Thursday, October 11, 2007

Peel Sessions - Leatherface



It seems today is John Peel Day, it being the anniversary of his last live broadcast on October 11, 2004. RIP John Peel.


I've had this post in the works for a while, chiefly as an another alternative to posting another full album. Something short and sweet being required, these 10-20 minute sessions fit the bill nicely. I never really listened to John Peel on the radio (although I could always get the BBC stations on cable) but we are all, I reckon, familiar with the concept of radio sessions. If one were to be grandiose, they could be classed as a pre-Internet equivalent of the music blog. Highlighting a particular band, usually at a particular defined point in their career, in a short and accessible format.

So without any further ado, here is one excellent example of British broadcasting at its finest...


Leatherface - 12/93 [It's actually Leatherface; I accidentally posted the Dinosaur Jr. session, but that's fixed now]


Leatherface shouldn't need much of an introduction - abysmally gruff, tenderly fragile post-punk/hardcore from Sunderland. Contemporary UK punk at its best, and with a slight reggae inflection. Come to think of it, that makes them sound like a British Fugazi... suffice to say, I think they could probably hold their own.

This session features four songs, 'Heaven Sent', 'In My Life', 'Do the Right Thing' and 'Little White God'. The first and the third are from the album Minx, the other two from their (at the time) final album, The Last. The latter was released, effectively posthumously, after this session - although the group subsequently reformed (more of which later... see 'Coming Soon'). These songs are perhaps Leatherface at their pinnacle, challenged only by either (in my opinion) the B.Y.O. split, or their classic Mush album. Words fail me in describing the heartache, emotion, viscera and soul of these songs. They are simply liquid gold in aural form, electric tears vibrating in the carotid pulse of drumbeats...

These songs are all, as I say, album tracks, but here the radio-quality sound, all shifting volumes and muddied frequencies, adds an extra layer of mystery to their sound. Their real quality doesn't suffer from it, but rather makes it feel distinctly immediate. You can imagine that you are actually listening to them play on the radio, hearing the angular chimes of Dickie Hammond's guitar and the gravelly lyricisms of the wonderful Frankie Norman Warsaw Stubbs. (Yep. That's British names for you).

Finally, as an added bonus, this recording (which I think I got from the Leatherface fansite, www.x1984x.com/shipyards, although I'm not exactly sure where) contains snippets of John Peel talking between songs. On this day, I think it is particularly poignant that he announces Leatherface's "final session for us, or indeed for anybody else... they broke up the day after apparently"


And on that note, I'd just like to say, "don't worry... we got more coming". I just had to get the start of this post up on the 11th...

5 comments:

mr x, indeed said...

dude;
i think you may have posted dinosaur jr by accident.
good stuff anyway - but i want that goddam leatherface!!!

gabbagabbahey said...

Whoops! Okay, it's fixed now, it's actually leatherface. I was in a bit of a hurry to get the post up I suppose. Sorry

... and hopefully there are a 10 other combined Dinosaur Jr./Leatherface fans out there!

J Bubblegum said...

d/ling after i fail a midterm. good stuff!

Alexandre said...

Thanx to honor the best band ever!!!

ALEXXX

biopunk said...

Thanks!