Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sabbatical

Cinnamon Songs is going on a month's sabbatical. Unfortunately I've got too much to deal with in real life at the moment, and as much as I love doing this blog, I just won't be able to manage it for a while.

I will be back a month from today. Promise!

Have a great Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chapterhouse - Something More

Have I really not posted any Chapterhouse yet? Wow. Actually, I was never really that big a fan of theirs. But at that time, you had to listen to them anyway.

This is from their second EP, Sunburst, from 1990. Worth watching for the very shoegazey hair alone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Dø - On My Shoulders

The first Finnish band to make an appearance on this blog (well, French-Finnish anyway). The singer, whose name I'm not going to even attempt to spell, has an interestingly screechy voice that would probably be hard to listen to if my hangover was any worse. Some of their folkier songs are quite lovely.

This was a 2007 single, and also appeared the next year on their debut album A Shoulder.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Depeche Mode - See You

One of my absolute favourite early DM songs, from their second album A Broken Frame. They're so young and innocent looking in this video! In perfect keeping with the lyrics, which Martin Gore probably wrote when he was 15 or something.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Colourfield - Frosty Morning

Here's a fantastic track from my beloved Terry Hall, off the b-side to the 1985 single "Things Could Be Beautiful". It's much better than the a-side, actually.

I always loved the line with the help of god and a few marines, and was really disappointed when I learned he didn't write it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lulu - To Sir With Love

Classic 1960s girlpop. This is one of those songs that makes me wish I wasn't such a hopeless singer, because I'd love to belt this out the next time I get roped into karaoke. It's really one hell of a chorus, isn't it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Black Watch - Williamsburg

Another vaguely shoegazey LA band (from the Swervedriver school of shoegaze, but a bit more mainstream), the Black Watch have been putting out albums forever without anybody really seeming to notice - even though some of them are really quite good. Start with Tatterdemalion, from 2006.

video

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Anything After - Mistake

Anything After's 2007 debut There's Something Wrong has a lot going for it: Mary Chain guitars, C86 melodies, Sarah vocals. Often all in the same song.

The songwriting's inconsistent, unfortunately, and some of the tracks just wind up being, well, shouty. But at their best, they're not far from amazing.

Check 'em out.

video

Friday, December 10, 2010

AC Marias - One of Our Girls Has Gone Missing

Angela Conway has done most of her music business work behind a video camera, but in the 1980s she released a few singles - and one fabulous album - under the name AC Marias, a collaboration with Bruce Gilbert from Wire. The music was catchy, often kind of spacey pop, Conway's ethereal vocals being the highlight.

This was the title track.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blur - You're So Great

Blur's self-titled fifth album, from 1997, isn't their best but I absolutely love this track, which was written and sung entirely by Graham Coxon. Funnily enough I also like it better than any of his solo recordings, although some of those are pretty good too.

"City's alive, and surprise, so am I." That line always get me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Orchids - Peaches

One of the more dance-oriented tracks from the Orchids' 1991 album Unholy Soul. I generally prefer their tweer stuff, but this is a real foot-tapper.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kate Bush - Delius

I think Kate Bush is generally a love-or-hate kind of artist. I fall into the first category, so I'm probably a bit biased in saying this, but I do actually think that this song is one that might even win over some of her critics. It's quite understated, at least by Kate Bush standards, and really very beautiful. It was the b-side to the 1980 single "Army Dreamers", from her third album Never for Ever.

In saying it's "understated" I should make clear I'm only talking about the song - the video is typically OTT.

And, even if you hate her, watch the opening two seconds just for the hilarious '70s tache.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bill Nelson - Flaming Desire

Bill Nelson allegedly hates being compared to David Bowie, but his career has spanned the same length and has taken as many twists and turns - though I don't think Bill ever died his hair orange and claimed to be from Mars.

He started off in the prog-rock mould and was famed for his guitar skills, but in the late '70s his music (then with Be-Bop Deluxe) became very keyboard-oriented and by the early '80s it was pretty much synth-pop heaven. And a lot of it really was heavenly, even for someone like me who was only ever mildly into synth-pop.

This was from his 1982 album The Love That Whirls.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Mob - The Mirror Breaks

Anarcho-punk bands were always famous for their willingness to experiment musically, which is one of the things I admired about them. This is a really good example. Musically it's practically jangle-pop; Marc's vocals are obviously a bit harsher than what you'd usually expect from that genre, and lyrically of course it's typical apocalyptic gloom. Still, not a million miles from what McCarthy would be doing in a couple years' time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kickstand - My Reputation

Here's another wonderful piece of super-lo fi DIY twee pop from Kickstand - Hoboken, New Jersey's tragically underrated answer to Beat Happening. Only much better.

Their compilation LP, self-titled and issued on the short-lived Queenie Records from New York, really is essential.

video

Friday, December 3, 2010

Honeybunch - Hey Blue Sky

Yet another gem from Providence, Rhode Island's incestuous indie scene. Honeybunch were active in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and nearly perfected the folky-twee sound that most of their related bands (Velvet Crush, Springfields etc) were famous for.

This was their absolutely exhilarating debut single. For more, check out the compilation Time Trials 1987-1995.

video

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pete and the Pirates - Come On Feet

Here's something a little more recent. Pete and the Pirates are from Reading and have put out one album so far, 2008's Little Death, a great collection of indiepop tunes with all the right influences (C86, Flying Nun etc). More recently they've put out an equally promising single, "Jennifer", which I thought about posting but I decided not to because its video really isn't something I want to think about right now, while I'm eating my breakfast.

Anyway, here's a track from Little Death.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Throwing Muses - Green

The first Throwing Muses album was a stunning piece of work, ten amazingly well-crafted songs showing diverse influences, clever wordplay and total unpredictability. It's particularly impressive when you consider they were only teenagers when these songs were written.

"Green" was Tanya Donelly's sole contribution, and my personal favourite on the album. It's probably always a bad sign when your favourite song on an album is the one not written by the main songwriter - and sure enough, I think it was all downhill for the Muses after this, but Tanya's songs would continue to stand out for me.

video

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Game Theory - Wyoming

This was from Game Theory's final LP, Two Steps from the Middle Ages. It's one of the catchiest straightforward pop songs they ever released, with great dual male-female vocals. I never understood why it didn't make their best-of collection, instead of the dull "Leilani" from the same album.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Television - See No Evil

Television didn't really do "pop" songs, but this one might have come pretty close were it not for Tom Verlaine's snarling vocals. I'm not actually sure if they were meant to be snarling, or if it's just that he can't sing - but it doesn't really matter, it's still a great tune. And those guitars. Jesus, those guitars.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scars - Leave Me in Autumn

Another totally unseasonable song, but trust me, I need it in this weather. Scars were from Edinburgh and were active in the late 1970s and early 1980s, starting off as a post-punk band but becoming best-known for an utterly delightful pop single, "All About You". I'm sure that'll make an appearance here eventually, but for now I'll put up my own personal favourite Scars track, which is also from their only album (1981's Author! Author!).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yo La Tengo - The Summer

Because I really needed to hear a summer song on a bitterly, bitterly cold winter night like this. From Fakebook.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Breeders - Drivin' on 9

A great Breeders track from their second album, Last Splash. I really think Kim Deal might have my favourite voice ever.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sloan - Two Seater

The main thing I remember about the release of Sloan's 1992 debut album Smeared was how many times they were compared to the Knack. That was (usually) meant as a compliment, although I'm not sure their label, Geffen, saw it that way in the midst of the Nirvana era. Personally, I would have preferred the album a little rawer, but it's not bad at all. I bet they were great live in those days.

This is the album's highlight, though I don't think it was ever a single.

video

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Pretenders - Talk of the Town

I've never been a huge Pretenders fan, but this is really one of the classic songs of the late punk/early new wave era - one that it's impossible to listen to without getting nostalgic, though lyrically it's the sort of song that probably made people nostalgic the first time they heard it. Not that I'd remember, since I was 11 when it came out.

Check out the dancers for a good laugh.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

His Name Is Alive - The Dirt Eaters

HNIA were far and away my least favourite 4AD band in the early 1990s, so to say I was pleasantly surprised by their 1992 EP The Dirt Eaters would be a bit of an understatement. Blown away, more like.

The title track's gentle, rolling folk (with incongruously creeply lyrics) is the EP's highlight, but there's also the similarly-styled "We Hold the Land in Great Esteem", a haunting cover of Rainbow's ""Man on the Silver Mountain", and the cacophonous but addictive "Tigers". Only "Are We Still Married?" falls flat, although frankly, it sounds like it was intended to.

It is really an astonishing release, and I can't understand why Warren Defever didn't do more of this sort of thing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

June and the Exit Wounds - How Much I Really Loved You

June and the Exit Wounds' 1999 album A Little More Haven Hamilton, Please is a rather odd little beast - a blend of indiepop, baroque pop and lounge. I don't like all of it; in fact, there's a fair bit of it I'm not mad about, but you certainly couldn't fault them for effort and ingenuity.

This is the first track. It's sort of downhill from here, but not too far down.

video

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Come Saturday

One of the songs of the year last year, if not of the decade. If you aren't listening to TPOBPAH yet, what on earth are you waiting for?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Magpies - Worthless

I don't really know anything about this band, except that they made a couple of appearances in the early '90s on compilation albums and split 7"s with songs that featured female vocals and fuzzy guitars over pleasant little twee pop tunes. I wouldn't suggest you should go and track them all down, or anything, but they're certainly worth a listen if you like that sort of thing.

This was one from the Brilliant (that's the name of the label, silly) compilation Something Pretty Beautiful, from 1993.

video

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Cure - Six Different Ways

An odd but delightful album track from 1985's The Head on the Door. The Cure always managed to bury a few offbeat pop treasures on their albums. Well most of them anyway.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pylon - Cool

An early Athens, Georgia band, Pylon stood apart from the REMs and other jangle-guitar merchants who put that city on the musical map by their harsher, more discordant but also more rhythmic sounds, which drew more from no-wave than from the usual Athens influences of the Byrds and Big Star. They weren't always an easy band to listen to, and I'm not a huge fan of theirs, but in small doses they could be really engaging.

This was their first single, released in 1979. Definitely one that sticks in your head.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

XTC - Jason and the Argonauts

XTC's catalogue is very hit and miss, and it's not just a case of "I like their old stuff better" - there's plenty of rubbish in their early recordings, too. But English Settlement was, by and large, a fine album, and this is a lovely song.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Witness - Zip Up

Surprised I haven't posted anything yet by A Witness, an underrated C86 band from the Manchester area. Their sound was more abrasive than some of their contemporaries - shades of maybe the Fire Engines, or Josef K in their less melodic moments - which I suppose made them something of an acquired taste. Keith Curtis's voice was a bit jarring too. Still, I liked them, mostly.

This track appeared on a 1988 EP called One Foot in the Groove, although this is the Peel Session version, which is the one that appeared on the 2002 retrospective Threaphurst Lane.

video

Monday, November 15, 2010

Felt - The Day the Rain Came Down

A great pop tune from Felt's Cherry Red era. Not too many of those, but it shows how they were already moving towards a poppier sound by the time of this album (Ignite the Seven Cannons), their last with Maurice Deebank. Actually, the songwriting on this track is significantly closer to Forever Breathes the Lonely Word than to the earlier Felt style. Though the Deebank guitar is unmistakable.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Icehouse - Street Café

Another great track from the 1982 Primitive Man LP. The video is classic '80s too, splashing the budget on plane fare to an exotic locale with the singer trying to come across all Indiana Jones. Same director that did the early Duran Durans, if you couldn't tell.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bawl - Mistake

Here's a great piece of '90s Irish alterna-pop. Bawl, who were from my neck of the woods, put out a promising debut album in 1996 and then reinvented themselves in inferior form under the name Fixed Stars. Singer/songwriter Mark Cullen now performs under the name Pony Club.

I don't think this was ever a single, but it should have been.

video

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Three O'Clock - I Go Wild

The Three O'Clock's 1982 Baroque Hoedown EP is so full of pop classics, I could post every track from it here. Eventually I probably will.

Here's a great one with a fabulous video, too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chisel - Waffle House

A great song for a cold and miserable day like today. Waffle House, for those not in the know, is a southern US institution - a place where you're always guaranteed a good, cheap meal, served by a waitress who's seen better days (not unlike myself) and accompanied by a piping hot cuppa coffee that will be refilled every time you put it down. I don't even really like the American south, but it's almost worth going to just for Waffle House alone.

The lyrics aren't actually about Waffle House, by the way, at least as far as I can work out. But it's still a great song.

video

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joy Division - Atmosphere

I'm in this kind of mood today. Still one of the greatest, and saddest, songs ever written.

I'll post something really cheery tomorrow. Promise.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orange Juice - Consolation Prize

A classic from Orange Juice's debut album, You Can't Hide Your Love Forever. It features what has to be one of the greatest indie lyrics ever (and one that could only have been written by an indie band), "I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn's". Genius.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Magnetic Fields - 100,000 Fireflies

The first ever Magnetic Fields single, and isn't it still as sweet and innocent today as it was nineteen years ago. What a lovely song.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

David Bowie - Look Back in Anger

Don't think I've put any Bowie up here yet, even though he was obviously a huge influence on a lot of the bands I like.

This is a great track from Lodger, an album that seems to have sort of fallen down the memory hole, but is actually quite good - the best of the so-called "Berlin trilogy" I think, certainly a lot more pop than the other two.

Trivia: the b-side to this single, "Repetition", was wonderfully covered by the Au Pairs on their debut album.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Biff Bang Pow! - Love's Going out of Fashion

A great single from The Girl Who Runs the Beat Hotel, BBP!'s second album. It's rather fast-paced and unusually, well, desperate sounding. I actually wonder if Alan McGee had to do something in the studio to get just that right note of desperation in his voice, or maybe he was just having a really stressful day. Anyway, it's a great song.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bangles - The Real World

An absolutely classic Bangles track, from their 1982 self-titled debut EP. All jangly guitar pop and harmonies. Why couldn't they have stayed this good forever?



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blondie - I'm On E

Here's a great little two-minute pop song from Blondie's second album, 1978's Plastic Letters. You really get a sense from this one of how much Elastica took from them for their sound.

For the young 'uns reading this, being "on E" meant something a little different back then.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mighty Mighty - Law

Just another great C86 track. Mighty Mighty actually put out a number of singles in the 1980s but this is the only one that anyone seems to remember.

They played at Indietracks last year, but I'm not sure if that was just a one-off or not.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lorelei - Mostly I Sleep

More 1990s DC-area shoegaze on Slumberland. This was Lorelei's second single - their first with this line-up, which included a new singer - and it's actually quite pop compared to a lot of their other material. Really nice.


video

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dalek I - Destiny (Dalek I Love You)

Early synthpop, a genre I enjoy in small doses. The Daleks were from Liverpool and sounded like the lovechild of Gary Numan and David Bowie ("Ashes to Ashes" era). This was from their 1980 debut album, Compass kum'pəs.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

14 Iced Bears - Balloon Song

An early single from the Bears, back when they were still firmly in C86 mode. Not much to say about this other than isn't it great?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Look Blue Go Purple - Cactus Cat

My only real complaint about Flying Nun is the fact that for the most part, it was a boys' club. In fairness I don't know if that was really their fault or if it reflected the actual gender balance of the NZ indiepop scene.

LGBP were exceptional in this regard - and they didn't put out very much. Shame, because this was an absolute classic.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Psychedelic Furs - Mr Jones

A 1980 single, later re-recorded for the Talk Talk Talk album. It still has the rough edges of the Furs' earliest material but you can see the direction they're going in.

I've always loved the couplet from this song's chorus: "Movie stars and ads and radio define romance / Don't turn it on, I don't wanna dance". Actually, I once won a radio phone-in contest by being the first person to identify where that lyric came from. The presenter couldn't believe anyone got it so quickly. This was in the pre-Google era, mind.

I'd almost say it's more true now than it ever was.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Julian Cope - Laughing Boy

Julian's post-Teardrop Explodes stuff is a mixed bag, but I do like a lot of the early tunes and I particularly loved this one from Fried, his second solo album. Warning, it's long and slow and not really a pop song by any means... and better listened to than watched. But it's quite lovely.

Music starts at around :24.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tears for Fears - Pale Shelter

This is a really nice one from TFF's debut album, The Hurting. I bet they're embarrassed to feck about the video now though. Especially the part where they're walking along solemnly in a hail of paper airplanes being thrown at them. I was 13 when it came out and even then I thought they looked silly.

Great song though.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Language of Flowers - Leaving

Now here's a real treasure. Language of Flowers were from Belfast and featured the heavenly (indeed, almost Heavenly) vocals of Tara Simpson and the classic jangly guitars of C86 and Sarah. Do I need to say more? I didn't think so.

Alas, they released only one album before splitting, 2004's Songs About You. This was the highlight...and what a highlight it is.

video

Monday, October 25, 2010

Technical problems

Blogger is being most unco-operative today. A pity, because I was trying to post something really really great.

Hopefully things will be back to normal tomorrow!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let's Active - Lowdown

Mitch Easter will be best remembered for producing just about every American jangle-pop band in the '80s, but he did put out some of his own music too.

The appallingly-named Let's Active - they took it from an article about Japanese people's English grammatical errors - made a bit of a splash with their debut EP Afoot, which was all cuteness. They even made a video that had them all playing with puppies. I kid you not. They followed this up with the full-length Cypress in 1984 which showed their more serious side; unfortunately it turned out cute was more their forté. Still, not a bad record by any means.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brilliant Corners - Meet Me On Tuesdays

A nice little Creation-y '80s band from Bristol. They weren't actually on Creation, though you could be forgiven for confusing them with someone like Blow Up.

This one was from 1986. As if you couldn't tell.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ride - Vapour Trail

I know I posted something just a week or two ago from Ride's Nowhere album but I heard this song again yesterday and it's been stuck in my head ever since. What a lovely, wonderful, captivating little song this is, still sounding as fresh and innocent as it did twenty years ago. That's right... twenty years. Sigh.


Ride - Vapour Trail

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Records - Starry Eyes

Here's an absolutely classic piece of 1970s power pop. Really, it's one of the tunes that sets the benchmark for everything that pop music ought to be.
Just perfect.

Apart from the hair, of course.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Treebound Story - I Remember

Here's an early one from the band that Richard Hawley started off in, before going on to greater fame in Longpigs, Pulp and as a solo artist. Treebound Story only put out a few 12"s but they were quite good in a Mighty Lemon Drops sort of way.

This was their first single.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Club Hoy - On and On

Here's a delightful piece of early '90s bubblegum folk-pop from Sydney. Club Hoy put out only one album and then split, with one member (Penny Flanagan) going on to greater fame as a solo artist down under and the other member (Julia Richardson) pretty much disappearing. None of them, of course, made too much of an impression in this hemisphere but with tunes as catchy as this one it's hard to see why not.

Grant McLennan produced this, BTW.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Painted Bird

Here's a wonderful album track from 1982's A Kiss in the Dreamhouse. It's amazing how many great Siouxsie songs there were that I just never really paid much attention to the first time around. My loss.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Deerhunter - Disappearing Ink

I have mixed feelings about Deerhunter, but this is an utterly fabulous two-and-a-half minute pop song. It's from their 2009 EP, Rainwater Cassette Exchange.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Blancmange - Don't Tell Me

Here's a fun one from Blancmange's cleverly-titled second album, Mange Tout from 1984. It's totally lightweight synth-pop fluff, but every time I hear it it gets stuck in my head for days. Judging by the video, they didn't take it very seriously either.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Jasmine Minks - Forces Network

One of those bands I always think of as a C86 band even though they weren't. This is from their self-titled full-length debut, released on Creation in 1985. It's kind of an odd little track, I think, but one I like a lot.

video

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Crystal Set - Benefit of the Doubt

The Crystal Set were an Australian band of the late 1980s/early 1990s, led by Russell Kilbey. His voice was a lot like his brother Steve's and their music was pretty similar to the Church's, too. Good stuff but nothing terribly special.

This was an early single and track from their debut album, From Now On.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Buffalo Tom - Birdbrain

American indie rock in the Dinosaur Jr vein (J Mascis was their co-producer). I'm not too much of a fan of this genre but their early albums had a few catchy tunes each. This was the title track from the second one.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Woods - Death Rattle

Here's an absolutely gorgeous little tune from Woods, one of the many reasons to wish I was living in Brooklyn again. It's from their album At Echo Lake, released earlier this year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

10,000 Maniacs - Scorpio Rising

Here's a track from 10,000 Maniacs' second album, 1985's The Wishing Chair. I didn't think much of the rest of that album, nor anything they released after it. But this was one cracking tune.

I distinctly recall seeing a proper video for this many years ago (with Natalie Merchant doing her best whirling dervish imitation), but I can't seem to find it anywhere now.

video

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ride - Polar Bear

Here's a really wonderful one from Ride's full-length debut, Nowhere. Lyrics (well, some of them anyway) courtesy of JD Salinger.

By an odd coincidence, the Charlatans' debut album which came out at almost exactly the same time also had a song with this title. It wasn't nearly as good though.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Velocity Girl - Forgotten Favorite

An early(ish) Velocity Girl track, after they replaced Bridget Cross with Sarah Shannon on vocals but before they shed the heavy shoegaze influence. It's very Charlottes but with muddier vocals - sounds a bit dated now but that wonderfully catchy chorus still has the kind of pure pop melody that never gets old.

Actually, I think when they did drop the shoegaze stuff and became more or less a straight pop band, they weren't nearly as interesting. But maybe that's just me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tullycraft - Falling Out of Love (With You)

There are a few sort of classic indiepop bands that I'm just not really a big fan of. Tullycraft are one of them. My first problem with them is the vocals, which always rubbed me the wrong way. My second problem is that I think they were really just a lo-fi Weezer with a better record collection. So I just never really saw the attraction.

They did, however, do an absolutely lovely version of this Stephen Merritt tune, and for that they deserve unqualified praise. And a blog post.

video

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Joy Division - Shadowplay

Bit busy today so here's an old classic. I always thought this was one of Joy Division's strongest songs - it still sends shivers up my spine.

Allegedly some other famous band covered this recently, but I make a point of never listening to Joy Division covers. Unless they're by Low.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Orchids - Tropical Fishbowl

A very simple and lovely one from the 1990 Penetration EP. Isn't it amazing how much a song can say in only two lines?

video

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yo La Tengo - Alrock's Bells

Yo La Tengo's debut album Ride the Tiger seems to be generally viewed as something they did when they were still just a work in progress, but I prefer it to a lot of their later material - especially once they started getting into that spaced-out drone stuff. To me they were always at their best as a simple folk-pop group.

This is one of the nicest tracks on the album.

video

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blur - Clover Over Dover

Here's a lovely album track from Parklife, a perfect example of the greatness Blur were capable of when they weren't being overly clever or writing stupid songs about "characters".

Actually, this one sounds even better today than it did 16 years ago. Was it really 16 years ago? God, I'm old.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

79cortinaz - She's Awake

Another recently defunct Irish band, 79cortinaz came from Carlow and managed to put out one album (co-produced by Rat Scabies) before splitting a year or two ago.

This was a nice little track from that album, Hopioki.

video

Saturday, October 2, 2010

(The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope - This is False Telegraph

They come from Washington DC, they feature ex-members of the Lilys and Ropers, they have "kaleidoscope" in their name. All this can only point to one genre... shoegaze! Yes, there are still a few bands around flying that flag. And (TSo)K manage to do it without sounding totally anachronistic, which is always commendable.

This is a good live version of a track that appeared on their 2009 album, All This Heaven.

Friday, October 1, 2010

That Petrol Emotion - Cellophane

The Petrols' third album, 1988's End of the Millennium Psychosis Blues, was an astronomical disappointment. The huge slip in quality can be traced to two (possibly interrelated) factors: the departure of main songwriter Seán O'Neill, and the remaining members' sudden interest in dance music which, let's just say, wasn't where their talents lay.

I saw them again in Dublin recently and they didn't play a single track from that album. If they had, though, this would have been it: a tuneful, Irish-themed ballad that would have fit in well amongst the mellower tracks on their classic debut.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Connells - Over There

More 1980s North Carolina power pop. I was never a huge fan of this band, who I generally found kind of boring. This, however, is a genuinely lovely song, quiet and understated but epic in its own way. Nice trumpet, too.

It's from their 1987 album Boylan Heights, produced by Mitch Easter.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comet Gain - Another Weekend

Here's a brilliant track from their 1994 Holloway Sweethearts 7", a lo-fi classic. I actually had trouble deciding which of its four songs to post, but in the end the pure irresistible charm of this one won me over.

video

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Danse Society - 2000 Light Years From Home

The Danse Society, from darkest South Yorkshire, made brief waves in the early '80s as a band bridging the gap between dance music and goth. They had a more commercial sound than the likes of, say, Cabaret Voltaire, but apart from a few minor club hits they never really captured the public imagination. I had a re-listen recently to what was meant to be their breakthrough album, 1984's Heaven is Waiting, and a lot of it is pretty awful if I'm honest.

The title track was decent enough though, and I'm still quite fond of this Stones cover.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Jealous God - In Her Eyes

My Jealous God were a London band active in the early 1990s. They put out a few singles which saw them lumped in with their northern compatriots in the baggy scene, but none of them ever really went anywhere.

Their first single, "Everything About You", struck me as overhyped at the time and let's just say age hasn't improved it. This b-side was a far superior track, I think.

video

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Death Cab for Cutie - A Movie Script Ending

Always loved this one, with its wonderfully sad lyrics and almost-but-not-quite-lo-fi sound. It does kind of go on a bit longer than it needs to but the first couple minutes, anyway, are exquisite.

It's from their third album, The Photo Album, from 2001.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pulp - Something Changed

A really underrated Pulp single, the last one from Different Class. It's basically just a simple straightforward love song, not necessarily the first thing you expect from Pulp.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Robyn Hitchcock - Acid Bird

A lot of Robyn Hitchcock's stuff is too self-consciously clever for me, and crosses the line into novelty act territory. But this is a wonderful song, with the loveliest Byrds-like guitars. It's from his 1981 debut solo album Black Snake Diamond Role.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The dB's - Spy in the House of Love

North Carolina's dB's were critical darlings of the early 1980s US college-rock scene, but I never particularly warmed to them. Sure they were smart, and had all the right influences, but I always felt their songs were lacking that crucial something. I've tried listening to them again recently and I haven't really changed my mind. I guess this is one of those bands whose appeal is just always going to escape me.

But in the spirit of giving credit to a band who must have been doing something right to earn the rave reviews they used to get, here's one from their third album, Like This. It's not a bad one, in fairness.

video