We bumped our heads against the clouds…

I don’t get in here much, but I hope this contribution will be welcome. In bed with a summer cold, looking for a summer music cure to enable me to get up and make some long-awaited rhubarb and ginger jam (yes, SatanKidneyPie, it’s coming, really it is) I found this…

Slate magazine has included a page about what they called ‘McSweeney’s mix CD for the Obama era’ – WE BUMPED OUR HEADS AGAINST THE CLOUDS enclosed with the July/August print issue of Believer: “THE 2010 BELIEVER MUSIC ISSUE CD”

Notes by Chuck Lightning: “For black artists, our new president has meant the start of a different age. This music aims to capture it” and others.

Most of it is great, which – coming from someone who mostly doesn’t ‘get’ hip-hop – suggests easier listening than most. (A couple sounded dreadful to my ears first time round, but you never know until you try a few times). I’ve tried to find all the available free plays of these tracks, some videos, some downloads and a spotify. I’ll add the 5  missing tracks when I find them – or you can if you do. I particularly like Nina Simone covering Alice Cooper, but then I’m an old fashioned girl.


1.  DEEP COTTON – SELF!  [link missing]




5.  SAUL WILLIAMS -B.S. IN A TAMPON  [link missing]



8.  SPREE WILSON  – CHAOS  [link missing]


10. ROB ROY  – VELVET ROPE BLUE [download]



13. GEORGE 2.0 – TURN OFF THE TV [close enough]

14. M.I.A. – BORN FREE

15. HOT HEAVY & BAD (JOI) – ONE  [link missing]


17.  MOTHER NOVELLA  – CLOSER 9 1/2  [link missing]


Also, while looking for these tracks online, found this by ekua adisa, which I liked a lot.

A Morning Cup Of (Ro)Coco

New Arcade Fire “Rococo” sounding fab, lots of music films have passed my way of late, Igor Stravinsky & Coco Chanel had a great start to it, with the Rite Of Spring riots making me wish I’d been somewhere when something so shockingly modern was unveiled for the first time, like when the Jesus & Mary Chain played 20 minutes of feedback in the mid-80s and the crowd tore the venue to pieces, the film rambled of into dullness in the second act, and massive and pointless historical inaccuracies in the third. Gainsbourg was a lot lot better, a freaky surreal random jumble that a biopic should be, showing up the limitations of Nowhere Boy the Lennon teen angst drama. I recommend going to see Gainsbourg, watching Mega Stravinsky Vs Giant Chanel on TV when it comes around, and avoiding No Point Boy. In other news I took Kit to his first music festival, where we very much enjoyed King Creosote, Tunng, and some Brazilian Capoeira Carnival type folks. I think I have to go wash some bottles now…

RIP Willem Breuker

Lucky that I buy the Grauniad on a Friday, or I might have missed this altogether; one of the great European avant-garde saxophonists, Willem Breuker, has just died. Don’t have time to transfer any tracks from my cds, so herewith a couple of links to clips that I’ve found on YouTube of performances with his Kollektief.

Kurt Weill’s Mandalay Song

Crazy Like A Fox

Under The Covers with Ramsey Lewis

No guessing which top pop combo Mr Lewis is covering, but it’s the way they’ve been covered : luscious strings, horns and even a moog!  It’s all for you in the ‘box … and on a thingy player (mucho gracias maki!)

AOTM – July

You get 3 votes for your faves (but have to use them all at once – no sandbagging). Enjoy!

Earworms (July 27)

I’m still stuck on South Africa. In fact I’m going back to Cape Town for five weeks work !  I don’t know what Zola is saying here, but if I play it in the morning I spend the rest of the day making approximate noises in the same rhythm. From the 2006 township film Tsotsi.        – magicman

One of my musical highlights this year was hearing the Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, one of my all-time favourite artists, performing some of the music of his original mentor, the film composer Krzysztof Komeda. This song, ‘The Cats’, was one of the highlights; this version comes from the Lontano album, where Stanko is backed by the equally fabulous Marcin Wasilewski Trio. European jazz of the highest order.

I’ve been listening to a lot of dub reggae recently and I recall John Peel playing this quite a lot and me thinking “but that’s Up Town Top Ranking! Can one do this?” I love the conflict between the different elements in this one and, I admit, still find it impossible not to start singing “see mi in a ‘alter back” etc.   – severin

Covers usually add to or rearrange the original. This one strips out all of  R.E.M.’s original mistakes so we can properly meet the damaged narrator. – tin

I heard the hype last year, gave them a couple of listens, filed it away under “more clever-clever Brooklyn stuff that I don’t have enough time to get into”. But if we were redoing last year’s Festive ‘Spill, this would now make my top 2 (and the rather wonderful cover by Solange Knowles that brings out its R&B soul).    – barbryn

I went to a friend’s wedding last week, and put together a little video of it for her. I used ‘Amazing’ as part of the soundtrack, so now it’s well and truly lodged in my auditory passage. (They walked out of the church to the theme from StarWars, for real!) – GlassHalfEmpty

Goodison Bound

The Toffee Family is on its way up to Edinburgh next week and we’ll be stopping off in Liverpool to take in the momentous Everton v Everton (Chile) match at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening (4 August).

I’m meeting two of Merseyside’s greatest luminaries (sonofwebcore and tincanman) for a glass of ginger beer on Wednesday afternoon. If anyone else fancies joining us you’re more than welcome.


1. My mother once recommended I read The Little Lord Fauntleroy. I was an avid reader at the time, but then I saw the cover, featuring this apparently insufferable boy in long blonde locks and a huge dog, and I never got past it. Have you ever actually judged a book by its cover?

2. Who’s your best friend? Multiple answers are permitted.

3. Who do you write like? (click the link, which may not give you a scientifically correct answer) Apparently my “style” is akin to that of someone called William Gibson.

4. On a car trip, by brother and I imagined our ideal hip hop collaborations. Who would you recruit in your ideal band? Create as many as you want.

5. This is hard, make up your own question please, so the next ‘spiller can answer any one of the queries that came before him:

AOTW#2 Ill Communication

Sorry to be so greedy and post 2 AOTW. If I cut in front of anybody, I apologize.

Okay, I’m zipping up my extra thick skin for this one, because it means a lot to me, and I’m not sure it will prove very popular. This was a constant soundtrack to my life after it came out, and I listened to it again in the car after a long long time of not hearing it, and was struck by just how good it is. It felt like riding a bike again after a long time. It feels familiar but still exciting, it moves you along but the pace changes up as you go, sometimes it’s leisurely, sometimes blistering. The reason I thought of it as an AOTW is that it really works (for me) as an album. It’s an odd mix of styles, but they cohere, and they’re all glued together by these wonderful instrumental tracks, which are imaginative and innovative. Another reason I thought of it as an AOTW is that I feel that the Beastie Boys are a band that might be misunderstood. I think a lot of people won’t let them outgrow their persona of snotty juvenile bare-bones rappers – and certainly they started out that way. They changed, though…they matured musically and lyrically, and I think this album is proof of that. This is their fourth album; they sound so good together, they sound relaxed and confident, they still have their trademark irreverent humor, which borders on goofiness, but there’s so much more going on as well. To borrow from the allmusic reviews of this album and it’s predecessor Check Your Head, the Beastie Boys were moving away from rap to fully embrace their magpie-style of gathering every shining thing that caught their eye, and weaving it together into something new…

As it happened, the Beasties had repositioned themselves as a lo-fi, alt-rock groove band. They had not abandoned rap, but it was no longer the foundation of their music, it was simply the most prominent in a thick pop-culture gumbo where old school rap sat comfortably with soul-jazz, hardcore punk, white-trash metal, arena rock, Bob Dylan, bossa nova, spacy pop, and hard, dirty funk.

With this record, the Beasties confirm that there is indeed a signature  Beastie Boys aesthetic (it’s too far-ranging and restless to be pegged as a signature sound), with the group sticking to a blend of old school rap, pop culture, lo-fi funk, soulful jazz instrumentals, Latin rhythms, and punk, often seamlessly integrated into a rolling, pan-cultural, multi-cultural groove

Some of the highlights for me are Get it Together, which features Q Tip, Root Down, which (eternal thanks, Nilpferd) samples Jimmy Smith, and Flute Loop, which is just a delight.

Anyway, give it a go.

Spotify Link…Beastie Boys – Ill Communication

And it’s in the box. Thank you for your patience. Now I’m going to do two EOTWQ. Just kidding!!

AOTW #1 Eivor Palsdottir

This is the first week this summer that we haven’t gone away for the beginning of the week, and I’m going to celebrate by doing TWO albums of the week.

Here’s the first, dedicated to Tatanka Yotanka by way of AliMunday. I haven’t listened to it yet myself, so we’re discovering it together. Hold hands, everyone, here we go…

It’s in the box, and here’s a video of the artist performing Summertime. Very nice it is, too.

(I’m sorry I can’t do the Icelandic accents in her name)

How do you get two whales in a Mini?

Over the Severn Bridge, of course.

But here is proof, if proof be needed, that I once went to Wales on my trusty five-speed bicycle. Some time in the ’80s, I would guess, before the need for Lycra or, indeed, a helmet.

My ex was a nice chap and pretty fit, certainly fitter than me. We cycled all over the place, took our bikes on trains, rode them to work, rode them to the pub and staggered back with them. We astonished my elderly aunt by turning up outside her static caravan on Hayling Island. We made a train driver move an entire train further up the platform at Fareham, so we could get our bikes off. We helped my friend do a moonlight flit by bike. We rode the Bristol-Bath cycle track completely stoned and in darkness – quite often. We toured Yorkshire. We laughed at my nephew outside the cider house when he mounted his bike after a night out and fell straight off the other side. Yeah, wild we were … in a gentle sort of way.

I had to leave my bike in Bristol when I moved up here ‘cos it wouldn’t go in the van, and I bought a new all-singing all dancing one with 1,000 gears (I exaggerate slightly) which scared the hell out of me so I raffled it for a good cause. There are too many bouquets at the side of the road for me to want to start up again round here, but I do miss it.

This post is to make up for my inability to think of any songs about cycling, apart from the ones which have already been nommed. Anyone else got some spokey tales?

Talking of people who shouldn’t wear lycra…

I don’t know what’s got into everyone this week; I love this theme. Okay, it’s partly because I love cycling, so am eager to remedy the fact that my record collection seems to have a remarkably lacuna in that department, but did everyone who enjoyed the Hats theme do so because they loved hats? I don’t think so. I’ve already discovered a couple of really great new tracks, and so I felt called upon to put together a little podcast to celebrate the wonders of bikes and songs about them…

Radio Abahachi: Tour de France Special

Have you ever…I mean, what bike, officer?

Hypothetically, one teenage night a mate and I decided to find bicycle transport home from the pub. Which led to some  ‘trading up’, and hypothetically, a couple dozen people woke up to new bikes. The rise in bike lock sales that weekend in my village was probably a co-incidence.

So, what’s the most interesting way you’ve ever made it home from the pub?

Norman Tebbit

Under The Covers With Nick Cave

Part 3 of our 2 part series, in which chain-smoking skinny white boys nick other peoples tunes. Who did the originals? 1, 2, 3, WAAAOOOH:

Eddie Orders The Wrong Question?

As a relative newbie, i still don’t know what EOTWQ means. It’s like one or those Mock the Week segments where they post a news photo and letters, and the panelists have to guess the caption. So I’d be grateful if someone could fill it out for me. I got drafted on the spot here, so a quickie with softball questions this week after the last two anorak editions, i’ll do my own anorak version when i can be arsed another time.

1. Cat Person or Dog Person?
(also acceptable answers – both, or other animal. Photos welcome with full bragging rights.)

2. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure reading material?

3. What instrument do / would you play?

4. One from MTV – What embarassing songs are on your ipod / playlist / music collection?
(One answer i remember from Ja Rule was Party All the Time by a certain Mr. Murphy)

5. Hey, baby, what’s your sign?

Earworms (July 20)

A BBC4 repeat of Arena played Hank Williams’ version of this and then Tony Bennett’s contemporary cover. I turned to my music machine and played ol’ Jerry Lee’s later remake. It comes from his Sun records period and was produced by “Cowboy” Jack Clement. I can’t get it off my mind now, dammit.    – Mitch

One of the most innovative,  inventive and versatile musicians in the history of Congolese music, Mangwana has experimented with rumba, soukous, salsa and afro-beat. As a teenager he joined Tabu Ley Rochereau’s African Fiesta, the most popular band in Africa at that time. This is from 1998’s Galo Negro.
-  goneforeign

I was lucky enough to see Koko at a jazz and blues festival in Redcar about 20 years ago. What a voice! It was an amazing concert – she didn’t even need to be near the mic for us to hear her!    – Maki

This is the title track from their 2010 debut album, which can best be described as festival music. Think Osibisa, with shades of Mandrill, and a whiff of Edward II (if anyone ever saw them at the kazillion summer festivals they always seemed to be playing at the turn of the century).    – May1366

The current indie darling in Canada, her mostly chirpy, cheerful debut album This Is Good is doing well. It’s a bit young to really stand out, but someone tossed this whimsical New Orleans-style keeper on to the end. Shows we do still need albums; only having to come up with a couple of singles a year leaves no place for outlier (I hate that word) gems like this.   – Tin

Here is a beautiful and completely unseasonal song – traditional, I think – sung by Anne Briggs. Her voice just blows me away and I wander around the house singing this, very badly, at odd moments of the day.    – Ali M

Album Of The Moment – The Bhundu Boys – Shabini

Well isn’t that just typical?  You wait six months for a ToffeeBoy post and then two come along right next to each other …

So here we have it, by popular demand, this week’s Album Of The Moment (however long that moment in time may be)  is The Bhundu Boys classic 1986 release, Shabini.  And I’ve thrown in a live recording of Hupenyu Hwangu for your audio-visual pleasure.

Baba Munini Francis

Hupenyu Hwangu



Kuroja Chete




Dai Ndakaziva

Wenhamo Haaneti

Let’s hope the links work. If I’ve done it wrong (or if someone can tell me a better way to do it) please let me know.

And, as if by magic (well thanks to the wonderful, one and only, makinavaja) here’s a properly coded version of the same. I don’t pretend to understand how it works – I suspect there’s some sort of witchcraft involved …

Oh Captain, My Captain

We’ve been over on WordPress for many months now so it may come as a surprise to some of you that this is my first post since we moved into the new place.

It was my choice for the Toffee Family Sunday evening film this week and I chose the wonderful Dead Poets Society – a film that I haven’t seen for over twenty years.  I was very impressed by how well it’s dated (yes, I know it’s a period film) and the two (not-so) Little Miss Toffees were suitably impressed and inspired.

Now, my previous choice was Steve Martin’s The Jerk – and I was hugely disappointed to find that it hadn’t dated well at all.  The girls laughed dutifully at the correct points but I could tell that they were finding it hard going.

So, the question to all you ‘Spillers is what good and bad experiences have you had when revisiting favourite old films?

PS. Now that I’ve mastered (I hope) a basic post the Bhundu Boys Album Of The Moment can’t be too far away.

PPS. Wow – it worked!