Record Store Day

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The White Album by Flickr user Fab.C.

April 17th is Record Store Day in the UK and the US, a celebration of the importance of small record shops. In the spirit of this {feuilleton} encourages you to show some love to your local music merchant if you can. There’s a website for the US side of things with details of special releases that bands have produced in support of the day. FACT Mag ran an A–Z of similar releases which will be available in the UK and the Guardian has an article interviewing Johnny Marr, Tracey Thorn, Jon Savage and others about their favourite places past and present. No surprise to see Manchester shops highlighted given the contributors; Johnny Marr plugs Piccadilly Records and Beatin’ Rhythm (the latter a great source for obscure psychedelia, among other things) while Mr Savage also recommends Kingbee out in the wilds of Chorlton, the place where he discovered The Tornados’ Do You Come Here Often, one of the songs on his Queer Noises compilation.

Queer Noises

queer_noises.jpgBeyond Bowie and Frankie, there’s a whole secret history of gay pop, reports Alexis Petridis

‘Wilder, madder, gayer than a Beatle’s hairdo’

It was the love that dare not sing its name—or was it? Beyond Bowie and Frankie, there’s a whole secret history of gay pop, reports Alexis Petridis

Tuesday July 4, 2006
The Guardian

The year 1966 is known as rock’s annus mirabilis. It was the year the right musicians found the right technology and the right drugs to catapult pop into hitherto unimagined realms of invention and sophistication: the year of the Beatles’ Revolver, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. But the most astonishing record of 1966 did not emanate from the unbounded imagination of Brian Wilson, or from an Abbey Road studio wreathed in pot smoke. Instead, it was the work of hapless instrumental combo the Tornados.

By 1966, the Tornados’ moment of glory—with 1962 number one Telstar—had long passed; they hadn’t had a hit in three years and every original member had departed. The single they released that year, Is That a Ship I Hear?, was their last. Tucked away on its B-side, the track Do You Come Here Often? attracted no attention, which was probably just as well. A year before the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, the Tornados’ producer, Joe Meek, had taken it upon himself to record and release Britain’s first explicitly gay rock song, apparently undaunted by his own conviction for cottaging in 1963.

Continue reading “Queer Noises”