Monday, March 28, 2005

Funky Monkey

Todays tracks come from a 7" single released by the band Funky Monkey in 2002. I know little about the band but the A-side "Tomorrow's Girl" features the vocals of Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell while the b-side "L.A. Riot" is slightly more funkier than I'd imagine a riot to be. Both songs were featured on the band's CD "Join Us In Tomorrow" which is apparently a mixture of old songs and singles.

Friday, March 25, 2005

All I Am Is Loving You

Continuing on from yesterday and Scottish pop that emerged after the likes of Orange Juice and Aztec Camera we have The Bluebells who on the back of, I think, a car commercial scored a number one hit single during 93 in the UK with the re-rerelease of their song "Young At Heart" by which time the band had long since broken up but got back together to mime on Top Of The Pops. In their lifetime the band only released one album "Sisters" in 1984 but it still stands up as a fine album today but it is a strange mix of pop singles mixed with overtly political songs like "The Patriot Game" and the of its time "South Atlantic Way" after the band split the songs recorded for their next album eventually surfaced as the aptly titled "Second" but for a good introduction to the band there is also a singles album still available.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Swallows In The Rain

In the post-Postcard era of Scottish pop Glasgow bands were ensuring the clothes stores of the city were doing a roaring trade in Aztec Camera style checked shirts and fringed suede jackets. Of these some bands dented the charts with varying degrees of success (The Bluebells, Lloyd Cole & The Commontions) and others, like Friends Again really should have but for whatever reason it wasn't to be. The band released one album "Trapped and Unwrapped" in 1984 and several singles from it including Honey At The Core with the immortal line about moon boots chaffing! How could have not been a hit. When the band split the two songwriters James Grant and Chris Thompson formed Love and Money and The Bather respectively and released several albums between them.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

California One

The Decemberists are one of those bands I knew existed and on the few times I heard a song of theirs I thought "I really like this" and then promptly forget about them. Well oh foolish me! Having now heard their three albums, including "Picaresque" out TODAY I have seen the error of my ways and if you haven't already implore you to do likewise. Definitely ploughing their own furrow the band take that mainstay of pop songs the sailors lament, or tales of Chim(b)ley sweeps and turn them into wonderful pop moments with a sprig of amateur dramatics thrown in for good measure. Basically the whole thing has the capacity to suck badly but the band carry it off with aplomb. Ten years ago the band would have found their spiritual home on El Records and now they're on Kill Rock Stars. Go figure. The songs below represent one track from each of thier albums and if you pop over to the Brooklyn Vegan blog you can find a live cover version of a Joanna Newsom song. If you like the image above you can purchase the limited edition poster of it at the link below as well.

Download - The Decemberists - The Soldering Life from "Her Majsty The Decemberists

Download - The Decemberists - How I Dreamt I Was An Architect from "Castaways And Cutouts"

Download - The Decemberists - The Engine Driver from "Picaresque"

The Decemberists cover Joanna Newsom here

The bands website canne be found here

Buy the poster show above here

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Draining The Pool For You

Back after my own little spring break. I've meant to post concerning The Go-Betweens for probably as long as I've been doing this blog. Simply put, The Go-Betweens are my favorite band and have been for many years. In fact they played a big part in turning me on to indie music in general. I was lent a copy of their "16 Lovers Lane" album and fell in love with the pop simplicity of it. I was then steered in the direction of Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, The Smiths and the rest is history (and far too many albums). Sadly I never got to see the classic Go-Betweens lineup before they split but when songwriters Robert Forster and Grant McLennan got back together to record the album "The Friends Of Rachel Worth" and tour with it we got to see them three times in NY/NJ. Since then all of the band's albums have been re-released with the extra disc treatment and a new album "Oceans Apart" will be out in April. So for those who haven't heard the band before today we have a link to their UK label site where you can download a whole bunch of their best singles and by way of a change here we have a video clip of the band playing one of the songs from the new album.

Download Go-Betweens MP3s here

Excellant Go-Betweens website can be found here

Stuff I've written about the band can be found here

Friday, March 11, 2005

Autour De Lucie

The two songs today from Autour De Lucie’s debut album “L’ échappée Belle” which was released in 1994. Since then the band released three albums in the US and last year another self titled album in France only. Over the course of these albums the band have added more electronic sounds to their songs but these two are fine examples of the great music on this first album. I haven’t got anything else to say today as most of the websites with pieces about the band are in French and I only got as far as being able to tell someone the dog is in the garden in French. I checked and I found no mention of this in these articles concerned.

The band's website can be found here

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays

If I Were A Carpenter released in 1994 was a (then) all-star tribute to The Carpenters, which, like most tribute albums was a decidely hit or miss affair. The best tracks on it take the original songs and add at least something a bit different to them while some you're much better off listening to the originals. What's probably most interesting is looking at the bands involved and seeing how their careers haave fluctuated in the last ten years. So alongside the still with us (Sonic Youth, Matthew Sweet) and the reformed (American Music Club, Cracker) we have the best forgotton (4 Non Blondes) and who the hell were they in the first place? (Johnette Napolitano). Two of the better songs were the covers by American Music Club and Shonen Knife and I wish I had the Paul Quinn versiion of "Superstar" to post as well, maybe someone could hook us up?

Buy The Album here

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The new Peters and Lee

Why is it that any male/female duo that comes along are now labelled as "The White Stripes if blah blah blah"? Were the WWhite Stripes referred to as "Royal Trux if they took less drugs" so The Kills are "The White Stripes but even more bluesy" and on the front of "American Whip" the second album by Joy Zipper their record label have helpfully put a sticker telling the world that the band are like The White Stripes if they jumped into Brian Wilson's sandbox and started building castles. Or something like that. It's just as well the actual music contained within warrents looking past this sad marketing as the band have taken the dreamy classic pop quality of thier debut album and whereas the first album was made up of their demos this time they have beeen given time to let the songs develop totally and although the songs do look back to influences like The Beach Boys they also contain nods to the likes of Stereolab.

Download - Joy Zipper - Check Out My New Jesus from their debut album

Download - Joy Zipper - Out Of The Sun from "American Whip

More streaming songs can be found at the band's website here

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Boo Up!

The Boo Radleys are definitely a band that history appears to have forgotten in terms of how popular they are. It wasn't until I looked up the history of the band that I realised they had a number one album in the UK with "Wake Up!" in 95. The problem was this was on the back of the top ten success of the "Wake Up Boo!" single which ended up being so overplayed that the albums that followed sold less and less copies so by the time their final album "Kingsize" appeared in 98 it peaked at a low 62. It seems that the band's earlier releases are now cruelly overlooked, with their first two albums "Everythings Alright Forver" in 92 and their best album "Giant Steps" in 93 displaying a band full of fire and imagination. Todays downloads are tracks from these two albums and their cover of New Order's "True Faith." The website listed below has a bunch of tracks from their earlier singles.

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Gentle Sound

At one point Factory Records came up with the great idea of releasing the cassette versions of their albums in larger card boxes with typically lush inserts. This may have been just so they could fit the title of the debut Happy Mondays album on the sleeve, but amongst the New Order albums they also brought out the mini album by The Railway Children in this format which I bought at the time because they included their debut single "A Gentle Sound" on the tape which they left off the vinyl version. After "Reunion Wilderness" the band moved onto Virgin records who tried to push the band by focussing on the pin-up qualities of vocalist Gary Newby and resorted to releasing up to five different versions of each single and still seeing it falter at 59 in the charts. After two albums, "Recurrence" in 88 and "Native Place" in 90 the band split until Newby kept the name and released "Dream Arccade" in 99. A great introduction to the band would be one of the best ofs currently out there and Newby has recently released anm album of acoustic versions of their most popular songs.

The Railway Children website can be found here

Friday, March 04, 2005

Bed, Table, Chair

The Edsel Auctioneer were Leeds' answer to Dinosaur Jr. and appeared around the time (98) when UK bands like Teenage Fanclub were taking elements from US bands like Dinosaur and Buffalo Tom, throwing in influences like Neil Young and producing a glorious pop noise. The two songs today were the double A Sides of their debut 7". The band released two albums "Simmer" in 92 and "The Good Time Music Of" in 95.