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Blog Good Songs By Bands You Don't Know 24/Jul/2005

The humble compilation album can be many things. A touching gift, a favour, a cryptic message, or simply a way to assert musical credibility. Often it is all four, but it is the last that concerns us today.

I was lucky enough to chance upon an MP3-blog offering downloads of the entire C86 compilation. What more sublime result of a compilation than to spawn an entire genre that influences music to this day?

"Getting people to like me" is a rather prosaic ambition, compared to effecting a cultural revolution, but I nevertheless present my CDR05 — Good songs by bands you don't know:

  1. PANG! Däg Är Hon! by Hemstad. (Via.) If the umlauted-a's weren't clue enough, Hemstad are gloriously Swedish, and this tune is two-and-a-half minutes of instrumental synth-guitar-pop at its finest.
  2. Meet Me By The Water by Saturday Looks Good To Me. (Via (sadly defunct).) There's a charming Motown feel to this song, indeed so much so that it moved me to juxtapose it with Baby Love on my most-recent iPod playlist.
  3. The Start Of Something by Voxtrot, (via) has the the Johnny Marr guitar and Andy Rourke bass of This Charming Man, but the Beans' piano of There's Too Much Love or another B&S track. All of which doesn't render it a cut-and-shut—it's perhaps my favourite track of these. There's perhaps little surprise in learning that there's a Glasgow connection as well.
  4. Missing Pieces by Voxtrot, who have no qualms about wearing their influences on their sleeves. Given the previous, you might not guess that this has more of a Bloc Party air to it, except a bit less hectoring. I'd like Silent Alarm better if this were on it.
  5. Starting Five by Dios Malos. (Via.) This is a song that contains the sound of children laughing. Not to mention gratuitous ooh-ooh-oohs Dios Malos are a sunny California band, tipped by some to be the next Beach Boys. If you were at their recording session, you'd be laughing too.
  6. Karaoke Tribe by Bob Cuba. (Via.) I once learnt that one of my teachers had musical aspirations, and it turned out to be maudlin folk-pish about his failed marriage. When it turned out then that one of my lecturers was in a band, I wasn't expecting the infectious indie of Bob Cuba. Karaoke Tribe is, in my opinion, their best song, and was definitely the stand-out track when we saw them play Tom Tom back in June.
  7. Rent A Wreck by Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. (Via.) More from Sweden! This time with lyrics, ba-ba-bas, and I think I detected a cowbell in there as well.
  8. Final Day by Young Marble Giants. I first heard the Belle & Sebastian cover of this song on the Rough Trade Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before compilation, whereon they give it an electro-pop treatment; the original is far more minimalist. They're the only band to have been around, and split up, before 1986, so I imagine readers of a certain age would argue about the "bands you don't know" appellation in this case.
  9. Here With You by Days Like Postcards. (Via.) Jangly-summer's-day-pop by a band about whom I can find very little in the way of details. I've read that they're Filipino, which would mark a first for my music collection, but I'm not sufficiently confident with accents to make that call for sure. Either way, it's very pleasant.
  10. The Shape Is Me by Hexes and Ohs. (Via.) Plaintive accordion plays over a background of daytime television before the blissful female vocals kick in. If you don't like this sweet song, you don't have a heart. Or you've got diabetes.
  11. Trumpets and Violins by Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. When you listen to this song, you're transported to mediæval Sweden, where you're riding on horseback through an enchanted forest. To get to a Belle & Sebastian gig.
  12. A Europewide Search For Love by Ballboy. (Via.) This is two songs, somehow fused into one. On one hand, it's a post-9/11 meditation (but, coming from a band of Edinburghers, it's not a slice of maudlin sentimentality). On the other, it takes a stanza to go from seeking love to "wondering what will happen if they find what they really want and what they really need, and they lose it."
  13. Disco: The Secretaries Blues by Beulah. That's Beulah, not to be confused with the British singer, or Belle & Sebastian, as this MP3 was when I downloaded it many years ago. John Peel liked them, and that's enough for me. Inexplicably, they shout "Titration!" at the end of the song, which is as good a reason as any to recommend it. (Did I mention John Peel liked them?)
  14. Raised By Wolves by Voxtrot. Unimaginatively, a third song by Voxtrot. I can't think of the direct influences, but this one differs from the others due to its ska-tinged middle-eight. I couldn't leave it out, since they're one of my favourite bands at the moment.
  15. Remember by The Boyfriends. (Via.) I've read comparisons with The Futureheads, but if these guys are anyone's boyfriend, they're Morrissey's. If you're a fan of the bequiffed one's solo output, then you might just like this.
  16. Pirates by Spitfires & Mayflowers. (Via.) I don't know enough Sons & Daughters to draw a confident parallel, but the initial drumbeat at least is reminiscent. Maybe a little Modest Mouse too, and some Kings of Leon. All-in-all, a rousing record, and trumpets too!
  17. Ljusdal by Sibiria. (Via.) Finishing as we started with a Swedish band, this time singing in their mother tongue. There's a certain similarity with My Lovely Horse, and, for all I know, the song might be about a lovely horse. Perhaps that horse from the enchanted forest. Who can say?

I recommend clicking around some of those vias, as they comprise the bulk of my MP3-blog reading these days (certainly they're where I get the best material). I also encourage comments wherein you lambast me for either (a) having poor taste, or (b) claiming ownership of these bands since you're a longstanding fan (perhaps you've seen them at Tut's?).




Casey said:
Always fun seeing music that isn't floating around on all the mp3 blogs. Thanks.





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