Nov 30, 2009

Stereolab. Rose, My Rocket-Brain!.

0 Blurts

It's Stereolab. You either love them or haven't cared since Dots and Loops. This was a single from the Margerine Eclipse tour and sounds pretty much exactly like what you expect it to sound like. I actually think they're a little more on the ball here than they were on the album. The space-age bachelor pad muzak has a lot more punch than they'd recently managed, and never overstays its welcome. I never saw them in concert that they didn't rock the hell out of everything they played. I only wish they'd gotten around to putting that sound on record.


Stereolab on myspace

Official Stereolab website

Nov 27, 2009

The Loft. Once Round the Fair: The Loft 1982-1985.

1 Blurt

I remember a professor once saying that the worst thing you could write about something is that it was “nice”. The Loft are nice, and I am totally OK with that. It’s music for when you feel fine; when the weather’s good; when you’ve grabbed a book and decided to stay in bed. For the most part, they wrote mid-paced songs with mid-range vocals, but managed to give them just enough of an edge with well deployed spiky guitars lines and a little bit of grit and self-deprecation. The stand out is, of course, Up the Hill and Down the Slope, which I’ve rhapsodized about before. It’s an instant classic of the genre; all tangled guitars and crooked melodies that feels just like rolling and flailing your way down a grassy hill as a kid. To their credit, The Loft got in there early (only recording between 1982 and 1985 and putting out a handful of singles and a Peel session) and, along with bands like the June Brides and Biff Bang Pow, helped create the indie-pop template of perfecting your imperfections.

Once Round

The Loft info from Creation Records

The Loft on myspace

Nov 26, 2009

The McTells. What Happens Next.

1 Blurt

Like most bands of the C-86 era, The McTells made idiosyncratic and amateurish music. They sound a bit like The Cananes and the Modern Lovers falling down the stairs together.

What Happens Next

The McTells on myspace

Nov 20, 2009

Pigbros. Cheap Life & Just Call Me God.

0 Blurts

The bros add a wailing sax to beef up their sound and turn out some excellent, stomping, danceable punk. Parts of this make me think some 1960's spy movie theme as written by a less gothy Bauhaus crossed with The Birthday Party in a really good mood.

Cheap Life
Just Call Me God

Nov 19, 2009

Pigbros. The Blubberhouses.

0 Blurts

I think I first heard Pigbros on the Commercially Unfriendly compilation, doing the kick-ass War Food. "There must be something radically wrong here..." True of them and many of the other bands from their scene (The Membranes, A Witness, Bogshed). There's something about the way their songs progress that reminds me of Kodos' proclamation that "we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!".

Here's an unexpectedly glittery video.


Nov 18, 2009

Bonecloud. Teenage Lycanthropy.

0 Blurts

Way back in high-school when I had dreams of being an artist, I wanted to make what I thought of as "dry art"; things made out of dust and cobwebs and stale air that functioned analytically as much as poetically. I read later that Duchamp had coined the same term (art sec in French). Bonecloud seem to have embraced the same idea for their music. Even their name conjures images of dessicated nothingness (it also might work if they were a Norwegian death metal band). This album, especially, makes me think of what William Basinski might sound like as a live act; crumbling bits of accumulated notes, silver dust from the backs of antique mirrors, a midden of cellular detritus under a cold sun.

Teenage Lycanthropy

Bonecloud on myspace

Nov 17, 2009

Honey Tongue. Nude Nudes.

0 Blurts

I can't decide if a Breeders/Spiritualized collaboration would be awesome or impossible. This album doesn't answer that question anyway, despite featuring Josephine Wiggs and Jon Mattock. It sounds more like Nico recovering from a hangover with the Young Marble Giants. Released way back in 1992 and completely overwhelmed by the success of their respective "proper" bands, this is a decidedly eccentric affair and clearly the baby of two people who wanted to do something that wouldn't be recognized by fans expecting incandescent pop or sonic bombast. Although Josephine played every instrument other than drums, it all sounds as if they just sat down together in front of the mic with an acoustic guitar and a little drum kit and played the album through direct to tape. It's spare and intimate with snaky melodies and a slightly nervous edge. I find it a bit dour, although Driver (which I think the Breeders occasionally covered live) and Like a Lobster are both quite good.


Nov 13, 2009

The Weather Prophets. Temperance Hotel.

2 Blurts

Guitarist/vocalist Peter Astor formed The Weather Prophets with drummer Dave Morgan immediately after their previous band, The Loft, called it quits. Astor had gotten fed up with the indie scene and the lack of control he'd had over The Loft, and purposefully picked musicians from outside its world to round out the new band. Unfortunately, much like The Loft, the new band couldn't seem to catch a break. They didn't fit too well with the direction their new label, Creation, was going in, and they were still making great jangle pop when the rest of the country was just starting to turn to dance music and Madchester. They hung around long enough to put out three pretty good albums. Temperance Hotel adds a collection of outtakes, b-sides and live bits to their legacy.

You may notice that Mayflower sounds familiar, since it's yet another reworking of The Loft's Up Hill and Down the Slope that also got incorporated into one of the Caretaker Race's songs. That's OK. The Weather Prophets bring a rather Kinks-ian approach to their indie pop, and if we learned anything from Ray Davies it's that if a song is worth writing once, it's good enough to be written twice. Loft fans will notice that Why Does the Rain makes another appearance here, too. (It occurs to me that I haven't put up anything by The Loft, an oversight I'll try to correct next week).


Weather Prophets on myspace

Official website

Nov 12, 2009

V/A. Something's Burning In Paradise Again.

1 Blurt

The volume drops off a bit between the Field Mice and the Volunteers, though not to unlistenable levels. It's just a shame because the Field Mice's cover of the Feelies' Loveless Love is wonderful, and I don't think I've ever seen it anywhere else. I looked around, and everybody's copy seems to have this fault. Apparently it was original to the tape.

1. Poke It With A Stick - He's Bloody Happy
2. Throw That Beat In the Garbagecan - Just 16
3. The Wildhouse - Everything I Hate
4. Shrug - Fear & Violence On the Last Bus Home
5. Thrilled Skinny - Pop Star Prat
6. The Locations - I Keep Wondering Why
7. The Vinegar Blossoms - Quality Seems Totally Foreign to Me!
8. Those Naughty Corinthians - Butter Mountain
9. The Keatons - French Bench
10. The Field Mice - Loveless Love
11. Bobby Scarlet - Steppenwolf
12. The Windmills - 360 °
13. Charlotte's Web - The Train for June
14. Apple Moths - Everything
15. The Volunteers - Long Wavy Random Arm (Do It)
16. The Losers - Down at the Bottom Where You Belong
17. The Harbour Pilots - Orchid Sunrise
18. Debonaire - The Distance
19. This Poison! - Driving Skills
20. St. Christopher - Our Secret


Nov 11, 2009

V/A. Something's Burning In Paradise.

0 Blurts

There's a thesis in here somewhere for anyone who wants to analyze the fetish/artifact nature of releases like these. I have no idea if the sound quality was better in first generation tapes, but something about the xeroxed quality of the (already lo-fi) music makes it seem more authentic and valuable. It's like listening to ancient field recordings of blues musicians on 78s; if you could travel back in time and make fresh, digital copies, it would suck all the life and soul out of it. It's the found quality that makes it feel so special (doubly so, since most of these bands never went on to anything else). I half wonder if any of these tapes were made in the first place. It seems much more likely that each and every one appeared ahistorically in a dusty shoebox underneath a bed in an abandoned flat.

1. The Pilgrims - Chemically Yours
2. Emil - Raining In My Heart
3. Another Sunny Day - I Want You
4. Thrilled Skinny - Love Rut/Knee On Sea
5. Slob - Mister Ugly
6. Mousefolk - Grannies Cake Crisis
7. The Ruth Ellis Swing Band - I Would Have Saved You
8. Remember Fun - Cold Inside
9. The Candy Darlings - Southern Line
10. The Paper Tulips - Not Fair
11. The McTells - This Afternoon (Version)
12. James Dean Driving Experience - Drop Dead Darling
13. The Wilderness Children - 15 Minutes Fame
14. Emily - Really Mad Dogs (Dance Mix I)
15. The Librarians - Irene Handl Knew My Postman
16. The Benjamins - The Way Things Are
17. Buy Off the Bar - There's No Fridge On The Bristol Bridge (Live)
18. Girl of My Best Friend - Throwaway Girl
19. The Driscolls - Groovy Little Town (Acoustic)
20. The Mayfields - Season's Pass
21. St. Christopher - To The Mountain


Nov 10, 2009

The White Foliage. Zurich.

0 Blurts

What with the holidays coming, this would be great music to make out to underneath fresh sprigs of holly and Christmas-tree lights. Considering it was recorded through the mail by a pair of love-struck nineteen year olds in North Dakota, it's an astonishingly gorgeous and mature album. Awash in french horns, delicate banjo, and buoyed here and there with elecrtonic flourishes, they make me think of a Baroque, chamber-pop version of the Circulatory System. There's that same sort of textural psychedelia that's just far away enough from folk music to be receiving smoke signals from Charalambides. It's very "woody" music. Nothing tinny about it at all.



Buy It

White Foliage online

White Foliage on myspace

Nov 6, 2009

Men of Westenesse. Are You Brothers?.

2 Blurts

Another long lost british indie-pop band from the late 80s. You may have heard their song Boating on The Sound of Leamington Spa Vol. 5. They only released one ep back in the day, which you can now find here, along with eleven other unreleased songs. They remind me a bit of Hey Paulette or the Bodines. Well worth a listen.


An interview with Guy De Cruz

Nov 5, 2009

14 Iced Bears. Let the Breeze Open Our Hearts.

0 Blurts

Breeze is a compilation of their debut album and a number of singles that cover about a year and a half of the Bears' history, and as such, feels a bit more disjointed than the epic Wonder, or even the Slumberland collection of their early C-86 material. It's still essential since they released so little, and there is some unquestionably great stuff on here. It definitely sounds like a mid-period record, as they try to build their early sound into something more momentous. They're just beginning to explore the shoegaze and neo-psychedelic sounds that would find full flower on Wonder. Rise, World I Love, Falling Backwards, and Moths are all dreamy, woozy, giddy bursts of bright, sparkling, psychedelic pop. There's even a ripping live take on Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive.

Open Our Hearts

14 Iced Bears on myspace

Nov 3, 2009

Datblygu. The Peel Sessions 1987-1993.

2 Blurts

From the BBC biography:

A highly influential post-punk band, Datblygu dabbled in everything from dub to rock.

Formed by schoolboys David R Edwards and T Wyn Davies in 1982, Datblygu were joined in 1985 by Patricia Morgan. By then four cassettes had been released by the group, Amheuon Corfforol (Body Doubts), Trosglwyddo'r Gwirionedd (Transferring The Truth), Fi Du (Me Black) and Caneuon Serch I Bobl Serchog (Love Songs For Lovers).

At worst the songs are a product of a mind incensed by circumstances. I make no apologies for them.

Datblygu's music was, as their name suggests, often experimental. In their time they played in such diverse styles as disco, country, nursery rhymes, rockabilly, crooning and just about anything else. The NME described them as "Kraftwerk with a hangover". Their debut EP Hwgr Grawth-Og was released in 1986 on Anhrefn. The following year they recorded the first of five John Peel sessions.

The band's attitude towards the artistic bourgeoisie and politicians in Wales liberated a whole generation of bands who certainly owe a debt to the pioneering work done by the band. They were, in their own words, "non conforming non-conformists".

Datblygu were one of the first bands to record modern music in their native Welsh tongue; a language they were forbidden to speak in their own schools. Both Gorky's Zygotic Munci and Super Furry Animals have cited them as a major influence.

This is just one CD, but even at a low bitrate it was too big for mediafire, so I went ahead and split a high quality copy into two parts.

Peel Sessions

Datblygu on myspace

Datblygu fan site (in Welsh)

Nov 2, 2009

Bogshed. Step On It.

0 Blurts

Bogshed's first official long player, Step On It is just a tad more focused and controlled than their usual level of derangement, but they still pack it full of unplayable guitar riffs, bludgeoning bass lines, and opaque sloganeering. As always, it's magnificently, aggressively awkward.

Step On It

Unofficial Website

Bogshed on myspace