Motorcrash

In August 1987 The Sugarcubes released Birthday, an instant indie hit thanks to John Peel and the music press, a record so different and otherworldly that almost on its own it took the band round the world. I’ve posted it before, twice. The following year they put out Life’s Too Good, an album with Birthday plus nine slices of high octane Icelandic guitar-pop. I’ve included many of them, Delicious Demon and Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow especially, on compilation tapes and mix cds ever since. Motorcrash was the last single from the lp, released to promote their US tour at the end of ’88, a tour which saw them wined and dined and play at The Ritz in New York with Bowie and Iggy in attendance.
During the American tour they played Saturday Night Live, which you can watch here. The performance by co-vocalist Einar Orn which illustrates exactly why Bjork would eventually go solo. In this clip they play Auburn, Alabama with similar results- blistering band, brilliant lead vocalist, irritating co-vocalist.
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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)

She Lives In This House Over There

The Sugarcubes single Birthday was a record so unlike any other that it assured them some kind of instant hit status almost as soon as John Peel had taken it out of it’s sleeve. The album that followed- Life’s Too Good- was a massive indie hit. I saw them play live at some point, I think around ’89-‘ 90 (by which point they were promoting their second album, which wasn’t nearly as good). They were a good live band, Bjork doing her skippitty-boppity thing and co-vocalist Einar entertaining and annoying everyone.

Birthday got remixed by various people on an eight track e.p. Justin Robertson’s remix is the best. He avoids the easy route of just sticking a kick drum underneath and looping a little bit of Bjork’s vocal and concentrates on isolating the bass, adding some horns and a dub-dance feel (in keeping with his Lionrock project).

Birthday (Justin Robertson remix)