Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Adult Mom: Momentary Lapse Of Happily

Firstly, these song titles are gold. Try these for size: What's Another Lipstick Mark, Sorry I Was Sorry, Meg Ryan.

Secondly, the lyrics are by turns confessional and whip smart black comedy. Coming out song Told Ya So presses all the right buttons: "It's okay to feel the world/It is okay to kiss...girls"

If there is a scene (alternative, rough and tumble, folky, distaff) then the Crutchfield sisters are its godmothers. I'm not sure there is a scene, though. I think it's more likely we're lucky enough to be enjoying a range of DIY pop that hisses and spits and glows bright, and much of the really good stuff is done by women.

Anyhow, Adult Mom's sound reaches as far back to the beautiful misery of X, the dramatic drive of The Raincoats, and Patti Smith's fire and fury.

Maybe there's a link between - off the of top of my head - Girlpool and Two White Cranes and Rebel Kind and Frankie Cosmos (pick your own - there are loads more). Or maybe a lot of great new music is made by women and it's a pattern that's been missed by major festival bookers.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Your record isn't worth that much

The first rule of record value is rarity. The second is condition. Ebay has introduced a new rule: competition.

A record is worth what 2 people are prepared to fight it out for. That particular record on that day. Not all copies of that record ever.

This week I bought on ebay a copy of Dee Walker's 1984 mod revival gem Jump Back! for £19. 4 years ago it sold for £111. What that means is 4 years ago one person thought it was worth £110 and another was prepared to pay £111. 3 weeks after that first sale, a copy sold for £56, probably to the buyer who lost out with the £110 bid on the previous listing.

In the last year, Jump Back! has sold on ebay for between £19 and £30. Once the very few people who really want a record have it, the long-term value settles.

I used to work in a second-hand record shop buying records from the public. Sellers would often bargain with, "But it's worth £50 on ebay." The correct answer to that is: "Sell it on ebay, then. Remember ebay charge you to do that and you've got to take it to the post office. Would you like to buy a record mailer or have you got some at home? You need to clean it as well. It's not in great condition. You should buy some lighter fluid and an anti-static cloth. I can sell you the cloth for £6."

Dee Walker? She was a 22-year-old building society employee from Kent. Dance Network label boss Paul Bultitude said: “We can call her Dee. The mod scene needs a Cilla or a Sandy.”

Paul Bevoir wrote Jump Back! “a groovy dance song along the lines of The Locomotion.”

Two White Cranes: Radisson Blue

You'll likely know Roxy Brennan's voice from Trust Fund's No One's Coming For Us album this year or her eponymous debut album last year. You'll likely hear her again since she's joined Joanna Gruesome.

You'll definitely play her even more again if you buy Radisson Blue. It's at least as good as No One's Coming For Us and it's better still than her debut.

This is a coming-of-age record (okay, it's a tape). We Grew Up is like Emma Kupa's Home Cinema - life getting more complex as you get older. Diaries is about trying to hold on to old friendships (see also: Allo Darlin's Tallulah). It's brittle DIY folk toughened up - imagine if Rozi Plain had some Blake Babies records.

There's a song named after Raymond Carver's So Much Water So Close To Home. Paul Kelly was inspired by the same story to write If I Could Start Today Again. Roxy takes a different but no less effective approach. I can think of no higher praise.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Teaser Pony: Champion Pony

This is what happens when Melbourne's dolewave pioneers Dick Diver become too successful for the tag. One of them, Al McKay, makes a 7" ep. It's very, very good.

Teaser Pony's storytelling folk and new wave bite are another sign of Paul Kelly (finally) getting his due among young Australian musicians. The first sign I noticed was Darren Hanlon 15 years ago. No one seemed to follow that lead. Fast forward to 2013 and it's obvious that Scott & Charlene's Wedding's brilliant Any Port In A Storm wouldn't exist without Paul Kelly's Post as its foundation.

Then there's Courtney Barnett. Now there's Teaser Pony.

Speak to most Australians of Darren Hanlon's age and they're likely to describe Kelly as daggy. But a younger Australian generation is picking up on Kelly's 1980s albums for a rich domestic influence.

Of course, Al McKay might think Paul Kelly is a dag. But it doesn't sound like he does.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Gerry Loves split EP

Scottish pop, I fucking love you. Most of all, I love No Way, José by Poor Things and Everybody Says by Pinact.

Poor Things' vinyl debut reminds me of Kid Canaveral's debut Smash Hits: massive guitars, harmonies, sludge and sunshine. There's even a simple and brutally effective guitar solo.

Pinact you probably know all about, but you might not know this side of them. Everybody Says is bubblegum punk that sounds like a top 10 hit. Just like Teenage Fanclub's Star Sign and The Delgados' Under Canvas, Under Wraps.

And that's just side 1 of this 7". Side 2 is SHARPTOOTH (tribal drums, Life Without Buildings shrieks, Fall rumble) and Halfafrican (The Cramps' menace, frantic rockabilly, drunken guitars).


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Belle Adair: Muddy River

How did a song this good, patterned by gentle soft-pop and hazy psychedelia, end up on the other side of a charmless Southern boogie jam?

Possibly because it's the side that's more obviously from the same band that made The Brave and the Blue album 2 years ago. But Muddy River is better than every song on that. It's at least as good as anything on Woods' brilliant Sun and Shade album or Stephen Steinbrink's Arranged Waves. It breathes the same rarefied air.

If their second album is like this (ie heart-stopping, beautiful) then the bookies may as well stop taking bets on 2015's best album.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Cathys: Hysterical Monument

Great things this (great) 7" ep remind me of:

Lawrence - singer Sam Giddey shares his deadpan, deadbeat delivery. It's far more likely to come from the 70s NYC proto-punk style of Richard Hell or the scene's daddy, Lou Reed.

Whirlpool Vision Of Shame - come on, Rebble sounds like that Felt classic, no? The Cathys may never have heard of Felt so let's say Scott & Charlene's Wedding and The Strokes and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain were all on The Cathys' stereo at some point.

The Verlaines - bassist Julia Wylie's backing vocals remind me of The Verlaines' Jane Dodd. I'm thinking New Kinda Hero especially.

Marquee Moon - how the darkness doubled, how lightning struck itself.

These 4 songs all range from 82 seconds to an epic 2 minutes and 16 seconds. I've got no idea how they've packed so much scope and power and drama in such a short space.