(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 55: Love, Burns

Love, Burns

Love, Burns is Phil Sutton. Queens resident, extracted from London, England in 2007, he is a founding member of indie pop legends Comet Gain, and has played with a number of groups over the years, including Velocette, Kicker, The Projects, Cinema Red and Blue, and The Soft City. He is currently lead singer and songwriter for Brooklyn indie-poppers Pale Lights. By day, Sutton is a librarian. 
Love, Burns debut album It Should Have Been Tomorrow was recorded over a few years, in part at Gary Olson’s Marlborough Farms studio in Brooklyn, and remotely in various locations in New York City and London with the help of Kyle Forester, former member of Crystal Stilts and the Ladybug Transistor, Gary Olson, producer, the leader and voice of Ladybug Transistor, and Ben Phillipson, former Comet Gain, and Kicker.
The record is jointly released by Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten Records (Germany), Jigsaw Records (US), Austin Town Hall Records (US) and Calico Cat Records.
The album title is taken from a line in the Left Banke song Pretty Ballerina.

Here’s a brand new film for a song from the LP, by Mat Patalano

What Phil Says: “My name is Phil, I used to be in a lot of bands: Comet Gain, Velocette, Kicker, The Projects, Cinema, Red and Blue, The Soft City, and I am currently in a group called Pale Lights. I am releasing a solo record under the name Love, Burns, on February 4th, called It Should Have Been Tomorrow. It features massive contributions from Kyle Forester (Woods/Ladybug Transistor/Crystal Stilts), Hampus Öhman-Frölund (Alpaca Sports/Jens Lekman), and Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor), and wonderful guest appearances by Ben Phillipson (Comet Gain), Alicia Jeanine (Jeanines), and Hewson Chen (Lake Ruth).

Phil’s Mixtape: “Here’s my mixtape. To this selection you could also add a sprinkling of Melody Dog, Biff Bang Pow!, Lloyd Cole, The Loft, Nina Simone, Cleo, Simon Love, Kevin Alvir, Nicole Yun, Marianne Faithfull, Jetstream Pony, Jesse Garron and the Desperadoes, Harper Lee, Go-Betweens, Gary Olson, Monochrome Set, Karen Dalton, Curtis Mayfield, Tammi Terrel and Marvin Gaye, Vic Godard and / or the Subway Sect, Huggy Bear, Morgan and the Organ Donors, Hangman’s Beautiful Daughters, Beverley (Martin), Tim Hardin, Kyle Forester, The Small Faces, P.P .Arnold, Dusty Springfield, Kiki Dee, Michel Polnareff, The Servants, The Pastels, Irma Thomas, Felt, Orange Juice, Beach Boys, The Garment District, and Sandy Denny. 

18th Day of May – Sir Casey Jones

My old band Kicker included Ben Phillipson, who also played in the 18th Day of May, before going on to play with Bonnie Dobson, Trimdon Grange, and for a few years now with my old group Comet Gain. I tried to pick a song from the Comet Gain catalog, because this is an indie pop list, and because there are so many great songs. But instead, I picked a song that I like that is just as catchy, jangly and melodic as any indie pop song, Sir Casey Jones, from the 18th Day of May, my favorite – a real folk rock pop classic. Ben plays a couple of songs on the Love, Burns LP, including the Gene Clark ‘66 falored lead on Wired Eyes.

Jeanines – Wake Up

Most of the new acts I’ve selected might be said to have 1960s influences, or similar sounds. 18th Day of May has a bit of a Fairport Convention vibe, if I can be simplistic. And to be honest most of my favorite indie pop is a mix of music that could be said to be 60s pop and garage or folk rock, or post-punk pop influenced. Early Creation Records (Felt, Jasmine Minks, Biff Bang Pow! The Loft, The Pastels), Jesse Garron and the Desperadoes, Hangman’s Beautiful Daughters, Go-Betweens, pre-Creation MBV, early R.E.M., Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Strawberry Switchblade, The Bangles, Josef K, and so on. Some of the more recent indie pop bands have been fine, but I kind of feel like I’ve already heard it. The Maurice Deebank guitars, the Shop Assistants fuzz, and so on. But… if the song is good, who cares? One band I really like is Jeanines. Their songs are catchy as heck, the melodies classic, and the guitar, bass, and drums trio works really well. Alicia has a great ear for a snappy melody, and writes simple, bittersweet lyric. She also plays some lovely violin on the Love, Burns LP, recorded by Jed, also from Jeanines, and My Teenage Stride. Wake Up is a tiny, magnificent song that every DJ should play on the Breakfast Show. I’m looking forward to their 2nd LP. And… Alicia is a fellow librarian. We have to stick together!

Triffids – Do You Want Me Near You

My absolute favorite band of the 1980s is the Go-Betweens, closely followed by Felt, and Orange Juice. But, for the purposes of this mix, I am picking a song by another group I love, The Triffids. The sound of their song Do You Want Me Near You, from In the Pines was a big influence on the sound for a song on my LP, In a Long Time, along with Petula Clark’s Downtown (two very different songs!) DYWMNY is perfect. The bass line is a brilliant melody lead – something Jeanines do too – and the simple guitar and keys have great metallic reverb echo, that makes me think of the great open spaces in (the) Australia (of my imagination), and the guitar solo is great. The lyrics capture loneliness and isolation very well.

Lake Ruth – Sad Song

I’ve known Alison and Hewson from Lake Ruth off and on over the years. Two lovely and super talented people. Alison was formerly in the 18th Day of May, and Hewson still plays in New Lines. Pale Lights (my group) have played with Lake Ruth and New Lines. The EP that this song is from actually came out on the same label as Pale Lights, and Love, Burns, Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten: thank you Ronny! Sad Song is a fabulous pop song. Lazy critics say Lake Ruth sound like Broadcast, but to my ears, this song sounds like a great lost soul song from the 1960s. It should have been a massive hit, and might yet still be one. I can hear Beyonce doing a million selling version. Maybe she’ll read this?

Gene Clark – Train Leaves Here This Morning

Gene Clark is God. A troubled God, but there’s very little he did that wasn’t beautiful. He’s the folk rock equivalent of Nina Simone, in that he could sing anything and I would still like it. The Byrds were a massive influence on indie pop back in the day – less so now, perhaps, as younger bands are influenced more by the bands from the 1980s, who were influenced by what came before. Dig deeper, kids! There’s more to indie pop than Maurice Deebank’s guitar, or a chorus pedal. (“Screw you, Grandad!). Listen to more Byrds! Listen to more Monkees! Gene’s Beatles style-pop stylings of his first solo LP, with the Gosdin Brothers, was a big influence on the Love, Burns song Wired Eyes. It’s all there in Gene’s work: jangle pop, folk rock, country rock, songs to make you cry, Baroque pop, even. Check out Echoes. Gene Clark was the Best Byrd.

Françoise Hardy – La maison où j’ai grandi

This song kills me every time. Françoise Hardy’s version is the best. It’s perfect. The way it builds, the aching nostalgia. This song influenced the arrangement for Gate and the Ghost. Even the subject matter seemed right – the idea of revisiting where you grew up. It’s a troubling trip for my song’s subject, one drenched in my own experiences, and feelings still unfocussed after all these years. It was the first song I wrote after my mother passed, and I think it’s my best. I doubt I’ll write a better one, but you never know. Françoise is also God. Her autobiography is a bit bonkers though!

Galaxie 500 – Parking Lot

I saw Galaxie 500 quite by accident, when I went to Coventry (I think it was) with some friends to see The Sundays. Galaxie 500 were opening, with their producer Kramer on guitar. They were, to my young self, jaw dropping. I was smitten. I still love them. Their economy. How they take some simple chords and sounds and turn them into something evocative, like mercury, magic. The first group I wrote songs for was called Kicker, and we would cover this song. All the best groups can take a few chords, and a couple of lines of melody, and make a magnificent song. One that’s easy to play. This is folk music at it’s purest. This is the reason why I don’t particularly care for Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, or Steely Dan. I Guess I’m Dumb!

Comet Gain – No Spotlite on Sometimes

OK. So I cracked. I picked a Comet Gain song. I wouldn’t have made a note of music if it wasn’t for David giving me the confidence to play in a band, something I thought the likes of me didn’t do. I went to art school with Ride, and they were so good, I thought you had to be a superhero to play music. David taught me – without actually telling me – that the most important thing wasn’t fancy gear or musical chops, but having an idea,the drive to make something, to create, to explore who you are, even if no one cares. Everyone should do it. It doesn’t have to be music. It can be gardening, painting, genealogy, fishing, writing a fanzine, playing the harp. As long we’re not just consuming. There’s so much pressure on us to consume. It’s nauseating, and ultimately hollow. I should know, I have far too many pairs of shoes. They don’t make me happy. No Spotlite on Sometimes is my all time favorite Comet Gain song that David sings. Probably. It’s fantastic. I love it. Every note and lyric is perfect. And it makes me cry, because he gets it. And it is probably their most obscure b-side. You should get hold of a copy of David’s new LP, by the way, For Those We Met On the Way. It’s top draw.

It Should Have Been Tomorrow is out tomorrow on Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten (LP), Jigsaw Records (LP/CD), Austin Town Hall Records (tape), and Calico Cat (digital). Look HERE for more information on Love, Burns.

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