From Rolling Stone magazine:-

LCD Soundsystem’s tragically nostalgic dance-rock epic ‘All My Friends’ is arguably the best indie-rock song of the ’00s. The B-sides to the single were all cover versions, hinting that the song was a classic the minute it was released.

Scot rockers Franz Ferdinand, who’d already taken bracing, contorted grooves to the pop charts, were born to do ‘All My Friends’ and they turned in an incisive, raging guitar-grinding version with singer Alex Karpanos boozily crooning James Murphy’s forlorn lyrics about losing touch with your friends as you grow older and more ambitious. Musically, they pull of a wonderful trick of interlaying their version with references to legendary post-punk bands like New Order and the Gang of Four that LCD and Franz share as influences. It’s an A-plus history project you can get way down to.

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – All My Friends

It really is a cracking, crackling energetic cover that is among the best things that FF have ever laid down.  But then again, they’re a band who have never shied away from tackling cover versions throughout their career, some without question more successfully than others as evidenced here:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sexy Boy
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Get Up and Use Me
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – What You Waiting For?
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Sound and Vision

I’m quite fond of the first two of the four featured above, not convinced by the third as I’ve no time for the original (albeit Mrs Villain is a fan of Gwen Stefani) while the latter is fun enough for the fact that Girls Aloud are on backing vocals!

I never ever got round to mentioning that the FFS project turned out to be one of the best surprises about 2015. The idea of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks combining into a supergroup for an album and live performances didn’t seem like a good idea when first mooted but then I gave the album a listen and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was but that was nothing compared to seeing them perform at the Glasgow Barrowlands which turned out to be a fun-filled and hugely entertaining gig. This was the night when I did truly understand the FF boys were born to do cover versions.

Watch this entire 70 minute performance while you have spare time over the festive period

You can perhaps do it tomorrow when I’m taking a day off blogging. I’ll be back on Saturday with the latest in the re-run of the 45s series

Happy New Year when it comes.


It was back in 1987 that a new band from Stourbridge in the heart of the Midlands in England came to critical prominence through the release of two singles on their own Farout label. The second of them featured a cracking sing-a-long chorus referred to in the title of today’s posting:-

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Unbearable

The Wonder Stuff signed with Polydor Records not long after and over the next six years went on to enjoy a great deal of success with four Top 10 albums and a bundle of hit singles including a #1 hit when they backed Vic Reeves on his remake of Dizzy in October 1991.

But with the success came the critical backlash and there was a feeling among the band that it wasn’t much fun anymore. Much of their enjoyment in the early days came from the live performances and having caught them of an evening at the Glasgow Barrowlands in 1989 I can vouch for how good they were – it was a frenzied, boisterous and incredibly entertaining night – but as the venues got bigger and the set lists had to become centred around all the hits (especially the one that wasn’t really theirs) there was a sense that it was all getting a bit routine and treadmill like.

They called it a day in mid 1994 and closed with a headlining set at an outdoor festival in front of 30,000 fans. Three months later Polydor issued a best-of album that went Top 10 and promoted it through the re-release of Unbearable, including the original b-sides as well as making a second CD available with the re-recorded version of the song that had appeared on The Eight Legged Groove Machine, the debut LP back in 1988:-

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Ten Trenches Deep
mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – I Am A Monster
mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Frank

mp3 : The Wonder Stuff – Unbearable (re-recorded)




A few months back, a work colleague brought my attention to an article on Page 38 of Volume 416 Number 8949 of The Economist (published since September 1843).  The subject matter isn’t all that new….various t’internet boards have mused on Moz and Mexicio for more than 15 years now…but I thought it was worth passing on to TVV readers.

“The lugubrious strains of Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now waft across a sunny beach in Acapulco. If that song in that setting surprises you, then you do not know about the strange affinity between Mexicans and Morrissey, the morbid, underdog-loving front-man of The Smiths, a British band of the 1980s, who then went solo.

In Mexico City a band called Mexrrissey is hard at work recording an album of his songs in styles ranging from trumpet-blaring mariachi to throbbing norteño.  Its creator, disc jockey Camilo Lara, calls it Girlfriend in a Conga, a play on one of The Smiths’ wickedest songs (which puts the girlfriend in a coma). It’s not a tribute album. Morrissey’s lyrics, dripping with black humour, are translated into the mischievous Spanish of Mexico City. Morrissey’s First of the Gang to Die, about a murdered gangster, fades out in its Mexican version with ay güey, pobre güey (“hey dude, poor dude”).

Mr Lara says the bitter melodrama of Morrissey’s poetry strikes a chord in Mexico, where even in soap operas the poor make it up the social ladder only through lies and deceit. In Mexican street music, the exuberant melodies overlie bleakly funny lyrics about loneliness, depression and self-pity. The jubilant trumpets, like Johnny Marr’s guitar in The Smiths’ heyday, can strike hammer blows to the heart. Among Chicanos in the United States, Morrissey fandom is even more intense.

He returns the affection with almost ludicrous tenderness. Famously, he once described Mexicans as “so terribly nice. They have such fantastic hair and fantastic skin and usually really good teeth. Great combination!” As the son of Catholic Irish immigrants to Britain, he appears to empathise with uprooted émigrés to the United States. In “Mexico”, Morrissey sings of breathing “the tranquil cool lover’s air/ but I could taste a trace/ of American chemical waste/ and the small voice said: ‘What can we do?’” Chicano concert-goers sport “Moz” tattoos.

In his autobiography Morrissey describes the Mexican gait with the bemusing eccentricity that is one of his trademarks: “There is a certain Mexican movement of the head, telling we from elsewhere that they know very well how they are thought not to matter. Because of this they have abnormal strength and love, with anchored hearts beyond the imaginations of royal dictatorships.” That makes Mexicans swoon. “There is this violent country. And then there is this Brit from Manchester who sees us with eyes of love,” Mr Lara says.

Morrissey has not endorsed his album. Nor did he comment on Mexrrissey’s sold-out concerts this year in London’s Barbican theatre and elsewhere, where fans sang along in English over the Latin rhythms.

Lovers of Mexican music hope the album will build an international audience for it, as the Buena Vista Social Club did for Cuban pop. Mexrrissey might be happy with viral Gangnam-style success. Either way, the bond between Mexico and the melancholy Mancunian can only get stronger.”

And with that….here’s some tunes:-

mp3 : Morrissey – First Of The Gang To Die
mp3 : Morrissey – Mexico

Incidentally, I still haven’t gotten round to buying Moz’s debut novel far less reading it.  The various reviews indicate that I’m not missing much.


Quick reminder that I’m looking for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.


I first heard this piece of magnificence courtesy of its inclusion on a tape compiled by Jacques the Kipper:-

mp3 : Prince & The Revolution – Erotic City (Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive)

The song was originally released as the b-side to Let’s Go Crazy in 1984 (in edited form for the 7″) and later again in 1986 on the 12″ version of Girls & Boys. I feel however that I must warn readers, who may be easily offended, that the song features some sweary words. Or maybe he is really saying funk……

The song is significant for being the recording debut of Sheila E, the singer/drummer/percussionist who would not only become integral to the output of Prince over the next five years but would later go on to enjoy a reasonably successful solo career. I was also intrigued by the fact that among the small number of acts who have been brave enough to tackle a cover version are this lot who got a mention on T(n)VV a short while back for what I had thought would have been the one only time and so I went out and tracked down the CD single on which it appears as a b-side.

mp3 : Semisonic – Erotic City

It sounds, rather sadly, like a wedding band’s take on it.  Limp and hugely uninspiring.  And a contender for a place in the Top 10 worst covers of all time which is shaping up for a post at somepoint in the future.




There’s a cracking 10-track compilation LP sitting in the cupboard;  actually there’s a few but for today there’s just the one under the microscope.

It’s called A Different Kind of Tension – and it’s not to be confused with the LP of the same name  by Buzzcocks – that was released in 1986 on the Pressure Of The Real World label. It has the prefix PRLP1. I have no idea at all whether there was ever a PRLP2 or any other release at all on the label. Google search came up with nowt.

It was an album I picked up back in 2008 while temporarily living in Toronto and it cost me the equivalent of £3.  As it turns out, two of the tracks on the album were also included on the CD86 compilation and were part of that recent 48-part series.  The idea of today and next Sunday is to offer up the other eight songs as a postscript or perhaps more appropriately, an encore to the series.

Here’s side A of the album:-

1. The Mighty Lemon Drops – Like An Angel
2. Soup Dragons – Whole Wide World
3. One Thousand Violins – Like One Thousand Violins
4. The Wolfhounds – Cut The Cake
5. The June Brides – Every Conversation

Songs 1 and 2 were on CD 86 as too were different songs by the bands performing songs 4 and 5.

Here’s some relevant info on the three ‘new’ songs:-

One Thousand Violins formed in Sheffield, and the featured track is a b-side from their debut single Halcyon Days on Dreamworld Records which was released in 1985. However, it proved more popular and so enduring that it ended up gathering enough votes to make John Peel’s Festive 50 the same year. Further singles and an album soon followed, but before long musical and artistic differences led to them breaking up.

mp3 : One Thousand Violins – Like One Thousand Violins

The Wolfhounds rather splendid ditty Anti-Midas Touch was on CD86.  This however, is their 1986 debut single on Pink Records.

mp3 : The Wolfhounds – Cut The Cake

I’ve already said everything before about The June Brides and have recommended that you pick up this compilation album. Their debut single was on CD 86. This was the wonderful follow-up:-

mp3 : The June Brides – Every Conversation



Quick reminder that I’m looking for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.




Now come on…..all of you knew it was only a matter of time before the great man made an appearance….

The fact he’s as low as #32 might surprise some of you, while the fact I’ve gone for a single that isn’t one of his better known may make it a double surprise.

Are you interested enough to learn that Edwyn Collins released about a dozen or so singles in the UK as a solo artist over the best part of 20 years up to 2008? And of these only A Girl Like You bothered the charts. But then again, it bothered the charts all over Europe and beyond (#6 in Australia…), making Edwyn more money for that particular four minutes of work than the rest of his recording career, and indeed his producing career, put together.

So to the majority of people, Edwyn Collins is a something of a one-hit wonder twice over – with Orange Juice and Rip It Up in 1982 and then A Girl Like You in 1994.

I’m not saying all of his solo singles have been instant classics, but it still baffling that he’s only struck gold on one occasion. Another single from the Gorgeous George LP really deserved a much wider audience. It’s long been my view that if something this easy on the ear with such a heartfelt lyric had been given to someone like Robbie Williams to record, then we would have been looking at an instant crowd-pleasing #1……

Having said that, the arrangement from the chart heavyweights would probably have made it unrecognisable from the original….

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If You Could Love Me

I’ve got both CD 1 and CD 2 of this single as well as a 12″ vinyl version, and between them, they offer up an additional seven songs as ‘b-sides’.


mp3 : Edwyn Collins – In A Broken Dream
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Hope And Despair
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Insider Dealing

The first of these tracks is a cover version of a song from the 70s, originally released by Python Lee Jackson (with vocal by Rod Stewart). The second is a re-working of the title track of an earlier solo LP by Edwyn. The third is an instrumental clocking in at over 8 mins in length.


mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If Ever Your Ready
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – Come To Your Senses
mp3 : Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You (Victorian Spaceman Mix)

The first, produced by Bernard Butler, is a misspelling of a track that Edwyn has recorded and released previously. If Ever You’re Ready is also on the LP Hope and Despair, with further different versions available on the b-sides of the singles 50 Shades of Blue and Don’t Shilly Shally. The second is a great track and in my view, wasted as a giveaway on a CD single, while I’m sure you know about the original version of the third…

12″ vinyl

mp3 : Edwyn Collins – If You Could Love Me (M.C. Esher mix)

Somehow I don’t think this will be the last appearance Edwyn makes in my nostalgic and self-indulgent consideration of great 45s.


The huge success of the first three singles by The Style Council, particularly the Top 3 chart position of Long Hot Summer, was clear evidence that Paul Weller wasn’t ever going to need to reform The Jam.

While some fans were really struggling to move on and accept the new band, I was one of those who thought TSC were producing some great stuff, albeit I was more than baffled by the overly pretentious sleeve notes that really made little or no sense at all.

Long Hot Summer and all the other tracks on that EP had been on very heavy rotation, and I was thrilled to read that the follow-up single was going to be called A Solid Bond In Your Heart, simply as I remembered that The Jam had, a couple of years earlier, given that very name to one of their UK tours. So I was expecting something really special….a song that would somehow blend the chic sound of Long Hot Summer and the funk/pop of the later singles by The Jam.

Instead, I found myself listening to a single that had the most appalling saxophone sound all over it. I remember playing it something like three or four times in a row looking for something to like about it….I mean Zeke Manyika  was drumming on it so there had to be something my ears could pick up on…..but no, that bloody awful saxophone dominated everything. I was bitterly let down by it. It sounded as if was a record written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley

But clearly I was in a minority, for it was a record that sold very well, climbing to #11 in the pop charts.

mp3 : The Style Council – A Solid Bond In Your Heart

To be fair, I really liked the b-side which to this day is one of my favourite TSC compositions:-

mp3 : The Style Council – It Just Came To Pieces In My Hand

And I suppose I really should finish things off by shoving up the third track that came on the 7″gatefold sleeve version of the single….but I’ll warn you, that saxophone features prominently:-

mp3 : The Style Council – A Solid Bond In Your Heart (instrumental)

The Jam’s earlier version eventually appeared as a track on the Extras CD released in 1992 and then a slightly extended version was included in the Direction Reaction Creation boxset in 1997.

mp3 : The Jam – A Solid Bond In Your Heart (extended)

Seemingly a contender for the final ever 45 by the band, it was a late call instead to go with Beat Surrender.

Part 5 of this series will return in the new year with a tune that was, IMHO, a return to form.


I mentioned the Festive 50 from 1981 in passing yesterday. Here it is, in its full glory, from the unplayed 60-51 and then those which were aired, ten at a time, on 23, 24, 28, 29 and 30 December.

60: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Hong Kong Garden’
59: Sex Pistols: ‘Pretty Vacant’
58: Fire Engines: ‘Candy Skin ‘
57: Special AKA: ‘Gangsters’
56: Fall: ‘Totally Wired‘
55: Anti-Pasti: ‘No Government‘
54: New Order: ‘In A Lonely Place‘
53: Magazine: ‘Shot By Both Sides‘
52: Bauhaus: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead‘
51: Joy Division: ‘She’s Lost Control‘

50: Altered Images: ‘Happy Birthday’
49: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Switch‘
48: New Order: ‘Procession’
47: Fall: ‘Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul’
46: Echo And The Bunnymen: ‘Over The Wall’
45: Killing Joke: ‘Psyche‘
44: Joy Division: ‘Isolation’
43: Joy Division: ‘Twenty-Four Hours’
42: Dead Kennedys: ‘California Uber Alles’
41: Only Ones: ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’

40: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Icon’
39: Pigbag: ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag’
38: Sex Pistols: ‘God Save The Queen’
37: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Israel’
36: B-Movie: ‘Remembrance Day’
35: Siouxsie & The Banshees: ‘Jigsaw Feeling’
34: Laurie Anderson: ‘O Superman’
33: Fall: ‘How I Wrote Elastic Man’
32: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘Suspect Device’
31: Ruts: ‘In A Rut‘

30: Fall: ‘Fiery Jack’
29: Heaven 17: ‘No Fascist Groove Thang’
28: Killing Joke: ‘Follow The Leaders’
27: Killing Joke: ‘Requiem’
26: Public Image Ltd: ‘Public Image’
25: Theatre Of Hate: ‘Legion’
24: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘Johnny Was’
23: Jam: ‘Going Underground’
22: Scritti Politti: ‘The Sweetest Girl’
21: Specials: ‘Ghost Town’

20: Undertones: ‘Get Over You’
19: Birthday Party: ‘Release The Bats’
18: Clash: ‘Complete Control’
17: Sex Pistols: ‘Holidays In the Sun’
16: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘Alternative Ulster’
15: Altered Images: ‘Dead Pop Stars’
14: Joy Division: ‘Transmission’
13: Jam: ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’
12: Damned: ‘New Rose’
11: Joy Division: ‘Dead Souls’

10: Clash: ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’
09: Dead Kennedys: ‘Holiday In Cambodia’
08: Cure: ‘A Forest’
07: Joy Division: ‘Decades‘
06: Undertones: ‘Teenage Kicks’
05: Joy Division: ‘New Dawn Fades’
04: New Order: ‘Ceremony’
03: Joy Division: ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’
02: Sex Pistols: ‘Anarchy In The U.K.’
01: Joy Division: ‘Atmosphere’

I suppose I do have to make the claim that this was the greatest chart rundown of all time given just how many of the songs have appeared on t’blog(s) in the past.

There’s no doubt you could make many a decent indie compilation LP in a ‘perm any 10 from 60 sort of way’.  This would work well I reckon….


mp3 : Public Image Ltd – Public Image
mp3 : The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
mp3 : Magazine – Shot By Both Sides
mp3 : Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster
mp3 : Specials – Gangsters


mp3 : Undertones – Get Over You
mp3 : Scritti Politti – The Sweetest Girl
mp3 : Joy Division – Transmission
mp3 : The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
mp3 : The Cure – A Forest



Click on the mp3 below and have a listen. Said moment happens at the nineteen seconds mark when the strings so unexpectedly kick in.

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin

Candyskin was released in May 1981 and was the second single to be released by Fire Engines. It came out on Pop Aural Records, the Edinburgh-based label which provided so much of the storyline for the superb Big Gold Dream documentary as reviewed earlier this year. Frontman Davy Henderson is one of the stars of said documentary, regaling the audience with hilarious and often hard-to-believe yet true tales of the life and times of a would-be pop star in Scotland’s capital in those dark and dangerous days when punks were sneered at and regarded with outright hostility just for the crime of looking and sounding different from the norm.

I was completely unaware of Candyskin till September 1983 when I finally moved out of the family home and into a student flat at the beginning of my third year at University. This noisy, abrasive and unconventional single was owned by a flatmate and it was one of his all-time favourites…….it didn’t take me long to understand and appreciate why. About 19 seconds…….

The b-side is another crazy sounding piece of music, the title of became the name of one of the short-lived bands to come out of the C86 movement as mentioned in Part 25 of the just completed series:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Meat Whiplash

The single would be voted in at #58 in John Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1981. You might be wondering why this could be but in those days the great man read out the names of those songs that were voted in at 60-51 just before the end of the rundown. That was the year that Fire Engines recorded two Peel Sessions, the first of which included this take on one of the most popular political songs of the era:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang

The second session offered up this:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Candyskin (Peel Session)





A.R.Kane. The very name suggests something obscure, difficult, hidden from the masses. According to AllMusic, they were “arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era.” I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it’s true that they always seemed to be more of a critics’ band. You won’t find A.R.Kane listed on; they never achieved the crossover success of contemporaries like The Jesus and Mary Chain or My Bloody Valentine. Even when they lucked into a hit as part of the MARRS project, their song was the overlooked “AA” side, with A.R.Kane themselves credited only in the small print. If they were tempting fate with the name, then they got bitten.

The creative core of A.R.Kane consisted of Londoners and longtime friends Alex Ayuli and Rudy Tambala, who started making music together after being inspired by a performance by Cocteau Twins on The Tube. (Quite possibly this one: Now form a band.) They were still just messing around when, a couple of weeks later, Tambala told someone at a party that he was in a band, and was asked what sort of music they played. “A bit Velvet Underground, a bit Cocteau Twins, a bit Miles Davis, a bit Joni Mitchell,” he bluffed. A few days later, he got a call from One Little Indian Records, offering this intriguingly genre-busting group an audition. Well sure, why not? Somehow (Tambala: “Maybe ‘cos we were iconoclasts, black, actually quite good, and sexy”) A.R.Kane managed to wing it, and ended up snagging themselves a recording deal.

Such eclectic influences aside, how to describe what A.R.Kane actually sound like? Well, the path of least resistance would lead to “shoegaze”, although by the time that scene properly exploded and gained its mocking moniker in the early 90s, A.R.Kane had already left the building. And for much of their kaleidoscopic second LP, it simply doesn’t apply anyway. Their staunchest supporter, music journalist and essayist Simon Reynolds, favours “oceanic rock”, but he’s never got anyone else to buy into that. It fell to band member Alex Ayuli, ex-advertising copywriter, to come up with the description “dream pop”. That stuck. More than that, it became such a widely-used term that nowadays, Wikipedia has a “List of dream pop artists”, and although it’s merely by an accident of alphabetisation, it’s only right that A.R.Kane are top of the list.

A little note before we continue… the name A.R.Kane was inconsistently punctuated (AR Kane, A*R*Kane, A. R. Kane, that thing they did on “New Clear Child” that I can’t reproduce in regular text), which I imagine is down to the whims of graphic designers. But Rudy Tambala’s Facebook page has it as A.R.Kane (two dots, no spaces), and I figure he would know, so that’s what I’m going with.

To the compilation, then, which is broadly but not strictly chronological. The first side (“Dream side”) covers their early EPs and debut album, the second (“Pop side”) covers everything else. If you’re really not into the feedback-heavy proto-shoegaze stuff, then skip straight to side two where you’ll find the catchy alternative dance choons.

Dream side

1. Baby Milk Snatcher (EP version) (from Rough Trade EP “Up Home”, released March 1988)

“[My Bloody Valentine] were a jangly indie band until we put out Baby Milk Snatcher. Suddenly they slowed it all down and layered it with feedback.”

So said Rudy Tambala in an interview for The Guardian in 2012. An influential record, then? Well, maybe (it came out four months before MBV’s You Made Me Realise, so draw your own conclusions), but also a great track in its own right and an important turning point for A.R.Kane themselves.

Debut “When You’re Sad” was a (relatively) conventional song, and the Lollita EP had, by their own reckoning, been about taking on producer Robin Guthrie’s sound more than developing their own. And the dance rhythms of the MARRS single, well, they would return later but for the time being they were a complete outlier. But Up Home was the real A.R.Kane, and its lead track distils their myriad influences – indie rock, dub, ethereal, jazz, the gamut – into possibly their finest moment. (It reappeared on their debut album, but in a shorter, inferior version. This one is definitive.) I think they do live up to their name here, as quite honestly it is a bit too arcane for serious hit potential, but I’m surprised to discover that it didn’t even make John Peel’s Festive Fifty. Now that’s an injustice!

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Baby Milk Snatcher

2. When You’re Sad (short version) (One Little Indian 12” single, released August 1986)

Back to the start, and A.R.Kane’s debut is actually pretty catchy under all that noise. Not a sniff of chart action, of course. JAMC’s “Some Candy Talking” was in the top 20 at the time, and this should have appealed to the same crowd, but it wasn’t to be, even after One Little Indian wisely vetoed the duo’s favoured title “You Push A Knife Into My Womb” (which is what Tambala still calls it).

The fade-out here seems rather abrupt, and you might imagine that the long version would go on after that. But no, the long version ends in exactly the same way – it’s just got a long and rather uninspired drum solo tacked onto the start of the track. It doesn’t really add anything except length, so I’ve gone with the short version instead.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – When You’re Sad

3. Sperm Whale Trip Over (from Rough Trade LP “Sixty Nine”, released June 1988)

For me, the real meat of A.R.Kane’s early period is the EPs, but their debut album Sixty Nine (strangely, almost always rendered in discographies as 69, despite being spelled out as words on the LP itself) is also well worth investigating.

The stream-of-consciousness title of this track reflects in the music, more than making good on the “dream pop” tag. No prizes for spotting the hidden meaning of that repeatedly-referenced “L. S. Dream”… “trip” is the operative word!

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Sperm Whale Trip Over

4. The Butterfly Collector (from 4AD EP “Lollita”, released July 1987)

The one “proper” A.R.Kane release on 4AD.

Alex Ayuli already had a bit of history with the label: in his old job as an advertising creative for Saatchi & Saatchi, he was behind a TV ad campaign for Thomson Holidays and approached 4AD supremo Ivo Watts-Russell for permission to use This Mortal Coil’s version of “Song To The Siren”. Upon being turned down, Ayuli arranged for the recording of a soundalike version instead, which duly appeared on the TV ad, causing confusion for a lot of viewers who thought 4AD had “sold out”. I don’t know what effect it had on Thomson’s business but, regardless of their non-participation, it did help to shift a lot of This Mortal Coil LPs.

At any rate, when Alex and Rudy, dissatisfied with One Little Indian’s low budget and meddling with their titles, turned up on spec one day at the 4AD offices, Ivo was clearly willing to let bygones be bygones. And poaching a promising act from under the nose of a rival was something he was definitely up for.

So it came to pass that A.R.Kane joined the 4AD roster, and released the acclaimed “Lollita” EP, produced by their idol Robin Guthrie. Oh, and then they accidentally had a number one hit, but we’ll leave that hanging for now. Meanwhile, enjoy this slow-burner, which I would say is one of the few A.R.Kane songs where the music serves the lyric rather than the other way round. What can you expect? Well, let’s just say that despite its initial sentiments, it’s unlikely to ever turn up on Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – The Butterfly Collector

Incidentally, the Lollita EP was number two on Melody Maker’s singles of the year for 1987 (remember what I said about them being a critics’ band?). Number one was The Sugarcubes“Birthday”, and second to that is surely a good result in anyone’s book.

5. Is This Dub? (from Rough Trade EP “Love-sick”, released October 1988)

Alex and Rudy always said that their biggest influence was Miles Davis. That may not be particularly obvious in the preceding tracks, but maybe this one, a remix of B-side “Is This Is?” (sic), will make it a bit more evident. Or not. Beggar & Co.’s Kenny Wellington brings the brass.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Is This Dub?

Pop side

1. Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance) (original mix) (from 4AD single credited to MARRS, released August 1987)

At this point we backtrack a little. Rudy and Alex’s brief time on 4AD produced two singles: the Lollita EP, and what was supposedly a collaboration with art-pop experimentalists Colourbox. Surely by now everyone knows the story of MARRS, but suffice to say that the “collaboration” was really more of a split single, Colourbox creating the more popular “Pump Up The Volume”, while A.R.Kane were responsible for the flipside, “Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)”. The disc became a major hit, that to this day gets spoken of in awed tones for its influence on British dance music. Supposedly, it was also the first independently-distributed number one, though I’ve also seen the same claim made for “Save Your Love” by Renee and Renato. We don’t talk about that, natch.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)

Though “Anitina” came out under the MARRS banner, I have no hesitation in inlcuding it here since the group themselves clearly consider it an A.R.Kane song. Both the original and remix versions are included on their 2012 singles compilation (in contrast to Colourbox’s supposedly complete box set released a few months before, from which “Pump Up The Volume” is conspicuously absent), and it was regularly played on their recent tour. The way Ivo tells it, Colourbox actually wanted to do the B-side as well, but “Pump Up The Volume” had taken them so long that Ivo, keen to get it out while it was still hot, refused. Had Colourbox got their way, “Anitina” would probably have become the next A.R.Kane single instead. The fractious creation and well-documented legal troubles around the record put a strain on those involved: Ivo fell out with everybody, Colourbox split up, and A.R.Kane got booted off the label. Their new home Rough Trade naturally attempted to play up the MARRS connection in promoting their next releases, but considering that these were the very un-“Pump Up The Volume”-like “Up Home” EP and “Sixty Nine” album, it didn’t do them much good.

A.R.Kane did eventually return to something MARRS-y, but their would-be follow-up “Listen Up!”, released a year on from “Pump”/”Anitina”under the name ARK and with the members credited pseudonymously as Hays-Ze-Haze and Xero Tyme, has pretty much been written out of their history. Seemingly an attempt to ape the more popular “Pump Up The Volume”, it comes across more like a second-rate copy of “Tired of Getting Pushed Around” by Two Men, A Drum Machine And A Trumpet. I like Tired Of Getting Pushed Around, but that does leave “Listen Up!” as A.R.Kane’s rehash of a rehash of someone else’s flipside to their own record. Which is a bit of a comedown, wouldn’t you say?

2. Miles Apart (Robin Guthrie mix) (from Rough Trade Germany EP “Rem’i’xes”, 1990, original version appears on Rough Trade LP “i”, 1989)

Second album “i” (yes, that’s the title, quotation marks and all) was a much lighter, dancier affair than their debut. Sprawling over four sides of vinyl, it was a right old mish-mash of styles, including throwbacks to the layered feedback of “Sixty Nine” but also house, funk, ambient, acoustic pop, even a bit of glam rock. Robin Guthrie’s not-too-radical remix of the poppy “Miles Apart” appeared on 1990’s Rem’i’xes (see what they did there?) mini-album.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Miles Apart (Robin Guthrie mix)

3. In A Circle (from “i”, 1989)

A good showcase for the eclecticism of “i”. Rudy Tambala’s sister Maggie takes the lead as A.R.Kane go all chamber-pop on us. It’s in the spirit of the earlier material, but with practically the opposite sonic approach – not layered, noisy and fuzzy, but minimal, precise and clean. You wouldn’t expect A.R.Kane to pull this off, but I think they do.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – In A Circle

“i” got good reviews and topped the independent charts, but there’s a huge gulf between having an indie number one and a mainstream hit (just ask Half Man Half Biscuit). At this point it was becoming clear that A.R.Kane weren’t going to make a living from music long-term, and when Rough Trade, finding trade rougher than they’d planned for, were forced to cut their roster, the duo found themselves not just without a label, but also without the inclination to look for a new one. Ayuli moved to the USA, and that, it seemed, was the end of A.R.Kane. But then they received an unexpected offer from a famous fan…

4. A Love From Outer Space (Solar Equinox Mix) (from Luaka Bop single, 1992 – original version appears on “i”)

It was late 1991, and with Talking Heads on a hiatus from which they never returned (the split was made official in December of that year), David Byrne was free to concentrate on other projects, one of which was his boutique “world-beat” record label Luaka Bop.

Disregarding (or perhaps unaware of) the fact that A.R.Kane had split up, Byrne licensed the band’s Rough Trade output and released the compilation Americana at the start of 1992, along with a set of remixes by John Luongo of “i” track A Love From Outer Space.

The remixes aren’t a long way removed from the original album version; the song still sounds a bit like The Beloved, while at times the lyric seems to be anticipating the future McBusted. Now there’s a combination of reference points you don’t see every day!

Incidentally, the extended and dub versions were the “Lunar Eclipse Mix” and “Venusian Dub” respectively, which suggests that though Tambala didn’t do the ALFOS mixes, his choice of “Martial Mix” and “Venusian Mix” as titles for his remixes of Saint Etienne‘s “Avenue” the same year might have been a little bit of cross-promotion. (Angling for a UK release of ALFOS, perhaps? Wouldn’t blame him.)

mp3 : A.R.Kane – A Love From Outer Space (Solar Equinox Mix)

Anyway, Americana got good reviews and solid sales, and the upshot was that Byrne put up the funding for a new album. Which brings us to…

5. Sea Like A Child (album version) (from Luaka Bop LP “New Clear Child”, released September 1994)

You will have noticed that I’ve only left space for one track from the “New Clear Child” era.

There is a reason for this: “New Clear Child” is pretty bad. Not meaning good. Full of lyrical platitudes atop over-produced passionless music, “New Clear Child” is the A.R.Kane album nobody talks about.

The opening track “Deep Blue Breath” is interesting though overly slick, and the closing track “Sea Like A Child” effectively revisits the dream pop of old in a more minimal style, but what happens in between is, in the immortal words of Steps, better best forgotten. (Interviewed for The Quietus, Tambala says “A few of the tracks are really there, but as an album it painted out some of the crucial flaws”. Yup. Bland.)

Still, “Sea Like A Child” – the album’s first and only fully-released single – brings us full circle (sort of), is actually pretty decent, and is the last track on what is, to date, the last proper release by A.R.Kane, so it gets the last spot here as well.

mp3 : A.R.Kane – Sea Like A Child

“New Clear Child” sold rather well by Luaka Bop’s standards, and an offer was on the table for a follow-up, but Alex and Rudy decided to call it a day (again). But a version of A.R.Kane with some of the previous live band (lacking Ayuli’s involvement, but with his approval) toured in 2015, and Tambala has since been working on new material and is keen to make A.R.Kane a going concern again, so a proper reunion looks likely in the near future. Which probably won’t make them any less arcane, but then that’s not really the point, is it?

Alex G

JC adds…………

The bizarre thing is that while reading the book on 4AD that I mentioned in passing a couple of weeks back during the posting on Cocteau Twins, I had found myself fascinated by the section on A.R.Kane and thought to myself that I must try and learn a bit more about them beyond the M/A/R/R/S single….and lo and behold Alex’s e-mail dropped in.

It’s a very fitting way to close the ICA series for 2015 but it will return again early next year.  There’s already a high-quality contribution waiting in the wings from one of our regulars featuring a band that hasn’t previously been mentioned on T(n)VV and I know that another would-be contributor is working away on an ICA from a band still going strong almost 40 years after they first came to our attention.  I’ve also got a couple more of my own in draft form as I try to narrow things down to ten songs but please feel free to continue to fire over your own ideas as and when they come to you.




The final entry in this series pays homage to Duglas T Stewart, the nearest thing we have in Scotland to a King of Indie Pop.

If you are scratching your head in bewilderment, then allow me to steal these wonderful words penned by Michael Pederson for The Skinny back in 2012:-

Duglas T. Stewart is the founder of BMX Bandits; a pop spokesman for love, magic and fairytales. Whilst BMX Bandits have shared members with many brilliant Glasgow bands (such as Teenage Fanclub, The Vaselines and The Soup Dragons), Duglas T. Stewart has been the effulgent yellow yolk that’s spanned it all. Kurt Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits… and, well, flocks of us convincingly concur.

And if you need more on his band, this the bio from their own website:-

BMX Bandits were formed in 1985 by songwriter and lead vocalist Duglas T Stewart out of the ashes of The Pretty Flowers, a short-lived group that featured Stewart alongside Frances McKee (The Vaselines), Sean Dickson (The Soup Dragons) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub).

Their songs mix melodic qualities and humour with, at times, raw and heartbreaking pathos. Stewart has written many of the group’s works solo including ‘Your Class’, ‘The Sailor’s Song’ and ‘Doorways’ but also has collaborated with many of the other members. Stewart’s most regular songwriting partners have been Francis Macdonald, Norman Blake and, more recently, David Scott of The Pearlfishers and original Bandits lead guitarist Jim McCulloch.

Starting with the exuberant E102 in 1986, BMX Bandits released a series of singles on Stephen Pastels’ 53rd & 3rd label, where they were label mates with The Vaselines and Beat Happening. Later they joined Alan McGee’s Creation Records. BMX Bandits released three albums on Creation. The group’s most celebrated song is the autobiographical ‘Serious Drugs’, recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993.

Stewart split with his long term musical partner Francis Macdonald in 2005 but 2006 saw a new wave of live concert activity and the release of My Chain. Stewart’s writing on the album was compared to Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone and even Alan Bennett. The line up was expanded by the arrival of Stewart’s friend David Scott and new female vocalist Rachel Allison. The follow-up, 2007’s Bee Stings, was influenced by classic girl group pop plus the mellow A & M sound of the late 1960s and early 70s.

The band’s most recent album release BMX Bandits In Space (Elefant Records in 2012) was hailed by some critics as their most accomplished release so far, “a stunning, brilliant and beautiful album”. A highly acclaimed feature-length documentary called Serious Drugs – Duglas and the Music of BMX Bandits was premiered in Glasgow in 2011, followed by a series of international festival screening and a DVD release.

The line-up of the group continues to be ever changing with the latest addition to the line up being multi-instrumentalist Chloe Philip. Despite all the changes in personnel the heart and soul of the group remains the same, an extended musical family led by the inimitable Duglas.

I’ve lost count of how often I’ve either see Duglas in the flesh, either on stage with his band or more often than not as part of the audience watching singers and bands do their stuff. He’s always been one to champion new and emerging musicians and I imagine many of them get a big kick when he sidles over to them and offers his sage advice. Everyone with any interest at all in the music scene in Scotland knows, respects and loves Duglas T Stewart. Long may he reign.

It was the wonderful debut single which was put on CD86. Here it is in all its glory, together with the b-side:-

mp3 : BMX Bandits – E102
mp3 : BMX Bandits – Sad?

Thanks for bearing with me over the past 48 weeks.  All the songs on CD86 have now been posted and I’ve done my best to offer some info as well some personal words and thoughts on all of he bands.

There will be a short postscript over the next two Sundays after which the plan, from Sunday 10 January 2016, is to introduce a new 19-part weekly series.




Every now and again, a band does come along and deliver on the hype.

An old fogey like myself took a while to latch on to Arctic Monkeys in as much as I waited until they actually released a record that was widely available in the shops. By then, they had thousands of fans who had downloaded demos from the Internet and started up all sorts of sites, forums and discussion groups.

At this point in time, and it was only back in 2005, my use of a PC outside of work was mainly was restricted to sending e-mails to friends, typing up golf newsletters and football fanzine articles. Music directly onto your computer? Away with ye laddie and dinnae be so stupid.

It was also a time when I was watching a lot of MTV2 thanks to my recent purchase of a satellite TV package. The advertisers love the 15-24 ‘consumers’, and so the videos in between the ads were aimed largely at them. That’s when I first saw Arctic Monkeys and I was both amused and impressed by the song and promo for I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor.

Around the same time, I was able to buy tickets for a Maximo Park NME tour in early 2006 – one that would see them headlining above other bands yet to be announced. I could have made a packet on my tickets when it was announced that one of the support acts would be Arctic Monkeys….

By the time the tour came to town, Maximo Park had enjoyed a fair bit of success, but it paled into insignificance next to a band whose first two singles charted at #1 and whose LP was the fastest selling debut of all time. I could have made a fair bit of money on e-bay for that gig.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one delighted by the fact that Arctic Monkeys didn’t rest on their laurels, nor did Domino Records seek to cash in with single-after-single-after single from a debut LP that was potentially full of them. New singles and EPs came out at regular intervals in 2006, all of which maintained the high standards of the earlier recordings (including Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys? with its prediction of a critical backlash at some point in the future proving that singer Alex Turner, as well as having a sense of humour, also knows his history), followed by a second LP in 2007 which was every bit, if not better than the debut.

By now the hysteria had worn off in as much that the songs didn’t automatically hit #1, but live they continue to be a huge draw, with 2007 being dominated by outdoor events in front of crowds of up to 50,000. All this and they are only half my age…

Again, there’s a number of songs that could have been selected, but in the end, I’ve gone for something which lyrically is as good as anything ever penned by any living Englishman..

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – When The Sun Goes Down
mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Stickin’ To The Floor
mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – 7
mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Settle For A Draw

A fantastic short film, Scummy Man, was made to accompany this song, with an edited version put together to form a promo video. Both can be found in the usual places on t’internet.




As promised, here’s the second scheduled posting today but it’s nothing to get excited about, particularly on the back of the recent superbly-written guest contributions.

It was just five weeks ago that I wrote extensively about the third single by The Style Council as part of the re-run of the 45 45s at 45 series from 2008. Click here if you missed it.

Here’s the 7″ version (its sleeve is pictured above) together with a remix as well as the album version of one of the songs which appeared on the b-side of the 12″:-

mp3 : The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (7″)
mp3 : The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (Club Mix)
mp3 : The Style Council – The Paris Match

The club mix was made available on an import-only LP Introducing The Style Council which rounded up material released on the first three singles.



Quick reminder that I’m looking for readers to e-mail me lists of their Top 10 LPs for 2015 so that I can submit a collective entry for the BAMS 2015.  Click on this post for more background.



Album of the Year 2015 – Part 2

Tim Badger writes……

My wife has been doing wonderfully well since her accident she is recovering brilliantly and is now able to hop around the house on crutches with the dexterity of gazelle on amphetamines. It is I think slightly embarrassing that here I am on the afternoon after the afternoon before at 4.10pm just about to get out of bed because I have had a ‘slight headache’.

She has won an award, the clever thing. It is some women in business thing, and as I slowly drag myself down the stairs, clutching onto the bannister for near life, like a newly walking child, she is sitting in the study (I say study, I mean small tiny spare box room), typing her speech up. She has been reading a book by a chap called Max Atkinson, who writes about the use of three-part lists in speeches. Why am I telling you this, well all will be revealed.

The night before ended with S-WC and I listing our Top 15 albums, the last 40 minutes or so of this were a ferocious argument about whether or not we were going to allow EP’s into the list. In the end I relented, we had yet to reach a decision on the Top 5 – I mean we know what they are – but not in what order. Side One of this compilation will be the tracks from 10 to 6 and where I can remember I’ll add what parts of the conversation that decided that. obviously I’ll embellish it make me sound cool and to make S-WC sound like Brian Blessed on Botox – which by the way is exactly what he looks like.

I head into the study I intend to give my wife a kiss and tell her that I am sorry for being such a lightweight. I am 48 years of age and I really should know by now that drinking the best part of a bottle of rum, six pints and three glasses of wine (I think) is not the greatest idea in the world. I remember telling my taxi driver telling me that “I was absolutely fucking shedded’ I have never used the word ‘shedded’ in my life before. I hang my head with shame.

My wife is typing away, she has her back to me, suddenly she stops and holds up one hand. Then she starts speaking “Before you step one foot inside this room, darling, you must a) Shave, b) Shower and c) Clean your teeth. Not necessarily in that order”. This reader is the three-part list I referred to above. Delivered with style and authority, the word ‘darling’ has never been said with such menacing threat. I turn around and creep back along the corridor to the bathroom.

Half an hour later I am sitting on the couch in the study cradling a cup of tea like it was my last possession. At least I am washed, shaved and my mouth no longer feels like it has a couple of angry wasps having post break up sex in it. Actually you remember that bit from Itchy and Scratchy (the cartoon within a cartoon on the Simpsons) where Scratchy (he is the cat, right?) gets his tongue pulled out by Itchy so it goes right to floor and the some dynamite gets put in it and then lit – rolled back up and his head explodes, that’s how I felt earlier on.

My phone rings it is S-WC, of course it is, he chuckles down the phone at me as I groan about my head and the last hours events. At least it sounds like his hangover was just as bad as mine. I end up inviting him round for lunch tomorrow so we can finish off the list.

It is tomorrow and S-WC are I are laughing about the Christmas Do, neither of us have been into work since then – both having sensibly taken the rest of the week off, but we understand that there is some scandal involving at least one high-ranking manager, a park bench and a ‘lady of the night’. This cheers us massively.

So here are the five we did decide upon on the evening.

10. Kagoule – ‘Urth’

Up until about six weeks ago Kagoule were the best band I’d never heard of. Within the first 60 seconds of ‘Urth’ you’ll get the picture. It’s all knotted guitar riffs and stuttering drum beats. They sound like the Smashing Pumpkins or the Pixies but hail from Nottingham. It is a thrillingly confident debut. We argued about Wolf Alice again at this point, as S-WC drunkenly slurred that this was ‘one of two debut albums, better than Wolf whatsit’.

mp3 : Kagoule – Glue

9. Braids – ‘Deep In the Iris’

Another female fronted band, and another band from Canada. I think more than half of the records in our Top 20 are female fronted. This is definitely the gloomiest record of the year but never has gloomy sound so enthralling, songs about rape, break up, female objectification all wrapped up with this wonderful vocal and in ‘Miniskirt’ it houses one of the best tracks of the year – I think S-WC posted that earlier in the year so here is something else by them

mp3 : Braids – Taste

8. Viet Cong –‘Viet Cong’

“It’s a stupid name, then again I was once in a punk band called ‘Cock Ring’ so I am hardly one to talk”.

S-WC is very drunk, he tells me about Cock Ring, they played three gigs, one at a festival in Stoke Newington, London, where they got bottled off, then split up on stage during a gig in Godalming.

Godalming is the birth place of punk rock. Viet Cong are being forced to change their name, and are yet another Canadian band. They formed from the ashes of post punk pioneers Women and you know what it sounds a bit like Echo and the Bunnymen circa 1981. Kind of.

mp3 : Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

7. Hooton Tennis Club – ‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’

“Another ridiculous name” our boss states, he was with us until the end; S-WC is very hard on the boss, he is trying to bond with us.

S-WC chips in, “There are very few bands with the word ‘Club’ in their names that are shit”. The boss says “what about Bombay Bicycle Club?” S-WC takes a massive gulp of his rum and ginger beer (it is as disgusting as it sounds), and says without irony:-

“Brilliant band”.

Even when he is drunk, I can’t tell if he is joking or not.

mp3 : Hooton Tennis Club – Jasper

6. Lonelady  – ‘Hinterland’

A record I wanted in the Top Five (and is fourth in my personal list). This is a record that is meticulously perfect. It was recorded at the artists home which overlooks a motorway flyover on the outskirts of Manchester. The voice of the singer is infectiously wonderful. S-WC states that at Glastonbury this year, their show was the highlight of the entire festival, before adding apart from ‘Run the Jewels’.

mp3 : Lonelady -Bunkerpop

So that was the ones we agree on. Now we have five albums (well four and one EP) in front of us and a small discussion.

5. Ought – ‘Sun Coming Down’

Canadian band…Yawn… Ought make indie rock that sounds like how walking round an unknown city makes you feel . Nervous, anxious, occasionally hostile, yet wonderfully vibrant, different and exciting. Its bloody wonderful and you know what it sounds a little bit like The Fall.

mp3 : Ought – The Combo

4. Dan Deacon  – ‘Glass Riffer’

A few years back Dan Deacon made one of the greatest records of all time. It was called ‘America’ and no one bought it. This year, he made a record almost as good and again hardly anyone bought it. This is simple stuff, one bloke and some electronic stuff. The result is a glowing tribute to electro pop.

mp3 : Dan Deacon – Feel the Lightning

3. Yung – ‘Alter’

The record that sparked the great EP debate of a couple of days ago. S-WC puts his case simply as this:-

” ‘Nobody Cares’ is the best single track released this year, it’s the greatest three minutes of guitar music to come out of Denmark ever and very nearly the greatest guitar song made this decade, if the Libertines made this record instead of the godawful bilge they churned out at the start of the summer we would be making Peter Doherty out to be some sort of fucking god”.


mp3 : Yung – Nobody Cares

2. Hop Along  – ‘Painted Shut’

Another minor argument, S-WC thinks this is the best record of the year, I say it’s the second best. We actually had a tie with the points so let my wife decide and she sided with me. Obviously.

Its kind punky, kind of folky, a bit like Bright Eyes if they were fronted by a women who can actually sing. Its very nearly the perfect record and entirely brilliant.

mp3 : Hop Along –Horseshoe Crabs

1. Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I just Sit’

Just astonishing. The most lovely song on this album is one about house hunting. “Depreston”, it’s called—a quiet little ballad that just kind of submits itself to the noise around it. It’s the details that make this album so compelling, even down to the safety rail in the shower. Then she tells us how much it would cost to rip the whole house down again and again.

mp3 : Courtney Barnett – Depreston

And that is that.

Sorry I have gone on a bit….Oh and in a blatant bit of self publicity, our blog ‘When You Can’t Remember Anything’ is kind of up and running again….Please check it out. Google Wycranything and you’ll find it. (or just click here)


JC adds……I wasn’t quite expecting this to arrive so soon after Part 1 and it’s therefore had to be squeezed in ahead of what was originally intended to be today’s posting which will now appear 12 hours later than planned.



The Cultural Revolution – Broadway Edition


This story starts back around the turn of the century, when my pre-teenage daughter, a self-professed theatre geek, spent many an evening downtown going to see whatever Broadway show was playing and waiting at stage doors in dark back alleyways for her favorite actors to emerge. Needless to say, Mrs. G and I weren’t about to let her do this alone or with similarly aged friends, so over the years each of us attended many shows with her. To be honest, I actually didn’t mind going and ended up seeing many entertaining productions. However, the average ten year old child doesn’t make for the most discerning critic, and thus I occasionally spent a couple hours crammed into a seat with little legroom, cringing at what I was watching.

The worst of these experiences occurred at what is generally considered to be one of the more popular, crowd pleasing shows in the history of musical theatre. Nominated for five Tony awards, this show has been seen by over 54 million people worldwide and has grossed over $2B since its debut in 1999. According to the wiki, “On any given day, there are at least seven performances of [this musical] being performed around the globe.” The original Broadway production, which just ended on September 12th after almost fourteen years, is now the 8th longest-running Broadway musical of all time. All these awards, accolades and success aside, I’m sorry to say, that the show is simply a piece of garbage.

By now, theatre aficionados surely know what production I’m talking about. However, I’m guessing that there aren’t too many of those around this fine music blog. So, I’ll use a paragraph from the wiki for the reveal:

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia”. Ulvaeus and Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show from the beginning. Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved financially in the production and she has also been present at many of the premieres around the world. The musical includes such hits as “Super Trouper”, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “Thank You for the Music”, “Money, Money, Money”, “The Winner Takes It All”, “Voulez Vous”, “SOS” and the title track.

Well, of course I didn’t like it. I mean, what post-punk, indie kid has a soft spot for the music of ABBA? But actually, that wasn’t it all. In fact, I thought the songs themselves were the best thing in the show. My complaints were fundamentally about the writing – a plot as thin as gruel, no consistent themes or messages across the book and music, song lyrics forced into the scenes whether they made any sense at all in the context of what little story there was and finally, just complete capitulation as the show devolves into a greatest hits sing-along which has no connection whatsoever to the first two hours of the production.

I’m no playwright of course, but as I suffered through this experience, I thought to myself that I could surely create something better than this. After all, the bar was set so awfully low. It wouldn’t need to be a masterpiece, maybe just some semblance of a plot, songs whose lyrics actually made some sense in the context of the action on the stage, and perhaps a theme or two to run through the show from beginning to end. All I needed was a band or musician with a set of songs which had a clear and consistent perspective on the human condition around which to write a story.

There are, undoubtedly, many good options among the types of music that feature here at T(n)VV and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve already thought of a few. Even before the show was over, I had mine – Gang of Four, and most especially their 1979 debut album Entertainment! with its themes of the futility of love, work, marriage and distraction.

Now, on the off chance that we actually have a non-indie music listening, theatre buff reading, I’ll defer to the wiki again for some background:

Gang of Four are an English post-punk group, formed in 1977 in Leeds. The original members were singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and drummer Hugo Burnham. There have been many different line-ups including, among other notable musicians, Sara Lee and Gail Ann Dorsey.

The band plays a stripped-down mix of punk rock, funk and dub, with an emphasis on the social and political ills of society. Gang of Four [is] widely considered one of the leading bands of the late 1970s/early 1980s post-punk movement. Their later albums [of that period] (Songs of the Free and Hard) found them softening some of their more jarring qualities, and drifting towards dance-punk and disco. Their debut album, Entertainment!, ranked at Number 483 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and is listed by Pitchfork Media as the 8th best album of the 1970s. David Fricke of Rolling Stone described Gang of Four as “probably the best politically motivated band in rock & roll.”

Let’s be perfectly honest, who in their right mind would put up real money for a musical written by a non-writer with no track record containing popular crowd pleasers and sing-a-longs like “Love is like Anthrax.” It’s certainly not a marketer’s dream. So, only in my imagination did I ever run home, write the book, get permission to use the songs, find a producer, do a series of regional previews and then triumphantly open up on the Great White Way. Instead, over many years, I would frequently listen to the songs and think about how they might be ordered and structured into a coherent storyline – which songs to use and which to lose, and perhaps other tunes from their discography, at least a few. While the ideas evolved, nothing ever made it onto paper … until now. How else to avoid yet another deathbed regret?

What follows is a rough, bare bones outline of a show, nothing more, nor will it ever be. My advice is to listen to each song before moving on to the next scene as the story is contained in the lyrics as much as in my quick synopses. As a reminder, my objective was to create something that could be better than the god-awful Mama Mia!. Such a low bar, that I hope you won’t be too critical of the obvious flaws in what is to come.

One more thing – several Gang of Four songs cover the topic of sex, as does this imaginary musical, right off the top and several times thereafter. If you think you might be offended by my awkwardly written prose describing sexual activity, then this might be a good time to take your leave. E. L. James has nothing to worry about from me.

And now, without further ado, Entertainment! – The Musical, a show never coming to a theatre near you.

Setting: The late 20th century, any urban/suburban location in a first world country


K. – Our protagonist, a Kafkaesque character whose life to date has followed the traditional, established norms of modern western society

Mrs. K. – K.’s wife

Michael – K.’s friend and co-worker

Jane – Mrs. K.’s friend

Susan – One of the girls at the bar who spend their evenings hoping to snag a husband on his way up the corporate ladder

Music: All songs by Gang of Four, from their 1979 debut album Entertainment!, unless otherwise noted


Scene 1 – Contract

Key lyrics:

The same again, another disappointment
We couldn’t perform in the way the other wanted
Is this really the way it is or a contract in our mutual interest?

As the show opens, it is early morning. K. and Mrs. K are in bed having less than impassioned sex. The kind long time married people might have on occasion, where he closes his eyes trying to imagine that he is sleeping with the attractive woman he saw on yesterday’s train, while she desperately tries to think about what she could whisper in his ear to bring things to a merciful end. They finish and shoot each other disappointing glances as Mrs. K. heads to the shower. K. sits at the end of the bed and vacantly staring out, he begins to sing.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Contract

Scene 2 – Glass

Key lyrics:

I’m so restless
I’m as bored as a cat
We talk about this and we talk about that

As K. gets in the shower, Mrs. K. gets dressed and heads to the kitchen to start breakfast. She looks out the window pondering the morning’s events, lights herself up a cigarette (naturally!) and begins to sing.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Glass

Scene 3 – At Home He’s A Tourist

Key lyrics:

At home he feels like a tourist
At home she’s looking for interest
She said she was ambitious
So she accepts the process

Michael and Jane are walking towards the K.’s house and notice Mrs. K. staring out the window. Jane mentions her concern that Mrs. K. seems particularly unhappy as of late and that the K.’s marriage may be in trouble. Michael mentions that K. feels that the two have been growing distant as well. While outwardly they seem to be living successful lives, it doesn’t seem to be making either one of them happy. Michael sings about how K. feels like a tourist at home, while Jane interjects that Mrs. K. is looking for interest.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – At Home He’s A Tourist

They even find a way to turn “two steps forward (six steps back)” into a short dance number as the song ends and they enter the K.’s house.

Scene 4 – It’s Her Factory (from the untitled Yellow EP, 1980)

Key lyrics:

Housewife heroines, addicts to their homes
It’s her factory, it’s her duty
In a man’s world because they’re not men

The guys leave for work. Mrs. K. and Jane remain at the house and engage in some inconsequential chit chat – they talk about this; they talk about that. Mrs. K. then says she has a few quick things to get done before they head out and she heads to the kitchen. Jane sings the song with Mrs. K. looking back to interject with the backing vocals.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – It’s Her Factory

Scene 5 – Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time (from the untitled Yellow EP, 1980)

Key lyrics:

Discipline is his passion
Order his obsession

K. and Michael arrive at the factory where they work. K.’s secretary tells K. that the boss wants to see him first thing. Michael makes an offhand remark about what a stickler the boss is and K. says that the guy has always been on his ass since K. was promoted to his executive job. Cue the music.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Outside The Trains Don’t Run On Time

As K. and Michael sing the song, the workers get up from their stations and turn this into a big production number (Ok, I know this is kind of a rip-off from a scene in The Producers). At the end of the song, K. heads off to see the boss.

Scene 6 – Natural’s Not In It

Key lyrics:

The problem of leisure, what to do for pleasure?
This heaven gives me migraine

Now out shopping, Mrs. K. is talking with her friend Jane and discussing how she bought into marriage with a successful man and the trappings of money and status. But honestly, she’s now just a bored housewife with a husband who treats her as a sex object more than anything else. As the music starts, she says, “I’m just getting a headache thinking about it.”

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Natural’s Not In It

Scene 7 – What We All Want (from the album Solid Gold, 1981)

Key lyrics:

Could I be happy with something else?
I need something to fill my time
Could I be happy with something else?
I need someone to fill my time

K. and Michael meet in K.’s office later that day, after K.’s talk with the boss. “Can you believe he fired me?! I’m gone at the end of the week. A small drop in production last month and that’s it, after everything I’ve done for this company. What am I going to do now? Start over from the bottom at another firm? And, oh god, my wife is probably going to throw me out of the house.” Cue the music; K. sings “This wheel spins letting me off…”

mp3 : Gang Of Four – What We All Want

After the song finishes, Michael tries to console K. They agree to go out for drinks with everyone else and talk more.

Scene 8 – Return The Gift

Key lyrics:

Please send me evenings and weekends

K. and Michael meet up with the boys from work to head over to the local club. While K. is subdued, the rest are having the usual male testosterone-driven banter about how drunk they plan to get and who’s going to get laid tonight. As they head out, you can hear them singing “Please send me evenings and weekends.”

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Return The Gift


Scene 9 – I Love A Man In A Uniform (from the album Songs Of The Free, 1982)

Key lyrics:

I love a man in a uniform
The girls they love to see you shoot
To have ambitions was my ambition
But I had nothing to show for my dreams

K., Michael and the boys enter the local watering hole each wearing similar blue suits, white shirts and red ties (dare I call them corporate “uniforms”). They head to the bar, get drinks and start chatting it up with a group of gold digging girls. Susan, the queen bee of the group, is showing particular interest in K. and Michael. Susan tells them that the girls really like hanging out with the up and coming business executives – the whole money, power, status thing. While Michael soaks up the adoration and pulls Susan closer to him, K. laments that he himself isn’t much of a catch, “being married and recently unemployed, after all.” Cue the music.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – I Love A Man In Uniform

K. sings “Time with my girl…” with all the girls jumping in for “You must be joking…” Michael interjects with “The girls they love to see you shoot” and then the girls form a dance line for the title chorus. By the end of the song, all the guys and girls are dancing together and singing the repeating choruses of “I love a man in the uniform. The girls they love to see you shoot…” And, as the number ends, Susan falls into Michael’s arms, whispers in his ear and they begin to head for the door. “See you tomorrow?” Michael smiles at K. “Guess it’s time for me to head home and face the music,” K. replies.

Scene 10 – Is It Love? (from the album Hard, 1983)

Key lyrics:

Is it love?
Love that’s on your mind
Is it love?
Not just of a certain kind

Back at Susan’s apartment – As the music starts, Michael and Susan are in bed having sex, both on their knees looking straight out into the audience (use your imagination). Their lovemaking is everything that the K.’s weren’t – hot, passionate, sweaty and loud. “Is it love?” Susan asks (hopes). The song plays out as a duet, the same as the album track. At 4:03 of the song, Susan and the scene come to a climax. Both she and Michael fall to the bed in exhaustion.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Is It Love?

Scene 11 – Not Great Men

Key lyrics:

No weak men in the books at home
The strong men who have made the world
The poor still weak, the rich still rule

K. returns home, a bit disheveled and clearly depressed. He whispers something to Mrs. K. at which point she collapses into a nearby chair crying softly. “Not everyone is destined to be a winner in our economy,” he says, “But I thought for sure, that I could be one.” K. sits on the couch, across from his wife and begins to sing. When the song finishes, Mrs. K., now in better control of her emotions, takes his hand and leads him to the bedroom.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Not Great Men

Scene 12 – Anthrax

Key lyrics:

Love’ll get you like a case of anthrax
And that’s something I don’t want to catch

Back at Susan’s apartment, it is a few hours later as Michael, hung over, begins to stir. The feedback at the beginning of the song, along with rapid bright white strobe lights, simulates Michael’s pounding headache and general disorientation.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Anthrax

As he starts to regain his senses, he sees Susan, still sleeping, recalls the earlier events and remembers her desperate plea, “Is it Love?” This song is his response, “Love is like Anthrax”. As the song ends, Michael gets dressed and leaves.

Scene 13 – Damaged Goods

Key lyrics:

Sometimes I’m thinking that I love you, but I know it’s only lust
The change will do you good
Damaged goods
Send them back
I can’t work
I can’t achieve
Send me back
I’m kissing you goodbye

Back at the K.’s house, in the bedroom, Mrs. K. tries to help K. drown his sorrows in sex. She’s on top, working hard to make him happy and there does seem to be some cooperative passion initially. She starts singing the first verse. He takes over at the first repeat of “The kiss so sweet” and she takes over the next time that line is sung. Then suddenly he rolls her off him and the music stops.

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Damaged Goods

K. says he just can’t do it anymore, he knows he is a failure at work and pretending that there is still love in their marriage isn’t good for either of them. Mrs. K. acknowledges that everything he said is true and honestly she has had it with him as well. The music restarts with K. singing “Damaged Goods, Send Them Back”; she takes over at “The kiss so sweet” and with K sitting on the bed, head in his hands, she gets up, stands over him and finishes with the “I’m kissing you goodbye” chorus.

Scene 14 – Paralysed (from the album Solid Gold, 1981)

Key lyrics:

My ambitions come to nothing
What I wanted now just seems a waste of time
I can’t make out what has gone wrong

It is the next morning and with K. sitting on the couch in the living room looking forlorn and defeated, Mrs. K. walks by with her luggage, kisses him goodbye and leaves. Devastated and in complete despair, K. gets a bed sheet, fashions a noose and hangs it from a beam in the house. He stands on a chair, puts the noose around his neck, but then just stands there for several moments doing nothing. He’s unable to summon up the energy for this final act. Cue the music as K. sings “Blinkered. Paralysed. Flat on my back…”

mp3 : Gang Of Four – Paralysed

When the song ends, Mrs. K. re-enters the house and halfway through saying, “I forgot to take my…”, she sees K., walks over to him and exclaims, “Oh god! Can’t you do anything right!” She kicks the chair out from beneath his legs just as the stage goes completely dark.


Last January, I was talking with a friend. While our conversations are usually restricted to politics, legal matters (his business) or the financial markets (mine), for whatever reason we found ourselves on the topic of theatre. He mentioned that he had recently seen a show, Mama Mia!.

“Really,” I said, “I have a great story about that.”

He then went on to tell me that while he’d never had much interest in musical theatre, this show – Mama Mia! – had been a transformative experience for him. He loved every minute of it, gained a new found appreciation for musicals, and thought that it must represent a pinnacle for the genre.

“What was your story?” he asked.

“Oh, never mind.”



JC writes……

The unexpected and untimely demise of the old blog before I was able to back up the postings angered me for the fact that so many pieces from guests were lost forever. I have been able, through the capture of a limited number of screenshots, been able to recue a small number of postings but not all that many from the guest contributors.

But I have just located this one, from a very good friend called Mr John Greer, who is one of the folk who I sit alongside at Raith Rovers matches and who, over the years, has been an incredible host to many of my golfing mates the world over as well as someone who has been by my side at a number of gigs. Back in April 2010, he composed a very fine piece on the subject of power-pop.


On the coat tails of the punk revolution of mid to late 1970’s came New Wave and Power Pop. Much has been written about New Wave but Power Pop seems to have disappeared under the radar.

It was Pete Townshend who first used the term “power pop” to describe the style of music played by The Who in their early days, as a mixture of the Small Faces guitar pop with the melodic sounds of the Beach Boys.

One of the new Power Pop bands that caught my ear and finally my eye were The Rubinoos. They were from California and stable mates of Jonathan Richman on the Beserkley record label.

The first track I ever bought of theirs was Rock ‘n’ Roll is Dead, an energetic blend of electric guitars and vocal harmonies; the single was less than three minutes long.

mp3 : The Rubinoos – Rock’n’Roll Is Dead

They also released a cover version of Tommy James and the Shondels single I Think We’re Alone Now. The Rubinoos version was never a hit in the UK when released in 1977 but it reached number 45 in the States. It was also covered by Tiffany 10 years later, with an absolutely shit version that went to number one the world over.

I managed to see The Rubinoos as they featured on two BBC television programmes, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Rock Goes to College, which was screened early evening on a Saturday simultaneously on BBC2 and Radio2 for stereo sound. RGtC featured some of foremost up and coming bands of the time from colleges or universities, Such as the Boomtown Rats, Joe Jackson, The Specials, the second band in this feature Rich Kids and The Stranglers, who famously, walked off, fifteen minutes into their set after five songs, smashing their equipment as they went and verbally abusing “their” student audience.

The Rubinoos also played many live shows in their home land, not least when they were support act to Elvis Costello on one of his early tours across the USA.

Years later I managed to buy a CD Home of the Hits… Best of Jonathan Richman which came with a bonus CD with the Definitive Beserkley Anthology, which featured The Rubinoos, Greg Kihn and Tyla Gang all who featured on that label, for £4.99.

Around the same time in London, another Power Pop band, the Rich Kids were formed by Glenn Matlock (after he was thrown out of the Sex Pistols for liking The Beatles) and Steve New, who was second guitarist in the Pistols for short time and Rusty Egan, as drummer.

The lead singer of this newly formed act however , seamed a strange choice . It was Midge Ure, who has previously enjoyed chart success as lead singer with teenybop Glaswegian band Slik. – an act who could probably be accurately desctibed as Glasgow’s own version of Edinburgh’s Bay City Rollers – indeed Slik’s sole number one hit was written by the same writers of all the Rollers hits.

The Rich Kids made one album Ghosts of Princes in Towers which had two stand out singles. The self titled Rich Kids was the first release which reached Number 24 in the UK charts and came out on red vinyl. They were also another of the bands that featured on the afore-mentioned Rock Goes To College.

mp3 : Rich Kids – Rich Kids

The second single Ghosts of Princes in Towers which in my opinion was one of the great singles of its era. I think it stands the test of time.

mp3 : Rich Kids – Ghosts of Princes in Towers

The album was produced by Mick Ronson, who was David Bowie’s guitarist in the Spiders form Mars band.

After less than two years the Rich Kids split, Matlock and New toured as part of Iggy Pop’s band, Egan joined The Skids for a short spell and Ure joined Thin Lizzy for a tour of America and Japan.

Rusty Egan and Midge Ure re-united to form New Romantic outfit Visage. Ure went on to have a successful period with Ultravox; many feel he spoilt Ultravox after he replaced John Foxx as the main songwriter and singer.

Another Power Pop band that deserves a mention are Belfast’s Starjets, who at one time were known as the “Bay City Rollers of punk” because on their clean cut image.

Their one and only single to dent the British charts in 1979 was the wonderful War Stories another less than 3 minute’s piece of pop classic.

mp3 : Starjets – War Stories

After no commercial success they split but the main songwriters left Belfast for London and formed The Adventures who had a number 20 with the single Broken Land in 1988.

And there you have it…..a potted history of a fine musical genre that has been sadly neglected for 35 years and more. Any other fans out there?




An Imaginary Compilation (Of Sorts) – 2015 Part One

“You are a fucking wanky hipster, all you need is a stupid beard, a sleeve tattoo and a ridiculously camp hat and you would be the complete picture”.

Badger and I are arguing.

We have been drinking all afternoon in a stupidly overpriced hotel bar in downtown Exeter for today is the day of our Office Christmas Party (one lemonade, one pint of cider, one bottle of Becks, two glasses of wine and a Captain Morgans and coke – £28).

Our office Christmas party is an occasion where a bunch of people who don’t really like each other go out for a meal and some drinks and what Badger calls ‘enforced jollity’. Sure the managers try and make them fun – this year the theme was ‘Christmas Hats’ – Badger really pushed the boat out, he is wearing a New York Mets Baseball Cap bedecked with the faintest piece of tinsel – me, I am wearing a Christmas Pudding hat that lights up when you press a button on top of the leaves. It cost me £6 and every time I look at it I feel ashamed.

A few years ago, the theme was ‘dress as your favourite London Tube Station’ – but this isn’t really talked about much as a guy called Simon decided to come as ‘Cockfosters’ and used the least imagination possible.

The managers also set a team quiz – which descended into a violent and quite sweary argument between two females – the question – “who had a Christmas Number One earlier, Shayne Ward or Rage Against the Machine?” (Clue: It wasn’t RATM).

For those of you who are interested, I am victim in the verbal assault mentioned above and for the record, the reason why we are arguing is that we are trying to list the best 20 records of the year – in order to write 2 more imaginary compilations for JC – listing them in reverse order.

The reason I have been called what I have is because I said that Wolf Alice’s album wasn’t as good as it should have been. It is about 6pm and after five hours of drinking we have decided to discuss our lists, simply because we are bored of taking the piss out of work colleagues hopelessly trying to pull. We were ‘lucky’ in that our party was occurring at the same time as a local hairdressers and for an hour, watching desperately uncool, slightly overweight middle men aged trying to crack on to Exeter’s equivalent of the Sugababes and Little Mix is brilliantly entertaining.

What follows are the albums that came 20th to 11th on our list – the next list of ten will come next week I hope. I’ve also typed most of this with a hangover, no need to thank me.

Last year we did this and our Top 3 were exactly the same, so normally this works quite well, but this year we have some massive differences – hence why some albums are lower than they should be.

So here are the first Ten (from Number 20 to Number 11)

20) The Districts – A Flourish and A Spoil

Basically The Districts are kids with guitars that went into a studio and came out sounding like a cross between My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. They are a bit raw, a bit ramshackle and live they are less polished than Peter Doherty’s bathtub, but on record, they sound terrific.

mp3 : The Districts – 4th and Roebling

19) Metz – II

One of the few records that Badger and I disagree on. I think this is great he thinks it is not. Take it from me, Toronto’s Metz, sound exactly like the noise a mud wrestling bear with a huge headache would make if you stole its picnic basket. Strangely addictive.

mp3 : Metz – The Swimmer

18) Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool

To Badger this is the best debut album of the decade, for me it is the record that the Duke Spirit never quite made. Either way it has some belting tracks on it, ranging from grunge to pop and back again.

mp3 : Wolf Alice – Fluffy

17) Beach House – Depression Cherry

One of two Beach House records to get a release this year and the second record already to feature that was released on a resurgent Sub Pop Records. Beach House are almost perfect, the have this knack to sound like they are whispering each song into your eardrum.

mp3 : Beach House – Sparks

16) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

“You, sir, are a pasty faced indie obsessive who needs to embrace hip hop and realise that Thom Yorke, Johnny Marr, Mark E Smith, and Miles Hunt will never make a record as good as this”.

I was quite angry with how low he’d rated Kendrick that I downed a Captain Morgan’s in disgust. I was to regret that around 5am this morning.

mp3 : Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta

15) Beach Slang – Broken Thrills

We were both late arrivals to Beach Slang. I played it to Badger a few weeks back on the way back from a gig we went to in Bristol. It sounds like The Replacements if they were fronted by the singer from Gaslight Anthem. This album combines their first two EP’s and its frankly incredible.

mp3 : Beach Slang – We Are Nothing

14) Everything Everything – Get to Heaven

“Your round” Badger says.

I’m not sure it is, my head hurts, most people have left – our hipster boss is now also wondering what we are doing with our pads of paper and a couple of iPods. Badger threw a pencil at me when I dissed Thom Yorke about ten minutes ago. So I’m going ignore the fact that he crossed out Waxahatchee at 14 and put Everything Everything in its place.

mp3 : Everything Everything – Zero Pharaoh

13) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

“You like you female fronted bands don’t you?, although this is a good choice”

This is our boss speaking – he has just got a round in so we are humouring him. He is also being deliciously nasty about one of the team who is brown nosing his boss so much that she can practically see his tonsils. I think the fact is that most of the best records this year featured a female singer. For the record, I don’t think he had heard Speedy Ortiz until he listened to this on my ipod.

mp3 : Speedy Ortiz – Ginger

12) Shamir – Ratchet

I never got Prince, but Badger did, and when he says“this record is better than anything Prince ever recorded” he means ‘LISTEN TO THIS’.

Badger is not often right about music, I mean he rates Doubt by Jesus Jones as one of the greatest records ever made – but on this occasion, he was bang on the mark. Shamir’s debut record is simply wonderful. We both nod and finish our drinks – finally an agreement.

mp3 : Shamir – On The Regular

11) Jamie XX – In Colour

Our bosses favourite record of the year, that is because he is a hipster who pretends that Star Wars is his favourite film of all time, when its obviously its Top Gun.

True time, we wanted this higher but we put it 11th – because we can’t agree with the boss – its flies in the face of our Bolshevism and we can’t have that. In reality it is an astonishing record, and in Gosh Jamie XX has one of the best tracks of the last few years.

mp3 : Jamie XX – Gosh

The taxi dropped Badger off at home around 11pm – it was not even a late night. I look behind me as the taxi drives away to see Badger fall into a hedge. I smile, it’s been the best Christmas Party for a while. Even if I appear to have inherited a horse shaped balloon (no idea at all where that came from).

I phone Badger – his wife answers, he’s not up yet, she says.

Its 3pm.



Many thanks for continuing to drop by while I was away chilling in the Caribbean with the missus – batteries were fully recharged until a bit of a nightmare journey home courtesy of the incompetence of British Airways, although a word of praise to the security folk at Gatwick Airport whose helpful approach ensured that we caught our connection back to Glasgow by the skin of our teeth and so avoided the nightmare of a six and a bit hour delay combined with hoping somehow there were spare seats on later flights.

I was delighted to see that so many folk were still happy to leave behind comments  – as I’ve mentioned before that’s the aspect, together with the guest postings, that make all the time and effort put into this all worthwhile.  Which kind of brings me round nicely to this….


We’re pleased to be able to again invite you to take part in the 2015 Scottish BAMS (Blogs and Music Sites) Award.

For those of you who don’t know, the BAMS* (Bloggers and Music Sites) was inaugurated and run for the first 4 years by Lloyd from the Peenko blog. In recent years other bloggers have helped make it happen.

Past winners have been:

2009 The Phantom Band – ‘The Wants’
2010 The National – ‘High Violet’
2011 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – ‘Everyone’s Getting Older’
2012 Meursault- ‘Something for the Weakened’
2013 CHVRCHES – ‘The Bones of What You Believe’
2014 The Twilight Sad – ‘Nobody Wants to be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave’

Unlike, say, the SAY Award the BAMS don’t have £20k to give away. But, as well as the prestige, we have something even more exciting for the winner than that – some vintage tonic wine – if we can work out how to get the bottle to the winner.

This year we’re again asking you to vote for up to TEN LPs released in 2015. As usual, your choices need not be restricted to Scottish LPs but can take in any album released during the course of 2015.

Ideally you will rank your LPs from 1-10 but if you can’t separate 2 (or more) LPs, we’ll award an average of the points* for the equivalent places in your list. You don’t need to submit as many as 10 choices to take part but we’d ask you, please, not to submit any more than 10.

The deadline for submission of votes will be 10 p.m. on Friday 7th January – we’ll confirm nearer the time when the announcement of the winner will take place but it’s likely to be a couple of weeks after that.


I was thinking however, that rather than it being a personal list, my preference would be to invite all T(n)VV readers to fire across an e-mail with their Top 10s for 2015 from which I will submit a collective entry for the 2015 BAMS. And strangely enough, S-WC and Badgerman have already done so without being asked in advance – as will be revealed in a guest posting in the next 2-3 days.

So if you’re up for this, please drop a line to; it would be helpful if you could head up any e-mails BAMS 2015 : MY TOP 10 so that I can easily keep track of any submissions.

Just a quick word on the BAMS 2014 winners The Twilight Sad who I caught playing live last Saturday at the Barrowlands just 24 hours or so after getting home. They are gearing up for a momentous year as they have been given the accolade of opening for The Cure when they embark on a mammoth world tour – it’s already at 60 dates and growing. On the basis of the blistering, sonically booming show last Saturday they are more than ready for the task in hand and have a sound that will not sound out-of-place within any of the vast arenas in which they will be performing.

I’m delighted for them as they have worked tirelessly over the past seven or so years since the debut material was released and haven’t always taken the easy route of just churning out similar sounding albums time and time again. They’ve looked on as a number of bands who emerged from Scotland around the same time, as well as a number of more recently formed bands, have found not just critical acclaim but a fair degree of fame and fortune and not once have any of the Twilight Sad expressed any bitterness or regret about their lot. They have been slowburners in much the same way as R.E.M. and James were back in the day. And the other thing they have in common with those particular bands is that it has taken a lengthy period of time for the singer and main focus of attention to have his confidence, self-belief and stage presence finally match his vocal talents and connect with an audience in a way that is truly awe-inspiring. The Twilight Sad are in a great place right now and I really hope that 2016 is the making of them in commercial terms.

Here’s a single of theirs – not included on any of their four albums – that was a particular highlight of the Barrowlands show.

mp3 : The Twilight Sad – The Wrong Car


* forgot to mention that BAMS also has another connotation in the Scottish vernacular.  It is a shortened form of the word bampots which is best translated as idiots.  And yes, Lloyd Peenko knew exactly what he was doing when he came up with the acronym for the awards back in 2009.


So here are about to finish off a series that I think has been well received.

CD86 has given us an excuse to look back at all sorts of bands, some far better-known than others, some who had no right to be lumped into a so-called movement and some who probably hadn’t been thought of by any of you in decades until prompted by a particular posting. What is for sure is that with the 30th Anniversary now just a few weeks away, you can count on many of the bands that have been in this series, along with many other contemporaries, getting more airings than normal.

I’ve left two of the best and most enduring till the last, starting off with The June Brides.

Again, there’s a case to be made that this lot had no right to be part of CD86. They had formed in London back in 1983 and the following year saw two cracking singles released on Pink Records. Twelve months later the debut LP (albeit it only had 8 tracks including the two old songs and a cover version) came out, again on Pink Records, and went to the top of the indie charts and was one of the best-selling and most popular of the genre in 1985.

Come 1986, the year that saw the birth of indie-pop according to one OTT statement on the sleeve of CD 86, The June Brides had moved to a new label called In-Tape on which there were two further singles as well as the honour of opening for The Smiths on their tour of Ireland. However, before the year was out the band had decided to call it a day with lead singer and songwriter Phil Wilson shortly afterwards embarking on a solo career.

The June Brides had an unusual and distinctive sound, making use of viola and trumpet as well as the usual guitars, bass and drums, and in Wilson they had a very talented songwriter albeit his vocal delivery was a bit of an acquired taste.

There’s this readily available compilation double CD out there, released in 2006 on Cherry Red Records which not only brings together all the June Brides tracks ever recorded, including the Peel Sessions and other material recorded for the BBC plus the solo work from Phil Wilson which followed the break up of the band, together with detailed sleeve-notes, rare pictures and a complete discography. No serious record collection is complete without it.

The song on CD 86 was one half of the double-A debut single:-

mp3 : The June Brides – Sunday to Saturday

While this equally unique number was on the other side:-

mp3 : The June Brides – In The Rain

Oh and for those of you with good memories…’re right to say that I did write about the band and this single back in February 2014.  Click here if you dare.