PREAMBLE: So Neil takes me aside and says, “Intern Ted, you see these MASSIVE shelves packed with old 7-inches? Yeahhh, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and price them. All of them. Kbye!”
Here I’ve been since - sorting, sifting and pricing my way through a deluge of used wax.
The upside? It’s awesome.
In between the Donny Osmond and the Chaka Khan, we’ve got some really rad, rare, and fascinating vinyl here. So rad and rare in fact, that I have to share some with you. This is From the Crates.
TRACK: “Hungry, So Angry”
LABEL: Cherry Red Records
Emerging from Nottingham, England – a town known for its bicycle industry, tobacco industry and yes – Robinhood, Medium Medium was an offshoot from an earlier punk project, The Press. The Band released their freshman single in 1979 – but what we have here is their second single, which surfaced in 1981. Fun fact: it was actually the first signing from Cherry Red Record’s then A&R, Mike Always. The song’s “new wave does dance funk” sound was light enough on its feet to soar across the pond and into the ears of the American alt-radio scene – even cracking the Billboard Top 50. “Hungry, So Angry” gave Medium Medium their first (and unfortunately their last) real jolt of notoriety. After the initial success and a U.S. tour the band was unable to keep momentum, eventually falling off the map after a unanimously rejected attempt at a full LP in ‘82.
About the song:
This song is tight.
I wonder if they’d been listening to Fear of Music while writing the song - you get a definite Talking Head’s vibe between the chorus-heavy disco rhythms of the guitar and front-person John Reese Lewis’ Byrne-esque vocal mimicry. The band is often compared to contemporaries, Gang of Four, which makes sense as both lay claim to the dance/funk/punk sounds in the transitional space between new wave and post-punk.
The song rests primarily on a bass and drum groove with the guitar adding half-muted, stuttering rhythmic slam-strums on top. The whole thing is sandwiched between raunchy, wailing saxophone solos provided by singer, Lewis. Alan Turton’s bass groove is the real standout, taking its cues directly from slap-style funk bass.
Lyrically we’re met with dense lines describing the struggle resulting from the semipermeable barrier between an artist’s work and personal life. After an initial intimate revelation, Lewis sings, “And I write this down, You stare at the ground,” adding, “It’ll embarrass you, ‘cause you hate the way I had to write this down.” In an artist’s compulsory search for truth, where does he draw his personal lines? Or is all fair game in love, war, and art?
Give it a listen - and come find it in the shop!