Thursday, 29 October 2009

I Can't Help About The Shape I'm In, I Can't Sing, I Ain't Pretty, And My Legs Are Thin

My wife recently, with dismay, insisted that I listen to something new. The house has been filled with the likes of Paramore, Muse and The Temper Trap and therefore on those Friday nights when I have her chained to the cooker, cooking my tea, for me, I get to have almost free reign of the CD player/Napster account. It is almost exclusively old stuff.
So we had a look on the NME’s website to see what those trend spotters were spotting and it seems that The Flaming Lips new album was where it was at.

” You should listen to that on your morning commute”

she suggested,

“you like Flaming Lips, THAT’S the one!”

So upstairs it was to put it onto disc, except it didn’t make it on to disc, I was distracted, by Fleetwood Mac, by Fleetwood Macs greatest hits, Fleetwood Mac foiled my wifes plan. Curse you Fleetwood Mac.

What did make it on to disc was the 2002ish version of their greatest hits, not the 1971ish version of their greatest hits, which some people (me) consider to be one of the greatest albums ever made. The 1971ish version is Peter Green at his best, and the only time he lets anyone else get a look in is via Elmore James, Little Willie John and Danny Kirwan. That’s the 1971ish version of there great hits, 2002ish documents the hits between Peter Green and his Man of the World and Tango In The Night.

An era I don’t really know about, sure I know the Peter Green years, I love Man of the World, I love Black Magic Woman, I love Oh Well, both parts thank you very much. I know of all of the tracks that made it on to Tango In The Night, and then there is Albatross. I flaming love Albatross.

Man of the World by Fleetwood Mac

That’s it then, that’s my knowledge of Fleetwood Mac. That’s is the sum total of the songs that I know. My seventies were filled with Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack etc, not Genesis, not Yes, not Emerson Lake or Powell and certainly not Fleetwood Mac.

So this greatest hits was almost revelatory, as even if you removed Albatross, Man of the world and Black Magic Woman, it was full of songs that I kind of know, that seemed kind of familiar, that rang a bell and were welcome.

If I didn’t know the songs, I certainly knew of them, Tusk and Sara. Then as the disc went on, I realised that I knew a lot of Fleetwood Mac songs and I realised that I loved them. Take that frown off your face, stop it.

Landslide, is an obsolute joy to listen to and its one that I was aware of when it was done by The Dixie Chicks.

Landslide by The Dixie Chicks

One by one the songs became more and more apparent to me, be them the presidential Don’t Stop, the NOFX covered Go Your Own Way, The Corrstastic Dreams, and more and more it clicked, I knew these songs through cover versions, through, good, bad and ugly cover versions.

Go Your Own Way by NOFX

Be it Cyndi Lauper recording You Make Loving Fun, or Shawn Colvin doing The Chain Take Peter Green out of the equation and I have had a lifetime of people trying to turn me on to the ways of Fleetwood Mac, subliminally, via cover versions.

You Make Loving Fun by Cyndi Lauper

And it worked, a glance at the titles and they meant nothing to me, but as soon as they started playing it was, hold on, that’s a Waylon Jennings song, it wasn’t a Waylon Jennings song though, it was Stevie Nicks.

Gold Dust Woman by Waylon Jennings

So as I came to the end, I realised I loved this version of their great hits, because I loved in the main the covers of these hits. I have played the disc about ten times since. But not when my wife is in the car, it isn’t The Flaming Lips.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Now we are 1

It has been a year of us teaching ourselves how to grow old. A year of me writing a lot about Indie Music, a genre in the broader sense that no longer does anything for me. A year of Kev being rather educational as yes, I do get something out of what he writes, and ordinarily I will view the videos he posts or follow the links. Not always, after all, I don’t really need to subject myself to the lengthy Weekender by Flowered Up.

So as the next year of growing old approaches, I will carry on ploughing through my CD albums, becoming more and more disenchanted with music that is released now, and I suspect Kev will continue to educate.

I Taught Myself How To Grow Old by Ryan Adams

45 Flames

I tend not to be into new music. It doesn’t really excite me. Don’t get me wrong I am not all into nostalgia, reliving the music from my youth. If anything the music that I am listening to now although new to me, was made around the time and prior to the year that I was born.
Exceptions to this are few and far between (and that is likely to remain that way whilst Ian Brown and Kasabian have a career), but there is a new band from the UK called 45 Flames, and by band I mean a one man operation that seems off the strength of his 2 albums so far, Break Up In A Beat Motel and the recently released Goddess, to be releasing diverse rock music with the accent on good tunes and clever lyrics.
45 Flames debut, Break Up In A Beat Motel appeared to take its influence from Big Star, Bolan and Richard Hawley. Smooth love songs for people that don’t like love songs. I suspect that whiskey may have been imbibed. Whiskey breath and stubble permeate its zeroes and ones, love songs for the lonely, the bemused and bewildered, with a hint of menthol cigarettes. Jilly Gouldon would have a field day.
It seems that in the time between Break Up In A Beat Motel and it’s follow up, 45 Flames drink of choice may have gone from a smooth Irish Whiskey to a Tennessee Bourbon. That’s the feeling that he is looking to put across on Goddess, its difficult not to picture on any number of occasions a barefoot girl running from her front porch and hopping into a pick up truck. Big Star are still present but Hawley’s influence is replaced by the dirty British indie blues of Primal Scream, Jailbird Primal Scream and not Loaded Primal Scream. 45 flames don't sing I'm yours, your mine, that barefoot girl running to the pick up is a goddess, she's a goddess. The other pea in the pod to Jailbird.
Influences schminfluences though. What is appealing about 45 Flames are the tunes, both albums although very different do have some great tunes flowing through them, taking care it seems not to put any chaff on either release, a great number of independent artists could take note of this. They could also take note of the word diversity as 45 Flames on the strength of his two releases isn't looking to let the grass grow under his feet, and not dwell on a single sound.
It seems that 45 Flames is trying to go the truly independent route, releasing his own material, self producing, playing all instruments bar a few exceptions and self promoting. but I am unsure in this day and age how far you can get without employing a company tasked with getting you 250,000 "friends" on Myspace, but if music alone earns you friends then 45 Flames should be well on their way.
I am unsure what is next for 45 Flames, I suspect it won't be like the two albums he has out now, I do believe though, along with The Evangenitals he is releasing truly imaginative, independent music that improves with ever release.

I spoke briefly to 45 Flames and asked him initially about an overview for his two albums.

PD: What can you tell me about the differences between the two albums, Break Up In A Beat Motel and Goddess?

45 Flames: Looking back, at the months following the writing and release of “Break Up In A Beat Motel”, it is now quite apparent to me, that the songs for “Goddess” took shape in rather a spontaneous almost organic fashion, with no real pre-conceived plan for me to assemble a group of songs, that had a related subject matter running throughout.

PD: As time went on did you formulate a plan?

45 Flames: The plan, if ever there was one, after completing BUIABM was to continue writing with view to providing material for other artists (which is still my primary goal), however, during this process, the songs on “Goddess” evolved. Perhaps as a result of a subconscious knee jerk reaction to the songs previously worked on for BUIABM, which primarily were 13 set pieces based on the twilight hours of any given relationship, set in 13 rooms of a fictitious motel, and by their very subject nature had to be intimate in style and approach (concept album I hear you cry! – maybe …..but not intentional)

PD: How did Goddess differ?

45 Flames: With Goddess I wanted to celebrate the first flushes of wicked love, tell tales of every siren that lurked behind a suburban front door, those I had known and those I had only dreamt about, real and imagined.
So again, the very nature of the subject matter has unassumingly dictated the path that the sound would need to follow, and determined the styling of both writing and recording, in a bid to convey the urgency of desire and lust, without the remorse and reflection that the dissolution of a relationship brings, that BUIABM tackled.

45 Flames can be heard at his Myspace
Goddess is available to buy on MP3 from
Goddess is available on CD from
Break Up In A Beat Motel is available from

And the usual MP3 stockists, iTunes, Amie St, Napster and eMusic

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Ten Steps from Flowered Up to Ian Brown

I read this morning that Liam Maher, the singer from Flowered Up, those 90's baggy merchants, had died. This set me on an odd ten step journey from the Heavenly Flowered Up to Ian Brown, via Republica, Saffron, The One and Only, The Tremeloes, Alisha's Attic, Karen Poole, Groove Armada, Tom Findlay, the actor Timothy Hutton, and finally to Ian Brown. There's a certain 'baggy' beginning and end. It's a bit like Ted Rodgers in ITV's 3-2-1 but here goes;
Tim Dorney went on from Flowered Up to form Republica, who had that singer called Saffron. She appeared in the video for Chesney Hawkes One and Only. Chesney's dad is no other than Len Hawkes of The Tremeloes. Also in The Tremeloes was a certain Brian Poole. He had two daughters who went on to become Alisha's Attic, one of them being Karen Poole. Post Alisha's Attic she wrote lots of songs for lots for different artists, one of them being Groove Armada. Groove Armada's Tom Findlay also makes music as Sugardaddy with actor Timothy Hutton, and, believe it or not, a Tim Hutton song, Time is My Everything, was recorded by Ian Brown and a hit in 2005.
Dusty Bin?

The Evangenitals

If you read this blog with any kind of regularity you will know that I am a big fan of California based band The Evangenitals.
I first came across them one late night in Los Angeles in The Knitting Factory, I was waiting for a Tenacious D side project and they were the support. They blew me away then and continue to do so regularly.
2 full albums under their belts, and a third album just released, it seems that they are here to stay.

This EP, is a snapshot of a band at a time, next week it may be a different band as The Evangenitals revolve around a core of Lisa Dee and Juli Crockett and an ever rotating line up. Rotating almost in a jug band at a bar way, not in a Guns n Roses way. Lisa and Juli surround themselves with the best musicians they can find, unfortunately sometimes those musicians are busy. They may well have settled on this line up, it is a line up that does excite.

This release though, where are the band now? On the back of a hayride on the trail back to their little house on the prairie if “Home” is anything to indicate. It puts you right up there with them. Like an alt country Merry Pranksters, all living in the same house ala The Monkees. They appear to be that tight as a band on Home that you would think that this band had been in this incarnation for as long as The Rolling Stones. Maybe that’s the relationship between Dee and Crockett, long term friends and outside of The Evangenitals, sole members of Evangina.
Evangina was the original home of “Home”, its back bone was the same but it is an altogether different beast when put through the full Evangenitals sound, bigger, badder, ballsier and beautiful.
Taking of beauty, “I’m Sad”, you find it hard to believe that Ms Crockett could ever be sad, a ridiculously enthusiastic woman that scares optimism with her ever pervading feeling of “hell yeah”! So I’m Sad as a song is notable for its tone, sure The Evangenitals have put out the sadness before, dressed it up in black clothes but delivered it with a wink. On “I’m Sad” though, no wink, well not at the start at the least, but you know, you can’t keep a good girl down, and you know, when she reels off that that she’s sad in different languages, you think Juli, sad? really?
Many things mean something to Julie Crockett and it seems her idea of love, love, being a vegan and being a good human being are pretty much up there with walking and talking. “So Sweet” gives us the low down on an un-named lover, but not at the expense of bees “I don’t want no honey baby cos they stole it from the bees” and animals “I don’t sexy leather, cos I got some skin of my own”. She doesn’t preach, and that wink is evident again on this track.
The Evangenitals produce the goods more on this release than on any other, if you like them, and I like them, it tops We Are The Evangenitals and Everlovin. It’s a band finding their place, it’s a songwriter growing and improving and threatening the world that maybe you could really like this band. You could really really like this band.
They make you feel special, and at times special, they wrap you up in warm and fuzzy and make you smile, they do that with a tickle and not a joke and don’t take them too seriously although they really are to be took seriously.

Home by The Evangenitals

All the info on the band and their music can be found at

Monday, 19 October 2009

Fort Apache

If you are of a certain age, and have a certain liking for American alt rock, then a few people and a place are synonymous with the genre, namely Gary Smith, Sean Slade, Paul Q. Kolderie and Fort Apache Studios.

Fort Apache Studios began in Boston in 1986 but relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1988 before coming to rest in Bellows Falls, Vermont in 2002. Originally started by Joe Harvard and a mixture of people including Sean Slade, Paul Q Kolderie and Jim Fitting. Harvard effectively was the de facto owner until his partnership with Gary Smith began when the studios moved to their second location. In the 90’s Jim Harvard severed all ties completely when he sold his part of the businesss to Gary Smith and Billy Bragg.
In 2001 Gary Smith became the sole owner and shortly after moved Fort Apache Studios to its current home.
Kolderie and Slade initially stayed on at its Cambridge location and have since started their own studio, Camp Street Studio.

Taillights Fade by Buffalo Tom

Paul Q Kolderie still produces at Camp Street, whilst Gary Smith diversified into management and concert promotion. 2007 and Gary’s management is down to a single client, the wonderful Tanya Donnelly, The concert promotion has ended and It seems that Fort Apache is no more.

Fort Apache from the early days of the Pixes to random US 12 inches always had a presence in my record collection, not just the studio, but the production team of Kolderie and Slade and the management of Gary Smith. Chances are that you would look for one name, and the rest would follow.

Caribou by Pixies

My life could be traced through their discography, and it was never intentional, it just so happened Fort Apache recorded the bands, the music, the songs that I liked, from Pixies, Buffalo Tom (Bill Janowitz it seems acted as realtor when selling off the original studio), Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the sublime Pinkerton by Weezer. And that is just a fraction of what they did. Pick any name connected to Fort Apache and their legacy is monumental.

The Good Life by Weezer

In 1995 they released an album, “This Is Fort Apache”, setting out their stall or a call to arms, either way it was very indicative of what was happening in underground American rock at that point, before Brit pop spoiled it all.

So it is with sadness that as I looked into the partnership and saw that it had eroded some time ago without a bang or a wimper, that it didn’t seem to be celebrated for it’s contribution, that the protagonists are no longer together and sadly, Fort Apache appears to have breathed it’s last. Quite sad really.


A friend of mine commented the other day on what a joy it had been to hear Husker Du in the car while being given a lift to work. This is the second time in a few days that I have been led to Bob Mould (Husker Du were Bob Mould, Grant Hart and Greg Norton) as this morning I ended up looking at the Anti record label store to find out how much the new Swell Season album was, and discovered that Bob Mould is on the same label.

Husker Du, formed in about 1979 in Minneapolis and managed to release 8 albums in about as many years, before splitting up fairly acrimoniously. The thing for me that set them apart from other similar bands was their songwriting (split fairly evenly between Mould and Hart) and a more melodic approach to post punk. It's no surprise that they are lauded for their influence on the so-called alternative rock scene.

Bob (I can't bring myself to call him just Mould, or Mr. Mould) went on to make several solo albums, that range from I-Want-My-Money-Back to the pure brilliance of 1989's Workbook. He went on to form the band Sugar, who provided the soundtrack (Copper Blue album) for most of the washing up (a lot of Linda McCartney pies I remember) I did in 1992 as it was one of the few tapes my ancient machine didn't want to chew.

So, Bob's back, in fact it was me that went away, not him. There's a new release called Life and Times, which isn't the Best Of that it sounds like. With such a long title it really should be an American Music Club song, but it isn't, so here's Bob with I'm Sorry Baby But You Can't Stand in my Light Anymore.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Best of the B's

That then is the B’s done, I suspect there will be a rogue one popping up, but on the whole that is it. I am scratching my head as to where The Internationale is, Billy Braggs more overt than normal, overtly political album of political anthems. The home of my favourite Billy Bragg track. It is either misfiled, only on LP or by the stereo.

That is of no consequence, this is about the most killer of the killer B’s, the best albums of the best albums. This is what this is about.
I must admit the B’s took a lot longer than expected, it wasn’t so much of a chore but as I had a lot of albums by a few artists, it did get a little laboured, of all of the B’s only 8 received 10 out of 10. Maybe in hindsight that should have been 6, maybe.

I have to admit that Let It Be is my favourite Beatles album and one of my favourite albums of all time. Its perfect, utterly perfect. But its quite predictable to say it was the best B, but it was in a lot of respects.
The B for me that was the best though was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl. A complete surprise musically that was thoroughly enjoyable and was nothing like what I was expecting.

Gone were the NME New Rock Revolution bollocks and they ploughed the furrow they wanted that was away from what was considered circa now. Introduced to me by a friend that has a knack of suggesting something that appeals to me, he doesn’t always get it right, but when he does, I take those things totally to my heart. Gene Clark, The Pernice Brothers and now Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl.

Howl by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

And so as they draw to a close, the best B, Howl. Perfect.

The worst B? Rather unsurprisingly it was Bjork, and her a capella album, Medulla. The thought of it now sends shivers down my spine. Dreadful, just really really dreadful.

Good Vibrations - 30 Years Of The Beach Boys

This week I will be listening to the Beach Boys box set, Good Vibrations, Thirty Years of The Beach Boys. Its about 5 or 6 discs long and it is career spanning, released in 1993 it has elements of their entire career, from pre Beach Boys up to the detestable Kokomo.
This boxset is possibly my greatest bargain, a number of years ago I worked as an auditer for Woolworths and I saw they were selling this boxset for around 2.99, it was foolish not to buy it.
So anyway, Disc one today, leading off with a demo version of Surfin USA and finishing with a little tribute to the Four Freshman.

Surfin USA by The Beach Boys

This is my last alphabeticised B, I may dip into a few misfiled B’s in the future but this is the end. And what an end, an absolute joy this morning. Disc one is potentially the best of all the discs on this compilation taking in the supremely good Don’t Worry Baby, Little Deuce Coupe, Be True To Your School, Surfer Moon, Little Honda and the magnificent In My Room. As well as alternate versions and demos of the classics, Surfin USA and Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring.

In My Room by The Beach Boys

As a start to any boxset that would be enough but over 35 or 36 songs you get the foundations of what made The Beach Boys one of, if not THE greatest pop band ever.
Disc two (Tuesday) and more of the same but moving towards a more experimental point in their career, this disc features tracks from Pet sounds, Smiley Smile and the unreleased, Smile. Heroes and Villains in particular is given a lot of space on disc 2, in total 8 of the tracks from smile appear on this release.
Disc 2 as I said is the more experimental disc and this is it’s downfall for me, the songs are undoubtedly great but a little overblown. One of my favourite Beach Boys tracks is Heroes and Villains but I am unsure if I need to hear it in various guises three times.

Heroes and Villains by The Beach Boys

I was a mere lad the first time I heard Heroes and Villains and if I recall correctly I thought it was very very long and a little odd, time means that I know it isn’t that long and even though the oddness is still there, it’s a great track.
Disc 2 may have been a bit lengthy but it still has its fair share of amazing tracks that alone would make up a greatest hits, and reaffirmed why The Beach Boys need a box set to show off their career.
Disc 3 today and moving slowly into a period of The Beach Boys career that I love, although inexplicably it kicks off with yet another version of Heroes and Villains. I suspect that will not be the last time I hear that song in this boxset.
This period I guess is fallow for a lot of people, moving away from surfing and cars and the experimentation that preceeded it and more a case of Carl Wilson leading the band during Brian’s retirement from live performance and subsequent mental illness. The thing that I find with this era is this is when they were more reliant on the songs and to a degree, other band members were allowed to produce some stunning songs.

Disney Girls by The Beach Boys

Disney Girls, Bruce Johnstons track makes an appearance and this is one of my all time favourite songs. Described by some as sentimental crap, but I like sentimental, its what I like best. Also appearing is Dennis Wilson’s Forever, again it could be described as sentimental, but again, its something that really is a high point.
Also present is a take on the Leadbelly track, Cottonfields, it does seem a little out of place in all fairness and when ever I heard it, it suffered from not ringing true, a good song though, just a little out of character.
The hits are fewer and far between on this disc, a quick glance and it seems that only Heroes and Villains, Darlin, Do It Again, I Can Hear Music and the Brian and Murray Wilson (father) penned Breakaway. This disc though for my money is not about the hits, its about exploring the album tracks produced in the 70’s, the alternate takes, and the previously unreleased, This Whole World, San Miguel and Can’t Wait Too Long, respectively.
As disc 3 closes another strong disc that contains some of my favourite Beach Boys album tracks.
Disc 4 and it must be Thursday, and this album is the transition from the 70’s to the 80’s. A period that saw the Beach Boys kicking and screaming, after all the transition from the 60’s to the 70’s was difficult enough for them.
Although this disc is as bursting at the seams with great tracks like its predecessors, it certainly has a few greats, notably the Dennis Wilson song Baby Blue, a real treat and one that would not have been out of place on his solo album Pacific Ocean Blue. Baby Blue is the best track on this disc, but it isn’t alone.

Baby Blue by The Beach Boys

You Need A Mess of Help To Stand Alone, a track that I first encountered as a Hefner B-side and one that is almost bluesy in its feel, so quite different to the cover. Another great track though.
What isn’t a great track, and I think it is indicative of where The Beach Boys were heading without Brain Wilson’s influence is the saccharine flavoured Kokomo. As a final song to the chronological discs, its an appalling closer.
The return journey today will be the sessions, demos and tracks from their Stack o Tracks box. Maybe that will erase the memory of Kokomo.
The final disc was as expected a trainspotters paradise, but if you are a casual fan it could be an eyebrow raiser. The final disc gives you an insight into the recording process, you get to see the genesis of Good Vibrations, but also hear the guide vocals. A superb ending to a great box set, an enjoyable boxset and a great way to bow out of the killer B’s.

God Only Knows Demo by The Beach Boys

This would be 10 out of 10, it should be 10 out of 10, but through this, listening to Mike Love’s vocals, and recalling what an utter dick the man is. I had to mark it down purely an simply for that. He has the weakest vocals of any band, and through this boxset he is given the chance at lead vocal. Couple that with him being, to quote my daughter, a total douche. This loses one for his presence. 9 out of 10.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


It's funny how some things can just pass you by. Living in Chile means that I don't really know who The Sugarbabes are, what the deal is with Frightened Rabbit, or how Chris Moyles became so popular. The tentacles of UK popular culture do sometimes extend to south America, Paul Potts and that other show tunes Scottish woman of curious looks, with their viral YouTube fame, made it on to my radar. Of course, like swine flu, Coldplay never fail to spread their latest mutation, and Duffy managed to get a fair bit of airplay, as did Katy Perry (who is not from the UK I know) and Lilly Allen. According to the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) the 50 global best selling albums of 2008 include Leona Lewis, Exile, Namie Amuro and One Republic - all of who I would fail to recognise if I bumped into them in aisle 3 of Jumbo when out buying empanadas.

Strangely, Amazon's best selling MP3 album of the year 2008 was Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts I-IV, which was actually available free (legally) elsewhere. I'm not sure what that says about people who buy Nine Inch Nails albums. The best selling UK singles of last year also contain numerous artists that have failed to penetrate my consciousness or cross the Andes. Who are Girls Aloud? Or Wiley for that matter? But, and this is where I have been meandering to, how did I miss the Ting Tings? Number one album and single?
They Came From Manchester: The Story of Mancunian Pop is a lightweight BBC affair which is basically a string of clips with that TOTP 2 tickertape news rolling thing at the bottom, telling you daft things about the artist. It was nice to see Ian Brown's limp wristed abuse of the microphone while miming to Fools Gold again. That daft dance from Freddy and the Dreamers always baffles me as this was a time before irony. Wrapping up the whole thing are the Ting Tings with (what I now know to have been a big hit) That's Not My Name, which I am sure everyone in the UK is now royally sick of, but impressed me no end. I have no idea why but it reminded me of Lene Lovich, or perhaps one of those shouty all-women groups, or even Haysi Fantayzee, none of who I particularly like but I like That's Not My Name. Judge for yourself.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


This wander through my CD’s should be a marathon not a sprint and after todays CD, King by Belly, I have a single marathon boxset to listen to before I close the door on the B’s.
But what of King, the second album by Belly?
Well Belly first, Belly was the band formed by former Throwing Muses member, Tanya Donnelly. Originally it was to be a collaboration between Donnelly and Pixies bassist, Kim Deal. With each one playing on the others record. This was the case with Deal’s Breeders, featuring Donnelly on the debut Pod, but it was not reciprocated for Belly’s debut.
I saw Belly at the Xfm all dayer Great Xpectations, and by saw I mean listened to them whilst falling asleep face down in a park in London. This is totally different to the time I saw Be Your Own Pet when I was stood at the barrier at Reading Festival and dozed off, some say that was a mild form of narcolepsy, I say dull band. Belly aren’t a dull band though, it had just been a long day.
My munchkin like sidekick is a big fan of Belly, was a big fan of Belly, and it is her copy of King that was being played in the car today.
Released at a time when grunge was at its tail end and Brit pop was just starting to show, its an album that is a little out of step with its surroundings as it sounds like neither. It does sound like affirmation that Donnelly can write a song and does not need to be in her sisters shadow, which unfortunately was the case during her tenure in Throwing Muses. Throwing Muses album The Real Ramona hints at her songwriting in Not Too Soon and Honeychain, both brilliant brilliant bits of pop out of step with Herschs wrought, frantic, nervous style.
King carries on this style and almost exclusively the songs are upbeat, and if not lyrically optimistic, certainly musically and in the singles, Superconnected and Seal My Fate, she carries on from debut album Star’s uplifting Feed The Tree.
All in all an enjoyable album and one that I would return to. 7 out of 10.

Seal My Fate by Belly

Carry On Up The Charts

Driving back last night the next alphabteicised CD in my collection was The Beautiful South collection, Carry On Up The Charts. The single disc version not the expanded version.
I think there was some statistic, that I may be totally making up here, but at the time I think there was some statistic that one house hold in five in the uk owned this disc, or is that one person in five in Britain is a paedophile? I cant recall, but a lot of people did own this album, these days it tends to be in charity shops with a scratched and or cracked case. People are fickle bastards.
I used to really like The Beautiful South, you see The Housemartins were a big deal to me and naturally I was drawn to Paul Heatons group as opposed, although not entirely, to Norman Cook. Up to this best of I bought everything Mr Heaton released.
This collection coveres all the singles and a little more from Song For Whoever to One Last Love Song, dipping into the 4 albums that preceeded this release.
Heatons strength is his lyrics and in Dave Rotheray had a great writing partner. Dave Rotheray is a seriously overlooked writer and I think this collection highlights that.
In 2007 The Beautiful South split, possibly the right time after releasing a very poor covers album and being the band of choice for mums, they were in serious danger of turning into Westlife. The rest of the band have since decided to carry on as The New Beautiful South without the input of it's two main contributers, in Rotheray and Heaton. It reminds me a little of one of those versions of The Drifters that we used to get at Butlins, in that the actual talent had long since departed.
The songs are pretty much faultless, as a round up of their best and singles, Heaton can draw a tear from a glass eye and a smile from a painting and thats what he does so well. As a round up of a career to a point it is no wonder that it has sold in it's droves and one that in the lashing down around Luton made the journey all the more pleasing.
The problem is what to mark it, I know the songs all to well even if they are superb, ah sod it. 10 out of 10.

I'll Sail This Ship Along by The Beautiful South


Have you seen that website where they offer money for your old cd's, dvd's and pc games? It's called You tap in the barcode of whatever it is you want to flog, they tell you how much they'll give you, and then if you agree to their price they send you some freepost packet and you send off your unloved copy of that Sting album your Nan gave you in '94. Lord knows how they calculate how much things are worth. As a bit of an experiment I found out they would only give me 66p for The Black Crowes Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, which is very hard on the Crowes with what is surely their finest most complete offering.

The barcode Fagin calc told me my copy of Andy White's Rave On didn't really exist (Reality Row, track 3, super) but would give me 1.79 English pounds for The Who's 2006 Endless Wire. Even with the bonus DVD I'd say that was 1.78 too generous. So far, the most generous offer has been a whopping 2.06 for Elvis's Sun Sessions. I'm sure he'd be proud. Irish folkie Sean Tyrell's The Orchard far outweighs The Crowes paltry 66p with a bemusing 1.49 (now really, have you heard of him?) but The Umo Jazz Orchestra's Sauna Palaa!, given to me by a very nice lady in The Finnish Embassy here in Chile, does not get recognised. They should team up with Andy White for a protest song.
The winners and the losers .......................... kicked off by some 80's Finn swing. Hmmmmm.

Andy White, Reality Row

Sean Tyrell

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


It's unfortunate that if I respond to something my co-blogging friend Peter has written, my response appears higher up the page. So, if anyone does actually read this stuff, they get the response first, then the original post. We have noted in the past that even our wives don't read it, so I guess it's not a problem to dwell on.
I couldn't let Peter's mention of Delaware pass me by without raising the subject of the Delaware Destroyers, who are, of course, the co-horts of a certain George Thorogood. Now George's raucous, bar-room R n B blues is not for everyone, and his re-working of Bo Diddley's I'm a Man into Bad to the Bone is now so ubiquitous (think Terminator) that it's easy to overlook quite how good he can be. You'll find few who can do this as well as George and the Delaware Destroyers.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Tomorrow Come Today

A slice of post hardcore loveliness was the second of my albums for the uber commute to London. Namely Boysetsfire and their third album, Tomorrow Come Today.
Boysetsfire are a post hardcore band from Delaware, they did split up but for a brief time they were rather splendid, releasing a handful of albums, which in my opinion, Tomorrow Come Today is the best.
They tend to err on the melodic side of things and as I am not aligned with the fugazi end of things, that suits me just fine.
Sorry for the total shortness of this, its a good album, you really might like them, but I have issues to raise on the work issue management system. Thrilling stuff.
Boysetsfire, 7 out of 10.

With Every Intention by Boysetsfire

License To Ill


Go on have a guess waht was the commute album today from the good town of Stafford, to the London Village. Yes, yes you are right it was the Beastie Boys debut, Licensed to Ill.
They do a lot of illing on this album, be it flaunting their license, or alerting people that the time is time to get ill. I had best aquant myself with the appears that its either a malady, or a river in Alsace, that really doesn't sound correct, a little more digging...ah it seems ill means "off da hook".
This album is off da hook though, it is most def also, its a debut that displays across its bows their very best tracks. The best tracks before they got all serious about the ladies, the days when "MCA's in the back skeezin with a whore". Again I don't know what skeezin is, so again its off to urban dictionary....oh my!
MCA was a bit of a scoundrel and his friends at the time, AD-Rock and Mike D, were no better and this is the album that chronicles their pre saving tibetan monks days when they drank bud, had dust smoking managers and had ladies in cages on stage with them. They were fun then.
Musically though, this album really is off da hook, I found that I loved it as much as I did when I was skeezin whores, smoking blunts and rocking the mic when I was studying for my o'levels. Crazy times.
7 out of 10.

Time To Get Ill by Beastie Boys


It seems slightly dimwitted of me to open a blues related post with the words I woke up this morning, so I have put them mid sentence. I did wake up this morning with some vague memory of seeing a fife and drum band on some distant blues documentary. Reading about Jessie Mae Hemphill recently may well have planted the seed there, as I think she also worked with a fife and drum outfit. Her father, Sid Hemphill, was one of the many artists recorded by Alan Lomax on his travels for the Library of Congress. The first I heard of her was on the Black Snake Moan soundtrack, where she appears with Standing in the Doorway Crying. Samuel Jackson does a snarlingly righteous version of Stack-o-lee, and considering everyone from Mississipi John Hurt in 1928 all the way through to The Clash and beyond have done it, it's a fine rendition.

But, I have wandered from my point. Ah yes, the fife and drums. But before the fife and drums, here's a great little film of being 'On the Road with Jessie Mae Hemphill'. She's one of those artists you can trace all the way back to Beale Street.

'We got both kindsa music, county and western' says someone in a some film, well, we got both the fife and the drums now. Whether or not it brought the genre to a wider audience is hard to say, but blues-loving Martin Scorsese put Othar Turner and The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band on the soundtrack to his Gangs of New York movie (come to think of it it was probably one of his blues documantaries where I first saw this kind of music). If you're still wonderin' what the hell a fife is it's a recorder type instrument. Fife and drum music goes way back to the slaves in America and if you sit and listen to, say, someone like John Lee Hooker, with his foot stamping out time, and the melody on the guitar, you will hear elements of it clearly. If you have a fast enough connection you can watch an amazing bit of 1971 film on Othar Turner here.

Monday, 5 October 2009


Revolver was my CD of choice, driving my car too and fro from MOT place. It tried to lighten my mood and in a way I guess it did.
Let me be honest here, you may have noticed that I dont hold the revered albums up there that I should, the ones that make the lists I tend to think are ok, and so Revolver was picked from the shelf and an opinion formed very very quickly, christ, moddy shit from The Beatles.
Its good isn't it, it's a bloody good album and I really didn't realise it, it's superb, you can really see where Oasis got their sound, and when was it released, what 66? Really ahead of it's time, Tomorrow Never Knows could be The Chemical Brothers, certainly ther Chemical Brothers owe the drums on Tomorrow Never Knows a bit of a debt.
The only real downsides are Yellow Submarine and Harrisons efforts, and although this review is brief, I cant really tell you much about Revolver, but as this started out as a 4, it is a generous 9 out of 10.

She Said She Said by The Beatles

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Yellow Submarine

You would think that THIS close to the end of the B's it would be foolish to take a break from my trip through my loosely alphabeticised CD albums. I haven't. Wednesday I had a second copy of Blink 182's self titled album, it was excellent second time round, and then I had Dude Ranch also by Blink 182, and for some reason my over fussy car stereo wouldn't play it, I suspect it would have been a 9, it contains Josie and Dammit, which I love but as it wouldn't play, well no review.
Yesterday was Yellow Submarine by The Beatles and it is the first time I suspect that this album has been played. I think my sister bought it me, she certainly bought me the film for my birthday and potentially she also bought me the soundtrack. It isn't important.
This version is the 1999 reissue and does not contain the orchestrations that appeared on the original and replaces it with songs from other albums.
Yellow Submarine is considered the weakest of The Beatles' albums, and with the removal of the orchestrations, therefore messing with the release, it is even weaker for it, extremely weak, so I will be ignoring tracks that appeared on other albums and concentrating on the 5 songs that were specific to this release.
Its an extremely poor album this album and that may be the reason for it's lack of play. Of the five tracks I only like one song and that is the rather throwaway All Together Now, the other tracks, either jar or just aren't that good. Harrison is let loose again at a time when he should be on a tight reign, maybe things were such at that time that Lennon and McCartney would allow any old shit on to an album, Only A Northern Song being the best example.
This release of course features the Ringo vocal on the title track and it's not a bad song, its not awful, familiarity breeds contempt and all that and as it is so damned familiar I have nothing but contempt for it, and its vocalist.
So not a good album, an appalling reissue that someone thought was a good idea, when it clearly wasn't. 1 out of 10.

All Together Now by The Beatles