Saturday, July 15, 2017

Stop And Smell The Roses: A Look At The New Television Personalities Tribute Album From The Beautiful Music Featuring Dot Dash, Skytone, Robert Scott Of The Bats, And More

If you enjoyed the recent Television Personalities reissues from Fire Records, reviewed by me here, I think it's safe to say that you're going to love the new Television Personalities tribute album from Called Holding Hands Under A Cloudless Sky - A Tribute To The Television Personalities: Vol. 4, the set features a whole lot of great contemporary indie bands covering the songs of Dan Treacy and Television Personalities.

I suppose the first note of significance here is that this set contains a cover song from Dot Dash. The D.C.-area outfit, opening for Ultimate Painting this Wednesday at DC9, is notoriously reluctant about recording cover versions but here they turn in a spry and lilting run at "Jackanory Stories", from And Don't The Kids Just Love It. It is one of the clear highlights here on Holding Hands Under A Cloudless Sky - A Tribute To The Television Personalities: Vol. 4. Another is the Nuggets-y take on "Look Back In Anger" turned in by Spain's The Yellow Melodies, all big hooks and New Wave-style keyboards. Elsewhere, Robert Scott of The Bats offers up a gentle rendering of "Stop And Smell The Roses" from The Painted Word, as does Japan's The Penelopes who make the song a near VU-style drone. The Milestone Band, featuring members of Sarah Records mainstays The Sweetest Ache, turn in a stab at "Honey For The Bears" that bristles with pure fuzzy-pop delight, the original TVP standard here envisioned as an early Teenage Fanclub number. Skytone take a real rarity, "The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming", and turn it into a truly sublime thing, perfect harmonies and simple chords on an acoustic guitar hitting a near Gallagher Brothers-like level of directness. I live only 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C., and yet somehow I've never heard of The Dupont Circles but I am on the lookout now thanks to their gnarly cover of "How I Learned To Love The Bomb" here, all punk-y attitude and bad intent, while London band Chester also bring a bit of the old punk-pop to "Silly Girl", the original a standout on And Don't The Kids Just Love It. Also worth mentioning is "You Are Special And You Always Will Be" from New Zealand band The Puddle, who here render the Closer To God track in the manner of a Robert Forster-sung tune from mid-period in The Go-Betweens' back-catalog, Treacy's songwriting chops here given special attention.

Full of lots of great music besides the tunes I've mentioned, Holding Hands Under A Cloudless Sky - A Tribute To The Television Personalities: Vol. 4 will be out soon via TheBeautifulMusic. Be sure to keep your eye on the label's website for more details. And if you are one of the first 100 to order the album, you'll get a bonus disc!

[Photos: Dot Dash photo by me; album cover courtesy Wally Salem]