Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Melting Ice Caps – Permissible Permutations

The debut album from The Melting Ice Caps is a delight; chock full of wonderfully crafted songs and beautiful singing. It’s the kind of thing that people often describe as being terribly English, when really its just what happens when someone savours singing every word and takes great care when writing every word and crafting melodies. This confusion is perhaps best shown by the Divine Comedy who are often thought of this way, despite the main and only man being Irish, but qualifying for the latter qualities.
It kicks off with a brief title track, a minute in which space is plenty, but a lot is packed in. He’s a hopeless romantic. He being David, the main man and centrepiece of the band. The romance is not just in beauty, but in the everyday, in the downbeat and downtrodden.
With Ghost Writer a disco beat arrives and I’m reminded of the Pet Shop Boys. Often I hear hints of The Associates in the music too. David doesn’t soar like Billy Mackenzie used to, but he has that delicious arch quality.
The pinnacle of the album is the nigh on perfect pop song that is Indian Summer. As well as the joy of summer it has the hope of Spring and warmth of Autumn. Closer Medical Advice is fun, and reminds me of Marc Almond doing his Jacques Brel thing.

Find the Melting Ice Caps website here, which also tells you where you can buy it.

Sunday, 3 June 2012


Well, here's the reason for the lack of updates. I've been spending my time on my debut novel and it has now been published. I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo 2008 and it was then shelved for a couple of years, before further work was done to bring it to its finished state. The back cover blurb reads thus:

“Did you know desire's a terrible thing
It makes the world go blind
But if desire, desire's a terrible thing
You know that I really don't mind”. 

Danny didn’t particularly have The Sundays ‘Can’t Be Sure’ in mind when he was thinking up the soundtrack to his Australian trip. It was about as quaint and English as you could get. Yet his sun-kissed playlist faded into the background after his chance encounter with a desired record. From then on in Harriet Wheeler’s vocals ran round his head with increasing regularity as he tried to fend off all manner of petty thieves, corrupt bank managers and disgruntled ex members of the group that made the record in his attempts to hold on to his holy grail. And with a DJ and journalist as his only allies, the odds were stacked against him. As they careered through Sydney and its suburbs and the casualties piled up his seemingly mundane life took on an excitement he could never have expected.

Which hopefully should give you a good idea of what it's about. We've managed to keep the price down to a fiver, so hopefully some of you will find it worth a try at that price. Click here if you'd like to buy it:

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Buy Nothing Year update 1

With the new project two days in and having survived the first day of shopping today, I thought it might be interesting to keep a log of what I have been listening to with the new free time.

Yesterday Blur's Leisure and Girls and Boys single got a spin. It's remarkable how well Leisure has held up, and it shows a youthful zest and spark. Even then, amongst the singles There's No Other Way and Bang, there experimental side was there in places.

This was followed up by Phosphorescent's Here's To Taking It Easy, a lush new addition purchased from Rise in Swindon at the tale end of 2011.

Next came Cud's Elvis Belt, a b-sides collection from back in the day. Cud are none more indie, but those who let this put them off are missing a treat. The covers of Urban Spaceman and Lola are throwaway at best, but Slack Time, Only (A Prawn In Whitby) and I've Had It With Blondes are northern disjointed indie pop classics.

Finally something newer in the form of Veronica Falls 5 Demos EP, some cracking little arch pop tunes.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Best of 2011

I normally can't be bothered with end of year lists, but I've finally done one, which is mainly for my brother's benefit, but here for the world to see. Here's my Top 13 albums of 2011. This may be the only list to not include PJ Harvey, but that's only because I haven't heard it and have no real interest in doing so.

1. Half Man Half Biscuit - 90 Bisodol (Crimond)
2. Luke Haines - 9 and a half Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling in the 1970s and early 80s
3. Frankie & The Heartstrings - Hunger
4. Jonny - Jonny
5. Summer Camp - Welcome To Condale
6. Yuck - Yuck
7. The Lovely Eggs - Cob Dominoes
8. Billy Bragg - Fight Songs
9. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
10. Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo
11. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older
12. The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh
13. Bon Iver - Bon Iver