TRASHCAN SINATRAS-WILD PENDULUM

This isn’t really an album review. It’s a piece about records. And specifically it’s about vinyl records. Some of them made by Trashcan Sinatras.

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The context in which you first hear a record plays a huge part in what will eventually become one of those collections of songs you just keep returning to. For me, the Trashcan Sinatra’s are a marker in my life. From exploring strange intoxicating streets of Paris during their debut album ‘Cake’ (1990) to a new start in a big new town ‘I’ve Seen Everything’ (1993), through getting signed to a small record label ‘A Happy Pocket’ (1996), the Trashies seem to have had an uncanny knack of releasing a new album just when I needed it. Indeed, around the time of ‘Weightlifting’ (2005), I even got to help bring them to Brighton for a show with American Music Club. Suddenly, two of my favourite bands were colliding in front of my eyes. Sometimes it’s a wonderful life.

A few weeks ago the band released ‘Wild Pendulum‘. It was only their third record this century and funded by a successful Pledge campaign. It goes without saying that I chose the vinyl album option. This ended up taking a little longer to arrive than expected. No worry, as the band had already furnished us faithful Pledgers with a download code. But somehow I just couldn’t introduce myself to ‘Wild Pendulum’ in this manner. Vinyl has a magic all of its own, invisibly transferred from the grooves to our souls as we take the record from the sleeve for the very first time. So I waited. And other people got to hear and write about the record before I did. No matter. It was worth the wait. The magic came. Vinyl won.

‘Wild Pendulum’ is a romantic triumph, shot through with samples of long-forgotten fairy tales and dusty opera. Back in the nineties, the Trashies used this trick of magpie melody to enhance their cover version of The Smiths ‘I Know It’s Over’, and in the process, somehow managed to improve upon the original. No mean feat, but then some of us had always suspected TCS were the Scottish Smiths. In 2016, ‘Wild Pendulum’ picks up from where ‘I Know It’s Over’ left off and enhances the bands’ yearning, melancholy beauty. Pressed on silver vinyl for private moments in monochrome, there’s a song called ‘Autumn’ on side one. It’s the most perfect soundtrack to this perfect season. Everything on ‘Wild Pendulum’ floats by on a cloud of languid guitars augmented by flourishes of Mariachi brass and Nathaniel Walcott’s exquisite string arrangements. Not forgetting those samples…so bask in ‘I Want To Capture Your Heart’ and ‘Waves’. Moods will be brightened and loads slightly lightened. ‘Wild Pendulum’ unfurls a little more with every listen.

And what seismic event in my own life does ‘Wild Pendulum’ usher in? Well, I may be too old to trouble the charts but music is still the guiding light so I’ve decided to start a vinyl business, bringing my own version of iconic rock and roll moments to those discerning enough to want to explore fifty years of pop counter culture through T-shirts, posters, pictures and records. For those on their own journeys to hear knows where.

A vinyl revolution™. Coming soon.

Dusty Music Vaults…are go!

So, I have been collecting records since I was about twelve years old. OK, so I also bought a few records in the mid 1970’s but 1979 was my real awakening to singles and albums. The hallowed 7″  was my favourite format as I couldn’t afford albums at the time. Anyone with a good memory will recall that 1979 was an exceptionally good time to start collecting singles as new wave and pop reigned supreme. And this meant lots of coloured vinyl to seek out.

‘Dusty Music Vaults’ hopes to introduce you to songs you may have long since forgotten or never heard of. Whether its on vinyl or CD (a tune is a tune in any language, right?) I aim to include tracks from all walks of pop culture, but most likely the 80’s and 90’s will be the best represented as these were my former musical stomping grounds.

Ready for the off? Let’s begin with three stonewall classics…

SQUEEZE – PULLING MUSSELS (FROM A SHELL) (1980).

Unbelievably this breezy little tune stalled at number 44 on the UK singles chart back in 1980. High on melodic charm and welded to a soaring Difford and Tilbrook chorus, ‘Mussels’ should have been a huge hit but somehow ended up getting a bit lost. I suspect this might have had something to do with the fact that the title came complete with it’s own set of (song title in brackets). Generally, brackets are too confusing in pop. It’s much better to have a snappy one word tagline for DJ’s to get their vocal chords around, isn’t it?

But I was always good with brackets and very happy to procure a limited edition red vinyl 7″. Heaven.

*Fast forward to about 1:05mins for the bands performance on the TOTP clip below. Unfortunately the video begins with Radio One’s Dave Lee Travis in a pair of shorts. Sorry about that.

Squeeze-Pulling Mussels (From A Shell)

 

CLOSE LOBSTERS – LET’S MAKE SOME PLANS (1987)

Along with the following years’ ‘What Is There To Smile About’ this was the classic Lobster’s single. Yes, I know it was technically only a 12″ release, but so what? ‘Plans’ is perfectly formed indie pop-and about as radio friendly as the band were ever going to get. I was just starting to learn bass guitar and took copious ideas from this tune-come to think of it, I’m probably still stealing them today. The mid-late eighties was indie pop’s real heyday, and the Lobsters made some of the sharpest tunes around.

Sounding as vital as ever, check out this majestic vinyl enterprise with a rare promo clip to boot.

Close Lobsters-Let’s Make Some Plans

 

DARREN HANLON – ALL THESE THINGS (2010)

Recently, Courtney Barnett has been citing Darren as a formative influence. This is a very good thing because the guy is a hugely talented Australian singer songwriter who deserves every success. Think Go-Betweens and Morrissey sharing a hot tub and you’re not even halfway close. This track is one of many boasting Darren’s knack for perfect pop and decent rhyming couplets.

What more could you want?

Well, how about some rarely seen Darren Hanlon ‘dad-dancing’ courtesy of Natalie van den Dungen’s classy video.

Still touring, still recording-check our Mr Hanlon, pronto…

Darren Hanlon-All These Things

I hope you enjoyed this blog-if you fancy staying in touch drop me a line, subscribe, follow or send wine etc etc.

Until next time…

 

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