January 31, 2009

Mod-A-Day: The Jam

There are far too many Jam songs that deserve to be more recognized than they were originally, or to be remembered now that time has passed and the band, sadly, is being forgotten. I almost didn't do this post simply because starting down this path is like opening Pandora's box. Where would one stop? How could you highlight just one of their songs? But, I'm going to anyhow.

This is Saturday's Kids from 1979's Setting Sons, arguably the Jam's best album. It was originally supposed to be a concept album, but apparently the concept petered out. Fortunately the songs that petered in are excellent. None more so than Saturday's Kids, one of the band's most underrated.

The Jam -- Saturday's Kids

January 30, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Shel Naylor

One Fine Day is actually a Dave Davies song that the Kinks cast off. It was picked up by Shel Naylor aka Rob Woodward who was being managed by the Kinks producer Larry Page and he recorded and released a vocal version of the song that became quite a hit in the UK. And not without good reason. It's a floorshaking piece of sixties freakbeat R&B that could bring the lame to their feet. Woodward went on to bigger and better things with Lieutenant Pigeon which did mostly instrumentals and later Stavely Makepeace, something a of a joke band that did novelty songs. But, novelty songs that turned into chart topping #1 hits. Still, One Fine Day has to be some of Naylor's finest work.

Shel Naylor -- One Fine Day

January 29, 2009

Mod-A-Day: The Doors

Okay, I don't have a song to share with your from the Doors, because let's face you probably already have them all. And if you don't, well, then you need to make amends for this lack in your musical library. But, I did find a cool video of Ray Manzerak talking about how the band got together, and how they wrote Light My Fire.

[Update: The embedding process seems to be a problem for some viewers, though not others. Best bet, if the embedded video below doesn't play, is to go and view it here.]

January 28, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Permanent Green Light

I could have just died when in mid 80s one of the really great mod bands of the California scene seemingly turned their back on their tried and true sound and took a turn for the worst -- at least what I thought was the worst. A sort of poppiefied new romantic sound that had almost nothing of the sixties influenced power pop tunecraft that The Three O'Clock had been famous for over the past half decade. But time marches on and good song writers turn back to their strengths. Such is what happened with Permanent Green Light, headed up by former Three O'Clock front man Michael Quercio. We Could Just Die from the band's self-titled debut sounds like it was a cast off from a Three O'Clock recording session for Sixteen Tambourines. While Permanent Green Light is a mixed bag of good and not so great songs, We Could Just Die is the best track and more than makes up for some of the weaker points on the release.

Permanent Green Light -- We Could Just Die

January 27, 2009

Mod-A-Day: The Gymslips

Whisky makes you frisky/Gin makes you sin/Brandy makes you randy/and rum makes you ... ?

That's the catchy --and classic-- chorus from The Gymslip's Drink Problem, from their only LP release, 1983's Rockin' With The Renee's. After that release the band moved away from the harder edged post-punk sound they'd always had, and adopted a more new wavish, synthesized sound for the final couple of singles.

Not exactly sure what a Gymslip is, could be lots of things. One thing for sure is that's a good name for an all ladies quartet who considered themselves Rockin' Renees with a sound that embraced punk and power pop, and had a certain girlish agression that made them some of the earliest of the Riot Grrls. In addition to the very catchy chorus, Drink Problem has a drunken charm all its own that grows on you a little more with each listen. It's a fun track, and clever.

The Gymslips-- Drink Problem

January 26, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Trotsky Icepick

You can't not like a band called Trotsky Icepick. One of the all time great band names, I think. Imagine calling your band Jeffrey Dahlmer's Lips or John Wayne Gacy's Kitchen Knife (if anyone ever uses those you owe me). Trotsky Icepick was a post-punk band playing from 1983-1993 and boasted members from The Last, Leaving Trains and 100 Flowers, all bona-fide members of either the paisley underground or garage punk scene in southern California. This is probably their most popular song, Bury Manilow, a really great piece of synchopated post punk that comes from Trotsky's 1988 long player titled Baby presumably because of the really fat and creepy baby on the album comver -- by far the band's best produced and overall best album. The vocals by lead singer Vitus Matare always bring to mind for me Stan Ridgeway from Wall of Voodoo. Interestingly, Nirvana would later praise the band as an influence and herald them as forerunners of their grunge sound.

Trotsky Icepick-- Bury Manilow

January 25, 2009

Modcast #116: It's a Perfect World

This is Modcast #116 for those of you keeping count. Covering a lot of ground this week from the mod revival sound of the Killermeters and Wardens, to the psychadelic garage rock of Plan 9 and The United States of Existence to the power pop pogoing of Elton Motello and the Britpop --by way of Borlänge, Sweden-- of Mando Diao. What's not to like?

  • The Killermeters -- Twisted Wheel
  • Mando Diao -- If I Don't Live Today, Then I Might Be Here Tomorrow
  • Pimlico -- Basement
  • The Purple Hearts -- Perfect World
  • The Vinyl Kings -- '67 (Home)
  • Plan 9 -- Step Out of Time
  • The United States of Existence -- Return to the Psychadelic
  • Elton Motello -- Sha La La La Lee
  • The Methadones -- Starry Eyes
  • The Solarflares -- Father's Name is Dad
  • The Wardens -- Tricky Girls

    Bonus Video
    Mando Diao -- If I Don't Live Today, Then I Might Be Here Tomorrow

  • January 24, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Nice

    Daddy, Where Did I Come From? A question a child might ask but not a childish song at all. This is a bit of modish freakbeat psychadelia from 1968, by The Nice. The Nice started out as the backing band for ex-Ikette soul diva PP Arnold when she struck out on her own, but quickly moved to doing their own jazz-blues rock sets. They were fronted by Keith Emerson, and often heralded as the forefathers of the prog rock scene of the 70s. Indeed, Emerson later formed one of the premiere prog rock outfits which became known as Emerson Lake and Palmer. But, in the late 60s they were still working on pop influenced psych rock, with just a hint of the quirky orchestration that ELP would be known for in the 70s arena rock era. Daddy, Where Did I Come From has elements of style from the Moody Blues to Pink Floyd, and also includes modish overtones of later Small Faces and The Creation.

    The Nice-- Daddy Where Did I Come From

    January 23, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Terrorways

    The Terrorways were a shortlived mod/punk outfit from Australia. Started out in 1979 as the Rooters and --appropriately enough-- shortly changed their name to Terrorways since they'd already garnered something of a reputation with the local authorities. Seems they had quite a following among the local bootboys, skins and punks both. Great if you want a high-energy show, bad if they're known for destroying the venue and at times each other and even the band.

    This track, She's A Mod, backed with Never Been to Borstal was their only single. It's no great shakes, has typical '79 sound, but a fun listen none the less.

    The Terrorways-- She's A Mod

    January 22, 2009

    Mod--A-Day: The Jetset

    What can I say about The Jetset? They were as good at self-promotion as they were at singing and songwriting. A rare, and fortunate, combination. If you've heard them you already know what a fantastic band they truly were, and if you haven't then, well, you've been missing out.
    "Much has been written about the self-fabricated fourseome, but with so much part and parcel of the Hetset myth, it has become difficult to decipher fact from fiction. In the beginning, the whole point of The Jetset was that people were really supposed to believe that here was a group they should have heard of -- and if they hadn't then they weren't "up" on pop music. The Jetset marketed themselves as a band who were ever bit as famous as any other pop group: they had countelss hit singles, starred in their own TV series, and were never out of the public eye. In fact, The Jetset were more than a band, they were an ideal, and the most important thing to them was keeping the dream alive. From their first stage performace to their final magnificent album, The Jetset were packaged in such a way as to make teh audience believe that this band really and truly were a pop legend." -- Chris Hunt, from the liner notes for Tangerine Records 1992 CD release, The Best of The Jetset. -- Chris Hunt, from the liner notes for Tangerine
    Records 1992 CD release, The Best of The Jetset.
    The band was started by power pop genius (I'm not exagerating) Paul Bevoir and Melvyn J, in 1981. Right away they were opening for mod acts like Secret Affair and Squire, and quickly became scene favorites. The promotional gimmicks didn't hurt. Their first release was The Best of the Jetset (an EP, not the later CD which truly was a best of compilation) and the buzz was all about their faux TV Show, the Jetsetmobile, and other fun stuff that was very reminiscent of The Monkees. And so was the band's sound at times. Bevoir and company crafted fantastic pop songs, all with a heavy sixties vibe. The tracks were some times more soulful and at others somewhat psychadelic, but always based on power pop. Trying to select just one song to highlight is impossible, but I finally chose one of the band's earliest recordings, Count The Beating Hearts. I encourage you to pick up the Tangerine release ASAP if you haven't already done so.

    The Jetset-- Count The Beating Hearts

    January 21, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Times

    It's a good question. Where have all the power poppers gone? Whatever happened to Thames Beat? Indeed, whatever did happen to that Thames beat? Of course it would help to know what the hell the Thames beat is. First and foremost, in my humble opinion Whatever Happened to Thames Beat? is the best song every produced by the very productive sometime mod band The Times. The Times were really Ed Ball. Ed Ball was, and presumably still is, something of a fixture on the London music scene. His bands include mod/punk stalwarts like Teenage Filmstars, Television Personalities and The Times. He was also a big wig at Creation Records in the 80s sheparding good music to the flock. Ball seems to be something of a troubadour, a combination of Ray Davies and Elvis Costello, a musician with a fine lyrical sense, and a knack for knowing how to be offbeat without being off kilter.

    Whatever Happened to Thames Beat? was on The Times' second release, 1983's This Is London. I first discovered it on the 1985 Countdown compilation from Go! Records, and it instantly became for me one of those songs that just does something for you personally. It's one of my all time favorites, and both the music and lyrics just touches a chord somewhere in my brain that makes me mod all over.

    The Times-- Whatever Happened To Thames Beat

    January 20, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Die Funf Freunde

    [Note: Sorry for the disappearance of this post for a day or so. I was trying to correct a typo and inadvertently left the post in draft form instead of publishing it. Never fear, it's back now.]
    I just discovered this band a few days ago (H/T Take The Pills) and just that simple thing made my day. Go figure. Die Funf Freunde are a German band with extremely mod-friendly tendencies. Like power pop. And jangly guitars. And sixties influences. And really cool music. And they herald from a record label that has produced some of the world's finest pop band, Marsh Marigold (I am most certainly not exagerating -- they're home of bands like Acid House Kings, Groovy Cellar and Most Wanted Men).

    Anyhow, I started listening to this album --Inspektor, Inspektor-- and it completely captivated me. Seriously. I listened to it for three days in a row while walking the dog. That's captivation people. Many of the songs are in German, and mine is rusty (Okay I'm lying, I barely speak it at all. Allright, allright, I barely passed a couple quarters of it in extension classes in order to get my diploma. Still ... I got some of it). German, English, who cares when the songs are this well crafted. This is indie pop to be sure, but indie pop from a band that I will bet has at least one reformed mod in its midst. Make My Day is a short, purely mod pop song with a great little organ riff and artsy guitars. I suspect the band is no more since this was apparently done last century -- sometime in the early 90s. Still, we can listen and we can remember and we can enjoy. Even if we don't always undserstand the German.

    The Funf Freunde-- Make My Day

    January 19, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Briefs

    I enjoy it when you can hear a band and know instantly who their influences are. With The Briefs there is almost no way to listen to Genital General and not think of The Undertones. The song has an uncanny musical resemblence to The Undertones' Mars Bars. Listen side by side and you'll see what I mean.

    Back to The Briefs. I love this Seattle band, and I dig this neo-79 song. What more needs to be said.

    The Briefs-- Genital General

    January 18, 2009

    From the Vaults Modcast #46: Rock-N-Roll Or Run

    Once more into the vault my friends, once more into the vault. Step back in time, to a time when the modcast was young and fresh. Take a giant step outside your current listening constraints and journey with me all the way back to 2006. I've opened up the vaults and dusted off a classic modcast that I think you'll enjoy. Again.

    This is episode #46 of the web's original modcast and with it comes a bit of everything. I particular like the soul songs up front, even though Explosion In Your Soul is nearly a complete rip off of the Soul Survivor's first big hit, Expressway to Your Heart. And the mod-ska tunes in the middle are pretty interesting with one from the Untouchables that most don't remember, and one from a band most mods never heard of, the U.S. Mods. So, I hope you'll enjoy this particular episode as much as I did putting it together. Questions? Comments? E-mail me at rob@mistersuave.com.

    • The Movement -- More Products
    • The Soul Survivors -- Explosion (In Your Soul)
    • Soul Partners -- Just Fun
    • Acid -- The Story of L.S.D.
    • The Untouchables -- Another Late Night
    • U.S. Mods -- Government
    • The Paragons -- Got To Get Away
    • Monks -- Johnny Be Rotten
    • Speedball -- No Survivors
    • The Rousers -- Rock-N-Roll Or Run
    • The Kick -- Armchair Politician

    Bonus Video: U.S. Mods -- "I'm Gone" b/w "Government"

    This week's bonus video is a bit of homemade hodgepodgery that is pretty interesting because it's from some relative unknowns, but also a bit of a snapshot into what some average mod bands were thinking and playing in 1980 in the heartland of the United States.


    January 17, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Groundhogs

    The Groundhogs are one of the criminally underrated blues/mod/freakbeat (take your pick all the labels fit) bands of the sixties. They started out backing John Lee Hooker on his tours of the United Kingdom in the early sixties, went on to have a dozen or so albums before breaking up in the mid-70s. This track, Shake It, is a floor stomper of an R&B number and was one of the band's first singles being released in 1964. It later was featured on the first volume of the most excellent English Freakbeat series.

    The Groundhogs-- Shake It

    January 16, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Speedball

    Speedball were one of the early mod revival bands to hit the UK scene. In a lot of ways they were more of a punk band than a mod band, but had a definite mod look and enough sixties soul and R&B influences to slip into the mod stream. Apparently they had a pretty loyal following, including some scooter clubs.

    This song, No Survivors was one of the band's earliest and became their first (and only I believe) single in 1979. And, one of the best singles of the mod revival, not to mention one of the most expensive and collectible since the cover mispelled the band's name as Speedballs, adding the final,extra S. No Survivors was later picked up on the excellent "Unsung Heroes: The Phase II Mod Collection" compilation. Other than that the song --and the band-- have long gone unsung themselves which is a shame, as it's one of the best pieces of mod power pop from the era.

    The chorus is pronounced -- memorable in a very melodramatic way, catchy enough that you will have a hard time getting it out of your head. But, why would you? It could be much (much) worse. I first featured this song on Modcast #46 along with some other classics from The Rousers, The Kick, The Untouchabls, and even The Soul Survivors (and no not the song you're thinking of). If you want to check it out I'm going to open up the vaults this weekend and drag it forth for an encore public airing. Stay tuned.

    Speedball -- No Survivors

    January 15, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Odd Numbers

    In 1995 there were hardly any serious mod bands to be found anywhere, let alone in San Jose. And yet, there they were. The Odd Numbers, smack dab in the middle of a long and glorious career -- something most mod outfits can't say. The Odd Numbers are a serious mod band in the style of the mod revival, blending hard and fast power pop, dare I say it -- punk rock, with soulful melodies influenced equally by Motown and the British invasion. For mods, it's a pure sound. One that many bands try to equal, and truthfully few even come close. But The Odd Numbers are the exception that proves the rule. They nailed it. Three times in fact. This track, What Love Is, comes from their second release, 1995's Retrofitted For Today (considered one of my 'must have' albums -- you've been notified). Happily their myspace page says they're working on a brand new full-length release.

    The Odd Numbers-- What Love Is

    Oh yeah, they have this video too.

    January 14, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: R.E.M.

    Nodoby is more surprised than me to find an R.E.M. song hangin' around Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World. Not that I don't like R.E.M., I do. But I certainly don't see them as a mod band in any way shape or form. But even non mod bands sometimes screw up and produce a totally mod song. Such is the case with Gardening At Night from the band's first release, the Chronic Town EP. It is, quite simply, three and a half minutes of pure power pop bliss. They describe writing these songs as a time when they were happy with three chords and a sixpack. All I can say is I wish they were that happy now. Wait, maybe they are. Below is a clip of REM's induction to the rock and roll hall of fame in 2007 where they showed that they know what made them great. And this proves that no matter how pretentious you end up, you just can't ruin a really great song.

    R.E.M.-- Gardening At Night

    January 13, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: David Bowie

    David Bowie is a performance artist. Though one who's musicianship is at the forefront as opposed to any other aspect of his talents. And talents he has aplenty. He went to music school as a kid and learned numerous instruments, practiced at being a buddhist monk for a while, studied to be a mime (had his own troupe for a while), and of course has had 40+ sucessful years in the music biz. Early on though Bowie was an R&B lovin' mod. He had several mod bands in the early to mid sixties, The King Bees, The Manish Boys, and The Lower Third.

    This track is from the first and only single by The Manish Boys, and is the first composition of Bowie's own to be recorded. It's a jazzy blues based piece that was likely influenced by Georgie Fame and Manfred Mann. Compared to other things he did just a few years later as a solo artist, this is by far superior. A lot of the late 60s stuff that people applaud Bowie for seems clownish to me -- more performance art than music and certainly not representative of what mod music was at the time. The whole Rubber Band era stuff just grates on my nerves whenever I hear it; things like the riduclous Laughing Gnome and We Are Hungry Men, and the much lauded (really people?) but dirgish London Boys would have been better to have never been recorded. (Interesting ideas and lyrics throughout, but the music is simply sick.) But, the earlier, bluesier, soulful Bowie, now that's some good music.

    David Bowie -- Take My Tip

    January 12, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Eight Miles High

    Eight Miles High, or is it 8 Miles High? I guess it doesn't matter, since these days they go by The Dukes Jetty. Regardless it is all pretty good, sixties inspired rock and roll. This particular track, See My Way, was from 8 MIles High and had both a strong sixties vibe, and a very modern Britpop sort of sound complete with orchestrated strings, cool melodies, and vocal harmonies. It's a pretty good song all told. A nice precursor to what the Dukes have going on these days, which is also pretty good.

    Eight Miles High -- See My Way

    January 11, 2009

    Modcast #114: Stop, Drop & Roll

    Maybe I should dub this modcast the angry edition. Angry because I lost about half a terabyte of digital music recently, and I'm still not done complaining about it. Needless to say some of the songs here might reflect my slightly agitated state of mind. To get a good grasp of what that's like, you can sit down and spin up the Leaving Train's excellent LP Kill Tunes. Got some other killer tunes in this show as well, including rarities from Klark Kent and The Stepmothers, and brand new tracks from The Lashes and The Dukes Jetty. Enjoy.

    The Leaving Trains -- Cigarette Motel
    The Dukes Jetty -- Everyday
    Klark Kent -- Office Girls
    White Flag --I Need You
    Helen Love -- Golden Summer
    The Embrooks -- Helen
    Foxboro Hottubs -- She's a Saint Not a Celebrity
    The Lashes -- Daddy's Little Girl
    The Dogs -- Too Much Class For The Neighborhood
    Eleanor Rigby & Misty Wood -- Mod Boy
    The Stepmothers -- Let Her Dance

    Bonus Videos

    Klark Kent -- Don't Care

    Eleanor Rigby -- I Want To Sleep With You

    January 10, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Untouchables

    What can I say about a band that I grew up with in so many ways. The Untouchables were the quintessential So Cal mod band combining soul, ska, sixties R&B and power pop into an infectious mix of dancable music. Not surprisingly the band was raw and rough around the edges on their eary singles like Twist & Shake and The General. But by 1984 when they released their Live and Let Dance EP, the sound had become smoother, yet not so polished as to have lost its charm. And the live shows were becoming legendary throughout the California mod scene.

    This track, What's Gone Wrong, garnered local airplay on the alternative college stations, but also on commercial stations like KROQ (thanks to Rodney of course) and San Diego's 91X. It wasn't at all surprising throughout the decade to tune into one of the stations and here this reggae and soul influenced ska piece come blaring out the speakers. Not surprising, but indescribably pleasing.

    The Untouchables--What's Gone Wrong

    The band appeared in a number of movies during the 80s including Surf II and No Man's Land. Here they are playing themselves, riding scooters and creating their "tough guy" image in Repo Man.

    January 9, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Eleanor Rigby

    Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands
    as he walks from the grave.
    No one was saved.
    No one was saved, or hardly even remembered from modster Eleanor Rigby, which if you believe internet hype, was the greatest of great mods (and/or mod bands) that ever roamed this mortal coil.

    Let me be clear that I like Eleanor Rigby. A lot. It wasn't always that way. First I heard the band. I read a litttle, and listened some more. They were good. But then I read just a bit more and I was, frankly, skeptical.

    After all that, I wanted to write a post that explained why I'm not sure Eleanor Rigby is as great as everyone on the internet says. I was mostly certain, after having listened to the tracks for a number of years that they were at least pretty good. I admit that the marketing side of my brain looks at the ER story and screams publicity. But, at the same time, the other side of my head listens to the tracks that have been released and thinks they're worth listening to. Most more than once. Or thrice.

    First about the music. Some of Eleanor's tracks are dervivative. Some are more so, being blatant rip offs. A couple are covers -- slightly more honest, but ever so less authentic. The few decent originals fall back into the derviative category, but not more so than most mod bands of the 80s, even the highest profile ones. At least she had originals, something a lot of revival and 80s bands couldn't say in the plural sense. The songs were decent, mod, power pop type R&B tracks with soul influences, very in keeping with the "80s" feel they were reaching for. Some had a more new wave sense than others, but, overall the songs were solidly mod, and so probably less appealing to the mainstream, resulting in a more cultish, scene following.

    But the marketing, that's where it seems to have all taken off. Who am I to say, I'm basing this simply on reading and following the career/legend of Eleanor Rigby. Of course a cute blonde with great mod-frinedly songs would get a bit of a following in '85 or '95 or '05 or whenever. Never mind that most of us (stateside anyhow) didn't hear about her until the 90s, because by then the legend was growing exponentially. The internet, of course, was good for marketing. A mysterious, hot blonde, who produces a few decent tracks and then literally disappears off the face of the earth. And then is praised online. I hate to say it, but it's a PR spinmeister's dream come true. Thus is born the legend of Eleanor Rigby. Albums are reportedly exchanged for high dollar amounts, and her singles highly sought after.

    And not without reason. These are pretty damn good tracks. From the most popular Over and Over and I Want To Sleep With You to the subsequent Censorship and the less heard soulfulness of Mod Girls (where she evokes a motownish soul styling that grows on you in the way Weller's did) and a nice cover of I'm Not Like Everybody Else. Marketing over the years has included stunts like issuing albums with condoms (surprisingly not a panacea for sales) which are destined to help get your band, label, producer, etc., free publicity. Eleanor Rigby is no exception (depending on how you define success.)

    So, here is the "controversial" song, I want to sleep with you, that was banned in the UK, vaulting Eleanor Rigby to "heights" the Beattles could never have dreamed of. I have to say that her story is almost better than her music.

    Eleanor Rigby -- I Want To Sleep With You

    Youtube the video here

    January 8, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Three O'Clock

    Anyone who's listened regularly to the modcast can tell you that I'm a huge fan of The Three O'Clock. They were the fisrt mod band I ever saw live, and one of the main reasons that I got into the whole mod scene in the first place. I chronicled the band's heyday in the early 80s Paisley Underground last year in two posts here and here.

    This track, I Go Wild, is typical of the band's sound combining the heavy sixties influence of their early years as Salvation Army with the poppier, more catchy sound that typified The Three O'Clock.

    The Three O'Clock -- I Go Wild

    January 7, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Piranhas

    The Piranhas burst out of the Brighton Beach mod/punk scene in 1977. Not surprisingly they were discovered and made famous by John Peel who's constant playing of their first single I Don't Want My Body pushed them into punk popularity. Combining ska, power pop, and at times a raw sixties garage vibe, the band gained quite a following and were signed to Sire Records. They recorded a number of cool songs including Getting Beaten Up, Coffee, and a ska cover of the South African song Tom Hark which went on to become a huge hooligans anthem for footballers worldwide.

    But, I think the song that exhibits the definitive Piranhas sound and style is Fiddling While Babylon Burns.

    The Piranhas--Fiddling While Babylon Burns

    January 6, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Ubelievable Uglies

    Okay, this is a big part of what Mod-A-Day is about, sharing mod friendly tracks -- often obscure, out of print, or otherwise cultish (though certainly not always). The Unbelievable Uglies are all three. They only came to my attention when Mrs. Suave met her father for the first time and eventually learned his brother was in a sixties garage band. Of course, I had to track them down and so here's their track Spiderman. And you gotta love those outfits. I don't think there's been as coordinated group, except maybe the Hives.

    January 5, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Lambrettas

    The Lambrettas were one of the first mod revival bands I ever heard, and this song instantly became a favorite of mine. Beat Boys in the Jet Age was the sort of original song about the mod scene that many mod revival bands were doing around 1980, in an effort to put their own modern stamp on the music. Secret Affair did the same with Time for Action and Glory Boys, and The Times had their cheeky take on the scene with Whatever Happened to Thames Beat, and Squire did Walking Down Kings Road. Even with their cheesy ultra-vivid colored suits, The Lambrettas stayed true to the revival more so than some of the other scenesters. Their power pop was classic, and when they experimented it was to include more soul, and at times a bit of a ska vibe as they did with their biggest hit Poison Ivy. Sadly, Lambrettas frontman Jez Bird died of cancer in 2008.

    The Lambrettas -- Beat Boys in the Jet Age

    Youtube it here on my video channel.

    January 4, 2009

    Modcast #113: To Begin All Over Again

    Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World. This is the 113th modcast, and the first of 2009. Here's hoping that this year will be better than last year. Not that last year was all that bad but it did end on a rotten, stinking, rancid note for your humble host who had a computer catastrohe and lost tons of archived digital music. Even my backups were blasted away. Thus far, my new year has been spent trying to put the pieces back together enough to get a new modcast mixed up.

    And, here it is complete with a brand new track from Spearmint front man
    Shirley Lee's forthcoming album*, some soulful tracks from Lefties Soul Connection, some power pop from Lacrosse, some sixties psychadelia from Five by Five, and a few other goodies. So, crank up your mod listening device and enjoy the tunes.

    *Shirley Lee's project is going to be accompanied by a very cool looking graphic novel with comic artists penning stories based on his, and Spearmint's, songs and lyrics. Both CD and book are due out in February.

    Bonus Videos

    The Pigeon Detectives -- Take Her Back

    Fuzzbox -- Love is the Slug

    Mod-A-Day: Mr. Review

    What sort of year would it be without a little bit of ska. Maybe not every day, but once in a while never hurts. This is Mr. Review with Everyday, Another Day, which is from the Dutch band's sophmore release, 1994's Lock, Stock and Barrel.

    Mr. Review -- Everyday, Another Day

    Youtube it here.

    January 3, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: The Thee

    In keeping with my everyday resolution, I've got an obscure Rolling Stone's cast off. This is Each and Every Day (of the year), recorded by a little known British Invasion group called The Thee. The Thee were discovered by Reggie King, lead singer of the criminally underrated sixties mod outfit, The Action, and he was able to get them a recording shot with a song that the Stone's had (probably wisely) tossed out. The 1965 single was the band's one and only for Decca records.

    The Thee -- Each and Every Day

    January 2, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Swing Out Sister

    Soulful, suave and sensuous. That is Swing Out Sister. As smooth now as they were on their debut LP 21 years ago. Launched by Andy Connell and Martin Jackson, the band took shape when they hired a fashion designer who'd never sung professionally to be the voice of the group. Corinne Drewery immediately become not just the voice, but the face and the passion of Swing Out Sister as well. Jackson left after just one release, but Connell and Drewery have produced eight more albums, most of which are fantastic.

    The latest release is 2008's Beautiful Mess, and I have to say it's aptly titled. They've strayed farther from their soulful, easy, sixties pop sound than ever before, making the disk a bit uneven at times. The album exhibits more of a seventies feel than the band has previously, and also has the touches and flourishes that were common on later albums by The Style Council. As the title suggests it is still well worth listening too, and delivers the goods nicely. This track, Something Everyday captures the quintessential SOS sound.

    Swing Out Sister -- Something Everyday

    January 1, 2009

    Mod-A-Day: Makin' Time

    I resolved to start the new year out right, and the best way to do that is with some soulful power pop from a group that couldn't do anything else (and who'd want them to?). This is Every Single Day (another resolution of mine) from Makin' Time.

    Makin' Time were mainstays of the mod scene in the mid-80s, following in the footsteps of the mod revival, and paving the way for numerous other mods of the future. Led by Fay Hallam and Mark McGounden, the band had a traditional mod sound that blended soulful harmonies with sixties R&B shaking, turning each song into a dancable floorshaker of a number. Hallam later went to play in the Prime Movers and now heads up Fay Hallam Trinity, while McGounden went on to lead the super soulful The Upper Fifth. Of course, the one member of Makin' Time to make it big - relatively speaking - was bass player Martin Blunt who ended up in Manchester band The Charlatans.

    Makin' Time - Every Single Day