Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Birthday Kiss - Starting to Come Back to Life

Wonderful song from this new(-ish) project of Ben from The Lodger (but featuring someone called Sarah on vocals). It has a real '60s feel but not in a psychedelic or Phil Spector sort of way - this is more up the Sandie Shaw alley. It dates from last year, I think.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Annemarie - Lovely Afternoon

One of the leading lights of Indonesian indiepop - and with the quality of bands coming out of there in recent years, that's quite a compliment indeed. What makes Annemarie stand out is their singer, Rima, who may well have the sweetest voice I have ever heard in my life. It's almost unreal.

This is a track from Fall to Fall, a 2011 split EP with Italian band Tiny Tide.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eternal Summers - Able To

When I first heard the name of this band and saw their cover art I expected something twee and/or blissed-out, but Eternal Summers are in fact a minimalist lo-fi indiepop band with a decided No Wave tinge. They're from somewhere in the middle of Virginia, which makes me like them even more.

This is from a self-titled 2009 release, nearly every song on which clocks in at under 3 minutes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

World of Pooh - Mr Coffee-Nerves

Great track from World of Pooh's sole album, the obscure 1989 classic The Land of Thirst. Really, don't feel bad if you've never heard of it. I probably wouldn't have either if I wasn't kicking around San Francisco at that time.

To the extent it's known at all, it's probably only because Barbara Manning was in the band and she's got a bit of a cult following among American indie fans. This song isn't one of hers, though.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Billy Bragg - A Lover Sings

Always loved this one from his 1984 album, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg. The opening line alone is one of my favourite things he's ever written.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Sometimes Always - Disch-Me

Indonesian one-man "band" who sounds like he listens to Ecstasy and Wine-era My Bloody Valentine a lot. Not that there's anything wrong with that. This is a 2011 track that I think may be only available online.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tiny Fireflies - Snow

I liked this band as soon as I first saw their name, before hearing them or knowing anything else about them. How could a band called Tiny Fireflies not be filled with indie twee wondrousness? Then I found out they were actually a collaboration between members of Tiny Microphone and Fireflies, the same members who also collaborate as Very Truly Yours, and I still didn't need to hear them to know I would love them. And then I finally actually did hear them and even with my high expectations they still knocked me out. This is almost unbearably gorgeous, I could listen to it for hours.

You can get it here. Do yourself a favour.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Joy Division - Isolation

A lot of Closer, Joy Division's second album, is too bleak for my tastes. Musically, that is; it's all pretty bleak lyrically but I don't find that quite as off-putting. Especially when those bleak lyrics are as stunning as some of these ones are.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fanzine - Low

A very Dinosaur Jr-esque number from this London band, the title track to their debut LP, released last year. Heavier guitars than I would normally like on my lo-fi but when the tune's as catchy as this one I can't really complain.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dream Diary - Something Tells Her

Yet another Brooklyn band, this one specialising in clear pure indiepop that brings to mind such greats as the Razorcuts and Poole. This is from their 2011 debut album, You are the Beat.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Colourbox - Arena

Like "The Moon is Blue", my favourite Colourbox track (which I've already posted), this is kind of an oddity in terms of the general style of the album, which is oriented towards a much more upbeat type of dance music. Unlike "The Moon is Blue", this one didn't grab me the first time I heard it - or the second time or even dozens of times later. It's not really my kind of music at all, to be honest. But after two and a half decades of hearing it just because I put the album on to hear "The Moon is Blue" and didn't bother taking it off afterwards, I guess you could say it's grown on me. And I now think it's rather stunning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Golden Grrrls - Beaches

Absolute cracker of a debut single by this Glasgow trio, released last year. It's got a bit of lo-fi, a bit of shoegaze, a bit of Twilight Sad and some really cool tribal drumming. More please!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Gang of Four - I Found That Essence Rare

Entertainment! is a great album from start to finish but this is probably my personal favourite on it - catchy as hell and with sharp, clever lyrics, the kind that sound good even if you don't know what they mean and sound even better once you work out what they do mean. This is why I love the Gang of Four.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Stone Roses - Waterfall

I was going to post another song from the Roses' debut album since I assumed I must have posted this one already, because it's my favourite song from that album, and not only my favourite song from that album but my favourite Roses song, and not only my favourite Roses song but one of my favourite songs ever by anyone. But I can't seem to locate a post for it. Blogger's search function is a bit wonky so it could well be that I did post it and just can't find it now, but I'm not going to worry about it too much: if any song deserves a double-post it's this one. Just listen to it. It's perfect, in the way that "Just Like Honey" is perfect.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Everything But the Girl - Riverbed Dry

B-side to the 1984 "Native Land" single, which I've already posted. I think it's really quite a majestic little piece in its own way. Tracey's voice kills me on it, but then, it usually does.


Friday, June 15, 2012

SOA - Public Defender

Been a while since I've posted any '80s punk, so here's a classic bit of harDCore from an early Dischord band featuring one Henry Rollins on vocals. He was still going by Henry Garfield then.

This isn't an official video, if you couldn't guess.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Short break

I'll be unexpectedly away for a couple days and won't be able to update. Back on Friday, I hope.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Soft Cell - Torch

File this one under "songs I never realised were actually as good as they were". This 1982 single was actually Soft Cell's second-biggest hit, something that surprised me to learn because I would have assumed it was "Say Hello Wave Goodbye", which certainly seems to be better remembered. This one's not as instantly memorable as that or for that matter "Tainted Love" but it's really quite nice in its own little way.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Au Pairs - Armagh

Powerful piece from the Au Pairs' 1981 debut album, Playing with a Different Sex, written about the (mis)treatment of Irish female political prisoners in a British jail. I always think of the opening lines to this song whenever Guantánamo is in the news.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Waterboys - The Whole of the Moon

I'm just back from watching a dreadful Ireland performance in Euro 2012, which will probably depress me for the rest of the week, but the DJ in the pub where I watched the match had the good sense to play this song afterwards which at least managed to cheer me up as much as anything could, because I absolutely loved this song as a teenager. I'm a little bit drunk so don't expect me to say anything more about it.

1985, I think.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed

FB3's version of the song that Terry Hall co-wrote with Jane Wiedlin (he sent her the lyrics, she put them to music). I've always preferred it to the Go-Go's version, but then I never really thought the Go-Go's were up to much.

Released on their wonderful second album, Waiting, from 1983.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Soft Boys - Insanely Jealous

A real cult favourite from the Boys' second album, 1980's Underwater Moonlight. It's a remarkable track, showing off what a brilliant lyricist Robyn Hitchcock could be when he wasn't being insufferably clever;  musically it's haunting and atmospheric and builds into what must be the frenzied crescendo to end all frenzied crescendos. I was surprised to see that it's only a little over four minutes long - I would have guessed it much longer than that, not because it's boring or anything but just because there is so much going on it.

I'd go so far as to say this was the Soft Boys' (and indeed Robyn Hitchcock's) masterpiece.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Whistler Post - Sebastian Says

One of a number of great bands to come out of Indonesia over the recent past. This 7" was released last year and reminds me a lot of the Nightblooms (for those unfamiliar, that means it sounds like the Cardigans on shoegaze). Very nice.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honeybunch - I Won't Stand In Your Way

A track that never made it onto any proper Honeybunch release, and only saw the light on their compilation album Time Trials 1987-1995. It says something about the quality of a band when even their outtakes are this good. True, it's not really a patch on their previous entry at this blog (here), but then there aren't many songs anywhere that reach those heights. This one is perfectly charming in its own right.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Depeche Mode - Dreaming of Me

The first-ever DM single (1981) and one I've always loved. It's sort of a perfect pop tune, synth-pop style. I can't believe there doesn't seem to be a proper video for it.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Pencil Tin - Friday

Side project of Bart Cummings from the Cat's Miaow and Robert Cooper from the Sugargliders and Earthmen. Their only 12" release was the album A Gentle Hand to Guide You Along, put out by Bus Stop in 1996 though it had been recorded two years earlier.

This is one of Robert's songs, a gorgeous and very Sarah-esque track.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Byrds - The Bells of Rhymney

The Byrds were a huge influence on a lot of the bands who appear on these pages, from the 1960s up to today, so it's fitting to give them a post of their own. While they had better-known songs than this one, it's pretty much always been my favourite, and I think it's one of the clearest expositions of that classic Byrds Sound that so many have tried to emulate. I love everything about it.

Pete Seeger did the original, btw.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lisa Mitchell - Neopolitan Dreams

This may have been ridiculously overexposed a few years ago through being used in about twelve different companies' advertising but, erm, that's because it's really really good. I never realised she was "discovered" on Australian Idol, and actually did pretty well on it; the TV audience for singing competitions must be different down under because I can't imagine a twee-indie-folk artist getting beyond the first round over here. In saying that I suppose I have to admit I never watch those programmes anyway.

From her second (2008) EP, Welcome to the Afternoon.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sensible Jerseys - Go to Work

Lately I've posted a lot of great bands with crap names so here's a band with a great name. Who weren't a crap band, if that's where you thought I was going with this.

On the other hand, they weren't a great band, either. They didn't really have time to be, appearing and disappearing all in the one year (1985), and their extremely limited output really did no more than hint at what they could have been. Pleasant jangly guitar pop, sounded great, but the tunes were kind of average. At least the ones they had time to release before splitting up, like this, the b-side to their second and last single.

I think they were from London, but I could be entirely wrong on that.