Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Suede Crocodiles - Stop the Rain (288)
The Suede Crocodiles - Paint Yourself a Rainbow (215)
The Bridal Shop - From Seas (204)
Skypark - Bicycle Boy (199)
Twa Toots - Don't Send Me Flowers (195)
The Search Engines - There She Goes (178)
The Mayfields - Call My Name (177)
The Pines - If She Doesn't Smile (It'll Rain) (175)
Reserve - Adrian Fabulous
Emmaboda Festival, July 25th @ the festival pre-party
w/ Billie the Vision & the Dancers, Mixtapes & Cellmates, Effete
Indietracks Festival, July 29th First on @ the main stage on the second day.
Nottingham, July 31st @ The Rescue Rooms
w/ The Besties, The Deirdres
London, August 1st @ The Brixton Windmill
Cardiff, August 2nd @ O'Neill's
Gothenburg, August 3rd @ Kontiki
See you tomorrow!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
My favourite band at the moment is probably this long-forgotten Shelflife act. I had never heard them until quite recently because Shelflife seems not to have cared too much about releases once they'd sold out. I never read anthing about them, and there were no songs to download. They're called Brittle Stars and are like a cross between the otherwise best two bands on the label - Skypark and The Autocollants. They have the crisp guitars of the former and gorgeous keyboards of the latter. And they have an almost unparalleled asset in singer Estelle, who's voice is truly heavenly. The first time I heard them was this year, when I got "Falling Backwards" on a Japanese compilation 7". Then I heard California Snow Story's cover of "This Trip" from the Shelflife comp You're Still Young At Heart. That was such an amazing song and I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the original, which was even better! Brittle Stars only recorded one, self-titled album and then split up. Three remaining songs were released together with compilation tracks and remixes as Garage Sale in 2001. Both records are now seemingly impossible to find! If you get addicted to Estelle's voice too, you should look up her new band Elephant Parade and buy their album Bedroom Recordings on their MySpace. Brittle Stars were simply too good for this world.
Brittle Stars - No Longer Waiting
The best thing was probably a medley of "Radio" and "I Dream of Angels". And it made me very happy to hear "The Beat Hotel" as the last song. Lovejoy was probably the biggest attraction for me that day, because I still wasn't counting on TVPs. I hadn't seen Dan since yesterday and it wouldn't have surprised me if he'd gotten lost in the woods or if he hadn't survived the night. The next band to play were My Darling You!, whom I have also seen before and that gig didn't exactly leave me craving for more. I think it's something about the way the guy sings... It's simply too Gothenburg. I would have loved to see The Dreamers play at Rip It Up, but I had to settle for Action Biker. I don't think Sarah has done any gigs as Action Biker for a while and most of the songs were new to me. Sounded great though! The Dreamers' album should be out on Friendly Noise sometime this year.
Sarah also sang a bit with the next band, Kissing Mirrors, who were probably the biggest surprise to me. I'd only heard their old ep, but they were really good live. Kissing Mirrors grew out of the Unreal Scarlet's Well that played at Mitt Sista Liv. Bid came over alone and had various Swedish musicians as his backing band. At that time Scarlet's Well didn't have a fixed line-up anyway. Kissing Mirrors have many different vocalists and at Rip It Up Hanna Fahl, Sarah Nyberg-Pergament, Mikael from The Honeydrips and the guy from Nicolas Makelberge took turns. Another band that I know many had been looking forward to was of course Cats On Fire. With a debut album that makes most of the competition look pale and an increasing international buzz speaking for them, things have never looked better for the Finnish quartet. It showed that they're getting confident and the gig at Rip It Up was among the best I've seen them do. My friends Kajsa played the organ as well, and it sounded great. It was smiles all around as they did an excellent version of "My Friend In a Comfortable Chair" for the encore. Now all they have to do is prove that they can follow up! Everyday Mistakes played after them and in that light they weren't very interesting. I saw them years ago at Mitt Sista Liv, when they sounded very different and I hazily remember that as being better. Dickon Edwards had been walkling around festival area as well that day, wearing a suit as usual and thickly applied make up. I spoke to him a bit after the Lovejoy gig as we're playing with Fosca in London on August 1st. I had to say hello, I figured. Some of my friends sensed an unforgettable moment as Dick and Dickon went to get some food at the small kiosk, and brought out their cameras. "Dick och Dickon köper korv" is a headline that sounds great in Swedish, but it just doesn't work translated so I won't bother. The Fosca gig was great actually, much more of a rock-out than I'd expected. Plus Dickon was left-handed so might be able to borrow his guitar in London! They played some new songs, like "I've Agreed to Something I Should Have", and some old, like "The Millionaire of Your Own Hair" and "The Agony Without the Ecstacy".
The last act were Television Personalities and I think they pulled the biggest crowd of all the bands, which only makes sense. But what doesn't make sense is that it was obvious everyone wasn't there. Did some people think "hmmm... am I going to see TVPs, or am I just going to stay here in my tent and drink some more?", or what?. It's possible not everyone knew who they were, but come on! The might never play in this country again. Because they did play - kind of. Everyone was standing in front of the stage, waiting, wondering if it was actually going to happen. Then suddenly they came in - Dan, a drummer, a bassist and a backing vocalist in a pretty dress. Patrik (Ring Snuten!) lent him his guitar and the sound guy had help him to get it on. After much shouting, from the audience and from Daniel, they started playing a song. Then the guitar went quiet. Dan was too drunk to understand what was happening - he'd probably been drinking all day, and he asked for at least two beers during the time the gig lasted. He had hit the mic switch on the guitar, and I don't know if maybe one of the mics didn't work but there sure wasn't any sound. Eventually he understood and flipped the switch back. Then he started playing again, and hit the switch again. So it went on and on throughout the gig. I don't think they finished one song properly. He tried to play all the hits though, as far as his memory allowed. It was a lot of "Alright, I'll fucking play Smashing Time! I fucking wrote that, you know!" and the like. He didn't seem able to deal with the audience very well and interchanged between shouting "fuck off!" and smiling happily at the outstretched hands. God knows most of them were probably as drunk as he was. You had to admire the backing band though, who were very patient and really tried. But it just wasn't possible, Dan was simply too drunk. I left before they stopped because it felt like this could go on forever. It was a very sad affair the whole thing. I went to get some sleep and luckily woke up just in time to get the ONLY bus into town before my train was leaving. Apparently there were many who just had to get on that bus to be in time for the train. The desperation was increasing as the bus queue grew and grew and the rain kept pouring. It turned out everyone got on ok, thank god. Hopefully it was all successful enough for the arrangers to try it again next year. I would go, at least!
Monday, July 16, 2007
The stage was an extension of one of the loading docks to the big building you can see in the picture above. I don't think everyone knew that what was actually inside was a fair-sized football pitch made of synthetic grass! But the arrangers Johan and Fredrik were terrified people would sneak in and ruin it anyway! I travelled up on the Thursday, which turned out to be pointless because there wasn't much to do. At least in the evening Mikael and Viktor, formerly of the legendary Starke Adolf club played some records on the stage. Friday was one long wait for the bands to get started. But the rest of my friends all arrived that day so there was plenty to do. Also, Fraction Discs did a short but sweet dj set. As they played "Throw Aggi From the Bridge" my friend Andrew from London walked past the stage. I didn't realise it was him until I saw him again after that. He told me he'd recorded a snippet with his camera to send to Mike from Slumberland/Black Tambourine. He knows Mike of course, because they were both once in The Crabapples. It didn't seem like the stage crew would be able to get everything working and sounding ok for 5 pm, and unfortunately The Sunny Street had some problems with the sound. But it was good anyway, because no one had any expectations as they have never played in Sweden before (in fact this was their second gig ever) and I don't think that many people had heard them. It was great to meet Rémi and Delphine - they were so sweet! I think they were probably those of the foreign artist who hung out the most with us 'ordinary people'. They told me they'd seen A Smile and a Ribbon in London, but had been to shy to say hello. Their band name is supposed to be ironic, but the sun actually peered out, as you can see.
Next on were Strawberry Fair and she had people from lots of other bands as backing musicians and vocalists. I've only heard a few of her old songs so I liked "I Can't Do Anything" best. David from The Morning Paper (who have just released their first single on Cloudberry) played drums and Alice from After-School Sports (and formerly The Never Invited to Parties!!) and Ida from The Bridal Shop were on backing vocals. After that was a band that many people were waiting to see. I had never seen Liechtenstein before either, so I could hardly wait. Liechtenstein is Renée from Fraction Discs own band, and she's joined by three other girls. It was obvious that they haven't played live much but it was all in keeping with the DIY, all-girl spirit of early 80's post-punk bands like Girls At Our Best!, Dolly Mixture and Mo-Dettes. The fact that they're the only band I've seen with two guitarists playing Squires pretty much proves my point. As I've only heard the songs on the 7" it was great to get a chance to hear new material. It all sounded good, but maybe one backbeat too many! Patrik (aka Ring Snuten!) was on next and it must have felt rather good for him to be at an indiepop festival without having to worry about the arrangement itself. As you probably know, he was one of the people behind the Liv festivals outside Kalmar. I've seen him play before, so I was not that excited but then suddenly he invited the former members of Dorotea up on the stage for a handful of songs, and the crowd went wild as the percentage of Gothenburgians at the festival was sizeable (and there's nothing more Gothenburg than Dorotea!)
You know who this is, don't you? Yes, that's Glenn Melia on the left and I can't believe I was actually there! Seeing St. Christopher live was pretty special and lots of other people must have felt the same, because by the time the boys came back on for the encore there was a proper mosh pit forming. And the fact that they ended on "All of a Tremble" didn't exactly calm things down... They played all the hits actually, and the biggest surprise was probably "It's Snowing On the Moon" - the b-side to Sarah 46. I had that in my Christmas podcast, if you remember. I talked to Glenn for a bit before the gig and he said he wasn't playing the song I had requested some months ago, because back then he was thinking of doing a solo set accompanied only by a drum machine. Now they were a three-piece so I guess they opted for the more bombastic material. And there aren't many bands who can boast an opening track like "Say Yes to Everything"! I wasn't too disappointed though, as I would have been in ectasy whichever songs they'd chosen to play. Glenn said they didn't have any new stuff, but he was going to write some new songs for upcoming releases on Plastilina and Cloudberry. An economical guy - he won't write songs until he has a confirmed release. I advised him to stay and watch the next band: Days. Just because St. Christopher was one of the bands they reminded me of when I first heard them. But then it started raining and you couldn't recognise anyone behind the umbrellas and the raincoats. It was also around this time that Dan Treacy first ventured outside the backstage area, and it was quite a shock to say the least. No one was really expecting the TVPs to come, and then before you know it Dan is standing there in his wollen cap, just a few yards away. I would have like to say something but there immediately formed a crowd of teenagers around him that seemed to follow him around for the rest of the festival. He was drunk and the kids seemed bloody annoying so I decided not to bother him any further. Anyways, Days came on and did a magnificent set full of gloriously sparkling pop. The rain was picking up but I don't think anyone cared. There were intermittent shouts from the audience along the lines of "sooo fucking good!" and "the best band in Sweden!". I'm glad people have finally understood. Days were at least as good as last time I saw them and they finished with an old song that has already reached legendary status (at least if you're a Signed Papercut!). I managed to squeee my camera in-between the umbrellas overhead and the hoods of raincoats in front, to capture the moment.
It felt like the climax of the first day was behind us, and there was no sign of clear skies. I stayed for a while though, to see Mikael who is The Honeydrips. His first album was finally released a few months back and it was a relief because some of the songs are three years old now. There are a few different kinds of Honeydrips gigs, this one turned out to be of the type where he played his one-string bass (which was not switched on) and sang over the backtrack. It was good enough though, and the new songs are really fab. You can get the album Here Comes the Future from Sincerely Yours, I think. After that I was thouroughly soaked and didn't really care for seeing The Tough Alliance. I mean, their new records are nice enough but their live shows still seem pointless. And I can't get past thinking of them as a pair of right toffs. Me and Nils-Martin went to dry up in his car instead. I ended up getting my shoes soaked instead however (the car park was in the marsh, remember?). Air France did some deejaying after that, I think, but I was spent and went back to the tent and fell asleep... eventually. Maybe that's why people drink so much? So they can then happily fall asleep in their tent (or someone elses).
To be continued. (Well, there was a second day you know.)
Friday, July 13, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I stood right in front of Greg last week, so no wonder he recognised me when I went up to talk to him before the gig. We talked about this old live recording of their gig at the Emmaboda festival three years ago, and if I get round to uploading it I'll give you the link as well. We had a nice chat and I spoke briefly to Satomi too and they're all such lovely people! The setlist was pretty much the same as last week, apart from the encore, but I didn't mind as I hadn't listened to them for far too long before that anyway. The picture above is of Satomi last week, and here's Greg two days ago. I ended up standing right in front of him again, as you can see!
Monday, July 02, 2007
Here's the back cover with the tracklist, if you want to print it.
R... Is For Rain
When I got home Louis Philippe's new album was waiting in a parcel for me. I've listened to it a few times and it's one of the best records so far this year. Definitely one of his very best - quite comlex in orchestration, arrangement and concept. It's called An Unkown Spring and features Alasdair from The Clientele on some acoustic guitar. Alasdair and Mel also help out with some of the harmonies. I hope Louis comes over to play sometime too.
I'll put up the last podcast today, but I also have some stuff left to write about from last week so it's not over just yet! And I've got about ten more songs that I just HAVE to post. So if you were thinking about converting your computer into a cosy house for hamsters, I suggest you wait a while.