Thursday, October 19, 2006

Argh! He's talking C86 again

The C86 anniversary celebrations continue. Huzzah, huzzah! Just learned that two more gigs related to the genre are slated for next week. And, unlike the L.A. and San Fran shows I mentioned in my last entry, I will be attending these with bells on.

On Oct. 27 and 28, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London will be holding back-to-back events celebrating 80s indie pop. From the ICA's web site: "Through the endeavours of the three of the most influential independent record labels of the last decade -- Heavenly, Rough Trade (Shops), and Domino –- we celebrate the legacy of C86 with live concerts, film screenings, and an exhibition of paraphernalia at its original birthplace, London's Institute of Contemporary Arts."

The Friday show will feature The Magic Numbers, Gokart Mozart, and Vic Godard & the Subway Sect. Can't say enough good things about the latter act; I will be there nodding my head, fizzy drink in hand, hoping against hope for ole Vic to belt out a particularly rousing version of "Parallel Lines." All the information for that night can be found here.

The next night will be twice as nice: Roddy Frame, The Wolfhounds, and (gasp!) Phil Wilson. Legends all of them. I can only hope Mr. Wilson plays a healthy amount of June Brides' tunes; of course, his solo stuff is ravishing, too. The information for that particular night is here. The price for each show is £22.50, but it will be money well spent.

"Skyscrapers" by The Wolfhounds

"Better Days" by Phil Wilson

"Pillar To Post" by Aztec Camera

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lloyd's of England

I've long been amused by the number of Scottish pop aficionados who bestow Jock status upon Lloyd Cole, all because the Buxton-born and Chapel-en-le-Frith-reared songwriter attended the University of Glasgow for a few semesters in the early 80s. Shit, Cole didn't even graduate from that institution.

If this cursed blog has taught us anything, it's that Scotland certainly does not suffer from a dearth of pop virtuosi -- yes, tin ear, there is life beyond Shirley Manson and Big Country! There's no need to claim an individual of clear English stock as one of the country's own. The whole thing slightly reeks of desperation; it even reminds me of when a certain professional sports franchise retired this star's number.

Anyway, this little endeavor does grant me the opportunity to post a track from Cole's (and The Commotions', too, of course; can't forget about them) landmark album, Rattlesnakes, which easily ranks among my all-time top 10. On that LP's closing tracks, Cole sang, "Are you ready to be?/Are you ready to bleed?/Are you ready to be heartbroken?"

Twenty-two years later, he finally got his response.

Hear it for yourself. Download: "Patience" by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions and "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken by Camera Obscura.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lots of maudlin mush

She was craving romance. Flickering candles, a poem read to her in Irish, a few dainty roses, a table tucked away in the corner of the restaurant, where we would push our seats really close together. My goodness, the kind of maudlin mush woman pine for and men frequently bumble up when trying to deliver.

I tried my damndest at delivering the goods, so much so that when the end of the evening rolled around, she was satisfied -- or at least, gave the appearence of being satisfied. And after 25 years of marital bliss (!), I've learned that definitely suffices. (Twenty years ago, of course, I thought differently.)

We retired to a small pub on the ocean, so she could have her nightcap. There was a small group of musicians heartily belting out song; she said I should request one. "Why not ask for 'Galway Bay?'" she suggested. "Since we are here and all." My, what a glorious idea! (I'm quite skilled in the art of flattery, I should let you know.) So up I went, my suggestion at the ready. The ole boys agreed and a few sips of her red wine later, "Galway Bay" commenced.

Only it wasn't the version she was expecting. I'm quite the devil. "Just to watch the suds roll down by Galway Bay!" Here's The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem doing their own version of "Galway Bay."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bejar! Bejar! Bejar!

There's a girl down the hall from me who has a shrine to Dan Bejar in her room. Shrines are all well and good -- I mean, shit, I had one in my room to Robbie Williams when I was 11 -- but shrines to Dan Bejar are a whole 'nother animal. Let's not beat around Dan Bejar's big head "bush": Shrines to Dan Bejar are rather strange. (Though I do enjoy saying Dan Bejar's name out loud. Bejar, Bejar, Bejar!)

The relative weirdness of this shrine to Dan Bejar is not on account of what the shrine consists of (for example: an empty beer bottle Dan Bejar drank from during a gig; gross) or the fact that its curator is 18 (slightly past the age when shrine-building is still deemed acceptable). It's all because a shrine to Dan Bejar is a shrine to Dan Bejar.

I can say, with utmost certainty, that this shrine to Dan Bejar is indeed the only shrine to Dan Bejar in the entire Northeast corridor, maybe all of the East Coast. And of course, this is not a knock on Dan Bejar; Dan Bejar is a fine songwriter, and I have enjoyed some of his work with both Destroyer and The New Pornographers. It's just that Dan Bejar is clearly not a pop star that typically moves folks to display their zealous fandom via the art of shrine-making.

Anyway, here are some tracks from Dan Bejar's latest band, Swan Lake: "Are You Swimming In Her Pools?" and "All Fires."