Earworms 11 November 2019

Well here I am on my dinner break today, enjoying and collating your songs about work; it’s not a hard task at all.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be telephones.

Many thanks to all contributors.

Maddy Prior & June Tabor – Doffin’ Mistress – AliM: This cheeky song seems to have originated in the Belfast textile mills and has been covered by Anne Briggs, Martin Carthy and many others. Apparently the Doffing Mistress oversaw the factory girls in the spinning sheds as they changed (doffed) the bobbins, ready to be sent to the weavers.

Mary Coughlan – Nice Work if You Can Get It – severin: From her “Mary Coughlan Sings Billie Holiday” album. I think I actually prefer this version to Billie’s or Ella’s. Mentions some actual jobs in passing.

Broken Family Band – Wherever You Go – shoegazer: “Wherever you go, there you are, When you come back, you are what you do …”

Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar – AliM: “I had a job but the boss man let me go / He said / I’m sorry but I won’t be needing your help no more / I said / Please mister boss man I need this job more than you know / But he gave me my last paycheck and he sent me on out the door…”

Buck 65 – Craftmanship – tincanman: A job well done, a thing well made, an earworm well…um, sent. Buck (Nova Scotian Richard Terfry) details the correct deportment for a professional shoe shine boy.

Toots Hibbert – Maggie’s Farm – Ravi Raman: As much a shoehorn as my other worm this week. But there’s a farm boss in this. Standout track of the Reggae tribute album to Dylan- Is It Rolling Bob?

Lana del Rey – Bartender – glassarfemptee: From her sweary album, Lana del Rey can’t keep her hands off her bartender. I like the bits where she stutters.

UFO – Doctor, Doctor – Ravi Raman: A bit of classic rock/ prog rock or whatever else the term is. From their Phenomenon album (reissue). All the Doctor themed songs I have are non medical in nature btw.

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Pieces Of A Man – tincanman: People, particularly men, derive much of their identity and self-worth from their vocation. Take away a man’s job, and he falls apart.

Bob Dylan – House Carpenter – severin: The choice between a reliable House Carpenter (and your baby) and some chap who has returned from the sea and wants you to run off with him. What to do? From the official bootleg “Another Self Portrait”. Usual cavalier disregard for the remit …

Steven Wilson – The Watchmaker – Alfiehisself: A story. Fancy having to think of jobs at the weekend … my fault for not getting on with it … Considered Genesis Get ‘em out by Friday but couldn’t decide what their profession was.

Lou Reed – Don’t Talk To Me About Work – Maggie B: I missed the deadline last week, so I’ve got two now, with amusing videos. The first shows that even Lou Reed wasn’t immune from silly videos in the ’80’s …

Lee Dorsey – Working In The Coal Mine – Maggie B: And second is Lee Dorsey; Does anyone recognize the young man who walks into the record shop?

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Comments on ‘On snobbery and missing the point’

I don’t know if not allowing comments on your piece was deliberate, Sarah, but I suspect other perspectives are available……

Mine being that music journalists have always been a bit crap – especially since Burchill and Parsons made it all about their egos – and Caroline Sullivan, Laura Barton and the other female Graun reviewers have all produced both good and bad pieces about both male and female acts.

But I also have a big problem with this aspect of feminism that says calling women bitches, being clinically obese, exposing your arse and touching other people’s arses on stage is positive…….

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On snobbery and missing the point

After a mega absence, here’s a story for you.

I went to see Lizzo last night at Brixton Academy with 3 of my girlfriends.  If you saw her Glastonbury set you’ll know her shows are playfully raucous affairs delivering her rap/pop crossover tunes about body positivity and taking no shit from unreliable partners with infectious energy.  Last night was no different.  The place was absolutely bouncing and the atmosphere at one of London’s classic live music venues was light-hearted, friendly and joyous. I was lucky to see Janelle Monae earlier in the year too and both shows managed to achieve that holy grail; making me feel like I was part of something special, the artist performing for me alone.

I saw a review of the show on The Guardian around mid morning today.  Here’s the review:


And here’s my reaction to it on Twitter:

I stopped short of wondering why they’d sent a man to review it or to suggest that his aloof tone was probably down to the fact he just didn’t get it, because he’s a man. I stopped short because frankly I couldn’t be arsed with the ‘bloody feminists’ answers I might have got as a result of expressing my views (call me spineless). Irrespective of the reviewer’s gender, there is a definite elitist dismissiveness about the review. I feel aggrieved that the writer seems to have completely missed the point (I get he will have had a word count and his filed piece will have been subbed – hey, some on here have fallen foul of The G’s subs, let’s face it).

Anyway, Fuel knew I was going to this gig. We’d chatted about some shit & I mentioned it in passing. He was envious. Before I had a chance to tell him all about it, he messaged to say:

‘Just read a grudging review of the Lizzo gig. If you take away the reviewer’s snobbishness, it sounds like a lot of fun. 🙂….Hen party energy and juice things. I can see the sneer.’

Hallelujah! I wasn’t imagining it! I tentatively mentioned my ‘man’ theory and, blimey, it invited a feminist tirade I would have been proud of if I’d delivered it myself – he’s better at articulating these things than me.

And before I share his 16 point take down, let me be clear about a couple of things:

  • If this review had been written by a woman I’d have been just as irritated, probably more so, because I would have wondered how a woman could be so understated bitchy about the baddest bitch.
  • I understand the issues raised about sound quality. There have been times when I’ve been to this venue and thought either the design of the space, a sound engineer having a bad day, my ears, or the spot I was standing, was contributing to the crap sound quality. I don’t know what the problem is, but it is patchy. Sometimes poor (Garbage last year), sometimes awesome (Young Fathers, also last year). A well rehearsed band can, however, produce an amazing musical experience there.
  • And the issue about a live backing band; I know it is getting more commonplace to see a live backing band, but generally speaking how many rap, hip hop or rap/pop cross over artists do you know who perform live with a band? Most only have a DJ. Sometimes not even that (Kanye, JayZ & Stormzy all recent Glastonbury headliners performing sans musicians).

So here’s Fuel’s feminist rant and guidelines for reviewers (reprinted with his permission). I appreciated him getting all indignant on my behalf!

You would have been right about the reviewer. I guessed him to be a 14-yr-old boy upset that women have fun and aren’t serious...

So here’s How to belittle a female artist:

1. Reference it as a trendy and frivolous, once in a life-time event using current catchphrases and clichés of raucous women being a bit silly. Do not reference it a joyous, communal carnival. Describe it as: “love-bombing, hair-flipping hen party energy”.

2. Reference online support, a cheeky catchphrase and that she was classically trained but is now rap-pop. This will indicate she is mass market, gimmicky and selling herself short.

3. Structure your positive statements by referring to the age of the fans. Mention social values and youth in the same sentence in order to indicate a lack of maturity – as if young people’s values aren’t worthy. Add a sneery “ear candy” while not remembering that serious acts force you to sit through interminable shite while waiting for the one with a tune. “Lizzo’s outspoken politics, body-positive message and irreverent persona chimes with many young music fans’ desire for stars who reflect their own social values as well as churning out ear candy” will do nicely.

4. Say it “feels like” something, say “a blithely uncool hen party”. Do not ever wonder what a cool hen party would be like. Do not mention the male equivalent or a gender-neutral term like wedding party as serious people enjoy a good sneer at women having fun.

5. Do spend paragraphs talking about pink cocktails and thongs emblazoned with the words JUICE. Do not ever consider that pints necked from cans outside venues before going to see a sports team or guitar band, while dressed in team or band colours or fancy dress are in any way comparable on any level at all. This is because one is a joke but the other is a sign of commitment to a lifestyle.

6. Do say a couple of songs are brilliant but make clear there is no band just a DJ. Reference the stage but don’t put it into any art context. I mean, she’s not building a wall, is she? Mention twerking – this will always double your sneer points – men don’t twerk, they move like Jagger or Prince. Describe the screaming as deafening. This will imply she needs to turn the volume up to 11 and that it was girly but not in the way The Beatles and Stones were because they were breaking down barriers, man.

7. Call the show “efficient”. This will indicate skilled, practised stagecraft rather than inspirational bonding, which only happens when the lead singer fellates the lead guitarist’s guitar in a blow against male gender stereotypes (or something).

8. Call her album “patchy”. This will indicate that much of it is crap instead of tracks serious musicians like Radiohead or worthy lo-fi artists put out, which are “growers” and “bear repeated listening and reveal depth upon the 100th listening with a pair of really good headphones and a top-of-the-range vinyl hi-fi deck”.

9. Discuss X-Factor type pop culture, dancers and nudity – cos that’s titillating and playing to the LCD mass. Dancers are only justified in the Happy Mondays coz Bez would also roll spliffs on the bongos. Maybe Madonna and Grace Jones too because they’ve been around for ages, thus aren’t threatening to latest musos and were very important in pop culture due to male hindsight finally shifting its focus from those important things Bono did and said like climbing speaker stacks and singing: “How long to sing this song”. Anyway, dancing is a female thing, obviously distracting from the music and therefore cheap.

10. Put the music in a sneer-worthy male context, such as “an empowerment anthem as happily naff as a Netflix romcom”. Of course, never think that a Scorsese movie that regurgitates his theme of male violence in which immoral men display a lack of empathy and behave in callous ways is not about real life. Scorsese is cinema and not Hollywood. Therefore, it cannot be naff. It can never be equated to a romcom or a chick-flick.

11. Treat stage banter and audience involvement with a superior attitude as you would anybody trying to connect with thousands of people at once. Triteness like “I am my inspiration” or “Let the love you have for yourself shine brighter than any scrub”. They cannot compare to a rock god saying. “Who wants to rawwwwwwk? London, I can’t hear you! Who…”

12. Find fault with her as in: “her live singing style has one red-lining volume level”. Obviously, if it was a man it would be “an impassioned, heartrending display of power”. Do not temper it with reference to the venue’s awful acoustics or a crap sound mix, y’know like the one that made you think that dodgy indie band was the second coming of Sonic Youth.

13. Mention that she opened up her emotions and showed more depth and that this is a direction you would like to see more of. It will make you seem conciliatory and fair but with the subtext that she had been shallow before. It will not make it seem that you haven’t understood the lyrics that show she has got to where she is by actually going through some major heartbreak. And if anyone notices, well that’s just their opinion.

14. End your review with an enigmatic sentence word salad that could be read in various ways from positive to negative. This is considered having your female and eating it: “But when Lizzo re-emerges for a triumphant one-two punch of Truth Hurts and Juice, wearing spangly bell-bottoms that read “100% That Bitch,” she leaves little room for doubt.”

15. Do not talk about the music except to put it into genres

16. Do not say whether the crowd enjoyed it. Remember, you are mostly writing for men who won’t go to gigs and concerts by pop stars unless they are at Glasto and it’s ironic or a one-off.

Utterly priceless. He did admit to rereading ‘Misogynies’ by Joan Smith which may have inspired him, despite it being 30 years old it’s still true.

Earworms 4 November 2019

Thanks to ghe for this poem, Procrastination, by Barbara Daniels, a perfect introduction to your songs about indecision, doubt and putting things off: “The old shed, in the corner, shadowed now / by sycamores and beech leaves, dark and cool / waits for the sun to climb above that bough, / beam in through cobwebbed windows, warm the tools’ / smoothed handles, ready for my hands. I wait / a little longer for the heavy heat, / leave spades alone until it is too late, / let spiders silk them over. Sacks of peat / spill open, compost dries; the smell of sheds / at noon is like a manacle. I’m trapped /  by broken rakes, empty seed trays. My head / buzzes with sleep-thoughts … musty … must … perhaps … / I dream of camomile: no need to mow / my cruel lawn today – or tomorrow.”

If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be songs about jobs, or occupations. My Old Man’s a Dustman, and that sort of thing. Many thanks to all contributors.

Fatboy – What Would Elvis Do? – AliM: Actually Ravi sent this as a ‘spare’ but it’s too good to leave it out.

Shoutin’ Red – Hesitation Blues – Ravi Raman: Shoutin’ Red aka Felicia Nielsen is out of Sweden and this is from her debut album in 2015. Great covers of Blues standards.

Courtney Barnett – Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party – tincanman: She wants to go out but she wants to stay home. Most earwormy chorus about indecision I know. Nice crunchy guitar, too.

Jimi Hendrix – Wait Until Tomorrow – glassarfemptee: Jimi is frustrated at the endless procrastination of Dolly Mae putting off the promised elopement. But better that, than being shot by her enraged Dad!

Allman Brothers – Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More – glassarfemptee: Are antonyms allowed? ‘Cos the Allman Brothers Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More.

Kim Churchill – Don’t Leave Your Life Too Long – severin: Sound advice. I expect I’ll get going in a minute …

Edgar ‘Jones’ Jones – Sitting On The Fence – Ravi Raman: Shouty, growly stuff that I don’t think will achieve his stated goal of providing Soothing Music for Stray Cats (name of the album)!

Kate Tempest – Hold Your Own – tincanman: Kate has earned so many accolades and keeps getting better. How does that work? Hold Your Own is one of the lessons from this year’s The Book Of Traps and Lessons. We’re such easy marks for salesmen, she says, because we’re not sure if we’ve done enough, if we have enough.

Tindersticks – The Not Knowing – shoegazer: “The not knowing is easy / And the suspecting, that’s ok / Just don’t tell me for certain / That our love has gone away…”

Steve Hillage – Don’t Dither Do It – AliM: The inimitable Steve Hillage, from his 1979 album, Open.

Bjork – Possibly Maybe – severin: From Bjork’s second album, Post. I still think I prefer her first two CDs to all the others, adventurous and exciting though they often are. At least, I’m fairly certain that’s true, but uncertainty excites me baby.

Grateful Dead – The Wheel – Chris 7572: Here’s a song literally about going round in circles, being stuck between a rock devil and a deep blue hard sea … There is a glimmer of hope in that, simply by going round, the wheel will cover ground but the final plea is the one I think we can all shout at those who are supposed to be running things competently: “Won’t you try just a little bit harder? / Couldn’t you try just a little bit more?”

Eric Johnson – Hesitant – Ravi Raman: The best track of his Grammy nominated album Bloom. And for once I have no problem figuring out why this is the title for an instrumental.

Led Zeppelin – No Quarter – Alfiehisself: Close the door, put out the light, no, they won’t be home tonight. They’ve been delayed and there’s doubt they’ll ever show up …

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Earworms 28 October 2019

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties, And things that go bump in the night, (and Brexit), Good Lord, deliver us!  Welcome to your songs with a tinge of Halloween to start off the spooky proceedings this week, and to take your mind off the news.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be indecision, doubt, cunctation (please read carefully) etc. Which seems apt. Many thanks to all contributors.

Of Montreal – Ira’s Brief Life as a Spider – tincanman: What’s Halloween without a scary story? I know, I know – tough to top the daily Brexit horrors from creepy, crawly, creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly Boris, but this has legs; it’ll keep.

The Decemberists – Your Ghost – severin: Creepy lyric and a rather jolly tune as a kind of counterpoint. From last year’s “I’ll Be Your Girl” album which is the only CD I own by them. Some of you will probably guess the reason for my sudden interest.

Ten Benson – The Claw – Shoegazer: Rock band from London. Comedy swamp rock. Or something.

Matthew Mayfield – Ghost – glassarfemptee: Talking of bones, here’s Matthew Mayfield conjuring the ghost of a failed relationship (I think), as he opines “Wishing I could just begin / To try and let the ghost back in / To show we’re more than bones and skin”.

Gaslight Anthem – Halloween – tincanman: Brian Fallon likes a little sip of something to take off the edge before going to a Halloween party. As you do. My favourite thing about Gaslight Anthem is all the wonderful little bon groupe de mots in his songs. (Hope that made sense: I always have a little sip before writing these).

Jimbo Mathus – Haunted John – Ravi Raman: From the frontman of another favourite, Squirrel Nut Zippers. An album with a mixture of genres – this one is called proto-garage rock. Who am I to argue?

St Paul and the Broken Bones – Champagne Halloween – glassarfemptee: St Paul and the Broken Bones sound sounds ghoulish enough, and here they are out on the lam for Halloween, with Paul Janeway’s pipes in full working order.

Kanye West & Kid Cudi – Kids See Ghosts – Son of AliM: From Kanye’s eponymous 2018 album which centres on mental health. Kid Cudi is a prominent American singer, rapper, record producer and actor. Yasiin Bey is better known by his stage name, Mos Def.

Lana Del Rey – Season of the Witch – Shoegazer: From the soundtrack of the 2019 film: “Scary Stories to tell in the Dark”.

Rabbitfoot Capers – Monster – AliM: From their 2016 album Bell Hooks and Bottle Caps. Don’t ask me what it’s all about.

Matt Stevens – Ghost – AliM: From his eponymous 2010 album. A very peaceful ghost.

XTC – The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead – Alfiehisself: Nothing to do with Halloween but couldn’t resist this rocking blast of Peter Pumpkinhead.

Tony Joe White – Even Trolls Love Rock ‘n Roll – Ravi Raman: Long time favourite making an undeniable statement. Just picked up his 2016 album Rain Crow – very impressive (though this song isn’t from that album).

Peter Green Splinter Group – Burglar – Ravi Raman: Song more about stalking type of creepy rather than ghoulish I suppose. But hey it’s Peter Green!

Martin Green – Maklin’s Bridal March / Griesly Bride – Severin: The third song I’ve sent in from the Martin Green “Crows’ Bones” album. Vocal by Becky Unthank as before and suitably eerie. Not used very much as a wedding song, I should imagine.

Dylan Howe – All Saints – Alfiehisself: Had one of his very recently, but it’s called All Saints and I can’t think when else I’ll get to plug it other than “All Saints Eve” … I’m likely very wrong but I’d call it bebop.

Berlioz – Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath – Maggie B: Berlioz wrote his Symphonie Fantastique as a story of a young man made desperate by unrequited love, in this last part the young man finally takes an overdose but only ends up having a bad trip (Phillip K. Dick used the same idea in A Scanner Darkly). Berlioz himself was probably on opium at the time. So “Round and Round the cauldron go”, and Happy Halloween…

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Stop Getting Music Trivia Wrong!



You might have noticed I have a pedantic streak. This has been the case since I was at least 5 years old when I would correct teachers who suggested that whales might be fish or somesuch. Wynagte jnr is doing similar sterling work at school. No surprise that as an adult I’ve got a highly tuned awareness for incorrect music trivia.

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