Archive for June, 2011

The Boxed Set #7: Enjoy Travelling & Keep It Real

June 14, 2011

Onwards with the reissues as we race backwards in time towards the end/beginning. This month’s is ‘Enjoy Travelling’ – named after a Greater Manchester bus slogan. This title was later referenced in ‘Stop Traveller! Stop and Read!’ – I do that shit a lot.

A change in recording quality will be the most immediately apparent thing. This was done on a laptop using Cool Edit Pro, with absolutely everything going in via the built in 3.5mm microphone input. As a result it’s overall pretty tinny and the vocals sometimes get a bit lost. The laptop concerned began emitting smoke in about 2004 and is currently in an inert state at my parents house, still containing a copy of Ryan Adams’ ‘Love Is Hell (part two)’.

The cover forms an aesthetic trilogy with No More Roads and Restless Revolution Day By Day. All of them used different coloured card and different photographs to make a unique cover for each copy. This time the picture was of a wine holder doing the rounds of a reservoir near where my parents live. I still have the wine holder, it looks like the barrel of a gun.

This was recorded in Bolton in the summer between my second and third years of university, and is on the lighter side of the ‘where do we go from here?’ musing of No More Roads. In-jokes and self-references abound here, I wasn’t really writing with an audience beyond Aberystwyth in mind. We’ll get into that…

In Threes…?

This was a song about a girl I fancied, but it evolved into a sort of self-referential thing as it went along. With references to earlier songs, and friends of mine who were in local bands. The two people mentioned were the joint lead singers/songwriters of a band called Seven Words – who once won the Aberystwyth battle of the bands. Seven Words later split into two other bands, Cardiff-based Vend, and Chichester-based Revolution 74 whose singer Jon Swain (namechecked in the song) did a brief stint as bassist in the first PWL band. Keep up!

When I was recording this song my brother Kieran, who at the time would have been about ten, came into my room, listened to the intro and promptly asked ‘What’s this? Grandpa Joe?’ which is a comment I treasure to this day…

B.O.A.T.S.

Later re-recorded in a bleepier form for my first album as ‘Based On A True Story’. For a while this languished here under a more cryptic name. Not much to say, you’ve got an acoustic version with harmonica instead of synth. It was a ‘live favourite’ for some time.

Goodnight

Another song that was much improved later on ‘Build Library Here (or else!)’. This version was a struggle to recreate a song that was only really played by the three piece PWL band. It contains some extra lyrics on backing vocals which were written/ad-libbed at band gigs by the aforementioned Jon Swain, but it’s me singing them here.

If you were a Kilroy guest

An example of my strange tendency around this time to occasionally try and sing like Roddy Woomble (see also ‘Make a Mediocre Dinner’). It also sails a little close to being a ripoff of some particular Idlewild song at times, though I can’t remember which one now. That aside, this is one of the better songs from this era, a blackly humorous look at the way your views can diverge from the views of the people you grew up with. I’ve often considered re-recording it – and even re-wrote the iddlywiddly bit at one point – adding lyrics some of which finally found a home in ‘Show Me Yr Knuckles’. But ‘sadly’ Kilroy’s show was cancelled, meaning the reference no longer worked.

I told her I was gay

Jon Swain makes his third appearance on the EP here. This track is crafted from no sound source other than him saying the word ‘words’ onstage at a PWL band gig in 2002. Strange clicky instrumental made in Cool Edit. The title is utterly unrelated to anything ever.

One Eye On The Clock

If you can get past the slightly embarrassing ‘oh he’s just heard Original Pirate Material’ opening – and please believe me that it was tongue in cheek – this is my first groovebox pop song, and a genuine ‘hit’ amongst the discerning Aberystwyth indie crowds of 2002. I’ve no doubt it could stand a slight re-write and polish and be re-done today. ‘We don’t think about the future’ being the key line, compared to ‘are there really no more roads to walk down when I leave this town?’ from the next EP. The ‘got booed by FUOD fans’ line references the same gig sampled in the previous track. The lyrics refer to the world of the Aberystwyth internet troll. Jon Swain is namechecked yet again, as is his Seven Words bandmate Richard.

I still love this song, it’s great. You’ll think so too, promise. I rap. Yes, I rap.

Last Song Ever

I genuinely can’t remember why this song is called ‘Last Song Ever’. It sounds a bit like Jimmy Eat World – or at least it was meant to. Vague lyrics about cocaine, nice guitar picking and stuff. It’s… you know… an okay song. Nice ‘where did that come from?’ lyric on the chorus though I think.

It’s followed by an inept stylophone solo which was the bonus track. I named it ‘kitsch me no kitsch’ but it is in fact an attempt to play the melody to ‘Straight to Video’ which is/was on next month’s/the previous year’s EP.

Keep It Real (single)

This month I’m also making available ‘Keep It Real’ – this was a two track single I made copies of the following Christmas as presents (vanity). The title track was re-recorded for No More Roads and doesn’t merit mention again. The b-side was ‘Jaded Wannabe Parade’ which has made one appearance so far on in electronic form on ‘Goodbye Workshy‘. This second version was a basic acoustic recording closer to the original, but with different lyrics. The first version will surface in two months’ time and will be discussed then.