Archive for the ‘Cath Carroll’ Category
This is a historic day for Earworms! I’ve just come across the music video I’ve been waiting to see for the last twenty-three years. Though that’s not entirely correct: So rare is this video that I only had confirmation that it existed earlier this year. Since then I’ve been hoping that someone would post it to YouTube, and now someone has.
Miaow is the subject of an essay I wrote for an anthology I edited last year called Heavy Rotation: Twenty Writers on the Albums That Changed Their Lives. (Today I also discovered, to my chagrin, that the book has been remaindered. But the good news is that you can now buy it for $5.70 at Amazon.) “When It All Comes Down” is one of the three singles the band released during the short time that it was around, from 1984 to 1987. My essay is about how Miaow’s quiet career took on huge proportions in my life, and about my long-held wish to hear the demo tapes for the album the band never recorded—a wish that was eventually gratified.
In my essay, I wrote that “When It All Comes Down” is “the apotheosis of Miaow’s art, three and a half mountain-high minutes of yodels and handclaps that made my heart want to burst.” It still does. I’ve watched this video three times now, and each time I’m more delighted—it’s as charming and exuberant as the song. (It looks like the video was transferred from a videocassette of Factory Records promotional clips, which explains the weird William S. Burroughs thingy at the very end. Also, the sound reproduction could be a tad clearer—the production on the actual recording, which you can find on iTunes, really sparkles.) Hearing the song again has also allowed me to discover something new about it—I caught the reference to the Beatles on my 150th-or-so listen, but it crosses my mind now that maybe the whole thing is an homage to “And Your Bird Can Sing,” twisty guitar lines, kiss-off lyrics and all?
I have a policy against posting those YouTube videos where someone attaches an audio recording to a picture of an album cover or something, but since there’s only one official Miaow video, and since I’d like you to enjoy a few more Miaow songs, I’m making a few exceptions. This is the great “Sport Most Royal,” which appeared on the legendary C86 compilation and is an ode to the Hampstead women’s bathing ponds:
Here’s “Belle Vue,” Miaow’s first single:
Finally, “Angel’s Spit,” below, is a demo from the unrecorded album Priceless Innuendo:
Cath Carroll’s first solo album, England Made Me, was recorded in Sheffield, São Paulo, and Chicago. The picture on the front cover was taken in Louisiana, and a series of promotional photos was shot by Robert Mapplethorpe in New York. This video was filmed in New York too (in an abandoned mental institution, I read somewhere). For all its globe-traveling, though, the album, with its singular, silvery sound, has always seemed to me as if it’s not quite of this planet. I imagine it floating somewhere above my life, like a dream, or another place. In 1991 I moved bag and baggage into the world of England Made Me. The music—and Cath’s voice, one of my favorite musical instruments—would flow in and out of my head for years to come.