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Album Review: Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks limited edition, super deluxe box set

 
By on Monday, 24th September 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Save the live albums and posters, this box set is in places an ironic account of the ‘bollocks’ we’re being told to not to mind. Whatever mechanical process Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood managed to shove these four miscreants through back in 1977, the product remained wild, unpredictable and universally offensive – it was punk. Whether these ‘original master tapes’ – that conveniently appear for most bands around a major anniversary – are genuine or not, Sex Pistols are not a ‘remastered’ kind of band, they just don’t have the intricacies of, say, Led Zeppelin.

The first anti-anarchic sigh of this ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ comes as the (once characterful) warped start to ‘Holidays in the Sun’ appears straightened out. It’s the same with the half-baked synth on ‘Submission’, which now almost sounds as though it’s supposed to be there. Why not take all that horrific swearing out of the Bill Grundy interview while you’re at it? And, then there are the drums. The only instrument that is noticeably different is the least punk of the lot, and now sounds as though it’s being played 30 years after the rest. Thank punk ‘EMI’ is the last track. The irony of a remastered “Unlimited edition / with an unlimited supply”, makes you wonder whether – had the butter ads not come calling – it could have been another “reason / we all had to say goodbye”.


The selection of unheard tracks from ‘1977 Live’ and ‘1977 Studio Rarities & B-Sides’ are what this box set should have been sold on. Finally, an example of how modern recording techniques can uncover something that had really been lost, not just another goose strangled for its gold. ‘1977 Live’ is recorded across two dates in Stockholm’s Happy House and Trondheim’s Ssamfundet Club, when Sex Pistols were at their symbiotic best, giving and receiving from the audience in equal measure. A cover of Iggy Pop’s ‘No Fun’ in Rotten’s snotty drawl is a notable highlight, as is unreleased ‘I Wanna Be Me’ and the bombastic Happy House opener ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ The rough mixes of ‘1977 Studio Rarities & B-Sides’ are unlikely to replace the originals for most, but give a sneering insight in to a chaotic development process. It’s easy to see why the likes of ‘Satellite’ didn’t make the final cut, whilst a demo version of ‘Belsen was a Gas’ (previously thought unrecorded) was purportedly written by Sid Vicious for The Flowers of Romance to unsympathetically mock the wartime generation then in charge.

There’s a poster for their 1977 U.K. tour entitled ‘Never Mind the Bans’, which includes five or six letters from venues with the gumption to turn them down in their prime. It alludes to the alchemic cultivation of chaos; the ability to turn the worst publicity, in to the best. The others in the collection are all a welcome break from the standard ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ that adorns so many uni halls.

Apparently, there’s also a DVD – that Universal helpfully failed to include in the press release – that just could be the hidden gem. It’s meant to be a composition of footage from a surprise show in Penzance in 1977, remastered by director and long time friend Julien Temple, who described it as both “hypnotising” and “contagious”.

From the title of this box set, you would assume that it was aimed at the 15 to 20-year old demographic of young punks finding their forefathers. But, there’s no way a paper round would generate enough net profit to allow that to happen. Instead, the previously unheard tracks and rehashed videos make an ideal curio for an experienced Sex Pistols fan, who will now be put off by having to buy ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’, again. Like the Sex Pistols, there are flashes of brilliance against a backdrop of contradictions.

6/10

The Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ limited edition, super deluxe box set is out today on Universal Music.

 

Listen to the Official London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony Playlist

 
By on Friday, 6th July 2012 at 3:30 pm
 

As reported a couple weeks ago on the Guardian, these 86 tracks were chosen to be the best of British music through the years and will be the soundtrack to official opening ceremony on 27 July. As should be expected, confirmed opening ceremony performers Duran Duran (pictured at top) appear on the list with ‘The Reflex’, and Muse, suppliers of the official London 2012 song, appear twice with ‘Map of the Problematique’ and ‘Uprising’. There are also appearances from the themes of both Coronation Street and Eastenders: little North vs. South action, eh? The Blur (‘Song 2’) vs. Oasis (‘Wonderwall’) argument has a second coming.

But there seem to be some glaring omissions (how are there no Beatles, Queen or Smiths songs?), and do we really need to remind the world of Frankie Goes to Hollywood‘s ‘Relax’? I guess the Sex Pistols‘ previous two fingers to the monarchy have been long since forgotten (they appear twice, with ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Pretty Vacant’), and I can’t be the only one who thinks OMD‘s ‘Enola Gay’ is a strange choice. My favourite addition? A tie between Soul II Soul‘s ‘Back to Life’ and Kaiser Chiefs‘ ‘I Predict a Riot’. Least favourites? Tinie Tempah‘s ‘Pass Out’ and Roll Deep‘s ‘Shake a Leg’. (Really?)

Have a look and listen below and then let us know what you think of the 86 song list in the comments. We’ll add the most entertaining ones to the body of this post. (Hints: you must have Spotify to play the tracks, and to activate the scrolling bar, run your mouse or finger on the right hand side of the player to reveal it.)

 

The Sex Pistols / one off London show

 
By on Tuesday, 18th September 2007 at 11:17 am
 

God Save The Queen PostcardThe Sex Pistols. Who would have thought it? Who next? The Smiths? Well, we can dream.

They’ve decided to play a one off show at Brixton Academy on November 8th, presumably in support of a new Greatest hits that Virgin are releasing to celebrate the 30th anniversary edition of the classic The Sex Pistols debut album Never Mind The Bollocks… Here’s The Sex Pistols. The album will be re-issued on October 29 on heavy weight vinyl with a 7″ insert of “Submission” and a poster.

Tickets for the show will go on sale on Friday (21st September) at 9am.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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