Friday, October 29, 2010

The White Skeleton Boys Have a Lifestyle I Can't Afford

I never think that I am going to make a Halloween mix, but as you know, it has happened before. Here is one for 2010, with the cover being another Ngaio Marsh adaptation. It includes new nerve-tingling material from Black Time, The Limiñans, Vermillion Sands, Nerve City, Unwed Teenage Mothers, Royal Baths, Harlem, The Girls At Dawn, Outer Minds and Guards. And of course a few carefully selected moody garage numbers, like The Affection Collection track which is only included on a single compilation, Larry & Blue Notes' unreleased "Night of the Sadist" (censored and recut as "Night of the Phantom") and a track from Ludella Black's (Thee Headcoatees) second album. Through in a few classics from Skywave, Lost Sounds and Forbidden Tigers and you have a winner!

CLOUD 121 V/A - Grave Mistaken

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sight-Specific Site

Here's something for anyone interested in design, I just finished my website and one of the projects shown is one I worked at while in Auckland last year.

You may remember the brief: creating a brand and a marketing strategy for a festival, but I never posted the result as I promised. My proposal was a pop festival in Ponsonby, featuring bands like Summer Cats, The Clean, The Chills, Sly Hats etc. The marketing campaign (pictured) was inspired by street art on Ponsonby Road and I've had this photo on Flickr for ages. The piece also turned up on a street art blog around that time, and I found out it was by Component. Today, I found out that he has a website, where the same piece is pictured. Apparently he caused some controversy earlier this year when being arrested, while his work was included in the Public Access exhibit at Auckland Art Gallery!

Friday, October 22, 2010



Slumberland have posted my new and second podcast for them, making it #14 in the total count. It's been in the feed for a while, but if you haven't heard it yet, you should head over and check it out. It's full of 12-string jangle, and even a couple of songs that not from the 60s: The Higher State is a UK band featuring members of The Mystreated and The Embrooks, and The Terminals is a NZ band with releases on Flying Nun and early Siltbreeze who returned with a new lp in 2007. Les BOF! is of course the Edinburgh hitmakers featuring members of The Thanes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bent Statues

One of the most interesting new bands I've heard this year is Eternal Summers. Their first album Silver just came out on Kanine (home of The Depreciation Guild et. al), following an ep and a download single on Beko. Apart from the two tracks from the excellent single, the album includes 10 new songs showing a welcome diversity in songwriting and structure. The duo, augmented by bass and some guitar overdubs, manage to sound like everything from Brilliant Colors (expected) to Pylon (less expected) to Galaxie 500 on the closing jam "Bully In Disguise" (unexpected).

Black Time quite recently put out what is rumoured to be their last record. More Songs About Motorcycles & Death with the excellent cover art you can see above is a 6-track ep on Wrench, following last year's fantastic split with Ty Segall. Over the last five years the band have actually recorded a whopping 10 singles, most of which have been sadly over-looking. I've only heard four of them myself! The best tracks on the new ep is the "Psycho" homophone "Cycles" and their cover of Brigitte Bardot's "Harley Davidson" (how can that not be great?). She seems a popular artist cover recently seeing as Fair Ohs just did a take on "La Madrague"...

M'Lady's are as slow as ever, and we have to wait for the La La Vasquez 7" a bit longer. But Coasting on the other hand (Fiona of The Coolies + Madison of Dream Diary) have a follow-up to their M'Lady's single already, available from Group Tightener now. It pairs the instrumental "Coasting" with "Hot For Teacher".

There have been a few good gigs in Malmö for a change. Just saw Cheap Time, whose excellent new album Fantastic Explanations (and Similar Situations) is out on In the Red now (as well as the third Fresh & Onlys album). After their 20-minute set I picked up a flyer for a Cola Freaks gig next week. They're playing with Captured Tracks head honcho Blank Dogs in Copenhagen tonight and is another piece of evidence of the reversed trend in quality of Danish bands. They just released their first album on Douchemaster, and judging by the generous amount of songs from it on Myspace it's well worth a purchase - even if you don't understand Danish. Apart from that, they also have a great 7" out on the hip Rob's House label (pictured above) and a live lp.

And as if that wasn't enough, I've just updated the list of recommended new releases in the sidebar with a bunch of new items.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Accidental Knife

Captured Tracks have just signed Catwalk! So hopefully we can expect some new music from them soon. CT have also released a new Blank Dogs album, which is actually quite good, and he's out on tour in Europe soon. Beach Fossils are coming to Europe too, hot on the heels of a new single. "Face It" is just as good as their album from earlier this year. The a-side has a bit more bass-heavy drum machine groove to it, while the excellent b-side "Distance" leads off with a droning 12-string riff. Whatever happened to "Time" by the way? Woodsist didn't seem to release it, which is a shame since it's probably Beach Fossils' best song. The Brooklyn group are playing in Lund on November 4th and Don't Die On My Doorstep will be DJing some of our fave Captured Tracks records along with the odd Sacred Bones or HoZac 7".

If you act fast you've got a chance of buying one of the 400 copies of this silkscreened Aias debut longplayer. Captured Tracks is offering this alternate sleeve (and white wax record) for early birds. Do we need to mention how great the songs are? Well, most of them have been on Myspace forever so you probably know.

We'll we back with more news on the Vermillion Sands and The Limiñanas debut lps soon!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Sunken Cinema

Is it just me or is Cinema Red and Blue the new Tyde? A supergroup destined for critical acclaim and collective ignorance... While The Tyde borrowed their musical bearings from The Flying Burrito Brothers and Felt, Cinema Red and Blue here cover The Chills and Vic Godard while having a track named after Jesse Lee Kincaid (member of The Rising Sons and writer of "Baby You Come Rolling Across My Mind"). The Tyde was formed by members of Beachwood Sparks, Further and Velvet Crush. Cinema Red and Blue is David, Anne and Philip of Comet Gain, Andy and the ubiquitous JB of Crystal Stilts, as well as Kyle (now also in Crystal Stilts) and Gary of the Ladybug Transistor. That Philip, who now lives in New York, also plays with Kyle in the excellent Soft City is perhaps only trivia at this point.

As it seems Gary has mostly acted as producer here, the album can basically be seen as a Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts collaboration. While some reviewers have played up the psychedelic element of this record, it really sounds quite close to a Comet Gain album due to David's overbearing presence and writing style, as Tim Sendra rightly points out. But there actually is a proper Comet Gain album coming out on Fortuna Pop! one day soon, recorded with Edwyn Collins. Far more interesting for late 60's psych fans is "Commin' Soon" on the CR&B myspace.

The best cover on the album is the version of Wreckless Eric's "You're Gonna Screw My Head Off". The least intereting one is "Brave Words" which just sounds too much like The Chills. Out of the original songs my favourites are the 12-string jangler "Melanie Down" and the half-spoken mess of "Jesse Lee Kincaid". The album is out on the eminent label What's Your Rupture?.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cloud Pleaser

[altered found image]

Who was Brian Arthur? All I can tell you is that he released a single on the relatively big Coral Records (Decca subsidiary) in 1966, called "What Can You Do With a Broken Heart" b/w "I'd Like to Know". The a-side was compiled by the Australian who goes by the pseudonym Gyro66 in 2003, on Teen Blast USA Vol. 2, and it's the closest anyone has got to recreating Roger McGuinn's unique Rickenbacker tone on record. It seems to go for about £50, but is it really rare?

CLOUD 120 Brian Arthur - What Can You Do With a Broken Heart?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Foxtrot Beta

One of the most anticipated albums of the year is here: the self-titled debut from The Ocean Tango. Once again French/British composer and singer Louis Philippe has entered into a collaboration, but unlike the Huddle House album with Stuart Moxham (Young Marble Giants, The Gist) the Ocean Tango project sees Louis paired with Swedish group Testbild! in a more mutual and symbiotic fashion. Both parties contribute to the song-writing here, as well as vocals and instrumentation. The eleven tracks on the album couple Louis's soft-rock tendencies with Testbild!'s excellent feeling for jazz and lounge to great effect. Short interludes of not more than a minute ("Par Hasard") feel as justified as six-minute compositions ("The Ocean Tango"). It is a warming sound for chilly autumn evenings and an album that does not require attention but rewards those who give it theirs - undivided.

The album is currently available digitally from bandcamp, which also offers a package deal including a pre-order of the cd. If you are interested in acquiring this fantastic record on vinyl, you should answer this survey on Louis' website to make the pressing happen.

Friday, October 1, 2010

High Heeled Speakers

My favourite new Spanish band since hearing Aias is Los Ginkas from Pamplona. Despite the unarguably twee cover of their first ep (above) they play melodic powerpop to rival the sadly disbanded Stolen Hearts. Of course, Spanish pop fans will liken them to TCR, Los Muebles and Zipper, but since I've listen so much to Hello Cuca lately, that's what I hear. The ep's got five songs on it, and all being equally good, it certainly makes one wonder how great their album will turn out to be?

Speaking of Zipper, their second single of the year (they're planning three, I think) came out recently on Scottish pop purveyor Bubblegum Records. It's a three-track English language affair called "Last Chance For Friday's Badge", an amalgamation of the three song titles. Opening track "Friday Night" was played at Indietracks last year, and introduced as a prequel to "Sunday Morning" off of their album 11. My favourite on the ep is "Last Chance" with its catchy major-minor chord changes.

Also out on Bubblegum is a new ep from Scottish 80s band The Hardy Boys. They've had a reunion coming a long time now, and here we get a taste of their new material in the shape of three fresh songs. "You're Just What I Need" is probably what the revivalists want: an upbeat, jangly sound, while the other two are more mellow with a fine duet between Johnny White and Kat King on "And the Trains Run On Time". The ep is called Under the Picadilly Clock and is available here. More importantly, the long-anticipated compilation of their older material is available from their own label for a mere £8 within Europe! Called The Hardy Boys Play Songs From the Lenin & McCarthy Songbook, it includes all the tracks from their lone 12" as well as the planned release on Egg (which appeared finally in 2005). "Wonderful Lie" is a classic that must be heard. Even if there is no relation to the Lenin and McCarthy label, googling it turns up this.