Sunday, 1 March 2015

when all's well (my life is like cathedral bells)


When All's Well (my life is like cathedral bells) from songsforgirlsBlog on 8tracks Radio.



Okay, who gets up at 7am on a Sunday to make a mix? Well, me. My life is sad and pathetic; or full of delightful music. Two sides to the same coin, really. This mix is the usual SFGTS staple, i.e. indiepop, 60s girl groups, soul, new stuff and all time faves, all female, as always. I’m most eager to bring you Tufthunter, which is the project of Peter Momtchiloff (Heavenly, Would-be-Goods, Scarlet’s Well) featuring many of my favourite female vocalists. With such great new music around I almost wish for the summer to come a little later this year (like every year, we’ll be at the beach rather than here, writing blogs). I hope you like the mix.

Tracklist
Tufthunter (feat. Amelia & Lupe) – My Future Band
Franny & Zooey – Literary Love
The Tuts – Do I Have to Look for Love?
Heavy Heart – Daisy Chain
The Hermit Crabs – Stop This Now
Charlie Belle – Metaphorically Speaking
Star Tropics – Swept Away
Everything But The Girl – When All’s Well
Starry Eyed Cadet – Sugar
Red Sleeping Beauty – Don't Say You Love Me
The Happy Balloon – Among The First To Know
Gigi (w. Rose Melberg) – Alone at the Pier
Elia Y Elizabeth – Cae la lluvia
Violettas – What Have I Done
DIET CIG – Cardboard
The Lewis Sisters – By Some Chance
Spencer McGillicutty – Hide and Seek
Connie Francis – Don’t Ever Leave Me
The Luv'D Ones – Stand Tall
Santa Fe – Daydream
Ria Bartok – See If I Care
The Aquadolls – Mine
Wild Balbina – Looking Through You
Major Leagues – Endless Drain

Monday, 23 February 2015

Despite my fear it helps to…

You’d think because I enjoy the greek climate and daylight, and live in one of the most beautiful islands in the world, that I love Greeks too. I fucking hate ‘em. They’re, ahem, mouthy, loud and impulsive and …BIG; as in they take up too much space somehow, and have no respect for other people’s privacy.

They might tell you about the richness of the Greek language and that many scientific terms are of Greek origin. Yeah well try to look up the greek translation for the words introspection* and moodiness. There are at least 10 synonyms for each word in English. That says a lot about a nation who should say less and think more. If only we could be grimmer and less happy…

I for one find it depressing that… I get nostalgic (damn, nostalgia, another greek word) about things gone or things I lost before getting a chance to get bored of them. There’s music I can no longer enjoy as much as I used to because I listen to too much music these days. Technology and the interwebs make things obsolete before they even get a chance to get old.

It must have been at least 10 years ago when my sister foresaw that not only cds/vinyl etc but the mp3 too as musical formats would become extinct. I didn’t give it much thought then but every time I hear news that a label closes down her words come to mind. Cos that’s what the world’s coming to, whether we like it or not. There’ll be only streams and pay per view and stuff. Seriously, how many years would you give vinyl?


In recent weeks I heard of WeePop! Records and Fraction Discs closing down shop. True, I haven’t been supportive enough with either in recent years. I can’t for the life of me remember what my first purchase from Fraction was (it’s probably somewhere here on the blog but I can’t be bothered right now) but I do remember getting the signed Liechtenstein cd. I got loads of records thereafter, conveniently combining orders to save on postage, which included releases from artists I had a strong or mild interest about. I can’t do that anymore as postage rates went higher and higher. What I’ll miss the most is Renée’s emails in which she would kindly scribble greetings and an update on my order.


These are all 5 WeePop! releases I got, one of them was a present by a friend, all of them came meticulously and lovingly packaged by Camila and with the best candies ever! This remains my favourite song, another one I don’t hear enough these days.





Then I got homesick and nostalgic about my early days in this indiepop adventure I got into. Even if you open the indiepop encyclopaedia Aberdeen would be first alphabetically too. I know people are going crazy right now about Bobby Wratten’s new project. I’ve yet to hear it. Aberdeen was one of my first fave bands and just couldn’t get enough of Beth Arzy’s voice, I was mesmerised. I will admit here that I always loved Aberdeen more than, say, Trembling Blue Stars (except the songs she sung on) or The Field Mice. So inspiring for me in those first days of indiepop discoveries, they had some 300 plays on last fm and 200 of them were mine. Now, if anyone had told me in 2005 that I could “interact” somehow with Beth Arzy I’d say “you’re crazy”! That’s exactly what I find most cool about Beth Arzy, how approachable she is. **





The I got nostalgic, wait, no that was the best thing I heard all week. An incredibly enjoyable one, with so many girl groups I hadn’t heard (of) before. It make sense though as Sheila is an expert on girl groups.





*the greek word for introspection sounds something like colonoscopy
**Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go play this on repeat

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Evening Visits...

I started up another blog, there are a few postings there already, go and see if you like. The idea was to use trumpets and tambourines as some kind of a scrapbook/daybook where I would post more frequently. There is so much great music around lately and I need to share it to unburden somehow, otherwise it keeps me awake at night. I thought I’d keep this, SFGTS as my “fancy” blog where I’d post more elaborate stories (i.e. have long discussions with….myself).

I don’t know why I have this urge to talk, not only here but, lately, a lot through social media. That doesn’t always work in my favour, I think. Most of the time I’ prefer to have kept my mouth shut. Say, facebook. Apart from being an indispensable tool for being in touch with current music, facebook for me is a way to look cooler than I actually am. I have a cool friend list which includes some of my favourite artists, those who were kind enough to add me, but not yet those I’m too shy to send a friend request to.

Do you recognize the violinist?

Although in general I try not to be annoying, yesterday, I was silly enough to engage in a conversation with Peter Milton Walsh. In 2011, in response to a comment I made about Mr. Somewhere, he said: “as the first message of the new year, this can only be a sign: more songs, more tears”. Yet Facebook should have a tool to prevent dumb enough people like me from such acts of utter stupidity. You don’t say “I see your point” to an intellectual like Peter Milton Walsh. Gosh, what a dunce!

Anyway…I just wanted to say I just bought The Apartments first record in 15 years (if you don’t count this single), which sounds like this:



I also pre-ordered The Evening Visits reissue. See next post.

And Stays for Years

As I was saying, this will be the page where I go on and on about the same things I’ve been talking about all these years. Say, Australia. I’m happy to report that my “Australia, baby!” bank account is seeing new heights. How have I achieved this? I simply quit buying cosmetics and clothes, thus allowing considerably more money to go towards records, which are way cheaper, even when you take postage into account. This, conveniently, shatters hastily conceived rules like “no more physical releases” and “no vinyl from the US”.

First, I realised it was cheaper to buy vinyl LPs directly from Australia so I pre-ordered the Twerps and Dick Diver records from Chapter Music in…mid December. These two records + postage cost me less than if I ordered them separately even from Europe or the UK, as, luckily, there’ coming out at roughly the same time (Dick Diver comes out March 15). You think March seems far away... Don’t’ you know how fast time passes?

Next rule to be shattered was no vinyl from the US. Along with The Apartments reissue snatching this, in Limited Opaque Teal Vinyl was a no-brainer since it comes from an artist I’ve been following since 2007.


One day I might convince you why Nic Hessler is, with a slight dose of hyperbole, one of the greatest songwriters ever. I was shocked to hear just the other day, shame on me, that he’s been through a condition. The mere thought of him suffering makes me ache. I don’t know what to say except that I’m a very stupid person who egoistically waited for new music from him while he was fighting to win his life, as a musician too, back. Thank heavens he did and here he’s coming up with a record I’ve been waiting for 8 years. It doesn’t really matter because Nic is so young and has a bright future ahead of him. This, along with The Apartments reissue was my first ever Captured Tracks purchase so fingers crossed. I suppose they’re decent dudes though, since they’ve taken Nic under their wing, I will never badmouth them again.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Four-leaf clovers (a mix)


Four-leaf Clovers from songsforgirlsBlog on 8tracks Radio.



It’s like the world turned upside down while I was asleep. New releases, new to me music shared by people I follow, inbox spilling over with stuff I need to check out. Can’t one go to sleep for 15 hours straight anymore?!

Anyway, here’s a the playlist I had in mind for this new mix until yesterday. It includes new-ish music, all time faves and classics, recent purchases etc. A super festive 23 track one solely with female vocals that features the greatest Pop from all around the world.
This mix goes well with:
-My new bangs and the Zooey look I’m trying to get
-The 20 degree weather we’ve been having since the start of the year
-My consistently good moods because of that
-A little bit of soul
-Everything!

Tracklist
She & Him – I could Have Been Your Girl
Faith Healer – Again
BMX Bandits – I Wanna Fall In Love
The Little Secrets – All I Need
Camera Shy – Spin Me
Camera Obscura – I Love My Jean
The Fascinations – Girls Are Out To Get You
Spencer McGillicutty – You Haunt Me
Kicker – Since You Left
DIET CIG – Harvard
Diane Renay – Dynamite
La Position du Tireur Couché – ça Me Travaille
Double Françoise – La Bête
Las Annettes – El Verano Del Amor
Squilll – Wild Is
Tempura Nights – Child Model
The Prophet Hens – All Over the World
The Shapiros – Hundred Times
Soy un Caballo – Les Vacances
Las Desnortadas – Másters y Postgrados
Dream Carousel – No Matter What
Brilliant at Breakfast – Gundala Putra Petir
Rebel Kind – Best Friend

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Also-ran


I have to buy this record above, from Siesta. I have to say this too or I’ll explode. You can style yourselves as "official" anything all you like, @officialblueboy. Thing is, you’re the exact opposite of official, since you won’t even dignify the world an introduction by stating your real name. The least I’d expect even from a fan account would be some meaningful posts, some respect, and not just unimaginative, shallow tweets and smileys and hashtags ("it's like we never went away" :-) #indielove // “it’s us”). What’s worse, no one seems to know or care. With lots of people so keen to interact with them (whoever they are), I tend to believe they’re unaware that Keith has passed away, thus Blueboy “official” is by nature impossible. Am I alone in this? Am I a bitch? Is nothing sacred anymore?




Following in the week, I was very glad to see my Scottish improving since I started lessons with Alad Godsell, via his mixloud podcasts. I am now considering moving there, trying out mixcloud for my own mixes and the next one is going to be uploaded there. Don’t panic! I will give you the link!




Then later on in the week it was all about our new PM. You know I never talk politics but the image of a new leftist government with almost all its members fourty somethings, tie-less and in jeans like everyday people was, if anything, a pleasant surprise and suggests the upcoming flogging to death of the old corrupted regime.



If you noticed, I added a "follow me here" tab/widget/thingy, so you can now easily follow me on social media and the like, most interestingly I’ve made a new souldcloud playlist which also plays on the top right hand sidebar. But only if you let it!

Je t'aime mélancolie

Now to the main music news around these parts.




There was a point when trying to actually purchase a 7 inch, someone up there was trying my patience. Or it was simply my (see below) bitchy self: the thing I become when the interwebs don’t work my way when I try to buy records. Then I feel horrible when I realise people can’t be at my beck and call at all times, especially since they’re so lovely and kind. Case in point Sugarfrost, a tiny label now based in New Zealand and still quite mysterious to me…how did they end up down there? And, this, still in stock since the 90’s and only NZ $ 11.60?! I feel like I’m stealing from them. I tried to convince them that they miscalculated but to no avail :)

Info on Eva Luna is few and far between, it was some kind soul on twitter who pointed me towards them. I did learn they were the project of Graeme Elston as in one of the multi-talented Elston brothers (Graeme and Marc Elston). Graeme Elston later was in Slipslide and Marc Elston in The Liberty Ship. Marc is releasing a new single soon which sounds great!




On Monday, a facebook friend and reader told me that I had “an air of melancholy”. In the indiepop world, and my world in general, that’s the best compliment anyone’s ever made me! That gives a nice French touch to the title of this posting and today’s second discovery which comes courtesy of my ever so reliable, essential bandcamp feed. Not that there’s anything melancholic about them, quite the opposite.



The French scene, very active in the mid to late 90s, seems to have a resurgence what with Aline (ex. Young Michelin), Pendetif, Watoo Watoo, Juniore et. al. and now this lovely band. I’m thinking I’ll be featuring at least one song from my new favourite scenes in each upcoming podcast i.e. French, East Asian and Spanish so far and maybe the Greek one which I’ve mostly neglected last year.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Tu Silencio (your silence)





Let us continue on on this Spanish thing I’ve got of late; there’s no one else but Samira to blame for this, as I’ve said.

You may think otherwise but my knowledge of Spanish Pop is embarrassingly limited. I’ve heard things, I’ve heard of things, but never really paid attention, unless when it comes to Elefant, and even then, only their more recent releases. It’s been only after Samira that its fervor and comeliness started to get under my skin.

First stop, Annika Records coming out of Barcelona, whose lovely Facebook page I’m currently devouring. Now, I’ve sworn to myself I wouldn’t waste any more money on postage this year, but that proved very hard to stick to. See, I just bought this off them, a double cd digipak comp which must be an indiepop artefact. The cd itself is discounted for a limited time but the postage is …ouch…

The whole thing sounds delicious (I already had mp3s) but the band I was most interested in was Superété. This was the band that Sandra Belda sung in before she took part in California Snow Story. Wonderful singer, reminds me a lot of Melanie Whittle from The Hermit Crabs. I’ve uploaded on soundcloud their only two tracks I could find, one from Roque’s blog (I should’ve known better to pay more attention to him) and one, still coming from Roque I believe, from this blog, once a great source for indiepop finds. Hopefully no one would mind.


Now I’m off to watch the election day specials!

Strange Geometry


I’ve no fucking clue what to talk about.* I come up with a thought or an idea every single morning, I swear, and then I have to go to work and the moment’s gone. Fucking jobs, eating away our time…

The other night I had the weirdest dream. I’m embarrassed to say…oh fuck it I’ll say it anyway. I’ve dreamt about the Lucksmiths many times, as I’ve said before. In many dreams, I see them play live somewhere and I end up married to Mark Mononne. That’s weird cos I’ve never had any romantic thoughts about him or any of the Lucksmiths. But on that one dream, guess who made a guest appearance?! That Gisele woman. What can I say, only yours truly could mix Gisele Bundchen and Mark Mononne in the same dream.

In other unrelated news, I’m still on antibiotics since last year, when this terrible fall-out in my family brought on a bout of bronchitis. I never get sick. Only when I’m extremely upset. Anyway, a couple of things this past week worth mentioning. Or not. Depending on how unhealthily often you visit this blog.

First, I’m sick and tired of hearing the word “underrated”. I’ve seen it a million times about The Go-Betweens but especially this week, when this box set thing came out. Underrated? Trying to solve the “why so underrated”, puzzle when it comes to your favourite band may look like trying to square the circle or understand Euclidean geometry, when it’s really a lot more simple. To begin with, the masses never really appreciated quality. The music fans/journos/media will never cite Go-Betweens next to Taylor Swift. If you ever thought that this would happen, obviously you don’t know much about music industry. Moreover, expecting 10 to 80 million losers to have better taste is impossible, it was always like this and it always will be. Not just in music but everywhere. Besides, seriously, do you want them to like our Go-Betweens? Because they can’t, they’re not made of the same stuff as you and me!

I won’t be boring you for much longer. I just want to say one more thing. I enjoy the search for and hunting down gorgeous pop music everyday and I like reading other blogs a lot more than I like writing on mine (yikes). But sometimes it can get frustrating, when it only lasts for the two minutes of a song or ideally for the duration of a lovingly compiled mix like this, or this. Then you start over. And it’s all too you know, ephemeral. It doesn’t last long. I guess that’s music, right? But, is this the case in indiepop or is, say, metal any different?


*now we both know that was a big LIE

Monday, 19 January 2015

What Would Jeremy Do?

A few years back I mused on what makes The Very Most’s music so joyful. I mean, every TVM song has the “I’m doing the chores but I feel like I’m out in a field picking up daisies” quality to it. That kept bugging me every single time I listened to Jeremy’s songs. In the meantime, I dropped this idea on him, that they should do a cover of a certain song, and I don’t care if you laugh at me admitting to having a soft spot for. A few months later, my wish was granted. It turned up like this:



I know…

Yep, it took a few years and a sad turn of events in my own family to finally unlock the mystery: it’s his three daughters Sylvia, Josie, and Mia and it works like this: every time they hug him they implant a tune in him, a melody, a good vibe which then he makes it into a song. So, I thought I’d interview him and find out if this is indeed the case.

-Jeremy, tell us, is it true, that the joyfulness of your songs channels the happiness and cheer you get from your daughters?

-That's a hard question to answer, but I think you're on to something with that. When I think about why I make music, the first thing I think of is my family. I want my kids to know that the pursuit of beauty is an important thing. I think the love and joy found within my family uplifts each member in different ways and causes us to find our own little way to add to the beauty found on this planet. I make my music. My wife Sarin makes beautiful books, toys, and crafts. My oldest daughter Josie plays the clarinet and piano. My daughter Mia writes some impressive fiction pieces about her current obsessions, and my daughter Sylvia can't stop drawing. (She's determined not to do anything musical, even though I'm convinced she'd be a really good drummer based on her mastery of a video game called Rhythm Heaven).


-What do you think makes your children happy?

-Everyone in our family is united by a love of slightly absurd comedy: The Simpsons, Homestar Runner, They Might Be Giants, Adventure Time. That said, what makes each child happiest is a little different. Josie, I think, is very concerned with being a good person and making a positive impact on the world. Mia might be the most tender-hearted person I know and she just wants everyone, everywhere, and regardless of species, to be happy and safe. Sylvia is driven to achieve and has a competitive streak a mile wide, but she's also really thoughtful and loving when you're a close friend or in her family.


-Another thing that I find puzzling is how the first time I heard your music it reminded me of Australian band The Zebras, now a highly acclaimed band but then, when I made that comment six years ago pretty obscure. I was also happy to discover later that their singer and guitarist is also called Jeremy! Is this a coincidence?* 

-It's no coincidence. We're the same person. It's hard maintaining a job, a family, and bands on two different continents, but I manage to pull it off somehow. (In all seriousness, the Zebras comparison makes me happy. I love those guys.)

-And now, to your next musical project. You’re going to be part of a single series on Dufflecoat Records. How’s that working out? The line-up for that series is truly amazing yet it hasn’t been fully backed. Why do you think that is?

-It's too depressing to think about. It's such a great lineup. There are a few reasons why it's not fully funded yet: not every band is promoting it, there are very few diehard indiepop fans, and the economy still isn't great. Probably the biggest reason, though, is the fact that everyone now gets effortless, free access to music. For a lot of people, music is something that just exists in the environment somehow, not something that you should set aside money in your budget for. Coffee and beer? Sure, let's spend $200 a month on those things. Music? Not so much.


-And how about your new album? Is that going to happen in 2015 you think?

-Well, our controversial synth-pop project will definitely be out in 2015. The next “normal” TVM album will probably be out in early 2016. I'll be sending you previews of the songs though, both as a member of the press and as my dear friend.


-Tell us what your favourite music is.

-My favorite music is ridiculously gorgeous music. Music with the prettiest tunes and best lyrics, lyrics that make you wanna laugh and cry simultaneously. Examples of this include Camera Obscura, Jonathan Richman, Belle and Sebastian, BMX Bandits, and Prefab Sprout. If I had to go for a two word phrase to capture what I love, it would be this: maximum poignancy. Oh, and I love The Beach Boys too.

-Finally, tell us what you think of Tracyanne Campbell

-Tracyanne Campbell is a songwriting genius and one of my favorite singers. I got to drive her and some of the other members of Camera Obscura around Boise for a couple hours. It was a bit surreal seeing her in my rear view mirror where normally I'd see Sylvia.**

*I think so
** :)