Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekender : always thought chips and cheese was an invention of its Midlands university SU until Wild Beasts namechecked it

- We wrote last week that it was a slow one, but at least then there were a couple of real futher interest. This week it's as if the entire industry has decided on a long weekend post-Glastonbury, which is entirely plausible. The best we could find is an initiative from long serving semi-indie One Little Indian. Ahem: "we are reissuing 38 classic OLI albums using the newest technology in vinyl manufacturing - Half Speed Direct Metal Mastering. The groove is cut directly in copper metal. Transient response is greatly improved. Stampers are plated directly from the DMM Copper Master, eliminating two of the three plating steps required for lacquers. In short, DMM yields better detail resolution and a lower noise ratio. This is especially good for long play albums, or audiophile material. All albums are remastered direct from the original master tapes and pressed on 45rpm heavy weight 200g virgin vinyl audiophile discs. Each release is strictly limited, housed in a plastic wallet and individually numbered. A chance to pick up classic One Little Indian albums in the most lavish vinyl format available." Mmm. What this means is you can buy all the Sugarcubes and Bjork albums among others (Rocket From The Crypt, to name one) on vinyl again if you so wish, and the Sugarcubes' singles have also been box setted up. Nobody ever went bankrupt this way, you know. There's some decent singles available, most notably Wild Beasts' The Devil’s Crayon and a reissue of Operator Please's Just A Song About Ping Pong, but you might as well save up this week.

- Or should you? Indietracks festival is four weeks away, and we'll be there along with the cream of the semi-underground indiepop community. To celebrate a re-emergence of a scene that for all its resurgence gladly remans some distance away from the Guardian going "Juno! Twee's back!", Make Do And Mend Records are putting out a 44 track compilation of bands playing the Midland Railway Centre. Headliners the Wedding Present and Los Campesinos! aren't represented, but there is a song called And We Might Even Meet Dave Gedge alongside cuts by Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern, Ballboy, A Classic Education, The Rosie Taylor Project, the Manhattan Love Suicides, The Bobby McGees, Milky Wimpshake, the Voluntary Butler Scheme, Slow Down Tallahassee, The Deirdres, Pocketbooks, The Mai 68s, KateGoes, The Kabeedies and plenty of others.

- In this week of people droning on about the punk spirit and pretending to be shocked by Johnny Rotten again - ooh, he said some nasty things about Coldplay! Yeah, it's actually now physically impossible to find someone willing to stand up for Coldplay in the national press - it's refreshing to find a contemporary take, The Punk Rock Movie, coming to DVD as a salutory lesson about how it was once a living, breathing organism as opposed to a cash cow that remains a pointless cash cow no matter how many layers of pretend irony you add to it. In 1977 Roxy Club DJ Don Letts was given an 8mm Super-8 video camera and thought he'd better document this youth culture upturning that was occurring around him and the club. What he filmed was DIY live footage of the Pistols, Clash, Slits, Subway Sect, Siouxsie & the Banshees, X Ray Spex, Generation X, Slaughter & the Dogs, the Heartbreakers... and their audience, just as importantly. Further supporting evidence? The not easy to please even then Tony Parsons wrote at the time "Letts’ home movie is the genuine article: raw, ragged, exhilarating home-grown action created by the young, the dumb and the glad. Iconoclastic imagery rich in the kind of savage warmth that could only be found in the heart of one of the troops...He can suss out the people who were in for the lifestyle, and those who were in it for mere leisure activity ego-gratification."

COMING SOON: takes a break this week ahead of one of STN's great traditions, the forthcoming rundown of what to expect in the rest of 2008. Oh, go on then, a quick one - July 28th finally sees rockabilly rebel teen siblings Kitty Daisy & Lewis release a self-titled album, and they're releasing a single, Going Up The Country.

MYSPACE INVADERS: If you're seeing Camera Obscura at Kings College London on 17th July we'd suggest getting there early for Sweden's Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck. An octet based around brothers Daniel and Nikas Wennergren, their being Swedish means you pretty much know what air they're working in already, and it's very much the sound of Jens Lekman embarking on a peaceful - well, obviously peaceful - coup to unseat Stuart Murdoch. Perfect for these long summer evenings.

VISUAL AID: At Christmas 1965, the year that saw Help!, Shea Stadium, Rubber Soul and Yesterday, the big ITV spectacular was The Music Of Lennon & McCartney, an attempt to equate their escalating fame with big fuck off Light Entertainment and musical cabaret. The whole thing is archived online in seven parts - this is the first, follow the Related Videos from here, although that's not always easy - featuring among others the George Martin Orchestra, Henry Mancini, Marianne Faithfull, Peter Sellers doing his Richard III She Loves You, Lulu, Cilla Black very much playing to later type, Esther Phillips, Peter & Gordon (Peter being Paul's then beau Jane Asher's brother), Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, jazz organist Alan Haven, Fritz Spiegl (the Austrian composer and renaissance man who wrote the Z-Cars theme and Radio 4's UK Theme) and pretty much all the dancers in the country. John and Paul aren't the world's most charismatic hosts but became famous through their personalities expressed in interviews such as this 1964 press conference in Sydney, chiefly otherwise notable for Jimmy Nicol, who replaced Ringo for a couple of weeks when he was hospitalised with tonsillitis.

* News of another all-dayer of interest, and this one promises to be somewhat unique. There's Nothing Wrong With Covers is an all-dayer taking place at the Brixton Windmill on August 3rd in which some of Britain's best new bands pay tribute to some of America's most influential alternative bands, having to cover at least two of their forebears' songs during their set. An as yet unnamed special guest and friends will headline with a set of Jonathan Richman songs on a bill that also features Stuffy And The Fuses as Pixies, 4 Or 5 Magicians as Guided By Voices, Giant Robot and the City Of Tokyo as Archers Of Loaf, Pale Man Made as Sonic Youth, Favours For Sailors as Weezer, Dutch Husband as Sebadoh and Hour Hands as Built To Spill. Free BBQ as well. Tickets through the usual outlets.

* A couple of free samplers - Labrador Records, curators of much of Sweden's most pleasingly melodious output, have unveiled the Labrador 2008 summer sampler, starring Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, The Radio Dept, Sambassadeur, Club 8, The Mary Onettes and Acid House Kings. Meanwhile Eardrums Music has pulled together two huge sets of new music including new and rare songs by The School, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, Hello Saferide, Elle s’appelle, Club 8 again and lots of new names on us, many of which are great but not all of which are good in terms of nominature ("so we're all settled on Spaghetti Anywhere, then?")

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