Just Like Gold

In 1981 Aztec Camera released two 7″ singles on Postcard Records- Just Like Gold and Mattress Of Wire. Roddy Frame has said since that they will never be re-released in any other format, no re-issues, no cd compilations, no boxed sets. I respect the purity of that, the sense of these are two time capsules locked into the when they were made and that the way to experience them is in the form they were put out. The downside of this is that they are somewhat expensive to buy second hand. The four songs across the four sides of vinyl are magical and even more so when you consider they were written by a teenager. To post an mp3 of them is defeating the purity of Roddy’s vision but also a little inevitable.

Just Like Gold

And this is a live recording from 1983 Aztec Camera gig in Hamburg, Germany, a cover of The Clash’s Garageland. Free download too. Loads more Aztec Camera rarities here.

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For A Life That’s Fit For Living

Good morning Britain.

This 1990 Aztec Camera single is a real favourite of mine. Roddy wrote this state of the union address and realised it sounded so much like a Big Audio Dynamite tune that it would be rude not to ask Mick Jones to join him. This mix from the single isn’t too different from the original version, adding some strings.

Good Morning Britain (Julian Mendelson remix)

Norman Cook did a mix which reconstructed it a little and added a touch of 808. It could be described as polite acid (but could have gone so much further).

Good Morning Britain (Morning Acid Remix)

The main message of the chorus, after four verses dissecting each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, seems just as relevant today as it did twenty four years ago…

‘The past is steeped in shame
But tomorrow’s fair game
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning Britain’

Say no to Farage and the small minded Little Englanders. Vote Frame and Jones.

The video is a real period piece.

The Spirit Shows

August 1981, a young Roddy Frame leads Aztec Camera to De Villes nightclub in Manchester, just off Albert Square. They play The Spirit Shows, Just Like Gold and Remember The Docks and someone has uploaded a recording to Soundcloud. De Villes was the first nightclub I ever went to (not this night I must add, I was only eleven in 1981). De Villes must have had a slack door policy back in the mid 80s as there’s no way I looked 18, I barely looked 16. I drank a bit, danced (after a fashion) with my mates and got off with a girl in fishnets. It’s funny, the things that stick with you.

I’m off on my youngest brother’s stag do, a day and evening in Liverpool. Nothing too wild, a few beers, late train home. Someone’s threatened a Beatles tribute band at The Cavern. Wish me luck.

I See You Crying And I Want To Kill Your Friends

There aren’t many days that can’t be immediately improved by a spinning of Aztec Camera’s 1983 single Oblivious. Brilliant tune, sprightly guitar playing, cracking lyric, and written, recorded and released when Roddy Frame was twelve years old or something. When Rough Trade put this out it just missed out on the  top 40. When WEA re-released it was a hit. Bloody majors with their big budgets.

Oblivious

Killermont Street


A short ride on the top deck back to Tuesday’s postee Mr Roddy Frame, who ditched the lovestruckness of many of his songs on Killermont Street, realism over romanticism. Killermont Street was on 1988’s glossed up Love but this version is Roddy solo, live with acoustic guitar and piano.

‘Whisky words tumble down in the street with the pain that they cure
Sentimentally yours from Killermont Street’
‘We can get there by bus
From Killermont Street’

Summer In The City Where the Air Is Still


Various bloggers have been rhapsodising about Roddy Frame’s recent tour, full of Aztec Camera songs, which makes me wish I’d done something about going to the Manchester gig. But I didn’t. So instead I’ve relistened to some Aztec Camera songs. Somewhere In My Heart is commercial 80s pop, radio friendly, unit shifting gold. It’s easy to criticise- bad synth horns, big 80s drums, squeeling guitar solo, verging on corny/cliched lyrics and none-more 80s video. In 1988 I liked it secretly, despite myself. Roddy was one of the good guys but in ’88 this just seemed much too pop. Still, it was part of the soundtrack of finishing 6th Form and going to University. And I’ve got a large soft spot for it.

How Can You Sleep On A Mattress Of Wire?

Aztec Camera’s Roddy Frame is the indie hero who has kept this status despite recording some deeply slick and commercial music over the years, notably during his stay at WEA. At first though he was on Postcard where he released two singles before jumping to Rough Trade where he had the perfect 80s indie hit Oblivious. Roddy has said he will never have the Postcard singles released on CD, which appeals to the purist in me, if not the have-everything-on-one-disc collector in me. This is Mattress Of Wire, his second single on Postcard, which tends to go on ebay for about a tenner. Good value if you ask me. In a link to today’s Rockingbirds post when Edwyn Collins toured following his recovery from three life threatening illnesses a few years ago, Roddy was on guitar. On the night Mrs Swiss and I saw them at Manchester Academy 2 Roddy was blistering, in a non-guitar hero kind of way, especially during the solo in A Girl Like You.
What’s particularly stunning about this song, Mattress Of Wire, is that it was written, recorded and released by a teenager.