The Oasis masterplan – Noel, sack Liam and you won’t look back in anger


So, it finally happened, then.
I’ve reached that age when I prefer Noel Gallagher singing Oasis songs
to Liam.
All through my twenties, I said that I liked Liam belting out the
tracks, but after the band’s recent iTunes gig at London’s Roundhouse,
I’ve decided that’s just not the case anymore.
In fact, I’ve drawn up my own, ahem, masterplan for the future of Oasis.
Sack Liam – he’s a liability and a parody of himself. At the
Roundhouse show, he sauntered onstage in a fishtail parka (yawn) and
proceeded to heckle the crowd, swear during songs and, sometimes, not
even bother to sing his parts.
Spending most of the set acting like a surly teenager who couldn’t
get his own way, he only seemed enthusiastic when he sang the songs
that he’d penned – namely Songbird and I’m Outta Time.
For the majority of the show, he sulked around and insulted the
punters. Nothing was sacred – we got tiresome, childish rants about skinny jeans,
pointy shoes and, even, living in Camden.
It was left to his big brother Noel to save the night – dissing Liam (“Someone’s in a bad mood tonight.”)
and coming into his own for superb semi-acoustic performances of The
Masterplan, Half The World Away and Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis’
unsung hero, Gem Archer, playing mean electric guitar and expertly
taking the solos.
Acting like a moody brat is oh so 1994, Liam – we’ve all moved on
since then. You’re in one of the best UK rock and roll bands of the
last 20 years, so, for god’s sake, show that you care. Just as the
Britpop Oasis versus Blur battle comes back to haunt us, Liam has
let the side down.
His band are, musically, better than they’ve ever been, but the
Roundhouse performance was tarnished by his sloppy, childish
behaviour. During My Big Mouth, he simply gave up singing and went to sit
on the drum riser, leaving Noel to take up the slack.
By the way, Noel, if you’re reading this, dump Liam, front the band yourself and become a Dadrock outfit in the vein of Weller
and his current musical cohorts. You may not be as rock and roll as
you were in the past, but at least you’ll maintain some dignity and
some musical credibilty – and perform some professional shows.
Liam – sorry mate, you’re outta time.

Britpop – the case for the defence




Rather unfairly, Britpop has become a dirty word.
I loved Britpop – and still do. Let’s face it; it was the
most exciting time in British music since the ‘60s.
And if you don’t agree with me, then, frankly, I don’t give a Shed Seven.
To mark the 15th anniversary of the beginnings of Britpop, I’m
currently listening to Common People. Britpop: The Story – a lovely
three-CD (54-track) box set that reads like the jukebox of the Good
Mixer in the mid-‘90s, rounding up the great and good from the Britpop
era. Oh, and Northern Uproar are on there, too.
Top bloke Bob Stanley (St Etienne) has written the in-depth sleeve
notes and there’s a great 24-page booklet, too. Brilliant, I can
relive my teenage fantasies thanks to pictures of Louise Wener and
Sonya from Echobelly! Honestly, it’s enough to make my Mozzer-style
quiff stand on end…..
Bizarrely, the album totally ignores any tunes from Oasis or Blur,
but, it does include plenty of forgotten gems that will have you
rummaging around in your wardrobe to drag out your skinny-fit Sleeper
T-shirt or your Fred Perry top (alas, mine don’t fit me anymore – not
enough cigarettes and too much alcohol) and doing Dick Van Dyke
chimney sweep dancing, quicker than you can say: ‘you can’t get
thicker than a shit Rick Witter’.
What’s cool about this compilation is that it’s not afraid to include
some lesser known Britpop beauties.
I’m made up to see that my faves Rialto, Gene and Spearmint are
represented – Louis Eliot’s cinematic popsters offer up the genius,
Scott Walker-like melodrama of Monday Morning 5:19, while Martin
Rossiter’s sauve, Smiths-like outfit give us the swaggering, late
night London taxi rank anthem that is Be My Light, Be My Guide, and
Spearmint go all Northern soul on us with the superb Sweeping The
Top marks, too, for including London Girls by Duffy (no – not the
Welsh warbler). Arguably the quintessential Britpop tune, it’s both
cynical and celebratory of the whole Camden ‘90s indie scene.
Controversially, I’m also loving the cracking
Neil-Young-meets-The-Byrds guitar epic Step Into My World by Creation
also-rans Hurricane#1, but then I am slightly biased, as I’m in a band
with their former singer, Alex Lowe. Ahem,
Ok, so we can do without the dodgy Dadrock of Cast, Kula Shaker and
Ocean Colour Scene, but who cares when you’ve got, err, Dodgy’s
hedonistic Staying Out For The Summer (they always use it on local TV
news shows when they’re doing a piece on festivals, don’t they?), the
equally summer-friendly Wake Up Boo! (The Boo Radleys), Menswear’s
sleazy Daydreamer and My Life Story’s grandiose showstopper, 12
Reasons Why.
If we’re being picky, why not include Suede’s Animal Nitrate over
Trash? And where’s Blur’s and Oasis’s best moments – namely This Is A
Low and Acquiesce?
Hold on a minute – how about Cathy Dennis’s version of Waterloo
Sunset, and why can’t we have Speedy’s teenage pin-up masterpiece Boy
Wonder? What about Octopus’s Jealousy, Thurman’s English Tea and Me Me
Me’s Hanging Around?
Anyway, as a representation of the mighty Britpop years, this album
is, err, Alright (yes -that’s on there) and will no doubt be
soundtracking the barbecues of thirty something couples everywhere
this summer.
Britpop’s back: ooh, I’m so excited I could crush a (Black) grape.
Common People. Britpop: The Story (Universal Music) is out now.
Original article available here:…

The Domino effect – Interview with The Domino State

Firefly, the new single from The Domino State, is an old fashioned,moody indie guitar anthem of epic proportions – the kind of song that deserves to be heard in huge arenas all over the world. I spoke to the band about geo-politics, the Cold War, electronic circuitry and why they won’t be the next Motley Crue.


Q: I’m digging the new single Firefly – it’s a huge, epic rock song.
What’s it about? Is it a tale of hope, but also one of emotional
upheaval? Why the Firefly imagery?

A: It is a tale of hope, but also about emotional upheaval. Maybe with
a bit of paranoia thrown in for good measure. We like the idea that
the listener can interpret the song in that way – I am sure everyone
has a story or two that causes conflicting positive and negative
emotions. The imagery seems appropriate.

Q: Where does the band name come from?

A: There are five of us and none of us are backward in coming forward
with opinions, so we didn’t have a name all of us could agree on for
ages. No-one can exactly remember where The Domino State came from –
it sort of appeared out of the ether and stuck, as – miracle of
miracles – all of us liked it. We Googled it afterwards and found out
that, apart from the geo-political meaning of a small satellite
country used as a pawn in the Cold War, it’s also something to do with
electronic circuitry. The macro and the micro in one!

Q: Is the single representative of your debut album?

A: It does represent things to come with the album, but at the same
time there will be some diversity. Obviously, some songs sound more
like singles than others, and we hope the album holds a few surprises.
That’s not to say that every other track on the album is doom metal,
though – only a couple of them.

Q: You’ve been playing festivals, including Glastonbury. How were
they? Did you see any fireflies?

A: The festivals have been fantastic. At Glasto we didn’t see any
fireflies, despite the legal highs. All we saw was a dragon and an
evil wizard!

Q: What bands are you guys into?

A:We all listen to a lot of quite varied stuff, and we often don’t
agree on things, but some examples of bands we all like are Ride, My
Bloody Valentine, The Cure and Arcade Fire.

Q: You opened for Coldplay at 02 – how was it playing an arena this
early on in your career? Your sound suits big venues, doesn’t it? Do
you aspire to be the next Coldplay or U2?

A: It was both nerve-wracking and incredibly exciting at the same
time. One of the best things about it was a couple of comments after
we’d played. A member of Coldplay said we sounded “massive” and our
sound engineer told us we totally pulled it off and looked natural up
there. It’s a big place, and too much to take in really, but as a
taste of what’s possible, it presents a pretty good target to aim for.
I don’t know about being the next U2 or Coldplay, but we got a bit
carried away with the after-show hospitality, and the next morning was
a clear lesson that we certainly haven’t got the stamina to be the next Motley Crue.

Q: Can any of you play dominoes? And when was the last time you were
in a state?

A: We can play dominoes, but prefer travel scrabble on the tour bus.
We were in a state at Glastonbury after we played – watching Nick Cave
and drinking cider.