Monday, September 14, 2009

Only Stupid

Apart from studying, today has been spent listening to 14 Iced Bears' 14 Iced Bears (reissued on the now equally out of print Let the Breeze Open Our Hearts) and my latest parcel of records from Matinée. People who were quick (like me!) could make some real bargains among the newly discovered leftovers from Jimmy's old Roundabout mailorder. Finally got a mint copy of the Bubblegum Splash! ep, the second Gentle Despite single (not as great as their first one but worth it just for 6-minute opus "Shadow of a Girl" on the b-side), that treasured first single from The Fairways (which has been sold out for years) and last but not least the first ep by Oxford folk-rock group The Relationships.

That came out on Twee Kitten in 1998, and Twee Kitten being a name that probably wouldn't be passable a for newly established label today, they did package their releases commendably. Among the noteworthy ones are a Casino Ashtrays ep and
(later Matinée signees) Sweet William's excellent Ambiguous ep. I definitely like how they've applied the 80s diy 7"-packaging (folded paper sleeve in plastic bag) to the cd format - complete with catalogue insert, and in this case a "bonus mini-'zine accompaniment"! In it you can read details about the members of Relationships (including their current mode of transport and favourite Beatle) and about their love for 60s groups with hand-drawn logos. The reviews from the Twee Kitten team sets the timeframe for the release perfectly, with reviews of Moon Safari, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, a Magick Heads ep and (yay!) #Poundsign#s best single.

The Relationships, it can't hurt to remind you of, was once formed by former members of the excellent Anyways and their sound-a-likes Razorcuts. Their latest album came out recently and we enthusiastically played a track from it on the HIAYH radio show in Auckland. But here's a reminder to go out and purchase Space as soon as the credit crunch lifts! Country Catalogue itself is impressive for a debut ep, my favourites being the closing tracks "Sea Street" and "Disappearing Girl". The former has some magnificently airy guitar-playing from Angus, his twelve strings reverberating at the bottom of the mix, while the latter is a classic 3-minute powerpop hit.

Together with these timeless pop artifacts came a shiny copy of Strawberry Whiplash's new ep. Picture Perfect is their second outing and slightly less fuzzy than Who's In Your Dreams, but ever-so-pop. The title-track is the big hit of the bunch, and with "Hay In a Needlestack" Laz continues his playful referencing of pop culture (cf. "Surfin' USB" on the recent Bubblegum Lemonade ep) helped on by some nifty 12-string picking. Sandra's vocals sound perfectly smooth throughout, upheld by seriously hook-laden melodies. "Celestial" turns up the overdrive and gives Laz the opportunity for that solo even pop guitarists itch for. "Falling Through" sounds as great as when we heard the first recording of it on Myspace all those years ago, utilising a clever variation of that Byrds riff. It's very hard for my to pick a favourite here, I guess the only solution is to buy it so that you can play all four songs on repeat!


stephen said...

dig the proctors reference in the title! email me your address and i will send you the first two please rain fall eps.

victor noir said...

of course the best thing about tweekitten other than scott's general overall awesomeness was the cutie club, a sanctuary for indiepop kids from all over the world.