Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Honours

I'm one of the lucky owners of a copy of Mira el Péndulo's C-06 compilation tape, and I enjoyed it a lot. Of the bands I hadn't heard before, I liked Tesco Chainstore Mascara, Rosemary and The April Skies best. Also featured are The Hi-Life Companion that include an ex-Mayfields drummer (!), and the excellent "Stalking Skills" by Gothenburgians Liechtenstein. I've heard that they have a new track on MySpace. Look it up now! As for my own list of the best albums of the year, here it is. It's more or less in descending order, though I haven't really decided on the top spot.

Pants Yell! – Recent Drama
Pipas – Sorry Love
Math & Physics Club – Math & Physics Club
Camera Obscura – Let's Get Out of This Country
Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
Postal Blue – Road to Happiness EP
Cats On Fire – Draw In the Reins EP
Harper Lee – He Holds a Flame EP
Lovejoy – England Made Me EP
Boyracer – A Punch Up the Bracket
The Hit Parade – The Return of the Hit Parade
The Pipettes – We Are the Pipettes
The Lil' Hospital – Heavy Metal
Tender Trap – 6 Billion People
Scarlet's Well – Black Tulip Wings
The Bats – At the National Grid
The Haircuts – Sorrow Is the Way to Love
The Snow Fairies – Voila!
BMX Bandits – My Chain
Horowitz – Frosty Cat Songs
The Manhattan Love Suicides – The Manhattan Love Suicides

There have also been some great reissues and compilations of old indiepop stuff this year. These are the ones I can remember, and the labels they've been released on:

Brighter (Matinée)
East Village (Excellent)
Hey Paulette (Firestation)
The Servants (Cherry Red)
Widdershins (Egg)
The Nivens (Firestation)
The Revolving Paint Dream (Rev-Ola)
Aberdeen (LTM)
The Charlottes (Cherry Red)
The Chesterf!elds (Cherry Red)

Saturday, December 30, 2006


It's my birthday today so I thought I'd give you a present. No, not really... This is just a summary of some of the best stuff to hit the market this year (mostly proper, material releases that is). Which means you've probably heard most of it before, and some of it is even from reissues/compilations. But as Mira el Péndulo have done a C-06 tape, I'm giving you something similar. You can burn it on a cd and print a cover if you want to. (Back cover here.) Naturally there are no Swedish/northern soul tracks this week. The title derives from a Felt song called "The Day the Rain Came Down", which you ought to listen to every now and then. There'll be an oldschool end-of-year list soon, and be sure to vote in the TweeNet poll if you haven't already. Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read this blog anytime during the year. And thanks especially to those who've taken the trouble to leave a comment! (It's not that hard you know...) Hopefully you will enjoy the real radio show next year, and hopefully I won't mess it up.

Hey Paulette – A Pet Day
As usual one of the best (and most highly anticipated) records of the year was a retrospective, this time from German Firestation Records. It's called Long Ball Into Nowhere and collects nearly everything from Dubliners Hey Paulette. This song was originally recorded for John Peel.
Days – Simple Thing
The best new band this year didn't really release a record. "Simple Thing" is from the Downhill demo ep. The best band to come out of Sweden in 2006... and all the years before it.
Apple Orchard – A Hiding Smile
The best seven-inch this year (there are all too few of them these days) came out early in the year on Humblebee. This is the brilliant a-side. I have high hopes for their album, due for release sometime next year.
Harper Lee – Come Rest Your Weary Head
A Harper Lee release will always be near the top of any end-of-year list I make, though this might be the last one (Harper Lee release, not list). This is from the He Holds a Flame EP on Matinée.
The Tidy Ups – Death to the Tidy Ups
Released this year by Music Is My Girlfriend but recorded years ago was the Dizzy Heights EP. This song is about the band's ending. Very sad.
The Lil’ Hospital – Lost the Light
Another early release was The Lil' Hospital's Heavy Metal on Total Gaylord. This is one of many favourites on it.
Boyracer – Geordie Lout
Boyracer did their most coherent album for years, with more hits than on their latest ones. This is a song from A Punch Up the Bracket.
The Budgies – Secret Wish
The Budgies didn't release anything this year either, but hey, it's not their fault! And I've listened to their songs so much I could not not include them. I think this is their best recorded song, probably it'll be on next year's planned seven-inch. There are rumours about a split-up after that... Stop them now!
The Haircuts – Ballad of the Razor
Ryan and Teresa's The Haircuts released their debut album Sorrow Is the Way to Love this summer, but they're not really together anymore. You should check out the cassette they released just before it as well!
All My Friends – The Man Who Drew Cats
Another unreleased song, but you just have to listen to this band that includes Garry and Alison from Butcher Boy. Garry was once in California Snow Story too. They have a single and an album planned for next year.
The Revolving Paint Dream – Electra’s Crying Loaded In the Basement
From this autumn's Flowers In the Sky retrospective on Rev-Ola. Paisley Underground that is ALMOST from Paisley. This cd employs perhaps the best strategy against file-sharing ever: you just have to get those liner notes!
The Servants - Loggerheads
One of the previously unreleased tracks from the Reserved retrospective released very early this year, on Cherry Red. Utterly amazing record.
East Village – Violin
Drop Out was reissued this year on Japanese Excellent Records, together with a bonus cd including everything from the legendary Hot Rod Hotel singles comp... plus some extra tracks. One of them was "Violin", that was only to be found on a Summershine 12" before.
Math & Physics Club – Such a Simple Plan
Another great debut album was MAPC's. But we knew all along that is was going to be splendid. Still, it DID actually exceed my expectations.
The Electric Pop Group – Why Can’t You?
One of the late surprises this year. This Gothenburg band suddenly released an album a few weeks ago. Promises a lot for next year.
Cats On Fire – The Cold Hands of Great Men
The best release on a Swedish label this year (together with the Tidy Ups ep) was Fraction Discs second release: the Draw In the Reins EP from Finland's Cats On Fire. These songs had been waiting for release a long time and an album was going to be released by Marsh-Marigold this year too. We're still waiting, but judging from the live performances (there have been quite a few) it'll be a cracker. Oh... and the Ultrasport album should arrive soon as well.
Pants Yell! – We’ve Got History
This song and the next are from my two favourite albums from 2006. Boston's Pant's Yell! have been around for a while, but I didn't REALLY discover them until this spring. And it was great meeting Stirling, Carly and Andrew in real life as well!
Pipas – You Crash
Inevitably, a new Pipas album will always be a new favourite. But Sorry Love really surprised me! It might even be their best album so far.
Postal Blue – I’m Glad You Know
Postal Blue's Road to Happiness EP is so much better than the old Shelflife releases. This is the closing track on it. I also recently found out about their old debut ep on Drive-In. That one is almost better still!
Lovejoy – Are You Analogue Or Digital?
I think I've underestimated "the new Lovejoy" a bit. I've always loved the first record, but I was a bit suspicious of what came after that because I'd heard it was more electronic and not nearly as good. But the songs on the England Made Me EP are right up there with "A Taste of the High Life" and "Radio".
The Hit Parade – Queen of Mousehole
The Hit Parade returned this year with The Return of the Hit Parade, released on their own JHS label. I still haven't bought the record but here's a great track off of it.
Brighter – Hope to God
No, I think THIS is the best record released this year - Out to Sea with Brighter. After all it includes one of the world's best albums: Laurel. And lots of other songs that are even better. I can't live without it, cannot understand how I managed before.


Boy On a Bike, What Are You Like?

I've been home for quite while now and I've managed tick most of the stuff on my to-do-list, well, the fun stuff anyway. I've had coffee with my friends, made a mixtape or two, had a birthday party, celebrated Christmas, had a band meeting of sorts, went to Crush (not the Glaswegian club), made 120 new flyers, seen a Renoir movie, listened to the Children of Nuggets box-set, digitalised lots of vinyl, overslept every day (no clock in my bedroom!), conspired to change the world through pop music, and raced on my bike. I didn't realise how much I'd missed my bike! It's amazing, the places you can go, in the blink of an eye. Oh, and I've finally read Put the Book Back On the Shelf - the collection of Belle & Sebastian-inspired comics. It was very diverse and interesting, surprisingly all in color except for "Marx & Engels" and "If She Wants Me". And why didn't they include that old one created by Laura Molloy, about the formation of the band, that used to be on the Jeepster site? That was my favourite...

Friday, December 22, 2006


The Bridal Shop is a new Swedish band. I don't know how many they are or anything. I just found out about them through Think Small and listened to them on MySpace. But they're very kind, that much I know! They let me put up this fantastic song, that will be on a forthcoming ep. If you like New Order and Sarah Records, this will most likely be your cup of tea. Enjoy (no extra sugar needed)!

The Bridal Shop - From Seas


Here's a little Christmas treat for you, as it's only a couple of days away now. You'll have to figure out a way to get it under the tree yourself though. Some of these songs are old and some you may have been able to find elsewhere on the internet this month, but I thought it would be nice to put them all together under a good title! The cover pic is another Partick Camera Club one, from the junction of Belmont St and Great Western Road.

Nixon – Anorak Christmas
Starting out with our Swedish band of the week, Roger Gunnarsson's Nixon - one of the most renowned indiepop outifts from my country and this song will make you see why. You can find it on the Crazy, Sexy, Cool compilation put out by Popkonst some years ago! There's no northern soul track this time around, as I couldn't find one about Christmas. You're welcome to suggest one!
The Tidy Ups – Snow Day
Another great Swedish twee band, their first release was on Roger's Fabulous Friends label. It was called the Been Waiting For a Million Years For the Bus to Get Me Out of Here EP and contained six songs from the snowy north of Sweden. Nixon also have an ep called Snow Day, and his brother has a label with the same name nowadays.
The Snow Fairies – December Love
American The Snow Fairies are no more, but here's a song from their fab first album Feel You Up.
Honeybunch – Time Trials
Here's one of two tracks that don't really have any actual connections to Christmas/winter. I've just thought it sounds very Christmassy ever since I first heard it a few months ago. You can find it on the Honeybunch retrospective with the same name.
The Pines – Silver Bells
A song from their first, self-made ep In Time For Christmas from 2000. Soon it will be available again, on the new It's Been a While compilation.
The Cat’s Miaow – Do You Think It’ll Snow Tonight?
Like The Pines, this band always sounds bit wintry to me (even though they're from Australia!). This one is from Library's Songs For Girls to Sing comp.
Trembling Blue Stars – Abba On the Jukebox
This is the other non-xmas song. I usually listen to it at Christmas, after a friend of mine pointed out how suitable it is.
St. Christopher – It’s Snowing On the Moon
This is my favourite in this podcast! It's from the magnificent Say Yes to Everything 7", released as SARAH 46 in 1991.
The Chills – Christmas Chimes
Indiepages put up this song from the Secret Box, along with holiday-themed tracks by other old and new bands a while ago.
Eux Autres - Another Christmas At Home
And this one I found through Indie MP3. I don't much about this American band, but I like them!
The Lil’ Hospital – Dear Scrooge
The Lil' Hospital put out one of this year's finest albums very early in January. It was called Heavy Metal, remember? This is a song they contributed to their label Total Gaylord's Cwistmas Twee comp.
Hunky Dory – Gabriel the Angel
There are two Christmas songs on the Hunky Dory compilation from Siesta. I don't know why I picked this one... If you don't know the intriguing story behind this forced-together child group, you can read all about it here. It IS a boy singing, I promise.
The Pancakes – Tre pepparkaksgubbar
Here's a funny Swedish Christmas tune, sung in barely recognisable Swedish by The Pancakes from Hong Kong.
Haircut 100 – Snow Girl
I recently bought Pelican West, so whether or not you like Haircut 100 I put this song in.
The Chesterf!elds – Holiday Hymn
This manic take on Orange Juice's holiday hymn is from The Chesterf!elds first album Kettle, released by Subway in 1987 with a horrid cover.
Fat Tulips – Like Christmas
This is the b-side of their 1994 "Driving Me Wild" single. Nice contrast to the fuzzed out stomp of the a-side!
Celestial - Saving Up Her Wishes (For Another Christmas)
This song was given away for free by Andreas a couple of weeks ago. You can download a higher bit-rate version and a cover from Music Is My Girlfriend (linked to your right). It's one of his best released songs so far!
Brighter – Christmas
You can't have Christmas without Brighter! I don't know how many times I've listened to this song... And besides, I have to promote the new Brighter comp, which includes this old opening track from Laurel.


Looking From a Hilltop

I've been in Sweden for a week soon, but I wanted to tell you about Stirling, that we visited Saturday last week. The picture is the view towards the castle from the the Lady's Lookout (I think that was what it was called...). In ye olden times the caste was separated from the village by this cemetary valley. The lookout is in the middle of the cemetary. The castle is on another hill, after all that was what building castles was all about - the vantage-point. You could see seven battle-fields from up there, including the one where William Wallace beat the Englishmen a long time ago. The only reason I wrote about this (except that I came up with that great Section 25 title) is that it links to the band in the DROP post above. I thought about Bridal Shop as we walked by the shops, becase there were a lot of places selling wedding gowns and stuff. There was even a wedding in the Church of the Holy Rude (can someone please explain that name?) and apparently a dinner and a party at the caste later that evening! That ought be expensive. Well, if you could afford the Rolls Royce, it probably wasn't a problem.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Before this twentieth anniversary is over, I thought I'd give you my version of how history should be written. Obviously, you might question my authority on the issue as I hardly had a musical taste at the time, maybe not even a conscious mind. But I think I've learned quite a lot about it so far, and there is still a lot more to discover. What I want is for more of you to experience my fascination with the "c86" period of indiepop, as the birth of today's indiepop. You should go exploring too! This podcast is of course not nearly enough to cover all of my favourite bands, but I've tried my best! It includes some of the bands I thought should have been on CD86. It simply thrills me honey, writing about these groups. And equally thrilling is having someone like Ally from the Trout Fishing In Leytonstone fanzine discovering and reading my blog. What will happen in 2007? Will people still care about what happened in 1987 (which of course gave us more quality indiepop than the year before it...)? Was 2006 the last great surge of interest in c86, or is it the beginning of one of those things some people call a 'revival'? Who knows. Numbers as well as the prices of eBay items tagged with 'c86' certainly have increased during the last six months. Hopefully it won't become the specialised, elitist interest of some bourgeois merchants. I for one am looking forward to next volume of The Sound of Leamington Spa, due to be released early next year.

Hurrah! – I'll Be Your Surprise

Hurrah! is one of my four favourite bands. Like a The Action of the eighties. This is the b-side of their first single, so obviously a bit older than the rest. But I could have chosen any one - what made them great in 1982 was the same thing as in 1986. But after that though, they WERE quite close to becoming "the next U2".
The Clouds - Tranquil

This is the best out of the four songs released by Scottish The Clouds, and there's no disputing about it. It is simply one of the best songs ever written. From the heartfelt lyric to the brittle yet discordant guitar-sound. A classic.
The Close Lobsters – Let's Make Some Plans

This band has grown immensely on me this year and I've grown very fond of the singer's sardonic style. The song that really made me change my mind was "Violently Pretty", or rather the demo of it put up on the fan-run MySpace page. This song was released on single only.
Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes – Wealth of Nations

This Edinburgh band is still quite unknown, though most you have probably heard their "Splashing Along" single. Their late work is just as good though, if not better. This is the last track off of their first album that collected their previous singles. Fran Schoppler actually sang on most songs, but I thought it was boring just to do the obvious thing and give you a song graced by her divine vocals. Another time maybe...
Razorcuts – Snowbirds Don't Fly

The quintessential c86 band if you will. It's always eluded my why this fantastic song was not included on Matinée's R Is For... Razorcuts compilation. It's from one of their Subway eps.
The Mayfields – All You Ever Say

I recently bought the split-flexi with The Badgeman that this song comes from, but Iain from the band beat me to punch putting it up for download! It was their first released song - from 1987 actually.
14 Iced Bears – Like a Dolphin

I find it very hard choosing a fave track by this band, because so many of them are best! "Ballon Song", "Inside", "Miles Away", "Cut", "Come Get Me", "Hay Fever", "Dust Remains", sometimes even "Hold On". Usually my favourite is "Sure to See", but when I put this together I decided to go for "Like Dolphin" instead, with its ingenious bass line.
Buba & the Shop Assistants – Something to Do

This song is so much better that anything I've heard with The Shop Assistants proper. "Something to Do" was actually the first single, recorded by David Keegan and assorted Glasgow indie scensters, including Stephen and Aggi (who's singing here).
Big Flame – xPQwRtz

C86 was not all sweet melodies and naive lyrics. It could be political, confrontational, scratchy and ear-piercing. Subcity put my show on a Monday, because that was supposed to be their 'chill out' day. This sort of thing is likely to mess their plans up, which is always fun! This is the song that gave name to the blog you see linked to the right. Big Flame is the only one of the Ron Johnson/shambling whose genius I have fully understood as of yet.
The Brilliant Corners - Anticipation

This is a great example of how to build up musical anticipation. The dropping bass line is probably the crucial element. This song from the BBC Sessions compilation and I've always wondered why the singer sounds completely different here than on the albums. Can someone clarify, please?
1000 Violins – If Only Words

This lyric is actually quite trite, but I love it all the same. Just because it's the sort of lousy attempt at poetry that any desperate person in love could have created. I've chosen the album version, because I adore the way Vince Keenan sings here - and rhythm section is better too! It really stands out as the tragic ballad it truly is there as well.
Remember Fun – Cold Inside

Were Remember Fun not really a paisley underground band? This song certainly suggests so. It's from Egg Records' latest compilation and will be included on their future retrospective on this underestimated Scottish band.
The Servants – It Takes No Gentleman

David Westlake's outfit The Servants are also among my top favourites. Perhaps the best band on the actual tape? There's just such an unearthly style to everything he puts his hand to. I couldn't decide between this one and their first single "She's Always Hiding", which is equally amazing. He deserves to be up there with his idols Robert Forster and Grant McLennan.
Reserve – The Butcher's Daughter

There's something about the bands on Sombrero. Beyond most of them sharing members... Something that makes people pay a LOT for their records. I would too, if the money went to the bands or the label! Torquil Macleod's own band was called Reserve and only made two singles, due to numerable reasons. Perhaps they were not as important for survival as The Siddeleys, but it's a close race!
The Siddeleys – Every Day of Every Week

Torquil helped Johnny Johnson put her first songs to tape, and the rest is history. Just check out the Slum Clearance compilation from Matinée if haven't already owned it for years. This is one of the most hard-edged, uncompromising songs I know - still it's so, so feeble and beautiful. At least you can walk tall until you fall.
McCarthy – In Purgatory

Here is McCarthy's first single, released by Wall of Salmon. It's a long way from later songs like "Get a Knife Between Your Teeth" and much closer to the sound of their ever-present comrades in The Wolfhounds. But the Marxist politics have always been there of course.
The Wolfhounds – Midget Horror

The Wolfhounds pretty much stuck to their sound, though it did become more and more heavy. In the early days they could be cacophonous but still quite brittle, which this song from the "Anti-Midas Touch" 12" is a perfect example of. Their first album is full of this contradictory contrast too. Don't miss David Callahan's DJ set at HDIF if you're in London tonight! The interview I did with Dave and Dave was meant to be attached to this, but I still haven't edited it yet. Look for it soon.
The Chesterf!elds – Nose Out of Joint (flexi version)

Here is the superior 1985 version of the first track on Kettle, it's from a Shop Assistants split-flexi. I don't know if it's something to with the flexi, or they way they recorded it, but that lead guitar sounds really far out!
This Poison! – Engine Failure

The only band that could beat The Wedding Present at their own craft. Feel the one-and-a-half minute adrenaline surge of this track from their only ep. That it was produced by Paul Haig is not hard to hear!
The Wedding Present – Felicity

Well, The Wedding Present do match up on a few occasions too. This Peel session cover of Orange Juice's "Felicity" is quite a fast one. Could you play that fast?
Primal Scream - Subterranean

There was a reason that Primal Scream was at the epicentre of what happened in 1986, and it wasn't just Bobby Gilliespie's star quality. Jim Beattie was a perfect pop guitarist, wearing his 12-string Rickenbacker like no one before. This is an unreleased Peel session track, and sometimes I think it's their best effort ever.


Everything Went POP!

Coming Through the Ether to Your Town

Or "my town" as The Windmills sing in "Last Night". It's time to announce that the first The Rain Fell Down radio show will be on Monday the 8th of January, starting at 3 pm sharp and entertaining you with ancient and pristine indiepop sounds for a full hour! Just tune in to If you're too busy with work, you can simply wait for the 'listen again' link that will appear here shortly afterwards. I still have three podcasts to do before then though - including a Christmas theme of course!


I just got Chris' compilation of his Mary Queen of Scots' recordings. It's called Here Comes the End and was originally put together in 1999. He's been in a SPLASH before, so I won't tell you all about him again. I only want to tell you how much I like this song, that Chris has let me make the seventeenth drop! "Another Sunny Day" seems to have become a popular song-title since, but this is the oldest song with this title I know about. Back when Harvey Williams was still using the name. You should buy the cd too! It's only three quid...

Mary Queen of Scots - Another Sunny Day

Monday, December 11, 2006


The Phantom 12-string was designed by Vox sometime in the mid-sixties and was used by the best beat groups. If you don't know what it looks like, it's right in front of you, in this week's very psychedelic cover pic! It has hence become legendary, both for it's stunning looks and it's distinctive sound - for a taste, put on any old Razorcuts track. It has been sung about, e.g. in The Pooh Sticks' "On Tape". And it has been dreamed about, by many a yearning eBay buyer. I don't think any of the bands in this weeks show use one but the theme is jangling guitars in general, with twelve strings or just the regular six.

The Squires – Going All the Way
The b-side of this single is a 1966 janglepop masterpiece with a very Byrdsian Rickenbacker sound. But as I'm still in search of that 7", or the Pebbles comp that features the b-side, or the Squires/Rogues comp from 1986, you'll have to make do with the a-side. It's not inferior in any way, and was famously included on the second volume of the Nuggets series.
The Mighty Lemon Drops – On My Mind
To be truthful, I've never really held The Mighty Lemon Drops in very high esteem. I just saw them as Echo & the Bunnymen imitators with a few good singles speaking for them. Listening to the whole of their debut album Happy Head (1986) however, has given me cause to reappraise them. I've also found out that their singer was earlier in a few sixties revival bands, and some of the album tracks have a great 12-string sound. The best one by far is "On My Mind", which sounds uncannily familiar. Maybe it's the guitar figure running through the whole thing. Doesn't it remind you of something? Maybe "Leaves" by Primal Scream? Not sure...
The Westfield Mining Disaster – Not Everybody Gets to Be a Rolling Stone
Paul Towler from twee stalwarts The Haywains formed a new band earlier this year and they've already caused quite a stir. They've completed a promo ep and are looking to release an album next year. Some of their recordings so far are featured on MySpace and they include this languid, beautiful song. We're looking forward to that album for sure!
Fantastic Something – The Night We Flew Out the Window
Here's a track from the perhaps most renowned Greek indiepop band. This single was originally released in 1985 by Blanco y Negro, but can also be found on their eponymous album from the same year.
Television Personalities – The Dream Inspires
I'd never had a TVPs fave track before (there are so many of them), but recently I heard this majestic song from the "Favourite Films" single. It's from 1992 and definitely among the most professional sounding that I've heard from them. It sounds more like other bands on Dan's Dreamworld label, but there's still something distinctly TVPs about it (as always).
The Search Engines – Butterfly Brill
You might argue that there are a few too many obsolete bands in this podcast, so here's something a bit more fresh. There's no disputing about the fact that there were more bands that sounded like The Byrds in 1986 than there are in 2006. This band actually split up in 2005 as it happens, after playing together for four years here in Glasgow. The song featured as DROP 16 is the jangliest one among the four MySpace tracks, but this one is not far behind. It displays the more psychedelic side of the band, and perhaps more of the Velvets and JAMC influence rather than The Rain Parade.
The Nivens – Yesterday
The Nivens were included on the fourth volume of The Sound of Leamington Spa, Firestation's indiepop niece to Nuggets. They were an English band (perhaps named after the author David Niven?) and though they never recorded anything at the Royal Leamington Spa studio, they aspired to the same sound John A Rivers applied to most of the Creation bands there. Earlier this year, Firestation also released a retrospective of their work called From a Northumbrian Mining Village Comes the Sound of Summer and the band themselves put up a website from which you could buy your very own Nivens t-shirt! (Don't know if it's still out there.)
The Windmills – Bad Luck Charm
In 1988 The Windmills put out "The Day Dawned On Me" on an S.T.S. seven-inch, and that is one of the best I own. More than ten years later they reformed and Jimmy Tassos was quick to make them one of the early signings to his Matinée label. Their first album was released in 2000 and given the beautiful title The Edge of August. I finally got around to buying it, along with my latest bundle of Matinée stuff. The previous remarkably fragile sound has changed quite a bit, but some of the tracks are quite reminiscent of it. This is my favourite song on album, and it should be enough to convince you to buy it too. It belongs with the other sold out Matinée records!
The Williams – I Know I’m Nothing Special to You
I don't know if The Williams had any releases of their own, cause there is not much information about them. They had one song on the Positively Teenage tape from 1990, but the one that caught my eye was this song that I think is from a flexi, and which you can also find on the fourth Leamington Spa.
The Poets – There Are Some
I've written about Scottish freakbeat group The Poets before, so I'll be brief here. They were known for their 12-string guitar-sound, but the guitars are not very prominent on this teen ballad from the b-side of their first single (1964). But I've chosen it anyway, because I like it so much. Check out DROP 9 for more jangle.
Patti Young – Head and Shoulders
Northern soul songs are never very jangly, are they? But they do contain a wealth of different and equally incredible guitar-sounds. One of my favourites is the guitar in "Head and Shoulders" - in the intro it sounds just like a piano. There IS a piano in there somewhere too, but at first you only hear the guitar. The sound of Patti Young's voice is quite unique as well!
The Marteens – First Kiss
This song would have fitted in nicely with last week's theme too. Or maybe it's just the name that makes you associate them with sixties girl groups? Their sound is more akin to The Smiths, and the lyrics certainly are as well: "The first perfect moment of my life, and they are few. Perhaps my lips will feel the same, before I die." From the fourth Leamington Spa comp again.
The Room – One Hundred Years
I've been meaning to buy LTM's reissues of The Room's records ever since I heard this song, which is included on the A Sandwich and a Sweater comp from 1996. They released three albums between 1980 and 1986 and after the split some of them moved on to form Benny Profane.
Happydeadmen – Andrew Eldritch
The only Swedish band this time around naturally has to be our indiepop pioneers Happydeadmen! Their first single "Silent Sigh City" and the album Eleven Pop Songs are classics in Sweden, and indeed the rest of the world of indiepop as well. This song is from their De Bricassart EP that came out in 1992, one year before their second album. Magnus Karlsson from the band now plays with The Charade together with Mikael Matsson from Red Sleeping Beauty.
Sensible Jerseys – Go to Work
Javier of Lost and Found put up this indiepop gem some time ago, and I felt the need to include it here. I just love the polished production and trite-yet-intriguing lyric. Great guitar solo too! It's from their only single, released in 1985. Most songs about working are good, at least the ones I can come up with.
Men of Westenesse – The Coldest Water
I mentioned this song earlier, so here it is. This is a an instructive example of how to write a good pop song. It's simply irresistible - the vocals, the guitar-figure in the verse, the chorus with its backing vocals, the key change, and the "second chorus" towards the end. It's on A Sandwich and a Sweater too, but was originally released in 1989 as a four-track 7".
The Jaywalkers – (You Can’t Be) Happy All the Time
Here is a track from Try a Little Sunshine, Pop Art's 1999 compilation of Greek indiepop, most of it inspired by Fantastic Something. The vocal delivery on this one is one of the most desperate I've ever come across. He could have made any song impossible to ignore!
James Dean Driving Experience – Never Means Anything
The JDDE compilation that we have been promised still hasn't turned up. Their Clearlake Revisited EP recently sold on eBay for more than forty quid, so I hope they won't let us wait too long. The band was started by two members who left Reserve, and if it was for better worse is disputable. The fact remains that both bands are among my dearest favourites. This song if from the Sean Connery EP released in 1990 by él Records, a label that clearly saw them as one of the least interesting and original on their roster.


I Am a Radio Show!

After a long and tedious wait it's now been confirmed that Glasgow Uni's student radio Subcity will allow The Rain Fell Down to broadcast a show on the web once a week. I'm going to a meeting on Wednesday to get familiarised with their equipment and if I get a slot on a Thursday or Friday, you can look forward to the first proper show this week! I'm still putting up SPLASH 5 as a podcast, and then SPLASH 1 will be the first to be broadcast. I've got three more SPLASHes planned for the holiday and if possible these will be pre-recorded before I go home (or put up as podcasts only). I have told you, haven't I? I'm going back to Sweden for Christmas and the New Year (plus my birthday!) on December 18th. But I'll be back soon again, more precisely on January 6th. What do you want for Christmas?

The Revolving Divine! Logo

Yesterday, we visited the Divine! club for the first time and it is a shame we haven't been there before. Regular visitors to The Rain Fell Down may remember that I wrote about going there before - well, at least I thought I did. The music wasn't very good, so we went home quite early. Actually, we'd gone to the wrong club. See, there are two clubs at The Vic Bar: Divine! on the ground floor and a new club called Bad Robot upstairs. Luckily I found out about this in time to go to Divine! yesterday when Belle & Sebastian were guest djs. That usually means Chris, but as we came in the door Stevie stood behind the turntables playing one fab 60's tune after the other. Then Bob took over, and then Chris arrived just in time to catch the busiest crowd. He played some great tunes, but I was very happy when Stevie return just before closing time and played The Action for a second time! Here's Stevie, Bob and Chris enjoying themselves.

I don't know if Andrew Symington himself was there or not, because I've no idea what he looks like, but he certainly wasn't in the dj booth. Andrew started the club 16 years ago (in one week), and he's done a great job of it. The place was packed around 1.30, even though it happens on a weekly basis. The bar was nice enough I guess, but Andrew had turned it into a hipster 60's place. The otherwise dreary walls were covered with projections, including the revolving logo you can see above. They were also screening a sixties Mark Robson film which I've now identified as Valley of the Dolls - you can make out the screen to left in the photo below.

Andrew has been a friend of Belle & Sebastian for quite some time and has designed several of their record sleeves. My favourite is the orange one for This Is Just a Modern Rock Song, with the photograph of Alan Horne. It was worth going to club just to get my hands one of the gorgeous Divine! posters. They might look something like this, viewed from a wierd angle.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


You know how you see bands on MySpace, but never get around to listen to them? Glasgow band The Search Engines were one of those for me. Until recently I looked in on their page and spotted The Rain Parade amongst their influences. Then I realised what I had been missing! (Rain Parade being perhaps the most renowned Paisley Underground group.) Like Bubblegum Lemonade, featured in DROP 8, The Search Engines are into jangling psychedelic pop and eighties indiepop - despite their modern name. Unfortunately they were only around 2001-2005. Among the four songs on their page this is the one I like best.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Every Friday Feels Like a Monday

On Sunday we went to the Oran Mor for another charity night, this one arranged by Nuts & Seeds. I went mainly to see Park Attack, a Glaswegian noise band. I met Lorna who plays the drums a few months ago, and found out that we had actually been to the same festival in Sweden last year, one called Perfect From Now On. Lorna was there as International Airport's drummer. She also plays in a third band called The Gymshorts (great name!). A very cool lady indeed. And she works at Monorail too... I forgot to take a picture during the gig so here one from MySpace instead:

There were three more "up-and-coming" Glasgow bands playing. First out were Lucky Luke, who were OK I guess. Park Attack's gig was very good at first, until the guitarist's strap broke and he had to change guitar. Then one of the strings on the second guitar snapped and he had to switch the straps and go back to first guitar. Easier said than done, as he had the ends of the straps firmly taped to the guitar body! Well, they lost a bit of momentum after that, and some of the last songs were a bit too monotonous. But the drumming was great. After them was a band called We Are the Physics, who were just plain irritating. Like a bad parody of Devo, only worse! We left before the last band Dananananaykroyd, because they were delayed and after all it was Monday the next day. Which brings me round to the post's title. It's a line from a song called "The Coldest Water" by Men of Westenesse, and it's just how I feel right now. I've got so much to do and I hardly feel I can afford some time off. Still one essay to go...

A Charlie Brown Christmas

When we heard Christmas songs playing while eating at Di Maggio's I was first upset, but then I realised it IS December, and it's time to get in Christmas mood. Which is hard when I've still got two essays to write, and no Christmas decorations at home! And all the traditions are slightly different here. I had no idea what a "panto" was, but now I know it's a Christmas play/musical for the whole family. My friends Elin and Johan from Malmö have been here for a week, and they knew another Swedish girl who works at the Tron Theatre, making costumes. She took us to see a dress rehearsal of Wullie Whittington that will start running very soon. It's a parody of a famous British panto, set in Glasgow instead of some English town. It was very enjoying, especially seeing all the mistakes and understanding how it all works. It did promote some quite stereotypical gender roles though, which is never good in something that's meant for kids!

On Thursday we went to Mono where there was a new exhibition arranged by Project Ability, showing art works by people with learning difficulties. Also doing a live set was Bill Wells Trio, with the original line-up including Stevie Jackson! The set was quite long but I really enjoyed it. I like Stevie's harmonica-playing and as you can see above he had a different guitar than his usual B&S Telecaster. Here's a picture of my friends at Mono.

Oh, and on Tuesday we went to a club called All Mod Cons at Firewater, that was supposed to be a northern soul/motown club. It would have to be really good to attract my attention on a Tuesday, but they only played one soul song during the whole time we were there! Lot's of The Who, The Jam and even Oasis instead. Anway, I got some really good Christmas vibes on Saturday when we visited the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall to see Butcher Boy for the first time. And All My Friends, who were supporting, for the third. The place was just amazing! The oldest music hall in Scotland apparently. Don't really know that much about the music hall tradition to be honest - have to do some research! Apparently it's closed to public, except when they put on a show every now and then. On Wednesday they're showing an old Stan & Laurel film.

All My Friends did an acoustic and quite short gig. But they did have time for some new songs that sounded really promising. They're going to be looking for a keyboard player next year, so keep a lookout! After their set there was a screening of a film called A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was essentially a Snoopy Christmas film. The cartoon is simply know as Snoopy in Sweden (or Snobben in Swedish) so I had no idea what they where talking about at first. I think it was from 1965 or 64, and it just baffles me why we've never been shown this lovely film on Swedish television. Truly a crime. Butcher Boy were every bit as good as I had hoped - I'd only heard the two MySpace songs before this. They're definitely in the same school (and league) as Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths, but a bit folkier. Stuart Murdoch did arrive about mid-show! John reminds you of him, the way he moves around on stage while playing guitar. They had a line-up of seven musicians, including Garry and Alison from All My Friends on bass and accordion/piano respectively. There was also a violin and a cello and the acoustics in the hall where still pretty good, even though it's not in very good repair. I wonder why the state or the council or whatever don't give them funds to restore it? They are raising the funds themselves now and all proceeds from that night went to this cause. Anyway, Butcher Boy hasn't released anything yet, the debut album is coming out in February or something. They've only been included on the Kids At the Club compilation, put together by Ian from How Does It Feel to Be Loved?.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Not long ago Chicks On Speed Records put out their collection of music by female avant-garde artists and bands. It's called Girl Monster and spreads over three cds. And a while ago another fine blog (xPQwRtz) put together a compilation of "indie girls". My old radio show also started a series on the theme a few weeks ago, and so far they've had a Girls At Our Best! special amongst other things (more about them below). Don't Send Her Flowers is something in the same vein - about women making music and people making music about women. This means to say, the songs won't ONLY be by female artists or bands including women, which would be as stupid as a program with male artists only. This theme also comes rather naturally since the current module of our Art History course is Women Artists. And Art and Music is all the same thing, as you well know.

The Carousel – Sundials and Weathervanes
Elizabeth Price is one of my favourite female vocalists. She left Talulah Gosh to form baroque-twee duo The Carousel together with boyfriend Greg (who was in a band you might have heard of, called Razorcuts). Early Carousel might just be the jangliest band there is, which makes them all the dearer to me. Vinyl Japan made a compilation of their singles, called I Forgot to Remember to Forget in 1993, and that's where you are most likely to find this track.
Strawberry Fair – Attack
This is a band that existed in Sweden a few years ago, but has recently resurfaced on that strange phenomenon known as MySpace. Only member Jenny Franzén has put up a song recorded this year called "I Can't Do Anything". Which is a fantastic song, but this is another one, included on last year's goodbye compilation from the My Secret Garden cd-r label. The sound is much better than I remember from earlier stuff, and proudly flaunts its Phil Spector influence.
The Opals – I'm So Afraid
Soul music has a fair share of impressive female vocalists and vocal groups (although female instrumentalists are admittedly rare). This song (written by Curtis Mayfield) was recorded by a group called The Opals in 1965. Just like last week's northern soul track it was released by the Okeh label. The Opals were from Chicago too and were discovered by The Dells, who have put one of my favourite northern hits to vinyl: "Wear It On Our Face". The Opals are incidentally the backing vocalists on Betty Everett's "It's In His Kiss".
The Revolving Paint Dream – Sun, Sea, Sand
So, here's that RPD track! This song is just marvellous, I like it even better than "Flowers In the Sky", that was included on CD86. That was their first single and the second to be out on Creation. (And a song about flowers!) I really have to get that book on the Creation story because the early scene is a real mess, everyone playing in each other's bands. I've done some research and apparently, the band was started by Andrew Innes (who had played in McGee's earlier band The Laughing Apple and later played with Biff Bang Pow!, before joining Primal Scream) and his girlfriend Christine Wanless (who also sings on some Biff Bang Pow! numbers and later formed The Formica Tops) and like Biff Bang Pow! they took their name from a song by The Creation. The Revolving Paint Dream at various times seems to have included Luke Haines, Alan McGee and Richard Green. The Creation records guru JC Brouchard probably had a finger in this thing too. Like "In the Afternoon", the b-side of "Flowers In Sky", this single is graced by Wanless' unique voice. Their music covered a wide range, from reverby paisley pop like this to droning seven minute instrumentals with mind-bending guitar-playing.
Aberdeen – Toy Tambourine
Another recent reissue is LTM's collection of Aberdeen's early singles. Aberdeen were not from Aberdeen but California and were one of the last bands to be signed to Sarah Records. These early singles have been very hard to find, so this comp is warmly welcomed. Beth Arzy is an excellent singer, and also a nice person, I can confirm after having met her. She now plays with Trembling Blue Stars, you see. And she is also Bobby Wratten's girlfriend! Not strange then, that she appeared as guest vocalist on the Occasional Keepers album from last year. I think Aberdeen still exists, because their last record isn't all that old. But they're probably based in the UK now, as Beth lives here. This song was originally on the Byron EP from 1994 and on Sarah.
The Shining Hour – To See Her
This band seems unjustly overlooked to me. I had never heard of them until Jörgen told me about them a few months ago. It's a British one-man-band consisting of Mark Cohen. He's been writing songs with jangling layers of guitar and put them out on tapes since 1991. Finally in 1999 an album called Wait All Summer came out on Apricot, collecting the highlights of previous releases. The songs are slightly laidback - if you're in the wrong mood you might say overly monotonous. But that's only if you don't make the effort to make out all the guitars that are piled up on top of each other. "To See Her" also has a very sweet lyric speaking for it though.
Minisnap – Lucky Stars
This is the side project of three members of The Bats from New Zealand (plus one other guy). They've released two eps so far, but this a new song that is to be found on their MySpace page. It's at least as good the best from At the National Grid!
The Lighthouse Keepers – A Time of Evil
Widdershins were on SPLASH 3, a band that was formed by two members of Australian The Lighthouse Keepers when they split up in 1986. Musically, The Lighthouse Keepers covered more ground and also shared vocal duties. The tracks that Juliet Ward sings on are still the best though! Such as this one, from the Tales of the Unexpected album (1984). The bass-line somewhere in the middle is curiously similar to the one in Sambassadeur's "Kate". But it's probably just a coincidence...
Pants Yell! – New #4
Recent Drama is sure to land pretty high in my end-of-year album list, and here's a song from that. The first time I heard it, I just assumed it was about a girl, without any reason whatsoever I now realise. Just like most Pants Yell! songs it's pretty vague gender-wise.
The Snowfairies – The Love Affairs of a Southern Belle
American The Snowfaires released their third and last album recently. It's an eight track LP called Voila! that comes in silk-screened (by hand) sleeves. Arguably their first album Feel You Up was their best, as I thought Get Married was a bit too rock. There's one track on the new album however, that is more in the tweepop vein of Feel You Up. And it might be their best effort yet - or ever I should say.
Fat Tulips – Is That Love
It's over ten years since Fat Tulips split up now, but they'll always be one of twee-punk's finest. And they've got lots of angry songs about boys. This cover is a bit more mellow, but still as on the spot. It's from their 1993 Albie EP, and a cover of a song by new wave band Squeeze.
The Never Invited to Parties – Norma Jean
Our Swedish band of the week is one the best tweepop groups ever from my home country, and there's been a few... They were from Stockholm but don't play together anymore. One of them has a new project called After-School Sports. The MySpace account is all the trace there's left of them, and this is one of two amazing tracks there. Write to them and coerce them into getting back together!
Girls At Our Best! – I'm Beautiful Now
This very influential band for female musicians from the mid-eighties onwards actually only included one girl. Their only album Pleasure was released in 1982 and included this song. This is post-punk at its best as well, going in the direction that would eventually lead to indiepop.
Dolly Mixture – Now When I Count
One band for which Girls At Our Best! meant a lot were their "successors" Dolly Mixture, who were more or less contemporary with them. They continued a bit longer however, and were even more POP! I've actually got a live recording of them playing the previous song by Girls At Our Best! Their lead singer subsequently became quite famous as Saint Etienne guest vocalist and one half of Birdie (together with Paul Kelly of East Village). Dolly Mixture did a handful of singles but as no one would let them record an album, they created Dead Good Dollys and released Demonstration Tapes in 1984 - a double album of their demos that now commands very high prices. I hope you'll excuse me for including this hissing, unreleased track instead of something from that, because it was more suitable for our theme.
The Melons – Doormat
The Melons were another overlooked British indiepop group. They missed the big tweepop wave, kind of like The Haywains, but their songs are every bit as good. This one is from their Stricly Melonhead EP from 1994.
Twa Toots – Nobody's Fool
This band was featured in DROP 15 with the song that has inspired the title for this show. And they're also in the picture you can see above! That song was from a double a-side single released in 1991, and this is the other a-side as it were.
The Haircuts – What's a Girl to Do?
Ryan from California and Theresa from Canada made up The Haircuts. Because they are no more. Even the full-length that came this year was a bit of a surprise. But that was their first and last album. It's named Sorrow Is the Way to Love after a song by The Carousel. This is one of the more lo-fi tracks on it and one of those sung by Teresa. She's got her own project called Junebug, which we look forward to hearing more from. Ryan's got lots of projects, as always.
Tiger Trap – Don't Ask
Someone asked for some Tiger Trap and Tullycraft, so here you are. I just found a real, material copy of Tiger Trap's Sour Grass EP! I've only had it in the digital version before, and I still can't play any vinyl over here, so here's an old mp3 of "Don't Ask".
Tullycraft – She's Got the Beat
I wonder where Tullycraft would have been without The Judys? This is one of several Judys tracks that they've covered. It's not as good as the original of course, but you can't blame Sean & Co for trying. You can find this song on their Singles collection.
Grab Grab the Haddock – For All We Know
When Tracey Thorn dissolved the Marine Girls, the remainder formed a new band called Grab Grab the Haddock, who released two eps on Cherry Red. This song if from 1985's Four More Songs By Grab Grab the Haddock.
St. Christopher – The Kind of Girl
This must be one of the most beautiful songs about a girl anyone has written. Glenn Melia really is an expert on the matter, being the author of songs like "Antoinette", "Charmelle", "Josephine, Why?" and "Wanda". It's safe to say St. Christopher is one of my favourite, favourite bands and that Glenn Melia is possibly the best male pop singer ever! This swooning number is from the You Deserve More Than a Maybe 7", their first release on Sarah.


Sunday, November 26, 2006


Japanese label Accident Records have put out some fine records, however hard to come by they are. There's the reissue of the old La-Di-Da comp Hoopla, the Trixie's Big Red Motorbike compilation, and of course Don't Send Me Flowers - the collection of all (?) the Twa Toots material. Twa Toots were, like Trixie's Big Red Motorbike, an early 80's British pop band and it's not too much of a stretch to call them pre-tweepop. The two main women were Sarah Brown and Philippa Richmond. Sarah was also in Sundress with Mark Randall (Fat Tulips), who recorded the Give Your Heart Another Day EP for Sunday Records in 1994. Three years before that Twa Toots released a reunion single called "Don't Send Me Flowers" and this is it.


Mother Watch Me Burn

One of the records I picked up at the Edinburgh Avalanche was Flowers In the Sky: The Enigma of the Revolving Paint Dream, just out on Rev-Ola, thanks to Joe Foster it seems. I was alerted to this world-toppling release by David, so it's thanks to his raving that I've now had the pleasure of hearing fabulous paisley-tinged creations such as "Sun, Sea, Sand". There's even a song here called "Stop the World"! Coincidences, or maybe just fate. Cherry Red/Rev-Ola have given us some stunning compilations this and last year, and this one is right up there with the Chesterf!elds, The Loft and The Servants retrospectives. Just a snippet of the text on the back cover is enough to get you down to the record shop straight away, really.

According to legend, Innes recieved a late night telephone call and took a cab to the studio. What he found was allegedly a scene of utter desolation: smashed instruments, the walls daubed with pink swastikas and a smell of burning. Outside was a bonfire of clothing, guitars and recording tape, and a note which read: "We are invisible... we cannot see you".

The enigma bit isn't just plucked out of thin air, The Revolving Paint Dream have always been a bit of a mystery. The line-up was not fixed, but rather included various people part of the Creation scene at the time, including Alan McGee and Andrew Innes. The songs are really good, not just the legendary Creation single "Flowers In the Sky". I'd like to put some songs here, but as it's all available in the "proper" fashion, I'll wait until the next podcast/radio show. That feels like a more sanctioned medium.

Stop the World, I Want to Get On

We went to Edinburgh yesterday, mainly to go see the play Do I Mean Anything to You /// Or Am I Just Passing By?, written by Gerard McInulty (ex-The Wake) and sondtracked by The Pastels. But we took the bus in the early afternoon sun, to have time for a bit more. First record-shopping at the Cockburn Street Avalanche (the other one and the Glasgow one are not nearly as good). Andrew Tully from Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes was behind the counter. He watched with interest as the other guy handled my purchase of Nixon (the second Desperadoes album). I also found the Groovy Little Numbers single collection (another Avalanche release), the first Altered Images single (written by Caesar who played guitar with them before forming The Wake), and the new Revoling Paint Dream retrospective. We then walked around for a while, but didn't get very far because of the drizzling rain and the storm-strength wind. We did pop in at The Scotch Whisky Centre however, to buy some presents, and a little something for ourselves. Suddenly seized by hunger, we went down to West Nicolson Street to get a bite to eat at vegetarian café/restaurant Susie's. A rather big bite, I should say, because there was nothing medium about their Medium Plate! I had an enchilada and some tasty greek and rice salads. Then there was just enough time for the walk to the Traverse Theatre. It's a very nice place and if you're ever in Edinburgh you should go there, if only for a drink. Other people seemed to have done just that, by the look of it. The no. 2 theatre was not even half full as the play started. The stage was U-shaped with the audience sitting on three sides, and Stephen and Katrina in a corner with their equipment. Most of the music was pre-recorded anyway, except for some cymbals and glockenspiel. The Pastels' music was really good, but the play itself stood up on its own as well. It consisted of four monologues, by two men and two women. I liked the first and the last ones best. One thing I remember thinking about was a line by the third actor on: "Stop the world - I want to get on." There's a line in "What the World Is Waiting For" by The Stone Roses that goes: "Stop the world, I'm getting off!". I'm sure McInulty knows that song. That line encapsulates what the play was about, I think. I also reflected on the theatre-specific elements of the performance, as it was in many ways not unlike an avantgarde film, having a soundtrack and all. And why McInulty had chosen to do it as a play instead of film, which would have been more expected from someone of his generation. I enjoyed it, I mean.

Like Belmondo In the Movies

Belmondo is good band. Jean-Paul himself is not so bad either, although he's not in the band. But Jean-LUC Godard really is a good director. Perhaps the most eagerly refereced in POP too. These weeks I've been watching quite a few movies, which is not all that strange since one of the courses I'm doing is Film & Television Studies. We had a week on auteur theory just now and watched some Wong Kar-Wai. I'd never seen Fallen Angels (1995) before, and I have to say it's the best of his early films (obviously none of them can compete with In Mood For Love and 2046). I've also seen Alphaville by Godard, that's were the still is from. I just picked that because it reminded my of the cover of the Shapiros comp. Pam Berry WAS in Belmondo, by the way. Yesterday we went to see Nora Helmer, one of Fassbinder's rarely shown films. That's understandable, because it's not Fassbinder at his best. It was still interesting though, and a good initiative of the CCA to screen it as part of their Fassbinder season. It was a tv-adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll House, with minimal acting and lots of shots through glass and of mirror reflections.

On Friday we went to our last National Pop League for this year. (The next one is on December 29th, one day before my birthday, and I'm going to be in Sweden then.) It was good fun and hot as usual. Highlights were Wedding Present's "Nobody's Twisting Your Arm", TG's "Bringing Up Baby", Altered Images' "Don't Talk to Me About Love" and Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher". The latter gave Stuart a good chance to show off his moves. He's always just as cute!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Subcity interviewed me last week, about my application for a new show. They'd had many, but my impression was that my chances are good. So here's another podcast to keep you warm until December! These are songs that I had left after completing the tracklistings for the first few radio shows (plus some new tracks I've fallen in love with since then), and I thought I might just as well give them to you now. I just came to think of the fact that it makes this show's title even more fitting. This is Throwaway Stars, which is ALMOST a Lucksmiths song-title, and an attempt to tell you something about the nature of POP!. These are songs that will, hopefully, make you dance or cry - for the moment. Let these bands be your stars for tonight, and forget everything else. Because tomorrow you will be on the lookout for the New Thing. "Yesterday's gone and tomorrow might never come." That is not to say you will forget Widdershins or Apple Orchard. You will rediscover them next week, or even next year, and fall in love all over again. Pop music is a commodity, to be consumed and thrown away, like "a bubblegum when the flavour's gone". But it is also art – you can put your life into it and it can change your life. Pop's potential lies in the tension between art and commerce, just as with pop art. Your life is nothing but a collection of memories, of moments. Some of those are without a doubt musical moments. A good pop song will become part of you and who you are. It won't be forgotten. A good pop song is not something you pay £20 for on eBay, just so you can put it on your shelf. A good pop song is an mp3 you play on repeat twenty times and is then lost as your iPod breaks down the day after the warranty ends.

The Ups and Downs – The Living Kind
I discovered this twenty-year-old, jangling, Australian indie gem thanks to the blog Lost and Found. It's the sixteenth song Javier has shared with us and, in my opinion, the best of those still active. Go there now and discover all the other fantastic obscurities from the dusty vaults of aged vinyl!
Mary Queen of Scots – Think of Me
Another discovery made thanks to a blog. This time Andreas' Dance to the Sun. As you can read on this website, Mary Queen of Scots was the early 90's project of another Chris. Overlooked by almost everyone except Kris Waaah, it's time that changed. You can get all his songs on a cd for a symbolic sum, and if you like the guitar sound and poignant lyrics of Sarah Records you needn't think twice.
Johnny Says Yeah! – Everything Is Mine
Continuing in the mellow track. Firestation have released two brilliant retrospectives this year. A compilation of The Nivens' music and the much anticipated Long Ball Into Nowhere with (almost) everything Hey Paulette did. Not more than a year ago they also released Friends Gone By 1986-1989 with Johnny Says Yeah!, who deserve praise if not only for their exclamation mark. They were featured on the fourth Leamington Spa with the brilliant "Waiting Here For Me", but as with many obscure 80's bands, their material were of a shifting quality. They had a piano/horn section thing going on, that sometimes makes a sound I'm not entirely comfortable with. But when the more jangling elements shine through, as in this grandiose ballad, you've got to hand it to them.
Friends – Primrose Hill
Friends start off the second Leamington Spa with the epic "You'll Never See That Summertime Again" from their second album. Frontman William Jones had long been playing classical guitar when the first single "It's Getting Louder" was released in 1986. Since then eight albums have come out and there's more to come, quite soon. However, the early sound of Friends (featuring classical guitar patterns, female backing vocals and trumpets) has undergone substantial changes through the years. The last classic Friends album was Songs Without Tears from 1991 and that's where you can find this song. Thanks to the fine work of their label Summerhouse, all the Friends releases are still available.
Popundret – Behind Her
The Swedish track of the week is from Montemarte 15 40 (released by A Westside Fabrication in 1996), the only album by one of the most classic Swedish indiepop bands to date. By 1996 they were pretty much the only ones left from the original northern indie groups. If you are familiar with the history of Swedish indiepop you've probably heard their hit from this record, "Shiver Gone". I had the pleasure of hearing that and many other classics at their reunion gig at the Mitt Sista Liv festival in 2004. Popundret show that you can get away with imitating Morrissey, as long as you do it better than he does himself.
Horowitz – Sister
Pete from old Subway group The Rosehips is now in a new band, and you knew you were going to like it. The recording technique certainly doesn't show any improvement from two decades ago - more like the other way around. If you want more of this lo-fi c86, buy their first album that came out on Kitchen earlier this year!
Apple Orchard – Summer Memories
You probably know the story about Apple Orchard by now - the Marquez brothers who moved from The Philippines to California and took their name from a Bouquet song. They've done a bunch of cassettes, but their first single "A Hiding Smile" came out early this year and is still the best 45 of the year. This is a cover of an Autumn Almanac song that might never get released. The Apple Orchard release schedule is slow, if not only for all of Ryan's other projects. He also completed the debut (and goodbye) album with The Haircuts this year, which you I thought I'd play for you sometime soon. In addition he has (and has had for quite some time) a new label in the works, called Haymarket, whose first release will be a compilation called From Christmas Steps to Southend-On-Sea, to be released sometime next year.
Annemarie – Strawberry Fields
A band still based in Asia - Indonesia to be precise - but that gained international fame with their Living Model EP. This song will be included on the forthcoming full-length that is to be released by the excellent Swedish label Music Is My Girlfriend.
Mr. Suitcase – After Winter's Rain and Ruin
Billy Rimgard is the most brilliant light on a fading Swedish electro scene. Following his debut EP The Shame of Being Imperfect, a cdr of leftovers appeared. It's called Leftovers and can be downloaded from his website. This is one of two "new" tracks on it.
Ring Snuten! - Mellanstadiediskot
Ring Snuten is Patrik of Hormones In Abundance fame. His new name means "call the cops" and goes with a more electronic sound that is simultaneously slower, grander and influenced by old Swedish pop singers. He sings some songs in Swedish, but I've chosen one of those in English for you. Only Ring Snuten could write a convincing song about this subject. The title can be translated as "middle-school disco" and it's about when were around "eleven and a half" - too old for birthday parties with parents and too young for throwing your own parties (and getting drunk). The middle-school disco is an institution in Sweden, or at least it was when I grew up. The teachers would arrange a party each year, that would usually take place in the classroom, under their supervision. This song reminds one of how strong one's feelings could be despite young age.
Harper Lee – William Blake
This almost makes you want to start a band called William Blake and write a song about Harper Lee! Or at least start a new band called Harper Lee, because Keris says this is the end for his project. This is a song from their, hopefully not, last EP called He Holds a Flame, released by Matinée when the sun was still shining.
Another Sunny Day – I Want You
Harvey called the demos posted on indie-mp3 uninspired, but this 1986 demo might be one of his most inspired songs. The sound isn't the best, but I think you can live with that because this song is so direct, so true and so... good!
Mighty Mighty – Throwaway
Here's where the bubblegum quote comes from. This is a perfect pop song, from the first decisive drumbeat, through the classic four-chord sequence, down to the very POP! line "am I really so disposable?". Mighty Mighty were on the C86 tape and this song is from one of their early singles, and can also be found on their Vinyl Japan single collection. They had a clear Orange Juice (not only vocally) and 60's influence on their sound, so here's an appropriate song to follow it:
The Urges – It Ain’t Right
One of the most authentic 60's revival bands today, Dublin's The Urges do a convincing take on The Seeds here. The singer even goes some way in imitating the inimitable Sky Saxon! If there's ever a Children of Nuggets II box - they will be on it.
The Artistics – This Heart of Mine
Now for some real 60's sounds. Our northern track of the week is one of the most majestic I know of. The Artistics were on the Okeh label, the closest you get to a "northern soul label". The single was released in 1965 when the label was still Chicago-centred and it was the group's only hit before they moved on to Brunswick.
Widdershins – A Place In Time
"A Place In Time" makes for a suitable ending this time around, with its tale of ageing and lost love. It's from the download single "Now You Know", released by Egg Records in anticipation of their recent Widdershins retrospective Good Songs 1987-1989. It was originally intended for a scrapped 1990 single. You can hear how Juilet Ward's amazing voice sounds slightly more mature than in the good old Lighthouse Keepers days, but that only serves to lend an added depth to lines such as "nothing feels like anything anymore".

Throwaway Stars

(SPLASH 2 should be up and working again now. As before, let me know if this or earlier podcasts stop functioning.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Perfect to a Tea

The other day we went to Tchai Ovna to see Lily O'Lee, The Hermit Crabs and California Snow Story. It was a really nice evening and I truly regret not having discovered this cosy tea house earlier. It's very small, so maybe it was just as well I left the opera mid-performance to get there just after eight. How typical, walking out on a baroque opera to go to an indiepop show! I met two guys from Hello Saferide, and to my sorrow, found out that Sounds of Sweden had been on a Wednesday this week! Which means I could have gone to that as well. I'm really dissappointed that I missed The Poems. I consoled myself with a pot of dhesi tchai. I also met a very nice man called David, a longtime Glasgow indie scenester I guess we could call him. Unfortunately my camera battery gave in right at the beginning of the evening, so this is the only photo I have to show for it. It was equally a pleasure to meet David from California Snow Story, who gave me one of their new, cute badges! And the album will be out on Letterbox on January 29th. It looks like the next two months will be a really eventful record releasing period, with the new Matinée releases, the California Snow Story album, The Orchids' new one and the A Smile and a Ribbon debut! The Hermit Crabs made a very good impression on me, I've never heard them before. Their second guitarist was playing an electro-acoustic, nylon-stringed guitar instead of his electric, which made the sound more interesting. And they'd also recruited a new violin player for the night! California Snow Story was even better. They only played one old song, I think, and most of the new ones were quite slow. But in that beautiful Postal Blue way. Maybe it was the guitar sound that made me think of Postal Blue - you know, muted and warm, low on the treble? I'm very much looking forward to that album! Oh, and they played "Candy Says" too, which you can't hardly go wrong with. Next weekend we might go to the play Do I Mean Anything To You Or Am I Just Passing By?, the one The Pastels have done the music for.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


You should already know about Snowbirds from SPLASH 2, and if you've looked them up, "Beautiful Morning" ought to have caught your eye - or ear. It's one of their best, and the perfect twee song. Fast and sweet like a sugar rush. Here it is, but by another one of my favourite twee groups: Bella Vista, Mark's pre-Pipas band. They did the third ever release on Matinée Recordings: the sold out Was the Last EP, as well as another single and one split. I'm a bit confused as to where this cover comes from though. On the split, The Best Wishes do a cover of it, but this recording definitely sounds like Bella Vista. Have to ask Mark! The Bella Vista version is slow and jangling. Being almost twice as long as the original, I hardly recognised it at first! They've also done an (incredibly enough) superior version of The Carousel's "My Boy and His Motorbike". They deserve to remembered, if not only for that.


One Good Autumn

These have been busy days. I've had a visit from my friend Marie and spent the weekend doing as many things as we possibly could. We went to see the fascinating exhibition Doves & Dreams at the Hunterian, displaying the much too rarely seen work of the "other two" of The Four: James Herbert McNair and his wife Frances Macdonald. We strolled out East to The Barras Market and Glasgow Green with its humid Winter Garden, via the cathedral and the Necropolis (a suitable place for Sinister picnics indeed!). We popped in at the Art School and the CCA, and came back in the evening to honour Andrew Symington's club Divine! with our presence. Undaunted by the rain (propelled by strong gusts of wind) we satisfied our cravings for antiques and second hand goods through a string of shops, ending up at Mono, where our more physical hunger was stilled. We rode buses, subway cars and trains, and learned to appreciate the importance of comfortable foot-wear. And finally, my girlfriend arrives today, with only a suitcase-full of essentials due to new restrictions on baggage weight. Tomorrow I will have to get busy writing an essay in musical philosphy. And don't even start me talking about Thursday. Blast it, I'll go ahead and do it anyway. First of all I'm missing Sounds of Sweden, featuring Hello Saferide. I had planned to go and see a rare Fassbinder film at the CCA, for the small sum of £1.50. Now those plans have been ditched as well. But for a very happy reason, I should say. This week Matinée finally revealed the identity of their new act: The Hermit Crabs. Suitably, they are from Glasgow, although they're completely new to me. Well not ultimately, because two of the members were previously in Camera Obscura off-shoot California Snow Story, who with the help of Shelflife gave the world a beautiful EP called One Good Summer five summers ago. Such great news, and finally I get to live in the same city as a Matinée band! Even the those who remember Remember Fun didn't have that much fun. But what about Thursday? Well, it just so happens that The Hermit Crabs are playing a show in a tea shop not beyond walking distance from here, that very day! What's more, California Snow Story apparently reformed (or formed again, differently) early this year and are also playing on that very same night! And they have an ALBUM coming out next year. I'm overwhelmed with good news all at once! Maybe it will come out on Shelflife, because it doesn't stop there. It seems the esteemed label in stirring in its sleep and will soon be out and about once more! I just heard from Rebecca that they plan to release the A Smile and a Ribbon debut album in January. And that is simply unbelievable.