Tuesday 22 November 2011

When The Go-Betweens were young

"Yeah," Forster agrees, "the music they [the Postcard label lot] were listening to in Scotland we just hadn't considered. Like...Donna Summer, Stax and bits of disco."

"It also came out of seeing the Gang of Four," McLennan added, "and the similarity in our rhythms. That's the thing we really came back with - the interest in rhythm."

This interview is taken from Inner City Sound, a collection of Australian fanzine articles from the late 70s and early 80s. No, it's not the full interview. Put the book on your xmas list. In the meantime, from the same book, enjoy a photo of Robert, Lindy and Grant blessed by youth's blossom. Robert, you will agree, has already perfected the doomed artist look after studying his Bob Dylan photos.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Golden Grrrls: New Pop

Glasgow's Golden Grrrls currently sound like the country's most exciting prospect: after the urgent buzzsaw riot of debut single Date It, the baton is passed to the snarling storm of New Pop.

They despatch New Pop in about 100 seconds in a blaze of fuzz and harmonies as if they were compelled to deliver it. There's nothing particularly new about their pop, of course, but every young band tries to reinvent the wheel: a handful manage it because of energy, passion, sheer class and alchemy. Golden Grrrls manage it and are way ahead of the pack. And before you ask, no, they sound nothing like the Shop Assistants. Leave those tired tributes to the American underground.

They played London twice this month and I only just found out. What a fucking loser.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Lord Echo: Things I Like To Do

Lord Echo blazed a trail about this time last year with his Melodies album - somewhere in the world right now, a nightclub's walls will be bouncing to the sound of his inspired version of Sister Sledge's Thinking Of You - and the New Zealand master is back with a new single, Things I Like To Do.

It's got all the same ingredients as before - King Tubby dub, NYC disco, Latin horns, funked-out fuzz - and therefore is absolutely essential.
Lord Echo - Things I Like To Do by bastardjazz

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Thee Makeout Party!

This post was going to be about the Jacuzzi Boys and how their album Glazin' was the first record of theirs I'd bought in four years. I got to thinking about how the Jacuzzi Boys had changed from superior garage rock to punchy bubblegum pop, and how I'd pretty much ignored them in the meantime.

Why? Well, the amount of good music being released is always outweighed by the amount of time and money I have. Some things slip by the wayside. I think I get most of the great stuff and some of the good stuff. Glazin' is a good bubblegum album.

Then I got to thinking how Glazin' has got absolutely nothing on Play Pretend by Thee Makeout Party!, a bubblegum punk masterpiece that sounds like the Ramones' End of the Century if it had been produced by Kasenatz and Katz instead of Phil Spector.

Thee Makeout Party! are pretty low on most people's radars. Compared to them, Jacuzzi Boys are in the rock'n'roll hall of fame. The low profile could be explained by a few factors. There's the slow release schedule (about four records in 10 years). The Billy Childish-influenced band name is a red herring. Image-wise, they might look like paid-up members of the Carnaby Street Historical Reenactment Society, but they're finding their way via UK post-punk and AM radio rock and bubblegum pop. Their one album, 2007's Play Pretend, has songs on it called Raspberries and Wreckless Epic. You get the idea.

You know as well as I do that some great bands get overlooked. This isn't me griping about how Thee Makeout Party! are unjustly ignored. Bands like that are never going to be big. They could be bigger, for sure, but most importantly they could make another record.

Which reminds me: what the fuck are Skipper up to? It's been too long. Skipper are fantastic.

Saturday 12 November 2011

No Sir, I'm Not A Christian

Wrecking-ball guitars, sledgehammer bass, a groove carved in stone, wit, sass and deranged feedback all in a minute-and-a-half. That's No Sir, I'm Not A Christian by Terry Malts. It reminds me of The Dragsters (does anyone remember The Dragsters?) and the Mary Chain and any number of firebrand punk kids who grew up on The Ramones and Spector.
No Sir, I'm Not A Christian by corey_lee
I slept on this record because I didn't like Malts's previous single. To be honest, I don't much care for the other tracks on this ep. No one's going to lose any sleep over that, I'm sure. I'm happy to pay a fiver for just that one 90-second punkpop peach.

There are singles I love so much I've never got round to playing the b-side. Another Girl, Another Planet is one of my favourite singles ever. I've played it hundreds of times. I've never flipped it over. I have got no idea what's on the other side of I've Got Wings by Ninotchka. My copy of Cold Game by Myron & E with the Soul Investigators is really scratchy because I got it about the same time I needed a new stylus. I was too busy playing the record to go to the shops to get a new stylus. I've still never played the b-side.

Sometimes, just one song on one side of vinyl can be all-consuming. No Sir, I'm Not A Christian is more than enough.

Monday 7 November 2011

The Flying Nun story

Flying Nun mainstay Shayne Carter (DoubleHappys, Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer) guest-edited New Zealand's Sunday Star Times magazine, published October 30, 2011. He did a brilliant job. The features are fascinating, stimulating, funny, charming and provocative. It's one of the best music journalism endeavours I can think of.

There's Martin Phillipps at home, there's Shayne Carter trying to trap Dunedin's alchemy (alochol, students, magic mushrooms growing in the harbour, winters that drag on for months: "you're braver when it doesn't really matter, less self-conscious when you think nobody's listening"), record shop owner Roy Colbert hilariously describing schoolboy patrons David Kilgour ("he always had a tennis ball in his back pocket...but maybe it was a puffed-up sock") and Alastair Galbraith giving the Queen the finger from the roof of his school.

At the very least, one of the UK or US music monthlies should reprint it. Ideally, Flying Nun should publish it as an anniversary pamphlet. Star on Sunday subscribers can access the complete magazine. There's a copy on ebay as I type. Before you secure a copy or Flying Nun license the articles, here are a few titbits:
The Clean

Look Blue Go Purple

Roger Shepherd

Saturday 5 November 2011

DoubleHappys dolls

During these Flying Nun 30th birthday celebrations my DoubleHappys figures have made me the envy of my friends. Not for the first time, I want you to know. These cut-out-and-keep beauties originally came with the DoubleHappys' 1985 ep Cut It Out (yes, I do see what they did there).

You too can now have the ultimate in interior design:

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Archers Of Loaf: Icky Mettle

Icky Mettle, Archers Of Loaf’s first album from 1993, is being reissued in the UK. Yeah, it did get reissued earlier this year in the US by a different label. The music industry dances to its own tune.

Whatever year or country you’re looking at Icky Mettle from, though, it sounds great. It’s full of angry noise from the harDCore scene, it’s got that skewed post-punk thing going on that Pavement were doing, it’s got catchy college rock riffs and it thankfully had fuck all to do with grunge.

Icky Mettle is in parts classic, in places wonderfully stupid and always fizzing with energy. There’s waspish bitterness on the anthemic Web In Front ("you're not the one who let me down/but thanks for offering"); snappy wisdom on my favourite track Plumb Line ("you can blame on your hat the thoughts in your head"); and total psychotic delirium on Toast, in which nothing but noise happens for three-and-a-half minutes until the scream THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY TOAST.
Archers Of Loaf - Web In Front by FIRE RECORDS

They’re playing at Cargo on December 11. And there’s a press release for those of you who like even more facts:

‘Icky Mettle' (deluxe edition)' remastered and reissued
on Fire Records on December 5th 2011

Fire Records will reissue all four Archers of Loaf studio albums, starting with their acclaimed 1993 debut album 'Icky Mettle'. Re-mastered by Bob Weston and featuring new liner notes by Robert Christgau, Icky Mettle will come with bonus material (packaged as a second disc with CD, and double LP) including the entire Archers of Loaf vs. The Greatest of All Time EP as well as singles and b-sides from the Icky Mettle era. This special 'Deluxe Edition' will be available on 2xCD, 2xvinyl and digital download.

Their last studio album was released in 1998 and since then Eric Bachmann (vocals/guitar) has pursued work in Crooked Fingers. After lying low for 13 years Bachmann, Eric Johnson (guitar), Matt Jentling (bass) and Mark Price (drums) began rehearsing again in 2010 and went on to test the water with some live dates earlier this year. Picking up right where they left off Archers of Loaf's well received performances asserted that their noisy lo-fi indie had been sorely missed.

With the recent resurgence of lo-fi-Indie-watchimacallit bands, it has never been so relevant to unearth these early recordings from Archers of Loaf, who embraced similar do-it-yourself ethics to such astounding effect. The track "Web in Front" earned the band a spot on the 'Pitchfork 500', a list which compiles the website's favourite songs from 1977 to 2006 and whose recent review awarded 'Icky Mettle (Deluxe Edition)' with best new reissue and an unprecedented 9 out of 10.