Friday, October 12, 2007

Desperately, gormlessly

My Jealous God - Everything About You (The Knowledge - Mixed by A Guy Called Gerald)

I have always been fiercely protective of the baggy / indie-dance scene of the late 80s / early 90s. I know it hasn’t aged well and the majority of the music sounds horrific when listened to out of context of the era, but it will always have a special place in my heart, mainly because it’s MINE. It was the first scene, post my hip-hop / electro obsession, where I was there from the get-go. I transferred my trainspotting and record collecting from one genre to another, swapped “My Adidas!” for purple Kickers, picked up some wide-legged trews (I was never brave enough for proper flares) and purchased a series of hoodies from Top Man that looked like someone had puked down the front of them. I was so hungry for the music I bought, begged, borrowed, stole and taped every single fucking second of music connected to the scene. Yes, I do own a copy of the Farm’s ‘Stepping Stone’ on 12”, and yes, I would argue its merits over several pints if you fancied it.

Consequently, I have many records like My Jealous God’s ‘Everything About You’ lurking in my collection. My Jealous God were a London-based four-piece centred around the talents of singer/songwriter Jim Melly, and their debut single was released by Rough Trade in 1990. ‘Everything About You’ is an unremarkable, baggy-by-numbers effort. Melody Maker’s Paul Lester was scathing in his assessment – “My Jealous God have seen the future of rock‘n’roll (loping rhythms, stoned-drawl vocals, fuzzy guitar scrawl) and they desperately want a stake in it. Desperately, gormlessly.” A tad harsh perhaps. At the time I rated it, and I wasn’t alone - Steve Lamacq was a fan.

My Jealous God wouldn’t even have been worthy of a footnote had it not been for the masterstroke that was getting visionary acid house-head Gerald ‘A Guy Called Gerald’ Simpson to remix ‘Everything About You’. Gerald chopped up the classic ‘Funky Drummer’ break, added a cheeky b-line, jazzy keys, and cut-up vocal and guitar stabs, and turned in a 7-minute version of the track that used to go down well in the Hacienda. He couldn’t really do anything about the insipid vocals, but it’s urgently funky and a vast improvement on the original.

The band went on to release two more singles; another for Rough Trade, ‘Pray’, later on in 1990, and an effort for Fontana a couple of years later. They even recorded an album, ‘The Idiot’s Ball’, which was sent out for review in 1992 but never received a commercial release. How bad can an album be that a label would go so far down the line without actually releasing the finished article? We’ll probably never know…

Search eBay for My Jealous God
My Jealous God at Bird Poo - documenting the cult, the rare and the forgotten.

Friendly Fires - Photobooth (Mock & Toof Mix)

So this would probably be the 07 equivalent of the track posted above, in that it’s a song by a band recording in the current genre du jour (for baggy read nu-rave), given a corking remix by the ball-achingly brilliant London duo Mock & Toof. I’ve never heard anything by Friendly Fires before, but by all accounts, they’re the best thing to come out of St Albans since Feedle was pulling pints in The Horn.

Apparently, the original version of Friendly Fires’ ‘Photobooth’ starts out as a cover version of Jamie Principle’s Chicago House anthem ‘Your Love’, before exploding into a rampant slab of killer punk-funk. Mock & Toof hand in an extended pogo freak-out, where the vocal comes on like a pre-pubescent Nitzer Ebb. I’m pleased to report the rework climaxes in a maelstrom of noise - kind of ‘Junior Hoover Meets The Siren Boys Uptown’. Silly noises were an integral part of the original rave scene, so I’m glad to hear that they’re making a comeback. I wouldn’t stick my head in the bassbins for anything less. RAVEON!

This remix appears on a 12” released by People in the Sky Records (the label run by veteran producer and former Hooj Choons head honcho Red Jerry) last week. You can check Clark’s awesome mangling of ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ streaming on the Ghettoblaster over on the right hand side.

Buy the Friendly Fires Remix EP from Phonica
Friendly Fires at MySpace
People in the Sky at MySpace
Mock & Toof at MySpace