8/21/17

Buzzcocks - It's Not You 7" (2014)

We had to wait 7 years before new stuff by the band was released. It was a LP called The Way and I was proud and glad to have participated to it's release via some money given by The Pledge. The album was all we could hope from a band whose members are in their 60's and who maintain the name of Buzzcocks with honour and the rather weak notes you can see on its wikipedia page is nothing less than bullshit by second-hand rock critics. The album was released during the summer of 2014 and this single only in November. If this is actually my favorite song from the album, it's not really calibrated to be a hit and it was not. I'm not sure the band was expecting any success anyway but maybe to add a great song to their fantastic repertoire. It shows how  Pete Shelley can still write seminal songs. And this one is really one of this kind. The bridge is in particular a real killer.  Note that there's "(radio mix)" added to the title of the single. Since I took this version from the clip, I hope it's the good version but I think so. On the B-side, a Steve Diggle non-album track called "Generation Suicide". A rather common rocker but pleasant anyway. Catch it here. Still 2 more to come.

8/17/17

Buzzcocks - Reconciliation EP (2007)



















Released in December 2007, i.e., more than 18 months after it's paired LP (Flat Pack Philosophy), the reason of this song being issued in a single format is not very clear since it's far from being a potential hit, at least for me. Anyway, the reason this EP is interesting is, as always, for its B-side, consisting of two Steve Diggle's songs, again much more in a solo vein than related to Buzzcocks. Not bad but rather dispensable. The Who/Jam influence (we'll say "mods") is very pregnant but this is not a surprise with this composer. Some more to come. Meanwhile catch this one here.


8/11/17

Buzzcocks - Sell You Everything EP (2006)


















In August 2006, 11 years from now, the band released their usual second single driven from the current album (it was Flat Pack Philosophy). And as usual, since the first was a Pete Shelley composition, the second was a Steve Diggle's. Ans as often, it was a very very good song, almost a classic based upon my own standards, and it would have deserve, as "Sick City Sometimes", to be a hit but unfortunately it was not, and didn't enter the charts as did it's predecessor. The B-side is often the one that stimulates interest of the fan in search of non-album tracks. It's the case here but the load is rather deceiving since the first one is a live version of "Sixteen" dating from 6 years earlier (2000) and captured in a unlocated US concert. The sound is poor and the version doesn't add to the band's glory. The second song will surprise any Buzzcocks fan since it's a Steve Diggle's ballad that shows how he's in the steps of Pete Townshend (with the voice of John Entwistle) and even Paul Weller. Not bad but rather out of place on a Buzzcocks EP. All the more that the song was a leftover from the Modern LP sessions recorded 10 years earlier, so what was the need to release it on this EP this is a good question. Interesting to catch here anyway.


8/6/17

Buzzcocks - I Wish I Never Loved You EP (2006)

Three years after their eponymous LP, the band released in February 2006 this single as a trailer for their new LP Flat-Pack Philosophy. Weirdly, and although the chosen song is far to be a classic, it charted (only at 146 it's true, but it charted, first time since Part 1 in 1980). On the B-side of the EP, two non-album songs. First the Diggle's"Don't Matter What You Say", unfortunately once again not a recent one but from 1996, surely again a leftover of the All Set album. But since the song is rather good, we won't complain too much. Then "Orion", much better, one of this Shelley's oblique and dark songs we love so much. Sad it doesn't last more, the sudden end is clearly premature and wastes some of the pleasure of provided by this song. All in all, another winner for a band that never released an uninteresting EP since its reformation. More to come. Catch it here.


7/22/17

Buzzcocks - Sick City Sometimes (2003)




















Six months after the first track driven from their eponymous album ("Jerk", previous post), the band released another EP with what I consider as one of their best song ever, "Sick City Sometimes", composed and sung by Steve Diggle and that would have been a massive hit if it had been released by one of the adulated band of the times (don't remember who were). But it was not. Too bad. On the B-side, there's a non-album track but unfortunately, it's not from the session of the current album but from 1995 (maybe the All Set sessions). And the song (from Shelley) is rather weak and dispendable. The last song is the unavoidable live track, this time recorded in 1999 (don't ask me why) but I've no more info about it (maybe I should have a look to the biography but I'm too lazy tonight). Since the song is "Paradise", it's interesting. But stop the babble now and catch this EP here.


7/21/17

Buzzcocks - Jerk EP (2003)

Strangely, there will be an almost 10 year gap between the Libertine Angel and the Jerk EP although 2 full album would be released (the great All Set in 1996 and the more deceiving Modern in 1999). Some singles and EPs were actually released, but only live tracks, promo singles or uneven semi-official ones. But with the abrasive self-titled album released in 2003, the band would issue again EPs with non-album tracks (demos or live songs). The first was "Jerk", the opening song from the LP. The line-up was the same than 10 years before but the energy and aggressivity were more the ones of the 1980-81 era than the ones they had shown after their reformation. The song had everything necessary to find its way in the charts (a flavour of "Everybody's Happy", even with the drumming bridge) but times were surely not ready to make this sort of fast and furious love song a hit. What's interesting is that the EP allows us to hear a non-album song, Diggle's "Don't Come Back", not a great one but as often with the man, the song is pleasant to hear and provides this energy spark that is sometimes cruelly missing elsewhere. The choice of the live song is rather strange, "Oh Shit" being an old punk tune that wouldn't help the band to put its past away. Recorded (badly) at Toulouse in 2000 and final song of the concert, I would like to know what was the reason of this choice but I surely will never have the answer. So here's this new Buzzcocks load. Another one tomorrow.


7/6/17

Buzzcocks - Libertine Angel EP (1994)





















In their series of postreformation EPs this one, released in April 1994, is quite special since it is not linked to any album, maybe because the band believed in the chart potential of "Libertine Angel". I'm not sure they were right and facts showed that they were wrong. Not that the song is weak but it was a little too much complicated to gain attention of a large audience. They even shot a video for it (see below, sorry for 24 seconds of countdown, those who uploaded the clip could have cut it) like they had done for "Do It", don't forget it was the MTV era (not for long actually) and every band had to make a visual support for their singles (although most of them were poor and not pleasant to look at now). On the B-side of the EP, there were 2 new songs, the raw, rough and rude Diggle's "Roll It Over" and a curious instrumental based on a sort of movie soundtrack (real or fake I don't know). Sound like a musical support for a scene of action in a blockbuster. Interesting although not essential. Catch all this here.

7/3/17

Buzzcocks - Do It EP (1993)




















In August 1993, 4 months after the Trade Test Transmissions LP was released (but failed to chart), another single was issued with "Do It" as A-side. Note that the version is not the album one, and has been remixed in a way that we honestly can say today that it was very bad (this phasing on the voice is horripilous). Surely it fitted better with the current sound (we're in the post Madchester year) but not at all with Buzzcocks. Fortunately, the song is backed on the EP version with 2 non-album tracks, strangely recorded live (and never issued, to my knowledge) in a studio version. Tony Barber says, in the inner sheets of the Trade Test Transmissions 2004 re-issue, that they were recorded during a sound check at the Amsterdam Paradiso, but it's dubious since their 1993 concert at the Paradiso was in October 1993, 3 months after the EP was released. Thus, the mystery is complete. If this EP is precious, it's for the Steve Diggle song, "Trash Away", showing the roughest side of the band, not far from Clash or Stiff Little Fingers, with a vicious and oblique riff, a sinister vocal tone and violently depressive and angry lyrics. Since it was not on Youtube, I decided to create a clip with famous Lewis Hines' pictures of children at work in the first half of XXth century in the US. The sound is not perfect but it gives the song a sort of enhanced authenticity. A real forgotten gem. Listening to Buzzcocks these late weeks convinces me that Steve Diggle is not far to be Shelley's pair in quality of composition. So do... oops catch it here. Above and just below are the sleeves of the vinyl EP and below of the CD EP.





7/2/17

Buzzcocks - Innocent EP (1993)



















Sorry for the delay but I was getting married so I think it's an excuse you will accept. So back to the post-reformation Buzzcocks EP series. Tonight, it's the second one, more successful than the first, issued 2 years later, and much better too. The EP featured 2 Pete Shelley tracks of their to-be-released first post-reformation LP (the excellent Trade Test Transmission) and a non-album Steve Diggle one ("Inside") which is the main interest of this post if you have the LP in its original version (since Castel re-released it with the non-album single tracks on it in 2004). Released in May 1993, one month prior to the LP was issued, the single would have deserved to chart high but failed to (as almost all the singles and EPs the band would release after they reunited). But here is a good opportunity to put these 3 great forgotten songs under the blogspot light. Catch it here. More to come (very soon this time).


6/20/17

Buzzcocks - Alive Tonight EP (1991)




















This is the first post of a series about all the singles or EPs Buzzcocks have released after they reformed in 1989. Don't imagine their comeback was a path paved with roses. Actually there were more thorns than petals. In 1989, everybody was expecting a major failure but their live sets seemed to deny this black prediction. However time was passing and no new material was recorded, leading most to the idea the band would become one of these pathetic bands that capitalize on their past and do not bring anything new, sort of nostalgia formation (after all they had a song entitled "Nostalgia"). In November 1990 and February 1991, they recorded demos for a putative album that would  never be, with a certain Paul Roberts producing. But the band was unhappy with the production and listening to this EP (issued in April 1991), the first thing they released after reformation and featuring 4 songs from these sessions, we can only agree with them. Sure the influence of the madchester scene deeply influenced the band that is hardly the one that everybody remembered. Everything here is flabby and energy lacking. Note that on drums there was Mike Joyce, ex-Smiths and no more John Maher, Steve Garvy being still on bass. The drumming is actually much more Smithian than Buzzcocksian. The songs "Alive Tonight" and "Last To Know" would be re-recorded later in a much more satisfying version and included in the Trade Test Transmission LP 2 years later. This first EP would go completely unnoticed and it's a good thing since it's not impossible that the band would have chosen to stick to this "modern" (and now dated) sound if it has found its public. Catch it here.





6/18/17

Sparks - Live at the Bottom Line, New York City (1976)





















It is said that this concert has been released on a bootleg but I was unable to localize it. So I compiled the 5 songs I found. Three are from a Sparks live semi-official LP called Live 1976-82 and were remastered, the reason the sound is quite good (tracks 3-5) and the first 2 (I took the setlist order) were caught from a Youtube source but I improved a bit the sound quality with MP3doc. All in all, it's an half-an-hour affair that is rather interesting if not essential due to the way the band was evoluting, let's say in a mainstream US rock band (although I know many that prefer this version of the band to the previous and next, but it's not my case). Recorded one month after the Capitol theatre show (see post here), it was played in front of Capitol executives, not the best conditions for a band to give everything he has. Note that on bass it is Sal Maida and not Dave Swanson as initially written, so I erased the name with a dotted line. Not very professionnal but free. If I find sources of the other tracks, I will reconstruct this live testimony (I think the image I used for the front cover sleeve is from one of the 2 Bottom Line shows but I'n not sure). Actually, Ron was not playing organ but a grand piano. Catch it here.


6/11/17

Buzzcocks - The Love Bites Tour Live at the Apollo, Manchester (1978)





















Another live Buzzcocks album (one year before the one featuring on the previous post, sorry for this stupid order due to technical reasons), with a great sound since it was recorded by United Artists and mixed by Martin Rushent, maybe for a purportedly live album (actually I've no information about it). Note that the band was not tamed like they were supposed to be compared to their more violent punk pairs since after "I Don't Mind", Pete Shelley encourages the audience to get up on the chairs saying they break very easily. This concert, recorded on the 27 October 1978 at the Apollo theatre of Manchester (their home town) stood one month after the release of their Love Bites LP and some days after their "Ever Fallen In Love" which would be their major hit but, strangely, this career peak was not a good period for Pete Shelley who showed more and more signs of extreme physical exhaustion and mental tiredness. Strangely, although we were closer to the punk era than one year later, the playing is less savage and intense, and sometimes even a little bit apathetic (on "Autonomy" for example) and approximative on some songs (like on "Moving Away The Pulsebeat"). The pace is often slower that the one the band will adopt on their later shows. But it's true the band would become harder and rougher with years finishing as a dark and rugous band in 1981. But all Buzzcocks fans found in this concert the live testimony they dreamt of since it was played with the juvenile energy of the beginnings but with a lot of the repertoire with that the band is assimilated. This concert was released in 2002, either in Italy under the name of Beating Hearts or in UK under the name of Noise Annoys (same tracks, same order, same quality). This is the cover sleeve of Bleeding Hearts I chose for the illustration. Sorry for the definition, but I do not possess the CD or LP version, only the MP3. No sound illustration found on Youtube but no problem, those who are curious will catch it here.