Well, nobody found the Birds Fate Ruins Xmas EP during the past week. Which is hardly surprising, given the story of its creation and deletion. Besides, Prof Paul, Mouthsounds Steph and Wurdz Boi have made a point of scouring car boot and stoop sales, second-hand record stores, and record fairs for Birds Fate material for more years than any of us care to remember.
But you know how it is with your favourite bands – you don’t listen to them for ages, and then you put ’em on and remember why you loved them in the first place. So it was that the Prof went back to his Birds Fate archive after reading last weeks post.
I’ve just opened the doors on my advent calendars for the sixth of December. “Tobacco” beard oil, a jasmine green tea light ale, and a piece of chocolate bearing the countenance of an appropriately sceptical elf, since you ask.
I swear, I’m not making this up!
At this time of year, it feels appropriate to relate a particular yuletide tale of Birds Fate, the deservedly-forgotten transatlantic shoegaze band that inspired the formation of Nerd Bait. Continue reading Birds Fate Ruins Xmas→
As our little archival project digs a little deeper,
Prof Paul talks about how he relates to this cover of Prince’s When Doves Cry by shambling early-nineties stumblebums, Bird’s Fate….
We’ve spoken in the past about our archival work. Slowly, Wurdz Boi, Celestial Steph and I are restoring the unpublished work of the Scottish shoegazers “Bird’s Fate”. It’s an exciting side project, starting with two songs we restored for last Christmas.
So imagine my surprise when Ricky texted me Friday morning that, while out and about in Edinburgh, he had stumbled upon a Scottish Prince Tribute Record, Purple Kilts, and there, as if by magic, was a Bird’s Fate cover of When Doves Cry.
Well, sample, scan, clean, slice, dice, upload, etc… and voila, we now have a third restored track by our defunct Scottish friends ready for you to hear.
Wurdz Boi is busy researching how this could have possibly come to be. It must have been the typical combination of contractual obligation, ill advised semi-ambition, and the Irn Bru/Laphroig/Lemsip cocktail the band was drinking at the time.
But of course, Ricky was shopping for Prince oddities because of Prince’s unexpected death. And we were lucky he found a record which intersected with our archival project at such a sad time. I’m sure Ricky will write about his feelings on Prince in an upcoming blog, but I thought perhaps I would share a few of my own.
I love Prince’s music. I never loved him because he was a weird outsider. I’ve never been confused with anyone purple, funky, or elven. But that music. The three big records Purple Rain, 1999, and Sign O the Times are so very, very good.
I remember hearing Little Red Corvette when I was, what, 11 years old in the summer of 1982, and having it be the first song which wasn’t, in some sense, safe. It was an intersection of music and adulthood which wasn’t just love and cotton candy and Abba. And which was performed and composed in a way which wasn’t – well – dumb.
But if you have your copy of 1999 to hand, go listen to All The Critics Love U In New York. And think that song is almost 35 years old. I’m pretty sure if it showed up on a Kanye record we would think it was innovative.
That musicianship, the adoption of technology, the crafting of songs – that’s why I love Prince. 1999 sounds crazy because he had one of the first LM-1 drum machines in the world. The reason Sign o’ the Times is so personal is because it is exactly that – a fully personal construction of two albums of songs. He played all the instruments and recorded those albums solo. On tape.
Sign o’ the Times is one of those records where every moment is great. Like Abbey Road, Pet Sounds, Exile on Main Street.
And I haven’t even got to Purple Rain. If I thought Little Red Corvette was somehow a transgression into my then suburban childhood, where do I even start with Darlin Nikki?
I could go on. But I won’t because there’s enough that’s been written on the internet already, some of it good, some of it dross.
But all of it telling of people whose understanding of what music could be – of what music could make them feel – was changed by Prince.
If you follow @NerdBaitBand on the Tweetie Box, you’ll be aware that we are doing a new show alongside a group of really entertaining storytellers and artists at the Edinburgh International Festival on Monday, April 4. It’s going to be the maddest, most ambitious thing we’ve done yet. And I’ve performed a self-trephination live on stage before!
If you don’t follow us on Twitter, you’ve missed the first four boxes in the Countdown to Unicerosaurus Advent Calendar. But, fear not…