Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Church - Into My Hands

A very simple piece of jangly folk-pop from the 1984 Remote Luxury EP. And by "very simple", I mean "absolutely stunning, though you might not notice it immediately". Why couldn't the Church be this wonderful all the time?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kristallin - Flashback

More great German indiepop, from a band who's from someplace called Flethsee, which I confess I have never heard of before and have no idea where it is. Their music's rather familiar, though. In fact, it's kind of tempting to make a joke about the title of this song because it really is a flashback - to the classic indiepop sounds of the late '80s/early '90s. Reminds me most of the Sea Urchins, in their more upbeat moments.

It's from their 2000 debut (and only?) album, Station, on Marsh Marigold.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pale Saints - A Revelation

B-side to the 1990 Half-Life EP, a short one with a very sing-song melody and particularly shoegazey guitars (bearing in mind that Pale Saints weren't usually as shoegazey as the other bands they were lumped in with). Actually, in retrospect I think they sound a bit like the Boo Radleys here. But maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Furies - I Couldn't Get Arrested

OK, now this one is a complete mystery. I have it on a mix cassette that someone made for me a long time ago, but with no identifying information apart from the name. The only Furies I can find anything about were an early Vancouver punk band but I'm pretty sure this isn't them. I'd date it to the very early 1980s; it has that sort of minimalist art-rock thing going but that could just be because it seems to have been recorded very cheaply. Anyone know anything???

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lê Almeida - Transporpirações

Brazilian band, great tune. It's from an EP released last year called Mono Maçã, which is Portuguese for "mono apple", which is quite interesting because they actually sound a lot like the Apples in Stereo. Hmm... coincidence?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Easy - Horoscope

Swedish guitar pop band who made a minor splash in indiedom with their 1990 debut, Magic Seed on the Blast First label, but seemed to sink without trace after that. Shame because, as you can hear from this track (one of the album's singles), they certainly had promise.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The McTells - It Happens

An incredibly underrated indiepop band from Hertford, who put out a whole slew of records and cassettes in the late '80s and early '90s. They're one of these bands that if you ever heard them you probably love them, but their problem was that so few people made it past the first hurdle. So, here's my contribution to redressing that injustice.

This is a track from their 1987 cassette release Expecting Joe.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wire Train - Like

Nicely atmospheric track from this San Francisco band's well-received but largely-forgotten 1984 debut, In a Chamber (a pretty atmospheric album generally). It's one of the album's darker moments but its short length keeps it from being too much of a downer.

Always loved the instrumental interlude that starts at around one and a half minutes in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kicker - Don't You Listen (to What's His Face)

From Our Wild Mercury Years from 2006. Kicker were one of the bands on the Comet Gain family tree, and to my ears their main distinguishing feature, at least on this album, was the focus of their '80s retroism. There's little C86 here; instead the bands they remind me of are the ones a couple steps closer to the mainstream of alternative pop (or whatever it was called back then) - think of people like the Lilac Time, Lloyd Cole and I even hear Fairground Attraction in spots. It's not really my favourite thing that the personnel involved have ever done, but it has its moments.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reflector the Illuminator - Call Me Monday

Here's a charming piece of twee pop from 1996. I'm not entirely certain about this, but I believe Reflector the Illuminator were originally from Albany, New York and known as Chomp; they later moved to DC and at some point changed their name but it's all a bit of a muddle to me. On the off chance that anyone can clear this up, please send info.

On the Zero Hour label.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

East Village - Meet the Wife

Overlooked late '80s jangle-pop band from Princes Risborough, England, wherever the hell that is (and seriously, who on earth thought that was a good name for a town?). Their singles were compiled for a 1994 collection on Summershine called Hotrod Hotel, and listening to it you can sort of see why they were overlooked: though pleasant enough, there wasn't anything particularly memorable about their music. No real stand-out tracks on the collection, either, but this is one of the nicer ones.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fatal Microbes - Violence Grows

I haven't posted any anarcho-punk for yonks now, so here's a classic from the genre. Fatal Microbes were a London band that included two children of the Poison Girls' Vi Subversa - amazing that she was old enough to have two children in their own band in 1979 - who later went on to form Rubella Ballet, the resemblance to whom is quite noticeable. I don't think the Microbes ever recorded anything after this, so they're pretty much the epitome of the one-hit wonder. Except it wasn't really that much of a hit, except among anarchist punks. Which I never was, incidentally, though I did find a lot of their music interesting.

If you're here solely for the indiepop, and don't like anything harsh, discordant or screechy, this isn't the one for you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Very Truly Yours - Girls Tell You Secrets

I know I've been posting a lot of girlpop lately but...but...well, just listen. This is a band from Chicago whose first single was released only last year, though its jangly guitars are straight out of a Housemartins record. Then the vocals kick in and...swoon.

A song that ticks all my boxes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Giant Drag - Kevin is Gay

LA duo Giant Drag's 2005 debut album, Hearts and Unicorns, was a fairly solid piece of early '90s-influenced indie rock - sort of a cross between MBV and Garbage - marred only by some really juvenile song titles (they actually get worse than this, believe it or not). The follow-up has been a long time in coming, though we did get a decent taster of an EP a couple years back.

I have the same sort of girlcrush on Annie Hardy that I had on Katie Jane Garside 20 years ago.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heavenly - Cool Guitar Boy

Heard this recently for the first time in years and it brought back such memories. I can clearly remember how excited I was when I got my copy of Heavenly vs Satan, put it on for the first time and heard this coming out of my speakers. Talulah Gosh were back! Well, sort of. The whole album didn't live up to their standards, but this, the opening track (along with a good few others) was everything I'd been waiting for. Bliss.

As a 21-year-old indiepop grrrl, I also remember simultaneously laughing ironically at the lyrics, and secretly identifying with them. Though I'd never have admitted the latter.

From 1991.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Metric - Help I'm Alive

Metric are proof that you can be slick and radio-friendly and play songs with guitar riffs stolen straight out of 1980s' MTV promos and still be good. Of course, a voice like Emily Haines' doesn't hurt.

This one, their biggest hit, was in super heavy rotation on Dublin radio back in 2009 but somehow I never got tired of it. It's a great catchy tune, slightly offbeat, with some really clever wordplay - what's not to like?

From their fourth album, Fantasies.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fun Boy Three - The Telephone Always Rings

Eventually I'll probably post every Fun Boy Three single, if only for the excuse it gives me to watch the videos again. They're impossibly '80s, aren't they?

This was the third single from their self-titled debut album, from 1982. It's quite a cheery video for such a cynical song, but then Terry Hall always did do irony well.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love and Rockets - Yin and Yang and the Flowerpot Man

Yeah, I know. Love and Rockets? I see you sniggering in the back there. But in all fairness, this really is a deadly track, with a great driving rhythm and one of those choruses that works precisely because of its incredible simplicity. Unfortunately just after the halfway point there's a completely daft lyric that threatens to ruin the whole experience ("Alcohol is your yoga, baby") but you can't really expect a band made of Bauhaus alumni not to have at least one cringeworthy moment per song.

It's from their second album, Express, from 1986, which I actually rather like.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beach Fossils - Fall Right In

An almost unspeakably gorgeous track from Brooklyn's Beach Fossils, off their 2011 EP What a Pleasure. Reminds me a bit of the Orchids.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Marnies - Electric Wires

Yet another band I would never have heard of without the wonderful Wilfully Obscure, these were an Australian quartet who seem to have nothing to their name but this lone 7", from 1989. Pity, because it's quite a catchy little tune, with obvious Church influences in the guitars but also clearly drawing a bit from the C86 crowd. Whatever became of them?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Clash - Safe European Home

One of the more controversial Clash songs, due to the...erm...unfortunate ambiguity of Joe Strummer's intentions in writing it. Just try to ignore that (I do), because it is, really, a tremendous track in every other respect.

From 1978.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Postcode - It's Amazing It's Fantastic

To make up for the sugary sweetness of yesterday's entry, here's something a little... different. Postcode are from the Isle of Man and are obsessed with zebras - well, you would be, wouldn't you? - and they also seem to really like the early Pixies a lot. Some of their stuff is pretty good.

This is from a 2010 EP, Zebracore Revisited (told you).

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Assembly - Never Never

The cheesy '80s new wave synth-pop ballad isn't always my thing, but Vince Clarke did it better than most and Feargal Sharkey's voice really is the perfect mix of whiney and vulnerable for this song. A love-or-hate one, probably.

From 1983.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dot Dash - There and Back Again Lane

Dot Dash are sort of a Washington DC supergroup, although their pedigree probably doesn't mean much to people from outside the area. Truth be told, I lived in DC for a few years and I never heard of some of the bands these guys were in. But I'm sure they were great.

They're named for a Wire song, but it's definitely the pop more than the post-punk side of Wire they draw from. Which is fine by me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Morton Valence - Sailors

Great piece of electro-pop from this London band, released about five years ago. A re-recorded but very similar version appears on their latest (second) album, Me and Home James, from last year.