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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Three Slices Of Pure Pop Confectionery

I'm afraid my Blog tonight doesn't have any set theme to speak matter how hard I tried, and how tenuous the links I tried to bind the songs together tonight, I came up empty handed. In the end, all I can say is that thing that the three artists I'm writing about tonight have in common is that they are all fine purveyors of sublime, dreamy Pop music. So here, for your delectation, are three slices of musical confectionery that just happen to sound wonderful when collated together.


Club 8

On my recent sojourn to foreign shores, as I always do, I loaded up my MP3 player with a varied mix of groups, artists and styles. It wasn't until listening to the songs beneath the Corfu sun that I realised that the artists chosen had a rather dark and sour tone overall; Crass, Marc Almond(in the guise of Marc & The Mambas), The Passage, Jacques Brel, The Fall, plus some compilations of 60s Psychedelic music. I wasn't unduly unhappy with my choices but there was an overwhelming sense of dark eyed drama.
Then, like the sun appearing from behind some thunder clouds, came the silky, dreamy sounds of perfect, pure Pop! The track was 'Missing You' by a band called Club 8.
I had never heard the track before, and had only added the folder to which it belonged at the last minute to fill up space. The song came from a sampler album for the Swedish record label Labrador. The album/folder had been given to me a few years ago by a Polish friend of mine called Gosia who loved Twee and Indie music so much that she accrued the very moniker Tweepop! She'd given the album in amongst a bunch of other folders but I had never gotten around to listening to it. Now, as I sat by the swimming pool, glass of wine in hand, the sun beating down, the crapness of work a million miles away, this beautiful piece of dreampop played like life's own was like experiencing love for the first time, it was like a warm rush of endorphins on a cold, grey November morning, it was like hearing MUSIC for the first time....

Club 8 are, of course, Swedish (and I know what you're thinking....fantastic Indie Pop? From Sweden? How unusual!!); they are a duo of Karolina Komstedt and Johan Angergard, both of whom had played in previous Indiepop bands Acid House Kings and Poprace. The pair formed Club 8 back in 1995 and, despite often venturing on to other projects, they still keep Club 8 alive and as recently as last year were still creating music under the Club 8 name.
The other track that I had of theirs on my MP3 player was 'Love In December', and it is every bit as beautiful...

I for one will definitely by checking out more by this wonderful band, and I entrust that you, dear Reader, do the same. In the meanwhile you can download both songs mentioned here below:

Missing You

Love In December

Olympic Swimmers

One of the downsides of running a Blog like this and not living in Glasgow itself is that you tend to miss things, even little things, that would enhance and strengthen the Blog.
For example, last night (Saturday the 22nd of October) a band called Olympic Swimmers were playing in the Center For Contemporary Arts as part of the Document 9 Human Rights Festival. I know this because I read about in the accompanying brochure that I picked up in that very building last Saturday. Unfortunately neither I, nor the other two ~Streetlamp~ members were able to attend, which really bugs me as A)the CCA is a cracking place to visit at any time, and B) because Olympic Swimmers are a completely fantastic band!
Listen below and you'll hear what I mean...

Olympic Swimmers hail from Glasgow (and I know what you're thinking...dreamy, life affirming Pop music? From Glasgow? How unusual!!), and capture all the best elements of fellow city dwellers Camera Obscura and The Delgados, whilst mixing in their own flashes of Shoegazing atmospherics, and widescreen musical palettes. And in Susie Liddell's mellifluous, heart breaking vocals they have yet another gifted Scottish female vocalist. The musicians themselves have all played in previous bands, namely with Emma Pollock, and with the band Bad Dancer.
This song, 'Apples And Pears' may well be my favourite song of the year so far...
At present Olympic Swimmers have two EPs on Soundcloud (not for free download though, unfortunately), but here are the other tracks not featured above:
A Curse Or A Blessing by olympicswimmers
I Won't Sleep by olympicswimmers
Father Said by olympicswimmers

Again, a band that MUST be investigated further, and I can only display my utter jealousy towards those of you caught them last night at the CCA....still, maybe next time.....


The recent re-showing of old episodes of Top Of The Pops from 1976 proves one thing that I have always believed; that most huge chart hits (from any era!) are in fact, CRAP!! Most hit songs, especially in Britain, are really quite poor, or at very best, average. Some of the biggest selling records of all time, in fact, are the worst culprits....take for example that tripe by Bryan Adams which was at Number 1 for 16 weeks, or that gruesome 'Diana' version of Elton's already dreadful 'Candle In The Wind'!
Now you may be wondering what I'm getting at here, but my point is that the next song I'm featuring here is one of my favourite songs of all time, almost certainly in my Top 10 EVER Songs.....and it baffles me beyond comprehension how a song as beautiful, as catchy, as dreamy, as heart-stoppingly gorgeous in every way, can have failed to have been at Number 1 for 17 weeks, to be part of the British public's psyche, to be a regular fixture on karaoke tripefests like The X Factor, or to be repeatedly discussed and dissected on TV shows depicting the Greatest Songs Of All Time!
The song is 'Me As Helen Of Troy' by the Swedish band Cinnamon (and I know what you're thinking{That really is quite enough}:Griff & Ray....), which was released back in 1997 and which I have treasured and adored since the very first time I heard it.
But....even though I love the studio version to death, the wonderful thing about the Internet is that you discover such joys as that which I offer you below; a live version of the song from Japanese TV. I GENUINELY believe this interpretation to better even the official version, although much of that joy may of course stem from seeing the heartbreakingly beautiful Frida Diesen actually perform the song in the flesh.....

Cinnamon lasted until just after the millennium, although Frida still records as a solo artist. All of their stuff is available to listen to at all the usual online outlets, though it's pretty difficult to find any of the songs for free download. However, should anyone like an MP3 copy of the studio version then just e-mail the ~Streetlamp~ and I'll send you a copy.
The studio version can be heard below as well as another live performance from Japanese TV:

Well, like the best confectionery, I hope this selection has left you sated, satisfied and with a bit of a sugar rush. Now all you need is a fine glass of unoaked Chardonnay to wash it down and you're ready for the onset of Winter.
Only Pop Music can save us now....


PS: that sound you hear is the sound of Griff and Ray packing their bags and setting off to try to emigrate to Sweden.......

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