Tell Me Tell Me

Recorded when Blur were still called Seymour, “Tell Me Tell Me” is a trashy little number not a million miles removed from the (slightly) better known “Fried”. Loud, fast and about some chick with a chip on her shoulder, it can hardly be called a highlight in the band’s oeuvre, but is enjoyable all the same because of the abandon with which it’s performed. Particularly of note are the aiaiai’s and barking sounds that Damon produces to complement the sound of guitars being manhandled. It’s got more in common with what Blur would be working on in 1997 than the Madchesteresque sounds that were in the immediate future. This little curio was ultimately released in 1993 as one of “Sunday Sunday”‘s many b-sides.

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Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 10:20 am  Comments (2)  

Inertia

Thanks to Star Shaped, this was the first b-side by the band I ever heard, although not until I bought the Japanese only Special Collectors Edition did I discover that this little pearl (which the band wished they’d included on Leisure) was not called “Luminous”. Highly uncharacteristic of early Blur (though not too far removed from some Seymour material), this is an honest and emotional song, with liquid sounding guitars that alternately sound like rays of light and dark clouds blocking out the sun. It does seem to work best on melancholy what-ought-to-be-summer-but-you-couldn’t-tell-from-the-weather days.

Published in: on July 30, 2007 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Fried

Strictly speaking “Fried” is by Blur, so I don’t have to start this little blurb by saying how hard it is to believe this is the same band that would a year later release the dreamy “She’s So High”, but since it was written, performed and recorded by Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree I’ll include it anyway. In fact, this shambolic punky mess was recorded when the fabbest four were still called Seymour, and unreleased until 1993 when it was a b-side for “Sunday Sunday”, along with five other Seymour demo’s. Interestingly, some of its lyrics were reworked for “I Know” which can be found on the US version of Leisure and the “She’s So High” single.

The band must have particular fondness for this however, as it was the only Seymour song they played at their 1999 “B-sides Gig”. Furthermore, it makes an appearance on the Japanese only The Special Collectors Edition. And why not? Unspeakably chaotic and without any trace of discipline or restraint,  “Fried” is a joy to hear.

Published in: on July 9, 2007 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Down

This b-side from first single “She’s So High” isn’t anything too remarkable. There’s a certain charm in the “aaaah”‘s after the chorus, but otherwise it’s too slow and lifeless (a bit like “Wear Me Down” with a crushing hangover) to be anything other than something of a historical artefact; it’s thought to be the first ever song written by the band after changing their name from Seymour to Blur.

Nevertheless it was played at the band’s September ’99 gig at the Electric Ballroom, which featured only b-sides (well, and “I Love Her”, if you want to be technical about it). Damon announces it as a “nice mellow song”, and the audience hardly responds at all, either through indifference or lack of familiarity. “I think it’s from when we thought we were Spacemen 3 or something”, he quickly adds.

Published in: on June 12, 2007 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Day Upon Day

I was completely unaware of this song until I saw the band perform it on MTV’s Zig & Zag Show in 1994. For a while, until I read Select Magazine’s excellent article about all Blur song that I’m doing my best not to steal too liberally from, I was under the impression I’d heard an exclusive new track. However, it had been released way back in ’91.

Surely a studio version exists, but until the day some wonderful Bootleg Series-esque boxset is released, there are two live versions that they’ve allowed to be commercially available.

The first was one of the b-sides of “There’s No Other Way” recorded at a concert towards the end of 1990. The band sound very tight and in control of this energetic song with incredibly fiery drumming and fantastic use of feedback. The show itself apparently wasn’t uneventful either; earlier in the evening Damon’s nose had been broken by the neck of Alex’ bass violently being swung around.

Cut to Glastonbury 1992 and Damon’s breaking more bodyparts. Visibly drunk he’s jumping all over the stage, culminating in him bumping into the PA system. He turns around and doesn’t see one of the huge speakers beginning to fall over. It lands right on his ankle, he screams in pain, humps it (and a roadie) again, screams some more and runs offstage. “Did you see what happened?”, he asks afterwards. “I got all that fucking PA on my fucking foot”. Legend has it his foot was broken in all this, though I have to admit I’ve never actually checked if this is true. What’s certainly true is that there’s not a part of Starshaped that, sadistic as I am, I’ve enjoyed or watched more.

Published in: on June 7, 2007 at 2:18 pm  Comments (5)