Sunday, October 30, 2016

They made out you were are an ultra nut

So along with everything else that Mark E. was doing with the Fall in 1986 he also took the time to write a play about the 33 day reign of Pope John Paul I in 1978. He took time out to even sit down with Jools Holland to discuss the whole thing. 
Unfortunately it appears to have been panned and closed in two weeks.

This 12" is related.

The flip has two of the most ear friendly Fall tunes up to this point. "Entitled" and the poppy bouncing "Shoulder Pads1b" which were the bane of many contemporary fashions.

Watch out makers of fads
It's MES in shoulder pads

Friday, October 28, 2016

And I really think this computer thing is getting out of hand

Mr. Pharmacist (1986)

Another year another 12" by the Fall with an obscure cover reworked by the Fall.

In this case it's a 1966 garage pounder originally recorded by the Other Half. The Fall do a respectfully bang up job remaking the song in their own image. Maybe it's that they both had a fondness for pharmaceutical enhancements.

Flip it over and there are two more songs. Listen like it's your birthday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

He scrutinised a little monster And disappeared through red door

Apparently a very early Fall song (live recordings go back to 1977) but revamped and reworked into this toe tapping little number now presented before you. Don't look at me sideways. Just fucking enjoy it.
B-side seems to be about falling asleep in front of the Tv as near as I've ever been able to glean.
 Been there. Done that.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Toilet queue was endless. Couldn't get a beer

Well, actually this particular 12" was properly released in 1986 but the contents had been released on other records the year previous. It collects a B-side from the "Cruiser's Creek" 12" called "Vixen", the three songs from the Rollin' Dany 12" and adds a bonus track called "Barmy"

All stuff recorded in and around the Fall masterwork "This Nation's Saving Grace".

It also introduced the Fall as a covers band with their version of Gene Vincent's "Rollin' Danny" which in itself is not necessarily a favorite song of mine in either context. But it was something that moving forward into the blackness of the 80's would eventually bring some more mainstream success for the Fall. This was probably a good thing as it seems that Brix had taken over responsibilities for styling Mark E as his wardrobe seemed to vastly improve around this time.
No more sweater vests Nicer slacks and shinier shirts

Saturday, October 22, 2016

And he wants world peace! He likes ABC!

 This 12" also has one of my all time favorite bits of Fall lyric on "Pat-Trip Dispenser" a song alleged to be about their  American tour manager from Hoboken, NJ

McGinty thought he could fool the Fall
With his imitation speed
But he had not accounted for the psychic nose
He did not know there are no big shots on the rock
And even if there were, McGinty would not be among them

Yeah that's the stuff.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Master bold morals get reptiles and ankles

So Brix Smith is in the band at last and the sound is evolving again. She brings with her a bubbly stage presence and a very strong pop influence to her new husband's band. For better or worse. Some of the harsher edges are sanded away and while lyrically nothing makes any more sense than it ever did without active listening, the Fall become something that can start to conceive of some kind of general sense of musical success as the pastel hell of the 80's grinds forward. They become at the  same time easier on the ears as well as the eyes in concert.

This is the incarnation that would produce "The Wonderful and Frightening World of"

Initial releases of "Call for Escape Route" came with a bonus two song single included here with an alternate version of "No Bulbs" and an alternate version of the song "Slang King" which graced the current lp.

You're welcome

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hot dogs and seat for Mr. Hogg! And his grotty spawn!

Kicker Conspiracy (1983)

In 1983 the Fall, put out the seminal "Perverted by Language" and this double 7".

Soccer. Time travel & Peel sessions. What more could a boy ask for in a pair of records.

The version of "New Puritan" here is the definitive version. It doesn't get any more blistering than this. MES and 

I curse the self-copulation of your lousy record collection.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Live at Band on the Wall in 1982

Live at Band on the Wall (1982)

I would say that the 90's weren't the most financially rewarding times for Mark E. Smith and that he had to resort to all kinds of ways to keep himself and the Fall solvent.

I mean, nowadays he's been around long enough to be on the verge of being a cranky old national treasure who gets to guest read the Football Results on National TV 

And as a great go-to semi-celeb when you need a cranky wrinkly old fart to tell you about the digital age.

Meanwhile, back in the 90's a large number of rather dodgy Cog Sinister reissues started showing up on compact disc. For the most part they were rather shoddy productions mastered from poorly recorded vinyl sources. The one for "Fall in a Hole", the two lp live recording on New Zealand's Flying Nun Records which was the biggest thing on my wantlist at the time was even mastered from a totally beat record that actually fucking skipped on the Cd. It was more than a little bit infuriating.

But it wasn't all truly terrible. Mostly.

The shitty cd version of  "Room to Live" and the awful cd version of the singles compilation "Palace of Swords Reversed" had bonus discs with two halves of a 1982 live performance at Band on the Wall as presented by the Manchester Musicians Collective (which put on the very first Fall gig in 1977.)  That's what we have here.

There were also quite a few dicey live recordings from all sorts of times and places that ranged from decent soundboard or radio show to someone stuck a crap mono tape recorder by the speaker sort of thing. I have some of them, but have never quite felt the need for that much completeness in the dodgy realms of Fall releases...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It was no matter of small consequence

The Man Whose Head Expanded (1983)

You know as I sit here and casually queue up these three months of Fall posts I'm going through and listening to each thing so I know exactly what I'm talking about and generally having a grand fucking time revisiting these old singles.
It's said that everybody has an era of the Fall that will appeal to them more than others (amongst Fall fans anyway). I like most of it, but the stuff from 1981 up until MES brings Brix into the band are my absolute favorite. This is what I always come back to.

I may get misty and nostalgic.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Today on the Vitamin B Glandular Show

Look Now (1982)

Yeah, my copy of this is pretty beat. but it's here for the sake of completeness and your listening pleasure. You're actually going to go out and purchase a copy of the "Hip Priest and Kamerads" compilation after sampling this confection because you know what you look like before you go out.

Because that's what you get for having a hobby.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

No nerves left Monday morning. And I think I'll cut my dick off

Lie Dream of a Casino Soul (1981)

And here we go. Two fucking drummers. This is the shit.

If you've been following along at home this far. I don't need to type anything.

You already know.

This incarnation would go on to record "Hex Enduction Hour" & "Room to Live" in the next year.

Heady times indeed.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The boy is like a tape loop

This was my entry point to the wonderful and frightening world of the Fall. I picked it up for, I think, two dollars out of the cut-out bin at the Musicsmith at the Hanover Mall as a young man in probably 1982. I had no idea who the Fall were and if I'd like them, but it was a couple of bucks and I was feeling reckless so I bought it and took it home.

I hated it.

The songs didn't really have a straight verse/chorus structure. The music was repetitious and the singer kind of half mumbled and half sang out of tune. It was fucking terrible shit. I couldn't make out half of what the "singer" was on about. I put it aside and never listened to it.

Fast forward a year or so and I'm at college for the first time and living in a dorm room with a terrible child man who fancies himself a film maker (terrible) and writer (ditto) and who does magic. He once kept me awake for several hours doing magic tricks at me while I tried to go to sleep because I kept figuring them out. He was balding at 19 and grew a beard so he'd have a chin. He wore floodwater dungarees that his Mom had bought him at Sears in grade school. He washed his towel twice in the semester I roomed with him, both times when I'd spent a few days wondering what had died in the room and discovered it was his bath towel. 

After a while I took what pleasure I could in torturing him.

He also loved musicals. It was all he listened to. He was more asexual than anything, but he loved him some musical theater. He'd go to the library to hunt down cast recordings for obscure theatricals that even the cast themselves had chosen to forget.

I didn't like musical theater. I was a pretentious punk/new wave kid. It was not a good fit.

So I'd make a point of playing music on my stereo that he would absolutely hate whenever he was in the room in an attempt to drive him out so I could have some peace. He hated this record. I wasn't super fond of it myself, but it was sure to drive him nuts. And it did. Quite frequently.

Then something happened. 

In the midst of repeated playings all the molecules in my brain started rearranging and one day the whole fucking record made perfect sense. I'm pretty sure it was "Prole Art Threat" that finally hooked me. Though "Leave the Capitol" was probably a close second. It's still to this day one of my all time favorite Fall records. 

And here we are thirty odd years later and I'm still a fan.
All thanks to a terrible dorm mate.

Friday, October 7, 2016

But it gets worse day by day. I'm a potential DJ

How I Wrote 'Elastic Man' (1980)

The third single crapped out in the year 1980 along with the fucking brilliant Lp "Grotesque (After the Gramme)" They could do no fucking wrong at this point.

TC - What's 'How I wrote Elastic Man' about?
MS - Writers, which is why Dave McCullough didn't like it. It's about a guy who wrote a book called 'Elastic Man' and everybody gets on his back about it, he's a celebrity and it fucks up his art.

That just about sums it up. (eg. Self satisfied. Smug.)

The b-side is pure paranoia. There aren't really Hobgoblins. Are there?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I drank a jar of coffee, and then I took some of these

Totally Wired (1980)

Did I say that "Rowche  Rumble" was my jam?

I meant this. "Totally Wired"
"Totally Wired" is my jam.

For realsies.

The b-side has snippets of a live performance bookending a fine throbbing bit of Fall-ishness and begs the question "Have you ever heard a Bill Haley Lp?"

Monday, October 3, 2016

I eat hot dogs. I live on pies. I'm 45.

Fiery Jack (1980)

This single marks the end of their association with Step-Forward Records and the final bit and a turning point for the Fall sound. The band itself was on a second or third incarnation by this point and was finally gelling into a unit that was rapidly honing its own thing.
Most importantly Craig Scanlon & Steve Hanley are in the band together at last and together they would form the spine that held together the Fall for the next fifteen years (when they'd finally had enough of Mark E.'s shit and quit.)

Over at the annotated Fall lyrics site they have a field day dissecting Mark E.'s thought process for "2nd Dark Age" See if  it makes any sense to you. (Though for one always thought the line was "Oil-less women in veils, eyes glazed")

The last song is about psychics.