Not been featuring an awful lot of Swedish music on here lately, which seems a tad remiss; so here are three cast-iron made-in-Sweden classics to reduce the shortfall a bit. Honestly, I don't half spoil you lot sometimes!
I see that, following Michael Jackson's death the other day (apologies to anyone reading this who may not be aware of his sad and scarcely-reported demise, by the way), sales of his back catalogue have skyrocketed. Seven of his albums are expected to be riding high in the UK charts this week, for example, including his greatest hits album Number Ones at, funnily enough, number one.
The download charts are similarly top-heavy with Wacko product, with a whopping eight of his albums in the current iTunes top ten best sellers list, while record shops all over the, erm, shop are selling out of his CDs almost as quickly as they're putting them on the shelves.
I liked the "tribute" on the Amazon front page the other day, by the way, that said something like: "Michael Jackson has died. Share your favourite thoughts about the great man in our special guestbook" - but which somehow managed to avoid adding: "Oh, and while you're there why not stock up on his albums from our very competitively-priced store." The temptation must have been great.
Going slightly, but not altogether, off topic, I noticed that the two big rolling news channels in the UK, BBC News 24 and Sky News, both had the legend MICHAEL JACKSON IS DEAD emblazoned across the screen in huge letters just above the news tickers all day on Friday, even when the news of the unfortunate megastar's demise had been in the public domain for almost 24 hours. It was almost as if they couldn't believe their luck in having such a big story to fill their bulletins with all day, or something.
Again, top marks for restraint must go to whoever decides these things for, in their obvious excitement, not adding an exclamation mark or three at the end of the onscreen headline: MICHAEL JACKSON IS DEAD!!! (Or even writing it in textspeak: MICHEAL JACKSEN IZ WEL DEAD INNIT WTF?? LOOLZ!!!???. Gawd help us.)
Anyway, back to the subject in hand. I do wonder just what the thought processes of the people buying all this Michael Jackson stuff are: "Well, I wasn't that fussed about him while he was alive, really, but now that he's dead I think he's great and must own everything he ever recorded immediately!"
I mean, they can't all be people who are too young to remember him first time round; and it's not as if he's been out of the headlines and therefore the public consciousness (whatever that is) all that much in recent years. A lot of the time those headlines weren't exactly positive either. Odd.
It's hardly a unique phenomenon, of course, this massive posthumous rise in sales; similar things happened in the past with John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, to name but two, when sales of their respective back catalogues shot up (sorry, poor choice of words there) as soon as they karked it.
Then, of course, we had Elton John's 1997 update of Candle In The Wind, recorded and released soon after Lady Di died (di-ed) - which I believe went on to become the highest-selling single of all time in the UK. And what a load of mawkish old bollocks that was. But the Candle In The Wind debacle more than anything just goes to show you: death sells. And how. Would you like a bag with that?
We don't often get asked to repost stuff on here but, after Steve Lamacq apparently played it on his 6 Music show yesterday, a couple of people have left guestbook requests for the the mp3 of the insanely brilliant Strange Ways by The Family Way to be put up again. So, John from Nottingham, Adam from I.T. Services and anyone else who might be interested, this one's for you.
The fabulous Allo, Darlin' have a new single out. Henry Rollins Don't Dance (if the title alone isn't enough to make you want to buy the single then there's really not a lot I can do for you) is backed with Dear Stephen Hawking and Heartbeat Chilli. Elizabeth sounds spookily like Frente's Angie Hart on the latter, by the way. Here, have a listen and see if I'm not right!
And while you're over there, you may as well buy the tracks in mp3 form. Be rude not to really. Alternatively, you can buy the single on good old 7" vinyl from the Weepop shop. Now there's lovely.
Another one from the TMAP inbox today - and a spot of, umm, new new wave, courtesy of Nuremberg-based five-piece Wrongkong, and the frankly rather wondrous Sweat. What an ace video too. (OK, so I know you can hardly turn on the radio these days without hearing loads of contemporary bands churning out stuff that's clearly been massively influenced by the sounds of twenty-five years ago, but this one's a cut above - honest!)
God Help The Girl is the latest project from Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, and by crikey they're good. They played a session comprising three songs - God Help The Girl, Baby's Just Waiting and The Psychiatrist Is In - on Marc Riley's 6 Music show the other night, and every one was a gem. If you like the sound of sixties girl groups, the best bits of eighties indie pop and/or classic musicals (and why wouldn't you, frankly?) then God Help The Girl are definitely the band for you.
You can download all three of the songs from the Marc Riley session at Peenko's Blog.
God Help The Girl's self-titled debut album is released today! Listen to more tracks from it on their MySpace page.
There was this mildly terrifying teacher at my old junior school called Mr O'Brien, a bearded Irishman prone to flying off the handle for no apparent reason. We used to call him Mr B.O. because a) it was a reversal of his initials; and b) because he had all the personal hygiene problems that you might expect from someone with such a nickname. My god he reeked.
Thankfully, despite sharing part of a name with my old form teacher, up-and-coming Bermondsey combo Lion O'Brien don't share any of the traits outlined above - well, not unless they forget to shower before taking the stage at gigs and then spend the duration of their sets haranguing the audience for not applauding loudly enough between songs, or something. But I can't really see that happening; they look like such a nice bunch.
One thing I do know about Lion O'Brien, having listened to their soon-to-be-released debut EP Raincloud v Sunshine, is that they do a fine line in infectious, feel-good indie pop. It's not often music that's submitted to us via email catches my ear but I was really impressed with these songs from the first play. Have a listen to lead track This Life and see if you agree!
Couldn't manage to get this clip embedded but I beseech you to click on this link and watch the minute-long clip therein featuring Labour backbenchers Diane Abbott and Keith Vaz and new Home Secretary Alan Johnson. It's the funniest thing I've seen for ages.
I know what you're thinking: "Where the blazes can I find some nineties' Estonian synth pop along the lines of Stereolab and Broadcast with a dash of early Cardigans type poppiness thrown in for good measure?" It's a quandary for sure. But I think I may well just be able to help... in fact, yes - yes I can!
Existing between 1991 and 2003, Dallas (the Estonian band pictured above rather than the US state or the defunct soap opera) lined up something like this:
KRISTI KINDEL - vocals, synthesizers HOLGER LOODUS - guitar, vocals TAUNO PÄÄSLANE - bass, guitar IVIKA NOOP - keyboards ALLAN AMBERG - drums
You may also remember Kristi Kindel from her role in the heart-warming family movie classic Miracle on 34th Street, in which she donned a red suit and long white beard and - no, wait, I think I'm getting confused again.
Anyway, here are some rather good songs from Dallas's eponymously-titled 1999 album, one of which, ironically, is about an actual, legendary film star.
Elias of Elias and the Wizzkids fame is feeling rather pleased with himself; and why wouldn't he be, frankly, with a new single as utterly, joyously infectious as this up his sleeve (and a cracking video to boot)!
We're going late-70s German compilation crazy today, with a record I found in a charity shop in Braintree yesterday: High Life - 20 Original Top Hits. "Aus der rundfunk und fernseh verbung" (as they say in Germany).
The album was released on Polystar Records - which sounds like a made-up label from Spinal Tap or something, but which, upon a spot of cursory research, turns out to have released countless albums in a similar vein down the years. Well I never.
And what an album High Life is! Quite possibly the best 50p I've spent all year. Let's take a look at the runners and riders.
A1. ABBA - Voulez-vous A2. Clout - Under Fire A3. Oliver Onions - Sheriff A4. Luv - My Guy A5. Gibson Brothers - Cuba A6. Dollar - Who Were You With In The Moonlight A7. Golden Earring - Weekend Love A8. Blondie - Sunday Girl A9. Overdrive - Constantinople A10. Nick Straker Band - A Walk In The Park
B1. Luv - Eeny Meeny Miny Moe B2. Roxy Music - Dance Away B3. The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays B4. Peaches & Herb - Reunited B5. Milk And Honey with Gali - Goodbye New York B6. Thom Pace - Maybe B7. ABBA - Happy Hawaii B8. The Sweet - Call Me B9. John Stewart - Gold B10. Rainbow - Since You Been Gone
A fantastic mixture of artists and styles, I'm sure you'll agree. I only knew nine of these songs before yesterday but I must say I've been mightily impressed with some of the tracks I wasn't already familiar with - even if the artists generally seem to be ever-so-slightly obsessed with aping the sound of Boney M or ABBA, or both.
Here's Dutch girl group Luv, for example, with the snappily-titled Eeny Meeny Miny Moe. (NB: No primates were hurt during the making of this song. Probably.)
Those nice people at Friendly Noise have made the two songs that comprise the new single by Anglo-Swedish duo The Dreamers available as free downloads. The songs in question are Någon Annan and My Stupid Heart; the former being their first ever Swedish-language song. And oh look! here it is in video form.
Right click here to download both songs. Also, click here to read Spike's much more detailed Dreamers post from 2007, and point your mouse in this direction to buy stuff by the Dreamers and other fine Friendly Noise artists.
London tweepopsters Pocketbooks have a wizard new single they'd love you to hear. Footsteps is taken from their debut album Flight Paths which, like an unsuperstitious summertime debutante, comes out on July 13th.
You can also catch the band (not literally - well, not unless they've developed a sudden and unexpected penchant for stagediving) over the summer playing live on/at the following dates, venues and places.
Tuesday 9 June: Madame Jo Jos, London (with the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart) Tuesday 7 July: Catch, London Thursday 23 July: Jamm, London Saturday 25 July: Indietracks festival, Ripley, Derbyshire Friday 21 August@ P!O!P Kombinat, NBI, Berlin
But before the album and the gigs, here's that single!
N.B. If Spike had been doing this entry she'd have made a much better fist of it than I just have, as she's a long-standing Pocketbooks fan (she bought their album at the London Popfest earlier this year, if memory serves). But sadly for them - and you - Spike doesn't really get round to blogging much (or at all) these days, so you're stuck with this poor excuse for an entry instead. (It's the way I tell 'em.)
Pre-order Pocketbooks' debut album Flight Pathshere.
Fancy owning a piece of movie history? Well, here's your chance, as Cameron's house from eighties' classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off is up for sale - and it's yours for a mere $2.3m. Have a shufti at the estate agent's particulars (matron).
Mildly Interesting Pop Fact(s): Sing-Sing were around for yonks but split up a couple of years ago. Emma Anderson (yes, that one) is now involved in music publicity in fashionable Brighton while singer Lisa O'Neill married the comically-named Run Wrake and went off to live in the Kent countryside (or at least in a house in the Kent countryside). Marvellous.
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