Thursday, December 29, 2011

(Trip-TV's) world of indie pop in 2011 review

Thanks for visiting this blog this year, i hope you will come again (many times!) in 2012. As is usual at this time of year on music websites a list of the year's best of bands, records and songs is presented to try and prove how much cooler the author's musical taste is compared to normal people... so here is mine.

Top 10 Records (from late-ish 2010 and 2011)

1) The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - belong
2) The Depreciation Guild - spirit youth
3) Trembling Blue Stars - fast trains and telegraph wires
4) Skittle Alley - on the flight of steps
5) Tesla Boy - modern thrills
6) The Orchids - the way that you move
7) Class Actress - journal of ardency
8) Maple Leaves - golden ether
9) The Hobbes Fanclub / Leach Me Lemonade
10) Ringo Deathstarr - colour trip

Top 10 Songs

1) crucify you - The Depreciation Guild
2) two rings - The Ice Choir
3) heavens gonna happen now - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
4) when i look up, i see nothing - 93MillionMilesFromTheSun
5) cold colours - Trembling Blue Stars
6) i love boys - Amanda Applewood
7) Rebecca - Tesla Boy
8) 2 girls - Ringo Deathstarr
9) journal of ardency - Class Actress
10) all boys break hearts - Ex-crush

But more interestingly perhaps i have created a playlist of songs which form my A-Z of the best pop for me in 2011. OK we're missing Q, U and V but i didn't like any bands that started with those letters this year, that is something to try and rectify in the new year. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Saturday Guy - snow sighing on winter

The second EP by The Saturday Guy on Dufflecoat Records is much like the first: slightly under stated but well crafted pop music. "Better leave me" has a pleasing semi-acoustic vibe and a warmth to it, a song that just sounds like it was made for an intimate setting. Now some songs are made for arenas and some for tiny little venues like this one. They are easy to tell apart as the former are rubbish and the latter awesome.
"Blackened heart"is very pared back before building into something less so. Another nice acoustic driven song. "Frozen Monday" has some mouth organ and a laid back folksy feel that builds and builds, even goes a bit shuffley which i love!

And so this EP continues, its all lovely stuff. and more importantly intelligent pop like on "What does it mean to decide" which hits all the right introspective and reflective vectors to be an indie pop classic. Its my favourite off the EP though all the songs are some level of good. Another Indonesian C86 classic.

Released on Dufflecoat early January 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

MV : "Adolescent heart" by Class Actress

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kuryakin / The Sunny Street

Another terrific Dufflecoat Records split EP, this time involving Sweden's Kuryakin and from London The Sunny Street. So the bands are not from so far away this time but its no less wonderful a pairing. Kuryakin's delicate and delicious indie pop rings out with "Where are you now" and "Somehow" which both score highly on the jangle-ometer. Gorgeous and rich melodies and vocals, love it!
The Sunny Street is a bit more restrained but no less lovely. "Aloysius" has a delicate and intricate melody "Hungry hippo's" is breathy and echoey, reminds me a bit of late shoegaze 1.0 when it became lighter and more experimental and not boys wishing to make you deaf. Interesting and atmospheric and a definite hit (with me anyway).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Links (23/12/11)

And here is a great cover version by The Sunny Street, by the way a review of their new EP (a split with Kuryakin) will be on this site on Monday...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Astrolab - poor trendy boys

This is Astrolab's, one of the many great Indonesian twee pop bands, first EP for Dufflecoat and i hope its the first of many as it is an essential slice of melanchoic indie pop.

"Crystal clear" is straight from the classic C86 mould, sweet melody, yearning vocals and an infectious chorus. Its one of those songs that transports you out of whatever mundane reality you might be inhabiting and to a more glorious world, as great pop music should. "Grey and fall" doesn't have quite the same magic but is still a very good fast song that rollicks along.
"I wish the sun keep me warm" pares things back a lot, its glorious and intelligent, packed with sweet flourishes. The song is multifaceted, an indie pop epic in many ways. Save the best to last maybe, "Let's taking it" is heavenly, a heavenly jangly pop classic (or should be anyway). Like the rest of the EP it just washes over you and i would say it hugs you with a twee sweetness though that might make me sound too much like a Masterchef judge.

Superb stuff, all of it. One of the best singles in 2011 no question.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The High - better left untold

The High were part of the Madchester scene, and indeed formed by a Stone Roses founding member, but this rocked up single was their penultimate one in 1992 before they split up. The A-side is not very baggy to say the least, being a balls out RAWK track, a direction the band went in towards the end. Actually i love it, its driving and grinding with a soaring chorus, this just screams 1992 to me (see also Adorable).
As for the B-sides "Hickory smoke" is a bit weird, acoustic driven with annoying cowboy and horse sound effects in the background. "Joustabout" is more like it, quite a classic rock vibe. Some nice guitar work though the song in the end doesn't really enter the higher gear you are waiting for. To be honest that was probably always The High's problem.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Links (16/12/11)

Check out some psychedelia. Got their retrospective album a few months ago and its full of great psych moments.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Acid House Kings / Carnival Park

Another excellent split single from Dufflecoat Records, this includes two bands, two songs, and two versions of each. Carnival Park offer a laid back and jangly lush "Dorothy" in both original and acoustic versions, and both are lovely too.

Acid House King's song is a couple of remixes of "Would you say stop", spacey and refined pop thrills are on offer here. Great EP.

An MV of the original version of the song can be seen here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

24 Hour Party People OST

24 Hour Party People was an excellent film from the early 2000s that attempted to chronicle (fairly accurately but not completely) the Manchester music scene from punk to the collapse of Factory Records taking in the stories of Joy Division and the Happy Mondays. So you'd guess that the soundtrack to that film, a compilation of essential Manchester bands from Joy Division to the Happy Mondays would be pretty damn awesome. Well its not but its not bad.
Starting with the Sex Pistols the 18 tracks herein take us from punk, post-punk, 80s electronic, rave and Madchester. There are indeed some great tracks from the obvious like of "Blue Monday" and "Hallelujah" (which need to be included i guess though if you are like me you've heard them so many times you can barely stand them anymore!) so the less obvious and interesting like Moby's cover of "New dawn fades".

There was a "new" New Order song included too and "Here to stay" to be honest is probably worth the price of the album alone, one of their better later songs. There is a bit of dross on here too, or maybe i should say songs which probably don't belong on here and are taking up the space a more deserving song could have but them is the breaks.

This soundtrack is nice enough, great for a car journey or having on in the background, or if you do not have much by the likes of Joy Division and New Order then it is a reasonable introduction. A gateway drug? I like it...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Links (09/12/11)

Trying to do something a bit different on this blog, i thought about having a weekly round-up of interesting music related links i have discovered during the week, plus maybe some videos by new bands i've discovered. So lets go...
  • The BBC have announced their Sound Of 2012 list. You can also check their lists from previous years to see who did make it and who didn't.
  • Smells like teen spirit is to be re-released in an effort to prevent an X Factor dirge getting the Christmas #1 slot. Personally i'm not in favour of this kind of thing as it just turns great tracks into gimmicks though a limited edition 7" does sound interesting.
  • A sneak peek of Ladyhawke's new album, due next March, has been posted by the NME.
The Clocktoys produce excellent electro and synth pop tracks using just an iPhone. Love it!
U always hurt the 1 U love by The Clocktoys

Discovered TacocaT last week. Great punk track!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

TOTP (25/11/1976)

Jimmy Saville (RIP) is here with the hottest pop sounds and lo we have a new number 1 but first...

Kursaal Flyers - little does she know
This song was used later on by a cough mixture brand for its advert. We get a not unpleasant syrupy (ahem) pop song and they have some washing machines on stage, no doubt an inspiration for Vic Reeves many years later. The singer also has a quiff so big it interferes with the studio ceiling lights.

Dr Hook - if not you
Dr Hook wonders who is going to mend his pants, well its not me thats for sure. The director displays a burst of genius when the camera fixes on an electric guitar during the pedal steel guitar solo. Still all the same of course, strings and stuff.

Billy Ocean - stop me
Stop me if you heard it all before, oh please because i have.

Legs & Co (the show where they were officially named has been lost alas) are here to interpret Be Bop Deluxe’s “maid in heaven” through the medium of dance. Keen to win over bitter fans of Ruby Flipper the Legs have gone for the nearly naked look, oh and the usual dodgy dance.

Jimmy has an uncanny knack of collecting sailors when he is on TOTP.

Cliff Richard - hey Mr Dreammaker
Not my favourite Cliff song (not that i have many) but not a bad music video to be honest, for the time anyway, which looks like a bit BBC Sci-fi horror. Only sans cybernauts or daleks.

ABBA - money money money
Another ABBA anthem, we get an intriguing video full of meaningful looks and 70s frocks.

Elton John - sorry seems to be the hardest word
Well its a great song and he wears great specs.

Jimmy is surrounded by ladies, one of whom seems to be being goosed or nearly falling over anyway.

Chicago - if you leave me now
So Pussycat are no more, we got AOR city instead with the same MV used on an earlier show.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Northern Picture Library - last September's farewell kiss

In between The Field Mice and The Trembling Blue Stars came Northern Picture Library who included various members of The Field Mice before splitting after an album and a handful of singles.

Anyway this was their second of two singles on Sarah Records. The title track is amazing, growing organically from a restrained start into a wonderful driving chorus and melody. NPL went down a more electronic road compared to The Field Mice but were no less wonderful for it. This is pop music of the highest quality.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Team Dresch - personal best

Team Dresch are icons in the lesbian punk scene though despite being around for some time (from the early 90s to recent albeit not continuously) they have only released a couple of albums to date plus some singles. This is their debut album from 1994 and its bloody great!

Team Dresch produce very listenable punk pop with a spiky edge, tracks like "She's amazing" and "Free wheel" have a great pop sensibility. There is punk rock anger though such as the explosive "Hate the Christian right" which erupts with anger out of the speakers (might you with a title like that do you really expect anything else?) Even on tracks like this though its all very listenable, Team Dresch must have come to the conclusion that if you have something to say there isn't much point making your listeners' ears bleed. And we should all be thankful for that.

Got to say i love this album, so much so its one of the few albums which i lost over the years and bought again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tesla Boy - modern thrills

This band from Russia must have wandered into the Siberian wastes some time around 1985, got frozen solid like a Mammoth and then were defrosted by global warming to return to the world of music in the 2010s with their brand of infectious synth pop.

Tesla Boy have some very good pop tunes indeed, such as the anthemic "Rebecca", which sounds like a lost A-Ha classic. "Synthetic prince" is a harder disco edged track with some great 80s dance grooves. "Thinking of you" has another great 80s dance groove and reminds me of some of the great boy bands from the early 80s especially. "Electric lady" is probably the most overtly 80s synth pop track and is terrific with its retro-futurism.

Its hard to really fault this album... you will either love it (if you are like me a synth obsessed hipster) or hate it (if you believe the 80s should have stayed dead). Maybe if you fall into the latter give it a go anyway, they hit the pop nexus for sure. Great tunes, great grooves, great synths, just great!

Monday, November 28, 2011

TOTP (04/11/1976)

Noel Edmonds is in front of a sack, and he of course makes a hilarious joke about getting the sack. No one could have predicted that of course. Pussycat remain at number 1 but to start off...

Showaddywaddy - under the moon of love
The faux 50s rockers are here, cutely their “live” performance is interspersed with a recording making earlier when they are wearing different coloured suits. Doo wah wah et cetera. Its inoffensive fun.

The Manhattans - hurt
This earnest video again, every single ounce of emotion is drawn out. The sort of song you listen to when you’ve had a break-up, a row, or broken your lava lamp and especially if all three.

Noel has all the entries for the name the dance troupe competition in a sack. He says there have been so many entries they’ve got to delay the naming until next week.

The nameless dancers are here to dance to “All right now”, that is a bit old isn’t it? Oh wait its another song that rips it off rather blatantly, in fact its the Steve Miller Band with Rock and me. The dancing looks like a rip-off too of the kind of formless shuffling Ruby Flipper mastered.

The Who - substitute
My favourite Who song is in the chart at #15 for some reason, not that i am complaining obviously. Here is some live performance from The Who. Oh yeah. I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth too. This a bit better than Showaddywaddy eh?

Bonnie Tyler - lost in France
Its not bad if your second single makes the top 30 according to Noel, of course in the 1970s it indeed was good going. A jolly tune with a bit of accordion in the background just to hammer home this song is about being lost in France. Next week Bonnie wears a beret and an onion string.

Tavares - don’t stop the music
The Tavares have stolen the world’s entire supply of dry ice. And have dressed as matadors too, they are spoiling us.

The Climax Blues Band - couldn’t get it right
A singing saxophonist! This is cool, especially as singing sax man has an appealingly low voice. As a bit of late 70s boogie woogie rock it can’t be beat.

Noel is on stage with Chicago who he thinks should be at number 1 but they arn’t so ner as its still...

Pussycat - Mississippi
We’re back on the river boat!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tramway - sweet chariot

Tramway's second single for Sarah Records was very much the first, wistful introspective indie guitar pop. "Technical college" is the A-side and is one of my favourite best Sarah songs of all, its a simple song with a few synth riffs and a lazy electric guitar melody but with a chorus that seems to transcend reality and drift you away into somewhere better. "Balla" is not as good but is another restful track though does sound a bit like an end of term larks with barely audible background chat and a rather meandering tune that ends suddenly, like the money ran out in the meter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TOTP (27/10/1976)

Tony Blackburn is here with the hottest pop sounds...

Alan Price - kissed away the night
We start off with a rather generic piece of mid-1970s pop-rock, it has piano and some sha-la-las and isn't much better than passable.

Tony Blackburn is wearing a t-shirt that states he hates David Hamilton, no doubt there will be a hilarious joke later on.

Chicago - if you leave me now
Tony says its the #3 sound and a lovely sound too. Its a syrupy piece of white pop-soul recorded in a studio somewhere but no doubt thousands of miles from the BBC.

OK here comes the joke, David Hamilton is wearing a t-shirt that says he hates Tony Blackburn. LOLZ

Leo Sayer - you make me feel like dancing
OK this edition of TOTP is turning into my Dad's record collection. Leo does high-pitched disco singing in a hi-tec SFX laden studio set piece with a budget of tens. I grew up on songs like this, but somehow ended up loving pop music.

Joan Armatrading - love and affection
Raising the class a bit Joan with one of her folk-rock hits, but because just seeing someone standing there with a guitar is a bit boring we get some SFX fun too. At one stage we get about 20 Joans on the screen at the same time, which quite frankly is enough for anyone.

The as-yet unnamed new dancers are here to frolic about to Lalo Schifrin's "theme from Jaws", this has to be a new low. It is unimaginably bad but does include wet suits and shark fins but maybe not in a good way. Tony pimps the contest again but don't enter now as the competition to name the dancers is over, no matter how good your entry they arn't going to rename Legs & Co. at this stage in 2011.

Simon May - the Summer of my life
Boring man at the old joanna, got to say this isn't a vintage edition of TOTP.

Wild Cherry - play that funky music
Play that funky music white boy. Is it funky though? Interesting question.

Pussycat - Mississippi
For their third week at number 1 Pussycat are live in the studio, having bored of their floating gambling den.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Ice Choir - two rings

I've been waiting for this single for a long time, ever since POBPAH's Kurt Feldman announced that the successor to his side project, the now defunct Depreciation Guild, would be the Ice Choir, of which this single is the debut. The Ice Choir is a recreation of synth heavy 80s pop, listening to the A-side you really do feel like you have discovered a lost classic from 1987 with a throbbing electronic beat. Its totally wonderful, maybe my song of the year.

The B-side, which is named after the band, is more understated but is more 80s pop inspired goodness. I've been listening to a lot of neo-synth pop lately, some of it is great, some of it is... a bit rubbish to be honest, but this (and Class Actress) is just out of this world.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Band À Part - no sé por qué

Spanish cutie indie pop on red vinyl, can anything be cooler? Answer is no of course. This is all very dinky and twee (which is of course a compliment on this blog). There is also plenty of energy in the title track and as for "Sputnik, mi amor" its just delightful. They make heavy use of twinky metal percussion, i assume they use a multi-coloured childrens' glockenspiel which is hit with gay abandon. I can't really imagine them doing anything else. "Al sue dr Portugal" has a great 60/70s pop feel too. There is so much to love on this 4 track EP.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Comics : Destination New York (Stratoship H.22 Part 2)

Tintin went to the Moon, Herge's other characters Jo, Zette and Jocko have to settle with the slightly less distant New York but its an epic journey none the same. At the end of part one the two children and their pet chimp were flying off in the experimental high-speed aircraft Stratoship H.22 - built to win a flying competition - to evade competitors bent on stopping them no matter the cost. In this concluding part of the story they end up first on a desert island and then in the Arctic.

Like the earlier volume the adventure runs at break neck speed with a heavy dose of luck and coincidence. The limitation of Jo and Zette of course was they were children not an enterprising adult like Tintin thus a lot of the time their fate is not in their hands but in adults who handily are around to save them at every turn. This does not detract too much from the story however. The plot is engaging and involves some intrigue, i think this is probably the best of the three Jo, Zette and Jocko volumes i have read to date.

It is beautifully drawn like part one, some of the best examples of ligne claire artwork i've seen and beautifully reproduced.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Orchids - the way that you move

To be quite honest i've found The Orchids' output since they reformed in the 2000s a bit patchy, overall its been pretty good but a lot of songs have been just "OK"... though a few have easily been "awesomeness personalified" and would stand up easily amongst their classic Sarah era work. Would it be any different on their latest single?

Not really, the title track is brilliant. A funky dancey pop classic with trademark laid back vocals and some tasty guitar chords. The other 2 tracks on this 7" EP are just a bit "meh". They are fine to listen to but afterwards you can't really remember much about them. Still thats why we have A sides and B sides i guess.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Comics : Mr Pump's Legacy (Stratoship H.22 Part 1)

Herge's Tintin is world famous of course and rightly so, especially with the new Hollywood movie now out (which is very good by the way) but Herge drew other comic strips too including Jo, Zette and Jocko. Jo and Zette are two children who get into adventures with their pet chimp Jocko, though usually by way of their engineer Father.

In this adventure they end up flying an advanced new aeroplane that is trying to win a prize by crossing the Atlantic in the fastest time yet.

The comic strip is truly beautifully drawn, and wonderfully reproduced here with some of the cleanest lines i've ever seen in a ligne claire strip. It is a true period piece set in the 1930s with a heavy dose of art deco, especially in the aeroplane the Stratoship H.22.

There is a good plot too with other powers trying to sabotage the record attempt. How the children manage to end up flying the plane is a bit contrived maybe but sets up part 2 of the story as they fly off lost...

The only criticism i have is that Jocko is a bit annoying though does provide some excellent comic relief at times. Its not Tintin but its an excellent comic adventure in its own right.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hal - election day

In between Brighter and Harper Lee was was a short lived side project by Keris Howard who released just the one EP as Hal. With Hal Keris went for a much more electronic sound after Brighter, the title track bringing to mind early 80s pop and even a bit of New Order. Its a great pop song as you might expect, with a catchy up-beat and down-beat lyrics.

"Clear about this" is a sparkling song and "Somedays" continues the vein, sounding a bit too much like an indie dance remix of a Brighter song however. Ultimately this may have been why the Hal project was not continued for long. Its great, but somehow just seems a bit... wrong.

Monday, November 7, 2011

TOTP (21/10/1976)

Ed Stewart is here to run us through the hottest pop sounds...

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - love is a prima donna
Steve is in a rather fetching red suit, the song itself grooves along fairly inoffensively but then moves into a rather higher gear and some lovely guitar work Ed appreciates.

There is a competition tonight, get a pen and paper ready.

Demis Roussos - when forever has gone
The warbling big man is dressed as Moses and still has a fantastic big beard. A song that probably works at the end of a long night in a Mediterranean bar but maybe not so much here...

Ed has a couple of sailor girls with him, daughters of a couple of Beverley Sisters apparently. I’d rather look at them than...

Paul Nicholas - dancing with the captain
Paul has gone for a bowler hat and white jacket look which is not very nautical. It doesn’t change my enjoyment of this song though. SFX alert! Overlay of some water moving about while Paul tries to get people to clap. Ah good its ended.

Rod Stewart - sailing
Rod walks around a boat looking moody. We get to see some film of Britain’s sea power too. Little did people know watching this that the Tories were soon to get back in power and gut the Royal Navy, of course that couldn’t happen these days.

Ed is a thorn along six roses... the new TOTP dancers infact and the audience are invited to give them a name. I suggest... er... Legs & Co. Do i win?

John Miles - remember yesterday
At the old joanna for a rather generic but not unpleasant late 70s pop-rock song.

The as-yet unnamed new dancers are here to dance seductively to the Average White Band’s “queen of my soul”. Well parade around in flowing dresses anyway on a star shaped stage, very age of Aquarius. One of the dancers looks like my art teacher at secondary school (in the 80s), couldn’t have been? Could it? I hope it was.

Climax Blues Band - couldn’t get it right
SFX overload takes us into a mass of flares and long hair. Nice understated cool feel to this.

Whats this, Joe Bugner (no really) is here to introduce the number 1...

Pussycat - Mississippi
Same western themed MV on a boat, great stuff by the way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Amanda Applewood - i love boys

Otherwise a member of The Boy Least Likely To, Amanda Applewood's solo album is a wonderful thing, a record of sweet vocals and childish themes. Now childish as used here not as an insult but a virtue, this is a record that brings up a nostalgic gentle childhood of Enid Blyton and endless Summers. A idealised past of ice cream, board games and simple joys and loves.

"I love boys" starts the album off as it will go on, a tidal wave of cuteness washes over you as the song's title is repeated over and over again as a cutie coda. "Pretend (we're in love)" starts off sounding a bit like a 60s TV advert jingle before progressing into one of the nicest pop songs you'll ever hear. Another lovely track is "Rockpools" with its delicate sparse and beautiful melody. This album is a joy, simple as that. You might fear its all a bit whimsical of course and could easily be with these lyrics and themes but it really works.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Comics : Blake & Mortimer 7 : The Affair of the Necklace

The Affair Of The Necklace, the 7th translated and released into English by Cinebook, is one of the books written and drawn by the creator of Blake & Mortimer Edgar P. Jacobs (the series being continues by other authors and artists after his death). This book stands out from much of the rest of the series by virtue of the fact the plot is rather mundane (by Blake & Mortimer standards).

There are no evil masterminds, no exotic death rays or retro-futurist science this time, instead the plot revolves around basic theft (of a necklace natch).

Much of the story does take on a fairly mysterious and fantastical air though in the catacombs below Paris but at its heart this is a basic crime and chase story and enjoyable it is too if a bit pedestrian compared to some of the other stories.

Its not the best Blake & Mortimer story in the series but still well worth a read.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

TOTP (14/10/1976)

David Hamilton presents the hottest sounds including Pussycat our new number one! We start off with a bit of soul-disco though...

Tavares - don’t take away the music
Amid a cloud of dry ice come the Tavares, in co-ordinated spangly suits, with this enjoyable if a bit basic pop tune. I can’t remember the show starting with a performance not in the TOTP studio before.

Sherbet - howzat
At #4 now is the T20 wicket taking theme. It looks like a reprise of a previous show’s performance unless the singer only owns the one horrible blue suit. Not only is the singer shirtless under his suit but the drummer is too under his dungarees, must be hot in the studio.

Simon May - the summer of my life
Simon is at the old joanna though this tune is very much wine bar not a kneesup. We do get a lady in a blue dress dancing though.

Ruby Flipper are here to dance Wild Cherry’s “play that funky music”, they do more or less gyrate in time to the music for a change.

Liverpool Express - hold tight
Its mid-70s pop rock and we love it, bit of singing, guitar solo then some more singing and a singalong chorus.

David Hamilton has a David Essex fan with him, well no one is perfect.

David Essex - coming home
I like this, the backing band are bathed in blue light so they look like Andorians. Good rollicking stomp of a song.

JALN Band - disco music
A British take on disco and gave the JALN Band their biggest hit. A pretty good song to be honest with plenty of energy.

Pussycat - Mississippi
Dutch country and western conquers the British pop chart! I’m starting to really love this song and we get the pop video which is set on a Mississippi river boat (natch).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ansaphone / The Tomatometers

Dufflecoat have done it again with their split release EP series, this time bringing together 2 soundscapes from Indonesia's Ansaphone with 2 quirky tracks from France's The Tomatometers. From the evidence on this EP Ansaphone don't do short songs, both of their songs are extended effect pedal rich shoegazy pop journeys. "Fading away" especially is worth your notice, its the sort of indie jam that takes you away from it all.

The Tomatometers are quite different though also similar in having their own sound, "Breathe in breathe out" is a reverb-y instrumental and "End of the road" is a lovely spacey relaxed pop song.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TOTP (07/10/1976)

In a horrific Union Flag shirt Jimmy Saville is here to present the hottest tunes in the universe, ABBA are still at number 1.

T Rex - laser love
Marc Bolan with slicked back hair and eyeliner presents an average slab of rock that chugs along reasonably competently though has too many handclaps. Jimmy tells us its at #42 which figures.

Pussycat - Mississippi
Three girls gyrate slowly to a sub-country pop tune. Actually its not that bad, nice chorus anyway. The main singer looks like Brummie Caroline from Big Brother 1 though its just a coincidence as Pussycat were Dutch and indeed were the first Dutch band to go to number 1 in the UK, though not yet.

Rick Dees & his cast of idiots - disco duck
Oh this is so childrens’ light entertainment, man with tache sings to duck puppet. Awesome. We also get a reprise of Ruby Flippers’ best ever performance dressed as geese.

England Dan & John Ford Coley - i’d really love to see you tonight
Stage performance, the tache equipped pair come in a beige suit and a blue velvet one. Sexy. Despite the "England" in the name they were an American duo.

Jimmy Saville has a group of sailors with him, and they are here to announce a technicolour appearance by Ruby Flipper, who must have been asked by the BBC engineering department to test out everyone’s new colour TVs by wearing stripy jumpers and matching legwarmers. They dance “the rubberband man” by The Detriot Spinners and interpret it like by doing aerobics of course.

The Manhattans - hurt
In a studio somewhere the Manhattans croon their way through this nice and slow with deep voiced spoken section to add that extra bit of soul cool.

Paul Nicholas - dancing with the captain
After his faux reggae song earlier in the year he is back with a faux er... sea shanty. Its dire it really is, it takes banality to a whole level, even by 1976's standards. I just hoped the sailors in the audience stormed the stage and keelhauled him but alas no they didn’t.

Smokie - i’ll meet you at midnight
Oh yeah, love this song. Class song just like the Manhattans’ one, these two songs are the bread in Paul Nicholas’ shit sandwich.

ABBA - dancing queen
Still at number 1, the blue stage performance is chosen this time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ringo Deathstarr - colour trip

As mentioned already in various music reviews elsewhere (and for once i agree with them) Ringo Deathstarr sound like an early 90s noise pop band, probably on Creation, who have been kept hidden in a vault only to be finally released to conquer a jaded indie scene. Waves of feedback noise, male and female vocals, spacey drumming... hmm sounds familiar? Yes its a well worn template but its a good template so why not, especially when it results in a great album like this.

Take "Two girls" for example with its melody changes, breathy vocals and mounting menace that travels effortlessly into a sheer wall of guitar noise. Many songs in indie history have tried this but few quite as well as this. "So high" is another highlight, it can take you back to the early 90s getting off your tits on indie club night and dancing like you were having a seizure to some indie noise... But this isn't just an excuse for indie nostalgia, this is the sound of then and now!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TOTP (30/09/1976)

Dave Lee Travis brings us the hottest sounds in between eating something in a no doubt unrehersed and hilarious segment. ABBA are still number 1 but we start with a bit of rock. And not any ordinary rock...

Can - i want more

The SFX come out to play for this catchy bit of krautrock with Can's biggest (and only) UK hit, though some of the audience members look bemused and bored as usual. But he uses a violin bow to play his guitar! Its krautrock! Its awesome! Truly a highpoint in TOTP history though i may be in the minority with that opinion.

DLT is still eating. Hilarious.

Randy Edelman - uptown, uptempo woman

Hairy man playing piano, hooray! It has lots of pretty high piano notes and an appealing American accent to the vocals, that was an easy win back in the 1970s but i am a harder man to please.

Sherbet - howzat

Man in blue suit who seems to have lost his shirt. This has an  appealingly slinky dirty melody to it but of course this song has been ruined by being used in limited over cricket matches when a wicket falls.

DLT has cream all over his beard and nose. Hilarious.

Ruby Flipper are here to do "the best disco in town" by the Ritchie Family, well a disco tune is easy for them to do as they don't really have to try anything too adventurous with the choreography. Its still a formless mess though. Ruby Flipper remind me of a group of work colleagues who practice a dance routine for an away day task from their usual job in marketing.

DLT has a box of chocolates but who cares because now its time for...

Tina Charles - dance little lady dance

I got to say i love Tina though she seems to be wearing the curtains we had in our living room in 1976. So thats where they went. Its a nice song though though its lyrics seem designed to appeal to 3 year olds.

DLT has a chicken leg.

Jesse Green - nice and slow

Funky soul with flute and a guitarist in a cowboy hat. The audience seem to prefer it to Can though. I hate them.

DLT has a full dinner. Have we finally reached the punchline of this joke?

Demis Roussos - when forever has gone

Brian Blessed's warbling younger brother is here to croon for you, wearing some kind of hideous purple tent. His song quickly descends into what sounds uncannily like a semi-drunken singsong on the last night of a package holiday to the Med. No doubt this was central to his appeal.

DLT is now dressed like Demis and has a similar robe and calls him over to share his wine. I get the feeling this entire theme of eating was just so DLT could make a lame joke about BBC wine to Demis who looks suitably bemused.

ABBA - dancing queen

Different video this time. Yay!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Comics : Star Wars Omnibus - A Long Time Ago 1

Over the last few weeks and months i have been rereading my sole surviving Marvel Star Wars comic from the early 1980s and also buying another one on Ebay. I did ask if these had been republished in collected form and indeed they have so instead of wasting 5 pounds on a faded tatty comic why not spend just twice that on a big thick (oo-er) volume?

This collection begins with the Marvel comic adaptation of the film of course, but interesting as that is i was more interested in seeing how they continued the storyline after the destruction of the Death Star while waiting to adapt Empire Strikes Back a few years down the line. To be honest the original stories do not begin that well...

The first story is a retelling of the Magnificent Seven in all but name (at least that is kind of apt considering the Kurosawa influence on Star Wars in general) with Han Solo assembling a motley crew of mercenaries to fight off some alien hoards to defend some poor villagers. All seems fine though the story is very unlike Star Wars, apart from Solo and Chewie all the characters seem rather Marvel generic and it just doesn't feel Star Wars...

Things begin to improve later on when Darth Vader makes a reappearance and the Empire in general, an interesting new universe begins to emerge involving the Empire's allies the House of Tagge.

Of course the problem for the comic creators was that they only had the first film to play with for background, nowadays there is a much more expanded universe. Thus some events and characterizations in these stories are a bit off (yes Luke and Leia get lovey dovey a lot!)

Overall a great set of comics and well worth the money.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Orchids - underneath the window, underneath the sink

The Orchid's second single for Sarah (Sarah 11) was this lovely 4 track EP. The title track is sublime, a classic piece of simple, delicate and beautiful early Orchids guitar pop. Yearning but not cloying. "Defy the law" is more upbeat, maybe the vocals are a little awkward but the tune itself is fine with some nice synths.

"Tiny words" is a lovely song, really well crafted and delicate. Finally "Walter" is a bit more lo-fi and a bit of a guitar pop thrash... with sax! Back in the day The Orchids were my favourite band in the universe and its because of records like this.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hyperbubble - candy apple daydreams

Hyperbubble are an amazing band, a synth pop duo who are closer to early 80s new wave than the new romantics. A band who infuse their music with a barrage of pop culture references, retro electronic riffs and most of all: humour. Hyperbubble's album is that rare thing, a serious album full of comedy. Thus you can take it seriously and have a laugh. Its also incredibly modern despite the retro riffs, sounds and samples.

This is their third full-length album from 2010 and includes songs which bought them to the attention of the masses here in the UK such as "Supermarket casanova". One of my favourite tracks on here though is "Mind the gap" with its London Underground samples over a delicious tinky bop beat. Another fabulous track is "Chop shop cop" which reminds me of the Headless Chickens with its indie dance samplethon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pop At Summer / Young Michelin

I love Dufflecoat Records' split EPs, and so should you. Each one brings us two songs each from two bands from the wide world of modern globalised twee indie pop, and in this case Indonesia's Pop At Summer and France's Young Michelin.

Pop At Summer's "Only dream (all about you)" is a delicious slice of cute indie pop with a jaunty piano and guitar led melody and relaxed sweet vocals. "Hello" is a jangly pop masterpiece with hand claps, fantastic!

Young Michelin go all jangly guitar also on "Elle et moi" which comes complete with spacey vocals. Finally "Helas" runs away with a rapid melody line straight out of the early Field Mice. Four perfect pop shots, very recommended.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comics : Blake & Mortimer (11) : The Gondwana Shrine

The latest Blake & Mortimer volume translated and published in English by Cinebook follows on from the excellent Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent two-parter (part 1, part 2), although it can't be considered "part 3" it does follow up quite a lot of the plot... though everything is recapped so you can read this on its own and understand whats going on!

At the heart of this story is that staple of books of Blake & Mortimer's ilk : lost civilisations. Though in the case of the Gondwana Shrine the civilisation is truly very ancient (as in millions of years) and that does stretch credibility a bit. Professor Mortimer takes the lead in this story though of course Blake is never far away and a certain persistent villain also makes a reappearance. To be honest though it would be nice for Blake & Mortimer to have some other enemies...

As with all Blake & Mortimer books its a dense storyline and full of intrigue and adventure, and of course very well drawn. However as the central concept of the story is a little too far-fetched it did detract from the story a little but still well worth your time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

TOTP (23/09/1976)

Smokie - i'll meet you at midnight
At one stage i was tempted to just describe all of tonight's acts in this feast of pop music in one word. But then i thought people would feel a bit shortchanged. The word for this would have been "class" anyway.

The Wurzels - i'm a cider drinker

Kiki Dee - loving and free
Kiki warbles along in the distance all in white amid an ocean of darkness. Maybe she was a kind of angel, or this was cheap staging. I find the fashions of the audience always interesting in TOTP, for some reason hats ringed in tinsel seemed popular in late September 1976, Christmas might be understandable but September? Tony Blackburn asks a couple of tinsel hat wearing girls if they still like the Bay City Rollers. Unfortunately they do.

Bay City Rollers - i only wanna be with you
Rollermania was still going strong then, at least for the moment, this time in a studio to avoid the lads being torn apart by girls. Tough life.

Rod Stewart - sailing
This song might be the first song i remember, i would be not quite 5 when this was released but i clearly remember it playing out of Dad's stereo. Rod gives a rock performance (albiet a bit toned down) in front of a group of badly swaying children and a choir. Its all a bit odd but i do love this song.

Ruby Flipper get tasked with the novelty disco hit "Disco duck" by Rick Dee's Cast Of Idiots, after some basic disco dancing they start turning into ducks and mayhem ensues, though to be honest i'd say they looked more like geese.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - blinded by the light

A different performance this time with the singer wearing a Superman tee-shirt and not looking like one of Rod, Jane & Freddy.

The Drifters - every night's a Saturday night with you
High trousers and medallions, ugh.

ABBA - dancing queen
I think this was at #1 for some time, so here is the same stage performance again as last time. TTFN!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Strawberry Whiplash - picture perfect EP

Sweet girlie vocals, effortlessly lovely pop hooks, simple indie guitar pop this EP is a modern day C86 classic. The title track has a gorgeous acoustic driven melody, the vocals female and sweet yet also at the same time cool and disinterested. It ticks all the boxes yeah?

It and tracks that follow like "Hay in a needlestack" are maybe a bit over familiar these days, the path Strawberry Whiplash have chosen is after all a very well trodden path but when its done really well thats fine, and this is done really really well.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Comics : Star Wars #42

I enjoyed reviewing the old Star Wars comic i found in my loft so much that i bought another of the Marvel comic series on Ebay. Number 42 this time, which i did have as a childhood as oddly i remember Han Solo's buff body in one scene as he is stripped to the waist and having steam or some kind of vapour blown over him. Er... yeah moving on...

Set in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back this has the Rebel gang stuck on some kind of massive space station. Luke and Leia and the 2 droids are on the run from a Senator Greyshade meanwhile Darth Vader is searching for a cyborg rival. In the exciting cliffhanger Han Solo is forced into a gladiatorial combat where he is shocked to find out his opponent is Chewbacca!

The highlight of everything is the cover though, and boy does Darth Vader look angry! I suspect The Emperor erased all his unseen episodes of Masterchef off his Sky Plus.

Friday, September 23, 2011

TOTP (09/09/1976)

Jimmy Saville in orange is our host tonight, ABBA are number 1, will we see them live in the studio? Well maybe, more chance of seeing them than Elton and Kiki Dee anyway but more on that later...

Eddie & the Hotrods - get out of Denver
Might not be 100% on that title, i find it difficult to understand what Jimmy says sometimes. Anyway this is good old fashioned pub rock and roll and its glorious! Some of the audience are actually moving to the music too. Its a super high energy rock and roll thrash, proto-punk in a way. Tonight can only go downhill.

Twiggy - here i go again
The ex-model is back with her country hit, this time she is a studio and not 100% sure where the camera is.

The Wurzels - i'm a cider drinker
More country yokel novelty nonsense, having established people from the countryside are slow and obsessed with land and incest in their first hit this time we also find out they are alcoholics too. This steals the familiar tune from "Una Paloma Blanca" which is always a good idea when you want to extend your unwelcome stay as a novelty act...

Jimmy is surrounded by sailors and he introduces Ruby Flipper, who are only here once this week to perform Lou Rawl's "you'll never find another love like mine" with a vaguely Spanish air to their dancing frolics.

Cliff Richard - i can't ask for anything more than you babe
High pitched low jinks, the Producers play around with some SFX though and we get multiple Cliffs on screen at the same time. Some people may want more than one Cliff Richard. I don't.

Bay City Rollers - i only wanna be with you
In time honoured tradition the boy band delight the girlies with a retro cover which is pretty awful but oddly passable.

Kiki Dee - loving and free
What? Kiki Dee is here? But not with Elton this is a solo song. She sits and sings a decent country tune. A fibre optic light features, perhaps it was new and funky back then, nowadays pound shop fodder.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - blinded by the light
I'm happy to see this prog psychedelia make the charts, this is a repeat of their earlier TOTP performance though.

ABBA - dancing queen
Well ABBA arn't here live in the studio alas, its a stage performance somewhere and they are all dressed in blue. Jimmy interrupts half-way through as they are apparently out of time so the number 1 hit play us out. TTFN.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Butchies - make yr life

This was the fourth album from the US lesbian queercore band and at the moment the last album since they began a "hiatus" back in 2005 (which seems like it might be permanent i'd have thought by now). So if this does end up The Butchies' swansong what a way to go.

Its a more commercial (apparently as i haven't got the other 3) album and certainly has plenty of bright punk pop. Actually its got some very good tunes indeed especially "Send me you" which has a chorus to die for and is a bona-fide punk pop classic.

"She's so lovely" also thrashes along nicely, starting off a bit slinky before progressing to a great driving pop song. "Trouble" has some great razor edge power chords driving it along. This is a really great album, it has it all: passion, attitude, energy, rock and pop hooks galore. So what if its a bit commercial, you don't want your ears to bleed all the time do you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Anyways - sunshine down EP

One of the many bands in the early 90s classic days of C86 which are pretty much forgotten nowadays but produced some wonderful pop moments. This EP has plenty of these, such as the intelligent "Wish away" which is a very well made song, poppy though also a bit restrained, with a neat chorus. "Wider" has some nice psychedelic touches.

The Anyways unfortunately failed to fit into any then current indie pigeonholes as beloved by the media though so were doomed to obscurity obviously.

Friday, September 16, 2011

TOTP (28/08/1976)

Noel Edmonds is back to present the latest pop sounds... well latest in late August 1976 of course.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band - blinded by the light
Its everything you imagine some refugees from the psychedelic 60s would be. Proggy rock with keyboard effects, the odd screaming guitar chords. The keyboardist is in a sailor suit by the way. The audience look suitable bemused and revert to that uncertain bobbing dance mode when they don't really like/get the song.

Ruby Flipper are going to earn their money tonight, being on no less than 3 times! This time to the Bee Gee's "you should be dancing". They perform this with some scantily clad disco to the delight of many Dads.

Robin Sarstedt - lets fall in love
Or lets follow up a novelty hit with another odd bit of old fashioned crooning. This gets uncomfortably close to club style territory.

Acker Bilk - aria
Clarinet! Green waist coat! Bowler hat! It sounds like the theme tune of a downtrodden 70s detective series. Quite nice though...

Chi-Lites - you don't have to go
For some reason the Chi-Lites' song is accompanied by an old cartoon which bears no resemblance at all to the music, its like watching TV with the sound off and the radio on in the background. The cartoon (Page Miss Glory) is wonderful though, all jazz age art deco but not sure what it has to do with the Chi-Lites...

Ruby Flipper are back in different skimpy outfits to jiggle around to James & Bobby Purify's "morning glory".

Cliff Richard - i can't ask for anything more than you babe
Cliff, never one to jump on a bandwagon of course, has a song with some BeeGees-esque high notes. Not one of his best songs though, sounds like it should be track 7 on an album and should have stayed there.

Gallagher & Lyle - breaking away
Nice bit of soft rock, some kind of joke going on between Noel and the band but it falls rather flat like most of these things.

Elton John & Kiki Dee - don't go breaking my heart
Are they here live at last? No of course not but no one can stomach the video again so instead it all becomes a rather formless but lovely dance in the studio, Ruby Flipper leading the way and Noel staying in the audience to chat up young girls. Its all a bit formless and chaotic but really this is why you love this show! TTFN!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - belong

The second album of NY's cutiepop revivalists pretty much continues off where the first album stopped : delicious indie pop tunes with a good dose of punk pop sensibility and noise and with some lovely word play.

Its maybe not quite as immediate as their first album though tracks like "Heart in your heartbreak" and "Even in dreams" are pop classics, its a little more grown up and a little more assured. Its more consistent though in being so maybe loses a little of the first album's danger though "belong" is undeniably harder. So what is "belong" in a nutshell? Bloody brilliant. Its packed full of classic pop moments and hipster cool. This belongs in your record collection... ahem.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Monkees Nerf Ball commercial

For a change here are the Monkees with an exciting commercial opportunity, from 1970.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Field Mice - snowball

The iconic Sarah band, after a number of amazing singles, was given the chance to see what they could do with a long player. Snowball, with its simple design and pink sleeve, was the result and is quite simply an amazing album, a high point in indie pop. A signpost to a million possibilities. A true alternative to mainstream drivel.

The 8 tracks are book ended by the two sides of the Field Mice coin. "Lets kiss and make up" is a more straightforward track compared to some of the later ones but wonderful and inventive all the same pop song. "Letting go" is an atmospheric epic. Multi-layered and spacial, this remains one of my all-time favourite songs.

Its all here, great songs, pop melodies and sonic experimentation. Almost whispered vocals, chords in all the right places. Special mention must also be made for "End of the affair" with its mesmeric tune but they are all special moments. The music is often so simple but but also so so effective. You can tell i loved this can't you?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Frank & Walters - this is not a song

A bit shambolic true, but also quirky and rather geeky. "This is not a song" was quite iconic, at least for a while in the early 1990s. Technically its a bit of a mess but the lyrics help the song transcend that, the song genuinely has charm and makes you smile with it as well as the clever lyrics, even if its hardly sung in key.

Of the b-sides, things all get a bit early 90s generic indie pop. You can probably guess how they sound: fast dancey beats, jingle jangle, a bit of half-hearted noise. They can help a few minutes of your life pass by agreeably anyway.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

TOTP (19/08/1976)

DLT is our host tonight and after he fools around with a mirror we have the chart rundown, and our number one is... Elton and Kiki! Will they be live tonight? The suspense is killing me.

Hot Chocolate - Heaven is in the back seat of my Cadillac

Hot Chocolate is always good value, though not that keen on this song of theirs though which is a bit of a repetitive funk stomp. Errol Brown has enough chains around his neck its like he is a prototype Mr T.

David Dundas - jeans on

David is back again, though it looks like a repeat of his previous performance with Ruby Flipper. David has a tiger in his tank, though i prefer BP.

5000 Volts - Doctor Kiss Kiss

DLT is sad that this song has stalled at number 8, i’m sad too for a related reason. Linda Kelly’s miming really does need work.

ABBA - dancing queen

ABBA are back with another modern classic. Music video not live performance though.

Bryan Ferry - the price of love

Another music video, is this MTV or something? Usual Bryan Ferry fare, decent tune and lots of beautiful girls.

DLT loves doors he is happy to inform us, and with that he introduces Ruby Flipper who are here to interpret Wings’ “let ‘em in” through the medium of dance. Why doors? Well of course there are lots of doors opening and being knocked. Let ‘em in see? Genius isn’t it?

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - here comes the Sun

Another repeat as we have Steve and co.’s performance by a castle again. The BBC short of cash this week or something? Psychedelia, mod-ish strutting and bongo drums anyway in the most unholy mixture in the galaxy until i mixed Lidl German vodka and Irish cream.

Jesse Green - nice and slow

DLT says this tune comes to the charts via disco. Well you can dance to it though it has some flute and a guy in a cowboy hat playing guitar too. The 70s were great!

Twiggy - here i go again

Twiggy is back, looking lovely but her vocals are a bit suspect in this country rock or folky song. A bit shrill at times. Overall though its a pretty decent song.

Elton John & Kiki Dee - don’t go breaking my heart

You have got to love Elton, at number 1 for what seems 30 weeks and he still hasn’t turned up to play this live. So the usual video. TTFN!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peru - leaving the 'acre EP

Being a train spotter and being an indie anorak goes together like bacon and eggs (or a vegetarian alternative if you are so inclined), i used to be one of the former and am still one of the latter thus i can tell you that there is a class 47 on the cover of this EP by indie stalwarts Peru and that is just the start of the old skool thrills you will get with this record. Recorded a few years ago it seems the songs on here have a stylishly old fashioned indie feel. Straight forward guitar indie pop no weird cross-fertilisations.

Best song is "Needing, wanting, waiting" with its up-key chorus though also liked the ancient feel of "Kim's balloon" which feels so old skool it sits at the same desk as Plato. Terrific all the way, no Duff tracks whatsoever (diesel locomotive enthusiasts may get that joke).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menswe@r - nuisance

Ah the "Swear" as the popular music press called them (presumably two syllables was too much for your average journo). This, their debut, called a bit of a media stir when it was released in 1995. Bold and brash indie rock by some good looking young lads, thus appealing to all sectors of the market. Sure win?

Coming at the start of the Brit Pop explosion the music is quite Mod-ish and late 60s, and to be honest is pretty good. Its maybe a bit generic and too similar to other bands of the same scene but songs like "I'll manage somehow" and "125 west 3rd street" have an appealing pop swagger. "Being brave" was their biggest hit and is a ballady song with added strings. Hold your lighter in the air and sway, and sing along to the "ba ba ba baaa"s.

Friday, August 26, 2011

TOTP (05/08/1976)

Jimmy Saville is our host and he is wearing a kilt! If you can get past that you can get past anything. Elton and Kiki are still at number one but will they be live in the studio?

Slik - the kid’s a punk

Slik start the show with their poseur retro rock. Its all quiffs, US college jackets and rock’n’roll riffs. Its not terrible but maybe not that good either.

David Dundas - jeans on

Ruby Flipper are here to perform with David Dundas, don’t forget he had Hot Gossip last time. Does he feel lonely on stage or something and thus feels the need to have fit young people gyrate their fit young bodies nearby? We understand David we really do.

Billy Jo Spears - what i’ve got in mind

Country music often broke into the British charts regularly even as late as the 1970s as may be forgotten nowadays. Billy Jo Spears is of course a legend though this isn’t her best song. A performance somewhere else, probably in Nashville.

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - here comes the Sun

In front of a castle Steve Harley and band perform this George Harrison cover, its been given a bit of a proto-punk feel along with bongos. Its all wonderfully weird.

Did Saville explain why he is in a kilt?

Ruby Flipper are working hard tonight, they are back to perform KC & the Sunshine Band’s “shake your booty”. Very disco in futuristic silvery outfits. Like if they had song & dance routines in Blakes 7.

Dorothy Moore - misty blue

A repeat of her performance in front of a giant dressing room mirror.

Billy Ocean - love on delivery

Its fine just a bit formulaic and forgettable. Seems we have a lot of songs on tonight which have been on before.

Twiggy - here i go again

Yes the model, years before the M&S adverts of course. Twiggy is best known as being a model for good reason, as her singing isn’t that good to be honest. Mind you if she was around now she would probably win the likes of X Factor easily.

Elton John & Kiki Dee - don’t go breaking my heart

No they didn’t make it to the Top Of The Pops studio, maybe next week eh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Comics : Star Wars #54

Years ago (a lot of years ago) i used to get the Star Wars comic every week. We're talking back in the late 70s and early 80s here. Like much else from my childhood the comics have long gone as i didn't have the foresight to know that people would pay good money for such things on a global visual network yet to be created one day. However one comic did survive as it was left at my Grandmothers' house and years later i made sure i would keep this one...

Star Wars #54 then was released on Valentine's Day 1979 and includes a Star Wars comic strip and two other stories (The Micronauts and The Warlock which i wasn't that interested in back then and not so much now either). The Star Wars comic started off a weekly comic telling of the first Star Wars movie but once they blew up the Death Star and Darth Vader went spinning off into space they had to continue the comic with an early example of the Extended Universe at least until Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980.

The story here concerns Luke, Leia and Tagge who appears to be some kind of galactic mafia boss who hates Vader. Luke and Leia are trying to discover why and how Tagge can fly TIE fighters into the atmosphere of the gas giant Yavin while at the same time evading Tagge's TIE fighter patrols. Of course the story here was set between the two films and no one but George Lucas knew that Luke and Leia were siblings, so we get a little bit of mild incest.

The cliffhanger has their ship under attack by TIE fighters and the intriguing teaser that next week is called "R2 D2 Casualty Of War", as to what happened in Star Wars #55 i can't remember, but obviously R2 was fine as he made the next film OK. It would be great if these Marvel Star Wars stories were released in some kind of collected volume. I'm hoping someone will tell me they are...

MV : "Aerobicide" by Julie Ruin

Monday, August 22, 2011

TOTP (29/07/76)

David Hamilton is here to introduce the latest from the centre of the pop universe. Was the Olympics going on right then in 1976? It would explain his lame athletics jokes anyway.

Thin Lizzy - jailbreak

Thin Lizzy is back in town (see what i did there?) Hard rock is always the best way to start the show. Not that familiar with this one of their tunes, something about jailbreak in the town, the boys getting arrested last time obviously and now are out again. Lenient criminal justice system obviously.

Dr Hook - a little bit more

Dr Hook is after your body apparently. Is Dr Hook a medical doctor? I would want to see his medical certificates in any case before he laid a hand on me. A re-run of the mildly homoerotic video set in the forest. I must say i do love this tune. I prefer not to think of it being sung by a big man in a bigger beard in the forest though.

Chanter Sisters - side show

One of these girls has one of the most formidable perm i've ever seen. Song is a dreadful mess full of screeching by two women who appear drunk. I love it. As does David.

Ruby Flipper perform a funked up version of Beethoven, obviously in cabaret outfits dancing on chairs. Well of course. We get some SFX too, the producer is spoiling us.

Jimmy James & the Vagabonds - now is the time

Jimmy James returns with his dance floor filler. Its quite a good song though also rather mainstream, this could easily be the theme music of a 70s sitcom. Jimmy puts on a good show, less weird grinning than less time. More SFX as Jimmy's head appears superimposed on the background. The producer has a new box of tricks it seems.

Status Quo - mystery song

These chords seem familiar.

Liverpool Express - you are my life

At #11 in the chart, and David is right this is quite a lovely song thats if you love atmospheric soft rock. Hey why not, it is maybe a bit over blown with the effects and dramatics but its a good song, much better than some of the others we've had so far anyway.

Elton John & Kiki Dee - don't go breaking my heart

Second week at #1 but still no live performance, so lets see the MV recorded in a recording studio again where Elton kisses Kiki's dungarees.