Soundtrack To An Alternative Halloween Party

...we can live like Jack and Sally if we want

Hayley Williams and Chad Gilbert as Sally and Jack

As I promised several weeks ago, I’ve put together a playlist for a Halloween house party of the sort that me and my friends might attend. There are lots of dark party tunes ahead, and hopefully you’ll like them! Sadly, I don’t have MP3s of most of these songs, so I’m posting links to videos on Youtube. I hope you don’t mind!

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Where was I again? That’s it – I was doing a series on lesser known punk bands from the early 80s. I’m now going to get the series up & running again (I hope). It’s been derailed by a variety of things, starting off with my trip to Blackpool, so it seems appropriate to start again with imho Blackpool’s best punk band. The Fits were formed in 1979, many years before Blackpool became the official holiday destination for the UK punk scene. They were influenced by the early punk version of Adam & The Ants, but didn’t have the ability. But this was punk after all, and limited ability didn’t stop them having a go. Despite some dodgy early recordings they persisted and went onto release a handful of classic records.

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K-Pop – random thoughts…

Sakura’s Kara Earworm got my mind wandering this morning and I happened to have my laptop in my bag, so here are some random thinkings…….

I have to confess that I’m kind of fascinated by the whole K-pop phenomenon. As you may know, most K-pop stars are required to attend intensive and thorough training and teaching in a wide range of skills – singing, dancing, language skills (usually English, Japanese and Chinese), interview and media training etc alongside regular school studies, for a number of years before they are unleashed on the world as a complete unit. It’s like a combination of university study and job training.

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Bay Area Boys

Oakland’s Tumbleweed Wanderers

I  want to share a little new Bay Area music with all of you.   Tumbleweed Wanderers first album ,  So Long , comes tagged as Country & Folk.  I’d say that’s boxing them in.  Their video release of Roll With The Times starts with them shamelessly invoking a Sly & The Family Stone lick to great effect .   Well, that’s neighborhood music for these Oakland boys & I say more power to them.  Know your roots.

They’re fresh off a tour supporting  Australian Angus Stone & already talking new music.  Love the idea of moving it forward.  Here’s a couple of tunes that tickled my fancy.  Hard Times for it’s use of the banjo to set the mood and So Long Blues for it’s fine vocal harmonies & understated instrumentation.  Kinda reminds me of the Dillards.  Full disclosure, the keyboard player is a close friend’s nephew & I got to meet a couple of them when they did the music for her daughter’s wedding a while back.  Nice lads all & I’m wishing them well.  Click on the player for a listen.

Literary Help Needed!

Good day to you fair ‘Spillers – I’m hoping to pick your gigantic communal brain on literary matters. I am about to start producing literary podcasts for a client, and need your help please. The podcasts will have a basic format where an author reads and is interviewed and takes questions from an audience. All well and good and quite straight forward. What I quite like the idea of is the same five awesome/bizarre/funny/deep questions being asked of the different authors, kinda like an EOTWQ with a literary bent, which I think would add up to an interesting feature – and this is where I need your help please!

If you can put your amazing questions in the comments I will be most incredibly grateful – no such thing as a bad question! Thank you so much!

Ten’s Company, Eleven’s A Crowd: Spill Game Week 12

You know what to do by now. Open your lugholes, filter the noises through your accumulated history and taste and then condemn one (or more) to the drop.

Les Amants – René Magritte, 1928

While putting these tracks together I started to detect fragments of a story, one of those tales that jump back and forth in time (I’ve just read Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men, so that may be why). If you buy that idea, an alternative game is to replace your least favourite chapter/song with one more to your taste that still fits the ‘storyline’ or just add one that fills a gap. If you haven’t a clue what I’m on about, please don’t call the men in white coats.

Apologies for the variable sound quality: tracks 6, 7 and 11 were digitised from their LP’s. No apologies for the tone or the two minor porkies.

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Llamalpaca’s A Waste Of Space Episode Three. The Solo Album.

Your fellow bandmates think your songs suck – possibly because you’re the drummer. You can’t get them on the album, and you’re feeling unappreciated. Perhaps you need to get our of your recording contract, so it seems expedient. Maybe – just maybe – you are better than them and this will be the proof.

So is it going to be a Primitive Cool or a Nightfly? Your thoughts, please, on the solo album. Particularly the “while I’m still in the band” solo effort.

Now you may hold views on the solo album which might be too blistering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to your favourite or delight in cruelly exposing ambition (or writer’s block) interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent, and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable.  Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.

Off you go then.

Shepherd’s Delight

Zephyrs – Stargazer
Winterlight – A Sky Full Of Clouds
Ordinaryson – Safe Skies
John Cale – Big White Cloud
Country Teasers – Black Cloud Wandering
Pelican – Strung Up From The Sky
Echo & The Bunnymen – In Bluer Skies

Why? – A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under
Odawas – If It Smells Like A Rain Cloud
Pepe Deluxé – Mischief Of Cloud Six
Dirty Elegance – Full Eclipse
Tarwater – Sweethome Under White Clouds
Transglobal Underground – Sky Giant
Lee Coombs – Sky Juice
Nathan Fake – The Sky Was Pink [Holden Rmx]
Audio Active – Sunset Doesn’t Mean That We Lose The Sun

Earworms 29 October 2012

1: Kara – Step ~ HoshinoSakura

This is pure K-pop ! ! !  Slick and stylish and bold and brassy ! ! ! But actually it has at very personal meaning to me.  When I came home this summer dad came to meet me the airport (mum was at home cooking – I think she was expecting the red army for lunch)  Dad had the top down on the car, and the sun was shining.  We drove along and this track came on the radio and dad put the sound high and we sang along to the track together as loud as we could. So why do not you try it also ? ? ?

2: Rob Thomas – Smooth (with Santana) ~ Tincanman

A perfect pop song for a hot day (which means it’ll never be heard in England he he). I’m not big on asking people to deconstruct a song, but there is so much detail in the lyrics, playing and production of this that its worth it. They lose it from the middle 8th on, but I’m still willing to change my life to suit your mood.

3: The Dreamlovers – You Gave Me Somebody To Love ~ SweetHomeAlabama

Philadelphia hit that couldn’t break nationwide despite two releases on major labels (Warner Bros., then Mercury).  The Dreamlovers were a doowop vocal group that backed Chubby Checker on many of his releases.  This breakup song from near the end of their existence as a group has a more mature sound somewhere between the Righteous Brothers and Motown.  I love the chorus and the string arrangement.  British groups like the Fortunes and Manfred Mann liked it too, the latter’s stripped-down cover becoming a #36 UK hit, but this is the original version.

4: Bob Marley – Lively Up Yourself ~ Tincanman

There’s so much perfect about the playing here. The bass, the guitar, the percussion, the horns .. so judicious. I like to listen 10 times and pretend I’m the ____ player. My analogy is throwing in a splash of lemon or some chilis when cooking. Lively up yourself, but do it right.

5: NRBQ – Still In School – Treefrogdemon

It’s a bouncy little number by a band that’s new to me (but hey, I’m always three decades behind) about being in love with a schoolgirl – but not in a pervy way, as far as I can tell having studied the lyrics carefully.

6: Terence Trent D’Arby – Wet Your Lips – DarceysDad

How many DsD boxes does this tick? Pounding drums? Check. Loud guitars? Check. Filler screams in the vocals? Check. Gospel backing vocals? Check. Handclaps? Check. Aw, you get the picture.

A big Thank You to everyone who contributed worms to this playlist or has sent them in to the wormbank. Please send your juiciest worms plus a line or two per song on how you got hooked to either or a wormhole near you. Thank you.

Album review: The Misers A Weight Off The Mind (Is Still A Load On The Shoulders)

Misers live in stately homes – yes, that would be right

They’ve kept people waiting a bit for the second album…the Misers’ first, Amplified Life Stories, as choice a slice of Americana pie as ever came out of the West Midlands, was released in 2009 but now, with A Weight Off The Mind (Is Still A Load On The Shoulders), they’re broadening out a bit, steppin’ out and strutting their stuff. A strong American rock and influence is still detectable however (the Who-like introduction to Old Town notwithstanding) and in fact the opening, title track seems to be inviting the participation of Emmylou Harris. But it’s to songwriter and frontman Neil Ivison’s great credit that he hasn’t thought it necessary to affect an American accent for these songs. His singing, alway strong, is at its most effective in the slower numbers – he gives an impressive vocal performance on Back In Your Arms and really stretches himself out for the album closer Second Time. And the band now have a ready-made anthem in My Life Story complete with rock star guitar solo. Which will come in handy, no doubt, in the bigger venues they should be playing before too long.

One reason for the late appearance of the second album is that this four-piece band lost two of its members and gained two replacements in the interim – and also radically changed their approach to recording, from warts-and-all analogue to the kind you do with computers. It seems to have worked though. With new band members Paul Connup (guitar) and Sid Griffin (bass) alongside – or more probably in front of – original drummer Shane Dixon, their sound is crisp, the arrangements are often subtle; and I especially like the complementary acoustic guitar and cello on The Shrine and the mariachi-mandolin style of I Got A Woman – it’s here that the aforementioned Ms Harris gets a proper reference, along with Gram and Johnny’n’June. (And is there a more subtle homage to Gillian Welch’s I Dream A Highway at this point?)

If there is a fault with the album, it’s perhaps the aspect of ‘being all things to all people’ and the lack of a unified style. But that’s hardly a criticism of a band that’s currently refining its approaches and exploiting its crossover appeal. I’ll come clean and say I was an instant fan of the first album and found this one harder to get into; which is probably a sign that it’ll stay with me for longer.

So, Misers, what direction for a third album, if we may look so far ahead? Here’s a thought: Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers all had their breakthrough third albums produced by Jimmy Iovine. Wonder whether Jimmy’s busy these days?

Here are the Misers in rehearsal, September 2012

And here’s a taste of the new album – Fine Line and Back In Your Arms. Release date is November 5. Hmm, we’ve got fireworks here in MK already.

Special bonus sky package !

Hello again, a “leftover”here and, for those whose minds are touched with “madness” a few rather “different” versions of a famous song.

This post contains

Johnny Wiggs and his New Orleans Music- There’s a two wing temple in the sky
Puffy- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
William Shatner- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Wing- Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Commodore Condello’s Salt River Navy Band- Ladmo in the sky with almonds

Auntie Ubu’s little list of skyclad songs for boys and girls.

Hello boys and girls, Ubu here with a little playlist of “sky” tracks that aren’t easily found elsewhere. They are-

Tamurapan- Yappai kyou mo sora ha atte
Applecider-Tsumasaki Sora
In-Hi- Blue Sky
Puppypet-Aoi sora
Softball- Kokyou no sora
The Kokessies- Red Sky
Fanny Fink- Mint in the sky dream
Henry Flynt and the Insurrectionists – Sky turned red
Hedgehog – Sky song

Best Cover Artists Ever? Black Crowes

Haven’t done one of these posts in a long time, but really feeling like it’s time to give these guys the shout that they deserve. (And maybe you need a little something to listen to before the list goes up.) For starters, because not just anyone can take on the Midnight Rambler and do it justice.

What makes these guys such great cover artists? Well, you start with a southern boy with pipes to die for, (and Chris Robinson certainly has them) a definite requirement if you want to take on the likes of Mick, Joe Cocker, Stevie, Plant, etc. But you don’t do great Stones covers with pipes alone, and the band is more than up for the job. Brother Richie on guitar, and Chris on harp, do the Stones proud on this and many, many other Stones covers. (If i’m missing Mick and Co. at all here, it’s only because i’ve become addicted to the coke fueled live bootleg versions.)

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Asset Management

The Stones fled the UK 40 years ago in order to pay less/no UK tax, so there’s a long-standing precedent for the avoidance activities currently being indulged in by the likes of Starbucks, Amazon et al. 

But what business activity are Jay-Z and Beyoncé setting an example for in their attempt to trademark their daughter’s name? Sounds a bit like something the megalomaniacal Apple might do, except that branding is really important to them and protecting business interests is what trademarking is all about.

No, sorry, I simply can’t get my head around these two immensely rich people attempting to get even richer by exploiting their child. Their products should be boycotted, shouldn’t they?

Llamalpaca’s A Waste Of Space Episode Two. The Concept Album.

Styx Give Robots A Bad Name


Mr Roboto. Two words to send a shiver down the spine from Styx’s Kilroy Was Here. Not convinced? Let’s try two more: The Elder. In the dock this week is that hoary old crisis-induced mid-career stop-gap, the concept album.

Pink Floyd. Marillion. The Beatles. Radiohead. The Thin White Duke. Mike Oldfield. Kraftwerk. Rush. The Who. The Art Of Noise. They’ve all done them. So far, so predictable. More intriguing and less likely protagonists include The Streets, Daft Punk, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Sufjan Stevens and arguably The Chemical Brothers and The Beastie Boys.

Now you may hold views on the concept album which might be too withering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to your favourite concept album, delight in cruelly exposing ambition (or writer’s block) interlaced with a bewildering lack of talent, or diss the concept of the concept album and yes, even a considered meh is fully acceptable.  Any stance should be supported with some form of evidence or justification.

Off you go then.

Keep Me, Kill Me

This is Beth Noir’s list-

It’s approaching Hallowe’en so I hope you won’t mind a rather spiky and dark selection for this week’s challenge. I am not optimistic that the list will be universally loved, but I hope there might be something people will like, maybe a little bit, perhaps, I like them all anyway and so does Carlos, my decorated skull.

Dias de los Muertos skull 2011

So here goes…


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Why Are You Being So Toquiwa Now?

Tokyo all female three-piece TOQUIWA release their hi-energy J-punk in the UK on October the 22nd, 2012. Scopitones announced TOQUIWA’s self-titled debut on digital release and limited edition tour CD.
They begin touring the UK on 26/10 in Bournemouth – I’m going to be there (in a home made bright orange TOQUIWA T-shirt) – I also made a T-shirt using the ticket from a live Wedding Presents Ukrainian Sessions gig. But I can’t wear both.

This is the track listing and below the review are Smash Hits style questions sportingly answered by the band.

(I want to post this today – so I will have to ask Sakura to advise if I’ve got anything in the wrong places)

Photograph of the band used with permission – all designs created by arTEEsane are not for profit – please don’t use.

illustrative track from Music Ripple recorded as Pinky Piglets

The self titled album by Toquiwa on the Wedding Presents Scopitones label, should almost be called go out and get ‘em girl – such is the frantic pace that they erupt with perfect pop rock. The first 13 seconds set up the album (you heard right – 13 seconds sets out their manifesto) – Fantasticly playing the many influences and condensing them into a tight Toquiwa package.
Strangely managing to be extremely talented musicians yet still exuding that punk ethic of innocence and naivety.
The tracks have so many astonishingly catchy segments and hooks, you wonder how the pace can be kept up, but keep up they do, building and building, twisting styles and era’s together as if timelines were squeezed, squashed and smashed into their musical brains. Until in comes out sounding as though these things should always have sat together (superbly) in each 3 minute track.
Not only that, they know how to sequence an album – just as your head might explode keeping up – (ten second bar room blues, into superfly 70’s style, into a quiet millisecond break – roaring back into .. you get the drift – I’m loath to compare because it all sounds so Toquiwa – but as reference you could detect The Animals merging with a Curtis Mayfield track with hints of Kirsty MacColl’s weariness and wonder, while a Status Quo repetitive rock riff underpins a track – and quite loud quiet indie rock aesthetics jostle in) they take a breather with a ballad – and then we are invited to party hard once again, ending with an enthusiastic Wedding Present adaption to thrill and inspire while closing the album out.
It’s fantastic fun – superbly performed and feverishly played. Total enjoyment.

Would they be happy to answer my frivolous questions linking to each song on the album?:


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Toquiwa – The Spill Interview part 1

It was a chance meeting out side Shibuya station in Tokyo that resulted in Japanese girl punk-pop band Toquiwa’s signing to a UK record lable and collaborating with The Wedding Present.

Toquiwa (as Pinky Piglets) were playing a street live out side the famous Shibuya station in the heart of one of Tokyo’s most popular entertainment districts when the promoter who was booking the Wedding Present Japanese tour walked past and stopped to listen and had one of those wonderful “A ha ! ! !” moments.   He booked Pinky Piglets as they were called at the time to support Wedding Present and the start of a common journey with the two bands began.

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Earworms 22 October 2012

Never To Be Repeated Offer: Eight for the price of six! Sorry if that’s two too many, but with eight great songs at an average running time of 2.30 minutes,  and a total playlist time of 20.2 minutes, I couldn’t resist.

1: Slim Harpo – I’ve Got Love If You Want It ~ Fintan

Can’t help but think when this came out in 1957 no one knew what to do with it.  Wasn’t much like it out.  It still sounds fresh 55 years on

2: Sir Douglas Quintet – Bacon Fat ~ Treefrogdemon

Sir Doug and his pals are down in the swamp, but without their signature Vox Continental unfortunately. If only I’d thought of this when it was RRSA dance styles..

3: Johnny Burnette – You’re The Reason ~ RockingMitch

Johnny had left his Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio behind when he cut this cover of Harlan Howard’s song. It was just before Johnny’s untimely death in a boating accident. I was fortunate enough to see him perform live at the Lewisham Odeon in 1962.

4: Buddy Holly – Midnight Shift (Ohh Annie!) ~ Treefrogdemon

One of Buddy’s earliest recordings, it was made in Nashville in 1956 before ever Norman Petty (no relation) enticed him over to Clovis, New Mexico. It’s a surprisingly adult theme (he didn’t write it), far away from the high school romance songs he wrote later. This is take 11, famous for the “Ohh Annie!” at the end. Well, famous if you’re a Buddy Holly fan anyway.

5: Sam Sak Band – Ling Job Meu Sua ~ Pairubu

This is the Sam Sak Band, from Thailand. That’s all I know. They produced 1 EP ( as far as I know) ,  sometime in the 60s or 70s,  which has some of the wildest Thai pop I have ever heard on it. Songs about cats and this which is, basically, mad.

6: JD McPherson – North Side Gal ~ SpottedRichard

I sent this song with the authentic vibe to Mitch for a listen. He roared and called it “trendy rockabilly”. He said the double bass player would have ditched that for a Fender in a heart-beat. He’s right, but I still love it.

7: Screaming Lord Sutch And The Savages – Good Golly Miss Molly ~ RockingMitch

Whilst his Lordship’s voice wasn’t exactly the greatest, the backing on this from Dave’s original Savages is phenomenal. With Nicky Hopkins on piano, Bernie “Strawberry” Watson on lead and Carlo Little on drums, this set of Savages was great. In fact, Ricky Fenson-Brown’s bass playing on this is what got me into the instrument. This lot later became Cyril Davis’s R & B All Stars.

8: The Marketts – Balboa Blue ~ Fintan

Summer’s over? Like hell it is.  There’s sand and sunlights at the hardware, cocoa butter at the drug store and the Marketts to fill your soul with blissfully simple surf music.  Go ahead stomp around your kitchen for a bit.

A big Thank You to everyone who contributed worms to this playlist or has sent them in to the wormbank. Please send your juiciest worms plus a line or two per song on how you got hooked to either or a wormhole near you. Thank you.

Spare Blushes

Buzzcocks – Somethings Gone Wrong Again
Passions – Don’t Talk To Me (I’m Shy)
Stranglers – I Feel Like A Wog
Elastica – Stutter
Wolfgang Press – Sucker
Veruca Salt – So Weird
David Shrigley – Dont’s
Magazine – I Want To Burn Again

Hidden Orchestra – Stammer
Tindersticks – Marbles
Thee More Shallows – Monkey Vs. Shark
Calvin Party – Life and Other Sex Tragedies
Ballboy – The Sash My Father Wore
Nina Nastasia – All Your Life
Chris Garneau – Halloween


I mentioned in El Blimp’s EOTWQ that I am dismantling my RV, yesterday as I was taking out the radio I found a stack of tapes that have sat hidden for about 20 years, there was one I used to play a lot. John Cale’s ‘Paris 1919′ on one side and Procol Harum’s ‘Grand Hotel’ on the other, haven’t listened to either in years. Thank god for youtube.

She Loves You ! ! !

On 24 October an exciting event will happen.  A YUI tribute album will be released.  YUI produced the album and it will feature 13 of her most famous songs covered by different artists.

There are tracks by some of my favourite bands and singers.  Stereopony, SCANDAL, Miwa, Goose House, Dancing Dolls and many other great bands and artists are participating.

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The older you get, the quicker they come

It’s Tom Petty’s 62nd birthday – and this time the Guardian gets it right (thanks to me)

For TP’s birthday this year I thought I’d do one of amylee’s lists of 11, and these are eleven of his lesser-known songs, some from his solo albums and some with the Heartbreakers. And guess what, I love all of them – they’re all in my top 50. And I don’t think I’ve posted any of them before. But if you want to play the dump-one-keep-one game, feel free – I won’t be cross.

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