A Winter List

That time of year again. Work is slow, lots of tedious photoshopping to do, needed a new mellowish playlist i could work to.  Mostly folkish, some old, some new, some blue.  More females than usual, twee alert for some strings, bit of jangle, bit of gentle groovy psychy and soulish surf pop, and a familiar stonker to wrap it up.  Because at some point it’s going to be spring and i’m going to have to get out of the house.

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Punk Funk 1999-2002

dance please

In the “Fears & The Funk” post Albahooky asked about the Punk Funk revival at the turn of the last millenium so here’s my any-excuse-for-a hastily-thrown-together-playlist playlist. I was still young enough then to be out & about with dancing shoes on, and this stuff was getting caned at the indie joints (as was I). It seems it was called Dance Punk in the states and of course even the name Punk Funk is entirely misleading. Disco beat with noisy guitars and shouty (mainly) men, some cowbell, post punk rhythms, anything to do with DFA records, New York, !!! asking the Glasgow crowd for pills before they started playing, hanging out with Carlos from Interpol on the LES, The ‘Yes New York’ compilation, late period Clash, the kids throwing out their guitars and buying turntables.

A Year of Listening Scottishly – February

So that’s one sixth of the year gone already and another month of listening Scottishly behind me.

For the benefit of those of you who have not been following every post on Facebook, waiting eagerly for each successive day’s slice of Scottish pop heaven, here’s February’s list:

1 Danny Wilson Davy
2 Aztec Camera Stray
3 Twin Atlantic Brothers And Sisters
4 King Creosote You’ve No Clue Do You?
5 Idlewild Love Steals Us From Loneliness
6 Del Amitri Heard Through A Wall
7 The Blue Nile Downtown Lights
8 Altered Images Love To Stay
9 Belle & Sebastian The Boys Are Back In Town (Live)
10 Trashcan Sinatras White Horses
11 Camera Obscura Modern Girl
12 Aztec Camera Jump
13 God Help The Girl Funny Little Frog
14 Orange Juice L.O.V.E. Love
15 Teenage Fanclub Here Comes Your Man
16 Close Lobsters I Kiss The Flower In Bloom
17 Ballboy Donald In The Bushes With A Bag Of Glue
18 Franz Ferdinand Darts Of Pleasure
19 Cocteau Twins Musette And Drums
20 Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan Come Undone
21 Eurythmics There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)
22 The Pastels Up For A Bit
23 Trashcan Sinatras Weightlifting
24 Peatbog Faeries The Naughty Step
25 Roddy Frame English Garden
26 Big Country In A Big Country
27 Mogwai This Messiah Needs Watching
28 Belle & Sebastian Fox In The Snow

I particularly enjoyed ‘covers’ week which presented me with an additional challenge and led me to the discovery of Teenage Fanclub’s excellent version of The PixiesHere Comes Your Man – further themed weeks are in the pipeline.

It’s certainly no struggle finding suitable material and while of course the list is inevitably going to be skewed in favour of my own 1980s, indie-pop leanings, I’ve been trying to mix it up a bit, dipping my toe into the murky waters of folk music for example, and I intend to continue to push the boundaries of my comfort zone as the year progresses. I’m grateful for any suggestions (I’m not taking requests as such – yet!) but please don’t ask for any Nazareth as a Glesga’ Kiss offends…

One thing that’s become very apparent is the dearth of suitable Scottish music dating from before the mid-to-late 1970s and it raises an interesting question. Why did the 1960s pop revolution (apparently) not take hold in Scotland? Both Glasgow and Edinburgh (and Aberdeen and Dundee for that matter) seem like perfect breeding grounds for the sort of guitar-based rhythm and blues/pop bands which sprung up in their hundreds south of the border, but I’m struggling to find anything worthy of inclusion. It’s almost as if the entire nation spent twenty years listening to what was going on elsewhere, taking it all in and quietly, secretively perfecting its pop sensibilities, before handing Edwyn Collins a guitar and a microphone and saying, ‘Go on. You know what to do…’

Of course I may be wrong and there may be some excellent 1960s/early 70s material waiting to be discovered. But that’s for another month.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of highlights from February’s posts…

Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea – A Week with Myself (Feat. Guest DJ Panthercub)

Scholar

Last week I had a research paper/book chapter thing to write, so I took the week off work, set up a desk by the window in the warmest room in the house overlooking the garden, and settled down to work. For someone like me who spends most of the day out of the house, has a young family and a partner not terribly au fait with the concept of compromise (not to mention taste in music on the slightly noisy side) this opportunity to be by myself and listen to whatever the hell I wanted to all day for a week was a very rare and precious thing indeed.

Over the course of the week I listened to about 50 of my own records and despite the mental taxations of the task in hand had one of the most enjoyable weeks in a long long time.

Finding even more time to myself to put it all together to make a podcast was pretty impossible, so I enlisted Panthercub as my official selector and made a fun game of it on a rainy afternoon. It ended up completely different to what I had in mind (I was thinking more noise and less electronica), but there you go, it was out of my hands!

ALL NEW PODCAST – Enjoy!

Blimpy’s Best LPs of 2014 go up to 11 – Part four

seraphine

New household member and French princess Seraphine says she only listens to old school jungle and sometime glitch-step. I don’t quite believe her silky continental sophistications as I’ve seen her secret stash of Serge Gainsbourg, rare groove and booty bass LPs.

2. “Annabel Dream Reader”The Wytches

I’m a 90s kid through and through. Cut me and I bleed jangly indie, shoegaze and pre-major-label grunge (when it was called alt. rock). I’m pop but Sub Pop. I’m sub Sub pop Pop. Pop.

Some folk might think that the terms wretched, noisy & abrasive are negative words to describe music with. I think things went bad when the only audible influence bands took from Nirvana ended up being Nickleback, Puddle Of Mudd, Creed, et al. There are so many bands influenced by Kurt, Thurston, J Mascis whose music sounds nothing like them,  but it was Bleach or Nevermind that made them pick up a guitar.

Rarely a band dares to occupy a space made sacred by Saint Cobain over twenty years ago. Rarer still is a band with the ideas or the chops or the tunes to pull off anything worthwhile.

Filtered through a sixties freakbeat awareness, pre-nevermind rhythm section and a throat shredding south coast accent, The Wytches scream their fucking heads off in memorable pop tunes as distortion reigns supreme. From the fuzz comes transcendence. Touch me; I’m quick.

1. “Soft Friday”Coves

Noise ridden wall of sound pop melodies fuzzy skygaze shoegaze hazy days; the (beautifully sub-40 minutes 10 tracker) Coves record has myriad sparkling & eclectic psyche pop delights that I haven’t stopped listening to since April. 

I just love it so much.