New Yorker Elinor Blake started her musical career in new wavers The Pussywillows in the late 80s and early 90s, but since moving to California in 1991 has mainly worked under the nom-de-disque of April March. I don’t know whether she’s still making music – her last album was in 2012 and her website went offline earlier this year – but she’s got an interesting catalogue behind her anyway, ranging from her early ye-ye revivalism (including an LP of anglophone Serge Gainsbourg adaptations) through excursions in garage rock and electronica to… well, this, a spot of seasonal chamber pop taken from a 1998 winter-themed mini-LP she made in collaboration with experimental rock band Los Cincos. Blake has perhaps been guilty of excessive kookiness at times, but I think this song is just charming…
I don’t know where this DJ mix comes from, but it seemed appropriate to post it for Halloween (listen and you’ll understand why). It features various New Order classics, mainly from the Technique period.
Another bit of 90s dance dedicated to my jogging pals, this time from D:Ream, which though other people flitted around the sidelines, was essentially the nom-de-disque of one Peter Cunnah. Despite poppy numbers like “Shoot Me With Your Love” and the number one smash “Things Can Only Get Better”, he was just about able to cling onto some shred of club credibility thanks to some harder-edged remixes, such as those provided here by Leftfield (yes, them again).
D:ream’s debut album D:Ream On, Vol. 1 (clever wording, cheers) had a ridiculous number of singles lifted from it, partly because at the end of its initial singles campaign, a last-ditch reissue of “Things Can Only Get Better” became a massive hit, leading to the album being reissued in a new cover, and the launch of what was effectively a whole new promotional cycle. “Unforgiven” was one of the singles from the original campaign, achieving a readily-neglected no.29 chart placing.
While Cunnah tended to use the “D:reamix” name for his own remixes, it wasn’t until the second album and its lead single “Shoot Me With Your Love” that he hit upon the idea of flipping it around and having a “Re:Deamix”… too late, Pete, too late…
D:Ream – Unforgiven (1993 CD single)
Link: D:Ream – Unforgiven (7″ D:Reamix)
Link: D:Ream – Unforgiven (Sine 7″ Edit)
Link: D:Ream – Unforgiven (12″ D:reamix)
Link: D:Ream – Unforgiven (Leftfield Hands Mix)
Link: D:Ream – Unforgiven (EMF 7″ Mix)
Link: D:Ream – Unforgiven (Leftfield Hard Mix)
Back in 2006, this song became the first, and to date only, song in Icelandic ever to make the UK top 40, off the back of its use in the trailers for Attenboroughfest Planet Earth. And what a majestic piece of music it is. Stick it on your gym playlist, and it will make your workout feel epic. Heck, do anything to this and it will feel epic. Appropriately enough, all the sweeping romanticism of the music is in service of a bit of lyrical whimsy about how much fun it is to splash about in puddles. Epic.
Anyhow, since it’s back (in slightly remixed form) on the trailers for Planet Earth II, time to dig it out again…
Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla (2006 UK CD single)
Hi, sorry I haven’t posted in ages. While out jogging, my companions asked what sort of music I like, and I completely forgot that a good answer to this question would be, “well, I’ve got a blog called We Will Have Salad where I post music I like, you should check it out”. So it’s probably high time I got back to sharing some more bangin’ choons.
And on that note, here’s a classic single lifted from Leftfield‘s 1995 album Leftism. And shockingly used to advertise some processed cheese product a few years back. The tune may be processed, but it ain’t cheesy, unlike this sentence.
Leftfield – Release The Pressure (1996 CD single)
More indiepop for you! This 1990 Peel Session by The Field Mice goes around online and I’m happy to do my bit to keep it circulating. This session was recorded around the time that the superb and diverse Skywriting mini-LP came out, but rather than showcasing that record, The Field Mice chose to do four new and exclusive songs instead. These songs never appeared on any official release; they’re not even on the double-CD reissue of Skywriting, even though there’s easily room for them.
Let’s go a bit jangly with PO!, an ever-evolving line-up which revolved around songsmith Ruth Miller. I first became aware of Miller through her work with early-90s Leicester supergroup Ruth’s Refrigerator – well, actually that band was my introduction to the whole sprawling Leicester art-pop scene, given that its members were instrumental (and vocal) in a whole mess of other groups including, but definitely not limited to, Deep Freeze Mice, The Chrysanthemums, (Jody And) The Creams, Immediate, The Thurston Lava Tube, The Junipers and of course PO!. Throw the likes of The Originals and Jesus Couldn’t Drum into the mix, and even Pete Frame would struggle to sort that lot out.
Anyhow, Miller took the majority of lead vocals in Ruth’s Refrigerator (she fronted the aforementioned Jody And The Creams as well), but PO!, where she performed her own material, was her main and best outlet. As she describes the band on her own blog, they had “soaring and jangly tunes, but the words are often more reflective, miserable or aggressive”. I’d call it proper, consistently high-quality old-school indiepop. I’m sure she’s been dogged by these comparisons her whole career but if you like Amelia Fletcher‘s work (and why wouldn’t you), then PO! should be right up your street too. Thrillingly, the old PO! material will (if things go to plan) get a long-overdue reissue in the near future. Meanwhile, here’s one of the later works…
PO! – “The Alphabet EP” (1997)
Norma was Chic’s original lead vocalist who left to pursue a solo career, which has mainly been back-up work for other artists. Norma Jean from 1978 remains her only solo album, and it’s effectively a Chic album in all but name – its personnel is practically identical to that of Chic’s own self-titled debut of the previous year. It’s not prime Chic; it’s certainly nowhere near as consistent as the band’s own 1978 offering, C’est Chic, but it does at least feature this classic, much covered but never improved upon.
Chic productions, whether for themselves or other acts, pretty much always featured a ballad on the B-side, and never anything exclusive. This single is no exception, so you get “This Is The Love” as the flipside, lifted straight from the LP.
Norma Jean Wright – “Saturday” (1978 Bearsville 7″ and 12″ single)
Link: Norma Jean Wright – Saturday (7″ edit)
Link: Norma Jean Wright – This Is The Love
Link: Norma Jean Wright – Saturday (full length)
Dimitri From Paris did a remix of “Saturday” for the Chic box set that came out a few years ago, and much as I adore ol’ Dimmy, I think on this occasion he may actually be guilty of stretching it too far. Still, if there’s a DFP remix, of course I’m going to share it, so here it is!
Here’s a band I bought a few singles by, about twenty years ago, and paid no further attention to. But reading up on them today, I think I should probably investigate further. I just remember David Devant and his Spirit Wife as also-ran Camden scenesters but they had a theatricality and a retro-modernity like World of Twist taken to the next level. I shall explore…
Meanwhile, here’s their debut single from 1996. Third track “Trouble” is a setting of the poem “The Trouble With Geraniums” by Mervyn Peake. I’ve split off the hidden track, which originally appeared after six minutes of silence following “Trouble”.
David Devant and his Spirit Wife – Cookie (1996 CD single)
Link: David Devant and his Spirit Wife – Cookie
Link: David Devant and his Spirit Wife – One Hand
Link: David Devant and his Spirit Wife – Trouble
Link: David Devant and his Spirit Wife – [unlisted hidden track]
When I posted country-folky-bluesy-acousticy-person Idha‘s debut single a few days ago, I had a request in the comments from Mark (hi!) for her 1997 second album Troublemaker. So here it is.
There was a bit of a change in emphasis for this one, going “slick” rather than “homespun”. Where Melody Inn came across as a homage to California filtered through the perspective of a Swede living in the UK, Troublemaker drops the filter and, to me, is less interesting as a result.
Creation were obviously splashing the cash a bit (though not on a company-endangering My Bloody Valentine scale, obviously) and it sounds a bit over-produced compared to her debut, but it has its moments, particularly the brass-assisted single “Going Down South”.
Link: Idha – Troublemaker (password: salad)
Always Been With You
Going Down South
Sweet September Rain
Me And Johnny
Fields Of Avalon
Just Moved In