Monday, July 27, 2009

PO! - Northern Wonder

Do you want a copy of Northern Wonder by PO!? I have a spare copy of the 7”; I have no idea why I have two copies , or why it’s taken me 15 years to realise I’ve got two. I only need one, so if this is missing from your record collection this is why I have two you’re welcome to my spare. I’d be keener to give this to someone in the UK for postage reasons and keener still to give it to someone in London to save completely on postage.

Admittedly, I don’t expect a stampede of PO! fans, based on my experience of ordering their debut album, Little Stones, 20 years ago. The first 50 copies came signed; not being a fan of signed records, I waited a few weeks to ensure I got an unsigned copy. Oh, the naiveté. I got copy number 36. Factoring in the copies kept by band members, given to their mums and anyone who helped out in the recording process, Little Stones wasn’t exactly flying out of the Rutland Records warehouse. Great album, though.

Anyway, want this single? Let me know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stolen Hearts

Another girl group with guitars? Nope. There are two blokes in Stolen Hearts, but photographers seem to focus on the three ladies (who are admittedly rather easy on the eye).
I bet they sound like The Shop Assistants. Wrong again. Their songs are full of chugging new wave bass, driving guitars and infectious 60s pop. Their favourite records may well be Blondie’s Parallel Lines, the Ramones’ debut album and Spector’s Philles classics.
So they use the Be My Baby drumbeat. Of course they do. Listen to Heart Collector for proof (and, you know, because it’s great; students will no doubt be getting drunk and contracting STDs every Spring Break for years to the sound of Stolen Hearts).
Afro-beat? Fuck knows. They describe themselves as “Powerpop / Rock / Afro-beat”. The first two you can’t argue with; perhaps the latter is a marketing ruse (aka "a lie") to get some of the Vampire Weekend dollar.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Puddle videos and interview

"That was always my ambition, from reasonably early on in The Puddle. There were a few bands like Microdisney or The Smiths or Orange Juice ... I thought, `why aren't people doing this? It's great'. So I had to do it. No-one else was going to."
Interview with The Otago Times

The Puddle’s first video, for Naked from The Shakespeare Monkey album, has been filmed:

It’s greatly pleasing and very encouraging that The Puddle’s superb music is starting to be recognised by a wider audience outside of their New Zealand homeland. Following The Clientele’s tribute to The Puddle’s I’ve Lost My Way In This World, George Says He Has Lost His Way In This World, The Cavalcade have a new song, No Strength, which Stephen of the band tells me is "sort of our tribute to The Puddle... (replete with cowbell a la The White Birds)".

The Puddle are currently touring NZ, on which their live-to-air radio performance of One Romantic Gesture was filmed (featuring much doorbell, but no cowbell):

Monday, July 13, 2009

PENS album

PENS release their debut album Hey Friend What You Doing? on 14 September through De Stijl. It will be either the greatest thing ever* or complete rubbish. I'm happy to take my chances.

They're playing Cargo on 14 august, which judging by past performances will certainly be great.

*by ever, I mean - quite obviously - 'the best album since Box Elders debut, Alice and Friends, released on August 4'.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mark Mulcahy tribute album

It was a very sad day last year for many of us when we learned of the sudden, tragic death of Mark Mulcahy's wife, Melissa. A tribute album, Ciao My Shining Star, featuring versions of Mulcahy's songs by noteable fans of his work will be released in September. The press release information follows:
The album is a tribute to former Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy’s wife Melissa, who died suddenly last September, and features a collection of some of today’s greatest recording artists performing versions of Mulcahy’s songs. All proceeds from the sale of the album will go to Mark to help him continue his career while also raising his 3-year-old twin daughters.

The album features 21 exclusive tracks from, among others, Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe, Dinosaur Jr, Mercury Rev, The National, Frank Black, Frank Turner, Vic Chesnutt and Josh Rouse. In addition, a further 20 tracks will be made available digitally to promote the album from artists including AC Newman, Buffalo Tom and Laura Veirs.

Available on CD and as a digital download, the full track listing is as follows :
01 Thom Yorke "All for the Best"
02 The National "Ashamed of the Story I Told"
03 Michael Stipe "Everything’s Coming Undone"
04 David Berkeley "Love's the Only Thing That Shuts Me Up"
05 Dinosaur Jr. "The Backyard"
06 Chris Harford and The Band Of Changes "Micon the Icon"
07 Frank Black "Bill Jocko"
08 Vic Chesnutt "Little Man"
09 Unbelievable Truth "Ciao My Shining Star"
10 Butterflies of Love "I Have Patience"
11 Chris Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne "Cookie Jar"
12 Frank Turner "The Quiet One"
13 Rocket From the Tombs "In Pursuit of Your Happiness"
14 Ben Kweller "Wake Up Whispering"
15 Josh Rouse "I Woke Up in the Mayflower"
16 Autumn Defense "Paradise"
17 Hayden "Happy Birthday Yesterday"
18 Juliana Hatfield "We're Not in Charleston Anymore"
19 Mercury Rev "Sailors and Animals"
20 Elvis Perkins "She Watches Over Me"
21 Sean Watkins "A World Away From This One"

Mark Mulcahy was the front-man for Miracle Legion in the 1980s to mid 1990s. Shortly after their demise, Mark soon formed Polaris; a house band for the mid 1990s alternative television series The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993-1996). They are perhaps best remembered for the song "Hey Sandy" as it was featured in the opening credits of each show.

Mulcahy has opened up for many notable artists including Oasis and Jeff Buckley, and received homage from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, who dedicated a song to Mulcahy at a Boston show. An essay on Mulcahy's song "Hey Self-Defeater" (from the album "Fathering") was featured in Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs.

Mark released his last album, In Pursuit Of Your Happiness, in 2005, which critics praised as "Majestic, mind-blowing, quite marvellous - your happiness is assured if you purchase this record" (The Sun) and “Terrific - his third solo album opens wounds and plays with the patterns as the blood runs free" (The Guardian). The Daily Telegraph said "the songs are intimate, intelligent, wise and melodic. But the really special thing is his voice: such range, such texture, such honesty - it's gorgeous".

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Cavalcade

At the very front of The Cavalcade’s record collection is Felt’s The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories. Right behind it would be Suburban Light by The Clientele, Before Hollywood by The Go-Betweens, The Sun A Small Star by The Servants and Love Resistance by Apple Boutique.

The self-released debut ep by this Preston trio, Meet You In The Rain, is full of cascading Spanish-style guitars that, surely, only Maurice Deebank, Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele and some elderly gentlemen in the foothills of the Sierra Morena could replicate.

While The Cavalcade have many of the same influences as The Clientele –Lou Reed’s bleak romantic ballads, particularly – they have a demonstrably stronger indiepop side to their aesthetic; Voices, for example, nods to Honeybunch’s Hey Blue Sky! while the ep as a whole suggests what Johnny Marr was doing in 1983-4 before he decided that, actually, The Smiths were going to be a rock band.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Jens Lekman has swine flu

I picked home one last souvenir from South America, it's called the H1N1 virus. Wrongfully known as the Swineflue.

I was crossing the Atlantic when things started getting really bad, the fever was hallucinogenic and shaking me like a leaf and I grabbed the sleeve of the Air France steward. "I'm not feeling well, I should see a doctor" I said and the reply came as a brilliant mix of death anxiety and french rudeness: "Uh, yes... Terminal D... go there maybe... when we land". After that the stewards and stewardesses took long detours. A ring of empty seats formed around me. Peoples eyes were kind but determined, they read "Poor you, I really wish you all the best but if you come near me or my kid I will have to stab you with this plastic fork". I got up and went to the bathroom where I fainted.

Now I'm in quarantine for ten days. I can see the summer through my window and it's just perfect. Summer is always best through a window.

Story found here