Earworms 1 March 2021

St. David’s Day greetings! I hope you’re all paying attention at the back there, because today we have a selection of songs about schools and teaching. And if any of you out there have been home-schooling during lockdown, you have my admiration and sympathy.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme, again suggested by ghe (thank you), is dining out, one of the many things you may be looking forward to in the future. Worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 6 March.

The Housemartins – Always Something There to Remind Me – severin: A version of their final single. Class war beginning in the classroom. Not as bitter as The Smiths’ similar themed “Headmaster Ritual”. Mentions “drawing willies on soldiers”. Since you ask.

Sam Cooke – Wonderful World – Suzi: He admits to not knowing very much about the subjects that he’s been studying at school, but he’s fallen in love, so he’s going to make a bit more effort!

White Buffalo – The Witch – tincanman: She always put her students’ needs before her own, but children are cruel at the recess bell.

Crosby, Stills and Nash – Teach Your Children – glassarfemptee: After all the hard rock, blues and psychedelia, I found the first CSN album a bit of a surprise. This Graham Nash song was written when he was still with the Hollies. Not sure if all the home schooling parents wouldn’t rather have a teacher do the teaching…

The Tours – Language School – severin: Back in 1979 when this was released John Peel declared it his second favourite single, after Teenage Kicks. I don’t suppose that lasted as long as his love for the Undertones song but it is a great piece of power pop/new wave/whatever. Never been sure quite what’s going on in the lyric

The Saw Doctors – Presentation Boarder – Suzi: She’s a fourth year, dead feek girl who’s let out of her Irish convent school for two hours every Saturday. He’s hoping to make the most of this … and he’s especially looking forward to St Patrick’s Weekend break, when she says she can stay with friends.

Our Native Daughters – Better Git Yer Learnin’ – tincanman: Carolina Chocolate Drops alumni Rhiannon Giddens and Leyla McCalla and producer Dirk Powell used their prodigious talents and scholarship to amplify the struggles of black women in America on this 2019 project.

Dub Syndicate w/Andy Fairley – Lack Of Education – shoegazer: Late with my homework.

Alice Cooper – School’s Out – glassarfemptee: Many kids dream of school holidays, but perhaps some are missing it after all, despite the sentiments of this classic Alice Cooper track, which I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live.

Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall – Part II – Suzi: ‘Hey, Teachers, leave them kids alone..!’ Is education really just a means of brainwashing you into conformity? (Mostly. Ed.).

Abba – When I Kissed The Teacher – severin: When this song was included in the second Mama Mia film, the narrator/singer was changed from a girl at school to an Oxford graduate. Probably just as well.

Dexys Midnight Runners – All In All (This One Last Wild Waltz) – wyngatecarpenter: Kevin Rowland recalls becoming disillusioned with a teacher he had looked up to, and gets a bit intense about it. Like Van Morrison, but better 🙂

Jerry Lee Lewis – High School Confidential – MaggieB: A rock ‘n roll classic for more dancing round the kitchen 😀

John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson – Good Morning, Schoolgirl – AliM: Struggling to find something I haven’t posted before, so here is Sonny Boy Williamson with a blues classic covered and adapted by many, including the Yardbirds and The Grateful Dead.

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The Most Classic Song By Van Morrison

OK, so I’ve now confronted old Mister Grumpy himself, and his huge body of work. The real problem with thinking about what actually comprises a Van Morrison classic is trying to decide what kind of music really qualifies as being typical Van Music. I think that for most people his greatest achievement is Astral Weeks and I am not going to argue against that position. However, I have to ask the question “How typical is Astral Weeks of the rest of the Van Morrison songbook?” Yes, it is a towering achievement, but he never really went back and did another album that inhabits the same sound world, although he certainly did put of tracks on other later records that took things from the album. I cannot think of anything much that is as consistently visionary, mystical and at the same time earthy as Astral Weeks. It inhabits its own special world.

So, where do we go for classic Van? The 70s? The 80s? The 90s? Now? Well, I am going to be harsh here and dismiss pretty much everything that comes after 1989, which leave us with two distinct periods which have a degree of overlap, soundwise. Personally, I don’t much like what he was doing for most of the 80s, apart from the Irish Heartbeat album he did with The Chieftains. I reckon you could probably get one decent double album out of the other seven records he released in the 80s. Much of what he was doing seems to be too slick, too “dinner party mood music” or just too plain dull.

So, that leaves us with his 70s output, which falls into two distinct phases; up to and including 1974 and 1977 onward. I have no great liking for the latter stuff. As far as I am concerned, A Period Of Transition is an absolute stinker, Wavelength is forgettable and only Into The Music is anywhere near as good as what he was doing in the first half of the decade.

So, we have a small and more manageable group of albums from which to pick the classic Van-defining song. OK, so narrowing it down now. I have a personal liking for Moondance and Hardnose The Highway but they both have a great Side One and a lesser Side Two, and although there are some great tunes on them, none are truly classic Van.

For me, there is one album that almost reaches the undoubted peak of Astral Weeks and that is Saint Dominic’s Preview. Even the memory of the abomination which is the Dexy’s cover version of “Jackie Wilson Said” cannot mar the perfection of this album (I seriously hate everything about Dexy’s, but that is another story). It is close to perfection. There are three stand out tracks on this album which can all, in their own way, lay claim to be the classic Van Morrison song. The contenders are “Listen To The Lion”, “Almost Independence Day” and the title track.

You will find my idea of the Classic Van Morrison song here. (click on the link)

Earworms 22 February 2021

Morning all, or whatever time of day it is – never too late to party, which is the theme of this week’s Earworms, as suggested by glassarfemptee. Sorry this is late, but more people turned up than I expected and what with the flowing wine, the dancing girls and the recreational substances, I seem to be a bit worse for wear.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be school and teaching.

Many thanks to all contributors – stay safe.

The Pointer Sisters – Wang Dang Doodle – MaggieB: Sounds like quite a party! (See above).

The Cadillac Three – Get Your Buzz On – DsD: I just love the line “From Start Me Up to Tuesday’s Gone”; sums up my teenage party years perfectly.

Little Axe – All Night Party – DsD: This is the sound of the small hours when the party’s getting into a full-on alcoholic fug. Someone puts a blues CD in the player, and eyelids start getting heavy …

Shack – Natalie’s Party – DsD: Shane says me and him discussing this was the first time someone had really engaged with him on RR. I’m proud of that. Sending him all my best wishes; I’m seriously worried about him, as it seems to me he’s playing down the issues he told us about the other week. Hopefully he’ll come on here and tell me off for fretting.

Redlands Palomino Company – Music’s On – DsD: This is when you know a relationship’s over, right? When you’re third to arrive at a party for two.

Mogwai – George Square Thatcher Death Party – DsD: When the mad cow finally f***ed off, I was home alone; DsMam had taken the girls up to Granny’s for a couple of days. I had no work on. I heard the news over the radio in our local farm shop, and I kid you not, skipped round the aisles singing “Ding Dong, the witch is dead!” I treated myself to a bottle of Jack Daniels, and as I exited the car park, I sat there for a couple of minutes debating whether to turn left and go home, or turn right and head for Glasgow. Home + a downing large proportion of the JD won, and I found a CCTV livestream of the cameras covering George Square. There was indeed a party, but it looked disappointingly small and subdued. Ah well.

Apollo Four Forty – Stadium Parking Lot – DsD: What a riff. What an opening line. I wanna be at this party, alright!

Linda Rum – Old And Wise – DsD: I appreciate this one might be a stretch to fit what we usually think of under the definition of party, but as I grow longer in the tooth, less fit, and more world-weary, I’ll nominate this as a Post-Covid-Age party song. Cheers all!

The WIld Angels – Rock n’ Roll Party Gal – glassarfemptee: I still can’t quite believe Mitch has left the building. He lives on in the music of the Wild Angels.

Jenny Lewis – Party Clown – glassarfemptee: Jenny Lewis’ album ‘On the line’ was a highlight for me a couple of years back. Here she’s the party clown. Don’t ask me to explain the lyrics!

David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging – Alfiehisself:  What about some Bowie in a party mood – wouldn’t be at all surprised if that weren’t a William Burroughs reference, lots of boys messing about in them.

Santana – Samba Pa Ti – Alfiehisself: As for a party, what about a bit of Samba by Santana.

Bob Marley and the Wailers – Punky Reggae Party – shoegazer: No boring old farts will be there.

Jimmy and Johnny – I Can’t Find the Doorknob – tincanman: A lot of musical vectors intersected in Texarkana (where Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas meet) in the 1950s and got called rockabilly. Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Presley, Charlie Rich, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lee and all those guys were part of that scene. (Lonnie Effing Donegan was not).

Alejandro Escovedo – Shave the Cat – tincanman: Something something cat, something something party, something something cloud … If there’s anything to this song beyond an excuse to play crunchy guitars with Peter Buck I’ll shave my own cat.

Velvet Underground and Nico – All Tomorrow’s Parties – severin and Suzi: Sev: A view of the Warhol Factory’s party scene (and the people who had to be seen at every event) from someone who was there:”I watched Andy watching everybody” said Lou. “I heard people say the craziest, funniest and saddest things”. Suzi: A song inspired by a woman who frequented Andy Warhol’s Factory. Nico’s mesmerising voice and John Cale’s piano – modified by a string of paperclips wound between the strings – create a sound that’s hard to describe – ravishing, evocative, extraordinary.

Joni Mitchell – People’s Parties – severin: Snapshots from an LA party. Some are watching from the wings, some are standing at the centre. Court and Spark was the first Joni album I bought and I’m still playing and loving it forty seven years later.

Half Man Half Biscuit – San Antonio Foam Party – severin: The song has very little to do with the title or parties in general, I’m afraid. But it does mention sniffer dogs in fluorescent bibs which must count for something.

Leonard Cohen – The Guests – Suzi: A melancholy violin tune winds its way through this song. The house and garden where this party is held is perhaps a metaphor for the world, where people stumble around, loving and losing, passionate and confused.

Richard Thompson – Happy Days and Auld Lang Syne – Suzi: He chooses the New Year’s Eve party to tell her he’s leaving. ’She said to herself, I won’t cry, I won’t grieve / But I’ll laugh and I’ll flow with the wine.’ So she hides her feelings and tells herself that the singing and the company bring her comfort – for a while, at least.

Prince – 1999 – AliM: Sort of obvious but none the worse for that.

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The Most Classic Song By New Order

Now, this week is going to throw up a lot of discussion, I hope. I think that many of us have a favourite period of New Order and we all have favourite songs, too. However, I am thinking here of a single piece of music by the band that somehow encapsulates their career. Personally, I much prefer what they were doing in the 1980s to anything subsequently, for the amazing range of non-album singles they released as much as anything they recorded for their albums. Probably, for me the song of their I love most is “Thieves Like Us”, but is it their most classic song? Well, not really. My love for the song is so tied up with my own life that I cannot look at it in a critical way. Similarly, I love a lot of what they were doing immediately after the death of Ian Curtis, but in many ways, many of those songs are too influenced by the whole Joy Division experience.

Anyway, the song that I think it their most classic release is this one here (click on the link to find out what I have chosen).

Earworms 15 February 2021

Good day to you all, I hope the weather is thawing for you, as it is here. Earworms this week features your songs about stars of the entertainment industry – real or imagined.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be something we miss, and can’t have for a while (as suggested by ghe) – parties.

Many thanks to all contributors, and to chris7572 for stepping into the breach and keeping The ‘Spill up and running. Stay safe.

Judy Garland – Dear Mr. Gable – MaggieB: Judy Garland writes a fan letter to Clark Gable. The voice is rather too mature for the actual image, but Judy can be forgiven anything. (See video above).

Lal and Mike Waterson – Magical Man – Suzi: Come to the show and see his amazing conjuring tricks! In the final verses, however, Mike takes on the persona of the eponymous hero, and suggests that he has a magical way with the ladies, too…

Les Divaz – La Voix d’Aretha – DebbyM: This is a foot-tapper bound to lure you to the dance floor when we’re partying again. It was also very nearly France’s entry at a recent Eurovision Song Contest, where I think the added visual component of red-sequinned ball gowns would have guaranteed success.

Primus – Lee Van Cleef – shoegazer: No mention of Eli Wallach.

Half Man Half Biscuit – Eno Collaboration – severin: Number one in Britain and successful in the States. You hang around with Chrissie Hynde. It’s time for your…..

Johnny Cash – The Night Hank Williams Came To Town – Suzi: Johnny recalls his teenage years and the excitement of a gig by the country and western star in the local gym.

The Lottery Winners – Rockstar – DebbyM: Apparently the ”best live band’ in the British Isles’, they may be jumping on the tiktok shanty bandwagon here, but why not? We need a bit of fun in these locked down times.

Frank Turner – The Ballad of Me and My Friends – tincanman: That time you finally got offered a gig and had to text around like mad to make up a band.

Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water – Alfiehisself: Simplicity demands Smoke on the Water which has Frank Zappa but also Claude Nobbs (funky Claude ) who was big in Switzerland.

Tyrannosaurus Rex – Child Star – severin: I’m not sure if I’ve sent this one in before. If so, I’ve sent it in again.

The Fox & The Hounds and Mason’s Case – Fame – DebbyM: Looking for covers of the Bowie song, I stumbled on this collaboration between two Chicago-based bands, and I adore it. It’s played on tiny instruments, kazoo, ukulele etc., and a good time was hand by one and all.

Home – Fancy Lady, Hollywood Child – AliM: This was from their second album, released in 1972. Can’t believe it was nearly 50 years ago. My friend had the album – we used to sit and play records in her room, which had orange paint, a purple table, a pink geranium and a drawing of Shadowfax on the wall. Loved it.

Richard Thompson – From Galway to Graceland – Suzi: Devotion to Elvis Presley moves into delusion and beyond. Recorded at the Cropredy festival in 1996.

Alex Chilton – I Wish I Could Meet Elvis – tincanman: Playfully recorded on the sly between Big Star and Box Tops, Chilton’s 1970’s Sessions had the feel of a 20-yr-old wunderkind let off his leash for a weekend. Here he seems to channel Dillard & Clark.

David Bowie -Ziggy Stardust – Suzi and LongTallSilly: Bowie’s mythical alien musician and alter ego. His success inspires the jealousy of his band, The Spiders From Mars, and leads to his downfall. He sure did play guitar!

Suzanne Vega – Marlene on the Wall – Alfiehisself: From her debut album (1985).

The Dickies – I’m Stuck In A Condo (With Marlon Brando) – wyngatecarpenter: Dickies frontman Leonard recalls an awkward encounter with Marlon Brando after delivering him a pizza (possibly not a true story).

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The Most Classic Song by Carole King

This week, because the album Tapestry was released 50 years ago om February the 10th, I decided to celebrate the genius of Carole King.

What I am thinking of here is specifically songs that were not only written by Carole King but ones that she also recorded herself. I am also thinking “classic” in terms of songs that define her as both a writer and as a performer.

Tapestry is probably the album that most people think of when it comes to Carole King, because it is one of the key albums that epitomise the whole Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter genre of the early 1970s. I could easily pick any one of half a dozen tracks from this album, but the one I am going to choose is probably better known as a massive hit single for James Taylor, but I am picking it because it seems to me to to contain all of the humanity and empathy which shines through all of her greatest work.

It is, of course, “You’ve Got a Friend” .

Earworms 8 February 2021

Greetings all, I’m wheely sorry that I duplicated a recent theme from Songbar, I will be more diligent in future, although it’s a chance in a million that I would chose the same theme by coincidence. On the bright side, it gives you a chance to suggest the songs about wheels that rolled off down the hillside and into the swamp.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme, extrapolating from a suggestion by ghe, is stars of the entertainment industry, real or imagined. Interpret this how you will.

Worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 14 February. Many thanks to all contributors, and stay safe.

Bellowhead – Fakenham Fair – suzi: ‘So swing around the merry-go-round/ Give the wheel of fortune a whirl.’ Can he win the heart of the pretty carnival girl? Yes, he can, and fairground-style music helps to paint the picture.

Merton Parkas – You Need Wheels – severin:  “A man ain’t a man with a ticket in his hand.”  Apparently. South West London’s answer to The Coasters had one (minor) hit single and featured one future member of The Style Council.

William Prince – Eddy Boy – tincanman: This indigenous Canadian has recorded his first three albums over the last three years, and I am spellbounded. This is from his debut, Earthly Days. Eddy Boy is his father. And he uses the ‘someone take the wheel’ metaphor so it almost fits this week’s “wheels” topic.

Spear of Destiny – The Wheel – Shoegazer: Opener from 1st (& best) S.O.D. album.

I am Kloot – Ferris Wheels – glassarfemptee: Former Manc band I am Kloot did this touching love song on their 2007 album Play Moolah Rouge. Spoiler alert – it’s not really about Ferris wheels…

Deep Purple – Highway Star – Alfiehisself: Got his wheels, hitting the road with Coverdale & Blackmore in the line-up. Clear the cobwebs.

Al Green – Driving Wheel – severin: From the 1971 “Al Green Gets Next To You” album. Or from one of his greatest hits compilations in my case.

Mindy Smith – Train Song -Suzi: ‘I’ve been listening/ For those metal wheels/ To come scraping across/ That old rusty track’… but is her sweet man on that train? She knows in her heart that he isn’t, but she still clings to the hope that he might be.

Gretchen Peters – Woman On The Wheel  –  tincanman: When you let a blindfolded man throw knives at you, sometimes it’s better not to ask yourself how you feel. “You’re thinking one false move and it’s a real bad day at the amusement park,” is a heck of an earworm.

Kate and Anna McGarrigle – Heart Like a Wheel – glassarfemptee: I may have troubled Earworms with this song before, but this is one of my all time faves. When Kate and Anna McGarrigle toured their eponymous 1976 album in Europe, I was lucky to see them play Fairfield Halls and the gig has stuck more clearly in my memory than many. I was enchanted. I wheely hope you are too…

The Doors – Roadhouse Blues – AliM: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel. Good idea, when driving.

Megson – William Brown – Suzi: Socialist song, also known as ‘Keep that wheel a-turning.’ William’s boss tells him to work harder but then there are problems of over-production…

Jerry Garcia – The Wheel – Chris7572: Created on the fly by Garcia and Billy The Drummer during recording, with Robert Hunter writing the lyric on the spot, this was one of several tracks from his eponymous first solo album that became Grateful Dead stalwarts. And, as it was born during Garcia’s brief love affair with the pedal steel, it shimmers.

Eastfield – The Second Fastest Cycle Courier In London – wyngatecarpenter: As the band explained it – “A friend, in all honesty, thought he was”. Wheels aren’t specifically mentioned, but their use is heavily implied.

Joe Loss and his Orchestra – Wheels Cha Cha Cha – Maggie B: One I have always hated …

John Whitehead – The Spinning Wheel – MaggieB: And one I have always loved. 😉

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The most classic song by U2

Now, this is an odd choice for the second post in this series, because I am not really a fan of the band, but I do like one of two of their early albums. The album of theirs that I will admit to liking all the way through is The Unforgettable Fire, which was released in 1984, which seems a lifetime ago, and in real terms it was, because I wasn’t even 30 then. After that, there were bits and pieces I liked on The Joshua Tree and even a few tracks on Rattle and Hum, an album that most people seem to dislike a lot, but after that I just got bored with them.

I think that the main reason I like the album is because of the production, which was down to Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Lanois seems to have been the go-to guy for production duties for much of the 80s but not always on albums that I’d care to own. I actually got this one out this week to see if I still like it and, I have to say, yes, it stands up pretty well to my ears.

Anyway, What am I nominating as The Most Classic Song By U2? Well, it has to be this one.

Earworms 2 February 2021

Many thanks to tincanman for the impromptu Earworms, and thanks to shoegazer for suggestions about how to clean up my Mac – an ongoing and painful process, but at the moment it’s working again. Long may that continue (fingers and toes crossed)!

Thanks to all of you as well, for sending in songs that remind you of February, which is now upon us. If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be wheels (as they seem to be back on my wagon), and worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 7 February.

Many thanks to all contributors, and stay safe.

Foo Fighters – February Stars – Maggie B: (Above) – thought of this one because I will be taking part in CPRE’s Star Count later in the month. As we are in lockdown we are asked to go into our gardens and count how many stars we see in Orion. This track will accompany that activity quite well …

Jimi Hendrix – Lullaby For The Summer – Alfiehisself: Just a longing for some sunny days and going out with thin layers on.

Replacements – Valentine – tincanman: Replacements songs are always a bit of work, which is part of the appeal. This sounds too snarly and gritty to be a love song, but who doesn’t want to be told; If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will/And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong? Westerberg, man – gets it every time.

The Unthanks – Sad February – Suzi: Sad, because a shipping disaster has taken the lives of ten men from the local community.

The Imagined Village – Winter Singing – glassarfemptee: We need cheering up in the February gloom, so how about joining the Imagined Village in a bit of winter singing?

Flora Purim – Lock Love – Debby M: Haven’t listened to this in a long, long time, but I recall reading the Festive Spill was jazzy this year (still haven’t listened yet, hangs head in shame), so thought I’d dig deep. February connection? Love for Valentine’s Day, lock for February’s lockdwn, Purim for the Jewish festival of fancy dress and inebriation, which this year falls on February 26 … Hope you’re all doing as well as can be. We’re in Proper Lockdown again and aghast at lack of vaccination supplies. Roll on 2023 (no, that’s not a typo).

Boards of Canada – Aquarius – shoegazer: Jan 20 – Feb 18.

The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – AliM: Someone had to do it, so it may as well be me.

James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim – AliM: According to Wikipedia, historical names for February include the Old English term Solmonath (mud month). As anyone with a dog will know, this is very appropriate.

Julie London – February Brings The Rain – severin: From her celebrated Calendar Girl album with the iconic cover. The title is taken from a poem by Sara Coleridge called The Months. Which was parodied by Flanders and Swann on their Song Of The Weather. Which is a kind of weird connection really.

Sibylle Baier – Remember the Day – tincanman: February is as known for the blues as it is the red hearts, and it is the blues that drag Sibylle to the water’s edge.

Jake Thackray – Rain on the Mountainside – Suzi: A tribute to his native county of Yorkshire, and its people. ‘The north countryside is patiently waiting again,’ – it can only be for Spring to arrive, and, despite the cold and wet, the shepherd is whistling on his moorland, and the farmer is singing in his meadow below. How lovely, and it sounds very much like February.

The Kathryn Tickell Band – Hareshaw Burn – Suzi: February is traditionally a month of heavy rain – ‘February fill-dyke’, as the saying goes. At this time of year streams and rivers are at their fullest, so here’s a lovely instrumental, descriptive of a fast-flowing stream.

Birdy – Winter – glassarfemptee: Birdy sings “It’s so cold, baby it’s dark outside. Winter comes creeping in through the night”. So a good time to jilt an unwanted lover …

Nico – My Funny Valentine – severin: I used to have more versions of this song in my collection than any other but since most of them were on cassette albums this is no longer the case. It was never a conscious intention anyway so I’m not sure how it happened tbh. Anyway, Nico’s version is my favourite.

Dr. John – Iko Iko – Debby M: Mardi Gras in New Orleans – let’s dream on from our cold and dismal lockdown land.

Jimi Hendrix – Sunshine Of Your Love – Alfiehisself: When it’s too wet and cold to go outside, maybe stay in and make your own warmth – I think that’s what the lyrics are about.

Altered Images – Happy Birthday – LongTallSillyAliM and I both have birthdays in February, so it’s a good month!

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The most classic song by Artist X

I thought I’d like to get back to writing a few things for The ‘Spill again, and I had the idea of a series of posts where I nominate an artist and say what I consider to be their most classic track, and then let people argue the toss over the choice and nominate alternatives.

So, for the inaugural post I am going to suggest that The Most Classic Song By Prince Is “Purple Rain”. From the opening guitar notes, it sends shivers down my spine. This version here is from the film.

You’re My Site Now, Dave

But don’t worry, I won’t drag you off to the mine with the other dubiously-acquired sites. No, I am simply a stooge, an avatar, a token, an urban spaceman, here solely to keep the wheels of The Spill turning.

(And I’m not actually very tall either)

Chris(7572) has set me – thespillboss – up to be the site’s Owner from here on. Chris knows the password and has used the account to pay the annual renewal fee. If/when he gets fed up or loses his marbles, he will pass the login details of thespillboss on to another volunteer, who will take over responsibility. And so on.

For further information on security and how you can shed some pennies (unfortunately cents and other currencies aren’t viable), please read on…. Continue reading

Earworms 25 January 2021

… “But Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!” Too true, too true. A very happy Burns Night to you all, and to accompany the proceedings here’s the haggis, neeps and tatties with a wee dram of music thrown in – your choice of songs about Scotland and all things Scottish. Thanks to LongTallSilly for Billy Connolly’s welly song, and welcome back to tfd and DsD.

If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be February – perhaps not literally, but whatever you anticipate February will bring. Rain, snow, thaw, the first bulbs of Spring, pancakes, vaccinations … I leave it to you.

Worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 31 January. Many thanks to all contributors.

Serci and Davies Guitar Duo – Scottish Landscape – glassarfemptee: Jazz guitarist Georgio Serci wrote two “landscapes” dear to my heart. This is Scotland, performed with Simon Davies (the other is Cornwall).

The Proclaimers – Cap In Hand – Suzi: Openly Scottish Nationalist song, railing against English domination.

Admiral Fallow – Four Bulbs – tincanman: From their debut, Boots Met My Face, an album based on Louis Abbott’s memories of growing up in Glasgow. He’s a clever writer, and I never felt he or the band got their due. Perhaps because Frightened Rabbit from The Borders nearby debuted at the same time.

Steeleye Span – Prince Charle Stuart – Suzi: Many Jacobite songs speak in code, for fear of possible consequences, but this one openly praises the Young Pretender.

Concerto Calidonia – A New Scotch Tune/Peggie I Must Love Thee – severin: From the album, Purcell’s Revenge: Sweeter Than Roses. The liner notes say: “Purcell’s ‘New Scotch Tune’ proved to be very popular in Scotland in the following century. ‘Peggie I must love thee’ is played here first in Purcell’s setting, and then in the slightly later version derived from the playing of Edinburgh violinist John McLachlan which is found in the Balcarres Lute Book, written down around 1695–1701”.

The Proclaimers – Sunshine On Leith – DsD: One of the best Scottish songs EVER! And yes, I’m prepared to fight my corner against a thousand years of musical heritage on that. But – as the cliché has it – I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I’ve brought along a few people to help back me up: The best ever rendition of Sunshine on Leith. – YouTube. Goddamn, I miss these sorts of days. Because of my privileged job, I’ve seen my own beloved team play twice live in the last month, but in empty stadia, it’s just so sterile, so sad. Admittedly, two nil-nil draws didn’t help, but you know what I mean!

Karine Polwart – Cover Your Eyes – Suzi: The song recalls Karine’s childhood in Aberdeenshire, before a certain very wealthy person had a coastal SSI destroyed in order to build a golf course. A short time after this song was written, that same person became President of the US….thankfully, his tenure is coming to an end. “And the waves fall / How they fall.” Presidents, too.

Lau – Noltland Castle – AliM: Three piece folk band; members are from Scotland and England. Named after an Orcadian word meaning “natural light”.

The Poozies – Ma Plaid / Freya Dances – Suzi: A love song, or a veiled reference to Jacobite sympathies? Beautiful harmonies.

Dick Gaughan – Now Westlin Winds – treefrogdemon: Now Westlin Winds by Dick Gaughan is my favourite Burns song by my favourite Scottish singer. I’ll be at a virtual Burns Supper this year, but I’ll dress up in my usual gear and have a haggis and a dram to hand. If only I had managed to move to Scotland, as I intended, before the pandemic started…Never mind. I’m young yet – there’s time.

The Proclaimers – Letter From America – Suzi: About emigration from Scotland to America and Canada, enforced in the past by the Clearances. Heartbreaking list of the Scottish places which the emigrants have left behind: ‘Lochaber no more, Sutherland no more, Lewis no more, Skye no more …’

Arab Strap – New Birds – AliM: Aidan Moffat reminds us that a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush. So to speak.

Steeleye Span – Parcel of Rogues – Suzi: Words from a poem by Robert Burns, decrying the Scottish Parliament members who signed the Act of Union with England in 1707. ‘We were bought and sold for English gold,’ – bribery and corruption, it was ever thus.

King Creosote – Cargill – glassarfemptee: The Kingdom of Fife has an undisputed ruler – King Creosote. And he extolled the land of his birth in the wonderful “From Scotland with Love”- a movie of archive footage that he soundtracked. (Cargill is a town on the River Tay north of Perth).

Karine Polwart – Salter’s Road – Suzi: Written in celebration of her former neighbour, Molly Kristensen, who had recently died. Molly had recounted stories of her youthful travels around the Scottish countryside and further afield, and there’s mention of some evocative Scottish place names including the eponymous road from Preston Pans to Fala Dam.

Jackie Leven & Ian Rankin – The Haunting of John Rebus – tincanman: While waiting for Rankin to finish the fourth Rebus I went back to reread the series looking up all the music references as I went. Jackie Leven was my first discovery. Thank you Inspector.

Capercaillie – Coisich, a Ruin – Suzi: A love song from the Outer Hebrides, sung in Scottish Gaelic. The protagonist wants to send a message to her love, brown-haired John Campbell, a mighty hunter of geese, seals, swans, leaping trout and bellowing deer, who lives on the Isle of Harris. She won’t go hungry, then, and I’m sure he’s handsome too!

Ballboy – I Hate Scotland – shoegazer:  A bunch of new live lockdown sessions on Bandcamp if anyone’s interested.

Clanadonia – LongTallSilly: Can you get more Scottish than this? 😉

The Real MacKenzies – Kilt – wyngatecarpenter: A band whose ouvre includes songs such as Scots Wha Hae and Scottish & Proud. They are from Canada, obviously. This song might sound strangely familiar to one or two of you such
as Severin.
Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Anthem – MaggieB: Sixteen or so minutes of aural joy from the Gorbals’ finest; the great and much missed Alex Harvey and his Sensational Band. A shame there is no decent video of this performance as they were such good showmen. Guid Burns Night to all. 😉

Concerto Caledonia (feat Olivia Chaney & Mairi Campbell) – Up In the Morning Early – severin: Words by Robert Burns. Scottish musicians and two singers (one of them Scottish) perform the piece. No other reason.

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Earworms 18 January 2021

Greetings all and welcome to the third Monday in January, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year. Fortunately, that means that all the days after this in 2021 will be better, and, even more fortunately, here is your selection of songs about dancing, to cheer us up.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be Scotland and all things Scottish, in honour of Burns Night. Worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 24 January.

Many thanks to all contributors – stay safe!

Anouar Brahem – Dancing with Waves – glassarfemptee: Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem is an excellent RR discovery for me, courtesy of Nilpferd. Here he’s dancing with waves.

Afro Celt Sound System – Fissiri Wali Polka – AliM: From their 2018 album, “Flight”.

Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz – Suzi: A loose translation of a poem by Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Surreal, but beautiful, images, which seem to imply that this may be the last waltz with the object of his desire. “Take this waltz, it’s yours now, it’s all that there is.”

The Lords of the New Church – Dance With Me – vanwolf: A sweet sounding song but with more than a hint of new church sleaze.

Emmylou Harris – Waltz Across Texas Tonight -Suzi: The word to describe the emotional feel of this song is possibly “saudade” – a kind of tender melancholy, both loving and wistful. Emmylou made more than one recording of this song; I’ve chosen the version from her beautiful “Wrecking Ball” album, which was produced by Daniel Lanois.

Soul II Soul – Dance – severin: It’s by Soul II Soul and it’s called “Dance”. Ha ha ha …

Artie Shaw And His Orchestra – Begin the Beguine – Suzi: Instrumental version of the Cole Porter tune. Shaw’s stunning virtuosity on the clarinet is a joy to listen to.

John Fahey – Dance Of Death – tincanman: John Fahey was as obsessed with 1920-30s Americana roots music as the Lomaxes, and he could play them, too. Oh how he could play them.

Leonard Cohen – Dance Me To The End of Love – Suzi: A statement of intention to surrender himself to love, wherever it takes him – or simply a romantic invitation.

David Byrne – Dance on Vaseline – shoegazer: My favourite from Mr Byrne since the demise of Talking Heads.

Sandy Denny – Like an Old-Fashioned Waltz – Suzi: From her acoustic album, “I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn”, it’s as beautifully romantic and evocative as you might expect .

Pinkshinyultrablast – Dance AM – vanwolf: Not sure they’re really shoegaze but nice track anyway.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Air à Danser – Suzi: Starts slowly and gently, then becomes faster and more expansive. Joyous.

Katie Gately – Waltz – severin: The song that both Fuel and I considered including in our Festive Spill picks. From her wondrous “Loom” album. Songs mostly written while caring for her mother during her final illness but (to me) strangely uplifting. Unlikely to be featured on next year’s Strictly …

David Bowie – Let’s Dance – Suzi: “Let’s dance/ Under the moonlight, this serious moonlight…” Who could possibly resist such an invitation?

Blue Lu Barker – Now You’re Down In The Alley – tincanman: A couple of years ago Maria Muldaur decided to do an album of Blue Lu Barker (who dat?) covers. One listen to “Don’t You Feel My Leg: The Naughty Bawdy Blues Of Blue Lu Barker” and I went down the same rabbit hole.

Jacques Brel – La Valse a Mille Temps – Suzi: A waltz in a thousand time? Not quite, but a tour de force from Brel as he waltzes around Paris with increasing speed!

Kate Davis – I’ll Do Anything But Breakdance For Ya, Darling – glassarfemptee: I’m not usually up to date, but this track by US songstress Kate Davis is from an album “Strange Boy” released this month. This is about NOT dancing…

Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance – AliM: Let it all go, and have fun. From 2014.

The Defects – Dance – wyngatecarpenter: So many songs about dancing that aren’t actually about dancing. This one sounds straightforward enough . Turns out it’s not actually about dancing at all – oh well.

The Blues Brothers – Shake a Tail Feather Maggie B: Two for you first Ray Charles getting us to shake a tail feather…

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – Maggie B: And on the subject of feathers this one from Mathew Bourne who revolutionised Dance. (I’m finding dancing round like an idiot is good lockdown excercise) 😊

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Alfie’s Criminally Bad Music Puns Quiz

Happy new year, meet the new year, same as the old year. More of that to follow.

It was far from hectic doing the ‘turn it off and on again’ IT support over the festive season, when it was clear the institutions had actually turned it off and gone home, unlike the helpdesk who where stuck at the coalface. I was sat at a computer with time to use up, so why not write a novel ?

Well, the not, would be it being a prog rock concept novel, in forty-seven parts, based on the zen motorcycle spare parts catalogue.

Here follows a brief extract :-

In the sitcom Black Books, Bernard had a girlfriend, Rowena, or Roweeeeeeeeeeeena and the heroine of this piece’s name is purely co-incidental

She believes that if a couple spend their wedding night in a cave on one of two large rocks, then their babies will come out bright blue. That may fade, but what stays with the child is an unpredictable, random, magical, special talent.

Travelling the obviously Arthurian lands, it being prog that is, she comes across one that has never seen theatre and decides to introduce it.

My special talent is NOT punctuation, grammar, simile, litotes, big words, writing, and most especially not, editing. It goes on and on and that’s just the intro.

It does contain music puns as bad as that above, about three if you can spot them.

I’d suggest one person guessing an artist and any of them’s songs maybe. Possibly doing actors or comedians as a bunch.

Sincere apologies to all concerned, not the singers, just any poor sod that has to wade through it, drum solo and all.

Cheers me dears

Alfie (via Chris)

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Dreaming of The Spill!

For the first time to the best of my knowledge I actually had a brief dream about The Spill this morning, so I thought I’d share it with you lot.

It started off with this year’s Rebellion festival which had just taken place (which seems just a tad unikely at this point, in fact I was quite surprised in the dream ). I was wandering around Leicester ( on my way back to my office ) and I suddenly realised it was over a week since Rebellion and I hadn’t done a write up for The Spill – it hadn’t even occurred to me, Maybe there was nothing much to write about I thought at first, but on reflection there was plenty : a hilarious incident involving 80s Oi band Criminal Class and former Doctor Who Colin Baker , for one thing (you had to be there) ; and an increasingly unhinged John Lydon ranting like a more deranged version of Donald Trump at a Q & A session. There was loads of material so to get my thoughts together I entered into The Spill shop which I was coincidentally walking past .

Yes, several years prior to this some of you had the enterprising idea of opening up an official Spill shop somewhere on a Leicester side street. It was mainly a record shop obviously. Unfortunately it was like a lot of record shops these days a bit of a sad looking place that had lost nearly all of it’s trade to the internet. I occasionally went in here and had a furtive look around , but never identified myself as a Spill contributor to the staff ( it was doing well enough to have paid staff anyway) . As well as records it sold a few cakes and greasy sandwiches (always a good combination with selling records I find!) , but I decided not to bother and went on my way to look for a pen and papers to start scribbling down my Rebellion write up…and then I woke up.

What does it mean? Nothing I suspect, other than The Spill sttempting to set up a shop would probably be a bad idea. Has anybody here ever had a dream about The Spill , whether or not it’s diversifying into over business ventures, or am I the first?

Help On The Way

Some of you may be wondering about the renewal of this site’s licence and whether or not I’ve actually taken over responsibility from Sarah, as last August’s discussion implied. Well……

There’s been a slight communication hitch…. which means that, although I now have Admin rights, I am not the designated Owner and WordPress insists that only the Owner can renew the licence. A Happiness Engineer (I kid you not!) from WP called Jason is trying to help out and has assured me that, even we fail to transfer Ownership before the expiry date (31st Jan), I will be able to swoop in and claim it then. At which point, my Happiness will have been Engineered, presumably.

So, don’t worry. And don’t fret about the renewal fee: I’ll pay and then ask for contributions once we’re sailing (happily) through February.


Earworms 11 January 2021

Good evening all, on this wet, cold and fairly typical January evening. We’re all missing the company of friends right now, so here is your selection of songs about them, some happy, and some sad. I am very grateful for the friendship of those of you on The ‘Spill.

If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be dancing – dirty, in the street, on the ceiling, wherever you like. I know we’ve had the theme before but I am struggling to think of anything cheerful! Worms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 17 January.

Many thanks to all contributors, and stay safe.

Free – Be My Friend – LongTallSilly: Has to be the ultimate plea for loving friendship, something we all need for good mental health:- “All I need is a friend / Someone to give a helpin’ hand / When I’m afraid in the night / Someone to squeeze me / And tell me it’s alright / You know I worry such a lot / And I would give all I’ve got / Just to have someone believe in me / Just to do that and put me / Back on evenly … ” (see video above).

Palma Violets – Friends – shoegazer: Some racket from Lambeth.

Basement Revolver – Friends – vanwolf: Off nice album, couple years old I think (“Heavy Eyes”, 2018 – Ed.)

Elvis Costello – The Stamping Ground – severin: Where all your old friends still hang around. And nothing much changes.

The Saw Doctors – Never Mind The Strangers – Suzi: The guys from Tuam, County Galway, with “a tribute to all the people who’ve helped and stuck with us along the way.”

Laura Marling – Hope We Meet Again – tincanman: I was never able to warm to Laura like I know I should until last year’s “Song For Our Daughter”, which is a timeless masterpiece. This is a “can we still be friends” song that is breathtakingly delicate and detailed.

Placebo – Pure Morning – AliM: This one is open to interpretation, but I like it.

The Wave Pictures – All My Friends – glassarfemptee: Leicestershire’s finest, at their quirky best, with a wig out. No good crying over spilt milk.

Sonic Youth – My Friend Goo – vanwolf: ‘Cos it’s ace.

John Martyn – May You Never – severin: An old favourite. Wishes for a good friend who “never talks dirty behind my back”.

James Taylor – You’ve Got A Friend – Suzi: One of his most beloved songs. “You just call out my name / and you know wherever I am / I’ll come running / To see you again.”

Everything But the Girl – Old Friends – glassarfemptee: Is it really twenty years since EBTG’s last gig …

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls (HY Live) – tincanman: This was a single and the title track to their 2012 album, but it took a HearYa Live webcast session with Chicago engineer/producer Stephen Shirk to find it’s heart and soul. As he typically does.

Mike Harding – The Accrington Pals – AliM: Mike Harding takes time off from comedy with this song telling the story of the East Lancashire “Accrington Pals” regiment, who served in WW1.

Led Zeppelin – Friends – Long Tall Silly: Led Zeppelin take on friendship this time, same sentiment as Free:- “Met a man on the roadside crying / Without a friend, there’s no denying / You’re incomplete, they’ll be no finding / Looking for what you knew / So anytime somebody needs you / Don’t let them down, although it grieves you / Some day you’ll need someone like they do / Looking for what you knew …”

Dougie MacLean – Auld Lang Syne – Maggie B: What we would have sang if any of us had been together at New Year’s Eve. To our absent friend, Ravi.

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Happy New Year!?

Hi Everyone. Deanofromoz here. I thought I would pop up and say g’day from Melbourne, Australia, and wish you all a Happy New Year. Its been a while, so long that it took me a while to even remember how to create a post on here, but I seem to have figured it out – yay!

What a rough year it was, and looking like some tough times to come. Hang in there everyone. I don’t seem to get the time to make it here that often, or indeed to the song-bar anymore. I am not going to say any silly new year’s resolutions about doing better in 2021, but I have been missing the discussions, the music and the banter so I am going to try and turn up more often.

Anyway, I notice the last Earworms topic was Optimism, and if I had been around for that, I might have mentioned the folk singer Janis Ian’s Better Time Will Come Project. On the day John Prine died, Janis was doing some washing and started humming a little tune with some optimistic lyrics. She then sent it around to some muso friends and asked them to do a version of it. There are now over 100 versions of it available for free download on Janis’ webpage – everything from Japanese opera to americana and more….some big name acts, many unknown acts. Many more have gone up since I last listened to them, so I can’t say I’ve heard them all, but my definite favourite version is John Gorka’s, but I also liked Sam Hunter’s and Eric Bibb’s. Check the site out if you are interested. Its a simple but catchy tune with a nice message.

And let me know how you are all doing in the comments….take care….

Earworms 4 January 2021


Good day, happy new year to you all. Earworms are back with songs about optimism and new beginnings, to cheer us through the grim start to 2021. Well, that’s the theory.

If you have an earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3, .m4a or a link to adempster73@gmail.com, together with a few words about why you’ve chosen it. Next week’s theme will be friends, companions and that sort of thing; earworms should reach me by close of play on Sunday 10 January.

Many thanks to all contributors – stay safe.

Xavier Rudd – Follow the Sun – AliM: Talented Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, with a social conscience. Also, unusually for me, an up-beat song.

Moddi – New Dawn – severin: I just suggested this for Song Bar songs for 2021. But it’s probably a long shot and Earworms is posted first anyway.

The Ruminant Band – Fruit Bats – tincanman: I can’t think of a better promise for a new year than “You’ll always have smokes if you always give buckets of love.” I don’t smoke, but the rest sounds good. (And no, I have no idea how a band can be ruminant.)

The Beatles – In My Life – Suzi: A tender, thoughtful song about new love, one of the Beatles’ most beautiful. ‘But of all these friends and lovers/ There is no one compares with you/ And these memories lose their meaning/ When I think of love as something new.’

Orange Juice – Rip it Up – shoegazer: Made the top 10 (briefly) back in ’82.

Radiohead – Optimistic – glassarfemptee: It’s 20 years since Radiohead dropped ‘Kid A’. Here’s the most played track. “The best you can is good enough”.

Dave Griffiths & Tim Renwick – Dawn Returning – AliM: I found this in my iTunes. I have no idea where it came from, I suspect one of you lot, but I don’t remember who. Anyway, it’s sort of ambient and uplifting, if that’s a thing.

Adrian Borland – Someone Will Love You Today – severin: Melancholy positivity is still a kind of optimism I think.

Joan Armatrading – More Than One Kind Of Love – tincanman: I used this song to kick off a longer playlist I made that suits hunkering down for an afternoon.  Invest in friends, Joan lectures, and you’ll never have to face anything alone.

The Monkees – Daydream Believer – Suzi: Happy and optimistic, both melody and words are guaranteed to lift the heart. All-time favourite.

The Walkmen – In the New Year – glassarfemptee: In the same year as “Kid A” was released, The Walkmen were formed. On “In the New Year” they sing “It’s gonna be a good year/Out of the darkness”. Yes, please…

Chumbawamba – Tubthumping – Debby M: First thing that came to mind.

Neil Young – After the Goldrush – Maggie B: Happy New Year all and I hope you had a decent holiday given the restrictions. I’ve been waiting to slot this classic into a category for ages… A dream of an extreme new start… flying in a silver spaceship to a new home. Not a very optimistic number but I love that harmonium. Stay safe, the vaccine is on the way. Virtual hugs all round 😀

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Wyngate’s 10 favourite albums of 2020: 3 – 1

3. Subued – Over The Hills And Far Away (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)

Rarely has a band sounded less like their name. This was a band I’d never heard of until I came across them online a few months ago. As far as I can tell they are , like the better known Bad Breeding who the namecheck on the thanks list, a relatively young band that are nevertheless influenced by the more extreme end of 80s anarcho punk . Subdued’s sound is not dissimilar to certain mid 80s bands such as Icons Of Filth and Antisect who while influenced politically by Crass , moved in a much heavier musical direction without (at first) tipping over into metal. Subdued do a similar thing, and for despite the full assault and intensity of their sound, in the background you can hear a more moody , post punk influence in the guitar. They even give us a breather halfway through side one with a couple of minutes of low key , atmospherics, otherwise it’s relentless.  Lyrically they mostly avoid overt politics, instead their lyrics express internal torment.: “I’ve been looking to laugh – is hope the joke?”. I think mosr of us have felt like that at some point in 2020.

2. The Cravats – Hoorahland (Overground Records)

As usual the veteran “Dada influenced punk rock jazzsters” The Cravats have a different approach to the madness of the modern world – examine how absurd it is, raise a quizzical eyebrow and throw a load of surrealist nonsense back. As usual their music combines not just jazz and punk but a lot of other influences from rockabilly to prog. The mood ranges from agitated and angry on the completely inappropriately named Shy to an almost dreamlike feel on Good For You. The lyrics mostly seem to be examining the mundanity of modern life, with the mundanity of relationships being the focus of Now The Magic Has Gone , a sort of deranged fairground waltz with guest vocals from none other than Jello Biafra (friends with frontman The Shend since meeting him in record shop in 1978 I think!). Elsewhere they play bullshit bingo on the brilliantly tited March Of The Business Acumen (“Think outside the box and be the “i” in the team / Blue sky thinking is the new colour scheme”). They are of course quite capable of stringing their own nonsense togther as on the opener Goody Goody Gum Drops which is that old staple, a boasting song but I don’t think anyone has ever written a boasting song like this before – “With two thousand discounted lines / I’m Ralph Fiennes / I’m sturdy coal mine tunnel props …Never crashed my motor as I fled fro mthe cops …No disgraced presenter on Top Of The Pops…Not the hoaxer drawing circles in the farmer’s crops/ I’m goody goody gum drops”. Geniius as usual.


1. La Rabbia – Consumed By Paranoia And Fear (No Front Teeth Records)

Another band I’d never heard of, and still don’t know a lot about other than I think they are a London/Italian duo. Publicity said they featured “members of Miscalculations, Warren Schoenbright, and The Gaggers” (sorry, none the wiser) and sounded like “a blend of Crass, Crisis, The Mob, Eater and Wire” which sounded interesting. Possibly but I heard a lot more early PIL in there, and they also remind me a lot of the Virgin Prunes (albeit without the goth trappings) with their shrill dual vocal attack and general edge of mania. The music was frequently jarring but with unexpected bursts of melody. Lyrically the album seemed to speak volumes about 2020 ( Consumed By Paranoia And Fear, Subliminal Penetration, The Edge Of Infection). It sounds like no one else at the moment, and despite having bought it early on it’s still my favourite album of the year – although they have already brought out the follow up , which I haven’t got to play yet. It’s my birthday tomorrow so if the new album is as good as some in the know are saying then maybe I’ll have to hastily update this post.


Wyngate’s 10 favourite albums of 2020: 6 – 4

6. Paranoid Visions – Corona-Verse Reality (Louder Than War)

Why only number 6? Here goes… In 2019 Paranoid Visions announced plans to release an album called Pharmageddon, preceded by a “Countdown To Pharmageddon” series of 5 Eps released at 3 monthly intervals, including lavish box set editions for each release. Overambitious? Apparently so – each of the releases has been delayed so far. The bonus has been that this release (originally announced as Converse Reality, until real life events led to the name change) expanded to 35 minutes, effectively making it an album. The band had recorded half of the tracks just before lockdown, but further songs were written and recorded in lockdown specifically on the coronavirus crisis, leading to the brilliant Back To Normal, a grim reminder that for some the current crisis is actually an improvement on the last 10 years of austerity. As usual for PV, it’s a relatively eclectic collection including a reggae/rock protest song Pretty Paulie about Dublin’s and only victim of Nazi air raids , a parrot (true story apparently), and Isolation a Covid ballad that even has shades of Lana Del Ray, as well as some of Deko’s poetry. On more familiar ground is the brooding Slimy Member about the rise of right wing populism in Ireland and worldwide, and the closing The Spinning Wheel, a punk folk song that also sounds in places as if they might just have been listening to Porcupine era Bunnymen. So a solid release, but one that feels like an EP that’s got out hand rather than a proper album.

5. Charge 69 – Tous Debout (Combat Rock)

I’ve bought quite a few French records this as a result of my internet foraging, but Charge 69 from Metz are old favourites. I saw their only UK gig at an all dayer in 1996, bought their first EP shortly afterwards and I’ve liked them ever since. They combined the influence of UK bands from the end of the 70s such as UK Subs , Angelic Upstarts and SLF and gave them a distinctly French twist and that’s what they’ve done ever since, it just happens that in my view this new album is their best, full of tightly played ,  terse sound streetpunk , with a diversion into brooding reggae punk on the title track. As my French CSE was many years ago I would need to spend an afternoon going through the lyric sheet with google translate to comment on the lyrics, but that doesn’t matter, I’m used to indecipherable lyrics even in English.

4. Wire – Mind Hive (Pink Flag)

The odd ones out as usual but in my view this was the best Wire album in a long time. This album was consistently interesting and unpredictable. It starts off in typically awkward fashion with the jerky , stop -start electropop of Be Like Them. The lyrics, or “text” if you are Wire, were apparently written in 1978 and unused , but it doesn’t sound like it with it’s references to “hungry cats getting fatter minds and thinner ideas”. The album continues for a couple of tracks in this off kilter electropop vein until it shifts gear to the jangle pop of Off The Beach and the musically mellow Unrepentant and Shadows, then as soon as you have concluded that they ae settling for mellow as their default position, the album takes another turn. The lyrics of the album are interesting and unexpected at times, constantly expressing unease at the direction the world is going in , and at times making direct political comment, which is unprecedented for Wire. The closing track Humming finds them wondering almost wistfully (or perhaps despairingly) what has happened “I can’t quite remember when it went wrong / Someone was humming a popular song”. Farage or Johnson perhaps? Take your pick. The most unpredictable  and best Wire album in a long time.