Friday, 23 February 2018

LIST 235 - 23/02/18

Hello again,

Right, the Valentine's Special has been and gone now, so put each other down again.  That's better.  Thankyou.  Honestly...

Please enjoy a selection which includes the return of Superchunk, Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance having found enough time to spare from the demands of running Merge Records (needless to say, a far, far bigger undertaking now than when they set it up in 1989 to put out their own band's releases) to vent their collective spleens on all things Trump and Trump-endorsing America.  The high-octane delivery remains intact, likewise the knack for a killer tune - it's grand to have them among us again.  It's also great to be able to revisit the opening track of their 1991 Steve Albini-produced No Pocky For Kitty LP, a tune whose cover version by Good Grief is also well worth the entry money.

Rather more serene is Sarcophagus, taken from Hamilton Mausoleum Suite, a tribute to the eponymous South Lanarkshire building (and one in which an echo can reportedly take fifteen seconds to travel) in the form of a minimalist chamber piece by Teenage Fanclub drummer Francis MacDonald.  Soloists from the Scottish Festival Orchestra help MacDonald realise the ambitions for this project.  Thoughtful and lovely.

Lovely in a somewhat different way is the track by Superorganism, a big, daft piece of sample-heavy day-glo pop which those of you (okay, us) hoping to see the resurgent Daphne & Celeste on tour in March and April will surely embrace fondly.  With my Day Job hat on, the presence of a proliferation of correctly cited Creative Commons CC BY copyright licenses for the snippets of videos in the accompanying promo is very pleasing :-)

In "I wish they were still around" corner this week is Coping Saw, one of that phalanx of jagged, female-fronted punk-pop acts of the late-1990s that would've deservedly strolled onto an Indietracks line-up were Indietracks already a thing back then (see also: Lung Leg, Sally Skull, Dick Johnson, Golden Starlet, International Strike Force - I could go on!).

In "I never knew that was off of that!" corner, meanwhile, we have Theme For Great Cities, an eerie 1981 instrumental by Simple Minds which everyone else on the planet probably already (i) knew about, and (ii) knew was the basis for The Real Life, the 2001 top 20 hit for producer Dave Lee (Joey Negro, Jakatta, etc.) under his Raven Maize alias.  Either way, it's certainly representative of the era of Simple Minds' career on which I'd prefer to dwell, 2018's top ten album doing nothing whatsoever for me from the tracks I've heard on Radio 2 of late, alas....

J xx

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

LIST 234 - 14/02/18 (Valentine's Day special)

Hello there,

Yes, it's a Valentine's Day special.  

Yes, any friend of mine who's had an Indiepop Love Songs mix CD from me in recent times will recognise most of the contents.  

Yes, all bar about half a dozen of these have appeared on previous Lists over the past nine years.  

Yes, there's two XTC tracks (and there would have been two Allo, Darlin' and two Slow Down Tallahassee and about five Field Mice tracks as well, had space permitted).  

Yes, one of these tracks was the first dance at my and Linda's wedding last autumn.

And yes, I'm utterly unapologetic on all counts.

However you choose to celebrate today, if indeed you do, hold your loved one close.

J xx

Click on the link to play each tune:



Friday, 9 February 2018

LIST 233 - 09/02/18

Hello again,

Back to the more regular mish-mash sort of List this week after a couple of recent diversions, but back also, alas, to the need for an in loving memory inclusion, following the passing of South Africa's jazz figurehead Hugh Masekela a fortnight ago at the age of 78.  From the American pop success of the 1960s to the protest songs of his subsequent output via numerous professional collaborations and social initiatives, here was a life fuller than most.

Wiggy Giggy, the second single to be taken from The Lovely Eggs' forthcoming fifth LP This is Eggland, appears from this remove to be gaining the single-minded Lancaster duo the sort of traction and airplay that nothing else previously has; is stardom beckoning, all entirely on their terms?  Mmmm, possibly not quite that, but I'll just settle for a headline slot at Indietracks for them this July, ta.

Elsewhere, it's a pleasure to include the whipsmart Rainbow Reservoir, heading to a fine indiepop venue near you on the 22nd of March, so long as near you happens to be Shakespeares in Sheffield.  I'll see you there.  Choosing Kate Moss with a Moustache is also all the excuse I need to segue into my favourite Moustache of Insanity track straight after.  I miss Moustache of Insanity sooooooooooooooo much.

Dead Moon Night by Dead Moon would have made the cut for last week's eponymous tracks List had I been prepared to bend the rules on wording slightly.  But I wasn't, so I didn't.  The New Wave-tinged Mark Goodier session version of Babylon by Pop Will Eat Itself, meanwhile, is so far superior to the underwhelming ambient version which eventually saw light of day on the band's Dos Dedos Mis Amigos album that to this day I still can't work out why they favoured the latter over the former - fortunately the expanded reissue of said album on Cherry Red includes both.

Finally, here's a question for you.  Which is the one item of music you've left the longest between buying or receiving and actually playing?  

The reason for asking: the Arcwelder track included is one of several I'll be adding in the coming weeks that will have been taken from the triple CD compilation that was given to all attendees at the Camber Sands renewal of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival... in 2002.  I can't honestly give you any sane reason or excuse as to why it stayed in the unplayed pile for a decade and a half when plenty of other things tend to get retrieved from there inside weeks if not days - more fool me, as there are so many splendid tracks on there which could have been enriching my life for years already!

It's not the worst example - somewhere I have an industrial/EBM magazine and compilation which has remained sealed ever since I acquired it during a year spent living and working in Germany in 1995-6, exactly half my lifetime ago.  I wonder if it will ever get a spin...

J xx

Friday, 2 February 2018

LIST 232 - 02/02/18 (eponymous songs)

Hello again,

Now this was great fun to compile - a whole List's worth of songs sharing their names exactly with the performers performing them.  

Other than Rappin'/Rapping in the case of Rappin' Is Fundamental, I allowed myself no concessions whatsoever in terms of alternative spellings or additional words in the title, meaning that otherwise corking tracks such as Dead Moon Night by Dead Moon weren't permitted.  No matter, they'll definitely see light of day on here in due course.  

Elsewhere, the temptation to include the enduringly splendid Talulah Gosh was resisted, for no reason other than it's already managed to appear on two Lists over the years.

An observation.  Over half of the contents of this List date from the 1990s, even without having gone overboard with inclusions from dance/techno acts in which the practice of eponymous track-naming seemed to proliferate the most.  Indeed, only one selection dates from this century - is this a phenomenon which has all but died out, or was I just looking in the wrong places?  Probably the latter...

J xx