Posts Tagged ‘The KLF’

Ignored 81: So MuchDance

In Podcast on April 19, 2016 at 12:40 am



Ignored 17: Cold-filtered Morrissey

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2013 at 3:53 am


A recent tweet by Alan Cross concerning a Ministry/Labatt Maxium advert from 1993 reminded me (in backhanded fashion) of what I believe to my introduction to the Smiths.

“How Soon is Now” was the song and no doubt, it left a mark. This was due in large part to Johnny Marr’s distinctively-wobbly guitar chord that basically oscillated into eternity and sounded like nothing else in popular music. Truly unforgettable.

Strangely, the song is a total island in the Smiths’ discography soundwise. It’s not jangly. It’s not snarky or glib. It is bleak. It’s confused. It’s a little bit scary. It drones in all the right ways. The video is kinda sorta perfect and in short, it’s a delight and a total classic in many respects.

Anyway: Ministry, Labatt Maxium, the Smiths… what’s the connection?

So yeah, much like the bizarre three-way dance Ministry “NWO”, Labatt Maximum and Michael Ironside, the brew crew pulled this same trick a few years earlier with our favourite troupe of Manchester mopes soundtracking.

Again, “How Soon is Now” was the song, Labatt Ice Beer was the beverage and the face was the late Alexander Godunov, the heel toe head from the original Die Hard movie.

The combination seems even more unusual in 2013 than it must’ve in 1990.

Perhaps there was a fan of Club 102 working in the Labatt marketing department during this era. Choosing tracks by Ministry and the Smiths (and the Cult) would seem to indicate as much. Whatever the case, I’m 95 per cent sure that seeing this TV commercial was the first time I had ever consciously heard the Smiths’ music. It was resonant even though I was neither a beer drinker (I was but a wee tween, after all) nor an Alexander Godunov completest. Unrelated, a Google image search of A-God shows that he had a ton of range in terms of acting, dancing and other sexy exploits and he resembled a young version of former WWE Heavyweight champion Triple H.

This commercial is ridiculous on a few levels.

Firstly, what kind of building is this? It’s either the world’s most unpopular lakeside lounge or (more likely) somewhere at Ontario Place. A-God is carrying around a crystal, which is I guess pretty cool. But the glass this establish (and I use this term loosely) provides doesn’t seem appropriate for beer consumption. A nice frosted tumbler would have been a better fit.

By the time A-God snarls, “Eeetz not ayes beeeeer” to close things out, the viewer is left with nothing but the pasty aftertaste of cliché futuristic “visions” and bad hair. Come to think of it, all three of the commercials mentioned basically took place in dark, seemingly post-apocalyptic environments. All the more reason to drink fortified beer, I suppose.

Whatever. The upshot is a variation of this product (Labatt Maximum Ice) has endured and “it does the job” if you catch my drift. Last I checked, the fantastic Imperial Library pub in downtown Toronto was still serving it in the hefty 1,183 ml. size. In general, ice beer was kind of a gimmick but I’m going to assume (hope?) it also introduced a few other Canadians to the suptuous wonders of the Smiths.

A pair of other Morrissey/Smiths’ video oddities…

Soho and their 1990 club smash “Hippychick” anyone? I could totally have my dates wrong as THIS may have been my first exposure to the Smiths. The whack Smiths/Soul II Soul mash-up (as played by members of Bow Wow Wow and the Bluetones) sounds like a terrible idea but this song is actually fairly decent and the video is a really fun time capsule of the era. This track was definitely not cool enough to be aesthetically lumped with the whole Stone Roses/Madchester thing but it was also just weird enough that it can’t justifiably be discarded to the Eurotrash compost pile (which is full of mulch and disintegrated Whigfield CDs BTW). From what I recall, this was actually a decent-sized hit in North America and was a cousin of sorts to the stuff the Timelords/KLF were doing.

One of those things I thought I imagined but apparently not. PBS seems like an odd spot for a Morrissey parody but whatever. There’s a strong message about velocity or something burried in the lyrics.

Ignored 4: iPod confidential

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2013 at 4:28 am


Bold statement: Now more than ever, music lovers can own and access a wide range of music, cool or otherwise, without much impact on their beloved street cred. No more “guilty pleasures”. Just “pleasures”.

Two early 2000s innovations forever changed the type(s) of music that hipsters and other insects would admit to owning and/or enjoying.

The first innovation was the mash-up. A modern take on the decidedly non-modern efforts of Steinski, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, M|A|R|R|S and the Timelords/JAMMs/KLF, the mash-up soon became a staple of tinny MP3s and trying-to-hard dance parties across the land.

The Strokes/Xtina purée “A Stroke of Genius” set the stage and things had ‘gotten got’ by the time Girl Talk showed up. Big picture, the mash-up was an indirect way for hipsters to admit their acceptance (ne: love) of Top 40 and gave us some tremendous efforts such as the still-holds-up goodness of…

The second innovation was the iPod. No need to recap its impact but a notable piece of fallout: you could no longer conceal the dirty little secrets of your music collection within your BENNO. Liberating to no end, the iPod forced music fans to drop the pretense and own what they…. well, own.

Short version: should you REALLY be ashamed of owning any piece of music? If your friends are going to judge you… Well, maybe those aren’t real friends.

The following is my effort at ownership and the big reveal of my “Theme from” and “Theme from 2.0” iPod playlists.

These songs are drawn from the 15,000+ songs that live in my 80GB iPod classic.

Theme from 25 songs that, in theory, I should never admit to owning. Rather than, y’know, publishing them on a WordPress blog.

Theme from CompletelyIgnored 25 songs that I should be name dropping with regularity. With a heavy debt paid in full to this book.

Combined, this is the musical equivalent of buying carbon credits to juke my footprint of perceived lameness.

A zero-sum game.


Bonus Thoughts
– It was a tough call between “Music Box Dancer” and “Popcorn” to fill the random-instrumental-smash-of-the-1970s quota. Regardless, the latter should get more credit for helping to introduce electronic music to the masses. The song is over 40 years old.
Belated Jorday update (of sorts) via MySpace.
– Totally sincere: early 1990s Europop is one of the most underrated blips in Top 40 history. So many amazing tunes from so many outfits that were clearly one-and-done propositions (and possibly not even bands as I think some of these songs may have been written by marketing agencies). Effectively, the MuchDance series circa 1991-1995 could serve as that era’s Nuggets.
– is tremendous but seeing Rembert Browne poke fun at an 1980s remake of “Apache” without any acknowledgement of its impact on hip-hop? A miss.
– Not surprising but there is a serious Shotmaker hole in the Internet. Maybe this Wikipedia hyperlink will help.