Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Cannanes and Steward - Hey Leopard

This is one of those songs that every time I hear it I wonder how on earth it wasn't the biggest hit in the world when it came out (2000). Even among the annals of great Cannanes tunes, it's a giant.

The album was a collaboration between the Cannanes and Stewart Anderson of Boyracer. Though, as I've said before, his vocals are something of an acquired taste, they're absolutely perfect for this track. And that trumpet, sublime as always - the perfect icing on a cake that was almost rich enough without it. God, I love this song.

Enjoy.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Depeche Mode - Get the Balance Right!

Non-album single from 1983, always one of my DM faves. The video is rather unfortunate though. Apparently, the director simply assumed that Alan Wilder was the lead singer, and the young lads were too embarrassed to correct him. Bless.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chimera - Heals Me (Feels So Strange)

Here's another track off that Expo1 compilation I posted something from a few days ago. I know a little bit more about this band, though: they were from Belfast and put out a couple couple albums in the mid-1990s. Imagine Liz Fraser fronting the Mary Chain. They weren't actually as good as that description suggests - though better than the similar Appalling Cranes (Eileen Henry could actually sing, for one thing).

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Snowbirds - Beautiful Morning

Early '90s twee band from Cardiff, sounding a lot like Talulah Gosh. With more off-key vocals.

The song is an unreleased demo, but I can't find any actual photos of the band so the one I've used is from a split 7" they released with Les Poissons Solubles. You can download all of it here.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

X-Ray Spex - Identity

I had something else lined up for today but then I heard the news about Poly Styrene's untimely death. I cannot even begin to explain how much this distresses me. People always throw out words like "icon" and "legend" when someone dies but she really did fit those descriptions, particularly for awkward teenage punk girls like me (once).

I'd heard about her cancer but hadn't known it was so serious, so the news really came as a complete shock. It's a very small consolation, though, that she's trending on Twitter and over half the people on my Facebook friends list seem to have posted a tribute to her - so at least she's getting the recognition she deserves.

'Bye Poly. And thanks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Everything but the Girl - Native Land

A wonderful, wonderful early single from EBTG. Jangly guitar and catchy chorus - I never understood why this wasn't a bigger hit than it was. It's certainly far superior to the dreck that made them superstars.

That's Johnny Marr on harmonica, by the way, although the first time I saw this video I thought it was Bobby Bluebell. Which would be appropriate, actually, since there's a very Bluebells feel to the song.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Three O'Clock - The Girl with the Guitar

Here's a wonderful little treasure: an acoustic performance of one of the Three O'Clock's loveliest tunes, from their last really good album Arrive Without Travelling (1985). As I said in another recent post, they were twee before "twee" existed.

The clip is taken from IRS's Cutting Edge which was a programme broadcast on MTV USA in the mid-1980s. I would murder someone for DVDs of the series.

This song, by the way, is allegedly about Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, who the Three O'Clock's Louis Gutierrez was going out with at the time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

For Ex-Lovers Only - Coffin

< 2 minutes of fuzzy pop from a Florida band named for a Black Tambourine song. Really, you couldn't go wrong, could you? Absolutely brilliant.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Denim - Back in Denim

Many many years ago, when Primal Scream were touring for Screamadelica, I managed to use the connections I had at the time to finagle an aftershow pass. While the other young hipsters hovered around Bobby Gillespie, I cornered ex-Felt man Martin Duffy instead, demanding to know Lawrence Hayward's whereabouts. The conversation went something like this:

"He's got a new band now. They're called Denim."
"What are they like?"
"Well, they've got a song called 'I Love the Seventies'. It's about loving the seventies."
"Mm-hmm."
"And they've got a song called 'I Hate the Eighties'. It's about hating the eighties."
"I see. Thank you for your time."

Back in Denim was released not too long after that, showing to my great surprise that Martin wasn't just pulling my leg.

Given the variety of different styles that Felt tried on, maybe it shouldn't have been so hard to believe that Lawrence would go down this road next, but I think it's probably fair to say that this album was a bit controversial among Felt fans. It's pretty much a novelty record, celebrating all things from the tackiest decade ever (the Osmonds, FFS?) - but the songs are really quite infectious if you can get over your natural suspicion of the whole idea.

I had this one stuck in my head for weeks when it first came out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adorable - Homeboy

Only have time for a quickie today. I've already posted an Adorable track recently but because I love that album so much, here's another. Isn't this a great photo, too?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Comsat Angels - Gone

A great track from the Comsats' second album, Sleep No More, which never really received the acclaim it deserved. Probably because it was dark as hell. Hopefully they at least made a bit of money off this one when Martin Gore covered it for his Counterfeit EP.

From 1981.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Curveball - Can't Take It

It's very rare that I post something by a band that I know absolutely nothing about, but this is one of those occasions. I couldn't tell you who they are, where they are from, or what they released - if anything. All I know is that they had two tracks on a 1992 compilation called Expo1 and they were pretty good, in a Chapterhouse-meets-baggy-meets-C86 sort of way.

From memory, there were supposed to be a series of these collections and they were all supposed to be unsigned indie bands, but I'm not sure if it ever got as far as Expo2.

If anyone has any information, please share it.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Las Robertas - In Between Buses

I'm pretty sure this is the first Latin American band (Costa Rican, to be precise) to appear on this blog. They won't be the last, though, if there are any more even half as good as they are. An absolutely delightful blend of C86 melodies, fuzzy guitars and heavenly female vocals, they're everything this blog worships and more! I heart them.

This is a track from last year's Cry Out Loud album.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sleepyhead - Different Colored Letters

A really nice track from New York's Sleepyhead, not normally one of my favourite Slumberland bands - most of their stuff was more indie-rock than shoegaze or twee. It's from their 1993 debut album Punk Rock City USA.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Dirty 9s - Corridors

The Dirty 9s are a Dublin band from up the road from me in Blanchardstown. Sort of mainstream alternative pop, but their songs are quite catchy, and they've been really entertaining whenever I've seen them live. Plus, they sing in Irish sometimes. Which always raises a band in my estimation.

This is from their 2010 debut album Stop Screaming, Start Dreaming.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mrs Kipling - Hurts Me to Think

A pleasant enough little tune from a band who disappeared entirely after their one release, the 1993 7" Change on Sunday records. Kirsty McGee is now a solo folk singer.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Catherine Wheel - Shallow

Catherine Wheel always wanted to be a heavy metal band instead of the shoegaze band they were usually thought of as, but ironically one of the things I love so much about their debut album Ferment is the great pop sensibility of some of its tracks, like this one. I wish they could have stayed comfortable with this sound instead of deciding to go all rawk on us on their later records.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

God's Little Monkeys - You Win Some But Lose More

God's Little Monkeys were a left-wing indie-folk band from York, active in the late '80s and early '90s. I wouldn't have been a huge fan of theirs and they were definitely something of an acquired taste, but I always found this one irritatingly compelling. It's from their second album, Lip, from 1990.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Violent Femmes - Gone Daddy Gone

Always liked this one from the Femmes' self-titled debut. It's aged better than a lot of the other tracks on the album, many of which were always a bit too testosterone-laced for me anyway. Though it does bear remembering that Gordon Gano was only a teenager when the album came out. It's hard not to be sort of impressed by that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Cure - The Caterpillar

An absolutely wonderful piece of offbeat pop from the 1984 album The Top. Actually, it's doubly offbeat because the rest of that album is pretty much unlistenable. But I think I like this song even more now than I did back then. He did look a bit silly, though, didn't he?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Away for the weekend

I was hoping to get in a post today before I go but my actual work got in the way and I don't really have time. Seeyiz Monday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Bodines - God Bless

The Bodines' debut single is far less well known than their C86 classic "Therese", but it's nearly as good. It was released on Creation in 1986.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Bluebells - All I Ever Said

Oh. My. God. Have I really been doing this blog for close to two years now and not yet posted any Bluebells? What an embarrassing oversight.

The Bluebells put out about a million singles in the early '80s, which were (mostly) all delightful in a Commotions, Aztec Camera sort of way. I'd actually say they were a better pop band than either of those two - the tunes were a little simpler and catchier and they lacked Lloyd and Roddy's literary lyrical pretensions. Ironically their biggest hit, "Young at Heart", is one of the few songs of theirs I really can't stand so don't be looking for it here :)

This was the b-side to their second single "Cath" and while it doesn't have that song's immediacy, over the decades I've come to think of it as one of their finest moments.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Reverbs - Envision Seven Seeds

Another great track from the Reverbs, one of the many bands Ric Menck was in before Velvet Crush. Delightful '80s jangle guitar pop from the 1984 Happy Forest EP. I love this record.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yazoo - Only You

Classic '80s synthpop. This was Yazoo's first single, and quite an exquisite little number it is, too: sentimental lyrics in a simple melody, sung sweetly over a nicely subdued keyboard arrangement. It's like synthpop twee. What could be wrong with that?

Besides Vince Clarke's hair, that is.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Earthmen - Blonde

A lovely track from Melbourne's Earthmen, from their 1992 EP Teen Sensations on the chronically underachieving Summershine label. Most of the rest of their stuff wasn't this good, unfortunately.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Autamata - Cloud Seekers

Autamata is Dubliner Ken McHugh + whoever he can rope into contributing to his engaging electro-pop recordings. This one features the fabulous Cathy Davey on vocals and, well, it's just delightful isn't it?

From the 2008 album Colours of Sound.

Friday, April 1, 2011

dEUS - For the Roses

Not long ago I posted another track ("Little Arithmetics") from dEUS's wonderful second album, In a Bar, Under the Sea. The reason I put up that one first was because it was more of a solid POP song. This one's a bit more challenging, but more rewarding too - sort of their "A Day in the Life", if I can make such a bold comparison. Really a phenomenal track.

Unfortunately it hasn't got a decent video, so here's a home-made one that someone was kind enough to put on YouTube.