Monday, August 31, 2009

Leafing Through Memories

These days you have to learn to appreciate a lovingly packaged cdr. Such as the new ep from Apple Orchard! The sparkle of the clear plastic sleeve immediately promised musical delights and as I turned it upside-down a lightscribed disc fell out. I immediately placed it on the cd tray and pressed close then play. Leafy Lanes contains four new songs and the much older "Near-Perfect". All of them quite similar to the sound on last year's Half-Steps Toward Bright Skies: polished, with well-programmed drums, woozy keyboards, languid vocals and the occasional burst of guitars. It's the little things that make this ep so great. There's a cover of Carnival Park's (one of the best Filipino bands!) "Fall Fast" which I am sure I've heard before but at the moment I can't remember what compilation it is on. My favourite track is the upbeat jangler "That Sleepy Side of Town", but I'm not going to share that since you can already stream it from you-know-where.

Instead, here is another cover. As we all know The Lucksmiths have now split up (they just did their last gig, down in Melbourne), and of course I had the honour of supporting them on their last two European shows, which now seems slightly unreal, but anyway, this is also a tribute to them. Apple Orchard have recorded a fantastic cover of one of the Luckies' best tunes "The Great Dividing Range", and I would also like to recommend the compilation it is from. Music to Hold Hands to is a Filipino tribute cd to the band that you can (and should) download for free here. Apple Orchard is a band that have shared plenty of music online anyway, and you can still find some treats on their
site. I'm going to check out that Galaxie 500 cover myself!

CLOUD 95 Apple Orchard - The Great Dividing Range

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stop the Rain and Drain the Sea

My leaving present from Markie was a tape copy of the tape compilation Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! that Mark D did for his Two Pint Take Home fanzine in 1989. I primarily wanted to hear it because it has a Nine Steps to Ugly track on it that is not even listed on TweeNet! The song is called "Apart", and while it's not as great as their one flexi ("Eddie Lopez Lives In Slough"/"Bobby Charlton's Haircut") it's still well worth a listen. Also, it's ages since I shared any songs on here, so I tought I'd get back into it... (You'll find the flexi on I Wish I Was a Flexidisc.)

CLOUD 94 Nine Steps to Ugly - Apart

Friday, August 28, 2009

"In June" In June

Completely deserving of its own post is Summer Cat's first album Songs For Tuesdays. Out on Slumberland since a few weeks, it should be in every pop fans collection by now. Like labelmates The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, they've re-recorded their previously released songs for the album, and as as much as I loved the WeePOP! ep, this album is in a completely different league. They've really come into their own, and instead of sounding a bit all-over-the-place, the different songwriters and singers complement each other perfectly. Perhaps I would've wanted more than one song with female vocals, but "In June" is so perfect that I can't plausibly complain. The 12-string easily rockets it to a first position, but most every song on here is a hit really. The first time I heard it was actually in June, in Alex's car. It's closely followed by the superlative "Super" and "Maybe Pile" with its resonant vocal. I hope that new video comes online soon! The only negative thing I can think of in this context is that I didn't get a chance to see them while in Melbourne, because I doubt they'll come to Sweden, or even Europe. (That was a cue to prove me wrong - please!)

I also failed to mentioned, in the Slumberland extravaganza post below, that there are two new volumes in the slightly delayed singles series Searching For the Now. #5 pairs Swedish Liechtenstein with the now sadly defunct The Faintest Ideas. Liechtenstein contribute the fantastic "This Must Be Heaven" (which you can download here) and it could easily have been included on their album that came out a few months ago. Fellow Gothenburgians give us two previously unreleased songs that will remind you how great their Magic Marker album was, and that you should've gone to that show they did in the US where not a single person turned up. I like the artwork too, for both singles.

The other volume has two British bands - on one side The School's Left Banke cover "And Suddenly" which I've already given a fair share of airplay - and on the other ex-Kenickie band George Washington Brown, who sound remarkably like Boyracer!

Embarrassed Arms

Mike has been a busy boy, and if he keeps this up Slumberland will end up with an even better record than last year. I had been waiting for the first single from The Champagne Socialists since hearing their first four songs on Myspace, and playing my favourite - "Teardrop Tattoo" - on the radio in Auckland. Now, "Blue Genes" c/w "The Young Runaways" is finally here.

Seemingly as fickle as other Royal We off-shoots, they've already changed their name to Neverever.
While The Draculas/Veronica Falls have followed up on the more sinister side of The Royal We's repertoire, Jihae's new outfit retains the glam and West Coast elements. The a-side has the reverbed-out guitar-sound so many band have adopted this year and the drumming is just as ramshackle as it should be. I actually prefer the more slow-paced b-side, which also got a spin at the latest DDOMD night. The question is, will Veronica Falls actually release something as well?

SLR have also managed to fit in a single from the prolific Sic Alps, whose singles comp was one of the highlights of last year. Unlike their more experimental U.S. Ez album, new 7" L. Mansion brings them back to catchy, folky pop. You can check out the great a-side here.

While we're waiting for the new Pains 12", Mike is capitalising on the hype (yes, they have been on tv) with a third single from the album. "Come Saturday" has already been on a Slumberland 7" (coupled with Summer Cat's "Let's Go!" in the Searching For the Now series) but this is the newer album version. Might be worth picking up for the exclusive b-side "Side Ponytail", which I have yet to hear. I got to see the band in Stockholm recently, and they definitely seem to have grown. In numbers too, as they now feature a Depreciation Guild guitarist as well - at least live. Open shirts over t-shirts is perhaps a fashion precursor to a grungey slant to the music? We've all heard about the "Creep" cover, and I admit being worried. Sure, it's still a good song (cf the Heartworms version) but they can do better! The gig at Strand was amazing and it was so good to talk to them again. I hope you've all picked up Kurt's amazing white vinyl single as Depreciation Guild from Kanine? The album is coming soon as well.

Last but not least there's a 12" by Brown Recluse Sings. I really loved their track on Matt's comp, and finally got to hear more when Alex played me their first ep in Melbourne. You can probably read more about it here, soon as I've gotten hold of it. Cause you know you must, right?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hugs Are Never Free

It's high time for an update here, so let's rejoice to the news that Don't Die On My Doorstep is happening once again - in Sweden. Uni & Her Ukelele from San Francisco is playing, in fact she's already in town attempting to ride all our ponys. It's happening tomorrow, at På Besök at usual.

We wanted to use this drawing that one of her fans had done, but since my whole department at uni has moved we couldn't find our colour printer. So instead, we printed them out in b/w at home and coloured them in by hand. We ended up with 25 unique covers, which made numbering them almost justifiable this time!