Back with our Anthology and more than ready to write down our humble tribute to one hell of a band, with a long and superb career that, inexplicably, has always been ranked as a "second-class" act. Sit down, get your headphones on and waltz around with one of the greatest pop groups. Here's James calling!
A tone of anthemic tunes, a zillion of immediate, contagious pop hooks, a killer live show (please come back to Barcelona soon!), a superb frontman with an incredible voice in the charismatic Tim Booth (from the sweetest melancholy to the most exhilarating joy in a matter of seconds). I will never understand why James has never made it into these ubiquitious "best-of-lists" (not even close of the top positions and, I'm afraid, a rather-to-vastly unknown band outside UK). They have everything and proved it on a very constant basis for many many years. I discovered them by the time 'The best of...' came out, with my brother and I getting so impressed with tunes like 'She's a star' or 'Runaground' we recorded them in as many "Compilation Music Clips" (those were the VHS times, kids) as we could. I'm choosing 'Runaground' it partly because it was the first one that got me completely, and partly because I simply cannot choose in which James' tune is my favourite. That guitar line, the growing tension, the way Booth sings, and how it explodes... Here was a band in which you could (can) hear hints of R.E.M.'s, U2, Pulp, The Smiths, Housemartins, the Britpop's efervescence, Madchester... altogether without being exactly any of them. They were and still are (which is amazing) exciting. And I'm sure they will as long as they want. Long live James!
Today is La Mercè (the local festivity in Barcelona) so we are headed to the BAM Festival concerts. Excited to watch The Goon Sax (keep bringing Australian bands here!) and Lloyd Cole among others... if the rain allow us! So, in order to have a proper "warm-up" for this evening, what's better than a new round of our TOP TEN Jukebox? It's a pretty eclectic one, with stunning comebacks by beloved bands of this Blog as HoneybloodandThe Holiday Crowd, plus many new finds (one courtesy of Pretty Olivia Recordsand another one thanks to the infinite great taste of Rafa Skam), so there's plenty to enjoy. And remember, all songs are available at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).
Back we're be belong. At Walter's Bar-B-Que, Athens, Ga. Photo: Laura Levine
Of course, I had to do something at the Blog, so the idea of a R.E.M.'s playlist seemed the easiest option (If I write about the band I would so emotional and most probably, couldn't finish). It will come shortly sure, but I decided to go for a different option as well. Offering you another kind of "best-of", with my favourite "rarities", plus a few Michael Stipe's collaborations (it's amazing how he can transform a pop song into something irresistibly haunting with so little (check his contribution to Patti Smith and Maria Taylor's tunes). Yes, I included the group cover of the silly yet lovely 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' and the even dumber 'Love Is All Around' because I just love Michael's yodelling and his "paa-parapapa" at the end.
I guess it's just a different way to go back and remember the times spent hunting for that hard-to-find single or that unofficial recording at the record shops of carrer Tallers (I swear there were music shops back then). Or waiting impatiently for the Fan Club Single to arrive each year. Or just getting frustrated in front of the computer for that never-ending shitty download (I'm talking about the pre-Internet and early web days, folks) of that live cover to be completed. So I guess this is not exactly a playlist about music "greatness" (although 'Photograph', 'Happiness' or their version of 'Wall of Death' are personal favourites). It's more an excuse to indulge myself into so many R.E.M. memories, which so frequently tend to be best-music-related memories... As Michael Stipe said, R.E.M. means Remember Every Moment. For so many people, luckily...
And here's the aforementioned 'Happiness', as it's not available on Spotify.
Here we are again with a new round of our TOP TEN Jukebox! This time is a playlist with just one "big name", our beloved red-haired La Sera, but with several Blog friends, like the infallible Persian Leaps, Halfsour or Motorama, plus the regular dose of exciting new finds. So, a bunch of tunes to ignite your weekend or just disconnect from the stress and/or the stupidity of the incredible (is getting worse) politic environment in which we are currently living (corruption is infinite... when you vote what you vote). And remember, all songs are available at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).
Plenty of music to suggest you in our discoverer seriesafter holidays! But first goes first, so let's pay a visit to our dear Antipodes to see (and hear, of course) what's going on with this trio of wonders!
Chook Race. Again (just virtually, damn it!) in Melbourne, Australia, to meet this trio formed by Matt Liveriadis, Carolyn Hawkins and Rob Remedios in 2010. Initially a garage surf band, soon their sound evolved towards a jangly, guitar-driven pop reminiscent of the Flying Nun bands and other lo-fi legends. Debut 7", self-released and self-titled, arrived in 2012, with highly limited tape 'Power Nap' and the 'Cheap Split' 7", alongside with Unity Floors following in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Again self-released, first LP ‘About Time’ came a year later. And now they return with sophomore album ‘Around The House’, out just now via Trouble in Mind (Tenth Court in AU, NZ & Japan). Hard to resist, it has boy-girl harmonies, simple yet urgent jangle riffs to keep you going all day, these sunny vibes melted with the Antipodean trademark melancholia... Another one to fall in love from down under, folks. Keep it coming!
The Wild Poppies. "Short" jump to Wellington, New Zealand, to talk about a long-time disbanded & forgotten combo that, thanks to the love and care for great music by unmissable independent labels. has revived, at least for a while. The Wild Poppies formed around 1986 and recorded the debut LP 'Heroine' and a single called 'Where Is Wellington?'. They relocated to Oxford, UK, toured for a few years with well-known local contemporaries such as Ride and Swervedriver, and released the (sadly, prophetic or ironic?) 'Out of Time' EP dissolving in 1989, when the rave culture emerged. But last year, thanks to Manufactured Recordingsand our dear friends at Pretty Olivia Records 'Heroine: The Wild Poppies Complete Collection' appeared, compiling, for the first time ever, their long out-of-print aforementioned releases as well as demos for many latter-day tracks (both released and unreleased). It's a stunning collection of music. Warm, breezy jangle-pop with hints of a more experimental, shoegazy sound. You now have the chance to (re)discover a lost gem.
Bloodhounds On My Trail. Still in Melbourne, but now getting into the burgeoning shoegaze scene to introduce you this quartet formed in 2013 (based on the fact they played their first gig in February 2014) by Johnny Green, Chris Donaldson, Che Walden and Nik Donaldson. Quickly making some noise locally, they received the support from Tonedeaf and Gabe Lewis from Lowtide, allowing them to record with Matt Hosking their debut EP 'Escape' in October 2014, receiving the overwhelming praise of the blogosphere and shoegazing lovers. A year later got revamped and expanded for a international release by Moon Sound Records, entitled 'Escape II' (including the a remix by the dreampop duo Ummagma), while the group shared slots live with acts like Flyying Colours or Day Ravies. With a new EP about to surface, expectations couldn't be higher with BOMT: their combination of hazy atmospheres and rhythm tension immediately recalls to Ride and Slowdive, with a very appealing nod for that "Velvetian" edge. Big soundscapes for a-soon-to-be big band.
Here we are, ready to unveil the second TOP TEN Jukeboxof the
month, full of "familiar suspects" of the Blog like Pale Spectres, Night FlowersorThe Ocean Party, helping us to make the "adjustment" (don't laugh) to our regular schedules & routines, aside of not letting us succumb to boredom. As Nietzsche said "without music, life would be a mistake". And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).
Here we are again, beginning a new season of concerts! And therefore, in order to honor one of our traditions, here's our personal Agenda of Concerts for this Fall. Luckily, it looks like a really awesome end of year ahead, with the chance to see our beloved Fear of Men or The Wedding Present again, plus exciting newcomers as The Goon Sax or Sunflower Bean (November will be a "busy" month, for sure!). Without, of course, forgetting Primavera Club Festival which, among others, will give us the chance of watching Minor Victories' live (one of our MUSTS for the season). Obviously, we hope to add more proposals soon (September has only started) so we'll have months full of live music! Have a look and see you there!
First Friday of September. The beginning of a new season, full of challenges, uncertainties, big decisions, great reads and, of course, tones of mind-blowing new music ahead. So let's start it properly, with another TOP TEN Jukebox heavy on exciting tunes from veterans that never disappoint like The Primitives, familiar faces like Toy, Hazel English or Greta Morgan (what a song!) and more recent discoveries full of promise... And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).
We're back from holidays & ready to propose you some more eternal songs (in our humble opinion) at our anthology section! It's about two geniuses today, Mark E. Smith and Damo Suzuki... or, more precisely, two of the weirdest, evasive, unreachable and underrated geniuses music has ever had. One of the greatest and most particular music tributes ever written or, at the very least, just a hell of a song!
Song: I Am Damo Suzuki
Artist: The Fall
A couple of songs ago in this section, I was writing about The Wedding Present, The Posies and The Fall's early mixtapes made by a long lost friend with obvious great music taste. Of course, the less immediate of the trio were The Fall's compilation of tunes and albums. But there was something that always kept me listening. And still does. A funny and/or grotesque lyric, a mysterious bass line, an occasional pop hook hidden into the apparent reigning chaos. And the perennial sense of threat and surprise. It was post-punk, but also krautrock, literature, cinema, politics, vaudeville... Anything could happen while Mark E. Smith was singing (or reciting, or shouting, or spitting?). A whole universe packed in a tape. And then there was 'I Am Damo Suzuki', epitomizing the aforementioned "Fall's sound" while, at the same time, inviting me to discover another strange band (from Germany and fronted by a Japanese!). A decomposed riff arriving to the listener in semitones, the atmosphere of a horror movie, a drum beat between the frantic and the somber, and a singer making collide each of his words into the angles of the music lines, howling the chorus?, which still sounds like a mad mantra summoning the spirit of the Can's one-of-a-kind vocalist. I would learn later that lyrics and sound were an incredible marriage, the perfect blend of shape and content in the form of a music tribute. What a trip! Vitamin C for the ears and the soul!