Hurling Their Own Powers Against Them

One of this year’s treats has been a remix by Chris and Cosey of Different Days, the title track of The Charlatans latest album. Rude Audio, a London based collective, have done a completely unofficial re-edit of Chris and Cosey’s already rather gorgeous, Balearic remix. Rude Audio have pared the vocals back, dubbed it up and let the lovely, bubbling synths take centre stage.

In the picture the Fantastic Four’s own powers have been combined by this set of magic gloves and this will enable them to be totally defeated–now– and forever!! By hurling their own powers– magnified many times– against them!!

Advertisements

A Boy With A Stronger Emotion

The Charlatans have just put this up online, a remix of the title track from their new album by Chris and Cosey. A lovely, summery, 80s sounding,  Balearic version.

Opportunity Three was a different, remixed version of Opportunity (off debut album Some Friendly). It was mixed by Flood, originally released as the B-side to the 1991 Over Rising single and then saw the light of day again on Melting Pot, their first Best Of back in 1998. Opportunity Three is a delicious seven minute plus slice of 1990, equal parts 60s psychedelia and late 80s dance infused rock, led by some very loose drumming. The band (bass, guitar, Hammond) all swirl around, tripping out while Tim sings some sweet nonsense.

Opportunity Three

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.

Trouble Understanding

Norman Cook remixes? On the whole in the past I could take ’em or leave ’em. Too often it was a case of stick a whacking great big beat underneath, drop it out two thirds of the way through and use that ‘make it sound like you’ve thrown the drums in a tumble drier’ effect, build up it up, climax. There are exceptions but not so many.

The Charlatans survived the Madchester boom, outlived Britpop, never split up and then cashed in by reforming. They had a few years where they gave their albums away for free on the net and no one seemed interested but quietly kept going to produce Modern Nature, one of last year’s highlights and one of their best.

Norman remixed Trouble Understanding from Modern Nature and thankfully avoided the big beat tricks, turning it into a gorgeous Balearic come down tune with a hint of Massive Attack’s Teardrop. It came out on RSD and only 1500 were available. Luckily you can hear it here…

Over Rising

Another album twenty five years old right about now is The Charlatan’s debut Some Friendly, an album I’ll admit underwhelmed me a little at the time. After the 1-2-3 of their opening singles (Indian Rope, The Only One I Know and Then) it seemed a little light on further killer tunes and a bit samey. It’s grown on me over the years, and it might still come up a little short but it’s got bags of period charm, postcards from the past- a bit like listening to songs from 1965 in 1990. And it’s got Sproston Green, the gig closing, album closing monster. I don’t think the smart money was on them lasting. They’ve not only outlasted most of their contemporaries, they’ve made one of this year’s best albums too in Modern Nature. The sobering thought about Some Friendly is from the line up that made this record, two of them- Rob Collins and Jon Brookes- are no longer with us.

Over Rising

Lot To Say

Yesterday was quite eventful in its own way. I didn’t get up early and go to queue up outside Piccadilly Records for Record Shop Day. I went for a bike ride and managed 45km in the sunshine. Very nice. Then at about 2.00 pm I went into town and popped into Piccadilly Records where I got the Andrew Weatherall remix of Noel Gallagher’s In The Heat Of The Moment and the Timothy J Fairplay and Scott Fraser remixes of Finitribe’s 101 (on bright orange vinyl), both of which I wanted. The 7″ single of Johnny Marr’s cover of Depeche Mode’s I Feel You had long since sold out.

In a way I wasn’t too bothered. I expected it would be sold out and I’m not sure I like it that much anyway. The mechanical guitar riff is good but I was never very fond of the stadium rock Depeche Mode and don’t especially like the song.

Looking at the list of releases for Record Shop Day 2015 it looked to me like at least half of them were re-issues, in some cases of albums which really don’t need re-issuing as they’re widely available anyway. Stuff that is actually new was in a minority. Piccadilly records was extremely busy, large numbers of young folk, make and female. I hope they keep buying records and that this isn’t just a retro-fad.

Tim Burgess of The Charlatans was in the record shop, just hanging about. He was interviewed by Sky News roving vinyl news team and was due to dj in store at 5. A few people asked for pictures and autographs. I browsed a little bit and then went for a cup of tea at the Manchester Coffee Co. just down Oldham Street towards Piccadilly Gardens. As I ordered my brew I noticed Tim having a coffee at the back and ten minutes later as he left we had a chat- about me seeing The Charlatans at The Albert Halls a few weeks back, me seeing them in 1989 (‘wow’ he said, ‘long time ago’), Record Shop Day and my purchases, and the fact that he was djing while United play Chelsea (we lost, one-nil. Weakened team due to injuries, away from home, played fairly well, not too disappointed). I have to say, he seemed like a lovely fella.

This is from The Charlatans recent Modern Nature lp. If you haven’t got it, you’re missing out.

Lot To Say

By the time I wanted to go home the tram system southbound was down so I had to get a bus. A bus. I haven’t been on a service bus for years.

This is a Charlatans single from 2008, when no-one was interested anymore. Oh Vanity is Time Is Tight crossed with New Order and there’s nowt wrong with that.

Be My Spiderwoman I’ll Be Your Spiderman

I got a late offer of a ticket for The Charlatans last night and took it, having deliberated for a second or two. They played Albert Hall, an old Methodist Chapel on Peter Street in town, a stunning venue as this picture I borrowed from the band’s page shows- stained glass windows, a proper balcony, a good size, enough bar staff and really good sound.

I first saw The Charlatans in 1989, at Liverpool Poly and have seen them three or four times since. With twenty five years behind them they’ve got a proper greatest hits set, sprinkled with songs from the new lp (Modern Nature), none of which sounded out of place, especially So Oh (played early on) and Come Home Baby (played near the end). The organ is out the front, on stage and soundwise, especially on the groovers like opener Forever and wiggy Weirdo. Mark Collins guitar playing dominates on some of the 90s songs, How High ¬†and a raucous North Country Boy (a song that always hits me- a friend bought me the 7″ when Isaac was born and I always associate the two). But behind the organ and guitar is the much under-appreciated bass playing of Martin Blunt, pushing everything on, 60s mod style. Tellin’ Stories is wonderful, a singalong cut through with sadness. The Only One I Know causes mass dancing. Set closer Just When You’re Thinking Things Over is glorious and ragged and One To Another, with those huge multi-tracked pianos, pounding rhythm and stream of consciousness lyrics, sounds more and more like it was written for us, y’know for me and you.

Tim Burgess, blonde hair and black leggings (!), is all smiles all night, waving to the balcony and raising hands and fists to the crowd and sings his heart out. The reception this band get is amazing, for a group who could easily have been washed up and finished several times during the last two and a half decades. The last song of the night at the end of the encore is Sproston Green. I have no end of love for this song- I saw them play it at the Royal Court in Liverpool in 1990. It took the roof of then and it does now, the tension building intro and then the explosion of organ, guitar, bass and drums. A mini psych-classic and proof that even right back at the start there was a bit more to this band.