from 26 August 2009

I get the occasional email from readers, and a couple of times recently I’ve been asked, in passing, why I started this blog.

There were loads of reasons at the time, but in the main it boiled down to the fact that having installed broadband in the house back in 2006 I could now browse the world wide web seeking out songs of old, and I decided on a whim that this was something I wanted to do myself. So Mrs Villain bought me a USB turntable and told me to stop just talking about it…

There’s thousands of music blogs out there, and on the right hand side of this page you’ll find a list of some of my particular favourites. There’s one or two other new blogs that have started up in recent times that are also proving to be royally entertaining, and they’re likely to be added to the list in the weeks ahead.

But there’s also been a number of blogs that have come and gone. For a while I kept a list of the ‘dead’ blogs, but ended up deleting this during one of the periodical clean-ups. I’ve actually lost count of the number of songs I’ve downloaded from blogs over the years. Some of them I’ve kept….

But when I do that, I will usually make an effort to track down some product and purchase something, even if it is just a legitimate mp3 download – and I hope that’s what most of you will do of and when you download something from my wee place. So, despite some folk claiming that bloggers are killing the music industry, I find I’m spending more on music now in 2009 than at any other point in my life, and am running out of space in the cupboard that holds the vinyl and on the shelves where the CDs are stacked.

But enough rambling. The idea of today’s post is to bring you some of the more obscure and wonderful things I’ve downloaded over the past three years…and here’s to more of the same going forward:-

mp3 : Coin Op – Hey Uri
mp3 : Arab Strap – Here We Go (live acoustic session)
mp3 : Jens Lekman – You Can Call Me Al
mp3 : Elle S’Appelle – Little Flame
mp3 : Paris Motel – Mr Splitfoot
mp3 : Blur – Close


30, 20, 10 (Parts 14 & 15)

I completely forgot about this series last month – what’s more disconcerting is that nobody dropped a line asking whatever happend to it!  It’s probably on its last legs…..but for now, here’s two months worth in one go.

1 June 1988 : mp3 : New Order – Blue Monday 88

As featured not long ago in the New Order singles series.  Not the best remix of the song but not the worst.

1 June 1998 : mp3 : The Tamperer featuring Maya – Feel It

An Italian dance music group consisting of Italian record producers Mario Fargetta and Alex Farolfi, and American singer Maya Days.

Feel It was their first release and it went massive right across European dance clubs in the summer of 98. Heavily reliant on a sample of a song by The Jacksons.

1 June 2008 : mp3 : The Pigeon Detectives – This Is An Emergency

Indie band from Leeds.  Formed in 2004 and still going strong today.  I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never knowingly heard any of their songs.  There’s only so many skinny boys with guitars that you can cope with in a lifetime before it gets dull and repetitive….but there will be folk of a younger ilk than me who will, rightly, be fond of this lot and laugh in my face with my championing of 80s stuff.  This one starts off a bit like Interpol and then gets a tad anthemic but I suppose it is easy to see why folk do like them.

1 July 1988 : mp3 : The Timelords – Doctorin’ The Tardis

Drummond and Cauty demonstrate how following a formula can get you a #1 hit….they even wrote a book about it and then got serious with The KLF.  Genius.

1 July 1998 : mp3 : Fatboy Slim – The Rockafeller Skank

One interesting point you may or may not know. Fatboy Slim got no royalties from this track, with the monies going to the writers of all the songs which had been sampled; then again, given how much he was coining in from the live appearances at the time, it wouldn’t have been too tough a situation to have been in.

1 July 2008 :  Sukie – Pink-A-Pade

Indie band from Kettering.  Formed in 2006. Looks like they released one single which went to #1 in the UK indie charts and then they broke up.  Had a listen to it on-line and wasn’t impressed enough to purchase it, so it’s a no-show here.



I thought a mixtape would work well today.

mp3 : Various – 55 minutes for 55 years

Track Listing

What Time Is Love? (Live at Transcentral) – The KLF
I Want You – Inspiral Carpets/Mark E Smith
Kandy Pop – Bis
American Guitars – The Auteurs
Hounds of Love – Kate Bush
Pigs – Dead Hope
Higher Grounds – Cats On Fire
When It All Comes Down – Miaow
Hayfever – The Trashcan Sinatras
Definitive Gaze – Magazine
Safe European Home – The Clash
Heatwave – Martha & The Vandellas
Be Less Rude – Frightened Rabbit
Transmission – Joy Division
Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones
Roadrunner – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers



Some of you might know that I’m a keen golfer…some of you who did not know that will probably make a mental note not to come back to the blog ever again!

I should explain that in Scotland, unlike many other countries, golf is a sport whcih isn’t the exclusive preserve of the rich, wealthy or upper-classes. Indeed there’s long been a tradition stretching back hundreds of years of everyday folk, particularly in towns and villages around the coasts, taking up golf as a way of making a living, either as a player or caddy.

I’ve played the game most of my life, encouraged to do so by my dad who played for the sheer enjoyment of it over courses built and operated by councils in Glasgow and neighbouring towns. It was only in his 40s that he finally joined a club and even then it was one which was predominantly made-up of members who worked in the coal or steel industries. There’s many wrong perceptions out there about the wonderful game although I’m the first to admit that it’s still far too elite a pastime in many places.

Today marks the beginning of the first of the four major tournaments for professionals with the Masters tournament from Augusta, Georgia. It’s also the time of year when I try to get back into playing as I tend not to bother over the winter months, and my regular partner is a mate called Douglas Mackie who also is something of a fan of some of the music which features within this little corner of the internet. I was pleasantly surprised when Douglas told me that he’s downloaded all the various mixtapes over the years so that he can listen to them while driving his car every day. I thought it would be a nice gesture to mark the start of the new golf season by compiling a new mix with the sort of sounds I know he most enjoys :-

Various – Mackie’s Masterful Musical Moments


Boys Keep Swinging – David Bowie
Going Missing – Maximo Park
What Presence?! – Orange Juice
I Could Be In Heaven – The Flatmates
Therese – The Bodines
You’re Just Crying For Yourself – Butcher Boy
Waking Up – Elastica
Love Plus One – Haircut 100
For Tomorrow – Blur
My Friend In The Comfortable Chair – Cats On Fire
Johnny Delusional – FFS
Who Do You Think You Are? – Saint Etienne
Bye Bye Pride – The Go-Betweens
Radiation Vibe – Fountains of Wayne
Dance Me In – Sons & Daughters
Orange Crush – R.E.M.
Hymn From A Village – James
Rachel – The Wedding Present

It lasts just a few seconds under the hour…..should work well on his daily commute.


30, 20, 10 (Part 12)

It’s all gone a bit dancey the past couple of months, which hasn’t proved to be detrimental to the continuity of the series looking back at the songs which were #1 in the indie charts this time of year in 88,98 and 08.

Have any major labels exploited the loopholes around distribution and cheated their way to the top at the expense of the genuinely small operations?

1 April 1988 : mp3 : Erasure – Ship of Fools

It’s on Mute Records so I’ve no issue with it being a genuine qualifier.  Acts such as Erasure and Depeche Mode brough big money into the label which allowed Daniel Miller to release all sorts of low-selling singles and albums by all sorts of acts, including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds whose rise to fame was still a few years off.

Can’t say I remember much about this 45, so have turned to wiki:-

The song was issued as the lead single from Erasure’s third album The Innocents  but not as a single in the United States.

“Ship of Fools” marked Erasure’s first release without record producer Flood. Known for creating slick, pop-oriented production style, Stephen Hague took over producing duties for The Innocents album. “Ship of Fools” and its B-side, “When I Needed You”, were both written by Vince Clarke and Andy Bell.

Upon its release, “Ship of Fools” hit number six in the UK singles chart, becoming the group’s third consecutive Top 10 single (and fourth overall).

1 April 1998 : Run D.M.C vs Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

The original dates back to 1983 and was a minor hit in the USA but not in many other places.  Fast forward 14 years and it gets the remix treatment by house DJ Jason Nevins.  Again, nothing much happened and it wasn’t until its release in the UK in February 1998, in response to the import getting a great response in clubs, that it took off in great style.  Not only did it spend six weeks at the top of the indie chart, it did the same on the ‘proper’ chart and went on to be the third best-selling single of the year.

It was on Smile Communications which itself was a sub-label of Profile Records which itself was owned by Sony.  It was only through such a connection that it proved possible to get enough copies of the single into the shops to meet demand – it wasn’t just the UK who went nuts for it as it went Top 3 in most European countries and in Australia and New Zealand with estimated sales of 5m worldwide in 97/98.

1 April 2008 : mp3 : This Is Seb Clarke – Rock n Roll Alamo pt 7

I had no idea who this was. Here’s wiki:-

This Is Seb Clarke or (TISC) are a 12-piece soul-punk ensemble from Stoke-On-Trent, North Staffordshire. Their line-up plays Hammond organ, piano, bass, drums, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and has a brass section. The group are named after their frontman and principal songwriter, Sebastian Clarke.

Playing soulful ballads with an acoustic guitar and blues harp. A tour of acoustic tents at numerous festivals culminated in a performance at T in the Park in 2004. Later that year, the line-up expanded to incorporate a bass player and drummer, but this trio rapidly grew into the twelve-piece.

This Is Seb Clarke’s debut album, Rover was released in 2005. “Spring Morning Sunshine” reached #12 in the UK Indie Chart in 2006. The follow-up single, “I Just Can’t Carry On”, from their second album, Vox, entered the indie chart at #7. Their third single “Rock ‘n’ Roll Alamo – pt 7” reached #1 on the same chart.

I’m guessing they broke up not too long afterwards as there’s next to nothing on t’internet beyond this. On the basis of this 45, they don’t impress me much.