Vinyl love: Alvvays “Blue rev”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Alvvays
Album Title: Blue rev
Year released: 2022
Details: Clear

The skinny: It had been five years between the release of Alvvays’ sophomore album, “Antisocialites”, and their third album, last year’s “Blue rev”. Thus, even though I’d been following the Toronto-based indie pop group since their early days and have both of their previous records on my shelves, I didn’t jump on the pre-order train for this one right away. I wouldn’t say I had tired of them or gone off the band in any way but perhaps just wary, taking a wait and see approach. Any hesitation melted away, though, when I gave “Blue rev” a go shortly after its release last October and I was more than pleasantly surprised at the group’s leaps and bounds to escape their allotted pigeonholes. I ordered a copy off Pop Music Toronto’s online store because they had a few of the clear pressings released by the group’s own Canadian-based label Celsius Girls on their virtual shelf. The album ended up placing at number two on Billboard my end of the year album list for 2022 and this record continues to be one I return to my turntable often.

Standout track: “After the earthquake”


Eighties’ best 100 redux: #95 The Nails “88 lines about 44 women” (1982)

<< #96    |    #94 >>

After all the talk about “99 luftballons” appearing at spot #98 on this list (close call, that one), I found myself looking ahead to see where The Nails’ “88 lines about 44 women” would land. As you can imagine, I found myself breathing a sigh of relief that it’s not track #88 but arriving a bit earlier at spot #95.

Nonetheless, I’m sure you’ll remember this one.

Of course, you do. If not when it was first released, you definitely would have heard it when it enjoyed a resurgence due to its use in a Mazda car commercial in the late nineties. If you’re not convinced, here’s said commercial:

The Nails were a 6-piece American new wave band that got a surprise hit out of this very track. It was first released on a 1982 EP called “Hotel for women” and then re-recorded for their debut LP “Mood swing” in 1984. They released another album two years later and then, recorded another that was released without the band’s approval in 1993. Both of The Nails’ proper albums were critically acclaimed but the band was never able break the “novelty” die cast by “88 lines”. To be honest, this is the only song by The Nails I have ever heard but from what I can gather, their other work is much darker than this.

“88 lines about 44 women” has always been a guilty/not guilty pleasure of mine and always reminds me of my friend Zed and dancing at retro night at Whiskey Saigon. It’s not only just a fun song to bop along to but it also has smart and funny lyrics: 44 rhyming couplets, each about a different woman, many of whom I think I would have been interested in meeting (and some, perhaps not). If you’ve never had a good listen to the lyrics, pay attention when you press play below.

Original Eighties best 100 position: #96

Favourite lyric:  “Terri didn’t give a shit / was just a nihilist”… We believe nothing, Lebowski!

Where are they now?: The Nails officially broke up many moons ago but frontman Marc Campbell released a solo album called “Tantric machine” in 2010.

For the rest of the Eighties’ best 100 redux list, click here.


Best tunes of 2020: #21 Dream Wife “Hasta la vista”

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From what I’ve read, London-based Dream Wife started from an art school project in which its three principal members portrayed a 90’s alt rock influenced band in a Spinal Tap-like mockumentary*. Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go, and Bella Podpadec (along with drummer Alex Paveley) still seem to be having fun but now, they’re damned serious as well. They are well-known for their electric live shows, not shying away from tough subjects in their lyrics and their unwavering support of women and non-binary, especially in terms of their underrepresentation.

I came upon the group after the release of their sophomore album, “So when you gonna…”, in 2020 and I made the immediate and obvious comparison to the riot grrl** punk acts that emerged out of the early nineties. But I also noted that it wasn’t all about the rage, hearing a certain embrace of melodic pop and felt there were whiffs of bands like Elastica and Sleeper and Echobelly from the Britpop era. To be honest, it was this latter element that led me towards repeat listens because as counterintuitive as it might sound, the introduction of pop elements to the harder edge suggested a willingness to expand and experiment.

I still haven’t gone back to explore the self-titled debut but I certainly will make the time, just as I plan to give their upcoming third album, “Social lubrication”, a go. “So when you gonna…”, though, is an enduring listen to my ears and the album’s second single, “Hasta la vista”, is all kinds of fun. But don’t be fooled by the title that smacks of the old Schwarzenegger tagline. Gimmicky, this song is not. The giddy-up bassline and ticky-tack drums get you moving and the synths just hang out there in the background, a humming wash, setting a warm tone. The guitars dance a pogo and frontwoman Rakel Mjöll softly bemoans and at the same time, celebrates relationships lost and never to be re-discovered. The band has admitted that “Hasta la vista” was the first song to be written for the new album after returning from a long period of the touring and coming home to find everything changed.

“Remember me in the morning light
Remember none of the wrong, just the right
Remember all the joy we gave
Remember that it paved the way”

This is a sentiment with which many can appreciate and identify. And now, they can dance to it as well.

*I loved Spinal Tap so I’d be curious to check it out, though I have no idea if it’s available anywhere online.

**As well other all female bands with a similar sound and aesthetic that had been mislabelled as such, like L7 and Hole.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2020 list, click here.