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:
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.
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.
“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
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.
The wizards have got a groove on and it takes them from Europe to North Africa and many of the places between, and, er, further away. There’s much discussion about how compilation albums should be compiled, and the excitement of Kicker not playing a Guided By Voices track*, as well as more maths than anyone really wants to hear, and some unlikely collaborations.
You can catch the exotic aroma of all that in the two halves below and below that.
Yee-haw!! Returning in a new year (everything is OK now, right? right??) with an eclectic mix of music, albeit with a surprisingly country tinge, the wizards have got yer backs should you wish to celebrate any particular outaugurations (from the back of the venue, natch).
No quizzes, no correspondence (please write to us, please – TTW Ed.), just great music across two virtual sides of a podcast – dig in right here:
So, onto Tape 5 then, and second and third albums from the pride of 60s London, The ‘oo.
With their usual insight and a knowledge that can only be gained from reading the stacks of books written about the band (or looked up on Wikipedia, obvs), the wizards are in particularly positive form if not necessarily alright.
You can hear what they think by clicking on the image below:
The back cover of Never Work says the album is about “work in the 21st century: hating it, needing it, the gig economy, platform capitalism and the robots that both threaten and primse to replace us.” The various events that have dominated the news this year have made the themes of the album even more appropriate.
The Goat is full of dark vignettes combined with some banging synth choons. Have a listen to my interview with John recorded last summer.
Both these albums use poetry, humour and melody to tell fascinating stories that reward repeated listening.
Other favourite albums of 2020
Making a Top 30 of the year, listed in no particular order…..
Also I bought Dead Club by Tunng a few months back but I deliberately haven’t listened to it yet because I wanted to listen to all episodes of the accompanying podcast first. Both the album and the podcast are about death and our relationship to it. I’ve now listened to nearly all of the podcasts and would definitely recommend it.
As well as the Order Of The Toad album and Liines singles mentioned above, I’ve also really enjoyed new music from Eilis Frawley, Captain Handsome and Duck.
Go and explore their website. You can even subscribe to receive all the new releases coming in 2021.
After attending 42 gigs in 2019, I was looking forward to a similar number this year before everything starting getting rescheduled / cancelled. Some of those are still hopefully going to take place in 2021, others have sadly been cancelled altogether.
I did manage to get to 4 gigs in the first couple of months though including the 2 acts I’ve seen more than any other over the years, The Wedding Present & Elvis Costello.
Here are some photos from those gigs. Can’t wait to be watching live music again. Until then please support venues in any way you can.
10th January: The Wedding Present @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton
Robert Pattinson and Willem Defoe play 2 lighthouse keepers slowly going insane.
Colour Out Of Space (Nicolas Cage and his family slowly going insane) [Amazon Prime]
The Crew (French film about a heist gone wrong) [Netflix]
Juan Of The Dead (Mexican zombie film) [All4]
The Greasy Strangler (ridiculous, obscene and really really stupid) [All4]
Favourite TV series
The End of The F**king World
First series came out a while back but I only watched it this year and unlike many other programmes, series 2 was just as good. Tarantino relocated into dreary UK locations with two often unsympathetic yet compelling well-written lead characters.
Out Of Her Mind [BBC]
Truth Seekers [Amazon Prime]
Apache: The Life Of Carlos Tevez [Netflix]
The Virtues [All4]
Sad Hill Unearthed [Netflix]
A must-watch for fans of the Sergio Leone “Fistful of Dollars / For A Few Dollars More / The Good The Bad & The Ugly” films.
I Called Him Morgan (documentary about the jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan) [Netflix]
Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer [Netflix]
What Makes The Monkey Dance: The Life & Music of Chuck Prophet & Green on Red by Stevie Simkin
Wichita Lineman: Searching in the Sun for the World’s Greatest Unfinished Song by Dylan Jones
Broken Greek by Pete Paphides
What Makes The Monkey Dance by Stevie Simkin
Wichita Lineman by Dylan Jones
In a typical year, I read about 70% non-fiction and 30% fiction but this year I don’t seem to have read any fiction at all! (unless you count the news, right kids? 😉)
The 3 books I’ve chosen as my favourites are all quite different really.
Broken Greek is a very personal account of a childhood riddled with anxiety and the pop music that made it bearable. He writes beautifully about both in this very special book, there’s a reason why it’s featuring in so many end of year lists. I’m already looking forward to re-reading it
What Makes The Monkey Dance will be principally of interest to fellow Chuck Prophet fans but it’s also brilliantly researched and written. Author Stevie Simkins definitely achieves his intended aim of allowing Chuck’s unique voice to come through.
When I picked up the Dylan Jones book in the library, I was dubious whether a single song would provide enough subject matter for a whole book. But it was a thoroughly engaging read, taking in the writing and recording of Wichita Lineman, some biographical detail about both Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell and the impression that the song has made on countless listeners.
While we’re about it, a quick doff of the cap to whoever is responsible for choosing stock for section 780 at Cheshire Libraries. I reckon someone there is a Word In Your Ear listener because they are quick off the mark in getting in many of the music books by writers interviewed on that podcast.
Twitter hashtags of the year
Yes, that is now a thing that I’m doing.
To cheer ourselves up in the first lockdown, Kicker & I started tweeting photos of ourselves in band t-shirts using the hashtag #selfisolatingbandtshirts. Big thanks to all others who have joined in with this but especially to our new Texan buddy Scott Jenkins whose t-shirt collection is a thing of wonder.
This year I finally got started on making a spreadsheet of every gig I’ve been to. Still quite a few missing but I’ve got 1,027 gigs on there which has enabled me to start joining in with the #giganniversary hashtag.
Have a browse through the t-shirts here and the gigs here.
Musical heroes of the year
Some people who have really helped me by providing entertainment during this most shitty of shitty years…..
Steve Nieve whose video broadcasts gave me something to look forward to every day
As is becoming 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 The Humdrum Express with this lyrical masterpiece. Bostin.
Top 50 Albums
1 The Cool Greenhouse – The Cool Greenhouse
A close call, but this is the album that I played the most this year. Despite failing to win the plant growing competition the band set up (on a technicality, I’d argue), I love everything about this band including their very natty set of t-shirts and badges.
2 Guided By Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field
My favourite of the the two GbV records I have been able to listen to properly this year (a third, Styles We Paid For, was released this month, but hasn’t yet arrived in physical form in Liverpool, so will be considered for inclusion in 2021).
3 The Apartments – In And Out Of The Light
The sound of heartbreak, This resonated, especially the line: “Ask me about goals, you know I don’t have any / Ask me about wishes, you know I got plenty of them / I’ve had plenty of them”
4 The Lovely Eggs– I Am Moron
A great album from start to finish. My favourite of the more mature egg sound records.
5 Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus – Songs of Yearning / Nocturnes
Wonderful to have another (in fact, two) record from this most enigmatic of Liverpool bands just 5 years after the last. No-one else sounds like this.
6 Cornershop – England Is A Garden
7 Guided By Voices – Mirrored Aztec
8 Coriky – Coriky
9 Royal Chant – Blank Verse
10 The Nightingales – Four Against Fate
11 Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – Never Work
12 Porridge Radio – Every Bad
13 Bill Callahan – Gold Record
14 Datblygu – Cwm Gwagle
15 Babybird – Gun In A Clown’s Mouth
16 The Just Joans – The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of The Just Joans
17 Billy Nomates – Billy Nomates
18 Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club
19 epic45 – Cropping The Aftermath
20 Boon – Morning’s
21 Pop Filter – Banksia
22 Permanent Clear Light – Cosmic Comics
23 Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals – On The Blink
24 Kiko Dinucci – Rastilho
25 The Humdrum Express – Ultracrepidarian Soup
26 Anton Barbeau – Manbird
27 Throwing Muses – Sun Racket
28 Jason Henn – Jazz Pigs In High School
29 Negativland – The World Will Decide
30 Andrew Bunting – Dancers / For All The Loves Lost
31 of Arrowe Hill – Hangover Square
32 The Microphones – Microphones In 2020
33 Schizo Fun Addict – The Last Wave
34 Dog! Paper! Submarine! – Slippery Satellites
35 Babybird – God Upside Down
36 Craven Faults – Erratics & Unconformities
37 Pop Filter – Donkey Gully Road
38 Moviola – Scrape and Cuss
39 Veryan – Ebb & Flow
40 The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?
41 Derrero – Time Lapse
42 Bob Mould – Blue Hearts
43 The Orb – Abolition of The Royal Familia
44 Wire – Mind Hive
45 The Bats – Foothills
46 Asian Dub Foundation – Access Denied
47 Figueroa – The World As We Know It
48 The Chives – The Chives
49 Mythical Motors – Sleepwalking On Main Street
50 Canshaker Pi – Okay Decay
… and making up a top 75 albums, all of which you should own, are, in alphabetical order, 25 more:
Belbury Poly – The Gone Away; Boyracer – On A Promise; Cabaret Voltaire – Shadow Of Fear; The Cleaners From Venus – Dolly Birds & Spies; Shirley Collins – Heart’s Ease; The Dream Syndicate – The Universe Inside; Eyelids – The Accidental Falls; The Flatmates – The Flatmates; Fort Not – The Club Is Open; Bernard Grancher – Aveugle Etincelle; The Heartwood Institute & Panamint Manse – Parapsychedelia; Joseph Airport – C O S M O S I S; Mekons – Exquisite; Memory Drawings – A Few Scattered Hours; Milky Wimpshake – Confessions Of An English Marxist; Mosses – T.V. Sun; Pole – Fading; Chuck Prophet – The Land That Time Forgot; Proto Droids – Cybernetic World; The Reverse – Which Way Out; Sakuran Zensen – おれは錯乱前戦だ!!; Sparks – A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip; St James Infirmary – And Then The Wires Sing; Tricky – Fall To Pieces; Zekeultra – (The Power Of) The Will Of Man
Top 12 Compilations
1 Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987 (Captured Tracks)
2 The Land of Sensations and Delights: The Psych Pop Sounds of White Whale Records, 1965–1970
3 Portals (Behind The Sky)
4 Dreams To Fill The Vacuum: The Sounds Of Sheffield 1977-1988 (Cherry Red)
5 Road To Istanbul (Almost Halloween Time Records)
6 The Isolation Tapes (Castles In Space)
7 Come Stay With Me (Come Play With Me)
8 Head In The Clouds (Fruits De Mer)
9 Some Neon Reason: Further Adventures of the Polytechnic Youth
12 Musik Music Musique – 1980: The Dawn of Synth Pop (Cherry Red)
Top 12 EPs
1 Anthony Burrill – Birds
Yes, this is a record of mashed up birdsong and aircraft sound. It’s even better than that makes it sound.
2 Jan The Man – Extended Play 1, 2, 3, 4
3 Fixtures – Weak Automatic
4 The Declining Winter – Occupying The Blanks
5 Wladyslaw Trejo – Es Una Bestia
6 The Stroppies – Look Alive!
7 Smug Brothers – Flame Verbatim / Room Of The Year / Every Surface Under Heaven
8 Metayouth – Speech Balloons In June
9 Gabe Knox – Cosmic Motorik Adventures & Machine Language Music
10 Pye Corner Audio – Where Things Are Hollow 2
11 Kneeling In Piss – Music For Peasants
12 Honey Radar – Bonus Snow
Top 10 Reissues / Re-pressings / Remixes / Not Strictly Speaking New Stuff
1 Grand Gestures – Low Lights
2 Urusei Yatsura – Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura – Lost Songs 1993-2000
3 Honey Radar – Sing the Snow Away: The Chunklet Years
4 Neil Young – Homegrown
5 Wire – 10:20
6 Lou Barlow – At A Loss For Words
7 Soft Hearted Scientists – The Continuing Escapades
8 The Loves – Spread Love: The Loves Anthology 2000-2011
9 UFO – Strangers In The Night (Deluxe Edition)
10 The Pogues – The BBC Sessions 1984-1986
Top 10 Live Albums
1 Guided By Voices – Live From Dayton, Ohio, 2020
2 Guided By Voices – Doses Of Nonchalance, Live at Spaceland, Los Angeles, April 21, 1995
3 Urusei Yatsura – Live In London 1999
4 Negativland – Live Brain: Eurotour 2019
5 Lou Barlow & The Missingmen – Live 2009 (Artist Enabler Club – Part 13)
6 Chuck Prophet – Strings in the Temple: Live with Orchestra at the Great American Music Hall
7 Doug Gillard – Corona Classic Concert
8 Eyelids – Eyelids Live!
9 Courtney Barnett – MTV Unplugged – Live In Melbourne
10 The Unthanks – Diversions Vol. 5 – Live And Unaccompanied
Top 3 Gigs
1 Wire – The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 31 January
The only gig I got to go to in 2020 because of, you know, everything. Seems like a lifetime ago.
2 Guided By Voices – World Tour 2020, 17 July (Streamed)
3 Fontaines D.C. – A Night at Montrose, Dublin, 3 August (Streamed)
The Robert Pollard Annual Output Roundup
Even in a killer virus affected twelve months, Robert Pollard has managed to maintain a release schedule to make most mortals weep. This year, we have had two new Guided By Voices albums (with a third delayed into January) – Surrender Your Poppy Field and Mirrored Aztec and the re-release of Vampire On Titus (in 2 different colour versions) and Alien Lanes (multi-coloured vinyl, natch). We also had two singles with non-LP b-sides – Volcano and Man Called Blunder – and a Record Store Day release of Hold On Hope on 10 inch. The latest edition of artwork in book form, EAT 16, also came with a 7 track Robert Pollard EP entitled Soundtrack To Planet Cake and we also had the last ever release of the alter-ego Cash Rivers & The Sinners with Bad Side Of The Coin. Tobin Sprout also released his first album for four years with the low key Empty Horses, and Doug Gillard appeared all over the latest Nada Surf album Never Not Together and The Bye Bye Blackbirds – Boxer At Rest (not pictured as I’ve just found out!). Many of us also had the pleasure of receiving a tremendous CD EP from Mitch Mitchell called Test 4. Slightly further afield in GbVWorld, Todd Tobias released his third collaboration with Pat Moonchy under the name Moonchy & Tobias, the appropriately entitled III, and Chris Slusarenko‘s band Eyelids released their fourth collection, the wonderful The Accidental Falls. Then there was the Hot Freaks subscription…. (see below)
Top 6 Music Related Books (Read This Year)
1 Broken Greek: A Story Of Chip Shops And Pop Songs – Pete Paphides
2 The Monkey Dance: The Life And Music Of Chuck Prophet And Green On Red – Stevie Simkin
3 Zeppelin Over Dayton: Guided By Voices Album By Album – Jeff Gomez
4 Diary Of A Hyperdreamer Vol. 2- Bill Nelson
5 Going For A Song – Garth Cartwright
6 Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl – Carrie Brownstein
Top 8 Music Films Seen (But Not Necessarily Released) This Year
1 Brainiac – Transmissions After Zero
2 Swearing At Motorists – It’s Not All Rock & Roll
3 I’m Now – The Story of Mudhoney
4 This Film Should Not Exist: Portrait Of Ben Wallers (Country Teasers)
5 Elliott Smith – Heaven Adores You
6 Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records
7 Upstairs Planet: Cleaners From Venus & the Universe of Martin Newell
8 The Go-Gos documentary
Best Song That Didn’t Quite Make The Playlist, But Had My Favourite Music Video Award
Well, this is just great in a life-affirming way, isn’t it? (Special thanks to Sean Padilla for alerting me to this in the first instance, and for his equally positive and joyful Monday morning musical recommendations posts).
The Stephen Jones One Man Domination Of Record Shelf Space Award
Just the 280 tracks released by Stephen Jones this year under various guises:
Black Reindeer – Pyre, Keep Me Warm
Babybird – Fake Blood / There Must Be Something Else / God Upside Down / If I Had A Gun / Babybird’s Happy Songs / Not English / Plastic Ape / Short Demos / Once We Have Destroyed Ourselves, We Will Build A New World / A Very Difficult Second Album / Gun In A Clown’s Mouth / Corona Christmas
Stephen Jones – Brain / No Heart Reimagined / The Planets
Gold Rabbit – Gold Rabbit 2
Blak Slab – Ivory Teeth
Anonymous – Untitled Album
New Musical Source Of The Year
Guided By Voices – Hot Freaks (Subscription):
Open since May, we have so far received, in the form of weekly downloads, the following:
Mirrored Aztec (preview); Soundtrack From Planet Cake (preview); Do The Collapse – Part 1 (Bob & Doug demos); Live From Industry City – Brooklyn, NY – September 27, 2019 (full show); Quiz Wednesday (How Do You Spell Heaven Demos); Sweating The Plague Live From The Black Cat, 2019; Psychopath Timecard (August By Cake Demos); 2020: Live From Dayton, Ohio; Live from The Metro – Chicago, IL – July 11, 1998; Cash Rivers And The Sinners – Whatever We Give You (Is What You Get); Space Gun Demos; Doses Of Nonchalance, live at Spaceland, Los Angeles, April 21, 1995; Kit Kat Acoustic Break; Live At Heedfest, Dayton, OH, August 30, 2019; Shaking Hands With A Ghost; Never Abandon Ship; Douglas Scott Gillard; Frankenstein’s New Nut Huggers – The Very Best Of Cash Rivers And The Sinners; 2019 Rara Avis (2019 Live Compilation); In Calculus Stratagem (Plus Demo); Robert Pollard – Freak Anthem (Demos); Freak Anthem (Revisited); War Of The Devils (Plus Demo); Douglas Scott Gillard 2; American Superdream Wow; American Superdream Wow (Part 2); Cub Scout Bowling Pins; Mark Shue: Freak Week; Do The Collapse – Part 2
I really hope this will continue well into 2021.
Favourite Music Related Moment (Outside of Everything Above)
Bespoke cover art – Ed Nolbed – Breaking Up Is Never Easy, I Know by Luigi Aht Falagario of Almost Halloween Time Records. I requested Guided By Voices – Same Place The Fly Got Smashed and received this masterpiece:
As Luigi says: “This is an album of songs about breaking up and finding new love almost at the same time. It’s also an album about rediscovering an old love. It might also be an album about universal love. It’s definitely an album about letting go, picking up, finding hope, losing hope, hurt, healing, anger, reflection, inspiration, desperation.”
Physical copies can be ordered, with a personalised hand-painted cover over here: www.underwaternow.com/catalog.php?id=079 – limited to 100 copies. The idea is that you suggest an album cover of an album that meant something to you during a break-up or just a break-up album you like. This album cover will then be hand-painted and slightly adjusted to become your unique cover.
To liven up the notoriously tedious period between Christmas and New Year, here’s something to listen to while you’re going through cold turkey sandwiches. The year in general may have been a bit of a stinker but Chorizo Garbanzo reckons it’s been a great year for new music and here are some of his favourites.
You can hear Chorizo’s selections on two more preserve-packed sides of the show below:
The final Beatles album to get the Wizard treatment is a chronological collection of non-LP tracks comprising mostly B-sides and EPs, but also a couple of reworkings: Past Masters Volumes 1 and 2.
In addition to giving the album the all important Wizard rating, we not only announce our all-time favourite (and least favourite) Beatles efforts, we also introduced a devilishly difficult Beatles quiz. Hooray!
Click on the image below to get yr Beatlemania blood boiling;
Another Beatles album under discussion in this episode, you know the one, “it was 53 years ago today…”, yep, SPLHCB (as no-one calls it). Released in the same year, 1967, as the fifth album by The Kinks, which is, er, Something Else. But how do they compare?
Enjoy the rare experience of the wizards generally feeling very positive about a couple of legendary releases, and see how they rate ’em on the TTW scale right here:
Back with a bang and, er, the return of the Guided By Voices – is it a song or band name? quiz, that, frankly, took a number of takes to get right. This show also features bands with mates of Garbanzo in, advice on better podcasts to listen to than this one, Mandy, and, notably, an all too believable California – Wolverhampton confusion. At least we didn’t have to apologies to anyone this time.
Recorded, at least in part, direct from a new studio car park that we definitely meant to book, all of that can be found on two virtual sides of a very real podcast:
This is the show where we really display our eclectic* taste in music and present a myriad of styles from bands from Birmingham to Melbourne. We talk about cover versions of songs by bands we’ve never heard of, provide some excellent** life advice, and celebrate some of our favourite coquettish characters.
*it’s not all rock bands from Dayton, OH, you know. [Or is it?– TTW Ed.]
All of this wonderful entertainment can be found both here on the A-side and also here on the B-side. Don’t forget to flip!
Turn away now if you don’t want to know what’s coming up. Otherwise, here’s what we played:
Mzylkypop – I Was A Teenage Brexit Thwarter
Lettuce Prey – Bicycle Of Bees
Pop Filter – Romance At The Petrol Station
Marathon – Movin’ (Negro’s 7 – Edit)
Robert Pollard – Edison’s Memos
Shopping – Trust In Us (Live)
Robert Pollard – Professional Goose Trainer
Kevin Rowland – Rag Doll
Steel Pulse – A Who Responsible?
Sea Glass – Give Up
As promised on the pod, here’s the original version of the song covered by Pop Filter.