B Is For Black Affair

Steve Mason’s 2009 side project Black Affair was an 80s electro inspired project, which was great in small doses but wore a bit over the course of an entire lp. Still, in a field of his own is Steve Mason- most people wouldn’t record let alone release an album like this, so far removed from what he’s known for. This was one of the highlights.

Sweet

In a slightly belated tribute to United’s 20th league title our picture shows Bobby Charlton, presumably in the aftermath of the Munich air disaster or an early anniversary of, with a cracking quiff. Bobby was present as a player for United’s 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th league titles and he’s still there, although he doesn’t make the netting bulge anymore. The Premier League is a million miles from this picture. Yesterday’s post-Beta Band group The Aliens had a song called Bobby’s Song which I should’ve posted instead really.

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A Is For Aliens

Some of The Beta Band turned into The Aliens following their break-up. A million pounds owed to the record company and being pressured to accept advertising money to clear the debt, Steve Mason called time. Which caused some friction between the band’s members. Steve Mason went off into various solo projects (King Biscuit Time, Black Affair, stuff under his own name). The other three, John MacLean, Gordon Anderson and Robin Jones, put out two albums of upbeat, psychedelic silliness (in a good way)- I’ve only got Luna from which I always liked this one.

Sunlamp Show

B Is For Beta

Listening to Steve Mason’s recent solo album has led me back to The Beta Band. They were real one offs- maybe the only reason their second and third albums aren’t given their dues is because they set their standards so high early on with the three e.p.s, later anthologised imaginatively as The Three E.P.s.

I drove to Leeds Irish Centre to see them play at some point in the late 90s, on a school night as well. We’d got free entry by claiming to be reviewing the gig for a Manchester music/arts magazine or something on those lines. It was hotter than hot inside- the sort of heat where you can feel beads of sweat running down the inside of your arm and the small of your back. This made moving difficult. And I was driving, so couldn’t attack the heat with beer. Carl from Cud stood at the bar, his time long gone. The Beta Band were out of this world that night, versions of spooky trauma song Dr Baker and the trippy Needles In Your Eyes sticking in the memory for ages afterwards. And Dry The Rain of course.

Dry The Rain

Fight Them Back

Can you tell I’m on holiday? Posting twice a day, I should really do something more productive with my time.

I just found this from Steve Mason’s new album, Monkey Minds In the Devil’s Time. It sounds really good- those doleful, multi-tracked vocals from The Beta Band, the part hip-hop, part indie-dance beats. There’s more going on here instrumentally than on the Boys Outside album. And he’s pretty pissed off about the stuff you see on the news. Righteous anger.

Then I found the single from back in February.

Anyone got the album? I may have to add it to the list of records I need to buy.