Thursday, August 31, 2023

It Starts With a Birthstone - Albums For August


It Starts With a Birthstone - Songs For a Birthstone


You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 14 The Loft


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 398 The Dream Syndicate - The Days of Wine & Roses


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 183 The Microphones - The Glow Pt 2


Albums of the Year # 118 Foo Fighters - Here We Are


'We're all free, to some degree, to dance under the light.' Foo Fighters, Rescued

Dazed & Confused Kevin Linklater's 1993, masterpiece becomes with the passing of time, one of  my favourite films of teenage or pre-teenage musical experience. Along with Stand My Me, Grease and Juno. I find I can watch any of these as much as I like. They all understand implicitly how our youths are probably the essential passages of time of our lifetime, how they directly impact on everything that happens emotionally subsequently, and how central music is to that experience and how it resonates within us from that point on.

In a closing scene in Dazed & Confused freshman Mitch Kramer, essentially the hero of the film, returns home from a night out on the town, the first of his adult life in many ways. During the day he's been terrorised by a senior looking to beat his ass numb, had a gun pointed at him by a redneck, got his revenge on the bully, and made out with a girl a couple of years older than him. His mom meets him at the front door and lays down the law to him. He shrugs everything she says off., lies down on his bed, puts his headphones on and blasts out a favourite track. A beatific grin spreads across his face. He's made it.

The song he chooses to listen to is by Heavy Rock also rans Foghat but it might as well be something from Foo Fighters latest record But Here We Are. Foo Fighters seem to serve the same basic function as Kiss, Aerosmith and Foghat do for the kids in Dazed & Confused. They provide a soundtrack. 

What this function is exactly probably depends on where you stand on music in general. How important it is to you. And Rock Music in particular. One thing you can say for Dave Grohl's band, 25 years into their highly lucrative career, is that they are not, definitely not Nirvana. You can't help wondering what Kurt would have thought of them. I like to think he would have understood.

In his suicide note Cobain quoted the famous Neil Young lyric 'it's better to burn out than fade away.' The fact that he did so, in all seriousness, (and he was both a highly intelligent, highly sensitive and highly distraught man), is testimony to his utterly shredded state of mind when he wrote it, and an indication as to why he went on to do what he did next. Join that stupid club.

Perhaps Kurt should have spoken to Grohl a bit more and a bit less to his wife Courtney Love. It might have shown him a way out of his predicament. Grohl is clearly both a highly sensitive and highly intelligent man himself. But Here We Are, the eleventh Foo Fighters album, in a band career that will shortly pass its 30 year milestone, is exactly what we have come to expect from them. Solid Rock product. No more, no less really. It's good. The more you listen to it, the better it seems. But absolutely nothing about it will surprise you. Foo Fighters have been here before. Exactly here. For most of their career really.

I listened to the record yesterday morning and it's damned good at what it sets out to do. Not very exciting perhaps, but incredibly durable. Well written and performed Rock songs in the American tradition. Ideal listening material for a long cross country drive like the one the kids are having in the closing scene of Dazed & Confused. The one that follows Mitch's as the credits roll over shots of them enjoying their ride to get Aerosmith tickets ear to ear grins on all four of their faces.

Perhaps that's not good enough for some people but its good enough for me.  But Here We Are is housed in a whiter than white sleeve. The band don't even need to struggle with what to put onto their record sleeves anymore. Just turn up and do what they do. It's good enough for millions. I imagine any number of college kids in The States and elsewhere are planning their own summer trips to catch them at the local enormodome. They're pretty much sure not to be disappointed.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,495 Toro Y Moi

Looking for something to post for today. I haven't found much in last week's new releases. Gave Toro Y Moi's Sandhills a listen. He's been around for a while. Toro Y Moi is a stage name. He's actually named Chaz Bundick. I don't blame him for making the change.

He's from Columbia, South Carolina. His songs are Folk / Indie things built around acoustic and electric guitars that slide and emote. His singing voice is not particularly distinctive but the songs stand up. I'd place him between Elliott, Sufjan and James Mercer though sometimes he stretches back further to Dylan and those people.

Sandhills is only an EP and at thirteen minutes stopped just as I was getting interested. I'll check him out when he gets round to making an album. In the meantime, this is worth a listen and I'm now making my way through it for a second time and it sounds better than it did the first. A good sign.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Will Sergeant - Echoes # 1 Echo & the Bunnymen - Pictures on My Wall


'I would rate Bunnymen, without doubt, as one of the most enjoyable books I have read!'

Tim Jones

Yes, you can believe your eyes. That Tim Jones. The Tim Jones! Not Mick Jones, Joe's 'guitar hero' from Queensway chancers The Clash. Not bloody Bobby Gillespie or blooming Courtney Love or that bloke from Screaming Trees who's just made his way to wherever we all head next.

Tim Jones is not one of the great and good. Not one of those you see pictures of when you pick up the latest copy of Mojo or Uncut Magazine to skim through an article of old photos of the Punk glory days in the Roxy or The 100 Club or whichever dive X Ray Spex or Wire might have been playing that night. Unless he's in the audience. He might well have been.

I've known Tim for about 20 years now. We taught a teacher training course together on Riga, Latvia, when I was working there as a trainer. We got on and have kept in touch, meeting up occasionally since. Tim's great value for money whether he's on the subject of London, Politics, Music, Football or just life. He's a very good bloke to have a pint or several with. 

He sometimes posts photos of himself on Social Media when he was in his late teens and early twenties. A very good looking and stylish fellow at the height of Punk and Post Punk. He's one of those guys who saw everyone you longed to see. Just before you started going to gigs.

He loved the Bunnymen. Saw them a few times I think, certainly the famous time they played Peter Gabriel's Womad Festival in 1982 and from many punters perspectives stole the show, with a quite magnificent version of Zimbo (All My Colours) accompanied by The Burundi Drummers, which raised the hairs on the back of the necks of countless necks there.

It was one of many wonderful moments in the Bunnymen's career from 1979 to '84, regardless of what Ian McCulloch says, the ones that mattered. Will Sergeant, McCulloch's first lieutenant and a quite peerless lead guitarist, one of the best of that whole period, has just written and published the second volume of his memoirs Echoes.

If it's anything like as good as Bunnyman we're in for a proper treat. I'd echo, (sorry) Tim's praise. It was truly special stuff. Sergeant can really write, he puts you right there. He has no airs, but he's smart and sensitive as fuck and his writing is as good as I've ever encountered in a musician's memoirs and I'll start making my way through it from tomorrow on here with my own impressions. Really I'd suggest you just buy it and enjoy it for yourself.

You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 13 The June Brides


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 397 The Psychedelic Furs - Forever Now


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 184 Soundgarden - Superunknown


Albums of the Year # 119 Mother Tongues - Love in a Vicious Way


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.

Song of the Day # 3,494 Fiddlehead


Desperation and urgency. There are worse things if they are directed in the most basic and productive way. Rather than towards just beating yourselves or others up or else smashing things. Fiddlehead are based in Boston and apparently have 'Emo leanings'.

I've never been particularly inclined towards anything with 'emo leanings.' But I do like the cover of Fiddlehead's latest album Death Means Nothing to Us, where there is an image which you can only assume is the band themselves hanging from a tree against a post apocalyptic yellow skyline. I also liked the first track. I stopped listening a couple of songs later. There might be more in it for you. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 12 Bradford


Song of the Day # 3,493 Far Caspian


Leeds based musician Joel Johnston puts out his second album The Last Remaining Light under the stage name Far CaspianMelodic, enveloping, introverted tunes. This is good company. Perhaps not essential but certainly winning.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 396 Kate Bush - The Dreaming


Ora Cogan - Formless


Loyal follower and supporter of this blog, Darren Jones, has been on holiday. I'm not sure Darren Jones is allowed to go on holiday. Put that in the ship's log Stubb. It's not in his job description. He was Shanghaied, many moons ago. For the services of The Pequod As Starbuck to my Ahab, chief mate to my captain, cast adrift on the ocean seas of musical blog. 

He's been doing sterling, work onboard It Starts for a number of voyages now. Going back years. Rising through the ranks. Eyes scanning the horizon keenly for approaching schools, promising new releases, catches,  to cast the ship's nets for and bring their catch onboard for the captain's table, (though of course I know he likes listening to them just for himself of course). 

But Darren / Starbuck is always very generous in letting me know . Prizes which I otherwise might miss, so I in turn can bring them to the notice of anyone who's interested out there in the world of blog. Apologies for my enthusiasm and ludicrous prose. But that's what language and imagination is here for after all.

The good news is Darren's back from his holidays. And he's just posted me one of his latest listening finds, Ora Cogan and her latest album Formless. Ora's a recording artist based on Vancouver Island. who's been recording and playing for going on twenty years now, with EPs and albums on various record labels. Never really coming to the attention of the majors. But do we really need the majors anymore. Discuss in pairs.

Ora's a restless soul that's for sure. Formless is as good a place to make her case as anywhere. The music is difficult to categorise. I'd call it Independent Folk. It's so enticing you might make you want to cancel all immediate engagements and make your way to Vancouver Island post haste endeavoring to track her down.

Midway through Formless  she plays her take on Katie Cruel a Traditional American Folk song of Scottish origin. Karen Dalton performed probably the best known version. It's also been covered by Odetta, Bert Jansch, Lankum and adapted for their own purposes by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds down the years. Several of them are well worth hearing.

Cogan's version of this classic wasn't instantly recognisable to me and doesn't bear any immediate relation to my ears to any version I've heard before. But it holds its own. More than holds its own.

As does the rest of Formless. In itself an interesting name for a record. There's plenty of form here as far as I can see. Great form! Good shape! Thanks Darren. Hope you had a great holiday! Now back to your duties And put your back into it lad. This is just wonderful anyway. Like so much else you recommend.

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 185 Pulp - Different Class


Albums of the Year # 120 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

Monday, August 28, 2023

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 580 Go! Team


More Go! Team. Sometimes the best jukebox songs are ones you put on because you like the title.

You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 11 The Three Johns


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 395 John Cale - Music for a New Society


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 186 Arctic Monkeys - AM


Wreckless Eric - Leisureland


Whoever would have thought that Wreckless Eric would end up an Old Statesman. A sage,wizened geezer somewhere between Peckham High Street and Ancient Israel. An Old Testament, New Wave prophet. Branidshing a telecaster. Someone who you'd be obliged to to gaze at his lined visage and glean what you can, because you know at heart that he's forgotten more than you will ever know. And how wonderful that the man's never once considered changing his name. Even though he never really liked it. Or felt comfortable in the skin fame cast for him when he first pitched up and sang Whole Wide World into the mic. . 

Latest album Leisureland find him chipping away further at the golden seam he's been working at for a good ten years now. I've seen him play twice in that time. About ten years back in a large room upstairs at the Central in Gateshead sharing a low stage with his wife Amy Rigby. For the encore they played an priceless version of Leaving on A Jet Time.

After the gig I cornered him, probably a bit worse for wear. I was generally a little worse for wear in those days. Despite that, he was very generous with his time and stories. Clearly very much in love with his wife and where he'd landed up. Living in the Catskills in marital bliss. He glowed contentment. as well as artistic focus.

I saw him again at The Cluny a few years ago with a friend from my local and management friends.  I was really, really drunk this time. Staggering. Drooling. But not so senseless that I didn't appreciate his set. Riddled with fine songs, and lengthy, rambling anecdotes between numbers, stories of his days on Stiff in the mid to late Seventies. With Elvis C. and Ian D. The Pub, Punk and New Wave Days.

Leisureland is battle worn and wise. Tinged with a woozy nostalgia for the land he's left behind and its slow woozy post-Brexit  rot where Every Day is like Sunday. Cloudy and grey. A country that's forgotten what it is and once was. This is a record that probably won't be paid much attention. That's a huge shame. It's sad but it's also a celebration. It really should be celebrated itself. A finger on a fading pulse.   

Albums of the Year # 121 The Go! Team - Get Up Sequences Part 2


Brighton's Go! Team are a band that found their sound and their formula early. Almost immediately actually. With 2004's debut album Thunder, Lightning, Strike really, and they've been rolling out variations on it every few years ever since until we get here. 2023 and their seventh Get Up Sequences Part 2.

It sounds like their others frankly. But in Go! Teams's case this is entirely a compliment not a complaint in any respect because their sound has always been so inventive. Dayglo Hanna Barbera cartoons,  shooting from the hip. Daisy Chain Hip Hop, Soweto Pop, Jackson 5 and early Seventies black singalong pop, Malcolm McLaren Duck Rock, the sound of the projects at their happiest, Sesame Street, 60s Girl Groups. What more could you possibly want.

I have no idea where Get Up Sequences Part 2 stands within their canon. Does a band like this really need a canon. They're always pretty damned good. This is pretty damned good. They're positive. They reside on the street where the glass is forever half full. They're playing my neighbourhood pretty soon. I'm seriously considering checking them out. You certainly should if you haven't done so already.

Song of the Day # 3,492 The Clan


Sunday, August 27, 2023



You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 10 Red Guitars


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 394 The Cure - Pornography


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 187 Tool - Lateralus


Albums of the Year # 122 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 # 3,491 Radio Field


A mellow jangle. A band from between Cologne and Dussledorf, keeping it simple on latest album Don'ts & Do's.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 9 The Vaselines


SPELLLING - SPELLLING & the Mystery School


Spellling & The Mystery School, the new album from Spellling, and possibly the Mystery School too, is some record. I started listening to it this morning with headphones on, while also getting going on my book for next month's Book Club meeting.

It seems like an interesting book. The Coward by Jarred McGinnis. A little bit Irvine Welsh, (and it has a punched endorsement by the great man himself on the cover to confirm those suspicions), and an equal dose of old school noir.  Anyway, should keep me going over the next week 'til we all meet up again.

But, good as it seemed, a few tracks and a few pages in, I had to put down the book and focus on the record. This is  a bit noir itself. Very reminiscent of Portishead. Or a Bernard Herrmann Hitchcock soundtrack, slashing chords. Nerves ripped to shreds. At breaking point.

Chrystia Cabra, the artist behind Spellling has form in this respect. She doesn't deal in easy listening or the easily quantifiable or describable, despite the pointers I've just laid down. I wasn't even sure whether I liked the record on first play, even as I was quickly obliged to give it my full attention. 

But I was certainly forced to do that. Spellling is not quite like anyone else, even though she dabbles in and draws from existing genres most readily described as the melodramatic and certifiable.. Spellling & The Mystery School, only has one gear. The top one. It races down a treacherous mountainside road during a late night thunderstorm, like a classy sports car whose breaks have been snipped by the villains. Danger Will Robinson. Danger. Immediate danger. Here comes your 19th Nervous Breakdown.

I'll play the record again, just to check my ears haven't been deceived, then I'll post this again in a while, in my run down of favourite albums of the year. Sometime in September. Like I said, I'm still not entirely sure I like this. But it's really difficult to deny.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 393 Marshall Crenshaw - Marshall Crenshaw


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 188 The Smiths - The Smiths


Albums of the Year # 123 Telehealth - Content Oscillator


History repeats itself. The first time as tragedy, the second as farce. Karl Marx that was. But he might as well have been talking / writing about Pop Music as great events.

Take Teleheath as a contemporary example. You might like to. They're fun. Although I'm not sure they should be taken entirely seriously. They are the new Synth Wave of the early Eighties to New Post Punk's Post Punk.

They jerk and pivot like Devo, Men Without Hats, Orchestral Manouveres in the Dark, Visage and Landscape on Top of the Pops back in the day, with some knob like Dave Lee Travis presenting. You remember those Golden Days?  The Robot people in bands who were never quite the same once they discovered Kraftwerk. Nice video, shame about the song.

According to their Spotify bio, Teleheath are Seattle's 'Hottest New Pop sensation'. I cannot comment on this though they're certainly not altogether new, unless you consider 1981 new. 

Again according to Spotify, debut album 'Content Oscillator is an angular collection of friends that alleviate the modern challenge of ' 'just trying not to suck.'

That must be tough, but I'm not going to start feeling sorry for the young just yet. It's no excuse for Teleheath's sunglasses and haircuts. You end up half expecting them to come out and play We Can Dance if We Want To for an encore and there's no excuse for that.

Content Oscillator is great fun but it transcends daft at the same time. I really enjoyed my time with it yesterday morning. It gave me a weird nostalgic thrill and made me feel a little bit younger for a short while.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,490 The 1981

A few weeks ago, for reasons I needn't go into here,  I was moved to think of 1981. I got my diary for the first six months of that year, (when I was 15) out of the bottom drawer and went through it, sharing some of the more ludicrous and touching moments with friends online.

I find you can only do this for so long at a stretch and then you have to put your diary back in the drawer again and carry on living in the here and now. 'The past is a foreign country' and so on. Strange that just as I've done so, an album should come to my attention by a duo from Oakland, California called The 1981 which has taken me back again. Spinning. Helpless..

I find their album 1981 a nice place to be. The band is well named. Move On, the record in question,  reminds me of The Television Personalities, bands on Fiction Records, Cherry Red, Factory or Flying Nun. It has a black and white cover with a picture of a young woman in shadow, wearing a dress and leaning against a wall. An indistinct, dream like image, like memories or postcards from those times. The record too. Something you actually lived through and experienced but which are so distant now, so far back in time, that you can't quite be completely sure.

So come back to an earlier, simpler time. When it really seemed possible that Young Marble Giants or Eyeless in Gaza might conquer any opposition sent onto the field to take them on. When even U2 didn't seem like such a dreadful idea. This record has an innocence and naivete that is utterly winning. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Au Secours !


You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 8 The Brilliant Corners


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 392 Toto - IV


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 189 The Who - Quadrophenia


Albums of the Year # 124 Kosmischer Laufer - The Secret Kosmic Programme of the East German Olympic Program


One of my favourite annual trips, and one I try not to miss out on for any reason, is going to Nottingham to catch up with two great mates Walter and David. We go back a long way now, to my first time in Poland from '94 to '96, in Warsaw. Warsaw was at that point  like an odd Western frontier town, and it was often a cold and slightly intimidating place, But an exciting one at the same time like any place experiencing seismic change. It often felt like danger was imminent, particularly during the late evening in town, when something threatening might be about to loom out at you from the night in the dimly lit streets.

One of the things David, Walter and I have in common, apart from this shared past, is our general tastes In culture. In films, books and music. One time when I stayed in Nottingham with Walter they introduced me to the delights of Kosmischer Laufer and I've been grateful ever since. It's the most messianic, cathartic music you could possibly want for.

Kosmischer Laufer is more than likely a product of the 21st Century, an internet creation rather than actual realit,y though you can never be quite sure,  Its mystery is one of the great things about it. According to the given narrative, its creator, Martin Zeichnete worked as a Sound Engineer in the Former DDR (East Germany),  in the Seventies. Zeichnete was primarily fascinated by the Krautrock bands across the border in The West; Kraftwerk, Neu! and Cluster. 

As a keen runner he felt this music and its hypnotic Motorik rhythms could serve as the perfect training soundtrack to the DDR's formidable Athletic Programme, which was reaping clutches of medals in each passing Olympics, from Munich '72 onwards. Renate Stecher and all that.

The Secret Kosmic Programme of the East German Olympic Program has now reached its fifth volume. It sounds like the ones that have gone before. Why would it want to do anything else? The verity of these records is highly dubious frankly. Not that it matters a jot. They're truly wondrous headphone journeys.  Many thanks to Walter and David. for their introduction to all this. High time to plot my next weekend jaunt to Nottingham to listen to one of these together.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,489 Film School

'Hey I know let's call ourselves Film School !!!' No let's not. The days when Morrison was walking down Venice Beach with Manzarek, and 'Let's call ourselves The Doors Ray,' seemed like a fine idea, are long gone. Film School is the most meaningless, generic name anyone could possibly think of. 

Film School the actual band have something more going for it. Though it's all still rather generic. The genre concerned on latest album Field being Shoegaze first and foremost.

Atmosphere seems to be the driving inspiration and motivation here. You get plenty here. But not really enough to separate them from the central pack that they 're riding in and closing the distance to the leading pack they're chasing.

That's Joy Division, (they had a song called Atmosphere didn't they - rather good too), Bunnymen, The Cure, House of Love, Ride, Slowdive and so forth. Film School walk the walk, they've got the hair, the shades, the clothes. It's alright, in fact rather charming. But they forget to invent a new colour. Many will enjoy this. Nobody needs it

Thursday, August 24, 2023

You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 7 The Pastels


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 391 Iron Maiden - Number of the Beast


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 190 Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magic


Albums of the Year # 125 Soft Walls - True Love

 True Love, the debut album from a one man DIY Lo-Fi outfit called The Soft Walls from Brighton. In the noble tradition of Baby Bird, East River Pipe, Badly Drawn Boy, Dark Tea and the like, it's a tribute to imagination and vision first and foremost. 

I love these kind of personal projects. They're an indication that the spirit of Pop Music will never die, so long as there are dreamers writing songs in their rooms.

Dan Reeves, who is The Soft Walls, has listened to these I'd say. Also Elliott Smith I imagine as there's a slightly depressive edge to much of this stuff, and who wouldn't listen to Elliott if they're involved in this kind of endeavor. 

Anyhow, it's splendid stuff. Not averse to the occasional power chord either. I imagine Darren Jones, key contributor to this blog is already onto this. If not Darren, sounds right down your street.

Song of the Day # 3,488 Money Mark

Tomorrow will be like today. But different.


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Things Found on My Local's Jukebox # 579 Gomez


People have difficult approaches to jukeboxes. Many just put on five Oasis songs, then leave the pub. I imagine in my locals some see me making my way across the room and rush to head me off at the pass. One time some guy nipped in front of me and put on five consecutive songs by Olivia Newton John. I found I didn't mind. Another time, someone took out a whole list of songs they'd obviously prepared carefully before they came out. I told them to be a bit more spontaneous, As for me, I'm working my way through Gomez's debut Bring It On which came out in 1998. I liked it then and still do. Might need a vinyl copy. 'All we need's a little water...'

You've Got Everything Now - Mojo CD Compilation # 6 The Shop Assistants


Song(s) of the Day # 3,487 Silicone Prairie


'I don't want to grow up. There's too much contradiction.' Television

I have a Swell Maps album from 1980 called Jane From Occupied Europe that I would love to praise to the high heavens. It would, I'm convinced,  instantly give me enormously rare Cult cool, help me become close friends with Thurston Moore and Graham Coxon and elevate me to genuine hipster status at last. I could wear shades forever more. Wherever I was.

Unfortunately I just don't like it, It doesn't have anything to hang on to. Memorable melodies. Or really melodies at all. Ir's pretty crap. Despite its status as some hallowed text, it disappointed me enormously when I bought it on re-release and I've barely played it since.

I'm much more appreciative of Volume II by Silicone Prairie, yet another great record I've been directed to by Darren Jones, who I turn to when I'm at a loose end for new records to recommend.

 Silicone Prairie is Ian Teeple. He hails from Kansas City and craves the obscure. Volume II, his second album, (duh!), under this moniker, is obscure as you could possible want it.

Sloppily played, poorly produced, deliberately sung out of tune. Just made for sad types who hunt down Sic Alps Desperate Bicycles, Cleaners From Venus and Flying Nun rarities. People like me.

Despite its self-conscious out of focus obscurantism it's great. A lot of fun. A good excuse to not grow up just yet. Screw that for a game of soldiers.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 392 Black Flag - Damaged


Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 191 The Doors - LA Woman


Albums of the Year # 126 Tiny Ruins - Ceremony


Writing this blog on a daily basis I'm generally excessively grateful to records I really like at the beginning of the calendar year before the record industry gets back in full swing again after Christmas and times are thin music wise.

A few years back on January 2019, Auckland, New Zealand band Tiny Ruins put out one of those records with their third album Olympic Girls. It was a record that seemed oddly out of time as so many Antipodean records do. Like some charming British Folk early Seventies album featuring Sandy Denny or members of The Strawbs.

That record feels like a long time ago, (Lockdown did that), and now they're back with another album that sounds out of time yet demands your attention and repays your time with interest, just as Olympic Girls did.

Ceremony is the name of the new record and no sooner did I start listening than it started working its spell. What Tiny Ruins do is not particularly sophisticated though it is impressive in terms of its emotive power. Their great assets are their sincerity and their simplicity. Would that more artists trusted and employed such a basic winning formula.

This is immediate but its also intriguing. I'm one play in and already I'm looking forward to playing it again. It's nice to make a new acquaintance that already feels like an old friend.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 391 The Police - Ghost in the Machine


Albums of the Year # 127 Jenny Lewis Joy 'All


Psycho, the opening track of Jenny Lewis' latest record sounds as if it has but one mission in mind. To resuscitate and relive Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks glory days on Fleetwood Mac, Rumours and Tusk. I've nothing against this in principle. I like this version of Fleetwood Mac as much as the next man. But I hardly think of it as my Father, Son and Holy Ghost as some clearly do.

Fortunately the rest of Joy'All proves a lot more versatile, and interesting dish than that. Lewis is an MOR ironist, canny enough to get on the radio, but also sufficiently talented to make you listen to the lyrics too.

Like Donny and Marie back in the day she's a little bit Country and a little bit Rock & Roll. She looks like she'd be comfortable in a stetson and hitching her blouse and tying a knot in it revealing her navel, like Daisy use to on a sunny day in Dukes of Hazard.

In short Jenny seems like a sassy lady, and she's wonderful company for half an hour. Not a record that reinvents the wheel.frankly. But records like that can be rather tiresome. Why do people always want to reinvent the wheel all the time anyway. It's a rather remarkable invention which sometimes works very well just as it is..

Best Ever Albums - Top 1,000 Albums # 192 Patti Smith - Horses


Song(s) of the Day # 3,486 Leah Senior


Australian Bedroom Pop and Spring-time Baroque Playfulness on Leah Senior's fourth album The Music That I Like. It's handy to have ready labels to apply, especially in these restless, frantic times. Given that these labels actually come from the artists' own Spotify bio I feel reasonably confident that I can use them here without offending anyone too much.

They don't quite do justice to how lovely this album was to actually listen to this morning, as the daylight collected between six and seven. I'm constantly reminded of how glad I am to write a blog like this and persevere with it when I come across records as special and giving as this one.

Senior's greatest gift is her voice, which has moments of Joni like purity that make you pause in appreciation on a constant basis as the record plays . The songs are augmented in a way that find a midway niche between Folk and Pop as the description above suggests.

Senior has supported the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Bedouine and Jessica Pratt and played the Festival Circuit for a number of years now. The Music That I Like should make her new friends. Me for starters.