Berry, Bowie, Brubeck, Byrne, Clark-Five, Crosby, Edmunds, Essex, Formula, Gedge, Gregory, Holmes, Johansen, Lynch, O’Doherty, Samand, Shrigley, Tattersall, Thomas and Crockett. Today is your day.
Yes, it’s St David’s Day, but more importantly it’s very nearly Kicker Of Elves’s birthday and time for another one of these, and, if that wasn’t enough, it’s also time for this month’s hand-picked mix of musical delights.
Now, I don’t know much about the Italian band Tredici Bacci except that their name seemingly means Thirteen Kisses, they write soundtracks to soft-porn films (I did some research) and that they have come to my attention via our friends at Active Listener. Nevertheless, I am pretty confident that there is almost certainly a Davide on this first track. Definitely no Davids in the Swedish garage rock band The Hives, but Pelle and co don’t half make an engaging racket – here on a track from their Lex Hives album. It’s ol’ Hiram King up next with the 2-chord classic Ramblin’ Man that is now over 60 years old and still sounds fantastic to these ears – thanks again to Viper Records for reminding me. Time then for some self-referential celebration with one of Garbanzo’s great finds, Shudder Pulps, a band he picked out for his best of 2013 podcast. Here though they sing about yours truly. Possibly.
Guided By Voices have a fantastic new album out now in Motivational Jumpsuit, possibly the best yet from the re-formed ‘classic’ line-up, and preceding it were 5 singles. Yes, five. The next track is the rocky fifth of those. More new stuff after that from Brighton’s Toy. A band I have just learned is fronted by the baby brother of pod favourite Rose Elinor Dougall. Who knew, eh kids? Oh. Anyway, their second LP, Join The Dots, is just fantastic. Now, as you may know dear listener, the wizards get to see much, if not all, of their music in the North-West of England, but occasionally (actually once a year) me and Rebel venture to that London with friend of the pod, Corporal Shill. Last year we got to see the genius that is Stewart Lee and once again he didn’t disappoint and I’m not talking about his performance, I’m talking about his choice of outro music. Having previously ushered us into shows with God’s own selection, Bee Thousand, and shoved us out to Airport 5, this year we found ourselves fighting to the doorway being serenaded by the weirdo Gary Le Strange. That song is up next. Don’t leave.
Some local talent next with Voo, from Liverpool, who sing about the important things in life, Grammar and Spelling, not necessarily in that order. Another top 7″ single follows that and this time it’s on blue vinyl. It’s David (Yes!!!) Woodcock, who channels the much missed Ian Dury to great effect. A couple to watch, I think. After 11 minutes of Calvin Party on podcast number 20 we received a post bag full of praise for the band so it only seems right that I point you in the direction of shouty man’s shouty man, John Donaldson’s latest masterpiece under the nom de colere of JD Meatyard. John told me he feels this song is very much in the same vein as Lies Lies & Government and you can find it on his highly recommended Northern Songs LP. Here he also proves that you don’t have to shout to show you’re angry.
I do like a Kickstart type project and having had recent involvement in great projects with Kristin Hersh and The Bridewell Taxis to name just two, I am now backing the likes of Chuck Prophet championed Peter Mulvey and this project with CASH Music that is all about cutting out the middle man. From the compilation they sent out, here’s Cayucas. I know nothing about them. I do, however, know a lot about Aussie band The Saints. I tend to put their debut LP (I’m) Stranded in my top 5 albums of all-time and regularly like to suggest it as the best punk debut album ever. They quickly moved from punk to brass influenced R&B to virtually jazz-blues before the original line-up split. Still using the band name, further albums were really Chris Bailey solo efforts and very good they are too. A highlight was All Fools Day from 1986 that Bruce Springsteen has obviously heard. The Boss’s newest collection has failed to win me over thus far as there are so many songs that I know and that I prefer in their earlier forms. One such is his cover of The Saints. Have a listen to the original here and tell me I’m wrong. Recently re-released by Hozac records, the rawer punk sound of True Believers follows and you have to accept it is good otherwise you are very much a non-believer.
Earlier this year I took Mrs O’Elves to see the wonderful Suzanne Vega. We have seen her on numerous occasions over the years, in fact I first saw her perform at The Leadmill in Sheffield in 1987, and every single time she has made me cry (Suzanne not Mrs O’Elves). It must be something to do with her voice. Sometimes it’s Luka that does it, this time it was Small Blue Thing, but she always gets me. Her new album Tales From The Realm Of The Queen Of Pentacles is another great addition to her canon, where she resolutely remains left of centre. A bit further away from the centre of anything come the Mexican Institute Of Sound or Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido if you prefer, and I do, with what is essentially Mexican electronica with loud drips and silly noises from 2009. Thanks here are due to Francisco, a Chilean friend of the pod, who explains that the lyrics suggest the band feel owning a clarinet and a trombone are the makings of a Pink Floyd tribute act, and that their thug credentials leave much to be desired “I’m not nice / I’m not a good person / I don’t help old women get the bus”.
Wizards’ favourite, Chuck Prophet, pops up next with a killer B-side to a recent single The Left Hand & The Right Hand taken from the album of 2012. Always worth a listen and here with particularly fine Stephanie Finch backing vocals. Tennessee based garage rock next with Cheap Time, who clearly have no regard for the health conscious. After them, there’s an oldie from another much missed artist, Kirsty MacColl. I have been on a number of record shopping trips with friend of the pod, Texas Paul, recently, all in the name of research, of course. In a suitably hidden away and darkly lit emporium in Liverpool I found a top notch copy of her single Terry that I couldn’t resist. It still sounds great. It’s Echoboy and his engaging drone rock after that with a song from his cleverly named Volume 1 that still does the job nicely. Does anyone else remember his rock band The Hybirds? I think I might have seen them support Chuck in Manchester at the Roadhouse back in the day. And talking of back in the day, we finish off this month with Dan Treacy’s Television Personalities with a song I picked up on a Taiwanese 7 inch and that stands up well in comparison with all those great early songs from this much underrated band. Their debut LP …And Don’t The Kids Just Love It is definitely worth listening to again and again. Much like this playlist. See you next month.
Those tracks in full:
2. Go Right Ahead – The Hives
3. Ramblin’ Man – Hank Williams
4. Kicker – Shudder Pulps
5. Alex & The Omegas – Guided By Voices
6. Left To Wander – Toy
7. All I Ever Do (Is Sit In My Room) – Gary Le Strange
8. Spelling & Grammar – Voo
9. Beggars Can’t Be Choosers – David Woodcock
10. A Political Song (Blow It Out Yr Arse) – JD Meatyard
11. High School Lover – Cayucas
12. Just Like Fire Would – The Saints
13. Accept It! – True Believers
14. Left Of Center – Suzanne Vega
15. Alocatel – Mexican Institute Of Sound
16. I Call Your Name – Chuck Prophet
17. More Cigarettes – Cheap Time
18. Terry – Kirsty MacColl
19. Kit And Holly – Echoboy
20. Wonder What It Was – Television Personalities – not on Spotify so enjoy a classic oldie there and this classic newie right here:
Fool Proof Through The Roof
Previous Monthly Mixes