Clinic Live In Session

2 06 2008

Here’s a couple of videos featuring the marvellous Clinic in session at the spacious studios for 89.3 The Current. They perform two of my favourite songs from their current album, ‘Do It’ – them being Emotions and Shopping Bag. They sound pretty much as you’d expect but that’s the make of a great band, I think. Most of my favourite bands have a very distinctive sound – many of them, such as Stereolab, Clinic, The Fall, New Order, etc. are often accused of only having one tune. But if it’s a fucking great tune, I don’t really care.

PJ Harvey, Denim and Middle of The Road

27 11 2007

Having posted two PJ Harvey peformances in the last two weeks, (see her stunning Jools Holland performance I posted last week and the equally-good version of ‘The Piano’ the week before) I happened across this recent performance of a rare song of hers, ‘Nina in Ecstasy’ from a ‘Morning Comes Eclectic’ session. She plays the song on the tiniest organ but also includes an interpolation (I believe that’s what it’s called) of Middle Of The Road’s ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’.

‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ is an awful 70’s pop song – up there with ‘Tie the Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree’ for crimes to human hearing but it’s not the first time it’s been used as an inspiration for a hugely superior song. Ex-Felt man Lawrence and his 90’s band Denim also ‘interpolated’ ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’  for a song called, smugly, ‘Middle Of The Road’. So two excellent songs are inspired by one terrible one.

What amazes me about ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ is how someone managed to write that song. See, I can understand how someone can sit down and write something incredible and way beyond anything I could even begin to imagine writing, like Elvis Costello’s ‘I Want You’ or The Beatle’s ‘Eleanor Rigby’. But I have no idea how someone can sit down and write something as nonsensical and plain daft as ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’. As someone who admits to liking ‘The Monster Mash’ and ‘Ooh Stick You’, I do believe there is a true art to writing pure unadulterated nonsense. Bernard Sumner of New Order has said in the past that he aspires to writing the perfect dumb pop song and recently, Jens Lekman has talked about his love for the silly pop song – things like Paul Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’. I think it’s fair to say that it’s harder to write a stupid brainless song than a supposedly deep, meaningful one declaring your love for your woman.  

So maybe ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ is not all bad then. In fact, maybe I’m stupid and ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ is a work of genius. Oh, I’m confused.

Jape – Crawdaddy 23/11/07

24 11 2007

“Who the fuck wants to be on a label with The Stereophonics?”

That was Richie Egan’s statement towards the end of Friday night’s Crawdaddy Gig as after just one E.P. (‘Jape is Grape’), he is no longer on V2 Records. He was happy to announce that he has moved to CoOp Records, which seems to be an indie record label cooperative which is backed by V2.

It must be a frustrating time for Richie/Jape – an album pretty much in the can for quite a while with songs he’s been playing for a few years, release dates constantly delayed and then just as it’s all ready to go, V2 close down in Ireland. But apparently the album is still to be released early next year as planned and going by last night’s gig, it should live up to expectations. The current Jape incarnation is a very different beast to that of ‘Cosmosphere’ or even, ‘The Monkeys in the Zoo Have More Fun Than Me’. The current sound has all systems set to New Order (no bad thing) but the songs are wittier, stronger and more direct than ever. Where, in the past, ‘Floating’ used to stick out in their set as the obvious highlight, it is now overshadowed by the likes of ‘I was a Man’, ‘Gimme Some More’ and ‘Strike Me Down’. One quiet solo acoustic song managed to get the crowd to shut up until Richie got the crowd to join in for a singalong chorus. ‘Christopher And Anthony’ seems to have inherited a superb African guitar coda not present on the studio version and the latter half of ‘Floating’ has morphed into a gurning rave monster. No complaints here.

It will be interesting to see how the lads fare outside of Ireland and if they get the success they deserve. Judging by their current set of tunes and clobber, they may well get pigeonholed as a Nu-Rave act, alongside the likes of Hot Chip and Klaxons, although that may not be where their mindset is. But it will be the festivals where Jape will really get the chance to shine and win hearts, minds and pelvises the world over. Here’s hoping. 

Footage of Jape performing ‘Gimme Some More’ at the T1 Ramp in Austin, Texas above