Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.


The Light Pours Out Of Me

Come dark music, bring us autumn days...

Howard Devoto had the foresight to promote two infamous Sex Pistols concerts in Manchester, and his vision was no less acute when he left Buzzcocks after recording Spiral Scratch. Possibly sensing the festering of punk's clichés and limitations, and unquestionably not taken by the movement's beginnings, he bailed (effectively skipping out on most of 1977) and resurfaced with Magazine. Initially, the departure from punk was not complete. "Shot by Both Sides," the band's first single, was based off an old riff given by Devoto's Buzzcocks partner Pete Shelley, and the guts of follow-up single "Touch and Go" were rather basic rev-and-vroom. 

Yet, like many punk bands, Magazine would likely cite David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Roxy Music. However (this point is crucial) instead of playing mindlessly sloppy variants of "Hang on to Yourself," "Search and Destroy," and "Virginia Plain," the band was inspired by the much more adventurous “Low”, “The Idiot”, and "For Your Pleasure". That is the driving force behind Real Life's status as one of the post-punk era's major jump-off points. Punk's untethered energy is rigidly controlled, run through arrangements that are tightly wound, herky-jerky, unpredictable, and proficiently dynamic. The rapidly careening "Shot by Both Sides" (up there with PiL's "Public Image" as an indelible post-punk single) and the slowly unfolding "Parade" (the closest thing to a ballad, its hook is "Sometimes I forget that we're supposed to be in love") are equally ill-at-ease. The dynamism is all the more perceptible when Dave Formula's alternately flighty and assaultive keyboards are present: the opening "Definitive Gaze," for instance, switches between a sci-fi love theme and the score for a chase scene. As close as the band comes to upstaging Devoto, the singer is central, with his live wire tendencies typically enhanced, rather than truly outshined, by his mates. The interplay is at its best in "The Light Pours out of Me," a song that defines Magazine more than "Shot by Both Sides," while also functioning as the closest the band got to making an anthem. Various aspects of Devoto's personality and legacy, truly brought forth throughout this album, have been transferred and blown up throughout the careers of Momus (the restless, unapologetic intellectual), Thom Yorke (the pensive outsider), and maybe even Luke Haines (the nonchalantly acidic crank).
Still it's shameful that Magazine weren’t considered one of the best acts of the post-punk period. Devoto led one of the shortest ever careers with Buzzcocks and then resurfaced ten thousand years away from the punk hooliganism casting a handful of creative musicians to form Magazine. Listening to Magazine it's like being in the presence of an idiosyncratic and exhilarating blend of Peter Hammill's tragedian, Brian Eno's lush quirkiness and post-punk energy.
"Real Life" is like a steely cathedral surrounded by snow. And is also a terrifying study on loneliness. At these times, only Wire has reached the same detailed level of enthralment. At these times, Magazine was not fucking joking...
"Definitive Gaze" and "My Tulpa" are two formidable openers to any album. "My Tulpa" is the best keyboard-driven song from the post-punk years. A masterpiece in nine movements. 

Taken from the original 1978 Vinyl release to FLAC level 7 and downsized to MP3 @ 320kbps

Track Listing
            A1 Definitive Gaze
            A2 My Tupla
            A3 Shot By Both Sides
            A4 Recoil
            A5 Burst
            B1 Motorcade
            B2 The Great Beautician In The Sky
            B3 The Light Pours Out Of Me
            B4 Parade

Shot By Both Sides 7”
            A1 Shot By Both Sides
            B1 My Mind Ain’t So Open



  1. The light pours out of me; stunning song

  2. Beautifully written.
    The steel & ice precision of Magazine make my life infinitely more bearable, and I utterly fail to understand why they aren't as well regarded as some of the other bands that era/area produced. Every album, single, bootleg...
    It's been an honour and a pleasure to be in their presence

    1. Magazine are highly regarded here. Many thanks for your comment Anon