Saturday, December 31, 2016

Review of 2016

Well that was the year everything died, including our hopes and this blog. But we have returned for the traditional end of year lists...

Top 10 Artists of 2016

1: Mary Chapin Carpenter
2: St Lucia
3: Ladyhawke
4: Phases
5: Wolf Alice
6: Scarlet Soho
7: Flyying Colours
8: Lycia
9: Leitbur
10: Le Cassette

Top 10 Songs of 2016

1: solo KO - Scarlet Soho
2: wavy gravy - Flyying Colours
3: i need you - Leitbur
4: unprepared - The Ice Choir
5: long goodbye - Basia Bulat
6: physical - St Lucia
7: sweet fascination - Ladyhawke
8: run - The Northern Lights
9: a ghost ascends - Lycia
10: one eyed butterfly - Mood Robot

In case you don't know who these people are, well check out the A-Z of 2016 playlist. Happy New Year!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Salient Braves - guilty until proven innocent EP

We're back (like ballroom dancing)! Also back are The Salient Braves with another EP of jangly pop goodness. Truthfully i listened to this while pretty flu-ed up, so this was some welcome medication. Did more good than paracetamol anyway.

While the title track is a highly enjoyable pop track my favourite is the slightly more off the wall "My alter ego" with lovely dual vocal interplay. Also to be commended is "Cynical old bastard" which for a start has a great title and also some great lyrics, for example rhyming "believe it" with "fleapit" and "Dick Dastard[ly]" with "old bastard"!

Its a great EP, its just what you need when you have a cold, or just anytime right now in this crazy world.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mary Chapin Carpenter - state of the heart

What is your favourite album ever? Its a common question to ask in musical circles, and it is a very difficult one to answer correctly. Its easy to throw in answers like the White Album or a Birdy Song Megamix but to truly say what is your favourite album EVAH and not just what is the current flavour of the month takes some thought. And i have given it a lot of thought, and this is it.

So why is it so good? The songs for a start. Accomplished and polished songs like "Quitting time", "Never had it so good", "This shirt". Great song writing and great production. The more you listen to it the more you find to enjoy about the album. Especially Carpenter's voice, to this day i've yet to find a singer whose vocals i like as much. I guess it also reminds me of my late teens when i first bought the album on vinyl back in 1989. And i've loved it, and her, ever since.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tiffany

Tiffany's debut from 1987, and a lovely pop album it was too. I never really got into Tiffany at the time, though if i had realised back then that we were almost born on the same day maybe i would (lets face it there are far dafter reasons to like a singer). Many years later Tiffany is still releasing records and i am writing this nonsense. So thats all turned out well then.

The hits are here, "I think we're alone now" and so on. They are fine if verging on cheese sometimes and over familiarity makes it hard to be objective sometimes. The best song is "Danny" which is a perfect slice of pop with some lovely melodies overlaid with Tiffany's great voice. Its unashamedly bubblegum pop but with a bit of a country underpinning and that gives the album some staying power.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Let Em Riot - slashwave EP

Neo-synth pop that sounds like its come straight from an 80s dungeon, well i can't get enough of it these days and Let Em Riot produce some great digital beats. "Don't stop running" is underpinned by a ruthless electronic beat but enlivened by waves of synth noise. "Foreigners" is a great lost early 80s pop classic though made in the 2010s.

All the right ingredients are here: laid back almost dead pan vocals, electric beats, synth flourishes. Everything that made early 80s synth pop so wonderful. The sound has been recreated perfectly. Maybe it is a pastiche but who cares when it sounds so good? It may not be "now" 2016 (though 1983 might qualify) but its the now i want to live in. Now.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Salient Braves - they must have seen me coming EP

We haven't covered indie pop on this website for some time... so here is the return of the Salient Braves. Classic guitar pop that is as fun to listen to as it obviously was to make. The title track is lovely jingly jangle. "The great unwashed" has a deeper tone, and surprise instruments! I like this track a lot, the tones are quite country rock at times.

The cover of "Losing my religion". You know the original is one of those overplayed songs that i'm not sure i can stand much anymore (and i love REM) but this cover has an organic urgency and immediacy that brings new life to the worn out track. Its my highlight of the EP which is very enjoyable, and out now on Broken Down Records.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

Top 5 Records (May)

1: ST LUCIA - matter
2: LE CASSETTE - left to our own devices
3: MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER - the things we are made of
4: NEW ORDER - music complete
5: SCARLET SOHO - in cold blood


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

C Duncan - architect

Dreampop, classical music soundscapes... well there are many similarities and blending both is C Duncan. The music is beautiful, multi-layered and textured and full of interesting sounds. "She" for example wafts along with a shuffle that sounds a bit like a mangled hand-clap. The title track is wonderful, multi-layered melody including use of that very versatile instrument the human voice.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Plu

With their new album now out it was about time we reviewed the previous one by this Welsh alt-folk sibling trio. Its sublime, atmospheric (well they are from Snowdonia after all) and beautifully warm. Highlight is the wonderful "Tyrd yn ol" is melancholic, sweet harmonies and then a look back over the shoulder. Your heart melts.

"Hiraeth" is sparse, the backing cut back almost to nothing as the vocals cut through so clearly. "Glaw du" builds a compelling soundscape. "Yr ysfa" simple and warm, you might turn around when you listen to it because you'll feel like the band is right behind you.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Movie : Young and Dangerous (1996)

Well we reviewed the prequel a few weeks ago, what about the original? How is a film about a bunch of swaggering gangsters getting into criminal scrapes? Well its brilliant of course as well as being total tosh, but tosh thats so well made.

You can see why so many people, especially in HK, loved this film. The heroes are cool bad guys, criminals for sure but also with a code of honour. Thats unlike the other criminals who are pretty evil. Theres lots of fast cars, faster chicks and violence, lots and lots of violence.

The swagger is what makes this, and makes the main characters played by Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan so likeable. They might be the bad guys, but you want to be in their gang.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Movie : PTU Files : Death Trap (2005)

Firmly in the B movie camp, this HK action film is so poor in many ways. It looks like it was recorded on an ancient camera found in a skip and the sound recorded on a dictaphone. The plot and acting are also very suspect with many tangents and diversions into character relationships while the main crime plots are fairly incomprehensible. The dialogue also weirdly switches from cantonese to english at random.

The film's set piece is a hostage drama which is shown at the start then the film backtracks a couple of days to show the lead up to the drama before proceeding to the conclusion which involves a lot of shooting though not exactly the most amazing action scenes ever to be honest.

Despite all this negativity the film isn't that bad (but by no stretch of the imagination can it be called good), maybe its the awfulness that keeps you watching and there are some high points and even a bit of humour. You probably won't know whats going on though, even after its finished.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Shearwater - jet plane and oxbow

A fine album, music with a message. The message is one of protest, railing against the world and its so many problems. The music matches the message for power, so often atmospheric and mesmeric. Key track is "Quiet Americans" with its electric menace but "Only child" also wins. The sound is big but in an 80s style not noise for the sake of it. Big sound big ideas? Well its very enjoyable thats what it is.

MV : "I need you" by Leitbur

Well this is our current fave.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Movie : Future War (1997)

Aliens from the future have abducted creatures from Earth's past who now are battling in Earth's present. Well that all makes sense, or not. This is another cult classic which doesn't make any sense whatsoever and is a genuinely terrible film but also so compelling too - in the great tradition of cinematic rubbish of this type.

An escaped slave (who makes for a quite decent Jean Claude Van Damme lookalike) is chased by unconvincing cyborgs and even more unconvincing Tyrannosaurus Rexes (which seem to vary in size from shot to shot).

The worst SWAT team ever are defeated by the aliens so it all falls on our hero slave, a nun and LA gangs to save the world. Er yes.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Top 5 Records (April)

1: BASIA BULAT - good advice
2: TYLER BURNS - Mr Regular
3: FREEWEIGHTS - lightweight
4: BIG DATA - 2.0
5: SCARLET SOHO - in cold blood


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MV : "This is all we know" by Le Cassette

This could easily be on the soundtrack to a trashy 80s straight to VHS movie, no higher praise can i give truly.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Movie : War Of The Underworld (1996)

The success of the Young & Dangerous series of triad movies in HK saw many copycats of which this is one and unlike some of its ilk is a good film too.

The story is a basic (and well worn) tale of triad betrayal and revenge but the cast is very good (Tony Leung, Jordan Chan, Carman Lee among others) and the action solid... and very bloody. You certainly get your machete worth.

Some of the camera work is maybe trying too hard to be "arty" at times and there is a little too much nonsense about triad "honour" and how they are the descendants of the kung fu masters but that won't spoil your enjoyment too much.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Single : Freeweights - lightweight

Oh what a lovely track, so full of the best 80s sounds all honed and engineered with cutting edge perfection. Its urgent and glows with neon light, underpinned with top notch pop melodies and hooks. Would probably sound best blasting out of the stereo of your 80s hot hatch as you burn it up across Miami, or Banbury.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Single : Tyler Burns - Mr Regular

There is a lot of neo-synth pop around these days, much of it trying hard to recapture the sounds of the 80s... or an imagined sound of the 80s anyway... with varying degrees of success. The best way is to treat the synths as a tool to make music and not worship them for the sake of it... just like this track by Tyler Burns.

This track succeeds with an excellent pop song with a chorus to die for. It has retro sounds but also sounds contemporary and fresh and is one of the best songs out there right now.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Movie : Tiger On The Beat 2 (1990)

Tiger On The Beat was an excellent HK action movie starring Chow Yun Fat and this sequel is, well not really a sequel. The only connection to the first movie is that it also stars Conan Lee (though not the same character) and in an action film set in HK. That doesn't mean its a bad film by any means though it is a bit disjointed.

There is a plot of sorts involving an error prone HK cop (Danny Lee) and his lazy American born nephew (Conan) who is visiting, plus a prostitute (Ellan Chan) and a stolen ring. The first half of the film has that strange though enjoyable HK movie mixture of comedy and ultraviolence and the usual goofy characters.

In the second half though the action ups a gear and the final action showpiece is pretty spectacular (martial arts on a bus, i loved it). An enjoyable if uneven film, it probably would have been better to have given it a stand alone title but lets not worry too much about that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Phases - for life

More neo-synth pop glory, Phases are unashamedly pop and unashamedly good. "Betty Blue" shimmers with an electric beat, "I'm in love with my life" is so light and bouncy its like the cutest puppy dog made into a song. "Silhouette" has a deliciously slinky disco beat. Its not all shiny dance pop, though even slower songs like "Spark" and underpinned with a neon electric vibe. Its all lovely stuff that will keep you bopping to dawn and beyond.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Movie : Young & Dangerous : The Prequel (1998)

The Young & Dangerous movie series is about a bunch of Triad members and their adventures in the dark and squalid world of HK organised crime, this prequel details how the guys first entered this world and despite the ever present danger that prequels usually bring to a movie series this actually isn't a bad film at all.

The first portion of the movie is a bit of a slog though as the boys get kicked out of school for rock and roll and smoke, a lot (in fact an entire tobacco harvest seems to have gone into the making of this film). The action soon picks up once they join the Triads (which seems a bit easy, the boss of a local branch just asks them and they say OK) and being a Triad movie there is a lot of action and violence, and its bloody.

Of course the film throws in a number of pop stars (of the time) some of whom do not really seem to have a role in the film apart from adding to the star power but the leads are solid and the story while standard (betrayals, endless fights, respect your daigoh et cetera) is also solid and all in all a worthwhile addition to the series.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Sugar Shoppe

The Sugar Shoppe were billed as the "Canadian Mamas and Papas", and you can certainly understand why, they were Canadian for a start. They had a brief period of success in their own country and released this album originally for Capitol "down south" in 1968. Their period of success was brief but one of the members Victor Garber later made a good name for himself as an actor in films like Titanic and Argo.

The Sugar Shoppe are 60s groovy and appear at first glance to be a bit bubblegum, but behind some whimsical song titles like "The candy children song" and "poor Papa" and cute arrangements, including a vibraphone at times, the music is solid mainstream late-60s pop. Its fun and light pop, the other side of the late 60s to all that psychedelic noise. We all need a break yeah?

"The attitude" is atmospheric and adventurous with groovy sounds and a multi-faceted song structure. The cover of Donovan's "Skip-a-long Sam" is sweet and irrelevant. "Let the truth come out" some how managed to be laid-back and urgent at the same time, with a funky bluesey undercurrent. The aforementioned "Candy children song" has a bright and sweet melody with a trippy feel. This is one of the missing links of the 60s pop scene, oh yeah.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Top 5 Record (March)

1: Flyying Colours
2: Shearwater - jet plane and oxbow
3: St. Lucia - matter
4: Wolf Alice - morning Lisa smile
5: Chairlift - moth


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Bordellos - The Bordello underground tape Vol 4

The Bordellos are prolific post-punk psychedelic heroes and produce too much stuff to release "properly" hence the decision to release extra material from their archives on free EPs of which this is volume 4 and can get downloaded here.

Don't expect the straight forward, instead the mysterious sonic meanderings of "Bring me the disco king" and the acoustic lament-into-thrash of "Punks not dead". Its weird, its brilliant, you'll probably spent half the time wondering what the hell that noise was.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Marvin Gaye - what's going on

Well one of the masterpieces of soul music, one of the great albums of the 1970s blah blah. But is it any good? The album was a reflection of all that was going wrong with America after the 60s such as police brutality, poverty and despair (so much has changed right?)

The problem with "historic" albums is that they carry so much weight and baggage its hard to assess them in their own right. Are you liking this song because you generally like it or because you are afraid of being uncool if you don't? Happily this album is full of good tunes though the history and contextual impact outweigh anything else. In the early 1970s this was Earth-shattering, nowadays its simply very good. Enjoy the pop beauty of "Mercy mercy me" and "What's happening brother" and the slinky groove of "Right on" and the world might seem a better place.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lycia - a line that connects

The 10th album by dark-wave legends Lycia and fully reuniting the classic line-up of the band. So is a return to the classic sound? Well Lycia cover so many bases from full on doom to ethereal to (gothic) synth pop and the latter is present on the album highlight "The rain". The album covers a number of moods and at times connects to Lycia in what many regard its best period and sound in the 90s but the sound is also forward looking and complicated, textured and melancholic. "Monday is here" is a prime example of that, a downbeat meander that erupts into a sonic tidal wave.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wolf Alice - blush EP

Wolf Alice are one of the best bands around right now, this early EP from 2013 just a taste of things to come. The title track is powerful, emotional indie rock underpinned by a solid and irresistible melody. "She" is also an excellent track, throwing in some tasty electronics to beef up the beat.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

St. Lucia - matter

St. Lucia's brand of neo-synth pop is pretty high energy and in-your-face and to be honest that is something i find refreshing. You need a break from bleak electronica and the dark sometimes. "Dancing on glass" is a smashing track, that literally explodes into a chorus. "Physical" though is something else. Its a sonic riot, a blistering pop track with a chorus that actually sounds like a siren. Its not subtle but it is brilliant.

The only criticism maybe is that the album is a little too much at times, like being bludgeoned by a pop sledgehammer, it can be a bit exhausting and maybe is a little superficial. But pace yourself and let yourself go and this album reaches the pop parts few others can reach.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Top 5 Records (February 2016)

1: CLASS ACTRESS - movies EP
2: JULIA HOLTER - have you in my wilderness
3: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY - maximum entropy
4: PHASES - for life
5: C DUNCAN - architect


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Fox - for fox sake

There were many obscure British psychedelic bands who largely disappeared without trace after the odd record or two. That was until the mastertapes got unearthed from a vault or ziggurat in the 2000s so the albums could be re-released...

Some of these bands were quite frankly rubbish which makes their obscurity no surprise and their disappearance was no great loss, in some cases they probably should have remained buried. However some of the bands were truly special, producing some amazing music, and their failure can only be described as mysterious, and even a crime. The Fox, of which this is a reissue of their one and only album from 1970, is one of the latter.

Coming at the end of the psych era The Fox have a heavier rock vibe underpinning superb songs like "Second hand love". They probably would have ended up as a prog rock band doing 59 minute long flute solos so maybe its best, as they say, to burn brightly then burn out than fade away. "Look in the sky" is another brilliant track, rolling along with plenty of tasty chords and organ. So check them out for fox sake!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Holly Knight

Multi Grammy award winning Holly Knight is best known for her songwriting, writing mega hits like "Love is a battlefield". However she was also in a couple of bands too in the 1980s: Spider and Device and also released this solo album. Its a fine collection of songs, including a rendition of "Battlefield", though "Sexy boy" is the most fun song, a very catchy and enjoyable slice of late 80s pop.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Movie : Gymkata (1985)

Its funny, i wonder why no one has ever thought of merging gymnastics and martial arts... oh wait someone has in the film Gymkata! Starring real gymnastics world champion Kurt Thomas Gymkata is listed as one of the worst movies of all times, and scores frequently in those "so so bad they are good" lists so lets give it a try...

Gymkata has a basic (and fairly ludicrous plot): an Olympic gymnastic is hired by the US secret service to win a deadly tournament in an obscure central Asian country (which is still stuck in medieval times) so the "winner's request" can be to site a missile early warning station there! Most of the film is a series of action set pieces, some of which are actually pretty good. The times where Thomas utilises "gymkata" however are hilarious and tend to rely on extremely lucky positioning of helpful props such as a pair of bars in a lunatic asylum which just happens to form the perfect pommel horse!

Although terrible on so many levels the film is of course fantastic! Its well worth seeing for many reasons including the unintentional hilarity and the performance of the King who seemed to be channelling Mel Brooks throughout.



Monday, February 15, 2016

Movie : Winner Takes All (HK 1984)

There are (according to HKMDB) 5 HK films with the English title Winner Takes All, well this is the 1984 version Yau Friend Mo Geng which also stars Alan Tang and Olivia Cheng. Its a crime revenge drama, and the kind of film only HK ever did.

The plot is fairly basic: a jewellery shop boss loses his daughter in a rather bloody manner (crushed under a Ford Cortina - well i suppose if you have to go thats a fairly cool way to go) during a robbery and then seeks revenge on the 3 men who did it. He enlists the help of a tough guy who is also after those 3 for killing his bro, nice co-incidence huh? The two allies chase the 3 hoodlums, trying to keep one step ahead of the Cops. The female cop has a rather large bust which you may notice and the film certainly does. Our hero also has a rather fine girlfriend Olivia Cheng who doesn't really affect the plot that much but does look lovely.
The shop owner ends up being a bit of a double crosser and a strange but interesting 3 way fight takes place in a shopping mall. A nonsense plot really like so many films of the period but 80s HK was cool. Some good fighting and bad acting and hot chicks. Typical early 80s HK fare!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Movie : Samurai Cop (1991)

Well you can't beat a trash movie, and Samurai Cop is really bad. A film with a budget so low the actors (if we can call them that) apparently had to wear their own clothes and drive their own cars! Samurai Cop is, as you can probably guess, one of many low-budget straight-to-video movies made in the 1980s that tried to put an American take on martial arts. In this one an American cop trained by the samurai masters is now out to defeat the Japanese gang running rampant in Los Angeles.

The film makes little sense of course but what elevates this above mere trash is the weirdness going on in nearly every (frequently blurry) scene. Set design for one, take the police chief's "office" which suspiciously looks like a caretaker's desk with a tell-tale array of keys on the wall. Or the large lion's head on the mantlepiece in one of the main character's office. The "police station" which has a hand-written sign that has "Detectives" on it.

Then there is the action, which is frequent, bloody and usually inept. The strange tangents and inconsequential characters. The odd sex scenes (lots of them too). So much in this film to ponder and gawp at, no doubt more joys/horrors would pop out at every viewing. Thats why in the list of bad/great movies, this has to be near the top. Few movies will make you laugh out loud as much, unintentionally.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Man Without Country - maximum entropy

Man Without Country, when they are on song, produce superior electronica, moody synths and a atmospheric cutting edge sound. This is most evident on the wonderful "Claymation" with its deep sounds, distorted vocals and all underpinned by pop melodies. Unfortunately this album is rather patchy and not everything works. "Catfish" for example starts off with promise, the slinky synths having an undercurrent of dark moods but despite all that never really goes anywhere.

The album is still worth having for the high points though even if they can be rather low, like the downbeat "Loveless marriage" and the runaway tech skank of "Entropy".

Monday, February 1, 2016

Vukovar - the blood garden

Here is the new single from Wigan's Vukovar, the title track is atmospheric and asymmetric as the melody heads off into various tangents throughout but the course - between fast guitar led melodies and sparse interludes - is hypnotically appealing thoughout. Followed by "Part 2: Ms Kuroda's Lament" is filled with interesting noises and the live version also presented here is lovely and raw.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Top 5 Records (January)

1: Flyying Colours
2: Metric - pagans in Vegas
3: New Order - music complete
4: Wolf Alice - my love is cool
5: The Twilight Sad - nobody wants to be here & nobody wants to leave


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Mirage - tomorrow never knows

To be honest i'd never heard of The Mirage before i got this record (and apparently they were never that big) but the music is not bad at all though some of it isn't of the greatest sound quality (especially the lost sessions) and sounds like it was recorded in a toilet... on a dictaphone... that was a bit broken.

It maybe isn't that original either, you can certainly hear their influences which are clearly laid out. But the influences are pretty good...  the title track for example is a cover of that Beatles song which pretty much heralded the British psychedelia scene. The Mirage do a good job of it though the best songs are arguably elsewhere on this compilation.

The highlights of this compilation are songs such as "The wedding of Ramona Blair", the song is full of quirky psychedelic sounds, some of which are pretty hard to recognise. It has a nice pop feel too, it  qualifies as a lost psychedelic classic.

"Ebenezer Beaver" is another solid track with psych guitar menace and some cool echo and keyboards.  "Mrs Busby" is another good track, though sounds like you are hearing it through some else's wall. The percussion sounds a bit like fuel air explosives and the organ screeches through you like a buzz saw. Of course these are by no means bad things.

So while this isn't a "lost classic", it is well worth checking out for some delicious psych sounds.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Movie : A-1 Headline (2004)

A-1 Headline is a refreshingly cerebral film, a murder investigation thriller without buckets of blood and ultra-violence (not that these are bad, just that its nice to have a change). Angelica Lee stars as a reporter with a debt problem. Not only are debt collectors in the shape of Anthony Wong and Eric Kot hanging around wanting her money her boyfriend has died in a car crash. And when Anthony Wong turns out to be an ex-cop and suggests the car crash wasn't an accident then Angelica begins an investigation into what really happened with her rather gormless photographer friend in tow played by Edison Chen.

Had Angelica's boyfriend uncovered a plot to cover up the death of a model because of the involvement of a son of a tycoon? Well yes and is the editor of the newspaper covering it up? Well maybe. And what is the role of the police in all this? The film is an enjoyable exploration of HK from it's gadget obsessed (and debt stricken) youngsters to the super-rich and the influence they can exert on society, even the forces of law and order. There is some action but most of the film is slow burning investigation. There is also a slightly romantic subplot involving Anthony and Angelica, even if she says he reminds her of her Dad!

One criticism of the film is that it ends very neatly with various parties coming clean about their parts in corruption and maybe a bit of a damp squid with little suspense but maybe we are just too used to big action set-pieces and plenty of spent cartridges. The sudden about-face by Anthony about one of the key parts in the plot also confuses slightly. But this is a very enjoyable film with good characters and a good script, some may call it boring however i call it intelligent and dare i say it quite realistic?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gwenno - y dydd olaf

Its synthpop but maybe not quite as you know it. This is Gwenno's, ex of the Pipettes, debut solo album and is an adventurous sonic exploration of retro-futuristic sounds... and its all sung in Welsh and Cornish too! Sonically it is from the future we never knew but should be living in now, think the likes of Stereolab perhaps though with a more sparse and organic feel.

"Patriarchaeth" for example intermixes the organic and the (retro) electronic to produce a glorious sound. "Amser" is the sound of a Century 21 space age cocktail lounge. "Chwyldro" settles into a really satisfying groove with swishing echoing effects. Its very different and its also very good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Susan Christie - paint a lady

It might sound really odd these days that record companies could pay for albums to be produced and then not release it but it did happen quite a bit in the olden days, and Susan Christie's album "paint a lady" is an example of one. She had a minor hit with a novelty pop song in the late 1960s and then went onto make an album of psychedelic folk however it was not released by Columbia as it was not thought commercial enough.

Happily the album was finally released in 2006, 36 years late, and what do Columbia know? Its a really nice record, a bit strange perhaps and unpredictable with its sometimes haunting and sometimes funky melodies and introspective atmosphere but it wasn't too far out for 1970 by any means. Pick of the album is the cover of "Ghost riders in the sky", one of the best versions of this song i've heard.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Device - 22b3

The only album by 80s US rock band Device, and its really of its time, a really tasty AOR masterpiece. Chock full of 80s soft rock, big chords, big beats and bigger hair. Its really enjoyable in fact especially the ballad "Who's on the line" which is a wonderful song but others score too like the choppy "Who says" with its power rock chorus to die for and the punchy "Hanging on a heart attack".

Friday, January 1, 2016