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Stuart Clark rounds up the best music CDs, DVDs and books of the fortnight...
Stuart Clark, 18 May 2004
Pick Of The Issue:
PAUL DU NOYER
Liverpool, Wondrous Place [Canongate Book]
They were a uniquely English phenomenon who defined a generation and for a few fleeting moments were justified in claiming to be “bigger than Jesus”. There’s more to Liverpool, though, than Everton’s 1985/’86 European Cup Winners’ Cup team as readers of Du Noyer’s loving paen to his hometown will discover.
Although too young to shake it, baby, now at The Cavern, the former NME man was in the thick of the post-punk action which means that no salacious Frankie, Bunnymen or Teardrops Explodes story is left untold. Liverpool, Wondrous Place also scores highly in the socio-political department with explanations of how slavery, World War 2, the city’s disastrous industrial relations record and Militant have all impacted on local yoof culture.
With Neville Southall unavailable, foreword writing duties fall to Paul McCartney who had a modicum of success in the ’60s with his band The Beatles.
Best of… Wave of Mutilation [4AD CD]
It was ‘thumbs up’ all round last month when Frank Black & Co. kickstarted their reunion with a sardine-room only show in Minneapolis’ Fine Line Music Café. Most of the 27 songs played that night feature on Wave Of Mutilation, an expanded version of their previous Death To…retrospective.
There are no real surprises, save for the super-spiky live cover of Neil Young’s ‘Winterlong’ which previously appeared on the flip of the ‘Dig For Fire’ single.
At this point we routinely start grizzling about the poor quality of the packaging but, joy of joys, the booklet accompanying Wave… is as expertly constructed as the music it eulogises.
Shaun of the Dead: Music from the Motion Picture [Island CD]
I may hate, loathe and detest director Edgar Wright for his squiring of Charlotte Hatherly, but it has to be said that his new zombie spoof, Shaun Of The Dead, is a cracker. Ditto the soundtrack which along with prime cuts from Queen, Grandmaster Flash, The Specials and The Smiths includes Ash and Chris Martin’s Stars In Their Eyes rendition of the Buzzcocks’ ‘Everybody’s Happy Nowadays’. In fact, Tim Wheeler’s falsetto is so perfect you wonder whether his mum’s been keeping something from his dad.
JASON ARNOPP: THE DARKNESS
Permission to Rock [Virgin Book]
I don’t know how many hard rock households have a coffee table, but those that do will be happy for them to yawn under the weight of this picture heavy tome.
As the chart placings get higher, so does the camp quotient with Justin Hawkins’ recent rig-outs looking like they’ve been borrowed from Cher.
Arnopp being a Kerrang! regular, the cut and paste job is better than most with loads of juicy quotes and insight into how they’ve got from Lowestoft to LA in such a short space of time.
Picture This – Debbie Harry & Blondie [Sanctuary Book]
While no Jill Furmanovsly or Annie Liebovitz, Mick Rock had the good fortune to be there when Debbie Harry first sashayed into CBGBs and has been photographically stalking her ever since.
Never mind the skimpy retelling of the Blondie story, it’s the pouts, peroxide and cheekbones which make this an essential purchase.