Aqua, NOT the Barbie Girl one

Shoey suggested an album of the month, and I have taken that to heart …. substituting ‘month’ with ‘year.’ Oh, and ‘album’ with ‘building’. Close enough.

This is the 82-storey Aqua in Chicago, the 2009 international Skyscraper of the Year. The signature feature is the undulating balconies, but they have greater purpose than eye candy, man.

Hands up everyone who remembers Chicago = the Windy City. Those winds whip across the sea-like Lake Michigan, so the ‘waves’ of balconies are not only visually informed by the Great Lakes and their limestone shorelines, they also diffuse the massive wind gusts, reducing heating costs. Chicago is smack dab on North America’s major bird migration route, so flocks of birds tend to crash into the city’s skyscrapers. This one’s irregular lines and reflections are meant to prevent that.

The balconies shade the occupants, earning more green points.  The whole building uses green building materials, it has public charging stations for electric cars, and a terrace that doubles as a green roof.

Significantly for unshackling future architects, a new concrete forming apparatus had to be invented to allow each balcony to be individually shaped without delaying construction or adding huge costs.

Building of the year? One for all time, seems like, and in music terms, a crossover hit. How many other buiildings has the ‘Spill reviewed?

Too Many Words

Album Of The Month – May

Due to popular demand (from GF – he’s popular), you now (if I did it right) get 3 votes, just like a real election.

Warning:May contain Americana & electronic bleeps.

Warning:May contain hip hop & racket


A week from today (June 1) is my anniversary. This is the song we first danced to at our wedding. Of course it has a story (although not an extremely interesting one). When I first met David (23 in 93) he had just purchased this brandy-new Bob Marley 3 CD set of previously unknown material. On zillion (I think). I’ll bet goneforeign remembers – the albums were called Kinky Reggae, Lively Up Yourself, Rainbow Country. I was glad he liked Bob Marley, cause I did, too, but it was more than that…

I’d never been in love before in my life, and something about lying in David’s small bedroom, listening to these, looking for a sign or portent around every corner – Well, it felt like every song was about US. (The arrogance of youth, eh?) Listening to them since, I realize I was wildly wrong, but – not about this song. This one was definitely about us in the spring of ’93.

So…the question is…what’s your song? If not the song at your wedding, then the song that represents a relationship, or the song you’d like to represent a relationship. Any variation on this theme is accepted.

Earworms (May 25)

Kinkaid – Parachute
I got the Super Hawaii album on a whim while CD shopping in Portland with my daughter 10 years ago. The shop was playing it & upon my inquiry the shop girl informed me it was the only copy they had & she was wanting it. A conversation followed involving Kinkaid’s influences, people she & my daughter both knew & the Kinks as I recall. The girl decide to sell it to me if we could let her listen to the rest. A quite delightful 1/2 hour was had. Have no idea still what Parachute is about but it still gets an automatic repeat when it pops up on the multiple playlists I have it on.        - Fintan

Future Islands – Tin Man
Something about this track caught my eye. Actually, it is chosen to mark the 30th anniversary of Ian Curtis’ death. This newish North Carolina (a hotbed of late) band draws approving comparisons with New Order and Peter Hook. - tin

PJ Harvey & John Parish – Black Hearted Love
Probably already familiar to many, this is classic Polly. A brilliant riff, off-kilter rhythm, travelling from almost-sweet to almost-harsh with a joyful spring in its step. Simply brill!       - Chris7572

High Llamas – Checking In, Checking Out
Some of you will know this early 90s item; but it always arouses interest amongst those who don’t… it came up on my shuffle the other day, and it sounded like a perfect harbinger for summer. I strongly suspect this is a deliberate pastiche of a well-known 70s LA duo, but that might just be my over-exposed ears playing tricks.       - Shiv

Lo Jo – Dobosz
A French group from Angers who play north and west African influenced music. The two female singers – Yamina Nid el Mourid and Nadia Nid el Mourid – are Berbers from Mali. The group was active in Festival du Desert, which brought Tinariwen to western audiences.     - goneforeign

Freddie Robinson – Wonder What It Is
It’s the harmonising on the chorus that counts as a 12-bar blues-earworm for me; throw in some great lyrics, an Otis-Carla type relationship, Freddie’s guitar playing and excellent piano support and there you go. If RR does duets, or songs about wondering, then it might stand a chance.  - DaddyPig

Anouar Brahem – Dance With Waves
From The Astounding Eyes of Rita, this tune conjurs lovely images and I can’t get the main riff on bass clarinet out of my head!      - GlassHalfEmpty

Come Home Loaded Roadie

Four Tapping Shoes And A Kiss Her Space Holiday
these don’t fit in with concerts so an added extra:
Shoot The Singer (1 Sick Verse) Pavement
French Singer Liz Green
Folk Singer Brendan Benson
Vicious Battle Raps DJ Format Featuring Abdominal
Entertain Sleater-Kinney

don’t want to get in the way of the Jess Music appeal
so go over HERE FOR A CONCERT BOX of tunes


So … It’s a full looking week ahead for DarceysSis – that’s Jess(ica) for those of you who don’t know:

All week – School Year 3 academic assessments.

Monday – Brownies (including badge awards; Jess is due one).

Tuesday – Flute half-term review (she finds out if she’s going to be started on practice pieces for her Grade 1), and finish off her “Top Secret” project at Art Club.

Wednesday – School Sports Day (shot put and relay race).

Thursday – Last Jazz Dance class for a month. 

Friday – 20m Swimming badge attempt at SwimClub.

And then there’s the Bank Hol Brownie trip to Space 2010, and a week on Saturday we fly to Spain for a fortnight of fun and frolics on beach, sea and hotel pool complex.

So what does she do today, whilst we’re round at her friend’s for a relaxing Sunday of pizza, paddling-pool and play in the sunshine?

YEP! Goes over on the same ankle she sprained at Easter, in a playing field pothole whilst playing football, and ends the day in plaster with a broken (well, OK, “chipped”) ankle.

I don’t know about her, but I could cry!

Jess is understandably absolutely gutted about what she’s going to miss; but more heart-breakingly, she’s unfairly worried about what she’s done to OUR holiday!


I know I’m crassly tugging at heartstrings here, and pulling in favours I maybe haven’t earned, but to make her feel better, and disabuse her of that guilt, I’d love to make her a disc of tunes, with maybe a sleeve of get-well one-liners (possibly even little verbal wishes, from those who can work Audacity easily?) from you lot.

Musically, you have free rein: her taste goes from simple-piano-nursery-rhyme wordplay, develops through Jamelia & The Spice Girls, takes detours into classics by Booker T, Otis Redding etc., but is dominated by guitar-led rock & pop – Sheena Is A Punk Rocker being a current fave. Anything humorously related to injuries, legs, hospitals, or holidays jumps to the front of the queue.

I’ll start a DropBox folder entitled For Jess.


Boogie CHillin

Did You Hear John Hurt

Eternal Circle

Intensified Festival ’68


Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner

Sneakin In

Award Tour

6 Minutes (Dungeon family it’s On)

The Basement

The Show


Baby B List (For Blimpy & Shane)


Like the McFlah family we now know that bump #2 is a boy – I’m not going to play naming games as the control freakery would do my head in..
..but it is a chance to add another playlist, hopefully one that doesn’t put off the non-family orientated- and adds some extra very North tunes.
Kids – The Concretes
I Can’t Tell In His Eyes – Wildbirds & Peacedrums
Little Kids – Kings Of Convenience
D(Darren Emerson’s Underwater Remix) – GusGus
Cry Baby (Röyksopp’s Målselves Memorabilia) – Spiller
Why I Like Babies – Butcher Boy
there’s a BABY BOX of tunes over on my test site.. if you fancy more.

Swede Dreams

I’ve never been to Sweden. I’ve never bought an Abba record, driven a Volvo or slept with a blonde. I do have a house full of Ikea furniture. And more and more of the music I love seems to be coming from Sweden.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the pop records I own from other countries in continental Europe (OK… Air, Nouvelle Vague and Louise Attaque from France; Jaques Brel (Belgium – I may also possibly have an old tape of a dEUS album somewhere); Norway’s Kings of Convenience, who are honorary Swedes anyway. Iceland (Bjork, Sigur Ros) doesn’t count.

So what is it about Sweden (pop. 9 million)? Yes, they’re cool and they speak impeccable English, but then so do the Dutch, and the best they’ve given us is 2Unlimited – thanks for that. Maybe it’s the legacy of Abba, and a steady stream of superstars since – Neneh Cherry, Roxette, Ace of Base… For all I know, every child in their social democrat Utopia gets subsidised lessons in guitar jangling and lyrical whimsy.

Either way, I thought I’d make my own flatpack playlist. I’m not pretending to be any sort of expert, and I discovered many of these artists from other ’Spillers (a big Thank You For The Music to Shane, Blimpy & ElDerino). There’s some obvious choices, and some hopefully slightly less so.

The Cardigans – Daddy’s Car
The Cardigan’s Life album is 15 years old, but I never tire of it. They drew the blueprint for what somebody who deserves to have a flute stuffed down their throat labelled ‘twee pop’. This song is an asaferae of mine.

Anna Järvinen – Svensktalande bättre folk
Ever wondered why The Sundays don’t release more albums? It’s possibly because Harriet Wheeler leads a double life singing in Swedish.

The Tough Alliance – Taken Too Young
TTA are an electronic duo from Stockholm notorious for swinging baseball bats on stage. This is a remix of a Taken By Trees song…

Taken By Trees – My Boys
Taken By Trees made the A-list for their unlikely cover of Sweet Child of Mine. Here’s an equally unlikely Animal Collective cover.

jj – From Africa to Malaga
The most ecstatic song about the inevitability of death I’ve ever heard. Their album recalls One Dove in places, which is a Very Good Thing. jj recently toured with The xx, in what must be one of the best Scrabble-scoring tours ever.

Lykke Li – Dance, Dance, Dance
Love it, love it, love it.

Robyn – With Every Heartbeat
Simply one of the best pop songs of the last decade. And talking of heartbeats…

The Knife – Heartbeats
Scary brother-and-sister electronic duo – sister recently gained critical acclaim and Festive ‘Spill plaudits as Fever Ray. You probably know the cover version by…

Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats
The name couldn’t be less Swedish (he’s of Argentine descent), the sound couldn’t be more so.

Frida Hyvonen – See How I Came Into Town
Frida’s album Silence is Wild has been easily my most-listened-to record of the last six months. I couldn’t decide which track to choose, so went for a non-album track instead.

Jens Lekman – The Opposite of Hallelujah
Bouncy melodies, witty lyrics, a touch of melancholy… Jens is the Swedish Stuart Murdoch.

Pelle Carlberg – I Just Called to Say I Love You
Actually, maybe Pelle Carlberg is…

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names – Seems To Be On My Mind
Almost as good as their name (which comes from a Sliver Jews song). SKWBN have something of The Magnetic Fields about them. I saw this track described on a blog as “…if Johnny Cash ended up as a member of Tullycraft”.

Fanfarlo – The Walls Are Coming Down

Fanfarlo are based in London, but the main man is Swedish, so they count. Heard them described on 6Music the other day as “a happier Arcade Fire”.

P.S. I’ve boxed these for a limited time – feel free to add any glaring omissions.

Earworms (May 18)

Who - The Seeker
One of my favourite Who singles. I remember buying it in the Mare St Woolworths in Hackney when it came out in 1970. I bought it on a Saturday morning and spent most of the day playing it over and over again, until my Mum got sick of hearing it and made me stop. It was on 6Music the other day and lodged itself in my head again.     – Carole

Headlights - Cherry Tulips (TJ Lipple Remix)
This could have gone either way – I love the track in it’s original form but polyvinyl had a $10 sale (t-shirt plus CD) the headlights rain cloud tee fitted my mood, so I picked the remix album to go with it. They are very good thankfully and Tulips brings a bright shaft of spring sunlight into the gloom.      – shane

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic ZerosHome
After a dark couple of weeks, this song provides the appropriate release. Whistle intro, anthemic, a couple in love on vocals, welcome home…     – eJay

Local NativesWorld News
Gorilla Manor is among the most infectuous ‘quality’ albums of the year. The North Carolina band certainly sounds like they had a blast making it. A bit modern Beach Boys, it could be the best debut by a band fronted by a guy who plays keyboards with one hand, drums with the other and sings)         – tin

Radio FuturaEscuela de Calor
Easy and obvious coming-into-the-summer Maki earworm. Radio Futura were an ace band and this is one of my favourite tracks by them. Nothing too profound here – just great guitar pop. I hope you like it as much as I do.             – Maki

Brad - The Day Brings
Further to my recent election mood, all of the subsequent shenanigans seem to have left too many of us rather on tenterhooks, imo. Chill out everyone: for good or bad, we now cannot do anything about what happens next. Here’s my current musical philosophy …            – DsD

Quick note: Songs related to the RR topic or Spill posts will only be chosen for Earworms if there is no waiting list; the priority here is homeless songs begging to be heard.

Welsh Music Wanted

I’m putting together a mix CD of welsh bands for a thing at work and could do with a wee bit of help!

I need a mix of new and old and some commercial stuff too as it’s for mass audience consumption. I’m also after at least a few tunes sung in Welsh.

Any suggestions (and if possible MP3’s – i’ll optimistically create a new folder in Dropbox) would all be very very warmly appreciated.


Top musicians explore mental health in Scotland

Nice place for working on an album - Rossie Ochil in Perthshire

A GROUP of prominent Scottish musicians have
been busy writing an album of songs to
promote awareness of mental health issues.
The songwriters – including Emma Pollock and
James Yorkston from Idlewild – spent a week in
February collaborating on the album at Rossie Ochil,
in Perthshire.
The project, in particular, aims to help promote
the work of Breathing Space and is being part-sponsored
by the phone line and website service.
The musicians will now head to the studio to
record the songs and the album will be released
later in the year.
Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones, who is leading the
project, said: “We’ve just done the writing session.
It’s coming together really well and we should have
16 good songs.
“The last day of the songwriting collaboration we
had snow and had to cut the session short – we
had to get out while we could.
“We’ve given a deadline of April to get a rough
demo of the finished songs. We’ll rehearse in May
and record in June. The album should be ready by
Other musicians involved in the project include
James Graham (Twilight Sad), Scott Hutchinson
(Frightened Rabbit), Alasdair Roberts and Karine
The project has grown out of the successful
Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival
(SMHAFF) and follows several years of using music
to raise awareness of mental health issues through
live music performances.
The album will form the basis of two
performances, in Glasgow and Edinburgh, during
the SMHAFF in October 2010 and a launch event
will take place during September 2010.
This year’s project will focus on childhood as a
creative theme. The project is aimed primarily at
young adults.

One for me and Blimpy!

B@tY or Beauty & the Yeast

I was working out what I did during the last Tory Government – I spent most of it in pubs, bars and clubs.. but I did produce fanzine style magazines for them. this is an advert from Beauty & the Yeast…. adapted from a Not the Nine o’clock news live program (1980) ‘man at oxfam’ mine updated to the 90’s – I had fun with Beauty and the Yeast..
there’s more images over BEER

with a playlist for BARS in the box player next to it.

oh – I’d better give you a playlist here:
Down The Drain Marko Van Haddock
Koupes – I’ll smash glasses Shantel
Pijem (Me mangava)(I’m Drinking) Boban I Marko Markovic Orkestar
D.R.I.N.K. The Jazz Butcher
The Man Who Drinks Forty Thieves Orkestar vs Mahala Raï Banda

RIP Ronnie Dio

RIP Ronnie Dio.

There were premature rumours about his death circulating yesterday, but it’s now confirmed he passed away this morning, after a long battle with cancer.

The little man with the big voice, perhaps one of the greatest hard rock/metal singers of all time, fronting Rainbow, putting his own mark on Black Sabbath, followed by a lengthy solo career. Few people have managed to produce all time classic albums with three completely different bands, but with “Rainbow Rising”, “Heaven and Hell” and “Holy Diver”, Dio is one of those few. A true legend.

Being The ‘Spill, there’s really only one song I can link to.

Pub Quiz


Pubs. How about some BOTW-EQs?

1. First pub you ever knowingly went in.

2. First pub you ever had alcohol in.

3. First pub you ever bought your own alcohol in.

4. First favourite pub.

5. Pub you’ve spent the most time in over your lifetime.

6. Favourite holiday bar.

7. Pub you were most well-known in.

8. Most famous/interesting/frightening/odd pub you’ve ever been in.

9. Current “local”.

10. Pub we are to come to your wake at.

Off you go to the bar(s) then … and whilst you’re up, mine’s a large Southern Comfort and ice, please.

Should Have Stayed In

6 Minutes A Month: April 1991

After the success of the first 6MAM (click here for a refresher of the concept), here’s the next! It’s still Baggy and Shoegaze as far as the ear can see. I have also realised that I have spent the last 19 years not knowing that “Kinky Love” was a cover version…

Other observations: Moose haven’t aged well, and Slowdive seemingly released a new EP every five weeks or so in ’91, and hang on! Is that The Big Pink??!! ….nope, it’s Curve…

35 Rhums

I finally saw 35 Rhums last night, after months of anticipation, and I loved it. It has such a beautiful, glowing, under-water light, and there’s something at once completely prosaic and beautifully dreamlike about it. The film has very little dialogue, drama, or plot, but I found it utterly compelling.

This scene was nominated by ex-Clip Joint guru for “wordless communication,” and the whole scene is a study in everything I love about film. The music, which is diegetic, is so perfectly integrated into the movement and the mood. (It’s hard for this film to have a spoiler, because of the relative lack of plot, but the scene is a central one, so if you like to be surprised you may want to just watch the movie.)

I liked the use of music throughout. The soundtrack was by the Tindersticks, and I feel like that’s a name I’ve encountered here on the ‘Spill. Anyone?

I can’t stop thinking about the film, I’m not sure what the film version of an earworm would be, but I’ve got one.

Why I haven’t been around too much lately…

Hi there you all, as some of you might have noticed, I haven’t been around here too much lately. My oldest sister (a year younger than me), a long time heart patient (heart failure), was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago because she was suffering from fluid overload. All kinds of medication did not help, and things took a turn for the worse when her kidneys stopped to function completely this weekend. Her situation detoriated rapidly after that, and I am sad to say that she passed away peacefully this morning (May 12th) at 8.45. I was lucky enough to be with her last night , when she was  still conscious and enjoying the icecream (…normally strictly forbidden for her…) that my brother and I brought her…..

RIP Liesbeth Bukkems, aged 49……

White Stripes – Stop Motion Tailer

I just mentioned on TFD’s post that visual arts are my passion and obsession. I participate in a few online sites and get to see lots of great work and meet lots of great artists too. (small world, 2 photographer acquaintances had shots posted on a Guardian portfolio yesterday).

Ed works a full time job, shoots film with a Holga, and instead of sleeping, makes stop motion film animations. This one, a trailer promo for the White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights film of their Canadian tour, was made with models and a stack of screenshots. You can see his paraphernalia at the end of the film for the proof. He recommends viewing in the widescreen HD verison here.

Get some sleep, Ed.