Album Review- Kevin Armstrong

Kevin Armstrong

Kevin Armstrong – ‘Run’ (Wishing Tree Records)

While the name Kevin Armstrong may not be known to many readers, the list of people that he has played with over a career stretching nearly forty years is pretty impressive. It includes, amongst others, Iggy Pop, Prefab Sprout and Sinead O’Connor. Perhaps the two artists that most connect with this collection of songs are David Bowie (still missed around 17 Seconds Towers) and Morrissey.

Armstrong has written seven of the songs on this album himself, and the other four songs are co-writes with Bowie and Morrissey, two apiece. From Bowie we have ‘Run’ (recorded with the much-mocked Tin Machine project), and Morrissey ‘Oh Phony’ and the standout on the record ‘He Knows I’d Love To See Him.’

He’s a pretty reasonable singer, and an excellent guitarist. Whilst it’s not Slaughter On 10th Avenue, it’s a pretty solid collection of songs. ‘On Beachy Head’ seems to be a touchy without moping lament for a friend who died at that notorious suicide spot, and ‘Dog Ate My Giro’ is far better than a song with this seemingly daft title has any right to be. To say that this will only appeal to Bowie and Moz diehards is unfair. It’s a gentle listen, without some next textures throughout. Not lifechanging, but a steady grower.


Run is out now on Wishing Tree Records.

Stream via Spotify.

Does there have to be a reason?

It was only when I grew up (well, sort of) and realised that actually: most people had pretty rubbish teenage years.

Mine were well-soundtracked, though. I saw Perks Of Being A Wallflower a while back and wished this film had been made twenty years previously (much as I wish ‘Misshapes’ by Pulp had come out five years previously).

Tonight’s song is ‘Asleep’ by The Smiths, one of their most beautiful and possibly the song they have ever recorded. The video uses footage from the aforementioned film.


“Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I’m tired and I
I want to go to bed

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
And then leave me alone
Don’t try to wake me in the morning
‘Cause I will be gone
Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I will feel so glad to go

Sing me to sleep
Sing me to sleep
I don’t want to wake up
On my own anymore

Sing to me
Sing to me
I don’t want to wake up
On my own anymore

Don’t feel bad for me
I want you to know
Deep in the cell of my heart
I really want to go

There is another world
There is a better world
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be
Well, there must be

Bye bye
Bye bye

Stream Morrissey’s World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Well, it feels like it has been a long time coming. It’s certainly one of the most anticipated albums of 2014, and one of my most anticipated albums of the year.

Morrissey’s 10th album World Peace Is None Of Your Business is his first album in five years, since Years Of Refusal and it’s streaming a week ahead of its release, via NME. I’ll write a full review soon, but after my first listen, the reports that it may be one of his best solo works – even up there with Vauxhall & I – are not wrong.

See what you think, people. I’d love to know what you think, and if you like it – go and buy it!

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To stream the album in full head to

The return of Morrissey


Wa- and indeed, hey!

Morrissey is due to release his first solo album in five years in July, entitled World Peace Is None Of Your Business. The title track is available to download (for a fee but at 99p, that’s less than a cup of coffee).

It has been described as his most political song, which in his thirty year career is quite debatable (hell, when you’ve done The Queen Is Dead’ or ‘Margaret On The Guillotine’ it’s going to be hard to top), but it’s great. And wonderful to have his Mozzness back.

The album tracklist is as follows:

‘World Peace is None of Your Business’
‘Neal Cassady Drops Dead’
‘I’m Not a Man’
‘Earth Is the Loneliest Planet’
‘Staircase at the University’
‘The Bullfighter Dies’
‘Kiss Me a Lot’
‘Smiler With Knife’
‘Kick the Bride Down the Aisle’
‘Oboe Concerto’

The return of Morrissey (well, a slight return…)


Morrissey is reportedly ready to issue his tenth solo album, just as soon as he can find a record company to do it (he has said his talents do not lie in DiY). He does seem to have got through a LOT of Record companies in his now almost thirty year long career (Rough Trade, HMV, RCA, Island, Sanctuary…). I’m sure someone will!

On Tuesday night he did a session for Janice Long on Radio 2, and these three tracks that he did can be streamed below ‘Action Is My Middle Name,’ ‘ The Kid’s A Looker’ and ‘People Are The Same Everywhere.’

See what you think…

Morrissey – Action Is My Middle Name (BBC Session) by TheNJUnderground

Morrissey – The Kid’s a Looker (BBC Session) by TheNJUnderground

Morrissey – People Are The Same Everywhere (BBC Session) by TheNJUnderground

Festive Fifty Stuff for a Friday

John Peel and his wife Sheila, affectionately known as The Pig

I’m glad that quite a few people have been enjoying these Peel posts. I won’t be doing these forever, or I may take a different approach to these, but for the time being, I will do a few more Festive Fifty posts (the only annoying thing about them is just how long they take to do!)

First up, a band who have evolved constantly over the last thirty years, even if they only released five studio albums and one compilation in that time. It’s hard to imagine it not being worth the wait, though. Green Gartside and his merry men:

Scritti Politti -‘Faithless.’ mp3 (1982 Festive Fifty no.13)

One of the most heartbreaking bands ever, with surprisingly their only festive fifty entry:

Trembling Blue Stars -’Abba On the Jukebox.’ mp3 (1996 Festive Fifty no.19)

Morrissey had many entries in the Festive Fifty with the Smiths and for the first few years of his solo career, quite a few too. This was the last of his:

Morrissey -’November Spawned A Monster.’ mp3 (1990 festive Fifty no.16)

Underworld only ever had two entries in the Festive Fifty, no surprise that this epic track was one of them.

Underworld -‘Born Slippy (NUXX).’ mp3 (1996 Festive Fifty no.5)

Another band I remember hearing on Peel and scrawling on my school bag…

Huggy Bear -‘Herjazz.’ mp3 (1993 Festive Fifty no.3)

Over the place of a decade, John Peel gave a lot of coverage to Cornershop. This was their final entry.

Cornershop featuring Bubbley Kaur -‘Topknot.’ mp3 (2004 Festive Fifty no.40)

An aching anthem about being an outsider…and this time, Morrissey wasn’t the singer

Bronski Beat -’Smalltown Boy.’ mp3 (1984 Festive Fifty no.48) (N.B. This is from my vinyl copy of the Age Of Consent and is a bit crackly in places)

As mentioned previously, The Wedding Present were up there with The Smiths and The Fall in terms of entries. This is my favourite song of theirs to make the Festive Fifty

Wedding Present -’My Favourite Dress.’ mp3 (1987 Festive Fifty no.6)

Rather like Blur, Radiohead actually seemed to do better on the Festive fifty further into their career than earlier on:

Radiohead -‘There, There.’ mp3 (20003 Festive Fifty no.37)

And finally, mad, and wonderful -Spizzenergi:

Spizzenergi -’Where’s Captain Kirk?’ mp3 (1980 Festive Fifty no.40)

Have a good Friday!


Some Covers For Friday Part III

Hey, it’s Friday, it’s been a good week, and I’m in the mood for sharing so here are some fantastic covers for you all.

First up, I heard Camera Obscura doing this live earlier this year, and it blew me away. They really DO make this their own song.

Camera Obscura -‘Super Trooper (Abba cover).’ mp3

Electric Light Orchestra are one of those bands that seem to be considered beyond naff, and yet…there’s something quite nice about their songs in small doses. Or in this case, in the hands of the much-missed Delgados (RIP).

The Delgados -‘Mr. Blue Sky (ELO cover).’ mp3

I know very little about this cover, exvcept that The archies were a TV show before I was born, and this was no.1 back in about 1969 -but it’s kinda cool, and I’d love to know where I can hear Mary Lou Lord’s cover of the Bevis Frond’s Lights Are Changing, too.

Mary Lou Lord -‘Sugar Sugar [from the Archies].’ mp3

You get to hear a lot of music when you write a blog. You also get the chance to hear a lot of stuff that you’ve been searching for for ages. These two songs were things I had put out pleas for-and ended up in my inbox extremely quickly. Thanks. These were originally recorded for an album for Northern Ireland called ‘Peace Together’ when the province was a lot more troubled. I love the Peter Gabriel original and also really like Pop Will Eat Itself’s take on it (Gabriel’s stuff with Genesis was mince though). While I quite like a lot of the Police’s stuff (though their solo stuff leaves much to be desired in a certain case, Mr. Sumner) I was never a big fan of this song, until I heard Therapy? do it.

Pop Will Eat Itself -‘Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel cover).’ mp3

Therapy? -‘Invisible Sun (The Police cover).’ mp3

There are some great Arcade Fire covers dowing the rounds, I posted their version of Guns Of Brixton earlier this year. This is their take on Bowie’s Five Years.

Arcade Fire -‘Five Years (David Bowie cover).’ mp3

Morrissey was quite passionate about many bands over the years, and famously covered Suede’s early b-side ‘My Insatiable One’ (again, if you know where I can get hold of this, please get in touch) before most people had even heard of Suede. He also bigged up James years before they broke big (although it’s long been rumoured that ‘We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful’ was a dig at them). This song -the b-sde to his ‘Pregnant For The Last Time’ single -was a cover of a Bradford song.

Morrissey -‘Skin Storm (Bradford cover).’ mp3

Speaking of seeking out covers…I’d made a plea for this earlier this week and got this, plus another Tori cover into the bargain..

Tori Amos -‘Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana cover).’ mp3

Tori Amos -‘Happpiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles cover).’ mp3

Finally. This song (and if I really, really need to spell it out it’s ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’) is possibly my very favourite cover version ever. I’ve no idea what Morrissey -or indeed any of The Smiths think of it – but it’s fab in my eyes (or should that be ears?)

Schneider TM -‘The Light 3000.’ mp3

As always, if you like what you hear, please go and seek it out (it should go without saying that I do not hold the copyright and these are here for sampling only) by supporting the artists involved, preferably through your local record shop!

Some Covers For Sunday II

Finally, here are the promised covers for today.

Brakes-‘Sometimes Always (Jesus and Mary Chain cover).’ mp3

Echo and the Bunnymen-‘Run Run Run (Velvet Underground cover).’ mp3

James-‘China Girl (Iggy pop cover).’ mp3

Manic Street Preachers-‘Theme From MASH (Suicide Is Painless).’ mp3

Morrissey-‘Moon River (Henry Mancini cover).’ mp3

The Fall-‘Lost In Music (Sister Sledge cover).’ mp3

Dandy Warhols-‘Call me (Blondie cover).’ mp3

Crash Test Dummies -‘The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead (XTC cover).’ mp3

John Cale -‘Hallelujah (Live) (Leonard Cohen cover).’ mp3

As always, these will be up for one week only. If you like what you hear, support the artists involved, preferably through your local independent record shop!