Saturday, 30 June 2012

Volume 35

For this post, we are going back in time ... back to the turn of the century, in fact

Go To California - MOTORPSYCHO (from the album Phanterothyme - 2001)

Regular readers will, by now, be aware of my fondness for Scandinavian bands - especially those that sound more authentically American than many American bands. I also have a penchant for bands that change music styles from one release to another. Accordingly, Motorpsycho tick all my boxes.

The title says it all - the perfect West Coast song

I Walk The Earth - KING BISCUIT TIME ( from the album No Style - 2000)

Fans of the late, lamented, (and some would say highly influential) The Beta Band will probably scratch their chin at this and think "Mmmm ... sounds familiar".  It will do. King Biscuit Time was the name that lead singer, Steve Mason, recorded his solo material under. Quite why is a bit of a mystery, because his solo material sounds exactly like .... The Beta Band!

He is now recording under his own name.  His music sounds like ... The Beta Band!

It's Just About The Weather - ALFIE (from the album If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing - 2001)

From Manchester, an indie band for whom fame and fortune sped by without stopping even for a second.  Very much linked to the New Acoustic Movement (see also Badly Drawn Boy, Turin Brakes and, most bizarrely, Elbow!!!), the band had a great deal of critical aclaim with all their albums receiving very favourable reviews. Unfortunately, said reviews were never reflected in the sales figures and the band finally called it a day in 2005

A great shame, because (as this track demonstrates) they were very good indeed!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

34 - The Len Price 3 Special

No excuses for making this post a special, in that all three songs are from a band you have almost certainly never heard of.  The Len Price 3 originate from the Medway towns of England and play in a style that has become synonymous with that part of the UK.  Take the garage sound of the early 60s and add very catchy hooks. A simple formula, but these lads take it to the max and have produced three of my favourite all-time albums.  You cannot help but love them. There are, indeed, three of them. None have ever been called Len Price

Heavy Atmosphere (from the 2005 album "Chinese Burn")

With Your Love (from the 2007 album "Rentacrowd")

Mr Grey (from the 2010 album "Pictures")

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Thirty-three and a third

Short Change Hero : THE HEAVY (from the album The House That Dirt Built –2009)

The most surprisingthing about this band is that they are English. An album that explores soul, garage punk, voodoo swamp revue, a bit of James Brown funk, Hendrix and balls-out rock. By the time you’ve finished listening to the album, they’ve also kicked rockabilly, reggae and even a closing ballad into the gumbo pot. The most surprising thing, however, is how good they are at making it all sound like the work of just one band. Brilliant vocals, just to make things perfect

We've Been Here Before : I AM YOUR AUTOPILOT (from the album Robots In The Orchestra - 2009)

A very slow-burning mix of acoustic, choral and electronica from this Manchester based trio. They call the genre "folktronica" (who makes up these names?) but I call it just very good music.  Shades of Air, Spiritualized with a nod to Simon and Garfunkel. This track starts rather weirdly bt it all comes good after the intro

Special Baby : LACK OF AFRO (from the album My Groove, Your Move - 2009)

Again, not a band but the work of Adam Gibbons, a well-known DJ on the funk and soul scene. It helps, though, that he is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and he is the man behind the bass, keyboards and percussion on this masterful album.  On guitar is his mate, Nick Radford.  The influences are plain - soul, jazz and funk from the 60s and 70s but with a distinctive 90s big beat feel.  Great album title, too

Saturday, 9 June 2012


Safe And Sound : ELECTRIC PRESIDENT (from the album The Violent Blue – 2010)

From Florida, but probably wishing they lived in a bedsit in Camden, this duo released their second album of lo-fi, bedroom pop in 2010 and it was even better than their excellent debut. Not usually a fan of the genre they call “post-rock” but happy to make an exception for this band

The Sweetest Tooth : CAMPHOR (from the album Drawn To Dust – 2008)

Camphor is the name that Max Avery Lichtenstein, the NY-based film score composer, records his songs under. His background shines through with this collection of beautifully scored and orchestrated gems – a hint of country, a smattering of lo-fi, great hooks and choruses

Rosenband : KELLEY POLAR (from the album I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling – 2008)

I don’t own many albums by classically-trained violinists from the tiny state of Rhode Island, but of all the ones I do own, this is far and away the best (OK – this IS the only one I own). Seriously, though, this is one of my all-time favourite tracks from a great album and I am really pleased that a new album is due for release early this year. He has been working with Junior Boys, so that can only bode well

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Volume 31

Money In The Bank : DAWN LANDES (from the album Sweetheart Rodeo – 2010)

From New York out of Kentucky, I make no apology for saying that Dawn is one of my favourite solo artists. Not the country album the name suggests, but country gets a look in as does many other styles.  A quality album

My Step : LITTLE DRAGON (from the album Machine Dreams – 2009)
Multiculturalism throws up some wonderful sounds – add a Japanese female vocalist to a Swedish band, add some synths and a deep love of 70s funk, and you come up with a downtempo classic full of excellent songs

On A Day Like This : BASKERY (from the album Fall Among Thieves – 2008)

The Bondesson sisters sound like they should be from Nashville when you listen to this album, but actually they hail from Gothenburg – yes, another Swedish band! Describing their sound as “banjopunk”, or “killbilly”, they are not actually a million miles from upstaging The Dixie Chicks