Sisters of Mercy, “Emma”

13938_ae14In terms of cover versions, the Sisters (and we’re talking pre-Floodland era Sisters) have a rich history.   They were mainly played out live, they were always performed with tongue firmly in cheek, and they were never straight versions – they always had a dark twist.

On vinyl they committed 1969 (Stooges) and Gimme Shelter (Stones), while live they regularly rolled out Knocking on Heaven’s Door (Dylan), Sister Ray (VU)/Louie Louie (Kingsmen) [often glued together in a 10 minute jam at the end of a frantic set], Jolene (Dolly Parton), Ghostrider (Suicide) and Gimme Gimme Gimme a Man After Midnight (Abba).  And so it goes on – recent Sisters gigs have even seen Kylie tracks rolled out.

But the jewel in the cover crown, and certainly their most revered cover back in the mid-eighties (certainly amongst our motley clan), was their mammoth version of Emma, the Hot Chocolate classic.

Continue reading

“30 Years On: The Sisters Of Mercy’s First And Last And Always Revisited”

first-and-last-and-always_1426323527_crop_560x550.0Excellent retrospective of a fantastic LP.

The clues to The Sisters of Mercy’s imminent implosion were already in place: Ben Gunn’s departure in 1983 after the band’s first US tour, with the guitarist claiming that the band had become the very thing that they’d set out to parody; news of singer Andrew Eldritch’s hospitalisation after one too many nights on the mirror and rumours of the band barely talking to each other during the recording of their debut album. And then of course there was the title – First And Last And Always – compounded by the fact that the vinyl album’s two sides were more or less divided into Eldritch/Hussey and Eldritch/Marx compositions.

Continue reading

Joy Division documentary on BBC iPlayer

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 18.37.00If you didn’t catch the excellent Joy Division on BBC 4 recently, it’s on iPlayer for another 12 days…

On June 4 1976, four young men from ruined, post-industrial Manchester went to see a Sex Pistols show at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall. Inspired by the gig that is now credited with igniting the Manchester music scene, they formed what was to become one of the world’s most influential bands, Joy Division.

Continue reading

“Heart And Soul: Remembering Ian Curtis”

ian-curtis-500When Ian Curtis passed away in 1980, Joy Division – the band he left behind – had only recorded two albums, barely making a dent on mainstream culture in the process. However their posthumous fame and impact – two feature films, countless documentaries and published biographies – has created an influence which dwarfs sales. It’s an impact which should be remembered, but not – as fans proposed last week – through turning his final home into a permanent museum.

Continue reading

“Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman talks MMXII”

551815nIf ever there was a year for a Killing Joke album, this is it. Fearless front man Jaz Coleman gives The Skinny an in-depth guide to the post-punk godfathers’ second studio LP in 18 months. Fire up the kettle and strap yourself in…


I think most people will be familiar with the concept of what a pole shift is, which has happened on our planet so many times. If you look at the historian Herodotus who went to Egypt and talked to the priests there, they told him that the sun had changed from rising in the east to rising in the west four times in their history; we’re due for another one.

Continue reading