This was a challenge I couldn’t resist, difficult, very difficult and I guess there will always be choices made that all of us taking the challenge have done, that we have sleepless nights over… It will be interesting to see over the coming Mondays how many tracks will feature more than once. We know the readers of TVV have a broad span in musical taste, but there is also a lot of common ground. Given that likely several ICA’s will arrive your inbox in a short time, without the knowledge of what has already been featured the chance (risk) that duplicates will happen isn’t neglectable.

Cutting down to 10 tracks was a battle, even harder to get some kind of flow, an album feel. I really wanted to have Perfect Skin on here, I tried and tried – it’s a cracking album opener that I just couldn’t fit the right place for.

An Affectionate Bunch – An ICA of album openers.

Side A

A1. The Stone Roses – Breaking Into Heaven – An intro I think I remember reading took several months and producers to finalize, it builds slowly into a psychedelic guitar-laden pop gem. One of my favourite Stone Roses tracks of all, and an album opener well in line with I Wanna Be Adored.

A2. The Gossip – Dimestore Diamond – From the fantastic 2008 album Music For Boys we keep up the energy. Catchy as can get, the drumbeat carries the track nicely decorated with just a little glittering guitar here and there.

A3. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Just Like Honey. Time to slow down a bit without losing the fire, I love this song and it felt given in this position from the very start of this ICA. Sofia Coppola has repeatedly shown to create spotless scores for her films, Lost In Translation no exception. I shamelessly admit it was the film that made me pick up the album by J&MC, I had neglected them earlier. My bad!

A4. The Bathers – Perpetual Adoration – From the magnificent debut album by Chris Thompson under The Bathers moniker. Quirky pop in the same kind of vein as Roddy Frame could deliver.

A5. Allez Allez – Valley Of The Kings. They started out as Marine, was picked up by Les Disques Du Crépuscule and released the Life In Reverse-single which created some international stir. This led to a John Peel session in London where the singer (Marc Marine) left, the rest of the band connected with a new singer and formed Allez Allez. Moderate success with this single, which to me is the old stories of the Numenor kings from Silmarillion condensed into one single track. They recorded and released the new wave, funk-filled album Promises produced by Martyn Ware, while this a slow-paced magnificent piece even if I always found it a bit odd choice to open the album with. The faith of the only song close to a hit I guess. Here it makes a grand ending to this first side.

Side B

B1. The Associates – The Affectionate Punch. Words superfluous, it can’t be much better than this.

B2. Of Monsters And Men – Dirty Paws. The opener to their 2011 debut album My Head Is An Animal. Catchy, with the la la la part in exactly the right place. If The Associates got us up to speed, this is great sing-a-long – don’t be fooled by the careful intro.

B3. All That Jazz – Cruel Summer. Swedish indie-band from small-town Karlstad, made their debut on Wire with the cracking 12″ Banner Of Love, and then an eponymous full-length album and this the opener from the latter. Had to include at least one Swedish track, didn’t I? Still think it merits its inclusion on its own, more of that sing-friendly big-time indie coming your way.

B4. Billy MacKenzie – Wild Is The Wind. From the Transmission Impossible album – and before any protests are raised, I know Discogs labels it a compilation album to which I must to some degree object. When Nude Records posthumously released the Beyond The Sun album they gave the tapes to Robin Guthrie to finish off the almost completed recordings, but Billy’s family were never really happy with the result. Later when One Little Indian re-released the songs the original recordings were instead used, together with a handful of other songs not included on the BTS record. Since Transmission Impossible has the original, previously unreleased, versions I qualify it as an album in its own right. This breathtaking version of this classic is a beautiful break before we close this album.

A5. The Cure – Out Of This World, from Bloodflowers. When Billy prays to be loved, Robert Smith is past the praying and has realized it’s over, it’s time to get back to real life, even if real life is the reason they were there in the first place. A monumental closer. Bloodflowers was for me a return to form for The Cure after the rather patchy Wild Mood Swings, unfortunately it was a temporary return to form and since I have not paid much attention. If the promised very dark new album will ever see the light (sic) of day I’ll give it a listen, but expectations are low.

Thanks for listening.


And, again, here are both sides of the ICA as stand-alone listens.

An Affectionate Bunch: Side A (26:24)
An Affectionate Bunch: Side B (21:39)

PS: Keep your eyes peeled for a bonus posting later on today…..



  1. Now this is just awash with ‘names’. Names that I was delighted to read. I had not expected to see Allez Allez. That was a bit of a surprise. A welcome one.

    I only own the Flesh and Blood 12″ and only then because of the Heaven 17 and British Electric Foundation connection.

  2. An inspired set! Never heard the Bathers before–sounds like Thin White Duke era Bowie. Nice one, Martin!

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