ATP's Portishead-curated I'll Be Your Mirror event takes place this weekend at London's Alexandra Palace and the two-day line-up is fairly spectacular. It includes PJ Harvey, Grinderman, Swans, DOOM, Company Flow, Godspeed and a ton more. As IBYM works out as the b-side to the main, full-on festival-type ATP events, we've got a selection of fabourite b-sides from some artists playing it. There's also as many handily embedded YouTube clips of the b-sides in question as we could find.
Jim Sclavunos of Grinderman:
'Out Of Focus' by Blue Cheer (b-side to 'Summertime Blues')
"I bought 'Summertime Blues' home and the label was on the wrong way around and I was like "What! I don't remember it sounding like this!" I really dug it though, really slow grungy distorted feedback, just like the rest of the Blue Cheer songs."
Dan Snaith of Caribou:
'Sputnik' by Sidney Owens and the North South Connection (b-side to 'Funkie Shortnin' Bread')
"The A-side of the record is a funk-by-numbers yawn-fest called 'Funkie Shortnin' Bread' which gives no indication of the melancholic, stoned space-soul to be found on the other side - echoey pontification on humanity's place in the universe, dreamy female vocals, and the heaviest of heaviness from the North South Connection (whoever they are). Even better - this is, to my knowledge, the only record that Sidney Owens ever released!"
'Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More' by Mudhoney (b-side to Touch Me I'm Sick)
"I don't know what my favourite is, it's always difficult to qualify in that way. The one that comes to mind is 'Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More' by Mudhoney. This is purely nostalgic of being a teenager and discovering records at Cellophane Square / Second Time Around / Fallout in Seattle."
Alison of Helen Money:
'Hear My Train a Comin' by Jimi Hendrix
"I'm not sure if it qualifies as a b-side, but if it is, my favorite is Hendrix playing 'Hear My Train a Comin' acoustic. Particularly at the end of the documentary on him. I saw it for the first time when I was deep into my Hendrix phase - which actually isn't over ;-). I think someone must have just handed him the guitar cause it looks like the tuning is upside-down for him. Anyway, I feel like his essence as an artist and person really come across - it's so exposed and soulful. Beautiful."
Aaron Hemphill of Liars:
'Death Threat' side of split 7" with Voodoo Glow Skulls by Hickey
"I had seen Hickey live and thought they were alright, not my favourite. When I heard about this prank, I thought it was so amazing. I mean, they have a split record with a band that literally wants to kill them. It's a great way of turning aggression on the aggressor and turning it into pure comedy. Our favourite part comes in around 1:45"
"Probe records released a 7" which was made to look as if it were a split between Hickey and the Voodoo Glow Skulls. On one side of the 7" was the Hickey song 'Food Stamps and Drink Tickets' and the other side members of Hickey played the trumpet that was stolen from Voodoo Glow Skulls over the answering machine messages left by Voodoo Glow Skulls members and Epitaph Records employees demanding the return of the instrument. The 7" also falsely had the Epitaph Records logo on the back as Epitaph had no official part in the release. According to the 'zine included with the 7", the two bands played together at the now closed Nile Theater in Mesa, Arizona. Matty Luv, singer of Hickey, made disparaging remarks about Epitaph Records and the commercialisation of punk. After members of both bands had a confrontation, the Voodoo Glow Skulls convinced the venue owner to eject Hickey without pay. In response, Hickey stole the trumpet in question out of the Voodoo Glow Skulls van. After receiving threatening messages on their answering machine, Hickey filled the trumpet with pudding and returned it."
El-P - Company Flow:
'Brothers from Brentwood Long Island' by EPMD (b-side to 'Crossover')
"Never been on CD. Possibly the best EPMD song ever."
DJ Mr. Len - Company Flow:
'Erotic City' by Prince (b-side to Let's Go Crazy)
"Prince is at his best being bad...this tune is naughty in every way."
Bigg Jus - Company Flow:
"'GOD' by Prince (B-side of Purple Rain) and 'Synopsis' by E-Rule. (B-side of 'Listen Up')"
Aaron Hemphill of Liars:
'Erotic City' by Prince (b-side to Let's Go Crazy)
"Prince And The Revolution's 'Erotic City', which is a b-side to 'Let's Go Crazy'. I believe Erotic City is one of Prince's best songs...not to knock 'Let's Go Crazy', but Erotic City's energy buries the a-side...I believe it was Sheila E.'s debut recording...simple and precise accompaniment, with a very intricately constructed androgynous male/female vocal."
'T.V.O.D.' by The Normal (b-side to 'Warm Leatherette')
"I always choose The Normal's 'TVOD' over 'Warm Leatherette'. I always thought this was the a-side anyway. I think on my vinyl copy, the a and b are in really small print and i have terrible vision, so that probably explains it. I prefer the lyrics. I like the line "stick the aerial into my skin" as it reminds me of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', the Don Siegel version (the re-make/s lose the whole point of the film). Both play on the idea of a hidden force brainwashing us and turning us into emotionless dupes, with an inability to think for ourselves. The way Dana Wynter and the bloke in the film try to blend in with the dupes, is by walking around like robots, keeping their heads down, not questioning the system and working. Sounds familiar. Some people I know find it a little repetitive but for me this is the point of it. It puts you into a kind of trance which plays on the TV OD theme. I also like the deadpan delivery. I picked up the Grace Jones version of warm Leatherette on vinyl the other day, which is an interesting take on the a-side..."
Matt Williams of Beak> / Fairhorns:
'Meet Me At The Harbour' by Idlewild (b-side to 'Actually It's Darkness')
"Probably an unpopular choice, but Idlewild's 'Meet Me At The Harbour' on the 'Actually It's Darkness' Single, (March 2000) is my favourite b-Side - I think it captures the proper slightly ragged proto-emo indiecore thing that they were doing so well before they drifted off into naff low-rent REM territory - Tense and knotted whilst still melodic, I think this track's their strongest out of all of 'em, and don't know why it didn't make it as an album cut, but the fact that it is a secret little b-Side buried on one version of a single makes it all the more special (which adds to the dreamy fey teenage feeling, back when you still bought singles). The piano drop before the last chorus is super effective for me, and gives me that OUCH feeling right in my guts...I saw them play a few weeks after, it was my first proper gig and they played this song right in the middle of the set and I wept like a fuckin' bairn."
Billy Fuller of Beak>:
'Cheddar Cheese' by The Wurzels (b-side to 'One For The Bristol City')
"For me, it's got to be 'Cheddar Cheese' by The Wurzels, it was the b-side to 'One For The Bristol City'. My copy was from 1977 I think, well, it wasn't my copy, it was my eldest brother's copy from when Bristol City got promoted to the old 1st Division, way back when Starburst were Opal Fruits and only one car (Morris Minor I think) was ever parked in my street. Funnily enough, my old man played snare drum in The Wurzels back when they first started out around 1966. Unfortunately, he didn't last very long in the band because he knocked Adge Cutler out in a pub in a village near Bristol called Pill (in North Somerset & a Beak> tune). When I asked him why he did this, my Dad replied, "Because he was flashing his cash around at the bar the b^stard...I don't like flash b^stards, so I hit 'im!"... um, nice one Dad. Anyway, it's got to be 'Cheddar Cheese' because it's the first song I ever remember hearing and having a positive reaction to it, even today, it doesn't sound bad, it just sounds like The Wurzels. And fuck it, everyone else will be going on about some trendy record by Nitzabottom Ein Stickenbacken or something like that."
'Daddy Rollin' (In Your Arms)' by Dion (b-side to 'Abraham, Martin and John')
"It is the music of a pop star falling, a heart throb in decline, insanity approaching."
Citizen Kinsman - Foot Village:
'Violence to Violence' by Rollerskate Skinny
"Rollerskate Skinny 'Violence to Violence' (on Placebo; 1993). Truly the sound of the universe being ripped open. Every ineffable beauty and terror bursting forth in one stream-lined mess. The sharp compositional twists and confident, poetic delivery of grim lyrics here fascinated my teen mind and continue to inspire me today. If only all the '90s retro going on right now was centered around bands like TFUL282, rRope, and Rollerskate Skinny..."
'Stole Some Sentimental Jewellery' by Vibracathedral Orchestra and 'Bring it to Jerome' by Bo Diddley (b-side to Pretty Thing)
Jabulani Ngozi of Black Roots:
'Seeing Your Face' by Black Roots
"In tribute to the late Derrick King, Black Roots Bass player who passed away earlier this year."
- Singles of the Year 2011!
- In Photos: ATP - I'll Be Your Mirror curated by Portishead @ Alexandra Palace, London
- Slottsfjell 2011, Norway - The DiS review
- I'll Be Your Mirror artists pick their favourite b-sides ft. Grinderman, Company Flow, Caribou + mor
- In Photos: Primavera Sound Festival 2011 @ Parc del Forum, Barcelona
- Primavera 2011: the DiS review
- List: Jim Sclavunos of Grinderman's 10 Favourite Record Shops
- This Week's Singles: 21/03/11