The one that's most pressing to tell you about is a new ep from All My Friends that Garry gave me after the gig in Glasgow. His girlfriend (now wife!) said he'd finished mastering it five minutes before he left home, so of course I felt honoured to be the first to be given a copy! Like the album from last year, it's self-released and will probably only be available from iTunes and such, which is a shame since it's among the best realeses of the year. They played some of the new songs live and they sounded great, with a full band backing. Alison's vocals also keep getting better, and she took her turn singing Margo Guryan's "Think of Rain" that evening. It sounded amazing - definitely a draw with the recorded version that has Garry on vocals. The uptempo songs have a definitive punch to them now, and title track "Up and Down the River" and "Sleepin' In" are addictive toe-tappers. The former is playing in Don't Die On My Doorstep's MySpace player as we speak. You should also check out the cute artwork above - I would have just loved to see that on a 7" uncoated paper sleeve!A record that I haven't got yet is the debut lp by New York darlings Vivian Girls, named after the reclusive artist Henry Darger's fictive hermaphrodites. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best new band that has come into my sights this year. I have to tell you about them before the hype gets too bad, I'm surprised Matt hasn't mentioned them yet! (Oops, he had them on a mix in October last year...) I consider them part of the onslaught of new noise bands from the US, perhaps spearheaded by the brilliant No Age. Vivian Girls though, are three women keen to champion POP heroes like Black Tambourine and The Shangri-Las. I think this has gotten too many people to look for Black Tambourine influences in their music, when in fact it's just an ingeniously effective mix of riot grrrl and pop sensibilities. "No" is perhaps the best song with a one-word lyric ever! You can't go wrong with repetition, as The Fall duly noted. So, the record is called Vivian Girls (of course) and is out on the brilliantly named Mauled By Tigers label. It was preceded by a few weeks by a single off the album, called "Wild Eyes", and will shortly be followed by another 7" that goes under the self-evident name Self Recorded. I guess it's simply different versions of some of the album tracks. Anyway... it's all here. They're selling these at their ongoing US tour, so expect them to sell out fast! In fact I hear there's already talk of a cd re-release. But, raise your hands everyone who wants this on vinyl. Well... that's the rest of them gone. I'm not taking any chances! You won't either after having fallen in love here, and downloaded the album track "Tell the World". It's already raced past the albums by The Airfields and The Autumn Leaves in the Great Big Competition For Being Called Album of the Year By Me Without Anyone Else Caring. Why did my parents not let me go with them to New York? I could have been hanging out with the Vivian Girls for three weeks straight... Don't look at me like that. And you can take your hands down again now.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
One For the Record Books
At long last here is the first post after our little tour. I've been busy... listening to records of course. That week we were away, from the Tuesday to Tuesday the following week, is my new Record Record Week. After I got home, I had a pile of 44 records (in one form or the other) on my table, both stuff I'd bought/been given on the trip and stuff that had arrived in the mail while I was away. Still haven't gotten through all of them! So many people have been kind enough to give me records lately, that I feel obliged to mention them all. That's not why I'll do it though - it's because they're all, quite frankly, amazing! The next few posts will all be about ESSENTIAL records.