Imaginary Collaboration Album

Johnny Marr posted this photograph on his Twitter account yesterday with the caption Kylie Fucking Minogue. It got me thinking that I would definitely pay good money for an Imaginary Collaboration Album, Marr and Minogue covering songs from their respective back catalogues. Johnny and his current band with Kylie singing How Soon Is Now and Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me, Kylie cooing her way through Getting Away With It, The Beat(en) Generation and Still Feel The Rain by Stex and in return Johnny blazing his way through Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, finding a new slinky guitar version of All The Lovers and a jangle version of I Should Be So Lucky. Come on, make it happen.

Johnny Mar’s new solo album came out yesterday to uniformly good reviews. I’m not getting it until tomorrow (Father’s Day innit). This single came out a month ago and sounds like a song he meant to record with his most famous band but never got around to until now.

And some Kylie. In 1994 everyone loved Kylie.

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How Soon Is Dub

You may think that the recorded works of Morrissey, Marr, Rourke and Joyce are so sacrosanct that they shouldn’t be mucked with. I don’t as it happens, I’m more than  happy for people to rework and remix almost everything and anything if it’s done well. Plus, seeing as Morrissey sees fit to spew shit all over his legacy there’s no reason why the odd bootlegger and remixer shouldn’t (and given his ‘all reggae is vile’ comment back in the 80s this seems even more fitting). This is a dub version of How Soon Is Now, using the original track, especially Johnny Marr’s wonderful guitar parts, and adding the dub elements in increasingly as it rides on. As a bonus there’s precious little Morrissey involved in it too.

How Soon Is Now Dubweiser Remix

Make Your Way To The Edge Of The World

I’ve just realised this has been a week of posts made up entirely about new releases. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened, but we may as well finish ahead of the weekend with another one. The Tracers is the new single from Johnny Marr, blazing a trial ahead of his new album Call the Comet. Johnny has put out two solo album sin the last few years. The first, The Messenger, came out in 2013 and had some good songs on it, Upstarts especially. It was accompanied by some gigs- the one I attended at The Ritz sticks in the memory as he ploughed his way through his back catalogue (The Smiths and Electronic) as well as a cover of I Fought The Law. The second solo album didn’t make the same impact, some of the songs were OK but a few were a little forgettable and but it didn’t really achieve lift off.

The new one, thankfully, sounds like a step forward again- a rush of guitars, a driving bassline, some judiciously added ‘woo hoo’s’ and a sense of urgency. Marr seems to have gone back to the music that preceded The Smiths, the post-punk groups of the early 80s. The video looks like it was filmed up on the moors above Manchester where Yorkshire and Lancashire meet, a bit bleak and deserted (and with plenty of pylons).

So Much Confusion

‘…When October comes around’ said the Pet Shop Boys in My October Symphony. Later on Neil Tennant asks about whether we should ‘remember December instead or worry about February?’ I guess February just rhymed. I haven’t got any songs on the computer named after February and can’t think of many with lyrics referring to the second month other than this one.

My October Symphony is from Behaviour, 1990’s PSB tour de force. Produced by Harold Faltermeyer using analogue synths it mixes full on pop, rave influenced pop, ballads and what got called adult pop- musical, reflective, lyrically grown up, classy instead of teenage (which could sound a bit dull but Behaviour is an album that could never be called dull. Inventive, subtle, wry, expansive but not dull). My October Symphony chucks many things into the pot besides Neil’s lyrics- a blast of a male voice choir, house inspired backing vox, sweeping strings and a funky guitar part played by Johnny Marr. I always felt it’s a song about autumn really (and wanting to move on and change) but according to a PSB fan site- ‘Neil adopts the role of a Russian composer who has dedicated his life and work to the ideals of the revolution but now feels confused and betrayed in the wake of the collapse of Communism’. So there you go. On the same site Janet Street Porter claims it is about a lingerie model. Which one Janet?

My October Symphony

In 1991 they released a stand alone single, DJ Culture, partly to promote their singles compilation Discography, partly as a comment on the Gulf War and how George Bush borrowed from Churchill’s wartime speeches just as artists sample each other (with a reference to Oscar Wilde’s trial thrown in too), and partly because they’d recorded what was a very good pop song. As a single it kind of went missing, despite reaching number 13 in the chart.

The Priest

You don’t have to go very far at the moment in this country to see the impact of the social policies of the last Conservative government and the current one. Go into central Manchester (or any British town or city) and take a walk around and you’ll be confronted by homelessness on a massive scale. It became unavoidable in Manchester city centre some time ago, people living on the streets in huge numbers. The public’s reaction to it is appalling too at times- I saw three young men stop, point and laugh at a homeless man sitting on the street recently. Out here in Sale, a 15 minute tram ride from Piccadilly Gardens, 4 miles from the city centre, there are people sleeping in the precinct, on the steps of an electrical substation and in the doorways of Boots and Sainsburys.

Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake have collaborated on a track called The Priest, highlighting the problem of homelessness, based on the poetry of a Big Issue seller Joe Gallagher.

Johnny Marr is finishing a third solo album. In an interview about The Priest and the forthcoming solo album he said this-

‘Because of what had happened with Brexit and Trump and everything, I came into this record really determined to not let those fuckwits impede on my creative life. But you’re living in this world and you can’t do anything about it. So much of the record is about dislocation.’ The full interview is here. There’s an internet meme that goes around which is ‘Be more like so-and-so‘ and in this case it stands up- be more like Johnny. Be more like Maxine.

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.

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.