A Little Ditty // I’m Shit At It (Emotional Response Records 7″ single, 2015)
Doing beak like that with a kid at your mums, paramedics, ya shoulda thought about that one, heart stopper, BOOM! CLEAR! What happened to Richard? All I can see is gear…
At six months to the day since my last post. There’s no real stellar significance to that though. I just stopped by the other day and noticed that it would be half a year gone on the 15th and so thought it should be time. I can’t remember how to do it now. It all seems to have changed on me, and some bits seem weird, but I’ve got this feeling that’s still here and not fading and that’ll be enough for now.
Introducing then my 7″ single physical product entry point to Sleaford Mods; two forty-something been-around-a-bits from the Nottingham area in England. This is the first of no way too many by them. Unconcerned with image, melody, some might say commerciality or radio-friendliness even. No compromise, and presently laying waste to the UK media on three or four LP’s and a fistful of singles in even less years.
Jason Williamson writes the words, talks and shouts and of late even sings a few, is often very funny too, like you can see up there. He is married with a young daughter. Said recently he used to practice his expletive-heavy delivery in front of the kid. She’s used to hearing it in our house, he said. Had been trading the Sleaford Mods moniker for several self-released CD’s done solo, and then one night he met this other fellah at a gig.
Andrew Fearn mostly just presses the start cursor on his laptop when they play out, and then stands there swaying a bit, swigging on a bottle of ale, taking pictures of the crowd, sometimes just grinning, as you would too if you were a part of this. The laptop has his beats and music inside; repetitive, pulsing, mostly beats and bass lines, twisting around the words, not changing much, but just endlessly shoving Jason along.
They’ve become so popular since I bought this my first record by them in January that the BBC showcased a thirty-minute live set from this year’s Glastonbury festival in June, and when criticized about the band’s incessant use of the F and C words, said on their website; “It’s not pretty, they’re not pretty, but we don’t live in pretty times and Sleaford Mods are deserving of the bigger audience.” I was so proud of the Beeb for that.
I’ve watched that full 37-minute Glastonbury performance a few times now, courtesy of You Tube, and can’t resist going back again and again. Seeing them in surroundings like that is bizarre indeed. The camera crew doesn’t know what to do with them. They’re front and centre and tiny on a fairly large stage; with one microphone stand and one flight case supporting one laptop and that’s all you get. It’s all you need. But what to do if you’re a camera crew?
The band don’t mug to the camera, or tell jokes, do routines, swap instruments. None of your standard raise the bar antics here. It gets to be hilarious watching the crew try to frame them just that little bit more intriguingly for what the viewers are accustomed to. Everyone seems to be trying just that much harder to reach over at BBC Glastonbury. But there’s really no need to with Sleaford Mods because the intrigue is all in the act itself. How does Jason remember all of the knotted detail in song after song of scattershot and complex verbiage, and all without autocue. It’s totally bewildering and utterly infectious.
Which basically means that I have tried to buy everything that has this band’s name on it since I came on board, and they’ve done a good few since I arrived. So far they’ve released three albums in as many years of this line-up, plus a compilation of their singles and b-sides, and another fistful of seven-inch singles that the band farms out to various tiny independent labels. I like how they do that too.
Which brings us to A Little Ditty.
I read about this one through social media and bought it straight off. It just felt like a great starting point for me. Something about it. At the time I had seen or heard very little of them because I don’t like to overdo it or saturate before the stuff arrives. It makes for more enticing an experience that way.
When the record arrived I also got included in the parcel an ad sheet for the label, a lyric sheet of the two songs included, three postcards, a fridge magnet, the typical download code card, and a couple of beer huggies!
Jen and Stew run Emotional Response records out of their home in Flagstaff, Arizona. They’re married to each other, have kids and pets, and are apparently in a couple of bands each. I went to the website and saw they also had for sale a copy of the song Tied Up in Nottz on grey vinyl 7″ single. This was the song that played the first time I saw Sleaford Mods as a moving image, after reading about them in the press.
I went to You Tube and clicked on it, and honestly not knowing what to make of them at all, found it was dark in there, and not to say impenetrable too in the lyrical drive of it. I didn’t understand quite a bit of it. Still don’t. Must have been away from the North of England too long. I left in 1993 to live in the deep South and never went back. It’s like with Nigel Blackwell in the equally wonderful Half Man Half Biscuit, another favourite Northern English band of mine, you often don’t have a clue what he’s on about but you can’t stop listening and buying and trying and even laughing all of the same. Got a shelf full of them too.
So I realized after I’d put in the order for A Little Ditty that I fancied Tied Up in Nottz too, but had already paid for the first one including shipping. Would they mind doubling up with the extra record?
When the package arrived Stew had written a note inside with it. It was so great I took a picture of it.
He didn’t know how to do a partial refund and so he stuck a couple of dollars in there instead. I loved that. I’ll bet you wouldn’t get the personal touch like that with I-tunes. I wish I’d kept them stuck inside the sleeve for a souvenir but I needed the money to get my salad for lunch in work, just like you would if you were in one of their songs.