Wire – ‘Third Day’ CD EP (Pink Flag, PF1, 2000)

August 21st, 2021

This small object of desire was initially available for sale from the merch stall upon the occasion of Wire’s second ‘reactivation’ (their third coming, I suppose) – a concert at the Royal Festival Hall [RFH], London on 26th February 2000. By that time, despite their absence after having reverted to the three-piece format of WIR and it having come to an end in the first few years of the ’90s, the band’s critical stock had risen, no doubt thanks to obvious Britpop admirers such as Elastica, Blur, et al, through the mid to latter half of that decade, but also along with the good work that Wire Mail Order [WMO] had been doing in curating the recorded legacy meantime. The vibe meant that selling out a venue as large as the Royal Festival Hall was possible in order to welcome back Wire on returning, once again. (Such a venue and audience was not necessarily a good thing, in my experience, but more of that later…)

Wire - ‘Third Day’ CD EP front cover design

^ Wire – ‘Third Day’ CD EP front cover design

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Heaven 17 – ‘Endless’ UK Boxed Cassette (Virgin, TCVB 2383, 1986)

August 14th, 2021

The first compilation/remix album by Heaven 17 (though by no means the last), ‘Endless’ is quite a curio on cassette format for a number of reasons. First off, this limited edition boxed version – packaged up in an elegant, black linen box with gold print, not a million miles away from the format that Factory Records had adopted for their cassette releases of their mid-eighties period (and which now prove very collectable indeed).

Heaven 17 'Endless' boxed edition cassette - front

^ Heaven 17 ‘Endless’ boxed edition cassette – front

Secondly, of course, some good old version craziness in the music to be found on the cassette. Apart from the ‘endless’ segue concept that is responsible for many changes to be found in the music, headline news is that the cassette edition came with four extra tracks compared to the CD version and amongst these is a 5’05” mix of ‘Play To Win’ that I had never come across anywhere else. (It has since finally been released on the ‘Play To Win (The Virgin Years)’ boxed set, I believe, though I don’t have this set.) It resembles the longer ‘BEF Disco Mix’ from the original 12″ single release, but edited down a good deal. (I tried out a digital recreation of it, hence why I know how much editing down it has had – no simple early fade out or the like, oh no – someone went to town with some enthusiasm all the way through the track!) Read the rest of this entry »

David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single (Virgin, VS815-12, 1986)

August 7th, 2021

So, where to start with this one… Being of a limited budget at its time of release, I opted just for the 7” single of this fine song. I don’t even remember being aware that the 12” single had a different version – I guess that if I had actually seen the 12” single and checked out the back cover credits it would have been a bit more obvious, since it namechecks Julian Mendelsohn for the remix. But for whatever reason I never clocked on this, so, for many, many years I lived in blissful ignorance of this remix – and as far as I know, it never has had any kind of release on CD or download.

David Sylvian - 'Taking The Veil' UK 12" single front cover design

^ David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single front cover design

Despite a stellar cast of art rock names in one place and the feeling that this would have given a pointer to something quite weighty, this is a beautifully slight piece with plenty of air to its precise, nimble rhythmic interplay and arrangement. The guitars in particular twist and dart as if folded into some miniature piece of exquisite origami, while the ever dependable Steve Jansen’s kick drum pins down to start with and yet plays around loosely into something far more off kilter as the instruments join in. The opening track of the ‘Gone To Earth’ album, it’s perhaps no wonder that it didn’t chart high – this was a good way on even from ‘Brilliant Trees’ era singles. Read the rest of this entry »

Button Badge Goodness: Gary Numan (Part 2)

July 28th, 2021

Well, I never – having boasted in the first post of this series that there were so many of these little lapel-affixed fellows in the collection it may run to quite a few posts, it’s been six years since then! Better late than never, I suppose, here is a further trawl through the haul…

Gary Numan - red/white striped button badge

^ Gary Numan – red/white striped button badge

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Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1982

July 21st, 2021

An opening post in a long-running series that will be appear periodically, the aim is to document one of my long-standing, enduring favourites – Cocteau Twins. This is a band where I bought their records from the very first release, ‘Garlands’, shortly after its release, and onwards. Much like another of my favourites, Durutti Column, the Cocteau Twins have an interesting discography to examine since they were very much an act where you found fine quality work not only on albums but on 12″ EPs (a Cocteau Twins speciality) as well as gifted to obscure compilations (more often than not exclusive tracks or versions).

Cocteau Twins assemblage of releases

^ An assemblage of Cocteau Twins releases from over the years

Year by year, the plan is to document when a primary release first made an appearance and to highlight the obscurities that can be found here and there on compilations and the like. Like other post-punk acts of the era, there have been re-issues over the year, in some cases where bonus tracks have ended up removed so as to restore original album running orders to match the original vinyl releases. (Wire also spring to mind here…)

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