Tuesday, 3 August 2010

My Favourite 365 Songs of All Time Special - Seven Slices of Indier than Thou Joy

On the sleeve of the Fall's 1995 live album, The Twenty-Seven Points, there was the warning sticker: PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT, INCOMPETENT MUSIC. Which, for sheer honesty, takes some beating.

My love of such wanton amateurism has led me down some shoddy lanes of listening down the years. For every endearingly shambolic Pavement single, there was also a Trumans Water CD you couldnt give away. But these seven slices of badly played cake will stay with me for the rest of time.

1: Royal Trux - Stevie (Song for Steven S). What's that, you say, heroin addicts rip off Richard Branson so much he pays them to fuck off forever. And then release a crack-addled tribute to shit movie legend Steven Seagal with the money he gave them. Sold, sir. Don't tell me the White Stripes haven't played this to death.

2: Guided By Voices - Game of Pricks. Basically what the Beatles would have sounded like if they came from Ohio thirty years or so later. A ridiculously prolific band, all the albums had about 98 songs on called things like "Man called Aerodynamics" and "The Official Ironman Rally Song", all of which sounded like a band who didnt know if they liked the Byrds, the Who or the Stones best and just decided to crash through their own impression of each band at the same time. This is a live version so you can see the joy of middle aged men being part time rock legends.

3: Quickspace Supersport - Do It My Own Way. A call to arms for people not easily put off achieving things despite the evidence of their musical limitations. Features an appalling recorder solo and perhaps the greatest one fingered guitar incompetence ever.

4: The Fall - Idiot Joy Showband (live) From the album mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is the Fall at their purest. Some soundman's fucked up, Mark E Smith leads the band off, puts a tape recording of him ranting over the PA, band walk back on and start again. Few bands would let this recording get out. Only one perhaps would release it as part of a live album.

5: Wesley Willis - My Mother Smokes Crack Rocks The title would be enough to tempt me at the jukebox but when you hear it's some fucked up homeless guy with even less musical talent than bedding, it's a guiltier pleasure than you anticipated. Like Daniel Johnston below, you think I shouldn't be enjoying this, this is like indie Susan Boyle. And then you think, indie Susan Boyle, yes I'll have a cup of that.

6: Daniel Johnston - Some Things Last A Long Time. In which the clearly troubled Mr Johnston sings yet another love song for the unrequited love of his life. And if this song had been at the end of Toy Story 3, there would have been public suicides.

7: Steve Bent - I'm Going To Spain. Like some kind of new genre, uneasy-listening, this kept Steve Bent going for weeks on New Faces back in the mid-70s. Covered by The Fall, this is a masterpiece of musical travelogue very much of the time. Y Viva Espana and Typically Tropical were the sound of the package holiday summer and Bent plummeted into obscurity after just one single. And it has to have been an influence on this legendary Reeves and Mortimer song from 1990....

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