Saturday 27 June 2015

Gerry Loves split EP

Scottish pop, I fucking love you. Most of all, I love No Way, José by Poor Things and Everybody Says by Pinact.

Poor Things' vinyl debut reminds me of Kid Canaveral's debut Smash Hits: massive guitars, harmonies, sludge and sunshine. There's even a simple and brutally effective guitar solo.

Pinact you probably know all about, but you might not know this side of them. Everybody Says is bubblegum punk that sounds like a top 10 hit. Just like Teenage Fanclub's Star Sign and The Delgados' Under Canvas, Under Wraps.

And that's just side 1 of this 7". Side 2 is SHARPTOOTH (tribal drums, Life Without Buildings shrieks, Fall rumble) and Halfafrican (The Cramps' menace, frantic rockabilly, drunken guitars).


Thursday 25 June 2015

Belle Adair: Muddy River

How did a song this good, patterned by gentle soft-pop and hazy psychedelia, end up on the other side of a charmless Southern boogie jam?

Possibly because it's the side that's more obviously from the same band that made The Brave and the Blue album 2 years ago. But Muddy River is better than every song on that. It's at least as good as anything on Woods' brilliant Sun and Shade album or Stephen Steinbrink's Arranged Waves. It breathes the same rarefied air.

If their second album is like this (ie heart-stopping, beautiful) then the bookies may as well stop taking bets on 2015's best album.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

The Cathys: Hysterical Monument

Great things this (great) 7" ep remind me of:

Lawrence - singer Sam Giddey shares his deadpan, deadbeat delivery. It's far more likely to come from the 70s NYC proto-punk style of Richard Hell or the scene's daddy, Lou Reed.

Whirlpool Vision Of Shame - come on, Rebble sounds like that Felt classic, no? The Cathys may never have heard of Felt so let's say Scott & Charlene's Wedding and The Strokes and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain were all on The Cathys' stereo at some point.

The Verlaines - bassist Julia Wylie's backing vocals remind me of The Verlaines' Jane Dodd. I'm thinking New Kinda Hero especially.

Marquee Moon - how the darkness doubled, how lightning struck itself.

These 4 songs all range from 82 seconds to an epic 2 minutes and 16 seconds. I've got no idea how they've packed so much scope and power and drama in such a short space.

Sunday 21 June 2015

The Reds, Pinks & Purples

The clever money's on the band name coming from The Sorrows' psych-beat classic Pink Purple Yellow And Red. That's a good start. Better still, they're mining the same rich seam as primetime Television Personalities of fragile pop and shoestring psychedelia that captures the broken-down descent when everything falls apart.

They number an Art Museums alumnus, a band I never quite got (but everyone else did). The Reds, Pinks & Purples are similar only with a more distinct sense of self. Their songs stand up on their own as comfortably as they do next to, say, the TVPs' If That's What Love Is.

They have 4 songs on a tape, each one a modern classic. Piano Movers and Michael O also have 4 songs each on A Fruits & Flowers Three-Way Split Cassette. Regular readers (who am I kidding) will know already how good they are. The Reds, Pinks & Purples make this tape a sweetly taken hat trick.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Dan Treacy interview, 1990, Melody Maker

"We played a 14-minute set supporting Felt in Greenock last year...All these tearful teenage girls getting souvenirs because Felt was splitting up. You know Lawrence hardly ever smiles? He was killing himself laughing, I was scrawling my name over all these girls' Felt albums."

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Dignan Porch

Dignan Porch's rapid ascent seems anachronistic now - signed by America's hottest indie, Captured Tracks, after being discovered on myspace(!). They matched The Only Ones' venomous poise with XTC's Top 40 psychedelia. Their second album Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen is one of the best British albums of the past 5 years. It was their last for Captured Tracks.

They needed luck and several American tours to break through. They had neither. They're a DIY band with such perfectionism that their gigs are often stalled by 15 minutes of tuning up. This wouldn't happen if they were a headline band in a big venue. They should be both things. When they get going, there are very few live bands who come close.

There was a third album, Observatory, last year - less immediate but just as intensely rewarding as previously. There's still life in this band, like a bee in a box. This latest single Out of the Picture is a psych-pop peach.

There was a tape a month or so back. It sounds great. Great like this:

Monday 8 June 2015

The Soul Surfers feat Myron & E: You Can Run (But You Can't Hide) From My Love

Myron & E have made some of the greatest modern soul classics with Finland's The Soul Investigators. Their earlier collaborations like Cold Game and On Broadway remain among my very favourite singles of the past 7 years, but more recent singles haven't quite hit those heights.

So Myron & E have headed further east to Russia to work with The Soul Surfers. You Can Run (But You Can't Hide) From My Love recaptures their urgency: stabbing staccato guitar and sharp blasting horns meet gritty funk with club soul's sophisticated charm. You can keep your Mark Ronson records, thanks very much. This is where it matters.

Sunday 7 June 2015

No Ditching: Inseparable

Irrepressible, more like. This 3-track 7" blasts through a hymn to friendship with added surf guitar (Song For Shelley), tears some waste of space a new arsehole in just 64 seconds (Dickhead) and has the best punk-pop song about cats since Angelica's Why Did You Let My Kitten Die? (If_you_hate_cats_you_die). It's a record full of fun and hate. I *think* they're having a great time ripping through these songs. And you will, too, listening to them.

Saturday 6 June 2015

Sharon Henderson: Inside of Me

My showbiz pal Brogues was rightly excited about Sweet Pearl's 1981 soul gem You Mean Everything To Me. He, or someone else, was wondering about other 1980s soul classics. My instinct was to reach for Sharon Henderson's Inside of Me. Crossover classic, soul stepping magic, 1981 vintage. It sounds even better on warm summer days.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Head Full Of Steam by The Go-Betweens

In 1964 George "Shadow" Morton entered the Brill Building with a demo of Remember (Walking In The Sand) he'd made with 4 young ladies, The Shangri-Las, and played it to Jerry Leiber.

Leiber recalled: "It was a very strange sounding thing. It had this kind of 'swim' in the sound, that kind of tension that was very attractive."

I imagine that 21 years later in a London recording studio, Robert Forster asked his producer to put that strange swim in Head Full Of Steam. It matches the suggestive, cryptic lyric - "she never had a nickname but then nor have I" and "her mother works in exports, but that's of no importance at all" - and the way Forster raises the madness of love's ignition to mythical status.

On Man O'Sand To Girl O'Sea Forster sang with complete certainty, "I feel so sure of our love, I write a song about us breaking up"; on Head Full Of Steam he's chasing a fool's dream. It's as captivating and baroque and ambiguous as love. It is, I think, his greatest song.

It's on the best side (2) of The Go-Betweens' greatest album (Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express). Then there's this Whistle Test performance with the classic line-up. The band are on fire. Lindy's clearly the world's greatest drummer. Forster knows exactly what he's doing and where the camera is at all times. I can see why people enjoy Morrissey and Julian Cope from the same period. I can't see why Forster's not at least as highly regarded.

Why this song, why now? Because respected international blog Finest Kiss wrote about Forster's 10 best songs. I called out blog supremo Toby for omitting Head Full Of Steam. He suggested I start my own blog. So I did. Yes, there have been posts previous to this, but no one read them.