Wednesday, June 30, 2010

David Kilgour - Uplift

From his wonderful 1991 debut solo album Here Come the Cars, the sort of song that can only be described as "epic".

Sorry it took so long for the post to work. But trust me, this song is worth the wait.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blogger *"%$£

Sorry folks, Blogger's not working for me today. Hopefully it will all be better tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Delorentos - Basis of Everything

Here's an utterly fantastic early single from a Dublin band who I always wanted to like but who, unfortunately, have never seemed to manage more than one good song out of every five. Still, that's a better average than a lot of bands make. There's hope for them yet.

Bonus points for three of the four members wearing stripey shirts in the video. How early 90s is that?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Wonder Stuff - A Wish Away

The Wonder Stuff weren't taken very seriously when they started out, and really, they have only themselves to blame for that, with song titles like "It's Yer Money I'm After Baby" and "Give Give Give Me More More More". They weren't always so crass, though - their debut album The Eight Legged Groove Machine did contain a number of decent straightforward pop-rock tunes and even sometimes surprisingly tender lyrics, as on this song which is really quite lovely, lyrically speaking.

The video's a bit ahead of its time too - if I didn't know I would have pegged it as early '90s rather than 1988.

The Wonder Stuff - Wish Away

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Catapult - Quarters

Now here's one I bet you haven't heard. Catapult were from Albany, New York (abandon hope etc) and were active in the mid-1990s, playing melodic shoegaze that would have fit very comfortably on Slumberland Records alongside the not-dissimilar Ropers. Alas, the poor souls never really made it out of Albany and their very pleasant music has more or less vanished into the memory hole.

This is from a 1995 five-song cassette called I Should Know on the(ir own?) Yogurt label. If anyone wants a copy let me know.

Friday, June 25, 2010

World Atlas - Girl on a Boy's Bike

Here's something a little more recent. World Atlas have a cool name (if you're a map loving geek like me) and sound exactly like Belle and Sebastian. I suspect the boys who watch this video might find something else to like about them, too. Just a hunch.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Butterfly Child - Lunar Eclipse

I first got interested in Belfast's Butterfly Child when I read a review that described them as a cross between the Durutti Column and My Bloody Valentine. Right up my alley, obviously. There's a big dollop of Red House Painters in their sound too, at least on the 1993 debut album Onomatopoeia. Actually, they seem to take bits and bobs from a lot of different styles, but come up with a remarkably coherent result.

The music is so gorgeous it would have been no less interesting as an album of instrumentals, but Joe Cassidy's soft, mournful vocals do add a nice touch. Pity the two subsequent albums didn't measure up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Mother/Oh Mein Papa

Possibly the oddest Siouxsie tune ever, a lovely, haunting ballad sung over music that should be familiar to anyone who was ever a little girl. It's from their underrated second album Join Hands.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Nightblooms - Sisters

The Nightblooms were sort of like a cross between the Cardigans and Loop. I always assumed they were Swedish, actually, but it turns out they were actually Dutch.

Their 1993 self-titled debut album was reasonably well-received among the shoegazer set. Nobody seemed to care much for its 1995 follow-up, though, and they disappeared completely after that. I can't say I find either particularly interesting in retrospect but maybe that's just me.

This is an atypically lovely, almost twee tune from the first album.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nick Cave - The Mercy Seat

I thought about this one the other day when I posted a track from Ultra Vivid Scene's debut album, since that also included a song called "The Mercy Seat". Different songs though, on the off chance that anyone was wondering.

Nick Cave's ode to the electric chair was always going to be creepy - let's face it, Nick Cave's songs are usually creepy no matter what they're about - but this acoustic version is almost unbearably so. Not one to listen to on a bad day, particularly if you've got sharp objects around.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Biff Bang Pow! - She Haunts

You can never have too many Biff Bang Pow! songs on your blog. This was a 1988 single (from the album Love Is Forever), although it has sort of an earlier-'80s feel to it, with the acoustic guitars and harmonica that characterised the likes of the Bluebells back then. It's one of BBP!'s more straightforward pop songs, and one of the highlights of their career.

Not an official video, obviously.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Big Star - Watch the Sunrise

Here's an absolutely gorgeous tune from Big Star's debut, #1 Record. It's the second-last track on the album and I always thought there was something nicely, if subtly, symbolic about putting a song about a sunrise so near to the end of an album. It would have made a nicer closer than the actual last song, the too-overtly CSNYish "ST 100/6", I think.

The guitars on this sum up perfectly all the reasons I love guitars. And all the reasons I love Big Star.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cleaners from Venus - Illya Kuryakin Looked at Me

Discovering Martin Newell's extensive catalogue - some of it under the name Cleaners from Venus, some of it not - is like going through the closet of an older relative and finding loads of clothes you want to steal. You wonder how on earth you never knew it all was there to begin with.

I don't think his stuff is brilliant. Though he obviously has excellent taste in music, and his songs sound like everything I love - C86, Flying Nun, all that sort of thing - I do think his songwriting lets him down on a few too many occasions, and he also has that annoying name-dropping tendency that irritates me so much about, say, the Television Personalities (another band-that's-really-one-guy-who's-been-making-records-forever). But still, if you're into jangly indiepop it's hard to see how you could not like this at least a little bit.

This is a 1987 single.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cast - Sandstorm

In the '90s, Cast were best known as the band John Power formed after the La's' acrimonious implosion but these days they seem to be better remembered as an example of the "mediocre" tier of Britpop bands. Which is fair enough. They certainly didn't set my heather alight, particularly in comparison to the sublimeness that were the La's. But they weren't atrocious or anything either.

Here's a demo version of their (IMHO) best song off their 1995 debut, All Change.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ultra Vivid Scene - Nausea

More classic American shoegaze. This a very underrated album track from UVS's 1988 self-titled of the more shoegazey tracks on that album, in fact, which I think now was generally much more of a pop album than most people gave it credit for. Though not as much as its follow-up obviously.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Flaws - Sixteen

I'm overdue to post an up-and-coming Irish band so here's one from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan's finest (I say that without a trace of irony, really. Well maybe just a trace.) "Sixteen" hasn't got quite the kick of their earlier single, "Out Tonight", but it's still a good example of the catchy guitar pop they've impressed me with every time I've seen them. Definitely one to watch.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Acetone - Louise

This is a great tune to listen to when suffering severe hangover, of the kind that can occur from over-celebrating World Cup match results. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Bongos - Numbers with Wings

I've posted a couple tracks already for this Hoboken, New Jersey band but I've just come across this video for the title track to their 1983 EP. While the production marks it clearly of its era, it's still a lovely, haunting tune that shows what a great pair of songwriters Barone and Mastro were.

Friday, June 11, 2010

50ftmonster - Bad Soul

Something new(ish) that I ran across recently. 50ftmonster feature two former members of Catherine Wheel, and have a rather mellow shoegazey-pop sound with a bit of a dance element. It's closer to early Catherine Wheel than later, but softer than either (particularly the vocals); this track actually reminds me of early Scritti Politti in spots.

They seem to be still trying to find their feet, songwriting-wise, but it will be interesting to hear more of them.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Three O'Clock - Her Head's Revolving

On an overview of the Salvation Army/Three O'Clock's recording career, there's a fairly straight trajectory from their psychedelic-punk-pop origins to the feeble new wave slush of their final album. 1985's Arrive Without Travelling was their fourth release out of six and soundwise, it's more or less in the middle as well: although the punk element is pretty much totally gone, there's still plenty of psychedelic pop here, but it's much keyboard-heavier and more slickly produced than its predecessors. Some of the lyrics also continue the band's unfortunate journey towards the mawkishly sentimental. I liked this album a lot at the time - hey, I was 15 - but I can't say I was really surprised when it turned out to be the last Three O'Clock album I liked.

This was Arrive's first single and one of its few tracks to retain elements of their... I don't want to say "harder" early sound (it would be vaguely ridiculous to describe anything they ever did as "hard") so let's just say that it rocks a bit more than most of the rest of the album. I seem to recall from somewhere that the video was banned from Canadian MTV for its alleged drug references.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Brideshead - Shortsightedness

I confess that the charms of German indiepop have largely eluded me but if Brideshead are anything to go by, I’m missing out on a lot. Though most of their records came out in the late ‘90s, their sound is vintage C86. And they don’t sound German at all, although they do kind of look it.

This is from their 1998 (but sounds about ten years earlier) album Some People Have All The Fun.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BMX Bandits - The Road of Love is Paved with Banana Skins

I'm not the world's biggest BMX Bandits fan - surprisingly, you might think, given my general adoration for all things Scottish and indiepop. But there are a few exceptions to this rule. Bis, for example. We won't go there.

But even if Duglas Stewart and co. have never floated my boat in the way that so many of their co-scenesters do, they're an awfully hard band to dislike, with their clever titles and breezy Beach Boyesque melodies. They'd never be my first choice, but I'd have them in the mix somewhere.

This is a track from their 2003 "comeback" album Down at the Hop.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blur - Bank Holiday

Yes it's a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland and I'm off to enjoy (what will hopefully be) a rare bit o' warm weather and sun. See you on Tuesday.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Bardots - My Cute Thought

I've always taken it as obvious that the Bardots' second album, V-Neck, was far superior to their 1992 debut Eye-Baby so I was surprised, when I finally found another Bardots fan, that they thought it was the other way around. So maybe it's just me. But to my ears Eye-Baby is a fairly average piece of somber but basically radio-friendly alternapop; its more mature and cerebral follow-up largely adheres to the "thinking person's Suede" formula but shows an impressive progression in songwriting skills. So I'm still a bit baffled by the other fan's opinion. But the fact of even finding another Bardots fan was pleasing enough.

Here's a track from the debut ... you can also listen here to one from V-Neck and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dead Can Dance - Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book

One of my favourite tracks on DcD's breakthrough album Aion, although it's quite different from most of the others, featuring Brendan Perry's rich vocals and sounding a little closer to the goth style they'd previously been known for (although much better). Apparently the lyrics are a translation of a 15th century poem by Luis de Gongora.

Not an official video, but nicely done nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Five or Six - Portrait

London's Five or Six were an early '80s post-punk band strongly influenced by Wire. They've been saved from total obscurity only by virtue of their appearance on the classic Pillows and Prayers collection, although some of their members went on to much more lucrative careers in music and television.

Cherry Red put out a retrospective a couple years ago called Acting on Impulse.