Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Hold the front page

From the Salisbury Journal, 24/4/10.

Dog injures nose

POLICE in Ringwood are investigating the circumstances surrounding an injury to a dog’s nose.

A woman was walking her dog and puppy, when her puppy ran off.

Her dog ran after the puppy but collided with a male dog walker and his dog.

The woman's dog received an injury to his nose.

Mutts - Somebody Has To Be Me mp3

Monday, 26 April 2010

Yeah! Oh Yeah!

Tracey Thorn and Jens Lekman team up to record a version of Yeah! Oh Yeah! by The Magnetic Fields: two great artists covering a third's song. How could this be anything other than fabulous? It's a bit like indie fantasy football or something (if that makes any sense. Probably not). Anyway, here it be!

Tracey Thorn's new album, Love and Its Opposite, is out in May. Sign up to the mailing list at her official website for news, updates, special offers and free downloads from the new album.

Jens Lekman is utterly brilliant. If by some unfortunate quirk of fate you've never heard any of his solo output before, here are a few cast-iron classics from the Lekman canon to get you started.

Jens Lekman - A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill mp3

Jens Lekman - Black Cab mp3

Jens Lekman - Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo mp3

Lots more over here.

May contain nuts

Visit Hefnet

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Interesting, Davis

In the wake of Steve Davis's surprise victory over reigning champion John Higgins in the World Snooker Championship earlier today, there'll probably never be a more opportune moment to feature this song on here. Altogether now...

You know you love it really.

Westwood, Oh

The following is an actual message actually posted by actual Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood on your actual Twitter last night.

"Up in Swindon at Club Liquid - using the toilet before I tear shit up in here"


Tim Westwood is 52.

Marit Bergman - I Thought I Would Be Older By Now mp3

Friday, 23 April 2010

England's Gory

Happy St George's Day, pop chums!

Black Box Recorder - England Made Me mp3

If you've never heard the England Made Me album, you really are missing out on a treat. One of the very best long players of the nineties, for me. It's a misanthropic masterpiece (and it's going cheap here).

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Never Mind The Buzzcocks...

....here's late-nineties Pete Shelley & co soundalikes Sportique!

Bit of an indie supergroup, Sportique, containing as it does (did) former members of the Razorcuts, Television Personalities and Heavenly. Amelia Fletcher even ended up playing keyboards for them, so their twee credentials can't be in doubt. Here are two of their two early John Peel-friendly 7" singles. Marvellous.

Sportique - If You Ever Change Your Mind mp3

Sportique - Tiny Clues mp3

Buy Sportique stuff

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a leaders' debate to continue to half-listen to. Still can't get used to the idea of Brown and Cameron calling each other by their christian names rather than the more traditional, grudging "him" that you get during PMQs. It's mildly disconcerting and more than a little creepy. You two hate each other's guts, remember?

I agree with Nick, by the way!

Past masters

Definitely one of the greatest pop songs of the past few years, this. Nice video too. (That goldfish is going to need a bigger bowl - or preferably an aquarium - though.)

The Lodger - The Good Old Days mp3

Mildly Interesting Pop Fact: The Lodger are a contemporary Leeds three-piece and should never be confused with short-lived late-90s Britpoppers Lodger who featured, among others, Danny Goffey from Supergrass, and no definite article.

Similarly, the The Lodger song The Good Old Days should never be confused with the erstwhile long-running BBC light entertainment programme of the same name which recreated the atmosphere of an authentic Victorian-Edwardian music hall and which used to depress the hell out of you every Sunday night when you were a child.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Like a dream

Hello you! Guess what? Allo Darlin' have only gone and released another single from their upcoming debut album. It's called Dreaming, it features guest vocals from Monster Bobby from The Pipettes (I bet he's not a real monster though), it was Record of the Week on a recent edition of Round Table on 6 Music, and it can be yours for just £3 from Fortuna Pop. (They're also very kindly giving it away as a download here, but you don't get the b-side this way, and Allo Darlin' b-sides are often even better than the lead tracks).

Here's the promo video, which carries on a noble tradition of pop videos being filmed in and around London's fashionable West End (cf Feels Like I'm In Love by Kelly Marie, Shaky's What Do You Wanna Make Those Eyes At Me For, Inner City's Good Life and, of course, West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys).

Thursday, 8 April 2010

This charmless man

A typically graceless response from Sir Alex Ferguson in the wake of Manchester United's latest hilarious elimination from the Champions' League last night, the bolshie Scot bemoaning his team's bad luck and branding the victorious Bayern Munich team "Typical Germans" for their on-field behaviour. This is what he had to say about Manchester United full-back Rafael's second yellow card:

They got him sent off," he said. "There's no doubt about that and they would have never won if we had 11 men. He [Rafael] is a young boy, inexperienced and there's a bit of immaturity about what happened but they got him sent off. Typical Germans."

So, that's a team full of "typical Germans" like the Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten, Mark van Bommel and Arjen Robben from the Netherlands, Argentina's Martin DeMichelis, Croatia's Daniel Pranjic and Ivica Olic, the French Franck Ribery and Turkey's Hamit Altintop. Oh, and they're managed by another Dutchman, Louis van Gaal. But then no one ever claimed that any of Ferguson's rants-as-deflection-tactics were supposed to make any sense. Typical Englishman.

Half Man Half Biscuit - Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess mp3

Buy Half Man Half Biscuit stuff

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Three of a Kind #103

"30,000 singles". So boasts the back cover of my copy of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles. The 1995 edition mark you. So you can probably add, what, another eight or ten thousand to that tally now (especially given the remarkably short chart-life of a pop single nowadays).

So what, you might reasonably ask? Well, I mention all this because the music radio stations of the UK seem fixated on an absolutely miniscule percentage of these songs, some of which weren't exactly huge in the first place.

Take Waiting For a Star to Fall by US boy-girl duo, the imaginatively-named Boy Meets Girl. This song reached number 9 in the Gallup charts in early 1989 and was their only hit (in the UK at least). Yet, twenty-one years on, you're pretty much guaranteed to hear it at some point during the day if you tune in for long enough to Magic FM, Absolute Radio, Heart, Smooth Radio, or any of the numerous other identikit stations clogging up the FM frequencies. Or Steve Bloody Wright's Bastard Sunday Sodding Love Songs on Radio 2 for that matter. Anyway, yes. I think ubiquitous is the word.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against Waiting For a Star to Fall as such. It's a harmless enough piece of quixotic pop fluff. I even have to confess to having bought it on 7" myself at the time of its release. (What can I say? I was quite the undiscriminating pop fan in my teens. And besides, the airwaves would have been even more awash with it when it was actually, like, you know, in the charts. So resistance would've been futile. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

My point is: why this particular song (and one or two hundred like it)? I mean, taking what we already know about the sheer volume of singles that have charted over the years, there must have been thousands of other radio-friendly pop songs that would be ripe for a bit of nostalgia-based airplay, yet we only ever get to hear about, I dunno, 0.5% of them, or something. You know, stuff by the usual suspects: M People, Simply Red, Robbie Williams, George Michael, Boyzone, Elton John etc etc etc. It baffles me, readers, it really does. Baffles and vexes.

I won't even get started on the fact that the BBC are, in a well-documented move, planning to axe one of the only stations that actually offer a bit of variety for the discerning music fan in this country, 6 Music, at the end of next year, because, apparently, offering the listener a bit of actual choice isn't something that falls within the corporation's public-service remit. Gah!

Meanwhile, Radio 1 and 1Xtra are given carte blanche to carry on as they are despite the fact that the two stations are pretty much interchangeable, sharing many of the same presenters - and programmes even. Anyway, I wasn't going to even get started on that, was I? Crashing on...

Back to Boy Meets Girl and their ilk. To counteract the effect, even slightly, of all this same-old same-old radio valium that's foisted upon us time and again by the nation's music radio programmers, here are some equally deserving old chart hits that you perhaps don't hear quite as often on mainstream radio these days. Just like Waiting For a Star..., the following songs all reached number nine in the UK around two decades ago. Nine, danke!

Beats International - Won't Talk About It mp3

Morrissey - Every Day Is Like Sunday mp3*

Karel Fialka - Hey Matthew mp3

*In fairness, Absolute Radio do probably play this song from time to time, when they're feeling particularly edgy and it's, like, a Sunday.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Barefeet of Clay

Dateline 1987. Inspired by the huge success of Jackie Wilson's recently re-issued #1 smash Reet Petite - and accompanying claymation video - Telstar try cashing in on the winning formula by re-releasing Robert Parker's own 60s soul classic Barefootin' - complete with its own claymation video!

I liked this song a lot (what's not to like?), but alas it wasn't destined to emulate the success of Reet Petite, and stalled well outside the top 40 in the UK. Not even my purchasing of it on 7" from Woolworths in Clacton was enough to tip it over the edge. Such is life.

Mildly Interesting Claymation Fact: Although the Barefootin' video was an Aardman Animations production, strangely enough it hadn't been them that had been responsible for the Reet Petite vid. That had been the work of a London-based animation and live action company called Giblets. (I bet the Giblets people must throw stuff at the telly every time Wallace & Gromit come on now.)

Robert Parker - Barefootin' mp3