Monday, April 30, 2012

Top Of The Pops Volume 40 (Pickwick LP)

As you may know the Top Of The Pops series ran from the late 60s to the early 80s and included cover versions of the top hits of the day, luckily my Mum never throws anything away and gave me some of the original LPs, this one being from 1974. I chose this one to review first as it includes one of my all-time favourite songs, that being Carl Douglas' "kung fu fighting", so how is the cover version? Its not that bad actually, it lacks a bit of oomph compared to the original but is still good enough fun.

"Love me for a reason" is covered really well here, as is "Annie's Song", mind you i've never been a huge fan of The Osmonds or John Denver so a die-hard fan might be less satisfied with the cover than i. It does help on that score to enjoy the song more if you arn't that familiar with the original, as you can't stop comparing otherwise. Nothing is a stinker on here, overall its a damn good mid-1970s party mix. It even includes "Y viva Espana" which is about as awful/brilliant as the original (depending on how drunk you are...)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sea Dweller - signs of a perfect disaster (Upside Down LP)

The new album from one of my favourite modern shoegaze bands, Sea Dweller, and its just full of lush layered dream pop. "Jump line" has it all, layers of noise, breathy ethereal vocals, rapid fire beat, pop glory in its hooks. Terrific track. "Flashes" is my favourite track however, a mesmeric epic of a track with wonderfully deadpan vocals and guitar explosions at all the right moments.
"Marion" has plenty of low-level guitar grind, female vocals adding a new dimension. As well as lush noise there is a bit of quirkiness too such as "Orange tram" which has a real blissed down psychedelic air. This is a wonderful noisepop journey, all on beautiful yellow vinyl too.

I really can't fault it in any way even if i wanted to,  contender for album of the year yeah?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Of The Pops (07/04/1977)

Kid Jensen calls upon us to come alive for some jive or something...

Dead End Kids - have i the right
Its all fuzzy hair, colourful braces and bad teeth... and a sub-glam stomp. Its passable though badly lip synced, as a bonus we get some tubular bells but they are badly synced too.

Kid mentions that there will be two videos from the US show Soul Train this week... well as both have the name Soul Train very prominent in the background he probably didn't have the choice. The first is...

Denise Williams - free
Simple relaxed soul, and couples dancing in the background. At first it seems just random but then you realise thats part of the show. Probably.

Showaddywaddy - when
In the early days of colour TV the testcard and various colour test films were essential for getting the tuning right, by 1977 the different coloured jackets of Showaddywaddy does the trick instead.

Elkie Brooks - Pearl's a singer
Its all a bit 70s nightclub cocktail bar, then we have a bit of a country twang, then back to the nightclub. The song has its own remixes already done and cunningly included in the original song to save time.

Cliff Richard - my kinda life
Cliff jumps around and emotes the hell out of this blusey pop horror.

The Manhattans - its you
Another soul vocal group in matching suits, this one's gimmick (on this song at least) is pointing out to various people in the audience. To make them feel special.

Legs & Co are in a boxing ring and in boxing gear, this is without doubt the most awesome thing that happened in all of 1977. Now that may not be true but it is a FACT. They dance-box their way through Maxine Nightingale's "love hit me" (aha the boxing theme makes sense, cunning) with fake knock outs. Its all rather Benny Hill.

O.C. Smith - together
Back to Soul Train, O.C. has a brilliant afro but his song is as beige as his outfit.

Kid has the lovely Elkie Brooks with him to introduce the number one which is...

ABBA - knowing me knowing you
The video again. AHA!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Silent Love - painted feelings (Dufflecoat CDEP)

Some more gorgeous South East Asian Indie from Dufflecoat Records and a side-project of a member of Funny Little Dream.

The Silent Love deserve nothing less than your most vociferous love for sublime tracks like "Before you're gone" with its gentle indie pop melody or "There's something i need to tell you" which has a simple tune and relaxed vocals. Special mention must be made of "Painted feelings" though which is a lovely instrumental, melancholic and sparsely beautiful. If a documentary is ever made of my life its the kind of tune i'd like to play over the closing credits...
Released later in the year on Dufflecoat Records.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Andy B / Sex Sux (Dufflecoat CDEP)

The latest Dufflecoat Records split EP brings together Sex Sux from Indonesia and Andy B from the UK!

The styles are a bit different but its all good. Andy B produces what you might call more traditional indie pop as can be heard on songs such as "At the end of the day" which could easily have slipped into the Sarah pantheon with its laid-back mellow indie guitar pop. "Television girl" has a lovely urgent yet gentle melody, top song! A couple of really great pop tracks brimming with pop smiles, perfect for Summer (if it comes).
Sex Sux are a little more noisy and lo-fi but songs like "Coffee and cigarettes" are no less wonderful with a wall of noise and an almost trance like air. "Like Thurston and Kim (Used to Do)" is simple yet effective with vocals that seem to drift through a sea of guitar noise.

Out soon on Dufflecoat Records

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pontoons - antidote (single)

Returning after a 15 year break is US indiepop band Pontoons with this new single which is released ahead of a new album later in the year. The album should be a solid gold indie pop treat if this single is anything to go by. A low-key yet catchy melody (which reminds me a bit of REM and East River Pipe) that erupts into an amazing chorus with gorgeous pop hooks. Brilliant stuff!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Top Of The Pops (31/03/1977)

David Hamilton is here to present the new number 1 sound but first...

Blue - gonna capture your heart
No not the boy band of nowadays though there was a court case where this original "Blue" band tried to stop the later group using the name. Their only chart hit and its a bit of a soft rock horror.

Billy Ocean - red light spells danger
Red velvet suit also spells danger, especially if worn together with huge yellow collars. Billy, looking a bit like strawberry and custard, performs in front of a giant dented mirror. Its a good song despite all this.

David poses with two girls, and presents the "lovely" Legs & Co to perform David Soul's "going in with my eyes open". As usual the dance troupe dance so disjointedly you'd think they were all strangers who have actually never met before... or rehearsed. They all wear matching white ball gowns, not quite sure what this has to go with the song though it is a bit of a weepy.

David Dundas - another funny honeymoon
Generic pop-rock, would make a half-decent album filler track. Inoffensive.

David has two more young girls, the player. Some joke at Tony Blackburn's expense is badly delivered despite no doubt dozens of practice attempts.

Lynsey De Paul & Mike Moran - rock bottom
This is fun, with matching grand pianos we get a jaunty and quirky little duet. This was the UK's entry in Eurovision in 1977 and ended up the runner-up behind France.

Berni Flint - i don't want to put a hold on you
Nice country song, as i said last time i think it reminds me of Glen Campbell, and thats good. Very good.

Stylistics - $7000 and you
Matching suits and nice afros, but a boring song.

Bonnie Tyler - more than a lover
Bonnie belts this out, the microphone probably being superfluous as the whole nation could probably have heard her from Television Centre. Its a nice slinky tune but the blurry vaseline-on-camera effect is rather overdone, not helped by the tape of this show being a bit poorer in quality than usual. Good tune though, Bonnie at one stage makes a face indicating she wasn't that happy with her performance but it was great.

David has Mike Nesmith with him! Mike hilariously knows who the number one sound is but not what their song is and it is...

ABBA - knowing me knowing you
And you know this video already.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Gentle Isolation - it started with an April shower (LilyStar/Dufflecoat CDEP)

Refined, sweet, mellow and glorious indie pop from the Philippines' The Gentle Isolation. There is so much to love here, the vocals ring so sweet and clear, the music is full life and joy with plenty of delicious little flourishes like the "wah wah" guitars on "Faraway".

That song starts the EP off and is a swift little pop number. "Lets go slow" is relaxed yet packs a powerful melodic punch (well a cute indiepop punch obviously).
"Is it possible to see you again" is a power pop stomp that is pretty irresistible. "Define love" is my favourite song on the EP (some stiff competition though), its a little more restrained but with added melodic goodness and also a little bit of guitar screechiness. Finally "I'll pocket you a rainbow" is a light acoustic led pop journey through a Sunny field of goodness and is a little country rocky too, love it!

Released on LilyStar already and also due to be re-released on Dufflecoat Records soon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jennifer Warnes - Jennifer (Rev-Ola CD)

Before she hit the mega-time in the 70s and 80s with hits like "Up where we belong" Jennifer was, back in the 60s, a folk singer. This is a collection of her first 2 albums ("I can remember everything" and "Jennifer") and includes a number of interesting cover versions of songs by The Beatles, Dylan and The Who, "We're not gonna take it" from Tommy is fantastic here - starting off really restrained before bursting into an irresistible horn-driven jam.

"Close another door" is a Bee Gees song and has a folky jug-pop feel in the verses before some nice shuffle kicks in. If you want a bit of a 60s feel then you can't beat the tinkly harpisord-ic start to "I want to meander in the meadow". The Beatles' "Here, there and everywhere" has a breathy and sparse acoustic vibe and works pretty well. Also worthy of note is "It's hard to love a poet" which has a great late 60s feel, tambourines to the fore. The Stones cover "Back street girl" is very bluesey but maybe a step too far.

Style wise the songs are maybe a little too varied but everything is sung well and sounds great, and its groovy to be sure.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Links (06/04/12)

Jenny Moss - please let it happen to me

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Top Of The Pops (24/03/1977)

Dave Lee Travis, looking very hairy cornflake, is here to present the latest hit sounds...

Brendon - gimmie some
This nonsense makes a second appearance which is good as i couldn't quite believe it first time. We have hand claps! We have exuberance! We have bared chests! Its all rather rubbish and basic but at the same time... no its rubbish but some rubbish is watchable as is this.

Elkie Brooks - pearl's a singer
When some people think of the 70s they imagine glam, or punk rock safety pins, platform shoes et cetera. For me the 70s means the cocktail nightclub look with faux precious metals, neon lights illuminating an otherwise sparse visage and huge ornamental fake foliage. Just like this performance then, the pianist is great by the way with his huge afro and cardigan.

Brotherhood of Man - oh boy
The girls look lovely in matching white dungarees and green and white striped shirts. BoM evolve their act to ditch the children's dance moves and instead give us a very presentable pop song. Just don't mention they seem to have ripped of ABBA for their look.

DLT is in a Marilyn Monroe t-shirt which is stylish (for him anyway).

Graham Parker & The Rumour - hold back the night
A repeat performance but still very good in a pre-punk white boy funk pop vein, pity its edited to about 10 seconds or so.

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr - you don't have to be a star
Film footage from somewhere, a serviceable 70s soul number you enjoy at the time then forget as soon as its ended.

Dead End Kids - have i the right
Oh dear whats this drivel? Post-glam stomp and pretty vacuous though catchy and the singer has great fuzzy hair and braces (the kind that hold your trousers up). Its rather like a Bay City Rollers tribute band was booked to perform by mistake. I keep thinking Magpie. I also keep thinking, please stop. Now.

Smokie - lay back in the arms of someone
A repeat i think, but very good anyway. I'd rather see this than the Dead End Kids who are probably aptly named.

DLT is very excited about Legs & Co, dirty old man. They are here to perform Boney M's "sunny", its the usual sort of performance where they wear sparkly dressed and emote heavily.

T.Rex - the soul of my suit
Marc Bolan's suit being yellow, i wonder what kind of soul it has. A rather insipid song and unfortunately his last appearance on TOTP because... you know. Though of course no one at the time in 1977 knew.

Manhattan Transfer - chanson d'amour
Probably one of the earliest songs i ever liked, or at least remembered. I still love it, hurrah! Pity its still the same stage performance as in previous weeks. Thems the breaks pop pickers.

Monday, April 2, 2012

MV : "Facebook uh oh oh" by Valentina Monetta

Eurovision is coming and San Marino have done a song about Facebook. The lyrics are very funny, whether intentionally or not i am not sure.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Harper Lee - everything's going to be ok (Matinee CD)

Brighter once claimed our hearts then they went away... but the singer Keris Howard returned with a new band Harper Lee (with of course the lovely Hal as an interlude) to gave us three more albums plus of beautiful pop tunes before going away too. This is heart felt and so-often heart broken indie pop, post-Sarah C86 at its most distilled. Delicate, beautiful, embarrassed, despondent and bleak.
This is music for those who never quite got what they wanted in life, which is probably all of us. Its music for those who never got the love they truly wanted and had to make do with something else if anything. A song like "The thought of you and him" really brings this to the fore. The love is still there but its one way and that fact is killing you inside. But the magic of Brighter/Harper Lee is despite the bleakness and despair there is a beauty and a way to move on.

"This better life" starts off with an upbeat tune but the song is anything but, there is a hope in there somewhere but its at the end of a very long tunnel. At least it is there. "The forest alone" is another bleak track but its more a reflective acceptance than anything darker. This isn't music to slit your wrists to, its music to sigh sadly and have a cup of tea to. Its an album of pragmatic despair. Its life itself. This album represents us all. I loved every single nanosecond of it.