Sunday, June 4, 2017

Even Manchester's Footnotes Are Fine

Thinking of Manchester today and trying to decide which '80s indie band to play from that city. So many to choose from. Let's listen to the Waltones. They were one from a stable of stars on Medium Cool Records. The label wasn't around long, 1986 to 1989, but if you saw the logo on a record, you could be guaranteed quality. The Raw Herbs, the Siddeleys, the Rain, the Corn Dollies and even my beloved Popguns had a moment there.

The Waltones found the indie singles chart three times during that period, with "Spell It Out" being their biggest moment, peaking at No. 20 in 1988. There was one album, 'Deepest,' released in 1989, and I think these lines from an NME review of the LP sum up the band succinctly: "They're shaping up as the best band to emerge from the guitar pop glut of '85. People are bound to comment that they are trapped in an indie ghetto - but this is commercial, it won't turn Woolworth's girls' heads but it's bloody good. If you like beat, melody, strong guitar lines and choruses you'll go for it in a big way. The major problem is perhaps their lack of cynicism and anger (two obvious Mancunian traits) - a rosy glow cheerfulness remains throughout."

"She Looks Right Through Me" just barely made the chart, No. 49 in 1987, but it's my favorite and the one that seems to be remembered most fondly by fans. How was this not a bigger hit? The B-side "Special 20" isn't half bad either. The 12" had a the bonus B-side "Burning Conscience." Today's trivia: After the demise of the Waltones, guitarist Mark Collins went on to greater success with what band?

We're with you, Manchester. Regardless of the turmoil this weekend, the show should and must go on.

"She Looks Right Through Me"
"Special 20"
"Burning Conscience"


kevinpat said...

It's been raining again here and I wasn't feeling all too well today so I watched the One Manchester concert live w/Ariana Grande, Bieber, etc. It actually was a great way to look fear in the eye and show they/we are not afraid. Good job. Just two comments that are slightly related (and since you brought up Manchester).....I like the enthusiasm and the comaraderie the band ColdPlay exude, but I don't find their songs memorable. They seem basic and they just make me wanna hear U2, who they seem a generic of. Am I wrong? The other comment is I think even less of the Gallagher brothers. Their songs mean nothing to do me and I never understood their popularity. Never. Really. What's the big deal w/them? They seem like bullies who just distain their audience and fans like major poseurs. What if anything am I missing? If I remember correctly there's not a lot of love for U2 from this group. Must be my age, my childhood Catholicism or my interest in grandiosity but I love U2 . The sound, the drama, the passion, the voice and that gottam guitar sound of no one but the Edge. Sorry. I needed to get that off my chest.

Brian said...

"It actually was a great way to look fear in the eye and show they/we are not afraid. Good job." Says it all, Kevinpat. I had absolutely no interest in any of the acts, but it was playing in our house for a bit too. My 11 year old turned it on. This is the first time I have ever seen him do anything close to following the crowd. Felt strange, but I was kind of tickled too. He doesn't have a phone. He doesn't play video games. He almost never watches TV. His interests are of a different time. Kids in his class must have been talking about the show. Otherwise, I'm not sure he would have known about it. I guess he will have something to talk about tomorrow.

As for those boys in Oasis, you may not believe this, but I don't know their music. They became famous when I was living in Japan. When I returned, I heard one song by them and didn't care for it at all. They are one of my music holes (to which I have quite a few from the mid-'90s) that I don't wish to fill. No Coldplay love in these parts. As you know, not much love for U2 either. In fact, with very little effort, you will find haters. As for me, I once liked them, but that was a long long time ago. The last record I bought was the Pride single... 32 years ago. I promise, though, when I get to the letter U in my vinyl ripping series, I won't skip them. I'll 'fess up in greater detail then. Feel better, Kevinpat.

MisterPrime said...

I don't know the Waltones, Brian, but this is very good - I might have to invest in the Cherry Red compilation! Cheers.

Brian said...

I'll vouch for that comp, MisterPrime. All the singles, B-sides and the entire Deepest album on one disc. Good liner notes too.

Jez said...

The answer to your trivia question is The Charlatans, and I totally agree that "She Looks Right Through Me" should have been a bigger hit than it was; it's one of my favourite records ever. Thanks for giving me the excuse to listen to it again (not that I need an excuse, of course...)