Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas break!

I'm taking a long Christmas break folks. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you back on January 5th :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Young Bryan Superstar - You're Magnetic

A nice little piece of indiepop from San Sebastian in the Basque country. They also went by the name El Joven Brian.

This was a self-titled four-song 7" from 1993.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Harvest Ministers - You Do My World The World Of Good

Surprised I haven't posted these yet. An Irish band on Sarah? They ought to be all over this blog. *hangs head in shame*

The Harvest Ministers have been around forever (well, since 1987) but don't have a huge discography to show for it: their fifth album was released only last year. They tend to be thought of as sort of a Will Merriman project rather than a proper band, though that's a bit unfair to Padraig McCaul, multi-instrumentalist, who I think has been a Harvest Minister for the duration. And who's a brilliant landscape painter in his own right, btw.

This was their first single, from 1992.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Primal Scream - Imperial

A lot of indie snobs like me will tell you Sonic Flower Groove is the only Primal Scream album worth buying. I would beg to differ - not because I think any of the others are great, but because I don't think this one has that much going for it, either. It's all very earnest and innocuous neo-psychedelic pop but I just think it tries too hard and doesn't live up, in songwriting terms, to its influences.

And if I wasn't mad about it when it came out, most of it really hasn't aged well. But I always liked this one a lot, and still do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Radio Arts - 04:30 AM

Decent little electro-pop band from Sweden, who don't seem to be around anymore. Shame.

This was from a 2005 EP.


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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sloppy Joe - Sometimes

Now here's a real treat, all the way from Tokyo. Sloppy Joe's debut album With Kisses Four came out this year, but you could be forgiven for thinking you'd discovered a lost treasure from the C86 era - they really do an amazing job of capturing that sound. To say that I absolutely love it! would be a significant understatement.

Check out Bandcamp for more.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Calloways - Kalamazoo

There is a decided lack of information available about this band. They may have been from Edinburgh, but they don't seem to have released much of anything. This very new-wavey track, which dates to the early-mid '80s, appeared on the wonderful 1996 cassette compilation A Sandwich and a Sweater. Anyone know anything about them?


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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Michael Knight - Coronation Street

Michael Knight is supposed to be a band rather than a person, although really it's Irish singer-songwriter Richie Murphy + whoever happens to be playing back-up for him at any given time. "Their" music is quirky harmonic pop that often walks the fine line between clever and irritating, but when they get it right it's very very good indeed.

This is a track from their second album, I'm Not Entirely Clear How I Ended Up Like This, from 2008, sounding remarkably like a Franz Ferdinand soundtrack to a spaghetti western.

Michael Knight - Coronation Street YBI11 by yesboyicecream

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aztec Camera - The Birth of the True

It's probably an understatement to say that Aztec Camera's 1984 second album Knife was a bit of a disappointment. I didn't hate it the way that some people did, but I definitely agreed with its critics that it was much blander than the debut and that Mark Knopfler's production drained away a lot of the songs' charm. But having said that, there were still some really nice tracks on it and this was always my favourite.

References to burning down banks are, of course, particularly appropriate again these days.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Inspiral Carpets - Tainted Love

I don't post a lot of cover versions here but I heard this one again the other day and it struck me that it's a really, really good example of a band taking a song that everybody knows and truly making it their own. Which is what a cover should be.

This actually isn't even the best Inspirals version of it - the one on the NME Ruby Trax collection is even better - but it's the only one I can find a video for online and I won't have the time to make one today. Just take my word for it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

McCarthy - Boy Meets Girl So What

Typically cynical track from these rather dour Essex popsters. This was one of their later releases, a 1989 EP (they broke up the following year). It's not particularly one of their best but for some reason it invaded my head yesterday so I thought I might as well share it. I'm sort of in this kind of mood lately anyway.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BPeople - I Said Everybody

Late '70s/early '80s no-wave sort of band from LA. I picked up a 7" of theirs when I was around 15, I think I found it in a bargain bin or something and thought it looked interesting. I didn't really "get it" at the time though. Rediscovered them a few years ago and while I don't think I was missing a lot, they had their moments, all right. If you're into this sort of thing, you can download a compilation album here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Dufflecoats - Sunny Tuesday Afternoon

Cheshire band who may have also been called the Applicants, or may have just shared a member or two with the Applicants - there seems to be a bit of confusion on this point in webland. Anyway, they were twee and girly and fabulous and that is really all you need to know. Isn't it?

This is a track from the 1991 Waaaah! CD.

Apologies ...

Another complete techfail yesterday in Chez Cinnamon. I'll be back when I've got caught up on everything else it kept me from doing!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

T.Rex - Mambo Sun

I've been posting a lot of really obscure stuff lately so here's something a bit better known. It's the first T.Rex song I can remember falling in love with. And I still love it - it's such a great example of how the most ludicrous, senseless lyrics can sometimes say so much.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Big Gun - Heard About Love

Another fantastic yet mystifyingly obscure '80s track, this one from a Scottish (Ayrshire) band who released one 7" and then disappeared. Can't say I blame them, actually - who would want to spend the rest of their career trying to live up to a first single as good as this one? It would probably only depress you.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Ammonites - It Hurts Inside

How about another track from that wonderful Everlasting Happiness collection? The Ammonites were a bunch of teenagers from Leicester and put out a number of tapes and 7"s in the late 1980s-early 1990s, as well as making a lot of compilation appearances. Indiepop with not a little punk-pop influence, great stuff altogether.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shine! - I Just Can't Celebrate Today

The sum total of what I know about this band is what appears on the YouTube page where I got this video from:

Shine! was a late 80's english pop band from Norfolk. They released a flexi in 1989 named "Millions And Millions" on Baz McHat Records. Then, their song "I Just Can't Celebrate Today" was featured on the "Everlasting Happiness" compilation.


If anyone has any more info, by all means please share it. In the meantime, enjoy the tune. It would be hard not to, the (misleadingly) downbeat title notwithstanding.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Working Week - Venceremos

Here's a real blast from the past. I'd completely forgotten about this one! Working Week were one of a number of British jazz-pop groups active in the early to mid 1980s. It wasn't a genre I was terribly enamoured with, but at the time I thought everything Tracey Thorn touched was gold so of course I had to love this song (that's her on vocals, along with Robert Wyatt).

Actually, it's still pretty good, even if it's nothing like anything else I ever listen to. And the video is pure retro class.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stellastarr - Lost in Time

I certainly wouldn't be a fan of everything Stellastarr (or stellastarr*, if they insist) have done but I have to give them the nod for this track. Mainly because it does actually succeed in what so many of this genre fail miserably at, that is, actually being the big epic blockbuster of a song it wants to be. Credit where it's due.

It's from their second album Harmonies for the Haunted, from 2005.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Amusement - Lights Go Down

Dublin band on the wonderful Any Other City label. This one comes from their debut EP, 2008's Any Port in a Storm, and it is pure pop bliss which I don't think I will ever grow tired of. Nice video too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Orange Juice - What Presence?!

Fab song from The Orange Juice, their final album (from 1984). It's a bit of an odd one even by Orange Juice standards, with its twangy guitars and gospelly vocals at the end there - an ambitious track that could have been really horrible if it didn't work, which fortunately it does. Some of Edwyn's best rhyming, too.


Friday, November 25, 2011

REM - Time After Time

From the 1984 Reckoning album. A nice, late night, mellow, relaxing-at-home sort of song. If you're going to smoke stuff to REM - not that I'm necessarily endorsing that, mind - this is the song to do it to.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seeping into Cinemas - Chipped Teeth

Dublin band whose debut album 100,000 Times was finally released this year to great local acclaim. Shy, quiet folk-tinged indiepop. The only negative thing about their music is that every time I see them I get really annoyed because I can hardly hear them play over people talking. People who talk at gigs by bands like this should be shot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Violet Pets - Violets are Blue

Very young London band from the last decade who made records in their bedsits and gave them away. Apparently. Really liked everything I heard of theirs.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Three O'Clock - Marjorie Tells Me

Since I started doing this blog, I've been very pleased to see how many Three O'Clock fans there still are out there (judging by the number of people who end up here by searching for them). They were one of my favourite bands as a teenager - I was actually a member of their fan club, and I didn't join many fan clubs - but I could really count on my fingers the number of people I knew who seemed to have ever heard of them. It's heartening to know that I'm really not alone in my Three O'Clock love, even if this knowledge is about 25 years overdue.

This one's from the 1983 Baroque Hoedown EP. Not one of their better-known tunes, but isn't it just delightful?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Band of Holy Joy - What the Moon Saw

Heard this song the other day for the first time in a good while and was struck again, as I always am, by what a wallop it packs in its (not quite) three minutes. Especially considering how slow it starts off. BoHJ are an acquired taste, no doubt, but what a reward you get for acquiring it.

From 1989.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OMD - Souvenir

Another gem from early OMD, the band that always seemed to me to do the best job of contradicting Luddites' claims about synth-pop. You really couldn't credibly argue that electronic music was inherently emotionless in the face of stuff like this.

It was their most successful single ever, which is kind of surprising because I think they had a lot more obvious "hits" than this, but I guess that just shows how much better taste mainstream music listeners had thirty years ago.

It's from their third album, Architecture & Morality, from 1981.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lilys - The Night Sun Over San Juan

Speaking of DC-based Slumberland bands - well, Lilys used to be one, but that was a lifetime (and a number of musical styles) ago. It's rare for a band to last as long as they have and keep putting out records and actually get better, but I genuinely think their last album - 2006's Everything Wrong Is Imaginary - actually does outshine most of their earlier releases. It's miles ahead of the MBV-wannabeism of their early years, less self-indulgent than their "Nanny in Manhattan" era and while there's still a strong psychedelic influence, it's really the closest thing they've ever done to a pop record and they wear that style particularly well.

I hope they haven't called it a day at this point. I'd love to hear what else they might have in store for us.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lorelei - Sometimes...

B-side to "The Bitter Air", an early (1991) Slumberland 7" from this DC band who never recorded anything like this again (they lost their singer shortly after its release; she would later reappear in Racecar, who've made a couple appearances on this blog). The a-side is a slow, pretty atmospheric track but it's always been this one that's really grabbed me: a Perfect Pop tune with jangly guitars and heavenly female vocals. Where could you go wrong?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Bongos - Splinters

Another track from the Bongos' 1985 album, The Beat Hotel. This album got mixed reviews but I remember this song being widely acclaimed as one of the stand-out tracks and I would certainly agree. It actually strikes me as being like something the Sound might have done if they were more on the power-pop and less on the post-punk end of things. Wonderful, in any case.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Public Image Ltd - Public Image

I never took to PiL, despite being a big fan of early post-punk generally. I'm not really sure why. I still find John Lydon one of the most interesting musical personalities around, so maybe I should go back and give his band another listen.

Anyway, here's one I always did like: their debut single, from 1978.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Marmite Sisters - Trevor

Leicester C86ish band who were around for about ten years but were remarkably unproductive, which might be attributed to the fact that they don't seem to have really taken themselves very seriously as a band. You can kind of tell this from their music (that's not meant as a put-down). Oh, and they weren't really sisters.

This is from a 1991 flexi.


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Monday, November 14, 2011

April Showers - Abandon Ship

Another 1980s Glasgow band, but one considerably less well-known than yesterday's entrant. Probably because this was (apparently) the only thing they ever released. It's a lovely piece of '80s new-wave pop, full of twee charm despite its slick production (you can thank Beatrice Colin's wonderfully pure, clear vocals for that. The charm, I mean, not the production). An overlooked gem of a record.

From 1984.




Sunday, November 13, 2011

Orange Juice - Flesh of My Flesh

From the 1982 Rip it Up album. This one doesn't seem to get mentioned very often in lists of Classic Orange Juice Songs, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - it means that every time I hear it I get a bit of a jolt at how fucking amazing it actually is. Of course, I'm probably ruining that now by posting this, but if it means I'm helping someone else experience the sheer delight of it for the first time, then I suppose it's worth it. You're welcome.

Brilliant lyrics in this one, too, from start to finish. Now that I think about it, why isn't this considered one of their classics?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire

You might think I'm pushing the envelope with this one but I was listening to it this morning and it struck me that it has all the qualities of a great indiepop tune: it's short (really short), catchy as hell and full of snappy li'l couplets. So onto this blog it goes. Anyway, I have a sneaking suspicion that most of my readers know what I mean already, since you all have such good taste.

Enjoy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Hit Parade - In Gunnersbury Park

One of about a billion singles released by this London band. This one, from 1991, was on Sarah, though you'd probably guess that within the first ten seconds even if I hadn't told you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Hermit Crabs - I Don't Know How

Glasgow band who walk the fine line between indie-pop and indie-folk. I bet they get compared a lot to Camera Obscura.

This is from a 2009 EP.


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thrift Shop - Begins (On the Fly Mix)

The Thrift Shop was a side project of Neal from Philadelphia indiepoppers the Skywriters/Snow Fairies. I don't think they did much besides contribute to a couple of Red Square compilation albums, including this one from 2002.


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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Eggs - John's Bar Mitzvah

Funny little DC band, around in the early-to-mid 1990s but having little in common with the Slumberland crowd dominating the local music scene at the time. I suppose you could call them indie art-rock.

Their debut album Bruiser from 1992 was a mixed bag but here's a nice track from it.


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Monday, November 7, 2011

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Ramona

Here's another example of a band whose b-sides are better than a lot of bands' a-sides. In fact, in this case the song is marginally better than its own a-side... though it's a close call. It was on the "Young Adult Friction" 7" (2009), and it makes me swoon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Slowdive - Beach Song

I've never been a fan of Slowdive - most of the time I just find them, well, boring. But this song kicks. It's from a 1992 flexi.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vivian Girls - I Can't Stay

It occurred to me last night that although I've posted plenty of bands that are either linked to the Vivian Girls or are like the Vivian Girls, I've never posted an actual Vivian Girls song before. Silly me.

Here's a live version of a 2008 single. It's interesting how close to Talulah Gosh they sound, without all the Spectoresque studio embellishment of their recordings.



Friday, November 4, 2011

#poundsign# - Matinee Sunday

Great San Francisco indiepop band with boy/girl vocals, active in the late 1990s. This is from their second album Underneath the Marquee, which was released in 2000 and seems to be the last thing they ever released.

They remind me a lot of Belle & Sebastian on this one, which is certainly no bad thing.


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Thursday, November 3, 2011

David Bowie – Kooks

Always loved this track from the 1971 album Hunky Dory, which is one of my favourite Bowie albums. It was written for his then infant son Zowie. The kids in my own extended family always seem to enjoy it, too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Chills - Rain

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet. It's a track from the Chills' first proper album, 1987's Brave Words, and it's just...perfect.

And when I say "perfect" I mean in the sense of it being an utterly superb little pop song, not in the sense of it being lyrically entirely appropriate for what's been going on outside my window all day, although that is also the case.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cashier No 9 - The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out

Jaunty little number from this Belfast band who have been getting a fair amount of positive media attention lately. They remind me a bit of the Charlatans on this track, which comes from their recently-released debut album To the Death of Fun.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Daisy Chainsaw - Natural Man

Track from their 1992 debut album Eleventeen which lacks the band's usual manic energy but makes up for it in sheer weirdness. It's the only one that Katie Jane doesn't sing on; I've always assumed the vocals were guitarist Crispin Gray's but I'm not sure I have any actual reason to assume that. I could be completely wrong.




Sunday, October 30, 2011

Buzz of Delight - In Summer

I wasn't a fan at all of Matthew Sweet's solo material but he was in a couple decent bands in the early '80s, including this one who dissolved after their 1984 Sound Castles EP. This is the standout track, a genuinely delightful piece of twee power-pop not that far removed from Sixteen Tambourines-era Three O'Clock.


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Moped - Window Shopping

Moped were from New Jersey but released their lone album, the splendidly-titled It Won't Sound Any Better Tomorrow, on the Australian Summershine label. It was kind of typically mid-'90s boy/girl indie music, somewhere on the continuum that exists in my head between indiepop and indie rock - nothing you couldn't live without, but enjoyable enough. You can download it here.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

My Bloody Valentine - I Believe

B-side to "Feed Me With Your Kiss". I'll say that again: this was a b-side. I still can't quite wrap my head around that. You could take the best bits from the best a-sides of 95% of the records that have ever existed, and make the best a-side you could possibly make from them, and it still wouldn't be fit to wipe the dust off this song. Which was a b-side.

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little bit. But, seriously... can you believe this was only a b-side? I can't.

From 1988.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Riptides - 77 Sunset Strip

Following on from that Pointed Sticks post a little while ago here's some more classic but somewhat forgotten late '70s punk-pop, this time from Australia (Brisbane, to be precise). Robert Vickers of the Go-Betweens was in an early incarnation of this band, who I gather were significantly better known in their native country than outside of it.

This was their first single.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Grooveyard - Summer

From Brighton, apparently, but that's about all that I know about them.

This song appeared on the Uncle Arthur's Pop Parlour cassette compilation in 1987 and on a split flexi with "Sleepyhead" by Ever (which is also on Uncle Arthur) the following year. It's a great little piece of jangly-pop-with-flute. Terrible mixing, but who cares.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thomas Dolby - One of Our Submarines

Thomas Dolby has released some horrific material in his time (see: "Hyperactive") but The Golden Age of Wireless would be a guilty pleasure of mine were it not for the fact that I refuse to feel guilty about any of my listening habits. Admittedly some of it is a little too ploink ploink for my tastes, but this particular track would be lovely on any instrument and is no less so just because it's all synthy.

Apparently he wrote it about his uncle, who drowned in a submarine during World War 2.



Monday, October 24, 2011

The Chameleons – Thursday’s Child

I haven’t posted nearly enough Chameleons here, and I see that I haven’t posted anything that isn’t on their magnificent 1983 debut album Script of the Bridge.

I’ll rectify the latter omission at some point. But not today.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Stone Roses - All Across the Sand

I was strangely underwhelmed by the news that the Stone Roses are to play in Dublin next year. Like many others of my generation, I worshipped the ground they walked on in their early years (though my own personal backlash began earlier than most - I never liked "Fools Gold", and I still don't). I never got to see them in their heyday; I still think their debut album is one of the finest ever released, and I've long since got over my reunionphobia. Yet it took me all of thirty seconds or so to decide not to bother with the Dublin gig, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I'll probably regret it later - when the tickets have shot up to €200 on the black market. Oh well.

Here's a b-side to "Sally Cinnamon". Bet they don't play this at the reunion gig!



Saturday, October 22, 2011

His Name is Alive - Is This the Way the Tigers Do?

From HNIA's remarkable Dirt Eaters EP from 1992. It's more abrasive than the other tracks on the EP, though less so than the scratchy and sireny bits might lead you to expect at the start.

If anyone has a clue what the words are about, don't tell me, I probably don't want to know.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blur - Intermission

Just a brief intermission for the blog as I have a million and one things to focus on over the next couple days. I'll try to make it back for Friday, but if not, Saturday definitely! See you soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ride - Like a Daydream

Opening number from their second EP, Play, from 1990. This was really where I felt Ride arrived: its self-titled predecessor a few months earlier had some strong moments, but there was nothing on it with the immediacy of this track, which I have to say pretty much knocked my socks off the moment I heard it. Actually, it still knocks my socks off.

Doesn't Mark look cute with his poofy li'l haircut, too. I bet he cringes seeing this now.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Secret Shine - After Years

In their early years, before they went all shoegazey on us, Secret Shine were that rare Sarah band that sometimes dipped into "too twee even for me" territory. Listen to the song "Secret Shine" (on the Ephemeral 7") if you don't believe me.

Most of the time, though, they walked the fine line without quite stepping over it - and made some lovely music as a result. This was their first single on Sarah, from 1991.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lush - Bitter

Great track from Lush's debut EP Scar. I'm putting a shoegaze tag on it just because it's Lush, but there's really nothing shoegazey at all about this one: it's a simple two-minute rockin' guitar rush with lyrics that, let me just say, I really identify with at the moment. You don't want to know.

From 1989.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Patti Smith - Kimberly

I was planning on writing an intelligent piece about this song - because really, it's a bit of an insult to the wonder that was Horses to post a song from it without writing something intelligent about it - but unfortunately the pub intervened and I am not really in a fit state to write anything intelligent about anything. Let's just say that this is a very enjoyable and underrated track from an album that you should already own anyway.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Lavender Faction - Harbour Me

Durham-based shoegaze band who put out a number of singles in 1990-91 and then disappeared. I never thought they were quite as amazing as some of my fellow indieheads did but they’re certainly worth checking out if you're into this sort of thing.

This is from “In My Mind”, a 1990 7”. Please note that I am not responsible for the atrocious spelling at the start of the video!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

1000 Mexicans - The Last Pop Song

I posted a 1000 Mexicans track a few months ago of them in their pop mode, but this one's a bit darker and draws more from post-punk. It was a 1984 single. Really grows on you after a while.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pointed Sticks - Out of Luck

Vancouver power-pop. This is an absolute belter of a single, from 1979. It was re-recorded for the Sticks' lone album the following year but this is the version you want.

Seriously this one is a classic.

Monday, October 10, 2011

XTC - That's Really Super, Supergirl

Very catchy track from Skylarking which, it must be said, is a particularly catchy-track-laden XTC album. I can sort of see why the XTC purists (and XTC themselves, apparently) weren't all that happy with Todd Rundgren's production, because it is really very slick and radio-friendly, but as far as I'm concerned that just means we got the great pop record that they always teased us with. There isn't a song on it that I would skip through, and there are very few XTC records I can say that about.

From 1986.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

14 Iced Bears - Heaven Star

From their 1991 album Wonder, and it really is wondrous: soft and shimmering shoegazey pop with one of those couplets so stunning in its simplicity ("Waiting on a shooting star/
I hope you are, I hope you are") it puts a lump in my throat. My condolences to the mystifying number of 14 Iced Bears fans who don't like this album - your loss.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dum Dum Girls - Blank Girl

More sixties-influenced lo-fi girlpop. I know these bands are a dime a dozen these days - and most of them are somehow linked to the Vivian Girls - but I haven't yet stopped finding them irresistible, and I hope I never will.

From their 2010 debut album, I Will Be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

REM - South Central Rain

I dreamed about this song last night. Well, to be precise about it, I dreamed this song. From start to finish - even the moany bits at the end. Except that it was me singing instead of Michael Stipe. I think I was about to start singing "Seven Chinese Brothers" when I woke up.

I'm not sure exactly why I had this on the brain. REM have been in the news recently for breaking up, of course, but that's not something I took much notice of. To be honest, I lost interest in them around 25 years ago, and wasn't even really aware they still existed.

But I suppose I'll take the dream as a sign that I ought to post this song, so here it is. Not with me singing though. Trust me, that would give you nightmares.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Disco Inferno - It's a Kid's World

Just a quickie today as I have to head out for the Hard Working Class Heroes festival, something I never miss. I've had a few readers lately arrive at this blog by searching for Disco Inferno songs, which I'm always happy to make it easier to find. This is a 1994 single.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Raining Stars - Gone For Ever More

French band whose sound takes little bits from baggy, C86 and skinny-tie pop. Not a bad collection of influences, I'm sure you'd agree.

This is from their 2008 album From St Saviour To Quickwell.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Salvation Army - While We Were in Your Room Talking to Your Wall

The Salvation Army’s lone album under that name is basically a psychedelic pop record, but one that largely reflects their punk roots – it’s some distance from the fluffy pre-twee sounds that they would become known for as The Three O’Clock. This song is as close as they get to it, a trippy almost-ballad distinguishable from their Sixteen Tambourines period only by the sloppy production.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Four Million Telephones - If I Was There

Another rare finding by Wilfully Obscure, these were an apparently Lincoln-based late '80s band playing mildly jangly guitar pop. Not a lot to write home about here but I think this track, one of the b-sides from this 1988 EP, is rather nice.


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Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Cure - Primary

Faith is a dark album even by the Cure's standards, but this track - well, it's still pretty dark, but it's got a pace to it that makes it stand out a bit from the relentless gloom that surrounds it. It's kind of been lost in the passage of time and doesn't usually even get a look into lists of Cure Classics but every time I hear it I think to myself, "Fuck me, that's a great song."

It may have been partially based on Penelope Farmer's books, although not as obviously so as "Charlotte Sometimes".

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Breezy Porticos - Breaking Away

Denver, Colorado band that seem to have been inactive for a few years now. Their records were all released in the 2000s, but their sound is distinctly early/mid-'90s US bubblegum indiepop, Poole being the most obvious reference. Somewhat lacklustre vocals, though.

This was from a split 7" with New Jersey band the Gwens, released in 2000 on Athens GA label Happy Happy Birthday to Me.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Hollies - Pegasus

This one falls firmly into the "twee before twee existed" category. In fact, it out-twees most of the Sarah catalogue. You don't get much tweer than that! It's from the 1967 album Butterfly, when the Hollies were firmly in flower-power mode, and I've seen grown men collapse in giggles at it - particularly in the closing few seconds. You'll love it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mirrors Over Kiev - Take Me Down


Late '80s Manchester band whose otherwise perfectly appealing jangle-pop was unfortunately marred by poor vocals. This was their first of three (?) singles, from 1987, on Imaginary.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Echo and the Bunnymen - Pictures on my Wall

The Ocean Rain tour stopped by here last Friday, and even though it was an overpriced seated gig in a larger-than-club-sized venue – all things that usually turn me right off attending – I went along anyway and I must say I’m delighted that I did. First of all, it wasn’t just Ocean Rain that they played, although that would have been enough to make it worthwhile. Actually, “Silver” alone would have been enough to make it worthwhile.

They started off with “Over the Wall” and finished with “The Cutter” and hit most of their career highlights in between. Sounded absolutely great, too; Ian’s voice really hasn’t lost much over the years, though he’s even less comprehensible when he talks. Immensely enjoyable evening – don’t miss them if they hit your town.

Here’s one they left off the setlist, from their 1980 debut, the classic Crocodiles.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Velvet Underground - All Tomorrow's Parties

You'll all know this one, of course, but isn't it nice hearing it again? Music is rarely as perfect as this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Flaws - Part of You

Another young Irish band, this one from County Monaghan. I've been consistently impressed by the Flaws, whose two albums are full of solid, catchy little numbers like this one. They'll probably never make it really big but in 20 years' time there will be plenty of old farts like me reminiscing about how they should have.

This is from their second album, last year's Constant Adventure.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hello Moon - Sievehead

I've been raving about this band since their early days, and now that their debut album Only Count the Sunny Hours is finally out (on Dublin's coolest label, Any Other City) I have twelve more reasons to rave about them. In all honesty, they're the most utterly charming twee pop band I've come across since around the mid-1990s - and while at least part of that is due to a bashful stage presence that makes you want to pat them on the head and reassure them that yes, you really are enjoying their music and not just clapping to be polite, I'm pretty sure I'd love this record just as much if I'd never had the distinct pleasure of seeing them live. It's simply delightful.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

MacGuffins - Rich Together

Melbourne band whose sole contribution to the recorded history of music seems to be this 1988 single, a thoroughly pleasant if not exceptional piece of eighties guitar pop. Their singer Rowan Smith went on to slightly bigger things (in Australia, at least) with the band Barefoot.


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Friday, September 23, 2011

Laugh! - Shed Caved In

Laugh! eventually became Intastella, but you'd never guess the connection from some of the C86-ish material they put out under their original name. Though probably best known for the single "Paul McCartney" - let's face it, if you're a struggling indie band, getting yourself nearly sued by a major celebrity is probably the easiest route to publicity - a far better track was this contribution to the 1987 comp Let's Try Another Ideal Guest House, a benefit for the homeless charity Shelter.



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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Luna - Speedbumps

Much as I loved Galaxie 500, Luna never really did it for me. I always found them just a little too bland, though I have to admit I might have been drawing unfair comparisons. Maybe I should give them another chance now that enough time has passed for me to accept that Galaxie 500 aren't coming back. Well, I'll think about it anyway.

But since I have already put Damon and Naomi up here, in the interests of fairness here's a Luna song too. It's from their final album, 2004's Rendezvous.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Feelies - Original Love

New Jersey band who were big on US college radio in the early '80s, influential and highly critically acclaimed. They played their music at an amazing pace (those who used to describe the Wedding Present as having the fastest guitars around obviously hadn't heard them) and often mixed their vocals so low as to be almost irrelevant, thereby highlighting the manic energy of their instrumentation. It wasn't exactly easy listening, and in a lot of ways I'd say they're a band I admire rather than genuinely liking. But you certainly can't deny their contribution to the American underground music scene.

This was a track from their 1980 debut album, the very appropriately-titled Crazy Rhythms.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Pooh Sticks - Pandora's Box

The Pooh Sticks were a novelty band who attempted to channel classic rock and pop through an indiepop aesthetic - sometimes successfully, sometimes far less so. They could be immensely entertaining at times, but I'm not sure they'd hold much appeal if you didn't get the joke. Their 1991 album The Great White Wonder was hailed as their masterpiece but 20 years on it doesn't really seem to have much more staying power than novelty records ever do.

This one still holds up well, though, just as a nice little pop tune.


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Monday, September 19, 2011

Black Cillas - Sebastian

A 1986 single which seems to be the only thing that London's Black Cillas released in their short (initial) lifespan. Though they tend to be lumped in with the C86 crowd, there's a bit of a New Romantic flare in this - particularly the theatrical vocals.

The band reformed and released a decent track called "Inclement Weather" a few years ago.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Proctors - Perfect World

The Proctors were formed from the ashes of the Cudgels and managed a couple releases on Sunday Records in the early/mid-'90s before they too disappeared. They're back now, and I'm happy to say they've picked up right where they left off: making glorious indiepop tunes to brighten your day. Just try not to let this brighten yours.

You can get it on the Indietracks 2011 compilation, here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Best Coast - Wish He Was You

Yet another branch on the Vivian Girls family tree (I'm almost thinking I should create a new blog label just for them), although in this case it's probably fairer to consider the stylistic similarities coincidental. Best Coast have, since 2009 alone, released a large handful of 7"s and one cracking debut album - on about as many different labels - and if lo-fi fuzzy-guitar '60s-influenced girlpop is your thing, well, you'll want to own all of them.

This was a b-side to last year's "Something in the Way" 7".

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Mad Scene - Paper Plane

A b-side to the first single from The Mad Scene, the NYC-based band formed by Hamish Kilgour (of The Clean) in the early 1990s. It's like super lo-fi Flying Nun, which of course means it's pretty fantastic.


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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tindersticks - Tiny Tears

From Tindersticks' 1995 second album, self-titled like its predecessor. It's one of those huge epic tracks we fell in love with them for (or at least I did); don't listen if you're in a down mood.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Game Theory - We Love You Carol and Alison

Lolita Nation was Game Theory's attempt at a White Album - an ambitious double-length mishmash of songs and, erm, experiments. I've always thought the White Album could have stood a little editing and that's even more true for Lolita Nation - really, there's no need for about half of the material on it. But it does also include some of Game Theory's finest moments, including this, one of the catchiest songs they ever released.

From 1987.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Chills - Double Summer

1992's Soft Bomb was supposed to be the Chills' international breakthrough album, but as usual for the Chills, things didn't exactly go according to plan. To be fair it was far from their finest hour, with a few too many tracks that sound forced and awkward instead of the delightful pop of its predecessors. But there are a few brilliant moments, and this is one of them.




Monday, September 12, 2011

Generation X - Kiss Me Deadly

Gen X's reputation as a cartoon-punk band isn't entirely undeserved, but at least a few of their early songs have stood the test of time as solidly memorable punk-pop hits quite apart from all the nonsense that surrounded them. This one in particular - from their 1979 self-titled debut, not the 1981 dud that bore its name - really has to be seen as a true classic, and one of the most authentic-sounding teenage rebellion anthems ever recorded. It certainly triggers all my own memories of misspent youth every time I hear it.

Plus, it's just a deadly (sorry!) tune.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ben Watt - Some Things Don't Matter

He's probably best known as Tracey Thorn's other half but Ben Watt was a singer-songwriter in his own right before Everything but the Girl came into existence. His one solo album, 1983's North Marine Drive, on Cherry Red, was similar enough to what he and Tracey would go on to do together (at least in their early years) although of course lacking EBTG's most vital feature - her stunning voice. Still, it's a very pleasant piece of minimalist jazz- and folk-tinged pop which more than merits a place next to your Marine Girls records.




Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Pixies - Here Comes Your Man

Have I really not posted this yet? The Pixies at their most straightforward - just a simple, utterly irresistible pop song. The way that Doolittle manages to cover such a wide range of styles and still sound so cohesive and, well, Pixies-like is what makes this such a remarkable album. Still think it was their best.

On a completely unrelated note, if you're in Dublin, don't forget to check out Hello Moon at Crawdaddy tonight for the launch of their debut album, Only Count the Sunny Hours. It's only a fiver in and I guarantee you it'll be worth it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Young Knives - Terra Firma

A lot of old indie farts like me don't have much time for the newer breed of post-punk influenced bands, but I think they've produced a fair amount of worthy material. This track, from the Young Knives' 2008 second album Superabundance, is really quite a fantastic piece of rhythmic driving dance rock (with suitably socially-critical lyrics) in the best tradition of their most obvious antecedents, the Gang of Four. Oddly compelling video, too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tiny Tide - Come Along Pond

The first Italian band to make an appearance on this blog, I think. Tiny Tide, from Cesena, have an eclectic sound that takes in everything from baroque pop to classic new wave to jangle pop, and are clearly as obsessed with the music they love as I am. There's a lot of name-checking going on in their lyrics and occasionally this takes them into too-clever-by-half territory, but there are also a number of real indiepop gems that don't depend on you knowing what (or who) they're singing about. Here's one of the highlights.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Butterglory - Waiting on the Guns

Lo-fi duo from Lawrence, Kansas, wherever that is. Butterglory put out a slew of records in the mid-1990s on the Merge label, best known for bands like Superchunk and Polvo, which explains why I overlooked them for so long. Their own sound was more like a Beat Happening/Pavement blend, and much closer to indiepop than anything I ever heard from their labelmates.

This is from their 1994 debut, Crumble.


 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Disconnect 4 - Eighteen

Galway's Disconnect 4 had a fantastic name, oodles of energy and, in Leon Butler, one of the most natural stars I've ever seen at the helm of an unknown indie band. Unfortunately, they also had a fairly uninspiring alterna-rock sound that made it impossible for me to like them the way that I really, really, really wanted to. Sadly for them, that seems to have been a typical reaction.

They're no more now, but I don't think we've seen the last of Leon. At least I hope not.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Funeral Suits - Machines 2

One of the not-to-be-missed bands if you're in Ireland and going to Electric Picnic this weekend. I'm not, but I am getting away for one final escape from this miserable Irish summer, so I'll see you again on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Smiths - Girl Afraid

Don't think this would be remembered by most as a Smiths classic but I've always been particularly fond of it. Upbeat, fantastic jangly guitars, clever couplets, and clocking in at just under 3 minutes - what's not to like?

From 1984, I think.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Au Pairs - Inconvenience

Heard this one in the pub last night and was struck again, as I always am, by how utterly massive it is. It was the Au Pairs' third single, and didn't originally appear on any album but has since been tacked on to the reissued Playing with a Different Sex.

I'm a bit too hungover to write anything more about it, but it's powerful enough to speak for itself.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Split Enz - One Step Ahead

Classic Kiwi new wave, released as a single in 1980 and the following year on their second album Waiata. I always thought of this song as a sort of inferior sibling to their masterpiece "I Got You", but it's still a thoroughly enjoyable little pop song, much better than most of the rest of their material to be perfectly honest.

I really like the video too, but that might just be nostalgia. Or the fact that nobody would ever make a video like this today.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Unrest - Suki

Great track from the amazingly clever Unrest, who started off as not-very-interesting semi-harDCore merchants and ended up on 4ad. Not a trajectory too many bands have followed.

Imperial f.f.r.r., their fourth album, was sort of their breakthrough, in the sense that it was the first time they seemed to receive (or, let's be honest, deserve) widespread attention outside the Beltway. I'd describe it more as indie-rock than indiepop, but there are a few absolutely cracking pop tunes on it, this being one of them.

From 1992.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Teardrop Explodes - When I Dream

The Teardrops at their bubbliest, from their 1980 debut Kilimanjaro. It's long been alleged that Julian Cope wrote this song about Courtney Love. He denies it, but I suppose you would.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Besotted - Mooncrash

Sorry folks, I had some technical problems yesterday. Namely a hard drive that seemed to be trying to commit suicide through an overdose of barbituates or something. I thought it was a bit too delicate to try anything with video files.

Fortunately it seems to have made a recovery this morning so here's what I was going to post yesterday. The Besotted was a side project of Robert Smith's. No, not that Robert Smith, the one from the Golden Dawn. That's the Scottish Golden Dawn, of "George Hamilton's Dead"...eh...fame.

Fortunately the small amount of music he produced was a little more original than his names. This song, which appeared on their 1992 "Kaleidoscope" 7" as well as the brilliant K7 Everlasting Happiness collection, is an odd little piece of synth-twee, which actually sounds pretty horrible to start off with. It grows on you pretty quickly, though. Give it a minute or two.

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