Friday 29 April 2011

David Westlake and The Go-Betweens Janice Long session

A classic radio session from David Westlake backed by The Go-Betweens, featuring The Word Around Town, Dream Come True, Faithful to 3 Lovers and Everlasting.

There's a tribute to Grant McLennan at the Hangover Lounge on May 8 featuring The Mexican Postcards - led by Rob Price of Airport Girl - and the excellent 16 Lovers Lane documentary.

The Mexican Postcards will be playing from around 3pm (exact time tbc).

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Mayer Hawthorne and Kings Go Forth join Dennis Coffey

Funk Brothers guitar legend Dennis Coffey has released two of the best tracks from his new album on a single. Mayer Hawthorne is enlisted for a cover of The Parliaments’ All Your Goodies Are Gone (it’s pretty faithful to the original, but that’s Hawthorne’s shtick; and Coffey did play on The Parliaments’ previous single in 1967, (I Wanna) Testify, so he knows the score).

Kings Go Forth – funk’s finest contemporary band – share writing duties with Coffey on Miss Millie, so you’ve got psychedelic soul, breakbeats, driving Hammond organ, and blaring horns the sweet side of sweaty.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

The Motifs and The Zebras return

The Motifs - purveyors of the world's most perfectly formed small pop songs - are back with Words. Rather predictably, it's brilliant. More, please!

The Zebras set the dials to blissed out guitar pop with wonky psychedelia on Desert Island. Wonderful stuff, again.

Buy the record from the good people at Knock Your Socks Off.

Sunday 24 April 2011

The Cactus Channel: Pepper Snake

If there's a global high school battle of the bands competition, then The Cactus Channel are hot favourites. A ten-piece funk outfit from Princes Hill High School in Melbourne, The Cactus Channel have slapped down Pepper Snake, an original blast of nasty horns and raw organ vintage style, on 7". Get it while you can.

Saturday 23 April 2011

The Hit Parade: There's Something About Mary

In which The Hit Parade dust down their Spanish guitars, set the rhythm to 'driving Motown beat' and revisit the hallowed ground of their worldwide smash Hitomi. Monkees fans will smile at the "Mary, Mary" reference in the harmony; Jonathan Richman fans will acknowledge this single as the second greatest record called There's Something About Mary.

B-side The Boy Who Loves Brighter pays a pagan tribute to the winsome ways of - you're ahead of me here, I suspect - Brighter, by imaginging what Noah's Ark would sound like if played by The Carpenters. A Royal Variety Performance 2011 invitation awaits, surely.
There's Something About Mary by the-hit-parade

Thursday 21 April 2011

The Soul Investigators: Make It Mellow

The Soul Investigators – currently the world’s greatest soul outfit for their work with Myron & E, Nicole Willis, and with Willie West when some of them moonlight as The High Society – have got a new single, Make It Mellow. Except it’s not really a new song. It’s an instrumental version of Tighten Up by Archie Bell & the Drells. This took up valuable time when they could have been in the recording studio finishing the Myron & E album.

Now quit covering songs and make some new grooves, Soul Investigators! If, reader, you want a song influenced by Tighten Up, head straight to There Goes My Baby by James Knight & the Butlers, which you can get on the excellent Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts of Deep City compilation.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Amida: The Spite House Plot

Amida have come up with their best songs yet on new ep The Spite House Plot. Fans of The Aislers Set’s snappy pop with deliciously tart lyrics Siddeleys style ("I talked to god and my ex-girlfriend/At least one of them lied") will love Oleander; fans of This Poison!’s furious jangle played at 100mph will find their needs met in Victor Spoils; and anyone missing the bouncing bass lines of Bob should head straight to A Month Of Sundays.

A couple of the songs on this 6-track tape fall short of the quality control that’s guided the cream of this collection, but there are no grounds for complaint given the brilliance of at least three of these songs.
Listen to the whole ep.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Mr President - Number One

As vintage soul has created the template for some of the most exciting sounds of the past three years, the contemporary take on vintage funk hasn't quite kept pace. Mr President - the nom de funk of French producer Patchworks - has, however, made an early bid for single of the year with the Curtis Mayfield-inspired The Best Is Yet To Come.

Mr President's new album, Number One, is a masterclass in blaxploitation soundtracks (the record opens with Mr President Theme), updates its influences with hip hop (Tribute To RZA) and brings a Latin flavour to the mix (Get It Sometime).

Number One could be to 2011 funk what Kings Go Forth's The Outsiders Are Back was to 2010 - the modern classic.

Thursday 14 April 2011

The Joliettes - Girls Like Me

The Joliettes debut 45 Girls Like Me has the sass of the Shangri-Las and the pop sensibilities of The Flips delivered straight up with Eux Autres-style garage guitars and infectious backing vocals.

It combines 60s girl group insecurity ("Girls like me will give up themselves for a little smile/Girls like me believe it'll be different this time") with a sharp punky twist that makes you think that maybe they're making a sweetly venomous attack on some other girls. Either way, this is a fantastic record.

Going Gaga Records - home to White Wires and Peach Kelli Pop - have released this in their continuing project showing Canada's essential undergound sounds. If you can bear myspace, head this way for a listen.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Afternoon Naps: Summer Gang

Summer Gang suggests that Ohio's Afternoon Naps have got one thing in common with Robert Forster's mum: they both think that People Say is the best song Forster's ever written. Summer Gang barrels along on that wild mercury sound, wind in the hair, arms in the sun, all the way to the beach for a surf party with the Fantastic Baggys. And then drops dead from exhaustion.

7" out now on HHBTM

Monday 11 April 2011

The True Loves: Crack Symphony

The True Loves, ace backing band to contemporary soul man Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, have stepped out of the shadows to grab the limelight with a pulsating funk instrumental, Crack Symphony, that should be blasting out of car stereos and in municipal parks all summer long.

Play Crack Symphony

Crack Symphony had me reaching for Cause You're  Mine  by The Vibrations (for the pace) and Jackie Wilson's You Got Me Walking album (for the soulful guitar). It already sounds like a classic. (It was apparently released last summer, but it's just shown up on the new releases list where I buy my records and, well, summer's here and the time is right for this record right now.)

Saturday 9 April 2011


Cheatahs blew The Babies off stage at the recent Camp Basement gig. Big crunchy guitars and super-sized melodies to match, they swing between sweet despair and narcotic highs. They had a song that was a dead ringer for Creedence's Bad Moon Rising, which would put them right next to Real Estate, but this London band, led by Canadian Nathan Hewitt, have more in common with the direct noisepop appeal of Dignan Porch and Mazes. I wouldn't be surprised if Hewitt had played The Lemonheads' It's A Shame About Ray a few times, either.

Froshed from a split ep last summer (also featuring kindred spirits Dignan Porch) fuckin' rules.

Thursday 7 April 2011

I Pay A Little Slayer

From1996-8 the most exciting twists on dance music were coming out of France by way of Kid Loco, Air and Dimitri from Paris. Air went tits up, and I stopped paying much attention to the other two. Dimitri from Paris's new ep, The Nice One Innit, though, is one of 2011's most impressive feats.

I Pay A Little Slayer is the standout track. Anyone looking for an Aretha/Slayer mash-up should look elsewhere; this is a subtle reworking of I Say A Little Prayer that shrinks the big beat blueprint to make a small beat gem. There's no way it's better than the original, but this version is that rare thing: a remix that breathes new life into a classic that you didn't dare hope could be refreshed.

While I struggle with embedding the video or the soundcloud, head here.

There are great interpretations of The Velvelettes' He Was Really Saying Something (Just Sayin' Really) and Prince's I Wanna Be Your Lover (I Wanna Be Your Lobster) which add to the fun.

The remix of Them's garage rock standard Gloria proves what a hundred covers have already told us: there's no magic dust that can make it anything other than a sweaty, laboured work out.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

The Reason Why - Robert Forster in 1979

Robert Forster formed a short-lived band at the tail-end of 1979 in London while Grant McLennan was on holiday in Egypt, with two other ex-pat Australians, bassist Robert Wheeler and drummer Geoffrey Titley, called The Reason Why.

Wheeler and Titley had been in The Supports, who had toured northern Queensland that summer (or southern winter, if you like) with The Go-Betweens in a double-decker bus. An amusing account of that eventful tour, which coincided with Peter Milton-Walsh's short tenure in The Go-Betweens and saw Grant being slapped repeatedly by Supports singer Leigh Bradshaw, can be read in chapter 7 of David Nichols' Go-Betweens biography.

EDIT: I asked Robert Forster about this band at his Lexington gig in London, 2017. He said Robert Wheeler was actually Grant McLennan. Robert didn't show much enthusiasm for these songs and they were never in consideration for The Go-Betweens box set. Anyway, this blog post heading might more accurately be 1980 (that's what my demo tape says anyway - I got the timeline from David Nichols' biography) and include Grant McLennan. Anyone know any better? I think Tiny Town's Geoffrey Titley was also in the Desperate Bicycles, but someone wiser than me will have to confirm that.

My best guess is that The Reason Why were named after the opening line of The Byrds' I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, but the songs explore the post-punk art rock that shaped Send Me A Lullabye, only more Gang Of Four than Talking Heads.