Saturday, 28 December 2013

Pick of the year

In the absence of any air time until January 7, I've put together a selection of some of my favourite tracks from 2013. It's not definitive, I'm not claiming any authority and neither is it in any particular order. It's simply 21 tracks I've enjoyed this last year.
I haven't only enjoyed 21 tracks all year, obviously, but I had to stop somewhere and that just happens to be the number at which I stopped. Anyway, here you go:

Listen, enjoy, share if you like. Tell me what I'm missing, if you really want.
Merry festivities.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

17 December 2013 - The christmas special

Christmas show;
Orbital and Low.
Gruff Rhys, Ethiopians, Breeders and Sho-
nen Knife, Frank Sidebottom, Sultans of Ping,
Röyksopp, Sufjan Stevens and Lips most Flaming...

Enough of this tomfoolery. Get on with it. Also, John brought props...

Frank Sidebottom - Christmas Is Really Fantastic
Originally released in 1986, there was a re-release in 2010 after the sad death of the man inside the enormous papier-maché head, Chris Sievey, and an associated campaign to get it into the charts. Frank's philosophy was that all songs should have proper endings, so they all ended like this one.

The Goons - I'm Walking Backwards For Christmas
From June 1956, with Spike Milligan on vocals and Peter Sellers at the piano and with the usual backing from the Ray Ellington Quartet. That's on the B-side of 'Bluebottle Blues', hence the reference to 'I thought that my side was better'. My dad had that on a 7" which now resides on my shelves.

Shonen Knife - All I Want For Christmas
Osaka's finest and their 1999 festive effort. That was written by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, but I guess it doesn't really fit their idiom.

Gruff Rhys - Post-Apocalypse Christmas
From the Super Furry Animals frontman's 2011 EP 'Atheist Christmas'. It's all well worth a listen.

Mighty Mighty Bosstones - This Time Of Year
Another band you wouldn't normally associate with the festive spirit, this is from 2007 and the album 'Medium Rare'.

Low - Just Like Christmas
One of my favourites from this time of year. This is off an EP called 'Christmas' which came out in 1999.

Sufjan Stevens - Get Behind Me, Santa!
Mr Stevens has done loads of festive collections. This is from 'Songs For Christmas volume 5' from 2006. He's up to volume 10 now.

Sultans Of Ping - Xmas Bubblegum Machine
It's not all about losing jumpers and giving people a yard of grass, y'know. This is the B-side to the 1993 single 'Michiko'.

Saint Etienne - Unwrap Me
One of my favourite bands, this is off a compilation of their many christmas-themed songs called 'A Glimpse of Stocking' which came out a couple of years ago.

The Ethiopians - Ding Dong (Christmas Bell)
One of the best things ever are Trojan Records' christmas compilations. Nothing says christmas to me like a bit of ska. This is from the one released in 2003, though the song first appeared in 1968.

Jacques Dutronc - Le Fille De Père Noël
Dutronc's first two albums were called 'Jacques Dutronc', rather unhelpfully. This is off the first of those, from 1966. The son of Father Christmas, in case you couldn't work it out.

Dr Dog - Christmas Party
Bit of a Beach Boys theme to it, which is never a bad thing. That's from the new EP 'Oh My Christmas Tree' which is out now.

The Breeders - Christmas Song
Recorded for a Pee Wee Herman TV show, that's basically Cannonball, their big hit, with bells on. And none the worse for it.

The Flaming Lips - Christmas At The Zoo
From back in 1995 off the 'Clouds Taste Metallic' album. Because we've all wondered what happens when the zoo is closed.

The Knife - Christmas Reindeer
Something a bit avant-garde, from these Stockholm avant-guardians. The song Reindeer came out in 2001 in the album 'The Knife', but like The Breeders previously, added some bells to christmas it up.

Röyksopp - Le Cantique Du Noël
Keeping it Scandinavian, this is their version of a French carol which dates back to 1847. Relaxing...

They Might Be Giants - Santa's Beard
Remember these? Well they're still around and putting new stuff out. This is from 2001 and the EP 'They Might Be Giants In Holidayland'.

The Gresham Flyers - Perfect Christmas Snow (Perfect Christmas Kiss)
I've been after this for ages. It came out in 2010 and I've not been able to put my hands on it until just now. It's on an EP called 'Merry Christmas From The Gresham Flyers' which is available as a pay-what-you-like download from their bandcamp page. I flippin' well love this record. Bloody ace.

Orbital - Christmas Chime
This year's must-have christmas single. Another one that's a reworking of an older track, in this case 1990's Chime, with additional bells. Go get it. Download it from iTunes now. Do it and do it often. Get it into the charts. Resistance is futile.

Half Man Half Biscuit - All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
It is not ever christmas until you've heard this, but now that you have, you are officially allowed to get festive. Best christmas record ever? Possibly.

Here's your YouTube extravaganza, apart from the Gresham Flyers track which is above:

And that's it for 2013. We're off for two weeks, but will be back in the New Year with more of what's good for your ears.
Before we depart though, here's last year's festive playlist for those that may have missed it.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

10 December 2013

More of what's good for what ails you. Listen round, listen round...

Junior Murvin - Apartheid
Not that I'm conflating the global importance of the two men, but I play this in marking two sad deaths in the week. Most of Junior Murvin's back-catalogue has been overlooked after his death just over a week ago, purely to reduce his output to Police And Thieves. That's unfair as there was much more to the man that that. And obviously, it's about a racially divided South Africa.

The Flaming Lips - Peace Sword
Written for the film Enders Game which came out in October. In fact, they wrote a whole EP for it, but this was the only one that was picked up. Everyone's a critic...

The Shall I Say Quois ft CTMF - It's Hard To Be Happy
What a joy this is. Their debut EP is 'Shall I Say Quoi?' and is out now. CTMF are Wild Billy Chyldish's band from which more in future shows.

Cover Version Corner
Julian Cope/Death Cab For Cutie - World Shut Your Mouth
Not hugely different versions, but Death Cab have put their own stamp on it. Moreover, it's good to see someone as influenced by Julian Cope as I am. It was a non-album single from 2007 for Death Cab. The original is off 'Saint Julian' from 1987.

Courtney Barnett - History Eraser
I like it when people sing in their own accent. Ms Barnett is from Melbourne, Australia, and that's off an EP called 'How To Carve A Carrot Into A Rose'. Of course. Also, bonus points for the mellotron.

Nimi Dovrat - For Fun
Our first Israeli artist, this came out in May and is available as a free download. It reminds me of something. What, though?

The Wharves - Thick Syrup
An all-female 3-piece from London, this is new on a split single on Soft Power records and is out now.

Motorama - Winter At Night
To Russia now. These are from Rostov-on-Don and it's their new single.

One Degree of Separation
Rod Stewart - Maggie May
David Rotheray - Maggie's Song
It's only when you listen to these back-to-back that you realise just how nasty the lyrics to Maggie May actually are. I mean, I like the song, but the sentiments within are really quite horrible. Maggie's Song is off David Rotheray's, ex of the Beautiful South, new album 'Answer Ballads'. It's a really good idea pulled off with great style, 'answering' famous records like Roxanne, Jolene, Sylvia's Mother. Maggie's Song is a big two fingers up to Rod.

Likely Lads - Irreverence
A new band to me, from my home town of York. Nice, jaunty stuff. I fear they'll forever be likened to Shed 7 and I'm not convinced that's a good thing.

Pixies - Another Toe In The Ocean
Brilliant. Another track off 'EP1'. They've lost another bassist called Kim since then as well. Careless.

Solomon Grey - Firechild
Wonderful. Solomon Grey isn't a person, this a duo and this came out on the 18th of last month.

The Orielles - Truth Be Told
These are from Halifax and used to be called The Oreohs. I'm guessing that H didn't save them from the copyright police... Anyway, jolly pleasant stuff and I'll be keeping an eye out from them in future.

Grimes - Circumambient 
And we finish with another track from last year's smash album 'Visions' from Claire Boucher, aka Grimes. I don't care what anyone says, I like her stuff. And it throws forward nicely to Phil Brook's Down Tempo show that follows us.

Here's all of that via a combination of YouTube:

and Soundcloud:

Enjoy that, won't you.
Next week, our last show of the year, so you know what that means; Christmas Special. All the tracks you won't hear when out shopping. This was last year's. Any suggestions? Hit us up below the line or badger me on Twitter.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Junior Murvin

This week saw the sad passing of Junior Murvin. Needless to say, he's most remembered for Police And Thieves. Why not; it's a great record which spawned a great cover version by The Clash.

But here, by way of tribute, are five great Junior Murvin tracks that aren't Police And Thieves:

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

3 December 2013

December already. This will remain a festive-free zone of sanity until Christmas Eve at the earliest. With that in mind, we start with one of the pertinent questions of the age.

Captain Ska - What's The Point Of Nick Clegg?
South-coast ska with a political edge. What's not to like? This came out in January 2012, but is no less relevant now than it was then. Quite the reverse, in fact - perhaps even more so.

Billy Bragg - No-one Knows Nothing Any More
Sticking with that sort of theme, the Bard of Barking and his thesis on what it wrong and what we do about it. This is from his last album, 'Tooth And Nail', which came out in March. Musically, that's as good as he's ever been.

††† - Bi†ches Brew
Crosses, they call themselves, despite the three-dagger motif. Needless to say, the T in 'Bitches' is also stylised the same. Suit yourself. Chino Moreno of the Deftones is behind this act and they've an album coming in February.

Cover Version Corner
K-Klass/Cut Copy - Let Me Show You
I doubt I've heard that K-Klass tune since 1994 when it came out. Second year at university. That's a long time ago now... I digress. A proper club classic that's now had a thoroughly modern spin put on it by Cut Copy. They're from Melbourne and that's off 'Free Your Mind' which came out last month.

Keel Her - Don't Look At Me
The multi-talented Rose Keeler-Shaeffler's new single. And there's an album coming in February, which is exciting.

Resigned - New Cross Nervous Breakdown
These are new to me. I gave them a listen after noticing they were gigging with the year's stand-out breakthrough band, Eight Rounds Rapid. Not quite in the same vein, but jolly good nevertheless. The album 'Pleasure Unit' is out this month.

Tropical Contact - Nightmare Baby
A local band and I don't know a lot about them. I've not seen them in the pubs around and about or anything. I only found out about them as a friend did a photoshoot for them recently and thought it rude to not give them a listen. I'll certainly be checking local listings to find them in a live environment.

Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers - The Modern World
From 1972, a bit of a classic. That's off the album 'The Modern Lovers'. Typical of the era. Sounds a lot like The Stooges, which is never a bad thing.

One Degree of Separation
The Delgados - I Fought The Angels
Abdoujaparov - Air Odeon Disco Pub (Here Comes Trouble remix)
A two-wheeled theme today. First, from 2004's 'Universal Audio' album, Motherwell's long lamented The Delgados named after 1988 Tour de France winner, the Spaniard Pedro Delgado. After that, one of the few Abdoujaparov records I can play on a family station, though I urge you to check out their back catalogue. They're Les Carter's - Fruitbat out of Carter USM - band and named after the Tashkent Terror, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, one of the few cyclists to win the points jerseys in all three Grand Tours.

Pariis Opera House - Dragndrop
Pariis with two Is and their first single off an EP called 'Uniiverse I', also with two Is. I guess that's going to be a recurring theme. "UK electro space-funk mavericks", they call themselves. Fair enough.

White Punks On Dope - Destination:House (Aniki remix)
Not sure how you'd define this. Just... there. And interesting. It's off a 2009 compilation 'Total Electro House volume 1'.

Dead Skeletons - Dead Mantra
To Iceland for a closer. Again, beyond easy pigeon-holing. It's stripped, bleak... Love it. From 2011 and off the album 'Dead Magick'.

Between the YouTube playlist here

and the Soundcloud one here

you can find all of those tracks.
Back next week with more of the same.