Christmas Comes Early for SR!

Several years ago I found a slightly scruffy picture in an even scruffier frame at a flea market in San Antonio, but I fell in love with it on the spot and went home hugging my little purchase to myself, much pleased. In fact the picture was just cut out from a magazine, but I really didn’t care. It took pride of place in my living room. When I left the US, I left nearly everything behind, but I brought that picture back, even though the lady who bought my house tried to tempt me to part with it by offering me a ridiculous sum.

For the last 10 years or so, I’ve been trying to find out who painted it and what it’s called. I thought it was vaguely Andrew Wyeth Senior-ish, but not. My knowledge of American art isn’t great and I failed to discover the artist – until today when I found out that he was a German immigrant, Julius Gari(baldi) Melchers, and the picture is unsurprisingly entitled Mother And Child, and the artist painted it in 1906. It hangs in the Art Institute Chicago.

I’ve even found a litho which I’m thinking of buying myself for Christmas, although nervous about getting it shipped as things have a habit of disappearing in the US/UK postal systems.

And what is all the fuss about? See for yourself. I hope you like it too!

The Spill Awards 2012

Why haven’t I been nominated for a Spill Award this year?

Okay, I’m going to interpret two “sorry too busy” and one “it wouldn’t be the same without you” comments as a ringing endorsement of my stewardship of the annual Spill Awards, and put my mind to thinking of a way to top last year’s live blog of the award ceremony. I suppose we could do it on Twitter… If anyone has any thoughts, let me know; meanwhile, it’s time to open nominations.  Here’s how it works… Continue reading

Llamalpaca’s A Waste Of Space. Peter Gabriel.

This week’s object of affection/derision is Peter Gabriel. It has to be said that the ladyllama is no fan, but he has had a varied career and I guess a fair chunk of it may have passed her by. Remember the Genesis era theatrics, or the political conscience? Or the jokes going round Africa about needing to quickly hide the rhythms any time he or Paul Simon showed up? Recently he has been reduced to revisiting his back catalogue. Has the man any talent or is he rock’s own jerkin-clad Chauncey Gardiner mucking around with a mixing desk in his oversized garden shed?

Now you may hold views PG which might be too withering in their honesty for publication over on RR. Here, however, you may choose to pay homage to some of his ouevre that moved you or delight in cruelly exposing overarching ambition 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.

Earworms 26 November 2012

1: Bruce Springsteen – Racing In The Streets (Acoustic Boot) ~ Tincanman

Springsteen’s Racing in the Streets is one of the saddest songs I know, and I’d argue his best. If he’d put the fiddle from this bootleg on the album version it’d be too painful to listen to. Bye bye career, sorry, all your fans have killed themselves.

2: Any Trouble – Playing Bogart ~ Treefrogdemon

Someone on the TP&TH Facebook page quoted the verse from this song that mentions TP, the other day. I love Any Trouble and I’ve known this song for years but I never noticed that…oops. This is the shorter, faster version.

3: The Pirates – Castin’ My Spell ~ RockingMitch

These were the 2nd set of Pirates and this was their first solo record in 1966. They took the song from a version by Johnny Otis and put a completely new spin on it. Originally, this and the A-side “My Babe” were to be recorded by Johnny, but they had laid down they backing track whilst he was away in the Midlands. Unfortunately, on his way back to London, he was involved in a fatal car smash, so Johnny Spence (aka Holliday) took over on the vocals. Mick Green’s guitar is superb, I think.

4: Punjabi MC (ft. Surinder Shinda) – Mirza ~ Chinny

I considered Mirza by Punjabi MC/Surinder Shinda for its bassline last week. Then decided it lacked a sufficiently pumping or memorable one. The song is an absolute belter, though. Its East-West mix is one of the sublimest I know. It’s just so damn epic and portentous! It’s like a really profound, Punjabi power ballad!

5: Hubert Von Goisen Und Der Original Alpinkatzen – Heast As Nit ~ Abahachi

“The young men have grown old, and the old ones have died…” A sad, beautiful song about the inexorable passage of time, albeit sung in an Austrian dialect and with added yodeling.

6: Death In Vegas – Amber ~ DarceysDad

I would call this hypnotic slab of electronic dub one of my all-time favourite songs to lose myself in, whether dancing to it (yes – me! Dancing!!) or lying in a darkened room chilling out.

Thanks for all the recent feedback and to those of you who are already sending your Holiday Earworm songs in.  I plan to post one playlist on Monday 17th December. If there are lots of submissions, I may schedule another. So let’s have ‘em if you’ve got them. I’ll post a cut-off date in a couple of weeks.

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.

Festive ‘Spill, 2012

2012 is winding down, so it’s time to look back & pick our favourite tunes of the year for our annual listening party – continuing a tradition established by the late John Peel & his Festive 50 broadcasts. A reminder of how our version works:

You can nominate 3 songs (New releases from 2012 (or late 2011, that missed the cut last year). Any ‘Spiller or Readers Recommender is welcome to participate.

Please rank your choices 1,2 & 3; #1 being your best of the best. We ‘Spillcast the results in three parts, starting with the #3’s on dates to be be determined – suggestions welcome in the comments for preferred broadcast dates.

Send your nominations to

The tricky part: In order to play the tunes, I need actual mp3’s of your choices. You can attach mp3 files to an e-mail (usually works best if you send one mp3 per e-mail).

You can also send a URL hotlink to an mp3, if it’s stored somewhere I can access it.

Those of you on Dropbox can use your private folder in Dropbox (the one called public). Add your file to the public folder. Right click on the file, select “copy public link” & paste into your e-mail. If you’re a DB expert, you can set up a new shared folder instead. Please don’t use the public RR folder as this will spoil the surprise.

You will get confirmation from me when I have received your votes & mp3 files. If using a hotlink, please leave the files where they are until you get the e-mail confirmation.

Nominations are on a first come basis. If one of your picks is already taken, I will let you know so you can make another one. Vote early if you want to avoid this.

Please take part if you can. Feel free to use the comments for any questions or suggestions.

The Real Japanese School Girls – Swing Girls – Brass Band Attack ! ! ! 

Swing Girls – The Brass Band Is Where The Action is ! ! !

Of course while I was making my posts on Japanese school girls and J-pop I was aware that actually 2 things.  The first is that Japanese people actually make music much more that western people, and that the reality is that in talking about Japanese school girls and music in real life (as distinct from J-pop) then really the brass band is where it is all happening for girls these days.

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Attack Of The Japanese Schoolgirls ! ! ! – Part 2 ! ! ! 

Schoolgirls ! ! ! Prepare To Attack ! ! !

Stand and Bow ! ! !  Lessons are about to start ! ! !

In the last class we looked at the history and development of the Japanese Schoolgirl Uniform and the also some characteristics of Japanese schoolgirls.  This week are going to concentrate on school girls in Japanese pop and rock.  So no talking in class and pay attention to the teacher.  There will be a test at the end and if you do not pass there will catch up classes during the winter break ! ! !

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Forgot something ?

A tiny listette of chorus free ( possibly) songs, which are

Jun Togawa – Mushi no onna ( pupation woman) two versions, “baroque” original and “punk”
Roky Erickson – Bumblebee zombie
Masako-san- My fruit yoghurt
Rev.Fred Lane- Shoelaces.
Kwanjai Kalasin Yuk Patana – Ruk Pee Deh Bun Mai Terng
Mitsume-春の日 ( One Spring day)
White- 47 rockets ( for Wang Hu)
My Little Airport- Je Pense a toi

Mad Thinker Get Out Of My Head

1 Ribbons The Sisters Of Mercy
2 Ooh La La Goldfrapp
3 Come On You Young Philosophers! The Strange Death Of Liberal England
4 Talk To Strangers Saul Williams
5 Your Big Brown Eyes and My Big Broke Heart The Russian Futurists

1 René Descartes Parliament of Owls
2 Clockwork Blackalicious
3 Descartes The Foxes
4 Socrates Studiocanoe
5 Watchman, The Philosopher Baba Zula
6 Philosopher’s Stone Thievery Corporation
Sorry for the early mentions of Christmas in these two songs – but it does give me the ideal opportunity to ask if anyone wants a collection of my ‘vinyl’ Christmas cards.

See below for images – click on Continue Reading » then click on the first images to get a gallery.

1 A Higher Power Jens Lekman
2 Are Philosophers Lonely? Soda Fountain Rag
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I haven’t really covered a bona fide Oi band (apart from maybe Anti-Establishment) so far in this intermittent series, so it’s about time I did. The Ejected should fit the bill: they came from Dagenham; Garry Bushell liked them ; their early songs sounded a bit like football chants. Almost the definition of an Oi! Band!

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He Said – She Said ~ We Love – Goose House ! ! !

Goose House

She Says:  

Are Goose House a group  or a musicians collective?  We do not really know and actually we do not care because Goose House are FUN ! ! !  In this special edition of He Said – She Said we want to share our enthusiasm for this wonderful group of young musicians who have taken a very different path to success and on the way have had a lot of fun and shared the fun with many thousands of people.

He Says:

A little bit difficult for me to write about this band as I only came across them a few weeks ago in relation to the Yui tribute album ( see Sakura’s previous post). However I’ve been playing their songs and videos and find them very enjoyable. This post, I think, illustrates two things about the Japanese music scene at the moment.
1. There’s still room for “bedroom” musicians.
2. It’s pretty much self contained. Goose House could cover “Teen Spirit” or other Western rock songs but they choose J-pop instead. They don’t need us.

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And now; it’s time for an ‘Intermission’


As promised here’s the video I made of Emma Pollock backed by my pals in the 12 piece Electric String Orchestra. The song’s called “Intermission” (maybe) and during the soundcheck me & the camera guys were trying to google the lyrics because it sounded so mighty and familiar, but we couldn’t put our finger on the song. Turns out it was an original, hence the lack of googlable lyrics, which makes this kind of an instant classic really. Like a James Bond theme for the best Bond film that never got made, I think.

HyunA – The Ultimate K-Pop Diva ! ! !

K-pop Mega Star Hyuna

Oh Dear ! ! !  The Guardian has discovered K-pop  ! ! !

This week there are two articles about it over on on the Mothership ! ! !  Of course one is about learning the Gangham Style dance and the other is about Girls Generation.  The Guardian  seem to think Girls Generation will be able to break into the western market, and as usual they have gone for the K-pop Lite option.  But actually if a K-pop artist will make it long term in west, it will probably be HyunA.

She is smart, funny, sexy, fluent in English and Japanese a great singer and dancer and a charismatic live performer.

You will all hate her ! ! !

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‘Spill Game, Week 15. – “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

You WILL like what DsD has posted, or we’ll send da boys round, capiche?

The last couple of weeks’ selections from Abahachi and AngryIrishPunk gave me a dilemma: do I continue with their policy of driving us down a narrow track, as a way of trying to make you all listen to a dozen (i) classic rock cuts; (ii) Americana adventures; or (iii) minimalist mood-pieces? My long-lists for this thread included enough options for me to do any of those things. Or was it time to give you all a bit of relief; play safe, pick a load of Spill faves, and see how they ended up being ranked? It might have been fun to watch you agonize on how to split one vote four-or-five ways each!

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Pretty Please

Some of you may be aware that i have a few obsessions – for covers, axe wank, Stones, and i have another one you may or may not be aware of – for swooningly pretty pop tunes. Compiling a personal list here that may end up elsewhere – can you help me out?

Not a challenge, no rules, post as many of the prettiest pop tunes as you see fit. The definition of pop here is pretty loose too. Bonus Spill points for newtomes.

Earworms 19 November 2012

1: Marissa Nadler – Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover) ~ Tincanman

Marissa Nadler writes her own songs, but her claim to fame is coming to be her uncanny elucidation of mumblers (Young, Cohen. Dylan, Petty et al). She gives her covers away on her channel to subscribers. (Did I get that right?)

2: Shivaree – Lost In A Dream ~ Zalamanda

A fantastical mix of angels, rainbows, and ugly things that come out at night (some of which bite) – topped off with jazzy horns and the laidback vocals of one Ambrosia Parsley. Really. That is her name.

3: Warrior Soul – The Drug ~ Beth Noir

Acid punk is one description, I find this song, which I first bought as a single in 1994 utterly addictive in a sneery metal way. So much energy, I’ll have what he’s having.

4: Susannah Hoffs – November Sun ~ Abahachi

Yes, it’s very retro – a 2012 record that sounds like it was recorded nearly half a century ago – but not that many people are reviving the glories of 60s pop, and very few of them can do it as well as the former Bangles singer.

5: June Tabor And The Oysterband ~ Lullaby Of London ~ Treefrogdemon

Rather too jaunty for a lullaby, I’ve always thought, but the inspired Tabor/Oyster collaboration weaves its magic spell as ever.

6> Katsuko Kanei – Tanin No Kankei (Like Strangers) ~ HoshinoSakura

I found this CD by 1960 decade pop singer Katsuko Kanai in a bargain bin in a record store and it has this really nice Bossa Nova style number on it which feels somehow sweet and sexy and sad all at the same time and it has a great rhythm ! ! ! It really captures how I imagine Tokyo in the 1960 decade was, cool and swinging ! ! !  I have been humming the song ever since I bought it ! ! !

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.

Deep Thoughts

Magazine – Definitive Gaze
Muse – Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist
Joy Division – Heart And Soul
Thee More Shallows – Freshman Thesis
Get Well Soon – Seneca’s Silence
New Build – Finding Reasons
F.S.K. – Fragen Der Philosophie (Völkerball)
Cibo Matto – Twenty Questions

Orbital – Are We Here? [Industry Standard Edit]
Shriekback – The Shining Path
Wolfgang Press – Timeless
Mi & L’au – Philosopher
Neutral Milk Hotel – Communist Daughter
Woods – Who Do I Think I Am?
Tram – Reason Why
Robert Wyatt – Free Will And Testament

Live review: Frida Hyvonen, Kings Place, London, 31 October 2012

No artist has got under my skin over the last few years quite like Swedish songstress Frida Hyvonen; I’m forever grateful to Lambretinha and ElDerino (where he?) for introducing me to her. So I wasn’t going to miss her one and only UK date this year, at Kings Place, a really rather wonderful arts centre in the really rather wonderful regeneration area around Kings Cross, yards away from the Guardian’s HQ.

I didn’t know what sort of gig to expect. The last clip I saw of Frida playing live was performing The Sound of Silence for Paul Simon at the Polar Music Prize (kind of like the Brits for Scandinavians), complete with full orchestra. She’s a big star in Sweden, and her new album, To The Soul, is full of big tunes and big production.

Tonight, though, we’re treated to a recital of rare intimacy. It’s just her and a Steinway grand, with a friend adding some understated backing vocals. The stalls of the concert hall are less than half full – there’s probably about 60 people, and half of them are Swedish. Halfway through she asks to have the houselights on so she can take a photo of us for her Instagram.

There’s nothing small about her performance though. She becomes totally consumed by her songs, her voice able to shift from detached Scandinavian coolness to unbridled passion. Some songs respond particularly well to this stripped down treatment. “Farmor”, from her latest album, is a highlight. An elegy for her grandmother, it’s perhaps overproduced on the record, but almost has me in tears tonight, as the huge chorus fades into a poignant coda that perfectly captures the reminiscences and chitchat of an old woman’s wandering mind.

Frida has a gift for taking an experience from her life and spinning it into something profound. So in “Picking Apples”, an impulse stop as she’s passing her late grandparents’ house sends her off into a reverie about families, mortality and writing her own epitaph. “Pony” is a nostalgic hymn to a childhood love of riding horses, with an undercurrent of sexuality (“The stable’s where you learned to be in charge and not take shit / Dressed for the occasion, leather boots and a stiff black whip”).

In between songs, she’s witty and a little shy. After “Dirty Dancing”, we learn that she never got round to putting a net on her chimney to keep the birds off, as her chimney sweep childhood sweetheart advises in the song, and had to call him back to do it a couple of weeks ago. She doesn’t, though, reveal what he thinks of the song – or whether she’s written a new one about this latest encounter.

She plays for a little over an hour, returning for a single encore: “December”, a sad, wry account of a visit to an abortion clinic. Presumably autobiographical, it’s an uncomfortable listen on record – when the singer’s only yards away, it’s painfully compelling.

Five minutes later, she’s sitting on the steps outside in the freezing cold, selling records and T-shirts. Like a besotted fan, I buy a CD I already own to get her autograph and a moment to chat. She’s currently without a label in the UK, and the latest album hasn’t been released here yet. That’s a travesty, and will surely be put to rights before long. In the meantime, I feel privileged to have seen her like this.

I’ve put together a Spotify playlist of the songs she played, possibly not in quite the right order, for anyone who’s interested:

‘Spill Game Week 14: Don’t Bother Trying To Explain, Angel…

Michelle Nolan (now Michelle DaRosa) of Straylight Run and Destry. The line “Don’t bother trying…” in the title of this post is probably about her…

As per a discussion that took place here and on RR a few weeks ago, I decided to theme my playlist for the ‘Spill game around infidelity, just for the lolz. In terms of the tracks I’ve picked, I have a few general points to make:

  1. I could have chosen eleven songs by Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and Straylight Run, so entangled and messy were those three bands’ love lives. But I figured that would be pointless in terms of the game…
  2. I have a sneaking suspicion I know which song is most likely to be kept.
  3. I feel obliged to follow Aba last week in saying that your problem is likely to be finding a song you’d want to listen to!

Continue reading

Earworms 12 November 2012

1: Soulsavers (ft Dave Gahan) – Take Me Back Home ~ DarceysDad

I know, I know, it’s new and shouldn’t be here.  [It's ancient history now. It's been in the wormbank for months. Ed.] But when you find yourself still singing a song even after your loved ones have repeatedly pleaded with you to shut up, it surely qualifies as a ‘worm, no? Soulsavers recycle Mark Lanegan into Dave Gahan, and recycle 2007’s “Revival” into 2012’s “Take Me Back Home”.

2: Ewan McColl – Looking For A Job ~ Tincanman

This and Splodgenessabounds’ two pints of lager are the epitome of desperation songs. They exist. I can see them. Right over there, how hard can it be?

3: Johnny Caswell – You Don’t Love Me Anymore – bishbosh

I love discovering new (to me) Northern Soul stompers. This is my latest find and I can’t stop listening to it. I’m sure a record with this sad a lyric shouldn’t be so cheerful-sounding, but it’s so damn infectious, I sure ain’t complaining!

4: Supersister – She Was Naked (1970) – SweetHomeAlabama

“She looked like instant pudding and it was the cream of the commercial increase.”  Say what?!  Firstly, I’ve been delving into Dutch pop and rock of this era and some artist-title combinations just jump off the page and call out for a listen.  Not exactly what I expected – a four-man group from Den Haag – but amazing in it’s own way.  Starts off with a mellow flute-y vaguely-Pink Floyd sound, and then halfway through abruptly kicks into high gear with a sound like some unholy mashup of Led Zep, Steppenwolf, Type O Negative, and Jethro Tull.

5: Sam Amidon – Tribulation ~ Mnemonic

Pretty much everything Sam Amidon does is an earworm for me but this one in particular because for so long I’d only heard him play it live.  It’s on an obscure indie label from a few years back and it took time to track down.

6: Tommy Cooper – Don’t Jump Off The Roof, Dad ~ Pairubu

Bless ! O.K it’s a stupid “comedy” song but the line “Just go to the park, Dad, there you can jump in the lake” is wonderful. I can hear my own daughter saying that !

The Word From Worminster Village   From a recent comment, I’ve a suspicion that some of you may have the impression that I temporarily “banned” Americana worms.  I’d like to clarify that there was at one time a huge imbalance in the wormbank and I did ask for worms from other genres to add variety to the playlists and noted that I had loads of Americana ones. I can’t recall exactly what I said/wrote to whom. I am sincerely sorry that I have been so clumsy in expressing myself that anyone would feel that songs/tunes from ANY genre were unwelcome. I would like to  make it  clear that all worms are gladly and gratefully received.
In fact, worm stocks will be dangerously low after Christmas so I would appreciate  some contributions in the next couple of months to start 2013 rocking and rolling. Yay! Sx

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.

Redemption Songs

Prefab Sprout – Faron Young
Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind
Love Is All – Make Out Fall Out Make Up
Killing Joke – In Cythera
Le Loup – Forgive Me
Televise – Mercy Seat
Opal – Sisters Of Mercy
JD Meatyard – Sorry Song

People Like Us – Dolly Pardon
Repair – Forgive + Forget [Richard Davis Mix]
Wolfgang Press – Derek The Confessor
Section 25 – Sweet Forgiveness
Bass Clef – Don’t Ask Me to Forgive You
Fever Ray – Mercy Street
Talk Talk – I Believe In You