Like A Silver Ring Thrown Into The Flood Of My Heart

The Clientele are one of those bands that seem to float around, occasionally releasing records to a small, but loving fanbase, that never get much attention from the hype merchants. You dip into their records from time to time, savour their deliciously drowsy songs, which feel like dozing under a large sycamore tree on a warm, muggy day, before reluctantly moving back to something a little more lively. Today, spurred on by watching a video of them on YouTube, I decided to pop back into their back catalogue, and spent much of the day listening to their first record, Suburban Light.

It was only after deciding to write up what a lovely song “We Could Walk Together” is, that I decided to find something out about them. What did I find, oh enraptured reader? Well, that Suburban Light isn’t even a proper album, instead it’s a compilation of early singles, and that this track in particular is now 14 years old. 14! That’s not that interesting, I hear you say. Secondly, that they hail from Hampshire. Now, I’d always assumed they were from New Jersey, or maybe Richmond, Virginia, or somewhere in the Mid-West; that they’d spent their formative years playing through a thousand reverb pedals in a humid garage whilst outside crickets chirruped in the thickening, swampy night. I never, for one moment, thought they were from fucking Basingstoke1.

Anyway, illusion-shattering disclosures aside, their music is quite marvellous, in that woozy way. I was racking my brains to describe who they sound like – falling upon Felt, Yo La Tengo or Galaxie 500 as reference points, maybe – but as their MySpace page says, they sound like The Clientele2. Perfect for spending warm summer days indoors to.

MP3: We Could Walk Together by The Clientele

1 Ok, so maybe they could be from Portsmouth, or Southampton. Or maybe Winchester. Not much better though, really. Especially not Portsmouth.

2 One day I shall write more about them as part of the Pitchfork 500 posts. In about 100 years time, at this rate.

Please Buy The Clientele Records Here

Who Says There Is No Second Act In The Music Business (Part One)?

The story of Ultrasound is simultanously horrendously predictable and unusual. Bursting out of Camden in a wave of NME-inspired hype, they were hailed as the next Great Big Thing, even if the band themselves seemed somewhat baffled by the whole thing. As part of the press appeared to be obsessed with the fact that singer Andrew ‘Tiny’ Wood was, shall we say, not quite as svelte as the usual frontman, you can start to see why they might have got a little annoyed with the nature of the press.

Plus, releasing a debut album that stretched over 2 CD’s with a final song lasting the best part of 40 minutes didn’t help. As the hype machine swung from “WE LOVE YOU!!!” to “WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING!!!”, and the record label (Nude, The Home Of Suede, Who This Lot Were Meant To Be Replacing) the band split acrimoniously.

But now, they are back. Which came as something of a surprise. As the title of this post says, the old cliche that there’s no second act in music is clearly total cobblers. Inspired by playing at a benefit for Tim Smith of The Cardiacs, they decided to get back together, write and record some new material. Here’s one part of the new AA-side single, “Welfare State/Sovereign”:

Not bad, is it? Now that the world has moved on from the somewhat tedious Britpop of the late ’90’s, and got itself comfortable with the slightly proggy sounds of Radiohead and Elbow, maybe the time is right for a comeback? Good luck to them, I say. They are playing live at Club Fandango in August, if you’re interested.

Will You Say Yes?

Oh you’ve got to love those garrulous folk over at Labrador Records. Not content with releasing some damn fine records over the last few years, such as The Radio Dept’s marvellous “Clinging To A Scheme“, they’ve decided to release a quite fabulous 22 track compilation featuring all the artists they’ve released records for over the past three years.

Called, cunningly, “Stockholm Belongs To Us”, it’s free. And full of Scandinavian indie-pop brilliance. What more can you ask for?

Other than looking up their address in Google Maps, and finding that there’s an impossibly skinny blonde smoking a fag1 outside their office.

I'm Smoking A Fag

Ah, Sweden. Cracking indie-pop, cooler-than-solid-nitrogen blondes, and all the herring you can eat.

MP3: Heaven’s On Fire by The Radio Dept

MP3: 1983 (Pelle & Sebastian) by Pelle Carlberg

1 I realise this means something entirely different in America.

Back, Redux, Again

Look, I know I keep saying I’m going to post more, but something’s come up. Whilst I don’t sometimes talk in detail about my personal life (injured limbs and hangovers notwithstanding), I’ll just say that something truly wonderful happened last week, even if said wonderful thing’s sole role in life currently is to sleep, eat and poo. With a bit of crying thrown in.

So I may as well just close down the blog now. Except I won’t, I’m far too addicted to the sound of my own voice. Or the nice little shapes my words make on the screen. If you fancy keeping up with the blog without the hassle of RSS or clicking on a favourite, just click on “Subscribe” over on the right hand side. Go on, do it.

In any case, I’ve got some new music to talk about. I’ve posted about Paul Thomas Saunders before and he’s one of those artists that I’ve been longing to hear more of. I’ve only had a handful of tracks to listen too, culled from various compilations and blogs and the like, and those songs have the ability to send me away from the churning throng of Canary Wharf station in rush hour to a place somewhere that’s as calm, peaceful and loving as a womb. Paul is one of those rare musicians – like early My Morning Jacket or M Ward – who understand how to build an ambience, an atmosphere, a sense of place in their music.

He’s got a new EP out named “Lilac And Wisteria”, and we can finally listen to a proper piece of work. I’ve only heard a couple of songs from it: “Appointment In Samarra” (Soundcloud below) and the free download “Silhouettes of an English Rose” (from his website here). Both tracks are superb; I’m not going to say “Oh, if you like SoAndSo you’ll love this” because, frankly, if you don’t like these songs you should just stick your fingers in your ears and walk around yelling “LA LA LA NOT LISTENING TO ANYTHING ANYMORE” because you don’t deserve the joy that such music can bring. The EP’s four quid. Four quid! That’s a pint in a pub in London, and is a tiny price to pay for something so wonderful.

Yes, I have ordered a copy. He’s playing live in London soon. I am going to miss it. Bugger.