CHARGED PARTICLES (11)

THE GUEST SERIES FROM JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

This series has covered a lot of different acts and a lot of different styles of music. What it hasn’t included is a lot of women. That’s not right, so here are some charged particles featuring favorite females:

Vision: Autoclave

Connection: Elastica

Intuition: Feist

Levitation: Beach House

Petition: Tennis

Precaution: Pylon

Situation: Margaret Glaspy

 

JTFL

JC adds……this is the last of what was the initial batch of Charged Particles pieces submitted by Jonny a few months back.  Fingers crossed he finds time for some more.

INDIETRACKS 2017 : A PERSONAL APPRECIATION FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

A GUEST POSTING FROM ALDO

Indietracks is an indiepop festival which takes place annually on a heritage railway in rural Derbyshire. This was our sixth successive jaunt down to the event.

I first attended in 2012, looking for a different kind of festival fix after years of attending Scotland’s annual behemoth T in the Park, and I came away from the weekend totally hooked, much in the way I’d felt going to those first couple of T’s. The whole setup appealed so much, not least being shuttled on a vintage train the mile journey from the entrance to the main festival site.

Although the music is always first and foremost the main appeal, there is no doubt that it’s the folk that attend who add just as much to the event as anything else. Firm friendships have been forged over the years, and there’s always plenty time spent greeting many a familiar face. In fact this year I ended up sharing accommodation with one such mate from Belfast when his wife, and my usual sparring partner and roommate, were both unable to attend this year.

Proceedings get underway on the Friday evening, easing everyone into the weekend, and as usual there were three bands set to grace the main stage.  We were, however, somewhat relieved when, supping pints in our usual pre-festival boozer, one of the gang arrived with news that, as a result of the forecast for inclement weather, the bands were now to perform on the indoor second stage.

First up were Scots, Kid Canaveral, making their second appearance at the festival, they had drafted in a couple of stand-in members for this show due to the logistics of having to then travel to the Isle of Eigg off the west coast of Scotland for Lost Map’s Howlin’ Fling that same weekend. They got things off to a great start, playing a set largely drawing on their most recent release Faulty Inner Dialogue, and being a particularly big fan of the band I thoroughly enjoyed them. They were followed by Chorusgirl, who I’ve seen a few times before, most recently at the Fortuna Pop! farewell weekender in London in March. Again they delivered a hugely enjoyable set.

So on to Martha, they are a perfect example of the type of band which the festival seems to foster, moving up the billing with each festival, and akin to the Spook School the previous year, burgeoning into a group which were more than justified Friday headliners. Much like watching a child or a sibling flourish, the love for them among the crowd was palpable when they emerged to take the stage. Running through pretty much all the favourites from their first two albums, they also included a cover of Semisonic’s Closing Time thrown in for good measure, and left us all in good spirits.

mp3 : Martha – Precarious (Supermarket Song)

Although some sore heads were being nursed after the previous evening’s visit to the disco tent, we all made it down in time for Saturday’s 1pm start, and the first band up in the indoor stage were Pillow Queens, a four piece all female outfit from Dublin playing a mix of alt-pop punk. Next on the agenda were Crumbs from Leeds who were gaining quite a few mentions pre-festival and certainly lived up to my expectations with a hugely energetic and engaging set. There was a brief venture outdoors into the sunshine for 10 minutes of Spain’s Cola Jet Set, before ensuring I was back in the train shed for TeenCanteen. Like Kid Canaveral, this was their second appearance at the festival, and there were a number of remarks with regard to just how much they had improved as a live force. This is definitely true, and they gave us a great set of pure pop.

mp3 : Crumbs – Weasels Can Wait

We then hotfooted it over to the main stage for the much touted Peaness, and it’s fair to say that there’s much to admire beyond their slightly smirk inducing name, proving that they’ve got all the credentials to be the next darlings of the Indietracks crowd. They were followed on the main stage by Glasgow/London band Shopping, who feature one half of recent Scottish Album of the Year Award winners Sacred Paws. Although I’m a fan of their album Why Choose? and have witnessed them live on more than one occasion, for some reason they never really got me going here.

However, I very much got back into my groove with the next act, Indietracks heroine, Emma Kupa formerly of Standard Fare, and appearing in no less than four bands over the course of the weekend! On this occasion she was teaming up with ex-Hefner main man Darren Hayman in the imaginatively titled Hayman Kupa Band. I’ve not always been taken by Hayman’s solo output but the set they delivered here was immensely enjoyable.

mp3 : The Hayman Kupa Band – Someone To Care For Me

The fact half the festival appeared to require food at the same time meant that unfortunately I only heard Frankie Cosmos’ set from the burrito stall queue. However, once sated it was back indoors for a beer and a short blast of the ever excellent Joanna Gruesome, before heading to join the queue for the tiny church stage to see The Hearing, a female solo singer from Finland who produces ethereal sounds to a dreamy electronic accompaniment. It was a pretty decent performance, although I wasn’t raving about it quite as highly as some were. After this it was a refresh of our pints before making our way over to the main stage for a superb headline performance from The Wedding Present, it was a near flawless festival set, finishing with My Favourite Dress and Kennedy to leave the crowd in raptures. The only decision then was to be that evening’s choice of entertainment – karaoke or indie disco. The karaoke won, and was an unexpectedly brilliant end to the day.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Kennedy (live – John Peel’s 50th birthday bash)

Following a late after party at the hotel, I was the only one of our group who emerged in time to catch Maybe Don’t who were first up on the Sunday. They were pretty decent, though my enjoyment was tempered by the fact that their loud energetic sounds were at odds with my slightly hungover state. Luby Sparks, the Japanese five piece who followed, were a little kinder to these ears with their jangling, C86 tinged, melodies. Next we shuttled between short glimpses of Suggested Friends (one of those other Emma Kupa bands) and Cowtown, a noisy mob from Leeds, before an absolutely lovely set in the sunshine by The Orchids, another of the great bands to come out of Glasgow over the years.

mp3 : Luby Sparks – Water

Staying in Scotland, the next band on the main stage were Indietracks ‘legends’ the Just Joans – somehow in the parallel universe that is Indietracks the Joans (whose appearance supplies the image which illustrates this post) are one of the best known bands in the world. We of course were down the front for a great mix of new songs and old classics, unfortunately one of the sing a long numbers expected at the end was cut from the set as a result of them running slightly over time, and perhaps just as well as a huge downpour began as they played their final notes.

This rearranged the schedule slightly as Monkey Swallows the Universe were moved indoors, which sadly didn’t do them justice as they were somewhat of an afterthought as the near whole capacity gathered in the train shed.

Once the sun came out again and the bulk of the crowd headed for the Wave Pictures on the main stage, those of us who elected to stay indoors were treated to a great set by Skinny Girl Diet, two sisters from London who describe themselves as gothic grunge, and make glorious racket.

mp3 : Skinny Girl Diet – Yeti

They were followed on the indoor stage by another band who Indietrackers have fully taken to their hearts, The Tuts. First coming to our attention when they opened the festival four years ago, those of us watching then might have felt they were a novelty, just there to get the party started, however, they’ve blossomed into the kind of group which the festival is all about. Politically charged but with no shortage of fun to go with it. The three of them gracing the stage in wedding dresses, and a wonderful set ended with them getting ‘married’ to the crowd and each other. In amongst the fun there were some emotional moments, when discussing experiences of mental health issues, and in that vein they were joined on stage by various other groups for a mass singalong of Linkin Park’s ‘In The End’ in tribute to Chester Bennington.

mp3 : The Tuts – Let Go Of The Past

The final act of the weekend on the main stage was Cate Le Bon, who I’d really enjoyed when I caught her in Glasgow last year, but to be honest after the Tuts set I just wanted a beer and a blether with some mates who were about to depart. I did catch the last few numbers by Cate, and by all accounts she was on top form.

All that was left was one last disco boogie, and despite being encouraged to carry on until the wee hours at the legendary campsite disco, which I’ve never yet been to, I decided to be sensible for once and head for bed. One year I’ll make the campsite shindig, one year…

ALDO

JC adds…..I’m really pleased that Aldo took the time to put together such a comprehensive and honest rundown of what sounds like an amazing weekend.  I took it upon myself to choose the songs today, all based on the words he supplied.  Other than The Wedding Present, they are all new to my ears and I’ve a feeling most of you will enjoy them too.

CHARGED PARTICLES (10)

THE GUEST SERIES FROM JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

I’m an inveterate New Yorker–you can take the boy out of the city etc.–but I’m zeroing in on living half my life in Santa Monica, California, a seaside gem 12 miles west on the freeway from downtown Los Angeles. Today’s charged particles are from five Southern California bands that are special to me. Here’s why:

Champion – Cayucas

Cayucas is the name of a sleepy little beach town about halfway between LA and San Francisco. It’s a beautiful spot on the central coast where GTFP and I spent our 20th anniversary. I figured that’s where the band were from but it turns out they’re from right here in Santa Monica and went to the same high school as my kids.

Anti-Nomination – Nothing Painted Blue

Once you get past Franklin Bruno‘s dial-tone voice you get a bunch of pop hooks and perhaps the best lyricist this side of Elvis Costello. (In one of my favorite couplets he rhymes “desk” with “Kafkaesque”.) Nothing Painted Blue split up so Bruno could get a doctorate in Philosophy from UCLA.

A few years ago I was in Court in Victorville, a sorry-ass town over an hour northeast of LA. I looked at a nameplate outside a courtroom and recognized the Judge as the band’s former drummer who, it suddenly came back to me, I remembered meeting once in a law library. I went in to say hello in his chambers and he was chuffed (as JC would say) that I remembered his old band. He apologized when his clerk interrupted our visit to remind him that the jury had come back in half an hour ago. We shook hands and he put his robe on and headed back out to resume a murder trial.

Vaccination – Acetone

Acetone met at CalArts, an arts college in Valencia, California. The trio were a big part of the Silverlake scene in the 90’s, releasing record after beautiful record. Moody and atmospheric, it was Acetone’s simple but elegant songs that inspired me to pick up a guitar and start playing out with friends after a very long lay off. Sadly, they disbanded in 2001 after the suicide of bassist Richie Lee.

Repulsion – The Negro Problem

Before anyone gets insulted, the band were named by African-American Mark Stewart, who goes by Stew. I asked him about the name once at the now-defunct venue Spaceland. ‘You see any brothers in here?’, he asked. There weren’t any. ‘I’ve got a problem with that,’ Stew said. The name is his lament at the dearth of black people in rock music. We got friendly when he asked he to name one black rock musicians after Hendrix and I came up with Barry Adamson (he was expecting Phil Lynott). TNP were one of the best bands in LA for years, making super-sophisticated and truly funny records and performing great live shows (they once payed an entire gig alternating between Ramones and Beach Boys tunes). I must have seen them 15 times before Stew left LA for New York, where he eventually won a Tony award for the lyrics to a Broadway musical about his youth called ‘Passing Strange’. Spike Lee filmed the last performance.

Retribution – Lidsville

This will probably be the only song in this series that I heard before it was recorded. Lidsville were a quartet out of Orange County. When I first moved out here my buddy Ed the Bassist and I formed a label we called Meridian Records to feature indie bands. Lidsville were the first one on it. Our timing was spectacularly bad as Nirvana hit just months afterwards and suddenly everything indie was mainstream. The band had a local following but couldn’t compete with better-funded grunge acts that were all the rage. I remember listening to the band debuting Retribution live one night and thinking the guitar solo sounded like a cobra being charmed out of a basket. Singer/songwriter/lead guitarist Greg Johnson now teaches physics to high school kids up in Chico, half a day’s drive north of me.

JTFL

JC adds……

On the never-to-be-forgotten night that I met Jonny earlier this year, he gave me a copy of a 7″ single by Lidsville and briefly explained his past involvement with the band.  Tune into tomorrow for more.

One more thing to add…..that para above about Jonny’s conversation with the judge from Victorville has to be just about the coolest thing I’ve read on any blog all year.

CHARGED PARTICLES (9)

THE GUEST SERIES FROM JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

Who’s up for a little old-fashion synth-pop, 80’s style? Fire up that Yamaha DX-7 and break out the skinny ties:

Situation: Yazoo

Locomotion: OMD

Frustration: Soft Cell

Reunion : Erasure

Reputation : Heaven 17

Telecommunication : A Flock Of Seagulls

Sorry for not including Human League’s ‘Fascination’ but its actual title is ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination’. Also sorry for going with Heaven 17’s ‘Reputation’ over the more popular ‘Temptation’, but that’s the one I like better. And synth-pop royalty Depeche Mode released a number of charged particles, but none from the 80’s I like. So, by way of a bonus, here’s a tune from 1978 that’s sort of a precursor to all of the above music:

Dislocation: Ultravox

 

JTFL

BONUS POST : THE SECOND HALF OF ‘THERE IS A NIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT’

As I said in the comments section, many many thanks for all your kind words on the occasion of my 54th birthday.

The mix of the tunes played during the first half of the recent There Is A Night That Never Goes Out event seemed to be well received. And in keeping with giving into public demand, and in particular from Neil McAllister, here’s the mix of the 43 songs that made up the second half of the night as selected by Hugh and Robert (some of them being in response to requests made on the night itself)

mp3 : Various – There Is A Night (May 2017 – Part 2)

44. This Is The Modern World – The Jam
45. A Message To You, Rudy – The Specials
46. Love Plus One – Haircut 100
47. Temptation – Heaven 17
48. Fade To Grey – Visage
49. Debaser – Pixies
50. Crash – The Primitives
51. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
52. Pretend We’re Dead – L7
53. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince
54. Girlfriend In A Coma – The Smiths
55. Always On My Mind – Pet Shop Boys
56. Na Na Hey Hey – Bananarama
57. Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics
58. Cannonball – The Breeders
59. Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
60. This Charming Man – The Smiths
61. Do You Remember The First Time? – Pulp
62. Sit Down – James
63. Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
64. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
65. Yes – McAlmont & Butler
66. Don’t You Want Me? – The Human League
67. Panic – The Smiths
68. What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? – R.E.M.
69. New Sensation – INXS
70. Animal Nitrate – Suede
71. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
72. Getting Away With It – Electronic
73. A New England – Kirsty MacColl
74. Happy Hour – The Housemartins
75. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
76. Gold – Spandau Ballet
77. Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
78. Hit – The Sugarcubes
79. Faith – George Michael
80. How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths
81. There She Goes – The La’s
82. The Only One I Know – The Charlatans
83. Sheila Take A Bow – The Smiths
84. Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm – The Wedding Present
85. Sensitive – The Field Mice
86. Everything Flows – Teenage Fanclub

Poptastic indeed….

JC