Thursday, January 29, 2009

If you like everything, there's nothing left to love!

They like to rest on windowsills

So, it's been quite a while in the making, but it's finally 100% done and you can finally order one! The compilation was a great joy to put together and finish and I only hope you'll love it as much as I do. As I've noted before, they come in a beautiful handmade sleeves – screenprinted in a lovely blue ink on nice, thick white stock! Oh, and hand-stamped discs, too! But the music is just as good as the sleeve it's in! New or previously unreleased songs (mostly) from 13 fantastic bands from all around the world! Plus the shameless inclusion of a track from my band The Sugarplums! Ha ha. I'm very proud of this compilation and I'm very happy to say that you can finally order yours today for USD $8 PPD no matter where you happen to live! It's limited to a small run of only 150 copies and I won't be making anymore, so hurry scurry! Orders will begin shipping out February 14.

UPDATE! The compilation SOLD OUT!

01. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart :: I Wanna Go All The Way
02. Sarah Plain & Tall :: If Tomorrow
03. The Foxgloves :: Passing Through
04. Knight School :: Death And The Cleaning Maiden
05. The Garlands :: Chandeliers
06. The Sugarplums :: A Pop Wedding In The Winter Weather
07. Brown Recluse Sings :: Night Train
08. Pants Yell! :: Cold Hands, You Make Me Nervous
09. The Winter Club :: The Big Trip
10. The Airfields :: Home Is Always An Imaginary Place
11. The Up Set :: Couldn't Lose Our Youth
12. Horowitz :: Chilwell Olympia
13. The Parallelograms :: Papageno
14. Signed Papercuts :: An Old Memory

Finally, a tremendous thank you to all the bands involved because without you this compilation would certainly not exist!

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The rain is you, the rain is our rendezvous

The Wentletraps

I was introduced to The Wentletraps a few weeks ago, and I've been listening to them on and off since then, but today – sitting inside, watching the outside turn into a frozen wonderland – they just seemed perfect. Ria and Chary play soft, twinkly pop songs ala-Softies straight from The Philippines with love! The two girls take their name from the precious Wentletrap seashell. A good name indeed for a band so delicate and beautiful. "The Rain Knows" is my favorite of them all, but every song they have up on MySpace is worthy of multiple listens. Hopefully we'll see some sort of release in the future!

[MP3]: The Wentletraps :: The Rain Knows

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grumble grumble grumble...

While reading through this article (and it's subsequent comments) on Tom and Trev's new Fuzzy Pop blog (which you should read, by the way), I came upon this video. I pray this isn't for real, though I think that it may just be.

Not only are the entire seven and a half minutes of the video tremendously cringe-worthy, but some of it is just factually incorrect! Postcard Records released C86 in 1985? Uh huh, and Tony Wilson founded Sarah Records, too! If you really feel the need to make such a misguided video, fine, but come on, at least do your research!

And I guess while I'm still ranting... What is this???

best record labels:

1. Series Two Records 74
2. Slumberland Records 12
3. Matinee Recordings 10
4. Cloudberry Records 8
5. Shelflife Records 4
Wee POP! Records 4
6. Labrador Records 3
Monkeymind Records 2
Magic Marker Records 2
Siesta Records 2
YAY! Records 2

(from the 2008 poll)

Something seems a bit off. Hmm, perhaps it's that Series Two has over 60 more votes than every other label!!! Other labels that, in my humble opinion, had far brighter years than that of Series Two Records. So where did all these votes come from? And why did these 60 or so voters not vote for anything else – as the winners of each and every other voting category topped out at UNDER 20 VOTES?! Something is rotten in the state of Indiepop!

Now if you will excuse me, it snowed a lot today and I'm going sledding.
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I'm in love everyday of the week with you

Some deliciously low-res Gol Gappas.

Gol Gappas were quite possibly the best jangle that Él ever had going for it, and as such, it's quite a terrible shame that all they left was one EP ('Dinner with Nougat', 1986) and one single ('West 14 / Roman', ???) – a grand total of only six songs! But let's look at the glass half-full here, if we may. Each of these songs are pretty much perfect slices of classic mid-eighties POP!, and here's one of them, my favorite, "West 14". This song, as well as another, "St. Lucy", appeared on volume one of Él's singles compilation 'Bellissimmo!' in 1993. As for Gol Gappas two original releases, good luck, because they seem to be pretty few and far between these days.

[MP3]: Gol Gappas :: West 14

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Monday, January 26, 2009

In the evening you invited me to have tea

Niza in 2000.

Kris posted Niza's song "Por Las Tardes" on Heaven Is Above Your Head back on the 21st of January, but I just recently got around to listening to it. Like him, I'm in love! I can't say I've ever heard of them until now, but this song alone is enough to convince me to pick up their lone 2002 LP on Elefant Records, 'Canciones de temporada'. I'm not gonna post the track – you can get it over at Kris' blog – but here's the equally great video for the song that I just found last night!

Order 'Canciones de temporada' from Elefant!

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beat the Beat!

Mari Wilson

Since recently listening to (and listening to, and listening to) the Compact Organization compilation 'A Young Person's Guide to Compact' – reissued in 2007 by the wonderful Les Temps Modernes – I've been in a mad rush trying to track down many of the label's original releases. I was particularly taken by Mari Wilson and after managing to find a couple records on ebay, I came upon this video for "Beat the Beat," which is probably my favorite track from the compilation.

Slowly discovering the Compact Organization has been quite fun and the more I listen the more I want to buy up all of their records. Virna Lindt, Shake Shake!, Tot Taylor – They all knew pop music like the back of their hand, and they were good at it! No, they didn't always jangle (in fact, hardly ever), but they had horns, and they had greats melodies, and they had great basslines, but most of all, as Tot Taylor wrote in 1989, they had charm. "Charm you cannot buy. Sometimes people with bad art have it, but it beats technique anyday and it is an indefinable and priceless asset. Compact had charm and that still shines on 'A Young Person's Guide To Compact'."

You can pick up the compilation on CD from LTM here. Or, should you happen to have lots of expendable money, an original copy of is up on ebay for $52. It's not the double LP that Compact released in 1983 originally, but seems to be the more concise single LP that was released that same year licensed by Ariola – which for some reason had a different colored cover, and, even more curiously – includes a total of ZERO Mari Wilson tracks, where four appeared on the initial Compact double LP. Did Germany have something against beehives?

[MP3]: Mari Wilson :: Beat the Beat

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nocturnal Projections

Who's that fifth person?

If the internet were any type of official indication, one would be led to believe that there are currently no physical copies of anything Nocturnal Projections ever released – which, arguably wasn't a lot anyway. Nocturnal Projections were a post-punk band from Stratford, New Zealand that consisted of brothers Peter and Graeme Jefferies, Brett Jones and Gordon Rutherford. They could easily be likened to Joy Division – they had the gloom, and they certainly had brilliant basslines – but they were ultimately not as cold, and not quite as angular, though everytime I listen to "In Purgatory" I can't help but think of "Novelty".

They existed for some time between 1981 and 1983 and released two records for a label called Hit Singles owned by a man named John Doe (no kidding). The Another Year 12" EP marked the debut of the label in 1982, and the following year the band released another 12", this time a self-titled, three-song single. The band also self-released a 7" single and a couple cassettes that preceeded both of the Hit Singles 12"s, as well, but aside from a few compilation appearances, Nocturnal Projections were gone.

Until 1995 that is, when the label Raffmond put together a retrospective CD compilation of the band's work entitled "Nerve Ends In Power Lines". The compilation collected 11 songs, a few of which were unreleased or compilation appearances, but the bands actual releases don't appear in full, which in rather frusterating, considering that not only was it supposed to be a retrospective, but the band only recorded so much. Now this wouldn't be quite as much of an issue to me if, as I've already mentioned, the original releases were a bit easier to find. I'm dying to get my hands on any of those early vinyl releases, so please, if you have any additional information, let me know!

Following the far-too-soon demise of Nocturnal Projections, the brothers Jefferies went on to form the somewhat less exciting, yet more successful This Kind of Punishment and eventually found their way onto Flying Nun, lasting until sometime around 1987, when they released their final record, In The Same Room.

Now that I'm done going on, I suppose you should listen. If this song doesn't get you moving, than you must most certainly be dead. It's over before you know it, but that really is the brilliance of it, isnt it?

[MP3]: Nocturnal Projections :: Walk In A Straight Line (Highly Recommended!)

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Some much needed record shopping!

b/w lovely green striped futon sheets!

When getting to the Black Cat this past Saturday night only to find out that The Raveonettes show was infact SOLD OUT, I was pretty sure the rest of the weekend was sure to be a bust as well, but despite my fears, it turned out to be a pretty lucky weekend for finding some great records! I snatched up a few things at Som Records in DC that same night, and then while up in Philadelphia on Sunday I came upon a few more gems. They're all there in the photo above but for the sake of typing, here's a list! Suffice to say, I'm pretty well pleased!

Citrus Groove - Hit The Ground 7" on Honeychain Records, 1991
Tree Fort Angst - Tilting At Windmills 7" EP on the Bus Stop Label, 1995
Some Velvet Sidewalk - Eyes Like Yours 7" on Seminal Twang, 1992
The Primitives - Pure LP on RCA, 1989
OMD - Enola Gay 12" on DinDisc, 1980
The Durutti Column - Circuses and Bread LP on Factory Benelux, 1985
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Psychocandy LP on Blanco Y Negro, 1985

Nothing over $10 either, except for Circuses and Bread, but I just can't say no to that artwork. It's one of my favorite covers ever. Had to have it. Have you found anything good lately?


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We're all friends that hang around and play

I absolutely LOVE the artwork on this record!

In accordance with their plan of releasing nothing but totally perfect indiepop singles, YAY! Records' next release, the debut single from The Sea Lions, is exactly that!

The Sea Lions hail from from YAY! Records' home turf of Oxnard, CA and are fronted by Adrian Pillado. They play quick, shambling pop songs that will not only make your little POP heart just melt away to nothing, but will leave you flailing about wildly on the dance floor before you even knew what hit you! Reading down the song titles on the single, you get a pretty solid idea of what The Sea Lions are all about: "Let's Groove" on a "Beautiful Day" with "Good Feelings" – Cheesy or not, having listened to both "Beautiful Day" and "Good Feelings", oh, about 15 times now, I can safely vouch for that being spot-on! I can't recommend pre-ordering this record enough, so go, GO and pick one up! Have a listen to "Beautiful Day"!

[MP3]: The Sea Lions :: Beautiful Day (Highly Recommended!!!)

The Sea Lions on MySpace!
YAY! Records on MySpace!
The YAY! shop!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pobpahs on tour!

Pobpah sandwich!

ABC News favs (hehe), The Pains of being Pure at Heart, are celebrating the release of their amazing debut self-titled LP on Slumberland Records with a small bit of a tour in February! I think it's safe to say that if you miss these guys you're going to have a terrible year, so I think you know what you've gotta do. Dates are below!

2/7 - NYC - Mercury Lounge (record release party with Cause Co-Motion!)
2/8 - Philly - Kung Fu Necktie (also with Brown Recluse Sings)
2/9 - DC - Black Cat (also with The Sugarplums)
2/10 - Pittsburgh - Garfield Artworks
2/11 - Chicago - Schubas (also with Very Truly Yours)
2/12 - Toronto - Neutral
2/13 - Montreal - Il Motore
2/14 - Winooski, VT - Monkey House
2/15 - Boston - Middle East (also with Pants Yell!)

* all shows above with The Depreciation Guild

A few more shows in March...
3/13 - Brooklyn, NY - Bell House*
3/14 - Baltimore, MD - Talking Head Club* (also with Thrushes)
3/15 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506*
3/16 - Atlanta, GA - Earl*
3/18 - Austin, TX - SXSW - Red 7 (Terrorbird/Force Field Party)

* with Let's Wrestle

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart on MySpace!!!
Preorder the new record at InSound or Rough Trade!


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She only wants boys with flicknives

Cloudberry 801!

I feel like it's been a while since I've mentioned Cloudberry Records around these parts, though I guess it's not like Roque is dropping new singles on us every week like before. What a fun rush that used to be! Well, in any case, there is now some new Cloudberry upon us – in 3" CD format at that! Cloudberry 801 – which was released sometime around the first of the year, I think – is Cloudberry's first venture into split singles! The single features London collective The Understudies and Chicago's Very Truly Yours – a split split by an ocean!

I knew The Understudies from MySpace a while ago and I remember quite enjoying their songs then, but their first track, "Flicknives" sounds like it could truly be a decade-old classic. These guys could bring a lonesome teenage boy to tears with such grace and ease, that even Morrissey would be proud. On the flip-side it's a different ballgame. Among Very Truly Yours' ranks we find not only pretty much most all of The Lorimer Sound, but also Lisle Fireflies. He seems to be popping up all over the place these days – but who's going to complain?! Very Truly Yours recall early 90s US indiepop at it's best – catchy, fast, and relentlessly jangling! Think perhaps Go Sailor's fanastic melodies with a touch more reverb and a dash of fuzz and you've got "Popsong '91" – hell, the title even references the 90s! I'm quite loving these songs and I'd really, really suggest picking this one up. It's even got ducks! :)

[MP3]: The Understudies :: Flicknives (Very recommended!)
[MP3]: Very Truly Yours :: Popsong '91 (Yes! This one, too!)

Another split 3", this time with Kevin McGrother and My Laundry Life (Yesssssss!) is due out January 25th! More on that one later, once I acquaint my myself a bit more with it!

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Monday, January 12, 2009

I have all the right to feel blue

Jessica and Henry = The Burning Hearts!

Aboa Sleeping is the debut LP from new Shelflife signees Burning Hearts. Burning Hearts are a duo created by Henry Ojala of Cats on Fire and Jessica Rapo of Le Futur Pompiste. I'd been looking forward to hearing their debut for some time now, and a few weeks ago I finally got to! As I expected, it's some of the best sunny, elecro pop I've heard in some time – probably since the last Club 8 record. In fact, some of the songs on Aboa Sleeping remind me quite a lot of Club 8 – "Various Lives" and "Close To Her" in particular. Elsewhere the songs bring to mind Stereolab (sorry guys, they do!) and even, sometimes, their late label-mates, Brittle Stars.

Album opener "I Lost My Colour Vision" is a gem. Placing it in the first spot was a good idea, too, as I can't see how anyone could resist AT LEAST tapping a toe to this one. The song opens with a bouncy, reverbed – almost watery – bassline and a quick programmed drumbeat. Once upon a time, I used to have a few qualms with programmed drums, but those days are long since gone and I think they really work well here (and throughout the rest of the record), keeping the song constantly moving straight through the chorus – which is just brilliant as well. I've got Jessica's vocals – "No colours can change my mood, I have all the right to feel blue, if that's what I'm into" (I think) – stuck in my head, and I'm sure you will, too. Jessica's soft and airy voice holds down the rest of the album as well, painting a blue sky and clouds above the album's already lush landscapes.

Aboa Sleeping is brilliant and catchy indiepop and quite a nice return to form for Shelflife Records – they've got a quite a record on their hands here. It's pretty early, but I think Burning Hearts have already made one of my favorite records of 2009! Aboa Sleeping will be out on February 10th and I'd highly recommend heading over to Shelflife and preordering the LP right now! Here's one of my favorite songs from the record to convince you a bit more, if you weren't already!

[MP3]: Burning Hearts :: Various Lives (Highly Recommended!!!)

Burning Hearts on MySpace!

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dum Dum Girls!

MySpace is the gift that truly keeps giving (though it would be nice if they had not completely fucked up the music player and made downloads impossible), and this week they've given me Dum Dum Girls! Reverb? Yes! Fuzz? Yes! Catchy melodies? Yes! Dum Dum Girls – who I'm assuming are named after the Talk Talk song – is actually the project of just one Dum Dum Girl – a Librarian from L.A. named Dee Dee. Dum Dum Girls are already being compared to their contemporaries, Vivian Girls, but even early on I think Dee Dee's catchy melodies are leaving the other Girls in the dust. For reference, think buzzsaw electric guitars and moody female vocals ala Johnny Johnson or Tracy Tracy (basically any female vocalist with similar first and last names!). I've been listening to the songs on the MySpace quite a lot for the past couple days, and I've decided that if both Knight School and Dum Dum Girls were on, they would end up a very happy couple. I just ordered the Dum Dum Girls' debut EP from Zoo Music and I think you should, too!!! You can do that HERE!

Listen to my personal favorite, "Catholicked"

Dum Dum Girls on MySpace!

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Monday, January 05, 2009

New Bridal Shop! Eeeeeeeeeee!

The Bridal Shop
I've been consistently in love with The Bridal Shop since I first heard "From Seas" almost two years ago and right now I'm extremely excited because I just found out they'll be releasing a new mini album soon! The record, which will be titled In Fragments is going to be a lush, danceable, pop masterpiece if the two songs I've heard so far are any indication! The brilliant thing about The Bridal Shop is that they're so tough to pin down. You hear a song and you think you've got an idea of what they sound like, but then this song and that song – they could be totally different. It's on-your-toes, surprising pop. Not to mention it's also tremendously catchy.

While you wait until what seems like it might be February as of right now, you can listen to this new track from the record. "Ideal State" opens with abrubtly with voices that quickly fade out into sharp programmed strings, that eventually give way to some familiar drum machine and flourish territory. I wasn't too thrilled with the track the first time around, but now that I've been listening to it for the past 24 hours, I've found more than a few parts to latch onto and now it's hard to let go!

[MP3]: The Bridal Shop :: Ideal State (Highly Recommended, of course!)

In Fragments will be out on Plastilina Records sometime soon in the forthcoming months, but for now, if you're one of the unlucky few who haven't yet checked out their Cloudberry 7" "In Violation", I would really, really suggest picking that up!

The Bridal Shop on MySpace!!!

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