Sunday, 29 April 2012

Hark, is that tumbleweed?

Hello... Apologies if you've been checking back here frequently in the almost two years since the last post. Not entirely sure what happened, but time has a way of scooting by. Anyway, I've relocated to a new blog home - - on which there should be some stuff up and running soon.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Song of the Week #19: "Pastimes & Lifestyles" by Dogs Die In Hot Cars

It's fair to say bands with stupid names have to try that little bit harder to make any impression on me. In the case of Dogs Die In Hot Cars, the turning point came with hearing a fantastic song called Somewhat off The Way on a compilation CD. Sure enough, further investigation into the band's debut album Please Describe Yourself showed a pop band very much in touch with early-80s new-wavers like XTC, best shown on tunes like the brilliant Pastimes & Lifestyles. They seemingly vanished soon after, but better to leave one brilliant album as a legacy than slowly fade, right?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Song of the Week #18: "A Darkness Now Is Coming" by Hope & Social

It seems like only five minutes ago Hope & Social released Architect Of This Church, but they're back with another album already. I could swear there was no mention of it when I interviewed them at the start of the year. As with Architect, April can be downloaded for whatever you want to pay, and while not as strong as its predecessor, if you've liked any of their previous work either under the name Hope & Social or Four Day Hombre, there'll be something here of interest.

My pick of the bunch is the folky A Darkness Now Is Coming. At the recent Cuckoo's Fest (from where I took the above pic), for this song the band members scattered themselves around the crowd to play an unplugged version to great effect.

Head over to their website and chuck some money their way!

MP3: Hope & Social - A Darkness Now Is Coming

Monday, 26 April 2010

Song of the Week #17: "Keep Your Eyes On The Road" by Lone Wolf

Some records have more expectations attached to them than others, and this year so far hasn't particularly been full of consistently good releases. I was hugely looking forward to the latest Josh Rouse and Rufus Wainwright albums, and while each has its moments, they're not albums that are finding themselves on the stereo too often. The really big one for me will be the new Crowded House album in June - Neil Finn hasn't let me down yet so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

One other album I now have high hopes for is the debut from Lone Wolf, which is due in May. There's a couple of great songs on his Myspace page, one of which being the thoroughly brilliant Keep Your Eyes On The Road. It's rare that such a great song would have such a great video to match, but everything about this is genius:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Song of the Week #16: "Word Of Mouth Parade" by Gus

Last weekend's Record Store Day reminded me of numerous trips to Minus Zero in London (which I read in the Guardian might sadly be on its last legs). A fantastic little shop, aside from an incredible selection of records and CDs, its key success lay with incredible knowledgeable staff. Reeling off a list of favoured artists to the guy behind the counter, he'd usually come back with a recommendation that turned out to be a winner.

Even in these early days of Spotify, the idea of taking a chance on something unheard and splashing out a tenner on something seems like a very archaic way of doing things. A shame, as the thrill of the risk was quite intoxicating.

One such trip to the shop ended up with me buying a copy of Word Of Mouth Parade by Gus (whose subsequent records came out under the name Gus Black). A lot of the album is standard singer/songwriter fare, but there are some absolute crackers scattered in there too, not least the mesmerising title track.

MP3: Gus - Word Of Mouth Parade

Buy Word Of Mouth Parade @ Amazon

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Song of the Week #15: "Nature Of Love" by Waterfront

There can't be too many songs from the 80s I had on vinyl that I haven't managed to track down on MP3. Once in a while though I'm reminded of something I'd completely forgotten about, and the rush of nostalgia is a powerful thing. Waterfront were quite a forgettable late-80s pop duo who traded in the same kind of stuff as Johnny Hates Jazz. I remember the excitement of finding a 7" box set of their Broken Arrow single (complete with postcards and badge, naturally) at a car boot sale when I was about 12 or 13. Nature Of Love was the big one though, a cracking tune that still sounds fantastic even though the production has, obviously, aged badly.

I probably wouldn't have given Waterfront another thought if the song hadn't been posted over at the excellent Popdose a couple of weeks back, so thankyou Popdose for the memories!

MP3: Waterfront - Nature Of Love

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Song of the Week #14: "Run With Us" by Lisa Lougheed

If you recognise the guy above, you probably grew up in the 80s. The Raccoons was almost certainly the greatest cartoon of the decade, although not one that seems to get much retro love nowadays. But aside from being a great show, it had a theme tune that continually pops up on any 80s compilations I put together. Not an obvious kids' cartoon theme tune ("Come with us / I see passion in your eyes"???), Run With Us by Lisa Lougheed is a power-pop masterpiece.

MP3: Lisa Lougheed - Run With Us