The first volume of 'Bedroom Ambience' was a vinyl only compilation that came out as the term 'bedroom electronica' was first being used to describe UK "bands" (usually one person or a duo) who released singles recorded in relaxed home studios. Isan were the kings of the early scene (and are still going strong today). This compilation has a much more well produced and grooving sound than it's predecessor. The 9 tracks are by bands with some profile. The most well known would be AMP, Flowchart, Windy & Carl, May 16, 2000, and Alphastone. The other bands all have plenty of other releases, but are not as tipped. They are Mall, Yellow 6, Junkboy, and Acceleradeck. The songs on this compilation are not the drones that early Earworm, enraptured, and Wurlitzer Jukebox singles often were (with the exception of Yellow 6 and Windy & Carl, May 16, 2000). The songs have beats, and seem to start some place solid and travel to a coherent though faraway place. Anyone who liked the Earworm double 12" compilation 'From Inside The Chocolate Coffin' (and I know that was many of you!) should find many many happy moments within. My own favorite moments on this disc were the songs by Mall, Longstone, and Junkboy.
May 16, 2000
Two versions of the same song make up this 7". This is the fourth single by Johnson, a band that includes the drummer of Trash Can Sinatras. Johnson carry a heavy dept to Julian Cope and The Teardrop Explodes in their sound, and write really great songs as well. About the only less than spectacular thing about them is their drab name. I really think that Johnson sould be a popular and much wider known band if they finally put out an LP with songs as strong as their singles, as Spearmint have done. In fact, spearmint are a good point of reference to Johnson. Where Spearmint ape The Wannadies in their sound, yet come out with tunes better than the father band, Johnson bring the glorious sound of The Teardrop Explodes up to the present, and present a new songbook of great original tunes in the bargain.
Pretty darn good piece of plastic for anyone who has liked this Athens GA band. Olivia Tremor Control put out one of the best records of the early Elephant 6 Recording Co. (a loose collective of bands from Denver and Athens which include Apples in Stereo, Nuetral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, The Minders, Secret Square, The Music Tapes, and others) with their 1996 double LP 'Music From The Unrealized Film Script, Dusk At Cubist Castle. This CD is a Peel Session they recorded on March 18th 1997. It contains 3 top quality tracks, and a fourth track of minimal ambient background scape. The 3 tracks are spread out as follows: Track 1 is a 2:17 (great) version of "I'm not Feeling Human" from their 'The Giant Day' 7". Track 2 is a 7:45 medley of "Memeories Of Jacqueline 1906", "The Giant Day", "Outer themes", and "Green Typewriters". Of those 4 songs, the 1st and 4th are from the Dusk At Cubist Castle LP, the 2nd is from the 7" of the same name, and the 3rd is an unrealeased track. Track 3 is a 7:48 medley of "Frosted Ambassador", "Green Typewriters", "The Princess Turns the key to the cubist castle", and "Looking For Meanings". The 1st and 2nd are from the Dusk At Cubist Castle LP, the 3rd is from Giant Day 7", and the 4th is unreleased. Sound quality is so high on all these cuts. The versions are not to be missed by any fans. Quite a disc, and I'll bet it does not stay around for long.
Lets make a deal: I won't write much about this double CD compilation, and you won't think I'm making short work of it because it is weak. Fact is, with 44 songs spread over the course of 2 CD's, any fans of bands like PreFab Sprout or Marine reseach will be in heaven. Not because either of those bands are anywhere on this, but because bands you've never heard of from years back will be playing songs in the styles those bands have popularized, and will be playing tunes just as strong as anyone could ever wish to write. Vinyl Japan has been a label with a clairvoyant sense of quality, choosing new bands and reissues with their own taste as the criteria, not the ability to move units in a retail store. But the fact is they must be doing something right, to continue putting out great records, and to put together a compilation as sublime as this. Pure cool strawberry ice with lime.
Science Park are a local band from Jamaica Plain MA who have earned the priviledge of putting out a 7" on the great Japanese pop label Motorway Records. This single has 3 songs of Depeche Mode mixed with Trembling Blue Stars or Magnetic Fields electronic pop. The A-side is from their third album "Straightaways", while the two B-sides are from their Pete Weiss produced second LP, "Futurama" (also the title of a great 1975 Be Bop Deluxe album).
The last ever Headcoats record, ending an era of the magically prolific Billy Childish, the Father Fagin of London, who coralled so many under his degenerate influence, turning out some of the finest blues, beat, and punk rock of the last 2 decades. I bought my first Billy Childish related single in 1983 with the "Soldiers Of Love" b-w "Shimmy Shimmy" 7" by the Milk Shakes on Upright Records. At the time I didn't like it at all, as it was way too traditional and regular for me, grooving to the Postcard, Korova, and Zoo Records sounds. Unknown to me, Billy Childish continued to release records with about the frequency that a healthy rose bush yields new flowers. Each winter he would cut back his branches, to come back in the Spring with strong new growth and another season of non stop blooms. He contributed to the delinquency of more kids as they formed bands heavily in debt to him and recording in his Toe Rag studios. Way too many bands for me to name, though Armitage Shanks always stand out to me. He also would create female counterpart bands to his. During The Milk Shakes era he had the Delmonas (Vinyl Japan put out a great compilation of their stuff that was recently reissued by them). Billy had a great punk rock band called The Pop Rivets. The band that stuck around longest and brought him the most success were his 2 bands Thee Headcoats and Thee Headcoatees. Using the deerstalker hats favored by the 60's band The Downliner Sect (who Thee Headcoats collaborated with for 2 LP's as Thee Headcoat Sect), Thee Headcoats and Thee Headcoatees had image and sound. Recently Thee Headcoatees broke up as the 4 gals matured into rightful talents on their own. The most popular of them is Holly Golightly, who has out several strong LP's. Kyra, Ludella Black, and Bongo Debbie (now in Baby Birkin) were also colorful characters with great releases of their own. Billy Childish already has a new band and a new single out. His band is called Buff Medway, which is also the name of the label that this LP is on. Their debut 7" has two Hendrix covers ('Fire' is the a-side). Billy also is a pretty great author, poet, and artist.