Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Thanks to Bradley’s Almanac for pointing out this rare update on goings-ons in the House Of Love. They’ll be reissuing their seminal self-titled debut – Creation, not Fontana – on September 3 despite the fact that the entirety of the record was put back into print as part of 1986:1988 – The Creation Recordings back in 2001. That compilation also includes all the material mentioned in the second reissue in the news item, which raises the question… why? Obviously to tie in with their performance of the whole debut album as part of the ATP/Don’t Look Back series on September 13 in London, but they’ve already gone to this well before. Most everyone who’d want this stuff has got it, don’t they?
Of course, those that control the band’s catalog have never shied away from re-releasing the same material in different forms in order to drive the fans mad. Consider the 2000 release of The John Peel Sessions 1988-1989 which, as the title implies, collected the band’s Peel sessions from the Terry Bickers era into a release that could well be my favourite HoL release of all. And then last year saw the inexplicable release of the double-disc The Complete John Peel Sessions which, again as the title implied, were the band’s complete Peel sessions – including the first disc of the 2000 collection in its entirety. Like a sucker, I still bought it and the second disc makes it worthwhile – the band’s later material is generally dismissed as sub-par, but in these versions they’re at least played with an unexpected degree of ferocity. But the point is, I now have a copy of that first Peel sessions disc that I don’t need… anyone want?
While The Creation Years collection was quite thorough (thus making the upcoming reissues rather redundant), the follow-up The Fontana Years is rather less meticulous. In attempting to distill four albums and their respective b-sides down to a two-disc collection, key tracks from the Fontana House Of Love album (which is pretty much essential start to finish) are omitted and it also fails to bring together all the era’s rarities making it frustratingly unnecessary.
And even though their archives are being raided again and again and the band had been defunct for 11 years or so, they’re still apparently an ongoing proposition. Besides the retrospective concert, they’ve been working on a follow-up record to 2005’s comeback album Days Run Away which while decent, was a bit of a disappointment to those who expected the chemistry between Bickers and Chadwick to still be explosive, even after fifteen years apart. Like myself. But those were unrealistic expectations and if they can keep putting out records with songs as good as “Kit Carter”, “Gotta Be That Way” or the title track on them, I’ll take it in a heartbeat.
But looking once again to the past, watching the band’s old videos does provide some evidence as to why the band were never bigger. Guy Chadwick is not a handsome man. But the songs, oh the songs.
MP3: The House Of Love – “Shine On”
Video: The House Of Love – “Christine” (YouTube)
Video: The House Of Love – “Destroy The Heart” (YouTube)
Video: The House Of Love – “Never” (YouTube)
Video: The House Of Love – “I Don’t Know Why I Love You” – version 1 (YouTube)
Video: The House Of Love – “I Don’t Know Why I Love You” – version 2 (YouTube)
Video: The House Of Love – “Shine On” (YouTube)
Video: The House Of Love – “Beatles & The Stones” (YouTube)
MySpace: The House Of Love (unofficial)
Another legendary British act celebrating their past this year are The Wedding Present. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of their debut album George Best, they’re embarking on a UK-wide tour that will take the band back to the same towns they visited on the initial tour for that record in 1987. They’ve also got a box set coming out – The Complete Peel Sessions 1986-2004 – which will, as the name suggests, collect all the sessions they recorded for the legendary BBC host, and considering they were one of his favourite bands, there’s a lot. A dozen sessions spread out over six CDs, to be exact. The collection will also include interviews and various extras spanning the Wedding Present’s career. Released at the end of March in the UK, it’s supposed to be out April 24 in North America though through Sanctuary. The Guardian reminisces about the Wedding Present’s Ukranian folk music phase, which is represented by 13 tracks on the box set.
Also in the reissuing mood is Radiohead, who will be releasing their 2004 Australasia-only EP Com Lag (2+2=5)’ in North America on May 8. It contains a mix of non-album, remix and live tracks circa Hail To The Thief and while I sometimes wonder if Radiohead will ever put out a record that can make me interested in them again, I suspect that this won’t be it. And from the super-short clip of a new song they’ve posted at Dead Air Space (click on “HODIAU DIREKTION”), the new one won’t be it either (via NME).
Elvis Costello makes excuses to Billboard for allowing his back catalog to be reissued for a ridiculous third time in fifteen years. His point about making them digitally available so that fans can buy the tracks they don’t have individually is a good one, but overall it’s still stinky. Stinky, Elvis. Stinky.
Jarvis Cocker talks to Harp about his fondness for middle-aged women while ArtistDirect asks him about the making of Jarvis and MySpace. The Tripwire, meanwhile, presents presents a BBC feature on the making of Pulp’s “Common People”.
Idolator is offering up the first single from the new Manic Street Preachers’ new album Send Away The Tigers, out May 7 in the UK. I’d sort of written off the Manics after 2001’s scattershot and lacklustre Know Your Enemy but 2004’s Lifeblood was surprisingly decent and if this song is any indication, they could still have some gas left in the tank left. But the idea that Nina Persson’s love (she sings on the song and appears in the video) wouldn’t be enough for anyone is patently ludicrous. Musicrooms examines the album track-by-track and finds it to be pretty good.
Aversion has an interview with Scotland’s Twilight Sad, who’ve been picking up some glowing reviews from Pitchfork and Stylus since coming through town a couple weeks ago. Kind of unfortunate for the band that the buzz didn’t start until they were halfway through their North American tour but better late than never.