Other Things To Do

It's the 21st Century apparently, so why not come join the Facebook group of the blog of the music. It's what people from the future do.
"Because Midway Still Aren't Coming Back" on Facebook.
If you'd like to contact me, the best way is probably to email:
5318008 at gmail.com

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Anastasia Screamed

We're cheating a bit here, I'm afraid. Not really cheating, but pushing the borders of what I'm doing here, for no other reason than because Anastasia Screamed are Americans and came "out of the same late-'80s post-punk Boston music scene that produced the Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr., and the Pixies".

But they don't really sound like the Pixies or Dinosaur Jr (well, no one does I guess), this particular song sounds almost like an angry James, but with some really top notch jingly-jangly guitars - as all good Fire Records bands could turn out.

There are some pretty good biographies around the internet, not least the above and also here and here so I won't bother you too much with the details.

Instead, have a listen to Anastasia Screamed - Tornado and make up your own minds. Better than the Pixies? Probably not. Just about obscure enough to fit in to these pages? Probably.

I'm at a bit of a loss again I'm afraid. Even though I'm only putting this stuff up here so people can stumble across it and be reminded of the indie vinyl they've got kicking about in the loft, every time I do one of these and I'm not really 100% sure about the band I'm doing I feel like I'm cheating.

If it's any consolation there's a good BMX Bandits one coming...

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Pooh Sticks

More jingly jangly Welsh indie pop today with The Pooh Sticks. Although they keep cropping up on blogs lumped in with twee and shoe-gazing music, we all know they were far more pop than that, and if there'd been any spirit of humour and irony in music in 1991 they'd have been far more successful than they were.

Let's face it, if Blur can drive the country wild by knocking out shit like Country House, then such pop-comedy-classics "Indie-pop ain't Noise Pollution" and "I Know Someone who Knows Someone who knows Alan McGee Quite Well" deserved more than a brief mention in the NME's indie charts.

If you want a good biography, visit The Pooh Sticks fan page (it's on Tripod, so get it while it's hot!) For the meantime, take this from the same site:

Perpetual teenagers and perennial losers, The Pooh Sticks are the best-kept secret of the British indie scene. This is a band that swears eternal allegiance to the unholy trinity of the MC5 ("Back in the USA" era), 60s bubblegum music and mid-70s big pop. Girls are 'groovy' and, for the men, slouching and smoking in the boys' room are compulsory, as the sweet dreams of sussed but cute adolescence burn long and deep.

Formed by Hue Williams (vocals) in late 1987, the line-up was completed by Trudi Tangerine (tambourine/piano), Paul (guitar), Alison (bass) and Stephanie (drums) - they are loath to reveal their surnames. The early sound was a bizarre genre-hopping hybrid of two-minute jangle pop, 'enthusiastic' harmonizing, three-chord punk, girl-group cuteness and, beneath it all, a sharp wit aimed squarely at the po-faced indie scene of the time.

In the best spirit of marketing disasters ... early Pooh Sticks singles were released in a boxed set, prior to being transferred on to the debut album, Pooh Sticks (1988). Japery occasionally lapsed into tweeness ('Goody goody gumdrops, my heart is doing flip flops'), but generally The Pooh Sticks sidestepped smugness in favour of genuine charm and enthusiasm.
So here you go, some cracking early 90s Monkees-style indie pop to listen to: The Pooh Sticks - The World Is Turning On in all it's 'less than two minutes long' glory. Bloody lovely stuff it is too.

Oh yeah, and this particular mp3 is copied from a really fantastically warped blue vinyl 7" single. Don't let anyone tell you that digital downloads are the best way of listening to music. Oh, don't get me wrong, you can use the above to capture the overall essence, but I've got a wobbly 7" that you need to put a weight on so it plays; and even then it's 50:50 whether you'll get the whole thing. That's music. The kids of today just don't understand. Wankers.

Oh, and you can have the video too if you like:

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The High

Formed in Manchester, the Stone Roses would go on to change the face of indie pop with their seminal 1989 debut album (called "The Stone Roses", oddly enough). However, while still young and unknown in 1984, the band had a guitarist called Andy Couzens. Unfortunately for young Mr Couzens, in 1986 a disagreement with the band's the manager ended with him leaving the soon to be massive Roses.

Fortunately for us though, the departed guitarist went off and set up his own band with three former member of another local group called Flag of Convenience*. This new band was called The High.

The band played their first gig in 1989 at the Ritz Ballroom in Manchester - a fantastic venue with a rather springy dancefloor - and were signed straight after to London Records, who they chose over local label Factory amongst others.

Anyway, the usual story follows, hotly-tipped Manchester band, release well-received singles and critically-approved debut album then fail to live up to expectations, hang around for a few years but never recapture the hey-day and split up. They did release a new album in 2004 though. No, me either.

I feel I'm doing the band a disservice, but I'm a bit sketchy on all the details. I was requested (for want of a better word) to put them up and I just can't remember that much about them, so apologies if I've misrepresented.

So this is The High - Box Set Go; the original version of this record was produced by legendary Madchester producers Martin Hannett and John Pennington. Unfortunately this recording is of the 1991 version. The vinyl is in a gatefold sleeve though!

* The fourth member of the band, one Steve Diggle, would soon re-form his original band, The Buzzcocks, you might have heard of them

Kitchens of Distinction

I get a lot of google searches for Kitchens of Distinction coming in to this page from an earlier mention, so it's about time I got about to doing them properly.

Looking about, you get a nice little quote about the band here:

Formed Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1987; Cult band Kitchens of Distinction like to shroud their origins in multiple myths. Sometimes they say that they met in a Turkish sauna; sometimes in a satanist temple in Amsterdam; sometimes - most credibly - at a Dutch gig by the reggae legend Burning Spear.
The band are/were another of the early 90s swooping guitar, wailing feedback, muffled vocals bands that we all love so much.

There's loads about the band around on the internet in places like the One Little Indian site, so I feel a bit like I'm cheating putting them up here, but at the very least I've posted one of these for September and let you have a listen to a nicely scratchy post-vinyl mp3 of one of my favourite recordings.

I've actually got a white label of this: Kitchens of Distinction - Breathing Fear, but it appears that there are more of them out there than actual bought versions, so I'm not going to retire on the profits just yet...

On a side note, there's a shop just up the road from where I used to live that advertises Kitchens of Distinction; it always raised a smile when I wallked past.