Sunday, September 28, 2008

Music Is My In-Law

Here's the other video I mentioned a while back. Again, from Music Is My Girlfriend in Glasgow on May 11th. The man with a movie camera is of course Stuart Rudman!

Recollection from last night to follow soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Impossible Bouquet

The premiere of Klubb K3 went very well and I daresay the sunshine theme was appreciated. Here's my playlist from yesterday, and I asked Daniel to post his in the comments. Right now I'm working out the last details for the impossibly great gig tomorrow with The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, so I haven't got the composure to write any further just now. The next K3 night is 31/10 and the northern soul way is the way to go.

The Puddle – K3
Dexy's Midnight Runners - There, There My Dear
Dislocation Dance – Vendetta (Theme)
Everything But the Girl – Bittersweet
Blueboy – Finistere
The Gothic Archies – We Are the Gothic Archies
The Hardy Boys – Fifteen
The Smittens – Something Sassy
The Cascades – I Bet You Won't Stay
The Third Rail – From a Parachute
The Gas Company – If You Know What I Mean
The Executioners – I Want the Rain
The Direct Hits – She's Not Here, There Or Anywhere
The Cryan' Shames – It Could Be We're In Love
The Butterflies – He's Got Everything
Disillusioned Younger Generation - Who Do You Think You're Fooling
The Stomach Mouths – Born Loser
Fever Tree – I Can Beat Your Drum
Tricycle – 54321 Here I Come
Harpers Bizarre – Come to the Sunshine
The Sunshine Company – Just Beyond Your Smile
DM3 – 1 Time, 2 Times Devastated
The Cuff Links – Tracy
Dino, Desi & Billy – Tell Someone That You Love Them
The Main Attraction – Everyday
The Ballroom – Love's Fatal Way
The Love Generation – Love Is a Rainy Day
The Cyrkle – I'm Not Sure What I Wanna Do
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Wreck of the Antoinette
The Salt – A Whole Lot of Rainbows
Salt Water Taffy – I'll Always Be True to You
Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends – Love So Fine
Ohio Express – 1,2,3 Red Light

Monday, September 22, 2008

Red With Purple Lashes

I've been listening to lots of Spanish bands lately, since Roque was so appalled with my ignorance of Spanish pop (beyond Le Mans, La Buena Vida, Family, La Casa Azul, Juniper Moon, Souvenir, The Magic Whispers and a handful of others) that he made me a brilliant cdr. Some of the great bands I discovered were Aventuras de Kirlian, Cola Jet Set, Los Secretos, Los Fresones Rebeldes, Los Bólidos, Carrots, Aerolíneas Federales, Kamenbert and Undershakers - you may have noticed songs from a few of these in the player the last couple of weeks. Especially in the 80s it seems the Spanish were much more in tune to the pop renaissance, whereas Sweden was almost devoid of jangly music. There is certainly lots of great pop happening there NOW as well, and some of the newish bands I've fallen for are Los Punsetes, Vacaciones and Las Escarlatinas.

Roque recommended I buy Las Escarlatinas' album on Siesta, and I'm very glad I did. Surely one of the very best albums of 2005 in retrospect, and the artwork is nothing short of unbelievable. I imagine they can't have made more profit from those than the average Factory release. The bandname means of course The Scarlets, and the album is called A Todo Color or In Full Colour (I've done my homework, you know). The music reminds me a bit of The School and Club 8, with a tinge of Heavenly and maybe Stereolab on one track. And because of the cover of one of my Belle & Sebastian favourites "Storytelling"(called "El Diván" here), it's easy to see how very close the sound is to that soundtrack. Like many Siesta releases, it's one of the best recorded pop albums around. Written by a group of professional songwriters and played by the four girls in the band. The only English text I've found about them is on Siesta, which tells us that "the
lyrics are lovely and poetic in general, occasionally funny". I'm relieved. No, frankly the fact that my knowledge of Spanish is limited to the odd phrase and word doesn't bother me at all while listening. You can probably find less pleasant things to enjoy than singer Almudena López' vocals!

But the fact that surprisingly many bands sing in their native language is arguably the main reason that few bands from Spain are discussed or written about in today's indiepop circuits. So that's why I needed to tell you about Las Escarlatinas, and let you hear them. And while you're ordering the cd, you should also pick up Siesta's tribute cd to Keith Girdler. After you discover it has an unreleased Hal track on it, knowing which Hal we're talking about here, you may be in need of medical consultation, so fittingly all proceeds go a hospital.

CLOUD 72 Las Escarlatinas - Lloraré

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Seventh Valley Girl

There are three brilliant 7"s out of New York this month, I've got two of them already. caUSE co-MOTION! are back with a snap-n-crackly POP explosion called "I Lie Awake", which I already played at the last DDOMD but now I can also admire the cool sleeve. Vivian Girls have another knock-out single in "I Can't Stay", their first release for In the Red, and it wouldn't surprise me if it's already sold out.

Now I'm just waiting for The Pains of Being Pure At Hearts' first Slumberland single! I'm counting on Kip to save me a copy of "Everything With You", which they'll be selling on their Swedish mini-tour (way ahead of the release date!), so I can play it at HDIF...

On the slumberland horizon is also the longawaited compilation of all caUSE co-MOTION! singles, fittingly called It's Time!. They sure now how to distribute their exclamaition marks, i.e. after everything.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Piece of the Sky Was Blue

My favourite band these days is pretty much The Motifs. Perfect music for early afternoon bike rides. Today more than a piece was blue actually. The first thing I heard from these Australians was their WeePOP! ep from last year, called Matches. And today I listened to Away for the first time. The comparison is unfair I know, but it felt like hearing Pipas for the first time four or five years ago. Alexis has a wonderfully woozy voice and the melodies and lyrics are really up there with the best. I like the descpription of their songs as 'wobbly', which is how I've always experienced Pipas' A Short Film About Sleeping. But if you want a more contemporary reference, I guess Half-Handed Cloud is not far off the mark. One of my favourites is the instrumental "Paper Boat" (which you will find below) that shares the name with an equally beautiful song Stuart David wrote for Belle & Sebastian. If you crave more name-dropping, of course The Motifs follow that very Australian standard of song length once set in stone by The Cat's Miaow.

Now, The Motifs have two new records out. One is an ep on newish 3" label Edition 59, which grew out of the Vollwert mailorder and label in Germany. The other is an lp on Australian label Knock Yr. Socks Off, in the fab hand-painted sleeve you see above. That label have already released a fine split single with Summer Cats and Eux Autres, and are definitely to be reckoned with in the future. So, 59 and 200 copies respectively - get them now (there are only a few left of the ep!). And if you've ever wondered why a piece of the sky was blue when all the rest was grey, well it's just cause you'd never heard The Motifs before.

CLOUD 71 The Motifs - Paper Boat

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Sky's Not Pink It's Bubblegum

The poster for the first 'new' Klubb K3. I'm going to make a matching set of three. To be put up any way you want. It also gets bigger if you click it.

We'll Leave the Unicorns Behind

How great is the new Ballboy album? I've seen them play twice this summer, both with a full band and just Gordon, but still I was not quite prepared for what is I Worked On the Ships. I heard it in its entirety for the first time today, and I was on my bike on the way to school, and then coming back. First at midday, it felt like two years ago, walking up Great George Street for morning lectures in the Boyd Orr building on sunny September mornings. Now, the wind in my face as I pull up on the quay outside my department at Malmö University. Then later this afternoon, with almost an Edinburgh chill in the wind. Glasgow, Malmö and Edinburgh - universities, harbour cities, me, and Ballboy.

It was the perfect way to hear the record, it seemed. Neatly halved into an A and B side. Or a Going Out side, and a Coming Back side. Listening to a record should be like undertaking a journey, and I like records that are made with that journey in mind. "Walking home and you're on your own, and the mobile phone has no news at all". The cellos mixing with the wind brushing past my ears, the drum beats coalescing with the bumps from acorns under the tires, the guitar strummed up and down along with the revolutions of the pedals. And Gordon's voice sounding in my ears, as if he was right next to me. I've always liked how he sings - you know how some Ballboy songs are like anthems that you could shout at the top of your lungs, but he never does? - it just a perfectly plaintive voice. And the lyrics really stood out, and I was once again struck by his genius. That some of it was mishearings (I checked the lyric sheet after I came home) doesn't really matter. Like the title of this post (guess what was on my mind).

I tried to think back to the first time I heard a Ballboy record, to remember if the experience was as much of a revelation as this. It would have been Club Anthems 2001, and maybe it was as revelational - but in a different way. Humour seems a lesser element now.

So strap your armour on your chest
Buckle up your chain-mail vest

What better than to walk this land

with the boy who knows you best?

These lines are from "Disney's Ice Parade", one of my favourites on the record, its sheer beauty shining forth through an arrangement of just ukulele and harmonica. "Songs For Kylie" is already a new live favourite. "A Relatively Famous Victory" is a new epic tale of uncertain love. It's their best recorded album so far and one of the songs they've really succeeded with is
"We Can Leap Buildings and Rivers, But Really We Just Want to Fly".

It’s a pale summer’s night and your lips should be on mine
Your heart should be beating the same beat as mine

I don't need to tell you how great it is. We can play The Beatles and The Who, but really we just want to listen to Ballboy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things Have Learnt to Walk That Ought to Crawl

I Can Beat Your Drum, Baby

Anyone who's checked in at How Does It Feel to Loved? recently might have noticed that my humble self will be playing records at the Brixton edition in October. I'm greatly looking forward to this thing, because I've always wanted to do it! I've prepared the best set I'll ever be able to do, and so good it is that I had to say no to Ian's suggestion to do a vinyl-only night (who has all their favourite songs on vinyl?). But come and witness my idea of perfection on the 3rd if you're within reasonble distance. Or I'll see you in Nottingham the following day.

If you've got an acute sense perception, you will have noticed while scrolling that this flyer is in Swedish. What it is, is the return of our uni club night Klubb K3, that I have now hijacked (since no one else could be arsed to start it up again). As you can see the mod/northern angle is still prominent. We've got three dates this semester and I've put down three themes that will hopefully distinguish them from each other (usually, you can't account for what monsters the teacher guest-djs will unleash anyway). These themes are all the stuff of the 60s: sunshine & bubblegum pop, yé-yé & chanson and northern soul & r'n'b. And yes, it's all free.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't Forget How to Dance

Alistair Fitchett's new fanzine (must be the first in almost ten years) is available now, from his Folksy shop. I just got my copy and it looks good! There are Mass Observations in there, a new one for every ten copies I think, and there's one from me in a few. I also included that in the latest DDOMD zine. Don't forget to buy.

Things are falling into place for The Pains of Being Pure At Heart gig, and we'd like to announce that the support slot has now been filled with G.O.O.F., and Goof is of course Gottfrid from the The Budgies. I don't think he's played anywhere recently, so it's something to look forward to for everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Things I've Decided to Like

Here's an indiepop quiz for you, courtesy of Dustysevens. I don't know what the songs are, but these two are supposed to be from a tape that Matt Haynes made for the fanzine writers that collaborated with him for Sha-La-La. For them to choose what would go on the flexis, I guess. The problem is Haynes says there was no such tape (maybe he... forgot?). He recognised the songs, but couldn't say what they are. These two did not end up on the flexis, so with all probability they were never released in any form! If you recognise them and can name them you deserve a big plaque with I KNOW MORE THAN YOU engraved in capitals, just like that.


I've Got Hopes In Every Unopened Envelope

Back at school and back to business - it's time to post some more songs here! (I should get around to post pics from Indietracks and Glasgow soon as well...). Since I'm going to New Zealand in some months I thought I'd upload a song by overlooked Wellington group The Wild Poppies. Their output consisted of a self-released album in 1986 followed by two singles. That album, Heroine, is where "This Person" is from and just like this song it sounds like it should have been on Flying Nun. If it had, they would have been as legendary as The Bats are now, I'm sure. If you happen to like this, the album shouldn't be too hard to find online (I downloaded it about a year ago). The singles "Stare At the Sun" and "Out of Time" remain lost in time - if anyone's got them, let me know!

CLOUD 69 The Wild Poppies - This Person

Friday, September 5, 2008

Montmartre 15-40

Just saw Claude Lelouch's Un homme et une femme, which won at Cannes in 1966. Surprisingly conventional, but very very pretty. One of the most interesting things was that the female character's telephone number was the same as the title of Popundret's only album. I never knew where that came from until now!

A record both similar in sound to Popundret and similar in style to Lelouch's mise-en-scène is Northern Portrait's new ep Napolean Sweetheart. Following up on the Matinée debut from earlier this year, my immediate reaction was that the songs were not as strong as "Crazy" and "A Quiet Night In Copenhagen". But apart from the fact that those songs are ingeniously simply, that proved to be wrong. The new songs are less simple, admittedly, but also more rewarding. I discovered this after compulsively singing bits of opening track "I Give You Two Seconds to Entertain Me" over and over the last few days. Especially the bit where the vocal line drops: 'I'm so tired of the way she's selling out'. 'This whole thing is killing me - I don't want to be killed' is cute is well. But the stand-out track is without a doubt "In an Empty Hotel" that jangles passionately. They also try their hand at a longer composition with "Our Lambrusco Days" and emerge triumphant. Northern Portrait continue to outclass every Swedish band apart from Days, we ought to call it a disgrace. But let's call it pop instead.

The Boy I Wish I'll Never Bed

A Smile and a Ribbon's album The Boy I Wish Never Met sees an Asian release next month. It's Thailand-based Jointt Corporation who's manifacturing and distributing it, and of course it's got an exclusive bonus track. We made new artwork for it, a friend of ours did the paintings and I did the design. Originally there was a different painting for the back, showing the girl and dog from the rear, but it was ruined by dripping water. The lesson to be learned is not to water your plants too much before you go on holiday, or not to stay in a leaking tenement - whichever is more applicable. One day we'll be touring Asia more regularly than Club 8!