Posts tagged ‘The Smiths’
I can’t say I know much about singer-songwriter Sara Lov, but she’s one of the artists featured on “Please, Please, Please: A Tribute to The Smiths”, a 20-track double-CD tribute to the music of The Smiths, due out on December 13th. I’d written more extensively about this record back in October, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you about this cool idea. Click here to read the previous Their Bated Breath post with a full tracklist available. (Where you can also hear Stars’ version of “Asleep”.) As many of you have come to understand, The Smiths are my all-time favorite band, which means covers have to pass that difficult test that comes from those of us who would rather not hear our favorite songs reworked. However, as clean-sounding as this version of “Well I Wonder” is, I think it keeps that sense of elegance of the original. Lov’s inviting vocals seem the perfect complement to the gorgeous melodrama of Morrissey’s oh-so Moz verse, “Gasping, dying, but somehow still alive / This is the final stand of all I am / Please keep me in mind.” Thanks to Sara lov for posting this track for streaming at her official soundcloud page. You can pre-order your copy of the tribute record here. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Okay, so there are more The Smiths tributes, covers, and ‘Best Of’ collections than anyone can count. And frankly, Mr. Shankly, there are a good number of bad Smiths covers. But it’s still difficult to stay away from it all. There’s always that chance you’ll find that one cover that will make you forget, if just for a few minutes, that we’ll never have new Smiths song ever again. American Laundromat Records is releasing a 20-track, double-CD tribute to the music of The Smiths, plus three bonus songs on 7-inch. It’s called “Please, Please, Please: A Tribute to The Smiths”. The album will be out Dec. 13th, but you can pre-order yours at the official site here. Listen to Stars sing the deathly lullaby, “Asleep”, below. The cover was first released as a bonus track on the band’s 2010 record, “The Five Ghosts”. I’m assuming the same recording is also on this tribute. The tracklist is below. – David D. Robbins Jr.
01. Kitten “Panic”
02. The Rest “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”
03. Joy Zipper – “What Difference Does It Make?”
04. Tanya Donelly w/ Dylan in the Movies “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”
05. William Fitzsimmons “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”
06. Sixpence None the Richer “I Won’t Share You”
07. Sara Lov “Well I Wonder”
08. Greg Laswell “Half A Person”
09. Dala “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me”
10. Chikita Violenta “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”
11. Telekinesis “Sheila Take A Bow”
12. Solvents “Is It Really So Strange?”
13. The Wedding Present “Hand In Glove”
14. Mike Viola and The Section Quartet “How Soon Is Now?”
15. Trespassers William “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”
16. Girl in a Coma “Rubber Ring”
17. Elk City “I Know It’s Over”
18. Katy Goodman (La Sera, Vivian Girls) “What She Said”
19. Cinerama “London”
20. Doug Martsch (Built To Spill) “Reel Around the Fountain”
01. Stars “Asleep”
02. C’est la Mort “Girl Afraid”
03. The Caulfield Sisters “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want”
Former Smiths frontman Morrissey has three new tracks he unveiled live at Maida Vale Studios for BBC Radio 2 to kick off a new tour which begins in Perth, Australia tomorrow. The songs are posted at YouTube by a user “sdsuedehead”. The rollicking rocker, “The Kid’s A Looker”, begins with this classic Morrissey verse: “He can’t dance or sing / He can’t do anything, but what the hell?”, and continues with a line about crass consumers lining up shoulder to shoulder. “Action is My Middle Name” is a morbid piano ballad that would have made 17th-century British poet Andrew Marvell proud, the song lyrics expressing an urgency like “To His Coy Mistress”: “Writing my initials into your neck / You are my possession, you don’t realize yet / Am I moving too fast for you? / Am I beginning to confuse you? / Action is my middle name / I can’t waste time anymore.” Morrissey’s third track, “People Are the Same Everywhere”, is another missive, this time aimed at country and god, “Then our creator had to stumble and stall / And our creator had to make the biggest mistake of all / Set me aside and find people are the same everywhere … / Land of the free and the home of the brave exists nowhere / Here in our loveless nation, we’re all in a rush / To find a lover’s touch / And when it’s found you wonder why it meant so much.” I’ll have to spend more time with these cuts, but there are moments of typically wonderful Morrissey lyricism. – David D. Robbins Jr.
The Kid’s A Looker
People Are The Same Everywhere
Action Is My Middle Name
Okay, so this is just a two-track CD/7-inch release, featuring the previously-released, “Glamorous Glue”, remastered from Morrissey’s “Your Arsenal” — and the other is a previously unreleased demo called “Treat Me Like a Human Being”, that’s been floating around the internet under the title, “Treat Me Like A New York Doll”. It’s easy to see why the latter of the two songs never made it onto “Viva Hate” — because it’s fairly middling. It’s a song that drifts along, lyrically and musically, with a sort of aimlessness. Morrissey’s vocals are pretty as always, and the refrain is melodic enough. The slow drums and sitar give it a weightless quality, but it feels about as impassioned as mushy papier-mâché.
But I didn’t create this post to rip an officially-released demo. Many Morrissey fans, despite their love for his music, groan under their breath when they hear of yet another “Best of” or the release of a remastered old track. But this one seems different to me. Morrissey doesn’t act without some reason behind it. And the release of “Glamorous Glue”, which had only been issued in the U.S. officially until now, coincides with a trend I’ve been writing about lately in music: Disillusionment in one’s country. Both PJ Harvey, and Morrissey seem to be suggesting a need for revival. A revival of culture, of connection, of life and humanity. PJ’s newest record, “Let England Shake”, finds her singing of barren, apocalyptic lands and augmenting her music with the ironic fanfare of an old-English fox hunt.
Now here’s Morrissey selecting “Glamorous Glue” (which is a great track by the way) from all the songs in his catalog, a song that thrashes London as much as any he’s written. And the album art is an old photo of himself in an England t-shirt, dripping wonderfully with unctuousness — Morrissey’s look suggesting he knows something we don’t. Let’s not forget the lyrics of the track: “Everyone lies, nobody minds / Everyone lies / Where is the man you respect? /And where is the woman you love? … / I used to dream, and I used to vow / I wouldn’t dream of it now / We look to Los Angeles /For the language we use / London is dead … / I know I’ll go empty hand, from the land.” It’s not too far removed from PJ’s “The Glorious Land”, where she mixes criticism of war with judgement on the future of a nation: “How is our glorious country sown? / Not with wheat and corn / What is the glorious fruit of our land? / Its fruit is deformed children.” Take heed from two of the world’s greatest musicians. Take action. Live to love. A rush and a push and the land is ours. – David D. Robbins Jr.
The story of The Troy Tate Sessions is legendary among fans of The Smiths. The Smiths had recorded 14 songs with producer Troy Tate in the summer of 1983, 13 of which were supposed to become their debut album, seemingly titled “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”. Disagreements arose regarding the sound production, and The Smiths end up going to John Porter, who produced from scratch what is considered the first official Smiths album, the self-titled “The Smiths”. Of course, “The Troy Tate Sessions” exist in various bootleg formats everywhere. To make matters a bit confusing, the early Tate bootlegs seemed too slow, with wrong pitch and rough sound quality. These were corrected in later bootlegs. Then a second batch of Troy Tate recordings appeared. One of the songs recorded is “Accept Yourself”, which ended up being officially released as the B-side to “This Charming Man” in 1983. Now a new set of Troy Tate mixes has surfaced. Basically, they’re much clearer, cleaner versions of what we’ve heard, albeit with some noise issues still apparent. But even cooler is that among the new mixes is a previously unreleased version of “Accept Yourself” featuring Morrissey’s falsetto yelps, and another falsetto vocal overlay close to the end of the track. It’s quite beautiful really. I enjoy the added energy. The thought is that this version comes from the original Troy Tate recordings re-worked by Porter and later scrapped. The recording was made available via someone named ‘Soundsville Paul’ at smithstorrents.co.uk, and then was remastered by ‘Analog Loyalist’ at the blog Extra Track (and a tacky badge). You can hear it below. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Starting today, I’m going to try and post something once a week about the music that has come before. To make the past present so to speak. Maybe it’s an old video I love. Maybe it’s a short piece about a long-gone style of music or an essay about a critic or album from the past. Let’s face it, music isn’t always about what’s new or this blogger game of see who can post a new track the fastest. I get tired of that, as I’m sure you all do too. So, it’s good to have a change of pace and look back on what we love. I’m going to call these posts, “Past Made Present”. The first one, significantly, is about my favorite band, The Smiths. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Fans of The Smiths know about “Extra Track (and a tacky badge)”, a website dedicated to restoring The Smiths songs on Rough Trade. All of the songs being restored are out of print, rarely heard or existed in some diminished form. One of the records the site’s owner streamlined was The Smiths’ 1984 “Hand In Glove” 7-inch — sans Morrissey. Instead, you have Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke, Mike Joyce and an English singer named Sandie Shaw, an idol of Morrissey’s, better known for her work in the 1960s. She was called the “barefoot pop princess” for always performing without shoes. She scored a hit with a re-working of Burt Bachrach’s “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”, a number one single in 1964. But it was in 1984 that The Smiths called her to sing with the band.
Article & artwork by David D. Robbins Jr. | The Smiths ‘Demos’
find long book introductions tedious. So, I won’t bore you with a history of The Smiths, or how they were one of the greatest bands on the planet. Chances are if you’re reading this far, then you already love the band. As many Smiths fans already know, a digital version of a bootleg vinyl appeared online in the Morrissey-Solo fan forum. It’s a quality find for those that have never heard it before. I’ve had the vinyl for a little while now, and understand what a treasure this is. I’ve read a few things online that have focused on what is being labeled a ‘reggae version’ of “Girlfriend In a Coma”. But as a longtime Smiths obsessive, the real find for me, was the version of “Death of a Disco Dancer”. Yes, it happens to be my favorite Smiths song. But it’s also a chance to hear a work in progress of one of the band’s best songs. It’s beautiful in its lo-fi format, but the demo makes it easier to see how much the song blossomed. Here is my track-by-track look at the recently posted Smiths demos. Read it and enjoy. (Sorry David Cameron, you’re not allowed, as ordered by the band.) You can click on the song titles and it will take you to a YouTube post of the tracks, excepting the last instrumental.
1. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Song is nearly exact to the version we’re all familiar with. What will make Smiths fans happy is to hear that Morrissey’s voice is so good even when putting together a demo. Hardly surprising, but refreshing given the amount of vocal altering that goes on today. His voice is an unfolding elegance. When I first heard this the opening guitar riff jumped out at me as reminiscent of the kind of style you’d hear on Lou Reed’s “A Walk On the Wild Side”. I think music writer Simon Goddard is spot on in saying the lyrics are even more poetic than usual. It doesn’t get any more darkly romantic: “Wavering shadows loom / A piano plays in an empty room / There’ll be blood on the cleaver tonight / And when darkness lifts and the room is bright / I’ll still be by your side / For you are all that matters.” Or quietly say this phrase to yourself: “Ceiling shadows shimmy by …” It’s silky slide is magic on the tongue.
Article/artwork: David D. Robbins Jr.
(Art uses photo from Morrissey’s official website)
Album: Bona Drag (20th Anniversary Edition w/bonus tracks)
THE ELEGANT MILLER OF MOPE: It’s an understatement to say Morrissey has a way with words. He is their lion-tamer. Perhaps more-so than any other musician this side of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Twenty years ago, the former lead singer of The Smiths released his first solo compilation of outtakes, b-sides and singles, called “Bona Drag”. The album title means “good clothes” in polari slang, a secret style of speech, codifying conversations among people in the gay subculture, during a time when homosexuality was a criminal offense in Britain. So, the album begins as a wink-and-a-nod to those in the know, so-to-speak.
Nearly every song Morrissey has ever sung is rich with subtext. His debonair singing style, elongating syllables and stretching words like a verbal contortionist, often prettifies the fiery emotional scales of Morrissey’s lyrics. His style is deliberately effusive in everything — love, hate, angst, feelings of loneliness, betrayal, friendship, disgust — even in his tragicomic verses. His lyricism is enigmatic, showcasing a razor-sharp sense of humor, sometimes a petty meanness, gentility like a flower, a curiosity for the violent, an erudite enjoyment for literary witticism, and an exquisitely romantic love for beautiful sentences. The opening track, “Piccadilly Palare”, is nostalgic, remembering a time with his “gang” of boys would carouse, speaking to each other in a slang only their crew could understand.
… article continues, video