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The Chad Who Loved Me (Bristol, UK)

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Three Cheers For Our Side
Three Cheers For Our Side

4.0 out of 5 stars The sound of Japanese teenagers (young, alive,) in love with mid-80s UK Indie, 20 May 2016
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If you know your mid-80s British indie of specifically the Postcard Records variety then titles like 'Three Cheers For Our Side' and 'Goodbye, Our Pastels Badges' should prompt a nod of recognition. While I don't have much knowledge of Orange Juice, Haircut 100 or The Pastels, not knowing hasn't gotten in the way of me enjoying this LP.

If like me you've come to Flipper's Guitar through Cornelius (Keigo Oyamada) then you may at first find the straight-up guitar pop of this record a bit of a shock. But stick with it and check the second half of the LP and you find Oyamada at his most charging and pure-pop. A few exceptions aside this album is all uptempo-jangle-C86 guitar pop with a commercial sheen. Cornelius fans may be hoping for mashed-up genres and strange juxtapositions but instead I recommend taking this LP in the spirit it was intended: a set of alternately bracing or sweet genre homages. While it may be the group's debut some of the material is their best and irresistible.

Check out 'Hello', 'Coffee-Milk Crazy', 'My Red Shoes Story', 'Sending To Your Heart', 'Goodbye, Our Pastels Badges' and 'The Chime Will Ring'. These last three are really the heart of the LP and run together like a live set.

All in all, if you've listened to Cornelius pre-Fantasma and you've liked it, this album is further step-removed from The First Question Award, but possibly his most vigorous and straight-up enjoyable LP.

Documents 1975
Documents 1975
Price: £12.51

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything here is good. Shame there isn't more., 24 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Documents 1975 (Audio CD)
Documents 1975 isn't quite a live album and is not quite a collection of demos. The album is actually the bonus LP from the recently released Harmonia boxset, y'know the one you couldn't afford! Helpfully the label has put it out separately and at 31 minutes running time its a little slight to be released separately. The album plays like bonus tracks for 1975's Deluxe LP and could've fit with it onto a single CD. Nevermind that, is it worth buying?

Yes it is worth buying.

Its a more satisfying release than Neu!'s 1986 LP and possibly better than the Harmonia & Eno '76 LP; Tracks and Traces. The main selling points are the two live tracks, these are beautiful and benefit from live drums by Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru. Live At Onkel Pö In Hamburg (or Track 2) brings to mind the quieter moments of the Deluxe LP. While Live At Fabrik In Hamburg (or track 4) is a little tighter and harder rocking than those compiled on the Live 1974 LP and sounds like Monza or Walky-Talky. The other two songs - Tiki-Taka and Proto-Deluxe - are in-studio early versions of Walky-Talky (again but sounding a lot more like the LP version) and Deluxe (Immer Wieder). What's fascinating is hearing early arrangements without live drums, they sound a lot more like the group's debut LP.

So all in all, its not quite an album but does work as a listening experience. Shame there isn't more here but everything that is is good.

Colour Me Pop
Colour Me Pop

4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but probably not the best place to start, 5 Jan. 2016
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This review is from: Colour Me Pop (Audio CD)
Colour Me Pop is probably not the best place to start but worthwhile none the less.

I'm pretty new to Flipper's Guitar having heard about them through Cornelius. There's little crossover with Cornelius's most recent solo work (Point and Sensuous) but those who like Fantasma and dug deeper to listen to 69/96 and especially The First Question Award will find a lot about Flipper's Guitar to enjoy. The sound is deeply rooted in English pop of the 60s and 80s, principally 80s Jangle-Pop and C86 with some Madchester and Psychedelic rock creeping in. The main sound is the then fashionable (in Japan) Shibuya-kei style, which is basically a cross between lounge music, latin music and guitar pop. Think Stereolab or Orange Juice and you get the idea.

The album appears to be an odds and sods collection of non-album singles and compilation tracks with a sprinkling of cuts from each of the group's studio albums. Again i'm pretty new to them, but this disc seems to collect the majority of their non-album work and is really worth having. I just need to pick up the albums themselves! Anyway, this album isn't quite what it's cracked-up to be since it chops around and focuses on rarer songs. But, it is the Flipper's CD that seems to sell for the lowest price on Amazon and has a lot of great tracks. My picks are Camera! Camera! Camera!, Summer Beauty 1990, Love Train, Coffee-Milk Crazy and the epic closer The World Tower.

Live on Neptune
Live on Neptune
Price: £5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, 29 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Live on Neptune (MP3 Download)
Difficult to tell if this is live-LP at all. Probably these tracks are closer to reinterpretations of his work.

Everything that is here is good though. Fans of Super Discount 2 will be more satisfied. The downtempo cuts from Super Discount 1 and the spare cuts from Tempovision get pitched up and driven by more complex beats. This is a real treat.

One negative, my tracks aren't segue-ing and have gaps, unsure if this is a fault of the material or Amazon.

Blue Jean E.P.
Blue Jean E.P.
Price: £2.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Jellybean does Bowie proud, 29 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Blue Jean E.P. (MP3 Download)
Blue Jean a catchy throwaway but never a great single.

This £2.50 EP is pretty tempting and is probably worth a shot for the price. The single and its b-side Dancing With the Big Boys appear on the 1984 parent album. The latter is fun but goes nowhere. Its this track that gets the remix treatment from the then hot Arthur Baker. Its pretty standard-fare from Baker, overblown like his jobbing mixes for Bruce Springsteen. Tape edits are everywhere, electronic bells, looped and spliced vocals. Its not awful but its a novelty at best. You're unlikely to find much use for it at home or in a retro-DJ set.

On the other-hand, Jellybean's mix of Blue Jean is a big improvement over the original. Wisely he ups the bass and drums while bringing down the backing vocals. Suddenly the song has space to breathe and resembles good mid-80s fare like Madonna's Like a Virgin, driven by bass and vocals.

So its £2.50 for two songs a Bowie fan is likely to have already, two novelty remixes and one very good mix. Maybe you're better off getting the Jellybean mix only for £1. Your choice...

Loving The Alien E.P.
Loving The Alien E.P.
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good mid-80s Bowie, 29 Mar. 2015
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Not the best remembered Bowie single of the 80s but a good one nonetheless. A step down from Let's Dance, of which it resembles a minor key variation on the 1983 single. Its an intriguing single with good lyrics and good production, if a bit mid-80s to a T. It could have sat comfortably on Scott Walker's 1984 album Climate of Hunter; Big drums, slidey-bass and booming vocals.

The 12" mix, which can only be found here, varies from the original album version only subtly. The Marimba has a different tone, the drum loop 'boasts' an extra beat in the drum loop and the track has an additional short section between the first chorus and the second verse. It doesn't sound like much and it isn't, but for me its a nice variation and ever-so-slightly better. The extended dub mix is also exclusive to his single. Its not a dub at all though, and has Bowie's full lyric. Instead it cuts out a lot of the bass and percussion from the verses then filtering in most of the instrumentation for the chorus. Its OK. The 7" mix is available elsewhere. Its an edit of the 12" which cuts out the closing 2 1/2 minutes.

Don't Look Down is the b-side and is one of Bowie's many Iggy Pop covers. Nothing too special, but one of the better tracks on 1984's Tonight. The album version has a very spare arrangement. The two mixes here up the reverb and add a little more swing. Not a lot different but pleasant.

So, this isn't an essential item, but for £2.50 its hardly a bad deal for 5 tracks. Loving the Alien is the best track on a bad album. Nutty video too.

Price: £12.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposed to Love - 2015 Deluxe Edition, 26 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Exposure (Audio CD)
Disc 1 - the incredible studio album, potentially the definitive freestyle album. While front-loaded with singles, side two is almost side one's equal thanks to deeper cuts like I Know You Know. Bonus tracks are the 7" edits, a lot of this stuff is on their Greatest Hits CD, but the 7" edit of December is welcome and it's about time the original 1985 edit of Point of No Return was on CD.

Disc 2 - the real value here is having the 12" mixes mastered properly. Exposé have had a pair of Dance Mix CDs out for a while now but the mastering is all in the red and smashes what little subtlety was in these tracks. Also at first glance it looks like a lot of material on this disc, but the crossover mixes and remixes towards the end of the disc are really just edits of the 12" mixes. Not too special to hear. Though the tight crossover mix of Point of No Return makes amends for the awkward and over-long 10 minute extended remix that also appears. Bit of shame for the compilers to miss out the original 1984 mix of Point of No Return or the dub 12" mixes.

The CD booklet is for once a real treat. Cherry Red have obviously put a lot of work into the liner notes. The interviews with the girls and producer/writer Lewis A. Martineé are well done. The album has full musician credits which list everyone including the original members; you'll be surprised how many people are credited for backing vocals, and that all three girls don't actually sing together on any songs from the debut album.

This is a great set and it was never going to have literally everything. What's here is more than worth purchasing to replace your old LPs, Cassettes and CDs. Get it, play it, request that Cherry Red puts out 1989's What You Don't Know!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2015 9:00 PM BST

Touch And Go: Anthology 02.78 - 06.81
Touch And Go: Anthology 02.78 - 06.81
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (Give me) a little bit of everything, 15 July 2014
A quick review about this the most recent Magazine compilation.

Magazine were and (judging by the new material and tour performance I caught in Bath a couple of years ago) are still great. They've had a bunch of compilations over the years, 1987's Rays and Hail and 2000's Where The Power Is are still available and are similar but decent single-disc run-throughs. Touch and Go however may be your best bet since it offers value for money, thirty tracks in all, plus its been remastered. Weirdly its been put together in rather a strange manner collecting all of the group's singles and all of the original b-sides (of which The Book and I Love You, You Big Dummy are very welcome). Which is fine if you've skipped purchasing the remasters of the studio albums, but makes for an odd listening experience and misses out a few of their brightest album tracks (You Never Knew Me, Motorcade, The Great Man's Secrets). Equally strange is the album's lack of liner-notes or photographs of any kind. Those sorts of touches would have elevated the compilation a bit. As it stands the music that is here is fantastic with each member turning in brilliant and distinctive performances. Everyone seems to shine, no member ever seems anonymous in the mix.

If you're coming in cold to Magazine pick up a cheap copy of Rays and Hail or Where The Power Is, otherwise get this unusual set that digs quite a bit deeper. (Plus anyone with any interest in post-punk should own Shot By Both Sides, Parade, The Lights Pours Out of Me, Back to Nature, Permafrost, A Song From Under the Floorboards, Because You're Frightened and About the Weather)

Get in
Get in
Offered by westworld-
Price: £6.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2012 expanded re-issue, 3 May 2014
This review is from: Get in (Audio CD)
This is a review of the 2012 re-issue of this album on Eastworld Recordings. This version includes seven bonus tracks: Rough Boys & Modern Girls, I Would Fix You (DJ Downfall Mix), Packed In, I Would Fix You (Mint Royale Mix), Hooray For Everything, Stay In The Sun (Fridge Mix) and Save Your Kisses For Me.

On first inspection Kenickie's second LP Get In screams jarring second album syndrome. If you're only familiar with the heady-rush of their power-pop-punk At The Club LP you're likely to be disappointed. Get In bears almost no common ground with the former LP, instead the majority of the songs are in a pop vein not unlike what their former mentors Saint Etienne and peers Bis were putting out at the time. Take the time to listen to the LP and you'll find that the album is far from a sophomore slump. The group's songwriting has taken a leap forward both in structure and lyrics. Lauren in particular shines on many of her songs (Psychic Defence, 60's Bitch and Lunch at Lassiters) and Marie du Santiago turns in the excellent 5AM.

For many including myself the group's final single Stay in the Sun did nothing to sell this album. Whereas I Would Fix You the other single is arguably their finest song, and at least the equal of Punka, Millionaire Sweeper and Come Out 2 Nite. The cancelled third single Magnatron (totally amazing Euro-pop this one) was unlikely to do much for the group. The album's true problem is a lack of super-singles. While At The Club played like an album composed entirely of singles Get In resembles the debut's introspective flipside. Of course if all you want from Kenickie is a kind of amped-up Shangri-Las or a poppier take on Riot grrrl then you're best sticking with the debut.

For some reason Get In was reissued in 2012. The new version collects most of the b-sides, which for the dissenters may be enough to have them check the album out. Rough Boys & Modern Girls, Packed In, and Hooray For Everything are stripped back guitar driven b-sides that recall their previous work. If the group hadn't chosen to be so bold they would have included each on the album. The remixes sadly do little for the group, though the Mint Royale mix is fun, the real disappointment is the decision not to include Xenomania's (the Girls Aloud producers) remix of Stay in the Sun. Worse still the amusing hidden track from the album has been dropped completely.

I can totally understand why a lot of Kenickie fans dislike this album since its such a left-turn but its worth embracing the new direction. I've come back to the album a lot since 1998. With a few songs aside I think it holds up well. Here's hoping they'll do something together again one day.

Halfnelson (Sparks) / A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing
Halfnelson (Sparks) / A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Speeded-Up Mixes, 18 April 2014
If like me you've already got these excellent early albums by the masterful Sparks in their first incarnation (I have them on LP). You may be looking to see if the last few tracks on A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing have been mastered at the correct slower speed by Edsel for their 2013 2CD re-issue. Unfortunately this problem has not been fixed. The sparks fans at allsparks (who know a lot more than I do) have confirmed that the error has not been fixed.

The last few tracks on Woofer were sped up when the two albums were originally released on a single CD. Unfortunately all subsequent reissues have retained the faster mixes. So while this new CD sensibly puts each album on its own CD the problem still persists.

Hope this helps.

And of course its 4 stars for music quality. The debut is more poppy and consistent while the second LP is more wiggy. How can any collection be complete without Wonder Girl, Fa La Fa Lee, High C, Fletcher Honorama, (No More) Mr. Nice Guys, Girl From Germany, Beaver O'Lindy, Moon Over Kentucky and Batteries Not Included/Whippings And Apologies (even if the last two are speeded up too fast).

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