Monday, 23 November 2015

Sutter Steps

This album is gloriously crisp and sweetly melodic. It’s got Big Star’s jangling desperation (every last song), Quasi’s quirky keyboard stylings (Backyard Charm), and country-rock melancholy (Go On).

Stutter Steps jangle incessantly with, you know, proper guitar solos right through this album like only The Bats can do. They trade in neat psychedelic tricks (Jeff Baron of Essex Green and Ladybug Transistor is on board, so really what did you expect) and intense romance. And they kick out the jams on Maple Leaf just because they can. 

Dean Wareham plays on Fog because it’s anthemic and ringing. And because you would if you were asked to.  

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Otis Brown and the Delights: Southside Chicago

Otis Brown's tribute to sweet soul Chicago matches the best of the city's vocal group signature sound it celebrates. It's that good.

Southside Chicago got a new lease of life as the theme music to Bob Abrahamian's brilliant Sitting In The Park radio show.

Bob died last year, way too young. He was a generous, incredibly knowledgeable and personable presenter. You can listen to his many shows. And you should. You'll find gold.

This reissue is vocal group heaven two times over because b-side I've Got Another is just as tender. It's on Numero - get it from Honest Jon's in the UK.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Dominique Durand's treasured albums

Ivy's Get Enough would be one of the first names on the team sheet if I was making a best 90s singles compilation. Shortly after its 1994 release, I asked singer Dominique Durand what albums meant the most to her when she left home.

She replied by fax. This was the 90s. She explained she'd left France for New York with 16 Lovers Lane, Forever Changes and Doolittle. I liked her even more.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Fuck Marry Kill - Daddy Issues

If Spice World had Daddy Issue's Glue Sniffer as its soundtrack then it would have been as big as Grease. 

What a song! It kicks some guy's sorry butt ("he's a snake! a cheater too! a liar and a loser and a rick of bamboo") with call and response vocals, a classic riff (just like the New York Dolls used to hijack Bowie or Richards) and a 10 cent punk guitar solo.

This (digital only) album is good time, gutsy rock'n'roll with a side order of snake-hipped balladry (Wild Thing), garage rock noise and surf guitar solos. 

It's the best thing Daddy Issues have done. They leave on a high, because this is their final bow. Better to burn out than to fade away.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dirtygirl - Junk Food

Dirtygirl are manically melodic like Bruising, petulantly spiteful like Colour Me Wednesday and sharply punk like No Ditching.

They say they're "just catchy pop punk tunes" but there's more going on here. Songs about bloody sheets (Seaside), negative body issues (most of the songs) and a guy with a tiny dick who'll never see the cute, sexy girl in her new underwear (Fat Girl) suggest Dirtygirl are, with Dog Legs, the riot grrrl wing of the UK's vibrant DIY scene.

There's even a song that has that Shop Assistants revival sound bands like Vivian Girls were doing a few years ago. Well, they do have "girl" in their band name. It used to be compulsory. It was seldom this good. Here, listen:

Monday, 2 November 2015

Eerie Summer

Feeling nostalgic for 2010? Get right on Eerie Summer’s 7(!) track 7-inch because it belongs next to Best Coast’s Sun Was High (So Was I) and It’ll Come Around by All Saints Day.

Everything drags just right, like slow motion footage of a couple breaking up. The sound may go even back further to Ultra Vivid Scene’s art rock and Mazzy Star’s spectral atmosphere and the Marine Girls’ whispered intimacy.

Wherever it comes from [St Petersburg, literally] please don’t call it shoegaze, because then I really don’t know what that genre means. Let’s just call it a modern classic, seven times over.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Odd Hope: Brave and Olde/I'll Follow You Soon

How to create classic psychedelic pop:

  • rummage through a box of musical toys like the TVPs
  • nod to The Lovin' Spoonful's You Didn't Have To Be So Nice
  • listen to The Pastels' 1984 Peel session with Joe Foster
  • write an unforgivingly catchy three-note hook and spin it out as a minute-long coda
  • make an analogue recording

Then release it on 7" on Fruits & Flowers, the label that's done everything right for 18 months.

Shall we just agree that everything on Fruits & Flowers is worth buying? That it's the best new label? And that Odd Hope's single is a 10 out of 10?

Just buy everything on the label automatically, then I can stop doing blog posts and they can retire, rich, to the hills and ingest whatever mind-altering substances they like at their leisure.