I couldn’t help but steal today’s title from Reg the Rocket Man.

TVV turns sixteen years old today.  I’d love to be in a position to have all the archives available for browsing back through, but Google/Blogger unceremoniously removed all traces of the original blog back in July 2013 before I could back things up.

A lot has changed in terms of music blogs since 2006.   Indeed, a lot has changed in terms of music and how we all go about ‘consuming’ it these days.  TVV began for a number of interlinked reasons, some of which were to do with my own mental wellbeing having just suffered a career setback at work (which turned out in due course to be a blessing), but deep down it was all about me wanting to delve into my old vinyl and rip some songs into an mp3 format so that they could perhaps be heard again for the first time in decades.

It was also about wanting to find some sort of audience with whom to share my lifelong obsession with music, and in particular that period from the late 70s into the mid 80s when so much of what I had been immersed in, was still, many decades later, incredibly important and vital to me.  I had no idea really what to do with this new blog, but after a hesitant start, I got into a routine, helped along by many people from all parts of the world who supported and encouraged those early efforts with advice and words of thanks through the comments section, but if you had told me back then that TVV would still be on the go in 2022, I’d have found it hard to believe.

The old blog had, give or take, 2,500 posts before it was taken down.  The new blog isn’t far short of 3,500 posts.    Not all the posts have been original as a fair number have appeared more than once, and of course TVV does rely on a fair amount of guest postings.  But let’s say 5,000 original posts, at a (conservative) average of 1,500 words, means I’ve written something in the region of seven and a half million words for the blog….I’m just hopeful that a few of them might have made some sense.

Many friends have come and gone, as can be reflected by the amount of former/extinct blogs that are listed among the indices.  The past year or so has seen a few more of the long-time bloggers decide that, for one or more reasons, it was time to ease themselves away from their keyboards and go and out to do something less boring instead…….if any of you who are in that position ever have an urge to come back with some thoughts, views and opinions without the pressure of looking after your own place, then there will always be a warm welcome among these pages.  I’ve never knowingly turned down any offer for a guest posting, (albeit some have lain unwittingly unattended to within the Inbox for a period of time), and I don’t intend to start now.

TVV has brought me so many happy moments these past sixteen years. It’s also been a place from where I’ve been able to catapult into other situations within the music industry/business, from which I have forged friendships with a decent number of incredibly talented and creative people along the way. I think I’m a better person than I was back in 2006, and much of that is down to being part of the collective and community that has developed and grown via this little and fairly insignificant corner of the internet.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of TVV in whatever shape or form.  No targets are set, but if I’m still doing this in another sixteen years time, then I’ll be in my mid-70s (age wise) but hopefully still with the attitude, enthusiasm and chutzpah of a late-teen about to conquer the world on the back of some half decent exam results.

I’ll finish today’s posting, not with the obvious thing of some songs with ‘sixteen’ in the title, but instead with something related to the number.  It’s my humble opinion that the original is the greatest song ever released, while the cover is more than decent.

mp3: New Order – Age of Consent
mp3: Grant Lee Buffalo – Age of Consent

New Order, of course, are also responsible for the greatest single of all time……….



thumbnail_Heavenly v Satan - sleeve small


Heavenly are back.

Sort of.

That’s because all of the band’s four LPs are to be re-released on Skep Wax, the label run by two of the group’s founding members Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey.


It’s great news, and will make these difficult-to-locate records – Heavenly Vs. Satan; Le Jardin de Heavenly; The Decline and Fall of Heavenly; and Operation Heavenly – easily available on vinyl and download.

First up is Heavenly Vs. Satan. It kicks off a staggered, two-year release schedule and is available from 11 November.


The original wiry eight-song record has become a twelve-track beefcake more than capable of kicking sand in the faces of weedier albums. That’s because, in a blatant raspberry-blow to Sarah Records’ no-singles-on-albums policy, Heavenly’s first and second 7” releases have been pulled into this reissue. So look out for I Fell in Love Last Night/Over and Over and Our Love is Heavenly/Wrap My Arms Around Him.

And all this in the month that one of us, in a huff at no sign at all of a long-hoped-for box set, at last began creating their own bootleg collection. A venture mulled over for a hopeless number of years. Well it’s too far down the line to abandon Heavenly Have Plenty of Fun now. Blank CDs have been bought and everything. And a box has been located.

But these new releases will be purchased. Such is the logic-free world of even a curious-level collector of records. Plus, inside each sleeve will be found a 7” booklet. A glance at the one accompanying Heavenly Vs. Satan confirms a comforting cut ‘n’ paste design. It recalls the typical aesthetics that characterised the chopped-type, Pritt-Sticked fanzines of the day. These would be legitimately belched out by print shops and, possibly more often, college photocopiers or the after-hours workplace device.

So, new Heavenly treats are – officially – on the way. That’s the cake.

And here’s the cherry:

The band were to play a one-off gig in west London – at Bush Hall. It’s the first for 28 years, sold out within two days, and happens next year, on May 20. That’s clearly a red-letter date for pioneering Amelias, as Wikipedia tells us that on that day in 1932 another fun Amelia – Earhart – commenced a world-first for a female pilot: a solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. However, a new date has been added, May 19th. Tickets are on sale now…..

But back on terra firma, regular visitors will know that all things Amelia (Fletcher) have been celebrated a good few times on this blog. On offer most recently was this ICA. It collected tracks from the assorted projects both Amelia and Rob have been milling since way back in 1986: the days of the mighty Talulah Gosh. Next up would be Heavenly, of course. Then Marine Research, Tender Trap and Catenary Wires followed. And most recently it’s been Swansea Sound (to say nothing of numerous side projects). Not bad for someone who claims that I was never cut out to be a proper pop star anyway.”

This incoming Heavenly activity follows the pair of lavish double-pack 7” singles of the group’s two Peel Sessions, recorded in 1991 and 94. Those emerged this year, courtesy of the Precious label, and added an official and recommended couple of releases to the discography.

thumbnail_Heavenly(This incarnation of Heavenly was fortified with the addition of vocalist and keyboard player Cathy Rogers (far left) who, from the 1993 P.U.N.K. Girl single, joined Amelia Fletcher, Peter Momtchlioff, Rob Pursey, and Mathew Fletcher.)

Now, with the LPs stepping out once more, we have a super reason to give props to a band that was so often dismissed as twee and fey, cute and saccharin. But even a cursory listen to Heavenly Vs. Satan would reveal half an album’s worth of musings on disappointment and duplicity, cruelty and callousness: Boyfriend Stays the Same for starters, alongside Shallow, Wish Me Gone and It’s You.

Amelia makes the point well in the notes that form part of the release’s accompanying booklet:

“Listening back now, I had forgotten how many of my lyrics involve girls falling for boys who treat them badly. This was well before Riot Grrrl and the tone is gently descriptive rather than angry, but I remember feeling it was important to tell these stories.”

And Rob comments that:

“Heavenly were a ‘female-fronted’ band, which set up an additional tension with the audience, some of whom had expectations of what that ought to mean. We tried to undermine those expectations too. It annoyed some people, but they were probably the right people to annoy.”

To wrap up, here’s a (new) Vinyl Villain tribute: Heavenly Go Adventuring Again – an imaginary EP with a track taken from each of the group’s four albums….as imagined by The Three Masketeers

Heavenly Go Adventuring Again

1. Stop Before You Say It (Heavenly Vs. Satan, Sarah Records, 1991)

The last track on the first album is largely a rush about a crush. Only at the end does it take a breather, and a gentle coda provides the perfect nightlighty closer. (Kathy Kane)

2. C is the Heavenly Option (Le Jardin de Heavenly, Sarah Records, 1992)

As indie pop classics go this has to be up with the very best of them.

As well as a link to the studio version of the song we decided to add a little more joy to your life with the wonderfully chaotic live, acoustic version filmed in 2019. I dare you not to smile as you Rob, Amelia and Calvin Johnson enjoy being in each other’s company as musicians, as friends. (Don Diego de la Vega, Eustache Duager and Kathy Kane)

3. Sacramento (The Decline and Fall of Heavenly, Sarah Records, 1994)

A surf-infused instrumental wig-out that further illustrates that Heavenly were adept writers and musicians. I’ve never been to Sacramento but if I did go, and it didn’t sound like this, I’d be sorely disappointed. I’ve often thought that as the lights went up at the end of an indie-disco this is the song that revellers should stagger out the door to and the run back in again for one last shimmy. (Don Diego de la Vega)

4. Ben Sherman (Operation Heavenly, Wiiija, 1996)

The unexpected use of the word ‘fuck’ early on in the lyric is an indication that this isn’t your typical Heavenly number. The highly infectious and toe-tapping tune disguises the fact that the female protagonist is far from happy. Indeed, she’s at her wit’s end, all thanks to having a shallow boyfriend making suggestions about a change of hairstyle so that she more resembles the Hollywood actress he fancies and fantasises about.

The good news is that, by the end of the song, the listener is left in no doubt the boyfriend is soon to be an ex, and our heroine will move on to a better and more fulfilling life…. complete with the sort of haircut she’s most happy with. (Eustache Duager)

If you’ve read this far, first of all: congratulations. Secondly, and more soberly, you’ll probably know that Heavenly chose not to carry on after the passing, in 1996, of the band’s drummer Mathew Fletcher. We think you’d all agree that widening access now to the songs of Mathew and his bandmates is a wholly appropriate tribute to, and celebration of, his memory.

On Heavenly Vs. Satan, the band comprised:

Amelia Fletcher (vocals and guitar)

Mathew Fletcher (drums)

Peter Momtchiloff (guitar)

Rob Pursey (bass)

And on the track Our Love is Heavenly, the group was ably assisted by the Catherines of Arrogance (ex-Talulahs Eithne Farry and Elizabeth Price).

Don Diego de la Vega, Eustache Duager and Kathy Kane




See yesterday for the background. This was ICA 100 on 25 November 2016, written by a much-missed friend.

This the second half of the journey back from Cambridgeshire – the sister bit to SWC’s one about the Jesus and Mary Chain (oh and I agree – where was ‘Upside Down’). Its been delayed a bit because events overtook us. I did start it – I’d chosen the tracks and had actually written the majority of it but then my bollocks swelled up and I kind of forgot about everything, which I think you can forgive. Everything from the words ‘The Journey…’ was written about eight weeks ago, it sat unloved on my computer at home. I only found it this morning and added this paragraph.

The journey back was thankfully uneventful, apart from the service station incident.

We stopped off at a Service Station on the M42, I think it was called Hopwood Park, it was very good. We are sitting in the café and SWC is warbling on at me about the football, he moaning that his team have lost again, but I am distracted.

Sitting opposite me, with a lady who has her back to me, is Keith Chegwin. Cheggers Plays Pop, tackle out for a Channel Five Game Show, Keith Chegwin. He is drinking a large cup of coffee and has what looks like a Burger King Whopper and Supersized Fries in front of him. It’s definitely him. I’d recognised his squashed up, punched too often by Edmonds, face any day of the week. I haven’t been this excited about seeing a celebrity since the time that Martin Clunes stood behind me in Exeter’s Marks and Spencers and I’ve taken a piss next to Chris Kamara, so you can imagine how excited I am.

SWC stops and moans at me a bit more “Are you even listening to me, I said, that’s what we get for appointing ex Spurs players as a manager”.

I shake my head and mouth ‘Cheggers is behind you’.

“What?” he says.

I don’t want to draw attention to the fact, that its him. Literally no one else has approached him although, a women keeps looking at him and smiling – I mean why wouldn’t you – its Cheggers.

I text SWC. Yes, I know he is sitting opposite me, but I can’t just tell him, what if Cheggers hears me. “Keith Chegwin is sitting behind you and he has tomato sauce on his shirt” (he has, he has made the school boy error of trying to eat his burger in one go and the sauce has squirted out) I type. SWC’s phone buzzes and he looks at it – then looks at me, and then looks at the text again.

He texts back “Why didn’t you say so?” , he then does this little turny head thing and pretends that he is tying his shoelace before declaring “yup its definitely him, shall we go and say hello, I wish I’d bought my copy of Brown Sauce’s ‘I wanna be a winner’ with me. I could have doubled the price of it by getting it signed.”

“You don’t own that” I say

“I bloody do, I got it on 7” for 50p at a boot fair in Axminster about four years ago – along with ‘Atmosphere’ by Russ Abbot, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ by Adam Ant and ‘D.I.S.C.O’ by Ottawan but only because it had a French version on it. The I stands for ‘Incroyable’, total spend 80p”.

I look up, the women from across the seating is now having her photo taken with Chegwin. He gives her a peck on the cheek, much to her delight. A few more people, mainly sad older women in sports casuals are now starting to queue up to have their photo taken. Cheggers is loving it though, despite the fact that he has tomato ketchup on his face and shirt and his chips are getting cold. Come to think of it, he’s a bit of an idiot.

“The moment has gone” I say to SWC, who looks disappointed and we finished our drinks and get up to leave, not before I say, rather too loudly, “John Craven would have never had his photograph taken with tomato sauce on his face”. SWC nods in agreement before adding “and I always preferred Philbin. I’m pretty sure that Cheggers heard us, because he has wiped the sauce of his face and is scowling slightly.

Back to the music, which what we are here for after all. The 11th song was by The Libertines. This feels me with joy, I already knew this when we saw Cheggers, it kind of was the precursor to a great day. A tremendous choice. When I told SWC told JC about our randomly picked choices, he said “It just goes to show, crap football equals excellent ICA’s”. Absolutely.

So – an ICA on the Libertines – here goes – I’ve tried to keep it singles light and I have completely ignored the third album on the grounds of being utter rubbish. I’ve kept the notes short because the tunes speak for themselves.

Side One

Can’t Stand Me Now – Single

I’ll start at the very top I think. Easily the bands finest moment, and put simply one of the greatest indie guitar records of the last fifteen years or so. I would imagine that you all own this. I wanted to include it over at my place in the WYCRA 200 (sorry shameless plug that) but we’d already featured it before so had to leave it out – but had we it would have been Number 7 in that list.

Don’t Look Back Into The Sun – Single

The song that replaced ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ in the WYCRA 200 and therefore the band’s second finest moment. The single that was supposed to be the ‘goodbye’ record from them. Again I’d be surprised if anyone reading this didn’t already own a copy. So let’s go down the slightly obscure route…

The Delaney – Taken from ‘I Get Along EP’

I saw Babyshambles live a few times and was once surprised to hear them playing this, but then again this has always been something of a fans favourite. The original version appears as the B Side to the second Libs single ‘Up the Bracket’. Easy to see why it’s a fans favourite though.

All At Sea – Taken from ‘What Became of the Likely Lads?’

This was originally supposed to have been on the debut album but was scrapped at the very last minute, and then surfaced as the B Side to the ‘…Likely lads?’ single. It also happens to be an outstanding little track.

Music When the Lights Go Out – Taken from ‘The Libertines’

Peter Doherty once played this track live on Newsnight and again is a tremendous little song. It is that is credited to Peter Doherty and Carl Barat and appears on the second album. The song deals with the problems of trying to end a relationship. It was one of the first songs (along with ‘Albion’ that Doherty wrote (and I cut ‘Albion’ to include it). It is also a song that apparently Pete and Carl physically fought over during the second album sessions because of the way that they wanted to record it.

Side Two

Boys In the Band – taken from ‘Up the Bracket’

Apparently named after a 1970 film of the same name, which was one of the first films to openly address gay issues. This song however is about groupies and how they follow and worship bands. It is a song about attention and how easy it is to get it when you are a boy in a band. The line ‘And they all get them out for the boys in the band’ is apparently about red carpets. So they say.

Never Never – Taken from ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ single

Another firm fans favourite and again a track that was meant for an album but was cut at the last minute. The original version of this was called ‘Never Never (Hancock)’ and was something of a mythical release in which the band recorded the track and added a load of samples from the Hancock Half Hour TV Programme. The recording as far I know was never (never) released.

Death on the Stairs – taken from ‘Up the Bracket’

Carls favourite Libertines song and one that the band have admitted that they find very hard to play live. This is largely because the band could never seem to get it right. The song is about madness and Carl often refers to seeing himself sitting alone in a bedsit eating beans of toast and he called that feeling ‘Death on the Stairs’. Although Pete claims that they called it that because they got thrown out of a record company’s office and down the stairs. Personally I believe Pete.

What Became of the Likely Lads – Single

The bands eventual final single (before the reformation). The song is obviously about the breakdown of the band – you can hear that in the lyrics “What became of the dreams we had?” and “What became of forever?”. Its another brilliant sad, although one tinged with sadness and poignancy. Interestingly the video shows footage of two young boys (actors) on a council estate, which is implied to be Pete and Carl (but in reality can’t be them)

I Get Along – From ‘Up the Bracket’

The first Libertines song I ever heard. It was the second track on their debut single ‘What A Waster’. That song was written by Doherty about Doherty and the legend goes that ‘I Get Along’ was written by Barat about Barat. It was eventually released as a single on its own and famously Doherty forgot to turn up for the video shoot.

Thanks for reading…I’m off to stalk John Craven.


JC adds…….

To add to the poignancy that Badger is no longer with us, is the fact that Keith Ghegwin has also since passed away since this was first published.  Hi death at the age of 60, in December 2017, was the result of a lung illness caused by him being a heavy smoker.

RIP Badger.  RIP Keith.



As mentioned yesterday, two further full ICA postings from the vaults over the next two days on the basis that they are companion pieces. This was ICA 94 on 4 November 2016.

Hiya mate – seven weeks in the writing, started at home, finished in the waiting room of a dentists.

An Imaginary Compilation – The Jesus and Mary Chain

“That’s going to take me for ever, stupid bloody 11th song rule, who’s stupid idea was that?”

I’ll tell you who’s stupid idea it was, mine, and I’ll tell you why the choice is going to take for ever in a bit, but first – let me tell you why we are Eynesbury in Cambridgeshire and have just been interviewed on local radio by the Cambridgeshire version of Simon Bates.

Every year around August, Badger picks a team who have entered this year FA Cup. We then follow that teams results and then follow them or whoever beats them all the way to Wembley Final We also try and go and watch a couple of the matches. Now usually we do Round One and Round Three, as we hope to see some Giantkilling Adventures.

This year just for larks we have decided to go and see some ‘Grassroots Football’, folks, its FA Cup Qualifying Round Three and we are two of about 120 people who are nicely spread out around ground watching Eynesbury Rovers vs Sutton Coldfield Town in Mid September.

Eynesbury is in Cambridgeshire, we’ve driven for four hours to get here and for some reason this has bemused the guy on the gate at the ground, when he remarks that he hadn’t seen us here before. You’ve done what…You daft buggers”

Then he turns to a fat bloke wearing a 70s style jacket – which I think was actually a jacket he bought in 1978 – and shouts (literally shouts, despite porky being about five foot away – porky is holding a can of coke and bacon sarnie as it happens) .

“Here Roger, come and listen to what these two lads have done” – the fact he called us lads, shows how old he was.

So Roger ambles over, turns out Roger works for the local radio and decides that he wants to interview us because it would make a nice story. So after a four hour journey and some twenty five minutes before kick off, Badger and I are sitting in the ‘press box’ of this eighth tier football club eating their biscuits and drinking their tea whilst the radio guy asks us lame questions about our journey from Devon. He then gives us a Black Cat Radio car sticker and Badger swears he said ‘Keep on rocking’ before waving us on our way – seriously, it really was like travelling back to the late 1970s.

The game is terrible, I mean awful, Sutton Coldfield romp home 3 – 1 but to be honest if Badger and I had randomly picked a bunch of lads from pub around the corner, I think we could have given them a good game. Sutton Coldfield Town become our next FA Cup team (as it happens we’ve progressed a bit more – the First round is coming up and our team is now Dartford – a town in Kent, and as such I am supposed to despise them, because as a Gillingham fan I grew up with burly heavily tattooed blokes often telling me – ‘There is only one team in Kent’) and we slowly make our way back to the car park which is some two miles from the ground (behind the pub where we had lunch).

Now, the 11th track, we decided this time to not start the music until pretty late on, the rule we added was that nothing played on the motorway counted, so on the motorways we stuck the radio on and on local roads reverted back to the iPod – Badger’s iPod for what it worth, still filled with Radio 2 fodder that ‘he keeps forgetting to remove’.

So it arrives on the A420 just outside Oxford and it’s the Jesus and Mary Chain, one of the greatest bands of all time. Its bloody impossible and so that is why some seven weeks later I have finally finished the thing, but I’m still not happy with it – and no doubt there is a load of stuff that I could have put in that I didn’t. So someone needs to do a Volume II please. I’ll also add that ‘Psychocandy’ is one of greatest records ever made, and it was really hard to not just send JC that in a jumbled up order. I’ve also tried to avoid the singles, but that in itself was so difficult.

I’ll also say that back in 1990 I managed to get the entire school banned from sitting on the back row of the school lecture theatre because I scrawled into the table there, ‘The Jesus and Mary Chain fucking rock”. That ban lasted twenty years until they refurbished the block containing the lecture theatre.

I’ll spare you anymore of my wittering because the music starting and that is far more important.

Side One

Just Like Honey from ‘Psychocandy’ (1985)

This is their quintessential track, and the perfect place to start if you are new to the band – and if you are new to the band, WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN? ‘Just Like Honey’ is full of languid vocals almost definitely about sex, swaths of fuzz, an occasional drumbeat here and there, but its lovely and laid-back and for a change, catchy. Unlike…

Never Understand from ‘Psychocandy’ (1985)

I don’t know if you’ve ever been chased, or ever felt like you were going to be chased, but one night I wasn’t listening to this whilst walking back from Our Price Girls house. It was about midnight and for some reason, this song utterly freaked me out. I think on reflection it was the opening bit, the frenzied squalling wall of screeching feedback sounds exactly like the sort of noise an axe wielding maniac out on a midnight killing spree makes, and frankly that makes its utterly compelling and such a twisted slice of genius.

Everythings Alright, When You’re Down from ‘Barbed Wire Kisses’ LP (1991)

The first of a couple of B Sides that I found impossible to leave out, I love this for three reasons, firstly it was Our Price Girls favourite JAMC song – (did I mention she loved this band?), secondly, at times the blizzard of feedback and screaming noise could be distracting and so when tracks like this appeared you appreciated them even more and thirdly, once whilst waiting for a bus just outside Godalming I found myself singing along to this at a bus stop, and get an odd look from the old lady who had just arrived when I sang the ‘Fuck me now’ bit.

Nine Million Rainy Days from ‘Darklands’ LP (1987)

“Nine million rainy days have swept across my eyes thinking of you, and this room becomes a shrine thinking of you, and as far as I can tell, I’m being dragged from here to hell.” Yup, they were a cheery lot the Marychain. ‘Darklands’ is a very different album to ‘Psychocandy’ its melodic instead of violently caustic for a start.

Some Candy Talking from ‘Some Candy Talking’ EP (1987)

This was banned by the BBC I think on its release because of the ‘obvious’ drug references, which comes as a surprise to me because the songs clearly about those little candy cigarettes you can get from the sweet shop and considering how much the BBC played and promoted ‘Pass the Dutchie’ by Musical Youth I’m surprised they banned anything.


Its also worth checking out the two B Sides to this EP as well – the first is a sweet little tune called ‘Psychocandy’ and the second is called ‘Hit’. (I’ve tagged them on the bottom). For me these two tracks show the bridge between Psychocandy (the album) and Darklands perfectly.

Side Two

‘Happy When It Rains’ from ‘Darklands’ (1987)

More rain, but this time the band are a bit happier and as it happens, this is my favourite JAMC track. Its my favourite for one single reason, once in 1992 in the pouring rain outside the Army and Navy pub in Rainham, Kent, Our Price Girl gave me the best kiss of my life – at the time at least – and then sang this to me sweetly in my ear as the rain dripped off our hair. We then walked three miles, soaked to the skin hand in hand and hardly said a word, because frankly she said it all.

‘Reverence’ from ‘Honey’s Dead’ (1992)

Sorry its another single, its only the fourth, I’ll try not to include any more, but this was the song that bought a whole new audience to the Marychain, again the lyrics were controversial and again the BBC refused by and large to play it, despite there being a ‘Radio Mix’ as well. This is a tremendous record all guitars, crunching drums and sneering. Its impossible not to love it.

‘Boyfriends Dead’ from ‘You Trip Me Up’ Single (1987)

Opening line ‘C___, Fuck!’

Some people say that the Marychain did this sort of thing to be deliberately provocative and to show but they were angry but I think on reflection it was weariness and frustration. Its songs like this that give us fans that were too young to witness the early chaotic violent gigs, some impression as to what they actually sounded like.

‘Guitarman’ from ‘Speed of Sound’ (1994)

I wanted to include a cover version, simply because the Marychain did a few, mainly old Blues rock numbers from the 60s, and this I think was the best one. I also recommend their version of ‘Little Red Rooster’ because the absolutely crush it, but for me the bit where Reid goes ‘Show ‘em sonnnn’ is bloody marvellous.

‘April Skies’ from ‘Darklands’ (1987)

I went this because it’s the best song on ‘Darklands’ its not my favourite but it’s the stand out moment on the album although the natural closer ‘About You’ runs it close. What ‘April Skies’ showed us was that the Marychain were not about to self combust (not yet anyway) and that behind the hair , the fuzz and the attitude was a band that actually loved proper songs.

Crikey that’s quite a long piece, sorry guys, but you know it’s the Jesus and Mary Chain, its worth it.


Bonus tracks*





Continuing the run of full ICA postings from the vaults, as offered up by various guests. This has been held over from last Friday until today to accommodate the ICA on The Pastels.

What now follows was ICA 71 on 21 April 2016.

Guitars, Cadillacs and Sad, Sad Music

If Kanye West and Billy Joel can grace the Imaginary Compilation Album pages I might just about be able to get away with sneaking in a bit of Country.

Do not be put off by the picture of a Man in a Hat – there are hundreds of awful Men in Hats in Country Music. Dwight Yoakam isn’t one of them. I suspect that one of the main reasons he sported a hat was due to his fast receding hair line, and there are even pictures out there of him with a Bobby Charltonesque sweep over.

From the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s when most of you were enjoying the great indie music which features on this blog I was pretty much immersed in the flourishing American movement listening to the likes of Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, the Jayhawks and of course Dwight

The majority of this ICA is taken primarily from his first four albums from between 1986 and 1990 when to me, he was just about the best artist on the planet. I wouldn’t bother exploring anything after 1993’s This Time as thereafter he faded as badly as Hibs title challenge

Side 1

Track 1 – Honky Tonk Man (from Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc 1986)

We begin and end with a cover. As soon as you here the first chords of his version of this Johnny Horton classic you just know that you are in for something special

Track 2 – If There Was a Way (from the album of the same name 1990)

The first, but certainly not the last, of the sad songs. Dwight is just standing, alone in this room, surrounded by memories wondering if he can win his love back. Being a Country song, no is the obvious answer

Track 3 – South of Cincinnati (from Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc 1986)

I’m a sucker for road songs and this is one of many which makes me want to explore the Southern states in some detail

At a cold gray apartment in Chicago, a cigarette drowns inside a glass of gin is up there with the best lines in Country music

Track 4 – It Wont Hurt (from Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc, Etc 1986)

The last number from Guitar, Cadillacs and yet again lost love and strong alcohol are involved

Track 5 – Carmelita (from Flaco Jiminez album Partners 1992)

The mighty Flaco Jiminez played accordion on many of Dwight’s greatest songs and therefore it is only fitting that Dwight return the favour by featuring on Flaco’s album Partners.

I have several versions of Carmelita including the Warren Zevon original but none can hold a candle to Dwight’s version.

Side 2

Track 1 – Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses) (from Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room 1998)

Quite simply Dwight’s best song from his third and indeed best album Buenas Noches

She wore red dresses and told such sweet lies

Track 2 – Readin’ Rightin’ Rt 23 (from Hillbilly Deluxe 1987)

The only track I’m featuring the second album

A song highlighting that worldwide issue of folk leaving the country and heading to the city in search of work and longing to get back home

Track 3 – Two Doors Down (from This Time 1993)

It Won’t Hurt updated

Track 4 – Sad Sad Music (from If There Was a Way 1990)

She’s left him again. No drink involved this time just sad, sad music

Track 5 – Streets of Bakersfield ( from Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room 1998)

Despite the subject matte,  an upbeat number to finish of with as Dwight’s version of a Homer Joy song recreates the Bakersfield Sound which sprung up around Bakersfield, California in the 1950’s as a reaction to the slickly produced string orchestra laden Nashville sound. The main protagonists were the sadly recently departed Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Buck very kindly lends a hand

I hope this helps to convert some non-believers

Charity Chic

JC adds…….I had intended the full ICAs from guests look-back to last five days, but it is being extended into tomorrow and Wednesday as there’s companion pieces required for it all to make sense.



As usual, we will begin with a look back to last week.

Three of the matches had close results, while the other, while having a more substantial outcome, wasn’t a massacre.  In saying that, three of the teams got out to decent leads and never got caught, but the Belle & Sebastian/McGeoch game swung back and forth until one of them pulled away as the final whistle beckoned.

Match 9 : Television 24 The Jazz Butcher 18

Match 10 : Belle & Sebastian 19 v John McGeoch 24

Match 11 : The Beatles 25 Queens of The Stone Age 14

Match 12: Buddy Holly 25 v Black Box Recorder 19

And so we reach the halfway point of the first round of knockout ties and includes the return of Echo and The Bunnymen whose group stage performance was the most impressive of them all, in terms of vote %.

Electronic (2nd in Group B) v Ash (7th in Group A)

mp3: Electronic – Vivid (radio edit) v mp3 : Ash – Shining Light

The Dream Syndicate (3rd in Group C) v Cinerama (6th in Group D)

mp3: The Dream Syndicate – Out Of My Head v mp3 : Cinerama – Ears

Cocteau Twins (4th in Group A) v Chris Isaak (5th in Group C)

mp3: Cocteau Twins – Iceblink Luck v mp3: Chris Isaak – Wrong To Love You

Echo and The Bunnymen (1st in Group D) v Fad Gadget (8th in Group B)

mp3: Echo and The Bunnymen – The Back Of Love v mp3: Fad Gadget – Life On The Line I

I’m gutted that my dream match-up of Out of My Head v Can’t Get You Out Of My Head never materialised.

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 30th of September



State Broadcasters

The State Broadcasters consist of Pete MacDonald (piano, trombone, vocals), Gillian Fleetwood (harp, accordian, vocals), Cameron Maxwell (double bass, trombone, electric bass, vocals), David McGinty (guitar and vocals) and Susan Appelbe (cello, vocals).

The combination of instruments deployed should indicate this is not the usual far you find on TVV, but I do happen to have a number of tracks from various compilation albums.

They have been together for quite some time, and the musicians are also involved in other groups or projects (e.g., Pete is part of Randolph’s Leap).

The debut album, The Ship and The Iceberg, emerged in 2009 via Electric Honey Records, while the two subsequent LPs, Ghosts We Must Carry (2012) and A Different Past (2017), were issued by Olive Grove Records, a label whose support for the music scene in Scotland is very admirable.

mp3: The State Broadcasters – Be The Someone

As found on Get Into The Grove : 10 Years of Olive Grove, which is an excellent compilation.




Continuing the run of full ICA postings from the vaults, as offered up by various guests. This was ICA 34 on 1 September 2015.

Normally, dear friends, coverbands rather are an atrocity, they exist to – more or less – “entertain” you at family parties. The Detroit Cobras from, obviously, Detroit, though take the cover business seriously and they are doing this perfectly fine since 1994. The music that the band play is a mix of soul, Motown, R&B and R&R, that is literally stripped from Mary Ramirez’ and her music partner in crime, singer Rachel Nagy’s record collections.

The Detroit Cobras — with one song, Hot Dog, being the exception — play other people’s music, but more specifically they cover other artists’ B-sides and deep cuts, and they do so with such a raw and ferocious energy that the songs rarely sound anything like the original versions, but all of them end up sounding like Cobra songs.

The band is known for multiple line up changes, Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound (aka Greg Oblivian of The Oblivians) has been a constant creative force along with Nagy and Ramirez, who have been around since the group’s genesis. The male members’ fluctuation sometimes reminds me of the Italian government, so it doesn’t make all too much sense to go into detail here. Then again: who cares at all, the men in this combo are just accessory parts whereas especially singer Rachel Nagy – the Cobras’ secret weapon/human tornado, a mesmerizing mash up of Dusty Springfield, Neko Case, Chrissie Hynde and Ronnie Spector – but also guitarist Mary Ramirez are the bad girls by the exit doors at the school dance, all leather and heels, sneaking smokes and passing the flask. They have no time for dewy-eyed love songs or girl group decorum; they’ll take care of business themselves with a bat of the eye or an elbow to the kidney!

The group has released five and a half (Seven Easy Pieces consists of just – some of you will already have guessed it – seven tunes, so does that make it a real album? I don’t know …) full-length albums to date, and on all of them they whip out ass-shaking anthems to good times, wild times, and the high and lows of L-U-V; you best believe it and you best not mess with it: ‘cos the Cobras are THE go-to party band for those in the know. Sure, it’s red-blooded and raw, but it’s also as beautiful as it is brassy. In other words, bad girls make good!

You should hope and pray that they play your party. I certainly hope that one fine day they’ll play mine … and if they do, I’ll invite all of you, promised!

Here’s their album – discography:

– ‘Mink Rat Or Rabbit’ (Sympathy For The Records Industry Records, 1998)
– ‘Life, Love Or Leaving’ (Sympathy For The Records Industry Records, 2001)
– ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ (Rough Trade 2003)
– ‘Baby’ (Rough Trade 2004)
– ‘Tied And True’ (Rough Trade 2007)
– ‘The Original Recordings’ (Munster Records 2008)

It was a really hard task to choose just 10 songs out of the above, because all of those albums are killers without fillers, apart from Tied And True. It’s not a bad album, but if I had to decide between the two, I would spend my money on the compilation of their early work, The Original Recordings.

Either way, without further ado, here’s what I regard to be the mighty Detroit Cobras’ 10 best songs …. yes, it’s 11, I admit, but they all are so short, so I thought I could get away with it … let’s just call the last one a bonus- or a hidden track, you won’t complain, alright, JC? Nevertheless it is a monster of a tune, quite contrary to their ‘standard’ work, so watch out for it …. and enjoy:

01 – ‘Hey Sailor’ (from ‘Life, Love Or Leaving’, a Mickey Lee Lane – cover)
02 – ‘Village Of Love’ (Peel Session – version, rec. 2003, their second 7″ from 1996, a Nathaniel Mayer – cover)
03 – ‘Out Of This World’ (from ‘Mink Rat Or Rabbit’, a Gino Washington – cover)
04 – ‘Right Around The Corner’ (from Life, Love Or Leaving, a Rose Marie McCoy & Charles Singleton – cover)
05 – ‘I Wanna Holler (But The Town’s Too Small)’ (from ‘Baby’, a Frank Guida / Patricia Matthews / Joseph Royster – cover)

06 – ‘My Baby Loves The Secret Agent’ (from ‘Seven Easy Pieces’, a Fred Sledge Smith – cover)
07 – ‘Cha Cha Twist’ (from ‘Mink Rat Or Rabbit’, a Hank Ballard / Les McCann – cover)
08 – ‘Down In Louisiana’ (from ‘The Original Recordings’, their third 7″ from 1996, cover of a traditional song)
09 – ‘Shout Bama Lama’ (from Life, Love Or Leaving’, an Otis Redding – cover)
10 – ‘Hot Dog (Watch Me Eat)’ (from ‘Baby’, the only song the Cobras ever wrote themselves)

Hidden bonus track:

11 – ‘Last Nite’ (from ‘Various Artists: Stop Me If You Think You Heard This Before’ (2003), a Strokes – cover)

Dirk aka Sexy Loser



Continuing the run of full ICA postings from the vaults, as offered up by various guests. This was ICA 79 on 2 June 2016.

Put away those prejudices for a few minutes. I’m not going to defend his entire solo musical offerings, or even most of them, but to completely discard Rod Stewart is a catastrophic error of judgment. And I say that having listened to his 1977 album Foot Loose And Fancy Free to see if I could select a track for this ICA.

To ignore Rod Stewart because of, say, Do You Think I’m Sexy, or his cover of You Keep Me Hanging On, would be like dismissing The Fall after listening to Papal Visit (that god-awful load of old crap on the otherwise splendid Room To Live album). Or dismissing U2 because Bono is a complete spunktrumpet. No, you dismiss U2 because Bono is a complete spunktrumpet AND because they are total shite.

I suppose you could say this is one of those pretentious cases of “I like his early stuff”, but those early records are, well, they can be described thus: very very good, very very good, outstandingly brilliantly fabulously toptastic, very good, and good. Then comes “what’s he done here?”, followed by “I don’t have that one”and “jesus, Rod, this is a bit shit”, then a much later entry of “I’ve got some money to burn, and that cover version sounds pretty damned good”. Those albums are: An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down, Gasoline Alley, Every Picture Tells A Story, Never A Dull Moment, Smiler, Atlantic Crossing, A Night On The Town, Foot Loose And Fancy Free, and When We Were The New Boys.

So there’s plenty of scope for a ten track ICA. By the way, I lied above, I didn’t listen to Foot Loose And Fancy Free all the way through; I made it through side one and almost finished side 2 but by the time I Was Only Joking came on I just couldn’t stand any more. But those first few albums, oh Rod, where did all go wrong????????

Those first two albums have a heavy-ish, blues/rock feel, there’s some splendid slower songs, and of course there’s Ronnie Wood’s guitar-playing. I can distinctly remember who I was with when I purchased these albums – a certain weegie-blogger was with me, in a second-hand record shop near Carlisle station. I’ve no idea why we were there, maybe he knows.

Anyway, I saw those first two Rod albums on one of those double-album packages Rod Stewart The Vintage Years 1969-1970, for £3. Charity Chic purchased a rather splendid album too, for a change, Johnny Cash at San Quentin. I had, a few weeks earlier, purchased One Of The Best Albums Ever made (Every Picture Tells a Story), and had mistakenly thought that it was Rod’s first solo album. When I told a friend I had purchased Rod Stewart’s first solo album he replied “do you like An Old Raincoat, then?” He was met with a quite glaikit look. Not for the first time, and that look certainly gets a lot of use round these parts when I try and converse in the local language (plenty of “nao percebo” and “fale mais devargar, por favour”).

Enough of that. Just listen to these ten fantastic tracks, you really won’t regret it.

1.  An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down – track 1 side 2 from that first album. Simply “WOW”. From that pounding bass intro to the wild guitar, this is a fantastic late 60s rock song.

2.  I Wouldn’t Change A Thing – track 2 side 2 from the same album. A heavy rock-almost-prog song, with Lou Reizner guest vocalising (that’s the “Lou” that Rod refers to in the song). Who’s he? He gave the name Aphrodite’s Child to the Greek Prog band, that’s who! He also produced the first two solo Rod Stewart albums. And that’s Keith Emerson organing away.

An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down, as I have implied above, really should be on your shelves, it’s great example of late 60s heavy-rock. I have not selected Handbags and Gladrags, for example, because I have restricted myself to two tracks from this album. I should also say the same for track 3 of side 2, Cindy’s Lament, another great heavy-rock song on the album. There’s also………….look, just go and buy the damned album (and of course that means you too, Charity Chic). I’ve also decided to upgrade this album from very very good to It’s Bloody Brilliant.

3.  It’s All Over Now – track 2 side 1 of Gasoline Alley. A near 6-and-a-half minute cover version. Fantastic piano from Ian McLagan, great guitar, great drums, GREAT SCOTLAND YARD this is a great song. What is so encapsulating? It sounds as if they’re all in the studio together, belting this out, and having a really good time doing so.

4.  Country Comforts – track 1 side 2 of the album. That’s Jack Reynolds doing the backing vocal. No idea who he is/was.

The second album, Gasoline Alley, has Stanley Matthews on mandolin. If only it was THAT Stanley Matthews*. But it’s not. And on another day I could easily choose a different two for this ICA. And listening to it right now as I type, this is Another Bloody Brilliant Record.

On to One Of The Ten Best Albums Of All Time. It should be illegal not to own this album. No (inane) comments are needed from me about any of the ten tracks on Every Picture Tells A Story. Here’s two:

5.  I Know I’m Losing You.

6.  Tomorrow Is A Long Time.

In 1972 Rod Stewart released Never A Dull Moment, which has some original compositions and some cover versions.

7.  Lost Paraguayos

8.  Twisting The Night Away – a cover of the Sam Cooke song

Two more tracks to go. The last album for Mercury was Smiler; It’s the one with that ridiculous tartan cover and a framed photo of Rod wearing a blouse., but don’t let that put you off. It’s an album I like, despite the rather strange cover version of You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, which Rod changes to Man, and it just doesn’t work, which is very unusual for Rod, his covers up until then were first class.

9.  A Hard Road

One more track to go.

And it’s from a 1998 album When We Were The Rude Boys. And it’s a cover of an Oasis song. Now, don’t let that put you off, Rod doesn’t try and reproduce that incredibly annoying nasally twangy sneery voice that Mr Gallagher has.

10.  Cigarettes and Alcohol – I’ll take this version over the Oasis one any time.

So an ICA from the “when he was good” era of Rod Stewart, plus one from twenty-plus years later. I almost included his cover of The First Cut Is The Deepest, which carried on Rod’s fine habit of creating great cover versions. But I didn’t.

* There was an English footballer called Stanley Matthews.

George Forsyth

JC adds……there was a fabulous and bonkers exchange in the comments section when this was originally posted, all to do with some overseas readers asking for a translation of ‘glaikit’ and an example of what a ‘spunktrumpet might look like.

The answers?

Glaikit is a Scottish word for someone with a pretty vacant/clueless/puzzled facial expression.

If you Google image search ‘Piers Morgan ‘- that is a spunktrumpet


A guest posting by flimflamfan

An Imaginary Compilation Album
The Pastels
Secret Music


I hate The Pastels! Well, this celebratory ICA is going well, isn’t it?

Let me explain… I had just left school, officially. In reality I had left school at least two years earlier, possibly three, acquiring a Higher Grade (with Honours) in truanting. My wild years continued with late night bouts of taking my beloved dog for a walk around the block – keeping one eye out for the Bar-L (terrible ruffians that resided at the southern side of the Edinburgh Road) and trying to listen to late night, alternative radio shows without my slightly older brother – who I shared the bedroom with – telling me to turn that fucking thing off or he’d kick my cunt in. I didn’t turn off the radio – he knew I wouldn’t. Soon he’d been sleeping (it was often said he could sleep on the edge of a knife) and I’d be tuning into bands that I loved from yesteryear and new exciting Scottish bands – all vying for the attention of my recently acquired dole money. Walking the dog. Listening to radio. I was wild!

On a Tuesday night, the year eludes me, the DJ – I can exclusively reveal to be Billy Sloan – introduced an interview with The Pastels. As far as I can recall there was something about a boat!? Something about one of the band members dad’s paying for the recording? It all sounded terribly middle-class to me, privileged and I wanted nothing to do with it. The die was cast – ill-informed class-wars. I hated The Pastels.

I confess it gets a little muddy from here… I either heard the song at a later time or the interview was spliced with music (I could be wrong – it has been known). The song that caught my attention was I Wonder Why. When the song finished I felt as though I had been molested in my own bed – “what the fuck was that?” and “that has to be one of the worst songs I have ever heard”. Given that I did have it in for The Pastels – based largely on the fact they were enjoying their young lives and I wasn’t – my hyperbole is hardly surprising. To use a colloquial term the band were, “shite”. The song was, “shite”. It was all, “shite”. On this subject I was monosyllabic, but correct. Don’t forget, correct.

And so it was that The Pastels were dead to me. My adoration and dole money would be for other late-night radio suitors. Except…

Hmm hmm hmm hmm. Hmm hmm hmm hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm”.

Days had gone by, weeks maybe, and I was plagued by humming. I couldn’t place the tune at all and it was driving me to distraction. I asked my best pal if he knew the tune – me humming away, musically, of course, not the Glaswegian definition of ‘humming’ I grew up with i.e. smelly/unwashed. My pal had no clue. “Fuck!” The song was doing my nut in. My limited record collection held no clues. Aarrrgh!

Idea! If everyone had gone to bed early (unusual) I would stay up and listen to the radio in the living room – sometimes, with an integrated cassette player. I may have taped (never recorded) the song by accident. This endeavour proved directly fruitless but indirectly allowed me to find The Associates, Boys Keep Swinging. Not a whiff of DJ spoken-drivel to be heard. Thank you, Mr Sloan. You were always entertaining and knew when to let the music breathe. I was delighted to be reacquainted but what of the earworm? Nothing.

Some time later (weeks/months) the earworm was still with me as I occasionally hmm hmm hmm’d. Bang! “I wonder why, I wonder why I wonder why”. Where did that come from? No other lyric. I wrote it down and probably still have the jotter I wrote it down in. But who sang it? That continued to evade. So… off I went to Listen Records (Renfield Street). I had my clues… Group – Glaswegian. Song – possibly, I Wonder Why? Released – fairly recently.

It took a good deal of courage for me to speak with the guy behind the counter at Listen. I had been buying from them for years now, I was aware of the guy, he seemed aware of me but we hadn’t ever really spoken. He wasn’t one of the owners who always looked to me as if they were either a) waiting to go to a Grateful Dead concert or b) had just returned from a Grateful Dead concert. It’s quiet – my favourite time in any record shop. I make my way to the counter and make my request, my expectation low. As quick as you like he replied, “That’s The Pastels”. In my head I’m sure there would have been a sneering voice, snorting “oooooh, The Pastels”. The guy told me where to find the single. I spent a suspicious amount of time looking at the single. I wanted to make the guy feel that his time was valuable and let him see I had found it and… I also wanted to work out a way to leave the shop without buying it. It was shite, after all. I’ve no idea what I said when I left but I can assure you my face would have been beetroot red and my entire body clammy. I hated to leave a record shop without buying something, especially when someone had been so helpful. Still embarrassed, I loaded my shame onto the bus and headed home.

Hmm hmm hmm hmm. Hmm hmm hmm hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm”.


As single after single was released, I realised that The Pastels “weren’t that bad” (faint praise, indeed) and I began to buy their records.

It was Crawl Babies that eventually did it. When I first heard it, on a compilation tape that belonged to a friend, I was instantly smitten. It was just gorgeous. It is gorgeous. It melted away my hatred, my ill-informed class-war prejudice. It ignited a fervent interest that lasts to this very day. It could be said that a new love was born. You can be all but certain that if I’m DJing at an indie disco (unlikely, these days) Crawl Babies will be played. Hooked, I regarded myself as a fan, and yes, I now love I Wonder Why.

For various reasons I haven’t seen the group live too often. When I have they have been incredible. I have been fortunate enough to talk with Stephen and Katrina on numerous occasions over the years and all the time while chatting my internal fan-voice screeched “you are in The Pastels”. “YOU. ARE. IN. THE. PASTELS”. I also lived quite close to them for a number of years and when I’d see them coming out of their close or walking down the street (accidentally, I wasn’t stalking them, honest) that fan feeling never left me. As immature as it may seems, I’m glad it didn’t.

My experience of The Pastels as people (I’m talking Stephen and Katrina as I’ve not had much contact with other group members) is one of warmth, generosity, graciousness, unaffectedness, supportiveness and kindness.

As musicians they: inspired so many (aspiring musicians and fans alike), inadvertently spawned ‘scenes’ and developed outstanding collaborations with musicians and other artists while remaining unfettered by music business limitations.

The Pastels are still very much at the beating heart of music in Glasgow and beyond. That’s quite a feat for a group now enjoying its fourth decade. It may have taken me a wee while to fall for the charms of The Pastels but fall for them I did.

I love The Pastels.

For this ICA I have chosen three collaborations and one cover version. I think these inclusions provide a broader picture of the group’s output.

I hope you listen. I hope you enjoy.

I’d urge caution when listening to I Wonder Why…

Hmm hmm hmm hmm. Hmm hmm hmm hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm”.

This Side

1. Baby Honey

2. I Wonder Why

3. A Lonely Song (with Jad Fair)

4. Ditch The Fool

5. Speeding Motorcycle (cover version – Daniel Johnson)

6. Secret Music

7. Dark Side Of Your World

That Side

8. Ride

9. Crawl Babies

10. Check My Heart

11. Nothing To Be Done

12. Worlds Of Possibility

13. Two Sunsets (with Tenniscoats)

14. This Could Be The Night (with Jad Fair)




Continuing the week of full ICA postings from the vaults, as offered up by various guests. This was ICA 136 on 7 September 2017.

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done…And It Can’t!

A few weeks ago JC posted Charged Particles #12, featuring a pair of songs by Graham Parker. In the comments folks got into a discussion about how the ‘angry young men’ of the era–Parker, Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson–had fared since their original heyday. I observed that, while I wasn’t that fond of Costello’s genre exercises and anaemic later-career albums, I rated his early LPs so highly that “I don’t think I could narrow down a 10 song ICA from just his recordings with the Attractions.” It was Brian who responded: “Nobody has had the guts to do that so far.”

Of course, Brian’s right. I once made a playlist for my daughter of ‘essential’ EC songs and there were almost 100 on it. And how can you pick less than 6 or 7 from Get Happy!! alone? In the past I tried to come up with several possible Elvis ICA’s — Best guests (Green, David Hidalgo, Mick Jones, Emmylou), Best collaborations (Coward Bros., Jimmy Cliff, Bill Frisell, Allen Toussaint), Best ‘color’ songs (Red Shoes, Green Shirt, Blue Chair etc.). I even have a list of songs with my favorite Bruce Thomas bass parts (B-Movie, Pump It Up, I Stand Accused, and so on.) But they were all cowardly. No, there’s absolutely no way to have a 10-song Elvis Costello ICA.

But then I thought there’s so much crappy news these days and the world is so fraught with stress, why not pitch something distracting into the mix that people actually care about? Why deny ourselves the pleasure of a good-natured pub argument, even if we’re thousands of miles apart? In fact, as I’m writing this I’m smirking a little, picturing you lot glaring angrily at your laptops, spluttering, “How could that bastard have left out X or Y or Z! It’s an outrage!”

So, what the hell — with no discussion of the songs at all, here’s an ICA of the TEN BEST songs by Elvis Costello and the Attractions:

1. Accidents Will Happen
2. Beyond Belief
3. Clean Money
4. High Fidelity
5. Man Out Of Time
6. Oliver’s Army
7. Pump It Up
8. Radio, Radio
9. Strict Time
10. 5ive Gears In Reverse

BRING IT ON, homies.


JC adds…….

I had planned an entire week’s worth of full ICAs, from Monday To Friday, but having just received a very welcome guest posting, I’m bringing that in tomorrow with all the other posts shifting back a day.  I’ve also something else in hand for later in the month which means two of the proposed September postings will be held over till sometime next month.

Bear with me….it’ll all make sense!!!



As promised, an entire week of complete ICA postings from the vaults, but all written originally by various guests. This was ICA 55 on 11 January 2016.

Mad As Snow: An Imaginary Compilation : Kitchens Of Distinction

I love Kitchens Of Distinction. They really were one of the great overlooked bands of their period and should have received far more acclaim than they did, though what they did get was rarely less than glowing. It makes sense therefore that they should get the Imaginary Compilation treatment.

I’ve done a few of these for JC now, and I have to say this was one of the most difficult. My own Best Of KOD folder contains 30 tracks, none of which I feel I could leave out, so narrowing it down to a mere 10 to suit this remit was a real battle. As a result, there are plenty of notable omissions. I’m sure most people would have included Drive That Fast, but then I’ve never been most people. It also irks me that I’ve had to forego the likes of When In Heaven, the original 12″ mix of 4 Men, and Mad As Snow which is what I had already decided was going to be the title of the comp.

Argue away folks, I’d love to know what you’d have included. As it is, all five albums are represented, so I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done here. Well, apart from leaving out Mad As Snow. What was I thinking? Can I have 11 songs JC…?

Side One

1. The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule (from ‘Love Is Hell’)

The third single, the second track I ever heard by KOD. I still love it. It sounds like an opening track to me and shows off both sides of the band – those hypnotic, shimmering guitar sounds, but with a good, strong rhythm keeping things going.

2. Quick As Rainbows [single version] (single; later re-recorded for ‘Strange Free World’)

It has to be the single version, as the most read article ever on my blog explains: http://isthis-thelife.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/20-more-songs-to-take-to-my-grave-35.html

3. Japan To Jupiter (from ‘Folly’)

What a comeback. Seriously, who could have expected a song even half as wonderful as this after 18 years away? My second-fave KOD track of all time. Not sure if they have any other things planned together – I hope so – but if not, ‘Folly’ is as good an album to go out on as any.

4. Elephantine (non-LP; from ‘Elephantine’ EP)

A stunning single that marked noticeable shift towards the lush multi-layered guitar sounds the band would become known for. It has been tacked onto the end of reissues of ‘Love Is Hell’, but definitely sounds more like a ‘Strange Free World’ kind of track. It’s also one of the bands more politically overt songs, with Patrick Fitzgerald proclaiming “Every great nation ends up deserving war.” Sadly, here we are more than 25 years later and that still couldn’t be any more apt.

5. Gorgeous Love (from ‘Strange Free World’)

One of Patrick’s finest vocals here, I think. A definite standout from the second album.

Side Two

1. Sand On Fire (from ‘Cowboys And Aliens’)

‘Cowboys And Aliens’ was to be Kitchens Of Distinction’s last album for the best part of two decades. You can hear the direction they were moving down; shedding the shoegaze label that had been lazily thrust upon them, they seemed to be forging a louder, rockier sound as evidenced on the album’s opener.

2. Wolves, Crows (from ‘Folly’)

One of the big surprises from the comeback album was this monster of a track. It’s quite unlike anything else the band ever recorded, but kind of backs up what I just said about the rockier elements of the band coming to the fore. Those pounding drums! Shoegaze it most definitely ain’t.

3. Breathing Fear (from ‘The Death Of Cool’)

Remarkable isn’t it. The US of A considers itself to be the ‘Land Of The Free’, a bastion of democracy and freedom, tolerance and respect. Yet, they could never accept a song about ‘queer bashing’ being released as a single. Unless perhaps, it was a song that condoned such predjudice, was performed by Ted Nugent and used by Donald Trump as part of his election campaign. In the much more enlightened UK however, Breathing Fear trailed KODs third album. It’s not a comfortable listen, but musically it’s as delightful as anything the band made.

4. Prize (from ‘Love Is Hell’)

Back in 1988 I bought a double-album compilation of acts signed to the One Little Indian label. It included Prize. It was the first time I ever heard Kitchens Of Distinction, and that’s the reason it’s included here. Sure, they made better songs, but the fact Prize drew me in makes it more than worthy.

5. Now It’s Time To Say Goodbye (from ‘Cowboys And Aliens’)

While it wasn’t intended to be the band’s swan song, there aren’t many better ways to bow out. Following the release of ‘Cowboys And Aliens’, KOD began working on new material and put a single out in 1996, but nothing else materialised until 2013. If this had been their final tune though, I’m not sure there would have been many complaints. It’s the natural album closer for me.

Special bonus one-sided coloured vinyl 10″ (available with initial pressing only):

1. Mad As Snow [long version] (from ‘The Death Of Cool’)

The Robster



I’m hoping by now that everyone is familiar with the way it’s all unfolding.  If not, the postings over the most recent two Sundays should explain things in the detail you’re looking for.

Last week’s match-ups proved to be hugely disappointing for the TV folk, as all four results were never really in doubt and there wasn’t much in the way of tension.  Having said that, viewers stayed with the games all the way to the end, with 47 sets of votes requiring to be tallied.

First up, the results from last week:-

Match 5 : Edwyn Collins 35 Uncle Tupelo 7

Match 6 : Bryan Ferry 31 Hot Chip 11

Match 7 : Chuck Prophet 11 The Jam 33

Match 8 : Joy Division 41 Pop Will Eat Itself 4

I have a feeling, however, that this week’s match-ups might offer a bit more in the way of intrigue:-

Television (1st in Group C) v The Jazz Butcher (8th in Group A)

mp3: Television – Friction v mp3 : The Jazz Butcher – Southern Mark Smith

Belle and Sebastian (4th in Group B) v John McGeoch* (5th in Group D)

mp3: Belle and Sebastian – This Is Just A Modern Rock Song v mp3 : Siouxsie & The Banshees – Happy House

(*John McGeoch’s ICA was a compilation of tracks he played on)

The Beatles (2nd in Group D) v Queens of the Stone Age (7th in Group C)

mp3: The Beatles – Ask Me Why v mp3: Queens of The Stone Age – Little Sister

Buddy Holly (3rd in Group A) v Black Box Recorder (6th in Group B)

mp3: Buddy Holly – Everyday v mp3: Black Box Recorder – England Made Me

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 23rd of September.




It was back in 2021 that I did a couple of postings on Bubblegum Records, a truly DIY label based in Glasgow that was around from 2009-2011.

As I said at the time of the first posting, the label may have only lasted just two years but in that time was responsible for the 22 releases, consisting of 14 CDs and 8 limited edition, download only singles featuring an array of bands and musicians from all over the world. It was quite a remarkable effort, coinciding with that point in time when myspace seemed destined to be the future for new and emerging music, when in fact it was merely a staging post for further developments across social media networks and platforms.

One of the CDs issued by Bubblegum was the work of Starshy.  There’s not a lot out there about the musicians involved, but the bandcamp page does indicate there is a base in Glasgow.

It doesn’t look as if there was ever anything beyond a six-track EP, called Short + Sweet, although there was also one other song recorded for inclusion on a later Bubblegum Records compilation.

This is the rather splendid guitar-orientated opening track from the EP:-

mp3: Starshy – Yimmer Yammer

But if electronica, (with what I feel is a slight nod to Jonathan Richman) is more your thing, here’s the track from the compilation:-

mp3: Starshy – 52nd and 2nd

If you like what you’re hearing today, then please take a trip to this bandcamp page where the EP can be listened to in full (for free) but digitally purchased for a small amount of money.




Some extracts from ICA 6.


Let’s start at the beginning. The beginning for me, anyway – the first Pixies song I ever heard – the opening track on Surfer Rosa recorded onto a C90 tape with AR Kane’s 69 on the other side. Believe it or not, back in 1988 this really did sound like nothing else – to me anyway – nothing like the indie music that I’d grown to love and nothing that you could hear on the radio. And what a great introduction to a band – each instrument comes in at different times to create a glorious noise with Black Francis barking and howling over the top of it – to this day I’m not really sure what he says or what it all means, but to me that’s part of the joy of this band. And I think it was the song to which I bust my nose stage diving to at The Town and Country Club – but that’s another story.


Pixies were always a great band to jump around, scream and go nuts to – but I love their slow songs as much as their fast noisy ones – loudQUIETloud and all that. This is a live version from the tour they did where they played Doolittle in order plus assorted B-sides. Just listening to the audience in this version really brings home what a loved band they are. I was lucky enough to see them a fair few times before they originally split up and was young then so spent most of the gigs going bananas, as you do. I always looked back fondly on those days and as Pixies influence grew was happy I’d seen them. So when they reformed it was incredible going back and seeing songs live that I’d cherished over the years – there was a feeling of trepidation that they might just ruin things, but they were as good as they ever were – and I found there was still a bit of the mosh pit left in me.


My favourite song off my favourite album – it just about beats Gigantic. Impossible to articulate what it means to me, I’ve loved it for so long.


JC adds…….

Next week will see more strolls down ICA Memory Lane, but will instead involve the full versions of a few guest postings as editing them proved beyond my capabilities, and I felt they have to be read as intended.



Some extracts from ICA 33.

Enola Gay

Likely the band’s most recognized and iconic song, this is a great introduction to the dual nature of so many OMD songs: a danceable and poppy synthesizer sound, but married to much darker lyrics…this time about the airplane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

There is in fact generally a fascination in the songs of OMD with historical air, rail, and naval transportation. That is, the sometimes strikingly transcendent potential of all three is often contrasted with their darker destructive power, a theme which runs through the songs and albums of the band throughout their 35 year career. This is perhaps most obvious when one glances from the 1983 Dazzle Ships concept album to the 1993 Liberator album (with its nose cone cover art), to their most recent work following the 2006 resurrection of the band following a ten-year hiatus, 2013’s English Electric.


For me, this is the best track on what is probably the strongest, and most experimental “long ahead of its time” album the band ever created, Dazzle Ships. So good it was, in fact, that it lost the band about 90% of its audience overnight, but satisfied the band’s inner need to experiment with every electronic toy, every tape loop, every newsreel sample, every strange sound and industrial screech at their disposal.


A return here to the earlier material (1981), and the more conventionally “critically approved” material, this time with founder and synth-player Paul Humphreys taking a relatively rare turn on vocals.  But did you hear the 1998 remixes by Sash and Moby, with their deep house re-envisioning of the songs on Architecture and Morality? I believe the interested can find them on YouTube…


PS : A late edition to today’s scheduled post.  It’s nothing to do with OMD and some of you may already have come across it.

Craig, from Plain or Pan, has come up with an amazing concept for one of the greatest and most moving songs of all time.


It’s well worth a few minutes of your time.




Some extracts from ICA 73.

There are twenty-one albums by The Mekons up here in the music room (as at 1996), which is almost their entire output, bar one compilation album from a few years back (Heaven & Hell: The Very Best of the Mekons ) and the album Pussy, King of the Pirates they made with Kathy Acker in 1996, which I think I bought second hand from Polar Bear records in Birmingham many years ago, but I must have traded it in again.

They were punk, then post-punk before a radical change in direction in 1984, when The Mekons started making records with more than a hint of country, then ca. 1989 the music became more “indie/alternative” for a few years and latterly more folk-tinged. All of which may have you running for the hills, but that would be a catastrophic mistake, because The Mekons are a great band (apart from those punk/post-punk early years).

Memphis Egypt 

This is track 1 from the 1989 album The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Not a bad track on the album. Has been, on occasion, One Of The Ten Best Albums Of All Time. The first album of their “indie/alternative” era.


From the 1998 album Me.

There are some rather rude words in this, so in the name-of-the-sweet-lord do not play this when your granny’s in the room. But it’s a song that could very well make you laugh. Or not, if you’re a bit prudish.

Last Dance

The penultimate track from Fear And Whiskey, the first album The Mekons made (in 1985) after their hiatus, and I think one of the first alt-country albums. Some people refer to it as country punk. And an album you really should possess.




Some extracts from ICA 142.

Richard III

The momentum from the debut album was maintained in early 1996 by the release of the single Going Out, a song that was, without any question, a sideways swipe at Danny Goffey who was just beginning to show signs of enjoying life a bit too much and not wanting to contribute to the band.

It took a year before anything else was released, but it was well worth it thanks to this near hard-rock production that I’m sure had a big influence on Matt Bellamy as he tried to work out where to position his band, Muse. It’s an absolute belter of a pop/rock hybrid in which the drummer was given his place to show how important he was to them. Worth mentioning that the name of the song comes from its working title, in which all the new tunes were given people’s names. This just happened to be the third song called Richard and has nothing to do with the real-life kings and the famous play by Shakespeare.


One of things that gives Alright such a memorable hook is the piano part which was played by Rob Coombes, older brother of the band’s frontman. Indeed, Rob’s contributions in the studio and on-stage were always an essential part of the band’s sound but it wasn’t until the release of the time of the release of Life On Other Planets, their fourth album in 2002, that he officially became the fourth member.

It was long-overdue recognition, but it did run the risk of perhaps turning the band into just another plodding four-piece going through the motions, especially given that their third and self-titled LP, released in 1999, had been a bit of a let-down to many, despite it harvesting a couple of excellent 45s). Nothing had been heard of the band for the best part of three years until a deliberately low-key and very limited edition 7” single, Never Done Anything Like That Before, was issued in July 2002 that came and went before most folk knew the band were back. As such, Grace was really the comeback song in advance of the new LP. It proved to be a superb return to form, allaying any fears of them becoming as dull, plodding and irrelevant as so many of their peers from the Britpop era.

Diamond Hoo Ha Man

The final Supergrass songs came and went without much fanfare in 2008. This was initially as much to do with the band releasing the first single as only a limited edition 7” vinyl single, and latterly from the record label not wanting to spend too much in promotion. This single, the first new music since the downbeat and melancholy material found on Road to Rouen, was a very welcome return to the dynamic sounds of yesteryear.

It was a sad and bitter end to what had been a long and successful involvement with Parlophone Records, but it wasn’t actually supposed to be their final album, as come 2009 they signed to indie label Cooking Vinyl but never got round to finishing what would have been a seventh studio LP.

2022 update : Having spilt in 2010, the band reformed in 2019 but saw their plans blown away by the COVID outbreak.  They were, however, one of the undoubted top performers at this year’s Glastonbury festival.




Some extracts from ICA 111.

The self-styled ‘fourth-best band in Hull’ only released two studio albums and nine singles in their all too brief time together before two of them (Paul and Norman) went onto enjoy more fame and fortune in later bands or as solo artists, one of them (Stan) did all sorts of things before becoming a very successful writer of children’s book and TV scripts for a young audience and the other (Hugh) was part of other indie-pop outfits before he ended up in jail.

Five Get Over Excited

Fun, Fun Fun. On the surface that was what The Housemartins seemed to always be having, but just about every single lyric masked a bitter take on what life was like in the Thatcherite UK of the mid 80s, particularly if you happened to live in what had been traditionally working-class towns in the north of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. “Feigning concern, a conservative pastime”

There Is Always Something There To Remind Me

The last thing they did before they broke up (in 1988)….and vowed never to reform (although in an interview a few years back, Norman Cook said they would do so, but only if The Smiths reformed first!). And appropriately enough, here’s their equivalent of The Headmaster Ritual, proving that Manchester didn’t have a monopoly on teachers who were all too quick to pour scorn on those who weren’t academically minded.


Some of the social messages could get lost amidst the jaunty upbeat tunes which the band were most famed. Not so when they slowed things right down. New homes, new roads, new infrastructure right across green countryside at a time when traditional communities in poorer parts of the country were crying out for support and investment to recover. Environmental and economic madness.

The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death

Even more of an anti-royalist rant than The Queen Is Dead and yet didn’t create the same amount of controversy. That’s what happens when you have a jaunty tune which helps to disguise the sentiments involved.




The continuation of the knockout stages of the 2022 ICA World Cup. As explained last week, Round One is going to take eight weeks to complete, with these being the second set of ties.

Before revealing this week’s set of matches, it’s time to reveal what happened last week:

Match 1 : Iggy Pop v Vic Chestnutt

Iggy raced out to a very early lead and Vic never ever got going, picking up just the occasional vote throughout the week.  Iggy took the honours by a score of 38-7.

Match 2 : The Ramones v Stevie Wonder


It was 8-1 to Stevie, and then it was 11-9 to da brudders, after which they traded punch after punch for the rest of the week.  The final score was, unbelievably, 24-24.

The penalty shoot-out went to Stevie Wonder…..very cruel luck on The Ramones.

Match 3 : The Feelies v Ballboy

This one started off as a very even contest at 8-8 and a penalty shoot-out did seem a possibility.  It was a game in which twelve of the voters didn’t offer an opinion on one or the other, but it was Ballboy who had the stronger second half, to go through by a score of 23-15.

Match 4 : Blondie v Nirvana

On paper, a mouth-watering clash that could have gone either way.  It was the only game in which all 50 voters put up one name or another.  In the end, too many felt that Pennyroyal Tea wasn’t as good or worthy a song as Rapture.  A fairly easy 37-13 win for Blondie.

I should mention that, way back when I was planning all of this, I made the draw for the entirety of the competition based on the outcome of the groups, not knowing who would finish where, but the idea was group winners would face up to a team that came 8th in another group, with 2nd v 7th, 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th……….kind of the luck of the draw but based on performance in the group stage.

A reminder also that, for this round, the tune being offered up for consideration will be the second song on side two of the ICA; if the ICA wasn’t spilt in half at the time of writing, it will be song 7 in a ten-track ICA, or song 8 in a twelve-track ICA, etc.

Here goes:-

Edwyn Collins (3rd in Group D) v Uncle Tupelo (6th in Group C)

mp3: Edwyn Collins – Make Me Feel Again v mp3 : Uncle Tupelo – Whiskey Bottle

Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music (2nd in Group A) v Hot Chip (7th in Group B)

mp3: Bryan Ferry – The ‘In’ Crowd v mp3 : Hot Chip – Brothers

Chuck Prophet (4th in Group C) v The Jam (5th in Group A)

mp3: Chuck Prophet – Your Skin v mp3: The Jam – Ghosts

Joy Division (1st in Group B) v Pop Will Eat Itself (8th in Group D)

mp3: Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart v mp3: Pop Will Eat Itself – Not Now James, We’re Busy

On hearing this particular match-up, the groans from the PWEI fanbase were, understandably, loud.  But hey, it’s knockout rounds and anything is possible.

As ever, thanks for taking part.  Voting closes at midnight (UK time) next Friday, which is the 16th of September.