One Bite At A Time?

That’s the way to eat an elephant, I believe.

Well, I’m just about to receive the musical equivalent: my 73-CD box set of the Grateful Dead’s 1972 European tour. All 22 concerts, originally recorded on 16-track tape and now lovingly re-mastered by people who love the Dead’s music. With a shedload of information and ephemera, packed in a ‘flight case’ with new graphics by Stanley Mouse (example on left) in the same vein as his work with Anton Kelley for the initial release, it certainly looks like a huge beast to tackle.

I will listen to the Bickershaw Festival performance first, as that’s the one I attended and I need to hear if my memory has been lying to me. But after that, I’ve no idea. There are some of the 60-odd songs I don’t need to hear multiple times (although only two songs were played every night) but, even then, the one I skip may be the best version….

Any suggestions? Other than ‘Seek psychiatric help’, obviously.

While you cogitate, here’s a version of Good Lovin’ from Bickershaw, one of the last examples of Pigpen doing his thang while the boys in the band do theirs.

Mmmm..Nutty !

Firstly an apology.
I didn’t mean to be a Spillhog this week but a post by Dothebathosphere on the RR spurred me on. In it the claim was made that John Zorn’s Omelet Punk had the “best title in the world ever”. Now, this is a bit of a special area for me. I have been know, on many an occasion to purchase a song, unheard, because of the title or the name of the band. Thus I have built up quite a respectable selection of songs with titles of great wackiness and , consequently, I thought I might share a few with you good people.
Naturally the playlist is somewhat erratic, both in quality and genre, as the title here is the think.
If I were you I’d skip the ones you don’t like.
Or all of them.
That might be best.
Continue reading

New Trwbador: Sun in the Winter EP

Trwbador’s early records established their distinctive pallette of sounds: simple guitar patterns and glockenspiel melodies against off-kilter beats, Angharad van Rijswijk’s pure, quiet voice against unearthly noises, a slow-motion kaleidoscopic collison of folk, pop and electronica.

Their new EP marks a dramatic step forward in the development of their sound, through the simple yet devastating expedient of combining all these elements in the same songs, rather than leaving them side by side eyeing each other nervously. Four entrancing and perfectly-formed songs, like spiderwebs on an autumn morning, glittering, delicate and surprisingly strong. ‘Sun in the Winter’ sets an alienated vocal against robust beats, somewhat in the manner of Leftfield’s Original; ‘Once I Had A Love’ offers pure folk with an electronic counterpoint; ‘Red Handkerchiefs’ plays with multi-tracked vocals, building from an a capella opening to infuriatingly catchy overlapping melodies; ‘Onions Make Me Cry’ is simply lovely – reminding me of Dubstar, in the best possible way – and simply far too short.

If anyone ever makes a film of Russell Hoban’s The Mouse and his Child – and, more importantly, gets it right – then Trwbador should do the soundtrack; their songs call to mind musical boxes and stop-motion animation, and they have the same emotional power, the feelings of loss and sadness – they may seem child-like at times, but never childish. This record manages to be pure pop without sacrificing any of the quirkiness or homespun authenticity that has marked their career so far. Highly recommended.

EP available from or on Spotify.

Spill Weekly Song Challenge #17 – Get on yer dancing shoes!

Snow White dancing

Here’s a quick run-through of the rules for the weekly challenge:

- no artist can be duplicated in one week, whoever chooses first gets their pick;

- song choices can be duplicated in subsequent weeks with a one-week prohibition;

- next challenge-setter to volunteer during the course of the blog.

Right Spillers, what is the first song you remember dancing to in public? And would you still dance to it now?

Was it a smooch with Sally / Stephen Snodgrass at the school disco? A Christmas waltz with your drunken Uncle Billy? A jolly gig, at the local ceilidh? Tap dancing? Sword dancing? Head-banging with your mates at Donington? Confess all. And if you don’t dance, what is the song that might just tempt you if you’d had enough to drink?

And for my sins, I give you Ike and Tina Turner, “Nutbush City Limits”. I danced to this with my first official boyfriend at a Bristol club c.1976, complete with flashing disco ball. And yes, I might still dance to it if suitably mellow, although now it might result in personal injury and / or the need for a neck brace in the morning:


“One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain” Bob Marley.

Yesterday, Sunday morning, I decided that I’d post something to fill the Monday void left by Bish. On my desktop I have a folder labeled ‘Bish Earworms’, whenever I come across something I think fits the bill I toss it in there and every few weeks I’ll send him 2-3 to use as he sees fit. Currently there’s 14 cuts in there so I thought that I might pull a few and post them in his absence, so I spent Sunday morning preparing the post, I created a document with all of the cuts, the descriptive notes, the html code and the picture, I planned to post it at about 6pm here so that it would be there first thing Monday morning.
A few minutes after I’d opened a ‘new post’ and was inserting the photo the document disappeared! Nothing I did should have caused it but suddenly it wasn’t there! Annoyed? you’d better believe it, to the point of saying ‘Well to hell with that, I’m not going to re-do all of that again’. But today I feel more kindly towards my fellow man [and women] so here we go again, there’s a void that needs to be filled.
These could all fit into the category of ‘My Favorite Things’ so consider this post as a part of my ongoing MFT’s.

1. Flower Lady by Ian Mathews: A beautiful sad song by Phil Ochs, one of the most neglected songwriters of the 60’s. It’s sung by one of my favorite singers from that era; Ian Mathews.

2. Summertime by Angelique Kidjo: Full name; Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, she’s from Benin and here she delivers a great and original version of Gershwin’s classic.

3. Riberonzinha by Maria de Barros: Maria sings in Crioulo, a mix of old Portuguese and tribal languages from Senegal. She lives in Cape Verdes where the indigenous music is like no other in Africa.

4. Come Sunday by Abbey Lincoln; This was written by Duke Ellington for his 1943 Carnegie Hall performance, it was originally sung by Mahalia Jackson.

5. The Pearls by Ry Cooder; This was written by Jelly Roll Morton around the turn of the century, it has flavors of Ragtime, Haiti, Spain and classical European music, it’s from a 1978 vinyl album wheaten Ry investigates the origins of jazz. There’s over 20 known jazz artists on the album but here he plays solo, with some overdubbing.

6. Open Mind by The Tamlins: This is from a 7″ single that I bought in Kingston in the 70’s, plain white paper sleeve, no notes and there’s not much online; all I know is that they’re a classic Jamaican vocal trio that does mostly back up vocals.
Open up your mind and you will see!

(I’m A) TV saneshane

I’ve tried my best to make it interesting (I’m not saying its good!) let FF be your friend… I don’t envy doing this playlist.. have fun.. and be careful out there.

1 The Bod Theme Derek Griffiths
2 Just Give ‘Em Whiskey colourbox
3 Peter Gunn [Feat. Duane Eddy] Art Of Noise
4 Saved (Mr Roy’s 7″ Middlewicket Mix) Mr Roy
5 Theme From “Cheers” Titus Andronicus
1 Jamie And The Magic Torch Tv Music
2 Yoda Meets The A-Team DJ Yoda
3 Hit the Hi-Tech Groove Pop Will Eat Itself
4 Jackanory Tango in the Attic
5 Yoda Meets Dr. Who DJ Yoda
1 Maybe Tomorrow F&M
2 C Is For Cookie (Funky Version – Special Disco Mix By Larry Cookie Monster
3 Yoda Meets The Thunderbirds DJ Yoda
4 Hey Hey We Are Not The Monkees The JAMS

If You Go To Just One Show At The Fringe, Make It Chez Jack L

Welcome to the nocturnal red and black world of Jack L.

The artist in question is Jack Lukeman – one of Ireland’s best kept secrets – who is finishing a run at the Edinburgh Fringe this weekend.

The show is ostensibly built around a set of covers of Randy Newman and Jacques Brel songs, but let’s get a couple of  things clear before you get your coat on and race off into the distance.

Firstly I am generally a non-fan of tribute shows.

Secondly the set has at its core a meaty selection of songs penned by Lukeman himself which stand up very well to the quality of the numbers he interprets.

Thirdly there is Jack L’s voice which is a thing of beauty: by turns its warmth, range, power and raucousness are worked into the material, flawless in pitch and endless in mellow tone which envelops the audience and draws them into the material.

There are plenty of interpreters of Brel’s work at Edinburgh every year. They generally come equipped varying combinations of good voice, theatricality, campness and wit. My experience is that many offer two out of the four – Jack L is lavishly equipped with the lot and his enthusiasm for the work is evident.

He starts accompanied by keyboards and drums for Newman ‘s Lonely At The Top, Guilty and It’s Money That I Love, adds a guitarist before ripping through a dazzling run of his own material including Georgie Boy and the pin drop hush of Stardust.

The evening finishes with trio of Brel songs.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the night is how Lukeman and his band make what is a very uninviting space a place of their own – the venue is a 1980’s style lecture hall! At time of writing two shows remain, so get your asses down there – it’s the best show that £5 can buy.

Don’t scare the Grannies!

I made this a couple of days ago as a 30 second demo to get a specific job, and thought you may dig the awesome placeholder music I used to cut to (please click the vimeo button and then watch it full screen HD for full effect). I got the job (yay!), but the feedback on the music track was that ‘it may frighten the grannies’, as they’re the ones that attend the arts centre cinema during the day (rather than the hipster evening crowd). It’s not my music, indeed when I tried to up this to youtube the audio got removed due to copyright infringement, so I now need to make a rough approximation of it ay some point soon. Those with a tech bent may like to know that the video was made entirely from still photographs (95% that I shot on my Panasonic GF1, the other 5% off the ‘net) with the post done in Final Cut, animation in AfterFX, and end titles in Motion.

In Praise of Nick Ashford (1941 – 2011)

Whilst I have an admiration for the songs of the late Jerry Lieber, they do not resonate with me in the same way as Nick Ashford.
Here’s one that Berry Gordy’s main squeeze had a big hit with, but does not come close to this version by The Magnificent Seven.

Bends for (about) 5904 Miles – The Reviews Podcast

After an extended hiatus the award-winning duo of Panthersan & Satankidneypie (accompanied by a backing band of the birds outside the window) are back back back with a new episode of Bends For… and this time they cast their critical eye on some up and coming bands and artists and lay into some new albums from established favourites.

In the up-and-coming camp, Scumbag Philosopher’s offbeat commentary on contemporary social issues gets the once over. Listen to the review and find out more about Scumbag Philosopher HERE

Next up multi-genre dubstep/dancehall/electronica type Indiginus gets the critical treatment, with a review of his Sofa Surfer album. Listen to our completely uninformed opinions and then make your own minds up by going to his website

After that ex-Death In Vegas man Mat Flint’s Deep Cut have our humble reviewers reaching for the superlatives with their fuzzed up shogazey indie rock album Disorientation. Read about them HERE and then have a proper listen at their Myspace

New music from Hey Colossus and Euros Childs also get the review treatment amongst the mindless chat and waffle. Usual apologies for the low sound quality and cut-outs, but we are (about) 5904 miles apart!


Boob Tube

Hope the player works.

Rolling Stones – Satisfaction
Beastie Boys – Ch-ch-check It Out
Clash – I’m So Bored With the USA
Dead Kennedys – MTV Get Off The Air
Public Enemy – Burn Hollywood Burn
Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Police – When the World Is Running Down
Green Day – Longview
Blink 182 – TV
REM – Bad Day
Blur – Coffee and TV
Blondie – Fade Away and Radiate

(nothing you haven’t heard before, Shoey)

No Themes, Just TV.

Alias – Kill My Television
Tarwater – TV Blood
Fol Chen – Cable TV
Death Cab For Cutie – Portable Television
Halou – Tube Fed

Radiators (From Space) – TV Screen
Butthole Surfers – TV Star
Peggy Sue & The Pirates – Television
Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television
Crisis – On TV

Cinematic Orchestra – Channel 1 Suite [Tom Tyler Rmx]
Tobacco – TV All Greasy
D M Stith – In My Dreams, I Watch TV [Braid of Voices Rmx by Ensemble]
Linval Thompson – Channel One Dub
Invaders Of The Heart – Everyman’s An Island

T’other way.

I have a confession to make….I am secretly a Geographer !
Yes, shocking, I know, but from ‘A’ Level onwards this was my subject ( with a little Geology thrown in, hence my love of rock music).
One aspect of Geographical study that I found particularly intriguing was what one might call “perceptual” geography, how people “see” the world instead of what’s really there.
“So what ?” I hear you cry.
Well, last week I posted a “trip around the world” set of tunes and, thinking about it, realised that I had gone, automatically East – West as if that was the natural way to go.
Odd, when you think about it as North- South is an equally valid way to go round ( colder at both “ends” of course) and yet I and, I suspect, most of us, because we are used to seeing world maps orientated in a particular way “see” things E-W.
Anyway , to even things out, I thought I’d do a little North- South trip through music.
Of necessity it’s a bit more of a scrag bag of tunes than last week’s but, I’m a fair minded sort of a chap and I’d hate to hurt the feelings of North and South, so here goes.
Continue reading

The ‘Spill Weekly Song Challenge – #16 Take 2

We’re into the dying days of August, and have clearly had all the summer that we’re likely to get this year. Everyone seems to be on holiday (which is why you’re stuck with me again for the Challenge). My brain appears to have turned to mush (hence the need to come up with Plan B for the Challenge), and I have a terrifying number of different things to do and nowhere near enough time to do half of them in. The world economy is going to hell in a handcart. It would be all too easy to start feeling a bit down. However, this is also a world in which there are kittens. And box sets of Green Wing. And music. What is the song guaranteed to cheer you up, however bad things get?

Tiny Birds – Pogueseskem Folk

Occasionally, musicians send details of what they do to the Spill, asking to be featured. One recent request came from Matt of Tiny Birds, who said: “We just wanted to tell you about our new song, The Photographs That You Took (streaming at

“It’s about morning-after type regret, but never has the sound of regret been so damn jaunty. We recorded it in a live session in June, and hope you like it.”

Well, I gave it a listen and I like it, so I asked Matt to tell us a bit about Tiny Birds, and this is what he said:

Q: When was the band formed, how many and who are the members?

A: The band started in September 2009, rising from the ashes of a loose indie folk collective that played glockenspiels, mini-accordions and ukuleles under a backpackers bar in south London. Only Matt and Dave remain from that time, with Mark, Tom and Tim posting and answering a variety of online adverts to create the current five piece that’s been going since about March 2010.

Q: What instruments do you all play?

A: Dave sings and plays the ukulele, guitar, percussion and thundermaker. Matt also sings and plays ukulele and guitar. Tom drums and sings, Mark plays banjo and Tim is on bass.

Q: Are you London-based, or elsewhere?

A: We’re all London-based, with each of us living in a variety of far-flung parts of the city.

Q: How many albums have you produced?

A: We released Hymns for the Careless earlier this year, a new single called The Photographs That You Took in July 2010 as well.

Q: What or who are your main influences?

A: One sound guy who had worked with Arcade Fire did say that he thought we sounded like them, and we’re likened to Belle and Sebastian a lot; obviously they’re both very flattering. One blogger also said our music conjured images of Buster Keaton, which is a massive compliment, and a German blogger described us as “Pogueseskem Folk” which apparently means we sound a bit like The Pogues. Cross all of those and that’s a good summary of our influences. Continue reading

Earworms – August 22

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – Broadway
Sometimes you don’t want songs that are ‘meaningful’ or ‘have a strong message’. No, there are times when all you want is a joyful noise and this, I humbly submit, is one hell of a joyful noise.

Diana Brown & Barrie K Sharpe – Eating Me Alive (Undisputed Mix Part 1)
“Rare groove” was late 60s/early 70s US soul, often sampled by hip-hop, rediscovered by British DJs and clubbers, and emulated in the early 90s by British soul/jazz/funk groups. Why we’ve not heard from Diana Brown in 20 years is a mystery as vast as the one about why she shared billing with a Duffer St George fop whose only contribution seemed to be Peter Crouch-style funky moves for a big man, and the occasional, annoying “Damn right!” Masterplan, discussed in a previous Earworms thread, was her shining moment but she had a couple of great follow-ups. This remix channels the Jackson 5 and ends abruptly because Part 2’s a bit Sharpe-led and boring.

Amaral – Toda La Noche en la Calle
Life is a self-balancing contradiction. For every good thing there seems always to be something negative. We have to take the rough with the smooth, look forward, never back and hope we’ll reach the coast and sleep soundly at the seashore.
Mrs Maki

Daddy Cool – Come Back Again
I heard this once and it wormed into my ear instantly. I had to listen to the whole radio programme again because I just had to hear it once more…Finally I succumbed and bought it on iTunes. This never happens. (Actually there were two studio versions and I bought the longer – better value for money I thought. Now I’m not sure. Maybe shorter is better.)

Kelly Rowland – Stole
I’ve had this in my head since we had “Mary’s in India” here the other week – along with Dido’s album, this was one of the songs Sophia the waitress used to play repeatedly in my local internet cafe in Preveza, Greece. At the time, I hadn’t clocked that it was a Destiny’s Child singing about a high-school shooting, but still found the chorus strangely affecting.

Evie Sands – Any way that you want me
Because every time I scroll through my iTunes I just have to stop and listen.

Please send submissions to – thanks! I’m on my holidays at the moment, so we’ll be having a short break from earworms next week. Sorry about that! They’ll be back on Monday, 5 September. See you then! x

The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra is more like an industry than a group.  Also there are so many members and since forming in 1988 they have produced so much material!!  They have released 18 albums, 24 singles and 14 special vinyl releases.  Also  there is all the collaborations and splitter groups they have formed, and finally there is the influence they have had over so long time in J-pop working and inspiring so many artists.

Even if they are really only playing in one genre the influence they have, because of their musical and personal integrity, spreads far wider than just Ska

Of course a Japanese Ska band is not going to be totally original and many of the tracks you will know from the original versions.

However, TSPO (as they are known by their friends) are not just a Ska band they play jazz, rock . soul and of course Ska.  I wanted to show in this post some of the variety of their tracks and to let you see and share the fun the they transmit to their audience

The first video  is Crying sky  and Tokyo Ska canary.  I hope you like it!!!

The next track I want to share with you is in more or less in English, maybe one of you can tell me the original?  The track is called Pride
Lions and is actually one of my favourites by theam!

Here it is…….make some space in the room and get ready to dance!!!

I really love them when the get into a Big Band grove and this track shows them doing that!  The track is called Finger tips – Enjoy!!!

The next track is their version of the Godfather.

I hope you are not offended!!!!

I have posted this video as it shows them in concert, which I can say I am lucky enough to have seen them live.  I hope this gives you some idea of what they might be like live!!!

Finaally I will share my favourite track with you all.  It is called Lilac Re-visited.  Somehow it just really touches me.

I hope you like it also,

Thank you for reading and listening to the tracks, I hope it has given you another perspective on the J-pop scene.

The Rocker – 25 Years Gone

Copyright Jim Fitzpatrick

Happy Birthday to Phil Lynott – had he lived, it would be his 62nd birthday today. It would be very easy to grumble on about what was a sad demise and a profound waste of life of a charismatic and talented musician, but I am quite sure that Phil would have no truck with all of that and anyway I would like to focus on the good stuff.

When I was growing up, I guess Phil might have seemed a rather bizarre choice of Irish hero: he was black, his father had scarpered before he was born and he was decidedly Irish in a way that was decidedly uncool. He was interested in folk music, celtic art,  mythology and poetry at a time when we as a nation were not keen on admitting an interest in anything so downright Gaelic. He drew friends and collaborators from the unlikeliest places and was a fantastically colourful dandy in the Vatican state that I grew up in. Some of the songs were macho and sexist, yet everybody’s mammy had a soft spot for him because he was the most charming and unaffected of rockers – very bashful despite the on-stage posing.

From the early to mid seventies he wrote pop and rock music with a lyrical quality and a deft touch with melody. He was a fixture on Top Of The Pops – who else would be cock sure enough to install a mirrored scratchplate on his bass so that he could blind us all with his brilliance? We were proud of him and we were in his eyes his “supporters” – Phil was always a bit of a Manchester United fan.

With Live And Dangerous, Thin Lizzy launched the template for the heavy rock live album oft copied but truly never bettered – all the guff about studio overdubbing is rendered superfluous when you listen to the result.The Boys Are Back In Town remains one of the most played songs on US radio, but his musical legacy has been blighted by his own fractious relationship with record companies and collaborators who have found it all too easy to rehash the catalogue rather than explore.

In an obituary, Fintan O’Toole wrote that Phil was a nicer bloke than Geldof or Bono and that he had wasted more talent than they could ever dream of. Two clips can summarise what he was about and maybe where he could be, and twenty five years after his death, that is really all we have along with the indelible memories  for those fortunate enough to have seen him in his prime.

Unwelcome Guest

Vivian Stanshall – Aunt Florrie’s Waltz
Diagram Brothers – Here Come The Visitors
Broken Family Band – Stay Friendly
Gang Of Four – At Home He’s A Tourist
L7 – Uncle Bob
Zutons – Valerie

Jerry Granelli & Buck 65 – Visitors
Yello – Stay
Leonard Cohen – The Guests
Barzin – Stayed Too Long In This Place
Halou – Company
Carissa’s Weird – They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave

Around the world in 80 voices *

* Approximately

Thursday again !
Voices. Most of us have one, some, in the case of the Tuvans, more than one and, by golly , we like to use them !
Singing has, probably, been around since humans first learned to speak. I’m sure our caveperson ancestors rocked their little one’s to sleep with a “Hush little baby in the cave so deep, let’s hope the cave bears don’t eat you in your sle-ee-p”.
The human voice, more than any other “instrument” has the capacity to delight and amaze, I think, and, to celebrate this I thought we’d go on a little tour round the world and grab a listen to some of the voices that have amazed and/or delighted me over the years ( don’t worry it’s not “outsider” stuff.). So gird your loins and off we go …..

Continue reading

New Brett Anderson “Brittle Heart”

It’s always good to keep an eye on what Mr Anderson is up to, and after a couple of albums of slow piano musings, we’re back to a bit of the old rock, and it’s pretty good on the second listen. Eagle eyed ‘Spillers can spot a. Akiko from Comanechi/The Big Pink and b. That Didz geezer from The Cooper Temple Clause (remember them?!). In other news Brett has gotten married is now married has gotten married, thus breaking Mrs McFlah’s heart (“A piece of me has died” she quoth “I’m like Tinkerbell, with her little light fading away and going out. Sob!”)