Thursday, May 31, 2012

Top 5 Records (May 2012)

1) Rapproacher - Class Actress

2) It started with an April shower - The Gentle Isolation
3) Andy B / Sex Sux EP
4) Modern thrills - Tesla Boy
5) Signs of a perfect disaster - Sea Dweller

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday's Children - strange light from the East (Rev-Ola)

Another obscure 60s psychedelia band, Tuesday's Children like bands such as Mirage never made it to the hit parade though they did get a cult following and left behind an enjoyable musical legacy.

This CD collects the tracks from the singles they released plus a few unreleased tracks and so on. And some of their music was really great infact. Some of the songs are a bit ropey such as a cover of "That'll be the day" which probably had Buddy Holly spinning in his grave but some of their own songs like "In the valley of the shadow of love" and "Doubtful Nellie" are wonderful late 60s psychedelic pop/rock.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Top Of The Pops (12/05/1977)

Jimmy Saville (RIP) is here to present the hottest pop sounds including...

Honky - join the party
Well this is fun, though a definite period piece, especially having a band with this name. Its good rollicking white boy soul funk, messy in all the right ways. Great synths too and we have party streamers! They are all the way from Southampton according to Jimmy, that must have been a long way away in 1977. Practically the moon.

Barbara Streisand - evergreen
The video from the movie again, with Kris Kristofferson acting all lovey dovey.

Blue - i'm gonna capture your heart
A basic and decent pop-rock track though if it was a dish on Masterchef they would say it was a bit lacking in oomph. In one of the close-ups one of the members looks into the camera and looks like he wants to eat each and every one of us.

Trinidad Oil Company - the calendar song
Some people like steel drum music, but to others it is something to be endured. I fall into the latter category. They all wear hideous orange and black suits but it doesn't make it any better funnily enough.

Jimmy wears a brown wig and pretends to be his brother Percy to introduce Legs & Co performing along to Piero Umiliani's comedy track "mah na mah na" (the song played on the Muppets and Benny Hill). They are dressed as flowers menaced by a bee.

10cc - good morning judge
Another showing of the early pop video and jolly good fun it is too. But how come he was allowed that guitar in court? Don't they have security or something?

Martyn Ford Orchestra - let your body go downtown
Fairly formless disco-funk. Its OK but instantly forgettable. Its fronted by someone who looks like a mid-70s sports show host.

Legs & Co are earning their money tonight, they are back in matching skimpy outfits to prance around to Marvin Gaye's "gotta give it up".

Billy Paul - let 'em in
What a nice hat, in between verses he starts ranting and sounds like a street preacher.

Dr Feelgood - lights out
Turn up the energy levels, its rock and roll time. Performed angrily, almost punk-like. We haven't yet had punk on TOTP (but its coming soon) i guess the show has to be eased into it. Oddly this is the B-side of their charting single "Sneaking suspicion".

Denise Williams - free
The number 1, nice song, nice performance, nice jump suit.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Apple Orchard / The Proctors (Luxury/Dufflecoat Split EP)

Another great split 7" EP from Dufflecoat Records this time working in collaboration with Luxury Records to bring together the classic twee sounds from The Proctors, to put a smile on even the greyest of days, and Apple Orchard who produce some great pop noise.
The Proctors first, their "Fun Sunday" is a breakneck pop ride, full of jingle jangle cascades and male-female vocal interplay. Great chorus too, the sort of pop hit that maybe should be a contender for your Summer soundtrack? "Adrienne" is a lot slower, relaxed and intelligent. Its a bit Field Mice, with jingle jangle coming in at the right moments. Another essential track for now and forever.

Apple Orchard has mournful vocals and razor sharp guitar noise on "Not this time" as well as a whole lot of pop loveliness. "The early riser" has a chunky beat and 60s keyboards and some great pop hooks. Their sound is a bit messy maybe but in the right way. All lovely and all essential.

Out soon on Dufflecoat & Luxury Records

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kris Krawczyk & Goran Bregovic (BMG Heritage)

In the wake of the Eurovision Song Contest's first semi-final i was in the mood for a bit of Balkan folk gypsy music, naturally i have some CDs in my collection that fit the bill.

This album is great fun, a collaboration between well-known soundtrack composer Goran Bregovic (who has also collaborated with a lot of popular artists) and Polish singer Kris Krawczyk. A mix of styles from brass heavy thumpers to slower ballad-y tracks. Its a fun ride of Eastern European folk pop, not for everyone obviously but on a hot day with the car window wound down its hard to think of anything better blasting out of the stereo.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top Of The Pops (28/04/1977)

DLT is here with the hottest sounds.

Contempt - money is a girl's best friend
We start with some meaty guitar chords and then we move seamlessly into what sounds uncannily like the tune from a 70s childrens TV show. Oh the singer has a bowler hat and brolly, its even more scary than the drummer who has a massive beard.

The song itself is very weird, very much a novelty tune with more tempo and style changes than i've had hot dinners. I wonder if they recorded this for a laugh and as a surprise to everyone, including themselves, it was released.

Rose Royce - i wanna get next to you
A solo spot for one of Legs & Co. Dancing amid hanging rags. Its all very nice but doesn't really seem to match the song. As usual then for the TOTP dancers...

The Detriot Spinners - could it be i am falling in love
Matching suits, almost matching dance moves. Its all rather generic but not bad.

10cc - good morning judge
We have a pop video, a real pop video too. Man up before the beak, then he is on the streets taking some chick home. He later steals a car.  The judge pulls out a guitar and gives us some hot chords. Yeah baby. All pop videos used to be like this, a golden age.

Joe Tex - ain't gonna bump no more
To save money, no doubt, this comes from Soul Train. Crazy dancing in the background on this decent track though its rather overshadowed by the strange antics towards the end. Joe plays around with his microphone stand almost kicking it into the crowd and then gets knocked over by a large lady. No really.

Kiki Dee - night hours
Back in the studio and time for something much more sensible. No gimmicks here just Kiki and a guitarist sat on stage playing a nice song. Pity though they chose a guitarist to accompany Kiki as the piano track was much higher in the mix. Not exactly the most vintage night of TOTP as this as this was probably the best song.

Billy Ocean - red light
Billy has two scantily clad dancers gyrating on stage in front of him. The hard life of a pop star eh. The dancers (from Legs) represent the "red light" in the title by holding out their hands to stop traffic. So its not about the Reeperbahn then.

Barbara Striesland - evergreen
A clip from "A star is born", she sings into Kris Kristofferson's eyes who tries to look interested.

Barry Biggs - you're my life
Barry has somehow found the worst shirt ever made and instead of burning it has actually worn it on national TV! He did wear a pink suit though on his last TOTP tune i recall so he has form.

ABBA - knowing me knowing you
Still at #1!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Links (18/05/12)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Lost Homeboys - leaving town (Dufflecoat CDEP)

Sweden's The Lost Homeboys present a high quality collection of songs on this EP. Their songs have an 80s indie feel about them, a bit post-punk and post-modern and all pretty wonderful. "S is for secrets" has an epic feel, atmospheric and electro-acoustic. "Condorwings" a faster song, probably the most straight forward jingle-jangle song on the EP. It has a great pop melody, sounding a bit Brighter at times.

"No man's land" takes us back into into the realm of atmospheric soundscapes. Finally "Leaving town" has a great melody which at times brings to mind a whole host of bands across the indie pop spectrum but brings all those influences together into something new, which is how it should be.

Available now on Dufflecoat Records.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Secret Shine - all of the stars (Clairecords CD)

Sarah C86 band Secret Shine faded away from the scene post-Sarah but did finally come back again many years later. This was their first album since their shoegaze classic Temporal, which i still have and i still rank up there with the best indie albums of the early 90s.

In many ways this album, from 2008, is a continuation of their earlier blissful noise pop work. "Voice of the sea" epitomes this, a hook heavy pop song waves of guitar noise feedback over an electronically enhanced beat with breathy ethereal vocals.

"Oblivion" is another great track, starting with razor edge guitars with an almost doom-laden melody and moving into walls of guitar noise and then exploding into a glorious blissful chorus. They followed up one of the best indie albums from the early 90s with one of the best ones from the late 00s and you really can't ask for any more than that.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Treacle Toffee World (RPM CD)

This is volume 3 in RPM's retrospective series (it says it is the final volume but in fact there is a 4th volume now) on the output of the Beatles' Apple Records which between 1967 and 1969 was a showcase for promising new talent which never really went anywhere.

The songs here are another eclectic mixture of psychedelia and 60s pop. Most of the bands and artists are forgotten (and in some cases you can see why) but there is also some truly nice songs on here and some good bands like The Iveys who later became Badfinger.

Highlights are the opener by Fire "Father's name is Dad" which is a good solid pop song, Grapefruit's "fall of the castle" which has a bit of soul and an epic feel. Legay's "Fantastic story of the steam driven banana" is a lovely slice of British psychedelic nonsense.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fac.Dance : Factory Records 12" Mixes & Rarities 1980-1987 (Strut CD)

A compilation of Factory Records' dancier output from the early to mid 1980s and a mixed bag it certainly is. There is no New Order on here though Bernard Sumner produced a lot of the songs. Like many compilations that collect together obscure and half-forgotton tracks it contains a mix of songs for which it is a crime the song lies in obscurity and some for which it a crime someone dug them up. I'll ignore the latter as i only review stuff i like (house rules) and there is a lot on this compilation i like... and some i love.

Take Marcel King's "reach for love (NY remix)", a wonderful slab of 80s pop soul with spangly guitars and plenty of early electronic flourishes. Section 25's tracks also score highly on here like "looking from a hilltop (megamix)" which starts proceedings off. A bit rough and ready perhaps but also all the post-punk attitude and spirit you need.
A Certain Ratio's songs are also well received here, i especially like the extended funk groove of "knife slits water". It goes on for almost ever and you wish it would go on for longer. Quando Quango's "love tempo" is a beautiful slab of early 80s dance. 52nd Street's "express" is a jazzy funky classic.

So yes there are some great tracks on here, classics from when the Hacienda taught Northerners how to dance or whatever the film said. Some dross too but you can easily skip that...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Live : Ladyhawke / She's So Rad (Birmingham Glee Club May 06 2012)

Its been over three years since Ladyhawke first came to people's attention with her debut album and its blend of 80s retro and indie pop. Finally she is following it up, this tour to help herald her return. And that return will be very welcome if the new material presented tonight is anything to go by.
Maybe looking slightly nervous Ladyhawke came out on stage, her microphone stand bedecked with fairy lights and then ploughed straight into a mix of beloved tracks from her first album and her next.

Highlight of the night was probably the electro-pop attack of "Magic" though the new song "Blue eyes" also scored highly on the awesome-ometer. The night finished with a rousing "My delirium" and that was it, no encore though i think everything was pretty much covered.
There is a pop superstar in this picture but you need to look closely.

Starting off proceedings were She's So Rad, a New Zealand shoegazey indie pop band. I'd not heard of them before a few days ago but i'm a definite fan now. Reverb heavy pop noise = sure win! The vocal mix needed a bit of sorting out but the guitar noise was terrific. I'll have tinnitus for days i'm sure.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jawbone (Rev-Ola CD)

Jawbone was a band that grew out of the likes of The Mirage (who i had heard of before) and Turquoise (who i hadn't) and played psychedelic rooty-folky-bluesy-rock which definitely should have gained a much bigger audience though Jawbone only released the one album.

This then is that album from 1970 and includes their version of "Across the universe" which is brilliant, up there with the Family Cat's version in my opinion. "Jeremiah Dreams" is a new version of The Mirage's epic "Ebaneezer Beaver" and one of the best psychedelic songs you'll ever hear.

The cover of the album is truly superb and (despite) the quality of the music is the true star. A girl talking to a fish while some kind of minstrel lies at her feet. Mind bending-tastic.