Monday, July 31, 2023



Ten Songs About London # 3 The Clash


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 371 The Clash - London Calling


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 214 Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road


Song of the Day # 3,465 Ebony Lamb


Another week. Another enigmatic talented New Zealander singer song writer. This is already a crowded field. Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid. Is there room for Ebony and her slightly affected kookiness. There is if all of her songs are as good as this one. Watch her star rise.

Albums of the Year # 148 The Lemon Twigs - Everything Harmony


The Lemon Twigs are a delightfully idiosyncratic pair of brothers called Brian and Michael D'Addario who brighten up record release schedules every couple of years whenever they return to the pop fray.

Sons of songwriter and multi instrumentalist Michael, they're delightfully quirky, like characters in a Wes Anderson movie. Fixated with the early Seventies Pop Culture, one of the oddest periods of musical history, latest album Everything Harmony demonstrates everything that's so oddball and appealing about them.

This particular record seems to be a romantic interlude with the toothsome harmonies of Carpenters, The Partridge Family, The Langley Schools Music Project and episodes of The Brady Bunch.

A straight face is kept throughout. The height of professionalism. This is highly niche stuff and it verges on the comedic to such a degree that I really can't imagine what it would be like to witness live, it totters so perilously on the utterly ridiculous, but I really enjoyed my listening experience with it earlier on today. 

Bush Tetras - They Live in my Head


Hold the Front Page! Bush Tetras are back. Rather a surprising reformation this one. These blazing stars of the original Post Punk firmament were supposed to crash and burn. Apparently not in this case.

'Prescient outliers' on the New York No Wave scene of the late seventies and early eighties. That's according to their Spotify bio. I liked the expression so much I thought I'd use it here. Prescient Outliers! I definitely liked their earlier taut and edgy records very much so I was pleased that they were on the barricades once more.

Their new album They Live in my Head explores the same fields of frontline paranoia and engagement as they did, at CBGBs and elsewhere first time round. It's totally wired as you'd expect. A middle finger to the man and his goddam 9 to 5. This is not exploration of new territory. They've done their bit and more in that respect. This is a fine record, (mainly for fans), to celebrate the fact that they did and survived to tell the tale. Those new to them are best directed to their fabulous original records, which tell their story best. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Songs About People # 1,370 Hazel Irvine


More Wave Pictures, from the same album from last year celebrated below. They've got a bad crush on Scottish Sports presenter Hazel Irvine apparently.

Songs Heard on the Radio # 434 Wave Pictures

 I turned on my radio this morning to be greeted by the dulcet and reassuring tones of Gideon Coe. I love Gideon and his radio shows. He's recently been dethroned from his rightful place in the weekday midnight slot on 6 Music by fools who shouldn't have the authority to make such decisions. 

Executives don't understand what makes a radio show work. If you've decided you would like to be an executive you more than likely don't understand what people want from a radio DJ. Someone who plays music that they want to hear, often without having heard it before and what they want just now. Played by a person who isn't try to push his own cause but just wants to play you some great stuff. Someone who feels like a friend. And no I'm not ashamed to write that.

Gideon is like that for me. He always knows what I want. It's a crying shame that I won't be able to listen to him in the week but he's sitting in for Cery's for the next month so that's some small consolation.

I planted myself on the sofa this morning at ten and didn't really move until he was done three hurs later. He did what he does.. He varied his speed and direction of serve for three hours and constantly made me think, 'Hey want's this' and write what it was down. 

I could have played any number of things he played but this will do. Wave Pictures never let the Indie quirk lover down. They've learned at the knees of masters; Felt's Lawrence and Modern Lover's Jonathan. Then they add a dollop of their own eccentricity for good measure. Never likely to chart but ultimately really, who needs to chart. That's not really what we're here for.

Ten Songs About London # 2 Television Personalities

The wonderful Kings Road. Fabulous on a Saturday afternoon.


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 370 The Specials - Specials


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 215 Queens of the Stoneage - Like Clockwork


Albums of the Year # 149 Church Village Collective - Get Real

Good news! 2023 is only two weeks in and fine records are already flowing down the pike, demanding that I get my ass in gear and write about them. I'll do my best over the next few days to do last Friday's excellent crop justice.

This certainly isn't a bad place to start. CVC stands for Church Village Collective, come from a small Welsh town and seem to be enamored by the likes of Wings and Steely Dan.

That may not be a particularly attractive prospect but they're very, very good at what they do. Latest album Get Real is so Sunday afternoon, laid back, that it's something of a surprise to me that they don't fall over.

Each track succeeds each other like hands fitting perfectly into a fresh set of gloves. Church Village Collective, know exactly what they're doing and I like very much what they do 

Dexys - The Feminine Divine


Halfway through the first song of Dexys latest album The Feminine Divine I had to pause the track. Oh Kevin! Is this going to be hard work? There's no artist I can think of who requires such constant input and investment from the listener. He always demands your complete attention and generally rewards it.

Such a troubled fellow in many ways  and he's always been unfailingly upfront and almost painfully honest about the state of his soul with every record that he's made. Look up Tortured Artist in your Rock & Roll dictionary and you're going to find a picture  of Kevin Rowland. In his dungarees, in his dockers outfit wearing a wooly cap. Maybe in his new dress. Wardrobe has always been incredibly important to the man and he's almost always worn it well.

Several of the records in his back catalogue are among the most important ones in my collection and of my lifetime. The first two Dexys Midnight Runners albums Searching For The Young Soul Rebels and Too Rye Aye where he and Dexys first emerged and announced themselves as blazing, raging, angry and quite incomparable talents.

Then in 2012 they returned, utterly unexpectantly with a new record One Day I'm Going to Soar and toured it before it was released. I saw them perform it in full in Whitley Bay on 7th May that year with someone who was and remains incredibly important to me. It felt to both of us as if the songs were being played just for us. Rowland and Dexys are the kind of performers who at their best can pull this off in an utterly majestic fashion. Like almost nobody else I can think of. It was a completely triumphant and unforgettable return.

And then..... Not much really.  Kevin seemed happy, and that in itself was a blessing for all of those, and there are many of us who have been rooting for him down the years. He seemed happy to bask in the limelight of his return. But the records he's put out since have frankly not been much good. Kevin skipping down a lane in stylish trousers, impeccable gear and classy hat. Great look, but not albums you really needed to listen to again in the hope that they weren't as mediocre and forgettable as they'd sounded on first play.

Until now. The Feminine Divine, released on Friday is astonishingly Kevin's fifth act. He's such an old ham. But he's also such a talent that it's impossible to grudge him one more last hurrah. He's not one to ever write off and there may be even more to come, a truly remarkable man with an equally remarkable support circle.. His band. To remain in the here and now The Feminine Divine is just smashing and I'm really pleased to be able to say that.

There are parts that will make many cringe. His mannered vocals. The utterly upfront lyrics. It may not be one for everyone, certainly not for the cynic or the judgmental. Also some that some might object to as the whole record is a tribute to everything that Kevin finds divine about women and some will question his right to say and sing everything that he does. I'm not even going to enter that discussion. I'll leave it to others and just enjoy what's great about it. Its joy.

It's a joyous and heartfelt album. It wasn't hard work at all. It has some fabulous tunes that date back to that glorious age of singalong Pop, Soul and Ska that occurred at the end of the Sixties and the beginning of the Seventies when Kevin was becoming a man. A lot of people owe him a lot and it's great to see how many completely deserved curtain calls he's getting at this late stage of his artistic career.. Three cheers for King Kev!

Song(s) of the Day # 3,464 Darlingside


A Boston quartet whose fourth album Everything is Alive initially seems too shrouded in earnestness to really work but makes its way to the light.. Really this is a band that could have existed at the beginning of the Nineties or the Seventies. They worm their way to the core of each song with an almost religious solemnity.

You get the impression that these songs were recorded in the round. With band members looking into each others eyes. It risks becoming relentlessly serious after a few tracks but suddenly songs chisel out a genuine resonance.

I thought of Fleet Foxes at some points and Sufjan, My Morning Jacket and Iron & Wine at others. I worked my way through my, 'phase and found it a gentle and moving start to my Sunday morning. And best of all it became better and better with every song. By the end I was actually thinking of R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People. I know no higher praise. 

Most importantly Darlingside understand the essence of crafting a song and as the record came to its midway point it began to yield genuine, lasting beauty, By the rime it had run its course I was sold. Worth a punt and persevere would be my advice.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 572 Blur


Ballad of Darran is on the jukebox at The Telegraph. Just as it should be.

Ten Songs About London # 1 Pinpoint


A countdown of London songs. I was in Richmond where I grew up a couple of weeks back. Such a wonderful part of that great city. Pinpoint eulogise it here. I was back a few weeks ago. I got so excited I lost my hat. It's lost something of its allure I have to say but remains am enchanting place. As do its environs. 

This is a wonderful song, the only thing of worth Pinpoint ever released but it captures at once the charm of Richmond and New Wave a period when it was great to be living there, even though I was a spotty, confused oik who had no realisation of how lucky I was to be there.

'We like to sit and browse the new boutiques,
In Richmond we've all got the right credentials,
In Richmond where the breakfast's continental,
In Richmond, where the cigarettes are menthol,
In Richmond we're all very smart.
In Richmond we're all objects of art!'

Rgis list of ten songs is gleaned from this impeccable source..'

Albums of the Year # 150 Terry - Call Me Terry


We are 150 days from Christmas Day. A ridiculous time to begin a list of favourite records for the year given that we're still in July. But I've heard so many I've really liked already. Given that their are still five months of new releases I haven't heard, this will be arbitrary in the extreme. Still, gives me a chance to listen to the ones I've listened to thus far again while waiting for new stuff to arrive. We start with Terry.


During the Friday evening I've already written about on here, witnessing Holiday Ghosts fabulous performance at The Cumberland Arms, I had a good chat with their bassist Morgan. After agreeing on the dubious state of much of British Independent Guitar Pop, including the disparate set of bands generally grouped together as New Post Punk, he mentioned Terry, the Australian band that have been around for a while now as one that he personally likes.

As coincidence has it, or maybe not, Terry released a new record Call Me Terry the same day. It does what the band generally do with their releases. Surprise. The band are a difficult one to describe. DIY Glam, thrift store Pop music of the kind that would thrive in the Universe where Lawrence of Mozart Estate was the biggest star going, but is generally restricted in the universe we actually dwell in, to evening radio play and a cult following.

This is distinctly odd stuff. Casio farfisa, charity shop fare from two guys and two girls. Weird, underground ABBA. The kind of music that reflects the lives that many of us actually live, rather than the one depicted on glossy binge watch NOW TV seasons about dystopias or the mega-rich, good as they are.

The truth is actually deceptive, given the generally earnest lyrical subject matter, though you wouldn't know it unless you consciously chose to explore beneath the surface of Call Me Terry. Like Midnight Oil way before them, their songs actually  scrutinise issues such as colonialism and corruption, but do so without Midnight Oil's furrowed Bleeding Liberal brows. You wouldn't necessarily know this depth was there if it wasn't pointed out to you, (as it has been to me), but it adds an additional layer of intrigue to proceedings. The band do print the lyrics to the record on the sleeve so getting their message across is obviously important to the band

Terry in short are fab and they're fun but bear sustained enquiry too. They have a pop sensibility but it's one that is fed by The B-52's, Pulp, B-Movies and daytime soaps as well as cultural concern. They may delve into unusual subject matter, but  Call Me Terry is highly enjoyable first and foremost. Get another shrimp on the barbie and this on the turntable. and have yourself a heated debate.

The Clientele - I am not There Anymore


Writing something every day now for almost ten years on this blog about some record and why I like it, (can't be bothered much to write if I don't), sets me certain challenges I try to rise to. I'm sure I repeat myself all the time and this must be irritating for anybody who reads my stuff much.

But I try my best, and one thing you have to do is avoid cliche. You have to find different ways of saying that something is great and you like it and will play it again. You have to try to avoid calling anyone a genius at all costs. You cannot call things overrated or underrated they have to be overpraised or overhyped or neglected or underappreciated instead.

So to English Baroque group The Clientele and their very long new album  I am not There Anymore. It's their ninth in all since they started off as a fairly conventional Sixties throwback exercise in 1991. Crucially it's their first since 2017 and given its length it's not entirely unfair to call it their lockdown album, because that is what it clearly is,

The Clientele are the definition of neglected and under-appreciated. Those who appreciate them are generally music critics, discerning DJs like Gideon Cope and people with large record collections. That doesn't make their records less lovely. When they hit the groove you feel like you're turning a hedged lane in a picturesque country village and you might find yourself making a deep intake of breath and finding yourself muttering, 'Ah how lovely...'

The one criticism that you can fairly level at this lot is that they never stop reminding you of other people and entirely become themselves, This is just as true of  I am not There Anymore as it was of their previous records. During the hour I spent with  I am not There Anymore, (and it was never a chore)., they reminded me of The Beatles, Genesis, Floyd, (mostly the Waters/ Gilmour version), Love, The Zombies, Nick Drake, XTC, Talk Talk, Robyn Hitchcock and any number of other things. It was never irritating but this sensation was absolutely constant.

It also reminded me of being in England and being English, though I wasn't born here and have spent much of my life away from here. I find England and The English irritating beyond description in many ways but The Clientele taps in to everything that is great about both the place and the people.

I tired of listening to this halfway through and wanted to put on something else. There are moments when it becomes precious, just as its influences can be. Despite its obvious qualities, it is rather samey. There are only so many ticking clocks, minor chords and poignant poetic moments you can take, (or I could), before you yearn for something a bit livelier. It becomes a bit like watching an entire Inspector Morse boxset at one sitting or stuffing yourself with cream and jam scones. Or else listening to Pink Floyd all day and I can only stomach so much Floyd if Syd isn't around.

So this is great but I think it would have been greater if they'd pruned fifteen minutes from it and released the rest elsewhere for completists, of whom I'm sure there are quite a few. Still, there's much here to appreciate and admire and plenty will feast on it.

PAINT - Loss For Words


The journey of LA's Allah La's and its players remains an interesting one. Guitarist Pedro Siadatan's third outing as PAINT is a wonderful back to my place exercise. A lock in at a cool record store with all of the weird unknown pleasures that this promises. 

 Siadatan flicks through the racks over his shades with a magpie's eye and the record sustains an offbeat mien. Largely dubby and instrumental it's an exercise in taste but not a snobbish or remote one. Rather an evening spent with a cool friend versed in all kinds of underground masterpieces you're not acquainted with.

 Loss For Words is a record reaching out to an audience. Those who work in record shops themselves, like Siadatan did himself before he joined Allah Allahs. Or else those who spend half their lives in them, One to get to know I suspect

Song(s) of the Day # 3,463 Greenflow


So laid back it's cast adrift on an Californian suburban pool on a lilo. Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate. Or perhaps eight years later Benjamin on another pool, wearing similar shades, when he's inevitably tired of Elaine and is starting to gaze wistfully at younger women arrayed around the garden at a party.

Greenflow's Solutions is so unmistakably evocative of a time and place that it might as well be an exhibition installation. It's a Soul Funk hothouse classic that breathes its own oxygen. This is the band's only album after a lengthy apprenticeship playing their sets up and down venues up and down the West Coast circuit in previous years.

There's the same bored, adulterous yawn as you get in films of the time such as Shampoo or John Updike's slightly earlier novel Couples. Have an empty fling. You know you want one. Come in. The water's lovely. A fabulous album, waiting for Tarantino to discover it in a second hand record store on Santa Monica Boulevard and put it on one of his movie soundtracks.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 369 Madness - One Step Beyond


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 216 Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial


Song of the Day # 3,463 Ruby & The Romantics


A few days ago I made a wonderful discovery on here by dedicating my song of the day to Mort Garson, the Canadian composer, arranger and electronic pioneer. It led to a couple of friends posting other areas of his work for me to explore on social media.

Mort first came to broader public notice with this, Our Day Will Come a Billboard #1 in December 1962   fir vocal group Ruby & The Romantics. This deserves a Song of the Day all to itself and it has one here.

It's a song to the stars, one of those fabulous Pop moments from the months just before The Beatles arrived. A Lounge classic, later recorded by Amy Winehouse. Astonishingly, it only reached # 38 in the UK singles charts at the time.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Sinead O'Connor 1966 - 2023


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 368 Marianne Faithfull - Broken English


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 217 Alice in Chains - Dirt


50 Days of R.E.M. # 5 So.Central Rain

 This naturally follows. An old post:

'Did you never call. I waited for your call...'

For its thrilling guitar figure. For its brevity. Not a moment is wasted. For its wonderful title,  So. Central Rain is not mentioned in the lyric. Because its chorus refrain is simply 'I'm Sorry...' not a common Rock sentiment, at the time or since. For its almost biblical tone, cities washing away, building things on rocks, which reminded me of The Band, The Byrds and Creedence when I first heard it. Not common denominators in 1983. For Mike Mills extraordinary wordless backing vocal towards the close of the song which convey the ultimate, most incredible desolation. It's a song that still regularly makes me cry. I applaud my youthful taste.

Also because it was clearly an important song to the band as they played it before it was recorded on both their debut TV appearances on US and UK television. On The David Letterman Show before it even had a title. Because they were clearly very proud of it. With good reason. I'm not remotely tired of it, almost forty years on after relentless playing and replaying of it down the years. It, along with so many of the band's early songs, brought back some eternal verities that were in danger of being forgotton. One of Michael's favourites.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,462 Symbol Soup


Slow Puncture the debut album of Symbol Soup is a rather illusory product. On the surface a homage to the wonderful Elliott Smith and Redhouse Painters records of the Nineties with a strange emotional void at its core.

The illusion seems to be that while both of these artists simmer with the deepest emotions, suppress it though they try, (and they do try), Michael Rea, (who is Symbol Soup), has a voice that it is almost devoid of emotion of any kind.

Whether this is deliberate or not is for the reader to decide. I found it really difficult to personally, listening to Slow Puncture, but it certainly made the journey an interesting one. 

It's a record not lacking in decent songs anyhow. Of the introspective, hypothesising kind that you find on DIY, Indie records. Thanks once more to Darren Jones for bringing this to my attention. I wasn't so sure about this one though Darren and switched over to R.E.M's Reckoning just before Slow Puncture came to its own end. Reckoning never let's me down and hasn't for over forty years now. Just as opaque and incoherent in its way, but not to be doubted for an instant in terms of its intent

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 367 The Slits - Cut


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 218 The Replacements - Let It Be


Song(s) of the Day # 3,461 Whisper Hiss


Another fantastic Art Pop, Rock band from Portland, Oregon. It must be wonderful to go out on Saturday with the sole intention of seeing a fantastic Art Pop band in a lively club.

Whisper Hiss make a good argument for B-52's being one of the most innovative and influential bands of all time. I'm constantly coming across new young bands that it seems inconceivable to imagine existing without them and here comes another combo that add substance to the argument for that argument.

Their debut album Shake Me Awake is jerky rhythms and dayglo costumes. Hanna Barbera.Not perhaps overflowing with originality - this screams '79 to '81. But hey these were exciting times for Pop Music.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 366 The Residents - Eskimo


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 219 The Beatles - Let It Be


Song(s) of the Day # 3,460 Mort Garson


Great, hot off the press new record releases are so frequent these days that it pays to keep an eye and ear out for them. I'm actually starting my countdown of favourite albums of 2023 in a few days time would you believe. 150 of them taking us to Christmas Day and I doubt if I'll shoehorn in everything I've loved this year. There are still five months of 2023 still to come. I really should get that job in a record shop.

Still it pays to keep an eye on re-releases too. Bandcamp is generally still best for this. At least as far as the truly obscure and slightly unhinged is concerned. My latest discovery in this respect is Mort Garson who was responsible for their album of the day a couple of days ago. A Canadian session musician turned avant gard maverick. It's worth delving into his moogy innovation to get one up on your trendier than thou record collecting contemporaries if that's your sad kink.

It's probably one of mine I confess, so I enjoyed listening to Journey to the Moon & Beyond by Mort enormously yesterday. It's the latest re-release from a balding, bespectacled and mostachioed man hunched over a mixing desk from long ago in the photo below. The record itself is as weird as you could possibly want. Start proselytizing right now why don't you. Friends are there to be wound up after all. 

This is time travel to strange days long ago. The moment when the space age became an almost tangible reality and our heads were blown. And I grew up in it so enjoyed this utterly loopy and unhinged soundtrack to the 1969 moonlanding immensely. A teenage musical prodigy, born in 1924 , Garson served in World War II before working with Pop stars like Cliff Richard, Brenda Lee, and Bobby Darin and having a Number One hit with his works as an arranger on 1963's ultra out there Our Day Will Come with vocal group Ruby & the Romantics

That still doesn't prepare you for Journey to the Moon & Beyond  though. If Our Day Will Come is out there, this one has cut loose from its moorings and has no intention of ever returning to the mothership. Moogie Wonderland. It's only thirty three minutes in total and recalls the strangest children's television of the times, The Magic Roundabout, The Clangers. Whacky Races and The Hair Bear Bunch. I can't recommend it more highly.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Songs About People # 1,369 Wendy Melvoin


Another from the outstanding Blake Mills album Jelly Road. One for Wendy from Wendy & Lisa and Prince's band of course, who works with him on the album.

Arcade - 20 Fantastic Hits by The Original Artists Vol 1 # 20 The Chelsea Football Team


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 365 Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 220 Frank Zappa - Hot Rats


Oxbow - Love's Holiday


Oxbow are like an uninvited guest who arrive halfway through the evening to liven up proceedings and re-aquaint us with reality. Their family tree includes luminaries such as Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, Stooges, Pere Ubu, PiL Pop Band. Not something you'd care for every day, but something you need every once in a while for your own good. If only to clean out the pipes.

The San Francisco veterans have been around since the Eighties, but clearly aren't planning on sitting down and conforming just yet. Latest record Love's Holiday is almost a ten track saturnalia to the DNA shared by the acts above.

They turn the heat up and turn it down as they see fit. This isn't all unleavened Punk Rock. At the heart of the mix is the ongoing wrestle between lead singer Eugene Robinson and lead guitarist Niko Wenner. 

They're a band that take their time and leave lengthy intervals between pronouncements. This is only their eighth album in almost thirty five years. Which give you reason to assume they choose their words and backdrops carefully.

I imagine there are those that swear by this band. It's good to have bands who don't conform to any given script. There's an almost Biblical intensity to some of these tunes. It's a reckoning.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,459 Mother Tongues


This blogs Indie correspondent Darren Jones strikes gold once more. Darren, who has recommended so many wonderful records down the years that I wouldn't have heard and been able to write about on here otherwise, has done so again. I lost count a long time ago but he definitely deserves a blog badge. Or would do if I had any. I don't.

His latest pearl is Love in a Vicious Way the debut album from Toronto's Mother Tongues. Canada is a vast country of course, but its music scene over the last few years has struck me as fascinating and incredibly diverse. Apart of course for the constant singer songwriting thread going back to Mitchell and Young.

Mother Tongues are absolutely nothing to do with that. They have far more in common with Emperor Tomato Ketchup than they do with either Blue or Harvest. Love in a Vicious Way is a Kosmiche album most obviously. A journey of discovery that fans of Jane Weaver and Sheila B. Devotion would enjoy equally.

In the words of the bands bio 'with this record, this group is carving out a space for themselves; they are world building.' For once this is no mere hubris and hyperbole. This record's really something special. Most obviously in the way it shifts its mood in the way the best science fiction films do.

One moment we're in a forest glade, the next in a space capsule shooting through the galaxy. I love it and will certainly come back and get to know it better. Thanks again Darren. Keep up the good work and I'll keep spreading the word.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Tony Bennett


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 364 Al Green - The Belle Album


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 221 Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway


Silver Biplanes - A Moment in the Sun


Would you like to fly in my beautiful balloon. Would you? I bet you would. Well you can't. I don't have a beautiful balloon. I don't like heights.

But if you would anyway, the nearest musical approximation of that would currently be Silver Biplanes new album A Moment in the Sun. Rarely has an album been better named. It's fab. A pure drop of sunshine in the middle of summer.

At the core of Silver Biplanes spell are husband and wife team Vanessa and Tim Vas. Tim was bassist of fondly remembered C-86 band The Razorcuts. They took their name from a Buzzcocks line, 'Until the razor cuts...' What a cool thing to do.

They also featured New Zealander David Swift who also wrote for The NME at a time when that actually meant something. If that were not enough, early line ups featured the fabulously named Pete Momtchilloff who went on to play for not just Tallulah Gosh but Heavenly too. All our Indie yesterdays. Tweeness admittedly but also a love and grasp of exquisite melody.

But never mind our wimpy past, let's live for today. Silver Biplanes are more that enough for the time being. This is a classy record indeed. Blue sky thinking, utopianism at its best. A picnic in the countryside with family or friends. Up up and away they go.

What do you get. Easy listening. Strummed guitars. Pentangle, Stereolab, Silver Apples, Fairport with Judy Dyble before Sandy turned up, United States of America. Psychedelia, Kosmische, Folk and Indiepop. What's not to like.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,458 Naomi Yang


I'm always grateful for helpful tips of what to listen to next. This one comes from comedian Stewart Lee and his monthly music column in The Idler magazine, something which I've started buying recently. Stewart generally knows what he's talking about and he certainly does here.

In fact he's excelled himself with this particular selection. .Naomi Yang was born in Beijing but grew up in Manchester. She became a founding member of Galaxie 500 in the lare Eighties and started wearing cool black outfits and spangly earrings onstage while playing bass guitar for them. This would suffice to give her a lifetime's supply of credibility should she choose to do nothing ever again. But if that was in doubt, she's released a great new album which Stewart and I are both currently enjoying and you can too if you'd care to.

It's an instrumental soundtrack for a documentary about her local gym in Brooklyn called Never Be a Punchbag for Nobody which despite the slightly dubious syntax of its title is clearly a contender for original soundtrack of the year in my eyes.

It has space, and sadness. And poignancy. And great titles. How I Started Boxing, East Boston is not an Airport, Maverick Street Mothers. In fact it has the best titles you're likely to see on any record release this year. It has plenty of theremin on it I suspect. I like theremin. It's warmed me up nicely for my morning bath. I suspect it works for morning showers too. The docymentary I suspect is probably worth hunting down,

* P.S. I think Stew's review is slightly more self-consciously pretentious than mine. You can buy this months Idler for £9.50 if you don't believe me and care to check it out. The magazine also has Irvine Welsh on the cover, wielding a large kitchen chopping knife. Personally, I think it's worth every penny..

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 572 Kevin Coyne

I have a friend who I still miss very much. He passed on a few years back. He introduced me to the marvellous artist Kevin Coyne thirty years or so back when we were both living and working in Dortmund, Germany. This sounded fine in The Newcastle Arms last Sunday afternoon.


Arcade - 20 Fantastic Hits by The Original Artists Vol 1 # 19 Melanie


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 363 Gang of Four - Entertainment!


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 222 Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms


Guided by Voices - Welshpool Frillies


Another Friday, another Guided by Voices album. I'm exaggerating but not much frankly. This band should take it easy. If only to allow those of us who love their stuff to actually process their records fully before the next one pulls up.

Guided by Voices, probably deserve to be called Dayton Ohio's favourite sons by now. If only because of the work they've put in since first coming together in 1983, lest we forget the year that R.E.M.'s Murmur came out and set a particular Anerican alternative ball rolling that still hasn't reached the bottom of its hill and probably never will.

This lot have truly legendary status by now. Some people probably buy every record. I don't think I own a single one unless I bought I am an Engineer as a single at some point one time when I saw it in a bargain basement bin. I'm sure I own this, though possibly on CD and I don't bother with those things anymore. 

That doesn't mean I don't love them but you do always know what you're getting with Bob Pollard and whoever his compadres are at any point in time. They're not a band that ever strays far from the well. Ever. It's served them well after all. Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Who, Wire, The Fall,  R.E.M's Document Bob Mould and that sound that he sculpted with Husker Du and perfected in Sugar.

This is what Guided by Voice always sound like and it's no real bombshell to report that Welshpool Frillies the band's 342nd studio album, (OK I made that up), sounds like that. I'm not complaining. I like all of these things and I love them. Long may they run. As long as the community nurse will allow them to I suspect

Song(s) of the Day # 3,457 Cut Worms


Cut Worms eponymous album has gained some column inches and fulsome praise in terms of the reviews it's been given recently on release. There's one reason for this. It's a product that showcases fine songwriting of the old school first and foremost. Wilco and Squeeze fans might as well head down here this very instant.

Cut Worms is really largely a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter named Max Clarke. Brooklyn is said to be a very nice place these days but Clarke's spiritual home is clearly Memphis, Tennessee and he makes little effort to disguise this yearning on his part. 

On the front cover you can find him enjoying the company of his electric guitar and on the record itself he has a lot more fun with it and the Rock & Roll instruments that naturally seek out its company. That organ sound that Dylan, Al Kooper and The Band so revered between '65 and '67 feature highly. That's enough to make you know pretty much what it sounds like and whether you want to listen to it.

Ir's a record I imagine Nick Lowe would really enjoy. I certainly did, listening through to it this morning. You might too. The weekend starts here.