Monday, September 26, 2005

Cat Tails

As there appears to be a severe lack of guinea pig songs, today we have three songs devoted to our feline friends. First up Belle And Sebastian's 'A Century Of Elvis' or their 'Century Of Fakers' tune with Stuart David doing a Looper over the top. The story kind of links to his 'Impossible Things' song and was the first time, I think, anyone heard his dulcet tones.

Next is The Old 97's 'Murder (Or A Heart Attack' taken from their "Fight Songs" album, which for me is the point their country punk early releases got a poppier edge and were all the better for it. A suitably scrappy version can be found on their live CD that was released last week.

Lastly a song from the most recent Weakerthans album 'Reconstruction Site' which contained some great upbeat moments alongside their more introspective songs that dominated their first two releases. Hopefully a new album is around the corner.

Buy all three albums here

Belle And Sebastian live here

The Old 97's can be found here

The Weakerthans reside here

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Radio Days

Radio Indie Pop is yes you've guessed it an online radio station playing all the bands you only hear on a handful of stations when you're lucky enough to live in a few select parts of the country. They have a different board theme for each day of the week, so Monday's for instance is 'Acoustic & Introspective Indie Rock' from the likes of Belle And Sebastian, Lambchop, Wilco and Black Box Recorder. The interface on the webpage also tells you what songs are coming up and they also have an album of the month button where you can listen to that whole album. September's is the very wonderful New Pornographers and 'Twin Cinema' and October's will be the new album by Stellastarr*

Check out Radio Indie Pop here

Thursday, September 22, 2005

To Accept The Things I Cannot

Monica Queen is probably best known as the voice that showed Belle And Sebastian fans what female vocals sound like when the person can actually sing on 'Lazy Line Painter Jane' but for those with longer memories she was previously the focal point of Thrum, a band who didn't let the fact they were Scottish get in the way of their love of country rock but suffered the curse of all bands on Fire Records, no sales. Since the B&S hook-up Monica Queen, along with Thrum guitarist Johnny Smillie have recorded two fine albums that taking the good bits of Thrum and added a few electronic twists, and lets face it Ms Queen could be singing her gorcery list and it'd sound awesome. The latest album, 'Return Of The Sacred Heart' was released earlier this year and can be ordered from their label below. You can also listen to a couple more songs on her myspace page along with towards downloads, One from each album.

Buy the new album here

Monica Queen's website is here, and her myspace page lives here

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Floats Like A Mogwai

Two tracks from the recesses of my record collection today. Firstly one of the seminal mix-ups by Double Dee & Steinski who wikipedia describe as the act who " exerted a powerful influence on an entire generation of "samplists" and continues to be cited to this day as a landmark in the history of "sampledelica". Indeed one can trace a line from Double Dee and Steinski through Coldcut's "Say Kids What Time Is It?" (which begat Bomb The Bass' "Beat Dis", which, in turn, begat LA Mix's "Check This Out") to DJ Shadow (who paid his dues on a track entitled "Lesson 4") and The Avalanches"

"The Motorcade Sped On" appeared on a 7" given away with the NME and stood out like a sore thumb amongst the likes of U.2. who were also on there.

Secondly we have a great example of a bootleg mash-up that isn't two tracks stuck together badly but something, I think, stands up on its own as a great piece of music, Mogwai, Cassius Clay, and the talents of McSleazy.

The McSleazy Website resides here

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Birds Make Good Neighbors

The second wonderful album by The Rosebuds is just out, and I'm overjoyed to find that 'Birds Make Good Neighbors' even eclipses the highs of their debut 'Make Out' the blending of 60's pop and the better sounds of indie rock are still there, but the increase of Kelly Crisp's vocal duties are the most welcome addition. A married couple, how they met, fell in love, and started the band is a cool story so I'll just steal it wholesale from the Merge Records website:

"Ivan and Kelly met in Wilmington, NC where they both went to start their lives after high school. Ivan planned to play basketball for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington but before he got to suit up for his freshman season, he broke both arms in a pick-up game, essentially ending his basketball career. He didnĂ‚’t know what to do next but he was too depressed to care about school anymore. Kelly, who was studying English, became one of his closest friends. She would share stories about her own life, talk to him about books she was reading, and they would go to see rock shows together. It was a good friendship and eventually, it was a relationship. Ivan started playing the guitar and writing songs. Kelly started writing her stories down and joined an all-female performance group that wrote and directed their own material. So, by the time of their wedding, they were both so heavily involved with their own creative projects that they were eager to try a project together. When The Rosebuds took the stage on that first evening playing as a two-piece with a drum machine, they were unknowingly defining their future as a married couple."

At the moment if you purchase the album direct from Merge you can also get their previous "The Rosebuds Unwind" EP at a bargain price and there's also mention of Rosebuds tattoos up for grabs so how can you resist?

Buy your Rosebuds releases here

The band's own website can be found here

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Did I Imagine You?

.........Now that might have been it but in early 99 a very limited 7" appeared on Heavenly in the UK announcing in no uncertain terms the return of Dot Allison. "Tomorrow Never Comes" the a-side was a stunning reintroduction, a countrified lament featuring BJ Cole on Pedal Steel some keyboards gently reverberating in the background and Dot's almost whispered vocals drawing you in. Imagine St Etienne discovering alt. country or Beth Orton's best songs on her first album and you're halfway there.

This was followed by some frankly bizarre promotional activity in the UK, two limited CD singles in the shape of "Mo Pop" a timeless slice of soaring choruses and breathy French vocals and then "Message Personal" that has an almost eastern feel courtesy of swathes of guitar from Kevin Shields and a mantra vocal style showing that there weren't going to be any set formulas to her solo career. Then finally a proper single release in "Close Your Eyes" coming over as the James Bond theme that hasn't yet been commissioned and another song that could have come out anytime since the late sixties.

When the album "Afterglow" eventually sneaked out with little fanfare from her label the main thing that struck me was how very personal it all is. Not particularly in terms of soul laid bare lyrics but because despite a host of famous friends being involved including Mani from Primal Scream, Richard Fearless of Death In Vegas and the aforementioned Shields it's very much Dot's album. It doesn't pander to fashion in any way. The presence of a song co-written by Hal David I think pretty much sums up her aim to produce music that is wonderful now but will be equally so in ten years time.

This was followed up by the aimed at the dancefloor 'We Are Science' and a very rare tour only Cd of acoustic tracks that I'd love to hear. The latest news according to the great now official website Chemical Sister is her next album will have an feel. The website is also promising MP3 of demos coming soon, and features Dot's own online journal so check back regularly.

Buy Dot Allison's CDs here

The Dot Allison website lives here

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Morning Dove White

Sometimes a band's failure to become huge can be totally inexplicable, relatively speaking of course. I mean most of the bands written about here are never going to scale the same lofty heights as the Britneys and Coldplays and I'd be shocked if they ever aspired to. Sometimes though a band appears who look set to have if not the world at least the charts at their feet.

One such band were One Dove a Scottish three piece who had everything going for them. They emerged around 1993 on the Boys Own label which at that time was probably the hippest in the UK. Production duties were being handled by Andrew Weatherall who was currently THE person to have sitting behind your mixing desk after the big hand he'd had in reinventing Primal Scream on "Screamadelica" Throw into the mix the band's songs; drawn out excursions into dub, ambient house & guitars topped off with the rich vocals of singer Dot Allison and you had a band creating come down torch songs for the E generation.

So what went wrong? Timing mainly I think, Boys Own fell apart and One Dove found themselves signed to a major label at a time when it seemed major label's only concept of "dance" music was of novelty hits from Belgium. So while a few years later the likes of Portishead and Massive Attack were given time to almost create an audience One Dove's songs were handed over to producers to rework them with raw edges removed, a radio friendly sheen added and a big chunk of their soul sacrificed. Their one and only album "Morning Dove White" when it eventually appeared was a real jumbled affair, the Weatherall originals alongside the new versions, a few other songs placed in the middle an d by then the band was falling apart anyway. The album still sells fairly well mainly on word of mouth recommendations but sadly the highlights only show how flawed the rest of it is.

Buy the album from here

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Unknown Pleasures

If you've not already fell in love with them I'd recommend, to anyone with a love of reading about music that goes beyond the latest record company purchased articles that make up the mjority of the music press, Continuum Books' 33 1/3 series. These pocket-sized books which have been published since 2003, and now number 26 in the series, each focus in on a particular album that is the author concerned desert island disc if you like. Featuring a mixture of obvious (Velvet Underground & Nice, OK Computer) and not so obvious (Abba Gold, Jethro Tull Agualung) the series and the quality of writing are so good you'll enjoy the books about albums you would never consider even listening to (Jethro Tull) and want to dig out your copies of albums you have (the majority of the rest).
The books go from in depth studies of the albums concerned to how it played a huge part in their life (Colin Meloy of The Decemberists take on The Replacements 'Let It Be) to a work of fiction linked to the album (Joe Pernice's take on The Smiths 'Meat Is Murder'). Four new titles have just been released including the book on DJ Shadow's 'Entroducing' that I'm looking forward to, and best of all the book on My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless' is being continually pushed back on the release schedule just like the album itself was. David Barker the editor of the series even has his own blog devoted to the books which you can find the link to below.

The downloads today feature The Aluminum Group covering 'Caroline, No' from the Brian Wilson tribute album 'Caroline Now' to tie in with the book on 'Pet Sounds' and Colin Meloy covering 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' from his big bucks on ebay tour EP of Morrissey covers.

The 33 1/3 blog can be found here and the books themselves should be tucked in amongst the Beatles/Dylan tomes of your local book emporium.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Todd Stadtman first came to my attention as half of the duo Zikzak who released a CD 'See You There' in 2000, a collection of new romantic pop driven songs, five years before that became fashionable again. Since then he has released two fine Cds under his own name 2002's 'Anxotica' and this years' 'Only I Can Save You'. All these releases combine Stadtman's love of electro-pop with a blend of bookish lyricism placing him firmly in the Edwyn Collins and lloyd Cole camp with a vocals that remind me of Elvis Costello around the time of his 'Imperial Bedroom' album. Todays songs are taken from the two most recent albums, both of which can be purchased both on iTunes and at Stadtman's own website where you'll also find a bunch more downloads.

Buy these albums and find more downloads here

Friday, September 09, 2005

Kill All Hippies

Not many bands can claim to have been as adventurous during their existence as Primal Scream, looking back they started out as part of the C86 shambling scene with 'Velocity Girl' and gave The Stone Roses a sound to borrow on their 'Made Of Stone', paid homage to The Byrds and Love on their debut album 'Sonic Flower Groove', decided they wanted to in fact be The Stooges on 'Primal Scream' teamed up with Andy Weatherall to conjure up 'Loaded' and in 'Screamadelica' produced an album that is one of the best of the last twenty years. Next up another rock beast in 'Give Out But Don't Give Up' but once again they got their shit together and came back with the magnificent 'Kowalski' single and 'Vanishing Point' album and the accompanying dub version in 'Echodek', 'Xtrmntr' followed along with the acquisition of Mani from The Stone Roses and Kevin Shields who may still be in My Bloody Valentine, who knows? Their most recent album was the patchy 'Evil Heat' and since the perfect introduction, along with 'Screamadelica', the compilation 'Dirty Hits' little has been heard from the band who are apparently in the process of producing a new album with Brian Eno or Youth or somebody else. The official sites for the band appear to be either on the fritz or out of date so follow the link below to the best site on the band.

The songs today are a Kevin Shields remix, a Jesus & Mary Chain cover, and a funky b-side featuring as the name suggests Hammonds aplenty have most of the band's albums at bargain prices here

The best Primal Scream website lives here

Thursday, September 08, 2005

From The Aislers Set to Napalm Death

The Perfumed Garden is a blog devoted to radio sessions recorded for the late John Peel's radio show, and what a treasure trove it is. Every post is a complete session of three or four songs, with enough info about the band concerned to whet your appetite and get you seeking out more. Over the course of his show there were so many Peel sessions I remember hearing, and wishing I'd taped, or did and the cassettes have been lost over time. Now its great to get as chance to hear some of them again. So far the likes of The Wedding Present, Jesus & Mary Chain, Pink Floyd, and The Field Mice have been featured and I can't wait to hear more. The sessions are downloadable as complete zip files but here's a couple of individual songs.

All the sessions can be found at The Perfumed Garden here

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Free CDs for Hurricane Relief

For a limited time, anybody who donates any amount of money to the Hurricane Katrina Red Cross appeal can email me and we will send you copies of the two CDs we released. If you haven't yet donated you can go to here and there is a link on the front page. I belive iTunes and paypal are offering similar services.

The two CDs are a compilation 'A Boy, A Girl & A Rendez-Vous' featuring the likes of The Aisers Set, Lucksmiths, Aberdeen, Windmills, Lovejoy, Sugargliders, and a whole bunch of others. The second CD is a full length by Callow that is something fans of The Pernice Brothers/American Music Club might enjoy.

Email me your address at and we'll get the CDs off to you. For today here are a couple of tracks from the CDs to encourage you to donate something no matter how small.

Download - The Arrogants - Nothing Good Will Ever Come Us This

Download - Callow - Lessons In Shuteye

Monday, September 05, 2005

Desire Me Or Die

I just noticed that Erik Voeks star of the one 7" we put out that should have sold a whole bunch (it came with a free balloon for pete's sake!) now has his own myspace page and on it you find three more of his very wonderful songs including a cover of The Sugarcubes 'Birthday' no less. Pop over there now and think good thoughts for Max (pictured here) who is a sick pig at the moment.

Go to Erik's mypace page here

Friday, September 02, 2005

Mary Jane Is Strange

Frank Bednash and Donna Esposito the duo who made up Cowboy & Spingirl have been recording music for Parasol Records almost since the label was formed, changing their name to Toothpaste 2000, and now Mas Rapido! they have made nine albums and a batch of singles. Today though, we're going back to 1991/2 when the band released their first two 7"s which immediately displayed their talent for making great pop music that takes its cue from the past but does so without becoming overtly retro. The songs sound like they were recorded as cheaply as possible but with the melodies are strong enough to make that immaterial. The band released one full length CD 'Earcandy' and a collection of their other recordings 'Odds & Bobs' which includes a great version of 'Nowhereland' with Donna singing. Both Cds, along with their other albums and song samples, can be found at the Parasol records site and you can even get the two 7" today's downloads are from for the bargain price of 50c each!!

Buy Cowboy & Spingirl/Toothpaste 2000/Mas Rapido! at Parasol here

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Every Other Thursday

I thought today I'd back up yesterday's rash statement that the tape that came with Red Roses 6 which featured Australia's The Jordans was worth purchasing by posting some of the songs contained on it in their slightly ropey tape to MP3 glory. How this tape happened I'll steal from the Red Roses For Me webpage about them:

"It feels like the paths of Red Roses For Me and The Jordans are strangely intertwined. Back in 1991 while compiling a cassette to accompany Red Roses 5, I approached The Sugargliders about contributing. When they sent me back a master tape of their song they included a song ("Concerning You") by their friend, producer and occasional musical contributor Adam Dennis, under the guise of The Jordans. I immediately contacted Adam about also including his song, and although he was somewhat surprised as Josh and Joel had sent it in without his knowledge, he readily agreed.
For Red Roses 6, we decided that instead of a compilation tape a mini-album by one band would be the perfect indication of the big new direction we foolishly thought we were heading in, and a Jordans cassette felt like the perfect selection. When it arrived I knew it had been an inspired choice, the six songs on the tape brimmed over with catchy choruses, heartfelt lyrics and production values that stood them apart from the endless dull Sarah records clones that abounded at the time The fanzine proved to be the best-selling Red Roses and I'd say the cassette had a huge part to play in that."

Following the release of the tape Adam Dennis joined up with Josh and Joel in The Steinbecks who made an album and a couple of singles with that line-up. The Jordans have since released two full length CDs, 'Katydid' in 1997, and 'The Hallelujah Mine' in 2001. Sadly, the band appears to have stopped functioning since then, or at least updating their website. There are some more recent MP3 of songs from the two albums at the website however along with a chance to buy their releases.

Download - The Jordans - Every Other Thursday

Download - The Jordans - I'm Mystified

Download - The Jordans - Elect Me

The Jordans webpage with more MP3 and CDs to buy can be found here

The Red Roses For Me Jordans page lives here