Monday, January 31, 2005

In The Pines

The Triffids were the other Australian bands of the 80s who alongside The Go-Betweens should have been able to move past being critical darlings and be heard by a much wider audience. Whereas the Go-Betweens sound often conjured up images of dusty libraries and sepia photographs The Triffids were all about wide open spaces and winding roads. The band released six albums and came closest to cracking their charts when one of their songs was used in a wedding scene of top Australian soap Neighbours but alas it didn't have the desired effect. After the bands final album "Black Swan" in 1989 the band disbanded with singer David McComb releasing one solo album "Love Of Will" in 1994. Sadly there wouldn't be a second or a Triffids reunion as McComb died in 1999 after what appeared to be a minor car accident. The downloads here are songs from the band's last two albums and if you follow the link below you'll find a site maintained by the band's guitarist Graham Lee with a bunch of rare tracks to download.

Lots more downloads can be found here

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Grown Up Way

Brighton's How Many Beans Make Five had the dubious distinction of being the first band I ever interviewd for my fanzine. In those days my obtaining an interview technique was very simple: choose a support band who were playing locally, in this case at The Joiners Arms in Southampton, show them I was visibly enjoying their set, which didn't take much more than standing up and facing the stage, and then grab a bandmember after they'd played and were no doubt more interested in getting drunk. So the bass player of How Many Beans Make Five had to endure my inane questions and my very unprofessionally large tape recorder while whoever the headline band were made an ungodly noise in the next room. I seem to remember he was very friendly and due to the several page interview that resulted THAT is why you are all aware of How Many Beans Make Five! Hmm ok, the band released one 12" EP, were on several compilations related to the label they were conncted to La-Di-Da productions, toured Japan, and then split with 3/4 of the band moving to the US. In fact it appears the only one who remained in Brighton was the bass player, obviously worried about me stalking him. All of their recordings were collected on the CD "One Last Look" which I was overjoyed to find on ebay recently.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Darkest Hearts

New Zealand's Garageland started off, as every Kiwi band appears to, on the Flying Nun label releasing their first single in 1996. After getting some good press the band were signed by the slightly high profile Discordant records with whom they released two underated and so available very cheaply albums in "Last Exit To Garageland" in 97 and "Do What You Want" in 99 featuring a stack of great pop tunes, the main reason I feel the band are off of most people's radar is there's no real uniformity to the albums too many songs could be by different bands, good bands admitedly, but it's hard to hook fans if you keep changing that much. Maybe the band, or at least songwriter Jeremy Eade as the rest of the band had jumped ship, relaised this as the band's final album "Scorpio Righting" in 2001 had a more uniform feel, unfortunately it was the feel of a band trying to be The Rolling Stones. Here we have songs from the band's first two albums and Bus Stops from their debut EP.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Be With Me

The Housemartins always used to call themselves the fourth best band in Hull and although I don't think it was ever revealed who numbers one, two, and three were (because no-one cared) I'd like to think they had the good sense to put the Red Guitars ahead of them. The band were fiercely independent in their earliest incarnation, releasing their own records and playing free gigs whenever possible ands mixing political sentiment with stark music that actually sounds more currrent today with so many bands delving back to new wave influences. They released four singles, and their debut album "Slow To Fade" before getting signed by Virgin and suddenly getting very dull. These two songs were early singles and were added to the CD re-issue of their debut album.

Buy the album here

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Deeper Than The Ocean

The Mayfields were always at a disadvantage as they came from Salisbury in Dorset, now Salisbury may be famous for many things, actually it isn't apart from having the cathedral with the tallest spire in England, but being a hotbed for bands isn't one of them. In their brief existence I saw them several times supporting the likes of The Las and The Pooh Sticks and blowing both of them offstage. The band released two 7" singles, a flexidisc and had a few other songs on various compilation tapes before disappearing from whence they came. Two of today's songs are from their 7" on the Ambition label, the other 7" was on BusStop, while "Seasons Pass" comes from a tape so isn't that hi-fi but is still listenable.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Hangover Square

So we're back, laden down with vinyl finds from the crevices of Brighton's used record emporiums to hopefully delight you with in the coming weeks.

First up, The Caretaker Race as mentioned before when The Loft split up the members formed three great bands, The Weather Prophets I posted about previously, The Wishing Stones we will hopefully get to in the future, and the third band formed by guitarist/vocalist Andy Strickland was The Caretaker Race. I once wrote to Mr Strickland asking to interview him for my fledgling fanzine and even probably threw in some chummy comment regarding Portsmouth football club as we both have the misfortune of being fans but alas he never wrote back. Obviously this was his loss, and the fact that despite producing four great singles and then an album, "Hangover Square" on the Foundation label the band never got the attention their songs deserved can solely be put down to the exposure the band lost through this snub. The two songs today, were both on the album, which if anyone has and wants to sell/copy let me know, but were also on singles, twice in the case of "All Love Offers"

Friday, January 14, 2005

Manic Pop Thrill

We're heading off for a well earned vacation back to the UK tonight so for the next week or so posts may be few and far between. So this seems like an opportune moment to thank everyone for their support for Turquoise Days so far, and if you've arrived here and once again there's nothing new to download be sure to pick out some of the links to other blogs.

After the demise of The Undertones it was proably expected that singer Feargal Sharkey to be the one who would have the most success. He in fact did have two hit singles, "Never Never" with Vince Clarke as The Asembley and a number one with "A Good Heart" but then appears to have given up releasing records and became an A&R man for Virgin. The rest of the band recruited vocalist Steve Mack and re-emerged as That Petrol Emotion over the course of the next eight years and five albums the band continually looked like their next album or single was going to be THE ONE but it just never happened. Singles would stall just outside the top 40 and their second album "Babble" was their highest seller reaching No.30 in 1987. They often seemed just ahead of the curve, mixing beats, rock guitars, and rap before it was common place, getting Andy Weatherall Boys Own mixes before they were on every pasty guitar bands 12" and displaying a political edge on their sleeves and lyrics which is never in fashion. Their energy live was never truly matched on their recordings and after regularly moving labels they finally called it a day in 1993. The songs today are each from different albums and give a good representation of their sound. If you go to the excellant fan-site linked below you can also get a couple of extra songs including the excellant single "Keen" which never appeared on any album (NOTE - the downloads here are labelled back to front Keen is the MP3 download labelled A Great Depression).

More downloads can be found at the website here

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Flying Down To Mono Valley

This was the title of the second album by The Popinjays and was where they eclipsed the promise of their first album "Bang Up To Date," and before they turned their back on jaunty speedball pop with their introspective third, and final, album "Tales From The Urban Prairie." On Mono Valley, helped out by the assured production of Ian Broudie, the band's core duo of Wendy Robinson and Polly Hancock delivered a set of songs on first listen jaunty sing along pop but with more depth to the lyrics than their chartbound contemporaries. Maybe that was the problem, despite being able to turn out radio friendly pop the band wasn't about to totally sell their soul to get on top of the pops.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

An Amonite For Bill

In the highly recommended The Great Indie Discography, the author M.C. Strong describes V-Twin as a "warped ambient pop outfit" with a "skewed, unbalanced musical landscape" which wouldn't to be honest give you any indication of what the two songs below sound like. The rest of V-Twin's songs do often veer off into weird and sometimes wonderful directions but these two singles although not representative and excellant in their own right. "Gifted" features core members Jason McPhail and Mike McGaughrin added by the vocals of Katrina Mitchell from The Pastels. "Thank You Baby" featured the likes of Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian and wwas mixed by Kid Loco. There was also a cool video to accompany the song featuring jenga, swimming pools and several other B&S members. You can view it still at the Domino Records site and pick up V-Twin releases at the same time including the early singles compilation "Free The Twin."

Buy V-Twin recordings/Watch the video here

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Adam Faith Experience

Made up of members of several other Edinburgh bands Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes eclipsed these bands and consistantly produced pop songs that have stood the test of time far better then nearly every other band they'd get lumped together with. Yes they had their share of fuzzy ramshackle songs which could have also been by The Shop Assistants, early Primitives or Darling Buds but their best songs, like the two here, should have brought the band to the atttention of far more people then they ultimately did. Both of these songs were collected together with most of their singles on the compilation "A Cabinet Of Curiosities" although deleted this, and their only proper album "Nixon" often turn up on ebay sold by Avalanche Records who released the albums.
Fran Schoppler the band's vocalist has also released her own album in recent years, featuring Mick Cooke from Belle and Sebastian details of that can be found at her website below.

Fran Schoppler's website can be found here

Flexi POP!

I wish I could maintain an air of indie credability by telling you the first time I experienced the crackling joys of a flexidisc, creased neatly where the post/mail man had folded it to get it through the letterbox was when I got say The Darling Buds one, or the 5" Another Sunny Day one that accompanied the first Sarah fanzine or of course any ShaLaLa release. But no, my first flexi disc was of British actor Richard Briers impersonating a Basset Hound for a promtional flexi for a brand of dog biscuits. I so wish I could share that with you but instead we have three songs from a bunch of flexis I recently bought.
Firstly we have a song by Honeybunch, a band featuring Jeffrey Underhill, the third member of Velvet Crush this flexi was released in 1991 and the band have sporadically beeen releasing records ever since. Then we have a demo of a song by Luna who I'm sure need no introduction. If you like this, you'll like any of their albums pretty much. Thirdly we have a song by Speedboat, one of the many excellant bands who have released stuff on the Showshine records label. Most of these bands feature contributions in some shape by Francis MacDonald who has also played with Teenage Fanclub and The BMX Bandits. He also owns the label come to think of it.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Everything We Never Really Did

Steps To Discovering A Wonderful New Band

1 - Browsing the excellant blog/website Think Small I found their best of 2004 list of bands/downloads and found mention of Tiger Baby and the description "Danish students from the school of Saint Etienne (the band, not the town." Sounds interesting, I thought and followed the link to the band's website.
2 - At the site here I downloaded three songs by the band, and discovered dance pop clearly influenced by Saint Etienne but also showing a band who can write catchy immediate songs that quickly get stuck in your head. The band have been together since 1999 and released their first album "Lost In You" on their own lablel in Denmark, and on Souvenir Records in the US. Hearing these three songs was enough to convince me I wanted to hear more so went to the Souvenir Records site.
3 - Souvenir Records, have an on-line store where the album costs just $10, so I ordered the album and can't wait to hear more. Check out the downloads today, and hopefully you'll feel the same way.

Download - Tiger Baby - Chinese Fairytale

Download - Tiger Baby - Shy

Download - Tiger Baby - Sweetheart

The Tiger Baby website is here

Buy the album here

Friday, January 07, 2005

Are You With Us?

A few more "H" bands for today. Details on these bands for me are all pretty sketchy, mainly as I only ever bought these singles. First up, Hipkiss with I believe their first single "Glamour Pussy" After this single was well received they apparently signed to Sony Germany and released an album "Bluebird" described as Trip Hop Bond Themes, so Portishead wannabes I guess. Hunky Dory released this single back in the mists of time on El Records but it took years for their one and only album to come out on Siesta records I think three years ago. The band consisted of some school friends from Lewes in East Sussex with one of their fathers as the manager. Sadly the tag of the Brighton Beach Boys (& girls) wasn't lept upon by the music press. Rounding things off, we have a tribute to the Beach Boys and in particular "Mr Wilson" from The Hormones who for somme reason I've decided were Irish, signed to V2 and released one album "Where The Old Ghosts Meet" but sadly V2 were more concerned with inflicting The Stereophonics on an unsuspecting world.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Jack sit somewhere between Tindersticks, Divine Comedy, and My Life Story on the spice rack of pop. Since 1995 they have released a batch of fine albums as both Jack, and sometimes as Jacques when they have enlisted the likes of Kirk Lake and Momus to conttribute. When their first album was released they looked like they would follow the Tindersticks glowing reviews into the lower reaches of the charts but alas it was not to be. Personally, my favorite album is still the first, "Pioneer Soundtracks" along with their first few singles. The first song today "Biography Of A First Son" comes from that album and was also a single, while Lolita Elle was the first single release from their second album "The Jazz Age"

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Beneath The Apple Tree

Blink and you missed them. Hopkirk And Lee, one EP, four wonderful songs of acoustic pop about five years before the likes of Turn Brakes and Kings Of Convienence were in vogue. Apparently they signed to Deconstruction after the EP, the label folded and we never heard from them again. A total tragedy, but if you're gonna leave behind one single, it should be as one as good as this. Plus they did indeed free Arthur Lee, maybe there was a deal cut and now Hopkirk and Lee are incarcerated so they couldn't release anything else?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Brought To You Today By The Letter H

The Harvest Ministers were one of the last batch of bands to release singles on Sarah records who didn't really fit in with the by that time cliched "Sarah" sound, in fact the band themselves didn't seem to know where they fitted in either, going from this up-tempo tune to an album which was almost Sarah's first, and last, foray into Irish Alternative Country. The band followed up with two more albums on Setanta in the UK.

If I had to name my favorite band of all time it would have to be The Go-Betweens and so anytime anyone releases a cover version of one of their songs I'll take notice. This track by Harvey's Rabbit is in fact a cover of a Robert Forster solo release but, hey cut a guy some slack. Apparently, the band did release an album but as I didn't like the follow up single to this, it didn't register on the Turquoise Days radar (you didn't know we had a radar did you!)

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Paisley Underground Part Two

The first time I ever went to Scotland I somehow ended up in Paisley, which for those of you who are interested is a town a few miles outside of Glasgow. I remember three things from the time spent there: firstly spending Saturday night in a club where the DJ resided in a cage, secondly, spending Sunday night in maybe the same club but tonight was goth night and discovering that there was some goth hybrid of line dancing which took place to the sounds of "Alice" by The Sisters Of Mercy and thirdly fearing for my life the whole time I was in the town.
Paisley was also the home to The Close Lobsters who left us with two great albums and seemed to do better in the US than their homeland. The two songs to download are their first single "Going To Heaven To See If It Rains" and "Nature Thing" from their second album "Headache Rhetoric"

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Paisley Underground Part One

During the mid eighties some journalist with an urge to create a new “scene” came up with The Paisley Underground, pretty much defined as US bands who loved the likes of The Byrds ands Buffalo Springfield and played Rickenbacker guitars. This included the likes of The Long Ryders, The Dream Syndicate, and The Rain Parade featuring David Roback who went on to form Opal and had his biggest success with Mazzy Star. Rainy Day both the band and album is described on thusly:
“While the Rain Parade was still a going concern, David Roback organized and produced Rainy Day, a heartfelt but uneven paisley underground supersession, with members of the Bangles, Three O'Clock, Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade covering their fave tunes by the Velvets, Bob Dylan, Alex Chilton, Jimi Hendrix, Who, Beach Boys, etc. The simple arrangements and enthusiastic readings are fine-to-sublime, but the casual vocal performances are occasionally one-take second-rate.” Not sure I agree about the vocals especially on today’s two tracks to download. “I’ll Keep It With Mine” sang by Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles is one of my favorite Dylan covers ever, while “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” sang by Kendra Smith who went on to Opal and then some solo releases actually got me to purchase the first Buffalo Springfield album which I think is pretty high praise for a cover version. Sadly, the album is nigh on impossible to find on Cd and vinyl version change hands for around $50 a time, so if anything deserves a reissue this is it.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Boy, have they got it!

Firstly, Happy New Year!

Secondly, to start a new year I thought I’d talk about one album I’m most looking forward to in the next few weeks. That is “Wild Mercury Years,” the debut album by Kicker, which is due out on the excellent Track and Field label in the UK in the next few weeks. I first heard the band as they had made the questionable decision to link to Turquoise Days on their website so of course I felt duty bound to check out their MP3 both there and on the Track and Field website. The first songs I heard were two recorded acoustically for a radio show and I was totally blown away, a mixture of indie guitar pop that’s got a Northern soul edge, and the spoken interlude in “No More Tears” is just so cool. Prior to the album the band has released five excellent singles, which are all collected on the compilation “Fivefortyfives” and after getting this it’s made my wait for the album even harder.

Download - Kicker - Get Rid Of Him (acoustic version)

Download - Kicker - No More Tears

The Kicker website with more downloads can be found here

Track and Field website with even more downloads is here