poison to the mind


it’s grim up north

With the closure of group-blog New York London Paris Munich and a withdrawal from ILM, Freaky Trigger founder Tom Ewing is these days doing all his public thinking about music on LiveGerbil (of all places etc etc). In the course of revisiting his list of personal Top 100 Songs Of The 90s, the latest entry is on the chart-bothering version of The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu's "It's Grim Up North." Which is all fine and all (though he mispells "JAMs" and "McLaren," tsk), but I always find the hit version with Bill Drummond's own vocals hard to get into because there are just too many ideas in it (which is to say: there are two, with "Jerusalem" coming in at the end).

No fault of the record itself, it's just that I heard the original version first (fancy that, a KLF record that got completely re-recorded and re-released), which may have simply been an excuse for Drummond to tick off the remaining box on his Crucial Three scorecard, BUT! Pete Wylie's vocals aside, the strength of this version is that it stays relentlessly grim: rain, towns, bass and a disturbing hooting noise, like some depressed goth rave siren. Even the record was pressed on grey vinyl (one-sided 12", 500 copies only, blah blah).

The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu Featuring That Pete Wylie Innit - It's Grim Up North

No records obviously, but the brilliant The Manual - How To Have A Number One The Easy Way is in print and available from the publisher.

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