Monday, 29 December 2008

Ripley, believe it or not

I don't know all that much about Ripley, to be perfectly honest, other than the fact that they hailed from Colchester in Essex and were active in 1998 when they released a rather good single entitled Get Out, which we're featuring today. Oh, and they took their name from Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien films. Probably.

Anyway, here is the single in question, which sounds not unlike The Popguns on a good day (which was most days, to be fair), and is all about escaping the confines of small town life. Or something. It's magic anyway, and deserved far better than the twelve or so copies it ended up shifting. (This song is so good that I actually ended up owning two copies of it - one on CD, the other on vinyl. Not quite sure how this happened, although I suspect a bargain bin would have come into play at some point.)

Ripley - Get Out mp3

Sunday, 28 December 2008

I love rock 'n' parole

More songs about short-lived but enduringly popular former top dogs in long-running Australian TV dramas based in the violent arena of a women's prison, that's what this blog needs!

Action Biker - Sandy Edwards mp3

Get Prisoner Cell Block H on DVD

Monday, 22 December 2008

More daft punk

Reconstruction of a Christmassy punk, using actorsThey tell me we're now just a few days away from some widely-celebrated winter festival. And to get us in the mood for enjoying such an occasion, the good people at Plastic Punk Records have made a punk rock advent calendar which reveals a punk version of a Christmas song each day up until the 25th of December. Woo and, indeed, hoo!

These follow the carol-singing principles of small children everywhere: the point is not to sing the songs as sweetly and tunefully as possible, but rather to bellow every last word louder than the person standing next to you! In my eyes that makes them all the more joyful and the whole thing fills me with cheer and goodwill towards my fellow man.

OI! Merry Christmas, you 'orrible little lot!

Punk rock 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem' mp3 (available for 7 days)

Punk rock 'Santa Baby' mp3 (available for 7 days)

Punk rock 'O Come All Ye Faithful' mp3 (available for 7 days)

Find the Punk rock advent calendar here (I particularly recommend the version of Silver Bells behind the 20th door)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Sugarhill Gang - The Lover In You

In which the erstwhile Rappers Delight hitmakers seem to have forgotten the whole pioneering-hip-hop thing a few years earlier when returning with this slice of none-more-eighties soul - with a smidgen of cheesy rap thrown in almost as an afterthought. Dead good though.

Sugarhill Gang - The Lover In You mp3

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Peter te Bos - Christmas Lullaby

I really ought to have posted this track the other day as part of the Zo, dit is Kerstmis entry, as it's terrific. Still, better late than never I s'pose. (Nice theremin work, too.)

Peter te Bos - Christmas Lullaby mp3

Thursday, 18 December 2008

My legendary Girlfrendo

I own but two Girlfrendo singles - Heartbreakers and Air - but they're both dead good. From 1997, Heartbreakers calls to mind a more Swedish, more twee, equally shouty version of Shampoo. Only with bags more charm.

Singer Josephine Olausson now sings with indie rockers Love Is All, by the way. I'm not so keen on them, mind.

Girlfrendo - Heartbreakers mp3

Buy Girlfrendo stuff

Sing along with the common people

I don't suppose Love Of The Common People will've appeared on all that many seasonal compilation albums over the years, but I always think of it as a Christmas song, for a few reasons. Namely:

1) It was, crucially, a hit at Christmas time - at least Paul Young's version was, in 1983. (I hadn't even realised his was a cover, actually, until looking it up earlier tonight; the Everly Brothers and Waylon Jennings had apparently both recorded versions many years previously.)

2) There are a few mentions of snow in the lyrics and some sleigh bell noises during the chorus. Fancy!

3) It has a Christmassy promo video, featuring Jeanette "Queenie" Charles and a superb sequence towards the end which sees Glynn "Dave from Minder" Edwards cutting a rug on the dancefloor (or at least in the front room). Gawd knows what the regulars in the Winchester would say if they ever clapped their minces on this!

Whatever happened to the Fabulously Wealthy Tarts anyway?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Three of a Kind #68

I know what you're thinking: if only there were some way I could get hold of a bit of Christmas-themed music on the blogosphere; like, say, three rather tuneful cuts from the 1998 Dutch yuletide compilation Zo, Dit is Kerstmis. If only.

Ho, ho, ho.

Daryll-Ann - Happy Xmas (War Is Over) mp3

Solex - Santa Monica (Kissing A Man With A Beard) mp3

Caesar - Hang Myself From The Tree mp3

(Probably best to give that last one a wide berth if you're feeling a bit forlorn at the moment.)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Three of a Kind #67

Some classic Gorky's
for you - preceded by this
crap, rhyming haiku!

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Spanish Dance Troupe mp3

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Patio Song mp3

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Poodle Rockin' mp3

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: Gorky's have the unfortunate distinction of being the only act in UK chart history with eight Top 75 singles who failed to reach the Top 40 with any of them. 41, 42 and 43, yes - but 40? Forget it!

Buy Gorky's stuff

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Christmas Party On!

One of the undoubted highlights of the past couple of Christmases for me has (and indeed have) been the Christmas EPs released by all-female a cappella choir The Sweptaways. The songs on these releases have been, without exception, absolutely top-notch. But alas it seems that this year we won't be getting an EP from them. (not unless they're keeping extremely quiet about it anyway.) Boo!

Ah well, like the market trader stuck with a job lot of old calendars, we'll always have 2006 and 2007. Speaking of which, here's the lead track from last year's seasonal Sweptaways spectacular, the frankly wondrous Christmas Party, featuring guest vocals from the equally fab Marit Bergman. If this doesn't fill your heart with (admittedly slightly premature) Christmas joy then you employ an underpaid clerk named Bob Cratchit and I claim my five pounds!

The Sweptaways with Marit Bergman - Christmas Party mp3

You can buy the four-track Sweptaways Christmas Party EP as a download for a snipsome £3.20 here.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Oliver Postgate 1925 - 2008

I'm not normally much of a one for R.I.P.-style posts, but I've just heard the news that Oliver Postgate, creator of Bagpuss, The Clangers, Noggin The Nog and Ivor The Engine - i.e. only some of the greatest children's TV shows of all time - died yesterday, aged 83. Bugger. What an amazing legacy though.

My favourite of the lot has to be Ivor The Engine. Here's the classic episode Snowdrifts, narrated and co-voiced, as ever, by the man himself. Amazing to think that Postgate and his partner Peter Firmin knocked these out in a makeshift studio in a disused cowshed in Kent for next to nothing!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

With friends like these...

The Wannadies - Friends mp3

I was originally intending to embed another Wannadies video with a slightly deranged bent - Big Fan - today, but sadly that one proved completely unembeddable (we'll forget for a moment that that's not actually a word). Ho hum. You can watch it by clicking here though. I know it's a chore following links people like me throw at you sometimes but this one's fab - honestly! - and well worth three and a bit minutes of your time. There's a great twist towards the end, too. Keep watching to get the full picture!

Buy Wannadies stuff

Friday, 5 December 2008

Yule love this

This time last year Spike posted an ace Christmas song by MJ Hibbett & the Validators called The Advent Calendar of FACT. Now, twelve months later, it's being released as a single. Hoo and indeed ray! It'll be available as a download from Monday (8th December), but in the meantime here's the song's equally nifty vid!

MJ Hibbett & the Validators' website

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Wonderful Tonight

Another one from the old 12" pile tonight, and once again we're paying a visit to the early 90s indie scene, this time with the Wonderful Lie EP by Mexico 70.

Mexico 70 had been quiet since staging football's World Cup two decades earlier, but the venerable host country came out of retirement in late 1991 to record the aforementioned EP on Cherry Red Records. Only joking. It had actually gone on to re-host football's premier tournament in 1986, so had been far from idle in the intervening twenty-one years.

Now, as lies go, that wasn't a particularly wonderful one, was it? The Wonderful Lie EP by the Windsor-based combo that were Mexico 70, on the other hand, really was rather wonderful. Or at least half-decent. The title track is an especially catchy slice of guitar pop; one of those songs that, the instant you first hear it, you think you must have heard somewhere before. Only you probably haven't. Unless you went around spending your hard-earned on slightly obscure indie EPs in the early 90s as well. Which, to be fair, you may well have done if you're reading this blog. But I digress. Let's have the song, shall we? I think that'd be for the best.

Mexico 70 - Wonderful Lie mp3

Mexico 70's album, The Dust Has Come To Stay, is available from the Cherry Red Records website.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Three of a Kind #66

Recorded in London at the fag end of 1989 and produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins, the Mad Love EP was Lush's second release, and became their first UK singles chart entry, reaching #55 in March '90.

And what a corker it was. Hark! what's that noise? It's the sound of a band hitting the ground running. (either that or some good old-fashioned crackly vinyl.) Let's shoegaze!

Lush - De-Luxe mp3

Lush - Thoughtforms mp3

Lush - Leaves Me Cold mp3

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: Miki Berenyi from Lush's real name is Beryl Grimsdale. Actually it's not. It's Miki Berenyi. Cheryl Baker from Bucks Fizz's real name is Rita Crudgington, though. I wonder why she changed it?

Buy Lush stuff

Monday, 1 December 2008

Song of the Day

Blimey o'reilly guv. As if all those Presidential coincidences the other day weren't spooky enough (see previous post), just as I'm about to post a track from Silence Is Wild, the new album by the Kate Bush-inspired Frida Hyvönen, I see Davy from The Ghost of Electricity has written a post on la Bush herself, this very morning. Not only that but the track he's posted is December Will Be Magic Again; while there just so happens to be a song entitled December on Ms Hyvönen's new album. What can it all mean?

That's where the similarities end, mind, as, unlike Kate's sanguine take on the year's final month, Frida's December basically involves a far from fun-packed trip to the abortion clinic. Oh dear.

I'm not going to put that song up here, good as it is, as you're probably depressed enough already, it being a Monday and all. So instead here's the brilliant Dirty Dancing, in which our Frida gets all nostalgic about a childhood friendship with a boy called Jimmy, who she's just met again as an adult.

Frida Hyvönen - Dirty Dancing mp3 (for 7 days)

Silence Is Wild is utterly fantastic. Buy it here.