Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Various Artists - The Phase III Mod Bands (PHZ-6)

01. City Motions - Theme
02. XL - The World To Me
03. The Pictures - My Home Town
04. Manual Scan - 31968

1987 Unicorn Records | PHZ-6

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Various Artists - Doing It For The Kids

01. The Jasmine Minks - You Cut Me Deep
02. Felt - Ballad Of The Band
03. The House Of Love - Christine
04. The Weather Prophets - Well Done Sonny
05. Primal Scream - All Fall Down
06. Biff Bang Pow! - She Paints
07. The Jazz Butcher - Lot 49
08. Heidi Berry - North Shore Train
09. Nikki Sudden - Death Is Hanging Over Me
10. My Bloody Valentine - Cigarette In My Bed
11. Pacific - Jetstream
12. The Times - Godevil
13. Momus - A Complete History Of Sexual Jealousy (Parts 17-24)
14. Emily - Reflect On Rye
15. Razorcuts - Brighter Now

1988 Creation Records | CRELP037

Not a mod record as such, but in 1989 when I got this, I had been beginning to cast my net a bit wider for new sounds. Needs must and all that. I had passed it over a few times before, but I had noticed it had a Times track and some of the band names sounded vibey. Then I read somewhere that Alan McGee had named the label after my favourite 60s band The Creation, not to mention calling his band Biff Bang Pow! after one of their tracks, and I was sold. I suppose Creation Records offered me (and probably many others) a way out of being soley into mod music while keeping my mod credentials. It was the perfect missing link between mod music and the sounds I was later into. It also played no small part in mod music in general regaining its iconic status during the nineties, when bands like Ride, Oasis and others were declaring their 60s influences.
Like most compilations, it's patchy fare at times, but it does feature some soon to be big names like Primal Scream, House Of Love and My Bloody Valentine, who are still one of my favourite bands, though Cigarette In My Bed went right over my head at the time. Other worthy mentions go to the Jasmine Minks opener and the beautiful Brighter Now by The Razorcuts which closes the album.

The Style Council - Introducing mini LP

01. Long Hot Summer
02. Headstart For Happiness
03. Speak Like A Child
04. Long Hot Summer (Club Mix)
05. The Paris Match
06. Mick's Up
07. Money-Go-Round

1983 Polydor Records | 8152771

The Style Council - Speak Like A Child 7"

01. Speak Like A Child
02. Party Chambers

1983 Polydor Records | TSC1

The most divisive 45 of 80s mod music? It was a couple of years before I would get into mod sounds, but I can only imagine the reaction when this bounded out of peoples speakers, like a spoiled child in new trainers, in the spring of 1983. For some, it was a betrayal. For others it showed a bright, new future. It pretty much set the agenda for the endless "that's not mod" arguments throughout the decade, not least because the group were actually successful. Like The Jam, The Style Council had appeal beyond the confines of mod listeners and as a mod, you couldn't be listening to the same sounds as the commoners, could you? In fairness to Weller, it was no mean feat to have survived the '79 backlash and still be the biggest band in the UK when the Jam split in '82. Or to be in a commercially successful mod band (though they mightn't have admitted it at the time) in the decade that mod forgot. It could be argued that The Style Council were more mod than The Jam, drawing on jazz and soul as opposed to punk.
It was really the first time that someone offered a new take on the original mod template while trying to reconcile itself with its bright, new 80s surroundings, rather than retreating into 60s revisionism or filtering it through punk's angry fire (as The Jam had already done). The problem for many (and for much 80s mod music) was that these new surroundings, all synths and bright, shiny surfaces, didn't sit well with the classic, gritty rumble of the mod sounds of old. In its wake were left the factions of '79 revivalists, the purist "elitist" mods and the "modern" mods at each others throats for the rest of the decade. Did I like it? Of course. But I mightn't have told you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Various Artists - The Phase III Mod Bands (PHZ-13)

01. The Key - Nothing Gets Better
02. The Sons Of Jet - Marilyn Monroe
03. The Second Generation - Throw It All Away
04. The Switch - Please Don't Walk Away

1987 Unicorn Records | PHZ-13

Three cuts of miserable, introspective guitar pop which would probably have felt more at home on a C86 compilation, rather than a mod record. Only The Sons Of Jet's quirky Marilyn Monroe saves the day. Nothing Gets Better was probably how most mods were feeling at the time. Soul searching without the soul.

The Truth - Playground 7"

01. Playground
02. Don't You Just Know It

1985 Illegal Records | TRUTH3

Featuring the title track of their Playground album, this was probably The Truth's best single. Less poppy than what had come before, it harked back to a sound more in keeping with The Who or The Jam, and was one of the better mod singles of the day.

The Truth website

The Truth - No Stone Unturned EP

01. No Stone Unturned
02. Flesh And Fantasy
03. Don't Tell Me

1984 Formation Records | YZ1T

More soulful pop from The Truth, who were headed up by former Nine Below Zero frontman Dennis Greaves. This was the 12" release of the band's fourth single which also appeared in a white text on red sleeve.

The Truth website