Okay, so I've been super-lame at this. I will blog maybe once or twice about records of the past decade, then on to exciting interviews. Okay?
Murry the Hump, Mj Hibbett, Gag Airport Girl, Max Tundra Schaumgummi
MJ Hibbett: Oi, Hibbett!
2001 has a lot to answer for. Yea, yea I remember where I was when I heard about [i]The Attacks[/i] (I had just baked a vegan chocolate cake, one of my very first attempts, and not one of my more successful), but I also remember the first time I saw MJ Hibbett live. It was in August at The Jug of Ale, Moseley. I went along because I had the Work is A Four Letter Word ep and maybe someone local I liked was playing (Could it have been The Regulars?). So I went a long and was AGOG and Hibbett's solo set. I don't think I had ever before seen anyone play that way. And rarely since have I seen a singer-songwriter who is not completely caught up in themself and all muso-ish. I joined in singing songs I didn't know ('Oi, Hibbett!' Etc.) and bought The Validators first album and three 7" singles for the pincely sum of 8 quid - Mark said it was because he was moving house, though even if he hadn't been he'd've probably done some sort of deal just because I showed interest.
All those records were played A LOT for the rest of the year, and of course they aer still played regularly today.
Arab Strap: I'll tell you a story about that later
Murry The Hump: My Dealer drive a three-wheeler
I know I went to see Arab Strap as well as Murry The Hump at Ronnie Scott's on Broad Street (it was the only excuse to go to Broad Street, it is now a lap-dancing place called The Rocket Club). I spent a lot of time listening to 'Mad for Sadness'. I'll let you in to a secret; when I was a teenager, I thought you had to choose which band you liked Arab Strap or Belle & Sebastian. I was - and some would argue, still am - a cock.
The Murry The Hump album, 'Songs of Ignorance' was a bit of a disappointment to me, but it still had some great songs: Booze & Cigarettes, The House That Used to be a Ship, Vodka & Wine.
Gag: Girls are dancing, they are good at it. Boys are dancing.. with their mates.
I had never heard anything like Gag's album 'When People Start Slapping Meat on Marble', nor had I ever heard of a record label giving away all of their releases for free, as Flitwick Records did. I wrote a review for the zine I dd back then and seem to recall likening one song to Jack Frost sneaking into your garden to piss down the drain. I think maybe Gag were reasonably well known 10 years earlier, but I didn't know anyone who knew 'em, still don't. That album doesn't seem to be available anymore, but you can download other stuff by them from the Flitwick Records website.
ballboy: Licensing laws mean nothing to us
I'd been introduced to ballboy through John Peel's show and instantly became smitten. The three EPs as collected on Club Anthems 2001 were played repeatedly on my stereo. One of my favourite ever moments in pop is still from their Brum gig of 2001. The soundman had called time on ballboy's set (as it was a Sunday, this was at only 10:30), and Gordon couldn't convince the soundguy to let them do one more song, so he started playing 'They hang flags from cranes upon my wedding day' anyway. The mic went off, the lights went out, Gordon carried on playing (he was using an acoustic guitar), stood forward, right at the edge of the stage, with the only lights coming from the drinks fridges behind the bar. I swear the Flapper & Firkin held it's collective breath the the duration of the song.
Max Tundra: 'I'm not sure if this is meant to be experimental or something'
I had never heard of Max Tundra when I saw him supporting Brassy in at the (original) Little Civic in Wolverhampton. I remember being confused and impressed by his set and later in the evening asked him if he had any records I could buy. It was quite a short but confusing conversation from what I recall. It took me a while to get round to picking up the album, and I think I bit off a bit more then I could chew, but listened to it repeatedly looking for something. I still do that, and I've never been sure what it is I'm looking for.
Schaumgummi: Tina Turner Marshmallow
I don't remember when it came out or when I bought the records, but I spent a lot of 2001 being obsessed by Schaumgummi. Seriously people, Schaumgummi.