Tuesday, 19 February 2008

"Bomb the House of Lords, then onto the Brit Awards"

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your television, the annoyingly smug and thoroughly depressing back slapping coke fuelled awards show returns on our goggle boxes tomorrow. Needless to say that I won't be watching The Brit Awards this year. I think I might have bothered to sneer my way through it until I learned that Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne were hosting it. Woop-de-fucking-doo.

Don't get me wrong, it's not totally devoid of any entertainment; after all we can all remember with glee when Jarvis Cocker jumped up on stage to protest against Michael Jackson's stomach churning and bile educing performance. Also last year provided valuable evidence that I was in fact quite correct, when for the previous 4 years I had referred to Josh Stone as a useless, untalented, annoying, sudo-yank, finally everyone believed me! It's just so fucking irksome, especially with the media furor that will inevitably follow, particularly about Amy Winehouse, (who whilst I'm on the subject off, am I the only one in England who thinks she's crap- with the obvious exception of 'Rehab'?). My only temptation to watch it would be for Leona Lewis’ performance. Unashamedly, ‘Bleedin’ Love’ is one of my all time top ten ‘Guilty Pleasures’.

There is also the forthcoming NME Awards show, which is actually about twenty times worse than the Brit Awards. The bands feel obliged to get wasted and try to act as cliched outrageously as they can when they collect their awards. How cool- look there's yet another spotty, skinny cockney tosser in a porkpie hat dribbling into the microphone, slagging off the people. Great. How very youthful! Are the NME responsible for the emergence of these talentless fuckwits, or are the fuckwits at the NME just tapping into the youth culture? To quote Abe Simpson:

"A little from column 'A', a little from column 'B'". Though I suspect the former, rather than the latter, is the more probably answer.
I was unlucky enough to have caught 10 minutes of last year's award ceremony and boy was it painful to wacth. Mostly for Lauren Laverne who had the misfortune of presenting the show. I think Joe Pasquale's or Billy Pearce's gag writers were hired to write the jokes for this particular show, which of course fell as flat as pancake. Utterly cringe worthy.

Still, until I joined the band my only claim to fame was being thrown out of Laverne's former band Kenickie's dressing room in 1996 (a long and unfortunate story). I think like most fellas of my age, we all had a thing for her at sometime or another. I actually saw a rare solo performance she did at The Leeds Festival in (I think) 2000. I can't recall all that much, except a) she looked hot b) it was a surprisingly good set and c) none other than Arab Strap's Malcolm Middleton was playing guitar for her! (I later discovered they were an item to my dismay).
Anyway, the only Kenickie track I could find was Punka which is on cassette (which is of little use to me now) so instead I've attached a clip from Youtube for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Hot Chip - Manchester Academy 16th Feb 2008

Huuuzzzzzarrr; the gig season is upon us! The first of what's planned to be a slew of forthcoming shows, the missus and I popped over to Manchester to catch Hot Chip performing at the newly refurbished Academy. Actually I was led to believe this venue was to be newly refurbished, which was why the damned place had been closed since last March. As we eagerly stepped into the dimly lit building it soon became apparent that little to no work had actually been done, and most alarmingly of all was that the much needed new bar hadn't been installed. "No matter" I thought, we've always managed to get served (eventually) at one of the two bars...wait an 'effing minute! Where's the other bar??!!!!

Turns out that after nearly twelve months of re-building, the only noticeable difference was a) there was only one (the smaller of the two) bar open and that b) the toilets had been relocated (actually the words 'relocated' and 'toilet' may be a bit of a stretch- they've simply shut the old ones and put a collection of portaloos a short jog away from the building) Being a chivalrous s.o.b I sent Lisa into the swarming crowds to fetch the booze, I figured she would be less likely to be squashed by some sweaty giant in the melee in the seriously packed bar. I was wrong so decided to join her. Approximately 30 minutes later (or more accurately - the entire length of support act Matthew Dear's set) we emerged, damaged and sweaty beers in hand. So far so good.

Hot Chip eventually made their way on stage and judging from the crowd's reaction it looked as if a good night was install for all (perhaps except that poor girl I was squashed behind in the queue for the bar...should you be reading this I can assure you that it WAS my mobile phone digging into the small of your back not my cock).
And it was (note the grammatical clanger of starting a sentence with 'and' is a homage to my favourite Hot Chip Song) a good night...I suppose. My only real issue which has been hotly disputed by my better half was that the songs didn't really carry over that well to a bigger stage. The up tempo songs plodded somewhat and tracks like 'Over and over' felt tired, the band looking as if it was the millionth time they'd had to perform it. Nevertheless is was a good night despite the venue's owners trying to spoil it for us. Not that I think you should make comparisons to other bands of similar ilk (I'm going to do it anyway), but when we saw LCD Soundsytem at the same venue last year, they managed to successfully translate their sound to the audience with (in comparison) consummate ease. Perhaps my real issue is my disappointment with Hot Chip's new album 'Made in the Dark' where I'd hoped they'd be stepping 'it' up a gear rather than ambling round with a retro sound, which to these ears resembles early Squeeze.

Anyway- I'm sure by the time of the summer festivals they'd have got their shit together and no doubt I'll be proved wrong about their album (I haven't given up on it yet).
In the meantime instead of posting some Hot Chip tracks (which would be requested to be removed in seconds no doubt) please find two Hot Chip Covers versions and Squeeze's 'Up The Junction'- which I'm sure you'll agree sounds similar to a few tracks on 'Made in the Dark'.

Please let me know if you agree?

Hot Chip Cover Versions:

Portastatic - And I Was A Boy From School
The Miserable Rich- Over and Over

(debatable) Hot Chip proto types:
Squeeze -Take Me I'm Yours
Squeeze -Goodbye Girl

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

We're going to need a bigger boat

It saddened me to learn this morning that Roy 'we're going to need a
bigger boat' Scheider passed away yesterday . Aside from his role as Martin Broadie in the Spielberg classic 'Jaws' and 'Jaws II' which the majority of people will no doubt recognise him from, his finest role was that of "Cloudy" Russo in The 1971 film French Connection, excelling as the Good Cop to Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle's Bad cop.

Of course it's a completely hollow and thoroughly shallow sentiment for me to post a tribute to a guy I never met, and who I know for only three films, but fuck it -I love those damned films, though it's a shame I couldn't find an MP3 more appropriate to post.


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Clinic- Live Performance, BBC Merseyside, 1st Feb 2008

T’was a night to remember…though sadly due to my alcohol intolerance I can’t recall a great deal from my visit to the BBC Merseyside studio to see local boys Clinic perform a specially recorded session for DJ -and all round good bloke/local music champion extraordinaire- Dave Monks, in support of their forthcoming 5th album ‘Do it’.
Thankfully, my better half has managed to fill in the blanks that an impromptu after-work visit to the pub caused and as luck would have it, I managed to get some pictures (of varying quality) on my phone.

Their attire for the night was striking as ever; their trade mark surgical masks, this time accompanied with matching army regalia and Beatles Mop Top wigs.
The set played tonight showed off some of their new material, which was sounding pretty darned impressive - not just for Clinic afficianardos but also to the uneducated. Notable tracks included psych rocking ‘Corpus Christie’ (One of the few songs they introduced and certainly one for future Easter themed music blogs no doubt) and the free to download from their website Radiohead tinged current single; ‘Free Not Free’ and threw in some older favourites like the brilliantly toe tapping title track from their vastly underrated second album ‘Walking With Thee’.

The set was like their songs, to the point, punchy and fascinating. At risk of plagerising John Peel when discussing The Fall, one of Clinic’s finest attributes is “They’re always different, yet always the same”. I’m sure in ten or twenty years time, once the dust settles, we’ll look back and rightly give thanks and praise on to these odd ball geniuses and regret the missed opportunities to see them perform live- or in my case the alcohol induced remorse!

Band's website Myspace

Monday, 28 January 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Burns

Belated happy Burns Night (belated). A suitable Mp3 to celebrate...yay!

The Ramones- Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns

Thursday, 24 January 2008

It may as well have been little Kim, when every song you hear still reminds you of him

Well it wasn't too long before the finest moniker of any artist or musician ever (and this is official; I've checked) and writer of one of my all time favorite songs (Tonight was a Disaster- where the lyric used in this post's title originates) Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is returning to the UK.


I've been kicking myself for the past two and a bit years since CTFPA's Owen Ashworth's lo-fi symphonies graced these shores and I decided I'd rather stay in and watch a poor TV movie than drive to Manchester on my own to see them. This was a poor error of judgment on my part and I've been hoping that I would have a chance to atone for such a heinous fuck up.

Judging from news via his website there's no new material on its way, however there is a free download of the previously unreleased 'New Year's Kiss (4 Track Version)' available...for which the following link will (hopefully) take you to:
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - New Year's Kiss

Older track (again via ctfpa website)

Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Young Shields

Check the following list of gigs, select a nearby venue, go to the gig, enjoy yourself...maybe get a little drunk if you want.

Please don't be a chump like I was.


05/03/2008 UK London (Bush Hall)
07.03.2008 IRE Galway (Roisin Dubh)

08.03.2008 UK Belfast (Black Box Café)

09.03.2008 IRE Dublin (Whelan's)

10.03.2008 UK Leeds (Brudenell Socia
12.03.2008 UK York (The Crescent) 1
3.03.2008 UK Manchester (Charlies)

14.03.2008 UK Bristol (Cube Cinema)

15.03.2008 UK Cardiff (UWIC Howard Gardens)

16.03.2008 UK Nottingham (The Social)

17.03.2008 UK Brighton (Pressure Point)

Beach House

Ignoring the steady slew of crap bands that the usual sources insist will change my life etc...I've somehow come into possession of some interesting and standout tracks of late. One of which comes from the rather lovely Beach House. Sounding somewhere between Kingsbury Manx, Radar Bros, Beach Boys and Grizzly Bear, the two band members Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand have most sincerely impressed (and soothed) these tired old ears of mine. I note with eagerness and glee that they have an album coming out soon called 'Devotion' which is released Stateside on BellaUnion, so please make sure you investigate. This track in particular is has the rare quality of a splendidly haunting guitar lick and a warm and beautiful organ (insert your own joke there peeps).

Friday, 18 January 2008

Radio someone still loves you

I was contemplating my albums of the year choices yesterday, primarily the several albums that I haven’t yet managed to acquire. One of these would be Radiohead’s latest offering ‘In Rainbows’.

As an on-off Radiohead fan I’ve never rushed out to buy any of their albums usually purchasing them several months later, however the two tracks from said album; 'House of Cards' and 'Nude'have left me feeling more excited about ‘In Rainbows’ than any Radiohead release thus far. With the fact that they were literally giving the album away, I don’t know why I never got round to listening to it. I am an idiot(tech).
Whilst contemplating this walking home from work, I chanced upon a track at random by MIA called ‘Paper Planes’ on my MP3 player. Having been fairly nonplussed by her debut album and her live act , I automatically bypassed her latest offering, but if ‘Paper Planes’ is anything to go by, it would once again appear that I had ‘missed the boat’ re-itterating the observation that I am an idiot. Coincidentally last night, non other than Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Ed Greenwood were filling in for Zane Lowe on his BBC Radio One show. The track they opened with? Non other than MIA’s ’Paper Planes’. Yay syncronisity! It was a great two hours worth of radio, and amongst other tracks aired, they played a Burial track called 'Ghost Hardware', which was one of the finest sounds I’ve heard for an age, Perhaps the hoards of writers pontificating about this album were onto something? (you've got the picture...I'm an idiot) They also played Sonic Youth’s ‘Youth against Fascism’ which was the very first Sonic Youth song I ever heard way back when a pal taped me a copy of Nirvana’s- Nevermind and filled the remaining 30 minutes with the aforementioned ‘Youth Against Fascism', Sugar’s ‘Changes’ and Ministry's epic 'N.W.O'- all of which I loved as much (if not more) than Nevermind.

Anyway, I decided a.) I was going to buy M.I.A, Radiohead and Burial’s albums and post these 'ere tracks.

Monday, 14 January 2008

You were in a car crash and you lost your hair

So with much pomp and circumstance Liverpool’s second favourite son (who’s still alive) kicked off the European Capital of Culture extravaganza on Friday. Personally I couldn’t be arsed to see ole Ringo (poorly drawn above..apologies) playing with Dave Stewart (how the hell did he get involved?) on St George’s Hall, but kudos Liverpool etc.

At work, the inclusion of Ringo has caused something of a stir, notebaly his merit as a musician, with the common consensus amongst my cohorts being that Ringo was, and I quote: "without any talent as a singer or a drummer".

Have these people listened to a Beatles album?...I mean listen to the drumming on 'Get Back'- it’s fucking great! Sadly his reputation will, or so it appears, be forever be sullied by a John Lennon quip, who when asked in an interview if he thought Ringo was the best rock drummer in the world retorted: "he's not even the best drummer in the Beatles!".

Anyway, I have a genuine love and affinity for Ringo and especially one of his few writing contributions 'Don't Pass Me By' from The Beatles' White Album. It doesn't take the keenest of music aficionados to work out that its not in the same league as most of other songs from the album, but it always makes me chuckle, especially the "I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair/You were in a car crash, And you lost your hair" lyrics. Effing marvelous. It also has further meaning when we did a Radio One interview/session with Huw Stevens several years ago and were asked live on air to chose a track from The White Album for him to play (I difficult task I'm sure you'll agree) and despite the obvious chin scratching mulling over I managed to get them to (reluctantly) agree to play this song, much to the other band members discontent afterwards.


The Beatles- Dont Pass Me By (Anthology Version)

Comedian Peter Serafinowicz, whose inconsistently funny BBC show was aired late in 2007, does a mean Ringo impersonation (as well as a great John & Paul) as demonstrated in these clips.

Friday, 11 January 2008

The Man who went up a mountain, then came back down again a little while later

Sir Edmund Hilary (as poorly depicted above...apologies), first man to conquer the dizzy heights of Mt. Everest died toady aged 88. I thought he was dead already, nevertheless he was officially the first man (along with his Sherpa; Tenzing Norgay) to set foot on the Everest's peak in 1953.
Despite it being an amazing feat, I always felt that the role of Norgay (and that of all other Sherpas) was overlooked in the history books. Anyway, it's a perfectly reasonable excuse for me to post some Mountain themed toonage:


Sparklehorse -Mountains

Dinosaur Jr - Mountain Man

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Tracks of the Year (2007) Yeah!!!!

1) Throw me The Statue – About To Walk

I discovered this track by total chance. Whilst awaiting a knee operation I perused a implausibly large amount of MP3 blogs, downloading anything and everything I came across for the impending hospital stint. After my operation doped up on delightfully strong pain killers I had these tracks playing randomly on my generic MP3 player, most of which I was nonplussed when, as if a gift from the Gods I heard this, and I loved it from the get-go. I think I must have listened to it back to back for and hour and even now after literally hundreds of listens my adulation hasn’t waned.

There are many reasons why I absolutely adore this song; for its wit and originality, the great drum break where the drum machine almost goes out of time, the almost Malkamus esque cryptic lyrics and ‘ahhhh ahhhhh ahhhhh ahhhhh ahhhhhhhhhhhhh’ sing a long vocals to name but a few.
The debut album Moonbeams is due to be released in February, which I hope will be followed up with a tour and equally brilliant follow up releases.

Throw Me The Statue- About To Walk


2) BAAR – The Song is the Single

A perfect cross between Pavement and The Fall. Driving Bass and drums with a spoken word ramble. “So sick in the Travel Lodge in Leeds in the rain” perfectly and succinctly epitomises the dreary accommodation during a small scale UK tour. (My own personal Travel Lodge hell would be Exeter during our first ‘proper UK tour’ doing nothing but watching crappy day time TV and eating Mini Baby Bells)


3) The Besnard Lakes – Devastation

The foundations of this song are built around a towering riff and bass line that will have you punching the air and banging your head like a fool. A drum breakdown towards the end is -without wishing to sound like a complete tool- "off the hook!!"

MP3 link via Hype machine:

4) The Fall – Reformation

Unmistakably Fall-ish in it’s approach only with a more infectious repetitious bass line than ever. I insist you purchase the 12” extended version and play it loud, play it proud.


5) Midlake – Roscoe

This song starts off like 'Suicide is Painless- Theme From M*A*S*H' which is a god enough reason as any to adore this.


6) Euros Childs – Henry a Matilda Supermarket Super

If I could sing, I wish I could sing like Euros Childs. I love the fact that I have no idea what this song is about, but love that Black Lace type keyboard sounds and Euros’ voice sounds as soothing and sweet as ever.



7) LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

Nuff said already… The live versions of this (note the use of the plural…yes I have seen them twice this year) will make your hair stand on end and your body move uncontrollably even for the staunchest non-dancers such as I.

8) Electrelane – To The East

This song starts so well and just builds and builds and builds…The band have gone into hiatus but hopefully they’ll return to continue where they left off.



9) The Twilight Sad – And She Would Darken The Memory

The stand out track from their impressive debut.


10) Thee Neerlymen – Boomerang

This track was the first in a collection of 3 songs sent to me in February last year, it ticks all the right boxes as far as influences go and has a fantastic loose feel to it. The opening music to my bawdy imaginary sit-com.


11) Animal Collective – For Rev Green

One word: Epic!


12) Blitzen Trapper – Wild Mountain Nation

Retro sounds Southern rock from a band whose album I enjoyed listening to lots, but this is easily the highlight.


13) Maccabees – Latchmere

The Maccabees released their incredibly underrated debut ‘Colour it In’ in May last year from which this song was taken. Officially this is my 2nd favourite song about swimming pools ever.

14) CSS – Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above

A stomping and lolloping bass line drives what is in all intents and purposes a very simple yet highly infectious track.

15) Nina Nastasia & Jim White – Odd Said the Doe

I’ve been re-listening to this album lots recently and this, is a particular highlight. Nina’s stunning voice and soft guitar is perfecting compliments by Jim White’s spacious drums. I would recommend anyone with a soul to acquire this album at your earliest opportunity!

16) Jeremy – Make Love Not War

The sing-a-long chorus of the year bar-none!

Downloadable from their Myspace site:
Make Love Not War

17) Beirut - Nantes

Further brilliance from Zach Condon & Co. They re-iterated their brilliance with this performance of Later...With Jools Holland.

18) Hospital Beds – Cold War Kids

Saw these guys support the hugely disappointing Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah though missed most of their set queuing for a beer. This is the standout track on the album.

Cold War Kids - Hospital Beds

19) Fionn Regan – Put a Penny in the Slot

Gentle and soothing sounds from a seasoned songwriter, evoking Dylan and Drake comparisons.


20) Silversun Pickups- Lazy Eye

Obviously this band draws it’s influences from The Smashing Pumkins, who unfortunately haven’t written a song as good as this for well over 10 years.


Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Albums of 2008


1. LCD Sound System - Sound of Silver

Quelle Surprise! It’s been overstated on many occasions by finer fellows than I just how good this record is so I I’ll try and keep it simple: It has the Hallmark of a classic album whereby on every listen you discover something new to appreciate and as each track plays you think “this is the best song” until the next track kicks in. It also has the quality so that friends who wouldn’t normally listen to music of this ilk, or don’t necessarily have the best taste enquire as to what album your playing as opposed to the unimpressed “what the fook is this shite you’re listening to?” of which I become accustomed.

2. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

Having by-passed their previous recordings, I fell head over heels in love with this record on about the second or third listen. (Knowing I now have their impressive back catalogue to work my way through is a genuinely exciting prospect).
Such a refreshing way of producing music has left me elated and depressed at the sam
e time. I unequivocally apologise to my friends who recommended The Animal Collective to me over the past 4 years. You were right.

3. Caribou - Andorra

Psych soaked sun drenched west coast retro pop bliss doused with a the right amount of melancholy and bolstered by sublime layers of melodic instrumentation.

4. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away

Sophisticated guitar pop that sufficiently and surprisingly outshines their previous offering ‘Chutes Too Narrow’. Songwriter’s Jam
es Mercer’s trademark intelligent lyrics and complex melodies ensured that repeated listening produced further appreciation.

5. Nina Nistasia and Jim White - You Follow Me

Simply put; this is an album of hair raising and fragile beauty.

6. Dinosaur Jr - Beyond

Screw Led Zepplin, Take That and all those other cunts who have reformed their waste of fucking time bands - this is THE reformation that all other reformations shall now be judged! Make no mistake this isn't an album for thirty somethings wishing to a take a trip down memory lane, this is the real deal. Fucking Ace!

7. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

This album wasn’t released in the UK until Jan 07, which after reading the Stateside hullabaloo was an awful long time to have to wait. First listens didn't impress me and I put it to one side, however after catching their live act I went back to it and got passed my initial Bruce Springsteen reservations. I drove my neighbours mad
with the incessant repetition of 'Chill Out Tent'

8. Euros Childs - Bore Da

As well as being possibly the most underated songwriter of his generation, Euros Childs is extremely prolific in his out put. Unlike his other offering this year, Bore Da is a collection of stripped down piano and guitar led folk tinged pop sung entirely in Child’s native tongue.
Brilliantly bonkers and beautiful in equal measure.

9. Thee More Shallows - Book of Bad Beats

Despite me mispronouncing the band’s name as ‘Three more Swallows’ for several months this record was a permanent fixture on my turntable throughout the summer. Blending beats with soft vocals and a plethora of different instruments. Think early Beta Band meets Califone.

10. Wooden Shjips - Eponymous

This came highly recommended by the chaps in my local record shop and it didn’t disappoint. It’s got the heaviest and dirtiest bass I’ve heard for an eon and it doesn’t sound a million miles unlike a Fall 45rpm record being played at 33rpm.

11. Besnard Lakes- The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse

A collection of tender and rawkass songs to sooth the soul.

12. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

After a mesmerising performance in supporting Micah P Hinson in a strange little Art Gallery in Liverpool I eagerly awaited the release of their debut album. The layers of Kevin Sheild styled guitars accompanied with ferocious drumming set the backdrop for singer James Alexander Graham's heartfelt vocals.

13. The Battles - Mirrors

Math rock pioneers bring us a cleverly quirky collection of off beat instrumentals.

14. Menomena - Friend or Foe

Richly textured pop prog- a slightly less wacky Flaming Lips. On tour in the Uk and Europe in 2008!

15. The Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

Tight trousered Southern gentleman rock it like it was 1973 with their finest album yet.

Albums that didn't quite make it for various reasons; however I feel they deserve a round of applause for entertaining me anyhow.

Bill Callaghan - Woke on a Whaleheart (Great album, but sadly not a patch on his last two releases)
Buck 65 - Situation (Not as interesting as his last few releases unfortunately)
Okkervil River - Stage Names (More listens required)
Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation (as above)
Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus! (Good but not great)
CSS -CSS (I tired of this album quickly...though it was fun whilst it lasted)
Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold (Great album with just one too many so-so songs on it)

The Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards (Playing it yesterday it didn't sound as good as it did in my head)
The White Stripes -Icky Thump (Actually I'm not sure why I didn't put this in the 15...apologies)
Jamie T - Panic Stations (I loved this when I got it but with the exception of the singles I got bored too quickly)
Panda Bear - Person Pitch (More listens required)
The Field - From Here we go Sublime (Much more listens required)
Beriut - The Flying Club Cup (I know I'll like this more in about 2 months time)

New Blog New Blog New Blog


Just what the internet needs...another sodding MP3 blog full of trite opinions and over indulgence coupled with a modicum of narcassism!

Future posts to follow naturally; however until then I shall bid you adieu and wish you a happy New Year suckers!