Tag Archive | "Fatima Mansions"

Top 100 Albums (60-51)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Top 100 Albums (60-51)

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Joe

We are approaching the half way point  as we compile our Top 100 indie and alternative albums of all time. There are some albums here you will have seen on similar lists before. But we’ve also opted for some obscurities with the aim of highlighting some different music for you to seek out.

We have been releasing this list ten at a time every Friday. We hope you enjoy this fourth instalment. Here’s our previous instalments ( 70-61 , 80 – 7190 -81 , 100-91).  See you next week for 50-41.

Also, for  more great albums visit our  Classic Albums section

60.Modest mouse  – Good news for people who love bad news

Modest Mouse were already one of the more successful US alternative acts around during the early 2000s. With the release of this 2004 album their popularity went through the roof. Thanks to singles like ‘Float On’ and ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’ the album became Platinum selling and gave the band a Grammy nomination. While achieving mainstream success the album also retained the band’s edge and showcases a range of styles to appease the casual listener and hardcore Modest Mouse fan alike. The slow banjo strum of ‘Berkowski’, the beautiful ‘Blame it on the Tetons’ and the frenetic ‘Satin in a Coffin’  are removed enough from the mass appeal of  the killer riff of ‘Float On’ to earn this a justified place in our Top 100 list.

59. Apples in Stereo – The Discovery of a World Inside The Moone

Robert Schneider’s The Apples In Stereo are the best place to start when listening to the Elephant 6 and The Discovery Of A World Inside The Moone is their finest hour. From horn blasting opener ‘Go!’ to the acoustic whimsy of ‘The Afternoon’ it never puts a foot wrong. The album manages to be a great retro homage without ever falling into the trap of being a pointless exercise in nostalgia. Vocal harmony, hand claps and a genius command of melody runs throughout the album. Classic pop, psyche, garage and even white funk (‘The Bird That You Can’t See’) make for a really enjoyable set.

58. Dag Nasty  – Can I Say

Along with Fugazi  Dag Nasty emerged form the ashes of DC punk outfit Minor Threat. While Minor Threat’s lead singer Ian Mackaye took a more experimental approach to music with Fugazi, Dag Nasty took a simpler but no less effective route. While sticking to short songs about everyday  teenage frustrations, of friendships and politics the  focus was on melody, with singer Dave Smalley’s vocals perfectly matching former Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker’s wondrous technique of picking chords on this their debut album. From the title track through to ‘Thin Line’ and ‘Values Here’ to this day the excitement level hasn’t dropped, with the songs sounding as fresh and relevant now as when we first heard them years ago as teenagers when it was released in  1986. Wig Out At Denkos, the follow up album with vocalist Peter Cortner, who is now in The Gerunds, is also well worth checking out. To read our full review of Can I Say visit here.

57. Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel – Nail

Jim Thirwell (AKA Clint Ruin) has been releasing single syllable four letter titled albums under the varied Foetus banner for 30 years. The best of these as Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel in the mid-1980s. An early exponent of the “industrial” sound he produced albums that had a much more varied sonic sound-scape than many of his contemporaries. Built around metallic percussion and tape loops Nail includes a wide and varied set of instrumental sounds from classical orchestration, fierce guitars, big band jazz, twang guitar and old style rock ‘n’ roll underneath Thirwell’s guttural snarling. The album has an impact and is clearly trying to shock (murder, including the Manson family massacre, features prominently) but it features some fantastic music; ‘Descent Into The Inferno’ and ‘The Throne Of Agony’ belie their titles by being great pop tunes and full of catchy hooks.

56.Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

The story behind this debut album from Justin Vernon recording as Bon Iver is one of the most compelling in our list. After splitting from his band DeYarmond Edison and his girlfriend he holed up in a cabin in the woods for three months with his guitar and some  songs of loss and love he had built up over the years. The end result was this hauntingly beautiful collection. As remote as his isolated cabin the songs are sparse but make full use of a full band feel and even a horn section when necessary. Tracks such as ‘Skinny Love’ and ‘re:Stacks’ stand up on their own, but it as part of this unique project, which made our Top Albums of 2008 list,  that they really come alive.

55. Fatima Mansions – Viva Dead Ponies

Viva Dead Ponies was the second album by former Microdisney singer Cathal Coughlan and stands as his greatest music achievement. Uncompromising, aggressive, abrasive and acerbic yet sugar coated with sweet melodies and pretty synth pop flourishes. Read more about this album in our Classic Albums section.

54. Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque

There are so many good albums from Scottish band Teenage Fanclub to choose from. We could have picked excellent debut Catholic Education, 1993’s Grand Prix or 1994’s Thirteen. But we’ve plumped for third album Bandwagonesque as our choice. More accessible than Catholic Education and coming after the disastrously bad The King, the sound was crisper, full of Big Star style guitar riffs and some fine melodies. It signalled a band with renewed strength from classy singles like ‘What You Do To Me’ to the  melancholy ‘December’.

53. Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade

Zen Arcade represented a real shift in the hardcore punk landscape on its release in 1984. The first two Hüsker Dü albums were all about short, sharp, noisy, fast blasts, with not a big need for melody. This is a 23 song concept album with a  range of styles and approaches, a kind of indie punk White Album. The punk aesthetic is there, the production is thin and much of the music is loud and brutal; the who record was recorded and mixed in 85 hours and most of the songs captured in a single take. Amongst this are acoustic numbers, piano driven instrumentals and experimental sounds-capes, totally at odds with what their audience would have been expecting. The thing that makes this record really great is the quality of the songwriting, from both the bands singers Grant Hart and Bob Mould. Mould supplies ‘Something I Learned Today’, ‘Broken Heart, Broken Home’ and ‘Chartered Trips’. Hart matches this with ‘Never Talking To You Again’, ‘Pink Turns To Blue’ and ‘Somewhere”. These are all great catchy hardcore punk pop tunes and make this a record that is ambitious and enjoyable.

52. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Orange

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in their 1990s prime were one of the best live acts around. Like Jerry Lee Lewis mixed with The Cramps their dirty take on rock ‘n’ roll could have come from the devil himself. The fury and energy of their live shows were impossible to truly capture on CD, but this 1994 album by the band was probably as close as they got.  From the first sensational disco stringed intro of ‘Bellbottoms’ onwards this is an album meant to be played loud. From ‘Dang’ to ‘Flavor’ to ‘Blues X Man’ there’s no let up with Spencer like a filthy southern preacher bellowing ‘blooooozze explosion’ at every opportunity. It also heralded a more experimental period for the band, with the 2010 reissue featuring some interesting remixes blending rap, soul and dance music with the best rock ‘n’ roll since the 1950s.

51.Television – Marquee Moon

‘Marquee Moon’ is a near perfect debut album from a band who would go on to release just one more album before taking a 14 year break. If it had been the only thing they released they would still be seen as an important part of the New York punk and new wave scene, it is too good an artifact of that time. The guitar interplay between singer Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd is brilliant, sparse when it needs to be, and is copied heavily to this day. This tight, stripped down musical approach is paired with a set of songs that never put a foot wrong. ‘Venus’ and ‘Prove It’ are highlights, but the album centers on the  title track, a song that never wears out its welcome for any of the 10 minutes and 47 seconds running time.

Compiled by Joe Lepper and Dorian Rogers


Comments (1)

fatima mansions viva dead ponies

Tags: ,

The Fatima Mansions – Viva Dead Ponies

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Joe

The Fatima Mansions were formed by Cathal Coughlan in 1988 after the demise of his first band Microdisney. They were named after a Dublin council estate. The band was known for Coughlan’s vitriolic lyrics, aggressive stage persona and eclectic musical style. The band sums themselves up best with their t-shirt slogan “Keep Music Evil”.

Viva Dead Ponies was the bands second album, originally intended to be called Bugs Fucking Bunny, and was released in 1990. It is an album like no other mixing synth pop, electronic cacophony and blasting guitar in equal measure.

‘Angel’s Delight’ kicks things off, and neatly sets the tone for the album. It starts off all soft vocals and tinkling bell synths, with Coughlan sounding pretty sinister as you pick up on the lyrics. You are only just over a minute in when he softly intones “Kill a cop. Why the hell not?” before breaking into a roared “Burn motherfucker burn!” to a screaming guitar backing.

Fatima Mansions - Viva dead ponies

This uncomfortable pairing of bouncy pop synths and screaming guitar is the most consistent sound of the album, and works brilliantly. The album does have a surprising musical depth though as it showcases a range of styles from power ballad, ‘You’re A Rose’ to industrial rap, ‘Chemical Cosh’.
The major target for Coughlan’s bile is religion. Even on the album’s most obviously “poppy” moment, ‘Mr.Baby’ religion is aggressively attacked. “God is an arms dealer” being the most obviously antagonistic lyric.

The album flows brilliantly from ballad to pop song to industrial noise (Ministry were a clear influence and they had already covered a Ministry song ‘Stigmata’) and only stalls once with the song ‘Thursday’. It is the song that takes the misanthropic lyrics attached to bland pop idea to its conclusion, and fails. On the US release of the album this song was dropped in favour of the epic single ‘Blues For Ceaucescu’.

The albums two best moments come in the second half. The first is the noise attack ‘Look What I stole For Us Darling’ and the second the Scott Walker influenced ballad title track. In this epic and dramatic song Jesus has risen again and is working as a shopkeeper in Crouch End selling papers, beer and turning the fridges off so he can get drunk and break every little Islamical [sic] law.

The album is a must for anyone who appreciates the few truly authentic voices that came out of the 80s and into the early 90s. Fans of Julian Cope, Nick Cave and any interesting alternative music from the era will find much to enjoy.

YouTube proved to have very little to offer, with no videos or live performances of songs from this album available. The best available (and shown here) is an out of synch video for ‘Blues For Ceaucescu’, which was included on the American release of the album.

Coughlan is criminally overlooked despite being in two great bands and releasing some accomplished solo albums. His uncompromising stance makes him a difficult figure, and he was never going to be part of the mainstream, but his legacy deserves better treatment.

The album isn’t available from iTunes but can be purchased on Amazon and other music outlets. If you decide to buy the CD then look out for the 2007 2 disc reissue. The 2nd disc is an excellent 16 track best of collection from the  bands other four albums.

Any of the band’s albums are worth a listen, they are all out of print but not that hard to buy second hand. Coughlan’s solo albums are also worth checking out, consistently interesting lyriucally whilst focusing mainly on the Scott Walkeresque crooner side of his personality. All the Microdisney albums are also currently unavailable but a couple of cheap anthologies can be picked up online, Daunt Square To Elsewhere is the most comprehensive.

The Fatima Mansions on MySpace


Comments (1)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here