2007   MAY 14   #134

Directions. 101 Records

Lionel and The L.A. Stars - Hold On (4:02)
Words and Pictures - Piggy Squeals (3:26)
Camera Obscura - Village of Stars (3:45)
Tek Morek - Call Up (3:38)
Marc-Sebastian Jones - Prince Of Passion (3:48)
Ice - This is The World (3:08)
Zetta - Lady (3:04)
Savage Hearts - Senorita (2:46)
Liz Helix - Hooligan Juice (2:59)
David Black and The Dispatches - Promises (3:18)
Alchemist Exvention - Expressions That Change (3:49)
Climbing Frame - Trap Door Love (3:42)
Peter Parrish - Buttercups and Daisies (2:46)
Johnny Goodger - Framed and Blameless (3:42)
Eugene Sratton Rock and Blues Band - What Have They Done to My City (3:31)
Chicago Sunsets - Last Night (3:53)
Andrew Buckingham - What Your Words Have Done To Me (3:08)
Umberto Attolicci - There's No Other Place I Wanna Be (3:31)
S Pizzo - We Can Dance All Night (2:38)
Kerb Dance - Everyone Here (2:40)
False Dots - Memory For You (3:27)
400 A.S. - Goodbye to the City (4:06)
S.A.55 - Obsession (3:39)
Fatal Kiss - Day Break (2:37)
Fracture - Bird Song (3:42)
John Tuck - Rainbow (3:32)

Not just a fairly nondescript album of UK Eighties wannabees' demos, cut to vinyl for a fee by a small London publishing concern as a moneymaking venture, but a document of the times. You get the creeping influence of early Duran Duran, ( cue 'funk' bass with chorus/flange effect and chiming guitars with far too much chorus/flange, and the hard bass drum made to sound like an early Linn . . . ) The Cure and other post Joy Division bands, and the leave overs of disco, punk and pub rock. Most of it is pretty uninspiring in my view, but the highlights are terrific. Bad, but terrific. This is what was happening in countless small studios round the country. The bands that never made it as far as getting any kind of record deal ( as far as i know at least ) handing over their hard earned in a desperate and doomed bid to reach the promised land. . . I know coz I've been there, we didn't go down this route but we never 'made it' either. All that hard work and emotional energy to produce something nobody wants. I little bit of you dies when you find that out and you know it's all over. You grow up and get over it though ;-)

There's a back story to this album. In the spirit of giving back to the web some of what the web has given me I felt you deserved this record. It's too good to keep to myself.

Back in 83 /84 I played in a band. OK, big deal, so did a lot of people. I know they did, BUT, while looking for ways to promote the music of said band we came across a publishing firm called 101 records, who would, for a fee, put your demo on a record with other bands' demos and send them out to record companies. We thought this over. . . and seeing how desperation makes the mind lack a certain focus, we actually met up with them to discuss the ins and outs of said process. We left the meeting still undecided, but clutching a copy of their previous demo compilation album. The trouble was, as we saw it, was that there was no quality filter involved, any old toss would be cheerfully cut to vinyl as long as the requisite dosh was forthcoming. And anyway, there was nothing to stop the A&R minion who opened the post from binning the whole shebang unlistened, even if the albums were actually distributed. ( They probably were to be fair ). So, musing on this conundrum we played the album. . .


Most of it was shite. Well, all of it was shite to be honest, but some of it was magical, mind boggling, jaw on the floor, roll your eyes shite. Shite-U-Like!

First off, 'Obsession' by SA-55. All eighties drum machine with gated reverb built in, whiney mono synth, big organ pad chords and thin guitar. ( That's what's so cool about this album. It is a document of the times. This is what was happening in a thousand early eighties suburban bedrooms across the UK. Miming in front of the mirror to Gary Numann wearing black eye-liner nicked from your sister etc etc. Or that kind of thing anyway.) Anyway, the vocal performance is a real treat. He really goes for it, to give him his due. A cracker. Enjoy.

S.Pizzo up next, with his disco stomper, 'We Can Dance All Night'. ( Sung by Tony, one of the 101 records guys.) A tale of a sad dancefloor wallflower and what he's going to do when he finds a girl. A never-to-be Pop Gem if I ever heard one. A Limp-Disco classic.

Now to Umberto Attolicci - and his wobbly synth. Doing a kind of Demis Roussos meets Pepe La Pew in Howard Jones bedroom. ladies and gentlemen, I give you - 'There's No Other Place I Wanna Be'. This one kills me every time. I love it as well of course, like all these tracks. 'There but for the grace of God' and all that.

And finally, my favourite, the should-be-legendary Andrew Buckingham. A giant among Sixth form poets and bedroom recluses everywhere. this song makes me squirm with embarrassment even now, and I've heard this a lot. How it makes him feel if he ever listens to it these days is unknown but I suspect his toes curl up so far they end up round his neck. The concept is just so. . so. . crap! But just the sort of wet, white-boy, middle class, unhip, embarrassingly and innocently pretentious crap that I would have been quite capable of thinking up in my mid teens, and which would have caused me to hide in a cupboard until I was twenty five if anybody I knew had ever heard it. That on it's own would be cringeworthy enough, but the muffled Casio beatbox and the monotonous delivery lift it to heights of awful/awesome-ness hitherto unscaled by man or beast. Give it up for 'What Your Words have Done To Me'. . . Cummmm-onnnnn-nnnow!

- Contributed by: Jonathan Allen

Image: Front Cover