Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kevin Rowland's Thunder Road

Kevin Rowland's 1999 return to the public eye involved, in part, an album of cover versions, My Beauty. His version of Springsteen's Thunder Road was pulled for legal reasons, so exists only on the promo.

Had wiser counsel prevailed, then perhaps the whole album would have been pulled. I doubt if this is a great rarity and wouldn't be surprised to learn that there are more promos than official copies; or, indeed, that the majority of the official copies are either occupying valuable landfill space in Milton Keynes or are used as research material by psychiatric students.

This post thoughtfully excluded a relevant photograph. Readers with long memories will, I am sure, thank me for sparing them further nightmares.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

David Kilgour

David Kilgour is, in my estimation, up there with the greats. I love Alastair Galbraith’s passionate assessment of Kilgour in The Clean:

The sound of it! It was amazingly trebly. I never got over how wonderfully sharp it was, and how it seemed that two-thirds of the sound was just his guitar. You could hear the drums and you could hear the bass, but most of the sound was this beautifully simple tubey guitar sound, in clanging rolling, perfectly formed waves.

Remarkably, there are some people still without a copy of his 1994 classic, Sugar Mouth, scientifically proven to be the second best album released by Flying Nun. The recent CD reissue with extra tracks is an essential purchase if you’re one of those people without it (I bought it and I already have the vinyl – the extra tracks themselves are that good).

Among the Kilgour discography are 5 lathe cut 7”s. This one, featuring I Caught You Lookin and Way Down Here, was recorded at home in early 97, and pressed in a run of 75 copies.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost Soul: The Esquires

The Esquires combined street-corner doo wop and impassioned, horn-driven punch to make the sweetest of Chicago soul sounds. 1968’s How Could It Be pulsates with love’s hypnotism and then mourns the reality-check when the spell's been broken:

I’m just an average fella, people say that I’m not too bright
You know that I’m just an average fella and I try to act real nice
You know that one day she wrote me a letter, she had gone with another fella.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Re-Born In The USA and Oxford

The mighty WIAIWYA recording empire has assembled the finest artists working in popular music today to pay tribute to The Boss, Mr Bruce Springsteen. A double CD, Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool, features over 40 acts including Gregory Webster, Boy Genius, The Manhattan Love Suicides, Amelia Fletcher and many, many more.

Darren Hayman and The Wave Pictures are first out of the traps with a split single covering respectively Girls In Their Summer Clothes and If I Should Fall Behind, which can be pre-ordered here.

If you can’t wait until 12 April for that single, WIAIWYA butter your muffins with two free downloads not featured on the album. The Snow interpret I’m On Fire in the half-light of Galaxie 500’s doom-laden template, and Little Eiffel & the Birthday Girl take a darkly discofied trip through Atlantic City. You can download both songs from WIAIWYA.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Tigermilk and sessions

This version of Tigermilk, with updated sleevenotes and two Mark Radcliffe radio sessions, has no proprietary information although the clever money’s on it being issued by Jeepster or Belle and Sebastian’s PR company following the success of If You’re Feeling Sinister to allow journalists, DJs and sundry media whores the opportunity to catch up on what they’d missed.

One of the Radcliffe sessions was released last year on the BBC Sessions album (you know, the double CD package where rather mysteriously a live recording from a gig one December was deemed better for the Christmas market than B+S’s Christmas Peel Sessions; still, next Christmas for that release, eh?). The other session wasn’t issued, so here goes:

Dog On Wheels

Just A Modern Rock Song

We Rule The School

Seeing Other People
Updated Tigermilk sleevenotes

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lost Soul: Miss Madeline

Lonely Girl is the kind of tear-stained girl group stomper that sounds like it was written one particularly productive afternoon in the Brill Building.

Its b-side, Behave Yourself, mines a rich seam of deep soul in which Miss Madeline – or Madeline Strickland - wrestles her momma’s warning words about the advances of young men with her own desire for sexual gratification.

Released on Chicago’s aptly named Mar-v-lus label (owned by George Leaner, who also ran the near-peerless One-derful imprint) in 1967, this is Miss Madeline’s sole solo offering.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Love Hangover with guest DJ Bob Stanley

February 15 is Love Hangover at the Hangover Lounge with guest DJs Bob Stanley and Tag.

For the avoidance of doubt, that's Love Hangover as in the Betty Boo song, not the Diana Ross song. The three resident DJs had a heated discussion on this matter yesterday and Betty Boo won by 2-1.