This again. Thanks to the people who gave us suggestions to fill out this ambitious double-header - you know who you are.
They're the two immunable rules of songwriting according to Those Who Know - write about what you know and don't write about what you know of life spent on the road. That's why they call it Second Album Syndrome, because you've had roughly twenty years to write your first album and six months in a striplit rehearsal studio to pen your second. By the law of averages, though, among all the shit about hotel rooms and easy blondes every so often a song is bound to turn up that gets to the nub of why we're all here, why they're making music, why we're listening to it and reading about it. This is a Covermount of songs about music - the industry, the process, the life, the fandom, the greatness and perfection.
Dancing About Architecture Part 1
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We thought long and hard about what track would open this Covermount. What song can possibly get across the joy and possibilities of finding yourself caught up in this entertainment maelstrom.
Art Brut - Formed A Band (original single version)
No, of course we didn't.
BARR - The Song Is The Single
And this is its American cousin, the musical ego of Brendan Fowler, part-diary (he/they really did cancel shows in Northampton and Glasgow through illness), part self-questioning analysis, all-meta.
Minutemen - History Lesson Part II
D Boon chronicles his and Mike Watt's journey from schoolkids learning instruments together to being in a musically unpredictable hardcore trio ready to take on the world. The first line gave its name to Michael Azerrad's excellent American alternative set text.
The Mountain Goats - The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton
John Darnielle and friends form a band but don't follow the dream until it's too late. Regarding the three band names they came up with, there is now a band called Satan's Fingers And The Hospital Bombers. The other name is also taken.
Frank Turner - Back In The Day
Hardcore bluegrass! Along the same lines, the former Million Dead singer turned perma-touring opinionated odds-shouter grows up among the punks. Turner is one of the surely scarce people to have covered live a song by...
Half Man Half Biscuit - Running Order Squabble Fest
Because for these purposes it's obligatory.
Pavement - Range Life
Slacker lo-fi, they called it in the day, but Malkmus and Kannberg were far too smart for all that, here documenting the ageing hippy watching the Lollapalooza hordes with some disquiet.
Loudon Wainwright III - Talking New Bob Dylan
Father of him and her, but in the mid-70s Loudon was, yes, a New Bob Dylan manque. Which, going on this, he'd gladly admit to.
Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing
This is the Heart FM section of the Covermount, right here, but rarely has the idea of the pub band as escape, and indeed as What We Do, been better expressed. And let's not overlook that they made their TV debut on Peter Cook-helmed punk show Revolver.
The Wrens - This Boy Is Exhausted
One time next big things, this is on the album that emerged seven years after the one that was supposed to make them big after record company difficulties, hence the resigned tone bolstered by the thought that "once a while We'll play a show (that) makes it worthwhile"
Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks
Will Sheff's extended treatise on entertainment and fandom, here about the pure obsession of music. Hell, it's why we do this.
Mos Def - Rock N Roll
Alright, the nu-metal outro's hard to stomach from this distance, but cross-pollination rarely worked out this way where the hip-hopper acknowledges "When I get down in my zone I be rockin Bad Brains and Fishbone" but points out that none of this rock'n'roll fad is whitey's anyway.
Cursive - Art Is Hard
Emo, in a good way, Tim Kasher attempting to personify emotional catharsis in showbiz. Oberst, eat shit.
Jawbreaker - Tour Song
A touring song, but one about the bus breaking down rather than the tyranny of the New York chain hotel.
Sleater-Kinney - Words And Guitar
Which is what Corin and Carrie specialised in, and it's what you, the Sleater-Kinney listener, want.
Let's Wrestle - I Wish I Was In Husker Du
Which starts "I wish I was in Part Chimp". Inscrutable, these North London lo-fi types. They're the new Pooh Sticks!
The Wannadies - Might Be Stars
Less involved than most in its subject, but Swedish melodica rock is likeable however you slice it.
Bow Wow Wow - C30 C60 C90 Go!
Even in this brand-extension era nobody's recorded a tribute to the means of the mp3 player. Malcolm McLaren's Machiavellian meanderings, of course.
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - Rent A Wreck
They've been around the indie world but they can't find their, erm, Frosties, apparently.
M - Pop Muzik
Robin Scott says: "I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarize the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That's why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, 'All we're talking about basically (is) pop music'".
Mott The Hoople - Saturday Gigs
"I was ready to quit, but then we went to Croydon!" Ian Hunter's farewell to the not actually one hit wonders but may as well be, although oddly not meant as such as Hunter didn't decide to leave until after its release. Imagine if they'd continued for another couple of albums after this career coda.
And in part two later this week, songs about hating it all.