Tag Archive for 'the beach boys'

Radio Kampus. 21st June 2017

It’s been a week of beautiful weather in Warsaw this week and the sun has been beating down hard on the city. Your local friendly new-music DJ is showing signs of his Scottishness; hair becoming more ginger, freckles becoming more prominent – but hey, that’s summer. We kick off with something perfectly summery and move on through a great show. Enjoy.

1. Teenage Fanclub – Your Love is the Place Where I Come From (Creation)

2. The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby (Capitol)

3. Filthy Friends – The Arrival (Kill Rock Stars)

4. Bobby Conn – Hollow Men (Self-released)

5. Nive and the Deer Children – Walking (Glitterhouse)

6. Zamilska and Resina – Closer (Untuned)

7. Dead Janitor – Batch (Päfgens RMX) (Self-released)

8. Nils Frahm – Says (Erased Tapes)

9. Shuma – Na mory vutka kupalasia (Self-released)

10. FOQL – How to Stay Warm (Always Human Tapes)

11. cétieu – Friendly Fire (Barudă)

The Guardian’s “Six Songs of Me”

A few years ago, the Guardian ran a popular segment on their music blog called Six Songs of Me that I always enjoyed reading. This morning I looked back over some and it inspired me to create my own choices, so here they are.

What was the first song you ever bought?
While the first record that I ever owned is significantly cooler than the first song I ever bought, I thought I’d stay true to premise and admit to it. The first album I owned was a cassette of Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, gifted to me by my dad when I wouldn’t stop playing it. The first I bought with my own money, well that’s another matter. It was the mid-80s and pre-pubescent boys had a wealth of cute teen idols to choose from; Kylie Minogue, Debbie Gibson, Pepsi & Shirley; to name but a few. Mine though was Tiffany and I played the tape of her album to an early grave – if indeed tapes have graves.

What song always gets you dancing?
It’s hard to avoid the kinetic desire to shift from one buttock to the next and back as soon as this recognisable Wurlitzer part picks up but when that snare kicks in and the handclaps start, it’s time to get up out of your seat and hit the dance-floor. Seeing Belle and Sebastian play The Boy with the Arab Strap live is a joyous experience with the band inviting audience members to the stage to dance with them – it’s a song that has never failed to make me happy and to get me dancing, wherever I am, from the shower to the indie disco.

What song takes you back to your childhood?
I’m lucky to have parents, particularly my dad, that are even more musically literate than I am. While my dad can’t play a note, he’s undeniably an encyclopaedia of popular music. It takes a certain kind of man to name your two children Neil Stephen and Graham David after the four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. His favourites though are the Beach Boys – Brian, Dennis, Carl, Al and Mike (and Bruce). I grew up with memories of the Beach Boys at Live Aid, Help Me Rhonda on the record player and of course, the previously mentioned Pet Sounds Cassette which starts with this. Listen to that intro guitar. Listen to the vocal harmonies. I didn’t stand a chance.

What is your perfect love song?
As an indie-pop fan, it’s surely impossible to pick just one perfect love song from what is essentially the history of pop music. From the Beatles to Belle and Sebastian, pop tunes have always tried to express love in the most perfect, succinct way possible. Even choosing just one song from one band is excruciatingly difficult; take the band I eventually decided upon for instance; Big Star. I had to overlook the naive beauty of pubescent love of Thirteen to choose what, for me, is a slice of perfection: I’m in love with a girl.

What song would you want at your funeral?
A funeral song is a tricky one to decide upon. Do you want to be sombre? Celebratory? Do you want people to cry? To smile? I always thought I’d pick one from column a and one from column b. Vaka has always been my column a. Mind you, it has to be said, it took a dent as my funeral song when my brother and his wife used it as the music that accompanied her walk down the aisle. Oh come on guys!

Time for the encore. One last song that makes you, you.
Growing up as a music fan in Airdrie, just a mile or two away from the “post-industrial wasteland” of Bellshill in Lanarkshire, it was impossible to miss how important this small county in central Scotland was (and still is) to the pop music that came out of the country. Mogwai, BMX Bandits, The Soup Dragons, The Delgados and, of course, Teenage Fanclub. Chiming, bright guitars, distortion, vocal harmonies and boys from Bellshill. It’s hard to argue that Teenage Fanclub don’t represent everything I love about music. Radio is my favourite of theirs and one last song that makes me, me.

To be retained #1 – The Beach Boys, Wembley Arena. 1987.

Not long ago, just after moving to my new flat, I found a folder in a bag.  Inside the folder was a collection of gig tickets spanning the late 90s to the late 2000s.  It’s a collection I barely remembered exists but when I was slowly searching through it, in a fit of rosy-eyed nostalgia, I came across some exciting and occasionally surprising tickets that strongly reminded me of times past – so much so that I thought I might occasionally choose a ticket and reminisce.

In an unparalleled display of conformity, I decided to begin at the beginning – where else? – so we travel back to Sunday, 19th July 1987 and to Wembley Arena, London for my first concert; the 25th anniversary of the Beach Boys.

I’ve mentioned it before, I’m sure, but my dad is to blame.  He is  responsible for my all-encompassing music obsession; my love of harmony and pop music; and let’s face it, the direction my life has taken to this day.  You see, his family was musical.  His father and uncles could all play, yet my dad never learned.  What he lacked in motivation to play, he made up for in an impressive, obsessive love for West Coast American music – and the Beach Boys were the kings of that particular hill.

Whether it was before or after the concert at Wembley Arena, I remember my dad giving me a tape-cassette of the Beach Boys’ seminal album, Pet Sounds.  My first album.  I was so proud, I possessively scribbled my name on a white space on the front cover, not realising I was committing a crime comparable with some form of religious heresy.  The chiding I received taught me quite how important my dad seemed to treat these seemingly unimportant home-entertainment artifacts – and more importantly the music within.

The trip to London for the show is memorable for much more than the music.  As children, my brother and I thought that Hamley’s toy store was a child’s heaven on earth.  My mum was horrified, to be sure, at the number of Christmas suggestions she was given.  There’s a vague memory of the family visiting a theatre for a production of Starlight Express only to find we were double booked but were offered standing places alongside the runway where the roller-skating actors would pass by.  An odd experience and there is an odd, possibly apocryphal memory of high-fives as they passed.

Being 8 years old at the time, I don’t remember much of the Wembley concert itself.  I have brief flashes of memory that, without confirmation, I have no idea whether true or not.  I remember California Girls.  I remember surf-boards.  I remember the Beach Boys (sans Brian Wilson – this was the rehab and debut solo album period) being brought to the stage in what, in my head at least, looked like a WV Beetle.  Though admittedly this memory seems to mix with a circus bear on a bicycle for some reason – so it may be nonsense.  I vaguely remember my parents knowing (or befriending, I’m not sure which) one of the crew; as for many years I remember a laminated back-stage-pass hanging in my dad’s room at home.  Of course, we didn’t go backstage, but, among other things, it was given to my dad as a gift after the show.

Two years later, we were back in England for the Beach Boys’ return to England – this time in the midlands, at the Birmingham NEC.  In the 26 months that had passed, I had transformed from an 8 year old interested only in M.A.S.K. and He-Man to a 10 year old whose only ambition in life was to be a singer.  Later in life, I was to find singing wasn’t my strong point but that passion for music had taken root.