Hello, it’s been a while, I know. But I’m mostly over at A wild slim alien these days. You should visit, the diet there is maybe a little bit more varied and enriching than was once the case.
Music-wise I’ve been coexisting with the xx’s Coexist, cooling down with Cold Specks, and trying to spot Cat Powers’ Sun. With some Undertones thrown in, to lighten or at least vary the mood. Rozi Plain’s Joined sometimes unjoined too. Best of all this year, the Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, particularly the wonderful version of ‘The King of Rome’. But nothing much about which I think you need to know my thoughts.
A while back I wrote a B/w about the Hit Parade’s ‘Huevos Mexicana’, and Julian Henry of the group was kind enough to send me a vinyl copy of their last but one single, ‘I like bubblegum’. I’m afraid I like the notion of bubblegum pop that the title conjures rather less than Julian, and as a term I think it undersells the poignancy of much of the Hit Parade’s back catalogue. But now Julian has again been kind enough to send me Pick of the pops (vol. 1), together with a charming handwritten note rather than a press release; this is a man who knows how to do things. The CD is a retrospective spanning 1984 to date, and had he not sent it to me, I almost certainly would have clicked through to purchase it, in spite of to me the rather off-putting ‘File under’ categorisation on the cover: ‘C86 twee sarah sixties pop’. I’d not heard the duet with Harvey Williams which opens the set until now, and many of the later songs push the Hit Parade’s opening sequence of eighties singles close.
But Julian, why is the Cath Carroll-crooned electro power pop of ‘I get so sentimental’ missing from the pick? And no ‘The sun in my eyes’, with its gorgeous lovelorn melody? Guess they’re being kept back to lend lustre to vol. 2… Here is the latter song for you now, plus a link to where you can hear the whole of Pick of the pops (vol. 1) before deciding whether to make your purchase.