Get on up
Above: Still from Kathleen by Hooton Tennis Club
Winter has descended and that means it’s time to get swallowed up by our latest mix series, with playlists from the bands featured in Issue 12. Next up is Hooton Tennis Club.
Two hypnotic EPs and a signing with Heavenly Recordings in it’s clear the Liverpool foursome have cut their niche – and the journey’s going more than alright. Add a reinvigorated Liverpool music scene into the mix and these guys slide into focus as a band on a fiery new path.
“There’s no pressure to be a psych-rock band or repeat The Beatles, or fit in to any particular genre like people think,”say members Callum, Harry, James and Ryan of their home city. “It’s not your traditional music scene here; it’s more than that. Everyone is doing different things and there’s real longevity in it.”
There’s also future thinking in a band that seem to be absolutely in it together. Take this playlist, with the guys each taking their turn to choose an edit of tracks that include “names in their titles, thus making the task of selecting tracks for a playlist slightly less painful.” With the songs ordered alphabetically and the selection of one of their own tracks (our only playlist rule) delegated to Bill Ryder-Jones (that name again – he’s lined up to produce the band’s next single) it’s fair to say this project’s been a liberal affair. The result? A solid line up that’ll shake you awake and refuse to let you go.
Crank the volume and get stuck in.
April Skies by The Jesus and Mary Chain, selected by Harry Chalmers
“Writing great pop songs and hiding them under fuzz and sunglasses will always be cool, and JAMC do it very, very well,” says Harry.
Caesar by Ty Segall, selected by Callum McFadden
“This track is just all about that lost Beatles chorus, with vocals soaked in a bucket load of reverb,” says Callum. “My favourite song on this album is actually Sad Fuzz but it didn’t fit with our names theme. Luckily, however, this happens to be the second best track, which is cool. For fans of meandering keys solos and flute reprise sections.”
Charlie’s in the Gutter by Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, selected by Callum McFadden
“Craig Dermody’s flat, almost tuneless delivery can take a little time to get used to but I was instantly hooked by this song’s ardent, loquacious vocals about growing up and getting on with things, plastered on top of routinely scuzzy guitar, bass and drums,” says Callum. “There are rumours that this is the only song on Any Port in a Storm to not mention basketball, this is yet to be confirmed. For fans of stumbling, awkward lyrical constructions.”
Houston Hades by Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks, selected by Harry Chalmers
“Hey, we all know someone called Hades, don’t we? You know, like the God of the underworld,” jibes Harry. “We recently saw Steve and The Jicks at the Kazimier in Liverpool and this track was a fully- fledged knee-bending head-nodder. There’s something about the way Steve almost slurs the words, “most of the day” that is completely brilliant.”
Hey Joe by The Leaves, selected by James Madden
“I don’t know how I came across this song. I guess the internet churned it out upon me at some point,” says James. “All I do know is that I can’t resist the sweet sound of a good sixties jangly guitar track. The distorted whaling guitar picking out one note screeches here and there is offensively good. Like green tea with lemon.”
Hey! Luciani by The Fall, selected by Harry Chalmers
This is, by a country mile, my favourite song about a former Pope. Nothing else comes close.
Jimmy Mack by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, selected by James Madden
“I luckily got the chance to see Martha at the magical Festival 6 with the other Hootoners,” says James. “The festival is set within the extremely delightful settings of the faux Italian styled village of Portmeirion, Wales. On one of the fine, slightly hungover days at the festival, I instantly fell in love with Martha’s worn shrill affected voice. Since this epiphany moment, us fools ain’t stopped singing our accaplella version – “Jimmy, Jimmy, Oooooh Jimmy Mack”. Some convincing could see Hooton Tennis Club cover the song, but who the heck would want to hear that damage?”
Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair by Hooton Tennis Club, selected by Bill Ryder-Jones
“Kathleen was the first song I heard by Hooton Tennis Club, I can remember smiling throughout the first play,” says friend and fellow Mersey-hailing muso Bill Ryder-Jones of the Hooton Tennis Club track. “I can remember thinking, “Is this guy trying to blag a girl by suggesting they go swimming?” I’m not sure what it’s really about anymore but it’s awesome.”
Mr Noah by Panda Bear, selected by Ryan Murphy
“I think Noah Lennox is probably a genius. He seems like a level headed, open-minded individual, and I think he’s pretty handsome, too,” reckons Ryan. “He samples and blends break beat loops and ethereal electronic sounds with the sort of vocal harmonies that one would expect to find on a Beach Boys record. This particular track sounds like he’s taken a Sony Dictaphone to the zoo and mixed the noises he captured on a microKORG, whilst being held face down in pink and green swamp. It’s infectious, busy, squelchy pop music. I just can’t stop myself from singing along with the “Ay-ay-ay-ay”s!”
Pablo Picasso by The Modern Lovers, selected by James Madden
Jonathan Richman is just great. This track, based on one of the finest 20th century artists Pablo Picasso, spills a childlike vision of the man who was known for his plethora of female attention. It’s a truly ideal song when on your way down a street or leaving the house whilst sporting a fresh leather jacket or shoes in this case. Hooton’s track, Powerful Pierre attempts to harbour JR’s ability to pinpoint the essence of a character – an homage to the curiosities surrounding someone’s personality. Note John Cale’s frantic piano stabbings throughout.”
Rebecca by The Moles, selected by James Madden
“Their album Untune the Sky has a real hazy, cloudy and demented sound,” says James. “I love this track for its weird lyrics, particularly the chorus – “Wonder free fall Rebecca” – and something about a slicing a cake 100 times in the second verse. I first heard this in a bar on a not so recent trip to Berlin. The kick ass organ riff that hammers through at the start picked me up from my seat to wander towards the DJ to ask what I was hearing. Not many tracks do that kinda thing to me. Oooh and that bass riff, ouch.”
Richard II or Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Responsible Hate Anthem) by Titus Andronicus, selected by Callum McFadden
“The album that this song resides on is a reference to the USS Monitor, the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy,” says Callum. “So there’s your American Civil War lesson for today. Titus Andronicus have a penchant for a decent title but this one truly outdoes even them! A nod to Shakespeare in the title and a nod to famous man Billy Bragg are always well received. Good ole heavenly vibes at the end produce a euphoric ending, perhaps insinuating ascension into God’s Kingdom? Really, it’s just a great punk song. For fans of overly long, overly pretentious song titles and the History of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Hooray to the Unionists!”
Richard III by Supergrass, selected by Harry Chalmers
“For about four years we were all completely obsessed with Supergrass,” admits Harry. “We went to see them live as often as possible, our old band covered loads of their songs (…and all of our original songs were Supergrass rip-offs), we constantly quoted the most trivial things from Supergrass interviews/documentaries/live shows, and Cal sleep-walked out of a first floor window because he wanted to be more like Mick. Supergrass have a boat load of songs with names in their title, and that is probably why we do too.”
Rosie by Tom Waits, selected by Ryan Murphy
“I went through a phase of wanting to be just like early Tom Waits: a drunken rambler sitting at a piano in a dark and dusty bar, singing out to the moon,” says Ryan. “I got fired from a London bar for being a drunk. Soon after that I read Lowside of the Road by Barney Hoskyns, which is when I realised that Tom was trying to shake off a caricature of himself that he’d created. I could see why. I’d lost my job and was currently living with my ex-girlfriend’s Mum; I knew exactly what past-Tom was going through.”
Smith & Jones Forever by Silver Jews, selected by Callum McFadden
“My favourite thing David Berman has ever done is the poem Snow from his collection Actual Air,” says Callum. “For me, it’s about the way that little kids never stop asking questions but the two lines that really captured my imagination were ‘Then we were on the roof of the lake. The ice looked like a photograph of water.’ What a way to describe a frozen lake, completely the opposite to the norm. This is what makes David Berman so special. Smith & Jones Forever is the best song on the Silver Jews’ best album and my favourite lyric is “O come let us adore them, California overboard, holding up their trousers with extension cords”. For fans of creepy, slightly uncomfortable bass lines and drunken poets.”
Susan’s House by Eels, selected by Ryan Murphy
“I remember talking to James about Eels and he said he couldn’t listen to this particular track because it scares him. I told him I have the same problem listening to Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water by Limp Bizkit – a track that says ‘fuck’ like fifty times is just unsettling. Susan’s House is a particularly visual and eerie sounding track. There’s a fifteen year old boy with a bullet in his head, an old house burning down, and allusions to teenage pregnancy. There’s a lyric about crack cocaine in there somewhere, too. It’s all pretty sinister stuff.”
Hooton Tennis Club are supporting King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard tonight, 24th November at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London (tickets and info here). Find the band on Bandcamp and follow them on SoundCloud, Facebook and Twitter.