The most recent of 3 Japanese only CD singles which come in 5" x 7" cardlike covers with great photos of Maki on each. The singles are labelled as "JBL maxisonic series #1, 2, & (in this case) 3" The 2 new songs have the same sound you already love or hate about Pizzicato Five, but they sound as fresh and strong as you could imagine if you are a fan. There is already a brand new Japanese only full length out, and a 12" single to boot. This 3" CD seemed like an inexpensive way to sample the new stuff from them while waiting for the inevitable domestic release of the full length to follow.
December 14, 1999
Deborah (Debsy) Wykes used to be in the Talulah Gosh-ish Dolly Mixture over a decade ago. Around 1994 she was part of Saint Etienne's backing band along with Paul Kelly (who had earlier been in East Village). Now the two of them have Birdie, a band who have really come together quickly and strongly, playing the same kind of music as Saint Etienne, but a bit earthier and rural. This CDEP has a new version of one of the songs from their short but great 'Some Dusty' CD and a new song, plus a video of their last single ('Folk Singer') you can watch on your computer. The new song ('Thanks For The Birthday Card') is really great, as is the main song 'Let Her Go'.
Manchester's Badly Drawn Boy, aka Damon Gough, plays music that is a bit like Guided By Voices in that he can write incredible smooth pop masterpieces with vocals that sound like Mick Jones, or can just as gladly release walkman demo versions of the same songs. He has a third ace up the sleeve in Andy Votel, a Manchester DJ who does remixes for Badly Drawn Boy that bring out the finest in his songs like a sprinkle of monosodium glutomate (MSG). Twisted Nerve is the label run by Andy and Damon. XL Recordings is the label that now has Badly Drawn Boy and Twisted Nerve on their roster. This 6 song EP has the great title song, it's Andy Votel remix, another great song called "Outside Is A Light", a raw version of same, and 2 other walkman demos.
The third single by this band which bear a strong resemblence to prime era Teardrop Explodes. Members of Johnson used to be in the Scottish band Trash Can Sinatras. Both sides of this single are great. Johnson continue the identifiable theme in their sleeves, all of which have black & white old looking photos of people on the front, and a similiar to each other B&W graphical setup on the back.
Soon to be huge new band of Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin), Johanna Fateman (fanzine publisher), and Sadie Benning (independent filmaker). Surprises include production by Chris Stamey (of the crucial 80's NYC pop band the dBs, The Sneakers, and solo), and the wonderful pop sound of the songs. Hot Topic sounds like Kathleens version of "Dancing In The Streets" and has a great role call of female musicians, artists, and inspirations.
Lazer Guided have a male/female vocal thing going over an early REM-ish guitar with a gliding smooth sound building to a cymbal wash over driven guitar at high revs. The are a young (no member over 19) band from Derby in the UK. Saloon use chaotic electronics before the spanish female vocal carries the tune true like a flamenco call with rocking music covering everything under and around. Saloon sing in Spanish and English, making them just a bit exotic for their Reading homebase.
Ex-Clientele member Innes Phillip w/The Clientele as the backing band. The songs are expansive and breathy, as are The Clientele, who early on gained initial noteriety through comparisons with Belle & Sebastian. This single is released in a numbered edition of 500.
Early single from this Parisian band who seem to put out an awful lot on the Elefant label. Spring have a very attractive sound, look, and graphical presentation on all their releases. The female vocalist (Alex) has a very interesting voice which might come from an accent or a lisp. The A-side is an acoustic song called "True Elegance" that has a great tune and is my favorite of the 3 here. The B-side has 2 songs. The first is "Thimble Theatre" which is softly driven by Alex's voice and the strummed guitar and rhythm section. "Funeral Cowboy Tremolo" is a nice instrumental which has tremolo guitar (naturally) and closes out the single.
Chicks On Speed: Three girls living in Munich (one originally from Australia, one from US) who are quickly becoming the ultimate buzz band. They already have out 5 singles, although they seem to have been extremely hard to get even as they came out. Last winter I saw a split double 7" with DMX Krew for 6.99 sterling in the Neal's Yard Rough Trade which I passed on, figuring I'd get it at the Talbot Street location so I didn't have to carry it all around Soho. That was the last time I saw that record (Talbot Street not only didn't have it, but swore it didn't even exist!). I managed to buy their 'Glamour Girl' 10" which I enjoy very much. Other than those adventures, this amazingly priced 7" is all I've seen. It contains two versions on the 1979 Delta 5 classic, which is almost untouchable in terms of it's original perfection. To cover that song two times takes guts. Do they pull it off? Yes.
The Suburbs cover "Love Is The Law" is essential on this import 7". It was a neat song when done by the Minneapolis band The Suburbs in the 80's. In the Peechees hands it sounds really great, vital, and current. The A-side is from the Kill Rock Stars "Games People Play" LP. Peechees are from the Pacific Northwest. Here is some info on the Peechees written by my friend Teresa "molly (the drummer) was in bratmobile, which reunited earlier this year after a six year breakup. molly and christopher (the singer) used to be married (unfortunately they split this fall). when the pee chees broke up about a year and a half ago, it was pretty sad for my friends and me. anyway, they were a pretty crazy band live, but always nice off stage. now, christopher is still working as president of lookout! and the others are concentrating on musical projects".