Dead End Kids

A new Jesus And Mary Chain single came out last week, the first in eighteen years it is claimed. This ignores All Things Must Pass which came out in 2010 and was on a Best Of… (which in the internet age almost counts as a single). It also ignored the fact that the new single, Amputation, is a re-recording with a new name of a Jim Reid solo single from 2006. Here it is…

Dead End Kids

I liked Dead End Kids, bought it on cd single and thought it was a decent song. A typical Jim Reid three chord riff and a typically Jim Reid lyric- ‘It’s wine today, it’s piss tomorrow’, ‘fucked up girls like fucked up boys’, ‘I’m a rock ‘n’ roll amputation’. The new version has some squally feedback at the start and reverb covered vox, a dirty guitar part on the chorus. But this release should have been a genuinely new song instead of a shrug and a sense of disappointment (which is what I felt). It’s not an All For One level disappointment. A milder disappointment. Ah well, hey ho. Still, tickets for the tour in March are on sale and they were very good when they toured Psychocandy two years ago.

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Some Feedback

The Jesus And Mary Chain came on stage last night and announced they would play the encore first, then go off for a few minutes and return to play Psychocandy. They then launched into April Skies, Head On and Some Candy Talking, all crystal clear and fine, William’s guitar twice as loud as everything else put together, the occasional missed note or out of tune string not mattering a jot. Two more songs later they ramped up the noise with an massive version of Reverence. Two minutes and a bit after that they were off- having played Upside Down, loud and drenched in squealing feedback.

A brief public information film from the early 60s projected onto the stage wall advertised the pleasures of moving to East Kilbride and they reappeared with Just Like Honey. Then we got the rest of Psychocandy. The projections (biker gangs, Super 8 home video footage), strobes and dry ice splashed all over the stage, added some visual drama. There isn’t much to look at with The Mary Chain- five middle aged men dressed in black not moving much, apart from Jim occasionally lifting the mic stand up. At some reunion gigs you get a communion between band and audience, a mass singalong, arms around shoulders, joy at hearing songs you thought you’d never hear live again, beery good times, nostalgia. The Screamadelica shows were a joyous celebration. Not here. Psychocandy is an album about alienation and while the audience weren’t alienated, we stood and watched, apart from some sporadic moshing down the front. This was noise, feedback, earsplittingly loud, with Jim’s vocals and the melodies sneaking through the distortion, like in You Trip Me Up. The Living End and The Hardest Walk, garage riffs with a wall of ringing noise. As the band left the stage, William’s guitar bleeding loudly against his amp, Game Over, in 80s video game graphics, flashed up and down the back wall. Still alive, still kicking. Game Over.

Paris, Upside Down, a few nights ago.

Just Like Honey

Tonight, six months after paying for the tickets, I’m going to see the Jesus And Mary Chain play live, Psychocandy and related songs, at Manchester Academy. It’s twenty-nine years since Jim and William Reid released the album, one of the key albums of underground British ‘rock’ (rock seems like the wrong word somehow- this isn’t rock, it’s shattering glass or something similar). I’ve been looking forward to this and while it can’t replicate mid-80s JAMC and I’m not sure I’m that much in favour of bands playing albums in their entirety (just play what you want, or play all the hits)- I love ’em.

Grapples With The Earth With Her Fingers

I was planning to post this anyway and happily reader Gentle Ben pointed it out in the comment box on Monday’s Sugarcubes remix post. Jim and William Reid also remixed Birthday, three times in fact (labelled Christmas Eve Mix, Christmas day Mix and Christmas Present Mix). They kept Bjork’s vocal and added buzzing guitars, dropping in and out in bursts, some ‘hey-hey-hey-hey’ backing vocals and a spoken word part. And some feedback. The Justin Robertson remix and these Jesus And Mary Chain ones show what good remixing should do- get the source material and take it somewhere else. All three versions are good.

On the original 1988 vinyl release these Mary Chain mixes were double grooved so depending on whether you hit one groove or the other you got one version or another. The third was on the B-side with a live song. The eight track ep, released in 1992, plays conventionally and has the Robertson mixes, Tony D remixes and The Sugarcubes demo version. Just so you know.

Birthday (Christmas Eve Mix)

Broken

Friday the 13th- I trust none of you put any store in superstition (it’s bad luck to do so I think). Death In Vegas’ breakthrough album The Contino Sessions has several good collaborations on it, Dot Allison and Iggy Pop standing out. I loved this record at the time but can’t help but feel some of it sounds a little dated now. I think with this type of record it’s the beats that date- until a time comes around that those drum programs become fashionable again. This song has vocals from Jim Reid, on Mary Chain hiatus, doing a fine line in self-loathing over a bunch of noise.

Broken Little Sister

Or Else You Gotta Stay All Night


It’s been quite Mary Chainy round here recently and I was going to leave it alone but then this appeared on the mp3 player on the way to work- Jim Reid’s solo cover of If You Gotta Go, Go Now. It’s nicely understated, sounding like a good demo rather than a polished song, just Jim and guitar mainly. It’s a Bob Dylan song- you knew that didn’t you?- written in 1964 but not recorded by Bob til a year later. It’s been covered by scores of people- the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manfred Mann, Fairport Convention (in French), Johnny Hallyday (in French presumably) and Cowboy Junkies.

Jesus Creation


‘The sun comes up another day begins

And I don’t even worry ’bout the state I’m in’
The Jesus and Mary Chain have appeared here several time before. I make no apologies for that. They’re one of the best bands ever. From the Creation roster you can make claims for Primal Scream (and I’d agree with you about several/many of their records), claims for My Bloody Valentine (and I’d concede some points there too), claims for other minor players (The Loft, The Weather Prophets, The Pastels, The Telescopes, The House Of Love say) and claims for Oasis (if you’re an idiot), but Jim and William Reid’s feedback drenched pop makes them the original and archetypal Creation band, even if not actually many of their records came out on Creation. And they may only have written one song but it’s a great, great song.

This is from an October 1984 Peel Session as played by the original JAMC line up of the Reids, bassist Douglas Hart and ‘drummer’ Bobby Gillespie. The Peel Session also featured In A Hole, You Trip Me Up and Taste The Floor. Never Understand would become their second single.