In 2013, Cage The Elephant found glam in their rock for their album Melophobia. “In a far and distant galaxy/Inside my telescope I see/A pair of eyes peer back at me/He walks and talks and looks like me.” Lord Bowie could not have put it better.
Formed by Midlake’s Eric Pulido, BNQT (Banquet) is a supergroup comprising Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos, Fran Healy of Travis, and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle. Songwriting duties were split between the five singers for their upcoming album, Volume 1, while the remaining members of Midlake provide the backing band. The whole is groovier and heavier than the sum of its parts. Like Tame Impala flirting with Bolan-esque glam.
It’s Kasabian’s new track. The self-proclaimed saviours of guitar music, continue to try to redeem their instrument of choice by channelling the glam rock of Bolan. Less bombastic riffs; more rolling hooks. I think I can almost hear hand-clapping back-beat, which thankfully makes up for the trite chorus. The song is the first single taken from their new album For Crying Out Loud.
Before we get to the nitty gritty of choosing some favourite sounds of the year, a quick canter back to 2002, with songs in no particular order:
Honourable mentions also go to: John Murphy for ‘In The House, In A Heartbeat‘; Múm for ‘Green Grass Of Tunnel‘; The Promise Ring for ‘Become One Anything One Time‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘Acid Raindrops‘; The White Stripes for ‘Fell In Love With A Girl‘; The Libertines for ‘Up The Bracket‘;and Red Hot Chili Peppers for ‘Universally Speaking‘.
Well, our government has collapsed, the markets are in turmoil and last night we were treated to the most abject performance I’ve seen from an England football team. Time for some humorous and bitter relief to help heal the wounds. Steve Harley had been through a fractious break-up with the original line up of the Cockney Rebel. His resentment made a great sound. ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’ was released as the lead single from the band’s 1975 album The Best Years of Our Lives.
This last week’s been Bowie vigil. I bring it to close by listing a few of my favourite sounds in chronological order…
The most honourable of mentions also go to: ‘All The Young Dudes’, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Changes’, ‘China Girl’, ‘Diamond Dogs’, ‘Heroes’, Lady Stardust’, ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘Moonage Daydream’, ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’, ‘Quicksand’, ‘Rebel Rebel’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide, ‘Sound And Vision’, ‘Starman’, ‘The Bewlay Brothers’, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, ‘Time’, ‘Word On A Wing’, ‘Young Americans’… among others.
I carry on into the weekend to hear the real deal. ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ is one of those rare albums that doesn’t really have a weak moment. ‘Five Years’ is the perfect opener; and then this happens: “Stone love – she kneels before the grave/A brave son”. ‘Soul Love’ enthrals – the handclaps, Bowie’s rhythmic vocals, the sax and Mick Ronson’s singing guitar.
Supergrass were undoubtedly one of the best bands of the 1990s and they signed off the decade with the swagger of their self-titled third album. However, it didn’t have the craft of their brilliant sophomore album In It for the Money, whose songs have already featured on this blog. In 2002, their fourth LP Life on Other Planets was an absolute creative return. Through most of the album, Gaz Coombes takes pleasure in channeling Marc Bolan. But then, the penultimate track ‘Prophet 15’ arrives as the otherworldly soundtrack suggested in the album title. “I’m lost in a cloud and I can’t get out/There’s no other way, don’t try…” Ziggy Stardust could not have put it better. Have a great week.
Another B-side from 1972, ‘Baby Strange’ had to play second fiddle to ‘Telegram Sam’, the first of two number one (UK) releases from T. Rex’s The Slider. I have tagged B-sides in this blog, as I revel at how one man’s trash could have been another’s treasure. When an artist is on fire, they may have no b-game to offer on a flip side. Marc Bolan would brag about his ability to write hits on his way to the studio; and there’s no complexity in this song’s two-chord riff. However, it’s the clever chorus that serves to remind us that Bolan would find it hard for evermore to reach his creative heights of 1972.
I have some missing days to catch up on – the weekend it is! David Bowie once described the album Aladdin Sane as “Ziggy in America”. Conceived during a journey through the Arizona desert, ‘Drive-In Saturday’ is typically space-age and full of gibberish. “And try to get it on like once before\When people stared in Jagger’s eyes and scored”. Mott The Hoople turned down the song as a follow up to that other Bowie gift ”All the Young Dudes”. Are they mad?!
It may not be highbrow, but it’s an cheery start to a Monday. ‘Middle of Nowhere’ is off Hot Hot Heat’s 2005 album, Elevator. Like the best of 1970s glam rock, the message is simple and the chorus is frequent. (“To give you something to go on when I go off back to the middle of nowhere.”) Have a great week.
It’s quintessential glam rock, all T-Rex and Bowie, but it’s from from across the pond. Largely overlooked at the time, We Are The Fury’s album Venus was full-on swaggering rock’n’roll of yesteryear. On ‘Still Don’t Know Your Name’, singer Jeremy Lublin realises he can be a glam rock hero… even just for one album. In 2008, their label went under and the group disbanded.
The first track of Jobriath’s infamously hyped self-titled debut long player, ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ would set out Bruce Campbell’s stall. Cutting a clever path between the pomp and gospel of The ‘Stones‘ Exile On Main St. and the oddity and eyeliner of Bowie, Jobriath’s creations would ultimately fall on deaf ears stateside. A man born on the wrong side of the Atlantic.
I was recently reintroduced to ‘Chelsea Dagger’ on the dance floor at a wedding reception. Like many great hits of glam lore (think ‘All The Young Dudes’, ‘We Love to Boogie’), the track’s hooks have been welcomed on football and rugby terraces. One cannot help but smile at level of glamarama in this song. Its double-tracking start and the scat-sung chorus – all very T. Rex – make it an ideal song to be chanted in unison. ‘Chelsea Dagger’ is off their debut album Costello Music, which was produced by Tony Hoffer, who had worked on another glam rock love affair, Supergrass‘s Life On Other Planets, four years earlier.