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FRIDAY SEP 10

FUTUREHEADS ARE GO

Apparently they hate the comparison, but there were moments watching THE FUTUREHEADS at Rothko last night when I felt like I was back at The Marquee 25 years ago in front of The Jam. Their songs have that same anthemic appeal, there were serious similarities in structure of the backing chants, front man Barry Hyde played through a VOX AC30, and of the group's other three musicians and vocalists, Ross Millard delivered with a notable Weller-like gruffness. But most importantly, The Futureheads played with the militant urgency as marked Jam gigs and caused the Marquee walls to turn wet with sweat. Given that none of The Futureheads were born when The Jam last played on Wardour Street, they'll just have to take my word for it. And take it as a compliment.

Certainly, the British new wave is at the core of the Futureheads sound. Andy Gill, once of the Gang of Four, produced their self-titled debut album – soon to be released in the States through StarTime/Sire – and you'd have to be musically illiterate not to recognize the influence of Wire and The Buzzcocks too in their abrupt angular pop. But don't be fooled by titles like 'Stupid and Shallow' or 'Piece of Crap'; any band that can cover Kate Bush's 'Hound of Love' and the Television Personalities' 'Picture of Dorian Gray' – back to back – has a lot more going on upstairs than most in the current class of retro new wavers. And any group that willingly plays two gigs in a night (The Futureheads had opened for Franz Ferdinand at Roseland just a few hours earlier), do them both without soundchecks, and still perform with such energy is… well, clearly under 25!

Futureheads Ross Millard, Barry Hyde, Jaff - and Vox AC30 - make Rothko sweat.


As with Franz Ferdinand – whose debut album has gone gold in the States and is rapidly working its way towards a full million sales – The Futureheads are compellingly nice people. You can feel it from the audience. You sense it in their contagious enthusiasm. And you know it the moment you start speaking to them. I was introduced to the band after Radio 4's album release party show at the Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night, and upon learning that they're from Sunderland (as if the accents don't make it obvious), quickly found myself in a discussion with Barry Hyde about daytrips to Scarborough. We picked up on the topic after their own show(s) last night, and were soon immersed in a detailed conversation about Thatcher's destruction of the north-east's industrial and mining base, the misplaced sense of pride people have in their home town (Hyde was telling me of friends that refuse to travel to Newcastle, all of 14 miles away), and how, especially in working class cities like theirs, that perverse pride makes those people easy prey for the likes of the neo-Nazi British National Party. It was no surprise to read this morning in their bio that Hyde was formerly a "teenager tutor at the Sunderland City Detached Youth Project, a lottery-funded music scheme for getting kids off the street;" hopefully a few less people will fall prey to the fascists thanks to his community involvement.

Travel obviously broadens the mind, and The Futureheads will never stand accused of being "Little Englanders," but the four members still sing in a defiant Sunderland accent that recalls, in the best possible sense, the way Fay Fife's Scottish brogue always cut through the most cluttered of Rezillos' recordings. "It's important to us that you don't have to be in London to do this," Barry is quoted as saying in the online bio. "You can be out of step; eccentric and outside what is perceived as going on."

Right now, with the opening slot on the Franz Ferdinand tour (get there early if you're going: there's three bands on the bill), The Futureheads are very much in step and inside what is going on. But I don't see that going to their, um, heads in the near, um, future. British groups have a tendency to come to America and expect the world to worship at their feet; when they find out that they're expected to work hard for the acclaim, many of them pack it in early. Something tells me that The Futureheads' work ethic, intelligence, and evident delight at being fortunate enough to travel and play music, will prevent them falling into the same trap. I can't wait to see them again.


THURSDAY SEP 9

THE GOOD NEWS

Ladies and Gentlemen, iJamming! Readers all, please welcome "Junior." Currently five months from conception, a mere four months from an early 2005 birth, he's a completely unexpected and entirely welcome addition to our little Fletcher family. This photo was taken just yesterday (September 8), and shows him seemingly quite comfortable with his surroundings - though his mother reports that he does his fair share of pushing and shoving and kicking around for more space, which seems like perfectly good preparation for the real world, if you ask me.

As of now, he has no name other than "Junior." Our Campbell is thrilled at the prospect of a baby brother; mum and dad-to-be are grooving along contentedly, while trying to figure out extremely important issues of future living space and suchlike. Thought you might all like to know.



WEDNESDAY SEP 8

STEP OFF...

DJ Ray Velasquez, one of America's baggy veterans. Is that a Jam shirt we see? Yes it is.

It was a quiet night Friday at Step On: we kind of expected as much, what with it being the big Labor Day Weekend and everybody getting themselves out of town one last time before summer reached its rather subdued finale. (We did exactly the same thing ourselves the following morning on just a few hours sleep.) Doesn't mean we didn't get to play some good music, and I was especially happy that veteran DJ Ray Velasquez came down and shared some of his own records from the Baggy era and elsewhere. Is he the only person who knows the band If, and their rather excellent song 'Saturday's Angels?' And my thanks to him for playing 'Gold Top (insane Mix), the highly clubby B-side to the Inspiral Carpets classic 'This Is How It Feels.' I'm forever playing the Renegade Soundwave 12" remixes of that song - I've worn through two separate copies over the years - but I'll know in future to bring along the original version as well. Posie got props for playing such varied acts as Phoenix, Echoboy, Eno and B.A.D., and for my part I had a grand old time mixing up all my new 12" purchases from the UK – for the few people that were there to enjoy it. Here's looking ahead to next month.

Bear with me as I endeavor to get all my postings up from the UK. I returned last week not just to the truly predictable mountains of mail (and bills), and my priority, like just about everyone else in the States now the summer is over, is in sorting out and starting on my various new work projects; in addition, we're weighed down with some matters at home that take precedence. Give me another few days and the site should be flourishing with new postings once more.


TUESDAY SEP 7

BACK TO WORK!

This has been one of the rare years I was able to enjoy two end-of-summer Public/Bank Holidays in two different countries. There were some spectacular differences between spending August Bank Holiday (the UK one) in Scarborough, Yorkshire, with the masses, and Labor Day (the US one) by a little known lake in the Catskills, and it wasn't just the absence in the latter case of crowds, litter, pubs, chip shops, and amusement arcades. (All of which, I should note, invite a childish sense of fun.) It was the presence of something called the sun, which did its best to avoid the UK this year and was certainly in short supply when we hit the beach at Scarborough; though it hardly tortured us in New York the way it usually does every July and August, that same sun made one last brave show yesterday (Monday) for a particularly pleasant end to the summer. I've got the sunburn to prove it.

Now it’s back to the grindstone. I've got some major reports to post up from the UK trip in general and the V Festival in particular. While I get them together, amidst a lot of other work and some major personal upheavals (good and bad) which I'll share in the fullness of time, here's a photo quiz to keep you going. The following picture was taken at a dance bar in:

a) New York City, USA?
b) London, UK?
c) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?


Clue: The answer was already posted in The Pub.


FRIDAY SEP 3

NO SLEEP 'TILL BROOKLYN...

I'm safely returned from what feels less like a holiday than a tour of the UK. In the space of barely two weeks, I managed to take in London, Brighton, Stafford, Hull, Middlesborough, Scarborough, Manchester and the lovely town of Beverley. And as usual, I've returned to the sensation that I could do with a vacation! Fortunately, I've arrived back to the States just in time for the long Labour Day weekend, which should give me a chance to recover - apart from the small matter of our hosting Step On tonight at The Royale. I've returned from the UK laden with new music by the likes of The Charlatans, Deep Dish, The Freestylers and Soulwax, along with a new cover of 'She's Lost Control' buy Agent Provaceteur, a Jon Carter Beastie Boys mix, a dance EP featuring Jim Reid of the Mary Chain on vocals, and a couple of new, spanking up to date acid house records... In other words, we should be in for another banging night tonight. Come down if you're in town. Admission, as always, is free. (Details up above.)

It will probably be Tuesday before I get to start posting regularly again. As you can imagine, I've got all kinds of reviews, observations, asides – and pictorial evidence – from my trip home, one that included the V Festival, a couple of clubs, and three football matches. I posted a couple of quick observations from my travels over at The Pub; I'll have something longer up as soon as possible. In the meantime, here's a grainy souvenir photo of the damage we did at V during the Poptastic DJ set on the Friday night. Photo courtesy of Sheffield Jamie. .

2004 MUSINGS
AUG 23-SEP 2: No postings: On summer holiday.
AUG 16-22: 33 Notes on 45 Bands: Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival
AUG 9-15: Step On, The Summer Hitlist
AUG 2-8: Crystal Palace are shirt, Crazy Legs are back, The British are Rapping, Losers Lounge, Step On
JULY 26-AUG 1: Farewell to Orbital, the Nike RunHitWonder, Pere Ubu in the Park, Devo, Dave Wakeling, Berger & Wyse
JULY 19-25: Live reviews: Mission Of Burma/Electric Six/The Fever/Van Hunt/Brazilian Girls/Apollo Heights/L Maestro; Crime Watch, Book Watch, TV Watch, Booze Watch
JULY 12-18: Jeff Mills' Exhibitionist DVD review, Midweek W(h)ines, Los Pleneros de la 21/Kékélé live, The Homosexuals,
JULY 5-11: Nick Hornby's Songbook
JUNE 28-JULY 4: The Streets/Dizzee Rascal/I Am X/Funkstorung live, Wine, Football and festivals,
JUNE 21-27: Lollapalooza, Morrissey, Deadwood, London Calling, Stone Roses, Euro 2004,
JUNE 14-20: Fast Food and Cheap Oil, Party Prospects, More Clash, Radio Indie Pop
JUNE 7-13: MP3s vs AIFF, Step on, June Hitlist, The Clash,
MAY 31-JUNE 6: Benzos/The Hong Kong/Home Video live, Tribute Bands, Lester Bangs, Glad All Over
MAY 24-30: The Clash, Fear Of A Black Planet, Marvin Gaye, Sandy Bull, Richard Pryor, Stoop Sale LPs, Michael Moore, Nat Hentoff
MAY 17-23: 5th Ave Street Fair, James, Surefire/The Go Station live, Crystal Palace
MAY 10-16: Radio 4 live, John Entwistle, Jeff Mills, Wine notes, Joy Division covers
APR 26-MAY 9: Twenty Twos, Morningwood, French Kicks, Ambulance Ltd all live, More Than Nets, Mod, Turning 40
APR 19-25: 5 Boroughs Rock, The Number 3 Bus, Orbital split, MC5 reform
APR 6-19: British Press Cuttings, More Than Nets, Art Rockers and Brit Packers
MAR 29-APRIL 5: The Rapture/BRMC/Stellastarr* live, The Chinese Beatles, Freddie Adu
MAR 22-28: Singapore Sling live, Kerry on a Snowboard, Pricks on Clits, Eddie Izzard, Who's Two
MAR 15-21: TV On The Radio live, Tracking Terror, Bloomberg's Education Bloc, The Homosexuals,
MAR 8-14: The Undertones live, Winemakers Week, Madrid Bombings, Just In Jest
MAR 1-7: Rhone-gazing, Pop Culture Quiz answers, Who's Hindsight, March Hitlist
FEB 16-29: Lad Lit, American Primaries, New York novels, Candi Staton, the Pop Culture Quiz, World Musics In Context
FEB 9-15: Grammy gripes, Spacemen 3, Replacements, Touching The Void, Moon myths, Voice Jazz & Pop Poll
FEB 2-FEB 8: Suicide Girls in the flesh, Johnny Rotten's a Celebrity...So's Jodie Marsh
JAN 26-FEB 1: Starsailor/Stellastarr*/Ambulance live, Tiswas, Wine Watch, Politics Watch
JAN 19-25: Brooklyn Nets? LCD Soundsystem, Iowa Primary, The Melody, TV On The Radio
JAN 12-18: The Unicorns live, New York w(h)ines, Sex In The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, S.U.V. Safety, Bands Reunited
JAN 5-11: Tony's Top 10s of 2003, Howard Dean and his credits, Mick Middles and Mark E. Smith, Mick Jones and Don Letts,

2003 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE:


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2004




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WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...

The SUMMER HITLIST:
More culture than makes sense

From the Jamming! Archives
THE HOMOSEXUALS, 1979

DVD REVIEW:
JEFF MILLS - EXHIBITIONIST

BOOK REVIEW:
SONGBOOK by NICK HORNBY

HIGHWAY TO UNHEALTHY:
Why Fast Food depends on Cheap Oil

THE JUNE HITLIST:
12 featured albums, 15 more in rotation, three 12" singles and a handful of books.

FEATURED OREGON WHITE WINES:
Foris Vineyards Gewürztraminer and Witness Tree Pinot Blanc.

THE APRIL HITLIST:
MUSIC, BOOKS, FILMS, TV, BEER, WINE AND FOOD-JUICE

FEATURED WINE:
Aziano Chianti Classico 2001 .

THE UNDERTONES
Live in New York

THE MARCH HITLIST:
REISSUES REVISITED

STELLASTARR*
Live at Tiswas
Live at Bowery Ballroom
Live at Mercury Lounge
Live on the Hudson River
With Joe Strummer
Stellastarr* album review

SUICIDE GIRLS just wanna have fun

FEATURED WINE:
DOMAINE ROGER PERRIN
CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2001
Rhône, France,

THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
Ten That Got Away

NEW YORK W(H)INES Part 2

THE BEST OF 2003
Tony's Top Tens

FEATURED WINE REGION:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES
updated and re-designed

The DECEMBER HITLIST
Bruce, Bowie, Iggy, Joe and Jodie...

From the Jamming! Archives
TONY PARSONS on BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 1984

THE IJAMMING! HITLIST:
Global Techtronica

THE DECEMBER HITLIST Part 2
TRIPPED OUT BRITS: Nine albums of vaguely psychedelic bliss

FEATURED ALBUM:
Eargasm by Plump DJs

FEATURED WINE:
Paul Durdilly Les Grandes Coasses Beaujolais Nouveau 2003

THE DECEMBER HITLIST Part 1
BRITISH DANCE MUSIC:
Down But Not Out

THE OTHER NEW YORK MARATHON: 10 Live Reviews from the CMJ Music Marathon, October 2003

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Albums from UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Iceland, Denmark, New York and New Jersey.

NEW YORK W(H)INES:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

DANCING IN THE DARK:
Bruce Springsteen at Shea Stadium

The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ


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