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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.