In Tape 1985. ITT020
This was Yeah Yeah Noh’s last single, and it pains me to say that it was a bit of a disappointment. The title track was a slight re-working of Home Ownersexual from their album. It’s a good track, but I had it already, and the two new tracks were fairly pointless.
Still, it’s Yeah Yeah Noh and therefore wonderful.
In Tape 1985. IT021
Yeah Yeah Noh, or √√X as they’re known by the cognoscenti never fail to bring a smile to my face. This was their only proper album (the others being compilations or Peel sessions) and was released near the end of their brief career. They were championed by John Peel, as was so much on this blog, but he was apparently disappointed by this album. I suspect he was less keen on their emerging competence – by this time they’d moved from being one of the most shambly of shambling bands to a pretty decent psychedelic pop outfit, albeit one with a terminally flat singer. Put another way they’d lost much of what made them so original when they first appeared. Their early stuff also bears more than a passing resemblance to The Fall, which I guess would always be popular with Peel.
Setting aside questions of style and Peel’s disappointment, this is actually a really fine album. The lyrics, always a strong point with √√X are as sharp as ever, there are good tunes, and some effective psychedelic arrangements, so providing you can handle Derek Hammond’s, er, individual approach to singing, what’s not to like? Actually what’s not to like is the rather poor sound quality – there’s a murkiness to it, which if you’re feeling generous, adds to the amateur retro thing, or just annoying otherwise.
My favourite is the gospel influenced Stealing In The Name Of The Lord (although the Peel session version is better) which is a none-too-subtle rant about religious hypocrisy, and Home-Owner Sexual (AKA Another Side To Mrs Quill) about a frustrated housewife. Blood Soup would be on the list too if it didn’t sound so murky.
I’ve re-upped my other √√X post, which is here. That also directs you to the only √√X music you can currently buy.
In Tape 1985. ITTI 023
Ah, Yeah Yeah Noh. A band whose records I rarely play but whose lyrics I often find myself quoting and whose songs I often find myself humming. They really couldn’t play that well, and the singer, Derek Hammond was terminally flat, but neither of those things stopped them from being entirely wonderful and Peel favourites. Early in their short career the amateurishness of their playing added to the charm, although as their competence grew, lineup changed and they drifted into psychedelia, they became less original, but still a rewarding listen.
This EP is from the start of their psychedelic phase. The title track is typically sardonic social commentary, and the other highlight is the lengthy Jigsaw which includes manipulated announcements from John Peel, presumably giving details of one of their sessions for his programme, together with a cheeky and I imagine unauthorised Beatles sample. It ought to be a disaster, but actually works pretty well. The cover claims it’s 4 separate tracks, but really it isn’t and I’ve ripped it as such.
The fourth track is worthy of special mention. It’s a cover of The Beatles’ Rain by The Psychedelic Filberts, which YYN claimed they found in the basement of a studio in Leicester. At the time that story was obvious nonsense, especially with the obvious Leicester FC reference, but it wasn’t clear what it actually was. It turns out it was Diesel Park West, also from Leicester. Why they appear on this EP is anyone’s guess.
All their original albums and singles are long deleted, but there is a mighty fine retrospective on Cherry Red which is worth a tenner of anyone’s money. Rumour has it that their entire back catalogue will be re-issued at some point.
Grunt Grunt A Go Go Records 1985. GGAGG 1
In the 80s record shops groaned under the weight of indie compilation albums. This is a rather obscure one, but consistently strong. Most of the highlights are on side one – Marc Riley who used to be in The Fall, the always entertaining Yeah Yeah Noh with a different recording of Crimplene Seed Lifestyle (more from them another time), and what is for me is the best track English White Boy Engineer credited here to The Botha Boys who are actually The Three Johns. The name change is just to emphasise the anti-apartheid message of the lyrics. If you’re not up on South African history, PW Botha was the last apartheid prime minister. The Bomb Party track is lifted from The Ray Gun EP which I’ll post another time.
The best known name is probably Microdisney who for some reason completely passed me by.
There’s not much information out there about this complilation so I don’t know how many of the tracks are exclusives, but it’s a worthwhile listen regardless.