Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Guest Spot Best of 2013 - 'The Swede'

In the essence of our blog, we asked some friends from blogs that we follow to share with us the tunes that stood out for them in 2013. We love to hear what other people listen to and the reasons why they tick the right boxes musically and of course to hear the stories associated with them. Whilst also hopefully discovering things that otherwise would have passed us by.

Now we have  'The Swede' who is responsible for the brilliant 'Unthought of, though, somehow' blog.
We think of him as a real life version of Rob Fleming,

But that's enought from us, here is The Swede....

'Thanks to everyone at Tune Doctor for another 12 months of fine music and for once again inviting me to contribute to this end of year extravaganza. Here are 20 of my favourite tracks from 2013, which, with one exception, are in no particular order. 

Compliments of the season everyone!

The Stepkids - 'Sweet Salvation'
Yo La Tengo - 'Well You Better'
Micah Blue Smaldone - 'Time'
Wolf People - 'All Returns'
Eleanor Friedberger - 'When I Knew'
Cate Le Bon - 'Are You With Me Now?'
Ezra Furman - 'My Zero'
Midlake - 'The Old & The Young'
White Denim - 'Pretty Green'
Younghusband - 'Comets Crossed'
Robyn Hitchcock - 'Be Still'
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - 'Swim & Sleep (Like a Shark)'
Steve Mason, Emiliana Torrini And Toy - 'I Go Out'
Gaz Coombes - 'One Of These Days'
H.Hawkline - 'Telegram'

BC Camplight - 'Thieves In Antigua'

BC Camplight is the artistic nom de plume of  American singer-songwriter Brian Christinzio, who now resides in Manchester. 'Thieves in Antigua' has a spooky Beach Boys quality - oddly unsettling and hard to shake off once it has it's hooks in you.

Kiran Leonard - 'Dear Lincoln'

'Dear Lincoln' was written and recorded by Kiran Leonard in June 2010, when he was just 14 years of age. The song had been knocking about the internet for a while, before receiving an official release this summer. Kiran has a lot of music available to check-out via Bandcamp and Soundcloud, including an incredibly ambitious 24 minute prog epic, 'The End Times', but with 'Dear Lincoln' he says all he wants to say in 112 thrilling seconds.

Houndstooth - 'Ride Out The Dark'

'Ride Out the Dark' by Houndstooth is a subtle grower - an album, after several months, I still enjoy more with each successive play.  Lead track 'Canary Island' stutters, Neil Young-like, into life,  before blossoming into a thing of true beauty. 

Bombay Bicycle Club - 'Carry Me'

Usually, the earlier in the year that a track appears, the more time it has to burn itself into the consciousness and thus become a contender for an annual musical retrospective such as this. Not so 'Carry Me' by the Bombay Bicycle Club, which was only released a couple of weeks ago, but is already much loved by Mrs S & I. Whenever it gets a spin on the wheels of steel here at Swede Towers, we’re compelled to break into our own peculiar form of angular dancing...and this is before we've started on the Christmas booze!

Low - 'Just Make It Stop'

I'm notoriously reluctant to nominate singular favourites when it comes to year-end round-ups, traditionally preferring to offer a selection of titles 'in no particular order' to sum up the preceding 12 months. In 2013, however, I think we have a winner. Low may just have pulled off the coveted triple whammy of favourite gig, album and in 'Just Make it Stop', tune of the year.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

TUNE DOCTOR'S - Best of 2013

We have painstakingly picked our favourite tracks that have made our year.  It's not a bad little playlist actually as there's something for everyone, the perfect soundtrack to bore your partners with, upset your Gran or make your party.  Trust us we've tried it!

Listen to the playlist below - remember to check out other Tune Doctor Playlists on Playlists.net

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Happy Christmas from all of us at TuneDr, thanks for stopping by our blog and here's to a fruitful, healthy New Year with lots more Musical Medicine.

Silent Night

Richard Hawley, Lisa Hannigan, Jarvis Cocker and a Hawaiian guitar......job done, a brilliant rendition of a festive favourite.


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Guest Spot Best of 2013 - 'C'

In the essence of our blog, we asked some friends from blogs that we follow to share with us the tunes that stood out for them in 2013. We love to hear what other people listen to and the reasons why they tick the right boxes musically and of course to hear the stories associated with them. Whilst also hopefully discovering things that otherwise would have passed us by.

And here we have the thoughts of 'C', who is responsible for the excellent blog Sun Dried Sparrows, where you can find a melange of music, art and fantastic nostalgic stories!

But that's enough from us, 'C'..... the floor is yours

'This year my musical tastebuds have been tickled by the unexpected. But the unexpected didn't come in the form of Polynesian nose-flutes or mathcore, instead I was surprised to find that the songs I liked were mass-market; they were getting into the charts.... sometimes even to Number 1. Oh god! This must be the first time that has happened to me since the Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' made it to the top (even if it was never acknowledged that it could have outsold Rod Stewart at the time – we know it did, don't we?!)

I mean, I was absolutely swept off my feet by John Newman's 'Love Me Again' and I fell in love with Nile Rodgers' guitar style all over again on Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' ft. Pharrell Williams. Both would have to make it into my list of favourite tracks of the year, even though there's that little part of me that is niggled by the thought that they are probably on a million other people's lists as well, both being Number 1 singles. Oh I'm too old for elitism now!

Another unexpected delight came in the form of the new Suede album, 'Bloodsports'. Not because I didn't expect to like it – I thought and hoped I would, I just never thought they'd actually make another. It was brilliant to see them perform on various TV shows too – haven't they aged well?! Picking one track from the album is difficult, though, as they all stand up so well.

One further surprise for me this year has been my newly developed penchant for a bit of dubstep. It's strong, uplifting and makes me want to dance, and that's a lovely way to feel on a damp, English, winter night.

Anyway, all of the above feature in my tracks of the year. I can't possibly put them into any order, that all depends on what mood I'm in and what time of day it is, what I've had to eat and the phases of the moon etc etc. So I hope you'll just enjoy these five picked fairly much at random for starters.  Have a great 2014!'

Suede – 'Sabotage'

Here's the live version... a great rendition and the first time I heard it before the album's release.

Mat Zo ft. Rachel K Collier – 'Only For You'


From the album 'Damage Control'.  Doesn't it just make you feel good?!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs ft. Dr Octagon – 'Buried Alive'

No visuals for this I'm afraid, but such a great track from the album 'Mosquito'

Johnny Marr – 'New Town Velocity'

Such a good single, and the video reminds me of somewhere I used to live!

Parra For Cuva ft. Anna Naklab – 'Wicked Game'

Wicked Game is just one of those songs which I can't imagine ever being covered badly.  I especially love this fairly minimal take on it.  Shame about the video, though...


My current top 10 in absolutely no particular order....

John Newman – Love Me Again

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky

Ray Foxx ft. Rachel K Collier – Boom Boom (Heartbeat)

Suede – Sabotage

Mat Zo ft. Rachel K Collier – Only For You

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Buried Alive

Johnny Marr – New Town Velocity

Parra For Cuva ft. Anna Naklab – Wicked Game

British Sea Power – Loving Animals

Klangkarussell ft. Will Heard - Sonnentanz

Friday, 20 December 2013

Shell Hunter's Best Of 2013

Bye bye 2013, unlucky for some but not me. I've visited new places like New York, Jamaica and Benidorm(!), and experienced a fantastic music festival, Latitude (see you next year!). What made these experiences extra special were the recommendations of songs and bands that made up the many playlists I've created and loved on my travels. Thank you guys for taking the time out to share your favourite tracks and memories and giving me your two pennies worth on mine. Here's to a renewed zest for the same in 2014!

Josephine - 'Portrait'

One that cuts a little too close to the bone about true self reflection that I struggle to listen to without shedding a tear. That coupled with a beautiful nostalgic voice makes for an unforgettable and meaningful song for me.

Junip - 'Line Of Fire'

Brings me back great memories of lounging on the grass on a very sunny Sunday afternoon at Latitude Festival, shades on and cold cider in hand, watching one of the most perfect bands for the mood. Junip fast became a favourite group of mine, thanks to the push from SFW. My track of the year.

Pearl Jam - 'Sirens'

This one came out of nowhere (actually London Scouser's TOTW) and absolutely blew me away. One of the most romantic rock songs I've heard in a very long time, rivalling even my favourite 'All Night Thing' by Temple Of The Dog which was sung by fellow band mate Chris Cornell. Eddie Vedder could melt even the coldest of black hearts with this best example of his fabulous voice. Worth reading the lyrics here.

Robert DeLong - 'Global Concepts'

Brilliant and innovative with drumming that I can't get enough of. I look forward to hearing more of what Robert can do. Some may sneer at the dropping of the 'F' bomb but I think it's essential. I always imagine being in a packed club in LA, that line blaring out with the beat kicking in and me getting swallowed up by the crowd loving it!

Night Engine - 'Seventeen'

These guys were a big part of my music year ever since I found out a friend from college was in the band. Full of guitar funk with excellent synths, their energy is infectious and if ever a band was worthy of being signed it's them. Keep you're eyes on them, I know I will.

Have a listen to the rest of my Top 20 below!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Flycasual's Best Of 2013

Another year goes by and I'm entering my 40th year, I should be having a midlife crisis right about now but since I can't afford a Ferrari, I'll stick to blogging. It's been a another fruitful musical year, predominately thanks to my fellow TuneDr bloggers and contributors and for that I'm am eternally grateful.



Owiny Sigoma Band - 'Lucas Malore'


'Lucas Malore' is an ingenious blend of traditional Kenya and dancefloor London, taken from one of my favourite albums of the year, the aptly titled Power Punch, completely addictive and essential listening.




John Grant - 'Black Belt'


Witty lyrics, fantastic beat, it's definitely not something I would have expected from John Grant but his Pale Green Ghosts album certainly made my DIY hell just a little bit more bearable earlier this year.



Q.O.T.S.A. - 'If I Had A Tail'

God knows how many times I have heard this track this year and I still can't get enough. The reason is that it's probably my four and half year old son's most requested track. Whilst he's fixated by the 'vampire hugging' on the album cover, I was captivated by the immaculate drumming and the Rock n Roll swagger from a band on top of their game.



Young Fathers - 'I Heard'


Like Andy Murray in Tennis, Young Fathers were my Scottish musical champions. Releasing two mini albums this year, the Edinburgh trio effortlessly blended the likes of De La Soul and Massive Attack to create their own unique sound. 'I Heard', was one of many standouts, dark, soulful and with the coolest hotel lobby keyboard you're likely to hear this side of Lanzarote. Big ting awaits.



Kurt Vile - 'Wakin' On A Pretty Day'


Undoubtedly my track of the year. Even though it's over 9 minutes long, it's one of those songs you just don't want to end. With Kurt Vile's cool, laid back drawl, it was the perfect soundtrack to a memorable weekend spent with family when the sun finally came out this April.




Subscribe/listen at your pleasure to my best of 2013 spotify playlist here....



OLD PA'S Best Of 2013

Oh! boy what a year for music and thanks to my fellow mates at Tune Doctor and our fellow bloggers at Grown up Backwards and Unthought of, though, somehow, my ears have had the pleasure of some great varied sounds. I have discovered much new music, that I would not have found on my own and for that I would like to thank all my Pals. Thank you Pals!

Whittling it down to 5 tracks is always so hard and I wish it could have been 20 tracks. Anyway I hope you like my choices :

DEEP DARK WOODS - East St Louis 

I fell in love with this first hearing, a group to watch, with a hint of the Beach Boys thrown in!


JIM JAMES - A New Life 

What a voice, a slow build up to a crescendo to whistle or hum along and die for!

KURT VILE - Walking on a Pretty Day

A happy time in April spent with Flycasual with Kurt providing the sound track! 

DARKSIDE- Paper Trails (RA Sessions)

Knocked me out! This session version is equal or better than the album take. Eat your Heart out Pink Floyd!



This gets me every time. 'Love is a burning thing'. Say no more!

Subscribe or listen at your pleasure to Old Pa's Best of 2013 playlist here...

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

SFW'S Best Of 2013

Do you remember the long hot summer? Neither do I.  but let me take you on a brisk walk down memory lane, stopping off for some mince pies, mulled wine and and my top 5 Tracks of the Year.

Tracks of the Year!

Daft Punk - 'Lose Yourself To Dance' (2013)

I can honestly say that 2014 was the year that Daft Punk (with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams help) brought disco back.  It's safe to say that until their input, disco would only be played in 'over 40s' theme nights and weddings. An instant classic.

Just in case you missed it, this unofficial video was a highlight - and it's not too late to be using the moves at your Christmas party.

Mavis Staples - 'Jesus Wept' (2013)

Stax legend Mavis Staples became reborn with the input of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy in the producers role. Their collaboration on the album "One True Vine" brought Gospel into the 21st Century. Every song carries a gravitas and emotion and could easily bring you, and jesus, to tears. Spellbinding.

Seryn - 'Ivory Black' (2013)

Texan 6-piece Seryn knocked me out with the gorgeous, Ivory Black.  Rich harmonies, subtle layers and a fine blend of tenderness and emotion. Listen to the live or studio versions of this track and the result will be the same - it will flatten you like a runaway rhino.

George Ezra - 'Did You Hear The Rain' (2013)

Bristolian, George Ezra was one of my musical discoveries of the year. I first heard when I saw him support Tom Odell in March and I immediately thought he was some sort of "Woody Guthrie-meets-Ray Lamontagne". Ignore this baby faced assassin (with a voice of a 50 year old) at your peril. If he was around in the 60s, he'd probably be as well revered as the other Greenwich Village gang. One to watch!

Dustin Tebbutt - 'The Breach' (2013)

Dustin Tebbutt's The Breach came from nowhere.  The Breach was like a musical mammoth that appeared on the tundra after a snowstorm, I loved it then and I love it now. My Track of the Year.

Want a handy playlist? Subscribe to my top twenty tracks of the year. All are winners.  

Monday, 16 December 2013


This has been a great year with 2 notable events.... A future King of England was born, but more importantly, I joined the Tune Doctor team as a regular contributor. I haven't checked the official statistics, but I believe I have had almost as much press coverage as baby George. Seriously though, I have really enjoyed choosing tracks to share every week and I look forward to contributing many more.

These are my 5 absolute standout tracks of the year, in no particular order.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - 'Stunner'

When I chose this as my TOTW back in August, I said that I was eagerly awaiting the release of their 3rd album 'Repent, Replenish, Repeat' and I wasn't disappointed. Despite only having 9 tracks, it has everything I have come to love about the boys. Clever and meaningful lyrics with Dan Le Sac's excellent beats holding the songs together. 
This time I will dedicate the song to a certain Shellhunter because as far as I'm concerned, 'The world don't revolve around you but it should'

Black Books - 'Favorite Place'

I first came across this 5 piece band from Austin, Texas when I was offered a free song on my mobile phone through my Google Play account. That song was 'White Noise' and it featured on an EP called 'Aquarena'. I was instantly impressed and could hear influences that to me ranged from 'Arcade Fire' to 'Embrace'. The standout track however was this song which also features on their self titled debut album. In May,they were in the UK supporting none other than 'The Flaming Lips' and Shellhunter and I caught them at their first ever UK headline gig at The Barfly just after they had played 2 support gigs at The Roundhouse. They played a great set and afterwards I spoke with the band at the bar and they were a bunch of nice guys to boot. I look forward to seeing them again in the near future.

Actual setlist taken off of the stage post-gig

Imagine Dragons - 'Radioactive'

I chose this as my first TOTW way back in January, and despite it's popularity (108 million plus views on You Tube) I haven't grown tired of it. The video still makes me smile with all of the cuddly-wuddlies gaining their revenge. The rest of the album was slightly poppier than this but I enjoyed it. I never got a chance to see them when they played over here earlier in the year, but I'm sure they will be back soon.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Feat Wanz) - 'Thrift Shop'

When I first heard this track on Scroobius Pip's xFM show, I didn't realise how huge it was going to become. I don't have much else to say other than to quote some of  the lyrics ' This is f#@$ing awesome'

Having been a fan of Alice In Chains since the 90's I was really happy to hear their new stuff this year which did not fail to disappoint me whatsoever. Shellhunter and I saw that they were playing over in the UK and when the dates were announced we were dismayed to see that they were playing in London at the Alexandra Palace (see here for why we were upset) I saw that they were also playing in Birmingham, and I arranged to stay with some family up there, but never got around to buying the tickets and missed seeing them play. However, imagine my excitement when at work one mundane morning, a colleague handed me a plectrum and asked me if I had heard of this band.Upon studying it, I thought I read the signature as Jerry Cantrell...I then turned it over and saw the dinosaur logo that featured on the cover of their latest album 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here' by now I was speechless and shaking. I eventually managed to tell my colleague that this was one of may all time favourite bands. She insisted that I go and speak with them, which after taking a few minutes to gather myself together, I did. The bands tour manager, Chuck Randall looks an imposing figure, but he is the epitome of 'looks can be deceiving' as he was one of the nicest people I have ever met. he introduced me to Jerry and Mike Inez who were equally nice and spoke with me for a few minutes while I gushed about being a huge fan etc. This didn't put them off though as they agreed to have a picture taken with me. I promise that next time they are over here, I will 100 percent be seeing them.

Spot the nerd amongst rock gods

Subscribe to London Scouser's Best Of 2013 Spotify Playlist below!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

TRACKS OF THE WEEK - 15/12/2013 - Broken Bells, Jose Gonzalez, The Nightwatchman, Leisure Society, M.I.A.

Five tracks that brought us some 'Madiba Magic' this week...

Shell Hunter:-
Broken Bells - 'Holding On For Life' (2013)


I heard this last night on my drive home whilst listening to XFM's Import/Export which is like a battle of the top tracks in London vs L.A. I had to turn it up becasue I was confused as to why XFM were playing The Bee Gees! I then found out the american indie duo is made up by Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse and lead guitarist/vocalist James Mercer from The Shins. Their second album After The Disco is due out early next year and if this is anything to go by, I shall be donning  some tight white slacks and swaying side to side 70s style at my xmas party next week! You can't beat a bit of indie disco!

Jose Gonzalez - Stay Alive (2013)

I've been captivated by this song and just cannot stop listening to it.  It's the sort of song that makes you fall in love music and dare I say it, makes the world a better place.

The song features on the soundtrack for the Ben Stiller movie, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and was penned by Ryan Adams, other contributions on the soundtrack include Junip, Jack Johnson, Of Monsters and Men and a version on David Bowie's, "Space Oddity", that features vocals by Kristen Wig.

M.I.A. - Matangi (2013)

I'm a long term fan of Mathangi Arulpragasam, when I first heard 'Galang' back in 2005 I was blown away. It was glorious musical chaos, much in the same vain as the likes of Public Enemy or the Chemical Brothers. Not short on controversy, she's a fierce female role model (her words are her armour apparently), innovative, she pissed off the Yanks at the Super Bowl and she hails from Hounslow, reprazent!! (I was unfortunate to live there). I look forward to every release but bar, 'Bad Girls', which was a great track, I found the singles from the new album, Matangi, disappointing. So I approached the album with a degree trepidation and found it to be a little disjointed, however there are some very good moments on it, notably the Dhol beat driven, 'Matangi', which goes someway to recapturing that form that made her so unique in the first place.

London Scouser:-
The Nightwatchman - 'Which Side Are You On?' (2011)

I was clearing up an old hard drive recently and came across a playlist that I had downloaded a couple of years ago. On it was this gem which came out in 2011, on The Nightwatchman's 3rd album 'Union Town'. The Nightwatchman is none other than Tom Morello, the awesome guitarist of Rage Against The Machine & Audioslave amongst many others. However as soon as you hear this, you realise how different the style is to his previous works. He keeps his political views in the songs, but in a manner which you could find your granny not frowning to and instead of saying something along the lines of 'Music ??? That's not music' or 'They certainly don't write them like they use to' she might actually enjoy it.
This is a cover of a song written in the 1930's which has been covered by a number of artists including Natalie Merchant & Deacon Blue. I'm sure Old Pa will be able to share with us all which song by Bob Dylan this was referenced in..... If he can't, then answers on a postcode to the usual address

Old Pa's Corner:-
The Leisure Society - A Softer Voice Takes Longer Hearing (2013)

I have not had much time to listen to new music this week but while trying to compile my Best Twenty for the Year. I came across this little Gem by the Leisure Society taken from their album  Alone Aboard The Ark (2013).

I had forgotten about this one and even although it is from around April time, it is definitely one to share and has gone straight into my Best Twenty of the Year.

Subscribe to our 2013 Tracks of the Week Spotify Playlist

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Art Of Noise - 'Moments In Love'

Musical Medicine....A track that's like a Haagen Dazs pralines and cream milkshake for the soul!


Art Of Noise - 'Moments In Love' (1984)
I went to watch the 19 Eighties : The Rhythm Of A Decade concert a couple of weeks back at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in Southbank. Described as 'A brand-new one-off documentary soundtrack to the decade you either love, or love to hate.' I really didn't know what to expect. I thought it would just be orchestral versions of 80s songs. To my surprise it was led by music journalist and co founder of Art Of Noise, Paul Morley with fellow band member Anne Dudley. One of the highlight moments for me was a stripped back, totally non electric version of Art Of Noise's groundbreaking Into Battle, namely Moments In Love which I used to remember being played when we had family BBQ'a back in Saudi. I was immediately transported back to those days and was suddenly filled with emotion just hearing it performed by a full orchestra. All the little ticks and clicks from the band instruments trying to recreate what was essentially electronic samples trying to sound like orchestral instruments! A weird full circle kind of thing! Part of the soundtrack to my life for sure, only I'd completely forgotten about it!

DYLAN COVERS - #129 Spooky Tooth - Too Much of Nothing x 2

'Say Hello to Valerie'

SPOOKY TOOTH - Too Much of Nothing (1968)

Spooky Tooth were what I suppose you would call a  'Progressive Rock Band'. They were at their peak during the late sixties and early seventies and were quite a well thought of Band. Well I liked some of there stuff.
Here are two versions of  Too Much About Nothing  the first from their album  It's all About (1968) and the second is taken from the album BBC Sessions/Live in Europe (2001).

Both are excellent versions.
 SPOOKY TOOTH - Too Much of Nothing (Live) (2001)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Bole 2 Harlem - 'Bole 2 Harlem'

World Music Corner

Bole 2 Harlem - 'Bole 2 Harlem' (2006)

I sport my hair swept up and over in a quiff, I'm thinking David Beckham but unfortunately it's probably more David Brent. What does this have to do with anything? Well I was flabbergasted by a comment a work colleague directed at me this week. She's an Ethiopian girl and we got talking about music, as you do, mentioning that I knew of a couple of bands from her country, Bole 2 Harlem being one. She was surprised by this and says,

"wow, I didn't know you were into to this kind of music!"

I reply "don't judge a book by it's cover eh? Why not by the way?"

And she ponders for awhile and knocks me down dead by saying, "I don't know, I think it's your hair and glasses..."


And while I'm on the subject of small talk....another colleague of mine knew I liked Hip Hop, (and was equally surprised by this too) so one day I was on the bus going into work, reading and minding my own business, when he gets on and notices me. Bemused, he looks at me and says,

"Oh, you read books? I thought you were more gangster than that?"


Bole 2 Harlem (Bole being a suburb of Addis Ababa), were a collective based out of New York between 2005-2006 incorporating Hip Hop with traditional forms of Ethiopian music. They only made one album, Bole 2 Harlem vol.1 and disbanded soon after, caused by disputes over royalties and one band member tragically dying. Despite this, Songlines Magazine regarded the album as one of top 75, most influential, 'World Music' albums and even though I look like Clark Kent, Bole 2 Harlem was one of my favourite songs of 2006.

Bole 2 Harlem's official website...

Have a listen/subscribe to TuneDr's World Music Corner Spotify playlist below or have a look at some other WMC posts here..

The Doors - The Spy



He smirked as he booked me!



THE DOORS - The Spy (1970)


Here are a couple of little stories inspired by Shellhunter's brilliant tale of when her beloved Beetle Jazzman was towed away by Spies.

I nipped out to the local shops one evening and parked my car close by. A Spy was close to me. I asked him if it would be OK to park, as I would only be a couple of minutes.

He said :

'no problem mate!'

I was in the shop about 3 minutes and when I came out he was writing out a ticket. I challenged him!

'You said it was OK to park. Why didn't you say I could not park?'.

'Sorry mate I'm only doing my job. Free parking starts at 7'.

By now it was passed 7.

I was livid and what made matters worse, is that he had a satisfied smirk on his face. I had a hard job just to keep control, I really wanted to smack this guy, but knew I would be taken to the cleaners if I did. I accepted the ticket and paid up the £40 pound fine.

The second story is probably just as bad. It was Christmas Eve and again I parked outside a local mini Supermarket. When I came out, there were several Spies booking everybody who parked on this area, which ran parallel to the main road. It was common practise to park there.

I found out that the Spies did this every Christmas Eve, it was like a Christmas Bonus for them. They were told go out and get X amount of tickets, then they could go home, early trap for Christmas. Make someone happy on Chrstmas Eve. That particular Road was easy pickings.

I despise the 'job' of Spies and would find it very difficult ever do that job.

If I was ever down and out I would rather caress the bottle than do a job like that.

But saying that, I've got a little Pensions and dogs to feed. So lets open that bottle.

And very appropriately, one of my favourite Doors Songs from Morrison Hotel (1970).


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Denison Witmer - Born Without Words


Do you like Singer/Songwriters, or do you have a unhealthy affection to the sadness, if so you may have a case of the Tuesday Blues!

Hello Ladies

Denison Witmer -
Born Without Words (2013)

I love the winter. Not the wet & windy blustery type, but the cold clear type, when the days are cold and the nights are clear.  When I set off for work at 'stupid o'clock', one of the things that picks me up when I'm tired and (often) grumpy is the tinge of excitement when I take a moment to stare at the stars.  The fact that i'm staring into the past still blows my (little) mind and leaves me speechless.

Born Without The Words features Denison Witmer's  latest (9th) self-titled album. It's a glorious, haunting, personal track, which perfectly accompanies the start of winter and features one of the the best lines ever

"..I've grown too old, to die young now....and I'm better for it..."

We're all better for it!

The album also includes backing from other musicians, most notably, Surfjan Steven's and William Fitzsimmons.  Do yourself a favour and put it on your list to Santa...

If you are a fan of Men with Beards, like the gentle stroking of a six-string, or just a miserable bugger, Subscribe to our Spotify playlist and read more Tuesday Blues here!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

TRACKS OF THE WEEK - 08/12/13 - Connan Mockasin, Neil Young, Midlake, Dan Croll, The Courteeners

Five tracks that delivered like an Amazon drone...

Midlake - Antiphon (2013)

I (usually) find it difficult to listen to a band when they change their lead vocalist. So I was preparing for the worst when lead vocalist Tim Smith left midlake and they promoted Eric Pulido to the main role. I was a huge fan of their 2006 album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, and I just thought "it wouldn't be the same". This is what makes Midlakes "Antiphon" so interesting. It's subtly different but somehow feels the same (even vocally!). 70s folk-meets-soft-rock on paper sounds wrong, but I can assure you, Midlake's 2nd coming may even take them to bigger things!

Connan Mockasin - 'Do I Make You Feel Shy' (2013)

New Zealand's musically talented, Connan Mockasin, has been heralded by elements of the music press, as the 'Kiwi Prince'. Interesting, I thought but at first I wasn't so sure as it does sound like he may have recorded this in an underwater harem. Take the 'fluidy' music, high pitched vocals and amorous lyrics along with the elaborate title and you can see the similarities with the diminutive Pop icon. But it grew on me, pretty much in the same why I poopooed Prince's 'Kiss' when it first came out for sounding bloody weird but that turned out well for the both of us. A worthwhile listen, 'Do I Make You Feel Shy?', is taken from Connan's latest solo album Caramel. 'Recorded in an underwater harem'....Prince, take note.

London Scouser:-
The Courteeners - 'Are You In Love With A Notion?' (2013)

I've been a fan of The Courteeners since I first heard 'Not Nineteen Forever' way back in 2008 !! And in the battle of bands named after cars, I much prefer them to The Datsuns. Maybe it's being from Manchester and having a lead singer called Liam, now where have I heard that before ??
This is out on December 09th and it's the third single off of their third album 'Anna'. I found it memorable and catchy on my first hearing which is always a great sign. I've noticed that all the singles off of this album are much more upbeat than their previous ones.

Old Pa's Corner:-
Neil Young - Tell Me Why (2013)

I remember the time of Neil Young's,  After the Gold Rush (1970)  album. It was one of those that was so damm good you could not wait for the next album to come out. Usually you were going to be dissapointed, as really all you wanted was the same album again. When he released  Harvest (1972)  it blew me away. It was 2 out of 2 for Neil. 

That is a rare event, like an astorid hitting the earth.  (a big one)

Harvest included one of Old Ma and Moi's 'songs',  Heart of Gold. (she thought I had a Heart of Gold, heh! what did she know?)

This is the first track on Neil Young's live album  Live at the Cellar Door (2013). It is also the first track on ATGR. He played several gigs at this small intimate venue in Washington D.C. in 1970 and this album records this historic set of concerts.

It was recorded in between After the Gold Rush and before Harvest, two albums which are worthy of any music collection. There are 5 tracks from ATGR on this set..

Neil Young at his acoustic best. It's so bloody good!

Shell Hunter:-
Dan Croll - 'Home' (2013)

Dan is back with yet another great single! I remember this one vividly from when he performed it at Latitude Festival in July. He got the crowd to sing the chorus which although we gave it our best efforts was a bit wonky. He's had a pretty busy year touring heavily including most of the summer festivals but the question on everyone's lips is...where is your album Dan? When he does eventually release it, it will be like eating a bag of pic'n'mix. Every one is a winner and for me is full of nostalgia! If you like free sh*t, click here to sign up to download Dan's song 'Can You Hear Me'...
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Friday, 6 December 2013

Simple Minds - 'Mandela Day'

R.I.P. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

When I heard the news that Mandela had passed away, a strange feeling came over me, as if a small part of me had also died. A little melodramatic maybe but I had grown up in the eighties where Apartheid was at it's height, the boycotts, the savage imagery and the protest songs were always in the news. I also visited South Africa, albeit on holiday, with my parents when I was 8 years old and saw it first hand...'white only beach', 'white only shop', 'white only drinking fountain' and I never understood why and perhaps I never will. Then there was this man, who despite it all, kept 'rowing against the current', taught us about redemption and irrespective of colour, class or creed inspired many across a nation and throughout the world.

Simple Minds - 'Mandela Day' (1988)

There have been many songs from various artists that have covered Mandela's life but I suppose Simple Mind's 'Mandela Day' struck a chord with me when it came out in 1988, capturing a mood which I remember to this day. It has been a long time since I heard it and it came on the radio this morning, it was 'a everyone be quiet and stop what you're doing' moment. We lost one of the good guys....RIP Nelson R Mandela

DYLAN COVERS # 128 Jim Reid(Jesus and Mary Chain Chain)/Cowboy Junkies - If You Gotta Go, Go Now

The Chain Gang

JIM REID - If You Gotta Go, Go Now (2006)

I came across this cover by Jim Reid of Jesus and Mary Chain  fame just by chance and it was a pleasant surprise, it is a very passabe take of  If You Gotta Go, Go Now and is taken from a 2006 single release of Dead Eng Kids and was included along with a demo of Dead End Kids.

I have not listened to the Jesus and Mary Chain for some time and this gave me the boost to get their great albums out and give them an airing.

The other take of the song is by the Cowboy Junkies and is an excellent version taken from their album Rarities, B-Sides and Slow, Sad Waltzes (1999)
I love the voice of Margo Timmins.

COWBOY JUNKIES - If You Gotta Go, Go Now (1999)

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Wilco - 'Handshake Drugs'

Musical Medicine...a track that's like Houmous for the soul!

Wilco - 'Handshake Drugs' (2004)

"I was chewing gum for something to do"

A Wilco stunner and one track I never tire of hearing, taken from their excellent 2004 album, A Ghost is Born. It's been awhile since I heard this gem and bizarrely, it's all due to a book I found by Team Bush and co's favourite political analyst, Noam Chomsky. Not my usual choice of reading material but you find all sorts the airport, Interventions is a collection of essays on American foreign policy, notably the dubious reasons for waging war in Iraq. This in turn reminded me of 'iffy' Iraq war drama, Over There, which I used to watch back in 2005, the soundtrack was particularly ropey but I almost choked on my houmous when, on one episode, it featured 'Handshake Drugs'. A sterling if a little peculiar choice to be blasting that song out of your Humvee whilst cruising around Anbar province's 'Triangle of Death', I wonder what Jeff Tweedy made of it. Strange how the mind associates stuff.



Little Village - Fool Who Knows


The Village
Some Village People
Two Wednesday Club visits this week, well it will soon be Christmas!
LITTLE VILLAGE - Fool Who Knows (1992)

I missed the series The Village when it first came out earlier this year. (How did I let that slip through the net?)

Thanks to a song on the Singing Bear's 'must check' site Growing up Backwards. I became aware of it. I got hold of the series immediately and thought I would check out the first episode and see what it was like. It was great, just up my street. A gritty period drama. The place, well a little village in England silly. The time was just before and during the first World War.

It was about poverty. survival, the First World War, Shell shock, Social Injustice and of course sex and scandal, just up my ally.

Old Ma and I watched the first episode and then decided to watch episode two. After that we both said together, lets have just one last episode. I got to bed at 02:30 after we had watched the whole series, about 6 hours worth.

Of course you can do that sort of thing when you are retired, well you know yourself!.

Highly recommended and bring on the next series.

This was and ideal excuse for me to introduce what I suppose was a super group called Little Village and was made up of Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, John Hiatt and Jim Keltner. They released a great self titled one of album, which is worth checking out.

I choose a live take of Fool Who Knows just to let you see the guys in action. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Rolling Stones - Route 66 x 2


The Tapas Route

THE ROLLING STONES - Route 63 (1964)

I had the great pleasure of having Shellhunter and the London Scouser for three days last week. It was short and very very liquidy.

The first day was great we managed to eat Al Fresco at one of our favourite restaurants by the sea which does the best Argentinian Steak in the whole world. What! with lashings of wine, brandies and a couple more on the way home.  Then a music session. It was bloody near perfect.

On their last day luckily there was an event called the Tapas Route which really is self explanatory. Restaurants and Pubs offer two different Tapas and either a glass of wine or a small beer for 2.5 Euros. You get a stamp on a card after each visit and you can vote on the best Tapas.

It was between 12:30 and 04:30, we got there about 13:00 and started immediately. It was great fun and by 04:00 we were buzzing and in great spirits. We had managed to complete 8 different Tapas and drinks of course. Was there time for 2 more to get 10 in?. You bet there was.

We had a great time and I for one will certainly do it again. It was a great way to discover new Bars and Restaurants that you would not normally find or go to. Was there time for another drink or 2 on the way home? You bet there was!

If you are interested, I have included the link which will tell you details of all the Tapas on offer.

See you all next year at the Tapas Route, you are all welcome.!

By the way there was 63 Bars and Restaurants on the Route.

I just love the early Stones rhythm and blues sound.

THE ROLLING STONES - Route 63 (Live CamdenTheater 1964)

Monday, 2 December 2013

GUEST SPOT #65 - John and Yoko / Plastic Ono Band - 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'

This weeks heartfelt Guest Spot has been submitted by Dave, a previous contributor, welcome back! It's our first ever Christmas song guest post and if you fancy sharing a favourite song, gig or musical memory, just click here. Its simples!

John and Yoko / Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir - 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)' (1971)

Growing up in North Wales we could get the reception from Radio Merseyside. My parents always had it tuned in for its Beatles 1960s nostalgia, the soundtrack to their teenage years.

My parents had a massive headboard in their bedroom which had a radio and speakers built in. It felt comforting going in their room in the mornings hearing them sing to the familiar songs.

On Tuesday 9th December 1980 getting ready for junior school I walked in their bedroom. I didn't really hear what the DJ had said, but my parents looked upset and I clearly remember John Lennon's 'Imagine' coming on the radio. By the time 'Happy Xmas (War is Over)' had finished they were in tears.

John had been shot in America. 'But he'll be ok though' I said, 'just like JR'. JR Ewing had been shot earlier in the year and he was OK. My 8 year old mind not quite able to separate tv drama from reality. More tears, and I got upset too as my parents were upset.

My parents kept that headboard for years until it looked very retro and dated, through various house moves and changes of cities, no matter which house it was in, it reminded me of 'Imagine' and 'Happy Xmas' and tears.

In the winter of 2003 I took my mum to New York City. Outside the Dakota building I told her this story and standing near where John had been murdered we remembered all over the joy and tears his music had given us.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

TRACKS OF THE WEEK - 01/12/13 - Wooden Shjips, Cults, Rosanne Cash, Bombay Bicycle Club, Gogol Bordello

Five tracks, brighter than comet Ison..

Wooden Shjips - 'Back to Land' (2013)

No they're not Dutch but their brand of psychedelic rock wouldn't go amiss amongst the coffee shops of Amsterdam. Hey, it's not me...I'm not the one type casting but San Francisco's Wooden Shjips' genre has been categorised as 'Space Rock' and the music press have compared them to The Doors and the Velvet Underground, trippy accolade indeed. Anyway I love this, definitely from sunnier climes and dreamy, a relentless psychedelic groove with freewheeling guitar solos, what's not to like. 'Back to Land' is taken from the bands fourth album of the same name and it's pretty E-dam good....sorry.

Wooden Shjips at Thrill Jockey Records or dock at their website here..

London Scouser:-
Bombay Bicycle Club - 'Carry Me' (2013)

It's been a few years since I last saw anything new by the BBC, and it's definitely been worth the wait. This is the first single off of their as yet unnamed 4th album, which is due to be released in early 2014.It's got the unmistakeable sound that first attracted me to the band, with a video that reminds me of Hot Chip. They also have an interactive video for the song, which can be found by clicking here and is a little odd, but good fun.

Old Pa's Corner:-
Rosanne Cash - A Feather's Not A Bird (2013)

There seems to a bit of a buzz about the new album  The River And The Thread by Rosanne Cash which is due for release mid January 2914. If this first sample A Feather's Not A Bird is anything to go by, I for one will be waiting with anticipation. This track is pure bliss, superb backing, great voice and a top song, it does not get much better than this.

Check out the guest musicians who include Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell (who also co-wrote one song), Amy Helm, Kris Kristofferson, Allison Moorer, John Prine, Derek Trucks, John Paul White (The Civil Wars), Tony Joe White and Gabe Witcher (The Punch Brothers.)

Bleedin' 'ell, that is some list of friends you 'ave got there Rosanne!.

Shell Hunter:-
Gogol Bordello - 'Lost Innocent World' (2013)

A colleague of mine invited me to watch a group on December 13th at Brixton Academy that he's heavily into, which descibe themselves as 'Gypsy punks' but are actually from Manhattan. After reading that they play traditional instruments which include the violin and accordion and influences are a mixture of dub and punk such as Manu Chao and The Clash, I had to check them out! This is their latest single taken from an album released earlier this year called Pure Vida Conspiracy. It makes me think of a Romanian verision of the Pogues and I'll bet my money they are a right hoot to see live! Watch this space!

Cults - High Road (2013)
This delightful track by Cults is an indiepop masterpiece and should be the blue print for everyone to follow. Beat + '60s'synths + funky bassline, guitars and a vocal hook that could catch a Marlin. It is a musical pill you could take all day!

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