Archive for August, 2011

The Boxed Set #9: Tank vs. Cat

August 9, 2011

The penultimate reissue of my illustrious career is my second EP, and first CD, ‘Tank vs. Cat’.

Let’s start with the name… I can’t remember. I remember drawing a cartoon of a tank and a cat engaged in battle. I remember where I was when I drew it. But I can’t remember the thought process that led to it. So there we go – it’s lost to history.

Next up, the music. This is what I’d charitably call the ‘least excellent’ of the records I’m reissuing. Two bad takes of ‘okay’ acoustic guitar songs, two bad takes of ‘quite good’ acoustic guitar songs and three wonky instrumentals. Again recorded onto tape, the whole EP was done at my parents house in one day (except track 7) and then fed inexpertly into a friend’s computer to put it onto CD, lending the whole thing a sheen of distortion.

Again there are hints of what was to come. The tracks to listen to are 5 and 6 – which both point to the trademark PWL direction. The rest of it is getting into ‘curio’ territory.

Me performing in Aberystwyth in 2001 - my third ever gig.

Having done reasonably well with my first EP – not least because I had several years of pre-university songs to pick from – I sort of rushed into releasing another one. Admittedly in my own fantasy world where there was any demand for such a thing.

I actually ‘reissued’ this CD with a different cover (having lost the files for the one scanned here) and I don’t have a copy of the second version. If anyone has one please scan it in and e-mail it to me for the archives.



The songs:

Intro

Two minutes of interminable guitar noodling with backwards lyrics. Believe me when I say there is no point in your reversing this to hear what I am saying. Skip.

Xmas Song

Nice enough guitar part with some quite tediously obscure lyrics about a girl I fancied. Not very christmassy.

Guilt-free Shag

A bit more like it, this song sounded like Low in my head. Sort of juvenile but from what I recall it was a decent summary of how I felt about the individual in question. The bitterly ironic title should be duly noted. Also the lyric you are going to mishear is ‘I cwtch you’ not ‘I cut you’. ‘Cwtch’ being the welsh word for ‘cuddle’.

Sharleen Spiteri (machete the bitch)

An attempt to replicate Squarepusher using only a casio keyboard and a 4-track tape machine. The slightly unpleasant title was a reference to the singer from Texas who I, at the time, considered the absolute nadir of musical enterprise.

Ideas & Fighting

And with a sigh of relief we arrive at a song that I’m not ashamed to call my own. Not the greatest, but again I see my younger self branching out beyond the ‘girls who have made me sad’ template into an attempt to articulate feelings of solidarity and struggle, and tying that in to hating night clubs. Very much the first step on a long journey to where I’m ‘at’ now.

Jaded Wannabe Parade

The third appearance (from your point of view) for this song but its first from mine. This version has a slightly worse second verse than later ones. It was a song about performing a gig, the ‘jaded wannabe parade’ of the title. The fact that I was writing cynical songs like this about the live music scene, having played only a handful of gigs in my entire life, says a lot about me I think. The chorus looks outwards a bit more, towards the then-fashionable anti-Nestlé babymilk formula campaigns. Another early glimmer of me attempting to write about ‘issues’.

(sorry jenny)

A slightly inept piano instrumental recorded in the music room of the Penbryn hall of residence at Aberystwyth.

And there we go! Next month will be the final reissue. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion/beginning….

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