The Big Five-Oh

Fifty years, fifty songs, 1969-2018 (I did initially wonder about finishing off with something from this year, but haven’t heard anything I’m certain that I really like yet). With a rule of one track per artist, I’ve endeavoured to find the right balance between artists I love and had to fit in somewhere, somehow (not always successfully; no space for Dylan, for example), and individual songs that simply demanded to be included (which still led to some vicious competition in particular years – yes, it’s possibly cheating to include both Visage and Ultravox, both originally released in 1980, on the grounds that the latter didn’t chart until 1981…). Continue reading

Osborne – Complete (Lucky Rose Remix)

Thanks to Balcony Jump for sharing some new music with us – here’s the Lucky Rose remix of Osborne’s debut single ‘Complete’. Richard Osborne aka Osborne, is a British singer-songwriter, the remix, a sunny and buoyant version, has been remixed by Canadian producers Lucky Rose, whose own singles ‘Wild One’ and ‘The Way You Want Me’ have accumulated over 13 million streams and 11 million streams on Spotify alone. ‘Complete (Lucky Rose Remix)’ has been mastered by Cass Irvine of Wired Masters who regularly masters for artists such as Afrojack, Galantis and Benny Benassi.

Also available on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/0hI3b44C9LgnNHprOegmCW?si=0jkOFpqPRs66CIq9o2truA  Happy listening!

Still Crazy After All These Years

For some time now I have treated the nomination game simply as a weekly ritual in which I try to identify a Grateful Dead song (or two) to fit the theme. Whether or not the guru takes the bait is neither here nor there.

This last week’s theme of crisis, however, made the (first) song I picked burrow its way under my skin as I – not unusually – found it on repeat in my head over the past few days. I love the oddity of Bob Weir’s music but I didn’t consider Throwing Stones one of his most intriguing creations, apart from the Ring-a-ring o’ roses refrain. John Perry Barlow’s lyrics have long impressed, though, and it was this aspect of the song that made me want to update my nomination into a mini-essay of justification. I didn’t, and ParaMhor didn’t pick it. So it goes.

What really hit me on reconsidering the song was how the issues it touches on – written about in 1982 – are still significant components of the World’s crises almost 40 years later.

Continue reading

Heroes, Villains and Stuff That Happened

Here is the place to make your nominations for the three remaining Spill Awards categories – the Heroes, Villains and Events of 2018 – prefaced by a song about an actual event involving a villain who tried to be a hero for his girl and a villain who pretends to be a social hero.

Villains are not difficult to find: Trump, Putin, bin Salman, Erdogan, Duterte, Orban, Bolsonaro, Rees-Mogg, Johnson…… Unfortunately, we have been spoilt for choice and they are are still being villainous as 2019 approaches. Personally, I’d go with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for being the most blatant (Jamal Khashoggi), most murderous (Yemen) and most hypocritical (let women drive but jail those who fought for it).

Individual heroes may not seem plentiful but there are increasing numbers of ordinary people who survive against the odds; those whose governments have decided they should be poor or have a different sexual orientation or faith. Or those who dare speak truth to power, like the increasing number of journalists in far too many countries that have been murdered, or the kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, epitomised by Emma González, who said ‘stop killing us’. I’m struggling to think of someone who succeeded in making a positive difference, however.

Things definitely happened in 2018, although one of the most important things – resetting the UK/EU relationship – took a lot of time, effort and money to not happen at all. We had great summer weather (in which to take in the dire warnings of the IPCC climate report) and a very enjoyable World Cup (in which we were able to dream of football returning home) but maybe the most memorable event was the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal (and the death of Dawn Sturgess) and the blatant lies told by two Russian architecture students and the Russian state. More positively, there was the episode of Blue Planet II that kicked off the fight against single-use plastics; obviously the way to combat climate change is to show puppies and kittens dying from heatstroke or flooding.

Sorry I can’t be more positive but I’m sure you understand.

Uma and the Wandering Stars – New Single

Thanks to Jon Stern for alerting me to a forthcoming new single from Uma and the Wandering Stars, whom we have featured before. Jon says:

“I wanted to tell you that Uma & the Wandering Stars are releasing their most moving single yet from their EP ‘Trapped‘ on October 26th.

Their upcoming single ‘Get Out‘ is a beautiful shoegaze/ dream-pop track that combines hopelessness and positivity, and was the inspiration to the name and theme of the EP.

Trapped‘ was produced by Fraser Smith (Shed Seven, Ian Brown), and mastered by Dick Beetham (Stereophonics, Scissor Sisters, KT Tunstall).”

You can listen to it and watch the brilliant music video by Bosco Shane (James Blunt) (above), and read more about the band here.