I Love You, You Big Dummy – Magazine Mania

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These things take hold with me at strange, perplexing and kind of random times. I am a rather habitual beast. When I get gripped by something…if it really takes hold, it becomes quite an obsession for a time. And then they remain habits.

I’ve been trying to branch out my musical taste. It really is quite limiting, I guess, and I have never been that good at absorbing new discoveries. I tend not to give things enough of a chance to wow me. If it isn’t immediate – and therein lies the hypocrisy because very rarely has any musical love I have gained of a group or artist been THAT instantaneous – I tend to give up rather quickly.

These days, I tend to try in small doses until such time as my interest gets super piqued and the thing starts to bite and then I start to OD.

The newest bite is Magazine.

I KNOW! But honestly, the “new” music that is around these days rarely takes hold with me. A few acts filter through, but very few of them sound genuinely new.

So…Magazine. There had been bugger all of their stuff on Spotify for AGES. So much the case that when I wanted to take a listen of Real Life again last week, I went straight to YouTube. It was only a couple of days later did I go and take another look at Spotify. Blow me down with a feather! Quite a bit of the Magazine catalogue is now up there – Real Life, Secondhand Daylight and The Correct Use Of Soap up there for a start…and quite a bit besides.

I suppose the thing that got me diving in again was this. Seeing Howard Devoto’s words on Pete Shelley and hearing that snippet of their most recent musical collaboration it got me wanting to explore Magazine again.

I’ve listened to the first three albums several times over this past week. I think that for me…despite some of the more well-known tracks being on Real Life (Shot By Both Sides, Definite Gaze, The Light Pours Out Of Me) and The Correct Use Of Soap (A Song From Under The Floorboards, Sweetheart Contract, Thank You (Fallentinme Be Mice Elf Again) – Sly And The Family Stone cover), my fave album of the three so far is Secondhand Daylight. And the fact that was the album they were touring with when SM were their support touring with Life In A Day – God I wish to fuck I had a TARDIS!

To start, apart from their own material, they do STELLAR covers! I titled this post “I Love You, You Big Dummy” because I just fell in love with it on the first listen. Revealing my musical ignorance, I had NO IDEA it was a cover of a Captain Beefheart song. I was at least familiar with Thank You (Fallentinme Be Mice Elf Again) and its origins, thanks to a certain Mr Kerr. I’d love to ask him what he thinks of Magazine’s version, but I am trying not to harass the man currently. Best not to badger. Leave the insipid enthusiasm for the blog, eh?

I think back to my interview with Bruce and him saying he tried to get Simple Minds out of their contract with Arista earlier than they did. That he approached Simon Draper some 18 months before they signed to Virgin. At that point, Draper was unconvinced, “Why would we want Simple Minds on our books when we already have a “Simple Minds” – Magazine?” Perhaps I am nuts…biased…wear rose-tinted glasses – but I really don’t hear that much of a musical similarity. Certainly not to the point Simon Draper was making – that they were TOO SIMILAR to be record label stable mates. WTF? Well, as it transpires, it would seem that Simple Minds’ signing to Virgin seemed to signal some kind of death knell for Magazine. They released one album shortly after the SM signing – Magic, Murder And The Weather. Then there is nothing new until the band reforms in 2009 (a rather short-lived reformation).

I am yet to listen to Magic, Murder And The Weather…I really am quite absorbed with the other three for now.

My favourite track? I heard it for the first time proper last night, and then immediately played it again…and then again…and again. I just found it jaw-dropping. Not really sure why. I just loved what I felt was an edginess and rawness to it. Actually I do know why…fuck me…that bassline from Barry Adamson!!! FUCK OFF!

Yes…I can feel a new love affair blossoming. It’s very rarely “love at first sight” for me musically. Most things are a slow burn.

Magazine are the latest slow burn to suddenly become a fireball. Will they remain a powerful flame? Will they fizzle out and simmer away in the background like many of my recent other new loves? Roxy Music, Talking Heads…

All I know is the appreciation is finally there.

Berlin Blondes

Whilst flicking through the latest edition of Electronic Sound magazine, I was intrigued to see this short review of an anthology issue by a band called Berlin Blondes. It was the cover artwork that initially caught my eye. Then I see the word “Glasgow” and my interest gets FULLY piqued!

It was a brief life for this band. Just the one full album.

On looking them up on the web, the Wikipedia entry for them seemed to suggest they had supported Simple Minds somewhere along their brief existence. I went and looked at the tour info on the Dream Giver Redux site, but I saw little evidence to back this notion up. I would ask Jim if he had any recollection of this, but I feel I am probably not ingratiating myself too kindly right now…for some reason, so I best not. Perhaps I will give Simon Cornwell (webmaster extraordinaire at simpleminds.org) a quick email, to see if he can shed any light on whether they did indeed support SM at any time.

Anyway, I shall give the album a listen tonight and see what I think. From what I’ve read they sound like they were quite…parodying the sounds of their influences a little too much. But, well, I shall see (hear) for myself.