Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eggplant - For You (I'd Build a Church)

London band of the mid-1990s who specialised in short (and I do mean short), snappy, fast-paced tweepop not unlike Talulah Gosh at their most manic. Great artwork, too.

This was a b-side to their 1996 single, "I Believe in the Loch Ness Monster".

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daisy Chainsaw - Love Your Money

Daisy Chainsaw had one of the greatest band names ever, and in Katie Jane Garside an absolute star of a frontperson. They also had very little in common with most of their early 1990s contemporaries, recalling instead garage and punk bands like X-Ray Spex and the Stooges. There was, admittedly, the whiff of the novelty band around them, but the songs were (mostly) good enough to compensate.

There are actually a few tracks I'd like to post of theirs but for now I'll just start with the big hit single, from 1991.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weekend - End Times

Not the Young Marble Giants spinoff, but a San Francisco band who've stolen their name and, so far anyway, seem to have gotten away with it. Good modern indie shoegaze stuff, on Slumberland, naturally.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adorable - Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Coventry's Adorable made two key mistakes in their short career. No1 was calling themselves "Adorable". That might have worked on Sarah, but for a band swimming in darker, heavier waters it did pose a rather significant barrier to them being taken seriously. No2 was releasing a first single called "Sunshine Smile". See No1.

All of which contributed to the sad overlooking of their fine debut album, Against Perfection. Although often lumped in with the shoegaze scene (well, it was on Creation), it actually reminded me a bit more of bands like the Chameleons and Kitchens of Distinction - a similar sort of atmospheric sound without putting the effects on overkill.

There are a few really fantastic tracks on the album, but for me this one was their masterpiece. It's got one of my favourite couplets that anyone's ever written. And I really wish I'd had a chance to see them live; I just know I would've done a Síle Seoige when they played this (Irish readers should get the reference!).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Charlottes - Liar

Classic shoegaze single from 1990. The album this was from, Things Fall Apart (the Charlottes' second), had a few really good tracks but overall hasn't aged particularly well. This still sounds great, though.

Some damage to this video towards the end.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Mayfields - I Don't Dream

Another very obscure late '80s/early '90s band, this one from Salisbury in the west of England. Only two 7"s and a few compilation appearances to their name. Energetic C86 type stuff. Worth hunting down.

This was from a 1990 K7 cassette compilation, Everlasting Happiness.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Charlatans - Sproston Green

The Charlatans were sort of seen as the poor man's Stone Roses when they first started out but I suppose a few years later they had the last laugh when they were still selling loads of CDs after the Roses imploded. Which doesn't mean the initial impression of them was wrong.

I never really listened to them much; the whole baggy thing wasn't really my, er, bag. Perhaps because I wasn't doing enough drugs at the time.

Anyway, this one's a nice catchy pop tune, from their 1990 debut Some Friendly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Donovan - Sunshine Superman

I post so much wannabe-sixties stuff here but very little actual sixties stuff, which I think is kind of remiss of me.

Here's one I've always loved, the title track from Donovan's third album. It's one of those perfect cheery summery sixties songs that always makes me wish I'd been around in that era. Until I realise how old that would make me now.

Jimmy Page on guitar, BTW.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Poster Children - Water

Chicago-area band from the late '80s/early '90s. I wasn't a huge fan but their 1991 second album Daisychain Reaction had, in addition to a great name, a decent blend of US indie rock and the fuzzier end of shoegaze. This was an album track that I particularly liked.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Rosaries - Anything

Here's a lovely little tune from a lovely little twee girlpop band from Coventry. As far as I know this 7" called Forever, a 1992 Sarah single, was their only proper release.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stone Roses - What the World is Waiting For

I always think of this as the b-side to "Fools Gold", although I suppose it was really a double a-side. I thought it was the better of the two tracks, though still a disappointment after the glories of their debut album. Much better than what was to follow though!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Pastels - Million Tears

Here's another one I really shouldn't have to say too much about. An early (1984) single from one of the best loved indiepop bands ever. Like that Three O'Clock song I posted a couple days ago, it was twee before "twee" existed. Unlike the Three O'Clock, though, the Pastels never went to shit.

Anyway... wonderful track.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Chills - Heavenly Pop Hit

I'm in a bit of a rush today, so here's a classic Flying Nun track that I probably don't need to write much about anyway. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Three O'Clock - Seeing Is Believing

If you were hoping for something a bit more Irish today, forget it. I find St Patrick's Day an absolutely loathsome holiday, and always spend it hiding indoors from the drunken mobs that terrorise the city centre. And I don't mean the American tourists in leprechaun hats.

So here's something a bit cheerier instead. I've posted a number of Three O'Clock songs but it seems I've skipped over their first full-length album, Sixteen Tambourines. Released in 1983, it marks the point at which the Three O'Clock finally and firmly rejected their punk origins, instead opting for winsome psychedelic pop that could be placed as easily in the children's as in the indie section of your local music store (well, maybe not "A Day in Erotica").

I actually think of this album as twee before "twee" existed. It's a bit more slickly produced than you usually get in that genre. So, hi-fi twee, maybe. It's still a record that any self-respecting tweehead should own.

This is my favourite track on the album, mainly because the chorus sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. Still.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Trashcan Sinatras - Circling the Circumference

Two-and-a-half minutes of pop perfection, from the Trashcans' debut album Cake (1990). Also, some of the best lyrics they ever wrote. A deadly combination.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fat Tulips - Rainbow Sky

Fat Tulips were from Nottingham and put out about a bazillion 7"s in the early '90s. This one came out in 1992, although it had been recorded in 1987. You might say it sounds like Talulah Gosh. Just a bit.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gang of Four - What We All Want

Some time ago on a discussion forum someone asked for Gang of Four recommendations and was told not to bother with anything after Entertainment. That may well have been the worst piece of musical advice I've ever encountered. I could go into some detail about why, but I think this is enough to prove my point.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dead Famous People - Drive Away

If you haven't been downloading like mad from the Waaah! singles club, really, what are you waiting for? Those pages are absolutely choc-a-bloc with indiepop treasures.

This one is from a flexidisc split between New Zealand's Dead Famous People and London's Screeming Custard. The DFP track is the better one, but the Screeming Custard track has the distinction of having been selected in place of a cover of New Order's "World in Motion" which New Order refused to allow them release. Apparently.

Anyway, this is typically great New Zealand indiepop.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ceremony - Marianne

Here's an utterly fantastic bit of shoegaze from Fredericksburg, Virginia's Ceremony. It was released last year on their album Rocket Fire but really sounds like it could have been on an early My Bloody Valentine release. Fucking great.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Crimp(o)lene Explosion - Souvenir

This is one of those obscure indiepop gems that you read this blog for. (Don't you?)

To be honest, this one even has me baffled. This track appeared on a 1987 cassette compilation called Uncle Arthur's Pop Parlour with 18 other bands, the vast majority of whom are just as unknown - although the BMX Bandits make an appearance, as do the Poppyheads with "Dreamabout" (later a Sarah single).

Their name appears as "Crimpolene" here but that "o" was probably extraneous. Not that there seem to be many people who would have cared about the misspelling. Wikipedia suggests a link to Birmingham's Noseflutes, if that means anything to anyone.

Whatever. It's a great tune.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pulp - Love Is Blind

Here's a great track from Pulp's third album, Separations, released in 1992. It's Pulp at their flamboyant, exuberant best...and they were only getting started, really.

This is a fan video. Quite nicely done.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Whorl - Maybe It's Better

An early Slumberland single from back when that label was still based in the Washington DC area. Very typical shoegazey pop, similar to early Velocity Girl (there was some overlap in membership) - apart from the vocals of course. This is a really nice track.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

1000 Mexicans - Teaching Fish to Swim

An obscure English band from the mid-1980s. I'm not sure exactly where they were from. Mildly atmospheric new wave pop with a few "exotic" instruments. They were ok.

This was from their 1985 debut album.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Eternal - Breathe

I think I've pretty much covered all the great Sarah bands at this point, so here's one of the minor ones. Eternal stood a bit apart from most of their labelmates by tending more towards shoegaze than twee - their guitarist actually went on to play in Slowdive. Like Slowdive, they were a little too background-musicky for me to get really excited about.

As far as I can tell they only put out the one three-song 7", of which this was the highlight. It has a bit of a Bowie "Heroes" thing going, I think. No doubt unintentional.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Specials - Ghost Town

I don't really have to say anything about this one, do I? An absolute classic. And as relevant today, sadly, as it ever was.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Small Factory - The Giant Merry-Go-Round

It's a source of great sadness to me that I will never be able to make the Small Factory post I want to make. That's because it would require the technology to go back in time to 1992, grab Small Factory as they were then and transport them not onto a crappy mpeg to view in your browser but actually off the screen and into your living room. Because no recording will ever, ever capture what Small Factory were live. I know it's a cliché but you really did have to be there.

This recording, a b-side to their second single "What to Want", comes closer than most to capturing their live spirit. Still pretty far off though.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Swirl - People I Know

Two Australian bands in a row, possibly a first for this blog. Not that I've really been paying attention.

Swirl were a vaguely shoegazey band from Sydney, active in the early 1990s. I didn't really think they were anything special. Probably the most notable thing about them was the uncanny resemblance between their singer's voice and that of the Razorcuts' Gregory Webster.

This was their first single, a lot closer to indiepop than most of what was to follow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Go-Betweens - That Way

This is actually the first Go-Betweens song I can remember hearing. Not sure why since it wasn't a single or anything, but some very intelligent person with good taste played it for me anyway. Thanks, whoever you were.

It's from their second album, Before Hollywood.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Talitha K - Your Silence

A wonderful piece of twee indie girl-pop from Scotland, mid-1990s. Part of the Waaah! singles club which you can download from here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brown Recluse - Night Train

Baroque pop from Philadelphia...they certainly don't sound like a band who takes its name from a poisonous spider.

This is a song that appeared on a 2009 EP, The Soft Skin. Slumberland. Need I say more?