Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Dandy Warhols & Brian Jonestown Massacre

The love/hate relationship between The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre (BJM), as chronicled in the film Dig!, took a definite swing towards hate during 1997.

Initially, the bands, and in particular the two frontmen Courtney Taylor (Warhols) and Anton Newcombe (BJM), were close but it was clear the two were not entirely compatible. The Dandys, describing themselves as ‘the world’s most well adjusted band’ were clearly aiming at large scale success. The BJM, on the other hand, were hell bent on self destruction from the start. Their name is an agglomeration of the Rolling Stones guitarist who drowned in his swimming pool at the age of 27 and the mass suicide of over 900 members of a messianic cult. The Dandys have seen only one line-up change whilst BJM has had between 24 and 60 members depending on which source you believe. One of the more entertaining and long lasting members was ‘Spokesman for a Generation’ (read Bez of the band) Joel Gion on tambourine.

By 1997 The Dandy Warhols had signed to a major label (Capitol) and were recording the album The Dandy Warhols Come Down. Dig! has a scene where an excited Taylor plays Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth to an obviously under-whelmed Newcombe. Shortly afterwards we see BJM recording their satirical response, Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth. Further ructions occurred when most of the BJM turn up for the recording of the David LaChapelle directed video for Junkie (watch it here) and leave with a sense that the Dandys have sold out.

The pivotal moment in the relationship between the two bands comes after the video shot for Junkie when the Dandys are looking for a location to host a photoshoot. The night before, while the Warhols were partying in a posh hotel with LaChapelle, the BJM had hosted a less salubrious get together in the band hovel. Taylor decided the BJM’s dilapidated fleapit would be idea for the photoshoot, presumably giving them the bohemian image they desired but were too hygienic to live with.

Later that year, after recording a new album, there was another bust up within BJM which resulted in a mass evacuation of members including Gion and Black Rebel Motorcyclist Robert Turner - although Gion still regularly joins the band on stage after discovering there is a decidedly sluggish market for his tambourine playing in the global marketplace. The Dandy Warhols went on to make records for mobile phone ads and Courtney Taylor changed his name to Courtney Taylor-Taylor (as if to underline the fact he’s a bit of a knobhead-knobhead).

The Dandy Warhols – Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth

Download every BJM song for nowt on their website

Buy Dig!

Buy Give It Back

Buy Come Down


I urge, nay command, you all to watch Gideon’s Daughter on Sunday night. It is set largely in the summer of 1997. Not something I’d usually bother mentioning but Stephan Poliakoff’s programmes are always so firmly rooted in time and place – making it seem as though they were shot live at the time – that it has to be worth a watch. Expect much referencing of the rise of New Labour, the planning of the Millenium Dome and the death of Di; perhaps not so many references to the squabbles of American psychedelic bands.

Best of all it alludes to The Cumberland Pencil Museum on one point which puts it in the unmissable category as far as I’m concerned.

On Last.fm

WL97’s sister blog Whatever’s Left has set up a Last.fm group. Feel free to join up.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bjork – Joga

When Bjork isn’t laying eggs at the Oscars or tearing Lars Von Trier’s shirt to pieces with her teeth she occasionally makes time to produce some of the most affecting music you’re ever likely to hear. None more so than on her 1997 album Homogenic.

It’s little surprise that Homogenic was noticeably darker than her first two solo releases after the events of the previous year. The first hint that all was not well with Bjork came at a Thai airport when she grabbed a reporter by the hair, hustled her to the ground and gave her a makeshift orthodontic makeover with the pavement. It was the only rational response of the reporter’s vicious invective of, “Welcome to Bangkok.”

Later that year Floridian Bjork lover Ricardo Lopez demonstrated his adoration of her the only way a demented stalker knows how; by mailing an acid bomb to her and videotaping himself blowing his brains out to her music. Fortunately, the bomb was discovered before it could do any physical harm although this event seems to have triggered the end of her long term relationship with drum and bass star Goldie and her retreat to a remote area of Spain to record Homogenic.

Joga, with its pounding beats and luscious strings, matches the mood of much of Homogenic. The song was Bjork’s attempt at writing an Icelandic national anthem; an idea that was picked up for Michel Gondry’s gorgeous video for the song (watch it here) that glides across the stunning Icelandic landscape which starts to digitally dance to the song.

The video was filmed in the glacial Vatnajokull region of Iceland – an area which has since been threatened by the introduction of mining in the region and a huge damming programme. In 2002 Bjork’s mum went on hunger strike in an attempt to stop the scheme going ahead but sadly no emaciated pop matriarch could stand in the way of ‘progress’ and the project continued apace. Luckily, the protests also continue. Earlier this year a ‘gig for nature’, headlined by Bjork and featuring Sigur Ros, Mum, Damon Albarn and Damien Rice, kept up the pressure.

Bjork – Joga

Visit Iceland Under Attack

Watch When Icelandic Pop Pixies Attack

Buy Homogenic

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Playing Catch-Up

After a brief hiatus I’m back with a few things I’d promised but not provided:

The Fall – I’m A Mummy
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Belle and Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
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Katrina and the Waves – Love Shine A Light
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