Monday, April 16, 2007

John Cooper Clarke - Snap, Crackle & Bop

John Cooper Clarke, "Evidently Chickentown" (YSI link)

John Cooper Clarke, "Beasley Town" (YSI link)

It appears that I'm going to be able to delay my building of an Ark, as the rain has subsided in New York City. The only good thing about the downpour was the fact that it guaranteed being on the couch for Sunday's episodde of The Sopranos. I've always been a bit iffy on the HBO show, enjoying it at times but shocked at the level of hyperbole thrown its way by critics. For me, The Wire is far better, deserving of those accolades. But, last night's episode has continued to make me more of a believer in The Sopranos, as death seems to be a leading character. Perhaps I didn't notice this before; I'll have to go back and rewatch the seasons at some point. Now, there's just a foreboding, almost a Shakesperean feel to it all, as you just sense that all will end in death.

I don't want to pontificate too much. My main reason for mentioning this episode is to introduce the music for today. The final scene and credits were soundtracked to John Cooper Clarke's "Evidently Chickentown" and it was one of those perfect music/film synchcronization. It's one of those songs that is just so good that it makes people ask, "who the fuck is that and why isn't it on the radio every two minutes?"

Clarke isn't well-known, which isn't surprising since he's a poet and spoken word artist. He made his name in the punk and post punk UK, opening for bands like the Sex Pistols. He also put out a few albums, Snap Crackle & Bop being his most popular. What makes this album and its predecessor so interesting, to me at least, is that they were produced by Martin Hannett of Joy Division and Factory Records fame. He used a backing band called The Invisible Girls and when the music works this album is amazing. "Beasley Street" is my second favorite track, a chance to really hear Clarke's poetry. It's got a nice mixture of political and more language based stuff, although one is always aware of his working class roots. Go here to buy the album, although it doesn't get a Pound for Pound recommendation. It's a nice historical document, but the songs never really hit. You always have a feeling that this is a poet speaking over instrumentals.

-LA keeps on impressing me. Tonight, Genre goes down at Cinespace, a electro-centric evening for your enjoyment. DJ S!n, Luv Tek, Joaquin and Zendo do their regular thing. Tonight, they're joined by Pound for Pound favorite DJ Daniel from Le Disko, who's promised a electroclash set. Yeah! 2003 will never die! Love it!

-No way to make a segue here, so let me just express my condolences with those affected by the tragedy at Virginia Tech today. My thoughts and prayers are with the students, faculty and all those close to them.


no1uno said...

Thanks so much for tracking this song down and fleshing out the singer/poet. I missed the credits on Sunday. Risks like this song with the closing scene make the Sopranos an experience, not TV.

Anonymous said...

I met Johnny Clarke in Euston station a couple of years ago - still going strong! Btw, did you know that Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks was one of the "Invisible Girls"?

Anonymous said...

Also mighty fine are 23rd (you can count on him, he'll always let you down!) and Thirty Six Hours (take out the dog, bring back the cat)

Anonymous said...

Nice one!!! "Evidently Chickentown" had me wishing the credits at the end of the sopranos show would never end. those drum rolls...ahh. everything. superb tune. thanks for hunting this one down and sharing with the people.