Another of my favorite indie tracks in my youth. Can I say 'indie' anymore? Ten years ago the term had meaning, but I get the impression this has faded. I'm talking about bands who recorded for small independent labels, obviously. Anyway, I have a special fondness for McCarthy, since they played at the first live show I ever attended. It was on March 3rd 1990 at the Bowen West Theatre in Bedford, England. Were you there? I know at least one member of this site was (how's it going, Phil?).
Anyway, this is another superbly evocative track for me, with layers of nicely picked guitars, and some intense drumming. The vocals are heartfelt in a way that unkind people might call 'weedy'; I think they're brilliant, needless to say. McCarthy were a superb indie band with jangly Wedding Present-style guitars and a political edge. Tim Gane later went on to form Stereolab, who I also like a lot, but in a very different way.
from the single Red Sleeping Beauty (Pink Label PINKY 12) available on CD - That's All Very Well But (Cherry Red)
It took me some time, but I'm finally really getting into Tipsy's second album, 'Uh Oh!' This track is a beautiful sound collage, with a slightly more complex structure than a lot of predominanty sampled tracks have. Its samples include celestial harps, gentle beats, middle eastern snake charmer sounds, old wordless vocals, and lots more wonderful sounding stuff I can't identify. The overall effect is rather intoxicating. My admiration for this track mixed with a touch of jealousy - I have some of the records being sampled here (for example, the 'Bacharach Baroque' version of 'Close to you' is clearly audible), but my own audio assembling skills are rather poor compared with those of Tipsy. If you haven't listened to Tipsy since 'Trip Tease', or even if you're just interested in creative sampling, I recommend checking this out.
from Uh-Oh! (Asphodel asphodel 2003), available on CD
This was actually never one of my favorite Bacharach songs, but I find this version delightful. It opens with a simple bassline and a groovy breakbeat, which are soon joined by delicate strings and woodwinds, and finally Cal's cool vibes. There are a lot of cool sounds in the mix; I think I can hear both a 12 string guitar and a hammond organ. Anyway, the track swings very nicely, and the groovy beat carries on relentlessly in the background. The all-Bacharach album this comes from is apparently disliked by purists, but I think it's really rather wonderful.
from Sounds Out Burt Bacharach (Skye), available on CD
An intense and beautiful epic, this track is the opener on the band's superb 1998 album, 'Deserters Songs'. I'm quite fickle, and usually prefer two to three-minute songs, but this track is so brilliant that it seems short at 6 minutes. It builds up beautifully, starting with just an echoey string aura, with vocals, synth (a Supertramp-like wurlitzer sound) and guitar coming in one by one. The music finally explodes after a couple of minutes, with full drums and eerie oscillating noises. It's incredibly beautiful and dense, and the song has a melancholy air that is very affecting. Mercury Rev have a habit of putting incredible tracks at the beginning of their albums. I'm glad they are now getting more of the attention they deserve.
from Deserter's Songs (V2 VVR1002772), available on CD
An unusual-sounding instrumental that mixes a 3/4 time signature with a light breakbeat. The song (incorrectly cited as 'the name of the game' on the record I have) is a spooky and groovy instrumental, with a continuous organ riff, great strings, and a big beat. A different interpretation of this song by another British arranger, John Gregory, appears on the excellent German compilation 'the mad mad world of soundtracks'.