Posts from 29th January 2004

29
Jan 04

THE KALIN TWINS – “When”

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#74, 22nd August 1958

Hal and Herb Kalin’s only UK hit is a breezy little thing, floor-friendly and with enough quirky touches to suggest that something a bit more demented is trying to break the pop surface. It never quite does – the castanets are mere emphasis, never fiery; the backing vocals nudge at the edges of wackiness but then hold back. Enjoyable but minor – a sound jiving its way towards the generic.

LINK: The Kalins’ story in their own words – a jolly read!

Scientists have found a new form of matter

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Scientists have found a new form of matter. Marvellous! What? Bose-Einstein condensate what? I thought there were only solid liquid gas and plasma. They’re busy at it aren’t they those scientists?

Footballers Wive$ back on your ITV screens Wednesday 11 February

Do You SeePost a comment • 224 views

Footballers Wive$ back on your ITV screens Wednesday 11 February. Can’t wait? Then try Footballers Wive$ fan fiction! (So I don’t have to).

Pop Life Blog

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 419 views

Pop Life Blog: lots of very good stuff here! Derek was it you who works at a certain West-Central London second-hand chain and wrote to FT a while ago? If so I am very very sorry for not replying, no excuses, I am just rubbish with email. Anyway readers it is my loss if the content here is anything to go by…

Last night for the first time in my life

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Last night for the first time in my life I had one of those going-out-without-trousers dreams, an absolutely standard part of the dream lexicon but one that had not troubled me. I can only put it down to all the discussion on critical authority that was sloshing around the music blogs this week. Especially as what I was doing without trousers was visit a second-hand record shop that had set itself up in the basement of the Glasshouse Stores. I apologise to all the imaginary patrons of that fine boozer who had to catch an oneiric glimpse of my pallid arse.

Anyway the dream is also pertinent to today’s link – This Is Romo, a shrine to the short-lived 90s ‘romantic modernism’ movement which has become a byword for music press idiocy but with a kindlier eye looks more like ‘wrong place, wrong time’. The best thing about the site though is that you can judge for yourself! A fairly extensive MP3s page points to downloadables of the few Romo singles that actually saw release plus rarities and unreleased tracks.

A couple of the singles are testimony to how elastic the human mind can be when it’s decided it wants to like something. At the time, being broadly ProRomo (anything had to be better than Ocean Colour Scene and Cast!), I managed to convince myself that Plastic Fantastic’s “Fantastique No.5” was just ‘a bit disappointing’. It is not. It is one of the shoddiest, worst put-together, most ramshackle tracks you will ever hear: the absolutely flagrant ripping off of Roxy Music is profoundly embarrassing but also the only entertaining thing about it. It may even not be better than some Cast records.

But some of the tunes stand up well, generally the ones which took their cue from clubby pop rather than past outrages. The excellent Belvedere Kane MP3 isn’t working (you can get it off me on Soulseek if you like, though), but Orlando’s “Just For A Second” is, and sounds as flouncy, brave and out of place as ever. And the site has Hollywood’s “Apocalypse Kiss” – gothy handbag with big production and those flattened Europop vowels I love so much. Massively enjoyable – and free!

“Apocalypse Kiss” was an early production job for Xenomania, who do a lot of the Sugababes and Girls Aloud stuff. You can find Romo links everywhere if you look! They also remind me a bit of Tatu, who of course are entirely Romo, though it would be more accurate to say that Romo was a spirited runt in a litter that also birthed them. Trouserless Romo may have ended up but it turns out not quite as shameful as you may have heard.

THE EVERLY BROTHERS – “All I Have To Do Is Dream”/”Claudette”

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#73, 4th July 1958

The version of “‘Dream” I know best is Glen Campbell’s. It always seemed a sad song to me; lonesome and woozy. The Everlys’ recording is bittersweet at worst. The key line in the song is the ‘gee whiz’ one – “I’m dreaming my life away”. Campbell sings it like a man closing the door on the real world; the Everlys sing it like boys choosing to play somewhere else for a while. Their sweet, twined harmonies tell us that life is wonderful and endless, why not waste some of it?

“All I Have To Do Is Dream” feels like a big step forward for pop. From the first ringing guitar chord it sounds crisp, clean and gentle but still totally informed by rock and roll (if you couldn’t hear it in the way the drums twitch on the fourth beat you could flip over and learn it from “Claudette”). The lullaby harmonies are something fresh too, a new seduction technology that cracks teenage music right open. Compare it to Tab Hunter’s “Young Love”, the last big teen love ballad to reach the top, and Tab sounds grotesquely smarmy as well as ham-footed. When you add the harmonies to the echoing guitars “All I Have To Do Is Dream” becomes something more remarkable still: a song about a feeling whose sonics inhabit that feeling entirely.

Popnose

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Popnose: let’s try that again, shall we… (now with actual new tracks!)