I quite like the fact that since I put in an email contact at the top of this page bands and artists are coming to me, as well as me having to go to them. However, I’m still wading through a lot there and on my MySpace page, so please bear with me…

One such band whose attention I’ve been drawn to are a band called Athens. Neither Greek nor from Georgia, they are a five piece from Chicago. They do a fantastic style of American indie-rock, which for me evokes early REM, Wilco, Arcade Fire…and also, on this first track here, I hear quite a bit of the Go-Betweens, the second finest Australian act ever. They are currently unsigned, but hopefully that should change…

I thought I’d focus on some new music today; so, please let me know what you think.

Athens -‘Dreams, eternity etc..’ mp3

Athens -‘Assshaker.’ mp3

As ever, if you like what you hear, please go and make friends with them over at their MySpace.

Yet Another Festive Fifty-themed post

Here are ten songs today from the legendary Festive Fifty compiled by John Peel. As yesterday’s entry focused on the eighties, it seemed only fair to do the nineties today. Some of the records were obscure, but other artists went on to do massively well. Much like the eighties, in fact.

The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy -‘Television: The Drug Of The Nation.’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty No.38)

Dawn Of the Replicants -‘Science Fiction Freak.’ mp3 (1999 Festive Fifty No.29)

The Orb -‘The Box.’ mp3 (1996 Festive Fifty No.7)

The Fall -‘Bill Is Dead.’ mp3 (1990 Festive Fifty No.1)

Nirvana -‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’ mp3 (1994 Festive Fifty no.27)

Hefner -‘The Hymn For the Cigarettes.’ mp3 (1999 Festive Fifty no.2)

Orbital -‘Blue Room.’ mp3 (1992 Festive Fifty No. 20)

AC Acoustics -‘I Messiah Am Jailer.’ mp3 (1997 Festive Fifty no.19)*

Slowdive -‘Catch the Breeze.’ mp3 (1991 Festive Fifty No.20)

Paris Angels -‘All On You(Perfume).’ mp3 (1990 Festive Fifty no.6)

* OK, I’m aware that there were only thirty-one records in the chart that year due to restrictions on John Peel’s time. But you get the point, yes?

Don’t Sacrifice Your First Born!

The reason for the title of this post has almost nothing to do with ms. Dax; rather, that yesterday I received feedback from a reader called AJ saying that he/she couldn’t find the track and had looked everywhere for it. So I said would post it, and AJ was so delighted he/she said that they would sacrifice their firstborn…and we couldn’t have that, could we?!

Anyway, first up, from a 1988 12″ single, the song that scared and intrigued an eleven year old boy, Cathouse:

Danielle Dax -‘Cathouse.’ mp3

… from another 1980s 12″ single, ‘White Knuckle Ride.’

Danielle Dax -‘White Knuckle Ride.’ mp3

and finally, off a goth compilation called Nocturnal, this is BIG HOLLOW MAN

Danielle Dax -‘Big Hollow Man.’ mp3

Whilst I am not a big authority on Danielle Dax, you might like to try these sites:

Danielle Dax Homepage

Danielle Dax official site (under construction when I looked)

This wikipedia entry alas suggests she is either on hiatus or retirement from the music industry

Her official mySpace page is maintained by her old friend and bandmate, Karl Blake.

Hope you enjoy this, and if people can direct us to where Danielle dax’s music can be bought more easily, please do!

Another Festive Fifty themed post

What can I say? It was just such fun (if bloody time consuming) doing yesterday’s Peel-related Post here that I thought I’d do something similar again…In the process, I have realised that a great number of these come from 1982, confirming my belief that 1977-1982 was the greatest era ever, for music. Followed by 2001-2008, obviously).

First up, Pete Wylie under various guises had several entries in the Festive Fifty, here are two of my favourites. It’s sometimes hard trying to work out what was Wah!, Mighty Wah! or Wah! Heat (or Shambeko Say Wah! for that matter, but I think these were both as the Mighty Wah! That is what the CDs say, anyway)

Mighty Wah! -‘Come Back.’ mp3

Mighty Wah! -‘The Story Of The Blues.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty, No.7)*

The song Shipbuilding was written by Elvis Costello in 1982, about the Falklands War and Robert Wyatt recorded it first, nearly topping the Festive Fifty in 1982. Elvis Costello recorded his own version for Punch The Clock in 1983. Both versions are fantastic, Wyatt’s version and piano are gorgeous, though Costello’s version is great too, and features Chet Baker on trumpet.

Robert Wyatt -‘Shipbuilding.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty, No.2)

Elvis Costello -‘Shipbuilding.’ mp3 (1983 Festive Fifty, No.48)

And in different guises, Coventry also had a fair amount to say about social issues of the time, both at home and abroad.

The Specials -‘Ghost Town.’ mp3 (1981 festive Fifty No.21)

The Special AKA -‘Free Nelson Mandela.’ mp3 (1984 Festive Fifty No.41

As ‘New pop’ replaced or post-punk evolved, depending on your point of view, there were certainly many bands who were commercially successful on in both the charts and the festive fifty (even Frankie Goes to Hollywood made the Festive Fifty in 1984, with their nine-weeks-at-the-top-of-the-proper-charts Two Tribes). Though Peel bemoaned on his 1994 Festive Fifty that some of the records had made the chart, and where had he gone wrong, it’s probably fair to assume he had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. These are both from 1982:

Yazoo – ‘Only You.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty No.12)

Associates -‘Party Fears Two.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty No.14)

Peel also played Hip-Hop when no-one else on Radio 1 was doing so (Peter Powell reportedly once told him that he shouldn’t on the grounds that Hip-Hop was the music of Black hooligans, allegedly).

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five -‘The Message.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.3)

Erik B & Rakim -‘Paid In Full.’ mp3 (1987 Festive Fifty no.27)

* There are several different versions of this track in existence, including the Parts 1&2 version that Peel played on one of his last ever broadcasts in 2004. I have put the ‘Part 1’ version here.

Presenting…Dirty Summer

Right…on with the new music!

Dirty Summer are Brodie A L Wishart (bass/vocals), Fergus Christie Jack (keys/vocals), and The Banister (drums/cleaning). They make fantastically raucous pop music that sounds like they are taking the mick out of everyone and everything. Given that I never never met John Peel, this might sound presumptuous, but I think I can safely say he would have loved Dirty Summer.

They say they sound like ‘Car Crash Pop’ -and they do. In the best possible way. They hail from Dunfermline, Fife and remind me of those other scots nippers that have bothered proggers and boring grown-ups over the years, Bis and The Prats. Give these a listen…

Dirty Summer -‘War Is Bad Bono Is Great.’ mp3

Dirty Summer -‘Knees.’ m4a

…and if you like them, pop along to their MySpace and make friends. Only cold nast people are unfriendly.

A Festive Fifty Theme

First of all, thank you to everyone who has been in contact with details about new acts; I’m going to try and go through it carefully and give my considered opinion about what to post; so if you don’t see yourselves posted immediately, don’t take it personally!

I was considering posting some other stuff today, reflecting on what might make my Festive Fifty at the end of the year, and found my mind drifting to the great man of the Festive Fifty, John Peel.

So, with a big nod to Steve (and not Mike, as I mistakenly called him earlier!) over at the brilliant Teenage Kicks, a brilliant Peel-related blog, here are ten tracks that made John Peel’s Festive Fifty over the years.

Given that he often got frustrated at some things being unadventurous, and there being ‘too many white boys with guitars’ I have tried not to fall into the same trap.

Bang Bang Machine -‘Geek Love.’ mp3 (No.1 1992 Festive Fifty)

We’ve Got A Fuzzbox and we’re Gonna Use It -‘Rules And Regulations.’ mp3 (No. 31 1986 Festive Fifty)

Future Sound Of London -‘Papau New Guinea.’ mp3 (No.11 1992 Festive Fifty)

Half Man Half Biscuit -‘The Trumpton Riots.’ mp3 (No. 14 1986 Festive Fifty)

Althea & Donna -‘Uptown Top Ranking.’ mp3 (No. 2 1977 Festive Fifty)

Teenage Fanclub -‘The Concept.’ mp3 (No.6 1991 Festive Fifty*)

The Bhundu Boys -‘Foolish Harp/Waerara.’ mp3 (No.30 1987 Festive Fifty) (Steve from Teenage Kicks has got in touch and pointed out that it wasn’t this version that made the chart. However, it is fabulous!)

Kenickie -‘Come Out 2nite.’ mp3 (No. 1 1996 Festive Fifty)

This Mortal Coil -‘Song To the siren.’ mp3 (No. 4 1983 Festive Fifty, No.10 2000 Millennium Chart)

The Delgados -‘Mr. Blue Sky.’ mp3 (No. 29 2002 Festive Fifty)

For more on John Peel and fansites start here

* 1991’s Festive Fifty was known as the Phantom Fifty as John felt it was too predictable, topped as it was by Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and not featuring the dance sounds he’d been plugging that year. It was eventually unveiled, track by track over 1993).

Album Review: Love Is All

Love Is All ‘Mixed Up’

Remix albums can be tricky affairs, sometimes opportunistic cash-ins and stop-gaps, as the record company waits for the next album or doesn’t feel that the time is quite right for a greatest hits compilation or stage musical.

Great to report, then, that this remix album of Love Is All’s 2006 album Nine Times That Same Song is actually ten excellent remixes that are different in sound, yet most impressively manage to work together well as an album in it’s own right. The Bees take on ‘Make Out Fall Out Make Up’ into something that is completely different from the original, Maps’ version of ‘Turn The Radio Off’ is simply gorgeous and when you know that Chicken Lips and hot Chip have also remixed tracks, you know it’s a stormer that provides an fantastic listening experience and works well as a party album.

No shoddy cash-in, but a rare example of an fantastic opportunity used to brilliant effect.


Love Is All…Mixed Up is out on January 21 2008 on Parlophone. Love Is All are currently writing a studio album in Gothenburg for 2008 release.

From Love Is All…Mixed Up

Love Is All -‘ Make Out Fall Out Make Up (The Bees Version).’ mp3

Love Is All -‘Turn the Radio Off (Maps remix).’ mp3

Love Is All -‘Felt Tip (Hot Chip remix).’ mp3

From Nine Times That Same Song

Love Is All – ‘Make Out Fall Out Make Up.’ mp3

Love Is All -‘Ageing Had Never Been His Friend.’ mp3

Love Is All -‘Busy Doing Nothing.’ mp3

Six For Friday

Ah…it’s Friday. Rather braindead, but thought I would share half a dozen good songs with you:

Melys -Chinese Whispers.’ mp3

Panda Bear -‘Comfy In Nautica.’ mp3

Billy Bragg -‘Greetings To The New Brunette.’ mp3

Luke Haines -‘Going Off My Rocker At The Art school Bop.’ mp3

iLIKETRAINS -‘Spencer Perceval.’ mp3

Woody Guthrie -‘This Land Is Your Land.’ mp3

Hope you have a good weekend…and cheers to the lovely Mrs. 17 seconds, as we have now been together for three years!

Presenting…A Classic Education

Something new for you (my quest is endless; in the words of the late, great John Peel: ‘I Just Want to Hear Something I’ve not heard before.’) This time from Bologna, Italy.

Cheesy euro-pop? A fusion of opera and metal?

Don’t stereotype and put your expectations aside. A Classic Education are three men: Jonathan Clancy, Paul Pieretto & Luca Mazzieri who play a myriad of instruments and make some of the most gorgeous music you will hear. This is gorgeous, atmospheric indie music in the vein of the Decemberists, and Arcade Fire, whom they have supported. And if you like iLIKETRAINS, then I reckon they might be up your street too.

From the emails I’ve exchanged with them, I understand that they are not signed at the moment, but that’s surely only a matter of time.

Give these mp3s a listen:

A Classic Education -‘Stay Son.’ mp3

A Classic Education -‘Victories At Night.’ mp3

Then if you like what you hear, pop over to their MySpace and make friends.

…Why deny yourself the pleasure?

For Those Who Stand Alone – Presenting the Lonely Fires

Last year, I wrote about an unsigned band from Glasgow called Serpico, who I was very excited about and who I thought had some fantastic guitar tunes and deserved to do well. They still have some great tunes and they are now called The Lonely Fires, and have a new drummer…though they are very cagey and discreet about who is actually in them, acording to their MySpace- no-one! Mystique is always good…However two members of the band emailed to get in touch and also sent me some mp3s, so see what you think of these:

The Lonely Fires – ‘No-one Song.’ mp3

The Lonely Fires – ‘Sophia.’ mp3

The Lonely Fires – ‘Lullaby.’ mp3

And as ever, if you like what you hear, go and make friends with them at their MySpace page.