Saturday, January 31, 2009

madchester rave on: Northside

So the Madchester onslaught continues, while I think of the next posts in the variations on a theme or 5 songs memes I've got going. Today we have another largely-forgotten Manchester band, Northside.

Hyped by Factory Records as the next great thing in Manchester in 1990, Northside blazed onto the scene with two stellar singles and an of-its-time LP, then with Factory's ugly collapse in 1992 slowly faded away, ultimately dying in 1996 or so (but they've since resurfaced and are apparently still gigging about in Manchester).

Here be found a very extensive biography, the most extensive I've found on the internets by far....

Northside weren't of the baggy scene per se, they were more guitars than dance (similar to James, in fact they fulfilled the same role on Factory's roster as James did in the mid 80s when they were Factory's folkies) - yet for whatever reason the UK music weeklies insisted on lumping them in with the rest of the Madchester scene. And unfortunately, the inevitable Madchester backlash struck them full-force in the press, whilst other more baggy acts escaped relatively unscathed.

Leaping into view with the jangly double A-side "Shall We Take A Trip" / "Moody Places" (interesting fact: the band wanted "Moody Places" as the A-side with "Shall We Take A Trip" as the flip, but Factory boss Tony Wilson thought the explicit drug vibes of "Shall We Take A Trip" fit more presciently with the burgeoning Madchester scene and should be the A-side, so they compromised, and the sides are described as A and AA on the vinyl), they then released the followup "My Rising Star" before retreating to Wales to record the debut LP. And that's all she wrote, beyond a couple tracks appearing on overseas editions of the album, and an exclusive instrumental "Moody Places" on a compilation cassette.

Since their output was so limited, I give you everything they released below - another in our "Complete Discography" series as begun last week with Paris Angels.


(for the record, LTM has reissued the majority of below on one CD,
Chicken Rhythms + Extras which you can peruse here...)

...postscript: I don't think there's anything missing from below, though I do have (and am loooking at) a live VHS the band released in 1991 (possibly even before the LP was released), entitled simply Live (recorded at the PSV Club, Manchester 8 October 1990). Unfortunately I don't have the capacity to capture the video, and the audio, from what I recall, is pretty ugly. Nevertheless I may yet get the audio captured and uploaded at some future date.


Moody Places: The Complete Discography

FAC 268 "Shall We Take A Trip" / "Moody Places" (single)

01 Moody Places (12" version)
02 Shall We Take A Trip

FAC 298 "My Rising Star" (single)

03 My Rising Star (12" version)
04 My Rising Star (instrumental)

FAC 308 "Take 5" (single)

05 Take 5 (12" version)
06 Take 5 (7" version)
07 Who's To Blame (instrumental)

FACD 310 Chicken Rhythms (LP)

08 Take 5
09 Weight Of Air
10 Funky Munky
11 A Change Is On Its Way
12 Yeah Man
13 Tour De World
14 Wishful Thinking
15 Shall We Take A Trip
16 Who's To Blame
17 Practise Makes Perfect
18 My Rising Star (edit)

(and from overseas editions of Chicken Rhythms)

Tour De World (live)
20 Yeah Man (live)

FAC305c The Factory Tape (special to Select magazine, 1991)

21 Moody Places (instrumental)


And there you have it. I figured since the band wanted "Moody Places" as the debut A-side I'd do the same here, and what better way to close out their Complete Discography collection with the instrumental version of the same (though it is different, besides just lacking vocals...).

Comments, questions, points of order - just drop a note in the comment box!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

madchester rave on: Paris Angels

In keeping with the blog's ongoing Manchester themed posts of late, one utterly forgotten band (except for one song, more on that later...) I'd like to spotlight is Paris Angels.

If you know them at all, it's for their 1990 indie groover Madchester-flavored hit-of-sorts "Perfume" (video) - a top track indeed. What many don't know is that they actually released an album, and 3 other singles.

Paris Angels came together in 1990 or so right as Madchester was cresting. They managed to create quite a New Order-ish blend of rock and dance, at times sounding oddly like a blend of Electronic/Revenge/The Other Two - isn't that New Order? Yes it is, but the blend they created doesn't have that classic Hooky bass sound.

First surfacing on a compilation of Manchester acts entitled "Home" with the song "Stay", the band then released their classic debut single "Perfume". Riding "Perfume" as long as the music press allowed them, they released 2 other singles on Manchester indie label Sheer Joy (owned by a disgruntled ex-Factory Records employee!), then signed to a major label and reissued Perfume (different mixes), then finally an LP. After one more single they fell off the face of the earth. Apparently the band were victims of a Great Purge after Virgin sold itself off to EMI - they finished recording a 2nd LP but when turning up with the record were shown the door.

Guitarist Paul Wagstaff would later resurface in Shaun Ryder's post-Happy Mondays act Black Grape.

So without further ado, I present... Paris Angels, Complete Discography. If there's any tracks missing beyond the odd radio session, I've never heard of them existing.


(you'll have to download both files to extract, it's one RAR archive split into two files - grab the decompression software here if you don't have anything to extract RAR files)


HOME (compilation)

(Compilation CD, 1989 Sheer Joy SHEER CD001)


PERFUME (single)

(1990 Sheer Joy SHEER 002/CD)

All On You (Perfume)
Muffin 2
Techno (Live at Subterania)

SCOPE (single

(1990 Sheer Joy SHEER 004/CD)

Give Me More...Scope
Scope Two

OH YES (single)

(1991 Sheer Joy SHEER 005/CD)

Oh Yes
I Understand
Oh Yes instrumental
Too Easy

PERFUME (single - Virgin issue)

(1991 Virgin VSCDT 1360)

Perfume (Loved Up)
Perfume (All On You)

SUNDEW (debut LP)

(1991 Virgin CDV 2667)

Slippery Man
What Goes On
Perfume (All On You)
Chaos (Stupid Stupid)
Purest Values
Oh Yes

FADE (single)

(1991 Virgin VSCDG 1365)

Fade (Tag Mix)
Fade (Polo Mix)


Anything missing? Drop a line in the comment box....


Saturday, January 17, 2009

a blog without qualities: New Fast Automatic Daffodils

Today we're taking a slight detour from the producers/5 songs memes I've been developing on the blog. Instead, per request, let's explore one of the lesser-known acts that came about during the "Madchester" era of Manchester music 1988-1992, New Fast Automatic Daffodils.

While not a Madchester act per se, the New FADs benefitted exposure-wise from coming out of Manchester during this hotbed of musical activity. Bereft of baggy, yet funky and scratchy, the New FADs took The Fall, Wire, dub and indie and created their own unique thing, topped off with stream-of-consciousness "vocals" from actor Andy Spearpoint.

It's funny... Most bands it's fairly easy to describe their sound, but with the New FADs, I'm skint. So you'll just have to hear for yourself below.

The internets are fairly bereft of New FADs discussion, but here is an (inactive) fansite that has a bit more info on the band.

I saw the New FADs in 1991 in Chicago at the Metro, opening for Neds Atomic Dustbin and Urge Overkill (yes, an oddball pairing, we left after the New FADs played...), as well as at an instore performance at Chicago's Reckless Records the same afternoon. Great, great live band, very tight, and I had a chance to chat with them all at the instore - as you'd imagine, they're "nice people to do business with" and were very cool indeed.

Today's selection, split into two RAR files (, features their collected works from 1989 thru 1991. They went on to record two more LPs after this era, but IMHO this is their best.


(you'll have to download both files to extract, it's one archive split into two files)

What's missing? The Peel Sessions EP, which I'm saving for a future entry.
(edit: Future entry posted.)


LIONS (single)

(Debut single, 1989 Playtime Records AMUSE 04T)

01 Lions (extra track on Music Is Shit 3" CD)
02 Fate Don't Fail Me Now
03 Your Dreams My Nightmares
(tracks 2 and 3 are the b-sides taken from vinyl)


(Compilation CD, 1989 Sheer Joy SHEER CD001)

04 Jaggerbog


(1989 Playtime Records AMUSE 06CD)

05 Beam Me Up
06 A Man Without Qualities
07 Music Is Shit

BIG (single)

(1990 Playtime Records AMUSE 07CD)

08 Big (original single version)
09 Big (edit)
10 Big (baka)

FISHES EYES (single)

(1990 Play It Again Sam Records BIAS 162CD)

11 Fishes Eyes (original single recording, different from the album version)
12 Fishes Eyes (underwater) (mixed by Slow Bongo Floyd)
13 White


(1990 Play It Again Sam Records BIAS 185CD)

14 Get Better
15 Fishes Eyes
16 (interlude)
17 Working For Him
18 Part 4
19 Big
20 You Were Lying When You Said You Loved Me
21 Amplifier
22 Reprise
23 Partial
24 Penguins
25 (untitled outtro)

GET BETTER (single)

(1991 Play It Again Sam Records BIAS 193CD)

26 Get Better (single version)
27 Pigeonhole
28 I Found Myself In Another Room
29 Get Better (Version 1)


(1991 Play It Again Sam Records BIAS 199CD)

30 All Over My Face
31 All Over My Face (Split Decision mix)
32 All Over My Face (Off The Road)
33 Why The Hard Man Fail


Hope you enjoy it all!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

variations on a theme: Martin Hannett part II, the music

As promised, some works that honor the legacy, genius and talent of the legendary Manchester producer Martin Hannett....

Martin piddled around in Manchester with several acts, helped establish the Manchester Musicians Collective in the late 1970s, did some booking and engineering, until falling in with Factory Records impresarios Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus in 1978. Martin was considered one of the label's co-founders, and envisioned himself becoming the house engineer and chief A&R man. He worked with most of the Factory roster until he left the label's employ in 1982, suing the label over lost royalties (and he was convinced Factory wasted everything opening the Hacienda, his idea was to spend it all on a Fairlight instead).

Martin was lost in the wilderness during the mid-80s, lost in a sea of drink and drug. Only occasionally did he pop up, most notably with the Stone Roses (complete nobodies at the time) to record a debut album which finally saw the "official" light of day in the late 90s as a semi-official release entitled Garage Flower. His work with the Roses was largely ignored/forgotten for two reasons: 1) it wasn't very good, frankly, and 2) the Roses were quickly moving on into a more melodic realm that dated even further what they were doing with Martin.

Surprisingly coming back into the Factory family via his work with Happy Mondays, Martin enjoyed a sudden resurgence of work and popularity, if you will, in the late 1980s/early 90s. Starting with the Mondays, Martin then produced several other acts that were drawn to him for his legend and genius, culminating with two Manchester acts New Fast Automatic Daffodils and The High, the last two acts he worked with until his sudden untimely death via heart attack in April 1991.

Martin was a genius. His legendary use of digital delay, coming milliseconds after the initial snare hit, has influenced hundreds of recording engineers to this day (see the entire Joy Division catalog for an example). An autocrat, he nevertheless encouraged the best work out of the acts he worked with (bar the Stone Roses as above), and his imprint on music, on Manchester, on a generation of music fans, will continue forever.

Onward to the music - that's what we're here for, right?

MARTIN: The work of record producer Martin Hannett
FACD 325
1991 Factory Communications Ltd.

01 BUZZCOCKS / Breakdown
02 SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS / Cranked Up Really High
03 JOHN COOPER CLARKE / Suspended Sentence
04 JOY DIVISION / She's Lost Control
05 JILTED JOHN / Jilted John
08 U2 / 11 O'Clock Tick Tock
09 NEW ORDER / Everything's Gone Green
10 HAPPY MONDAYS / Lazyitis
11 WORLD OF TWIST / She's A Rainbow
13 THE HIGH / More

Released in 1991, this album was Factory's celebration of his life and work. All proceeds went to his family - and if this album were still in print, I wouldn't have it here to download because of that.

-------------- analog loyalist's compilation ---------------

I was going to do the list-each-song-and-download-separately bit but I know how annoying RapidShare is so I made my own compilation instead. Single download gets it all!

"Produced by Martin Hannett"
compiled by the Analog Loyalist

01 JOY DIVISION / Digital (1978)
Side 1, track 1 of the Factory Sample FAC2. Martin finds it here.

02 A CERTAIN RATIO / All Night Party (1979)
Funky even without the original funky drummer DoJo.

03 DURUTTI COLUMN / Sketch For Summer (1979)
04 DURUTTI COLUMN / First Aspect Of The Same Thing (1979)
"Sketch" finds Martin inventing bird noises with various electronica, and "First Aspect" is Martin flying solo - he wrote it and performed it entirely alone.

05 A CERTAIN RATIO / Flight (1979)

I'm not certain the Joy Division comparisons aren't entirely due to Martin's signature production work here...

06 JOY DIVISION / Atmosphere (1979)

The first genuine classic here, the band thought this was the best job Martin had ever done for them. Beautiful, beautiful.

07 KEVIN HEWICK with NEW ORDER / Haystack (1980)
Factory sends the surviving Joy Division members into the studio shortly after Ian Curtis' death, to back fledgling Factory artist Kevin Hewick on a couple tracks. An audition, perhaps, for the vocal spot vacated by Ian and soon filled by Bernard Sumner? One never knows... New Order's first studio effort after Ian's death.

08 NEW ORDER / Ceremony (1980)
09 NEW ORDER / In A Lonely Place (1980)
Both sides of FAC33 straight from mint vinyl, New Order recording in New Jersey with Martin, before Gillian joined. Classics both, IALP is less thunderclappy compared to the remixed version on Substance.

10 SECTION 25 / New Horizon (edit) (1981)

Factory's Blackpool contingent, obviously JD influenced (or is it that Hannett sound?). I edited down the interminably long intro.

11 THE STONE ROSES / I Wanna Be Adored (1985)

Martin's lost years, the Madchester classic in its original form - Leckie's 1988 re-recording obviously perfected it.

12 HAPPY MONDAYS / WFL (Think About The Future) (1988)

Remixed by Paul Oakenfold, pure utter genius this track. Welcome back, Martin.

13 THE HIGH / Up & Down (1989)
Part of a series of demos The High recorded with Martin in fall 1989, this band was the last band Martin recorded before his April 1991 death. Nice jangly song, Andy Couzens presented this song to the Stone Roses while he was still a member.

Friday, January 9, 2009

variations on a theme: Martin Hannett part I

You knew it had to come, the PIT's tribute to Martin Hannett. Legendary producer. Oddball but genius. So strange that Factory Records founder Tony Wilson (Anthony H in his later years) stated Hannett's character in Factory biopic 24 Hour Party People was the strangest role Andy Serkis ever played, not Gollum.

I can't even begin to touch on the impact Hannett had on music I love to this day - and the impact he had on producers to this day as well. Genius behind the legendary Joy Division sound. The man who pushed modern technology to the forefront, meeting digital delay technology inventors on remote Pennine mountaintops at the asscrack of midnight to help them design what he heard in his head. The result? Joy Division's "Digital", so named for the digital delay effect he was so instrumental in using (and creating!).

There's two ways to tributize Mr Hannett here.

One way would be to do what I've done so far, post random songs by random acts.

The other way would be to post one of the various tribute albums that have been compiled to honor Martin since his untimely death in 1991.

I propose to blend both.

First, the tribute album Martin, released by Factory in 1991 to honor his indelible contribution to the music world.

Then, a couple random tracks not included on Martin that I feel were either criminally left off, or just cool tunes that he worked on, or just other random Hannett bits that I come across.

So watch this space. I wanted to pop an entry in here so as to not make you forget I've forgotten the blog already (life intrudes), I do plan to have something up shortly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

how I learned to love The Bomb / Indecision

Sometimes you come across a record which reminds you of why you fell in with a particular band/style/etc in the first place. A record that you can proudly hold up in the air and scream to the winds, "THIS is _____ in full glory, this could be the only ______ record you need to own", or "HELL yeah, ________ is/are back!"

This "new" record by legendary Chicago punkster Jeff Pezzati's "other" band The Bomb, Indecision, could be exactly that. Note: "New" because while released in 2005, the record's new to yours truly (had it since then but only listened to a song or two until - get this - yesterday), and "Other" because Pezzati's main gig Naked Raygun is alive and kicking, in fact performing tonight at House of Blues, Chicago.

Naked Raygun at Subterranean, Chicago 11/4/06

Pezzati is hardly new to the scene, having led Naked Raygun out of the miniscule early 1980s Chicago punk scene into national recognition, and international gigging, by the early 1990s - themselves solidifying their signature Buzzcocks-meets-Minor Threat sound over several classic, legendary albums until their hibernation period that began in 1992. Retired from music for some time, Pezzati and the rest of Raygun performed a handful of reunion gigs in 1997, and disappeared again until reuniting - for good, apparently, in 2006.

Meanwhile, in the late 90s Pezzati resurfaced with a new crew and new songs, eventually with a Steve Albini-recorded debut LP Torch Songs in 2000 (on Pezzati's own Jettison Music label, itself named in tribute to the legendary Raygun 1988 LP Jettison). That record was OK, but was singular in that it featured Jeff on bass guitar for the first time since his stint with Big Black in the mid 1980s. The songwriting, while itself OK, didn't exactly match up with what Naked Raygun could toss off in an afternoon, at their peak. Put it this way - I have it as a longtime fan of Jeff Pezzati, but it's not something I'll ever give more than a casual glance at.

The Bomb, Jeff Pezzati on right

We need to back up a bit to bring this all into context.

Naked Raygun was/is one of those genre-defining bands, a case where great riches, fame and worldwide domination could have been theirs had they simply wanted it enough. Raygun perfected the strongly melodic, funny, blistering, powerpophardcorepunk style made famous in the 90s by bands such as Green Day and Foo Fighters - yet Raygun did it first, in some cases 10 years before. They were just too soon, and furthermore, were sadly content to live with the regional fame they accrued (they were HUGE in Chicago during their prime, to the point where other major touring acts wouldn't schedule opposite a Raygun gig), and the occasional national (and in 1989, European) tour to play for the kids. So when they faded out in 1992, after a mediocre album which did nothing but keep the name in the record racks, they left the door open for the usurpers in that post-Nirvana age to take the torch they blazed and run with it.

Fast forward to yesterday. In the process of researching tunes for the blog, I popped on this record and was BLOWN AWAY. Everything I loved about Naked Raygun is here in full glory - the blistering guitars, the fantastic call-and-response choruses, Pezzati's signature "whoa-oh-oh" vocals, it's all here - evidenced over 12 spectacular songs, recorded by Jawbox's J. Robbins. And I never knew about it! Pezzati is back as vocalist and primary songwriter, but this time with Jeff Dean on guitars, and stole the rhythm section from Chicago-area punkers The Methadones to anchor it all.

THE BOMB / Indecision
(2005 Thick Records)

OK, there are a few not-so-stellar tracks, but every album has them, and I'll not name them just because I'm silly that way. However tracks like the incendiary "Burn It All" (despite the odd-for-Pezzati skapunk intro) are as good as you'll ever find from him, and easily could be tracks from a great, lost, Naked Raygun record.

So I know Jeff Pezzati still has it in him. Why doesn't Naked Raygun - as I said, back in full blown tour mode with us today - do this? The world would be theirs, if they wanted it.


1. Up From The Floor
2. Indecision
3. Hardly Shed A Tear
4. Burn It All
5. Further From The Truth
6. Never Want To See You Again
7. Won't Apologize
8. Bring The Shotgun
9. Turned On
10. Nothing To Say
11. Faith Anymore
12. 1000 Tons of Ice

------------- APPENDIX ----------------

This record as-released is a bad, bad sufferer of the audiophile's greatest scourge, ugly overcompression/limiting (better known as the Loudness Wars). See the links on the sidebar for more info about this horrible affliction, and here's a good visual of it below from this album as-released (click through for full-size)...

I do have tricks up my sleeve for fixing the worst of it, bringing some well-needed dynamics back in play, which I've done for the fileset linked above (and trust me, it now sounds 1,000,000 times better for it) - but post-facto restoration should IMHO never be needed - get it right the first time!

Here's a visual of the same files in the shot above, but having been de-futzed with care:

I really, REALLY despise this trend in music. We all have volume knobs, if things are too quiet, TURN IT UP! Don't do it for us, and don't give us muddled/flattened crap. End rant.