Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Questions, Questions...

Good advice courtesy of dullhunk

What? Is it that time of the week already? Goodness, what was I thinking? Where's my head at? Is this thing on? Is anybody out there?

Yes, the latest episode of Contrast Podcast is out and this week Dearest JC aka The Vinyl Villain has got it asking questions. So if you fancy finding out what musical queries the awesome CP Nation has posed, head on over here or download the 'cast from here. Want to know what's up? Have a look:

(00:00) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Do you love me?
JC aka The Vinyl Villian

(06:57) The Donnas - Do you wanna hit it?
Greer from A Sweet Unrest

(10:36) Cheese on Bread - Where the fuck are they?
Shaun from Cold Citrus

(13:52) The Pointed Sticks - What do you want me to do?
FiL from Pogoagogo

(17:59) The Magicians - Why do I do these foolish things?
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(21:35) Jody Wildgoose - What can I do?
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(26:49) The Shirelles - Will you still love me tomorrow?
James from Appetite For Distraction

(30:15) Gashead - Why do you treat me like a tramp?
Michael from The Yank Sizzler

(33:43) The Feelies - What goes on?
Dirk from Sexy Loser

(37:49) Billy Bragg - When will I see you again?
Sir Timmy Saville from The face of today

(41:16) Love of Diagrams - What was I supposed to do?
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(44:27) The Dears - Who are you, defenders of the universe?
Linda from Speed of dark

(48:30) Camper Van Beethoven - Where the hell is Bill?
Natalie from Mini-obs

(51:30) Trout Fishing in America - Who are these people?
Anna from Desert Island Jukebox

I had long been waiting for an opportunity to submit a track by the mighty Pointed Sticks, so "What Do You Want Me To Do?" was unquestionably (no, please, no applause) the shoo-in for my contribution. A while back I mentioned the band in a post on Buzzcocks, since both bands shared a similarly bright, frantic, pop-punk sound. The Pointed Sticks formed in Vancouver in 1978 when singer Nick Jones returned from a stint in England, all hopped up and ready to go on account of all that Clash/Pistols stuff that he absorbed while working in a record store. Jones teamed up with his mate Bill Hemy on guitar, enlisted a drummer and bassist, and together named themselves after a Monty Python sketch. No joke.

There followed victory at a local battle of the bands and persistent touring on the West Coast (including a support slot with Buzzcocks), which built up an enthusiastic fanbase. They had both the thrill of being the first Canadian band signed to Stiff Records and the disappointment of the label failing to crystallize their debut album. Eventually it was re-recorded and released by a Vancouver label, but hassles continued to dog the band and eventually they split up in 1981.

It was a brief, white-hot run, but it left lasting scorch marks; some material was re-released in 1995, and in 2005 their debut and sole album, Perfect Youth, was reissued along with a compilation of singles and b-sides. The band somehow became Very Big in Japan and reformed in 2006 for a tour of that country. There followed a well-received re-enactment (they refused to call it a reunion) back in Canada, and the 'Sticks continue to gig - there's even talk of new material.

And y'know, I must declare a personal connection. I had become acquainted with The Pointed Sticks and their legacy in the late 1990s during my visits to Vancouver. Then, one hot summer's day in 2005, shortly after we moved to Vancouver, my kids ended up buying lemonade from guitarist Bill Hemy's kids, though I didn't realise they were Bill Hemy's kids until after the fact. Now my Little Man is in the same kindergarten class as Bill's youngest. And to top it off, Dearest Wife recently ran into Bill's wife, who herself fronted seminal Vancouver punk band The Dishrags, at a medieval studies conference in town. How these weird and wonderful webs are woven...

Oh, I can't resist - here's a short Pointed Sticks track for you. But promise you'll go listen to the podcast, then buy the record, OK? OK.

The Pointed Sticks - Somebody's Mom (buy here or e-here)

Anyway, did I consider any other tracks? Well, only in passing. And they were:

Gracie Fields - Will You Love Me When I'm Mutton? (buy here)
Aww, Our Gracie - the pride of Rochdale. What a warble!! Gorbless'er.

Sultans of Ping FC - Where's Me Jumper? (Gosh, hard to find now! buy here)
Actually, this was a submission on one of the very earliest episodes of the Contrast Podcast. I tell you, these lot were as mad as bag of ferrets. I still do an odd, whippy sort of dance when this vintage 1992 single comes on the gramophone. But I rather think they lost the plot after this moment of brilliance; I saw them support The Ramones in 1995 and was most disappointed by the experience. But they are touring again...

Next week CP goes all broody with the theme of "Babies." Please do contribute!