This Corrosion – The Sisters Of Mercy

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I’m sorry Andrew et al – you’re a Goth band 😉

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Out On The Wiley Windy Moor…

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Kate_Bush_(15312486456)Catherine Bush recorded her first demo under the financial guidance of Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd. Presenting it with shaky hands to giants EMI, they signed her and she quickly issued her fist single.

The self penned ‘Wuthering Heights’ went straight to number making her the very first British female solo artist to accomplish this feat. Followed only a month later by her release of her first album, ‘The Kick Inside,’ went almost achieved equal success by placing itself at number three in the album chart. An album written totally by her, she had already been well experienced in singing and writing.

Forming her first band titled KT Bush with her brother, Paddy at the tender age of sixteen, she had already been composing on her piano since she was eleven. A pure child prodigy, she was destined to become the strangest, most curious of all female artists to tread the musical ground.

Boldly walking the very male path of art rock, she was self assured and focused to the very last penned note. Studying music, dance and mime, she incorporated these art forms into her every movement both musically and visually. The latter, perhaps fitting her operatic voice, she used visual dress to accentuate her music leaving the viewer mesmerised at such a performance of dance as well as voice.

Her creativeness was originally inspired by her love of all that was the occult and the supernatural. Collaborating with her passion for classic literature, she chose to use classical heroines for the themes of her earlier songs. Theatrical epics were what she actually produced, probably wasted on the general buying public at the time, she managed to touch a chord and drew into her a still and very attentive audience.

Casting a drifting shadow of mystery around her being, she was shy, thoughtful and deeply sensitive when being interviewed, a situation she was far from comfortable with. Touring very little, she, over the years became introverted and felt awkward as though her place in the world had been and gone. Building a fortress around herself, she apparently, although briefly, changed her name to Kathy from Wuthering Heights. (Yet it does not take too much thought to work out that this name was a shortening of her own name anyway..) Feeling disillusioned with the world and the music industry she felt that her music did not have a place and she curled herself up in a little ball to the world and ‘disappeared’ for over a decade.

Eventually coming to the surface by the nagging voices of surrounding influences, she conducted herself into writing suddenly, a new album, ‘Aerial,’ again, a mythical character but this time, her recognition was for her composing and her ability to surprise with the most extraordinary prose and music to fit. Not so much now gawped at for her striking beauty as a young woman. Now she was older, stronger and more a legend with starry eyes looking now up at her, rather than those early years where it had very much been the other way round.

Self designing her own studio at her home, she spent hour after hour perfecting sounds and effects for her records. She craved for the ability to create a visual effect through music to plant an idea into the listener’s head.

She accomplished this by using her knowledge on classic literature. Having that imaginative brain herself, she found it easy to use descriptions of not just scenes in her music but recreating feelings and emotions of those characters who were devised so many years before her time.

Catherine Bush from Bexleyheath in Kent had written her own first album from start to finish marking the start of a career that made her into the most influential British female artist of the twentieth century and beyond…

Forgotten Insects – The Rise And Fall Of Altered Images

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220px-Altered_Images_BiteThe birth of this band from the wee darkest depths of Glasgow happened purely by accident in around 1980. Scruffy school mates by the strangest names of Tich, Tinny, Johnny and Caesar were struggling to get away from the school dances and town halls, getting paid peanuts to sweaty, drunken crowds of kids whose ears were just about as in tune to the music as the band were.

It was only when the older brother of Johnny, by the name of Gerry decided that his girlfriend at the time’s little sister Clare, had a fairly pretty singing voice and that a girl fronting the band might give the guys a bit of a boost. It is these life changing moments that one only hears about in the music industry (like the timely meeting of Lennon and McCartney at a village fete) that bring fame and success all rolled into one. Fate, as we call it seems to strike at the strangest times. These split second occasions don’t happen anymore, or at least, the industry doesn’t allow for them to happen any more due to ‘bands’ and music being mass produced, like a conveyor belt. This is an album review on one of the last bands not to have been produced in this historical and fatalistic way. Some kids got together quite naturally and the rest was history…..

In the early eighties they only released three albums. 81′ Happy Birthday. 82′ Pinky Blue and 83′ Bite. In this time they only released eight singles. The highest position and perhaps their most famous single, ‘Happy Birthday.’ This one reached number 2 in September of 1981. (It was kept off the top slot would you believe by ‘Green Door’ by Shakin Stevens.)

These youngsters dedicated their lives to making music. With pop so soulless and cold today, it can make you one minute into an overnight sensation, then drop you like yesterdays fish in the morning. At least Altered Images lasted a smidge longer than that…

There’s A Worm In My Head And A Fish In My Bed…

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Nestled quietly South West from Birmingham off the infamous M5, sits Stourbridge. Unassuming and fairly shadowed by the great Midlands city, it presented to the British indie pop scene a misshapen motley crew of four young men in 1986 who called themselves The Wonder Stuff. It was the brain child of it’s front man Miles Hunt; a mop haired, opinionated student type whose tongue in cheek humour was to become very essence of this unique band.

220px-WonderStuffHupAfter a minor collection of flopped singles, the band caused an unusual stir with their highly acclaimed debut album ‘Eight Legged Groove Machine’ in August 1988, which ignited attention within the masses of public school types eager to adapt their intellectual tendencies towards a surrealistic way of appreciating modern music, not unlike the generation of the late Sixties breathing a sigh of relief at the Monty Python boom.

Hard nosed and a furious dip into the growing craze of indie music, they led the way of future bands, some of which, are still around today. The Wonder Stuff’s adaptation to jumpy, enthusiastic, good feeling music still echoes through many striving bands even now.

After the sudden death of Rob ‘The Bass Thing’ Jones in 1993, their bass man, the idealism of The Wonder Stuff appeared to fall into the darkness. Sometimes, in music history, a band loose direction after the passing of a band member, yet others, have found inspiration and light. After finding the drive to carry on and only two top five albums after, they performed their farewell gig at the Phoenix Festival in 1994.

Several flopped projects have since come and gone and only the statutory compilation releases her and there remain. Forever in their debt, we have learnt great lessons from this band; to enjoy music with an indie flavour, with jollity and humour.

Perhaps if got the world to enjoy life in the same way, the world would be a nice place to visit again….

Pink Hair andAll Good Round Sauce. It must be Fuzzbox!

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We've_Got_a_Fuzzbox_and_We're_Gonna_Use_It_03Somewhere back in the early to mid Eighties, (no one exactly knows when) four dizzy school girls got together and decided to do something with their lives in Birmingham rather than be destined to grace the checkouts in their local Tesco’s.

Sisters Jo and Maggie Dunne (four years older) were eagerly learning to play lead guitar and bass respectively whilst Vickie Perks only had eyes for being a front lady with microphone in hand and petite, blonde Tina O’Neill, already had drumsticks in her tiny grip ready for her first lesson. Not really coming up with any great ideas for a band name, one of them came up with the idea of playing around with one of the instruments they were now rehearsing with. A ‘Fuzzbox,’ to describe it in his entirety, is a guitar pedal used to create a distorted sound. It was first used by Jimi Hendrix and was an essential item to create a surround sound of blurred or ’fuzzy’ noises in rock music predominately. It also was and still is, a certain piece of equipment used by many punk groups around at the time to give the very essence to a punk rock sound. Thus ‘We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It’ was born…

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Although with their brightly coloured rags and market off cuts image that was more Barbie than pure punk, they were appealing, but albeit out of date. Gracing the Indie charts was about as good as they could get in their early days. Too clean and well made up for anything along side The Slits, they took their place next to fellow extreme make up appliers, Strawberry Switchblade in the quest for pouts, powder, ribbons and vacant expressions. Now well equipped and fully all lessoned up on their respective instruments, they were ready to release their first single.

Looking back on this band, we wonder if it could have been possible for this band to have kept going. Leaving the scene on such a creative high, it always seems such a shame that band’s depart company when to appears that they could have had so much more to say. We had watched Fuzzbox grow and we grew with them, from their messy, embarrassing and over coloured take on punk they were, only briefly mind, to punk what the Cheeky Girls were to pop music; but they broke away, rather glamorously from all that and became the most sort after girly group in the late Eighties, if only for a couple of years – they were the ultimate girl power band.

Spice girls? You ain’t a patch on Fuzzbox…