Moss

Last post in the join-the-dots sequence of this week and it’s a hop,a skip and jump from DJ Shadow on Monday to Kate Moss today. Kate collided with pop culture in 1990, the Third Summer Of Love issue of The Face magazine (Spike Island, rave, De La Soul etc) and a football and music fashion shoot in April 1990 (E For England, World In Motion etc). I had the Brazil jersey from the range she’s modelling above and wore it to Spike Island. Since then she’s floated around the music world, dipping in and out. Yesterday’s post included Jack White’s Raconteurs. Jack has at least two connections to Croydon’s supermodel- in his primary band, The White Stripes, Kate starred in the video for I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, an ace, raw cover of the Dusty Springfield song. Your enjoyment of this video will depend on whether the prospect of Kate Moss pole-dancing in her underwear interests you at all.

Ahem. Moving on.
Another of Jack’s projects, The Dead Weather, saw him playing drums behind Alison Mosshart, whose day job was singing in The Kills. I’ve posted Baby Says before but that’s no reason not to do it again. Stunning song.

Alison’s musical partner in The Kills is Jamie Hince, Kate Moss’s husband. She sang vocals on Primal Scream’s 2002 cover version of Some Velvet Morning (originally sung by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra). This song, and the Disco Heater Dub version which followed it, were produced by, and you knew this was coming surely, Andrew Weatherall. I’m not sure it’s any of those involved’s finest hour but there you go. I’ve more or less managed a Dry January- no, not alcohol, that would be stupid- a Dry January of no Weatherall and no Clash/BAD etc. Abstinence until today.

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Crazy As She Goes

DJ Shadow >>> UNKLE >>> Richard Ashcroft >>> The Verve >>> The Good, The Bad And The Queen >>> Dangermouse >>> Gnarls Barkley.

I really liked Gnarls Barkley’s number one worldwide smash Crazy. Dangermouse and Cee Lo Green made some memorable Top Of The Pops appearances (the one where they dressed as air crew springs to mind). Back in 2006 the mash up was all the rage. This one, I don’t know who did it, splices Gnarls Barkley with The Raconteurs (Steady As She Goes).

Crazy As She Goes

We saw a band at a fiftieth birthday party last weekend- the band were much younger than us, mid-to-late 20s. Their go-to cover versions were largely early/mid 2000s- The Strokes, The Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes, Black Keys. It said something culturally- these kids, their references, are post-20th century. Rave on.

Streets Are All Quiet

Simon Tong joined The Verve as guitarist when Nick McCabe left and then stayed on when he came back (awkward! as the youngsters say). When in 2006 Damon Albarn put together a supposedly nameless band around himself, Paul Simonon (coaxed out of painting to pick up his bass again) and Afrobeat drumming legend Tony Allen, Tong came on board too. The Good, The Bad And The Queen was a very English sounding album (despite Tony Allen on drums)- Dickensian almost, songs summoning up London murk, dark, damp streets and noise coming out from behind half closed doors. This song, the album closer also called The Good, The Bad And The Queen, opens with pub style piano and closes with all of the players racing each other to get to six minutes plus ending. The album was produced by Dangermouse but doesn’t really sound like it.

The Good, The Bad And The Queen

Living With Me’s Like Keeping A Fool

I’ve decided to play join-the-dots this week. Monday was DJ Shadow. Yesterday was DJ Shadow as part of UNKLE with vocals from Richard Ashcroft. Today is Richard Ashcroft as singer of The Verve. Plus those strings at the end of UNKLE’s Lonely Soul would segue very well into today’s song.

History is from A Northern Soul, The Verve’s second album. Their early singles were great records- huge, fluid, sunscraping psychedelia, with ‘Mad’ Richard claiming he would fly and believing it. By the time of A Northern Soul they’d cut down the sprawl to more a concise, more classicist, song oriented thing. I blame Oasis. History is a stand out song- a sweeping, desperately, achingly sad string section, an acoustic guitar and Richard bemoaning his lot, world weary, bummed out, alone and full of self pity. It’s a song for wallowing in (but not for too long, it’s not healthy).

History

Richard channeled metaphysical poet William Blake for the first verse. Blake’s London goes…

I wander thro’ each charter’d street, / Near where the charter’d Thames does flow. / And mark in every face I meet / Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

Richard has it as…

I wander lonely streets / Behind where the old Thames does flow / And in every face I meet / Reminds me of what I have run from.

He layers it on- living is for other men, three is company, how he loved and how he failed, you and me we’re history, nothing left to say, living with me is like keeping a fool. This longer album version finishes with ‘I’ve got a skin full of dope’ part, which- let’s be honest- may be the crux of the problem. She may have left ‘cos you were always stoned Richard.

The third album, Urban Hymns (Bittersweet Symphony excepted) is one-paced, radio rock, far less interesting and obviously far more successful.

Lonely Soul

DJ Shadow and James Lavelle spent ages putting together Psyence Fiction, a guest vocalist heavy post-hip hop album in 1998, packaged beautifully by Mo Wax. It was long, it was a kind of 90s psychedelia, it was a bit overwrought and it was a bit over-worked. Some of the tracks pulled it off though. This one with The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft managed it- those portentous strings at the end sound both over-the-top and rather good.

Lonely Soul

Midnight In A Perfect World

Nothing says 1996 musically to me quite as much as DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing. Someone said to me a little while ago that what this album needed was an MC, someone rapping all over those perfect urban innerspace soundtracks. I could not agree. This song is particularly good, a headphones classic.

Midnight In A Perfect World

No Action

I’ve always been a little suspicious of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, they seemed too perfect by half- three siblings, all young and good looking multi-instrumentalists doing doo-wop, r ‘n’ b, swing blues and country, a bit too Later with Jools. I found this yesterday. The fact it is produced by Mick Jones may have caught my eye. No Action starts conventionally enough with piano and voice but the chorus chucks in some Chic bass and disco strings which swell about while the singer (Daisy or Kitty) complains about a lack of bedroom action and jealousy.