Friday, 31 October 2008

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween – to mark the day, here’s a link 'Halloween'to a great track from Ryan Adams. As so often with Mr prolific, this gem was tucked away as a bonus track on the UK edition of the first of his slightly patchy Love is Hell EPs. Apparently it’s a song he’s never played live, but it’s an absolute beauty, and for me one of his finest. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Uncut Shortlist announced...

here it is in alphabetical order, the winner to be revealed in early Nov. I won't curse anyone, i hope, but any one of the first three would be a worthy winner for me. Click here shortlist for more details and reaction, one clear favourite certainly seems to be emerging from the responses they've been getting. (I've mentioned it before but sad there was place for Dawn Landes, Laura Marling or Pete Molinari, even on the longlist).

1. BON IVER – For Emma, Forever Ago (4AD)
2. DRIVE BY TRUCKERS – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (New West)
3. ELBOW – The Seldom-Seen Kid (Fiction)
4. THE FELICE BROTHERS - The Felice Brothers (Loose)
5. FLEET FOXES – Fleet Foxes (Bella Union)
6. THE RACONTEURS – Consolers Of The Lonely (XL)
7. RADIOHEAD - In Rainbows (XL)
8. VAMPIRE WEEKEND – Vampire Weekend (XL)

Monday, 27 October 2008

Out of season it may be...

but Robert Wyatt's new single 'This Summer Night' is genius, and surely a contender for the inaugral, but highly coveted, Hang the DJ single of the year (coming to a blog like this in about 8 weeks time). Following on from his fine album 'Comicopera' and ahead of a healthy re-issue programme of his back catalogue from Domino, this collaboration with Frech producer/composer Bertrand Burgalat is described as delivering 'a hymn to the sensuality of a Summers evening'. Well never mind that, it sounds like a classic slice of 70s Philly Soul to me... enjoy

Thursday, 23 October 2008

An Oldie but a Goodie...


Richard Hawley's announced his special xmas show at the Devil's Arse in Castleton, Derbyshire, for Dec 5th this year. I can't make it, sadly, but the combination of Hawley and a winter cave in my beautiful home county of Derbyshire sounds a definite winner to me.

Check out the Devil's Arsefor tickets/details

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Fancy a taster?

Amazon UK now have their Search Inside facility up and running, so, for anyone wanting an online taster of the book before purchasing, click Search Inside for access to the first two lists in the book: Owen King's 'Spit it Out: Ten Essential Stutter Songs', and Sam Delaney's 'Teenage Flicks, So Hard to Beat: Ten Songs from Eighties Teen Movies'. Two cracking lists that will hopefully whet the appetite...

Monday, 20 October 2008

Radio City

Many thanks to Ireland's Newstalk, 106-108 fm who had myself and Richard T. Kelly on their Saturday night show, Culture Shock - with Fionn Davenport. They gave the book a great plug and our discussion included Alex Heminsley's 'Songs for the Dumped', John Williams' 'I don't want to go to Rehab' and of course Richard's 'Big Hearts, Big Hair: Ten Rockin' good Power Ballads'.

Fionn played some of The Who's 'Love Reign O'er Me' from Richard's list and finished up with Iggy and James Williamson's 'Kill City' - two fine choices for any Saturday night!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Suffering Jukebox in a happy town/You're over in the corner breaking down

from the Silver Jews new album, 'Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea', this is one of my tracks of the year. Checkout here for their website.
A great lyric and backing vocals to die for, you sometimes need a song like this to help you out (was a bit rough at the booker last night).

Friday, 10 October 2008

Things i'm loving...

in the first of an occassional feature, i'm going to recommend albums that i'm enjoying, whether they be new or old. To kick us off is Vetiver's super fine covers album from earlier this year...

Thing of the Past

To be honest, I usually shudder at the words 'covers album' - all too often being contract fillers by bands about to be dropped - but Vetiver's album is a defninite and gorgeous exception. This was also for me one of those rare purchases where it was playing in the store as I was browsing and I had to ask what it was and buy it there and then. Eschewing the usual familiar alt/folk-rock covers (Dylan/Cohen/Young) this delves into rarer territory and as such allows the band and Andy Cabic's voice to really inhabit these songs. It's a bit like watching a film with great actors in you've never seen or heard of before. Probably the best known song here is Loudon Wainwright's 'The Swimming Song' - which, maybe not coincidentally, is also about the most faithfully rendered - but elsewhere there are real gems. The standouts for me are 'Lon Chaney' and the Michael Hurley penned 'Blue Driver' (which he takes lead vocal on), but the whole things is lovely, unusual and inspiring - music to lift the heart!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

That's the Power of Love!

Did anyone else hear Sam Delaney's surprise caller on the Eamonn Holmes show last Saturday? None other than Mr Huey Lewis himself, in town to play in some Pro-Am golf tournament (rock'n'roll), he rang in to chat with Sam about his 80s-tastic list from Hang the DJ, 'Teenage Flicks, So Hard to Beat: Ten Songs from Eighties Teen Movies' topped by, naturally, Mr Lewis and the News' signature tune, as memorably featured in Back to the Future.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Today's new guest list is from Richard Evans of RememberTheEighties!

What my school tie-knot said about me or the soundtrack to 1980's playground conflicts...

In 1980 a vigorously healthy rock scene saw Deep Purple and AC/DC top the UK album charts and an impressive succession of rock singles go on to attain classic rock status. 1980 was also the year in which 2-Tone led a mod revival whose influence was nothing short of phenomenal. In 1980 I was twelve and it had to be one or the other. Mod or rocker. The battle lines were drawn.

I nailed my personal colours to the mast of heavy-metal, and spent far too many hours planning how the patches and embroidery would look on the back of my denim jacket. Should I ever get one. Lunchtimes at school became a daily battleground of scuffles between gangs nominally dubbed mods and rockers. Playground politics dictated that as a rocker I must close my ears – and my heart – to what we then broadly described as 'mod' music, and consequently to some of the most exciting and enduring music to emerge from the year.

2-Tone's frequently politically charged output was probably wasted on me and my pre-teen peers, although the same could probably be said for rock's rather more straightforward themes of hedonism and misogyny, but both movements had a huge influence on school fashion. Sartorially I had it easy, the standard uniform for rock fans was leather or denim jackets adorned with badges, patches and embroidery, beyond which pretty much anything scruffy was fine. On the other side of the playground it was a lot more difficult; parkas, blazers (school blazers, naturally, do not count) or Harrington jackets adorned with Union Jacks, RAF targets and 2-Tone badges were the mod staples, worn over Ben Sherman or Fred Perry shirts with skinny ties, drainpipe Sta-Prest trousers, white socks and loafers, brogues or bowling shoes.

Naturally being twelve years old only a few of us had the necessary resources to adopt the full regalia of our chosen side so instead we had to work with what we had and fortunately the distinction was very easy; the mods wore their school ties with small, tight knots while the rockers wore the biggest, loosest knots they could produce.

This list is my soundtrack to the conflict of that year and contains five loose-knot singles from 1980 - the ones I was allowed to love - and five tight-knot singles, which I could only love in secret. The list is in no particular order and needs no particular explanation but I would like to put it on record that I consider 'Ace Of Spades' to be the greatest rock single of all time.

- MADNESS 'Baggy Trousers'

- MOTORHEAD 'Ace Of Spades'

- THE BEAT 'Mirror In The Bathroom'

- RAINBOW 'All Night Long'

- THE SELECTER 'Three Minute Hero'

- SAXON 'Wheels Of Steel'


- JUDAS PRIEST - 'Breaking The Law'

- THE JAM - 'Going Underground'

- RUSH - 'The Sprit Of Radio'


Thursday, 2 October 2008

Hang the DJ - today!

So the book's officially published today - 'super thursday' no less (the day when around 800! titles are published for the xmas market) - but i ain't scared... much

Nice review in the Metro yesterday 'If you like nothing better than a good list, then Hang the DJ will make you positively giddy ... Entertaining and addictive' and i really enjoyed the interview on the Nemone show. She was very lovely about the book and played Blondie's 'Heart of Glass' and Bobbie Gentry's 'Fancy' amid the chat - two fine tracks from the pages of the book. You can listen back if you follow the link in the post below, and listen out also for Sam Delaney on the Eamonn Holmes show around 10 0'clock this saturday for more Hang the DJ talk.