Catatonia – Misunderstood?

I’ve always liked Catatonia, from when I first heard them, which was 1997. It was 4 years after the release of their first single at that point but ‘Mulder & Scully’ caught my attention, not only because it was a catchy number and that I was a bit of an X-Files fan, but because of the undisguised Welsh accent of lead vocalist, Cerys Matthews. I liked that, being from there myself and having endured several years of people taking the piss out of my accent, it was good to hear somebody be rather proud of it.

I only ever owned one thing by Catatonia though and that was a CD single of ‘Londinium’ which I saw in a bargain bucket one day not long after it was released. There were several occasions when I very nearly bought the second album “international Velvet’ but ended up getting something else instead.

I listen to the Cerys Matthews show on Radio 6 and a few months ago, while listening to the show, decided to start looking for some old Catatonia records. It’s an ongoing thing and I don’t have any albums as yet, they are damn expensive, but I have picked up several singles, most of which rather surprised me. They are really nicely done, interesting artwork, coloured vinyl, and of course, good tracks.

Here are what I have so far:

I’m a sucker for coloured vinyl and these are really nice examples, the only one in black vinyl being ‘Londinium’.

Speaking of which, it is probably one of my favourite tracks of theirs, particularly the lyrics, which have nice pauses to change the meaning of the end of the previous line a little.

London never sleeps, it just sucks
The life out of me, and the money from my pocket
London always creeps, showbiz hugs
The life out of me, have some dignity honey
Euston, Paddington, train station please
Make the red lights turn green, endlessly
My black cab rolls through the neon disease
Endlessly, endlessly

Here is a brief compilation of the singles I have, reacquaint yourself or listen for the first time, it may be better than you think;

Quite the W/E for vinyl buying 1

My good lady wife decided to buy me some records, I’m still not sure why, if there is an ulterior motive I’m sure it will reveal itself soon. Essentially I was in the rather nice position to be let loose in a record store and she would pay for whatever I picked up, to a certain monetary limit, which was £60.

Well, I thought I’d take the opportunity, which is very much a rarity, to try some new things and to look for bargains. I’ve been looking at ‘The Belly Of The Tarantula’ soundtrack for weeks, but it’s £32 so, while it was something I really wanted, I left it.

The first thing I picked up was ‘Into The Wide’ by Delta Spirit. I’ve never heard of them to be honest, however, what I held in my hands was a double vinyl in a gatefold die cut sleeve, and the vinyl was white. This made it very tempting, even more so because it was £5. It must have cost more than that to actually make it. So I chose it. As an object it really is a lovely thing. I’ve only listened to one side of one disc as yet but I definitely got my £5 worth:

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Label: Dualtone ‎– 80302-01674-14
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo, White, 180g, Die-Cut
Country: US
Released: 09 Sep 2014
Genre: Rock
Style: Indie Rock

Tracklist

A1 Push It
A2 From Now On
A3 Live On
B1 Take Shelter
B2 Hold My End Up
B3 Into The Wide
C1 Language Of The Dead

Written By – Delta Spirit, Heather Morgan

C2 For My Enemy

Written By – Delta Spirit, Marthe Vasquez

C3 Patriarch
D1 (Interlude)
D2 War Machine
D3 The Wreck

 

Running Total: £5.00

Record Fair: Rugby Town Hall

I went to  record fair in Rugby this morning at the town hall. It’s very impressive size wise from the outside but I went in the side and in to a rather small room that had 8 stalls. There were the usual stalls with volume at a low price but with little of interest, lots of 80’s stuff that wasn’t very good then and hasn’t improved with time. There were also a couple of stalls with some really good stuff, I could have spent several hundred pounds at these if I had that sort of disposable income, which I don’t, so I had to be rather selective.

The first thing I bought was the only Radiohead album I don’t have on vinyl, Pablo Honey, their debut. It’s a re-issue but it’s on coloured vinyl, which suits me fine as I do love a bit of coloured vinyl.

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I know Radiohead have issues with the song ‘Creep’ but I was quite surprised to see this one has 154 million views on youtube, which suggests it might be quite popular.

From the same stall I bought ‘Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ Kiss Me’ by the cure, not in the best of condition but OK. It’s one of my favourite Cure albums so it’s nice to get it. They had quite a few but the prices on some of them were prohibitive, at least for me.

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Finally, from the same stall I bought what turned out to be an unofficial pressing of Computer World by Kraftwerk, I had thought it probably was but its green vinyl, I was seduced for I am weak.

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I fail to comprehend how anybody could not love ‘Pocket Calculator’, just listen to it, it’s amazing.

The next thing was a copy of ‘The Pearl’ by Harold Budd and Brian Eno. I’m picking up Eno albums when I see them. I’d like the Ambient series but they are so bloody expensive.

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And sticking with Harold Budd I bought ‘The Moon & The Melodies’ A very nice copy, which is basically a Cocteau Twins album.

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It’s a wonderful album.

Finally, a copy of the soundtrack to ‘The Mission’ which is an amazing film which I highly recommend watching, not least because the soundtrack, which is brilliant, was by Ennio Morricone.

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I could have stayed longer and dug a bit more but it was so bloody hot today and the room had no air con. I was very happy with what I found anyway.

SPASMO!

The final record I picked up from the Record Fair at the Custard Factory on Saturday was the re-released soundtrack to the 1974 film, ‘Spasmo’ directed by Umberto Lenzi. There were two runs of 500 done for Record Store Day 2015, this electric blue LP with “The Mouth” cover art and a clear blue LP with “The Hand” cover art.

My copy is numbered 339 as you can see from the front cover.IMG_2482

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And what a front cover it is. Just a little unnerving. Dagored have a number of great re-releases that you can find on their site here: http://www.dagored-records.com/

The synopsis of the film from IMDB is:  Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman’s body. A closer look proves that she’s alive. The next day Christian meets her again at a yacht party and they fall in love. Later at a nearby motel, something weird happens as they prepare to go to bed together: An intruder breaks in and starts beating Christian who accidentally shoots him with his own gun. A few hours later they find out that the corpse is missing and a series of weird incidents takes place.

Which is not a great synopsis to be fair, but, interestingly, the tagline for the film was:  Beyond “Psycho” SPASMO!

Spasmo is a film which has a rather weird, disorienting feel to it and this is reflected in Morricone’s score, consisting of a variation on three themes. The music Morricone composed for this odd film is somewhat disturbing and disorientating, as is the film itself and his use of unusual instrumentation adds to the overall weirdness.

There are some Morricone trademarks included, such as in the opening piece, Bambole, where we have wordless vocals, which always work a treat. At this point though, delightful though it is, if somewhat melancholy, there is no indication of where the soundtrack is going. Even in lighter moments there seems to be an underlying feeling that something isn’t quite right and the soundtrack does develop into a really rather difficult listening experience, which may well be why I love it so much.

Tracklist

A1 Bambole
A2 Spasmo
A3 Stress Infinito
A4 Bambole (#2)
A5 Spasmo (#2)
A6 Stress Infinito (#2)
B1 Bambole (#3)
B2 Spasmo (#3)
B3 Stress Infinito (#3)
B4 Bambole (#4)
B5 Spasmo (#4)
B6 Stress Infinito (#4)
B7 Bambole (#5)

How could I not love it really? It’s Morricone for a start, but it’s a limited run, in transparent coloured 180g vinyl with a freaky cover and a man being run over by a car on the back, It ticks all the boxes for me, just look at it:

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I covet it and I already own it! It’s a beautiful thing. If you care to have a listen, then please do, it’s probably not what you might expect:

And as a special treat for those with about 90 minutes to spare, here is the whole film, dubbed into English, but still the whole film. It’s over 40 years old now and is of it’s time, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially with such a great soundtrack: