Eugenius – Oomalama

Eugenius’s gem of a debut album, Oomalama. A catchy, grungy, noisy and very happy go lucky album. Eugenius create a sound that is entirely their own. While others have said that they a akin to Teenage Fanclub, I think that they are entirely on their own.

It starts with the song Oomalama which is a hysterical heart racing ride. Down on Me is a the track that is most like a ballad but it is still quite upbeat. There is a whole bevy of catchy pop songs like I’m the Sun, while Flame On is spiteful, and Buttermilk is tender, they ultimately come across as catchy pop songs. The album’s finale is a version of Beat Happening’s Indian Summer. I have to admit that I thought that this was a Sonic Boom/Spectrum cover and never realised where the original came from.

You can understand why Kurt Cobain was influenced by Eugenius. Their influence should have really been more widespread.

Eugenius : Oomalama

Oomalama
Breakfast
One’s Too Many
Bed-In
Hot Dog
Down On Me
Flame On
Here I Go
I’m The Sun
Buttermilk
Bye Bye
Wow!
Wannabee
Indian Summer

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Grabbel and The Final Cut – Just Not Today (Official Music Video)

Grabbel and The Final Cut have released the highly anticipated music video for Just Not Today, which was a single from the MMXVI.  The song was an ideal choice for a retro sixties pop video, the catchy lyrics and buoyant guitars give this a pop tune character.  Just add; “twist, shake” and “love”.

The dialogue at the beginning of the video is taken from first episode of the famous German TV show “Beat Club” from the sixties.  The German TV personality Wilhelm Wieben opened the first show with a short speech, incidentally Dave Lee Travis presented the show for a short time.  The show was originally produced by Radio Bremen, who helped the band with the original equipment to give the video a more authentic feel.  If you look carefully at the video you can see the retro microphones and other sixties paraphernalia.  The company that made the video was Beatvideo (the “beat” in their name is just coincidence).

Initially it reminded me of The Weezer video to Buddy Holly, I think it was the matching outfits and Stefan’s wig.  When questioned about this Grabbel and The Final Cut deny that they will appearing in  coordinated costumes at any forthcoming gigs.

Dark Star – Zurich

The lost Dark Star album, which largely was largely the stuff of fables and legends until it appeared via Soundcloud in 2011, 10 years after Dark Star called it a day.  Listening to Zurich it is obvious that it was very close to being released, it just need to be mastered, and then EMI lost interest.  Some music journalists have theorized that because there is no standout single like Twenty Twenty Sound’s I am the Sun, was the main reason the album was shelved.  I would disagree and personally feel that Perfectly Simple, 3 Seconds or Strangers and Madmen would of made great singles.

There is no real record if the album was just seven songs or even if it was going to be called Zurich, there are nine track versions written about but I have yet to find a copy.  It is unmistakably Dark Star there are massive metal guitar riffs in Perfectly Simple and there is definitely a prog rock feel to songs such as Strangers and Madmen mainly because of the disregard for pop sensibilities.  With such a limited backcatalogue it would be a great loss if this album never saw the light of day.

Dark Star : Zurich

Strangers And Madmen
Bigger Than Love
3 Seconds
Perfectly Simple
Clicky
Blue Murder
The Day That Never Was

The Telescopes – Stone Tape

The Telescopes return with their 10th album, Stone Tapes. Which is due for release 20th November.  While the execution is different the solid intensity is still there. The Telescopes  are essentially just Stephen Lawrie.  Who has taken the sound from the Jesus and Mary Chain inspired debut and experimented with it for the last 30 years.

Stone Tapes is a concept album of instrumental drone and sparse instrumentation.  Stephens vocals sound disjointed from the other sounds and drones, it reminds me of how Lou Reed’s vocals are disjointed from the rest of the Velvet Underground this is made even more uncomfortable by long pauses and minimal layers.

The unnerving style probably inspired the album name, “Stone Tape Theory”, was theorized by Thomas Charles Lethbridge The archaeologist, parapsychologist and explorer developed the idea that inanimate materials can absorb energy from living beings, and that this mental electrical energy, released during emotional or traumatic events, could somehow be “stored” in such materials and “reproduced” under certain conditions.

Stone Tape is an intense audio experience that requires persistence.  Not for the faint-hearted or casual listener.

The Telescopes : Stone Tape
www.yardpress.it/stone-tape or via Bandcamp at http://thetelescopes-stonetape.bandcamp.com/album/stone-tape

Sonic Boom – Breezeblock 1998

In 1998 I was in my last year at University and I would spend most nights writing up notes and working on projects, I rediscovered music at this point with the help of Mogwai – Ten Rapid, Belle & Sebastian – Boy With the Arab Strap, Echo and The Bunnymen – Evergreen, 1998 was an exciting time musically.

It was also when I first started to really get into Spacemen 3, prior to this I found them a bit hard going, and there was a resurgence in interest in Spacemen 3 which led to a rather fine tribute album.  I started to listen to the radio every night Steve Lamacq and John Peel were the staple listening, but sometimes there was something good on the Mary-Ann Hobbs show. She would have a slot on her show called the Breezeblock which was a setlist of songs mixed by a mainstream, underground, famous or obscure artist.

This particular Breezeblock is a selection of ambient songs selected by Sonic Boom, I taped this from the radio and would listen to it in the car.  The song titles were not mentioned on the show, and I did not recognise any of the songs.  So I did not know who any of the artists were, in 1998 the internet was not widespread so there was no way to find out.  I brought a copy the brilliant compilation Spacelines from Sonic Boom’s E-store in 2004.  This involved emailing Sonic to to organise delivery and payment, so I took the opportunity to ask if he had the setlist to his Breezeblock.  He did not, and it was not until recently I discovered an mp3 version and a setlist.  Some of the songs are still not available on the internet such as Ordinary Sleep and Convex Structure.  

Sonic Boom Breezeblock

Splitting The Atom – Splitting the Atom
Skyray – Neptune Variations
Jessamine – Ordinary Sleep
Longstone – Convex Structure
Octal – Falling Without Reference
Fuxa – 3 CP
Peter Zinovieff – Agnus Dei (76)

Lush – Hypocrite

The Hypocrite EP is a high point in the Lush back catalogue, they have ditched the floaty vocals, but this does not detract from the haunting melodies.  It was produced by Mike Hedges (The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees) and mixed by Alan Moulder (Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins) and the movement away from 4AD’s Robin Guthrie was a good. There is a non album track Love At First Sight which really deserved to but put on a LP. There is a remix of Undertow [Spooky remix], which is really atmospheric, all nine minutes of it.  This was strange at the time, the shoegazing scene never generally mixed with the electronic genre.

Lush : Hypocrite

Hypocrite
Love at First Sight
Cat’s Chorus
Undertow [Spooky Remix]

The Mock Turtles – Two Sides

The last album from The Mock Turtles, who where at the time fast disappearing from the sight of the media.  They failed to capitalise on the success of Can You Dig It, and the low profile highly commercial ‘Two Sides’ was soon to be condemned to Woolworths bargain bin.  The Turtles went back into their shells and didn’t appear again until 2002 when Vodaphone used Can You Dig It in an advert.

This was a real shame as there are some really beautifully crafted songs on the album, yet the fact they give And Then She Smiles and Can You Dig It another outing is really annoying.  Although it is a good listen it is not as memorable as ‘Turtle Soup’.  Strings And Flowers is a stand out track and the only single released on the album, unless you count the two singles from the previous album that appear on here too.

A really psychedelic album and probably draws more from the C86 movement than Madchester.  Carefully formed with numerous subtleties that can only be heard after multiple listening’s.

The Mock Turtles : Two Sides

Strings And Flowers
And Then She Smiles
Shine On Me
Baby And The Stars
Words Of Wisdom
Pearls For My Girl
Brush Of A Butterfly’s Wing
Can You Dig It?
You Move Me
Deep Down
Why Must I Share This Air With Foolish Men?