March 31, 2008

Undercover poplover

One of the nice things about indiepop cover versions of well known hits is that you can fall in love with them without losing any of your indiepop credibility. Of course you already always secretly liked these songs as much as you do now, but no one needs to know that.

Wham!? Nonono, I'm singing that Garlands version!

Download (Mediafire)
The Garlands - Freedom
The Siddeleys - Love grows (where my Rosemary goes)
Glo-Worm - Downtown

March 29, 2008

I would have

Springtime is a nice time to fall in love. You want to see her all the time, can't wait to hear from her again. You don't know a lot about her yet, but in your fantasies everything is perfect. You imagine a future where you will really get to know her, and imagine how with every minute of being together you'll fall in love a little bit more. You want to keep her to yourself, yet you want to tell everyone how wonderful she is.

This Spring I fell in love with The Never Invited To Parties.

I fear my love will remain unanswered though, because the only information I can find on this Swedish band (Karin, Karin, Alice, Agnes, Joanna and Henrik from Stockholm) is a simple 'R.I.P' on their myspace.

It seems I'm too late.

It could have been so wonderful! Ah well, I'm not really complaining. The memory is sweet enough to keep the smile fixed on my face.

Download (Mediafire)
1. The Never Invited To Parties - Bicycle ride
2. The Never Invited To Parties - Norma Jean

March 28, 2008

Hey DJ

My work has been causing me headaches these last few days. Grown up colleagues fighting like little children, screaming into each other's faces. I was never involved, but please. Please. Please?

Fighting is so not my thing. I remember the three times in my life that I got really angry. About two of those three times I still feel that it was justified, the third time was maybe a bit silly. Still, blowing up like a stupid balloon almost every day? I just can't understand. Grow up, breathe in, breathe out, talk or walk away.

Anyway, somehow all this bitching got me in a grumpy mood.

I lit some candles, made a fresh fruit juice and crashed on my couch. Eyes closed, listening to Daniel Johnston calmed me down back to normal.

A couple of days ago I posted Cub's cover of Tell me now, but I might like Daniel Johnston's original version even better. I'm not a big Johnston fan, but when he's good, he's really good. Try not welling up while listening to Careless soul! I certainly can't.

Here are some personal favourites:

Download (Mediafire)
1. Daniel Johnston - Tell me now
2. Daniel Johnston - I hate myself
3. Daniel Johnston - True love will find you in the end
4. Daniel Johnston - Careless soul
5. Daniel Johnston - Speeding motorcycle

March 26, 2008

Smile x 3

This morning when I opened the curtains, to my pleasant surprise it wasn't snowing anymore. With a little bit of effort I could even spot some sunshine. I got dressed, made myself a coffee and a fruit juice and turned on the computer. Online, I found a sweet e-mail from my girlfriend plus a message from a friend inviting me for lunch today.

Days like today make optimism so much easier: love, friendship, sunshine and no work. And music of course, the most faithful of all the above.

To share some of that feeling, here are three pretty little smiles for you:

Download (Mediafire)
1. The Hot Toddies - Anaïs Nin vs. the pirates of Santa Cruz
2. Liechtenstein - Cravings
3. The Darlings - You shook me all night long

March 25, 2008

Girls Girls Girls

When I read through the posts on this weblog so far, I notice two surprising (to me) things:
1. 99% of all posted songs have female vocals;
2. I sound like a depressed teenager.

When I decided to start this thing up, I didn't really mean to limit myself in any way. It was not intended as an indiepop blog exclusively, more as an outlet for my general interests and thoughts. But that's how it happened: you caught me at a phase where in my personal life not everything is going very smoothly, and that makes the uncomplicated female (indie)pop a pleasant music of choice. And of course I love it no matter what. So there's no problem in point #1 at all.


I'm a tiny bit embarrassed about that second issue. It feels much unlike me. Usually I've managed to deal with stress or worries in a more positive way, and I intend to put much effort in going back to that me.

So, if you don't mind, the girls will keep singing on here for a while. In fact, to kick off the promise of more positivity to myself nicely, here are three cliché female popclassics. You all know them. I don't care, because they make me smile, every single time.

Download (Mediafire)
1. The Tammys - Egyptian shumba
2. The Crystals - He's a rebel
3. The Shangri-Las - Give him a great big kiss

March 21, 2008

Two worlds

I hardly ever discuss music with colleagues. It's pointless, because if I try to explain what I like they will either shrug or laugh in my face. There's nothing to win, so I don't bother. It's funny (and a bit sad) though how this way my biggest passion is unknown to the people I share most time with. Of all the people at work, I'm probably even the one who talks about music the least.

Still, inevitably every now and then it just happens.

Today, during lunch break:
Dennis: "…just don't think most of the songs in the top 40 are very good."
Ben: "But they must be good. Lots of people like them."
Dennis: "…"
Ben: "If lots of people like them, this means they are good. By definition."
Dennis: "I… Well… You're right."

How do you explain to someone who considers Celine Dion the absolute top of the top that you think she's, well… not that good, without seeming an asshole? If you mention that you prefer indie pop, or, in more understandable terms, 'alternative music', they think you're talking about the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

We're talking different truths here. I could try to make him see. I could try to explain the difference between catchy muzak and passionate pop. I could try to make him see that for some people (like you and I) music can be so much more. So much, much more. But why? It's like explaining to a blind and deaf man how much you like a certain movie. He won't hear you, and if he did he would have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. I'll safe myself the frustration, and take the easy way out. It's not that important.

Following Ben's logic, here are two of the worst songs ever.

Download (Mediafire)
1. La Buena Vida - Tardes de café
2. Cub - Tell me now

March 17, 2008

Ain't no lover like me in town

Warning: people with an allergy for mainstream music are adviced to stop reading now. I can't be held responsible for any damage done by being exposed to some actual hit(ooh, dirty word!)songs.

Sunday June 26, 2005, The Hague. A huge middle aged lady walks onstage at the free festival Parkpop, and then towards the microphone. Nothing to get too excited about, it seems. I get ready to walk away to get another beer, when I hear a familiar guitar riff. Then the lady starts singing:

"A goddess on a mountain top
Was burning like a silver flame
A summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name…"

That voice! Despite the incredible physical changes that voice is still as pretty as it was in 1969, when 'Venus' climbed the charts. There's something about Mariska Veres' voice that I can't resist. No matter how often I hear 'Love buzz', 'Send me a postcard' or even the overplayed 'Venus', I fall in love a little bit.

Shocking Blue were pretty big in their home-country The Netherlands in the late 60s and early 70s. Plenty of top 10 hits, two of which reached the number one spot here ('Mighty Joe' and 'Never marry a railroad man'. Suprisingly, not 'Venus'). It's just those three songs mentioned above though that work that magic for me.

Mariska Veres died December 2, 2006.

Shocking Blue were a very average rock band on most occasions. I will adore them forever for these three little miracles:

1. Shocking Blue - Send me a postcard
2. Shocking Blue - Venus
3. Shocking Blue - Love buzz

March 16, 2008

Food for thought?

Things that shouldn't be fun, but are, and things that could be fun, but aren't: the older I get, the more these seem to get mixed up.

That feeling, the one where you're getting ready - for a party for example - and you think "This is gonna be fun!", and then you just know that indeed it will be... I hardly get that anymore. Sadly one of the things that grew with me while growing older was my scepticism, or rather my 'ready to be disappointed'-attitude. On the plus side of that, it creates room for pleasant surprises every now and then.

One of many reasons why I'm so much in love with music it that it seems to exist outside that frame of life and growing older. Every night can be as fun as any other as long as there's indiepop, or whatever else musically exciting.

A friend visited me tonight. She baked me cookies. Cookies! Little unexpected things like that bring a real smile to my face. I'm aware that these real life things are much more valuable than listening to a new song, but the feeling is often alike. Indiepop, bring me some more cookies!

I'm always hungry.

March 14, 2008

What fish?

I thought I'd do a quick Moofish Catfish-post before the weekend. Not quick as in half-hearted, but quick as in right now before I go out, because I shoudn't keep this Stockholm four-piece from you any longer.

Just download the songs and start your weekend dancing in your living room to this. Indeed, like I just did.

Download (Right click, save as)
1. Moofish Catfish - Lightbulbs
2. Moofish Catfish - At the club
3. Moofish Catfish - Half my size

Where's that pause button?

Last weekend I turned 30 years old.

Growing older has never really frustrated me, but now for the first time there's a dominant feeling of genuine surprise: how the hell did I get old so quickly?

I mean, 30, really? Thirty!

Up to an age of... I don't know, 23 or 24, time seemed to pass naturally. Childhood, highschool, first girlfriend, first sex, university, Master's degree... you know? A year was a year, and things progressed.

Then, a blink of an eye, and here we are.

It'd be an understatement to say that my life at thirty didn't turn out the way I expected. That's not necessarily only a bad thing, but in the words of David Byrne: "Where is that large automobile?" Et cetera.

But on we go.

March 13, 2008

Question mark (part two)

Continuing in the same spirit as the previous post, let's talk about Twa Toots. Or rather, let's not talk about Twa Toots, because I might know even less about them than I know about Trixie's Big Red Motorbike.

Twa Toots were Sarah Brown, Frank Brown (Sarah's father), Philippa Richmond and Will Cassell from Sheerness, Kent in the U.K. They released some singles in the 80s (and 90s?), which were collected on a 1997 full length 'Don't send me flowers'.

'Please don't play 'A rainy night in Georgia'' is such an addictive little song!

Download (Mediafire):
1. Twa Toots - Please don't play 'A rainy night in Georgia'
2. Twa Toots - Hurt so bad
3. Twa Toots - Don't send me flowers

March 11, 2008

That's the end of that

Except for a couple of artists that I really admire I usually don't care so much to know about who they are or how they are. I'd even go so far that, even if I tell myself don't be silly/who cares?/you're being childish, often it happens that knowing too much about an artist can ruin the music a bit.

Trixie's Big Red Motorbike are on the other end of the spectrum. They were a pop duo from the Isle-of-Wight. Early 80s. One girl (Mel), one boy (Mark). Most importantly, some of their songs are really great.

That's all I know.
It's enough.

Download (Mediafire)
1. Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - That's the end of that
2. Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - Norman & Narcissus
3. Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - When he's by my side

March 04, 2008

Nice try sunshine / Can't get out of bed

Blue sunshiny skies and dark winterstorms are fighting for attention in the Netherlands. Every morning I open the curtains with a feeling between hope and fear. What will it be today?

The result of last year's lack of summer is still detectable in the darker corners of my sunshine-craving brain. I'm cranky, tired and surprisingly edgy. I've never been a fan of my alarm clock in the morning, but I'm at the brink of throwing the thing through the window, while letting out some uncharacteristic curses.

I'm very unlike me, lately.

Or rather, it seems a bit like finally the mask is falling away, after all these years, and I just let it out. Who cares if you notice I'm depressed? No need to keep smiling all the time. Who cares if I hurt your feelings? You're an idiot and you have the right to know. Who cares if...?

Rewind, erase. Because I do care. No, really.
I need sleep and sunshine. Lots, and soon.
And then we'll work from there.

Download (Mediafire)
1. Second-Hand Furniture - Nice try, sunshine!
2. Springfactory - Get out of bed