Shrag have apparently announced they’re calling it a day. They are a special band. It’ll be sad to think I won’t get to see them many more times. I bought a ticket for their date at the Fortuna Pop winter sprinter next week, earlier today. Gah. Shit news. This is my favourite Shrag song. I think.
This double CD collection of Bruce Springsteen covers, recently released on Where It’s At Is Where You Are (wiaiwya) has caused something of a storm in indiepop circles. With a line seemingly being drawn in the sand between the Bruce Springsteen lovers and haters.
Music is supposed to be able to provoke a reaction. So I am all in favour of people standing up for things they believe in. In the mid 80′s I wasn’t a Springsteen fan. In fact, the Mary Chain fan in me really couldn’t stomach his bombastic live shows and the American Flag waving. As I grew older I came to see that Springsteen wasn’t flag waving in the way the 16 year old me had misunderstood. But that didn’t make me want to go back and revisit his songs. Bruce Springsteen was someone that had his place and it wasn’t in my CD player. It’s lack of familiarity with a large majority of these songs that gives me an advantage over a lot of people that have strong opinions for or against the Boss. Sure I know the hits, ‘Born In The USA’, ‘Dancing In The Dark’, ‘I’m On Fire’ and ‘Born To Run’ are songs it’s hard to have avoided over the past 20 odd years. But songs like ‘Stolen Car’ covered here by The Manhattan Love Suicides and ‘Atlantic City’ which is given an Allo Darlin’ makeover are simply revealed as wonderful songs and that for me, carry no baggage and have no lingering teenage hate to be shook off.
Over the course of 38 songs – indiepops current crop are all given a chance to make a Springsteen song their own. There are some cracking songs on here – I don’t know how most stand up to the originals – but that’s hardly the point for me. Over the few spins I’ve given these CDs some current favourite bands like Help Stamp Out Loneliness (I’m On Fire), The School (Hungry Heart) and Glam Chops (Born In The USA) take the familiar and make them interesting to me. There are also a few nice discoveries – ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ by DJ Downfall featuring Amelia Fletcher on singing duties is a pleasant surprise and it’s nice to hear Amelia’s voice in a different setting. ‘My Love Will Not Let You Down’ as performed by Eux Autres, is a magnificent song that can’t help to get you moving. Elsewhere there are a few misses – The Wave Pictures kick off the collection and it’s enough to have me reaching for the skip to next song button after less than a minute – but thankfully these are few enough to be manageable.
This CD has obviously been put together with a lot of love. A lot of heart. Who knows, it might even make me want to visit some of Mr Springsteen songs to see what I have been missing down the years.
Links: Wiaiwya (where you can download some songs that failed to make the final collection)
Back in March (on the old Lostmusic site) I reviewed Help Stamp Out Loneliness’s debut single ‘Torvill & Dean’ and I concluded that it sounded “like a band taking their first steps after just finding their feet”.
Their 2nd single snuck out recently and if their debut was given a tentative thumbs up, this one gets my wholehearted approval. ‘Pacific Trash Vortex’ is a swirling storm of a tune that suits the beautiful vocals of D. Lucille Campbell perfectly. The B side is even better, ‘Cellophane’ swaggers with an organ melody that dances all over this mesmerising song. This single is out on wiaiwya record label. Nice blue vinyl too.