Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
CLOUD 68 Cocoanut Groove - Midsummer Dreaming
Monday, July 14, 2008
Of all the bands that never managed to get a proper record out in the late 80s, Remember Fun is the band I feel most sorry for. They married 60s jangle (covered WCPAEB's "Transparent Day" they did too) to adhoc tonalities and lyrics infinitely more pressing than Roger McGuinn's, often with a resulting austerity that Wake the President have occasionally come close to capturing. Especially if you listen to Matinée's retrospective ep. Those songs were all previously released and except for "Train Journeys" are among their least melodic. It was hard to resist posting "Car" simply becuase of its sheer political incorrectness today. It tells the tale of the nuisances of collective transport and delivers applaudible lines such as "even if it's ecologically right it's a pain in the backside" and "it's better killing the earth than killing myself". But you need to go back to all those lost tracks from long-forgotten tapes to truly grasp their greatness. Egg Records gave us a taste what these hiss-laden old things can sound like remastered, when they put "Cold Inside" and "Apple of My Eye" on the Souvenirs From Egg Records sampler. Their promised Remember Fun cd will hopefully include all those songs - the dreamy "Clearly Blurred", the barely audible perfection of "P.S. Elaine", the never-before-heard (at least by me - help!) "Never", and "Hey Hey Hate".
CLOUD 67 Remember Fun - Hey Hey Hate
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The Just Joans will be headlining and they don't need an introduction, at least not if you're from Motherwell. They've released an album and two eps so far, the latest (Hey Boy... You're Oh So Senstive!) is mentioned if you scroll down a bit, but suffice to say it's a work of genius. The band is now fronted by David and Katie, but they started out already in 2005 with slightly different members. Last Tango In Motherwell (cassette release and eventually cd-r) is a lo-fi masterpiece in class with The Moldy Peaches' only record. You can still get it, from here. If you haven't heard any of the songs you must check out "Coia's Empty" below! Chris who's selling the cd also recorded The Just Joans as part of his Last Night From Glasgow series in 2006: bands played seven songs in his flat and they were then posted on YouTube over a week. I've collected all the links for you here. Great stuff!
Lookin Like Rain
I Hear You're the Man Now, John
Back to Highschool
Five Beer Bottles
The Catalysts is mostly Glasgow-based Ulric Kennedy, but hopefully he'll get a full band together for the night. The first band he was in was powerpop legends The Mixers (featured on Dan Treacy's All For Art and Art For All compilation). In 1985 he formed the The Catalysts with Dannie from The Mixers, but soon got involved with The Golden Dawn instead. That band (not 60s garage greats 'Golden Dawn') released two singles on Sarah Records and Ulric recorded his own demos for the label, but they weren't released until 2003 when German label Felicité put them on a 7". The brilliant, new ep Autumn Everywhere came out recently on Cloudberry. "Let's Build a Dyson Sphere" by The Golden Dawn is in the player here now. A dyson sphere seems like an interesting thing, check it out here. A Catalysts tune's coming up soon as well.
CLOUD 66 The Just Joans - Coia's Empty
This is her.
She did a good set backed by a band that looked and sounded like Eggstone, but with all probability wasn't.
In front of a big crowd.
For free (that can also mean 'free maintainance' but doesn't).
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
At the end of the article you'll find links to places you can download the The Sound of Philadelphia comp from as well as their Kid Jensen session (the versions of "Lonely Room" and "Saturday's Train" are the same as on the cd, it should be said). Tell God I'm Here is also worth a listen, but perhaps he didn't find this? Since I'm responsible for The Sound of Philadelphia floating about, I thought I'd set "Flowers" bobbing downstream too. Cause it's not on the compilation, strangely, and neither is "Tame". Hungry Beat's Kevin Pearce is quoted in the article, and here are his liner notes to The Sound of Philadelphia - enlarge for comfort.CLOUD 65 Hurrah! - Flowers
Thursday, July 10, 2008
CLOUD 64 James Dean Driving Experience - Lonely Hearts XI Versus the Rest of the World
Saturday, July 5, 2008
The album Carlton Gardens came out in March, but actually it's a collection of recordings spanning their whole 'career', including both single-sides and the three songs released by Cloudberry. Seeing as Indie-mp3's review wasn't very favourable I'd like to point out straight away that it's good. The problem, that everyone I've spoken to keeps coming back to, is of course that four of the songs are included twice - differently mixed. Surely nothing but a case of indecision, they could have asked anyone's advice and cut it down to the ten songs and 39 minutes it ought to have been. In fact listening to it again, skipping the versions, it sounds so much stronger!
I really love the sparse, acoustic songs like "Just Wandering Around" and "Solo Living" that happily offer themselves up for compositional dissection. Ally Boo contributes some great vocals to "Walking Distance" and "Technicolour Memories" and it's easy to sing along to "I Only Ever", half forgetting they're not The Desert Wolves anymore. "You took my world, now take the rest of me" and then a stolen guitar solo. That's the strongest song here, along with the gloriously melodious old b-side "Absolutely". But now I'm forgetting the epic (as in six minutes long) "Vanishing Point", referencing the film of the same name. Let's be honest, they could have done so much worse. And you can do better than just listening to these songs. It's simply a matter of how many songs you want - three or ten?
Earlier this year Uwe from Firestation told me there's a retrospective coming out soon with the near-mythical Men of Westenesse. I can't wait to hear this as "The Coldest Water" is such a perfect song (included on that momentous tape called A Sandwich and a Sweater). After I mentioned that two years ago, Guy (wonder if it's the same Guy being thanked in the Carlton Gardens sleeve?) from the band got in touch and said there were some more songs lying around, so I hope that had something to do with the release. Actually that post got comments from members of The Pooh Sticks and The Williams as well!
Friday, July 4, 2008
Northern Portrait, sadly, are not playing (although I have a feeling the arrangers are sitting on something even bigger) but they have a track for download here. I would have given you the link to the Rewind website, where the other 80s covers part of the project are featured, but it attacks you with loud annoying music that there is no escape from. The rest of the covers submitted look quite boring to say the least, so you don't need to see it. "Some People", as the Danes' choice is called, was originally recorded by Cliff Richard. As you may have read in the previous post, they have a new ep out this month on Matinée.
Like the Twig 7", the other Cloudberry stuff is only listed by catalogue numbers in my list, cause it's simply too much. But as Roque makes a point of letting the music speak for itself, there are a few things that might interest you. The Firekites was a band started by Iain from The Mayfields after the split. The music is a bit more dreamy, with a female vocalist, and actually this was their demo that made the rounds in the early 90s! There's no reason why these songs shouldn't have been released back then, as a photocopied review from an old local newspaper makes clear, so well-done Roque to succeed where others have failed! Get "Good Times" on the label's website, and "Victoria Summer" is on the second of my two summer mixes below. A fourth song called "Kansas" is on the ep that comes with the third issue of Roque's fanzine (this also holds an exclusive Arc Lamps song which is better than an estimated 90% of the music written about here all year).
The Hillfields first ep came out earlier this year, at no. 78, and is still available! Their hit ("Spoon" of course) is not on this, but an ep for a Cloudberry/Lostmusic event called What's All the Fuzz About. That you cannot acquire legally, but it's not unlikely it will appear on a future release from the band. Any fan of Flying Nun outfits like The Chills and The Verlaines will dig the three songs on A Visit EP, and if you don't believe me download "The Front Room" from Cloudberry HQ. Why no Indietracks slot though?
The Andersen Tapes is believe it or not Amanda from Free Loan Investments and The Busy Band. I have an mp3 dated 2006, so I guess she's been using the pseudonym for at least that long. All the songs on the ep, which is her first release, are brilliant and she's also got a track on this:
...a Cloudberry compilation that comes with the next issue of the awesome Bottlerocket fanzine. It's also got a 'new' Nixon song, which I'm certain is a huge event for most people. The ep title is from a Dolphin 7 split-flexi with The Gravy Train and The Lavender Faction - I know you wondered.
No.s 95-97 are all essential: the new jangle explosion from The Catalysts would not even have been rejected by Sarah Records; The Parallelograms make the songs from the sold out Atomic Beat split-7" available again, adding new must-have "Orchard Square"; The Mai 68s is a new UK band blessed with a Joe Foster production and I'm greatly looking forward to their Indietracks set; "College" by The Sunny Street is the best I've heard from them yet. And the last releases (yes, he's stopping at 100) will all be just as remarkable, I can assure you.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
In other record label news Matinée promises releases from The Electric Pop Group, The Guild League, Strawberry Whiplash, Would-Be-Goods and maybe Keris Howard this year. And that is on top of the imminent eps from Bubblegum Lemonade and Northern Portrait! It's about time I said something about Northern Portrait's first ep The Fallen Aristocracy since the next one is almost here.... I remember hearing "Crazy" and "A Quiet Night In Copenhagen" for the first time and not quite believing they were from Denmark. With even just an ounce of their perfection they could have swept the floor with every Danish pop band in recorded history. In full glory they are comfortably playing ball in Sweden's premier pop league, scoring a few goals past Happydeadmen even. That's the band I keep returning to when trying to describe Northern Portrait's music; they have almost exactly the same sound, with the twin jangle of acoustic and electric guitars. That first time was at the start of my new degree last autumn and I was sitting behind a uni computer in one of the cellar room, earphones plugged in, wondering to myself if I was actually humming along audibly. Now I can sing along all I want to, cd spinning in my stereo, and I do, because these four songs are all could-be radio hits. I tried to get Northern Portrait to play at Don't Die On My Doorstep when we had bands, as they're just a bridge and a tunnel away but I think they still haven't done any gigs. And right now they are probably busy mastering the new ep Napoleon Sweetheart and then recording for the full-length. No rest for us.
At the same time I got The Electric Pop Group's Sunrise EP, following up on their debut album. That was good, but what an improvement this is! (Decent artwork does it a world of good as well.) The first time I heard these guys I wondered how they could simply have appeared out of thin air. They didn't. I just recognised Martin was one of the members of the bygone and scarcely noticed Aquadays - that's why that guitar-playing sounded so familiar... His current band garners surprisingly frequent namechecking of Brighter and Razorcuts for not sounding very much like them. On the new ep there's song called "Summer's Day" which is the first to land in Brighter territory because of the novel use of acoustic guitar and the lack of a drum track where previously they have relied completely on the combination of three electric guitars. All the songs are solid, competent compositions - all by Erik it would seem? In "I Could See the Lights" they are at their most accomplished, the major-to-minor chord-change in the chorus of "This Is the Town" is effectual and it's nice that the drum beats are a little more varied than before. There are still lots they can do with the arrangements, the bpm control on the drum machine, and there's still a few to many chorus repeats. All four songs are over 3:30 actually, which is ok on an ep but for the next album I hope they've cooked up some up-tempo hits that can be played after "Does Love Last Forever?" on the dancefloor!