Monday, February 28, 2011

Clock DVA - 4 Hours

Sheffield's Clock DVA were part of that whole Throbbing Gristle/Cabaret Voltaire scene in the early 1980s. It wasn't really my thing, though I do think some of Cab Volt's stuff was amazing, and I kind of enjoyed this one too.

It's funny listening to it today though. You know how you listen back to some early punk and think, that used to be called punk? Well, this used to be called industrial. Hard to believe nowadays.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Altered Images - Don't Talk to Me About Love

Just heard this again recently and had forgotten how much I loved it. OK, it's from their worst album (1983's Bite), and overproduced within an inch of its life. But isn't it irresistible anyway?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Troubles - Freudian Slips

Here's a great single from last year. Big Troubles are from somewhere in New Jersey and very very young, although they do a splendid job of channeling everything from C86 to shoegaze. The riff in this song, for example, was lifted straight from the Boo Radleys and the song overall reminds me of underrated DC popsters Poole. What a wonderful way to spend two minutes.

Their debut album, Worry, was released a few months ago on the Olde English Spelling Bee label. Get it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Chapterhouse - Need (Somebody)

A b-side from their debut EP Freefall, from 1990. Actually, the song itself sounds a bit like a freefall. I don't mean that in a bad way; it's just got a very rushed feel to it (in the same way as, say, Pale Saints' "She Rides the Waves", but a little more manic). I was actually surprised to note that it was more than three minutes long.

I really like this cover art, too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Woodentops - It Will Come

I was never really bowled over by most of the Woodentops' music - especially after their first album, Giant, and even that wasn't great. But they did have a few really good early singles that straddled the line between C86 and more mainstream pop. This was the best, from 1985.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BriBry - A Poem I'll Sing Out Loud

BriBry is Brian O'Reilly, a very young twee troubadour from here in Dublin, who seems to have a lot of time on his hands and an almost worrying obsession with YouTube. Fortunately, he also has great songwriting skills and apparently excellent taste in music. And rather fascinating eyes, I might add.

This is from last year.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

X - Come Back to Me

A lovely song about the untimely death of Exene Cervenka's sister in a car crash. Two other songs on X's second album, Under the Big Black Sun, were on the same subject. It obviously affected her deeply. It's hard for the listener not to be affected by this one particularly. If you have a sister, go hug her or something.

From 1982.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daryll-Ann - I Could Never Love You

Dutch band from the mid-1990s. Never thought they were great, but they had a few nice tracks of pleasant guitar pop that would have gone over very well with US college radio listeners, if anyone in the US had ever heard of them.

This 1994 single was their career highlight, I think.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Badgers - Cycleface

Extremely obscure female-fronted twee indiepop band whose sole contribution appears to be a four-track 12" on Norwich's wonderful Wilde Club label. Who were they? Where did they go? Anyone?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Julian Cope - Beautiful Love

As self-indulgent Julian Cope records go, 1991's Peggy Suicide is possibly the self-indulgentest. Not really a lot on it that I would listen to, to be honest. But this is a great pop song.


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Slits - Or What It Is?

It was remiss of me not to post a tribute to Ari Up when she died of cancer last autumn. I always thought of her as one of punk's more interesting characters.

The Slits' music, which blended punk and dub and African tribal rhythms all topped with Ari's ... erm ... "interesting" vocals, was probably something of an acquired taste and I wouldn't say I ever fully acquired it. But they were a hard band not to admire, anyway.

This is from their second album, Return of the Giant Slits, from 1981.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Aislers Set - Melody not Malaise

The Aislers Set were a San Francisco band formed from the ashes of Henry's Dress. I don't think they exist any more, which is really a shame - their three albums and numerous singles were some of the brightest C86-inspired indie girlpop of the last fifteen years or so. Anyone know what they're up to now?

This is the last song on their last album, 2003's How I Learned to Write Backwards.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Smiths - The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

I've mentioned before that time has dimmed my enthusiasm for the Smiths somewhat but I do still enjoy a lot of their songs, to varying degrees. This one was always at the top of my list and still is. It appeared on their debut album and I fell in absolute, aching love with it from first listen. To this day I still think it ranks as not only the Smiths' most sublime moment but one of the most gorgeous songs ever written by anyone ever. Really, it is that special.

I know a lot people think it's about paedophilia, but Morrissey always denied that and he would know, wouldn't he?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yuck - The Base of a Dream is Empty

If you haven't already heard them, you're probably not very tempted so far. Yuck have a terrible name, and this song has a terrible title. But it (and they) are really very good, in an early-'90s-shoegaze-meets-US-indie-rock sort of way.

They're based in London but seem to hail from everywhere (I know how that works). Their self-titled debut album is due for, actually. I just discovered that. Believe it or not it's a complete coincidence to my posting a song of theirs today. But it's a coincidental kind of day, like me turning down a road I hadn't meant to turn down this morning and finding a €50 note for my troubles.

Anyway, this was the b-side to their single "Georgia" of last year. Hope the whole album is this good.

ps. Change the name, guys.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Parks - Nothing Comes from Nothing

Here's another current Dublin band, who seem to be flying under everyone's radar. I'm not actually even sure they still exist as I don't recall seeing any gig listings for them in a while.

This track has a real Killers/Interpol sort of thing going, which might not be everyone's cup of tea - in fact I'm not a huge fan of either band. But it works pretty well in this case.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Moonshake - Coward

Moonshake was primarily the brainchild of Dave Callahan from the Wolfhounds, and much of their material reflects the sort of abrasive sounds you'd expect from a band with that pedigree. In their early days, however, they were a collaborative effort between Callahan and Margaret Fiedler, who went on to form Laika. Under Fiedler's influence, the music was still quite experimental and sometimes jarringly discordant, but tempered by her soft voice and melodic ear. The collaboration came to an (apparently unhappy) end after one album and a couple EPs, though Callahan continued to use the name for a few years more.

This was from their imaginatively-titled First EP in 1991. I remember when NME (or maybe it was Melody Maker) reviewed it they said that "at soon as we put it on everyone in the office could tell it was a Creation release". Oddly, given the year that it was, they didn't mean it as a compliment.

Gorgeous track, anyway.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Verlaines - We're All Gonna Die

I'm also long overdue for another Flying Nun song. The Verlaines have made a number of appearances here, but I don't think I've posted anything from their third album, Some Disenchanted Evening, even though I absolutely love it. Then again, I love all their albums.

At the time Disenchanted seemed like something of a departure for the Verlaines - it was a bit more straightforward, with less of the complicated classically-inspired orchestration of its predecessors (Graeme Downes, don't forget, has a PhD in Mahler). In retrospect, it's still a pretty off-the-wall album compared to the ones that followed it. This is probably the most "pop" song on it musically, but the words are another matter...

From 1990.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Codes - This is Goodbye

Been a while since I've posted any Irish bands. Codes are from Dublin and used to be called The Lost. I saw them under that name several years ago, and they were delightful - utterly infectious radio-friendly guitar pop, and cute as buttons.

Sadly, they've "matured" since then, and now bear an unfortunate resemblance to Keane and Muse. But they're still pretty cute.

This was a 2008 single.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Bloody Valentine - She Loves You No Less

A great old MBV track, from the 1987 Ecstasy EP (and later the Ecstasy and Wine compilation). Sounds remarkably like the Motorcycle Boy, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Autohaze - Put it Together

I've said before that I always thought the Summershine label - Australia's answer to Sarah, Slumberland etc - was a shadow of its northern-hemisphere counterparts. Autohaze are a good example of this. Their sound had all the right elements; you could hear the right influences there, from C86 to twee to shoegaze. But they never quite added up to anything special, and I always wanted to like them much more then I ever actually did.

This is from a 1992 EP, 27 Air.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Servants - Transparent

Another great C86 track, from a band who's probably remembered these days mainly because Luke Haines was in them. Phil King was too, but then, what wasn't he in?

This was also the b-side to their first single, "She’s Always Hiding". As far as I'm aware Syd Barrett never sued them over it, although I think you'll agree he certainly could have.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Yo - Charm World

Now this one is really quite obscure. Yo were, as far as I can determine, a folk-influenced college rock band from the East Bay suburbs of San Francisco, and put out a few albums which were not particularly well-received, largely because no one could stand the singer's voice. To be honest I'm not sure what the big deal about it is. I've heard worse.

This was the title track from the second album, released in 1985. I think it's quite nice, with the mandolins and everything.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Nikki Sudden - Channel Steamer

Speaking of Swell Maps. Nikki Sudden had a huge catalogue of solo work and it's remarkably under-appreciated, especially considering how good a lot of it is. I think maybe his best known song is "Death is Hanging Over Me", which appeared on about half a dozen Creation compilations. It's a brilliant track but I'm too hungover to listen to it today.... I might be likely to take it a bit too literally.

Instead, here's a fun one from his solo debut, 1982's Waiting on Egypt.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Swell Maps - Vertical Slum

Swell Maps were great when they were doing this sort of stuff - short and snappy punk pop, like early Wire but a little more insane. This one's from their debut album, 1979's A Trip to Marineville. It's the first Swell Maps song I ever heard and the words make no more sense to me today than they ever did.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fire Engines - Get Up and Use Me

Classic 1980 single that I can't believe I haven't put up already. The Fire Engines were from Edinburgh and were the noisy/abrasive wing of Scottish post-punk (a la Josef K), which I didn't like nearly as much as the tweer sounds of Orange Juice. Good in small doses, though.

I'd never seen the video before today, but it really captures the song well, I think. Manic and herky-jerky. You wouldn't want to watch this on bad drugs.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blondie - Accidents Never Happen

A great album track (from Eat to the Beat) that I've rediscovered recently. When you hear the same six or seven singles all the time, it's easy to forget how good some of their lesser-known material was.

Check out Clem Burke in the background, looking like a little boy who's sitting in front of a drum kit for the first time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pulp - Babies

In which a teenage Jarvis Cocker watches an older sister (note: not his) having sex, ends up having sex with said older sister, and gets caught in the act by the younger sister, who was the object of his affections all along. Oops. I think this is probably my favourite Pulp song ever.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Rose of Avalanche - Velveteen

The Rose of Avalanche were one of those silly commercial goth bands of the mid-1980s, like the Sisters of Mercy and Gene Loves Jezebel. The type of band it would be embarrassing now to admit to ever listening to - except that this song is still really quite good. At least if you ignore the lyrics. And stop before it gets to the "woo ooo ooo" part.

Anyway, nothing embarrasses me, that ought to be obvious by now.