Author Topic: Sparks  (Read 14078 times)

Re: Sparks
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2017, 08:20:47 AM »
His voice was fine on the '2 Hands, 1 Mouth' tour.
That's a few years ago now though.

the science eel

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2017, 08:31:49 AM »
Well, this is very recent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emcacQYaYd4

and it would test the vocal prowess of an opera singer 40 years younger. I think he does OK.

I think it's his own hair, just dyed to fuck.

I think I might get tickets.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2017, 08:38:37 AM »
He was struggling to hit the high notes and wavering a wee bit, but it was such a fun set and the band were so good that it didn't really matter.  Pretty much any guy pushing 70 is unlikely to be able to pull of the falsettos like he used to.

They just played 'This Town' on 6Music and...nah...not unlistenable.

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2017, 12:52:14 PM »
Russ posted a twitter video of himself singing 'This Town..' on karaoke last year and he nailed it.

I tried it recently and couldn't speak for two days.

Rich Uncle Skeleton

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2017, 07:13:48 AM »
He definitely struggles to reach the high notes on some tunes these days especially later in a set, but that's bound to happen when he's a lot older and they haven't transposed songs like This Town... and The Number One Song In Heaven to give him a chance. On the whole though he's still got a great voice and thankfully they know his limitations when it comes to writing some of the newer stuff. Always liked when he sings in a lower register.

As for the new stuff I wasn't blown away by Hippopotamus. Was interesting, but not the best. The other ones they played at the 6 music gig were really great though. The Missionary Position is my favourite of the new songs so far. Looking forward to the album and seeing them in September. Their new line up with 2 guitarists and extra keyboard is a good move.

Got to say I fucking loved FFS. Was worried it might be a dud when they announced it but that album was fantastic, still listen to it a lot. They kicked ass live as well.

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2017, 08:50:08 AM »


info on bassist Martin Gordon's gold disc - http://martingordon.de/sparks/kimono-gold/

imitationleather

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2017, 09:23:14 PM »
Unlike everyone else I saw and liked FFS, but they don't count and I'd be gutted if I didn't see Sparks live before they retired/die so I am utterly made-up (and surprised) they're doing a Newcastle date on their tour. Bands usually seem to find there (currently in Belfast) too much of a ballache to stop and perform at on their way to Scotland. TICKET = BOOKED

Re: Sparks
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2017, 11:20:24 PM »
As very, very kindly rescued for posterity by davetheschizophrenic....

Good to see the relentlessly odd Indiscreet getting some much-deserved love. It's a really silly album yet, simultaneously, several songs on it really haunt under my skin... there's something genuinely tortured and tragic in amongst the daft melodrama of 'Without Using Hands' and 'Tits'!

Also clock me up as another fan of the FFS album, at least in parts. I really love 'Things I Won't Get' in particular and the bonus track 'So Many Bridges'.

The strangest thing they've done in recent years is the track 'The Final Derriere' for Guy Maddin's loopy The Forbidden Room:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQw6KLJGf8

As for their 80s work, I have a serious soft spot for the aggressively flat and tinny In Outer Space which, weirdly, is the album which finally broke America. If I ever write something comprehensive about "post-irony" I'll make it a case study... it's so consistent and thorough in its shallowness that it ends up investing that very shallowness with a weird emotional depth. Or, less pretentiously, if you listen to just a couple of tracks it feels light and poppy and kinda stupid, very much a lesser Sparks album, but if you listen to the whole thing on repeat it starts to trigger serious melancholia and angst! I don't think it's just me either as I've noted other people say similar things.

Here's a really interesting interview from the period. Appropriately it looks like Andy Warhol is sitting it on it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duWEOoZ6BME

Interviewer: "You're still writing about the same rock 'n' roll themes that Elvis created of having a good time of having a good time and going to parties and falling in love but you're putting it in a brand new context."

Ron: "One thing that works to my advantage is that I think that I'm sort of - in a way - emotionally retarded. And that's kind of where I live, in those kind of things. In those "cool places" and parties and all."

hoho.

'Kitty Sneezes' did a project a few years back of reviewing every Sparks album:
http://kittysneezes.com/category/reviews/music/sparks-project/

Here's what Alia says about In Outer Space:

Quote
Sparks had taken the glossy, plastic-sounding music made by a few bands around this time (most notably DEVO), and raised it several levels to a plateau of absurdity.

This is not an album filled with great songs, although it does have a few that I consider amongst the best of Sparks. The musical style is a sort of ultra-plastic synthpop. The opening song, “Cool Places,” which was bizarrely something of a hit, introduces the album with a full dose of the sonic and lyrical cheese that endures throughout the entire record...  Basically, this is the Troll 2 of albums. By which I mean it’s something of a masterpiece. And not really in an ironic way, either – it can, and should be enjoyed on it’s own terms. This is not one of the best Sparks albums, but it’s a masterpiece anyway.

Re: Sparks
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2017, 06:54:38 PM »
A playlist of 80s Sparks I've just made for those of you who are interested. I've tried to start with a couple of imho absolute classics, move into the funny stuff, a few album deep cuts which I reckon are good, then finishing with the properly deadening post-modern stuff! Woo!

http://www.deezer.com/playlist/3185564902

Re: Sparks
« Reply #39 on: May 30, 2017, 08:32:49 PM »
Surely if there was any doubt about In Outer Space being a joke about vapidity following 'Cool Places', 'Popularity' makes its satirical intentions abundantly clear.

Re: Sparks
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2017, 09:01:34 PM »
Surely if there was any doubt about In Outer Space being a joke about vapidity following 'Cool Places', 'Popularity' makes its satirical intentions abundantly clear.

Agreed. But I'm not entirely convinced the interviewer in the clip I linked to got it - nor, I suspect, would 'Cool Places' have been Sparks' break-out single States side if most people were appreciating it ironically.

Re: Sparks
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2017, 11:38:23 PM »
Sparks released 'Kimono My House' 43 years ago today.
FORTY THREE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ztSKDbDRXc

Re: Sparks
« Reply #42 on: May 31, 2017, 12:08:25 AM »
Hmm, is Russell's voice alright? I was a huge fan of the first 5 albums which I still adore but I heard some of that ponderous collaboration with Franz Ferdinand a couple of years ago, it was awful and recently BBC R6 had them on for their bogus festival thing in Glasgow and it was unlistenable. They were doing 'never turn your back on Mother Earth' and I just wanted to cry, it was that bad. I think less live performances might be the way forward for the old boys now.

I couldn't agree less.. I thought the Franz Ferdinand collaboration was hugely enjoyable and fresh, and I say that as not much of a fan of Franz Ferdinand at all, who would describe a lot of their original output as ponderous. Maybe the album was a bit overlong, but tracks like the  one at the end of this paragraoh, well I have to pinch myself they're so damn good, a real gift, a wonder of the age that men this old can write something this great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Itq9MAg9FU

Similarly, the Glasgow show with the new songs previewed from 'Hippopotamus': I don't monitor Russell's voice closely, seems fine and dandy to me esp for his age, but when they're able to whip a a first-listen-instant-classic like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvXamgerl-0 out the bag at ages 70 plus I just have to marvel in absolute beaming admiration, and all concerns whether they're giving one of their early hits the right degree of reverence go out the window.


the science eel

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2017, 02:01:26 AM »
The new album is ridiculously good - best thing they've done in an age. I'm so happy!

Re: Sparks
« Reply #44 on: September 09, 2017, 08:20:50 AM »
Tremendous cover too. As always.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #45 on: September 09, 2017, 12:02:52 PM »
I'm only a casual Sparks fan to my shame.  I've got a few of the obvious seventies albums over the years but where should I go next in their back catalogue? I really like what I hear of this new'un on 6Music.


Why is Ron all blurry in the second stage and did he have a drink problem at one time?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdZkD5npugQ

Re: Sparks
« Reply #46 on: September 09, 2017, 12:19:13 PM »
I'm only a casual Sparks fan to my shame.  I've got a few of the obvious seventies albums over the years but where should I go next in their back catalogue? I really like what I hear of this new'un on 6Music.

Of the more recent stuff, 'Lil Beethoven' is probably my favourite.

the science eel

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #47 on: September 09, 2017, 12:21:09 PM »
Get these three if you haven't already:

Kimono My House
Propaganda
Indiscreet


and if you dig them all, get the new one.

Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #48 on: September 09, 2017, 12:22:42 PM »
I'm only a casual Sparks fan to my shame.  I've got a few of the obvious seventies albums over the years but where should I go next in their back catalogue? I really like what I hear of this new'un on 6Music.

L'll Beethoven is a bona fide classic besting anything Sparks did in the 70s (and they released 6-7 great albums in that decade)... Hello Young Lovers is more conventional but has some great jerky jerky pop songs (Dick Around / Invade Your Country).

Sparks (s/t) and A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing are two of my favourites - both are unfairly ignored and contain some splendidly offbeat songs when they were still on Bearsville... Angst In My Pants is another one I love - David Kendrick provides some of the best drumming across the Mael's ouevre... If 'No 1 in Heaven' is sparks being sexy then 'Angst' is their Donald McGill.

Re: Sparks
« Reply #49 on: September 10, 2017, 12:28:54 PM »
I'm only a casual Sparks fan to my shame.  I've got a few of the obvious seventies albums over the years but where should I go next in their back catalogue? I really like what I hear of this new'un on 6Music.


Why is Ron all blurry in the second stage and did he have a drink problem at one time?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdZkD5npugQ

All the images are inspired by Sparks album covers, music videos, or by live performance costumes they would wear during the different eras.

The blurred image is in reference to the cover of A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing, where Ron's face is similarly blurred.

The picture of Ron clutching a drink is from the music video for When I'm With You, where Ron plays a ventriloquist with Russ as his dummy (also referenced in the same image) which contains the famous ventriloquist gag of drinking while the 'puppet' continues to communicate.

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2017, 11:24:23 PM »
I saw them tonight.

They were good.

Russel's voice is fine. He can hit all the notes. He was a little weak and wobbly for the first couple, but quickly got up to speed, and was bouncing around the stage like someone half his age.

I won't post anything spoilery, but my highlight was a Lil' Beethoven track near the end of the set that kicked arse.

the science eel

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2017, 11:34:16 PM »
Great stuff.

Seeing them tomorrow in THE TOON

alan nagsworth

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2017, 11:37:22 PM »
Hooray! I've been listening to my favourite Sparks stuff for the last week or so and I'm so fucking excited to see them next week.

To reiterate: If anyone else is going to the London show on the 27th, please let me know. I have no one to go with!

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2017, 11:47:44 PM »
The one thing you may need to prepare yourself for is ... Russell's haircut.
He looks 50% emo teenager, 50% 60-year old female team-leader in a call centre.

Re: Sparks
« Reply #54 on: September 19, 2017, 08:14:42 AM »
Can't believe I passed up the opportunity to see them last week. I've never been too enamoured of their more "recent" (i.e. non-1970s) stuff, but Hippopotamus is absolutely ruddy fantastic. Possible "Album of the Year" material for me...
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 09:50:33 AM by Neville Chamberlain »

Re: Sparks
« Reply #55 on: September 19, 2017, 08:43:16 AM »
I'm at Rock City on the 23rd.
Can't bloody wait!

the science eel

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #56 on: September 19, 2017, 11:06:55 PM »
That's the last time I do a standing gig. Little bald tossers carrying two pints pushing every fucker to get back to where they 'claimed' their spot right in front of the stage. Selfish cunts.

Sparks were triumphant, mind. I don't think I've ever heard a reception like the one they got tonight for 'No. 1 Song In Heaven'.

Re: Sparks
« Reply #57 on: September 20, 2017, 01:26:50 PM »
That's the last time I do a standing gig. Little bald tossers carrying two pints pushing every fucker to get back to where they 'claimed' their spot right in front of the stage. Selfish cunts.

Sparks were triumphant, mind. I don't think I've ever heard a reception like the one they got tonight for 'No. 1 Song In Heaven'.

You must have been near me, cos I saw them barge past folk.  Wankers.

Such a fucking good gig mind.  It says something for the strength of their later work and new album that it can happily sit alongside the stuff everybody knows and not feel out of place.

the science eel

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Re: Sparks
« Reply #58 on: September 20, 2017, 04:54:18 PM »
You must have been near me, cos I saw them barge past folk.  Wankers.

Such a fucking good gig mind.  It says something for the strength of their later work and new album that it can happily sit alongside the stuff everybody knows and not feel out of place.

Yep.

Did you get a 'this toon...' badge on the way out?

Re: Sparks
« Reply #59 on: September 20, 2017, 10:56:04 PM »
Sparks are fucking great.

Lil' Beethoven is probably my favourite album of theirs (which is weird as it was 30 years into their career).
This could go in the great live performances thread - if I could be bothered to look for it.

You inconsiderate bastard. I've only seen this and have now been playing it non stop for the last 2 days. It's fucking glorious.