The Go-Betweens go country and western - with outrageously catchy consequences.
As Grant explained in the sleeve notes of The Go-Betweens 1978-90:
"I've always liked country music. This is a typical mix of pathos and sentimentality in the tradition of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. It comes close to pastiche but The Go-Betweens seldom genre-hop so this is what it is."
After a break of six years (six years!), Sweden's twee pop maestros Acid House Kings are back with new single Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends? Thankfully for them, after such a long absence, the song's a corker and well worth the extended wait. The band's new album, Music Sounds Better With You, will be out on Labrador in the spring.
The rest of this entry's devoted to Christmas songs so readers of a curmudgeonly nature may wish to look away now.
Sheffield duo Slow Club are giving last year's festive EP Christmas, Thanks For Nothing a belated release in the US. From it, here's their energetic and faithful rendition of the Darlene Love / Phil Spector classic, Christmas, Baby Please Come Home, a song I still love despite U2's best attempts to tarnish it forever.
Dublin's Indiecater Records have released a new Christmas compilation - their third - featuring mostly original seasonal compositions from the likes of Dolfish, Natalie Prass, Paisley and Charlie, The Very Most, Kate and After, Boca Chica, Ali Millstein, Adam and Darcie, Standard Fare, The Gorgeous Colours and Royal Fores. You can stream the entire album here while the agreeable country stylings of Boca Chica's offering can be downloaded below.
Christmas was better in the eighties - at least it was according to The Futureheads on their new single of the same name. And who could possibly argue with them, apart, perhaps, from anyone who didn't spend their formative years in that decade? Anyway, I'm with the Futureheads on this. The single's released on December 19th and is rather good. Here's the promo vid:
Finally, as you're doubtless well aware, John Lennon died thirty years ago today. We're marking the occasion here with a super version of Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by blog favourites Daryll-Ann.
"Party all summer long with The Holiday CD - 16 original hits!" boast CBS Records on the front cover of their 1987 funtime compilation. If we must, CBS, if we must. But something's wrong with this picture. Take a closer look at the track listing below and tell me what's wrong with it (apart from the obvious).
1) Wham! - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go 2) Mel & Kim - Respectable 3) Bananarama - Venus 4) The Communards - Don't Leave Me This Way 5) Miami Sound Machine - Dr Beat 6) Kool & The Gang - Fresh 7) Spagna - Call Me 8) Boney M - Hooray, Hooray, It's A Holi-Holiday 9) Typically Tropical - Barbados 10) Ottowan - D.I.S.C.O. 11) Ryan Paris - Dolce Vita 12) Modern Talking - Brother Louie 13) Modern Romance - Everybody Salsa 14) Denise LaSalle - My Toot Toot 15) K.C. & The Sunshine Band - Give It Up 16) Opus - Live Is Life
You're absolutely right, it's the choice of Wham! song: Wake Me Up Before You Go Go? Pfft! Maybe I could have let this go if Wham didn't have an actual, completely obvious song tailor-made for a holiday compilation in their repertoire. But I mean, hello, does Club Tropicana not ring any bells? The drinks are free, and there's enough fun - and sunshine - for everyone. Either the decision to eschew that in favour of Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (on holiday?) was one serious piece of lateral thinking or someone's missed a song title open goal here.
Now, you might argue that dredging up the whole subject of a mildly contentious choice of song on an obscure summer compilation almost a quarter of a century on is only exacerbating matters; hell, you may even say that it's an utter irrelevance in an age where there are a million more serious things to get het up about; but by gum this rankles with me. What were they thinking?
Anyway, I need to calm down. Here's some more holiday music!
For more on Pullover click on their label at the bottom of this post and you'll be whizzed away to a post I wrote about them a few years ago. Before you go, here's another of their songs which, while not being suitable for a holiday compilation in any way, is also dead good.
Right, well, it's December the 4th so high time to crack open the Christmas songs I reckon. Thanks once again are due to Spike, this time for putting me onto today's funny folkers Garfunkel & Oates - a sort of cynical, clued-up female American version of Flight of the Conchords. The best compliment I can pay G&O is that their songs don't suffer one bit in comparison with their more famous folking comedy forebears. Have a listen to the Christmas-present-woe-inspired Present Face and the wonderfully sardonic Year End Letter and see what you think.
On a non-seasonal but equally hilarious note, have a look at the vid for Pregnant Women Are Smug, quite possibly the greatest song title ever!
Mildly Interesting Pop Fact (not had one of these for a while): The duo's name was inspired by the Garfunkel's Restaurant chain and Robert Falcon Scott's stoical sidekick Captain Oates. This is a lie, obviously. The name comes, as you may well have deduced, from the perenially-in-the-shade-of-their-more-illustrious-partners Art Garfunkel and John Oates (of Hall & Oates fame).
Many thanks to Spike for drawing my attention to this (and for coming up with the title!). Naked man runs down snowy Brighton street with only a teatray and amused onlookers for company - with hilarious consequences!
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