Songs to the Siren

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Pacer

The Amps

30th October 1995 (LP)

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The Breeders started as a side-project, and the Pacer LP was made as a side-project from that once the Breeders became a full-time thing. Although featuring a different name and line-up, these are still Kim Deal songs sung by Kim Deal, and I consider it to be, in effect, my favourite Breeders record.

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Open Up

Leftfield Lydon

1st November 1993 (single), 30th January 1995 (LP)

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Although it was clearly John Lydon’s time (as Johnny Rotten) in the Sex Pistols that made him famous, his career as Public Image Ltd would ultimately provide a more enduring body of work.

Lydon also had successful collaborations during this time, and it’s 1993’s Open Up, with Leftfield, that I want to look at here.

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Safari EP

The Breeders

6th April 1992

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The Safari EP marks the transition from the raw Albini-produced early Breeders material, such as their début LP Pod and the more polished (and commercially successful) follow-up The Last Splash.

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Pump Up The Volume

M/A/R/R/S

3rd August 1987

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Shortly after sample-heavy Hot Doggie by Colourbox appeared on the 4AD Compilation “Lonely Is An Eyesore”, the label released a collaborative single between Colourbox and label-mates AR Kane as a Double A-Side. The result was less of a collaboration than intended. One side was nearly all AR Kane, the other side was nearly all Colourbox. It was the latter side that got the airplay, and that took the song to the top of the UK Charts.

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Sense

Terry Hall

12 September 1994 (LP), November 1994 (single)

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Another one from Terry Hall, and another collaboration. This time it’s with Ian Broudie, who released his version as the title track from The Lightning Seeds April 1992 LP “Sense”.

Hall collaborated with Broudie on a few tracks on that album, and sang BVs on this track. A few years later, Hall recorded his own version for his solo LP “Home” - produced by Broudie. This take is pretty similar to Broudie’s - with enough difference that I can definitely say that, although I love them both, I prefer this one.

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Nothing Lasts Forever

Echo & the Bunnymen

20th June 1997 (Single), 14th July 1997 (LP)

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This is an amazing comeback single.

The band had fallen apart when singer Ian McCulloch left in 1987, and drummer Pete de Freitas died in a motorcycle accident in 1989. After the Electrafixion project ended up with the three remaining (and, indeed, original) Bunnymen being involved, the band inevitably reverted to the Echo & the Bunnymen name. This was the lead single from the 1997 comeback LP.

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Weekender

Flowered Up

April 1992

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The third in a series of “big songs” - although this has plenty of variety through its near-13 minute length, it sounds more like one song that the previous two, which were constructed from separate initial ideas merged into one.

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Paranoid Android

Radiohead

26th May 1997 (single), 21st May 1997 (LP)

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The second in a trio of “big songs” - long, relatively complex songs that sound like they were the product of putting together separate pieces into one. Like Jesus of Suburbia, Paranoid Android was also made exactly that way.

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White Love (Radio Mix)

One Dove

19th October 1993 (LP)

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The third track featuring Dot Allison on vocals. Here she is with her electronic trio One Dove on a record produced by Andy Weatherall and remixed by Stephen Hague.

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Message Personnel

Dot Allison

6th October 1999 (LP)

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The second of three tracks featuring vocals by Dot Allison - this time a track from her first début LP, 1999s Afterglow.

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Dirge

Death in Vegas

13th September 1999 (LP), 24th April 2000 (Single)

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This is the first of three songs featuring Scottish singer Dot Allison.

Here she features on vocals (and co-writing) on Dirge, the opening track from The Contino Sessions, a classic album by Death In Vegas.

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E-Bow The Letter

R.E.M.

August 1996 (single), 9th September 1996 (LP)

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This is the song that actually triggered the idea of doing a songs blog. I declared on ^link(twitter) that this is a song that I felt I could never truly tire of, and that inspired the idea of a “Songs I’ll Never Tire Of” blog. The crap blog name held me back from actually starting something, but eventually I got around to it, renamed it, and here we are.

This tune was released after R.E.M.’s popularity peak, but to me it still stands out as the highlight track from a pretty-decent catalogue.

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The King of Rome

The Unthanks

30 July 2012

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Written by Dave Sudbury in the 80s about a homing pigeon, and recorded in 1988 by June Tabor, this live version by folk group The Unthanks (backed by the famous Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band) is a thing of rare magnificence. As, apparently, was the eponymous pigeon :)

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Symphony of Sorrowful Songs

David Zinman, Dawn Upshaw & London Sinfionetta

1992

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I’m definitely not an aficionado of classical music, so it’s probably inevitable that my tastes in contemporary classical are at the more populist end of the scale, but this is a beautiful, emotional, piece. You probably wouldn’t file it under “easy listening”, though.

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Torn

Natalie Imbruglia

27th October 1997 (single), 24th November 1997 (LP)

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With Natalie Imbruglia’s take on the Ednaswap song “Torn”, I’d suggest that we are getting into the relatively small list of “covers that sound better than the original” - regardless of whether you consider the “original” to me Ednaswap or Lis Sørensen.

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It’s On

Flowered Up

1990 (single) / 26th August 1991 (LP)

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The indie/dance crossover sound from the late 80s and early 90s might well have had its home in Manchester, but these London boys gave them more than a run for their money.

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Something Good ’08

Utah Saints

1992 (single), 1993 (LP), 2008 (remix)

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This record takes a sample from Kate Bush’s single Cloudbusting, and builds a new song around it - though my preferred version is the 2008 remix that replaces Bush’s vocal with a re-recorded part.

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Glory Box

Portishead

22nd August 1994 (LP), 3rd January 1995 (single)

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The Bristol Sound, aka Trip Hop, was the dominant sound of this era for me. Grunge was still hanging in there, but this really was something new, and Portishead were at the forefront of it. This song is built on an Isaac Hayes sample that became quite ubiquitous, and is still making an impact on popular music today.

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Deceptacon

Le Tigre

25th October 1999

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An absolute banger from Le Tigre, a punky electronic three-piece featuring Kathleen Hanna, formerly of the legendary Bikini Kill.

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Planet of Sound

Pixies

28th May 1991 (single), 3rd September 1991 (LP)

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The first single from the fourth (and last until the band later reformed) Pixies album, this is the tale of an alien who picks up transmissions from Earth.

They head over to find the source, the “planet of sound”.

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Tiny Feet

The Heart Throbs

23rd June 1992

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This is my most-played tune since I moved all my music into iTunes (now Apple Music) about 15 years ago - yet the version I play was never released.

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Supervixen

Garbage

15th August 1995

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The opening track of the début album, and literally within 5 seconds it presents a hook so strong, I’m smitten for life with this song.

The “hook” is just a gap. Yet, to me, this is simply the greatest intro of all.

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