Blimpy’s Best Long Playing Records of The Year


In a slight break from tradition, I’m sticking to the vinyl that I bought this year (sorry Crocodiles & Mikal Cronin, your records were great too, I just don’t own them yet!) – Here’s a not-particularly ordered list!

1. “The Bones Of What You Believe”Chrvrches. Unstoppable song writing from these Glaswegians, a pop heart shot through with a bullet of the all important Scots melancholy. Mighty non-cheesy 80s synths abound.

2. “Modern Vampires Of The City”Vampire Weekend. Good golly there’s a plethora of cracking & clever tunes on here, as the VW begin to contemplate their mortality & place in the world.

3. “A Sea Of Spilt Peas”Courtney Barnett. Bob Dylan, Lou Reed & Kurt Cobain as seen through the lens of a slightly bonkers, mildy stoned Australian singer.

4. “Pedestrian Verse”Frightened  Rabbit. The fourth good record in a row from Selkirk’s finest.

5. “Dream Cave” - Cloud Control. Skewed psych-pop from more Aussies (what do they put in their water over there?)

6. “Hobo Rocket”Pond. Heavy deavy psyche nonsense lifting bits of Zep and Bowie, sounds like it was knocked off in an evening. Australian. Bonza.

7. “II” – Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Tripped out rambling 60sesque psyche pop from a bunch of long haired freaks. Not Australian!!! What??!

8. “Secret Soundz Vol 2″ – Pictish Trail. I think I may have put this in last year’s list too, but as it officially came out this year…

9. “Now That You Are A Dancer”Kid Canaveral. More indie pop perfection from the brawsome foursome, now with added shoegaze & epicosity.

10. “EP 1″Pixies. Not technically an LP, but I did play the heck out of it. 3 amazing songs, one ok song. No Kim. Still a good deal.

I’d be interested in seeing your lists, so if you can’t be bothered to do a full post, please put top 3s/5s/10s/100s in the comments! I love lists!

Playlist pairs- 7/4 time

A new album from Juana Molina starts off with a fine, moody, and angular composition in 7/4. Juana is an Argentine multi-instrumentalist with a long career as a musician, comedian and TV star; her latest solo album Wed 21. is a wonderfully offbeat discursion into electronic folk music.  More info from her label.

This music is quite distinctive and it’s hard to find a good matching track; so to pair it I’ve fallen back on my favourite 7/4 composition, Joe Zawinul’s 74 miles away, performed by the Cannonball Adderley sextet.



Playlist pairs- quirky indie folk playing quirky indie folk.

A beautiful, restless track from Tigran Hamasyan’s new album Shadow Theatre, featuring the amazing Areni Agbabian on (wordless) vocals. Lots of references came to mind when I heard this, from the piano playing of Bojan Z to the circular routines of Penguin Cafe Orchestra. But in the overall effect of music and video it seems to me this track shares an affinity with The Ruby Suns’ Tane Mahuta- both draw heavily on folk influences, are based on waltz time, build to emotional climaxes, and are accompanied by endearingly off-beat collage-style black and white films.

Rockpool Hospital

So I was down the road in the East Neuk over the weekend, celebrating the non-demise of Fence Records, at an all-dayer in Crail. It was really nice to see some new local bands & performers under the Fence umbrella; the amazing Lidh being one of them. Anyway, she has handily just released a new EP and a video to go with the lead track “Rockpool Hospital”. It’s a bit of an earworm, very moreish, very pretty & happy and the video is tons of fun (show your small children!).  Hope you like it. Lidh’s website is here.

Another Tuesday, Another Challenge.

Aha, another ‘Spill Challenge. No real theme here this time and Frippiness has been kept to an absolute minimum. I expect that many of these songs won’t be unfamiliar to most people and I hope that there is something here for everyone. Listening back, though, if there is a theme, it is that I think these tracks all seem to work well in our Summer heat.

So, same as always, What rocks your world and what rains on your parade?

01 – Intro/Sweet Jane – Lou Reed From Lou’s 1974 Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal album, featuring the twin guitar talents of
Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner, who also played in Alice Cooper’s band.
02 – Black Water – The Doobie Brothers
The hot weather seems to suit the early Doobie Brother’s sound. This one has a languid, zoned-out feel.
03 – Baby’s On Fire – Brian Eno
The Bard of Braininess from his first album, Here Come The Warm Jets. with a suitably incandescent guitar solo by Robert Fripp (his only appearance on the list).
04 – He’ll Have To Go – Ry Cooder
A hit for Jim Reeves, Ry Cooder’s take is a laid-back affair with a Tex-Mex swing, courtesy of the accordion of Flaco Jimenez.
05 – Jacket Hangs – The Blue Aeroplanes
One of the best-known songs from Bristol’s Blue Aeroplanes. This is a band that needs to be seen live because Gerard Langley is a fantastic frontman. They had a non-singing dancer long before Bez came along, fact fans.
06 – Spencer The Rover – John Martyn
A traditional folk ballad given the inimitable Martyn treatment. One of my favourite songs on the album Sunday’s Child.
07 – There’s No Way Out Of Here – David Gilmour
From his first, 1977 solo album, originally recorded by a band called Unicorn (no, me neither) and released as a single, which flopped, probably because of the year. David gives his guitar a typical workout. This album is interesting, because it shows how Floyd would sound once Roger Waters left leaving David in charge.
08 – When Poets Dreamed Of Angels – David Sylvian
A typically atmospheric song from David Sylvian’s Secrets of the Beehive album. I am a huge fan of his solo work and I really think he deserves more airplay.
09 – Song With No Words – David Crosby
A dreamy drifting workout, basically a jam, from his 1971 solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, this features Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Mike Shrieve and Graham Nash. Hippy Royalty, really. Substances may have been involved in the recording of this track.
10 – Dolphins – Tim Buckley
Fred Neil’s song given the Buckley treatment at the Albert Hall in 1968. Danny Thompson on bass, natch plus guitarist Lee Underwood and David Friedman on vibes. His voice was never better, I think.
11 – Naked Eye – The Who
A regular feature of The Who’s live act but not ever an album track until a version appeared on the Odds ‘n’ Sods compilation. This is classic ‘Ooo.

He Said – She Said Special Cross Cultural Edition – Typically English – Typically Japanese ! ! !

 If he chooses a track about octopus's . .  I will kill him ! ! !

If he chooses a track about octopuses . . I will kill him ! ! !

sakura 1Welcome to the special Cross Cultural Edition of He Said – She Said ! ! !  This time we decided to show what we think is typical of the music from each other’s counties ! ! !  So I will be picking typically English tracks and Mr P will be picking typically Japanese tracks ! ! !

We think it will be fun and hope you like the post ! ! !

Mr P-1This time we have chosen to visit each other’s musical heritage in a fantastic cross cultural exchange type of a thing. I think it’s interesting to see how others see us, through the medium of music. We have chosen one contemporary  track, one oldie and one traditional.  We hope you enjoy the tracks.

Continue reading

Fancy an outing to the Half Moon in Putney?

Half Moon ad

I’ve already got my ticket for this – it was only £13! – and I was thinking it would be really great if some of you others could come too! It’s a Thursday, so not very good for a social, but we could have a drink beforehand at least.

Darrell Scott is an American singer-songwriter in the Americana mould – you may know him from tfd afasarae You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive. Danny Thompson is a bass player best known (to me) for his work with Richard Thompson (no relation) and the Pentangle; but he’s played with loads of other people as well, and he plays in many styles. Darrell and Danny made a live album a while ago, and here are a couple of tracks to show you the sort of thing.

02 It’s The Whiskey that Eases the P

06 You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive

So, on the assumption that the noise they’ll make will be similar to that…here’s where you can book!

May Mini-Social Gig, anyone?

I finally got an email from WeGotTickets that made me sit up and pay attention. Southern Gothic murder balladeers The Handsome Family are coming over for a short UK tour in May, and three – yes, THREE – of the dates are easy commutes for me. Can I have a quick shout if you’re interested, please, and with a preference for which venue and date?

Manchester @ The Ruby Lounge – Friday 17th May
Leeds Brudenell Social Club – Wednesday 22nd May
Hebden Bridge Trades Club – Saturday 25th May

Tickets are in the ten to fifteen quid price range, and if we choose either of the weekend dates, I’m considering combining it with hosting a daytime Social on the Saturday.

I don’t know The Ruby Lounge, but HB Trades Club isn’t a big venue, and the guy at The Brud told me he expects this to sell out quite quickly there, so if you can feed your pigeon some go-go juice before you send back your replies attached to its leg pouch, I’d appreciate it.

‘Spill Housekeeping


Hallo fellow ‘Spillers. Just a quick post to see if anyone’s interested in a wee visual update to the old ‘Spill. Pretty much the same as things are now, but maybe…..a bit wider??!

It would maybe help if you told me how you view The ‘Spill (I’m on huge screened macs which may give me a different view on thing, y’see?) and what could make it better.

Cheery cheers, and here’s the new Laura Marling song:

On the Water…

full moonOverWater

I’ve never written a post for The Spill before. Isn’t that shocking? So I thought it was about time I made amends and started chucking the odd thing on over here, as it’s nice to break loose from the RR confines when time permits and do something about what is lighting my fire currently. As I’m still getting used to the vagaries of WordPress, I thought I would just throw something out and use it to work out how to do the techie bits;  so hoping to work those out whilst writing this but hopefully still say something interesting…. Continue reading

10 from 11 from 12

Snow business

I never got round to doing a post on my albums of the year last year. I’m sure this was a profound disappointment to everyone, so here are 11 tracks from records I liked which I don’t think featured on the Festive ‘Spill (my own choices apart) or other people’s list.

You know the rules. Pick your favourite, pick your 11th favourite. And please feel free to mention any songs or albums from 2012 to which the Spill’s collective attention should be drawn.

Continue reading

It was a bright cold day on the ‘spill, and the clocks were striking 13…


My 11 most played albums of ’12 in ’13.

My end of year round up is now turned into the ‘spill game:
you know the score DUMP one (or all of them – see if I care)

It’s pop and it’s fun – don’t take it too seriously.
Remember, they are my most played – I’m not claiming they will change the world – I just liked them.

Band names in BOLD – for those who believe I make stuff up:

1 Stroke My Curls The Dodoz Forever I Can Purr 2012
2 Cuka (feat. Ikonoklasta) Batida Batida (feat. Mck, Circuito Feixado, Ikonoklasta, Beat Laden 2012
3 The Empty Man Whitey Lost Summer 2012
4 Genevieve Stealing Sheep Into The Diamond Sun 2012
5 Horn For The Whole Damn World Lazarus and the Plane Crash Horseplay
6 Passenger Emily Wells Mama 2012
7 Kevlar Sweethearts Diablo Swing Orchestra Pandora’s Pinata 2012
8 Be Strong (Blakkat Remix) The 2 Bears Be Strong (Deluxe Edition) 2012
9 Rat-at-at The Skints Part & Parcel 2012
10 Clap Hooded Fang Tosta Mista 2012
11 Circus Sunday Driver The Mutiny 2012

Strings Attached

My friends in The Electric String Orchestra put on a big show in Glasgow a few months back, which I was lucky enough to catch on camera. They do rock n roll & popular covers with a 12 piece orchestra (Bowie, Muse, Lady GaGa, GnR, King Creosote etc) and have guest singers also (Emma Pollock, Twilight Sad still to come, I will post when they’re ready!).

This clip is of fine Highlands folk singer Rachel Sermanni performing one of her songs, Rachel has gone down well on The ‘Spill previously, so I thought you may like to see this.

And after the jump, Britney Spears gets tackled.  Continue reading

An Engagement is Announced…

Never let it be said that we don’t bring you the very latest up-to-the-minute pop gossip: Owain and Hari (Angharad) from up-and-coming bilingual Welsh-English folk/electronica duo Trwbador are engaged! That is indeed MrStepAbahachi, and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s a clip from a tv appearance on S4C last year, to whet the appetite for their forthcoming debut album – the wedding comes later next year…

How I discovered . . . . . . Jim Croce

I hate Moustaches ! ! ! He was so handsome without it ! ! !

I wanted to start a series of occasional posts about how I came to discover some different artists and this will be the first of the series. So this series will be about how I discovered some different English language artists and I tell the story by including tracks by the artists that lead me to the discovery.

Continue reading

12 for 2012 No 1: Rachel Sermanni

I’ve been keeping an eye on Rachel Sermanni for a wee while now, and she’s come up with the goods – some slightly schizo twitchy folk disturbia from the deepest darkest forests of the Scottish Highlands. It may only be a hundred miles north of where I live, but it’s another world – a godless, dark wasteland of wild-eyed beasts dancing with the devil in the woods.

Some Entertainment For The Wash-up?

Merry Christmas y’All!

By now you will have muzzle-loaded every form of carbohydrate known to man within the space of 24 hours, some of you will have gorged on the charred carcase of poultry past, many of you will have fearlessly guzzled a combination of drinks that you would consider inappropriate on the most lost of weekends, and then to cap it all merrily furred your arteries up with the combined contents of a dairy farm and a sugar plantation.

So there you are, in a stupefied state, knowing only too well that there are only two things which can revive you: the riches of the Spill and the mundanity of tidying up the kitchen by way of tribute to your chef.

Lucky for you to have chosen to log on in this post-prandial fug, for I have something to help you through the dishes and hopefully most of the pots and pans. It is a sublime confection of music, wit, bonhomie and friendship. I posted a fragment of this session on the occasion of tfd’s retirement and had held off posting the rest as I knew it would be a necessary yuletide palliative.

Brendan Croker and Kevin Coyne recorded an album in 2002 – the story of their meeting and how the music came together is explained in their interview segment with Andy Kershaw. The whole thing is pleasantly bonkers, with the interviewer seemingly happy to try and compete with the ludicrous ramblings of his guests.

I used to listen to this every Friday at 5PM to remind me that there was something to life other than work, although I think you will find it works well while taking care of the clear up. I am on a farm for Xmas and while I myself will not be able to join you today, I will be enjoying every bloated gluttonous second of it and the washing up too!

Songs About Gardens: B-List

Songs About Gardens: B-List

The B-list provides an opportunity to compile a list free of the constraints and pressures of the A-List.  To give a hearing to some tunes of choice without the limits of  PC or taste.  So i was a bit piqued to find my choices and list were less varied, less offensive,  and more user-friendly that i had hoped for.  (I used a bigger shoehorn too!)  Almost too damn pretty of a list.  I think Wyngatecarpenter may have put his finger on it – “Clearly this subject brings out a softer side in some of my favourite artists.”  Slim pickings this week for hard rock, metal, punk, thrash, grunge, and hardcore hip-hop.  On the upside – a banner week for 60’s grooviness, earthy blues, psychedelia, folk, culture, goth, indie/alt and J-pop. Continue reading

Transatlantic Sessions season 5

Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain - they're in charge

Looking through my iTunes to find songs about Sara reminded me that Sara Jarosz is my discovery-of-the-season from Transatlantic Sessions. Season 5 that is.

As usual I’m enjoying TS very much. This season has Danny Thompson in the house band, though he’s the odd one out being neither Scottish, Irish nor American. Maybe he’s an honorary member of all those nationalities. All the music is terrific – this week’s one which I’ve just watched on iPlayer ends with Eric Bibb and Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down, a sentiment with which I heartly concur, featuring a blues mandolin solo by Sam Bush. It’s wonderful.

I know not of all of you are able to watch TR. Currently it’s on BBC2 Scotland on Fridays at 7.30 and then on the iPlayer; I expect it’ll be shown on ordinary BBC2 later on. There are videos from earlier seasons on YouTube – again, these may not be available to everyone. Please, if you can, do give it a watch even if you think you don’t like folk/country music. You never know…

Here’s Sara Jarosz not on TS singing her song Come Around.

Goodbye, Bert

The mothership has closed following tfd’s announcement of the sad demise of Bert Jansch. I, for one, would have appreciated the chance to say how sad it is to lose yet another great talent. I bought the record he made with John Renbourn, from which this track comes, when it first appeared. This, and their work with Pentangle, blew me away.  I’m sure several of you have memories of Bert you’d like to share. Go ahead.

poppy, light, lipstick, town, apple, wine, roses, blood

What a music-filled weekend it’s been so far! And what a shame someone can’t have a special anniversary every weekend. You know – songs about wood, songs about paper…what do you mean that’s not special?

I’d have had my 41st this year, as it goes, had I taken the precaution of remaining married. But I reckon it was worth it doing it my way. Here are some songs.

1 Poppy-Red by Richard Thompson
2 Roxanne by the Police
3 Mystery Man by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
4 Scarlet Town by Gillian Welch
5 Red Apple Juice by the GPs
6 Red Wine and Promises by Lal & Mike Waterson
7 Blood Red Roses by Sting
8 Blood of the Ram by the Gourds

A couple of websites

You know those lyrics sites where the lyrics are just plain, well…wrong? I’ve just discovered which is a lot better than others I’ve tried. There’s a comments section underneath each lyric where people post what they think the song means, which is often amusing and rarely used for slagging people off – the site promotes being nice to each other and respecting other people’s opinions. You can add lyrics (or artists/bands) if they’re not already there and so far I’m having lots of fun and even been complimented once on a description. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Also, last night I discovered

The Oxford American Southern Samplers which are compilations of music from the southern US – all kinds. There are seven of them and the blog site provides info, pictures and a track listing for each one. I only had time to download one last night, but I’m pleased to say I now have Ode To Billy Joe in my collection.

If you’re not used to downloading zipped files from blogs let me know and I’ll help.

Joan T Bender and Her Toy Tubas

Or June Tabor and the Oyster Band as they are better known.

Actually I may have got that anagram wrong. I hadn’t heard it before this evening and I wasn’t taking notes.

So what happened was this. TFD bought a ticket to see JT and the OB’s at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s  South Bank.

Sadly she could not come to London midweek to attend so she gave the ticket to me on condition that I write some kind of review.

Writing about music is not my forte as you may have noticed. I tend to just say I like something and quote a snippet of the lyric or use terms like “pretty marvelous” or “particularly impressive” which don’t really tell you anything.


It was, I have to say, a pretty marvelous gig, including, as it did, songs from their original collaboration (which I’m partially familiar with) and their forthcoming album Ragged Kingdom (which, obviously, I’m not).

This was the first time they’d played some of the songs from the new album live and we were repeatedly thanked for being their guinea pig audience. A major tour is to follow and (tfd take note) I think they’re going to play Milton Keynes. Much though I love the South Bank Centre and all its works, I think this set will really take off when they play to an audience who aren’t obliged to remain in their seats.

Covers of rock classics included “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, “White Rabbit”  and the Velvets’ “All Tomorrow’s Parties”.

These were all welcome but even better were their versions of  Dylan’s “Seven Curses” and Polly Harvey’s “That Was My Veil”

They even managed to win over the teenagers sitting behind me who had been dragged there by their parents and who, at one point,  spent their time complaining that “I didn’t want a history lesson” when a song introduction dared to include a bit of background colour.

I do have to say that June became rather terrifying as she contemplated the possible eviction of  the Dale Farm travelers and the contribution travelling folks have made to preserving traditional songs. I look forward to seeing her on “Question Time” very soon.

The music veered from the manic to the ethereal and back again. Allen Prosser on guitar was particularly impressive but they were so integrated you couldn’t really isolate one element.

For some reason they did not play Day Trip To Bangor.

Old folkers – Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick 70th birthday tour

Many thanks to Daddypig for alerting me to a gig at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds last night, (part of Carthy and Swarbrick’s 70th birthday tour).

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that they are two amazing musicians. They have been performing together since the mid ’60s, and have been involved with numerous projects and bands at various stages, including Fairport Convention; the Albion Country Band and Steeleye Span, to name a few.

I met Daddypig and his friend Terry (champion of the Guardian’s Notes and Queries) at the appointed time, in what has to be one of the mini-est Spill socials ever. We took our own beer – it was surreal sitting in a pew in a beautiful 300-year-old church and cracking open a bottle of Hoegaarden. Considering the status of the performers, the audience was small, and we had a whole pew to ourselves. It’s not often you see two folk legends checking tickets and manning their own CD stall!

The acoustics were excellent; the opening number was “Sovay“, followed by other classics including “The Death of Queen Jane” (above), “When I was a Little Boy“, and “The Bride’s March from Unst“, which Dave Swarbrick had great fun in trying to pronounce, with very few teeth. For a man who has survived emphysema and a double lung transplant, he is incredible, his playing as fluid and relaxed as ever and a perfect complement to Martin Carthy’s excellent guitar and dour vocal. In between songs we were regaled with tales of pickpockets, derring-do, funnel-web spiders and how to tell the difference between a slip jig and a reel (it’s all in the timing).

They are promoting a new CD featuring live recordings between 1989-1996 (“Walnut Creek“) – check it out, if you’re a folk fan. I’m sorry the audio on the above links isn’t very good.

My thanks to Daddypig for getting the ticket, to Mrs Daddypig for hospitality and Match of the Day, and to Terry for the lift home. Much appreciated!