Tag Archives: Manchester

“Ceremony” b/w “In a Lonely Place” by New Order. Factory 33. Recorded 1/22/81 in Manchester, U.K.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Anyone writing about New Order is obliged to begin by writing about Joy Division. That is especially true in this case.

As a teenager growing up in Rochester, I thought of Joy Division as the band with the beautifully austere album covers that cooler kids listened to. I was not that cool, and I still have a hard time making it through an entire album. But as an adult, it isn’t because the music is over my head—it’s because the gloom and sadness is so thick. And it is beautiful, this gloom and sadness, even when it’s coupled with a manic adrenaline. A good example of that coupling can be found in this live clip of “She’s Lost Control.”

 

The guitar is playing a rhythm part, while the bass playing is unusually melodic. The beat is both robotic and frenzied; the drummer is playing acoustic drums, but all most of us hear is that beautiful Synare 3 handclap. And the singer’s voice is so low, both tonally and emotionally, that it walks the line between sublime and embarrassing like a tightrope. And his dancing seems all too appropriate for a song about losing control.

This was one of many fascinating musical directions that the British took when punk fizzled out in the late 1970’s.—much more musically ambitious but just as bleak as anything from the Sex Pistols, with a serious debt to the work of German electronic music pioneers like Kraftwerk. You could slam to some of it, you could do a kind of Goth vogueing to the rest of it, or you could do what singer Ian Curtis did and dance in a way inspired by the epileptic seizures that plagued him in real life. Continue reading

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45: “You Really Got Me” b/w “Willie the Pimp” by Stack Waddy. Dandelion/Polydor 2001 331. Recorded in London, 1972.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Image courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.

Stack Waddy started out as an R&B group in 1965 called New Religion. By 1969 their name had changed and the heaviness of their sound had increased significantly. When Radio 1 DJ/producer extraordinaire John Peel saw them play in their native Manchester, he knew they’d fit in on his new label, Dandelion Records, so he signed them up.

Stack Waddy came with a reputation as a wild, irreverent live band that could consistently leave pub audiences satisfied; which was good, because it sounds like being pelted with beer bottles was a not uncommon response to 70’s British pub rockers who weren’t up to snuff. Comparisons to Humble Pie, Blue Cheer, and Black Sabbath are as warranted as they are complimentary. Check out “Hunt the Stag,” an original from their self-titled debut album.

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