Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MV : "My terrible friend" by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lycia - the burning circle and then dust (Silber CD)

This is the fourth album by Lycia, the darkwave / doomgaze producing a really solid (as in dense) piece of work here. The songs are epic, big booming omnious goth noise classics reminding me sometimes of the likes of Fushitsusha. Multi-layered reverb guitar effects echo amid pounding drums accompanying whispered vocals which sound like they come straight from the underworld.

Its not a heavy album but its pure emotion, the tones and feel tug at your heart strings and your soul like the anguish at the end of the world. The epic "A presence in the woods" starts things off with a slow ponderous yet darkly beautiful rock noise, and the album more or less continues on from that in the same vein.
Songs like "pray" sound like the soundtrack to the desolation of the end, but amid all the noise is hope maybe, a spark. There is a lot to like here and a lot to hear too, originally this was a double album lasting nearly 2 hours but the Silber edition has been edited slightly to fit on one disc. An (almost) endless descent into doom.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Top Of The Pops (20/01/1977)

Noel Edmonds is here to present the brightest pop stars in the Universe including...

Slade - gypsy road hog
Noddy is still wearing an amazing hat though the heydays of glam have long gone. Slade rock out but Noel reveals they haven't been on the show for some time, which shows in the patchy miming.

Noel says the chart is interesting at the moment, by the end of the show we might know if he meant "interesting" in the sense of "rubbish".

Donna Summer - Winter melody
A pop video that consists of a performance somewhere interspersed with footage of Donna by a fire and taking her Christmas decorations down. Ah its Winter then!

10cc - the things we do for love
The SFX guy must have been on overtime this week, we get lots of coloured lights and later on the band appear on a giant screen while the TOTP studio audience boogie. Funky.

Noel gives us some boring chart stats including the number of new entries which includes...

Jesse Green - flip
With a low camera angle we get members of the audience getting in the way of Jesse, nowadays that would be edgy but back then it probably just looked like a mess. Its the most interesting thing in this song in any case.

Noel asks us if we have ever thought about becoming strippers (or something like that), that is his link into Legs & Co. donning the raincoats and then taking them off to Elvis' "suspicion".

Leo Sayer - when i need you
Leo needs no gimmicks, just a nice yellow jumper. However the SFX guy can't resist and gives us multiple Leos on the screen. One is enough, though he has his fans in the studio. We get a cheer when the song ends.

Thin Lizzy - don't believe a word
The Lizzy rock in the studio, at one point in the song you can see Noel in the background rocking out, slightly.

Silver Convention - everybody's talking about love
OMG what is this? Three girls in purple tops and matching spangly trousers gyrate awkwardly on stage though luckily manage to avoid any collisions. They are game but it seems a bit like a bad children's performance on stage, by grown-ups.

David Soul - don't give up on us
We get the video as David gave up on appearing live.

Friday Links (27/01/12)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feverfew / The Rileys - the happiness EP (Dufflecoat CDEP)

Back in the day (when i had more hair and no girlfriend) I bought loads of indiepop 7" singles, indeed I nearly bought this EP when it was originally released in the early 90s. I saw it in the shop but for some reason never procured it and i have no idea why... What a sad story as the music contained within was brilliant, now its 2012 and thanks to Dufflecoat Records i can finally get this re-released EP! This re-release also includes a previously unreleased song but lets start with...
"Bed of roses" is unbelievably wonderful, a deliciously sweet C86 pop melody with a neat male-female vocal interchange as the song progresses. Its kind of the template for the rest of the songs like "Dreamsway", this has a bit of a folk-y feel with the vocals but is another pure pop masterpiece. "Paint me in blue" is the new song (well actually it was recorded 20 years ago like the other songs but finally gets a release here). More pared back than the other 4 songs but another lovely pop song. This EP was truly indiepop gold and now even better than ever.

I still don't know why i never got this back in the day, still now i can finally rectify that. The best things come to those who wait after all...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Model Village / Lipstik Lipsing (Dufflecoat CDEP)

The latest Dufflecoat Records split EP (you know the score, 2 songs by 2 different bands from around the world - this time the UK and Indonesia) starts off with the country-ish pop of Model Village on "Hang up's goodbye". "Perfect scale replica" has a pleasing relaxed vibe and packs plenty classic indie pop goodness, reminds me a bit of Even As We Speak.
Lipstik Lipsing's "early express" has a chorus to die for after a long and careful build-up, all the hallmarks of a great pop tune and it is, early favourite of mine on this EP. Finally "suburban love" has some interesting sounds, its a beautiful pop tune. Yeah another winner. The world of indie pop is great, welcome to the world!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Links (20/01/12)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ladyhawke (Modular CD album)

With the follow-up just a couple of months away (update: here it is) i thought it would be best to review Ladyhawke's debut album now. What is this? Well its an album full of retro pop rock awesomeness. Pip Brown aka Ladyhawke has an ear for a pop hook especially when dripping with a 80s vibe.

It has energy and a joy about it, the production is spot on and the retro sounds perfectly reproduced but like Tesla Boy Ladyhawke has enough modern attitude to elevate this above a pastiche. It takes its musical DNA from the late 80s but produces something new, so this is a mutant album or something.

"Dusk till dawn" is a highlight, a superbly catchy 80s romp of a song with lovely synths, a grinding bass beat and a sing-a-long chorus. Video is brilliant too by the way.
"Magic" has a gorgeous melody, its synth magic that quickly moves into a power pop-rock chorus. "My delirium" has a driving rock melody and a chorus that soars with Ladyhawke's sexy vocals.

These are just some highlights of a very good album indeed. Yeah love this. Bring on the follow-up!

Monday, January 16, 2012

When Nalda Became Punk (Pebble 7")

This lovely single from Pebble Records is full of punky pop goodness, but with such a title is that any surprise? This Spanish punk pop band should immediately shoot to the top of your list of the best new bands.

The title track (and also the name of the band) rollicks along with sweet yet slightly deadpan vocals which i love after a ringing guitar intro. DIY sounds like the soundtrack of a youth TV show that will never be made but if it had would have ruled your life. A single wonderful in every way possible. An album is coming, bring it on!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TOTP (06/01/1977)

We haven’t had a Top Of The Pops review for some time, so lets jump into 1977 with Kid Jensen. If BBC4 keep showing these shows from 1977 then i think we see some punk before very long but first...

Sheer Elegance - dance the night away 
Well some things haven’t changed yet, men in garish matching outfits and tight trousers gyrate over a decent (but not much more than that) soul number. It has handclaps in the backing which always looks very odd when no one is actually clapping.

10cc - things we do for love 
We go straight to a music video and some big 70s rock pop. We see tambourines and lots of lights. Its alright.

Tina Charles - doctor love 
The blessed Tina is here to groove in an oddly hideous light purple dress. Still she is in her usual form, this song seems oddly un-disco for something described as a disco hit, more a normal pop song with some disco-like instrumentation. Despite that its still great... ish.

Smokie - living next door to Alice 
Just so you know this is Smokie performing there is a huge sign on the wall with their name on. A lovely song of course, enough pop to get over the mountain of sentimentality.

Gladys Knight and the Pips - nobody but you 
A classy song from a classy lady, very fetching in a huge green scarf. A definite gospel vibe to this one, we have handclaps too and this time we actually see people making them.

Jethro Tuul - ring out Solstice bells 
Flute and bell rich hippy nonsense. As it is a seasonal song i feel bad saying its rubbish, but it is.

David Soul’s “don’t give up on us baby” is performed by Legs & Co in matching blue dresses. Only one dances while the others stay lying down, union rules? Oh wait they have all got up now.

The Drifters - you’re more than a number in my little red book 
More matching suits and retro-soul. This is the sort of song my parents used to listen to a lot back then, so its their fault.

Clodagh Rogers - save me
A plunging neckline can hide a multitude of sins, such as a boring song. She kept the attention of the young lads in the audience anyway.

Boney M - daddy cool 
Some German disco action, well you don’t get the chance to say that very often. A very disjointed performance indeed, at times they look like they are trying to knock each other over and the vocalist doesn’t seem to remember the words. Its so bad it could almost be an X-Factor performance. Nice mad dancing though.

Kid Jensen is here with Donna Summer who is here to introduce this week’s number one which is... 

Johnny Mathis - when a child is born 
Christmas is over already.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sacred Music - the songs of the Trembling Blue Stars (Dufflecoat CD album)

It was about time Dufflecoat Records produced a long player, and here it is, and its brilliant but then again what else could a double album of Trembling Blue Stars covers be? Pop perfection reinterpreted by 20 modern day twee pop bands from around the world, some already familiar to me and already covered on this site and some not. Where to start?

Lets start with Leach Me Lemonade's take on "Slow soft sighs" which will reverberate through your soul with an essential jangly pop rush, maybe the best song on the album though there are plenty of rivals for that crown. "Letter never sent" by Annemarie (which starts off proceedings) bumps along with sheer delicateness. The Arctic Flow's "Until the dream gets broken" effect-pedal driven guitar sonic attack which merges into a glorious pop noise. Sound of the heavens, or should be anyway.
Sundae's "Moonlight on snow" is a sweet pop journey, keyboard driven with tinkly bits. Archaster's "I no longer know anything" is a relaxing smooth track. Skittle Alley's "Abba on the jukebox" is a delicate and intricate pop treat, with a somewhat 70s feel too. Bubblegum Lemonade's "My face for the world to see" is done really well, great playing. Finishing the album off is Pop At Summer's "the sea is so quiet" another great song. You then turn to disk 3... but alas thats all folks!

So many wonderful moments, i've only picked out a few in this review and they are just the tip of the ice berg. A double album of (nearly) never ending pop dreams.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Links (06/01/12)

Out this week is The Saturday Guy's new EP, you can check my review, or more usefully just listen to the below...
The Saturday Guy - Better Leave Me by Dufflecoat Records

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blueboy - clearer (Sarah 7" single)

Blueboy's debut 7" single for Sarah Records was a delicate affair. The A-side has a fragile beauty to it and is a beautifully crafted pop song with a mournful air. Lyrics of sadness and bite.
B-side "Alison" brings to my mind Paint Along With Nancy for some reason (why it makes me remember an old TV programme about painting with a knife i am unsure), maybe its the melancholic air, the reverb and the distant beat, the retro guitar chords... or i am just mad?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Watoo Watoo - le tourbillon EP (Dufflecoat CD single)

French pop group Watoo Watoo's EP on Dufflecoat Records channels some of the purest spirits of C86 twee pop you will ever find and also some intriguing pop sounds to produce a sweet and exciting EP.

"Whirlpool of pride" drives along at a good pace and hits all the right cute female vocal and jangly guitar moves to become a modern classic, originally written as an ode to Lawrence from Felt one of whose songs is also covered on this EP. "L'amour en fuite" is very different, mysterious and atmospheric and also very French.
"Ce qu'il va en rester" is wonderful, a mesmeric acoustic melody straight out of the pop classic soundtrack. Its a truly glorious pop journey, probably the best song on the EP. "Jenifer Juniper" has a slight retro-electronic feel and bags of atmosphere. Felt cover "Tuesday's secret" is a swift jangly pop rush and finally "Tombe pour la France" has plenty of retro electronic quirkiness.

This EP is a great record with bags of style, charm, pop magic and va va voom.