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28 Apr
New Arrivals: April edition
1 Star 12

Here’s some highlights from April. Another busy month of new purchases (and here I was supposed to save money for our UK/France trip in… 9 days? Yow!).

The Bridal Shop – In Fragments cdep – Plastilina Records
www.myspace.com/thebridalshop
After the “In Violation” 7″ and their excellent debut “From Seas” EP I had some really high expectations for this release. Unfortunately it hasn’t really reached that for me (at least not yet), but the third song “Ideal State” is worth the price of this EP alone (oh my, so good!). Too bad there aren’t any “Toomas’ Floor” jangle pop songs here. I feel like they went too Air France and not enough Moscow Olympics (if that makes sense).

Maribel – Taste The Trash 7″ – Oslo Grammofon
www.myspace.com/maribelband
I haven’t been excited about a new shoegaze (nu-gaze) band in a while. This single by Norway’s Maribel is quite good, but what I’m really after is their newly released “Aesthetics” album (after hearing the preview on myspace). Too bad the cd is $27 with shipping! I should just buy the Quince Records version as it’s way cheaper, but I like the artwork on Oslo Grammofon better… or I can just buy the digital version here for $8.91. Decisions!

Wake The President – Miss Tierney 7″ – Electric Honey/Lucky Number Nine
www.myspace.com/wakethepresidentband
I love (LOVE!) this track by Glasgow’s Wake The President! I’m so pleased it’s finally out on vinyl.

Je Suis Animal – Fortune Map 7″ – Electric Honey/Lucky Number Nine
www.myspace.com/jesuisanimal
This is actually the flip of the Wake The President 7″ — and yes I own two copies. It’s usually my rule with splits so I can alphabetize them into the shelves separately (It’s a disease). Anyway this Je Suis Animal side is excellent as well.

Sea Lions – Let’s Groove 7″ – YAY! Records
www.myspace.com/myspacedotcomslashsealions
I actually meant to include this Sea Lions record in the March new arrivals, but it was hiding in the back. Anyway, this is probably one of my favorite singles released this year! Lots of raving about them on blogs, so grab a copy before it’s gone. Order here.

The Mayfair Set – Already Warm 7″ – Captured Tracks
www.myspace.com/themayfairset
Like many of us who were waiting forever for their Captured orders to ship, we were rewarded this month with records. The Mayfair Set is one everyone has been raving about being half Blank Dogs half Dum Dum Girls. To be honest I haven’t fallen in love with this yet. I do like the B-side “Desert Fun” over “Already Warm.” That said, I’m still very interested to hear their next singles (including the one on Slumberland).

Wake The President – You Can’t Change That Boy cd – Magic Marker/Electric Honey
www.myspace.com/wakethepresidentband
“Miss Tierney” as I said above is my favorite track by them, but the album as a whole is very good and comes highly recommended. Order a copy from Magic Marker here.

Jamie Long – The Never Years cd – Platiqmusiq (promo)
www.myspace.com/jamielonger
I’ve been meaning to mention this release on the blog for a while. It’s gotten a few plays in the office this week and I’m warming up to it. The music is very Svensk synth pop and vocals remind me of maybe the Album Leaf. I tend to prefer the music to the vocals, but all and all worth checking out. Shelflife’s Horse Shoes did a remix of “Years” that you can download here! Order a copy of “The Never Years” here.

Arthur & Martha – Navigation cd – Happy Robots
www.myspace.com/arthurandmartha
I’ve been really enjoying this album from the UK synth-pop group Arthur & Martha. Order a copy here.

Brilliant Colors – Highly Evolved 7″ – Captured Tracks
www.myspace.com/brilliantcolorssanfrancisco
This is maybe the stand-out of the latest batch of Captured stuff I purchased. “Highly Evolved” is a great track that reminds me of early bay area indie pop (Sushi and #Poundsign#)! I’m excited to see them at the SF Popfest in May.





23 Apr
KG – Candy Loves Me So
1 Star 10

This first KG 7″ single “Candy Loves Me So” is so good I own three copies of it. It’s what noise pop should be — short songs, great vocals and NOISE. It has the pop sensibilities of Rocketship and noise making skills of The Swirlies. All five tracks are pretty much perfect in my opinion.

There was a compilation cd planned gathering all the early stuff (I think on Slumberland), but it never happened. So you’ll have to try and find the original vinyl copies. I recommend the first three singles:

“Candy Loves Me So” 7″ on lo-fi (1993)
“987″ 7″ on lo-fi/Orgasm (1996)
“From Innocence To Catastrophe” 7″ on Clairecords/Tinseltones (1997)

There was also a 10″ released in 1997 called “Baraka,” but I was never able to find a copy (any one have it – should I be looking for it?). After these singles (from 1999-2002) KG went into a completely different spectrum… more experimental, noise (like “Merzbow” noise) and mostly unlistenable. I remember there was a cd with all the tracks named S.P.E.C.T.R.E 1-68. I’d be curious to hear this stuff nowadays, but back then I was not much of a fan. KG reappeared in 2004 remixing a song for Gooom labelmates M83 on the “Run Into Flowers” 12″.

Anyway, back to this single, here’s their best song “Candy Loves Me So” and one of my other favorites “Jukebox Rider.” Enjoy!

Listen to Candy Loves Me So

Listen to Jukebox Rider

www.last.fm/music/Kg
www.discogs.com/artist/KG





21 Apr
The Diplomat Haircuts
1 Star 8

I can’t believe I’m posting this, but here goes… The Diplomat Haircuts was my early recording project/band before (and during) the early stages of The Autocollants (1994-1998). It started off with just me and then became a proper group (basically all The Autocollants members and my friend Rodney). We played a handful of shows (one supporting the Swirlies), but only released one track and one remix — “Outside” for the “Something Cool” compilation on Cher Doll and “Send Me Back” (The Autocollants) for the “Epithalamia” compilation on Clairecords. We actually have a 7″ EP slated on Clairerecords (you can still find it listed in their discography as: fern007 – Diplomat Haircuts – s/t 7″/CDep), which is a running joke at this point. I guess you can say the Diplomat Haircuts have now morphed into what Tears Run Rings is today. Those familiar with TRR may hear some similarities in guitar noise (listen close – ha), although the years have taught me some self-control. TRR songs “Mind The Wires” and “Send Me Back” were even taken from old Diplomat Haircut demos.

Anyway, I found this early tape of demo/test recordings from 1994 I think. It’s freaking hilarious to me. Hopefully you’ll find it funny too (and not too painful)! It’s back from my “noise/experimental” phase — screeching guitars, distorted bass, haphazard drums and my lovely out-of-tune vocals. You can tell I listened to a lot of Hood, FSA, Beatnik Filmstars and Henry’s Dress. Oh and I remember I had a crappy three string (I couldn’t manage to play the other 3 strings so I took them off) thrift store guitar that wouldn’t stay in tune. There are obviously some distortion pedals and reverb involved (I don’t remember what I had at the time — nothing fancy) and I wish I could make some of those feedback tones again. It was all recorded on my Tascam 4-track, which I obviously was just learning by the levels present (wow bass!).

So, I posted one song below and if you can make it all the way through download the EP. Warning: one track is an early version of “Tennis Racket” (later nicely recorded by The Autocollants). This version sounds like Mercury Rev and Hood got drunk together and then got sick. That’s all I’m saying. Um, enjoy!

Listen to The Diplomat Haircuts – I See Things

>> Download EP (13.94 MB)

p.s. Check out this bad ass Diplomat Haircuts website (thanks web.archive.org)





17 Apr
The Almanacs – I Sure Do!
1 Star 3

The Almanacs were a band from Derby featuring Ian Turner on guitar and vocals, Paul Stewart on vocals and guitars, and Rob Fleay on bass, vocals and solo guitars. Ian and Paul started the band as a bedroom recording project originally called The Hairgods. Later Rob joined and they recorded a number of demos, many which appear on now rare indie pop compilation cassettes.

Their first (and I believe only) 7″ single was released in 1994 on Fabian Garcia’s Anorak Records (anorak 001, and the same Anorak still releasing records today). The first song on the A-side “Living On Another World” is maybe the “hit” of the single, but I also love the last song on the B-side “I Sure Do!” Have a listen below. The band has a bunch more songs on their myspace which I believe are all unreleased.

The Almanacs called it quits in the mid-90s as members left to go to different universities. Other projects emerged in the late 90s (mainly from Ian and Rob) such as Motorcade, Evil Jukebox, SBD Project, Frankie Machine (brilliant!), and Everyone. Ian Turner is now doing some solo stuff and film soundtracks (as of 2007).

Listen to The Almanacs – I Sure Do!

Watch the video for “Living On Another World”

Discography:

“No Difference” – on v/a Teeny Poppers cassette – Anorak Records – 1992
“The Derby Tape” 5 track cassette – The World of Suzie Wong Fanzine – 1993 (not pictured)
“Yours Hopefully” – on v/a C92 – Rainbow – 1993 (not pictured)
“Sunburnt Skin” – on v/a Frischer Morgentau – Steinpilz Fonträger – 1993
“Another World” EP 4 track 7″ – Anorak Records (anorak 001) – 1994
(anything else?)

www.myspace.com/wwwmyspacecomthealmanacs
www.myspace.com/francisalbertmachine
www.myspace.com/ianturner1973

Read the Cloudberry interview with Fabian of Anorak Records





15 Apr
Hushpad – Saturday
1 Star 5

Hushpad were an acoustic pop group from Illinois featuring Matthew and Angela (and later just Matthew). They released two 7″s, the first “From Here To There” features my favorite song “Saturday”. There were rumors of an album and another single recorded to be released on Saltwater Records in the late 90s, but it sadly never came to be. Matthew if you’re reading this, let’s hear it!

Listen to Hushpad – Saturday

Discography:
“From Here To There” 7″ – The Bus Stop Label (BUS 35) – 1994
“Dear Jenny” 7″ – Goodbye Virginia (#4) – 1997

Oh and for those who missed getting these singles back in the day, Laura and I have listed our dupe copies on eBay ending in a few days.

www.myspace.com/matthewhushpad





8 Apr
New Arrivals: March edition
1 Star 7

Shelflife is keeping me busier and busier these days and I just don’t have time to post about all the great new records I’ve been getting. So I decided I would start a new blog feature simply called “New Arrivals” to showcase items in my own new arrival bin (in this case the shelf and floor next to my stereo). Don’t worry I still plan to do my usual posts, but this will serve as a catch up when I fall behind. Hope you like the format okay.

CFCF – You Hear Colours 7″ – Acéphale 
www.myspace.com/cfcf
I’m new to CFCF, but if this single is any indication, I need to listen to more of his stuff. I also really like what Canada’s Acéphale label is all about. Their design and packaging aesthetic is fantastic and I’m eagerly awaiting their upcoming Air France 10″ release (which compiles both EPs).

JJ – jj no° 1 7″ – Sincerely Yours
www.sincerelyyours.se/yours0103.php
New single on Sincerely Yours. I don’t know much about JJ yet. The music reminds me of a more moody Concretes or Camera Obscura. Again I really love the sleeve art.

Joel Alme – The Queen’s Corner 7″ – Sincerely Yours
www.sincerelyyours.se/yours0072.php
I ordered this one with the JJ single above. I’m a bit behind the times as this one was out March 08. Good single and the gold foil on the sleeve is a nice touch.

Lansing-Dreiden – The Dividing Island cd – Kemado
www.myspace.com/lansingdreiden
I saw these are selling for a $1 on eBay! Insane! Buy it for the cd packaging alone, not to mention it has their best song “A Line You Can Cross.”

The Artisans 3″ cd-r – Cloudberry Classics
www.cloudberryrecords.com
I absolutely love The Artisans and it’s nice to have all their tracks on this 3″ cd release. This is the first on the new Cloudberry Classics footprint. I can’t wait for more.

Cats On Fire – Our Temperance Movement cd – Johanna Kustannus
www.myspace.com/catsonfiremusic
No surprise that this record would be as good as I imagined it could be. I said there was no way they could top the first album, but this one is quickly becoming my favorite! Vinyl LP issue coming soon from Cargo Germany. I need to place my order.

Testbild – Aquatint cd – Friendly Noise
www.myspace.com/testbildsweden
Latest Testbild album doesn’t disappoint. I love listening to this while I’m busy at work.

Jackpot – Uno Dos Tres 12″ – Service
www.srvc.se
Caught up on some Service stuff recently. This one gets me dancing.

Dum Dum Girls – Yours Alone” 12″ – Captured Tracks
www.myspace.com/dumdumgirls
You probably all know this group by now and yes, it more than lives up to the hype.





4 Apr
Poastal – Dizzy
1 Star 3

Today I’ve been listing more 7″s up on eBay. I happen to have multiple copies of this Poastal / #Poundsign# split single, so I thought I would offer up a copy. The Poastal side is especially excellent! This single is also important to me as it’s one of the first SF Bay area indie pop singles I purchased. Members from both these bands went on to form The Aislers Set, Skypark, Wussom Pow, and numerous others.

Listen to Poastal – Dizzy

By request for Gilberto, #Poundsign# – Disaster

Check out my auctions





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