Monday, April 30, 2012

The 6ths - As You Turn to Go

I have mixed feelings about this particular Stephin Merritt project, but it's hard to be ambivalent about this track, a lovely two-minute-long twee ballad performed entirely on zither (whatever that is). Its sheer sublime gorgeousness is all the more surprising when you realise the vocals are provided by Momus, who's usually pretty creepy.

It's from the second 6ths album Hyacinths and Thistles, from 2000.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bush Tetras - Things That Go Boom in the Night

Here's a classic of the no wave genre, which I've developed a greater appreciation for in recent years. It was Bush Tetras' second single, released in 1981. Its predecessor "Too Many Creeps" seems to be the song they're best remembered for but I think this one is much better. It's rather Au Pairs-ish which is no bad thing at all.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Space - Female of the Species

Ha. Remember this one? Back in the day - 1996, to be precise - this song was, like, humongous. It was everybody's favourite song for a while, lavishly praised by the critics, a guaranteed dance floor filler notwithstanding that it was really quite difficult to dance to. I was thoroughly sick of it within weeks.

Watching this video now in retrospect, a few things strike me:

1. Who on earth cleared this video for release? It's appalling.

2. They had the most uncharismatic lead singer I've ever seen.

3. Their "fashion" sense. Oh my.

4. Still, it really was quite a catchy - and clever - little tune.

It appeared on their debut album, Spiders, which you can safely skip.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Belly - Dusted

This is an album track (from their debut, Star) but a slightly different version preceded it on EP and was really the start of Tanya Donelly's "solo" career. As someone who always thought she was wasted in Throwing Muses, I snapped it up and fell in love with it instantaneously. And it still kicks my ass almost twenty years later.

One fucking great song.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weed Hounds - Hard Drivin'

Weed Hounds, who are unsurprisingly from Brooklyn, blend the best of American indie-rock, lo-fi and shoegaze to surprisingly distinctive effect. This is a track from their 2010 split 7" with Dude Japan.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Rain Parade - Blue

Gorgeous little track from the Rain Parade's 1984 EP Explosions in the Glass Palace. Of all the Paisley Underground bands I always thought they had the most perfect sound.

Monday, April 23, 2012

28th Day - I'm Only Asking

28th Day's first and only album, released in 1985, didn't get much attention at the time and isn't remembered by many now but it was a pretty nice collection of folk-tinged jangly guitar pop - the kind then being played on college radio stations across the US. One of their singers, Barbara Manning, went on to greater renown as a solo artist and collaborator with the likes of Stephen Merritt and Stuart Moxham.

This is a haunting little track from that album.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chalk and Numbers - I Really Wanna Work This Out

There's a lot of very '60s, Phil Spectorish girlpop around these days but few of the bands take it quite this far - going beyond a mere "influenced by" or even "very influenced by" to actually sounding like a lost relic of the Gold Star studio. Whether that makes them unforgivably derivative or deliciously authentic is probably a matter of personal opinion. FWIW, I fall unapologetically into the latter camp.

Their debut EP, He Knew, was released last year and can be downloaded for free here.

From Brooklyn, of course.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Catnaps - Lullaby

Catnaps are from Philadelphia, used to be called When I Was 12, and play such ridiculously appealing twee indie girl-pop that part of me wants to just turn this into the Catnaps Blog for a while and post nothing else. Except they already have their own blog (here). So this will have to suffice. Just listen, though, you'll know what I mean.

It's from their 2011 album Why Don't You Whisper?, their first under their new name.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Eggstone - Hang On To Your Eco

I seem to have been posting a lot of Swedish indiepop lately but, well, why not. Eggstone were around in the 1980s and '90s and put out three albums, which I'm told were fairly successful in Sweden although they didn't make much of a dent in this part of the world. I'm not sure they really deserved much more than they achieved, but they did have their moments.

This is a track from their second album, 1994's Somersault.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sneaky Feelings - Trouble With Kay

Hope this makes up for my (technologically-enforced absence) yesterday. It's from a Flying Nun band who, sadly, seem to have been largely forgotten. This was a 1987 single and track from their debut album, Sentimental Education.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The School - I Want You Back

Cardiff band. Dreadful name, Heavenly music. And I do mean capital-H Heavenly.

This was originally released on a 2008 EP and subsequently reappeared on their 2010 debut album, Loveless Unbeliever, on the wonderful Elefant Records.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tiger Tape - Let's Work Things Out

Tiger Tape are an indiepop band from Stockholm who used to be called Moofish Catfish. The less said about that, the better. This is a rather striking tune from 2010, from their debut album I Woke Up in Hökarängen. The vocals have a great don't-give-a-fuck quality to them.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nick Heyward - On a Sunday

Nick was one of my very first pop star crushes and I still get a bit silly and girly watching this. I don't think much was expected from him when he left Haircut 100, but his solo debut North of a Miracle, from 1983, was actually pretty good. It's lightweight, sure, but so is a lot of the stuff on this blog. In a different sort of way. I take retrospective vindication from the fact that no less a label than Cherry Red decided to reissue it a couple years ago.

This was my favourite single from that album (and oddly enough, the least successful).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

See See Rider - Rosey Singer

B-side from this East Kilbride band's 1991 Stolen Heart EP. It's good enough to be a single in its own right, if not as enthralling as the EP's title track (which I've already posted, here). Really wish they'd stuck around a bit longer.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Catherine Wheel - Flower to Hide

While I'm in a '90s shoegaze mood (as if I'm ever not, ha) here's an album track from CW's debut that I particularly liked. Actually, I think a lot of their album tracks have held up better than their singles, but maybe that's just me.

From 1992.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sunbear - Leadbelt

Sorry about yesterday, folks, you wouldn't believe what my computer was doing to me. Anyway, here's an absolutely gorgeous tune from a Dublin shoegaze band who really should have been better known back in the day. It's from their 1996 EP Bits and Pieces, or you can also find it on a recent compilation called Bits. And, really, you should.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dazzle

The opening track to 1984's Hyæna, and the last Banshees single I really liked. 'Twas all kind of downhill from here.

There is an official video on YouTube, but I think Siouxsie's antics in it detract from the song so I'm posting this one instead. Just listen.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kids on a Crime Spree - I Don't Want to Call You Baby, Baby

Oakland, California band. If you're into the whole Beach Boys-meet-the-Ramones-in-the-garage-with-Phil-Spector-producing thing you'll want to check them out.

It's from their 2011 debut EP, We Love You So Bad. On Slumberland, naturally.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nick Drake - Cello Song

One of these people who I decided I better listen to just because so many of the bands I loved as a teenager were citing him as an influence. (See also: Big Star, Love.) Some of his more straightforward folk stuff I find pleasant enough without being particularly inspiring, but this one I think is just epic. It's from his 1969 debut album, Five Leaves Left.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Brilliant Colors - Absolutely Anything

Not to be confused with '80s Bristolians the Brilliant Corners, or Dublin's Gorgeous Colours, these are a San Francisco band with short fuzzy pop tunes that recall the punkier side of the Shop Assistants. And with that description you just know it's gonna be on Slumberland, don't you? I'm not entirely sold on the vocals, but the tunes are great.

From their 2009 debut album, Introducing Brilliant Colors.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Yeh Deadlies - Magazine

Another Dublin band (with a brilliantly Dublin-esque name), this one is led by Annie Tierney, a former member of The Radio who I put up here a few days ago. She's been/remains a member of about a zillion other Irish bands, too - I told you The Radio were a supergroup - though if you're outside of Ireland you probably haven't heard of them.

This was a 2010 single, which makes me think of a lo-fi Go-Gos.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Mondays - Kinky Afro

I wasn't their biggest fan to begin with and I was particularly befuddled about the hype over Pills 'N Thrills And Bellyaches, but I give them credit for this song because (a) it's just a good song, simples and (b) the opening couplet is sheer brilliance. Remember when 30 seemed old? Jeez.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Squarehead - Fake Blood

One of my singles of the year last year. Squarehead are a Dublin band who sound sort of like a cross between Teenage Fanclub and Green Day. They do a very nice, faithful cover of "Cathy's Clown". How can you not like a band that covers "Cathy's Clown"?

You can pick up their full debut album, Yeah Nothing, here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Three Johns - Death of the European

I heard this song for the first time shortly after it was released (1985) but I always assumed it was older than that. It has a really early-'80s post-punk feel, I think, even though it's fairly pop by the Three Johns' standards. Though you certainly couldn't accuse them of going mainstream where the lyrics were concerned. Or the cover art for that matter.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Teardrop Explodes - Camera Camera

B-side to their 1979 debut single, "Sleeping Gas". It barely sounds like the Teardrop Explodes; in fact, to my ears it barely sounds like Julian Cope singing. Come to that, it barely sounds like "singing" at all. But it's still a good song.

Sunday, April 1, 2012