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  • Aztec Camera - The Boy Wonders

    Aztec Camera - High Land Hard Rain

    Title: High Land, Hard Rain
    Format: LP
    Label: Rough Trade
    Year: 1983

    Side One - Oblivious / The Boy Wonders / Walk Out To Winter / The Bugle Sounds Again / We Could Send Letters

    Side Two - Pillar To Post / Release / Lost Outside The Tunnel / Back On Board / Down The Dip


    The Boy Wonders

    Switch on the TV right now and you can't avoid a desperate (and mainly English) rent-a-mob spreading fear and rubbish ahead of the Scottish Referendum. Whichever way it goes we'll always have the sound of young Scotland, a small country that seems to churn out musical coolness at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the union.

    The possibility of Scottish independence was a long way off in 1983 when Aztec Camera released their debut LP High Land, Hard Rain. From the mountain tops of big hit opener Oblivious to the soft slopes of Down The Dip it's Roddy Frame at his youthful peak and sounding as faultless as he did on a hand me down stereo thirty odd years ago.

    Here's The Boy Wonders with the album title chant and a distinct sense of Scottishness...

    Come Hogmanay when love comes in slurs

    Aztec Camera - High Land Hard Rain inner sleeve

    Postcard era Aztec Camera here and here and here

  • Marc And The Mambas - Untitled

    Marc and The Mambas Untitled

    Title: Untitled
    Format: LP & 12"
    Label: Some Bizzare
    Year: 1982

    Side 1 - Untitled / Empty Eyes / Angels
    Side 2 - Big Louise / Caroline Says / Margaret / If You Go Away

    Side 3 - Terrapin / Twilights + Lowlifes
    Side 4 - Twilights + Lowlifes (Street Walking Soundtrack)


    Untitled

    Untitled was the first of two studio albums by Soft Cell sidekicks Marc and The Mambas. Almond's synth pop duo were all over the charts so I guess it allowed him to peel back the gloss and work with a few fellow experimenters.

    Over an album and a 12" 45 you get well chosen covers from Barrett, Reed and Brel alongside originals written with The The's Matt Johnson and soon to be long term collaborator Ann Hogan.

    Johnson provides all the instrumentation on the title track and there's a definite French movie feel to the chorus as the piano tumbles like the wet stuff onto a non-descript European city...

    Marc and The-Mambas Untitled gatefold

    It's such a shame when I'm out in the rain

  • Happy Mondays - Freaky Dancin'

    Happy Mondays - Freaky Dancin'

    Title: Freaky Dancin'
    Format: 12"
    Label: Factory
    Year: 1986

    Side A - Freaky Dancin' (Live)
    Side B - The Egg (Mix) / Freaky Dancin'


    Freaky Dancin'

    I've been picking my way through the C86 expanded edition with a smile on my face. It sweeps up the Eighties underground pretty well and in addition to the original NME cassette tracks you get two further CDs of associated scenesters who didn't want to be on it or were never in the running.

    Hearing Laugh's Take Your Time Yeah flexi took me back to when it first fell out of a copy of Debris and this second single from Happy Mondays is just further proof that Manchester was way ahead of the pack. I saw both groups play together at The Black Horse not long after and The Mondays were utterly infectious and about to make pretty much everyone else extinct.

    The Freaky Dancin' they use on the CD is the shorter 7" edit so here's the full studio version from the 12". You can hear the good times arriving for Little Hulton's finest when everything blurs into that big sweet riff...

    You don't like that mouth because it's much too loud

  • The Slits - I Heard It Through The Grapevine

    The Slits - Typical Girls

    Title: Typical Girls
    Format: 7"
    Label: Island
    Year: 1979

    Side A - Typical Girls
    Side B - I Heard It Through The Grapevine


    I Heard It Through The Grapevine

    By the time The Slits made it to vinyl with debut album Cut they'd reshuffled their early, ragged punk into a tight and rhythmic nod to all things Jamaica. Bonus charm was applied by hotshot reggae producer Dennis Bovell who was also keeping busy with The Pop Group at the time.

    Cut was preceded by their first 45 Typical Girls featuring a non-album cover of Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong's I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Everyone knew the song as it had been big for Marvin Gaye in the late Sixties but this self produced B side just blew the thing apart and may well be the best Motown cover ever...

    I heard it through the baseline

  • De La Soul - Talkin' Bout Hey Love

    De La Soul Is Dead

    Title: De La Soul Is Dead
    Format: CD Album
    Label: Tommy Boy
    Year: 1991

    Tracks - Intro / Oodles of O's / Talkin' Bout Hey Love / Pease Porridge / Skit 1 / Johnny's Dead AKA Vincent Mason (Live From The BK Lounge) / A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays" / WRMS' Dedication To The Bitty / Bitties In The BK Lounge / Skit 2 / My Brother's A Basehead / Let, Let Me In / Afro Connections At A Hi 5 (In The Eyes Of The Hoodlum) / Rap De Rap Show / Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa / Who Do U Worship? / Skit 3 / Kicked Out The House / Pass The Plugs / Not Over Till The Fat Lady Plays The Demo / Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) / WRMS: Cat's In Control / Skit 4 / Shwingalokate / Fanatic Of The B Word / Keepin' The Faith / Skit 5


    Talkin' Bout Hey Love

    The daisy age loops of De La Soul's day glo debut soundtracked the end of a lot of people's Eighties and if 1989 was the closest the decade got to 1967 then 3 Feet High And Rising passed a perfectly timed peace pipe.

    Pressure was on for the Long Island, New York trio's follow up De La Soul Is Dead which continued the formula but was noticeably patchier as the group passed comment on everything from hip hop's toughening up to their new found fame. Talkin' Bout Hey Love sees Posdnuos get an earful from an admirer over a bit of Stevie Wonder. It's vintage cut and paste.

    So this is what this is all about huh? Doughnuts?

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