Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Some Letter Cs Not In My Vinyl Collection

Just back from a week at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. All I can say is "wow!" I had never stepped foot in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming before, and I found the expansive landscape stunning. The photo above was taken by yours truly at the brink of lower falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Even an amateur shutterbug like myself couldn't blow that shot. We got out just in time. The parks have been overcome by fires in the past 48 hours.

As I mentioned last time, my mother is bunking in the music room, but I'll be back to ripping vinyl from the letter C section this weekend. In the meantime, I have selected a few bands from the Cs in the CD collection to tide us over. First up is Casper & the Cookies, a band I would have gladly seen last week in their hometown during Athens Popfest. The sound is vintage Elephant 6... right out of Of Montreal's early playbook. This one is taken from the '09 release 'Modern Silence,' but you can't go wrong with any of their albums. I'm cheating a little with this one because Casper & the Cookies can be found in my vinyl section, just not this album.

"Little King"

The 2009 Rev-Ola compilation 'Black Path' is the only title I have from the Claim, but what a keeper! It's a 25-song retrospective covering much of the indie-popsters' work from 1985 to 1992. The band is often compared to the Dentists and Jasmine Minks, but they didn't have quite the name recognition of those two. I was happy to see they were included on the excellent 'Scared to Get Happy' box set Cherry Red put out in 2013. If you're into '80s indie pop, that's a must buy. This song was the A-side of a 7" Bob Stanley released on his Caff label in 1991.

"Birth of a Teenager"

This song is the opener from the 2005 album 'Strange Geometry,' my favorite from the Clientele. Merge has done such a wonderful job of touting this London-based band. So much so, in fact, the Clientele is bigger on this side of the Atlantic. I have lost track of them the past couple of years, but I hope the Clientele stuck with this cleaner sound that borders on chamber pop. Simply beautiful and seemingly from another time. They must have been listening to a lot of the Left Banke.

"Since K Got Over Me"

Now for something completely different. This song from Texas band the Clique was an obscure B-side in 1969, but most of my generation learned of this rocker when R.E.M. covered it in 1986 during the 'Lifes Rich Pageant' era. Although it was a single for Michael Stipe and the fellas, it didn't fair well, despite it being bassist Mike Mills' first stab at a lead vocal. I may like the cover better than the original, but they are both very good.

"Superman"

I thought for sure Melbourne's the Crayon Fields were finished. There was a huge six-year gap between their second and third albums while Geoff O'Connor went solo for a while, but last year's comeback album 'No One Deserves You' was a pleasant and welcome surprise. For today, let's go back to the early days. From debut album 'Animal Bells' comes "Living So Well." It's a little bit Beach Boys, a little bit Zombies and a lot a bit the Association. Things have cooled, obviously, but this is one of those bands that caught fire on all of the blogs back in the day, but this one actually deserved the acclaim. I'll try to do another one of these letter C roundups from the CD section before returning to the vinyl. Hope you like it.

"Living So Well"

6 comments:

charity chic said...

Great photo Brian and some new to me music to be explored.Thanks

TheRobster said...

What CC said. Plus, this is weird, but it's the first time I've ever heard the original Clique version of Superman. I'm with you on liking the cover better (but I am definitely biased - peak-era R.E.M. beats pretty much everything else ever).

C said...

Fab photo, Brian - must be unbelievably breathtaking to see in real life.
Funnily enough only a short while ago a good friend introduced me to both the Clientele and Crayon Fields (All the Pleasures of the World a firm favourite). Where had I been?! But I know v little else by them so interesting to hear these, and especially like the Clientele here.
Also are this Clique the same Clique that did Splash 1....? Digging into my memory banks now and recalling it from an 80s comp of 60s psych/beat.

Brian said...

C,
Yep, that's the same Clique that did the cover of the song by 13th Floor Elevators. I considered putting up the song All the Pleasures of the World because it's the most well known from Crayon Fields, but I really like this first album a lot. With the Clientele, I did choose my favorite song. I enjoy that time period from them better than the earlier works. Our family vacation was really something. I'll put up another photo or two next time. Thanks for writing.

CC,
I didn't have much cell service while I was gone. So, I'm catching up with your last eight posts (or so) right now. You have been busy.

Robster,
Glad I put up that cover since you hadn't heard it. I remember your excellent post about discovering R.E.M. Even though we are the same age we came about that band at different times. I go into them very early and loved the EP and first two albums, liked the next two and started losing interest after that. I have actually never owned anything by them after the big-label move. I have been chastised by a few on these pages for this stance. I have no problem with R.E.M. at all, I just moved on for some reason... probably got to big for me. That sometimes happens when you're that age.

The Swede said...

I'm very taken with the tunes by both Casper & the Cookies and The Crayon Fields, the two combos that I know least about from this excellent little set. That's a terrific shot Brian, I hope we get to see some more.

Brian said...

Thanks, Swede. Your words inspired me to do a followup.