The New Cue #313 August 25: Willie J Healey, Another Sky, Toro y Moi, The Xcerts, Kevin Drew, DJ Shadow, Charlotte Day Wilson, Wreckless Eric, Blur
"The blister pack seemed too good to let go..."
Bit of a forced exclamation mark there, shall we remove it? But then we’d have to delete these sentences as well and we’d be back to Square One and no-one likes Square One, unless you’re talking about the first track on the third Coldplay album which is pretty good actually (this is Niall btw, the others might disagree or prefer the songs called Square One by Tom Petty or Jessie J, I’ll have to check). We’re moving on, keep up.
In today’s Recommender edition, we’ve got some recommendations, which we are legally obliged to put in, although not legally legally, the law doesn’t care for Substack mavericks like us. We’ve also got two mind-blowing selections for you, from indie-rock trio The Xcerts and Oxfordshire singer-songwriter Willie J Healey. Oh, and you know that paragraph where Jason Pierce talks about the fancy packaging that Spiritualized had for Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space that you’ve always wanted to read? Yeah, that’s in there too. But it's right at the end, you can only see it and most of this edition if you’re a paid subscriber. You can become one by clicking Subscribe Now. You won’t regret it!
Oh god another exclamation mark, let’s go before it happens again – we’ll see you next Friday as Monday is a bank holiday and a bank holiday is also a TNC holiday. Here, have a playlist to tide you over:
Enjoy the edition,
Ted, Niall and Chris
An Album To Blow Your Mind #1
The XCerts frontman Murray Macleod picks the sixth album by US alternative rock heroes The Replacements.
The XCerts emerged from Aberdeen as exuberant teens making frazzled post-hardcore in the mid-00s and over four subsequent albums they have redefined their sound into something more melodically-inclined, rock music with power-pop leanings. Last week, they released their fifth record, Learning How To Live And Let Go. Here, singer and guitarist Murray Macleod tells us why the sixth album by Minneapolis’ The Replacements, Paul Westerberg’s influential alternative rockers from the 1980s, cast a spell on him early on in The Xcerts’ career…
Don’t Tell A Soul (1989)
“I first discovered The Replacements when I was home for the festive period in 2010. I was slugged out on the couch late one night after a day of pure greed, everyone had gone to bed and a movie called Adventureland started. The title didn’t do much for me but before I could even roll over to grab the remote control, the opening chords of Bastards Of Young started blaring through the speakers and hit my soul like a freight train! I continued to watch the movie (turns out it’s really good) and another song started to blast through the speakers that left me keep completely speechless! It was Unsatisfied by The Replacements and from that moment on, I was in, deep.
Don’t Tell A Soul isn’t as beloved as many of their other records and I feel like that’s down to the mix. I personally feel like it’s an overlooked classic, but at the time, the label employed heavy hitter Chris Lord-Alge to mix the final thing and admittedly it’s covered in a lot of 80’s gloop. I personally think the songs shine through, full of weight, heart and top tier ‘Westerberg-isms’ but I get that if you can’t get past the overall sound of the record, you’ll struggle with it. They released Dead Man’s Pop in 2019 with the original Matt Wallace mixes and it’s incredible to hear the album as the band intended. It’s like hearing the record for the very first time! It’s also a fine case study in how a mix can change the dynamic, feel and mood of a record which many people may not take into consideration when listening to an album, but if a label has pumped X amount into you, ultimately they’ll have the final say which can be heartbreaking for the artist. A vision not fully realised can leave you feeling like it was all for nothing. The mixes are raw, the gloop has been flushed down the toilet and the songs flourish.
I guess the beauty transcends the chaos and that’s something we have certainly tried to achieve with our new record. They will forever inspire. The collection also comes with alternative takes, alternative mixes, a live concert and 5 inebriated jams with Tom Waits which are pure magic, albeit a little ramshackle. The Replacements are one of the most romanticised bands of all time that will go down with some of the most wild rock and roll folklore ever uttered and this is a must have for any Mats fan.”
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