Sunday, February 27, 2005
One of my collection of surreal pop moments would be turning on breakfast television one morning to find, in the 7.55 “pop” slot just before the wacky weather forecast and the 30 seconds of new at 8.00, The Redskins' video for “Keep On Keepin’ On.” Suitably ready to smash the system I then went off to my work experience placement at Barclays Bank and put checks through a franking machine!
For one brief moment in the mid eighties the Redskins brand of Motown meets punk meets The Jam and political manifestos made perfect sense. Thatcher was bringing the UK to its knees and removing the last remnants of trade union power and music in the UK had embraced politics to such an extent that the likes of Wham! and Spandau Ballet were even writing social commentary. So when The Redskins appeared on the scene with NME writer and main Redskin Chris Moore declaring he wanted the band to sing like the Supremes and walk like The Clash we all pretended to know exactly what he meant. The band released a series of great singles and they were all featured on their only album “Neither Washington…Nor Moscow”
A history of the band can be found here
Buy the album here
Friday, February 25, 2005
Isn't it nice when someone does your job for you? This is definitely the case with The Wolfhounds There really is no need to go into any detail about this fine band as the website linked to below contains everything you would possibly need to know about the band along with a slew of MP3's. You will also find there an unreleased Stereolab track. The two MP3s here today were both singles by the band. If aanyone out there has an MP3 of their song "Anti-Midas Touch" please let me know.
Also today after the shocking news concerning Edwyn Collins who was admitted to hospital over the weekend after suffering a brain haemorrhage I thought it would be apt to post the track below and hope his condition improves.
The complete guide to The Wolfhounds can be found here
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The Lucksmiths are the other band that got me to where I am today.....
Driving on what seems the wrong side of the road from East Brunswick to Princeton, the air conditioning not working so the windows wound right down, the warm summer air flooding in. I'm marvelling at fire hydrants & yellow school buses while she's doing her level best not to get us both killed. Both of us singing along, her loudly & in tune me vainly trying to hide my tunelessness but guessing by her occasional giggles failing badly........
Squashed into an airline seat at four in the morning, somewhere over the Atlantic, still rewinding the previous week in my head, feeling like the kid who got up on Xmas morning to find not only the Subbuteo table football set under the tree but a stand full of plastic supporters as well. Looking out the window and the ever diminishing darkness, the deep red fire of sunset & the brightness of daybreak beyond. The comfort that I'm almost home, give or take several hundred miles, so I can phone at least & hear her voice again.
Looking down & suddenly realising I'm staring at Portchester, the castle & my parents house & then three hours later drawing into Portsmouth railway station and at that very moment it starts to pour with rain. Pretty much summing up my depression at being back here, back to mundaneness & even worse that now it felt like I'd managed to stand on half my table football team & the dog's eaten the plastic football. Or as The Lucksmiths put it:
Draw a line between the two
This is cartography for beginners
On a map the gap's three fingers
But it's much more than that"
The song, "Guess How Much I Love You", one of many wonderful pop moments from their most recent album "A Good Kind Of Nervous" Songs that you'll want to hug, to laugh along to. Songs about train robbers wives & serial killers, about big dreams & stifled relationships delivered with a simple charm. Songs to treasure.
When Amanda and I got married the band's "Guess How Much I Love You" was our wedding song which probably confused the guests expecting Celine Dion. When we put out our first CD, "A Boy, A Girl & A Rendez-Vous" they kindly recorded "Mars" for us, the vocals sang down a phone line between Australia and England and a resulting song that is different from all their others and one that was perfect for us. "Little Athletics" is another favorite from their album "A Good Kind Of Nervous" which is still the one I play the most. The band have just released another great EP which you can hear the title track of by following the link to the Matinee website below. You can buy a bunch of their recordings there and most of the others from the Microindie site also linked. The band are coming back to the US in late April for a short tour so if you can I'd highly recommend getting out to see them.
Download - The Lucksmiths - Mars
Hear the bands new single and buy lots of CDs here
Buy even more CDs here
The band's website can be found here
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Idha Ovelius it can be safe to say owes her relative success to her boyfriend/husband Andy Bell of Ride/Hurricane #1/Oasis fame. Bell inspired her to take up guitar after meeting him at a Ride concert and his influence no doubt helped her end up on Creation. This would usually be the end of this story but things took a turn for the interesting when her first album "Melody Inn" showed a songwriter with a deep love of the likes of Bobbie Gentry and eclipsed anything the plodding dull Hurricane #1 managed. Her follow up, "Troublemaker" was even better with the two songs here today examples of the strength of the music. Sadly nothing has been heard of Idha since but hopefully another poor Oasis album may mean Mrs Bell may need to go back to her day job.
Monday, February 21, 2005
See See Rider were a band dogged with bad luck throughout their brief existance. Signed to Lazy Records, briefly in vogue as home to The Primitives and Birdland, the band also featured Pete Tweedie ex drummer of The Primitives. They picked up a bunch of press for their debut EP which featured the two songs here today "She Sings Alone" a fine example of Nico fronting the Velvet Underground via East Kilbride and "See See" on the flipside a longer, epic song that was probably their finest moment. At this point, when another single would have really pushed the band forward, singer May ROCK Marshall was involved in a motorbike acccident and it took over a year for the follow-up single to appear. The band then signed to Elektra but Tweedie then left after an onstage fight. He was then followed by guitarist Phil King who went on to join Lush.
For the story of play-doh Katamari Damacy and more pictures go here
I'm sure people's perception of the point to blogs specifically MP3 blogs may be different from mine. I do this primarily to hopefully introduce people to music I love that they are often unlikely to hear otherwise. Usually because it's from ten plus years ago from a band that no longer exist and it only came out on vinyl. Now it is of course heartening to see how many people visit Turquoise Days on a day to day basis and to know people are listening to this music. New/Current bands are a different matter to me, If a band is releasing music now I have (so far) only linked to MP3 files that the band/label have posted because this is what the band want people to hear or something like a radio session that again the band did for the public to hear for free. What I tend to have a problem with is a blog posting a whole bunch of tracks or a link to a whole album by a band which have been ripped from a pre-release CD. Maybe I'm missing the point here but if all you want to do is download an album before its released why not sit on Limewire or whatever?
My point if I have one is the whole point of an MP3 blog to me is:
1. Go to blog, in this case Bzangy Groink
2. Read about Jyoti's favorite albums of 2004 and see mention of Say Hi To Your Mom
3. Download songs, discover a band making the most subtle of pop music that taps you on the shoulder several days after you heard it and whsipers the chorus into your ear so you can't forget it.
4. Go to store, buy both their albums, "Numbers and Mumbles" released last year and "Discosadness" from 2002.
5. Eagerly await forthcoming releases.
6. In the meantime check out more MP3 blogs not offering the new Beck album.
Download lots of great songs by Say Hi To Your Mom here
Thursday, February 17, 2005
I'm sure the fact that Mighty Mighty spent most of their career on Chapter 22 records didn't help them. Some labels encourage collectors to eagerly await their next release and investigate every new signing. Chapter 22, well I love The Mission and Rose Of Avalanche so this jingly jangly indie band is right up my street. What is strange is the fact that the band managed one album when still around, "Sharks", and three, count em, three albums since they split. So for all you Mighty Mighty fans out there (there must be thousands judging by that release program!) we have the a-sides of two of their singles. Apparently the singer wanted a girl built like a car? I guess this was a specific car as my car is a 91 Cadillac with a leaky fuel tank and speakers that intermitantly blast me with feedback, almost nothing like my wife! Actually if anyone's interested email me with an offer, for the car that is. All of their albums can be purchased from Vinyl Japan at the link below.
Vinyl Japan and their landfill of Mighty Mighty releases can be found here
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The Lonesome Music blog has sadly appeared to have gone into hibernation but one of the last posts features a downloadable American Music Club compilation. 24 songs from throughout their career this is the perfect introduction to the band and should show you if you don't know already why so many people love this band.
Download the zipped file here
Two artists today who couldn’t be more different from one another on the surface but who’s recent, and not so recent, albums have been my most played at the moment. I’ll be interested to see if regular readers/listeners like both or either so please comment.
New York based Laura Cantrell has recently signed to Matador records for her forthcoming album but has already released two great albums “Not The Tremblin’ Kind” in 2000 and “When The Roses Bloom Again” in 2002. The first album moved John Peel enough to say:
“My favorite record of the last ten years and possibly my life is an LP by a New York woman born in Nashville called Laura Cantrell. It’s country, and I don’t know why I like it, but it has the same sort of effect on me as Roy Orbison had in the ‘60s.”
Yes both albums are to be found in the country section of your record store but this is country music that takes its influences from the roots of the genre mixes in folk and classic singer songwriters. It really is country music for people who have no interest in guys in cowboy hats singing about good ol boys. On her website there are a slew of fine downloads including this duet with Ballboy, an Elvis Costello cover and the title track of her second album, which was an outtake from the Wilco/Billy Bragg Woody Guthrie sessions.
Download - Laura Cantrell w/ Ballboy - I Lost You
Download - Laura Cantrell - Indoor Fireworks
Download - Laura Cantrell - When The Roses Bloom Again
Buy CDs and more downloads are here
Now this may come as a huge shock but I am no expert on hip-hop. Like most people as a student I brought “It Takes A Nation Of Millions”, “Three Feet High and Rising” and the first A Tribe Called Quest album but apart from dipping into the Quannum/Blackalicious catalogues I know little about the music. I know I have no frame of reference or interest in the majority of releases and I’m sure that’s just fine with Lil Jon or whoever. But every so often I’ll hear a track that is so good even I get it. One of those was “Makeshift Patriot” a free download from Sage Francis in the wake of 911, which perfectly captured my mood, and many of my friends at the time. This seemed to marked a shift in direction for Francis as his prior album “Personal Journals” was just that a rap album dominated by fear and loathing, boast free and was labeled as Emo rap by journalists who just love to categorize. The new album “A Healthy Distrust” sees Francis turns his gaze and lyrical dexterity to the world around him to glorious effect, delivering raps on the invasion of Iraq and raps gun fixation. Probably the closest album I have to this was the debut from The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, which also combined rap with politics and at times industrial beats. Francis is also joined by Will Oldham on the track “Sea Lions” which many regard as the highlight of the album. The album actually ends with Francis’ tribute to his hero Johnny Cash so maybe he does have a link to Cantrell.
Sage Francis downloads from "A Healthy Distrust" can be found here
Download - Sage Francis - Different from "Personal Journals"
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Cub were an all female trio from Canada who between 93 and 96 released three albums of ramshackle guitar pop that would appeal to fans of Go Sailor and Beat Happening. Todays song pretty much sums up everything that was good about them and can be found on their first album "Betti-Cola" Obviously the song should be called My Guinea Pig but I guess it wouldn't scan properly.
Today's other song is by, Manchester band I think, Laugh. Way back when the NME or Melody Maker did a benefit video cassette of indie bands for the UK housing charity Shelter. This included this song by Laugh and I very taken I was by it to. So taken in fact that I promptly forgot about the band until finding this single in a store recently. Apparenttly the band also released an album "Sensation Number One" on sub-aqua records so if anyone can knows more about the album let me know.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Excerpts from Red Roses For Me 6 - The perfect solution is now at hand, it's called "Understand" it's by Brian and features eight perfectly formed pop gems bought to you by those bastions of good taste at Setanta. Recorded for a staggeringly small amount of money in a living room, Brian isn't in fact a band but one person. This gives my poor comparison of an overall feeling that this would sit somewhere between the pop sensibilities of early Lightning Seeds & the already mentioned before but hell lets be reckless Another Sunny Day some credence at least.
The songs get off to a fine start with the title track itself, a basic drum machine beat interwoven with chiming guitar producing a perfect simple melody & a mournful whisper in the ear vocal. This makes the don't worry I've been through it before chorus of "I Understand" actually ring true. "You Don't Want A Boyfriend" is a tear stained letter to THAT person asking that age old question "why are you going out with him when he treats you so badly, while I worship the ground you walk on?" As the song sums itself up "I've heard it said before & I find it's true, the more you give yourself away to someone the less they think of you"
Since then Brian released three EPs and a full length album "Bring Trouble" but nothing since 2000. A couple of the CDs including "Understand" is available at the Setanta store link below.
Brian releases are available here
Friday, February 11, 2005
I feel like I have finally arrived or something. Actually I think the link below just proves you can sell any old crap on ebay. I have to say even with inflation I'm not sure my first attempt at a fanzine, produced on a typerwriter with pictures quite literally cut an pasted and then badly photocopied at work before anyone got in every morning is worth the massive 99p the bidding currently stands at but I can confirm it's one of the first few copies where I forgot how to spell Goodbye Mr Mckenzine on the cover.
Forget toast that looks like a member of The Arcade Fire, bid on a real piece of indie history! it's item number 3872330292 or you can find it by searching for red roses for me fanzine
Forget toast that looks like a member of The Arcade Fire, bid on a real piece of indie history! it's item number 3872330292 or you can find it by searching for red roses for me fanzine
As the trend for mash-up mixes or whatever this week's name have taken hold you have of course been deluged by a lot of bad Beastie Boys/Jay-Z/Missey Elliott vs. whoever mixes but amongst the sea of mediocrity you have people like The Kleptones, the recent DJ Food megamix and Go Home Productions alias Mark Vidler who has consistantly produced mixes overflowing with imagination, humor and most importantly don't just take the acapella mix and try and cram it over another song.
Now, you may well be asking where this all fits in with the usual Turquoise Days fare, where's the tale of the smallish indie band who were met with apathy released some fine songs and then trudged back to their day jobs? Well in 1991 there was a band called Chicane who, yes you guessed it, released some fine singles, were met with apathy and that of course is usually that. But in this case fast forward a few years and it turns out Mark Vidler was a member of that band and started producing these great mixes. These got more and more attention with regular plays on the like of XFM in the UK and then he produced "Ray Of Gob" the mix which as he put it enabled him to give up his day job and concentrate on music again. Official mixes have followed for the likes of Bowie, The Vines and a chance to mix stuff for the new Gang Of Four release and he still finds time to produce tracks like the one posted on hiss website this week "Breakin' My Bloody Process" fuses Kasabian, The Music and My Bloody Valentine with bits of The Stone Roses thrown in for good measure. Check out his website and I guarantee you'll find at least one thing you'll enjoy. His blog linkeed below also contains a complete history of Chicane with a whole slew of songs to download.
Go Home Productions mixes are here
The History of Chicane can be found here
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Tart not to be confused with those other bands Tart and Tart were based in Chicago in the mid nineties. At one point someone from Number One Cup was in the band and they released at least one other single apart from the one the song below "Kite" comes from. This song has a kind of Belly sound to it and I wish I could tell you more about the band or find some more recordings so if anyone can help apparently blogger have tweaked the comments process on here so maybe you could give it a try?
Tiger were music press darlings between 96-98 and started off releasing the single "Shining In The Woods" on Fierce Panda. What I especially like about this song is you can make up nonsense to shout out during the female vocal parts of the verses but maybe that's just me? The band released two albums on Island offshoot Trade 2 which are worth a listen especially the second "Rosaria"
Monday, February 07, 2005
I was so excited to be browsing ebay a week or so ago and find that Jim at Egg Records had released a CD EP by The Hardy Boys. The CD features what was meant to be a single in 1991 but never happened. I released a song by the band on a compilation tape around that time and had heard these songs then but managed to lost the cassette they were on at some point. So to get the chance to hear them again after all this time was such a pleasure. The EP also highlights the depth of the bands songs from the guitar pop of "Let The World Smother You" to the dancier "Plink Plonk Fizz" featuring a samplee of I believe future Loaded magazine editor James Brown extolling the benefits of ecstacy. Even better news is there will soon be a full length CD compilation containing everything the band recorded. This will include the other song you can download from Tom at indie MP3, "Harbour Lights" once again another side of the band.
Download The Hardy Boys "Let The World Smother You" and "Harbour Lights" here
The Egg Records website can be found here
In the late eighties Ric Menck and Paul Chastain seemed to be releasing singles under different names at an alarming but very welcome rate, The Big Maybe, Stupid Cupids, Springfields, and Velvet Crush all beared their hallmarks of great pop tunes infused with an appreciation of the best of 60s music. Added to this list can be the two singles they released on the Bus Stop label under the name Bag O Shells, the first of which is featured here today. "Markers" b/w "Almost Home" is probably one of my favorite 7" singles of all time, it just emcompasses everything that is just so right about the format and the two songs just scream out for an old fashioned record player that could be set up to replay a single without you having to get up and move the arm.
Download - Bag O Shells - Almost Home
Download - Bag O Shells - Markers
Friday, February 04, 2005
So in the interests of picking up records I never brought with me when I moved to the US, and to find songs I really want to feature here I have frequently found myself "diggin in the crates" as I believe the cool kids call it at the used music stores in this part of New Jersey (Princeton record exchange, vintage vinyl) and here I have come to the conclusion that in your better used vinyl stores along side every 70s rock album you wouldn't want you will without fail find the very excellant one and only full length album by Colourbox. First things first, don't confuse this self titled album with their mini album of early singles also self titled. Easy to spot difference the mini album has a sleeve featuring a fetching photograph of a horse's penis.
Colourbox consisted of brothers Martyn and Steve Young and stuck out like a sore thumb on the 4AD rosta at the time that consisted of The Cocteau Twins and lots of bad goth bands. Colourbox were really a band out of time mixing samples, guitars and beats, dub influences and single sleeves of Jimmy Hill at long before dance "pioneers" Leftfield and Underworld discovered it. The last release featuring the band was the classic "Pump Up The Volume" under the MARRS name with AR Kane which in hindsight didn't appear to be much of a collaboration as one side is obviously a Colourbox track with the b-side sounding like AR Kane. Now you would think after a massive hit the time would have been ripe for more Colourbox recordings but that was it nothing else ever appeared and we just have the one album to remember them by and used record stores of America have a bin filler.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Taking a quick diversion into the here and now today I want to recommend a band whose albums you can still find hopefully in your discerning music emporium and if not order from the links below. My Favorite are a New York based five piece taking ispiration from all the right people (The Smiths, New Order, Go-Betweens) and adding that little something, that spark that seperates the muscial haves from the have-not and never ever wills. The majority of their songs can be found on two CDs 1999s "Love At Absolute Zero" and 2003's collection of EPs and new remixes "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives" both albums are well worth purchasing and show a band in love with great music and adding a fresh twist to their songs to leave you thinking you've heard the songs before but its just because they're so immediately memorable. The downloads today, via their label Double Agents website, are a song from each album and you go to the website you can see videos and of course buy the albums.
Download - My Favorite - Working Class Jacket
Download - My Favorite - Burning Hearts
Buy the albums, watch the videos here
The band's own website can be found here
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Today we have two bands linked together firstly as I only have one single by each and secondly as they were both of Creation records briefly and may be argued would have been better off staying there, hanging around the offcie making the tea and as a reward be allowed to bring out a new album every year. It appeared to work for Ed(ward) Ball!
Anyway, first we have The Bodines who after a run of excellant singles looked set for greatness. Major labels came a calling and they settled on the mighty Magnet label. For those who don't know Magnet were famous for getting hits but with artists of their manufactured/novelty genre. At some point they decdied what they needed was some credability signed The Bodines, made videos, got them on TV, re-released the classic single "Threase" and even kitted the band out in nice stripey t-shirts but alas it had little effect. After the bands one and only album "Played" the band split, reformed & split again but left behind some great songs like the one here "God Bless" a fine piece of C86 style jangle pop. For even more great downloads and a much better history you can visit Tom of indie mp3 blogs's page below.
Brighton's Blow Up released two singles on Creation including the wonderful "Pool Valley" I must confess I know bugger all about the band apart from that, and the fact they then released today's other download "Forever Holiday" for another label and made a video for the song of the band falling over alot on Brighton beach. If my hazy memory serves me correctly they then changed their name to something else (Spitfire?) which maybe someone out there can confirm. Yes I know you're out there!
More Bodines downloads can be found here
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
It's sad to think The Waltones will only go down as a footnote in pop history as the band that guitarist Mark Collins was in before joining The Charlatans. The band in the space of eighteen months released four singles and an album on Medium Cool (them again) before the label folded. The band resurfaced as Candlestick Park released one single and had an album scheduled which never appeared. The band in their short existence produced a slew of great songs three of which are here today. "The Deepest" and "She Looks Right Through Me" were both singles while "Bold" appeared on the great Medium Cool compilation "Edge Of The Road"