53rd & 3rd Records, named after a Ramones song, was founded  by David Keegan of the Shop Assistants and Stephen McRobbie of the Pastels, along with Sandy McLean who was working for Fast Forward, the Edinburgh-arm of The Cartel which was a record distribution set up by a number of small independent UK record labels to ensure product made its way into record shops.

The label was very active for less than three years, although there would be a small number of albums and compilation efforts a bit later on.  The best known bands were The Shop Assistants (although there was just one single for the label), BMX Bandits, Talulah Gosh and The Vaselines, all of whom have made telling contributions to the indie music scene. Here’s a wee ICA for you to enjoy or endure, depending on your taste:-


1.  The Shop Assistants – Safety Net

Where it all began, in February 1986, with the 7″ pressing of AGARR 1.   It was the Shop Assistants‘ third single and their third different label, and the one which really brought them to the attention of  major label Chrysalis, for whom they later signed to the Blue Guitar imprint, which itself was a short-lived effort that didn’t make it to the 90s.

AGARR stands for ‘As Good As Ramones Records’ which must just about be the coolest way any label has ever come up with to give its releases a catalogue number.

Fun fact – Safety Net was #8 in the 1986 Peel Festive Fifty, outvoted only by four Smiths songs, and one each from The Fall, Primal Scream and Age of Chance.

2.  The Groovy Little Numbers – Happy Like Yesterday

Straight into the other end with AGARR 21 and what proved to be the final 45 released by the label in August 1988. As I mentioned in March 2018 when it was their turn to be featured in the Saturday’s Scottish Song series, Groovy Little Numbers were from Bellshill and consisted of
Joe McAlinden, who was (and still is) a multi-instrumentalist, Catherine Steven (vocals) and Gerard Love (bass, vocals), along with a brass section from the Motherwell Youth Orchestra comprising Colette Walsh (tenor saxophone), John McRorie (alto sax), Kevin McCarthy (baritone sax), Mairi Cameron (trumpet), and James Wood (trumpet).

Happy Like Yesterday is a great track – very upbeat and catchy. And danceable.

3. Talulah Gosh – Talulah Gosh

I’ll refer to the wonderful words of strangeways, from his impeccable ICA on Talulah Gosh back in January 2018

A group who pinched their name from a Clare Grogan NME interview (if the internet is to be believed, it seems Clare played a game of combining a favourite actor’s name – Tallulah (despite the double-l) Bankhead? – and a favourite word).

Slow verses. Quick choruses. Talulah’s self-referencing anthem is a corker and, as alluded to already, paints a picture of an elusive, unsolvable character. Just who is the phantom Talulah Gosh? A minor myth insists it’s a thank-you to the band-naming Clare Grogan herself. Let’s hope, though, that the mystery endures – like an indiepop yeti or Loch Ness Monster.

This was released in May 1987 and is AGARR 8.

4. The Beat Poets – Killer Bee Honey

See…’s not all twee on 53rd & 3rd.  The Beat Poets specialised in making instrumental music and were very heavily influenced by surf and rockabilly.  I’m told that on stage they looked the part too, wearing tartan teddy-boy jackets as they did their thing.

The Beat Poets released an EP, Glasgow Howard, Missouri, in May 1987 and a single, Rebel Surf, in July 1988.  Following the demise of the label, the band enjoyed a short deal with Imaginary Records, based in Heywood, Lancashire (and home of Cud, The Chameleons and The Mock Turtles, among others) with an album Totally Radio being issued in 1990.

Killer Bee Honey is the lead track on the May 87 EP and is AGARR 9.

5. BMX Bandits – Sad?

OK, I take it back, as this is as twee as it gets.  This is from July 1986 and is AGARR 3 (and about as far removed from The Ramones as you can get).

It’s one half of the double-A debut single by the BMX Bandits – the reverse is E102. Worth mentioning that those involved at the time would now constitute something of a supergroup as Duglas T Stewart had the aforementioned Joe McAlinden involved, as well as the soon-to-be-famous Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), together with Sean Dickson and Jim McCulloch of The Soup Dragons.


1. The Vaselines – Teenage Superstars

It could be argued that The Vaselines are the most famous act ever to be part of 53rd & 3rd, but it could equally be argued that their fame came long after their own and the label’s demise.

Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, the co-vocalists and guitarists, are the duo who make up The Vaselines, but augmented by other musicians on bass and drums. There were two singles, in 87 and 88, and eventually an album in 1990, two years after the label had released that final single by The Groovy Little Numbers. The band broke up just a few weeks after the album hit the shops.

The second of the singles had four tracks on the 12″ release, two of which were covered by Nirvana, with Kurt Cobain declaring his love and admiration for Eugene and Frances. The endorsement had folk chasing round trying to get hold of the few copies of the singles and albums which were still kicking around, and so the label revived itself in 1992, and in conjunction with Edinburgh-based indie-store Avalanche Records, compiled All The Stuff and More.. bringing together everything the Vaselines had recorded, nineteen tracks all told.

Fast forward to the summer of 2006. Eugene and Frances take to the stage together for the first time since 1990 to perform a set of Vaselines songs, as part of a joint tour to promote their individual solo albums. This would eventually lead to a formal reformation, with a second album Sex With an X being issued by Sub Pop in 2010 and then V for Vaselines, on the band’s own Rosary Music, in 2014.

Teenage Superstars is an absolute belter of a tune, a fabulous throw-back to the post-punk/new wave era of the late 70s. It is taken from Dying For It, AGARR 17, released in March 1988.

2. The Boy Hairdressers – Golden Shower

Released in late 1987, the single with the catalogue number AGARR 12 is one of the most sought-after 45s.  The Boy Hairdressers were a short-lived combo, and indeed the 12″ single is their sole recording, and the interest all boils down to the fact that most of its musicians would become Teenage Fanclub and the fact that all three of the songs on this recording were composed by Norman Blake.

Personally, I think it’s a bit of a dud, but it does have historical significance.

3. Talulah Gosh – Bringing Up Baby

Here’s strangeways again……

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Gosh: it’s a bouncing baby single. A really splendid song with an opening ten or so seconds that will rot your teeth at twenty yards. Maybe ‘Baby’, with its la-la-la-ing chorus and fizzy, bounding tune is the ultimate Talulah number.

This one was released in January 1988 and took the number AGARR 14

4. Chin Chin – Stop! Your Crying

It was only when realising how much, over the years, that I had enjoyed many of the bands on 53rd & 3rd, did I go and do a bit more digging.

I found that Chin Chin hadn’t ever released a single but that there had been an mini-LP with eight songs in August 1988, just as the label was preparing to call it a day.  I had never heard of Chin Chin, and couldn’t ever recall seeing their name in any of the reference books I have lining various shelves in Villain Towers. Thank goodness for t’internet….and for a detailed bio on the website of Slumberland Records of which these are the relevant parts:-

Chin Chin, an all-female group consisting of Karin (guitar/vocals), Esther (bass/vocals) and Marie-Anne (drums/vocals), was formed in 1982 in Biel, Switzerland. Musically the band had many influences: The Clash, The Ramones, X-Ray Spex, Blondie, Generation X, Siouxsie & The Banshees, David Bowie, Motown, 1960s girl groups and glam rock bands like T-Rex and Slade.

In 1985, Chin Chin’s album Sound Of The Westway was released on Farmer Records, containing 12 original compositions recorded and mixed in just 7 days. Sound Of The Westway caught the attention of NME journalist The Legend!, who published the first UK interview with the band. On the heels of this great press, Chin Chin were approached by the management of Scottish band The Shop Assistants with an offer to support them on their German tour. The tour was hugely successful, leading to the release of the “Stop Your Crying” EP on Scotland’s legendary 53rd and 3rd label…

All of this, and more, was written to support that Sound of The Westway was given a re-release by Slumerland Records back in 2010.

Stop! Your Crying was the lead track on their sole release for 53rd and 3rd.  The LP/EP had the catalogue number of AGAS 001.

5. The Shop Assistants – Somewhere In China

Just as I did with Kirsty MacColl and the Steve Lillywhite ICA last time out, I make no apologies for closing with a second track from the opening act of this ICA.

I managed to track down a mint copy of Safety Net on discogs during this recent lockdown period, delighted to find someone who wasn’t wanting really stupid money for it. It’s an important single for all sorts of reasons, not least being the first on 53rd & 3rd, but it took on added poignancy last year with the sad news emerging just that lead singer Alex Taylor had passed away as far back as 2005.  The news only emerged from the efforts associated with trying to track her down to celebrate the release of Scarlet, the shelved album from her later band, The Motorcycle Boy.

I love Alex’s voice and in particular the way she sounded on the haunting and lovely Somewhere In China, and I felt I really needed to get my hands on a vinyl copy.

I know this ICA is a bit of a niche, but then again, aren’t they all?

I think that’s what has helped make it one of the longest-running of the series I’ve introduced over the years….and, as ever, if anyone ever wants to submit an ICA of their own, even if it is by a singer or band previously featured, then I can guarantee it will appear.

Well, almost guarantee…..Morrissey is still barred!

JC (and strangeways)


I think this is a first… ICA in which the common link is the producer.

Steve Lillywhite celebrated his 66th birthday yesterday. He’s been working in the music industry since 1972, learning his craft initially as a tape operator, mixer and engineer.  By the late 70s, he had emerged as an upcoming name for his work with a number of new wave/post-punk acts, but arguably his breakthrough, in terms of being a producer-in-demand, came in 1980 when he worked with U2, XTC and The Psychedelic Furs, as well as what seemed like a futuristic and innovative production effort on the third solo album by Peter Gabriel.

He’s now been credited in some shape or form on more than 500 records, and is estimated to have a net worth of more than $40 million (US), much of it made via various roles in senior management at labels such as Universal and Columbia. It’s fair to say that he’s worked with a lot of rock’n’roll dinosaurs over the years and there’s probably been more records to endure rather than enjoy.  But there was a spell particularly in the late 70s and 80s, when his singular approach to production duties brought huge success to a lot of acts who are looked on favourably in TVV-land. Here’s a few examples:-


1.  A New England (12″ version) – Kirsty MacColl

Steve Lillywhite was married to Kirsty MacColl for ten years between 1984 and 1994, and they enjoyed a fabulous professional as well as personal relationship.  Her career had stalled somewhat after the initial successes in the early 80s, and she found herself dropped by Polydor Records, necessitating a return to the world of indies via Stiff Records.  Her take on the wonderful Billy Bragg song, on which there are all sorts of multi-tracking backing vocals, remains her biggest ever hit (#7, 1985). It’s worth mentioning that Stiff Records went bankrupt the following year, leaving Kirsty in limbo as her contract was in the hands of the official receiver, but she was able to obtain a lot of work as a backing or co-vocalist on records being produced by her husband, not least with The Pogues with the perennial Xmas favourite, Fairytale of New York.

2. The Sound of The Suburbs – The Members

The Members were one of those bands who emerged from the London pub circuit just as new wave became a thing, and having been given some early airplay by John Peel, they were, like a number of their contemporaries, snapped up by the fast-growing Virgin Records.  Steve Lillywhite had produced much of their early stuff for inclusion on punk compilation albums, getting the job as he came cheap, doing it for ‘mates rates’ as his older brother Adrian was the band’s drummer. When the time came to record the debut album, the band were keen to engage him, albeit it was easy enough for Virgin to agree given that he’d already made something of a name for himself in the post-punk world (see Side A, Track 4).  I think this is the first big hit single with which he was associated, reaching #12 in 1979.  It’s rough and ready and of its time, but huge fun.

3. Feelin’ – The La’s

It’s something of an understatement to say that the recording process for The La’s only studio album was a drawn-out affair.  The songs were written in 1986/87, but the album didn’t see light of day until 1990 as there were at least 12 different sessions with as many as eight different producers, with nobody able to deliver exactly what singer and lead songwriter, Lee Mavers, was striving for.  Steve Lillywhite worked on the final sessions, in December 1989, February 1990 and April 1990 at Eden Studios, London, producing some 15 tracks in total, before heading to one of his favourite locations, the Town House, again in London, for mixing work.  This was the band’s last ever single, charting at #43 in 1991.  And at under two minutes in length, it is a fine example of a producer keeping things tight and relatively straightforward.

4. Metal Postcard (Mittagiessen) – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Maybe a wee bit of a cheat including this as it’s technically a co-production by Steve Lillywhite/Siouxsie and The Banshees. Released in November 1978, The Scream is one of his earliest efforts and I think it’s fair to say his first masterpiece, one that acted as something of a calling card and which grabbed the attention of the former frontman of Genesis.

5. No Self Control – Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel was the name given to the first three of the solo albums,  Steve Lillywhite was the producer of the third of them, recorded in 1979 and released in 1980, and which proved to the album that stopped him being pigeon-holed as one simply for the post-punk/new wave acts.  It was an astounding sounding record back in the day, and more than 40 years later it still holds up really well.  This track was released as a single, and features Kate Bush on backing vocals, and I’ve often wondered if the results were partly the inspiration for the producer’s many works with Kirsty MacColl in later years.


1. Making Plans For Nigel – XTC

At the same time as he was working with Peter Gabriel, our producer was also in a studio with XTC, the fruits of which would result in Drums and Wires, which is most famous for its lead-off single, Making Plans For Nigel.  This album was recorded in what was then a relatively new studio – The Town House in Shepherd’s Bush, London, built by Richard Branson in 1978 as an affordable but modern location mainly for acts on Virgin Records, such as XTC, but which over the years until its closure in 2008 would be used by just about anyone who had a big hit in the UK.  It’s interesting to listen closely to Drums and Wires and Peter Gabriel 3, for there’s a number of production techniques which are common to both.

2. Angle Park – Big Country

Did Stuart Adamson really ask his producer to make his guitars sound like the bagpipes?  If so, the studio wizard certainly achieved it on the debut album, and accompanying b-sides, such as Angle Park, with which Big Country took the UK and further afield by storm in 1983.  Steve Lillywhite had really made it huge in the early 80s with U2, with the trio of Boy, October and War taking them into increasingly into the stratosphere.  Every band with ambitions of making it big wanted to use the template and while many put in the phone calls, not everyone got a positive response.  Big Country did, as indeed did another of Scotland’s biggest acts of the decade…..

3. Speed Your Love To Me (12″ version) – Simple Minds

Those who want to criticise Steve Lillywhite – and there are many – will point to the triple-headed beast of U2, Big Country and Simple Minds and say that much of what went wrong in the 80s can be traced back to his work with each of them.  It was Simple Minds who wanted to work with Lillywhite on their sixth studio album, which would be released as Sparkle In The Rain, and indeed the producer was keen to work with the Glaswegians, dropping other planned activities to head into a couple of studios, including The Town House, in late 1983.  The results were big, booming and, yes, anthemic, a long way removed from the sounds of what had come before.  It wasn’t totally a bad thing and I’d argue there are still some great moments on the album, such as this hit single on which Kirsty MacColl’s contribution is immense.  It was when the American producers got hold of Simple Minds afterwards that things went awry….

4. Sister Europe – The Psychedelic Furs

The bombastic stuff on this ICA has peaked and it’s time to head back to a new wave classics from the earlier period when Steve Lillywhite was working his magic, but the commercial success wasn’t forthcoming. A number of different producers worked on the self-titled debut album by The Psychedelic Furs, including Martin Hannett who is of course best known for his work with Joy Division and various Factory Records bands (and who, incidentally, also worked with U2 as they were emerging).  Sister Europe is one of the highlights of the album and is one attributed solely to Lillywhite.  An edited version was released as a single in February 1980 but failed to chart.

5. Days – Kirsty MacColl

I make no apologies for closing with a second track on this ICA from Kirsty MacColl.  Released as a single in June 1989, it really is hard to believe that it’s a cover of a song by The Kinks, dating back to 1968.  It has all her trademarks and it is perfectly produced.  To those who chide Steve Lillywhite for his Celtic-era work, I simply ask that you give this a listen, preferably on a good system or through headphones to hear what he really could do. I’ve even ripped the song at 320 kpbs from the 12″ single for the purpose…….(as indeed, I’ve also done for the opening track on this ICA)



I don’t do this every year, but I’m giving a birthday shout out to S.C. ,pictured above a few seconds after he’s read a posting by SWC (only kiddin’…… he’s a huge fan!)

My young brother turns 55 today, which is fast approaching the era of the bus pass, although I’m not sure if there is such a thing called public transport in the neighbourhood of Oviedo, Florida where he has resided for a few years now.

I think he’ll approve of these tunes.

mp3: U2 – Gloria
mp3: The Bluebells – Young At Heart
mp3: Simple Minds – Waterfront
mp3: Spear of Destiny – Liberator
mp3: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Lost Weekend

Have a great day bro. Hopefully, I’ll see you at some point soon after all this COVID stuff blows over.




(Our Swedish Correspondent)


I guess this mail has become a bit of a tradition, that I summarize last year from a Swedish music POV. As we all know 2020 went down as a year we’d probably most want to forget as quick as possible, very true also for us. I started working at home from last week of February, returning from the Milan area the same night as the first reports came of COVID-19 cases found in 10 smaller towns south of Milan… Immediate quarantine, and then remote working since. Soon celebrating a full year at the dining table. Pros, it’s been many a good year since I played so many of my vinyl records, and I’ve been much more physical active than normal, not spending time commuting – lost 5 kg so far! Cons, well most of all a non existent social life and a limited variation in environment I see.

Musically it became a bit of an in-between year here on the Eastern front, a lot of things postponed, delayed or just taking forever to complete with artists isolated (and not all enjoying being locked down in solitude). I’ve managed to scramble out a couple of decent tracks though, well in my eyes at least, for an EP of the best Swedish music from 2020.

Without further ado, let’s go.

1. Pale Honey – Bad Thing.

Just before Christmas Pale Honey dropped their 3rd album, and what an album it turned out to be. Ten sparkling, raw and self assured tunes. Highly recommended!

2. Kite – Hand Out The Drugs.

The synth-duo Kite has a history of releasing 4 to 5 track EP’s, six so far, rather than full length albums but 2020 saw them release three 7″ singles instead. All of them very good, Hand Out The Drugs was the last of the three, with a title apt for a year needing escape.

3. Twice A Man – Rain Of Shame.

T A M has been active for about 40 years now, they started in the late 70’s as Cosmic Overdose and then became Twice A Man. They have shifted between more pop oriented electronic music to music for plays or art exhibitions. Last year saw them release the album On The Other Side Of The Mirror, a darker version of their more pop oriented side and to me one of their best releases so far.

4. Kapitalet – En Förlorad Värld (A Lost World).

In Swedish, won’t make much sense for most of the TVV readers (sorry), but over here it had importance – since it was the first (and so far only) new song written and performed by one of the forming members of Kent. Kent was the biggest band over here for several years (their 2nd album and ALL 9 following studio albums has been number 1 here, one of the albums stayed 85 (!!) weeks in the charts) and when they March 2016 in a brilliant way announced their last album and tour the same year people cried.

The track isn’t too far away from what Kent sounded like the last few years, lyrically a bit more political, but didn’t make even close the impact in the charts as Kent used to do.

5. ionnalee – Mouth’s Open Sea (Kronologi version).

Jonna Lee Nilsson celebrated 10 years as multimedia artist last year by releasing a collection of reworked or re-recorded songs from her ionnalee and iamamiwhoami aliases. (Some of you might remember she’s been included also earlier years.) Open Sea was originally on 2019’s Remember The Future, this is still trademark ionnalee electronics, but a darker, more focused and beat driven version than the original.

6. Kleerup – I Hang On To My Vertigo (featuring Freddie Wadling).

Yes, the old Ruper Hine classic, by the same Kleerup that made Robyn into an international star with the track With Every Heartbeat. Kleerup has had some tough years suffering from drug addictions but seems to be back in shape. Last year saw the release of his album “2”, working with artists like AlunaGeorge and Rebecca&Fiona – and dusting off an older recording with Swedish punk legend Freddie Wadling.

Freddie sadly died summer of 2016 after a hard and destructive life. Maybe contradictary to his destructive life he was musically very active, at one time he was member of 12 different bands at the same time giving room for his varied creative styles. He played with The Leather Nun, Cortex and Blue For Two to mention the potentially more known bands outside our borders.

Bonus track:

Pale Honey – Set Me Free. I add this as bonus track for mainly two reasons; firstly it’s against the laws of mixtapes to include more than one song of the same band and secondly this was actually released late 2019 even if the album came a full year later – but I just can’t not let you hear the best indie dance intro since Fools Gold

From the dining table, thanks for listening.


JC adds..…I always look forward to Martin’s end of year round-up as there’s inevitably something in there that grabs may attention, and this year is no different.  The two Pale Honey tracks are already on heavy rotation and I’m always grateful to hear more of ionnalee.



Lockdown 3 Reaction

A week past on Monday, watching ‘the man who doesn’t know how to use a comb’ announce Lockdown 3 was a depressing experience and led to a variety of emotions, which I think the following opening tracks convey.

Whilst side 1 reflects my immediate response, Side 2 is the sound of me picking myself up.

Special mention must go to the song chosen to close side 2 – if ever there was an anthem for current times this is surely it:

Side 1

Whitewater – Let’s Eat Grandma (from the album, I’m All Ears)

An instrumental opening track is a feature of many of my favourite albums and this conveys a amazing sense of forboding

Anxiety- Preoccupations (from the album, Preoccupations)

Previously know as ‘Viet Cong’ – Preoccupations self titled album didn’t quite hit the heights for me, but this is the feeling I experience whenever I go into a shop at the moment

Standing Still – Artery (from the album, Civilisation)

From their 2012 album, it is what the world is doing at the moment

Screaming In The Darkness – Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls (from the album, Screaming In The Darkness)

To my mind Martin’s Hannett’ s greatest production – no need for further superlatives

Without An End – Reduction Plan (from the album, Somewhere)

Even without the lyrics the music feels right

Side 2

Don’t Fall – The Chameleons (from the album, Script Of The Bridge)

One of the great Manchester post punk bands who would have been so much bigger/respected if they had been on factory – the opening voice over recorded from the TV ‘what on earth are you talking about’ is what we would all have thought 18 months ago

Start Again – The Slow Readers Club (from the album, Cavalcade)

A current Manchester band who should be so much more successful than they are – so far

Jardin Botanique – Opera Multi Steel (from the album, Days Of Creation)

A band from France that a came across a few years ago when I discovered ‘Coldwave’ – I’m lucky to have a garden and it has been a place of joy and comfort during the lockdowns

Beautiful Day – Voom (from the album, Hello Are You There?)

I know nothing about Voom apart from they are from New Zealand,

All In It – British Sea Power (from the album, Do You Like Rock Music?)

An anthem for lockdown

middle aged man

JC adds…..Thanks to MAM for a very diverse and unusual mix of opening tracks.  My apologies that I didn’t have the time to pull these together into the usual Side A and Side B offerings.  I’ll look to add them at the weekend.


Learn German with Songs: 10 Classic German Music Hits That You Ought To Know!

A guest posting by Dirk (Sexy Loser)

Hello friends,

Well, yes, it took a while, didn’t it? But here it is, yet another ICA from me – and rather a different one perhaps, it must be said.

The reason for the delay was that I had to wait for a re-confirmation from the European Judicial Cooperation Unit in The Hague, Netherlands, to be officially entitled to send it in. Basically they said that as long as the UK’s status within the EU is still unclear it might not comply with legal requirements to have an ICA like this (German tunes only) being issued by a UK blogger before the effective date of the policy endorsement: January 1st, 2021. I assume by now you have already guessed what I am talking about? Right, blame it on Brexit or, if you’d rather, on wunnerful Boris!

On him and on Brexit and on this other issue, Corona. Thankfully we all managed to stay safe and healthy here in Sexyloserland, it has to be said though that with all that home office (i.e. spending half of the day lying virtually motionless on the sofa watching ‘Dr. House’ without cessation), supporting local restaurants (i.e. ordering unhealthy fast food every other day in order to eat it on the sofa whilst watching more ‘Dr. House’) plus having had the strong patriotic feeling that the German beer industry also needed massive support from my side, my obeseness has nearly reached a level which entitles me to join the next season of ‘The Biggest Loser’. Consequentially I went to bed early last year and couldn’t be arsed to spend time in front of the PC, to care for new music or even much of old music a great deal.

But things will change from today on, of course: the new year has begun, the vaccine is available and if the German health minister doesn’t fail completely with its distribution (as of today he certainly does everything to fuck it up big time though, it must be said), there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, whenever people of my age will be able to see said light (read: get the vaccine). Ask me again in a year or so …

But okay, enough of this! This ICA has been spinning around my head for quite a while, but along with never getting around to starting it, I could never decide which songs to include, or rather, to exclude. As mentioned previously, it’s all German bands, all songs sung in German. There’s a shitload of brilliant German bands who sing in English, but those aren’t featured. Also the usual suspects are not featured, so those of you who are already looking forward to krautrock, Kraftwerk or Nena: sorry indeed!

I mean, it’s clear to me that at the end of the day this ICA might very well just meet with the approval of Walter and the rest of you will skip it without hesitation anyway. Then again this might turn out to be a mistake: even though the lyrics will possibly remain a mystery, the songs are worth getting heard, all of them! I could offer translations, but hey, there’s Google Translator for you if you’re interested. Also it will give you a feeling of my 40-year-difficulties in trying to understand what bands from, say, Scotland or Liverpool are trying to tell me.

But enough of that, here we go

S.Y.P.H. – ‘Der Letzte Held’ (’85)

S.Y.P.H. were original German punk contenders, starting in Solingen in 1977. Their founding members later went to form or join other great bands, such as Mittagspause, Propaganda or Die Krupps.

‘Der Letzte Held’ (‘The Last Hero’) tells us the story of a bloke who lives in the city, apparently still following his ideals which seem to be rather outdated though. Although it isn’t being mentioned in the lyrics, he might be an old punk perhaps. People laugh at him because of what he is and stands for and basically he has become a reject of society – he doesn’t realize this though. Or he just doesn’t care.

Über ihn haben alle gelacht, über ihn werden Witze gemacht
Samstagnacht in der Innenstadt isst er sich so richtig satt
Er wartet und muss an allen Ecken hoffen dass andere für ihn verrecken
Greift den Leuten in die Ohren, lässt sich Grimassen in die Ohren bohren
Er schlürft daher mit seinem Gesicht, in den Pfützen sieht er’s nicht
Zieht die Nase durch den Dreck, unser kleiner Bürgerschreck
Er ist der letzte Held auf unseren Straßen, einer von denen, den sie vergaßen
Bei der Reinigung wegzufegen und in den Schrank zurück zu legen
Die Großstadt ist seine Unterkunft, hier schreit er nach einer Unvernunft
Doch die Straßen bleiben still weil keiner davon wissen will
Er kotzt vor jedem deutschen Haus ein Stückchen seiner Kultur heraus
Doch keiner dreht sich um zu seinem Universum
Über ihn haben alle gelacht, über ihn werden Witze gemacht
Samstagnacht in der Innenstadt isst er sich so richtig satt
Er ist der letzte Held auf unseren Straßen, einer von denen, den sie vergaßen
Bei der Reinigung wegzufegen und in den Schrank zurück zu legen
Er ist der letzte Held auf unseren Straßen, einer von denen, den sie vergaßen
Bei der Reinigung wegzufegen und in den Schrank zurück zu legen
Er ist der letzte Held auf unseren Straßen, einer von denen, den sie vergaßen
Bei der Reinigung wegzufegen und in den Schrank zurück zu legen
Zu den Kollegen zurück zu legen
Er ist der letzte Held auf unseren Straßen
Er ist der letzte Held auf unseren Straßen
Einer von denen, den sie vergaßen
Bei der Reinigung wegzufegen und in den Schrank zurück zu legen
Und in die letzte Ecke zu fegen
Er ist der letzte Held

S-Chords – ‚Voran! Voran!‘ (’86)

It is nearly impossible to ascertain any information about the S-Chords on the internet. And this is a real shame, because in my humble opinion this song here might possibly be is my favorite German one. The S-Chords are definitely Düsseldorf’s finest, that’s for sure, and for those of you who expected me to say this about Die Toten Hosen – forget about it: they sucked from their second single on, and this was released back in 1982. Perhaps this song is so good because it was written by Peter Schiffers, ex guitarist from Stunde X, again a superior German outfit.
‘Voran! Voran!’ translates as ‚Ahead! Ahead!’, and by and large this is the song’s only message: never look back, don’t dream about the past and its mistakes, just look ahead because life has to go on:

Der Glanz von einst ist längst verblasst
Doch der neue Anfang ist noch nicht verpasst
Noch bleibt Zeit etwas zu tun
Keine Sekunde uns auszuruhen
Nichts bleibt wie es einmal war
Wir hoffen auf was Neues, doch was, das ist nicht klar
Kein Blick zurück im Zorn
Alle Augen richten sich nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Schaue nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Schaue nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Erinnerungen, Fotos und Nostalgie
Versetzen uns nur in Apathie
Du hast geglaubt es wär‘ vorbei
Was hast du dir bloß gedacht dabei?
Du fragst nach dem Weg, wo geht es lang?
Keine Ahnung – unsere Losung heißt ‚Voran, Voran!‘
Du fragst nach dem Weg, wo geht es lang?
Keine Ahnung – unsere Losung heißt ‚Voran, Voran!‘
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Schaue nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Schaue nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Voran, Voran! (x 6)
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Schaue nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Denn es muss weitergehen
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Schaue nach vorn
Dreh‘ dich nicht um, bleib‘ nicht stehen
Denn es muss weitergehen (x 4)

Die Lassie Singers – ‚P.A.R.A.N.O.I.D.‘ (’92)

Die Lassie Singers came from Berlin and were active from ’88 to ’98. I once saw them live in the early 90’s and what a wonderful gig this was! They were styled ‘the first German girl-band’, and there’s an element of truth in that.
‘P.A.R.A.N.O.I.D.’ comes from their second album, ‚Sei A Go Go‘, which I recommend without any reservation in its entirety. In it, as in most of their songs, they describe boy/girl -relation difficulties, or rather girl/boy – relation difficulties. Here it’s even somewhat different, so much so that Kathrin (on main vocals) heavily complains about her life and men in general, but the other girls, instead of helping her, blame her for her own misery.

100.000 Horrorhelden spielen in mir Stummer Zoo
Gar nicht wahr – du lässt dich gehen
Menschen machen sich Geschenke und ich weiß‘ nicht mal wo
Schau doch nach, schau einfach nach
Ich werd‘ nicht wach, wo soll das enden?
Vergesst mich nicht, lasst mich nicht hier
P.a.r.a.n.o.i.d. – P.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.
Was ist los?
Verdammt noch mal, was für ein Hundeleben!
Sei Motor
Was heißt Motor, ich bin so daneben
Du bist ein alter Jammerlappen
Scheiss egal
Was heißt egal, ich macht es euch ganz schön leicht
Hör doch mal
Ja, ich hör‘ auf, weil’s mir sowieso reicht
Nebelsumpfgasschabe, du bist p.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.
Alle wollen nur bei mir duschen, seh‘ ich aus wie ein Hotel?
Sei Hotel, sei du Hotel
Dann leihen sie sich Langspielplatten, keiner will was sexuell
Kann nicht sein, das liegt an dir
Alle wollen was von mir haben
Keiner will was von mir wissen
P.a.r.a.n.o.i.d. P.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.
Was ist los?
Verdammt noch mal, was für ein Hundeleben!
Sei Motor
Was heißt Motor, ich bin so daneben
Du bist ein alter Jammerlappen
Gar nicht
Scheiss egal
Was heißt egal, ich macht es euch ganz schön leicht
Hör doch mal
Ja, ich hör‘ auf, weil’s mir sowieso reicht
Nebelsumpfgasschabe, du bist p.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.

Alle wollen was von mir haben
Keiner will was von mir wissen
P.a.r.a.n.o.i.d. P.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.
Was ist los?
Verdammt noch mal, was für ein Hundeleben!
Sei Motor
Was heißt Motor, ich bin so daneben
Du bist ein alter Jammerlappen
Scheiss egal
Was heißt egal, ich macht es euch ganz schön leicht
Hör doch mal
Ja, ich hör‘ auf, weil’s mir sowieso reicht
Nebelsumpfgasschabe, du bist p.a.r.a.n.o.i.d.

Die Sterne – ‚Universal Tellerwäscher‘ (Singlemix ’94)

Hamburger Schule for you, friends. Or ‘School of Hamburg’, if you’d rather. This is what ‘this kind of music’ was called at the time, bands didn’t necessarily have to come from Hamburg though (albeit Die Sterne actually came from there): intellectual indie pop with German lyrics was the main criteria in order to become part of Hamburger Schule basically. A great band, clever lyrics, and still active these days.

‘Universal Tellerwäscher’ (‘Universal Dishwasher’) describes how the singer’s life changed from rather good to rather bad, so bad at least that he now works as a dishwasher in the Universal film studios.

Er hat immer Hunger
Er muß immer essen
Er muß wohnen und schlafen
Und vergessen
Dass gestern wie heute wird
Heute wie morgen
Und dass in diesem Laden herzlich wenig passiert
Er drängelt sich in Bahnen
Und schubst sich aus dem Haus
In die Gegend wo man ihn erwartet
Und verbraucht
Er kennt sich schon lange
Und kann sich nicht mehr sehen
Dabei gibt es wirklich 1000 schöne Filme über ihn
Als den Universal Tellerwäscher
In den Studios
Er wäscht wirklich Teller
Er tut nicht so
Ich hatte Haben
Ich hatte Geld gespart
Ich lief durch die Phasen
War im Apparat
In diesem und jenem
Um nicht alle zu nennen
Ich lief auf der Stelle
Und fing an zu rennen
Nichts hat geholfen
Ich hab alles verspielt
Die Tage sehen gleich aus
Es sind zu viel
Jeder Tag ist ein Verfahren
Gegen mich
Ich weiß nicht warum und wer
Sich was davon verspricht
Ich möchte einen Anwalt
Ich will Geld
Und ich möchte Gottverdammtnochmal
Dass jemand sein Versprechen hält
Universal Tellerwäscher
In den Studios
Ich wasche wirklich Teller
Ich tu nicht so
Er hat immer Hunger
Er muß immer essen
Er muß wohnen und schlafen
Und er muss vergessen
Dass gestern wie heute wird
Heute wie morgen
Und dass in diesem Laden herzlich wenig passiert
Er drängelt sich in Bahnen
Und schubst sich aus dem Haus
In die Gegend wo man ihn erwartet
Und verbraucht
Er kennt sich schon lange
Und kann sich nicht mehr sehen
Dabei gibt es wirklich 1000 schöne Filme über ihn
Als den Universal Tellerwäscher
In den Studios
Er wäscht wirklich Teller
Er tut nicht so
Universal Tellerwäscher
In den Studios
Er wäscht wirklich Teller
Er tut nicht so
Universal Tellerwäscher
In den Studios
Er wäscht wirklich Teller
Er tut nicht so
Universal Tellerwäscher
In den Studios
Er wäscht wirklich Teller
Er tut nicht so

Tocotronic – ‚Wir Sind Hier Nicht In Seattle, Dirk‘ (’95)

More Hamburger Schule, and – like Die Sterne – Tocotronic came from Hamburg, too. Also they are still active today, at least as far as I know.

The song (‘We Are Not In Seattle Here, Dirk’) has not been chosen because my name is being mentioned in the title (the singer is called Dirk as well, Dirk von Lowtzow, that’s why). No, I picked it because it’s my favorite from their debut album, ‘Digital Ist Besser’. I say ‘favorite’, but that’s a hard choice, I mean, all songs are wonderful and everyone who sees this album as a milestone of German music history is entirely right, of course.

The lyrics, well, are rather simple: Dirk doubts and/or overestimates his own musical abilities (“ and quite rightly so”, I hear you say: oh, go away!) and his girlfriend tells him not to be so negative about himself: go back to basics, she says, and stop pretending something to yourself which will never happen anyway …

Sie hat zwei Beine
Und sie hat zwei Augen
Und aus denen kann sie schauen
Und sie schaut zu mir
Und ich bin alleine
Und hab’ kein Vertrauen
Und kann Melodien klauen
Und sie sagt zu mir
Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk
Und werden es auch niemals sein
Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk
Was bildest du dir ein?
Was nicht ist, kann niemals sein
Ich spring’ über meinen Schatten
Und sie hat gut lachen
Was machst du denn für Sachen?
Was kann ich dafür?
Und alles, was wir hatten
Und alles, was wir machen
Schätzchen lass es krachen
Und komm zu mir
Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk
Und werden es auch niemals sein
Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk
Was bildest du dir ein?
Was nicht ist, kann niemals sein
Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk
Und werden es auch niemals sein
Wir sind hier nicht in Seattle, Dirk
Was bildest du dir ein?
Was nicht ist, kann niemals sein
Niemals sein

Ideal – ‚Blaue Augen‘ (live in Aachen ’81)

Back in the early 80’s we had a big problem here in Germany: NDW. This abbreviation stands for ‘Neue Deutsche Welle’ or ‘New German Wave’. Everything was fine with this term until the very early 80’s, basically all good German underground/punk bands were classified as NDW because you could tell that they were partly copying what was coming from the New Wave-side of the UK then, nothing wrong with that by and large. But then a shitload of embarrassing Schlager (pop) – bands appeared on the scene and all of them jumped the NDW – wagon quicker than you were able to realize. A handful of the original NDW bands, once really good bands, smelled the profit they were potentially able to make out of that, they changed their style and it didn’t take long before everything was nothing else but a horrible mix-up.

Ideal – from Berlin – were one of the bands who suffered a lot from the takeover. They had albums in ’80, ’81 and ’82 – all of which are wonderful throughout. Unlike others, they certainly never denied their New Wave roots, still they were never taken as seriously as they should’ve been taken. ‘Blaue Augen’ (‘Blue Eyes’) is from their self-titled debut album and in the lyrics Annette Humpe heavily complains about meaningless things, such as fashion, lifestyle, parties, money – only ‘his’ phenomenal blue eyes mean everything to her.

Ideal und TV
Lässt mich völlig kalt
Und die ganze Szene
Hängt mir aus‘m Hals
Da bleib ich kühl
Kein Gefühl
Grelle Fummels aus den Fifties, Sixties
Alles hohl und hundsgemein
Auf Skoda oder Fiorucci
Flieg ich nicht mehr ein
Da bleib ich kühl
Kein Gefühl
Bloß deine blauen Augen
Machen mich so sentimental
So blaue Augen
Wenn du mich so anschaust
Wird mir alles andere egal
Total egal
Deine blauen Augen
Sind phänomenal
Kaum zu glauben
Was ich dann so fühle
Ist nicht mehr normal
Das ist gefährlich
Zu viel Gefühl
Insiderfeten, da schlaf ich ein
Ich will auch nicht in London sein
Bei “Sex and drugs and rock’n roll”
Ist das meist ein stumpfer Einfall
Da bleib ich kühl
Kein Gefühl
Der ganze Hassel um die Knete
Macht mich taub und stumm
Für den halben Luxus
Leg ich mich nicht krumm
Nur der Scheich
Ist wirklich reich
Und deine blauen Augen
Machen mich so sentimental
So blaue Augen
Wenn du mich so anschaust
Wird mir alles andere egal
Total egal
Deine blauen Augen
Sind phänomenal
Kaum zu glauben
Was ich dann so fühle
Ist nicht mehr normal
Das ist gefährlich
Zu viel Gefühl
Ah, deine blauen Augen
Machen mich so sentimental
So blaue Augen
Wenn du mich so anschaust
Wird mir alles andere egal
Total egal
Deine blauen Augen
Sind phänomenal
Kaum zu glauben
Was ich dann so fühle
Ist nicht mehr normal
Nicht mehr normal
Ah, deine blauen Augen
So blaue Augen
Was ich dann so fühle
Ist nicht mehr normal
Nicht mehr normal, ah
Nicht mehr normal
Nicht mehr normal, ah
Nicht mehr normal

Der Moderne Man – ‘Für Frau Krause (Including The Return Of Frau Krause)’ (’83)

If Ideal suffered from the flood of disastrous NDW releases, it cost the life of Hannover’s Der Moderne Man (sic). With several outstanding releases from 1980 on, they had to call it a day in 1984. They and their label simply couldn’t survive any longer. The song I picked comes from their last mini album ‘Neues Aus Hong Kong’ from 1983 and it’s a longer version of ‘Für Frau Krause’ (‘For Mrs. Krause’). And what’s it all about? Well, contrary to Ideal, here the singer is quite fond of his modern lifestyle, he certainly loves the amenities that come along with it. Progress, technique, future is what he wants. Frau Krause seems to be a vague acquaintance, here and then she lends him a Deutschmark and in the final part of the tune (‘The Return Of Frau Krause’, obviously) him and her even leave the pub together, he doesn’t mention though what happens then …

Zum Frühstück kalter Kaffee
Nur Leberwurst aufs Brot
Nichts Neues in der Zeitung
Der Präsident ist tot
Im Kühlschrank gähnende Leere
Ich bin schon wieder blank
Seit Tagen nichts zu saufen
Schnell noch hin zur Bank

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

‚Ne Panne auf dem Schnellweg
Der Motor kocht und stinkt
Ich halt den Daumen raus
Die gute Laune sinkt
Da vorne steht ‚ne Ampel
Jetzt wird sie wieder grün
Es kommt ein gelber Engel
Soll mich zur Werkstatt zieh’n

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

Ich schnorr‘ mir Geld für’s Kino
Frau Krause gibt ‚ne Mark
Ich hab‘ zwar nichts zu Essen
Doch Kino find‘ ich stark
Es läuft grad‘ ‚Krieg der Sterne‘
Und UFO‘s seh‘ ich gern
Ich säh‘ zwar lieber Porno
Am liebsten seh‘ ich fern

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

Ich krieg‘ die letzte U-Bahn
Und werde leicht nervös
Zwei Burschen gucken grimmig
Sind ziemlich muskulös
Um ein Uhr geht’s mir dreckig
Um halb zwei bin ich krank
Um zwei bin ich erledigt
Doch Pillen sind im Schrank

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

Die Welt, die Welt, die Welt ist praktisch
Die Welt, die Welt, die Welt ist praktisch

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

Die Welt, die Welt, die Welt ist bequem
Die Welt, die Welt, die Welt ist bequem

Doch halt: es geht noch weiter
Die Kneipe hat noch auf
Nach fünf, sechs, sieben Halben
Bin ich schon besser drauf
Ich sehe langsam doppelt
Mein Zustand ist schon arg
Ich schnorr‘ mir Geld für’s achte
Frau Krause gibt ‚ne Mark

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

Frau Krause ist nicht häßlich
Sie setzt sich neben mich
Sie trägt zwar eine Brille
Doch trotzdem mag sie mich
‚Erzähl‘ mir was vom Leben‘
‚Frau Krause, du bist schön‘
‚Wir reden morgen weiter,
Laß‘ uns nach Hause geh’n‘

Die Welt ist heute praktisch
Die Welt ist so bequem
Ich steh auf Fortschritt, Technik
Die Zukunft will ich seh’n

Die Welt, die Welt, die Welt ist schön
Die Welt, die Welt, die Welt ist schön

Rockabilly Mafia – ‚Die Nacht War Lau‘(’95)

Some German Rockabilly for you now, normally not a genre I like very much. Rockabilly Mafia from Elmshorn in the north of Germany though are a bit different, because to my best knowledge they wrote all their songs by themselves – and they are doing that from 1985 on! ‘Die Nacht War Lau’ (‘The Night Was Balmy’) is one of their finest. There are a lot of songs, not only German songs, about the pleasures of drinking and probably even more about the pleasures of driving, this one though is about the same topics, but completely and utterly different because it tells the story of a beautiful young girl who his knocked off her bike by a hit and run driver around midnight, the newspaper says it took until the next morning before she died because no-one stopped in order to help her.


Sie war das schönste Mädchen von der Schule
Dabei war sie erst gerade 16 Jahr‘
Bei mir da spielte sie stets nur die coole
Doch Montagmorgen da war sie nicht mehr da

Die Fete Samstagabend war echt öde
Darum ging‘ sie auch schon um zwölf Uhr zehn
Vielleicht waren meine Sprüche auch zu blöde
Ich hab‘ sie niemals mehr geseh’n

Die Nacht war lau und voller Sommerglut
Und die Sterne leuchteten so schön
Und wie so oft wenn sich was Böses tut
Hat niemand irgendwas gesehen

Den Weg nach Haus, den fuhr‘ sie wirklich gerne
Das Licht an ihrem Fahrrad brannte hell
Über ihr da leuchteten die Sterne
Doch er war blau und fuhr viel zu schnell

Und die Nacht war lau und voller Sommerglut
Und die Sterne, die leuchteten so schön
Und der Weg war breit und voll von Menschenblut
Und niemand hat irgendwas gesehen

In der Zeitung stand, sie starb erst am Morgen
Sie war ein junger Traum für jeden Mann
Ihre Schönheit, die vertrieb‘ uns oft die Sorgen
Doch als sie starb hielt keiner für sie an

Oh, die Nacht war lau und voller Sommerglut
Und die Sterne leuchteten so schön
Und wie so oft wenn sich was Böses tut
Hat niemand irgendwas gesehen

Die Nacht war lau, die Nacht war lau, die Nacht war lau …

Die Profis – ‚Der Favorit‘ (’82)

Another band from Düsseldorf, and another one which had a very short life indeed. Die Profis (‘The Professionals’) only had one album, ‘Neue Sensationen’, but what an album this is! Why is it that this other band from Düsseldorf, Die Toten Hosen, have become multi-millionaires by releasing numerous crap albums till today, on all of which they still pray their self-imposed punk attitude, although they have lost it 40 years ago?! Couldn’t have Die Profis had a little share of their success instead?! Oh, life is unfair at times …

‘Der Favorit’ (‘The Favourite’) describes what singing in a band does to the singer’s ego and the loneliness that comes with a certain kind of stardom. Obviously all of this can’t be taken all too serious, bearing the non-success of Die Profis in mind …

Alle Augen sehen mich an, verfolgen jeden Schritt
Sie wissen schon was ich gleich tu‘, ich bin der Favorit
Jedes Mal bin ich nervös, fast wie beim ersten Mal
Spürst du die Hitze und das Licht dort, fast wie ein Wasserfall

Und ich spiele dieses Spiel, hab’s mir ausgesucht
Gefühle gegen schnelles Geld, bin ständig auf der Flucht
Die Liebe, die ich von euch will, eine Frage des Erfolgs
Bitte, wenn das alles ist, bekommt ihr was ihr wollt
Die Liebe, die ich von euch will, gebt ihr nicht umsonst
Ihr wollt dafür ein Stück von mir, ihr wollt dass etwas kommt

Und bin ich gut, am nächsten Tag bin ich mein eigener Feind
Der Motor für die Abschussfahrt ist meine Einsamkeit
Ich such‘ mir eine aus der Menge, schau‘ ihr ins Gesicht
Ich bin mit ihr allein im Raum, die anderen merken’s nicht

Und ich spiele dieses Spiel, hab’s mir ausgesucht
Gefühle gegen schnelles Geld, bin ständig auf der Flucht
Die Liebe, die ich von euch will, eine Frage des Erfolgs
Bitte, wenn das alles ist, bekommt ihr was ihr wollt
Die Liebe, die ich von euch will, gebt ihr nicht umsonst
Ihr wollt dafür ein Stück von mir, ihr wollt dass etwas kommt

Favorit, du bist der Favorit

Und ich spiele dieses Spiel, hab’s mir ausgesucht
Gefühle gegen schnelles Geld, bin ständig auf der Flucht
Die Liebe, die ich von euch will, eine Frage des Erfolgs
Bitte, wenn das alles ist, bekommt ihr was ihr wollt
Die Liebe, die ich von euch will, gebt ihr nicht umsonst
Ihr wollt dafür ein Stück von mir, ihr wollt dass etwas kommt

Zeltinger Band – ‘Mein Vater War Ein Wandersmann’ – ‘Müngersdorfer Stadion’ (live im Bunker, Köln ’79)

Cologne’s finest, to be sure. And Cologne’s heaviest, also to be sure. Google pictures of him and you’ll see what I mean: Jürgen Zeltinger is one of the town’s many originals, as gay as no-one else probably, something he always shows with a certain pride. I have seen him and his band in various line up’s numerous times and it always was a joy. I remember one gig in the early 90’s in a very small village pub where he drank all afternoon with the locals and when it was time for the gig, he was so much out of his head, he played half of the show wearing nothing else but a tiger skin mini slip – not a very nice thing to watch, as you might be able to confirm if you have followed my advice to search for pictures of him.

But the music was great, and the same is true for this track. Sung in Kölsch, Cologne’s dialect (so even Walter – if he’s still reading – might have difficulties in understanding this), my choice starts with his version of an old German folk song (‘My Father Was A Wayfarer’), followed by (Zeltinger’s version of) a tune which should be familiar with all of you. Müngersdorfer Stadion (Müngersdorfer Stadium) is Cologne’s football stadium on the left Rhine-side, next to it is an open air bath and the song describes Zeltinger’s difficulties in getting there from the city for a swim in the summer heat without any money.

Jetz käu ich sigg hüg morge an de Käues eröm,
et wet immer heißer, isch gläuf, ich maach mich dönn.
Die Schlang he am Arbeitsamt nemp och ke Eng,
am beste jank isch schwemme im Stadion.

Erus us de Hus, erus us de Stadt,
aff en de Stadtwald, ich hann et satt,
en Badebux un e ahl Paar Schoh,
jet Ääpelsschlot, Transisterradio…

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Ich fahr schwatz met de KVB,
die Markfufzisch dät denne och nit wieh,
ich fahr schwatz mit de KVB,
dä Hals voll krieje de Bonze nie.

Jetz lieje ich sigg hück moje en de Sunn eröm,
dö Sunnebrand brenk misch fass öm,
nom zehnte Bescher Lömmelömm
wed et zick für misch no Hus zo jonn.

Et Schwimmbecke leer, de Täsche leer,
froch nur nit, wo krie ich dann et Fahrjeld her.
Dries jet op dä Dress,
sinn zo, dat de keine vun dä Arschlöcher sist.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Ich fahr schwatz met de KVB,
die Markfufzisch dät denne och nit wieh,
ich fahr schwatz mit de KVB,
dä Hals voll krieje de Bonze nie.

Jetz lieje ich sigg hück moje en de Sunn eröm,
dö Sunnebrand brenk misch fass öm,
nom zehnte Bescher Lömmelömm
wed et zick für misch no Hus zo jonn.

Et Schwimmbecke leer, de Täsche leer,
froch nur nit, wo krie ich dann et Fahrjeld her.
Dries jet op dä Dress,
sinn zo, dat de keine vun dä Arschlöcher sist.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Hi, ha, ho,
jetzt sind wir wieder froh.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Dipel, dipel, dai,
wie wär’s mit uns zwei.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Ippel, dippen, dap
jetz sein wär op de Klap.

Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
Müngersdorfer Stadion,
am beste jon ich schwemme im Stadion.

Now, that’s it: plenty of fun for you, I’m sure you agree.

Stay safe and: enjoy,


JC adds..

Words almost really fail me!  This has clearly been a labour of love and without any question, one of the best and probably the most original posting to appear here in many a year (certianly since the Gang of Four musical).  Sexy Loser is now very much Sexy Genius.

I’ve had the advantage of playing each of the songs for a few days now, and they are all well worth your time and effort.  It makes me pine for the time when we will all be allowed to travel freely and safely again – a trip to Germany is very much near the top of my agenda.





Fine Young Men – An ICA of Opening Tracks

Yup, I have set myself up. Loving the idea of this ICA series, I have to go and challenge myself to give my offerings some sort of thread or connection. This, of course, makes things just a bit more difficult. But on I will proceed…

This ICA of album openers is linked together by the fact that all the tracks included are by artists that have turned my head as solo artists at one time or another. In the case of one of the artists, I can honestly say I’m not really a fan, but the album in question quite impressed me in its audacity and genuine successful execution. Pop, a bit of Leftfield and Alt Rock are represented in here. I have to give myself some credit for not going the easy route, for me at least, and picking tracks by Post Punk artists from the early 80s. I think the oldest track included is from the mid 90s.


Side A:

1. Losing Sleep – Edwyn CollinsLosing Sleep

Five years on from a series of devastating strokes and brain hemorrhages that left him having to relearn how to basically function, a mixture of personal tenaciousness and the love of a good woman, Edwyn Collins returned with his first post-recovery album. Much of the album is autobiographical, but the essence of the album is centered in his innate ability to craft a great Pop song. The title track gets things off to a fast-paced, buzzy start. It’s like the albums manifesto or mission statement.

2. Life And Times – Bob Mould – Life And Times

Being the father of a sound that merged hardcore with Alt Rock, Bob Mould could be excused for not ever traveling far from what made his career in Husker Dü. But he’s never rested on any sort of laurels that were thrown his way. Sugar veered his attentions toward Power Pop and he has explored Electronica more than a bit over the years. Life And Times is my favorite solo Mould album and it gets off to an impressive start with the opening track that is full of personal angst and confusion over the love of another. It’s my favorite Mould solo song.

3. Forever J – Terry HallHome

It’s 1994. Rock + Roll has become a mystery to me. Bands I was really into in the late 80s and early 90s have either fallen by the wayside or changed their sound to survive, first Grunge and then Britpop. Shoegaze was my refuge from Grunge, but it was steady pushed aside or compromised by the new Britpop sound. I couldn’t manage any excitement for Blur and Oasis, Suede was maybe a bright spot in Britpop’s tainted, murky waters. Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds managed to hold my attention by not being “scenesters” and staying true to their Pop roots. 1992’s Sense included a number of collaborations with Terry Hall – including that album’s fantastic title track. So when in 1994, Hall released his first proper solo album Home, it was in my possession the day it arrived on this side of the Atlantic. It remains one of my favorite albums of the 90s and that is bolstered by this slightly sad, very reflective opening track.

4. Miami – Baxter DuryPrince Of Tears

Baxter Dury’s musical persona is the equivalent of 007, 15 years on from his last assignment, still scraping by on a reputation as a lady’s man in an age when no one would ever dare use the term, having traded in the crisp black tux for an aging white linen suit. For me, he has released one smashing set of songs after another. 2017’s Prince of Tears might just be the best of the lot. Miami opens the album with a dirty groove that sets the scene while it closes in until right inside you.

5. Welcome To New York – Ryan Adams1989

Ryan Adams – hmmm I really can take him or leave him. When it was announced he was releasing a full album cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, it seemed like an amusing idea and worth seeing just how unlistenable or twisted it might be. Well, shit if I was completely wrong! Adams teases the singer-songwriter quality right out of each and every track on the album. But the most astonishing interpretation is the opener, Welcome To New York. He has somehow turned the track into the song that’s been missing from every Bruce Springsteen album since The River.

Side B:

1. Gradually – Ben WattFever Dream

After a good 15 years creating an producing some brilliant House Music, Ben Watt decided to return to writing and recording Rock based music. His first effort Hendra, in my opinion, was a triumph of very personal, singer/songwriter focused songs that seemed deeply personal, yet very approachable. The follow-up, Fever Dream, expanded on that sound while including some jazzier and familiar Everything But The Girl stylized tracks. The album’s opener, Gradually, is about the intensity of love as a positive and a destructive force. Watt sings with a particular honesty in his voice that gives the track an uncomfortable piercing edge.

2. Make Me An Offer I Can’t Refuse – Sufjan StevensThe Ascension

The opening track of Sufjan Stevens’ latest album The Ascension is a triumph of melding Electronica with the singer/songwriter structure. The album is Stevens once again reinventing himself. It is a 180º turn from the almost harrowing beauty of 2015’s Carrie and Lowell. This opening track ebbs and flows, soars high, glides, and then dives like a magic carpet ride. The final section of the track builds and builds to a spectacular end.

3. Pale Green Ghosts – John GrantPale Green Ghosts

I have a thing for idiosyncratic singer/songwriters, as if that’s not already apparent. John Grant might just be on the top of that list. You can’t pin his sound down and he certainly makes music for his satisfaction and our appreciation. He’s no stranger to a great Pop hook, a sleazy dance beat or a cinematic coda. That’s all here in spades on the title track opener of his 2013 album Pale Green Ghosts.

4. Sandriam – Perry BlakeStill Life

Perry Blake is a personal favorite of mine. He has worked with Steve Jansen of Japan, which is what brought him to my attention. But while Blake is obviously influenced by later Japan/Sylvian, Leonard Cohen and maybe even Nick Drake, there is a sort of grand and dulcet vocal approach that sets him apart. Sandriam opens his second album Still Life and feels like it should be accompanied by images of weather-beaten castles and abbeys or long shots of the sea off of grassy cliffs.

5. Black/Colin Verncombe – The Love ShowBlind Faith

We lost Colin Verncombe just 16 days after David Bowie, in January of 2016, that “annus horribilis” for music. He was a master of his craft who never gave up on his vocation, regardless of whether he had hits or misses. For his last album, Blind Faith, he had returned to his stage name Black. It is a beautiful collection of songs that shows off his adept touch at Pop, Crooning, and acoustic songs. The album opener, The Love Show, is simply a beautiful, intense, symphonic love song. Every time I hear it, the chorus stays with me for hours.


And here, as before on Mondays, are both sides of the ICA as stand-alone listens.  70% of this ICA consisted of songs that were previously unkown to me…which meant I wasn’t aware most were opening tracks on albums. I really like the running order that Edchorich has come up with on both sides. (JC)

Fine Young Men: Side A (19:16)
Fine Young Men: Side B (26:32)


At long last, we reach the final part of this series looking back at the UK singles charts of 1990.  As anticipated, most of the new entries over the course of December had a festive theme, but there were a very small number of decent entries, while the final chart of the year, which crossed into the first of 1991, was genuinely surprising.  Here’s the contents of the selection boxes:-

2 December

The month opened with no changes in the Top 4, with Vanilla Ice, The Righteous Brothers, EMF, and Kim Appleby all holding the same positions as they had at the end of November.  The highest new entry, at #5 was no real surprise, nor would its eventual rise to #1, as Cliff Richard unleashes Saviour’s Day on a wholly suspecting nation, thus repeating his success of 1988 with Mistletoe and Wine.

There was a bit of ying to Cliff’s yang with the second-highest new entry as Ms. Ciccone decided she wanted to sex everyone up:-

mp3: Madonna – Justify My Love (#9)

A new song to promote The Immaculate Collection, a greatest-hits album that would fly off the shelves in December and find its way into the stockings of millions across the world.  For someone who had always used MTV and videos to further her career, Madonna came up with a brilliantly effective method to further rack up sales of Justify My Love by filming a promo that was always going to be deemed too sexually explicit for MTV and thus be banned, leading to to the decision to make it available, commercially, as a video single.  It is reckoned, in the USA, that actual single sold around 1 million copies and that 400,000 copies of the video were shifted.

Two bands that had been around for a few years without much commercial success until 1990 also enjoyed new entries this week:-

mp3: The Farm – Altogether Now (#12)
mp3: James – Lose Control (#33)

Altogether Now proved to be the highpoint in the career of The Farm, rising to #4 and spending a total of six weeks in the Top Ten either side of Xmas/New Year.  It was quite fitting for a song that took its inspiration from the Christmas Day truce in 1914 when soldiers on both sides put down their weapons to met in no-mans-land where there was an exchange of gifts and games of football were played.

Lose Control immediately dropped down the chart the following week, but the fact it even made the Top 40 was a sign that the fanbase of James was continuing to grow, leading to them becoming probably the biggest band in the UK in 1991/92.

The best ‘new’ record of the week came in at #22:-

mp3: Yazoo – Situation (1990 remix)

Yup, a full eight years after first appearing as the b-side to Only You, and seven years after the duo had disbanded, one of their most popular and most enduring tracks was given the remix treatment and re-released as a single.  It would climb to #14 the following week.

9 December

Just the one single worth highlighting, as much to demonstrate that club hits still had the capacity to crossover into the mainstream:-

mp3: C&C Music Factory – Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) (feat. Freedom Williams) (#40)

This single would spend 12 weeks all told in the Top 50, finally dropping out in mid-March having peaked at #3. It is still, all these years later, one of the most immediately identifiable dance hits of any era.

16 December

Under the cover of darkness, I’ll just mention that The Sisters of Mercy and Billy Idol sneaked their lastest singles into the charts at #39 and #56 respectively.

23 December

The highest new entry this week was at #73, and the distincyion belonged to A Homeboy, A Hippie and Funki Dredd with a song called Freedom.  Quite clearly, the record industry makers and shakers were too busy partying to get fresh product into the shops

The nation rejoiced, however, as Cliff, just in time, took the #1 spot, kicking Vanilla Ice’s sorry ass in the process and bringing his four-week reign at the top to an end.  The question that needs to be asked is whether it was a fix, in that Cliff only stayed one week at #1 before dropping down to #3, whereas the Iceman was at #2 for this chart and the next, which contained a few surprises as the kids raced out to the shops and spent their record tokens on all sorts of singles that were brand new in the shops……

30 December

mp3: Deborah Harry and Iggy Pop – Did You Evah? (#70)

The second single lifted from the Red Hot + Blue compilation album aimed at raising funds to fight AIDS.  It would eventually peak at #42.

mp3: Prefab Sprout – Carnival 2000 (#57)

This was one of four tracks to be found on the Jordan EP, which was following on from two earlier singles lifted from Jordan : The Comeback, an album that had been released in September 1990 to near universal acclaim.  The EP would reach #35

Other new entries this week were Robert Palmer, Motorhead, The Stranglers, and Bananarama, all of whose releases came in outside the Top 40.

The hard rock brigade featured well this week, with Anthrax from New York City scoring at #23, with a cover of a Joe Jackson song

mp3: Anthrax – Got The Time

Seven months later, they would team up with Chuck D and take a cover of Bring The Noise into the top 20.

The year ended, however, with a very rare beast, namely a #1 for a hard rock band. One of the UK’s home grown acts who had previously seen a number of 45s go Top Ten in the late 80s, but this was this the first, and as it proved, last, time they hit #1 – and it was achieved with a brand-new entry.

By my reckoning, this was just the 22nd time a song had entered the singles chart at #1, going back to 1952.

Between 1991 and 1999, that particulat accomplishment would be achieved 122 times; indeed of the 35 songs which reached #1 in 1999, fully 33 of them would enter at #1, of which 20 would fall off the top spot after just one week.  Changed days indeed…..






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

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

An Affectionate Bunch – An ICA of album openers.

Side A

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

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

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

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

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

Side B

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening.


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

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

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



Dear valued member of the TVV community,

So much of the best Scottish music in recent years has emerged from small labels or, to a large extent, been self-funded.  The fact we have more or less been in a lockdown situation for most of 2020 has meant a lot of singers and bands have been less active than anyone would like.

A few have managed to get physical releases out on vinyl, while others have taken the digital route via bandcamp.  I thought, as some of you might well be thinking about gifts for Christmas, that I’d highlight a few places where your currency would be welcomed and would find its way into very deserving pockets.

I’ve long championed Adam Stafford via this and the old blog. I know that he is an acquired taste but there’s a real reward to be obtained from listening to someone who, if he hailed from NYC, LA, Berlin, Tokyo or Paris, instead of Falkirk in Central Scotland, would be hailed as a musical visionary and genius.  He’s recently released a new album – Diamonds Of A Horse Famine, via Song, By Toad Records which has been revived for the purpose of releasing this particular LP.  I was delighted that gave the album the sort of praise you’d normally find round these parts:-

“Diamond Of A Horse Famine’s is a different kind of album to what we are used to. It’s more of a standard singer-songwriter affair. Or as close to that as Stafford will allow. The songs are more immediate than on previous albums too, implying that everything was recorded in a couple of takes, rather than through numerous extended jams.

What ‘Diamond Of A Horse Famine’ shows is that Stafford is back to his best, but he isn’t recreating his previous albums for the sake of it. Nothing Stafford does it for the sake of it. His guitar work is exquisite and his ability to skew his guitar into contorted loops has set him apart from his peers, but he doesn’t employ his box of tricks in the same way that he did on ‘Imaginary Walls Collapse’, ‘Taser Revelations’ or ‘Fire Behind the Curtain’. The solo on ‘Salve’ might be his finest to date. However, the songs are equally as compelling.

This is a brave album that deserves praise for its honesty. Rumour has it that there is another album ready to go. If this is true, then Adam Stafford is a slave to his art and his best may yet to be heard.”

Copies of the album are available via the Song, By Toad page on Bandcamp. Click here for more, including the chance to try before you buy.  This was the single released earlier in the year as a taster:-

mp3: Adam Stafford – Thirty Years of Bad Road

Olive Grove Records is run by a very hard-working and unassuming man called Lloyd Meredith, someone who I’ve got to know well since starting this blog back in 2007.  Lloyd also started out as a blogger but he then dipped his toe and ultimately immersed his whole body into supporting music through the establishment of the label which has just turned ten years of age, a happy event which has been marked by the release of Get Into The Grove, a twelve-track compilation from many of the artists on the label.  It can be found here, with the digital version already available and the vinyl edition due imminently.

It was back in 2016 that Olive Grove released the album Cowardly Deeds by the consistently excellent Randolph’s Leap, with this being the opening track:-

mp3: Randolph’s Leap – Back Of My Mind

Watch out for new material from Randolph’s Leap in 2021, with a new single already out as a taster.  Click here.

Broken Chanter, in 2019, released a fantastic self-titled album in 2019.  It’s the work of David MacGregor, formerly the co-front of Kid Canaveral, and it proved to be one of my favourite records of that year, looking as if it would form the perfect platform for bigger and greater things in 2020.  Sadly, the COVID situation putting a stop to live shows and making it impossible for musicians from different cities to work together has really had a dreadful impact on David’s plans.  He’s kept things going somewhat by recording some material purely for digital release on Bandcamp, as well as coming up with a few merchandising ideas to try and help keep his head above water.  Just last week, he decided to release a fourth and final single from the debut album, going with what many have long thought is its most beautiful and mesmerising track:-

mp3: Broken Chanter – Don’t Move To Denmark

The single comes with three remixes and can be bought here at Bandcamp.  You’ll also be able to click through to the page where the debut album is located and give its individual tracks a listen, after which you may very well be tempted to buy a copy.  Especially if you’re a listener with good taste……

A couple of COVID fundraising things to give consideration to, with one that’s been out for a few months and another which is due to become available later this week.

Last Night From Glasgow (LNFG) is another incredibly busy label based in my home city.  It was at the start of the COVID outbreak that it, with the help and generous support of the musicians associated with the label decided to take some action to help others involved in the industry:-

It was clear to LNFG that our valued venues and stores would struggle unless we did something to help. So over the course of the UK Coronavirus lockdown we invited all of our artists to record – at home, whilst in isolation – a cover of their favourite past LNFG release. We mixed, mastered and manufactured the album on Vinyl and CD. Selling it and passing all proceeds to our partner venues and record shops. We will continue to collect revenues throughout the year and distribute it amongst local independent stores and venues. Tracks from : Broken Chanter, Gracious Losers, Sister John, Cloth, Close Lobsters, Annie Booth, Lola In Slacks, L-space, Nicol & Elliott, Zoe Bestel, Medicine Men, Deer Leader, Bis, Slime City, The Martial Arts, The Muldoons, Life Model, Mt. Doubt, Vulture Party, Foundlings; Andre Salvador and Lemon Drink.

It’s a very fine venture, and copies can be purchased from here, coming in a range of formats, including various coloured vinyl, CD and digital.

The upcoming release features a range of more established singers and bands. Whole Lotta Roadies is a digital/CD-only effort:-

The Fruit Tree Foundation is delighted to announce the creation of a brand-new unique album, ‘Whole Lotta Roadies’, put together by some of Scotland’s most loved musical artists and their crew. The project is the idea of Rod Jones of Idlewild, who saw first-hand the devastating effect the pandemic was having on all aspects of live shows, and in particular, those who rely on live events for a living, many now facing the prospect of an entire year of cancelled bookings.

On the line-up for this one-off recorded extravaganza are Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, Twin Atlantic, Arab Strap, The Proclaimers, KT Tunstall, Fatherson, Emma Pollock, Honeyblood, Kathryn Joseph, The Rezillos, The Xcerts, and Idlewild.

I’ve pre-ordered a copy and looking forward to getting the e-mail telling me I can download and listen.  Click here if you want to do likewise.

Finally, The Just Joans have released a Christmas single.  For those of you who don’t know the band, they’ve been described by one critic as the missing link between The Magentic Fields and The Proclaimers – make of that what you will.  Click here for more.

All of the above come very highly recommended, so if you have a few spare notes and coins upon your person, it would be very nice if you supported one or more of the above.

With thanks




Gazing and Dreaming – An ICA of Opening Tracks

People who like a genre, or even a sub-genre of Rock + Roll or Pop Music usually hate the tag that the Music Press gives it. The bands which created a sub-genre of indie/alternative Rock which came out of the UK in the very late 80s and into the early 90s, featuring a mixture of fuzzy, distorted and ethereal guitars, obscure or multi-layered vocals and sometimes turned up the psychedelia, were herded under the tag Shoegaze and ultimately Dream Pop. The lore revolves around a reviewer from Sounds Magazine describing how Moose singer Russell Yates would tape his lyrics to the floor and look down at them as he sang. It was picked up by NME and a genre was born.

I have never had any problem with the Shoegaze tag. Bands since Jesus and Mary Chain had been paying more attention to their guitars and pedals than the audience for years, so I thought, yeah, kinda appropriate, if obvious, but also a name that could be interpretive. The range of sound that is gathered up under the tags of Shoegaze and Dream Pop is pretty broad and was ever-changing as bands reacted to what was going on around them in music. I tend to like much of the Shoegaze I listen to, to be hard or harsh, but there are so many examples of that ethereal feel that I love as well.

Here is, by no means, the be all and end all selection of Opening Tracks from Shoegaze/Dream Pop bands. When I put it together and listened back, I was very satisfied. Hope you are too.

Side A

1. Stray – Lush (Spooky)

This opener is a great example of how light and complex their sound can be. Miki’s vocals are like a that of a Post Punk Siren. There’s danger and darkness in all this song’s beauty.

2. Lannoy Point – Ride (Weather Diaries)

Proof that you can’t keep a great and vital band down, especially when they still have so much to contribute 20 years on. Opening the masterpiece that is Weather Diaries, Lannoy Point is a slow burn that picks up pace and intensity as it goes. Is there anything as beautiful as the twin guitars of Andy Bell and Mark Gardener? I don’t think so.

3. Spanish Air – Slowdive (Just For A Day)

Spanish Air is dark and inward. It is full of psychedelia and some 60s Garage Rock moves, but it’s the homage to an earlier sound of Cocteau Twins that I was originally attracted to when I first heard Slowdive.

4. Way The World Is – Pale Saints (A Comfortable Madness)

Starting like some lysergic freakout, Way The World Is introduced me to an album that, for me, stands way above the fray of the genre. It’s a short song that makes it point and ends the trip quickly, leaving you in limbo. A Comfortable Madness is full of inward twists and turns and every time I listen to it, I find something new to focus my attention on.

5. Breather – Chapterhouse (Whirlpool)

Breather, and indeed the album Whirlpool, straddles Indie and Shoegaze like no other band. I seem to remember them being initially very popular, because the sound was confident and catchy, but this ended up being their downfall with the music journos.

Side B

6. Everywhere – Cranes (Forever)

Cranes were a problem for many. Were they Goth, Indie, Shoegaze? Yes. Alison Shaw’s vocals were the darker side of Clare Grogan, while the sound veered into Cure territory an awful lot over the years, but this opener from 1993’s hit all the right notes for me. It apes the opening cords of Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot and just takes off from there.

7. Texture – The Catherine Wheel (Ferment)

Ferment is a great album. I don’t care how much of a hit to my credibility that statement may be, but it is so well made, so fully realized, so confident in its execution, that it draws me in every time I listen to it. This opener was every bit as good as the album’s radio hit Black Metallic. Rob Dickinson also has one of the sexiest vocal deliveries of the genre.

8. Super Falling Star – Sterolab (Peng!)

The opener of their debut. You can just tell this was a band that would take you on a journey.

9. Sci-Flyer – Swervedriver (Raise)

This was almost the opener of the ICA, but then I thought, I love when the penultimate track on an album hits you from out of nowhere and lays you out flat. Your welcome.

10. Only Shallow – My Bloody Valentine (Loveless)

Sighted as/blamed for starting the genre with their Isn’t Anything album, My Bloody Valentine are so many things to so many people. They will always be “Gazers” to me, sometimes stretching boundaries, other times just playing to make a great racket. Only Shallow is among my favorites by them because it winds you up so tight and then spins you free.


And here are both sides of the ICA as stand-alone listens.  They work well, and I say that as someone who isn’t a huge fan of the sub-genre!! (JC)

Gazing and Dreaming: Side A (20:38)
Gazing and Dreaming: Side B (20:24)



I Make The Money…An Opening Tracks ICA

Of course, Badger and I argued about this very subject. Then again when it came to music, we argued about anything. Once we had an argument that lasted on and off for three days on whether the first Catatonia album was better than the second one (it is, before you start).

In actual fact, we were going to do something very similar for our (very) old blog When You Can’t Remember Anything. We had put aside a whole month to wow and amaze you all with ‘The 30 Best Opening Tracks…Ever’. We ditched the idea for two reasons.

1) We decided to a rundown of the best songs that feature colours in the title instead. An idea we later ditched, then stamped on and then soaked it with a hose pipe in order to make sure that it never ever saw the light of day again.

2) We couldn’t decide on the number one. I changed my mind about four times, whilst Badger changed his mind about six times. I distinctly remember phoning Badger at about half past ten one evening and telling him that I had finally decided on my Top Five opening tracks ever, but I didn’t know why order they were in. He told me to go to bed and put the phone down on me.

So when I saw that JC had designated Mondays to this very subject I loaded up the computer and opened for the first time in about five years the old WYCRA countdown spreadsheet. Sheet six contains the Best 30 Opening Tracks Ever and it makes me realise, as you will see and hear below, that I probably would have lost the argument.

And therefore I now present my ICA of opening tracks. Side A are my Top Five opening tracks ever and they are all from debut albums as it happens, and all five I think stamp their authority over the album that they feature on. Badgers top five are on Side B and only one of them is from a debut album.

Side A – SWC’s I Make the Money Side….

Beware – Death Grips (2012)

So this is why I think I would have lost the battle with Badger for the greatest opening moment of an album ever. Because I think its this. The opening track of ‘Exmilitary’ the debut album by Sacremento’s experimental rap duo Death Grips. It’s all about that opening sample. A short snippet of a famous Charles Manson speech, where he tells anyone who listens that he ‘has all the money in the world, man….” and then the beats, the noise and the gravel drawled rap of MC Ride kicks in. Death Grips are tremendous, but I accept that I was probably trying to bit a clever here.

Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem (2005)

The eponymous debut album from LCD Soundsystem is an astonishing record. It is a record that from the first breaths of the very first track that make its musical intentions clear. That first track is ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’. The intention is that LCD Soundsystem are going to make dance music, and we, will love it.

You Know Its True – Spiritualized (1992)

‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ the debut album by Spiritualized is also an astonishing record that makes its intentions perfectly clear from the very first beats of the very first track. The very first track is ‘You Know Its True’ and as Jason Pierce sings in that whispery spectral voice “You know I’ve been here before and I don’t like it anymore….” in the opening seconds of it, the intention is clear. Spiritualized will take you places that no other band will ever dare to.

Oh My Lover – PJ Harvey (1992)

You know the story by now. Boy meets girl in a record shop. Boy and girl share musical tastes, a love of Galaxy chocolate, Rob Newman and the books of Iris Murdoch. Boy and girl start dating, cautiously holding hands on the way back from the bus stop. Things progress. Then after a three mile walk on a soaking June evening, the debut album from PJ Harvey gets put on the stereo…

Seagull – Ride (1990)

If you ask me, the first track on an album has to make a statement and I think each of the tracks on this side do that, but none of them do it as well as ‘Seagull’ does. ‘Nowhere’ wouldn’t be ‘Nowhere’ if ‘Seagull’ was tucked away as track four or something. I could cope if ‘Oh My Lover’ was track two or three. Does that make sense…? Let me put it this way, the first time I ever listened to ‘Seagull’, I had already decided that it was time to grow out my fringe, invest in a few effects pedals and buy a stripey jumper, before it had reached the end. That’s what an opening track should do.

Side B – Badgers I’m Leaving Here Side……

How Will I Ever Find My Way Home (Organ Version) – British Sea Power (2005)

Whilst I was trying to be clever with Death Grips, Badger actually was very clever here. Only Badger could argue successfully that one of the greatest opening tracks to an album isn’t actually a listed track on the album. You see when you listen to ‘Open Season’ the tremendous second album from British Sea Power, the opening track is ‘It Ended on an Oily Stage’, only it isn’t. Rewind your CD, yes, your CD, rewind it, to about -02:31 – that’s where the album really starts – and it starts with this, an organ solo version of track three of the album ‘How Will I Ever Find My Way Home’ and its marvellously unexpected.

Reverence – JAMC (1993)

Of course most people will argue that the opening tracks of ‘Darklands’ (‘Darklands’) and ‘Psychocandy’ (‘Just Like Honey’) are better than the opening track of ‘Honey’s Dead’ and you may have a point. But….‘Reverence’ makes ‘Honey’s Dead’. It must be the opening track.

I’d argue all day long that ‘Just Like Honey’ and ‘Darklands’ could sit anywhere on their respective albums and they’d still be incredible, but ‘Reverence’ must open ‘Honey’s Dead’. It’s an album about anger, frustration and its deliberately controversial and you need to know that right at the beginning, you need to know about the ‘bed of spikes, Jesus and JFK’ stuff. Simple really.

Fake Empire – The National (2008)

It was Matt Bellamy of Muse who got Badger into The National. He claims that back in 2009, Matt told him to listen to them. When Muse played a huge show in their home town of Teignmouth, Tim chatted to Matt and Dom of the band at the aftershow party (and we were both there, Tim for work reasons, me because my wife went to school with Dom’s wife and knows them very well). At the party Tim asked Matt what music he was currently listening to, and Matt said that his favourite album of the last year was by The National and he spoke at length about the opening track ‘Fake Empire’ and its ‘shimmering dreamlike crescendo’.

Xtal – Aphex Twin (1992)

I mentioned the WYCRA spreadsheet back up the page somewhere. On that spreadsheet, page eight was our ‘Top 30 Shoegaze albums’. This was another list that nearly lead to a fistfight and didn’t ever see the light of day. I (rightly) said that ‘Nowhere’ by Ride should be number one in any Shoegaze Album Countdown. Tim disagreed and claimed that ‘Selected Ambient Work Vol 1’ by Aphex Twin was the greatest shoegaze record ever made. ‘Xtal’ the opening track kind of adds weight to his point, there is something very My Bloody Valentine about it especially those blurry female vocals – either way this is just a sublime way to start any record.

Mysterons – Portishead (1994)

And so it ends with the track that Badger claimed on more than one occasion to be the Greatest Opening Track ever. In fact here is a direct quote from him.

“I’m going to go straight in at the deep end. ‘Dummy’ by Portishead has the single greatest and spookiest start to an album ever. A sinister sounding drone giving way to out of this world scratches and beats that sounds like you are going to get a hip hop track but in reality you get something unholy and downright incredible. ‘Mysterons’ is exquisite, uncomfortable and unquestionably brilliant”.

And, he’s right. Probably.

Thanks for reading

SWC and Badger

SWC’s I Make The Money Side (24:26)
Badger’s I’m Leaving Side (19:12)


There’s a Facebook group that I keep an eye on having a discussion about this tape – the author of the original post said that he played it to death at the time but can’t risk putting it in now after so many years in a box in the loft.

So I thought…..

mp3: Various – C81 NME/Rough Trade (Side One)
mp3: Various – C81 NME/Rough Trade (Side Two)


Side One

1. Scritti Politti – The “Sweetest Girl” (6:09)
2. The Beat – Twist And Crawl Dub (4:58)
3. Pere Ubu – Misery Goats (2:26)
4. Wah! Heat – 7,000 Names Of Wah (3:57)
5. Orange Juice – Blue Boy (2:52)
6. Cabaret Voltaire – Raising The Count (3:32)
7. D.A.F. – Kebab Traume (Live) (3:50)
8. Furious Pig – Bare Pork (1:28)
9. Specials – Raquel (1:56)
10. Buzzcocks – I Look Alone (3:00)
11. Essential Logic – Fanfare In The Garden (3:00)
12. Robert Wyatt – Born Again Cretin (3:07)

Side Two

1. The Raincoats – Shouting Out Loud (3:19)
2. Josef K – Endless Soul (2:27)
3. Blue Orchids – Low Profile (3:47)
4. Virgin Prunes – Red Nettle (2:13)
5. Aztec Camera – We Could Send Letters (4:57)
6. Red Crayola – Milkmaid (2:01)
7. Linx – Don’t Get In My Way (5:15)
8. The Massed Carnaby St. John Cooper Clarkes – The Day My Pad Went Mad (1:46)
9. James Blood Ulmer – Jazz Is The Teacher, Funk Is The Preacher (4:03)
10. Ian Dury – Close To Home (4:13)
11. Gist – Greener Grass (2:32)
12. Subway Sect – Parallel Lines (2:38)




Hi Jim,

Hope all’s well. Been playing catch-up a bit of late, but am up-to-date for the first time in a couple of weeks, and it would seem that others are as intrigued by the Opening Tracks ICAs as I am. I’ve not read the comments sections, so have no idea what’s being suggested on those.

During my lunch hour, I’ve rapidly come up with ten opening tracks. These tracks are the ones I immediately think of when I call to mind the album that houses them. Indeed, I think I have used the title of the opening track to refer to each of these albums more than once. In some cases they were the track that drew me to the album in the first place, in others it’s become the thought of hearing the opening track that makes me reach for the album and play it, even if it isn’t the song that the album is most famous for. To my mind, that’s what an opening track should aim to do. Of all the ones mentioned by yourself and jimdoes, I Wanna Be Adored is the one that I would most have wanted to add to my list – not sure if that helps you understand my thought process or not!

These are all albums I’ve listened to a lot – that’s why they’re all pretty old, with only one offering from the current millennium. I can’t say a great deal of thought has gone into the order, although I have put a couple of longer tracks at the end of each side.

Side A

1 – Don’t Bang The Drum – The Waterboys (This Is The Sea, 1985)
2 – Definitive Gaze – Magazine (Real Life, 1978)
3 – Rain Of Crystal Spires – Felt (Forever Breathes The Lonely Word, 1986)
4 – Human Behaviour – Bjork (Debut, 1992)
5 – Happiness Is Easy – Talk Talk (The Colour Of Spring, 1986)

Side B

1 – Roscoe – Midlake (The Trials Of Van Occupanther, 2006)
2 – The Concept – Teenage Fanclub (Bandwagonesque, 1991)
3 – Supervixen – Garbage (Garbage, 1995)
4 – Burn It Down – Dexys Midnight Runners (Searching For The Young Soul Rebels, 1980)
5 – Fire Inside My Soul – Ian McNabb (Head Like A Rock, 1994)

As I say, I’ve deliberately not read the comments so as not to cloud my judgment. If others have suggested the tracks above, so be it.

All the best,

The Great Gog

JC adds…..

Thanks to everyone who has already sent in their suggestions, but feel free to keep them coming. This was the first of the opening track ICAs to arrive in the inbox and thus gains the distinction of being the first guest posting in what I hope will prove to be an enjoyable series over the coming weeks and months.

I still have a few more of my own up my sleeve, and interestingly enough, at least one of the tracks selected by TGG would have featured. Indeed, it will still feature…just because a particular track has already been selected by a contributor doesn’t rule it out for any future appearances.

Next Monday will see an offering from SWC and Tim Badger. Yup, our late friend is able to be part of the new series thanks to a piece that the two of them wrote up a few years ago but never got round to using…SWC has taken the original words, tidied them up a bit and done a small rejig so that it now fits with this particular format. It’s one that, as you’d expect, is well worth tuning in for.

Oh, and as a bonus, the plan each week is to have the ICAs in this series appear as they would if they were actually two sides of vinyl:-

The Great Gog’s ICA: Side One (25:30)
The Great Gog’s ICA: Side Two (27:23)


Regular readers will know the script by now (and to be fair, the chances of an overly-wordy music blog attracting any new fans will be quite remote, which means everyone knows the script!)

All year long, I’ve had a look back to the UK singles charts of 1990 in which I have (hopefully) demonstrated that while there were a reasonable number of hits which have stood the test of time, they are far outnumbered by the dross that the great British public was shelling out for. We have reached the month of November, with four weeks of things to recall. It’s probably the worst of them all…..

4 November

The month opened with The Righteous Brothers still at #1, with Unchained Melody, still making folk cry their eyes out when it was used in the mega-hit movie, Ghost.  It also saw something really dreadful enter the chart at #11, when Gazza (aka Paul Gascoigne), cashed in on his newfound fame post-World Cup 90, by joining up with fellow Geordies, Lindisfarne for an updated and horrific version of Fog On The Tyne. Look it up on YouTube if you must. (Oh, and in case anyone gets the wrong idea…..the video still of a man’s bare arse at the top of this post is NOT Gazza….it is, however, a still from a song referenced elsewhere in this posting)

Gazza was the highest of what was a quite astounding 19 new entries into the Top 75 in that particular week. Some of them are unforgettable pop-fodder, to say the least (Teena Marie, Maria Carey, Craig McLachlan, Ragga Twins, Caron Wheeler, Wilson Phillips); others are linked to the increasing popularity of dance/club music on which I am wholly unqualified to comment (Cybersonik, Kick Squad, Unique Three, Megabass) while the rock gawds smiled that the likes of Queensryche and Jon Bon Jovi were getting played on the radio.

Which leaves these:-

mp3: 808 State – Cubik/Olympic (#29)
mp3: Prince – New Power Generation (#33)
mp3: N.W.A. – 100 Miles and Runnin’ (#39)
mp3: The Beloved – It’s Alright Now (#57)
mp3: Pixies – Dig For Fire (#62)
mp3: Julee Cruise – Falling (#64)

808 State would go on to enjoy a high-profile 1991 with the ex:el album that would be released in March 1991. Cubik/Olympic, which in due course would reach #10 in the singles charts, would find its way onto the later album, whose hits would also include In Yer Face and Oops, with the latter featuring Bjork.

New Power Generation was the second and final hit single from the album Grafitti Park and would climb the following week to #26 before fading away quite quickly. Little did we know that the track was the scene-setter for what Prince would next do in his long, colourful and never predictable career.

N.W.A. never really enjoyed mainstream success in the UK and this, the lead track from a stand-alone EP, was just the second and final time they made the charts. The track is probably best remembered for the fact that the remaining four members used it to make an attack on Ice Cube, who had left a year earlier after a row over royalties.

The Beloved had enjoyed a 1990 breakthrough with the album Happiness. It was decided to issue Blissed Out, a remix version of Happiness, with It’s Alright Now selected as the single to promote it. It wouldn’t quite work as it stalled at #46 and sales of Blissed Out were relatively poor. It would be the last involvement of co-founder Steve Waddington as he would leave in early 1991, with the band more or less becoming a front for the solo work of Jon Marsh.

Dig For Fire was the second and final single to be taken from the album Bossanova. It was released some three months after the album – the fact it stalled at #62 is evidence that Pixies fans weren’t too bothered about buying singles to complete any collections.

Julee Cruise has proven to be a one-hit-wonder. Falling dated from the previous year and would have very likely remained completely unknown if an instrumental version hadn’t been used as the theme for Twin Peaks, one of the most unlikely TV hits of 1990. The single would go Top 10 in the UK and a number of other European charts, while also reaching #1 in Australia.

11 November

Gazza jumped to #2, held off by The Righteous Brothers. This was a week in which 15 songs debuted in the Top 75, with the vast majority of them being tracks I honestly don’t recognise. I’m going to lit them, as its a perfect demonstration of just how much money record labels were prepared to waste back in those days, and the reason why vinyl and CDs were stupidly over-priced in the shops as those which sold had to recoup the costs of the many more that didn’t:-

#73: In Zaire – African Business (its only week in the chart)
#71: Roses Are Red – Bobby Vinton (its only week in the chart)
#68: If I Have To Stand Alone – Lonnie Gordon (its only week in the chart)
#66: Smile – Aswad (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, reaching #53)
#60: Stranded – Heart (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#59: Cherry Pie – Warrant (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#55: Shelter Me – Cinderella (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#54: Love So Bright – Mark Shaw (its only week in the chart)
#53: Love’s Got Me – Loose Ends (would spend 4 weeks in the chart, reaching #40)
#51: Serious – Duran Duran (would spend 3 weeks in the chart, reaching #48)
#46: Flashback Jack – Adamski (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#41: Sucker DJ – Dimples D (would spend 10 weeks in the chart, reaching #17)
#28: Hands Across The Ocean – The Mission (would spend 2 weeks in the chart, with this being its highest position)
#25: Let’s Swing Again – Jive Bunny (would spend 5 weeks in the chart, reaching #19)

Which leaves, this, the lead track from an EP which, at #23 was the highest entry of the week:-

mp3: Inspiral Carpets – Biggest Mountain

The Island Head EP would spend just 4 weeks in the chart, reaching #21.

Surely things were a bit better the following week?

18 November

The answer, to an extent, is yes. For the first time in something like seven or eight weeks, a new entry came in very high up the charts, at #3, and for once it wasn’t relying on its inclusion on a soundtrack from a major film to earworm its way into the minds of the record-buying public.

The only thing letting it down is the fact that the song in question is Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.

The karaoke/old fogies brigade were also well represented this week as Rod Stewart and Tina Turner duetted their way to #12 with It Takes Two. It would eventually go all the way to #’5′ please remember this fact and shake your head in disbelief that Marvin Gaye‘s original version with Kim Weston only reached #16 back in 1965.

Another cover version was the next highest new entry:-

mp3: The Proclaimers – King of The Road

I was stunned to read that this entered the charts at #17 and actually went Top 10 the following week. I had long assumed it was one of those singles/EPs that had peaked around #40, like almost all releases by the duo.

There was the usual mix of pop/dance number making a fresh appearance in the lower ends of the charts, a number of which, like those listed from the chart of 11 November mean nothing or very little to me. But some tracks have since found their way into the collection:-

mp3: Pet Shop Boys – Being Boring (#36)
mp3: Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (#50)
mp3: Flowered Up – Phobia (#75)

Being Boring would reach #20, but proved to be just about the poorest performing PSB single that was released between 1985 and 2003 (only Was It Worth It?, which stalled at #24 fared worse). It has since, possibly because it was something of a relative flop,  become one of the duo’s best loved, most iconic and most enduring tunes.

Wicked Game, like Falling (see above) benefited from the David Lynch effect. It had originally been released as a single some 18 months previously, but npw, its inclusion on the soundtrack to the film Wild At Heart had given it a whole new lease of life, spending ten weeks in the Top 75, either side of Xmas 1990, and peaking at #10, ending up, by far, as the biggest hit of Chris Isaak‘s career.

Flowered Up would later enjoy bigger hits in 1991 and 1992, but this piece of indie-pop, released on Heavenly Records, has long been my favourite of theirs. I’ll mention in passing that lead singer Liam Maher died in 2009, at the age of 41, from a heroin overdose, and that just three years later his brother Joe, who was a guitarist in the band, also lost his life. R.I.P.

25 November

Vanilla Ice took over at the #1 spot. Not much changed in the Top 20, but there was good news that Gazza’s bid for #1 was now going to come up short

The never-ending ability of the British public to make a hit out of a novelty song, even when it is least expected, reared its head with this being the highest new entry at #14-

I’ll let wiki explain:-

“Kinky Boots” is a 1960s song written by Herbert Kretzmer and David Lee, and recorded by Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman, stars of the television series The Avengers.

The music was commissioned by Ned Sherrin for the satirical television series That Was the Week That Was and used in a sequence featuring the titular footwear (then fashionable). Lyrics were later added for a recording by Macnee and Blackman, released by Decca in February 1964.

The song was not initially a hit, but a re-release in 1990 reached the top ten of the British Singles Chart in December of that year, after the song was promoted by BBC Radio One DJ Simon Mayo. The single peaked at No.5 and remained on the chart for seven weeks.

The other new entries that week were every bit as dull and forgettable as those highlighted above at 11 November. I fear it will be even worse next month as we get close to the charts at Xmas.

(aged 57 years and 5 months)



One of the secrets to ensuring this little corner of t’internet maintains a sense of relevance is to go with public opinion.  There was an incredible reaction to the pair of postings from jimdoes in respect of ICAs consisting purely of opening album tracks, the likes of which hasn’t been seen round these parts for many a long time.

Everyone was offering up thoughts, views and opinions, with all sorts of alternative suggestions put forward in the comments section.  So, I’m taking advantage of the energy that was on show and have decided that, until such a time as the contributions dry up, Mondays will now be used for ICAs of opening tracks.

jimdoes was disciplined in coming up with two lists – one for tracks that were singles and one for tracks that were album cuts only.  If anyone wants to follow those chains of thoughts they are very welcome, but I’m going to kick things off with a ten-track ICA that is a mixture. There’s just the three singles across the ten cuts, all of which can be found on one side.

What follows is not a list of the greatest opening tracks of all time.  Indeed, they might not even the greatest opening track ever offered up by a particular singer or band. But, and crucially for me, I think the ten songs, when taken as a whole and in the running order I’ve come up with, would make for a fabulous album across two sides of vinyl.


Side One

1. Let Them All Talk – Elvis Costello & The Attractions (Punch The Clock, 1983)

All great albums open with great songs, that much is a given.  But, to me, all the very greatest of albums don’t open with the greatest of songs that will be found on a particular cut as there has to be something later on to provide that particular ‘wow’ moment.  Which is why I’ve decided to open up with something that is perhaps a little less than obvious – it’s not one of Elvis Costello‘s most memorable songs and it’s from an album which, although is a splendid effort, is rarely (if ever) ranked as his best.  But, aside from giving me an appropriate title for this particular ICA, I reckon it works really well in terms of pricking up the ears of any listener.

2. Age Of Consent – New Order (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1981)

It was back in 2008, in the 45 45s at 45 rundown, when I revealed that Temptation was my all-time favourite single.  The thing is, it’s not my all-time favourite New Order song, an accolade which I will always bestow on this, the first track from the album that truly brought them out of the shadows of Joy Division.

3. Protection – Massive Attack (Protection, 1994)

Every now and again, even on the loudest and fastest of records, there comes a moment when things just need to be slowed down a little.  This is achingly beautiful and sublime and a highlight in the career of Tracey Thorn.

4. The Cutter – Echo and The Bunnymen (Porcupine, 1983)

No apologies for returning to the early 80s for a third time on this particular side of vinyl. I just felt the opening few notes of The Cutter were the perfect complement to the final notes of Protection.

5. Good Bad Times – Hinds (The Prettiest Curse, 2020)

Here’s a simple but brilliantly subversive pop song that perfectly captures the mood and feel of one of my favourite albums of this past twelve months, a slab of vinyl that has brought a lot of sunshine on what have often been dark, depressing and lonely days.  Kind of inspired by jimdoes pulling out the brilliance of Heartbeats on his second offering.

Side Two

1. Will I Ever Be Inside Of You – Paul Quinn & The Independent Group (Will I Ever Be Inside Of You, 1994)

Back in the days when it was all vinyl, it was imperative when you had your first listen to a new album that the opening track on the flip side had to be something that really grabbed you in.

There were two reasons for this. First of all, if Side One had been memorable, then the momentum had to be maintained.  The alternative reason was that, if you hadn’t really been grabbed by Side One, then this was the album’s chance to redeem itself – if track one, side two was also a disappointment, then there’s every chance the rest of the album won’t be given a fair chance.

It’s such a pity that Paul Quinn was able to provide lead vocals on only two albums and I make no apologies whatsoever for taking up more than nine minutes of your time with this epic.  This provided the hardest moment in coming up with a running order for the ICA as  I had to come up with something that wouldn’t immediately be a jolt to the system.  One thing for sure, it isn’t quite the time for a new wave/post-punk classic……

2. When I’m Asleep – Butcher Boy (React or Die, 2009)

This is a very personal choice in that Butcher Boy often opened their shows with this, the first track from their sophomore album.  I’ve mentioned before how blogging has opened up so many opportunities for me over the years, but probably none more so than being able to become good friends with the members of this band and there’s something very special and different when you’re in an audience and your mates are on stage.  Every time I hear the notes on the accordion, followed by the strum of the mandolin, I get a real tingle down my spine.  It’s magical.

3. The Modern Leper – Frightened Rabbit (The Midnight Organ Fight, 2008)

Another very personal choice.  I was lucky enough to watch Frightened Rabbit grow and develop from the smallest of shows in and around Glasgow.  The series of shows they played to launch The Midnight Organ Fight were amongst the best I’ve ever seen going all the way back to 1979 and my first ever gig.  An album that I couldn’t bring myself to listen to for a long while after Scott Hutchison took his own life – it took until a gloriously sunny day and a need to get something from work out of my system that got me to sit on a park bench and press play.  Once I got through the opening track without tears of sadness or anger, I was fine. Indie-folk at its very finest and most passionate.

4. Janie Jones – The Clash (The Clash, 1977)

Again, it’s about finding something that fits in perfectly to the running order.  Something that gets across the idea that I’m in love with rock’n’roll (whoa).  The opening track from the UK version of the debut album by The Clash does that nicely.

5. The Light at the End of the Tunnel (Is the Light of an Oncoming Train) – Half Man Half Biscuit (Cammell Laird Social Club, 2002)

Just a reminder that I should never take myself, or this blog, too seriously.  Great tune and great lyrics.  That’s all I ever ask for……that and something which makes me want to flip back over to side one.

You can judge for yourselves if things have worked out nicely……and as it’s Monday, these are hi-res rips.

Let Them All Talk: Side One (23:03)
Let Them All Talk: Side Two (20:18)

Huge thanks to jimdoes for the idea, and to everyone for the initial reactions.  I’ve another four or five volumes that I could offer up, but I’d rather the TVV community got on board.



A GUEST POSTING by jimdoes

There’s been so many great opening tracks that were singles – here’s my ten favourites, although it’s a list that changes daily! It’s really hard deciding on the order for these ICAs – what’s the first first track? What should be last?


(An ICA of opening tracks that were singles)


(Opening track on PURPLE RAIN)

The spoken word intro makes it perfect to be the opening track on my singles ICA. And I guess as with most of this ICA there’s not much that I can say that hasn’t been said. If I could go back in time and see one band live it wouldn’t be The Clash or The Beatles or Joy Division – it would be Prince and The Revolution on the Purple Rain tour – look it up on YouTube – it’s incredible.


(Opening track on DAYDREAM NATION)

One of their most accessible songs and one of their pop hits – the opener to their masterpiece – the sprawling Daydream Nation. Not just one of my favourite opening tracks but one of my favourite songs full stop. You’re it. No you’re it.


(Opening track on SLANTED AND ENCHANTED)

I’ve no idea what this song is about or why it’s the winter version (to my knowledge there isn’t a version for any other season) – and I don’t care. It’s just glorious. And it’s part one of one of the best opening one/twos ever recorded – Trigger Cut being the other song.


(Opening track on TENDER PREY)

Another song where I know the song because it was a great single but I’m not familiar with the album. It’s a song that still gets better with every listen and I’ve heard it thousands of times.


(Opening track on DEEP CUTS)

Is it any surprise that the majority of the tracks on both my ICAs were released before I was 23? This being one of the few exceptions – and I guess a bit of a curveball. It’s another song where I don’t know any other song on the album, but there’s really no need when this song is so good.


(Opening track on MELLOW GOLD)

From the opening line – “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey” – I was hooked, I still am.


(Opening track on LONDON CALLING)

Only the second title track in my opening track ICAs – I thought there may be more but it has given me another idea for an ICA! Anyway, has a band ever had better opening tracks to their albums than The Clash? Janie Jones/Safe European Home/London Calling/The Magnificent Seven/Know Your Rights takes some beating – I could have picked any of them for this ICA. London Calling might be the obvious choice but to me it’s the right choice.

(JC interjects as it avoids taking up space in the comments section……..I’d go with New Order’s initial albums: Dreams Never End/Age of Consent/Love Vigilantes/Paradise/Fine Time/Regret)


(Opening track on SCREAMADELICA)

There’s only so many ways I can say “I love this song” as it’s true of every track on these ICAs. I’ve always thought Movin’ On Up was a bit of an anomaly on Screamdelica – the least druggy track – the most traditional one but also the logical place for the album to start – it’s probably the closest to what came before and what came after. And it sounds like a long lost classic that Primal Scream had covered – I guess I’m saying it’s timeless.


(Opening track on THE HEAD ON THE DOOR)

The Cure at their poppy best. Here’s a bit of trivia about the song title thanks to Wikipedia – “The single used “In Between Days”, whereas the album The Head on the Door uses “In Between Days” on the back of the album cover and the record label, and “Inbetween Days” on the inner sleeve.” I always thought it was Inbetween Days so I’m sticking with that. Anyway, it reminds me of school and my best mate – not for the lyrics – we never went out with the same girls but more that when we were young the joy of discovering and going to see all these bands together.


(Opening track on THE STONE ROSES)

Timeless. They sound so young yet so full of confidence. Rock n Roll Star? The Stone Roses aimed much higher – and achieved it. On their reunion shows, before a note was sung, the whole audience would be singing the guitar line to this – sort of elevating it into a communal celebration. Iconic. And what better way to end an ICA as will leave you wanting more.

And for completests here’s another ten that just missed out – which would make a pretty good volume 3.




A GUEST POSTING by jimdoes

What seems like a million years ago I did an ICA of final tracks on albums (ICA 176 – only 2 and a bit years ago)– and I said at the time I’d do an ICA of openers which I’ve eventually got round to. But it’s taken much longer than I thought and proven an impossible task getting it down to ten songs – so I’ve done two ICAs. When putting my list together I realised how many opening tracks were singles – I guess it helps listeners if they’ve got something familiar to start with. I’m not imagining that to be a problem with my ICAs – I’m sure most readers will know these songs and have their own favourite opening tracks but these are mine, starting with an ICA of opening tracks that weren’t singles.



(An ICA of opening tracks that were not singles)


(Opening track on THE SOFT BULLETIN)

It’s almost impossible to choose a first song of first songs – obviously any one of the following tracks could’ve been first but I’ve gone with a song that is a rush of pure joy and it’s a great pop record. It’s the sound of a band in transition and realising their potential. Letting loose. Going from weird druggy outsiders to weird druggy stadium fillers. Most importantly it still makes me smile and it’s the perfect intro to what some consider to be their masterpiece.


(Opening track on DOOLITTLE)

I was 19 when this record came out – they were already my favourite band, so imagine hearing this for the first time. Blew me away then – still blows me away today. It was eventually released as a single when their greatest hits album came out but at the time this was just the perfect intro to one of the greatest albums ever recorded.


(Opening track on LOW LIFE)

Confession – I’ve seen New Order live countless times but I wouldn’t call myself a massive fan. Generally I just know the singles. I’ve tried listening to their albums but maybe because as a teenager I didn’t get into them, they just don’t do anything for me. I couldn’t name any album tracks by New Order – except Love Vigilantes – I couldn’t even name another song off Low Life. But Love Vigilantes is a song I’ve always loved – I think it’s one of those songs that is familiar even if you’ve never heard it before – plus it tells a story with a twist (I won’t spoil the ending – just in case you’ve not heard it!!!).


(Opening track on GEORGE BEST)

The first song I ever heard by The Wedding Present. I bought George Best after I read about it in the NME. It remains one of my favourite tracks – the laugh halfway through, those jangling guitars, the down to earth lyrics, the whistle near the end and the long instrumental outro. It’s also got one of the best starts to a first track – Gedge’s “Oh why do you…” before the guitars kick in is sheer perfection.


(Opening track on THE QUEEN IS DEAD)

Ok I know the general feeling about the racist lead singer who will not be named and I tried to avoid including this song. But The Queen Is Dead remains one of the greatest opening tracks ever. And it’s not just the voice and the lyrics – they are great – but this is all about Marr, Joyce and Rourke. Lawnmower my arse.

(JC adds.…..the track is unavailable for posting on TVV…..jimdoes was OK when I told him this would be the case)


(Opening track on DEFINITELY MAYBE)

As statements of intent go, this has to be the best – debut album, all attitude, supremely confident.



“You’re about to witness the strength of street knowledge” – now, ain’t that the truth?


(Opening track on KID A)

What a song. Everything In It’s Right Place is the sound of a band confounding expectations and doing exactly what they want. Because they can. And it’s a band knowing exactly what they don’t want – they’d been listening to loads of WARP records and they wanted to leave their stadium indie behind. They most certainly didn’t want to be U2. On first listen this song shocks you – making you wonder what could come next – but it’s a real grower and has become one of my favourite Radiohead songs.


(Opening track on THE MAN COMES AROUND)

According to Wikipedia – “The song was inspired by a dream Cash had about Queen Elizabeth II in which the queen compared Cash to “a thorn tree in a whirlwind.” Haunted by the dream, Cash became curious if the phrase was a biblical reference and eventually found a similar phrase in the Book of Job.”

From the spoken word intro to the jaunty acoustic guitar, I love this song. One of the last songs Johnny Cash wrote as he was dying of cancer – it’s about Christ and the Day of Judgement – on paper that sounds like it’s going to be a really sad maudlin song but it is just so upbeat and makes me smile!


(Opening track on UNKNOWN PLEASURES)

This seemed the best opening track to be the closing track on the first of my first track ICAs. (Hope that makes sense!) I don’t imagine there’s a single VV reader that wouldn’t have this in their top ten opening tracks (non-singles version).




Jim facetimed today to offer congratulations. He knew I’ve been out of my mind about the election, as has everyone in the States. I tried–and failed–to explain my mixed responses to the long process culminating in Biden’s victory: befuddlement, outrage, hopefulness, worry, elation, relief, exhaustion. Jim says, “If you want to write it all down you know where to send it.” Here you go, brother. (JC adds…..this arrived with an hour of the phone call!!)


Goldie the Friendly Psychologist and I discuss the debates, the barnstorming, the reports and analysis leading up to Tuesday, November 3rd. She’s all in for the fight but I can’t bear Electioneering.

Goldie and I bet on whose ballot will be received first: She mails hers with extra postage and I drop mine off at a neighborhood ballot box. I lose: she gets an email saying hers has been received and will be counted. I have to wait another day before I’ve Got Mine.

I am swayed by Goldie’s unrelenting optimism. The polls are looking really good. Our friend Aliceann is wary on the Monday but I’m projecting confidence. “Don’t Worry About The Government” I jokingly text her.

And then it’s the 3rd. Goldie is upbeat as always but I’m getting the uneasy feeling that Something’s Gone Wrong Again.

As the day progresses it’s clear that the lopsided polls were All Wrong, and I’m sick, depressed, and stunned. Not Goldie. “It’ll be fine when they count the mail-in votes. Don’t worry.”

Meanwhile, The Waiting is killing me. I am plagued by the twin thoughts that Voldemort will win a second term and that all the wisdom I can muster in opposition is a Tom Petty lyric.

Goldie is unperturbed late into the evening. “We’re going to win,” she says with peremptory authority. I am wondering whether to crack another bottle but She Goes to Bed.

Thursday the 5th things are looking a little brighter. Will Anything Happen? Apparently not. Biden is stuck on 253 electoral votes all day long and the next day, too.

Friday night and still no announcements. The vote counts are turning the battleground States blue. Goldie takes it as a certain victory but I’m at my limit: “Just Tell Me When It’s Over.”

We wake up Saturday and Pennsylvania has declared for Biden, followed shortly by Nevada. JC rings and we muse about possible criminal convictions of the *President*. Whatever happens to him, at long last we can say Clowntime Is Over.

“I knew it all along,” says the beautiful Goldie, and goes off to walk the dog,

Songs linked to above:

Talking Heads
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Jason Falkner
The Dream Syndicate
Elvis Costello (of course)


JC adds……this has been an unexpected and essential late change to plans.  The R.E.M. series will return next Sunday.




JC writes…..

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the death of John Peel, someone who I don’t think needs any introduction.

Webbie, more than any other blogger, has used the anniversary to commemorate the great man, and he dropped me a note a few weeks back asking if I’d consider posting a guest ICA from him. It’s something I’m proud and honoured to do. Here he is to take you through things….

01. Positive Noise – Love Live Property (16th March 1981)

There are a few great lost bands out there, this Glasgow group being one of those. Formed in 1979, released a few singles and albums, a couple of Peel Sessions but they never quite broke through. This song is from their 2nd session, never released anywhere and should be heard everywhere.

02. Cinerama – Health And Efficiency (13th May 2001)

It is inevitible that I would include some of the obvious suspects in this compilation… When you think Peel Session the name of David Gedge would be one of those first that comes to mind. But as you can see not The Wedding Present but one of his side projects. Don’t know why this particular track, maybe just because when those guitars join in it is such a beautiful noise.

03. Nico – Frozen Warnings (11th February 1971)

Technically this was a Top Gear (the radio programme that was) appearance before it became the John Peel show. It is still a session recording though. There’s something about the pairing of the Harmonium and her voice which makes it more haunting.

04. Culture – Two Sevens Clash (22nd November 1988)

One of the many bands that were Peel favourites. Didn’t know this about the song until recently. From Wikipedia; “[the song]…was based on a prediction by Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the “sevens” met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day.”

05. Pavement – The Classical (21st August 1997)

Forgot what Mark E. Smith said about the band now… This is a cover version that might be better than the original. Not just because it erases the unfortunate lyrics (there’s an article on The Quietus which addresses that: – I still like to use the greeting “Hey there fuckface” though) But also because Pavement take that raw, slightly chaotic Fall track and make it into a West Coast-California indie sound, which in this case is no bad thing.

06. Cocteau Twins – Peep-Bo (29th August 1984)

Yes another Peel fave. This track has probably been mentioned quite a few times on T(n)VV. Song recorded for the session at the time as Peep-Bo but renamed later as Ivo.

07. The French – The Protons And The Neutrons (20th August 2003)

Included here because is it another that more people should hear. Couldn’t decide between this song or The English Head, another track on that session, Peelie made the decision with his comment after playing the tune.

The French was formed by Darren Hayman, an offshoot from the band Hefner. Like with Mr Gedge above, Haymen is one of the most prolific songwriters out there.

08. Box Of Toys – When Daylight Is Over (Sunset) (24th April 1983)

In the early 1980’s I lived in Liverpool. It was only a few years but what a time to be there. Nearly every pub, club and especially youth centre you walked past you could hear music from a band performing. A couple of years ago on the Keeping It Peel Website I’ve compiled some podcasts which in truth are actually mixtapes.

One of these pods/mixes was a labour of love. It looked at and tracked down some of those Liverpool bands played by Peel. It was via this project that I rediscovered a band I saw all those years ago. Another lost band which should have had more attention.

09. PJ Harvey – Rid Of Me (1st May 1992)

Another obvious favourite with possibly an obvious song selection, but this one, not a Peel Session in the strictest sense but included because it was performed live. In front of Peel, in his Radio 1 studio in London.

10. Half Man Half Biscuit – Mars Ultras, You’ll Never Make The Station (2nd June 1992)

Couldn’t decide between this and 24 Hour Garage People. Flipped a coin and the song with power drill accompaniment won.

11. Sophisticated Boom Boom – Surrender To Me (28th October 1981)

Yet another lost band. Named after a song by The Shangri-las. This all-girl band from Glasgow were more prolific with Peel Sessions (three) than vinyl releases (none). After they split up formed a new band called His Latest Flame, named after a song by Del Shannon.

12. Melys – Chinese Whispers (20th December 2001)

John Peel, along with TheRobster and his blog Is This The Life? has educated me about Welsh music. There are the familiar names such as SFA, Gorkys, Manics, but there are many others which should get more air time.

Melys are another group that should be as well know as the above. The band recently peformed live at home via Facebook and I asked them which of their many Peel Sessions was their favourite. All of them said their live performance at Peel Acres, which yes, yet again not *technically* a Peel Session but…

13. The Fall – Blindness (7th October 2004)

Taken from the repeat airing of the session. Not the last time he played The Fall but the last time he played this track. As Peelie says at the end; “There’s never been anything like this and there never will be again.”

14. The Rudies – (Top Gear) Session – 23rd November 1970

(Moon Bug / You Make Me So Very Happy / Patches / Oh Me Oh My)

This is a session that it is impossible to select just one of the songs. The entire thing is just perfection, every track is perfection.

15. Shellac – The End Of Radio (Maida Vale 2nd December 2004)

In what was scheduled to be a session to be recorded for John Peel, instead performed live as a tribute.