Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Charlatans - melting pot (Beggars Banquet CD)

When i was young, at polytechnic (and an idiot), the Charlatans were an essential part of my life soundtrack. But then the baggy scene they had been a part of (though a bit of a later addition to be true) died away, the Charlatans went a bit more rock as part of the new Brit Pop scene and i thought they were now rubbish. Like i said i was an idiot as the total opposite was true... though the Brit Pop scene in general was a bit rubbish. This compilation brings together key tracks and hits from their early years with Beggars Banquet and its a pretty great selection of early-mid 90s indie too from the fall-out of baggy to Brit Pop.
We start off with their baggy-era and iconic early 90s tracks like "The only one I know", "Then" and "Weirdo". They still sound refreshingly neo-psychedelic and naive, plenty of organ and an indie beat with superb pop harmonies and melodies.

Later tracks like "I never want an easy life..." and "Jesus hairdo" i frowned upon back in the 90s (i.e. my idiot stage) but now i recognise them for the more-mature rock hits that they are fitting perfectly into the heavier mid to late 90s indie scene. They captured the zeitgeist perfectly with good quality indie rock, i guess i just wanted them to redo "Then" and "Weirdo" over and over again. The world moved on, the Charlatans moved on and finally i did too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top Of The Pops (17/02/1977)

Paul Burnett is here with the hottest pop sounds and ohh David Soul is no longer at #1.

Suzi Quatro - tear me apart
These days i’d say Suzi Q FTW, back then i probably would have just gone “phwoah”, well if i hadn’t had been 6 years old i would have. Its all a bit rockabilly with plenty of energy, its OK and even a little good but only a little.

The Moments - jack in the box
Three men with bad suits but one has a good afro. The song itself is pap but inoffensive pap.

The Brothers - sing me
The kind of cod-reggae that probably went (and still does) down a storm at Butlins.

Boz Scaggs - what can i say
The same video we had in an earlier show, Boz Scaggs and the entire population of Liechtenstein on the same stage. It has a good late 70s funky/soul/rock vibe. This wouldn’t sound out of place on The Warriors OST.

Thelma Houston - don’t leave me this way
Thelma is a good turn, she can express more emotion with one glance than a show load of X-Factor singers. The song itself is pretty good but was just 1 of 2 versions in the chart at that moment.

The Rubettes - baby i know
Oh yeah, country and western. The song isn’t bad, and had a lovely chorus but is all a bit bloodless.

Mr Big - romeo
So thats where the BBC’s dry ice budget went. We have some bared torsos and lots of hair, and even some sub-Bohemian Rhapsody SFX. However its not Queen is it?

Legs & Co have some tambourines and strips of fabric to dance to Tavares’ “the mighty power of love”. That is the extent of the imagination in this week’s routine though.

Leo Sayer - when i need you
And the new number 1 is by Leo Sayer, here to sing it in a cute sports jersey. Leo oddly looks a little bored, come on the song isn’t that bad! Its even pretty good... though a song i was heartily sick of by the early 80s.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Alpaca Sports (Dufflecoat 7")

Swedish's Alpaca Sports star on Dufflecoat Records' second vinyl release. "I'll never win" is a sweet acoustic-driven indie pop but like the best songs it mixes a sweet melody with lyrics that convey a feeling of melancholy and heart-felt loss, i think "I'll never win anything" has become my new motto for 2012. "Just for fun" is a lot more upbeat with a timeless indie pop sound. This single is a joyous thing to behold, great illustration on the cover too.
Out on Dufflecoat in late March.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Fine Day For Sailing - ballad of the bedsit (Dufflecoat 7")

A fine song, a fine band, a fine day for sailing indeed. You have to love the title track especially with lyrics about being stuck in a Smiths song, aren't we all? Its lovely indie pop with a bit of a folky-pop edge, played with heart and more soul than an entire mythical underworld of souls... or the average so-called modern soul record.
Coupled with the equally indie pop-licious "Village idiot" which has a great chorus, sing "village idiot" and tell me your life is not suddenly so much better.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tamankota - rainbow (Dufflecoat CDEP)

Tamankota's debut for Dufflecoat is a joyfully jangly affair, with lush twee pop sounds a-plenty. One of the seemingly endless invasion of Indonesian indie pop bands to capture our hearts and souls and long may they continue.

"Sometimes" is a lovely song, expertly crafted indie pop that excels in all areas. It has a bit of a wistful and melancholic feel to it, its definitely a song to gaze out of a window to. Nice guitar work too.
"Takan hilang" continues the skilful pop with a beautiful melody. "Shine" is a little different but no less essential with some interesting melodies and vocals going on. "Siklus" completes the EP and is another beautiful pop song, a bit of a relaxed feel to it but plenty of jingle-jangle to clime through the speakers. Its a lovely piece of work including beautiful artwork too.

Released at the end of February 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Links (17/02/12)

Coming soon...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kippington Lodge - shy boy

A lost British psychedelic band, they had all the right ingredients as this career retrospective shows (which collects all their songs from their 5 songs and the usual unreleased odds and sods in the usual excellent RPM package). Nice psych tunes, decent vocals and looked fairly cool. But then again so many bands in the late 60s also had that so i guess thats why they didn't really stand out.

Like a lot of "lost" bands they re-emerged as Brinsley Schwarz (named after one of the members) who continued as a rock band in the 70s. Kippington Lodge was the first band of Nick Lowe, maybe their biggest legacy?
Actually Kippington Lodge was a bit more than that. Songs like "Shy boy" and "Rumours" have a pleasing pop feel, quite Beatles-esque while being different enough to not be mere copyists. Talking of the Beatles they did a good cover of "In my life" which had a bit of a blues-y edge to the vocals.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Of The Pops (03/02/1977)

Kid Jensen is here to present some super sounds... the chart doesn’t seem a great deal different from last week though.

Thin Lizzy - don’t believe a word
Starting off with a bit of rock, feels like a repeat. They do the next big screen effect though with the audience pretending to know they can dance in front of it. It gives me school disco flashbacks.

Gary Glitter - it takes all night long
Wow it is indeed him! The BBC could have cut it but happily didn’t so we can creep out watching the vile man in a silver suit crooning a slow song. What takes him all night long just shouldn’t even be considered in the slightest...

Legs & Co. perform a retro sound in the charts by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, as in “don’t leave me this way”. Just thank God it wasn’t Gary Glitter doing this song. The girls dance nicely in matching grey gowns.

Boz Scaggs - what can i say
Film footage of Boz who seems to have the population of a small country on stage with him.

The Real Thing - you’ll never know what you’re missing
Nice suits and a huge hat. Its a slow song with the lead vocalist doing all the work for half the song, the other 3 members standing on the stage looking somewhat out of place until they get the chance to join in.

Silver Convention - everybody’s talking about love
Another repeat, its pleasingly awful.

The Rubettes - baby i know
The Rubettes go country rock, it was all the rage of course in the mid to late 70s. Its a nice enough song but blander than a wallpaper shop that only sells beige.

David Soul - don’t give up on us
No he ain’t here. We gave up.

Another Sunny Day - Rio (Sarah 7")

Another Sunny Day's "Rio" isn't a Duran Duran cover version luckily enough but is a wonderful acoustic led indie pop classic with typically ASD yearning male vocals and a simple but effective melody. This always had my favourite lyrics of any Sarah song. "The very beginning" on the flip-side is beautiful, sparse and jingly and its heart felt vocals that seem tailor-made for gazing sadly out of a damp window.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MV : "Killing you" by Vacant Kiss

Vacant Kiss is a new project of Insect Guide vocalist Suzy Blu, this is their forthcoming debut single.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Links (10/02/12)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Ritas - silent protest (Dufflecoat CDEP)

One of the great releases by Dufflecoat records last year was this debut by Birmingham based The Ritas - although physical CD is sold out the songs are still available on iTunes and the like, and you want them OK? Why? Because The Ritas are brilliant.

Lets look at the evidence, and start with the title track, its just catchy sassy and intelligent indie pop. I love the vocals, simultaneously laid back and urgent.
"How wrong i was" has a joyously retro 80s indie feel and a definite sprinking of punk attitude. "Glitter and doom" has a great pop sound but at the same time menace to it. "Jeane" is yes that "Jeane", i like this cover version of The Smiths' track, it works really well with female vocals and harmonies. Its familiar but at the same time different and fresh. So go and get these songs, its simply a great debut.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Onward Chariots - save me Maryann (Elefant 7")

Part of Elefant's New Adventures In Pop series is this quartet of 60s scented pop tunes by New York's Onward Chariots. The title track has a fun pop melody and Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies, it sounds like it should be the soundtrack to a show like the Banana Splits. In the olden days all the best indie songs were like this, sounding like lost classics from the best 60s psychedlic party you could imagine (but of course were far too young to ever attend).  "A new beginning" pushes all the right indie pop notes with a nice shuffle-y beat.
"A war hero" reminds me a bit of of the Monkees, maybe Onward Chariots should have their own TV show, that would be awesome. "Air" is a little different, in some ways it sounds like it belongs in the 70s with its swooping vocal harmonies and lo-fi electronics.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Links (03/02/12)

Help Stamp Out Loneliness, nice band and nice song.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top Of The Pops (27/01/1977)

Tony Blackboard... i mean Blackburn is here with the hottest sounds... but David Soul is still at #1.

The Brothers - sing me
The Brothers are real brothers, all from Mauritius Tony tells us. They also wear matching shiny orange shirts and produce a reasonable pop reggae sound. This was their only hit though.

David Parton - isn't she lovely
A great song with plenty of high notes which David reaches sometimes. A rather karaoke air to this cover which he only sung on as he was producing the song for someone else who couldn't do the vocals so he did it itself and amazingly it went top 5. Tony asks us isn't that fabulous? No, i prefer Stevie Wonder's but David did a decent job.

Legs & Co are dressed in interwar posh ladies gear complete with hats and furs and are prancing around glass shop fronts to The Eagles' "new kid in town".

Barry Biggs - sideshow
It was an amazing chart in early 1977 with both David Parton and Barry Biggs this week in the top 5. Barry looks like the hoodlum in a 70s kung-fu film with his pink suit, frilly shirt and afro.

Status Quo - wild side of life
Ah these chords sound familiar. The Quo are here with a rather old fashioned but pleasing rock and roll romp.

Tony seems to have assembled all of the pretty young girls from the audience and is having them accompany him between every song, the hard life of a TOTP presenter.

Mr Big - romeo
This is their debut Tony tells us but its the kind of average late 70s rock-lite you've heard many times before. Very commercial sound with high pitched vocals, lots of hair and guitars. We do get a bit of harmonica though but it doesn't really make much difference to the blandness.

Andy Fairweather Low - be bop 'n' holla
This is a lot better, a slinkier and funkier rock number though with slightly weird lyrics. Its the best song of the night from the former 60s pop group member and future blues rock mainstay.

The Moments - jack in the box
The Moments have the same stylist as Barry Biggs, amazingly we have two acts this week in pink suits and afros. The song bops along fairly unmemorably.

Its not really a vintage week of TOTP if we are to be honest and interestingly no female vocals at all this week until...

The New Seekers - i wanna go back
Reasonable folk-pop but like the last time they were on TOTP they seem rather dated both visually and sonically. This was their penultimate hit and only went top 30.

David Soul - don't give up on us
The video again, we've given up on him appearing live on TOTP for now anyway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Teenage Filmstars - lift off mit der

Teenage Filmstars led by Edward Ball produced some of the most far-out modern psychedelia (that is far-out and still being listenable) in the 80s and early 90s. This album was their return in 1992 after playing as The Times throughout much of the 80s and the first of several recorded for Creation. With My Blood Valentine's noise revolution still fresh at the time Teenage Filmstars took it to a whole new place i.e. backwards. Teenage Filmstars late in their career recorded much of their songs backwards resulting in an anarchic often chaotic but also so often fantastic psychedelic indie rock sound.
We're not quite there yet but on this album we are already into space territory such as "Loving" with its grinding guitar mantra which erupts into acid heaven. Often the sound is messy such as on "Love is blue" which sounds like two different songs interfering with each other on a badly tuned radio, but from the mess a magic comes. "Kaleidoscope" starts off fairly conventionally and standard rock and roll before deconstructing into what appears to be a space battle between the different instruments.

Its unpredictable, difficult, baffling, brilliant, annoying and wonderful about 700 times per second. It sounds a bit like aliens trying to replicate the strange sounds they hear coming from outer space millennia ago from far off Earth. In thousands of years time on Epsilon Eridani all music will be like this.