Podcast 120: Chorizo’s favourite songs of 2021

Later than planned due to technical issues far too tedious to explain here, we are delighted to bring you Chorizo Garbanzo playing his favourite songs of 2021 and talking about them with his wizarding pal Kicker.

Here’s Side A…

… and here’s Side B.

Alternatively you can download Side A here and Side B here or listen via Soundcloud below.

This is the second of our end of year round-ups, go here to listen to Kicker’s selections .

Look away now if you don’t want to know the ingredients baked into this tasty musical cake.

Side A:

Fissured Ceramics – Dummy
Lese Mwen Ale – Delgres

Yeter – Kit Sebastian
Cream Militia – Regressive Left

Keep It Together – Pip Blom
Pure Particles – The Bug Club

Y Bywyd Llonydd – Carwyn Ellis
Llyn Llawenydd – Papur Wal

Blue Soul – Lost Horizons
Seen The Boreal – Hilang Child

Asdikte Akal – Mdou Moctar
Silver Breasts – The Surfing Magazines


Side B:

Helluva Summer – Randolph’s Leap
We Should Be Together – The Wedding Present featuring Louise Wener

Requests – So Cow
Ah Yeh – Beak>

Wild Bill – Opus Kink
How Does The Story Go – Sprints

Breathe, Howl, Flower Moon – Piney Gir
The First Time – Scott Lavene

Samurai Sword – Chad Vangaalen
No Connectioh – Cheekface

Look Over My Shoulder – David Boulter
Get Out – Don’t Worry

Kicker of Elves’ Favourite Things from 2021

As is now tradition, let’s start with my favourite SONG OF THE YEAR – a full run down of all my favourite songs can be heard on one of our end of the year podcasts – the Kicker one, and, of those, my favourite is Scott Lavene‘s The Ballad of Lynsey.  A proper bit of storytelling with a killer refrain.

Top 25 Albums

1    Slonk Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

This Bristol band, the brainchild of the prolific Joe Sherrin, were new to me this year thanks to the introduction of friend of the pod and all round top lad, Jeff Tyson. I now own their full back catalogue and could do with another tape as this one is worn out.

2    Scott Lavene – Milk City Sweethearts

3    The Reds, Pinks & Purples – Uncommon Weather

William Doyle – Great Spans Of Muddy Time

5    The Cleaners From Venus – Penny Novelettes

6    Von Hayes – Wa La!

7    Psychic Flowers – For The Undertow

8    Paul Jacobs – Pink Dogs On The Green Grass

9    Low – Hey What

10  Guided By Voices – Earth Man Blues

11  Cathal Coughlan – Song Of Co-Aklan

12  James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra – The Wide, Wide River

13  Wurld Series – What’s Growing

14  Astral Swans – Astral Swans

15  Marconi Union – Signals

16  The Declining Winter – Recordings Of Weird Air

17  Haiku Salut – The Hill, The Light, The Ghost

18  Ronan O Snodaigh – Tá Go Maith

19  Strapping Fieldhands – Across The Susquehanna

20  Gruff Rhys – Seeking New Gods

21  Smug Brothers – Application Of The Twig

22  John Francis Flynn – I Would Not Live Always

23  Faye Webster – I Know I’m Funny Haha

24  Lewsberg – In Your Hands

25  Mimsy – Ormeology

…. and making up a top 50 albums, all of which you should own, are, in alphabetical order, 25* more:

Apeshit – Music For Pipe Smokers; Arab Strap – As Days Get Dark; Courtney Barnett – Things Take Time, Take Time; The Bevis Frond – Little Eden; Black Country, New Road – For The First Time; The Chills – Scatterbrain; Clinic – Fantasy Island; Cub Scout Bowling Pins – Clang Clang Ho; Dohnavùr – The Flow Across Borders; Ducks Ltd. – Modern Fiction; The Goalie’s Anxiety At The Penalty Kick – Ways Of Hearing; Good Morning – Barnyard; Guardian Singles – Guardian Singles; Guided By Voices – Styles We Paid For / It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them!; Hiatus – Distancer; The House In the Woods – Spectral Corridor; Immersion – Nanocluster Vol. 1; Kitchen Cynics – Reekinhame / Resevoir / Endbirds / In The Ruins / Songs From Room 9; Pardoner – Came Down Different; Royal Chant – Shoot The Messenger; Sleaford Mods – Spare Ribs; Veryan – Here; Wake Up – Tigers Can’t Be Choosers; Andrew Wasylyk – Balgay Hill: Morning In Magnolia; Western Edges – Dependency

*plus some extra

Top 5 Compilations

Portraits From Quarantine (Almost Halloween Time Records)

And not only because it features a song co-written by this particular wizard, but definitely that, and the song by The Cannanes, which is stellar, and so much more.

2  Cue Dot Sampler: Volume 1

3  An Eclectic Selection Of Music From The Arab World, Part 2 (Habibi Funk)

4  May The Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute To Roky Erickson (Light In The Attic)

5  Eins Und Zwei Und Drei Und Vier (Bureau B)

Top 5 EPs

1   Yard Act Dark Days

Chorizo brought these to the pod, and I instantly fell in love with this Leeds band and their first 4 songs. The debut album, due early next year, seems sure to be a big hit in Kicker Towers in 2022.

2  Cub Scout Bowling Pins – Heaven Beats Iowa

Dohnavùr – Pristine Environments

Kitchen Cynics – Seven Meditations From A Morthouse 

Ducks Ltd. – Get Bleak

Top 5 Reissues / Re-pressings / Remixes / Not Strictly Speaking New Stuff

1   Spare Snare – The Complete BBC Radio Sessions 1995 – 2018

Dundee’s (some say, Scotland’s) finest, The Snare put together a fantastic box set of stuff they did with Peel, Riley, Galloway, and, er, Jones over 25 years.

2  Caravan – Who Do You Think We Are?

Linda Smith – Till Another Time: 1988-1996 

Devo’s Gerald V. Casale – AKA Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers

Pye Corner Audio – Black Mill Tapes (10th Anniversary Box Set)

Top 5 Live Albums

1   The The The Comeback Special

A gig I regret not getting to, but am delighted to now be able to hear in full. I really hope its release signals the return of The The to the recording studio.

2  The Fall – Live At St Helens Technical College 81

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts 

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Way Down In The Rust Bucket

Alex Chilton and Hi Rhythm Section Boogie Shoes – Live On Beale Street

The Robert Pollard Annual Output Roundup

Guided By Voices – Styles We Paid For (a December 2020 release) / Earth Man Blues / It’s Not Them, It Couldn’t Be Them, It Is Them / Thank You Very Much For Nothing (video)

Cub Scout Bowling Pins – Heaven Beats Iowa EP / Clang Clang Ho

Reissues: Propeller x 4 (Scat); Under The Bushes Under the Stars (white); Isolation Drills (2xLP, blue/black); Alien Lanes (Newbury Comics, Red)

Hot Freaks (Subscription):

Following on from the subscription starting in May 2020, this year we received, in the form of weekly downloads, the following:

Robert Pollard – 1998 Home Acoustic Recordings / Irving Plaza, New York City, June 14, 1996 / The Batman Sees The Ball (Preview) / Before Computers (Style We Paid For Demos) / Kevin March Songs / I Sell The Circus (Demos) / Sunshine Girl (Preview) / Live at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, April 21, 2018 / Bobby Bare Jr / Robert Pollard – Carry On Bag / Lord Of The Birdcage (Roughs) / Robert Pollard – Motivational Jumpsuit (Demos) / WXPN World Cafe – July 17, 1997 / Robert Pollard– Full Sun (Dig The Slowness) / BBC Radio 1: John Peel Session, June 18, 1996 / Robert Pollard – Space City Kicks (Roughs) / Cub Scout Bowling Pins – Eggs Mother? (Preview) / Robert Pollard – Carry On Bag II / Broadcaster House /  Live at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA – October 23, 2018 / Broadcaster House – Part 2.

Rather neatly this meant the full sub gave us 1000 tracks, which subsequently have been made available on a GBVUSB. Shit, yeah!

Top 5  Music Related Books (Read This Year)

1   Bela Koe-KrompecherLove, Death & Photosynthesis

From the founder of the wonderful Anyway Records, this book provides the reader with a vivid moving description of love, friendship, music and excess in late 80s Ohio. Highly recommended.

2  Bob Stanley and Tessa Norton – Excavate!: The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall

Holly George-Warren – A Man Called Destruction: The Life And Music Of Alex Chilton

Tot Taylor – The Story Of John Nightly

5 Kristin Hersh – Seeing Sideways: A Memoir of Music and Motherhood

Top 3  Non-Music Related New Books

1 Justin RobertsonThe Tangle

Described as a ‘mind-fuck’ on the back of the book, no description I could come up with beyond this would do it justice. Just know you need to read it, and then read it again.

2 Willy Vlautin – The Night Always Comes

3 Bob Mortimer – And Away

Top 5 Music Films Seen (But Not Necessarily Released) This Year

King RockerRobert Lloyd / Stewart Lee

Everything you could possibly want from a music documentary – informative, moving, and laugh out loud funny. It’ll make you want to get those Prefects records out again too.

2   Dunstan Bruce – I Get Knocked Down

3  The Jangling Man: The Martin Newell Story

4   Poly Styrene – I Am A Cliché 

Sparks – The Sparks Brothers

Best Song That Didn’t Quite Make The Playlist, But Had My Favourite Music Video Award

The Stephen Jones One Man Domination Of Record Shelf Space Award

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Just the 260 tracks released by Stephen Jones this year under various guises:

Babybird – Corona Christmas / Give Me Your Heart, I’ll Give You Mine (single) / Leicester Square, London, 11/2/12 / Covers & Remixes / Kids Gun

Baby Bird – I Was Born A Baby 

Stephen Jones – The Floating City / Heart Boxes / Bandcamp Babybird

Death Of The Neighbourhood – Additional Tracks

Apeshit – Music For Pipe Smokers

New Musical Source Of The Year

Castles In Space

Subscription Library:

British Achievement In Chemistry, March 1977; Concretism – Archive: Volume 1; Jilk – Welcome Lies; Dohnavùr – Pristine Environments; Oscilloclast – Nocturnal/Seasonal; Hawksmoor – Crystal World; Polypores – Myriad; Stellarays – Cosmopollinators; The Heartwood Institute – Land Of The Lakes; Correlations – Rewind The Exit Tape

Plus a number of other great records released by the label this year, but not part of the subscription:

Dohnavùr – Flow Across Borders and New Objectivity (The Remixes) EP; Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan – People & Industry and Interim Report, March 1979; Den Osynliga Manteln – Insektsfolk; Clocolan – This Will End In Love; Hattie Cooke – Bliss Land; Concretism – Teliffusion; Everyday Dust – Black Water

Favourite Music Related Moments (Outside of Everything Above)

Jellyfish Reflector – bought direct from Uncle Bob via Sarah Zade-Pollard. Oh, yes.

Tom Violence – the band I was involved with back in the late 80s – found themselves included on an Almost Halloween Time Records compilation (see above). Luigi said:

“Tom Violence: The song that made me think the most. Where has she been hiding all these years? I know that one of the members of this project has an infinite record collection, it certainly went like this, the original tape it was contained on must have been placed by mistake in another shell and Darren found it putting his collection in order during the lockdown. It was not easy to find a collocation for this song which could very well be a b-side of Talk Talk or Pet Shop Boys. What if more recordings come out? I could finally update my playlist of favorite 80s songs and turn the clock back to release a bizarre classic.”

You can decide for yourself here: https://almosthalloweentimerecords.bandcamp.com/track/59-tom-violence-everything

And finally, something to enjoy with the family over Christmas Dinner, a selection of the best part of a dozen (eleven, in fact) of my favourite instrumentals of the year.

Please help support all the wonderful musicians mentioned in the lists above by searching out their records, CDs, tapes and downloads and BUYING THEM!!!

Podcast 119: Kicker’s Best of 2021

It’s been another bumper year for music in the O’Elves household, where extra shelves have been built (put together) to accommodate a whole bunch of great new stuff.

You can hear Kicker’s choice of his favourite 24 tracks from that little lot on two jam-packed sides of the show below:

Side A and Side B

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s on the list. Otherwise, here’s the run down:

  1. Low – Days Like These
  2. Astral Swans – Bird Songs
  3. Arab Strap – Fable Of The Urban Fox
  4. The Reds, Pinks & Purples – Don’t Ever Pray In The Church On My Street
  5. Psychic Flowers – Wondering
  6. Guided By Voices – Trust Them Now
  7. Telefis (Featuring Cathal Coughlan) – We Need
  8. Scott Lavene – The Ballad Of Lynsey
  9. Smug Brothers – That’s News I Could Have Used Yesterday
  10. Spare Snare – I Want To Follow
  11. Paul Jacobs – Your Last Words
  12. The Delines – Little Earl
  13. Wild Billy Childish & CTMF – Bob Dylan’s Got A Lot To Answer For
  14. Slonk – Postman
  15. Lewsberg – The Corner
  16. Wurld Series – Feeling Crushed
  17. Wet Leg – Chaise Longue
  18. The Cleaners From Venus – Everytime I Go Up
  19. Black Country, New Road – Track X
  20. The Declining Winter – Housing Tract Blues
  21. Yard Act – Dark Days
  22. Von Hayes – I Had No Idea It Was Today
  23. James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra – Struggle
  24. William Doyle – I Need To Keep You In My Life

The physicality (where there was some):

As always, we urge you to support all the wonderful musicians involved in making our lives more tolerable by seeking them out on bandcamp (using the links above) and BUYING their stuff.

Streaming is for wimps. Thanks.

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 18: The Pink Floyd – Piper At The Gates Of Dawn / Saucerful Of Secrets

The big question on this episode is, rightly, all about the use of the definite article in describing the artist behind these 2 albums – the first two from (The) Pink Floyd and the only ones to feature Syd Barrett.

As an avowed post-punk hater of The Floyd, Chorizo opens up his mind and gives them a go.

You can hear what both the wizards made of these two albums by clicking on the image below.

PROOF!!

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 17: The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request / Beggars Banquet

This series finally turns its attention to The Rolling Stones, possibly the most over-rated of all 60s rock behemoths or second only to The Beatles in terms of importance and influence.

Here we consider the evidence in the form of an album that wanted to beat Sgt Pepper’s at its own game, and one with a bog seat on the front.

You can hear what exactly the wizards made of these two albums by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 118

After a lengthy hiatus, the wizards are back and making as much sense as they normally do. With a mixture of mikmakmoks and babababas, they have all the gibberish you have come to expect.

Along with a whole bunch of fantastic tunes, there are in-depth discussions about what constitutes a decent album credit, the big question of ants v worms, what it is that nobody really needs help with, not ever soul singers, and news that Kicker will soon be unable to locate any record ever again. Oh, and I’ve been told to place here a photo of a QPR legend…

You can hear all the good stuff right here and right down there in a show that we dedicate to Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. Julian Cope – Mik Mak Mok
  2. The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost – Tony Got A Car
  3. Solomon Burke – Get Up And Do Something For Yourself
  4. Guided By Voices – Ant Repellent
  5. Scott Lavene – Worms
  6. The Siddeleys – Sunshine Thuggery
  7. Los Bitchos – The Link Is About To Die
  8. The Chills – Background Affair
  9. Slonk – Holidays
  10. The Lazy Eyes – Where’s My Brain???
  11. Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Panic In Babylon

The physicality: (where we had some):

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 16: Paul Revere & The Raiders – The Spirit Of ’67 / GTOs – Permanent Damage

This time round Robert Pollard forces us to listen to the GTOs album, but also the last record from the classic line-up of Paul Revere & The Raiders (which even features Paul Revere), so all is not lost.

You can hear what exactly the wizards made of these two albums by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 117: Manchester Psych Fest special (4th September 2021)

Saturday 4th September 2021 was the day that Chorizo finally got to see some live music again and to mark the momentous occasion he made a podcast about it.

You can download it here or click below to play in the browser.

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 15: The Byrds – Fifth Dimension / Del Shannon – …And The Music Plays On

On this show we consider the third album from The Byrds, and the first one without previous main songwriters Gene Clark and, er, Bob Dylan, along with the lost Del Shannon album produced by Andrew Loog Oldham that didn’t come out in 1967.

You can hear just what the wizards think about these two albums by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 116: Isolation Pod #23

Plenty going on in this show with a lucky dip based on Chorizo’s recent cheapskate shopping trip giving Kicker the slightest excuse he needs to talk about his meeting Robert Pollard that time.

We also get Chorizo Snr critiquing Sleaford Mods, Oates out of off of Hall & Oates in a dream, African Country & Western, and both wizards giving us their top 20 albums of the year so far (with no overlaps, that’s 40 albums in total that you should immediately pop into your local record shop and purchase, even if there might not be a living legend available in aisle twelve for photos).

Anyway, you can hear all that and loads of great music, including tracks from some of our favourite albums of 2021, by clicking here or on the player down there.

This show is dedicated to David R Edwards. Diolch x

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. Datblygu – Gwlad Ar Fy Nghefn
  2. Shannon Lay – The Dream
  3. Guided By Voices – Electronic Windows To Nowhere
  4. Jess Sah Bi & Peter One – Kango
  5. William Doyle – Nothing At All
  6. Snapped Ankles – Shifting Basslines Of The Cornucopians
  7. Faye Webster – Both All The Time
  8. Synthetic Villains – I Can Hardly Wait
  9. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Cut Up
  10. The Bug Club – We Don’t Need Room For Lovin’
  11. The Reds, Pinks & Purples – The Record Player And The Damage Done

The physicality: (where we had some):

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 14: The Byrds – Younger Than Yesterday / The Notorious Byrd Brothers

Wearing their fringes* like Roger McGuinn’s and hoping to impress, the Chorizo and Kicker take a listen to The Byrds albums numbers four and five.

*Kicker wishes

You can hear just what the wizards think about these two albums by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 13: The Bee Gees – Horizontal / Graham Gouldman – The Graham Gouldman Thing

Despite one wizard literally phoning it in on this show, you’ll still find we had an in-depth discussion of a third Bee Gees album and the collection of original versions of some of the best known 60s hits from a founder member of 10cc.

You can hear Chorizo and Kicker discussing the two albums and bringing in talk of train crashes and hated guitarists by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 115: Isolation Pod #22

Mon Dieu! Zute alors!! The wizards have gone all stripey t-shirts and berets as a result of watching a TV series about a board game. Fortunately, this has led to a tune packed show and not just more passive aggressive shrugging.

There’s plenty to get yer dents into as we return to a one sided show. Click on the link here or the mini-player below. Vive le sorciers!!

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. Gillian Hills – Tut, Tut, Tut, Tut
  2. Figures Of Light – Seething Psychosexual Conflict Blues
  3. John K. Samson – Fantasy Baseball At The End Of The World
  4. The B-52s – Song For A Future Generation
  5. The Gladiators – Hearsay
  6. David Boulter – Looking For Trudy
  7. Concretism – ROC Trainee Programme
  8. Happy Accidents – Secrets
  9. Guided By Voices – The Batman Sees The Ball
  10. Cheekface – Best Life

The physicality: (where we had some):

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 12: The Bee Gees – Odessa

Just the one album on this tape, and it’s a double. It might even be a concept album. What is certain is that it is our pals The Bee Gees and their masterpiece, Odessa.

You can hear what Chorizo and Kicker make of this album by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 11: The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle / The Bee Gees – 1st

It’s the battle of the baroque-rock bands on this episode as Robert Pollard’s eleventh tape brings together a group of scary looking living dead types, and, er, the best band ever to come out of St. Albans.

You can hear what Chorizo and Kicker make of these two albums by clicking on the image below.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you found this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 114: Isolation Pod #21

I think I’ll roll another number for the road, I feel able to get under any load generate a Robert Pollard song title.

Oh, yes, plenty of fun and games on this show. There’s even a quiz where you are challenged to pick the most trustworthy from the likes of these two goodmen.

Find your way to the music, the quiz and the usual jibber-jabber by appropriately clicking on one (or all) of the links below:

Side A

Side B

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. Cub Scout Bowling Pins – Funnel Cake Museum
  2. The Leaf Library – No Memories, No Plans (Clause Four Remix)
  3. Clive Zanda – Ogun
  4. Men I Trust – Found Me
  5. Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band – Josephine
  6. Ballboy – The Angels
  7. The Paragons – Abba
  8. Attica Blues – Tender (The Final Story)
  9. Wake Up – Define Myself
  10. Kinky Machine – Pissing In The Snow

The physicality (where we had some):

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 10: The Hollies – Butterfly / Love – Forever Changes

The tenth tape in Robert Pollard’s on-road collection features two albums recorded and released in 1967.

The second album released that year by The Hollies – Butterfly – and the third studio album from Love – Forever Changes.

Have a listen to what Chorizo and Kicker make of these two albums by clicking on the image below.

Here are some images of when Kicker got to see Arthur Lee and his hats, and a recommended book should you require more insight than you will find on this podcast.

As if.

Our chats about the previous tapes can be found where you find this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out on the next show, make sure you follow our podcast on Spotify and subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 113: Isolation Pod #20

Well, this really is a cracker of a show. Should you listen to it immediately? Five times yes, you should.

As well as the usual array of eclectic gems, there’s more in the way of song explanations than you could ever need, and the (welcome?) return of the musician’s dream segment (is that theme tune just a bit too long? anyone??) that encourages Chorizo to dig out an old favourite.

Find your way to the music and the wittering via any of the links below:

Side A

Side B

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. TV Face – No No No No No
  2. The Cannanes – Moonhands
  3. Cypress Hill – I Wanna Get High
  4. The Pastels – Truck Train Tractor
  5. Short-Haired Domestic – A Song In Spanish Addressed To Men Who Drive Big Cars
  6. Christian Fitness – A Terrible Shame
  7. Le Grand Miercoles – Farewell To Cheyenne
  8. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Back In The USA
  9. Anita O’Day – Tenderly (Mocky Remix)
  10. King Of Cincinnati – I’m Cold

The physicality (at least some of it):

Some more in the way of incidental physicality

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 9: The Beach Boys – The Smile Sessions

Wahalalule, wahalalula!! Yes, it’s another Beach Boy based tape for the wizards to discuss. This time they consider the great long lost album SMilE in its 2010 form.

Below are two alternative running orders for the album. Robert Pollard is most likely to have been listening to the bootleg album on the left that was available in the late 80s.

Doing doing!! Click on the picture below to hear exactly how much they enjoyed this one.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out, you can now follow our podcast on Spotify and subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 112: Isolation Pod #19

It’s been so long since we recorded this show, I have no idea what nonsense we came up with to pad it out. We did start with a joke though. Two, in fact.

Anyway, as usual there’s a whole bunch of fantastic music to make it a worthwhile listen, and you should immediately click on any of the links below:

Side A

Side B

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. Cows – Cabin Man
  2. The Alien Cormorant ft. Billordo – I Know What You Are
  3. Laundromat – Bureau De Fatigue
  4. Guided By Voices – Mr Child
  5. The Wedding Present – Blonde
  6. Girlpool – Fast Dust
  7. Sissy Space Echo & The Invisible Collaborators – They’ll Fix You (They Fix Everything)
  8. James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra – There Is No Upside
  9. Cathal Coughlan – Song Of Co-Aklan
  10. Nine Wassies From Bainne – Mr And Mrs Lapsipah
  11. Oumou Sangare – Sukanyali

The physicality (where there was some):

Interview with Cathal Coughlan

Chorizo’s review of Cathal Coughlan’s – The Sky’s Awful Blue

31 years ago today: Billy Bragg’s unhelpful announcement

£7.50 = value for money

Today it is exactly 31 years since I went to “Hootenanny” at the Hammersmith Palais. This was a benefit gig hosted by Janice Long with a line-up that included Difford & Tilbrook, Billy Bragg, Phil Chevron from The Pogues, The Oyster Band & various others that I’ve forgotten over the intervening decades.

A few memories do still remain though. I can still remember Difford & Tilbrook, armed with just their voices and a couple of acoustic guitars, playing a brilliant version of “Footprints.” When everyone clapped at the end, one of them (probably Chris!) made a crack about how people always like that song live but nobody had bought it when it had been a single!

I also remember Boris Grebeshnikov handing out some of his Russian cigarettes to people in the audience, which seemed a little “off-message” for an anti-cancer benefit. Not that it stopped me taking one of course! (They were ridiculously strong and tasted dreadful!)

When Billy Bragg was introducing his version of The Internationale, he looked a bit taken aback when lots of us laughed in response to him saying that he’d recently recorded it with a Welsh voice choir! It turned out that wasn’t a joke but he did make some about the bar prices. We were already well aware of those, which is why kept popping down the road to the Laurie Arms in between acts. It was from there that we watched Phil Chevron being pursued down Shepherds Bush Road by an over-enthusiastic Pogues fan.

But just a mile up the road, there was another important story going on that day.

While we were at the gig, my beloved football team QPR were playing at home against Liverpool in the FA Cup Quarter Final. QPR had already had an eventful cup run that season. They had needed a replay to knock out Cardiff and two replays to get past Blackpool. I went to the Fifth Round match at Highbury which was a dreary 0-0. The replay at Loftus Road where we knocked out the League Champions has gone down as one of the all-time great evening matches at Loftus Road but I had missed it. It clashed with The Wedding Present playing at Top Rank in Brighton. After that gig, we had seen the highlights on a little telly in a kebab shop on West Street and I still remember going crazy in there when Andy Sinton scored!

So now we were in the last eight of the FA Cup for only the third time in our history and it had already taken an epic 7 matches to get there!

If the Liverpool match had been the day before, I would definitely have been there. But it was being shown live on BBC and so the kick-off time had changed to Sunday 3pm meaning that it clashed with the gig. For a while, I had contemplated going to both, but in the end I’d decided to go to the Palais, videotape the match and take the next morning off work to watch it.

Of course, in true Likely Lads style this meant somehow getting through the whole day without finding out the score.

None of my mates with me at the gig are QPR fans. Mike, Rich and Neil support Portsmouth, Woking and Chelsea respectively. But they were all on board with my plan and everything was going well. Before the match we had seen people heading to the match, so the walks to the pub up the road for cheaper rounds had to stop after mid-afternoon. Otherwise we would be in danger of seeing more QPR fans in the vicinity and accidentally deducing the outcome from their post-match disposition. It might not even be an obvious “tell” like an overheard football chant, even just the observation of a slight spring in the step of an elderly gentleman could blow the whole thing.

Billy Bragg 1990. (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

But then out of nowhere in between songs, Billy Bragg said “in case any of you were wondering about the football score, it was two…” and that’s all I heard before quick-thinking Neil slapped his hands over my ears!!!

I’d heard the “two” part of it! But what did that mean? My mind couldn’t help calculating all the permutations. Clearly the winning team had scored “two” because even though the printed results always show the home team’s score first, nobody would ever describe a score that way aloud.

So that left 4 possibilities:

  • 2-0 to Liverpool
  • 2-1 to Liverpool
  • 2-0 to QPR
  • 2-1 to QPR.

My mates had all heard the score so even though they were trying to help me, we still had to ban all discussion of it after the gig in case one of them accidentally gave something away. I managed to get home without any further “spoilers” so the next morning I fired up the VHS ready to watch.

Liverpool were one of the best teams around back then with rightly-revered club legends like Ian Rush, Alan Hansen, Bruce Grobbelaar, Ronnie Whelan and John Barnes in their team. Despite regularly finishing in the top half of the First Division in those days, there’s no question that QPR were the underdogs. But it was QPR who went ahead with a goal smashed in by Super Ray Wilkins.

That rules out the 2-0 to Liverpool I suppose. That’s good.

Early in the second half, John Barnes scores just as he seemed to do against us every season! He had supported QPR as a kid and later he was on our books as a youth team player. But he was never offered a contract and went to make his name at Watford. Since that day, he had seemed to be going all out for revenge against the club that let him go and every year he’d play a blinder against us and usually score! He scored 10 goals against QPR in a Liverpool shirt, more than he scored against any other club! This one was a direct free kick and even all these years later I still think David Seaman should’ve saved it!

Anyway that’s 2-0 to QPR out of the window then. Bollocks.

That just leaves 2-1 but will it be 2-1 to Liverpool or 2-1 to QPR?

Ten minutes from the end I got my answer. Paul Parker makes an uncharacteristic error and the ball runs to Ian Rush on the edge of the box. “And that’s it!” proclaims John Motson with an authoritative air of finality as the Liverpool victory that he and everyone watching was expecting now becomes reality.

Fucking hell. I’m annoyed with myself now. Billy Bragg was saying 2-1 to Liverpool. Of course he was. Why did I allow myself to even think that we would beat them? It’s Liverpool for fuck’s sake. They’ve won at least one trophy every single year since they pipped us to the League title in 1976. Of course, QPR aren’t going to knock them out you stupid stupid boy.

After that I’m annoyed with my mates. Billy Bragg told them that QPR had lost! They could’ve just told me that yesterday, put me out of my misery and saved me the trouble of watching the match. They understand how much football means and they would know that I wouldn’t want to watch a 90 minute recording of QPR losing! Why didn’t they just tell me the result?

But hang on, there’s Simon Barker, he’s running into the box and YEEEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!! SIMON BARKER! I’m up on my feet and jumping around the lounge shouting and cheering at 10am on a Monday morning!

2-2! That was he had been saying. Billy Bragg, you absolute beauty.

I hope you enjoyed my little story of redemption. Don’t spoil the dramatic ending by Googling what happened in the replay.

Three and a bit decades later and this is still the only time I have ever successfully avoided finding out the score of a football match. When I re-watch the Simon Barker goal, it still feels like it happened yesterday! I’m off to run around my lounge to it again now.

RIP to Phil Chevron, Alan McDonald and Ray Wilkins.

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Here’s a playlist of songs played at “Hootenanny” that day.

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 8: The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds / Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle

Wouldn’t it be nice to listen to the wizards’ take on one of the “greatest albums ever made” and another that cost more to make than could surely ever be justified? Well, wouldn’t it?

Make up your own mind about the relative niceness involved by clicking on the image below.

To avoid any potential disappointment on missing out, you can now follow our podcast on Spotify and subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast 111: Isolation Pod #18

With at least one wizard having one foot in the air throughout the show, we celebrate our 111th podcast with only songs that include either the number 1 or the word ‘one’ in the title.

No rule breaking extending this time.

Instead, a cryptic picture clue below for a song we didn’t play. (The answer is at the foot of the page.*)

You can hear 16.6% of the number of the beast with two (2) chosen ones in the bite size portions below:

Side A

Side B

Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:

  1. Eureka California – #1 In The State
  2. Smog – Chosen One
  3. Shaking Chains – Chosen One
  4. The Nerves – One Way Ticket
  5. The Aloof – One Night Stand
  6. Dinosaur Jr – How’d You Pin That One On Me
  7. Randy Crawford – One Day I’ll Fly Away
  8. The Henrys – One Body
  9. Maria McKee – Am I The Only One (Who’s Ever Felt This Way?)
  10. Circus Devils – All The Good Ones Are Gone

The physicality (at least some of it):

*of course, the answer is…

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 7: The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow / Parachute

“S.F. Sorrow – the concept album that Tommy could have been if it had a coherent story and no terrible songs,” says one wizard. “It’s prety good,” says the other. Can you guess who said what? Who do you agree with?

Since Robert Pollard paired that album with the one that followed, the wizards check that out too.

That ‘coherent’ story in full:

Hear the only opinions that matter* by clicking on the image below:

*there may well be other, better informed opinions that, frankly, you should listen to on this subject if you want proper insight.

The Fruits de Mer album of S.F. Sorrow covered – Sorrow’s Children

To avoid disappointment, you can now follow our podcast on Spotify and subscribe on Apple Podcasts.

Book review: Manic Street Preachers (Modern Music Masters) by Stephen Lee Naish

In comparison to their 90s contemporaries, the Manic Street Preachers have already been the subject of a number of well-respected books. Simon Price’s “Everything” written with the co-operation of the band is the most essential of these, but it only covers the first 5 of a (so far) 13 album career.

The thoroughness and academic approach of “Triptych: Three Studies of The Manic Street Preachers’ Holy Bible” make it a must-read for anyone who, like me, loves that album but it is exactly those properties that could be off-putting to the more casual fan.

With 2018’s “Riffs and Meaning” Stephen Lee Naish literally wrote the book on “Know Your Enemy.” That was the eccentric 2001 album that, in typical Manics style, the band chose to make as a follow-up to their radio friendly unit shifters “Everything Must Go” and “This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.” In that book, Naish did a great job of contextualising the confusingly schizophrenic nature of an album that lost the band much of their audience but is beloved by many Manics devotees.

This new book is not, and does not attempt to be, anything like as comprehensive as his previous book or any of the others mentioned above. But what it does extremely well is guide the reader chronologically through every one of the band’s releases with intelligent comment and analysis. Naish’s excellent subject knowledge and enthusiasm comes across on every page.

The first chapter takes us from the band’s formation through those often-overlooked Heavenly singles & B-sides. Until I saw it here, I was unaware of Nicky Wire’s quote “If there’s one regret I have about the band, if only we could have done a mini-album on Heavenly.” Naish does a great job of explaining why many consider some of the Heavenly recordings superior to the tinny versions re-recorded for the subsequent debut album.

Richey Edwards’ disappearance is dealt with sensitively and without hyperbole. The subsequent chapter “Freed From The Memory” includes some thoughtful dissection of what made the Manics unique from (and better than?) other successful guitar bands in the “Britpop” era.

I particularly enjoyed the section on “Lifeblood,” an album that was poorly received by the press on its release and has been dismissed by the bandmembers themselves in subsequent interviews. But Naish, quite rightly, stands up for it and sets out the case for re-appraisal really well.

The wonderfully entertaining Manics podcast “Do You Love Us” gave “Postcards From A Young Man” a bit of a pasting and there is not much affection for that album from Naish either. As one of seemingly very few people who like it, I’m still awaiting the spirited defence of that album that kickstarts whatever the opposite of a backlash is. Maybe I’ll have to write that myself!

In the final chapter “The Blank Page Awaits,” Naish considers some possible next moves, always a tricky prospect when you’re talking about a band that have been around for 3 decades and have still never made two albums that sound the same! Naish presents some intriguing ideas in this “love letter to the future” but I really hope that one of his suggested projects, an instrumental album, never happens! As much as I love some of the instrumentals that the Manics have released on B-sides and recent albums, I’m not sure I could handle a whole album that didn’t fully utilise two of the band’s most brilliant assets! (Nicky’s lyrics and James’ voice)

This is the fourth book in the Modern Music Masters series, following up on previous books about Blur, Oasis and Pulp all written by Tom Boniface-Webb. I think it was a great move to hand the reins over to Stephen Lee Naish for this one. He has written an excellent biography which works very well for either dedicated fans or those seeking an introduction to the band and their music.

More Manic Street Preachers on this website: