Wednesday, 11 January 2012

CATAPULT

I first mentioned Catapult here. I found this scribble in a cupboard and liked it - I'm not sure of the purpose of it other than to share the first flourishes of my new love with you. You deserve it. Reading it back it sounds like a madman wrote it.


THE FIRST DAY. So there I was, between Christmas and New Year playing Gran Turismo 5 on the newly bought Playstation 3 (like I need more distractions) and having a gay old time on my own. It was a nice opportunity to listen to some tunes rather than the shit on the game, and I NEVER get the opportunity to do that now. The main focus of today's sesh was the less familiar end of my collection of Junk Shop Glam (including Cherry Red compilations with titles like BOOBS and GLITTERBEST) featuring those Glam Rock and Terrace Stomp bands that no one remembers, or indeed bought at the time. One particular middle 8 caught my ear on a particularly bad lap and I made a note to track it down. A bit later after giving up on a hard slog around the Nurburgring Nordschleife (My steering had gone to shit) I had a little look through the discs to see if I could locate the bit I liked (I mean, I liked most of the 3 hours of music, but this was one I knew needed further investigation). Turned out to be a band called Catapult playing a pretty good slice of Bovver Boogie called Let Your Hair Hang Down. Some London pub rockers who tried their hand at going glam rock like most of the other bands on there? WRONG. Turned out to be Dutch. Not only that, but the KINGS of NEDER STOMP. Did an internet search and lo and bewank there was a video of them doing the song. Check this out. Isn't the guitar solo good? It's it all perfect? Part of me thought about the cunts who'd watch this and slag it off because it isn't some ernest and tryhard ****** Funk in Topshop gear (is that offensive? I'll star it out. You know what I mean). I loved it even more. Then I saw in the suggested videos another song. Brace yourself. Get a load of this. Now I'm in love. Genuine love. Listen to the production on that. Listen to the great vocals. Try to do the high kicks. Go on. I fell over in the kitchen. Look at the delight in their faces. They genuinely know that this is a game changer. I had to go and meet a pal for a drink down the road but I really wanted to listen to the band on my way so I hurriedly started looking for stuff on line. Ended up using fucking iTunes. Got everything they did - about 19 tracks in all, their solitary 1974 album (another box ticked - the best year in rock history) and various A sides and B sides. I NEVER go in that deep on bands. Well, I do but look at the list of previous James-Goes-Mental-And-Dives-Right-In bands: Queen, David Bowie, Cardiacs, Sparks. In that order. Are you starting to see how big a deal this was becoming for me? I actually felt breathless at the rush. I tootled off to the pub with Let Your Hair Hang Down and Teeny Bopper Band blasting in my ears - occasionally investigating other track just to dip my toe in, excited at the prospect of tomorrow being spent on the PS3 listening to them and finding out more on overgrown back alleys of the supersonic information super porn highway.

THE SECOND DAY. The next day I found an essay about them taken from the sleevenotes of a 90s CD compilation. Good start. Turns out they formed in the very same resort that I'd been to with the pal I met last night. IT'S A SIGN. I knew we should've formed a glam rock band that holiday. I found another video too. This completed the picture for me - they were bloody lovely chaps and they rocked fucking hard on stage. Also, they had their own Spinal Tap moment on a TV soundstage. With the help of some super discography websites I compiled the body of work I had downloaded into their debut album (1974's eponymous effort, the cover of which is over there with the little chap and the broken window) to get a better idea, and also the follow up compilation (1976's CATAPULT II). The Complete Collection (Vols 1 and 2) on iTunes were a chronological romp through the single A and B sides plus unaccounted for album cuts. I know full well if I'd got the albums au natural, it wouldn't take long for me to make the exact same compilation that I ended up buying. Just to see, like. First things first, they are weird little albums - much like when, after respecting WIZZARD from afar for decades, I finally got their debut WIZZARD BREW by accident which turned out to be amazing. In turn, Glam, Prog, Country & Western, Metal and maybe some proto punk. I.E. Just right. Catapult did not shy away from weird as much as I'd learnt they didn't shy away from perfect pop. Later single Spanish Eyes was prime ABBA. Another one Disco Njet - Wodka Da gave Boney M an entire career. Springtime Ballyhoo was like The Nice riding horses. There was even a sequence in Nightrake that wouldn't be out of place on Bowie's Low. Granted, if Black Lace decided to do Art Decade. I could see Laura Tobin and Sophie Raworth nodding along appreciatively on the TV. Chicks would dig Catapult. Mark my words, chicks would dig Catapult. Did you click the link up there on the words 'NEDER STOMP'? See that the label that released that particular compilation is called EXCELSIOR. IT'S ANOTHER SIGN. In the link up there on the word 'essay' you'll learn that the band went on to do lots of other stuff. Let me tell you that follow up novelty New Wave band THE MONOTONES are also excellent, but that's going to have to be another blog post. Yep, those are the same people. So anyway, now I'm spending my time on GT5 rooting through those Junkshop Glam CDs for more hidden gems. I'll be stunned if Pantherman, Angel or Go Go Thunder get a whole blog entry to themselves in 2012, but you never know as they are fucking excellent too. Sorry about all the swearing. Later in the year I'll do a JUNKSHOP GLAM DISCO SILVERY PODCAST (a 'Stompilation') and you'll see what I mean. Good stuff.

THE THIRD DAY. Catapult rested.