Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Having ordered the reissue of III off Domino records I thought I should really review it rather than just write about Sebadoh as a band - but unfortunately I have yet to really get into it and don't want to write it off until I've given it a proper go - Sebadoh are good a band, wholesome if you will. They are three fellas, bass, drums and guitar. Pretty standard but what makes them so endearing is their homemade attitidue. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Sebadoh are one of the first Lo Fi bands of the 90's and they pull it off to great effect, after them came Beck, Pavement and Guided by Voices. Their songs sound better for it too - they record a lot of their songs in home studios and I've heard many a version of some of their more popular songs. Personally I prefer the scratchier recordings of songs such as The Freed Pig (which is the opening track of the III album) and God Told Me but their cleaner versions are also good. Sebadoh's songs a generally either quite heavy and grungey or acoustic based with home appliances and general clutter used as percussion. These two forms were (most of the time) written by Eric Gaffney and Lou Barlow respectively.

I got into the band after seeing Kids and was blown away by the track played during the credits. I didn't know for years that it was Spoiled by Sebadoh. It's still my favourite track of theirs - as usual it's very lo fi, and the amount of reverb on it is ridiculous. That with Barlow's voice and the swooshing mellotron sounds make it incredible haunting. The lyrics are spot on as well , about growing up and childhood. Other favourites of mine are Total Peace and Perverted World both off the III album., which are both acoustic tracks and stick to the home appliances route of percussion.

Of their heavier songs I think their album Bakesale has the best of the bunch, Licence to Confuse has an awesome opening riff as does Careful. Both songs follow pretty much the exact same fomula but it's the Sebadoh sound that helps keep their songs interesting and different. This is partly down to the lo fi recording but they really know how to use their bass and guitar sounds. Whether twangy, squeaky or really bassy, songs like Careful, Licence to confuse and also Magnets Coil and Not a friend remain individual. I think this is probably down to the band constantly swapping instruments and sharing vocals. Gaffney and drummer Jason Lowenstein would regularly share drumming and Barlow would often play bass.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any songs to download so to start off with check out their two myspace pages: - this is hack search so you can find any mp3s you want on the internet - wack whatever band you want into the search and it will find (I don't know if it finds all of them) songs that people are hosting on their sites. It's pretty sweet.

Other than that here is my top ten Sebadoh tracks which might be a good way to get into them:

1. Spoiled
2. Total Peace
3. Perverted World
4. Licence to Confuse
5. Not a Friend
6. Careful
7. Got it
8. Magnets coil
9. Truly great thing
10. No different

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sir Yes Sir

You know those days when, having been really nice and sunny for weeks, the weather suddenly turns a horrible grey shitty overcast hell hole so you wake up dreading work and thought of spreadsheets and stinking mail merges? Well maybe that just happens to me but when those days occur I usually wack on Rage Against the Machine on my way to work and swagger down the street like a cunt. In other words when I need to get pumped I listen to Rage - but sometimes I also listen to Hit Three by Sir Yes Sir - a two piece from Machester (via Runcorn and Reading). SYS are Joseph Logan and Daniel Cowley and they play bass, guitar and use a drum machine. Hit Three is a top tune based around a pumping synthetic drum machine beat and a repetitive squealing guitar line. The song starts as it means to go on, the high pitched guitar sets the tone and the stop/start drum beat comes in quickly after - bascially if you heard this in a club you would most definitely start pumping a fist and knodding your head like a drunken fool: You said this house is a mess/you said this house is a mess/ but all the mess belongs to you. I love the lyrics - they're delivered at a high pace and mimicked by a bass line which adds to the energy of the song. Sir Yes Sir sound like Pavement, Sonic Youth and a little bit of the Pixies but by no mean do they sound like a rip off or just another generic indie band. Their sound is very disimilar to alot of stuff out there at the moment (the drum machine and the vocals in particular really help them to stand out) and what with so much guff like the Fratellis, and Larrikin Love out there it's refreshing to hear a band like SYS. The other songs on their myspace, although not as strong as Hit Three, are definetly worth a listen Bass Hit and newly uploaded Ok are also catchy, pumping tunes .

Hit Three
Bass Hit

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Wave Pictures

My intention all week has been to write about three bands that aren't signed who deserve to be. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of a third band to write about and the prospect of trawling through myspace listening to wank was not high on the agenda. So to start I give you The Wave Pictures (and my next post will be on Threatmatics).

The Wave Pictures

Before I start I just want to say whoever took this photo (which I stole off the bands myspace comments) please forgive me, I love the photo. So yeah if you don't want it here please get in touch and it will be gone! But alas it is a good photo so be nice....Anyway, I saw this band support People in Planes about 2 years ago and was very impressed. I remember David Tattersall's voice being incredibly distinctive and his guitar lines being similarly so. For some reason I never really looked into them again until the birth of myspace, but i'm glad i finally did - why these guys aren't signed is beyond me really.

I'm not entirely sure who to compare them to, I suppose they are bit like The White Stripes in the way their recordings sound quite vintage and analogue, the vocals and chord progressions/riffs are strong, and the beats are simple yet catchy. The lyrics are very clever as well - unfotunately i don't have an actual record to talk about other than their myspace songs and the ones available to download from their website, so i'll start with some of them.

I think my favourite has to be 'Airplanes of Brescia' (a Franz Kafka reference for those literary kids out there) which, having read other reviews on The Wave Pictures, definitely has a similar vibe to some of The Modern Lovers tunes. However, it sounds like its been recorded in a bathroom - the reverb on this track is pretty excessive but it gives the track a real charming, lush feel, particularly on Tattersall's picky guitar intro.

Long Island, a piano led gem, is a lovely little ballad esque song with some interesting lyrics: Well i met you on the tube/and you were beautiful in lubricants/with the boy who drank soup/straight from the urn and burnt his tounge. I'd love to have been around to see what influenced these lyrics but it's really the piano that makes this song for me - so simple and repetitive, keeping the song ticking over nicely.

The final song I want to write about reminds me of the dude in There's something about Mary that sings the songs at the end of scenes while chilling on a tree, remember*? Well 'Now you are pregnant' really reminds me of him. Which is a good thing, it's a lovely acoustic ditty with, once again, strong witty lyrics: Jonny Cash died today/ And you'd say, you'd say/It's not like Elvis/ It's nots like Elvis/ Although is it?/ And you would be right.

The Wave Pictures are an absolute gem of a band who write lovely tunes about girls and simple things - they should be signed and they should have a big fuck off cult following of their very own. Check out their myspace at:

And give these a listen:

Long Island
The Airplanes at Brescia
Now you are pregnant

*just discovered he's Johnathan Richman from The Modern Lovers - so there you go.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Spank Rock - YO YO YO YO YO

Naveen Juwan of Spank Rock is a dirty man. I've read other reviews on Spank Rock and supposedly his lyrics are meant to be ironic - I don't buy it myself - he's got a filthy mouth and there's no two ways about it. Lyrics like oooh your pussy gets damp from Backyard Betty and Honey honey see me/Behind my Gameboy I got game, girl it comes easy,/Let go your shoulders, my popsicle is so sweetsie/Slam back that Sparks, don't hesitate and you'll believe me/Ya bitch believe me from Bump pretty much speak for themselves. He likes talking about birds alot - anyway I digress - Spank Rock are good, very good. I saw them at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff about 2 weeks ago and was immediately impressed - they do interesting beats and use clever samples and sounds like telephone tones, cow bells and reverberated violin pluckings to name a few of them. Released on Big Dada records (home of Ty and Roots Manuva) they sound like Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Dizzee Rascal (in the way its quite stripped back but pumping) and a little El-P production wise. A few people out there have been saying they could be as popular and accessible as The Neptunes and Timbaland and i agree. There's enough songs on YO YO YO YO to keep you interested. Besides Backyard Betty and Bump look out for Rick Rubin (available to sample below) and Far Left which uses the sound of an engaged telephone and perhaps the sound off Mario Brothers when you get yourself an extra life or land yourself a mushroom - that could be bollocks but that's what it sounds like to me!

Rick Rubin

Check out 'Put that pussy on me' on their myspace as well which lifts some great samples:

Also check out:

This is a compilation of songs from their Baltimore Crew, i recommend the 50 ways Remix.

Thanks to for transcribing lyrics - I would have been up all night without it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pete and the Pirates/Tap Tap

Everyday I find myself in a quandary as to what to listen to for those 17 minutes (yes exactly 17 mins - I have to be precise because I get up as late as possible) as I walk to and from work. I have 30GB of music on my MP3 player and yet I still struggle to choose something to listen to. Recently two bands have been my saving grace: Pete and the Pirates and Tap Tap. Based in Reading these two bands, in a roundabout lazy descriptive kind of way, are the same. As in Tom Sanders, lead singer in Pete and the Pirates, is Tap Tap with members of PATP and other friends featuring on his album Lanzafame.
So to avoid more confusion lets talk about them one by one, apologies my brain is mangled.....

Pete and the Pirates

Over the last 6 months the pirates have released two EPs: Get Even and Wait. Stop. Begin. They are both good. In many respects they remind me of the Mystery Jets in the way their songs are so carefree. However they stand out from all the NME bands knocking around these days as their songs simply don't sound the same. They use standard chord progressions but make them their own with imaginative vocal harmonies, inventive guitar lines and pumping beats. 'Knife' from the Get Even EP is the perfect example of this: at only 1:31 seconds long you can quite happily play it on repeat at least 3 or 4 times and is one of the strongest of their collection. Pete and the Pirates sing about everyday things: cooking dinner, hanging out at discos, drinking, girls and other things I'm not so sure about but I still happily sing along regardless. I would write more about particular songs but with 14 to choose from I think I rather just recommend you have a listen out for Nuana, Electric, Come on Feet, This Thyme and Disco. Also listen out for Knots which is currently posted on their myspace: its top dollar. Their current releases can be bought from Stolen Recordings. Both EPs come in charming little packaging with quirky little drawings which only makes the band more endearing.

This Thyme

Tap Tap

To clarify Tap Tap is Tom Sanders, lead singer in Pete and the Pirates, with some of the other folks from the band and various other friends. In the same vein as the Pirates, Tap Tap is slightly more lofi and a bit more on the acoustic side of things. Lanzafame released on Catbird Records is 11 songs long and one of the strongest albums I've heard in a long time. My favourite thing about this album is the way its recorded - there's no post production sheen to this - the drums and bass are often high on the mix which help to give Sander's songs an extra oomph. Head nodding is a regular occurrence particularly on album opener 100,00 thoughts, Little Match (Big Fire), and stand out track Way To Go, Boy. Little Match (Big Fire), a song about starting a fire surprisingly, has a haunting, dark feel to it and has one of the best guitar solos I've heard in ages - every time I hear it I always feel envious that I didn't think of it myself! While Way To Go, Boy, an accordion lead number, has a great intro with the drums and bass line coming in when you least expect it - keeping you on your toes. The album does feature more subtle, softer songs too; She doesn't belong is a beautiful song which recently has been adopted by Pete and the Pirates on their Wait. Stop. Begin EP. The version on Lanzafame however, is far superior as its more stripped down and scratchy which I love. The lyrics are great: It's so cold this morning/ My breath comes out like steam/ I got up in such a hurry/I'm still stuck inside my dreams/I can hide behind sunglasses/It's not as a bad as it seems being my favourite stanza (ooh poetic reference) of the song.

P.S What I'm listening to at the mo:

1. Mystery Jets - Diamonds in the Dark
2. Spank Rock - YO YO YO YO YO - click on link for song called Rick Rubin.
3. Tapes 'n' Tapes - Omaha
4. Eagles of Death Metal - I only want you.
5. Grizzly Bear - On a Neck on a Spit
6. Beirut - Postcards from Italy
7. Cajun Dance Party - Time Falls
8. DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
9. Ramona Cordova - Giver's Reply
10. Hemstad - Kaserntorgets Charkdisco