Sunday, December 30, 2007

Two's a Crowd

- Cunningly cut to accentuate that male, male build - yet remains loose and easy for action wear!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Year Another Address

So that's the albums dealt with. But what about all the eps, singles, mp3s and unreleased songs that passed our way? To make up for that, partially, here's a list of the new SONGS that I couldn't have made it without this year. (In no particular order, only one per artist, and nothing from artists on the albums list.)

The School - All I Wanna Do
Bubblegum Lemonade - Ten Years Younger
Horowitz - Tracyanne
For Ex-Lovers Only - Mindy le Findy
Would-Be-Goods - Temporary Best Friend
Liechtenstein - Stalking Skills
Moscow Olympics - Still
The Fallen Leaves - Shining
Strawberry Whiplash - Summershine
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Come Saturday
The Parallelograms - Dream On, Daisy
Pocketbooks - Not Going Out
Slow Club - Because We're Dead
Katie Jennifer Stewart - Aurora and the Sugar-Free Plan
The Manhattan Love Suicides - Head Over Heels
The Shining Hour - Before You Know It
The First Division - We'll Never Be Cool
The Garlands - You Never Notice Me
The Orange Peels - Everybody's Gone (4-track demo)
The Draytones - Keep Loving Me
Clay Hips - Failure
Slipslide - You Won't Find It Again

The Year of Driving Langourously

Here they are, more or less in descending order (at least the first ten!):

The Clientele – God Save the Clientele
Pants Yell! – Alison Statton
Love Dance – Result
Butcher Boy – Profit In Your Poetry
California Snow Story – Close to the Ocean
The Loves – Technicolour
Louis Philippe – An Unknown Spring
The Royal We – The Royal We
The Dreamers – Day For Night
Afternoon Naps - Sunbeamed
The Postmarks – The Postmarks
Club 8 – The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Dreaming
A Smile and a Ribbon – The Boy I Wish I Never Met
Trembling Blue Stars – The Last Holy Writer
The Orchids – Good to Be a Stranger
The Hermit Crabs – Saw You Dancing
Cats On Fire – The Province Complains
The Sunny Street – They Hurt You Every Day
The Hepburns – Something Worth Stealing
BMX Bandits – Bee Stings
Tullycraft – Every Scene Needs a Center
The Urges – Psych Ward
All My Friends – All My Friends Get Hung Up
Celestial – Dream On
Soda Fountain Rag – Sometimes I Wonder If You Have a Heart
The Icicles – Arrivals & Departures
Annemarie – ABC On TV
Ferns – On Botany
1990s – Cookies
The Owls – Daughters and Suns
The Red Button - She's About to Cross My Mind

The Lodger – Grown-Ups

Souvenir – 64

I've probably forgotten something...

Man-Eater of Surrey Green

- Come the autumn, I hope to see more of you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cookery Casualty

For another, let's see... ten and a half hours you can download Belle & Sebastian's "Are You Coming Over For Christmas" on MySpace. Having listened to it, it sounds exceedingly like BMX Bandits with its almost David Scott class production. I wish Stuart all the best with his musical next year!

Dial a Deadly Number

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Newton Told Me

God, I can't believe I missed Nick Currie's lecture Down With Fun at Galleri Krets! But what really bothers me is I don't find out until NOW, a month later. Fortunately he'll be back to play in Lund next year. Talking to people at So Tough! So Cute! yesterday, I should at least count myself lucky I didn't miss out on The Hepburns two days ago... It was Matt's first time in Sweden, so he didn't dare to bring the whole band. Now that he knows it's quite safe and the teenage fans won't corner them and scream at harmful frequencies, he considers coming back with a full band in the spring. A guy has to protect his ears, and all that.

The decibel level at the sparse gallery in southern Malmö was notably low for a POP show, and the atmosphere hushed. Anthony Rochester (from Tasmania!) even felt compelled to whisper his banter. He opened with a tasteful set on Danelectro guitar and ipod backtrack. A few members of the secretive local act Testbild! joined him for a some of the songs, and these later made up Matt's backing band - together with Anthony. At the most there were five of them, as you can see. I hope it says something about the talent of the Testbild! members that they'd only rehearsed for two days and still played a (as far as I can tell) note-perfect gig. The line-up with vibraphone and the occasional trombone made for a slightly different sound than on the record - I'm looking forward to hearing the song they recorded together! I only recognised the first song ("Beautiful Mover") as they played mostly Matt's new material, and a few from the latest album Something Worth Stealing which I still have the pleasure of hearing to look forward to.

On the Balcony Next Door

Before going on with my end-of-year list, I have to say some things about the new Pants Yell! record. Because Alison Statton (named after the Young Marble Giants singer, of course) is their BIG album. I knew it soon as I opened the parcel from Soft Abuse and saw the jewelcase. Because only a classic album would be released in a jewelcase in these days of digipacks, 3"s, transparent vinyl, mp3s and cdrs. Listening to the songs, it's hard not to think of The Boy With the Arab Strap and other records that made their creators huge.

The last time that happened to an indiepop group seems to be with Camera Obscura's Underachievers Please Try Harder, and even though only a mere four years ago, it's hard to see that as a possibility these days. If AS had come out in 1998 I think Pants Yell! would be Everywhere now. Even though there isn't a huge development in Andrew's songwriting skills (last year's Recent Drama was already a work of genius) there's a clear line of development from their first release Songs For Siblings: fuller, more intricate arrangements, crisper sound and the quirky song-structures have been bent into one immaculate pop hook. And obviously Carly's distinct drumming is gone, but Casey brings new textures to the songs that create yet more variation.

From the perfect opening track "More Purple" with its brass-driven sound, followed by the more old-school Pants Yell! sound of "Reject, Reject" that was a live favourite last year already, then "Tried to Be Good" which is the first of two big POP! songs on the record, Andrew's own favourite (and maybe mine too) "Evan's Way" follows in mellow and more autobiographical tone and is perhaps the best example of how this time they've got the guitar sounds Just Right, "A New City Life" is the songs that sticks out in the middle with it's unprecedented use of distortion, "Magenta and Green" is the other irresistible pop rush and suddenly you glimpse an influence from the British indiepop of the 80s that I know Andrew loves but that hasn't been tangible on their previous efforts, "Shoreham Kent" is AS's "Simple Things" and over in just over a minute, "Alison Statton" then is its "Boy With the Arab Strap" (or why not "Too Much Love"?) with a bouncy piano that won't let you leave the dance floor, and it's tempting to see "The Royal We" as a mirror image of Belle & Sebastian's mention of another contemporary Glasgow group but it actually isn't, the acoustic "For Dee" is almost prettier than "Pony Tales", and through to the end with "Two French Sisters" that must be one of the best closing tracks on a pop album ever (though I admit being slightly biased in that evaluation!), this is one of the most important coherent recordings of the decade.

CLOUD 30 Pants Yell! - Evan's Way

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Hour That Never Was

All the People I Like Are Those That Stay In Bed

Thinking about this year, this is the part I remember, and the part I want to remember. Because what is important is what's in the other direction. And nothing could be more fitting to listen to at this very moment than "September Lady" by Felt. I'm working on a list of the best albums of the year but it'll have to wait another week. Until then, here are some other things that might actually be more interesting.

I've listened to, and fallen in love with so many new bands this year. More than ever, and I find it hard to believe it would be possible to listen to more music than I have done. Also, you have to consider what I have chosen to call 'the Indietracks effect'. What made the festival so important is that there is now actually an indiepop scene, at least in the UK. I think many of the bands, fans, writers, promoters and label owners met out there at Butterley. So here is my list of the Heaven Is Above Your Head/The Rain Fell Down scene - the names of 2007.

The School/The Jerks/The Voluntary Butler Scheme/The Loves, Butcher Boy/All My Friends, Slow Club, Bubblegum Lemonade/Strawberry Whiplash, The Paralellograms, Horowitz, The Royal We, Esiotrot, The Urges, The Fallen Leaves, Pocketbooks, Afternoon Naps, The Dreamers, Moscow Olympics, For Ex-Lovers Only, Pains of Being Pure At Heart, The Bridal Shop, The Hermit Crabs, Clay Hips, The Sunny Street, Liechtenstein, Wake the President, Northern Portrait, The First Division, The Local Heroes, Nalda, Burning Hearts, The Deirdres, Soda Fountain Rag, Beach House, The Felt Tips, Ferns, Maria, Catwalk, The Hillfields.

But as usual, it hasn't all been about new music for me. So here's a list of my biggest obsessions this year - this means that at various points I've been convinced that each of these was the best band/artist EVER.

The Dovers, The Foxgloves, The Relict, Bomb Pops, The School, The Squires, Reserve, Laura Watling, Billy Nicholls, The Suede Crocodiles, Brittle Stars, Paul Chastain & Ric Menck, Life Without Buildings, #Poundsign#, Joe Meek, The Popguns.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Surfeit of H2O

- She was going into the pit of inequity.

COIR 003: Smashing Times At Metro!

If you've stayed up to date with Don't Die On My Doorstep on MySpace (which you probably haven't) you may have noted some significant changes. First of all we're moving to a new venue for January, which is due to several very boring reasons. It's definitely for the better though: free entry, Saturday dates and more dancing! Our first date is the 26th of January, and to celebrate we're giving you the bestest POP disco in town. Smashing Time will be screened on repeat, there'll be badges and fanzines and if you turn up early enough you'll get a chance to grab a copy of the exclusive Cloudberry release Nothing Matters When We're Dancing! Check it out on Cloudberry's site if you don't believe it: an indiepop compilation ep only available at Don't Die On My Doorstep and our esteemed friends Twee As Fuck and Spiral Scratch in London town. Playing records this night will be me and Elin (A Smile and a Ribbon's best kept secret).

In March we're hoping to present an intimate performance from Glenn Melia (St. Christopher), in conjunction with On Our Honeymoon in Gothenburg, but more news about that next year! We might even have something coming up in February...

And just one more thing - if you haven't overdosed on Christmas Indie yet you HAVE to get "Wombling Merry Christmas" from here. As far as I know it's the first song from The Voluntary Butler Scheme available for download. Rob's unloved, extra-curricular (forgive the pun) activities are recent favourites, and I'm hoping for a grand release next year. 2008 might just be Cardiff's big year, with albums from The School and The Loves speaking for it.

Also from Wales, The Hepburns are coming to Sweden! Well, just Matt really, accompanied by members of Testbild!. They're playing at Galleri Krets on Friday together with labelmate Anthony Rochester. Indiepop legends as they are, The Hepburns have been on the scene for about 20 years, with their latest effort out this very year! Here's the first track off of Something Worth Stealing. See you there.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Cherry Christmas!

Martin just sent me the new A Smile and a Ribbon tunes, and one of them is the best they've done so far! I might be spoiling you, but here it is. It's on the wonderful compilation A Very Cherry Christmas Vol. 3 from Cherryade, which you must get as it also includes songs from The Bobby McGees, The Deirdres and MJ Hibbett! And if you can't get enough of them sleigh-bells, here are some other seasonal songs you should listen to, including the fist ever Rose Melberg & Gregory Webster recording (covering The Ramones)! Only Joe Kane's "The Guy In the Grotto" is from last year, but he's just put it up on MySpace. He used to be in The Owsley Sunshine, remember?

CLOUD 29 A Smile and a Ribbon - Heavenly Christmas

Rose & Greg - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight), from

Pocketbooks - Christmas In Your Sights, from Emma's lovely blog Quick As Rainbows

Only Joe Kane - The Guy In the Grotto, download here.

The School - Kiss You In the Snow, dowload here.

The School - Let Me Be the Fairy On Your Christmas Tree, listen here.

Don't Give a Fig, If You Don't Dig! That I'm Around

I've finally managed to track down Smashing Time, a legendary 1967 film by Desmond Davis, starring British 60s faces Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave. I first heard about it as a Television Personalities song title, of course, then heard Death By Chocolate's version of "While I'm Still Young" from the soundtrack. It's a musical you see, the actors are singing - only not on camera. And if you watch intently you might get a glimpse of Tomorrow performing at a party!

The film has been released on dvd in the US, but it's out of print. So imagine my joy when
I came upon this blogpost at I'm Learning to Share. Not only can you get the original version of "While I'm Still Young" by Lynn Redgrave - there's a link to the Rita Tushingham Home Page! From there you can order vhs or dvd copies of most of the films she's been in, including Smashing Time.

So, about the song then. In the film it's a hit recording by Yvonne (Lynn Redgrave). She can't sing but after flicking some switches in the studio it suddenly sounds hip! The vocal is still hilarious though, and I was quite frankly shocked when I first heard it. Since then I've started to dig it more and more and now I think it's genius!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Hear a New World

Finally, I think I've managed to track down all the Castaway Stones songs out there. The last one was their cover of Pamela Blue's "My Friend Bobby", which can be found on this green split-7" with Electrocope. It's a tribute to Geoff Goddard who worked closely with British producer Joe Meek in the 60s. Glasgow's Electroscope were helped out by the Mount Vernon Arts Lab on their rendition of "Skymen", which was also performed and not olny written (like "My Friend Bobby") by Goddard. He seems to be an intriguing character, so let's hope his own recordings are reissued some day! The Pamela Blue original is available on Let's Go! Joe Meek's Girls and this split-single is still stocked by a few mailorders (like Norman, where I got mine).

Pam sings on the Castaway Stones side, of course, and it's no lie to go as far as calling it their best recording ever, certainly inspired by Meek's sound in the production. I couldn't think of a better Christmas present to give you than this:

Another Night In a Another City

Oh, I forgot to tell you about going to see The Sunny Street at Indigo in Lund! As you can see, Remi had a very nice new Danelectro, though it did drop out sometimes... They seem to always have problems with the sound, but they did an endearing set anyway with some new tunes thrown in. It was very quiet, so lucky for them they played early - before the bulk of the drunk students had arrived.

On another Friday night we went over to Copenhagen and the cool Club Mau Mau, where our friends were playing records. The support band for The Masonics was a pleasant surprise indeed. The Phantom Pillow (may the name have anything to do with this guy's Vox copy?) from Denmark is a brand new garage group who were actually doing their very first gig. They went down really well with crowd, with their extrovert female singer, inspired covers ("Going All the Way" by The Squires!) and rocking originals. The Masonics gig was probably the best thing I've seen this year - they had such an aura about them. In the middle of their set, I was quite shocked when they invited Miss Ludella Black on stage, to sing on some tunes!

I'd seen her by the merchandise table earlier and thought she looked like Ludella. It definitely hadn't been announced that she would be on stage too! And it was cool just watching her dance in the crowd during the first part of the set. On stage, she contributed to some of the best songs of the set, like a version of "Why Don't You Smile" and the new 7" (split between her and The Masonics) which was the loudest song of the night.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Honeymoon Gone Well

On Our Honeymoon was a great success last night and The Felt Tips flew home with kronor notes sticking out of their pockets! And a bunch of wee girls on their ever-growing list of admirers. All that bearing in mind that they unleashed their naughtiest lyric so far on the unknowing Swedish audience! It was great hanging out with Andrew (pictured), Neil, Roy and Miguel and they should be as pleased with the night as the On Our Honeymoon guys seemed to be. I had a great time playing records, as I stuck to stuff I'd just recently (and I mean one or two weeks) fallen for. The For Ex-Lovers Only track is definitely the best song in this set, I think, and if you don't check them out NOW you'll live to regret it. Or maybe not even that.

The Loves – She'll Break Your Heart
The Cake – World of Dreams
Catwalk – I Think Too Much
The Hillfields – Spoon
All My Friends – Up and Down the River
The Magic Shop – It's True
#Poundsign# - Walking and Talking
The Delmonas – He Tells Me He Loves
The Masonics – No Desire For Revenge
Christine Pilzer – Ils pataugent
Bad Dream Fancy Dress – Kick In the Teeth
Chin Chin – Never Surrender
Tibi Lubin – Romany Rye
We the People – Alfred, What Kind of Man Are You?
Bubblegum Lemonade – That Thing You Do
The Manhattan Love Suicides – Head Over Heels
The Cookies – I Wanna Boy For My Birthday
Clothilde – Fallait pas écraser le queue du chat
Laura Watling – It’s All I Can Do
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – Transparent Day
The Visitors – I Remember
Billy Nicholls – London Social Degree
Adèle – Jái peur parfois
The Yellow Balloon – Springtime Girl
The Volutary Butler Scheme – Laundry
The Airfields – Yr So Wonderful
Bright Coloured Lights – Leave You Behind
Rocketship – Your New Boyfriend
Majestic – Nyra and Michelle
The Lucksmiths – Up
The Jazz Butcher – Soul Happy Hour
The Pinefox – Her Lost Polo
Wake the President – Remember Fun?
The Left Banke – I've Got Something On My Mind
The Clouds – Jenny Nowhere
Horowitz – Hug Target
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – This Love Is Fucking Right!
The Bristols – True True Lovin'
Jan & Dean – She's My Summer Girl
The Groove Farm – It Always Rains On Sunday
Maria – Friends Forever
The Jaywalkers – (You Can’t Be) Happy All the Time
The Big Gun – Heard About Love
Dolly Mixture – Will He Kiss Me Tonight
Miss Ludella Black – Is It True
Liberty Belles – Shing-a-ling Time
Lynn Redgrave – While I'm Still Young
Strawberry Story – Freight Train
The Royal We – All the Rage
Komon – Poetry For the Winter
The Autocollants – Butterscotch
Tullycraft – The Punks Are Writing Love Songs
For Ex-Lovers Only – Mindy le Findy
Pants Yell! – Magenta and Green

Well, at least I managed to squeeze two Sha-La-La tracks in there!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Eleanor's Cake That Ate Her

Is a song by Kevin Ayers, about 60s girlgroup The Cake, which I can't wait to hear after listening to Rev-Ola's double-reissue of their two albums. More of the Cake finally arrived in the mail today, after my Cherry Red order having disappeared in the black hole of Royal Mail twice. I originally ordered it when it came out in August, but it definitely suits the dark season better, with its blend of ominous psych-pop and swinging r'n'b, flavoured with English folk melodies. The story of The Cake is not unlike that of fictive group The Carrie Nations - formed in 1966 by three teenage girls (one of them sadly died in 1980), who wrote their own material. The albums came out in 1968 and '69 and although called the last proper girlgroup, The Cake only have two songs in that vein really. Just listen to the baroque sounds of "Fire Fly", and there are more songs on their self-made MySpace page. Then buy the cd and let it monopolise your listening time over the holiday!

She Was a Mau Mau

Yes it's true, the Masonic machine will be turning you on in Copenhagen this Friday! The garage legends are playing Club Mau Mau and Johanna from Club Flipslide in Malmö has been endowed with the honour of playing records. The three members of The Masonics have been in most every garage band of note in the UK since the days of the Pop Rivets and The Milkshakes. Apart from the bulk of Billy Childish's bands, they've been in The Wildebeest, The Bristols, Thee Headcoatees just to name a few. Mickey Hampshire actually lives together with Ludella Black and plays on both the Mickey & Ludella album and her solo records. Here is the opening track of The Masonic Machine Turns On You from 2002, the best of the two albums I have. You should also check out the cool new sounds on MySpace, cut at the vintage equipment studio Circo Perotti in Italy.
This means I'm going to miss Scout Niblett's gig in Malmö, whether or not she's in good health... But The Castanets won't be supporting her that night, which at least makes it a somewhat smaller loss. Playing tomorrow in Malmö, are Glasgow's favourite sons 1990s, fronted by 'songstress' (as the writers on the venue's site call him!) John Mckeown from The Yummy Fur, which is not to be missed either by any self-respecting connoisseur of brainless riffs.

The Murder Market

- Makes one feel that the whole platoon of the other half's panting to get up one. Might be true too.

Dial # For Hit of the Week

Are #Poundsign# the BEST band ever, or the best band EVER? I've been hearing about them for years and have been aching to hear them since The Young Tradition covered their "Isolation" on their first ep. Now finally I have listened to their two albums: Wavelength, and Under the Marquee. The first, from 1998, is the masterpiece but the second has some great tunes, like "Coffee Flavoured Friend". They sound like a cross between Majestic and Brent Kenji's first band Skypark; with the crisp bouncy drumming of the former and the bright guitar tone and honeyed female vocals of the latter (courtesy of Alicia of The Aislers Set and Dear Nora). There are also some similarities to Rocketship and Brittle Stars. In other words, everthing which is great about American indiepop! Here is the last song on Wavelength. And there's a short interview from the Kickstand fanzine on Indiepages.

The Master Minds

- Has anyone ever remarked on the astonishing resemblance between yourself and Florence Nightingale?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pinecones Will Shiver

The First of Advent means it's time for another compilation here, and this is my Christmas and winter mix of the year. You can see the tracklisting here on the back cover (which you can also print yourself)!. The big exclamation mark is of course that it includes the first Pinefox song ever made available to the public, that I know. Used with permission, and you can probably guess from whom when you hear it. And as December also includes my birthday, I've included "Twentytwo" by The Lucksmiths, which I actually heard just recently. It feels like it was written just for me, in a way. And of course it's the 22nd track! Get everything from the link below.

CLOUD 24 V/A - Too Many Christmas Trees
(Christmas is over...)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Honeymoon Diaries

We did it all over backwards, I told him. First of all we got to know each other, and then a while after that we met, and when we'd known each other for about seven years we decided to have an anniversary, and that went quite well, so after the anniversary we had a honeymoon, and that went well too, so after that we decided that we would get married. That's why we're living there now.

So what's the December news for Don't Die On My Doorstep? Well, we're taking a bit of a winter/xmas leave and will be back in the new year, at a new venue. But if you prefer your snow with some pristine indiepop, you should go to On Our Honeymoon in Gothenburg, which I will be guesting on the 8th. And so will The Felt Tips from Glasgow! I'm so impressed with their debut ep on Cloudberry, and more than a bit proud of them. I saw them a year ago and listened to their demos, which I liked. But then seeing their set at Indietracks, where they played in the wee church at Butterley station, everything changed. They didn't have their drummer (see empty stool above), which really brought Miguel's jangly playing to the front, and the acoustics were excellent. Now listening to the 3" I'm so pleased with the mixing, that is trebly to the point of a Happydeadmen production. But with those lyrics, I hope it's not a honeymoon diary! It's their only gig in Sweden so I hope people travel wide and far. The other guest dj is one of the two guys who arranged Rip It Up this summer, called Johan.

Oh, you've got
this right?