Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Virtual World

oystered 25: Arnold - Patio

Total running time 1:19:49
1. Fleas Don’t Fly (3:12) (from Fleas Don’t Fly CDs, Creation CRESCD 287)
2. Climb (3:56) (from Bahama CD, Poptones MC5 021)
3. Sun (2:22) (from The Barn Tapes CD, Creation CRECD 218)
4. You’re A Star (3:59) (from s/t Arnold CDEP, Lucky Pierre 01)
5. Medication Time (1:33) (from The Barn Tapes CD, Creation CRECD 218)
6. Catherine Day (2:52) (from Hillside CD, Creation CRECD 231)
7. Mickey’s Mother (2:22) (from Hillside CD, Creation CRECD 231)
8. Face (5:19) (version taken from Hillside CD, Creation CRECD 231)
9. Holly Lodge (2:29) (from Twist CDs, CRESCD 257)
10. Windsor Park (4:19) (version taken from Hillside CD, Creation CRECD 231)
11. untitled (4:08) (from The Barn Tapes CD, Creation CRECD 218)
12. Wild Colonial Girl (2:19) (from s/t Arnold CDEP, Lucky Pierre 01)
13. Hangman’s Waltz (3:09) (from Bahama CD, Poptones MC5 021)
14. Goodbye Grey (3:15) (from Hillside CD, Creation, CRECD 231)
15. Fishsounds (4:56) (from Fishsounds CDs, CRESCD 293)
16. Other Son (2:45) (from Bahama CD, Poptones MC5 021)
17. Oh My (4:08) (from Bahama CD, Poptones MC5 021)
18. Two Chairs (4:37) (version taken from Fishsounds CDs, CRESCD 293)
19. Hillside (2:37) (from Twist CDs, CRESCD 257)

20. Pavey Ark (15:38) (from Bahama CD, Poptones MC5 021)
Another stop-gap post until I finally get around to the massive undertaking that is turning out to be the “May 2007” mix.
Existing between 1998 and 2002, Arnold unfortunately suffered from a dubious band name and lousy timing. Signed to Creation during their heady Oasis years, Arnold’s lush compositions and complex arrangements we’re more in line with early 90’s UK shoegazers like Teenage Fanclub and Verve and US slowcore debutantes such as Galaxie 500 and Red House Painters. The band’s sophisticated melancholic sound mined the vaults of vintage soft-pop or what was brewing in SoCal circa the early ‘70s - the comedown after the turbulent, psychedelic ‘60s with artists like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Beach Boys’ output at this time as well, along with Big Star or even Pink Floyd at their least proggy. This compilation features a few tracks from each one of their releases, except for a few single releases. I could have grabbed a half dozen more but they didn’t fit the mood (yes, they have a few “rockers”) or the length constraints of the original 80 minute CD I created a few years back. When I think about it, really one of my favorite bands. And that probably has something to do with the fact they never got the attention they deserved.

Some history from the band’s own MySpace page:
Arnold formed in 1996. Phil Morris, Phil Payne and Mark Saxby had all been in a band called Patio with one Rob Ward. This group made a fearful noise when playing live, akin to a large building collapsing according to Rob Ariss who had the good fortune to be an audience member back then. The set list included a smattering of future Arnold songs---Calling Ira Jones, Twist, On the Bus, albeit fairly unrecognizable even to the band members themselves.There was one gig however which was quite splendid, playing at a party to celebrate Yugoslavian New Year[which is sometime in the second week of January for some reason]. Recently a video of this gig has come to light and we'll attempt to put some clips up sometime soon.

After Rob Ward died, leaving his many friends distraught, Sax and the two Phils carried on as Arnold, naming themselves after Payney's dog. The music took on a melancholy twist. They played their debut at Hope Festival in sub-zero temperatures---again a pretty awful racket with a temporary drummer who was under the impression he was drumming with Megadeath. But the songwriting was getting really good and they gave some home demos to Des Penny who took them to Alan McGee at Creation. He and Dick Green came down to see the band rehearse, and left unimpressed but giving the band £1000 demo budget largely on the basis of their relationship with Des. The band spent the money renting a barn in the Kent countryside for two glorious summer weeks and recorded a bunch of songs on their 8 track. They knew the songs were good---Windsor Park, Face, Float My Boat, Two Chairs, Sun, Dog on the Stairs. Eventually Alan McGee knew this too and signed them to a nice fat record deal.