Friday, November 28, 2008

C'est Fini

The last Klubb K3 event of this semester went out quietly last night. My last track was Claudine Longet's cover of Twinkle's "The End of the World" - the only song sung in English on my playlist. Otherwise it was all in French, as you can see. Les Bof! are not that French, come to think of it, since they're based in Edinburgh! "Chante" is their version of "I Can Only Give You Everything" by Them/Van Morrison. Oh, and "Les framboises" is of course "You're So Good to Me" by The Beach Boys.

Jaqueline Taïeb – 7 heures de matin
Stone – Les framboises
Jaques Dutronc – On nous cache tout, on nous dit rien
Les Lutins – Je cherce
Danyel Gerard – Sexologie
Clothilde – Je t'ai voulu et je t'ai bein eu
Delphine Desyeux – Je suis la tigresse
Gillian Hills – Tu mens
Les 5 Gentlemen – Longue, longue nuit d'amour
Les Safaris – Elle avait tout
Antoine et les Problemes – Dodecaphonie
Les Bof! – Chante
Les Papyvores – Psychédelic badge

Christine Pilzer – Mon p’tit homme special
The Sorrows – Verde, Rosso, Giallo, Blu
Charlotte Leslie – Les filles c'est fait...
La Nouvelle Frontière– Pour un temps de marée
José Salcy – J'en parlerai à mon cheval
Pop' Liberty 6 – Qu'est-ce que ma soeur fait dans la machine a vapeur?
Les Sparks – Souris
Christie Laume – Agathe ou Christie
Les Capitals – Nous on chante
Bazile & ze Pecqu'nouz – Ma charette est malade, mon cheval est cassé
Les Gypsys – Je ne te pardonnerai pas
Les Sunlights – C'est fini
Zouzou – Tu fais partie du passé
Claudine Longet – The End of the World

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Have No Ideas

A cover scan of this month's minizine for Don't Die On My Doorstep. These were quite excruciating to make since I insisted on printing the coloured background and photocopying the black into place on top - and my photocopier wasn't very exact! I was more than a bit fed up with it yesterday, but now I think it looks ok. Why should you care anyway? You won't get one. Unless you come see The Pinefox tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Last Lighthouse Keeper

I've found two amazing web resources this week. One has got to do with Australian band The Lighthouse Keepers. You may remember me writing about Widdershins a good while ago - The Lighthouse Keepers is the band Greg and Juliet were in before that. Also, I read that two other LK members went on to The Honeys and The Cannanes! You also may remember that Juliet Ward is one of my favourite female singers ever.

So imagine my joy when I discovered this site, which has many interesting features such as 1985-86 reviews and downloads of the whole Lipsnipegroin compilation. So if you're tired of waiting for that Egg Records retrospective you should check out this double-disc 1992 release that includes everything they recorded!

I know at least one LK fan that will rejoice with me... At first glance it seemed as if "Quick Sticks" was not included, but it is, it's just been renamed "I've Been Getting Down" - which is definitely a change for the worse! Similarly, another track from their first 7", "Demolition Man", is called "Demolition Team" here instead. I've put up "Quick Sticks" from that 1983 single (which had "Gargoyle" on the a-side) for you, to encourage you to check out the rest. It's really one of their best songs and features some great, perky rhythms from their talented bass player Stephen O'Neil (the guy who started The Cannanes).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blue-Flavoured Lollipop

There are new songs on the tape over at Don't Die On My Doorstep's Myspace. Read more about these tracks over here.

The Go-Betweens - Careless
Send Me a Lullaby LP, 1981

Roger Young - Sweet Sweet Morning
45 a-side, 1966

The Gordian Knot - It's Gonna Take a Lot
s/t album, 1968

Honeymoon Diary - Plain to See
unreleased, 199?

Les Misérables - Vivre avec toi
45 b-side, 1965

The First Gear - The 'In' Crowd
45 a-side, 1965

Death By Él Graphic

I was trying to find a picture of Jeremy Butler, but they seem rather scarce, apart from the few photos of The Groove Farm that you can find online. So you'll have to make do with the cover of the compilation that the featured song is from. Él Graphic have designed sleeves for everything from Slumber Party to Hunky Dory cds and they almost always look great. Butler has recorded their theme tune, called simply "Él Graphic". Now, that's credited to Tomorrow's World and anyone who's browsed through Butler's discography, must've been met with a certain puzzlement. You see, he has for a long time now worked with Mike Alway and written and arranged songs for many of the if.../Reverie projects that have seen the light of day through Siesta. The trouble is that they've used different names for pretty much everything!

However, Tomorrow's World seems to be the closest you get to Jeremy Butler solo. This might be because among the first songs that were released after he teamed up with Alway were by Vision On, the first band he had had all to himself. They were taken off their sole ep and put on Songs For the Jet Set under the name Tomorrow's World. (A compilation that also included the aptly named psychedelic shoolgirl group Fantastic Everlasting Gobstopper!) More tracks have been released under the Tomorrow's World moniker over the years - all spread out over various compilations.

Butler was kind enough to put all the tracks, plus some extras from old tapes, onto one cd for me, called Paper Airplane Book. It's 16 tracks long, and crying out to be released on Siesta. So by sharing just one of these wonderfully classy sunshine/lounge/bossa creations, I hope you'll be putting some pressure on Alway and Siesta to go ahead and do it! Besides, it's the time of year when Christmas songs start to feel bearable again.

CLOUD 78 Tomorrow's World - I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coming Into Town Like the Last Train is an internet radio station based in Los Angeles, which I first heard about a year ago when Bobby Wratten recorded some acoustic session tracks for one of their shows. Marion runs a show called Not Quite Punk, and also plays records at the Hungry Beat! club night. For next month she's planning a themestream full of indiepop. I've made an hour-long show for this and it'll also be aired on the regular stream as soon as possible - I'll let you know when. (!)

You can see what it's called and the music it includes above. It's about certain strands of LOUD guitarpop and how bands have influenced each other across the Atlantic - as you can see all the bands are from the UK or the US. Probably nothing for people who create sites like this abomination... But if you're in Boyracer, this is totally your bag.

The reason I've added a poundsign without a number is that I'm hoping to do some more radio in the near future, so look out for #1! I've scouted out a student radio station in Auckland, so we'll see if they reckon they need an indiepop show.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You'll Never Be Cool

I hope you've all watched the new Comet Gain video, for "Love Without Lies"? It's a great music video, shot by Pavla of TAF, and a veritable who's who of UK indiepop 2008. I recognise a few dozens of people, if not more. It was shot in August in Glasgow and London, with lots of footage from The Buffalo Bar of course. But part of me is happy that I don't pop up somewhere in there, as Brogues first thought. The part of me that still resists the idea of the cool. Indiepop has always been one of few subcultures not struggling under the weight of trying to be cool. Unlike for example punk, post-punk, metal or any other group of people who survive their teens by hardening themselves to the world - or 'growing up', in their own way. Of course we have also grown up, and there are kids out there whose parents were part of the 80s pop scene as much as the punk generation has settled down and started familys. We too, have hardened ourselves, but we have done so through inverting the reaction, ironically. By opening ourselves - to love, friendship and hope. Since when has listening to Comet Gain been cool, I have to ask? Not during the years I've listened to them - that's for sure. And least of all now, after the half-arsed gig at Indietracks and a farewell to their faithful fanbase with a record that compiles a heap of tracks from 7"s and 12"s that those fans are likely to have lining their walls. And about three unreleased tracks, let's not forget.

The 'hipster condition' is also a problem with TAF, and I seem to recall kind of the same thing happening during the height of the Swedish indiepop craze 2002-2004. Here at least, it ended with the mock superiority of the so called 'indie talibans'. My feeling was that it wasn't
exactly a welcoming community, and you were not accepted into it if you didn't have the right clothes or listened to the right bands. The same thing seems to be happening in London now. Thankfully, the Swedish hipsters soon moved on to electro pop, and other newfangled trends. These things are never really about the music.

The video unarguably portrays the indie kids as cool - and 'kids' are what you see. Where are the older indiepop fans, the overweight, and the plain hideously ugly people? Stephen Pastel seems to be the only one above 35 in the video, cause he's still hip apparently. Or maybe just a child at heart. He smiles nervously into the camera from behind the turntables, as if this is exactly the sort of racket he hopes the footage will not turn up in. And maybe it seems silly to mention the way that drinking and smoking are presented as natural accessories to vinyl fetishism and unruly hair, but still. If I was fifteen this would be the sort of people I'd look up to (and imitate, cause I wouldn't dare to be myself). Our lives are as decadent as anyone else's, but perhaps we should try to change this rather than cementing bad habits. Nothing's been edited out, and I don't think it should be, but maybe this simply isn't the right forum for cinéma vérité.

Looking at this video is like entering a world so completely different from visiting Indietracks this summer it's not even funny. Apart from the fact that probably no one could've looked cool in that terrible heatwave, what would strike you about that crowd is the wide spectrum of people. It wouldn't have surprised me if the local employees in the buffet had started talking about Primal Scream in '85 with me. That's why it was so funny to hear Harvey sing the following in the church:

Take a trip to Anorak City
All the girls are young and so pretty

And the boys all walking around
They're all really groovy in Anorak Town
Take a trip to Swanwick Junction,
In the buffet they're serving up luncheon
So don't let your credibility slip
Let's all take a trip to Anorak City

Blasphemy, if ever I saw it! The only thing you need to do now is replace 'anorak' and 'Swanwick junction' with London and the Highbury & Islington tube stop. I bet the hipsters would be abhorred to be called 'groovy'. *Shudder*

Having said all that, cinematographically and photographically it's a brilliant video - and a fantastic new single of course! And you should also check out Pavla's video for Slow Club's ep track "Come On Youth", which apart from some gritty Super 8 shots, also features an interesting narrativity.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We Sang a Yé-Yé Song

The poster for this semester's last Klubb K3, completing the set of three. It's been fun so far, so I hope our good luck will continue this month. As it says in Swedish, the theme is France and Italy in the 60s (and thus the colours), meaning there'll be plenty of yé-ýe, chanson and Morricone/spaghetti soundtracks. And Louis Philippe of course! Who at least grew up in the 60s although he didn't release anything until 1985. Pictured in the poster are French folk-rock group La Nouvelle Frontière, and it's part of the collage adorning their first LP.

Smash Hit Wonder

Of course, Louis Philippe never became the "Smash Hit Wonder" he ironised about on Ivory Tower and neither will Laz, aka Bubblegum Lemonade. But that never prevented me from having high hopes for the debut album, which has arrived surprisingly quick and hot on the heels of his second ep Susan's In the Sky. But considering he seems to spend a lot of time in the cosy house he shares with wife Sandra (who sings in Strawberry Whiplash) in the outskirts of Glasgow, maybe it's not so strange after all. I managed to capture him on film (or memory card, nowadays) this summer and he does come across as a very positive character, just like the songs on the two eps are full of upbeat, exuberant pop.

The album is slightly different - more balanced, and the hits interspersed with a good deal of moodier and more laidback numbers - as any successful album effort must. In general, the wall-of-sound bedroom production opens up slightly to let some more air in, as in the examplary "Penny Fountain" with its feathery effervescence. This is one of the best new tracks on the lp and is joined at the top by "Tyler" from the Matinée Hit Parade compilation, the single track "Susan's In the Sky" and "My Dreams of You". The latter was a favourite of mine two years ago already, and although the demo I heard then had a bit more jangle (perhaps due to a low bitrate!) it's still a perfectly realised song modelled on The Byrds.

"Lost Summer Days" is an old song also recorded by Laz' previous band The Search Engines, which leads me to wonder if any more of these songs are old compositions? In any case it's a superior recording, which makes up for the fact that he didn't choose to re-record "When She Goes" - perhaps the best song he's written - but maybe he just couldn't improve on it!

There's definitely more of his Fender Jaguar on the lp than the 12-string Rickenbacker, which might be a conscious strategy to make us drool even more over janglers like the moody "Tired of Sleeping", coming across like a better recorded Rain Parade. I'm not at all surprised Jimmy Tassos mentions the paisley underground himself in the promo text. "Tyler" is finally revealed as a cat song (remember "Wop-a-din-din" by Red House Painters?). There's even room for an acousticy number at the end, "Last Weekend", complemented with some wonderfully languid synthesisers. But a word of advice is to perhaps lay off the electronic tidbits for future releases, as they don't really contribute to the songs. You can hear all of them here and here.

In a Swedish school G++ wouldn't be a very flattering grade, since G is for 'pass' and not 'good'. I'd give this record a proud MVG (pass with distinction).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Decapod

Julie Stevens right in her first appearance as Venus Smith.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Easy as Pie

I reckon many people starting out with 3DS Max use the teapot, as it for various reasons is included as a standard object. We just started a 3D modelling course today and it's amazing how far you can get in just one day. So here's my stone teapot on a tiled floor... All that happens in this animation is that the lid is lifted and tilted, while the camera orbits the scene. It's a big file for just short of 2 seconds, but you can put it on repeat. Kids' stuff for professionals, but nevertheless.

Design to Warm

On Sunday Popklubb in Newcastle are having a mix swap, so I made this winter mix for them. One lucky visitor will get this 26-track cd with a double cover of grey card and transparencies. You can lift the top sheet here on the back and read which title goes with which band.

As you can't really do that with you screen without damaging it, I've posted the trackslisting below. The plan is also that a few more people will get to hear it as a link to the digital version will be in the next DDOMD mailing list post, and you can of course still sign up

I think it's the best mix I've done in a while, listening to it now as I am. I didn't even try to choose songs with winter/xmas in the title and instead just grabbed a bunch tracks I've been playing a lot recently - ending up with lots of chilly post-punk noise and some warming garage fuzz. And let's confess, anything starting with Altered Images and ending with The Fall has got to open one's eyes! Perfect for winter evenings.

CLOUD 77 V/A - Smile Yrself Warmer

Altered Images – Insects
Bush Tetras – Too Many Creeps
caUSE co-MOTION! – When Will It Finally End?
Dorotea – The Noble Art of Being Naïve
Mrs. Kipling – Take Me Back to Heaven
The Bank Holidays – Can't Be Beat

The Lorimer Sound – Photograph
Les Lutins – Loin de moi
The Undesyded – Baby, I Need You
Wild Billy Childish & the MBE – He's Making a Tape
The Keys – I Don't Wanna Cry
Catwalk – Comely
Lois – Strumpet
The Good Idea – Inside Outside
The Palace Guards – Better Things to Do
Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes – If I Needed Someone
Emily – Reflect On Rye
Twig – Please Don't Turn Me Into a Murderer
Melodie Group – Granny Dress
Honeymoon Diary – Drive
The Beechnuts – Nature's Company
Boyracer – In Love
The Faintest Ideas – Pay For Crumbs
Electricity In Our Homes – After Many a Summer Dies the Swan
James Chance & the Contortions – Design to Kill
The Fall – Smile

Too Many Stars In His Head!

Hearing caUSE co-MOTION!'s new single compilation has had the same life-changing effect on me as hearing Hurrah! several years ago, and Felt before that. Of course, I've been aware of the brilliant Brooklyn group since hearing their This Just Won't Last EP from 2005, but maybe it's just the effect of hearing so MUCH caUSE co-MOTION! concentrated to the 20 minutes of the cd that's got to me. After those 14 songs you just have to give in to the fact that the boys are the sharpest-sounding outfit since This Poison!(!) They make it sound effortless, but they know exactly what they're doing at all times. Tim Barnes has given them the best production this side of John Leckie's work on The Strange Idols Pattern... and that side of Josef K. The exclamation mark after the band name and the title of the comp are as firmly affixated as the upside-down 'i' in The Chesterf!elds. And it can't be a coincidence that "It's Time!" is also a track on The Times' first LP Pop Goes Art!. Just like The Times, and definitely succeeding even better than them, cc join the tinny guitars of 80s underground pop with a 60s garage twang and spring reverb. Everything is loud, and why shouldn't it be? The only thing I can truthfully compare this to is the b-side of the Jim's Twenty One 7" (in the player now, along with some other commotion-causing sounds).

The cd leads off with this song, from their Cape Shok split with Jowe Head. It's slightly different, since it doesn't seem to have the same production, but the sheer strength of the song shines forth anyway. It's time to succumb to the ! effect. Crash, crash, crash, because this just won't last!

CLOUD 76! caUSE co-MOTION! - Only Fades Away

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Made Whilst Listening to The Zombies

Back with some news about the next Don't Don't My On My Doorstep, which will be assigned the number COIR 011. This is promising to be the best one since The Pains of Being Pure At Heart were over! I mean, how can you go wrong with a poster illustration contributed by the massively unpopular Alistair Fitchett, a live set by the world-renowned Pinefox, and the best half of Cosy Recordings attending to half of the DJing? Very easily, of course. But let's hope we do not.

You can understand my excitement through this short story. In 2004 I was going to a festival called Mitt Sista Liv outside Kalmar. This was in the days when a festival was still a wondrous experience, especially if it was an indiepop festival. I was still in school, mind you. One day I looked at the website and The Pines was part of the line-up! I'd only heard the odd song, but I'd fallen instantly in love with Pam Berry's voice. A few days later I checked back and... gone! Surely a mistake, I thought. Some minor digital error somewhere prevented me from seeing that name that filled me with joy and expectations. But I later found out that their appearance had been cancelled due to pregenancy. So The Pines' first visit to Sweden never happened, and still hasn't. On the next occasion I was meant to meet Pam, she went and got pregnant again. I don't really mind because I finally met her last year and her daughters are just adorable, however ill-timed.

Now, Lulu and Ava are still keeping Pam frightfully busy, so even if it's not a Pines gig proper - we're halfway there now! Joe has never been to Sweden and had no idea where Malmö was until a few weeks ago. I'm just saying, don't disappoint him. Or he might not be back! Joe has kept up the pop side of things with releases as The First Division (Joe plus Tim from The Visitors and Hope) and The Arc Lamps earlier this year. You can expect to hear songs from those projects; The Pines; his now legendary duo with Stephen Papercuts, The Foxgloves; some covers; and unheard material from his extensive library of as yet unreleased songs.

I've also made a little winter mix for Popklubb called Smile Yrself Warmer, and I'm planning to upload it later and put the link in the next mailing list post. You can still still sign up for that through our google group. Looking at the title of this post... wouldn't it be just dandy to have a t-shirt printed with 'made whilst listening to The Zombies'?

If you haven't been to a DDOMD, or if you have and didn't think it half bad, this might be a good time to come down. Cause I think it might be a neat way to tie things up before I travel down to New Zealand. There might be club nights in December and January but I'm not sure just now. Of course, I plan to pick up where I left off when I come back, or do something in Auckland, but again, you never know.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Such Is Your Strange Allure

I trust you've already checked out Vivian Girls' new and very cool video for "Tell the World"? If not, you can find it here. I also should tell you about the lovely indiepop all-dayer happening in Nottingham on Sunday next week. I wish I could attend but sadly I can't afford both that and Christmas Twee. A Smile and a Ribbon was even asked to play, but we're having a break from gigs just now. This flyer presents the final line-up, along with some classic Kes imagery.

Finally, Crystal Stilts have released their first album Alight of Night and you can get it from Slumberland right NOW. I have to agree with Brouges that it's one of the best this year! It delivers on the promises of their recent ep, with louder and crispier mixes of a couple of older tracks like "Spiral Transit", "Bright Night" and "Shattered Shine". Among the new treasures, the extra brooding "Graveyard Orbit" and the relentless thump of "The SinKing" shine the brightest. The reverb-drenched vocals works well buried at the bottom of the mix, because the one thing you can wish of this band is a stronger singer with more personality.

Comparisons to Joy Division abound, but I can't stop thinking of The Aislers Set and 13th Floor Elevators, with The Gun Club or Echo & the Bunnymen as optional flavouring. "Prismatic Room" stands starkly with it's near-major tonalities and JAMC melody. And just like with Vivian Girls, mentioning The Index cannot hurt either. You can hear "Prismatic Room" by going here, as it opens our monthly Don't Die On My Doorstep mix! I really wish they get all the hype they deserve (and more to it), cause that's the only chance I have of ever seeing them on a Swedish stage. And it's hard to imagine this kind of music sounding better in the studio than in a damp pub cellar, the electrics crackling under the dripping plumbing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Flatter Me and I'll Flatten You

It's time to make some promotion for this year's Christmas Twee, cause if you haven't noticed yet, I'm playing records! If you need a proper attraction though, it's worth mentioning that Phil Wilson is playing. I saw him two years ago in London (and was supposed to have interviewed him as well...) and it was a fantastic gig - even with just him and Big John. Now he's playing with a full band, and it can only be beyond fantastic.

Mighty Mighty is not a tribute band, it actually is Mighty Mighty. They haven't released anything new, they're just... playing. It remains to be seen if they still have the knack of laying down as solid a beat as that of "Throwaway" - a now legendary slice of disposable bubblegum pop from the first Sha-La-La flexi.

If those guys were all married to Phil Wilson, Mascot Fight could've been their kids. What? Under-50-year-olds playing indiepop! Yes, it's true. At least the Derby outfit has learned a lot from 80s indiepop judging by the demo cd I was handed by Ian Watson at least year's Indietracks. Oh, I just saw you can download their first ep from their website. There's even a song called "Christmas Dinner For One" to get you in the right, teeth-clattering mood. Apparently, they have an album called Pantomime Hearse coming out soon as well.

In all the excitement over this old pop, don't forget to pick up your tickets, and buy some for your friends too so you can cross them from your Christmas shopping list. Are there any spruces around the Midland Railway Centre? You might as well get some cheap Christmas trees while you're communing with nature anyway.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nuts Are For Squirrels

Here's a poster I just made, for a symposium at our department next week. Oh yes, its tenth anniversary was yesterday and after free food and drink I got to play the following to an all but empty dancefloor.

The Bunch – Birthday
The Blossoms – That's When the Tears Start
Tina Tott – Burning In the Background of My Mind
The Merry-Go-Round – Gonna Leave You Alone
Saturday's Children – You Don't Know Better
Grapefruit – Round Going Round
Candy Sparling – Can You Keep a Secret
The Visions – Humpty Dumpty
The Snappers – Upside Down, Inside Out
Sounds Unlimited – You're Gonna Lose That Girl
The Free Design – California Dreamin'
Linda Doll & the Sundowners – He Don't Want Your Love
The Astors – Twilight Zone
The Coasters – Crazy Baby
? and the Mysterians – "8" Teen
The Caravelles – The Other Side of Love
The Music Machine – Double Yellow Line
The Sparkles – Hipsville 29 B.C. (I Need Help)