So, listeners, February is upon us and it’s time for another monthly mix of musical mayhem. In typical style, I will be kicking off with an instrumental that you won’t be able to hear unless a) you own the record or b) you write very nicely asking us to send you a digitalized version. Still, it seems apt to start on a journey of infinite possibilities with one of these…

Wanna listen to the opener? I'm a frayed knot.

Wanna listen to the opener? I’m a frayed knot.

Yes, it’s The Hybirds – Ball of Twine, the opening track on their only LP and a song I heard John Peel play and admit that he didn’t bother listening to the rest of the album because it couldn’t posssibly match up to the opener. Well, as you almost certainly won’t be held back, let’s get onto the next track. This is from the same mid-90s period, but is a different beast altogether. As much as I appreciate the likes of Public Enemy and NWA, I still feel rap to be out of my comfort zone and could only really claim to be a fan of two of the hippy-hoppsters, De La Soul, and the rather shorter-lived, Definition Of Sound. I had the latter’s Love And Life LP on the other week and it still sounds pretty neat to me. See what you think. A real classic after that with Irma Thomas and a track that re-entered my consciousness via that Black Mirror episode where Charlie Brooker turns his dystopian attention to the world of musical talent shows. Check it out, but more importantly love the song. Next up is a Liverpool band who sit firmly in the centre of the growing psych movement. The Balcony Stars, for it is they, would almost certainly have appeared in my best of list last year of they had got round to releasing this song on vinyl as they threatened. On reflection, I suppose I could have overlooked the self-imposed rule that only physical releases could be included. Anyway, so good is the track, you might want to check it out on the video below too. “Let it shake and shatter like it doesn’t matter…”

Time to head back in time next with a much underrated track from The Hollies, a band that I am pretty sure Scouse (OK, I think they may well be from over the water, but the point still stands) mystical types, The Coral have listened to a lot. Last year saw that bunch of Skellywags, ahem, release their ‘lost’ album The Curse Of Love with little real fanfare. A shame that because it really is an excellent addition to their canon and a real grower. Time for a bit of garage-punk now as we dip in to the never disappointing Nuggets boxset (actually, the Children Of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1996 to be fair) and find the crunchy and plaintive sound of The Prisoners. Gear. Following them is a track from my favourite album by the always interesting and often challenging Eyeless In Gaza – Photographs As Memories. I have been deep in EIG reverie over the last few months as I explored their own boxset – the vast Mystic Language – an experience I would recommend to anyone reading this blog. You can start the process here.

hats off to you!

hats off to you!

Now it’s time to point you once again in the direction of the wonderful Active Listener free-to-air compilations, where this month I would like to highlight El General Villamil, which I translate as The Aston Grinder General, oh yes! Anyway, needless to say I know nothing about this man/band, but I love their sound and so will you. A band I have banged on about in these pages before is Bristol’s very own The Brilliant Corners. This time, and still resisting the urge to include their best known, and still fantastic, track, Brian Rix, I offer up another poptastic slice of melancholia taken from the band’s third album Someone Up There Likes Me. Well, someone over here definitely does. OK, so get with it grandad, I hear you yell, can we have something from this millennia? Yes, yes, you can, dear listener, for here are Hookworms. All the way from my hometown these monogrammed youngsters produced their second album, The Hum, last year and it’s a real doozy. All deranged vocals and driving rhythms, it really is the sound of  a band who have taken the psychedelic zeitgeist by the horns and poked it in the eye. Or something. Back to the late 70s for some Brighton punk, now. We have played a couple of tracks from the wonderful Attrix Records series of compilations (Vaultage 78-80) on our podcasts before now, but perhaps the one band featured on these records who really shoulda made it was The Chefs. Let’s see what they’ve got cooking…

more records you need

more records you need

It’s now time for everybody’s favourite part of the blog (well, one person’s anyway), where Tex Pix his track for your delectation. Yes, friend of the pod and a man with the constitution of a seafaring captain, Texas Paul has his (occassional) say on what to include in our playlist. This month he has gone for a song from the perspective of a dog in an earthquake from The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. I wonder what they sound like. Probably not much like Mickey Newbury, whose Looks Like Rain LP has been all over my turntable in the last few weeks. He might need to check his calendar though – he means the 2nd of September, obviously. What about some fucking GBV?! I hear me say. Yes, well, ok then, how about a Pollard classic under the guise of The Bug-Eyed Mums? Taken from the second volume of 100 tracks of squirrelled away genius, Suitcase 2: American Superdream Wow, this track, along with the 99 others, comes with its own imagined album artwork (in this case the Invisible Train To Earth is a mini-LP on Lesson Records, 1977) and back story, but is actually an outtake from Isolation Drills. Another track that really has’t been given the amount of notice it deserves [Until now – TTW Ed.] is from our Swedish friends, Les Big Byrd. Seemingly only available on a tour 7″ – the track Anywhere But Here deserves to reach a wider audience, but unfortunately it isn’t on Spotify so you’ll have to go and buy the record. In the meantime, have this:

The Primitives had a new record out last year, Spin-O-Rama, and it really was rather good. It was also one of the few records I brought to the O’Elves household that Mrs O approved of. In fact, she reckons the song I have chosen to play here could well have been written about me. Damn cheek! An album all three of us wizards have enjoyed in the last 12 months was Roddy Frame’s sublime Seven Dials. Both Chorizo Garbanzo and Rebel Rikkit included their favourite tracks from the album on their best of 2014 podcasts, but neither of them chose the one that I liked best. So, it’s on here. You’ll see that I am, once again, right about this. In any case, a wonderful record. One of the records I picked up on my ‘record shops of the North East’ trip last year was selected purely on the basis of its cover and title. A bold move I think you’d have to agree. Anyway, it turns out that New Build’s Yesterday Was Lived And Lost is really rather good. Here’s a track from it that should convince you that once again… etc. and so on. Right then, the final track this month comes from our friends at the always intriguing Ghostbox Records. It’s a little instrumental from Listening Centre that will creep inside your brain and stay there for at least two weeks. Enjoy!!

Those all important tracks in full:

1. The Hybirds – Ball Of Twine (so, no tracks from these boys on Spotify, but here’s another favourite of mine of theirs, from one of their early EPs)

2. Definition Of Sound – Moira Jane’s Cafe

3. Irma Thomas – Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)

4. The Balcony Stars – Crystal Bones

5. The Hollies – I Can’t Let Go

6. The Coral – The Watcher In The Distance

7. The Prisoners – Whenever I’m Gone

8. Eyeless In Gaza – Knives Replace Air

9. El General Villamil – Sasha

10. The Brilliant Corners – Friday Saturday Sunday Monday

11. Hookworms – Retreat

12. The Chefs – You Get Everywhere

13. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – 1906

14. Mickey Newbury – The Thirty-Third Of August

15. The Bug-Eyed Mums – Invisible Train To Earth

16. Les Big Byrd – Anywhere But Here (also not on spotify, but here’s another great track of theirs from the They Worshipped Cats LP – this one’s for Alice and Mi)

17. The Primitives – Working Isn’t Working

18. Roddy Frame – On The Waves

19. New Build – Finding Reason

20. Listening Center – Our Material

Dumb And Doomed


Previous monthly mixes

All nineteen previous mixes are still available for free! Why not follow us on Spotify to avoid missing out?

About kickerofelves1

Wizard-in-Chief for Trust The Wizards music podcast and blog. Guided By Voices fanatic.

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