Author Topic: Cardiacs  (Read 40210 times)

Cardiacs
« on: August 09, 2011, 09:04:04 PM »
Apologies if they've cropped up before - I should imagine an intersection between Cardiacs and Chris Morris fans is entirely possible. I've lurked here on and off since around 2004, when I streamed Blue Jam, I think. I normally find the comedy chat a little too gnashing and truculent to dare engage with, but there is so much intelligent discussion going on, that I often find myself coming back - so, hola.

Anyway, the Cardiacs are generally worthy of laudation and certainly worth a reminder of - whether they've been posted about before or no.

They're a jangly mix between punk and prog that oscillate pleasingly between chaos and harmony. They rarely delight wholly on first listen, but I would suggest they are worth bearing with. It's hard to find representative songs, due to line-up changes across the years, but these are some songs I like:

Dog Like Sparky
http://youtu.be/UTrK0mBxoT4

Tarred and Feathered
http://youtu.be/NVjSycDJatc

A picture:


P.S. Tim Smith, the singer and lead song writer, is still recovering after serious illness, so they are sadly out of action for the time being.

EDIT: Heh! Since I can see chat about North Sea Radio Orchestra and Knifeworld, I'm sure there are some fans about!
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 09:24:54 PM by gout_pony »

sproggy

  • I tire of you... and your tiresomeness
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 09:36:56 PM »
There are one or two little fishies from the pond on here.

http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=25098.0


Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 09:45:18 PM »
How can I sum up my feelings for Cardiacs and the wonderous Tim Smith? I can't.

Though it's certainly worth saying that I love them. I've loved a lot of bands and music makers, but as special as they all are to me (and as respected or 'legendary' as so many of those artists are) I have to say that Cardiacs are my musical True Love. The one for me. I actually get an achey feeling in my chest when I listen to them. Proper audio-love.

I could go on and on about certain songs and albums, but I'll leave it for now. At the moment I'm mostly listening to Heaven Born & Ever Bright. I'm also attempting to work out some songs from a few albums on the old guitar... it's tricky.

I like to think of their music as being where Psychedelia should have gone, more generally. So many modern or recent psych bands ape the sounds of the late 60's and early 70's, with no big leaps into uncharted territory. Cardiacs seem to be the only game in town when it comes to what I would think of as truly modern psychedelic rock. I wish there were more bands exploring that wonderful other music. Lots of major chords, whole-tone scales and unexpected twists, turns and textures. And so much fun!


sproggy

  • I tire of you... and your tiresomeness
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 09:49:23 PM »
Listening to the '96 Radcliffe session now... damned fine stuff, damned fine indeed.

rudi

  • I'm not interested
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 10:54:41 PM »
Quote
Apologies if they've cropped up before

Heh, no need to apologise, but they are one of the most mentioned bands on this site. :-)

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 12:51:28 AM »
I've been enjoying the new William D Drake album a lot. 

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 08:43:21 AM »
I love them, love them, love them. 

Have an unreleased Sea Nymphs track:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4ZIqk-MRhI

sproggy

  • I tire of you... and your tiresomeness
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 09:09:17 AM »
I've been enjoying the new William D Drake album a lot. 

I'm finding it tough going personally, almost infantile but I'm sure it will grow.  The new NSRO album is fantastic, I can see them breaking into bigger things with this.

Talking of Sea Nymphs, have a live Peel session version of Lilly Whites Party

http://youtu.be/oHwtjXXVC14


Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 09:36:11 AM »
How can I sum up my feelings for Cardiacs and the wonderous Tim Smith? I can't.

Though it's certainly worth saying that I love them. I've loved a lot of bands and music makers, but as special as they all are to me (and as respected or 'legendary' as so many of those artists are) I have to say that Cardiacs are my musical True Love. The one for me. I actually get an achey feeling in my chest when I listen to them. Proper audio-love.

I could go on and on about certain songs and albums, but I'll leave it for now. At the moment I'm mostly listening to Heaven Born & Ever Bright. I'm also attempting to work out some songs from a few albums on the old guitar... it's tricky.

I like to think of their music as being where Psychedelia should have gone, more generally. So many modern or recent psych bands ape the sounds of the late 60's and early 70's, with no big leaps into uncharted territory. Cardiacs seem to be the only game in town when it comes to what I would think of as truly modern psychedelic rock. I wish there were more bands exploring that wonderful other music. Lots of major chords, whole-tone scales and unexpected twists, turns and textures. And so much fun!

You've articulated that brilliantly, Melody Lee. I particularly like your take on Cardiacs and psychedelic rock  - again, that's exactly how I feel. Music that's actually classified as 'psychedelic' I'm rarely satisfied with, because I really honestly don't think any of these bands match that beautiful, kaleidoscopic sound that Cardiacs achieve that I always think 'psychedelic' should be. See this section from a recent Kavus Torabi interview:

Quote
Obviously, there's a lot of intricate musical things going on, not only in that piece, but in almost everything you do. What purpose does complexity fulfil for you, psychologically speaking?

KT: That's an interesting question. I don't know that there's a purpose. It's hard talking about it without sounding like a real twat, but ultimately what I'm trying to do is to make whatever I'm hearing in my head physical with as few compromises as possible. As the tunes come to me, they sound very similar to how they end up. If anything, how they end up is always going to be compromised, because as you try to play it the ideas get moved around a bit. I kind of like the way things make me feel. When you hear two or three different tunes playing at the same time on top of each other, it makes me feel really nice.

The word I'd associate with it is 'psychedelic'. If there was one word to describe myself that I'm comfortable with, its always been psychedelic. It doesn't mean that you sound like the Pretty Things or Pink Floyd, it just means that it does that thing to your head. It's always been for that sake, never for 'Oh, I'll be clever'. It always pisses me off when critics of any kind of idea going on, the put-down is 'It's just being clever for it's own sake', or 'It's not as clever as it thinks it is'. You read that about a lot of things. Cardiacs always used to get that. It's just absolute bollocks! Why can't it be clever? What's so bad about being clever? Not that that's the reason for doing it… But I don't think that music is clever anyway, it just is what it is. And there's no denying that some people like the sound of lots of weaving lines playing on top of each other – and I'm one of them. It's a lovely sound, you know? The feeling it gives you is not going to be the same as a bass, a guitar and a vocal all playing in unison. And that's fine too, if the tune's great. That's the best way I can articulate it – it just makes me feel really good.

I think of it as the pleasure of confusion. If you hear something and can't quite grasp it in the moment then it becomes overwhelming. I for one enjoy that.

KT: Totally. And I think I enjoy it more before you actually figure out what's going on, the chaos of it. It just flows all over you. The first two or three years of listening to Trout Mask Replica, it's just such a wonderful feeling. There's no point trying to follow the individual lines, you just have to listen to how the whole mad tapestry of what's going on works together. Same thing when I first heard Don Caballero – things like What Burns Never Returns and American Don. All those intertwining things… you can't follow them, and I don't think you should worry about following them. The confusion's lovely.

Plus, quite simply, Cardiacs deal in good, honest-to-god pop tunes, just filtered through a very wonky lens. It's beautiful stuff and no-one matches them for me.

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 09:37:02 AM »
PS: Very, very excited - on the basis of sound samples - about the forthcoming Redbus Noface album from Mark Cawthra...!

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 10:08:56 AM »
I'm finding it tough going personally, almost infantile but I'm sure it will grow.  The new NSRO album is fantastic, I can see them breaking into bigger things with this.

The NSRO album is great but I'm a very infantile person, working on it all the time though. I like that his solo albums are often very silly, full of puns and music hall styles but maybe it's excessive here. I still find it serious and suggestive enough to enjoy over a long time. The jacket potato break and ensuing bit in Wholly Holey reminded me of R. Stevie Moore, so I think I can see what you mean. I've had to stop playing in a folk band recently so I think I've probably been drawn to all the bright snatches of hornpipe like sections regardless of their coherence but perhaps the album could have done with a bit more shade and subtlety.

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 11:02:45 AM »
I've not heard the new William D. Drake album, but the new NSRO is a thing of beauty - Berliner Luft is my current standout track...

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 11:06:07 AM »
I'm finding it tough going personally, almost infantile but I'm sure it will grow. 


What an odd criticism! Especially considering how many proper grown-up style pop tunes there are on that album.

In any case, part of buying into the world of Cardiacs is you have to accept a certain amount of infantile behaviour(see tags).


Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2011, 02:20:39 PM »
There's something Blakean about Cardiacs.  Tim's south London accent, the strange English mysticism and naivism....

Cohaagen

  • ^who is this man?
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2011, 06:54:36 PM »
It's difficult to add anything as others have already articulated themselves so well on the subject of the greatest band in the world, but I just wanted to wave my fin as a massive, massive Cardiacs fan.

Actually, have any others here heard Ad Nauseum and, if so, what are their thoughts? I was given a tape of Four Little Boys ages ago that was so generationally deteriorated it sounded like a recording from a dictaphone that had been taped to someone's chest undercover-style and so couldn't really judge it, but after getting a pretty good MP3 version earlier this year I really like it. A lot of people have written them off as a Cardiacs cover band, which is sort of true, but I enjoyed them all the same.

I was also going to write something about my Cardiacs T-shirt that seems to be enchanted, but I think I'll leave it for the moment.

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2011, 07:24:59 PM »
Oh yeah, love Ad Nauseum - the copy I've got is very quiet though, which is a shame as I'd love to hear it cranked up. Weren't Bob Leith and Jon Poole part of Ad Nauseum?!

Oh, and do tell about your enchanted T-shirt!

Oh, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDOfSHz0mWQ :)

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2011, 08:49:49 PM »
Is it bad of me to see Cardiacs trending on CAB and think 'oh, that bloke must have carked it.'

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2011, 08:50:53 PM »
I could go on and on about certain songs and albums, but I'll leave it for now. At the moment I'm mostly listening to Heaven Born & Ever Bright. I'm also attempting to work out some songs from a few albums on the old guitar... it's tricky.

Heh I bet it is! Glad to see someone sticking their oar in for Heaven Born as I think it's a hum-dinger, but get the general consensus that among Cardiacs fans its considered not to be so (perhaps being made in an odd transitory period for the band). I wish there were a good remastering of the album so the small sounding of songs that are very big in construction could be combated - the production sounds compressed or tinny to my ears - but it certainly does not impinge much upon such fine, roaring material! The band just storms through anthem after anthem as though they were playing so many games of skittles. God love them. They're one of the only bands whose music makes it feels like nothing else matters, as though hot coals and prison and paperwork and tarmac don't exist or matter and good/ evil or sad/happy or any other earthly notion are just taken up by the Cardiacs!

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2011, 09:28:01 PM »
Heh I bet it is! Glad to see someone sticking their oar in for Heaven Born as I think it's a hum-dinger, but get the general consensus that among Cardiacs fans its considered not to be so (perhaps being made in an odd transitory period for the band). I wish there were a good remastering of the album so the small sounding of songs that are very big in construction could be combated - the production sounds compressed or tinny to my ears - but it certainly does not impinge much upon such fine, roaring material! The band just storms through anthem after anthem as though they were playing so many games of skittles. God love them. They're one of the only bands whose music makes it feels like nothing else matters, as though hot coals and prison and paperwork and tarmac don't exist or matter and good/ evil or sad/happy or any other earthly notion are just taken up by the Cardiacs!

For some reason, all the 90's CD reissues were mastered absolutely dreadfully, and Heaven Born suffered worst of all. You only have to look at the tracks in a sound editor to see how badly it got messed up. Ridiculously compressed and overloud all the way through. It's like the engineer just wacked up everything up as far as it would go, went "fuck it, that'll do" and pissed off home early. And it's problem that's unique to that version as well - the (almost impossible to find) Rough Trade release doesn't have it at all.

That's one thing I really hope gets sorted if they can ever get a new reissue series going.

Brundle-Fly

  • "Why don't you do something to help me?"
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2011, 01:40:16 PM »
I've always been a big Cardiacs fan (since seeing their Tarred And Feathered promo on C4s The Tube) so not wishing to hijack this thread, but does the panel think Cardiacs were in any way visually influenced by Split Enz?  (70s/80s NZ band)

Both band's music styles are vaguely similar, (in as much as they are both clearly influenced by Genesis, Roxy Music, Devo, XTC...) but their 'look' is quite similar. I knew some Split Enz albums* but had never seen any of their videos until YouTube came along. Have a look.

*The first album, Mental Notes 1975 is a must for any prog pop fan and then after that, it's New Wave most of the way. It's hard to believe Crowded House came out of these guys.

BOLD AS BRASS (1977)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAoiZL7dHkY&feature=related

I SEE RED (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfytdyMy2-k&feature=related

Cohaagen

  • ^who is this man?
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2011, 01:21:00 AM »
Oh yeah, love Ad Nauseum - the copy I've got is very quiet though, which is a shame as I'd love to hear it cranked up. Weren't Bob Leith and Jon Poole part of Ad Nauseum?!

Yeah, Bob sang and played drums, and Jon Poole played just about everything else. I think they had various people in to do bass and other instruments when playing live. The guitar work on that tape is fantastic.

Quote
Oh, and do tell about your enchanted T-shirt!

Well, it's very, very odd. Every time I wear it - this is the bright green Little Man one from the recent benefit gig - it seems to produce a really powerful effect in relation to people's disposition toward me. I'll get various random folk smiling at me in the street, saying "Hello!", or engaging me in conversation. I mean, this doesn't ordinarily happen to me at all, and they can't all be Cardiacs fans because it goes from about 10 to 80 in age range.

Give you an example: on Tuesday I was at my local Morrisons wearing the shirt. Now, the staff in there fucking hate me because I:
  • usually sing (badly) while I'm shopping
  • often go in there while either high or slightly pissed
  • swear at the self-service machines if they're 'tarding out and refusing to cooperate
...among other things. Anyway, their reaction to me could not have been more different this time. I had staff falling upon me like seagulls on a chip dinner with offers of assistance. One of the trainee butchers even came up to me and asked about my homemade beef jerky that I mentioned to him, like, a year and a half ago. It's all very bizarre.

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2011, 08:55:19 AM »
Yeah, Bob sang and played drums, and Jon Poole played just about everything else. I think they had various people in to do bass and other instruments when playing live. The guitar work on that tape is fantastic.

That Jon Poole really is a multi-talented so-and-so!

Well, it's very, very odd. Every time I wear it - this is the bright green Little Man one from the recent benefit gig - it seems to produce a really powerful effect in relation to people's disposition toward me. I'll get various random folk smiling at me in the street, saying "Hello!", or engaging me in conversation. I mean, this doesn't ordinarily happen to me at all, and they can't all be Cardiacs fans because it goes from about 10 to 80 in age range.

Give you an example: on Tuesday I was at my local Morrisons wearing the shirt. Now, the staff in there fucking hate me because I:
  • usually sing (badly) while I'm shopping
  • often go in there while either high or slightly pissed
  • swear at the self-service machines if they're 'tarding out and refusing to cooperate
...among other things. Anyway, their reaction to me could not have been more different this time. I had staff falling upon me like seagulls on a chip dinner with offers of assistance. One of the trainee butchers even came up to me and asked about my homemade beef jerky that I mentioned to him, like, a year and a half ago. It's all very bizarre.

Hmmm, interesting, I wear that T-shirt pretty much all the time now outside work and, if anything, people give me an even wider berth than they already do. Mind you, wearing that T-shirt with black Adidas tracksuit bottoms with three stripes down the side of each leg and trainers was probably confusing for most people in Sainsburys in Nottingham last night what with these tense times and all that - hippyish upper body garments, with the legs of a looter. I should have worn my NoMeansNo hoody too.

So were you at that benefit gig too, then?!?

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2011, 09:02:17 AM »
I've always been a big Cardiacs fan (since seeing their Tarred And Feathered promo on C4s The Tube) so not wishing to hijack this thread, but does the panel think Cardiacs were in any way visually influenced by Split Enz?  (70s/80s NZ band)

Both band's music styles are vaguely similar, (in as much as they are both clearly influenced by Genesis, Roxy Music, Devo, XTC...) but their 'look' is quite similar. I knew some Split Enz albums* but had never seen any of their videos until YouTube came along. Have a look.

*The first album, Mental Notes 1975 is a must for any prog pop fan and then after that, it's New Wave most of the way. It's hard to believe Crowded House came out of these guys.

BOLD AS BRASS (1977)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAoiZL7dHkY&feature=related

I SEE RED (1979)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfytdyMy2-k&feature=related

I love those tracks, particularly Bold As Brass - great stuff! Split Enz have long been on my list of bands to 'check out', so thanks for the reminder. I've just obtained a copy of Mental Notes so I'm looking forward to hearing that.

Yeah, the look is uncannily similar, the music not so much although it definitely draws from the same well of influences even if Cardiacs and Split Enz took quite different directions. Still, plenty to appeal to a Cardiacs fan there!

Dirty Boy

  • mothering stray waifs with germs
They're not like other bands are they?
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2011, 12:38:20 PM »
My favourite ever band, obviously. Love 'em more every year.

They may seem self-indulgent/wacky to some at first, but given a proper listen you tend to realise that even in their most 'difficult', twisty of tunes Tim Smith's melodies and arrangements are always amazing and yet never seem conventional or predictable. There's maybe only Bjork or Kate Bush that i would say have a similar knack of creating these beautiful, complex, almost other-worldly sounds that somehow connect emotionally 100%.

New Bill Drake is superb, but new NSRO is stunning. 'Heavy Weather' and 'Morpheous...' are my faves at the minute. It's on Spotify for anyone who wants a listen and you really should y'know...

Shrubbies are ace too ah etc etc

Hands up who saw 'em live then?


Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2011, 12:57:16 PM »
Who? The Shrubbies? I saw them at the Camden Falcon back in 1999 supporting Cardiacs on the three-night extravaganza...

Dirty Boy

  • mothering stray waifs with germs
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2011, 01:02:35 PM »
I meant who's seen Cardiacs actually, but wait wasn't that the time Sarah and Bill rejoined for one night only? Wow. Emotional night?

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2011, 01:14:47 PM »
Yep, that's the one! It counts to this day as the best bloody weekend I've ever had! It was indeed emotional - but then Cardiacs always are...!

Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2011, 01:20:57 PM »
I love those tracks, particularly Bold As Brass - great stuff! Split Enz have long been on my list of bands to 'check out', so thanks for the reminder. I've just obtained a copy of Mental Notes so I'm looking forward to hearing that.

Yeah, the look is uncannily similar, the music not so much although it definitely draws from the same well of influences even if Cardiacs and Split Enz took quite different directions. Still, plenty to appeal to a Cardiacs fan there!

Split Enz's first three albums, 'Mental Notes', 'Second Thoughts' and 'Dizrythmia' (slightly less so, though their best) are the proggy ones.  'Frenzy' is merely a pop album, though it's lead-off single 'I See Red' is really where any kind of "new wave" sound arrives, which they ran with afterwards.

I'd say 'Dizrythmia' is their best album, especially as it contains 'Charlie', one of the most jaw-droppingly moving songs evah.

To be honest they don't really sound much like Cardiacs, though their dress sense may be fair in drawing a comparison.  Their first three albums are very much in the prog/art-rock field.

Brundle-Fly

  • "Why don't you do something to help me?"
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2011, 04:38:41 PM »
I meant who's seen Cardiacs actually, but wait wasn't that the time Sarah and Bill rejoined for one night only? Wow. Emotional night?

Being an old git, I saw them a lot in their mid to late eighties heydey. I first saw them live at The Marquee and it was one of the greatest gigs I'd ever experienced. I stood right at the front and gazed in rapture at Sarah Smith spinning round playing the sax. I got autographs from Miss Swift and the consultant that night. Bless. I still have them somewhere along with the Sunday Sport centre-spread rock siblings incest expose!  Jack and Meg had nothing on Tim and Sarah.

I stopped going to see them because too many 'grebos' and chicken dancing psychobilly twats were starting to attend the gigs and it all got a bit 'mosh pit'. I liked a good jump around as much as the next Cardiacs fan but there's nothing worse than a dripping wet, half naked bloke called Fraggle crowd surfing on your head throughout the entire set.

Cohaagen

  • ^who is this man?
Re: Cardiacs
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2011, 05:19:38 PM »
Hmmm, interesting, I wear that T-shirt pretty much all the time now outside work and, if anything, people give me an even wider berth than they already do. Mind you, wearing that T-shirt with black Adidas tracksuit bottoms with three stripes down the side of each leg and trainers was probably confusing for most people in Sainsburys in Nottingham last night what with these tense times and all that - hippyish upper body garments, with the legs of a looter. I should have worn my NoMeansNo hoody too.

There's your problem - that's drug addict's clothing! Really, most of the junkies I used to hang out with had at least one pair of these. One of them even used to wear his under a pair of jeans when he was going out.

I've been wearing mine more or less constantly too, but I'm worried I'll wear the magic out. Or maybe it's actually a node, part of a conduit in turn part of a spiderweb of energy, which serves as a sort of power point for all the collective goodwill of Cardiacs fans around the world, and so is everlasting in its power. I'm hooked up to the nexus now!

Quote
So were you at that benefit gig too, then?!?

The 800 mile round trip was just too much for me this time, regardless of how much I wanted to go. I could have made it down there, sure, but I'm not sure I'd have made it back...not too good with the old cash. So no, but I got one of the T-shirts that was printed off in a limited run afterwards for people who couldn't make it. Glad to put £15 towards Tim's (hopeful) recovery.

Another thing: are any of us, like Kavus Torabi, fans of Voivod? I'm a big fan of all things prog- or tech- metal and have been into them since about 1998. Their evolution from straightforward, legs-apart, heads-down primitive thrashers into watershed prog-metal titans is fascinating. Dimension Hatross and Nothingface are their best ones, the latter more polished and the former perhaps more complex. Angel Rat is widely loathed, but there's some brilliant Rush-style pop-prog on that album. I've got a Voivod T-shirt too, but it doesn't seem to have any mystical properties unfortunately.

Also, I'm chuckling as I write this because I know that there'll be people reading this thread and going "cuh, fucking Cardiacs fans, they're always having a go aren't they..."