Saturday, April 26, 2008

Le jardin de Gilroy

Today I opened all my windows, stayed in bed until stupid late watching indiepop videos on Youtube, went for a lovely walk in the sweet afternoon sunshine, fed some squirrels, made a leek and potato hotpot and an apple and pear crumble, and remembered Gilroy - the band of Cathy off Heavenly and Paul from the McTells. You won't really find much about them on the old Google (not even on Twee Net; although Nancy posted about them less than a year ago) but as far as I know they only released the two seven-inches on Bi-Joopiter which were loud and a bit garage-y pop mayhem-y. *love* 'Renaissance Girl' is particularly ace. So, via the power of witchcraft, I made them into mp3s and here they are:

Download each song separately from
Download all the songs as one zip file from Mediafire

Renaissance Girl (bi-joop 029, 1995)
A1: Renaissance Girl
B1: Sophists
B2: Spanked

Get Grubby with Gilroy (bi-joop 030, 1996)
A1: Lube Tube
A2: Cut & Run
B1: I Want What She's Having
B2: Lube Tube (again!)


Monday, April 21, 2008

Surprise! Surprise! It's acoustic

Sitting with my back to a room full of lovely people on Sunday night in Sheffield, I was picturing them smiling. I wanted to turn around and look at someone and smile back, and I wanted to whisper "How ace is that?!" so I could feel a bit less alone (or noticeable) in my wide-eyed amazement. I mean, you know, I've been to a lot of amazing popshows but every single moment on Sunday night was quietly monumental, an affirmation of simplicity.

'An acoustic night' is not a description that would make me drop everything and run to see a show. 'An acoustic guitar and bleeps' is a slightly more appealing prospect but then it wasn't even an accurate description for that night (it's a long story). The thing is, I am normally slightly scared of acoustic performances because of their nakedness. I get nervous on the artist's behalf because I can't possibly imagine how anyone can be so bold as to get up and play without amplification and let themselves be so utterly exposed. I admire it but I don't enjoy it. That's why I was so surprised at the Red Deer on Sunday: I felt elated and brilliant. No-one was dancing, there was no noise to hide your drunkness behind, but it was as absorbing as I imagine watching the Earth from space must be - and just as surprising.

Not that I wasn't expecting to enjoy seeing Pete, Steve Jam on Bread, Numberdan and Frankie Machine - I couldn't wait. But it was that element of surprise that blew me away. Four people turn up with some really pretty songs and they play them and they don't even realise how beautiful they look or how mesmerising, moving and luminous they sound. They often apologise for being rubbish but all we witness is relentless charm. There is no self-indulgence in these acoustic pop songs, they are not precious. They are fragile and radiant and the unexpected magic is in the way the voice breaks or the way the eyes shyly travel around the room or down to the floor.

A wise old man once said that 'acoustic' is not a genre but a mode of arrangement and he was right. I am narrow-minded and I haven't got time for a lot of things but I've always got time for indiepop and acoustic indiepop breaks a lot of stupid rules that shouldn't exist anyway and, boy, am I glad it does.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My heart beats too fast for our friendship to last

God bless My Darling YOU! and their brilliant titles.

In the absence of spring, one has to find other ways to keep going. I book train tickets. Having gone through a really dark patch recently, I've decided I'd rather exhaust myself by jumping on trains at every opportunity to see pop and people than wallow in misery. The little bookshelf in the spare room where I keep all the tickets is now positively packed with ticket printouts and that makes me feel human and helps me breathe because they transform my immediate future into a place of possible joy. Almost certain joy, in fact, because I've never had a bad time when I've been away dancing or sitting around drinking. And there is the simple happiness of sitting on a train listening to music and reading which is about the most peaceful thing I can think of.

At the last Spiral Scratch, my friends Remi and Delphine gave me a copy of the second release on their new label Phonic Kidnapping, a totally mind-blowing Left Banke-esque song by Cocoanut Groove. The record looks beautiful and you could tell straight away that that piece of vinyl came straight out of a moment when someone fell in love. That'll never stop making me happy about the process of starting a record label. You are idly sitting there, listening to things and something hits you with the strength of a thousand hurricanes, so strong that it makes you say 'I want to do this, everyone needs to know'. I remember Innocent Label and This Happy Feeling from Greece having started like that as well, with a boy playing a tape down the phone to his friend saying "This is the greatest thing ever, let's start a label". The best thing about stories like that is that they are true. I still see them every day. Brilliant or what?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I need to have some fun and fast

I think my brain is about to explode. I don't think I've ever needed to have fun more than I do now.