July 28, 2011

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use - Steve Craddock

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use - Steve Cradock

Steve Cradock is a mod man among mod men. Main man of Britpop modsters Ocean Colour Scene. Long time guitarist in Paul Weller's band. Mod street cred that most wannabe mod up and comers would die for. His latest release is his second, and by far best, solo album -- Peace City West.

Cradock was a mod in the 80s, played in UK mod outfit The Boys, which is when he came to Paul Weller's attention and their lifelong association began. His big break came with Ocean Colour Scene's 2nd album, 1995's Moseley Shoals which became one of Britpop's earliest, biggest successes selling 3 million copies. Alongside Oasis and Weller the band helped to spearhead Britpop's claim to be the scene for the modern mods.

If you dropped your needle down on Peace City West and let it bounce accross the vinyl you might have fleeting thoughts of Supergrass, Kinks, Small Faces, and early David Bowie. Interestingly the one thing that didn't come to mind for me was Ocean Colour Scene.

Peace City West isn't perfect, but it is damn close. Cradock shows himself to be the kind of singer songwriter that Noel Gallegher and Paul Weller probably have always known he was. The songs are smooth, both lyrically and musically. None are deriviative, this isn't retro or vintage. Cradock doesn't dwell in the past as much as builds on it. His songs are evocative of the best of the sixties, sometimes psychadelic like in "Kites Rise Up Against The Wind", and at other times with a nod to the sixties styled power pop mods love so much as with "I-Man". The chorus has Who like guitars ringing out and you can just tell that in a live show this would be a stripped and ripped number.

So many songs stand out on Peace City West it's hard not to mention them all. From the opening "Last Days of the World" with a jangleness that resonates, to the jaunty "Little Girl", Cradock shows off a Welleresque kind of writing and guitar work, and a sort of poppishness you can't not fall in love with. Overall it's very much a product of an old soul, a sixties soul, but one that is still a bit mired in Britpop.

Just listen to "Only Look Up When Your Down. Beatles anyone? Cradock channels Lennon and McCartney pretty perfectly there. And "Steppin Aside" -- it's a bit less sixties and a bit more original, with nice guitar work that signals a real change of pace for what probably would have been considered side two some 40 years back.

Cradock has produced a thoroughly mod album, something you don't find much anymore. You will enjoy it from opening groove to closing chords.

July 25, 2011

Modcast #207: It's A Smash!

Welcome to the modcast and to another great set of music from pop with power to garage rockin' beats and even some smooth soul to warm the icy corners of your hearts.

Listen Now

The Mallrats -- Baby Take Me Back (2007)
The Len Price 3 -- Medway Eye (2005)
The Cocktail Slippers -- Give It To Me (2007)
Ripchord -- Back Of The Van (2009)
Le Future Pompiste -- Sunflower (2004)
Cloudberry Jam -- I Sit A While Considering (2008)
Baskervilles -- Smash (2008)
Steve Cradock -- Last Day Of The World(2011)
Choo Choo -- The Sun (2011)
Cirrone -- Uplands Park Road (2011)
The Moving Sounds -- Two Times (2004?)
Elvis Costello -- Radio Radio (1978)
The Corsairs -- Never Listen (1984)
Holme -- Runaway (1985)
Crawling Walls -- Fly Tonight (1985)

Elvis Costello & The Attractions -- Olivers Army

Cocktail Slippers - St. Valentine's Day Massacre

July 21, 2011

Ready, Steady Go! Episode 1 with The Beatles, Tha Animals, Dave Clark 5, and more

Interestingly that this is labeled as show #1, but introduced as "another" episode of Ready, Steady, Go! No matter this is some great stuff.

July 17, 2011

From the Vaults: Modcasts #129 & #142 from 2009

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 the fun filled days of 2009. I've opened up the vaults and dusted off two classic modcasts that I think you'll enjoy. Again.

Listen Now

Modcast: #129 Got The Time & Modcast #142: Soundtrak for Groovy Listening
Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World. Got an eclectic show this week with lots of different types of stuff. The new Joe Jackson Live at the BBC just came out a couple of weeks ago and I've been listening to it continuously, and it's just excellent. The version of Got the Time here is one of the best Jackson ever recorded. Other gems include some nice, rockin' power pop from Star Collector and OK Go, some groovy sixties pop music from The Groop and Yellow Balloon, and a nice set of 2-Tone bands doing easy listening, lounge ska. A little something for everyone.

Star Collector -- #1 (2000)
Joe Jackson -- Got The Time (2009)
Classics -- Audio, Audio (1979)
Dramarama -- Anything, Anything (I'll Give You) (1985)
Remington Super 60 -- The Impractical Guide To The Opposite Sex (2002)
The Groop -- Time Fire (1967)
Yellow Balloon -- How Can I Be Down (1967)
Madness -- Return of the Los Palmas 7 (1980)
The Swingin' Cats -- Mantovani (1980)
The Specials -- Holiday Fortnight (1980)
OK Go -- You're So Damn Hot (2002)

The Specials -- Rat Race

Madness -- Return of the Los Palmas 7

Modcast #142: Soundtrack for Groovy Living
Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World. This show is nothing short of loungerific, with some groovy instrumentals, some swingin' covers, and just lots of cool songs from beginning to end. French lounge master Chris Joss is in the house with his latest, as is Frank Popp Ensemble. Got a nice little set of pacific northwest lounge acts, The Colorifics, Dudley Manlove Quartet and Johnny Astro all of whom are complimented by the classic sound stylings of Vic Damone, Jeri Southern and the one and only Mel Torme. And there are some great bonus videos of Mel and Vic from back in the day, doing their thing. So, mix yourself a nice little libation and settle back for some sweet lounge sounds.

Chris Joss -- Danger Buds
The Colorifics -- City Grey
Dudley Manlove Quartet -- Seattle
Johnny Astro -- Patio Pizzicato
Euroboys -- Hong Kong Cockfight
The Lounge Brigade -- Iron Man
Smoove -- Big Balls
Vic Damone -- Little Girl
Jeri Southern -- An Occasional Man
Mel Torme -- Midnight Swinger
Frank Popp Ensemble -- Belly Bossanova

Carioca (swing style) - Mel Torme

Vic Damone at Hollywood Palace

July 12, 2011

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use - Acid House Kings

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use -- Acid House Kings by mistersuave

Witty lyrics, catchy hooks of pop music with lilting horns and vocals, the music sounds like a barefoot hippy running over an overgrown forest lawn. If the Free Design were reincarnated today they would be the Acid House Kings.

Swirling, tinkling, sparkling, how do you say that in Swedish? Acid House Kings. The Swedish twee band is back and their latest release, Music Sounds Better With You, shimmers with a sugary pop sound that is all too familiar for the band's fans. For twenty years Acid House Kings has defined twee music, they've become synonymous with the lilting, high-voiced indie pop sound.

Lots of bands have plied similar tweepop waters over the years from Birdie to Camera Obscura to She & Him just this year. But none of them do it with the grace and ease of the Acid House Kings. Music Sounds Better With You is chock full of jaunty pop songs that sound like were thrown effortlessly together in a very Bacharach-Morrisey kind of way.

This is music that is perfect for sipping gins and tonics on the patio while chatting with old friends. Music Sounds Better With You fits like a pair of favorite jeans, comfortable and stylish, at times casually unremarkable and yet completely unforgettable when noticed.

July 10, 2011

Modcast #206: Sum-Sum-Summertime Booze

Welcome to Mr. Suave's Mod Mod World, it's time to get some summertime booze. At last, at long last, summer has come to seattle. This has been one of the coldest springs on record in the northwest, but the times they are a changin'. The thermometer has actually eeked up over 80 degrees fahrenheit. Not exactly Vegas temps sure, but I'll take it.

This week you're going to get a full dose of sunny, hot, summer songs.
But don't blame me, it's not my fault. Give credit where credit is due right, so I have to give credit and a shout out to one of the best blogs on the net Music Ruined My Life. If you dig power pop, punk, pop-punk, mod, new wave and so on then Music Ruined My Life should be one of the blogs you follow. Jeffen the man behind the blog recently did a great post featuring summer songs -- which got me to thinking. I started putting together a list in my mind and voila here's the modcast to prove it.

Listen Now

The Cute Lepers -- It's Summertime Baby
Psychotic Youth -- Summer is On
Hidden Peace -- Summer of Love
The Infidels -- Summertime Sucks
Fountains of Wayne -- It Must Be Summer
Honey Rider -- Summer of My Life
PAS/CAL -- Summer Is Almost Here
The School -- Summers Here
Seth Swirsky -- Sonic Ferris Wheel
Jeffrey Foskett -- I Live For The Sun
Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use Acid House Kings
Acid House Kings -- Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?
The Californias -- Summer Days
60 Ft. Dolls -- Back To The Summer
Seargent -- Sunshine
The Billionaires -- The End Of Summer Song

Seargent -- Sunshine

60 Ft. Dolls - Stay

July 4, 2011

Modcast #205: Get It While The Gettin' Is Good

Welcome to Mr. suave's Mod Mod World, it's time to get some while the gettin is good. As always, you'll be getting some good gets with this modcast. A little bit of jazz, a little bit of soul, a little bit of rock and roll. From floor stompers to slow burners, this week you get it all.

Listen Now

The Go! Freaks -- A Ton Of My Love (2011)
Belleruche -- Clockwatching (2010)
Caro Emerald -- Back It Up (2009)
TM Juke & Alice Russel -- Playground Games (2009)
The Bahama Soul Club -- Serious Soul (2010)
The Underbelly Feat Roxie Ray -- Confession (2010)
Frank Popp Ensemble -- Gettin' Down (2005)
Mr. Suave's Reveiws You Can Use Nick Pride & The Pimptones
Nick Pride & The Pimptones Feat Jess Roberts -- Waitin' So Long (2011)
Quantic Soul Orchestra -- Hold It Down (2009)
Gabin Feat Z-Star -- Life Can Be So Beautiful (2010)
Duffy -- Mercy (2008)
Aloe Blacc -- I Need A Dollar (2010)
Deep Street Soul Feat Shirley Davis -- Greenbacks (2009)
Healer Selecta -- Cruisin' On The Highway (2010)
Smoove Feat Jess Roberts -- Coming Back (2005)

Caro Emerald - That Man

Caro Emerald - Stuck

Aloe Blacc - Loving You Is Killing Me

July 2, 2011

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use: The Greenhornes

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use -- The Greenhornes by mistersuave

The Greenhornes are a band that has been criminally underrated and ignored over the years. Their 2010 release should have topped every chart last year, and yet it was only a couple months ago that I stumbled across it myself and have since learned how little attention it's received. The album is fantastic, a tour de force of modernized garage styled power pop. And the Greenhornes, well they've cheekily given themselves four stars. The star symbols like you get in all sorts of ratings systems.

The Greenhornes grew out of the detroit and midwest garage rock revival of the turn of the century that produced other bands like The White Stripes and influenced The Strokes, Mooney Suzuki and a host of others. The Greenhornes sound started out with a bluesy, rough and rockin' sound. A mix of soul ala Booker T, with sixties garage rock like The Sonics, and all of it mixed with a lot of British invasion mid-60s R&B.

It's been six years since the band's last release, 2005's East Grand Blues which saw the band slow down and update their sound with an almost shoe gazey madchester type of psychadelia. Since then a few of them have been very busy, as in Raconteurs busy. Whites Stripe's Jack White has been name checking the Greenhornes since the early days of the garage revival back in the motor city, and over the past few years he finally teamed up with them to produce some hard rocking albums.

But at long last, the real Greenhornes are back. From the very first blistering chords you get a Who like buffet of sixties styled power pop guitar and drum driven, garage rock.

No doubt that this was not produced in a garage, the flourishes and polish is just too spot on. the rough edges are ... well not that rough on this their fourth release. And the pace isn't breakneck top to bottom, there are moments, like with "My Sparrow" and "Hard to Find", where the band eases up on the gas, and instead dips into their Stax side and almost (I say almost) tenderly deliver some serious soul ballads.

Their songs sound like they were written by The Sonices and performed by The Yardbirds. Their British invasion sound channeled through a mid-west sixties punk filter has matured into something that has more angles, more depth, more soul even.

The album kicks of with "Saying Goodbye" all very Who and Stones like. That's followed by the anthemic "Underestimator" with the band pounding out a rockin' number that really spotlights Craig Fox's vocals.
Later you get "Cave Drawings" a wild number that builds into a frenzied, psychadelic freakbeat song, but is neatly constrained from total mayhem by the vocal arrangements.

Their sixties roots shine through on songs like "I Left the World Behind" which harkens back to the 80s sound of mod bands like The Shambles or Mod Fun. This is a very mod album even if the Greenhornes don't proclaim it.

Let's hope Jack White doesn't keep the Raconteurs too busy, because the world deserves the sound of the Greenhornes.