Archive for March, 2012

Date: March 22nd, 2012
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered
2 msgs

SIDE31 | mix

Before I post the last of the original Bitter Bells mixes I compiled over a year ago now, here’s a another garage mix for you, and one that’s recieved quite a bit of consideration and thought. Garage revival is a tricky ‘genre’ to say the least. You’ll quickly find it’s a veritable jungle of cavemen who’ve gotten lost in the Fuzztones’ questionable aesthetics. Once in a while though, you come upon one of those groups who were just untouchable. Groups that had it all – the looks, the threads, the gear, the sound, but most importantly the songwriting and singing skills that are so often drowned out by poor cover versions and talentless singers. Another sad aspect is the lack of female musicians, which is why groups like The Pandoras and The Brood are so crucial. Many of the best groups were compiled on the excellent Children of Nuggets box set, that came out a few years after Nuggets II. It was a very important entry point for me, at a time when indiepop was my raison d’etre, making me see all the connections bands like The Dentists and The Prisoners (and even Primal Scream) had to 60’s beat and psych. I feel now however that the selections lean too heavily towards ‘paisley underground’ acts. Also, I’ve never liked The Fuzztones. And it wasn’t until last year I realised how magnificent those first two Chesterfield Kings albums are, having been consistently been put off by their post-85 image and sound.

With this compilation I have strived to promote some of the newer (90s) bands that are still forgotten, while also spotlighting some the original revival groups (the oldest track here is from 1983) that were left off. I think I’ve achieved a fairly wide geographical spread here, while it will be apparent which type of sound I am prefer (jangly/moody). We’ve got two bands representing Germany/Swizterland, three from Italy, two from Sweden, six from Scotland and England together, four from the masters of moody: Greece, three from Nederbeatland, and three from France and even one each from Spanish and Australia. The usually over-represented US figure with three semi-legendary outfits. Most importantly, I’ve only picked original songs (as far as I know), even if these bands do some cracking cover versions too.

SIDE31

01 The No-Counts – The Suffering Kind Misty Lane, 1995
02 Head & The Hares – Sun Is Going Away Stanton Park, 1997
03 The Thanes – Come What May Screaming Apple, 2003
04 The Offhooks – Pass the Time State, 2011
05 The Mystreated – It Means Nothing Twist, 1994
06 The Embrooks – Not a Priority Voxx, 2000
07 Crimson Shadows – Even I Tell Lies Sunlight, 1985
08 The Frantic V – Tomorrow Not Tonite On Stage, 2004
09 The Sound Explosion – Send a Message Music Maniac, 1994
10 Yesterday’s Thoughts – Knockin’ On Your Door Action 2002
11 Los Negativos – Un Dia Especial Victoria, 1986
12 The Moviees – Years Ahead of Her Time Sundazed, 2000
13 Mystic Eyes – My Time to Leave Get Hip, 1986
14 The Kartoons – Every Single Time For Monsters, 2006
15 The Cardinals – Blond Girl Action, 1997
16 The Waistcoats – Forever Mine Larsen, 2004
17 Mark & the Spies – But I Do Screaming Apple, 2007
18 The Royal Nonesuch – Why Should I Care? Get Hip, 1990
19 The Kliek – Valleri (Summer In St. Tropez) Vuurland, 1989
20 The Wylde Mammoths – Help That Girl Crypt, 1988
21 Les Playboys – Pars Jungle Media, 1983
22 Paul Messis – When You Pass Me By State, 2011
23 The Frowning Clouds – I’m Sad Saturno, 2010
24 Les Terribles – Yeah Yeah Dionysus, 2005
25 The Bogeymen – She Drives Me Crazy Dig, 1994
26 The Jaybirds – No Time For Crying Music Maniac, 1994
27 The Others – Luv That Gal Misty Lane, 1994

Date: March 18th, 2012
Cate: new releases
1 msg

Outer Minds & Ketamines

As much as Trouble In Mind has had the most impressive release schedule of the spring, Southpaw has managed to put out two of the most anticipated LPs in one quick one-two punch. First of all, Outer Minds finally deliver a full-length after having figured in the background on the new garage scene whilst releasing three magnificnet singles on different labels. Even though there’s only one song I haven’t heard before it’s fantastic to hear these fresh versions of tracks from singles and tapes back to back (only “Gimme a Reason” is the same as the single version heard on the Push My Buttons 7″). The new track to me is closing droner “The Road”, but I get the most joy out of hearing the blistering 12-string on “Conversation” and the two-part track  “Footsteps”. Now I want to hear their next album!

Ketamines is a band that could have eluded few who kept their eye on garage singles released last year. Their HoZac a-side from 2011 “Line By Line” is one of those instant timeless hits that you simply can’t shrug. The Calgary group now deliver a 10-track album packed into 24 minutes, pressed on transparent blue vinyl on 45 rpm, which seems to have become something of a staple of garagepunk records since Vivian Girls released their first LP on 45 rpm. Personally I would have prefered a 33 rpm 10″, but of course C.M. Ruiz’s sleeve art looks great at 12 inches wide. Spaced Out is a split-release between Southpaw and Mammoth Cave in Canada, and the whole record is streaming here. I recently discovered Bandcamp Scrobbler, which is very handy in cases like this one.

If you’re placing an order with Southpaw, be sure to also pick up the late 2011 singles from Pamela (ex-Splinters/Wax Idols) and Estrogen Highs (more about their new album on TIM soon!).

Date: March 18th, 2012
Cate: graphic design, new releases

Kiwi Fugue

We just went to see Tauba Auerbach’s exhibition of Folds at Malmö Art Gallery, but what isn’t reflected by the show so much is Auerbach’s fascination with typography. Apparently she’s made made many works in guache, working with letters in big geometric grotesks. I came upon this facet of her work looking at the catalogue, which is set in Radim Peško ultra-elegant Fugue font (picture I). But also appearing on the cover and in the book is Auerbach’s own font, called Kiwi on the colophon. I haven’t found any information about it online, but it’s also used on the artist’s website (not as selectable text however) as you can see in the screen cap above (picture II).

My favourite works in the Malmö show were the acrylic and glass on wood Shatter VII and VIII. In retrospect I’ve found that this is the same series that have been used on Glasser’s releases on True Panther Sounds. I’ve never listened to Glasser, but these are now among my favourite album covers of the last three years. Here’s the Ring LP.

And there’s an interesting video of the making of the Apply 12″, which you’ll have to see to understand how the packaging functions. If you have 10 minutes to spare you should watch her enchanting collaboration with Cameron Mesirow (Glasser), called Auerglass. Auerbach has also made album art for labels like Mexican Summer and Sacred Bones.

Date: March 18th, 2012
Cate: graphic design

Dear Gertrud | 23 March

Malmö Art Academy’s Bachelor degree show just opened last Friday, and next week some other students of the school are exhibiting at Pleasant Gallery in Copenhagen in a show curated by my friend Kah Bee Chow from New Zealand, who’s graduating with an MFA this spring. The show is for one night only so it’s the digital prescence that will be most important. Accordingly I’ve made the poster as an RGB gif, set in Playtype’s Play font.

Date: March 10th, 2012
Cate: new releases

Death and Vanilla | s/t

Finally Malmö group Death and Vanilla unleashes their debut LP, a co-release between local label Kalligramofon (responsible for one of last year’s absolute top records by Testbild!) and French label Hands In the Dark (who’s first release was actually the D&V ep). The album, pressed on brigth yellow vinyl, opens up with the vast spaciousness of “Rituals” that eventually breaks into a groove worthy of Stereolab. On “Dreams of Sheep” they manage to get frighteningly close to Broadcast’s windswept sound. But the group really come intro their own with the 8-minute twofer “Cul De Sac + The Somnambulists”, where their trademark guitar tremolo eventually meshes in with a much more complicated sonic structure. Two other interesting sister tracks are the closing tracks on each side, “The Unseeing Eye” and “The Unseeing I”, which both create an eerie atmosphere using vibraphone and moog respectively. It’s quite a short album, and while “Library Goblin” would have been a natural single choice in its comparable catchiness, they could arguably have fitted another song in. The excellent “Between Circles” e.g., from the Beko CS01 compilation. The album is released on Tuesday, and there’s a launch event at Krets in Malmö on March 24th. Below are two tracks from the album that you can download for free, and be sure to also check out the video for “Rituals”.

Date: March 3rd, 2012
Cate: rediscovered
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The Rainyard | A Thousand Days

Definitely the most important release of the year is this retrospective from Perth 80s group The Rainyard. Of course, there are still 9 months left but nothing can trump this in my view. I’ve waited several years, since reading “The Rainyard” among the planned releases on the old Bus Stop website and then being in touch with ex-members on myspace. It was hearing “1,000 Days” maybe back in 2006, on the Summershine comp Just a Taste (Slumberland) that did it for me. I tracked down a copy of their only Summershine 7″ a few years later, but that track is not on it. Neither is it on the band’s 1992 minialbum Let It Speed. I eventually found out that there had been a cassette of demos, but sold in local record stores as a proper release, called Icecream Overdrive and probably recorded around 1989. That’s where “1,000 Days” came from as well as a couple of tracks they had on myspace, and these quickly became some of my alltime favourites. While getting into the Australian indie scene, it soon became apparent that The Rainyard had connections to other pop groups, like The Palisades, The Stolen Picassos and The Summer Suns, mainly through Jeff Baker. These bands have given me much joy and I thank The Rainyard for getting me into them and the many other great Australian pop bands from long ago.

Mp3s of the tape eventually appeared on the There and Back Again Lane blog, and now suddenly, this compilation has appeared on bandcamp. It includes all the single tracks, the 8 tracks from the tape, an early version of “Die”, two tracks that were slated for a Firestation compilation as well as two more unreleased songs. The latter four of those songs are so great it makes you wonder how they could not have appeared on a single during the intervening 20 years. Go to bandcamp to buy (name your price!), here is my favourite of the bunch.