Wednesday 31 August 2011

(Thee Ultimate) Baby J

Ghetto Street is a 90-second folk-punk blast with the DIY pop hit of First Base, the teen ambition of fellow Californians Moses Campbell and the ramshackle assurance of the Mountain Goats. Is it available to stream? Is it fuck. Go and buy it.

The other five songs on the Looking For A Sign 7" are stripped down to the bone and set straight from the heart. You want a Moldy Peaches without the goofiness? You got it.

Monday 29 August 2011

Big Troubles and Mitch Easter

Mitch Easter is synonymous with the classic college rock sound. You almost certainly own some records he's produced (the early REM albums, for instance). I bet the smart ones among you picked up Boy Genius's second album, Staggering, last year, which Easter produced.

He's the go-to man for any band wanting the power pop sound just right (Velvet Crush, DM3, The Hummingbirds). Big Troubles, this year's most exciting prospect after their Worry album rightly took home all of 2010's lo-fi pop plaudits, have assembled themselves with a fixed line-up and got Easter at the controls.

The Sad Girls/Phantom single makes a strong claim that Big Troubles' second album, Romantic Comedy, will be among the very best credits on Mitch Easter's CV. You can hear that Sad Girls sits comfortably in the Easter/classic college rock/power pop pantheon:

Wednesday 24 August 2011

The Pastels and Stereolab zine

The Pamfletti zine was published in September 93 in conjunction with The Pastels/Stereolab gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Here are some highlights:

Stephen Pastel celebrates Edinburgh and Glasgow. His thoughts appear to been informed by the Modern Lovers' Roadrunner:

Laetitia Sadier talks about setting up Duophonic Super 45s:

Bob Stanley goes on a crusade for Euro unity by considering the mastery of Michel Polnareff:

Aggi mourns Paul's Deli, a lesson in under-achievement:

Katrina's Top 10, in perverse order:

Tim Gane recommends records you should definitely buy if you see 'em in a car boot sale or second-hand shop for cheap:

Monday 22 August 2011

Small Reactions: Nerve Pop

It was 20 years ago that the dogged fury of Dinosaur Jr (Green Mind), the casually classic rock of Teenage Fanclub (Bandwagonesque) and the incessant hooks of Stereolab (those first two eps) sowed the seeds for Small Reactions. They've made those influences their own and called it Nerve Pop. It's amazing. There's even some Duane Eddy in there. I don't know why. Like everything Small Reactions do, though, it feels right.

Thursday 18 August 2011

The Twerps: Black Eyes

Melbourne's Twerps attack 60s garage pop through a punk prism similar to The Chills and The Clean in the early 80s and then cling to it for dear life. It's this urgent desperation that makes Black Eyes - and recent sonic adventures like Somebody Else by The Babies and Bright Eyes by The Muslims - essential listening.

This single's on Underwater Peoples; there's another one on Group Tightener, but that hasn't hit the UK import racks yet. Exciting times, I'm sure you'll agree.

TWERPS from Johann Rashid on Vimeo.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Fudge interview

Following the flurry of interest around Fudge and shouts for a retrospective, I'm happy to reproduce an interview they did with Waterbomb! fanzine (I think this was late 1991) where we learn that a Fudge album would have been called I Wish I Were A Fish.

Saturday 13 August 2011

The Orchids Peel Session

"The Orchids, operating at the more muscular end of the Sarah Records spectrum and sounding very good too," John Peel, 8 May 1990.

The sound quality isn't brilliant (I used a clock radio tape recorder combination, which isn't the highest of fidelities) and the first song is rudely interrupted by police radio screeching through the urban jungles of south London. And for some reason I didn't record Dirty Clothing, so this is three-quarters of that session.

Still, Frank Desalvo, And When I Wake Up, and Caveman all sound excellent. They really were the best band on Sarah. Let no one tell you any different, especially not that cloth-eared cockfarmer at indiemp3 (hi, Tom!).

EDIT: Dirty Clothing has been provided by the estimable Marianthi, so the session is now complete:

Thursday 11 August 2011

The Honey-B's: What Love Can Do

Timmion, home of the contemporary soul classic, have burnished their reputation by reissuing The Honey-B's What Love Can Do. Unless you've got a grand to spare and can find an original, Finland's soul heartland is the place to buy this gem.

Monday 8 August 2011

Saybe Mo, Naybe Mo

German producer Dexter has the right idea: Mayer Hawthorne's cover of The New Holidays' Maybe So, Maybe No is too straight and needs a bit of work. Sure, it's a crackling vinyl, 80s beats re-work, but it's an improvement on Mayer's take. And you've got to love the "sorry, wrong beat!" sample right at the start that kicks out Mayer and kicks off Dexter's remix:

Out now on a 3-track 7" through Melting Pot.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Pristine Christine demo

I got a Sea Urchins demo tape in the summer of 87. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but I'd written to them expressing my devotion to Cling Film and Summershine. They very kindly sent me a tape featuring a demo of Pristine Christine:

The tape had three other songs: Everglades (the version that appeared on the b-side to Pristine Christine), Walking With Happy (later titled You're So Much when released on the Stardust compilation) and a live song called Said (re-named Sullen Eyes when it joined Everglades on the b-side).

Archivists might want to know that Pristine Christine was released on 14 November 1987. This fact is unlikely to help you in a pop quiz.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

The Fudge Revival

No less an authority than Gold-Bears, architects of full-throttled punk-pop 2011-style, are calling for a Fudge retrospective. Their point is well made. Girl Wish is so good a song it was released twice, first on flexi then on proper vinyl:

The Super Fly single gives us the background on Fudge and their previous band, Engine No9, whose one single, Sleep, is a pop classic.

My five pounds says Big Troubles have a copy of Sleep in their collection.

I count 8 Fudge songs over three singles and two Engine No9 songs. Maybe there were some compilation tracks. Whatever, there's a great retrospective to be issued right there.