Most of the time I do try to link in a featured song with a b-side, other songs by the same singer/band, a cover version or something vaguely linked to the era or song matter. But then there’s some songs that just can’t be handled that way and so I’ve decided to have an occasional feature that allows me to squeeze in songs of distinction and quality which would otherwise not get a chance to be listened to:-

mp3 : D.A.F. – Der Mussolini

D.A.F. is short for Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, a Dusseldorf based band who were originally with us at the tail end of the 70s and into the early 80s. I only have one of their songs, and it was downloaded from elsewhere, but it was one that I danced to a fair bit back in the student days. Don’t worry folks, it’s not a track praising the merit of the old fascist – indeed it is merely encouraging Benny boy to shake his ass with his dancing partners Adolf and Jesus. If it wasn’t for the pounding electro-beat, it’d be as camp as can be.

mp3 : Shriekback – Fish Below The Ice

Shriekback formed in 1981, initially as a trio of Barry Andrews (ex-XTC), Dave Allen (ex-Gang Of Four) and Carl Marsh. They have been an and on off project ever since, with Andrews being the only consistent member of the band. They occasionally threatened to break through in the early 80s, none more so than when the LP Oil and Gold was released in 1985; the main problem though was that the strongest songs, included that featured here, had Marsh on vocals even though he had quit Shriekback midway through the recording of the album, thus making promotional duties a tad difficult.

mp3 : Ladytron – Seventeen

Ladytron, formed in 1999, seem to still to be going strong although it’s now getting on for five years since they released what was their fifth studio LP. They were the brainchild of two Liverpool producers and DJs – Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu – but were soon joined by two female musicians, the Scottish-born Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo from Bulgaria. They were championed by a fair few in the media, particularly the music correspondents aross a number of UK broadsheet newspapers who almost collectively predicted big things, but they never quite got beyond cult status despite making a number of more than decent singles and albums. The song featured here is a single from 2002 for which big things were anticipated but it stalled at #68.

mp3 : Psychic TV – Godstar

There’s a lot that can be written about Pyschic TV, and no doubt somebody has elsewhere. There’s a very lengthy wiki piece that I’ll refer you to. I’m not qualified to offer any opinion at all, as all I have is one mp3 that originally came courtesy of its inclusion on a cassette for me by Jacques the Kipper. It’s a song about the late Brian Jones.

mp3 : Strange Idols – She’s Gonna Let You Down

Named after an album released by Felt back in 1984, this five-piece London band seem to wear their 80s indie-op influences very much on their sleeves if this track from 2007, which I have courtesy of a compilation CD, is anything to go by. It has a wonderfully hypnotic guitar, lots of ba-ba-ba vocals from what sounds like a dreamy female lead vocalist all underpinned by a DIY production that really does hark back to an earlier period. I think my mate Aldo will love this…….

As ever, if anyone can fill in the gaps or has anything to say about the songs, then fire in via the comments section.


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STEP BACK IN TIME  (First posted in April 2007)

From L-R : Andy Rourke, Morrissey, JC and Johnny Marr.

If only………..

It’s actually the cover of a quite brilliant birthday present given to me back in 1993 by Jacques the Kipper.

At the time in our lives, we were in the habit of exchanging C90s around every two months, made up of stuff that we thought the other would like, or old things that we were listening to again after a period of time.

Mostly, it would involve handing over a tape with nothing written on it, and an A4 sheet of paper that contained cryptic clues (e.g. – Vodka was the single word for Smells Like Teen Spirit which JtK shoved on a tape a good two months before it went massive).

But for the momentous occasion of my 30th birthday, and to mark the day when I felt I was officially old, my mucker got me honorary membership of my favourite band and typed out the full track listing without testing my knowledge:-

Reggae Kray Do You Know My Name side

1. Candy Everybody Wants – 10,000 Maniacs
2. Godstar – Psychic TV
3. Pleasantly Surprised – The Soup Dragons
4. Half Of Everything – Lloyd Cole
5. Dollar Bill – Screaming Trees
6. Wish You Were Here – Darlingheart
7. Message In The Box – World Party
8. Jonathan, Jonathan – The Rockingbirds
9. Fire Away – James
10. Doomed – Julian Cope
11. Summer Fun In A Beat-Up Datsun – Cornershop
12. Grey Cortina – Tom Robinson Band

That Toke Isn’t Funny Anymore side

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues – Little Big Band
2. The Mating Game – The Monochrome Set
3. Southern Mark Smith – The Jazz Butcher
4. Circle Line – Rodney Allen
5. You’ve Got Me Thinking – The Beloved
6. For What It’s Worth – Oui 3
7. People Everyday – Arrested Development
8. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) – Digible Planets
9. Call It What You Want – Credit To The Nation
10. Who Do You Think You Are? – Saint Etienne
11. Birthday (Tommy D mix) – Sugarcubes

The thing that I’ve just realised is that at the time, I was making a serious attempt to pass my driving test (unsuccessfully), and JtK has thrown in a couple of motor-related bits of fun at the end of the first side.

I probably listened to this tape right through on a daily basis for the best part of a month – it was in the days when I was commuting daily from Glasgow to Edinburgh with only a Sony Walkman to keep my sanity, and there were only so many tapes you could keep in your suit pockets.

As with the mp3s that I download nowadays, I took the view that if I really liked a song on a JtK tape, then I’d go out and buy it, and I reckon I’ve probably got 14 out of these 23 tracks on CD or vinyl. But of the 5,000 or so songs that I’ve now got on the i-pod, I reckon there’s only three of these, and none of them are on any favourite especially made playlists.

I suppose the point I’m trying to clumsily make is that back in 1993, I listened to these songs a helluva lot, but nowadays they hardly feature – although I still like just about everything on the tape. As such, I’m equally certain that much of the new stuff I’ve been buying in recent weeks will hardly be listened to in 2020 (assuming I last that long).

But I do hope that somehow, by the time I’m approaching my 60th birthday in 2023, I’ll still be a regular in music stores such as Avalanche and Fopp, buying what’s fresh, lively and new, having heard it first on whatever it is that has replaced music blogs…..

And now, for your amusement, here’s some of the stuff I was listening to in June 1993:-

mp3 : Psychic TV – Godstar
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Jonathan, Jonathan
mp3 : The Jazz Butcher – Southern Mark Smith
mp3 : Arrested Development – People Everyday

It hasn’t always been jingly-jangly pop my whole life you know……(but then I sort of gave that away with yesterday’s blast from the past)