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.


Perfectly Hummable Choruses

Armed with trumpeters Ray Martinez and Hurricane Smith who add soaring flourishes and energetic blasts throughout Kilimanjaro, the Teardrops explode in a torrent of creative, kicky and often downright fun songs that hotwire garage/psych inspirations into something more. Julian Cope is already a commanding singer and front man; his clever lyrics and strong projection result in a series of confident performances, whether he is trading lines with himself on the motorbike chug of "Sleeping Gas" or his yelps on "Books." For all the bad energy between himself and David Balfe, the two sound like they're grafted at the hip throughout; the latter's keyboard washes and staccato melodies adding the fun, nervy vibe. Gary Dwyer's spot-on drumming keeps the pace, while both guitarists, Mick Finkler and his replacement Alan Gill, don't drown the band in feedback to the exclusion of everything else. One listen to many of Gill's pieces, on songs like "Poppies," and Cope's oft-stated claim that early U2 was trying to rip off the Teardrops and other Liverpool/Manchester groups makes sense. Though it was assembled from a variety of different sessions Kilimanjaro still sounds cohesive. Perfectly hummable choruses, great arrangements and production and Cope's smiling vibe all add up with fantastic results. 

The 30th anniversary reissue of the Teardrop Explodes' Kilimanjaro recently spurred one heritage-rock magazine to ask the band's former front man Julian Cope if he would ever return to writing pop music. It seems a fair enough query given Kilimanjaro's success: it spawned a top 10 hit in Reward, spent 35 weeks on the charts and displayed such commercial promise that both U2 and Duran Duran apparently considered the Teardrop Explodes their only real competition. Cope told the magazine, he'd just written a pop song, inspired by the mid-60s baroque style of the Left Banke, a band not so wildly removed from the kind of influences that powered Kilimanjaro – the blasting brass arrangements of Forever Changes-era Love, the Seeds' reedy garage rock, the sunshine pop of the Turtles. "It's called," he added, "The Cunts Can Fuck Off."

It's hard to reconcile the Julian Cope of today with the 22-year-old you hear on this 3CD deluxe reissue of the first album he made. There's something very  fresh-faced about the music on Kilimanjaro, which replaced the murky, shaky, spindly sound of the Teardrops' early indie singles – collected on CD2 – with a sound that tapped into 60s psych's sunny optimism, rather than its creeping disquiet. Equally, though, there's something rather gimlet-eyed about it. Indeed, the Teardrop Explodes had a weird tendency to combine the wide eyes and the will to power in the same song. "Bless my cotton socks, I'm in the news!" opened Reward, while the faux-naif title and jaunty tune of Brave Boys Keep Their Promises cloaks a load of surprisingly Duncan Bannatyneish stuff about fighting your way to the top.

Five of Kilimanjaro’s 11 songs were released as singles in one form or another, and listening to Treason or Bouncing Babies, you can see why Duran Duran got the fear. The tunes are uniformly fantastic (fantastic enough to overwhelm the production, even when it tends to early-80s chart-bothering smoothness), the words intriguing: long before he actually did create his own unique universe of megaliths, Odinism and krautrock, Cope was cramming his lyrics with enough off-kilter references to suggest he already had. And the sense of swaggering confidence never abates. It sounds like that most beguiling of things: a band at the top of their game. It sounds like a band that could have had it all. As it turned out, that was the last thing their front man wanted.

3 disc Deluxe Edition in MP3 @ 320 here. Enjoy.

The Teardrop Explodes: Kilimanjaro [Deluxe Edition]

1.     Ha Ha I’m Drowning
2.     Sleeping Gas
3.     Treason
4.     Second Head
5.     Poppies In The Field
6.     Went Crazy
7.     Brave Boys Keep Their Promises
8.     Bouncing Babies
9.     Books
10.                        Thief Of Baghdad
11.                        When I Dream

CD 2

1.     Reward (Single A Side)
2.     Sleeping Gas (Single A Side)
3.     Camera Camera (Sleeping Gas B Side)
4.     Kirby Workers Dream Fades (Sleep Gas B Side)
5.     Bouncing Babies (Single A Side)
6.     All I Am Is Loving You (Bouncing Babies B Side)
7.     Treason (Zoo Single A Side)
8.     Read It In Books (Zoo Single B Side)
9.     Kilimanjaro (B Side of When I Dream)
10.                        Strange House In The Snow (Reward Single B Side)
11.                        Use Me (B side Treason re-issue)
12.                        Traison (C’est Juste Une Histoire) (B Side Treason re-issue)
13.                        Sleeping Gas (recorded live at Club Zoo 22nd December 1981)

CD 3

1.     Brave Boys Keep Their Promises (Peel Session, 15th October 1979)
2.     Ha Ha I’m Drowning (Peel Session, 15th October 1979)
3.     Went Crazy (Peel Session, 15th October 1979)
4.     Chance (Peel Session, 15th October 1979)
5.     Thief Of Baghdad (Peel Session, 24th April 1980)
6.     When I Dream (Peel Session, 24th April 1980)
7.     Poppies In The Field (Peel Session, 24th April 1980)
8.     Reward (Mike Read Session, 27th October 1980)
9.     Suffocate (Mike Read Session, 27th October 1980)
10.                        For Years (Mike Read Session, 27th October 1980)
11.                        The Great Dominions (Mike Read Session, 27th October 1980)

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