I have spent a couple of days last week listening fervently to bands like The Cave Weddings, The Magic Kids, Woven Bones, Ganglians, Surf City, Thee Oh Sees, Coachwhips, Real Estate, The Fresh & Onlys, Pens, The Intelligence, Weave!, The Mantles, The Drums, Nodzzz, P.S. Eliot, Ty Segall, Black Time and Christmas Island. There's so much to check out, so much that is great, but it feels like eventually people will tire of the ever increasing number of bands following in the wake of Vivian Girls, Wavves and Times New Viking. The fact that Dum Dum Girls have been signed to Sub Pop could be one sign. Perhaps the Captured Tracks/Woodsist festival was the climax? But at the moment I still think it is exciting, and if nothing else, I am glad I've listened to all of it if only for the discovery of The Mantles and Christmas Island!
I've ended up with so many songs I have to do something with, that I can't play them all at my club night, so I decided to just make a new podcast out of them. Even though it's not a proper one with spoken links, I hope you will enjoy the mix of sounds and the sequence of the tracks! (It is #13 since I haven't yet finished #12 that I am making for Slumberland.) Captured Tracks are still winning the year's label race, with more fantastic releases than anyone could have hoped for (or afforded). Just recently a new batch was released, including The Spectrals' first 7" that I've raved about enough already, but also the first proper German Measles release, a Christmas Island 7" and Ganglians best post-Brian Wilson work yet! But they're followed closely by HoZac, Woodsist and In the Red, and as usual Siltbreeze have proven reliable.
Here are some notes about the included songs.
Afternoon Naps - Bubblegum 45
What better way to start off than with a hymn to bubblegum pop from Afternoon Naps, whose second album has been massively anticipated (by me) since succumbing to the masterpiece that was Sunbeamed. Them and Brown Recluse are unique on the US pop scene for putting the ray of sunshine back into pop. Parade (out on HHBTM) became a favourite of this year already upon first listen.
The Magic Kids - Good to Be
The b-side of their first 7" (Goner Records) that came completely out of the blue for me. Perhaps the best emulation of The Beach Boys in an indiepop context ever? The flip is bit more mellow, but still charming.
The Cave Weddings - Let's Drive
HoZac's best release yet? The b-side of this American band's first single is a great as the a-side, and prompted me to use my limited funds to order this and the new Girls At Dawn single from the label. They also have a homemade ep you can order from their Myspace.
The Intelligence - Universal Babysitter
A fantastic post-something band that has been around almost 10 years longer than anyone else. I've listened to three of their albums so far and I have to say this year's Fake Surfing on In the Red is their best so far. They even afford themselves calling a song "Fuck Eat Skull" (apparently one of them is in that band too) which is almost as good a title as Jay Reatard's recent "Blank Blogs". Great band name too!
German Measles - Monkey Me, Monkey You
Simply ingenious track from their demo cassette on Captured Tracks. Their first 12" had just been released, and was recorded by Gary Olson, just like the caUSE co-MOTION! singles (a band that shares members with the Measles).
Pens - 1-2
The album is finally here! It was as great as I expected, the best thing of its kind I have heard since Finally Punk. Out on De Stijl on both cd and vinyl. The split with Crocodiles, Dum Dum Girls and Graffiti Island is out of stock at the moment, but will soon be available again from Art Fag.
Bette Davis and the Balconettes - Big Pussy Sound
Finally heard more than their self-titled ep on Slampt!. This is the best of the bunch, among this Manchester group's recordings, from a 1998 7" on Damaged Goods.
Coachwhips - I Drank What
Yes, why have I never really listened to this band before? Their first album doesn't impress me as much as does their last, from 2003. As noisy as Forbidden Tigers, and it makes me want to check out the intervening albums as well. Dwight is now in Thee Oh Sees, and many other bands.
Woven Bones - Janie
Another great garage group on HoZac! They've released three singles so far, and this track is from one on Needless. An album is in the works, also for HoZac.
Gas - Speak No More
Siltbreeze has set about releasing some old gems, including an ep by Christchurch group Gas, who were around in the late 90s apparently. But even more I'd like to hear The McGoohans, which was an 80s group, some of whom moved on to Gas. Or so I've read! Anyone have The McGoohan Sound lp?
The Terrorways - She's a Mod
A punk compilation I felt compelled to listen to recently is AK79, including bands from the first wave of Auckland punk groups (including Toy Love, of course). This is one of my favourites on it, landing somewhere between punk and mod-revival! A cover of Ray Columbus & the Invaders' hit.
The Castels - Save a Chance
You won't escape the usual dose of 60's jangle. This particular track can be found on a Misty Lane compilation called Leave It All Behind. It was originally released by Wildfire in 1965.
Mary Sawrey - A Lover's Plea
Found this on a cd called Del-Fi Girl Groups: Gee Baby Gee. Compiling female artists of that label, this single from 1961 is the best of the set.
The Jet Set - The Jet Set
You might be familiar with the 80s group The Jetset and the pre-Byrds group of course, but this is a sassy girl group track found on Girls Will Be Girls Vol. 1. Hard to find the original release info, because of the name of the group and song!
Mytty Archer - The Life You Wanna Live
New group started by Jen from Boyracer, including the usual suspects. Their first album is here, and judging from this track - available for free on the 555 sampler - it is worth a fair percentage of your income.
Christmas Island - Bed Island
I heard this band thanks to the cool 8th volume of The World's Lousy With Ideas, which together with the Yeti 7 compilation was what started last week's listening spree. This song is from their upcoming first album on In the Red. At the moment they a have a split-7" with Le Jonathan Reilly and a new single on Captured Tracks out. Maybe they will soon have one of the best albums this year too.
Black Time - You Don't Love Me
This British group continue to release fantastic, ear-spliting pop - this song is from a recent split-lp with Ty Segall - and they continue to stay out of Sweden, unfortunately.
DNA - Lionel
An old one, from the 1978 compilation No New York. One the same record you'll find some tracks by the next band.
Teenage Jesus & the Jerks - Less of Me
Lydia Lunch and James Chance in the same band can only mean one thing, noise and popular music coming together in a promising union (at least for 1979). This was the b-side of their first single, by which time Chance had already left.
Weave! - Man He Can
A new San Fracisco group who sound a bit like The Slits and Delta 5. With minimal inclusion of guitar, they've already recorded a great ep. This track is their best yet and is the first we've got to hear from the upcoming full-length.
Sado-Nation - Gimme You
The quest for Neo Boys led me to another punk compilation: History of Portland Punk Vol. 1 (no sequels as far as I know). The second best band on it (no, not Wipers) is this group, also featuring female members. There is a retrospective of their whole output called Future Past, Present, Tense if you're interested.
The Fresh & Onlys - Peacock and Wing
This group have already released their second album of the year, on top of a slew of singles. I've only heard the first, self-titled record in full so far, but it's definitely destined for the top 20 of the year. Great SF garage!
The Mantles - Burden
This is from what will definitely be the best album of the year for me, unless Pants Yell! cook up something that outdoes Alison Statton... The album is out on Siltbreeze and builds on two previous 7"s, with a superior sound and simply brilliant songs with one stylus on Nuggets and the other on an 80s indiepop single I've never even heard of.
Present - I Know
Another jangly present from the 60s. Ugly Things tell us this group was from New York, and released a single in 1967. Google won't tell us that much, even.
The Field Twins - We Were Lovers
I really love this girl group from Australia, who only cut two singles I think. One is from 1966, so I guess this one must be from around the same time. The singing isn't great, but I can't stop playing it!