Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Field Mice - sensitive

The Field Mice are in fine up-tempo jingly-jangly form on the A-side of this single for Sarah, their second for the label and maybe the single that really got them going. Typically restrained Field Mice vocals compete with razor sharp indie guitar attacks. The song races along with urgency especially in the awesome guitar work in the latter half of the song. Like so many Field Mice tracks its a fabulous pop song, at times the elements are a but harsh but held together by a beautiful pop feel and energy.

The B-side "When morning comes to town" is a more restrained acoustic track with female harmonies and a more introspective feel.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tesco Chainstore Mascara - good foundations

You gotta love a band with a name like this, is the name just a novelty though and is the band serious and their music worth it? Actually yes, Tesco Chainstore Mascara are a good indie pop band. Their music is quite straight forward, classic guitar pop sounds and appealing female vocals. Nothing too innovative on a track like "Writer's block" which is piano led but its a good pop song. Not everything can be "challenging" and "innovative". Often this means unlistenable pretentious tripe anyway, TCS are anything but.

"Stuck together" is my favourite track with its 60s psychedelic pop organ motif. "M62" is pleasantly jingle-jangle and a bit girly shoegazey meets structured pop song. Its all very enjoyable stuff, so give TCS a try.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

April March - voodoo doll EP

April March is an intriguing singer, American born yet firmly Francophile. She was rather obscure until her songs appeared in a Tarantino film. Before that though she released this EP back in the early 1990s which contains some of her earliest work.

Its very girly 60s pop, very smiley and beamy and effervescent. The cheese factor is also fairly high. Her later stuff like the "chrominance decoder" album (which i have recently got and will review later in the year) shows much more maturity and depth of musical exploration but you can't deny the instant delight this single gives you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MV : "Nothing new" by April March

I bought a single by this Francophile singer some time ago, not including this lovely laid back track though.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Budget Girls - get in your ear

I don't really know much about The Budget Girls apart from the fact they made a bit of a racket in lieu of being able to sing and didn't really play any instruments. How punk rock is that?!

Actually this is pretty throwaway but fun garage. It has 4 tracks with various lewd subjects but I like this single mostly for "Go away geek!" Perhaps the best lyrics of any indie rock song ever. Well with my geek and SF background how could a punk pop song including phasers, web sites and RPGs be anything other than awesome?

There are a couple of editions of their 4 track EP, the one i had was the one pictured here with one girl trying to insert her guitar up the other's arse. The best cover i feel, you can find the other easily on-line, but too Benny Hill for my tastes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

MV : "Hang on" by The Sky Drops

I had the Sky Drops album on my Amazon wish list for ages, no idea why i waited so long as the album is utter brilliance. It includes this song.

Friday, March 18, 2011

MV : "Rupert the Bear" by Jackie Lee

Can you take a bit of nostalgia? Cute little song, cute little singer, cute little bear. All gets a bit disturbing when the modern editor adds some animal heads but hey.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Camera Obscura - my maudlin career

Once you get back the beautiful (as usual for 4AD) artwork you are in for a real treat with this album by the Glaswegian band, their fourth. Indie pop at the more folky-pop and ballad end of the spectrum. From the retro pop of "French navy" to the big sound of "Honey in the Sun" this is a journey through intelligent music with country and folk influences aplenty.

Best of all i like the voice. Traceyann's voice is at times subtle, often sweet and always perfectly matched to the music. The music is complicated and very well produced. Never overshadowing the vocals or the intelligent lyrics.

This is an album that was crafted not thrown together thats for sure. Its art with a capital A. Its beauty with a capital B. It does sound often like its from another time being unashamably retro in parts but its an album that could only be done in the late 2000s. I love it i really do.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gentle Despite - the darkest blue EP

Gentle Despite were one of those Sarah bands who never really made much of a splash (even in Sarah terms) and are now maybe largely forgotten but still left behind a legacy of some beautiful music. I always loved this EP from the slow melancholy of "If i touch" to the beautiful acoustic driven feel of "The darkest blue".  Down and introspective like much of the best indie pop is. I love the guitar feedback that sounds throughout acting as a background melody.

"Summer in me" is maybe the most upbeat song of the trio though to be honest the weakest song on here. Its still good but Gentle Despite seemed better on when on more of a downer. What are the (ex-)members of this band doing these days?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

MV : "Paper museum" by Monograph

Monograph are (or were actually) a great indie band from the late 90s / early 2000s. I got their album earlier this week, this track is off one of their singles for Shinkansen.

Keith - ain't gonna lie

I must admit i hadn't heard of Keith before i came across this reissue. He had a few big hits in the late 60s though just before the psychedelic era. Maybe better known in the US rather than in the UK as he only just made the top 30 here.

His songs such as the title track are classic 60s pop, another example being "98.6" which was his best known hit and has a nice folky vibe. Both songs have superb pop hooks and choruses, great examples of 60s mainstream US pop.

It gets a bit groovy too on the likes of "To whom it concerns" and its horn section and there are some great lyrics on "White lightning". This compilation collects his two albums for Mercury and a few singles and with 27 tracks is great value. Its very poppy, don't expect any feedback noise terrorism obviously.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

12"/80s Grooves

I have got a couple of these mega compilations of 12" mixes and versions of songs from the 1980s, the heyday of the 12" single. I'll review the more indie-friendly compilation another time, this one is a collection of 80s dance and hip-hop. Not that there is anything wrong with that of course, i like most music genres though with this collection i either really love or truly hate the songs on show, and the latter unfortunately outnumber the former. Its still worth having though. Perfect for the car.

Disc 2 is probably the best with songs like Shannon's "let the music play" and Kool and the Gang's "fresh". Songs familiar to me via Top Of The Pops most likely. There is an art to a 12" mix, to take what is good about the song and just make it longer. An alternative method is just to mess about in the recording studio, unfortunately a lot of remixers tried that approach and it usually failed. Of course if a song is rubbish its rubbish no matter what length the mix is...

MV : "The breakup" by Fleeting Joys

Epic and blissed out at the same time, if that is possible. Well they achieved it anyway. Great way to start an album... which i must review soon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Field Mice - so said Kay EP

The Field Mice are still one of the Sarah bands whom people most fondly remember and when you take a look at their discography you can easily see why. This EP for example contains a number of fabulous C86 tunes ranging from the melancholic instrumental "Holland Street" to the slow beautiful title track with its melody that builds and builds.

Best track (for me anyway as its one of my favourite Field Mice songs) is "Quicksilver". Again a simple and hauntingly beautiful pop moment. In fact so many eternal pop moments packed into one slab of vinyl its almost beyond belief. They don't make 'em like this anymore.