Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Listen up Americanos; it’s pronounced ‘Bee-ta Band’ not ‘Bay-ta Band’. And while we’re at it, it goes day/month/year. (I can hear ‘em now: “Hey, we saved yer asses in dubya dubya two.”)

Dry The Rain was the opening track on The Beta’s Nick McCabe produced debut EP Champion Versions in 1997. The EP and the two that followed (The Patty, Patty Sound and Los Amigos del Beta Bandidos) earned them a huge cult following which saw the original limited edition EPs changing hands for amounts that would have funded a rudimentary space program. The situation was remedied with the release of The Three EPs in 1998.

Unfortunately, the Beta Band weren’t able to continue their fun, inventive, catchy songwriting into their debut album proper. Hot Shots II was poorly received critically and received a lukewarm response from the public. The recent post-split release of The Beta Band’s greatest hits contains only songs from The Three EPs.

Dry The Rain was also the song that launched the Bay-tas in the US of America when it was featured in the film version of Nick Hornby’s music geek tome High Fidelty. Before playing the song John Cusack’s Rob states, “I will now sell five copies of The Three EPs by The Bay-ta Band.” It’s fair to say that the song’s appearance in the film lead to comfortably more than an additional five copies of the CD sold (some sources suggest as many as eleven or twelve).

The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Buy The Three EPs

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Grandaddy – AM 180

I’ve covered international political upheaval, violent death and smurfs but there’s one topic I’ve skirted around as too significant to tackle: extravagant facial hair.

In 1997 the world was awed by the stunning whiskers of Overall World Beard and Moustache World Champion Jürgen Burkhardt. The more astute amongst you may have already worked out that Jürgen is German.

However, the world champ of facial hair in pop at the time was no doubt Jason Lytle, head honcho of indietronic band Grandaddy. Sporting, as he did, a Newgate Fringe equalled only by Michael Eavis. The Newgate Fringe is so called as the noose like appearance was taken by condemned residents of Newgate prison before the real thing was placed on. Rumour has it that the facial hair failed to save any more than a handful of lives.

As well as cultivating 18th Century facial apparel, Lytle also took the time to record one of the catchiest indie ditties of the year thanks to a cheeky synth riff that wouldn’t be out of place on a Moog Cookbook record. The off-kilter kookiness match with the dour vocals make it a popular choice for soundtracks. It has previously graced zombie flick 28 Days Later and can currently be heard as the title music for the delightfully misanthropic Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe.

Grandaddy – AM 180

Buy Under the Western Freeway