Friday, 20 January 2017

Francoise Hardy interview, 1996

"I've got a very limited voice, which can be effective on some songs. I like the contrast between big music and a little voice. I really like the Jesus and Mary Chain."

Published 21 June 1996. I know it's a bit crumpled. It's been stuck between some Francoise Hardy records for over 20 years.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Buzzcocks show time's up for box sets

Buzzcocks' Spiral Scratch ep is being reissued. Great. Every home should have one. So is Time's Up, the semi-official bootleg album. Only completists really need that. It's not very good.

If you want both, that'll be £23. Fair enough. If you want both in a box, that'll be £50. I know. Although you do get some badges and photos and posters with that.

Remember NME's 2007 redesign which featured a "Weekly Planner catering for younger readers"? That was the magazine's death knell, a sign it had moved so far from its roots and mission, that its closure was inevitable. This box set stinks of the same desperation for the box set market.

The £50 price tag is telling. This sounds like a record company trying to bring back the 50 quid bloke, a term coined by journalist and magazine publisher David Hepworth in 2003:

"This is the guy we've all seen in Borders or HMV on a Friday afternoon, possibly after a drink or two, tie slightly undone, buying two CDs, a DVD and maybe a book - fifty quid's worth - and frantically computing how he's going to convince his partner that this is a really, really worthwhile investment."

50 quid bloke died, possibly with Borders and HMV, replaced either by Vinyl Revival Man (repurchasing those cheap CDs from HMV with £20 180g virgin vinyl reissues) or by 79p download man.

Whoever buys this box set will have a hard time justifying it to anyone if they have to. It doesn't offer anything like value for money.

The marketing team have subtitled this 'Mk 1 Box Set'. Let's imagine what will be in Mk 2 Box Set. All 3 studio albums? What about Mk 3 Box Set? All the singles? Well, if that's the case then Box Sets Mk 2 and 3 would be a reissue of the 5x LP 1989 Product box set. 

Then you could rightly say "ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

Friday, 13 January 2017

Field Route - Dreaming

Field Route make extreme music. Extremely small, beautiful and poetic music. This kind of extreme indiepop seems to rile people no end, even though it takes an adventurous and thoughtful path as any blissed out rock or pscyh band.

If you want to annoy people, play this record out. Play it in a set with The Wake's O Pamela, The Field Mice's Emma's House and St Christopher's Crystal Clear. It's in that lineage. In the same way it's got the quietly rousing grandeur of The Walker Brothers, which riles no one. That's cultural perception for you.

I can imagine them releasing a stripped-back acoustic ep of New Order covers. Based on this excellent start (well, this is two of Horse Beach moonlighting, so they've got previous), whatever they do next will be worth catching.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Bearcats - Break Up Stories

On New Friends Bearcats switch on the distortion pedal and give their guitars what I believe is technically called Hell all the while keeping the new wave beat - chugging bass and handclaps - going.

Turn Me Around sees them pitch their stall midway between Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts - dramatically static, atmospheric and romantically fragile. Someone somewhere may already be carving the lyrics on their arm.

They go down that road marked '1982' or 'The Cure' or 'Blank Dogs' for Mickey and Mallory, the last track on this tape. I didn't go for that sound the last time it was revived and I'm still not biting. Still, 2 out of 3 of these songs are magic.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Destiny 3000

Dylan Thomas described Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two-Birds as "just the book to give your sister – if she's a loud, dirty, boozy girl". Swap O'Brien's book for Destiny 3000's 7" ep and that quote is just as valid.

This is a loud, chaotic and gripping record. They sound like they're mining the same pre-grunge scene as Teenage Fanclub did on A Catholic Education, only with more Flying Nun than Dinosaur Jr. 

So these songs are sludgy and melodic, like The Courtneys. You could - I just did - play the sharply metallic 380D next to The Stones' Something New and Doublehappys' The Other's Way. 

This song - and maybe The Real Kim Deal, because what a title - would have made a 2016 best of if I'd done one. But the internet says this record came out in 2015. It's only just hit the UK's import racks. Get it while you can.

The ep was recorded in 2013, so maybe this is all we'll get from Destiny 3000. Their discography is perfect, then.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Rat Fancy

Once upon a time there was a band called Sweater Girls who debuted with a single called Do The Sweater. Diana from Sweater Girls is back with a new band who debut with a song about a...sweater. 

So Rat Fancy - no, I don't know why they chose that name, but I'm sure they have their reasons - aren't a million miles away from Sweater Girls. You Stole My Xmas Sweater is a seasonal jingle of trebly guitar and delayed fuzz with a sweet, light candyfloss tune. 

They continue the Christmas theme with a Ramones cover, which gets closer to the fuzzy blizzard Sweater Girls did. There's a proper single, Suck A Lemon, next year. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Vital Idles - The Garden

In 1987 The Vaselines announced themselves as "fun-lovin', normal, healthy, fuck-obsessed adolescents". Almost 30 years later, another Glasgow band introduce themselves with a single about fucking in the garden. There's nothing not to like.

This is sweetly melodic and darkly sombre like a Velvet Underground ballad. The stakes are raised by a stately violin and trumpet that snake through the slowly building, clanging chord changes.

And I feel quite certain that, like me, you'd enjoy a baroque ballad issuing the lines "would you feel uncomfortable with your bum facing the clean air/and the wind in your hair?"

It's an impressive, terrific start on vinyl for Vital Idles, and for new record label Not Unloved.