Different Days

The Charlatans have a new album out tomorrow, Different Days. The single came out at the end of April, a chiming and clanging guitar led tune with some of the six string magic down to Johnny Marr.

The new album has all kind of special guests on it-Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert from New Order, Paul Weller, Anton Newcombe, Ian Rankin, ACR’s Donald Johnson and Kurt Wagner among them. I hope it doesn’t get weighed down by this multitude of guest stars. The previous album, Modern Nature, was a stunning record, full of songs shot through with sunshine and loss, a band writing their out of tragedy (the death of drummer Jon Brookes). The single above sounds like a Charlatans song to be played on sunny days from your car stereo or heard through open shop doors and windows. That’s good enough for now.

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We Can’t Stop What’s Coming

Fresh up on the net after the limited vinyl release for RSD, The The with a one off reunion of Johnny Marr, James Eller and Zeke Manyika (1989 line up with Johnson, Marr and Eller pictured above. Johnny Marr’s hair and clobber was pretty much what I was trying to achieve at that time). A tribute to Matt’s brother, Andy Dog, as I’m sure you all know. This is a very special piece of music.

It Don’t Bother Me

After work tonight I’m heading up the M6 for the first international bloggers summit in Glasgow where a weekend of middle aged men talking nonsense and drinking awaits. Tomorrow afternoon some of us are going to the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie to watch the mighty Diamonds play Queen’s Park and hopefully secure their position in the play offs. Before that, record shopping at Monorail (and maybe a pint or two).

I have been to a Scottish football match before I now recall, on a 6th form weekend away in Edinburgh in 1987. A bunch of us went to Easter Road to watch Hibs play Aberdeen. We wandered down to pay on the gate, avoiding various scuffles on the way between supporters of Hibs and the Dons. At half time almost every single person on the home end pissed through the fence onto the steps that led up to the turnstiles. An elderly man standing next to me shouted abuse at Aberdeen keeper Jim Leighton all the way through the second half. Truly, these were the days. I don’t know what Jim had done to earn this abuse other than be in goal. The old man made repeated reference to Leighton’s bandy legs in conjunction with a part of female anatomy. Within weeks Jim Leighton signed for my club Manchester United where he kept goal until being dropped for the 1990 FA Cup Final after one howler too many.

Bert Jansch was born in Glasgow in 1943 and is widely regarded as the king of British folk guitar. This track has just surfaced online ahead of some re-issues, a song recorded with Johnny Marr, the king of indie guitar, in the early 2000s. Lovely stuff.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Johnny Marr and Billy Duffy were mates from Wythenshawe, south Manchester before either of them got famous. Billy, a few years older, sold Johnny his first amp and gave him a pink shirt stuffed in the back of the amp that Johnny had been pestering him about. Marr formed The Smiths (Duffy having introduced him a couple of years earlier to Morrissey at a Patti Smith gig at the Apollo). Duffy became guitar-slinger in The Cult. The picture above shows the pair reunited in 1990 backstage at a Depeche Mode gig at a baseball stadium in L.A. Electronic were about to play support, despite not having worked out how all the songs went. The pair recorded a cover version of Ennio Morricone’s famous spaghetti western theme in 1992 for an NME cassette celebrating the music paper’s 40th birthday, the two duelling it out over a drum machine.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Free Christmas

Christmas Eve- where did that come from? Crept up slowly and suddenly it’s the main event. A few years ago Johnny Marr gave this away from his website for free- Free Christmas. It doesn’t seem to be there anymore so I’ll share it here, a largely instrumental present for yuletide with a nice baritone guitar line running through it. See you in a few days. Have a wonderful Christmas- wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you’re doing.

Free Christmas

Still Feel The Rain

Sometimes a fringe and a denim jacket is all you need. Johnny Marr’s been all over the media recently including here two days ago. His guitar playing was all over other people’s work too, occasionally during his time in the The Smiths and then especially in the years afterwards. In full flow in the years after the split he recorded impossibly funky Nile Rodgers style guitar onto Still Feel the Rain by Stex. I’ve got a real softspot for this single and even with that very 1990 drumbeat this song still sounds good today. The Grid were involved in a remixed version on the 12″. Difficult to believe this wasn’t a massive hit.

Still Feel The Rain

In the video the fringe and denim jacket have gone, replaced by a crop and baggy white sweatshirt and jeans. Time moves on, never stand still, keep looking forward and all that.

I Don’t Know Where To Begin

As you probably know Johnny Marr’s autobiography, Set The Boy Free, came out recently. I was in a shop and had just picked it up when my phone rang. Mrs Swiss said her Mother had just phoned saying she’d found a Christmas present for me and she was really excited because I’m ‘difficult to buy for’.

‘So whatever you do, don’t buy the Johnny Marr book’.

I put it back, sighing slightly as I’d have to wait until the end of December to read it.

Electronic was a bolt hole for both Marr and Bernard Sumner and the original intention was to put out club inspired music with a variety of guests. First single Getting Away With It was a big hit in December 1989 so the idea of releasing things quietly and anonymously was shot to pieces there and then. Follow up Get the Message in 1991 was a brilliant piece of pop. It was followed by a remix 12″ where the song structure was stretched into a dancier groove.

Get The Message (DNA Groove Mix)