Saturday, 26 May 2012


This Earth : AFTERLIFE (from the album Electrosensitive – 2009)

The work of Steve Miller (but not THAT Steve Miller), this is from a wonderful album of laid-back grooves and quality songs. A melting pot of soul, psychedelia, dub, jazz, Latin, disco, house and electronic, it’s never less than uplifting.

Looking At The Stars : SALLY SHAPIRO (from the album My Guilty Pleasure –2009)

Sally Shapiro is a duo, but one of the duo is called Sally Shapiro. Well, actually she isn’t, but that is the name she records under. Confused? You won’t be after listening to this. Proving once again that Sweden can always produce quality music, I cannot better the words of one review – an album of “pop nuggetry”

The Matador : CUSTOMS (from the album Enter The Characters – 2009)

I have to mention again that my favourite thing about the web is allowing exposure to bands you’d never otherwise hear about. Customs are from Belgium. No point pretending that this band wants to be anything but The Editors or Interpol, but they carry it off with a style and panache I think you will enjoy

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Runaway : ANNE SOLDAAT (from the album In Another Life – 2009)

The name supposes that this could be another Swedish chanteuse, but Anne is in fact a Dutch singer/guitarist and a bloke to boot. A fine album of great songs and excellent guitar playing. Clearly, the Beach Boys were as popular in Holland as elsewhere

Seven Stories : THE LUXURY (from the album This Is Why We Can’t Have NiceThings – 2007)

Power-pop band from Boston (the American one) obviously heavily influenced by Britrock, especially Oasis and Coldplay. Having said that, the band that immediately springs to my mind when listening to this track is REM

Signs And Wonders : ANIMAL KINGDOM (from the album Signs And Wonders – 2009)

From South London,and another band influenced heavily by Coldplay (rarely a good thing), redeemed by the quirkiness of the lyrics and the chiming guitar work. Not the best album of 2009 by any means, but there are some great tracks to be found on it. The title track is one of them

Saturday, 12 May 2012


The Mall And The Misery – from the album Broken Bells (2010) : BROKEN BELLS

Perhaps the least obscure album I’ve highlighted in this blog so far, but one that many people still seem to have missed. Broken Bells are a combination of two of the most talented people in music today; Brian Burton (AKA Danger Mouse) – producer extraordinaire – and James Mercer – lead singer / songwriter with the ubiquitous band The Shins. And guess what? Yes, this has a distinctly psychedelic edge to it. Mercer cannot write a bad song; everything Burton touches turns to gold. No surprises, then, that this was one of 2010’s best albums  

Factory : BAND OF HORSES (from the album Infinite Arms - 2010)

From Seattle, this is from their third album. Firmly in the genre entitled “Americana”, the band flirts with both country and folk but their strongest assets are the fabulous tunes and wonderful harmonies

The MidnightBell : THE HIGH WIRE (from the album The Sleep Tape – 2010)

From London, this band is on a mission to make smoky, hazy, dreamy guitar pop cool again. They do a damn fine job. Boy/girl harmonies weave through an album of great tracks with nods to the quieter end of Black Rebel Motor Club and School of Seven Bells

Saturday, 5 May 2012

It's My Birthday and I'll ...

.... play the music I want!

What a week it has been! That dread phone call on Monday morning that a close family member has been rushed into hospital. Tuesday receiving almost the worst possible news regarding the prognosis. Thursday discovering that a misdiagnosis has been made and the situation is not as black as we (my spouse, children and my siblings and their respective families) believed it to be.

Almost a whole day of the past week has been spent in the car, if you add together all the travelling time.

And today, Saturday 5th May, is my birthday. Born in 1956, I am 56 years of age. (I've always felt a bit cheated that I'm not a year older, because then my birthday would have been 5.5.55).  It was FA Cup Final day that day as well. Manchester City beat Birmingham and City's goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann (a former German POW) played much of the game with a broken neck.

Maybe because I am old, the FA Cup seems to have lost its magic over the last few years. A Chelsea - Liverpool final should be a cause for great excitement, but perhaps we've become too used to watching the great teams play each other on telly

Enouth of the "old man ramblings"!

Today, I have decided to choose my three favourite songs of the moment .... three songs that are guaranteed to put a smile on my face and, horror of horrors, have me singing along to when I am on my own in the car

NB: As a child, I was a soloist in a church choir. As an adult, I cannot hold a single note!

So, in reverse order, my Damn Fine Birthday Tunes are ....

3. Default - DJANGO DJANGO (from the album Django Django)

Variously described as "psychedelic", "art-punk", and "organic electronica", I would stick my neck out and say all three descriptions are nonsense. What we have here is, to borrow a slogan from Stiff records back in the 70s, is "Pure Pop For Now People"

You can sing along to it, you can dance to it, it is ridiculously catchy.  I love it!

2. Girls - DEEP SEA ARCADE (from the album Outlands)

I love Australian bands!  The last few years has seen some of my favourite music come from down under - Tame Impala, Midnight Juggernaut, The Morning After Girls, etc ...

However, Deep Sea Arcade may be the best of the lot ... great songs, clearly influenced by 60s pop (Monkees, Beach Boys, Beatles) but with an added twist in that they are also clearly influenced by the "Madchester" sound

Cannot recommend album highly enough.

And finally ....

1. By The Sea - SUMMER FICTION (from the album Summer Fiction)

This probably comes as no surprise to those that know me, as have been lauding this lot to the max since I first heard this album.  This is one of those great tracks that makes the hair at the back of my neck stand up whenever I hear it. Even now have it as my ringtone!

Definitely one of my favourite singles of all time, let alone just now. It has everything ... great tune, lyrics, vocals and the simplest, most effective guitar solo. And its under 3 minutes. Pure Pop Perfection!

So there we have it .... Three brilliant songs to brighten up any day and, especially, my birthday.

Normal service resumed next week, folks