Friday 28 August 2009

Name That Tune #3: Gal Costa - "Baby"

Today I've been thinking about that old " right NOW it's the greatest record ever made!" feeling - that sense that you're listening to the single most inspiring passage of sound ever passed from recording technology to human ear. It's familiar to most people with any kind of emotional investment in music, especially (it seems) the blogging non-community and a big part of the thrill is that you know it can't possibly be true even as it feels undeniable.

Mmmmm. Anyway.

The record which will most reliably give me that feeling is "Baby" by Gal Costa. Someone usually asks me about it if I play it at the Lounge and this Sunday was no exception, apart from the fact that two people asked me about it. Look, here it is:

Part of my continuing love and amazement about this record is, I suppose, that I don't know much about Brazilian pop, so it seems like it has beamed in from another (better) world. That also means I'm not going to burden you with lots of facts and/or trivia, but I do have four things to point out:

1. the way those strings swell around the thirty seconds mark! From that moment on you know you're in the presence of something special.
2. the way the reverb which surrounds Gal's voice all the way through completely drops off for a line or two around 1:30 is mysterious and oddly beautiful: for just a moment, she's right there next to you before spiriting off back into the world of reverb. (Apropos of nothing, I am reminded that I was once with the band The Clientele in Spain, which is the best possible way to find out that the Spanish pronounce "reverb" as "reberv". And apropos of that, and this, go and see Amor De Dias play with Damon and Naomi in early September in London and Manchester, do.)
3. "Diana" - what?
4. Gal's been going for forty years or more now and she has returned to this song several times, and cut some radically different versions, including one English language version which stomps rather hard on the mysterious poetry I imagine the Portuguese version brings. So on the off-chance that you were rushing out to buy yourself a copy of this, this one (from season '68/'69 I think) is The One. Right now, The Greatest Record Ever Made.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Dinosaur Planet Sunday 23 August

It is beyond doubt (at least among those who KNOW) that the number one highlight of this year's Edinburgh Fringe was the marvel which is Friend of the Lounge MJ Hibbett's brilliant Dinosaur Planet. You can see the trailer up there. And a review here.

We are delighted to say that MJ, having secured success in Scotland, is heading to the Hangover Lounge on Sunday for a victory lap. Entrance is FREE. He'll be on at about 5pm but you might want to come along earlier to delight in the HALF PRICE FOOD! And! In addition to the gently rockin' smooth sounds of the Lounge regulars, this week we'll be enjoying the pick'n'mix provided by friend of the stars and all-round grumpy good guy Steve Edmond. Come down, and come down.

Monday 17 August 2009

Name That Tune: I Can Feel It by Sloan

Whenever Sloan’s I Can Feel It is played at the Hangover Lounge two things happen:
•someone asks “what’s this?”; and
•upon being told responds, “oh, I didn’t think I’d like Sloan”.

Geffen, who released Twice Removed, the album from which I Can Feel It is taken, were similarly surprised by Sloan’s mix of Big Star powerpop, Beatleseque melodies and Pavement-style literate college rock, and promptly dropped them after realising that rather than signing the Canadian Nirvana they’d signed the Canadian Built To Spill.

For my money, Twice Removed is Sloan’s second-best album; for an album of unrelenting powerpop greatness – ringing guitars, chiming hooks and three-way harmonies – look no further than 1999’s Between The Bridges which is so breathless in its all-out pop assault there’s barely a respite between songs.

I gave up on Sloan in 2002 after their seventh album, Pretty Together, which was well under par; if their subsequent efforts capture their 1990s vintage, please let me know.

The video is Sloan playing I Can Feel It in Australia in 2007 (the female singer is an audience member; trivia fans may be interested to know that Jale’s Jennifer Pierce sings on the record).

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Name That TUNE! #1

[The first in a series* of posts about songs we’ve played at the Lounge: the only rule is that someone has to have asked about the record, while it was playing.]

Rozi Plain: Stolen Shark (Played: August 9, by Tim)

Rozi Plain (it’s pronounced “rozzy”, apparently) is the common factor between the Fence Collective, which I’m sure you know all about, and the rather more delicate and obscure Cleaner Collective. I don’t really know how tight or loose a collective this lot are: where Fence has that village-y feel, Cleaner come from the larger and rather more cider-scented surrounds of Bristol. Some of the stuff is great: I’m a particular fan of Rachael Dadd and her various offshoot bands including Whalebone Polly, a name for the project Rachael shares with Kate Stables, aka This Is The Kit, who also sometimes guests with Soy Un Caballo, Francophone Belgians who seem to be playing in London quite a lot and whose LP “Les Heures Du Raison” is a real treat (Sean O'Hagan AND Will Oldham? There's a night in the pub I'll likely avoid) and a longstanding favourite for the Lounge’s more delicate moments. And so on.

And so anyway, there is quite a lot of the good stuff around this bunch of people, but I can’t shake the feeling that Rozi Plain might be the oddly fascinating kid sister of the bunch who nobody really notices until it becomes surprisingly clear that she has all the pop sensibility and a cheeky fizz and a mad glint in her eyes which sets her up and apart.

“Stolen Shark” appears to be about being slowly eaten by sharks, except it doesn’t really stack up: under what circumstances does one snag ones jumper on a shark’s tooth? How possible is it to be completely devoured apart from “a very much alive part of [ones] head”. My friends, we may be dealing with a DREAM SEQUENCE here. Or it may be METAPHOR. Or possibly we are experiencing GOOFING ABOUT. It’s not for me to say. I am happy to venture the opinion that the way the song builds to the four part weaving harmonies (courtesy of Rachael Dadd, again) is delightful. The thing to do is to listen to the song on Rozi’s myspace and then seriously consider purchasing the LP, “Inside Over Here”, which is on Fence and packed full of folk-pop fun - more so even than the myspace demos and oddments suggest.

*We hope!

Monday 10 August 2009

Half-Price Menu

For the next two Sundays (and all days inbetween) food prices at the Lexington have been slashed by half.

The food's good and now it's even better value. Eat up!

Thursday 6 August 2009

Scrabble Sunday, 9 August

This Sunday's a special Sunday at the Hangover Lounge - we are delighted to be playing host to the second ever Scrabble Sunday event! Bring your board and your tiles and be prepared to meet likeminded souls who want to beat you at Scrabble!

The Scrabble won't be compulsory so if you fancy just coming down and coming down to the usual great mix of smooth sounds and Sunday goodness, then please do. We're slowly working our way through the Lexington's menu as well and it turns out that their Sunday selection of chow is worth a bash also.

Facebook fans can read more about the Scrabble here.