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fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Twenty Four: Shift-Work.
Shift-Work came out in 1991, the year punk broke, the year Nevermind dropped, the year riot grrrl got started. Devo, Talk Talk, Gorilla Biscuits, The Replacements, and Talking Heads all split. Pearl Jam, Cypress Hill, Nation Of Ulysses, Tupac, Richard D James, and the Smashing Pumpkins all put out their first records, whilst Fugazi were on full-length number three (or two, depending on if you count 13 Songs, y’know?) and Sonic Youth were riding on the high of Goo, their first major label record. 1991 is, oh god, the year Reel Big Fish formed. Emperor formed that year, too, kicking off the second wave of Black Metal. I never thought I’d get to reference Reel Big Fish and Emperor in the same paragraph. But I mention all of this fairly disparate stuff to highlight the fact that 1991 was a fucking BIG year for music. So much hugely influential and important stuff was going on, a lot of scenes finding their voice, a lot of bands hitting their stride, a lot of things unexpectedly hitting the mainstream. A lot was changing. But what were The Fall doing, I wonder, with bated breath.
The Fall have always been a constant throughout any cultural turbulence. Although always popular with John Peel and various other critics, their chart performances were never really anything to shout about, and they always just did their own thing, albeit within a channel that has its limits. Which is cool – you could never accuse The Fall of selling out. I was very much expecting them to keep plugging away in the same vein throughout the 90s, but this period of musical unrest captured them too – Extricate picked up on the electronic Madchester vibes of the very end of the 80s, and I think it was the first time when their music progression didn’t feel entirely natural. Like they were going for a certain sound, actively pursuing it, instead of just settling in to the sound that felt most comfortable at the time.
They lost two members during the Extricate tour, including their keyboard player, making this a largely four-piece-Fall effort. I was actually hoping for some stripped back returns to Fall-basics, but with a few of the more listenable tendencies they’d learned along the way – this was their highest charting effort at that point, after all. But, no, Shift-Work builds on Extricate’s Happy Mondays-leanings and, relatively speaking, obviously, is just poppy as hell. Edinburgh Man is their breakaway pop hit, and this is essentially the Fall’s summer record. It’s an odd experience and I’m not sure if it totally works. I mean, it fit in kind of nicely with this week’s amazing weather, but Great Cynics fit in so much better, so Shift-Work didn’t really get played a whole lot in the situations that would have suited it best.
Although I did say nothing really grabbed me on Extricate, the record was, as a whole, a fairly engaging listen. Shift-Work is… less so. This might be the first time I’ve just totally zoned out on a Fall album and completely forgotten what I was listening to as it sunk in to the background. There’s better moments, yeah, and worse moments too, but in general? It’s a bit of a haze. I guess that actually just means it’s one of their most listenable yet – it’s not that weird, at all, and it sorely lacks the edge of their best work. Obviously in some ways I’m happy that The Fall seem to be well past making records that are 20-70% fucking awful at this point because it means I’m angry less of the time, but at least that was a bit more interesting, you know? I guess The Fall just can’t win. Or I can’t win. Or neither of us.
So, yeah. To bring it full circle, The Fall’s contribution to the big, important year of 1991 feels like a fairly minimal one, and they may have ridden it more than contributed to it - their highest chart position yet may have had something to do with both the combination of the ever-increasing interest in underground alternative/indie/punk music, and borrowing from the current mainstream Madchester buzz. Sure, there’s stuff on Shift-Work that sounds like a blueprint for a lot of alt-pop music that would come out in the 90s (Rose in particular. Probably the best on the record, too), but unlike the Pixies and Pavement, they’d probably have got their without The Fall’s input, and it feels like they’re bowing to other influences rather than being the outlandish influence that the outsiders look to for inspiration.
It feels like The Fall are having a bit of an identity crisis through one of my favourite periods for music, like they’re just mucking around making tolerable music, and not really giving it their all anymore. With that in mind, Shift-Work is an apt title - The Fall, and the act of making Fall records, as I’ve mentioned in the past, has always seemed like more of a job to Mark E. Smith rather than a creative output. It feels, at this point, like he needs a holiday.

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Twenty Four: Shift-Work.

Shift-Work came out in 1991, the year punk broke, the year Nevermind dropped, the year riot grrrl got started. Devo, Talk Talk, Gorilla Biscuits, The Replacements, and Talking Heads all split. Pearl Jam, Cypress Hill, Nation Of Ulysses, Tupac, Richard D James, and the Smashing Pumpkins all put out their first records, whilst Fugazi were on full-length number three (or two, depending on if you count 13 Songs, y’know?) and Sonic Youth were riding on the high of Goo, their first major label record. 1991 is, oh god, the year Reel Big Fish formed. Emperor formed that year, too, kicking off the second wave of Black Metal. I never thought I’d get to reference Reel Big Fish and Emperor in the same paragraph. But I mention all of this fairly disparate stuff to highlight the fact that 1991 was a fucking BIG year for music. So much hugely influential and important stuff was going on, a lot of scenes finding their voice, a lot of bands hitting their stride, a lot of things unexpectedly hitting the mainstream. A lot was changing. But what were The Fall doing, I wonder, with bated breath.

The Fall have always been a constant throughout any cultural turbulence. Although always popular with John Peel and various other critics, their chart performances were never really anything to shout about, and they always just did their own thing, albeit within a channel that has its limits. Which is cool – you could never accuse The Fall of selling out. I was very much expecting them to keep plugging away in the same vein throughout the 90s, but this period of musical unrest captured them too – Extricate picked up on the electronic Madchester vibes of the very end of the 80s, and I think it was the first time when their music progression didn’t feel entirely natural. Like they were going for a certain sound, actively pursuing it, instead of just settling in to the sound that felt most comfortable at the time.

They lost two members during the Extricate tour, including their keyboard player, making this a largely four-piece-Fall effort. I was actually hoping for some stripped back returns to Fall-basics, but with a few of the more listenable tendencies they’d learned along the way – this was their highest charting effort at that point, after all. But, no, Shift-Work builds on Extricate’s Happy Mondays-leanings and, relatively speaking, obviously, is just poppy as hell. Edinburgh Man is their breakaway pop hit, and this is essentially the Fall’s summer record. It’s an odd experience and I’m not sure if it totally works. I mean, it fit in kind of nicely with this week’s amazing weather, but Great Cynics fit in so much better, so Shift-Work didn’t really get played a whole lot in the situations that would have suited it best.

Although I did say nothing really grabbed me on Extricate, the record was, as a whole, a fairly engaging listen. Shift-Work is… less so. This might be the first time I’ve just totally zoned out on a Fall album and completely forgotten what I was listening to as it sunk in to the background. There’s better moments, yeah, and worse moments too, but in general? It’s a bit of a haze. I guess that actually just means it’s one of their most listenable yet – it’s not that weird, at all, and it sorely lacks the edge of their best work. Obviously in some ways I’m happy that The Fall seem to be well past making records that are 20-70% fucking awful at this point because it means I’m angry less of the time, but at least that was a bit more interesting, you know? I guess The Fall just can’t win. Or I can’t win. Or neither of us.

So, yeah. To bring it full circle, The Fall’s contribution to the big, important year of 1991 feels like a fairly minimal one, and they may have ridden it more than contributed to it - their highest chart position yet may have had something to do with both the combination of the ever-increasing interest in underground alternative/indie/punk music, and borrowing from the current mainstream Madchester buzz. Sure, there’s stuff on Shift-Work that sounds like a blueprint for a lot of alt-pop music that would come out in the 90s (Rose in particular. Probably the best on the record, too), but unlike the Pixies and Pavement, they’d probably have got their without The Fall’s input, and it feels like they’re bowing to other influences rather than being the outlandish influence that the outsiders look to for inspiration.

It feels like The Fall are having a bit of an identity crisis through one of my favourite periods for music, like they’re just mucking around making tolerable music, and not really giving it their all anymore. With that in mind, Shift-Work is an apt title - The Fall, and the act of making Fall records, as I’ve mentioned in the past, has always seemed like more of a job to Mark E. Smith rather than a creative output. It feels, at this point, like he needs a holiday.


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fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Eleven Point Five: The Mark E. Smith Pocket Zine Of Wisdom by Jean McEwan
So last Sunday, the day after writing my spiel on Room To Live, my partner and I hit up Leeds Zine Fest for the second year running. It was held at Wharf Chambers again, Leeds’ premiere co-op bar and venue, pretty much one of my favourite places ever, and it’s always completely rammed when they have zine events, with a really great community vibe. Whoever supplied the playlist slipped in some Algernon Cadwallader while we were there, too, so I was pretty satisfied with the whole experience.
Anyway, one of my purchases was this bad boy. To be honest, I’ve seen it around before – it was on a zine table at an art exhibition that I think I referenced in an earlier week – there was a performance from an underwhelming noise musician and we got drunk at a Wetherspoons in Bradford afterwards – but it was way more expensive there so I couldn’t be doing with it. On this occasion, though, I had a chat to the zinester who put it together, and only had to fork over a pound, so I couldn’t really say no this time. Following the Beacons announcement and my weird fuckin’ Mark E. Smith dream, I’m starting to feel like The Fall are following me around a little bit. Makes sense to go along with it and purchase my own Mark E. Smith Pocket Zine Of Wisdom to carry with me at all times, so I can whip it out when I feel like my surroundings aren’t confusing and repetitive enough.
It’s a micro-zine, if you’re interested in the technical aspects of zineship, which is a little eight page zine made out of one piece of A4 paper, one cut and a bunch of folds, and it contains six Mark E. Smith quotes that can be offer support and counsel in any situation, sort of like a comfort blanket. From Manchester. Jean McEwan, who put the thing together, described it to me as being like The Little Book Of Calm for Fall fans, which kind of makes me want to eat it to see if I turn in to Mark E. Smith, or at least gain the power to ramble incoherently to music. It contains such nuggets of wisdom as “I’m not saying I know what I’m doing all the time. I don’t. But I do believe in what I’m doing. That’s the difference” which provides massive amounts of insight in to The Fall in general, as well as “99.9% of people with a healthy diet will eventually die” which offers no real insight in to anything at all, but did manage to shut a co-worker up today when he was banging on about nutrition and why only ever eating houmous for lunch is an awful idea (it isn’t).
You can check out Jean McEwan’s work at jeanmcewan.com. She told me at the zine fair that she’s working on a project about weird Fall gig experiences and I bet some of you would be in to that. For now, though, The Mark E. Smith Pocket Zine Of Wisdom will accompany me as I make my way through the world, trying to cope with my horrendous life decision to listen to every Fall record in order.

fiftytwoweeksofthefall:

Week Eleven Point Five: The Mark E. Smith Pocket Zine Of Wisdom by Jean McEwan

So last Sunday, the day after writing my spiel on Room To Live, my partner and I hit up Leeds Zine Fest for the second year running. It was held at Wharf Chambers again, Leeds’ premiere co-op bar and venue, pretty much one of my favourite places ever, and it’s always completely rammed when they have zine events, with a really great community vibe. Whoever supplied the playlist slipped in some Algernon Cadwallader while we were there, too, so I was pretty satisfied with the whole experience.

Anyway, one of my purchases was this bad boy. To be honest, I’ve seen it around before – it was on a zine table at an art exhibition that I think I referenced in an earlier week – there was a performance from an underwhelming noise musician and we got drunk at a Wetherspoons in Bradford afterwards – but it was way more expensive there so I couldn’t be doing with it. On this occasion, though, I had a chat to the zinester who put it together, and only had to fork over a pound, so I couldn’t really say no this time. Following the Beacons announcement and my weird fuckin’ Mark E. Smith dream, I’m starting to feel like The Fall are following me around a little bit. Makes sense to go along with it and purchase my own Mark E. Smith Pocket Zine Of Wisdom to carry with me at all times, so I can whip it out when I feel like my surroundings aren’t confusing and repetitive enough.

It’s a micro-zine, if you’re interested in the technical aspects of zineship, which is a little eight page zine made out of one piece of A4 paper, one cut and a bunch of folds, and it contains six Mark E. Smith quotes that can be offer support and counsel in any situation, sort of like a comfort blanket. From Manchester. Jean McEwan, who put the thing together, described it to me as being like The Little Book Of Calm for Fall fans, which kind of makes me want to eat it to see if I turn in to Mark E. Smith, or at least gain the power to ramble incoherently to music. It contains such nuggets of wisdom as “I’m not saying I know what I’m doing all the time. I don’t. But I do believe in what I’m doing. That’s the difference” which provides massive amounts of insight in to The Fall in general, as well as “99.9% of people with a healthy diet will eventually die” which offers no real insight in to anything at all, but did manage to shut a co-worker up today when he was banging on about nutrition and why only ever eating houmous for lunch is an awful idea (it isn’t).

You can check out Jean McEwan’s work at jeanmcewan.com. She told me at the zine fair that she’s working on a project about weird Fall gig experiences and I bet some of you would be in to that. For now, though, The Mark E. Smith Pocket Zine Of Wisdom will accompany me as I make my way through the world, trying to cope with my horrendous life decision to listen to every Fall record in order.


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thefallthings:

Record Store Day 19/4! ‘The Fall - White Lightning’ on 180 g translucent vinyl in silver foil cover! 

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863717732/

thefallthings:

Record Store Day 19/4! ‘The Fall - White Lightning’ on 180 g translucent vinyl in silver foil cover! 

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/572379433863717732/


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fuckinrecordreviews:

"…the large mass surrounding the stage start grumbling loudly about how they were being taken for a ride…as if they deserved better for their entertainment dollar…god, if these people only had a clue as to what they really deserve."   

JIMMMY JOHNSON’S WEEK OF CLUB GOING PAIN CONTINUES, April 4 1985: 29 YEARS AGO ON THIS DATE IN FUCKIN’ RECORD REVIEWS HISTORY! 

FORCED EXPOSURE 7/8 Summer 1985 (page 7) JIMMY JOHNSON, Editor


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(Source: thefallthings)


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leepfrog:

He really was very pretty.

leepfrog:

He really was very pretty.

(via dan-wreck)


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musicpressarchives:

Free Range - The Fall

musicpressarchives:

Free Range - The Fall


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zombiesenelghetto:

The Fall, Non LP B-Side Zine, 1981

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razor-to-the-minds-eye:

Found some of my old gig photos from back in the day.  Here’s MARK E. SMITH (THE FALL) at BRISTOL UNIVERSITY 1986

(via nitequest-deactivated20140405)


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superblackmarket:

Mark E. Smith at Myron’s Ballroom, 1981

superblackmarket:

Mark E. Smith at Myron’s Ballroom, 1981

(via webishwhisper)


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thefallthings:

The Fall live at Fibbers, York, May 9th 2013


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mannequinfemme:

when I was 17, I thought Mark E Smith was the best guy ever

mannequinfemme:

when I was 17, I thought Mark E Smith was the best guy ever

(via discomoon12)

Tags: gif

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suicidewatch:

The Fall, 1984


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