Around

Tim Burgess and Peter Gordon’s Same Language, Different Worlds album is full of low key pleasures, little analogue synth parts burbling away, sax drifting in, Tim’s hazy vocals. This remix of Around by Sonic Boom adds further tension, loops and some chopped up, repetitive parts.

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Unguarded

Tim Burgess has done an album with Peter Gordon, due out on Tim’s O Genesis label in early September. Tim’s work outside The Charlatans is full of surprises, from various guest vocal performances to his solo album written with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner. This is the furthest from Madchester and Britpop yet- and it seems unfair to continue to pigeonhole both Tim and The Charlatans with those two labels. Peter Gordon is a New York based composer, experimental jazz, film scores and so on. He worked closely with Arthur Russell and his own Love Of Life Orchestra recordings are well worth checking out. The first song from Same Language Different Worlds came out digitally in June and is a little wonder, pitter-patter drumming and a drifting sax, swirling aquatic melodies and Tim’s hazy vocals floating along on top.

A second song, Begin, has appeared online this month- metallic percussion, some synths and more phased vocals. All in all, it’s a long way from Knebworth 1996.

Life Is Sweet

Today is the first day of my summer holidays- school finished yesterday and now seven weeks off beckons, with a fortnight in France coming up. I’m starting a completely new role in September so will have to go in for a few days here and there but still, seven weeks off.

This Chemical Brothers with Tim Burgess song from Exit Planet Dust has been getting repeated plays round here this week- cracking rhythm and noise and Tim’s nasal vocal. Tim went on to work with Ed and Tom several times, best perhaps on The Charlatans’ One To Another single.

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.

Oh Men

Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, the two members of New Order who don’t hate each other, have done a remix of a Tim Burgess solo song, Oh Men. Tim co-wrote the song with Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) and Peter Gordon (Love Of Life Orchestra). The Other Two remix sounds a bit late era New Order, a bit Kraftwerk. It is sprightly and out now on vinyl (along with the wonderful Peaking Lights remix and versions from Grumbling Fur and Carter Tutti). There are only 500 copies worldwide. They’ve still got some at the ever brilliant Piccadilly Records.

No-one falls out quite like Manchester bands do they? Bernard and Hooky, Morrissey and Marr, Morrissey and Rourke, Morrissey and Joyce, Ian Brown and John Squire, Ian Brown and Reni, all of Happy Mondays, Liam and Noel… I’d like to see an Mcr loathing-each-other supergroup. Put them all in a rehearsal room and see what happens.

Look At The Sun

This is just the sort of thing for a Sunday morning, a blissed out, sun drenched song from Seahawks with Tim Burgess on vocals. When I first saw The Charlatans at a tiny venue in 1989 doing Indian Rope I wouldn’t have put much money on Tim Burgess still being around twenty-five years later but here he is, a survivor as has been said many times before, and doing stuff that is much better than many of his contemporaries are currently doing.

Video here, it won’t embed.

The Seahawks album is out in September, which might be a little too late to do much looking at the sun. Mind you, we spent two weeks in the Loire valley in August and we didn’t see too much sun there. This was the view from our tent more than once. Our neighbours were flooded out and started digging a levee before they were moved.

When the sun did come out it was lovely- this is the Medieval bridge at Beaugency. The Loire valley is beautiful and we met lots of very nice people on the campsite. French roads are amazing for cycling on- great condition, little traffic and motorists that don’t try to run you off the road. It’s just good to be away from home sometimes, especially when the wine, cheese and bread are so cheap.

The Loire valley is beautiful and we met lots of very nice people on the campsite. French roads are amazing for cycling on- great condition, little traffic and motorists that don’t try to run you off the road. It’s just good to be away from home sometimes, especially when the wine, cheese and bread are so cheap. We found the time to do a bit of exploring. This is Grande Pierre, a menhir in a farmer’s corn field in the middle of nowhere, north of Blois. Not everyone in our party got on the prehistoric tip. Our eldest refused to get out of the car to look at it and child number two was fairly unimpressed. ‘It’s just a stone in a field’.

And this is Special Sport, my favourite shop in the village of Mer. In France the shops open at about 9.30 and stay open as late as midday. Then everyone shuts up shop and takes a two and a half hour lunch break before ambling back to work at around three, going through until about half six. No-one looks particularly stressed out,, no-one rushes anywhere, things get done eventually. I think they may be onto something. Although I’m not sure Special Sport has survived the recession.