Sunday, June 29, 2008

Make It Last Forever... Or Maybe Just a Lifetime

Last night was crazy - the best thing since playing in Nottinghamn. The new venue was great for Don't Die On My Doorstep and our guest dj turned in a set that could easily rival Brogues'. Ah, half the age but all the good taste... The playlist is up on Myspace along with some photos. There was some great music before we started as well - the owners know their punk/powerpop/garage, which is comforting to know. And Rebecka was more than delighted to spot three Exploding Hearts numbers. I've since fallen in love with them too!

Suitably refreshed we undertook the walk over to So Tough! So Cute! where Lisa from Taramasalata had the dancefloor heaving to Indochine. We somehow managed to get past a bouncer who inconcievably claimed that they weren't letting any more people in! What was he trying to do? Spare Retro from our amenably spent cash? It was about 2.15 am and they were lining up the hits. I danced for 45 minutes straight and Daniel and Lisa's best spins were, respectively: "Rainbow Sky" by Fat Tulips (honestly, I've been singing TODAY THE RAINBOW'S IN THE SKY, WHICH MAKES ME WONDER WHY, I'M IN LOVE WITH YO-O-U, TILL I SAW YOU SMILE MY WAY, AND I THOUGHT THAT I HEARD YOU SAY, YOU FELT THE SAME WAY, YOU FELT THE SAME WAY, YOU FELT THE SAME WAY TOO all day) and "This Boy Can Wait" by The Wedding Present (by request that one... from me of course!). And "You Can Hide Your Love Forever" has never sounded better. And by god I can't remember hearing "Sun Serious" since I played that at Taramasalata some years ago.

Friday, June 27, 2008

We'll Define a Good Time For Ourselves

Another title quoting One Happy Island? Yes, it just has be a new ep! Secret Party That the Other Party Doesn't Know About is out now on UK label WeePOP!. Following up on winter's Pulaski Park EP, it starts off with a new dancefloor filler every bit as good as "Florida, Dear". It's called "Temporary Tattoo" and even mentions unicorns, yay! They go on with some great lyrics to "Earth's Circumference" and then the ukuleles are brought out for "Shorthand" and "Mothball". Did I say you can get it on 7" vinyl too? An album next, please.

Summer Cats is an Australian band featuring Scott of Summershine act The Earthmen and they're probably the only band to mention The Peppermint Trolley Company among their influences! They seem to have released a LOT of singles. Last year they had an ep on Cloudberry, their old hit "Hush Puppy" on a split with Eux Autres' ancient "Other Girls", and the Scratching Post EP. The latter was an Australian release that collected the tracks from the former, adding "Super Computer". This year has seen another split (mentioned in the post below), a new 7" and a new 3" ep! Maybe they're just trying to release something on every good label there is? The ep is on WeePOP! and I got it with the One Happy Island ep just today. It's called Passion Pop and I think most of the songs here are better than "Let's Go!". Best are the shambolic title-track and the scathing "Bed Wetter"!

Third in the parcel, and the most recent WeePOP! release is The Just Joans' new offering Hey Boy...You're Oh So Sensitive!. It's without doubt the best thing I've heard from them, and the label! Fuller arrangements and songs that range from the funniest to the saddest I've heard in a good while. The opening title-track takes a swipe at twee, starting with a guy saying "Hiya ladies, any of yous into Talulah Gosh?" in a mumbling, Scottish brogue. The whole lyric is brilliant, but here's a bit: "Dolly Mixture homemade t-shirt, Woody Allen six-disc box set, Marks & Spencers v-neck jumper - any chance I can get your number?" After that things take a turn for the tragic with "What Do We Do Now?", a heartfelt ballad about moving and growing up. I mean, "Lookin Like Rain" on Virgin Lips was sad but if you've seen the video for it it doesn't seem too serious. But "I'll always think of you whenever I smell cider, but it won't be the same... again" is like the negative opposite to "I'm drinking Irn-Bru and thinking of you" (as sung by The Orchids). And the next song "Ma Baby (He's Boring)" is bleaker than "You Made Me Forget Me Dreams" by B&S: "he yawns and just rolls over, he's circled rings in the Argos". "Grant Kelly" is about the new, popular boy in town and picks things up a bit. But as the record ends with "The Kisses At the End of His Txts" (naturally "don't mean a thing") there's definitely a feeling that the melancholy has won out. But then again, all you have to do is press the play button again and go back to "Hey Boy..."! There are a couple more videos of them from their first gig (at Tchai Ovna in 2006) on YouTube - a historic document for sure.

I Buy What the Sunshine Sells Me

I just got my splits from SLR! No. 3 is on white vinyl and has one of the best Sunny Street songs so far. On the other side A Sunny Day In Glasgow gives The Pastels' "Sometimes I Think About You" and electronic reworking. I'll get to see them soon - in Glasgow as a matter of fact.

But my favourite is no. 4, because the sleeve (printed with an oldschool letterpress) is even cooler and it's on grey vinyl. Then of course there's the fact that "Come Saturday" by The Pains of Being Pure At Heart is just about one of the best singles of the year and it sounds better than ever on record. Summer Cats take possession of the other side with the near Earthmen-buzz of "Let's Go!". This Australian band seems to have a busy release schedule, and there'll be more on them already in the next post!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Betrayal of Cake and Breadcrumbs

You should all be familiar with Texas girlgroup The Carrots, who appeared a few years ago with a demo ep they let everyone who wanted to download for free. After some legal problems (they were sued by Spanish group Carrots - since split up) they are back with some proper releases. Elefant picked them up (best signing since The School!) and now you can get two 4-track eps in one go: Doing Our Part and Beverly! The Carrots have/had members in lots of other local bands like Voxtrot and The Old-Timerz, but they're better than all of those together. Here's a track from an ep they sold on tour, containing all cover versions. This one, of course, originally by The Ronettes.

If the Answer Is Love I Don't What the Question Is

I just answered some question for Sam, and the interview will probably be in the next issue of A Layer of Chips. It's mostly about A Smile and a Ribbon stuff. And I've also contributed to the fine Indietracks livejournal and that should appear even sooner.

The picture above is of the pier leading out to Kallbadhuset from Ribersborg beach here in Malmö. There's a nice caff out there that got two stars in the Mayfields Guide. It was actually taken last year - I was going out there today but then the sky clouded over. And I thought maybe Brogues wanted to see what he's got to look forward to!

I should remind you to buy some records. I don't usually take kindly to bands who try really hard to get reviewed but This Is Ivy League and The Very Most are two great American bands that I would have discovered later, on my own, even if I hadn't been sent a bunch of mp3s. I remembered Ivy League from Indiepages' demo section last year and when Twentyseven Records sent out the debut lp from This Is Ivy League (as they're now called) to virtually everyone a while ago, I liked it even more than the first time around. But the Brooklyn duo's songs have grown on me even more since then! The sound is quite varied and has drawn comparisons to groups as different as Blueboy, Simon & Garfunkel and Belle & Sebastian - but all of these can be traced to indivdual songs. I would say myself that the jangling "Don't Waste Your Love On Me" (in the sidebar a while ago) sounds a lot like The Zebras. The obvious hit "Celebration" is justly called so, and it sounded fantastic at Taramasalata earlier this month with it's Byrdsy break. When the riff comes back in again you feel like jumping through the roof! And "A Summer Chill" is on one of my summer mixes below.

I noticed Fire Escape Talking wrote about The Very Most here, but I'd forgotten about that. He's right, of course. Congratulations Forever is a brilliant album and the band sounds quite a bit like last year's favourites Afternoon Naps, although they are far from new to the game. Great song-titles only add to the pleasure: "Sod Off", "Spilt, Spilt Milk" (included on Same Drum, see below) and "The Word Almost". Go forth and purchase.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You Hold Your Tongue As She Holds Your Hand

There is enough proof of Dom Mariani's genius for even the most ruthless power pop court in Perth - The Stems (pictured above), DM3, The Stoneage Hearts... he was even in The Summer Suns for a while. But the thing that really nails the lifetime sentence is his partnership with Darryl Mather (The Lime Spiders) in The Someloves. They produced one perfect album (perfected by producer Mitch Easter) called Something Or Other and released in 1989. After all that time spent getting the jangle just right, they must've been devastated that the vinyl was mastered slightly too fast! Not until 2006 when Half a Cow reissued it as a double-disc called Don't Talk About Us: The Real Pop Recordings of the Someloves 1985-89, was this redeemed. This album is the best power pop record I've heard and one of the best examples of janglepop if that was ever a genre! So many perfect songs - their first single "It's My Time" (on the legendary Australian label Citadel) and it's b-side "Don't Talk About Us", "Know You Now"... and this song right here.

My Hand Your Pocket

As you all know, Minisnap is The Bats without Robert Scott. And they are now my top priority to see when I go to New Zealand. Not because Scott's not in the band, but because their new album Bounce Around (great title!) easily outsmarts the latest Bats long-player in the pop playground. It's even better than earlier outings In My Pocket EP (2002) and March Hare EP (2004) led us to believe! The fact that it's the first Minisnap album and the Bats'... sixth, might have something to do with it. But most of all it's to do with Kaye Woodard's unique and always interesting songwriting. In fact this album doesn't sound very 'kiwi' at all, as it lacks the trademark Flying Nun guitar-strum and endlessly rolling beat. The rough guitars and rollicking, bouncy rhythms puts it closer to some Scottish bands, or maybe Australian groups like The Lighthouse Keepers (just to name an ancient one!). The only song that sounds remotely batlike is "Crooked Mile" (not a Honeybunch cover) and it's a beautiful little jangler, but not the best song of the set. Danceability is always an advantage, which puts opener "New Broom" in a fairly promising position. But the song here is "Rehash" because it's great too!

This is all well and good, but you've yet to hear the best part. You, yes you, can own this artifact! And all you have to do is to give their label, Pocket Music, a negligible sum in return - it's as easy as that.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tapes For Tea

I foolishly missed The Ruby Suns the other week, because they came on so early. I mean, it said 7 pm on the website but no one trusts Debaser and their stage times anymore. At least I got to chat with them for a bit and they were very nice and tired. Well, I confess going to the show had more to do with the free entry and their home being New Zealand, rather than having listened to new album Sea Lions on repeat endlessly. Other good reasons might have been that their singer's surname is McPhun and that they're on the Lil' Chief label, which has a Sinistereen among their ranks. Anyway, there's a fair chance I get to see them in Auckland next year.

Thankfully, I managed to catch another early gig today. San Francisco-based (although SF, CA on the poster might have led some to believe they were Finnish-Canadian) duo Eats Tapes visited the Krets gallery, playing early due to football being on screen in the park nearby at 9 pm. I sure didn't see anyone in yellow and blue, throats itching to belt out some unintelligible chants! Eats Tapes were very cute and well-behaved, and didn't show any signs of munching away at the equipment at all once we turned our backs. They had heard that people didn't dance in Malmö, but we showed them what complete nonsense that was. As I read they are used to roof parties in Brooklyn and the like, I don't think they had very high hopes for the twenty or so people who had turned up. They even started out with having everyone participate in a Rock, Scissors, Bag tournament. The winner got one each of all of their merchandise, but I folded in the final alas. Beaten, I didn't feel much like dancing myself but their crazy, rather twee, and as far from minimal as imaginable techno had me and the rest of the crowd moving in scarce five minutes. After a 15 minute set, with VISUALS and SMOKE, they'd turned the tiny white cube into a teatime micro-rave, as someone aptly described it. With no oxygen left and the windows worse fogged-up than when The Hepburns played there in mid-winter, everyone shouted for more. So they continued for another quarter of an hour!

You know, the funniest thing happened right in the middle of everything... An old gentleman with flappy cap on his head walked in the door carrying a flower plucked from a tree in his hand. He proceeded to do the rounds, letting everyone smell the flower, then handed it to the nearest person, bowed and skipped along back to the door. I don't know if anyone managed to capture the mystery guest on film, so in the meantime you'll have to make do with a photo from the Sumi Ink Club exhibition last year (taken by Jonatan Jacobson).

Oh, if you're after the new DDOMD flyers, I left some next door at Café Glassfabriken. There will also be a handful at UFF, Rundgång, På Besök, Musik & Konst and various other places tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Esurient For Change

These flyers are printed tomorrow, but there won't be much time to distribute them... Therefore you can print this and bring it along, if you want a copy of the cd!

Also I've decided not to have a club night in July, mainly because I'll be at Rip It Up, Indietracks and then in Glasgow. Perhaps I can do something in Glasgow instead? The next one will thus be on August 30th, and we might have a guest for that already. Brogues will be coming back to do a set at So Tough! So Cute! the weekend before, so if you're planning a trip to Malmö that would be a good week.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hard Sounds For Gentle People

The cruelty continues. Here's another compilation you won't get... unless you turn up at the next Don't Die On My Doorstep night with flyer in hand! Or you can pray that we'll have some spares.

CLOUD 60 V/A - Same Drum

1. Comet Gain – The Kids At the Club
2. Saturday Looks Good to Me – I Wish I Could Cry
3. Thee Midniters – Jump, Jive and Harmonize
4. The Untamed – Kids Take Over
5. The E-Types – So I Hang On
6. The School – I Don't Believe In Love
7. Mika Miko – Sleepover Slumber Party
8. Betty Davis and the Balconettes – God of Hate
9. Tiger Trap – Baby Blue
10. Would-Be-Goods – Pinstriped Rebel
11. The Very Most – Spilt, Spilt Milk
12. The Catalysts – Where the Rainbow Ends
13. The Claim – Mary Stavin
14. The Rain Parade – What She's Done to Your Mind (7” version)
15. The Ropers – Transparent Day
16. Paul Chastian – Am I Right
17. #Poundsign# – Disaster
18. The Parcels – Oh, What a Busy Day
19. Vivian Girls – Going Insane
20. Slow Club – Run to Ur Grave

Where the Hipsters Roll Like Children

As Pocketbooks have just made their new song "Summertime" available on the Indietracks blog, I thought I might as well go ahead and do my summer mixtape. Usually it's a stretch to find enough hits with 'summer' in the title (especially when limiting yourself to songs you haven't used for previous ones). But this year I found myself with such a wealth of summer hits (a scan for 'summer' threw up well over 100 files!) that I had to spread them out over two cds. And both are much better than my average summer mix! What's the difference between them then? Well, I put all the jangle/sunshine/girlgroup/psych ones on the first cd and the ones that were just... pop on the second. I'm going to upload these as zip-archives with pdf covers as soon as possible. But there's sort of a hook... I'm going to force you to choose between them! You send me an email and I'll give you the password for the archive you've downloaded. I know what you're thinking... don't even try using different email accounts! To make the choice easier you can read the tracklistings by clicking on the covers below to enlarge them, and I can tell you that I will personally take most pleasure in listening to the psych one.

CLOUD 59A V/A - A Summer Melting (My Mind)

CLOUD 59B V/A - A Summer Spelling (It)
Picked one? The email address is in the sidebar and covers are here and here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On the E-List

People have been exclaiming 'eeeeeee!' all over the internet in excitement over Indietracks. Is it really happening again? How are we going to be able to see all those bands in two days? With three stages this time, gigs will inevitably clash. Here's my list of what I'm most looking forward to. Please don't let these clash, Stuart! Otherwise the cloning will be a fact.

1. The Manhattan Love Suicides
2. The Zebras
3. The Wave Pictures
4. Esiotrot
5. The Lodger
6. The Voluntary Butler Scheme
7. Gregory Webster
8. Comet Gain
9. The Wedding Present
10. The Just Joans
11. Still Corners
12. The Smittens
13. Liechtenstein
14. Milky Wimpshake
15. The Occasional Flickers
16. The Good Natured

I'm quite sure about the first ten at least. Any glaring omissions/undeservingly low placements might be because I've seen some bands before. But, anyway: eeeeeeeee! Scheduling will be worse than purgatory... I don't even want to think about it.

Your Mind's Somewhere Else But Your Lips Are Smiling

I'm surprised it's already a year since I moved back to Sweden, and since I started writing this. And I'm even more surprised when people tell me they're actually reading it. I would have done it anyway, but thanks... I guess! There's too much POP to keep up with these days so we can all use some help. Like when I yesterday checked in to Slumberland's site, only to find that Mike has JUST announced that no.s 3 and 4 of Searching For the Now are ready for pre-order now. "Come Saturday" by the Pains should be enough for anyone to scrape together the $7 for the two split-7"s, but they also hold new songs from The Sunny Street, A Sunny Day In Glasgow (Pastels cover, yay!) and Summer Cats from Australia whom I am starting to like more and more. Also, I can't wait to see that artwork up close! And if you haven't listened to ISY#3 yet, now is a good time boys and girls. Who needs twee handclaps when there are summertime handclaps? Move your feet to the beat.

With the latest CLOUD post we've reached 50 on this blog, and as I did a review after the 86 DROPs on my old blog I think it's time to do the same here. It might also be interesting for you to know that you are not alone. Here's the Top Ten From Pop Heaven.

1. The Foxgloves - I Dreamt Love Was a Crime (217 dls)
2. The Pussywillows - The Boat That I Row (200 dls)
3. Strawberry Fair - Give Up (186 dls)
4. Les Calamités - Le supermarché (115 dls)
5. The Chemistry Set - The Dreams That I Saw Yesterday (112 dls)

The Deirdres - Fun to Pretend (112 dls)
6. The Draytones - As High As I Can (102 dls)

7. Pencil Tin - Smile (95 dls)
8. Apple Orchard - Dreaming (As the Summer Fades) (93 dls)
All My Friends - Think of Rain (93 dls)

9. The Castaway Stones - My Friend Bobby (86 dls)
10. Days - A Part of the World (82 dls)

You Can Play These Songs With (Three) Chords

I've been wanting to do some sort of tour diary for the ASAAR tour, because a lot funny (and some definitely not funny) things happened. My photos have been up here for a while actually, but I'll use a few to illustrate these posts.

Our trip began with a 1,5 hour wait at Copenhagen Airport as our Sterling flight was delayed. But we got to Stoke-On-Trent in time, with Pete picking us up at the station and managing to drive the six of us (!) to the venue in his sedan. The Band Stand, as it is called, is a typical rock venue (but quite nice at that) and sitting in the backyard Rebecca could've sworn we were in This Is England. The show was probably the worst of the tour, me playing a new guitar I'd never touched before, and I'm not sure the rest of the band enjoyed it as much as I did. After all, Sunny Inside is not about getting all the people in Stoke to see the bands, but doing it because it's fun - and because they can. We played to about 12 people, but they were really into it. AND of course it was good to see MJ Hibett and Horowitz again. The acoustics were great, with the wooden walls and stone floor. And great to speak to Rocker at last, mostly about the old Bristol scene. In the car back to Pete's house he told me about the plans for a Flatmates reunion, but they had to convince Debbie to sing on the new songs because Martin's vocal tracks were terrible! Martin is doing pretty well otherwise apparently, so they probably don't need the money anyway. (Can you imagine how much money there would be in a Flatmates reunion?! They'd get filthy rich, I tell you.) Rocker had seen Rodney Allen recently - he's still under 40. And The Rosehips... both Rocker and Pete were in The Rosehips. The thing I like most about The Rosehips is that on their second single, not only the lyrics but the chords are written down. Complete with pedagogic illustrations of the chord shapes. All of Horowitz' songs are just bar chords, I learned. Ian's still a better guitar player than me though! It was very nice to talk to Ian the morning after, over some acoustic noodling. About songwriting, the real message of "Popkids of the World Unite", a new Horowitz tune that I felt honoured to hear (and even more that Ian wanted my opinion on it!). The enthusiasm easily rubs of and I thought it was an amazing 24 hours. Great people to hang out with and a nice and quiet warm-up gig.

Not to mention all the POP stuff I was given. Like the Rosehips comp on Secret that's only five years old but still impossible to find. And a cdr of demos! A few were never properly recorded, so here's a lost treasure for you.

CLOUD 58 The Rosehips - Cracked It (demo)

Monday, June 9, 2008

When the Tape Stops

You've had your headphones on all day long. Whilst we walk around the shops I've been talking you've been listening, you've been listening I've been talking. But will you still listen, when the tape stops?

You probably haven't listened enough to Lardpony, have you? Their second album is available for free here! (NB baby not included.) Lardpony is a band you'll see more of at Indietracks, as well as The Wave Pictures, Still Corners and many another tiny wonders. Speaking of festivals, that's usually the only occasion for which my mixtapes are actually recorded to tape. Last year I made one for Rip It Up, but I've only played it twice or so. So this time, when making one for Rip It Up again, I thought I'd make some unexpected selections, so I'll want to listen to it again at Indietracks (as it says in the sleeve!). It's too bad pop festivals are the only places you're more likely to find tape players than mp3-players these days.
CLOUD 57 V/A - Home Taping Is Killing Me
So this one was real entertaining to make. Like the cover, which has 'a tape worth stealing' debossed across the spine. The tracks were chosen from old tape compilations and other things I don't listen to very often. And a few teasers of bands I'll get to see - like the Zeeeebras, the Weddoes, Magnetic Fields, Wave Pictures of course, and finally... Esiotrot! The text on the cover was printed with a John Bull printing set.

June Is In the Water

I took my first dip in the sea on Friday, in the unbelievably warm water at Askim beach on the outskirts of Gothenburg. I forgot to bring my camera, so instead of topless pictures of Joel from Faintest Ideas and Jörgen from Fraction Discs, you'll have to make do with this one - taken at the same beach by someone else. Suffice to say, it was a bit more crowded this sweltering weekend!

In Gothenburg to play records at Taramasalata, and I had a great time. Komon did a wonderfully precarious set and lots of friends turned up. Looking over my playlist, I'd definitely say "I Want You Back" was the best moment of the night and the one song that made me wish I was dancing rather than standing behind the record player. Great fun it was too to blast off some Bratmobile and Vivian Girls. And I suspect The Green Telescope hurt some ears! It probably wasn't smart to save all the fast stuff until the last hour, when people were starting to head off... Short they were too - hardly had time to put the next 45 on!

Now I'm going to play some Wave Pictures.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

COIR 006. A 3-Minute Song Is 1 Minute Too Long

How long is the perfect pop song? A perfect song is one you think is too short, I'd say. Have you been following the discussion at Feral Pop Frenzy? Probably not, if you don't know Swedish! At Don't Die On My Doorstep we only play perfect pop songs, and on June 28th Rebecka, who writes at the aforementioned blog, will give us her idea of perfection. She's our guest dj and we're lucky she's coming down from Stockholm that very weekend. In case you'll wish it lasted longer, come with us to So Tough! So Cute! afterwards. It'll be perfect. Right?

It's the first night at På Besök, so we need your support! If you manage to get your hands on a flyer (don't worry, they're not printed yet) and bring it along (in one piece), you'll be rewarded with a copy of CLOUD 60, the nature of which will be announced soon. For everyone unable to get to Sweden we'd like to tell you that there are 5 left of the first set of 100 DDOMD badges! I've saved one of each colour and if anyone wants to claim them I'll post one to you for a pound, which is about the EU postage rate. We'll make new, different ones when we can afford it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I'm In Love With a Boy I Know Is a Sexist

I've found lately that more people are into Po! from Rutland than I imagined when I first thought about posting this. Still, there's must be someone out there who hasn't heard them. I only had the Grains of Sand EP until recently, when I found out about the compilation on Elefant that includes all their single tracks (with a few exceptions). It's called Past Perfect Tense but is unfortunately out of print. Hopefully a few mailorders still stock it though. This is something I say often, but had it been an album it would have been among my all-time favourites. Ruth Miller who started the band and also ran the Rutland Records label seems like an uncannily talented woman. Not only is her songwriting impeccable, but she also had the unquestionable discernment to steep her compositions in a sparkling coat of 12-string arpeggios. "Confidence" is one of the stand-out tracks, and was originally on the Hopscotch In the Snow flexi - their first release from back in 1988. A guy called Lee commented on Tom's post last year, that most of the records are still available from Rutland Records. However, I can't find a way to contact him/them! So should you come upon this, please get in touch.