Remember remember Kicker’s Monthly Mix for November. Oh yes, and it’s a cracker (one month early, festival fans).
This time we kick off with an Elf inspired instrumental from Public Service Broadcasting that I had long-listed for my best of the year right from when I got hold of it on Record
Store Shop Day earlier this year. Slightly disappointingly, the elf in question here is a Swedish eleven, but still it’s a great tune. This is followed by an all time classic and a record sure to give you a lift, ahem, it’s 13th Floor Elevators with one of my favourite songs of theirs and one that graces the must have Nuggets collection. Hot on the tails of that comes the new old sound from Three Dimensional Tanx (frankly, the only Tanx I’d be happy with) with their single I Am Go out on the highly recommended Sunstone Records label. It’s not on Spotify, so here it is in video form to provide more evidence that Lancaster (already home to wizard faves The Lovely Eggs and The Thyme Machine) can well claim to be an unlikely hotbed of musical talent.
Following on from that stormer, we have the ONSIND recommended, and finely named, T-Shirt Weather with a track from their split single with Losing Sleep. Some very nice whoah-oh-ohs here and an unexpected (at least for this listener) sax solo. Good work. Calming things down somewhat we next have Guided By Voices (remember them?) with one of the brilliant extra tracks that you can find with the Under The Bushes Under The Stars LP, an album that seems to be unfairly underrated in the GBV canon. Next it’s time for our irregular feature, Tex Pix, where friend of the pod Texas Paul, er, picks a track for possible inclusion in the monthly mix. This time round Tex has gone for a sure fire winner with psych surf kings The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies, a band whose track Colossus I had already pencilled in for this month thanks to our friends at Active Listener. Anyway, Tex wanted me to play their Dandelion Radio version of I Ran With A Zombie, and I would have done, but it’s not on Spotify, so here’s another song from the same session with added Thunderbirds!
The next song is another that came to my attention via Active Listener and this one jumped out from their Sampler 23 collection with its, let’s not shy away from this, Robyn Hitchcock-esque sound, and some quite brilliant lyrics. It’s a guy called Adam Leonard, who warns us, amongst other things, that he “ain’t gonna sleep with no Marmite / ain’t gonna sleep with no moth” on this utterly beguiling track, one that if I had it on vinyl and could be sure that it was released this year, would definitely be in my best of 2014. As it is though, I only have a download version (and so should you – check out the link below) and a back catalogue to discover. In fact, I have signed up to Adam’s latest Octopus project, where he is releasing 8 tracks a month for 8 months as an ‘audio retrospective’ – for free if you’re quick enough, Rebel Rikkit. I’m also hoping to ask Adam a few questions about all this on a future blog, so watch this space. In the meantime, here he is rather brilliantly recording straight to vinyl!
You all will, of course, have been as glued to Baseball’s World Series as I was over the last week or so (a thoroughly engaging series ultimately won by Chuck Prophet’s local boys, the San Francisco Giants, over the people’s choice, the Kansas City Royals in the 7th game, since you ask) so it seems an appropriate time to introduce a track from my favourite baseball themed record of the year from, naturally, The Baseball Project (Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon). This track tells the tale of disgraced New York Yankee Alex ‘A-Rod’ Rodriguez, who wore, and may well wear again, the eponymous number 13. A man perhaps unlikley to get much in the way of cuddles from any baseball fan, so how about some cuddles from the band No Ditching? This lot are another Oh No Shit It’s Neil Diamond recommendation and their 4 track demo EP whizzes by in endearing fashion. You’ll have to check it out on the link below. There seems to be a close community feel between all these County Durham bands, something that is indirectly celebrated by Damu The Fudgemunk (almost certainly not his real name) on the Spirit Of Ummah track that comes up next and is taken from his fantastic Spare Overtime Re-Inspired collection.
Dundee band Spare Snare are an old favourite of mine with their GBV-esque debut album Live At Home having been a constant companion over the years. However, I hadn’t fully realised how many records they have actually released since I first heard them on John Peel’s radio show until quite recently. I have therefore set out to complete the gaps in my collection over the last few months and am really enjoying their always interesting sound. Here’s a track from Learn To Play for you to enjoy with a recommendation to check out not only their full discography, but also main man Jan Burnett’s latest Grand Gestures project. Then we have Aussies, Blank Realm with the closing track from their marvellous Grassed Inn LP. I am particularly keen on the sneery vocals on this one. I also really like the vocals from Ian Button on Papernut Cambridge’s 3 x 7″ EPs LP There’s No Underground, which may well be true for Cambridge. All I know is that this is a really neat collection of off-skew psychedelic pop with Darren Hayman (more of whom later) on synth and our pal Robert Rotifer on guitar. Do yourself a favour and get hold of this set.
The next track came my way via our friends at Partisan Records who introduced me to the sound of (Aaron) Freeman. This Neil Young infused number begs the question what masculine guitar playing might be. Having recently been blown away by a guitar onslaught from Kristin Hersh and having secured tickets to see the reformed Sleater-Kinney early next year, I’m not sure. Still, I like the sound on this one. As I do with the sound of Solid Statesmen, from now 20 years ago, on their Melodies Of Man, Machine And Nature EP. This record returned to my turntable this month after what can only be described as too long to be without this brand of stripped down sharp dressed garage rock. Changing the mood after that little explosion of exuberance, it’s Peter Mulvey with the standout track from his Silver Ladder EP – a record championed by honorary wizard Chuck Prophet earlier this year, and that’s good enough for me. Another friend of the pod, the bard of Bolton, Ballard (not easy to say, that) continues to effortlessly release 60s influenced guitar pop nuggets like they were sweet honey flavoured yellow balls of grain. Ahem. Anyway, I though I’d share a top track from his Little Rockets album, but it’s not on Spotify so you’ll have to follow the link below.
Earlier this month I found a CD on my shelves that I had no idea I had bought. Not an unusual state of affairs for an aged wizard you might think, but still a bit disconcerting nevertheless. Then I remembered that said CD, The Cubical’s Arise Conglomerate, had been thrown in with a previous order received from everyone’s favourite Stockton-on-Tees record haven, Sound It Out Records and had subsequently been overlooked. The cover features three gas-masked figures in a psychedelic field of corn so of course it sounds like early Captain Beefheart. Turns out these boys are from Liverpool and have something of a cult following. Count me in! Now let’s return to the aforementioned Darren Hayman as it is he who appears next with Emma Kupa (of Sheffield popsters Standard Fare fame) on one of the best male/female duos of the year. From their bandcamp page, here’s how the two came together: “Darren met Emma in Sheffield and told her he was suspicious of a band who all wore hats. Then her band all put hats on and went on stage. They started a friendship based on short scale basses.” Excellent. The final song this month is one that I heard playing in Liverpool’s premier record shop Probe Records having just secured my vinyl fix for the week. I couldn’t leave the premises until it had finished 8 minutes later. I hope the magical Kevin Ayers has the same effect on you, dear reader, with the hypnotic Decadence from his Bananamour LP. I wonder who it’s about?
See you next month.
Those all important tracks in full:
1. Public Service Broadcasting – Elfstedentocht Part 1
2. 13th Floor Elevators – You’re Gonna Miss Me
3. Three Dimensional Tanx – I Am Go
4. T-Shirt Weather – Hold Me Closer, Whiny Dancer
5. Guided By Voices – Redmen And Their Wives
6. The Blue Giant Zeta Puppies – I Ran With A Zombie [Spotify doesn’t have this track on it, so enjoy some Mad Love instead. You can download the Dandelion Radio Sessions for nowt from here too though.]
7. Adam Leonard – I’m Gonna Sleep With Myself (Tonight)
8. The Baseball Project – 13
9. No Ditching – Cuddles
10. Damu The Fudgemunk – Spirit Of Ummah
11. Spare Snare – Photograph Me Properly
12. Blank Realm – Reach You On The Phone
13. Papernut Cambridge – When She Said What She Said
14. Aaron Freeman – (For A While) I Couldn’t Play My Guitar
15. Solid Statesmen – Summer’s Eve
16. Peter Mulvey – What Else Was It?
17. Ballard – It All Points Back To You
18. The Cubical – 1,2,3 Girl
19. Darren Hayman & Emma Kupa – Boy, Look At What You Can’t Have Now
20. Kevin Ayers – Decademce
Offering Hands And Twiddling Thumbs
Previous monthly mixes
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