Sunday, 10 January 2010

In The Bleak Midwinter...

Well... it's been snowing. As a result, the world as we know it has ceased to function and has, quite frankly, gone mad. We now have sporting events cancelled because the areas around the venues are "not safe". So what? Because we are now overrun with "no win, no fee" personal injury lawyers (or, as I like to call them, scum bastard parasites), your local plod are insisting we have to cancel football matches and the like in case some dumb idiot falls over and breaks something - and then sues someone. Because, of course, suing someone makes it all better! It's ridiculous.

Back in the day, nobody gave a shit about a bit of snow and ice. So you fell over from time to time - but so what? Worse things happen at sea. You get up, you dust yourself, you look slightly embarrassed - then you get on with life. What you DON'T do, is pick up the phone and ring your nearest ambulance-chaser to see how much cash you can make out of it.

It makes me a bit mad, you know.

So anyway. Snow. Kicking us off on our oh-so-predictable themed journey, is the criminally-underrated guitar genius Ace Frehley (he of Kiss fame, pictured). Taken from his eponymous debut solo album, released in 1978, this is "Snow Blind". If you're reading this and thinking, "What?! Kiss?! He's gone mad!" then please just trust me and give it a spin...

Download: Ace Frehley - Snow Blind

Want more snow? Thought so. Next up are former NME press-darlings JJ72 and their sublime single "Snow" (also from an eponymous debut album, as it goes). I remember buying the CD single of this, and then almost immediately going out to buy the album as well on the back of it, such was the bombastic appeal of it all. JJ72 should have been huge really, but if anything they suffered because of their wilful experimentation - whilst they always had one foot firmly in stadium territory, there was a hint of Sonic Youth-style whimsy about them, too. Had they succumbed to insipid balladry, then I'm sure they would have ruled the world, but as it was they saved us all the misery of such a move, and after two superb albums for the Lakota label, disbanded in 2006.

Download: JJ72 - Snow

Finally for today, we go whizzing back in time to the heady days of 1968, and a young group calling themselves Status Quo. Unjustly ridiculed these days for their reliance on 3-chord rock, the Quo's back catalogue (certainly prior to the departure of original bassist Alan Lancaster in 1985, after which their pop sensibilities sent them slightly awry) contains more genuine rock classics than you can shake a stick at. Here's one of them, from back when the Quo still flirted with psychedelia and none of them had yet bought any denim at all.

Download: Status Quo - Ice In The Sun

So then, that's it for our chilly triple-tracker... best of luck with struggling your way through the snow drifts - and remember, if all else fails, there's always litigation.

Band links/shops:

Ace Frehley
Status Quo

Saturday, 2 January 2010

It really is a New Year...

Well, hello there! Welcome to the all new, relaunched Musicus Eclecticus! I've been toying with reviving this little blog for quite some time and now we are going into a brand new year, it seemed the right time to take the plunge and do it.

Since it IS a New Year - and may I take this opportunity to wish all a happy and prosperous one - I'm kicking off with the slightly predictable but still ace "New Years Day" by 2010 Glastonbury headliners U2. This is the version from the live LP "Under A Blood Red Sky". This might be an obvious choice but I think it is one of those tracks where you hear it and then immediately realise you'd forgotten how good it is...

Download: U2 - New Year's Day (live)

Now, January brings not only a New Year, but also the media circus that is the football transfer window. For my club - Hull City - this is likely to be about as exciting as watching Wayne Rooney trying to spell his own name, but for many fans all over the country, it will be a time for 24 hour Sky Sports News (with the execrable countdown thing they so adore) and much biting of fingernails. I'm pretty sure there aren't any songs about the transfer window (I sincerely hope not, anyway), but for football-related musicality, we need look no further than the legendary Half Man Half Biscuit.

Half Man Half Biscuit - 1966 And All That

Continuing on a theme... that theme being not football, but Hull... up next is a track from one of Hull's most underrated bands, the sadly defunct Spacemaid. Spacemaid flirted with success in the early 90s when they made "Single Of The Week" on Mark Radcliffe's Radio 1 show. Sadly they never got much further than that but one listen to this track - the sublime "The Girl Who Sold The World" should leave nobody in any doubt that they deserved to be a hell of a lot bigger than they ever were.

Note - I ripped this track from the vinyl single, so apologies for any quality issues (I should say, it sounds great on my system, but I'm covering my arse).

Download: Spacemaid - The Girl Who Sold The World

Right, that's all for now folks! That said - these are three corking tracks to welcome you all back into the Musicus Eclecticus blogosphere. Come back for more, won't you?



Half Man Half Biscuit
Spacemaid (fan site)