Thursday, 30 September 2010

I'll have a 'P' please

Labrador favourites who seem to have fallen off the radar singing about European cities beginning with the letter 'P' is the slightly tenuous theme linking our songs today. Acid House Kings have been in the studio laying down some new tracks (man) for what seems like an eternity now; while the previously fairly prolific ex-Edson frontman Pelle Carlberg's website hasn't had an update for getting on for a year and a half. I wish they'd hurry up and come back, anyway. I miss these guys.

Geographical themes aside, the following are up there among my favourite two or three songs by each of these acts. Absolutely chuffing brilliant from start to finish.

Pelle Carlberg - Pamplona mp3

Acid House Kings - Paris mp3

Buy Labrador stuff

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Swede surrender

Anyone who's read any (well, most) of my previous contributions to this blog will know that I am more than a tad taken by this Swedish indiepop malarkey, and need no second - or indeed first - invitation to blather on about it.

In fact, such is my infatuation with all things 'Swindie' that I've probably said all I have to say on most of my favourite Swedish acts on Too Much Apple Pie, over the past few years. But this doesn't, of course, stop the music itself being great. So what I thought I'd do now, like, is to have a dedicated 'Swedish music season' in which all the acts I feature in my contributions to this blog will be from Sweden. (I know what you're thinking: how will we tell the difference?)

Anyway, basically it'll be less blather, more music for the next little while; which has to be a good thing, right? If you want to know more about some of the artists featured here just click on the 'labels' tab at the bottom of the entries. (Alternatively you could just go out and buy their entire back catalogues. Yes, do that.)

Let's get the ball rolling, shall we, with four - count 'em! - songs from one of my absolute favourite compilation albums, the magnificent, two-disc Svensk Indie 1988-2006 - En Kärleks Historia - a must-buy, I'd suggest, for any serious lovers of the genre. (That Bear Quartet song title takes some beating too.)

happydeadmen - Silent Sigh City mp3

Frida Hyvönen - Once I was A Serene Teenage Child mp3

Marit Bergman - This Is The Year mp3

The Bear Quartet - It Only Takes A Flashlight To Create A Monster mp3

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Three of a Kind #109

Another serendipitous charity shop find today, New Wave Hits of the 80s Volume 1 - a rather splendid US-released compilation featuring, as it does, 16 poptastic classics from... umm... 1979, mostly. A splendid piece of lateral thinking, or a bit of a ricket? It doesn't really matter when the songs are as good as the ones here; and I suppose they had to start somewhere.

Anyway, those not-actually-new-wave-hits-of-the-eighties-at-all runners and riders in full:

1. Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand
2. Warm Leatherette - The Normal
3. One Way or Another - Blondie
4. Hey, St. Peter - Flash & The Pan
5. Cruel to Be Kind - Nick Lowe
6. Too Young to Date - D-Day
7. Local Girls - Graham Parker
8. Rock & Roll High School - The Ramones
9. My Sharona - The Knack
10. Girls Talk - Dave Edmunds
11. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles
12. I Do the Rock - Tim Curry
13. Dirty Water - The Inmates
14. I'm a Believer - Tin Huey
15. Gidget Goes to Hell - Suburban Lawns
16. Money (That's What I Want) - Flying Lizards

So, yes, a really interesting line-up of songs - some familiar (Cruel To Be Kind and Girls Talk especially being long-time favourites of mine) and some not. I've gone for three not-so-familiar tracks here, with Mute Records boss Daniel Miller's alter ego The Normal's Warm Leatherette, Tim Curry's I Do The Rock (because I know Spike will want to hear it) and the hilarious Too Young To Date by D-Day. Oh yes, peoples, tonight we're gonna party like it's nineteen seventy nine.

D-Day - Too Young To Date mp3

Tim Curry - I Do The Rock mp3

The Normal - Warm Leatherette mp3

Friday, 17 September 2010

Three of a Kind #108

One great song, three superior versions. But which is your favourite? I'll probably get lynched for this but I'm quite partial to the Tracey Ullman version myself. Probably only because that's the one I grew up with, mind. *dives for cover anyway*

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact (courtesy of Davy in this guestbook entry): Stiff Records overdubbed Tracey Ullman's vocal onto Kirsty MacColl's original backing track for this record. The hi-pitched 'Baby!' half way through is Kirsty (uncredited).

I love the Sweptaways and so should you, especially if all-girl Swedish A cappella choirs are your 'bag' (and I've no reason to suspect they wouldn't be). You can buy their entire back catalogue, including the superb albums Ooh Aah and last year's The Sweptaways Show, featuring guest vocals from Jens Lekman, Robyn, Asha Ali et al, from the Klicktrack shop. (The Sweptaways Christmas EPs featuring Marit Bergman and Magnus Carlsson are not to be missed either.)

The Sweptaways & Moneybrother - They Don't Know mp3

Sunday, 12 September 2010

"I did it to impress a girl"

Of all the things to blog about, I never saw myself blogging on a papal theme more than once... In fact, I'm not the only one with a wholly Holy hang-up - Kippers has also plugged the pontiff on this blog.

Anyway, ahead of the Pope's visit to the UK (I can barely contain my excitement, can you?), here's a warning from Norway's most tuneful master criminal, Arne Hansen, to Benedict XVI to remember to use the central locking.

Arne Hansen and the Guitarspellers - Popemobile mp3 (available for 7 days)

The featured mp3 can be purchased alongside many other corkers on the album 'So Happy I Could Pop (Volume 2)' on CD or as a download.
While you're at it, I can thoroughly recommend Arne Hansen and the Guitarspellers' entire back catalogue. (The Christmas album 'Reindeer Can Fly!' is one of the best Christmas albums I own.)

In the meantime please remember that the best way to pay for anything in Vatican City is with Papal Paypal. I thank you.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Three of a Kind #107

It's always fun to stumble upon old indiepop compilations on your travels, and that's just what happened to me when I picked up a copy of the 1992 album Precious for a quid in a charity shop the other day. I'd not heard of this particular album before but, as you'll see from the track listing below, it's a decent enough representation of (mostly) mainstream (mostly) UK indie circa 1990 to '92. The Spaghetti Head song was the only one I'd never come across previously.

The album also possesses quite possibly the soppiest cover photo of any album I've ever seen, i.e. a small child with some puppies. Aww!/Pass the sickbag, mother (delete as applicable).

Anyway, as a sort of handy guide (albeit one of absolutely no use or interest to anyone but me), I've highlighted the tracks on this album that I'd already owned as (mostly) vinyl singles way back when; and, this being a Three of a Kind post and all, I've made my three favourite tracks available for download. Usual terms and conditions apply - i.e. get 'em while they're hot!

1 Inspiral Carpets - Dragging Me Down
2 The Charlatans - Weirdo
3 The Stone Roses - Fool's Gold
4 Ride - Twisterella
5 Suede - The Drowners
6 Primal Scream - Loaded
7 Blur - There's No Other Way
8 House of Love - Shine On
9 James - Sit Down
10 Jesus Jones - Real Real Real
11 The Shamen - Make It Mine
12 The Sugarcubes - Hit
13 Lush - For Love
14 Voice of the Beehive - Monsters and Angels
15 The Wonderstuff - The Size of a Cow
16 Pixies - Planet of Sound
17 Pale Saints - Kinky Love
18 Spaghetti Head - Glad
19 My Bloody Valentine - Soon
20 Daisy Chainsaw - Love Your Money

Lush - For Love mp3

Pale Saints - Kinky Love mp3

Daisy Chainsaw - Love Your Money mp3

Monday, 6 September 2010

Blue Monday

OK, so I'm never going to win any prizes for lateral thinking with the choice of song to accompany this post, but you've got to admit Monday Morning by the Candyskins is at least 78.2% less predictable than Manic Monday, I Don't Like Mondays or Monday Monday (although I do love a bit of The Mamas & the Papas). Oh, and it features backing vocals from Amelia Fletcher and some bloody good advice to boot. What more could you ask for on an overcast post-weekend A.M.?

The Candyskins - Monday Morning mp3

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: The Candyskins' biggest hit, Monday Morning scaled the dizzy heights of #34 in the UK chart in early '97 in a mammoth two-week stint in the Top 75, thanks in part to the band landing themselves this appearance playing over the end credits of TFI Friday in a rare marriage of decent music and shit TV programme.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

When they met, it was Madder

Back in the mid-nineties I really, really loved Madder Rose. Still do in fact, on the odd occasion I actually get around to remembering how great they were. In a lot of ways they were my Velvet Underground. Which is weird as I bloody hate the Velvet Underground. Anyway, this is magic:

Madder Rose - Madder Rose mp3

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: This song was later re-recorded and re-christened Swim. It's a bit different. Look!

Panic On may well be my favourite Madder Rose song of all though. They even got around to making a proper promo video for this one.

Oh! And Car Song is absolutely wonderful.

In fact, you can't really go wrong with either of the band's first two long players, 1993's Bring It Down and '94's Panic On, which are two of the best albums of the nineties, for me. The two later albums, Tragic Magic (1997) and Hello June Fool (1999), are a bit trippier and more noodly and slightly less accessible, but are well worth checking out nonetheless. Then there's singer Mary Lorson's subsequent solo project Saint Low, but I think we'll leave that for another day. (What with all the Twittering I've been doing of late, if I have to write anything over 140 characters in length it feels like blinking War & Peace all of a sudden. Must try harder.)