Tag Archives: blur

20 YEARS AGO: 1991

MUSIC

Primal Scream – Screamadelica

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

Blur – Leisure

Nirvana – Nevermind

Pixies – Trompe Le Monde

FILM

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (dir. James Cameron)

Silence Of The Lambs (dir. Jonathan Demme)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (dir. Michael Pressman)

Barton Fink (dir. Joel Coen/Ethan Coen)

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (dir. Peter Hewitt)

COMICS

– “The Hard Goodbye”, Frank Miller’s first Sin City story, begins its serialization in Dark Horse Presents #51.

X-Force #1 by Rob Liefeld & Fabian Nicieza sells 4 million copies, making it one of biggest-selling comics of all time.

Bone by Jeff Smith begins.

X-Men #1 by Chris Claremont & Jim Lee sells 8.1 million copies, making it the biggest-selling single issue from an American publisher, a record it still holds.

Sandman #19 by Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess becomes the first comic to win a World Fantasy Award; it remains the only comic to do so, as the rules for the award were changed soon after to disallow a comic from winning again.

TV

Twin Peaks airs its final episode on June 10, 1991.

– Greg

Singles Club: 8

bethere

UNKLE featuring IAN BROWN

“BE THERE”

b/w “THE KNOCK-ON EFFECT”

Released 2/1/99

(Davis/Brown)

Kind of an interesting case, this one.  Throughout its 15 year existence, UNKLE has largely been comprised of Mo’ Wax Records founder James Lavelle and whoever else is around at the time. UNKLE’s first formation revolved around Lavelle and future DFA co-head Tim Goldsworthy; its second major incarnation featured Lavelle and Josh Davis a.k.a. DJ Shadow.

The group’s debut album Psyence Fiction was released in 1998 and featured collaborations with artists like Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft, Badly Drawn Boy and Mike D., among others. One vocalist that did not appear on the album is former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, yet the second single released to promote Fiction features his rough Northern tones. Originally presented as an instrumental entitled “Unreal”, with Brown’s words and vocals on top the song became “Be There”.

On a personal note, this particular single changed my musical life, and therefore my life in general. I imported this single (like so many others) through sirendisc.com, but purely for its b-side, a remix of Psyence Fiction‘s “The Knock (Drums Of Death Pt. 2)” done by Noel Gallagher of Oasis. I had picked up Fiction when it came out the year before and really liked it (especially “Lonely Soul”), but I was certainly not an UNKLE completist. I was, however, an Oasis completist, and in these distant days before filesharing and hi-speed, sirendisc was usually my only way to get the UK-only releases that Oasis and so many of my other favorite bands put out.

The aforementioned remix, entitled “The Knock-On Effect”, was a pretty good effort and incorporated elements of the Led Zeppelin sound Noel was obsessed with at the time (it’s also probably the only time Noel Gallagher, DJ Shadow, Jason Newstead and Mike D. will ever appear together). But on my way to this b-side, I listened to “Be There”. It started like “Unreal” did on the album: dreamy keys underlined by ominous strings until the beat kicked in. So far, so same until about 40 seconds in when that voice comes in.

Now, Ian Brown doesn’t have a technically great voice. He’s a personality singer. And for whatever reason, as he sang the lyric of “Be There”, I was captivated. I was aware of The Stone Roses, knowing them as an influence on Oasis, and I was vaguely familiar with their single “Love Spreads”, which was a moderate U.S. hit. But for whatever reason, as of early 1999, I had yet to investigate them. It was a real moment of discovery for me. The next month I was at the CD Warehouse on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, and bought The Stone Roses’ debut (as well as Modern Life Is Rubbish by Blur). It really changed my life, and influenced the way I sing, the way I write lyrics and the way I look at the world. Hyperbolic maybe, but true for me. And it may not have happened without “Be There”, a great, great single in its own right.

Audio:

And a severely truncated live version on Top Of The Pops circa ’99:

G.

Singles Club: 3

blur_-_tender

BLUR

“TENDER”

b/w “ALL WE WANT”/”MELLOW JAM”/FRENCH SONG”

(Albarn/Coxon/James/Rowntree)

Released 2/14/99

UK: 2

The first single from their 1999 album 13, “Tender” found Blur exploring a music direction more in keeping with the song’s eponymous emotion than much of their previous work. The band’s prior album, 1997’s Blur, saw the band move away from their signature “britpop” sound in favor of a looser, messier approach (this is the album “Song 2” was on). 13 saw them go even farther into weird prog-art-rock territory, with the help of producer William Orbit (who worked on Madonna’s Ray Of Light album, among others). “Tender” gives little indication for what its parent album sounds like, however, as it is a gospel song that leisurely unfolds over the course of seven-and-a-half serene minutes.

Inspired, as much of the 13 album was, by the dissolution of main songwriter Damon Albarn‘s almost decade-long relationship with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann, “Tender” is a hymn of redemption and endurance. This theme is brought to bear simply but effectively by  the chorus’s plea t0 “get through it”, a sentiment made stronger by the gospel choir that accompanies Damon on this little piece of self-advice. Another love touch is the post-chorus contribution by guitarist Graham Coxon. who plantitively sings “Oh my baby/oh my baby/Oh why?/Oh my”. It might not look like much on paper (sic), but it’s very moving in song. Their are no great shifts in the arrangement of “Tender”, just the steady “Give Peace A Chance” percussion and Coxon’s unusually bluesy (for him) guitar figures, but its simplicity, in both musical and lyrical content, is what makes the song so direct, and so great.

It was kept off the top of the UK chart by “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears.

I remember very vividly getting these singles imported when they came out, through sirendisc.com. I was working at the Fleur 4 theatres the day I got them (with my friend Ryan Ingram?), and I couldn’t wait to go home and listen to the b-sides. That was TEN YEARS AGO. Jesus, I feel old. Anyway, it’s a great song, enjoy.

The video, featuring a live performance of the song instead of more typical lipsynched rendition:

Live on Letterman, circa ’99:

And audio of the “Tender” single’s best b-side, “All We Want”:

G.

CANON SONIQUE: a mixtape (13)

continuing the online mixtape.
[(1).(2).(3).(4).(5)]
[(6).(7).(8).(9).(10)]
[(11).(12)]

song (13):

The Good, The Bad, And The Queen“Herculean”

this is off their first full length (self titled). you can buy it on their website

the good, the bad, and the queen was formed in 2006 and is a bit of a SUPERGROUP with frontman damon albarn (blur, gorillaz) playing keys and singing, paul simonon (the clash, havana 3am) playing bass, simon tong (the verve, the shining) playing guitar, tony allen (co-founder of the AFROBEAT genre) playing drums, and danger mouse (gnarls barkley, dangerdoom) producing and playing random percussion/synths. albarn describes this album as “a song cycle that’s also a mystery play about London”.

some a live video:

scott

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