Friday, 29 February 2008
They're Swedish, as so many lovely bands are. From Stockholm to be precise and...erm...there are nine of them, did I mention that? They are Aina Myrstener (trumpet/cello), Märta Myrstener (vocals), Gerda Persson (piano), Katarina Flakierska (synthesizer), Hanna Jensen (violin), Lars Gribbe (violin), Valdemar Gezelius (guitar), Stefan Gurunihey (bass) and Jesper Engström (drums) and together they make a glorious sound. A bit like this:
Florian - Hanna Aina Lisa Karin mp3 (left click available for 7 days)
I just want to grab a tambourine and join in! What a song! It's twee in the best possible way, with trumpets and recorders and lovely breathy vocals and lots of uses of the word 'spectacular' (when do you ever hear that word in a song?).
Sadly, Florian seem to have fizzled out - which I believe is due to some of the band moving away - but not before they released a couple of EPs and one full-length album which I am yet to get my hands on, though not for want of trying. The album is called Florianópolis and contains 9 tracks. That's one for each member of the band (did I mention there are nine of them...?)! If the track below is indicative of the quality of the whole album, I'm sure you'll all be wanting a copy, but you can get in the queue behind me!
Florian - When I Spend Time With You There Is A Party mp3 (right click and save as)
Florian's website is still up (aww, it's on Geocities!) and you can listen to some more wonderful songs from their 'lost EP' on their myspace page. If I find anywhere which can deliver on the album, I'll let you know.
(There are nine members in the band, in case you were wondering...)
Wednesday, 27 February 2008
Large parts of the UK were hit by an earthquake last night, which had people panicking and jamming the emergency services' switchboards all over the shop. This being Blighty, though, the earthquake was only a fairly teensy one (lasting just a quarter of a minute and registering a steady but unspectacular 5.2 on the Richter scale), which thankfully didn't kill or seriously injure anyone. In fact, the sum extent of the damage it wreaked appears to be a few toppled chimney pots here and there.
Anyway, gawd help us if we were ever to get a proper quake - the way some of those affected in this 15-second one were carrying on when interviewed by the never-knowingly-understated British media about it this morning, you'd think the end of the world had been nigh.
Ah well, time for a bit of levity in the form of a trio of apt tracks to ease the pain on this, ahem, deeply harrowing and devastating day I think!
The Darlings - You Shook Me All Night Long mp3
Carole King - I Feel The Earth Move mp3
Herbie Hancock - Rockit mp3
(mp3s available for 7 days)
In other news, tip-top Swedish label Labrador have today reissued the first four albums by excellent Saint Etienne-esque combo Club 8, complete with lots of bonus tracks. Our friend Lito from the splendid Spanish language blog Lito Music has five of Club 8's finest tracks available for download here. (I'd especially recommend Spring Came, Rain Fell and Whatever You Want.)
Get the Club 8 reissues here.
You can buy music from today's other featured artists here and here.
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Art Brut - Formed A Band mp3 (available for 7 days)
Everything about Art Brut and their guitar-heavy, shouty singing brilliance gives me a smile. Formed A Band - released as a single in 2004 - is one of only two ever-present songs on my mp3 player, and the line, "We're just talking...to the kids", makes me chuckle every time I hear it!
Good Weekend was released as a single in 2005 and here it is being performed in a live session on BBC 6Music. "I've seen her naked. TWICE!"
Art Brut - Good Weekend (live on 6music) mp3 (available for 7 days)
Buy Art Brut's debut album, It's A Bit Complicated from Mutebank.co.uk.
And find out more about the band at their website and myspace page.
I'm off to sulk.
Saturday, 23 February 2008
Saint Etienne - Only Love Can Break Your Heart mp3 (available for 7 days)
Mint Juleps - Only Love Can Break Your Heart mp3 (available for 7 days)
I'd always considered Saint Etienne's take on it to be pretty much unbeatable, until recently, when I belatedly discovered the Mint Juleps 1986 version, and now I'm not so sure. I'm a sucker for all-female a cappella choirs, after all - as anyone who's witnessed me banging on about The Sweptaways on here at regular intervals will testify! - so it's a tough call. Help me out here, gang!
(the ironic thing in all this is that, much as I love this song, I'm still yet to hear the Neil Young original. Now there's tardiness.)
You can buy music from today's featured artists here.
Friday, 22 February 2008
A trio of songs to mark the UK's Work Your Proper Hours Day today - which the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed just so happens to fall on this very day!
From the Worksmart website:
Work Your Proper Hours Day (22 Feb 2008) is the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime finishes the unpaid days they do every year, and starts earning for themselves. We think that's a day worth celebrating!
Nearly five million people in the UK regularly do unpaid overtime, giving their employers an average £4,955 of free work a year. If you're one, why not take some time to reflect on how well (or badly) you're balancing your life?
This is one day in the year to make the most of your own time. Take a proper lunchbreak and leave work on time to enjoy your Friday evening - You deserve it!
You can find out more about Work Your Proper Hours Day here.
Hue and Cry - Labour Of Love mp3
Heaven 17 - Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry mp3
The Kinks - Do It Again mp3
(mp3s available for 7 days)
Buy music here.
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
The trouble with blogging about P5 is that they have an enormous amount of songs and have done several versions of most of them. And they're almost all fantastic. This leaves me with the rather lovely problem of picking just a few songs to put up to represent this prolific and joyous band.
The Japanese band Pizzicato Five started off in 1985 with - unsurprisingly - five members, but over the years members came and went, leaving a duo of Maki Nomiya and Yasuharu Konishi from 1994 until 2001 when the band was finally put to rest. They're like the lovechild band of Burt Bacharach, Serge Gainsbourg and dance music (but only the good stuff). Barely a song goes by where they don't manage to slip the word 'groovy' in somewhere. In fact, that's probably the word which best sums them up. Pizzicato Five are groovy!
The first song I put up has to be Happy Sad, which was the first Pizzicato Five song I ever heard. Irresistibly catchy and full of shooby-dooby-doos.
Pizzicato Five - Happy Sad mp3 (available for 7 days)
Next I've chosen Pizzicato Five's first release from 1985. It starts off sounding rather threatening and industrial, but within 20 seconds you get to the more familiar poppy sound you associate with P5 and it switches between the two all song long. Groovy!
Pizzicato Five - Audrey Hepburn Complex mp3 (available for 7 days)
Finally, this may well be my favourite P5 song. Apparently it's about a deliberately awkward, high maintenance woman who believes in love at first sight and wants to be taken care of. I hope that doesn't say anything about me!
Pizzicato Five - Nata Di Marzo mp3 (available for 7 days)
God, I love this band! Buy Pizzicato Five albums from Matador Records
Bonus: Maki Nomiya - Nicola mp3 (available for 7 days)
Monday, 18 February 2008
is Wincey Willis dead? (Not dead, merely resting.)
Weather toast Paul Merton (#these are a few of my favourite things!#)
i'm searching (of course you are.)
Linn Githmark nude (not here she's not. Now put that thing away.)
comedy Matthew Corbett I forget (What's that Sooty? You've got amnesia?)
Keeley Hawes Ashes To Ashes that red outfit (The Communists?!)
A Girl Called Eddy legs given rapidshare (I don't understand... Legs given rapid share in what, exactly?)
and I'm looking for someone who understands (Might I suggest you try the Samaritans?)
he wasn't there for me death (Bastard!)
she makes me go (She's a laxative?)
Linn Githmark nude (it seems nothing will dampen this naked Norwegian curling star-seeking Googler's ardour - matron!)
meatball song porn (At the risk of sounding like an an especially risque Abba tribute act here - porn again?)
download too much ass not (This week's runaway winner of the Most Nonsensical Search award. Makes me laugh every time I see it.)
find me the wicker man soundtrack on mp3 in a blog (Find it yourself, lazybones.)
ann jesus saves polyphonic (that's not what I've heard.)
Linn Githmark nude (oh for God's sake!)
Then of course there's the plethora of apple/pie related searches:
how much is an apple for a apple pie?
pie records broken
always always take the apple
I like pie to much
free living channell crane pies
how much pie is sold a year?
three girls one apple pie
meaning of apple pie in a dream
on the phone applepie talk too much
how do you spell apple in welsh?
apple clum pie
The first one, how much is an apple for a apple pie, is my favourite of those. Such incisive questioning is rarely heard outside the Newsnight studios these days!
The Mutton Birds - Come Around mp3
Sunday, 17 February 2008
Today is my 27th birthday. In honour of this, Pocketbooks are releasing an EP entitled Waking Up and have made an mp3 from this available for free download. Okay, so it's nothing to do with celebrating my existence, but it is jolly good timing and makes me very happy!
Waking Up will be released on 19th March but you can pre-order it from Make Do And Mend Records in the UK, and Valiant Death in the US. The tracks on it will be Waking Up / Falling Leaves / Love Is The Stick You Throw / Don't Stop
Pocketbooks - Don't Stop mp3 (left click)
I love this song already! Those genderblender harmonies, those witty lyrics! It's typical of Pocketbooks and they're sounding tighter and more assured than ever before. I hear this is true of their live performances too, so if you fancy going to see them, upcoming gigs are:
Saturday 23 February - Betsey Trotwood, London (Atomic Beat Records/Spiral Scratch) with The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
Wednesday 12 March - Buffalo Bar, London (Goonite Club) – with The School
Saturday 22 March - Islington Academy Bar (Feeling Gloomy)
The rest of the EP can be streamed on last.fm and you can find out more about Pocketbooks and where to buy their music at their website. Go! Go! Go!
Friday, 15 February 2008
Yesterday we had Pale Saints version of Kinky Love and today brings Nancy Sinatra's original, which I love just as much, even though listening to it makes me feel filthy! It was banned from some radio stations in the 70s for 'suggestive' lyrics.
Nancy Sinatra - Kinky Love mp3 (available for 7 days)
And our second helping of kinkiness comes from 1964, courtesy of The Avengers, Honor Blackman and Patrick Macnee. It wasn't a hit in the British charts until 1990. Possibly it took everyone that long to get over the trauma of hearing Macnee enthusing over "sexy little schoolgirls". The song was written by Herbert Kretzmer - the same chap who wrote Goodness Gracious Me for Peter Sellers and Sofia Loren and She for Charles Aznavour - to accompany a short film about fashions of the time, and was commissioned by legendary name-dropper (and a dear, dear friend) Ned Sherrin. Apparently, Patrick Macnee was incredibly nervous about recording the single and got pissed before going into the studio, so a sound engineer had to nudge him everytime it was his line.
Honor Blackman had this to say about Kinky Boots:
"I don't look back on it as my best work or anything. It was just a lark and that is the spirit in which it should be accepted."
Honor Blackman & Patrick Macnee - Kinky Boots mp3 (available for 7 days)
Buy Nancy Sinatra music and The Avengers DVDs from here.
I can't wait to see the google searches which bring people to this entry!
Thursday, 14 February 2008
Eardrums also have a track from the Photo EP, Emily, available for free download - which is handy as the EP itself has now sold out!
Now apparently it's Valentine's Day today (something I genuinely hadn't even realised until reading it on another blog a few minutes ago), so, as a sop to the soppy, here are a couple of classic lurve songs!
10,000 Maniacs - I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You mp3
Pale Saints - Kinky Love mp3
(mp3s available for 7 days)
Buy 10,000 Maniacs and Pale Saints stuff here.
Buy WeePOP! releases here.
Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Andreas Dorau und die Marinas - Fred Vom Jupiter mp3 (available for 7 days)
I've tried to find out a bit about Andreas Dorau, but since most of it is in German and I'm reliant on dodgy automatic translators, I'm not sure how much to believe of what I read. Still, I'll pass it on because it's amusing even if it's not true!
He seems to have had a hit with Fred Vom Jupiter when he was 15, under the name Die Dorau und die Marinas. On the same album as that was Einkauf. My blogging colleague, kippers, tells me it's sort of about shopping. All I know is that every time I listen to it, I'm humming it non-stop for about a week.
Andreas Dorau und die Marinas - Einkauf mp3 (available for 7 days)
This next bit comes directly from a translation of the German wikipedia entry about Andreas Dorau:
He studied at the Academy for Television and Film, Munich (thesis: blow your animal), wrote film music (including manta - the film) and worked as a freelance video consultant (including Mousse T., Xavier Naidoo, Söhne Mannheims).
1982, he joined with Albert Oehlen than evergreens of psychological terror, "everything annoying, concentrated together."
"Blow your animal"?! "Evergreens of psychological terror"? How I want it all to be true! Anyway, Andreas Dorau's website can be found here, and may be helpful to you if you can read German. If you can't, I recommend you head over to last.fm, where you can listen to more music. Or pehaps toddle off to youtube where there are many Dorau videos to be seen.
You can buy Andreas Dorau albums from Atatak.
Now here is Andreas Dorau with Girls In Love from around 1997.
Monday, 11 February 2008
While the songs are very enjoyable, the band lose a few brownie points for this hilariously pretentious "About" piece from their MySpace page:
"The performance of elenette plays upon the distinction between the anatomy of the performer and the gender that is being performed. But we are actually in the presence of three contingent dimensions of significant corporeality: anatomical sex, gender identity,and gender performance. If the anatomy of the performer is already distinct from the gender of the performer, and both of those are distinct from the gender of the performance, then the performance suggests a dissonance not only between sex and performance, but sex and gender, and gender and performance. As much as elenette creates a unified picture of 'man' (what its critics often oppose), it also reveals the distinctness of those aspects of gendered experience which are falsely naturalized as a unity through the regulatory fiction of heterosexual coherence. In imitating gender, elenette implicitly reveals the imitative structure of gender itself [...]."
Wake up! Wake up! Here are the songs!
Elenette - Kaerlekscomplexet mp3 (right click and Save Target As)
Elenette - Jag Hatar Män mp3 (right click and Save Target As)
Visit Elenette on MySpace
Saturday, 9 February 2008
I was a bit nervous beforehand about the prospect of a spin-off from the excellent BBC drama Life on Mars, but, having now seen the first episode of said spin-off, Ashes To Ashes, all I can say is - blimey, that was good!
In fact, Ashes To Ashes' debut was so impressive that I think it could well turn out to be even better than the series that spawned it. For one thing, it still has the excellent Philip Glenister as D.C.I. Gene Hunt, along with comedy sidekick Chris (and not so comic sidekick Ray); for another, its new female star Keeley Hawes, as D.I. Alex Drake, may well prove to be a(n even) better lead than John Simms's Sam Tyler. Her instantaneous onscreen chemistry with Glenister certainly augurs well for the future, anyway; and there definitely seems a lot more comic potential with Drake sparking off Hunt than ever there was with the often over-earnest Tyler. (In this first episode I especially enjoyed the way she kept making quotation marks with her fingers whenever namechecking the supposedly imaginary "Gene".)
Another thing I like about this series is that I recognise a lot more of the (based-in-1981) Ashes To Ashes music than I ever did during its 1973-set predecessor. Which brings me to today's Three of a kind - all songs from the year 1981, although not necessarily (in fact probably not) featured in the series. All great songs, mind!
Sugar Minott - Good Thing Going (We've Got A Good Thing Going) mp3
The Clash - The Magnificent Seven mp3
ABC - Tears Are Not Enough mp3
(mp3s available for 7 days)
Buy music by today's featured artists, and various Life on Mars-related paraphernalia here.
Friday, 8 February 2008
(Lack Of) Love Will Tear Us Apart, featuring guest vocals from Hanna Goranson from Cat5, stormed into my affections last year with its insistent bassline and dreamy vocals. (Right click and save as)
The Honeydrips - (Lack Of) Love Will Tear Us Apart mp3
Now I Wouldn't Know What To Do has usurped it with twee loveliness! A simple, beautiful sentiment with melody and instrumentation to match.
The Honeydrips - I Wouldn't Know What To Do mp3
Both songs were released as singles and also feature on The Honeydrips' album, Here Comes The Future, which can be purchased on CD from Sincerely Yours or as a download from Klicktrack (a mere £4.40 for the album in mp3 form!).
Find out more from the official website or listen on The Honeydrips myspace page.
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Firstly The Vaselines make judicious use of a squeezy horn on lo-fi, jangle pop wonder Molly's Lips, which was apparently written about Scottish actress Molly Weir (who was in the legendary Rhentaghost).
The Vaselines - Molly's Lips mp3 (available for 7 days)
KateGoes take a novel approach to gigs. Each performance has a theme (ie. Kate Goes...Swimming, Kate Goes... And Gets Pregnant) which the band dress up for. They also had the novel idea of using what sounds like a dog's squeaky toy in a sweet love song. Marvellous!
Kate Goes - Heartbeat mp3 (available for 7 days)
Finally a series of well-timed parps and some wobbly synthesizer in the instrumental Florida Fantasy from John Barry's soundtrack of Midnight Cowboy. And to think everybody just remembers the moody harmonica from that film!
John Barry - Florida Fantasy mp3 (available for 7 days)
There are far more instruments out there than guitars - it's nice to hear people making use of them. I'm just off to dig out my ancient keyboard and utilise some of the 79 ridiculous sounds!
Sunday, 3 February 2008
Details of a release date haven't been forthcoming as of yet, but hopefully this should be confirmed soon, either on the Friendly Noise website or on Action Biker's MySpace page - or both!
Sarah also recently contributed a song to the latest release in the Promenade Food Compilation series, which also features tracks from the likes of Jens Lekman and Blood Music. The Action Biker contribution is an inspired collaboration with fellow Swede Roger Gunnarsson AKA Nixon. Ever wondered what a twee synth pop version of Hall & Oates' 80s favourite Maneater with boy/girl vocals would sound like? Of course you haven't, but here's your chance to find out!
Nixon and Action Biker - Maneater mp3 (available for 7 days)
*There'll be no chewing on this blog!
Buy the Promenade Food Compilation Vols 1-3 direct from the bloke who put it together.
Day For Night by Sarah's other project, The Dreamers, is available from the Friendly Noise mp3 shop.
Friday, 1 February 2008
Taken By Trees - Lost And Found mp3 (available for 7 days)
And here's another song whose writer I could be forgiven for not guessing. The best-known version is by Herman's Hermits, but I'm partial to this folkish version by Phranc.
Phranc - Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter mp3 (available for 7 days)
Now, who was it written by? It was noted British actor Trevor Peacock, best known these days for his role as Jim 'No no no no no no yes' Trott in The Vicar of Dibley. Blimey!
While researching this post I stumbled across the guitar (or ukulele) chords for Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter and found they were within my very limited guitar skills. I knew there was some upside to this blogging lark!
Open Field is available to buy from Rough Trade here and you can view and buy Phranc's back catalogue from HRmusic here.