I know I have threatened to write about The Flaps in the past, but somehow never getting around to it and although they did get a a very brief mention in my ravings about the Empiricals, a few years ago, they certainly deserve much more – and what perfect timing now that they have a new album “Again” out on the wonderful Kelp Records – http://kelprecords.com/theflaps/the-flaps-rise-from-the-ashes-with-again-2/ .
Thanks to DJ tic at CKCU and an interview he had with some members of the band (John Higney and Martin Newman), I was made aware of their second release and just missed out on winning a copy of the disc because I was dumb enough to mistype his e-mail (I really didn’t mind purchasing a copy from Compact Music as I can support the band and one of the great Ottawa record stores). I really enjoyed the tracks that tic played that Wednesday, and their first self titled album is also favourite of mine, not to mention that Pat Lawlor also played in another one of my favourite bands from Ottawa, Polaris before forming The Flaps.
With music that is called “instromadness” and the band described as follows: “Four misshapen misfits, non-standard arrangements of jazz standards, a disturbing instrumental reworking of Shonen Knife, and original numbers that evoke an amusement park ride, a candy apple, a midway, or outer/inner space travel. This is The Flaps.” – how can you not love them and be a little intrigued at what sonic sculptures or aural/visual masterpieces these veterans of the Ottawa music scene will create as they serve their interpretation of surf, jazz, psych, pop, rock, ambient, exotica and more.
I always find it hard to describe great music and I will do what I usually do and ramble on about some of the musical references that come to my head and in this case also the images that The Flaps paint in my mind **.
With The Flaps it is a bit easier to do in some ways as these guys have just written the soundtrack to your life or at least someone’s life, full of colourful characters and exotic places without even uttering a word and to top it off, they have invited you to join them for an amazing ride, a party in your mind. So don’t go another minute in the dull aural emptiness you call existence, but fill your ears with the world-roving, mind-expanding sound of The Flaps.
“Oriental Twist” starts out with you heading out to a happening go-go twist party somewhere far away and possibly lost in time where the young Ventures roam and possibly some Huntington Cads, a few Halibuts and maybe even a few Insect Surfers. This is followed by a jazzy diversion in “Smells Like Awesome” as you board a plane that will take you to an exotic tropical island in “No Maui” full of beautiful sounds and colours and maybe a few Tiki Tones.
Then things get a bit darker, creating a somber mood till your heart starts pounding and the pace quickens to “Escape The Sight Of Death” only to lead you face to face with “Mephisto” who holds you hostage in his tortured world. You somehow manage to escape this nightmare to find yourself back on the island and this time on the beach as a “Dunebuggy” goes racing past with the mist of the waves and the sand swirling past you and the beautiful people on the beach.
Too much excitement you say, well the perfect time to relax at the upscale lounge sipping your martini and soaking in the sounds of the “Day Of Langour” – a cocktail jazz meets a bohemian bachelor pad concoction, that these swinging cats are playing – a place where Juan García Esquivel would feel right at home.
A perfect ending to an adventure packed day and now “Night Is Going To Fall” as you put the needle down on your Frields Of Dean Martinez record and sink deeply into your bed and drift off to sleep.
You awaken to meet another day ahead and the silence is broken by the sound of “Strange Guests” next door, as a sitar echoes and creeps through the cracks and crevices only to mutate into a cacophony of sounds that can almost melt your brain. Oh, the strange things that chemicals do to people, as you escape to the quiet of the outdoors with the soothing “Waltz” a Calexico sound comforting your ears only to be interrupted by some rocking sounds that blend into what sounds like The Animals as you see in the distance a ‘house in the rising sun’.
It’s going to be a warm day and this trek is seems longer as the sun beats down on you. You hope for some shade – oh, “The Importance Of Understanding Clouds” & wouldn’t it just be nice to just drift through them. The City is coming to life and in “The Wiper”, things get hectic, noisy, but somehow still laid back and fuzzy as you find the groove that melts the pavement beneath your feet. How can you describe all this “What Is The Word?” you’re searching for – “Alive”; “Exciting”; “Magnificent”; “Impeccable”; “Exotic”; “Essential” ? – or maybe it’s just “AGAIN” by The Flaps. -Click here for their site.
** – Disclaimer: “These are just my thoughts and images and I’m sure they don’t resemble yours or anyone’s living or dead and you will have to manufacture your own!”- Wally
Very exciting times these – Three albums in less than two years from our favourite new band and each one better than the last. Dot Dash invented the “Post Mod” genre and now with this album has perfected the sound. Urgent, Exciting, Concise and yet so timeless and ageless. Can it get any better than this? Only Dot Dash know for sure and time may tell the answer, but for now immerse yourself in the one of the finest releases of the year, maybe even of this decade.
But don’t just listen to us – here is what some other people said about their previous releases:
“A seamless sequence of flawless songs, full of atmosphere, Byrds-like guitars and Buzzcocks trade mark ooohs and ahhhs. Hook-laden and captivating — a plethora of perfect pop songs.” — 13th Floor Vendetta
“Post-punk and C86… a little fuzz and heaps of melody.” — Sound of Confusion
“Somehow sounding loose and exacting at the same time… If Sonic Youth had decided to be a pop band, they would have sounded an awful lot like Dot Dash.” – Bankrobber Music/House of Hassle
“Winter Garden Light’ is one of those albums that come out under the radar, but years down the line it’s regarded as a masterpiece.” — Critical Mass
“Dot Dash features ex-members of Julie Ocean, The Saturday People, Youth Brigade and Swervedriver. The Washington, D.C., quartet just issued its sophomore album, Winter Garden Light (The Beautiful Music), the follow-up to last year’s spark>flame>amber>ash.”
– Magnet Magazine
“Winter Garden Light, the second LP from Dot Dash, delivers punk pace, a bonus quantity of pop hooks, assured vocals and anthemic choruses. A ten-track locomotive that gathers steam for a bit more than a half hour and leaves you wanting to press the replay button.” – When You Motor Away
“Dot Dash may very well have delivered the most gratifying pure-pop album of the year.” – Wilfully Obscure
“An unexpected coalition of Washington’s punk and pop tribes, Dot Dash proved melodic, dynamic and cohesive on its 2011 debut album, ‘Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash.’ The quartet’s follow-up, ‘Winter Garden Light,’ is even better.” – Washington Post
“Moving confidently forward from their loose, garage-y 2011 debut, Winter Garden Light plays like a pocket history of indie guitar rock with some jangle here, a Fugazi bass lick there and walls of sizzling shoegaze feedback everywhere—all to wonderful effect.”
– Pop Matters
“An updated C86 vibe… reminiscent of an experimental, raw R.E.M… ‘Shouting in the Rain’ is punky, featuring a Peter Hook-like bass line, then goes in an Undertones/Only Ones direction.” – Pennyblack Music
“Brightly propelled 80`s New Wave with well-trodden and prolifically strung power pop best describes this blissful East Coast four-piece. Think early days of English Day-Glo pioneers The Buzzcocks, The Times, Television Personalities and the Creation label.”
“The second album from Dot Dash is a gem packed full of great melodies and post-punk energy… a pop rush.” – Trip-TV
“’Winter Garden Light’ is a shining beacon in a ravaging storm and a likely candidate for album of the year.” – Small Takeover
“An eclectic fusion of power pop, indie/alternative, mod, and shoegaze vibes. The sound explodes into wall-of-sound dreamy arpeggios, garage fuzz and high velocity dream-pop energy.” – TPR Magazine
“Riffing on relaxed melodic pop with fuzzy guitar tones and sauntering emotion… Winter Garden Light suggests Dot Dash will continue to grow more intricate and exciting.”—All Music
“Dot Dash packs hooks into its 2nd album… it’s got a little Joy Division, The Vapors and early R.E.M. in its DNA.” – Powerpopaholic
“With Winter Garden Light, the group has altered their sound, creating a warmer collage of pop tunes infused with melody and excellent guitar sounds. A perfect one-two punch between traditional indie rock and lofty pop… Mission accomplished.” – Austin Town Hall
This is what the press release said:
Summer is nearing an end — time for a new Dot Dash album.
Half-Remembered Dream is the third Dot Dash album released in less than two years.
The 10-track Half-Remembered Dream, out this month, was preceded by Winter Garden Light (released in September 2012) and spark>flame>ember>ash (released in September 2011) – all on The Beautiful Music, the Ottawa, Canada-based indie label that has been issuing underground pop records for more than 10 years.
For the new record the Washington D.C.-based quartet traveled north to neighboring Baltimore, where Half-Remembered Dream was recorded at Lord Baltimore Studios.
As before, there’s a persistent thread of melancholy running through Dot Dash’s ringing, intense, melodic pop, but it takes on a variety of forms. Amidst jangling, wistful guitars — contrasted by often thunderous bass and drums — Half-Remembered Dream is, by turns, energetic, plaintive, and punky.
Dot Dash plays out frequently and has shared recent bills with Ash, The Drums, The Bats, The Monochrome Set, and Glen Matlock, among many others.
Band line-up: Terry Banks – guitar & voice; Bill Crandall – guitar; Hunter Bennett – bass; Danny Ingram – drums.
Half-Remembered Dream is available as a CD directly from The Beautiful Music’s PayPal-enabled ordering portal at www.thebeautifulmusic.com
The album is also available as a download via iTunes, Bandcamp, eMusic, and Amazon.
Here’s a quick note to start the hype for the new Dot Dash album (https://www.facebook.com/dotdashdc) in final stages of production, Roy Moller’s latest , TVP4 and our latest free online sampler being released online this week!!
This release is easily one of the best releases of the decadeorshouldIsaythiscentury. It has taken me years just to get around to writing something about it, mainly because I don’t think anything I say, can do it justice. How do you describe one of the most magnificent releases you have ever heard? An album that soars and flows so beautifully that very little can compare. An album by one of your favourite artists ever!!!
I have to admit that I have been a fan of Paul Bevoir for years since his days with The Jetset (who were sort of like The Monkees of My Generation in the Mod revival but OH SO Much Better!!!). Paul was also associated with many a cool record labels, from Tot Taylor’s “Compact Organisation” (having even rumoured to be one of the Wilsations backing the wonderful Mari Wilson band and having a few songs released on various compilations); Paul Bultitude’s (fellow Jetset, Secret Affair, Advertising) The Dance Network where a lot of the early Jetset material was released on, being somehow involved with Capatain Sensible’s “Deltic” Records to Chris Hunt’s amazing Tangerine Records who released some of his later solo stuff andso much more (you know the fine folks who brought you releases by The Direct Hits, The Moment, Cleaners From Venus, Mood Six and the wonderful Rinaldi Sings albums etc.) .
Over the years I have treasured Paul’s first two solo releases “The Happiest Days Of Your Life” which was originally released on The Dance Network Label and re-released on the fabulous Tangerine Records and the superb “Dumb Angel” which came out on Tangerine and includes one of my favourite songs of all time “The Equestrian”. These releases have now become quite the collectibles but are well worth searching out, I have also quite enjoyed his Jangle, psych pop travels with The Smalltown Parade (and good luck finding their releases, having been released in Japan on CD and a few items on Deltic Records in the UK) and enjoyed his excursions with Melvyn & The Smarties (who released a 7” single on Little Teddy Recordings in Germany) and the mod supergroup Boys About Town 7” withAnthony Meynell, Edward Ball,and Simon Smith(who also had one 7″ single released on the Little Teddy Recordings label).
As a solo artist, Paul was influenced by the likes of Jimmy Webb, Simon and Garfunkel, The Kinks, The Beatles (at times even sounding better than the Beatles – you may laugh but that’s only because you have not heard these yet) and many others but also always had an elegance of British charm, that were unmistakably his own unique style. Paul is a song-smith of the highest order and everything he touches is magic– his music brings joy to the heart and can transport you to a wonderful place where POP music is supreme.
I waited for many years for this release to finally come out (along with many other people), only to become speechless upon it’s release. So finally the silence is broken, but I honestly don’t know what to say so I am not going to talk about the music but just encourage you to do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of “In Days Of Wonder” before it becomes a highly sought after collectible like most of his early works of art.
… What’s this you say? A Beautiful Music update and it hasn’t even been 3 years since the last one – getting a bit ambitious aren’t we.
Ah well, we thought it best you heard the news from us before someone else told you about it (like our last release by Dot Dash which is now plastered all over the internet and still getting rave reviews, even making it in Jack Rabid’s top 40 of 2012 and we forgot to tell most of you about it). We plan to have a few new releases this year, starting with another Free Label Sampler (after the huge success of our last one which crashed our system- so if we seem to vanish for a while you’ll know why) so you can hear a few songs from some recent releases and to whet your appetite for some that are just around the corner – we may even include a song or 2 not on our label just to confuse you.
We hope to quickly follow that with a new album from the very prolific and talented Roy Moller who was championed by the amazing Marc Riley and who has been featured on several live BBC sessions including one with a former Fire Engine / Nectarine #9. Well Roy has sent us about 50 new songs to choose from (he isn’t making it easy for us with so many to choose from) and soon you will be humming to some of his new tunes.
Shortly following this will be the fourth (yes you heard it right) installment of our famous Television Personalities Tribute series. This one will feature submissions by the likes of The Just Joans, The Yellow Melodies, Simon Bish, Skytone, Banana And Louie, Bright Lights Big Zombie, I Satelite, Jeremy, The Dupont Circles, Paul Bonin and The Chosen Few (Paul being from one of our favourite bands of all time – The Jetset), and so much more – another 40 TVP covers to feed your addiction and maybe it will help cheer poor Dan up and speed up his recovery.
And if that’s not enough releases, we hope to also finally get another Armstrong album unleashed on the world.
Work is also under way on our tribute to The Sound and the Edward Ball / Times tributes with submissions trickling in – the latest cover by old favourites and tbm friends, The Woog Riots with a Smashing version of “My Andy Warhol Poster” which will also be included on a soon to be released compilation of rarities. Check out the label sampler for a few leaks from these tributes.
Rumours also run amok that a new single by Skytone is in the works (if we can get them to stop doing covers long enough to record it) as is new material by the ever mysterious TSI (The Social Icons for those who hate abreviations) but don’t hold your breath unless you don’t mind turning blue.
We better stop know as we have given away Way too much information and just thinking about all this is getting me tired and if we are actually going to pull this off, I better get back to work.
The Sound Of The Underground Lives On.
ps – Keep checking our Twitter and our Youtube for just as infrequent updates.
First I have to admit that I was predisposed to enjoy this compilation, even before I listened to it as I noticed quite a few of my favourite bands in the track listing – people like Phil Wilson (of June Brides fame – one of the best bands ever), Simon Bish / aka Simon Goalpost (who ran the wonderful Pop Noise label, which is sadly missed), A Fine Day For Sailing & Banana And Louie (both bands which feature the amazing talents of a one, Matthew Stead, an highly undervalued Pop genius), Andy Botterill / aka Andy B (head honcho at the Pastime Records Label and a man with great taste and a member of many bands, like National Pastime and Falling Trees to cite a few), Bright Lights Big Zombie (one of my favourite bands of the past few years), National Pastime, Falling Trees and The Morrisons (all bands who have released some amazing albums in recent times). But just having a solid line up doesn’t always make for a great compilation, you still need to have the tunes and this disc really delivers, with some of the finest music being released today. I’ll try to share a few thoughts on the songs and as usual name drop some other artists when the music so inspires me.
Catherine And The Owl are a band that I know very little about and I find their sound warm and appealing as well as bit dark underneath and a great opener to the CD. Simon Goalpost follows and how can you go wrong with a tunesmith of the highest order, always a joy to listen to. It keeps getting better with Phil Wilson up next, who not only is one of the nicest people but also a genius and a legend in POP music – it’s nice to have him back – Long live The June Brides! And I hope they have a new album in the works after listening to their latest single. Banana And Louie serve up some beautiful pastoral pop of the finest pedigree, reminding me of The Beach Boys (a bit obvious since they are named after Brian Wilson’s dogs), The Ladybug Transistor, The Lochness Mouse, The Pearlfishers and maybe some Pastels thrown in the mix – you get the picture (their recent album is absolute must for any Pop fan). Mozura is a new band to my ears and I love the groove and the swagger of this tune and really should search out some more.
National Pastime are a band I’ve already written about often and I really love their sound and especially the vocals which fill the songs with so much passion and emotion. Another new band to me is Raining Globe and I love the guitar intro and at times they remind me of Snow Patrol at their finest moments. The Morrisons present some more perfect Pop which at times reminds me of The Undertones (especially when he says “By Your Side …”), and what better compliment can you give someone. Secrets For September provide a dreamy backdrop that complement the vocals and the theme of the song and a joy to listen to. Bright Lights Big Zombie, as mentioned are already favourite and easily one of the best new band I’ve heard in a long time – this is a brilliant tune from a stunning album (which you can read more about here –http://thebeautifulmusic.com/?p=1250).
I have also been a fan of Andy B (aka Botterill) since the early days when he and Simon Bish sent me several TVP covers with the various bands they played with and his productivity and quality of tunes continues to improve and impress. This compilation speaks volumes on his impeccable taste and an ear for a great tune. The much missed A Fine Day For Sailing was the band Matthew Stead was in before forming Banana & Louie and you can’t go wrong with any of their releases if you’re a Pop fan and if you have not heard their last 7” single with the “Smith’s Song”, you’re really missing out on some timeless pop and a collector’s item that will likely sell for a small fortune in the near future. Talking about Pop geniuses, leads me to the one and only Simon Bish, a former member of Peel favourite Thrilled Skinny and owner of the wonderful Pop Noise empire and member of countless bands (and also to be featured on TVP tribute 4) is a real treasure and it will be well worth your while to check out his solo work if you enjoy Teenage Fanclub, Ride, Big Star, The Orchids or that era of Creation/Sarah Records sound.
The Falling Trees are up next with “Things To Look Forward To” and the title says it all as I always look forward to something new by this very talented band (I really enjoyed their last album“The Memories That Hold Us Together” anda new recording by them is just out, which is amazing and captures them in a live setting) – I love the vocals with so much passion and emotion, reminding me in some ways of Adrian Borland although not really sounding like him, it’s just the feeling that is poured into the songs. Fonda follows with more classic pop with jangling guitars, a touch of feedback and a great groove and tune to match – I don’t know much about them but I do know I’d like to hear more. The Akibas are another band that is new to my ears and I’m enjoying what I’m hearing with those rich vocals and a warm sound as they sing about deceipt and lies. Now don’t be scared off by The Coffin Collectors, as they are not a goth band and the music is not dark and gloomy, but rather joyous as here they present their wonderful love song to the red haired girl. Count To Fire’s “Falling In Line” is a beautiful laid back number with some jazzy piano and some hints of Americana in the vein of Lambchop or Willard Grant Conspiracy.
The final song by Console is a real treat – Wow! I love this song – it’s like Ceremony era New Order doing one of the Cure’s best songs from their early days, with hints of Joy Division, The Sound and in more recent years St. Deluxe. It has an amazing instrumental start and even without the singing I was hooked so when it builds (ooh and how it builds!) and the vocals enter, it makes for essential listening – you must hear this song. This is the first song I’ve heard by Console but I really want to hear their first album and their follow up, which I have been told was never released as they morphed into Bright Lights Big Zombie. That is a shame and an injustice that I’m sure will be rectified at some point. For now put this song on repeat and enjoy!
All things considered, you can’t go wrong with this collection and I’m sure you will find a few new gems to treasure!