Alternative Weekend: Songs from the HMV store
In case you are wondering what the title is all about.., well it's a blast from the past. HMV used to be a music (record) store (remember those things), that you could walk into and buy music.
Manchester was host to an amazingly large one on Market Street which was closed down before all this COVID crap came upon us.
They do exist in a smaller store within the Arndale Centre but it's just not the same.
I have in the past cited HMV Employees for being a little strange in appearance. Their recruiting seems to favour people who are not quite normal both in this respect and in their musical tastes.
...'the old iconic Manchester HMV will now re-open as a Pound Shop, it shows what we have become, a nation of tight-arses'...
I would walk into the flagship store and listen to what was being played and could guarantee it was some ‘weird shit’ I had never heard before.
Nowadays I would welcome this alternative sounding material as that is what I love, but then I was much more mainstream.
I will present to you today THREE guesses at the kind of 'weird shit' that would enter my ears when walking into HMV Manchester in the '80s or '90s.
Who Was In My Room Last Night – The Butthole Surfers (Independent Worm Saloon 1993)
I would never have known about The Butthole Surfers if it had not been for Beavis and Butthead and later, this track being incorporated in one of the Guitar Hero games.
There is no doubt this song would have been played in HMV and fits the Metal Weekend better than Alternative.
The band appears to still be active, despite frontman Gibby Haynes having heroin addiction habits through part of his career.
That’s Rock and Roll for you.
When I Die – Lush (Split 1994)
Since discovering this band just 24 years too late, and writing my previous piece about them, I have been further delving into their back catalogue looking for gems.
While there is still nothing to touch the incredible 'Desire Lines’, I did take note of the final track from ‘Split’ and thought I was listening to a ‘Cranberries’ track.
The similarity is astonishing, and with the year being 1994, it could fit on to their 17 million copies sold, 'No Need to Argue' album quite well.
Being a big fan of Dolores (RIP) I find myself floating back to 1994 when listening to 'When I Die'.
Dear Heart – The Cocteau Twins (Garlands 1982)
I would have been young to wander over to Manchester in 1982, but remember quite well my first visit around 1980.
It was a grand adventure and the HMV building was then in a different location. I found the atmosphere so strange, the music even stranger.
Could I have been listening to some of the weird gothic music from Garlands, which sounds incredibly like Siouxsie and the Banshees, who they were accused of ripping off?
That trade-mark guitar sound is so Banshees.
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I remember Bedford having HMV, Our Price and Andy's Records plus you could buy music in Woolworths and WH Smiths. I think another was MVC that did music and video. Now you might struggle to find anything apart from the charity shops. There's still a small HMV in Stevenage that I visit sometimes. I've found a lot of stuff browsing the bargain bins over the years. Online is not the same. Music discovery is different these days and posts like this may get me into a band.
I remember all of those. Do you remember the weird music in HMV? That has kind of stuck in my mind for all of these years. There were a lot of second-hand large stores then as well. I found some gems in those.
Don't remember any specific music being played in there. It's a long time ago. In recent years I've bought a lot from charity shops, but I'm running out of shelf space. I ought to have a DVD purge as many will never be watched again.
Andy's sorted album by artist first name. Always seemed daft to me as related artists would not be together.
I miss record stores, it was so much fun trying to look through albums and judge them based on their cover art if they were good or not to listen to lol.
Haha, I remember that. I bought Hemispheres (Rush) solely on album cover.
I was lucky that it was an amazingly great album and got me into the band..
I believe counterparts was the album I bought from Rush first then after that I was just buying all their albums as possible (as well as the repetitive anthologies).
Ah yah HMV is a blast from the past. I think there may still be some of those stores over here in the big cities? I was told by an HMV employee that HMV stands for His/Her Master's Voice? Referencing the clarity of the sound from the phonograph as accurate enough to fool pets into thinking they were listening to their masters voice.
Back to the topic at hand!
Not sure if I have posted this one before but it has to be one of my all-time favourite Alternative tracks. I am a metal head but loved these nerds and these visceral songs. Rubberneck is so good!
Hope things are going well old friend.
You are right, it's His Master's Voice and is based off a very old record label. I think I recall seeing a HMV in New York during the late 90's. There was definitely one in Sydney (Australia), as I visited it in 1998.
Your song sounds vaguely familiar, thought I can't place where I have heard it before. Decent stuff... I'm listening now :)
Doing OK, but this lockdown is fucking annoying, how are you?
Making the best of it. I was already plugged in with my friends online playing games and watching shows and hanging out on discord, working from home. So, socially, I am missing the events in town but I will get over it.
Kids are showing a little fatigue and REALLY need to get the hell out of the house. Running a digital marketing company, our revenue is way down because of some businesses battening down the hatches but others are using this opportunity to build online sales and marketing channels so we are banking the good will and learning lessons while everyone else does.
If this is how bad it gets, I am alright with that!
Isn't HMV related to Victor? I remember old albums with that dog logo.
Possibly, I remember the dog too.
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This might fit in with the Butthole Surfers sound.
This is the first I have heard of Lush, but I dig that track. I'll see if my library has it for download on Freegal.
The Cocteau Twins don't really do anything for me, but I can definitely tell how that kind of sound could trigger a memory.
I tested my new CD player with Save Ferris this week.
'Maybe I'll be happy if..', I do listen to stuff people post.., but the first one didn't do anything for me. The Ferris song reminds me a little of early 'No Doubt', and she even sounds like Gwen.
Though many of the general-purpose (and chain) music stores are closing, I see in my tiny city of Amsterdam, the more specialist Vinyl stores continuing their shop. Though I don't buy vinyl myself, love the fact they can stay open and continue to serve those who go for vinyl.
We used to have a little chain in the Netherlands, where I bought my CDs back int he days. Always a little alternative. Sure, they had some of the hit parade artists, but not too much. Loved them for that, since this exposed me a little more to some of the off-main stream music. Said that, the best 'shop' ever at which I was a regular customer, was a 'shop' that rented out CD's for a few Dutch Guilders a week. I became one of their 1st customers back in 1988. They bought all the CDs that came to market. And when they didn't had some, and I wanted to rent it, they would buy it. For at least a few years I came in that shop to rent a handful of CDs, every single week. Through that, discovered so much music, new, but also music from the past.
Somehow I like The Cocteau Twins. Lush sounds cool as well.
Last time I went in the (much smaller) HMV store, it was quite loaded with vinyl. My daughter is well into it and has a record player. I sold my entire collection around 2003, and don't regret it.
The stuff take up too much spare, and I care not now for material things. Got past it years ago.
Healthy and at the same time, smart! More space to live in while the music 🎶 flows through (almost) thin air 🙃
We used to have a small record store in the town where I grew up. It was called the Turntable and I always wished that I could work there. It seemed like they were always playing the new and unique artists that I had never heard before. The owner was a pretty cool guy too. Then I closed down and now with the resurgence of Vinyl there is a new record store in my town. It is much smaller than the other one, but is still cool and they are still always playing weird stuff.
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