Thursday, 25 March 2010

You Tube if you want to

Conclusive proof that the internet is a force for good: EMI have shoved all the original Faith Brothers promo vids up on YouTube (actually they did it six months ago but I've only just noticed). Woo and indeed hoo!

Embedding's been "disabled by request" (those dreaded words), but just click on the links below for some of the very best music of the decade that I'm apparently (oh alright then - actually) obsessed with!

Faith Brothers - A Stranger On Home Ground video

Faith Brothers - Eventide video

Faith Brothers - The Country of the Blind video

Faith Brothers - That's Just The Way That It Is With Me video (which, I've just noticed, stars Freddie Mainwaring from Grange Hill!)

Faith Brothers - Whistling in the Dark (Extended)*

*Audio only. There doesn't appear to be a video for this track (or if there is, EMI haven't deigned to share it with us) but it's bloody brilliant and it'd seem a shame to omit it here, so here's a link to the extended mix plus a nice pic of the record sleeve.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Alright on the Nights

Cor, this is a bit good!

Elias & the Wizzkids - Oh These Nights by HYBRIS

Oh These Nights is the second single from Elias & the Wizzkids' new album Just Do It, which is out now on Hybris and available from Bengans Record Store (CD) or Amazon (download).

Monday, 22 March 2010

Ooh Bettie

Dutch types Bettie Serveert are a band I very much associate with the 1990s (more specifically, the mid-90s), so imagine my surprise when learning earlier today that not only are they still very much going, they also have a new album coming out this week! Well strike me roan, as Alf Stewart would doubtless have it were he not a) an Australian in his late sixties with little or no knowledge of the Bettie Serveert oeuvre or modern European indie rock in general and b) a fictional character.

Anyway, the album in question, Pharmacy of Love, is released tomorrow (23rd March), and here's the first single from it, the rather rocking Deny All - along with some classic Serveert product of yesteryear, Geek, from 1997's Dust Bunnies LP.

Bettie Serveert - Deny All mp3

Bettie Serveert - Geek mp3

Mildly Diverting Pop Fact: Bettie Serveert, which translates as "Bettie Serves", took their name from from a television programme of that name hosted by Dutch tennis player Betty Stöve, who made it to the Wimbledon Ladies singles final in 1977, where she very considerately lost to home favourite Virginia "I'm not South African really - honest!" Wade, in what was some old queen's jubilee year or something. Oh yes, Stöve was really cooking on gas that year.
*boom* *tish*

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Remains of the Day

All That Remains is the long-awaited new four-song EP from Hari & Aino, who Spike wrote about in justifiably effusive terms in 2007 & 2008. It'll be officially released via all the usual download retail outlets on March 28th, but if, like me, you can't wait that long, it's available to download right now for a measly $2 direct from the band's website.

There'll also be a strictly limited run of just 59 copies of the EP available on CD. Order yours here.

Here's the frankly marvellous promo video for All That Remains.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Vowel please, Rachel. And another. And another*

I'd forgotten what a fantastic song Freeez's IOU was, until hearing it again on the radio the other day. In fact it was so good that, after peaking at #2 in the UK charts in 1983, a slightly pointless remix of it (featuring some rather cursory scratching at the start and not much else to set it apart from the original), earnt the song another visit to the top 20 again just three and a half years later. Well I never.

And just check out the video! It's an 80s obsessive's dream! BMXs, robotics, body popping (unless robotics and body popping are actually the same thing; I was never quite sure), beatboxes (and cassettes!), the keytar, a hi-slung bass and those silly wraparound shades are all very much to the fore. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel: how much more eighties could this video be? None. None more eighties.

Freeez - I.O.U. mp3

*I'm missing Countdown - which has been cruelly usurped by the Cheltenham Festival on Channel 4 - at the moment. Can you tell?

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Search of the Day

"Sky Sports presenter tries to hide bun muffin live on air"

(The mind boggles!)

Tony Hatch - Man Alive mp3

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Up for the Cup Noodle Song

Thisa isn't the first time I've posted Pineforest Crunch's rather wonderful Cup Noodle Song here, but as the previous occasion was way back in September '07 a lot of you may not have heard this before. Which would seem like a terrible shame - so here's a belated encore!

Pineforest Crunch - Cup Noodle Song mp3

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Don't you (forget about this)

Mildly spooky coincidence ahoy! One minute I'm reading about The Breakfast Club on Adam's 1980s film favourites post from earlier today, the next I'm watching the latest, Breakfast Club-inspired video from blog favourites Allo, Darlin'. This is smashing:

I know what film I'll be watching tonight now anyway. Holiday on the Buses.

Order The Polaroid Song 7" here

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Leaders' Wives

Who's your favourite? The reason I ask is because this, according to the TV news channels at least, seems to be an important subject in the lead-up to the general election (almost certainly) on May 6th in the UK. For example, the news channels and papers have donated an inordinate amount of coverage over the past couple of days to the forthcoming appearance and interview on ITV1's Trevor MacDonald Meets David Cameron with the blue-blooded Tory leader's missus Samantha; that's her pictured, appropriately enough, on the right above.

In the programme she eulogises, amongst other things, about her old man's brilliance as a husband and father, and about what a great cook he is. But if you were thinking this was just going to be a puff piece, then you couldn't be more wrong. Witness this piece of trenchant criticism: apparently "Dave" makes a terrible mess and isn't very good at clearing up after himself. Oh dear. Has she never thought of buying him a nappy?

Then we have embattled Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife Sarah (on the left) who famously described her husband as her "hero" at a Labour party conference last year (or was it the year before?), and who has over a million followers of her own on Twitter. Christ, with support like that, maybe the wrong Brown's running for PM.

There's been no word from Nick Clegg's wife Miriam as of yet, but it's surely only a matter of time. Put it this way: I'm a Lib Dem voter but if there's not at the very least an exclusive interview with Mrs Clegg in this week's Grazia or Hello in which she tells us what a treasure he is although his feet don't half pong sometimes LOL, then I will seriously have to reconsider changing my voting allegiance. I mean, come on, Mim old girl, don't you know your public need to hear from you?!

But for a real test of the various spouses devotion to their party-leading other halves, wouldn't it be easier to get them all to compete against each other on Mr & Mrs or something? That way at least we could get the whole vexed question as to who exactly is the number one wife done and dusted in half an hour. I'm sure Derek Batey would be only too happy to come out of retirement to helm this one-off political special. Assuming he's not dead. Which he probably is by now, in fairness.

Anyway, gordon bennett, what a palaver etc. This never would have happened in Glenys Kinnock or Denis Thatcher's day. Or Norma Major come to think of it. We never heard a peep out of any of that lot, mercifully.

It's stuff like the whole wives thing clogging up the news that obscures what should be the real debate at a time like this i.e. what do the parties actually stand for, and what are their policies that we should be taking into consideration when it comes to deciding who to cast our votes for? Even Prime Minister's Questions has degenerated into little more than a slanging match every week (although in fairness it was probably ever thus) and all we seem to get is Cameron & Brown trying to score points off each other while their underlings all laugh sycophantically or derisorily (depending on who's speaking at the time).

Perhaps the forthcoming Presidential Prime Ministerial debates on ITV, Sky & The BBC, featuring all three main party leaders, will help clear things up policy-wise. I doubt it, though, given that they're all being so carefully stage-managed with a 76-point agreement covering everything from handshakes and podiums to the eyeline of the moderators in place for each of the debates. They're really leaving nothing to chance. Gawd help us.

Oops. Bit of politics there. I only really meant to do the leaders' wives joke as well.

The The - Heartland mp3

Friday, 12 March 2010

Johan Borgert & Holy Madre

Long-time readers will know that Swedish pop songs are two a penny on this blog, but it's not often (hardly ever, in fact) that we feature a Swedish language song. Time to put that right I think. This recent performance of Joharifönstret by Johan Borgert & Holy Madre for Swedish site PSL really is terrific. Gawd knows what they're singing about, but who cares when the music's this good!

Buy Johan Borgert & Holy Madre stuff here

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Strictly Come Dancing

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: The Kinks' first UK Top 40 hit for eleven years, Come Dancing peaked at number 12 in the Gallup charts in the late summer of 1983. As a child I thought this record was by Paul McCartney for some reason. Ahh, the complete stupidity of youth.

Anyway, here, in an exciting Radio 1 top 40 countdown stylee, are the eleven records that kept it from its rightful place at the top spot in that fateful week of 27th August:

11 - Malcolm McLaren - Double Dutch

"Hey ebon, eboneh!" Eh?

10 - David Grant - Watching You Watching Me

Isn't that what the presenters used to say at the end of Game For A Laugh?

9 - UB40 - Red Red Wine

This was one of the five singles my mother let me buy in order to placate me for the trauma of having to move fifty miles and switch schools when my dad relocated for work. The other four were: They Don't Know by Tracey Ullman, Modern Love by David Bowie, Heaven 17's Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry and Big Apple by Kajagoogoo.

8 - Herbie Hancock - Rockit

Successful jazzy type leaps on vogueish
body poppin' 'n' a-scratchin' bandwagon to great effect. Or does he?! (Yes.)

7 - Depeche Mode - Everything Counts

As The Kinks found to their cost this week, IT'S A COMPETITIVE WORLD.

6 - Madness - Wings of a Dove

I somehow managed to, ahem, inherit Matty Davis's copy of this. Hah! In your fizzog, Matty D!

5 - Wham! - Club Tropicana

..drinks are free. Fun and sunshine - there's enough for everyone... Admit it, this is great!

4 - Elton John - I'm Still Standing

Alongside my lovely wife Renata. Pfft.

3 - Style Council - Long Hot Summer

This just passed me by I'm afraid.

2 - Spandau Ballet - Gold

The royalties Gary Kemp must earn from this whenever there's an Olympic games - and accompanying musical montage - on. Must be almost enough not to have to swallow his pride and reform two decades later with the bandmate(s) he ended up despising. Almost.

1 - KC & The Sunshine Band - Give It Up

The song that must've launched a thousand - or at least a dozen - Radio 1 roadshows. Oh Smiley Miley, where are you now?

Come Dancing was, of course, a nostalgic paean to Ray Davies's childhood in post-war Britain, when dance halls like the one his big sister used to frequent were all the rage. It's quite poignant too in parts: "The day they knocked down the Pally, part of my childhood died - just died". Makes you think.

Tenuous link ahoy! Similar themes to those above were explored in classic BBC sitcom Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads AKA arguably the best sitcom of all time, which can now be bought in its entirety - 26 episodes, a Christmas Special plus all 8 surviving episodes from the 1960s precursor The Likely Lads - for a bargain £11.99 from HMV. Possibly the greatest theme tune ever too!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Over the moon, Jimmy

Sometimes I get a bit jaded watching football, and end up asking myself if it's really worth all the bother and time invested (I'd add money to that list, but I'm strictly an armchair, non-Sky-subscribing fan these days). Admittedly this normally coincides with watching an especially dour, attritonal goalless encounter between Fulham and Spurs in the FA Cup, for example. But happen it undoubtedly does; and quite often at that.

Then, once in a while, you witness a moment that genuinely gets you off your feet and makes you punch the air in delight - especially when it occurs at a crucial stage in a big match - as happened with this Samir Nasri goal in Arsenal's Champions' League Matchweek 74 First Knockout Phase Second Leg Sponsored by Accurist game against Porto last night. As an Arsenal fan I'm clearly open to accusations of bias here, but come on! This is sublime:

Then to top it all off, Backside (as the hyper-sensitive anti-swearing software on a 'net forum I used to frequent used to change the word Arsenal to) went on to score twice more in the game, through a brilliantly-timed counter attack started by Andre Arshavin and finished, after a lung-bursting run from his own half, by the much-maligned but actually rather decent and thoroughly committed Emmanuele Eboue. As if that wasn't surreal enough, Nicklas "Barn Door" Bendtner then went on to complete his first-ever hat-trick with a penalty in the final minute. I'm going to wake up in a minute.

The Kane Gang - Closest Thing to Heaven mp3

Monday, 8 March 2010

Andreas Mattsson repost (sort of)

For Max, and anyone else who might be interested, here are some classic Andreas Mattsson/Popsicle-related goodies, as requested. For further reading please do have a gander at any of my previous two hundred posts on this artist's work! Cheers!

Popsicle - Make Up mp3

Sweet Chariots - All I Want Is What I Had mp3

Andreas Mattsson - You're Never Lonely When The Band Plays mp3

Andreas Mattsson - It's Easier to Handle All Your Friends Than to Keep Just One Love Alive mp3

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Easton promise

Just stumbled upon this fantastic clip of a pre-fame Sheena Easton on BBC series The Big Time, back when she was still Scottish, and when she was desperately trying to crack the UK charts for the first time.

It's amazing to think now just how much power Radio 1 DJs clearly wielded at the time, as evidenced by Sheena's undisguised joy at finding out that Simon "Master" Bates has made Modern Girl his record of the week (while Paul Burnett plumps for Another Nail In My Heart by Squeeze, Peter Powell UB40's Food For Thought, DLT Volcano by Jimmy Buffet(?) and Kid Jensen 9 O'Clock by Snips(??)). She'd actually got up that morning seemingly especially to listen to The Hairy Cornflake playing her record at 6.10am. Bless.

Also, my jaw dropped a bit when learning that, despite peaking at number 56 on its original release (although it subsequently hit the top 10 months later), Modern Girl still managed to shift 20,000 copies first time round. Christ, that would be enough to guarantee you the number 1 spot for about a month nowadays. Probably.

Anyway, this is fantastic. Listen out for the Round Table producer's reaction to hearing Modern Girl for the first time. He's really not impressed!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Three of a Kind #102

There's been a conspicuous lack of a) Swedish acts and b) quirky cover versions featured on this blog recently. So here are some Swedish acts performing quirky cover versions. Now I can't say fairer than that. (Damned speech impediment!)

The featured songs were originally made famous by: Depeche Mode, Bonnie Tyler and Lady Saw. Oh alright, so I've never heard of that last one either. But if you've ever wondered what an all-female a cappella choir tackling a Jamaican dancehall number would sound like (and I'd be astonished if you hadn't, frankly), here's your chance to find out.

The Wannadies - Just Can't Get Enough mp3

Stickboy - Total Eclipse of the Heart mp3

The Sweptaways with Robyn - I've Got Your Man mp3

BTW, my jury service finished the other day. Did I mention that? I think it may have slipped my mind at the time. Anyway, because it was such a long case, I've now got a ten year exemption from it (a bit like when a golfer wins a major championship, only without the concomitant bad trousers and large cheque). Result!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Biggerer and betterer

He's big, he's red, his feet, apparently, stick out the bed. He's scored twenty goals in seventeen starts (and twenty substitute appearances) for England; he's taller than an especially far-fetched story about a family of giants living on the roof of a skyscraper. He is, of course, the brilliantly (sur)named Peter Crouch.

Yet despite that impressive strike-rate of international goals - 20 in 17 starts! - plus the fact that he has a decent first touch, links play and holds the ball up well, is good in the air and frightens the bejesus out of his markers (to be fair, it's not every week your typical international centre half is pitted against a gangly 6 foot 7 bundle of arms and legs), some people, seemingly in all seriousness, ask whether Crouch is really worth a place in England's World Cup squad for this summer's tournament in South Africa.

Not whether he's worth a place in the starting line-up, mark you, but whether he's worth a place in the squad of twenty two! For fuck's sake. If it were anybody else clocking up all those goals we'd be lauding them as world class, but for some reason Crouch's footballing pedigree is so often called into doubt.

One theory - not an especially original one, I'll grant you, but a theory nonetheless - is that those who continue to deride or dismiss the big man's abilities and achievements ("He only scores against small teams", "All his goals are tap-ins" etc - all complete bollocks, by the way) are merely, subconciously or otherwise, exercising a form of body fascism - cos 'e is wel tall 'n skinny 'n freaky looking innit LOLZ.

Now I'm no psychologist, clearly, but I suspect there may be some truth in this theory: some people just can't get their heads round the idea of someone who looks so unlike the quintessential professional footballer or athlete (unless we're talking about a high jumper) being so good at his job. But the facts speak for themselves.

Crouch is far from unique in this, though. The Swedish centre forward Kennet Andersson, for example, enjoyed a fair bit of success at international level in the 1990s, notching 31 goals in 83 caps, despite his similarly beanpole-like physique; the Czech Republic's own ungainly 6 foot 7 striker, Jan Koller, fared even more impressively, scoring 51 goals in 91 appearances for his country.

And, like Crouch, these players were both surprisingly good on the ground (although quite why we're surprised at a tall person's ability to be able to control a football in the first place, I don't know).

Anyway, at the end of the day (Des), there's a lot to be said for having a lumbering target-man who can also play a bit in your starting XI - just so long as you don't do what Spurs have lately with Crouch and neglect the player's aforementioned ability on the deck and instead settle for the easy option of lumping long, high balls up to him all the time for other, smaller players to feed off (the scraps). Which is effective to a point, but not very aesthetically pleasing, and doesn't do the player justice.

Also, unlike most of the current England team, Crouch actually seems like quite a nice bloke when you hear him being interviewed. Whisper it quietly but he may even possess a bit of humility (although, unlike Countdown champion Clarke Carlisle, he probably doesn't know the meaning of the word).

So yes: stick Crouch in the team for the 2010 World Cup, I say. England will still get knocked out at the quarter-final stage, but it'll be a lot more enjoyable with him in the team - because, if nothing else, you know how mad it'll make his detractors.

Hot Puppies - King of England mp3