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Monday 19 March 2012

Scrag Ends

I apologise to the makers of what follows for referring to their finely wrought work as scrag ends (well, I apologise to all of them apart from Plastic Bertrand). I use that heading because I am attempting to clear the decks a bit before I go off to Cape Town next week, and what follows are assorted odds and ends I have been meaning to post for a while. And now I am.

We start off with a new discovery, for me at least. I have mentioned previously the First Aid Kit gig I went to last month. Support that night came from Samantha Crain, a performer from Oklahoma with Choctaw heritage, with whom I was sufficiently impressed to start tracking her music down. This is from her 2010 album, "You (Understood)".

"Sante Fe" - Samantha Crain

Next we have three bands who have kindly sent me their latest recordings recently. First up is the Cinnamon Band, a guitar/drums duo from Virginia who are three months into a project to issue a new cover version every month for the year. Despite doing their best to antagonise me by claiming to have "the raw anthemic power of early U2", they make up for it with an excellent choice of covers and a total absence of Bono. I particularly like this rendition of the Roches' "Hammond Song".

"Hammond Song" - The Cinnamon Band

The other two are fighting it out for the silliest name of the week, if not the year. In the red corner we have I Used To Be A Sparrow, who at least have the excuse of being half-Italian and half-Swedish. Their debut album "Luke" came out last week.  In the blue corner, all the way from Melbourne, is Skipping Girl Vinegar. This recent single is taken from their album "Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey". Both acts sound like something from the 1980s to me, but that may just be because time stopped for me around then and I can't comprehend the idea of anything being more modern than that.

"Cambodia" - I Used To Be A Sparrow

"Chase The Sun" - Skipping Girl Vinegar

Another silly name for a band is Hairy Nose, whose CD single I picked up in the record shop in Gare Midi station in Brussels last week, as part of a "5 CD singles for €1" special offer. Unfortunately it was rubbish, so instead you are getting the pick of the bunch - a rather groovy throwback to 1970s disco from 2003 courtesy of the Franco-Swedish ensemble, Geyster. On the same visit I splashed out another €1 on a compilation called "Made in Belgium", mainly lured in by the 7 minute version of "Cuba" by the Gibson Brothers. Also on the album is Plastic Bertrand's attempt at acid house. No, really, have a listen.

"Bye Bye Superman" - Geyster

"Plastiiiic" - Plastic Bertrand

Here is old Plastic back in his pomp.

And here is a rather fine cover version by some outfit called Maeder.

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