Saturday 29 August 2020

Songs from Beneath the Spaghetti Tree Vol. 60

  1. Sospetto - Il Sonno Leggero (2:59)
  2. Big Dwarf - Bobby (The Boy With the Reversible Head) (2:07)
  3. Nathan Hall and the Sinister Locals - Tarantula! (2:51)
  4. Bendith - Mis Mehefin (3:39)
  5. Homunculus Res - Supermercato (6:17)
  6. Viv Stanshall - Terry Keeps His Clips On (3:38)
  7. Os Tropies - Lua Escura (4:48)
  8. Colorama - Crosville (3:35)
  9. Ray Torske - 666 (3:06)
10. The Amazing New Chico Hamilton Quintet - Lonesome Child (5:52)
11. The Young Sinclairs - Same Old Now (3:51)
12. Moebius & Beerbohm - Clarks Shiraz (4:29)
13. Still Corners - Eyes (2:36)
14. Nikki Sudden - Chelsea Embankment (2:21)
15. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - Jackie Blue (4:07)
16. Halasan Bazar - Lucky You (4:51)
17. Even As We Speak - Leaves (2:53)
18. Roberto Cacciapaglia - Find Your Way (3:58)
19. La Logia Sarabanda - Cajon de Castanas (3:09)
20. Stereolab - Fried Monkey Eggs (1:59)
21. Sky Picnic - Half the Queen's Face (3:08)
22. Alan Jenkins and The Thurston Lava Tube - The Slow Fat Pudding Explodes Naked (2:51)

Monday 24 August 2020

Dawn of the Replicants - Howlin' in the Dark

"Initially a duo of Paul Vickers & Roger Simian, the band released an EP entitled "So Far So Spitfire" in December 1996. John Peel and Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 1 DJs gave the EP substantial airplay. The band was expanded to a quintet and a second self-released single followed in the summer of 1997. They signed for East West Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. Before the close of the year, a few more EPs followed, accolades from the NME, and The Times newspaper declared them the 'best new band of 1997'. The band quickly grew into one of the most inventive groups in the United Kingdom. Impossible to categorize, their music is, according to founders Paul Vickers and Roger Simian, a mix of "swamp rock, pop, glam rock, electro-girlie, jazz, doo wop, nasty ass blues, hip-hop, redneck, and experimentalism."

The 1998 single "Candlefire", taken from the debut album reached number 52 in the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up, "Hogwash Farm" (lead track of The Diesel Hands EP), peaked at number 65. That summer the band played both the Glastonbury and Reading Festivals. Before his death, John Peel aired five sessions, four as Dawn of the Replicants plus a one-off session which Vickers and Simian recorded as side project, Pluto Monkey. The band's single "Science Fiction Freak", taken from the second Replicants' album, made John Peel's 'Festive 50' in 1999. The album sold less well than its predecessor and Warner Bros. dropped the band.

After a break the band returned with a third album and a live tour in 2002. In 2005 the band played at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. While on tour in the UK during early 2006, the band took part in the Abbey Road Sessions for American satellite radio station U-Pop and enjoyed video plays on MTV2, whilst Mojo, NME, Uncut, and Q all carried reviews of their fifth studio album, "Fangs". In 2006 ten years was celebrated with a 22-track singles collection, "Bust The Trunk". New tracks were recorded in early 2007 for the (as yet unreleased) sixth studio album. Members of Dawn of the Replicants can currently be found working on projects including Paul Vickers and The Leg, Mr. Twonkey, The Stark Palace, The Stone Ghost Collective, Mike and Michi, COW and The Border Boogie Band."

A band I was very fond of back in the day, revisiting their back catalogue has been a very enjoyable experience. Yet another criminally overlooked band, I'm guessing Warner Bros. just didn't know how to handle the band. Too diverse/uncategorizable to see any huge mainstream chart action, it was no big surprise when they were dropped by the label. Fortunately the band did soldier on with 3 more studio albums for various independent labels. While the recordings for these albums weren't of the high budget of their first two, they were still of very high quality, and just as inventive. 

At the time of their 5th album, Paul Vickers said, "What a lot of major record labels suffer from is no company loyalty. What happens is nobody's safe in their jobs, and the turnover of jobs is so fast, that you have a lot of people who don't really give a damn working for the company." Vickers was philosophical about the glitches in their career, regarding it with a characteristic sense of humour, "You can't be in Dawn of the Replicants without having an element of humour - we're underdogs. People have preconceptions and write us off as being a weird band without actually listening to our records. I think the problem was that we didn't look cool - we were even described by one journalist as 'four farmers and a freak'".

I doubt we'll be seeing a 6th DotR album, being 14 years now since "Fangs" was released, but I strongly recommend the Paul Vickers and The Leg releases, not having heard the other offshoots of the band as yet. Selections for this collection are from all 5 of their studio albums, and the several singles/EPs they released. As ever, stay safe in these still hazardous times, and I hope you enjoy!

  1. Spear That Tear (2:23)
  2. Night Train to Lichtenstein (3:10)
  3. Big Hefty Hounds (3:20)
  4. Who Poisoned the Food? (3:04)
  5. Candlefire (4:08)
  6. Seasick Odyssey (2:38)
  7. Trout Fishing (4:00)
  8. Warp Flows (2:36)
  9. Gasoline Vine (2:45)
10. Howlin' in the Dark (0:47)
11. Mary Louise (3:26)
12. Sgt Growley (John Peel session) (5:30)
13. Rockefeller Center, 1932 (2:56)
14. Crow Valley (3:05)
15. Cuckoo Clock (3:12)
16. Get a Bright Flame (5:06)
17. Lisa Box (3:30)
18. Blue Bugle (0:49)
19. Oh, Bumble Bee (2:54)
20. Chesty Morgan (5:52)
21. Sub Erotic Fields (3:02)
22. Hogwash Farm (Re-Built) (3:13)
23. Leaving Town (2:59)
24. So Sleepy (2:48)
25. Beneath the Waves (2:24)

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