Friday, March 20, 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful

Cos nothing says "cheerful" more than an otter...

Dearest Friends, if you're feeling less-than-perky, then listen up: I've got a bagful of goodies guaranteed to lift the most flaccid of spirits. No, it's true, hold your cynicism at bay!!

First up, there's Contrast Podcast! Always a cause for yay!! This week our intrepid guide, Young Tim, takes us on a dizzying alpine trek through songs about mountains. Lofty heights are scaled, thanks to our brave contributors, and I'd urge you to get yourself and your crampons, pitons, and carabiners over here to get some mountainous goodness. If you can't wait, download the podcast directly from here.

Now, as I mentioned a few posts back, I ain't gonna tell you what I submitted, though I will let on that it was both the first and the obvious choice for me. Truth be told, I never really considered any other tunes, though had I been more flexible of brain I might have given you this ditty from Vancouver's own poppily whimsical and melodic Cinderpop:

Cinderpop - Vesuvius (buy e-here)
The album cover has a Victorian octopus on the cover. How ace is that???

The second cause for cheer is my serendipitous discovery of the lovely Hooded Fang. You see, I was noodling about the web trying to find something about Herald Nix and clicked through to his page on the CBC Radio 3 website. So I'm reading the blurb, but the music playing doesn't really sound anything like Herald Nix. That's when I realize the page is streaming a playlist of indie-schmindie stuff and WOW, whatever this non-Nixian track is, it's lovely!!

So, long story short, it turns out that what grabbed me by the ears was none other than Hooded Fang, six boys & girls from Toronto with a fetish for Mordecai Richler's off-kilter children's books, jangly guitars, tinkly xylophones, sweet vocals, and fluffy dollop of twee. A perfectly serendipitous find for springtime, dontcha think??

Hooded Fang - Land Of Giants (buy here or e-here)

And finally, the most important reason to be cheerful: Merz is back. HOORAY!! Those of you who've been around for a while and already know him don't need me to tell you why this is such a joyful event. For those Dearest Friends who've not had the pleasure, Merz runs the excellent blog Mars Needs Guitars, which was one of the first ones that I ran across while taking my first, tentative steps into the interwebbybloggynet. If you're looking for fine music, delivered straight up with lots of honesty and not a trace of bullshit or ironic, hip pretense, then you need to get yourself over there right now. And he is a brave fighter; he's been dealing with some very heavy issues for some time now, issues which led him to take an 18 month hiatus from blogging. But Merz has returned - go show him some love.

Merz would be the first to admit that he has a serious shoegaze fetish, so in honour of his return let's have a bit of that stuff; from the poppier end of that genre, here's Berkshire's finest, Chapterhouse, with a wee gem from 1991:

Chapterhouse - Pearl (buy here or e-here)

And sorry, no Ian Dury this time. Don't want to overdo it now, do we??