Cliff, Eat Your Heart Out!
Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypsies - The Homeland (2004, Thrill Jockey)
Bobby Conn - Relax
Rough Trade Country 1 (2003, Rough Trade)
Violent Femmes - Country Death Song
Maximillian Hecker - Rose (2003, Pias)
Maximillian Hecker - Kate Moss
All Night Radio - Spirit Stereo Frequency (2004, SubPop)
All Night Radio - Sky Bicycle (You've Been Ringing)
A treat for you to celebrate my return from a self-imposed purgatory. This strange 'menage a quatre' composes tracks taken off albums purchased extremely cheap on my hols (those Devon record stores don't know what hidden jewels they have!). Put together the four would have set me back 14 pounds with the Rough Trade double set making up half of that price.
Bobby Conn, according to Allmusic the "self-confessed antichrist", first caught my attention in the Singapore Borders through the sheer vibrancy of the album cover art on 'The Golden Age' and I was surprised to see his latest album 'The Homeland' getting a large spread in the Mojo reviews section a couple of months back. 'Relax' is political dance pop with a stunning chorus (possibly the first to feature discussions on income tax) and catchy hooks as is much of the album. The words 'Scissor Sisters' keep popping in my head for no apparent reason but that's my erratic brain processes for you.
All Night Radio are a side project coming from the highly wonderful Beachwood Sparks looking the take forward the ambient Beach Boys ouevre a little bit further with the particular track sporting lovely harmonies, luscious instrumentation and, of course, lots of bells (not sure about cow bell though). Not your usual Sub Pop release but as good as any other.
The Maximillian Hecker album was bought to join my copy of his strange debut 'Infinite Love Songs'. As of this moment, I haven't sampled all the tracks (and positively loathd 'My Love For You Is Insane') but the repetitive piano motif and sly lyricism on the opening track 'Kate Moss' are well worth sampling. I still prefer Nicolai Dunger as my European singer songwriter of choice though.
Finally, the Rough Trade compilation has been on my hit list for a long time and it didn't disappoint with gems by Steve Earle, Dave Alvin, Lincoln '65 and Calexico amongst others. It has also spurred me to check out Camper Van Beethoven after months of forgetting to do so on Soulseek. This Violent Femmes track is my favourite as it (a) showed me that they were more than their debut and (b) that country death songs are fanatastic fun especially with a nice ominous bass line.
On that note, look at the puppy! Sun, sand and songs about stalking celebs and pushing your daughter down a well. Bliss.