Fifteen years now since Fever To Tell, the debut album by New York trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit the shops. It’s a bit of a strange record in that having made something of a name for themselves as a loud and screechy 21st century garage-rock band who occasionally tipped their hats to the heaviest of rock acts, the best moments on the debut are when they take a moment or two to slow things down.

Not that anyone would have known this would be the case given that the first single to be lifted from the album was as frantic, fast, ferocious and fearsome as anything that had come out on earlier EPs:-

mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Date With The Night

It’s the sort of song made for a bit of body slamming on the dancefloor….and has, of course, to be listened at a volume which will make your ears bleed profusely.

The follow-up was along similar lines, coming in at a damn-near perfect two minutes in length, which is about as much as much as my then 40 year-old body could cope with as I gyrated around the living room scaring the bejaysus out of the cats.

mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Pin

(Pin actually came up on random shuffle early the other day and the fact that it brought a smile to otherwise miserable face on my daily commute indirectly led to this posting)

The third single to be lifted from the album was rather different.

mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

It’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Karen O delivers a vulnerable yet powerful vocal which is reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux at her very best while her two band mates do their utmost and provide a jaggy and pounding accompaniment. I’d be happy to start a debate that this is as superb an indie pop/rock love song as there has ever been, particularly from just about the two-minute mark when the guitars really kick in.

There had been a seven-month gap between the release of Pin and Maps, with it not being released until February 2004. It was likely the fact that the album was now the best part of a year old and had sold in decent quantities in the UK which prevented Maps doing better than #26 in the charts, and so it was something of a surprise that a fourth track, out of eleven on the album, was issued as a 45 later on that year:-

mp3 : Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Y Control

Many of the initial reviews of the album had picked out Y Control as being a particular highlight, one which had loads of 70s and 80s influences and yet managed to sound ridiculously fresh and so 21st Century.  It’s a very fair assessment of things but at the same time it’s not the most commercial or radio-friendly of tunes and so it didn’t seem to the most clever of ideas to put it out as a single some 15 months after it had appeared on the album.  No surprises then that it was something of a flop.




Another thing which often causes surprise when I’m looking for some background on a song that I’m intending to feature on the blog is learning that it was either a much bigger chart hit than I ever recalled or, conversely, it was a comparative flop.

Prince really took off here in the UK in 1983/84, with a run of top ten singles lifted from the albums 1999 and Purple Rain. There was, inevitably and naturally, huge interest I what he was going to come up with next but very few were prepared for something as odd as this:-

mp3 : Prince & The Revolution – Raspberry Beret

By odd, I mean different. It was, unexpectedly, a pop tune, far lighter and less funky than many of the songs which had propelled him into the stratosphere. It was a happy, almost carefree song with a chorus that seemed not to be too far removed from a nursery rhyme. Prince had this reputation as a dangerous basdass mutha, with a raw sex on legs persona, who didn’t want to know what love is, but here he was writing and recording a song reflecting on the loss of innocence.

It was a tune that, more than anything else of the stuff I had heard up until now, convinced me that Prince was capable of living up to the hype. None of Little Red Corvette, Let’s Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and the afore-mentioned 1999 and Purple Rain had done anything for me and I wasn’t at all familiar with his back catalogue. The new single just oozed class and style right out of the radio with every play seeming to offer something new to the listening ears, such as the perfect interplay with the backing vocalists, the lush instrumentation that had a sort of world music feel to it or the fact that the lyric was, in places, just about as filthy as previous offerings – “They say the first time ‘aint the greatest / But I tell ya, if I had the chance to do it all again / I wouldn’t change a stroke.”

It’s a song written from the perspective of a hopeless romantic, with the sort of storyline that wouldn’t have been out-of-place on a Springsteen album. Puny little boy in dead-end job in a shop, with a boss who wasn’t fond of him, has his world turned upside down by the unexpected appearance one day of a confident female who is wearing an extremely bright and stylish hat….he knows immediately that she is trouble as she came into the shop through the out-door!

You can just picture the insecure and inexperienced boy cowering behind the counter as the girl in the raspberry beret makes a beeline for him – “Built like she was, she had the nerve to ask me / If I planned to do her any harm” – but his bravado leads him to call her out and the next thing you know, he’s got her on the back of his bicycle and he’s pedalling furiously to a barn on a nearby farm, trying hard to get there before the rain starts pouring down.

Next thing he knows, she has made a man out of him. And he’s fallen madly in love. He certainly will always remember his first time….with the overpowering image being the hat which doesn’t appear to have been removed throughout the tryst. It’s completely bonkers but at the same time completely brilliant.

For years, I only knew the 7” and radio version of the song. It was over on someone else’s blog (and apologies for nor recalling whose) that I was exposed to the 12” version in which the funk, and a nod to the blues, bookend the pop tune. It’s even more brilliant than the version with which we are most familiar.

mp3 : Prince & The Revolution – Raspberry Beret (12” mix)

Let me take you back to my opening gambit about the extent of chart success.

Raspberry Beret only got to #25 in the UK in August 1985. I wouldn’t have thought that.



A DEBUT GUEST POSTING by SHA (aka Swedish Herring Accident)

Wandering round the recent exhibition Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop at the National Museum of Scotland, it hurt my very soul that Cocteau Twins barely got a mention. Maybe they’re not pop, I said to myself. But now I see that we’ve reached almost 200 ICAs and not got around to addressing Cocteau Twins, I’m thinking something’s amiss. Maybe no-one’s brave or naive enough to have a crack at it – that’s a real possibility. It is, after all, a daunting body of work to reduce to a single album. But then, maybe it’s better to have a half-baked attempt than none at all. I’m definitely capable of that.

So here’s my offering. I’ve steered away from some of the more dissonant early stuff – not because it isn’t great, but because I wanted to create an album with a single sound, rather than a variety pack compilation. An album that captures the unmistakable mellifluous Cocteau Twins sensation that hovers between fluffy and deeply meaningful. Or caterwauling nonsense as my wife would put it. (JC adds….as would my wife!)

You’ll no doubt disagree with my choices – I disagree with them myself. I’ve murdered my darlings and made some unspeakably cruel omissions. I’ve also not shied away from popular/ obvious stuff just to prove that I’ve got Peppermint Pig or Moon And The Melodies. That said, this is no Best Of. Oh shut up now; just let the music flow over you.

Side 1.

Lazy Calm (from Victorialand).

An amazing and daring way to start an album, especially one as short as Victorialand. For a long time, I wasn’t certain that this wasn’t two tracks. The first half of this would form a perfect introduction to any other Cocteau Twins song. There was always a moment of tension between getting hold of a new Cocteau Twins album and playing it for the first time. “Have they lost it?” “Will it still be wonderful?” I should have never worried – within the first few moments of every Cocteau Twins album Liz’s voice would wash over me with a soothing wave of relief. None more so than this from 1985.

Love’s Easy Tears (from Love’s Easy Tears ep).

Got this from Probe in Liverpool the day it came out. I played it all evening until the others in my hall of residence asked me to stop. I thought I was the only person in the world who Liz and Robin could commune with. Then I read an interview in which Liz said this ep was some kind of tribute to 60s singers like Sandie Shaw and Dusty. That hadn’t occurred to me – not what I thought we were communing at all!

Carolyn’s Fingers (from Bluebell Knoll).

After Treasure, the wait for another album seemed interminable. Robin constantly claimed that each new offering wasn’t the real thing. Victorialand wasn’t a real album because it was just him and Liz messing around; Echoes in a Shallow Bay/ Tiny Dynamine wasn’t a real album because it was just some out-takes they’d polished up; Moon and the Melodies wasn’t a real album because it was a side project with Harold Budd. After all this methadone, when were we going to get a proper dose of the good stuff? And boy, when it arrived, Bluebell Knoll was the good stuff. And what’s this? Thank The Lord! A drummer! Carolyn’s Fingers is like a hug across the void.

In Our Angelhood (from Head Over Heels).

Head Over Heels is amazingly energetic – very little clue of the languid silkiness to come. Back when Cocteau Twins were still deciding who they wanted to be, bursting with creative spark, they put out songs like this with confidence and style.

Lorelei (from Treasure).

This is around the time the music press stopped trying to bracket Cocteau Twins – no more Siouxsie or Kate Bush analogies. They had found a voice and a sound of their own. Simon’s turned up with his safe hands on the rhythm section and his “Hyeah – I’m the bassist now” flourishes. For a while, this was head and shoulders the most exciting song I had ever heard. I thought it would need a whole Barnum and Bailey’s circus of performers to do it any justice on stage and at least three separate singers (I’m thinking twin sylph-like angels for the verse and a prowling vixen for the chorus). I still like to think that Cirque du Soleil should one day come to their senses and do a Cocteau Twins show. And when they do, this will be the opener.


Fruitopia Commercial 1. They did an advert! It was two TV spots for Fruitopia, the Coca-Cola Company’s short-lived attempt to compete with the likes of Oasis and Snapple. I like to think that Robin finds discarded snippets like this in the bottom of his sock drawer and sells them off to passing art directors in 30-second stings.

Side 2

Bluebeard (from Four-Calendar Café).

In 1993 I was fed up with all the music in my collection and was listening to the radio in search of something new to get into. The moment I heard the gleaming guitar riff on this intro, I thought “That’s the one for me, I’ll go straight out and buy this.” By the time Liz’s vocals started, it was clear that everything I knew was true and that the world was spinning smoothly on its axis. Robin once said he couldn’t stand those Pink Floydy guitarists who can play all six strings at once; I think he manages at least three on this.

Sultitan Itan (from Tiny Dynamine).

Everything I read about Liz Fraser made her seem less real. Her favourite drink was Babycham and brandy. She cooked strawberries. Both of these were disgusting and expensive.

Heaven Or Las Vegas (from Heaven Or Las Vegas).

I chose nine out ten of these tracks without worrying about what anyone else was going to think. And then I had two problems – we need something from Heaven Or Las Vegas and we need one of those epic Side Two Showstoppers to propel us onwards.

Pur (from Four-Calendar Café).

In the natural order of Cocteau Twins albums, this is the where there’s a slow nebulous calm before the epic ending storm. With Pur, it’s fragile vulnerability erupting into velvet self-confidence. Sometimes, it pays not to listen to the words, just the voice. You risk getting a glimpse like this (and Bluebeard earlier) into an unhappy and crumbling relationship.

A Kissed-Out Red Floatboat (from Bluebell Knoll).

And this is how I want to die – this song is a Chinese lantern in the sunset. Let these exquisite twinkling harmonies, these shimmering tones lift you away into the ether like dandelion clocks in the breeze. Or caterwauling nonsense – you choose.


Mix and Match Bonus Session: These are the other songs I considered for track three on side two before chickening out and choosing Heaven Or Las Vegas:

(i) The Spangle Maker (from Pearly Dewdrops ep) – in the end this track is too big to be an album track. Leave it where it is with a whole side to itself;

(ii) Summerhead (from Four Calendar Café) – did they come full circle? This would have fitted on any Cocteau Twins album from Head Over heels onwards.

(iii) Squeeze-Wax (from Four-Calendar Café) – late period willowy breeziness at its very best.

Simply switch out one of these, according to taste. Other Sonic Cathedrals are available.



Paul Morley, of New Musical Express (NME) was one of the most influential opinion-formers of the early 80s.

He was, certainly at one point in time, a huge fan of Paul Haig, suggesting in July 1982 that he, Billy Mackenzie, Jim Kerr and Martin Fry were the potential saviours of pop music. There’s no doubt that Morley was prone to exaggeration but his words and thoughts didn’t do Paul any harm.

Paul had continued to work in Belgium, recording material which ended up being shelved for a while, but not for reasons that the label didn’t want to issue it. Things were moving fast around Paul, thanks in part to his name being mentioned by Morley and others, and Crépuscule elected to accept an offer from Island Records for a licensing deal which resulted in a change of plans that stopped the release of a new single and an album of swing tunes.

Instead, in late 1982, financed by Island, Paul Haig found himself in New York, working with producer Alex Sadkin whose track record had included Grace Jones but was now primarily involved with The Thompson Twins, which perhaps gives an indication of the market where the label was intending to push Paul towards.

There were big expectations from Island for the first single through the new arrangements. It was an update on a track dating back to the Josef K days, although such was the work in the studio that it proved to be unrecognisable:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Sent

Released with an Island Records catalogue number (IS111), it was a huge favourite at Strathclyde Students Union, possibly because myself and a few mates consistently asked for it to get played and we always ensured we got up and danced to it, and as time went on, so did many other regulars. It got a fair bit of radio play, certainly in Scotland, but the record-buying public didn’t take to it and it stalled at a bitterly disappointing #74.

The b-side of the 7″ was a remix of the cover of Running Away. The 12″ version of Heaven Sent is soooooo 80s, with all sorts of production tricks thrown at it and it extended out to not far short of double its length.

As I’ve said before, I’m not actually all that fond of the 12″ cut as the extra three and a bit minutes veers to being a tad self-indulgent. The b-side was also extended with a segue into one of Paul’s own songs:-

mp3 : Paul Haig – Heaven Sent (12″ version)
mp3 : Paul Haig – Running Away/Back Home

If you want to learn how different it was to the Josef K days of not much more than 18 months previously:-

mp3 : Josef K – Heaven Sent




I’ll begin by repeating the opening of a post from September 2017:-

I’ve been very fortunate in the near eleven years that this and the predecessor blog have been functioning to have been on the receiving end of a number of wonderful pieces of correspondence, most often by email but occasionally by post.

An example of the latter was when reader Phil Hogarth sent me over 3 x CDs, containing a total of 55 songs, that he thought I’d find entertaining. The songs were, for the most part, from Scottish singers and bands, some of whom I’d heard of but the majority of which were new to me. Those CDs arrived in 2009 or 2010 and I recall thinking to myself at the time that I must get round to posting a bundle of the better songs. But for one reason or another, I never got round to it….so what I’m going to do is fish out individual songs for inclusion in this series as and when the singer or band’s turn comes up.

It’s time again:-

mp3 : Hollow Horse – Forget The Girl

I’ve been able to establish that it’s the opening track of an album called Beggarstown, released in 2005,  Hollow Horse are a Glasgow quartet, comprising Kenny Little, David Wotherspoon, Ian Stevenson and Kevin Devlin, which formed in 2001 One reviewer has said of them “Sort of Crowded House meets Paul Weller with a twist of Roy Orbison and a subtle hint of Elvis Costello.”

There’s been three albums and more can be gleamed from here.



Push Upstairs was the single which accompanied the release of Beaucoup Fish, the third studio album by Underworld released in March 1999.

It was an eagerly awaited moment, the band having not released any new material since 1996 and in the intervening period having become a household name thanks to Born Slippy (Nuxx) being one of the many great songs associated with the hit film Trainspotting.

It doesn’t disappoint whatsoever, offering again the big, throbbing and pounding beat and the near impossible to make out stream-of-conscious lyric while providing the bonus of an imaginative and superb use of a house-style piano loop. Once again, I found myself listening to an Underworld song and wishing I was a wee bit younger, wanting to head into a nightclub with some confidence and dance myself stupid until my legs gave way from under me, instead of feeling rattled and scared by those who patiently but loudly stood in the long snaking queues, often underneath leaden and damp skies in my home city.

mp3 : Underworld – Push Upstairs

I heard this again for the first time in a long while, thanks to a random appearance via the shuffle feature. It is genuinely outstanding…..

Here’s the two remixes made available on CD1:-

mp3 : Underworld – Push Upstairs (Roger S. Blue Plastic People Mix)
mp3 : Underworld – Push Upstairs (Adam Beyer Mix 1)

There may well be some of you who like these remixes but they simply act as a reminder of why I have my struggles with a lot of dance music and why it is that I prefer Underworld under their own steam to most others.

The single reached #12 and remains the band’s best-performing 45 chartwise outside of the big hit.



The seven minute epic which closed the breakthrough album, His’n’Hers, back in 1994.

We made our way slowly down the path that led to the stream,
Swaying slightly,
Drunk on the sun, I suppose.
It was a real summer’s day.
The air humming with heat whilst the trees beckoned us into their cool green shade.
And when we reached the stream I put a bottle of cider into the water to chill,
Both of us knowing that we’d drink it long before it had the chance.

This is where you want to be,
There’s nothing else but you and her,
And how you spend your time.

Walking to parties whilst it’s still light outside.
Peter was upset at first but now he’s in the garden talking to somebody Polish.
Why don’t we set up a tent and spend the night out there?
And we can pretend that we’re somewhere foreign,
But we’ll still be able to use the fridge if we get hungry, or too hot.

This is where you want to be,
There’s nothing else but you and her,
And how you use your time.

We went driving.

This is where you want to be,
There’s nothing else but you and her,
And how you use your time.

The room smells faintly of sun tan lotion
In the evening sunlight and when you take off your clothes,
You’re still wearing a small pale skin bikini.
The sound of children playing in the park comes from faraway,
And time slows down to the speed of the specks of dust
Floating in the light from the window.

Summer leaves fall from Summer trees.
Summer grazes fade on Summer knees.
Summer nights are slowly getting long.
Summer’s going so hurry soon it’ll be gone.

So we went out to the park at midnight one last time.
Past the abandoned glasshouse stuffed full of dying palms.
Past the bandstand down to the boating lake.
And we swam in the moonlight for what seemed like hours,
Until we couldn’t swim anymore.

And as we came out of the water we sensed a certain movement in the air,
And we both shivered slightly and ran to collect our clothes.
And as we walked home we could hear the leaves curling and turning
Brown on the trees,
And the birds deciding where to go for Winter.
And the whole sound,
The whole sound of Summer packing it’s bags and preparing to leave town.

Oh but I want you to stay.
Oh please stay for a while,
Oh I want you to stay,
Oh I want you to stay.

mp3 : Pulp – David’s Last Summer



I was copying the text from the C88 booklet for last Saturday’s posting on Holidaymakers, when my gaze was attracted to words elsewhere on the same page:-

Hailing from Nottingham, Fat Tulips announced themselves on a shared flexi, where ‘You Opened My Eyes’ – ringing guitars courtesy of Mark D and lilting vocals care of Sarah C – shared space with a Rosehips cover of ‘Ask Johnny Dee’

The C88 song from Fat Tulips was the very one featured on the flexi, and given that Ask Johnny Dee is one of my all time favourite singles of the period, I really had to track down this cover:-

mp3 : Fat Tulips – You Opened Up My Eyes
mp3 : Rosehips – Ask Johnny Dee

You couldn’t really ask for anything more derivative of what many associate with C86/87/88 than these two totally DIY, fragile and near amateurish pieces of music…everyone involved sounds as if they are on the very edge of their abilities, concentrating hard to make sure nothing falls apart before the final notes are struck or sung.

The booklet goes on to offer a reminder that Fat Tulips, after a number of line-up changes, would release a single which paid homage(?) to a pixie-like and gorgeous pop star of the early 80s:-

mp3 : Fat Tulips – Where’s Clare Grogan Now?

There’s an excellent website devoted to Fat Tulips – they seem to have been a band who enjoyed what they did without ever getting hung about fame or fortune.   Click here for more.




In a career spanning over 40 years, Gregory Isaacs was a highly prolific recording artist – you’ll be on pretty safe ground picking up absolutely anything by him, up to and including the ‘Night Nurse’ LP released on Island in 1982. Thereafter, his prodigious output continued, but, with the exception of one or two stand-out moments, the quality was never quite the same. It was a long and painful decline, exacerbated by ill-health and drug dependency issues until lung cancer claimed his life in 2010, aged just 59. Here are ten choice cuts from the glory years of The Cool Ruler. If you enjoy these, I encourage you to dig deeper.

1) Love is Overdue (1974)

Covered by Keith Richards in 2015. I love you Keef, I really do, but some tunes should just remain untouched. Gregory’s original was produced by Alvin Ranglin and released on Ranglin’s own GG record label.

2) All I Have Is Love (1974)

Released as a split 7″ with Pat Kelly‘s ‘Summertime’ in Jamaica in 1974. When this beauty finally saw the light of day in the UK the following year, it was bafflingly relegated to the b-side of the inferior ‘Help Us Get Over‘. Produced by Phill Pratt.

3) Ba Da (1975)

Produced by Winston Holness, aka Niney the Observer. Sparse, dubby and mysterious. You’ll find nothing else quite like this in Gregory’s catalogue.

4) Mr Cop (1976)

Produced at the Black Ark by the great Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, ‘Mr Cop’ shows Isaacs calling for overzealous police to cease their harassment of weed smoking dreads. ‘…we’re just sipping a cup and having some fun and it’s better than in the streets bashing guns…’ Hopes for a longstanding musical partnership between The Cool Ruler and The Upsetter came to nothing – this song was their only meaningful collaboration.

5) Hand Cuff (1978)

Self-produced, socially aware standout from the ‘Mr Isaacs’ LP, featuring an all-star cast including the engineering prowess of Ossie Hibbert, The Heptones on backing vocals and musical accompaniment from The Revolutionaries. ‘…hey mister Babylon, take the cuff from off the bredren’s hand…’

6) Poor and Clean (1979)

Initially released as a single in Jamaica and subsequently on the 1980 ‘Lonely Lover’ LP in the UK. Features contributions from Sly & Robbie, Gladdy Anderson and Errol ‘Flabba’ Holt.

7) Soon Forward (1979)

Sublime title track of Gregory’s second Front Line Records LP. A Sly & Robbie production.

8) Once Ago (1981)

Closing cut on the excellent ‘More Gregory’ LP.

9) What a Feeling (1981)

A terrific single, released only in Jamaica and belatedly added to the CD reissue of ‘More Gregory’ in 2002. ‘…liquor a sip, herb a smoke and the dancehall tight…’

10) Cool Down the Pace (1982)

From the ‘Night Nurse’ LP, Gregory’s commercial peak. The title track was released as a single and later famously later covered by Simply Red (credit where it’s due, Mick Hucknall was a massive reggae fan who helped establish the crucial Blood and Fire label in 1993). The lilting ‘Cool Down the Pace’ was also pulled from the album as a single.
Another LP, ‘Out Deh’, followed on Island in 1983. It was a weak effort and from then on, despite releasing dozens of further albums for a bewildering variety of labels, The Cool Ruler never hit quite such creative heights again.




The second Grinderman single is an absolute hoot.

It’s garage-rock with a tune and lyric The Cramps would have been proud of which opens with a middle-aged Lothario singing about his face and body failing him and how he’s reduced to self-love. He then goes on to explain how this state of being has come about, namely that he has been reduced to doing a range of demeaning things in an effort to persuade a woman to have sex with him.

He’s tried changing the sheets on his bed, combing his hair to hide the bald patches and sucking in his gut, all to no avail. He tries poetry, DIY repairs and even petting a revolting pet that she dotes on, but still with no progress towards his goal. In the end, he comes to the conclusion to he ain’t going to get any and it’s given him the blues.

mp3 : Grinderman – No Pussy Blues

All of this could have made for an uncomfortable listen, a song filled withy bitterness and bile, full of misogyny and sexist language; but in the hands of a happily married in real-life composer, it becomes something hilarious and as memorable as any of the weepy ballads that had brought Nick Cave to the attention of a wider public.

The b-side turned out to be a track originally considered for inclusion on what would become the debut Grinderman album but left off at a late stage.

mp3 : Grinderman – Chain of Flowers

As time would demonstrate this was the lightest and softest song that would be recorded under the Grinderman badge – it really should have been kept back for the next Bad Seeds album.



The first essential single of the solo era. Released on 12″ vinyl on the dance-orientated Interference imprint of his Belgian label, this was Paul Haig making a fabulous synth-driven pop song, with perfect backing vocals from Giles and Samantha of Hey! Elastica who were featured just a few weeks back in the Saturday series.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Blue For You
mp3 : Paul Haig – Blue For You (version)

It seemed really exotic to go into a Glasgow record shop to purchase a piece of vinyl pressed up in Belgium that featured musicians from Edinburgh. I still play this record on a regular basis these days.

Paul would later perform Blue For You in a very rare live TV performance. The backing vocals in this instance are from session singers:-

The song would later be re-recorded for Paul’s debut LP, but this early version is the definitive version.



I’ve one song by this lot, courtesy of it being in the Cherry Red C88 box set that was released in June 2017. Here’s the words from the booklet:-

The short-lived Holidaymakers, part of an Edinburgh scene spawned by the likes of the Shop Assistants and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes were Adrian Smith (vocals/guitar), Neil Craig (guitar), Mark Cunningham (bass) and Richard Guy (drums). The jangly ‘Everyday’ graced the first Whoosh flexi (sharing honours with The Nivens’ ‘Let Loose Of My Knee’) and was followed by the majestic ‘Cininatti’, (Whoosh 004, 1988) two minutes or so of chiming guitars and assured, smouldering vocals that equalled Paul Simpson in The Wild Swans at his best. Alas, there was just one further release, 1989’s ‘Skyrider’, on the Gay Cowboy Recording Organisation, before the band rode off into the sunset.

mp3 : Holidaymakers – Cincinnati

Cincinnati is a good song, but the vocal delivery is nothing like that of Paul Simpson and this the description in the booklet is a bit misleading. I lived in Edinburgh from mid 85-mid 88, but it was a time I didn’t take much to do with music and I certainly have no recollection of Holidaymakers. Indeed, I can’t even recall seeing the sleeve in any record shops, despite me still spending many a lunchtime browsing those indie stores which weren’t too far from my city centre office.

I have managed to track down the b-side of the single:-

mp3 : Holidaymakers – Seventh Valley Girl



I was checking something up in the Simon Goddard book when my eye was drawn to something he’s included in one of the appendices, ‘Related Releases – A Selection of supplementary titles recorded during the years Postcard was active’

It was his reference to a single by a band whose name vaguely rang a bell.

ARTICLE 58 – ‘Event To Come’ b/w ‘Echoes’/’Lost & Found’ (1981)

Bouncy single by Hamilton band released on Josef K manager Allan Campbell’s label. The only non-Postcard release to credit Alan Horne, here ‘co-producer’ with Malcolm Ross. Recorded at Emblem Sound, Strathaven (B-side ‘Echoes; recorded by Wilf Smarties). Article 58’s drummer was Steve Lironi*, later to join Altered Images

*and later to break my heart by marrying Clare Grogan.

Anyways, as I said Article 58 rang a bell and it turns out that I actually have a copy of the song that was the a-side, courtesy of its inclusion on a compilation album issued some 15 years ago by German based Marina Records.  It’s my mistake in not picking up they were Scottish as they would have featured many moons ago on a Saturday.

mp3 : Article 58 – Event To Come

A fast and frantic sounding piece of music with great guitar work from the emerging Douglas MacIntyre who, almost 40 years later remains a mainstay of the Glasgow music scene thanks to his playing with many bands and his running of Creeping Bent Records.  He’s been responsible for one of my favourite records of 2018

Going back to Article 58, the a-side of the single certainly gives a nod to Josef K……

The back of the sleeve provides a fair bit of detail.

Event To Come and Lost & Found were recorded at the same session with Ross and Horne given credit for production. The band consisted of Gerry McLaughlin (vocals), Douglas McIntyre (guitar), Ewan McLennan (bass) and Stephen Lironi (drums), although Robert McCormack is credited as the drummer on Echoes, which presumably was an earlier demo track recorded at the Edinburgh studio of Wilf Smarties  (who himself would go on to have a very successful career in writing and production in later years)

It got my interest piqued and after a bit of effort, I’ve tracked down the b-sides:-

mp3 : Article 58 – Echoes
mp3 : Article 58 – Lost & Found

Both well worth a listen, with a touch of the guitar sounds of PiL/Magazine in there; once again it’s an example of a band forming for one single before dissolving, although in this instance two of its members would go onto achieve much elsewhere.




SWC is sat next to me in the office to ensure ‘fair play’. KT has just disappeared off to her desk and has switched on her iPod. She has been given orders to email through from song eight – so that there is some sort of tension. SWC is fully expecting this ICA to be utter torment for me.

I’ll recap – we had a little experiment, KT wrote an ICA on the Manics chosen by SWC’s ipod. He then wrote on Mercury Rev, chosen by my iPod and now its my turn, and KT’s iPod is doing the choosing. KT’s ipod is full of chart rubbish that she pretends not to love…

“I just haven’t found the time to delete ‘Superstar’ by Jamelia or ‘Hello’ by Lionel Ritchie or everything by the 1975.” is what she usually claims.

I am worried to be honest. When the iPod gets to the 11th song that is the artist/band that the ICA is on. I sit and pray that it’s not Kylie.

About two hours or so later an email arrives from KT – It turns out she forgot to let me know what songs came on as she was ‘busy’. So she has pressed back and tells me that Track Eight Was ‘Erase/Rewind by the Cardigans (tough), Track Nine was something by a band called Riley and the Restless (tougher as they are from Teignmouth and only have a couple of tracks on their soundcloud page – I’d still recommend them to you though if you are a fan of Johnny Cash). Track Ten was ‘Around My Head’ by Cage the Elephant (tougher still) and then I take a deep breath.

Track Eleven was ‘Cornerstone’ by Arctic Monkeys. I punch the air in delight and grin at SWC as her reads the email. He presses ‘reply’ on the email and types a solitary word. “Bastard”.

We did add a rule when writing these ICA’s – no more than 4 singles on the album, and it must contain at least one B Side, remix or cover version, it can contain more if you want it to. I may be slightly hoisted by my own petard here, as I own no Arctic Monkeys cover versions (actually I own, one a live version of a Beatles song, but it is rubbish, so we’ll ignore that) and I’m fairly sure that they’ve never been remixed. But then again four of their six albums are masterpieces so I’ll be alright I think.

So, here goes, An Imaginary Compilation Album on Arctic Monkeys.

Side One

Chun Li’s Spinning Bird Kick (B Side to I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor)

Chun Li as all you geeks will recall was a (the first?) female character from Street Fighter whose special move was the aforementioned spinning bird kick. I’ve started with this because I think firstly it underlines the Monkeys knack for a tune (this an instrumental was nominated for a Grammy) and secondly because I think it also underlines the bands ability to get this spot on because if everything in the world was set to music, being kicked in the face by a spinning Japanese warrior (or was she an undercover agent, I never quite followed her back story) would undoubtedly sound exactly like this.

Cornerstone (From ‘Humbug’)

People say that ‘Humbug’ was patchy (it sounds way too much like the Queens of the Stone Age to be honest), but I think it’s one of the four masterpieces that I mention up top (the two that aren’t are the second album and the most recent one in case we are playing Arctic Monkeys poker at all). ‘Cornerstone’ is lovely as well, an obvious album highlight, which stood out at the very first listen. It shows off what Alex Turner is famous for, subtle and intricate songcraft. The song is packed with vivid lyrics and observation about various watering holes and females who remind Turner of someone, we never find out who, but the song is so beautiful we don’t really care.

The Hellcat Spanged Shalala (From Suck It and See)

After ‘Humbug’ the band abandoned trying to be a South Yorkshire version of the Queens of the Stone Age and returned to making beautifully wistful guitar pop and it suited them down to the ground – and you know what – I think right now, ‘Suck It and See’ is my favourite of their albums, is it their best – not sure – but I personally don’t think that they have ever sounded as confident and as sparkling as they do in this song. It’s marvellous.

Despair in the Departure Lounge (From Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?)

In between the release of the first Arctic Monkeys album and the recording of the second album, the record company wanted the band to release a third single. This was supposed to be ‘The View from the Afternoon’ but instead of doing the easy thing and just releasing the band decided to release an EP of five tracks and immediately disqualified themselves from the charts, that they called it ‘Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys’ didn’t help either. That EP is full of gems, every track is wonderful, but this is the highlight. A beautiful exploration of what it means to pine after someone or something.

I Wanna Be Yours (From AM)

The poignant side of the Monkeys I don’t think has ever been in doubt, but their most poignant moment ever, isn’t even down to them. ‘AM’ their fifth album closes with ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ which is a John Cooper Clarke poem from around 1985 that has been tweaked ever so slightly by Alex Turner. He then gives it a simple, beautiful, heartfelt delivery and when he tells us that “I wanna be your Ford Cortina/ And I will never rust,” it is utterly mesmerising.

Side Two – which is very first album heavy

I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor (From Whatever People Say I Am…)

When the Sun Goes Down (From Whatever People Say I Am…)

These two tracks sum up everything about the band when they first burst onto the scene. They are both essential listening and frankly without them this ICA would be useless. I’ve written about the first song before in some depth but I don’t think I have ever waxed lyrical about ‘When the Sun Goes Down’.

It is quite astonishing, both lyrically and musically. A bleak ode to prostitutes in Turner’s native Sheffield and their scummy pimps or customers. It’s astonishing in a number of ways – firstly the way that the tone changes after the line “He’s a scumbag don’t you know’ is breathtakingly mature for a band who are releasing just their second single. Then we are astonished again near the end when the scummy man arrives the prostitute becomes happy because as Turner tells us, sagely, “she must be fucking freezing, scantily clad beneath the clear night sky”. I mean that is some tragically beautiful poetry there.

She’s Thunderstorms (From Suck it and See)

This is the opening track of ‘Suck It and See’ – and was apparently actually writing during an ‘apocalyptic’ thunderstorm in New York. Although I think it’s more about the tempestuous and captivating nature of the female of the species than thunder, lightning and heavy rain.

Arabella (From ‘AM’)

I was going to mention an old blog that I use to read that hated the Arctic Monkeys with a passion and claimed that they were just peddling out the same old shit time after time, album after album. I was going to mention that he clearly could not have listened to ‘AM’ because that is so much different to all of their other albums – clearly influenced by hip hop and 70’s rock music and it contains ‘Arabella’ which is the best song ever written about a gator skin boot wearing female.

The View From the Afternoon (From Whatever…)

Lyrically, this is incredible. It’s visual trip through a town on a (presumably) Friday night. It’s full of characters, the girls at the fancy dress party in the limo, the gambler at the fruit machine, the lads with pool cues, the drunk sending text messages…It is just remarkable song and hope fully a fitting end to this ICA.


JC adds.……I’ll provide the cover version:-

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – Put Your Dukes Up, John

A b-side on Leave Before The Lights Come On single, it’s their take on a 2005 single by The Little Flames… of whose members was…..Miles Kane.


I quite enjoy writing about Arctic Monkeys.

I’m kind of kicking myself for not homing in on them for the Sunday singles series as it would have taken care of around six months of postings and featured quite a different range of sounds as the band have been really keen to develop and expand since the early material saw light of day in 2005.

The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala was released, on 15 August 2011, as the second single from the fourth album Suck It And See.

The album itself had been built up in advance as the band making a return to a more indie-pop orientated sound after the harder edge product of 2009’s Humbug which had seen Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age assume production duties. The problem with making such statements is that many expected a record that would be as instant and catchy as the debut and parts of the sophomore efforts when in fact it turned out to be something of a hybrid with the occasional piece of pure pop alongside some harder and edgier numbers as well as songs which bordered on glam or psychedelia. It was a broad and ambitious effort which, for the most part, was warmly received by the critics, even if most of them were just grateful that it wasn’t akin to Humbug.

The lead single had been Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair, released about a month before the album. I’m not really sure if hopes were high as it was an unusual choice for a 45, lacking any real chorus or hook, and it certainly didn’t have the urge or youthful energy of the 45s and the songs that had rocketed the group to stardom in the UK and many other parts of Europe. It was certainly packed with clever wordplay which is something Alex Turner has consistently excelled all his career, but the sneering delivery of the title was a bit unnerving and it wasn’t tailor made for radio, so no real surprises that it had stalled at #28 in the charts, getting no higher than its first week position and dropping out of the Top 40 immediately afterwards.

The follow-up was one of the most favoured tracks on the album, if you judged things by on-line views and opinions. The accompanying video was put up on line in early July 2011, and again, there were all sorts of positive comments.

Things were set for a 45 which would likely go Top 20, until disaster struck.

Just before the release date, the warehouse in which the 7” singles were being stored in advance of distribution was hit by arsonists during the rioting which accompanied riots in parts of London between 6-11 August. Most of the stock was destroyed and decision was taken to sell what was left exclusively through the band’s website. No product in the shops meant there was little enthusiasm to promote the release and no product in the shops meant it had no chance of troubling the charts. Most fans consoled themselves that the single version, including swear word (which presumably would have been bleeped or distorted for radio play) was the same as that on the album and that the b-side was widely available as a digital download.

mp3 : Arctic Monkeys – The Hell Spangled Shalalala
mp3 : Miles Kane & The Death Ramps – Little Illusion Machine (Wirral Riddler)

Ah…that b-side. Miles Kane is probably best known as being Alex Turner’s sidekick in The Last Shadow Puppets whose debut album had been a huge success in 2008. The Death Ramps was the name adopted by Arctic Monkeys when they were using guest singers for b-side tracks. In this instance, Kane not only sung lead vocal but co-wrote the song with the band. It’s one of those songs which was wasted as a b-side.

Given how few copies made it out into the public domain, this 7” single is one of the most sought after among fans. And no, I don’t own a copy!


PS : Advance warning…..more from this lot tomorrow, courtesy of a guest contribution.


I’ve written before about deciding to write about a song and being shocked/stunned/horrified to discover that it was released much further back in time that I would have guessed.

It’s happened yet again with this:-

mp3 : Queens of The Stone Age – The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret

QoSTA are a rock band, occasionally bordering on heavy but managing to cross over enough to appeal to the indie, stoner and teen brigades. They came into being in the late 90s but I didn’t pick up on them until the summer of 2000 when Lost Art….became something of a minor hit in the UK, reaching #31 in the single chart and leading me to go out and purchase parent album Rated R. It was an album that had some very exceptional moments, including the infectiously catchy chant-a-long other single lifted from it:-

mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit Of The Summer

One listen and you’ll realise why it struggled to get air time on mainstream/daytime radio.

I think what’s really hit me is that I’ve come to a realisation that having not really kept up with much new music outside of Scotland since the turn of the century, everything I have somehow feels newish and I’ve no real focal or reference points with which to gauge things. It’s a total contrast to the late 70s and 80s where music really was the be-all and end-all and hearing many a song from that era will take me immediately back to a place, time and/or incident which can spring to mind without delay. I certainly wouldn’t have had any issue, back in 2000, coming to terms with the fact that some great song or other dated back to 1982. But I just can’t get my head around that it’s been 18 years since I went out and purchased a QoSTA album for the one and only time.

The CD I got back for my cash featured a five-track bonus disc, with one of the songs being a surprising yet enjoyable cover:-

mp3 : Queens of the Stone Age – Who’ll Be The Next In Line

I’ve long been quite fond of the 1965 original:-

mp3 : The Kinks – Who’ll Be The Next In Line



I’ve mentioned the past couple of Sundays how Paul Haig’s solo output would go to catch a few folk out, thanks to the music being far removed from the sounds associated with his former band, Josef K.

In a similar vein, the former frontman of Buzzcocks stunned many, fans and critics alike, when he released his debut solo single in September 1981:-

mp3 : Pete Shelley – Homosapien

I’m certain that I would have first heard this played at a night in the Strathclyde University Student Union on the basis that it had been banned by the BBC. I do recall, vaguely it has to be admitted, one of the weekly music papers having a real go at the record and its singer, accusing him of betraying his punk roots by sliding over onto the dance floor and jumping on the bandwagon of what the writer thought would be a short-lived craze for electronic music. Long live rock’n’roll and all that….

Did I take an instant liking to the track? Truth be told, not really as I wanted Pete Shelley to somehow create MkII of his former band. But, as I grew increasingly familiar with the song, I came to the realisation that it was an absolute belter of a new-era dance track, with as catchy a hook via the synths as had been managed previously with the guitars. Indeed, it is a close cousin to the new pop-savvy sounds that were being released by The Human League, which is no coincidence when you consider that Martin Rushent was could be found in the producer’s chair in both instances.

Few people knew that Pete Shelley was in fact revisiting his first love, having dabbled unsuccessfully in electronic music before meeting Howard Devoto at college and forming one of the most important punk/new wave bands to emerge out of the UK. It was something he had kept quiet about all the time his band becoming a success; in much the same way, he’d previously stayed schtum about his bisexuality, but the release of Homosapien, with its far from subtle references (e.g. ‘Homo Superior, in my interior) provided him with a perfect opportunity to be open about things.

It was a far less tolerant world back then, and there was a sense of a substantial number of fans moving towards disowning Pete Shelley. The excuse given was the shift in music, but there were other unsaid things at play…..

The debut album, also entitled Homospaien, was largely panned on its release, but it is one which has been somewhat reevaluated over time with many now acknowledging that, while not perhaps as instantly accessible as those of the big-hitting and chart-friendly acts such as Depeche Mode, Heaven 17, OMD and Ultravox, it certainly was a decent stab at things.

Here’s the b-side to the original release of the debut single….again it’s a bit different from the Buzzcocks without being aimed squarely at the disco floor:-

mp3 : Pete Shelley – Keats’ Song



The proper debut single was released in May 1982. Paul Haig, as mentioned last week, had signed to Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule, but his debut 45 appeared on Operation Twilight in his homeland, a label which was in fact the UK side of his Belgian operations but with some input and support from Rough Trade.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Running Away

A fairly honest update of the original written and recorded back in 1970 with synths replacing the original horns.

mp3 : Sly & The Family Stone – Runnin’ Away

Truth be told, it did feel a little bit underwhelming at the time with very few Josef K fans able to believe their ears. It’s one which has grown on me somewhat, but it does still seem a bit rudimental, almost as if Paul was himself very unsure what his next steps should be.

The b-side is quite different, and isn’t a million miles away from the sound of pre-hit Human League. Again, it took a bit of getting used to, but once it was accepted the angular guitars were now a thing of the past and the electronica had to be embraced fully, this became an early favourite of the solo era.

mp3 : Paul Haig – Time

Both tracks today have been ripped from 7″ vinyl and as a consequence are a touch lo-fi.



Named after an Elvis Presley song, and formed in the mid 80s in Glasgow, His Latest Flame were thought by many as the nearest Scotland ever got to producing an all-girl pop band akin to The Bangles, albeit many of their songs had a political kick to them. The early singles were on Go! Discs but the latter material, including their only LP, was issued via London Records.

The initial band members were Jacqueline Bradley (drums), Irene Brown (guitars), Laura Mazzolini (bass), Moira Rankin (vocals) and Tricia Reid (guitar and vocals) who all played on this rather fine but very 80s sounding debut single.

mp3 : His Latest Flame – Somebody’s Gonna Get Hurt

Tricia Reid was by far and away the principal songwriter in the band. There would be a handful of 45s and one LP, In The Neighbourhood, before they called it a day in 1990.



Aye…..I’ve gone for a post title that might pick up casual passers-by not neccesarily trawling for music.  It’s actually a guest posting from my very dear friend Walter, over in Germany, whose A Few Good Times In My Life is an excellent read.

Hi Jim,

I embrace your offer for a guest contribution on your site in thanks. There are plenty of bands gone by that are worth to remember. As you know I feature a lot of new stuff on my own site but from times to times I grab out a record that is covered with dust and I put it on the turntable with you. Most of the times I feature the band or the singer on the blog. My first thought was to feature The Flys in a guest comment and remembered that I did this almost one year ago.

So I had to decide for another band and found Land Of Sex And Glory. It was a short living band and as far as I know released only a 12-inch mini album back in 1986 called Showdown.

I was searching the internet for more informations but you can find a lot of informations about a Munich based band that is now active with the same name but has nothing to do with the band I am writing about. Also the band’s personal is vanished and can’t be found. So what is their legacy to music? For me one of the best German bands from the mid 80’s playing a stripped down new wave sound with stoic bass lines and a guitar that gets fuzzy at the end of the song. I liked to play this song often when I was DJ-ing in my very younger days. Hope you like it also a little bit.

mp3 : Land of Sex and Glory – Drowning


JC adds…..

Walter is right in that there isn’t much info out there.  I went onto Discogs and learned that in 1984 Land of Sex and Glory released a nine-track self-titled cassette which may have been instrumental in them being picked up by Big Store Records, a Geman independent label for whom, in 1986, there was the six-track mini-album mentioned by Walter.  There was also a sole single – (I Always Wanted To Be) Andy Warhol’s Moviestar which was backed with a cover of Ruby Tuesday, which was put out by Big Store in 1988.

Looking at the artwork available on the Discogs site, I’ve been able to work out the band consisted of Martin Popolek (guitar, backing vocals), Berthold Pesch (drums, percussion and vocals) and George Infame (bass and vocals).  The six songs on the mini-album are credited to the band.  The later single was written by George Infame who also designed its sleeve, the reverse of which gave a contact address and telephone number in Munich for Berthold.