Monday, October 31, 2011

MV : "Pretend (we're in love)" by Amanda Applewood

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).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

MV : "Two rings" by The Ice Choir

Debut coming soon.

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.