Archive for October, 2012

Date: October 31st, 2012
Cate: new releases

Death By Chocolate | Bric-a-Brac

Death By Chocolate have, surprisingly, broken free of Mike Alway’s Terminal Electric Works production house and returned with a new line-up (still comprising Jez Butler and Angie Tillet of course) and a new album Bric-a-Brac that appeared under our very noses without fanfare. This third album, ten years on from the brilliant Zap the World, has so far only been released in the US on the Darla label. The group still stay true to their 1960s Britain frills and fashions, with an increased affection for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop as seen by the cover. The themed vignettes that appear throughout the album is a recurring element from previous albums – on the first album the theme was colours, on the second “favourites” and here it is hotel menus. That theme goes well with Angie Tillet’s purported past as a chambermaid (before or after being the voice of Fantastic Everlasting Gobstopper?) and the transcontinental recording process. Jez Butler (one-time Groove Farm member) divulges on this in a recent radio interview, although the presenter continuously forgets the songtitles and seems more keen to talk about The Groove Farm. (Actually, I too would like to mention that there is a Groove Farm tribute compilation out now.)

One of the best tracks, “(Another) Day Out”, is a reworking of the same track from the second album, Butler tells us. I struggled to find it though, til I realised it’s only on the US release of Zap the World. The tune is originally from one of my favourite British 60s films Smashing Time, with the soundtrack composed by John Addison. Another pop cultural reference is the second song “Are You Being Served?”, the theme to a 70s sitcom of the same name. You’ll find plenty more analog organs on this record, check out “My New Old Organ” and “Kosmonaut” for example. The simply gorgeous instrumental “Something For Jez” also features some classy jazz guitar, and is as good as anything on Butler’s album with Mild Euphoria. As usual Tillet’s voice works best for the spoken pieces, and “Dining With Death” in particular is almost of Marden Hill standard. Listen to the whole record on Spotify and get it through Darla, or if you’re in Europe it would probably be easier to get it straight from the cat’s mouth.

Date: October 31st, 2012
Cate: new releases

The Basements | I’m Dead

We haven’t heard much from the Greek garage scene since The B-Sides, whose 2009 album was among the best releases of that year. There have been a few signs of life, a single by The Barbara Farmers and a 12″ from stalwarts of the scene The Frantic V. But I was also impressed with The Basements’ debut ep from two years ago. Heart of Stone delivered the goods with moody songs heavy on organ in true Greek garage tradition (think The Cardinals, The Sound Explosion). The Lost In Tyme fanzine and record label who put it out (also home to The Mean Things, The Royal Hangmen, The Way-Outs etc.) must be proud of now being able to present us with the first album by The Basements (and the label’s first LP realease to boot!). With 12 strong numbers, I’m Dead shows that the group is here to stay.

Without resort to cover versions, they stretch the limits of their songwriting with a heavier sound and four songs clocking in above 4 minutes. Fans of their 45 will definitely want to check out “I Wanna Come Back” (not a cover!) with its moody harmonies and successful channelling of The Cardinals’ greatness. “What’s Goin’ On” follows a similar mood, with some howling harmonica licks. But the two strongest songs is the breakneck speed “I Don’t Want You No More” in classic put-down fashion, and the following track “Stray Mood” built on a a riff that’s so catchy it could rival “Little Black Egg”. The LP is rounded off by two slightly psychedelic cuts “Run Away Run” and “Hands On Time”. If The Basements can keep this up for another album they’ll have earned themselves a name not only on the Greek 60s scene but worldwide. I reckon they’ll get a load of European festival spots on the strength of this. Check out “Stray Mood” below!

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Date: October 30th, 2012
Cate: new releases

September Girls | Wanting More

Dublin girl-group September Girls (mates with The Pacifics!) are back with their second 45. I hope you’ve already picked up “Green Eyed” that came out on Scottish label Soft Power earlier this year. The new 45 is a three-track EP delivered via Californian label Matinée in a pressing of 500 coloured vinyls. The production here is a bit more full-on and definitely brings Dum Dum Girls, Juniper (if anyone remembers them) and Hollows (also on Soft Power) to mind. Check out the lead track below – very promising if there’s a full-length in the works, and I’d expect no less.

Date: October 29th, 2012
Cate: Design

K&T ponders creative pitching

Stockholm-based studio Konst & Teknik, creators of the brilliant Copypastecharacter.com site (which gives you single-click access to the complete set of glyphs in your system font), have written a short post about the process of creative pitches. More people should support this cause, design is personal and an not assembly line industry.

Date: October 28th, 2012
Cate: new releases

Mujeres | Soft Gems

Here’s a great record that came out recently, from Barcelona garage group Mujeres. They’ve been called Spain’s Black Lips, but personally I find this record more gratifying than any Black Lips full-length effort. Wish I had know about them when I was in Barcelona in the Spring. I only heard of them due to the joint tour they’re doing with The Limiñanas, and their first album is very hard to find online since it’s just called Mujeres. Although that’s three years old now, I recommend looking it up on spotify if you dig Soft Gems, which is their second outing. On bandcamp they also have a couple of 45s and a US tour cassette. But to get back to matters at hand the new album shows a commanding progression with songs that are both harder and more rollicking. You get everything from the VU-styled rhythm of “How I Am” to the Fire Engines guitar sound of “Salvaje” (one of few songs in their own language), and the early 60s twang of ballad “I’m Over With You”. On closing track “Soft Gems Pt. 2″ they even pull of some convincing JAMC guitar-picking. In sound and spirit they land close to many current American groups but perhaps most notably Vancouver groups Dead Ghosts and Indian Wars. They share the desolate Western vibes, but with a slight Mediterranean tinge. If you liked the Mesa Cosa ep that I might have (should have) mentioned here before, this is definitely up your seedy alley. Get if from Sones.

Date: October 24th, 2012
Cate: new releases
4 msgs

Jim Ruiz Set | Mount Curve Avenue

Neo acoustic ambassador Jim Ruiz, forever condemned to being the unwanted search result for a Coen brothers movie, is back with his third album. This time, not as The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group but Jim Ruiz Set, after performing under that moniker for the NYC Chickfactor event in April. Mount Curve Avenue has been a long time coming, originally envisioned as a paid-for-by-subscription release, after the Louis Philippe model. It was finally recorded by Allen Clapp at his Mystery Lawn studio, with the help of many Minneapolis musicians plus a guest appearance from Max Eider (The Jazz Butcher). And as much as I love Allen Clapp, to be honest this album is about ten times better than Clapp’s recent effort, the enjoyable but in comparision rather forgettable Mixed Greens. Mount Curve Avenue has an immediate feel to it, beckoning me to name it Ruiz’ best album to date. Admitted, it has a 14 year lead on its forerunner Sniff. But if I WERE to compare it to the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group albums, there is definitely a void left by Stephanie Winter whose beautiful lead vocals on certain tracks lifted them to a new level. But since they’re divorced I guess this is a natural loss. Also, some of the jazz and klezmer vibes are turned down. This element that previously made some of the songs veer towards novelty, is really only apparent in “Volkswagen Vanagon” set to a boisterous ska beat.

On the whole the strength of the songs is allowed to come to the fore and I would like to think this is the album Jens Lekman would make if he could. Good-humoured, effortless and earnest, Mount Curve Avenue is a 42-minute lesson in stylishness. Ruiz is probably the only person who can get away with a website update due to a new haircut. It’s not for nothing he is legendary, check out this clip from 1989 where he’s playing future LJRG classic “Mij Amsterdam”. The new album is a co-release by Mystery Lawn and Korda and currently only available to subscribers, but it will see a worldwide digital release soon! Below is the opening track, seemingly uniquely designed to charm me, with its rich 12-string sound. Looking through the Jim Ruiz Set facebook photos, it would appear Brian Tighe (of Minneapolis legends The Hang Ups) is to be held responsible for this.

Date: October 23rd, 2012
Cate: graphic design, Music

SIDE49 | Chain & the Gang

The next Record Turnover DJ set will be at Chain & the Gang’s first appearance in Malmö. It’s happening this Friday at Inkonst, which is the same venue the first gig/club night I ever booked was at (in 2007). Thanks to the people who made this gig happen!

SIDE49

Chain and the Gang (US) & Beyond Pink
Inkonst 26/10
9pm-late
100/120 SEK

Date: October 16th, 2012
Cate: new releases

The Flight Reaction | Mourning Light

Just in case this one has slipped you by, Swedish princes of darkness The Flight Reaction have returned with a 45 on 13 O’Clock. This is modern moody garage, so if you enjoy Yesterday’s Thoughts but like a few psychedelic swirls too then this one’s for you. The flip is a cover of the Stones’ “Citadel”. Now, WHEN will they play in Malmö?

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Date: October 16th, 2012
Cate: rediscovered

I’m Losing Tonight

Here’s a tip for fans of the Bitter Bells series, Caveman78 (of one of the longest running 60s garage blogs around) has shared his own series of three moody garage compilations, called I’m Losing Tonight! after the great Canadian group A Passing Fancy’s first single. You’ll find a certain overlap with Bitter Bells, but these ones feature a lot more harder-edged garage and not just jangly ballads. First volume here and then check the following two posts.

Date: October 16th, 2012
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE48 | podcast

In anticipation of tomorrow’s Record Turnover event, here is a new podcast. Maybe it’s just me, but somewhere halfway through autumn you just want to curl up with a blanket, a cup of tea and warm up to some soft psych and folk. Sunshine pop is not always best suited for sunny summer days you see. Which reminds me, to recommend to you Laura Coxeter’s weekly Sunday morning radio show, which gives me much the same feel. Especially one show from a few weeks ago, which you can download or stream at NTS Radio.

SIDE48

Mark Eric – Sad Is the Way That I Feel Revue
Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers – I Told You Once Before Dot
The Magic Mushrooms – Let the Rain Be Me East Coast
The Bumps – It Wasn’t Real Picadilly
The Affection Collection – Don’t Live In the Past Evolution
North Atlantic Invasion Force – Sweet Bird of Love Majestic
The Monocles – On the Other Side of Happiness Chicory
The Lewallen Brothers – What More Can I Say Collectables
The Turtles – Just a Room White Whale
Biddu – Look Out Here I Come Regal Zonophone
The Flying Machine – That Same Old Feeling Janus
The Fun & Games – Don’t Worry Baby UNI
The Ballroom – Lead Me to Love Sundazed
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy – Naturally (Wintry Ways) Big Beat
The Children – Picture Me Atco
The Sidewalk Skipper Band – Strawberry Tuesday Capitol
Peppermint Trolley Company – Lollipop Train Valiant
Sunset Love – A Man In the Park N/A
The Carnival – Dark Star Columbia
Teddy Neeley Five – Where You Are Capitol
Ola & the Janglers – Love Was On Your Mind Gazell
The Rose Garden – If My World Falls Through Atco