Thursday, June 21, 2018

It was 23 years ago today...




Well, almost 23 years ago today. Yes, way back in 1995 I went to my first ever music festival and started with the granddaddy of them all, Glastonbury. Coincidentally Glasto and I are the same age, although Glasto's probably in better shape than me.

My memories of the whole thing are a little hazy but I remember we were hopelessly ill prepared for it (well, we didn't buy our tickets from HMV in Brum until a week or two beforehand...yes, really). We hardly took any booze (fail), food (fail), money (mega fail...this was in the days before mobile cash points) and 1995 was hot, hot, hot.



We didn't even take any roll mats so slept on the rock hard ground. I've still got the bruises to prove it. Remarkably (I say remarkably as 'smart' phones hadn't been invented...imagine that eh kids?) there are a few homemade films of Glasto 95 on You Tube and it looks like a different world (mainly due to the absence of the aforementioned 'smart' phones that seem, along with the internet, to have sucked much of the living in the moment fun out of the world in my humble opinion). Here's a delightfully 'old skool' Super 8 film of a bunch of lads from Caversham. I love the caption at the end, 80,000 people attended and tickets were £65. Good grief. I bet you couldn't get an organic emu burger for that these days. 



Oh yes, who did we see. Good point. Well we certainly saw Pulp, Dodgy, Jamiroquai, Supergrass, Billy Bragg. I have vague memories of watching at least some of Jeff Buckley's set and seeing Captain Sensible in a tent up in the Green Fields. We watched a lot of circus stuff, a little comedy...did we see the legendary Malcolm Hardee?...hmmmm, maybe. I'm ashamed to say that we were so battered and broke by the whole experience that we came home on the Sunday evening but valuable lessons had been learnt and when we do make it along to a festival these days we take enough food and drink to keep a small army satisfied for a week. And wet wipes. ALWAYS take wet wipes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Assist - All That I Need




How's this for an existential banger eh? Walsall's very own The Assist are back with the kind of track that's practically screaming out to be played in front of millions of festival goers all hugging each other, mashed off their tits on cider and William Hague's private stash. Sounds like a good night out to me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

David Bowie - Little Wonder




I was reading an article about underappreciated albums in some magazine the other night and Bowie's Earthling cropped up. To be honest most of Bowie's stuff from the late 80s until his final two releases isn't really played much these days which is a bit of a shame. On the one hand stuff like Little Wonder sounds a little dated now (Drum 'n' Bass-tastic) but on the other I remember how much it annoyed some of the old Bowie purists when it came out which, I guess, was one of the reasons why he did it. Whatever his motivation it's not a bad track. If 90s Bowie floats yer boat check out Jump from another underrated album, Black Tie White Noise too, a mere 25 years old this year. Good grief. 



Friday, June 15, 2018

They think it's all over...if only.




Oh good grief. It's started. Six ruddy weeks of football. I'm not a fan of sports, watching or participating, so things like the World Cup leave me pretty cold. I'll watch the odd England game though, just in the vague hope that the team doesn't totally humiliate the entire country. But in the 48 years I've been on planet Earth they've pretty much been consistently hopeless. Still, football's inspired a few half decent songs so I'm prepared to embrace it...just for today (NB: Okay, I'm pretty sure A Tribe Called Quest weren't inspired by the 'beautiful game' but this track sort of fits). 













Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CD or nor CD...that is the question




We’ve had the vinyl revival, we’ve had the tape revival but will there ever be a revival in CD’s fortunes eh? If you frequent charity shops as much as I do you’ll have seen the prices of CDs plummet in recent years. Just a couple of weeks ago I picked up three decent double disc compilation albums and a single disc compilation for a quid. That’s SEVEN CDs for a pound. Nuts eh? Okay that may be fairly unusual but it’s not hard to find CDs for a 50p or £1 each, sometimes they’re pretty recent too (I’m guessing someone buys them, loads the music onto a digital music player and then dumps the physical version?). Compared to most digital downloads the sound quality of a CD’s vastly superior and, although it lacks the warmth of vinyl, let’s be honest it also lacks the snap, crackle and pop too. 

Of course there’s still nothing like the ceremony of slipping an LP or single out of its sleeve, gently placing it on the turntable and delicately lowering the needle onto the record but popping a CD out of its case and onto the little plastic tray at least involves some kind of interaction between you and the music plus you’ve...er...got a cute little booklet to read and a plastic case to pop your drink on too. Awwww bless. 

The collectors’ market for CDs is surely set to explode soon, especially as most of the CD singles sold in the 90s are probably now residing in a hole in the ground somewhere, and yet those little silver discs that just a few short years ago were...whooooooo...‘the future’ are now just about as popular as syphilis. I don’t get it but equally I don’t particularly care. I’m currently filling my boots with bags and bags of cut price music and doing my little bit for ‘charidee’ along the way. Result.

PS: If you’re wondering why there's a video for Bikini Kill's classic Rebel Girl track above this gibberish it's because I picked up a copy of the band's 'The C.D. Version of the First Two Records' from British Heart Foundations' Exeter Branch for 99p on Saturday, along with similarly bargain priced Bad Brains and Babes In Toyland albums. 

PPS: The CD revival start here. Possibly. 
  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Babysnakes - The Reluctant Traveller...coming soon to Snooky Fest!




Can't believe it's just over a month until Snooky Fest (huge congratulations to Snooky Fest's Caz Steffans on her British Empire Medal in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List 2018 by the way). Tickets are flying out like seagulls after a pasty so grab one while you still can (a ticket that is...not a seagull...) right here. Just like last year there's a great mix of bands, the sunshine's guaranteed (honest) and they'll be enough cider to keep me happy (that'll be about three pints these days...lightweight...still, I'm a cheap date). Here's a little Snooky Fest promo to get you in the mood.



Friday, June 08, 2018

Chungking - Making Music




No Friday banger this week, more of a Friday chill out courtesy of Chungking and their criminally underrated classic Making Music. Why this wasn't a massive hit is beyond me. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Olivia Midnight (Kids Interview Bands) RIP




I never met Olivia, one of the original Kids Interview Bands interviewers, but I spent many a happy hour watching the interviews they did with bands great and small. So when I logged onto Facebook this morning and saw that she'd suddenly passed away (I'm guessing she was just 17 or 18) I was...well...words fail me. I can't begin to imagine what her family's going through right now but if there's any crumb of comfort to come out of this then it's the fact that she did a hell of a lot more in her all too brief life than most people her age...or any age for that matter. RIP Olivia. 

PS: You can check out all of Olivia's (and her co-interviewer Connie's...and Piper, Olivia's younger sister and current Kids Interview Bands interviewer) interviews right here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Queen - I'm Going Slightly Mad




For various reasons this track's buzzing around my befuddled brain right now. Queen's later work rarely gets played these days which is a bit of a shame as it's fascinating stuff, albeit tinged with the sad fact that dear old Freddie knew his days were numbered. This vid's pretty uncomfortable to watch at times but then again he clearly loved what he was doing even as AIDS was sucking the very life out of him so let's not get too maudlin eh?

Friday, June 01, 2018

Jobriath - Amazing Dope Tales




How did I miss a whole album of unreleased Jobriath tracks coming out back in 2014? I blame old age. Anyway this is a 100% bone fide glam rock classic. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tower of Power - You've Got To Funkifize




Came across a lovely slice of vintage James Brown style funk courtesy of the mighty Tower Of Power whilst trawling through some of the squillion albums I've somehow accumulated over the past...good grief...38 or so years of collecting. Play it loud and get yo' funk on!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Panatical - Get Lucky




For various reasons I don't get to see much live music at the moment so when I heard the distant sound of a steel drum version of Daft Punk's Get Lucky drifting over the garden wall at Baron Towers I had to go and investigate. It turns out it was a school band called Panatical from Hampshire who've played, amongst other places, the Albert Hall, Radio 2 and Chris Evans' Car Fest thingy. They went on to play a dizzying array of tracks for almost three hours (all from memory I hasten to add) and were ruddy brilliant. A huge slap on the back for whoever booked them to play Dawlish Artsfest this year.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Parquet Courts - Wide Awake




Here's one for the file marked 'Great singles by a band I've never had any interest in before and quite possibly won't again'. It's a bit post punk / no wavey and will no doubt get used to advertise something unspeakable awful like the new i-Phone but there we go, welcome to the 21st century.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Hot Hot Heat - Bandages




Blimey...it's almost hot today. What's going on eh? Anyone would think it was summer. Shhhhh don't tell anyone. Anyway, today's blast from the past comes from the suitably named Hot Hot Heat who were ruddy great when I saw them a mere 15 years ago. Sadly they packed it in back in 2016 but we'll always have 'bag of jizz' to remember them by...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Soft Cell - L'Esqualita




No idea why this track popped into my head wandering the beaches of Dawlish this morning but who knows how the human mind - especially mine - works eh? This is especially for anyone out there who thinks that Soft Cell only ever did Tainted Love. It's a little different n'est ce pas?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gwenno - Eus Keus




It's still pretty rare to hear a track sung in anything but English on the radio these days so gwrys yn ta to Gwenno and 6Music for giving the Kerneweck language a chance. I particularly love the fact that the track translates as 'Is there cheese' and apparently a t-shirt bearing the legend 'Eus Keus' is quite the fashion item amongst those in the know. 

Old buggers like me may well remember Gwenno from her Pipette days. Here she is pulling shapes...



Friday, May 11, 2018

Cornershop - Brimful of Asha (DJ Ivan Scratchin' Remix)




Itttttttttttttttttttttttttt's Friday. And what better way to celebrate than an ever so slightly cheesy (or maybe that should be paneery) mix of Cornerhop's seminal classic Brimful of Asha eh? Another Friday banger to dance around in yer pants to.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Michael Jablonka - Flump




After yesterday's excursion into glossy 80s jazz pop here's something a lot rawer (and newer), Michael Jablonka's latest release, Flump, a kind of  rocky/bluesy bastard grandson of Hendrix and Nirvana with a little added glam for good measure. Play it LOUD!

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Julia Fordham - Where Does The Time Go?




You can say that again Julia. Not only are we almost half way through 2018 but at 48 the chances are I'm considerably well over half way through this thing called L - I - F - E too. Ah well, whattya gonna do eh? Fegeddaboutit.

Back in 1988 I had a bit of a thing for Julia Fordham. Okay so her music may well have soundtracked a million yuppie (remember them?) dinner parties but I'm a sucker for glossily produced jazz tinged beauties like this one.

Oh go on then, let's have a little Happy Ever After too, a massive number 27 smash hit back in the day.



Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Sunflower Bean - Twentytwo




It's been some considerable time since I was 22, 26 years on Monday in fact (yes, it's my 48th birthday...cards, rum, warped vinyl all gratefully received). Good grief. But I'm still loving the new single from Sunflower Bean, one of those bands whose singles I've pretty much all loved but whose name somehow slips my mind whenever anyone asks me what I'm listening to these days. That's old age for you.

I wasn't a huge fan of my 20s or 30s. Bloody hard work and a whole lifetime of slog stretching out ahead of you. Of course it's a lot worse for the poor sods who are in their 20s these days. A pension age that's likely to exceed your life expectancy, house prices beyond the reach of most and rising rents that suck up pretty much every penny you earn, especially if you've got one of those lovely 'zero hours contracts'. Oh happy days. Youth isn't so much wasted on the young these days but imposed on the unlucky buggers.

Maybe that's why so much new music these days is either pretty low key and reflective (see the Sunflower Bean track above for instance) or an escapist piece of auto tuned fluff that always seems to 'feature' some bloke who wanders on and raps badly (also known as doing a Sean Paul). By contrast my 40s haven't been too bad. Okay there have been one or two hiccups along the way but I spent a good 5 years of my 40s going to more gigs, shows and festivals than I had hot dinners and I'll either fall off my perch at some stage in the next 20 years or slip into a retirement and take up position at Ye Old Cider Bar. Result! Anyway, that's enough reflection for one year, here are a few more Sunflower Bean's classics...







Monday, April 30, 2018

Gallows - Orchestra of Wolves



Trawling through an old hard drive the other week I came across some gig photos that I took years and years ago with the cheapest digital camera in the world. Unsurprisingly most of the shots looked like a dog's dinner but occasionally one or two wouldn't turn out half bad, like the shot above from Gallows Bar Academy gig waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2007. Now that was a gig. Remember this one?



Thursday, April 26, 2018

White Witches - This Song Will Kill You




Sparks meets Steve Harley in a lock up garage just on the outskirts on Brighton, that's as good a description as I can come up for White Witches' new song taken from their even newer album Heironymus Anonymous, available to order right here right now. If the lead singer sounds familiar you may remember him from his days in the legendary Pink Grease. Here's a little reminder...awesome stuff. 



Monday, April 23, 2018

Mattiel - Count Your Blessings




It's Monday! Er...hurrah! Here's a nice little earworm that's currently going round and round in what's left of my brain. I don't know a huge amount about Mattiel but this track's got a lovely 60s-ish feel, shades of Nancy Sinatra at her Bang Bang best perhaps? Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New beginnings for The Day Ends...live this Saturday!



With a set that promises 19...count 'em...19!!!!...new songs...a new bass amp and a band that's "clean shaven (everywhere)"...ahem...The Day Ends play live this Saturday at The Station in Kings Heath. And it's only bloody free too! Get in there.

Here's an oldie but a goody to get you in the mood.




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pete Williams @ The Rep Studio, Saturday April 14th 2018




Me? At a real live gig? Yep, that actually happened. In fact I even managed a freebie jazz gig (Ric Yarborough) at The Symphony Hall on Friday evening too. Niiiiiiiiiiiice.

It was all thanks to a brief return trip to my old home city of Brumingham and blimey...hasn't the place changed. The new/old library (depending on your age) has gone and is being replaced by one of the most boring building ever constructed but Grand Central (aka New Street) is a vast improvement though and generally, two and a half years after I was last there, Brum looked/seemed like a city on the up.

Speaking of being on the up tonight Pete Williams and band were better than ever with a set that mixed old favourites with tantalising slices of musical magic from the new album (due out in June apparently). As I've pretty much given up reviewing gigs for now I didn't bother taking any notes but one track in particular, which may have been called Twice Around the Bend, stood out as an absolute belter.

I've long since given up trying to figure out how/why some artists end up playing stadiums whilst others are lucky to fill a small toilet cubical (not that The Rep Studio falls into that category, au contraire, it's a decent sized venue that seemed to be pretty much sold out this evening) but if anyone deserves a big break I can't think of a better bloke than Pete Williams to get it.

PS: You can watch a vid of one of the set's highlights right here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pete Williams! Live! This Saturday!




Attention Midlands based friends, the wonderful Mr Pete Williams is playing at The Rep Studio this Saturday evening April 14th and unveiling new songs - like this little beauty - from his forthcoming album. Tickets are a mere £15 right here right now but best get in quick!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Sparks - Wonder Girl




Currently reading a fine biog of Sparks, Talent Is An Asset, which prompted me to go snuffling about the darkest corners of the internet...that'll be You Tube then...for some early footage of the band. I found this little clip. If you thought Ron Mael looked scary during their mid 70's prime cop a load of his look here. Quite what the German public made of a man with a Hitler moustache, long curly hair and eye liner glaring at them through the TV screen I'd love to know. Freeze the vid at 27 seconds in for the full effect.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Love Gotten - Bokito




Wild Beasts may be dead and buried but if you like a little nuts in a nutcracker high voiced tropically tinged loveliness cop a listen to Love Gotten by BOKITO. It's enough to make you think summer's just around the corner...that's a hint if you're reading this 'mother nature'...I think we've all had enough of your Beasts From The Easts, Pests From The Wests and Complete And Utter Bastards From the Norths to last us a lifetime don't you?

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Snooky Fest 2018!




Chuffed to see that Snooky Fest is back on Saturday July 14th for a second year after a hugely impressive debut and early bird tickets are on sale right now for a frankly bargaintastic £15. The line up's still to be announced but a top notch and varied bill's pretty much 100% guaranteed. Here's a quick highlight from last year's Snooky Fest...



And don't forget that Snooky Fest exists to raise money to help 18-40 year olds with any form of physical illness in Dawlish and Devon so it's a ruddy great cause too! Get in there.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vitamin C - Can




Well, it is from the album EGE Bamyasi...EGE...EGGY...EASTER...geddit? Oh well, nevermind.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Cosmo Sheldrake - Come Along




Heard this chap on Cerys' show on 6Music a couple of weeks ago and meant to post it last week but, ya know, time and stuff. It's a jaunty little number, slight echoes of Momus perhaps, accompanied by a truly disturbing vid. Best not to watch it before lunch. Or after lunch. Or  if you're ever planning to eat again for that matter. Still, a great track!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Easy Rippin - The Day Ends



"EASY RIPPIN" by THE DAY ENDS from The Day Ends on Vimeo.

Chuffed sideways to hear a new track from The Day Ends...no, scratch that, not just a new track but a whole new genre...Post Blues Psych Punk. And you lucky Midlands based peeps have a chance to see it played live (possibly, Miles Perhower might well have write an entirely new set over the next few days) this weekend in yet another cracking edition of Sunday Xpress. Get stuck in ya muthas.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Fearless Flyers - Ace Of Aces




How funking funky is this? Funking funky that's how funky it is. Funk me. And how come I've not heard of Cory Wong before? Funking ridiculous.




Thursday, March 15, 2018

Quantic & Alice Russell with the Combo Barbaro - Look Around The Corner




Heard this again for the first time in ages on the ever reliable 6 Music yesterday and thought it deserved a quick post, especially as we could all do with its distinctly summertime vibe over the weekend when we're apparently going to be blasted by the ruddy 'beast from the east' once more. Bugger me the shops round here still haven't recovered from the last lot yet.

PS: Is it just me or does this track have a bit of a Les Fleur vibe? 



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

AKA George - Manic Machine




AKA George (aka the artist formerly known as George Barnett) is back, back, back with a brand new single and, well, it's a bit of an (Ed) banger (see what I did there...no...oh alright then). I think there's a rude word at 1 minute 22 seconds so you may not want to blast it out at work or in front of the Vicar...but fuck it, who gives a fuck eh? Clearly not the sweet little old lady in the video...

Friday, March 09, 2018

Can't stop the weekend...




After last week's apocalyptic weather I'm looking forward to getting out and about this weekend so here's a little blast of Red Hot Chili Peppers to kick things off. I lost count of the number of times I listened to this track when I was working in an office in the 'glamorous' world of advertising back in the noughties but I'm guessing it's in four figures at the very least. And I still love it. "This life is more than just a read through". Wise words. Mine's a pint of Hogfather.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

NME RIP




It's been a long time coming sadly but today whichever global mega corporation owns the tattered remains of the NME has announced that it's to stop printing any more copies after this week's issue, effectively ending 66 years of music history.

I bought and read the NME for years, decades even. I stopped after one of the many tiresome relaunches but still flicked through copies in WHSmith from time to time, which took all of three minutes. And that was the problem. There was bugger all in there for the £2 or whatever it was they wanted you to part with every week.

I stated reading it again when it became free though and occasionally picked up some decent new music tips from it, even if it meant ploughing through 20 pages of 'advertising promotions in association with VO5'. I know we're all supposed to believe that 'print' is dead but there's still something sad about knowing that bands in the future won't be able to see themselves on NME's hallowed pages.

In the words of Ash's new single - a band who appeared on the cover of NME on more than one occasion - what a buzz kill eh?
 

Friday, March 02, 2018

Rumba De Bodas - Freaky Funky




It's Freaky Funky Friday people! And thank Freaky Funky for that eh? If you're UK based the chances are you've just endured some of the shittiest March weather since...well...forever...so in anticipation of the temperature climbing to a sizzling 5 degrees centigrade this weekend dance around in yer pants to the brand new one from Bologna's best, Rumba De Bodas. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Table Scraps - I'm A Failure




A nice slice of slacker garage grunge to warm the cockles of whichever part of your anatomy might be frozen from Brum's very own Table Scraps! Right now I'm a failure at keeping frickin' warm...hmmmm...maybe I should slam dance the walls to this track? Hold on...yep...that helped...much warmer...a broken shoulder but at least it's a warm broken shoulder.

PS: Table Scrap's new album Autonomy is out now on Zen Ten Records baby.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Bleeder - Balaban and the Bald Illeagles




On the off chance that you've not frozen completely solid here's a spanking new track from Balaban and the Bald Illeagles. It's billed by the band as a bit of a mash up between Joy Division and REM...and when bands say that it usually sounds bugger all like anything of the sort...but blow me backwards (blow me any way you want actually, I'm easy) it really does has a bit of a Love Will Tear Us Apart meets Shiny Happy People vibe. Nice one!

PS: Never has a band made a lyric like "Let the demons devour you whole' sound so ruddy appealing. La di dah lah di dah lah di dahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sunflower Bean - Crisis Fest




Watched a few minutes of The Brits this week. Lord help us all. I know it's not aimed at people of 'my age' but please, do the world a favour and stop churning out this tripe. I'm talking about the show and a lot of the music too by the way. Embarrassing. Thankfully there's plenty of good music still being made, like this little glam pop punk beauty from Sunflower Bean. Enjoy!

PS: Quite partial to The Orielles at the moment too...





PPS: Hookworms too...



PPPS: Oh hell, just listen to 6 Music and be done with it.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Psychic TV - I.C Water




How this passed me by I don't know but I've just discovered that one of my personal heroes/heroines Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, lead singer and one of the creative forces behind Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, is suffering from chronic leukaemia. I had the very great pleasure of meeting them back in Brum and, although they're unlikely to ever read this, I just wanted to send some positive vibes their way. All the very best Gen. x

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Kate Bush - Moments of Pleasure




This might not be one of Bush's best known tracks but it's arguably one of her best. It's very easy in life to focus on the crap stuff, after all there's plenty of it, but just taking time to...yes...enjoy the odd moment of pleasure is pretty much what it's all about when you think about it. Press play, shut your eyes and enjoy 6 minutes and 39 seconds of pure bliss.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Another one bites the dust...just 4 more months of The Flapper




Well, the writing's been on the wall for a while now (and I don't just mean in the men's loos) but very sadly The Flapper's confirmed that it's closing in June to make way for yet more oh so vital apartments that some investor on the other side of the world will no doubt snap up and then leave empty for 20 years. Oh what a jolly wheeze eh? This shit's going on all over the place right now and I suspect that within the next 10 years most of the remaining small to medium sized independent music venues will have gone the same way.

I can't begin to count the number of great gigs I saw at The Flapper (and Firkin)...Add N to X, Bis, Editors, Catatonia, Idlewild (on the first night of their very first national tour...they rang Steve Lamacq live on Radio One from a payphone nearby...yes, it was THAT long ago), Acid Mothers Temple, Misty's Big Adventure (I first discovered them there...back in 2000?), Arab Strap, The Computers, Doll and the Kicks, Everything Everything, Miles Hunt, Dodgy, O Children, Off The Cuff Festivals...but the place has been hosting live music since 1969 so lord knows how many bands got their big break there too.

They say you can't halt progress but what kind of progress is this eh? Nowhere for new bands and artists to play live means, well, no more great new live bands. Welcome to the future people. A world where 'acts' are manufactured in a lab by HUGE corporations, fans sucked in and brainwashed via the internet and then the whole thing rolled straight out into MASSIVE venues owned by...oh yes... the HUGE corporations who'll charge you £75 for a seat...a fucking seat...at a fucking gig...half a mile from the stage.

And where are soundmen/women and new promoters supposed to cut their teeth eh? Budding gig photographers and reviewers? With an ever decreasing network of small to medium sized venues across the UK how many bands will be able to scrape a living together an afford to put on a tour? I could bang on and on about this but I'm guessing if you're reading this you're on the same age. For now though if you've ever been to The Flapper as a performer, punter or drinker let's celebrate what it meant and mourn the loss of yet another chunk of Brum's musical past, present and, perhaps most sadly of all, future.

PS: I picked the vid to accompany this piece partly because it was filmed in The Flapper, partly because I love Misty's and...well partly because if Birmingham City Council doesn't start doing some 'wising up' of its own all that will be left of the City's nightlife will be the bloody nightclubs of Broad Street. God help us all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Day Ends need you!




As part of their ongoing mission to bring their particular brand of musical magic / madness / mayhem / mayonnaise to the wider world The Day Ends are planning to remove the safety nets altogether and start live streaming all kinds of freaky shit via You Tube. Sadly Mr Tube requires that before they can do this they need a minimum number of subscribers. That's where you come in. Just click on this link, hit subscribe and bathe in the warm glow of knowing you might well be giving the world the musical enema it needs right now.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Youth Man - I Don't Know



Now signed to Alcopop! Records and with a tour in the offing Youth Man are back with a brand new track that's quite possibly the best thing they've ever done. No, scratch that, it IS the best thing they've ever done. With an intro that nods back to the very best of Television and Wire the song's chorus blends a surprisingly harmonious backing vocal with lead singer Kaila Whyte trademark primal scream to create something that'll make your ears melt into a sticky puddle round yer feet. Find me a better new release this month and I'll eat Donald Trump's toupee. 

You can listen to I Don't Know right here...I did try to embed the song on this post but...er...I Don't Know how to...spooky eh?

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Go-Kart Mozart - When You're Depressed




I've been trying to find a version of Go-Kart Mozart's latest track Relative Poverty that I can stick up here but without success so let's plump for last year's When You're Depressed instead. Apparently, according to Go-Kart Mozart's record label Cherry Red, 2018's the year of Lawrence (the band's cult lead singer, who also fronted Felt and Denim dontcha know). Let's hope it is, the world could do with a little more Lawrence and lord knows the poor bloke deserves his day in the sun...heck he's been wearing those shades in preparation for long enough...almost 40 years in fact. No wonder he's depressed. 





Monday, February 05, 2018

Somewhere it's over for The Rainbow...




This has been rumbling on for a while now but if The Rainbow Venues in Digbeth do remain closed after the revocation of its licence/s it will be one of the most short sighted decisions Birmingham City Council will have ever made...and bear in mind this is a Council that paid its female employees less money than its male employees for years eventually landing itself with a £750million bill. Genius.

Of course it's very sad that a couple of people lost their lives at The Rainbow Venues through drugs but very sadly people lose their lives through all kinds of reckless behaviour on a daily basis. I mean every year numerous individuals pop their clogs during marathons...and we going to ban these now? How many people die on the roads ever year? Hey, let's ban cars too. In fact the outside world's a pretty dangerous place...let's force everyone to stay indoors, that'll keep the death rate down...as long as no one tries to do any DIY. Deadly that is. 

I don't live in Brum any more but I still care about what happens to the place that I had the pleasure to call home for almost half a century. Shutting down somewhere that gave many thousands of people pleasure, employed hundreds and enriched Brum's cultural scene no end is utterly senseless. Unless of course the land's being eyed up by developers who want to build more flats. Cynical? Me? Hmmmm.
 
Anyway, a website's been set up to try to overturn this ridiculous decision so head on over to http://www.educatenotrevocate.com/ and show them some love.

PS: Not sure if Floorplan's ever played The Rainbow Venues but I really don't need an excuse to stick this track up. Proof that the devil doesn't always have the best tunes.



Thursday, February 01, 2018

XTC...that was pop




Finally got round to watching the XTC doc This Is Pop last week, well worth your time if you've got an hour or two to spare. If it weren't for Andy Partridge's must publicised meltdown (caused when a well meaning girlfriend flushed his valium down the loo...as you do) who knows how big they'd have been but my money's on a REM level of fame and fortune. As it is they remain something of a cult act which, given their run of awesome singles in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, is nothing short of an international disgrace.  I can't imagine that anyone reading this isn't familiar with the band's output but just in case cop a load of these beauties...











Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ezra Furman - Suck The Blood From My Wound




Like MGMT's Time To Pretend's twisted sister Ezra Furman's latest, the radio friendly (ahem) Suck The Blood From My Wound is, well, bloody brilliant. I was lucky enough to see him live a couple of years back (yes, I know, me at a live gig...) and he's the kind of gutsy, give it 100%, get it all out there artist that the world's quite frankly crying out for these days. There's a touch of Springsteen about him, albeit a Springsteen in a bit of lippie and a feather boa, and it's not difficult to imagine him playing a ruddy great stadium one day. Oh alright then, maybe not, but we can all live in hope eh?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mark E Smith RIP




There will be lots written about the legendary front man of The Fall over the coming hours, days and weeks (there already has been) by people far more eloquent and knowledgeable than me (not difficult I'll grant you). Of course his death wasn't unexpected. Increasingly frail he'd been forced to cancel a number of shows recently but somehow you hoped that Mr G. Reaper Esq. would simply give up and walk away leaving Smith to carry on ranting and raving until the end of time.



Sadly it's not to be but his passing is something that should be celebrated not mourned. I never met him but I saw The Fall on three separate occasions, in the 90s, noughties and 10s, I bought a lot of the albums and lapped up any interview I could find with the man. Whilst you might not have agreed with everything he said he was totally true to himself throughout his 40+ year career and absolutely, resolutely refused to suck up to anyone, fans or enemies alike. In fact often the more people gushed over him the more cantankerous he was with them.



Clearly he lived life exactly the way he wanted to off stage as well, drinking, smoking, shagging (presumably...although the first two might well have interfered with the last one) and in this increasingly PC, health obsessed, fun fearing world he was like a breath of fresh...okay, maybe not fresh but you get my drift...air. We really will never see his like again. Of course I've not even mentioned the music yet. Confrontational, bizarre, unique, cult listening that somehow remained surprisingly listenable to, at least to my gig damaged ears.



And, no matter what the line up (The Fall ploughed through over 60 members), it always, always sounded like The Fall. RIP Mr Smith. 



Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Billy Joel - Scandinavian Skies




Depending on your age the chances are that you'll know Billy Joel for one of three tracks, Piano Man, Uptown Girl or We Didn't Start The Fire, but you might not be familiar with the distinctly Magical Mystery Tour era Beatles-ish Scandinavian Skies. I've only got it on CD (remember them?) but I can imagine it'd sound particularly mind melting on vinyl. Oh well, there's another good excuse to trawl a few more record fairs this year. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Peter Wyngarde RIP




Okay he may be better known as an actor and all round chap than a singer but Peter Wyngarde, who's passed away at the grand old age of 90...or maybe 87...or possibly 93...most of his life is a little shrouded in mystery...did release one extraordinary record in the year of my birth. If you've not heard it you can listen to most of the tracks on You Tube, you may want to play Golden Throats through your earplugs though. Ahem.

Whilst we're on the subject of the lovely Mr Wyngarde let's have the shagadelic Jason King theme tune too. Groovy baby.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Creative Funk - Breezies




Just look at that. A beauty isn't it eh? A genuine 1970s deep funk 7 inch single in all it's glory. Sadly it's not mine and I have to make do with a You Tube clip but it still sounds as funky as hell even through my ageing laptop...and ears.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dolores O'Riordan RIP




If you're a fan of troubled Irish musicians yesterday must have been particularly bitter sweet. Early in the evening the death of The Cranberries lead singer Dolores was announced at just 46 years old. No more information has yet been released but sadly given her recent well documented troubles it may well not have been natural causes. Then just a few hours later Shane MacGowan had a bit of a knees up for his 60th birthday and Sinead O'Conner (now going by the name of Magda Davitt) showed up.



Like Dolores Sinead/Magda's had a torrid few years so let's hope the huge outpouring of support she received goes some way to aiding her recovery. Amazingly MacGowan himself even managed to sing a song, albeit with some support from Nick Cave. It has to be said that Shane really doesn't look good but then again at 60 years old and with 40 odd years of non stop boozing behind him it's quite frankly a miracle he's still here at all.



Friday, January 12, 2018

Tonight! Live! The Day Ends and Balaban and the Bald Illeagles!



Sadly it's a little too far for me to make these days but if you're in or around the Stourbridge area tonight get along to Claptrap for a trio of bands, including the incomparable The Day Ends. It's just £2 to get in too. TWO ROTTEN QUID. Now that's what I call a January sale.

I suspect The Day Ends may well have a totally new set and line up tonight, that's the kind of band they are, but here's a Sleaford Mods baiting cut from last year.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Black day indeed...




Many will know that today's the second anniversary of the death of David Bowie but it's also the date on which Colin Vearncombe (aka Black) suffered the devastating brain injury (in a car crash) that ended his life a couple of weeks later. I'm reasonably convinced that, had he lived, Colin was ripe for rediscovery. Of course Wonderful Life's a pretty great song to be remembered for but his entire back catalogue's littered with low key but mournfully beautiful tracks, like this little gem:



"Life should never feel small"...wise words. RIP.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Go! Team - Mayday




Pretty sure I'll be preaching to the converted (or quite possibly the perverted) here but if you haven't heard some of the fruits of The Go! Team's new album do your ears a favour and get stuck in. Pretty much every track they've ever done's an absolute belter and this one, Mayday, is quite possibly the best since the mighty T.O.R.N.A.D.O



Thursday, January 04, 2018

Tune-Yards - Look At Your Hands




Okay so the tune's been around for a few weeks now but the album's out this month so that's a good enough excuse to pop Tune-Yards' Look At Your Hands up on here. It's a little bit soulful, it's a little bit 80s...well quite a lot 80s actually...and more than a little bit brilliant. If nothing else it should make this first week back at work just that bit easier. Enjoy!

PS: Here's the rather awesome vid for ABC, another track from the album. Probably best not to microwave your own head though...just a suggestion.



Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Arise Sir Marc...




Chuffed to hear that Marc Almond's finally been recognised in the New Year's Honours list for his almost 40 year career and charity work with Headway. Okay so it might not be a Knighthood yet but at this rate he'll be Sir Marc before he gets his telegram from the Queen / King...