Sunday, 21 December 2014

Flycasual's - Best 5 of 2014

2014 - Another Great Year For Music

This time of year always fills me with a sense of happy dread. Not only is Christmas round the corner with all the buffoonery that that entails but it's the real stress of compiling your best of the year. Never mind an eight month old baby and getting my head around a new job it was this exclusive list that was giving me sleepless nights. Many thanks as always to my fellow bloggers Old Pa, Sfw, London Scouser and Shell Hunter for providing class A material for the blog but also contributing to my soundtrack of the year. Props y'all!

Jungle - 'The Heat'

It's not very often a band comes along and completely knocks me out Frank Bruno style. These guys ticked all of my boxes since I first heard them earlier this year, they were elusive, their videos had some brilliant dance choreography and they had a retro vibe not heard since Hue and Cry in the 80's (ok maybe not them but they're definitely channeling a 80's white soul ting but light years better). Needless to say they didn't disappoint at Latitude either, the moshing (why?) kids did however. Band of the year, sound of the summer, stunning!

War On Drugs - 'Red Eyes'

On many a best ofs list and for good reason, it really doesn't get much better than this. Devastatingly brilliant, it gives me goose pimples every time. Beautiful melody, beautiful musicianship, a track perfectly put together...and then he goes "woo" and it kicks off! Almost Springsteen-esque. Oh stop gushing! We missed them at Latitude but we past the tent when this played and that was highly memorable. Thanks to Old Pa for the heads up, track of the year!

Royal Blood - 'Loose Change'

An absolute belter! That's a lot of noise coming from two guys. Watching them perform live is something else, this is only the beginning for the talented Brighton duo. A firm family favourite, 'Loose Change' is the brightest diamond from a solid debut album.

Run The Jewels - 'Close Your Eyes' feat Zach De La Rocha

Fierce, chaotic and rude, reminiscent to how I felt when I first listened to Public Enemy in the 80's. Run the Jewels is Rap's in form duo, EL-P and Killer Mike, with a VIP guest spot from Rocks very own, "I'm bloody annoyed", Zach De La Rocha (who incidentally did his verse in one take). Perfect for the middle aged dad to turn the stereo up to 11 in his Peugeot estate after the kids are safely dropped off at school/nursery. A Bombtrack fo' sho'.

Tony Allen - 'Go Back' feat Damon Albarn

It would have been hard to ignore Damon Albarn after he released his debut solo, Everyday Robots, earlier this year. Though it was a decent album with some notable standouts, it was the sobering collaboration with Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen that hit the spot.

It took lots of workin and twerkin to squeeze dem tracks into a top 20. A labour of love fo' sho' and I'm sharing it below, have a listen. Or if you're feeling a little adventurous try my B-sides for size here.....

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Shell Hunter's - Best 5 of 2014


We knew it was going to be tough but its the annual task we must complete. My criteria was simple, if I love it now as much as when it first hit, it made the cut. Here are my prestigious Top 5 followed by the meticulously chosen Top 20. These songs will be frozen in time, forever shaping our memory of 2014 when we look back and listen. Farewell to those that we had to let go, and cheers to the next batch in 2015!!

Boy and Bear - 'Southern Sun'

I got an email from Spotify last week which said, "What was your most listened to song of 2014?" Oooo, I thought, I wonder if this will be any reflection on my Track Of The Year? There it was in black and white, Boy and Bear - Southern Sun. I couldn't argue with that, it really is my favourite song of 2014. I absolutely adore the feel it has, full of warm nostalgia of summer days. If only you could just bottle that!

Future Islands - 'Seasons (Waiting On You)'

I was thrilled to hear my favourite band of 2011 were back with a new album. This track is a real grower and a perfect insight to the Future Islands' unique style. I am privileged to have seen them up close and personal a couple of times (including this year's Latitude), even buying a tshirt and having a chat with the singer Sam who brings raw dramatic emotion by the bucket load. A must see if you get a chance!

Hot Chip vs. William Onyeabor - 'Atomic Bomb'

The original version of this song really is the epitome of this year for me. It surrounds the whole of the Latitude weekend. The day before, picking up Old Pa, driving to Suffolk listening to our Latitude playlist and seeing the whole project jovially performing it on the Sunday morning. It and other songs on the album are absolutely nuts but what a great sound! Having Hot Chip giving it the treatment is the cherry (bomb) on the cake! Boom!

Jungle - 'Busy Earnin'

I have to give Flycasual schnapps for this one, he raved about Jungle all year and he couldn't have been more right. They have a totally fresh sound. I have never seen a harder working group live on stage, they were mind blowing. In the BBC6 tent at Latitude they started off with the aptly titled The Heat and did not stop. So much enthusiasm, energy and they were so tight, it was if they were one big organism. It was worth suffering the sweltering heat to see this soultastic group. I have every confidence they will keep knocking out fantastic funk filled tunes. 

Arctic Monkeys - 'Snap Out Of It'

It was very hard choosing track 5 but I had to have a bit of the 'Monkeys. They just keep doing it. I like pretty much every song they've released but there is something about this one. I cant help singing along. The clever lyrics just roll off the tongue. Its good fun and I always enjoy the observant take on relationships their songs come out with. "There is no way she could have moved on, its obviously a phase. Snap out of it." We've all been there bruv!

Enjoyed my choices? Hear the rest of my Top 20 Best of 2014 on my Spotify playlist below!

Friday, 19 December 2014

DYLAN COVERS # 177 - 5 from 2014

Once upon a time you dressed so fine

High folks, I have done this one pretty quick. I am sure I could have given you more good ones. But I hope you like this little selection of some of my Fav Dylan Covers of 2014. I am sure I have forgotten something, somewhere. Anyway enjoy these and most of all enjoy the Festivities and the ones you Love.

I am back in the UK to spend Xmas with Shellhunter and Flycasual. I will try and continue with Dylan Covers next year.  Well, as long as I enjoy it and keep finding stuff that is not always the obvious. If I like it, I hope you like it. See you next year. Old Pa xx.

WILKO JOHNSON AND ROGER DALTREY - Can you Please Crawl Out Your Window 


MIDLAKE - I Shall Be Released


ABSOLUTLEY SWEET MARIE - Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands




First Aid Kit - One More Cup Of Coffee

Friggin' Awesome!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

OLD PA's - Best 5 of 2014

A great year for Music, so many contenders, now let the music speak :


Like a few others before, you just knew! guys, how do you follow that?  

What the 'ell I just like it!


A slow grower, but every time I heard it, I grinned with ear pleasure. I bet she slipped up? Maybe Ray is makin' it with Jane on the Night Shift. Jeremy Kyle lie detector awaits.


William Onyeabor just had to get the nod but with Hot Chip onboard....orgasmic!orgasmic!


When it hits! it bloody well hits!, this was a thunderbolt, I never got tired of it the whole year. Easy!, my track of the year. Tension, Pain and Beauty to a dance beat! One regret!, I missed them at Latitude. Unforgivable Old Pa!

Subscribe listen to Old Pa's best tracks of 2014

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

SFW's - Best 5 of 2014

2014 - Another great year of music

The Fauns - 4am.  
Dreamy, atmospheric shoe-gaze perfection from Bristols The Fauns.  Listen to it while the sun rises and you'll feel like Indiana Jones when he finds the location of the ark!

Glass Animals - Gooey
This shattered me when I featured it first in April, but hearing it live in a hot and sweaty tent at Latitude was something else.

Thurston Moore - The Best Day
Sonic Youth's main man showed us all that his best material isn't behind him with this colossal dirt-fuzz filled masterpiece!

Night Beds - Head for the hills
Singer/Songwriter Winston Yellen teased us in January 2014 with his reverb-heavy magnificence! I'm looking forward to 2015!

Hiss Golden Messenger - Saturday's Song
Southern charm from MC Taylor blew us all away at Latitude 2014 and converted us all to believers!  My Track of the Year!

It was never supposed to be easy, getting this list to twenty took weeks and last minute tweaks!  Check out my top twenty below!

Monday, 15 December 2014

London Scouser's - Best 5 of 2014

2014 - Another great year of music

It took me a long time to choose my favourite 5, and they aren't in any particular order, but here goes

We Are Scientists - 'What You Do Best'

We Are Scientists are a band I've liked since first hearing 'The Great Escape' and their 2008 release 'Brain Thrust Mastery' was my album of the year. I'll admit that I haven't given this years offering 'TV en Francais' as much earplay but nevertheless I was immediately attracted to this song. For me it has the best lyrics I've heard in a long while "When I said that you were something else, I didn't mean it as a compliment". Every time I hear them a smile forms. One of life's simple pleasures.

Woods - 'Moving To The Left'

My second choice reminds me of the sixties and where their song 'With Light And With Love' which was my TOTW earlier this year sounded like 'The Byrds' this is very 'Beatles' like in my opinion. The whole album is great but this was by far my favourite track on it.

Foo Fighters - 'Something From Nothing'

Welcome back Mr Grohl and friends, whilst I was disappointed with having only 8 tracks on their latest album 'Sonic Highways' I was definitely not unhappy with what I heard. It's a great rock album which has had maybe a dozen plays already and is destined for many more I'm sure.

Belle And Sebastian - 'The Party Line'

Ahhhh, Belle And Sebastian... Just the mention of the name brings back so many great memories for me. Possibly my favourite was many years back... I was on holiday with Shellhunter in Spain visiting Old Pa and Ma. I was sat around the pool listening on my huge brick of an original iPod to a B&S compilation I'd put together, I can't remember which specific song it was but that's not important. I'm a shade rather than sun bather and the umbrella that had been doing it's duty had the audacity to stay still when then sun was moving and as a result I was starting to get hot. I noticed Old Pa had got up out of the corner of my eye. It was then that I uttered the immortal lines that will be with me until my last days on earth I'm sure... "I don't mean this in a lazy way, but...' almost immediately Old Pa's comeback was something along the lines of "Not in a lazy way, my arse!!" He didn't let me add the rest of my request, which was a simple '...could you please move the umbrella" this seemed a perfectly reasonable request to me'
Maybe you had to be there, but it still makes me chuckle to think of that.

Ume - 'Black Stone'

Now for my final choice it was a toughie, as earlier this year I went through my 'Austin Phase' and discovered a plethora of bands that were new to me, some of which weren't from this year alas. I plumped for this with it's amazing riffage. 2014 has been a great year for ''Ooh-may' (as they are pronounced) which saw the band perform on stage in London as part of the 'British Summer Time' gig on the same stage as Black Sabbath, Motorhead & Soundgarden. As well as lead singer and guitarist Lauren Larson taking part in 'Acoustic-4-A-Cure' along with  Billie Joe Armstrong, Sammy Hagar, James Hetfield, Scott Mathews, Pat Monahan, Joe Satriani, Nancy Wilson, not bad company to keep. I think they are destined for greatness.

Those were my top 5, and this below is my top 20, check it out via our Spotify playlist and enjoy

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Friday, 12 December 2014

DYLAN COVERS # 176 Billy Preston/Terence Trent D'Arby - It's Alright Ma, I'm only Bleedin'

Darkness at the Break of Noon!

BILLY PRESTON - It's Alright Ma! I'm Only Bleedin (1973)

What the s*** Terence Trent D'Arby covering our Bob, well what next?.  One Direction,  or is there a Michel Jackson outtake out there somewhere.  That was a bit of a pleasant surprise coming across that one.

Saying that Billy Preston was also not who you would expect also. But at least he was a contemporary and played with the Beatles and Dylan. So no big deal there.

Which is even more strange is that the It's Alright Ma! I'm Only Bleedin' is not the easiest song to cover and I suppose you have to be a bit of a fan to cover that one. Fair play Guys. I love 'em!

Billy Preston  is from his 1973 album  Everybody Likes Some Kind Of Music and  Tel,  you can find on his Greatest Hits (2002).

Both are not unpleasant!!
TERENCE TRENT D 'ARBY - It's Alright Ma! I'm Only Bleedin (2002)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Charles and Eddie - Shine/Bob Dylan - Desolation Row



PERFECT!  maybe! a little art!

CHARLES AND EDDIE - Shine (1992)

When you get my age you start to think about what songs you would like to be played at your funeral. It has to be something that all the good folks attending the event will identify as 'what you are about' and it will have them immediately burst into floods of tears. (well if the like you)

How many Funerals Parlorus have probably a cynical playlist at hand and will contain the obvious contenders,  Endless Love,  Angels,  My Heart will Go On and on and on and of course for heavy metal dudes Highway to Hell. You old Punks out there, well it would not be correct if you did not have something like Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll or maybe Garry Gilmour's Eyes.

For Old Ma, there is only one that stands out and that  is Shine by Charles and Eddie. She loves the song and it has I suppose become 'our' song and I do have to say, it describes her pretty well (most of the time).

For me well the obvious choices would be All Along the Watchtower or Into The Mystic. I know a lot of people do not like Dylan so I think I have almost decided on Desolation Row as it goes on for over 11 minutes and all these Dylan haters, would have to sit through and listen to the whole song. I would be lying in my coffin with a little grin on my face.

Talking about coffins, I want one of theses cardboard affairs, nice and cheap. Like the one shown on the pic. Maybe a little art, the Love Logo (Arthur Lee Love) or the Dylan Eye Logo. No brass handles please or expensive wood. After all, the dam thing is going to burned along with me anyway. I do not want anybody there accept my very immediately family. (well I don't have any friends anyway).

I want my ashes to be mixed with Old Ma's and a boat hired and throw the ashes into the Mediterranean.

It would be a great boat trip out. You no what I mean, a bit of an event. I will pay for the drinks and nibbles. (if there is anything left)

For my second song, well lets leave that one for a surprise. See you there folks! and dont forget, I will be watching you!
BOB DYLAN - Desolation Row (1965)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Daudi Matsiko - Houston in the Blind


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

Daudi Matsiko - Houston in the Blind (2014)

Daudi Matsiko is one of my favourite recent discoveries.  Fellow blogger, flycasual, put me onto his trail a few weeks ago and I've been playing this on repeat ever since.  Houston in the Blind features on his EP, 'A Brief Introduction to Failure', that was released back in May. Gentle Folk to warm you on these cold winter nights, it has everything that you want in a new artist and it leaves you longing for more. 

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!  Do you have a musical memory? Send us the Submit a Guest Spot and we'll feature it!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

TRACKS OF THE WEEK 07-12-2014 - Astronauts, Lonelady, The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band,

Three Tracks that blasted us away!

Shell Hunter
LoneLady - 'Groove It Out' (2014)

I don't know if it's because I'm getting less mobile because of my growing baby bump or if I'm going through some sort of pre-midlife crisis, but I've been craving cheesy dance music recently. Mostly the kind that they play on Club Classics on Heart FM on a Friday night. Luckily without fear of getting my street cred crushed (I just blame everything on baby brain now though) I heard this on BBC6 music and it pacified my craving. Plus it's got more of a gentle beat so I can sway and tap along nicely. LoneLady is Manchester girl Julie Ann Campbell and her genre is described as post-punk, which I don't think quite suits this song. I think I'd describe it as laid back dance-funk and is perfect for playing alongside a Sunday brunch whilst you flick through the paper, tapping your feet. She has an album out from back in 2010 called Nerve Up but I'm sure this new single is the fuse lit for a forth coming firework.

Old Pa's Corner:- The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band - Pu Tai Dub (2014)

This is from an album 21st Century Molam by The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band, now that is quite a name. It may be better for me to quote the SP on theses guys :

Born out of the legendary Paradise Bangkok sessions run by DJs Maft Sai and Chris Menist in Thailand, The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band play vintage molam music from the North-East of Thailand, with a 21st century twist. The band have just completed a successful 2nd tour of Europe, which included a support slot for Damon Albarn in Berlin, as well as gigs in Germany, France, Switzer- land, Belgium and the Czech Republic. The album was recorded in Bangkok and mixed by Nick Manasseh in London, who also contributed a masterful dub to the band's debut single 'Roob Lor Pu Thai'. Chris Menist and Maft Sai are also behind the highly acclaimed 'The Sound of Siam' compilations on Soundway Records, as well as releases for Finders Keepers, Light In The Attic and their own Paradise Bangkok Label.   

Interesting stuff,  try some more if you like this. Here is one for the road, Lam San Disco.

Astronauts - Skydive (2014)

In the week that Orion made its first test flight, this is quite apt.  Astronauts is the project from Dan Carney, formerly of critically-acclaimed East London alt-folkers Dark Captain. 'Skydive' was released back in June and has been floating around the blog-sphere for a few months.  Fans of Jose Gonzalez/Broken Bells will lose their mind.

Listen or even better, subscribe to our tracks of the week playlist here...

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Prince and the Revolution - 'When Doves Cry'

Repeat Prescriptions....The Top 100 Classic Albums Of All Time that you keep coming back to!

Like doing a university course as a mature student, I am returning to my musical education and filling in the gaps. I intend to revisit The 100 Best Albums Of All Time (see them all here) as recommended by Q Magazine back when the poll was last done in 2006. Some I will know and love, some I will have skimmed and some I will not even have given time of day. This will all change when I listen to every album in full as it was intended, from 100 to 1, and choose my favourite song from each.

Album Number 94: Prince - Purple Rain - 'When Doves Cry' (1984)

Finally an album from the 80s I thought to myself when I saw this was next! I don't know a prince song I didn't like but admittedly I haven actually listened to an album before. I knew that Purple Rain was highly acclaimed so expected to be blown away. I was a little bit more than disappointed I'm afraid to say. I only knew about 3 or 4 songs which I was surprised about and found the album quite dated even for an 80s mega fan like me! I even noted myself thinking 'Jeez, even for Prince this is a bit self indulgent at times'. He would throw in a random screechy solo every now and again. I thought the song Little Nikki was pretty bad. The trouble is, I feel terrible about feeling this way about the music God that is Prince. He truly is a talent and play most of the instruments, writes and is just an all round performer. I have discussed this album a few with people who are almost a decade older than me and the opinion was unanimous: "Oh what a great album!" But when did you actually listen to this album last people? Not recently I'll bet.

Anyway, the end result for me was: yes I did enjoy it, but only in parts. The parts I enjoyed were probably the singles he has previously released, coincidence or not? Not sure! Highlights being Lets Go Crazy, I Would Die 4 U and of course my favourite from Purple Rain, When Doves Cry. Sadly I can't listen to the title track Purple Rain without cringing as it was constantly ruined by being played as an "end of the night" song and lots of drunken people shouting the chorus into the air. Shame.

The part I like best from the classic When Doves Cry is the drumming. Not your traditional drum kit sound, but it sounds like the noises you can make when you're trying to make a racket at home; a couple of bins and a table or something. I realised I haven't a clue what the song was about so looked it up. The director of Purple Rain asked Prince to create a piece of music for a particular part in the film and this was one of two things he came up with. It's about parental struggles and an affair inspired by his own relationship with Vanity 6's, Susan Moonsie. It was Prince's first number 1 single so I can understand its success. Not bad for knocking something up! For a song that is supposed to be a dance track, it's quite stripped back and quiet. The song is pretty timeless asides from the last minute of the track where you have the signature 80s spoiler of the synthesiser solo. Oh dear. Bring on the radio edit for that one!

Nb. Prince seems to have not allowed videos on youtube so I only have a clip to give you the idea. You can find the whole video if you click on this link though! 

Shell Hunter says, worth another listen

Friday, 5 December 2014

DYLAN COVERS # 175 Fairfield Four/Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir - Are You Ready

Hallelujah ! Are you ready for Armageddon?

FAIRFIELD FOUR - Are You Ready (2003)

How about some Gospel ? I saw Dylan during his Gospel Phase in London 1981. It was one of the best Bob concerts I have seen.

Here are two different takes on Are You Ready from Saved (1980). The first one is by the Fairfield Four and you will find it on Gotta Serve Somebody: Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan (2003). The second one is by the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir singing the Gospel Songs of Dylan. I believe it was in Melbourne in 2011.  If you like this one there are many more from the same concert available to watch on You tube.

Are you Ready for this Folks?


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

TOM PAXTON - My Lady Is A High Wild Dove/Can't Help But Wonder?


Do you remember your first time?

A Trident 1

TOM PAXTON - My Lady's A Wild Flying Dove (1964)

We all remember our first time, don't we ? I suppose it is a landmark in anybody's life. I remember my first flight as if it was yesterday. Because it was my first flight I suppose that is why I remember it.

It was not the only first that week-end. It was also the first time I had crossed the border into England. The first time I actually left Scotland and I was 21 years of age.

I was visiting my girl friend who had recently started as a ground Ground Hostess with British Airways and as a birthday treat she bought me a ticket for a flight from London to Manchester. We would take the flight and get the train back to London. To be quite honest I do not remember too much about it. I know the Aircraft was a Trident 1 and I do remember being very excited at the time. But the whole significance was, really it was just my first time.

Do you remember your first time?
TOM PAXTON - I Can't Help Wonder Where I am Bound (1964)

In 1964 Tom Paxton was a Great Contender but never really followed up the Fabulous Ramblin' Boy album. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Matthew Santos - December's Ghost


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

Matthew Santos - December's Ghost (2010)

Best known for his collaboration and Grammy nomination with Lupe Fiasco on the single "Superstar",  Singer/Songwriter & Painter Matthew Santos is a bit of a surprise.  Despite is early connections with hip-hop (if that is what you can call it), his real strength is as a singer/songwriter and his indie/folk roots.  December's Ghost demonstrates his talent and comparisons with Buckley are spot on.  This features on his 2010 album, This Burning Ship of Fools.

He's currently working on a new album via Pledge Music and is worth a punt - go on, pledge something - there's nothing better than supporting an artist! 

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!  Do you have a musical memory? Send us the Submit a Guest Spot and we'll feature it!