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Monday, 18 June 2007

World of Twist

I'll admit that I had to have a good rummage around on the internet to refresh my memories of World of Twist. 1990 was a bit early for me to be getting into the Madchester "baggy" scene that gave us the Happy Mondays. Fortunately, later experimentation with living in Manchester brought it to my full attention - need less to say two years too late. Then of course, further experimentation with snakebite and recreational drugs rather dulled my memories for these later years.

Anyway. Originally formed in the mid-80s and re-invented in 1989/1990, World of Twist were yet another highly-regarded band that never quite made it as big as they should have. Although feted by Alan McGee of Creation Records as better then Pulp, creative differences (that old chestnut) and generally poor critical and pubic reception of their debut album saw them split after only a couple of years.

Sadly the best bit of guff I could find about the band comes from the Guardian's obituary of the band's frontman Tony Ogden:

World of Twist's style fused glam-rock sensibilities with pulsating psychedelic pop, dazzling sell-out crowds at the Manchester Ritz, London Astoria and Sheffield Leadmill. An eccentric fusion of high- and low-tech visuals featuring spinning cut-out heads of the band's members, pyrotechnics and fake fur was the backdrop to Tony's magnetic presence, darkly handsome in sleek-fitting clothes.

However, their singles, including Sons of the Stage (1990), adopted by Oasis as their opening live number, and described by BBC radio's Mark Riley as "one of the greatest songs of all time", failed to break into the top 40. Their only album, Quality Street (1991), featuring Ogden on the cover in a soldier's uniform looking like Terence Stamp in Far From the Madding Crowd, disappointed critics, fans and the band alike.

Radio 1 sessions for John Peel and Mark Goodyear came closer to capturing the sound and energy of their live presence.

So, enjoy this offering: World of Twist - The Storm.

It's not the famous naked cover of "Sons of the Stage", but it is a cracker nonetheless.

Also on YouTube!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Bit of a mystery this one. A band called HX2 who must have been from Halifax although I'll be honest and admit I don't remember anything about them.

A chance conversation reminded me that I said I'd put this up and I've finally got around to doing it. I remember getting the 12" white label from my mate Simon, and it even says on it "Happy Birthday", but beyond that it's a bit of a puzzle.

Still, it's pretty good early 90s indiepop and even better it's as rare as rocking horse poo. A white label 12" from a small band in West Yorkshire.

So, this is HX2 - Good Times, enjoy. And if you know anything about the band then let me know.

PS, I've just realised that that's Kylie on the picture (which is of the sticker that was on the sleeve); curiouser and curiouser.

Madder Rose

"Do you really need anymore of this shit?" asked the good lady wife as a Madder Rose 10" maxi-single dropped through the letter box courtesy of Mr eBay.

Fighting back the urge to say "Yes, I need all of this 'shit' as you so delicately put it; because if I don't remember Madder Rose then who will?" I simply put the kettle on and began to explain at length how important proper indie pop was before Blur got all wanky and invented "BritPop". That soon sent here to sleep.

So, Madder Rose then. Turns out they were an American band. It also turns out that the word "twee" is used an awful lot when describing them. They've got a brief page on Wikipedia and John Peel let them do a session (presumably whilst high on ether) and Rolling Stone magazine of all publications says:

As rock & roll teeters on the edge of the millennium, dream pop has swirled onto the music scene. It's as if the global psyche were dividing: the brutality of grunge or the buttercup sighs of the Cranberries, the Sundays, Frente! and Slowdive. But the alloy of the two sounds is most compelling...

Which tells you nothing. Still, it's very nice and in the interests of archiving the early 90s, here it is:

Madder Rose - Panic On

Friday, 1 June 2007

Molly Half Head

Hands up who remembers Molly Half Head? No, me either really; beyond a vague recollection of seeing them supporting somebody when I was at university; possibly somebody like Babes in Toyland but possibly not. It might have been at the Boardwalk in Manchester, of course it might not have been.

Still, they're a band that lie there on the outskirts of memory and so deserve to be "remembered" here.

This is lifted from TrouserPress.com which has turned out to be an invaluable resource in my indie wanderings:

"This Manchester quartet, whose complex arrangements and skewed pseudo-poetry have roots in the members' avant-noise origins, produce an intricate and original post-punk roar. But despite superior instrumental chops, it's singer Paul Bardsley who remains front and center. Second only to Mark E. Smith in the Potentially Annoying Vocal Affectation Pantheon, Bardsley is fond of pronouncing almost all of his consonants as z's. That idiosyncrasy aside, Sulk is a revelation. Moody yet muscular, it manages to blend the tuneful dynamics of grunge with Bardsley's Smith-like inscrutable dada-esque scribblings ("Green hits a hole that just about buries me/Peeling spuds was taking five/Sad therapy? No."). The domestic blisters of "Barny" and the scarily obsessive "Taste of You" highlight a stunningly assured debut filled with songs that try to say something in a way only some listeners are likely to understand.

The more challenging sophomore effort, co-produced by Craig Leon, rocks harder as Bardsley waxes even less intelligibly (imagine a drunken Zima pitchman singing the lines "In grimstitch snortel form you can't be nursed/It's time to learn to take your soup with fork"). Here's one band for which lyric sheets are mandatory — if all but useless.

After the end of Molly Half Head, Bardsley and his songwriter partner, Phil Murphy, formed a band called Wireless."

So, this is "Barny" and as you can see from the photo it's on limited edition one-sided vinyl; my early 90s obsession with future rarities catching up with me again - paid £3 in 1993, still worth £3 today.

Looking back it occurs to me that lots of bands were paint-by-numbers indie pop like this. Of course that's the whole point of what I'm doing here and I still love it to this day.

The attached (for your enjoyment) mp3 is exactly that; a genuine example of what the indie bands were doing just after acid started to rot in the corner and before grunge really took hold.

If anyone is reading this and has a really good story about the band (or any other band for that matter) let me know.

Molly Half Head - Barny (it cuts off a little early, I think there's a scratch right at the end of the groove - still, shows it's vinyl I guess).

Further to the comment below from "anonymous", have the video for Barny. I guess as he/she says it is a bit Oasis, but it's also one of those "walking up the road" videos and features a fantastic jacket and haircut combination. It also look slike it's been recorded off the tv with a handheld video camera which means that watching it makes you a criminal and those people that show their advert before films at the pictures are coming to get you.