Amateur Man - The Victorian English Gentlemans Club
I first ran into spazzy smartypants The Victorian English Gentlemans Club towards the end of last year with their hyperactive tribute to dyslexia "My Son Spells Backwards." From time to time the song would pop up on my iPod shuffle and I'd think: Genius! Must. Follow. Up. I'm following up. Coming at you like ice water from a high-pressure hose is the Welsh girl-boy-girl trio's just-released single, "Amateur Man." It's a doozy of a tune, the kind of release that not only puts a band on the map, but buys it its own island. How can anyone resist an amalgam of the zany nonsense of the B-52s with the drollery of The Fall and delivery of the Pixies? I thought not.
You can buy the single from Amazon (US, UK), iTunes or the band's label, Fantastic Plastic. And you should--and not just so you can one day sell it for gazillions on eBay. The "second A side"--it's one of those deals--is just about as good. The band is working on a full-length that according to their record company is to be released "soon." I'm all tingly in my tummy at the thought. Also, be sure to watch the video for "Amateur Man." Super cute.
A couple days ago Some Velvet Blog did a post on one of my longtime favorite labels, spinART and namechecked Suddenly, Tammy!, a band I hadn't thought about in a long time, A sister-brother team from Lancaster, PA, Beth and Jay Sorrentino and bassist Ken Heitmuller wrote some excellent piano pop songs in the early-to-mid-90s that didn't find a huge audience, but probably should have. I admit I always approach big piano-led tunes gingerly. (And considering the piano is the only instrument I ever learned to play with any kind of competence, well, that's pathetic... I blame Billy Joel and Tori Amos.) But if you know only one thing about Suddenly, Tammy! it should be "Hard Lesson," a song that should satisfy most New Pornographers fans--in other words, everyone:
Hard Lesson - Suddenly, Tammy!
From We Get There When We Do (US, UK), currently selling for criminally low prices from Amazon sellers. Pick it up for a song and turn a friend on and maybe we can rouse a Suddenly, Tammy! revival.
What else am I listening to this week? The new Built To Spill (US, UK), of course. I'm too much of a long-time fan not to buy the record, even if it is getting meh reviews. It seems like BTS set out to make a pop record a la Keep It Like a Secret, which is fine by me. But while a song like "Liar" is up there in the band's pantheon of greats, there are a few ruts in the road. Still, BTS holds the same position Pavement occupied before Malkmus & Co. bowed out in 1999: Even when they're not playing at 100%, they still do it better than almost everyone. And for all my friends who gave me shit when I admitted publicly last week that "Sugar, Sugar" is my favorite song, "Car" is probably my second favorite. Cool enough? A bit obvious perhaps, but I think there's a general consensus on that one, right?