Batten the Hatches: It’s Summer Fridays 4.14

26 Aug

The calm before the storm. Literally. New York is bracing for the biggest hurricane it’s ever faced (named after Irene Ryan, Granny Clampett was one tough cookie) and I’m just hoping my 100 year-old building will survive the winds. (It survived the earthquake on Monday… what a week!) Until then, or if you’re somewhere not on the East Coast of the United States, please enjoy the collection of mostly jangly pop. This week mostly ping-pongs between now and the mid-’80s (hey, that’s new for me!), with a few stops in the ’90s as well.

Cover art this week is by me. This was taken on the Williamsburg Bridge on a summer Friday back in June. I know I said no Hipstamatic pictures, but I can break my own rules, dammit. Anyway, it’s a nice picture I think.

DOWNLOAD SUMMER FRIDAYS 4.14

1. Tommy Keene - Places that are Gone
2. This Many Boyfriends – Young Lovers Go Pop!
3. Easterhouse - Out on Your Own
4. Cut Off Your Hands – Nausea
5. The Smiths – Half a Person
6. Real Estate – It’s Real
7. Kitchens of Distinction – Third Time We Opened the Capsule
8. Violens – Through the Window
9. Psychic TV – Godstar
10. Male Bonding – Tame the Sun
11. The Candyskins – Submarine Song
12. Big Troubles – Misery
13. Girls - Honey Bunny
14. Rockpile - Teacher Teacher
15. Grass~Show – 1962
16. Race Horses – Benidorm
17. A Classic Education – Baby, It’s Fine
18. The Lucy Show – Ephemeral (This is No Heaven)
19. Oberhofer - Gotta Go
20. Oh Minnows – Another Volunteer

Stock up on batteries, water, and read-to-eat food, and no matter what you do…no shuffling! Liner notes after the jump.

1. Tommy Keene – Places that are Gone
For a lot of people, this is the sound of the ’80s. Ringing guitars, big choruses. Probably Tommy Keene’s best-known song, this is the original version of “Places that are Gone,” before he signed to Geffen and they tried to beef his sound up for radio. Not that the other version (on Songs from the Film) is bad, but this sounds more right.

2. This Many Boyfriends – Young Lovers Go Pop!
You may remember This Many Boyfriends from “I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels)” which was on Summer Fridays 3.12 last summer. This is a more confident sounding band, louder and less twee, than was on that single. Still some cutesy lyrics though. Really hoping NYC Popfest snags them for next year’s festivities.

3. Easterhouse – Out on Your Own
I have probably related this story before, but I bought Easterhouse’s 1986 album Contenders because Eric Stoltz’s character in Some Kind of Wonderful had a giant poster of it on his bedroom wall. I trusted John Hughes not to steer me wrong. In this case, he didn’t. I didn’t really understand the fiercely socialist lyrics (not much chance Easterhouse will play reunion shows, pretty dated in that way) but the music was — and is — pretty stirring. Pretty sure these guys like the Chameleons.

4. Cut Off Your Hands – Nausea
Speaking of John Hughes…Was a little apprehensive about listening to the new COYH. I liked the last one, but it really felt of that moment — just after Franz Ferdinand got people dancing at angles again. Now it seems the Pretty in Pink soundtrack is their main influence, in particular “Bring on the Dancing Horses.” Or even more, it’s like a band that followed in the Bunnymen’s footsteps, the Mighty Lemon Drops. But I like this all the same.

5. The Smiths – Half a Person
“Sixteen, clumsy and shy/I booked myself into the Y/WCA…I said I like it here can I stay?” is easily one of Morrissey’s Top 5 Funniest lyrics ever.

6. Real Estate – It’s Real
First track given forth from Days, Real Estate’s debut on Domino Records. No major changes to what they do, dosen’t sound like, now that they have a budget to work with. Maybe a little cleaner…which is welcome. Nice tight pop. Good work, guys.

7. Kitchens of Distinction – Third Time We Opened the Capsule
Huge on college radio in the early ’90s, I’m not sure Kitchens of Distinction get the credit they deserve now. Their first three albums are pretty much classics, that hold up as well as anything by Ride, Catherine Wheel or the other bands of that sort. This is from 1989′s Love is Hell which pretty much everyone went gaga for at the time. KoD are due a reappraisal.

8. Violens – Through the Window
This new Violens single reminded me of Kitchens of Distinction which is what led me to put them on this mix. Violens have been releasing a new digital single every month this year. Not quite what the Wedding Present did in 1992 but still a noble effort. I dig the skittering drums on this one.

9. Psychic TV – Godstar
The only Psychic TV song that most people know, a 1985 single about Brian Jones (“the one of the Rolling Stones”) with an appropriately brown sugar riff. This was actually a minor UK hit, and later covered by Television Personalities (and just recently by Dinowalrus).

10. Male Bonding – Tame the Sun
Like most of the heralded low fi acts of 2008-09, Male Bonding have cleaned up their act a bit in 2011. Their second album, Endless Now (great title I think), is borderline pop-punk at times but with a healthy influx of droney-hazy to keep people from thinking they should be on Epitaph in 1993.

11. The Candyskins – Submarine Song
Underrated band from Oxford who released some of the ’90s most excellent guitar pop, not that anyone paid a lot of attention. This was the first song I’d heard from them, from 1990′s Space I’m In, but all four of their albums are worth keeping an eye out for.

12. Big Troubles – Misery
On their first album, Brooklyn’s Big Troubles were Totally Shoegaze and you could play a drinking game spotting the references. For their first album on Slumberland, the boys went to North Carolina to work with legend Mitch Easter which is a pretty inspired pairing. The album drops the distortion and most of the other pedals in favor of crystaline, jangle-n-harmony pop. So good!

13. Girls – Honey Bunny
…and goes so well into the new Girls single. The new album, Father, Son, Ghost, is a high-fi affair (not that their debut was low-fi in any way) and ranges from the sort of sunny pop heard here to some riff-tastic southern rock. No, seriously!

14. Rockpile – Teacher Teacher
Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Billy Bremer and Terry Williams were a powerpop supergroup whose sole album, Seconds of Pleasure, is a stone-cold classic that everyone should own. I remember seeing the video for “Teacher Teacher” on “HBO Video Jukebox” back in the very early ’80s.

15. Grass~Show – 1962
Here’s a ’90s group nobody remembers. I bought Grass~Show’s debut (their only album?) because it was on Food Records and I was obsessed with Blur at the time. Also I really liked the cover art for Something Smells Good in Stinksville, which looked a lot like the artwork to fellow Swedes The Wannadies’ Bagsy Me.

16. Race Horses – Benidorm
New single from Welsh band who are from the same oddball tradition (and home country) as Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals.

17. A Classic Education – Baby, It’s Fine
After what seems like forever, Italy’s A Classic Education are finally releasing their debut album, Call it Blazing, this fall on the fine Lefse label. Here’s our first taste, a little less orchestral but still with that velocity and tunefullness I associate with them.

18. The Lucy Show – Ephemeral (This is No Heaven)
Another favorite from my college radio days. The Lucy Show were Canadian but lived in the UK where this sound (moody, anthemic rock a la Chameleons or the Bunnymen) was much more popular at the time (oh, 1984 or so). From their debut album, Undone, which came out on A&M at the time. Recently reissued by Words on Music.

19. Oberhofer – Gotta Go
New track from one of NYC’s more promising young bands. Of all the bands that played the Village Voice 4-Knots Festival this year, Oberhofer seemed to be having the best time on stage.

20. Oh Minnows – Another Volunteer
I’m a sucker for anything that recalls ’80s widescreen pop (Prefab Sprout, The Triffids, The Blue Nile) and Oh Minnows debut album, For Shadows, is big and confident and anthemic and swooning in all the right ways. My new favorite obsession.

 

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