Friday, December 31, 2004

They went EAST!



Three Australian bands today, all of whom sad to say I know next to nothing about. Firstly we have The Marigolds who were based in Perth in the mid eighties. This song, “Waiting In Line” was the a-side of a 7” and in their lifetime they apparently recorded enough songs to make up an album as there’s a compilation CD “Wild!” which you can purchase from Not Lame here
The Glory Box released a hand full of singles each on different labels including this song “Raining Embers” which came out both in Australia and on Bristol’s Tea-Time records.
Rainyard, also from Perth, were featured on one of the first singles released by Summershine records which also releases the first Sugargliders singles and later moved to the US where they released the first Pernice Brothers 7”. Rainyard, according to Perthbands.com message boards (research y’see!) changed their name and headed East whatever that means in Australia? The person who posted did say he thought Rainyard sounded like a Ride tribute band, which definitely isn’t the case with this release.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Pick A Card, Any Card.......Wrong!



The Blue Aeroplanes are a Bristol institution, mainly because at one time or another the whole population of this English city has been a member of the band. Usually boasting at least four guitarists at any one time, live was where the band excelled. At earlier shows the band also featured an on-stage DJ mixing in various sound effects into the music, and they featured a dancer as part of the band years before Bez of The Happy Mondays infamy. As there were always around eight people in the band live, and they generally played smaller places with small stages it was always a bit cramped and often bloody as Wojtek, the aforementioned dancer frequently got hit by guitars etc. As this chaos took place around him the vocalist, Gerard Langley always tried to maintain an air of detached coolness but often ended up laughing at the absurdity of it all. The band had released several critically acclaimed albums before signing to Ensign where they made probably their two most consistent albums in “Swagger” and “Beatsongs” There have been a bunch of albums since and the band apparently are still going as new members of the Bristol public can be press-ganged into service.




A big thank you to everyone who has taken up the free CD offers below. I thought I’d post a Callow track so you could hear the band.

Download - Callow - Three More Years

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Special Offer

If you follow this link and click on the record label button you will see details of two CDs we released, one is a compilation CD called "A Boy, A Girl & A Rendez-Vous" featuring the likes of The Lucksmiths, Aislers Set, Aberdeen, White Town and The Sugargliders. The other is a full length CD by a band called Callow who fans of The Pernice Brothers & American Music Club may like. If you'd like one, or both, email me with your name & address and we'll send you them free of charge. BUT what we'd like you to do is make a donation to the disaster relief efforts by clicking on the link below.

CD details are here Red Roses For Me




Click Here to Donate



If anyone with a blog wants to mention this offer or link to this feel free.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Until The World Stops Spinning



Turquoise Days Albums of the Year Part 5

Saturday Looks Good To Me - Every Night


2004 was the year that Saturday Looks Good To Me released the album in “Every Night” that they’ve been promising to make since their earliest recordings. Taking the highs of their previous album “Summer Songs” they continued their love affair with pop music that could have come from any period since the sixties but this time the production and lyricism eclipses everything they’ve done previously. In fact, it appears they were on such a roll different versions of some of the songs appear on the CD and vinyl versions of the album along with others turning up on various 7” singles the band have released recently. If I had to pick one new album to recommend to someone in the last year this would be it. Trawling around for downloads from the album I could only find one “This Girls Distracted” but it’s a pretty good place to start. For those of you who have already got the album though what may be of interest are these other tracks which are un-mastered versions of both vinyl and CD takes on some of the songs.

Download - Saturday Looks Good To Me - The Girl's Disatracted

Unmastered Mixes:

Download - Saturday Looks Good To Me - Empty Room (LP version)

Download - Saturday Looks Good To Me - Keep Walking (CD version)

Download - Saturday Looks Good To Me - When The Party Ends (CD version)

Download - Saturday Looks Good To Me - Keep Walking LP version

Download - Saturday Looks Good To Me - When The Party Ends (LP version)

The bands website is here

Click the sleeve, buy the album:

Monday, December 27, 2004

I Can Speak American



I’m sure it was quite a shock for the British public to find out that the catchy song about The Flintstones that they had collectively catapulted into the top thirty of the singles chart was not the product of a happy go lucky pop band. In fact when the scary visage of vocalist/guitarist Bill Carter and the other members of The Screaming Blue Messiahs lurched into the song on top of the pops it was probably the pinnacle and decline of the band’s fortunes in one fell swoop. From that point in their previous cannon of high-octane garage rock n roll was consigned to history and from here on in they would be known as the band with the Flintstone song. It also didn’t help that their third, and final, album that followed the next year “Totally Religious” was a lack luster shadow of their previous two albums “Gun Shy” and “Bikini Red.” Sad to say the only readily available album by the band is the last with the others, on CD, changing hands for silly money on ebay. So for today I present for you a song each from these two releases: “Wild Blue Yonder” from “Gun Shy” and the title track from “Bikini Red.”

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Vinegar And Kit-Kats



It's almost inevitable that Animals That Swim have never got the recognition they deserve. When your songs deal with life's losers, the downtrodden, and beaten down there's no way your own career is going to scale any giddy heights, at least not commercially. I think their three albums are some of the most under-rated I own. Appearing around the same time as Tindersticks, both bands exist in a similar world of life with a seedy edge but Animals That Swim also display a sense of the absurd that makes them stand alone. Their lyrics are wonderful short stories as these two songs demonstrate, "Faded Glamour" tells the story of every English town with victorian-era terraced housing, while "Roy" recounts a chance meeting with the other man in black which perfectly highlights the band's humor.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Turkey for the rest of your life



Some downbeat tracks today to fit in with the mood of being overstuffed and realising how little you have in common with your relatives. Delta House Of Funk was, I think, a short lived project of DJ/Producer Ashley Beedle. These two tracks came from their first release "The State Tapes" which had that downtempo Massive Attack early Mo Wax vibe going on. I thought this was their only release but my extensive research (looking for a picture via google) turned up another single released after this one.

Friday, December 24, 2004

I Won't Piss Your Name In The Snow



Today we have a couple of singles that have a tenuous link to one another, first up is the only (I think) single by The Big Maybe. The band consisted of Nick Rudd, along with Ric Menck, and Paul Chastain who went on to become Velvet Crush. This was also the first release on their short-lived but excellent Picture book label. Menck and Chastain also around this time, 1987, were featured on the very first release on the Bus Stop label, a flexidisc under the name The Stupid Cupids. Since then Bus Stop have released a whole bunch of wonderful albums and singles and one of these singles was “Throw Me Out A Line” by Erik Voeks. So enamored were we by this single that it ended up being the third, and final, release on our fledgling record label at the time in the UK. Same songs, pretty much the same sleeve but ours came with a free Erik Voeks balloon (woo hoo). Voeks then released a much under-rated album “Sandbox” and one final 7” release “Christmas Singles” in my humble opinion the perfect Christmas single! That appeared to be that but it appears Mr. Voeks is now in a band called The Octopus Frontier who have recently made a couple of songs available to download at the link below.

Erik Voek's new band The Octopus Frontier can be found here

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Ballad Of Paul Verlaine



18 Wheeler will always have the dubious honor of being the band at whose show Alan McGee first encountered Oasis, and at that moment had their fate decided as being a small footnote in Creation records history. They were signed at the time when McGee appeared to be cruising the record stores of Glasgow and press-ganging anyone purchasing a Byrds/Big Star/Gram Parsons record into bands, and signing them to Creation. He then appeared to almost forget he’d signed them with records released at regular intervals for the music press to slate but no real promotion beyond that. Then, once Oasis had been signed, the label was broken down into Oasis and bands that weren’t Oasis. Sadly, this was the point when 18 Wheeler made the best music of their career with their last album “Year Zero” when they combined their love of Brian Wilson with their new love of dance beats. The problem was if they had been a new band it might have paid dividends but by then everyone had labeled the band as Creation also-rans.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

You Can't Uneat The Apple



As I mentioned last week, parts of The Dears recent album really reminded me of the band My Life Story. More than likely down to the string parts, which My Life Story drenched their songs in along with brass and timpani drums. Live, was where the band really came into there own with about twelve people on stage creating a swirling sound that filled the room with vocalist Jake Shillingford’s best Anthony Newley impression on top, resplendent in a gold lame suit. Needless to say you either bought into this mixture of glamour and tales of love and London or found it as annoying as much of the music press. The band released two albums in this form with moderate success but after being dropped by EMI slimmed down to a conventional four piece for their final album. Since the band split Shillingford formed Exile Inside who have so far released two albums financed by investors via their website who get their money back once the albums have sold 2000 copies. You can download the band’s most recent single from their website link below.




Click the sleeve to buy My life Story albums:


The Exile Inside website/downloads can be found here

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Do You Trust Me?



Turquoise Days Albums Of The Year Part Four


Blanche - If We Can't Trust The Doctors

A band from Detroit, there must be a White Stripes connection right? Yep, vocalist Dan Miller was apparently in a band, Goober and the Peas, with Jack White and contributes some guitar to one of the songs on this album. The two bands also share the same raw, dirt under your fingernails qualities but whereas The White Stripes worship at the alter of early blues, Blanche take inspiration from the dark American gothic brushstrokes of the blackest country and folk music. There are hints of The Gun Club, Violent Femmes, Wall Of Voodoo, and in the duets with the added vocals of Millers wife Tracee you get the mixture of drama and comedy previously found on Nick Cave’s “Murder Ballads” Actually if you’re a fan of Old Nick at his howl at the moon best, Blanche songs like “Jack On Fire” and “Garbage Picker” will be right up your street.


Download - Blanche - Superstition

Download - Blanche - Another Lost Summer

Buy the album, click the sleeve:


The Blanche Website can be found here

Monday, December 20, 2004

Map Of The World



Whoever ran the small indie label, Medium Cool, in the late eighties I salute your good taste. You released records by only a handful of bands but what a great collection of bands: The Waltones, The Raw Herbs, The Popguns, The Caretaker Race, and The Corn Dollies. Sadly your pockets didn’t appear to be as deep as your knack of spotting a great band so none of the bands created more than a ripple in the deep pool of pop but still you left a whole bunch of excellent music behind, even if it is difficult to find.
The Corn Dollies took the sound of early R.E.M. added touches of violin and didn’t fit into any of the indie genres that were in vogue at the time. Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens produced their early singles and after Medium Cool folded they released their only album “Wrecked” on Midnight Music. Midnight also put out in France a compilation of all the band’s singles, which is where today’s songs come from.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Last Expectations



Black Metallic, related to Bruce Dickenson of Iron Maiden, showgazing, America liked them more than the UK, band member went out with an ex-girlfriend, Recorded a song with Tanya Donnelly which was pretty good. That’s my knowledge of Catherine Wheel and would you know it, that’s not even the Catherine Wheel I’m posting about here. Nope this is the Australian Catherine Wheel I’m interested in but what do I know about them…nothing! They released three singles at least as I have three they had the male/female indie thing down to a tee and apparently from my extensive research (google) one band member went on to be inn a band called Eva Trout who I’m sure split up after realizing they had achieved their aim of worst band name EVER. As always, if you can fill in any blanks on Catherine Wheel please do.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

An Idiot Sings



So for today’s episode of bands reunited one hit wonders special, we are in the northern English city that no one has heard of, Derby. We are here to track down the members of White Town who had a number one UK single in 1997 with “Your Woman.” This song also hit the top spot in eight other countries and the accompanying album “Women In Technology” sold nearly half a million copies in the US alone. Then…nothing, where did this mysterious band go? Ok, we’re knocking on the door, hi, we’re from VH1 and we’re looking for the members of White Town. What do you mean you’re White Town? You’re a big Indian guy with glasses, come on where are the band really???
It was quite surreal when White Town got to number one, how could someone I knew, who’s sofa I had slept on, who’s songs I had had released on crappy compilation tapes suddenly became a pop star? Then a few days later the Sun newspaper had an exclusive full-page photo of Jyoti looking distinctly un-popstar like clutching a shopping bag. The follow up single to “Your Woman” managed one week on the charts, and now “Women In Technology” is one of those CDs you see in every used CD store. Next time you happen to chance across it believe me it’s well worth the $2.
So what did happen to Jyoti and White Town, well there has been another White Town album “Peek and Poke” in 2000 and Jyoti seems content to fade back into a normal life. He publishes an excellent blog, Bzangy Groink that you can find the link to below. The downloads today are a version of his very first single and the b-side to “Your Woman”

For White Town releases click on the sleeve:


Jyoti's blog Bzangy Groink, can be found here

The White Town website can be found here

Friday, December 17, 2004

Letter From A Lifeboat



The Sugargliders were Josh and Joel Meadows, Australian brothers who started off releasing a bunch of wonderful 7” singles on the Melbourne label Summershine, one on short-lived English label Marineville and then ended up on Sarah records where another four or five singles followed. The perfect singles band, where their almost totally acoustic sound and harmonies blended perfectly in three minute moments they declared they would never record an album until it was as good as the first Orange Juice album. Rightly or wrongly they never did. The only full-length release, “We’re All Trying To Get There,” was a compilation of the Sarah records singles and sadly like everything else they released has long been deleted. Josh and Joel went on to form The Steinbecks who have intermittently released some fine songs since, most of which can be purchased from their US label, Microindie here.
So facing the dilemma of which Sugargliders songs to include today I whittled it down to four which is more than usual but I hope you enjoy them.


Download - The Sugargliders - Surprised – Released originally on a cassette with one of my Red Roses For Me fanzine and resurrected on our first CD “A Boy, A Girl and A Rendez-Vous” which you can find further details of here.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

C'etait Pour La Passion



TURQUOISE DAYS ALBUMS OF THE YEAR Pt. THREE

THE DEARS - No Cities Left
After my fanzine, Red Roses For Me was up to its third issue we ended up on a bunch of mailing lists for promos. Seemed like heaven, an endless stream of new releases, and an irate postman who couldn’t fit the mailers through the letterbox. The problem was sitting down to review the things and finding after a while I was just listening to the music with a detached ear, not enjoying the music, just trying to work out what to write. I found myself constantly comparing the music to other bands. Everything I listened to, even records I loved, I’d be left thinking, “that bit sounds like whoever.” Soon after I decided formal reviews were not for me. Connected with this one thing that irks me is when people tell me “Well they’re ok, but so and so did it so much better 15 years ago.” That’s all well and good, but does that mean they have copyright on that style of music, that guitar sound, or that type of lyrics? No, and if you’re that bothered I’m sure you can just buy that band’s next remastered CD set with bonus disc of crap that wasn’t good enough to release first time around! My point is, I don’t want a carbon copy of The Stone Roses or whoever but if a band comes along who clearly loved them and include part of that sound amongst their own that’s just fine with me.
I’m sure you’ve seen the reviews for The Dears album, “blah blah The Smiths, blah blah Blur, blah blah Britpop.” So?! Well done, the band obviously love these bands, and it’s probably just me but I also hear in the strings hints of the much maligned My Life Story but when this is added to such a series of dramatic highs like this album I’ve got no complaints. As long as Morrissey doesn’t come out and say how much he likes them they’ll be fine. Here’s two songs from “No Cities Left” and one from their almost as good “End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story” mini album.


Download (apple users need to right click today) - The Dears - We Can Have It

Download - The Dears - Lost In The Plot

Download - The Dears - Heartless Romantic

Click the logo/album for all your Dears purchases

Buy it at Insound!


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Organized Confusion



A quick pop quiz: What do The Senseless Things, Muse, Vent 414, and The Streets have in common? Give up? Ok they have all at one time benefited from the have Hammond will travel talents of Morgan Nicholls. Since The Senseless Things split you would have gotten great odds if you had bet on the band’s bass player being the one to still avoiding looking for a day job, but Morgan Nicholls has managed it. He played on Mike Skinner’s Streets albums and touring with him, as well as filling in for Muse recently.
Nicholls’ was also responsible for an excellent solo album under the name Morgan. “Organized” also featured several other members of his family including his younger brother on his first single “Miss Parker” Each of the singles from the album demonstrated the album’s pop sensibilities drenched with the funky Hammond breaks. For whatever reason there’s been no sign of a follow up but the album is readily available and often at knockdown prices. Here we have the dancehall ska stylings of “Miss Parker” and my first Christmas song post with “Christmas in Waikiki”


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Like Frankie Lymon


After The loft had released the classic single “Up The Hill and Down The Slope” great things were expected of them but the tensions of having three singers/songwriters in one band led to the band fragmenting into three separate groups: The Wishing Stones, The Caretaker Race, and The Weather Prophets.
The Weather Prophets were the brainchild of Pete Astor and when forming the band decided to distance himself from the indie clique that existed at that time and recruit other band members who had little knowledge or interest in that scene. Alan McGee of Creation decided that The Weather Prophets were the sure fire hit of the three bands and when he was approached by Warner Brothers to create a label for them he took the band along with Primal Scream along for the ride and the fame and fortune that was sure to follow. A few singles, and the debut albums by each band later (in the Weather Prophets case “Mayflower”) McGee and his bands returned to the fold of Creation maybe wiser but definitely not richer. It seemed the British public at large were falling over themselves to throw money at Velvet Underground and Byrds influenced pop. Primal Scream took note, deciding with the next album Stooges rock was where it was at while The Weather Prophets showed faith in their convictions with their second, and more consistent, album “Judges, Juries and Horsemen.” The album once again highlighted Astor’s capacity to craft a classic tune but at that point outside of the scene Astor didn’t feel a part of no one was listening. The band split soon after with Astor releasing a series of albums since both solo and under the Wisdom Of Harry name. This year Cherry Red released an excellent Weather Prophets collection which you can find details of from the link below.


You can buy the Weather Prophets compilation CD here

Monday, December 13, 2004

Lights Are Changing



The best busker I’ve ever seen was in the English city of Horsham. This old guy was armed with a $20 Casio style battery operated keyboard and was wowing the crowds of uninterested passers-by with his unique interpretation of Pulp’s then hit “Common People.” I gladly gave him 50p. Sadly, I’ve yet to experience the Mary Lou Lord busking experience, which apparently began on the London underground when she spent a year in the UK and still continues from time to time alongside real tours and sadly far too infrequent albums. You can only speculate how if Kurt Cobain’s life would have been different if his relationship with Mary Lou Lord had continued instead of him falling for Courtney Love but one thing that came out of their time together was Cobain introduced Lord to Kathleen Hannah, then of Bikini Kill who passed her demo tape onto Kill Rock Stars who released her first few singles and debut mini album. This led to a deal with one of those labels owned by a major, in this case Work who were part of Sony, but despite a bigger budget, a backing band, and a spot on that years Lillith Fair tour her first full length CD “Got No Shadow” didn’t win many new converts and coinciding with motherhood Lord took a couple of years off. Since then she has released two further albums, “Live City Sounds” and earlier this year “Baby Blue” recorded with and featuring several songs by long term collaborator Nick Solomon of the Bevis Frond. If you have a chance I would suggest her Kill Rock Stars mini album is the best introduction to Mary Lou Lord but at each point of her recording career she has perfectly meshed a punk rock sensibility, a joy of covering other people’s songs reminiscent of the 60’s folk explosion, and the talent to captivate with just her voice and an acoustic guitar.
To download today we have her Indie Rock "tribute" from the mini album, the homage to Alternative Country it evolved into from a radio session, and her take on Van Halen's "Jump"


Buy it at Insound!

The best Mary Lou Lord website can be found here

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Favourite Fallen Idols



So Adorable, The Bardots, and Polak or maybe it should be written as Adorable + The Bardots = Polak as that pretty much explains the link between the three bands.
Adorable were one of many bands Creation signed in the early nineties and then almost seemed to forget they had. Not surprising as they appeared to have a roster of what seemed like hundreds at one point but this just meant that they had some notable successes but all the other bands were kind of there to make up the numbers and be farmed out to clueless US major labels every time the label needed a cash injection for My Bloody Valentine studio time. Adorable released a string of fine singles and two albums “Against Perfection” and “Fake” before deciding they’d recorded the best album they ever would and called it quits.



The Bardots meanwhile after the releasing a single on the Wilde Club label found a slightly more permanent home on Cheree Records, where three excellent EPs “Shallow,” “Pretty O”, and “Cruelty Blonde” were followed by an album “Eye Baby.” At this time the band if there was any justice would have had the success that Suede were enjoying but I guess the world only needed one Suede, actually that may be debatable. In 1996 there was another Bardots album “V-Neck” which is probably a stronger album but there was no one listening anymore.




Hop forward to 1998 and Pete the vocalist in Adorable joined with his brother Kryz and Simon from The Bardots to make up the Nucleus of Polak who brought the best from each of the previous groups and in the space of a year released three singles that were collected together on the 3x3 CD. A deal with One Little Indian followed and albums in 2000 (“Swansongs”) and (2002 “Rubbernecking”). Two songs, one of which can be downloaded here, were recorded in 2003 but since then the band have announced the dreaded “Sabbatical”


Polak website can be found here

Friday, December 10, 2004

Fame Fatal Fame

Just noticed Turquoise Days gets a mention on today's issue of The Morning News Of course, that's what probably fucked my bandwidth for most of the day so the site wouldn't load, but whoever you are morning news person, we love you!

Lets Kiss And Make Up



So where have Saint Etienne been in 2004 then? Well apparently recording a new album due out at the beginning of next year, but in the meantime you can get your fix of sophisticated dance pop via the new compilation album “Travel Edition” which collects together some of their finest moments so far including a few not available in the US before and a couple of unreleased gems. Personally if you can find their UK compilation “Smash The System” I’d nudge you in that direction but this is still an excellent introduction to the band. Also released this year but sadly only on import are two wonderful mix albums prepared by the band. Both “The Trip” and “Songs For Mario’s CafĂ©” featured a treasure trove of soul, pop, and funk at least 80% of whom I had never heard of the performers let alone the songs! But that may be just me? For today we have a couple of Saint Etienne songs, which have only appeared on their annual Christmas or valentines day fan-club only releases. “Puppy Love” is a cool cover of THAT song and “Message In A Bottle” while not being a Police cover is far more amusing when you check out the lyrics.


For “Travel Edition” and other Saint Etienne goodies click below.

Buy it at Insound!

The new(ish) Saint Etienne website can be found here


Oh, before I forget instead of posting band/album sleeve pictures I’ve decided from here on in to just do a google image search for the band/album name and see what it throws up.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

My Sister Hates The Band



All About Chad released a bunch of singles, and one album, “Down In Front,” in 1995, which collected most of them on CD. Based in New York, the album gives the impression of a band playing music together for the fun of it, blending power pop with some witty lyrics. At the time, I unsuccessfully co-owned a record label and we agreed to release an All Chad 7” EP as our next release. Sadly, before that happened the whole enterprise went pear-shaped, and it was not to be. Unfortunately I think I can say this had little effect on the band’s plans for world domination. In fact the biggest claim to fame connected to the band is that one of their songs “We’re Not Gonna Make It” was picked by the Presidents Of The USA for their platinum selling album and hopefully earned songwriter and vocalist a nice royalty check.
After the album the band appears to have split, and as far as I can make out Reiser ended up in Wisconsin playing solo and apparently in a band called Swim Team. If anyone has any more info, please let me know.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

We Rule The School


Belle and Sebastian can be thanked or blamed for almost everything connected with my life, how scary is that?! Without Belle and Sebastian, I would not be living in America, I would not be married to the love of my life, I would not have regained any interest in writing a fanzine after several years of apathy, and I guess that also means you would not be reading these rambling every day. You DO read them don’t you?
For more of this story you can read a previous piece about the band here. Since I wrote that there have been several albums, some singles which I didn’t particularly enjoy (Jonathan David) and what I felt was possibly their strongest album since the first two in “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” where Stuart Murdoch took back all the songwriting duties and Trevor Horn dragged the band out of the corner they’d painted themselves into. Best of all I didn’t have to endure an Isobel song! Now I would usually post an MP3 or two at this point but alas could not find a single free download for them. Plus I’m pretty confident most people have heard Belle and Sebastian before and know how they feel about them? So, instead we have something a bit different, a cover version by Bette Serveert,
and a cool mash-up by Dazautomatic.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

We Taught The Hives Everything They Know Pt 1



The Godfathers emerged in 1985 when brothers, Peter and Chris Coyne’s previous band, The Sid Presley Experience, split in half. Throughout 1985 they released three 12” singles on their own label, which were collected on the compilation album “Hit by Hit.” The success of this album led to the band signing with Epic, and the release of several albums including “Birth, School, Work, Death” and “More Songs About Love and Hate” Both of these albums had a couple of singles released from them which would graze the UK singles charts for a week or so, but maybe their biggest claim to fame was being nominated for a 1988 MTV Europe music award, which of course they lost to Gun'N'Roses "Welcome to the Jungle." By now the band had started to break rule number one of the rock bands in suits bible. If you are going to be called The Godfathers and deck yourselves out in wiseguy style suits, you can’t let one of the band forget the dress code and decide to wear an abundance of paisley patterned shirts. From there on in the writing was on the wall for the band who started to suffer from losing members regular intervals. Across the North Sea the fledgling Hives took noticed and decided from that day forth if one band member breaks out the tracksuit top and spats we all do!


Monday, December 06, 2004

Obscurity Knocks

TURQUOISE DAYS ALBUMS OF THE YEAR Part 2



The Trashcan Sinatras - Weightlifting"

It feels so good to write about The Trashcan Sinatras in terms of a great new album not just an overview of their excellent previous albums and how they were sadly no more. This year the band released their fourth album, Weightlifting, and toured the US with dates around the rest of the world to follow next year. They stopped off at Fez in Manhattan over the weekend as part of a very short acoustic tour, and we were treated to seventy minutes that flew by, and was filled with a mixture of new songs, old classics like “Obscurity Knocks” and a cover of The Mekons’ “Ghosts of American Astronauts”
Weightlifting, released on Spinart in the US is one of those rare examples of a band releasing new material after a long gap and it not being a pale imitation of former glories. The songs on “Weightlifting” could easily have fitted in on any of their previous releases, and I guess, because their songs were always fine examples of timeless songwriting not written with the latest trends in mind it doesn’t feel like they’ve ever been away. The band can also be held up as an example of using the Internet to its fullest with a website brimming over with MPs of unreleased songs and live/acoustic tracks. Since the release of the criminally ignored third album “A Happy Pocket” the band also released three website only albums of live shows, b-sides, radio shows, and covers which have kept interest high for the new studio album and highlighted to prospective labels there was an audience out there waiting for new material.

From Weightlifting: Download - The Trashcan Sinatras - Welcome Back

Acoustic Versions: Download - The Trashcan Sinatras - Drunken Chorus

The Trashcan Sinatras - Junk

The Trashcan Sinatras website is here

Sunday, December 05, 2004

We Left The Cake Out In The Rain


World Of Twist seemed to suffer from being from Manchester when the whole “Madchester” phenomenon was in full force. Sure, it helped initially getting them some press and a record deal but firstly in got them lumped into the second division of bands such as The Paris Angels, Northside, and Interstella and when the music press decided to move onto their next trend World Of Twist got ignored. A real shame as this track “Strom” ably demonstrates they had the whole retro synth, dance beat pop thing down to a fine art which one of the bands who supported World Of Twist, Pulp, certainly appeared to take notice of. This was the band’s debut single backed with a version of “She’s A Rainbow” a couple of other singles followed and one album “Quality Street” before the band split while preparing a second album.



After brushing the UK charts with Microdisney when that band split up vocalist Cathal Coughlan formed The Fatima Mansions. Again this was their first release, and showed a new vehicle for Coughlan’s bile and worldview, moving away from Microdisney’s more conventional rock sound to a heavier concoction often with a breakneck pace. The band released several albums, which were never going to be widely accepted. Probably the band’s highlight was nearly inciting a riot while supporting U2 in Italy. In recent years Coughlan has released a couple of solo albums, one of which can be downloaded for free from his own website listed below.


Cathal Coughlan's website is here

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Let's Go Round There


Two slices of indie pop today. Both, I think the best songs these bands produced. The Darling Buds are definitely the more well known of the two and this was one side of their debut 7” much more of a female fronted Jesus and Mary Chain vibe going on here then the later Epic recordings as Andrea, the vocalist, got pushed further to the front in each press photo and was told to lean forwards more while the guys in the band became more and more blurred.



The Melons grew out of Nottingham’s Fat Tulips and consisted of vocalist Sheggi and Vanessa. They released a handful of singles of which “From Hell to Helsinki” is probably the most well known. The band split when Sheggi moved to the US to live(never a wise move) but the Fat Tulips website lives on here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Waaaaaaaah!

This was meant to be posted with the A House song but I had some technical woes. So here we have......



Wah!
Continuing with the monologue as song theme, we also have shock! A genuine hit single. Reaching No.3 in the UK singles chart in 1982 we have “The Story Of The Blues” by Wah! (Or The Mighty Wah!) Of course this isn’t the A-Side this is the quite wonderful b-side or second half of the extended 12” version entitled “Talkin’ Blues (Story Of The Blues Pt 2) where Mr. Wah! Pete Wylie took the backing track and waxed lyrical over the top. As he put it “I told Mike Hedges (producer) what I wanted to do. He was dead smart because he was aware that if I spent too much time on it, it would have lost the emotion and been all Troy McClure.” In the same interview when he was asked if he was being sincere, “There is no irony here. Irony’s a way of being a wanker. It’s lying”
This song along with various b-sides and mixes can be found on the CD version of the
Mighty Wah! Album “A Word To The Wise Guy”, which I can’t recommend highly enough.



Pete Wylie homepage here

I Only Wish I Had Been Born Before All The Great Ideas Were Used

"Whatever happened to good music? You know in the days when you could feel it, it was almost sexual sending shivers up your spine. This I believe is because songwriters were not restricted by the small music dictatorship which now exists. Let’s hope the future holds something better then the present, but let’s leave the past alone. The music business is incapable of bringing music to the future as it sits there waiting to pounce on any third rate trend, milking it to death, once again putting money where the music is not. I only wish I had been born before all the great ideas were used, while I struggle around this, the most annoying thing is watching other people succeed through stealing them. I could have been a legend in my own time, I could of sold a lot of records, I would’ve enjoyed it as well. I could have been a lot of things, one thing I know I am. I am the greatest"



A House
I’ve already started to notice a pattern forming with most of the bands I’ve featured on Turquoise Days so far. Nearly everyone falls into the category of a band who got some attention in the music press and the general public stood there with arms crossed across its collective chest and said “yeah, and?” Then the band split up. So continuing this grand tradition we have A House with a track from their album of the same name. This same album also featured their song “Endless Art” which consisted of a list of male authors/musicians/artists and their birth/death dates. This ended up being their closest brush with fame getting to No.46 in the UK singles charts. “I Am The Greatest” was their second, and I think their best album after which they made at least two more.


Buy the album here


Lastly today, I must recommend you go and delve into the latest covers posted by Copy, Right which includes a version of Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” by The Scissor Sisters which is just wonderful.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Cover Me!


The Age Of Chance

I have to admit that this song is the only Age Of Chance track I go back to and listen to now. I loved the whole concept of the band and especially the record packaging but never really got my head around their music. But this fulfills an important rule for cover versions I think, that if you’re gonna do a cover, do something different with it. In the case of The Age Of Chance take a classic song put pull it apart mix it up with your heady blend of construction site sounds and viola! Much better than Tom “I’m orange and sweaty” Jones’ version I’m sure (hope) you’ll agree. Ok my brief history of The Age Of Chance – Cycling outfits – Slogans – Singles with cool names – Vocalist very shouty – Mr shouty leaves – new vocalist can sing – second album – indifference – split. Let me know if I missed out anything?




The Popguns

The Popguns were slightly different as they decided against the skin tight lycra, at least in public, and instead delivering song upon song of wonderful guitar pop with excellent lyrics. Based in Brighton they released a whole bunch of singles and an album “Love Junky” you can always pick up for next to nothing on the likes of half.com. They had the distinct disadvantage of releasing most of their songs first on Medium Cool, and then on Midnight Music two labels who had a bunch of great bands (Waltones, Corn Dollies, Caretaker Race, Wolfhounds) and what seemed like an inability to sell records. Here we have the band’s cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” and a song from their second single. As an aside, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest used to be a regular patron at a Barnes & Noble I used to work at, and he had the coolest coat, looked like Yeti hair. Sadly I never summoned up the courage to enquire “Excuse me, Mr. Tip is that real Yeti?”

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Love Is Verb, And A Noun As Well

TURQUOISE DAYS ALBUMS OF THE YEAR Part 1

In no particular order I’ll be posting my top five albums of the year over the next month. So starting off we have:


Aberfeldy - Young Forever


I first heard this band on the excellent Rough Trade Shops Indiepop compilation and even amongst some of my favorite songs from the past, their track, “Vegetarian Restaurant”, stood out. The great thing about it, and the rest of the album, is its simplicity, no frills, no fancy production tricks just a batch of songs that immediately stay with because of the quality of the melodies and songwriting. It really does sound like the band are playing the songs in the room with you, and it came as no surprise when I found out they were recorded playing together around one microphone. The songs have a timeless quality taking in elements of west coast sixties pop, the folk touches of the best of Paul Simon’s early songs, and in the last song "Out Of Love" there’s even a smoky lounge band quality. Aberfeldy, named after a Scottish town in case you’re interested, have produced a album that continues the fine lineage of Scottish pop that includes the likes of Aztec Camera, Trash Can Sinatras, and Belle and Sebastian.


Download Aberfeldy – A Friend Like You

Download Aberfeldy – Love Is An Arrow

The Aberfeldy website - is here

The Rough Trade (UK) Aberfeldy page - is here

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

We hate it when our friends become successful

Back in the day when Morrissey’s every word was lapped up by the music press he would regularly tell the world about his current favorite band. This was enough to get said band splashed all over numerous music mag covers, and great things were expected…Then one or two albums later, the band had split up with no success. Today I bring you just three of these bands that received the Morrissey kiss of death.

  • Easterhouse hear that Morrissey likes them



  • Easterhouse featured the brothers Andy and Ivor Perrry, and came from Manchester and their first album Contenders showed them wearing their socialist beliefs proudly on their sleeves at a time in the UK when political music was in a brief renaissance period. After glowing reviews and less glowing sales, the band imploded with vocalist Andy Perry taking the name and producing a wildly over-produced album Waiting For The Redbird. The rest of the band changed their name and that was pretty much it until The Smiths suddenly found themselves without a guitarist when Marr left and Ivor Perry was briefly considered as a replacement. Here is probably the most well know song “Whistling In The Dark”



    Buy the Easterhouse Contenders CD here.



    Bradford’s whole career, and I use the term very loosely, seemed to be entirely based on their Morrissey connection. They were signed to producer Stephen Street’s label at a time he was co-writing Morrissey’s Vauxhall And I album and Morrissey actually covered their song “Skin Storm” as a b-side. Their solitary album had a few highpoints including this song “Gang Of One”.





    Out of these three bands, The Woodentops were the ones who really should have made a bigger dent. Their three albums, two studio and one live, are brimming over with hyped up dance beat driven songs which sound like a skiffle band who have been introduced to the joys of samplers. In fact, if there is a band that was around before their time it could be The Woodentops.



    Buy all three expanded Woodentops CDs here.

    Monday, November 29, 2004

    Best Kept Secret



    Of all the bands that released records on Sarah my personal favorites were The Orchids, Sugargliders and Even As We Speak. I’m sure at some point I’ll get back to the former two bands but for now I wanted to share some Even As We Speak with you. Hailing from Australia, where they released a handful of 7” and one 12” EP some of these songs turned up on their debut Sarah 7” featuring FIVE songs. This was good but the follow up to this “One Step Forward” was a big progression and even that didn’t prepare you for their one, and sadly only, album “Feral Pop Frenzy” an eclectic mix of pop songs, spoken word interludes and Barry White samples which somehow all fitted together perfectly. Around this time the band moved to the UK living together as if starring in an indiepop reality series. After another excellent single “Blue Eyes Deceiving Me” and a John Peel session hinting at the down-tempo direction they may have been heading in they returned to Australia and split up. A couple of years ago there was talk of a radio sessions album being released, alongside a re-release of “Feral Pop Frenzy” but alas once again all has gone quiet. So with fingers crossed it might still happen here is “Blue Eyes Deceiving Me” and from their final Peel session broadcast in October 93 the unreleased song “Suddenly”.

    Saturday, November 27, 2004

    Deep Down Inside, We're All Punk Rockers At Heart



    Hurrah! If one band was the reason I originally wrote a fanzine way back in the day (evidence) it was Hurrah! If one band was the indirectly responsible for THE fanzine Are You Scared To Get Happy? It was Hurrah! So using the same fuzzy logic if one band was responsible for the launch of Sarah records it was Hurrah! That might be stretching the point a bit but something I can definitely tell you is a fact is that Hurrah! produced a string of absolutely classic singles, got swallowed up by a major label, had the wonderful demos for their debut album Tell God I’m Here turned into a nowhere as good LP. Their second album The Beautiful improved on the first but for a true portrait of what I’m talking about try your damndest to find The Sound Of Philadelphia CD released by Rev-ola. Of course it appears to be deleted as even the expensive Japanese import, yes it is worth it, is out of stock on amazon.com.

    Taking you up to date a couple of the band members formed Bronze and if you check out the website for the Bus Stop label you can at least buy their CD.


    Bus Stop label