Monday, November 30, 2009

Clientele and Cavalcade free gig this Sunday

The Clientele play sweet vignettes from their recent album Bonfires On The Heath this Sunday (December 6) at the Hangover Lounge with support from The Cavalcade, whose pop classicism via Maurice Deebank-era Felt has been one of 2009's revelations.

The Hangover Lounge starts at 2pm at the Lexington; the bands will be on earlier than usual this week, so you'd best come along by 3pm.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Messthetics 107

It’s quite amazing that we managed to be so productive with a few quid, a glue stick and copious amounts of drugs.

Dave Henderson

This third trawl through London’s DIY post-punk scene is one of the strongest Messthetics volumes to date and reveals once again that punk’s most fertile legacy was to present music as an uncompromised mode of expression that could be embraced by allcomers.

The egalitarianism of indie record shops, squats and disaffected school kids helped to present everyone with the opportunity to record and release their sometimes crude but often compulsive songs. Of course, there are a few acts whose efforts it might have been kinder to leave in the attic, but the jewels unearthed (again!) by Messthetics make this reissue exercise culturally invaluable; you might wonder how you lived without The Jangletties’ punk paean to drugs, Happy All The Time, or the insistent mod pop of The Steppes’ God’s Got Religion, for example.

It’s worth buying this CD (a mere $11) for the sleevenotes alone, which provide a fascinating archive of DIY’s communal spirit and a glimpse into the early lives of luminaries such as music mogul Andy Ross and Alabama 3’s Reverend Wayne D Love.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let's Say We Did

Sweden’s Let’s Say We Did sound more American than anything else; the singer’s picked up a trick from J Mascis, the effortless tunefulness bears comparison to the Lemonheads back when they got it right, the tear-in-a-beer lyrics and countrified swing proves that the sun’s never set on Wilco’s Summerteeth, and all their songs have the solid power-pop groove that was patented and polished in the USA.

Follow Me Down from their forthcoming ep is being streamed on myspace; it was mixed by Kramer, who sat in the chair for Withered Hand’s magnificent Good News album this year. The record company says: “The EP will be released as a homemade CD-r in an edition of 200 copies. It will come with a handmade cover and each copy will be numbered. It will be able to pre-order it in December.”

If you can’t wait that long – and I couldn’t - their debut single released in the summer by This Almighty Pop, is still available and worth £2.50 of anyone’s money.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Little Ann "Deep Shadows"

Soul fans will be familiar with Little Ann’s superlative output from her singles and compilation tracks on Kent; Deep Shadows is the Detroit soul goddess’s proposed late 60s album. It’s a remarkable collection of finger-snappin’ grooves, smoky r&b and moody deep soul.

Keen Kent collectors could easily grumble about owning the 9 tracks on this limited edition vinyl already; however, it is a great artefact from the Timmion stable and, you know, sweet to have a Little Ann album in itself.

To anyone hitherto oblivious to Little Ann’s musical marvels, Deep Shadows is an absolutely essential buy. I envy you discovering this magic.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lawrence interviews Girls

Lawrence interviewed Christopher Owens and Chet Jr White of Girls, whose excellent album (or “Album” as it’s titled) reveals that Felt are a major influence (Curls wouldn’t sound out of place on Me And A Monkey On The Moon, for example, while Lust For Life would sit very comfortably next to the early Cherry Red singles).

The interview is fascinating, revealing as much about Felt as it does about Girls. The blurb on the host site says it’s the first episode, so hopefully they’ll be uploading more footage soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dunedin Hall Of Fame gig

NZ legends The Bats, David Kilgour and The Puddle played a gig in Dunedin recently with newcomers Haunted Love (if The Human League had lived in a bedsit, had an acoustic guitar and were on Factory...). Some footage of the event is above, but a professionally filmed “virtual show” featuring two songs from each band will be released next month – further details can be found here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost Soul: The Mandells

The Mandells nailed the sweet soul Chicago sound just as good as any of their more celebrated peers - Tyrone Davis, Barbara Acklin and The Dells to name just three worthy success stories - but never got the airplay to expose their undeniable gift for harmonic group soul with tugging funk undertones to a wide audience.

None of their fine legacy of ten singles has been officially reissued. If the people at Kent have got some time on their hands, a Mandells compilation would be one of the finest assets they could add to their catalogue.

Start here with How To Love A Woman.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fergus & Geronimo

Fergus & Geronimo, or Andrew Savage and Jason Kelly as they’re known to their parole officers mothers, raise the roof off garage rock with uptown soul drive and powerfully melodic psychedelia.

They have in three 45s this year done not just more than most bands ever accomplish but have done it with such gleeful abandon that even the surliest muso would be disarmed by their infectious charm and full-throttle attack.

This live performance of their Woodsist single Harder Than It’s Ever Been is the distillation of punk frenzy, r&b groove and pop perfection in 90 seconds. They are quite rightly fast becoming everybody’s new favourite band.

Thanks to the reliable Finest Kiss for steering me in the direction of this Texan duo.

Friday, November 06, 2009

...and the horse you rode in on

If Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's first album, I Bet You Say That To All The Boys, was too in debt to Tigermilk to take much of it seriously, and their second, self-titled album plodded on occasion when it should’ve skipped all the time, their current album, …and the horse you rode in on, is much closer to a consistent realisation of their multi-instrumental gifts and pop flair.

Something’s Happening, for example, has the drunken country reels, melodic bass and lovelorn lyrics that The Bats do so well. The title track balances an angry guitar riff and parping horns, and the closing ballad, Well I Wouldn’t, is drop-dead gorgeous.

At fifteen songs, this record is too long, but it’s easily abridged by missing the first three songs (1 – an indulgent children’s choir; 2 – ersatz Morrissey; 3 – Pulp could sue for copyright infringement). It’s no all-out classic after that – there’s an uninspired Britpop echo to some songs – but when they hit their stride, the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir are really on fire.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gregory Webster and Would-Be-Goods and Birdie free gig

That's right. Gregory Webster AND The Would-Be-Goods play FREE on Sunday November 15 at the Hangover Lounge in the acoustic style. edit I'm delighted to announce that Birdie have just been added to the bill. It's their first gig in years, so it'll be a short but obviously great set. The fun (drinks, food, idle chit chat, soothing sounds from Chickfactor DJs) starts at 2pm with the bands on later in the afternoon.