Cakes, Smiles, Hugs and Unconditional Love – My Best Friend ! ! !

A Girls Best Friend is Not Diamonds  -  It Is Her Best Friend ! ! !

A Girls Best Friend is Not Diamonds – It Is Her Best Friend ! ! !

Tokyo metropolitan area has a population of 36 million people and I am regularly voted in the top ten most complicated people in Tokyo. If sulking were an Olympic sport then I would definitely be a member of Team Japan and a strong medal contender

But there is always one circumstance when I am almost normal and one person in my life who puts up with my shit unconditionally. My Best friend Yuki. Continue reading

I’ll Be Frank

sinatraSinatra. Whenever I thought of him – which was not often, until a few months ago – he appeared as a symbol of cultural and moral decadence, the essence of a Las Vegas that was the essence of a particular smug, moneyed ghastliness; smooth self-satisfaction with an edge of thuggishness and an all-pervasive atmosphere of sexism and casual racism; showbiz in the worst possible sense. More prosaically, when I was growing up he seemed like the dark heart of Radio 2 in the days when Radio 2 was the antithesis of everything exciting and wonderful about pop and rock and soul; something like Big Band Special felt quite harmless, albeit laughable, in its wish to pretend that the 1960s had never happened, whereas Sinatra was reactionary nostalgia weaponised. The dinner suits, the cocktails, the notion of suave, the eau de Playboy (even less appealing when adopted by the likes of Robbie Williams). Bloody My Way – the Sid Vicious deconstruction felt, to my father as much as to me, not only brilliant but necessary. Yes, I did like Guys and Dolls, but for Damon Runyon and the songs, more or less despite Sinatra; I would at the most grudgingly admit that he played a sleazy lowlife pretty well, and feel that Miss Adelaide would be better off with more or less anyone else… Continue reading

Sakura’s J-Pop Corner – MOMOIRO CLOVER Z New Metal Collaboration With KISS ! ! !

Kiss vs Momoiro Clover Z

Kiss vs Momoiro Clover Z

Hi J-poppers ! ! ! !

Just a very quick post to let you know that Momoiro Clover Z who are probably the most popular small idol group in Japan at the moment have released an interesting collaboration with American metal outfit Kiss.

I really like it and so I wanted to share it with you.

You can see it here ! ! !

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Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea – A Week with Myself (Feat. Guest DJ Panthercub)


Last week I had a research paper/book chapter thing to write, so I took the week off work, set up a desk by the window in the warmest room in the house overlooking the garden, and settled down to work. For someone like me who spends most of the day out of the house, has a young family and a partner not terribly au fait with the concept of compromise (not to mention taste in music on the slightly noisy side) this opportunity to be by myself and listen to whatever the hell I wanted to all day for a week was a very rare and precious thing indeed.

Over the course of the week I listened to about 50 of my own records and despite the mental taxations of the task in hand had one of the most enjoyable weeks in a long long time.

Finding even more time to myself to put it all together to make a podcast was pretty impossible, so I enlisted Panthercub as my official selector and made a fun game of it on a rainy afternoon. It ended up completely different to what I had in mind (I was thinking more noise and less electronica), but there you go, it was out of my hands!


Earworms 9 February 2015


Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, so I hope this gets you in the mood. Appropriately, our dog is in heat, she keeps jumping up to look out of the window, I’m sure she’d shout “Anyone fancy a shag?” if she could, but fortunately it comes out as “Woof”. Enjoy your week, and keep those worms coming to Love and mushiness from Ali. xx

F.S.K.- My Funny Valentine – Shoegazer: Valentine from the unexpected covers series.

Kate Rusby – The Playing of Ball – AliM: “The course of true love never did run smooth”, especially for poor old Willie.

Bob Marley and the Wailers – Is This Love – goneforeign: Bob’s best known love song, My favorite version is from the video of Bob at a children’s birthday party in Islington, London in 1978, If you haven’t seen it, it’s beautiful, check youtube.

The Gourds – Valentine – tfd: Max Johnston, Gourds fiddle player and brother of Michelle Shocked, goes to squeeze his Valentine. Awww.

ABC – Valentine’s Day – deanofromoz: ABC’s album The Lexicon of Love is probably a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I like this album way more than I would have expected to, but I do think that its well crafted new wave pop done quite well. It certainly shows its era, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it has aged.  Valentine’s Day is from this album.

Ash – Angel Interceptor – bethnoir: The sweet voice of Tim Wheeler gets stuck in my head terribly whenever I hear this. From 1995 and full of energy and youth.

Pearl and the Beard – You – DebbyM:  I just received this from one of my favourite bands, Pearl and the Beard. It’s a preview (prehear?) of a new track – not their typical sound as known to me, but I think its retro feel might grow on me! – and I can’t see a way to download it… but I thought the platform it’s on might be interesting. Probably it’ll turn out that I’m the last person in the (Spill) world to have heard of it …

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Earworms 2 February 2015


And suddenly I woke up and it was freezing February. Not sure where jaded January went, but no matter, because here is a fresh batch of worms for your delight. Please keep them coming to, and if you’re feeling cheesy, feel free to send some with a (pro- or anti-) Valentine’s Day theme (for publication on February 9th).

C W Stoneking – Seven Nation Army – deanofromoz: C W Stoneking is an Australian of American descent who sings the blues, in a really old style. If it wasn’t for the quality of the recordings, I could probably fool you into thinking it is almost 100 years old. On this one, another from the “Like a Version” series, he puts a new spin on the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army.

The Mighty Diamonds – Reggae Street – goneforeign: The Diamonds are possibly my favorite reggae group, I got my start shooting for record labels with them. Their record company must have seen some of my work and they contacted me to see if I had anything they could use on an upcoming LP; of course I did, they used two. And that got me started, thereafter I sent proof sheets of examples to all the record labels and magazines. I wouldn’t say that the money flowed in but it at least covered my expenses, I always knew that I could redeem my plane fares and shooting expenses plus I got a lot of backstage access. I should do a playlist of my favorite Diamonds here, great vocal trio plus they always had the best backup.

The Unthanks – Starless – CaroleBristol: I’ve only recently really been getting into The Unthanks in any depth, late to the feast, as usual, and I am enjoying their music a lot the more I get to know it. This is a real curiosity, a cover of a 1970s King Crimson classic given a hugely sensitive and rather magical overhaul and interpretation. It is from their album “Last”. I find it spectacularly beautiful.

Nicoletta: Il Est Mort, Le Soleil – abahachi: One does hear some fascinating, unexpected things on French radio – not just the traffic reports, which regularly involve some most curious objects blocking one lane of the A26 (on just one trip, a wild boar, a sack of coal and a portaloo), but also some of the music. I know nothing about this song except that it is quite gloriously over the top in every possible way…

Micah Schnabel – In Pacific Time – LeaveitAllbehind: Tinny introduced me to Micah as the lead singer of Two Cow Garage; very reminiscent of Gaslight Anthem (Brian Fallon) vocally. Here’s a solo effort In Pacific Time telling the story of someone living in Ohio but longing to leave for the west coast.

Cream – Anyone For Tennis – bethnoir: Wouldn’t that be nice? One of their lighter ditties.

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