Podcast 114: Isolation Pod #21

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

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

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

Side A

Side B

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

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

The physicality (where we had some):

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

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

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

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

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

As if.

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

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

Podcast 113: Isolation Pod #20

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

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

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

Side A

Side B

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

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

The physicality (at least some of it):

Some more in the way of incidental physicality

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

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

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

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

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

Podcast 112: Isolation Pod #19

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

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

Side A

Side B

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

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

The physicality (where there was some):

Interview with Cathal Coughlan

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

31 years ago today: Billy Bragg’s unhelpful announcement

£7.50 = value for money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that left 4 possibilities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP to Phil Chevron, Alan McDonald and Ray Wilkins.

Related posts on this website:

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

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

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

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

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

Podcast 111: Isolation Pod #18

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

No rule breaking extending this time.

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

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

Side A

Side B

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

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

The physicality (at least some of it):

*of course, the answer is…

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

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

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

That ‘coherent’ story in full:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Manic Street Preachers on this website:

 

Podcast 110: Isolation Pod #17

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.

Side A

Side B

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

  1. Placebo – Balek
  2. Guided By Voices – Quality Of Armor
  3. Country Teasers – Lies
  4. Tindersticks – Man Alone (Can’t Stop The Feelin’)
  5. Yo La Tengo – Forever
  6. Raina Rai – Zina
  7. Jeff Vs Wio – 50,000 Beers In 27 Years
  8. Green On Red – Morning Blue
  9. Spare Snare – Action Hero
  10. Syd Dale – Portobello Market

The physicality (where there is some):

*this is the Introduction to GbV that Chorizo refers to (and learnt from)

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 6: The Who – Tommy

So, what do the wizards make of the rock opera / concept album that is The Who’s fourth album? Is it the band’s finest or an act of overblown folly?

You can hear what they think by clicking on the image below:

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

Podcast 109: Isolation Pod #16

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:

Side A

Side B

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

  1. Guided By Voices – In Calculus Stratagem
  2. Gallon Drunk – Things Will Change
  3. Schizo Fun Addict – Galactic Joke Part D
  4. Yard Act – Peanuts
  5. Gil Scott-Heron – No Knock
  6. Satellites – Deli Deli
  7. Von Hayes – Message To The Sparkled Egg Star
  8. Johnny Paycheck – Someone To Give My Love To
  9. Peter Jefferies – On An Unknown Beach
  10. Elvis Costello – Sleepless Nights

The physicality (where there is some):

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 5: The Who – Happy Jack / The Who Sell Out

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:

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

Chorizo Garbanzo’s Favourite Things of 2020

Some of the CDs I’ve bought in 2020

 

Favourite album of the year

A tie between

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…..

(I played songs from the albums in italics on my “favourite songs of 2020” podcast)

I bought a lot of music this year (thanks to Bandcamp Fridays!) so check out this list for some more albums I enjoyed.

 

Honourable mentions

A couple of albums that I got for Christmas, too late to make it onto the list above. But both albums are by long-term favourites of mine so I already know that I will love them!

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.

Tunng presents Dead Club

Favourite covers albums

Favourite instrumental albums

 

Favourite EPs / singles 

In no particular order…..

Favourite compilation

Very Terry Edwards by Terry Edwards

3 CD career-spanning boxset released to celebrate Terry’s 60th birthday.

Very Terry Edwards

 

Runners-up: Archives Volume 1 by Joni Mitchell

 

 

 

Favourite label of the year

Reckless Yes

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.

 

Favourite gigs

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

 

13th February: My Life Story @ Jimmy’s, Liverpool

 

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26th February: Mikal Cronin / Shannon Lay @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester

28th February: Elvis Costello & The Imposters @ Olympia, Liverpool

 

 

Favourite film

The Lighthouse

Robert Pattinson and Willem Defoe play 2 lighthouse keepers slowly going insane.

Also recommended…..

  • 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.

Also recommended…

  • Out Of Her Mind [BBC]
  • Truth Seekers [Amazon Prime]
  • Apache: The Life Of Carlos Tevez [Netflix]
  • The Virtues [All4]

 

Favourite documentary

Sad Hill Unearthed [Netflix]

Sad Hill Unearthed

A must-watch for fans of the Sergio Leone “Fistful of Dollars / For A Few Dollars More / The Good The Bad & The Ugly” films.

Also recommended…

  • I Called Him Morgan (documentary about the jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan) [Netflix]
  • Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting An Internet Killer [Netflix]

 

Music books of the year

  • Broken Greek by Pete Paphides
  • 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

 

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…..

 

Wishing you Peace, Love and Understanding in 2021 everybody!

 

Kicker of Elves’ Favourite Things from 2020

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.  

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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).

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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”

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4    The Lovely Eggs– I Am Moron

A great album from start to finish. My favourite of the more mature egg sound records.

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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. 

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6    Cornershop – England Is A Garden

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7    Guided By Voices – Mirrored Aztec

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8    Coriky – Coriky

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9    Royal Chant – Blank Verse

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10   The Nightingales – Four Against Fate

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11   Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – Never Work

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12   Porridge Radio – Every Bad

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13   Bill Callahan – Gold Record

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14   Datblygu – Cwm Gwagle

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15   Babybird – Gun In A Clown’s Mouth

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16   The Just Joans – The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of The Just Joans

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17   Billy Nomates – Billy Nomates

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18   Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club

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19   epic45 – Cropping The Aftermath

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20   Boon – Morning’s

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21   Pop Filter – Banksia

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22   Permanent Clear Light – Cosmic Comics

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23 Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals – On The Blink

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24   Kiko Dinucci – Rastilho

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25   The Humdrum Express – Ultracrepidarian Soup

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26   Anton Barbeau – Manbird

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27   Throwing Muses – Sun Racket

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28   Jason Henn – Jazz Pigs In High School

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29   Negativland – The World Will Decide

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30   Andrew Bunting – Dancers / For All The Loves Lost

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31  of Arrowe Hill – Hangover Square 

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32  The Microphones – Microphones In 2020

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33  Schizo Fun Addict – The Last Wave

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34  Dog! Paper! Submarine! – Slippery Satellites

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35  Babybird – God Upside Down

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36  Craven Faults – Erratics & Unconformities

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37  Pop Filter – Donkey Gully Road

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38  Moviola – Scrape and Cuss

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39  Veryan – Ebb & Flow

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40  The Soft Pink Truth – Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?

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41  Derrero – Time Lapse 

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42  Bob Mould – Blue Hearts

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43  The Orb – Abolition of The Royal Familia

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44  Wire – Mind Hive

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45  The Bats – Foothills

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46  Asian Dub Foundation – Access Denied

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47  Figueroa – The World As We Know It

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48  The Chives – The Chives

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49  Mythical Motors – Sleepwalking On Main Street

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50  Canshaker Pi – Okay Decay

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… 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)

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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

10 Aquabear Vols. 7 & 8 / Mother Of Presidents (Aquabear Legion)

11 Signals, Wires & Amplifiers (Next Phase : Normal)

12 Musik Music Musique – 1980: The Dawn of Synth Pop (Cherry Red)

 

Top 12 EPs

Anthony Burrill – Birds

Yes, this is a record of mashed up birdsong and aircraft sound. It’s even better than that makes it sound.

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Jan The Man – Extended Play 1, 2, 3, 4

Fixtures – Weak Automatic

The Declining Winter – Occupying The Blanks

Wladyslaw Trejo – Es Una Bestia

The Stroppies – Look Alive!

Smug Brothers – Flame Verbatim / Room Of The Year / Every Surface Under Heaven

Metayouth – Speech Balloons In June

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

Grand Gestures – Low Lights

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Urusei Yatsura – Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura – Lost Songs 1993​-​2000

Honey Radar – Sing the Snow Away: The Chunklet Years

Neil Young – Homegrown

Wire – 10:20

Lou Barlow – At A Loss For Words

Soft Hearted Scientists – The Continuing Escapades

The Loves – Spread Love: The Loves Anthology 2000-2011

UFO – Strangers In The Night (Deluxe Edition)

10  The Pogues – The BBC Sessions 1984-1986

 

Top 10 Live Albums

Guided By Voices – Live From Dayton, Ohio, 2020

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Guided By Voices – Doses Of Nonchalance, Live at Spaceland, Los Angeles, April 21, 1995

Urusei Yatsura – Live In London 1999

Negativland – Live Brain: Eurotour 2019

Lou Barlow & The Missingmen – Live 2009 (Artist Enabler Club – Part 13)

Chuck Prophet – Strings in the Temple: Live with Orchestra at the Great American Music Hall

Doug Gillard – Corona Classic Concert

Eyelids – Eyelids Live!

Courtney Barnett – MTV Unplugged – Live In Melbourne

10  The Unthanks – Diversions Vol. 5 – Live And Unaccompanied

 

Top 3 Gigs

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.

Guided By Voices – World Tour 2020, 17 July (Streamed)

Fontaines D.C. – A Night at Montrose, Dublin, 3 August (Streamed)

 

The Robert Pollard Annual Output Roundup

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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 BlackbirdsBoxer 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

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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 NolbedBreaking Up Is Never Easy, I Know by Luigi Aht Falagario of Almost Halloween Time Records. I requested Guided By VoicesSame Place The Fly Got Smashed and received this masterpiece:

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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.

https://ednolbed.bandcamp.com/album/breaking-up-is-never-easy-i-know

 

An Alternative Best of 2020 Playlist

Here is a playlist of songs I really enjoyed through this most dreadful of years, but that just missed out on inclusion on the podcast. All highly recommended.

 

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

Podcast 108: Chorizo’s Best of 2020

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:

Side A and Side B

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

  1. Do Nothing – New Life
  2. The Magic Wizard – Driving Down To Hastings
  3. John MOuse – The Raven Argonette
  4. Seazoo – Heading Out
  5. Squid – Sludge
  6. Lime – Surf N Turf
  7. Melenas – Ciencia Ficcion
  8. The Just Joans – The One I Loathe The Least
  9. Girobabies – Fetching Pitchfork
  10. Snowgoose – Everything
  11. The Glowe – You’ve Got Flies In Yr Eyes
  12. Gordon Koang – Te Ke Mi Thile Ji Kuoth Nhial
  13. So Cow – 108 FM
  14. Emma Kupa – Hey Love
  15. 10Tigers – Owned
  16. Loose Tooth – Lonely
  17. The Wind-up Birds – All The Gate Kickers
  18. Raf Rundell – Monsterpiece
  19. Stephen Malkmus – Signal Western
  20. Jockstrap – Acid
  21. Lost Horizons (Feat. The Hempolics) – I Woke Up With An Open Heart
  22. The Vat Egg Imposition – Sheriff Of Nottingham
  23. Sports Team – Going Soft
  24. Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – The Robots vs. Mrs. Patel

The physicality (where there was some):

Podcast 107: Kicker’s Best of 2020

2020, eh? What a shitbag. But at least we had the music. And, as Kicker shows his fellow wizard, there was plenty of the really good stuff about.

You can hear Kicker’s selections on two jam-packed sides of the show below:

Side A and Side B

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

  1. Bill Callahan – Pigeons
  2. Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus – I Carry The Sun
  3. Cornershop – St. Marie Under Canon
  4. Coriky – Clean Kill
  5. Datblygu – A i Z
  6. The Nightingales – Wicked Winter (Lost In Highland Park)
  7. Royal Chant – Jet Fighter
  8. Guided By Voices – Volcano
  9. Robyn Hitchcock – The President (2020 Version)
  10. Nathan Hall & The Sinister Locals – Stand And Deliver
  11. Porridge Radio – Give/Take
  12. The Cool Greenhouse – Smile, Love!
  13. The Lovely Eggs – I Wanna
  14. Working Men’s Club – White Rooms And People
  15. Babybird – Nihilistic
  16. epic45 – Caught In Branches
  17. The Just Joans – Hey Ho, Let’s Not Go
  18. The Humdrum Express – Motivational Wall Art
  19. Billy Nomates – Modern Hart
  20. Pop Filter – Checkin’ Out
  21. Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom – Two Jeffs
  22. Calacas – Free Time Forever/Fear Doubt Forever
  23. The Apartments – Where You Used To Be
  24. Tremolo Ghosts – The Official Ironmen Rally Song

The physicality (where there was some):

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 4: The Beatles – Past Masters Vol. 1 & 2

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;

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

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 3: The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band & The Kinks – Something Else By The Kinks

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:

 

You can also listen and follow the podcast on Spotify.

You can also tell us just how wrong we are on that there Twitter and Facebook.

Podcast 106: Isolation Pod #15

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:

Side A and Side B

and back on Soundcloud…

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

  1. AJJ – Psychic Warfare
  2. My Name Is Ian – See You Later Alligator, Elephant In The Room
  3. Guided By Voices – Bunco Men
  4. The Lazy Survivors – Walking The Earth
  5. Kiko Dinucci (Feat. OGI) – Veneno
  6. The Breeders – Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  7. Silver Sun – Far Out
  8. The Californians – The Cooks Of Cake And Kindness
  9. The Buttertones – Rise And Shine
  10. The Box Tops – Neon Rainbow
  11. Phantoms Vs Fire – Full Of Scorpions Is My Mind
  12. epic45 – Buildings Aren’t Haunted, People Are

(Some of) the physicality:

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 2: The Beatles White Album

Just the one album under discussion from Tape 2 – the self titled 1968 double album, commonly know as The White Album, by those loveable  moptops moustachioed hippies, The Beatles.

Have a listen to the wizards discuss the 30 track behemoth right here and discover just where they first heard these tracks and where exactly Kicker’s CD copy (see above) comes from.

Not only do the wizards give the album the all important TTW grade, they also consider what a single 12 track album might look like.

Here’s the chatter:

You can also listen and follow the podcast on Spotify.

 

And here are those wizard’s single albums:

 

Let us know whose you prefer on that there Twitter and send us yours on Facebook.

Podcast 105: Isolation Pod #14

Warning: this podcast contains highbrow film references, an unfortunate abuse of one of the world’s favourite languages, and far too much discussion about stone throwing.

that’ll be yer reverse skim right there

Fortunately, there is also plenty of tip top music to keep you, the listener, entertained as well as useful Wizardly tips on how music should be listened to, and the inevitable apology (or two).

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All of that can be found on two virtual sides of a very real podcast below, and now back on Soundcloud….

Side A

Side B

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

  1. Milky Wimpshake – Capitalism Is A Peversion
  2. Guided By Voices – Windjammer
  3. June Jones – Overfloweth
  4. The Imbeciles – D.I.E.
  5. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Flavor Part 2
  6. Edward H. Dafis – Y Penderfyniad
  7. Heavenly – Wrap My Arms Around Him
  8. Tenpole Tudor – I Wish
  9. Cocteau Twins – Rilkean Heart
  10. The Reverse – Skimming Stones
  11. Irma Vep – I Do What I Want

The physicality:

Robert Pollard’s Guide To The 60s – Tape 1 Abbey Road / Revolver by The Beatles

The first tape under discussion contains two classic albums by a little known band from Merseyside, no, not The Kinsleys, it’s The Beatles, of course.

So what do Kicker and Chorizo make of Abbey Road and Revolver?

Listen here to see which album makes it out on top and for the wizards top and, er, bottom picks from each.

Let us know why we were wrong and what your favourites/least favourites are from these two titanic albums on the following social media disgraces:

Twitter

Facebook

Podcast 104: Isolation Pod #13

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.]

**poor

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:

  1. Mzylkypop – I Was A Teenage Brexit Thwarter
  2. Lettuce Prey – Bicycle Of Bees
  3. Pop Filter – Romance At The Petrol Station
  4. Marathon – Movin’ (Negro’s 7 – Edit)
  5. Robert Pollard – Edison’s Memos
  6. Shopping – Trust In Us (Live)
  7. Robert Pollard – Professional Goose Trainer
  8. Kevin Rowland – Rag Doll
  9. Steel Pulse – A Who Responsible?
  10. Sea Glass – Give Up

The physicality:

As promised on the pod, here’s the original version of the song covered by Pop Filter.