Wednesday 28 March 2018

Never Ending Mixtape Part 22

Welcome to a bonus edition of the Never Ending Mixtape.

I have listened to sooooo much music through March that I'm posting 2 updates to the mixtape this month.

The latest additions might be the most eclectic selection of tunes in a blog yet; we have the unique and brilliant Stereolab, the gorgeous tones of Cat Power, truly amazing songwriting and delivery courtesy of Wilco and Jeff Tweedy, artists I have never heard of before like Fruit Bats (not the guy from Carter USM.... at least I don't think so!), Phil Cordell and Darondo, some of my really favourite tunes like Saint Etienne's version of Neil Young's Only Love Can Break Your Heart, He'd Be A Diamond by The Bevis Frond and I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel.

And more! Electro perfection from the Chemicals, Orbital and Lemon Jelly, classics from Fleetwood Mac and George Harrison, the exceptional version of The Last Time by the Andrew Oldham Orchestra that Richard Ashcroft used for Bittersweet Symphony, we have underground indie/dance from The Pastels and ESG sitting beside pure pop perfection from Madonna, we have a song from Belle and Sebastian with my sister Carla on lead vocals!!!!! And some hidden bonus tracks from Evan Dando, rock n roll from JAMC, the bonkers and brilliant Beta Band....

And just read on..... Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or click HERE.

Miss Modular - Stereolab
Way We Won't - Grandaddy
Dark End Of The Street - Cat Power
Gold Soundz - Pavement
All Your Secrets - Yo La Tengo
Jesus, etc - Wilco
I'm Always In Love - Jeff Tweedy
Crazy About You - Whiskeytown
When U Love Somebody - Fruit Bats
Pot Kettle Black - Wilco
There She Goes Again - The Velvet Underground
What Goes On - The Velvet Underground
That's That - Cass McCombs
Head On - The Jesus and Mary Chain
Only Love Can Break Your Heart - Saint Etienne
He'd Be A Diamond - The Bevis Frond
Squares - The Beta Band
Inner Meet Me - The Beta Band
Hudson Line - Mercury Rev
Reservations - Wilco
I Am A Rock - Simon and Garfunkel
What Is Life - George Harrison
Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac
Nathan Jones - The Supremes
Surface To Air - Chemical Brothers
The Staunton Lick - Lemon Jelly
Copenhagen - Orbital
The Last Time - Andrew Oldham Orchestra
Sweet Jane - The Velvet Underground
Dance - ESG
Material Girl - Madonna
Best Friend - Belle and Sebastian
Tongue Tied - Evan Dando
Whoops - Evan Dando
Rudy With A Flashlight - Evan Dando
Looking For Space - Evan Dando
Hitchin' A Ride - The Pastels
Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground
Something On Your Mind - Karen Dalton
Red Lady - Phil Cordell
Didn't I - Darondo
Yesterday's On My Mind - Chrish Cohen
Baby I'll Come - Mary Love
Can't Get Away - Rodriguez

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Best Friend

Last month Belle and Sebastian released the final EP in their trilogy entitled How to Solve our Human Problems. I had been eagerly awaiting its release, not only because Belle and Sebastian are one of my favourite bands, but because I had known for some time that it would contain a song my sister (Carla J Easton) had co-written with Stuart Murdoch! The song, titled Best Friend, also has Carla on lead vocals!

I was super excited when Carla told me stories about going to Stuart's flat to write and bounce ideas off each other and loved when Carla went into the studio and told of how the band were so impressed when she nailed the vocals.

And then there was the wait......... Carla sent me an unmastered version of the song, but I was sworn to secrecy......and I pretty much kept schtum. Why has it taken me so long to write about it?! Well I have just been super busy, but I didn't want to let this pass without a short blog.                                                                                                                                                  I was immensely proud when the song came out to the world at large. It is a beautiful flowing song with a gorgeous melody, containing observational, poignant and humorous lyrics. There are strings, handclaps and Stuart Murdoch on backing vocals. And like all the best Belle and Sebastian songs (and there are many!), it all sounds rather effortless - the groove and the flow... it seems and feels so natural.

I'm not saying that we will be best friends
But I'll take you dancing at the weekend

I've yet to get my hands on the trio of 12-inches, I really must get into Monorail! So expect a blog on all the EP's after I get my hands on the vinyl - although all are available on Spotify.

Belle and Sebastian have been (and are currently) touring extensively and have Scottish dates coming up at the Perth Concert Hall on 23rd March, I'm venturing through to see them at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on 24th March and then they play the SWG3 Galvanizers Yard on 25th May.

Meanwhile Carla released her 'debut' (at least under own name) solo single, the brilliant Lights In The Dark, in January and has Lights In The Dark a cracking follow up coming soon. She plays Nice n Sleazy on 4th April and Sneaky Petes on 11th April with excellent support from West Princes.

Thursday 8 March 2018

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

Cover version of the month #34
Scarlett Johansson covers The Ramones/Tom Waits

UPDATE - I usually research the history of a song before writing a blog about a cover version. However I was so confident that this song was a cover of The Ramones that I didn't bother! So thanks to Jamie Keenan from the La Fontaines for pointing out that it is in fact a Tom Waits song, released on his 1992 album Bone Machine.

Check the original version here, before my unresearched blog below. Lesson learned!

I'm not overly familiar with the back catalogue of The Ramones (who may feature in this regular feature again soon with their cover of The Ronettes) at all. Other than owning some of their 'hit' singles on various compilation albums, they are not a band who have inspired me to dig deep into their history.....or buy a t-shirt!

This is yet another song that I discovered through a cover version. I was browsing Scarlett Johansson ....(ahem!) on Spotify and loved the song title so clicked on play.

The almost homemade electro vibe captivated me immediately, and then Scarlett's treated vocals made me fall (further) under her spell.

The lyrics are brilliantly young, naive and innocent, yet at the same time some of them speak out and capture things that everyone thinks about at times.

Nothing ever seems to turn out right
I don't want to grow up

Seems that folk turn into things
That they never want
The only thing to live for is today

The song lists observations about the world and society, cutting through everything from watching the 5 o'clock news, to getting a loan, to hair falling out.

The Ramones version is predictably punk pop and it's great fun. But Scarlett's version would always get my vote as I think it capture that young frustration and is more believable than The Ramones.

She finds extra beauty in the song, in the lyrics and in the melody. And the sparse electro backing modernises the song brilliantly.

Previous covers of the month

Monday 5 March 2018

Normandy (On A Beach) by The Waterfront

The Waterfront, the band John Squire and Gary 'Mani' Mountfield were in before the Stone Roses, are receiving a vinyl release for Record Store Day.

The band never played any shows, but did come together in 1983 to cut two indie guitar gems that are closer in sound to post Sally Cinnamon Roses, rather than the early tracks accumulated on the early Roses Garage Flower compilation album (not released until 1996) including debut single So Young b/w Tell Me.

Normandy (On A Beach) b/w Where The Wind Blows will receive a limited edition 12-inch Record Store Day release with all proceeds going to The Christie in Manchester, the largest cancer centre in Europe.

The demos, long talked about among Roses fans, have been remastered and I for one will be trying to track down the 12-inch on 21st April.

The Waterfront consisted of John Squire (guitar), Mani (bass), Chris Goodwin (drums and later of Doves), Andy Couzens (guitar and laterly of early Stone Roses and The High) and David 'Kaiser' Karty on vocals.

Ian Brown was asked to join the band as a second vocalist; "John and I had an idea of having Ian and Kaiser at the front trying to do a counterpoint with one another. That's what we were trying to push, this question-and-answer thing with these two lads at the front singing sweet pop music." Andy Couzens told the bands biographer, Simon Pence.

Normandy (On A Beach) is definitely sweet guitar pop music with echoes of Orange Juice. Mani's bass grooves from the off and there are chiming guitars over a shuffling beat with vocals that could easily be mistaken for Ian Brown - that Manchester choir boy from a council estate kind that captivated so many hearts.

Where The Wind Blows is a little rougher round the edges, moving to the more brazen punkier side of The Roses that features on Garage Flower, the album they recorded with legendary Martin Hannett on production duties. The lovely guitar riff and bass breakdown after the early bizarre (whistling solo) are pure Roses.

The group seemed to just naturally fold almost as quickly as it came together. Mani tried to form a group with Brown and Clint Boon from the Inspiral Carpets but it never materialised.

Quite how Mani fell out of the picture as Squire and Brown formed the Roses without him isn't clear from any articles or books I have read on The Roses, but they got there in the end.

For me it sounds like the Roses almost took a step back from The Waterfront tracks to move forwards. There is no doubting the power and urgency of So Young and Tell Me, but much of the other Garage Flower era tracks leave no impression on me at all. The early version of This Is The One is raw yet still shines, Adored just doesn't contain the subtlety of the final version. There is no doubt that when the Roses classic line-up finally formed and they were matched with producer John Leckie, that is when things finally clicked into place. It was only in 1987, after the Garage Flower recordings and  fresh batch of Brown/Squire originals had been written that Mani joined the band and in Brown's own words "When Mani joined it almost changed overnight. It became a totally different groove...straightaway, everything just fell into place."

This Record Store Day release is sure to be much sought after by fellow fans of the Stone Roses.

Thursday 1 March 2018

Never Ending Mixtape Part 21

So my Never Ending Mixtape (Spotify playlist) reaches 500 songs! And it does so by bringing together 27-songs that largely have a very indie guitar vibe to them.

I add songs to my Never Ending Mixtape on a regular basis and do a catch up blog monthly. And I have to confess that I listen to it a lot myself! Even more so now there is so much on it. Shuffle is my preferred option, but if you want to listen to the latest additions back-to-back then you will need to scroll down t near the bottom of the playlist.

In February I discovered Ezra Furman and wondered why I hadn't before now. He comes across as an artist just pouring with imagination, stories, ideas and energy. Like a pilled up Dylan jamming with Springsteen and Arcade Fire. His latest album Transangelic Exodus should feature in many end of 2018 polls/blogs and he plays the ABC Glasgow on Monday 28th May.

Elsewhere Australia is represented by Smudge, Grant McLennan ad The Go-Betweens. We have the purity of Daniel Johnston, the playfulness of the Moldy Peaches, heartfelt indie gems by Sebadoh and a whole lot more; including Spotify discoveries of Sloan, Miracle Legions, Insecure Men and the crazily names Cleaners from Venus!

Dig in and enjoy. All feedback welcome.

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify or CLICK HERE.

Here are the latest additions.

Suck The Blood From My Wound - Ezra Furman
Take Off Your Sunglasses - Ezra Furman
Are You Gonna Break My Heart - Ezra Furman
Impractical Joke - Smudge
Easy Come, Easy Go - Grant McLennan
Black Autumn - East Village
True Love Will Find You In The End - Daniel Johnston
Anyone Else But You - Moldy Peaches
I Will - Sebadoh
Think (Let Tomorrow Bee) - Sebadoh
Brand New Love - Sebadoh
Rebound - Sebadoh
It's So Hard To Fall In Love - Sebadoh
Everything You've Done Wrong - Sloan
Bout des doigts - Brian Jonestown Massacre
The Ballad of Red Buckets - Yo La Tengo
Psychocandy - Jesus and Mary Chain
Can't Hardly Wait - The Replacements
All For The Best - Miracle Legions
Let's Go - The Feelies
Keep It Surreal - Ride
I Don't Wanna Dance (With My Baby) - Insecure Men
Depreston - Courtney Barnett
Bye Bye Pride - The Go-Betweens
My Favourite Dress - The Wedding Present
Holdin' On - The Clean
Corridor of Dreams - The Cleaners From Venus