Sunday, June 22, 2008

Weekender : so many messages unreplied to

- Having seen Brakes five times, Electric Soft Parade twice and his solo set once live in the time frame, as well as having found ourselves standing next to him at two seperate festivals last year, it occurs to us we've seen Thomas White more often than members of our own family in the last two years, and to think we've never even introduced ourselves. Not surprising, mind, as factor in his drumming for Restlesslist and his sideline/stand-in work with a phalanx of other bands and he seems to be in possession of some sort of magic quality music elixir, one that's capable of stretching out genre boundaries while never losing sight of the qualities of a good tune. That's as much the case with his debut solo album, I Dream Of Black, another high quality product from the fast becoming completely reliable Drift label. Recorded by himself on a four-track it plays better than many a patchwork release produced in far less reduced circumstances, delving further into the psychedelic elements ESP often hint at - his Myspace suggests Broadcast as a major influence, which we can very much see - levered with the kind of Tim Buckleyesque songwriting he's exhibited playing acoustically. Chalk another one up in his credit column.

- The above's release seems to have been moved forward from mid-July at short notice, which is good as the patchy Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust apart there's very little to write about this week after the My Bloody Valentine reissues were moved back because Kevin Shields has been taking too long - stop us if you're surprised at any stage - writing the liner notes. Here's a curio, though. Between 1957 and 1964 the BBC broadcast the Radio Ballads series, an entirely new form of wireless recording documenting everyday British life mixing together field recorded voices of the subjects with specially written songs, instrumental pieces and sound effects created by the great political folk singer (and father of Kirsty) Ewan MacColl, his similarly feted as a writer-performer wife Peggy Seeger and BBC producer Charles Parker. Someone called Broadcaster has extensively sampled them for Primary Transmission, adding a techno beat undertow (MacColl and Seeger's son Calum MacColl, who has worked with everyone from Boyzone to Christy Moore, co-produces) to great and generally non-Moby effect.

COMING SOON: Alex Kapranos is OK with new songs from Franz Ferdinand's recent tryout gigs being posted on YouTube because apparently they'll be much different when their third album is released in January. Right then. 38 seconds of What She Came For doesn't deviate too much from Franz norm although it cuts off just as it enters into what sounds like a hell of a chorus, while Send Him Away's 62 seconds is lover's post-punk. A New Thrill sounds quite glammy refracted through the Glasgow School; more promising is Ulysses' understated aggressive stomp - this makes sense in our head, honest. Katherine Kiss Me is for our money the best of the new bunch, a spidery guitar and funky rhythm. Wry disco inferno Turn It On has also been played, but that's been in the set so long it was briefly mooted early on as the first single from You Could Have It So Much Better...

MYSPACE INVADERS: There have been a few attempts recently to bring rockabilly into 00s indie frames - don't say a word, Penate - but Norwich's Bambi Get Over It are going to make 00s indie come towards them with their two and a half minute jive frenzies. Sim Eldem makes for a strident female vocalist reminiscent of Neko Case when on New Pornographers duty, they're not shy on hiding a folk influence - they have mandolin and accordion players after all - and play with an energy which suggests they would almost certainly be a live riot in a small venue.

VISUAL AID: Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue has finally re-emerged and his brother Brian turned 66 on Friday. Who knows what he was doing on Friday, but we know what he was up to 32 years ago, eating cake with the McCartneys before performing Good vibrations. Early Beach Boys television performances from the striped shirt era are always great for seeing the formations directors thought they'd work in, such as miming I Get Around gathered around the back of an SUV or being boogied on down to by an orange jumpered Andy Williams. Ready Steady Go! was presented in a rather more straight laced fashion, even with the audience that close in. They even ended up playing backup to actress Annette Funicello on the theme to 1965 Disney film The Monkey's Uncle and got their own crew for the quasi-Monkees dirigible pratting about video - yes, video, in 1966, fuck you Bo Rap - for Sloop John B. What Dennis there is there is actually among the most fascnating of the band's clippage, not least this extraordinary home video candid footage of he and Al Jardine shopping in London in 1966. There's Dennis' showstopping solo rendition of You Are So Beautiful in Melbourne in 1978, joining Brian, who at this point had been reclusive and/or incapacitated for some time, to present an unknown award in 1976 - good turnout of winners there, evidently - and drumming like his career depended on it on California Girls at Knebworth in 1980, the last time the original line-up played in Britain.

* Welcome To Our TV Show number 5 is go and it's a tribute to the ever wonderful Moshi Moshi Records featuring the Wave Pictures, Hot Club de Paris and Slow Club, plus an all-star Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, the relative merits of Easy Lover and Imagine and ignorance about the Ulster Fry. We know someone who wrote a song about the good breakfast fry-up itself and got it played on Virgin radio. Anyway, go here and then here.

* Free album! Black Plaque by NHG is described as "stupid, digitally-treated, sloppy metal music played by dumb nerds" and features a song called And The Wolf Was Geri Halliwell's Intestine (Parts 1 & 2). We know who's behind it but if we told you we'd have to kill you, only to say it's a band we've featured here recently who've just signed to the same label as another band we've featured even more recently.

* Paid for album! Adam & Joe's Song Wars are but one element of one of the very best things on radio at the moment, and on Monday the first 22 songs it's produced during their 6 Music stay are available on iTunes, with that excellent cover. The IKEA meatballs cooking instructions songs have made it!

* Who wants a music festival friendly satnav device, then? Garmin are giving away a free festival POI download, complete with further information as well as, y'know, getting you there.

* A blog after our own heart - NME & Melody Maker scans from between 1987 and 1996. Look how serious the Maker 1988 staff look. And Suicide and Napalm Death live reviews flanking Tanita Tikaram and Rick Astley!

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