Does there have to be a reason?


…why the hell would anyone not love this track?

Sure, there are always those who claim the Pixies went downhill after Surfer Rosa, but Doolittle remains the peak of the Pixies’ career for me.

Twenty years later, ‘Debaser’ is an absolute classic of an album opener.

…and one day, I guess I’ll watch the Dali film Un Chien Andalou and smile. Or something…

Pixies -‘Debaser.’ mp3

More vinyl goodies…


This is another vinyl transfer, a little crackly, but one which does not seem to be available on iTunes.

The Big Dish were formed in Airdrie in 1983, one member of the band supporting Steven Lindsay was Craig Armstrong, who would go onto work with Massive Attack and Madonna, and write the scores for Romeo and Juliet and Love, Actually, amongst many others. The band supported Lloyd Cole and Big Country on tour in the 1980s, and certainly they seem to have something in common musically with both these acts, though perhaps the act they are most comparable to is The Blue Nile. Certainly, they were more in the spirit of the sohisticated pop that was doing the rounds of the scottish scene at the time, think Love and Money, Hipsway, Hue and Cry, Deacon Blue than, say, The Pastels or The Shop Assistants.

I remember hearing this on the Radio in early 1991 when it came out, reaching no.37, and serving as their only UK Top 40 hit. The band split shortly afterwards…shame, because I think on this vidence they deserved to do much better.

The Big Dish -‘Miss America.’ mp3

The Big Dish on wikipedia

Riffling through my 12″s #1


Britpop gave a leg-up to many ‘indie’ bands who might not have had a crack at the big-time or who had been around for a while. Amongst those who got invited to the party were The Charlatans, Lush, and the Manic Street Preachers, and even, arguably the Levellers.

However, Britpop seemed to put paid to certain bands – the three leading lights of the Stourbridge scene, The Wonder Stuff, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and Pop Will Eat Itself all split around 1994-5, at least for the first time. Another band, who went from being critical darlings to butt of everyone’s jokes were Kingmaker.

Kingmaker formed in 1990 in Hull. They were Loz Hardy (vocals, guitar), Miles Howell (bass) and John Andrew (drums). They had several entries in the charts, including five top forty hits, and two top thirty albums. They were even supported on tour by Radiohead in 1992. Loz was a very sharp lyric writer and the band had a way with a tune – I remember sitting on a trip going to London on a coach listening to ‘Ten Years Asleep’ playing not on a walkman but on Daytime Radio 1. This was followed a few weeks later by a Top Of the Pops performance. It seemed that they were about to break through into the mainstream. But about the time of their third album In The Best Possible Taste the band fell apart, and split.

Even ‘where are they now’ entries seem to be ten years old, though Loz Hardy became Justine Frischmann’s flatmate and co-songwriter of a couple of tracks on Elastica’s 1999 EP. Their three studio albums – Eat Yourself Whole, Sleepwalking and In The Best Possible Taste plus a couple of compilations are available on iTunes.

In memory of Kingmaker then, their August 1991 ‘Two Headed’ EP. These are ripped from a 12″ single I picked up in Avalanche Records today for a mere £1…

Kingmaker -‘Two Headed, Yellow Bellied Hole Digger.’ mp3

Kingmaker -‘This Time, This Town, This Sea.’ mp3

Kingmaker -‘Wonderful garden.’ mp3

Kingmaker -‘Pockets Of St. Malachi (live).’ mp3

An unofficial Kingmaker website, well worth checking out.

Kingmaker site on Wikipedia.

Kingmaker myspace (run by a fan)

Album Review: Oskar

oskar_lp2_2Oskar -LP:2′ (Incarnation)

A bit of a weird one, this. Oskar are based around Nick Powell(once of Strangelove) and Jonny Dawe (once of Collapsed Lung). Over a decade on from their previous heydays, and five years since their last album, they have come together with ‘notional third member’ Sarah Wilson (who has previously collaborated with Belle and Sebastian and Tindersticks).

So, nineties indie pedigrees sorted, what’s the album like? Well, the iTunes player says ‘Unclassifiable’ and it’s absolutely right. Because some tracks are gorgeous and lush, while others sound like the soundtrack to a nightmare, or possibly a nervous breakdown. ‘Richenbach Falls’ particularly is a somewhat disturbing listen. Then again, there’s tracks like ‘Sanatorio’ the closing song on the album. This came to be because Nick Powell was in Spain working on a production of the Marat Sade, the play within a play about the Marquis de Sade trying to stage a play in an insane asylum. This lead to the inhabitants of a psychiatric hospital in Madrid, where he did a workshop, singing and communicating with each other, which must have been quite some experience. It’s also great to see Astrid Williamson (once of Goya Dress, and now a fine solo singer in her own right) croppping up on ‘Printer Tzara.’

So, a strange journey then, one perhaps best taken in bits than as a whole, but with some pretty impressive scenery.


LP:2 is released on Incarnation Records on June 22.

Oskar’s website/Oska’s myspace

Riffling through my 7″s #4


God bless The Vinyl Villain, say I. Not only is he a very nice bloke, and an inspiring blogger, but he keeps me intrigued by writing about Scottish bands that I might have missed.

One such band he has written about are Hey! Elastica. (And no, nothing to do with Justine Frischmann’s old band.) Hey! Elastica hailed from Edinburgh, in around the early 1980s. They do not have a Wikipedia page, and are not mentioned in the Great Indie Discography. Anyone who can point me to a fan site, myspace page etc.. would be much appreciated.

Inspired by what I had heard, i picked up the 7″ the other day in Avalanche, and present this vinyl rip for your pleasure.

Hey! Elastica -‘Suck A Little Honey.’ mp3

Hey! Elastica -‘Suck A Little More.’ mp3

And some bonuses, originally put up by the Vinyl Villain:

Hey! Elastica -‘Suck A Little Honey (extended).’ mp3

Hey! Elastica -‘Eat Your Heart Out.’ mp3

You can buy their stuff on iTunes, in the UK at least…Virgin still appear to own the copyright.

You can also listen to them on Deezer here

Album Review: Future Of The Left


Future Of The Left -‘Travels With Myself And Another.’ (4AD)

The follow-up up to their debut Curses, this sophomore release from the welsh three-piece seems almost effortless. It grabs you by the proverbials and quite a few other places from the word go and doesn’t let go.

It’s as loud as hell, and enjoyably so, too. It’s got a sense of humour, clever without being pseudo-intellectual (no mean feat) and angry as well. It’s uncompromising too – thank God they’re on a true independent like 4AD, otherwise somebody somewhere would be trying to encourage them to make it a radio-firendly unit shifter. I have the sneaking suspicion that if anyone tried it with these three Welsh lads, they’d be told where to go, in no uncertain terms, but having a good laugh as they did so.

It’s a twelve track album that clocks on at just under thirty three minutes. This is a good move, as there is no flab on here, this is rock as mean and lean as it gets. Opener ‘Arming Eritrea’ sets the scene: heavy bass, distorted guitar and taking absolutely no prisoners. First single ‘The Hope That house Built’ is the closest they might come to writing an anthem, but on their terms, not in a ‘sod it, let’s sound like Coldplay.’ ‘You Needs Satan More Than He Needs You’ meanwhile, not only has one of the greatest titles ever, but is (reportedly) about the modern Satanist who ‘still has to worry about babysitting and getting the goat home after a blood ritual on a windswept moor. Riiight. The final track sees the singer confusing Jacob’s Ladder with the Shawshank Redemption and revealing Rupert Murdoch as Satan Incarnate. (If anyone wants to sacrifice him on a windswept moor, I think there might well be lots of volunteers).

If there’s anyone who genuinely means it, man, and genuinely refuses to sell out, it’s these three lads. Respect.


Future Of The Left Website/Future Of The Left Myspace

Travels With Myself And Another is out on June 22 on 4AD.

The video for The Hope That House Built:

Album Review: Groom


Groom -‘At The Natural History Museum.’ (Tight Ship)

In London, at the Natural History Museum, the thing that strikes you when you walk through the door, is a massive skeleton of a Tyrannasaurus Rex. It’s now less awe-inspiring when you’re a thirty-something than when you’re a toddler. It’s a thing of natural wonder.

This album from Groom is similarly awe-inspiring. Over the course of six songs in just thirty-two minutes, Michael Stevens and his band from Dublin have produced something pretty awe-inspiring themselves. is this a natural or man-made wonder? Well, let’s just say mankind’s had to evolve a pretty long way to come up with some of the couplets that Mr. Stevens has come up with. Take ‘Mythical Creatures’ for example:

‘Smugglers with guns and sailors with bludgeons hide in the harbour and draw out their knives
On minor poets with major grudges who drink too much booze and are sleep-deprived.
In a wind-swept cottage with narrow windows, who knows what sadness awaits for us?
The tear-drenched face of a lonely widow or a three-thousand-year-old Egyptian curse.’

on ‘Death Of A Songwriter’ there’s a delicious sort of black humour:

‘I worked in immunology abd nearly injected myself with HIV.
I worked in the kitchens of an American aircraft carrier but couldn’t get over the language barrier.’

A casual glance at some of the song titles ‘Let’s Die Together’ or ‘Worst Of Times, Worst Of Places’ might suggest that this album would make for a depressing listen. Yet in its’ examination of the human condition, even if its’ conclusions may appear bleak, or at best self-effacing, somehow it’s a life-affirming listen.

Their myspace describes Groom as ‘Indiepop minus everything Indiepop should be.’ Well, I think this is Indiepop as it damn well should be! And that’s not indie as in ‘Oh, it’s got guitars and it’s actually horrendousy msucially conservative’ that’s indie as in a force for good. Listening to this again (and for the second time this morning, I have to confess), it reminds me in a good way of both Belle and Sebastian and The Shins. And not a hint of twee anywhere in sight.

When the album finishes with ‘Moving West ‘it’s almost heart-breaking. And that’s quite a journey in thirty-two minutes.


Groom -‘Let’s Die Together.’ mp3

At The Natural History Museum is out now on Tight Ship.

Groom’s Myspace

The album is on eMusic and iTunes, priced only £4.74. Do yourself a favour – go and buy it!

10 from Scotland…aye, tunes!


Edinburgh’s meadows (above)

Having finally managed to sort out the pictures on here (Cheers, Diamond, you know who you are), after a frantic day I thought I’d celebrate with some scottish sounds.

And anyone who thinks it’s just white guys with jangly guitars should listen carefully…

As ever, let me know what you think!

Shamen -‘Jesus loves Amerika.’ mp3

Rustie -‘Mic Of the Year.’ mp3

Shop Assistants -‘Big ‘E’ Power.’ mp3

Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes -‘Grand Hotel.’ mp3

Wake The President -‘Remember Fun?’ mp3

A C Acoustics -‘I Messiah Am Jailer.’ mp3

Long Fin Killie -‘Hands and Lips.’ mp3

Half Cousin -‘The Diary Fire.’ mp3

Malcolm Middleton -‘Red Travellin’ Socks.’ mp3

Mother and the Addicts -‘All In The Mind.’ mp3

The Return of The Cave Singers


Makers of the 17 Seconds album of the year 2008 (yes, it was released in the US in 2007 but it was released here in 2008, so yah boo sucks), the Cave singers are set to return with their second album in August.

The follow up to the oh-so-fine Invitation Songs is entitled Welcome Joy. The first track to be released from it is this wee gem:

Cave Singers -‘Beach House.’ mp3

And, as always, if you like what you hear, let me know.

Cave Singers Myspace

Presenting …Lines Drawing Circles

Lines Drawing Circles – Thebes from LDC on Vimeo.

Video above: Lines Drawing Circles -‘Thebes.’

This is something really special.

I was sent a message by Julie Bienvenu, the drummer of Dublin’s Lines Drawing Circles a week or so ago asking me would I like to listen to their band. A listen to their myspace told me I most definitely did. A package containing their self-titled debut EP which was released last year (available on both iTunes and eMusic so go and buy it. NOW!) and their single from earlier this year, ‘Thebes’/’Fit To Be Tied.’ The band also feature Barry Bracken, Derek Moylan and Peter Grogan.

Everytime I play Thebes, I’m just blown away. This is rock music, Jim, but not as we know it. Is it shoegazing? Whatever, it’s completely addictive and I’m falling for these folks in a big way. What I like, and this is so rare it seems, it doesn’t seem like these three lads and lass wear their influences on their sleeves. And that’s a big bonus. Sure, it’ll get pigeonholed with labels like ‘indie’ ‘punk’ and ‘grunge’ but there’s something very, very special and different here. And that’s exciting.

The single can be downloaded for free here.

Amazingly unsigned, but surely not for long.

Lines Drawing Circles website/Lines Drawing Circles Myspace (do pop along and make friends).

And, as always, please let me know what you think!