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12 January 2013


This week I have mostly been listening to...


Mark Everett of eels with beard

I recently bought 3 CD singles by eels:

eels - Novocaine for the Soul (1996)
1. Novocaine for the Soul (LP Version)
2. Guest List (LP Version)
3. My Beloved Monster (Live)
4. Fucker

eels - Susan's House (1997)
1. Susan's House
2. Stepmother
3. Manchester Girl (BBC Radio 1 Version)

eels - Your Lucky Day in Hell (1997)
1. Your Lucky Day in Hell (LP Version)
2. Susan's Apartment (Mike Simpson Remix)
3. Altar Boy

What can I tell you about eels? I wanted to tell you the time that they appeared on Top of the Pops in 1991, where so enraged by the TOTP policy of singing along to a backing track, Mark Everett famously misplayed his guitar and sang in the style of Morrissey. I can't though... that was Nirvana. Perhaps I can tell you the about the time in 1994 that the band videoed themselves idealistically burning one million pounds of their own money on the sleepy Scottish Isle of Jura? No... that was KLF. I know... what about in 1996 when Mark Everett stormed the stage during Michael Jackson's performance of Heal the World? I've still got the Mark Everett is Innocent t-shirt. Oh... no I haven't... that was Jarvis Cocker.... hmmm...

Mark Everett's bottom-flapping protest against Michael Jackson's
performance at the Brit Awards

I don't know any good stories about eels. In that respect they remind me of REM... with beards.

I'm not a long time fan. I was aware of them as these singles were released, but nothing really grabbed my attention at the time. I am so glad that I decided to give them a re-listen! They are simply outstanding!

If I was to pick one song I would pick...

Your Lucky Day in Hell

This might not be the obvious choice, but I really don't care. With its lo-fi James Bond-esque lilt and dreamy vocals, I can't put the thing down! Ha ha... it's a classic! In terms of the three singles above, this was chronologically the third. The band were riding high on the success of the previous two singles when this was released and disappointingly it didn't achieve anywhere near the same sort of success. Thinking back, it really was a little out of step with the styles that were featuring in the charts at the time. Perhaps eels were simply ahead of their time? That's what I like to think ;-)

Mark Everett of eels with his dog

I haven't got a clue what "Your Lucky Day in Hell" is about. As with a lot of the songs on these singles, the band are simply creating a feeling. The lyrics aren't nonsensical, but by the same token they're not obvious either... at least not obvious to me. I hope I don't get shot for this, but I'm going to draw a comparison with Beck. My favourite Beck album is the monumentally moody "Sea Change" where he returned for a short while to a more contemporary style of song-writing... not dissimilar to what you'll hear on these CDs. I must say that I am a big fan of both.

"My Beloved Monster"

Other songs that I want to call out are Novocaine for the Soul and My Beloved Monster. You might remember me mentioning this song on a post just recently. Susan's House is a great song too, but I think I might have played that one out. It's of an era and unfortunately that era's past for me. I have no doubt that it will be back ;-)

I don't think that I know much else by the band and this is something I hope to rectify pretty bloody quickly! On the Triple-B I'm going over to Susan's House. What's the address again? Number 9? Bingo!

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