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.

Tuesday

Slates, Slags, etc



Originally released in a time when "neither an EP nor an LP" was different and not a marketing gimmick, 1981's “Slates” was issued as a 10", but its six tight songs didn't have that key track to make it as revered as other Fall releases of the time. "Leave the Capitol," "Middle Mass," and "Prole Art Threat" deserve their place in the Fall's hall of fame, but compared to the second, punchy and polished version of "Lie Dream," they sound a bit anaemic. Not a bad taster if you're new and want some post-punk, pre-pop Fall; 90 percent of this is prime material.


 
If you know someone who's never heard the Fall and you want to indicate how fucking great they can be, the sheer breadth and scope of them, then “Slates” would be the handshake moment. “Slates” is the one you'd have stuck on Voyager to let future civilisations understand just what the Fall were about.
A concentrated/miniature/cameo.
Also the first Fall release where each song/piece inhabits a different sound world, the point of escape velocity where Mark E Smith began to outgrow both the media preconceptions of his band and his own band mates (possibly even his own blind spots about what exactly the Fall could be or became).

A misleading generalisation of course, but you can divide the Fall roughly into
three stages: 78-83 marking territory and refusing to explain, 84-89 pop and fascinating for it; and thereafter (every Fall follower has their own dating system from here-on-in), settling/eroding into being... not anything as slight as merely, but simply the Fall, allowing for that the listener can pick the bones out and is at least slimly conversant with the language around these parts. The first stage though, they were - no lie - a great psychedelic band. If you have any love for them, the temptation is to nominate one of the bigger, more obvious statements (the substance-pagan of Dragnet or the dense quasi-envoi of Hex) but really, “Slates” is the one, if only because in conception, execution and effect, it's entirely sidereal. “Slates” is the Fall putting the foot on the brake, halting and looking around, beginning to rummage inward.
Apparently, “Slates” was the music that made Brix fall for the Fall, the start of a process that would energise and popularise their unique vocab. It's a nice story, both romantic and convenient. I've no doubt that it's as true in benign retrospect as it was at the time of its happening. “Slates” is like that too; a true lie. Entirely right and cogent and sharpeyed, but also somehow yardstaring and distracted and deep. All the more worthy of congratulation for being a happy accident; chance encounters shared. Some folk meditate, and I've tried that too, and sometimes it's just what the mind needs; but sometimes I've taken those twenty-odd minutes and listened to “Slates” instead; the anti-meditation you sometimes require to face the world, a small journey, a distinct destination.


For the Fall fan, the bonuses on the 2004 reissue are a mixed blessing. With classic tracks like "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul," "Fantastic Life," and the great "Hip Priest" tacked on, the extras read as if from an early-'80s "greatest-hits" package. Great, but if there's a bummer to be had, they weaken the punch of the original Slates' sprawling attempt to restructure the Fall from punk to prog…in the least pretentious sense of the word.

Sourced from a bloke down the market with no questions asked to MP3 @ 320kbps

The Fall; Slates

1.     Middle Mass
2.     An Older Lover Etc
3.     Prole Art Threat
4.     Fit And Working Again
5.     Slates, Slags, Etc
6.     Leave The Capitol
7.     Middle Mass (Peel)
8.     Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul (Peel)
9.     Hip Priest (Peel)
10. C’nc’- Hassle Schmuck (Peel)
11. Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul (A Side)
12. Fantastic Life (B Side)
13.Medical Acceptance Gate (Alternate Take)


 

2 comments:

  1. Fantastic life....................i mean, post! great write up. i saw them in the tiniest club you could imagine in san francisco called the i-beam. must have been 1987. they were frickin amazing. any fall fan is a friend of mine

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