Archive for June, 2010

A vacancy i was unable to find

June 29, 2010

Some summer nights just leave you feeling reflective. As the evening melts into night and the light slowly fades, the sticky late June warmth gets under your skin and leaves you drowsy. Another beer will cool you down. Go get one.

On nights like these I’m grateful for country rock. And when i’m grateful for country rock, I’m grateful for Whiskeytown.

Here’s one of their best.

Summer sounds

June 24, 2010

Anthem for the summer here (until we all get bored of it at any rate). Lo-fi noisepop (some might say ‘shitgaze’) outfit Wavves seem to have reinvented themselves as a surf-pop Blink 182, and you’ll find no complaints here. Put your shorts’n’shades on, pour yourself a nice cold one and play loudly in the sun:



RIP. You know he will. He really will.

June 24, 2010

WHTB was deeply saddened this week to learn of the death of top pop personality, comedian extraordinaire and all-round good egg Frank Sidebottom. If you were unfamiliar with his distinctive work, youtube is crawling with clips, but you’re recommended to start with The Freshies’ sterling piece of pop-punk perfection I’m In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk and work from there.

Played by Freshies singer Chris Sievey, the character Sidebottom is best viewed as an enthusiastic innocent with a nifty line in spectacularly half-remembered cover versions of pop songs. The appeal lies entirely in their crapness – which, of course, is also their genius. Here he is improving The Fall’s already-ace Hit The North, backed by David Soul and Paul Ryder from the Happy Mondays. As you do.

The internet is currently bursting with tributes to Chris and Frank, but one of the most touching came from Markie from the Velodrome 2000 and The Parallelograms:

“I’m not usually one for getting all sad over people I never met dying but I’m proper choked up over Chris Sievey.

The Freshies were my most favouritest band when I was 13 and it was the most exciting thing in the world to send off to Razz Records for a 7″ or tape and then get it a couple of weeks later with a lovely handwritten letter from Chris.

One morning the postman got lazy and decided the best way to deliver the Red Indian Music 7” single was to fold it in half and shove it through the letterbox. I sent the 2 pieces back to Chris and he returned it a week later broken into even more chunks which had been clumsily stuck back together with gaffa tape along with a note from the “Razz Records Testing Lab” saying they had checked it and could find nothing wrong with it. A shiny new copy with “August Fool” written on it followed a day later.

When I bought the Being Frank video (which was pretty much the first appearance of Mr Sidebottom as the Freshies number one fan) it took him a couple of months to get around to sending it and I had to write and remind him so he stuck an extra bit on the end of the tape featuring his 6 year old son apologising to me for the lateness followed by an unreleased instrumental track he’d done with an accompanying homemade video of Chris playing with his superhero action figures.

It was such a thrill when he finally got some recognition via the “I’m in Love with the Girl on the Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk” and then became world famous by putting on a Papier Mache head and doing Queen and Sex Pistols covers.

I will miss him lots.
You know I will.
I really will.”

RIP Chris, and RIP Frank.

Oh, what can it mean…?!?

June 15, 2010

One of the great things about pop music is that it speaks for itself far better than the clumsy galoots who attempt to fling steaming great piles of meaningless wordy drivel at you. Pop music actually sticks as well.

Since it’s universally agreed that the Japanese have mastered all aspects of this pop malarkey far better than anyone else, it makes perfect sense that Shonen Knife should be responsible for today’s redoubtable Best Thing In The World Ever.


Running behind

June 7, 2010

A few months ago, in a post about the relative merits of bands reuniting, I casually dropped in the fact that I’d bought a ticket to see Sunny Day Real Estate’s first UK show. No-one asked for one, but in any case here’s a review of sorts.

Right. It was absolutely wonderful – not quite as good as Pavement at ATP, but wonderful nonetheless. Even the opening acoustic set by Biffy Clyro couldn’t ruin the occasion. I don’t know what’s happening with all these reunion shows, but I’m sure they’re supposed to be shit.

Jeremy Enigk’s voice soared, William Goldsmith pounded away majestically and Nate Mendel looked perfectly at home – even though he surely can’t have set foot on a stage that small since the Foo Fighters’ 1997 tour. Dan Hoerner, meanwhile, wore a grin so goofily ecstatic that words cannot do it justice. Evidently he loves playing in this band.

SDRE attempt their own version of Spinal Tap's infamous 'lost en route to the stage' scene

And the songs! Good lord, the songs. The emotive pop hooks of Seven, In Circles and Song About An Angel are thrilling enough on record, but it was an almost religious experience to hear them played live. Fists aloft, inept indie dancing and gleeful expressions all round. Everything you could possibly hope for from this sort of show. The fragmented splendour of their second album was well-represented too – Theo B in particular reduced this hack to rapturous, gobsmacked beaming.

If I’m coming across as some sort of nerdy, overawed fanboy, I apologise.

Presumably it’s because I am one.

Ah well.