‘Cause it’s oh such a terrible thing…

Living in one of the less fashionable cities in the UK, means that you don’t often get a chance to see any “name” bands. We’ve had a few honourable exceptions – Lambchop, the Buzzcocks and Arthur Lee spring to mind… But generally, it’s got to the stage that I’ll pay to go and see some bands, when really I should know better. Would anyone else pay to see half of The Zombies? (Seriously, don’t do it – think Swinging Blue Jeans, think Pontins…).

Anyway, amazingly, the Paddingtons, NME darlings and feckless punksters came to Glaws yesterday, and played to a Guild Hall full of similarly energetic and, er… feckless young things. They went down very well, flinging themselves around stage, banging out their sing-along punky anthems. I did think they literally chucked away their best song (“Some Old Girl”), by doing it straight away, but the singer did show an impressive mastery of just about all the mic stand tricks I’ve ever seen…

It’s such a terrible thing being old…

You might have guessed from my tone, however, that it just made me feel what a terrible old wreck I am, far too old for this sort of thing. I couldn’t get away from thinking how hard it was to hear the songs, everything was so loud and bass-y. Still, they are a fine band, and I’m pretty sure there are some downloads available, if you’ve not heard them; but really, you should just go and buy the album, it’s pretty decent.

The first band of the evening, however, were also pretty good. Ripchord are from Wolverhampton and played a clutch of really catchy popsongs, which managed to attract even this old trout’s attention. As well as writing good songs, they also ticked a number of other boxes as far as I’m concerned (Playing Gloucester – for a start; Having a girl drummer; Using an encouraging number of ah’s and na-na-na’s in their choruses; Being willing to talk to me afterwards…). They also played a terrific set, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I did actually take photos with the intention of using them here like a proper blogger, but really, the pictures were so bad (and, somehow, upside down) that if I’d posted them here, their mothers might well have been after me…

Ripchord have a Myspace page and you can download four songs from there, all great, but the one I’ve chosen is “Terrible Thing”, which has a particularly catchy guitar riff which reminds me of Johnny Marr, and a number of 80’s Indie bands whose names I can’t think of at the moment. Enjoy! Dance!

Terrible Thing

Sorry lads, in my self-obsessed way, I’ve nicked your title and applied it to my own feelings about being old and crap. Suffice to say, Ripchord look to me to be ridiculously young and not at all crap….

(Oh and by the way, the line previous to the chorus line sounds to me like “And if you want to, then I’ll give you buttered toast”, which would be rather wonderful, but I’m fairly certain I’ve misheard it…)

Over for you until the next time, over for you until the right time…

The Left Outsides

The Left Outsides are a South London based guitar band, made up of Alison and Mark, with a nice line in sixties folk cum Psychedelia. Their website lists an impressive list of “friends and influences”, including Robyn Hitchcock and Elliott Smith, which probably tells you what you need to know.

The Left Outsides have recently released their debut ep on the I Wish I Was Unpopular label, and have a few other downloads available on their website. They also have a bit of a pedigree, Alison having played in Saloon, who achieved the number one slot in Peel’s Festive Fifty in 2002 and also having contributed to releases by Comet Gain and the Television Personalities (plus a few others I hadn’t heard of). They have other projects “on the go” (as they say), so go and have a look at their website.

I thought on hearing this track (Glad It’s Over) that it sounded like the Turtles or the Mugwumps, and when Alison e-mailed me to say that it was a cover of San Francisco sixties band The Living Children, I must admit to feeling a little pleased with myself… (The Living Children, by the way, are almost completely … er … ungoogleable. I was hoping to be able to hear the original, but was unable to find it, anyone help me here?).

While I’m admitting things, I should also make it clear that (once again) I’m only second place in writing about The Left Outsides. see the excellent Indie MP3 – Keeping C86 Alive!

The more I hear this track, the better it sounds, a really lovely combination of old style sixties garage punk and modern eclecticism, with a very modern use of a viola in the middle. What a beautiful dreamy record. Now if only they had a banjo player…

Now It’s Over

Baby, right and wrong still exists, no matter how much it feels like it doesn’t… sometimes it feels like it doesn’t round here.

The Tailors

You probably think I’m some sort of banjo toting fruit, but believe it or not I don’t always listen to Americana-type music! Just at the moment…

Right now, Country-tinged music is really striking a chord with me. Come back in a few weeks (please come back in a few weeks…) and I’ll be flooding the site with Dub Reggae or Psychedelia. But for now, however, you’re going to have to make do with just another cracking UK Americana band playing beautifully-crafted songs of their own that make you thank the Lord for Gram Parsons.

The Tailors are from London and (rather wonderfully) boast their own pedal steel guitar player – another sound for which I am a real sucker. Their website mentions a number of recent activities, including upcoming gigs and a regular evening they host at the Windmill in Brixton.

There are a number of free downloads from their site and from their Myspace page, all of which are great, I really couldn’t say any of them are any weaker than the rest, but the one I really like is this one, “Backslap Club”. I like the way it has a very simple rhythm but a really quite complex set of lyrics. It doesn’t (you’ll be pleased to hear) feature a banjo, but the pedal steel guitar is quite breath-taking. A real find…

Backslap Club

I should say that I’m almost certain I came across the Tailors a good year ago on someone else’s Blog site, well before I started scouring Myspace and when this site was no more than a glint in my eye… Unfortunately, I just can’t remember exactly where I saw them, so I can’t give the blogger the credit he or she deserves. If it was you, do let me know and I’ll put that right. Or you can simply rest secure in the knowledge that you got there a whole year before me, and are probably producing a much better Blog than this one…

My mind, it’s a single track, there’s no room for manoeuvre, no room for turning back…

Quiet Loner

Quiet Loner, it’s strange name isn’t it? And not one that would normally draw me to a singer. This whole singer-songwriter thing is something that I’ve always had a natural aversion to. One man’s James Blunt is another man’s street busker as far as I’m concerned.

But somehow, Matt Hill (for it is he) has overcome my initial prejudices and has presented a number of really well-crafted songs that have a beautiful country-tinged tone to them. As I have said, I am a sucker for banjos and songs about break ups, which seems to be Matt’s thing. I’m tempted to say, let’s hope that Matt’s luck has picked up a bit in the last few months, but maybe he could write a few more songs first…

The track I’m linking to here is “Dusk Settles”, which comes from his “Secret Ruler of the World” CD. You can also find it at Matt’s website, along with a couple of equally fine songs.

Dusk Settles

(I should say that Matt informs me that he actually shares a flat with David Armes from Last Harbour, a fact which I promise I was completely unaware of. Oh yeah you’re thinking, a bit of a coincidence, isn’t it.? But I prefer to look at it as some sort of synergy thing going on around this Blog, further proof, if any was needed, that all this was somehow meant to be…)

Honey walk with me, he said, Who’re you calling sweet?, she said

Josie Darkfolk

These are the first lines of another terrific country-tinged, bluegrass song from the good ole UK. I do believe some of us Brits do this as well as (if not better than) our cousins across the water. I am a sucker for the sound of a banjo or a mandolin, and lo and behold Josie Darkfolk from Birmingham and London seem to have got both.

According to their website, they have a background in punk and hardcore as well as bluegrass and country. There is an album recorded “The Triumph of Josie D” available from their gigs for £3 but as Ol’ Blue Eyes from the band tells me that they are not currently gigging, I’m not sure how you’d get hold of it. I’ll try to let you know…

I’m linking to “Never Be Alone” which is a lovely sloppy bluegrass song from the album, available from their website. The other two songs show a darker less carefree side to their songs, but I think I prefer this one, if only for the mandolin…

Never Be Alone

She had the remnants of a ghost in her eyes, a past love despised…

Look, I have a job you know, and I can’t see myself being able to update this blog as regularly as I have started off doing. But now… now is half term and I’d like to add a few more posts before the roundabout starts again

Neil McLarty

Now, I’m guessing this is not actually a picture of Neil himself, and if it is, the Leeds branch of River Island has different stock to the one in Gloucester. Heck! I like it!

Actually, I believe there are photos of Neil on his website, but I’m happier thinking of him this way, snatching a quick joke with the guys before getting back into the saddle. Shucks, these guys built America.

There are also some previews of his demo CD “Welcome”, but if you go to his Myspace page, there a couple of full length downloads to be had. And I particularly like this one, which has a beautiful country feel to it, and lyrics that I found rather touching.

Any Port in a Storm

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