Sitting here at the computer to write about this disc (it's playing right now in the background, and has been for awhile as I've prepared for my radio show tomorrow) I realize that every single song has left an impression on me, and that I'll miss this disc come tomorrow (when I drop it at the station). Modesty Blaise are on the label (Apricot Records) run by one of the fellows in Brideshead, who played in Somerville MA this past summer at the Sky Bar. Although that label is from Germany, Modesty Blaise are from Bristol, in the UK. They play a bubblegum pop that is equally in the 60's and in the modern age. There are 5 songs total on this disc, but the fifth song is a Karaoke version of the first song ('Theme From Uranium Girl'). The CD also functions as a CD-ROM with 2 videos on it: one for 'Uranium Girl' and one for the karaoke version. The principal video is real fun, but I was surprised by the karaoke version; surprised that no one else had thought to do a real karaoke video of such an obvious sing along song as their video. It was fun, and it worked on me! I was singing along with joy. This is the latest Modesty Blaise CD. There is also a full length on Apricot that compiles their singles.
December 21, 1999
The principal song of the new Divine Comedy single also appears on the greatest hits CD we have at the station, but there are 2 more songs on CD1 which are of interest to us. A new version of 'Songs Of Love' from the 1996 'Casanova' LP is here, a remix by Phil Thornalley. But the real treat and find on this disc is the third song, a new song called "I Am", which has music by Leil Hannon, but lyrics by Brian Eno, taken from his book 'A Year (With Swollen Appendices)'. It has Eno sounding enunciation and a cool new sound for The Divine Comedy.
Gentleman Thief are part of a new sound made popular by bands such as Thievery Corporation. Here is part of a posting by Boston's own Brother Cleve from the Exotica list. Cleve is an amazing DJ and rollcalls many of the new bands playing music like Gentleman Thief play: "There's amazing stuff coming out these days, which is why I feel we're in the most creative period for new music in 20 years. If you like Bobby Hughes and Mo Horizons, then look around for records by Soulstance, Resident Filters, Mint Royale, Krafty Kuts, Skeewiff, Blue States, Rainer Truby Trio, Los Chicharrons, Maxwell Implosion, Ceasefire, Le Hammond Inferno, DJ You DJ Me, Ursula 1000........the list goes on and on. A nice introductory compilation is "Kinky Beats" on the Lacerba label. It includes some Now Sound tracks from the '70's interspersed with current breakbeat." -br cleve
A plug about this nice red vinyl single from the girl who runs the label Rocket Girl: "It's incredible, the catchiest single to date. You'll play it once and the lyrics and music will be in your head for days. The A side features Darren from Hefner on vocals. -Vinita xxx" The song hasn't been in my head for days, but it IS good, and the cliche Hefner voice can be easily distinguished. The B-side is slower, but is not a drone out or otherwise waste of wax - it is a fine song on it's own, with vocals by Piano Magic main man Glen Johnson. One of the lyrics in this song is 'Low birth weight' - the title of the newest Piano Magic CD.
Here's the description that drew me in from the Rough Trade update, "limited to 500 copies on evil world which is hefners label.think cardigans meets pulp style guitar". This single is much more immediate and homemade than either of those bands sited by Rough Trade, and the humor in it goes past either of them too. The A-side is an 80's styled electropop anthem that is more influenced by Human League's "Don't You Want Me" than either Cardigans or Pulp to my ears. The B-side is more influenced by Lorraine Bowen Experience with a dose of Carly Simon's 'You're so Vain' for good measure. Both sides of the single are fun, and the whole thing feels right. The only other release on this label is by Ant, which is the drummer for Hefner's solo project.
New band formed by Phil Sutton, who used to play drums in Comet Gain & Velocette. He shares vocals with Jill Drew, who also plays strings & keyboards. Laura Bridge and Andy Jones complete the lineup on guitar and bass. Rough Trade described it as "The a-side is indie meets Dusty Springfield, the B-side is a bit Stereolab-ish". I think it is more spirited than that sentence makes it sound. The B-side sounds a whole lot like the band John Sims. The A-side does have that 'indie' feel, but does not sound stale or written by numbers. It sounds like a band playing a song they really like, and playing it with abandon. It has a great buildup ending too.
Only 400 of these were pressed. I like the Vic Godard song best. He sure has had fair representation this year with a slew of quality releases, new and reissue. The Secret Goldfish have never (to me) surpassed the song "Punk Drone" they put out a few years ago on a different split single on Creeping Bent. The song they have here does have many winning points: an Orange Juice-like riff & a good beat; I guess it's just that the girl who sings doesn't capture me on some level - you may find the song to be a jewel!
Clint Boon used to play keyboards in The Inspiral Carpets. He has a very current sound with this new project. This is his latest single, and has 2 versions of the same song. They are not remixes, they are just versions centered on different instrumentation. I think I like the B-side version best. He calls that one the 'Mark 1 Remix'. He calls the A-side version the 'Full Strength Bascombe Blend'. Clint talks and tells a story over his somewhat funky backing track, which includes a bit of scratching on the B-side.
V-Twin is said to be a loose collective involving different people at different times (and many people sometimes, particulary on stage at their shows) from the Glasgow music scene. The first Domino 7" ("Gifted") had vocals by Katrin of The Pastels. This single features Stevie Jackson & Chris Geddes of Belle & Sebastian (Stevie Jackson plays harmonica on 'Thank You Baby'), and was mixed (at least the A-side) by Kid Loco. 'Thank You Baby' reminds me of the more contemplative side of The Velvet Underground, but with a pop sheen that the Velvets would poo. The B-side sounds a bit like Roddy Frame or Aztec Camera. It is curious about Kid Loco mixing the A-side, as there is nothing glitzy or flash about the sound. The song is good though, and I'd put this as another notch in Kid Loco's belt for credibility and for his emerging greatness.
Fiji is Jamie Hince (who used to front Scarfo) on vocals, guitars, keyboards, & percussion, with Jeremy Stacy on drums. This single has the dirtiest guitar heard this week on it. It chugs, and causes your neck to undulate. Jamie brings the mod sensibilities Scarfo were known for along with him for this band on the a-side, plus an apparent love for delta blues shown on the B-side, bottleneck slide guitar, cracking voice and all.