30 September 2008

The best band in the world?*

I'm currently listening to the songs from the all-time Festive Fifty of 1982 and as it is actually made up of relatively few bands, I thought I'd look at the figures and see who were John Peel's listeners' favourite bands from back then. If you have seen the chart you will easily see that Joy Division must come out top. I added up the points depending on the chart positions like 1st place gets 50 points down to 1 point for 50th place and came up with this chart. The lists of numbers are the individual points and in brackets is the total. Of course, there were more bands than this but these are the most notable ones.
  1. Joy Division - 49,48,47,44,39,28,25,13,10,3 (306)
  2. New Order - 45,33,21 (99)
  3. Sex Pistols - 50,26,14,7 (97)
  4. The Clash - 41,32,11 (84)
  5. Stiff Little Fingers - 35,22,20 (77)
  6. The Jam - 40,34 (74)
  7. Siouxsie & the Banshees- 36,12,9,6,5 (68)
  8. The Undertones - 43,15 (58)
  9. The Cure - 46
  10. Bauhaus - 42
  11. The Damned - 38,1 (39)
  12. Dead Kennedys - 37
  13. Killing Joke - 19,17 (36)
Amazingly, no-one even came close to JD and even though the Pistols got the number 1, their total was still less than New Order's. Siouxsie & the Banshees got the second most number of songs in the chart but only one was in the top 20.
I think that also looking at the kind of bands that made that Festive Fifty, it was a very dark time and the political and social situation in the UK then was really reflected in these generally bleak and angst-ridden songs.

As I was only 10 at the time of this chart, I have been unaware of some of the bands or songs in this chart. It was interesting to hear the song at number 49. I'd never heard of the artist or song before but I thought it interesting enough to share with you and it makes me think that maybe the band 'Air' have been inspired by it.

It is Laurie Anderson's "O Superman".

*pre-1983 anyway...

15 September 2008

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Peel session 1996

Gorky's were quite a quirky band from North-West Wales. I used to work with someone who knew these guys, although I never met them (we were working in Spain at the time). I saw them live once, in Wolverhampton, at The Varsity, where I had also played quite a few gigs. Gorky's were something different to say the least. They sang in both Welsh and English as you will hear from the songs posted here.
It's quite hard to explain their sound. If you don't know them, just have a listen. It leans more towards indie-pop than rock but they had their own sound and you would know it could only be Gorky's if you turned on the radio midway through one of their songs.
This session is dated 21/4/96 and there was one other song, which I didn't record. Maybe I was in the bathroom at that stage of the show, I don't know...
Anyway, my favourite of the three songs is "Young Girls, Happy Endings". Not only because I can actually understand the lyrics but also because they sum up the music scene very well, even 12 years later:

You know young girls like happy endings
Well I guess that's the way it's gotta be
Cause without all these happy endings
What would happen to my industry?

You know I wrote that bit to sell ya, sell ya
You know I never mean a word I tell ya (repeat)

Ivory towers wrapped up in silk
A young calf with its mother's milk
Victorian England shining so bright
Two lovers kissing in the moonlight

You know I wrote that bit to sell ya, sell ya
You know I never mean a word I tell ya (repeat)

Are the feeling's stronger, the reason's longer (repeat)

Meirion Wyllt
Dim Atsain
Young Girls, Happy Endings

The band finished in 2006 after 15 years and 9 studio albums. Incidentally, for those unfamiliar with GZM or the Welsh language, "Mynci" is pronounced "Monkey".

By the way, there's part of a Nirvana set over at Live Indie Classics.

06 September 2008


Gumball were a band that came into being around the time of the grunge era and even though they were a kind of indie-rock band with songs often based on guitar riffs, they didn't really sound quite so dirty as the bands over the other side of the States. They were from Washington D.C. and were led by Don Fleming who had already been in bands during the 80s such as The Velvet Monkeys.
Here are two of the songs from their Peel session from the 20th of August 1991. Thanks to Steve from Teenage Kicks who passed the songs on to me. I really like the first one for being based on a single riff repeated 39 times.
Gumball recorded 4 albums before their break-up in 1994 and Don Fleming went on to do various projects and producing.

39 Lashes
High or Low