JC writes…..

ICAs 249-252 are in the bag and scheduled for the next few weeks. I have a rule of thumb of only posting one per week so that the details can be properly enjoyed. But, given we are living in strange and unprecedented circumstances, I’m breaking those rules as what follows is timely as well as enjoyable. It will, in due course be provided with a catalogue number of ICA 253.

An Imaginary Compilation Album for troubled times

A guest posting by Jonny the Friendly Lawyer

It’s hard to be patient these days, waiting for the lockdowns to lift and wondering what’s going to happen. Being home all the time I completely lose track of the calendar, waking up without remembering what day it is. It got me thinking that a days-of-the-week ICA might be in order as a reminder—and a distraction.

Being me, of course I had to invent ridiculous rules about what songs could qualify. This time I decided to limit it to songs with titles consisting solely of, and not just including, the name of a particular day. So, no Blue Monday, Wednesday Week, Friday I’m In Love, Sunday Papers, and so on. Poor old David Bowie gets shunted aside despite lots of possibilities—no Love You ‘Till Tuesday, Thursday’s Child, Friday on my Mind or Drive-in Saturday. (‘Sunday’ from the Heathen LP is eligible but I had other ideas.)

I bent the rules slightly when it came to the weekend. Why not? In some respects we’re living an extended weekend. An enforced weekend? Or house arrest. Whatever—everyone prefers weekends to weekdays as a rule, don’t they?

Right, off we go:

Monday – The Jam. I ran into a quandary straight away. Wilco have a terrific song titled ‘Monday’ on their second album, Being There. But The Jam’s tune, with its D minor chorus, is a little less buoyant and more consistent with the feeling of starting a new work week. To quote a former colleague, “Mondays are awful.” Off 1980’s Sound Affects.

Tuesday – Yaz. Or Yazoo to folks overseas. Kind of a melancholy little tune. I’m impressed by how well this song has held up since its release back in 1982. Just vocals, synths and a drum machine—doesn’t sound current by any means but it’s still appealing.

Wednesday – Drive-By Truckers. DBT’s are one of the more lyrically compelling bands in the Americana shoebox they’ve been dumped in. “There was something in the envelope she passed him/That weighed more to him than paper and some ink” is a great opening line to what could be an entry in the Some Songs Are Good Short Stories series. From 2006’s A Blessing And A Curse, when the band featured Jason Isbell.

Thursday – Morphine. I was glad when Hybrid Soc Prof included this tune in his excellent Morphine ICA. Such a unique band: 2-string slide bass, baritone sax and a jazz kit, with the much-missed Mark Sandman’s good-natured croon over the top. A great little story that Tom Waits might have written.

Friday – Joe Jackson. Here’s my hero Graham Maby driving this fine tune along with an irresistible bass line. Back when it came out my sister wrote the lyrics down and substituted her name for Gilly’s. My dad found it and freaked out, which amused both of us. Perhaps more than it should have. This is from Jackson’s second album, I’m The Man, released in October 1979, the same year as his stellar debut Look Sharp!

Friday Night, Saturday Morning – The Specials. Another quandary. Nouvelle Vague’s cover version of this tune is superb. But I chose the original because I heard Tracey Ullman talking about it on the radio. She was being interviewed for Steve Jones’s program (Jonesy’s Jukebox) and said that it was a dead accurate account. In particular she recalled how she and her friends would drop their bags in the middle of the floor and dance in a circle around them to avoid them being stolen. A b-side to the 1981 single ‘Ghost Town’.

Saturday Afternoon – Luke Haines. Mr. Haines fell off my radar after the Auteurs until JC’s long-running series. This is one pulled from that strange trip.

Saturday Nite – Blitzen Trapper. Many eligible songs to choose from again, but I love this one most. Blitzen Trapper are an amazing band with loads of great albums that no one ever seems to have ever heard. This comes from 2008’s Furr, which I strongly recommend to the TVV crowd. The title track alone is worth the price of admission.

Sunday Morning – No Doubt. Okay, I know I might get some stick for bypassing the Velvets’ song of the same name. That and the many excellent covers of it by the likes of Beck, the Feelies, OMD, James, Belle & Sebastian, and countless others. But I went with the No Doubt single anyway NOT because they’re from California, and NOT because the beginning sounds like The Jam’s ‘Dreams of Children’, and NOT EVEN because the Specials’ Terry Hall appears in the video. Nope, my love for this song comes down to the very last moments, when Gwen Stefani sings the title in lead and harmony as the tune resolves to an E major chord. It’s one of the most musically satisfying song endings I know.

Sunday Afternoon – The 88. Kind of doubt anyone except maybe Linear Tracking Brian is familiar with this band. They were part of the early 00’s LA power-pop revival that included Baby Lemonade, the Wondermints and the Sugarplastic. I have a special fondness for the band because they were kind to Sam the Friendly Artist when he was a kid, even letting him strum their guitars before a show at the Troubadour. Just as the Wondermints went on to back up Brian Wilson and Baby Lemonade became Arthur Lee’s latter-day version of Love, the 88 toured behind the Kinks’ Ray Davies. From 2003’s Kind of Light.

Sunday Evening – Clearlake. Am I the only person who loves Clearlake? Pretty sure they’ve never featured on this site. Don’t know anyone that knows them, either. This Brighton band released 3 great albums in the 00’s and then disappeared without a trace. This moody track, from their 2001 debut Lido, calls an end to a weary week. So we can start it all over again.



A few years ago I picked up Kala, an album releasd by the English-Sri Lankan rapper, songwriter, and producer Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasami, better known as M.I.A,   It was going for next to nothing in a second-hand section and I did so on the basis that I had really liked a couple of the singles, and in particular Paper Planes which makes great use of a Clash sample.

The thing is, I’ve always had a problem making time to listen to albums that I don’t buy at the time of their release, especially since getting immersed in this blog, as time is restricted and I’m usually listening to new stuff or re-acquainting myself with material that I’m intending to write about. As such, Kala was played in full on no more than two occasions and then put on the shelf – not because I didn’t like it but I just didn’t have the capacity to take everything on board.

I did a quick update on my I-phone recently to accommodate the music delivered by Santa, and in freeing up more space than I needed, I found myself racking some through old albums for inclusion and Kala turned out to be one of them. So, on a bus journey up to the football, I gave it a listen through a set of headphones for the first time. It really is an extraordinary album, incorporating the gritty urban sounds of the UK and the US with more traditional music from Africa, Asia and Australia, with a set of street-wise and highly political raps in which very few who are in power or have the ability to make a difference are spared.

It was only the fact that I was giving the album my undivided attention did I fully pick up that one of the songs, which is a critique of just how easy and cheap it is for young folk to but AK-47s in Liberia (one of the countries in which the album was recorded), contained a sample from one of my favourite Pixies songs:-

mp3 : M.I.A. – $20

It’s a really imaginative and very unexpected use of the chorus of Where Is My Mind? I was quite surprised that Maya, who only moved to London in the mid-80s as an 11-year old girl, was so au fait with the work of Boston’s finest given that she has talked extensively about the sorts of music that she had listened to in her youth and said that it mostly centred around dance and rap. But then again, she was someone who in her early adult life was best friends with Justine Frischmann, and for a while they were flatmates which, if nothing else, would certainly have exposed Maya to all sorts of indie rock’n’roll. Whatever the ways and means, it’s a brilliant use of the work of Pixies and a highlight of an outstanding album.

Oh, and any excuse to play the original:-

mp3 : Pixies – Where Is My Mind?

One thing to note. Black Francis’s pronunciation of the holiday destination has the emphasis on the rib in the middle of Caribbean (Ca/rib/eh/an) whereas us Brits always say it differently (Carri/bee/ann), as in this:-

mp3 : Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen

We’re right. You yanks are wrong……



I’ve got this series underway that’s looking back at chart hits from 30 years ago, which is proving to be scary. If I had taken it back to 1980, then it would have been absolutely terrifying to realise just how long some pieces of vinyl have been in my possession.

Like the 10″ version of the first hit single, in May 1980, for Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. I often try and clean up some of the tracks that I post here, looking out for cleaner copies that don’t snap, crack, pop or skip. In this instance, I’m just going straight from the vinyl, which has survived reasonably intact, possibly as a result of the songs being pressed on a particularly hard piece of vinyl that would refuse to bend no matter how hard you would try (not that I did try…..well, not since the first couple of days after buying it as I had genuinely never seen a record that looked or felt like this particular piece of plastic).

mp3 : Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Messages

Two tracks on the b-side, one being a remix/instrumental version of the single and the other being an electropop take on a Velvet Underground classic:-

mp3 : Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Taking Sides Again
mp3 : Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Waiting For The Man

I’ve long thought that there’s a real sense of a bassless Joy Division to Taking Sides Again.

But 40 years ago?????????  C’mon………………………………………….



A Guest Posting by Hybrid Soc Prof

Your ‘No School Baseball or Music in Michigan’ Correspondent

What do you write about Television that hasn’t been said? In short, the pantheon of twin lead guitar bands includes the band near its apogee.

As I’ve said before, I was a fan of over-the-top mid-70s arena art-rock when the proper reaction to that music – the various forms of punk, disco, reggae, etc. that got you off your ass to dance – happened. So, I came to punk – of we’re categorizing the band based on when they played ’76-78, and where, NYC and CBGBs – after the fact.

I’m pretty sure, then, that it wasn’t until 1985 when Robert Palmer, then reviewing music for the New York Times, introduced me to the band with the claim that a number of groups from the American Southwest seemed to be desperately in search of Television’s twin lead magic… True West, in particular, comes to mind (their version of True Lucifer Sam is pretty great.)

The first time I heard Marquee Moon (1977), I was transfixed. The second time, I was transfixed. The third time… to this day, the record just stops me in my tracks. When I first got Adventure (1978), I was disappointed, not because it’s not damn good, but because it lands such a great distance from Marquee Moon. The difference, I think, is that Adventure is much more Tom Verlaine’s record and much less a set of band compositions. The extent to which Richard Lloyd is less rarely out front and the much greater simplicity of the bass and drum lines is my evidence. Television (1992) is, again, more a Verlaine than band record, though it comes together wonderfully in places. Palmer was a fan, me less so.

I start with a live track, The Dream’s Dream, the last song on Adventure but the opener of the Live at the Waldorf collection. Right off the bat, all four members are playing discrete, intertwined, only rarely overlapping, lines, making and filling space like Arsenal playing at its peak. The music rises and falls, moves and shifts, builds and recedes, adds and subtracts… give it a shot with a good pair of headphones.

Foxhole, which really should have been a power pop hit, simplifies things. Drums, bass, guitars and vocals line up for the chorus but are largely there to bracket the 30 second solo from ~2:20 to 2:50. That solo changes the pace and pulse of the tune and makes it worthy of inclusion.

Marquee Moon starts with one, then two, guitars, a simple heartbeat of a bassline before adding ineluctable drums on a gentle stroll… it’s just heaven. And the song is like that for four and a half minutes. The break comes and the song restarts for Verlaine’s extended solo drawn along faster and faster along that initial path by the rhythm section, and then a different course, and then still another, followed by a waterfall release (where the hell did that piano come from?!) two and half minutes later. Then we’re back at the musical beginning so the lyrical end can arrive. I remember the first time like it was yesterday.

What do you do with an ICA after that? Stop, make it an CD-S? Back to the beginning, maybe? To Little Johnny Jewel, pt I and II? Yup. Recorded before the Marquee Moon sessions, you can hear the future in it. What stands out is Billy Ficca’s drumming. He sets such an amazing, diverse and shifting foundation for the fractured-to-the-point-of-incompleteness “song”… It’s minimalist as heck, but it’s not, and it’s the only time in the history of the band – that I can think of – where there’s acoustic strumming. Sometimes I think it’s unfinished, needed to be longer, or edited or… it’s hard to be of one mind.

Glory is my favorite song on Adventure. Lloyd’s guitar dominates, even without the solo (which gets buried in the mix, anyway), hovering within and just below the rhythmic lyrics. There are a lot of ways in which Adventure is very much a second record, the one written within a year after the release of the first – when the first took many years to write, hone and perfect. It’s not that it’s not really good, it’s just not as good.

In that vein, the one song from the eponymous 1992 album I’ve included, Call Mr. Lee, has a great sound and is a good listen but is more an excuse for Verlaine’s lyrics and guitar than a band song…. I like a guitar god as much as the next person but, when a band has scored 97-to-100 on many songs across two records, achieving 88’s 15 years later is kind of a bummer.

Compare the second guitar, bass and drums on Call Mr. Lee to their interplay on Friction, from Marquee Moon, it’s like night and day. The guitars are really great on this but follow the bass on this one… sometimes with the drums, sometimes the second guitar, sometimes to vocals, sometimes in its own space. Then go back and focus on drums, it’s a similar, shifted weave. Listening to Glory is fun, and Call Mr. Lee is evocative, but Friction rewards focus and attention.

A lot of songs have been in this spot as the ICA came together but, after putting it in, taking it out, and looking for another location I finally came back to Knocking on Heaven’s Door – a regular encore in their live shows in the 70s – as a second live performance. They make it their own without transforming it and, subtle, the two guitars work really nicely together.

I love Elevation, Lloyd’s guitar work really stands out. The more I worked with the songs for this, the more distinct Marquee Moon and Adventure became and while my favorite guitar build and break on Marquee Moon is in Torn Curtain (not included, sadly) where a solo builds from 5:20 to 6:25 with me expecting it to break any second for the last half minute before dropping of the cliff to a pair deep growling notes that simply bring me joy, the way Lloyd and Verlaine, intimately aided by Fred Smith and Ficca, play off one another and support Verlaine’s always a little strange voice is a world of fun.

I’ve met people who think, despite the differences between the records, that Television’s ultimate guitar song is where I’m ending this ICA, The Fire, from Adventure. I like that I don’t agree but can understand the argument. It’s the constrained beauty of the solo hinted at around 1:50 that turns the song – almost a lullaby to that point – into something greater for about a minute and a half after 3:40. There’s no big finish to the song, or the ICA, but I don’t think it’s really a band about big finishes.

Side A

The Dream’s Dream, from Live at the Waldorf, June 29, 1978 (2003)
Foxhole, from Adventure (1978)
Marquee Moon, from Marque Moon (1977)
Little Johnny Jewel, pt I and II, an Ork Records Single (1975)
Glory, from Adventure (1978)

Side B

Call Mr. Lee, from Television (1991)
Friction, from Marquee Moon (1977)
Knocking on Heaven’s Door, from The Blow Up, March 20, 1978 (1982)
Elevation, from Marquee Moon (1977)
The Fire, from Adventure (1978)


(NB : Links can be found in the body of the main text)

45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 28)


18 – Blue Monday (’88) – New Order (1988, Factory Records)

Released as a single in April 1988 (Reached Number 3)

“You should listen to this”. This is Martin, and he is talking to a 15 year old me outside our school gates one Wednesday evening as we stand waiting for Dubstar Chris who is ‘in the art room’ (he is actually spraying offensive graffiti about the French teacher Mr Ashton and his liking for cats in the teachers toilets, but I never told you that).

With this Martin hands me a CD. He brings it out of an inside pocket of a green army jacket, and for some reason I feel like a junkie as I shuffled the CD into my rucksack

The CD is called ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’ and it is obviously an album by New Order. It will be in about two hours time be the first thing I have ever listened to by New Order.

Martin was always ahead of the crowd. He is still involved in the music world, in fact, he is currently in The Charlamagnes who you should google and then check out and then immediately buy their back catalogue. Anyway, I take the CD and I go home and do my homework and then I slip into something more comfortable and decide to give the CD a listen. Now at the time my music likes were rapidly expanding. I discovered a new band that I loved pretty much every day. If it had guitars, I was ‘in to it’. I fully expected New Order to be my new favourite thing in the entire world.

So there I sat, on my dads sofa with some big comedy headphones plonked on my head and ‘Power Corruption and Lies’ on the stereo. I had for the past six months or so listened to Martin, Dubstar Chris and Richard chirp on about how brilliant New Order were. I’d been told how songs like ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘True Faith’ were amazing, and all I’d done was nod along. So I sat there and I waited, I have to say I was excited and I felt like I existed and that this was something. I waited for that thrill of listening to something incredible to kick in.


I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get into it. I say this now, and I sort of shrink away from it in embarrassment but I much preferred ‘Street Fighting Years’ by Simple Minds which was the second album I had obtained that week (this one found in Woolworths on cassette for £1.99 – which on reflection, seems as over priced as it is overblown right now).

I didn’t listen to New Order again for a long time.

Five years in fact. By now – I am the inspiring music journalist that I was back then and I am sitting in the offices of Sony Records in London because I am picking up some music and interviewing a band called Reef, who have been on a Tv advert and are being tipped for ‘Great Success’. Whilst there I help myself to Sony’s free bar and Crisp Machine (this is true by the way, the promotions floor at Sony UK, used to include a bar full of Becks and Red Stripe and a machine that dispensed crisps) before interviewing Reef. As I was leaving, the promotions manager (Ben see Number 44) gave me a bag. It was full of CDs, mugs, promo toys, gig tickets and general shit. I loved visiting Sony, you never went away empty handed and as long as you said nice things about most of it, they kept giving you stuff.

I forget nearly everything that was in that bag, but I do remember that in there was a CD which contained New Order, it contained ‘Blue Monday ‘88’ and I couldn’t stop listening to it. In fact it was pretty much glued to the stereo for the next month or so, it was like I discovered a new band who had just released their debut single. The light had come on, the light I should have seen back in 1990 when at home in my Dad’s lounge but I was young and I’ll be honest I much preferred U2 back then.

And that is how I fell in love with New Order. I was 20. And New Order had at that point split up and I thought at the time that I had thoroughly missed the boat (which was true, I saw them live at Wembley Arena about ten years later and they were a bit rubbish to be honest), that didn’t stop me filling up the back catalogue as quick as I could though.

I, of course have form for this, I did the same thing with The Stone Roses, declaring that they ‘Were not as good as The Inspiral Carpets’ to my mate Jimmy on the way to the football in 1990. It took me three years and a serious conversation with OPG to realise my mistake – “I can’t sleep with someone who doesn’t like The Stone Roses’ was pretty much was she said one night in the pub, before I was, you know, actually sleeping with her. I re-listened to that debut album quite a lot for the next month or so.

Fools Gold (9.53) – Stone Roses (1989, Silvertone Records Number 22)

But the record for me failing to realise the greatness of a band is reserved for The Fall

Mr Pharmacist – The Fall (1986, Beggars Banquet, Number 75)

Genuinely the first time I heard The Fall I swore loudly at the stereo in disgust, that’s how appalled I was. I was 16. It took me, ahem, 25 years before I realised their brilliance.

When I was writing my first blog WYCRA we did this series called ‘One Song A Day’ and we invited fellow bloggers to stick their iPods on Random and send us a review of the very first song that came on. JC was the first to offer and the song that came on first to his iPod was something by ‘The Fall’. I swore inwardly, and regretted my brilliant idea – but then I listened to what he sent through and again, that little light came on.





from wiki:-

James Michael Heron (born 27 December 1942) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his work in the Incredible String Band in the 1960s and 1970s.

Heron has also released a number of solo recordings, mostly more rock-oriented than the Incredible String Band material. The first of these, Smiling Men with Bad Reputations, released in 1971, when he was still a member of the ISB, took eclecticism to a new extreme, blending rock, folk and world music into an atmospheric whole. Contributing musicians included Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Duncan Browne and Ronnie Lane (as “Tommy & the Bijoux”), John Cale, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Dudu Pukwana, Elton John, and Steve Winwood.

The Incredible String Band broke up in September 1974. With three other members of the final “electric” ISB lineup – Graham Forbes, John Gilston, and Malcolm Le Maistre — he formed the band Mike Heron’s Reputation, later known simply as Heron, with whom he recorded and toured until 1977. In 1977–78, while still living in the Glen Row cottage near Innerleithen which had been the Incredible String Band’s home and headquarters, he recorded songs which were eventually issued as The Glen Row Tapes. In 1979, he released a solo album on Casablanca Records. He then withdrew from performance for several years. In the 1990s he re-emerged with a new group, Mike Heron’s Incredible Acoustic Band, and released the album Where the Mystics Swim.

In 1997, he reunited with Robin Williamson for some concerts, and from 1999 to 2006 performed occasionally with a re-formed version of the Incredible String Band.

In March 2007, he recorded a song based on a poem by John Burnside, for the album Ballads of the Book, released by Chemikal Underground, with his daughter, musician Georgia Seddon.

mp3 : Mike Heron & John Burnside -Song For Irena



From ICA 111

The third single and the first of the big hits. The accompanying video, with its animated plasticine figures of the band, was quite groundbreaking at the time, brilliantly ridiculing one of the growing menaces in the mid- 80s, namely gangs of young successful men in suits out getting drunk in wine bars on their bonuses all the while thinking they were god’s gift. There were some who actually believed the song celebrated such people….and then Paul Heaton began to be interviewed more widely!

Happy Hour went to #3 in June 1986, making pop stars out of the self-proclaimed fourth-best band in Hull. It’s a song that its songwriters – Paul Heaton and Stan Cullimore – made little more time than it takes to make a really good cup of tea, never imagining it would be the one that changed their lives forever.

The early Housemartins songs were all forged from two cheap notebooks – one full of lyrics/snippets that had come to Paul and the other, owned by Stan, which contained various chord progressions that could bu used to make a decent pop song. They had just finished work on a new song called Me and The Farmer but Paul felt more new songs were needed to air on an upcoming Peel Session. He pulled out a lyric that which reflected on a number of things that annoyed him, including sexist and boorish behaviour in offices and pubs, to which Stan thought the chord used earlier in the day on Me and the Farmer would make a good fit, as he recalled in an interview many years later:-

SC : “We’d just written Me and the Farmer and I wanted to go for a “bun run” – a trip to the local cake shop. But Paul was adamant that we needed one more song, so we came up with Happy Hour. I was so desperate to get to the cake shop that I used the same chords for the chorus in the verse, but because Paul sang a different melody over it and I did the “It’s happy hour again” backing vocals, it worked. We recorded it on a little cassette recorder, I chucked down my guitar and ran for a custard slice. The whole thing can’t have taken us much more than 10 minutes.

There’s a lot packed into its two-and-a-bit minutes, with the jaunty and catch backing vocal taking listeners down something of a blind alley as the words that Paul Heaton is singing make for grim and depressing reading (especially if you read them without fitting them into the tune):-

It’s happy hour again
I think I might be happy if I wasn’t out with them

And they’re happy, it’s a lovely place to be
Happy, that the fire’s real,
That the barman is a she

Where the haircuts smile
And the meaning of style is a night out with the boss

Where you win or you lose
And it’s them who choose
And if you don’t win, then you’ve lost

What a good place to be
Don’t believe it

‘Cause they speak a different language
And it’s never really happened to me

Don’t believe it, oh no
‘Cause it’s never been happy for me

It’s another night out with the boss
Following in footsteps overgrown with moss

And he tells me that women grow on trees
And if you catch them right, they will land upon their knees

Where they open all their wallets and they close all their minds
And they love to buy you all a drink

And then we ask all the questions, and you take all your clothes off
And go back to the kitchen sink

So, a song that many took to be a celebration of having a laugh in the pub with your mates is actually from the standpoint of someone who would rather be anywhere else and is disgusted by the misogyny on display.

It turned into one of the anthems of the summer, spending three months in the charts and seemingly never off the radio – the fact it was such a short song meant that it could be fitted in comfortably during shows if the adverts/news items/inane chat had overran and the producer was trying to avoid dead air.

mp3 : The Housemartins – Happy Hour

The 7” single had an even shorter song on the flip side….and a foot-stomping instrumental at that:-

mp3 : The Housemartins – The Mighty Ship

The sleevenotes in a later compilation album revealed that the title of the b-side was a hidden tribute to the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir of Chicago, known as ‘The Ship’ and who had been releasing gospel LPs from as far back as 1965. It was also the church where the Rev. Jesse Jackson was ordained.