Cocteau Twins

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Cocteau Twins

Post by linus » Sat Aug 23, 2008 00:58

Sometimes I love a band so much with such ferocity and passion that I suck all the life out of that love and subsequent listening to them becomes something lifeless and empty, all that love is spent... I guess it's an adolescent thing, a sign of some non-emotional development on my part... a flaw

Does it matter? Isn't that what being adolescent's all about: something that means so much for a few fleeting months reduced to nothing apparently overnight?

I think the Cocteau Twins were the first band that happened with, to me

My move from bouncing around at youth club discos to Madness was replaced seemingly in one listless evening (and a performance of 'Ghosts' on TOTPs) by the band Japan- providing me with hours of bedroom introspection and stealth raids on my big sister's make up drawer and an obsessive regard for David Sylvian's heavily made up cheek bones and platinum blond wedge hairdo, a peculiar (or so it seemed, entirely commonplace I later found out) early teen boy crush that made me feel rare and exotic and a misfit and that took me from Japan (suddenly they seemed too affected and so did I, the horror!) to the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes (baroque and out there, the pair of them, and equally affected) to New Order (the coolest band on the planet at the time) and then the Cocteau Twins (a state of nirvana and perpetual nervousness for me)

Each change revealed by my barnet...

I went from my own attempt at a Sylvian wedge to a badly spiked McCulloch hedgerow backwards 'do to Barney Sumner's utilitarean ironic-Bund deutscher Arbeiterjugend short back n' sides and then Simon Raymonde's extreme Barney personality on top, sheared round the back and sides hairdon't (something my current gone wrong resembles)

But more than that the music, all of those bands and their music, seemed to entirely reconstruct my very molecular being in a way that only surreptitious dabbling with the medicine and drinks cabinet together could provide (and then only almost), or perhaps that was the latter stages of puberty

Homework was dispensed with, my evenings revolved around me sticking headphones on and listening to and getting lost in 'Heaven Up Here' or 'Movement' or 'Wilder' and all the mental wall pictures and prepostorous flights of fancy they conjured up was the nearest I got to teenage adventure and escape from the humdrum

The Cocteau Twins did all that for me and more again

'Peppermint Pig' was the first record of theirs I bought, a clattering insistent high treble groove, I monged out on the cover, a girl (?) up to her shoulders in misty water, some sort of bridge/fence in the distance, everything still...

I didn't know what ethereal mean't then, but what I understand it to mean now, this wasn't it, this was something other, borne out of the city, borne out of the now, not all fairies and gossamer

The clattering guitars sounded like PIL, the hard drum machine beats all collapsing industry and then the voice

Everyone goes on about Liz's voice and the babyphrasing made up words- it's almost become cliche/overly obvious - but her voice is as original or should I say as distincitve and singular as say Morrissey's croon and yelp on those early-Smiths records

I'm knackered, I mean't to ramble on incoherantly about Head Over Heels and Treasure, perhaps I will over the weekend and won't that be fun?

But, I just wanted to start a thread about the Cocteau Twins because I've been listening to them tonight and they really are fucking great

I didn't listen or like them for their whole time together, that was sort of my point to begin with, but for a fairly sustained period they mean't everything and I listened to them tonight and I thought 'fucking hell, this band is amazing, Liz Frazer really is amazing, these songs are amazing'

and I started writing here about when I had hair and I used to do all these silly things to it, like anybody then or now cares that my hair is mean't to resemble Simon Raymonde's hair by accident or design

or that listening to the Cocteau Twins in my wee bedroom as a 14/15 year old lad had me liquifying between this state and that, had my suburban mind squeezed flipping and reforming and stretching and morphing like a blob in a lava lamp or bubblegum chewed furiously and blown and popped

I mean, they were just a band, arsing about like bands do

They possessed a furious nervous playful spirit early on... all that minimalism and ornateness that came later never really did it for me, but when they burned I guess I feel I happened to be burning too

I think I'm overtired or having a mid-life mini-crisis

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aorta
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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by aorta » Sat Aug 23, 2008 01:15

I love 'In Our Angelhood'. A very chaotic song.

'A Kissed Out Red Floatboat' is one of my other favorites. I like the entire Blue Bell Knoll record.

I was a bit late to the game. In fact I think I first heard Talulah Gosh and Cocteau Twins on the same day which can do your head in when you think of all the bands that came afterwards,
IT狂人
if i could change your mind, i'd really love to break your heart

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by bodgers_badger » Sat Aug 23, 2008 09:33

I got into them quite late myself after a friend recommended them. I do quite enjoy fitting my own lyrics to the songs:

"I'm seeing everything as trees, I want to live with all the bumblebees, but is it Heaven or Las Vegas?"

I think I'm going to go away and listen to them actually, its been a while.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by bartblueboy » Sat Aug 23, 2008 16:49

Ooh Linus, what a wonderful post.

The whole of my youth seems to flash by (hahaha) as I followed just about the selfsame trajectory from adoring Japan through to the Cocteau Twins.
The first Cocteau Twins record I bought must have been "sunburst and snowblind", but soon afterwards I sought out their two earlier ep's and the debut album "garlands" too. I was a huge fan and bought all their records up till them leaving 4AD and then I sort of lost intrest in them. I thought the "evangeline" single slightly generic and didn't buy the "four calendar café" at the time partly because I thought the sleevedesign was awful, imitation 23 envelope ... (hm, silly I know, but I guess I was just too much into other stuff).
I then didn't listen to them for ages : I suppose Madchester, Sarah records, shoegazing, Saint Etienne, etc ...) got in the way ...
But what great records they still are, all of them (yes even "four calendar café, which I did eventually buy, has some pretty great moments).

Thanks anyway for this wonderful wonderful post. I know people don't like you to wallow in nostalgia, but I do like to from time to time ...

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by Toni Vienna » Mon Sep 08, 2008 18:45

Liz Fraser sings beautifully on Massive Attack's Mezzanine, especially on 'Group4'.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by squirrelboutique » Mon Sep 08, 2008 18:49

I was just reminded last night of a song she did with them. Is "Teardrop" on Mezzanine? It's the theme song for the show House in North America.

I'm due for a Cocteau Twins listening spree. I never really listened to Massive Attack, and I hate to admit why, but it's because everyone I knew here who listened to them was so horribly pretentious and intimidating about music.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by FactCheckinCuz » Thu Sep 11, 2008 07:50

Linus' post really took me back.

Beck when I was 15 I would proudly wear my Tin Drum T-shirt (I thought it was cool because it was grey, when all other band tshirts were black or white) to parties where only 2 people would bring records. Me with my black plastic LP case with Japan, Joy Division, Jam, Killing Joke, Psychedelic Furs and Only Ones Records and Mark Sharkey who had a singles box full of Madness and Shakin' Stevens. It was a battle of the decks (Aiwa stereo) from then on - the only bonus I had was that along with my record case I could fit 4 cans of Skol. I was flying high.

All my music discoveries then came from Peel, including the Cocteau Twins. I think liking and knowing 'Treasure' was like being in a secret club. Even now when I hear any Cocteaus song, and you always recognize it in an instant, I get a warm feeling and feel very safe.

Carolyn's Fingers is probably my favourite.

And then there were the people who'd say 'What is she singing about? I can't make out a word of it!' If you have to ask...

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by chimes » Thu Sep 11, 2008 17:00

Yes, of course they are one of the best bands ever.
But has anyone seen Liz Fraser's tattoo? My mate has, and Ill tell you about it if you want.
Eh?

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by andyroo » Thu Sep 11, 2008 17:04

chimes wrote:But has anyone seen Liz Fraser's tattoo? My mate has, and Ill tell you about it if you want.
I can confidently declare that I speak for us all when I say "yes, I want".
There ain't no-one gonna turn me round

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by chimes » Thu Sep 11, 2008 19:56

Apparently it's quite clearly home-made, very blue, and reads 'Sid Lives'.
Nevertheless, 'Shallow Then Halo' is a masterpiece. Beautiful.
Eh?

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by Tomb » Thu Sep 11, 2008 20:45

Those Eyes, That Mouth does it for me. Bliss.

What a great band although I have never heard Four Calendar Cafe either.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by in search of lazy jane » Thu Sep 11, 2008 23:29

Pearly-Drewdrops' Drop got me hooked when it kind of became a hit single.

I remember when I want to see them live, thinking, for the first time - well, can you call this live? They were like playing along to recordings, something that's not uncommon now, but it was a shock to me then, being "back in the day" of the likes of Howard Jones who could, as a solo artist, still totally create a totally live show.

I got back into them again a few years ago when I picked up a cheap compilation cd "sorted!" which had Fifty-Fifty Clown nicely segued into Little Fluffly Clouds by The Orb. That made me buy the joy that is Heaven Or Las Vegas.

Finally, I regularly pass through their home town of Grangemouth, it's about 2 miles from where I work.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by chimes » Fri Sep 12, 2008 08:49

in search of lazy jane wrote:
Finally, I regularly pass through their home town of Grangemouth, it's about 2 miles from where I work.
That's where my dad is from.

Talking of Howard Jones, there's a feature on him on the telly this morning, as it's 25 years in the biz... they showed a clip of 'New Song', where he had that bloke dancing round in chains with him on TOTP.

What a knob. What a pretentious jerk. Annoyed me then, and still does now...
Eh?

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by FactCheckinCuz » Thu Sep 18, 2008 13:20

Chimes, where on her body is the tattoo> - I'm guessing forearm.

Tenuous link. Mercury nominated Reading singer Laura Marling's first gig was supporting Howard Jones. Her Dad and him are mates. She said he was alright, but she didn't suffer 95% of TOTP in the 80s, did she.

As for homemade tattoos - I so nearly had the stick man drawing of The Saint done in quink and a hot needle over a lighter. All my mates off the estate had that or MAM/DAD in a cross using the A twice. Luckily it was back when kids got a slap and I was too scared of my Dad to have it done. No one ever talks of the positives do they...

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chimes
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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by chimes » Thu Sep 18, 2008 17:59

FactCheckinCuz wrote:Chimes, where on her body is the tattoo> - I'm guessing forearm.
Alright Larry?

I believe it's on the upper arm...
Eh?

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by Sam » Fri Nov 21, 2008 13:59

I wish I could've seen this band live. Oh, why was I born in 1985?!
Windmills do not work that way! Good night.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by indiansummer » Fri Nov 21, 2008 14:28

Sam wrote:I wish I could've seen this band live. Oh, why was I born in 1985?!
I have this problem with most of the bands i like. except i was born in 82. Still, same difference. Rubbish, isn't it?
halo my middle, a hula hoop hug

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by Sam » Fri Nov 21, 2008 14:31

indiansummer wrote:
Sam wrote:I wish I could've seen this band live. Oh, why was I born in 1985?!
I have this problem with most of the bands i like. except i was born in 82. Still, same difference. Rubbish, isn't it?
It's totally rubbish! Sometimes I wish I wasn't friends with so many older people, then I wouldn't have ever heard of these bands... wah, i say. wah.
Windmills do not work that way! Good night.

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by Uncle Ants » Fri Nov 21, 2008 14:32

Sam wrote:It's totally rubbish! Sometimes I wish I wasn't friends with so many older people, then I wouldn't have ever heard of these bands... wah, i say. wah.
If it's any consolation, I was 18 in 1985 and it was mostly rubbish.
In Recordeo Speramus

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Re: Cocteau Twins

Post by Sam » Fri Nov 21, 2008 14:33

Uncle Ants wrote:
Sam wrote:It's totally rubbish! Sometimes I wish I wasn't friends with so many older people, then I wouldn't have ever heard of these bands... wah, i say. wah.
If it's any consolation, I was 18 in 1985 and it was mostly rubbish.
Then why does everyone make it sound like sunshine and lollipops?
Windmills do not work that way! Good night.

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