09/10/2008

Incredible Weapons

incredibleweapons

Incredible Weapons : s/t (Autoreleased)

 Incredible Weapons is a one-boy band. Danny started it himself, with a little help from his drumming flatmate and his drawing friend Alex Hornsby (nice artwork!).  

 It all happened halfway between the kitchen and the living-room in an English house. There was water boiling in the kettle and a girl you may fancy a bit was sitting there. It was just a few months ago. Or maybe… maybe I’m telling you a sub-story. You still know what I mean. It happened.

 Danny’s recordings are perfectly situated – in space and time. These five songs directly speak to you. They’re not awkward Xerox copies of anything felt or sung before – no… it is the new, pristine, direct thing. Not the borrowed feeling, not the memories. They’re rather classical pop songs still something else actually happens: there is someone out there. Everything is beautifully mastered, from the guitar playing to the singing.  

 This EP may actually be one of the prettiest demo recordings I ever heard, alongside Tales Of Jenny’s Ferg Sessions (2006). It’s gentle, caressing music à la Goky’s Zygotic Mynci. Sometimes it goes faster, sometimes it goes further (‘Solipsister’, ‘Anna With Stripes’): it’s power and it’s pop. Ever fallen for Ben Kweller? ‘Solipsister’ is a hit. It begs to be played and played again. It begs to be danced to. It’s racing through the room through your heart. It’s truly candid ear-candy. Danny speaks for real. He sings for real. He means it. He means everything, and everything else. What about you?

 It’s like falling in love and pretending you can help it. You poured the girl a cup of tea and she said, ‘Fine’.

E.A.R

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05/10/2008

Shrag

shrag

Shrag by Shrag (wiaiwya)

Several great 7"singles delivered in 2 years time and here is the spanking new debut album from Brighton's finest cream pop combo Shrag, almost sounding like a greatest hits album.

Their music will not turn pop chapters upside-down but listening to those 12 songs in a straight row will definitely reboost your neurones,  and the dirty touch of Woodie Taylor (Comet Gain, Love is All...) at the mix would only be a sketchy explanation for this...

From the convultion and off-key narration of The Fall (Lost Dog, Cupboard Love ) to the henhanced mixed pop of Bis (Forty Five 45s, Hopelessly Wasted)  and the dead-pan choirs of Love is All (Long Term Monster, Mark E. Smith), Shrag combines all the ingredients that could soon turn the ephemeral flower into eternal fragrance...

=> Get it at Rough Trade Shops

=> Shrag : "Pregnancy Scene"

J-M

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28/09/2008

Lostmusic night 26/09/08

Melting Ice Caps / Cocoanut Groove  LIVE in London 26/09/08 

DSCI1146 Friday night at the Enterprise in Camden. The downstairs pub is heaving with people spending the first hours of their well-deserved weekend boozing away with bad rock music blaring away in the background, oblivious that beauty is about to be passing through the small upstairs room.

 I knew Cocoanut Groove would be great (how could he, for tonight was effectively a Olov solo gig, fail to be with songs as gorgeous as the ones which are going to be on that long-delayed fantastic debut album), but I wasn't quite prepared for the brilliance of the Melting Ice Caps. The name had fleetingly caught my attention not so long ago, but I'd not given much attention to the actual music. My loss, for the short "karaoke" type gig (singer + cd player + tambourine) we witnessed tonight was full of utterly brilliant songs. David Shah (for he is the Melting Ice Caps) commanded the stage like a cross between a young Marc Almond and Jarvis Cocker and was utterly compelling to watch.

 The music flitted between early Soft Cell-esque electropop and more orchestral bits recalling early Divine Comedy and fitted the witty and touching lyrics like a glove. "Hard to get" with it's lovelorn overtones (about seeing the one you used to love and have broken up with in other people's faces and in unexpected places) was an early highlight, but really each and every song was a winner. Set closer "selfish bachelor", which is going to be a free download single soon apparently, could have been written especially for and about me (I'd wish!).

DSCI1177
 
As for Cocoanut Groove, what can I say. You'd think Olov and his acoustic guitar would have had a bit of a fight to get over the thumping party noise which came from the downstairs pub, but really from the first note those songs managed to have me transfixed (and I'm sure I was not the only one of us happy few who were there), transporting me from an upstairs room in a Camden pub to a dream of a long lost summer, sun dappled meadows full of wild flowers, a clearing in a dark wood where wild strawberries grow...Olov looks like the young hero from one of those old Swedish youth novels and sings with the voice of an angel.

 And if there is a better new songwriter out there at the moment I'll gladly eat my shoe. It was a short set, but he managed to fit in two songs which aren't even going to be on the debut album. One of them about a park in Stockholm, sounding like a near cousin to "in Gunnersbury Park" by the Hitparade (a particular favourite of Olov), being an absolute highlight. All of you who were not there to witness Cocoanut Groove's debut London show, shame on you! I bet in a few years time you will all pretend to have been there !

Post by Bart, Pics by Tom

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22/09/2008

Liechtenstein

FRACTION_006_250px

Liechtenstein : Apathy 7" (Fraction discs)

The initial parallel between Liechtenstein and C86 girl-fronted bands like The Primitives or The Shop Assistants, on the basis of their first single "Stalking Stills", has been swept away in my mind when I first heard their stunning Misfits cover of "Universal Appeal" last year.

Apparently, if you get the chance to pick them up live, they even make a cover of the wonderful Clothilde's "Saperlipopette", a top notch yéyé tune...  

And this brand new second 7"single  is another step towards pop perfection...  A-side "Apathy" will bring you to a high emotional level, lazy, minimal and innocent like the Marine Girls. Short B-side "Security by Design" is as haunting as if Arthur Lee was putting a spell on The Feminine Complex... WOW !

J-M

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16/09/2008

Mazy Fields

mazy

Mazy Fields : Where sunshine’s sold (Firestation - 2008)

 Where sunshine’s sold is Mazy Fields’ debut album (these five Frankfurt boys are no debutants though). It has an umbrella on the cover and a lot of sun inside. It’s about… love – candy crushes and ventricular crashes. What it does to you. What you do to me. Christoph, the singer, has this loud, invading voice – a rolling thunder of shaking words. However melodious they are, Mazy Fields quite unexpectedly remind me of the 101’ers, the bunch of chaotic cavemen Joe Strummer once fronted. Mazy Fields are not in the least way rioters. There’s a future for them, still they have no time to lose and quickly hit the chords. They know where they’re going. Either you say yes or you say no. Either we do it or we don’t do it. It’s as simple as that. It’s much simpler than us and much simpler than life. Call it pop and get me a cloudy lemonade.

 Mazy Fields leave no gap, no room, no interstice if only because they occupy the whole space with warm sounds, happy clapping and gentle tones. Their catchy nonchalance is sometimes reminiscent of Belle And Sebastian’s later baroque moods (‘If socialism’s right’).

 Mazy Fields are sunny. Don’t take the word for granted. It no longer means anything with the lights off. Play them after midnight and they’ll strike you as a much introspective band. ‘A clown to beat’ has a Pastellian touch to it and takes you back to the shy, beautiful beginnings of indiepop – or is it love? The first step is the only step. Hello. Goodbye.  It all goes pop in the end, and this is where we want to be. Forever!

=> Mazy Fields : "If Socialism's right"

Guest post by E.A.R

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13/09/2008

Citrus

citrus

Citrus : Wispy, no Mercy EP (Trattoria Japan - 2000)

 

1. Blue Mercedes

2. House Coach

3. Young Fidelity

4. Wispy, no Mercy

5. Your Building

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08/09/2008

Anoraak

anoraak

Anoraak : Nightdrive with you EP (Endless Summer Recordings)

After College and Minitel Rose, this is another fresh release from the stunning Valerie Collective.

I heard about Anoraak for the first time some 6 months ago thanks to the great Discodust website that exclusively made the 2 first songs of this EP "Nightdrive with you" and the wonderful "NERD" available to the world.

Since then it's been a long wait for this debut release which is exclusively available through Rough Trade shops as a "1000 numbered copies only" pressing. Amazing result as expected, a synth pop mix between Miami Vice Theme, Junior Boys, Le Sport, Stock/Aitken/Waterman and Lo-Fi-Fnk. Hurry up !!

=> "Waiting for your Phone Call"

J-M

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03/09/2008

Carol & Snowy Red

carol

Carol : Breakdown 7" (Dirty Dance - 1981)

Side A : Breakdown

Side B : So Low

Troughout the eighties, Snowy Red was one of the most inspirated artist in Belgian electronic scene, master in minimal wave, related to outfits like Digital Dance or Tuxedomoon, and later initiator of the so called "New Beat" scene via the cult Antler-Subway label. 

This wonderful "Breakdown" 7", sung by the mysterious Carol, was concomitant with his debut album. Side A "Breakdown" is an unforgettable classic, that later reappearred many times under different versions, side B "So Low" is a true lost masterpiece.

J-M

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02/09/2008

Ruth

ruth

Ruth : Polaroid / Roman / Photo LP (Herr Rhitma Corp. 1985)

Produced by French precursor Thierry Müller aka Ilitch in 1985, this is

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25/08/2008

Hideki Spaghetti

hideki

Hideki Spaghetti (Siesta)

On one side, Jez Butler. Firstly the man behind the seminal The Groove Farm, a band wrongly tagged C86 (because once on the legendary Subway Organisation) that was more into the punk/surf spirit. Secondly the man behind several out-of-time projects (on if...& Siesta Records) that lightened up my life, like "Death by Chocolate" and "Songs for the Jet Set", to name but a few. To say it in brief, Jez Butler is a semi-god.

On the other side, Hideki Kaji. Firstly the guru of Shibuya-kei, writer of the wonderful act Chocolat, who also collaborated with Neil & Iraiza, Cubismo Grafico, Yukari Fresh or...Sarah Cracknell. Secondly an exceptional songwriter for himself, far more melodic and easy-listenable than Cornelius, far more buzzing. To put it in a nutshell : Hideki Kaji is a semi-god. 

So, can we expect a miracle when 2 semi-gods are collaborating with each other ? A sort of, yes : this could be best described as a panoramic musical fresco, having an indubitable continuity with Jez Butler's works on Siesta with the Hideki Kaji special touch, ranging from happy lounge to cheerful sunshine pop. An inspired magnum opus !!!

=> "Over the Hill with her stick Legs"

 J-M

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17/08/2008

Rosemary's Children

rosemary

Rosemary's Children : Kings and Princes EP (Cherry Red)

When the holiday season brings a lull in the release of new pop gems to discover, what better way to spend one's time then to rummage through one's record collection and rediscover almost forgotten pop classics like the "kings and princes" mini-album by Rosemary's Children.


Rosemary's Children was the moniker of a foursome from Slough who first came to my attention through the release of their first rather mysterious ep on the ever wonderful El records label. While that first ep showed lots of promise marrying the melancholy beauty of early Felt with a little literate pop in the vein of early Lloyd Cole, nothing could prepare us for the brilliance that was their "kings and princes" mini-album on Cherry Red records. "Kings and princes" was a royal treat spiced with exotic soundscapes, folky follies and direct Englishness. It contains five melodic songs, sometimes trashy (the title track with its almost Buzzcockian overtones) but more often wistful (the utterly gorgeous "visiting a house" like a more downbeat cousin of that other almost forgotten gem "if she doesn't smile ..." by Fantastic Something, or the tragic tale of "the lighthouse song"), and all with a groovy jingle-jangle that could lead the Children to be termed "psychedelic" if one felt so inclined.


At the time of the release of "kings and princes" there was talk of a debut album which was promised to be "absolutely brilliant" by the band themselves, but alas to my knowledge that set was never released and Rosemary's Children were lost to the mists of time and never heard of again.
Don't let them be forgotten. The "kings and princes" ep can now be bought in download format only (sadly) from the Cherry Red record label.

==> Rosemary's Children : "Visiting a House"

Bart

21:39 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

10/08/2008

Minitel Rose

minitel

Minitel Rose : The French Machine EP (Futur)

=> Myspace

=> "Elevator"

=> BUY !!!

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03/08/2008

Pas/Cal

pascal

Pas/Cal : I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura (Le Grand Magistery)

Today I need castles and not bedrooms, I need harpsichords and not melodicas, I need luxuriance and not sobriety, I need excess and not moderation.

After many... years of delay, Pas/Cal debut album is out and this is definitely not a joke !

But beware of the animal, listening to its roaring from the earliest to the latest breath will require the consumption of tonic substances to simulate uncharted parts of your brain... To grip all its resources and its every nuance seems to be a more arduous and long-range mission than with those 3 initial EP's indeed.

Rhapsody, overvload, sophistication, onirism, theatricallity, abundance, subtlety, deconstruction, magnificence... this is POP as we ignored it would exist one day...

=> Pas/Cal : "Glorious Ballad of the Ignored"

J-M

17:30 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

28/07/2008

Austin Lace

katz_cover280

Austin Lace : Katz (single) (62TV)

The most refreshing Belgian band in the universe is officially back with this petzz story, a sunny- sugary idealized foretaste of a wittingly delayed album recorded in Italy, to be released this autumn.

Their very first full-length "Easy to cook", despite its mixed tendencies,  already was an object of highly immediate effect, charming popfans from Copenhagen to Milan.

Expect further massive contagion this year...

 => Austin Lace website

J-M

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17/07/2008

Mexican Kids at Home

whenwelivininigloos

Mexican Kids at Home : When we all live in igloos EP ( WeePOP! )

Imagine 5 venture scouts hosting you to take on on some light-hearted songs around the campfire...add some ukuleles, accordions and melodicas, and you'll get a clearer image of what those Mexican Kids at Home are about.

The precondition to bring this experience to a climax is to strike down your prejudice : yes skaters can be twee, yes igloos can fly, yes cold air balloons are CO2-free... 

=> Mexican Kids at Home : Illustrations

=> Get your copy HERE ! Limited to 160 copies !!

J-M

11:30 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Facebook |

09/07/2008

This is Ivy League

this+is+ivy+leagueThis is Ivy League : S/T (Twentyseven Records)

For no particular reason, I'm sometimes getting undisposed to listen to some new stuff for a long period of time and I have to admit I've been into this kind of mood lately. It's been weeks since my last purchasing fever on a mailorder !

So to my great astonishement I found this "This is Ivy League" album in my mailbox recently and it was not any label promo stuff but a real order I made...more than 2 months ago !!! I must start suffering from some kind of senility cos' it completely slipped my mind. And, far more motivating than the Sales season,  this debut album from the quite hip Brooklyn duo is just the thing I needed to enter into a purchasing  fever again.

Difficult indeed not to be dazzled by this pop perfection, flirting with the low-key purity of early Ben Watt stuff - think North Marine Drive- and Modesty Blaise's lush harmonies, just proving that the lovely "London Bridges"2006 single was not a one-shot wonder...

=> This is Ivy league : "A Summer Chill"

J-M

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27/06/2008

Marsh-Marigold 20th Anniversary

MM_Festival_FlyerThroughout the years, Hamburg label Marsh-Marigold has embellished indiepop fans' life. From the early Jesterbells days to the -young- Acid House Kings connection, from the seminal German bands Legendary Bang, Die Fünf Freunde and Busch to the French-related outfits Caramel and Mumbly, they've been truly imaginative dicoverers and an example to follow for all indie labels, all over the world, since exactly two decades now.

Long before the appearance of many Spanish and Swedish follower- labels, Marsh Marigold has been the first to prove that continental-Europe pop, sung in English, German or French had not to suffer any comparison with US and UK's, as far as guitar pop was concerned.

In this respect, their latest 2007 releases Cats on Fire, Love Dance and  This Year's Model, are just the most perfect triangle of albums released lately on a single label.

Now it's time to celebrate this, and with the  line-up announced (see flyer), this can't be anything but HUGE !!!

=> Get your tickets HERE

J-M

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22/06/2008

Cocoanut Groove : Madeleine Street

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Cocoanut Groove : Madeleine Street LP
(Fridlyst)

In a world of sometimes unbearable ugliness, beauty becomes terribly important. Albums don't come much more beautiful than Cocoanut Groove's debut album called "Madeleine Street". Whereas most recent Swedish indiepop bands all seem to have graduated from the Sarah Records' school of perfect pop, maybe adding a touch of early Factory records' cool or a sprinkle of Saint Etienne-esque pop fairydust, fellow Swede Olov Antonsson (for he is Cocoanut Groove, augmented by some very talented musical friends) delves a little deeper for his influences. His musical universe is that of Love's "forever changes", the Zombies "Odessey and Oracle", Duncan Browne's "give me take you" and the Left Banke.

However, if you'd think this would lead to Cocoanut Groove songs being a mere pastiche, you'd be oh so wrong. Sure, when you hear these songs for the first time, their gorgeous melodies weave such an instant spell you might think you've heard them somewhere before, but this is only proof of Olov's huge songwriting skill. In effect, he is furthering a school of songwriting which has all but disappeared. He is creating a baroque pop for the naughties.

Cocoanut Groove songs are full of longing for that feeling of first love (which you have probably never experienced since), full of reminiscences of seemingly endless summerdays spent outdoors, walking through meadows full of wildflowers, picking wild strawberries, lying underneath swaying cherrytrees, staring at the sun listening to the crickets sing ... They are also tinged with a little sadness, a little nostalgia, the realization that those happier times perhaps won't come back so easily, if ever ...

Highlights include the lovelorn title track with it's regrets over love lost, the almost Clientele like "Lately" with it's nocturnal mood, the harpsicord laden upbeat "the castle" which sees summer turn into autumn, the almost Donovan-esque "shadow", ... ooh, I could go on and on. These songs posses such truth, beauty and purity (Olov's featherlight vocals are a joy to behold) that hearing them makes you realise there really is something good out there worth going through the bad stuff for.

Cherish this beauty.

Bart

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15/06/2008

Automelodi

automelodi

Emerging from the Montreal francophone electropop scene nowadays is quite easier when you play light parodic eurodance à la Numéro# than dark visionary wave-pop.

With his Philip Oakey look, his analogic keyboards and his   true-to-life pessimist stories,  Xavier Paradis, aka Automelodi, is definitely closer to the second category.

Formerly known as Arnaud Lazlaud and later as Echo-Kitty, playing since the mid 90's, Xavier released a debut album "Savonchanté" in 2005, including some thrilling anthems like the robotic "Fran Kubilik" or the dance-floor killer "Danielechtaire" in the purest Neue Deutshe Welle and Fad Gadget styles.

In the meantime, he also produced the highly acclaimed 2007 album "L'amour et l'occident" from Plaza Musique, which must be one of the best pop objects coming from Canada lately.

Now the Automelodi identity has surfaced, it's getting more and more obvious Mr Paradis' pop-songwritings' excellence can no longer lie hidden. Listening to "Schéma corporel" (body music in form and in content)   or the half electro/half guitar "Buanderie Jazz" won't take a lot of a time to convert you, hopefully...

J-M

22:54 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (3) |  Facebook |

10/06/2008

Nara Leao

nara When the first glorious sunny days of spring come to give us the promise of summer to come, what better soundtrack to chase away the last traces of winter than some sweet bossa nova. Somehow the sound of bossa nova always manages to conjure up images in my mind of a desolate sandy beach with a lone figure walking off in the far distance. Light and shade, happiness and sadness, joy and melancholia ... all collide within the sound of bossa nova.

Now when people think bossa nova, they tend to mention Astrud Gilberto as its prime and most important female voice. Great though Astrud is, I think this is a great disservice to the rather superior Nara Leao who is not nearly as well known.

Nara Leao is (or was, as she sadly passed away way too early in 1989 at the age of 47) probably one of the most important figures in the story of bossa nova (which is why some people have dubbed her "Bossa Nova's Muse"). As a young girl she worked as a reporter by day and at night she surrounded herself at her parents spacious Copacabana apartment with all kinds of creative and artistic people who became the protagonists of bossa nova (Tom Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Luiz Bonfa, ...). But Nara didn't restrict herself. Bossa nova, samba, straight pop ... she was a master of them all, making each and everyone of these genres her very own with her playful, soft, sweet, moody and sensuous voice.

She also used her art to evidence her social concerns and spoke out against the military dictatorship in Brazil, which made her an important participant in the Tropicalia movement. If you want to dig into this fascinating artist's repertoire, what better way to start then to get the compilation Nara '67 which found it's home (quite fittingly) on the revitalized El records in 2006. I'd also recommend her fantastic "Dez Anos Depois" album from 1971 which she recorded in Paris and which can be seen as a bit of a sister album to the "la question" album by Françoise Hardy album from the same year as both worked with the very talented if rather mysterious Brazilian artist Tuca.

Bart

21:39 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Facebook |

03/06/2008

Hari and Aino

hariHari and Aino : S/T LP (Plastilina)

After the very useful "Stars in Coma" and "Second-Hand Furniture" restrospective albums, our favourite South-American label Plastilina Records is staying in the Swedish neighbourood to release this debut album from Stockholm-based quintet Hari and Aino

Imagine "The Camera loves me" from The Would-be-goods crossed with Blondie's "Parallel Lines" and you'll get a near-to-clear picture of the band's wide proficiency, from sophisticated guitar-pop to cerebral disco. This is exacty the way we wished The Long Blondes would sound like on a full album...

 

=> Hari and Aino : "I will leave"       => Buy it HERE

JMM

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29/05/2008

Arthur and Martha

arthur

Arthur and Martha : Autovia EP (Happy Robots Recordings)

Nobody was more surprised then me when Saloon disbanded a few years ago. The band were surely at their pinnacle, with a superior second album "If we'll meet in the future" under their belt and a number one in John Peel's festive fifty.

But not to worry, as here comes Arthur and Martha, a duo formed by former Saloon member Adam Cresswell together with Alice Hubley and their simply divine electropop debut "autovia". They describe themselves as Gilbert and George disguised as the Carpenters stealing the hits of Kraftwerk and I couldn't have put it much better.

"Autovia" is a gorgeous, glistening, gliding electropop beauty which calls to mind "Isi" by Neu or "Deluxe (immer weider)" by Harmonia covered by the Pet Shop Boys.The lyrics go "autovia, take me anywhere but far from here" and I could just imagine myself driving away to the end of the world while this song is being played on an endless loop. Pure electro bliss for happy robots. It must also be one of the most well-dressed singles of recent times, with the wonderful sleeve design recalling Peter Saville at his best.

Bart

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23/05/2008

Paul Bevoir : In Days of Wonder

bev

It is nearly inconcevable : I'm holding the new album from Bubblegum Pop Wizard Paul Bevoir in my hands and can even genuinely listen to it !!! Indeed, Mr Bevoir is such a perfectionist that, if it'd only depend on him, this "In days of Wonder" would never be released !!! Happily, the people from Accident Records forced him under the knife to give them the mastertapes...and the result is beyond all words and understandings

In place of using unnecessary superlatives, let's  submit Mr Bevoir to a psychoanalysis session on this occasion :

How did you start making music and how did you happen to be part of Mari Wilson's backing band ?

mariI was a music obsessive as a child, always playing records, and reading every word on the record's label, who wrote the song, who produced it. I think I was just born this way. My dad had a guitar and I learned how to play. But it was only when i became friends with Mike Levison in my teens, that I realised how  bad I was! I wrote my first songs with Mike, he taught me everything! So blame him please! (I can supply his email).  In the late 1970's, I was a fan of a pop group called 'Advertising'. I became friends with them, and one of the members, Tot Taylor, began writing songs for Mari Wilson. When she eventually needed a group to play live, Tot asked me if I would help out. I was only in the Imaginations (as they were called then) for a few months, but we did many gigs during that time.
 

25 years in retrospect, how do you see this ‘Compact Organization’ period and how was it like to work with Tot Taylor? 

Well, Tot Taylor was a very clever chappie. A real 'ideas'man. I thought he was a great songwriter, so when he asked me to write some songs for his ‘Compact' label, I couldn't believe it! I didn't think he ever needed anyone else. Compact released my first ever solo recording, so again, all blame is with them! (any complaints should be directed to Tot… But sorry, I don't have an email address for him).

Speaking of ‘Compact’, any anecdote about this 1985 TV performance with Virna Lindt from YouTube ?

It was a UK show called 'the tube'. It was a live show, presented by Jools Holland (of Squeeze) and Paula Yates (who was married to Bob Geldof). The reason I was on it is because 'Compact' had a compilation LP released at that time, and in the publicity, Tot Taylor had said that 6 artists from the compilation LP will be appearing on the TV show 'the tube', but of course, he neglected to say that they were all in one band, on the same show, and backing Virna Lindt. The other guitarist in that clip is Mark Nevin, a songwriter who went on to have success with Fairground Attraction and later wrote songs with Morrisey and Albert Hammond'. I remember Spandau Ballet and Chaka Khan were also on that same show.

Who was behind the "concept" of your band the Jetset? Are you still in regular contact with former members ?

The Jetset was a band I started with my friends. But it was only when Paul Bultitude (who had also been in the band Advertising' with Tot Taylor) began to get involved, that it became more 'conceptual'. Most of the visual ideas were his, i just wrote some songs to fit his vision.
Two other ex members of the Jetset (Angus Nanan & Mickey Dias) still work with me today, on live concerts and recordings, along with Mike Levison (my first songwriting partner) and my good friend  Richard Fairclough (another very talented fellow!).

After your last solo effort, the "Dumb Angel" album, you've had a huge success in Japan with a cartoon song. Now that you're a millionaire, why do you still keep on doing music?

Oh yes, the millions arrive in huge sacks everyday ha ha! Believe me, it's impossible for me to make a living doing music, you need really great success for that, unfortunately, one good selling record in Japan is not enough. Honestly. I was extremely lucky to have this, but I still had to go to work. I haven't made music for a long time…

How much time have you actually been busy on “In Days of Wonder”?

I started this 'new' album 12 years ago, so you can see how very productive I am! Well, the way the album has finally ended up, it has only 2 songs from the original album project, the rest are all fairly new songs. So in that respect, it's only been about 3 years (which is still a long time for something that's all over in 40 minutes!)

Amongst these songs, there is a fabulous duet with the young talented Belgian singer Marine Boréale...How did you come to meet her?

marineWe 'met through the miracle of Myspace. Joachim Jannin (Marine's partner and composer) wrote to me. He's such a gifted writer (and performer too!) and I loved her voice and his songs so very much, it was an honour to be asked. I love that song. They should both be huge stars! I'm sure they will be.

Any particular pop band you feel connected to nowadays ?

I have to say, the Myspace thing has opened my ears to so much great music that I never would have heard without it. Joachim & Marine are a perfect example of this. I've made some great friends too (like you j-m) and my super friend 'Guille Milkyway' who is the genius behind the fantastic 'la Casa Azul'. Everyday I hear new music this way and I love it!

Your last word for our dear readers who went through this interview till the very last question...

Just to say that Jean-Michel is a genius. A true encylopedia of pop music knowledge. Hang on to his every word, I've learned so much from him, so maybe you can too! He is our teacher! And we will never stop learning! Oh yes, and I hope that anyone who might buy this new album will enjoy it for a while before they exchange it for the 'complete collection' by 'the Smurfs'! Oh, and love to everyone of course…

=> Buy "In days of Wonder" HERE and enjoy !!!

18:03 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Facebook |

18/05/2008

Crépuscule - Moving Soundtracks

movingV/A : Moving Soundtracks (LTM Recordings)

After "Ghosts of Christmas Past", "From Brussels with Love" and "The Fruit of the original Sin", this CD reissue is closing down the magical square of LTM - expanded and enhanced- rehabilitations  of classic Crépuscule vynil compilations.

The distinctiveness of "Moving Soundtracks" lies in many aspects :

- it mainly gathers cover versions of  movie tracks played by label and non-label artists (Paul Haig,  Wim Mertens, Antena, Virna Lindt, Jean-Paul Goude & Virginia Astley, Blaine L Reininger...) . In this regard, it can be considered as the most "accessible" and most ecclectic Crépuscule compilation.

- originally commissioned by Michel Duval for Les Disques du Crépuscule in 1983, it never was released as a vinyl in its original version. It only reappeared 8 years later in the form of a CD release, expanded for the first time with several more recent covers like "The Experiment in Terror" by La Muerte or "Arabesque" by full-time reprise band The Wayfarers, both originally written by Henry Mancini.

- although he could not keep the original  Ennio Morricone and Cabaret Voltaire tracks on this LTM reedition (for copyright reasons I guess), James Nice got some bright ideas for this "second generation" expansion, adding great songs like Tot Taylor's original "Blowproof", Thick Pigeon's "Moon River",  and an amazing cover of "You only live twice" by obscure French band Cosey Corner (who recorded  an unreleased album on Crépuscule, produced by Steven Brown)

=> Buy the CD at www.amazon.co.uk or at www.darla.com

=> The Dream Makers : "La Chanson d'Hélène"  (Philippe Sarde/Jean-Loup Dabadie) from the 1970 Claude Sautet's film "Les Choses de la vie"

The Dream Makers were Virginia Astley and Jean-Paul Goude with Blaine L. Reininger on violin. I also love Marina Céleste version of this song on her "Cinéma enchanté" album released  in Japan with Marc Collin (Nouvelle Vague) in 2006 :

=> Marina Céleste : "La Chanson d' Hélène"

J-M

22:27 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (3) |  Facebook |

11/05/2008

Barbara Carlotti

carlottiBarbara Carlotti : L'idéal (Beggars / 4AD)

For sure, Barbara Carlotti has a very unique place under the sun of 4AD catalog and seing her standing besides the likes of Blonde Redhead and...Scott Walker is quite an hallucinating affair...

For this second full-length, the list of collaborations is  again at the cutting edge, a sort of golden rule for the French demoiselle, especially on the musical point of view : Jean-Philippe Verdin (Readymade FC) at production and keyboards, Mehdi Zannad (from the lovely Fugu) for strings arrangements, Bertrand Belin or Patrick Watson as special guest singers, just to name a few... 

A very charming essay again, full of ease and elegance, a bit old-fashioned (but with less 60's accents than on the former "Les Lys Brisés"), an invitation to cry and to smile...Before being a melodist, Barbara is a song-craftswoman...Before being a singer, Barbara is an interpreter... And before being a lyricist, Barbara is a poet.

=> Barbara Carlotti : "L'idéal"

J-M 

20:20 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (3) |  Facebook |

10/05/2008

Poland

PolandPoland : Schoolboy Crush on Che Guevara (Class M Records)

With their mixture of jazz, easy listening and chamber pop, Indonesian band "White Shoes and the Couple Company" had no equivalent in Western world...until the fresh arrival of this 2nd essay from Seattle band Poland.

 

00:32 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

04/05/2008

Kuryakin


kuryakin1kuryakin2kuryakin3

Kuryakin : "Fought a War EP" (Fastcut) + "Still Here EP"& "Onie 7"" (Shelflife)

Just when you think the well of great new Swedish bands must have dried up, another one comes along. Actually, that's not quite correct as far as Kuryakin (named after a character from the 60's spy series the man from U.N.C.L.E) is concerned, as they have been going since 2003 when Petter Gjöres and Johan Norberg began making music together in Uppsala and Kuryakin songs have been floating around on the internet for some time since then.

In 2006 their lovely twinkly cover of the Electric Prunes "Onie", sounding like Simon and Garfunkel produced by Saint Etienne, ended up on Friendly Noise records compilation "Are you scared to get happy". And now finally Kuryakin get round to releasing some records of their own.

They've just released the "Fought a war" EP on the Japanese Fastcut label and a 7"+CDEP on the revitalised Shelflife records is to follow. "Fought a war" itself sounds like the Kings of Convenience at their loveliest (think "Toxic girl") but the real gem is hidden on the b-side (actually, isn't it a bit cheeky to call something an ep, when there is only one A and B side ?) in the song called "rain", which could hold it's head up high in the company of that superior debut album "Here comes the future" by the Honeydrips of last year.  As for what we’ve heard from the Shelflife issue so far, in addition to the above-mentioned “Rain” and “Onie”, “Take My Hands” sounds like a bright mixture of Radio Dept and the Avalanches while “A parade” and “Snow” are respectively true to Postal Service and Plastic Operator best efforts…   No small recommendation I should think ! 

Bart

20:13 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Facebook |

28/04/2008

Crystal Stilts

crystalstiltsCrystal Stilts : S/T EP (Autoproduced)

At last easily available is this debut EP by NYC-based Crystal Stilts... dark thudding voices, simple metronomic tom and bass drums, surf or noisy guitar feedbacks ... So grrrripping !!!

=> get it HERE

=> "Converging in the Quiet"

 

 J-M

21:16 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

22/04/2008

Action Biker

action01Action Biker : Hesperian Puisto (Friendly Noise)

Difficult to describe the bonfire that burned inside  me after hearing the first 2 songs of this newly released debut album by long time fave bedroom electropop wonder Action Biker. The kind of feeling you have when you understand your humble expectations will be far more than fulfilled, when you understand you gonna be blown away.

Fine, why not mentionning a few songs now ? "Love for Sure" has exactly that same unconventional and juicy effect as a Bad Dream Fancy Dress song and Sarah's auto-superposed voice is still reinforcing this parallel with Cally & Katz."Refridgerator" just has this little "moog" thing that transforms a common electropop tune into a top notch heady anthem and "Hesperian Puisto" is nothing less than a modern "I'm in love with a German Film Star". On "A fight" Sarah strangely reminds me the phantom of Isabelle Antena. Furthermore, the principle of adding some well-placed short "filler songs" (nearly 1 on 2)  gives an additional pleasant relief to the whole bunch...Who said "Colossal Youth" ?

The production has also maturated a bit in respect to the first EP's and compilation songs, it is smooth, clean-cut, with some occasional light-ambient textures of the best effect !

J-M

=> Buy the album HERE (along with the great new Splendid Isolation comp) and, if not convinced yet, have a look at this great Digfi session video with 3 songs from the album  :

23:06 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Facebook |

15/04/2008

Cloetta Paris (2)

cloetta

Look how cute they are !  Next week will be the Official Cloetta Paris Week all over the planet !!!! Debut album release has been announced for April 22nd and pre-order has already started on Skywriting Records... first album copies might land at any time any place in the world in the next few days !!!

SKY001coverI don't really know when Roger's wonderful band Nixon will release new stuff again (at least I know it's almost impossible to - officially - buy old stuff today and I secretly hope all his material will be properly reedited soon to replace these bootlegs I own) but, with this tangible debut album release, I now know that Cloetta Paris is more than a side-project, more than a "downloadable hip-song" effect and I feel so excited about it !

Hearing this exclusive brand new killer-song "Secret Eyes" (from the S/T album), I'm asking myself if Cloetta Paris really exists though... We could indeed take Cloetta's voice for a highpitched version of Roger's...But it seems like Miss Paris does exist in real life as Matilda and is one of Roger's best friends ! The fact they use quite a lot of autotune sometimes may cause a bit more artificial feel to it, this must be the reason....

Roger has done exactly what I thought in the past though. In 2005, he released a very secret album as a fake duo, Intellivision, on Swiss europop label Hypersound. It was mainly done as a bit of fun (all vocals that are supposed to sound like female voices are actually Roger's voice on high pitch) but it carries a few amazing tunes like Moskow Moskow or Calling Tokyo, prefiguring today's Cloetta Paris in a funny way...

Update 25/04 : album has landed

If -like me- you're somewhere in between 30 and 40 (hmmm), listening to this album will be like a true come-back to your childhood (not to mention the schoolbook-like cover) : I didn't realize this before, but Cloetta's voice is so close to Michael Cretu's muse Sandra, a tiny bit smoother maybe !! Musically, even if the arrangements are very contemporary, it is full of hints from classical eurodisco stuff I love like P. Lion (the second half of Secret Eyes must be -intentionnally or not - inspired by the "Happy Children" gimmick ) or Baby's Gang (children parts in Beat Street), even literally taking some titles from that era like "Arabian nights" (anyone remembers this song from The Parallel lines ?). Of course, it is including all the hits we were already mad about like "Broken Heart Tango" or "I miss you someone". On the reprise side, the "St Elmo's Fire" has not been selected but there is a very surprising cover of ELO's "So serious". This must be the soundtrack of your retrieved youth.

J-M

23:40 Écrit par J-M dans Musique | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Facebook |