Monday, 13 February 2012

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

A nice little Northern Soul tune following a conversation I had the other day. Great video from a '60s TV show. Just got to love Northern Soul for its ability to make you want to move and dance!

Monday, 6 February 2012


House On Fire No.6 by House On Fire on Mixcloud

You can listen from this page or follow the link to and listen from there. I hope you enjoy it...


1. Midlake - Roscoe (The Beyond The Wizard Sleeve Re-animation)
2. Clams Casino - Drowning
3. Darkstar - Gold
4. Balam Acab - Regret Making Mistakes
5. Balam Acab - Apart
6. Grimes - Heartbeats
7. oOoOO - Hearts
8. How To Dress Well - Date Of Birth
9. Holy Other - With U

Monday, 23 January 2012

Song of the Day No.63

I Will Dare

by The Replacements (Let It Be, 1984)

The band emerged out of Minneapolis in the early 1980s in the local hardcore scene locked in competition with another local band, Hüsker Dü, even tipping their hat to them (in a good way or bad way is yet to be established) by writing the song 'Something To Dü' for The Replacements debut effort Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash (1981). By the time the band got to writing Let It Be they had become a little tired of playing hardcore punk and wanted to try to incorporate more influences and styles into their songwriting. It proved to be an inspired move with Let It Be now regarded as a classic album.

'I Will Dare' is the album's opener and immediately sheds any dead hardcore punk skin from the band's image. With its bouncy rhythm section and pandemically infectious lyrics the song seems to be a paean to first dates and young love, “Call me on Thursday if you will, Or Call me on Wednesday better still”. R.E.M's Peter Buck appears on this song after nearly producing the album but nobody can decide if he played the guitar solo or the mandolin on it. What is without any doubt is the speed at which you will fall in love with this song.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Song of the Day No.62

Earn Your Blood

by Ilyas Ahmed (Goner, 2009)

Ilyas Ahmed is a pretty difficult person to track down. This artist/musician has been lurking in what would typically be described as the underground for over six years now releasing CD-Rs and LPs between four labels. Goner was released on Root Strata but in 2010 Ahmed started collaborating with Immune Recordings and has a new album out on the 24th January 2012 in cassette format, limited to 150, and vinyl, again limited but this time to 1000.

Goner resembles a progression in Ahmed's style as previous works have been almost exclusively acoustic. 'Earn Your Blood' rudely disrupts any expectations you had with crunching reverby electric guitar in control from the get-go. Ahmed's trademark drone/folk fusion continues with the distorted vocals which familiarise themselves with noises rather than words. The rhythmic guitar and shaking percussion cut through the thick vocal soup and provide the song with direction and distinction that could have easily been lost. Fortunately they haven't and 'Earn Your Blood' is a great statement of intent kind of album opener.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

Sam Chatmon doing three songs. Born in the 19th century, like many blues artists he didn't start getting the credit such an amazing artist deserves until the 1960s and 1970s when he started touring and recording, by then he was well into his 60s. Incredible.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


You can listen from this page or follow the link to and listen from there. I hope you enjoy it...


1. London Is The Place For Me - Lord Kitchener - 2:46
2. No Carnaval In Britain - Mighty Terror - 3:07
3. Run Me Over - The Babies - 2:42
4. Tool - Heavenly - 3:11
5. Stamper - Fridge - 4:56
6. Photosynth - Jonnie Common - 4:51
7. Have You Seen My Baby - Randy Newman - 2:35
8. Long Haired Lady - Paul & Linda McCartney - 6:05
9. The Six Teens - Sweet - 4:11
10. The Grey Ship - EMA - 7:15

Friday, 9 December 2011

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

An episode of Jazz Scene USA featuring maestro Hammond organ jazz musician Jimmy Smith. Smith spent almost his entire career between two of the great jazz labels, Blue Note and Verve, whilst recording with many other musicians include Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Song of the Day No.61

Used To Be

by Rory Gallagher (Deuce, 1971)

Originally, the blues was a predominantly black-American past-time, officially emerging in 1912 with the publication of the first blues sheet music but like other genres, traces of early activity have been reported up to ten years before. Recordings continued through the 20s, 30s with the evolution to electrified blues in the 50s but it wasn't really until the post-war baby boom kids starting taking an interest in the late 50s/early 60s that these journeymen musicians started receiving wider attention and commercial benefits. A good example being that upon arriving in the US, The Beatles stated that they really wanted to see Muddy Waters, to which one journalist replied with the question “Where's that?”.

Rory Gallagher was part of this British influence on world blues appreciation forming Taste in 1966 and releasing two blues-rock studios albums before embarking a successful blues-drenched solo career that would start with the self-titled debut and follow-up, Deuce, being released in the same year. Also in 1971, Rory Gallagher beat Eric Clapton to being voted the International Top Musician of the Year by Melody Maker magazine. All through his life, and after his death in 1995, Gallagher received plaudits from luminaries as illustrious Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Marr, Slash and Brian May but never really achieved the stardom he deserved.

'Used To Be' is pure blues-rock. From the opening guitar riff that rips a big dirty hole in the silence between tracks to Gallagher's earthy growl and the song's lovelorn subject matter. The blues and love troubles go hand in hand and 'Used To Be' revolves around a scowling one-line riposte for a chorus “Better get used to bein' my used to be” that dovetails into a typically catchy, meaty Gallagher riff. If you like the blues but haven't listened to Rory yet, you're missing out.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Song of the Day No.60

This Is The Day

by The The (Soul Mining, 1983)

Soul Mining is the group's official debut following 1981's Burning Blue Soul that was originally released under, only permanent member, Matt Johnson's name. The band had also recorded a full album before Soul Mining but it never reached the public domain. After these apparent false starts the group really hit the ground running, Matt Johnson's distinct vocal style and creative song-writing skills combine with some classic 80's synth and percussion to get the critics, if not so much the public, on-side. The revolving door of musicians and collaborators to have worked with Johnson over the years include; Holly Johnson, Jools Holland, David Johansen, Johnny Marr, Neneh Cherry, Sinaed O'Connor and more.

'This Is The Day' may be familiar through the Manic Street Preacher's cover released in September of this year. As with many original/cover relationships, the original is infinitely better. Darker, more brooding and more sincere, the many textures of the song stand to be heard without shouting over each other. The handclap rhythms, the deep twanging bass, synths, strings and guitars all keep it simple in their own little way but are combined to devastating effect with each element rolling in and out of play creating a velvety multi-layered whirlpool of sound.


Monday, 7 November 2011


House On Fire No.4 by House On Fire on Mixcloud

You can listen from this page or follow the link to and listen from there. I hope you enjoy it...


  1. Mini-Skirt And Go Go Boots - Lloyd & Glen - 2:35
  2. Talk To Your Daughter - J.B. Lenoir - 2:45
  3. Don't Cry No More - Bobby Bland - 2:29
  4. I Want To Hold Your Hand - Al Green - 2:16
  5. Radar Eyes - The Godz - 2:11
  6. Lovefingers - Silver Apples - 4:12
  7. Baron Saturday - The Pretty Things - 4:02
  8. Ubu Dance Party - Pere Ubu - 4:50
  9. Final Request - Josef K - 2:23
  10. She's Like Heroin To Me - The Gun Club - 2:36
  11. Zanzíbar - Toundra - 4:55
  12. Cold Hard Times - Lee Hazlewood - 2:23

Monday, 31 October 2011

Song of the Day No.59

Brand New Life

by Young Marble Giants (Colossal Youth, 1980)

Being one of Kurt Cobain's favourite bands should get a group some kind of public recognition, but it wasn't until the Domino re-issue of the Welsh three-piece's only album in 2007 was there enough momentum to play live again after almost 20 years. In 2004 BBC Radio Wales produced a documentary on the band while the likes of Adam Green, Belle & Sebastian and Galaxie 500 have covered them. Moxham, Moxham and Statton joined forces in 1978 and went their separate way just two years later citing creative differences and personal tensions, but in that short time they created a body of work as influential and distinct as any.

Listen to YMG and the steady tick-tocking of a pre-recorded electronic beat on 'Brand New Life' is as close to drums as you'll get. Cold, clinical guitars drive the song forward, sometimes with a sharp, jagged edge and at other times as a blunt, percussive motor. Alison Statton's charmingly flat vocals distantly follow the rhythm with nonchalance backed by the brothers' every now and then. The overriding sound is empty, but good-empty. Less is more. An adage adhered to by Young Marble Giants to startling effect.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

This guy is powerful. He got voted Best Live Act by Mojo this year. Here he's singing for the guys at La Blogothèque accompanied by just a piano. On the record (Queen Of Denmark, 2010) he continues his tradition for creative, witty lyrics and baroque orchestration from his days in The Czars. Enjoy.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


House On Fire No.3 by House On Fire on Mixcloud

You can listen from this page or follow the link to and listen from there. I hope you enjoy it...


  1. Everything Goes To Hell - Tom Waits - 3:46
  2. I Break Horses - Smog - 6:14
  3. Jailhouse Rock - Jeff Beck - 3:17
  4. Any Day Now - Elvis Presley - 3:00
  5. Heartbreak Hotel - John Cale - 3:00
  6. Crazy for You - Slowdive - 3:00
  7. (I'm) Stranded - The Saints - 3:00
  8. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) - The Stranglers - 3:00
  9. Shootin' For The Moon - Carl & Norman - 3:00
  10. Man From Mars - Butch Paulson - 2:17

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Song of the Day No.58

Master of the Universe

by Hawkwind (In Search Of Space, 1971)

Cream, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, writers and film-makers all have associations with Ladbroke Grove, so too do Hawkwind. Centred around clichéd hippie values such as squatting, free gigs getting stoned and taking acid the band moved on from their proto-Hawkind psychedelic sounds when synthesisers became involved. The electric whirls and live improv sessions helped define the space-rock genre while feeding into/from the worlds of krautrock and prog rock at the same time. Dave Brock is the mainstay of the band seeing out many line-up changes and hosting, amongst other musicians, a pre-Motörhead Lemmy, Ginger Baker and Arthur Brown.

Written by Dave Brock and saxophonist/flautist Nik Turner 'Master of the Universe' became an almost permanent fixture in live performances. The vocals drone out lyrics of omnipotence over crunching, driving guitars, pounding drums and cosmic gleeps, gloops and whirps, all the while swirling distortion feeds in and out orbiting the aural expanse. The charging pulse hits reset a couple of times but only in order to build up an entirely new head of steam before evaporating into the ether.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011


All Along The Watchtower.

Besides Jimi Hendrix who else has covered this Bob Dylan classic... the answer is: a whole bunch of people.

Below we have sifted and shifted through to pick four different tracks that deserve some mention or distinction. After sampling each song and carefully analysing it's merits you need to go to the sidebar to vote for whichever incarnation you believe to be best...

Here's what to do:
1) click 'Read More'
2) listen to the tracks
3) vote for your bestest

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Song of the Day No.57

Good Times

by Jim O'Rourke (Insignificance, 2001)

Hailing from Chicago and the experimental post-rock jazz scene that Tortoise, amongst other acts, sprang from, Jim O'Rourke has been a busy boy. Aside from his extensive recording discography and film score credits O'Rourke has been busy the other side of the glass too. The list of acts he has produced or mixed for is a as long as a long arm can get; from Sonic Youth, Smog and Faust to Joanna Newsom, Wilco and Judee Sill, this boy has done it all. It is evident that between all this, writing his solo material and finding time to play with Sonic Youth, Gastr del Sol and others O'Rourke's influence stretches far and wide. Indeed, even his musical style is all-encompassing having at one time or another written material that could fall into the jazz, rock, indie-pop, noise, avant-garde and electronica pigeonholes.

Insignificance is a poppy indie-rock offering with a few moments of experimentalism seeping through. With a generally upbeat feel to the songs you would expect 'Good Times' to continue in such a vane, but it doesn't. Instead we hear lightly plucked guitar, mournful slide, subtle bass and delicate vocals. The song is pondering, though not ponderous, in outlook and gently fills the four minute duration with tender emotion.


Sunday, 9 October 2011


House On Fire No.2 by House On Fire on Mixcloud

I originally posted this in March 2010 but since my mini hiatus I haven't done a new one. I thought that it'd be a good idea to put them on and re-post a couple of the old ones, so here we are! You can listen from this page or follow the link to and listen from there. I hope you enjoy it...

Here's the tracklisting;

  1. Amsterdam – Scott Walker – 3:04
  2. Ne Me Quitte Pas – Jacques Brel – 3:53
  3. Mother – John Lennon – 5:35
  4. Sallyzimmerman – Lone Pigeon – 2:25
  5. Flocks I – Collections Of Colonies Of Bees – 7:08
  6. Beach Comber – Real Estate – 4:29
  7. Revolution, Pt.1 – Nina Simone – 2:51
  8. I'll Take Her – Eddie Floyd – 2:33
  9. Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast) – Bob Dylan & The Band – 3:40
  10. Bang – Blur – 3:38

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

In celebration of Bert Jansch who died today but has left so much to remember him by.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

This is the Dj that first played Elvis Presley on the radio (listen out for the mentions). Legend has it, he played the record, 'That's All Right', back to back 14 times that first night because he was so amazed by the exciting fresh sound.

Dewey Phillips was a legend in his own right by having an individual style defying the stations and by being one of very few/first radio Djs around to play R&B, country, blues, jazz and anything in between.

After a bit of Dewey's machine gun style delivery he plays Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing 'Strange Things Happen'. Phenomenal.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Song of the Day No.56

Get Down

by War (All Day Music, 1971)

The second album after Eric Burden departed mid-way through a European tour sees the band reaching the cusp of success that their next album will bring. Even so, All Day Music brought the group more success than they had achieved under the name Eric Burden and War producing their first Top 40 hits. The absence of Burden's improvised lyrics meant the band moved over to a more funk orientated sound than ever before, the band, however, still had a tight grasp on their own improv/jam-band style that can be seen in the three six minute-plus track timings.

'Get Down' on the other hand employs a more traditional song structure and runs in at under four minutes. Not overly angsty or mean in its design, the music forms a light-hearted and crisp funk base for the biting politically orientated lyrics to get the juices flowing. “Early in the morning, before you eat your breakfast, you got to get down” provides the choral hook that does, well, make you want to get down. As the umpteen members of War all urge various institutional figures to get down over the bubbling funk groove, the togetherness it brings makes this song feel like a protest song that has fallen off the protest song map.


Sunday, 25 September 2011


All Along The Watchtower.

Besides Jimi Hendrix who else has covered this Bob Dylan classic... the answer is: a whole bunch of people.

Below we have sifted and shifted through to pick four different tracks that deserve some mention or distinction. After sampling each song and carefully analysing it's merits you need to go to the sidebar to vote for whichever incarnation you believe to be best...

Here's what to do:
1) click 'Read More'
2) listen to the tracks
3) vote for your bestest

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Song of the Day No.55

Bad Company

by Bad Company (Bad Company, 1974)

Formed in 1973 Bad Company adopted the mantle of supergroup after members of Free, King Crimson and Mott The Hoople started writing together. Based around the songwriting of Paul Rodgers and Mick Ralphs the band went into the now legendary Led Zeppelin recording venue Headley Grange to record their self-titled debut. The album reached the top of the US Billboard charts and broke the top three in the UK, it now helps define mid'70s rock.

Steady piano chords and atmospheric cymbal rolls work together with Paul Rodgers' smooth echoed tones. They create a mournful ambient that repeatedly sets the listener up for the crashingly defiant crunch of guitars, thump of drums and silky wail of the song kicking into gear, “Bad company, 'til the day I die”. The reflective atmosphere returns and the visceral process repeats catching you up in the hard-rock whirl of Ralphs' guitar solo until the fade.


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Song of the Day No.54


by Shady (World, 1994)

After two albums with Mercury Rev, vocalist David Baker left the group at some point after the release of the band's sophomore LP Boces in 1993 and has produced just one record since then. World goes into a darker, more sonically challenging dimension than subsequent Rev albums and if Deserter's Songs (1998) is chosen for the comparison then the rumours of Baker's drug abuse can be discarded in favour of citing musical differences.

The contrast with Mercury Rev's post-Baker releases varies track by track with 'Prosperous' being of a more melodic vane. It opens with gentle picking that provides continued texture, a half wailing guitar riffs above punchy drum beats. Baker's lazy rough-edged vocals appear to act on inertia alone through the verses and provide the undulating melody that washes the chorus over you and back to shore again. The tidal rhythm ebbs and flows to the end with sensatory waves of sound crashing and adding layers until, almost without wanting to, it squeals to a halt.


Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Keep Your Ears and Eyes Open

One hit wonders The Maisonettes from 1982. Great song, good enough in fact to be sampled by Roll Deep for their single 'The Avenue', when I say sampled I really mean played normally and then rapped/made funny noises over. Some people have no shame.

Song of the Day No.53

Oh No, I Tried

by Right Away, Great Captain (The Eventually Home, 2008)

Under this guise Andy Hull is free to submerge himself in the life of a 17th century sailor through song. His trilogy of albums away from indie rock band Manchester Orchestra and folk rock group Bad Books have centred on a sailor returning home to find he has been betrayed by his wife, with his brother. Between the three groups Hull is proving to be quite a prolific songwriter, although to moderate critical and commercial success. Let's see if the third installment can make a better impression.

Much of this album is emotive and effecting with lonesome guitar and vocals providing most of the atmosphere to complement the subject matter. 'Oh No, I Tried' is different however, feeling quite ditty-esque from the start. A bouncy acoustic guitar provides steady head-bobbing guidance with the rhythm of the lyrics adding to the light-heartedness. Backing vocals join as the song starts to build before a piano provides a momentary jaunty distraction from the repeated chants of “Oh no, I tried, oh no I tried”.