Podcast 102: Isolation Pod #11

With the football season in its opening weeks, this show appropriately combines the wizards’ two major obsessions. Not only do we get a number of football related songs, but also some blistering guitar solos, as well as mention of musical dreams of eggs, turds and forgotten front men.

Suitably* presented in what can best be described as a podcast of two halves, you can hear it all here and here and there and there:

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

  1. Courting – Football
  2. Guided By Voices – Party Rages On
  3. The Wave Pictures – Cabwaylingo
  4. Wladyslaw Trejo – Movida
  5. Throwing Muses – Backroad
  6. The Hush – Grey
  7. Soccer96 – I Was Gonna Fight Fascism
  8. Guided By Voices – Peep-Hole
  9. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals – Hully Gully Rock
  10. The Chills – Familiarity Breeds Contempt

The physicality:

Songs of Jason Molina

*actually due to Garbanzo’s new fangled recording device and not, in any way, by design. As if.

Q & A with John MOuse

Snooker, caravans, pigeons and Next clothing all feature on John MOuse’s brilliant new album “The Goat.”

Hear us talk to him about all those things and more right here.

 

Here’s a link to the album

 

Other John MOuse related posts on this website:

Podcast 101: Isolation Pod #10

After the excitement of completing their first century of podcasts culminated in the celebration of lots of short songs (some songs are shorter than others), the wizards are back to begin their next phase. And, almost inevitably, it involves eggs.

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how does this work then?

On the music front, this show features tracks from albums that haven’t been released yet or don’t exist at all, as well as a couple of random selections from the wizard vaults. There’s a very special Kicker’s Kooking Korner and the welcome return of the songs-by-bands-you-don’t-like-that-you-might-like section. Plus correspondence and the usual dim bulbery.

All of which can be found right here, and down there:

 

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

  1. Guided By Voices – Expecting Brainchild
  2. Pill Fangs – Mushrooms In Maastricht
  3. Royal Chant – Everyone Is Faking It, Can’t You Tell?
  4. The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy – Language Of Violence
  5. Manic Street Preachers – The Year Of Purification
  6. Cheap Trick – Downed
  7. The Vat Egg Imposition – Sheriff Of Nottingham
  8. The Ocean Party – Every House
  9. TWEN – Thrice
  10. Anton Barbeau – Fear Of Flying

 

The physicality:

 

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can’t believe the things we want

Podcast 100: Isolation Pod #9

Whilst there might be some doubt as to the exact timing restrictions that were placed on what was allowed to be played on this landmark show, what is certain is that this is the 100th podcast that the wizards have released into the wild since those heady days of December 2012 when one song constituted a show.

To show just how far they have come, this centenary show features a whopping great 24 songs and a shedload of wizardy bantz to boot.

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the songs have to be how long?

Many thanks to some of our online contributors: Balloon Man, Stevie Flaxen, Rockin’ Robot Forster, Nimrod X, Jack K, Connor Henricksen, Steve Tamburello, Dan Haywood, Richard J Turner, and The Cat & Drum Social (Distancing) Club who sent us song suggestions, some of which were exactly 1’40” (100 seconds = excellent), but most of which were simply top notch short songs (and therefore invalid according to KoE, but not according to C. Garbanzo) all of which can be found on our Twitter feed here: @trustthewizards.

We ignored all of them in any case, of course, and you can find what we actually played right here, and down there:

 

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

  1. Guided By Voices – Blimps Go 90
  2. 84 Nash – I’ve Got ‘Em All
  3. Dawn Of The Replicants – Sleepy Spiders
  4. Big Eyes – The Boo Girl
  5. The Slits – Shoplifting
  6. Clearance – She’s A Peach
  7. The Magnetic Fields – She Says Hello
  8. Frank Sidebottom – Estudiantes (Striped Shirts/Black Panties)
  9. Redbrick Shithouse – Someone
  10. Tramp Attack – Eight Years Since School
  11. Ken Nordine – Yellow
  12. P.J. Harvey – Snake
  13. Honey Radar – Cocaine Piano/Where’s The Pig?
  14. Tall Dwarfs – The Green Green Grass Of Someone Else’s Home
  15. Town Bike – Three Chords, Three Notes
  16. Elvis Presley – Thanks To The Rolling Sea
  17. Nervous Twitch – Jonny’s Got A Gun
  18. Von Hayes – Urinal Cookies
  19. The Pipettes – It Hurts To See You Dance So Well
  20. The Mountain Goats – Anti-Music Song
  21. Michael Cole & Michael Jessett – Fingerbobs Theme
  22. Kriss Foster – Vimto Song
  23. The Glass Delusion – The Society For The Prevention Of People Being Buried Alive
  24. Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Bus Driver’s Prayer

 

The physicality:

 

And she said “wow” a hundred times, not just for people people…

Elvis Costello Sings The Rainbow

Back in March, I wrote this post about how Steve Nieve’s videos were helping me stay positive during lockdown. They’ve stopped doing them every day now but at its peak Steve had his long-term bandmate Elvis Costello regularly dialling in to play and sing along with him. These performances are an absolute joy to watch, even though they are frequently disrupted by all the technical and temporal issues you may expect when there are 8,000 miles separating them! One of my favourite videos they’ve done so far was this Colours special.

 

 

As E.C. has remarked a few times in these videos, he really enjoys getting the chance to play songs they’ve never played before. It was a real treat to hear him sing the John Sebastian song “Rainbows All Over Your Blues” here, a song I’ve loved ever since hearing it in the “Woodstock Diaries” film. As far as I know that’s the first time Elvis has ever played that song, although he previously covered another Sebastian song from the same album (“The Room Nobody Lives In” on the b-side of “Veronica”)

Anyway, hearing Elvis and Steve play so many great songs in this video inspired me to make this playlist of my favourite Elvis Costello songs with colours in the title.

GREEN

“Green Shirt” is one of Elvis’ best known songs and probably my favourite on the “Armed Forces” album. The live version The Imposters were playing on the recent tour was just brilliant too. “When Green Eyes Turn Blue” from the “North” album was the only other contender, but in my opinion it’s not one of the standout tracks from that album.

LIME

Moving on to a more specific shade of green, I think “Under Lime” might be unique amongst all of Elvis Costello’s 600+ songs because it is a sequel to one of his previous songs. The 2010 song “Jimmie Standing in the Rain” tells the sorry tale of a musician struggling with his health and with making a living waiting on a rainy train platform somewhere in Lancashire. Speaking in a 2018 BBC interview: “I imagined a guy going round the music halls where my grandfather played… traipsing round the north of England trying to sing cowboy songs… He’s a travelling musician, he takes comfort in the arms of a woman that calls him by another man’s name.” Elvis then goes on to say that there’s a little bit of him, his father and his grandfather in this travelling musician character.

The sequel song revisits Jimmie 20 years later appearing as a guest on a “What’s My Line?” style show. There’s a lot of wordplay here, not least in the title where “lime” refers to both the building material and the Lime Grove address of the BBC studio where the song’s events take place.

BLACK

I can only think of 2 song titles that qualify here and both of them are big favourites!

I love “Black and White World” especially the Beatles-y demo version from the “10 Bloody Marys and 10 How’s Your Fathers” album (the first Costello album I bought!) That album was a round-up of non-album tracks and b-sides, as was a later compilation “Out Of Our Idiot” which is where I first heard “Black Sails In The Sunset.” Originally released as the b-side to “Tokyo Storm Warning,” the live version from the Costello Nieve boxset is pretty special too.

WHITE

There’s “Black and White World” of course but that’s already been discussed above. I’m not much of a fan of “Wave A White Flag,” a very early song that was included on re-issues of “My Aim Is True.” It’s a jolly little number about domestic violence and whilst it includes some good lyrics, the music is a bit too derivative for my tastes.

I much prefer a later song that also addresses some similar lyrical themes is “White Knuckles.” This is an absolute gem of a song from 1981’s “Trust” album. You won’t find many songs that Elvis has played live as infrequently as this one which is surprising because because the melody, the arrangement and the Attractions’ performance are all fantastic.

 

GOLD / SILVER

A few years ago, producer T-Bone Burnett was given a load of unused handwritten Bob Dylan lyrics and with Dylan’s blessing he rounded up a posse to write new music for these words and record them. Inevitably given their long-standing friendship, Elvis was one of the first people Burnett called. The resulting double album “Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes” is, perhaps unavoidably, a little bit of a disappointment given the backstory and the calibre of talent present.

The best of the Costello songs is “Golden Tom Silver Judas.” Musically it reminds me more of “John Wesley Harding” or “Nashville Skyline” than “The Basement Tapes.”

But actually my 2 favourite songs on the album aren’t ones that Elvis sings.

 

RED

 

Andrew Schofield and Elvis Costello in “Scully”

I first heard “Turning The Town Red” in the credits of a Channel 4 TV series called “Scully” about a football-obsessed schoolkid that I loved when I was a football-obsessed schoolkid. It made a very unexpected, but very welcome, appearance in the setlist when I saw Elvis in Liverpool in February, accompanied by the LFC-inspired badge designed by Bands FC.

 

Elvis also wrote the music for 2 later Alan Bleasdale series on Channel 4, GBH and Jake’s Progress which are both still available to watch on All4.

Before “Watching The Detectives” became a hit in 1977, Elvis released 3 singles earlier that year that didn’t trouble the chart compilers. The third of those was “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” a brilliant song rather let down by a rather thin and weedy sounding band/production. Many would consider it sacrilegious to slate off that much-acclaimed debut album but I have always thought it would be a much better album if it had had been played by The Attractions. So rather than the original version, I’ve included the Live At The Hollywood High version in the playlist.

“Red Cotton” is one of ten songs Elvis wrote for a chamber opera about the singer Jenny Lind and two of her high profile acquaintances P.T. Barnum and Hans Christian Anderson, four of which ended up being released on 2009’s acoustic Americana album “Secret Profane and Sugarcane.” The lyric doesn’t pull any punches on the subject of slavery as it travels to Benin, Liverpool and Barnum’s travelling show in the New World.

 

SCARLET

Veering across the spectrum from Red brings us to “The Scarlet Tide” co-written with the aforementioned T-Bone Burnett. A beautiful piano-led version by Alison Krauss was used in the soundtrack to the epic Civil War film Cold Mountain.

The following year Elvis released his own version as the closing track on “The Delivery Man.” Like many of the album’s best songs, this one features a harmony vocal from the peerless Emmylou Harris.  The Imposters are in outstanding form throughout the rest of the album but they aren’t playing on this song. With its sparse acoustic arrangement it may have been a better fit on the “Secret Profane and Sugarcane” album discussed above.

 

BROWN

The singer Arthur Alexander is best known for having his song “Anna (Go To Him)” covered by The Beatles on their first album.  After he died in 1993, a tribute album called “Adios Amigo” was released. It’s got some great stuff on it and I’d particularly recommend the Nick Lowe, John Prine and Frank Black songs.

Elvis contributed a rollicking version of “Sally Sue Brown” featuring just vocals and electric guitars.

Incidentally the same song was covered by Bob Dylan on his “Down In The Groove” album. Definitely not one of his most acclaimed albums but I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Admittedly quite a lot of it is Dylan playing half-arsed covers of old rock’n’roll tunes which nobody needs to hear. But there is also “Death Is Not The End” as covered by Nick Cave, Shane McGowan, Kylie Minogue et al for the jolly closing number of the “Murder Ballads” LP and a very silly and probably offensive number called “Ugliest Girl In The World” that my teenage band used to cover.

 

BLUE

This is the big one. Elvis has recorded more songs with “blue” in the title than all the other colours added together. He’s also used that word in 3 of his album titles “Almost Blue” “Deep Dead Blue” and “My Flame Burns Blue.” So here are a few of my favourites.

Confusingly, the song “Almost Blue” does not appear on the album of that name. (See also “Imperial Bedroom”)

Originally written with the jazz trumpeter Chet Baker in mind and later recorded by him, Elvis tells that story well in this interview and even better in his book. The Baker version is not on Spotify so I’ve included Everything But The Girl’s brilliant cover instead.

“Upon A Veil Of Midnight Blue” was also written for someone else but its intended performer Charles Brown changed most of the lyrics and re-titled it “I Wonder How She Knows.” Elvis eventually released his own version on the orchestral live album “My Flame Burns Blue.” But my favourite version is from a different live album, Mary Coughlan’s “Love For Sale” recorded in 1993 at the much-missed Mean Fiddler in Harlesden.

“My Little Blue Window” is just a brilliant lyric, melody and vocal performance, an under-appreciated song on an under-appreciated album (When I Was Cruel)

On the day that album was released in 2002, I saw Elvis & The Imposters at another much-missed London venue The Astoria and they opened the gig with it. It’s not on Spotify so there’s a YouTube clip below.

In the summer of 1995 Elvis curated the Meltdown festival at the Royal Festival Hall and performed alongside many different musicians. One of those was Bill Frisell and just a few weeks later some of that evening’s performance was released as Elvis’s first ever live album. The final track and album itself were both titled “Deep Dead Blue,” a new song co-written with Frisell. As well as another inventive and unpredictable melody, I really like the lyrics here. My interpretation is that they are about accepting and embracing sadness. In other words being “Glad to be Unhappy” to quote the title of a Rodgers and Hart song Elvis performed later that week.

That live version is not on Spotify so instead I’ve included a version from Bill Frisell’s most recent album “Harmony” where it is sung by the multi-talented Petra Haden. She once recorded an acapella version of the entire “The Who Sell Out” album!

 

 

My other favourite “blue” song was originally recorded during the “King of America” sessions but left off that album and released later as a standalone single.

 

I’m not that keen on that version of “Blue Chair” but thankfully Elvis had another crack at it when recording “Blood and Chocolate” with The Attractions. That version is amazing and right up there with the very best songs on one of Elvis’ very best albums. An absolute masterpiece.

The keen-eared amongst you may notice that the “oh oh oh oh oh oh” bit at 2:15 is lifted note-for-note from The Beatles version of “Anna (Go To Him)” mentioned above.

PINK

No officially released version exists but on his solo acoustic tours in the mid-80s Elvis often used to play a cover “Pretty In Pink” by The Psychedelic Furs.

OTHER COLOURS

There are no oranges or yellows on the Costello palette. No purple either apart from a couple of verses of “Purple Rain” that occasionally appeared in the encore of some Spinning Songbook shows.

 

 

Related posts on this website:

Other links:

Podcast 99: Isolation Pod #8

With its usual combination of weak jokes, ill-informed comment and erroneous background noise, the pod returns in double quick time to help keep the masked masses sane if not easily identifiable.

 

 

This show features a plethora of cracking tunes (a full dozen, in fact), a real musician’s musician dream, some proper kooking advice, and an exciting heads-up for the forthcoming century podcast.

You can find all that right here, and down there:

 

 

 

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

  1. Reg Guitar – He Has Changed
  2. The Pogues – Jack’s Heroes
  3. Magoo – Swiss Border Escape
  4. Christelle Bofale – Miles
  5. Talkboy – Over & Under
  6. Consolidated – Guerrillas In The Mist
  7. Lou Barlow – Reason To Live
  8. Sarandon – The Big Question / Dinosaur
  9. Hefner – I Took Her Love For Granted
  10. Ennio Morricone – Man With A Harmonica
  11. Terry Edwards – Never Understand
  12. Guided By Voices – Short On Posters

 

The physicality:

The Secret Diary of Mark Kozelek aged 13 and 3 quarters

I woke up after having a dream about [insert name of arty European film here] and I saw an injured [insert name of animal here] outside my window. It reminded me of [insert name of some boxer] at the end of his career and I felt sad.

I had to fly to [insert name of city] to play a show. I wasn’t really into it because I was thinking about [insert name of relative] who was dying from [insert name of obscure illness].

The audience was mostly [insert generalisation / slur] but it was cool because [drop name of moderately well-known alternative musician] was there. It made me think back to when I saw [insert name of forgotten 90s band] play at the [insert name of venue] supporting [insert name of other forgotten 90s band].

After the gig I called my Dad and told him that the audience were all [choose between indie brats / blogger bedwetters / braindead journalists] and they didn’t appreciate true genius when they saw it so I told them all to suck my cock.

Dad said “well instead of just singing about everything you see and do, why don’t you try writing some proper lyrics?” I told him to suck my cock and hung up.

On the way back to the hotel I saw a little kitten sitting in the gutter. When I got back I talked to the hotel receptionist who was called [insert female name here]. I didn’t sleep with her but I totally could have because she was, like, totally into me.

 

The Wizards’ Half Year Report 2020 – Favourite albums of the year (so far)

Whilst the live musical experience is sadly fading into merely a vague memory, this year has already been a bonanza for quality new music both in the form of physical releases and online downloads.

Kicker and Chorizo talked about some of their favourites so far on Podcast 98, and just in case you were that listener who wants to follow up their suggestions, here are those recommended albums in alphabetical order with links to where you can get them.

Nearly all these albums are available through Bandcamp who during this pandemic have started hosting regular “Bandcamp Fridays.” This is when they guarantee that every penny spent on their site goes directly to the artist. We have always been strong advocates for supporting musicians by buying their music and we urge you to do the same. This handy website will let you know when the next Bandcamp Friday is coming.

 

Kicker’s current favourite albums of 2020:

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BabybirdPlastic Ape

Andrew BuntingDancers / For All The Loves Lost

Canshaker PiOkay Decay

The Cool GreenhouseThe Cool Greenhouse

CornershopEngland Is A Garden

DerreroTime Lapse

Ex PilotsEx Pilots

The FlatmatesThe Flatmates

Guided By VoicesSurrender Your Poppy Field

Luke Haines & Peter BuckBeat Poetry For Survivalists

The Humdrum ExpressUltracrepidarian Soup

The Just JoansThe Private Memoirs And Confessions Of The Just Joans

The Lovely EggsI Am Moron

MekonsExquisite

The NightingalesFour Against Fate

The OrbAbolition of The Royal Familia

Revolutionary Army Of The Infant JesusSongs of Yearning / Nocturnes

RVGFeral

Ariel Sharratt & Mathias KomNever Work

VeryanEbb & Flow

 

Chorizo’s current favourite albums of 2020:

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Andrew Jackson JihadGood Luck Everybody

The ButtertonesJazzhound

Doleful LionsThe Light of the Infinite

Irma VepEmbarrassed Landscape

The Just JoansThe Private Memoirs And Confessions Of The Just Joans

Stephen MalkmusTraditional Techniques

Maria McKeeLa Vita Nuova

John Mouse The Goat

The OriellesDisco Volador

Percy Seaside Donkeys

Savage MansionWeird Country

Ariel Sharratt & Mathias KomNever Work

SeazooJoy

ShoppingAll or Nothing

Slum Of LegsSlum Of Legs

SnowgooseThe Making of You

Sports TeamDeep Down Happy

Synthetic Villains Synthetic Villains

Thousand Yard StareThe Panglossian Momentum

VlimmerPulmo

The Wind-Up BirdsSummer Haunts

 

Podcast 98: Isolation Pod #7

Who are the wizards to deny Ms Spears when at the end of the last podcast, she could once again be heard murmuring “so, give me more, oh give me more, a little more, a little more…”?

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alright, alright, we’ll record another one

 

Yes, the lockdown duo are back with another show that brings its usual mix of old and new, pink and blue, and, er, false and true. No idea what that means, but who reads this nonsense anyway? What is certain is that we have an exclusive play of a track from a rock legend, a record number of listeners writing in (not just to complain), and, at the halfway mark, the wizards’ favourite albums of the year so far.

You can find all that right here, and down there:

 

 

 

 

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

  1. Dumb – Roast Beef
  2. Guided By Voices – She Wants To Know
  3. The Terrifying Experience – Untitled
  4. St. James Infirmary – Like A Boy Detective
  5. Hollow Threats – House Arrest
  6. The Bangles – Following
  7. Paul Jones – The Dog Presides
  8. Hulaboy – Part-Time Goth
  9. Babybird – Twilight Of Our Lives
  10. Snowgoose – Everything
  11. Benny Profane – Devil Laughing

The physicality:

 

And here are links for the other bands that members of Hollow Threats play in….

Podcast 97: Isolation Pod #6

The boys are back in tow-ow-ow-own! Not really. More like two old farts are back in their bedrooms talking at their computers. Hooray!!

In this show, the wizards nearly play Tom Waits again, almost deliver on their culinary promises, and get as close as they ever will to playing the music of an erstwhile Watford FC chairman. Oh, and abusing listeners is back. Sake, Kicker.

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no cigar for you, Reg

 

They do, however, manage to squeeze in eleven (ELEVEN) tunes you can dance to no matter how tiny you might be.

You can find all that still standing right here, and burning out its fuse down there:

 

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

  1. Ice Cream – Peanut Butter
  2. Wally Tax – The Entertainer
  3. Red Snapper – Fat Roller
  4. Tomoyasu Hotei – Battle Without Honor Or Humanity
  5. Miaow – When It All Comes Down
  6. Guided By Voices – Real
  7. The Kyle Sowashes – When We Unloaded The Van
  8. Pete Shelley – Better Off Without A Wife
  9. The Nightingales – The Desperate Quartet
  10. Simple Kid – The Ballad Of Elton John
  11. Simon Love – Elton John

 

The physicality:

And some more…

 

 

 

Podcast 96: Isolation Pod #5

They’re back! Back! Baby! Back! Yes, the wizards have once again reconvened (at a safe social distance) to bring you the best of their record collections.

This show not only has punk, it has funk, absolutely no junk or gunk, in fact it’s a slam dunk from the two hunks! Ahem. OK, so all the factually correct information comes via listener correspondence, and the less said about the culinary content, the better, but still, it’s the d’s b’s!

Gelert3

a source of knowledge

 

You can hear all the shenanigans and 10 (TEN) top notch tunes right here, or if you’d rather, down there:

 

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

  1. The Edsel Auctioneer – Undertow
  2. Chairmen Of The Board – Elmo James
  3. The Flatmates – Something In My Eye
  4. White Reaper – Wolf Trap Hotel
  5. Adult Net – Take Me
  6. Elvis Costello – My Little Blue Window
  7. Circus Devils – Diamond Boys
  8. The Bobs – Something In My Ear
  9. Elliott Smith – Pictures Of Me
  10. Eilis Frawley – Intellectual Men

 

The physicality:

 

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yr life’s work? that’ll be £8.95

 

 

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not necessarily food, apparently

Podcast 95: Isolation Pod #4

The wizards return to present an unprecedented mix of Eastern and Western culture and cuisine.

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how could this possibly be improved?

 

They out cool bands with uncool names, clarify once and for all Chorizo Garbanzo’s role on the podcast, and mostly refrain from being (too) unpleasant to listeners. It’s all good. There’s even a hashtag to follow (#SelfIsolatingBandTshirts) and some guidance on the pronunciation of difficult words.

You can hear all that and 10 (TEN) top notch tunes right here, or if you’d rather, down there:

 

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

  1. Robert Pollard – Each Is Good In His Own House
  2. Axolotes Mexicanos – Te Quiero
  3. Tremolo Ghosts – Behemoth
  4. Thousand Yard Stare – Precious Pressures
  5. Ulrika Spacek – Beta Male
  6. Synthetic Villains – Yes, We Have No Bonanza
  7. Urusei Yatsura – Majesty
  8. Public Enemy – By The Time I Get To Arizona
  9. Zekeultra – Hurts
  10. Deboarah Harry – End Of The Run

 

The physicality:

 

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robert pollard’s cock, seemingly

 

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kicker loves those noisy guys

 

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join the bandwagon

People Are Alright by M.J. Hibbett & The Validators

The man previously described on our podcast as “the East Midlands Springsteen” is BACK with a new single and it’s GRATE!

As always The Validators are professional, competent, rocking and tight and M.J. Hibbett’s lyrics touch a lot of nerves, tickle a lot of ribs, ring a lot of bells and hit a lot of nails on their little steely heads.

Here he is answering a few questions about the new single before the conversation boldly goes off on a tangent.

 

 

I heard you play this song at the Gullivers gig in Manchester a while back. It’s changed a bit since then though, right?

Yes, it’s changed title at least twice along the way. Initially it was called “In The Pub (talking crap)” which, while descriptive, was a bit boring. We discussed it during our Annual Validators Practice (instead of practicing) and decided that “Two Blokes, One Pub” was a HILARIOUS name, but this turned out not to be the case. It was also a bit confusing, so eventually I bowed to the inevitable and gave it the name it should have had all along,

MJ Hibbett @ Gullivers Manchester 2019

 

What made you choose the “repeat last line several times to end the song” approach here?

The straight and honest answer was that I wanted to rip off Gavin Osborn. A slightly more polite answer would be that over the past couple of years I’ve toured with people like Gav, Matt Tiller and Grace Petrie, all of whom have songs specifically engineered to get groups of people singing along and I wanted some of that action. I do have a couple of songs that people do sing along with, but they always have fiddly choruses that change as they go along, or wonky bits. So I wanted something like Gav’s “Closing Montage” song that I could potentially close gigs with.

 

Quiz question….. The Smiths Panic, Buzzcocks I Believe, Daddy Cool by Boney M and that Killers I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier one.

Without listening to the songs, put those songs in order of who repeats the last line the most.

I don’t know the Buzzcocks or the Killers ones I’m afraid so I’ll GUESS that it goes Boney M / Killers / Buzzcocks / Smiths but I have no idea!

That’s EXACTLY the right order! Astounding skills there MJ.

Do you have any other favourite examples of this you’d like to mention?

Clearly the big daddy of ALL Repeat Last Line Songs is “Hey Jude”, which makes it a bit of an obvious one to mention, but I think its omnipresence sometimes makes us forget how amazing it is. I went to see Macca a few years ago and (of course) he did it as the big finale of his main set, and I suddenly found myself in floods of tears, as the whole of the Millenium Dome O2 went “na, na na, nananana” together. It’s one of those songs which TRANSCENDS words and goes straight to MEANING (hem hem), and it is ace.

 

 

Next questions are all from Mrs Garbanzo who noticed the Star Trek reference in your song and wanted to ask you these questions……..

What is the worst Star Trek TV series?

In the song I say it’s Voyager, but I am prepared to hear arguments for it being Enterprise, although I only lasted a couple of seasons with the latter. For both shows it’s because they’re so BORING. The Next Generation managed to make management meetings (in space) look fun and Deep Space Nine got regular thrills about the management of a parade of shops (in space), so there really is no excuse for making being completely lost (in space) or going exploring for the first time (in space) so completely dull.

 

What is the best Star Trek TV series?

Deep Space Nine. Every time I watch it over again I think “the first few seasons will be rubbish” but it’s GRATE from the start. I love how all the relationships work, like between Miles and Julian, or Odo and Quark, or Kira and Kai Winn (best baddy EVER) , and then when it all kicks off with the Romulans in the second half it is AMAZING. The One Where Captain Sisko Lets A Bomb Go Off is bloody brilliant!

 

 

Have you watched Picard and what did you think?

It was a bit disappointing to be honest, especially after Discovery being so much fun. Somewhere around episode eight I realised I didn’t have a clue what was meant to be going on – suddenly all these space robots turn up with Data who isn’t Data and there are Space Flowers and some secret Romulans and Borg Octopuses and I found that I didn’t give a toss and would much rather go back and watch Ryker making Pizza instead.

 

WARNING: The next question contains a MASSIVE SPOILER for the current series of Picard so if you don’t want to know the score, look away now.

Are the Borg alright if given half a chance?

The Borg as a whole, no, because they’re the Borg, but the people who WERE the Borg, if they’re given a chance (i.e. freed from the Collective) then yes, some of them will turn out to be poorly motivated, mysteriously funded, unconvincing parents who are still somehow completely BADASS and ace. I feel that this is an excellent example/metaphor for what the song is all about!

 

Tell us about the Totally Acoustic videos you’ve been doing during the lockdown. 

The original Totally Acoustic night was a regular gig I did in the upstairs room of a pub (most recently the lovely King & Queen in Fitzrovia) where I got people who didn’t generally do acoustic sets to play COMPLETELY acoustically i.e. without a PA system or any amplification whatsoever. The idea came about after I ended up having to do a couple of gigs like that when the sound fell apart and realising that, actually, with the size of rooms and audiences that I play for, a PA was entirely unnecessary, and that singing directly to people without it was much much nicer. Most people tend to agree once they’ve tried it!

The videos came about because I had to cancel a couple of shows that I’d booked – we’d also had to cancel a conference at work, and my other half had suggested doing it all VIRTUALLY, so I thought I’d have a go at doing gigs that way too. It’s been really nice to put together, not least because it’s a lovely way to keep in touch with people I actually like in real life!
I’ve done

Here’s a playlist of all of them by the way.

Anything else you’d particularly recommend that’s been helping you get through isolation. 

I’ve been doing some Comfort Reading, like PG Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and currently “Microserfs” by Douglas Copeland. Lovely books with ace characters where I know it’ll all turn out all right in the end!

Also I have just discovered that the sister of Tom, our violin player, appears in the latest series of The Repair Shop so I need to go and watch all of that!

 

Here’s a link to buy the single….

 

and here’s the video….

Related posts on this website:

 

The Panglossian Momentum by Thousand Yard Stare

 

“The Panglossian Momentum” by Thousand Yard Stare is released next week.

It’s been 27 years since their last album, now that’s a difficult third album!

In fairness, Thousand Yard Stare weren’t actually a going concern for 22 of those years but they reformed in 2015 for what was initially a one-off gig at the much-missed Borderline. They did a Q&A with us around that time. Since then I have since seen them play twice in Manchester and reflected on the experience in my usual clumsy yet heartfelt manner:

 

“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.”

 

You betcha.

Anyway Stephen and Giles from the band were kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the new album which you can buy at thousandyardstare.co.uk.

 

So the first question has got to be the album title, what does it mean? (I feel like there should be a “man” at the end of that. What does it all mean, man? said in Dennis Hopper Apocalypse Now voice)

Stephen: Ha, yeh, a bit obtuse and pretentious isn’t it? Though it sounds like it might be a taken from a long lost spy thriller novel or a far flung philosophy, it’s just a made up phrase. I was looking for something that captured the overall themes of the album, around how we tend to face our challenges in life with mix of naive optimism and a stiff upper lip. We can’t always have the best of all worlds, but we should always try to find solutions, and we don’t have to do it alone. Deep stuff, eh? I got the idea after re-reading Voltaire’s classic tale Candide, which rings as true today as ever in these strange times. I’ve always been a wordy type as you well know.

 

Are the songs on the album all new or did you have any unfinished songs from the first time around?

Stephen: Everything is new. It was written as an album, the first time we have had the chance to do that. The LPs in the 90’s were a collection of available songs (Hands On / Fair To Middling) or fractured and unfinished (Mappamundi) so here we had the chance here to make an album with that format in mind, and it’s designed to be listened to in one go. In a way, it feels like our first.

 

Was it always the intention to write & record new songs?

Stephen: Yes, it was. Well, not initially, not before that first fateful re-union show in 2015. Think we all genuinely felt that would be a one-off, but it was such an incredible and emotional evening, we felt we should carry on, and of course, we have! We didn’t want to be a nostalgia-only band, it’s important to freshen up the pot, and new songs build a bridge between the then and the now. You have to exist in the time you are in, and new material does that. We’re very proud of the music we’ve been making since 2015, some of our best work. They seem to go down well too, and everyone has been very positive about them. It has been great to assimilate some into our live sets, they sit well with the original tracks, and add a new energy. There’s no point being in a band if you aren’t engaging creatively. There was unfinished business..and now we’re finishing it.

 

We’ve previously discussed how Stephen’s love of vocabulary comes across in your lyrics.
Are there any words you’re particularly pleased about including on the new album?

Stephen: Spandrels is – lyrically – the best song I’ve ever written. It’s also very personal to me, but hopefully written in a beguiling and metaphorical way that others can relate to it in their own way.
I’m happy with all the lyrics to be honest, feel it’s some of my best. Previously, I’ve been mainly observational, this time there’s a lot internal monologues, ones I think many of us have.
Oh, I do like the ‘clarion to carry on’ line in Precious Pressures, love the positive sentiment of that.

 

I had to look up the meaning of the word “spandrels” Can you explain that one for our readers?

Spandrels are decorative parts of a structure or a living thing that have no apparent intrinsic use or role to play beyond their visual stimulus. It was inspired by The Spandrels Of St Marco. It’s a song about being part of something, but not feeling valued or able to influence things.. Trying to get noticed, or acknowledged by someone. I’m sure we’ve all been there in some capacity or other. The analogy and imagery gave me great scope lyrically.

 

Any other favourite bits of your own playing on the album?

Giles: I really like the guitars on Schism. A lot of them don’t sound like guitars. Always fun. I’m really into Cresta. It’s unlike anything we’ve done and has a very irregular structure. I went to town overdubbing harpsichord and other things. I think I started it thinking I’d do something quite obtuse and proggy. I sent it to Stephen never expecting him to take it on and I’m floored with what he did with a really quite strange bit of music.

 

Many bands post-reformation albums struggle to live up to their previous work. Exceptions to every rule of course, e.g. last year’s Specials album & the Magazine one a few years ago. Do you have any other favourite examples?

Stephen: Ride’s two reformation albums are in my opinion, their best ever records, especially the new one This is Not a Safe Place where Errol Alkan on production has created an incredible atmosphere. I’m still good friends with Mark Gardener, so really pleased for them. Other than that, my work in promotions and as a music industry lecturer means I’m mainly focused on new artists than those from back in the day, plenty there to keep me occupied.

Giles: There was a new Kitchens of Distinction album a few years ago that I like a lot. I was always incredibly impressed with their guitar sounds and arrangements and that’s still there. House of Love continue to put out great stuff and Swervedriver still make a beautiful noise. Do LCD Soundsystem count? That was amazing given the pressure he must have felt.

 

What has been the best thing about the gigs you’ve played since you reformed?

Stephen: We were always a live act, first and foremost. It’s where we come alive. Being able to interact with other people who care, be part of that communal atmosphere. But mainly being on a stage again with the people I grew up with in this journey, and feeling blessed we have had a chance to do it again.. for a while at least. Playing gigs is why bands exist.

Giles: Yeah much as six hours in a van is harder these days, all gigs are special. And being part of what is a little community means a lot to me. I still always think how lucky I am when I’m on stage playing songs we wrote to people having a good time. Such a privilege.

 

At a Beak> gig I went to last year they said that the audience looked like a “boiled egg convention”
Apart from the hairlines of your audience, how else has playing live changed in the intervening years?

Stephen: Ha! I love BEAK, and living as I do now in Bristol, they are part of the cultural fabric here. Geoff is a great guy, love his honesty and forthright, no nonsense approach and he’s a phenomenal drummer. The London shows we’ve done each year have been wild. The Weatherwatchers go more crazy now than they did back in the day! I’m always worried that someone is going to do themselves some damage, but whilst it goes a bit over the top sometimes, everyone looks after each other. From the band side, we’re calmer internally, but still have an energy on stage, our sound and style demands it. We are all better at our crafts now, and that adds to the enjoyment.

 

You recently had The TYS Cup running on your Facebook page.

Stephen: The idea was to create a Cup style knockout competition, pitting different TYS tracks against each other. People could vote for their favourite and the winner would go through to the next round. Thought it would fizzle out quite quickly, but people were engaging with the idea (someone even set up a Buttermouth supporters club!) and got out of hand. Ended up doing match reports and team nicknames and everything. Ultimately, just a bit of fun. Lots of people said it was great to go back and listen to some of the tracks they’d forgotten again, so that was good.

 

Were you surprised by any of the results? (When it first started I was convinced eventual runner-up Buttermouth would win.)

Not really, went pretty much ’to form’. The ’singles’ and other tracks we’ve been playing regularly live were always going to be the strongest. Was good to see some outliers like What’s Your Level (reached the semi final!) and newer ones like It Sparks! mix it with the big boys.

We expected No Score to win and it did. It was the final that most wanted against Buttermouth… although there was some ‘crowd trouble’ when Wideshire got knocked out!

 

Any news on the launch gig that was planned for 30th May?

It has now been re-scheduled to October 10th. We will celebrate this occasion by hook or crook! Seeing the album pre-orders coming in it’s been heartening to know people are interested in new stuff from us. And we’ve taken the plunge on making it on vinyl, and it looks amazing. Pre-order one before they go, it’s not getting a repress and they’re going fast!

No other live dates currently planned. It’s hard for us to get together as we live all over the UK and have different commitments. Never say never, though.

 

Any particular recommendations for “keeping it alive” during lockdown? 

Stephen: To be honest, I’m still very busy, so not had time to kill so to speak. That said, I tune into the weekly live streams from my local record store Friendly Records, all vinyl goodness with different people, you never know what you might get. Went on some funk jazz wig out last week!

My good friend Carl’s new band The Shop Window have just released their debut single, a slice of back the day jangle pop goodness.

Giles: Similar here. I’m flat out working online and studying. I like Devs. Fun with philosophy. My friend Fruitful Soundsystem is putting some nice sets out on Facebook and Mixcloud to get you through the day. Eclectic all vinyl sets.

 

Ron Swanson in Devs, watch it on BBC iPlayer

 

 

Other Thousand Yard Stare related content on this website:

 

Oh and Thousand Yard Stare also featured in this “Popcorn Double Feature” quiz question from 6 years ago that nobody’s ever answered!

Podcast 94: Isolation Pod #3

Despite finding it difficult to get out of bed, the wizards are back and, at least in part, fully dressed.

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it’s not just us wizards

 

In this show, there are a number of firsts: Hindustani electronica? Check. Angry musical exchanges? Check. Complete dismissal of factual listener input? Check. Lengthy apologies to said fact-checking listeners? Check.

You can hear all that and 10 (TEN) top notch tunes right here, or if you’d rather, down there:

 

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

  1. Pete And The Pirates – Knots
  2. Watty Burnett – Open The Gate
  3. Schizo Fun Addict – In This Station
  4. Frobisher – 1 Day At A Time
  5. Diet Cig – Blob Zombie
  6. Savage Cut – Andy From Finance
  7. Lata Ramasar – The Greatest Name That Lives
  8. James Brown – Stormy Monday
  9. Robert Pollard – Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft
  10. Marc Ribot & Tom Waits – Bella Ciao

 

The physicality:

 

Here’s the version of Bella Ciao from Money Heist for you to compare and contrast should you so wish:

Kicker’s Musical Missive – May, 2020

There really is very little else to do of a weekend, so hot on the heels of his recent attempt to pander to the masses, here’s our Kicker’s latest round up of some of the songs he’s been listening to recently (and a while back).  You might find something you like.*

The Playlist: Hands at Self-Destruction

 

For anyone (you know who you are) who can’t, or won’t, access Spotify, this is the playlist in words:

  1. Bo Diddley – Congo
  2. Graham Day & The Gaolers – I’m Not The Only One
  3. Soft Cell – Memorabilia
  4. Those Pretty Wrongs – Lucky Guy
  5. Rick Rude – Stromboli
  6. The Apartments – Mr. Somewhere
  7. Working Men’s Club – Teeth
  8. Sean O’Hagan (feat. Cathal Coughlan) – McCardle Brown
  9. Van Morrison – Rough God Goes Riding
  10. Canshaker Pi – Nest
  11. Ki Ki Page – Big Boy
  12. The Microphones – Compressor
  13. Joseph Arthur – The Ballad Of Boogie Christ
  14. Deadly Avenger – The Mysterions
  15. Hugh Mundell – Jacqueline
  16. R.E.M. – Life And How To Live It
  17. Bobbie Gentry – Mississippi Delta
  18. Babybird – October
  19. The Aisler Set – Been Hiding
  20. Wimple Winch – Save My Soul
  21. Boston Spaceships – Ate It Twice
  22. Kate Tempest – All Humans Too Late
  23. Billordo – No Quise Angustiarte

As always, we would urge you to seek out the songs you like and buy the physicality to support the artists.

*Blue Öyster Cult fans might be disappointed this time.

 

Podcast 93: Isolation Pod #2

Now that they have time to listen to box sets, the wizards set out to scour the world for music that even John Peel wouldn’t play (from the safety of their own homes, natch).

This show not only offer the usual cornucopia of musical delights, but also features the now regular lucky dip sections (with numerical significance), the insight of their German correspondent, and, by popular demand (he says), Kicker’s Kooking Korner. Yes, that’s right. It even has its own jingle.

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not a fucking pizza

You can download here or listen to the whole thing below

 

 

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

  1. 10,000 Maniacs – Hello In There
  2. They Must Be Russians – Don’t Try To Cure Yourself
  3. Carton – Sanguine
  4. Bo & Bodo – Funky
  5. Ted Hawkins – My Last Goodbye
  6. Kris Drever – Yellow Fly
  7. Ivor Cutler – Dad’s Lapse
  8. Jim Atkins – I’m A Ding Dong Daddy
  9. Jenny Mae – One We Kiss
  10. The Congos – La La Bam Bam
  11. Guided By Voices – Chicken Blows

The physicality

And here’s that GbV box from Get Happy!! Records that Kicker mentions.

Inkedthumbnail_LI

Kicker’s Musical Missive – April, 2020

All this stopping in has not only brought about a rebirth of a much more regular Trust The Wizards podcast [We’ve only had one – Accuracy Ed.], but has also had our Kicker glued to his turntable more than ever.

Inspired in no small way by the social media DJ sets by friend of the pod, and member of the Kyle Sowashes, DJ Kyle Sowash, here’s Kicker’s attempt at an audience friendly eclectic mix. You’re welcome.*

The Playlist: In Trials of Lately

 

As always, we would urge you to seek out the songs you like and buy the physicality to support the artists.

  • All complaints to the usual address, please.

Happy 60th birthday David Gedge!

Today’s is the 60th birthday of David Lewis Gedge, one of the most consistently excellent songwriters this nation has ever produced.

To celebrate this milestone, I’ve compiled an alphabetical list of my 60 favourite songs he’s written for The Wedding Present and Cinerama.

Totting up the totals shows most recent album “Going Going…” and long-established favourite “Seamonsters” have the most songs with 7 each. Next after that comes the massively under-appreciated Cinerama album “Disco Volante” with 6, followed by “Take Fountain” and “Valentina” with 5 each.

Interspersed through the list are a few crowd videos from various gigs I’ve been to over the years. If you know where to look you can see me bouncing around in a few of them!

 

Some of my Wedding Present CD collection

Some of my Wedding Present CD collection

 

Apres Ski (Disco Volante, 2000)

Bear (Going Going…, 2016)

Bells (Going Going…, 2016)

Bewitched (Bizarro, 1989)

Boing! (The Hit Parade single, August 1992)

Boo Boo (El Rey, 2008)

Broken Bow (Going Going…, 2016)

Careless (Torino, 2002)

Click Click (Watusi, 1994)

Come Play With Me (The Hit Parade single, May 1992)

Corduroy (Seamonsters, 1991)

Crawl (3 Songs EP, 1990)

Dalliance (Seamonsters, 1991)

Dare (Seamonsters, 1991)

Deer Caught In The Headlights (Valentina, 2012 & 2015)

Don’t Talk Just Kiss (Brassneck single, 1990)

End Credits (Valentina, 2012 & 2015)

Fifty Six (Going Going…, 2016)

Flying Saucer (The Hit Parade single, July 1992)

Gazebo (Watusi, 1994)

Hard Fast & Beautiful (Va Va Voom, 1998)

Heather (Seamonsters, 1991)

Heels (Disco Volante, 2000)

I Lost The Monkey (El Rey, 2008)

I’m Not Always So Stupid (Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm single, 1988)

Interstate 5 (Take Fountain, 2005)

It’s For You (Take Fountain, 2005)

Kansas (Saturnalia, 1996)

Little Silver (Going Going…, 2016)

Lovenest (Seamonsters, 1991)

Mars Sparkle Down On Me (Take Fountain, 2005)

A Million Miles (George Best, 1987)

Montreal (Saturnalia, 1996)

My Favourite Dress (George Best, 1987)

Mystery Date (Valentina, 2012 & 2015)

Niagara (Dalliance single, 1991)

No (Bizarro, 1989)

Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm (single, 1988)

Nothing Comes Easy (Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm single, 1988)

Once More (Tommy, 1988)

Perfect Blue (Take Fountain, 2005)

Rachel (Going Going…, 2016)

Ringway To Seatac (Take Fountain, 2005)

Rotterdam (Seamonsters, 1991)

Shatner (George Best, 1987)

Silver Shorts (The Hit Parade single, April 1992)

Sly Curl (Lollobrigida single, 2000)

Spangle (Watusi, 1994)

Sports Car (Mini, 1996)

Stop Thief! (Valentina, 2012 & 2015)

Superman (Disco Volante, 2000)

Take Me (Bizarro, 1989)

This Boy Can Wait (Tommy, 1988)

Two Bridges (Going Going…, 2016)

What Have I Said Now? (Bizarro, 1989)


Wow (Disco Volante, 2000)

Your Charms (Disco Volante, 2000)

You’re Dead (Valentina, 2012 & 2015)

Your Time Starts Now (Disco Volante, 2000)

You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends (Tommy, 1988)

An appropriate one to end with because it was the first Wedding Present song I ever heard and David very kindly dedicated that song to me & my mates Rich, Mike and Simon at the Sheffield Leadmill gig in 2018.

There’s a Spotify playlist below but if you like the music please buy it. They have an excellent online shop which is closed at the moment but visit it when it re-opens and support the band.

You may notice that the playlist actually includes 61 songs. That’s because the “Valentina” was recorded by The Wedding Present and re-recorded by Cinerama. I can’t decide which version of “Stop Thief!” is my favourite so I included both.

 

Whilst you’re here, take a look at some of the many other Wedding Present related articles on this website:

Q & A with Percy

 

Yorkshire super heroes have a new album “Seaside Donkeys” coming out soon. I spoke to Colin and Andy from Percy about it.
Have a listen to this while you’re reading.

 

Where did you record the album and who else was involved?

 

Andy: It was recorded at Crooked Room studios in York in Nov 2019. We took time looking at studios as we wanted somewhere with good facilities and reputation. Isaac Minnis is head honcho at Crooked Room and has helped get young bands The Howl and The Hum and Avalanche Party get on the map in 2018 and 2019. It was fitted out like being in someone’s front room with table lamps and an old piano. Sound was really good in the room and we recorded all live but at a modest volume so there was no need for heavy separation. Voice, violin and acoustic guitars were all overdubbed. All members of the band had an input in production agreeing form and sound template but I was probably ‘executive producer’ as I did the initial reference mixes for Isaac and sifted the versions. Isaac did the final mix and master.

 

 

Were the songs written  & rehearsed before you went into the studio? 

 

Colin: The tracks have a varied history, to be honest. “Big Lils” dates from Summer 2018 but was too late for the last album “Sleepers Wake.” We also recorded another track from the same period called “Unicorns” (Brexit related) which didn’t make the final track listing. The other tracks were written throughout 2019, some of which we’d dropped from the live set but were resurrected to give the album more balance. “Rubbernecking” and “Will of the People” were introduced in the Autumn of last year and went down a storm, whereas “Seaside Donkeys” and “Better Life” were recorded before they had a live outing, and before the lyrics were completed. The recording of “The People Who Drank themselves to Death” is a live rehearsal idea from early 2019 I’d forgotten about and is actually the first time we’d ever played it. I overdubbed vocals over the top later. We haven’t played it again since.

 

Where did you get the photos for the album artwork?

 

Andy: Paula Duck (synths) is also a professional photographer and has done many documentary projects in the past.  The intention was to catch the the inherent bleak loneliness of the seaside in winter (most of the shots were taken on Boxing Day). Also the sense of the coast being ‘left behind’ by history / prosperity and the irony of the locals thinking that Brexit was the answer.

 

 

The title track has a great singalong chorus but the verses seem to tell an altogether more unhappy story. The topic of alcohol abuse comes up in several songs doesn’t it.

 

Colin: We’d originally booked the studio to record a handful of disparate tracks as a “work in progress.” However once we’d heard that Vinyl Eddie were keen to bring out an album with us, I focused on having a set of songs that had a common theme. In this case my upbringing in Sunderland, the drinking culture, Brexit and how the people had voted for it out of sheer desperation in order to try and improve things.
“Seaside Donkey” is Sunderland slang for an alcoholic (alky – plonky – seaside donkey) usually shortened to “Seaside” and the song refers to alcoholism that’s passed on through generations. It was written as a sort of pastiche of an Irish drinking song. “The People Who Drank Themselves To Death” is an observation of groups of blokes who I’ve seen slowly deteriorate due to the drink. I visit Sunderland pretty regularly as my family still live there and the sight of someone in the grip of really heavy drinking is miserable to behold. It’s probably why we’ve never played the song live as the subject matter is too difficult and close to home.

 

 

“Little Trouble in Big Lils “is an amazing song. Somehow accidentally ending up in a dodgy boozer is a feeling we all recognise, can’t believe more songs haven’t been written about this before! Is Big Lils a real place?

 

Colin: Big Lils was a pub on the Headrow in Leeds, that I used to walk past every day on my work in the 90s. It had a reputation as being the biggest cesspit on earth and made the General Eliot (another Leeds rough house) look tame in comparison. It certainly did have mock saloon-style swinging doors, with sticky carpets dotted with fag burns and the whole place stank of shit. I went there only once, on the back end of works night out with another lad “for a dare” and it 100% matched its reputation. I was propositioned by a Barbara Cartland lookalike in her 60s, which didn’t make the final lyric – perhaps I missed a trick there. The place itself was closed down about 20 years ago and is now the site of Headrow House, which sells a variety of cocktails in a comfortable setting.

 

 

Some great lines and another catchy chorus on the ode to credit cards Carpe Diem. 

 

Colin: It’s based on a true story of someone I used to work with – he would book tables at Gordon Ramsay restaurants, fly to exotic locations, buy suits to measure etc. all on credit. He was a “bon vivant” who took advantage of the early 2000s credit card boom with no intention of paying them back. He was another one, sadly who let the booze get the better of him and he did actually end up writing porn for a living before dying in his sleep whilst living at his Mum’s house. The reference to the bejewelled tortoise is taken from JK Huysman’s book “Against Nature” which plots the life of a similar character.

 

On “Will Of The People” I like how each time you get to the title of the song you sound more deranged than the last. Very fitting. especially considering the kind of people who like to use this phrase.

 

Colin: It could have been called “Take Back Control” or  “Leave Means Leave” or any other of the meaningless, vacuous nonsense churned out at the time.

 

Have you had any backlash when playing that one live?

 

Colin: Our audience tends to be of the Guardian persuasion so it’s had a sympathetic hearing up to now. I certainly haven’t been cornered by any angry Brexiters wanting to discuss the benefits of trading on WTO terms (probably because there aren’t any)

Andy: By the way there is a truly amazing animated video for that song which will come out in May. Let’s say Boris plays a big role in it.

 

There’s some excellent use of road names in “Rubbernecking In The UK.” Can I have your favourite motorways and A roads please?

 

Colin: The title’s based on “Anarchy in the UK”, with anarchy substituted for slowing down on a motorway to gawp at some nearby twisted metal carnage. I later discovered that “Rubberneckin'” is actually the title of an Elvis song but The King doesn’t namedrop the A19 in his lyrics which is my personal favourite A road when travelling to Sunderland. I’m also particularly fond of the M62 going East towards Hull, it feels like you’re heading for the edge of the world where you suddenly drop off a cliff “Thelma and Louise” style.

 

Go motoring on the A19. Possibly approaching the Billy Mill roundabout?

 

Talking of The King, you mention “Elvis at the NBC” on “Back In The Swing.” If Elvis was still around today which of your songs would you like him to cover and which era of Elvis? 

 

Colin: He would be great at doing “Love Song” from the album. I deliberately did it in the style of a crooner, specifically Carl Puttnam of Cud but I could see Vegas Elvis doing a much better job.

 

You couldn’t have known this when you recorded it but Back in the Swing seems to me to be the perfect song for the lockdown (or maybe for when it’s over?) Lots of lyrics about wasting time on internet, being lonely, pondering mortality, “wasting time, not really doing anything.”
The opening line though: “I’ve been spending far too long playing online pool.” 
Wait a minute, you can play pool online? That sounds GREAT! Where and how please?

 

Colin: There’s a game called 8 Ball Pool” on the site miniclip.com which you can play on your phone. It’s great and I’m spending far too much time on it. The line “Getting thrashed on Red Hot Pawn” refers to a chess site as opposed to wanking material.

 

I’ll take your word for that because I’m certainly not going to Google it.
If you could magic yourself into any band past or present who would you choose and why?

 

Andy: Spiders from Mars (I’ve got the right accent coming from Hull and all that) . I once bought a guitar off Trevor Bolder but had no idea who he was when i was age 15.

 

 

Colin: I once dreamt I was in The Fall and it was fucking awful! I’d have loved to have been in the backing band for Sparks at the time of “Kimono My House” – Ron Mael at rehearsals saying “OK I’ve got this idea for a song called This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us, it goes like this.”

 

If you could magically recruit any other musician alive or dead and add them to the existing Percy lineup who would you choose and why?

 

Colin: I can’t play lead guitar for toffee so would love to have some atonal axe licks going on above my chugging, Thurston Moore would be nice.

 

 

You had some gigs planned around the album release in April / May. Any idea what’s happening with those?

 

Andy: It is too early to say really. One small festival has been re-scheduled. The summer has been dead for gigs in the past but maybe this tear will be different??

 

Where can people buy the album?
Andy: The singles are digital releases but the album is initially coming out only on vinyl with a download code through Vinyl Eddie https://www.vinyleddie.co.uk
They are a small shop in York selling second hand Vinyl and obsessed with the ‘concept’ of the vinyl release. For a couple of years they have been getting new vinyl manufactured for local bands and distributing online and to other independent record stores. They have enjoyed us live and we were lucky to bump into them with the full album demo before Xmas. They were keen to have the product out for RSD 2020 which would have been 18th April. They are in lock down at the mo as a shop so you can also buy it here.

 

We may bring the album out on a full digital release in later Summer but want the vinyl album to be the way people encounter the ‘work’ with the music and the full colour sleeve insert so it is a full sound and vision package.

 

Any particular recommendations for keeping yourself entertained during lockdown? My recommendation for you is the live broadcast every day at www.facebook.com/stevenieveofficial  

 

Andy: I seem to spend all my time planning the next shopping trip and waiting for the point when it seems reasonable to start drinking. Bad I know…

 

Colin: I saw Elvis Costello’s lockdown video on Youtube the other day and he referred to Steve Nieve’s broadcast, I’ll have to check it out. I’m still busy doing the day job from my PC at home, interspersed with upgrading my Legendary Pool Cue for £4.99 and failing to spot checkmate in 3 moves.

 

Any other local bands we should be checking out?

 

 

Colin: What he said.

 

Snakerattlers

You’re in a caff ordering breakfast. You can have toast and your choice of tea or coffee. Then you’re allowed 4 more items. What do you choose?

Andy: Bacon Butty and 3 more cups of coffee…

Colin: Fried egg, bacon, beans and hash browns.

 

Lastly the controversial question that we ask everyone we interview…..
Cricket. Is it any good or is it just bollocks?

 

Andy: Bollocks. Sorry

 

Colin: I love cricket just behind football, at the weekend I was listening to the replay of the Headingley test match from last year and was jumping around like a lunatic even though I already knew what was going to happen at the end. A bit like having sex.

 
 
Other Q&As on our website:

Podcast 92: Isolation Pod #1

Well, it took a pandemic to force the wizards back to recording a semi-regular podcast, but here they are social distancing and babbling on like pigs in shit.

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There’s the usual weak opening gag and selection of cracking tunes interspersed with tales of blocking musician’s paths to the stage, recommended reading, and 2 (TWO) new features that take you into the record collection of Kicker and one of Chorizo’s boxes.

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open the goddamn box!!

 

You can hear the whole thing below

 

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

  1. Guided By Voices – Isolation Drills
  2. Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Salt In Your Hair
  3. Kitchen Cynics – Janet’s Gift
  4. Eels – My Descent Into Madness
  5. Vic Godard & The Subway Sect – Born To Be A Rebel
  6. Afrosound – Maria Isabel
  7. Guided By Voices – The Pipe Dreams Of Instant Prince Whippet
  8. Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – Never Work
  9. The Orb – Slave Till U Die No Matter What U Buy
  10. Elvis Costello – Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over)

 

The physicality

 

Here’s a link to the wonderful TV show hosted by The Burning Hell that Chorizo mentions:

Self-isolation with Steve Nieve

 

 

One month ago I went to see Elvis Costello & The Imposters at the Liverpool Olympia. This was the 29th time I’ve seen Elvis and at some point I’ll write a proper review of the show to go with my various articles posted previously on this site.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a standing Elvis Costello gig and having got there early I was able to get a standing spot right on the barrier. I chose to stand on Steve Nieve’s side of the stage so I could watch the maestro at work.

A lot has happened in the month since that night! For millions of people, the world is not really the same now as we thought it was then. This virus has forced change on people in ways we didn’t imagine were possible just a month ago and we are living in difficult times with unprecedented use of the word unprecedented.

But since this whole thing started I’ve been getting my daily respite from the distressing events by spending time every day with the very same Steve Nieve. He’s been doing a live broadcast on his Facebook channel every day and I strongly recommend you start tuning in.

Each day he’s joined by his wife Muriel and their son Ajuq. They play all kinds of things. Versions of Elvis Costello songs both well-known and obscure, Steve’s own compositions, covers of Beatles Bowie Elton Abba Squeeze etc. Ajuq is an excellent singer and drummer. Muriel sings too when they can persuade her. She did a breathtaking version of Indoor Fireworks a few days ago. Last week Steve asked people to send him 5 notes and then he improvised pieces based around those. The man’s improvisational and interpretative skills are just incredible.

We’re all going to be stuck at home for a while so it’s important to have some things to look forward to. These broadcasts are a highlight of my day so why not make it a highlight of yours too.

You can watch live at 6pm each day at Steve’s Facebook page. You can also find videos of all previous shows there.

You can also watch live on Ajuq’s Instagram.

While you’re here, have a read of this interview I did with Steve a few years ago.

 

Related posts on this website:

 

Kicker’s Musical Missive – January, 2020

The limitations of a single CD’s worth of my favourite songs of the year inevitably mean that many of the tracks I really loved just miss out and this fills me with guilt.

This Bubbling Under playlist hopefully puts things right.

By that I mean, here’s the latest Kicker of Elves playlist:

The Playlist

The original mix I made also contained these three crackers that are not on yer spotify:

 

As always, we would urge you to seek out the songs you like and buy the physicality to support the artists.

Podcast 91: Best of the Decade Special

Kicker of Elves and Chorizo Garbanzo continue to chew the fat and pick a dirty dozen of tracks that represent the best of their musical decades.

 

The physicality

Kicker’s choices came from these records (and one other):

 

Chorizo’s choices came from here:

For our selections from the year just gone, check out these little beauties:

https://trustthewizards.com/2019/12/27/podcast-89-kickers-best-of-2019/

https://trustthewizards.com/2020/01/04/podcast-90-chorizos-best-of-2019/

 

Podcast 90: Chorizo’s Best of 2019

Like buses, you wait ages for a podcast and then 2 come along at once.

But that’s where the similarity between buses and our podcasts ends.

Unless that is you know of a bus packed full of quality tunes and mildly amusing chat.

Yes it’s the second of our end of year podcasts. This time around it’s Chorizo Garbanzo choosing his favourite songs of 2019 and discussing some of the 3 billion gigs he’s been to this year.

All aboard for episode 90. Please hold on, this bus is about to move.

 

 

 

Some of the CDs featured in podcast 90

 

Tracklisting for this podcast: (includes weblinks, if you like the music you’ve heard please support the artists & buy it like we did)

 

Related posts: