if the stars aren't enough

grayson lane ~ if the stars aren't enough 7'' (drive-in records, 1999)

an alter ego from a band called slumber, grayson lane could be the baby born from a night of love between the cat's miaow and yo la tengo.
this is their only release and has mostly calm tunes with clean guitars; but there's some moments of distorted guitars as well. mellow, intimate and lo-fi sound with a warming female voice.
the highlight is the opening track 'memory man' with a beautiful boy-girl vocal and shoegaze feeling.
in their own words: the sound of knowing that something has been lost and can never be found again.

01. memory man
02. hanging on a star (nick drake cover)
03. something like what i saw outside my window this morning

young michelin

young michelin ~ young michelin ep (holiday records, 2009)

one of the latest releases from beloved holiday records and contains one of the best songs i've heard this year. four boys from aline, france playing pop with jangly guitars with catchy melodies. some flirtation with new wave is also seen every now and then.
je suis fatigue will probably chart among my favorite songs of 2009 and will most likely be with me for a long time. it's a the more you hear, the more you like situation.
les copains is an instrumental song with a new-wavish mood.
soundtrack for summer memories captured on a vhs.

01. je suis fatigue
02. les copains


you and me against the world

the motorcycle boy ~ you and me against the world 12'' (chrysalis records, 1989)

today's the day to talk about an indie pop band from east kilbride, scotland that was born after the reunion of former members from meat whiplash and the shop assistants back in the days of 1987.
in fact, the motorcycle boy is formed by all members of meat whiplash that - with the addiction of vocalist alex taylor from the shop assistants - changed their name.
this is their third single and was released by chrysalis records. before that, they've released one single on rough trade (their debut, called 'big rock candy mountain') and 'trying to be kind', also on chrysalis.
"they recorded one john peel session and their debut single 'big rock candy mountain' reached no.22 in the annual festive fifty conducted by listeners to john peel's show. none of their singles charted in the uk, and were not released in the us. Their only album, starlet - comprising songs from 'you and me against the world' and trying to be kind' was shelved."
in 1990, the band split up...

01. you and me against the world
02. under the bridge
03.some girls
04. you and me against the world (extended mix)

myspace (probably by a fan)

crisco disco

chapter 13 ~ crisco disco 7''(drive-in records/bebop records, 2000)

previously known as the marble index, an "ex diy porn actor and a disgraced ex-melody maker journalist" get together to create pure 80's synth/cold wave-ish dreamy and chilled songs.
"100% guitar-less and proud of it, crisco disco wears its synthpop colours with pride. a pristine slice of triumphalist flash made from equal measures of giorgio moroder, visage & classic italo nrg, not to mention a hefty dose of simple arrogant conceit".

this is a 7'' with two songs that were airplayed in john peel's radio show.
they were later featured on their album called 'the world from heaven', a co-release by drive-in records and saltwater.

01. crisco disco
02. element 4

(if you happen to have the album, please contact me because i'm looking for it for ages!)

the adventures of strip squad

strip squad ~ the adventures of strip squad (independent, 2005)

i don't know why i haven't talked about this 5 musicians yet... i've been listening to their songs for a few years now and yesterday i rediscovered them.
nothing better then a description written by them:
"strip squad consists of five young people from sweden. the band was founded in the end of 2003 when we found out that we had a common interest we enjoy to undress a little while drinking. we believe that popular culture needs a seriousness towards frivolousness and vice versa. this is something that we try to incorporate into our music, even though we usually fail miserably."

the first thing you may notice are the sexual details of their lyrics but they go way further than that. they have been compared with belle and sebastian but i don't understand why since they are more joyful, less uptight, damn honest and extremely diy.
they also help a natural reserve in bolivia that helps illegaly captured animals to go back to the freedom of forests.

fun, cute, unpretentious, original pop/electropop tunes... just to say the least.(oh, and of course, greeeeat to dance with!)
and they have the best band motto ever: too vulgar to be twee. simply adorable...

here's a few questions taken from an interview made by nordic site noisedfisk:

strip squad is not the most popular band in the world… (yet). who are you and who’s the boss? malena : i can only speak for myself here. i love strip squad because we share a broad range of interests, from pole dancing at a gay club in gran canaria to our concerns about environmental issues. nobody is the boss. jenny: we’re all the boss. we try to work out everything democratically, but most of the time end up making one desicion, then changing our minds like 100 times before everyone goes “ok fine” and end up taking the original idea anyways.

strip squad has just released a self-financed album… are you trying to find a record-label?
malena: it is true that we dont have any contact with any label, but we are not trying to get one either. personally i am satisfied with the situation, we don't need any middle men to get our message out. jenny: we’re not really bothered about labels - we’re smarter than them anyway, they’d just fuck up. seriously, any average person is like a 100 times smarter than someone working in the music industry and i tell you why: because all those people do loads of drugs and had evil on their mind. truth! if anyone gives us an offer we might consider it, but it’d better be damn good. also we don’t like people telling us what to do, because were all 14 mentally so if they say “write a song” we’ll have to say “no!” and pout and storm out in rage.

on the swedesplease blog, you’re compared to “belle and sebastian if they really let loose and were truly indie”…
malena: i love belle and sebastian, but i agree that they (or… their music) can be a bit stiff sometimes. our intention is to make people let loose and to NOT follow indie patterns like, “indie people must always keep their eyes on their shoes”. it was very flattering to read that blog. jenny: well, does truly indie mean good? er. b&s are good. but a bit uptight no?

some of your lyrics are rather… full of sexual details… do you spend all your free time fucking and thinking of sex?
malena: No. jenny: we spend a lot of time talking of it. mostly because of frustration.

swedes are usually said to be calm and wise whereas danes are much more eccentric and free-minded. are you from Denmark after all ;-)?
malena: no. but my mother is from skåne (south of sweden) which used to belong to denmark. hundreds of years ago, that is. maybe that affects me, haha. we are all quite quiet, shy and introverted, it’s only when we are together that we… let loose (as they say). jenny: correction: that’s a myth, people only think that because danes are always drunk. they’re also always happy (a clear sign of stupidity). we hate denmark and hope they all die. haha kidding. besides danes smoke dope with makes you retarded.

01. pervert/expert
02. unreliable narrator
03. hairless youth of bosnia
04. mark and kristofer's song to a former lover
05. korpamoen
06. down and out and away
07. if you don't take me right away you might as well fuck off
08. razorcuts



joe crepúsculo ~ supercrepus (producciones doradas, 2008)

in one year, joe released two albums: escuela de zebras and supercrepus. both ended up in 'the best of 2008' lists throughout the blogosphere and other mediums.
escuela de zebras was a compilation of songs while the 20 tracks on supercrepus were conceived as a piece with one theme: love. but you won't hear anything near those obvious lines like 'i can't live without you' or 'i love you'.
the name supercrepus is a palindrome, and just like this title, the album has this diferent ways to talk about love... even when it seems that isn't talking about love, at all...
the great thing about joe and the reason why he's getting a lot of (deserved) attention is his approach towards music and his idea of what is a pop song. he seems to naturally have this understanding and twist and swirl all the conventions and concepts to create a strange, odd and quirky universe where catchy tunes are everywhere... something like the air here on earth.

naive, uplifting and full of life second hand technopop with strange and perfect-to-sing-along lyrics!

(by the way, his next album will be out on october and it'll be called chill out. as joe tells, it sounds diferent from his two previous works, the main theme is the lack of love and the last song is sang by a church choir.)

01. baraja de cuchillos
02. el día de las medusas
03. amor congelado
04. amar en tiempos de democracia
05. los lagartos
06. caja de lluvia
07. sandra (with marta)
08. espada de damocles
09. el faro
10. águas pantanosas
11. los faunos (with jordi irizar)
12. capitán (with elsa de alfonso)
13. vente conmigo
14. ama y haz lo que quieras
15. la canción de tu vida
16. camino de vida (with el ortiga and thelemático rosa)
17. sabores de piña
18. no me acostumbro (with david rodríguez and la bien querida)
19. iván y laura (con daniel descabello)
20. el día de la sardina

buy it