Bonnie “Prince” Billy - I See A Darkness
Aztec Camera back catalog reissues on August 27th from Edsel. High Land Hard Rain and Love are still classics. Above, “Oblivious” from a 1983 Whistle Test performance.
Marc Almond, Brilliant Creatures
Live in 1995 on the On The Prowl mini-tour. One of a couple of terrific period performances of the song, which ended up on the sprawling mess that was 1996’s Fantastic Star in a disappointingly neutered electro version. This more organic early take is far more affecting, without the studio frippery and wank backing vocals and with a committed, passionate Almond vocal married to a terrific first verse (“I know you’re sometimes at a bar/But I can’t recall the name/You could have called/I’m sure you have a story/And you’re not to blame”).
Fantastic Star had a few great songs and several good ones, many wrecked by unsympathetic production and a bewildering array of musical styles - producer Mike Thorne gives extensive gory details here. Some coherency and the excising of half a dozen songs or so might have worked wonders. Almond revisits sprawl of a far more successful kind in August when he performs 1983’s Mambas classic Torment & Toreros in its entirety during Antony Hegarty’s Meltdown Festival with a band that includes several original Mambas, though not, notably, 80s accomplice and musical foil Annie Hogan.
This terrifying image was posted to Facebook with the caption “We are your friends”.
Young Marble Giants, Final Day
When the rich die last
Like the rabbits
Running from a lucky past
Full of shadow cunning
And the world lights up
For the final day
We will all be poor
Having had our say
Put a blanket up on the window pane
When the baby cries lullaby again
As the light goes out on the final day
For the people who never had a say
There is so much noise
There is too much heat
And the living floor
throws you off your feet
As the final day falls into the night
There is peace outside
in the narrow light
The xx on Conan last night. Album in September.
More Sensible - the Captain in pop mode from 1985. They don’t let people like this outside these days.
The Damned - I Just Can’t Be Happy Today
Old Grey Whistle Test performance. Sensible shows off his Jean Michael Jarre at 0:26. Classic stuff.