Monday, 31 August 2009

Miracle Mile Monday - part 2

This next track by the Miracle mile comes from their second cd - Candids. I'm a bit of a sucker for songs about famous people and this was clearly about a soul singer, but i wasnt sure who .. i kind of thought Marvin Gaye. Anyway i did a very fan like thing especially for a 40 year old and I e:mailed Trevor Jones the lead singer and songwriter to A) gush about the first 2 cds and B) ask about this track. Fully expecting to be filed under stalker i in fact got a great reply ....which among other things told me Body 19 is about Sam Cooke

"Body 19" Miracle Mile

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Lazy sunday - Sons of Pioneers

It's sunday, I'm feeling lazy and so I'm going to go for the music blogger's get out clause ie the random shuffle. What ever ends up as top I'll post and explain who it is and why i like it

First up Sons of Pioneers by Japan - for the bass playing and the slightly chanty chorus, and the fact that I used to think the cover of the lp this came from was the coolest thing (I soon got over it)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Cherry Red part 1

When I was getting into music independent labels seemed 2 a penny before the all got bought up by the big boys. Like a precursor of Sarah and more twee cousin of factory records was cherry red. I got onto alot of their artists through the compilation lps they did "Pillows and Prayers". They has the Smiths baiting "pay no more than ..." stickers on when "life's a riot" was just a chord in Billy Bragg's head. Through them I got into Everything but the girl and Felt among others.
Go and visit the website it's a treasure trove of great bands and cds
Felt are one band that will be on a future bigger than the beatles but in the meantime here is Felt's lead singer with an open letter to their guitarist
"Ballad of the Band" - Felt
"Where you been Havent seen you for weeks , You've been hanging out with all those jesus freaks"

Friday, 28 August 2009

Great singles

In prep for a future post on great singles I thought I'd post this. This track starts with about 30 secs of abstract tone/noise. There is no chorus, it is based on a waltz and the vocals dont start until after 1 min 20. It was written by someone who went on the write songs for Atomic Kitten. It went top 3 and was in the top 20 for that year at a time when you had to sell an awful lot of singles to get in the charts

Any ideas?

Thursday, 27 August 2009

why I love country music part 2

Part 2 in this occasional series is a song of longing for a love lost. New years greeting by Australian band the Triffids comes from their flawed masterpiece the Black Swan. This is the last record the band made before they split up. it is a masterpiece just because of the quality of the songwriting and the variety of styles. It is flawed just because of this variety. Originally planned as a double the mission was that each song should be in a completely different style to all the others, as a result it is almost too varied with the album not really holding together (styles jump from vaudeville, to gypsy, to 60s girl group). As could be guessed the record company balked and the band had to edit the original down to a single cd. It has recently been rereleased in it originally intended glory with some great sleeve notes . You can get it here;-1;-1;-1;-1&sku=747588
The actual song paints a picture of a man in isolation deciding whether to wallow in the that memories he cant let go of. Th whole thing can be summed up by "I still want you back when its all said and done" and the end line of simply "to think of you or not".
It has the best "sighing" on record and as with all true country records it even features a dog.

New Year's greeting - The Triffids

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Bigger than the beatles part 2 - Brian

Well at least bigger than the lightening seeds. I'm a sucker for bands that are really just one person with a rotation of helping musicians. I still feel sad that Roddy Frame has started using his name rather than Aztec Camera for his releases. If you are going to choose a name, then I guess if Aztec camera is at one end of the scale then this band is at the other..."Brian". I know virtually nothing about the band except that it is a moniker for Irishman Ken Sweeney who bizarrely had a small part in father ted. In fact i think one of the father ted writers helped get Brian's first ep released. "Bring Trouble" is the only full length cd released which was in 1999. The cd is full of bright and breezy tunes (the vocal does remind me of Ian Broudie) mixed with just the right level of melancholy. I thikn the record label at the time were hoping that Brian would become a new Divine Comedy or something. I suspect that when this happened the band were dropped thus the lack of a follow up. If anyone has anymore info let me know. I really hope Brian get ressurected somewhere

"We Close" - Brian

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tears all over Town

I'll start by saying that I'm not one of these macho types who think sport is the only thing worth crying about. I'm a sucker for the hollywood trick of triumph over disaster played out as the strings swell. Many is the time I've left the cinema with the old "there is something in my eye" routine. my wife is used to seeing the dvd credits with me snuffling in the corner.

Music has the same impact - some tracks are obvious. Billy Bragg's " Tank Park Salute" about the death of his father was always going to be an obvious candidate - when it gets to "I offer up to you this tribute , I offer up this tank park salute" I'm gone.

However some come out of the blue - I guess it is a heady cocktail of nostalgia and memories and often the pure joy singalong nature of the track will mean my voice tightens and I'll go form bellowing out a song to quick silence. For example i can never finish "fishermen's blues" by the waterboys hardly the saddest of songs. The version here is the alternative track on the second disc of the recent reisssue

Monday, 24 August 2009


I grew up in the fens which is a chunk of land reclaimed from the sea in the east of England - literally the arsehole of the country. The land is depressingly flat giving a real sense of being in the middle of nowhere. The only good thing going for it was the odd dramatic . sunset , sunrise or rainbow. I guess cycling was pretty easy as well. Nothing much comes out of the fens (ex World Strogest man competitor, budgie fancier and shot put medal winner Geoff Capes is my hometown's most famous son!). With not much to do strange obsessions took hold mainly speedway with it heroes who had such great names such as Ivan Major. and line dancing ( i couldnt see the attraction of either) I grew up in holbeach (see photo) which included the Woolworths that time forgot but went to school in spalding which had 2 annual events. The first involved a parade of floats decorated with tulips (think Disney world parades but but with flowers instead of cartoon characters and done for 1/10000th of the cost) and the second involved the local skin heads pulling down the town centre xmas tree on new years eve.
Anyway such an area doesnt really seem to pronpt the songwriters muse (no 24hours to Sutton Bridge) ...... however I couldnt quite believe it when I came across this track by DR Robert the lead singer of the Blow monkeys!

The cd that this comes from can be found here

Miracle Mile Monday

Why oh why arent this band massive. Since the mid 90s they have produced songs of such great quality, they get great reviews in places like Q and are often featured in the sunday papers lps of the year and yet noone I meet has a clue who they are. They fall under that songwriting as a craft category - no rushed out 3 min thrashes here. They can verge a tad too close to AOR?MOR at times but the melodies and words worm their way into your brain and stay hooked in there

I'm going to try and taking inspiration from Vinyl Villian's dedication of fridays to Morrissey's singles. For the next few months I'm going to post a miracle mile track each monday. I'm starting with one of their earliest and best - from the first cd Bicycle Thieves (released in 1997) comes "Walking John Wayne " which like all the best songs seems deceptively simple
"thought my finger pistol days were through but i thumb the hammer and I point at you"

You can get a copy of bicycle thieves here at the bands own website

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Bigger than the Beatles - part 1

Next in line for a regular theme are bands that should have been bigger than the beatles. I'm starting with Trashcan Sinatras. The ultimate jangly guitar band whose history is one of bad luck , tough breaks and fantastic songs with the kind of clever word play that gets you reaching for the lyric sheet. i first heasr then with the single "Obscurity Knocks" and when i heard "calendars crumble I'm knee deep in numbers" I was hooked. Their debut cd "Cake" was chock full of quotable lines. in great pop songs I wont go into a history here but if you like the track really suggets you go to which will give you all you need to know

The track I've chosen is from their latest lp "weightlifting". It has a "pretty" 60s feel to the tune and yet lyrically covers the aftermath of a child murder (at least I think thats what it is about). The combination of the lurics , harmonies and tune has real impact above and beyond any "take me to the moors" type thing. "Trouble Sleeping" by Trashcan Sinatras

They are about to release a new cd called "into the music" - HMV has it for 8.99 and a sept release

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Why I Love Country Music - part 1

I Dont like the country music of pure nashville and Bob harris on radio 2, or the songs that involve the death of a loved dog and especially nothing that comes anywhere close to getting people to dance in a line. However, I do like pop music that has a country flavour and an awful lot of songs about broken hearts - and so begins a bit of a series of "almost country music"
Why I love country music - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

Sunday, 2 August 2009

First post

So I've finally taken the plunge and set up a blog. My aim is just to write about bands and books to keep them alive! I've read alot of blogs over the last 12 months or so, lots inspiring me to have a go , but the biggest inspiration has been the vinyl villian http://http// Not only has Jim got such fantastic taste in music but he writes about it so beautifully. So as a first post ... this is a big thankyou to the vinyl villain.

One of the singers that features on the vinyl villian alot is paul quinn who has one of the best voices going - Breaking point by bourgie bourgie pops up quite a bit on various blogs and so I've gone for something from paul quinn and the independant group released on the revitalised postcard record and featuring a real whos who of jangly scottish guitar pop.

Stupid Thing - by Paul Quinn and the Independant Group