Tuesday, April 30, 2013

94 Baker Street Revisited (RPM)

94 Baker Street Revisited is the 5th and latest volume in RPM's look back at (mostly obscure) songs released or published by The Beatles' Apple Records. As with the earlier volumes most of the 22 tracks here are previously unreleased, in some cases you can understand why, but some are gems which at long last can enter the light. Unlike some of the earlier volumes most of the songs are not what you would call "psychedelic" but rather are more mainstream 60s pop.

There is nothing wrong with that of course though you shouldn't expect much of a swirl of noise or lyrics about fairies and chocolate spread. Coconut Mushroom's "any day now" is one of the best tracks and a terrific yet straightforward 60s pop song, nothing that original and rather dated by the 1967-69 period but very well done. You will be singing along on the first listen.

Timon's "who needs a king" is probably the closest the album comes to psychedelia with its pop whimsy. Some of the songs kind of wash over you without you really taking much notice but its still enjoyable, its still interesting pop. And good pop too.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Retro Cover : Smash Hits '72

The martial arts were all the rage in the early 1970s : Bruce Lee, Hai Karate and Kung Fu all played their part in the pop culture of this period and what better way to demonstrate a "Smash" hit than with a karate smash?!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Top 5 Records (April)

1) afar - The Ice Choir
2) everything i could never tell you EP - Slumbook
3) red box secrets - Pale Man Made
4) era extrana - Neon Indian
5) The Colleagues EP

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beach Vacation - maritime EP (Dufflecoat)

Seattle's Beach Vacation score with this atmospheric set of indie pop songs. Jingle jangle guitar and intricate melodies backed by breathy vocals all add up to some seriously lovely pop tunes. "Stay a while" is probably my favourite, from its faded in intro you know you are in for something special. Its tricky, its urgent, vocals seem to waft in from an early morning sea fog, and then its over suddenly. Like all of the best pop moments you go from ecstasy to a void in mere moments.

The instrumental "Waves" is also worth some attention, dreamy twanging guitars drift in across a mysterious soundscape. "Escape" has a lovely multi-part melody and relaxed vocals. Brilliant pop moments from start to finish. Available on CD from Dufflecoat Records soon or digitally now via Bandcamp.

MV : "Hair" by The Galaxy Generation

Dreadful cheese or inspired psychedelic funk cool depending on your point of view, you can guess mine probably.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Retro Cover : The Galaxy Generation - hair

Something is funky about this for sure. One song i've found by them on Youtube appears to be a lounge organ version of a psychedelia song. Not sure if the album is named after a song or the fact the people on the cover all seem rather hirsute, or maybe both? Original from here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Splintered In Her Head - 女の子 (onnanoko)

As you might expect with a band named after one of The Cure's b-sides Splintered In Her Head have a dark 80s pop vibe, however the band's EP Onnanoko ("girls" in Japanese) has a wide range of influences with some great indie and electro pop on show, with songs about failed relationships and the bitterness that can be left behind.

The Cure, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails are listed as influences by the band though their music is usually a bit lighter than those bands though the lightness comes with a dark undertone and a melancholic air,  "The best things in life" for example has a big pop chorus and verses underlined with a dark synth melody and razor sharp guitar interludes. "Cry like you mean it" has some great retro electronic riffs and a slow grind of a melody. The best pop music is often dark, soul and heart coming from sadness and adding bite and contrast to a light sound. This is what you get here, great pop and great songs.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Retro Cover : Linda and Noel - your kind of party

A new series for Sundays, there have been hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of different albums released over the decades. Many of these albums are now obscure and forgotten but should be remembered again for the music within or sometimes just the coolness of the cover. This series will unearth interesting LP covers found on the internet where they have been lovingly scanned and uploaded for our enjoyment. We'll try and stick to the 60s and 70s, and psychedelic pop.

In the case of Linda and Noel not only was the cover kind of funky in that simple late 60s style but the music was also pretty good (albeit i have only heard a couple of songs of this LP). They were a later version of the Family Affair who also released a rather cool LP. Original can be seen here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Acid House Kings / Alpaca Sports (Dufflecoat/Luxury Split 7")

A lovely split single released on Dufflecoat and Luxury Records featuring two poptastic Scandinavian bands. With Nordic Noir being all the rage these days... well you get the total opposite here! Acid House Kings' "I just called to say jag älskar dig" bops along with an infectious melody complete with sweet synths and a truly beautiful chorus.
Alpaca Sports' "telephone" reminds me a bit of the kind of up tempo indie pop songs that used to abound on Sarah on the classic days. A simple but lovely melody taking you to twee heaven. The song just gets better and better and you wish it would last forever. A lovely pair of songs and lovely artwork by Ray Kimura too!

Monday, April 8, 2013

MV : "Confession" by Emily Bindiger

This is the business. The album has just been reissued by RPM too, that will be my next purchase...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bandcamp : Lullatone - elevator music

Intriguing Japanese musical duo who seem to defy genre pigeonholing, just as it should be.

MV : "Sleepwalker" by The Acid Portal

Amazing on so many levels.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dream Carousel / Pagi Mentari (Dufflecoat Split EP)

Another great split single from Dufflecoat Records, 2 songs each by 2 great indie pop bands from South East Asia, this time being Dream Carousel from the Philippines and Pagi Mentari from Indonesia.

Dream Carousel have a pleasing trumpet assisted Cardigan-esque pop attack. "Merry-go-round" has some beautiful pop melodies evoking 60s girl pop as well as more modern indie pop. "No matter what" is perfectly layered and rings beautifully through the speakers.

Pagi Mentari are a little more in your face but still gloriously pop. "300 miles" soars with its ringing melodies. "Hello tomorrow" is a little noisier, with some interesting and intricate sounds lower down in the mix. All four songs on this EP are wonderful examples of modern indie pop, influenced by the past but not a prisoner of it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Swinging London (RPM)

Swinging London is a compilation of obscure British rock/pop, psychedelia and some lounge core released by the budget label Saga in the late 1960s. Saga operated on a tight budget and almost by accident happened to release some quite extraordinary music (and a lot of crap too most likely).

I particularly like The Magical Mixture with their soaring and often raw psychedelic attack. 5 Day Week Straw People were another good band, their album was a concept album documenting the lives of ordinary people (i have reviewed this already) and a couple of great tracks are on here too. First Impression's "swinging London" is very much of its time, no doubt the sound of many a late 60s party.

You probably will not have heard of many of these bands like Family Affair and Katch 22 but there are some real pop gems here, bands and songs lost to time but now rediscovered and packaged with the usual RPM care with plenty of interesting information and trivia in the liner notes.

Soundcloud : Stereo Total - we don't wanna dance

What would you call this? Kinda garage electro pop thrash? Or just ace?