Music For Shut Ins

DETROIT - What's that you say? You are caged up? Like a wild animal at the zoo? Well so am I, but I believe in making the most of it. As of this writing I am well and fine, and safely tucked away from this coronavirus and hopefully so are you. So let's use this time to discover, rediscover and uncover some of the great tunes of this world. Slowly but surely some of our greatest record shops are cashing in their chips and are leaving us scrambling to find new sounds. Well, fear not, because we are bringing great gifts for your ears.

Would you believe there are still some people out there who never heard of the Stone Roses? These guys released an album in 1989 and set off the whole Madchester sound from Manchester, England. They offered a dance, techno groove beat and mixed in influences from the '60s. The album cover is both iconic and loaded. The cover features artwork from guitarist John Squires and it heavily influenced by action painter Jackson Pollock. The odd placement of lemons is a nod to a strange historical fact. Fellow Rose Ian Brown had picked up a hitchhiker who lived through the riots and learned that lemon was a fitting antidote to tear gas. Q Magazine called it one of "The Best 100 Album Covers Of All Time" which is a bold statement. Despite the instant fame and popularity the Stone Roses were very tight-lipped around the press and gave them nothing to work with which would piss them off. This led to some snarky comments who labeled them as nothing special and nothing more than a regurgitation from the 1960s. Despite all this nastiness, the Stone Roses amassed an impressive 4 million copies of their first album


Another Madchester band and this time we are going to play a song from the pioneers of that sound. In 1990 we got a nice little wave of this musical style at a time when we're knee-deep into the grunge in America. The Happy Mondays took house music, UK rave, psychedelic, and created a fun scene. I liked them immediately and vowed to collect one album from every Madchester band for my own investigative purposes. This led me to the Farm and the Charlatans UK. Plus I am willing to bet that these bands smelled ten times better than my mates at the time, (they took the whole Seattle bus trip in the 90s). In addition to a groove dance beat, these guys just make you feel good to be alive. What could be better than that?


I found this band from Charlatans singer Tim Burgess who runs an online listening party, Tim's Listening Party. You can find this online forum on Twitter and listeners can follow along with a chart of bands and then chime in with your thoughts and memories. This is an English band and critics have placed them up there with Joy Division, The Cure, The Pixies and Arcade Fire which is odd because I don't hear any of that at all. In fact, I actually hear more Lloyd Cole and the Commotions in this particular track anyway. They are worth listening to and can teleport you to a very different place. Speaking of which Britsh Sea Power is known for playing live in some pretty far away places. They even found their way to David Letterman's stage in 2008 and with that, I give you the track.


I found this on a party tape I swiped back in the late '80s. I never did find it on wax and it only resurfaced thanks to Youtube. The Replacements could be called the Godfathers of the Alternative music scene. They didn't lead the Alt-rock radio charts by any stretch of the imagination but the did kick the door open. Thanks to them you have a whole genre with bands that vary from Sleater Kinney, Lush, The Breeders, Sloan, Green Day, Nirvana, you name it. Singer Paul Westerberg bares his soul on this track and soon got the attention of music critics from SPIN and Rolling Stone Magazine for his frankness and soul-baring ability. It is a sad song but it is also incredibly brilliant and I think everyone should hear it.


Good mercy there is nothing written about this glorious band on Wikipedia. Ahem... I will try to give them proper credit the best that I can. I discovered them through a very fortunate event back in the '90s. I was working and suffering from miserable employment in Detroit and en route to Chicago to seek better pastures and greater fortune. I found a copy of RAYGUN Magazine by designer David Carson and he was interviewing Morrissey who was promoting, "Vauxhall and I". I don't remember a shred of information in that entire article except for two things. The Mighty Moz was asked about his current favorite bands and he blurted out Gallon Drunk and Echobelly. Well, that was enlightening because all this time in Detroit I was listening to whatever was being pumped out on 89X and that wasn't cutting it for me. Bands like LIVE, (where are they now?) and Stone Temple Pilots were being rammed down my backside. I needed Echobelly more than you could believe because they were like a wave of fresh air.

The band heralded the Brit Pop scene in the late 80s. There were write-ups about them raising such emotion from their audiences that kids were racked up with tears. Their first two albums "EGO Everybodys Got One" and "ON" were instant classics with me and singer Madam Sonya Aurora was dynamic. The guitar hooks were turbocharged and the lyrics dripped with raw emotion. The band has had problems with record labels, (Fauve Records) and health problems. They are the greatest band you never heard. 


I saw Broncho open up for Billy Idol a few years back in Detroit at the Fillmore. They were interesting from the pit and i got a good look at the entire band. From that distance, they could have been just about anybody. They wore wool hats on stage and looked like they were plucked from the Diag from the U of M campus. I couldn't understand the lead singer and as stand up poet Dan Godston says, "Man, he has got a weird voice" and I concur. But damn they are catchy much in the same way the Buzzcocks can be catchy. They are poppy and oddly loveable and it is easy to replay the same song over and over. They did a thing for Burgermania Records where they played inside of a silver streamlined trailer. I am telling you they are an odd bunch but they really cut across the grain from so many other bands who don't make an impression. There is something about them that is deeply entertaining. They don't move much on stage and they deliver the tunes without much introduction just like the Pixies and you will just have to meet them at their level. And that is actually a very good place to be.


Thank you CBC Radio for introducing me to The Alvvays. The Canadian radio station has a busy schedule and overcompensates by giving its audience every type of radio programming on one single channel. Throughout the day you get news, politics, classical music and on occasion Alternative which is how I found these guys. You have to just be in the right place at the right time with the CBC because they are inconsistent with their timing. I could be wrong about this but I found that tuning in at 5 PM every day has been hit or miss for me. Sometimes I would get great pop music like this along with The Shins, Andy Schauf and others. The Alvvays have found a home with the Pitchfork crowd in Chicago and have even made an appearance in Detroit at MOPOP.


Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer-songwriter from Regina, Saskatchewan. He plays several instruments, including clarinet. That's all we could find on Andy and that is taken directly from his Wikipedia page. The folks at the Pitchfork Festival did a little better by giving him four paragraphs of insightful commentary on his latest album "The Neon Skyline".



As of this writing PULP is the focus on Tim Burgess listening party on Twitter. The album "Different Class" came out in 1995 at the height of the Brit Pop album and got favorable write-ups in the NME and in SPIN Magazine. In the NME John Mulvey summarised the record as "funny, phenomenonally nasty, genuinely subversive, and, of course, hugely, flamingly POP!... Different Class is a deft, atmospheric, occasionally stealthy and frequently booming, confident record."This is quite possibly the best compliment I have read but SPIN Magazine may have topped it. In Spin, Barry Walters described the album as "songs about naughty infidelities, sexless marriages, grown-up teenage crushes, twisted revenge fantasies, obsessive voyeurism and useless raves; songs that demand your full attention and deserve it".



Music For Shut Ins| Hot Metro Finds Chicago Detroit| The Alvvays | Pulp Common People | Andy Schauf |The Stone Roses I Am The Ressurection | The Happy Mondays | The Replacements | british Sea Power | Echobelly Lustra |

Morrissey Royal Oak :: Sloan Saint Andrews Hall :: Riot Fest Chicago :: The Damned 4oth Anniversary Show :: Echo and the Bunnymen Detroit :: Jake Bugg :: Radioactive Chicken Heads :: The Upper Crust :: Essential Alternative :: Songs For Shut Ins :: Dumpster Dive Alternative Music :: FEAR Anniversary :: Sex Pistols Bollocks :: Iron Maiden Beast Album :: Flaming Lips Sgt. Peppers :: Guns-n-Roses Detroit :: Little Richard Dead :: The Libertines ::

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