New album review: Fire Behind The Curtain by Adam Stafford

The album title comes from a line in “Strangers Care When You Burn” whose story takes place at a wake with the narrator reflecting on the funeral with words like “a life summarised by a stranger in 30 minutes.” It’s the kind of powerful observational poetry former Arab Strap man Aidan Moffat does very well but here it is the only non-instrumental track on the album. For the rest of the album, it’s down to the music alone to create the mood. The album is dedicated to “anyone who has ever been hungover, down-and-out, running from themselves, running for their life, trapped in prisons internal/external” and its creator has had a long struggle with depression and severe dyslexia.   There are signs of struggle throughout, tension between the harmonious and the discordant and Stafford uses a dizzying sonic palette to achieve this atmosphere.

Most of the tracks are built around the 3 R’s as defined by The Fall: “repetition repetition and repetition.” Opening track “An Abacus Designed To Calculate Infinity” starts with a simple repeating figure music-box figure and a string quartet, soon joined by a buoyant piano line and a jaunty whistled melody. Two minutes into the album and I’m already hearing echoes of New York minimalism, classic film scores “Requiem for a Dream” and the carillon from “For a Few Dollars More”, Bjork’s “Vespertine” experiments with music-boxes and turn-of-the-millenium grab-bag anything-goes sample traders like Lemon Jelly and The Avalanches. By the time the track has concluded we’ve also heard distorted drum machines and sheets of MBV-like guitar noise.

 

Snaking guitar lines phasing and shifting over each other kick off “Zero Disruption” and are later joined by a choir reminiscent of Trio Bulgarka’s contributions to Kate Bush’s “The Sensual World” album or the fantastic all-female choir Bjork toured with a few years ago. Stafford took the track’s title from a self-help relaxation CD and says “the voices are meant to sound like alarms going off, and the track as a whole is based on panic and auditory hallucinations.” Conversely, I found it one of the most light-hearted calming pieces on the album. Have a listen for yourself here.

 

Another of the album’s more accessible tracks is “Sails Cutting Through An Autumn Night” which takes shape around a straightforward repetition of B and E and adds more and more overlapping layers of melodic invention and had me thinking of both The Durutti Column and Zbigniew Preisner’s brilliant and beautiful score for “The Secret Garden.”

The most straightforward “rock” and the only track to feature an actual 4/4 drumbeat is the charmingly titled “Museum of Grinding Dicks” which features a repeated bluesy riff. The combination of primal drums, bass guitar and saxophone calls to mind the much-missed Morphine and when the rest of the percussion kicks in it could be the Bad Seeds or Polly Harvey in full on talking-to-fish-about-her-drowned-daughter mode.

Far more challenging and disturbing music can be found on tracks like “Penshaw Monument” where effects-laden beatboxing and indistinguishable chanted words combine with animalistic shrieks, bird calls and weird distorted Exorcist-style incantations for nearly 11 minutes. Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well.

Oh dear, what has Maradona done now?

 

Equally unusual but probably my favourite track on the album is “Witch Hunt.” Clocking in at 9 minutes, it starts with a repeated triplet guitar figure similar to Portishead’s brilliant “The Rip” and features more beatboxing, strings, several electric guitars, a choir singing “la la la”s and some weird cuckoo noises. Following the quiet-loud-quiet formula very well, it is consistently interesting and like Steve Reich’s music that clearly influenced it, you hear new melodies and interactions between phrases on every listen.

A special mention is required for The Pumpkinseeds string quartet and in particular their cellist and arranger Pete Harvey. This album would be very good without the strings but it is these arrangements that make the album into something really special. From the light rhythmic pizzicato of “Rivers Searches Into The Night” to the sinister microtonal “Fanfare For The Mourning Tallow” the strings are never cliched or predictable. They often leave you feeling unsettled or at times plain fucking terrified. This is particularly the case with “Invade They Say Fire” which features grindingly repetitive motifs creating a nightmarish atmosphere, like Bernard Herrmann stuck in a tumble dryer. But then again if you’re trying to create an aural illustration of mental illness then this is exactly what you need. For what is depression if not a succession of grindingly repetitive motifs creating a nightmarish atmosphere?

 

“Fire Behind The Curtain” was released last Friday on Song By Toad records. 

Stream and order the album below.

 

 

More of our album reviews can be found here and here.

 

 

 

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The last day of the Championship season

To celebrate(?) the last day of the Championship, each of the wizards has chosen a song to sum up their team’s season.

Leeds  qprBolton-Wanderers

 

 

Kicker of Elves (Leeds United)

“I dare not say the way I feel about your inability to suck it up and win the match”
Top of the league after 7 games and then we lost. To Millwall. And that, seemingly, was that. Our captain and self-styled hard man, Liam Cooper, announces just before the end of the season that “the Millwall defeat in September hit the players hard and they haven’t ever truly recovered from that.” Oh. Fucking. Grow. Up.
In a season where our best player was banned for 6 games for spitting. we got knocked out in the cup by a fourth division side from Wales, thought it was a good idea to prepare for our centenary year with a change of badge designed by someone who clearly had never been to West Yorkshire, but probably had had heartburn, our stand out performance was against Millwall again. And we lost. Again.
Of course, we changed manager and, of course, that made things worse and now we see fit to take our pathetic team to a war-torn country in the name of ‘selling the brand’. Haven’t those poor people suffered enough?
“Of course I’m not complaining, I’m simply dying…”
MOT

 

 

Chorizo Garbanzo (QPR)

As our League position illustrates it’s been a mixed season for QPR. We’ve never looked remotely like going up or down and that’s fine by me, especially considering the huge self-inflicted hangover the club now have to endure following the disastrous and idiotic over-spending during the Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp eras.
Results at Fortress Loftus Road have been largely positive, only 5 teams have won more home games than us. Away matches have been dire with just 3 wins all season, worse than any other team in the division bar one (more details below). Seeing as these days I live 200 miles from Shepherds Bush and go to far more away games than home games, I consider myself very lucky to have witnessed one of those rare away wins (3-1 v Burton Albion)
The main positive of this season has been emergence of several youngsters who are beginning to establish themselves as first team regulars. Six players aged 21 or under have scored for the first team this season, more than any other team in the division. Maybe it’s still true that “you can’t win anything with kids” but you can attain mid-table mediocrity if the kids are alright!

 

 

 

 

Rebel Rikkit (Bolton Wanderers)
The exhilaration of promotion was not expected to last and so it was that after 10 games we propped up the table with no wins and only 2 points.  Lets just recap that: after 17% of all the games had been played we had not won one.  Imagine what that was like for a season ticket holder week after frustrating week.
Then the freewheeling, man mountain centre-forward is persuaded to go give up drinking alcohol and our form turns.  All of a sudden the sniggering behind the hand at the chant “Gary Madine Goal Machine” didn’t seem such a good idea.  The goals came not just from Gary’s usually unreliable head but tap-ins, pile-drivers and even free kicks bent round the wall from 30 yards.  By the transfer window we were 6 points away from the relegation zone, the boardroom squabbles were settled, the wage bill was manageable and everything at the club seemed rosy.  There was just a small matter of a £6 million loan to be paid at the end of the season if only we could find a way out of that. Oh that’s right we could sell Gary Madine!! What could possible go wrong?
We head to the last game second from bottom and face almost certain relegation. Only one song can sum this up…

 

 

 

 

Related posts on this website:

Happy birthday Kicker of Elves

Last month saw our founding wizard Kicker of Elves reach his half century. That left us other 2 wizards wondering what we could get him as a present.

As evidenced by the name of this very website and his chosen name, Kicker of Elves is obsessed with the band Guided By Voices. He also loves collecting rare vinyl. So we decided to combine these 2 passions and make him a Guided By Voices record that was truly unique because there’s only one copy of it in the world, thereby making Kicker of Elves the Martin Shkreli of GBV collectors!

Both songs are available for free download here.

 

Track 1: Subspace Biographies by The Malibu Storks

 

Over to The Malibu Storks a.k.a. Chorizo Garbanzo…

In the absence of an actual drummer I decided to programme the drums using Sonic Pi. This meant abandoning my original idea of covering “In a Circle” because its 6/8 time signature was messing with my head.

Then I remembered Kicker’s blog post in which he named “Subspace Biographies” as his favourite Robert Pollard song so I decided to do that instead. The drum beats and the rather un-GBV bassline were heavily influenced by “Neon Lights” by Kraftwerk, a favourite of mine when out running. I programmed that in about 600 lines of Sonic Pi code. That sounds more impressive than it is and I’m sure a more experienced and effective Sonic Pi user could do it in far less!

The twangy guitar bit is my homage to Glen Campbell who covered the Guided by Voices song “Hold On Hope” on one of his last albums. In the true spirit of Pollardian lo-fi, all of my vocal and guitar parts were done in one take.

 

Track 2: Teenage F.B.I. by Rebel Rikkit

 

Rebel Rikkit writes…

About a decade ago Kicker of Elves started bombarding me with GBV tracks initially on CD mixes. These evolved into shared drives and then onto Spotify playlists and blog posts. By this stage he was bombarding not just me, but the rest of the world. Lest we forget that every day in 2014 he published a blog post showcasing 2 GBV tracks each. It worked of course as a whole stack of GBV tunes are now amongst my firm favourites. But which to choose for the contribution to a Kicker dedicated vinyl record. Well, there must always be criteria so see below.

1. I must like the song
2. Kicker must like the song (could not be certain on this point, I assumed he likes them all)
3. I must be able to play and sing it with my limited musical ability

Fortunately there are a lot on online GBV resources to help you so I took to research some of my favourites. Echos Myron, Smothered in Hugs, Tractor Rape Chain, Glad Girls were all considered and dismissed as being too hard to sing. There were plenty more that fell into this bracket or where the guitar just didn’t sound right. Then the lightbulb moment of course, a simple “3 chords and the truth” rock and roll song that allowed a bit of vocal latitude where passion could mask a lack of ability. Or so I thought until I realised that there is what I imagine someone who knew a bit more about music than me would call a key change in the last verse. But too late, I was in too deep so I launched my vocal chords into action and hoped for the best to create a performance that has been called a cross between George Formby and Elvis Costello (esteemed company indeed).

A strange footnote was that Kicker liked my effort but didn’t like the original so the enterprise failed on criteria 2. That left me feeling like a Hot Freak with a Half Smile of The Decomposed to such and extent that I Did The Collapse.

 

  • If you want to get your own record pressed we heartily recommend you do it with www.cutsy.co.uk

 

Other Guided by Voices related posts on this website: 

New album review: Replica Figures by John MOuse

What an intriguing album this is.

The opening track “The End of Mankind” starts with a retro-sounding drum machine and a catchy but somewhat off-kilter guitar/keyboard riff. The verses are spoken and describe a novel in which there’s “a writer writing about a writer writing about a writer.” MOuse’s soft Welsh tones immediately remind me of John Cale’s narration on The Velvet Underground’s “The Gift.” But the story MOuse retells is definitely not for the squeamish and it makes Cale’s story of Waldo Jeffers intra-parcel death sound like a child’s bedtime story! Punctuating the horrific scenes of the verses, the chorus cheerily poses the question “is this the end of mankind?”

This nifty trick of bizarre spoken word verses coupled with a catchy chorus is repeated on the track “The King And Jesus Ganged Up On Me” which starts with an unsettling exchange in a men’s urinal and concludes with a football match where the pitch is invaded by God himself. If you’ve enjoyed the spoken word tracks that have been the highlights of recent albums by I Ludicrous and Half Man Half Biscuit (see playlist below) then you definitely need to hear this album.

A recurring theme in the album’s lyrics is the past. Indeed in the song “Memory” MOuse asks his memory “why are you mean to me?” and begs it to “leave him alone!”

Specifically the way that we remember the distant past and how those formative memories may or may not correspond with reality is examined in “Magnetic Frames On The Boiler” and idyllic childhood seaside holidays are recalled on the “Bunk Beds and Broken Sleeps.”

“Six decades in and I’m still in my 40s” sings MOuse at one point, only possible if you were born in 1969 I suppose.  That lyric comes in the middle of a Bullseye speedboat-load of 80s cultural references and another killer drum machine pattern sounding right off one of those Street Sounds Electro compilation cassettes.

The acoustic “Sue” is deliberately daft but endearing all the same. A kind-of follow up song to The Beautiful South’s “Song for Whoever” it could alternatively be titled “The Continuing Adventures of Jennifer, Alison, Phillipa, Sue” and includes additional nods to Pulp and Johnny Cash.

Whilst the humour is well executed here and on other aforementioned songs, my favourite songs on the album are the more serious ones.

Album closer “Gladiator / Contender” seems to be about being with a dying loved one whilst banal Saturday evening ITV plays in the background. A father and son maybe? It’s very possible I’m reading too much into it but the familiar words “Contender are you ready? Gladiator are you ready?” are re-contextualised here taking on a deeper meaning. To the son, the contender, are you ready to face up to responsibility, to be the head of the family? To the father, the gladiator, are you ready to face death? As if to emphasise the inter-generational theme, there seems to be a child singing with MOuse on these lines. A really clever song built out of such a simple idea.

The spirit of Felt can be er, felt on the album’s more uptempo tracks “The Fire Burns” and the aforementioned “Bunk Beds and Broken Sleeps” which reminds me particularly of their wonderful final album “Me And A Monkey On The Moon” and the keyboard playing of Martin Duffy. A different kind of a piano part dominates another album highlight “With These Hands I’ll Rip Out Your Heart.” Here a short Michael Nyman-like figure repeats throughout creating a dreamy atmosphere. The lyrics refer to the parent / child relationship again and back comes that theme of memory as MOuse yearns for the past with lines like “I long for the days when you fell asleep to the test card, I long for the days when you didn’t pay with a cash card.”  This sense of melancholy and something having been lost forever resonates through the album in a similar vein to much of ex-Baby Bird man Stephen Jones‘ recent output.

The album is produced by Stephen Black a.k.a. Sweet Baboo who has produced some of Euros Childs’ albums and also plays bass with the brilliant Cate Le Bon. In fact “Replica Figures” has a similar feel to a more lo-fi version of those artists. Well worth investigating further. Click the link below to stream / buy the album.

 

Playlist of Half Man Half Biscuit / I Ludicrous spoken word songs:

Chorizo’s favourite things of 2017

A month and a bit too late but never mind that, here we go.

You can download our podcast featuring my favourite songs of 2017 right here or click below to listen.

 

Favourite Albums of the Year – The Top 10

  1. Art Guards by Fishboy   [Listen to our Fishboy interview podcast here]
  2. Lurcher by The Wednesday Club
  3. Peach by Deerful
  4. Songs From The Sides of Lorries by I Ludicrous
  5. Strike a Match by Sacred Paws
  6. The Rap Guide to Consciousness by Baba Brinkman
  7. Juniverbrecher by The Indelicates
  8. Slap Bass Hunks by Christian Fitness
  9. Echo Bridge by Gavin Osborn and the Comment Section
  10. Ojala by Lost Horizons

 

Another 20 favourite albums (in no particular order)

Kentish Longtails by The Len Price 3

Hindu Flying Machine by Mean Motor Scooter

Love in the 4th Dimension by The Big Moon

Revival Beach by The Burning Hell

Better Friend by Bill Botting and the Two Drink Minimums

Spring by Flies and Flies

Life Love and Billy Fury by The Bordellos

English Tapas by Sleaford Mods

Lightning Likes Me by Oh Gunquit!

Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins by Chuck Prophet

How The West Was Won by Peter Perrett

Interplanetary Class Classics by The Moonlandingz

Spirit by Depeche Mode

 

Mind Yr Manners by Crumbs

You Might Be Smiling Now by The Just Joans

Come Play The Trees by Snapped Ankles

Intergalactic Sex Tourists by The Sex Organs

 

And Then Not Even Then by The Laureates

The Surfing Magazines by The Surfing Magazines

50 Song Memoir by The Magnetic Fields

 

Favourite EP

Jelly by Charmpit

 

Favourite EP runners-up

Structure by Structure

The French Press by Rolling Blackouts C.F.

Volga Sturgeon Face by Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals

The Road Part 3 by Radio KWG

Boot Hill Surf Club by The 99 Degree

Lookalike Bond by The Humdrum Express

City In Revers / Kendrick Road by The Leaf Library

Deepdreaming / Stargrazing by Thousand Yard Stare

Me and Joe by Max Gomez

Six of Seven by The Moon Apes

 

Favourite re-releases

Bus Route to your Heart by Milky Wimpshake (20th anniversary re-issue)

Purple Rain: Deluxe Edition by Prince

George Best 30 by The Wedding Present

 

Favourite festival

Indietracks in Derbyshire. Particular highlights this year were Chorusgirl, Crumbs, The Wedding Present, Charmpit, MJ Hibbett, Milky Wimpshake, Cola Jet Set, The Just Joans, The Wave Pictures, Model Village and The Tuts.

Have a listen to our review of the weekend.

See you there next July.

 

Top 20 gigs of the year 

  1. Lost Horizons @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester (21st November)
  2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Manchester Arena (25th September) [Listen to our podcast review]
  3. The Moonlandingz / Goat Girl / Pink Kink @ Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool (25th March) [Listen to our podcast review]
  4. Snapped Ankles @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester (3rd October)
  5. The Wedding Present / The Primitives / Thousand Yard Stare @ Manchester Academy (27th May) [Read our review]
  6. Ash @ Central Station, Wrexham (17th August)
  7. The Dream Syndicate @ Bitterzoet, Amsterdam (23rd October)
  8. The Len Price 3 / Graham Day & The Gaolers @ 100 Club, London (4th March)
  9. Elvis Costello @ Bridgwater Hall, Manchester (19th March) [Listen to our podcast review]
  10. The Wedding Present @ Cadogan Hall, London (14th October)
  11. Gavin Osborn @ The Golden Eagle, Chester (16th September)
  12. The Burning Hell @ The Eagle Inn, Salford (22nd November)
  13. The Breeders @ Manchester Academy (17th October)
  14. Martha / ONSIND / Grotbags / Radiator Hospital @ Night & Day, Manchester (3rd January)
  15. Chuck Prophet / Max Gomez @ Deaf Institute, Manchester (17th February)
  16. Radiohead @ Old Trafford Cricket Ground (4th July)
  17. The Handsome Family @ RNCM, Manchester (22nd February)
  18. The Surfing Magazines @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester (1st September)
  19. The Who @ Echo Arena, Liverpool (3rd April)
  20. The Oh Sees / The Peacers @ Manchester Academy (14th June)

Here are some low quality photos I took at some of those gigs.

Proud wizard gig of the year

The gig by Billordo / Tremelo Ghosts that my fellow wizard Kicker O’Elves organised.

Favourite music books 

Mostly not released in 2017 but I read them this year.

1. Lee, Myself and I: Inside The Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood by Wyndham Wallace

A tremendous account of a friendship between the great Lee Hazlewood and the author who was initially a fan, later a manager and collaborator. Highly recommended.

2. Keep On Running: The Unofficial Dexys Midnight Runners Fanzine

An anthology that brings together loads of fascinating interviews and anecdotes from fans and former bandmembers.

3. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

An in-depth and incredibly honest autobiography.

4. Triptych: Three Studies of Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible by Rhian E. Jones, Daniel Lukes and Larissa Wodtke

Like one of those 33 1/3 books but far more analytical, personal and thorough. For obsessed fans of the album only!

 

Favourite non-fiction books 

Inglorious Empire: What The British Did To India by Sashi Tharoor

Shocking and horrific stuff which made me feel ashamed of how ignorant I was about this period of history.

The Special One: The Secret World of Jose Mourinho by Diego Torres

Inside details of his time at Real Madrid. Hats off to this book for making me dislike The Moaning One even more than I already did. What an absolute monumental bellend.

 

Favourite fiction book

A Congregation of Jackals by S. Craig Zahler

Compelling and very violent Western written by the director of the film “Bone Tomahawk”

 

Favourite films / TV 

As with the books, these weren’t necessarily released in 2017 but these were my favourite things I watched this year.

Blade Runner 2049

Flowers (Channel 4)

Back (Channel 4)

American Vandal (Netflix)

Stranger Things (Netflix)

 

 

Favourite documentaries

The Barkley Marathons, The 13th, Man vs Snake, City 40, Meru, Virunga, Eddie: Strongman (all Netflix)

 

Favourite podcasts (other than ours of course!)

Bruce Springsteen Sings The Alphabet

2 blokes discuss every Springsteen song in alphabetical order. They’ve been doing this for 2 years and they’re up to “P”

The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson

Starts off as an investigation into the porn industry but as usual with Ronson he goes off on several entertaining tangents

The History of England

A man sits in his shed and retells the entire history of our nation. Far more entertaining than it sounds. Like a more laidback version of Dan Carlin’s much missed Hardcore History podcast.

Totally Acoustic

MJ Hibbett puts on gigs, records them and puts them out as a podcast.

The Trap Set with Joe Wong

Interviews with drummers. Thankfully they don’t just talk about drumming. I particularly enjoyed the episodes with Lol Tolhurst (The Cure), Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello & The Attractions) and Bernard Purdie.

I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats

Author and super-fan Joseph Fink interviews Mountain Goats main man John Darnielle. Each episode is centred around one of the songs from his 2002 album “All Hail West Texas”

Podcast 82: Kicker’s Best of 2017

Well, hello again, and welcome to the brave new world of 2018. What could possibly go wrong this time?

happy-bunny

To help you enjoy your undoubtedly temporary state of (blind) optimism, our Kicker has burbled on for a couple of hours while playing a lot of his favourite records of 2017, which you can download here or soundcloud there:

 

 

A slight disclaimer: This show was originally recorded as a demo for Dandelion Radio, but it was simply too hot for them to handle. Can you take it listener?

The songs played are:

  1. Circus Devils – Do The Nixon (Laughs Last)
  2. Tremolo Ghosts – Order For The New Slave Trade (Same Place The Fly Got Smashed)
  3. R. Ring – Cutter (Ignite The Rest)
  4. Friends Of Cesar Romero – Strumpet Sounds (I + IV + V E.P.)
  5. Flotation Toy Warning – King Of Foxgloves (The Machine That Made Us)
  6. Manray – Falling Off The Face Of The Earth (Falling Off The Face Of The Earth)
  7. Rob Rapp – Nitwit (unreleased)
  8. Vital Idles – The Garden (single)
  9. Deathcount In Silicon Valley – Voices (edit.) (Hex Void)
  10. Hulaboy – (Feels Like) The End (Split LP)
  11. LowMagic – Scarecrow (Keys To The Stranger’s Head Pt.1)
  12. Girl One And The Grease Guns – She’s A Calculator (Night Of The Living Electrical Appliances)
  13. Air-Sea Dolphin – Exploding (single)
  14. Heads Off – Hey You (Ad Absurdum)
  15. Little Whirls – For All Your Bebop Crimes (Rearrange The Comfort Zones)
  16. Jones – Today I Am Not Heartbroken (single)
  17. The World Of Dust – Tribal Memories (Golden Moon)
  18. Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals – Song For The Flowers (Effigies)
  19. Graham Repulski – Bob For Uncles (I’m Even Younger Now)
  20. Jim White – Plywood Superman (Far From Mississippi: Live 2004 – 2014)
  21. Keith Seatman – Boxes With Rhythms In (All Hold Hands And Off We Go)
  22. Rectangle Creep – Whalin’ Jennings (Is Taking Drugs)
  23. Material Girls – I Just Wanna Fall In Love With Myself (MG VS IQ)
  24. R. Stevie Moore And Jason Falkner – I H8 PPL (Make It Be)
  25. Selectasound ’88 & The Bob Boon Singers – Tabou (Funky Chimes)
  26. John Stammers – Waiting Around (Waiting Around)
  27. Nadine Shah – Evil (Holiday Destination)
  28. Mick Trouble – Shut Your Bleeding Gob You Git (It’s The Mick Trouble EP)
  29. Mount Eerie – Emptiness pt. 2 (A Crow Looked At Me)

Kicker of Elves selects one from each of Robert Pollard’s 100

The 7th of April last year (remember that?) saw the release of what was deemed to be the 100th album from prolificacy’s poster-boy, Robert Pollard. This was marked by the release of a stunning 12″ x 12″ coffee-table book featuring the artwork from each album and when put all together looks like this:

19667845_10154576407616837_5901856962219630579_o

Having reorganised (this part of) my Robert Pollard vinyl collection, it then became obvious that I needed to undertake a chronological listening experience that would inevitably lead to a Trust The Wizard’s favoured ‘one from each’ list, where I choose my favourite track from each release. This proved to be much easier in some cases than others and, of course, is open to change each time I listen to particular records (hello, Bee Thousand), where it was like choosing your favourite child, or doughnut. Impossible.

Nevertheless, here is what I have gone with.

  1. Like I Do (Guided By Voices – Forever Since Breakfast, 1986)
  2. The Tumblers (Guided By Voices – Devil Between My Toes, 1987):
  3. Trap Soul Door (Guided By Voices – Sandbox, 1987)
  4. The Great Blake Street Canoe Race (Guided By Voices – Self-Inflicted Aerial Nostalgia,1989)
  5. Club Molluska (Guided By Voices – Same Place The Fly Got Smashed, 1990)
  6. Over The Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox (Guided By Voices – Propeller, 1992)
  7. Gleemer (The Deeds Of Fertile Jim (Guided By Voices – Vampire On Titus, 1993)
  8. Smothered In Hugs (Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand, 1994)
  9. Crutch Came Slinking (Guided By Voices – King Shit And The Golden Boys, 1995)
  10. My Valuable Hunting Knife (Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes, 1995)
  11. No Sky (Guided By Voices – Under the Bushes Under the Stars, 1996)
  12. Psychic Pilot Clocks Out (Robert Pollard – Not In My Airforce, 1996)
  13. Unbaited Vicar Of Scorched Earth (Guided By Voices – Tonics and Twisted Chasers, 1996)
  14. Now To War (Guided By Voices – Mag Earwhig!, 1997)
  15. Subspace Biographies (Robert Pollard – Waved Out, 1998)
  16. Powerblessings (Robert Pollard – Kid Marine, 1999)
  17. Dogwood Grains (Nightwalker – In Shop We Build Electric Chairs: Professional Music By Nightwalker 1984-1993, 1999)
  18. Liquid Indian (Guided By Voices – Do the Collapse, 1999)
  19. Pop Zeus (Robert Pollard With Doug Gillard – Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department, 1999)
  20. Wondering Boy Poet (Guided By Voices – Briefcase (Suitcase Abridged: Drinks And Deliveries), 2000
  21. A Farewell To Arms (Hazzard Hotrods – Big Trouble, 2000)
  22. Pivotal Film (Guided By Voices – Isolation Drills, 2001)
  23. 7th Level Shutdown (Robert Pollard And His Soft Rock Renegades – Choreographed Man Of War, 2001)
  24. Stifled Man Casino (Airport 5 – Tower In The Fountain Sparks, 2001)
  25. Apparent The Red Angus (Circus Devils – Ringworm Interiors, 2001)
  26. However Young They Are (Airport 5 – Life Starts Here, 2002)
  27. It Is Divine (Go Back Snowball – Calling Zero, 2002)
  28. Dungeon Of Drunks (Acid Ranch – Some Of The Magic Syrup Was Preserved, 2002)
  29. Storm Vibrations (Guided By Voices – Universal Truths and Cycles, 2002)
  30. Action Speaks Volumes (Guided By Voices – The Pipe Dreams Of Instant Prince Whippet, 2002)
  31. Soldiers Of June (Circus Devils – The Harold Pig Memorial, 2002)
  32. Harrison Adams (Robert Pollard – Motel of Fools, 2003)
  33. Society Dome (Lifeguards – Mist King Urth, 2003)
  34. A Good Looking Death (Phantom Tollbooth – Beard Of Lightning, 2003)
  35. My Kind Of Soldier (Guided By Voices – Earthquake Glue, 2003)
  36. Sick Color (Circus Devils – Pinball Mars, 2003)
  37. Their Biggest Win (Robert Pollard – Fiction Man, 2004)
  38. Everybody Thinks I’m A Raincloud (When I’m Not Looking) (Guided By Voices – Half Smiles Of the Decomposed, 2004)
  39. Dolphins Of Color (Circus Devils – Five, 2005)
  40. Invisible Train To Earth (Guided By Voices – Briefcase 2: The Return Of Milko Waif, 2005)
  41. I’m Not Looking (Acid Ranch – As Forever: A Manifesto of Fractured Imagination And Wreckless Living, 2005)
  42. U.S. Mustard Company (Robert Pollard – From A Compound Eye, 2006)
  43. Be It Not For The Serpentine Rain Dodger (The Takeovers – Turn To Red, 2006)
  44. Jesus The Clockwork (Psycho And The Birds – All That Is Holy, 2006)
  45. Death Of The Party (Keene Brothers – Blues And Boogie Shoes, 2006)
  46. Pegasus Glue Factory (Robert Pollard – Normal Happiness, 2006)
  47. Lie To The Rainbow (Acid Ranch – The Great Houdini Wasn’t So Great, 2007)
  48. Circle Saw Boys Club (Robert Pollard – Silverfish Trivia, 2007)
  49. Pretty Not Bad (The Takeovers – Bad Football, 2007)
  50. Swing Shift (Circus Devils – Sgt. Disco, 2007)
  51. Miles Under The Skin (Robert Pollard – Coast to Coast Carpet of Love, 2007)
  52. Shadow Port (Robert Pollard – Standard Gargoyle Decisions, 2007)
  53. Love Your Spaceman (Robert Pollard – Superman Was a Rocker, 2008)
  54. Enon Beach (Psycho And The Birds – We’ve Moved, 2008)
  55. Weatherman And Skin Goddess (Robert Pollard – Robert Pollard Is Off To Business, 2008)
  56. Go For The Exit (Boston Spaceships – Brown Submarine, 2008)
  57. Stars, Stripes And Crack Pipes (Circus Devils – Ataxia, 2008)
  58. The Butler Stands For All Of Us (Robert Pollard – The Crawling Distance, 2009)
  59. Keep Me Down (Boston Spaceships – The Planets Are Blasted, 2009)
  60. In Your Hour Of Rescue (Circus Devils – Gringo, 2009)
  61. Nude Metropolis (Cosmos – Jar Of Jam Ton Of Bricks, 2009)
  62. Accident Hero (Robert Pollard – Elephant Jokes, 2009)
  63. Question Girl All Right (Boston Spaceships – Zero To 99, 2009)
  64. There Are Other Worlds (Guided By Voices – Briefcase 3: Cuddling Bozo’s Octopus, 2009)
  65. I Can See (Robert Pollard – We All Got Out Of The Army, 2010)
  66. Lurking (Circus Devils – Mother Skinny, 2010)
  67. Each Is Good In His Own House (Robert Pollard – Moses On a Snail, 2010)
  68. Unshaven Bird (Boston Spaceships – Our Cubehouse Still Rocks, 2010)
  69. Something Strawberry (Robert Pollard – Space City Kicks, 2011)
  70. Paradise Is Not So Bad (Lifeguards – Waving At Astronauts, 2011)
  71. Wish You Were Young (Mars Classroom – The New Theory Of Everything, 2011)
  72. Dunce Codex (Robert Pollard – Lord of the Birdcage, 2011)
  73. No Steamboats (Boston Spaceships – Let It Beard, 2011)
  74. Cyclopean Runways (Circus Devils – Capsized!, 2011)
  75. Laundry And Lasers (Guided By Voices – Let’s Go Eat The Factory, 2012)
  76. Dr. Time (Robert Pollard – Mouseman Cloud, 2012)
  77. Class Clown Spots A UFO (Guided By Voices – Class Clown Spots A UFO, 2012)
  78. Red Rubber Army (Robert Pollard – Jack Sells The Cow, 2012)
  79. White Flag (Guided By Voices – The Bears for Lunch, 2012)
  80. Biographer Seahorse (Guided By Voices – English Little League, 2013)
  81. I Killed A Man Who Looks Like You (Robert Pollard – Honey Locust Honky Tonk, 2013)
  82. Atlantic Cod (Teenage Guitar – Force Fields At Home, 2013)
  83. Idiot Tree (Circus Devils – When Machines Attack, 2013)
  84. Locomotion Blue Note (Circus Devils – My Mind Has Seen The White Trick, 2013)
  85. Tonight’s The Rodeo (Robert Pollard – Blazing Gentleman, 2013)
  86. Vote For Me Dummy (Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit, 2014)
  87. Males Of Wormwood Mars (Guided By Voices – Cool Planet, 2014)
  88. A Year That Could Have Been Worse (Teenage Guitar – More Lies From The Gooseberry Bush, 2014)
  89. Diamond Boys (Circus Devils – Escape, 2014)
  90. Mobility (Ricked Wicky – I Sell The Circus, 2015)
  91. Faulty Superheroes (Robert Pollard – Faulty Superheroes, 2015)
  92. Jargon Of Clones (Ricked Wicky – King Heavy Metal, 2015)
  93. Poor Substitute (Ricked Wicky – Swimmer To A Liquid Armchair, 2015)
  94. Hue N’ Dye (Circus Devils – Stomping Grounds, 2015)
  95. Linda’s Lottery (Guided By Voices – Suitcase 4: Captain Kangaroo Won The War, 2015)
  96. Little Pigs (Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are, 2016)
  97. Glittering Parliaments (Guided By Voices – Please Be Honest, 2016)
  98. Royal Cyclopean (ESP Ohio – Starting Point Of The Royal Cyclopean, 2016)
  99. Do The Nixon (Circus Devils – Laughs Last, 2017)
  100. Dr. Feelgood Falls Off The Ocean (Guided By Voices – August By Cake, 2017)

91% of these songs are currently available on Spotify:

Here are some of the others:

Not sure why Spotify has a live version of Trap Soul Door under Sandbox, but here’s the album version:

Finally, some statistics of note:

 

Albums

Band names

Song titles

UPDATE: There are 7 releases that could have been included in Robert Pollard’s first 100 ‘albums’, but weren’t.

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For the completists, here are my selections from them:

  • If We Wait (Guided By Voices – Sunfish Holy Breakfast, 1996)
  • Alone, Stinking And Unafraid (Lexo And The Leapers – Ask Them, 1999):
  • I’m Dirty (Howling Wolf Orchestra – Speedtraps For The Bee Kingdom, 2000)
  • Avalanche Aminos (Guided By Voices – Daredevil Stamp Collector, 2001)
  • Look At Your Life (The Moping Swans – Lightninghead To Coffeepot, 2005)
  • Sucker Of Pistol City (Guided By Voices – Hold On Hope (Re-pressing), 2009)
  • UFO Nights (The Sunflower Logic – Clouds On The Polar Landscape, 2013)

Depending on where you are in the world, you can listen to most or all of these here:

Podcast 83: Chorizo’s Favourite Music of 2017

Happy New Year Listener! We teamed up with some of our showbiz friends to reinforce this message.

We could not let the year end without getting a wizard to run the rule over 2017 and so Chorizo has done the honours to magnificent effect.  Listen to the results here and below

 

 

 

 

Track Listing:

Summer – The Surfing Magazines

Plastic Fox – Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip

Everybody’s Burning Effigies – Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals

Black Lake – Hermitess

Kendrick Road – The Leaf Library

Make It Me – Max Gomez

Jesus Was A Social Drinker – Chuck Prophet

Art Guard – Fishboy

Hey Kids! – Here are the Young Men featuring Filthy Dirty

Black Hanz – The Moonlandingz

I Only Smoke When I Drink – The Just Joans

Stockport Syndrome – Crumbs

Margot – Charmpit

Hanging With The Moon – Snapped Ankles

Bruce Hated Puppies – Christian Fitness

Rest – Sacred Paws

Re:My Green Scissors – The Wednesday Club

Most Things In Life Will Either Sting Eat or Shoot You – Frigid Vinegar

Better Friend – Bill Botting & The Two Drink Minimums

Before Us Comes The Flood – Deerful

Disco – Structure

Bag of Cans – Fighting

A Different Game – The Secret Goldfish

Soothing – Laura Marling

Bones – Lost Horizons

 

 

Podcast 80 Chorizo Does Porridge

The Wizards thought about Christmas shopping then realised it was their duty to serve up a present for the listeners ears.  However only one of them turned up however as Lenin said “Fewer, Better But Fewer”.

Gotta Love a Revolution

Chorizo is flying solo on this one and what a magnificent job he makes of it!

Enjoy by clicking here or visiting Soundcloud down below.

 

 

 

Tracklisting:

Hangin’ Round (demo version) – Lou Reed

Hanging Around – The Stranglers

Eviscerator – Baby Arms

The Music – Enderby’s Room

Chicken – Suggested Friends

Cupid – The Big Moon

Lemonade – Porridge Radio

Bury Your Young – Flies and Flies

So Dave Called – Gavin Osborn

A Fran Escaped – The Surfing Magazines

Kung Fu – Ash

Geoff – Philip Jeays

 

You wait ages for a Trust the Wizards podcast and then 2 come along at once. Come back to the site again in a few days time for Chorizo’s “favourite songs of 2017” podcast.

 

 

 

Kicker of Elves’ Favourite Things from 2017

Hello, remember me? Oh.

Still, once upon a time I used to be a regular part of a podcast on these very pages, but I have, for the last few months, been keeping my cantankerous misery mostly to myself. However, now the time is right for me once again to stick my frowny bearded face above the parapet in order to announce the winners of the Kickers of 2017. Hurrah!!

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who wouldn’t want one of these little beauties?

Favourite song

There may well be a future podcast of me forcing Kicker Jr once again to pretend to like, and be interested in, a CD’s worth (24 songs) of my favourite tracks of the year, and if you were lucky enough to receive a  hard copy, you’ll know what’s in store for the poor lad. But, if I had to pick just one of those songs to be my top song of 2017, it’d have to be Circus Devils – Do The Nixon, so clap your hands twice, cross the road and listen to this…

Favourite album

In order, these are my top 25 albums of 2017. They are all indispensable. One of them is seemingly no longer available.*

  1. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

20171220_1231082. Spare Snare – Unicorn

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3. Richard Dawson – Peasant

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4. LowMagic – Keys To The Stranger’s Head Pt. 1

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5. Babybird – King Of Nothing

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6. Guided By Voices – How Do You Spell Heaven

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7. Flotation Toy Warning – The Machine That Made Us

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8. Jeremy Tuplin – I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut

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9. The Bats – The Deep Set

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10. Smug Brothers – Disco Maroon

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11. Guided By Voices – August By Cake

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12. R. Ring – Ignite The Rest

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13. Circus Devils – Laughs Last

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14. Tremolo Ghosts – Same Place The Fly Got Smashed

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15. Hulaboy / Safe Distance – Split LP

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16. Graham Repulski – I’m Even Younger Now

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17. Simon Joyner – Step Into The Earthquake

18. Telepathic – Self-Checkout

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19. Rick Rude – Make Mine Tuesday

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20. Odd Nosdam – LIF

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21. Meursault – I Will Kill Again

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22. JD Meatyard – Collectivise

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23. The World Of Dust – Golden Moon

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24. The Blue Aeroplanes – Welcome, Stranger!

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25. Diagnos – Diagnos

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And here, making up my top 50 albums for 2017, this time in alphabetical order, are 25 more albums I have really enjoyed and also highly recommend:

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Bill Baird – Baby Blue Abyss/Easy Machines, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice, The Bordellos – Life, Love & Billy Fury, Euros Childs – House Arrest, Cigarettes After Sex – Cigarettes After Sex, Deathcount In Silicon Valley – Hex Void, Dog Paper Submarine – Posthuman Melodies, Faerground Accidents – Co-Morbid, Girl One And The Grease Guns – Night Of The Living Electrical Appliances, Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers, Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals – Effigies, H. Hawkline – I Romanticize, Idles – Brutalism, Invaderband – Invaderband, The Just Joans – You Might Be Smiling Now…, Little Whirls – Rearrange The Comfort Zones, Mwstard! – Cloc, Nervous Twitch – I Won’t Hide, ONSIND – We Wilt, We Bloom, Chuck Prophet – Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins, Rectangle Creep – Is Taking Drugs, Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination, Washer – All Aboard, Jim White – Waffles, Triangles & Jesus, Wire – Silver/Lead

*After I downloaded the LowMagic album, I contacted the twitter account linked to the page to say how much I loved the album, and then it, and the bandcamp page, disappeared. If you know anything about this artist, please do get in touch!

UPDATE: The fella behind that fantastic Low Magic album, Ian Cauldwell has been in touch and explained that the tracks will now be appearing as a series of EPs in 2018. He can be followed on Twitter at @thelowmagic

Best Compilations

  1. Aquabear Legion Vol. 6 (Aquabear Legion)

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2.  From The Furthest Signals (A Year In The Country)

3. Orange Daydream: A Tribute To Orange Cake Mix (Why The Tapes Play)

4. Witches’ Halloween Brew (Burning Witches Records)

5. The End Of The Day (Radio Cineola)

 

Top EPs:

  1. Craven Faults – Netherfields Works

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2. Friends Of Cesar Romero – I + IV + V

3. Cash Rivers – She Laughed I Left

4. Von Hayes – So Many Hearts

5. Honey Radar / Telepathic – Split

6. Rectangle Creep – Agnostic Mantis

7. Material Girls – MG Vs IQ

8. The English Teeth – The English Teeth

9. Billordo – Anti-Folk Troubadour

10. Pulco – Silex

 

Top Reissues/Not Strictly Speaking New Stuff

  1. Father – Pop Chops

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2. Luke Haines – Luke Haines Is Alive And Well And Living In Buenos Aries

3. Black Reindeer – Staggering

4. Circus Devils – Laughs Best

5. Cleaners From Venus – Martin Newell’s Jumble Sale

 

Top Live Albums

  1. Jim White – Far From Mississippi

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2. The Replacements – For Sale

3. Man… Or Astro-Man? – Live At Third Man Records

4. Flying Saucer Attack – In Search Of Spaces

5. Goat – Fuzzed In Europe

 

The Robert Pollard Annual Output Roundup

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A year perhaps most notable for the release of Robert Pollard’s 100th album, a double, naturally, Guided By VoicesAugust By Cake. We also had #101 Guided By VoicesHow Do You Spell Heaven, a first-time-on-vinyl release of the Live From Austin, TX album, along with two 7″ singles: Just To Show You and, from the forthcoming album of the same name (and not yet in my possession), Space Gun. There was also the final Circus Devils album Laughs Last and a companion double album ‘best of’ Laughs Best. Tobin Sprout released a download-only cover of  My Back Pages,  a new album: The Universe And Me, and re-pressings of both Carnival Boy and Moonflower Plastic (Welcome To My Wigwam). We also had a new online collection from Todd TobiasTodd’s Remains Volume II. Intriguingly, we also had the Cash RiversShe Laughed I Left EP, which manged to cram 17 songs into 6 minutes. Both Robert Pollard and Doug Gillard featured heavily across the Sweet AppleSing The Night In Sorrow LP, and in the wider GBVworld, Mark Shue‘s new band, Chomper put out a suitably raucous self-titled EP, oh and Chris Slusarenko and John Moen‘s band Eyelids released the really rather great Or album and the (Go On) The First Flight single, but I forgot to put them in the photo. Dammit. It’s not that easy keeping the fuck up, you know.

 

The Bobby Pop Award For Prolificacy

  1. Ben Spizuco (Naked Ant/Hello Whirled): 215 songs released this year – start with ‘Wreckage’ and you’ll be hooked (for the next 8 hours and 37 minutes).

Hello Whirled

2. Stephen Jones (Babybird/Black Reindeer/Jones): 189 songs

3. Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices/Circus Devils/ Cash Rivers): a paltry 84 songs

 

Top 5 Music Related Books (Read This Year)

  1. Loudon Wainwright III – Liner Notes

thumbnail (6)2. Martin Newell – This Little Ziggy

3. Tim Burgess – Vinyl Adventures From Istanbul To San Francisco

4. David Cavanagh – Goodnight & Good Riddance

5. Steve Diggle – Harmony In My Head

Top Musical Book (Gazed At This Year)

  1. Robert Pollard 100

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look at it! just look at it!

 

 

Top Musical Film

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The Sad & Beautiful World Of Sparklehorse

 

Musical Discovery Of The Year

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Gray Home Music

 

Label Of The Year

Third Uncle Records

Third Uncle Records

 

Top 10 Gigs

  1. Spare Snare / Billordo – Conroy’s Basement, Dundee, 5 May

Spare Snare filmed in Glasgow (the day before the Dundee gig):

2. Simon Joyner – Low Four Studio, Manchester, 4 November

3. Skids – The Ritz, Manchester, 2 June

4. Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express – The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 17 February

5. Lucid Dream – The Castle Hotel, Manchester, 26 August

6. The Handsome Family – Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, 22 February

7. Tremolo Ghosts – Maguire’s Pizza Bar, Liverpool, 6 May

8. Jim White – The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 21 November

9. The Blue Aeroplanes – O2 Academy, Liverpool, 11 January

10. Luke Haines – Night & Day Café, Manchester, 15 October

 

Musical Quote Of The Year

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Jim White speaking to me about the video excerpt I sent him: “You are obviously a musician.”

A Very Cherry Christmas (Volume 12)

Exciting times today as I received in the post my copy of this year’s “A Very Cherry Christmas” CD. In case you don’t know Cherryade Records is an Manchester record label run by Rachael Nieman. Indie-loving Mastermind viewers may remember Rachael for her incredible near-perfect round on specialised subject Belle and Sebastian.


Every year Cherryade release a Christmas album and previous years have included wizardly-revered groups such as Town Bike, John Shuttleworth, The Lovely Eggs, The Thyme Machine, Simon Love and The Just Joans. This year they’re up to Volume 12 and I’m proud to say that my band The Malibu Storks are on the album.

My song “The Best Part of Christmas Dinner” started off as a short poem about some medieval monks. But then before I knew what was happening there were sleigh bells, glockenspiels and congas involved. Recorded on Garageband in my garage with no band I must’ve been infected by the spirit of Phil Spector because the song grew into a bit of an epic. I can’t put it any better than my mate Mr Fingers who has bought the album and described my song as “the Bohemian Rhapsody of Christmas dinner eulogies”

Having received the album earlier today I’ve not yet had a chance to listen to the other 24 tracks. But I’ve just listened to track 1 and the lyrics mention Helen Love, Edwyn Collins and Kirsty MacColl so surely that’s already worth £6 of anybody’s money.

There are only 200 physical copies available so don’t hang about. When you buy the CD you also get festive board game called “The Race For The Christmas No.1” in which you play as either Noddy, Roy, Mariah or Cliff as you battle it out to see who will reach the top of the festive singles chart! You can hear 2 of the songs and order your copy below.

It’s the perfect festive gift for the discerning music fan in your life.

 

 

Thank you to Gareth Jones for his help in putting the album together and creating the board game. Over the next few week Gareth will be presenting a Christmas show on the always-wonderful Dandelion Radio so be sure to listen to that.  Click here for details.

 

Related posts:

 

 

Q&A with Fishboy

In our first ever transatlantic interview, we speak to Eric Michener, leader of the band Fishboy. We discuss the band’s spectacularly unique new album “Art Guards” and other diverse topics such as baseball, Buddy Holly’s last gig, elephants, Texan driving laws, The Kinks, pizza restaurants and, inevitably, cricket.

Listen to the podcast here.

 

Listen to the album and click on the links below to buy Fishboy music / artwork in an array of interesting formats.

 

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Live in Manchester 2017 Gigcast

Its Manchester 25th 2017 and the God Like Legend that is Nick Cave with his the Bad Seeds are thirsty for blood prowling the Arena in search for prey. They strike again and again and by the end of the concert the stage is full of bodies .  Rebel and Chorizo are called as witnesses and the arc of their testimony unfolds in this podcast.

Download and listen (if you dare) here and go for the full sound cloud experience below.

Some pictures from the show (Black and White video is the way forward yes?)


Podcast 79: Fake News and John Cale Based Dissent

Official confirmation is received that this podcast is the most listened to, most profitable, most sexually attractive and can be used to clean dishwashers.  More official facts supplied by reliable sources included (yawn Fake News Alert: Ed)

Indeed more wild claims and wild sounds from the wizards curated loins to listen to and download here

Or listen and download from soundcloud below.

 

 

Notes and Tracklist

30 seconds: Alternate Facts, Mush Buy Here

9 Minutes: You Told A Fib, Gene Vincent

13 Minutes: The Dopper Effect, Orkestra Del Sol (Fill your Honkcore boots here)

18 Mintes: Go, The Apples in Stereo (Why not Go to their Facebook page)

22 Minutes: Discussion regarding the Architecture on the Apples in Stereo Album Cover and the Doppler Effect

A rare instance of architecture in pop

29 Minutes: Dancing With His Dad, Gavin Osborn. Buy Here

Why not join the tour or join the Wizards at the gig in chester full details here

34 Minutes: Rebel has a massive rant about the John Cale Performance at the Liverpool Sound City event (other opinions are available) But they are wrong.

45 Minutes: There She Goes Again, The Velvet Underground (Judge the performance for yourself or sing a long a Heroin)

50 Minutes: Turn Off The Moon,The Primitives, Buy Here 

53 Minutes: Wasted on You, Lizard McGee buy Here

58 Minutes: Striped White Jets, Guided By Voices,

62 Minutes: Too Sad to Be Young, The New Faith Watch the discussed video here buy here

66 Minutes: Review of Soulson the new Album by Damien Dempsey

Signed with poster but beware no download code

81 Minutes: Soft Rain, Damien Dempsey Buy a signed copy here (still available at time of posting)

Film Review: England Is Mine

“Might please Morrissey fans but who else is ever going to bother with it?” Edward Porter Sunday Times 6th August 2017.

This was not an uncommon verdict of the new Morrissey biopic by Mark Gill released last week. The general sense from the reviews I read was that the film was a good natured solid piece of work with a very strong performance from Jack Lowden as our hero. However the consensus seemed to be that you would have to be a fan to really enjoy it. To test this theory I forced my long suffering Smiths and Morrissey hating wife along to give me a balanced view and my ardent Morrissey fan daughter to give balance.The conclusion of both my erstwhile reviewers was that the film was funny, moving and intriguing. It made both laugh and cry at least once. My partner completely lost the idea that it was about Morrissey and felt for the young dreamer trying to find their place in the world.

This is the point that the reviewers miss, the film is a story of someone who thinks differently and believes they have talent but can’t see how to express themselves whilst being crippled by shyness and doubt. Hell, its why X factor and the voice are on every Saturday night. We see Morrissey feeling driven to write constantly but not being clear whether these are songs, poems or a novel and settling for getting short reviews published in the NME. Then singing alone in his bedroom whilst being too shy to even talk to a potential band member.

The film gets behind that tension and shows that stark reality faced by so many people that dreams have to be compromised with the real world of employment, debt and relationships. Whom for all the magic in their heads they work with people who have little interest in them apart for someone to be the but of their jokes. The tough and stark environment of working class 1970s Britain is done brilliantly both in environment and culture.

However the key to a he films genius is the portrayal of the central character. This was described by radio 5 as “just a pain in the arse” but I though he captured what I have long felt about Morrissey in that he is a very funny character. Full of gangling incompetence for anything practical and seemingly unable to see the positive side of anything. He reminded me of Woody Allen. When he expressed his thoughts he was generally incomprehensible to others and in one great line that captures this a colleague says “you sound posh are you from Bolton?”.

There are problems with the film and it has been suggested that a film about the birth of or the death of the Smiths would be very exciting or a more gritty piece of the battle artistic acceptance of working class youth of the time would also be great but that ignores the great qualities of the film itself. I also worried that the end of the film lacked a dramatic climax and it does, albeit the ending is enigmatically satisfying.

Chorizo’s top 60 Tindersticks songs

Last week on Twitter @boywiththearabstrap posted one of his trademark song polls.

 

The result of this poll and in particular the lack of votes for the Tindersticks song provoked heated debate.

 

 

Admittedly The ‘Sticks (as nobody calls them) were up against strong opposition but the main reason they lost the poll so heavily was because “I Was Your Man” is not one of their best songs. So I waded into the Twittermelee to say so.

 

 

Being the kind of sad obsessive I am, having made a statement like that I then had to check it by compiling a list of my favourite 50 Tindersticks songs. They’ve done a lot of covers and instrumentals so I excluded those to make the task a little easier. Actually I couldn’t get it down to 50 so here, in reverse order as is tradition, is my top 60 Tindersticks songs interspersed with a few of the band’s official videos.

60. Desperate Man (Curtains)

59. Tiny Tears (Tindersticks 2nd album)

58. Slippin’ Shoes (The Something Rain)

57. Let’s Pretend (Curtains)

56. Black Smoke (Falling Down a Mountain)

55. Were We Once Lovers? (The Waiting Room)

54. A Marriage Made In Heaven (single)

53. Help Yourself (The Waiting Room)

52. Everything Changes (Don’t Even Go There EP)

51. Patchwork (Tindersticks 1st album)

50. El Diablo En El Ojo (Tindersticks 2nd album)

49. Medicine (The Something Rain)

48. Hey Lucinda (The Waiting Room)

47. People Keep Comin’ Around (Can Our Love)

46. Travellin’ Light (Tindersticks 2nd album)

45. Milky Teeth (Tindersticks 1st album)

44. This Fire of Autumn (The Something Rain)

43. No Man in the World (Can Our Love)

42. Mistakes (Tindersticks 2nd album)

41. For Those… (b-side of Marbles)

40. Make Believe (b-side of Rented Rooms)

39. Like Only Lovers Can (The Waiting Room) 

38. Walking (Curtains)

37. Second Chance Man (The Waiting Room)

36. Sweet Memory (Waiting for the Moon)

35. (Tonight) Are You Trying To Fall In Love Again? (Curtains)

34. Raindrops (Tindersticks 1st album)

33. The Waiting Room (The Waiting Room)

32. Another Night In (Curtains)

31. Her (Tindersticks 1st album)

30. Can Our Love (Can Our Love)

29. Until the Morning Comes (Waiting for the Moon)

28. Tyed / Tie Dye (Tindersticks 1st album)

27. If She’s Torn (Simple Pleasure)

26. Yesterday’s Tomorrows (The Hungry Saw)

25. Harmony Around My Table (Falling Down a Mountain)

24. A Night In (Tindersticks 2nd album)

23. Can We Start Again? (Simple Pleasure)

22. The Hungry Saw (The Hungry Saw)

21. A Night So Still (The Something Rain)

20. Talk To Me (Tindersticks 2nd album)

19. No Place So Alone (The Hungry Saw)

18. CF GF (Falling Down A Mountain)

17. Bathtime (Curtains)

16. Boobar (The Hungry Saw)

15. Trouble Every Day (Trouble Every Day soundtrack)

14. The Other Side of the World (The Hungry Saw)

13. The Not Knowing (Tindersticks 1st album)

12. Drunk Tank (Tindersticks 1st album)

11. Buried Bones (Curtains)

10. Show Me Everything (The Something Rain)

9. Chilitetime (Can Our Love)

8. Marseilles Sunshine (originally released on the first Stuart A. Staples solo album but qualifies here beacuse it was re-recorded by Tindersticks for their Across Six Leap Years compilation)

7. City Sickness (Tindersticks 1st album)

6. Cherry Blossoms (Tindersticks 2nd album)

5. Sometimes It Hurts (Waiting for the Moon)

4. All The Love (The Hungry Saw)

3. Jism (Tindersticks 1st album)

2. Factory Girls (Falling Down a Mountain)

1. I Know That Loving (Simple Pleasures)

 

So there you have it.

It’d be a different list tomorrow of course. If you’re a Tindersticks fan then you’ll know that there are several officially released live albums and superior versions of most of these songs can be found on those, particularly the Bloomsbury Theatre and San Sebastian ones.

But what’s that I hear you say? Is there a pictogram to go with this? Funny you should ask.

 

Click picture for a bigger version

 

Not all these songs are on Spotify but here are the ones that are. (I think you will only see this if you’re logged in to Spotify)

 

Thanks to @musesfan2 @_sandywishart @WillieMcalpine @INeedDirection @indieover40 @maffrj and @jones_jamie for contributing to the orginal Twitter thread.

 

Related posts:

 

Live review podcast: Indietracks Festival, Derbyshire (28th – 30th July 2017)

You can keep yer Coachellas and  yer Glastonburys. The world’s greatest festival happens every July in an old trainyard in Derbyshire. With owls.

Still suffering from their post-Indietracks comedown, the wizards Chorizo and Rebel got together on Monday night to review the weekend’s jollities and play a few songs from some of the bands we loved there.

Blimey, they even wrote a song about the festival which you can hear at the end, recorded in one take by the way because we’re lo-fi purists.

Listen to the podcast right here or on Soundcloud below.

Here are the songs played on the podcast, click on the links to buy them:

  • No Moon – Chorusgirl (from the album Chorusgirl)
  • Wonderboys – Pillow Queens (from the Calm Girls EP)
  • On Tiptoes (Marc Riley session version) – Crumbs (from the album Mind Yr Manners)
  • No-One – Peaness (from the No Fun EP)
  • Barcode Punk – Milky Wimpshake (from the album Bus Route To Your Heart)
  • Straight Lines – Shopping (from the single Straight Lines)
  • It Only Works Because You’re Here – MJ Hibbett & The Validators (from the album Regardez Ecoutez Repetez)
  • Margot – Charmpit (from the Jelly EP)
  • If You Don’t Pull – The Just Joans (from the Love & Other Hideous Accidents EP)
  • Strange Fruit For David – The Wave Pictures (from the album Instant Coffee Baby)
  • I Was Born on the Wrong Day – Cate Le Bon (from the album Crab Day)
  • Get Down to Indietracks – Rebel Rikkit and Chorizo Garbanzo (recorded in one take like the true lo-fi purists we are and unavailable elsewhere thankfully!)

There were another couple of bands that we saw some of who we totally forgot to mention in the podcast, so many apologies to Enderby’s Room and Baby Arms who were both great. We’ll play tracks by both of them on our next podcast to make up for it.

Have a look at some of our photos from the weekend below but also check out these far better photos by Matthew Schwartz and read this great article by Pete Darrington explaining why this festival is so special.

Also check our Youtube channel over the next few days for some videos.

 

Other related podcasts: 

Friday photos:

Saturday photos:

Sunday photos:

Podcast 78: Rock and Roll Royalty

Henry VIII opens this podcast assisted by his most trusted Minister Thomas Cromwell broadcasting from all the way back in 1536 (as up to date as ever then Ed).

The Greatest Song Writing Partnership of All Time?

To embrace the regal theme the wizards choose the rock and roll royal family as well as playing new releases, reviewing gigs and setting us all up for the 2017 Indietracks Festival.

Dear Listener, click here to listen or down there for the full soundcloud experience.

 

 

Track listing, Notes and References

  • 2 Minutes: Delta 5, Mind Your Own Business Find out more here
  • 6 Minutes: Herman Hermits, I’m Henry The VIII (see The Hermits punk Medley here)
  • 11 Minutes: The Creature Comfort, 1,000 Miles (buy here )
  • 13 Minutes: Charmpit, Free the Burbs (buy here)

  • 20 Minutes: Debate to choose Rock and Roll Royal Family
  • 27 Minutes: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Vomit Coffin (buy here)
  • 30 Minutes:King Tubby,Woodham Slide
  • 37 Minutes: Radiohead post OK Computer debate and gig review
  • 46 Minutes:Radiohead, Daydreaming
  • 55 Minutes:Billy Momo, Seven Rivers Wild (buy here)
  • 59 Minutes:Gisele Pape, Moissonner (buy here)

  • 70 Minutes: Come on down to the Indie Tracks festival (Tickets till available here)
  • 77 Minutes: Model Village, Time To Share (buy here)
  • 80 Minutes: Garden Centre, Scrap Yard (buy here)

 

Podcast 77: I Find That Offensive!

The Wizards turn their attention to offence in music and introduce guidance to assist the more timid amongst us with the “Offenceometer” to warn more fragile souls when adult themes are present.

They cover all areas of offence including sex, drugs, violence, language and wonder if those things offend anymore. Yet note that ideas are much more offensive than words. Then in a misguided turn they go in search of the most offensive song ever and make disturbing findings.

To hear this coherently argued thesis (Ed: Steady On!) just click here or the Soundcloud thing down there.

 

And if you enjoy this kind of thing be sure to check out our Swearing Special podcast from 2013 because it’s fucking great.

Tracklisting, notes and references: (Spoiler alert!)

  • 1 minute: Jamie West, I Am Just a Pop Song [Buy Album]
  • 4 minutes: Trio, Da Da Da
  • 10 minutes: The Sex Organs, Lubrication. [Buy album]
  • 13 minutes: The Scars, Horrorshow [Big Gold Dream documentary no longer on BBC Iplayer but this playlist is]
  • 24 minutes: Bomb The Bass, Bug Powder Dust (featuring Justin Warfield)
  • 29 Minutes: Coloringbook, Tripping Dove (Offensive? video below)

  • Offense in music debate sparked by the campaign to remove the Anti Nowhere League from the rebellion festival.  Wherever you stand on this issue you can vote to exclude the band here and vote to keep them in here 
  • Is Lou Reed Transphobic? Read more here
  • 45 minutes: The Anti Nowhere League, So What (The band confirm that they are still on the bill for Rebellion Festival that runs between 3 and 6th August in Blackpool)
  • 52 minutes: Sleaford Mods, Dull [buy album]
  • 55 minutes: Jackal Trades, Celebrity Mourning is the New Rock and Roll. [buy album]
  • 67 minutes: Playboy Manbaby, Cadillac Car [buy album]
  • 70 minutes: the search for the most offensive song ever made. Examples below (watch at your own risk):

 

 

Kicker’s Quarterly – July 2017

You’d’ve thought that with more time on his hands as a part-time wizard our Kicker would have found some interesting music for his latest mix. And you’d be right. Possibly. I guess you’ll be the judge of that.

62212

So, without either further ado or anything remotely Prince or U(gh)2-like, let’s see what has been on the O’Elves turntable over the last few months.

When You’re Lifted By The Lie

  1. Meursalt – I Will Kill Again (the title track from this year’s wonderful album – check it out!!)
  2. The Apples In Stereo – Go (from ‘The Discovery Of A World Inside The Moone’ from 2000)
  3. John MOuse – Happy I Am Not (from the fortunately not prophetic ‘The Death Of John MOuse’ (2014) – JM has an ace new single out that is hopefully a precursor to a new album.)
  4. Johnnie Taylor – Changes (see the video below – it’s not a cover version!)
  5. Robyn Hitchcock – I Want To Tell You About What I Want (from the remarkably great self-titled LP that came out a couple of months ago – one of his best.)
  6. Denim – Here Is My Song For Europe (Ah, Lawrence.)
  7. The Foreign Films – Teardrop Town (The groove on this completely outweighs the poor grammar – every fool knows prepositions are followed by verbs in the form of present participles, right? Oh. Anyway, this slice of Canadian greatness comes courtesy of the late lamented Active Listener. Now inactive, I guess.)
  8. Tobin Sprout – A Walk Across The Human Bridge (the first new LP from Tobin for 10 years, and it’s a cracker: ‘The Universe And Me’.)
  9. Uncle Rico – Better Men (Funnily enough I’ve just been in Denmark, which is where our pal Henry Toft is from. Here he is in his avuncular guise.)
  10. The Pictish Trail – Dead Connection (I was lucky enough to catch the force of nature that is Johnny Lynch playing for a BBC Scotland recording recently, where this song from last year’s ‘Future Echoes’ was one of many highlights.)
  11. Lab Coast – For Now (Top band. They have just released a vinyl collection of those early cassettes called, er ‘Lab Coast’. They are the Canadian GBV. GBVeh?)
  12. Woof – Crud (From the excellent ‘Gone In 60 Sec Vol. 4‘ collection on the I Heart Noise label – 30 songs in 30 minutes; you do the mathS. Check out the bandcamp link below for this ace little instrumental.)
  13. Diet Cig – Apricots (Another new one – this from the ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ LP. They are.)
  14. MC Mabon – Tymheredd Yn Y Gwres (A Welsh Dexys? Maybe. This is from the compilation ‘Ankstmusik: Radio Crymi Playlist Vol 2 1998-2008’.)
  15. Guided By Voices – Unspirited (an oft overlooked gem from ‘Isolation Drills’ – #22 of 100 (soon to be 101).)
  16. Tim Chaplin – Burgundy Blues (from the EP of the same name that came out in March this year. Check out the bandcamp link below for this song and while you are there download Tim’s latest ‘Every Seventh Wave’ LP. Highly recommended.)
  17. The Goon Sax – Up To Anything (Another title track. Yeah, it’s Robert Forster’s lad. But, hey, it’s pretty damn great.)
  18. Simon Joyner – Fluoride (More proof ,as it is seemingly needed, that I do indeed know who Simon Joyner is. So, I was watching the bloke supporting The Burning Hell in Salford last year and he introduced a cover version by asking if anyone knew of Simon Joyner. Keen to join in with the audience participation I shouted ‘yes’ anticipating a crowd roar. Seems it was just me. The woman next to me, who I didn’t know, just looked disapprovingly at me and said ‘No, you don’t.’ Anyway, this is the first SJ song I heard – John Peel played it and highlighted the brilliance of the line ‘Take me to the room where my angels twist … and shout.’ It’s still one of my favourites. Funnily enough I have recently been in correspondence with Simon as at one stage it looked like I might be able to help sort him a gig in Liverpool. Lovely fella. No, really, I have. I have….
  19. Trust Fund – Seance (The always brilliant Trust Fund with a track from an EP that came out 4 years ago called ‘Don’t Let Them Begin’. No doubt there’ll be a new album out shortly. There usually is.)
  20. Giant Sand – (Well) Dusted (For The Millenium) (from ‘Chore Of Enchantment’ and very possibly my favourite GS song.)

Most of those tracks are available here:

And those that aren’t, are here:

It was 30 years ago today: U2, The Joshua Tree Tour at Wembley Stadium, 13th June 1987

On 13th June 1987, U2 played Wembley Stadium on The Joshua Tree tour.

I was a wide-eyed 16 year old and it was the 4th gig I ever went to. I’ve interviewed some of my mates from West Sussex who were there with me that day to see what we remembered of it all.

The gig we saw was 11 months after Live Aid? What do you remember about Live aid and U2’s performance in particular?

[Jarrod] I remember both Live Aid and U2 – iconic events when most musos around our age look back. I remember Live Aid because my dad had invited family around – the event started in the afternoon and it was a good chance for me to slope off and listen to the opening act! It was also something about seeing Wembley Stadium full, both in the stands and on the pitch, crowds like that I’d never seen before. Did the Quo open Live Aid? I seem to recall that – I also remember of course Queen, the live feed with the US which was novel in those days, and the Phil Collins Concorde trip to perform at both. I do remember U2 at Live Aid and the Geldof rant. Plus Madonna, I loved Madonna when I was 16/17.

[Neil] I remember The Style Council seeming to be a little quiet after Status Quo, Phil Collins on Concorde,  Geldof swearing on live TV,  Bowie.  U2 were awesome. One of the highlights.  Bono seemed in his element.  Had the crowd eating out of his hand. There always seem to be lots of rather large flags when U2 played, and I’m sure Live Aid was no exception.  Bad was phenomenal!!  Their set was great,  but Bad was the standout,  unforgettable.  I think he went into some cover versions at the end of Bad, perhaps Rolling Stones. [Chorizo: he’s right you know, Bono sung lines from Ruby Tuesday and Sympathy for the Devil] I had a bootleg tape of the concert that I got from Camden Market.  The quality wasn’t great, but still used to play it a lot in the car.

[Ralphy] I don’t remember a lot about Live Aid. Only Freddie Mercury geeing up the crowd and Bob Geldof swearing on TV. “Give us your fucking money”

[Pompey Mike] I think U2 ended up playing longer than they were supposed to. Can’t really remember what they played but would imagine it probably included stuff from Unforgettable Fire, so Pride etc? I think at the time Mr Bono was pre-sunglasses but definitely wearing black boots. I bought myself a pair around this time. I don’t think I was as cool as Mr Bono. This may have had something to do with wearing the boots with a red white and blue ski-jacket. Or possibly something to do with just not being cool. Think he jumped down from the stage and pulled some girl out of the audience but I might be making that up.

[Richard, Chorizo’s brother] U2, Queen and Madonna were my standout moments plus didn’t George Michael sing with Elton John Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

[Chorizo] It was quite a sunny day because I remember we moved the telly so we could sit in the garden and watch it. I was disappointed that The Style Council didn’t play for longer! Loved Elvis Costello’s All You Need Is Love. But I was nuts about U2 back then so the whole day was basically just building up to U2. I remember being a bit confused about what the hell was going on when Bono went on walkabout in Bad to get those girls out of the crowd. The Who were great too, I’d never heard Won’t Get Fooled Again before I saw them do it at Live Aid. I also remember Madonna. Of course we were all in love Madonna. We were teenage boys.

Madonna at Live Aid in Philadelphia and simultaneously causing a commotion with the youth of far away West Sussex

The Joshua Tree album had been out for 4 months when we went to the gig. Did you know the songs really well?

[Neil] Yep.  I think we’d all been playing it nonstop since it came out.

[Jarrod] I first heard it in our school RE lesson!

[Ralphy] Knew them all really well. Sang along enthusiastically.

[Chorizo] I was properly obsessed with U2 back then so I got the train to Guildford on the day it came out to buy the album. Pretty sure some of you came with me too? I also remember the week it came out they were on Whistle Test. They played In God’s Country which was kind of alright but then they played Exit which was just fucking amazing.


[Richard] Knew about 3 of them very well, the ones everyone knows. Heard you playing it a lot though.

[Pompey Mike] Pretty well by the time of the gig. I bought it on one of those big black round discs that the kids used to buy. I seem to remember them all standing in a desert, black and white photography and I imagine some sort of headgear is in evidence.

No internet back then so any idea how you got a ticket?

[Ralphy] That’s a really fuckin good question. No fuckin idea!

[Pompey Mike] Don’t know but I would guess your dad may have had something to do with it.

[Neil] Pretty sure someone’s mum with a credit card.

[Richard] Didn’t you sort it out?

[Chorizo] I think we made some of our parents drive us down to Brighton early one morning to get tickets from the box office round the back of the Brighton Centre.

What can you remember about the support acts?

[Richard] If you told me I would remember but I can’t at the mo.

[Pompey Mike] Mmmmm. Pogues? Wasn’t into them at this stage which is why I don’t remember. But it also might be that I don’t remember because it wasn’t them. Lou Reed? Pretty sure he was there. Again, wasn’t into him either so little springs to mind. Some other band as well but I can’t even remember their name let alone anything about them.

[Neil] My memory’s a bit shaky, but seem to remember Lou Reed, Lone Justice and The Pogues.

[Chorizo] Maria McKee from Lone Justice was an amazing frontwoman. I bought their album Shelter on tape after seeing them here. I’d already taped Rum Sodomy and the Lash off Neil. I remember we jumped around a bit to them. Lou Reed was really boring.

[Ralphy] I remember “Ship of Fools” by World Party and “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde shaking her arse at the crowd.

[Chorizo: this means Ralphy actually went to see U2 at Wembley the day before the rest of us did. He went with some other mates of ours but we can’t remember who.]

What can you remember about U2 that day? Do any moments particularly stand out?

[Ralphy] I remember “Where the Streets Have No Name” being the opening song. They pretty much played the whole album and the hits from the others. There were no video screens so Bono was really small. I remember being pretty pumped by the whole experience of Wembley.

[Setlist for the gig Ralphy saw here.]

[Richard] Lots of plastic pint glasses full of piss being thrown around. That was a new experience for me. I can remember exactly where we were on the pitch. Near the front and on the left. I think Bono wore blue tinted glasses. But mainly I remember all the pissy showers.

[Chorizo] They opened with a cover of Stand By Me and they played a slowed down version of The Beatles Help. Other than that can’t remember much else. There’d been a General Election quite recently which the dreaded “Thatch” had won. Seem to remember Bono making a few comments about that which went down very well.

On our way out of the gig, we were trying to work out where on the pitch certain famous Wembley goals had been scored and then re-enacting them. We did all the big hits. Ricky Villa, Geoff Hurst “some people are on the pitch”, Alan Sunderland with his big afro etc

[Pompey Mike] I remember thinking they were awesome although I don’t remember that much, definitely enjoyed it though. Long encore I think and the last song I’m pretty sure was “40” and the band left the stage one by one until it was just that Larry Mullen fella bashing his drums. A few cover versions I think but I might be mistaken. I thought Mr Bono had a great voice. I may even have been wearing my black Mr Bono boots although it was in the summer so maybe not. I think it was the first gig I had been to where people were pissing in plastic bottles and then chucking it over everyone else. Fortunately I was neither the pisser nor the pissee. Which is nice.

[Neil] I remember that we got a fairly decent spot in the crowd. Even though we were in a big stadium,  we could see the stage and bands really well.  A great day out.  Don’t remember too much though.  Although seem to remember Bullet the Blue Sky being incredible. Lots of searchlights and special effects. I think I had a T-shirt with those lyrics on that day.  “Outside it’s America” He changed the lyrics at the end “into the arms of Margaret Thatcher”!  Brilliant.

[Jarrod] The gig was excellent- although in the middle of the crowd I remember jumping up and down like a loon! Beer was relatively easy to access, the toilets were miles away! “Where the Streets Have No Name” was the highlight for me. The light staging was great, the sky was dimming, I was with my mates and I loved that track.

[The setlist we saw is here.]

Tell me about any other times you’ve seen U2 live.

[Ralphy] Saw U2 on 360 tour a few years back. Amazing.

[Neil] We saw the Achtung Baby tour at Wembley as well.  I remember him ringing Kosovo and the Big Heads! The stage had those odd Trabant cars hanging down.  They had a booth where fans could go in before the gig and record their messages.  I just remember this one person smoking a huge spliff and blowing the smoke towards the camera.  Another great gig.

[Pompey Mike] Saw them once more, Zooropa tour with you and Neil.

[Chorizo] Yep, that one you’re talking about was the best U2 gig  I’ve been to. They were playing the Achtung Baby / Zooropa songs which I love and 24 years on I still don’t think I’ve seen any gig as visually astounding as that. PJ Harvey was supporting too and playing lots of the “Rid of Me” album. Seen them twice more since then, went to Earls Court in 2001 but it wasn’t very good. Then, thanks to an unbelievable slice of good fortune which I should probably write about in full on this site sometime, Mrs Garbanzo and I were given free tickets to see them in the MGM Arena in Las Vegas on the last night of our honeymoon. Bono was at his sanctimonious worst for much of that gig and they played quite a lot of songs I don’t particularly like. But… but… but.. Mary J. Blige man! The highlight of the gig, and indeed one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in 30+ years of gig-going, was when Mary J. Blige came on for “One” and sang it like this.

What do you think of The Joshua Tree now? Do you have any kind of physical copy in your home right now?

[Richard] Nope. Don’t have it anymore.

[Ralphy] I still like it. Don’t have a copy any more. Think I bought it on cassette. Doh.

[Chorizo] Still got the vinyl I bought on the day it came out and I’ve also got it on CD. I thought I had “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” on 7 inch. But I just went to look for them and they’re not there which means I’ve Ebayed them.

[Neil] I still remember it fondly.  A bloody good album.  This chat has prompted me to give it a listen after all these years. The vinyl is in my dad’s attic where it’s been awaiting transportation to New Zealand for the last fourteen years. Really must get that sorted…

[Jarrod] Still got it on vinyl. I have a lifetime top 10 albums – Joshua Tree is in it along with Doolittle, The Queen is Dead, Substance, Seventeen Seconds, Heaven or Las Vegas, Love (The Cult), The Bends, Leftism & The Stone Roses.

[Pompey Mike] I have a big box of vinyl in the basement including Joshua Tree. I will have a cheeky look in a minute as I think I also have the CD somewhere.  I haven’t got round to putting them in the basement yet as I am not a downloader person. Still like it although I can’t remember the last time I listened to it but I think it’s still a good record. Or CD. Or downloady thing.

U2 30 years on again again

“couldn’t get in the loft to find the vinyl version but I’ve got it on Spotify!”

Favourite song on The Joshua Tree?

[Chorizo] Favourite is Exit, 2nd favourite Where the Streets Have No Name

[Ralphy] Where the Streets have No Name is one of the best album opening tracks of all time. (There’s an idea for a segment!)

[Pompey Mike] Dunno. With or without you? Bit predictable I suppose but Mr Bono sounds good on that. I can’t sing it to save my life. Is there one called Exit as well? I think that was good too.

[Richard] With or Without You

[Neil] I really like Bullet the Bullet Sky because it’s different to the others.  But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and With or Without You are hard to beat.  One Tree Hill has more of a relevance with me now because we often go walking up the actual One Tree Hill in Auckland.

Do you still buy U2’s music? If not at what point did you lose interest?

[Ralphy] I don’t buy U2’s music. Haven’t since Rattle and Hum which I didn’t particularly like.

[Neil] Not much past Pop I’m afraid.  I got that free album they released on iTunes (as did just about everyone else presumably) but never really gave it a good listen.

[Chorizo] Rattle and Hum is pretty crap apart from All I Want Is You which is up there with their very best songs. I really like Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop. Especially the last 2 tracks on Pop. I own the next 2 albums after that, but I only like about 3 songs on each of them. Didn’t buy anything after that.

[Jarrod] Joshua Tree was the last U2 album I ever bought. I guess most critics would say arguably it’s their best work!? I liked War, The Unforgettable Fire but then it seemed U2 got too big, maybe too commercial and I lost interest a little.

[Pompey Mike] Pretty much lost interest permanently after Zooropa. And then got annoyed when their album appeared on my phone without me even asking.

Favourite U2 song?

[Neil] Bad or Sunday Bloody Sunday or Pride or One

[Richard] Bad

[Chorizo] Bad, Until the End of the World and All I Want Is You. But honourable mentions to New Years Day and Sunday Bloody Sunday, the 2 songs that made me such a fanatic in the first place. They’ve been opening their gigs on this current “The Joshua Tree 2017” tour with those 2 same songs. The old “band coming on one at a time” trick is still a brilliant way to start a gig.

What other gigs you went to around that time stand out in your memory?

[Neil] Sorry, all a bit of a blur!

[Ralphy] The late 80s was gig heaven. The Pogues, The Alarm, Billy Bragg, Style Council, Pixies…

[Richard] Big Country at Wembley Arena, top gig!

[Pompey Mike] Who else was I seeing at the time? Probably The Alarm quite a lot. In those days I remember being quite upset that they didn’t have massively big hits and get to number 1 all the time, or indeed ever. Things like that were important then. I do remember leaving what I think was my fifth Alarm gig and deciding that I hadn’t really enjoyed it and I never saw them again or bought any more records.

[Chorizo] I remember that exact gig. It was at the Kilburn National Ballroom. All of us came out of that gig feeling the same way. Up to that point The Alarm had been one of our favourite bands. But then after that gig, we all simultaneously came to the same conclusion, that they were shit. It must’ve left us feeling a bit empty inside and we had no capability of dealing with those kind of complicated feelings because we smashed up the train compartment on the way home and threw all the light bulbs out of the windows. That wasn’t really the kind of thing we usually did!

The difficult 3rd album!

[Pompey Mike again] Housemartins at Portsmouth Guildhall, Billy Bragg soon after and a lot. And of course the mighty Wedding Present many many times. However first gig was Sister Sledge at Brighton Centre. At various stages since, this has been embarrassing/cool/embarrassing/cool quite a few times.

[Chorizo] All the ones already mentioned. The Pogues many times, Billy Bragg many times, The Wedding Present many times. The Waterboys! Depeche Mode! Green on Red! 10,000 Maniacs!

One that particularly stands out for some reason is The Style Council at Crawley Leisure Centre. It wasn’t a particularly good gig. In fact it was shit. Weller wasn’t even playing guitar at gigs by that point and the venue was a fucking leisure centre. But never mind the actual gig, I remember it being a fucking great day out. Bloody loads of us went to that and we had a right good piss up!

[Pompey Mike] My actual gig memory is so hazy but there are a few key things I will never forget about those gigs. I remember seeing the Pixies at Portsmouth Guildhall and everyone was leaving at the end of the gig when they came back on and played Wave of Mutilation with all the lights still on. That was awesome. But most stuff I forget. Getting old I suppose. But still a lot younger than fucking Phil Collins. Fuck off Phil.

Do you think that music / gigs / experiences you had during your formative teenage years influence you for the whole of your life?

[Richard] For the big events it definitely does. The Beautiful South gig we went to at that time is a big one. Seeing you sing “The Tracks of My Tears” with your band in back room of The Crown is a big one for me too!

[Chorizo] I think my outlook and my politics are all still hugely influenced by the music of my youth (and Musical Youth)

[Pompey Mike] I think most bands are important to you for certain periods and then become an irrelevance at some point after those formative years. But then the older you get the more permanent your tastes become…I think. But is it because they “lose it” or we just change? Was Mr Bono really heroic and he then became a cock? Or was he a cock all along? He got all preachy and sunglassey all the time. It’s raining Mr Bono, take the fucking things off!

However….

U2 and Mr Bono : nah, not any more.

Billy Bragg: not really. Still love the old stuff though.

Weller : in and out. Watch a lot of him on YouTube, but only for modern takes on old songs.  Check him out doing a pared down version of “Ghosts”, takes me right back to the good old days.

The Wedding Present / Natalie Merchant – always!

Podcast 76: One Of Our Wizards Is Missing

Only 2 Wizards on the show as rumours of the death of Kicker O Elves continue to be denied.

The remaining Wizards struggle on, reflecting on how Chuck Prophet plays guitar solos with a duck walking head? How do you construct a Eric Clapton compilation that would keep anyone awake and how to navigate East Sussex?

What nonsense you say! And your right and you can listen to it here and down below.

Physicality! Not Arf!

6 pounds worth of prime Tremolo Ghost

Chuck all badged up!

Does this machine kill fascists?

Top Timbre

Live review: Gigantic Festival, Manchester Academy 27th May 2017

In August 2010 a couple of days before my 40th birthday, I persuaded some of my oldest mates to accompany me to some place called Holmfirth in Yorkshire to see The Wedding Present play their album “Bizarro” in full. Since then, we’ve been using Wedding Present gigs as an excuse to get together because, to quote an early songtitle, you should always keep in touch with your friends. We’ve seen them play several other albums in full now: “Seamonsters” “Hit Parade” and their most recent one “Going Going…”

Hard to believe that the band’s debut album “George Best” came out 30 years ago. It certainly doesn’t seem that long ago that I first heard it on the player cassette of a rickety old Lancia Y10 owned by my good friend Mr Fingers. The two of us set off in a slightly more reliable car to Manchester’s Academy to re-live our teenage years at the one day festival known as Gigantic.

We arrived halfway through Mark Morriss out of The Bluetones performance and just as we finished buying our pints he started introducing their big hit “Slight Return.” He made a few amusing comments about the song getting airplay on Heart FM and earning him enough money to keep him in trainers for all 17 of his children. It’s a good song but The Bluetones made quite a few that were even better. One of those was the magnificent “If” which closed the set today and left me wondering (just like it did when it came out) why this song with its inventive chord progressions and singalong “na na na na” ending wasn’t a mahusive hit.

It would’ve been good to hear some more songs off The Bluetones second, and in my opinion, best album “Return to the Last Chance Saloon”, in particular “Sleazy Bed Track” and “Down to the Reservoir.” Although to be fair, he may well have already played those before we got there. Could’ve lived without the Elton John cover but overall what we did see was thoroughly enjoyable and seeing him for the first time I was pleasantly surprised by how funny he was. Mr Fingers commented afterwards “I’d forgotten how many of their songs I knew”, something which became a bit of a recurring theme of the day.

Mark Morriss out of The Bluetones @ Gigantic festival, Manchester Academy 27th May 2017

In contrast, the next band were one I saw many times “back in the day” and then saw again last year at The Deaf Institute just up the road from here. Mr Fingers was with me at one of those gigs (Aldershot Buzz Club 1990) a gig we both remember as being, like every gig at that much-missed venue, FUCKING LOUD.

Thousand Yard Stare were the first band I ever saw where the bandmembers were the same age as me and, unsurprisingly, they still are. Like Mr Fingers, some of the band have considerably less hair these days (i.e. none at all) but apart from that not a lot has changed. Singer Stephen’s voice still sounds just as great and he still restlessly prowls the stage doing a lot of pointing and gesturing incomprehensibly during the lengthy instrumental sections. The rhythm section (Dominic drums, Sean bass and most importantly Kevin on guitar) are still fucking brilliant, particularly on the many songs that use *that* beat. You know the beat I mean, the Funky Drummer “baggy” that was on so many indie tunes in late 80s / early 90s. Think “Joe” by Inspiral Carpets and 3 songs that were highlights of today’s set, “Keepsake” “Buttermouth” and debut single “Weatherwatching.”

At The Deaf Institute last year, I was standing right in front of Kevin and Sean but this time around I found myself front row directly in front of Giles on guitar. This meant I got to see some fantastic guitar hero antics up close, including the great riffs that open new song “Heimlich Maneuver”, old favourite “0-0 a.e.t.” and my personal favourite the funky intro to the aforementioned “Keepsake.”

 

Thousand Yard Stare @ Gigantic festival, Manchester Academy 27th May 2017

Got to admit that before going to The Deaf Institute gig last year, I did have a few doubts. Were my memories of Thousand Yard Stare gigs the first time around recalled through the rose-tinted prism of youth? Was it just wistful nostalgia for my lost youth? After all, nobody else I knew seemed to remember them with the same enthusiasm that I did. Was it possible that I just got caught up in the general excitement of the times and in actual fact, Thousand Yard Stare were *gasp* not all that good? That Manchester gig last year kicked my stupid doubts up the arse and this gig gave them a further kick in the bollocks to go with it. Thousand Yard Stare were and are fucking brilliant.

 

Before the next band came on, Mr Fingers was telling me how one of his teenage daughters plays drums and has been learning to play Ramones and Blondie songs. Well surely The Primitives would be the ultimate band for her. They are basically Debbie Harry fronting The Ramones with a little bit of 60s girl group thrown into the mix. Both of us saw them play at Portsmouth Guildhall in 1989, a gig that neither of us could recall a single thing about apart from the fact that the moshpit was full on chaos (but not as rough as the “wrecking” at the Pogues gigs we used to go to back then!) I saw The Primitives again last summer headlining the best small festival around, Going Up the Country in Congleton where I think they were even better!

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Here in Manchester they were excellent again. Tracey Tracey as effortlessly cool now as she was 28 years ago. Drummer Tig Williams is clearly a man who loves his work. He plays drums like there’s nothing else going on in the room, totally into what he’s playing and 100% “in the zone.” We particularly enjoyed “Really Stupid” “Way Behind Me” and of course “Crash.” The only disappointment was that they weren’t on for longer! There was some kind of disagreement between the bandmembers about what song they were playing next and then off they went.

As well as the old tunes, I recommend their 2012 album “Echoes and Rhymes” where they play 14 fuzzed up versions of obscure 60s songs. A delight for all you crate digging punk rockers out there.

Earlier in the day Mark Morriss had advised the crowd to pace ourselves with our drinking so we made it through the whole day. Not an issue for us because we were both driving but pacing ourselves energywise still an issue for us mid-40s indie rock fans. We knew that we wanted to be down the front and jumping around for the whole of the “George Best” album later but that was more than 3 hours away so in the meantime we had to strike the right balance. We needed to plan ahead so we got to spend the requisite amount of time inside and outside the venue whilst also scheduling in an intake of additional energy in the form of unhealthy fried snacks. There were plenty of seats available outside in the smoking area but extended spells spent there could get a bit chilly because we had of course adhered to Indie Gig Going Rule Number 1 (don’t bring a coat). Incidentally in the rules of Prog Rock Gig Going this is known as the Phil Collins Directive (no jacket required)


Inside the venue it was substantially warmer but that meant standing up for 3 hours which wasn’t very appealing. The end result of all this was that we only saw bits of the next 3 acts. We only saw a song and a half of Pop Will Eat Itself but that was probably enough to be honest. As much as I used to enjoy dancing to the Stooges-aping “Def Con One” and “There Is No Love Between Us Anymore” in south coast indie discos back then, I never felt compelled to buy any of their records and in truth I’ve never really understood the appeal of a vastly inferior West Midlands version of the Beastie Boys. But what do I know? There were probably more PWEI T-shirts here than any other band and the majority of the crowd were loving it so maybe it’s me that just Can’t Dig It.


Next up was Jimbob (James Robert to his mother) from Carter. Mr Fingers reminded me of how back when I used to work in Guildford HMV, I used to take the piss out of blazer wearing kids from local public schools who’d come in to the shop asking “Got any Car’er?” as if they’d been brought up on the mean streets of SW16. I told Fingers how in the early 2000s after the Unstoppable Sex Machine had er, stopped, my band played a gig in Crystal Palace Bowl supporting JimBob’s post-Carter band who were named after some trickily pronounced Eastern European cyclist. (Post gig Googling reveals that the band were called Abdoujaparov and JimBob isn’t in that band at all, it’s the other bloke from Carter!)

Both of us had owned Carter stuff on tape, since consigned to who knows where long before hipsters started buying music on tapes again! I have the CD single of “Rubbish” (which includes a great cover of Pet Shop Boys “Rent”) but largely the timing of Carter USM’s most popular music meant that we’d bought a lot of it on tape just before we’d started buying most of our music on CD and never got around to re-purchasing on CD. The end result of that is that we haven’t listened to them for nearly a quarter of a century!! That phrase “I’d forgotten how many of their songs I knew” was back out again because in fact we remembered pretty much every song he played.

Back in their heyday, Billy Bragg had a joke he used regularly at his gigs:”If there are any Carter fans in tonight and you’re wondering what that is, it’s called a drummer!” The trademark Carter cheap drum machine was such a key part of their DIY punk racket that you wouldn’t think the songs would work in acoustic form. The reason why they do is all down to the lyrics, densely packed with wonderfully creative puns and wordplay, packed pop culture references. It’s like early 80s Costello rewritten by Kanye. The last few songs were especially memorable as JimBob led the crowd as they sang along boisterously. I’d forgotten what great songs “Shopper’s Paradise” and “Lean On Me, I Won’t Fall Over”. There was a massed singalong with outsider anthem and genuine hit single “The Only Living Boy In New Cross” followed by musical showstopper “The Impossible Dream” which ended with the “you’re wonderful, give me your hands” bit from Bowie’s “Rock n Roll Suicide,” before ending with the inevitable and still brilliant “Sheriff Fatman”

Next up were EMF. Once again, I’d owned their only album “Schubert Dip” on tape and never got around to replacing it with a CD version so hadn’t listened to it in decades. With some UV lighting onstage, the band certainly looked the part. Out of all the bands playing today, EMF were the only ones who were still dressed like it was still 1991. They looked ready to spend the rest of the evening necking disco biscuits in a field somewhere just off the M25.

EMF @ Gigantic festival, Manchester Academy 27th May 2017. Check out those shorts!

Singer James Atkins (a music teacher these days as this video shows) was wearing a “JACK YOUR BODY” t-shirt and a pair of knee length shorts in a fetching combination of camouflage and luminous orange.  I suddenly felt nostalgic for a pair just like them that I bought in Camden Market and wore to Glastonbury in the early 90s. Guitarist Ian Dench played some great wah wah drenched guitar solos while sporting a spectacular beard and Global Hypercolour type tshirt. He’s still a very successful songwriter who’s written a few for Beyoncé.

Of course the crowd went the most crazy for “Unbelievable” but follow up single “I Believe” was also great. My favourite song of the set was “I Haven’t Seen You for a Long Time” (oh how I miss those luminous orange shorts!) which featured some quality old school Italo house piano. Bangin’!

JimBob came back onstage to help them their final song, their theme song that goes “E, Ecstasy, M Motherfuckers M motherfuckers, F From us to you.” Earlier on in the day I’d tried explaining this song and what the EMF stood for to Mr Fingers as he looked back at me dubiously.

On to the main event then. The “semi legendary Wedding Present” as David Gedge puts it. Just had time to queue up for some chips and then scoff them during the opening songs which were a couple of favourites from relatively recent albums, “Broken Bow” from last years epic double album and total masterpiece “Going Going…” (listen to our review of that album here) and “Deer Caught in the Headlights” from 2012’s “Valentina” which features a brilliant cymbal-crashing instrumental section and is always a live favourite.

Then another from “Going Going…”, my favourite track in fact entitled “Fifty Six”, a song you can hear in full on my Best of 2016 podcast. As discussed in that podcast, the second half of the song builds and builds and builds but until tonight I’d never noticed that bass player Danielle plays a grand total of 1 note for the whole of this section (it’s a D in case you were wondering!)

Another of my back catalogue favourites came up next, the magnificent Crawl from the flawless “3 Songs” EP followed by an instrumental “England” from the recent “Home Internationals” EP released on Record Store Day. By this time, Mr Fingers and me had made our way down to the front and just had time to make the comment that it was all very calm around there before Gedge intoned the immortal words that start the album “Oh why do you…” Those words were like some kind of dog whistle. And they’re off! Suddenly the pogoing started and carried on from here until the end of the set. Get a feel for how it was down there from these 2 videos I took.

It seems pointless to try and pick out highlights from “George Best” because all of it was, of course, fantastic. I took a tactical retreat from the moshpit during the breakneck “Shatner” (ironically introduced with the words “We’re going to slow things down a bit now”) before heading further forwards again for the rest of the album.

After “George Best”, 2 of the band’s best known songs “Brassneck” and “Kennedy” were played for an uncharacteristically crowd-pleasing finale.

Before “Brassneck”, Gedge spoke movingly about his affection for this city he grew up in and dedicated the song to all those affected by the Manchester bomb a few days ago. The last time The Wedding Present played this venue was the day after the Eagles of Death Metal gig in Paris was attacked. Surreal and horrifying to think of people being attacked while at gigs because these are events which celebrate community and shared experience.  During “Kennedy”, some bloke just in front of me lost his glasses and half a dozen of us did the time-honoured gig thing of linking arms to stop others from falling on him while he found them. Community you see. We might spend most of the gig deliberately shoving and jumping into each but when necessary we join together to help each other. We take care of our own. Both tonight and last time at this venue, lots of people were shaking hands with, hugging and thanking the security staff as they were leaving. Brassneck indeed.

Post-gig post-script:

As usual David Gedge was manning his own merchandise stand and I bought this CD at the gig. This is the whole George Best album re-recorded with Steve Albini live in his Chicago studio in 2008.

If there’s a fault with the original album, it is that the production sounds a bit dated now. It’s tightly compressed and everything sounds a bit too trebly. This new(er) recording actually sounds far better and has a lot more bite. Highly recommended listening.

 

I also took the opportunity to ask him what’s going on with the lyrics of the song “Soup” where the usual Gedgian tale of romantic intrigue and derring-do is interrupted with a seemingly unrelated shouty chorus where the phrase “no soup for you” is repeated.

Mr Gedge kindly explained that the soup thing is a reference to a grumpy chef in an episode of “Seinfeld” so that’s that mystery solved.

 

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We’re having a Snap! election

That’s right, we’re having a Snap! election.

The actual election is bringing on The Great Depression. The first Jam record I owned was Funeral Pyre. I bought Ghost Town by The Specials at the same time, from WH Smith in Aldershot in case you were wondering. (I know you weren’t)

I was 10 years old then and the depressing part of it is how relevant it remains 36 years later. “The weak get crushed as the strong grow stronger” just about sums it up.

Anyway, voting is easy you’ve got to do is pick your 3 favourite songs from The Jam’s classic compilation and vote for them below.

The kids know where it’s at.

 

Paul Weller speaking in 2016:

“People say, ‘Why don’t you write any more political songs?’ But I would just write exactly the same fucking things I wrote thirty-odd years ago. Every time they fire a missile in the Middle East, that’s £850,000, right? And then they talk about the NHS, fucking selling it off or it crumbling. So nothing’s really changed, has it?”

“kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns”

 

“bullshit is bullshit, it just goes by different names”

Podcast number 75 Mark E Smith Special (Part 2)

Back by lack of popular demand, the wizards return with this second (here’s part one if you missed it) show dedicated to the genius of Mark E Smith.

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This time they not only share a musical tribute to the great man, but also politely plough on with guest (informant) Will Neville’s Fall quiz and tell us how Will and Kicker first discovered Prestwich’s finest.

You can listen in (like a telephone thing) by clicking here or there:

Some of the physicality played and discussed on this show: