it went out of print fairly quickly, especially on vinyl where the pressing was limited to 500 copies (worldwide!). The album saw a brief return to a major label for The Fall, Universal having inherited the release when they bought Sanctuary Records late in 2007. Whilst their superior distribution saw a Fall album in the top 40 for the first time in 15 years, the album was chopped out of the catalogue with typical corporate haste. 

 “Tommy Shooter” was one of the album’s many highpoints. Entering on an ear-catching keyboard motif from Poulou, Smith’s lyric is a dark warning, the foreboding described in terms both humorous and severe; whilst there is joy to be derived from the clouds “darkening with wings of chickens“, there is no doubt that something grim is afoot. The deep, crisp arrangement from the group works a treat - Greenway’s guitar is low and dry and Melling’s double-time drums keep the momentum; had he gone for a more conventional four-to-the-floor approach, the track would have lost much of its tension and drive. Smith’s delivery has considerable punch and shows little of the phlegmatic growl that was soon to become overused. The passage between the 2nd and third choruses is particularly spirited and the whole lyric has a generous leavening of nice Smithian touches: for example, the use of “shoulder bone“ rather than just “shoulder“ and that fact that the clouds are darkening rather than the skies, as would be more traditional. Totally different from the more supernatural cautionary tales to which we were perhaps better attuned, “TS” is hard and earthy, a scene viewed through narrowed eyes, lit only by halogen streetlights and the stark single flame from a cigarette lighter.

Although the track was a live favourite, Smith would regularly hand over the vocals to a roadie or even Ed Bl**ey (IIRC). It’s unclear why - it could have been self-sabotage or it could have been boredom but one way or the other, the song did not live so long in the live set. Which is a shame, as this edgy, spooked interlude on what is largely a brash and colourful album was most welcome. We shall return to “IWS”, for sure.

Posted on 24 August, 2014
Reblogged from hippriestess  


Particularly interesting letter from Tony Friel’s archive, especially for MES’s proposed tracklisting for a pseudo-live 7” EP - “Saviour Machine”? 
(ps - despite the PTO instruction, the reverse wasn’t scanned)
(pps - surely it wasn’t “Silver Machine”???)

Posted on 18 August, 2014
Reblogged from hippriestess  

Tagged #mark e smith  #x-factor  #the fall  

Posted on 5 August, 2014
Reblogged from glamrack  Source


Another letter from MES to Tony Friel - again, this seems to be on the back of an invoice of some sort. Note the signature - MES took to calling himself M Race for a bit (the M standing for Master rather than Mark) but the writing doesn’t look like “Race”. Also, the letter is addressed to “Romann Totale”, suggesting that MES was still playing loosely with various personae and aliases. Not sure if the box number in the “Advertisement” is a reference to Dick Witts or how seriously the closing paragraph should be taken…was the letter written on a Friday?

Posted on 3 August, 2014
Reblogged from hippriestess  


Industrial Estate Peak

yeah yeah, industrial estate / yeah yeah, industrial estate / and the crap in the air will fuck up your face

Posted on 30 July, 2014
Reblogged from xpro1tindrum  

Posted on 28 July, 2014
Reblogged from hippriestess  Source

The Infomania Scan

Tagged #the fall  #mark e smith  

Posted on 26 July, 2014
Reblogged from contra-flow  Source



the fall, 1982

So, it wasn’t Brix who introduced MES and co to eyeliner after all….

Posted on 25 July, 2014
Reblogged from hippriestess  Source allhoursmag

Posted on 18 July, 2014
Reblogged from contra-flow  Source thefallthings


Letter from MES to Tony Friel, February 1977. Appears to have been typed on the reverse of an invoice of some sort. A quiet day down at the docks, no doubt.

Posted on 7 July, 2014
Reblogged from hippriestess  


Week Twenty Seven: The Infotainment Scan.
I guess there’s been a certain amount of bias in regards to this whole project when it comes to how much I’ll listen to a record before I write about it. Some, especially at the beginning of the year, got multiple spins, with the first one on Monday morning’s walk to the bus station, while I mulled things over. On the other hand, a handful only got one or two plays on a Sunday afternoon before I’d make up my mind. Generally speaking, though, they tend to get their first listen around Wednesday or Thursday lunchtime with maybe one or two more at the weekend while I write - these are all written in one session and I don’t let myself scrap them and have another go once I’ve started. When a record has a certain amount of prestige around it though, I tend to try and give it a little more time. Seems only fair.
Unfortunately, though, I broke this rule for The Infotainment Scan, The Fall’s higest-charting album up to that point, and of all time. Number nine! Imagine that!I’d have loved to have spent a little more time to get to know it because of this. I’m writing this on Saturday evening whilst on my first play though, because all week I’ve been so unwell that only the soothing sounds of Owen, Baths, and the spacier Thursday records have felt good to my ears. Seriously, sickness and The Fall do not mix well at all – they can be a seriously anxiety-inducing band at times, and listening to them with a headache is a fucking awful experience. I didn’t feel up to them at all in the state I’ve been all week, and I still don’t really now, but I guess I have no real excuse when I’ve been blasting Death Grips all day in an attempt to clean out my head. Fuck, man, Death Grips, now there’s a band who make even The Fall’s weirdest stuff sound tame and the band’s whole discography feel irrelevant if this is where music has gone in the years since their best work. But that’s another issue for another day, I guess.
Anyway, yeah. This is The Fall’s pop hit. It’s obvious why it did so well. But it does have its issues, and it doesn’t take long to get to them. While The Fall can clearly write a summery proto-britpop jam if they want to, whether with a straight face or not, Mark E. Smith does not, under any stretch of the imagination, have the voice to carry it off and I’m Going To Spain is the proof. I mean, it is supposedly a cover (and I’m assuming a fairly ironic one) of an already terrible song, but still. Only a year later fellow Manchester dweller Liam Gallagher would begin a world conquest with a voice that is arguably as fucking bad if not worse than Smith’s, but he somehow manages to get away with it - I guess it was just down to his arrogant drawl matching the pop-shoegazey stadium-ready guitars well enough that it fit, whereas Smith, who pretty much sounds like Morrissey five beers down and in a wet paper bag, has a voice that really doesn’t fit in with anything. The success of a Fall song is more or less down to him being as unannoying as possible, and preferably not picking up a violin. The following track It’s A Curse fares much better, though, because it just hints at pop hooks rather than pursuing them all out, letting clever little nuances carry the song whilst still keeping a solid Fall foundation of a driving, repetitive beat. Smith doesn’t sound out of his depth here, and it’s actually pretty spot on – the album’s best, and definitely a Fall song I could love as more than just a Fall song, if it didn’t just drag on a little bit further than necessary.
But generally speaking The Infotainment Scan gets it right more than it gets it wrong. The last few albums have all felt a bit phoned-in and unremarkable, listenable enough but lacking something to actually make it vital, and this time round they’ve just figured out where to put the hooks. There’s some seriously great moments here, and most of them manage not to be completely drowned out by Mark E. Smith being too high in the mix. The ravey piano hits on Service and the dance beats and synths on A Past Gone Mad are just 90s as all hell, and I love it, even if they’ve run out of steam somewhat by League Moon Monkey Mix. It is also, unfortunately, another example of the band definitely becoming ‘followers’ rather than ‘leaders’. You can’t call anything on this album innovative, at all – some of it is even derivative as hell, and trash as a result.
The main thing that really lets this down, though, are the vocals - if Brix Smith had come back to split the leads, this record could have knocked it out of the park. I guess it’s classic Fall at the end of the day – so goddamn close to being something amazing, but just missing the mark ever so slightly. Or sometimes really wildly, because even on their most listenable and poppy record, there has to be a weirdo shitheap like Light/Fireworks. Why Are People So Grudgeful isn’t that great either, and The Fall’s embracing of ska and reggae feels especially weird when you think about Smith’s beef with Motown after Hex.
As it stands, though, it’s just a pretty good Fall record. Less consistent than the last few, but with some great highs and some lows that are interesting enough at least. Not breaking through to being a good record full stop, like Saving Grace and Kurious Oranj do, but it’s definitely a top five effort. See, although musically it’s generally really good, and the best example of 90s poppy Fall overall, it’s just too poppy for the vocals to fit – those other two records are abrasive and weird enough to mask them a bit, but here they stand out a bit too much. The production style hasn’t quite caught up with their contemporaries, either, which was distinctly off-putting once I realised – compare this to a lot of records made at the same time and it still sounds incredibly dated and distinctly 80s.

Still. Given that this has stood out so much from just one play, The Infotainment Scan is definitely one I’ll be coming back to next year. I wonder how it’ll hold up.

one of my favourites: service, glam racket, league moon monkey mix. this and WFWTF probably get the most plays

Posted on 6 July, 2014
Reblogged from fiftytwoweeksofthefall  

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