Sunday 29 April 2012

September Girls

Twitter can come in really handy.  Not too long ago @atomicbeatgirl linked to songs by a new group from Dublin called September Girls.  With Alex Chilton's voice in my head and a good feeling in my heart, I clicked on the link and was delighted with what I heard.  So, by the looks of things, were those smart kids behind Soft Power Records for tomorrow (Monday, 30th April) they're releasing a cassingle by September Girls.  "Wanting More", the A-side, is one of those rare songs that starts good but gets better and better before ending in a swirling confetti storm of gorgeous girl harmonies.  If it doesn't make you want to splash about with your best pals under the stars at the nearest beach then you've no sense of romance!

Get it here!      

Friday 27 April 2012

I Want Sunday Back Again

Slowly, almost imperceptibly my tastes in soul music have shifted.  Where once I craved only the manic movers, I now yearn just as much for the swaying smoothies.  I guess this can be neatly summed up by saying that I can now appreciate some soul recorded in the 70s.  If I trace it back, this change of heart was prompted by hearing and adoring every single second of Honest Jon's' flawless Bettye Swann compilation cd a few years back.  That cd provided empirical evidence that soul music needn't only be about the spinning and high kicks of the numerous wonderful Kent and Goldmine Northern Soul cds and lps.  Were it needed, Go Ahead's (legendary Northern Soul DJ Richard Searling's current label) recent  7" reissue of Bettye's "I Want Sunday Back Again" provides further proof that there are treats to be had in the 70s output of 60s soul greats.  As ever with Bettye's records, it's all about her devastating vocals.  It scarcely matters what words she's singing when the tone and emotion in her voice can weaken your knees and moisten your eyes.  Only Glen Campbell ever matched her for non-mawkish yearning.  In the rush to bag Kent's Record Store Day exclusives I foolishly didn't buy a copy of it from Monorail.  Hopefully it's still there when I go back this weekend.  If it's not, I envy the person who bought it and who may even have it on their turntable right now. After all, YouTube is no match for vinyl is it?

Sunday 22 April 2012

Playlist for Record Store Day 2012

Record Store Day 2012 at Monorail/Mono was ace fun! I joined the queue at 8:50am and at around 10:30 made it into the shop where I plumped for the Kent Records reissues: the Fame Records five 7" box and 7"s by Clarence Carter and The Yo Yos 7".  Later I was reminded of the Trouble In Mind 4-way covers ep featuring The Liminanas so bagged that, too.  Monorail had put together quite a programme of entertainment which culminated in yet another unforgettable Edwyn Collins set - acoustic this time.  "Blue Boy" was particularly joyous and, maybe I'm just getting older and more tolerant, all the clapping along with "A Girl Like You" felt more celebratory than cringe-worthy.  I looked around and so many people were beaming.  It was a sweet conclusion to a fine day.  As we drove home I had The Go Gos' "We Got The Beat" resounding in my ears.  Thanks to Adele from Sons and Daughters for putting it there.  For my part, I played a slightly shambolic 7" only set between Snowgoose and Linden:

  • Candy Jo Tyler "Mr Tambourine Man" (Laurie)
  • Allo Darlin' "Capricornia" (Fortuna Pop/Slumberland)
  • Kenny O'Dell "Beautiful People" (Vegas)
  • Hollie Cook "Walking in the Sand" (Mr Bongo)
  • Crystal Stilts "Through The Floor" (Fortuna Pop/Slumberland)
  • Girls At Our Best "It's Fashion!" (Record Records)
  • Liechtenstein "Passion For Water" (Fraction Discs)
  • The Twerps "Black Eyes" (Underwater Peoples)
  • Terry Malts "Something About You" (Slumberland)
  • The Scientists "Frantic Romantic" (Agitated)
  • Jay and The Techniques "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" (Smash)
  • Saint Etienne "Tonight" (Heavenly)
  • Jackie DeShannon "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" (Imperial)
  • Primal Scream "All Fall Down" (Creation)
  • The Shames "Special Ones" (Garage Greats)
  • Bleached "Searchin' Through The Past" (Suicide Squeeze)
  • Don Ray "Born A Loser" (RCA Victor - bootleg?)
  • Veronica Falls "My Heart Beats" (Bella Union)
  • The Higher State "Transparent Day" (Get Hip)
  • The Loft "Why Does The Rain" (Creation)
  • Glen Campbell "Galveston" (Ember)
  • Pansy Division feat. Calvin Johnson "Jackson" (K)
  • Bud & Kathy "Hang It Out Dry" (Big Beat)
  • The Normals "Almost Ready" (Last Laugh)

I bought Kenny O'Dell's "Beautiful People" for the occasion.  Its wide-eyed positiveness seemed to be in keeping with the spirit of the day:

Hats off to everyone at Monorail for making Record Store Day 2012 such a memorable occasion and thanks to everyone who came up to say hello or to ask about the tunes I played - thanks for all the kind words, they were much appreciated.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

21st April : Record Store Day @ Mono/Monorail

(Thanks to James Cadden for the use of the picture!)

Not long now till Record Store Day 2012 and the fine, fine folks behind Monorail Music have assembled quite a list of entertainment.  From their recent mailout:

We will be opening at 9am prompt for brisk business but we'll be promoting a friendly, family vibe with home baking, children's activities, an art show, and live music from

Edwyn Collins (pop genius and Liberty approved illustrator/designer)
Linden (feat. Joe McAlinden formerly of Superstar and Groovy Little Numbers etc.)
Dead Flamingos (like Linden signed to Edwyn Collins' AED Records)
Organs Of Love (on Optimo's label)
Snowgoose (feat. Jim McCulloch formerly of The Soup Dragons, Dave McGowan from Teenage Fanclub etc. - their debut lp is launched on Record Store Day)
Human Don't Be Angry (former Arab Strap chap Malcolm Middleton's new guise)

Djs will be:

Keith McIvor (Twitch),
Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai),
Gerard Love (Lightships / Teenage Fanclub)
Adele Bethel (Sons & Daughters)
The Brogues (Not Unloved)

Come on down, it's going to be amazing!

Monorail Music
12 Kings Court
King Street
Glasgow G1 5RB

It's gonna be grand!  Thanks to everyone at Monorail for giving me the chance to drop some carefully selected vinyl on their turntables.  I feel like I've been capped at international level :)  If I'm on early doors when people will be excitedly chatting about their lovely purchases, this is almost certain to get a spin as its giddiness perfectly embodies the excitement of buying a new record:

(There's a Facebook event for the day here)

Friday 6 April 2012

Not Knowing You

I went walking down the Byres Rd
I was hoping to find you there
I counted all the people who hadn’t met you
And those that had didn’t seem to care
Fools don’t know what they’re missing
Not like I do
Fools don’t know what they’re missing
But this fool knows he’s missing you

I bumped into a handsome guy
I hate for just being your type
With his perfect skin
And his flat little stomach
How I wish that’s what I was like
But he don’t know what he’s missing
It seems a little cruel
That he don’t know what he’s missing
While this fool knows he’s missing you

And this ribbon is a medal
For my stupidity
And my chain is a reminder
Of the day when you loved me

Duglas T Stewart's best song?  Maybe.  It's certainly one of his most affecting as is his vocal.

From "My Chain" (Rev-ola)

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Jackie DeShannon "Always Together"

One of the things I loved most about the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple was the repeated use of The Four Tops' "It's The Same Old Song".  Each time it cranked up it made that particular scene just a little bit more memorable.  I'm convinced that had I watched the US VHS version which, due to rights issues, used Neil Diamond's "I'm A Believer" in its place, I wouldn't have loved the film quite as much despite liking both the song and Diamond's version of it.  Likewise, Blue Valentine was greatly elevated through using Penny and The Quarters' eerily soulful "You and Me" as Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams' characters' our tune to the point where it is now synonymous with the film in my mind.  If, as was the case with Blood Simple, the film-makers of Blue Valentine had been unable to license "You and Me" for the DVD release, however, I reckon they should have tried to license Jackie DeShannon's "Always Together".  It has everything you need for an our tune: it's romantic, catchy and you can dance real close in the kitchen to it. It would've been perfect in Blue Valentine!

Today that one song sound-tracked my entire 45 minute commute home from work and the more it played and the more the sky grew pinky orange, the more convinced I became that it was the perfect romantic pop song and that its underplayed, jingling "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" guitars would always be worth more to me than just about any guitar solo ever.

Monday 2 April 2012

Hung up on a dream: Lightships

Sometimes you get hung up on a detail.  From the first play of Lightships' debut lp "Electric Cables" (Geographic) I was floored by the passage about two minutes into "Photosynthesis" where Gerard Love sings "Waited so long, Drifted off in a dream".  He only sings those lines twice but from the first time on that first spin I was convinced that it was the single most beautiful piece of art I'd heard or seen in 2012 and I remain convinced of it.  The rest of the tune is wondrous, all optimistic melodica, stuttering drums and a backgrounded keyboard that makes you tingle in the same way that the Bobby Reed sample on Saint Etienne's "Spring" makes you tingle.  I would love to hear what that group's Wiggs & Stanley would come up with were they ever to remix it.  I suspect it would be sublime.  It's not hard to see why Geographic released "Electric Cables" in spring.  So many of its songs are concerned with blossoming whether it be of a romance or of things in nature.  The air of gentle transformation and quiet noticing is completely enchanting.  It feels like the lp was conceived over repeated walks along a canal or by a river.  There are so many sounds - pretty much all of Tom Crossley's pleasingly non-hippie flute work, for example, or the skipping guitar figure on recent single "Sweetness In Her Spark" - and lyrics - "Gentle one, this world is yours", "I don't plan to let you down", "I sense the magic in her" to quote but three - that are utterly disarming in their easy beauty.  Everything is in balance, too.  For instance. "Silver and Gold" features the record's only chunky fuzz-guitar wash so Love adopts a particularly tender falsetto and the equilibrium is restored.  There won't be many warmer, more consistent or more human records released in 2012.  Taken as a whole or as a collection of lots of exquisite details, it's a record that I know I'll need to return to a lot over the coming months.

(Monorail has signed copies!)