Pink Records 1985. PINKY5
While it’s true that the June Brides were as successful as they were partly because they were one of the first jangly indie bands, they also made some fine records, of which this is one. They were very much associated with Creation in their early days, although never recorded for the label – too obvious apparently. Main man Phil Wilson went on to record solo material for the label though. They supported the Smiths because Morrissey loved them and they were, for a while, darlings of the music press.
This was their only album and it’s very short, much like their career, but never mind the width, feel the quality. As I say endlessly on this blog, it’s the songwriting which really shines, and for some reason I’m a total sucker for indiepop songs with trumpet parts, which this has lots of.
The band have jumped on the indiepop revival bandwagon and have reformed. I have no idea whether their new stuff is any good (it’s well reviewed), but you can get it here.
Rough Trade 1989. RTD137
I’m not sure why I have a German copy of this – the UK issue was of course on Creation. It was the follow up to the rather wonderful Tender Pervert, and while it continued his great songwriting and his especially sharp lyrics, it marked the start of his irritating journey into third rate electronica. It’s best to try to screen that out and concentrate on what Momus does best – if you do, the album will reward your efforts.
The album includes a favourite of mine, Right Hand Heart which I’ve already posted a demo version of. The demo is such a favourite that I’ve done a shiny new rip of it because my new cartridge picks up a lot less surface noise. Get it here.
Creation 1985. CRELP007
The Jasmine Minks are synonymous with the early Creation sound; jangly guitars, some strong songwriting and lots of energy. No doubt their success was helped by their association with the label, but they made some great records which helped to define early indiepop.
This was their second album and it has some great material. Cold Heart was a single and has appeared here before, but the album is pretty consistent.
It suffers somewhat from the interferance of Alan McGee. At his insistence, some of the original material was dropped and replaced by tracks from earlier sessions which makes the whole thing sound a bit disjointed.
Creation records 1988. CRELP038
I reckon if this had come out 15 years earlier, and been on, say Elektra it would have been huge. As it is, it lies forgotten by nearly everyone.
The Times (more accurately Ed Ball who is the band) have always been a bit of a puzzle to me. He was one of the label’s most prolific artists, and what I’ve heard I like very much. There never seemed to be any buzz around him, and despite the label, he was never really cool. I guess this album was a bit too rock n roll for Creation and for 1988.
So what we have here is a series of quite anthemic rock songs, some of which sound as though they ought to be classics, but none of them are. The material is a bit ambitious for his voice, but the album is so good, he gets away with it anyway.
The cover art is typical of what Creation used to do when they’d run out of money, although my first pressing comes in a custom plastic carrier bag with a picture of Ed Ball with a noose, which must have cost a few quid.
Creation 1985. CRE015T
The Loft were Peter Astor’s first band, and this, their second and final single was a highlight of Creation’s early years. Actually, strictly speaking it wasn’t their last single, because oddly they released another one in 2006 on Static Caravan. The title track has actually appeared here before on the Creation Flowers In The Sky compilation, but the remaining three tracks haven’t. The last track is something of a surprise – it’s a Richard Hell and the Voidoids cover which works better than you’d think.
Astor went on to form the Weather Prophets after the on-stage demise of The Loft, who have also appeared here several times, and he also recorded for Creation as a solo artist.
I’ve never been able to see much distinction between this band and the Weather Prophets, other than the line-up of course. Both produced some of the best indiepop of the 80s, and this single regularly makes it onto those tedious journo “best of” lists.
Unusually for Creation, this single sounds pretty good. It’s well recorded and pressed. I guess Alan McGee was less wasted this early in the label’s history.
Creation Records 1986. CRE029
I’m a bit the worse for wear after an evening in the pub, so this has to be simple. This is, I think, the best thing Peter Astor ever did. You’re supposed to say that he did his best work with The Loft, but, well, I disagree.
This has a killer guitar riff, it’s a great song and they play it really well. Is there anything to add to that? Well if there is, I can’t think of it.
I was broke in 1986, so this isn’t the 12″, nor is it the limited double 7″. It’s the cheapskate 7″, but that doesn’t matter because the title track is all you need. If you can sit still while it’s playing, you should go to the doctor.
Creation 1989. CRELP049
Yet another vinyl rip today from my bottomless pit of late 80s Creation stuff. I don’t feel terribly competent to write about this; Pat Fish, aka The Jazz Butcher has been releasing music since 1982, and I’m only familiar with some of his output on Creation. To make matters worse I never really took to this album when I bought it (unlike Spooky which I played incessantly) . That was the reason I took the trouble to do a rip of it – why had I neglected it? It turns out that there was no good reason. This is a fine album and one which should have been a regular visitor to my turntable. I guess I must have bought other stuff at the same time which I found more exciting.
So what’s it like? In many ways it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Creation album of the time. It’s classy indiepop with clever lyrics. It’s very well played and produced, it’s full of good tunes (especially The Word I Was Looking For). What’s not to like?
Creation 1990. CRELP 082
Creation were in the habit of putting out endless badly compiled and pointless compilations whenever their bank balance was a bit low, which with Kevin Shields’ studio bills to pay, it often was. This one is certainly badly compiled and some of the tracks are awful, but it isn’t pointless because there are some rare gems amongst the garbage.
First up is The House Of Love with a sublime live acoustic version of Shine On recorded live, apparently during one of Guy Chadwick’s meltdowns. It was originally on a flexi given away at gigs, and Creation, being hopelessly disorganised had lost the tape, so this was mastered from a rather damaged flexi. It sounds surprisingly listenable given the source and it’s well worth downloading the album for this track alone.
Next is a My Bloody Valentine rarity – an instrumental taken from a 7″ single given away free with the first few copies of Isn’t Anything. It’s unlike anything else they recorded, in that it uses a drum loop – in fact the same drum loop Madonna later used on Justify My Love, and works really well. It’s doubly welcome here because it sounds much better than the original 7″, although it has more recently been included as an extra track on the re-issue of Isn’t Anything. The same comment applies to the excellent Momus track (I’ve posted a rip of the terrible sounding original 7″ already – this pressing is much better).
The rest are dodgy album out-takes and rejected singles. Mostly it’s not hard to see why they were rejected, although if there are any bands here you particularly like, they’re worth having. The Jazz Butcher track is rather good, but this Peel session version is inferior to the officially released one which I’ll post at some point. Of interest is the Nikki Sudden track which was recorded with Peter Buck of REM – and anyway you can never have too much Nikki Sudden.
Creation 1985. CRE021T
Five Go Down To The Sea? weren’t much like any other bands on Creation at the time. Their music was jagged, discordant and chaotic with unhinged vocals, but was very much part of the achingly cool (back then) Ron Johnson sound, although despite their three singles being on three different labels, they never recorded for Ron Johnson. The band apparently claimed that the much more successful Stump ripped them off, which is certainly a plausible story. I think they’d spent too long listening to old Beefheart records.
This was the band’s last single, issued shortly before the lead singer drowned in Hyde Park while drunk.
So is it any good? Well that depends on how much you like discordant music. If you do it works well, but if you’re after the jangly indiepop more typical of early Creation singles, you’re in for a disappointment. Whatever it’s the sort of obscure record this sort of blog should be about.
Creation Records 1988. CRELP 021 CD
Rownderbowt over at the excellent Huremics wanted some Momus, so I’ve re-upped all my old Momus posts, and added this one, which is his second album, and the earliest one I own. The further back you go through his catalogue, the less he uses irritating bedroom electronica as backing, so on this album his excellent songwriting and lyrics are relatively unencumbered.
This is the CD issue which includes the contemporaneous EP Murderers The Hope Of Women as the first three tracks. Normally I separate out this sort of thing and present them as they were originally released, but not this time – just didn’t get around to it I’m afraid.
I haven’t really got anything more to add to what I said when I posted Tender Pervert – you can read all that stuff here.