Hello again, dear reader, and welcome to what will be the last Quarterly of 2016. I appreciate this does not mean it is December and the year still has 92 more fun-filled days left.
But for now, buckle up and settle down for a whole bunch of music that has been on my radar these last few months. First up an instrumental from the Dundee band that isn’t Spare Snare. Yes, The Associates with a track from Sulk that showcases Alan Rankine for a change. More Scots after that with a track from the delightful surprise that is a new Urusei Yatsura album. Well, a new collection of songs in any case – the album You Are My Urusei Yatsura: BBC Radio Sessions, which brings together some tremendous versions of old favourites on pink vinyl. Then we have the band Miss Mary, who, as far as I can work out, is pretty much the work of one Mary Stopas, and a track of garage-pop candy from the rather wonderful Ready 2 Pop album that was out on Waxfruit in 2005. Next on the mix, but only available in video form here [Go and buy it! – TTW Ed.], it’s the SFA that’s not Super Furry Animals – our pals Schizo Fun Addict – who had a split cassette (with a K) out on Small Bear Records with label mates and sonic tyros The Bordellos last year that I should have banged on about much more. Have a gander and check out those ace backing vox.
A new favourite next with the all-caps CHUCK, whose latest release (the factually correct, My Band Is A Computer) on Audio Anihero is a must listen. However, here I have gone for the track of his that appeared on the sadly ill-fated Bern Yr Idols fundraiser. Time for a cover version after that and just pipping the choice of Kristin Hersh doing Like A Hurricane, comes Cristina Quesada doing The Jesus & Mary Chain, which I picked up on an Elefant Records sampler. Neat, huh? Eric Caboor and David Kauffman are perhaps best known, if at all, for their Songs From Suicide Bridge collection (it was the only record of theirs I owned until recently, certainly), but they also performed together as The Drovers on an LP called Tightrope Town (actually their second LP), which is well worth seeking out. Our next not-on-Spotify song is from the band Dumb, who came to my attention on the flip of a split single with JD Meatyard’s old band Calvin Party back in the day (OK, 1995). Calvin Party went like this, and Dumb go like that:
It seems appropriate that this mix’s Guided By Voices selection features Doug Gillard on guitar seeing as how he is now part of the newly reformed GBV currently touring the USA. This track comes from the Universal Truths An Cycles album, a fact I am happy to remind you of. Another fact is that the band Passenger Peru combines the talents of Justin Stivers (ex- The Antlers) and Justin Gonzales. This year they made the leap from cassette to vinyl by putting out a kind of self-titled ‘best of’ on Gallic taste-maker label, Big Tomato Records, which has had repeated plays in Kicker Towers. A bit of an oldie next as we venture into Television’s 70s album that isn’t Marquee Moon, or Adventure as it is otherwise known. An underrated gem, this one. They are followed by another band that I discovered because they shared a split single with a band I already loved – And His Voice Became. This song was the other side of Riding (Bracken Mix) by Spare Snare (yes, them again) and it goes like this:
That Canterbury Sound, eh? No, not yer Caravans, Soft Machines or Gongs, I mean Canterbury, New Zealand and the sound of Transistors, whose neat Cuppa Jarra Brossa EP comes highly recommended (with or without cream and sugar) especially the opening track, Confidence Man. And that links us nicely to Yesterday’s Man (calm down, you Suggs fans, it’s just the one) in the form of a blistering track off of the Velcro Hooks Gymnophoria album that came out a few years ago – described by Artrocher as “a band you SHOULD DEFINITELY HAVE IN YOUR LIFE. And we don’t write in caps lock very often, so we really mean that”. So there. All I can add is that the album title refers to the sensation that someone is mentally undressing you, something us wizards just have to get used to. Another fantastically named album that came out last year was Remember Me John Lydon Forever by Doubting Thomas Cruise Control from Brooklyn, New York. The album is top notch and full of intriguing lyrics. But as much as I appreciate the band’s name, I think they might have missed out an some fine portmanteau possibilities like Doubting Thomas Cook (unreliable package deals) or Doubting Thomas Brolin (a suspension of belief regarding the size of certain ex-Leeds United ‘stars’). Anyway, after that we are invited to go all the way by The Squires, who pop up on that brilliant Nuggets collection put together by Lenny Kaye that always rewards dipping into. Dip right in to the video below to see what I mean.
Another neat compilation that finds itself in my hands is the 6 x CD CMJ 500 collection, bought solely on the grounds that it featured a GBV song, but nevertheless a source of some great stuff, like the next track from Beat Happening, whose contribution represents the sound of 1988. Probably. No real reason for including a Captain Beefheart track next except for the fact that it is from The Spotlight Kid album and is therefore inherently brilliant. Back to the 80s after that for one of those bands who may well have recorded loads of ace albums, but that I only know from one single – but what a single! I refer, of course, to The Kamikaze Pilots and their wonderful Sharon Signs To Cherry Red tale that I have on the rather less well known Lowther International label and is dedicated to “everyone who has ever sent a demo tape to a record company” (or musical podcast show). I recently watched that documentary film ‘Lawrence of Belgravia’ about him out of off of Felt, Denim and Go Kart Mozart, and was struck by the lot of the creative artist seemingly ill-equipped to cope with not only the murky world of the record business, but life itself. Lawrence seemed to me to quite heroic in his own way and the film made me immediately put on records of his that I hadn’t listened to for far too long. And so it is that we finish this mix with Felt and a favourite taken from Ignite The Seven Cannons And Set Sail For The Sun, which sounds like a plan.
Before I leave you though, I also wanted to share the fact that I have just finished reading Robert Forster’s new autobiography, Grant & I, that has been an absolute pleasure (thanks, Rebecca!!), filling in all sorts of gaps in my knowledge of The Go-Betweens, not least the fact that at the initial demise of the band, Grant and Robert intended not only to continue as a duo, but had songs lined up for a new album, Freakchild, that included the likes of this…
Those all important tracks in full
In The Eye Of Consensus
- The Associates – Arrogance Gave Him Up
- Urusei Yatsura – No No Girl
- Miss Mary – I’m Waiting
- Schizo Fun Addict – Make A Stand
- Chuck – Rich Kids
- Cristina Quesada – Just Like Honey
- Eric Caboor & David Kauffman – Boulevard
- Dumb – Do One
- Guided By Voices – Eureka Signs
- Passenger Peru – On Company Time
- Television – The Dream’s Dream
- And His Voice Became – Lost
- Transistors – Confidence Man
- Velcro Hooks – Yesterday’s Man
- Doubting Thomas Cruise Control – Lenny Bruce
- The Squires – Going All The Way
- Beat Happening – Indian Summer
- Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Click Clack
- The Kamikaze Pilots – Sharon Signs To Cherry Red
- Felt – Primitive Painters