Friday, 30 July 2010

Pleasure City Hip Parade, July 2010

The NME has done it every week since 1952; Paul Heaton has done it every week since 1980; this chap does it most weeks on his it's my turn!

What's a blog for if you can't publish your own charts from time to time?

And why Hip Parade? Because I spent my entire childhood mis-hearing the word "hit" in "hit parade" on the radio!

So, here is Pleasure City Avenue's first monthly hip parade - a list of my most played and most hummed tunes of the month for July 2010, some old, some new, but all swirling around inside of me at some point:

1. Helen & the Horns - Freight Train (a 99p Ebay win a few weeks ago - cowgirl indiepop)
2. The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Longsocks (creepy and fascinating, like sugar mice coming to life at sunset - reminded me of the first time I heard Birthday by the Sugarcubes - and they called me a lovely fellow on their Myspace blog! Physical release on September 8th - I can't wait!)
3. Best Coast - Far Away (fabulous singalong 7" bought at their Joiners gig in May)
4. The Farmer's Boys - All of a Sudden (better than anything The Smiths ever did - not taken seriously at the time of release because they were marketed as bumpkins)
5. Withered Hand - New Dawn (new to me - I'll be checking out more of this lo-fi loveliness)
6. Best Coast - Happy
7. A Place To Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
8. Dum Dum Girls - Oh Mein M
9. Rote Kapelle - These Animals Are Dangeroos
10. The Pastels - Stay With Me Till Morning
11. The Magnetic Fields - The Nun's Litany
12. The Chiffons - Oh My Lover
13. Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes - I'm Up Here
14. Best Coast - Crazy For You
15. Johnny Burnette & the Rock n Roll Trio - Train Kept a Rollin'
16. The Sandwitches - Back To the Sea
17. Tender Trap - Do You Want a Boyfriend?
18. Liechtenstein - Passion for Water
19. Blanketarms - I Love Your Guts
20. Dum Dum Girls - Yours Alone

There, that was random! But I like it!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Day I Was Bob Marley

This seemed such a good idea at the time! Hold a record sleeve in front of your face and pretend you're a pop star!

The same day, PJ Harvey, Bo Diddley, The Soup Dragons, and the knitted puppet off of a Sonic Youth LP were all photographed in a similar manner.

I thought it was an original idea. Then it was pointed out that it had been done before.

Oh well.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Indiepop Mansions: The Chesterf!elds

Number one in a new series, wherein I hunt down the former dwellings of some of my favourite artists. It was common for bands on independent labels in pre-internet times to include an address on their record sleeves, so that their fans could write to them. I like to think that pop groups lived together in happy houses full of music and gay frivolity, where they let their creative muses run wild - I thought it would be interesting to view some of the places where my essential listening originated.

Thus, the first band to come under investigation are The Chesterf!elds, purveyors of many fine indiepoppin' tunes, including their third Subway Organization single, Ask Johnny Dee, from which I have taken their 1987 address. From the single's insert, I found that they (or at least one of them!) lived in Gas House Hill, Sherborne, Dorset. Some Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing revealed that this is on the SW corner of British National Grid square ST6416, literally next door to Sherborne Station (handy for the short train ride to Yeovil!).

View Larger MapTracking the address down even further on Streetview (and this wasn't easy), I came up with the house above as The Chesterf!elds' most likely abode in 1987. Was Kettle written here? I don't have the answer to that, but it looks like a nice place to live from the outside, right on the edge of town, with a pretty view of brightest green grassy fields from the front windows. The one thing that is obviously missing is a blue plaque, an indication of the pop genius that used to live within.

Would you like to know what pop kids wear in the sea? Ask Johnny Dee!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Maladies of Bellafontaine

Well, I didn't intend to make this blog a Music Blog - there's enough of those already - but hey, if I come across something special, I'm going to shout about it here.

Or, in this case, whisper.

Listening to my newly-mended radio last Thursday, I tuned in to the Gary Crowley show on 6Music whilst soaking in warm lavender bubbles. I wasn't expecting much - maybe a ten-minute Glastonbury live slot from the previous weekend.

What I actually heard was my new favourite band. My new favourites sound like a gaggle of glockenspieling kittens riding around on wooden-wheeled ducks-on-strings. They sound like Noosha Fox, a playful Marissa Nadler, Broadcast, The Ditty Bops, and quite a lot like old John Peel faves The Would Be's. So...destined to be ignored by most, but unconditionally adored by a few.

Searching the 'net, I've been unable to find any trace of officially released music, so I suspect Gary Crowley was playing a pre-release (the song being Longsocks). Perhaps it's coming out on Static Caravan in the near-future? Consider this a bookmark.

Listen to the jolly, Ditty Bops-ish Champagne and the enchanting, "black kitten leather shoes and" Longsocks on their Myspace page.