Posts Tagged ‘The aardvarks’

music

Psych round up – Ulysses, Bedrugs, Shadow Kabinet, Mmoss, Magic Theatre, The Primitives and more

By Stefano on March 26th, 2013

It has been a really great week for albums with a pair of excellent new releases.

Band of the week has to be Ulysses who return with their second album Kill You Again, and just like that debut it is an absolute corker. Think noisy glam rock meets Who-like psych with a few outrageous musical steals along with way. Best of all though it has some amazing tunes. If you like Art Brut, David Devant or even The Len Price 3 there is plenty to love here.

The Primitives
are back too, well with a kind of new old album. Everything’s Shining Bright rounds up all their indie recordings for the label Lazy at the end of the 80s. It has some real gems too. Their run of singles from that era includes the Morrissey fave Stop Killing Me (think Ramones meets Monkees) through to the bubblegum psych of Through The Flowers. Also included is a live recording and some demos from the album that eventually morphed into Lovely. This wonderful tune is on there too. There’s a double album reissue of Lovely on the cards soon too.

Cornershop’s Ample Play label has two really exciting new releases coming in the early summer. Bedrugs are a Belgian band with a guitar heavy psych sound not too dissimilar from the excellent Brits Temples but with a whiff of bands like Toy and The Horrors, while The Sudden Death Of Stars hail from France and are influenced by The Byrds, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Church. There is some superb sitar playing on their album too, especially on the Supernovae single featured below.  More info here. Both albums are excellent.

London’s Shadow Kabinet have finally announced a release date for their long awaited Nostalgia For The Future album. Whereas their last album Smiling Worlds Apart was a Sgt Pepper-ish minestrone of psych, the newie sounds like the band have shifted forward a decade or so and are mining mid 70s sounds. The title track (on the vid below) is superb.

Another band who have been away way too long is The Magic Theatre. Basically a project of some ex-members of the hugely under rated Brit-Popper Ooberman, the band released a wonderfully ambitious, heavily orchestrated sixties influenced pop album a few years back called London Town. The new one, The Long Way Home, has a track listing and is apparently in the can. The band’s Dan Popplewell described it as

‘Comparing it sonically to the previous album it sounds much better – more rich, alive and real. Compared to The Beatles it’s a tiny bit louder and brighter. Compared to Abba it’s fat and loud. Compared to The Beach Boys it’s very clear and pristine. Compared to Katy Perry it’s more natural and rich. Oops giving away my bad taste there.’

The line up of the Liverpool’s Psych Fest in September is coming together now and there are some real treats including a very rare (is it their first?) UK visit from the hugely rated psychsters Mmoss. The band’s album Only Children has been one of my most played in a long while. Also coming over are Nashville’s superb Paperhead, Dutch psych wunder kid Jacco Gardner and our the brilliant Byrdsie Brit psychers Alfa 9.

Finally this week sees Le Beat Bespoke in London which marks the first performance in well over a decade for one of the very best English psych pop bands ever The Aardvarks.

The band’s complete recorded history is now rounded up here – and very good it is too. Hope they play this one.

aardvarks



features, music

The most under-rated British Indie bands of the 90s – Marion, Rialto and more

By Stefano on December 9th, 2012

I have a theory that it takes a decade or two before we can properly appreciate the popular culture from an earlier decade. Much of what we love about the 60s, from The Beatles to Peter Blake, was hideously unfashionable in the 70s and didn’t really return to the mainstream until the mid 90s. Similarly the shoulder pads and wonky keyboard bands of the 80s were held in high disdain for decades and it wasn’t until the noughties  that we remembered how much fun some elements of that decade’s music were.

And now it has  to be the 90s to turn to be re-assessed. Sure the first ripples of a 90s revival are already starting to appear. Watching Danny Boyle’s amazing Olympics opening ceremony I was struck by how much of it made me think of the optimism and colour of the early Blair years. Then a couple of weeks later I was off to see the climax of the games –  a gig  by the band who eventually won the Brit Pop war – Blur. In fashion too the heritage brands that had such a resurgence in the 90s are back and selling well.

Then when Chris Gentry of Menswear paraded his fake platinum disc for the band’s Nuisance album, it spawned a host of features about the band including this semi serious piece in The Guardian.

The first books about the 90s are also on the horizon. Alwyn Tuner wrote a very fine mini ebook about the 1992 election and its ramifications for politics and he will have an apparently more definitive tome on the 90s available very shortly. There will also be an interesting examination of London in  the 90s soon which looks among other things at the art school roots of Brit Pop and the way in which Hoxton was transformed from a seedy east London no go zone to the home of the main movers in  Brit Art.

Musically too there are the first rumblings of a 90s revival with Jake Bugg doing a very impressive impersonation of The La’s on his debut album and the growth of 60s obsessed psych bands, many of whom would have been very at home at the fringes of Brit Pop.

So now seems as good a time as any to take a look back over some of the 90s most neglected bands. I asked on Facebook and Twitter send in their nominations and ended up with about 50 bands to choose from.

There are so many that could have made the list from gothic popsters Jack through to harmony drenched power pop of Silver Sun. Maybe we ‘ll look back at them another time.

For now though here are ten, plus a whole load more on the Spotify list below.

Who have we missed? Tell us in the comments…

7 The Family Cat

Picture 4 of 10
Picture 4 of 10

For much of the early 90s The Family cat seemed on the cusp of greatness. They released some perfect indie singles, like Place With A Name, worked with some pop legends like PJ Harvey and were much championed by parts of the music press. It should have all come together in 1993 when the superb Airplane Gardens brushed the charts. The following excellent album Magic Happens, stiffed and the band split. They are not on Spotify, and in dire need of a career compilation overview.

 




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