Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present
Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.
As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.
Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.
In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.
Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, 21 September 2014
Here's a Hugh set from last year's Totem and Taboo tour.... featuring a couple of track from 'The Raven' if we want to stay on topic!
Thanks to wegga66 for permission to share this recording!
MP3 (as received): http://we.tl/aqkA7QnRyI
01. Totem And Taboo
02. Nice 'N' Sleazy
03. The Face
04. Nuclear Device
05. I Want One Of Those
07. Stuck In Daily Mail Land
08. Hanging Around
09. Bad Vibrations
10. Skin Deep
11. God Is A Woman
12. Golden Brown
13. Love Me Slender
15. God, Guns And Gays
16. Always The Sun
17. A Street Called Carroll
18. In The Dead Of Night
19. Walk On By
20. No More Heroes
I am happy to say that the Wetransfer subscription upon which the running of the Aural Sculptors website currently relies has been paid, meaning that the site is in business for another year.
My thanks as always goes out to those who responded to my request for assistance to cover the costs (just over 70% of the fee was covered which is great).
I hope that you continue to enjoy the site.
Another great gig from the Raven tour in Europe, Brilliant quality for its age and a fitting post for a significant anniversary!
Same set as played four days later in Bordeaux.... no changes required! Thanks are due again to Eric2Vini for permission.
'The Raven' did not fall from the sky as the near perfect finished creation that we all know and love. Here are the rough mixes of most tracks from the album. Admittedly, these versions are pretty close to the final output, albeit lacking some of the polish applied to the final cuts.
Most notable here if the inclusion of 'Social Secs', Hugh's musical response to the 'Rock Goes To College' debacle in the band's hometown of Guildford.
My thanks go to Eric2Vini for his permission to upload this on Aural Sculptors.
Artwork pdfs are included in the download file.
This recording has appeared on the site previously, but the rapidshare link is dead, so there's no time like the present to resurrect this one. The band's visit to the French city of Bordeaux on 16th November 1979 give us what is widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, live recordings of the period.
Take a look at the set for a moment. The band's belief and confidence in the strength of their new material is there for all to see. In a seventeen songs set, no less than eight are included from 'The Raven', make that ten if you include 'The Menhinblack' and 'Don't Bring Harry' that saw the band onto and off the stage (only 'Longships' from the album does not receive an airing here). Again, I think that this is indicative of the risks that The Stranglers were prepared to take with this album. Contrast with the band's 2012 set which showcased the then new album 'Giants' with typically four new songs.
01. Five Minutes
02. Shah Shah A Go Go
04. Down In The Sewer
05. Hanging Around
06. The Raven
07. Dead Loss Angeles
09. Baroque Bordello
12. Burning Up Time/Bring On The Nubiles
13. Nuclear Device
16. Toiler On The Sea
As most of you will be aware, today marks the 35th anniversary of the release of 'The Raven', argued by many to be the band's finest studio album. Be that the case or not, there is little doubt that in terms of a planned departure from the 'Stranglers' sound' which had recently established the band as a tour de force of the New Wave scene, 'The Raven' was the most daring of their albums (not even 1983's 'Feline' can claim that prize!).
Personally, I would say that 'The Raven' is a close second to 'Rattus' in the best album stakes. However, I find such black and white grading of albums a challenge (sorry for the pun!). Rather, the Mk I albums represent a progression and in each album, I can hear a musical thread that connects a given album with both its predecessor and its successor. As suggested by JJ on the Official Site, 'The Raven' is an international album (France, Iran, Australia, Japan etc. feature across the two sides of the album). This is certainly the case in comparison with the highly London-centric 'Rattus Norvegicus' (okay, I concede that Toulouse is not London in the strict sense, more of a suburb maybe!). The travel, the drugs and the global unrest of the times opened the band, and therefore the fanbase, up to some rather esoteric topics and these set the tone for the next couple of albums.
'The Raven' also introduced fans of the band to some extraordinary imagery, that stage backdrop, stark, white lighting, the black clothes, white guitar straps (Hugh's oxford bags!?).... all visual elements that cemented the look of the band for the next few years.
I think that if asked to pinpoint the essence of the band's style, a majority of fans would make reference to this period and to 'The Raven' in particular.
To mark the date and to accompany the excellent pieces that now feature on the Official Site, Today I am posting a trio of Raven related posts.
So Happy Birthday old bird!
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Following on from the last 1987 post that was the Rejects gig, I was prompted to put up an excellent sounding gig, also from the late '80's by The Upstarts. Brilliant, utterly uncompromising stuff from Mensi & Co.
The Cockney Rejects/Upstarts connection was reinforced when I read 'I'm An Upstart - The Decca Wade Story', a punk roller coaster tale of the highs and lows endured by the hell raising, diminutive, oft-times Upstarts drummer in his long musical career.
02. Murder Of Liddle Towers
04. Machine Gun Kelly
05. One More Day
06. Two Million Voices
07. Woman In Disguise
08. Kids On The Streets
09. Last Night Another Soldier
10. Teenage Warning
11. I'm An Upstart
12. White Riot
13. If The Kids Are United