Monday, July 11, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter C, Part 16)

We're up to my favorite C86 band. As you can see from the photo above, I have just about everything a fan of Close Lobsters could want, often on multiple formats, in fact, and I can't wait to add to the collection later this month with the release of the 'Desire and Signs' EP. This one has been pushed back twice already because of production delays. Fingers crossed that July 29 finally ends up being the day.

So, I have kicked around what to play today and have decided since you're an intelligent lot that would most certainly already own the obvious stuff, I would go for songs you might not have in your collections. Let's start with a couple from the band's session for Janice Long's Radio 1 show, recorded on June 29, 1986. To the best of my knowledge, "Nothing Really Matters" never showed up on another of the Lobs' releases. Not sure why. It's quite good. You'll be quite familiar with "Heaven .... Rains," as it was called at the time, because the band's first single "Going to Heaven to See If It Rains" would be released that fall and make it to No. 9 on the UK indie chart in December. Both versions are brilliant and chock full of subtle differences.

"Nothing Really Matters" (Janice Long Session)
"Heaven .... Rains" (Janice Long Session)

This next one comes from Bob Stanley's Caff Corporation, released in the fall of 1989. Both of these songs ended up having proper recordings and, at least in the case of "Just Too Bloody Stupid," would be much improved on the demo you're about to hear. Stanley did not agree, as you will read below, but perhaps he was being cheeky. Let's have Bob explain how and when he got a hold of these versions and what he thought about the lads at the time. Here is the insert. It's a nice piece of Lobs' history. Thanks to Mrs. LTL for snapping this for me. She's the family shutterbug. Caff 4 is my most valuable piece of music from Close Lobsters. The 7" typically goes for about $50, but I would say the investment should be made only by die-hard fans that already have everything else in the band's brilliant discography.

"Just Too Bloody Stupid" (Caff Version)
"All The Little Boys And Girls" (Caff Version)

Let's listen to one more single. The "Steel Love" 7" was released in 2012 on Firestation Records. It was an exciting year for fans of Close Lobsters. The band reunited to play Madrid Popfest, their first live show since 1989. A few other popfests would soon follow, and the fellas have remained fairly active ever since. Only 200 hand-numbered copies of "Steel Love" were made, and they were first sold at Popfest Berlin that year. The A-side was a demo recorded in 1990. The B-side was a live recording of "Head Above Water," captured in 1989. I tracked down a copy online not long after its release. I honestly don't remember what I paid for it, but I don't recall getting the shaft. While researching "Steel Love" today, I came across the song on YouTube. There was one comment, and it appears to have come from Andrew Burnett, frontman of Close Lobsters. He wrote, "Great track terrible sleeve. The group did not sanction the sleeve and completely disown it." He's correct on both the music and the art that accompanied it. Personally, I think these songs deserve a proper go in the studio.

"Steel Love"
"Head Above Water"

More music from Scotland in the next installment...


kevinpat said...

Okay I have to admit the only track I know by Close Lobsters is "I Kiss the Flower in Bloom", which I love. So all these (and perhaps any others except what's on C86) are unfamiliar to me. But after listening to the first track and half the second I just downloaded all the rest into a playlist. Although I was attracted to what I heard and what I already knew I wanted to listen more. Not just because I liked what I heard but because of the enthusiasm expressed in the post! Ha! Must be something in there! This is a compliment although it may not sound like one it sounds like Ringo Starr is singing "Nothing Really Matters" . Hahahahaha. I'm showing my age (and perhaps my derpishness...) but that's the first thing I thought. Then I got lost in the jangle and then the minor chord changes. Tres cool. I'll keep listening because I wanna like them and be good with the cool kids.

Okay..more derpishness. Is it "close" as in proximity or as in a command to not open? Just asking. I need to say it correctly to hide my derpishness. Gracias!!!

The Swede said...

This'll probably get me banned from LTL, but I have to fess up to the fact that I don't own a single note by Close Lobsters, although I do remember their music with great fondness, from back in the early days of my shop. 'Going to Heaven to See If It Rains' is one that is particularly memorable (and one that I did actually own a lifetime ago). I really enjoyed all of the tunes in this post and it got me wondering (not for the first time) why in life some bands stick and some slip by.
You should pull together an Imaginary Compilation for TVV, I'd be fascinated to hear it.

Brian said...

That's it, Swede. We're finished. Ha! I have three bands I would like to cover at JC's place, and Close Lobsters is one of them. Have been working on Dexys off and on for a while now. Very tough.

Kevinpat, Check out the singles collection Forever! Until Victory for starters. It would make a fan out of anybody. Just tremendous.

JC said...

All that and you didn't mention the t-shirt!!!!!!!!!

I'd love an ICA. There's no one better qualified to pen it....