Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Undertones!

Recently Salvo Records a small independent company re-issued these two albums plus a Anthology appropriately titled The Undertones Anthology.
The Undertones were formed in Derry (or Londonderry) in the mid 1970's and came to prominence through the release on the Good Vibrations label of the Teenage Kicks EP which was picked up by the late John Peel for his BBC radio show.
This was followed by a contract with Sire Records of America home of the Talking Heads and the Ramones new wave bands.
Following the signing the single Get Over You was issued followed by Here Comes The Summer and an album prepared "The Undertones" which in its original form had 14 short tracks clocking in at under 30 minutes being everything a 'punk' album should be -full of short snappy songs with attitude.
It was issued in the Late Spring of 1979 selling very well.
This was repackaged in a new sleeve in the light of the bands increased success on the charts adding the singles to the line up but this altered the whole feel of the album.
This re-issue sets it right by keeping to the original version but tagging on no less than 21 bonus tracks and a video!
It remains a classic British album from the New wave era.
Its follow up Hypnotised released in the summer of 1980 keeps much of the feel but sees the band experimenting more with the likes of the plaintive Wednesday Week a number 11 single as well as being the home to the gem that is My Perfect Cousin referencing Subbuteo (a table top soccer game) and the New Romantic group the Human League!
Like the first album this re-issue sees bonus tracks 6 plus the video of My Perfect Cousin added to the end of the disc.
Mastering generally very good keeping the quiet and loud parts as they should be but with just a couple of tracks sounding a little brighter than the original vinyl issues.
Recommended for all who lived through the era and anyone who loves pop-punk.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya & Manga update

Well this was going to happen sooner but I got waylaid so here goes...

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I wanted this so much when it came out around November time last year but if ya hadn't noticed there's a recession on and one consequence of this was threat Beez's UK distributor went into receivership but I managed to get this reissue.

The story revolves around Haruhi Suzumiya, a high school girl obsessed with finding all forms of the extraordinary and supernatural, and Kyon, a cynical classmate who proclaims his non-belief in such matters and narrates the series. After being displeased with the mundane happenings at school and the lack of interesting after-school clubs, she forms her own, the SOS Brigade, to investigate any mysterious happenings, with Kyon forcibly drafted as its second member.

She drafts in additional members into the SOS club and in time they are revealed to be the extraordinary characters she is seeking (Yuki, an artificial human created by the extraterrestrial Integrated Data Entity; Mikuru, Time Traveller; and Itsuki, esper), sent by their various organizations to observe Haruhi. All see Haruhi as possessing a superhuman control over the universe, capable even of recreating the entire universe in a state of dissatisfaction and attempt to prevent this by keeping her entertained, holding her powers in check, and maintaining the illusion of a normal life.

The series became an Internet phenomenon and in the absence had to make do with a subbed import with so-so quality but have now gotten the UK R2 Re-issue 4 dvd set

Also on June 8th Slayers Next Vol 2 DVD arrived here - you wouldn't believe the trouble wanting Dragon dishes can cause! - and that was fun to watch.

I am presently reading Otomen 1 by Aya Kanno
The plot revolves around a conundrum.
Asuka Masamune loves girly things such as knitting, sewing making cute animals and reading shojo comics. Ryo Miyakozuka can't sow or bake cakes but is draw to Asuka!
Asuka inhabiting a world that calls upon boys such as him to act manly must hide his real identity in order to play the Jock which is what attracts Ryo as a girl.
Can they ever get it together? What really happened to Askura's father???
In many respects it's a story about sexual politics in Japan, the function of sexual identities in society and how that applies to those who don't fit in them.

I quite like shojo beats' titles and this published by Viz in the States is a great thought provoking manga.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


This is a picture of a porcelain doll I've had since my tee
ns called Debbie.
She was bought for me from a doll fair near Macclesfield and she's been with me no matter where I've been living ever since. I like the blouse and dress she's wearing.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Music for violin

Violin and piano based music has always been a staple of my classical music likes and the recordings by Augustin Dumay and Maria Joan Pires are amongst those I have collected in recent years.
I picked up this disc of French music for violin and piano recently from an online retailer that slots in well with my Ravel recordings which is extremely well played and recorded.
The way they handle Ravel's Tzigane is with much needed restraint  so we get the infectious feel without just being a moment to the violinists own ego.