Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A right royal affair

Two very different versions of the same song today. The guitar-driven, building-to-a-crescendo indie powerpop epic Hey Princess was the debut single by legendary Swedish four-piece Popsicle, in 1992; twelve years later fellow Swede Johan Bergqvist reinterpreted the song as a much slower, piano-led number. The original is still the greatest, for me, but I do like the cut of the man Bergqvist's musical jib also. See what you think, me hearties!

(^ A Princess. Geddit?)

Popsicle - Hey Princess mp3

Johan Bergqvist - Hey Princess mp3

Buy Popsicle/Johan Bergqvist stuff at Hot Stuff Mailorder.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Kissing With Confidence

Just why are there so many great Swedish bands out there? It's a question that's troubled musicologists for decades. Or perhaps it hasn't. But still, it's an incontrovertible fact that there are quite literally oodles of ridiculously talented types hailing from that particular part of Scandanavia.

Take the relatively obscure Kissing Mirrors, for instance. Now, it's quite possible that I'd never even have got around to listening to this band had it not been for the fact that Kissing Mirrors is one of the many projects who blog favourite Sarah Nyberg Pergament AKA Action Biker has contributed to over the past few years. And guess what? They are ineffably poptastically marvellous! Just have a squizz at these two videos of the band playing at last year's Rip It Up festival in Sweden. They're pretty much guaranteed to get you swinging your pants in a Trevor & Simon Singing Corner stylee from the start:

Kissing Mirrors - Let's Kill Cupid

Kissing Mirrors (featuring Sarah Action Biker & Mikael from The Honeydrips) - Whims & Fancies

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: Kissing Mirrors also have a song called XXXX Me Like A Millionaire - although quite what Castlemaine lager has to do with all this, I don't know.

You can order the Let's Kill Cupid 7" from the Snow Day Records website.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Three of a Kind #51

With August almost upon us we've reached that time of year when a young man's (or indeed woman's) thoughts start turning to the serious business of fantasy football. Anyone else up for a game? If so, please feel free to join us for the third annual Fantasy Premier League Group of Death, a competition that, with 43 entrants last year, is at least twice as difficult to win as the actual Premier League itself.

Anyway, if you fancy entering a team simply register here and then, once you've selected your squad of 15 players, click on "Manage leagues" and then under the "Join a private league" tab simply enter the following code: 120266-80540 and voila! Your team will now be enrolled in the Group of Death. Good luck!

ABBA - The Name of The Game mp3

Sound Stage Orchestra - The Big Match mp3

Heaven 17 - Play To Win mp3

(mp3s available for 7 days)

Buy music.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Sven will I see you again

One of the most important things to remember when running an mp3 blog is to never take yourself too seriously. (we're only writing about daft old pop music, after all.) Which is why I like to throw in songs like this from time to time:

Ahhhh, M.C. Miker G & Deejay Sven and their ring-rang-a-dong-ing for a hol-e-day. Truly, they don't make them like that anymore. It's just a shame that this tip-top Dutch duo blew their chances of supporting The Smiths on the Meat Is Murder tour when they turned up for a meeting with Morrissey wearing those leather trousers.*

But what style! How could anyone (other than that notorious sourpuss Stephen Patrick) fail to be impressed by Miker G's trendy 'tache, or DJ Sven's winning combination of Deputy Dawg hat, Superted cardy and those aforementioned raunchy leather keks?

The following pair of American fans certainly were (impressed, I mean), as they've gone and filmed their own mimed tribute to these devastating Dutch masters who bestrode the worldwide charts like a pair of rapping colossuses (colossi?) in that barmy balmy summer of '86:

I know, I know, it's enough to bring a tear to your eye!

M.C. Miker G & Deejay Sven - Holiday Rap mp3 (for 7 days)

*If that "fact" ever turns up on Wikipedia, I never dunnit!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Hit me baby one more time

I was going to describe today's featured track as the perfect three-minute pop song. But it's only two minutes twenty-five.

The Wannadies - Hit mp3

The Wannadies have at least twenty other songs as good as that in their canon, by the way, so get buying!

By the by, you've had a lucky escape today, because if Greg Norman had won the Open I was going to foist Fred Wedlock's The Oldest Swinger In Town on you! As it was, I was thrilled - not to say relieved - to see Padraig Harrington (officially the nicest man in sport) successfully defend his title.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Three of a Kind #50

I found a great video in a charity shop the other day: Dance Craze: The Best of British Ska... Live! And what a find, featuring as it does a plethora of typically energetic performances from the six main bands of that scene - The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter, Bad Manners and The Bodysnatchers - cleverly interspersed with old Pathe newsreel footage of more staid "dance crazes" from years gone by. So there's a clever compare-and-contrast/juxtaposition type thingy going on.

How great it must've been to have been a teenager in the mid-to-late seventies, anyway, with punk and 2-Tone coming along in the space of what, three years? My older brother would have been about 12 when punk broke so he copped the lot, the jammy git. (I got some benefit, though, by having access to his great record collection from an early age - when he'd let me!)

But watching this video I have to say the whole ska scene looked like a lot more fun than its punk predecessor. Far less gobbing 'n' snarling and much more dancing 'n' larking. Dance Craze even got a cinematic release, in 1981, but sadly by the time it was completed 2-Tone was on the wane and thus the film lasted barely a week before closing in most cinemas.

Anyway, for a far more interesting and well-informed article on Dance Craze, check out this excellent piece at the 2-Tone website. There's a full track listing too.

Talking of which, what's your favourite British ska track? Here're a few of mine.

The Selecter - Three Minute Hero mp3

Madness - Swan Lake (Live) mp3

The Specials - Rat Race mp3

(mp3s available for a week)

Buy music.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

On Shaky ground

Bugger - there I was about to enthuse about "new" Swedish synth-pop duo Cloetta Paris, when a cursory Google search revealed that they've been around for over a year and have been written about by at least a squillion blogs by now. Ah well. I'll press on regardless, as I really like what I've heard of them so far; including the following rather spiffing cover versions of a pair of hoary old 80s chestnuts: John Parr's St Elmo's Fire and Sir Shakin' of Stevens's Cry Just A Little Bit.

(You may remember a while back I posted an electro-twee cover of Hall & Oates's Maneater by Action Biker and Nixon. If you liked that, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll enjoy these as well as Roger from Nixon is also one half of this project.)

Cloetta Paris - Cry Just A Little Bit mp3 (right click)

Cloetta Paris - St Elmo's Fire mp3 (left click)

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: Shaky was the top-selling male UK singles artist of the eighties.

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: Like all the best rock stars, John Parr hails from Doncaster.

Visit Cloetta Paris' MySpace page for more tracks and info on how to get hold of their album of (mostly) original compositions, Secret Eyes.

Cry Just A Little Bit was recorded as part of the Buffet Libre 80s Covers Project; there are oodles of other contemporary versions of eighties classics available for free download from their website.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

French Disco

80s francophone dancefloor classic with an equally groovy accompanying video, anyone? You know it makes sense!

Lio - Sage (Comme une Image) mp3 (for 7 days)

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: A huge pop icon in French-speaking Europe during the eighties, Lio is now a judge on Nouvelle Star, the French version of Pop Idol. But don't let that put you off.

Buy Lio CDs and downloads here.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

"The day England declared war on Australia"

Anyone else remember the fantastic eighties mini-series Bodyline? It was about the England cricket team's controversial 1932-33 Ashes tour of Australia, where, frustrated by his team's inability to take the sublime Donald Bradman's wicket by fair means, English captain Douglas Jardine (brilliantly portrayed here by Hugo Weaving) resorted to the foul; ordering his bowlers (Harold Larwood et al) to bowl at the opposition batsmen's bodies rather than at the stumps. Such underhand tactics understandably went down like a rendition of God Save The Queen at an anti-monarchists meeting amongst the Australian public, to whom the young Bradman was already a national hero.

Honestly, it was such a memorable series (the TV one, I mean, although I'm sure the actual cricket series itself was good also). I first saw it when I was at school and it left a big impression on me - and now all these years later I've finally managed to pick it up on DVD (albeit from Oz; something this anti-English would never be released in Blighty!).

I've watched the first couple episodes so far, anyway, and two decades on it's still brilliant viewing. Anyone with an interest in the history of cricket and/or how the British Empire was perceived overseas really could do a lot worse than stumping up the £11 or so for it from here.

There are some great, unintentionally funny things about Bodyline as well, by the way. For instance, some of the "English" accents are truly atrocious. The kid who played the 9-year-old Jardine in a couple of scenes early on, for instance, couldn't have sounded less English/more Australian if he'd tried. Also, the various scenes supposedly set in England were all clearly shot in Oz as the weather looks absolutely boiling and we just don't get skies that blue or sunshine that bright here in the UK!

Oh yeah, and thanks to this sodding advert I keep singing "Whoa Bodyline, Bodylined for yooooou!" to meself during idle moments (of which there are many in my life). Really, it's just not cricket.

The Go-Betweens - I Just Get Caught Out mp3 (for 7 days)

Buy music.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Spike and me have been playing frisbee in the park a lot this week. So, in the circumstances, there's only really one song I can feature here in order to commemorate such a momentous occasion (let's pretend for a second that it's both momentous and needs commemorating) - British Summertime by The Boyfriends (which mentions frisbee throwing in the park). It really is dead good (the song, as well as the pastime).

The Boyfriends - British Summer Time mp3 (available for 7 days)

Buy The Boyfriends' eponymous album here.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Three of a Kind #49

Taking their name from a prohibition-era gangster crony of Al Capone's, and active around the turn of the Millennium, Welsh indie popsters Murry The Hump were one of those bands whose critical acclaim - Peel sessions, an NME Single of the Week (Thrown Like A Stone), support from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Xfm and Alex James - just never translated into sales. A real shame, as they were capable of writing some truly great songs. Like these.

Murry The Hump - Colouring Book mp3

Murry The Hump - Thrown Like A Stone mp3

Murry The Hump - New Deal mp3

(mp3s available for a week)

Buy Murry The Hump stuff.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

The Odd Couple

Fresh from her wondrous collaboration with fellow Swedes The Sweptaways last Christmas, blog favourite Marit Bergman's been at it again, this time teaming up with Titiyo (Cherry - half sister of Neneh) on the equally fab new single 300 Slow Days In A Row, a salutary tale of a relationship that's long since lost its spark. The video's an absolute hoot, by the way, with our girls playing out the roles of the disaffected couple and finding themselves embroiled in an increasingly petty campaign of sabotage and abuse of each other's possessions. Have a gander!

Marit Bergman featuring Titiyo - 300 Slow Days In A Row

300 Slow Days In A Row can be purchased as an mp3 from maritbergman.net.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Gringo Stars

Derbyshire five-piece Mexican Kids At Home currently have a rather splendid 4-track EP, When We All Live In Igloos, out on WeePOP! records, and it's full to bursting with folky pop goodness. Some always-welcome boy-girl vocals, too. A couple of things do bother me, however:

1) I'm beginning to suspect that, what with them being from the East Midlands and all, they may not be Mexican at all. A suspicion that's further strengthened by:

2) Not only do they (with the title of their EP) prophesize that we'll all end up living in dome-shaped structures fashioned from blocks of snow, on their MySpace page they actually claim to live in igloos already! Surely this just isn't feasible in a place like Derbyshire; or Mexico, for that matter. No, something's not quite right here. Readers, I think that - gasp! - Mexican Kids At Home have been lying to us.

I know, I'm as sickened by the whole shoddy affair as the rest of you. How do they sleep at night?! Really, the sooner they 'fess up and change their name to something more realistic like English Kids Possibly At Home But Definitely Not In An Igloo, the better I'll like it.

Mexican Kids At Home - A Tiny Bronco mp3 (for 7 days)

Buy we We All Live In Igloos* at the WeePOP! shop.

*it's a limited release of 160 copies, so you'll have to put your order in a bit sharpish to get one.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

"All this sunshine's making me dizzy"

I've been largely absent from the internet recently, mostly due to the fact that I've been slacking around in the sunshine. This morning, on the hottest day for ages, I'm stuck inside waiting for a poxy engineer to come and make sure a piece of equipment still works as it should do. I have nothing against the engineer personally, it's just these ruddy huge timeslots which they refuse to narrow down and then turn up outside the vaguely outlined time of day anyway.

Anyway, here are three songs in keeping with the current weather conditions outside my window.

The Lucksmiths - T-Shirt Weather mp3 (available for 7 days)

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - (Love Is Like A) Heatwave mp3 (available for 7 days)

Mildred Bailey and the Casa Lama Orchestra - Heat Wave mp3 (available for 7 days)