Thursday, June 30, 2011
Here's rockin' Melbourne band Dallas Crane rockin' out in a rockin' way:
Dallas Crane - "Dirty Hearts" (2004)
Dallas Crane on MySpace
Dallas Crane on Facebook
(They ain't got no official website no more)
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A couple of days ago a friend (Hi, Kenny!) suggested I listen to a US power pop band called Gladhands. They were active in the 90's, and released two albums before, er, not releasing any more.
I got a hold of their debut album, La Di Da (1997), listened to it, and enjoyed it. It's power pop alright – lots of tunes, lots of guitars – and pleasantly varied (i.e., the songs don't all sound the same).
Here's the opening track:
Gladhands - "Kill'em With Kindness" (1997)
And here's another one:
Gladhands - "Dissatisfaction" (1997)
Not bad at all.
I've been listening to Gladhands' 1997 album La Di Da (see above), and I noticed a familiar melody in the title track. "La Di Da" starts like this:
Gladhands - "La Di Da" (1997) (excerpt)
To me, that sounded enough like this...
Little Anthony & the Imperials - "Goin' Out Of My Head" (1964) (excerpt)
...for me to shout "Hey, that's a musical coincidence!"
Here are the full versions:
Gladhands - "La Di Da" (1997)
Little Anthony & the Imperials - "Goin' Out Of My Head" (1964)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Today's song is by a band I'd never heard of before until I received some information about them by the splendidly magnificent (and magnificently splendid, I might add) Will from the PR company Heapsaflash. (Hi, Will!)
Before I get on with my pointless prattling, I want to express my concern about something in particular...
When Will sent me biographical information about Timothy Nelson & The Infidels, it came in the form of an A4 sheet of paper with a whole heap o' information about the band and the music (on both sides of the paper). One side of the page has a completely black background, like so:
As far as I'm concerned, that page uses way too much ink. Now, I don't know if the PR company has unlimited resources but why use so much ink? (I suppose if the company used a laser printer, then the question would be: Why use so much toner?)
The PR company is called Heapsaflash. I want to call it Heapsaink.
OK. Rant over.
Now to the music...
The helpful Will (I was about to call him Mr. Chappy Man, but then I thought he might not enjoy that very much) pointed me in the direction of I Know This Now, the debut album by the aforementioned Timothy and co.
I've now listened to the album five times, and must say that I found it a much more enjoyable experience than I thought it was going to be. Unfortunately, it was the black-ink-saturated blurb that produced a bit of hesitation and dubiousness in me. A part of the blurb claimed that the music was a sort of Big Star-Wilco hybrid, and "jangly, guitar-heavy folk". From what I heard, it wasn't that at all. For me, the music is more pop with tinges of country. I was going to use the phrase "slightly rootsy", but it's not really. (Well, not as much as Wilco.) There's a fair bit of guitar in it, but it's not what I'd call 'guitar-heavy'. And it's not particularly jangly, either. (It's more 'strummy' than jangly.)
But whatever you want to call it, I think I Know This Now is a mighty decent album. Now, it's not a power pop album, so you may not like it all. (I guess it depends on how much power you like in your pop.) Or maybe you will.
Although I don't usually find myself attracted to albums full of pop with tinges of country (e.g., harmonica, lap-steel guitars, and all those things that get people thinking, "Hmm – that sounds a bit country-ish"), I found listening to this album a surprisingly pleasant and painless experience.
Being an album kind of guy (I've previously banged on about how I love listening to albums from start to finish, so I won't bang on about it here as well), one thing I was very impressed with is that I Know This Now is a proper album. It sounds like a collection of related songs, not just a couple of outstanding songs and the rest filler. It's also frighteningly consistent throughout in the quality of the songwriting, singing, playing, and production. This makes it an album with no dud tracks on it. It also makes it a complete non-chore to listen to.
For me, the advantage of listening to an album I enjoy from start to finish, with no individual songs significantly better (or worse) than any other songs, is that I can confidently tell you this: if you like one song, you're gonna like the album.
The disadvantage is that it's made it extremely difficult for me to choose a song to play you. I'm afraid that playing you only one of the album's songs does that song a disservice because it deserves to be heard in the context of the whole thing (i.e., with its musical siblings).
So, I'm going to choose four songs in the hope that you at least get an idea of the kind of music Mr. Nelson and his Infidels makes, even if you don't get to experience the album (which I think is still the best way to hear Timbo's batch of songs)...
Timothy Nelson & The Infidels - songs wrenched from I Know This Now (2011)
By the way, if you managed to get this far in the post (I hope you packed your lunch for it) and you want to know more about the man, there's an interview with Timothy Nelson over at The Thousands.
Buy I Know This Now at iTunes
Timothy Nelson & The Infidels on Facebook
Timothy Nelson & The Infidels on MySpace
Monday, June 27, 2011
I'm not keen on the sentiment (it is rather impolite), but I love that blues riff:
Town Criers - "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" (1965)
If you're familiar with the song, you may bemoan the version I chose (as in: "Oh, Peter, how could you? It's a great song! And that's such a wimpy version!"). That particular version is here because it's performed by an Australian band. (It's the only Australian one I could find. There may be more, but I ain't found 'em.)
Never fear, though. Here are some groovier versions:
The Pretty Things - "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" (1965)
[From a non-male perspective]
The Delmonas - "Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" (1986 – yes, 1986)
And here's quite possibly the grooviest version of all:
Bo Diddley - "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" (1964)
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Today's song is the direct result of another blogger blogging a song on his blog.*
The indubitable Stonefish (Hi, Stoneyonio!) posted Mary Hopkin's "Goodbye" yesterday. I can't tell you just how much I adore "Goodbye" – or Mary Hopkin. The song is one of those magical tracks that, when I've finished playing it, I'll play it again. Repeatedly. And not get sick of it.
And Mary Hopkin...
I can state quite categorically that, courtesy of "Goodbye", the first musician I ever fell in love with was Mary Hopkin. I was only seven at the time, but it sure felt like love.
Mary Hopkin. Sigh.
Anyway, today's song is indeed "Goodbye", but it's performed not by Mary or the song's author, Macca Mc Fab Mac. It's a version I love just as much as Mary's or Paul's. And it's sung by, er, ah, um...
Here's where things get a little odd. I'm not entirely who gets the credit for this version of "Goodbye". The singer's name is Satoko Fujiwara, but the song is credited to A Harvest Garden, which may be the name of the group she sings in. But it may also be her stage name (like Australian musician Sally Seltmann giving herself a band name, "New Buffalo", or American musician Conor Oberst using the name "Bright Eyes", or American musician Chan Marshall calling herself "Cat Power" etc). I'm not sure if A Harvest Garden is a band or a person, because all the photos I've seen for "A Harvest Garden" are of Satoko only. So I don't know if Satoko is A Harvest Garden, or if A Harvest Garden is actually a band but the band decided to only show photos of her because she's the prettiest member. Who knows?
What I do know is that I'm enchanted by Satoko Fujiwara's voice:
And here she is again:
I honestly can't hear this song enough.
And thanks, Stonefrog, for giving me a reason to listen to "Goodbye" again.
(*In mentioning the word "blog" as many times as possible in one sentence, I thought I might as well "go the whole blog".)
Today we have what I'd call one-and-a-half coincidences. The first one is a definite "Yes!", but I'll admit the second one barely qualifies.
First of all, the proper coincidence...
The theme tune to the TV show The Colbert Report starts off with a brass fanfare and then proceeds with the band playing a propulsive riff. (Trivia time: it was written and performed by Cheap Trick.) This is the fanfare bit:
Cheap Trick - "The Colbert Report Theme Tune" (2005) (excerpt 1)
It took me a while to figure out what that tune reminded me of, but it finally dawned on me that it's the main tune of the Christmas carol "O Come All Ye Faithful".
It also took me a while to find a version of it sung in the same key to illustrate the similarity. When I did find a suitable version, I was mildly surprised. It's by Stryper, a hair metal band. A Christian hair metal band.
Here's how it starts:
Stryper - "O Come All Ye Faithful" (1991) (excerpt)
By the way, Stryper's version of "O Come All Ye Faithful" appears on a 1991 Christmas compilation album entitled The Christmas Album... A Gift Of Hope. With the band on that album are some very strange bedfellows. Just have a look at the album cover:
Now, the second coincidence...
When I heard the theme tune's main riff, with electric guitars blazing, it reminded me of the riff in the Violent Femmes' "Blister In The Sun". When I got around to actually hearing "Blister In The Sun" (as opposed to imaging what the riff was like), though, I realised that it's not that similar to The Colbert Report's riff. Well, maybe a little. I'll let you be the judge...
Cheap Trick - "The Colbert Report Theme Tune" (2005) (excerpt 2)
Violent Femmes - "Blister In The Sun" (1983) (excerpt)
Anyway, here are the full versions:
Cheap Trick - "The Colbert Report Theme Tune" (2005)
Stryper - "O Come All Ye Faithful" (1991)
Violent Femmes - "Blister In The Sun" (1983)
Oh, I want to mention just one more thing before this post ends up longer than it needs to be. (Note to self: Too late!)
Considering the magnitude of the ego belonging to The Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., I wondered if the similarity between the brass fanfare at the start of his theme was actually deliberate, and "O Come All Ye Faithful" was a call to arms for all the true believers (i.e., Colbert's fans).
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I must confess that for me to mention The Wellingtons on this blog I need almost no reason at all. Any excuse will do.
Today's excuse is this:
The Wellingtons have now put their discography on Bandcamp. So far, the band have released three albums. You can now hear (and buy) them all at marvellous, marvellous Bandcamp...
Heading North For The Winter (2008)
For Friends In Far Away Places (2007)
Keeping Up With The Wellingtons (2005)
The Wellingtons official website
The Wellingtons on Lojinx
The Wellingtons on Facebook
The Wellingtons on MySpace
Today's coincidence is quick and easy.
Here's how the verse of The Lovin' Spoonful's "You Didn't Have To be So Nice" (1965) begins:
And here's how the verse of the Ted Mulry Gang's "Sunday Evenings" (1974) begins:
Here are the full versions:
The Lovin' Spoonful - "You Didn't Have To be So Nice" (1965)
Ted Mulry Gang - "Sunday Evenings" (1974)
Friday, June 24, 2011
I don't know if you know about it, but there's a charity album in aid of Japanese disaster relief called Together We Are Not Alone.
Although I'd mentioned it before (on a couple of occasions), the reason I'm mentioning it again is that Justin Kline*, a chap known for writing charming ditties – and someone I've posted about, um, a few times (see previous posts here, here, here, here, and here) – sent me a message spilling the beans on the album's hitherto hidden track:
"Powerpop Academy / Thistime Records has put together a compilation album called "Together We Are Not Alone", featuring an unreleased song of mine "Happiness, Come Back to Me" as a bonus track.
Here's a video of the song: http://youtu.be/ocOZmJpzqnU
Here's a link to purchase the album: http://www.thistimerecords.com/japan/
BandCamp - http://thistimerecords.bandcamp.com/album/together-we-are-not-alone-japan-relief-comp
All proceeds go to the Japan Relief fund. Thanks for your support!!"
And here it is:
Now this is a rhetorical question, and I don't expect Justin (or anyone else) to answer it, but:
Is Justin Kline capable of writing a tune that isn't catchy?
Justin Kline official website
Justin Kline on Facebook
Justin Kline on MySpace
(*I've been trying to think of a pun using Justin's initials, and the only thing I could come up with is something along the lines of "I'd like to see JK rolling along for a few more years...". That's a poor, poor pun, and nowhere near good enough to mention to anyone, so I don't think I'll be using it anytime soon.)
I may need to tread carefully here today, because one of the artists involved in this coincidence belongs to a rather large multinational record company that has a tendency to litigate...
Okey dokey, with that disclaimer out of the way I do want to say that this particular coincidence is extremely small. However, for me it's extremely noticeable because of how similar the two things are (same key, same guitar notes). I've increased the volume of each excerpt because both songs start very quietly.
First up is the band I'd like to not mention specifically for fear of Blogger telling me I can't. Here's how this band's latest single starts:
A band associated with a protective record company - "Walk" (2011) (excerpt)
The jangly guitar part instantly reminded me of the guitar in the right channel at the start of Tal Bachman's 1999 hit "She's So High". I've fiddled about a bit with the audio to help you hear it:
Tal Bachman - "She's So High" (1999) (stereo – please focus on the right channel)
Tal Bachman - "She's So High" (1999) (right channel only)
Here are the full versions:
A band you may have heard of - "Walk" (2011)
Tal Bachman - "She's So High" (1999)
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I've already pestered you about The Bynars, a band from the land of Americans, but they're at it again (making music, that is), so...
Here to pester you one more time is a rather productive band:
By the way, that's available as a free download. Not only productive but generous, too. My kind of musicians.
The Bynars official website
The Bynars on Facebook
The Bynars on Twitter
The Bynars on MySpace
The Bynars at Bandcamp
The Bynars on Sonicbids
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I'm afraid that today's song involves skullduggery on my part.
I found a splendid new blog (i.e., new to me) called Wallaby Beat. It's chock full of what they call "Punk, DIY, powerpop, grillfat, NWOAHM from Australia 1975-1984". (I must admit that I don't know what kind of music "grillfat" is – or "NWOAHM" for that matter.)
One of the songs there was something I'd never heard before. It's "Goodbye Judy", a power-poppy track by a band called Beaut.
Side note: Before I go on with my tale of skullduggery, I just want to say that I think 'Beaut' is a ghastly name for a band. Absolutely ghastly.
Back to the skullduggery...
I listened to "Goodbye Judy", enjoyed it, and thought "Hey, that'd suit my blog." That'd be no problem, I reckoned. I'll just contact Wallaby Beat and ask for permission to use their track on my blog. Easy.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to contact Wallaby Beat anywhere on the blog. No email address, nothing. So, I've had to resort to filching the song and give thanks to whoever can't be contacted on the Wallaby Beat blog.
Here's the filched song:
Beaut - "Goodbye Judy" (1976)
And here's the filched song's B-side:
Beaut - "Paper Chains" (1976)
Thanks, Wallaby Beat – whoever you are!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today's song has a bit of a back-story to it, but I'll try not to take too long telling it...
A chap by the name of Rushbo (hi, Rushbo!) has an ineffable, ineluctable, and inedible* blog entitled Big Plans For Everybody. One of his recent posts was Silver Sun's version of Rush's "Xanadu".
I love the music of both Rush and Silver Sun, and I had no idea that a song combining the talents of those two very odd bedfellows even existed (why would it?), so I was looking forward to hearing it in a big way. After wasting a couple of seconds saying to myself "Oh, man, this is gonna be great, this is gonna be great, this is gonna be GREAT!", I finally got around to listening to Silver Sun's version of "Xanadu". As I was listening, I thought to myself "Oh, man, this IS great. I gotta get the CD."
By the time the track had finished, I'd found the CD (a four-track EP from 1998), bought it, and started my wait by the letterbox. I bought it from someone in England, so I only had to wait a couple of weeks.
Well, it arrived the other day. (Note to self: Yay!)
Because Rushbo's already played you that sterling, sterling version of "Xanadu", I'll play you the EP's title track instead:
Silver Sun - "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" (1998)
Video (embedding disabled. Grrr.)
And here's the original:
Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams - "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" (1978)
Incidentally, on a related (but totally uninteresting) note...
As you may or may not know, I'm a CD fiend. I buy them semi-regularly (i.e., when the money's available). But something very odd happened with the last few CDs I bought. This was purely unconscious and completely unintentional, and I didn't even realise I'd done it until I saw them all sitting next to each other, but the latest batch was by artists all beginning with "S". They were:
- Adam Schmitt - World So Bright (1991)
- The Sighs - What Goes On (1992)
- The Sighs - Different (1995)
- Silver Sun - Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (EP) (1999)
- Sloan - Smeared (1992)
- Sugarbomb - Tastes Like Sugar (1999) (my second copy)
- Sugarbomb - Bully (2001) (my fourth copy – I can't buy enough copies of this)
- The Superjesus - Sumo II (1998)
I have no idea why this would be so, because I buy CDs with no method or system at all. It's simply a case of "Oh yeah, I really like that band – and the CD's cheap... I think I'll buy it" or "Ooh, that looks interesting – and it's cheap... I think I'll buy it" etc. There's never been any grand scheme such as "I think I'll just buy CDs from artists beginning with 'S' this month...", so I'm completely puzzled.
(*Have you ever tried to eat a blog?)
Monday, June 20, 2011
Now, here's something that is Australian and power pop. It's defunct Melbourne band Sarah Sarah with an enjoyable little ditty:
Sarah Sarah - "Song From An 80s Movie" (2003)
(Beware of naughty words)
If you're wondering where you've heard that singer before, wonder no more. The lead vocals were provided by Zac Anthony (Hi, Zac!), the chap who went on to become a Wellington.
Anyway, that track appears on the Sarah Sarah's one-and-only release, an EP from 2003 that hasn't been seen round these parts for nigh on many a year*. But the EP's now been made available for one and all over at Bandcamp courtesy of Popboomerang Records. Yay the Internet!
(*Note to self: don't type anything like that ever again, Peter.)
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Although today's song isn't exactly power pop (note to self: neither is Bert Kaempfert, you big eejit), it is Australian.
Here's possibly the most Australian band of the 70's Skyhooks with a song about the unfortunate consequences for a man spending the night with a girl from a particular suburb of Melbourne (hint: Balwyn):
Skyhooks - "Balwyn Calling" (1974)
Skyhooks were never afraid to get specific about the geography of Australia (predominantly Melbourne), potentially alienating foreign audiences. But that didn't matter to them one bit. They were unapologetically Australian, through and through. They named names while describing life as it was being lived in the early 70's, and shone a light on some of the seamier aspects of Australian culture back then in a wonderfully direct, but literate way. I think they're a national treasure.
Skyhooks official website
Saturday, June 18, 2011
After the magnificence of The Posies (see yesterday's post), I'm in the mood for something equally magnificent:
Bert Kaempfert – "Afrikaan Beat" (1962)
The brass! The strings! The plink-plink bass guitar! The ultra-relaxed drums! Magnificent.
By the way, this very track was selected ages ago (July last year) by the estimable Frank (Hi, Frank!) as one of Frank's Faves on Fridays, which was a regular feature here for a while. I like Frank's taste in music. And I love the music of Bert Kaempfert.
Friday, June 17, 2011
The other day I was out and about in an automobile, listening to local radio station Three D Radio (they play a fabulous variety of music). While I was listening, "Dream All Day" by The Posies came on, and I thought "Wow – I haven't heard that in ages. I'd forgotten what a great song it is." It also reminded me of the album it's on: 1993's Frosting On The Beater. And then I remembered a comment somebody once made, saying that the album started with one of the best pairs of songs to ever open a rock album. (I think they called it a "1-2 punch".) I'd agree with that.
So, my humble request today is for you to listen – as nature (and The Posies) intended – to the first two tracks on Frosting On The Beater:
The Posies - Frosting On The Beater - Tracks 1 and 2
Yep: a great pair of songs to open a rock album.
Track three is no slouch, either. It's called "Flavor Of The Month", and it sounds a little like this:
The Posies - "Flavor Of The Month" (1993)
Oh, and speaking of those three tracks...
I'm guessing that the band's record company had confidence in what it heard, because all three tracks were chosen to be the album's singles. Track 1 ("Dream All Day") was the first single, track 2 ("Solar Sister") was the second, and track 3 ("Flavor Of The Month") the third. There's quality radio programming right there, folks.
Thank you, Three D Radio, for playing "Dream All Day" on that particular day at that particular time while I was in an automobile listening to Three D Radio.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Here's a song with an introduction I'd call sensitive, folky, and slightly dreary, but once that's out of the way it settles into something I'd call irresistible:
A musician - "Hand Me Downs" (2009)
Today's coincidence is a double-header, with two Australian songs unconsciously borrowing from one American song.
Last week there was a Song of the day by Australian musician Bryan Estepa. The song was "Tongue Tied", and a bit of it reminded me of a part of Del Shannon's "Runaway".
Well, today's Song of the day musician (see above) is also Australian, and a bit of one of his songs (not today's) also reminds me of a part of "Runaway".
Here are them coincidences:
Bryan Estepa - "Tongue Tied" (2011) (excerpt)
Del Shannon - "Runaway" (1961) (excerpt 1)
Today's Song of the day musician - "Pasha Bulker (Where Did I Go Wrong?)" (2009) (excerpt)
Del Shannon - "Runaway" (1961) (excerpt 2)
And the full versions:
Bryan Estepa - "Tongue Tied" (2011)
Today's Song of the day musician - "Pasha Bulker (Where Did I Go Wrong?)" (2009)
Del Shannon - "Runaway" (1961)
What is it with Australian musicians and "Runaway"?
Oh, before I finish this post I want to mention the video for "Pasha Bulker". It appears that he's either a) trying to catch some fish for his girlfriend to win her back; or b) he's given up the idea of winning back his girlfriend and has gone off to what might be the Australian maritime version of the French Foreign Legion...
And by the way (yes, I will get around to finishing this post), the Pashsa Bulker is an actual ship. It's a bulk carrier, it's enormous, and it ran aground off the coast off new South Wales in 2007. But my favourite factoid about the ship is the name of the company that owns it: Japanese Disponent Owners.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Song number three:
Raspberries - "Go All The Way" (1972)
So, the three songs that started my love for power pop:
1. The Marmalade - "Radancer" (1972)
2. Badfinger - "No Matter What" (1970)
3. Raspberries - "Go All The Way" (1972)
It's just occurred to me: those three songs are all in the key of A. I had no idea.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Okey dokey. Here's the second of the three songs that kick-started my love of power pop all those years ago:
Badfinger - "No Matter What" (1970)
Formative song number three tomorrow.