Thursday, March 29, 2007

grapes house ink

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart

This one was a Christmas present from Oxbow a few years back. Before that, as far as I was concerned Gorky's were just that Welsh band who did that annoying 'Patio' song. But How I Long to Feel That Summer In My Heart is still an album that I dig out pretty regularly. On first listen it can seem a bit slight but repeated listens make it stick with you, as bits of The Beatles and High Llamas drift by. It's good simple music, which is really hard to do well without sounding lazy or pat.

And it really does make me feel that summer in my heart. This track in particular sounds like late August evenings playing with your mates on the park, the sun streaming across the sky just before you have to go home.

The soundtrack to a Welsh "Wonder Years", if you will.

Buy - How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart
Visit - Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

His Name Is Alive - The Dirt Eaters

His Name Is Alive - Man On The Silver Mountain (Rainbow cover)

Nutty name, nutty guys. Back to 4AD for this one, a band I was pretty much obsessed with in the face of much shoulder-shrugging from my peers. Looking back they're the archetypal, precious, 23 Envelope/V23 project, with more than a whiff of This Mortal Coil about them. But I loved the air of mystery, the pick'n'mix song-styles and (let's face it) the pretensions so much that I persevered beyond their patchy and sublimely gothic first 4AD release, Livonia, through the fantastic 23-track "mental illness" album, Home Is In Your Head, up to their 3rd album, 1993's Mouth By Mouth, before I said 'enough'.

These two tracks are from The Dirt Eaters EP, my favourite of their releases. "The Dirt Eaters" made an appearance on Mouth By Mouth but in a rocked-out version; this is sparser and much better for it (according to ubiquipedia, the sample is Jack Nicholson from Ironweed. Not knowing the film, I always heard it as Ronald Reagan....). The Rainbow cover was the unlisted first track - I've always liked it 'cos it sounded like a HNIA piss-take (a hushed, folksy take on a stadium rawk belter? the very idea...), and hinted at a self-deprecating sense of humour hidden behind the Vaughan Oliver artwork.

His Name Is Alive are still going and still doing interesting stuff, going from gothic folk to Beach Boys pastiches to psychedelic R'n'B and back again. Check their website and particularly the tracklisting for the 10 CD wooden "Cloud Box" set. Hmmm, challenging!

Buy - The Dirt Eaters EP is only available on this import of Home Is In Your Head, or
Buy - Always Stay Sweet, a 21-song best-ofVisit - His Name Is Alive

The Ink Spots - If I Didn't Care

The Ink Spots - Whispering Grass (Don't Tell The Trees)

The Ink Spots - I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

From the corner marked "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"...

The Ink Spots are a band who had loads of hits with EXACTLY THE SAME SONG. Check it out:

Rambling ascending guitar intro...
Plaintive tenor lead vocal...
Talky bit...

I could have picked any three of their songs and would most likely have hit on the same structure in each. Listening to a whole album by them is weird, like being stuck in a lift where the muzak is looping indefinitely, or some weirdly soothing Groundhog Day.

I love these songs. And the balls on them to keep doing the same thing over and over!

Buy - The Ink Spots - The Ultimate Collection
Visit - The Ink Spots (Wikipedia)
Visit - The Ink Spots

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