Friday, July 29, 2011

The Saturday Guy - everlasting doesn't last forever

This EP takes awhile to get going, the intro and the folk track that follows are a bit hard work and maybe a little self-indulgent. But its worth holding on, "Sharing with no one" is wonderful, acoustic and etheral with a smooth introspective vibe. "Sweet lies" is a similar song, the acoustic guitar high in the mix. Sweet and relaxing music as is the closing "Even if i gaze".

Its like taking a long reflective journey in a VW camper van, and no doubt that would be a great idea for the music video. Available from the wonderful Dufflecoat Records. Its a record that lacks immediate thrills but rewards over time with an impressive level of depth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TOTP (15/07/1976)

Noel Edmonds is our host this week but he is messing around with one of the BBC cameras, doesn't he know how much they cost? Stop messing about Noel, deal or no deal?

Sunfighter - drag race queen
Its ironic "queen" is in the song title as Sunfighter obviously are fans of the band Queen. Multi-layered harmonies check, long hair check, rock guitar check. Its not a bad song at all, and has a nice acoustic interlude. I take it this is the non-chart song of the week. I'd like to remake this song, as "drag queen" obviously.

Liverpool Express - you are my love
A reprise of the special FX laden soft rock performance of a few weeks ago. Its a nice enough song but seems to go on forever.

Ruby Flipper are, believe it or not, performing a dance to the Beatles' "back in the USSR", and obviously have raided the BBC Costume Department for some Russian outfits. That took up about 95% of their time as the choreography took the other 5% as usual.

Bobby Goldsboro - a butterfly for Bucky
Although introduced as "the story of Buck" i believe "a butterfly for Bucky" is the actual title, no doubt a last minute change to avoid sniggering schoolboys up and down the land cruelly changing a strategic letter in the song title for endless mirth. Its a country pop song in the Glen Campbell vein, and thus i love it as Glen is one of my heroes.

Dr Hook - a little bit more
Beardy aka Ray Sawyer stands in the woods and sings this gorgeous duet with Dr Hook. Another great country pop song. As the band come out of the trees at the end with their long hair and cowboy hats its all goes a bit Deliverance though.

Glamourpuss - superman
The kind hearted BBC must have had a gap in the show and allowed 5 women from the audience to go on stage and have a go.

Status Quo - mystery song
The chords are of course no mystery.

Jimmy James & the Vagabonds - now is the time
Some nice funk guitar but its an average song to be honest, Jimmy has obviously been told to smile at all times which makes him look a bit odd as he sings.

Demis Roussos is at #1, yeah believe it it or not. Brian Blessed with a high pitched voice. Number 1? Really? Obviously a lot of people went on holiday to Greece in the Summer of 1976. Noel calls him the biggest thing in Greece and the Greek Womble. Noel Edmonds FTW.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - not sleeping around

Ah the Neds, one of the leading lights in the late-80s/early-90s indie rock scene, all razor sharp guitar chords, indie shuffle dance beats and sixth-form poetry lyric rhymes. This single came towards the end of their heyday and indeed was their second top 20 hit. The A-side is undeniably a great pop record just maybe a bit forgettable.

As for the B-sides i quite like "Scrawl" which is a decent bit of indie thrash with lots of jingle-jangle.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brighter - Noah's Ark

Another Brighter single on Sarah another essential piece of vinyl. Following in the wake of their epic "80 days" EP for Sarah this leads off with the title track, a typical piece of introspective jangly guitar pop with a melancholic tune. Brighter were masters of keeping a song slow and simple, logical and beautiful. Noah's Ark also explodes into (what is for Brighter) heavy rock guitar too, i nearly had to hide behind the sofa when i first heard it.

"Does love last forever?" is a wholly different song, but just as wonderful. Fast jingly jangly guitar pop which rocks along like a runaway C86 train.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TOTP (08/07/1976)

Top Of The Pops is on Wednesday on BBC4 for a few weeks, which means it won't get bumped by the Sky At Night. Tony Blackboard is here to bring us the pick of the pops in early July 1976...

Sutherland Brothers & Quiver - when the train comes
This week's non-chart song which Tony likes. Its a nice inoffensive slice of 70s boogie rock and even a bit funky but ultimately just not quite good enough to break the band through into the 1st division. They would make the top 40 later in the year but that was more or less it. Decent music but lacking that star quality...

Candi Staton - young hearts run free
Candi has star quality however, she oozes it. On a stage somewhere she belts out this great disco tinged #2 hit. Many young (and old) male hearts fluttering as she does so.

Ruby Flipper are in the Blue Peter garden dancing to some horror from the Tubular Bells album. The theme seems to be some kind of ancient Greek Dionysian orgy (albeit watered down a lot for a pre-watershed BBC audience) though one of the dancers is wearing a shiek outfit which seems to ruin the effect a bit.

Billy Ocean - love on delivery
Billy nearly swallows his microphone which is the highlight of this rather generic bit of 70s soul.

Elton John & Kiki Dee - don't go breaking my heart
Elton and Kiki frolic in a recording studio somewhere. Elton, wearing a very tasteful suit with large blue checks, kisses the front of Kiki's dungarees.

Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Boston tea party
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the British kicking the Americans out of the empire Alex Harvey returns with this weird dirge. There is a cannon onstage and Alex is dressed as an extra from the Alamo film.

Dorothy Moore - misty blue
In what looks to be film from the states... recorded in about 1956... Dorothy sings this retro song in front of Liberace's dressing table.

5000 Volts - Dr kiss kiss
Just so you get the "Doctor" bit the bass guitar has a stethoscope hanging from it. Its an OK song, novelty pop but nothing more than passable. The singer looks like the female Holly from Red Dwarf.

Tony meets a non-entity who is the new member of the Bay City Rollers, they will release a new record soon, yay.

The Real Thing - you to me are everything
They are still at #1 and still very deserved if much of the rest of the show is anything to go by.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Sound of Young Java 3 : We'll Be The Summer

Concluding this amazing series of Indonesian C86 indie pop collections we have, as before, 4 songs by 4 bands, some familiar to me and some totally unknown. Starting off with the known is Annemarie with a typically excellent piece of girl vocal led jangle pop "Blue sky on holiday". An infectious melody and some great harmonies. Sunny Summer Day return (they were also on volume 1) with "In summertime". Now this song is absolutely fantastic, a perfect pop song in every way.

Pop At Summer also return with the keyboard led "Sunny day parade" which has a great backing though the vocals sound like they were recorded in a shed. Still not a bad song. Finally Sharesprings "I love to see you" bring some noise and indie thrash to proceedings, they are a bit Boyracer and bands of a similar ilk. So another brilliant collection of Indo twee pop. Bring on volume 4!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

TOTP (24/06/1976)

Tonight's Top Of The Pops is hosted by David Hamilton who makes some lame joke about having a fan club as various humanoids fan him. But fear not as The Wurzels are no longer at #1!

Pilot - canada
I like some of Pilot's earlier stuff, i've not heard this song before though mostly because it didn't really chart much like everything they did after the mid-70s. Its a typical piece of late 70s soft pop rock : long hair, sweet harmonies and dodgy rhyming.

Bryan Ferry - lets stick together
Bryan is back on stage, back in his white suit and back delivering a performance of pure SEX.

Back in the BBC studio Ruby Flipper perform some nonsense to "The Flasher". Its a bit like drunken dancing improv in whatever outfits they could find. Someone is dressed as a lion, someone dressed like Snow White. Overall its like a drug induced nightmare. As usual then.

Demis Roussos - forever and ever
A large man dressed in a white tent, with sparkly accessories, warbles on a stage that looks like it could be a Butlins somewhere. This apparently made the top 10, amazing. At times Demis looks like Brian Blessed when he opens his mouth wide, he does have a beard you could lose a badger in.

The New Seekers - its so nice
They are back. Yay. Oh dear this is so bland, and it feels like it lasts forever. Even in 1976 this song seems way out of date.

Osibisa - dance the body music
A repeat of their performance from a few weeks ago i think, still funky and very 70s, a bit shapeless but genuinely fun.

Art Garfunkel - i believe when i fall in love
According to Wikipedia this single failed to chart in 1975, maybe it was reissued in 1976 and failed again. In any case Art proves he doesn't need Paul Simon to produce a good song. An odd lifeless performance on stage though.

The Real Thing - you to me are everything
Thank goodness the Wurzels have been deposed. If you remember it was JJ Barrie before them so this is the first proper song at #1 since ABBA. And a great song it is too, very worthy of being the best song in the pop universe in late June 1976.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Sound of Young Java 2 : Proud and Wild Forever

Volume 2 of this series showcasing Indonesian C86 tweepop bands continues the excellent and mixed music of the first. Twisterella's "November" is a delightful straight-ahead pop song, though the vocalist does struggle with the high notes a bit too much. Leach Me Lemonade's "Blue shading life" is special, maybe the best song by LML i've yet heard. Cascading guitar leads into a Field Mice-esque melody.

Pop At Summer's "Summer night" is an up-tempo field with lovely female vocals and melody, reminds me a bit of Even As We Speak. Finally Astrolab's "Linger without feeling" with its low-mix vocals and jingly melody gives me more Sarah flashbacks than you could count. Its one of those songs that gets better the longer it plays and when it ends you get quite disappointed and wish it would go on forever...

All four songs are really good and worth your time, with Leach Me Lemonade's and Astrolab's standing out as being really special.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Comics : Orbital (2) - Ruptures

This continues the story of the future galaxy diplomatic corp duo (who seem to combine quiet diplomacy with kick-ass action quite seamlessly) who at the end of volume 1 in the Orbital series were on a rain swept planet about to be overrun by multi-legged beasties. This volume concludes the story of Caleb and Mezoke trying to avert a war on a rather miserable little planet.

This well-drawn story is actually quite complicated and at times you do lose track a bit about what is going on, various competing factions in the foreground and background of the story do make it a bit confusing sometimes though you do manage to (more or less) work out what is going on by the end! I wonder if it would have been better to spread this story across 3 volumes and have a little more back-story and explanation about whats going on?

Its a well-drawn graphic novel and the artist has created a compelling and realistic future. The story is also complex and immersive, many things that still confuse will hopefully be explained later in the series...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Sound of Young Java 1 : I Would Hurt You For The World

The Sound of Young Java is a series of compilation singles from the amazing Indonesian C86 tweepop scene. Each single contains 4 songs by 4 bands, some known to me and some not so lets start with volume 1 (as i am a traditional sort of gent).

We start with Arch Of Cinema's "Shine on stars" which rattles along happily though does sound a bit rough around the edges. The charm carries us through the missed notes easily. I am already a fan of Leach Me Lemonade, their song "Shine of you" like their other stuff sounds like they come from the lost Sarah Records archive. Not quite as Brighter-esque as some of their other songs, maybe more Gentle Despite or early Secret Shine? Brilliant anyway. I have no problem with bands who wear their influences on their sleeves. If i had a band it would sound like this!
Sunny Summer Day's "Shining light" is quite New Wave to start off with and remains a fine song throughout. Finally Funny Little Dream's "Sweet cherry lips" introduces a bit of technology into the mix with a sequencer and a very bright little tune. I think the best song on here though all are good in their way, and all variations from the same Sarah inspired roots. This is everything i loved about the early 90s tweepop indie scene rediscovered and truly wonderful it all is too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

MV : "Stone white" by The Sky Drops

Brilliant mix of shoegaze, grunge and psychedelia. This is off their great album which i can't recommend enough.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chrysalis - definition

Chrysalis' album from the late 1960s is one of those "lost psychedelia classics" that has recently been unearthed and reissued on CD (well 6 years ago anyway) but is it any good or should it have remained lost?

Actually for an album of its time its pretty good though probably sounds better while stoned. Tracks like "Dr Root's Garden" are interesting more than being that brilliant and some of the more wacky moments like strange voices are a bit annoying. Its a bit more Zappa-esque than i care for (more a Dead Head). There is enough here to be a worthwhile and enjoyable listen.

Some of the "previously unreleased tracks" are the best of the lot to be honest, i particularly like "Window shopping" with its laid back feel bluesy/country rock feel. Its a nice listen but not quite Sgt Pepper.