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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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From the Vault – New Order

If The Smiths were the best British band of the 80s – and they were – then New Order were the most important. Taking what we would still most accurately term ‘indie music’ in directions many within the subculture found uncomfortable, they fused dance, hiphop and guitar music into some of the most exhilerating statements of the decade. Oh sure, Barney could never sing and some of his lyrics were straight from the moon/balloon/June school of tragic rhymes, but it didn’t matter. They were great. This is the sublime ‘Regret’, performed in 1992.


No Movement – New Order releasing more material, still fighting

What becomes a legend least? In the case of New Order it would seem to be a messy, never-quite-definite split and an inability to just let things go. Whereas contemporaries such as The Smiths and The Cure have seen their reputations burnished to eternal indie sainthood in recent years, New Order have spent the last decade seemingly determined to make the world grow ever more disinterested in them.

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When bassists attack – Mani apologises to Hooky for Twitter outburst

Mani has apologised over his Twitter outburst last week in which he accused Peter Hook of “living off Ian Curtis’ blood money”.

The two Manchester bassists had recently played together in Freebass, though that band has now disbanded. Both Mani and Hook have spoken following the former’s Twitter outburst, which has now been taken down from the social networking site. Which is disappointing. A  celebrity boxing match would have been a far more entertaining way to end the argument in our opinion.

Mani said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly to Peter Hook and his family regarding comments made on a social networking site which was totally out of character for me. It was a venomous, spiteful reaction to a lot of things that are going on in my life right now and I chose to vent my frustrations and anger at one of my true friends in this filthy business, and ventured into territory which was none of my concern. Continue reading

New to You – Johnny and the Giros

A cracking EP called Ladies and Gentlemen landed on ELM’s desk the other day from a band called Johnny and the Giros. The name suggests punk, but it’s more a marriage of electro and what we quaintly term indie. Spidery synth riffs over Gang of Four-style agit-funk guitars, it’s also imbued with that searing ambition which Scottish acts somehow seem to specialise in. Continue reading

James Corden to “Cover New Order for England’s World Cup Song”

CordenIn news which would surely get even the most fervent Ingerlund fan praying Andorra stick three past them later this week, ubiquitous Gavin & Stacey star James Corden is being lined up to cover New Order’s 1990 World Cup classic ‘World in Motion’ as the Three Lions official tune for the 2010 event.

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Manchester, So Much to Answer For

Due to a football match being held there tonight, Manchester has been very much in the headlines in Glasgow for the last few days. ELM is a footy-free zone, but it did get me thinking about some great Manchester bands. there can’t be many provincial cities in the world with the rich heritage of the place. So many wonderful bands, great performers and the Paris Angels. Well, you can’t have everything. Here are a few ELM favourites;

The Stone Roses – Fabulous, chiming baggy rock Gods. The Roses were, for a couple of years, the total package – insouciant, witty, confident. Most of all, what stands up even now is the music. The debut is still an astonishing piece of work, barely dated by almost twenty years. The stunningly generous singles and b-sides collection ‘Turns Into Stone’ was incredible too. Obviously, they burned themselves out in the Supernova days, and true potential soon became pure rock cliché as money and drugs tore them asunder. John Peel once famously said they reminded him of the Hollies, forgetting two things; namely that the Hollies were brilliant anyway, and half the shite he played in his career, well….let’s not cast the first stone here, Peely!

Download; I Am The Resurrection

Joy Division – As dark as a very dark night in the darkest bit of the darkest land. During a powerstrike. With a blindfold on. But they looked so ordinary. Just four working class lads in cheap trousers and cheaper shirts. It’s music which is timeless because it never fitted into any time. Ignoring the punk mantra of ‘fuck this, let’s start from scratch’ (because, let’s face it, scratch is a pretty impovrished place to leave from) they instead brilliantly re-designed what rock music could be. Two terrirfic and fearful albums, and so many great moments. Ian Curtis set the benchmark for suffering in rock, and anyone mining the soul for despair would always be judged fake against him, but that doesn’t change the fact it was a tragic waste of talent.

Download; Dead Souls

New Order – We’re not doing the usual trick of lumping one in with the other. Three members were the same, yes, but this is a totally different band. After a false start trying to be Joy Division mk II (‘Movement’) they settled into a hybrid of rock and dance which was revolutionary at the time. Their influence was huge, and some of their 80’s work can rightfully be labelled the most influential of the 80’s. They weren’t perfect – the lyrics are often moon/balloon/June – but their dynamism and songwriting nous covered that.

Download; Run

The Smiths – If New Order were the most influential band of the 80’s, The Smiths were the best. They were great, they were romantic, they were life-affirming. They were funny, too, in a way which fans got and detractors didn’t and just made it seem even more like we were in on something the world was missing. Marr’s guitar work still sounds unparalelled, like God had given him these astounding runs of chords and sequences. Add to that Morrissey – and forget what he has turned into, just remember how he was – and you had a band that you simply couldn’t replicate. One of those moments were everything aligned right in planet rock – as Marr once said ‘nobody could write music for Morrissey’s lyrics like me, and nobody could write lyrics for my music like Morrissey.’

Download; Panic

Oasis – Deserve to be in there. Hard for some people to understand now, but Oasis did shake British music when they first arrived. From years of Grunge, Greebo, self-harming and plaid, suddenly a band came along and said, actually, fuck that, let’s get drunk and have a party. And it felt so liberating. It was cool to wear nice clothes again! The first three years of Oasis career were incredible, Zep-esque monsters of big albums, bigger gigs, bigger albums, more tabloid controversy, drink, drugs and Patsy Kensit. When it was gone, it was gone, and Oasis are now a (still huge) loveable old national treasure. But what they did in the first few years, for people of my generation, was show them that you didn’t need access to the Met bar to have a good time, and kids all over the UK loved them for it. Niiiiice one.

Download; Supersonic

There are countless others – the Buzzcocks, The Fall, The Comsat Angels, The Happy Mondays, Interstella, John Cooper Clarke and more recently the Ting Tings and Elbow who we could have mentioned…but we could be here all day. Some place, some heritage. Now is it better than Liverpool’s? Well, I’m not getting into that!