Tuesday, 24 May 2011

'Mojo' Soundtrack (Saint Etienne, Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Beth Orton)...

It was late summer 1998 and my family was in London for the day, about to return to the States from a very nice European holiday.  Everyone else used the day to rest at our hotel at Heathrow but I, knowing there were records to be bought and only hours to do it in, hightailed it to Notting Hill Gate and the Portobello Road.  The Rough Trade shop on Talbot Road has always been very special to me, for it was the very first placed I sniffed out when I came to London for the very first time in 1992 ("16, clumsy and shy...").  I was too excited to sleep on the plane and had been up about 40 hours, but once we had checked into the hotel in Bayswater, I just took off and my innate sense of record shopping took me there ; )  That day in 1998 at Rough Trade, I took their "Essential Pop Listening" advice and bought The Rosehips compilation (but that's another post entirely) and also happened upon the 'Mojo' Soundtrack .  It looked particularly awesome, with 2 Saint Etienne songs I'd never heard before ("Please" and "Constantly") and Nick Cave & Gallon Drunk covering "The Big Hurt".

Strangely, I've never met anyone else who seems to know this soundtrack and I can't find out much information on the film, let alone find the film itself (it appears to be a 50's Soho gangster film).  There is an absolutely LOVELY 50's doo-wop song by Marc Almond called "Sequins and Stars" (this was the only place I could find to listen to it on the internet).  David McAlmont doing "I Put A Spell On You",  Nick Cave wrote and sang the title track "Mojo", and a wonderful rendition of "I Love How You Love Me" by Beth Orton.





Monday, 23 May 2011

Flesh For Lulu - "Postcards From Paradise"...

Ah, back in America now, for a week.  Very nice to be home.  And for some reason, being home lately always reminds me of Flesh For Lulu's "Postcards From Paradise", which I seem to have put on every mix cd I've made for driving around back home these past couple of years.  It's just PERFECT POP.





And Paul Westerberg, one of my favourite songwriters, covered it on his "Stereo" album:



Sunday, 22 May 2011

Suede - "The Wild Ones"...

Whenever I'm off to America, as I am today, I always get Suede's "The Wild Ones" stuck in my head, for its "Its a shame your plane is leaving on this sunny day" line.  It is one of my all-time favourite songs.  I realize I must say that a lot ; )  but every since I first heard it when it came out in 1994 I've been in love with it.  And whenever I've made a Top 5 Favourite Songs of All-Time list since then, this has always been on it. So so beautiful, everything about it.




Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mary-Anne och Kalla Handen - "Genom Fingrarna"/The Kick...

I was quite sad to learn that The Kid had broken up.  I had emailed Patrik Bengtsson because that blog post of mine was also appeared on God Is In The TV zine .  And Patrik kindly wrote back letting me know there's a few The Kid songs I didn't have and assuring me they were all still quite busy creatively.  Lots of cool art on Patrik's site, guitarist Frida Sjöstam has a lot going on design-wise and a live video there, and singer Mary-Anne has a new project Mary-Anne och Kalla Handen (Mary-Anne and the Cold Hand) with David Syndqviist of The Kick .  Only one song so far, but WOW! what a song it is!  I don't know what the title means or what she's singing about but it is GLORIOUS POP of the highest order, and you can download it for free.



Genom fingrarna by Mary-Anne & Kalla Handen


I started checking out The Kick too as David's music is so lovely.  And it continues to be here.  A collection of unreleased tracks for free download here.






And the video for "My Darkest Hour",  directed by Frida Sjöstam:


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

New Order - "The Village"...

One of my first favourite New Order songs, it seems, with all the other great ones on 'Power, Corruption & Lies', no one ever mentions "The Village".  With its major key sequenced pattern, oblique lyrics (that I've come to think are about Ian Curtis), and melodic bass, it's classic New Order, bearing a strong resemblance to "Temptation", my other favourite song when I first started listening to them, and one of my favourite ever songs.






And some good live versions:







Strange lyrical additions but some nice guitar work at The Town & Country Club, London 1986:


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Soul Asylum - "Cartoon"...

One of my favourite songs of all-time.  I LOVE Soul Asylum's "Cartoon".  Thinking a lot recently about all the great music I discovered in 1992, seeing this late at night as 120 Minute's 'Time Warp' section (though really only 4 years old).  And this was before we had driving licenses and had to rely on our parents to take us to the cool record stores scattered around the state.  I fell in love with this song the minute I heard it and anxiously awaited buying 'Hang Time', in my opinion their best album (other great songs including "Sometime To Return", "A Little Too Clean" and, well, Side 1 really).  I fondly remember Brian Ewing's dad taking us to Cutler's in New Haven and Bri insisting on getting it for me, as a present, but refering to it as a "prise" (short for "surprise", which it wasn't) for reasons known only to himself.  A few months later, Soul Asylum were to get huge with 'Grave Dancers Union'  but we were lucky enough to see them right before that happened, at Toad's Place with The Lemonheads (about to score big with "It's A Shame About Ray", an album we also fell in love with that summer, so this gig was really really exciting) and Walt Mink.

It's really hard to talk about songs that mean so much to you, isn't it?  But "Cartoon" always has meant quite a lot to me, perhaps best summed up in its lyric "Did it almost make you feel something's gotta happen soon?  Then you wake up feeling lost in your own room".  It's like life, really.   Hopeful melancholy, being stuck but still able to dream, never quite being completely down and out, or if you are, still going for it anyway. It possesses that quality sung in the lines of one of my other all-time favourite songs (also discovered around that time), "makes you wanna feel, makes you wanna try, makes you wanna blow the stars from the sky".

Monday, 16 May 2011

Catch-Up...

My computer was in for repairs the past few days.  As I'm trying to catch up with everything else, here's a few songs that have been on repeat lately:






Friday, 13 May 2011

The Four Tops - "I'll Turn To Stone"...

As Blogger's been down most of the day and I'm heading out the door, this'll be really quick.  A song I've always loved but have been particularly obsessed with lately.





And The Supremes version:

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Songs of Importance...

When I think of songs that are truly Important, two immediately spring to mind.  The Smiths' "Rubber Ring" & The Replacements' "Left Of The Dial".  Songs about how important songs are themselves.




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Here's a demo of "Rubber Ring":






And two great live versions of "Left Of The Dial":





Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Beekeeper playlist...

As mentioned before, Steve Horry and my (first ever) comic, The Beekeeper, is up (you can download the PDF for free from the site).  I also made a Spotify playlist, each song corresponding loosely to a page.  Though, Pulp-like, we ask that you please do not listen to the playlists while reading the comic.  Steve is also going to post a playlist of what he was listening to whilst drawing The Beekeeper (I expect lots of Scott Walker ; ).

As Spotify is still missing lots of music (as a musician I hate that songwriters get a RIDICULOUSLY small royalty from it, but like the fact that you can now preview albums before you buy them), I was forced to make some substitutions, which I thought I'd post here, as they are ACE songs.  Though the songs I ended up using work very nicely as well.

For page 2, I had originally wanted Future Bible Heroes' "I'm A Vampire".  A song that just SCREAMS AWESOME, or rather throws a shout of AWESOME ventriloquist-like out over the dancefloor as its cool self lingers around the edges, watching the proceedings with a lustful glee in its eye.




And for page 5, the page beginning with The Apiarist's door, I thought Chainsaw Kittens' "Connie, I've Found The Door" would work perfectly:


Monday, 9 May 2011

John Frusciante - "Lever Pulled"...

Continuing in the lush melancholic vein of yesterday (though this one's got some dirt in it as well), John Frusciante's "Lever Pulled" is another achingly beautiful piece of music.  A general air of shadow-and-light-specked-greys, the vocal melody is transcendent.  Or rather, encompasses all the grit and glory of gunning for transcendence.



John's music has always meant a lot to me.  I got into the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the time between "Mother's Milk"and "Blood Sugar Sex Magik", shortly before they got huge.  I didn't keep up with them after John left the band the first time, and am only now getting around to listening to their work once he rejoined.  Same for his later solo work, buying one album at a time and really getting to know it.  This lovely song is from "Curtains". 

Reading interviews with John when I was 15 and 16 had a tremendous impact on my knowloedge and appreciation of music, learning about Captain BeefheartFunkadelicKeith Levene & early P.I.L.James Honeyman Scott, as well as many others, and for this I have always been thankful.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Damon Albarn - "Dying Isn't Easy"...

On the train back to London last night, Steve was telling us how the next Nuisance Band's covers set will be Blur.  (If you like dancing to Britpop, from its heights to its most obscure, Nuisance is the club night for you).  And this reminded me of Damon Albarn's gorgeous song tucked away at the end of the 'Ordinary Decent Criminal' soundtrack, "Dying Isn't Easy".  I've always been stunned by this song's beauty, its lush melancholy you inhale deeply and let it linger until you let out a sigh of exquisite pleasure at the end's backing vocals, "just when I needed, needed you".





I remember paying upwards of $30 for this soundtrack on import when it came out in 2000 and I still needed to own everything Blur ever did.  It was totally worth it for this alone, with the added bonus of Bis' AWESOME "Eurodisco".

Saturday, 7 May 2011

David Sylvian & Robert Fripp - "Bringing Down The Light"...

As I'm rushing off to play the first H Bird gig in nearly 3 years (out in the countryside, for someone's birthday party who I don't know), this will have to be quick.

Steve Horry and I launched the site for our comic 'The Beekeeper' last night at midnight. So I thought I'd post something by David Sylvian (no stranger to using 'bee's in his titles, though looking this song up it seems he had little/nothing to do with it.  Though that's somehow in line with The Beekeeper ; )  & Robert Fripp. "Bringing Down The Light" from their "The First Day" album, one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard:


Friday, 6 May 2011

The Toys' - "A Lovers' Concerto" (or, The Classical in Pop, Part 1 I would suppose)...

Soph and I were discussing composers yesterday and I was saying how much I like Shostakovich (on Monday night I walked home from a 19 hour day listening to what my ipod was calling his 'Cello Concerto No. 1 in R Flat, Op. 107' ).  My other favourites would have to be Chopin, Dvorak, and Lizst.  But there are frightful holes in my knowledge.  Although I like what I've heard, I know little about Mozart or Beethoven.  Julia Indelicate always talks about how wonderful Mozart is, and I've been very intrigued by what Robert Anton Wilson has to say about Beethoven, especially as Beethoven apparently once claimed, "Anyone who understands my music will never be unhappy again".

And then I remembered The Toys' "A Lovers' Concerto" which is based on Bach's "Minuet In G Major".  A glorious, uplifting pop song.  Another that I've loved since I was a small boy, when I would listen rapturously as my mother played her collection of 45's from the 60's.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Teresa Brewer - "Music! Music! Music!"...

Another very busy day today so another quick post.  I've loved this song since I was a little boy.  It says it all really:


Gene Page - "All Our Dreams Are Coming True"...

Very busy day!  We finally got print copies of "The Beekeeper" comic, which will be also be viewable online from Saturday here.  And then a fantastic evening at Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic night as part of the London Word Festival at Hackney Round Chapel (with Steve AylettRobin Ince, and Stewart Lee - Stewart Lee's site is awesome by the way, lots of stuff and some free mp3s including Stewart Lee interviewing Alan Moore on Chain Reaction.  Also, I can't recommend Steve Aylett's 'LINT' enough).

So just a quick post, cause I'm now dead tired.  But this is a lovely lovely song by Gene Page, who worked with Barry White amongst many others and also did the 'Blacula' soundtrack.  I discovered this wonder on Saint Etienne's 'The Trip'.  Utterly SMOOTH, gorgeous uplifting melody, major key funk guitar riff, gliding into cool disco.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Kid - "Transient Dance"...

Sweden's The Kid really make music the way I want to hear it.  "Transient Dance", from their "Transient Blood" album (you can listen to the whole thing here), is one of my favourite songs of all-time.  I remember NOT BEING ABLE TO WAIT until it was released, an actual physical craving, constantly checking the myspace to listen to it, again and again and again.  It's got that early/mid-period New Order quality that I love and once again shows that the Swedes really know what's up when it comes to music.  This song makes you want to spin around, fall preposterously in love, disappear into hidden worlds, lick the stars like candy.  "Will I dare to jump, maybe if you hold my hand".



The Kid - Transient Blood by HYBRIS



I first discovered them in 2006, perusing the Hybris (who have released a lot of great stuff - Sibiria, Like Honey, Montt Mardié, El Perro Del Mar) site.  There were a ton of free mp3s up.  And I quickly fell in love with "The Noble Art Of Jealousy", from the cool guitar noise of its intro, through its bubbly synths and all the way past the end of this glorious pop song:




Their first album, "La Société Nouvelle", is excellent.  Like New Order and Throwing Muses thrown into a dangerous amusement park ride.  Their Myspace tells us "The Kid was formed in the basement of Valand Art School in Gothenburg, Sweden 2003 with the hopes to do something outside of the traditional idea of art and as an excuse to just play around. Armed with the mission to “f*ck shit up” and create music reminiscence of lust and heartbreak The Kid was born."  That seems about right.




Monday, 2 May 2011

May Roosevelt - "The One With The List"...

Just a quick post as I'm rushing off to be an extra in David Cross' "The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret" but I discovered this wonderful song the other day by May Roosevelt that I wanted to share.  Came across it while I was looking thru the excellent Greek Alternative Bands blog .  Found some very cool stuff and Marsheaux are on there, who I've been a fan of for 5 years.

From May Roosevelt's site:
PANDA, A STORY ABOUT LOVE AND FEAR
CooRecords 2009

Embarking from the ethereal tradition of Clara Rockmore, the composer and performer May Roosevelt guides the listener through 8 songs dealing with the mysterium tremendum. "Panda, a story about love and fear" is a concept album that narrates a story of a girl that is afraid of almost everything. Will she be able to overcome her weaknesses and embrace the assuring love of a panda or will her fears rule out any chance of happiness? This modern fairytale unravels through a musical dialect comprising unique vocals, English lyrics and a complex of electronic soundscapes. The eight original compositions stem from the esoteric quest for a dreamworld and define its obscure innocence. The production infiltrates the contemporary r'n'b and pop esthetics with sonic nuances of industrial electronica, screamo while leaving enough aural space for the omnipresent and otherworldly cry of the Theremin. May Roosevelt delivers an album where she maps out a path for refining not only the genre of electronica, and the ethereal frequencies but also the possibilities offered by a home studio recording, in complete absence of physical instruments. "Panda" was recorded in total by May herself; a painstaking process where at times she had to cope with broken hard drives, loss of files and other unfortunate surprises. In parallel to her music career, May Roosevelt works as a graphic designer. The EP's artwork is designed by herself and is fully attuned to the music.





Sunday, 1 May 2011

Rezillos - "Top Of The Pops"...

We karaoked The Rezillos' "Top Of The Pops" yesterday and, as always after I hear it, it's been stuck in my head since.  This song is ENORMOUS.  It's got everything I love about punk - killer melody and bursting with energy.  I find it impossible to hear this and not want to pogo with wild abandon.  In fact, it's so good I'm going to post it twice: