Thursday, July 27, 2006

January's Little Joke

I don't need much excuse to post about certain bands, yes Camera Obscura, St Etienne and of course Belle & Sebastian I'm talking about you, and The Trashcan Sinatras. I just received the band's first DVD in the mail today, "Live At The Troubadour" features as the name subtly suggests a live show recorded in L.A. at the end of 2004, a KCRW radio session and a further ten songs from an earlier Troubadour show. As the booklet inside says; "These shows were quite an accomplishment for a band many didn't even realize still existed...a band people had nearly given up hope of seeing in concert again during their lifetime" Pretty much sums it up, and like the Go-Betweens DVD a perfect souvenir of that rare occurrence a comeback that is just a bad facsimile of their previous highs. Get the DVD at the link below and check out their huge archive of MP3's and videos. The following songs can be found there and are two Lennon covers and an acoustic version of one of their best songs.

- Trashcan Sinatras - Hayfever

- Trashcan Sinatras - Woman

- Trashcan Sinatras - Free As A Bird

Buy their DVD and download to your heart's delight here

Trashcan Sinatras - All The Dark Horses

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sometimes Loving Is The Hardest Thing

Moose are a fine example of a band who got a whole bunch of positive press when they first appeared. Triumphed as one of the leading lights of the shoegazing movement this got them into the music papers but soon become a noose around their neck that they never really escaped from. Their first three EPs gave the impression they were destined for greatness but as they moved away from their original sound and brought in country and even soul influences they produced their most accomplished music but at the same time were still thought of as last year's big thing. All of their albums are fine purchases from the stunning artwork in but if I were to recommend one it'd probably be "XYZ" from 1992. They also were masters of the cool cover version although sadly they often ended up as freebie 7" singles that came with the vinyl versions of their albums where they covered songs by the likes of Colourbox, Wire and Bobby Gentry. Today's songs are a couple of early greats and a cover of "Everybody's Talking."

- Moose - Jack

- Moose - The River Will Never Run Dry

- Moose - Everybody's Talking

Moose website here and myspace page here

Moose - Suzanne

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Monsters And Angels

Voice Of The Beehive emerged in the late eighties in a burst of dress-up clothes, a sassy image, and a boatload of catchy songs. Mixing powerpop, sixties girl groups, a dash of Blondie, and kind of continuing where Strawberry Switchblade left off they had a handful of hit singles in the UK, mainly due to their label releasing them several times, usually in five formats at a time until the public surrendered. They released three albums, but by the third "Sex & Misery" most people were probably unaware it even came out. For the whole story you can check out the biography at the excellent website below and today's downloads include two singles from their first album "Let It Bee" and a song from their second "Honey Lingers."

- Voice Of The Beehive - Don't Call Me Baby

- Voice Of The Beehive - I Walk The Earth

- Voice Of The Beehive - I'm Shooting Cupid

Buy Voice Of The Beehive here

Band webpage here

Voice Of The Beehive - I Say Nothing

Monday, July 24, 2006

Peace In Our Time

In 1993 a compilation album was released called "Peace Together" which coincided with a series of concerts where, like the album, British and Irish musicians played and presented a united front calling for an end to the troubles in Northern Ireland. The album features many of these bands producing cover versions of songs I guess they thought were pertinent. The album also features the dreaded mass artist singalong, in this case the single "Be Still" that featured the likes of Sinead O'Connor and Feargal Sharkey. Probably the main selling point of the album was U2 featuring laughing Lou Reed on "Satellite Of Love" but my favorites are the songs featured today, Blur covering Elvis Costello's "Oliver's Army", Pop Will Eat Itself making Peter Gabriel's "Games Without Frontiers" sound even more menacing than the original, and finally My Bloody Valentine with, I think, one of the only two songs the band recorded once they signed to Island Records (the other being a Wire cover on another compilation).

- Blur - Oliver's Army

- Pop Will Eat Itself - Games Without Frontiers

- My Bloody Valentine - We Have All The Time In The World

Buy Peace Together here

My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise

Friday, July 21, 2006

Random Jukebox

A quick post today of four totally unconnected songs/video before we head off on a pre-mortgage, pre-baby weekend in PA. Enjoy!

The Family Cat - The Theme From The Family Cat

Strawberry Switchblade - Trees & Flowers

The Wild Swans - Bible Dreams

The Family Cat

Strawberry Switchblade

The Wild Swans

The June Brides - In The Rain

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nothing Less Than Brilliant

The first three things that may come into your head if I mention Sandie Shaw 1. Winning the Eurovision song contest with "puppet On A String", 2. Not wearing shows and 3. Morrissey and The Smiths. Several things you may not realize about Sandie Shaw: She had three number one singles by the age of 21, was the first British recording artist to perform in the former Soviet Union, and the last to appear in Iran, Released albums throughout Europe singing in French, German, and Spanish, was the first British female singer to produce and own the copyright to her own material, and personally produces her own excellent website, complete with exhaustive discography and monthly newsletter at the link below.
It's a tragedy that most people know little of her music beyond "Puppet On A String" as since the 60's she has produced a wealth of songs that should have her held in the same esteem as the likes of Dusty Springfield, but possibly because she never really made in an impact in the US she only received a degree of recognition when she became an icon for Smiths fans. After recording "Jeane," and "Hand In Glove" with them she had a resurgence and released the album "Hello Angel" and singles featuring covers of songs by the likes of Lloyd Cole and The Waterboys alongside some her best compositions. Today's downloads feature two unlikely until you hear them covers from the album "Reviewing The Situation," a single from 1967, and her take on a Lloyd Cole classic.

Sandie Shaw - Tonight In Tokyo

Sandie Shaw - Walkin' The Dog

Sandie Shaw - Sympathy For The Devil

Sandie Shaw - Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?

Buy Sandie Shaw here

Ms. Shaw's website is here

Sandie Shaw with The Smiths - Jeane (absolutely insane!)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Need All The Friends That I Can Get

Camera Obscura during their currrent US tour stopped off at KCRW and played an eight song session, the full results of which you can listen to or even watch via the link below. The songs I've posted from it, really highlight how their live sound is a lot tougher than the recorded versions. The studio version of their cover of Sheena Easton's "Modern Girl" can be found on a CD free in the UK with this months Q magazine which should end up in your local Barnes & Noble in a month or so.

Download - Camera Obscura - Come Back Margaret (KCRW session)

Download - Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This County (KCRW session)

Download - Camera Obscura - Modern Girl (KCRW Session)

Download - Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken (KCRW session)

Watch/Listen to the whole session here

Buy Camera Obscura here

Camera Obscura - Your Sound

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monkey Suits

Good news! You can now download for free a new song from the not released for far too long Pernice Brothers album along with a video to go with it. Follow the link at the bottom of this. This album reunites Mr. Pernice with the producer of the classic "Overcome By Happiness" and if its half as good as that album I can't wait. Here's what my at the time not my wife said about that album back in the day;

"I loved what I heard. something about the sound of it, the longing in the vocals, the tender arrangements of the violins and guitars and horns, really struck me. the music was simple, but at the same time had a resounding sense of completeness.
Try to recall the last time you listened to an album thatfeatured, among other instruments, a flugelhorn. And that flugelhorn's not all. In addition to the standard guitars, drums, and occasional piano, add three trombones, some violins and violas, and even the languid strummings of a harp.
The title track starts slowly and sparsely, with joe's sandpaper vocals against a backdrop of simple drums and a hushed bass line building into a richly swirling number that melts easily into the next track. The characteristic twang of pernice's earlier work is absent here. the Pernice Brothers take pop sensibilities and flesh them out completely, a la belle and sebastian, to make for an album that's completely satisfying.
I liked the layers. I liked the sound of joe pernice's voice. I liked that it felt like there was a pervading sense of loss or even melancholy in the songs, but that that feeling of absence was what tied everything together to make the sound complete. I thought about that a bit when I was first listening to the album, the idea of a lack of something somehow defining the greater whole. perhaps I am waxing a bit too philosophical here, but when I was listening to this album constantly for the first week or so I owned it, itall made sense to me, given things in my life at that point. the music was whole, filling, like a good meal. a meal complete with appetisers, wine, entree, anddessert. sonically, instead of nutritionally, balanced.

Today's downloads include the title track of that album, my favorite song from the last album "Discover A Lovlier You", the very first Pernice Brothers single which has never appeared on an album, and finally a track of a tour only EP.

The Pernice Brothers - Overcome By Happiness

The Pernice Brothers - Subject Drop

The Pernice Brothers - Square World

The Pernice Brothers - Ballad Of Bjorn Borg

Buy CDs and get your free Pernice Brothers MP3/Video downloads here

The Pernice Brothers - Working Girls

Monday, July 17, 2006

Watches Of Switzerland

Whistler if mentioned at all were usually brought up as they featured ex EMF songwriter Ian Dench. Sounding nothing at all like his former band Dench, along with singer Kerry Shaw and viola player James Topham, swapped indie dance and shouty pop for gentle pastoral folkiness. They released two albums, "Whistler" in 1999 and "Faith In The Morning" in 2000 with a covers EP "Intermission" inbetween. The band emerged at the same time as Black Box Recorder and the vocal styles of each band always struck me as similar but Whistler were always less menacing. The songs today are from throughout their career and just checking on Amazon both albums are listed for a whole 1C each. How can you refuse?

Whistler - Rare American Shoes

Whistler - If I Give You A Smile

Whistler - All Apologies

Whistler - Happiness

Buy Whistler here

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes

The Boy Least Likely To appear to be on track to re-release each one of their singles twice, next up is "Hugging My Grudge" which if the re-release of "Be Gentle With Me" is any indication will feature a couple of fine b-sides. Plus you get another cool video featuring the animals on the album cover coming to life so who's gonna complain? Watch the video below and here a couple of songs from their KCRW session which feature whole band versions of a couple of their songs.

The Boy Least Likely To - Monsters kcrw session

The Boy Least Likely To - I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To You Star kcrw session

Buy The Boy Least Likely To here

The Boy Least Likely To live on the web here

The Boy Least Likely To - Hugging My Grudge

Miniature Kingdoms

Gorkys Zygotic Mynci can officially lay claim to the UK chart record of the most top 75 singles without reaching the top 40. Between 1996 and 2001 they managed 8 (beating That Petrol Emotion with 7) getting to 41, 42, 43 or less but never inching their way higher and picking up some possible tv/radio exposure. Then at a time when offbeat folk stylings are in vogue they decide to call it quits earlier this year. At some point, there will be reissues of their first three albums, and if you can manage to find one I'd recommend their 1997 album "Barafundle" as a great place to start. Today's downloads are two of the singles from that release.

Gorkys Zygotic Mynci - Sad Girls And Happy Endings

Gorkys Zygotic Mynci - Patio Song

Buy Gorkys here

Their webpage with links to sites by band members can be found here

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Featuring Sarah Cracknell

When she's not fronting Saint Etienne, Sarah Cracknell has been a welcome addition to several other peoples songs. So here today are a few of them. Firstly the 6ths, one of the multitude of Stephen Merritt side projects featured this song on the album "Hyacinths and Thistles" which also included contributions from Bob Mould, Gary Numan and Neil Hannon plus a whole bunch more. "Gone" was one of the singles released from the first David Holmes album "This Film's Crap Let's Slash The Seats" and comes in whole host of remixes and versions. Cheapglue released one album (I think) called "Sexy Horses" and was the moniker adopted by one Johnny Glue who has written with Saint Etienne in the past and was apparently a member of Republica. Lastly we have "Miles Apart" which features on the latest Shack album "On The Corner Of Miles And Gil" but not with Ms. Cracknell's vocals - their loss. There were rumors that there was going to be a second Sarah Cracknell solo album, but recently little more has been mentioned. So, here's a video clip of her first album "Lipslide"

The 6ths feat. Sarah Cracknell - Kissing Things

David Holmes feat. Sarah Cracknell - Gone

Cheapglue feat. Sarah Cracknell - You Just Won Me Over

Shack feat. Sarah Cracknell - Miles Apart

The Saint Etienne Website is here

Sarah Cracknell - Anymore

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm Jeff Goldblum In The Fly

The Divine Comedy have just released another fine album in the Uk/Europe "Victory For The Comic Muse" which as far as I can make out currently doesn't have a US release date. It's got some good reviews over here already though with Pitchfork singing its praises today. Quite rightly to, throughout his career Neil Hannon has produced a string of wry pop masterpieces but is definitely an artist you either love or loathe I think. To me he is the Irish equivalent of Stephen Merrit, or Jarvis Cocker for that matter, someone who dares place an emphasis of intelligence, and is definitely ploughing his own furrow which every so often converges on the British public to produce a hit single or two. The new album does feature some of his most ambitious songs yet with "A Lady Of A Certain Age" getting a lot of attention. Being contrary though I'm not posting anything new today (I'll include a link to a new song though) but here's a pot pourri of rarer Divine Comedy. So we have two covers, Bowie & Kraftwerk, a treat for Father Ted fans (if you're not see me after class) and one of my favorite singles. Oh, and a video of the most recent single which is kind of disturbing.

The Divine Comedy - Gin Soaked Boy

The Divine Comedy - My Lovely Horse

The Divine Comedy - Life On Mars

The Divine Comedy - The Model

Divine Comedy download at Fluxblog

Buy Divine Comedy here

Website here

The Divine Comedy - Diva Lady

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Samba In The Snowy Rain

The Guillemots along with the recently mentioned Jim Noir are derservedly being touted in the UK as among this year's brightest hopes. Thankfully the band don't sound like an ugly Gang Of Four/XTC hybrid but instead have ignored bratty cynicism for pure emotion and a passion that conjures up prime time Dexys Midnight Runners and the type of Big Music Mike Scott was famous before he went all hey nonny no. In the US you can currently purchase the EP "From The Cliffs" with I presume the album to follow, and it provides a great introduction to the band as it features a couple of the UK singles. For today's downloads I've actually posted a couple of the singles b-sides as the band have such a wealth of songs even the extra tracks on the singles are great.

The Guillemots - Cats Eyes

The Guillemots - The Doormouse & The Meerkat

Buy Guillemots here

The band's webpage is here

The Guillemots - Trains To Brazil

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Last Train Home

As I mentioned yesterday The Frank & Walters have been unfairly stereotyped by the slightly wacky image they first appeared with, matching orange jumpsuits, and their brand of jaunty singalong pop on early songs like "Happy Busman", and "Fashion Crisis Hits New York" led to their biggest hit with their top 20 single "After All", but painted the band into a corner which led to the fine songwriting found on subsequent albums like "Beauty Becomes More Than Life" and "The Grand Parade" getting nowhere near the attention they deserved. In the last couple of years the band have got back together and released "souvenirs" a double CD of rare and unreleased songs which comes complete with a code to unlock a whole extra disc of songs to boot. This is going to be followed by a brand new album "Renewed Interest In Happiness" which will hopefully lead to further reassessment of the quality of the band.

The Frank & Walters - Fashion Crisis Hits New York

The Frank & Walters - Funky Cold Medina

The Frank & Walters - Indian Ocean

For information on buying "Souvenirs" and more go to the band's website here

Other website here

Or buy the album online here

The Frank And Walters - After All

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Give Him The Ball And A Yard Of Grass

Some bands are forever tainted with an image or perception derived from their first singles or interviews or whatever. No matter what happens afterwards they are always associated with those initial forays into the big bad music industry. Two examples I can think of immediately were The Frank & Walters who produced some fine music throughout their existence but they are just remembered (if at all) as being the happy grinning funsters who covered "Funky Cold Medina." Then you have the Sultans Of Ping (F.C.) who somehow ended up on Rhythm King home of pop dance classics, went on to make a couple of fine Stooges style albums but will forever be known as the "Where's Me Jumper?" band. You want proof, the band have reformed and a clip of them is up on Youtube playing live and they play THAT song and chaos ensues! The band have put their entire back catalogue up on but for those of us who cannot buy stuff from there the website below has a massive amount of MP3 available. Oh and of course today's downloads include "Where's Me Jumper?" and the band's take on two Carter USM songs.

Sultans Of Ping - Bloodsport For All

Sultans Of Ping - Do Re Mi

Sultans Of Ping FC - Where's Me Jumper?

Sultans Of Ping FC - Stupid Kid

Buy the band's song in the UK here

Loads of MP3 can be found here

Sultans Of Ping - Where's Me Jumper? (live)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

All True Trendies

If you click on the link to your left you can go to The Hype Machine a great resource for seeing whats hip and happening out there in MP3 blogland. I was sad to notice recently how little Aberfeldy have been featured on blogs, especially as I think that their debut album "Young Forever" was one of my highlights of last year. Hopefully this will be rectified with their new album "Do Whatever Turns You On" which has just been released in the UK and hopefully soon in the US? The best way to describe the album I think is its good old fashioned pop music, no pretence of being the latest in thing, just perfect bursts of three minute songs, singalong choruses and fun. Remember fun? They did a session on Mark Radcliffe's BBC radio 2 show this week which you can download below and a video to watch.

Aberfeldy - Hypnotized radio session

Aberfeldy - I Need You To Know radio session

Aberfeldy - Whatever Turns You On

Aberfeldy albums can be found here

Their website resides here

Aberfeldy - Hypnotized

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's Just All Bears Round Here

Perusing YouTube I was excited to come across an upload of "Gimme Shelter" a videotape that was produced in conjunction with Melody Maker or the NME featuring the cream of the indie crop at the time with proceeds going to the UK homeless charity Shelter. My first thought was I wish I had some of these songs still, "I'm Not An American" by The Dragsters particularly and secondly its about time we had a 14 Iced Bears post. The band, who released relatively little in their lifetime, made one Sarah 7" and a few other singles but those great people at Slumberland have collected everything together and you can get it all on CD at the link below, where you'll also find some more MP3.
Here's a brief history of the band lifted from the Slumberland site:
Formed in 1985 by Rob Sekula, The 14 Iced Bears ably blended shambolic pop with a psychedelic punk edge that set them apart from their C86 contemporaries. Inspired by bands like the Stooges, Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators and Echo & the Bunnymen, Sekula injected the then-nascent indie-pop sound with a twisted dose of noise and experimental menace. While still owing plenty to the Byrds/Ramones influences evident in the output of labels like Creation and Pink, it was this dark 60s flavor that always set the 'Bears apart.

14 Iced Bears - Balloon Song

14 Iced Bears - Come Get Me

14 Iced Bears - Sure To See

You must buy the complete 14 Iced Bears CD here or else!

03 - 14 Iced Bears - Balloon Song (live)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lets Get Ready To Rumble!

Ladies and gentleman tonight we have a lightweight contest over two albums, the winner being crowned the bossa nova cover version champions of the world. In the red corner we have Nouvelle Vague from France consisting of Oliver Libaux and Marc Collin along with several usually female vocalists. They have released two albums of cover versions of punk/new wave classics sung by people who allegedly have never heard the original version. Their latest album, "Bande A Part" out almost everywhere apart from the US, where it arrives in August, includes the likes of "Danicing With My Self", "Fade To Grey" and "Blue Monday" there is also a great version of New Order's "Confusion" which only appears to be a bonus track on itunes.
In the blue corner we have Pastel Vespa residing in Australia, born to a Brazlilian mother and Italian father and releasing albums on Siesta in Spain, Ms. Vespa has covered the likes of "White Wedding", "Lets Go To Bed" and "Anarchy In The UK" in French. I picked her version of "Blue Monday" to post as I like the fact it mixes in "Love Will Tear Us Apart."

Nouvelle Vague - A Forest

Nouvelle Vague - The Killing Moon

Pastel Vespa - Blue Monday

Pastel Vespa - Livin' On A Prayer

Buy Nouvelle Vague here and visit their website here

Pastel Vespa's website can be found here