I let Alex and Dave of Leicester band, Dayflower, into my world…look what happened!
In a topsy-turvy musical world where Kanye and Adele are forced to strip to their pants and wrestle in a huge pit made of discounted CDs in the desperate hope that some passing trade might arise… In an age when your local HMV is marked on google maps by a black skull in Beats By Dre Headphones, and boarded up record stores are inhabited by the kind of mythical creatures last rumoured to have existed in the most liberal readings of Dark Ages Retail lore…
Abandon Periscope – Episode 4, Explained, track by track.
1. Maggie8 – Hussain Bolt
Abandon Periscope comes sprinting out of the blocks in style, with Leeds’ own Maggie8. Not even Dave’s poor presentation skills and talk of mortality can dampen the mood of their spritely, effervescent pop.
Sprinkles of tremulous guitar and choppy sampler work accompany chanteuse Niv’s classy swooning melody. With ‘Hussain Bolt’ these Hindi Indie kids deliver a perennial summer earworm of Olympic proportions.
Join us at the Cookie on December 10th when Maggie8 play Dayflower’s regular club night, CANDY DUST (See poster at bottom of blog!)
2. Ariel Pink – Life in LA
A classic piece of abstract freak folk from Abandon Periscope’s favourite American citizen. This is just the start of the journey.
Listeners offended by talk of Christmas orgies in care homes for geriatric answering machines may wish to skip this section of analysis. Suffice to say, Ariel does push does the presenters’ descriptive power beyond the comfort zone.
Watch the man himself shambling around ‘down and out in Beverly Hills’ in this promo video from 2004.
Further, post Periscope Pink listening (highly recommended): Round And Round, Only In My Dreams, Put Your Number In My Phone, etc etc.
3. Black Tambourine – For Ex Lovers Only
Pounding beats, squalls of feedback, tonnes of reverb. All wonderful things. Better still if there are actual songs underneath. Black Tambourine were a group who delivered on all fronts.
Formed in Maryland in 1989, and wearing their love of 60s pop on their flannel shirted sleeves, they dished out guitar driven noise-bleeds to rival those of their British contemporaries The Jesus And Mary Chain. Black Tambourine only recorded a handful of EPs but like the Pixies, another band of the time with a similarly un-rock-star-like demeanour, were greatly influential.
Music video has super 8 film of the band looking delightfully awkward, TV static, flowers.
4. Flyying Colours – Running Late
Australian psych / shoegaze. Not exactly a world away from our beloved MBV. Discordant guitars, tribal beats, cooing female harmonies and surf pop melody. This is the way forward. (Note the extra ‘Y’ when googling. As y’all certainly should be.)
5. Kings of Convenience – I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From.
Don’t be put off by the unwieldy track name. Everything else about this offering from Norwegian folk duo ‘Kings of Convenience’ is gloriously understated. From an opening guitar riff that’s jaunty without corniness, to the carefully placed cello instrumental, the arrangement is gorgeous.
Percussion and other instruments add interest throughout debut album ‘Quiet Is The New Loud’ but at centre stage are the pair’s wistful vocals, spread over tenderly strummed guitars.
Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe clearly have all four feet firmly in Simon and Garfunkel realms (while fellow folk royalty Nick Drake gets more than a passing nod), but harmonise together such depth and dexterity and that it never descends into sentimental pastiche.
For those with more beat based tastes, Erlend’s electro pop solo album ‘Unrest’ and now defunct dance pop project ‘The Whitest Boy Alive’ are well worth a listen.
6. Stone Roses – Where Angels Play
(b-side to ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, 1991, UK release.)
We’ll keep this simple and hand over to Alex, who could probably write a PHD thesis on these Mancunian legends: ‘What can I say? If you don’t know these guys, you most certainly should. My favourite band of all time. The purest guitar pop imaginable. Enjoy!’.
7. Skylar Spence – Affairs
What’s in a name? Formerly Saint Pepsi, (until a challenge of a legal flavour from sellers of fizzy liquid forced him to change his moniker) the man Christened Ryan DeRobertis now records under the name Skylar Spence. Confused Let this life affirming electronic pop clear your head. Essential modern day pocket symphonies for the kids. You need this guy in your life. Badly.
If you’ve not heard of him, don’t worry. It’s going to be ok. We’re not here to judge. If you like this as much as us why not crack open another can?
8. Gruff Rhys – Honey All Over
Wales’ weirdest sons, Super Furry Animals have enjoyed a singular, brilliant career and Gruff Rhys’ knack for pristine pop writing has always been at its core.
The fingerprints of a master craftsman are all over this bittersweet sonic sunburst. With mellifluous harmonies and lush, baroque production, ‘Honey All Over’ lives up to its name. Running through the lyrics, however, is an undercurrent of weary melancholy exemplified in the wordplay of the chorus. ‘She’s honey all over. It’s all over honey. She’s honey all over. And she’s oh so over you’.
Hotel Shampoo was released in 2011 and boasts a generous handful of tracks that could have made the cut for our show. Admire with us the audacity of a songwriter moonlighting from his day gig (in one of the most wildly creative bands of a generation) to record a solo record (his third) stuffed with songs this good. Check the remarkably strange video here.
Gruff Rhys’ most recent project is an investigative journey around the USA, inspired by John Evans an ancestor of Rhys himself, who explored America in the 1790s in search of a legendary tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans. Naturally.
9. Planet – Can’t Connect
This hardly ever happens. But Abandon Periscope’s love for these lads is so great that they just got played twice in two consecutive episodes! Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Planet offer hugely catchy guitar pop over earth shattering dance grooves. This wonderful live session of ‘Can’t Connect’ is a honey dripping, reverb drenched affair. We will be eagerly awaiting a full finished version.
10. Blonde Redhead – Here Sometimes
‘I’m only here sometimes’ murmurs Kazu Makino over a patchwork of programmed drums voluptuous synth undulations.
The Kyoto born vocalist deals in abstract poetics, a sense of dreamlike stasis, heightened by her stately, detached delivery.
‘A little girl upon the fireplace
Only air flying emotionless’.
Blonde Redhead (completed by Italian twin brothers Simone and Amedeo Pace) formed in New York in 1993, and while their first few albums tended towards experimental noise rock, the influence of shoegaze / dream pop became more prominent with each release.
On ‘Penny Sparkle’ (2010, 4AD) this blissful ambience was brought to the fore, an obvious reference point being Cocteau Twins’ ethereal releases on the same label during the 80s.
Kazu (who shares vocal duties with Amedeo) writes lyrics that walk a fine line between clarity and esoterica, placing her in a tradition of songwriters who manage somehow to sound meaningless and profound simultaneously (Lennon, Shields, Gallag… er, actually forget that last one).
Hers is a surreal place, between waking and sleep, where the shoes she walks in ‘get tired’; the desire to marry a stranger flows into baffling edenic imagery and she sings that her lips have forgotten to sing.
It makes no sense. Perfectly.
‘Now it’s day but I am dreaming
A man walks by, I want to be his wife
I’m only here sometimes
Under the tree of life
I’m only good sometimes
Taking my time to go home’.
‘Like a candle wasted from burning
I got shoes tired from walking
Calling out your name, my lips keep failing
They have now forgot to sing’.