notluvulongtime asked: Okay, so for someone whose fave bands are XTC and Talking Heads, I know you can give me a good mix of the punk/post-punk. And then my husband will be surprised and impressed.
The problem with asking me to introduce you to punk and post-punk is that it turns into a massive music party and everyone’s invited. That is to say, I start shoving anyone I consider the least bit seminal to either movement into a mixtape and suddenly it’s an entire Time-Life collection, and, well.
In this case, there are forty-eight tracks in the punk set and thirty-some in the post-punk. (It could have been worse! I’ve done worse. Much worse.)
You can download it here.
regonym asked: So I've seen you mention turntables on here, and have a random question! My family had a record player when I was growing up, and I always liked the process of taking one out and putting it on to play - I felt a bit wistful when my dad eventually updated his music collection and got rid of everything. Do you have one that plays nice with modern speaker systems, and is there a certain type you'd recommend? I've got nostalgic pipe dream thoughts of starting my own collection someday. :P
Yes, I do! I’ve got a turntable that works well with modern speakers, and I can tell you the things I looked for when I chose it. You ought to know, though, that I am no expert, and I can only tell you random bits of knowledge that may or may not be of dubious authenticity. They are hereby placed below the read-more cut!
callylines asked: I especially like the first wave, actually. Do you have any other recommendations? But your knowledge and patience are traits that make the world a brighter place and though I don't read some of your posts when they appear on my dash, your love for music does make me grin and my day that bit more brilliant!
Wow, thank you so much! I’m glad all this nonsense is fun for someone other than me. (And I don’t blame you for not reading everything; that’d be a lot of music rambling for anyone to take.)
So, first-wave ska! It’s great that you enjoy it, because it’s a subgenre that often gets a raw deal, especially next to later stuff with a more ‘punk’ sound. If you like the first wave and similar sounds, there’s a list of artists and producers who might interest you under the cut.
From the NME, September 10, 1983, on the announcement of Mick Jones’ departure from The Clash.
image by gilesdraws
Today is the thirty-first birthday of the Haçienda.
You probably already know the story of the Hac. It’s the club that Tony Wilson once described as “a great place for Morrissey to come and throw gladioli around.” It’s the club that Factory Records opened, depending on whom you asked, on a whim, to ogle girls, to create a scene where there wasn’t one, to give Manchester a place to go without having to dress up, or to find some way of spending New Order’s money. There are probably as many reasons I haven’t listed as ones I have, but I like to think of it as praxis – they opened the club, and then later on, they found out why.
First, it was a gig venue for Factory Records bands and anyone else the core group of founders liked enough to play there. Then it became something more, a nightlife of its own; it attracted people who weren’t into what was happening at the other bars and venues. It generated DJ culture, rave culture, the acid house scene; it introduced ecstasy to the streets of Manchester; it exploded in popularity and became a legend, and all the while, it chucked unimaginable sums of money down the drain. (Unfortunately, people like Rob Gretton had to imagine those sums quite regularly.)
There are all sorts of stories about the Hac. For instance, Stephen Morris, New Order drummer and Haçienda founding member, famously had to pay to get into his own club on opening night. DJ Sasha was a fan who simply asked to get up and do a set, queued people up twice-deep around the block, and never left. At the height of the acid groove, people like Gerald Simpson and Graham Massey would record twenty-minute long instrumental tapes, run them down to the club, bang on the door to the DJ booth, and the tapes would be instantly accepted and played in full. There was a portable pool. There was a stage perfectly placed for girl-watching (from Rob Gretton’s favourite spot in the upstairs lighting booth), if not for acoustics.
Pete Hook said of the Haçienda, “It’s got to stay. It’s the only place in Manchester that will let me in with my jackboots on.”
Bernard Sumner said of the Haçienda, when Tony Wilson told him that if there were a button to press that would make it so that the whole thing had never happened, he couldn’t push it, “Where’s the fucking button?”
Greg Wilson, legendary Hac DJ, said of the Haçienda, “To have truly ‘been to’ a club like The Haçienda… you would have had to have been there at a certain point in time, when they were pushing back the musical boundaries and providing a unique experience for those who attended. Only a rare breed of clubs fall into this category, and only at a time of change, for it’s the changes that deepen the experience, the knowing that you’re part of something that is only happening in this building, now. Real changes only come along once in a while and many people never get the chance to be there at the cusp of a youth revolution.”
The Haçienda is legendary. It’s surrounded by myth and hearsay, people who swear they were there and people who actually were, people who had to deal with every behind-the-scenes aspect of the club, people who remember nothing but the rhythm. So much has been written about the Hac that there’s no reason to write another post, but more than that – in the end, it’s better not to know everything. Tony Wilson always said that, given the choice between the truth and the legend, print the legend, so maybe it’s better to wonder and investigate and invent. Keeps the mystery alive. Keeps the spirit of it all alive.
I did make you a mixtape, though.
lindtschultz asked: Hey Jey, you need to tell me what you think about Common People cause I have so many Emotions about that song but I bet you have loads of cool thoughts that never even would have crossed my mind.
This is Pulp’s “Common People.”
Pulp are a (mostly) Britpop band from Sheffield and “Common People” was one of their biggest hits. It’s considered to be a defining moment of the Britpop era, much to the band’s chagrin.
Basically, the song is about a rich girl Jarvis Cocker met at St. Martin’s College, who told him that she wanted to live the way he did, move to Hackney and live as though she were poor. And he’s going, no, you’ll never be able to do that, because you can leave. You didn’t grow up this way, you don’t have to live this way, and even if you choose to, you know you can always blink and it’ll vanish. It’ll never be your prison, he’s saying, at best it’ll be your plaything.
You’ll never live like common people
You’ll never do what common people do
You’ll never fail like common people
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view
Here, have a listen to Jarvis’ own interpretation.
The thing about it, though, is that it plays across so many different barriers. It’s absolutely true about class division; a lot of people who are very well-off seem to think it’s somehow ‘cool’ not to be. It’s why there’s such a market for things like torn designer jeans and styles imitating ‘punk’ or ‘ghetto’ clothing. It’s more than just that, though; it extends to any kind of privilege. People seem to think that it’s ‘hip’ to be part of a disadvantaged group, and it’s a dangerous line of thought. It’s also a line of thought that brings people into struggles that aren’t theirs and has them tread on the toes of those who really are struggling.
You will never understand
How it feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere left to go
‘cause when you’re laid in bed at night
And watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your dad he could stop it all
Joe Strummer, I think, had a wonderful thing to say about it when he was describing how he came to write The Clash’s “White Riot.” He and Paul Simonon ended up embroiled in the riots at Notting Hill Carnival in 1976, which were a rebellion of black, primarily Caribbean, youth against the police and the establishment. Joe was very clear about saying that he and Paul pitched in (shouted, threw bricks, tried to set a car on fire but they couldn’t get the matches to stay lit), but that it wasn’t their battle. That is, they could help, but they could never really be a part of it. I’ve always thought that was a classy statement to make, that they could pitch in and help with someone else’s struggle without ever claiming that it was theirs to fight.
I don’t know – bear in mind, of course, this is all just my nonsense rambling – but I reckon Jarvis is trying to say that you can never truly know what it’s like to be something you’re not, and furthermore, it’s insulting to claim that you can. If you can afford to treat a disadvantage like a novelty, then you can never know what it’s really like to live it.
Laugh along with the common people
Laugh along even though they’re laughing at you
And the stupid things that you do
Because you think that poor is cool
And if you listen to the extended lyrics, he says even more than that.
’cause everybody hates a tourist
Especially one who thinks it’s all a laugh
It’d be difficult, at this point, to argue that Jarvis Cocker is exactly one of the ‘common people,’ but he didn’t start out where he is now, and most people who start out where he did never end up any higher. He isn’t singing about being a British pop star here; he’s singing about being a struggling lower-class kid from a single-parent family who worked at a fish market and didn’t know what he wanted to do with his music or his life. And he’s telling the truth. You can play at something that’s never been part of your life, you can join in, you can act out the part, but it’ll never be yours, not in the same way as someone whose life has been shaped by it.
Anonymous asked: I really love your Mod 101 mixtape, especially Sh-Boom by the Chords. What specific genre would you call that song? And do you have more in that same vein you could recommend?
Thank you! This is a great question, because I, er, well. Might have put that song on there by accident, actually. Ahem.
“Sh-Boom” is by an American rhythm and blues band from the fifties called The Chords. Their music is a very early form of a subgenre of R&B called doo-wop that fuses traditional stylings with vocal pop, and it’s pretty cool – sort of right at the very genesis of rock’n’roll. If you like it, you might want to check out some of these songs and see if they appeal to you:
- The Orioles, “Crying In the Chapel”
- The Cadillacs, “Gloria”
- The Platters, “Only You”
- The Flamingos, “I Only Have Eyes For You”
- The Hilltoppers, “Trying”
- The El Dorados, “Bim Bam Boom”
- The Spaniels, “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight”
- The Ravens, “Count Every Star”
- The Crows, “Gee”
- The Drifters, “Honey Love”
- The Five Keys, “The Glory of Love”
- The Harptones, “A Sunday Kind of Love”
- The Dominoes, “Harbor Lights”
- The Chips, “Rubber Biscuit”
- The Penguins, “Earth Angel”
- The Chantels, “Maybe”
- The Del Vikings, “Come Go With Me”
- The Moonglows, “Sincerely”
- The Skyliners, “Since I Don’t Have You”
- The Crew Cuts, “Sh-Boom”
For what it’s worth, the band that ought to have been on that mixtape are also called The Chords, but they are from the United Kingdom and do a more mod-styled power-pop along the lines of “Maybe Tomorrow.”