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4 tracks from 1990 have been recommended by john_l.
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Obscurity Knocks  performed by The Trash Can Sinatras  1990
Recommended by john_l [profile]

A terrific debut single, this song strikes me as having what psychiatrists would call a mixed manic-depressive state. The mania is in the pace, which is fairly quick, and the vocals, which never seem to stop, while the depression is in the guitars which are rather poignant, what with minor seventh chords and so on. There are a number of good songs on the LP, although none quite like this, and the second LP "I've Seen Everything" is pretty good too, particularly the single "Hay Fever". It's all basically guitar pop but with a few twists and turns along the way.

from Cake, available on CD (Go! Discs)

Write To Your MP Today  performed by McCarthy  1990
Recommended by john_l [profile]

Another fast and furious assault with incendiary guitars! There's really not much more to say than that. They have a number of other great songs, like "The Well-Fed Point of View" (also on this LP, their third and best) the single "This Nelson Rockefeller" (which is on the compilation "That's All Very Well But"), and a handful on their first LP "I Am A Wallet". Their second LP had the best title, "The Enraged Will Inherit The Earth", but the weakest material.

The "MP" in the title means Member of Parliament, from which you can guess that McCarthy wrote mostly political songs. They were together from about 1985 to 1990, at which time they split up (Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier went on to form Stereolab, of which I have a couple of CDs that so far do little for me).

from Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today, available on CD (Midnight Music)

Stone Cold Yesterday  performed by The Connells  1990
Recommended by john_l [profile]

This is a fairly straight-ahead rocker with a well-defined beat, which some have called the Connells' best song. My favourite thing about it is that snaking guitar line which lies in behind the vocals in the first verse, and then starts to repeat an octave higher in the second, but quickly changes direction. Very inventive! It reminds me of the shorter guitar line that leads into the chorus on "Upside Down" from their previous LP "Fun and Games".

This LP seemed to see the band influenced by grunge and moving in a direction featuring a harder guitar sound, but I don't think it was an improvement at all, and I do have most of their CDs ...

from One Simple Word, available on CD (TVT)

Shake And Crawl  performed by House Of Love  1990
Recommended by john_l [profile]

My favourite House Of Love song, it's a mid-paced typically guitar-drenched track with an insistent percussive backing and that low ostinato guitar riff with the little flourish in it. It has lots of minor chords which give it a rather gloomy feel (like many of my favourite songs). Actually their later song "Feel", which was one of the '90s best, could be "Shake And Crawl" slowed almost to a literal crawl ...

from The House Of Love (2), available on CD (Fontana)

  22 May 03 ·Genza: I liked the House of Love - and 'Christine' is a genre-defining classic. But like many of the other sub-Valentines clones (Chapterhouse, Boo Radleys, etc.), I thought some of their tunes suffered from being slow and uneventful. Like you, I love minor chords - but I think other bands did that multi-layered guitar sound better. But hey, it's just my opinion and all that.
  10 Dec 03 ·lobo: The House of Love were brilliant and way ahead of their time, not to mention sadly overlooked in the pages of pop music history. They were hardly "Sub-Valentine Clones" - the band's sound dates back to their origins in 1986. The members of My Bloody Valentine were struggling to define their sound at that point (they were still working through their goth phase!). Guy Chadwick was a masterful songwriter and Terry Bickers was the preeminent guitarist of his time. Nobody knew their way around a stack of effects pedals better than him. Best songs: Safe, Christine, Destroy the Heart, Loneliness Is A Gun... This band's music is nothing short of superb.

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