A beautiful, restless track from Tigran Hamasyan’s new album Shadow Theatre, featuring the amazing Areni Agbabian on (wordless) vocals. Lots of references came to mind when I heard this, from the piano playing of Bojan Z to the circular routines of Penguin Cafe Orchestra. But in the overall effect of music and video it seems to me this track shares an affinity with The Ruby Suns’ Tane Mahuta- both draw heavily on folk influences, are based on waltz time, build to emotional climaxes, and are accompanied by endearingly off-beat collage-style black and white films.
It doesn’t seem that long since Mark Everett last toured here, but hell, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to see this band play again. They are here for the No Mean City Festival, but reading between the lines, these guys just love playing together and have a short UK tour to tie in with their festival commitments.
The evening’s entertainment gets off to a predictably unexpected start: bouncers insist that we retreat from the stage to make room for what appears to be a bunch of Virgin cabin crew complete with wheelie cases, but turns out to be a burlesque troupe. I must confess that this didn’t entirely throw me as I had seen them a few years back in Lisbon where the first support act was a ventriloquist. The whole thing passes off in entertaining enough fashion, with the su[pport baton passed to Misty Miller, fully clothed and sporting a Telecaster. Her main inspirations would appear to be PJ Harvey and her former drummer who provides ample subject material for her love songs. I liked her guitar playing which was a mixture of delicacy and dirty open chord distortion.
Eels take the stage in regulation Adidas track suits, beards and sunglasses, with E sporting a somewhat ill-advised headband. Regular followers will be aware of Mark Everett’s whimsical attitude to pleasing audiences. Who can forget the post Blinking Lights tour, a noise-fest that would try the patience of the most ardent fan (and happened to be the ladyllama’s introduction to the band, which had her questioning my sanity). Tonight however we are in safe hands, with a set largely hewn for Wonderful Glorious with a smattering of oldies from Hombre Lobo (Fresh Blood & Tremendous Dynamite), Shootenanny! (Saturday Morning & Dirty Girl) and Electro-Shock Blues ( Climbing Up To The Moon), interspersed with good humoured joshing and band hugs for all concerned. It is rare to see a band enjoy themselves as thoroughly as these guys and the playing is bone-crunchingly tight; a total of three guitarists including The Chet ably driven along by Big Al (the lady llama prefers Kool G Murder, who she claims was “looking at” her in Lisbon!) and the excellent Knuckles. They would certainly be my nomination for best covers act and tonight they excel with a blistering take on Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well and a fabulous and faithful take on the Stones’ Beast of Burden – Amy would surely approve,
After the usual encores the band return after lights up with a kick ass Dog Faced Boy, accompanied by the burlesque troupe, this time fully clothed. A good time was had by all.
As we continue the tracking of the evolution of indie via the teenage lifeline of The Chart Show’s Indie Chart (on a 20 year delay system) we are now deep into 1993.
The six minutes a month refers to the amount of time alt/indie music had on terrestrial television at the time. Very few of us has MTV back then, we had four channels and the occasional hope that someone good would be on Top Of The Pops. So many folks I know of my generation discovered their favourite bands from catching a tiny snippet on The Chart Show on a Saturday morning. Our lives would have been different with Youtube & Spotify, I’m sure.
OK, the observations:
1. There’s a pretty big alt. rock showing from the US. Yes, we called it alt. rock – not grunge. Overall this chart is pretty damn noisy. Suede, heading the Britpop vanguard, must not have had a single out this month. Make no mistake, this chart is pretty damn heavy.
2. “Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us” by the irrepressible BMX Bandits really should have been a world wide smash, it’s a mystery to me why it never was.
3. The Boo Radleys are still in their fuzzy spacey phase, having yet to write any really annoying Britpop anthems Like “Wake Up Boo”, though there always was a pop heart to their tunes.
4. The Voodoo Queens have abandoned their riot grrl leanings and now are singing a song about how to pronounce Keanu Reeves’ name. It’s not very good.
5. I own a fair bit of this chart, my enduring favourites being the 12″s from the Smashing Pumpkins (whose Cherub Rock was the start of their world domination) and of course The Breeders. Cannonball is a classic, as you know, and the video was directed by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth & Spike Jonze. I still listen to these two bands a lot, their music had endured.
6. The Sugar song “Tilted” was from their six track “Beaster” EP, which was heavier and harsher material than their previous, breakthrough, Copper Blue album. “Beaster”, as I figured at the time, was a religious concept album about the life & death of Christ. Maybe.
What were you listening to at the end of the summer of ’93?
So I was down the road in the East Neuk over the weekend, celebrating the non-demise of Fence Records, at an all-dayer in Crail. It was really nice to see some new local bands & performers under the Fence umbrella; the amazing Lidh being one of them. Anyway, she has handily just released a new EP and a video to go with the lead track “Rockpool Hospital”. It’s a bit of an earworm, very moreish, very pretty & happy and the video is tons of fun (show your small children!). Hope you like it. Lidh’s website is here.
………. But it seems that, at last, there will be a new Mazzy Star album.
There is even a single;
Guille Milkyway is La Casa Azul, or at least the producer and the only member of the band who actually performs live. The videos feature the “androids” David, Virginia, Oscar, Clara and Sergio. Milli Vanilli? Or not?
From the seemingly inexhaustible Subterfuge records I give you Bravo Fisher. Unashamedly at the pop end of the spectrum but none the worse for that.
I’m still sort of bitter that i got to RR many years too late for the (Cocaine and) Heroin topic, and as for one who never touched the stuff and never will, i seem to have an inordinate stock of tunes about shooting up. So here i get to make up for it a bit, a snapshot playlist of what’s caught my fancy lately, and some old faves. (I did leave off any duplicates from the RR list.) (We’re also back to business as usual on the rock front there.)
Blacanova are the next up. I like their music. I like their videos.
Luis Brea is from Alcorcón just down the road from Maki Towers. He describes himself as Post-Indie, whatever that may mean.
DJ time. Buffet Libre are the Catalán DJ’s Miguel Sánchez and Marc Constantí and here are a couple of tracks from their new CD Songs for Elaine and a Toxic Avenger remix from a few years back.
Yesterday the Spanish Independent Music Awards were announced. Here’s a run through the main winners, who will be featuring later in the series.
Best Album (and video) of the Year: Los Niños Mutatntes for “Naufragos”
Alondra Bentley was born in Lancaster – her mum is English and her dad is Spanish – but was brought up in Murcia. Along with Anni B Sweet and Russian Red she makes up the “Holy Trinity” of folk-tinged independent female singers currently leading the scene over here.
The Bright are from Zaragoza. They are also wonderful.
Not all Spanish Indie groups sing in English (all the time), thankfully. Some even sing in Catalan. Anímic are from Esparreguera and are definitely from the folk end of the spectrum.
I like Spanish Indie. It doesn’t get a wide audience even here. I’ll try to do a post every week or so, with a few clips from artists that have caught my attention. Some good, some awful (no doubt) – but all worth a listen. Here’s Anni B Sweet. She’s from Malaga and I think she’s great. I’ll run through in vaguely alphabetical order, if that’s OK. (Note: record racks over here have traditionally been done by first name rather than surname). Some letters will no doubt be better represented than others.
Welcome to the special Cross Cultural Edition of He Said – She Said ! ! ! This time we decided to show what we think is typical of the music from each other’s counties ! ! ! So I will be picking typically English tracks and Mr P will be picking typically Japanese tracks ! ! !
We think it will be fun and hope you like the post ! ! !
This time we have chosen to visit each other’s musical heritage in a fantastic cross cultural exchange type of a thing. I think it’s interesting to see how others see us, through the medium of music. We have chosen one contemporary track, one oldie and one traditional. We hope you enjoy the tracks.
Another from the maki files. This is from last year, maki faves Reina Republicana vs Is on a neat coloured vinyl 7″. 3 tracks from Reina Republicana and 4 from Is. Here’s two from each.
Popping a few more cds into i-tunes, I must have reached the twee indie section of my collection. I like this a lot. You may or may not, but here it is. There’s a nice back story to this one: Mai Meneses, the vocalist, was unceremoniously kicked out at the end of the first program of the first series of Operación Triunfo (a sort of Spanish X Factor) and told in no uncertain terms not to give up the day job. When she released this, her first album, most of her erstwhile peers had been long forgotten.
Good to have a slow topic from time to time. Been filling up i-tunes with cds from my collection and had forgotten how much I loved this album when I bought it. 16 songs. Not one over 3 minutes long. Guitars, simple bass lines and a ballsy female vocalists, who are sisters hence the name of the album. The name of the group comes from the brand of jeans their mum used to sell in her shop. Spanish group from Majadahonda (a town just up the road from Maki Towers) – they sing in English so shouldn’t be too hard to relate to. Here from 1995 are half a dozen tracks from their début album.
Ok, so you’ve all been good sports and suffered through my Stones lists, rock lists, garage noise, rock / punk heavy A-list, axe wank list, etc. So i thought that as you were all probably dreading my week for the Spill Game, i’d put up something a bit different. Some of you may remember that i have a not-so-secret hankering for a pretty pop tune. So in honor of VD (i was supposed to be next week, but i switched off with DsD), i did a list of some pretty ear candy instead of the usual ear-splitting stuff. You know the drill – toss one or all, or keep as you see fit.
Will that do?
(Look, there are going to be guitars. There just are. It comes with the turf. But they’re gorgeous Byrds-y, Las-y, melodic, reverby, distorty, feedbacky, groovy, and even maybe some acoustic-y. Maybe a bit of saminess at the beginning of the list, but how can you complain when it’s this easy on the ears. Huh? I do promise that there’s nothing like Jimmy Page taking a dump on a Telecaster.)
Happy VD to all!
(Did this the new player way because a) it cut down on buffering problems, and b) makes it easier to find a specific song.)
I woke up this morning to new My Bloody Valentine music, 22 years after they last released something. Thoughts?
I’m trapped in an abandoned building
Come find me now
We’ll hide out
We’ll speak in our secret tongues
Will you come back to my corner
Spent too long alone tonight
Would you come brighten my corner
A lit torch to the woodpile high
My current earworm is the Frightened Rabbit song, above, I love the you-and-me-against-the world lyrics, a bit soppy maybe but it’s the certain romance that appeals to me, I’ve always believed companionship to be the most important thing – so here are the woozy romantic questions:
1. What’s the sweetest, or most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
2. What’s the sweetest, or most romantic thing that’s been done in your direction?
3. What’s your favourite thing to take the edge off?
4. Did you ever run away anywhere? Where did you go, how far did you get, were you with anyone?
5. I know I banned music questions from EOTWQ, but what’s your favourite romantic lyric?
Grab bag of groovy garage / punk / psych / indie / powerpop / whatever tunes that caught my ear, now that i seem to be able to listen to music again.