Wednesday 28 May 2014

The Hit Parade: Cornish Pop Songs

23 years after More Pop Songs, The Hit Parade turn their attentions to Cornish Pop Songs. This move doesn’t quite see the self-styled “London's No.1 Pop Group” turn into “Cornwall’s No.1 Pop Group” but the Cornish milieu dominates proceedings. There’s even - gasp! - biting social commentary on The Ghost of the Fishing Fleet.

Did someone say concept album? How wrong they were. This is very much a Hit Parade album, so it’s songs about girls and being a bit of a loser in love. Old musical themes are revisited: Spector piano on From Paddington to Penzance, fist-pumpin’ punk pop on Treen Girl, pocketbook electropop on See You At The Seaside, gurlie dickweed indie on Zennor Mermaid.

So business as usual, then. Only instead of getting dumped in London’s leafy western suburbs, it will come as no surprise when our hero Julian Henry advises us that the “girl from Penzance/kicks me in the pants”.

Cornish Pop Songs (CD) is released by JSH Records on June 16.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Cretin Stompers: Looking Forward To Being Attacked

So this is what Husker Du playing Suicide sounds like. Or Tunabunny fucking around with Psychedelic Horseshit. The Looking Forward To Being Attacked album suggests that Cretin Stompers might have been putting something a little stronger in their tea than NutraSweet and soy milk.

I'm not sure how else you'd suggest they arrived at this fried-distortion-whacked-out-glam-punk noise.

The only other label than Hozac it's possible to imagine releasing this is Burger. So I guess there'll be a cassette release of this on Burger sometime.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Nice Try - Convinced ep

The Nice Try 6-song 7" has hit Britain's import racks. Good news! 2 of the songs are under a minute, 2 just over a minute, the other 2 just the right length as well. There's no fat on these lean, wiry songs. No room for guitar solos or dicking around - just up and at 'em, in your face and then out of there.

If Sassy magazine was still going, then Nice Try would be a shoo-in for the Cute Band Alert feature. There's not much more to this than teen angst and ragged guitars but it presses all the right buttons.

Monday 12 May 2014


This is Waxahatchee only more primitive. It's flashes of white light and white heat. It's Dum Dum Girls in 2008 - ramshackle, raw and deliciously disturbing.

They recorded 2 songs quick as you like with the controls set to distortion and fuck-off pop. They're Shangri-Las melodrama and Black Tambourine whiplash snarl. Both songs are magnificent.

Deers are from Madrid. They'll sign a million dollar record deal sometime this year.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Dexys - Nowhere Is Home film

Friday night's premiere of Nowhere Is Home revealed it's a beautifully shot film that captures the heartbeat and passion of Dexys' fourth album, One Day I'm Going To Soar.

The first 3 Dexys albums are very different from each other - punk anger fused with soul passion, then quickstep Celtic folk with gospel romance, then southern soul with spiritual ballads. That breadth of vision is a small part of Dexys' greatness.

But One Day I'm Going To Soar builds, despite the 27-year gap, on the theatrical premise of the third album, Don't Stand Me Down. We'll not say rock opera about either of those; let's call it musical drama. One Day I'm Going To Soar is, song by song, an obvious attempt to sustain a narrative and the run of shows at London's Duke of York theatre presented the album as a musical.

So Nowhere Is Home is both a filming of a musical that, for financial reasons, had a limited run and, through interviews with Kevin Rowland and Big Jimmy Patterson, a Dexys biopic.

This isn't the One Day I'm Going To Soar film with the interviews and non-album songs as DVD extras. The question remains, though, if the film will appeal to a non-partisan crowd rather than just Dexys fans.

It's a tough question. Watching the performance of This Is What She's Like from Don't Stand Me Down reminded me that when I thought there could be such a thing as a greatest album ever made then it was obviously Don't Stand Me Down. Dexys are a band with 2 number one singles - one of them 1982's biggest seller - but neither Don't Stand Me Down nor One Day I'm Going To Soar caught the public's imagination in the same way.

Nowhere Is Home could redress the balance because One Day I'm Going To Soar works better in its stage setting than it does on record. If the film's a hit, then I suspect it'll be by word of mouth. Both the songs and the film merit the attention of a very large audience.

Saturday 10 May 2014

The Bats reissues

When Robert Scott played bass on The Clean's Getting Older in 1982, I'm certain that he didn't envisage getting older involving 3 album reissues of his then-new band The Bats.

Captured Tracks are re-releasing the first 2 Bats albums, Daddy's Highway and The Law Of Things, plus the compilation Compiletely. These are all great records. Annoyingly, the package features previously unreleased songs. I won't be buying it - once you add postage and customs charges, UK buyers will be staring at the business end of £100.

There will be a few obsessives who will buy it for the extra songs. Oh, there's a tote bag, too. It's ok, Captured Tracks, your marketing department hasn't met me, but I won't be using a tote bag this or any season.

I'm not accusing Captured Tracks of cashing in - even though this package has the whiff of Record Store Day about it - but surely the core audience for this 'product' is a younger, poorer audience who don't already own the records.

I know there's a pretty cheap 3 CD alternative. Do kids buy CDs? I don't. Actually, I did buy one this year by mistake: the Hundredth Anniversary ep was so good I assumed it must be on 7" not CD.

There were 2 really good cassette releases last year of Robert Scott's 1987/88 work, Gordon Wallace and The Professor and the Team. I'd be happier if these were issued on vinyl for the first time, or if other material from Scott's legendary archives was issued. But I'm not going to have a difficult conversation with my bank manager for a handful of previously unreleased demos and mixes bundled with records I already own.