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From the Vault – The Smiths

So, a curmudgeonly old leader of a Manchester institution released a book this week, in which he viciously lashed out at the people he used to work with back in the day. But enough about Sir Alex Ferguson. Morrissey also released his autobiography.

The indie bedlam surrounding it was compounded by the NME opportunistically doing one of those ‘Best Albums of All Time’ lists they do every six weeks and naming The Queen Is Dead as number 1. But one man’s opportunism is another’s, well, opportunism, so here’s some awesome footage of The Smiths performing ‘Big Mouth Strikes’ again in London in 1986 (the show which was later used for the Rank album.)

Keith TOTP And His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band – TOTP 2

TOTP2Howlin’ Whippet looks at an album that could only have come from Blighty.

It’s a lengthy moniker, I’ll give you that. So, for the purposes of brevity, we’ll call him Keith TOTP.

Recorded, apparently, in a one day studio session, Keith TOTP’s second album serves up a slew of indie musicians as sidemen (and women)  for the second album from our titular hero.

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Great lost albums – Viva Hate

Viva HateMorrissey was both blessed and cursed when The Smiths split in 1987. After an abortive attempt to keep the band going – Aztec Camera’s Roddy Frame was reportedly asked to consider replacing Johnny Marr – interest in Mozz the solo star was massive. Indeed, his debut single ‘Suedehead’ immediately went top 10 (when that mattered), surpassing the highest chart position of his old band. But with that buzz came expectation. And there are few things in music which can be more corrosive than hype. Initially greeted with an inevitable ‘is that it?’, Viva Hate has slowly but surely built up the following it deserves. It is a properly great album and, given where he was coming from, probably its creator’s bravest artistic statement.

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Who are the best band in the world?

Back in the day, before kids fiddled with their internets and smartphones, music was a more straightforward affair. There was the charts, there was the music press and there were a few well-defined sub-cultures from which you drew your music. The sheer effort it took to actually get recorded music – hear it, find out who it was by, go to a shop, purchase it with a substantial wodge of your disposable income – meant that we had fewer artists but the ones we did were selling more product. This, in turn, led to a sort of consensus about the merits of who was doing what.

For example, if you grew up in the 80s, you knew The Smiths were great. You knew Simple Minds were shite. You may not have liked the Smiths, and you may have enjoyed Simple Minds, but you knew you were wrong. That was how it worked.

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Interesting dug – Morrissey bitten by pooch

Rebekah Brooks might think she’s having a tough time, but it absolutely pales into comparison with what Morrissey is going through these days. Just weeks after civil war erupted amongst his online fans – prompted, it must be said, by his decision to wear a ‘FUCK MORRISSEY-SOLO.COM’ t-shirt at a few shows – he’s been turned on by a member of the animal kingdom. After all he’s done for them as well. Ungrateful non-human bastards. And ungrateful human bastards as well, come to think of it. They’re all out to get him.

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Mardy Bum – Morrissey claims he can’t get a record deal

Morrissey has revealed he is currently without a record deal, complaining that no labels have sought him out. “There’s not much I can do about it,” he said. “You assume that anyone who wants you will come and get you” he claimed, whilst wearing a t-shirt saying ‘come and get me’ and ringing his bell.

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This week’s new releases

Absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder. And that’s maybe why we’ve never quite warmed to Gorillaz. They return this week with new album The Fall, despite never really having seemed to go away after the last one. Possibly this is the consequence of releasing 82 singles from it. But yes, another day, another Gorillaz album and it’s packed full of those Gorillaz-style experiments which have done so much to keep Damon Albarn in rollies. It’s yet another one to file under ‘meh’ and go back to waiting for the new Blur album.

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