Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Slow Club - Because We're Dead
Here they are, more or less in descending order (at least the first ten!):
The Clientele – God Save the Clientele
Pants Yell! – Alison Statton
Love Dance – Result
Butcher Boy – Profit In Your Poetry
California Snow Story – Close to the Ocean
The Loves – Technicolour
Louis Philippe – An Unknown Spring
The Royal We – The Royal We
The Dreamers – Day For Night
Afternoon Naps - Sunbeamed
The Postmarks – The Postmarks
Club 8 – The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Dreaming
A Smile and a Ribbon – The Boy I Wish I Never Met
Trembling Blue Stars – The Last Holy Writer
The Orchids – Good to Be a Stranger
The Hermit Crabs – Saw You Dancing
Cats On Fire – The Province Complains
The Sunny Street – They Hurt You Every Day
The Hepburns – Something Worth Stealing
BMX Bandits – Bee Stings
Tullycraft – Every Scene Needs a Center
The Urges – Psych Ward
All My Friends – All My Friends Get Hung Up
Celestial – Dream On
Soda Fountain Rag – Sometimes I Wonder If You Have a Heart
The Icicles – Arrivals & Departures
Annemarie – ABC On TV
Ferns – On Botany
1990s – Cookies
The Owls – Daughters and Suns
The Red Button - She's About to Cross My Mind
The Lodger – Grown-Ups
Souvenir – 64
I've probably forgotten something...
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The decibel level at the sparse gallery in southern Malmö was notably low for a POP show, and the atmosphere hushed. Anthony Rochester (from Tasmania!) even felt compelled to whisper his banter. He opened with a tasteful set on Danelectro guitar and ipod backtrack. A few members of the secretive local act Testbild! joined him for a some of the songs, and these later made up Matt's backing band - together with Anthony. At the most there were five of them, as you can see. I hope it says something about the talent of the Testbild! members that they'd only rehearsed for two days and still played a (as far as I can tell) note-perfect gig. The line-up with vibraphone and the occasional trombone made for a slightly different sound than on the record - I'm looking forward to hearing the song they recorded together! I only recognised the first song ("Beautiful Mover") as they played mostly Matt's new material, and a few from the latest album Something Worth Stealing which I still have the pleasure of hearing to look forward to.
The last time that happened to an indiepop group seems to be with Camera Obscura's Underachievers Please Try Harder, and even though only a mere four years ago, it's hard to see that as a possibility these days. If AS had come out in 1998 I think Pants Yell! would be Everywhere now. Even though there isn't a huge development in Andrew's songwriting skills (last year's Recent Drama was already a work of genius) there's a clear line of development from their first release Songs For Siblings: fuller, more intricate arrangements, crisper sound and the quirky song-structures have been bent into one immaculate pop hook. And obviously Carly's distinct drumming is gone, but Casey brings new textures to the songs that create yet more variation.
From the perfect opening track "More Purple" with its brass-driven sound, followed by the more old-school Pants Yell! sound of "Reject, Reject" that was a live favourite last year already, then "Tried to Be Good" which is the first of two big POP! songs on the record, Andrew's own favourite (and maybe mine too) "Evan's Way" follows in mellow and more autobiographical tone and is perhaps the best example of how this time they've got the guitar sounds Just Right, "A New City Life" is the songs that sticks out in the middle with it's unprecedented use of distortion, "Magenta and Green" is the other irresistible pop rush and suddenly you glimpse an influence from the British indiepop of the 80s that I know Andrew loves but that hasn't been tangible on their previous efforts, "Shoreham Kent" is AS's "Simple Things" and over in just over a minute, "Alison Statton" then is its "Boy With the Arab Strap" (or why not "Too Much Love"?) with a bouncy piano that won't let you leave the dance floor, and it's tempting to see "The Royal We" as a mirror image of Belle & Sebastian's mention of another contemporary Glasgow group but it actually isn't, the acoustic "For Dee" is almost prettier than "Pony Tales", and through to the end with "Two French Sisters" that must be one of the best closing tracks on a pop album ever (though I admit being slightly biased in that evaluation!), this is one of the most important coherent recordings of the decade.
CLOUD 30 Pants Yell! - Evan's Way
Friday, December 21, 2007
I've listened to, and fallen in love with so many new bands this year. More than ever, and I find it hard to believe it would be possible to listen to more music than I have done. Also, you have to consider what I have chosen to call 'the Indietracks effect'. What made the festival so important is that there is now actually an indiepop scene, at least in the UK. I think many of the bands, fans, writers, promoters and label owners met out there at Butterley. So here is my list of the Heaven Is Above Your Head/The Rain Fell Down scene - the names of 2007.
The School/The Jerks/The Voluntary Butler Scheme/The Loves, Butcher Boy/All My Friends, Slow Club, Bubblegum Lemonade/Strawberry Whiplash, The Paralellograms, Horowitz, The Royal We, Esiotrot, The Urges, The Fallen Leaves, Pocketbooks, Afternoon Naps, The Dreamers, Moscow Olympics, For Ex-Lovers Only, Pains of Being Pure At Heart, The Bridal Shop, The Hermit Crabs, Clay Hips, The Sunny Street, Liechtenstein, Wake the President, Northern Portrait, The First Division, The Local Heroes, Nalda, Burning Hearts, The Deirdres, Soda Fountain Rag, Beach House, The Felt Tips, Ferns, Maria, Catwalk, The Hillfields.
But as usual, it hasn't all been about new music for me. So here's a list of my biggest obsessions this year - this means that at various points I've been convinced that each of these was the best band/artist EVER.
The Dovers, The Foxgloves, The Relict, Bomb Pops, The School, The Squires, Reserve, Laura Watling, Billy Nicholls, The Suede Crocodiles, Brittle Stars, Paul Chastain & Ric Menck, Life Without Buildings, #Poundsign#, Joe Meek, The Popguns.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
In March we're hoping to present an intimate performance from Glenn Melia (St. Christopher), in conjunction with On Our Honeymoon in Gothenburg, but more news about that next year! We might even have something coming up in February...
And just one more thing - if you haven't overdosed on Christmas Indie yet you HAVE to get "Wombling Merry Christmas" from here. As far as I know it's the first song from The Voluntary Butler Scheme available for download. Rob's unloved, extra-curricular (forgive the pun) activities are recent favourites, and I'm hoping for a grand release next year. 2008 might just be Cardiff's big year, with albums from The School and The Loves speaking for it.
Also from Wales, The Hepburns are coming to Sweden! Well, just Matt really, accompanied by members of Testbild!. They're playing at Galleri Krets on Friday together with labelmate Anthony Rochester. Indiepop legends as they are, The Hepburns have been on the scene for about 20 years, with their latest effort out this very year! Here's the first track off of Something Worth Stealing. See you there.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
CLOUD 29 A Smile and a Ribbon - Heavenly Christmas
Rose & Greg - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight), from WIAIWYA.com
Pocketbooks - Christmas In Your Sights, from Emma's lovely blog Quick As Rainbows
Only Joe Kane - The Guy In the Grotto, download here.
The School - Kiss You In the Snow, dowload here.
The School - Let Me Be the Fairy On Your Christmas Tree, listen here.
The film has been released on dvd in the US, but it's out of print. So imagine my joy when I came upon this blogpost at I'm Learning to Share. Not only can you get the original version of "While I'm Still Young" by Lynn Redgrave - there's a link to the Rita Tushingham Home Page! From there you can order vhs or dvd copies of most of the films she's been in, including Smashing Time.
So, about the song then. In the film it's a hit recording by Yvonne (Lynn Redgrave). She can't sing but after flicking some switches in the studio it suddenly sounds hip! The vocal is still hilarious though, and I was quite frankly shocked when I first heard it. Since then I've started to dig it more and more and now I think it's genius!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Pam sings on the Castaway Stones side, of course, and it's no lie to go as far as calling it their best recording ever, certainly inspired by Meek's sound in the production. I couldn't think of a better Christmas present to give you than this:
On another Friday night we went over to Copenhagen and the cool Club Mau Mau, where our friends were playing records. The support band for The Masonics was a pleasant surprise indeed. The Phantom Pillow (may the name have anything to do with this guy's Vox copy?) from Denmark is a brand new garage group who were actually doing their very first gig. They went down really well with crowd, with their extrovert female singer, inspired covers ("Going All the Way" by The Squires!) and rocking originals. The Masonics gig was probably the best thing I've seen this year - they had such an aura about them. In the middle of their set, I was quite shocked when they invited Miss Ludella Black on stage, to sing on some tunes!
I'd seen her by the merchandise table earlier and thought she looked like Ludella. It definitely hadn't been announced that she would be on stage too! And it was cool just watching her dance in the crowd during the first part of the set. On stage, she contributed to some of the best songs of the set, like a version of "Why Don't You Smile" and the new 7" (split between her and The Masonics) which was the loudest song of the night.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The Cake – World of Dreams
Catwalk – I Think Too Much
The Hillfields – Spoon
All My Friends – Up and Down the River
The Magic Shop – It's True
#Poundsign# - Walking and Talking
The Delmonas – He Tells Me He Loves
The Masonics – No Desire For Revenge
Christine Pilzer – Ils pataugent
Bad Dream Fancy Dress – Kick In the Teeth
Chin Chin – Never Surrender
Tibi Lubin – Romany Rye
We the People – Alfred, What Kind of Man Are You?
Bubblegum Lemonade – That Thing You Do
The Manhattan Love Suicides – Head Over Heels
The Cookies – I Wanna Boy For My Birthday
Clothilde – Fallait pas écraser le queue du chat
Laura Watling – It’s All I Can Do
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – Transparent Day
The Visitors – I Remember
Billy Nicholls – London Social Degree
Adèle – Jái peur parfois
The Yellow Balloon – Springtime Girl
The Volutary Butler Scheme – Laundry
The Airfields – Yr So Wonderful
Bright Coloured Lights – Leave You Behind
Rocketship – Your New Boyfriend
Majestic – Nyra and Michelle
The Lucksmiths – Up
The Jazz Butcher – Soul Happy Hour
The Pinefox – Her Lost Polo
Wake the President – Remember Fun?
The Left Banke – I've Got Something On My Mind
The Clouds – Jenny Nowhere
Horowitz – Hug Target
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – This Love Is Fucking Right!
The Bristols – True True Lovin'
Jan & Dean – She's My Summer Girl
The Groove Farm – It Always Rains On Sunday
Maria – Friends Forever
The Jaywalkers – (You Can’t Be) Happy All the Time
The Big Gun – Heard About Love
Dolly Mixture – Will He Kiss Me Tonight
Miss Ludella Black – Is It True
Liberty Belles – Shing-a-ling Time
Lynn Redgrave – While I'm Still Young
Strawberry Story – Freight Train
The Royal We – All the Rage
Komon – Poetry For the Winter
The Autocollants – Butterscotch
Tullycraft – The Punks Are Writing Love Songs
For Ex-Lovers Only – Mindy le Findy
Pants Yell! – Magenta and Green
Well, at least I managed to squeeze two Sha-La-La tracks in there!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
CLOUD 27 The Cake - Fire Fly
Sunday, December 2, 2007
CLOUD 24 V/A - Too Many Christmas Trees
(Christmas is over...)
Saturday, December 1, 2007
So what's the December news for Don't Die On My Doorstep? Well, we're taking a bit of a winter/xmas leave and will be back in the new year, at a new venue. But if you prefer your snow with some pristine indiepop, you should go to On Our Honeymoon in Gothenburg, which I will be guesting on the 8th. And so will The Felt Tips from Glasgow! I'm so impressed with their debut ep on Cloudberry, and more than a bit proud of them. I saw them a year ago and listened to their demos, which I liked. But then seeing their set at Indietracks, where they played in the wee church at Butterley station, everything changed. They didn't have their drummer (see empty stool above), which really brought Miguel's jangly playing to the front, and the acoustics were excellent. Now listening to the 3" I'm so pleased with the mixing, that is trebly to the point of a Happydeadmen production. But with those lyrics, I hope it's not a honeymoon diary! It's their only gig in Sweden so I hope people travel wide and far. The other guest dj is one of the two guys who arranged Rip It Up this summer, called Johan.
Oh, you've got this right?