Friday, May 30, 2008

They Made a T-Shirt Out of My Dreams

It's great that Debaser has finally gotten round to booking some classy bands. I'll miss The Ruby Suns next week, but what does that matter when THE ZEBRAS are playing later this summer?! I forgot to bring my camera to the gig last night, which was The Last Ever Saturday Looks Good to Me Gig In Sweden. First I thought I should post one of my crappy pics of Television Personalities (who did an equally crappy set at the same venue recently) instead. But now I think it's only right that the night went un-documented. Here's the setlist instead. Very long since I grabbed a setlist after a gig, but last night was so special.

This is the story of how I went to see a First Floor Power reunion gig, but went home before they came on. The characters in this story are Me, My Friends, Nils-Martin (also a friend, don't mistake me), The Girl With the Rickenbacker, SLGTM, and the T-Shirt.

The first and only time I went to see First Floor Power I was 17 and it was at the city festival held every August. This actually deserves it's own story, a rather interesting one about municipal transport and two girls, but the outcome of the whole thing was I arrived so late I only caught one or two songs. After this the band split up, so I was a bit excited about seeing a full set this time. Not that've listened to them in the interim years, but anyway. Of course there were also the wonderful SLGTM on the bill, who I missed on last year's tour. I got to the venue about five minutes before 10 pm, after which it costs money to get in. I met My Friends, and also discovered about half the crowd seemed familiar, which is something I never experience these days. After realising it was actually a tad chilly outside we went in. Waiting for the first band to go on someone poked me on the way to the restroom. This was Nils-Martin, who I haven't seen in a while. He'd been to see SLGTM in Copenhagen just recently - a dedicated fan. This time he wanted to dance though, and I thought that seemed a perfectly sound idea. Just then there was music coming from the stage, so we went over. And there she was, a girl playing a black Rickenbacker. I liked this band. They were The Envelopes of course, and as they started playing one peppy song after the other I felt a bit ashamed I'd never taken the time to listen to them properly. I can't imagine they're that good on record though. The Envelopes must have the best line-up you can think of: three guitars, bassist and drummer - two of guitarists sing, and one of them is a girl. The only thing that could top that is a female drummer, which pretty much beats everything. After they packed up we were surprised to see members of SLGTM wandering aimlessly around the stage. Were they playing before First Floor Power? Apparently. We sat through the tedious Cover Versions Quiz, which I never recognise anything in. I don't hear any music apart from what I play at home and there's a lot of Better Music to listen to. SLGTM said they were ready, and so were we, right in front of the stage. There's not much more to say - they played, we danced. They didn't have a bassist this time, but I don't often hear music that danceable. See, you don't bass in a song to be able to dance to it! About midway they announced that this was their last tour - i.e. their last gig in Sweden! I'd seen them twice before, but that's not nearly enough. Me and Nils-Martin were shattered, we just stood there with our hearts half the way broken. For the rest of it I felt a bit more restrained, just trying to take in as much of it as possible. Reaching for the camera that wasn't there. Betty Marie's hair was so perfect, and Fred is always cute. Two Velvet Underground covers later, my spirit was back up again as they concluded with "Alcohol", pretending to grant a request, but as you can see it was on the setlist really. They came back in for a double encore, and I was happy. It would be impossible for First Floor Power to follow this, and it just wouldn't be right. So, pretend this was the headlining gig, and go home. It was just the saddest, perfect ending. We spoke to Fred for a bit, Nils-Martin getting his second self-portrait, and both of us getting free T-Shirts. They were trying to get rid of them, he said. What were they thinking? A pop band printing tees in sizes bigger than M! I took a pink L one that I hope will shrink. I cycled home with the T-Shirt on my bike rack. There was an ambulence on it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sunsets At Her Window, Rainbows At Her Door

I'm happy to report that we're currently booking the whole summer for Don't Die On My Doorstep at a new venue. It's called På Besök and is a place I've really liked for several years, and we hope they will like us more that our previous collaborators! The first date is 28th of June and to reflect the new spirit of things we've updated the Myspace profile a bit. I'll be back with further details about the night soon. I should also say that, like every month, there's new exciting music in the player so give us a visit when you're bored.

In fact already on Friday next week there will be some DDOMD action, when I'm playing records at the unfaltering Taramasalata club in Gothenburg (which is still named after an Eggstone song and nothing else!). Expect to hear Vivian Girls, The Rainyard, new School hits, the best of Mousefolk, Icelandic garage-psych and a generally noisy set full of pop frustration, as I'm making up for not having played in a few months. You should also expect some live music from now Gothenburg-native Komon, if you arrive early enough. Bring Back Throwaway Pop!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

One For the Record Books

At long last here is the first post after our little tour. I've been busy... listening to records of course. That week we were away, from the Tuesday to Tuesday the following week, is my new Record Record Week. After I got home, I had a pile of 44 records (in one form or the other) on my table, both stuff I'd bought/been given on the trip and stuff that had arrived in the mail while I was away. Still haven't gotten through all of them! So many people have been kind enough to give me records lately, that I feel obliged to mention them all. That's not why I'll do it though - it's because they're all, quite frankly, amazing! The next few posts will all be about ESSENTIAL records.

The one that's most pressing to tell you about is a new ep from All My Friends that Garry gave me after the gig in Glasgow. His girlfriend (now wife!) said he'd finished mastering it five minutes before he left home, so of course I felt honoured to be the first to be given a copy! Like the album from last year, it's self-released and will probably only be available from iTunes and such, which is a shame since it's among the best realeses of the year. They played some of the new songs live and they sounded great, with a full band backing. Alison's vocals also keep getting better, and she took her turn singing Margo Guryan's "Think of Rain" that evening. It sounded amazing - definitely a draw with the recorded version that has Garry on vocals. The uptempo songs have a definitive punch to them now, and title track "Up and Down the River" and "Sleepin' In" are addictive toe-tappers. The former is playing in Don't Die On My Doorstep's MySpace player as we speak. You should also check out the cute artwork above - I would have just loved to see that on a 7" uncoated paper sleeve!

A record that I haven't got yet is the debut lp by New York darlings Vivian Girls, named after the reclusive artist Henry Darger's fictive hermaphrodites. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the best new band that has come into my sights this year. I have to tell you about them before the hype gets too bad, I'm surprised Matt hasn't mentioned them yet! (Oops, he had them on a mix in October last year...) I consider them part of the onslaught of new noise bands from the US, perhaps spearheaded by the brilliant No Age. Vivian Girls though, are three women keen to champion POP heroes like Black Tambourine and The Shangri-Las. I think this has gotten too many people to look for Black Tambourine influences in their music, when in fact it's just an ingeniously effective mix of riot grrrl and pop sensibilities. "No" is perhaps the best song with a one-word lyric ever! You can't go wrong with repetition, as The Fall duly noted. So, the record is called Vivian Girls (of course) and is out on the brilliantly named Mauled By Tigers label. It was preceded by a few weeks by a single off the album, called "Wild Eyes", and will shortly be followed by another 7" that goes under the self-evident name Self Recorded. I guess it's simply different versions of some of the album tracks. Anyway... it's all here. They're selling these at their ongoing US tour, so expect them to sell out fast! In fact I hear there's already talk of a cd re-release. But, raise your hands everyone who wants this on vinyl. Well... that's the rest of them gone. I'm not taking any chances! You won't either after having fallen in love here, and downloaded the album track "Tell the World". It's already raced past the albums by The Airfields and The Autumn Leaves in the Great Big Competition For Being Called Album of the Year By Me Without Anyone Else Caring. Why did my parents not let me go with them to New York? I could have been hanging out with the Vivian Girls for three weeks straight... Don't look at me like that. And you can take your hands down again now.

Monday, May 5, 2008

It'll Soon Be Over For Me

I've been making posters and flyers for Klubb K3 here in Malmö for a while, but the last club night is on Thursday next week. Bo, who runs it, has decided to give it up after three years - perhaps someone else at the university will pick up the torch? Who knows. This is the last flyer.

It seems I won't get much rest after the tour as there's this, and immediately on Tuesday when we get back Television Personalities are scheduled to play at Debaser. Wonder if they'll turn up? There are no advance tickets, so the venue is obviously not taking any chances!

When People Were Shorter and Lived Longer

So this is what all the secrecy's been about? These little blighters? Yes this is it. I did put a lot of work into doing them, and besides, they're gorgeous! What are they? 3" compilation cds of course, the luxury version of the Cloudberry thing. They're printed in two layers of bone-white watercolour paper and transparent tracing paper, stapled together and sealed with red strings of sewing thread. They hold eight fabulous POP songs, used completely without permission. You can see the tracklisting for yourself below, and as you can probably tell there's a new A Smile and a Ribbon song in there.

CLOUD 55 V/A - Unconscious Honeymoon

So what's the deal? They're not for sale, and I only made twenty copies anyway. But anyone who comes to see A Smile and a Ribbon play this week has the chance of getting one, as we're giving away at least one copy per show. Or you might also be a Virtual and/or Non-Virtual Friend, and been promised a copy already. See YOU soon, and the rest of you in a week.

I'm In Love With a Girl I'm Not Sure Exists

I recently ordered some records from Bart and his Library label and mailorder. Almost all the records listed are still available, and I was very pleased to finally acquire a copy of Pencil Tin's only album, released by Bus Stop in 1996. It's called A Gentle Hand to Guide You Along and followed the classic pop single that was "Poignant". This Australian band sounds a bit like The Cat's Miaow, as does all the bands Bart has been involved with, but it's less heavy on the reverb and more light on the touch. 12 songs are over and done with in just over twenty minutes, but you will already have pressed the repeat button so don't worry. Or perhaps you should. That's why Bart put around 40 tracks each on the Cat's Miaow compilations - a kind gesture that prevents you from just listening to same record over and over. Here, you'll be helpless! You'll probably play "Smile" here below about twenty times to start with. I had to listen to "Be With Me" about twenty times and I still wasn't sure it was not a cover. It sounds like it could have been one of the biggest hits of the 90s for another artist. Maybe it's just because I'd heard the Cat's Miaow version of it about forty times...

I also picked up the classy 10 Songs About Cars and Girls by Bart and Friends, which besides a great cover actually has TWELVE songs on it AND on the back of that a Cat's Miaow compilation called Live, Demos & Out-Takes with another 21 tracks! Another kind gesture. You may have noticed that a Bart & Friends song from this cd was in the sidebar a while ago.

Apart from Bart, Pencil Tin also had Bianca and Robert in its ranks. Robert is actually a proper Australian indiepop celebrity after doing time in both The Sugargliders and The Steinbecks. He's also recorded solo, like all real celebrities. As a final kind gesture Bart included Robert's full-length album with my order, as it 'sold about five copies when it came out' he said. It's very good actually, and now Bart has updated the Library site to say he'll include BOTH Robert Cooper and Pencil Tin for FREE with ALL orders above 40 Australian dollars! Now that's my kind of person.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Disco Deer

This is just wee update to alert you to a handful of things of note. First of all the reason there's been no club night this month and we have no more dates confirmed at the moment is that we're trying to find a new venue. In the meantime you can enjoy yourself with the monthly new mix on MySpace!

As you can see I've added a list of records from 2008 worth buying in the sidebar. This is so I won't have to post whenever there's a new essential record out (which is several times a week at the moment!) and I don't really have a lot else to say.

Also, Fire Escape Talking has posted both of the rare White Sisters singles. White Sisters was Borchardt's band prior to Honeybunch, and I think Ric and Paul where in on these as well.

There's good news from Marineville Records' Andy Parker. He's recently salvaged what remains of the label's back catalogue and will be selling decently priced new copies of the Anyways compilation amongst others. He mentioned he might create a new website, but he might also be selling here.