Posts Tagged mp3

Date: November 28th, 2012
Cate: new releases

Les Terribles | Quelque chose comme ça

Les Terribles are every bit as reliable as The Bristols. Just as my copy of Ils sont formidables! (2009) started gathering dust, I discovered there’s a new LP from the French beat machine. Everything they churn out is right up there with Ronnie Bird’s francophile take on Them, Kinks et al. In the same tradition, Les Terribles take British and American 60s stompers and turn them into their own by singing them in French. They also stay faithful to their roots by covering obscurities by Canadian and French garage groups. All they while they manage to squeeze in their own compositions, with no telling them apart. For example they cover one of my favourites, from Les Sunlights. “C’est fini” has been comped on Psychegaelic, but I’ve never heard it in full fidelity, which leads me to say Les Terribles’ version sounds a notch better. Another band covered that same song last year, Edinburgh’s Les Bof!. And there are many similarities between the two groups if you look beyond the fact that Les Terribles have a female singer and and Les Bof! a male singer. That however, enable Les Terribles to deliver yé-yé classics in a manner that Les Bof! probably wish they could. In fact, Les Bof! have been known to perform “La fermeture eclair” live (Delphine’s version of “In the Past” by We the People) with a guest vocalist, but here we get a recorded version of the same song. In addition there’s a great cover of Dani’s “La fille a la moto” (also done by April March). The opening track “Chemises a pois, cravates a fleur” is originally by Canadian grop Les Misérables. Les Bof! in turn covered “Vivre avec toi” from the same group’s only LP. With Les Terribles’ habit of not printing songwriting credits it becomes almost impossible to identify the originals, but I can tell you that I’ve never heard a song like “Je rentre tard” before! This is an amazing composition and could have been a hit in 1966. Quelque chose comme ça is out on Screaming Apple, and you can listen to “Porque no?” below, for which they switch to Spanish for once.

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Date: November 26th, 2012
Cate: new releases

The Sugar Stems | Can’t Wait

Your favourite powerpop group Sugar Stems are back with their second longplayer! Switching from Austrian to German labels after a couple of singles on Certified PR, Can’t Wait now drops on Screaming Apple. Featuring both of their recent a-sides, it’s an incredibly solid piece of work. The first album Sweet Sounds of… had a couple of tracks that were just unstoppable – I’m thinking of “I Gotta Know” and “Crybaby” – but fell just short of matching that quality throughout. Now they’ve raised the bar, upped the fidelity slightly and reined in some of the most careening songs. There’s one moment on the LP when they shine as brilliantly as The Innocents or The Shivvers ever did. “Love You to Pieces” is the penultimate song and a gorgeous midtempo number with one of those guitar solos that lead into a key change, before settling into yet another key for the last few bars. But almost every single song serves up a strong chorus, and melodies that would make Blondie proud parents and Jackie DeShannon a proud grandmother. Other standouts include the chugging title track and the organ-driven “Make Up Your Mind”. The release party is next month, but you can already order a copy from Soundflat if you can’t make that. Listen to “Magic Act” below.

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Date: November 15th, 2012
Cate: rediscovered

Os Atonais

This is hard for me to judge, but Brasilian composer and musician Marcelo Birck ought to be fairly well-known at least in South America. Since the mid-80s he has played in a number of bands whose music straddle the divide between contemporary classical music and the Jovem Guarda (as well as the British Invasion that informed it). One of his lesser known groups however, is one he formed together with Leandro Blessman at the tail end of the 90s. Os Atonias released a single album in 2000, and as you can guess the concept was 60s beat with atonal and electronic elements. I don’t understand the lyrics, but I understand they contain a healthy dose of humour. Os Atonais is much more than a novelty band though, the sheer quality of their compositions would rival the best of Brasil’s 60s groups.

This is music for people who like Mark & the Spies and other current groups who go to great lengths to recreate authentic beat recordings. For anyone who wants to know more about Birck, google translate this lengthy article in Portuguese. And listen to the only track in English from Em amplitude modulada below.

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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: September 24th, 2012
Cate: new releases

Thee Goochi Boiz & The Be Helds

What a job Burger has done of putting together the double cassette compilation The Kitty Comp! 52 tracks by as many bands, and as far as I can tell all exclusive (or how about Matthew Sweet covering Fever B’s “This Sea Is My Life” and a Resonars jangle explosion called “I Didn’t Feel So Cold Then”). I’ve made several happy new aquaintances but best of the bunch I think, must be Thee Goochi Boiz from Denver, recorded by Jason Testasecca (who has played with and recorded a bunch of groups like Nobunny, Mandy + Jason and the excellent Harlem). Goochi Boiz’ only release so far is this debut tape that Burger put out last year, but it’s so great I have to post about it despite its lacking news value.  Oops! contains 12 songs every bit as playful and inventive as Harlem’s 2010 album Hippies. But tather than that group’s edgy garage punch, this set is covered in a warm fuzztone that places Goochi Boiz somewhere inbetween Burnt Ones and the Unwed Teenage Mothers. With songs averaging 1½ minutes in length, it’s impossible to get enough of bubblegum hit “Banana Split”, powerpop ripper “This Gun’s For Hire” and the closing love song “You’re the One I Want”. The tape is still availabe from Burger, as well as streaming on bandcamp while they’re waiting for their new album Fast Food For the Teenage Soul to reach the shelves. It will contain their contribution to the comp, called “Why You Gotta Be Mean to Me” and which borrows a guitar line from Love.  Francis Carr from the band was nice enough to send me some rough mixes of a few more new ones, and “You’re Melting” is simply too cool not to let you hear it.

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Another new name on the radar is The Be Helds, out of Montana. This year, they’ve put out what appears to be a self-released LP called Volume 1. The record is brimming with guitar-and-drums garage upheld by strong songwriting. While sharing the approach of say, White Mystery, their sound is more jangly and blues-based, maybe somewhat like Dead Ghosts. It’s quite a murky production, but oozing of good times with its pummeling drums, double vocals and the odd harmonica or whistling. I’m imagining this group would be a whole lot more fun live, but still, they’ve captured some of that nerve on these 10 songs. Buy and stream the whole record on bandcamp. Below is their track from The Kitty Comp, “Just Dreamin'”, which is a free download.

Date: September 12th, 2012
Cate: new releases

Cosmonauts x 2

Orange County’s Cosmonauts have been around for a few years, released two albums worth of decent garage rock. But this year it seems like the band’s sound has finally gelled, and no longer do some of the songs feel needlessly drawn out or like aimless excercises in fuzz. This year Burger put out the new LP If You Wanna Die Then I Wanna Die, and it’s brimming with 12-string riffs, psychedelic keyboards and hypnotic grooves; much to the same effect as their rolemodels in Spacemen 3. It’s no exaggeration to say this album is of the same calibre as the first Crystal Stilts record, though it doesn’t seem likely Cosmonauts will recieve the same hyperbole. Stream the whole thing on bandcamp. As you can see, a few of these songs have been on previous albums, but the fact that these new versions appear here reaffirms my belief that the group have now cemented their sound. Cemented; as in filling up a tub with cement, putting your feet in and then sinking to the bottom of the harbour.

To accompany the album, the people behind Austin Psychfest have put out a 12″ called Lazerbeam. But rather than lead your thoughts to Lazer Guided Melodies, this 4-track ep is a somewhat poppier outing. At least the titletrack has that same immediate quality that Sonny & the Sunsets’ “Lovin’ On an Older Gal” had some three years ago. You simply can’t stop listening to it, and then there also a great live clip of it from Austin Psychfest over here. Call it timeless if you will. A lot of new bands seem to sound like The Stooges (again), and Cosmonauts hit some of the same vibes on the ep, but without being derivative.

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Date: September 6th, 2012
Cate: new releases

The Splits | s/t

The Splits have released that kind of debut LP, like the first Vivian Girls or Golden Triangle albums, that will sit on your record player and relentlessly assault you with its pummeling garage rhythms and half-sung, half-howled vocals. For half an hour, it simply doesn’t let up and you can imagine the singer not cracking a single smile. That this group is from Finland is merely a footnote in the context. They could have played alongside The Luv’d Ones or The Pandoras without being put to shame.

The Splits fit right in on P. Trash who have put out their LP, following a Finnish 7″ release last year. Fans of bands like Lover!, Brimstone Howl and maybe even Swedish punks Vånna Inget or Poppets will dig this record, which sticks to a simple formula but is all the better and dumber for it. You can hear two of the wildest tracks on bandcamp, and below is the catchiest number on the record, called “CFY”. Be sure to check out the previously mentioned First Times as well, in which Kiki is the vocalist.

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Date: August 28th, 2012
Cate: rediscovered

Direct Hits | Collisions At Teen Junction

These Direct Hits were from Manchester and are not to be confused with The Direct Hits on Whaam! Records, who were from London. This trio first made it onto vinyl with two tracks on the Manchester compilation Identity Parade (1980). Out of these “Back to the Sixties” is one of my all-time favourite songs and I’d been looking for this LP ever since. Collisions At Teen Junction was self-financed and released under the makeshift name Bootleg Records, probably named after the Bootleg studio where they recorded the whole thing in one day. While it lacks the fidelity, production and punch (mainly due to the sparse lead guitar) of the recordings of “Back to the Sixties” and “Soul Shoes”, the melodies and bass player Kevin Durkin’s songwriting makes it a very enjoyable listen. Apparently Durkin is not interested in a reissue with the band, but in reaction to copies selling on ebay for large amounts he has put the whole thing on youtube (twice, on different accounts!, thanks to Serge for pointing out). This is great of course, but also a bit of a shame, since his vinyl rips reveal that it was a rather cheap and nasty pressing. If the masters are still around, why not give people a chance to hear the songs in remastered form, which I’m sure a number of labels would be ready to pay up for. A lot more info is posted here, and below is one of the most fully realised songs on the LP, “Jenny Remembers”, which reminds me of the slightly later group The Dentists.

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Date: August 27th, 2012
Cate: new releases

Needles//Pins | 12:34

Here it is, the debut LP from Vancouver’s trashy powerpop trio Needles//Pins on the Mammoth Cave label. Two guys and one girl who will make you sweat, whether you’re jogging in blistering heat or dancing drunkenly in the safety of your room. At least if the 20 minutes it lasts for is enough for you to break out a sweat. The music is in much the same vein as early White Wires, and for some reason it seems Canada is the place to be right now if you wished every band sounded like The Barracudas playing Ramones. Every song on this album is so chock-full of hooks it would be a pun to call them catchy. “Drop It”, “Pulse” and “Hale Bop” are all songs I can’t get sick of even after 4 consecutive plays. 12:34 feels immediate, with the rush of a live recording and you can hardly notice the guitar over-dubs throughout. This is the best release I’ve heard from Mammoth Cave since the Ketamines LP, and you should pick up a copy here. If you like this, I’d also recommend Impo & Tents‘ two great 7″s released this year.

Date: August 20th, 2012
Cate: rediscovered
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The Gentle Touch

The Gentle Touch is an unknown pop-psych group with female vocalists, who released 3 singles on American label Kapp in 1967-68. Best known of these seems to be the final one featuring a version of “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” popularized by soul group The Tams in the same year. Their first single was actually a radio jingle written for a jewelers, called “A Maier & Berkele Diamond Ring”. It was first released locally by the company themselves, before Kapp picked it up and had them rework it as “My One and Only Diamond Ring” and issued it with a new b-side.

Their middle single was first introduced to me through a cover version by Greek group The Happy Balloon, whose only album otherwise consists of much more well-known sunshine pop compostions, such as “Temma Harbour”. I heard the original on the Lost Jukebox series, and it remains one of my favourite songs. The image above is from a recent ebay auction, but the 45 seems easier to find as a UK release on London (their only international release as far as I know, which says something of the song’s quality, written by one Fred Haber). At least that’s the version I just secured a copy of.

The fact that the jewelers, who existed until recent years, were from Atlanta, Georgia, suggests that the group were of similar origins. Here’s their discography. Not to be confused with the Toronto group of the same name, whose lone 45 on RCA Victor has been compiled on Wyld Canada.

Kapp 836: “My One and Only Diamond Ring” / “Rain, Rain, Rain”, 1967
Kapp 871: “Among the First to Know” / “Merry Go Round”, 1967
Kapp 882: “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” / “Rainbows “, 1968

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