Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Girls in the Garage

The Girls in the Garage compilations make a fun series showcasing the flames that the Brit Invasion spark lit on the USA's young women. It widened its search to unearth gems from Europe (you must hear The Plommons from Sweden Beatles tribute Last Train To Liverpool), Singapore (you do want a version of Yummy Yummy Yummy sung in Chinese) and Australia (you really want Little Pattie's He's My Blonde Headed, Stompie Wompie Surfer Boy).

Some of the albums' liner notes haven't aged that well ("a trip down Mammary Lane", anyone?) but the compilers' enthusiasm and research can't be questioned.

Two of the last compilations were reissued for Record Store Day. I can't really fault the records, but I don't see the market for them. They were offered at £20 each, which is about the maximum you'd pay second hand.

Yes, I know some nutjob paid £91 for Volume 9 Oriental Special, but if I based my financial planning on what someone did once on ebay I'd be in the poorhouse.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll stumble across some of the compilations in the used racks or even unsold stock sitting there in the new releases. There's some novelty, some beat group classics, some surprises (yes, that is Cher in 1964 singing Ringo, I Love You) and a lot of the sound you've heard being made in recent years by the underground distaff scene. This is where it started.



Friday, 14 April 2017

Peter Perrett returns

The last time Peter Perrett released an album, 1996's Woke Up Sticky, it was at the top of the year's best releases.

The 3 albums he made with The Only Ones from 1978 to 1980 set the template without which the Manic Street Preachers would have been a pub rock band, The Libertines a Kinks covers band and The House Of Love stuck at home listening to Bob Dylan outtakes.

Perrett releases a new album, How The West Was Won, on June 30. The title track owes something to the Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane, but that didn't stop me ordering the album. You just know that many of these new songs will be freshly minted classics.

There's no word on a tour. Did you see The Only Ones live 10 years ago? Brilliant stuff. Perrett, though, is unpredictable. He had to be smuggled out of America, seven dates into a 20-date support tour with The Who, after deliberately running over a six-foot Chinese car park attendant who had been hassling him.

If there won't be any Perrett gigs, then perhaps his new label Domino could form a tribute band. A young Johnny Marr got kicked out of The Only Ones’ dressing room more than once. Robert Forster sang The Only Ones’ The Whole Of The Law at his 2010 “15 songs about London” gig, mimicking Peter Perrett’s louche drawl perfectly. He then offered his services as a singer if anyone was going to start an Only Ones tribute band.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Rocketship - Outer Otherness

It’s fair to ask why Rocketship haven’t released a pop classic as insistent and instant as I Love You Like The Way That I Used To Do, I'm Lost Without You Here or Hey, Hey Girl in the last 20 years. It's fair to answer that no one else has either.

Outer Otherness finds Rocketship in krautrock territory using what sounds like a 1980s drum machine sparring with a hypnotic, mournful keyboard tune last seen on a beach in Ibiza when everyone was coming down and marvelling at the mysteries and wonders their altered minds had conjured.

Even if *that* doesn’t quite get you unfurling your TUNE! banner it will get you holding up a scorecard declaring “NINE OUT OF TEN AT LEAST” before sticking it on repeat.

This is a split 7” single with Pia Fraus (from Estonia, geography fans) who trade in a superior line of blissed out shoegaze, all airy melodies like Wild Nothing and celestial psychedelia like Melody’s Echo Chamber. They’ve been releasing records since 2001, so I’ve got some catching up to do because this is a very good sound.




Friday, 24 March 2017

The Lucksmiths - how to tour on a budget

The Lucksmiths did their first European tour supporting Belle and Sebastian in 1998. They wrote to them asking to play, then flew from Melbourne to Amsterdam just in case they got the gig. They did.

They then toured the UK on their own, signing ('signing') to Fortuna POP! the following year. The Lucksmiths became experts at touring on the cheap. This involved scavenging bagels from dumpsters, getting a brewery to sponsor them and asking audience members if they could sleep on their floor after the gig.

"We'll have to go on forever, as we can't do anything else. We might have to be like ESG and get our children to be The Lucksmiths 20 years down the track."

This was 2002. The Lucksmiths are now all parents. The family band prediction is on.


Sodastream interview

Sodastream explain how they turned down a Blanco y Negro record deal for Tugboat so they could be on same label as Low.

This interview was published in TNT magazine in 2003 when they'd signed ('signed') with Fortuna POP! and released A Minor Revival.

I spoke to Pete Cohen last night. The excess baggage for the double bass was only $500 this time. There may be a kickstarter or a bucket handed round at tonight's gig.




"I grew my hair and discovered Smoke On The Water"

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wurld Series - Air Goofy

Things I suspect Wurld Series have:
  • a collection of obscure psychedelic albums
  • some old effects pedals held together by packing tape
  • Mr Big The Medicine Man’s phone number
Thing I know they have:
  • a confrontational tape of tuneful noise
That tape is Air Goofy on the consistently excellent Melted Ice Cream label. It’s dispatched in a shrugging ‘take it or leave it way’. I’m taking it. It’s really quite brilliant. I bet they know that. How could they not?

I know - believe me, I know - a lot of bands are compared to Guided By Voices, but with Wurld Series it’s right on the button. They take Robert Pollard’s  “four Ps”, pop, punk, psych, and prog, and make hook-laden songs that have more ideas in them than some bands manage in a whole album.

And some of these songs are under a minute long. Oh, in case you’re worried about the prog thing, the longest song bows out in under 3 minutes.

Wurld Series even manage acid folk on Regional Perspectives and temper The Fall’s raging lunacy on AH’s 56th Dream. I’m still finding things in these songs. They’ll last.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

I Love Your Lifestyle - Fire

Punk's fire and fury with pop's instant bite and hardcore's melodic mayhem. It's a win-win-win situation. They boast guitar proficiency even if this is DIY, like The Only Ones did in punk's amateur hour, and it sounds great.

I can see them fitting in with British acts like Shit Present or Playlounge, all shredding guitars and chaotic tunes.

I Love Your Lifestyle (it's either an emo band name or sardonic, either way I'll pass on the t-shirt option) have a great way with song titles and waspish lyrics. Try their debut ep I Was a Loser in School or Nice Jacket. Not. and No Time For Major Fuck Ups from last year's album.