I ARDENT FANS oi Jesse Garon and The Desperadoes will probably already own most oi the contents ol their new Velocity LP, ‘A Cabinet ol Curlosities’, a compilation originally intended only tor the Stateside market. There is, however, the matter oi a little dangling carrot oi a 'Iln single which was to be given away with it. The Desperadoes’ version oi Blondie’s ‘Union City Blues’ has been stopped by Chrysalis, who own the publishing rights to the song. But due to some technicality they can’t suppress it entirely, though they can stop it being given away with the album In shops. The Desperadoes iniorm us that anyone who buys the LP should write to the address given on the label, saying where they bought it and giving the message etched onto the runout groove, and they will be sent their copy otthe single. Subject to availability, oi course.
I SO NOW Edinburgh has lost yet another live music venue. The Music Box in Victoria Street has shut its doors to bands, to become, and we kid you not, a mediaeval-style banqueting hall. Recent renovations had upgraded the Music Box to the level where it promised to be an excellent venue, it those involved in the running at the place could actually shake oii their indecision about what they really wanted to do with It. Well, now the die is cast, and it’s no surprise to anyone that the most ludicrous option has been chosen. The tourists, oi course, love any pseudo-traditional novelty that’s laid out tor their beneiit, but Is It too much to ask that just occasionally some attention is paid to musicians and music tans who actually have to live here all year round, and are growing steadily more enraged by the emascuiation oi Edinburgh’s live music scene?
I AT LEAST a number oi pub gigs are still going on. The Lord Damiey in West Port, Edinburgh has decided to reinstate live bands on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and ask interested parties to ring Derek
McCulloch on 031 229 4341.
I AS A lollow-up to their “Live in a Scotch Sitting Room’ cassette compilation ot last year, Edinburgh Musicians Collective have another tape oi local bands in the olllng. it you want your band to be considered then drop a tape oil at the Collective oliice, 11a Forth Street, Edinburgh. Opening hours are Thursday 8.30—9.30pm and Saturday 1-4pm.
Alastair Mabbott clears the decks oi the current releases.
I The Sundays: Can’t Be Sure (Rough Trade). See how much luss is being made about The Sundays? They’ve even made it to the top at this column. ‘Can’t Be Sure’ is, to be sure, this year’s ‘Birthday’, and ol undeniable spine-tingling beauty. They may be the new Sugarcubes, or even the new Smiths ii the dellatingly derivative ilipside is anything to go by. But ior the moment they’re marking out their own territory, and I’ll wager that a vast proportion ol punters turning out tor the current Throwing Muses tour will be thereto hear and see the support.
I Simple Minds: Ballad oi the Streets (Virgin). Way back when the Eighties were young there was something very special and unique at the heart oi Simple Minds, but time, lame, America and their own bombast smothered It in pomp and ceremony. ‘Bellast Chlld’, then, doesn’t come as a shock, it comes as a revelation, building irom an almost plaintive intro to heights where you think they can't possibly get any louder, and they still do. They haven’t sounded this good since ’New Gold Dream’, and lets hope it's not so long till the next time they do.
I Texas: i Don’t Want a Lover (Phonogram). This debut single is already nudging the Top 40 at time oi writing, and quite deservedly. They’ve quite successiully pulled oil the trick ol tailoring their rootsy AOR leanings to an acceptable daytime radio lormat, or to put it another way, the horrible metronomlc pulse oi the rhythm section is neatly spiced with slide guitar and moothie.
I Win: Love Units (Virgin). I've yet to see Win reproduce the thrill ol their recorded eliorts live, which is a shame as every time they go into a studio the result usually sounds like they've been let loose in an adventure playground. ‘Love Unlts’ is no exception, and the ‘Prlnce meets T. Rex’ comparison, however lazily it’s usually applied, still holds up. And what’s wrong with that? I Bss Noir: My Love is Magic (10)/‘I’umtable Orchestra: You’re Gonna Miss Me (Republic). Two garage (sound oi New Jersey) singles, vying with each other in the echoing tlnkly piano stakes. Tumtabie Orchestra have the edge, Bss Nolr’s etiorl retaining the rootsier garage sound (iunnily enough, sounding like an archetypal RePublic release) but
‘ lacking the immediacy oi ‘You’re ' Gonna Miss Me’, and the novelty oi an
interlude phoned in in Spanish.
I Bryan Perry: The Price oi Love (’89 remix) (EG). Things must be bad when all Bryan can llog with a tour is a greatest hits album, and now we have the second old song In a row tarled up with a new mix and tossed belore the public. Game’s up, old son.
I Throwing Muses: Hunkpapa (4A0). Last year’s ‘House Tornado’ uniairiy sutiered irom arriving in the same batch as the Plxies’ epic ‘Surier Rosa’, but its sheer quality soon became abundantly clear. Seek It out. ‘Hunkpapa’ arrives amid high hopes, but ultimately disappoints. It comes across as just another chapter in Throwing Muses’ recorded works, neither improving on nor signiilcantly moving on irom ’House Tomado’.
it’s no crime to be a sell-absorbed songwriter, but one who spends more time pondering the workings oi his or her heart than thinking about good
tunes is liable to end up with the kind oi monochrome blur that takes up most oi ‘Hunkpapa’.
‘Faii Down' boasts some inspired gultartwlddling, and ‘Diuy' is so upbeat in comparison with the rest oi side one it sounds almost )okey. Those two are almost alone in showing what Throwing Muses can do when they get hold oi a good tune. Elsewhere the guitars pick out melodies and licks just that little bit bent out oi shape, and give a glimpse oi what this record might have been. But even that would amount to little more than ‘House Tornado ll’. (Mab)
I The Shamen: in Gorbachev We Trust (Demon). i think l’ve heard more acld records in the last tortnlght than when the craze was at its media-iuelled peak - which is an interesting enough thought when you consider it, and has appreciany soltened my reaction to this LP than when l llrst slapped it on the record deck. However, alarm bells clang at the lront cover; a ‘controversial’ shot oi Mikhail Gorbachev in a crown oi thorns, like a technicolour version oi old Crass sleeves.
ii The Shamen are damn near a household name now, it’s not because oi the column inches that have been devoted to their music, but the outrage they've stirred up in the popular press. And embracing ‘evll acid baron’ music can only compound the myth.
To be lair, no band was more periectiy placed to grab what they needed irom acid house dance tracks to supplement what they were already doing. Indeed, in many ways, it now leeis like The Shaman had always been waiting ior acid house to happen. But ‘ln Gorbachev We Trust’ is still only a partial success, because the songs are mainly pretty lame and unremarkable beasts. Although the venomous ‘Jesus Loves Amerika’ and the passable ‘Transcendentai' collaboration with House producer Bam Bam are present, I had to hold back irom moving the stylus on to the next track more than once. Bum trip. (Mab)
John Williamson with the LISTEN! iortnlghtly Hit List.
1. JONATHAN BUTLER/VANESSA ARMSTRONG BELL: True Love Never Fails (Jive)
2. HOLLY JOHNSON: Love Train (MCA, 7th)
3. HEARTS AND MINDS: Trixie’s Lover (demo)
4. THE SUNDAYS: Can't Be Sure (Rough Trade, 12in)
5. BLISS: l Hear You Call (Pariophone, Tin)
6. WENDY AND LISA: Are You My Baby (Virgin 12in)
1. FRAZIER CHORUS: Sue (Virgin, iorthcoming album)
8. DIESEL PARK WEST: Shakespeare Alabama (EMI, LP)
9. FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE: Beneath The Willow (No Moe Records, 12in) 10. DARLING BUDS: Pop Said (Epic, LP)
The List 10 — 23 February 41