I know that "newbies" or "new people" have a difficult time figuring out which of the gakrillion Fall CDs are actual studio albums and which are compilations or concert discs so I've been kind enough to begin each official studio release review with a note alerting you that it is a STUDIO ALBUM.
"They're putting me away but I'll be back some day..."
Best lyric is at the beginning of "Mother-Sister" -
Unidentified voice: "Ehhh... what's this song about?"
Mark Smith: "Uhh...nothin'!"
i disagree with a few things in your review of Live at the Witch Trials. i don't really have any problem with the guitar on this record. martin braham was one of the better guitarists in the history of the shifty fall line-up. in fact, he was responsible for the arrangement of the music on that album. the keyboard noodling - i always felt - almost makes the album. it adds a really eerie feel and really compliments all of the other stuff that's going on.
i also think that it's not very fair to place this record beside other albums of the period by pointing out how much it sounds like fairly standard punk/post-punk. this may true to some extent, but i think that this album is really the beginning and end of that mode of music. yes, i said it and it's true. witch trials is the first and last punk record. not that all other music in the genre is bad, but most of it is made obsolete by this record (among some other things).
that's about it. thanks for giving witch trials a good review. most people are partial to the beggars banquet stuff and don't really give proper praise to the rough trade albums. i personally think that everything post-rough trade is fair at best (yes, even ...saving grace), and everything post-bb doesn't deserve any recognition.
thanks for a great site.
The Blue Orchids released one album then split up but I think they have reformed sporadically to produce further albums. There was also a vinyl retrospective sometime in the mid 1990s. They did two great singles work and the flood - well worth tracking down. I have just seen an album on the web called from 'severe to serene' that may fulfil your curiosity. Or it may not. Still at least they were better than the Adult Net.
On a serious note, I was born a woman. On an even more serious note, this album is actually very punky. In fact, most of these songs---if stripped down and pumped through a distortion pedal thing-a-ma-jig---would fit comfortably on any punk album worth listening to. There's not a weak song on here. Highlights include the paranoid ramblings of the excellent mid-tempo album opener "Frightened", the catchier-than-catchy "Rebellious Jukebox", the kick-your-ass-in frantic attack of "No Xmas for John Quays", the awkward circus rock vibes of "Mother-Sister", the bouncy, keyboard-driven "Two Steps Back", and the snotty should've-been-a-classic punk rocker "Futures and Pasts". The production is superb. I mean....have you heard the drum sound on this thing? It makes me want to strip off all my clothes and walk down the sidewalk, waving my wiener at the passing auto-MOBILES. (pronounced "mo-biles" not "mo-beels" because I'm a southern gentleman with a coke problem).
There's a neverending debate among the Fall fan community about where to begin your journey into the wonderful and frightening world of The Fall---28 studio albums as of this review. "Where should I start?", they often ask me, followed by "Hey! Get your penis out of my ass!". My answer to these newbies is this album. "Just start at the beginning." This is The Fall at *arguably* their most accessible and it features the idiosyncrasies that would follow the band (i.e. Mr. Smith) throughout their career. And the hooks? This album is hookier than a pirate with a hook...FOR A COCK!!! Speaking of cocks, why is the "black people like to eat fried chicken" stereotype considered offensive? Fried chicken kicks ass! There are worse things to be called than "somebody who loves to eat the most awesomest food on the fuckin' planet". I'm no asshole. Speaking of assholes, this newcomer Mark E. Smith is awfully confident and witty for a 22-year old. He arrived ready-made as the bitter, sarcastic, lower-class intellectual that we know today.
"Live at the Witch Trials" gets a NINE! *********
In conclusion, this outdoor show was performed on July 22, 1978 with a set list that included seven Live At The Witch Trials hits, three Early Fall 77-79 numbers, and two 'others' ("Mess Of My" and "Stepping Out").
I now invite you to enjoy some of the friendly pieces of banter spoken by Mr. Smith between songs:
-- "Now we're gonna knock you down, we're gonna come inside your head! Thank you and good afternoon. Right, 'Psycho Mafia' take one!"
-- "We'd like to be in tune, this being our first experience with open-air festivals."
-- "Alright, so all you skinheads like to blow?"
-- "This one's about radios, videos, a signal bed."
-- "A slow one for ya. A song of contrasts for my mother and my sister."
-- "Passing branch, reach out and tell of industrial estate."
-- "Alright, the new one. 'It's The New Thing,' la la la la la la la."
-- "We'll do 'Futures And Pasts' now? 'Futures And Pasts' now? Yeah. We're a Democratic band, you know. And we were just going for a conference, to talk about our futures and our pasts."
He says all that right before the first song, then just flips a bird at the crowd the rest of the show. But that's our Mark! "Mark The Shark," we call him. "Mark The Shark Going To The Dark Stark Park On A Lark With His Dog Clark Warning "Bark! Hark! Look Out - A Narc!," we call him. I guess it is kind of a long nickname, now that I see it all written down like that.
Henry The Dog is getting old. In Dog Years, he's about to turn 60! The summer heat is tough on him, but he still loves to swim and fish (for larvae or tadpoles or something, who knows). He's a real sweetheart. My little boy is an old man. He suffers from progeria!
Okay, he doesn't really suffer from progeria.
Also known heavily as Live At Mr. Pickwick's (presumably not the same Mr. Pickwick whose cartoon likeness appears on the Kiddy Disko Party album I bought at the thrift store last weekend), Liverpool 78 is seriously one of the most asinine pieces of shit that any band has smeared onto its fans since the birth of peristalsis. Get this -- YOU CAN'T HEAR THE DRUMS AT ALL!!!! I mean it's like the guy isn't even THERE! Beginning with track five, you can sort of make out a bit of pish-crash-tip way off in the dressing room or somewhere but most of the time it sounds like Mark, the guitarist and the bass player - ESPECIALLY THE BASS PLAYER - are holding a practice session on your ottoman. Apparently there's a keyboard in there somewhere too, but since the cassette recorder was evidently taped to the front of the bass amp, you can only hear its jocular carnivalisms during the quieter moments.
Still, it's full of early Fall winners (6 from Witch Trials, 4 you can find on Early Years and good old "Mess Of My") and that spiky guitar tone is enough for any man or woman. Two things to notice if your OCD forces you to purchase it -- (a) the way Mark keeps joking about all the "slow ones" they're playing, (b) the way the bassist switches to a lower octave halfway through "Psycho Mafia," leading one to wonder, "Why did he do that? Did he break a string?" Well check this out matey - he DID! You laypeople might not be able to discern this subtle occurrence, but I've got an ear like a sieve and you can't sneak something like that past me. Particularly when your singer refers to his "bass player with three strings" five seconds after the song ends.
Okay, I'm done. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for your wife's weekly speleology presentation. All aboard Cave Hair!
When The Fall in 1978 decided to play a scheduled gig at a club in Oldham, surely they must have know that this was the height of the punk rock era and mohawks, what with the Sex Pistols and The Who kicking everyone's ass with their speedcore rock and roll. So imagine the course of delight fed into the intrigue-driven sickle cells of the leather-clad bunion boys in the slipshod ma
So imagine how the crowd reacted when The Fall began their anarchy punk rock Maggie-bashing gig by shouting, "When I was on the Witch Trials of August, it was written, 'You are white crap! You are an aesthetic anesthetic! You are rarrah rarrr...' WHITE NOISE!" before performing one lopey-dopey midtempo riff for eight minutes! Yes, The Fall had some speedy punkers at the time (almost half of this set list, actually), but "Repetition" is just good solid silly humor. Did the crowd stick around to hear what came next? Was there even anybody there? If so, did they smile as largely as I did when, at the 7-minute mark, Mark announced, "This song is an endless song! It has endless possibilities. But we're gonna wind it up right in a minute, so if you'll just hang on for a few seconds...."? They should have. They should have also taken note that the keyboardist plays the guitar line most of the time (rather than the two chords favored on the studio version), and that Mark added disgraced Seeds vocalist Sky Saxon to the list of celebs who enjoy repetition.
The Oldham 1978 disc features live versions of 12 Fall songs -- 6 from Witch Trials, 5 you can find on Early Fall 77-79, and "Steppin' Out" from the Live At The Electric Circus multiple artist compilation. The guitar is still high-pitched and scratchy, the organ still sounds like it's in a circus carnival, and the bass and drums are surprisingly audible considering the potential rigors of tape degradation. All in all, a darn fine document of early Fall at their live jubilee! God do the slow songs seem to drag all the energy down to Hell though. "Music Scene" in particular -- that's not one of my favorite Fall epics to begin with, and this is an even worse version than usual. But good golly how can you not get out your happy feet to punky hooky classics like "Like To Blow," "It's The New Thing," "Futures And Pasts," "Bingo Master's Breakout," "Industrial Estate" and "Psycho Mafia"!? You CANNOT! Or rather you MUST! (depending on which is the grammatically correct answer)
Incidentally, who else remembers how easy it was to be a Fall collector back in the early-to-mid '90s before they turned into The Grateful Dead and started releasing every goddamned outtake and live gig they ever performed? Those were sweet sweet times for the obsessive. These days you get a fuckin' HERNIA lugging all their goddamn shit into your Amazon basket! There's already like six more of these Live From The Vaults things on the market and here I am at home with a hurt foot, unable to do anything about it! Sure, I could hobble over to England and demand complimentary review copies, but by the time I'd get there I'd have a really long beard and would be unrecognizable as teenage record reviewing heartthrob Mark Prindle! They'd just think I was some limpy old ZZ Top guy, whereupon they'd force me to dance around singing "She's got legs" for 14 hours a day, at gunpoint, in their seedy underground torture chamber! Or so I understand about the British from their Pete Walker films.
Alcohol is giving me terrible headaches again. I hope this isn't God's way of saying, "You're embarrassing me. Remember a few weeks back when you screamed at some woman out your taxi window that she shouldn't smoke during her pregnancy because of the danger it poses to the baby -- and it turned out that she was just really fat? I had to pretend I didn't know you the rest of the night!"
"Oh! And how about the week before that, when you angrily dragged your waitress into the men's bathroom and forced her to acknowledge the horrible Artie Lange's Beer League poster above the sink that's been driving you nuts for the past six months? That wasn't very nice."
"Nor was it terribly polite to open the building's power bill and write 'FUCK YOU!' really big on the payment portion. I know it seemed hilarious at the time, but come on."
Fuckin' God. What does he know about partying? "Oh look at me! Look at me! I've got some Plagues!" Fuck you.
Now that I think of it, Chris Thompson's (The Monorchid, Circus Lupus, Skull Kontrol) singing style reminds me of Mark E. Smith in a big way.
Okay, no one who'll read this will care anyway. I'll shut the fuck up.
Fall fans e-mail me!
Top site! Thanks
Anyway, I know you wrote those early Fall reviews a long time ago, but I just have to say one thing. "Flat of Angles" is not one of the duller songs on Dragnet. What the hell, man? It's got two killer riffs and it's about one of MES's (and most Fall fans') favorite topics: paranoia! Maybe it goes on too long at the end, but that's the only real fault I can find with it. It's one of my favorites and I always include on the "Fall sampler mixes" I make for friends.
I guess that's about all I have to say. Oh - you should also try to get another interview with MES now that your interviewing skills have improved so much since then. Apart from that, just keep up the good work.
Early Years documents one of the most interesting-sounding periods of The Fall. Top Game Boy-esque keyboard sound! My thoughts on the tracks are pretty much the same as what everyone else has written here. Still, the Fall sound seemed to have been developing quickly, as these tracks show - from the early Joy Division-ish Electric Circus performances to the totally danceable 'Fiery Jack'.
According to an educated friend of mine, a saxophonist called Terry Edwards has a version of Bingo masters on a full e.p. of early Fall songs. When I have the chance I'll find out the details. Suffice to say, Bingo masters was superb. The backing band may have been Madness? Another Edwards album, 'Yesterdays' Zeitgeist' contains 'Totally Wired', 'Container Drivers' and 'Dice Man'. But you knew that, didn't you pal?
These songs are great, but it's a bootleg recording so skip it. The Fall have had over 50 line-ups because Mark Smith is such a prick. FUCK YOU, MARK SMITH! I love your band, all 50 of them. He's insane. Seriously, I'm not joking. Also, my neck hurts so goddamned much and has for several days. I'm scared. What if I borke it? Why does John Lennon let Yoko sing so much on I Ate My Ass In New York?
The album is live and poorly recordeed. What the jit else do you want to know? That it was recorded on August 15, 1979? Fine. Now you know. EATS HIT! TASTES GReAT! LESS BILLING!
Condoms are for people who have sex.
I always meant to send some 'Great site!' sort of comment, but couldn't thyink of anything else worthwhile to say with it, so I kept schtum until I found this little nugget...
Webster's Dictionary defines it as "five songs from Early Years '77-'79, six from Dragnet and two from Live at the with cc tirals," but to the rest of the world it's simply "'Rowche Rumble!' '2nd Dark Age!' 'Rebellious Jukebox!' 'Muzorewi's Daughter!' 'In My Area!' 'No Xmas For John Quays!' 'Printhead!' 'Psycho Mafia!' 'Fiery Jack!' Not so much 'Flat Of Angles.'"
I don't know how many of you frequent the MySpace online Internet community but last night was a bulldozer of a good time so let me reiterate it for you now. I was at home with the wife, drinking some spirits and enjoying a bit of Please Don't Eat My Mother! on the old DVD Wurlitzer when it suddenly occurred to me, "Say, Mark Prindle. You're not sufficiently tootie-frootied. Go have another huge bubbly mouthful of Grape-flavored Vodkar." I did as such do so and ZIMP! the lights fell down in the city of my mind, leaving nought but the urge to post a Bulletin on MySpace, that being a message that is shot outwards to every single person on one's Friends List, of which mine features 490 (mostly assholes, but don't tell them I said so). And look what my shifty alcoholic mind wrote without asking me first!
"JESUS FUCKING CHRIST1 I just realized that nobody gives a shit about my writing, my jokes, my reivews. why do i do it. should i kill myself for wasting so much time on it. am i pathetic. i'm drnk. should i kill muyself. i'm drunk. nobody gives a shit. nor should they. goodbye. are you happy, you saw me commit suicide"
Then I wrote that terrible Live From The Vaults: Los Angeles 1979 review you graciously just ignored, and after that I tried to call Kevin Rutmanis from the Cows and he wisely didn't pick up so I went, "Hay, who else's phone number do I have who would never in a million years want to hear from me? I know! David Yow Of The Jesus Lizard Fame!" So I dialed him up and he foolishly picked up the phone, at which point I told him his new band isn't as good as his others, and he laughed, "I don't care what you think!" and we all had a great time together because I was drunk and judging his entire band on two songs I listened to on MySpace one time about eight months ago. Finally he got rid of me and I sent him an apology note, then I went out to eat dinner at Uno's (formerly "Pizzeria Uno") and came home to find that the concerned emails had poured in, with people saying nice things and "Hey, lighten up" and things, and I felt like a rapscallion so I posted an all-new Bulletin:
"Sorry about that. I drank more tonight than usual. In addition to my brilliant Bulletin, I called David Yow and drunkenly talked his ear off til he told me to FUCK OFF (politely). FUckin' vodka. Fuck you, vodka! But also, I spend a lot of time on my site, so it makes me sad when I don't get any reader comments. You'd feel the same if it were you. Granted, I shouldn't have wasted 3 weeks on the fucking Hollies. Thank you if you wrote me."
Then I went to bed for 13 1/2 hours and woke up to even MORE concerned emails! So I posted a yet third Bulletin today:
"The thing is - I wasn't even feeling suicidal AT ALL last night. I was just fall-on-the-floor drunk. I haven't felt suicidal in years. See, this is the problem with the Internet. It lets you write shit when you're drunk. For this reason, it should be policed by the government and nobody should be allowed to do anything on it without the approval of Mr. George W. Bush, the greatest president we've ever had, if you go by golf rules."
The bottom line is this: VODKA IS RUSSIAN, AND HOW THEY'RE TAKING OVER THE UNITED STATES.
Also, MAN OVERBOARD do I love "No Xmas For John Quays"! The version on here is even more anxiety-ridden than the studio version!!! And it's 7 minutes long!!!!!!!!!
My penis is also 7 minutes long.
Ah shit, it's either all that or it's the guilt you feel because you've finally realized that your nothing but a forth-rate Meltzer hack (a good forth-rate Meltzer hack at that, but still)...
Anyway, get over yourself. I enjoy the reviews. Keep it up!
I find this an extremely pleasing album because so much of it sounds loose and improvised, especially in "The N.W.R.A.," when the musicians sort of only play when they feel like it, and the melody only changes after Mark alerts the band, "Switch!" It sounds like they had only played the songs a few times, and weren't exactly sure how they wanted them to go. Very fresh and somewhat exciting (especially when the droning "C'n'C S mithering" suddenly turns into the ridiculously speedy "The Container Drivers" - a masterpiece of a segue). Do buy it.
Initial impressions; the first four tracks are ropey, especially Totally Wired. Then again that does sound extremely under written, rehearsed and produced. Maybe that's the point or I'm so used to the storming version on 'A Part of America Therein' that I can't help feeling under-whelmed. (A while back I read an old review of that single by a chap called gary bushell. bushell gets attacked later on in the album so, (for a little background), let me just say bushell is one of the UK's most reviled non-entities. A filthy little scab of murdoch payed vermin. As bearded a fuck-face as you could ever imagine.
Anyhow the actual album tracks are a hell of a lot stronger. 'New Face in Hell', unbelievable... just like that Pavement song, ("I;m trying, I'm trying etc), notebooks out plagiarists indeed! When the kazoo's and keys come in I'm thinking of some super-hero type theme, (can't say why though?)
'C'n'c-s mithering' and 'Container Drivers' contain some breath-taking rants both hilarious and spiteful. I too have a wee gap between the songs and I have to wonder if the supposed, future re-release will address this as it does spoil the effect. Whereas 'Totally Wired' was a let down, 'The NWRA' delivers, although I miss the live 'CH-CH-CHOWS', the preamble concerning 'English Scheme' more than makes up for that. Even funnier is the moment where a guitar solo is started and M.E.S puts his foot down, talking over the top, and the solo just stops. You just can't help feeling sorry for whoever erred.
So, as per usual, another bloody good Fall album. Now if only I could find Levitate. Pah!
See you mate.
In terms of pure contempt this has to be the finest song in the whole wide world of rock and roll. Lydon managed to come close-ish on the first Public Image album.
Geez still have the original vinyl (hey kids that's how records used to be made before these new fangled CD stuff) and Fall work always sounds better with that scratch and hiss. New face in hell - sounds like an old council estate I used to live in in Lewisham London where you know you can trust no one. Container Drivers will always remind me of a container terminal (yes really!) where I used to work - there were always lots of drivers sitting around at the caravan greasy spoon emporium (trust me you need know no more). English scheme and Impressions of J Temperance another two tracks that enjoy the rotating honour with about 30 more of being my favourite ever Fall tracks. WMC Blob59 enjoys the opposite.
See you mates....
PAY YOUR RATES - Not the song I would want to initiate anyone into the Fall with but it is awesome. The tempo changes make it an energetic start.
ENGLISH SCHEME - Lacking musically but funny lyrics: 'the clever ones tend to emigrate-ah , a-like your psychotic big brother who left home-ah'.
NEW FACE IN HELL - Hilarious and catchy with great vocal delivery. Funny story.
C' n C' - Awesome rant with that hypnotic riff, dealing with all sorts. Any Fall fan must surely love this.
CONTAINER DRIVERS - Inferior to Peel session version due to MES' weak vocals but still catchy rockabilly. Cool percussion.
IMPRESSION OF J TEMPERANCE - Goes on a bit too long but still a brilliant ending.
IN THE PARK - Cynical and very catchy.
WMC BLOB - I don't mind this actually, I like the chant and the stupid noises but it doesn't count for a song.
GRAMME FRIDAY - Dark compared to rest of album but great bassline.
NWRA - One of the Fall's best looong tracks. Bizzare lyrics about the North rising up as I'm sure many have appreciated. Musically fun too. 'Shift'.
Then there's the bonus tracks: How I Wrote Elastic Man and Totally Wired singles.
I think I probably nip-picked a bit too much and should stop mithering. Easy 9.
the last sounds are not in the official lyrics just me laughing to my self-faaaa but not out loud. internally-yaaa. but not really--- cause it's not funny-yaaa. cause mark doesn't do that-taaa.
damn. great EP. I couldn't order it anywhere. outta stock always. then I was on the fall message boards. and some guy sent me a perfect bootleg copy of it for free. complete with perfectly copied inserts. . . tsaaa. who say fall fans aren't assholes. (but actually other peeps on the list could be. dissing america was the last straw those *&$@!. I learned about 9/11 while checking the fall-list )
damn this ones great. especially when coupled with a part of america therein. SLATES is fantastic. but then I ponder. . . if you chose the best 6 tracks off any of their albums and called them an EP they'd almost all be as much a 10 as this one. well poops. it is frighteningly. these songs are a revalation. not that I won't bother to fill the few remaining holes in my collection. as much as I like washing my hands 2398 times a day.
I guess I might agree this is the fall at their most normal and accessible. if you're a damn psycho. which all fall fans are. cause we're smarter than you dum dum heads.
"mark smith used to work for me. back in manchester back in 1983. stole all his ideas from me, now I'll steal them right back again from him again" -- stephen malkmus, Pavement bootleg (truly) damn that's funny hee hee
So what's on it? Well,"Hip Priest" is the classic (boy, it's a weird one), "Who Makes The Nazis?" has a harmonics-only bass line (unheard of since Yes's "The Fish!"), and "Mere Pseud Mag Ed" is another noisy guitar attack (which I'm 99% sure contains the lines "Heard the Ramones in '81/There was a Spanish guitar".....hmmm. I understand his disgust with Pleasant Dreams, but I don't think there's a Spanish guitar on there... hmmm. But then again, who can tell what the hell Mark is actually talking about?). A real interesting record. Or "really," to be grammatically correct. "Real," in and of itself, isn't much of an adverb, but I kind of enjoy it. "Kind of" is a dumb phrase, too, but enjoyable. Even "The Classical," which has the chords of a generic hard rock song, is performed in such a strange, fresh, and tribal manner, you don't even notice how basic the melody is. My only problem with the record is that, unlike those on Grotesque, this particular batch of songs, I think, could have used a little bit more practice. In fact, I've heard live renditions of these songs that sound much more professional than the versions on this album. Plus "Winter" doesn't hold up to repeated listens too well, and "And This Day" is a VU-style trainwreck. Still, a true Fall classic, they say.
Coupled with the new CD release of In A Hole (the Fall at their most playful not to mention drunk), A Part of America, Therein constitutes great, live Fall at a simpler time for them.
Track-by-track, she wondered? Oui, said the Belgian. "The Classical" is as repetitive and clangy as any other Fall tune, but somehow it rocks. Must be because of those "hard rock" chords Prindle mentioned. "Jawbone..." reminds me of Roy Orbison in that there are so many cool parts, you can't tell where the verses and choruses are. "Hip Priest" is one of the best songs in human history. "Fortress/Dark Park" starts with a sample of "Da Da Da", then launches into a cool prog-rock riff before mutating into a Mark Smith soliloquy and droning synth, all while some weird shit goes on in the background. In other words, the Low Maintenence Perennials.
Am I still going over the album track-by-track? Oh, what's the point? Okay, here's my point--every song rules. "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed"? It rules. "Just Step S'ways"? Kicks arse. "Winter"? Awesome. Both parts. I'll admit, "And this Day" is somewhat less amazing than Our Lord Jesus Christ (which is to say, not that good in comparison to every other song on the album, and it's too long. I'm being frustratingly obtuse, I'm sorry.) But it's still the best Fall album ever. In my opinion. Which doesn't really change anything, because you're wrong.
Apologies for waiting so late..........since i first heard the Fall in 80 I've still yet to meet another fall Fan.Now How bad is that . The next Album should be called 'Lessons in Deprivation" and that would leave me Vindicated. I'm off for a Milo......
It so happens that these specific sensory stimuli in my case are the goddamn shitty horrible tuneless fucking piece of crap songs on this album. More specifically, the parts of them that are played by a Mr. Steve Hanley, who is credited on allmusic.com for "horrible plinky toneless bass". And don't you start suspecting that I wrote the above long paragraph just to pull your leg - that shitty, insanely hyper-active arhythmical bass-playing REALLY REALLY makes my head feel sort of swimmy, and my ears start to feel as if somebody's stuck a load of cotton wool in them. It's horrible - it sounds like he's sawed off the low end of his bass and has decided to use it as a substitute for harpsichord (the old type of piano that sounds all the notes in the same volume). And what is worst of all is that it's virtually the only instrument besides drums that you'll actually get to hear - they should've called it "Pre-Traumatic Experience" by Steve Hanley feat. Mark E. Smith.
And the songs are awful as well. Especially "Who makes the nazis?", which has, as Prindle fairly notes, a harmonics-only bassline (too-tee-too-tee-tatatatatarat) and is the most horrible song ever recorded. It's just a guy shouting something over a bunch of poorly-improvised twinklery, and the guy's not even shouting at the musicians (like I would be), he's just shouting for shouting's sake. This song is also closely approached in its awfulness by "the Classical" and "Jawbone and the air-rifle", which have some cool stuff in them but end up with the most ridiculously amateurish "refrains" ever heard this side of "Happy birthday to you".
I guess the horrible artificial-sounding rhythms, the near-total absence of any guitar and the awful awful riffs and melodies (played on bass guitar) are due to misguided conceptions of "avantgarde" and "experimental" rather than just to plain sloppiness and incompetence, but the result is basically the same. Horrible. The only enjoyable songs are "just step sideways" (which has an actual riff and is played on guitar) and the spoken-word-gone-wrong "hip priest". And while that song may be ground-breaking and highly influential, it's STILL a billion times less interesting and powerful than it's sequel, "big new prinz", which, not surprisingly, doesn't appear on this horrible horrible album.
(*) No it isn't.
Mr Brain of J, you are a funny sod; and to the kids who have a hard time finding this, there is an invention called the 'internet'. Here you can track down and buy (whilst transmitting your card details to every pirate, porn merchant and castrated ox) almost anything bar the pot of gold at end of t'rainbow (those leprecorns aren't impressed by commerce, or kabuki.) Check it out!! It's well worth it as this is a fun album.
I think you must have the vinyl edition as there is no mention of the great 'I'm into CB' (which can updated to cover this latest electronic fad, the 'Internet'... I ask you! People with nothing better to do then create a pathetic pseudonym, or 'handle', and spend endless nights transmitting utter shite to all their brethren. Diseased ridden scum. No better than plague rats.)
After listening through the whole thing about seven or eight times I'd have to say that my general impression of the Fall is that I like Mark E. Smith's persona and his vocal style and his lyrics (when I can hear them...I can barely hear anything on "Jawbone And The Air Rifle"), but am very unsure about the repetitive, often monochrome backing music. A lot of it seems really colorless and, well, repetitive.....I don't know why stuff like "And This Day," even though Smith gives it vocal hooks (and gives just about every song a redeeming vocal hook or funny stray line), has to drag on for 10:21. Now to say something positive. That first song, "The Classical"? That's like exactly what I want from The Fall. That song kicked my ass to Neptune. The moment that second guitar comes in after Smith goes "hey there, fuckface!" is fucking anthemic postpunk...and of course there's the hilarious vocals. I still like Pavement's "Conduit For Sale!" which draws on "The Classical"'s rhythm pretty obviously, but the Fall song now annihilates it IMO... I also have to hand it to "Hip Priest," which sounds very strangely effective (and funny) while I'm waiting in traffic. There's also "Who Makes The Nazis?' and "Just Step S'Ways." Those are good. The atmospheric stuff like "Iceland" and "Winter" sound appropriate for their titles (and seem to have inspired some of Pavement's writing again during the "Watery, Domestic" period...think of stuff like "Greenlander" hmmmm hmmmmmm)
I'm a bit anal about getting bonus tracks and stuff, and this was a birthday present and I asked for the 2-disc reissue. Some pretty good explanatory liner notes in there, albeit spiked with the usual annoying kiss-ass writing that accompanies a lot of reissues, although not nearly as bad as, say, the liner notes to the reissue of "Are You Experienced?"--and that's, you know, ARE YOU EXPERIENCED, an album you'd think would *deserve* kiss-ass liner notes. I really only listened through the second disc of the reissue maybe twice....it's got "I'm Into C. B." and a bunch of live tracks, maybe the live version of "Deer Park" is a little better than the studio.
I am NOT giving up on the Fall though--next, I think I want "This Nation's Saving Grace." One album surely can't be enough to form an opinion on a band with as grotesque and sprawling a discography as this, and of course it's only going to get bigger as long as Mark E. Smith's ugly toothy old grimace draws breath (do a Google Image search for him, and get a load of that bitter-beer-face photo of him smiling!)
With shit like this I really ought to have a blog.
The production is the best The Fall had ever had at this point in their history, but there are still problems with it; Mark E. Smith's voice is almost never in the front of the mix, instead taking up residence in the middle of the mix, so that you have to strain to hear what he's saying. Also, the instruments mostly sit together in an undifferentiated mass sonically; I feel as if I had to dig to hear the individual parts and riffs, which I never had to do with a Fall album before. On first listen, this album seems like an hour-long, blaring mass of vaguely rock-related sound arbitrarily broken up into eleven tracks, an impression which isn't helped by the arbitrary splitting of "Winter" into two halves. It took me at least three to five listens to determine that "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed." actually had a riff (and a good one). Maybe part of the problem is that there are two drummers, Karl Burns and Paul Hanley, in the band now, and the vastly increased rhythmic complexity also has the unfortunate effect of confusing and cluttering the sound on first listen. Or maybe it also has to do with the fact that Craig Scanlon and Marc Riley's guitars sound like they're falling apart on almost every track here. They often don't sound like they're very in tune with each other or bassist Steve Hanley.
But there are some amazing songs on here, chief among them "The Classical," which sounds like a late '70's punk band crossbreeding their impressions of Led Zeppelin and Can and is simply pure magic. It's a total release when Smith finally sings "I've never felt better in my life", and by that time I am usually boogieing around to the tribal drum riffing madness. A genius opener, and nothing else here really comes close to that kind of power, although "Hip Priest," with it's inimitably muffled beat, incomprehensibly lyrical Smith vocal and bizarre use of dynamics, is namechecked as the true classic here for good reason. "Who Makes The Nazis?" stands supreme as an unparalleled WTF moment in the Fall's discography, and it's hilariously rubbery, all-harmonic bass line contrasts brilliantly with Smith's strange explanations of what, exactly, makes the Nazis and the straight-out-of-"Freak Out!" glue-sniffing, retarded chain gang backing grunts. "Iceland/Island" is also a fascinatingly atmospheric, experimental piece, with beautifully repetitive piano from Scanlon, uncredited banjo from Marc Riley and Smith's tapes of the Icelandic winds howling outside his hotel window, all coming together as a gamble that really pays off. Finally, both halves of the appropriately icy "Winter" are as effectively chilling and experimental as the Fall ever got, which is really saying something. The effective dynamic buildup here is a textbook example of gripping minimalism in rock, and Marc Riley's frozen fairground organ really makes the song come alive.
Some songs on here indicate an unfortunate tendency for self-indulgence that hadn't really shown up before on the band's records, though. "And This Day" - which ends the record - is a cacaphonous, ear-splitting ten minute frenzy that shouldn't have made it to vinyl, coming off like an audaciously incompetent, fifth-rate "Sister Ray" imitation. There was no need to put "Fortress" on the record, much less perform it as an unseparated intro to "Deer Park," which doesn't even sound halfway related to the damn song, and "Just Step S'ways" feels too thrown together for my tastes.
Overall, I'd give it a B plus, because the record is exhausting and offputting, but unlike some other albums I know of (like "Trout Mask Replica"), that doesn't mean that it's avant-garde tendencies fully pay off. I hope I've fully impressed upon you that "And This Day" really, really sucks. Still, though, any record with songs as thrilling as "The Classical" and "Hip Priest" on it deserves at least a B rating.
So what have we got here? Well, up to "Who Makes The Nazi's?" an ace record with not a single bad song: catchy (in Fall terms) "The Classical" and the equally great rocker "Jawbone and the Air Rifle", the freaky tension filled "Hip Priest", the double home run "Fortress/Deer Park", the fucking tight badass killer song "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed" (one of the best Fall songs ever, hands down), the laidback "Winter", "Just Step Sideways" with that awesome guitar riff and the bass-driven "Who Makes The Nazi's?" (with MES muttering "Remember when I used to follow you home from school babe? Before I got picked up for paedophelia"; that line sends shivers down my spine). But then there's the boring "Iceland" (yawn!) and the repetitive "And This Day", which could have easily been reduced to half of its running time. Both tracks kind of blow, but at least they're no "Edinburgh Man", eh?
My rating? A low 9 would be justified, looking back, but still a 9. Still a favourite here, this "Hex Enduction Hour".
All things considered, I'd say this is the best Fall record. It contains at least 20 or so moments where my jaw just hits the floor and I think 'maaaaaaaan'. How did they do all that? Reading interviews from the band around the time, they make themselves sound like a bunch of northern monkeys in the vein of Oasis, but the music just sounds like it's from another world entirely. 'The Classical' is scabrous, witty and it really rocks out. 'Jawbone...' has a lot of parts, all of which completely rule - the second, extended slowdown with the lyrics "The villagers dance round pre-fabs and laugh through twisted mouths" is particularly brilliant.
"Can you turn the monitors on, please?" Mark reiterates upon completing a ludicrously overmodulated CHOPPACHOPPACHOPPACHOPPA recording of "Prole Art Threat." Then the drummer begins "Totally Wired" at too fast a clip and must slow down for a GREAT, UNIQUE take on the track built around an entirely new, darker rhythm guitar part. But look at me, focusing on the trees again and missing the entire forest.
The forest is a live show supposedly performed on February 23rd, 1981 and featuring 5 Slates tracks (all except "Leave The Capitol"), "Blob 59" and one song each from Grotesque, Hex Enduction Hour, Dragnet and Palace Of Swords Reversed. The instruments (two guitars, organ, drums, bass) are all in tune for a G.D. change, and the bootleg recording, though monophonic, is at least not G.D. muffled (although the bass is way too G.D. quiet during a few key moments -- particularly "Fit And Working Again," a song entirely built upon the G.D. bass riff, for Jeepers' Christ!). I'm also not convinced that this disc includes the full show; it's only 37 minutes, and it usually takes Mark Smith that long just to realize he's inside a building.
But enough about the G.D. forest. Who am I, Ronald Reagan, a national hero who dedicated his presidency to the preservation of our planet's natural resources? F*kk no! I'm Al Gore and I wipe my ass with squirrels! I keep hundreds of them in a bucket next to my toilet! And you know my wife Tipper? She melts Dead Kennedys albums in the toaster-oven and suffocates baby penguins with the scorching gooey vinyl!
Track eight's title should read "English Scheme," not "English Scene." And "Slates, Slags etc." brings the set to a dull stop for 7 minutes right near the end. But on the bright side, Mark talks funny gibberish in the middle of "Printhead." He's imitating a speed freak! And by "imitating," I of course mean "a blank space where there is no word."
Lord be willing, we'll one day have access to a sub-par recording of every single concert ever performed by The Fall. So keep your fingers crossed and your crosses fingered! (if your cross has a vaginer) In the meanthyme, you may want to buy this one just for "Blob 59" and the superior version of "Totally Wired," which makes the studio version sound like a pile of sticks meant for burning.
A VERY HAPPY pile of sticks meant for burning, in fact.
Make that a STRANGE, VERY HAPPY pile of sticks meant for burning!
P.S. Hey, this is Al Gore again! I love spotted owls so much that I make my OWN! With GUNPOWDER and BULLETS! Also, Knut The Bear is ugly! So UGLY!!!
P.P.S. God bless Ronald Reagan and the charitable work he conducted on behalf of our nation's endangered species. Remember that time he nursed a beached whale back to health all by himself, in the bathtub of the White House? God bless his spirit and soul.
P.P.P.S. Gandhi used to urinate in a plastic bag and throw it at cars.
Once again 7/10. The N.W.R.A sounds pretty much like the situation today to me. There's an in built insecurity in us northern folk that makes us believe we're somehow 'better' than those soft southern ponces. Twaddle. Too many people, cowards and criminals AND government crap, when all it takes is A HARD SLAP. Thinking forward this is a kind of twin to the epic Birmingham school of business school with kazoos! Keep breaking down those barriers lads, (is there an EU kazoo mountain? Or did they all get shipped off to poor countries? Or crack pipe retrofit? I don't fucking care.)
About eight years ago, when my wife and I were living in a rental apartment on 81st Street (as opposed to the Buys-A-Lot condo on 91st Steetr), we had a three-bulbed lamp with three bulbs - one was white, one red and one green. This may amaze you, but we only ever used the white one. So one morning I was lying in bed thinking about things that we humans don't understand, and I looked at the (off) lamp, and thought to myself, "If there is a God, make the red light turn on RIGHT NOW." Nothing happened, of course. What am I, a dumbass? So then I thought, "Okay, if there are GHOSTS, then make the red light turn on right now." Again, obviously, nothing. It was a Fool's Paradise. So I got up, walked to the men's room, began shaving or brushing my teeth or whatever, then my wife finished up in wherever hell she was (probably showering, the cunt), and she walked in the other room, where we slept. Here's where I have to skip a paragraph it's so fuckin' nuts.
This is what I hear from the other room, in my wife's voice: "Who turned the red light on?"
I'M. NOT. LYING.
It was on. Where can I go from there? I've no clue what it means, or why. But I'm not lying. How on Earth could I have forgotten about that until my wife reminded me 2nite? Man, brains are weird. Because that really happened. Yet I somehow found it less important to remember than, "Hay, the Paul Revere and the Raiders song 'Undecided Man' is on the The Spirit Of '67 LP."
"Also, tits give you a boner."
This Fall CD is live, recorded God Knows When God Knows Where for God Knows What Reason. It is muddy/murky like an old audience mono recording, but the set list that night was so unbelievably fantastic that the resultant CD rules ass-shit anyway. Look at this - "How I Wrote Elastic Man," "Fortress," "Totally Wired," "An Older Lover," "No Xmas For John Quays," "Your Heart Out," "Prole Art Threat," many many others IT RULES!!! I LOVE THE FALL!!!
Of key interest to you as a music purchaser, this double-CD features the FIRST EVER OFFICIAL RECORDING of the long-lost Fall live-only track "Session Musician" (obviously influenced by the similar Kinks track). Because I'm so hep, I've been aware of this song for a few years, in my coolness, but finally it's available on CD so everyone can hear how mediocre it is. It's LONG, it has a 50sy drumbeat, it hasan up-down up-down from normal change to one-higher ugly change. Bouncy rat-a-tta-tat chorus. The band doesn't seem to know when the changes are! I wish I could understand a word he says! At 45:30, it starts sounding a bit like an out-of-tune "C. Smithering" - bouncy 4/4 bass/guitar/keyboard.. Honestly not a great song, but it's RARE, it's worth hearing, and Here it is! tThis part slows down... KAZOO! Gets really dull as it goes, very repetitiveieve without being terribly catchy (8:30 total). But they STILL haven't released "Hey, Marc Riley!" so I'm still the coolest, like Alice Cooper on that one album.
The coolest thing about this double-CD is that the background vocals and Mark's vocals kinda merge into one so every song is sort of like "Hey, a vocal melody! Oh wait, no he's just talking. Hey, listen to that! Catchy! Oh wait, he's just squealing. Hey, nice!" etc. And sometimes the guitar disappears but usually you can hear every instrument. Isn't it nuts that you can't hear the guitar for the first few minutes of "The NWRA"? We all said so.
In conclusion, ghosts are real, and so is God. But not that stupid ass-fucking Christian one with the shit all over his tits.
Also, I love you. Stop sending me hatemail about my shitty Gram Parsons reviews.
The re-release adds both sides of the phenomenal "Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul"/"Fantastic Life" single, but apparently they're available all over the place at this point.
Seriously, I am appalled at how much of this album is just flat-out awful. After "Hex Enduction Hour," Mark and Co. originally hopped into the studio to just record a single, but - as was the case with "Slates" - Mark and Co. ended up recording more than a single, but supposedly not enough for a full album. (36 minutes is more than enough to count as an album for me, but whatever.) Mark, at the time, referred to it as an "aside" - like a mini-album, or something that really isn't as good as the other albums they'd released so far. He had to have known a fair portion of this was trash.
"Solicitor In Studio," the title track and "Joker Hysterical Face" are alright Fallsongs - nothing to write home about, but okay. "Marquis Cha-Cha" sounds as if it could have been the best thing here, but is just too directionless to make any real impact. The remaining songs are basically amelodic sonic doodles that are uniformly dreadful. "Hard Life In Country," "Detective Instinct," "Papal Visit" - what is this go-nowhere, self-indulgent bullshit? These recordings are so crappy that it boggles the mind. Since the "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" single is much more widely available on the "Slates" reissue, there's no reason to give this an 8. This is a 6.
First song was really pretty, but I thought the little atonal riff on top of the song was almost unnecessary. Certainly a very self indulgent record; the songs don't seem to be anything more than the result of an interesting world vision, and an interesting work aesthetic, (the falls own weird sci fi, horror movie, working class, non pretentious pretentions, bile on top of more bile). But that's hardly specific to this record; here it seems like Mark e smith was just indulging in this atmosphere without acutally going on to write any decent songs to go along with it. Surely anyone could of come up with most of these songs in a couple of minutes? The Fall have generally done about as well with one riff as anyone could, (new face in hell for example) but I don't get that feeling from most of these songs. It's really nice backgroun music, especially driving music, but I feel that my frist half is utterly tedious to sit down with. Hex enduction hour was like three times better; If I had to assign grades I'd give hex a 9, (which I have actually listened too like a hundred times) while this would hardly be a six. And I'd be more inclined to halve that rather than double it if the second half is just more of the same.
Hey talking about New Zealand - are you ever going to review any records by the Clean (I'd suggest the early stuff) or the Chills? Surely of your caliber would be aware of the body of work these two bands have put out of the past 20 years..
I love this album. It's cheeky. It's the most fun Fall album going, maybe as they're pissed but that's a bonus. Room to live is a giggler, that guitar line is a sweetie, even the popping vinyl transfer can't spoil it. The popping, by the way, adds to the record. Admit it, the sudden jump into "THE VILLAGERS ARE SURROUNDING THE HOUSE" on 'Hard Life..." had you shitting your pants (or pissing yourself with laughter.) 'The Classical' is still a dull tune, but it's livened up with some car brochure reciting and you can hear the drummer dying. Kill the drummer... he can't play, Kill the bass player, kill both bass players, kill the 3x bass expansion unit, kill the sexplayer Yeah! I'm off to Cruise Yerself!! BYe
Their greatest live release, at least of the four or five ones I have heard. Highly recommended, even though not really obligatory. The problem with the band is that there are millions of CDs lying around and each one with “The Fall” on the front cover has at least one song you would like to hear. No such luck with “Mark E. Smith”, though. You might invest in Post Nearly Man and never really forgive yourself.
But for now, let's talk about THIS album. Eight songs - only three of them shorter than five minutes long. "Eat Y'self Fitter" is a completely misleading record-opener - it sounds completely amateurish, silly, and, eventually, mind-numbingly dull. Howe'er, the rest of the album is mature, professional, and a patootie of a repetition-fest! "Neighborhood Of Infinity" and "I Feel Voxish" are the kickbutt pop rockers, and they're better than a lollipop; Mark even SINGS on "I Feel Voxish!" (hence the title, I suppose), and you can't beat that swank bass line. Speaking of bass lines, that's pretty much all there is to the nine-minute "Tempo House" (well, a bass line and two drummers), but, unlike "Eat Y'self Fitter," it becomes hypnotic over the course of time (instead of just boring). "Smile" reaches for emotions that it doesn't quite grasp, but, oh man, you should hear "Hexen Definitive/Strife Knot." Probably the darkest, bluesiest song they've ever written, this one conjures up some awfully disturbing images if you listen to it while you're walking down a cold deserted NYC alleyway in the cold of winter in the dead of night with no one to talk to but the soulless moon and some Mexican guy.
This is a good album, unless you've got a short attention span, in which case you wouldn't have read this far in the first place. Maybe I should get my head out of my ass.
Still great, though, especially with the bonus tracks on the recent CD release (those four tracks off the singles are fantastic, worth the price alone, etc.) 'Pilsner Trail' doesn't do much for me, though. An important album, patricularly because Smiff's mood seems to have changed noticeably compared to earlier records, now that Brix is in the group.
I'll echo that sentiment, that "Eat Y'self Fitter-ah" is a piece of aural shit that makes me vomit ear wax from mine ear-holes every time I hear it, but everything else here is extremely creative, well-thought out, catchier than a fishnet, and well....repetitive as fuck! But in a nice way. My favorite song so far is "Hotel Blodel," and goddammit, every time I hear Mark jump in with his inscrutable babblings to completely ruin the tense, leering, weirdo darkness atompeshere of the melody, I just have to crack the fuck up. 9.5! Packed full of brilliant/beautiful melodies. But what Fall album isn't?
Seriously, tell me which one! I've only got like two albums by this band.
Another fresh favourite is... TEMPO HOUSE. Mr Burns and Mssr's Hanley are way ahead of the game here. M.E.S is banging on about some serious man who's drunk too much... that bass line!!!! (Heh! Re-listen to 'The Fall' of Filth Pig (Ministry). Is it another classic rock progression? My word! There's still seven minutes left! Worth the price alone my friends.
I don't like the Brix sung 'Hotel Bloden', but check me in 2 months, (I'm very weak willed.) May give it an eight?
I was down the market last weekend and managed to pick this up for £5. Yes, five English pounds! That makes out, err 30 pennies a song, (re-issues also includes Man who's head expanded, Ludd Gang, Kicker Conspiracy and the very poor Wings), an absolute bargain. (Tempo House is still banging away! NICE END!! That needs sampling....) I do recall some friends of mine have the very video compilation which includes the video a correspondent alluded to and Tempo House... I'll look that one up for you.
Ludd Gang does bring Chant by the mighty P.I.L into mind... (Guess that's up next then)r when it is indeed one of their finest moments- it is not boring by far - a brilliantly repetative and droning rhythm. needless to say i played it at work and everybody hated it. also Hotel Bloedel is interesting- and contary to that other guy's opinion mark does not spoil the song.all the other tracks are just as good and the album does have a certain haunting sound...i think i might play it now.
This was the first Fall LP played and it was not a welcome return. Eat yourself fitter is a fine start (and the video that made a partial re-appearance in the recent BBC4 documentary and stills appear on the record cover) emphasises the lunacy of the Fall. Hell even Smith can have a laugh sometimes. Soon after that though the album grinds down into monotony and although Smile is a fine tune this version is not as good as it could be. I seem to remember that the Fall were in the process of falling out with Rough Trade at the time and Smith stated in interviews soon after his dissatisfaction with this album. Personally I feel most of the songs sound the same although Hexen definitive strife knot is a damn fine track. The rest feels like an unremitting grinding contest with the band pummelling the listener into submission.
Although Wings was not on the vinyl album I would add that this is my favourite Fall tracks and the video was cracking - (Smith basically singing it in the pub while the band drank beer and played pool!).
For no reason other than I am bored here are my ten favourite Fall tracks in no particular order.
Theme from Sparta FC
Impressions of J Temperance
Dr Bucks Letter
Lay of the land
New Face in Hell
Futures and Pasts
A figure walks
It's worth getting the Castle Music 2-disc reissue. Even if you've already got the Peel sessions, there's a live version of Backdrop, about a minute longer than on Fall In A Hole. And you get the original mix of Garden (with weird spoken word bit), as well as the remix. And the title track live. (It's not very good).
Well, not to NASA, but to certain people. People who like The Fall a lot. Or Iceland. Or the Scanlon family.
TWO drummers though! And the sound is amazing. No kidding - this doesn't sound live AT ALL. Every sound and nuance is crystal clear, from the vocals through the bass, guitar, two drummers - wow! As for the set list - can't be beat with a splintery wooden dildo. "Eat Y'Self Filler" sounds menacing and actually GOOD instead of novelty-like! "Hexen Definitive" creeps along ominously without ever turning into the less ominous "Strife Knot" part! "Backdrop" somehow sounds like a *GOOD* song!?!?!?!?! How???
Goodness. That's how. Goodness. That's my statement to make. You got scratchy chimey guitars, great bass lines ("I Feel Voxish"!), Mark shouting and occasionally tapping a note on a keyboard, a splattery tap drummer in each speaker (literally - they unscrew the back and hop in while you're cleaning the maggots out of the fridge), "Kicker Conspiracy" nearly falling apart right as it starts -- NO bad spots. Possibly the best concert they ever did -- even better than that one I saw where the keyboard was out of tune with everything and they sucked!!!
I usually say "no" to live Fall albums, but this is something different. I explained the difference in the first paragraph. And I've gotten dozens of calls from NASA since that paragraph. Just a-hunting and gathering for additional information about how to get to the moon in 10 minutes like I did that time I got blasted out of Tom Cruise's faggoty asscorkdungeon.
Nothing against homosexuals. EVERYTHING against Tom Cruise.
And all his self-obsessed Scientologist loserass idiot friends like Kirstie Alley.
And hell, Sally Field too. I don't know if she's a Scientologist or not; I just feel like making indiscriminately hateful comments for no reason.
FUCK YOU, CAPTAIN KANGAROO!!!!! UP YOUR FUCKING KANGAROO ASS!!!!
One more thing: I have to say that the version of "The Classical" from this concert is absolutely spellbinding. It's amazingly good. Scanlon scratches and scrapes away while Mark rants many different, possibly better lyrics and the rhythm section just keeps pounding that crazy rhythm. Fantastic
If you're only gonna get one Fall record, try to find this one. Before this, they were basically circus punk, after this, they were basically conservative guitar pop, and during this period, most of their album tracks were about ten minutes long, so this is a good place to start. The songs are short, smart, and all-out rockin'! (My personal favorite moment on the record: The middle of "The Man Whose Head Expanded," when Mark gets tired of the "sci-fi" keyboard noises and shouts, "Turn that bleeding blimey space invader off!!!" Seconds later, it's gone. That's power.)
Perhaps she was thinking of "Disney's Dream Debased."
Or maybe she was just a flake.
I was introduced to The Fall at 15, when "Nation..." came out, and went backwards from there. I couldn't possibly give a rating to any Fall album prior to "Frenz..."; they've been in my life too long. It'd be like rating my sister, to whom I give a 5-10, depending on the situation.
The only reason I didn't give this one a 10 is cuz I've never been too fond of their CAN tribute, "I Am Damo Suzuki," or their James Brown rip-off, "Gut Of The Quantifier." But that's just me talkin'. Most people love them. As a result, this is by a wide margin the most popular Fall album of all time (which means it's probably sold about two thousand copies - you see, they're what you might call a CULT band).
If I had to reduce this recording's selling point to one tune I wouldn't hesitate in naming "Paintwork". I consider this piece to be the turning point for The Fall; at this point they were able to neatly integrate their early, droning delicacy with the super-production of their later work. Strong, remarkably original composition. Even the quality of songs like "I Am Damo Suzuki" is increased exponentially by virtue of their position in relation to "Paintwork". Which, to reiterate, is why I consider this to be a good purchase.
This may be the best studio album I've heard so far by this band, bearing in mind I still haven't heard Hex, Extricate, Infotainment and Levitate all the way through yet but have been blown away by what I have heard off them. Not as good an album as Palace Of Swords Reversed if you bring compilations into the subject. Therefore, if I had to give a 10 to one Fall studio album, not a compilation, it'd be this laddy.
The vinyl album was bought on release and it still remains one of their best – Mansion, Barmy and Bombast kick of a fine album and although some tracks like Paintwork and My New House could be better they are still streets ahead of anything on Post Reformation TOC (2007’s dismal release which is reviewed below). My favourite here is I am Damo Suzuki – killer Fall track extraordinaire. This stands up well as an album which is why I was a tad annoyed by the inserted single and b-side tracks on the CD release which appear at the end of each vinyl side. This changes the feel of the album and not in a positive way. Playing it in random mode on the MP3 shows that the tracks are all still good but sometimes the original album just has the edge.
In the past few years the Fall have been doing Spoilt Victorian Child in their live sets – not the best individual track from this album but always nice to hear it.
What am I talking about? Where would you possibly know that song from? Just ignore me.
p.s. Who'd have though Mark Prindle looks like Bill Pullman
2/10. (a few months later)
I feel like correcting some of the rubbish I wrote previously. Whilst I still think this is the weakest Fall album I've heard it deserves better than 2, maybe a 5. If you threw 'R.O.D', 'DKTR FAUSTUS', 'SHOULDER PADS 1/2', 'MR PHARMACIST', 'U.S. 80'S 90'S' and 'TERRY WAITE SEZ' onto a single disk you would have a legendary and indispensable e.p. The rest of the album just doesn't click with me and it's not as if they're terrible tracks; they all offer fresh directions in song writing and production, but feel under-whelming. I am ashamed to say but I find myself skipping the last few minutes of several of these tracks. Although not 'AUTO-TECH PILOT', which I hate.
'U.S. 80'S 90'S' reminds of an old Girls Against Boys e.p. which was really shit. (As if you cared.)
In a chimps cock: A bargain at £5. Seven carrier bags for now.
I'm so glad for Mark. He's finally made it. I know that people were saying this when Silence of the lambs came out but nobody actually ever saw that film much less heard the crappy Hex induction hour track. I image he's currently chalking up plans for a grand European tour and thinking to himself if he really should allow himself to be browbeaten into playing Theme from Sparta FC (or "Gotta get away with a stolen riff" as was the original title) with Offspring just because the ignorant assholes happened to have a smash hit with the song 10 years ago. A friendly hint though: next time you record a song in a foreign language, check the noun genders - it's DIE Nacht not das, heLLO?
Very poppy songs throughout of course, mostly from Frenz, but also including for GOD knows what reason "Cab It Up." Cute song, but is that one you'd really want to hear live? It sounds LIKE a conclusion. They played it fourth. It sounds like a whole bunch of credits should be rolling in front of the band as they play on stage. Oh hang on - I'm getting a shitter of an idea here.
"Norman Lear Presents: The Fall Guy!" It could feature Lee Majors and John Ritter in a hilarious story about a drugged-up British miscreant who solves crimes and has to pretend he's gay. Oh god this is GOOD. HANG ON I HAVE TO MAKE A CALL.
They said no. Okay then, there are corny keyboards in "Hey Luciani" (which is about a Pope being murdered) and isn't this live? Then why does "L.A." fade out, for crying out loud? Have they deleted some hilarious stage banter? God, I LOVE it when Mark Smith does that whole "HOW MANY OF YOU HERE LIKE TO TAKE A TASTE OF ALCOHOL?" bit. Ooh! And don't get me STARTED on "We'd like to ask that the people in the cheaper seats please clap their hands. And the rest of you rich cunts can go fuck yourselves!"
Yes, just like The Frenz Experiment, this sounds like a modern pop/rock album with absolutely no rough edges (sounds like it was dipped in Vaseline or something), but boy does "New Big Prinz" ROCK in its cleanliness, and man, does Brix's "Overture" sound like the best song Survivor ever recorded, and girl, does "Jerusalem" have a great story about Mark tripping on a "discarded-ah banana skin-ah" and hitting his head on a "protruding-ah brick-ah chip-ah," and puppy is "Kurious Oranj" a wondermous merging of pop and reggae, and buttplug do I like "Van Plague." The rest is more of the same, and kind of forgettable, but you have to keep in mind - this was the soundtrack to a BALLET. Imagine a troupe trying to pirouette to "Cab It Up!" and maybe you'll start to understand why I gave it an 8. Still, why so predictable? Was the marriage already falling apart?
Well OK, technically it can be, but at least you can make the dots a lot bigger since you don't need to write all those # and b's next to them, whatever they are. If I'll want something sharp and flat, I'll buy a plasma TV!
Good job I didn't buy this then. Anybody want Bend Sinister????
Here's a freebie I got told in Leeds after a night being blasted to another dimension courtesy of a Japanese noise trio, known as Boris.
What do you call a sarcastic Mexican?
Still, it is good. 'Lucifer Over Lancashire' is damn good, perhaps especially since it's possible to sing 'Walk Like An Egyptian' over the top for most of it, and if, like me,you have yet to hear the albums that most of these had original versions on (The Wonderful and Frightening World... chiefly), then this is all good. This along with the A-Sides album probably would make for a great introduction to early-mid period Fall.
Post-Brix. Several of these songs seem to be about her. They're not terribly flattering, either. For some reason, original guitarist Martin Bramah returned for this album, and he looks like a big sissy. He doesn't seem to be playing much, either. Still, some good songs - "Sing! Harpy" is essentially a rip-off of the Stooges's "Little Doll," but it's got a cool violin going all the way through it; "I'm Frank" doesn't sound like any Frank Zappa I've ever heard, but it's catchy in its sheer stupidity; "Black Monk Theme Part 1" appears to be a stuttering attack on Brix, but it's apparently a cover!; "And Therein" is terrific rockabilly; "Hilary" is a clever take on one of the oldest riffs in the world; and both "Telephone Thing" (which kinda sucks) and the title track (which is hilarious but for some reason was left off of the vinyl version) experiment with dance music. Some of the other songs blow, but all in all, it's really good. And no "dang dang dang" guitar for a damn change.
During the song "Chicago Now" which is kind of drawn out, there's this guitar part where you think they're gonna start rockin' but no rockin' occurs.
It reminds me of the opening to some Pixiesesque rockin' except they don't follow through.
Every time this part in the song comes up I get all giddy like a schoolgirl because some rockin' is going to take place and every time I get let down. It's just not fair. Damn you Mark E. Smith, damn you to hell.
This CD was recorded live on the tour for Extricate (or Ecch!-stricate, as Mad magazine called it in their biting parody), and features 8 songs from that CD. As I may have stated before, Extricate is one of the only three Fall studio CDs that I'm less than thrilled with (it originally got a 7 on my site, and probably still should). Among other faults, it has some extremely generic, annoying BAD songs like "Telephone Thing," "I'm Frank" and "BIll Is Dead" - ALL OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND ON THIS LIVE CD! nOT ONLY TH - shit fucking caps lock Not only does it contain its share of stinkies, but even some great songs like "Carry Bag Man" and "Deadbeat Descendent" are (Rick) Dees-troyed by some of the shittiest mixing this side of a bar that makes mixed drinks that aren't very good. If you've heard "Carry Bag Man," you know that the song is propelled by its dark, Sherlock Holmes-style bass line. Welp, you can't hear the bass in this version. Just a really loud wah-wah guitar playing one note. And "Deadbeat Descendent" is rendered impotent by the most effeminate organ since God's Vagina.
On the plus zone, it's a mad coup to hear the anti-star Mark E. Smith sarcastically shout "OK - SOLO!" before the pigknuckled guitar break in ballad "Bill Is Dead" (I know Mark's Dad died the year Extricate was recorded - not sure if his name was Bill. Easy enough to find out - I'll just look in the phone book and see iif there are any listings for "Smith." If so, I'll give that person a call and ask about Mr. Smith.). And who expected to here "And Therein" with TWO chords in the verse line instead of just one? And don't say "Former Bronco John Elway," because I asked him and even he was only expecting one.
Bottom line - These live albums'll screw ya and screw ya good. Except for all the really good ones which, if they were a pretty girl, would screw ya and screw ya well. I too, like you, thought it would be neat to hear this era of the band perform live but, aside from a girl voice that presumably isn't Brix, it's not anywhere near as interesting as I was hoping 'twould be.
I've grown to like this album a whole lot. I think it's more cohesive than Extricate, and a very interesting way to handle the post-Brix crisis. Unfortunately, it was never released in the U.S., so if you find it, it'll cost you about 20 dollars. Unless you live in England, of course, in which case, you can go to Hell, ya damn Mexican.
oh sorry "dogs"...went a bit DMX there for a minute...i'm better now (he's a bit humourless innee? that DMX...like a blooming wrestler or summink)..
matter at hand: i got this here album yesterday as part of my quest to get all The Fall's albumens. i had had one of the worst days at work EVER...proper Michael Douglas "Falling Down" steez...YELLED "FUCK THIS FUCKIN JOB!!!" at top of my lungs upon leaving the office of misery (hmmm...that could be a Fall track, "The Office Of Misery") and a woman in my path visibly flinched...SORRY! anyway, i get home and whack this shiznit on, and...AHHHHHH...that's better. it's SOOTHING...this band can do abrasive, soothing, thoughtful, rousing, whatever. basically, they can do no wrong. previous comments are right, it is mellow generally, sophisticated pop stuff. "edinburgh man" is dope, instantly hummable and somehow reassuring. for the benefit of those not from Blighty, "Idiot Joy Showland" seems to refer to the late 80s/early 90s "Madchester" "scene", spawned from the likes of The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, and the resulting media furore (right spelling?)....it refers to the baggy-jean-clad-stoned-and-hedonistic youths of the time...Mark E obviously feels this to be pretty shallow , leading to the "working class been shafted" stuff. It always interests me to try and deduce the themes in Fall lyrics, coz they are often very much a comment on life in Britain at that time. anyway, tangent...disagree wid Prindle, "Rose" is a moving, dreamy sorta track seemingly about lost love...its simplicity touched me. another great album, some nice spazzy electronic bits also. The reason the music press give The Fall that grudging respect and never really write about 'em, favouring all these new hotboys (in the case of the NME, The Vines, Libertines, Kills, Thrills, the, the, the, etc,etc) is that EVERYTHING THEY WANT TO HYPE AS NEW AND EXCITING HAS generally ALL BEEN DONE BY THE FALL...i love 'em
That gives me a crazy idea. Maybe I should begin a sort of "alternate reality" record review site, featuring reviews only of albums that don't exist, but COULD if things had gone just a little differently. For example, what if Van Halen had given Sammy Hagar the screw after his first couple albums and brought back Diamond David Roth? You see, in MY world -- my DREAMworld of the SLEEPING MIND -- For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is one hell of a great record and earns a 9. Likewise, what if Bon Scott had fallen asleep that night in a position that allowed for maximum projectile vomiting? Perhaps the world would be a bit sadder without Back In Black but holy fuckin' SHIT would Ballbreaker be a fun record! You see, anything can happen in life: it just hardly ever does. For example -- why did Phil Collins survive long enough to become Michael Eisner's personal urinal? Or how about this -- Had Roger Waters' father survived WWII and Syd Barrett never gone crazy but simply left the band for personal reasons, would Roger have ever been able to come up with any song ideas at all? Nobody will ever know. But there's one thing we can and do know, and that is this: No band in the history of the Universe has put out more high-quality studio albums than The Fall. Those are just the basic facts. Can you show me where it hurts?
Moving on to track three -- this is the reason that Fall fans have smothered drool all over their computer screens in search of this rare EP since the day it hit the singles charts at Number Not Actually On The Chart At All. "Don't Take The Pizza" is a brooding, simplistic combination of dark descending FULL and THROBBING bass guitar, scratchy-swizzly-swashly-swirly guitar swatches, a nervous 2/2 drumbeat and Mark dramatically warning the listener NOT TO TAKE THE PIZZA from him! DON'T you FUCKING get IT? don't TAKE the PIzZa!!!!
Well, I don't get it either, to be honest. Great song though! Should have made the album (preferably in place of "Edinburgh Man").
Craig Scanlon clearly didn't write or play lead guitar on "And Therein...," but Mark makes him play it (wrong) anyway! And another thing!
"Immortality" has one chord, and "Edinburgh Man" is the only Fall song that I absolutely, full-bodiedly LOATHE WITH ALL MY BEING! And another thing!
Hey, you know what, today's bands? LEARN YOUR FUCKING MATERIAL BEFORE PLAYING IT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE! And another thing!
People often ask me, they say "Hay Mnark, you like movies. WHy don't you write movie reviews?" Well, it's because I don't know anything about the art or science of filmmaking. Music I understand; I've written and played music for half my life, so I have a pretty good (though not very technical) understanding of what goes into songwriting, playing and recording. But all I know about movies are whether I like them or not! As such, I feel it would be a grave disservice of me to foist my ignorant cinematic ruminations upon the loyal, royal readers of www.markprindle.com. Why, I'd appear as an unlearned galoot!
Actually, here - let me give a quick example of what it would be like if I were to start reviewing movies.
ALONE IN THE DARK - This is a really entertaining psycho/slasher from 1982, starring Jack Palance as one of four violent psychotics who escape from an asylum and head to their new doctor's home because Palance has convinced them of his delusion that he (the new doctor) has murdered their old doctor (who actually just moved to a different hospital in another state). It's actually very suspenseful and the four wackos are HELLA fun to watch. HELLA! I liked it lots! Donald Pleasence does a great job as the overly-trusting, naive asylum head too, who prefers to call his patients 'voyagers' instead of 'patients' or 'nutjobs'. Some great MURDERS! MURDERS MURDERS MURDERS YOU HEAR ME MURDERS! ****
ANDY WARHOL'S FRANKENSTEIN - Andy Warhol didn't actually have anything to do with it, but his people did. Paul Morrissey, Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier. At first I hated it because it was so campy but it really grew on me for two great reasons: (a) nobody ever even hints at the fact that the obviously gay guy is in fact gay - at no point in the movie does anybody realize this or even make reference to it, and (b) every single actor in the movie is using a German accent except for Joe Dallesandro, who speaks in his normal Brooklyn accent. Nobody calls attention to this in any way, even though the movie supposedly takes place long before America even existed! From there on out, it had me. Bloody, funny, dark... strange! ***
ANGUISH - An odd one! From 1986 or 87. The first 20 minutes are about an old woman (the tiny psychic from Poltergeist) hypnotizing her son (a guy who looks like a skinnier version of Newman from Seinfeld) to murder and remove the eyes from all of his enemies. Then suddenly it's revealed that this is actually a movie, being watched by a theater full of viewers. But then the movie they're watching ("The Mommy") uses all these visual and audio tricks to hypnotize the audience (a very queasy part of the movie), then the eye-gouging son in the movie goes HIMSELF to a movie theater and begins killing patrons. At this point, one of the hypnotized patrons from the 'real' movie theater pulls out a gun and re-enacts the actions of the guy onscreen. So it's a movie within a movie within a movie, sort of. Quite interesting, and a hilarious screwball ending! I liked it. A very odd experiment upon the traditional 'slasher.' ****
BASKET CASE - Fun silly little 1982 gore movie about a shy 20-year-old boy who carries his deformed ex-Siamese twin around in a basket. They go to NYC to murder the doctors who separated them. As a NYCer, it's always neat to see how scummy 42nd Street was before I lived here. It was scummy! Not a movie I'll remember in ten minutes, but bloody fun while it lasted! And I don't mean "bloody" in the British way, although I guess that definition would apply as well. The pathetic stop-animation (is that the term?) they use to show the monstrous twin moving around is hilarious. And it's actually very affecting to see in flashback how nice and caring the boys' aunt was, even to the monstrous twin. ***
BLOOD SPATTERED BRIDE - I guess it's telling that I just watched this a week ago and can hardly remember a thing about it. It's another 'lesbian vampire' movie, although it's more about a dead vampire woman hypnotizing a live woman and bringing her under her power. There's no lesbian sex or anything. The live woman is slowly drawn away from her confused husband as the vampire woman convinces her that men are grotesque and evil and need to be murdered. It was a little slow, but interesting. Not that I can remember much of it, but near the beginning I remember that the man was in the mood for sex too much, and the wife came to really loathe him on account of it, which probably made it easier for the vampire woman to lure her away from him. One really neat scene had the vampire woman buried under the sand on a beach, with only her toes and a snorkel visible. The husband found the snorkel, scraped away the sand surrounding it, and saw her eyes under goggles. Then he kept scraping and discovered her bare breasts! She just stared at him. Very strange, interesting scene. With TEATS! ***
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN - I liked it, especially Heath Ledger's lackadaisical mumble. The sex scene was remarkably raw too. SPOILER HERE: I'm really sick of dramas killing off protaganists just to be more 'tragic' though. There was no reason that Donnie Darko had to die. I mean, I know it went along with the whole "if we act gay in public, we'll be killed" theme, but he could have survived the attack and we could have had a happy ending. It didn't make the movie any better to kill him off. At any rate, I did enjoy it. Especially Donnie Darko's hilariously fake mustache. Lots of subplots seemed to jump into the story before immediately disappearing though, which I found a little disappointing. For example, Junior wanting to move in with her father because things were getting bad at home. And what exactly was the significance of Junior's wedding announcement at the end? Was Heath hoping she'd be a lesbo or something? (I know that's not the case - I just wanted to use the word 'lesbo').***
CARS THAT ATE PARIS - Quite odd! Australian thing by a director who went on to do Witness and a few other big movies. Sort of a dark comedy mixed with a horror movie, about a small Australian town that purposely runs the cars of visitors off the side of a cliff so they can collect and sell the auto parts. Any survivors are converted by the local doctor into braindead zombie-like creatures. And the bored youth act out by building crazy violent cars and smashing them into each other in the middle of town. I liked it! It's from the '70s, a decade. ***
CHEERLEADER BEACH PARTY - Four not particularly attractive college football cheerleaders ('70s of course) find out that their star players are planning to enroll in a rival college, so they follow them to the campus and try to recruit the other schools' players by having sex with them. Wacky hi-jinks ensue (though not much sex at all, if any!). At one point, the girls pretend to be ghosts in a "Haunted House" where the guys are sleeping. At another point, they spike the punch and serve hash brownies at an important pool party hosted by the college dean and his wife. Can you imagine the hi-jinks? Christ! So many hi-jinks!***
CUT-THROAT KOMMANDO SS - More like "Cut-Rate Nazi Sexploitation Movie" if you ask me!!! 1969, I think. Some American soldiers attack and take over a Nazi brothel where some important plans are hidden. Unfortunately, their commander is a bastard who wants all his men killed so he can escape with a cache of precious jewels. It includes lots of nude scenes with people who don't appear to be part of the script at all. Like a woman walking through the woods with a framed painting, who runs into a Nazi soldier. She tries to sell him the painting and he responds by taking all her clothes off and having sex with her (she doesn't want to, but is afraid to react). When they're finished, an American soldier comes along and kills the Nazi. The woman puts all her clothes back on and walks away, never to return to the movie. It has a happy ending.****
DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS Elizabeth Bathory WON'T DIE! She keeps coming back and turning people into vampires and sucking the blood and life out of them and doing lesbian things. This is a slow-moving film, but I enjoyed it. It wasn't anywhere near as 'erotic' as claimed, but it was still an interesting movie with good actors and a gruesome accidental razor murder. ***
DEAD AND BURIED - Another really good scary horror movie, with a hilarious 'twist ending.' A big group of people in a small town keeps murdering people passing through - in really horrible ways - while taking photos of the murders. A cop tries to figure out what the heck is going on, and he begins to suspect that his wife and witchcraft are involved. There are some really gross murders in this one - like a guy at the beginning who has his head bashed in with shovels and rocks before being tied to a pole and set on fire. Then he SURVIVES, lies in a coma in the hospital for a couple weeks, and wakes up with his entire burnt body in a cast except for his mouth and one eye -- at which point somebody comes in and finishes him off with a hypodermic needle to the eye! A neat one. Recommended! ****
DEAD ZONE Fantastic! I hadn't seen it since early high school. It's really really good. Doesn't feel like a Cronenberg movie to me, but I love good old Christopher Walken. "The ICE!.... is gonna BREAK!" That's the plot. ****
DEATH WARMED UP Australian movie about an egotistical, evil doctor who comes up with a way to make dead people live again, through something he puts in their brains. Though not 'zombies,' they are very ugly, malformed, weird-looking people. And at the point of the movie's goings-on, they've all started going haywire due to some genetic mutation. Then some young people try to blah blah I'm sick of talking about it. It was quite entertaining, gross, and even scary at times. The ending came completely out of nowhere though, with a major character being killed in a random way that had nothing to do with anything.***
EERIE MIDNIGHT HORROR SHOW - Released in 1974, also known as "The Sexorcist." Unforgivably dull. A woman buys a sculpture of some guy; unfortunately, it's been possessed by the Devil so it comes to life and rapes her. Then she lies in bed acting like Linda Blair with no special effects budget for 45 boring minutes. I hated the Hell out of this movie. "Sexorcist," my eye! There was like one boob shot! More like "ExorCYST" if you ask (etc)!!! *
EIGHT BELOW - Doggies!!!! Terrible movie, but doggies!!!! ***
ELSA FRAULEIN SS A particularly boring Naziploitation movie. This really bitter woman runs a whore train for Nazis, and the rooms are bugged so they can catch any non-loyal soldiers speaking out against the Fuhrer. This is the same exact plot used in a couple other movies I've already seen (Special Train For Hitler, Salon Kitty, possibly one other one too), but this one was just really lackluster. I don't even really remember anything about it. Was it good? I don't know! No, I don't think so. **
EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD Whee! Laura Gemser, Joe D'amato - how could it FAIL? Hardcore sex and zombies - the perfect combination! I enjoyed it of course, because I'm a moron.****
EYES OF LAURA MARS A 'stylish' slasher from 1978 starring Faye Dunaway as a controversial photographer whose work mixes sex and violence. Suddenly she begins 'seeing' her models and associates being murdered one by one. She sees through the killer's eyes. But who IS the killer? Is it Brad Dourif as her ex-con chauffeur? A mustache-less Rene Auberjonois as her flamboyant but short-fused agent? Tommy Lee Jones as the stoic cop and love interest? I guess we'll never know! ***
FADE TO BLACK From everything I'd read, I thought this was just a gimmick slasher about a killer who dresses up like famous movie characters before killing people. But it's actually much, MUCH better than that (for a while anyway). The first half-hour or so follows this nerdy, introverted, anxious young guy who is obsessed with the movies and has poor social skills, but is still semi-likable in a strange way. Unfortunately, his emotionally abusive aunt/mother finally drives his mind over the brink and from then on out, he's determined to get his enemies. It's interesting how he finally comes out of his shell and develops a spine after he starts killing people, but that's because he's come to believe that he's a movie character. At any rate, it's definitely NOT an average slasher. You actually know more about the killer than any of the victims, and you feel sorry for him for a while. He just lost his mind! ***
FINAL DESTINATION 1, 2 & 3 - My married wife and I enjoyed these films quite a bit. They're slasher films wherein Death itself is the slasher, killing people in hilariously convoluted 'accidental' ways. I hope this series continues, even if nobody bothers seeing them but me and my knot-tied spouse. The idea of 'the force of Death' as a slasher just cracks me up because ANYTHING can happen, and it's usually gross! Although the opening roller coaster disaster scene in the third installment is heavy on the (bad) computer effects, the rest of the movie is a hoot. A couple of dumb blondes are set on fire in a tanning salon; a weight lifter has his head crushed between two weights; an obnoxious lecher has the back of his head smashed in by the ejected engine of the car behind his; a girl falls backwards on a nailgun, which fires about eight shots through the back of her head (and through her face, from behind!); a girl gets speared and her body slides sickeningly down the shaft -- FUN, GODDAMMIT! ****
FLESH GORDON Apparently this was shot as a 90-minute X-rated film, then cut to 78 minutes for an unrated version, then further cut to 72 minutes for an R. I got the R-rated version, and it's STILL full of wall-to-wall full frontal nudity. It was also entertaining as all hell! Lots of hilarious stop-motion creatures coming after Flesh Gordon as he tries to save the Earth from Dr. Zorg's deadly Sex Rays. Very funny, stupid, naked sci-fi comedy.****
FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS - 1973 Italian mess. I really don't like monster movies per se, but this one kept me entertained because it was so dumb, I guess. It stars a caveman character called "Ook," a wily evil dwarf that rapes and murders a little girl, a gigantic dumb-looking 'monster' named Goliath, and some normal actors attempting to take it seriously. **
FRENZY Alfred Hitchcock's second to last movie - it's a slasher! Contains a couple of exceptionally gross scenes, and is a pretty good movie overall. I'm just not a huge fan of Hitchcock though.***
FRIVOLOUS LOLA Tinto Brass = successful erotic filmmaker. I can think of very few other filmmakers who could hold my interest in a light-hearted dramedy like this, but holy crikey does he crank up the non-hardcore eroticism! Granted, the woman has hairy underarms but you hardly even notice! It's about a woman who wants to have sex with her fiancee before they get married, but he won't because of religious reasons. The ending is kind of sick and immoral, but in a healthy, moral way. ****
FUNERAL, THE Another fantastic Abel Ferrara/Christopher Walken movie. Slow-moving drama, but very very good, with a tragic ending.****
GETTING INTO HEAVEN - Something Weird. Uschi Digart is an aspiring actress named "Heaven," her roommate is an aspiring actress named "Sin," Heaven sleeps with a young geeky cop so he won't give her a speeding ticket - and he falls in love with her. Meanwhile, a gross movie producer keeps "hilariously" chasing both women around trying to... well, RAPE them basically. But in a FUNNY, 1970 way! They both of course give in and love it. But he won't give them a role! Finally they're determined to get parts out of him so they (and one of their friends) set him up in a bedroom and plan to wear him out and force him to sign a contract to put them in a movie. Unfortunately, he's hilariously a zany satyr-type person, and has sex with each of them about 25 times each! (as 'hilariously' recorded on a chalkboard). In the end, they're all tired out, he's ready for more, and suddenly he has a great idea for a movie. Basically a real worthless piece of crap, but nudity aplenty. ****
HOLY MOUNTAIN - 1973 experimental art film by Alejandro Jodorowsky. I had already seen the eccentric director's fantastic "Santa Sangre," so I thought I was in the mood for some more of his visual zaniness. This film is certainly full of bizarre, entrancing visuals -- including a couple dozen frogs dressed in military gear to re-enact a war, a Jesus-looking homeless man waking up in a storeroom to realize that a company has gotten him drunk and created hundreds and hundreds of life-size plastic replicas of him, and a firing squad shooting a family dead, at which point a bunch of birds fly out of the father's chest wound. And this continued throughout the whole movie - really bizarre imagery for nearly two hours. Unfortunately, the plot is threadbare. As such, I fell asleep over and over and over. Try as I might, I simply couldn't keep my eyes open for a two-hour movie with almost no plot. Oh well.**
HOT DOG...THE MOVIE No clue why I bought this. 80s sex comedy about skiing. Not much comedy really - it's not slapstick like you'd expect. More just these dopey guys trying to help a young skiier succeed against a big evil German guy who wins the tournament every year. Enjoyable, but not anything I'll ever think about again.***
JACK THE RIPPER One of the worst Jess Franco ones I've ever seen, and that's saying a lot. This movie was so dull, it literally INFURIATED me.*
JACKASS PART TWO Hilarious! These guys crack me up. Do you like them at all? I've never seen so much male nudity in an R-rated film before. I guess somebody at the MPAA spoke up and said, "You know -- nobody is going to be sexually excited by the sight of a man getting his testicle stuck to an ice figure of a horse." ****
JOHNSONS - Interesting Danish horror movie about a set of psychotic mute septuplets created by a demented doctor in order to fulfill a prophecy involving the rape of their sister and subsequent enveloping of the Earth in pure evil. Also a really good portrait of a young girl going through those confusing puberty years. The ending's kinda lame though -- it turns out that the septuplets are very easy to kill! ***
KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE If you're drunk and have taken martial arts classes, this movie is HILARIOUS! I was laughing the whole time, even when I KNEW the gags were stupid! And 'A Fistful Of Yen' was fantastic fun! ****
KILLER NUN - A 'nunsploitation' classic from the late '70s. A nun has a nervous breakdown and starts hurting the old people she's supposed to be helping. Then MURDERS start happening and everybody blames her but she can't remember committing any of them. She keeps having blackouts. And there's nun nudity too, and lesbianism if memory serves. Because of this, I liked it! ****
LADY NINJA The Japanese are so ODD! This is from the 90s, and is a sexploitation action Kung Fu crime adventure comedy. These four Lady Ninjas battle a bunch of other Ninjas, basically for the right to MURDER the Shogun's former mistresses, who are hurting him politically by merely existing. A pretty evil premise, quite frankly, but it's easy to forget when they start doing crap like the "Ninja Power: Third Leg"! (guy grows enormous tree-trunk penis to kill woman via penetration) and "Ninja Power: Balloon"! (with tree-trunk penis in vagina, woman blows and blows and blows -- apparently from both ends? -- until the penis and testicles grow to hilarious inflated size and explode). And "Ninja Power: Poisoned Lactate" is pretty self-explanatory, I guess. Lots of silly nudity, and fun! I give it a thups umb! ***
LUST FOR FREEDOM - Troma's take on the 'women in prison' genre, full of corny '80s metal by Grim Reaper and bands like that. According to Psychotronic, this was actually an unreleased '70s movie that Troma bought, renamed, added narration and music to, and released as a new film. Ha! At any rate, it's a surprisingly entertaining 'wip' film considering Troma was involved. It's set in a small town out in California where the police and evil bounty hunters lure (or force) young women into a Women's Prison, drug them for days, set them up with fake drug arrests, and either sell them as white slaves to a lecherous old judge or force them to star in snuff films. The narrator is a female cop who falls into the trap. It features some very classy moments, especially the scene that keeps cutting back and forth between (a) two cellmates making tender sapphic love, (b) a prisoner being raped at arrowgun-point by a prison worker, and (c) a recaptured escapee chained topless to a wall and whipped by a huge muscle guy. At the end all the bad guys are killed, because it's a G-rated children's movie. ****
MADHOUSE - 1984 slasher. A woman's evil, deformed twin sister breaks out of an insane asylum, and suddenly a killer dog starts killing lots of people (including a deaf little boy! Whee!). The ending isn't exactly a surprise, but it's gruesome enough to be enjoyable. Hey, I like old slashers! Leave a guy be with his shitty movies! ***
THE MAJORETTES A late-period slasher featuring probably 15 or 20 of the least credible actors ever. They all sound like they don't even want to be in the movie! Possible murderers include an evil old German woman, a group of drug-dealing thugs, a retarded janitor/peeping tom, and a far-too-fanatic priest. In the last 25 minutes, it suddenly turns into a Rambo film, with a bare-chested high school guy blowing away the drug dealers with a huge gun he took from his father's gun cabinet. Most hilariously of all, the bad guy gets away at the end -- and his murderous obsession is shown to be progressing from high school cheerleaders to like seven-year-olds! Had it been a good film, it would have been boring. Instead, it was a lot of fun! ***
MAN FROM DEEP RIVER I constantly see this hailed as the 'first Italian Cannibal movie,' but that's a farce. There are cannibals, but only for about 10 minutes near the end. The rest of the movie is about a savage native tribe taking a Westerner hostage and eventually letting him join their tribe, at which point he falls in love, watches his wife die while giving birth, and decides to stay with the tribe to protect them. In other words, it's a fucking SLOW-MOVING LOVE STORY. Which would have been fine had it said anything about that on the box. Instead, it just bragged about horrible cannibal carryings-on that NEVER HAPPEN! **
MARQUIS DE SADE'S JUSTINE - From 1968 I think. Another Jess Franco movie! This one is actually a good one though, before he got lazy and miserable. At 124 minutes, and being a De Sade tale, I was expecting the worst sort of torture and sadness, but thankfully it was played more like a dark comedy (which I'm told is what De Sade's actual writings were like, though I've never read any). In other words, unlike Salo where you get nothing but torture torture torture and death, this one is set up so that the 'baddies' are like caricatures of baddies -- so obviously corrupt and evil that it's hilarious to watch the far-too-naive, innocent Justine fall for their lies over and over and over again. It's also nice that, although she is certainly whipped and threatened with rape and such, she never actually IS raped -- and after all of her tribulations, she winds up with a happy ending! So good work, Jess Franco. Keep it real! ****
NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES - Not anywhere near as sleazy as you'd expect with a title like this. Minimal nudity, and plot plot talking plot god the plot - 1 hr and 45 minutes worth! Luckily there's some good funny meanness and murder at the end. AL ADAMSON STINKS!!!! This is the second of his films that I've seen (the first being POSSESSION OF NURSE SHERRI) and they are really fucking bad. Just BORING! Not even bad enough to be good! Never again, Al! "I Won't Be Fooled Again," to quote the Beatles! **
NEKROMANTIK I can't believe my wife watched this with me. At one point she said, "I've never seen a movie that made me feel like vomiting as much as this one does." But she sat through the whole thing! It's hilarious. The filmmaker sets up necrophilic sexual acts as ROMANTIC scenes, with tender love music and erotic lighting -- it's really, really funny! (and purposely so) There are a couple of horrible murder scenes that kind of ruin the 'over-the-top gross sick fun' vibe, but they're kinda necessary to carry the plot to its riotously sick conclusion. I really liked this! It was different! ****
NOTORIOUS CLEOPATRA - 1970 sexploitationer about Marc Anthony, Caesar and Cleopatra. It was supposedly a 'sex comedy,' but I don't think I recall any of it being 'funny' per se. A Something Weird re-release of course, with plenty of naked women (or 'broads'). ***
REINCARNATION OF ISABEL I've never in my life seen a movie that makes as little sense as this one. There is never any explanation of what is actually going on, what is a flashback, what is a fantasy, what is a nightmare, etc. It's just a bunch of stuff going on in a scary old mansion with no explanation. Lots of nudity though, so who cares.***
RUN VIRGIN RUN Adorable silly sex comedy from Germany 1973. In this little village, all the young wives send their old husbands off to the woods once a year to breathe deep of 'The Fern,' a wind that makes them all fertile, real men and keeps the village populated with youngsters. However, the wily lasses are actually being impregnated by the town's young blacksmith, who sexually services them while their husbands are out in the woods! (My wife raised the obvious point: 'So what happens when all these kids grow up and start inbreeding?'). It's cute - full of adorable silly characters and nudeness. ***
RUTLES: ALL YOU NEED IS CASH - Much, much funnier than I'd remembered. Sure, most of their songs aren't funny, but this movie sure is. Eric Innes NAILS every John Lennon phase as "Ron Nasty," Eric Idle is an absolute scream as the wide-eyed 'cute one' Dirk McQuickly, and they cast an actual INDIAN (Rikki Fataar) to play the George Harrison character! HA! So many great parts, I can't even begin to name them. But I will! The "Ouch!" video; the Summer of Love with all the hippy bands under the influence of Tea (newspaper headline: 'Stones Party Bust: Naked Girl and a Teapot'); the robbing of Rutle Corps records; Ron Nasty's Nazi girlfriend; the 'Rutles Are Bigger Than Rod' scandal; the way the narrator keeps being dragged along mercilessly by his cameraman; the "Piggy in the Middle" video; the animated "Yellow Submarine Sandwich" sequence - and so on and so on. I was smiling the whole time! If you love the Beatles, you'll like Utopia's Deface The Music LP! *****
SAFE Strange Todd Haynes film about a 'vapid housewife' who becomes 'allergic to her environment.' Neat to watch because his directing style is so strange. Interesting that the main characters seem to have no personality at all. Some very, very funny '80s-related fashions and dialogue and such. ***
SATAN'S BED - Hilariously rotten, terrible old 1965 Michael/Roberta Findlay production starring Yoko Ono as a Japanese woman (deuhrr) who is about to marry an American drug dealer (she doesn't know he's a drug dealer). A member of the mob doesn't want to let the man retire, so he hunts down Yoko, kidnaps and repeatedly rapes her. Apparently the Findlays didn't film enough footage for a whole movie, so another director filmed a 'side story' about three drugged-up hoodlums who go around forcing sex on women in their homes, cars, wherever. The two plot strands never connect, and the film ends with Yoko running away from her kidnapper -- into the street, where she's hit by a car and kiiled. Say, that's some good filmmaking! **
SCRAPBOOK - I had read that this is a very disturbing movie about a serial killer who makes his victims write about their tortures in his scrapbook, which is also full of bloody photos, snatches of hair, etc. What I HADN'T read is that it's a shot-on-video piece of amateurish shit starring people who can't act doing stupid things and reciting boring dialogue. I made it through 10 minutes, and only made it that far because about half of it was full of tits. AVOID. *
SEEDS OF SIN - Long Island handheld low-budget shit filmmaker Andy Milligan made a movie about a creepy family having a reunion and being murdered one by one. (This was in the early 70s). He gave it to his producer, who decided it wasn't sleazy enough and responded by removing dialogue sections that bored him -- and replacing them with sex scenes starring people who aren't actually in the movie!!! It's hilarious and obvious the way he did it too because all the original scenes feature old-fashioned music and the new sex footage features sleazy sex music. So like Andy will have a scene of the homely, crazy daughter looking at muscleman magazines and taking her clothes off (establishing that she is lonely and in need of male companionship), then suddenly the music turns all funky and there are five minutes of a woman -- HER HEAD NOT SHOWN -- masturbating while muscleman magazines lie on the bed in front of her. Same with the sex scenes -- once the funky music comes in, suddenly the heads aren't in the shots anymore! Terrible yet unbelievably hilarious. Some great murders too, including acid thrown into a woman's face! ****
SILENT MADNESS Slasher. Distinguishes itself by having the psychiatrist protagonist stalked not only by a mistakenly-released homicidal maniac, but also by her own scandal-fearing employer! Very creepy hospital orderlies, mute psycho, murders, etc. Slasher, in other words. ***
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT Here's another one that I was expecting to be a basic slasher, but nose iree! Instead it starts off as a very sad story about a child who watches his parents get raped and murdered by a guy dressed as Santa Claus, before being placed under the care of a mean old bitch nun. He still manages to grow up into a nice young man, though a little odd - and he gets really nervous at Christmastime but doesn't know why (he can't remember the incident). Finally his workplace forces him to dress like Santa, and (following a few other disappointments) he loses his mind and becomes the Santa that his childhood self saw - the murderous 'punishing' Santa. Unfortunately, he then spends the rest of the movie saying "KILL!" and "PUNISH!" in a really dumb voice before slaying people in interesting ways. So they had something going for a while, then pretty much lamed it out. I still enjoyed the second half because of the interesting, fun killings (like picking up Linnea Quigley and impaling her on a deer head mounted on the wall -- the horns go through her back and come out the front of her chest - whee!), but the character was just lame after that -- His performance was "PUNISH!"-ing, as a hilarious pun-making comedian might say. ***
SINDERELLA AND THE GOLDEN BRA - Something Weird re-release of a 1964 nudie-cutie musical. It wasn't funny and there was hardly any nudity at all, but I enjoyed it! In my drunken state, I just found it hilarious every time somebody would burst into a dumb little song. And the long sequence of the Prince and his men going from house to house trying to fit the golden bra onto every young woman in the village was of course fun. Doesn't hold a candle to CINDERELLA starring Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith though. In that one, it ain't the SHOE or BRA that fits!!! (It's the vagina) I'm not gonna tell you what it IS, but it sure ain't the SHOE or BRA!!! ***
THE SINFUL DWARF Sleazy Something Weird 1970-or-so sickie about a deranged woman and her grotesque dwarf son who rent rooms in their run-down apartment building, as well as keeping three kidnapped girls naked, strung out on heroin and locked in the attic for prostitution purposes. A failing writer and his young, nubile wife check into a room. He gets sent out of the country, she discovers the attic, and is CAPTURED! Tons of nudity and complete sleaze, along with some really dull scenes stuck in just to drag the length out to 90 minutes. Good! Especially near the end when the cop and husband find the attic room with the drugged-up naked girls, and the cop says to the husband, "Can you shoot a gun?" When he replies in the affirmative, the cop hands him a gun and leaves him alone in the room with the deranged old woman. HA! So he kills her of course, just as we all would. Good old policemen. ***
THE SLAYER Very low-budget early 80s slasher about two married couples that go to a run-down scary-looking island for a vacation. The woman swears she's dreamt about the place before, and is it turns out, she has since she was a child. There's a monster that kills people in her dreams and reality at the same time. So she keeps waking up and going, "Bill is dead!" or "Janet is dead!" because she saw them being killed. There are some really gross murders as hoped, including a guy who gets a fishing hook wrapped into his neck and is then 'reeled in' to the ocean to drown there. The script with the dream monster coming to life through the woman is pretty weak and unexplained though. Still, the atmosphere was scary and the ending is hilarious (the entire movie was the dream of a little girl -- the little girl who is the HEROINE as an adult in the movie! So she's dreaming/foreseeing her demise as a grown woman!)***
SNUFF - HILARIOUS! My sweet Jesus, Michael Findlay was the most incompetent moviemaker OF ALL TIME! How can people idolize Ed Wood Jr. when THIS guy was out there? His movies seem like no human being could possibly have made them! Was he retarded? How could he not have realized that NONE of his movies feature humans behaving in a manner in which humans actually behave? God, it's so so BAD and wonderful! He has a police interrogation take place at a desk OUTSIDE IN THE YARD BEHIND A BUILDING!! At any rate, the film is based on the Manson case, with Satanic killer hippies doing horrible awesome things while acting poorly. But it's mostly known because years after the film was completed, a scumbag producer tacked on a newly-filmed bit of the least realistic 'snuff' footage you can imagine. Shot from multiple angles! With the killer's voice rising into an ECHOED, DELAY PEDAL "HA HA HA HA!!!" as he plays with the actress's 'intestines'! The fact that people have even heard of this movie is a scream. It's so wonderfully ROTTEN! The dialogue, the dubbing, the morality (at the end, the main female protagonist is inscrutably in bed with her boyfriend's FATHER!), the whole thing is just nuts! ***
SS HELL CAMP Slow but funny Naziploitation. Apparently a studio or producer had a half-finished WWII movie, and (presumably because it was too boring to complete), they decided to spruce it up with a bunch of sleazy new footage about a Nazi-created man-beast who violently rapes and kills any woman they throw into his cage. (He's actually just an ugly hairy man making gross faces and breathing heavy!) For a while, it was pretty obvious which footage was old and which was new, but by the end I'd swear that the same actors were in both, so who knows. Either way it was funny! ***
SWEET GEORGIA - Hmm. Well, for the first hour, it's a Southern sexploitation movie about "Sweet Georgia," who has sex with everybody except her husband (including her stepdaughter!). Then suddenly an hour in, she has sex with a ranch hand in a barn, and is then KICKED TO DEATH by a horse! (off-screen, but still). The husband comes in, accuses the ranch hand of raping and killing her, and kills the guy with a pitchfork. Then he kills ANOTHER guy! Then he goes home and tries to rape his daughter! So... yeah, basically the scriptwriter got bored halfway through is what happened.***
TARZUN AND THE VALLEY OF LUST - A 49-minute film that felt about 4 hours long. With a title like that, wouldn't you assume it would be a comedy? Well, it's NOT! It's just this awful softcore jungle drama. Starts with Jane skinny-dipping, then a gorilla attacks and rapes her, then Tarzun comes along and stabs the gorilla in the penis, then he heals Jane's burning vagina by pushing a banana in and out of it, then he has sex with her, then he goes off to get fish and the gorilla comes along and rapes her again. Then he kidnaps her and runs off, and Tarzun goes after them. But then Tarzun is sidetracked by a large-breasted native, and they have sex. Finally, he returns to his search for Jane, but by this point both the gorilla and Jane have been captured by this tribe who won't stop going "hooga booga hooga booga" or some annoying chant like that, and they're planning to rape her, and by this point I was really drunk and I'm not really sure how it ended. I think Jane and Tarzun ended up free, and the native girl ended up screwing the gorilla or something. Who knows. IT WAS MISERABLE.*
THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE - Have you heard of this? I'd read it was a big influence on Quentin Tarantino so I thought, "Cool! Action!" which was foolish because I forgot how talky his movies are. At any rate, it was NOTHING AT ALL like a Quentin Tarantino movie. It was, in fact, one of the absolute strangest films I have ever seen in my life -- and that's saying a lot! It is 1 hr, 47 minutes long and involves a mute young woman who is kidnapped, hooked on heroin and forced into prostitution. After her parents commit suicide (due to a bitter assholish note that her pimp wrote and made her sign), she decides to slowly, sloooooowly, sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowly work towards revenge, by learning martial arts, survivalist fighting techniques, race car driving (?), and firearms shootingness. Then when she DOES exact her revenge, every murder takes place in very, veeeeeeeeeeeeeery, veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery slow-motion so you can watch all the jets of blood shoot from their mouths and hang out on screen for 15, 20 seconds at a time. On the 'more specific' tip, the movie is Swedish from 1974, and is paced like an art film. However, it's an art film that happens to include several brief scenes of hardcore penetration pornography at the hands of her "customers." It's very shocking when it shows up on screen (in close-up, because it wasn't the real actress performing those scenes, but a XXX stand-in), but not at all in an erotic way. I mean, she's basically being RAPED, though getting paid for it. And the entire middle of the movie goes like this: "1 or 2 minutes of prostitution/1 or 2 minutes of martial arts/1 or 2 minutes of shooting gun/1 or 2 minutes of driving race car/1 or 2 minutes of prostitution/1 or 2 minutes of martial arts/1 or 2 minutes of shooting gun/1 or 2 minutes of driving race car/1 or 2 minutes of prostitution/1 or 2 minutes of martial arts/1 or 2 minutes of shooting gun/1 or 2 minutes of driving race car." While watching it, I just kept saying out loud, "WHY ARE THEY SHOWING US ALL THIS????" I guess the director really wanted to make it clear that a lot of time was passing so that we wouldn't think, "Oh bullshit, she couldn't learn all this in 10 minutes" when she gets her revenge. Perhaps a simple "Six Months Later" would have accomplished the same goal. I mean, they showed everything, and did so with VERY little soundtrack music and a protagonist who never says a single word. Which makes everything seem even SLOWER. Having said all that, I did like the movie. It was a vision unlike any I'd ever seen. And even if I would never want to watch it a second time, I'm glad I saw it, and certain scenes keep replaying themselves in my mind. But sheesh, what the hell were they GOING for!? An art-drama-tragedy-action-exploitation-horror-porn-martial-arts-rape/revenge film? ***
TOWER OF EVIL - 1970 British thing about bloody murders on a windy, desolate island. Pretty entertaining in that the two couples who investigate are chockfull of sex-related issues (basically the women have both slept with both men, the married man is trying to leave his wife for the other woman, his wife is a slut whore who sleeps with everybody, etc), and lots of darkness and intrigue. ***
VAMPYROS LESBOS Jess Franco is a terrible moviemaker. This is a boring boring SO FUCKING BORING 'erotic vampire lesbian movie.' No plot to speak of. Bad! Good title though.**
THE VAN Dopey, worthless 70s sex comedy about a perpetually giggling young man who spends his life savings on a customized van so he can get laid. He then fails to get laid, and falls in love with a girl who thinks he's a sleazeball. It all works out in the end, probably. **
VIBRATIONS - Joe Sarno sexploitation from the 60s. This guy's movies were very interesting -- sexually-oriented but also very psychologically dark, focused on need, longing, addiction, that sort of thing. In this one, a sexually voracious woman becomes addicted to the 'orgy group' that resides in the apartment next door to her sister's. Very odd film featuring a gigantic vibrator. (not dildo, just vibrator). Good stuff if you like drama! ****
WHAM BAM THANK YOU SPACEMAN Something Weird mid-70s sleaze softcore porn about two hilariously obscene aliens who keep awkwardly saying things like, "Okay, enough masturbation. Let's fuck" before their pointy noses get really long and they insert them into Earth women's vaginas, thus pleasing the women greatly and turning them into sex-obsessed sluTTTs (as well as impregnating them with alien seed). At the end the alien babies begin being born, but it's a comedy, not a horror movie, so it's all just wacky. Basically a bunch of nudity, people bouncing up and down, and stupid alien costumes.****
WICKER MAN (original version) - I loved this!!! The whole concept made for great humor - the uptight Roman Catholic cop slowly unraveling the truth behind a nudity/sex-obsessed Pagan island - and the ending was scary as all hell! I even already knew what the ending was going to be before watching, but they staged it in such a way that it still scared the bejeezlights out of me. Seriously - fantastic movie! Weird, funny, suspenseful, scary, nudity-full. And it was only bound to get better when they remade it with Nicholas Cage! ****
WILD, WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD - Christ. Christ christ christ. For the first 30 minutes, you watch a BORING AS SHIT travelogue of Jayne Mansfield traveling around the world, being chased by fans, talking about how much she loves her audience, etc. Then suddenly all the places she visits start becoming nudity-oriented (strip club, strip beach, strip everything!), then after an hour's time, Jayne (her voice has been the voice-over narration the entire boring time) says "I really enjoyed my trip to Paris, California, (etc) and I look forward to spending more time with my fans in the future!" or something like that, over a first-person viewpoint scene from inside a car driving down a tree-lined street. Then suddenly --- ERRRRRRRCH CRASH!!!!!! And the last 15 minutes are about Jayne being killed in a car accident, complete with death footage of her corpse (AND HER DOG!!!) and scenes of Mickey Hargitay walking around their house sad-eyed, looking at photos of her. It is the most unbelievably exploitative movie I have ever seen. I mean, they found it appropriate to FAKE A CAR CRASH right when her narration ended!? Good fucking God!!! Terrible movie, but christ what a shock it was when they did the car crash scene. Even down to the happy pippy cheery music suddenly turning DARK and the camera shaking violently. Awful! **
WOMEN'S PRISON MASSACRE Actually 'Emanuelle Escapes From Hell' with Laura Gemser as the title character. In this one, a group of four homicidal thugs take over the women's prison and havoc ensues, I guess. The district attorney is involved in the drugs trade and tries to get Emanuelle killed. Some Russian Roulette here, some forced sex there, lots of blood and nudity -- I can't remember how it ends. I know the District Attorney tries to kill all the convicts and their hostages when they run out of the jail, but after that, I just can't remember. Maybe Emanuelle grabs a gun and shoots the District Attorney? I can't remember! Man, you know a movie is a classic when you can't remember the climax. "'Apocalypse Now'? Oh yeah, Martin Sheen goes down this river and sees all this violence and inhumanity, then he gets to the end and... something. I think Dennis Hopper may have been in there, riding a motorcyle. Not sure." ***
ZETA ONE - I'm quickly learning that British sex comedies of the late '60s and '70s really WERE as awful as I'd read in those books I read that time. This one is supposedly a parody of James Bond films (the main character is a British secret agent named 'James Word'), but the film moved so goddamned slowly that I couldn't stay awake. 45 minutes through, I announced aloud, "Christ! It's halfway over and nothing has happened at all!" It had something to do with a woman from outer space kidnapping earth women and brainwashing them or something. I don't know. I don't know, and I don't care! I didn't make it to the end, there was only nudity like once every 20 minutes, and the whole experience was depressing. *
ZOMBIE LAKE One of the most brilliantly inept movies I have ever seen or will ever see. Supposedly Jean Rollin directed it, but if so he must have been high on LSD the whole time because EVERYTHING about the movie is ridiculous and horrible and amateurish. The dialogue! The acting! The dubbing! The make-up! The script! The direction! Seriously, if you can find a copy of this, you MUST watch it. It just gets funnier and funnier and funnier because it's SO FUCKING BAD. And you know I've seen bad movies. This one is incredible - I literally kept thinking to myself, "Okay, it's reached its plateau. It can't get any more inept, so from this point on it will just get boring." But then it would get even MORE inept! Scenes like a little boy running up and yelling at a man, "We found Betsy! She's dead!" and then the camera continuing to film his expressionless face for like SIX MORE SECONDS before finally switching back to the man, who says to the little girl, "Did you hear that?," at which point the little girl goes into the house without saying anything. Or how about, even though the entire town knows that zombies are coming out of the lake to kill all the women, the young woman taking a leisurely topless bath out in her backyard? Or the red and green facial splotches that are supposed to make you believe the actors are zombies? Or their scuttling, foot-dragging gait! God, it's AWFUL! Oh - or the superimposed fire effects for the big finale? Or the way the girl at the very beginning walks (naked) up to a 'no swimming' sign and bothers to pull the sign out of the ground and throw it down, as if to say, "Screw you, sign! I'm going swimming!"? Or the way you can see the 'dead' people blinking when the camera films on them for too long? I know video productions are generally pretty bad, but this one was SHOT ON FILM! So it LOOKS like a real horror movie; it's just exceptionally, hilariously retarded and boneheaded. There's also a ton of full frontal nudity, which is another good reason to see it.****
THE BEAST WITHIN (1982) Okay, so this man who looks like a cicada rapes an unconscious woman in the woods, see. Then 17 years later, the woman's teenage son develops a severe pituitary gland disorder and is psychically attracted to the small town where the rape happened. Suddenly a series of grotesque murders begins to take place! I'm not going to give away the identity of the guilty party, because lord knows the title of the movie doesn't do that. But I will tell you that the film is much creepier, bloodier, violenter and enjoyabler than I was expecting, while at the same time I really felt for the poor kid. He can't even love the girl he has a crush on because the beast within (oh sorry - SPOILER! back there) him wants to slash her apart! The corrupt mayor's eventual explanation of the film's mysterious events doesn't make much logical sense, but by that point the movie has kicked so much ass, you just kinda have to let it go. ****
BIG BUST LOOPS VOL. 4 - This VHS compilation came in a Something Weird Video lot I won on ebay some time ago. Let's face it; a little 'big bust loop' goes a long way. I mostly just fast-forwarded through the 2-hour extravaganza and put it back on ebay. However, if you're a big bust fan with no interest in dialogue, color, women being attractive, or anything going on at all, this is IT! **
THE DEAD PIT (1989) Zombie/undead evil doctor movie that distinguishes itself by featuring the most incredible overacting -- everybody in the film overacts -- and most overdramatic soundtrack I've ever encountered. Although more (unintentionally) funny than scary, I seem to recall it being somewhat fun and gory. There was this one guy who did this sort of silly thing, for example. That was pretty funny. **
FANTASM COMES AGAIN (1978) Wall-to-wall softcore full-frontal nudity sex! An Australian movie in which a pair of newspaper advice columnists read through a selection of readers' letters, which then magically come to life through the magic of people acting them out. Brilliant scenarios include: a naive high school gymnast girl whose coach quite easily convinces her to practice with no clothes on - later, they have SEX; a woman who is invited to a party at her new boss's house, only to have it turn into a big ol' orgy of SEX; drive-in theater SEX (with Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith! She's dead now!); lesbian barnhouse SEX (with Uschi Digart! She gets covered in hay and the farmer comes in and accidentally pokes one in the butt!); and many other SEX scenes with NUDITY and LIGHT HUMOR. I loved it! I have no taste at all! *****
SEX CLINIC (1971) Okay, let's say you're me and you theoretically find '70s British sex comedies to be a hoot. Okay, so say I didn't read this box closely enough and it turned out to be a 'sex drama' with an extremely depressing ending. I guess I enjoyed it, in its own way. So if you like boobs and crying, feel free to bid on my ebay auction of it. Hey, my wife liked it! Said it was 'much better than the crap (I) usually watch.' Quite the ringing endorsement! **
TWO GIRLS FOR A MADMAN (1968) An obscure 'roughie' from the old 'grindhouse' days of 'Times Square' with its 'sexploitation' movies made by 'complete assholes' with 'no talent.' The bad guy is a lunatic with huge teeth who can't stop laughing. I don't even want to go into the actual plot, but suffice it to say that one of the titular two girls, after being raped by him, raves to her friend about what a "real man" he was! This girl of course dies in a plane crash at the end for no reason. Good work, classy screenwriter! ***
WHITE SLAVE (1986) This Italian film by Franco Prosperi of "Goodbye Uncle Tom" and "Mondo Cane" fame concerns an 18-year-old girl who is kidnapped by a tribe of natives in the Amazon after her parents are murdered and beheaded. As we all do from time to time, she slowly falls in love with one of the natives, who (much later than necessary) tells her that it wasn't actually the natives who murdered her parents, but a white person. She slowly comes to realize who actually committed the murders - and gets her REVENGE!!!! Unfortunately, the man she loves then commits suicide because his tribe forbids fraternizing with a murderer or something, I don't know, I was pretty TOAST-WASTED by that point. "White Slave" would have made a passable 25-minute film, but unfortunately drags on for 90 minutes for absolutely no reason at all. It's basically like an Italian cannibal movie converted into a TV soap opera. I fell asleep several times and thus had to keep rewinding the thing to figure out what was going on (it usually wasn't much). A flat boring movie with flat, boring nudity. *
WOMEN IN FURY (1984) I love Woman In Prison (or "WIP") films, and try to see every single one I can get my hands on. So far, these have included such treasures as: "Reform School Girls," "The Arena," "10 Violent Women," "Black Mama, White Mama," "Amazon Jail," "Caged Fury," "Women In Cages," "The Big Bust-Out," "Bad Girls Dormitory," "Barbed Wire Dolls," "Escape From Hell," "Lust For Freedom," "Violence In A Women's Prison," "The Big Bird Cage," "The Big Doll House," "Wanda The Wicked Warden," "Caged Heat" and this here "Women In Fury." Every single one of these films is exactly the same. But let's try to focus on the minor differences that make this one the one I'm reviewing right now. Out in a jungle or some crap, this woman is arrested for the murder of a mob king that her drug addict brother actually killed. The prison warden is connected to the mob and knows that the woman can identify another mafia figure that was in the room at the time, so he keeps trying to 'rub her out.' Most of the women inmates walk around topless all the time just like in real jail, and eventually the heroine escapes with a few fellow inmates, one of whom somehow kills like 25 cops by ramming her car into a truck that they're all hiding behind. It explodes and that's about it! Lots of dandy torture and nudity, and at the end the heroine is living happily ever after with a case of amnesia; she can't remember who she was or what she did prior to being out of prison. The movie claims to be a true story. Since every single character besides Amnesia Woman dies, it's intriguing to wonder who exactly brought this true story to the director's attention. ***
HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1995) - Why is it so difficult for them to make a scary "Halloween" film? I still love the first one, and also enjoyed the 4th one when I saw it a few years back, but all the others STINK TO HIGH HEAVEN! They're not even silly slasher fun like the Friday the 13th films; it's like they honestly want to be scary, but are just incapable of being so! This entry tries to create a mythology behind Michael Myers involving Pure Evil, ancient Druid symbolism and sacrificial rites, but it doesn't work because the screenwriter fails to adequately develop the themes. Plus it's just fucking STUPID how they introduce this dumb Druid 'symbol' into the proceedings. Michael impales a woman on a pitchfork in an early scene, and when Dr. Loomis and his friend arrive on the scene, there's this huge symbol burned into the building. The friend asks, "What's that?" and Loomis replies, "That's his symbol. He's come home." Well gee, funny how that symbol was never shown or mentioned in any of the FIRST FOUR GODDAMNED MICHAEL MYERS MOVIES!!!! Good work, screenwriter. You're the king. The acting is miserable too. How is it that a director is unable to recognize obvious bad acting when it is taking place? Can't he just reshoot the scene and tell the person to stop acting like a tool? Having said that, there are some great murder scenes - really gruesome stuff. But that's the only decent thing about the movie, and it's not nearly enough. Oh! Also, the dialogue sounds like it was written by 12-year-olds. **
IN A GLASS CAGE (1985) - This disturbing Spanish psychological horror film centers on a Nazi 'doctor' who continues his pedophilic child-murdering ways in recluse after War's End. As the film begins, he suddenly feels a pang of conscience after torturing and killing yet another little boy, and tries to commit suicide with a leap off the roof. He survives, but is confined to an iron lung (and a spiteful wife). Then the movie really gets a-going when a Spanishman in his late teens sneaks into the house, tells the man he witnessed his final murder, and demands that he be hired as the invalid's 'nurse.' But if you think this is setting up to be a classic revenge tale, think once more! The youth is even more black-hearted and insane than the old man. The film has been compared to SALO in terms of its depiction of ultimate human corruption and cruelty, but it's much slower and more dramatic (less gross and over the top) than that one. Instead, it feels real - creepily real. Pay special attention to the invalid's little girl too; she's a fantastic actress in a very strange role. So if you're a big fan of child torture/murder and being slowly horrified, you can't go wrogn! ****
THE MAD BUTCHER (1971) - This low-budget Italian/German horror/comedy stars Victor Buono as a butcher who kills people and turns them into sausage. I don't know why I bothered watching it; it was a complete waste of time. The film was neither funny nor scary; it was just kinda.... well, it was a movie. **
SATAN WAS A LADY (1975) - Fans of directress Doris Wishman's classic '60s/'70s sexploitation films (NUDE ON THE MOON, BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL, PLEASE LET ME DIE A WOMAN, etc.) will be thrilled to learn that her X-rated hardcore movies were every bit as inept as her unrated exploitation ones! In this one, a young woman believes that she is engaged to marry her faithful boyfriend, but he is actually a sleazeball having sex with every girl he can get his hands on - including her SISTER (portrayed by good old Annie Sprinkle). Eventually the 'boyfriend' feigns poisoning at the hands of the sister, then pretends to come back to life out of his coffin, driving the naïve girl out of her mind. A policeman figures out that the 'boyfriend' was in cahoots not with the girl's seemingly evil sister but in fact her mother. As it turns out, this 'mother' is actually a STEPmother, who has colluded with the 'boyfriend' to drive the weak-hearted girl to an early grave so they can steal her inheritance. You know all that plot I just discussed? It all takes place in the last one and a half minutes of the film. The preceding 67 1/2 minutes are scenes of people fucking. But BE WARNED! Apparently Doris also made a non-XXX movie called "Satan Was A Lady." So if you want to see this one, buy the Alpha Blue "70s Porn Cult Directors: Doris Wishman" disc. Heck, buy the whole set! They're terrible! ***
STAGE FRIGHT (1983) - This British slasher (not the terrible Michele Soavi film) involves a little girl who is blamed for her mother's death, thereafter growing up to be an amateur actress with multiple-personality disorder. She kills all her victims with shards of broken glass (she always breaks a pane of glass or mirror or something before murdering), then can't remember whether the murders were real or just a nightmare. It's intriguing to watch the actress realistically go from shy&sweet to angry&rude to insane&murderous all within a few seconds of screen time, and the murder scenes look pleasingly painful and gory. The only problem is that I kept expecting the plot to lead to some great twist or revelation, but the 'revelation' turns out to be "Say, you know how that one character seems like she has multiple-personality disorder and keeps killing everybody with shards of glass? Well, we hope you enjoyed that. Have a good evening!" ***
THE WILD AND THE NAKED (1961) - This Halloween, prepare for the scare of your life if you can find a copy of this SCAAAAARRRRRY old 'classic'! Now first of all, there's no dialogue; just voice-over. But that just helps to set the SCARRRRYY mood! Okay, so this woman is a model, I guess, and she does a nude model shoot, I guess. And then she goes down to a pool and dances around it, very poorly, in a bikini. Then she goes to a hot nightspot and some creep tries to feel her up while they're dancing. She smacks him and leaves. Five minutes later, she hitch-hikes and he picks her up, her not realizing it's him until the car is already moving. Then he pulls into a deserted area and tries to rape her. She runs away, off to the beach. Certain she is now safe, since she's a good 100 feet from the guy, she takes all her clothes off and goes swimming. But oh no! Then she's attacked by a homeless man! She runs away from him and luckily the guy who'd tried to rape her earlier decides to be a hero and knock the homeless guy out with a rock or pole or something. She runs about 100 yards away, feels safe, and sits down naked. A few minutes later, the homeless guy wakes up and finds her (why didn't the attempted rapist find her first? We'll never know), and ties her down spread-eagled on the ground so he can rape her. Just then, a nice guy in a motorboat speeds up to shore and shoots the homeless guy dead. The naked girl joins him in the motorboat and they speed off as the camera foreshadowingly films THE GUN HE'S LEFT BEHIND ON SHORE!!!! However, this plot point is never brought up again. The naked girl falls in love with the guy and they go to shore and she goes skinnydipping, but then an apeman jumps out of a tree and attacks both of them. They run through the woods and are rescued by a tribe of topless women dancing around. That's how it ends. Really, really fantastic film. Won probably 16 Oscars.
See? Ridiculous! So no more of this talk about me reviewing movies.
Just in case you couldn't figure out the lyrics at the beginning of The Birmingham School of Business School. Starting off an album with screaming is easy and trite compared to the grumpy tantrum M.E. Smith launches into here. Who else could pull this off? And you just want to hug him after he goes on to tell you how stupid you are. You dumb human. (I'm trying to impersonate Mark E. Prindle's writing style here). The first 30 seconds of this song pretty much sum up the Fall's raison bran d'etre. Lovingly flippant. (That's a paradox, class). No self-respecting rock-n-roll love/hate-relationshipper should be without this one.
The B side of the 7" "Kimble" features one of their greatest speed-rants, a Peel session version of "CnCs Mithering" retitled "CnC Hassle Schmuk" containing the golden Fall moment: 'Oh dear friends I can't go on, Arthur Askey's just been shot. We must do a tribute!' For US-based f-faces, Arthur Askey was an irritating geriatric English comedian rumoured to have once slagged The Fall.
Wise words and a great dance track too. Seems the Dave Bush machine clatter has really left it's mark, Mark (Oh ho ho fucking ho), perhaps too much sequencing but it doesn't spoil the affair. Lost in Music is fairly redundant, a throw away joke track, but the band do groove. Fireworks seems to be my favourite (I can see this too is a redundant track but I like it, so go fuck yourself.) Sorry, I don't mean to be rude. I know where the delete key is but I'm too lazy, or contrary, to even bother (although i do try to auto spell check, punctuate, add metre blah blah blah.)
7/10. Only a few more maybe... I am getting attacked by a fucking HUGE wasp, fucking ying yang indeed!
Oh, if you don't know who the aforementioned Mr McShane is, check out Sexy Beast. I'm pretty sure he turns up towards the end as the steely eyed crime boss. Funny because here in Air Strip One we remember him as 'Lovejoy' (a mulleted antiques rogue with an eye for the ladies and the intrusive breaking of the fourth wall plot exposition motif) and coffee ads, (as an 'actor' prepared to take the cash off a multi national coca bean kidnapping scam.)
HEY HEY HEY HEY.... drop yer jaws. M.E.S as a corporate whore?.
We've had a series of car ads with 'Touch Sensitive' as the soundtrack AND the single was re-released with print ads saying 'From the car ad blah blah blah. Weak. Still everyone has to earn a living. I'm off to Salford with my piano wire and tinned carrots. Mark, the choice is yours.
That's a great song!
Can long-time fans enjoy this? They already DID! FUCK YOU!
Sorry, my right brain ate too much pizza earlier. This is the absolute finest collection of Fall material ever assembled. And by "finest," I mean (a) representative of the greatest number of Fall eras -- it features tracks from FOURTEEN different Fall albums!, (b) exciting to both new bees and longtime Fallers -- these are brand new alternative recordings! These are NOT the studio versions you know by feart - they're brand DIFFERENT studio versions! And GREAT! BOY, is he singing off-key in "Rebellious Jukebox"! And somebody's playing a bONGO! And "Cruisers Creek" has a stronger, louder lead guitar battling against the repetitive rhythm riff! , (c) full to busting with unbelievably great classic Fall songs -- "Athlete Cured"! "M5"! "New Face In Hell"! "What You Need"! "Dead Beat Descendent"! "Free Range"! "Middlemass"! "Smile"! Others"!", and (d) including a couple of tracks that U ain't gonna find NOWHERE else except bootlegs and an earlier Peel Session release (angular, scratchy original "Mess Of My" and bit-too-clean-but-fun-anyway cover of the Sonics' "Strychnine").
Seventeen tracks good, with NO two songs coming from the same Peel Session, tracking the band from Dragnet through Middle Class Revolt (and yes, they've recorded seven studio albums since that one, but this is still the most far-reaching and all-encompassing of any existing Fall compilation that I've ever smelled with my eye).
(my SMELL-eye, that is)
If you're curious about the band and want to get a good jist of what they're all about, come visit their many, many colours on the high-flying bird called The Peel Sessions!
(perhaps you could visit them on my SMELL-eye).
SMELL-eye Bakery and Snuff Films
Man, I dig the word "soundscapes." A fella named Bob Boster introduced me to the word. Good man, that Bob Boster. If you see him, shake his hand. But don't offer him an umbrella!! Cuz he don't use 'em!!!
As the album continues, "M5#1" and "Surmount All Obstacles" bury their melodies almost completely under computer noise (but ooo! what melodies they are!). Then the title track sounds like The Cars back when they were good, which wasn't that long ago. And there are other songs too, but why ruminate? "Hey! Student" is really punky (in a clean, non-threatening, Green Day-kinda way) and there are three fairly unnecessary covers, but I've always been one to bitch about covers. I like NEW songs, dammit! I don't wanna hear some band do some old band's crappy songs!!! New! Move forward!! Fortunately, I've never heard the originals of these three covers, so they still interest me. On a related note, if you wanna hear The Fall totally butcher The Beatles's "A Day In The Life," look for the Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father compilation. Mark does his best to turn it into a Fall song (adding "-ah" to the end of every line, changing "grabbed my hat" to "grabbed my stash," shouting "FALL!" right before the classic piano chord at the end), but...uh...he fails miserably. Let's move on.
Oh! Incidentally, I interviewed Mark Smith shortly after the release of this album (big important journalist that I am), and I got him to admit that Black Sabbath was one of his favorite bands when he was about 14! So if he ever gets a little too pretentious for you, just remember: At one point, he was a dumbass headbanging little British Beavis. Oh, the little ironies life presents. Like Blues Traveller. The hell is that shit?
Crap, this is a good album. The drum sound could not be fresher, louder, crispier - I guess that's what happens when you have two drummers, unless of course you're the Grateful Dead, in which case you just don't write any good songs. An absolutely fun listen - like a seesaw with an adorable picture of Mark wearing angel wings. I'd give it a 9, but the melodies, as a whole, aren't quite as creative and hypnotic as those on Middle Class Revolt. Still, it's awfully exciting to be surprised by a new Fall album! This is the first time in their career that they've made a full-tilt stylistic change this quickly, but it's wonderful! Not like REM and U2 trying to prove they're young hip old bags by putting on stupid sunglasses and playing overproduced generic 90's tripe, but a very talented band who were in the mood to make a different kind of album. A very creative 17th studio album. Look at that number. 17. The Fall have made 17 great studio albums. Oasis have made 0. That's all I'm saying.
Has anybody ever tried to do the aphid? Next time its as sunny, I will (I'm assured they're more docile than wasps.)
So overall Cerebral Caustic is a clever, intuitive-sounding pop record, and extremely loose (Fall). A high 8, easily; not as good as Grotesque.
The second time I saw them was in our nation's capitol on the Middle Class Revolt tour. I was thrilled to see Karl Burns serving as "second drummer," but Mark looked just as bored and drunk as before, and angry, too! The keyboard kept getting cut out of the mix, so Mark thrice left the stage in bitter British protest. In fact, the band had to play a few of the hits sans-vox (with Karl playing a cassette tape of Mark's voice into the microphone) until their esteemed egomaniacal leader saw fit to return to the stage. And you know what? They sounded better without him! He was fuqtup and just kept mumbling into the mic and ruining the great songs that the band was trying to play.
My point? Don't buy this double-live album unless you're already a fan, because if this is your introduction to The Fall, you'll hate them. Fall fans will find it entertaining - lots of dumb jokes, bad poetry, and hilariously drunken renditions of what used to be songs (plus two great new songs - "A Cloud Of Black" and "Noel's Chemical Effluence") - but those unfamiliar with the band should definitely stay away from this wretched excuse for a musical product. I still gave it a 7, though. Yours is not to reason why.
Yours is just to grab my thigh!
But why "Edinburgh Man"? I just don't like that song very much at all.
I'll write about the other albums in a minute. Now I gotta go run in place for fifteen minutes.
As if in carefully-calculated imitation of our pointless, mindless day-to-day existence on this cold stupid planet.
Plus it keeps me skinny so chicks dig me.
Hmm, apparently word order is more important in English than I thought.
The stuff is still basically simple music, but the way that the bass and drums interact in minimalist trash rock like "D.I.Y. Meat" and "Das Vulture Ans Ein Nutter-Wain" is definitely worth noting. It's like the best of every possible Fall world - the exciting, noisy, anything-goes feel of Grotesque, the wonderful boy-girl vocal interplay of the A Sides singles, the dark undertones of Bend Sinister, and even that dancey Infotainment Scan groove - all shoved together to create a hip new sound that we, the hip alternative music fans of the world, have never heard before! Real exciting.
And it's clear that these guys have a future, too! They sound so excited and energetic playing these new numbers, it's incomprehensible to think that they're actually probably all pushing forty (In comparison, those "bad boys" Oasis sound like a bunch of tired old men!). In closing, I'll admit that I'd love to give The Light User Syndrome a 9, but it gets a little weaker near the end, with a hideous cover tune and some pretty uneventful mood pieces. Still, the first ten songs are amazing, and the drunken dipsy-doodle "Secession Man" closes the work on an appropriately hilarious note. Fifteen huzzahs to the world's most prolific and consistently impressive rock and roll band.
Oh yeah. Brix quit again during the tour for this album.
I'd have to agree with you that bend sinister is about the poppiest (or at least catchiest) I've ever heard the fall. I don't see it as dark at all.
Similarly, I find Nation's Saving Grace as the most commercial-but-still-very-good albums.
I lost interest when they got dancey.
I set up a fall lyrics frame page @ http://www.lainet.com/~jnight
The sound is also more full, for lack of a better word. I think the understated keyboard work on the record really puts it over the top. It paints a background that really makes songs like "He Pep," "Hostile," and "the Coliseum" stand proudly in the company of their other best work.
The increasingly tiny ripples that new Fall records make in the U.S. marketplace make me sad, though. They haven't been over in too long a time either.
Anyway. The first nine tracks are indeed all really good and work excellently in setting up Hostile like someone else said. Oh, and I just don't like 'Cheetha Hill'. Sorry. But, but, after that 'Oxymoron' is a great scary reprise of 'He Pep!', Secession Man is indeed cheesy happiness - and sounds very, very much like 'Ton of Love' by Devo. Which I'm surprised nobody else seems to have picked up on, especially given that on the same album is a track called 'That's Pep!'.
'The Coliseum' would be good if it wasn't EIGHT SODDING MINUTES LONG. It just gets boring very quickly. I don't actually mind 'Last Chance to Turn Around', thugh it sounds so totally devoid of energy and interest that they should have put it on 'Middle Class Revolt', really...
But 'He Pep!' is damn good, even if it does sound like Mark runs out of words too early, 'Hostile' is an epic-sounding non-dance synth & drums fest, 'Stay Away' is sort of terrible, but in a loveable, sing-along kind of way, 'D.I.Y. Meat has a great beat, a really catchy synth line and makes a near-perfect opener, 'Spinetrak' is so catchy I have to listen to it almost every day (bear in mind I only got this album about three months ago), 'Oleano' is also really good but I don't remember why right now...and half or so of 'Chilinism' is absolutely great. When it descends into slow crooning from Mark and that other chap I fast-forward, though. Brr. Not good that. Not good. The rest is fantastic though, especially that near-dance bit that repeats for a while and is only about four seconds in life.
There are two more versions of 'Chilinism' on the re-release (from the single, I think) but they aren't worth hearing, and are only slightly different. So forgetting those, out of 15 tracks there are 10 GREAT songs, and none of those five are actually BAD just weaker.
The liner notes in my version make an interesting point when they say that this is the 'one everyone forgets. It's between '27 Points' and 'Levitate'. It's the last great Fall album.' Not having heard Levitate, Unutterable or Country on the Click yet, I think I have to agree.
Jockstrap? Hell! Pile of dog poop on my arm!
Remember there's no need for me to go berserk if you don't scratch my nice, blue merc.
Shit. I've just realised that my Big Black & Birthday Party L.P.s have been resting against a radiator and.... I'm giving up. Ta Ta
Brix sings on some of these, some have two guitarists (others one), some have keyboards you can hear (others don't), some have this moron gruff-voiced idiot (Mike Bennett) shouting excitedly like a four-year-old with fetal alcohol syndrome, but they all have one singular thing in common: it's neat how some of their songs sound so different live though. They play THOUR songs from Middle Class Revolt, FREE each from The Light User Syndrome and Cerebral Caustic, TOO from Code: Selfish and WON apiece from Shiftwork, I Am Kurious Oranj, Bend Sinister and This Nation's Saving Grace. I know we speak for all of us when I say it's a real drag that they didn't play anything from The Infotainment Scan, The Frenz Experiment, Extricate, The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall, Perverted By Language, Slates, Room To Live, Hex Enduction Hour, Grotesque (After The Gramme), Dragnet, Live At The Witch Trials or The Beatles' White Album.
Nobody but an obsessed collector idiot (me) would spend money on this, the seventy-five billionth live CD in the band's catalog. But that doesn't mean it's not good. It's really good! Good songs, interesting new arrangements - it's always a candy treat to hear a live CD that offers new and unfamiliar reworkings of songs you thought you knew by heart. The Fall have managed this quite a bit throughout the past decade because (a) Mark replaces all the members once a month and (b) They don't appear to practice at all. So here are some examples of this phenomenon, presented in bold living text to get you all excited about yet another live Fall CD that nobody's gonna buy.
Do you hear how "Chilinist" cruises along on full strummed guitars, and doesn't even include the three fast chords that mark the studio version? Perhaps Craig Scanlon had already left by the time they did this version. That growly-voiced Mike Bennett idiot won't shut up though and it drags on for 7 1/2 minutes. Also, the lyrical jokes fall flat as a horse when they're loud enough to hear ("Pink Floyd are short. The ninth richest country in the world -- bar none!").
And how about those two guitars playing different note sequences in "Don't Call Me Darling"? Yeah I know Brix sounds like a gruff obnoxious lesbo but so do the Kurds and now they have their own country.
"D.I.Y. Meat" features a guitar that's just making a really high ringing noise, as well as what Michael Nesmith might call a "Different Drum" pattern than the one on the studio release.
"Pearl City" - If you don't know a guitar line, don't try to play it!!! And here comes Mike Dumbass screaming the lyrics to "Secession Man" at the end. Why did Mark E. Smith put up with this crap? The guy sounds like a 55-year-old office worker overly giddy about his first chance to perform in front of a live audience. I picture him looking like that hilarious boss on The Office (British).
"L.A." - The final appearance of Mike Bennett. On a related note, when I was in 5th grade, I had a crush on this blonde girl named Gina Bennett. She rode bus number 223. I was a complete loser who never combed my hair, and that's about as far as that went. There are three vocalists on this song and not one of them doesn't sound ridiculous going "L! L! L! L! L! L! A! A! A! A!" fifty times louder than the music for ten minutes.
"Everything Hurtz" has an organ playing 4 descending notes. Was that in the original? If so, remove it from this list.
"The Mixer" sounds TERRIBLE! Untuned guitar, rolling drums, bass trying to play the right lines, synth buried - horrible! I mean, the song sucked to begin with but wait til you hear it performed incompetently!
Unlike "The Mixer," which is different in a disappointing way, "M5" too is different in a disappointing way. Because there are two guitarists, Brix has chosen to double the bass line, with the result that you can't hear the swishy guitar line that made the original so great. I don't even think there's a keyboard in there!
"Hey Student" must be a demo because Mark's voice is double-tracked and it fades out. The guitar plays the same thing the bass does, but kinda wrong. It's still a fun song though!
I have a bone to pick with people who work here. When I'm sitting on the crapper, why do so many people come into the crapper next door and literally SLAM the toilet seat down? I mean, they SLAM it! LOUD! It's so fucking rude and hateful, it makes me want to punch a hole through the partition between us and give 'em a tooth sandwich. Is it just that they're tapping it lightly and letting it fall? I know a lot of wussy office pricks are afraid of catching germs from toilet seats, so that might be it. Just letting the seat fall CLANGINGLY to the porcelain so they don't have to risk touching someone else's urine. As a co-founder and charter member of one of San Francisco's most successful piss club chains, I'll never understand the logic in this. Don't they realize that urine is cleansing? The ancient Monks of Baath believed that if you bathed in urine and rubbed it on your face before bed, you'd smell like a dick! They may have been right but that doesn't excuse little office wussies from their culpability. My headache = their culpability. Fuckers. Can't they just leave the seat up and squat over the hole? If they're so scared of what might be on the seat, why do they sit on it? Can't they just take a shit in their office drawer and leave my ears out of it? God it's pissing me off right now, just KNOWING they're out there wandering the corridors of my office. Maybe next time it happens, I'll kick down their stall door, shove their head in the pissbowl and slam the seat down on their HEAD over and over and over!!!
I have very few actual stressors in my life, you may be able to tell. Hey, do you ever do this? (*does thing*) For some reason, that gives me access to all the knowledge of the cosmos.
- "The Chiselers" with the wrong guitar line and Mark making "Brapp" noises on the keyboard
- bland-tastic renditions of the three least interesting songs in the entire Fall discography ("The Coliseum," "Edinburgh Man" and "The Mixer")
- "US 1980s-90s" without the riff
- "Pearl City" recorded on a defective tape so the audio sucks in and out -- kinda like the performance!
- Yet another rendition of Infotainment mediocrity "Glam Racket" with Brix's dumb-as-a-doorknocker mid-song rap: "You tell me you're a star/But I don't give a FUCK!/I watch your head expanding/As you're running out of LUCK!/I feel empty, 'cuz baby you suck me!" There's that word 'suck' again. Always be wary of self-fulfilling prophecies.
- An early version of "Ten Houses Of Eve" when they'd written nothing but the drumbeat
- Steve Hanley somehow flubbing up the ONE-NOTE bass line for a full three minutes of "Das Vulture Ans Ein Nutter-Wain"
- The bass-driven "15 Ways" with inaudible bass and Mark starting his vocals a line early
- "Spinetrack" with the flattest Brix vocals in history, which is saying quite a lot since she can't sing at ALL
- A completely unlistenable run-through of "Powder Keg" (LEARN TO PLAY THE GODDAMNED SONG, BRIX! IT'S NOT THAT HARD!!!)
- And finally -- say, you know that really loud fuzzed-out keyboard that drives "He Pep!"? Have you ever wondered how uneventful that song would be WITHOUT that keyboard hook in there? Well, wonder no more! You see, the entire second disc of this release features no audible instruments except the drums and occasional shitty tuneless guitar godawfulry!
Yes, The Idiot Joy Show is truly A MUST-OWN!!!!
But don't worry - today's your lucky day! As it turns out, I have an "extra" copy that I'd be willing to pass onto you at a very reasonable price! Just send an email with the subject "I'M AN IDIOT..." (short for "I'm An Idiot Joy Show Fan Who Would Like To Purchase Your...ahem...'extra copy'") and I'll set your ass right on up-ass. Hell, mail me a few 50s and I'll throw in a whole bag of sweet cocaine, packed by my buddies down at the "General Mills."
"Mickey's approach to a song is simple. He grabs the nation's favorites and gives them the stamp of his unique and abundant wit. The poor unsuspecting tune suddenly" and so on. This is how "Wheel of Fortune" becomes "I'm a Schlemiel of Fortune"! This is how "Yellow Rose of Texas" becomes "Roiselle From Texas." This is how "Home On The Range" becomes "Home ofen Range," which I don't really understand but then I don't really understand a single joke on this fucking album since I don't speak Yiddish and I don't know a thing about Jewish culture. And what about "Don't Let The SCHMALTZ Get In Your Eyes"? Did anybody say "How Much Is That PICKLE In The Window"? Yes, Mickey Katz truly is one hilarious ethnic "Weird Al" Yankovic. As the liner notes conclude, "Mickey Katz is the most - with sour cream and a side order of knishes." Also, he controls the global economy from a little room at the top of the World Bank.
But enough about religion; let's talk The Fall's live ablum! It (popcorn double) features tracks from four different concerts - two from 1993, one from 1997 and one from way back from April 1988 when we all had a little more hair and a lot more sperm! Ha ha, yes those were good times. Damn good times. A fine cuisine of Fall studio albums are represented herein, with the smorgasbord of ice cream treats including two tracks each from the Swedish classic I Am Kurious Oranj and barely legal The Tight Pubeser Syndrome, plus one musical thing each from bukkake feast SemenAlive, girl-on-girl Cunt: Smellfish, German scat Shitwork, anal compilation Little Ass Revolt, curly-dick showcase Bend Itinher, first-timer gonzo Sex Induction Hour and Asian The Yen Sexperiment. I'm 32 years old -- the equal of two 16-year-old boys!
But what a goddamned ripoff this is. Two CDs, right? There's two CDs? Guess how long the entire package is. You ready? I'll tell you. SIXTY-TWO GODDAMNED MINUTES. Oh, thank GOD for the special "BONUS" CD! Pricks. At least three of the four sessions sound great. In the 1997 tape, the bass is too loud and the guitar too quiet, but otherwise this is some spiffy-sounding stuff. The 1988 set in particular kicks some major ass with a thick mean bassy sound that brings angry new life to the formerly friendly "Carry Bag Man" and "Yes Oh Yes." Who approved "Shiftwork" though? Could there possibly have been even one audience member who wanted to hear that two-chord easy listening bore while standing up in a hot smoky crowded club at 1:30 in the morning after sitting through a local Munich band? I'm no Eric Jan Hanussen, but I suppose that's a good thing in terms of my not being killed by Hitler.
Also -- why is it that whenever they play "Hip Priest" live these days, they never play the actual melody? That burns my butt like a dwarf with a cigarette. And who told Stephen Hanley to add that shitty second bass note to "Das Vulture"? That rubs me the wrong way like a hand job in a sandpaper factory. Otherwise, no complaints. Plus they throw in the non-LP covers "Why Are People Grudgeful?" and "Strychnine" and that pleases many of me. So keep on struttin', Lauren Hutton!
In retrospect, this review needs its mouth washed out with soap. Who wrote this filth? Ah yes, I remember. Former President Jimmy Carter. See what happens when you have lust in your heart? Prick. Old wrinkly peanut prick.
Kenya S. Burr - "My boyfriend's cock keeps slipping out."
Jodie A. Ham - "My boyfriend's dick keeps slipping out."
Jan I. Buchanan - "My boyfriend's pecker is too big for my mouth."
Adrienne B. Kenney - "My boyfriend's penis keeps slipping out."
Morton J. Knapp - "My boyfriend's peter keeps slipping out."
Alphonse B. Shepard - "My boyfriend's phallus is too big for my mouth."
Monica B. Akers - "My boyfriend's shaft is too big for my mouth."
Paul C. Barajas - "My boyfriend's tool is too big for my mouth."
Marian W. Mccabe - "My new guy's penis is enormous, and my mouth is tiny."
Horacio J. Emerson - "My new guy's prick is enormous, and my mouth is tiny."
Sammy E. Newton - "My new guy's putz is enormous, and my mouth is tiny."
I saved them because they're work-related, but then there were a bunch of SPAM emails after them if you can believe that! I was all like, "Fuck you! How am I supposed to separate my important pud emails from your Canadian Pharmacy bullhockey?"
Good old Canadians, and their Bull Hockey. "Whoa, he gored the puck again!" is what you'd probably say if you attended a match.
Actually, if you attended a match, you'd probably just say, "AAAUAUGHGHGHH!!!! I'M BURNING!!!!!" but enough of my hilarious word humor.
Recorded live at the Phoenix Festival, Live At The Phoenix Festival finds The Fall performing live at the Phoenix Festival in Long Marston Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon on July 15, 1995 and July 21, 1996. The Festival was held annually from 1993 through 1997 before being cancelled and sent to Hell in 1998 because nobody wanted to see New Order and The Prodigy, not even British people and they like that sissy crap.
This CD compilation features live renditions of 3 tracks each from The Light User Syndrome and Cerebral Caustic, two each from Middle Class Revolt and Shiftwork, and one each from The Infotainment Scan, Code: Selfish and Bend Sinister. These are likely some of the final shows featuring the latter-day Brix/Hanley/Scanlon/Burns/Wolstencroft line-up so you may want to cherish them for that reason. The mix provides good separation between the instruments, the guitars are actually in tune with the synthesizer (for once!), and aside from a few mistakes that I'm going to complain about in a moment, the disc is a delightfully enjoyable pleasantry of songiness!
UNFORGIVABLE MISTAKES INCLUDE:
- Not noticing that the lead guitar in "Chilinist" was silent due to a faulty connection for the entire first half of the song
- Allowing one of the guitarists to play the completely wrong chords for half of "Idiot Joy Showland." It's three chords, YOU BUFFOON.
- Performing "Edinburgh Man"
- Burying the "He Pep!" lead synth line so that the song's riff becomes "a person clicking a pick against their guitar strings for three minutes"
- Replacing the "US '80s-'90s" note riff with two chords. THERE WERE TWO FUCKING GUITARISTS IN THE BAND! YOU'RE TELLING ME THAT NEITHER OF THEM COULD HAVE LEARNED FOUR NOTES?!!?
- Having ever written "Edinburgh Man"
But then again, what's a live Fall CD without mistakes? Why purchase a live CD if the songs are simply going to sound exactly like the studio versions? An even better question might be "Why purchase 32 different live Fall CDs in the first place, Mark, you tard?"
To which I can only respond, "Say! Anybody got a copy of Live At Deeply Vale 1978 they could send me?"
"Actually, while we're at it, anybody got a copy of Fink Along With Mad, The F.U.'s Do We Really Want To Hurt You?, Lifter Puller's Fiestas & Fiascos, The Credibility Gap's The Bronze Age Of Radio, Chokebore's It's A Miracle, The Chocolate Watchband's Get Away, The Creation's Psychedelic Rose: The Great Lost Creation Album, Cosmic Psychos' Off Yer Cruet!, Today Is The Day's Supernova or Sore Throat's Disgrace To The Corpse Of Side, Never Mind The Napalm or Death To Capitalist Halmshaw that you could send me?"
Hay come on I have this great Mark Prindle CD-R I could send you as a trade.
It's true. That's why people wearing dark sunglasses look so cool - because eyes are lame and dorky, and the sunglasses do us all a favor by hiding the stupid pieces of shit behind an impenetrable wall of coolness where they belong. This is why people wearing eyepatches look half-cool. It's not because they look like a pirate, but because we only have to look at one of their geeky loser orbs all wigglin' around looking like an asshole. Which brings me to my next point.
That brings me to my next point. You know why eyeglasses make people look so nerdy? Because they emphasize the eyes. And eyes are fucken tards, when you get right down to it. Look, here's my impression of an eye: "Ooo look at me. I'm wearing a pocket protector and braces."
I'll give eyes one thing, though -- at least they don't have to listen to this shitty Fall album.
Concert CDs that sound this empty should not be released. Even the worst recordings on The Twenty-Seven Points sound like full orchestra recordings compared to these hideous "Loud Drums, Loud Vocals, One Loud Slightly Out-Of-Tune Guitar, Everything Else Playing In Another Club Across The Street" mixes. Here, let's use insulting bullet points to describe each track:
- "Intro": The "Ten Houses Of Eve" beat topped by a corny 'nighttime evil'
synth line. Rare but not good at all.
- "Pearl City": A recording pulled from a defective cassette tape!!! Just listen to that monophonic hissy mess of sound suck in and out and remember fondly the years 1982-1988 when everybody I knew honestly argued that tapes were superior to records.
- "15 Ways (To Leave Your Man)": Mmm, actually no. This is "U.S. 80s-90s," which isn't named anywhere in the track listing. It does, however, do us the honor of rendering the entire rest of the track listing completely inaccurate.
- "Das Vulture Ans Ein Nutter-Wain": Perhaps it was time for Stephen Hanley to leave the band. Nearly two decades on his instrument and he couldn't correctly play a riff with ONE NOTE?!?
- "15 Ways (To Leave Your Man)": The only good performance/recording on the album. And it's not even that good really.
- "Spinetrack" - They play the chorus WRONG! CHRIST! THEY WROTE THE FUCKING SONG!!!!
- "The Mixer" - This mix is actually not that bad. Unfortunately, this song is actually not that good.
- "Cheetham Hill" - No wiggly space keyboard, plus the song is naturally kinda dopey.
- "Powder Keg" - You can't hear the bass, so it's just like one crappy guitar chord the whole song! Awful!
- "Hey Pep!" - The buzzy keyboard is far too quiet again, a boon for fans of somebody scraping a pick tunelessly across their guitar strings.
- "Chilinism" - Trebly and monophonic, with Brix killing the song's momentum with her bored monotonic backup vocals. Hear that? Monophonic AND Monotonic! (and Moronic!)
- "L.A." - Brix shouts like a tone-deaf galloot, the bass thumps shittily, an out-of-tune guitar twangs uglily, there's no synth, and only half the song is included. Nice work all!
Don't get me wrong -- the drums certainly sound crisp, and if you ever wanted a clear recording of Mark Smith's gibberish, you've come to the right place. Still, the guitar (are there two guitarists on here? It sure only sounds like one!) is tuned poorly and played ineptly, the bass is at all times either inaudible or being smacked so loudly that it overmodulates, and the keyboard might as well be buried under a road for all its impact on the audio.
Also, most of it was recorded at the Roskilde Festival in 1996, with the two monophonic tracks ("Pearl City" and "Chilinism") checking in from the same year's Phoenix Festival.
In addition, they performed six songs from The Light User Syndrome, and one each from This Nation's Saving Grace, Shiftwork, Middle Class Revolt, Cerebral Caustic and Bend Sinister. I named them not too long ago. For a transcript, send $400.00 to "Mark Prindle's Battle Of The Network Circus Of The Stars."
Also, movie posters where somebody's holding a gun are cool. Every time you see one from now on, think about how cool somebody who holds a gun is. And the reason is simple -- people who can't accidentally kill you while sneezing aren't cool.
Okay, about the record - how to describe? Well, it's... strange! Everything sounds incomplete; the songs seem to be more like collections of drumbeats and sketchy half-riffs than actual fully-developed melodies. At first, it sounded to me like the band was just half-assing it, but then I paid a bit closer attention and now I think I've figured out the situation. See, there's one simple phrase printed on the back cover that I believe makes it crystal clear why this record is so bizarre - "Produced by Mark E. Smith."
Need I really write more, need I? I could be wrong, but I'm almost positive that this is the first time ever that Mark has produced a Fall record on his own, without a real producer standing by to say, "Umm, Mark? You can't DO that...." As such, the whole damn thing sounds like "Paintwork" - the "songs" will alternately be just a muffled keyboard noise with a funky beat, or a fuzzed-out bass with Mark talking over it, or a pretty little electric piano line with nothing behind it, or.... Oh, why go on? WHY??? My point here is that, even though these songs sound like incomplete constructions, I'd bet probably half a dollar that these ditties actually WERE at one time complete songs, but Mark purposely screwed everything up in post-production. I can just see the rest of the band (especially the two new guitarists, whose input seems to have been nearly entirely deleted from the final mix) sitting down and listening to the final product with these huge furrows in their brow as they nudge each other and ask, "It didn't sound like that when we PLAYED it, did it? I thought I remembered there being a melody in that song!"
Okay, then, anyway, I still haven't described the music too well, so I'll try - it's very drum-and-keyboard dependent. Very dancey, but not at all in that slick Infotainment Scan way. This is sort of like organic electronica, with bass fuzz, Mark's shouting, and assorted guitar planking and tinkly keyboard noises layered all atop Simon and Karl's typically topnotch trappin', hank. Some of the bits sound like rockabilly (when the guitar shows up), but the overall mood is really one of noisy and almost industrial-sounding (though it's clearly man-made, which adds a good deal of warmth to the proceedings) dance music. It makes ME dance anyway! Forget U2's Pop. Hell, for all I care, forget the Chemical Brothers and all that other Spin magazine stuff. THIS is the sound of modern innovative dance music. Dissonant, minimalist, juvenile, interesting, rockin', and FUN! I personally find the songs really catchy too, but I'll leave that up to you. Go Fall Go! Mark's still keeping the dream alive. Levitate is a great album.
Oh, and now there's another two-CD comp. called The Less You Look The More You Find which is another rip off. However, the liner notes are absolutely great.
Riley looked suitably unimpressed/disinterested by the whole thing, tho' I think Zoe Ball made some comment that she thought it was cool that he'd been in The Fall. People in the US who are wondering what the hell I'm on about might not be aware that Marc Riley is now a nationally-known daytime radio-DJ over here. Presumably, someone at the BBC thought it was hilarious to reveal his humble punk-rock beginnings. Yeah, right....
I saw Marc Riley and The Creepers supporting Frank Sidebottom back in the Eighties. Actually, they weren't bad in a fake Rockabilly/quasi-Fall kinda way...
I saw Zoe Ball she one of the Live n Kicking presenters said something like "Wow! That was really bad" and then 20 minutes later praising shitty tenager bands like Backstreet Boys eugh!!!
They were top at Sankeys by the way.
i also don't understand all these live albums when Dragnet, Room To Live, Slates EP, Early Years, Palace Of Swords Reversed are all impossible to find anywhere. i've found a bunch of distributors selling Live At The Witch Trials but not Dragnet, which is odd since they were originally released on the same label in the same year. they're even reissuing the live albums (Fall In A Hole, Legendary Chaos Tape). it's probably easier to find all the singles on Palace Of Swords Reversed than to find a copy of the album.
There are days when I simply can't get the "I'm A Mummy" riff out of my head, and I don't even try.
Too bad about all the domestic troubles, or is it?
This is landmark material for another fine reason: The Fall have not released a truly album-oriented set of songs in well over ten years. The ambition of this project takes this statement into consideration and is further reinforced by the absolute fact that the pure lyricism of "everybody but myself" closes the record in two formats. Although this material may not be as easily digested as This Nation's Saving Grace or The Frenz Experiment it is superior to them both because Levitate represents an incarnation of The Fall that is unsatisfied with stagnating in a particular style.
I personally think this is a great album, if completely bizarre, self-indulgent and out of control. It was recorded during one of the most turbulent times in the Fall's history. People say it sounds the way it does because Smith was self-producing for the first time (although some people say that Julia Nagle, the guitarist/keyboardist/programmer, had a large enough hand in the proceedings to have deserved a co-producer credit, which would explain why she stayed with Smith after the rest of the band took their leave of absence). It's too long - there's no reason to have both "Jap Kid" and "I Come and Stand at Your Door" on the same album, when both of them have the same music, and "Tragic Days," despite the great title, is just another one in the long line of irritating, really short noise pieces Smith has been slapping on albums since the fucking debut. Plus, "Everybody But Myself" should have actually had some real lyrics.
But the other songs are just killer. "4 1/2 Inch" is possibly the most deranged "song" the Fall have ever laid down...and it's almost impossible to describe. It sounds like techno music if techno music was locked in a dungeon for a decade, and it is for sure the best thing here, although "Masquerade," the equally bizarre if not quite as violent numbers "Hurricane Edward" and "The Quartet of Doc Shanley," and "Ol' Gang" come close. "I'm a Mummy" is an inspired cover - the lyrics have been tweaked to satirize Smith's public image, with Smith slyly claiming "I wish there was someone somewhere that wasn't scared of me" over a very twisted garage stomp. Most of the rest of the album isn't quite at this level, but still incredibly ingenious. The production on this album is so completely off-the-wall that it almost reminds me of a contemporary version of the Pop Group's Y, because that album, like this album, had completely insane production that made almost as extensive use of creative, incredibly strange editing and mixing as this did - the only place both albums kept it together was in the rhythmic side of things.
Nutty album. I agree with the 9, if only because I really haven't heard an album like this before. And that's a good thing.
Which brings us to the second Bachman-Turner Overdrive LP. You know, it's not often that a Canadian rock band will have more than one good song on an album but the day these boys (or "bruddahs") recorded "Takin' Care Of Business" and "Let It Ride," Joseph Smith must have been fucking another baboon in Heaven because t
This 4-track EP (NO NO, I MEAN IT HAS FOUR SONGS ON IT -- NOT THAT IT WAS RECORDED ON A 4-track) contains two remixes of Levitate songs, one unconscionably bad live recording of a third Levitate song, and an otherwhere unavailable leftover B-side pop song entitled "Ivanhoes Two Pence." Its piano plays a charming lilt, its guitar jangle-scrapes a light melodic chord round, and the prettiness of repetitive prettiness carries it a whiff above many a Fall album track you could chance to name ("Symbol Of Mordgan," "Devolute," "Papal Visit" - see? I chanced to name quite a several!).
There's hardly any reason at all why any owner of Levitate should spend money on this release just for one lovely b-side. The remixes are almost identical to the album mixes, the live track's a stinker and the artwork is pulled straight from its full-length cousin in the marines (Levitate - sorry, got a little vague with my diction there). But if you happen to run across it one night in a dark alleyway, RAPE THE SHIT OUT OF IT!!!!! RAPE RAPE RAPE!!!! RAPE ITS FUCKIN ASS OFF!!!!
Oh hang on, who switched the "R" and "T" keys on my typewriter?
And more importantly, how did they manage to do it while I was typing on it?
You know what? I must have gone to use the bathroom right after typing the word "alleyway." THAT'S when somebody came in here and switched the letters. Then I must not have noticed until after I'd typed several more words in all caps. THAT must be what happened.
Say! Nice rirs!
And boy if you ever had any worries that Mark E. wasn't COMPLETELY responsible for the sound of The Fall, one listen will quell your fears. Aside from a couple of moments of ugly wah-wah and perhaps a wee bit less in the way of enormously memorable bass lines, this band sounds exactly like the last one! (and the one before that, and so on and so on).
Don't be fooled by the beginning. They start with two simplistic catchy little rockabilly tunes, but then go straight to the weird house-trance-dance poetry-noise drum-bass stuff you loved so much on Levitate. Granted, it's not quite as exciting and novel the second time around (which is the main reason this one only gets an 8 instead of a 9, although the presence of a couple throwaway experimental thingies doesn't help), but there are still some killer, killer tunes on here that you'll have stuck in your head for a long time. "The Crying Marshal," in fact, may be the most accomplished, mesmerizing and pounding dance tune they've ever done -- it rivals Meat Beat Manifesto in the headbanging department of youth!
I read somewhere that the album is a sort of rock opera, but I don't quite hear that (I also don't have a lyrics sheet). What I do hear is the ever-evolving Fall in the midst of their latest phase, still crankin' out repetitive catchy, weirdly-produced, fuzzed-out, awesomely-rhythmed music for the kids. Most consistent band of all time? If you ask me, fuck yeah.
However, I must express my disappointment in the band for not coming up with an incredibly memorable set of melodies this time around. But hey, it's been a crazy couple of years.
MES is a genius and he once took me backstage after a gig and got me ratarsed on god knows what. My son is 8 and his 3 favourite fall songs are
1: I'm a Mummy
2: Hey! Student
3: Touch Sensitive (dance mix)
Mine however are (today, at any rate)
1: Mere Pseud Mag Ed
2: Container Drivers
3: Van Plague.
That said, I don't particularly like this direction The Fall are taking (not that what I think influences anything). All I'm hearing in both Marshall and Levitate is an awkward dependency on production "wizardry"and l ess on the quality of the songs themselves. This was Levitate's biggest problem...the feeling that I was sitting in a recording studio at 3:30am while three stoned guys fiddled with knobs.
Hearing Touch Sensitive and Foldin' Money made me long for things like hooks, kineticism, and ... well, clarity. By that I don't mean to say "your songs don't make sense", but rather "your songs are beginning to drown in their own production-heavy, synthetic club-scene gimmicry".
Still, long live The Fall...in whatever form. That, or at least let's pray for the death of Phil Collins.
It may lack Levitate’s prior claim, but I almost find it the Fall’s most successful experimental album (although, technically, most of their records are experimental).
First, it’s better than the solid, but sonically half-assed Levitate. It’s more to the point, better produced and has, yes, stronger songs. Prindle complains about the lack of well-written melodies, but I don’t know. I guess there are melodies and then there are Fall melodies (would make Ray Davies cringe). And as far as the latter go, Marshall Suite is pretty spotless. “Touch Sensitive” and “F’-Oldin’ Money” are two irresistible, driving standouts, but it’s the ensuing suite (well, hardly that cohesive) that counts. And it really is one inventive, intriguing piece. A couple of mellower, more mercy-on-the-ear tunes would have been most welcome, but as a Fall listener you have to be ready for that kind of crudeness.
An 8. I’m not that easy-going about marks. Jesus.
Well fuck that - I can't remember when Rich Bunnell's deadlline is for getting new reviews in, and I want to make sure that this review makes it on the page in the next couple of days, so I'm writing my lousy review after only one listen. One listen that was alternately exciting, depressing, exhilerating, boring, mindblowing, pathetic, hilarious and shitty.
See, the problem with Mark E. Smith (aside from the various drug addictions and uncontrollable misanthropy) is that he's EXTREMELY self-indulgent. Usually this works to the band's (and fan's) advantage because Mark enjoys good music (high-NRG techno, catchy guitar rock and good old '60s style garage rock) - HOWEVER, he also fancies himself an avant-garde experimentalist and poet. When he COMBINES these two urges, wonderful things happen. You dance around the room, bang your head and reel with wonder at the brilliant mass of weird noises hitting you in the brain (check out Levitate for the best example of this). However, when he separates these two facets to his self-love, you either get straightahead catchy music (Frenz Experiment, Shiftwork -- you know, all those Fall albums that the whole world hates except me) or irritating, seemingly pointless shitnoise and word poop (which is why his solo album The Post-Nearly Man doesn't get a whole lot of listens roundabouts my homestead).
Which brings us to The Unutterable. Most of the record is fucking fantastic -- exactly what I mentioned in the last paragraph -- catchy, simple, little '60s garage-pop influenced riffs smashed right on top of modern electronica-ish dance beats (i know "electronica" isn't the right word, but I don't know enough about the genre to tell you by name what it is -- "jungle"? "drum and bass"? "ragtime"?) with Nader-style ("liberal"! Get it??? FUCK YOU!!!!) amounts of ugly, indescribably tuneless synth noise wafting to and fro between the speakers. That's the good side!
The bad side is that, just like on The Light User Syndrome, it seems like 3/4 of the way into the record, Mark just started fucking around, with no thought as to how the results might sound. "Octo Realm" and "Unutterable" are that lo-fi poetry crap he's prone to subject his fans to, but that's okay because those tracks are SHORT. The real problem arrives with the last three tracks, which effectively leave a really, really, REALLY awful taste in my mouth every time I listen to it (all ONE time so far!). The first of these three tracks, "Midwatch 1953," is really interesting in theory -- it appears to be three different songs played at the same time; you can choose to listen to whichever melody you want. Neat idea? Yes, it really is! For about three minutes! Then it keeps going! For another three minutes! Then there's "Devolute," which is a 5-minute bunch of echoey synth noises with Mark spouting off two different speakerfulls of shit with no real start or finish that I can see. And finally "Das Katerer." Which is "Free Range" with different lyrics.
I realize that sounded negative -- but honestly eleven of the first twelve tracks are fantastic!!! And, like I said, "Midwatch 1953" starts cool as hell - it just drags on way too long.
About the rest of the album, a bit more I should say. Great energy. Really neat synth noises and terrific variations on the guitar styles -- much more than you might have heard from Mr. Scanlon or Ms. Brix. This dude alternates between 60s Count Five-style garage rock, 70s Dead Boys-style punk rock, 50s/70s Crampsish rockabilly, 80s Sonic Youth-style repetition and even twangy Johnny Cashish country-western hoobajoob and Johnny Hashish moody harmonics in the same song! (check out "Dr. Bucks' Letter" - nice, huh? You expect to see cowboys sitting around a fire shooting peyote mescaline into their veins, don't you?).
Final conclusion -- I really like the album, but I'd downright LOVE it if Mark would stick to bringing us all that great music in his head, instead of shitting out his worst indulgences onto tape and making us sit through it (well, he doesn't physically come to our house and hold a brass knuckle to our head -- but he should!), as if it deserved to be part of the same CD that contains such instant classics as "Cyber Insekt," "Way Round" and the fucking HILARIOUS "Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes". 8.
I'm going to Edinburgh for the Fall gig on 25 November 2000 because the bastard hasn't been to Dublin since '97.
This is another amazing piece of work by the way, run don’t walk to buy it now--it’s brilliant guitars lyrics rhythms reminds me a bit of Debaser by the Pixies but not exactly…
Thoughts on the record...
"Two librans" Kick ass fukkin' ROK! Better than "Cyber Insekt" But, not the centerpiece, the coup de'Gras, the Mardi-Gras, is Dr. Buck's Letter.
But, then, it ain't no Pink Prole Threat, but, then, what is?
(Maybe How I Wrote Elastic Man?)
C'mon, 30+ albums, how can you pick one stand-out song?
Ya know what? I think I'm gonna go for Middlemass...
Yeah, the boyu is like a tape loop, He is the last remains of a very, very backroom brain.
That's good enough.
I finally visited the World Trade Center site tonight. It is November 30th, 2001. The site is a mess of mangled metal, crushed concrete and way too much empty space, as I just posted on Music Babble. FIRST IMPRESSION: sickening but interesting. So wrong. So broken. SECOND IMPRESSION: look at the surrounding buildings - look at how tall they seem. Think about how tall WTC was and how people were jumping out of windows. How that must have felt. THIRD IMPRESSION: Gawkers taking pictures. Hating them but knowing I am one of them. Hating me. Stop peering through holes in barriers. I hate you. FOURTH IMPRESSION: Wall of letters from left-behinds to dead. Too much pain. I cried and cried and cried and cried. "You were the best son ever. Love, Mommy and Daddy." Too much. These people weren't soldiers. They were people just like me. They didn't deserve this. I did. FIFTH IMPRESSION: I'm stupid. Can't find subway. SIXTH IMPRESSION: Get drunk at restaurant because I deserved to die and they deserved to live. SEVENTH IMPRESSION: Came home, had sex, somehow everything is okay now. Maybe you should try OCD. Or maybe I should try real pain. I have to wear a tie to work starting Monday. My dog is kicking something wrong. Sorry this review isn't funny. I'm still drinked. Really good ablum for people who love garage rock from the 60s. BUY IT AND BUY EVERY OTHER FALL ALBUM ASIDE FROM INFERIOR PRODUCT ON RECEIVER RECORDS. THE FALL ARE THE MOST CONSISTENT BAND OF ALL TIME!
I love them. May he never die.
"Jim's 'The Fall'" is a great way to kick the album off.
"Bourgeois Town" is a classic track! It's perfect! It has everything I love about The Fall in this song! "I'm in a bourgeois town, spread the news all around..."
"Crop Dust" has some great rhythm but does not stand out lyrically nor is it catchy. That is one reason I like it. ply
"Kick The Can" is a two-part song. The first part is slow and loud but the rward 2nd part is quick with an upbeat somewhat rockabilly sound.. "Gotta kick the can (or they'll send ya to a foreign land)".. I don't know what he says but the backing vocals of the band gives it a great touch.
"My Ex-Classmates Kids" is a great track but the vocal level is all messed up and Smith's yelling will hurt eardrums. The hook is great and will have people singing along. Too bad the mixing and levels are messed up.
"Gotta See Jane" is perfect! This cover track only reinforces that I think The Fall should put out an LP of all covers one of these days. Real catchy, real upbeat. Even with the lo-fi sound, it sounds great!
"Ibis-afro Man" is a joke. This song is so long and boring. At first listen, it's funny since the monkey sounds truly throw the listener off. But after a couple more listens, I use to do songs like this when I was 13 years old and stoned out of my mind. Sure, it's bold but The Fall has done stuff like this before and it's not needed.
"The Acute" ... another wonderful track! Garage Rock.. "Keep your.... In your pants..."
"Hollow Mind"... yet again....another wonderful track! Guitar garage rock...
" Reprise: Jane - Prof Mick - Ey Bastardo".. This is a long track that uses reprises "Gotta See Jane". I love how it stops and then starts up again.. This happens a couple of times. It's obvious that this was an improve but the whole "Svet is a bastardo" repetition is hilarious. The weird Spanish-like accent that Smith uses is fresh. He's never did that before (at least that I know of).
As a whole, I don't think this album will gain the Fall NEW fans. This is for die-hard Fall fans...really, Mark E. Smith fans. Since the old band were sacked, this is Smith and some new musicians. I wish the sound mix was better and of course, I would love it if they used some keyboards. "Bourgeois Town" uses these extremely cheap sounding keyboards but it sounds so perfect. This is The Fall very stripped down, very loud and guitar driven. It's almost the antithesis of "The Unutterable" since that album seemed like it was produced well. "Are You Are Missing Winner" with it's mis-spelled title has the 'back to basics' approach. It's not for everybody but since when is The Fall for everybody? It's another great Fall record....period.
8 out of 10
This albumIt reminds me a lot of Cerebral Caustic, again, which I didn't really take to at first but then it really grew on me. I agree with the last two posters that The Fall are fantastic, and it's great that Mark (& Co.) still tour and you get to see them live at least once a year. It's hard to believe that a band around so long can build up such an exciting and tense atmosphere when playing live.
I seriously think that this line-up has - or rather had - a lot of potential. Listen to 'Jim's "The Fall"' and marvel at how much of a kickass rythym section Spencer and Jim made before Mark drove Spen away and replaced him with some guy called Dave. Jim is the only remaining guy from the line-up who is any good (unless Dave proves to be some kind of revelation) - his riffs are actually cool and interesting, while Ben's, Ed's and Bernard's block-chord reliant bilge all sucks ass. The first three tracks from AYAMW would've made an awesome EP, even given that Mark can hardly be arsed to produce anything more than vague drunken yowling. The guitar break in 'Jim's "The Fall"' is a classic Fall moment. In spite of everything, I really have high hopes for the next album - they'll start writing as a band instead of as individuals. Mark has managed to retain some of the personnel instead of sacking them all, so they'll have had time to develop. As long as he gets an extra guitarist in, and doesn't sack Jim for at least a little while (and I'll be seriously pissed off when he does), then it could be great. Sorry about the long rant but it's only because I care. I do. More than any of those cutesy bears ever did anyway.
How come no one has pointed out the mispelling of the title, which I assume is supposed to reflect the Mancunian accent.
However, Borgeios Town and Crop Dust are class. The rest are probably good too: I'm expecting them to gro on me like most Fall songs do. I won't rate it because I've not listened to it enough yet.
Here, look at this shopping list of complaints I brought to Santa Claus about it:
- Terrible bootleg sound. Half the time, you can't hear the guitar at all!
- A tape cut in "Mr. Pharmacist" deletes an entire verse of the song!!
- A tape cut in "Way Round" deletes the entire second half of the song!!!
- A tape cut in "Dr. Bucks' Letter" deletes the entire song!!!!
What happened to Quality Control? What happened to The Customer Is Always Right? Live At The Knitting Factory-L.A.-14 November 2001? Yeah, more like Live SHAT The SHITting CRAPTURDy-SMELL.A.-14 NovemTURD 200DUNG!!!!
The disc features four tracks from Are You Are Missing Winner, two each from The Marshall Suite and The Unutterable and one each from Cerebral Caustic, Extricate and Bend Sinister. The guitarist adds some nice swishy psychedelic guitar effects to "Antidotes" and "Way Round," but "Cyber Insekt" is pointless without a keyboard. Stop playing it, you there with the turntable.
The greedy capitalists at Hip Priest don't care about you or me; they know that obsessive Fall collectors will buy any old sack of dirt they release as long as it has Mark Smith muttering his nonsense on top. But don't make the same mistake I did!!!! You're not supposed to crap in a bidet.
But don't make the other same mistake I did!!!! Don't buy this CD.
Back when I was a ninth-grade genius, I penned a brief nonfictional tome pithily entitled "You Never Know How Good A Friend Your Dog Is Until It's Gone." And just two days ago, I nearly relearned that lesson the hard day -- through a dog being gone.
As I'm sure you know, my wife and I took Henry The Best Dog In The World (Asshole Division) to brisk Wilmington, NY last week for a jaunty vacation in the December snow. And let me tell you something about the Animal Kingdom in general and Henry The Dog in specific: it (he) likes to hunt. Henry spent the whole week chasing deer footprints up and down the sniffy snowtrails, just as happy as a beaver clamping down on a thick piece of morning wood. The only problem was that - God this story is taking forever.
POINT BEING that one night he ran off into the woods after some deers and never came back. My wife looked for him with a flashlight and whistle for an hour, then I did the same. And Mister, you haven't felt hopelessness until you've spent an hour walking through a huge, unfamiliar forest during a blinding snowstorm with a flashlight so weak you can only see exactly where you are stepping, all the while blowing a loud whistle and screaming the name of your animal companion. I completed my walk absolutely positive that we would never see him again. The forest would not end! And it went on and on in about a dozen different directions! Sadness prevailed, as did melancholy.
But then a light unexpectedly busted out through that darkness! See, Henry has a sparkly "H" tag around his neck that includes his name and telephone number, so my wife called home to change our outgoing message to "If you're calling about Henry, please call (and then our vacation home telephone number)." And WHAMMO! Just as we prepared to head out for another hopeless journey into the Deep Murderous Wild, the phone rang! Apparently Henry had come out the other side of the woods, found a house, and cried at the door until they let him in. Good Ol' Henry! He may have the directional instincts of a corpse, but when push comes to shove, he knows how to pull out a WHINE!
So we went and picked him up, the galoot.
Well, that's my story.
I'm Brickman! I tell stories and I'm made of bricks!
And they call me "Brickman"!
I tell stories!
But what am I complaining about - I love The Fall! Let's see who's in the band these days -- Looks like there's some "M.E. Smith" fellow on vocals now, that's nice. Hopefully he can do for The Fall what Gary Cherone did for Van Halen (helped them to finally reach their full potential as a GREAT rock and roll band!). Then there's some J. Watts person on bass, presumably hired by Smith in tribute to the classic Diesel album Watts In A Tank. The guitarist is one B. Pritchard. If we'd gone to elementary school together, he totally would have been right behind me whenever we had to line up in alphabetical order. Which would have been FINE with me. Believe me, I had my fill of that hyperactive prick Timothy Quick pretty early on! The Fall's drummer on this release is named S. Bertwistle. Can you imagine how hilarious today's society would be if his first name started with a "Q"? Or even better, if his full name was "John Enernieand Bertwistle?" It would be as if the Who's late (cocaine and whores) bass player was teaming up with two Sesame Street characters for the kind of project only previously feasible for such grandstanding celebs as Anne Murray and Mr. Hooper!
But what's the deal with these two other names? E. Blaney on guitar+vocal and B. Fanning on acc-guitar? Why are they only listed as "With:" instead of being full band members? Were they just people in the audience who walked up and started playing for a few minutes before retiring back into the crowd? Or were they once full band members who have been fired by MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) since this disc was recorded in November 2001? Which brings me to another sore point - it says here that this disc was recorded in 11/01 in L.A., New York and Seattle. Does that mean The Fall came to NYC in 2001 and nobody told me? That would be somewhat upsetting, even though the last time I saw them live, they put on the worst, most out-of-tune show possible without Glenn Danzig.
Getting to the topic at hand, this disc features eight live tracks and four studio tracks. The live ones include a fantastic new version of "The Joke" that DELETES the annoying counter-guitar line that's been bugging me for years, a few numbers from the last album, far too many covers ("F-Oldin' Money," "Bourgeois Town" AND "Mr. Pharmacist"), "Kick The Can" with no fast part and a COMPLETELY unexpected version of "I Am Damo Suzuki"!!!!???!?!?! The inclusion of such an old, avant-garde Fall track only cements the theory that I began formulating as I listened to the disc: that the rays were the result of something happening within the atom itself, a property I called radioactivity. I also began to feel that perhaps this latest band membership isn't going to take The Fall very far into the future. They're too simple, too plain, too rockabilly. Mark needs to surround himself with players that challenge him to take chances. Aside from "Ibis Afro-Man" - which everybody hates but I love - nothing on the last album or on this live CD even ATTEMPT to take chances. Are You Are Missing Winner got away with it because it was fun and had a few great little tunes here and there. But when you take a disc like this - where song after song after song is just like two basic notes or chords repeated for five minutes apiece, it's evident that Mr. Smith needs to reign in his love for rockabilly and get back to the weird stuff that made Levitate and even The Unutterable super, smart albums that you want to listen to over and over again. Granted, he's done this BEFORE. Both Cerebral Caustic and The Marshall Suite waddle around in rockabilly quite a bit too. And that's FINE, as one influence. But Mark E. Smith is not Gene Vincent or the Big Bopper and he's never GOING to be. So he'd might as well go back to being Damo Suzuki. Especially since he's much, MUCH more brilliant than Damo Suzuki anyway (at least when he tries to be).
As for the four studio tracks - "New Formation Sermon" is simple catchy fast rockabilly, with a strummy acoustic guitar, a distorted guitar playing three cute notes and a bass bouncin' around like a little kid on a pogo stick that he put Ben-Gay on because he saw his father put Ben-Gay on his legs before playing basketball and he thought that it would make the pogo stick jump higher too. Not brilliant, but certainly fun. "Enigrmmatic Dream" is a poem of some sort set to a bland slow dumb riff. "I Wake Up In City" is simply a different set of lyrics recited atop the music to the rockabilly "My Ex-Classmates' Kids" (a song that, incidentally, appears TWO FUCKING SONGS EARLIER ON THE DISC). And "Distilled Mug Art" is a good one - similar to that "Fiend With A Violin" ripoff that we all fell for hooklinensinker back in our younger days, with two acoustic chords ching-chugga-ching-chugga-chinging while a sci-fi sound effect and two (or is it THREE?) different Mark Smiths yell and recite above. So I suppose that's kind of avant-garde. Sure!
Speaking of numbers, I received a disc in the mail the other night at 4 AM: it was Animals by The Lot Six on Espo Records. Sounds like a young band, maybe fresh out of collegiate studies. The music is hard-edged rock that calls to mind a lot of other underground bands (Slint, Fugazi, Poster Children, Archers of Loaf, Thin White Rope) without sounding like a ripoff of any of them. They seem pretty talented musically, criss-crossing back and forth between post-punk (which doesn't mean anything, but no clearer term seems to be coming into my head), happy chord rock and even country/western (!) while always keeping an ear to the ground for interesting guitar interplay. These guitarists like to work together, but only if they get to play different things. That's interplay, some might tell you! Cooperation! Like a football team! Hence the name The Lot Six! Every member of this band used to play for the Atlanta Falcons! Look over there! It's Steve Bartkowski on electric triangle!
In conclusion, The Lot Six are from Allston, MA (home of Anal Cunt?), are named Dan, Julian, Will, Aaron and Dave, and recorded this CD in Maine. I like some of the CD, but I think college kids would like it more. I say that because I used to be a college kid and back then my mind was much more open to stuff like this -- the Grifters, Railroad Jerk, Red Red Meat -- now I'm 29 and my mind is sealed up tight against this kind of "not punk, not metal, not terribly melodic in the traditional pop sense" kind of guitar rock. Plus I really dislike a lot of the vocals. The one dude sounds like he's 13 and the other dude sounds like he's faking a lazy heroin drawl ('ya tuck mah play-ace'). At least I think it's two different guys. If it's just one, he is a master of voice disguise and should drop out of the band and go to Ventriloquist College before all their fall classes fill up. HURRY!
Sorry you missed the 2001 US tour, because BOTH of the 2002 US tours were cancelled! I was at one of the shows recorded on 2G+2, and the band sounded much better live.
The new mostly live album does it for me. A stonking band who seem to be into it as much as Mr. Smith. And looking ahead to more guitarry music to come...
I'm going to try to be clear and concise, please stay with me....
I had been warned by proper Fall fans that the quality of compilations varies wildly and if I was to go for one, go for a Hanley picked selection. Past Gone Mad jumped into my hand as the compiler is the genuinely funny Stewart Lee. In case you don't know, he's been responsible for On The Hour, (precursor to The Day Today), Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard not Judy... (on this deranged Sunday morning show they introduced a character called The Curious Orange, who was... a giant curious orange. Each week it asked curious questions until it went mad, became an insane criminal fruit and was gorily juiced on the last show...) Check out fistoffun.co.uk (if it's still up) lots of streams and links to good stuff.
Anyway. This is the tracking 1)This CD In your hand.... The spoken word album mustn't have sold too well, so MES can recoup some publishing. Quite a funny little tale... I'm sure we've all sat next to Fred West's sweaty family. (note: another mention of Richard & Judy ,'NWFS', I think MES spent too much time watching daytime TV)
2)Touch Sensitive: I love this tune. Simple but effective. The video, if I recall correctly, has MES and the band on a M/chester car park roof... singing into a DV cam..Quality. Shame it's now a theme for a fucking car ad.
3)High Tension Line. Get down... There isn't enough of Shift Work here, but HTL is a good example of my 2nd favourite album.
4)Rose. Also from Shift Work. Sounds such a sweet song, but there's an underlying bitterness. Hmm, is it about Brix going off with Nigel Kennedy?? Well that's what I've been told. Probably been lied to, as usual.
5)The Birmingham School of Business School. Oh, this is MIGHTY. I've only been to Birmingham twice and it's not as bad as made out (just another English city)... but this song nails the pathetic self delusion that local councillors, dignitaries, politicians etc have to their home town. You get an EU grant, bring in all the PR gurus, architects, social planners etc and you turn your town into a giant business/industrial estate. MES delivery gets more and more bored with itself as the song drones without ever trying to resolve itself to a conclusion. Really funny. The "Olympic bidding again and again" is a bit off when Manchester, (hardly an exotic, cultural utopia itself), continues to bid for every two-bit, pissing in the gutter sporting event.... There's a guitar 'solo' too!
6)Free Range... Also Sprach Zarathustra... Wagner, Supermen, European Union and Insect posses. Another great dance tune. They must have been drowning in E at that point.
7)Lost In music. Pretty good groover, can't beat the original... MES starts ranting about Red Brick Pubs??? Throw away though.
8)I'm going to Spain. A straight ahead, indie guitar tune. funny lyrics...."I'm going to Spain, Klaus & Roman had a real fine time last year, I hear it never rains, I hope I can click with the language yeah!" Could be a cover. Well placed as a breather.
9)A Past Gone Mad. MES foresees the current obsession of the 'look back bores (pretty much the theme of Infotainment Scan). You can't watch TV nowadays without some inane 'celebrity' banging on about how great 1982 was. etc. Lovely melodies here, some big beats and clattering machines. The band are on a roll here... this may not be to some tastes (programming seems to be anathema to most guitar bores) but the depth and range blows me away. HAIL THE MACHINES!!! DEATH TO MUSICIANS.
10)Behind the Counter. Great noisy Bass riff, sounds like Faith No More... the riff... not the song...
11)Hey Student. YEAH! You're gonna get it through the head. Proper garagey rock. Bludgeons you with repetition until you accept it as genius. Another unbelievable Bass Line. That Hanley chap is good. Brain of J, put down yer fretless... buy a £50 beaten up old bass and get back to basics, punk.
12)Ten House of Eve... The only track off Levitate.. Shame, I'd love to have 1/4 inch (only heard that once or twice but it pisses over almost everything... even the mighty Aphex Twin.) Still, this is a stunning tune. Gorgeous piano interlude... bass reminds me of RevCo some how (drugs are bad.) It's a shame everything went mad and MES sacked the whole gang. This direction could have been revolutionary... now it's just another deleted album. Anyone want to rip me Levitate?? You'll be knighted. My Gran is the Queen. Really. You must of been really excited when he got busted in NY... did you go to the trial???? Hee Hee.
13)F-Oldin Money. An old rocker... okay.. not as good as White Lightning on Shift Work though. Contains a brilliant guitar solo, only nine notes long. Take heed guitarists...
14)Shake-Off. A big beat disco tune. MES advises the kids not to inject domestos, or any other chemical cleaner, into the eyeballs. Wise words. Seems to rant on about Dad's playing guitar all night.... Bit like the Mere Psued Mag Editor... though today's dads will more likely have a Fender Strat than a Spanish Guitar (damn that's a funny funny song). Even Big Tony Blair is an old rocker!! He played Strat in his college ROCK band (er...cambridge or oxbridge, not Huddersfield Polytechnic...) get this, his band was called Ugly Rumours.... bet they played fucking Genesis covers... A rock n roll PM. Sigh. We get what we fucking deserve. Still, in 10 years time we may get some ecstasy rave monster as PM. You could solve the middle east problem by holding a free mass-rave in Syria. MAKE SOME FUCKING NOISE!!! You got to dig that Eastern Scale micro-tonality? Western Scales are so last century (HEH HEH)
15)Young Nevs Antidotes... Screeching noise. Nice string section. Weak tune. I'm tired.
16)Bonkers In Phoenix. Sorry to spoil some of your correspondents ideas on this song, but it's about summer music festivals. The Phoenix was a short lived Rock festival run by the folks responsible for the Reading festival. I was there in it's first year and witnessed a mad riot, (A middle class revolt??). Anyway, the Fall would always turn up and ruin the fun for all the rock and indie kids. This is a document of that period. Brix sings a sweet bubblegum pop tune, but it's placed miles back in the mix (just like yer festival bad sound); MES barks about meat burgers, veggie burgers, car parking at GlastonburyPhoenix. Really it's a throw away, album filler... but as I hate music festivals and the inept bands whom always crop up like disease ridden whores... I like it!
17)Bill is Dead. MES gets sexy and tells us of a conquest who gets
kinky with riding crops etc. "Came twice, You thrice.." really more
than we need to know.
A lovely, sweet tune which should soften the heart of the meanest misanthrope. Apparently Bill was his Dad, possible mis-information.
Overall, a great album for newcomers... it showcases all the sides of the band in this period. Totally useless if you have all the albums, but I see Fall fans are completists (i try to fight that virus but I maybe failing.) Must mention the good artwork... well done art folks. Now I have spent far too much of my Saturday on this, so next time I'll go back to the usual bollocks.
Score? Oh I don't know.... my other ratings are random stabbing at the numeric keys anyway.
But back to the box set, as many believe that is the reason that I brought you here today. I suppose it IS part of the reason, though I must admit the fact that I've programmed this review to create an open proxy in your computer and dial up into my Porn Hotline for $40 a minute have some appeal as well, at least for me. But about the CD. Personally, I found a copy on ebay for half-price and STILL feel a little ripped off. I feel LITERALLY ripped off! Like somebody stole me from a store! What am I doing here in this basement? GOD DAMMIT!!!
If anything though, this box set DOES make it intriguingly clear how unable (or unwilling) The Fall are to play a song the same way two nights in a row. This is partly because three of the concerts are from April 2001 (when keyboardist Julia Nagle was still in the band) and two are from November 2001 (after keyboardist Julia Nagle realized that Mark Smith is out of his bleedin' mind), but there must be something else going on in the stew too. I mean, some of these performances sound as if the band members had never even HEARD the songs the first time they played them - then learned them in time for the next show. Take "Paintwork," for example. It's an old, old Fall song from olden times performed by a completely different set of band members -- I mean this was back even before Mark E. Smith joined, when the singer was Phil Collins. On the earliest performance of that song included on this box shat (April 6th, 2001), only the three basic chords of the song are performed - no notes. Then when they attempt it again on April 17th, suddenly the guitarist (presumably Ben Pritchard?) knows the notes -- pity that Mark never bothers singing on that version because it could have been good!
Another example is "Cyber Insekt," which features an INCORRECT keyboard line the first two sets, boasts the correct one the third set and then - through lack of keyboardist - devolves into a Ramones-style one-chord punk rock song for sets 4 and 5! Three performances of "Way Round" feature the inimitable futuristic synth, but on the last two, the guitarist has to in-imitate the now-absent electronic blurble. "And Therein..." features completely off-rhythm guitarwork in set 5, after having sounded great in sets 3 and 4! Oh - the whole thing is just a rigmarole of ridiculousness, Mr. Riley (Marc)!
And some OTHER things, since we're talking about Touch Sensitive...Bootleg Box Set by The Fall -- "Antidotes" NEVER worked as a live track. It just sounds like one loud murky chord for four minutes. And why on God's Favorite Dog does Mark insist that the band perform "I Wake Up In The City" immediately after "My Ex-Classmates' Kids" in sets 4 and 5? The songs feature IDENTICAL music!!! Why perform the weak "Free Range" ripoff "Das Katerer" rather than the awesome "Free Range" itself? Why change the fantastic lyric "They say what about the meek/I say they've got a bloody cheek" to the completely nonsensical "They say what about the meek/I say they've got a fucking cheek"? And who needs FIVE GODDAMNED VERSIONS of "Mr. Pharmacist" and "F-'Oldin' Money"??? Not only are they not Fall originals - they collectively only feature about .004% of a chord!
Speaking as a guy who really likes The Unutterable and Are You Are Missing Winner, I'd be pleased and excited to have shows from these tours in my presence -- but why not just release a double-disc of the best material, rather than dragging down all life and spirituality by amassing an 80-track box set that only features TWENTY-NINE different songs???? WHY WHY WHY (IS IT SO HARD)???
I'm holding YOU responsible, Paul Revere and the Raiders!!!!
I can't say the amount of times I've had people who aren't from the north of England (and I'm only from the north-middle myself) asking about that bit, when I've sent them a Fall mix-tape!
First of all, let it be known that I purposely created what I thought was a strong set list, comprised of material from 9 different releases dating all the way back to our 1986 watershed This Nation's Saving Grace (I hesitate to revisit the pre-'86 recordings, as our early material has a raw and unrehearsed feel that would surely alienate today's sophisticated listeners). So imagine my chagrin upon realizing that "Kick The Can," "F'Oldin Money," "Bourgeois Town," "I Wake Up In The City" and "My Ex Classmates Kids" are all the same song! Why had I not noticed this before? I can only assume that my dynamic vocal hooks blinded me to the instrumental similarities between the five.
Secondly, I guess I couldn't tell through the monitors but apparently when you remove the keyboard line from "Cyber Insekt," there's no song left. Similarly, "Antidotes" doesn't appear to.... well, do anything at all, quite frankly. In retrospect, I suppose I should've been suspicious when I noticed the guitarist performing the entire track without moving his left hand.
Thirdly, as our fans know, I pride myself on bringing the occasional spot of high art to The Fall's concert performances, usually in the form of an original poem. Now, I'm willing to blame this on poor penmanship if necessary, but I'll be tarred and feathered if "Enigrammatic Dream" makes even a lick of logical sense. Did I accidentally miss every third word or something? I'm no stranger to the avant-garde 'cut up' techniques of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, but "Enigrammatic Dream" was supposed to be a heartwarming tale about a horsey. Furthermore, what's up with that wiggly electronic noise? Did somebody rest a baby on our organ? No Michael Jackson jokes please. Ha ha! This is why writers often refer to my acerbic wit.
Finally, and really this is the most damning criticism of all; I appear to have somehow sung every single word on the wrong note. Heck, at times it doesn't even sound like I'm trying at all! It would be easy to blame my poor performance on ears worn down to nubs from 25 years of high-volume orchestral rock performances, but that would be disingenuous. The truth is that I simply neglected my vocal rehearsal duties. Seven or eight hours a week is enough for your average Joe, but I aim higher and always have. In the future, I absolutely must insist on at least three full dress rehearsals prior to each 'gig''s curtain-raising.
So be sure and join us on our 2008 worldwide tour, and pre-register for a free copy of our upcoming concept album The Romantic Heartbeat of The Whale. Catch you on the flip side!
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: I'd like to thank you all for joining me today for our quarterly conference call.
PRESIDENT, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Hay no problem.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: I meant all of our employees and stockholders, not just you.
PRESIDENT, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Oh. I thought you said, "I'd like to thank you, Al, for joining me...." My name is Al.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: I understand. Nevertheless, I have some exciting forward-looking news for all of you, which I think will help to alleviate our Q3 challenges and guide the way towards a profitable fourth quarter recovery.
COMPTROLLER, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Grate! What is it?
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Lady, I just went over this with Al. Don't respond to everything I say; I'm not speaking directly to you.
COMPTROLLER, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Oh. I thought you said "I have some exciting forward-looking news for Olive Yu." My name is Olive Yu.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: So here's my idea. I'm sure you all remember the incredible success we experienced with our 2006 product "Live At The Garage-London-20 April 2002" by The Fall.
ALL, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Yes.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Now I ask you to close your eyes and imagine how great it would be if we were to release a CD of a concert they performed eight days later.
INVESTORS, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Whoa! (*drive stock price up to 5 jillion dollars per share*)
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Yes, that's right. If our customers liked the April 20, 2002 concert, can you imagine how much they'll love a show that features almost the exact same set list performed in the exact same manner? Moderator, please open the phone line to questions.
MODERATOR, CONFERENCE CALL COMPANY, LTD.: Okay, we have a call on the line from Barrington Womble of Bear Sterns.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Go ahead, Mr. Wom.
BARRINGTON WOMBLE, BEAR STERNS: Yes, thank you Mr. CEO, it sounds like you have a great idea on your hands.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Thank you very much, Barry! And what is your question today?
BARRINGTON WOMBLE, BEAR STERNS: Will you have to make any personnel cuts in order to cost-effectively produce the billions of CDs required to meet global demand for the April 28, 2002 concert?
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Sadly, we will indeed have to decrease our manpower by roughly 99.5%.
ALL, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: WTF?
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Ha ha! A little Christmas Fool's Joke for you!
ALL, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: LOL!
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: No, but seriously. I think this CD will pay for itself, particularly since the band dropped the lackluster "Antidotes" from their set list days earlier and pumped up their performance with a full THREE songs not played at The Garage!
CIO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Sir, first of all, let me agree that this is a fantastic idea, but secondly -- I was actually at the April 28, 2002 concert and can vouch for the fact that the final track, "I Am Damo Suzuki," got a HUGE reaction from the crowd. I think this is a termendous selling point for the CD, as many long-time fans would give their left ball to hear the 2002 line-up bringing their unique spin to this classic mid-80s album track.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Okay, I'll forget to include it in the track listing.
CIO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Great!
DAVID LEE ROTH, VAN HALEN, LLC: I brought my pencil.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Another key message for this product is that it actually exceeds the April 20, 2002 CD by a full ten minutes, allowing fans of the band to enjoy a full 1/6th of an hour more music than was featured on the previous release.
ASSISTANT FLUFFER, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Will that extra value be expressed in the track listing?
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: No, in addition to forgetting to mention "I Am Damo Suzuki," I'm going to accidentally list two different songs as track 7.
ASSISTANT FLUFFER, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: I'm pleased to hear this news.
MODERATOR, CONFERENCE CALL COMPANY, LTD.: Excuse me sir, we have another caller. This is Steve Jenkins-Johnson from Stern Bear Financial Thingy.
STEVE JENKINS-JOHNSON, STERN BEAR FINANCIAL THINGY: Thank you, moderator. And thank you, CEO. My question is simple: what are the highlights of this April 28, 2002 concert? What would make my Uncle, say, or my Aunt want to go out in their car to a Record Mart and purchase this CD as opposed to all the other products on the racks, including the latest releases from such top contenders as Iron Butterfly and The Electric Flag?
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: For that question, let me turn the call over to the CFO.
CFO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Thank you, Mr. CEO. I will now read from the minutes of the April 28, 2002 performance. "Another sloppy, simple garage rock show with guitar, drums, bass and vocals. The guitarist keeps playing with his whammy bar, for some reason. Did he just get one the day before? A few songs are ruined by the guitar and bass being out of tune with each other. The bass is much louder than the guitar, but you can hear both." Should I continue?
STEVE JENKINS-JOHNSON, STERN BEAR FINANCIAL THINGY: Please do. I'm not sold on this whole concept yet. I think your pie-in-the-sky idea has its head in the clouds, and I require additional convincing.
CFO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Okay, I'll continue. "It's only been one week since the Garage show, yet somehow the guitarist has forgotten how to play 'To Nkroachment: Yarbles.'"
STEVE JENKINS-JOHNSON, STERN BEAR FINANCIAL THINGY: I'm convinced! I'll advise all my clients to quadruple their holdings immediately.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Well, I can see by the clock on the wall that it's about time to end today's call.
UNDERSECRETARY OF HUMAN RESOURCES, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Yes, it does appear so.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Why are you responding to me? Again, I'm speaking to the entire group here.
UNDERSECRETARY OF HUMAN RESOURCES, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Oh, I thought you said "I can see by the cock on the balls that it's about time...." I have a cock on my balls.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: No, I said "clock on the wall."
DAVID LEE ROTH, VAN HALEN, LLC: I think the clock is slow.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: Good God, Mr. Roth! When was the last time you brushed your teeth?
DAVID LEE ROTH, VAN HALEN, LLC: I don't feel tartar.
CEO, HIP PRIEST RECORDS, INC.: (*farts*)
DAVID LEE ROTH, VAN HALEN, LLC: Gas dismissed!
(*guitar starts playing really fast; Michael Anthony pours barbecue sauce up his anus*)
See, this is why you can never give up on Mark Smith. Just when you think he has nothing more to say, he completely surprises you by saying even LESS!
No, but that was a joke on my part (his too, obviously). The Real New Fall LP has absolutely no weak songs. No drunken avant-garde ramblings, no electronic bloops with twisted poetry on top, no half-assed rockabilly - none of the things that have slightly marred the last 15 years-worth of Fall albums. All 12 tracks are fully composed numbers, riding on slightly off-kilter, dark bass riffs, repetitive swirling electric guitar note combinations, synth noises both traditional and sickening, crisp raw drumming and old Mr. Smith vocalizing loudly and soberly enough for the listener to make out nearly every word - assuming he (the listener) can work his (the listener's) way through his (Mark's) thick accent, of (golf) course.
It's difficult to believe that this is nearly the same band that recorded Are You Are Missing Winner because it sounds absolutely NOTHING like that disc. That album, as much as I personally really enjoy listening to it, isn't OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING the most brilliant collection of tunes that The Fall has ever written. Far too many of the songs were basic, old-fashioned rockabilly chord sequences without much originality, displaying The Fall as more of a retro outfit than the futurists (or at least MODERNISTS) that even slightly earlier albums like Levitate and The Unutterable had done. But The Real New Fall LP puts them back where they belong -- in their own insane yet catchy world where four-note hooks paint oppressive soundpictures while unnerving-yet-hilarious electronic noises fight for undeserved space among the rhythmic din.
You can hear shades of earlier Fall line-ups here and there - especially in the straightforward techno-rocker "Green Eyed Loco-Man," which would fit easily onto The Infotainment Scan, perhaps between "GREEN Grass" and "Paranoid MAN"... or "EYE'm Going To Spain (Where 'LOCO' Means 'Crazy')" - but this is not a Fall that is trying to relive the past. Mainly because they're young people who didn't grow up listening to The Fall! Guitarist Ben Pritchard hasn't even heard every Fall album, and if the others have, they're probably afraid if they admit it, Mark'll fire them. (He's already fired the bassist who played on this album, btw, so don't get too attached to him)
This young, probably temporary version of The Fall simply composed the type of music that they wanted to play, then Mark fidgeted with it until it fit his vision -- which, this time around, seems to focus quite a bit on creative back-up vocals. He must have had a jolly good English time directing his friends and companions on the microphones to drown out the chorus of "Mikes Love Xexagon" in the eeriest and least beach-friendly harmonies available, inviting his wife Elini (presumably) to add haunting "Ooooo!"s to the surprisingly brooding Jesus Lizard-reminiscent "ProteinProtection," making his band imitate a group of football hoodlums for the surf-spy instant classic "Theme From Sparta F.C.," bringing low secretive mumbling men into the gleeful amateur-new wave-punk of "The Past #2" and pumping somebody's voice (Ben Pritchard's?) through a distortion pedal to recite the hilarious chorus of the rolling-drummy, guitar-plinky-strummy "Open The Boxoctosis #2" ("Open the box! Open the box! Open the goddamned box!").
When I spoke with Ben Pritchard a few months before the album came out, he stressed the band's intention to make a better and more diverse record than Are You Are Missing Winner, which even the band members found a bit lacking and rushed. But MAN! I didn't expect something THIS good! Every single aspect sounds perfect - Mark's confident vocals (not hyperactive or speed-addled, though I have no problem with that kind of vocalizing either!), the stock-lep bass/drum rhythm juggernaut, Ben's suitcase of interesting guitar tones (he whips out a wider variety of guitar sounds on here than Scanlon did during his last ten years in the band!) and Elini's always unpredictable arsenal of synthesizer whooshes, squawks, bleeps and house-beats. I could see fans of every Fall era getting into this, but it's definitely a ROCK album. Chunky guitars and cymbal-snare bashing abound, and the production (aside from track one) is wonderfully brusque and true, highlighting the honest skrank, doob and pish of the in-studio live band performance.
Theoretically, I should explain that "skrank" is a guitar noise, "doob" signifies bass guitar and "pish" is the drummer hitting his cymbal, but I like to think my readers are sufficiently pomo that such an antiquated maneuever would ring condescending.
In fact, my readers are so pomo, I think they can get the general feel of the record without me actually using any real words. Check this out - my new review of The Real New Fall Album:
La nueva caída verdadera LP no tiene absolutamente ninguna canción débil. Ningunos ramblings borrachos del avant-garde, ningunos bloops electrónicos con poesía torcida en la tapa, ninguna mitad-assed rockabilly - ningunas de las cosas que han estropeado levemente el año-valor pasado 15 de los álbumes de la caída. Las 12 pistas son completamente números compuestos, montando en riffs oscuros de la bajo-y-guitarra, combinaciones repetidoras de la nota de la guitarra eléctrica que remolinan, los ruidos del synth tradicionales y repugnantes, teclear crudo quebradizo y viejo Sr. Smith vocalizing en alta voz y soberly bastante para que el oyente haga hacia fuera casi cada palabra - asumiendo él (el oyente) pueden trabajar su manera (del oyente) con su (la marca) acento grueso, del curso (del golf).
HA HA! I totally made up my own language! It's based on the moronic jibberish I always hear those brown people at the bus stop blubbering at each other. Stupid illiterate fags!
UPDATE: Please note that there is now an American release of this CD -- it is slightly different from the version I just reviewed in the following ways: (1) they re-recorded "We Are Sparta FC" -- it's a bit speedier and friendlier now, but still great!, (2) they remixed "Recovery Kit" and completely deleted the bass line -- the ONLY MELODIC PART OF THE SONG. As such, it now sucks complete ass and ruins the album on a very sore note, (3) they added two bonus tracks: the excellent moody "Mod Mock Goth" described in my Christmas review below, and the HILARIOUS "Portugal," which relates letters to and from a particularly angry promoter sort relating to Mark Smith's assholish behavior. You can't lose with either the American or British release, but if you have your choice, I'd say go with the U.S. version for those two extra tracks. Just also be aware that "Recovery Kit" used to be a much, much better song.
See, this is why you can never give up on Mark Smith. Just when you think he has nothing more to say, he completely surprises you by saying even LESS!
LESS..to carp on about? Maybe? I'm not in the slightest bit amazed that you missed that. You should be listening to the fish people by yer bus stop, then maybe you'll have a reason to fear for yer own scaly tail. 'Cos the wee fishies are gonna gobble you up. Punk!
£11 = 10/10.
Very different from The Unutterable. Not as accessible but much more Fall and familiar. Happy as Larry. Who he?
Hey Mr Helm, how about homophobic too? AND bringing down the public image of the bus company? Five years in a PC camp for you Mark!
After seeing Mark E. Smith feat. The Fall at Leeds' Irish Center a couple of months back I was expecting this album to be of the straight ahead rock-a-bily variety, being that they played like a straight ahead rock-a-bily band. They left all the brass section in Manchester, (for the better as it's well known Leeds' folk find brass more offensive than Scousers' dirty foreskin-like brains.)
So I was disappointed I didn't get my rock-a-bily, (that Missing Winner LP is currently harder to find than a Scouser without a criminal record) but I was overjoyed at the brew Smith and his cronies finally served up. I can't really add to your succinct review, (probably as I'm listening to Perverted by language and it's terribly distracting... and I'm pissed.)
"HA HA! I totally made up my own language! It's based on the moronic jibberish I always hear those brown people at the bus stop blubbering at each other. Stupid illiterate fags!"... Mark, get the tram... these brown people whom blabber at each other aren't stupid, nor illiterate, nor fags. And they jibber on about anarchy, beans and the quantum string theory. I take them over the fish people anytime. SMILE!!!
post-script. "Only humans carry their vests around, their past around" or "Only humans carry their past around, their pasta rounds." p.s. Mr Helm, come across to Yorkshire for a beer sometime, (that's if you're not robbing a house.)
Tempo house is up, must go... air drum a-go-go.
KICK-KICK-POW-KICK-KICK POW-POW. God Damn the pedantic Welsh!
I heard this as "Only humans carry their fast around, their past around", and took it to be a withering sideswipe at the internet bootlegs of the early version of the album, which mistakenly mislabelled this track as The Fast. There's more of this type of thing - the original Xexagon started with "The room was a hexagon....", which started people speculating online about wether it referred to the hexagonal studio where the band recorded their last peel session. The released version starts with him resignedly reciting "Studio was a hexagon", his tone suggesting something akin to "fuck it then, if you want to demistify everything". But that's just my interpretation.
this album is not only good, it is gooood. it even warrants the annoying phrase "in constant rotation", followed by the phrase "you da man".
i had an incredibly drunk discussion recently with an incredibly drunk, drunk guy about the experience of hearing something that is so completely awesome that... like maaan... totally... you know.. bums you out cuz it's so fuckin' amazing and shit that yer like all... "i can't even deal with it cuz like so many people listen to such bland shit and there's THIS fuckin' album... you know?"
the album in question was trans am's latest labianation. anyway, the drunk guy in question wasn't responsible for the above remark, it was the drunk guy me... then we did a bunch of heroin.
after getting my greasy (no, i'm not mexican) hands on this little number by the fall i had one thing to do... put it on. as with any fall record, it was completely unprocessableishlike at first. i know that i'm listening to songs... but they aren't songs like i often get suckered into believing are songs... and i listen to bad prog!
days pass... it starts slipping into heavy rotation on my heavy rotation meter. hello? what's this?? hi the fall! yes, dave is here but he is taking a shower, can he call you call back? cool, later dudes. sorry.. uh, yeah... so i happen to actually pay attention while this record is playing, while not paying attention to driving and the "spartan f.c." song is going and and and POW! like running into a meridian at 70mph, it hits me... this is completely fucking, uh... good!
so continues the heavy rotation... we're talking heavy, like star jones' dildo collection heavy. sorry for the major boner i just induced.
i'm planning to see the fall for the first time in may, which i was initially excited about (or titillated - take your pick), but now i am totally titillated (if you chose excited).
i can't even deal with it cuz like so many people listen to such bland shit and there's THIS fuckin' album... you know"
mark, YOU DA MAN!
actually, a trip to amoeba where i exchanged the worst piece of shit CD i've ever purchased made by a "band" who call themselves !!!. if those three exclamation marks are proceeded by the word "CRAPPY", then we'll all have something to chuckle about.
i know my days as a handsome man of taste are numbered when i engage in comic-book-guy banter about some obscure band's disparity between US and UK releases, but here i go...
the US version sucks.
whew, that wasn't too hard. i'm proud of how i didn't mention that the best song on the UK version got RE:recorded to sound flat, boring and as interesting as fake boobs. i was so sad hearing that version i had to stop hugging my stuffed bunny and had to reach for a kleenex.
ok, "theme from sparta f.c." went from the best song i've heard in years to the most annoying. what the fuck? what happened to the jackknife? why is it no longer a poem for the thin? maybe they found said jackknife and realized the old bass line was way too good so they swapped the knife for a session with dr. boring. maybe E! can do a expose on reverse turd-polishing...
don't buy the US version... the extra songs are just that, extra... as in extraneous. pointless. the UK version is better. anyone who waited to buy the cheaper US version is a fucking loser who writes tediously unfunny tirades to some jackball who likes the fall.
did i mention the UK version is better?
"How can you, curve your ass, for a kiss"
Let's try this again. The title track is a radical reworking (DUDE! RADICAL!) of the album track "Protein Protection," with haunting female church chorale vocals, a diminished bass guitar presence and new lyrics about Christmas, of all identical quarantines. Doesn't that sound like the subject line of one of these asshole new spam emails with the asshole "I'm gonna trick your spam filter" subject lines? "Identical Quarantines." I think it does. FUCKING SPAMMERS AND TELEMARKETERS CAN BITE TOLEDO AND WARM ME UP! Check this one out. Check out this clever spammer and their cleverness. I just got this one. The subject line is "insomniac monte." Then they proceeded to "outsmart" my anti-spam software (as well as the entire English language) with the following text:
Genierc Vigara and Sepur Viarga (Ciails) available onilne!
Most trusted online source!
Cilais and Vagira
takes afecft right away & lasts 24-36 huors!
FOR SUEPR VAIRGA TOCUH HERE
Back TO the Fall. There are many Legends of the Fall that we might discuss, most of them involving Brad Pitt with sexy long hair and a rod that won't be defeated, but the one of today is the latest double-single by Mark R. Smith and company. "(We Are) Mod Mock Goth" is as repetitive as the best Fall song ever, drenched in dark, foreboding three-note guitar majesty repeated over and over and over again, growing in tension and hypnotizing with constancy and terror. I love it. Mark's voice is distorted like the Strokes! "(Birtwistle's) Girl In Shop" is an upbeat, uptempo bouncy three-note fuzzed-out Monks-like synth ditty far too repetitive for today's hit radio. NEITHER of these two new tracks change at afuckingll!!!! But they rule because of me! ME!!! MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEMME No hang on - that's not the pronoun I meant.
Ah yes! "It." And I don't mean the hilarious Stephen King novella! Heh heh. Actually I do.
Side four is shit though. It must be hard to record three good songs when you're an alcoholic drug addict, because the fourth one is both pointless and no good. It's a remix of the album track "Recovery Kit" -- a BASS-driven song driven by BASS, right? This new version DOWNPLAYS the bass, which was the best part of the song! What the? Just to fuck with the bassist that he fired? Why include the track at all? In fact, why allow John Ashcroft to continue LIVING at all? Murder him, and every member of the corrupt asshole Bush family, with their Nazi grandparent scumbags and their pardoning of Henry Lee Lucas for no goddamned reason at all. FUCK YOU, THINGS THAT PEOPLE WHO WRITE BOOKS TELL ME NOT TO LIKE!!!!
Considering the amount of times I've consulted yer Fall review page over the last year or two, I thought it was only fair to mention this page to you on the off-chance it's new to you. It's 40ish Fall/MES videos culled from British TV over the last 24 years or so.
Of course if you have seen it before, just ignore me! & keep up the groovy reviewing lark!!
In terms of consistency, craftsmanship and musical experimentation, Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004 surpasses all their live album work and any fall album since The Real New Fall Album (Formerly 'Country On The Click'). It does so by returning to the dance beats, big grooves and modern edge that have characterized The Fall's best work. The key to all The Fall's classics - from "Repetition" and "Green Eyed Loco Man" to "Mr. Pharmacist" and "Like To Blow" - is that they are built from the rhythm up: Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004, which was almost entirely constructed around Pritchard's rhythm guitar, is a return to that modus operandi.
The Fall has poured its heart into this album. The strongest songs - "Walk Like A Man," "We Are Mod Mock Goth," "Middle Mass" and "Mountain Energei" - are also the most candidly personal. In the past, Mark E. Smith has slipped into personae - the Hip Priest, J. Temperance, the Man of Dice - but he lets his guard down to an unprecedented degree on Punkcast 2004; the beautiful ballads draw on feelings of loneliness, vulnerability, spiritual yearning and, as always, life with the ladies.
These gains in maturity have taken no toll on Smith's inner rock & roller. The Hip Priest can still swagger at the top of his - or anybody else's - game. Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004 resembles The Fall's best albums in that it's a varied yet cohesive collection of ballads, hard rockers, and one fifteen-second bass noise that’s included in the track listing as if it were an actual song. But on this live album, they are free to cast off the blues-rock anchor that both defines and (at times) confines The Fall. The Fall heads into edgy, danceable modern-rock territory with the throbbing song about opening a box of "Boxoctosis" and the snarling, whip-crack assault of "Mere Pseud Mag Ed."
Making the most of this opportunity to stretch themselves, The Fall has recruited some outstanding band members, many of them younger artists whom The Fall directly influenced. Elena Poulou of Smith’s third marriage collaborates on the non-pop-y, unmelodic opening track, "Horror In Clay," which boasts a boring track from Mark E. Smith's first solo album being played through a tape recorder. Lenny Kravitz produces and co-writes terrible music; on a different subject, "Theme From Sparta FC" is a driving, riff-propelled rocker that evokes the punkish stomp of the early Fall.
On "Telephone Thing," one of my least favorite tracks, a wah-wah pedal helps burnish a subtle reggae- and hip-hop-inflected groove. Employing some of his most banal and nuisanced vocal phrasing, Smith confides, "I hear your telephone thing/Listening in." The lyrics portray a guy who's got it all - fame, fortune and the means to indulge any materialistic and hedonistic impulse he might divine - but is wise enough in his late middle age to know there's somebody's telephone thing listening in.
Although it is thankfully not a rocking, gospel-tinged collaboration with Bono of U2 - featuring an indelible guitar hook from Pete Townshend - "Mere Pseud Mag Ed" offers a revealing glimpse of what The Fall is seeking: "Had a beard which was weird/some time ago/Heard the Ramones in '81/Owns a spanish guitar." The mark of The Fall is overt on "Mere Pseud Mag Ed," but the band's influence subtly courses through the rest of the album; like Smith and company in the last decade, The Fall (along with producer The Guy Who Ran The Soundboard) has adapted modern rhythms and contemporary production techniques to its own naturalistic rock & roll ends.
"Janet, Johnny And James," featuring three peoples' names in the title, and "I Am Damo Suzuki" are fierce, biting rockers. No one struts or wags a tongue as sharply as The Fall, and "I Am Damo Suzuki," in particular, stands out as a blistering, arena-ready, hard-rock singalong. The absurdist lyrics find The Fall poking fun at scenes from Damo Suzuki's celebrity life: "What have you got in that paper bag?/Is it a dose of vitamin c?/Ain't got no time for western medicine/I am Damo Suzuki!" The tight blues shuffle "Mr. Pharmacist" is highlighted by some brief but fiery drum playing from Dave Milner. Like a good blues workout, it leaves you hungry for more, and this masterful use of tension and restraint is part of what makes Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004 so beguiling.
It may seem a truism, but it's worth noting that Mark E. Smith is - along with John Lennon, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Bono - one of the great male rock voices of this age. And he is in exceptional form on Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004. If anything, Smith's voice is rounder and warmer than ever, and he brings a new richness of phrasing to the heartbroken, confessional "Mike's Love Xexagon" and the terrible closing tracks, "Dr. Buck's Letter" and "Loop 41," which is not the song "Loop 41" at all, but simply a bass loop emanating from a delay pedal for about fifteen seconds.
After all of the excursions undertaken on Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004, The Fall brings it all down the toilet with these last two numbers, which are musically poor and lyrically reflective wastes of space in the grand tradition of such Fall travesties as "telephone dub" and "league moon monkey mix." Smith offers unabashedly human, vulnerable sentiments on "Dr. Buck's Letter" (which features no background vocals): "I never leave home without:/1 sunglasses: I wear them all year around, I seem to need them more often, it’s a habit/2 music: cassettes cds/3 palm pilot: it’s my lifeline I think it’s my p.a.’s computer, she rules my diary and I download it/4 mobile phone/5 AmEx card; they made such a fuss about giving it to me that I spent more time getting it turned down."
It is a clear-eyed and inspired The Fall who crafted Punkcast 2004: Live At The Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004, an insuperably strong record that in time may well reveal itself to be a classic. World, meet Mick Jagger, solo artist.
- Jann Prindle
December 14, 2007
last i knew he was selling those dvds for about $5 a pop... i bought an oneida, a luna, and an oakley hall. huge list here: http://www.punkcast.com
hilarious review, by the way!
That last word was designed to be displayed in front of a mirror or reflective object (mirror). If you view it as suggested and a few of the letters end up looking backwards and stupid, that's a sure sign that your mirror is a "3-way" mirror through which the FBI are watching you right now. But you know, for a pile of throwaway filth, garbage and refuse, this CD actually isn't bad at all! It doesn't START all that well, with three forgettable-to-slightly passable-to-just-shitty previously unreleased tracks that recapture the half-written rock'n'roll/rockabilly feel of Are You Are Missing Winner but worse. To save you collectors a bit of stress and wonderment, I'll describe each of these tracks in slick detail:
-- "All Clasp Hands" is an uptempo live early 60s-sounding rocker with out of tune keyboard accompaniment. I was actually surprised to see that this was a Fall original, as it totally sounds like one of their Eddie Cochran or Gene Vincent covers. It's cute and energetic, but too generic and messy to be considered "good."
-- "Blindness" is three generic cliched bass notes, keyboard noise, and three e-bowed guitar notes. Not good at all. Poorly written. They discovered a bombastic booming bubbly bass tone, and blew it on a basic boring butt balloon bicentennial. Bitches! Bastards! Speaking of "Blindness," did you know that Stevie Wonder is BLACK!? That's right! He can't see a thing!
-- "What About Us?" features both a mid-song ping-pong game and Mark E. Smith announcing "We are The Fall!" but its three generic Rolling Stones choogle-chords wear ass-way thin over the course of a never-changing under-ending SIX AND A HALF MINUTES (and TWO different recordings!). "What About Us?" More like "What About Bob?"!
From there on out it's all pretty smooth sailing though, as far as boats. The Early Pink Floydy instrumental "I'm Ronney The Oney" introduces a string of reswizzled Fall KKKlASSiKKKs (four from Real New Fall Album and one each from Nation's Saving, Hex Enduction and Kurious Oranj). Highlights include "Mod Mock Goth" with an uptempo 4/4 beat added for dance headbang power, a cool swingin' rework of the previously nerdy popper "Wrong Place, Right Time," a fast frantic smash-through of "Mere Pseud Mag Ed," an early version of "Boxoctosis" that features repetitive incomplete lyrics and an unexplained beeping noise in the middle that TWICE made my wife think that our smoke alarm was going off, and a valiant though incorrect attempt on Ben Pritchard's part to perform the ringing guitar riff in "Spoilt Victorian Child." Though it's disappointing that he doesn't play the high note in the third bar of each verse (he's probably only heard the original version once or twice and hasn't even NOTICED the high note yet!), it's really cool to hear him play the song the way HE learned it -- using his finger to slide up and down one string between notes rather than picking out the lick on three different strings. This is why it can sometimes be so interesting to listen to live albums by bands that change members often. Like there's a cool Yes bootleg from the Big Generator tour in which you get to hear Trevor Rabin performing a bunch of old Steve Howe-written Yessongs, and it's just neat because see if you didn't WRITE a song, and if you're learning it from EAR rather than sheet music prepared by the original author, chances are good that you're going to teach yourself to play it in a slightly different manner than its original author intended. Sometimes this works to the detriment of the song (for example, the recent Bad Company live album which finds the new guitarist displaying absolutely NO FEEL AT ALL for Mick Ralph's riffs), but other times - as on this record - the new guy brings something odd and delightful to the song. A little something weird, wet and wild, you might say! Woolly? HELL NO! FUCK YOU!
So if you just can't wait for the next hot batch of official The Fall studio mechandise, grab yourself a copy of This Album. It may not bowl you over like an official release would, but in the meantime it serves quite well as a surrogate, and you can't really beat it as far as improvised makeshift provisionals go, if you're in the market for temporary stopgaps. And you don't have to pad your stereo with a sanitary napkin like when you listen to a Paul Simon album.
(a) The exact same version of "Distilled Mug Art" that appears on 2G+G: a great experimental throwback for sure and I hadn't even noticed the delicious Spanish lead guitar licksplittery before, but COME ON!
(b) Yet another rendition of "I Wake Up In The City," which is itself simply a re-recording of "My Ex-Classmates' Kids" with different lyrics. Great buzzing trebly guitar and thick bass, but COME ON!
(c) Five minutes of Mark and his band talking on top of each other in thick British accents. Great song title ("Where's The Fuckin Taxi? Cunt"), but it's just indecipherable muddy chit-chat! A few acoustic chords here and there, but COME ON!
(d)The fifty-five zagillionth version of "My Ex-Classmates' Kids," which incidentally we just heard two tracks earlier as "I Wake Up In The City." Sure it's a ton of fun little rockabilly number, but COME ON!
Supposedly all four of these tracks were recorded one night in Salford when Mark Smith had his leg in a cast, hence the subhead "The Wentworth Session's." A horrible waste of time and money. Limited edition and THANK GOD. Not even worthwhile for collectors. I give it a 6, which is more than I gave most of Tool's catalogue. I like every Chuck Berry song that the Rolling Stones covered, but COME ON!
(Little joke for all the Chuck Berry/Rolling Stones fans out there.) Incidentally, just this week I finally caught an extremely rude joke that The Fall made on their Levitate album. At the time, I remember wondering why the hell they used the same exact music for both the cover "I Come And Stand At Every Door" and the instrumental "Jap Kid." But it finally hit me like a laserbeam as I drifted away on a cruise through the balmy Alaskan isles. You see, "I Come And Stand At Every Door" is an old protest song, written from the point of view of a child who has lost his life to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in WWII. Hence, when they decided to include a reprise of its musical theme later in the album, they of course titled it... the tackiest, least sensitive thing Mark could think of.
(*shakes head disgustedly at Mark Smith's 'sense of humor'*)
(*waits til everybody leaves; laughs uproariously at Mark Smith's sense of humor*)
- 24 Peel sessions
- 30 different band members
- 98 different songs (though two are programmed as one, just to fuck ya)
- 1 booklet discussing each session
- 1 cardboard box suitable for framing
Though I'm not certain the opinion of David "Have A Marijuana" Peel, his namesake and possible father John "Peel Sessions" Peel loved The Fall, and even though he and Mark Smith only actually met a few times, Mark certainly appreciated all the attention and airplay. Enough background though - let's move on to a LIST! Spanning the band's entire career (to date), the set features material from every single Fall album except:
Room To Live
Are You Are Missing Winner
Early Years 77-79
And WOW! I mean CHRIST! WHAT A BUNCH OF GREAT SONGS!!!! Although many Fall songs appear on multiple compilations in various states of disrepair, if one counts only the first appearance of each song on a Fall LP, the box set features alternate versions of this many songs from these many albums:
6 Witch Trials
6 Hex Enduction
2 Wonderful & Frightening
1 The Fall EP
5 Nation's Saving
4 Bend Sinister
3 Code: Selfish
4 Middle Class
5 Light User
5 Marshall Suite
3 Real New Fall
1 Totale's Turns
2 Hip Priest And Kamerads
1 Palace Of Swords Reversed
1 Masquerade Pt. II EP
1 Popcorn Double Feature EP
There are also a few rarities to be enjoyed, including:
- A couple of rotten, rancid Christmas songs
- A cover of The Move's terrific "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" (did anybody notice that The Fall quote that song in the intro to "Hilary"? I sure didn't!)
- A horrifyingly generic Bangles-like fuzz-pop woman-sung atrocity called "The City Never Sleeps"
- A surprisingly 'spot-on' cover of Captain Beefheart's "Beatle Bones 'N' Smokin' Stones"
- Good old "Mess Of My," which has been available for years on that really old Peel Sessions EP but not anywhere else.
Although I still feel that the single-disc Peel Sessions CD is the greatest possible introduction to The Fall that a potential new fan could ask for, this box set is an absolute must-own for anybody who is already a fan. Many of the tracks were recorded before they were finalized for studio album recording, so it's neat to hear how they sounded in earlier incarnations (often with earlier band line-ups as well!). Some of these gems include:
- "Industrial Estate" with a much clearer and more difficult guitar line
- An electric guitar version of "New Puritan"
- "C'N'C S. Mithering" deteriorating into a parody of some British song called "Do The Hucklebuck"
- "Who Makes The Nazis" with the bass harmonics performed on an out-of-tune toy guitar or ukulele or something
- "Garden" with an exciting third note in the guitar riff!
- "Hilary" with a power-packed fourth note in the bass line!
- An early version of "Butterflies 4 Brains" entitled "Whizz Bang"
- "The War Against Intelligence" featuring those odd electronic tones from I Am Kurious Oranj
- "A Lot Of Wind" with a slightly different - though still rollicking - bass line
- "Behind The Counter" wherein the guitarist keeps bending his guitar neck for riotous bendy hilarity
- "Glam Racket-Star" with Brix censoring her shit poem to intone "You say that you're a star, but I don't give a UHH!"
- A quiet confused version of "Oleano" that features an entirely different mood than the LP version, as well as a hilarious top-of-throat SCREEEEEEEAM from Brix halfway through for no reason
However, nobody said that The Amateurish Fall are perfect, and they do a fine job of fubking up quite a few great tunes as well, including:
- "Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul" is so out of tune, the producer should have shot himself as penance. Who the hell is playing the horn - a sea urchin?
- A version of "Hip Priest" WITHOUT THE MELODY. Sure, I love the drumbeat too, but nine minutes of tuneless assfuckery is a bit much to bear. Not that I'm calling you a bear.
- A messy, overlong, ineffective run-through of the previously screamadelic sirenable "Deer Park"
- "Deadbeat Descendant" with overloud dumbass sissy keyboards
- "M5" ruined by failure-riffic whoosly keyboard tone
- "Hey! Student" turned to shit by guitarist repeatedly hitting an open note and making the bass line seem less catchy
- "Chilinist" reduced from three chords to a much more manageable two; Brix singing in dumb sped-up voice
- A version of "Masquerade" that never gets cooking; Mark sounds as bored as I, Mark, am!
- "Antidotes" entirely free of melody of any sort
So you see, lists are a wonderful thing from which we all can learn to get along with each other more safely and providedly. Have a good evening, and be sure to:
- Put out the cat (in front of a car)
- Wash the dishes
- Dash the wishes (of your children)
- Close the toilet before urinating
- Take a shower. If you're a baby, take a baby shower.
- Set the alarm clock
- Clock the alarm set (fuckin' alarm set, with their big fancy alarms)
- Tune in tomorrow for more of Mark Prindle's Book Of Lists, brought to you by Mark Prindle of Mark Prindle's Book Of Lists by Mark Prindle (Featuring Mark Prindle of Mark Prindle's Book Of Lists with Mark Prindle) starring Mark Prindle
Jawbone and the air rifle - who'd have thought they could have harmed anyone?
And here's the old woman I mentioned with her comments:
Some might be scrolling up and down Prindle’s Fall page, madly: “Jesus, where do I begin, where do I end, where do I?..” I can understand that. Some say that the best way to start with the band is the 10000 Fall Fans compilation (long gone are the days when I bought it at some London CD store and thought that’s it, everything I need – naïve me), but I cannot imagine anyone feeling really satisfied with it. Despite having 37 complete winners (of 39; “Eat Y’Self Fitter” is okay, while “Why Are people Grudgeful?” is a really bad track, isn’t it?), you will either hate it or want to go buy them all.
I’ve come to realize, though, that the Complete Peel Sessions is the only decent one-stop shop. It might miss some indispensable classics (say, “Wings”), but it well traces the Fall’s history and development. You get about a hundred songs, with only 5 or so stinkers. From CD 1, which is confident, defiant and so goddamn addictive, we move along to CD 2, which is looser, meandering-but-that’s-the-point, groovy as hell. And since then they’ve only gotten more and more adventurous (with some detours to catchiness, weirdness, catchy weirdness and, most importantly, weird catchiness). Smith might be the snotty asshole he is, but I can’t really care.
Also, I really don’t know where this here Mark got that uncertainty about Peel’s attitude to the Fall (why would he invite them oftener than Go-Betweens, anyway?), but I would have to agree to the extend that they are the most downright fantastic, consistent band ever.
Let all plague be like the Fall. (what an incredible double-sided allusion on Camus)
Continuing The Fall's 28-year history of perplexing all expectations, nearly the same exact line-up that recorded one of the band's most well-received and consistently hooky records ever (The Real New Fall Album) returns three years later with one of the band's absolute weakest studio releases -- tied with The Infotainment Scan for overall lack of consistency, though this album is longer with more good songs (and more bad, but hey) so it's definitely the superior purchase. At any rate, how disappointed can you get in a band whose 'worst album ever' still deserves a 7/10 on any decently-eared music fan's scale? If you're that kind of asshole, go listen to Public Image Ltd's "Disappointed" and slam your head in a piano.
First things -- there is nothing overtly 'weak' about the band's performance on this record. They play with tons of energy, good humor and varied quirky guitar and organ tones, plus Mark's voice is getting even odder in its old age. Confidence abounds as well, with no trepidation in the performances whatsoever. The production is equally strong, providing that raw, crisp and loud rock and roll sound and making sure that every instrument is audible and zesty, nothing is digitally smoothed over ala Infotainment Scan, and there's never an issue of over-trebliness or lo-fi rigmarole a ler Dragnet.
The problem lies with the songwriting. Or rather... the refusal to do any. Half of these riffs are generic, cliched chord sequences pulled from mid-60s garage rock songs. And since Mark just says everything as usual, there's no vocal melodies either. If you're unconcerned by originality in songwriting, you'll love this record because it sounds GREAT. I unfortunately can't ignore the lazy fact that "Pacifying Joint" is E-G-A, "What About Us" is E-A-G, "Assume" is A-C-A-G, "Youwanner" is Bflat-A-E, and "Blindness" is SEVEN AND A HALF MINUTES of G-Bflat-F. And I'm aware that it's easy to go back through the Fall's history and pick plenty of songs that only have two or three chords, but these particular chord progressions are so dated and overused throughout the history of garage rock, it's an embarrassment to hear The Ever-Creative Fall relying on them in 2005 of all years. It's the same kind of crap you can find on any of these retro-garage CDs on Estrus and Gearhead and labels like that. Add to these five retreads a two-minute 'reprise' of an earlier song on the record and a cover of The Move's "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" ruined by Mark's warbliest, least melodic vocals EVER, and that's an entire half of the album down the somewhat disappointing drain.
So half of the CD is decent but melodically uninspired. That's the negative. But don't move a muscle because the other seven songs are up to all possible Fall standards, running the diversity range from pissed off aggression to bubblegum pop to sad minor-key waltz to cheery rockabilly to wistful hippy-folk arpeggios to bass-heavy Bo Diddley/mancabilly (with Mark sounding like an OWL!), with "Ride Away" serving as the most minimalist and silly opener since "Eat Y'self Fitter." The latter half of the record sounds particularly good after the up-and-down former, and the last four songs might actually be the best on the record. Let's hope they recorded them in the order they wrote them and now they're on a hot cooking spell!
It feels a little strange calling an album with 7 great songs "one of the weakest in the Fall catalog," but as I said, too much of this material sounds like the band couldn't come up with their own riffs so they just took 'em from old records. Plus the piercing, wiggly guitar tone in "Assume" is unbearable, making it possibly my least-favorite Fall track in recorded history. If I wanted to pierce my ear, I'd do it with a dull rusty nail, thanks!
And 9 for perverted by language?? I ask you!
Is this man rational?
Do we care?
Is this CD worth only 7?
That's 3 nos (or 2.6 if we apply Mark's marking).
I'm off for a lie down. This is a great album especially the bits where you can go duh dh duh to.
To the above commenter: you named your son Mark Edward? Please forego showing him a current picture of his namesake or he'll be waking you up every night crying about the horrifying Mark E. monster under his bed or in his closet--taaaaaaaaaa.
I have not purchased a FALL CD since Frightening and Wonderful. In the 70's/80's I was a huge huge Fall fan. I thought them number one.
Grotesque, Hex Induction, and Dragnet are some of my favorites of all time. So I decide to buy this here record, which I am not disappointed by. The driving bass drum chord progression thing is new to the Fall for me. Mark Smith sounds like he recorded every song after a healthy shot of Heroin. It's quirky but not quirky enough. Either that or he has false teeth?
I like it but, it's not their best. I give it a 6 3/4.
Hey, check this out -- when I put my ear up to your bottomside, I Can Hear The Ass -- OW!
Say, what's with the pointy turd?
As you can see, RPTLC is another "7"-album, joining the ranks of Extricate, The Infotainment Scan and Fall Heads Roll as 'least incredible Fall studio albums ever.' But you're not going to hear me complain this time, because this should've by all indications been not only the first weak Fall album, but one of the worst albums ever recorded, period. By anybody. If you haven't been following the latest twists in the brutal, embarrassing Fall saga, please.... allow me.
Because Mark Smith is a speed-using abusive drunk, his entire band quit in the middle of an American tour last year. Except his wife, of course. For some reason. At any rate, Mark refused to give up and return to Britain a broken man. Instead, he called his U.S. record company and requested a new band. They provided a drummer, who then recruited a bassist and guitarist from an L.A. band called 'Darker My Love.' This line-up then practiced together for one day before their first gig as 'The Fall.' Mark was so thrilled with their performance that, after literally like five shows together, he rushed them into the studio to record a new Fall album. When you consider that the previous line-up took months and months to write and record the relatively disappointing Fall Heads Roll.... HOW GOOD WAS THIS PIECE OF MADE-UP-ON-THE-SPOT SHIT GOING TO BE!??!
The answer is -- surprisingly not bad at all! There's certainly a reliance on simple, repetitive and (unfortunately) somewhat derivative garage rock riffs, but they never sound completely generic or old-fashioned like the rockabilly throwbacks on Fall Heads Roll (and Are You Are Missing Winner) (oh, and Cerebral Caustic). Instead, this is mid-60s Nuggets garage music: the riffs might not be innovative, but the energy level is high, the beats are almost all uptempo, the mood is fun and bouncy, and the album has a unique, raw and exciting sound. There are dozens of varied guitar tones and warbly synth noises interacting with each other, a recurring heavy fuzzy melodic instrument that is either a distorted bass or oddball keyboard, and a few tracks that even spotlight two bassists playing different riffs at the same time! Furthermore, this is the loosest playing that Mark has allowed on a Fall record since maybe as far back as Hex Enduction Hour. The lead guitarist is seemingly given free reign to play whatever types of licks, leads or noises he'd like atop the melodies, which keeps the lengthy, repetitive vamp/jams from growing tiresome.
It's also a surprisingly diverse album, with the reliable garage rock action regularly broken up by such departures as jokey children's song "Over! Over!" (2011 UPDATE: "OVER! OVER!" IS AN UNCREDITED RIPOFF OF "COMING DOWN," RECORDED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN 1967); smooth melodic "White Line Fever" (their most honestly musical cover tune in ages -- Mark even SINGS!), Byrds-esque arpeggiated minor-key Nugget "Coach And Horses," bass harmonic improv jazz "The Usher," Elena-sung new waver "The Wright Stuff," overlong but funny ad-libbed rant "Insult Song" (a 6-minute mess concluding with the punchline "Little did they know they were paying by the minute for the tape they were wasting!") and 11-minute avant-garde piece "Das Boat," which I personally quite enjoy for about half its length but even Mark Smith admits, "It just got out of hand, that track. I was going to take it off, but people love it." I find that hard to believe, but must admit that The Fall has never come closer to approximating the pointless, aggravating artsiness of a Lennon/Ono album. 'Ee-ee! Ee-ee!' indubitably!
Again, it's not melodically creative enough to warrant more than a high 7, but in terms of fun, raucous, idiosyncratic, experimental rock'n'roll, it's pretty goddamned good for a band that didn't exist one month prior!
Will Robert Barbato, Tim Presley and Orpheo McCord ever play on another Fall album? Will Elena Poulou finally wise up and become Mark's 7th ex-wife? Check back this time next year for the next chapter of The Fall serial saga.
Mark Smith just turned 50, by the way, so be sure and send him an "I Can't Believe You're Not Dead Yet" card.
I don't think that the album they originally recorded is the one they ended up releasing. I remember going to the unofficial fall site late in 2006 and in the upcoming releases column that had something along the lines of:
"The Master tapes for the new album have been lost so Mark's going to head back into the studio and ante up from scratch."
On a side note, I saw the below awhile ago, and the inclusion of interviews from both Weird Al Yankovic and Jello Biafra made me think of you.
The US version of Refomation Post TLC will be released on Narnack on 3/27/2007. The tracklisting is the same as the UK version on Slogan, although Das Boat is retitled Das Bootuboat and The Bad Stuff is called Tim's Song, for reasons known only to Markie Smif. Also, the US version has longer edits of Reformation!, Insult Song, and Das Boat. In addition, US copies (initial ones, at least) will be "enhanced" CDs with live videos of Hungry Freaks Daddy (Zappa cover), My Door, Scenario, and Theme From Sparta FC, all from the November 4, 2006 gig at the Hiro Ballroom.
You probably already know all of this but I thought your readers might be interested. And no, I have no connection to Narnack Records, either financially or emotionally--just a hopeless Fall fan like you.
So that’s the wife’s review of the Reformation Post TLC done with.
Too understand the Fall’s music it needs to be a grey day somewhere in Northern Britain and it is inevitably raining. Listening to this on a sun drenched beach surrounded by bikini clad lovelies is not quite the right setting for the latest offering (although I am willing to give it a try!). In York (old York for you American readers) it is raining, it is grey and it is in the north (although the wrong side of the Pennines).
To business then.
On ‘over over’ Smith sounds like he is singing one song whilst the new band are doing another. In truth it’s not a strong start although it does get better with each listening. It does build towards ‘Reformation’ which is a strong song although the following ‘Fall sound’ gives us the first highlight. Then it’s the obligatory poor comedy cover version in the shape of Merle Haggard’s ‘White Line Fever’. Why Smith keeps doing these crap cover versions is beyond me – I struggle to think of one decent cover since the reasonable 1980s cover of R Dean Taylor’s “Ghost in my house”. ‘Insult Song’ seems to be about the struggle his new American band have had adjusting to life north of Manchester and has a nod to Smith’s Beefheart influence in it. ‘My door is never’ is just a standard Fall track – grumbles along, lots of repetition – so ticks all the right boxes there.
‘Coach and Horses’ is another similar song followed by the short and strange ‘The Usher’. For me this is the other highlight – it really recaptures the early promise of the Fall circa Dragnet and Grotesque.
‘The Wright stuff’ sees a vocal outing for the current Mrs Smith with swirling keyboards and gritty bass line. Its not a bad song – just overlong and after a while my attention wandered somewhat. Normal service is returned with ‘Scenario’ which is another cracking Fall song. It is clear that the new Fall is taking Smith to different musical places and the beginning of ‘Das Boat’ is a case in point – distant solo guitar over a harsh rhythm. In fact this song appears to stop after two and a half minutes before restarting and unfortunately after that it is crap. No escaping it - this is pretentious crap at its worst and a contender for one of the worst Fall tracks ever. Perhaps they should have stopped after the potentially interesting first two and a half minutes rather than keeping going for the additional 7.5 minutes.
When the opening chords of ‘the bad stuff’ chime in, it’s a welcome relief and this is a musically upbeat song spoiled by the fact the vocals have been put through the Smithian mincer to be even more incomprehensible than usual. ‘Systematic abuse’ is more standard fare – I can see this being a really strong Fall song in years to come although it seems strangely muted here. ‘Outro’ is seconds long and not worth any other mention.
So overall a very uneven offering. Not their worst but somewhere in the lower middle order of Fall albums. The problem is that when Smith’s bands get confrontational with him his own pretensions are curbed and we get better offerings. My feeling is that this band go along with him and as a result a lot of this album is lazy, self indulgent and in places plain awful. Strip some of the crap out and you are on the way to a decent album. If this took two years to put together then I for one will not be looking forward to the next release although as sure as eggs are eggs I will be at my local record shop money in hand, on release day. A news item in UK newspaper ‘the Guardian’ dated June 2nd stated he was about to start work on the new album although the interview was about his new project Von Sudenfelt.
I don't know how Mark E. Smith does it, churning out album after album, without mellowing out or becoming formulaic. He's awesome. So is Mark Prindle for all these funny reviews.
(For the record, "This Nation's Saving Grace" happens to be my favorite album, for all those (none) interested. Shorter songs! Catchy! Short!)
So Mark, being that you are an avid fan, could you tell me what it is about the music that appeals to you? Any of you other Fall fans wanna tell me what the appeal is to them? Any recomendations on maybe approaching the music differently? I like all sorts of wierdo kookie art music, it seems like I ought to like The Fall...do I just not? Eng? Hmph.
I think that this is the first legitimately shitty Fall album that has been released. I've tried very hard to get into it but it just is not convincing. The production is so muffled and crummy, and everything sounds like it's farting out of the speakers. There are only a handful of songs I can actually make it to the end of when I throw this on.
"White Line Fever" is beautiful and it's quite adorable to hear the old grumpus sing for once.
"Fall Sound" is as typical as a Fall song can sound, but it isn't painful.
"Over Over" and "Reformation" are both plodding numbers that are pleasant enough.
But the rest sounds so bloody lazy and weak. I can't see how you can rate this at the same level as Fall Heads Roll. While that record is not the best set of songs they've ever put out listen to the production. That fucker rocks. It's so tough and muscular. "What about us?" Shit, man.
I guess he's about to release Imperial Wax Solvent soon with an entirely new band. I hope to heck they inject some life into the whole Fall situation.
Oh, and I think "Insult Song" is one of the most painful listening experiences I've ever subjected myself to.
But: I do agree with most of your other reviews. Long live the mighty Fall. Maybe they were trying to restore the sloppy-ness and anti-production of Dragnet? Now THAT'S a Fall record.
But then - slowly, over the course of a month - three things happened:
1) I remembered the testimony of former drummer Simon Wolstencroft in The Fallen. He and maybe two other ex-members (out of 30+) remember their time in the band as great fun because Mark was hilarious. They didn't take him or their place in the band seriously (Simon even admits he wasn't a Fall fan!), so his bullying antics just struck them as a clever and witty way to shake things up.
2) I remembered that Mark Smith spends 24 hours a day in an alcoholic stupor and an additional 48 hours a day tweaked out on amphetamines. How naive would you have to be to expect a normal working relationship with a man whose brain has been that far removed from reality for over three decades straight!?
3) I found an affordable copy of Box Set 1976-2007, a five-disc retrospective that kicks off with 27 great songs in a row.
The first four discs cover the band's recorded history through a combination of album tracks, singles, alternate takes, remixes, songs from V/A compilations and solo Mark Smith projects. The fifth, entitled "Live Rarities," offers a mixed bag of songs that were never released in studio form (some for obvious reasons!). The package also includes a 60-page booklet outlining the history of both the band and every song featured in the box set. The unquestionable highlight of this book is page 41's write-up of "Last Commands of Xyralothep Via MES":
"'Our drummer wrote it - it's a good tune. It's a really, really good song, but the idea of the song is that it's just one riff. It's one guitar riff and it just builds up. The drums come in, and the drum parts change, and the bass comes in, but playing it on stage is just an absolute nightmare' - Ben Pricthard, 2003 (Prindle.com)"
So I'd like to thank the copy editor for not only spelling the guitarist's name wrong, but also directing potential new MarkPrindle.com readers to a web site about boats.
Because I'm a county lad, I've counted the following:
- 42 album tracks (note: some are demo versions and alternate mixes): 4 from The Real New Fall Album; 3 each from This Nation's Saving Grace, Bend Sinister and The Frenz Experiment; 2 each from Grotesque, Hex Enduction Hour, Extricate, The Infotainment Scan, Middle Class Revolt, Levitate, The Marshall Suite, The Unutterable and Fall Heads Roll; 1 each from Live At The Witch Trials, Dragnet, Room To Live, Perverted By Language, The Wonderful And Frightening World, I Am Kurious Oranj; Shiftwork, Code: Selfish, Cerebral Caustic, The Light User Syndrome and Reformation Post-TLC; and NOT A SINGLE THING from Are You Are Missing Winner! I consider this a bizarre oversight. Why go to such lengths to cover their entire career and then overlook 1 of the 26 studio albums? Was it a mistake? Did the compiler simply not have a copy of that record? Or is it so universally loathed that he couldn't bring himself to include even one little tune from it?
- 25 songs from singles/EPs/live albums (ditto for previous note)
- 18 previously unreleased songs (mostly on disc five)
- 3 songs from various artist compilations (the smooth pretty electro-pop "Arid Al's Dream," half-written bass-driven "Theme From Error-Orrori" and surprisingly tuneful cover of "A Day In The Life")
- 3 Mark E. Smith spoken word pieces (all terrible)
Although I certainly understand the concept of making the box set more appealing to collectors who already own all the Fall albums, pointless and boring remixes like "Hit The North Part 4," "Telephone Thing (Alternate Version)," "A Past Gone Mad (Alternate Version)" and "Touch Sensitive (Dance Mix)" essentially just take up space that would've been better spent on.... well, songs that don't drag on for 8 minutes with one lyric sampled over and over. Aside from that, it's difficult to argue with the track listing - not only because it's pretty great but also because the booklet itself admits, "It's everything you want and all that will peeve you for not being here."
But I know what you REALLY want! You want to know about this disc 5 - this "Live Rarities" disc. Well, the booklet warns that "it's something to cherish, even if, quite frankly, you'll hardly play it." And be truth toldly, it's definitely the least consistent of the five discs. But it's still pretty good! Highlights include: a Deep Purple cover (!?); a hilariously unpracticed cover of "Brand New Cadillac" that predates The Clash's cover of same; creepy early track "My Condition," which could've been a standout had they put a bit more work into the arrangement; wonderful little punker "Pop Stickers," whose delightfully bizarre melody alone should have ensured it a spot on record; a 'Stars On 45' version of "I'm Into C.B." that incorporates musical snippets from "Psykick Dancehall," "Fiery Jack," "Rowche Rumble" and "Leave The Capitol"; a pair of super-catchy instrumentals ("Countdown" and "The Boss"); and at long last the official release of "Hey! Marc Riley." Lowlights include the rest of the disc in its entirety! Forgettable originals, uneventful covers and little snippets of time-wasting noise. Well, except "Middle Mass Explanation," which is Mark Smith talking for 15 seconds before the band plays "Middle Mass." What the hell it's doing on a disc of "Live Rarities" I've no idea.
Since the box set retails for EIGHTY GODDAMNED DOLLARS, I've no idea who they expect to buy it. I found a copy for $30 though, and it's certainly worth that much - even to somebody like me who already owns all their records. The mixes are incredibly pristine (were they remastered!?), the song selection is mostly on-the-money (obviously not every great Fall song is on here, but a good plenty of them are!), and most importantly, it may help you forget that the band's driving force is a loathsome, belligerent creep.
Sure, they've tried the whole "live album" thing a few times before. Remember that godawful Live 77 recording? Ha! Don't make me laugh! Too late! I was already laughing! Nevertheless, you made no effort to stop me, and for that I will forever hold you responsible. Sure, maybe you weren't standing here on the balcony next to me, forcing me to roar my head back in delight and crack the skull of the ex-President standing behind me. But when I finally dig a tunnel out of here with the help of my trusty spoon, there's only one person I'll be coming after for revenge, and that name is YOU.
Sorry, I fell into an exciting alternate universe for a second. Now back to sitting at the computer in my underwear typing bullshit about a stupid live album nobody's ever going to buy.
Oh no! My left ball fell out! (*runs down hall after errant ball*)
Okay I'm back. As I was saying, "Remember that godawful Live 77 recording?" Sure, it was GOOD and all, but no thanks! Then there was the brutally mediocre Live At Deeply Vale - who needed that one? That certainly wasn't a "go-to" recording for your average punter. Your average fullback perhaps, but the punter needs a REAL go-getter action live album -- and that's where Liverpool 78 comes in! Or would, if it didn't stink. What's that? Did somebody say "Live From The Vaults: Oldham 1978"? Well, that's as may be and that says "maybe," but -- say! That WAS a good one! So let's not dwell on that one, because it invalidates my whole point. Moving on, did anybody hear/give a listen to Live From The Vaults: Los Angeles 1979? That thing was so poorly recorded it's as if one of the many, many smelly Mexicans dwelling in Los Angeles shoved a microphone up his la cucaracha and taped the whole show with his la bamba up his aye yi yi! Still, it was a veritable 5,000-track Bob Rock production compared to Live From The Vaults: Retford 1979. Then along came Totale's Turns (It's Now Or Never), the very first Fall live album.
Then after their first live album was their eighth, Legendary Chaos Tape. And legendary it was! So let's move on because I hate legends. Paul Revere? Bah!
Wait, here's a great joke:
Live From The Vaults: Glasgow 1981!
Live From The Vaults: Glasgow 1981 who?
Live From The Vaults: Glasgow 1981? You misheard me; I said A Part Of America Therein, 1981!
To be completely honest, A Part Of America Therein, 1981 is probably the best Fall album on the market. But come on, that was 28 years ago! Times have changed and so have my pants! (once)
Then again, Live From The Vaults: Alter Bahnhof, Hof, Germany is pretty amazing too. Curses, I'd forgotten that so many of these Fall live albums were so good. I'm starting to feel like a right fool-di-doo for saying "36th time's the charm." Especially with Fall In A Hole, Live To Air In Melbourne '82, Austurbaejarbio, BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert, Live in Cambridge 1988 and I Am As Pure As Oranj all kicking fifteen flavors of ass during the '80s. But you gotta admit -- Seminal Live, Live In Zagreb, Nottingham '92 and The Twenty Seven Points didn't exactly scream "Quality is important to us." In The City... was surprisingly good, but Oswald Defence Lawyer didn't seem necessary. Fiend With A Violin? Sure, whatever. Ditto for 15 Ways To Leave Your Man (Live). These are fine, fine live albums, and only a nut would deny it so. My initial point has proven flawed. 36th time's not the charm at all.
I mean, yes it's better than The Idiot Joy Show, Live Various Years, Live At The Phoenix Festival, Pearl City, Live At The Knitting Factory-L.A.-14 November 2001, 2G+2, Touch Sensitive...Bootleg Box Set, Live At The Garage-London-20 April 2002 and All Tomorrows Parties: Live At The ATP Festival-28 April 2002, but that's only because 36th time's the charm! And sure, Punkcast 2004: Live at the Knitting Factory-New York-9 April 2004 was pretty impressive too, but that's because 35th was also the charm!
In conclusion, The Fall have released a live album for every year I've been alive. Thanks, Grateful Dead!
But before we begin, let me tell you a little bit about this live album. With 56 minutes of mostly recent material, you'd think the disc would blow jobs right off the employment chart, but shockingly the band really rips it up and tears it down. Apparently it was the last performance ever at the Hammersmith Palais of Motorhead and The Clash fame, so The Fall pulled out none of the stops and performed 5 Reformation Post-TLC tracks, 2 Fall Heads Roll ditters, a non-LP Frank Zappa cover, and 1 song each from I Am Kurious Oranj, The Real New Fall Album, Shift-Work and the at-the-time unrecorded Imperial Wax Solvent. The sound is crisp, loud and extremely full (there is no empty space here), and the energy level is adrenalizing! (or, more accurately, amphetamizing) The songs are of course repetitive and also overwhelmingly modal, but man those catchy garage rock hooks are galoring out of sight! "Hungry Freaks, Daddy" might've worked a bit better had they taken the time to learn the chorus (rather than just repeating one simple blues-rock riff for five minutes), and "Senior Twilight Stock Replacer" certainly would've gone smoother had they finished writing the song before performing it live, but hey when you're rarin' to go, don't let a song's incompletion stop you, that's my motto!
That's not really my motto. That'd be like the dumbest motto in the world.
Seriously, can you imagine having that as a motto? "When you're rarin' to go, don't let a song's incompletion stop you!"!? You'd have to be the biggest dumbshit in the world to go around saying that. Unity and secularism will be the motto of my government. We can't afford divisive polity in India.
So suck it!
Prime Minister, India
P.S. I'm Manmohan Singh, bitches, so up your ass!! (*whips out giant Indian dick, pisses on bald head of bound Lal Krishna Advani*)
(Editor's Note: This is the last time I'm going to hand over a review to a foreign statesman. Manmohan said he'd keep it clean.)
What exactly do I mean by "disconnected 'whatever's"? Well, they ARE songs, absolutely; this isn't a Mark E. solo album or another Levitate. But the pacing, the order, the arrangements, the fact that all these songs are on the same record -- by any normal standard of album-making, Imperial Wax Solvent gets these elements all wrong! Nobody but The Fall (by which I mean "Mark E. Smith") would release an album that reads like this:
1. A jazz song by The Fall!? The third in a series of wonderfully "WTF!?" album-openers, it sounds like dropping acid in a tiki bar!
2. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-excellent pissed-off rock stomper!
3. An eleven-and-a-half-minute six-part meandering epic, highlighted by its unexpected banjo hoedown portion. NOTE: ALWAYS PUT AN 11-AND-A-HALF-MINUTE SONG THIRD ON YOUR ALBUM SO THE WHOLE THING JUST STOPS DEAD RIGHT AS IT'S GETTING GOING
4. Adorable girl-sung bubblegum pop!
5. Groundhogs cover. A completely generic early rock riff for nearly six minutes. NOTE: IF YOU PUT A SHORT CATCHY POP SONG AFTER AN 11-AND-A-HALF-MINUTE EPIC, ALWAYS FOLLOW IT UP WITH A GENERIC SIX-MINUTE COVER TUNE TO DESTROY ANY MOMENTUM YOU MAY BE REGAINING. Also, is it just my illegal download or is there radio static running in the background the whole song?
6. Very cool fuzzy synth riff with electronic beat!! Kraftwerk are rolling in their gra
y wheelchairs, around the retirement community in which their children placed them.
7. Underwritten modal dance groover that Mark keeps stopping dead for no clear reason. Example: right after the intro, he exclaims "Turn the radio off!" and the entire song disappears, replaced by a guy playing his bass. Example #2: about one minute in, Mark finds it necessary to shut down all the instruments for a few seconds in order to opine that his boss "has the imagination of a gnat."
8. Growly speedy tough rocker! Would sound great on an album with #2!
9. Catchy, cute bass/keyboard tune with Mark E. duetting with.... himself? That sure sounds like Mark Smith singing in a light, higher-than-usual register as Mark Smith growls like a rum-sotted idiot. Goofy light-hearted ditty!
10. Uptempo generic '60s garage rock, straight outta the last two albums. Not bad though.
11. Dance beat, 3-note bass, and the loudest, fullest and most all-enveloping clean guitar strum you will ever hear.
12. Energetic punky tune whose 'hook' is a synthesized crazy swooping swishy-swashy noise!
Certainly it's a low 8, and one must keep in mind that I don't have the most refined musical taste in the world, but I'll be great and goshdarned if this asinine grab bag of tough rock, cutesy pop, dancey electronics, '60s punk and sloshed fuckery-around doesn't rekindle the faith that I'd started to lose in The Fall over the past couple of years. Imperial Wax Solvent may be disjointed, sloppy and abominably-sequenced, but it's definitely not predictable!
(except about 2 minutes into the Groundhogs cover, when you realize that it's going to be doing that for another four minutes.)
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Mark E. Smith speaks, shouts, sings and growls - sometimes along with himself, thanks to today's top multi-tracking technology; Dave Spurr basses distorted and thick; Elenor Smith alternates between '60s-toned organs and squoogly noise synthesizers; Keiron Melling drums both punky and dancey; Pete Greenway's 'tasty' guitar 'chops' are 'savored' and 'sampled' both in his 'delicious' lead 'licks' and in the subtle but 'juicy' background plucks, slides and silence he brings to the 'plate' of the less rock-focused tracks (or 'corn on the cob'); and Grant Showbiz's mix makes the band sound raw, live and full of oddball eccentricities. There is no overriding mood to the record aside from 'these are music.'
Aside from what sounds astonishingly like "Remember you tried to destroy me, Steve Albini," the only lyric whose sense I can comprehend is "I'm a 50-year-old man and I like it," which is a hilarious and delightfully atypical sentiment for a rock vocalist to make. Then again, Mark's been a cantankerous wrinkly old bag since he was 30, so I guess it figures that he wouldn't fight the natural aging process as vehemently as, say, Paul McCartney. Did you know that that guy's entire face was ripped off a 23-year-old? It's true! 'Sir Paul' had it surgically removed from a street urchin in 2002 and stapled onto his own head. So now the poor kid is walking around with blood, teeth and cartilage where his face is supposed to be. Goddamn you, Paul McCartney! Goddamn you all to Hell!
And "Ringo Starr"? Yeah, more like "Ringo TSarr," if you ask me the way he acts like he owns the place.
Read your Von Sud review and the same MES applies here. This may be the first HAPPY Mark we've ever heard on an album. It's a happy album. I don't mean the content, but the only lyric you understand "I'm a 50 year old man and I like it"? I'd take that at face value.
I can't get that evil riff from Alton Towers out of my head. Wolf Kidult Man is another great stomper like Deadbeat Descendent and Sparta FC. Taurig. Tommy Shooter. and Exploding Chimneys stand out so far. And with repeated listenings, 50 Year Old Man goes from "when will this end" to "I can't wait till that song with the banjo comes on again".
Anyway, there's cause for excitement, in that if Mark hasn't sucked by now he's not going to. He's a unique guy, this is just who he is--and we like it.
One note though: We've all clearly...um...heard this album from somewhere on the in-tra-net. The real deal isn't coming out for weeks yet. Don't be surprised if Mark doesn't give us the Real New Empirical Wax Solvent (Believe it when you see it!)LP Formerly Old Imperial Wax Solvent. Reordered, featuring more great tracks and, the louder, speedier Wolf Kidult Man 2XX. Be ready to revise your review score if necessary....
'Alton Towers' is a ghastly fun park in the middle of Staffordshire and our low key weird opener. Quite unlike anything they have done and way ahead of the indifferent crud that filled reformation post TLC to breaking point. I like this one but not as much as 'Wolf Kiddult Man' which has Fall classic writ large. And 50 year old man would also have that status but the false endings diminish the effect of this track (although the Banjo break is a hoot). I like it more every time I hear it but feel somehow its an opportunity missed. 'I've been duped' is good although I'm not sure Mrs Smith's vocals do it full justice. Still it chugs along well and '2 hairy man digging up Scotland' is an interesting line. So 4 tracks in and its all going swimmingly well until we get to the cover version.. 'Strangetown' is I'm pleased to say one of their better offerings and while spoilt a little bit by crap production (or my CD player is dodgy) holds its head high.. 'Taurig' is keyboard dominated with a real 90s feel to it. Its not great but its still a lot better than most of RPTLC. Sorry to go on about it but that really was an indifferent album. 'Can can summer' is Ok but it’s a real return to top form with 'Tommy Shooter' with an excellent riff. Just get my dancing shoes out! On 'Latch Key Kid' I suspect Smith is beginning to turn into Tom Waits…but after the awkward beginning this starts to settle down to a good track. Is it autobiographical? This one seems to get better and better the more times I listen.
'Is this new' is another cracker, a crisp little gem of a song with another killer riff. Then there is no letting up 'Senior Twilight Stock replacer' is another belter and surely a contender for song title of the year. 'Exploding chimney' is a cracking track to end on but the trouble is when it finishes you are left wanting more……better play the whole thing again
So overall a very strong Fall album which bar a few places where the approach could have been different would I think have been their strongest for many years. Consider this though - if Smith can produce an album this good after 30+ years why do many of the bands struggle after one or two albums. I know now I will buy every Fall studio album because you just never know what to expect. Knowing that the lows of albums such as RPTLC and 'Are you missing winner?' can be kicked into touch (this is a UK rugby term for all our American readers) by strong albums such as this is a relief.
I am reluctant to mark this album because I feel it will improve with age. My very first listening had it nestling in the 6 and 7 areas (although of course how I mark is different to Mark's system) but I now see this as a far better offering and in time (probably after the next listening) will have this down as a 9. It will never be a 10 though (for the reasons above) and the real test is whether I am still listening to it when the next album - which I confidently predict the title not to be Shunter Assasination Syndrome - hits the shops with a confident thunk.
Just to be sure I listened to RPTLC again - it just doesn't compete.
I'd like to point out too that Elenor Poulou is fucking gorgeous, damn, that guy can really find great ladies to beat, eh?
The first four songs are excellent (50 Year Old Man is already considered a classic in my book). I disagree with your assessment that the momentum comes to a screeching halt at 50 Year Old Man. Track 5/Strange Town is the song that sucks all the air out of the room. I hate it. It's one of the worst things The Fall have ever recorded and I rarely LOATHE anything they do. The only good thing about it is that The Fall didn't write it. Track 6---"Taurig" breathes some life back into the party. God, I love that song. The rest of the album is good until the final two tracks (which just seem pointless). I'm not even sure if I'd feel the same way if these songs appeared on a different album but they just fall flat on IWS.
The production is awful. Not in a lo-fi manner, either (I like lo-fi music). The mix is just disgusting sounding. I've tried listening to this on my computer, on my mp3 player with earbuds, on my car stereo. It still sounds like goat vomit. Half of the songs are in mono which makes them sound even more like shit coming out of my dick. Also, as you mentioned, the flow of this album is fucked. I conducted a little experiment where I played IWS on a random shuffle setting and it made for a more enjoyable listening experience.
In conclusion, I love The Fall. Imperial Wax Solvent gets a very, VERY low 7. If this had been released as a six-song EP with the first four songs, Taurig and Latch Key Kid then I'd possibly give it a high 8, maybe low 9. However, life isn't fair, now is it?
In even further conclusion, Fall fans are a funny, interesting people. I know a guy who prefers this over The Real New Fall LP.
"Slippy Floor" is a super-catchy happy uptempo twangy rocker that I love to pieces, but the darned thing has no changes at all (unless you count the unrelated bass riff, slide guitar segment and voicemail message that are tacked onto the beginning and end), so lord knows how it will age. I'm hoping it will continue to please me as much as their classic old repetitors ("No Xmas For John Quays," "Fiery Jack," etc) but as simple as those songs are, they're "Bohemian Rhapsody" compared to "Slippy Floor." Still, I'm staying positive because wow! What a great riff they play over and over for four minutes!
"Hot Cake," on the other hand, is a right bland piece of rockabilly garage rock with very little to sink your ears into. Plus he's still talking about a goddamned 'slippy floor.' Get over the 'slippy floor,' Mark. Sometimes in life, we all have to deal with a 'slippy floor.' Granted, most of us would call it a 'slippery floor,' but I'm no grammar angel so who the hell am I to assume?
The bottom dollar is that Mark E. Smith wanted some new Fall music on the market but the Imperial Wax Solvent follow-up wasn't ready yet. It's a fun enough teaser, but (*lifts glass*) here's hoping they put more elbow grease into the full-length than they did into these one-take wonders. (*clinks glasses*)
(*screams in pain and horror as thousands of tiny glass shards explode directly into eyeball*)
The songs are definitely long (seven of the nine exceed five minutes), but the chosen genre isn't Garage Rock; it's Fall Sound -- meaning it's all over the place. For example, "O.F.Y.C. Showcase" tricked me into hearing it as a generic three-note Kingsmen rocker until I listened closer and discovered that it steadily grows and progresses, adding additional harmony notes on top of the original notes until by the end it has become a loud screaming wall of Krautrock joy. For a second example, the four-note "Mexico Wax Solvent" riff is as simple as any Pebbles track, but it's set to a funky dance-ass beat motherfucker and comes complete with multiple organ tones, lovely guitar arpeggio and even some gorgeous Stereolab vibes. For a third example, "Bury Pts. 1 + 3" is... well, garage rock. Why lie during this time of crisis, with the terrorists and 7-11.
But the rest of the album doesn't come within a fly's glance of garage rock, so I must have prejudged it based on my initial distaste for the first three songs. "Cowboy George" spends three minutes as an intense rollicking spaghetti western before suddenly switching to drumless psych-poetry. "Chino" will make you puke on the dance floor with its queasy slide bass and slow groove beat. "Weather Report" begins as a shambolic take on a Shiftwork-style ballad before giving up and turning into click-swoosh noises and Mark insisting, "You don't deserve rock and roll!" Furthermore, the "Funnel of Love" cover is melodic pop, "Slippy Floor" remains cowpunk, and the new mix of "Hot Cake" is too swinging and snappy to make the garage scene.
The energy level is high, the mix is crystal clear but not the slightest bit slick, and the hooks are galore. The songs generally consist of catchy bass and crisp drums holding down the fort as multiple guitars and organs make the rounds of noise and melody. It's these dynamic lead parts (and Mark's exuberant vocals) that enable the bassist to get away with playing one or two simple riffs for six or seven minutes apiece. There's also a lot of wiggly, bendy guitarwork -- tremelo bar or actual tremelo? Only Peter Greenway knows the truth! And he's too busy with The Second Cook, The Other Thief, His New Wife & Her Follow-up Lover to c
In utter finality, Your Future Our Clutter is the 27th good Fall album in a row. Take that, Take That!
In other news, here's something that totally blew my mind out of all control and lifestyle: you know this guy Henry The Dog that lives with me? The wife and I have spent nine years assuming that he's a cross between a German Shepherd and a Greyhound, but thanks to a free DNA test, we today learned that nothing of the sort was of the sort! Apparently his father was a Rhodesian Ridgeback and his mother was a Scottish Deerhound!
So when push comes to shove I order the CD as buying it at a record shop in town is now impossible and it duly drops onto the doormat a few days later. Enough contemplation. I tear into the packaging wrestling manfully with the shrink wrap until it is fully revealed and the CD is promptly inserted into my failing CD system (left hand speaker intermittent). The wait is over.
Being a domestic god I’m cooking the evening meal whilst the wife and children are out and the Fall burble away in one room whilst I do deity like battle with sausages and mashed potato. ‘OFYC showcase’ sounds OK - might improve with age. Mark Prindles comments above give me hope and I will listen more closely. ‘Bury Part 1’ is recorded in a warehouse - perhaps Smith has ploughed this furrow a little too often so I paid little attention here on my first listen or second listen.
‘Bury Part 3’ is however a revelation with big guitar sign and driving bassline. Things are definitely looking up until we get to ‘Mexico Wax Solvent’ which I can announce is one of the most tedious tunes that Smith has ever recorded. ‘Cowboy George’ is a marginal improvement although this feels like a half formed idea not fully developed. ‘Hot Cake’ is fall rockabilly with big guitar and not half bad.
‘Your future our clutter (YFOC)’ feels a bit like something off a mid 1980s album - Bend sinister era perhaps . I like it and it seems to grow - before it then morphs into ‘Slippy Floor’ which is more Fall punky rockabilly. Having grown up with the punk bands I like a good bit of thrashy stuff - sweaty times. The end of this is a bit of studio filler (ho hum).
Sausages and mash eaten by wife and despondent children its time to approach ‘Chino’ with mug of tea in hand. A weird start to this tune but then some blistering guitar and fine bass line. quite unlike anything they have done before - and what is going on with the keyboards? Smith singing ‘when do I quit?’ ‘Soon’ says the wife hopefully. That aside this is the standout track of the album and one of the most original tracks by any artist I have come across for a number of years. Excellent.
‘Funnel of love’ is a cover version by, according to the www, Wanda Jackson. Its reasonable enough, quite pleasant…wouldn’t be worried if I never heard it again. ‘Weather Report 2’ brings things to an end and it’s a weird one and again we see a partial plundering of Fall’s past but then its breaking new ground as well. And that sums this album up - one foot in the past, one striding forward stomping on the acres of dross that pass for competition.
Not their best but on two listens……not half bad.
A bit like Henry the dog in fact.
So what is their secret? How have The Fall managed to release 28 good studio albums in a row -- more than any other band in history -- while having more turnover than a senior class (nearly FORTY PEOPLE have passed through the band since 1977) and being masterminded by an eccentric bully who is drunk 24 hours a day and on speed about half that time? The secret is simple: that drunken motorhead asshole knows exactly what Fall fans like because he likes it too. Even when he can't stand up or throw a punch straight, his ears and brain are sharp enough to know when his musicians are playing too busily, pretentiously or amelodically. He likes tunes -- simple but hooky tunes, repeated over and over and over and slathered in strange noises. So the musicians bring him songs, and he rejects the parts he hates and fills the remaining melody-shells with noise. In other words, the employees write the songs that make the whole world sing, and The Boss (Bruce "Mark E. 'Tony Danza' Smith" Springsteen) rips them apart until they sound like The Fall. It's a method that works. Or at least it has 28 times so far.
Ersatz G.B. is not another garage rock album (yay!), nor is it a return to the slicked-up sound of middle-period Fall (double yay!). Instead it's another great collection of wonderfully hooky tunes representing several rock subgenres, drummed crisply, bassed bubbly, guitared twangly, mixed raw and ready, and coated in barely audible voices and keyboard/guitar noodlings. There is such character to this guitar playing; even when doubled or set in opposition to each other, the guitarists are clearly human beings with fingers that move. There is no perfection here, nor sloppiness, but simply character. Sometimes the guitars just pluck away nice little notes in the background; at other times they drive the tunes with distorted fuzz chords. This line-up boasts tremendous variety while always remaining true to Mr. Smith's vision.
Fall sounds past, present and future co-mingle here:
"Taking Off" - The Fall haven't performed a song this gleefully bubblegum poppy since the '80s Brix era
"Laptop Dog" - Acoustic guitars, electric guitars and lovely keyboard tones create a warm full mix in this heartwarming yet skrankly college rock song straight outta the Simon Rogers days
"I've Seen Them Come" - "Wings, Pt. II: Even Wingier!"
"Nate Will Not Return" - The crackly scratchy modal guitarwork and mesmeric rhythm drive could've come straight off the last record
"Mask Search" - If this were just another garage rock record, more of the songs would sound like this rockabilly Gene Cochran throwback
"Monocard" - Three boring bass notes played four hundred million times in a row, just like something you might find on Fall Heads Roll!
"Age of Chang" - With its combination of pissed-off '60s garage riffs, wiggly UFO noises, trebly demo guitars occasionally sneaking into the mix, needlessly lo-fi Smith vocals and band-shouted Tuff Guy chorus, this definitely fits into the recent trend of Fall production jobs that make no goddamned sense at all.
"Cosmos 7" - Krautpunk!? Hardcore minimalism? Hex Enduction Hour as performed by New Bomb Turks!?
"Greenway" - The Fall's ridiculous entree into heavy metal, essentially a cover of THIS SONG RIGHT HERE, but with lyrics bitching about the band These New Puritans (thank you Adrian Denning for the research!)
"Happi Song" - A gentle organ song written and sung by Mark's wife, who apparently would be happier in Yo La Tengo
But before you go buy it because it rules, let me just say three important things:
1. For some reason the last three songs are all accented on the downbeat. No clue why, but be ready for that. I urge you to be ready for that. Barack Obama wasn't, and now he's been shot dead.
2. Many people chuckle during "Mask Search" when Mark announces, "I'm so sick of Snow Patrol." This is because we all find it adorable when Mark makes fun of other bands. Remember that time he said, "If we keep going like this, we'll end up like King Crimson"? I never stopped laughing at that, and now I'm banned from the pubs. Banned banned banned 'cause they don't like laughs. Banned from the pubs. Banned banned banned; they don't want autographs. Banned from the pubs. Banned from the pubs. Banned from the (rat-a-tat-a-tat-a) pubs.
3. Mark has added a bizarre new vocal approach to his tiny arsenal: a disturbing growly thing that sounds like he has a frog in his throat -- and I mean an actual living frog.
In short, they've done it again. As David Peel once said, "Have a marijuana."
In short, they've done it again. As John Peel once said, "They're always the same, always different and always high on methamphetamine."
Also, I'm banned from the pubs.
Oh, I know what you're thinking. "Hay Mark! Why not embed a song that's actually BY THIS BAND? Or better yet, ON THIS ALBUM!?"
Okay, you've spoken and I've listened. Here's "Taking Off":
The opening para G is as good a description of the boy Mark's methods as I've read.
Surprised an old thrash metaller like yourself didn't mention the double-kick on this record - first ever for the Fall?
Where are the obligatory niggardly-written reviews?