Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dignan Porch - Like It Was Again

One of my favourite songs of the past couple years and I can't believe I haven't posted it yet. It's simple and sweet and could actually break your heart if you were in that sort of mood.

It originally appeared as "Like It Was" on their 2010 debut album Tendrils, but was re-recorded, re-titled (sort of) and re-released for last year's Deluded EP. Which is a wonderful release, if you don't mind the atrocious cover art (seriously, this is what-were-you-thinking??? territory).

Oh, and they're from Tooting.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holly Beth Vincent - Honalu

The gorgeous opening track to Holly's second album (titled Holly and the Italians, but credited to her alone), from 1982. This would be on all those New Wave Classics collections, if there was any justice in the world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simple Minds - Chelsea Girl

Now here's a trip down memory lane. What a different band Simple Minds were back then! The keyboards remind me of a Van Morrison song (not that one), Jim Kerr looks like Gary Numan, and there's some rather wankery guitar in the middle. Still, there's an infectious song underneath it all, and I love an infectious song no matter how embarrassingly it's dressed.

Their second single, from 1979.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tiger Tape - She is Fiction

I posted another track from this album just last month, but surprisingly Tiger Tape still haven't taken over the world yet so I'm gonna give them another go. They're a bit...quirky, which can be a big ol' red flag for a lot of people, and the vocals might not be to everyone's taste - but personally I find them pretty close to irresistible.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Boo Radleys - Skyscraper

Boos posts are always popular round these parts so here's another one from my favourite album of theirs, Everything's Alright Forever. It's kind of just a straightforward album track, but it shows the quality of their songwriting at the time that they could come up with album tracks as solid as this one, which certainly wasn't the case for a lot of their contemporaries in shoegazeville. As with so much on this album, it's mostly about the way they get everything right in terms of arrangement, soundscaping, and letting the music take the lead where it matters instead of throwing in totally unnecessary words just for the sake of it.

From 1992.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Crystal Garden - Heaven's Kiss

Apologies for my no-show yesterday folks. I was suffering from Irish Sunstroke, a widespread affliction on this island in which the rare occurrence of a warm sunny day renders the population absolutely physically incapable of sticking to usual schedules or obligations. Seriously, it's like a spell of mass hysteria gripping the nation.

I'm over it now.

So anyway, here's a track from a 1993 Waaah! 7". It was something of a clever marketing ploy by Bring On Bull Records, putting the (relatively) well-known Orchids on the cover to make it look like a new Orchids single when the b-sides were actually by two different bands: Bouquet and this lot whom I know absolutely nothing about. Theirs is actually my favourite track on the record, though, a nice little bit of lo-fi twee pop with delightful boy-girl vocals and possibly the worst drum machine ever.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Bloody Valentine - Honey Power

The title kind of makes me cringe now (weren't there just way too many indie songs about honey and sugar and all that back in the day?) but apart from that, this is a great song. It's from the 1991 Tremolo EP but I think it's more in the vein of earlier MBV, which I, apparently alone in all the universe, prefer to their final couple years. Not early early MBV of course, who were shit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Horowitz - The Knitwear Generation

More DIY indiepop-punk from somewhereinEngland. This one came out on cassette only last year, the title track to a three-song EP, and I'm sure they won't thank me for saying the opening bits remind me of "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins. I actually like that song, though, so don't take it the wrong way fellas.

It's one of those songs that you might need to listen to for a while before it starts growing on you. But it will.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oporto - Actors Studio

A short-lived band formed by Andy Davies after the Cudgels' split. As far as I know the French Blue 7", to which this was the opening track, was their only release; it came out in 1994 on Sunday Records. Twee pop fans will want to get it though to be honest I don't think it's up there with the best recordings on the Cudgels family tree.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Psychedelic Furs - Sleep Comes Down

Not one of their best-remembered songs, I don't think, but this track from 1982's Forever Now has always been a favourite of mine. It's simple and sing-songy, almost effortless in its dreamy perfection. I can recall hearing a slower live version too which I'm not sure the source of - any info would be appreciated.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Anguish Sandwich - Leave My Brain Alone

Super lo-fi fuzzy pop from Northampton. I can't decide if their name is crap or brilliant, which probably means it's brilliant.

From their just-released four-song EP, Bermuda Triangle.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The New Lines - Buildings to Photograph

Great spacey psychedelic pop from, where else, Brooklyn. This is the closing track of their 2011 debut album All That We See and Seem. It was also the first song I ever heard of theirs and I wondered at first if it had been uploaded at the wrong speed, but no, it's just beautifully languid.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Big Country - Inwards

Not very fashionable I know, but I always had a sneaking regard for The Crossing, Big Country's 1983 debut album. Sure they were a bit bombastic and overwrought at times, but when you think of the bands they were usually lumped in with, they really didn't have any of the irritating self-righteousness of U2 or the, erm, general crapness of the Alarm. (Remember the Alarm? Giggle.)

I hadn't actually heard it for a good couple decades when I put it on again recently and I definitely think it had a lot more going for it than most of us gave it credit for. Some quite decent album tracks, like this one.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Drivin' 'n' Cryin' - Ghost Party in the Attic

Most of Drivin' 'n' Cryin's stuff is unmitigated rubbish but this is a wonderfully quirky little burst of energy, under two minutes long, totally unlike anything else I've ever heard of theirs.

I'm not sure where it comes from. I have it on an old cassette dating from the mid-1980s (hence the atrocious sound quality), but I can't seem to find any information on its source. It seems to have been later reissued on an album called Everything Looks Better in the Dark, released in 1987 under the name of Frank French and Kevn Kinney (the latter being DnC's singer/guitarist), but I'm not sure if it was this version or a re-recording. My cassette version definitely preceded that release.

Anyway, that album's probably as unlistenable as everything DnC did after this song, so this is really all you need.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Charlatans - Just When You're Thinking Things Over

I pretty much lost interest in the Charlatans after their debut album but this song, from their (self-titled) fourth, was nearly as good as their early material. It does the same kind of Stones-to-a-'90s-dancebeat thing that Primal Scream are so well known for, but without the self-importance that ruins the latter band for me.

From 1995.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cleaners from Venus - Follow the Plough

I'd said pretty much all I expected to say about Cleaners from Venus here but the renewed interest in them recently, sparked by the reissue of their first three albums for Record Store Day, gives me a good excuse for another go. Plus, I was kind of wishing I'd put up this song in the first place. It's a bit atypically mainstream-sounding, but just tell me that hook doesn't get you.

It's from 1987's Going to England LP, which was their eighth or something.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Beat - Save It For Later

One of those songs that I seem to have known forever, and always liked, but have only come to properly appreciate in recent years. It's pretty much a straightforward pop tune, so I can understand why it wasn't the most popular with their original fans. But it's got such a great, classic melody, with Dave Wakeling's world-weary vocals adding a particularly affecting quality. Can't really imagine why it wasn't a bigger hit.

From their final album, 1982's Special Beat Service.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Radiators from Space - Television Screen

You'd never know it from looking at most British accounts of the era but there was more to 1970s Irish punk than the Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers. Dublin had a thriving scene too, and the Radiators from Space were probably the best known, or at least they're the best remembered now. They were one of (if not the) earliest Dublin punk bands, formed in the pub rock era. You can hear that influence on this song, which was their first single, in 1977.

They've reformed in the past few years (hasn't everyone?) and just released a new album. I haven't heard it yet but it's been pretty well-reviewed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The LimiƱanas - I'm Dead

A brilliant, buoyant, very '60s-influenced pop tune from this south-of-France band. It was their first single, released in 2010, and they've since followed it up with a self-titled album on the Trouble in Mind label. They do actually sing in French on some of their songs, which is something I always like in a French pop band. Not because it's French, I just think pop bands shouldn't always feel they have to sing in English, if their native language is something else. Anyway, great tune, this one.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Voice of the Beehive - Monsters and Angels

Voice of the Beehive's debut album was a hit-and-miss affair, but its high points were, really, quite fabulous. The audaciously-titled follow-up, Honey Lingers, was inferior in terms of both the number and, erm, height of its own "high points": there's really only a couple of worthwhile tracks on it, and if they never existed you wouldn't really miss them. In fact, you could pretty much turn it off after this song - the first on the album - which would be a keeper for its opening couplet alone.

From 1991, though still seems stubbornly stuck in the '80s.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Panda Kopanda - Ocean of Fire

No idea if this Belfast band is still around but over the past half-dozen years or so they had a number of releases which were really nice in a lo-fi Death Cab sort of way. This was one of my favourites of theirs, the title track from a 2006 EP.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Game Theory - Together Now, Very Minor

The song that closes out their epic Lolita Nation LP, from 1987. It's kind of a nice way to end the album, after all the chaos that preceded it. Actually it's a lovely tune and musically quite unlike anything else Game Theory ever recorded. Same incomprehensible lyrics, though.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mission of Burma - Trem Two

MoB's second 7", from 1982. It's not an obvious single, I don't think; it strikes me as one of those album tracks that you don't really notice for the first couple dozen listenings and then one day you think, "Fuck me, this is bleeding brilliant." Or maybe that's just how I reacted to it, having first heard it as an album track a couple years after the fact. Whatever. It's a great song either way, a tense and moody piece that sounds like MoB were listening to a fair amount of Manchester post-punk in that Boston garage of theirs.

 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Holidays!

It's a bank holiday weekend in Ireland and I'm taking a long one, starting now. See you back on Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Felt - Evergreen Dazed

I don't think I've posted anything yet from the Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty mini-LP, Felt's 12" debut, even though it's my single favourite thing they've ever released. Every song on it is so exquisitely crafted, the vocals (where there are any) wisely downplayed, Martin Deebank's guitar doing its intricate dance around (and occasionally with) Lawrence's strums, the almost tribalistic rhythms, and the austere production rendering it all even more fragile. It's a stunning work, and I can never decide if I wish it were a full-length because there might be more of it, or if I'm glad they left it at six songs instead of risking spoiling it with filler. I've been pondering that question for almost thirty years now.

This is the opening track, an instrumental, a perfect instrumental where you don't even notice there aren't any vocals or if you do, you don't miss them because the song has everything it needs without them. Everything.

And if I sound like I'm swooning, well, this record does that to me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In Embrace - This Brilliant Evening

They had a terrible name but this Coventry band might have had a very bright future ahead of them in the world of mid-1980s jangle pop, if only their label (Glass) hadn't evaporated and taken a whole album's worth of unreleased material with it. In Embrace did, however, have the good fortune to release a couple singles on Cherry Red, like this one from 1985. It's our good fortune too because without that label's fondness for compilation albums, I suspect they would have disappeared down the memory hole entirely.