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.