Friday 19 November 2021

Retrosonic Podcast Special Episode "Presenting The Fabulous Courettes"

Photo by Steven Tagg-Randall

Welcome to the brand new Retrosonic Podcast "Presenting The Fabulous Courettes". In this comprehensive and highly entertaining episode, I talk to Flavia and Martin of The Courettes as they reflect on their hugely successful seventeen date U.K. tour and the amazing reaction to their latest album "Back In Mono". In part one, backstage at The Lexington, we cover the pressures of dealing with the lockdown, livestreams, the story behind their own Starr Sounds studio, the influence of a fifteen year old singer in Japan and why the album was mixed in Tokyo and the hunt for that elusive wall of sound. In part two I catch up with the couple just after their return home to Denmark and we reflect on the U.K. tour and dealing with COVID restrictions and Brexit. We discuss their favourite shows and crowds, the people who helped them along the way, working with Damaged Goods Records, their stunning artwork and design and imaginative, humorous (and sometimes bizarre...) merchandise, their songwriting process and how personal tragedy has informed the emotional depth of "Back In Mono" and finally, there's the Courettes' Rock 'n' Roll High School! If all that wasn't enough...the episode is generously sound-tracked by wonderful songs from "Back In Mono" and a personal selection of some key tracks in The Courettes career. So, pour yourself a drink, flick the switch to mono, sit back and enjoy the fabulous Courettes!

Please check out the feature at Retro Man Blog here for a full report on the Lexington show, backstage interview, review of "Back In Mono" and exclusive photographs.

Podcast Track-listing

R.I.N.G.O. from "Back In Mono" & 7" Single

Twinkle Heart by Soleil from "Soleil In Stereo"

Hop The Twig from "Back In Mono" & 7" Single

Trash Can Honey from "Back In Mono"

Want You! Like a Cigarette from "Back In Mono" & 7" Single

Edge of My Nerves from "Back In Mono"

Night Time (The Boy of Mine) from "Back In Mono"

I've Been Walking from "Here Are The Courettes!"

I Wanna Be Your Yoko Ono "Here Are The Courettes!"

The Boy I Love "Here Are The Courettes!"

I Can Hardly Wait from "Back In Mono"

Too Late To Say I'm Sorry from "Back In Mono"

Hey Boy from "Back In Mono"

Misfits & Freaks from "Back In Mono" & Forthcoming 7" Single

With sincere thanks to Flavia and Martin Couri. Podcover Photo by Steven Tagg-Randall, the Archivist of London. For full video of The Courettes at The Lexington please check out the Archivist of London YouTube channel here. For more information on The Courettes please check out their official web-site here. Records and merchandise can also be bought on-line at their official Bandcamp site here. Please also visit Damaged Goods Records for their wonderful Courettes releases and news on the new single. Retrosonic Podcast is on Soundcloud, Spotify, Mixcloud, Amazon Music and Apple Podcasts/iTunes. Subscribe now at your favourite platform so you don't miss an episode!

Saturday 13 November 2021

SuperSizeArt & Tunetables - SuperSize Soho Exhibition

Morgan Howell & Rob Chappelhow - Photo Retro Man Blog

It's hard to believe that it's ten years ago since I first encountered Morgan Howell's fantastic SuperSizeArt thanks to a feature in Mark Ellen and David Hepworth's much-missed Word Magazine. I did a small feature in Retro Man Blog here back in 2011 and then also reported on Morgan's exhibition at Snap Gallery Piccadilly in 2013 which you can also still check out in our archive here. Ever since then I've followed his career with interest and of course, his reputation has gone from strength-to-strength with famous musicians, radio stations and celebrities among Morgan's many happy customers. The extra special thing about Morgan's bespoke commissioned artwork is that they are not purely copies of the cover art of 45rpm singles but faithful reproductions of the actual record itself, creases, price labels, stains, rips and all. For example, if I had my very first single immortalised by Morgan it would be (rather embarrassingly) "Crazy Horses" by The Osmonds complete with my juvenile handwriting of the band's line-up scrawled in biro on the blue and gold MGM sleeve. It's these bespoke touches that make the artwork so evocative and personal. Of course there are various other options - I have a set of four small size versions of The Clash's "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" in different coloured sleeves and there have been postcards and prints available too. In the gallery I saw a guitar case which was adorned with a familiar signature so I asked Morgan about it and he explained that Johnny Marr swapped his guitar for one of his SuperSize singles. Morgan has also released a beautiful book "Morgan Howell at 45rpm" which features explanations and images of one hundred of his pieces and this is available for sale at the exhibition with Morgan more than happy to sign a copy for you. Of course, you can also order the book on-line at the SuperSizeArt web-site or all the usual on-line retailers and in all good bookshops too. I just wish I'd invested in a large SuperSizeArt 45 rpm ten years ago!

Morgan Howell of SuperSizeArt - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Rob Chappelhow of Tunetables - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Sharing the exhibition space was Rob Chappelhow from Tunetables, another great idea for music lovers who also appreciate great design. If like me, you once ditched your CD's following the resurgence of vinyl and were left with crates of the unloved discs in your loft - well you can now turn them into an artistic centrepiece which also serves equally as good as a practical storage solution. I spoke to designer Rob Chappelhow and told him that his work reminded me of the wonderful display of Joe Strummer's cassette tape collection at the "Joe Strummer 001" box-set exhibition back in 2018 - where Joe's lovingly hand-written and coloured covers were on show in a display case. They were visually stunning even before you took the time to see how Joe had individually tailor-made each cover to reflect on the content and genre of these unique compilation tapes. I was pleasantly surprised when Rob told me that was actually one of the inspirations behind the idea of Tunetables, and even more so when he took out his mobile phone to show me a folder of photos of the very same Joe Strummer cassette display. 

Joe Strummer's Tapes - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Rob Chappelhow of Tunetables - Photo by Retro Man Blog

Of course, like any like-minded music fan would do...I couldn't resist taking a good look at the CD's that were in the mightily impressive flight-case coffee table and Rob's collection was packed full of a great selection of Retro Man Blog favourites such as The Specials, The Beat, The Charlatans, The Jam, Pixies, The Smiths and - as the case holds 500 CD's - many, many more! Tunetables also have options for vinyl LP's and Cassettes and are available as classic flight-cases (designed to also satisfy your inner Roadie...) or in a wooden finish and can even be personalised with your initials and date of birth. The exhibition itself is located in a pop-up gallery at 45 Beak Street in Soho close by to Carnaby Street and the Third Man Records London store recently opened by Jack White himself, which is also well worth a visit. The exhibition runs until November 21st so there's still time to visit, enjoy the stunning artwork and design on display and of course, buy a stylish Xmas present or two.

Please click on the highlighted links below for further information.

SuperSizeArt - Official Web-site, Facebook, Instagram

Tunetables - Official Web-site, Facebook, Instagram