How Soon Is Now? Some Music for the Weekend

Last night we renewed our neighborhood Rock Doc night; it was my turn to host and I took advantage of the old PAL-format videos that made it over to America with me and my long-standing multi-format VCR player to offer, rather than a single movie, some classic live clips: the Who at the Railway Hotel from the Amazing Journey bonus DVD; The Motown Revue and, separately, a phenomenal Otis Redding live performance from Ready Steady Go; the Beatles and the Stones miming, but entertainingly so, on the same classic TV show; then jumping over a decade to “The Way They Were,” a compilation of Tony Wilson’s What’s On/Granada Reports from 1976-78, beginning with the first ever Sex Pistols TV appearance, concluding with that by Joy Division, and offering inbetween only the Clash, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Wreckless Eric, Nick Lowe, Ian Dury, XTC, the Buzzcocks, the Fall, John Cooper Clarke and some group called the Jam, all in the absolute prime of their “careers.” Our room full of 40-something adults, almost all of whom grew up on this music, were riveted. Watching this stuff on a proper TV hooked to a proper sound system definitely beats YouTube.

But it’s not all nostalgia round these parts. I have been stunned by the quality of new music reaching my iPod, or at least my laptop, these last few weeks. For this I can thank my usual suspects: Stereogum’s online radio player, the KEXP Music that Matters Podcasts and its Song of the Day, IndieFeed’s daily offering of lesser-known indie pop, electronica and Modern Rock, NPR’s All Songs Considered – and the welcome return of the Tripwire Podcast. It was while out running in subzero temperatures yesterday (hey, at least the sun was out!), listening to Tripwire, that I heard Japancakes for the first time, covering My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon,” to delightful effect. A quick visit to their MySpace page – linked direct from the Tripwire podcast, a wonderfully cool tool that other Podcasts should copy – reveals that the Athens, Georgia band has gone all out and also covered MBV’s “To Here Knows When” and “Loomer,” as well as the Cocteau Twins’ “Heaven or Las Vegas.” A gimmick? But of course. And what better time to engage it than upon the overdue (yawn) return of My Bloody Valentine to stage and MP3 player.

Japancakes: covering My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins via Athens, GA.

I’ve heard so much good music through these various computer-driven shows that I could rave on all day. Let me just leave you with another half dozen for the weekend, and encourage everyone to go visit the artists’ individual MySpace/website pages and learn more about the acts.

RAMESES III – Origins II. British space-rock-ambient-electronic-hippie dreamscapers who appear to labor happily in self-imposed obscurity. Download from Stereogum.

THE HELIO SEQUENCE – Keep Your Eyes Ahead. Baggy-sounding rock via Portland, Oregon, from album of song’s name on Sub Pop. Download from KEXP Song of the Day.

CITAY – Little Kingdom. San Francisco pop-rockers mix folk harmonies with Floydian textures. Download from KEXP Song of the Day and Stereogum.

NISEI – Una Setmana Sencera. Barcelona rockers with cool organ tones and psychedelic leanings. Touring the UK in March. Download from Indie Feed.

VETIVER – You May Be Blue (Neighbors remix.) Vetiver’s one of those fweaky folky acts with beards as is all the rage right now. But you wouldn’t know that from this remix by his/their mate Neighbors, which makes him/them sound more like Radiohead. On a good day. Download from Stereogum.

CLUBFEET – Teenage Suicide. You gotta love those Ozzies. Seriously. Every time they tackle a genre, it comes out sounding ever so slightly whack. And all the more interesting for it. The MySpace page says that they’re “Electronica, Flamenco, Healing & Easy Listening.” This song is dumb as it is fun. Download from Tripwire.

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1 Comment(s)

  1. Geo

    22 February, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Yeah some good stuff there bruv — Rameses, Citay… is anyone ever going to pay for new recordings ever again?

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