Saturday, 30 August 2008

Nice Puppies

It's all go on the Hot Puppies front at the moment. Not only do the Aberystwyth five-piece have a new album, Blue Hands, coming out in late September, but band members Bec & Beth have also recorded an EP of acoustic songs, Where We're From The Birds Sing A Pretty Song, which is available to buy on 7" and as a download (from the iTunes Store) even as we I speak type.

As well as one original composition, French Song, the EP contains three covers: Burt Bacharach's Anyone Who Had A Heart, The Inkspots' I'm Making Believe and The Smiths' Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me. A couple of these fine songs (the first two) can be streamed on the girls' MySpace page.

This is all terribly exciting for yours truly, by the way, as The Hot Puppies are quite possibly my favourite contemporary British band. Here they are in full effect performing The Word On The Street as part of a Liveroom.TV session (the rest of which can be accessed if you click on the linky thing below it).

Click here to WATCH THE FULL GIG

And remember, remember, the 29th of September: it's when Blue Hands hits the streets!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Three of a Kind #54

It's not often we receive requests on this blog (in fact it happens with about the same sort of frequency as Derby County winning games of football), so it's ta muchly to Davy for requesting a post on Rock 'N' Roller Disco, a poptabulous 1979 Ronco compilation LP I bought in a charity shop the other week.

And what an album it is! Just feast yer mince pies on this lot!

Side One:

1. Ooh What a Life – Gibson Brothers
2. Girls, Girls, Girls – Kandidate
3. Loves Gotta Hold On Me – Dollar
4. Reggae For It Now – Bill Lovelady
5. Money – Flying Lizards
6. Back of My Hand – The Jags
7. Halfway Hotel – Voyager
8. Boogie Down – The Real Thing
9. Ain’t No Sunshine – Jimmy Lindsay
10. Amadeus Theme – Jasmin

Side Two:

1. Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles
2. Bang Bang – B.A Robertson
3. I Don’t Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats
4. Beat the Clock – Sparks
5. Conscious Man – The Jolly Brothers
6. Always & Forever – Heatwave
7. Who Were You With in the Moonlight – Dollar
8. Babylon’s Burning – The Ruts
9. Death Disco – Public Image
10. Lay Your Love On Me - Racey

Eclectic, no? I love the way it veers straight from the cheesy pop of Dollar to the punk of The Ruts and P.I.L. and then back to pure fromage with Racey, all in one fell swoop, like its been sequenced by a roomful of chimps taking time out from their busy schedule typing out the complete works of Shakespeare in order to earn a few extra bananas cobbling together some kind of insane prototype random iTunes playlist. Or something.

I also love Dollar's comical attempt at Americanizing the title of their song on side one: Love's Gotta Hold On My Heart. Er... so that would be love's got to hold on my heart, then, would it?! I don't think van Day and Bazar really thought that one through you know, readers.

Also, note the puntastic connotations of the splendidly-named Bill Lovelady's Reggae For It Now. "She's reggae for it now". Geddit? The annoying thing is that I actually really like this song, despite the naff innuendo of the title. (curse my ridiculously high tat threshold.)

Oh, and what's this in small print on the album's back sleeve? To ensure the highest quality reproduction, the running times of some of the titles as originally released have been changed. Boo! That's kind of the 70s equivalent of those cheapo oldies compilation CDs you see nowadays which have that caveat along the lines of: Some of the songs on this album may be re-recordings featuring original members of the drummer's family. That sort of thing. Bad show!

Anyway, which songs to choose for today's Three of a Kind? Ooh... these I think.

Bill Lovelady - Reggae For It Now mp3

B.A. Robertson - Bang Bang mp3

Racey - Lay Your Love On Me mp3

I will never, ever tire of watching the following clip of Racey performing the aforementioned track, by the way. It's like punk never happened!

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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Now that's what I call music

I've already blogged about today's featured track once before (albeit in the dim and distant), but I love the song so much that I'm going to use the flimsy pretext of some kind soul having recently posted a YouTube clip of the band performing it on Top of the Pops as an excuse to feature it again. The song in question is Tossing & Turning by Windjammer, it was a fair-sized hit in the UK in 1984, and, if you've never heard it before, it's absolutely blooming marvellous. Enjoy.

(John Peel and Richard Skinner were presenting that week, by the way. I wonder if it made that year's Festive 50?!)

Windjammer - Tossing & Turning mp3 (for 7 days)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Definitely made for these times

While the Suburban Kids continue to drag their heels getting their album finished to any kind of schedule, there's been no such tardiness from fellow Swede Annika Norlin: Hello Saferide's second album was mooted for release this autumn, and that's exactly what's going to happen. The Andreas Mattsson-produced More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide will be hitting the shops, as they say, on September 24th. And here, rather thrillingly, is the first single from it, Anna.

Hello Saferide - Anna mp3 (available for 7 days)

You can pre-order More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide here. The first 200 copies have been signed by Annika herself, so best not hang about!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Kids' stuff

It seems like forever since sublime electro-twee types Suburban Kids With Biblical Names released the fantastic #3 album - although it was actually "only" 2005. But still, three years is a long time in pop. An awful long time. I'd been checking their MySpace page in vain for possible info of a new release for what seemed like aeons; and finally, tonight, some good news! A brand new SKWBN song, God Save Roger Nichols, is up for the world and his wife to hear. Give it a listen here.

Alas it seems that this track is a one-off for the time being, and isn't a preview for a new studio album (the release date of which seems to get pushed back further and further - Spring '09 is the latest estimate). Instead it'll be appearing on the OIB Split Series Volume 2 seven-inch, which is due for release sometime in October, and which you'll be able to order from the OIB Store when the time comes, I shouldn't wonder.

By the way, if you've no idea who this Roger Nichols chappie that ver Kids sing about is, he's a recording engineer who pioneered the technique of "digital drum replacement" by inventing the Wendel sampling computer, in 1978, a technology which is now commonplace in music production around the world. I didn't actually know any of that until consulting my good friend Mr W. K. Pedia, by the way, just in case anyone thought I had a clue what I was talking about there. (like that's ever going to happen.)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Three of a Kind #53

There were many, many songs I could have chosen for today's colour-themed Three of a Kind: Blue Savannah By Erasure, Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden, Natalie Cole's Pink Cadillac... something by Aqua or Blue; or perhaps Keith Harris and Orville's poignant take on the Irving Berlin classic White Christmas. Then there's always Aaliyah's Beige Ain't Nothing But A Number, Lionel Richie's Yellow (Is It Me You're Looking For?) and Reel 2 Real's I Like To Mauve It, to name but several. But in the end I decided to go for some tracks that don't make me want to slash my wrists whenever I hear them.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Grey Cell Green mp3
(Ingredients EP version)

Senile City - Indigo mp3
(quality Swedish melancholy pop from the 90s - not to be missed!)

Madness - Grey Day mp3

(mp3s available for a week)

Which songs would top your colour chart?

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Saturday, 16 August 2008

Whisper to ice cream

Some facts about Let's Whisper: They are: multi-instrumentalist and singer Dana Kaplan, slightly fewer instruments and vocals Colin Clary, bassist Steve Williams and drummer Jason Routhier. Colin and Dana are also in a band called The Smittens. They live in Burlington, Vermont. In the United States. Their pop is of the twee - and Wee - variety; they currently have a six-track CD, the Make Me Smile EP, out on WeePOP! records. I like it very much, and I think you will too. Here're a couple of my favourite tracks.

Let's Whisper - Dylan's Song mp3 (for 7 days)

Let's Whisper - When You Were Eating Ice Cream mp3 (for 7 days)

Make Me Smile is available in a strictly limited edition release of 160 copies, so if you want one you'll have to nip over to the WeePOP! shop and get your order in a bit sharpish!

Thursday, 14 August 2008


You know how Steve McClaren used to come across as a bit of a buffoon when he was mismanaging the England team? Well, he's taken his unique brand of doltishness to new heights now; and a new location: the Netherlands, where he's taken up the post of head coach at Eredivisie outfit FC Twente. But - listen closely, here comes the doltish bit! - he's actually started giving interviews to Dutch TV stations in English but with a comedy Dutch accent! Check it out - it is bloody hilarious! (if Allo Allo had been set in the Netherlands, this is what it would have sounded like.)

Steve Malcolm McLaren - Double Dutch mp3 (for 7 days)

Aimee Mann - Stupid Thing mp3 (for 7 days)

With only 48 hours to go before the start of the new Premier League season, there's never been a better time to sign up for the Too Much Apple Pie fantasy football league. To enter, simply register (for free) here and then, once you've selected your squad of 15 players, click on "Manage leagues" and under the "Join a private league" tab enter the following code: 867222-80540 and voila! Your team will be enrolled in our "Group of Death". So simple, even Steve McClaren could manage it!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Three of a Kind #52

They're Swedish! They're called Salut!machaut! They sound like a cross between I'm From Barcelona and Billie The Vision and the Dancers! They're making me use far too many exclamation marks! Arrrgghh!!!!

salut!machaut - The Fastest Boy In School mp3

salut!machaut - Saints and Prophets mp3

salut!machaut - Tom and Joanna mp3

(right click links to download)

salut!machaut's MySpace page

Monday, 11 August 2008

Premium rate pop!

I was watching a load of random cheesy pop classics from the 70s on YouTube the other night, as you do, when I stumbled upon the following clip, which is quite possibly the campest thing I've ever seen in my life. The year is 1976 (no, not now!), the group Belgian disco-pop combo Trinity, and the song 002-345-709 (That's My Number); and it's completely, bonkers-ly brilliant!

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact(s): 002-345-709 reached #8 in the Dutch hit parade and #2 in Belgium, and the above clip is taken from the Dutch chart show TOPPOP. Fancy!

Trinity - 002-345-709 mp3

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Such great Heights

I've been watching a lot of Chris Lilley's satirical Australian high school mockumentary series Summer Heights High on BBC Three lately, and have really been enjoying it - if enjoying's the right word! The humour's all just so unremittingly cruel. But then, I suppose the whole secondary school experience can be like that for a lot of people, so it's probably quite an accurate depiction we're getting here.

The main characters, if you've not seen it, are posho Year 11 (I think that's about 5th year comprehensive in old money) exchange student and all-round popular girl Ja'mie King, drama teacher Greg "Mr G" Gregson and disruptive Year 8 breakdance fanatic Jonah Takalua. All three characters are played by the brilliant Lilley.

(Jonah and his crew)

Ja'mie and Mr G are both really horrible people: rude, bumptious and thoroughly narcissistic. Think of the most obnoxious Big Brother contestants and you'd be in the right sort of area. Meanwhile the troublesome Jonah - who's superficially the "baddest" of the lot - is comfortably the most sympathetic of the three protagonists. OK, so he may swear like a trooper, pick on the younger kids, cover the whole school with his *dick*tation graffiti tag and take the piss out of all his teachers, but somewhere deep down there's a decent human being there, I think. He just has a lot - and I mean a lot! - of growing up to do.

We get glimpses of Jonah's softer side in his classes with remedial English teacher Jan Palmer, who he likes and respects (despite the fact that he's often almost as rude to her as to all the other adults he encounters!) and who clearly has a lot of time for him as well. Theirs is a really sweet relationship, and serves as a much-needed counterpoint to the bitchiness and rancour elsewhere in the programme.

I've probably banged on about this for long enough here, but if you haven't caught Summer Heights High yet and fancy investigating it further, there are loads of clips of the show available to watch on YouTube.

And, what do you know, writing about this programme has provided me with the perfect excuse to feature the following indiepop classic from Swedish maestros Brainpool. (I love it when a plan comes together.)

Brainpool - At School mp3 (for 7 days)

Buy the Summer Heights High DVD

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1985

A real dancefloor classic today, with Ready For The World's eighties Billboard #1 smash Oh Sheila. Heavily influenced by Prince this band may have been, but really, what a top tune! A truly great song in its own right - which makes me wonder why the hell it stalled at a lowly 50 in the UK charts. Not even this performance at the 1986 Montreux Festival could help them crack the Gallup 40:

(with apologies for the Mike "Smitty" Smith intro)

That clip raises a few important questions for me, actually. Namely:

1) Who's the confused-looking woman with the bow tie standing next to Smith? Presumably she was some kind of co-presenter for the BBC, but I can't place her at all.

2) Whatever happened to the Montreux (pop) Festival anyway? It was a regular feature of the TV schedules every year for a while in the mid-to-late eighties, but then it just seemed to disappear without trace. Was this merely a BBC decision to axe it from UK screens, while it continued (or continues, even, for all I know) to be shown in the rest of Europe for years afterwards; or was the plug pulled on the entire festival at the same time we stopped getting it here in GB?

3) Does anyone actually care about any of this stuff apart from me? Thought not.

Ah well...

*adopts crappy 1980s Radio 1 DJ-style voice*

I hope you're all


...Ready For The World!


Ready For The World - Oh Sheila mp3 (for 7 days)

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Sunday, 3 August 2008

Digging their Scene

Long before professional smartarse Jose Mourinho appropriated the phrase for himself, New Yorker Kurt Ralske AKA Ultra Vivid Scene had given the world a truly special Special One - ie this three minutes seventeen of alt-pop perfection. It even features indie Pixie Kim Deal on co-vocals (and, in the video, random acts of violence towards the hapless Ralske). What more could you ask for?!

Ultra Vivid Scene - Special One mp3 (for 7 days)

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