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Helen Love - Steve Lamacq Session 16.09.98

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 25 / 10 / 2023

Helen Love - Steve Lamacq Session 16.09.98
Label: Select Label
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Welsh drum-machine punksters Helen Love recorded two BBC sessions at the end of the 90s, and the second one, from 1998, has now been released on 10” vinyl by Precious Recordings. Tommy Gunnarsson thinks this one’s for the already converted

Back at the turn of the century Helen Love made a name for themselves by releasing a bunch of singles and EPs on the legendary Damaged Goods label, all packed with fast songs, hyperactive drum machines and distorted guitars. They were like Ramones with a drum machine and the occasional keyboard thrown in. And it wasn’t really a secret that Helen Love had a special place for Ramones in their hearts. If you name a song ‘Joey Ramoney’ it’s rather obvious, isn’t it? After Helen Love’s “breakthrough”, some other similar bands emerged, including Teen Anthems, Anorak Girl and Supercute, where the former even made a song called ‘Welsh Bands Suck’ (but I should point out that the singer makes it clear in the lyrics that “apart from Helen Love, they’re a load of shite”). Anyway, returning to the subject, in the late 90s Helen Love were asked to do a couple of sessions for BBC Radio One. A Peel Session in 1997 was followed by one for Steve Lamacq, which was recorded in June and broadcast in September 1998. The latter has now been released in its entirety by Precious Recordings, a label that released scores of BBC sessions by indie pop acts for a few years now. Songs tracked on June 22nd 1998 included original material ‘Does Your Heart Go Boom?’, ‘Shifty Disco Girl’ and ‘MC5’, plus a cover of The Clash’s ‘Tommy Gun’. And it was all introduced by the one and only Joey Ramone, who had recorded a message on the band’s answering machine. According to the liner notes on this 10” EP, the Clash track was chosen as a “reply” to Ash covering ABBA’s ‘Does Your Mother Know?’ on a BBC session a bit earlier, and they simply nicked the idea from them. As Helen Love’s “studio” recordings (they were mostly done at home) consisted of drum machines and guitars, the live recordings don’t vary that much from the singles and EPs, so if you have heard them you know what you’re up for here. As for the Clash cover… well, it’s fair to say that it isn’t really essential listening, perhaps even more so if you’re a die-hard Clash fan, but it’s always great fun to hear bands tackle songs that aren’t what you expect them to play. This is a nice release to pick up if you’re a Helen Love fan, and you even get an envelope with a bunch of postcards of the band!

Track Listing:-

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Helen Love - Steve Lamacq Session 16.09.98

Helen Love - Steve Lamacq Session 16.09.98

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