Tuesday 23 October 2018

Ricky Hell - Blue Lips

Remember when Psychedelic Horseshit shredded the Beach Boys songbook through a practice amp in a damp basement? They called it shitgaze. Ricky Hell plays a similarly joyous hand with California Girls on Nela Park.

He calls it gutter pop and finishes it in 65 seconds. You’d have to play it again and again even if it was 5 minutes long. It’s that catchy.

The other two songs strongly suggest Mary Chain dolorous wreckage and, obviously because of the name, Richard Hell. Drinking cheap vodka, staring into the sun, wondering what the blackest shade of black they can wear. You know how it goes. It doesn’t age when it’s done this well.

Saturday 20 October 2018

Kevin Hairs - Freak In The Streets

Freak in the streets, DIY pop love god in the sheets. New tape highlight Kevin Wants A Dog hits the sweet spot between Modern Lovers alienation and Television Personalities awkward sensitivity.

The other songs? Glad you asked, because you're really getting value for your entertainment dollar at a buck a song on this 6-track tape. Kevin has switched on the fx pedal to the "hoover" setting and blasts his way through songs that match new wave's freewheeling catchiness with 80s indie production values.

You'll get these no-nonsense pop songs straight away. If you don't, well, there's plenty of other music made by people with a lot of money and very little inspiration that will suit you.

Thursday 4 October 2018

The return of Ignacio Aguilo

Ignacio from the world-conquering Hacia Dos Veranos is back. And this time it's...well, it's more understated beauty for fans of Maurice Deebank, The Clientele and The Durutti Column.

For all the low-key melodrama, be ready to unfurl your TUNE! banner. This songs features a whistling solo. Everything about it is wonderful.

Ignacio kindly tells us all.

You're back! What happened to Hacia Dos Veranos?

I had a great time with Hacia Dos Veranos. We recorded three – in my opinion – very fine LPs – one of them released by the splendid Hangover Lounge label, and we managed to reach out to audiences in many parts of the world. Being an instrumental band from Argentina implies that, from very early on, you realise you won’t be the next big thing in pop music; but still, we never dreamt that we were going to be on the BBC, or that one of our heroes, Alasdair MacLean from The Clientele, would record with us, or that we would play in the Union Chapel. So it was a pretty good run, in my view.

Is Dias in any way a tribute to Amor de Dias?

Días is the first single from my first solo album. It doesn’t have anything to do with Amor de Días, though, but perhaps you could say the topic of the song – the beauty of the every day – connects with the concept behind the name of the band.

You're singing! What on earth's going on?

After some time off music, I decided I wanted to try something new, a little more personal. It’s a strange thing for me because, for many years, I was in an instrumental band, but one of the good things about growing old is that I don’t care what people say. And nowadays there’s Auto-Tune, so the computer does all the work. Everybody can sing! Plus, one of the good things about singing is I don’t have to answer anymore the question everybody asked me when I was in Hacia Dos Veranos (‘why no one sings?’).

We want an album! When can we expect one?

It will come out in the first semester of 2019.

Which of your showbiz pals can we expect on it?

These songs have some features that were present in Hacia Dos Veranos, like the Maurice Deebank-like arpeggios, the dreamy melodies, the jazzy chords, but the songs are much simpler, more pop, and there is a stronger presence of Argentinian folkloric music, particularly rhythms. I tried to mix everything – pop, Argie folk, jazzy and Brazilian chords – to create a hybrid in which each ingredient get lost in the mix.

The last time we saw you on stage, you performed a new song, The Hangover Lounge, a love song to those club-running hunks of yore. I can get you a very fetching photo if you want to make a picture disc.

This song, my personal tribute to these much-loved modern patrons of the arts (the Medicis of our age) is indeed on the album. It had to be!

You're playing on Saturday. So are The Clientele. How the hell am I meant to choose who to see?
Easy: if you’re in Spain, come to see me, I’m opening for Clyde, one of Spain’s finest indie pop acts, a real hidden gem. If you’re in London, see The Clientele. If we ever play in the same city at the same time, then come to see me, I need to build a fan base.

You've got to play in the UK again soon. Any gigs coming up?

Not yet, but I’m a cheap date, so any invitations are welcome.

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Jonathan Richman - SA

SA finds Jonathan back in Modern Lovers territory, playing with Jerry Harrison who also co-produces the album.

The Fading of an Old World revisits that era’s Old World. When in 1972 Jonathan still loved the 50s and the old world he looked to the future, concluding “bye bye old world we’ve got to help the new world”. Not much has changed in 2018 - he still “doesn’t want to go back to the old fading world”.

SA is an album that in part is an older man looking back. Ten years ago Jonathan contemplated his mother’s death on As My Mother Lay Lying. He’s now thinking about his own mortality on And Do No Other Thing, where he insists he must “follow the heart and have no other religion” to a chorus of handclaps.

Despite the no religion statement, Jonathan explains that the titular SA is the “root note in Indian ragas [that] Ramakrishna, the much beloved mystic, told his spiritual students to search for underneath all things of this world." The eight-minute raga of O Mind! Just Dance! isn’t exactly That Summer Feeling.

There really is no suppressing Jonathan’s eccentricities. Not least on Yes, Take Me Home - a song from the viewpoint of a dog, which is surely a follow up to Our Dog Is Getting Older Now.

But Jonathan’s sheer joy can never be hidden for long. Alegre Soy - that’s I’m Joyful in Spanish - is pure old style JoJo pop.

And Do No Other Thing had better not be his epitaph. On the evidence of SA, his best record since, and at least equal to, 2008’s Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild, he's got plenty of fragility, introspection and baffled wonderment to offer yet.

The CD is out now. A vinyl release follows next year.