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On An Indie Island With You – Russell Hiscox

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Following our previous forays in to the world of “Variations On The Theme of Desert Island Discs” we have another stranded soul washed up on our fictitious indie island and ready to offload their innermosts.

Step forward Russell Hiscox, the ex-teenager ex-shoegazer, who is founder of the “I Was A Teenage Shoegazer” blog. As well as his blog, Russell has featured in the What We Wore book, a style history of Britain (that’s his page from the book in the pic above) and has written bits for Stereo Stories and Step On Magazine

We were delighted that Russell wanted to contribute to the EIO40 website in some way and we felt On An Indie Island With You would be a perfect platform to discover his inner indie workings. So over to Russell…

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Initially I thought choosing my Desert Island Discs would be an easy task; just choose my most played songs on Last FM. The songs that mean the most are not necessary the ones you listen to all the time.

My overwhelming love of the nineties is evident in my choices. In 1991/92 I would go to gigs at the Joiners Arms in Southampton nearly every week and I would listen to the radio constantly. Taping John Peel at night and listening to it walking to school in the morning. During this time I was a permanent fixture at the indie disco. A night called Marshmallow Moon at the Hot House in Bournemouth.

Most people would predict that my choices would be a classic shoegaze line-up; My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride and Lush. Well there are a few surprises!

Track 1

Mercury Rev Car Wash Hair

When this was released it was really catchy, sing-a-long chorus but incredibly weird. If you compared it to the rest of Yerself is Steam it is one of the more accessible songs. There is an effect in the song which sounds just like a submarines sonar. It conjures up memories of cycling listening to a Walkman and feeling happy that Car Wash Hair was coming up. It was not as easy to skip through songs with a Walkman as an Mp3 player, and every time you compiled a new playlist that would mean using another TDK C90.

It is easily their most well-known song and I had the pleasure of seeing them perform live supporting Ride in 1991. I remember David Baker (then vocals in Mercury Rev) rolling around on the stage floor screaming into his microphone. I don’t know if they played Car Wash Hair as most on the songs were unintelligible. I saw Mercury Rev (without Baker) again in 1999 at the V Festival. A much less chaotic show and they performed a memorable rendition of Car Wash Hair and this was the only time I have seen anyone use a Theremin live onstage.


Track 2

Spiritualized – Why Don’t You Smile Now

Spiritualized at their most Primal Scream. With a bit of swagger, “Yeahs” and “Whoahs” being used throughout the song. It is a change from the usual introverted psychedelia. It has the most epic wall of sound in indie music.

This song became my Holy Grail. I only had a recording of this on tape and it was only available on the b-side of the Smile/Sway which was released in 1991. I did not get into Spiritualized until 1992 and was only aware of this song when it was incredibly difficult to get hold of the single. I wrestled with my conscience was it worth getting a postal order (it was 1992, I did not have a cheque book) and sending it to Eastern Block or Sister Ray for just one song. I never did it.

In 2003 my girlfriend of the time got the song from Napster, and then it became widely available in Spiritualized’s Complete Works.


Track 3

Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence

This takes me back to September 2004. I was in rehabilitation after a nasty accident and I had been in hospital for 3 months. During this time I lost interest in music. Family and friends would bring in things for me to listen to or the music press and I would not be animated by this at all.

I did not have anything to play music on either. If someone brought my CD player from home it would have to be PAT tested by the hospital handyman. It all seemed too much effort as I had difficulty staying awake for over 4 hours at a time.

In the room opposite mine was a patient who must of absolutely loved Depeche Mode and Talking Heads. I really enjoyed Enjoy the Silence and Road to Nowhere second. As soon as I was released back into the community again I went into HMV and brought Depeche Mode, The Singles 86-98 and The Best of Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime. This was the first time I had ever had any of their records.

I felt I could relate to David Gahan’s near death experiences at that time, and it seemed very poignantly coincidental.
The song reminds me of the Brit Awards in 1991. It won the Best British Single award as voted by the public. Controversially they had written to all their fanclub members and asked if they could vote for their track.


Track 4

Spacemen 3 – When Tomorrow Hits

I didn’t really get into Spacemen 3 until 1998; in my early twenties. The last year of my degree, University up till that point had been a breeze. If you turned up to lectures, put something on paper, handed it in on time you got through. That had changed, I was due to leave university, in a few months and the pressure was cranked up. I didn’t know if I was going to pass, what I was going to do for work or even where I was going to live.

Every night I would come home from lectures and rest for an hour and have something to eat. Then at 6pm I would go to my room, put on Spacemen 3 and start writing up notes and essays. The drug-fuelled paranoia of Spacemen 3’s last album, Recurring, mirrored my own uncertainties about my future. Even the lonely, barren and harsh landscape of Dartmoor was reflected in the minimalistic first half of the album. The night would finish and I would go to bed. The next day would be the inevitable recurring cycle of lectures, dinner, essays and Spacemen 3.


Track 5

The Bodines Therese

Much of my love of C86 has come with age, this is the exception. This single used to be played every Saturday at the local indie disco. This was in the early nineties eventhough the single came out in 1986. But it is such a danceable number; I think it must have been played solidly from 1986 till 1992.


Track 6

The Field Mice – This is Not Here

If there was ever a song that for me that epitomises shoegazing, it is ‘This is Not Here’. I was probably the only person into The Field Mice at school. This was when I realised that I was one of the coolest indie kids around. When I brought The Field Mice album that includes this track, I had to walk up to the counter in Our Price and they had to order it in for me. I would get respectful nods at my choices.

Then came the long wait. Cargo were the only distributer that could get the obscure indies, Our Price used to wait until they had at least six items to get from them before they placed their order. I would have to go to Our Price with my duplicate order and collect my purchase.

Lastly, there was someone at the Hothouse Bournemouth that had a Field Mice tour t-shirt. This trumped my best garment; a Thousand Yard Stare Stifled Aardvark long sleeved t-shirt.


Track 7

The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

I dithered putting this one forward as it has become a bit of cliché to be my age and love this song. The Stone Roses single-handedly transformed me from a football mad boy, into the indie youth culture. I constantly played this album and the closing track was the climax to a spectacular album. At the time it was really strange to me, to have a song over five minutes long.

In the Blackpool Live video Ian Brown sits on the stage towards the conclusion of ‘I am the Resurrection/ playing bongos with drumsticks. This is as iconic as Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival.


Track 8

The House of Love – I Don’t Know Why I Love You

‘I Don’t Know Why I Love You’ is my favourite song by them and I will say that they have never had a bad release. Their music is like the internal monologue in my head.

I saw them perform in the day at Glastonbury in 1992. I really wanted to see them and it was one of my highlights of the festival. Pete Evans threw a broken drumstick in the crowd and I caught it. This is my most prized piece of memorabilia.


Book

The Chrysalids – by John Wyndham

I was going to choose ‘Tai Chi Classics’ by Master Waysun Liao, but I can have this as my religious text instead of the Bible. My other top three books are ‘Vanity Fair’, ‘On the Road’ and ‘The Chrysalids’. I will go for ‘The Chrysalids’ it had me reading late into the night, the story twists and turns. It also led to the classic quote, “watch thou for the Mutant”. I am not going to say much about it because it needs to be read.

Luxury Item

Thunderbird Wine

“Shall I mourn your decline with some Thunderbird wine and a black handkerchief?” Ian Dury, ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’.
I have fond memories of Thunderbird Wine and now you can’t get it at all. I did spot some on Amazon Prime but that would be £15 a bottle with the delivery. I would have a glass of Thunderbird Blue on the desert island and listen to my records.

Must Have Record

Without a doubt ‘When Tomorrow Hits’. It is my favourite song, and has the ultimate guitar wig out. When everything is coming apart, completely saturated in feedback and the whole world is collapsing. At this point they turn the volume to 11. A truly exhilarating experience.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am Russell Hiscox the founder of “I was a Teenage Shoegazer” (https://teenageshoegazer.wordpress.com/), which has existed since 2008. Which is not just about the shoegaze scene but about indie music in the 90s.

My first indie moment was hearing The Stone Roses. I went from a school boy into football to a full-fledged baggy indie kid. My first gig was Cud at the Bournemouth International Centre, in 1991. I have never looked back since then. From Exeter Cavern, Salisbury Arts Centre, Royal Albert Hall to Glasgow Stereo I have seen most of the great indie bands. On my 40th birthday when asked if I wanted to do something special, I said that I wanted to go to There and Back Again Lane.

Other interests would be Recycling, Tai Chi and dreaming that Spacemen 3 would reform.

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Thank you to Russell for that fantastic and enjoyable insight and for taking the time to contribute to EIO40. If you would like to contribute to our Indie Encounters feature and share your indie moments please email us at indieover40@gmail.com or DM us on Twitter

We are waiting in anticipation

 

 

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Meet The Community – bodlingboy

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

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In this edition – @bodlingboy

bodling picA Meet The Community for bodlingboy has been on our radar pretty much since day one, but we’ve been holding back waiting for the right time. With the first anniversary of our 30 Years Of Indie Albums interactive feature upon us, that time has arrived.

This time last year we were recovering from the inaugural Indie Advent and enjoying some post Xmas down time when that DM from bodlingboy hit us, suggesting a 30 Years Of Indie Albums as the next interactive feature. Realising that the month of January offered a perfect opportunity to run a daily interactive event covering 30 years, we put bodlingboy’s suggestion to the top of the in-tray, feverishly devised a format in the limited time available and dived headlong a chaotic month of guest judges, random years and musical banter.

So we have to thank bodlingboy for a month of Kalms and Pro Plus dependency and the four-fold increase in our mobile phone bill due to data allowance breaches. However, we also have to thank him for his part in a month of intense musical mayhem the after-shocks of which are still rumbling a year later.

Of course, that wasn’t our first contact with bodlingboy. The foundations were already laid through a variety of interactions on Twitter and we had begun to build a profile of the man. We knew for example that he rather liked a flutter and that he was an avid fan of Aston Villa Football Club. We’re not sure he’ll be laying down any bets on his precious Villa beating the drop though.

We also didn’t need to employ the services of Marple to find out bodlingboy’s favourite band. With a Twitter banner and profile pic both featuring images of The Family Cat cover art, the case was well and truly closed.

The one thing that we have learnt for the first time about bodlingboy is that his real name is David Crutchley. But calling bodlingboy “David” would be akin to referring to Bez as “Mark”. So we’ll stick with plain old boldingboy if it’s all the same to you David.

So without further ado, let’s meet @bodlingboy

1) Where did you grow up?

I grew up in and still live in Birmingham 

2) What first got you into “indie” music?

Probably listening to my sister’s boyfriend’s albums of the late seventies and early eighties, especially Stranglers, Magazine and Joy Division (although for that privilege I had to suffer a lot of Tangerine Dream)

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?

First indie record I bought was Blue Monday – New Order (more for the sleeve than the record). It got lost in the great bodlingboy fire of the late nineties. Vinyl burns a lot quicker than furniture, remember that kids!!!!!!!)

4) What was your favourite record shop?

In Birmingham had to be Tempest records. Just loved going down there on a Saturday and just milling around with not much intention of buying but just the anticipation of what records they would play in the shop

5) What music magazines did you read?

Magazine-wise was all the usual ones but had a real soft spot for “Sounds” and “Melody Maker” and the monthly glossy was always “Select” 

6) What was your first “indie” gig?

First proper indie gig would have been around 1986 at Burberries in Brum watching Mighty Mighty supported by the Boatymen and a few weeks later The lilac Time. Got in for free as a girl I knew was copping off with Stephen Duffy

7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?

Loads of memorable gigs but strangest was when I was doing flyers for bands at gigs. There I was handing flyers out dressed a bit like the shopkeeper from Mr Benn when a voice boomed out “ooooiiiiiiiiii you with the fez go get my brother!”, I replied “it’s not a fez you idiot it’s a skull cap!”. “Go get my brother!” he screamed. So I ran backstage got the said brother. They both then went on to have massive argument at the front door, before 2 bouncers split them up and dragged them backstage.

As you’ve probably guessed this was Oasis, they were supporting Saint Etienne who I watched with Noel and Alan McGee. I think Liam was outside fighting a kebab seller or swearing profusely at a fake pot plant. 

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?

On my desert island I would be listening to Stone Roses (s/t), Buffalo Tom “Let Me Come Over” and Pixies “Doolittle”. That’s assuming the boat I get sunk on also had travelling on it all the members of the Family Cat and their instruments so they would be my desert island house band

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?

I’ve actually met quite a few including the Family Cat, so would have to be the Pixies including Ms Deal

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?

I’ve never been quite sure what “indieness” actually is but a song to maybe define  mine a little bit would be “Love In A Car” – The House of Love


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A huge thank you to bodlingboy for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into his indie-ness.

You could be next.

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The Indie Top Ten Hidden Album Tracks

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Hidden Album Tracks

For a brief, short-lived period sometime back in the mid 1990s probably, it seemed that an album wasn’t a proper album if it didn’t have a secret track hidden away. As a concept, the hidden track doesn’t work too well on vinyl, because generally it is possible to count the number of tracks or see if there is a disproportionate amount of time still left for the record to play during the last song. Not that that stopped The Beatles sticking ‘Her Majesty’ on the end of ‘Abbey Road’. Cassettes made it easier, but really nobody could be bothered.

But with the CD, oh what mirth, what merriment could be had by hiding a track. Leave ten minutes of silence at the end of the final track then add a song: most people will have left the room by then. Or use technology to hide a track at the start of the album; in fact, before it has even begun! Nobody will ever know! Which sort of renders the whole thing pointless anyway, if you ask me.

The cleverest, most hilarious, most knowingly-ironic use of the hidden track however has to lie with little-known London-based indie band Echolalia, whose ‘Secret Hidden Bonus Track’ was never recorded, just played live – mid-set- with the line “I bet it doesn’t even sound rehearsed”. It wasn’t. It was my band, and my, how we loved to watch the tumbleweed blow across the no-man’s land between stage and audience when we performed the track.

Anyway, enough rambling. Somewhere, amongst this jumble of letters, numbers and punctuation marks that masquerades as music writing, you might find hidden the answer to all of your musical prayers ever. It’s probably on Disc Three of a Four Disc set, accessed by pressing pause twice at 3:21 of track 4, then holding down the FF button for ten seconds straight. So in no particular order…

1. The Stone Roses – “Foz” 

If you’re going to hide a track for your fans, you might as well make it worthwhile finding. Some fans of The Stone Roses were less than impressed with the six and a half minutes of ‘Foz’ secreted at the end of The Second Coming; others will view it as the sound of a band taking time out to actually enjoy themselves mucking about during the protracted sessions that eventually produced the much awaited follow up to their eponymous debut. Ok, ‘She Bangs The Drums’ it is not, but one for the diehards? Apparently it is Track 90 on the CD, and has been recommended by @JohnnyDee_UK.


 2. Catatonia – “Gyda Gwen”

I think Catatonia sort of had the right idea, providing the lilting vocals and gentle melody of ‘Gyda Gwen’ at the end of their debut album ‘Way Beyond Blue’. Nominated by @tfdefence, the track fades into its beautiful existence after about eight minutes of silence at the end of the final listed track on the album.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon which side of the line you stand) the track is sung in Welsh, which is fair enough given that the band are Welsh, but at the same time it is a language that only 19% of the Welsh population speak. Consequently most listeners have to make do with enjoying the beautiful sounds emanating from Cerys’ vocal chords and hope they’re not in any way offensive to ourselves or others.


 3. Babybird – The Xmas God Of New York” 

Another band to sort of have the right idea was Babybird. By the time they released their third album ‘Bugged’ the band were carrying the much-misunderstood hit ‘You’re Gorgeous’ around their necks like a millstone. Their popularity in the media was beginning to wane as quickly as the realisation that they were not a novelty band but one with proper songs about proper things. The perfect time then, to release ‘The Xmas God Of New York’; so why then would you choose to put not only one of the best songs on an album but one of the best songs in your entire catalogue, as a hidden track? Also the best Christmas song in the world ever (narrowly beating St. Etienne and Tim Burgess’ effort) this track was discovered by @unclejel, whom I urge you to thank.


 4. Mansun – “An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter” 

And staying with the theme of bands sort of having the right idea, let’s head straight over to Mansun. It’s often said that if you’ve got something to say then it’s best to say it, and that is exactly what they do by writing an ‘Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter’. Unfortunately, by hiding the track on their album ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ it is unclear as to how many lyrical trainspotters they expected to find and then duly digest the content of this open letter. Perhaps either @soxanpance or @Charlie_Clown could tell them.


 5. Belle & Sebastian – “Songs For Children”

The more we delve into this shady, mysterious ‘hidden track’ malarkey, the more it becomes apparent that indeed many indie artists sort of got the right idea without properly getting it. Take Belle & Sebastian as yet another example. By my reckoning they got pretty much everything right when they hid a bonus track on their album until they realised that, actually, it wasn’t an album but their ‘3…6…9…Seconds of Light’ EP. ‘Songs For Children’ might instead have been titled ‘Song for @BeardedSteven given that he is possibly the only person in the world ever to have looked for a hidden track on an EP.

6. Ash – “Jack Names The Planets/Don’t Know

Perhaps we could blame Ash’s misunderstanding of the principle of the hidden bonus track on youthful naivety or an exuberant way, given that the perennial youngsters were probably still in short trousers when they released their full length debut album 1977. For here is a band for whom one bonus track hidden in the pre-gap at the start of the CD was not enough. Oh no: they provided both ‘Jack Names The Planets’ and its b-side ‘Don’t Know’ on the first 50,000 pressings of the CD, as noted by @dustyinhere, @bringitonskippy and @simon_shell. And if that wasn’t enough the band added ‘Sick Party’, apparently a recording of them vomiting, at the end of their album. Kids, eh?


 7. Super Furry Animals – “Citizen Band/Chewing Chewing Gum”

Those japesters Super Furry Animals can have no such excuse as youth for committing the same act of secrecy; they’d been going for donkey’s years (although a donkey is admittedly more of a super, hairy animal) by the time they’d released ‘Guerrilla’ into the world. One track, ‘Citizen Band’, was hidden in the pre-gap and found by @Clive_Stringer, whilst at the back end of the album a reprise of ‘Chewing Chewing Gum’ was to be found, as noted by @country_mile. Maybe the Welshman had home advantage.


 8. The Wondermints – Various from “Bali” 

But not even these two bands can compete with The Wondermints when it comes to getting such a simple concept so wrong. Or right, depending upon how you look at it. @WallyTBM reckons there are ‘about a hundred’ secret hidden bonus tracks at the end of their ‘Bali’ album. The ‘Comes With A Smile’ blog suggests a figure closer to eighty six, many of which are instrumental but still a phenomenal amount. Maybe they just couldn’t be bothered typing out the full tracklisting.

9. The Afghan Whigs – “Miles Iz Ded” 

Sometimes however the hidden track at the end of an album has every right to be there: a postscript, an addendum, perhaps a moment of inspiration that came too late for the actual album recordings. Take the tale behind ‘Miles Iz Ded’, to be found at the end of Congregation by The Afghan Whigs and nominated by @_SandyWishart. For here is a track inspired by an answerphone message left on Greg Dulli’s phone just as the recording sessions ended, informing him that Miles Davies was dead, and to not forget the alcohol.


 10. Courtney Barnett – “Stair Androids & Valley Um…?”

And let’s not think that the hidden track is a relic from the past. Oh no. Well, not unless Australian artist Courtney Barnett wants her 2015 debut ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’ to be tagged retro. Unlikely, I am sure. In addition to including my favourite song title of the year so far in ‘Pedestrian At Best’, the album also includes the hidden track and similarly well-titled ‘Stair Androids & Valley Um…?’ Thanks to @mjgelder for pointing us all in the way of this track.



Secret, hidden bonus tracks then: seems like nearly everyone has been at it judging by the number of nominations. It appears that those hidden in the pre-gap can be found by starting your CD, then holding down ‘Rewind’ to rewind into the darkness before light or something. Only on selected CD players too. Alternatively, you can try to import the album onto your computer and it might appear as part of the first track. And apparently, secretly hidden amongst the text above, is the title of another hidden track nominated by one of you. If you find it, there might be a prize…

John Hartley

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed

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Listen out on Twitter for further Indie Top Ten themes. We need your help.

 

 

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The Indie CV – Jez and Andy Williams

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It is unusual for someone to spend their whole working life at the same organisation and that can pretty much be said for band members and artists. In this regular feature Rob Morgan (@durutti74) maps out the career chronologically of a selected band member.

In this edition Rob compiles the CV for Jez and Andy Williams

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Jez and Andy Williams

Born: 18th February 1970, Manchester

Jeremy and Andrew, as their birth certificate names them,  are twin brothers and grew up very close and very interested in music, Jez learning the guitar and Andy the drums. During their education at Wilmslow High School they met Jimi Goodwin, a bass player, and the trio played in many local bands during the mid eighties, at that time a particularly fertile musical scene in Manchester.

1987 – Metro Trinity

Jez became guitarist with Metro Trinity, a little known Manchester band who issued one single on their own Cafeteria label. A four song twelve inch EP titled “Die Young”, it was a typically post C86 indie record, lots of jangle and strum. Easily the best song was “Michael Furey”, a mid tempo strum of nicely layered guitars easily comparable to the Railway Children or a less frantic Bodines. Andy joined his brother in Metro Trinity after the EP was released, and the band recorded one more song, “Stupid Friends”, which was issued on a flexi with Debris fanzine later in 1987 alongside “Garage Full Of Flowers”, the debut recording by the Inspiral Carpets which was already referencing the Stone Roses’ “Garage Flower”. But Metro Trinity folded around 1988, just as the Williams twins met up with Goodwin again at the Hacienda.


1991 – 1996 Sub Sub

Influenced by their nights at the home of acid house, Goodwin and the Williams twins ditched their conventional instruments and started to create dance music. They were soon signed to Rob’s Records, run by Rob Gretton, who also became their manager. After a little underground success with their debut “Space Face”, their third single “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)”, credited to Sub Sub ft Melanie Williams, was a huge success, Melanie’s soulful vocal over the funky seventies disco groove was highly infectious and the single reached number 3 in the UK charts, and garnered a performance on Top Of The Pops.


Sub Sub would not reach such heights again, but continued to issue singles during the mid 90s, and an album “Full Fathom Five” (it’s a Shakespeare reference, Roses fans). They were well regarded by their peers too, recording singles with Tricky and Bernard Sumner as guest vocalists. However their studio was destroyed by a fire on the Williams twins’ birthday and they took the chance to rethink their direction and motivation.

1998 to 2010 – Doves

Goodwin and the Williams twins decided to return to their electric instruments, Goodwin on bass, Jez on guitar and Andy on drums, naming themselves Doves. Still managed by Gretton, Doves started attracting attention with their debut single “The Cedar Room”, released in 1998. Mark Radcliffe played it often on his afternoon Radio One show and it’s mesmerising slow trudge of glacial guitars and a soaring chorus made Doves a band to watch.


A few more singles led to a deal with Heavenly Records and their debut album “Lost Souls” was issued in 2000. Admittedly Goodwin was their lead singer but both Williams brothers were given lead vocals on each album as a measure of democracy. Indeed the album’s lead single “Here It Comes” contrasts verses sung by Andy with Goodwin’s chorus.


The heart of the album was the song which kicked off side two (in old money). “Melody Calls” was again sung by Andy and describes how music can express thoughts which are hard to speak, the second verse is perfect:

“The words don’t come so easy
She can’t say what’s inside
The sounds they do speak for me
The sounds remain forever
Stays with her till morning time”


“Lost Souls” is an album full of heart, rising like a phoenix from the tragedy of the Sub Sub studio fire, defiant and ready to battle again. The LP was dedicated to the memory of Rob Gretton who had passed away during the recording of the album. It was well received and nominated for a Mercury prize for album of the year and “Catch the sun” became a surprise hit single too.

2002 saw the return of Doves, first issuing the single “There Goes The Fear”, an eight minute monster of a song culminating in a Brazillian percussion carnival, and “The Last Broadcast” LP. While “There Goes The Fear”, “Pounding” and the gorgeous “Caught By The River” all charted well, the album allowed the Williams twins to shine too. “M62 Song”, sung by Andy, sounds like it was recorded on a Walkman beside the titular motorways (and Andy sounds oddly like James Roberts of the Sea Urchins and Delta here). On the other hand, Jez gets the opening song “Words”, a powerful statement of intent over driving drums and circling guitar arpeggios, while Jez sings of resilience and self belief, an absolutely cracking album opener.


Doves’ third album “Some Cities” was released in 2005 and again was highly anticipated, the thumping lead single “Black and White Town” was another success but if anything the album suffered from sounding slightly too similar to their previous work in places. Again each Williams twin sang a song, Andy’s “Shadows of Salford” sounded like ‘M62 Song” on piano, but Jez’s “The Storm” was an orchestrated beauty, slow and gorgeous, which in places sounds like a Bond theme. The best song on the album was the closer “Ambition”, recorded live in a church – they were making a video there and were taken by the acoustics. There’s something of the feel of Bark Psychosis in that song.


Maybe Doves knew they were repeating themselves because when they returned in 2009 with their fourth album “Kingdom Of Rust” their music felt familiar yet refreshed, and the electronic elements on songs such as opener “Jetstream” made a difference. That song, sung by Andy, pulsed like Kraftwerk taking “Trans Europe Express” to an airport and was an early album highlight alongside the title track.


Later in the album Andy had another lead vocal on “Compulsion”, where the strangely funky rhythm pattern sounds like A Certain Ratio throwing Chic down the stairs (in a nice way). “Kingdom Of Rust” was a great return to form but after a tour and a greatest hits album, Doves went on hiatus in 2010.

2014 onwards – Black Rivers

Jez and Andy began working on new material outside of Doves from 2012 onwards and started releasing songs and performing live from 2014 under the band name Black Rivers. Their debut album was issued in 2015 and takes in some wider influences than Doves, there’s hints of 60s psychedelia on opener “Diamond Days” while “The Ship” is a second cousin to Portishead’s “The Rip”.


 

Andy and Jez share vocal duties equally and it sounds enough like Doves for most fans to find something familiar in it, especially those characteristic guitar arpeggios of Jez’s on “Voyager 1”. Black Rivers are touring this summer (blimey, they’re playing the Trades Hall in Hebden Bridge, clearly a hotbed of indie in Yorkshire) and should be worth seeing if you have the time.

It seems like the Williams twins still have plenty of great music in them to add to their considerable legacy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589).

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

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Whose CV will Rob be writing next?

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