Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ewian - good old underground

Distorted guitars, screechy noises, a stumbling beat, soaring vocals. Well thats the opener by this German/international group on their first full-length album, "My dear dead memory". So this album is off to a good start yeah? The title track is much the same, a great noise indeed. Its not all bluster and noise though, "Escape" is a beautiful ballad, an atmospheric track led by haunting piano that leads into scorching guitar noise. Now thats what the kids would say is a "tuuuuuune!"

There are lots of highlights on the album, "Zampano" adds some lovely warped noises. "When i was dead" is ethereal and wispy leading into intelligent electronica and then into an orchestral wall of sound. This is really an album of sonic surprises, and good surprises at that.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Top 5 Albums (September)

1) Jessica Mauboy - beautiful
2) Debbie Gibson - out of the blue
3) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - days of abandon
4) Tiffany
5) Naked Eyes - burning bridges

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Pierces - creation

The fifth album from this folk-psychedelic duo and its a lighter softer affair. Its verging on soft rock territory in fact with a big sound and production washing over the tracks along with some terrific pop melodies. Its unashamedly catchy on tracks like "Kings" and the title track. Its all very luscious and uplifting, maybe a little bit more bite here and there could have made it a bit more complete but thats a minor nitpick, as a package its a brilliant listen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Jesus & Mary Chain - psychocandy

The long play debut of the Jesus & Mary Chain changed the world, or at least the indie rock part anyway. What is commonplace nowadays (shoegazing, feedback noise buried in a pop beat) was fairly unknown back in the mid-1980s when this came out and this album inspired so many. So what is it like, apart from iconic naturally?

A lot of it is very simple, classic pop melodies under a harsh layer of noise. But noise is beauty as has been proven so many times and this is beautiful pop. "You trip me up" is one amazing track among many, a growl under a chainsaw. "Never understand" and "The living end" also excite. Unlike quite a few iconic albums Psychocandy actually stands up pretty well, and noisily well too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Top Of The Pops (Volume 18)

The July 1971 edition of the Top Of The Pops series. As i was in my Mum's tummy at the time and she always bought these LPs i was probably exposed to these tunes before birth... Its an eclectic mix as always including covers of hits by the likes of T.Rex, The Sweet and The Supremes. These covers including the opener "Get it on" are actually pretty good.

The Stones and Who covers are not though, TOTP albums did tend to fall down on the big rock bands. But hey this was fun and it was cheap and maybe its what made me the man i am today...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Strange Creatures - stargazer

The Strange Creatures play classic dream pop: sweet pop melodies, male female vocals, jingle jangle, whats not to love eh? Actually there is a lot to love here, the title track opener reminds me of a number of Sarah bands. "Despite everything" plays around with some interesting melodies and sounds adding a mysterious psychedelic edge to what is another lovely pop song.

"I feel like i'm on drugs" similarly takes us into light psychedelic territory. "I don't want to see your face again" is a big song, the ballad has that special sauce to elevate it above Yet Another Pop Song. Reflective and layered as it progresses, its the highlight of what is an EP of enjoyable surprises.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mandy

An intriguing life Mandy Smith has had, married and divorced to a Rolling Stone, a model and also an 80s pop star. Not bad for someone who is still only in their mid-40s now! Mandy Smith released this self-titled album by the (in)famous Stock, Aitkin and Waterman in 1988 and its bright electro-synth pop. Its very manufactured (her singing is not the best... or the worst, its perfectly fine on undemanding pop like this) and hyper mainstream of course but has a lot of charm and some great pop treats.

Included is an interesting version of "Don't you want me baby" along with the hits like "Positive reaction" which is a great pop track by the way. Best song though is "Got to be certain" one of the extra tracks on this reissue by Cherry Pop. This song was written for Mandy though a certain Kylie released it instead. Mandy's version is a lovely song with some amazing pop hooks and a catchy chorus.

So lets not be cynical for once and enjoy some straight forward shiny pop.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Watoo Watoo - une si longue attente

On their fourth album Watoo Watoo expand their soundscape from indie pop to encompassing the likes of space rock, new wave and retro futuristic sounds. Hooked into the same late 60s space pop fantasy as the likes of Stereolab but still at the core is a solid pop underpinning and some amazingly catchy melodies. Stand out is "Tes histories invisible" with its 60s organs, analogue synths and urgent tempo.

"Un lundi comme un autre" is another superb track, a spacey pop fantasy, an alternative future now (and a much cooler one than the reality). This is the soundtrack of purple hair-dos and silver jump suits. "Searching for Mr Right" is an example of the other direction of the album, relaxed lounge core though just as retro futuristic as the rest of what is simply an amazing album full of surprises and timeless perfect pop sounds.