Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birdmen, Tomatoes, Drums, Brass and Serpents

A new mix for your delight - more or less a distillation of what I played last time I DJ'd.
I'll bung up a playlist later if anyone wants it.

Birdmen, tomatoes, brass, drums and serpents.mp3

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

end of year stuff ...

... well I'm not going to contribute to the ubiquitous end of year lists, partly because they are ubiquitous but mostly because I can't be arsed.
And I actually don't really believe that you care what I think.
I can't resist reading them though. Mainly so I can shout "you must be joking - there is NO WAY that is the best album this year!", or "why the fuck haven't they included ...".
It's also a way for me to catch up on stuff I've missed. Although at least half of it I realise that the reason I've missed it is that it's just not very good.

Talking of catching up on stuff, for some reason I missed Marianne Faithfull's Easy Come Easy Go album last year. The stand out track on that is a duet with Nick Cave of a Decemberist's song - you can't go wrong with a combination like that can you?
Here's a recording of her doing it live (sadly with out Cave buts it's a great performance) -

Some good tracks I've missed this year and discovered on end of year lists include Hard Times by Patrick Wolf -

Animal by Miike Snow (there's a nice dubby remix by Mark Ronson too) -

... and Day Light by Matt & Kim -

Along with loads of list compilers Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion is one of the year's high lights - the new EP "Fall Be Kind" sounds pretty good too -

01 What Would I Want Sky - BBC session.mp3

Same goes for Fuck Button's Tarot Sport -

I'm surprised Mumford and Sons aren't in more lists - I love their album -

I'm equally surprised that the Bat For Lashes album features high up in a load of run-downs. It just didn't do it for me - but I'm going to give it another go to see if they're right and I'm wrong.

Another oft' listed album that I was also disappointed in was Bill Callahan's "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" - and I love Bill like a brother - but the production on this album, the drum sound in particular, I find really distracting.

Cue more surprise that We Gave It All Away... And Now We Are Taking It Back by Mungolian Jetset didn't appear outside dance oriented lists - it deserves a wider listening -

All that and I haven't mentioned Grizzly Bear or Fever Ray yet ...

... and a tip for 2010 - banjos are the new ukuleles ...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

McDonald & Giles

I noticed Robots In Heat had included "Flight of the Ibis" by McDonald & Giles in one of their podcasts.

It reminded me how much I used to listen to and love the McDonald & Giles album back in my teens. It's one of a few albums from that era that I still have in my possession so I dug it out. I know that there's a real danger digging out old stuff and that, once you've got over the nostalgia and remembered you were probably stoned last time you listened to it, it turns out to be a bit rubbish. Specially true of prog-rock. Surpisingly this has stood the test of time really well. The drumming is out standing throughout, there's little in the way of prog self indulgence. Pete Sinfield's lyrics do get slightly hippy at times although at their best they are reminiscent of Ray Davis or Pink Floyd era Syd Barret. It's quite funky in places and I reckon Tomorrow People would make a good edit - if only I could get my head round how to do that stuff.
The Birdman Suite (taking up all of side 2 on the vinyl) is the real stand out for me - the Birdman Flies builds beautifully and still has the wow effect I remember from my youth.

Am I just a sad old hippy or am I right that this is an over looked minor masterpiece?

You can judge for yourself from this Youtube upload

Or you can come and hear me DJ at Nelson's Wine Bar in Hebden Bridge on Christmas Eve where I plan to open my set with The Birdman Flies!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Record player ....

An old Bush valve record player from the late 50s or early 60s.

A couple of additions if you look closely.

.. open it up ...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fuck Buttons

Tarot Sport

The new album from Fuck Buttons had me dancing round the office this morning like a demented uncle at a wedding disco.

Having seen Fuck Buttons a couple of times performing stuff from their Street Horrrsing album and been completely captured by their "machine noise with a human edge", I've been looking forward to hearing this new album. I wasn't disappointed.
The Andy Weatherall production doesn't seem to have changed their sound too much - and I much preferred the original of the Street Horrrsing single "Sweet love for planet earth" to his remix anyway.

There are real tunes here and there and, unless I'm mistaken, the track Olympians is a re-working/tribute the Vangelis music for Chariots of Fire! But don't let that put you off - Fuck Buttons always have a load more grit than Vangelis's plinky plonky synth anthems.

You can get a taste for the album from this 7" edit of Surf Solar.

Fuck Buttons - Surf Solar (7_ Edit).mp3

Go and buy the album

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bally Ear Ache

Here's a "mix tape" I've done - 'cept it's obviously not a tape it's a mp3 ...
It was recorded "live" from Traktor (1st time I've done that) - the only audience I had was a fat black cat and he didn't seem too impressed ... see what you think.

Bally Ear Ache.mp3
here's a track listing -

1 Velvet Belly - This Mortal Coil
2 I Need A Life (Four Tet Remix) - Born Ruffians
3 Solsbury Hill - Kyte
4 Cello Song - The Books
5 Alone Again Or - Love
6 Brother Sport - Animal Collective
7 Take a Heart - The Sorrows
8 I Just Can't Take It Anymore - The Lemonheads
9 Roll Bus Roll - Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard
10 Spinning Away - Brian Eno & John Cale
11 This - Brian Eno
12 Vitamin C - Can
13 Bell Bottom Trousers - Jack Hylton & His Orchestra
14 Bad Bernie - Load
15 She Don't Use Jelly (Lounge-A-Palooza) - Ben Folds Five
16 Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing - Stevie Wonder
17 Moon Song (The Gospel According To Mung 2012 Live At The Hacienda Version) - They Came From The Stars (I Saw Them)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Roast Chicken Risotto

This is based on a Nigel Slater recipe and is my favorite way of using up left over roast chicken. A perfect Autumn Monday supper.

Arborio or Carnaroli Rice (I prefer the latter)
3 shallots finely chopped
Chicken Stock made from the picked roast chicken carcass, an onion, a carrot, a stick of celery and a bay leaf boiled together for 30 minutes to an hour.
Bits of roast chicken
Salt & Pepper
Wine or Vermouth
Flat Leaf Parsley

Strain the stock and keep warm.

Sweat the shallots in some olive oil and when they start to turn transparent add a big knob of butter and continue frying for a few minutes.

Add the rice to the pan and fry, stirring continuously, for a minute or two until the grains start to look opaque round the edges.

Turn the heat up and add a glass of wine so it sizzles. Turn the heat back down, stir gently until wine is absorbed.

Add a ladle of stock and stir gently and continuously. As each ladle is absorbed, add another.

When the rice is looking nearly done, add the chicken to warm through.

When the rice is done (it takes between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the rice), turn off the heat, add a generous knob of butter, a big handful of parmesan, and a big handful of chopped parsley. Season.

Put a lid on it and leave for 5 minutes. Stir, check seasoning, serve with more parmesan on top.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baked Cod with Harrissa on Potatoes and Tomatoes

This recipe is my variation of one of Claudia Roden's in her book Arabesque. It's a great book I can highly recommend.

To serve 2
a big dollop of harrissa - Belazu rose harissa is my favorite
juice of half a lemon
2 thick pieces of cod fillet
about 300g of small potatoes such as charlottes, scrubbed and cut into 1cm slices
2 large tomatoes cut into quarters
half a red onion finely chopped
extra virgin olives oil

Mix the harissa, lemon juice and some olive oil in a bowl then add the cod pieces and make sure they are covered with the mixture. Leave in the fridge to marinade for a couple of hours turning for time to time.
Pre-heat the oven to about 200 C.
Put the potatoes on to boil.
Put a splash of olive oil in an oven proof dish and add the onions. Put the dish in the oven for five minutes or so. Remove from the oven and scatter the tomato quarters in the dish. When the potatoes are just starting to go soft drain them and leave to dry out for 5 minutes or so and then add them to the dish. Season and give the dish a good shake to mix in the onion, oil and tomatoes with the potato slices.
Put back in the oven. After about 30 minutes move the contents of the dish around a bit to ensure the potatoes get evenly browned and mix in the juices that will have come out of the tomatoes by now.
Cook for another 15 minutes and then put the marinated cod on top spreading any remaining marinade over the potato mixture.
Cook for about another 15 minutes until the cod is done.
Serve with a green salad.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Music and Food

Mad as a box of frogs and always puts a smile on my face. The French Toast Man.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Volcano Choir

Volcano Choir is a collaboration between Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and a band called Collections of Colonies of Bees who I'd not heard of until now. They're all mates from Wisconsin apparently and the track they've pre-released as a download to trail the up coming album "Unmap" puts them in the Fleet Foxes/Grizzly Bear/Bon Iver compartment in my mind.
The song's called Island, IS and you can download it from the Jagjaguwar record label web site - although you may want to avoid reading the blurb on there - it's toe curlingly pretentious pseuds corner material.
Or listen to it here

I like it a lot and I'm looking forward to the album being released at the beginning of next month.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Big Chill - how was it for you?

Well, I had a great time. The weather helped - sunshine throughout. Not being able to take booze on sight coupled with an exorbitant 3.50 a pint for crap lager and bitter only available at one bar is still a massive downer for the Big Chill. It means you really have to smuggle booze in - which luckily isn't difficult if you use the right gate(s).
Musical highlights were Spiritualized, who I've seen half a dozen or so times now, but this was one of their best. Maybe the shorter set meant they compressed all the goodness into a zinging, full blast performance.
Noah and the Whale were a revelation - all trace of whimsy has been wiped away and they delivered a powerful set - the violin owing more to John Cale style viola than folksy fiddle and just when I thought they reminded me a bit of Neil Young the tune they were playing morphed into Rockin' in the Free World.
David Byrne delivered the goods even if the dancers reminded me a bit of Rolf Harris and the Young Generation at first.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Big Chill

Off to the Big Chill Festival at the weekend. Let's hope summer starts before then.
One of the bands I'm really looking forward to seeing is Noah and the Whale. I really liked the last album - i like a bit of English whimsy now and then - and what I've heard of the new one, "First Days of Spring", sounds like they're getting better. The Twelves remix of Blue Skies (the first single from the album) is particularly good in that kinda funky disco style that The Twelves do. You can download it for free at

I'm also looking forward to a bit of Dennis Bovell reggae in the sun (yes there is going to be sun), but looking on his My Space he seems to think the Festival is in Brighton so lets hope he makes it to Eastnor OK

Sunday, August 2, 2009

cooking for one ....

... just me this Sunday so I'm roasting half a duck marinated in the Hugh F-W's Ginger & soy marinade that was in yesterday's Guardian - it's the second recipe down on this page.
It should go nicely with some charlotte potatoes i've boiled and then squashed a bit and then put in the roasting tin with the bird along with some par-boiled parsnips.
There was a lonely little gem lettuce in the salad drawer in the fridge so that's going to get braised to have with it -

1 Little gem lettuce per person
1 shallot per lettuce finely chopped
Olive oil
About 20g of Butter per lettuce
Half a glass of white wine (more if you're doing more lettuces) and/or 1 rounded teaspoon Marigold bouillon powder

Half the lettuce length wise and wash carefully, fanning the leaves slightly but making sure it doesn't come apart. Dry on kitchen paper and then leave, cut side down, on a double layer of kitchen paper to dry some more.
Heat the olive in a saute pan big enough to hold the lettuces and gently fry the shallot until it starts to go transparent but not brown. Add the lettuce halves cut side down and turn the heat up a bit. Fry for 2 or 3 minutes until they start to soften round the edges. Add the butter a bit at time and keep gently moving the contents of the pan about making sure the lettuce doesn't break up. When the butter is melted and starting to foam chuck in the glass of wine or a wine glass of water and the bouillon powder. Taste the liquid and season with salt if necessary and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to its lowest and cover the pan. Leave to cook very gently for about 5 minutes. Take the lid off the pan and reduce the liquid if it needs it until it is thick and glossy.

Magic Arm

I'm enjoying the bleepy, lo-fi feel of Magic Arm's Bootsy Bootsy at the moment.

You can download a remix by Real Dolls for free here

or check out the original (which I prefer - it's more bleepy and lower-fi ...) on the the Magic Arm web site

Friday, July 31, 2009

"Indie" type tune remix's

I recently asked on the DJH forum for recommendations for remix's of "indie" (oh how I hate that word) tunes. Of all the great suggestions these two were the stand out ones for me and now get "played out" regularly.

Late Of The Pier - The Bears Are Coming-Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Remix - wonderfully bonkers, listen out for the sound of Sweep (Sooty's pal) get buggered towards the end ...

and Moon Song (The Gospel According To Mung 2012 Live At The Hacienda Version) by They Came From The Stars I Saw Them - that's just a sample. The full thing is 12 minutes of riotous, joyful, danceable fun and I love it. You can buy it here - This Is Not A Shop

Bad Bernie

I've been after a copy of this song for ages. I think I first heard it in a Lost Vagueness tent somewhere and was reminded of it again in the Trailer Trash tent at Beat-Herder a few weeks ago. I don't know anything about the band - Load - but I finally managed to find the track on a Lost Vagueness compilation.
Vamp it up in your best sleazy style to ...

One of my all time favorite songs

A sublime meeting of classic Shangrilas' style teen ballad and finger-in-the-ear, Arran sweater wearing folk music.

Fish Pie

1 cod fillet – about 300g
1 smoked haddock fillet (preferably undyed) – about 200g
250cc milk
500g spinach thoroughly cleaned
150g good strong cheddar cheese, grated
1kg potatoes (preferably Maris Piper)
25g butter
20g corn flour
250ml milk
Some chopped flat leaf parsley
salt freshly ground pepper

Extra milk and butter for the mash

Depending on how long your oven takes to reach 200c turn it on at sometime during the proceedings so it's ready to put the pie in when it's assembled.
First prepare the seperate bits:

Scrub the spuds then cut them into 5cm chunks with peeling them. Boil in lightly salted water for about 15 mins til soft. Leave them til they're cool enough to handle and then peel the skin off with your fingers. Mash or put through a ricer with a knob of butter and a splash of milk.
Cut both bits of fish in to 4. While the spuds are cooking gently poach the fish in the milk either over a low light on the hob or ping it in the microwave. Either way it should only take 5 mins or so and should be slightly under cooked.
Steam the spinnach for about 7 or 8 minutes then squeeze it dry and chop it up finely.
Melt the 25g of butter over a low heat in a non enamel saucepan add the corn flour and stir with a wooden spoon getting rid of any lumps, cook gently for a minute or 2 then pour in the milk from the fish stirring constantly. Keep stirring it and watch til it thickens then turn the heat right down and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Keep stirring or it'll burn. It should be the consistency of thin cream – add some more milk if it looks too thick. Take off the heat and stir in the parsley and the cheese saving a bit to go on top later. Taste it and add some salt if it needs it (it might not because of the fish and the cheese) and planty of freshly ground pepper.
You've got all the bits now you need to assemble the pie:
In a buttered oven proof dish put the spinnach in a layer on the bottom. Arrange the pieces of fish on top (you can add prawns or cooked shell fish of your choice if you want at this stage). Pour the cheese sauce over the top. Spoon the mashed spuds over the top of that and even it out and makes pretty patterns with a fork, Sprinkle some of the grtated cheese over the top. Put it in the oven for 25 to 35 mins til it's brown. The sauce can bubble over so it's a good idea to put a tray underneath to catch and drips and save then burning on to your oven.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here's some of the artwork for fliers for the occasional Dig That Crazy Beat night at Nelson's Wine Bar in Hebden Bridge

Obviously images purloined from film posters and record sleeves.

I've put together some big posters and backdrops using Rasterbator - which is one of the best, most useful graphicsy things ever! And also Andrea Mosaic - which is equally cool.

A combination of the two meant I could make 2 meter square poster, pieced together from A4 sheets, made up of images of about 400 CD covers that, when viewed from a distance, looked like a giant vinyl album.
Not exactly great art but it look good on the night. The great art comes next .... I'm working on it.

Friday, July 17, 2009


My version of the classic Spanish fish stew.

Olive oil for frying
1 glass white wine
½ glass sherry
2 bay leaves
dozen or so clams and the same of mussels
1 medium Spanish onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 or 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
smoked paprika
small dried chili chopped or the equivelant in dried chili flakes
150g hake
150g monk fish
1 medium sized squid
4 langoustine
4 big raw prawns
corn flour
½ glass of pernod or similar
a handful of fresh chopped parsley

Put wine, sherry and bay leaves in a large pan and bring to boil – add the clams and mussels and cook gently with the lid on for a few minutes until they open (chuck away any that don't open). Remove them from the pan, strain the liguid and put to one side.
Gently fry onion and garlic 'til just going transparent (don't brown). Add the tomatoes and cook squishing them about til soft. Add a big pinch of paprika and the chili and continue cooking 'til it's nice and thick.
Cut the fish and squid into chunks and dust with the flour then gently fry in a big casserole - start with the firmest fish first - 'til golden. Add pernod and boil off the alcohol or have some fun and set light to it! Add the tomato sauce and the liquid the clams and mussels were cooked in and enough water to just cover the fish (if needed), give it a stir and simmer for 10 - 15 mins. Stir in parsley and season to taste.
Serve with fresh, crusty bread.

gigs what I went to as a youngster ...

I posted this list on the DJ History forum recently in a thread about The Dirty Projectors.

Gigs I went to back in the 70's and early 80
s (I'll add to it from time to time as I remember more) -

Mostly at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester.
Tyrannosaurus Rex first electric gig with Micky Finn on bongos and the support was John Peel reading a Ray Bradbury short story.
The Groundhogs - Tony McPhee's guitar lead was too short so it kept pulling out of the amp when he walked to the front of the stage.
Led Zep at UMIST - didn't like them.
Pink Floyd doing Atom Heart Mother - boring without Syd
Hawkwind more times than I care to remember - they usually had a good light show but I never got to see Stacia get her kit off..
Genesis twice with Peter Gabriel singing and Phil Collins in his rightful place stuck behind the drums - first time they were playing support to Lindisfarne.
David Bowie with so few people there they closed the circle and put everyone in the stalls. He played a load of stuff off Ziggy Stardust although it was just before the album's release.
A great version of the Velvet Underground's White Light, White Heat
I was there with my long curly hair and my duffle coat, but went home and changed my image after that - Bowie and the band were in full Ziggy regalia. I remember Mick Ronson's guitar playing being amazing.
The Strawbs with Rick Wakeman
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band - one of the best gigs I've ever been to. I can't remember the name of the venue - it was on old converted cinema in Manchester with most of the inside painted mat black. A bloke in front of me turned round and threw up and I got sick on my shoes.
Carol King and James Taylor - tedious and weary
Loudon Wainwright III - brilliant and very funny
Fleetwood Mac when they were still good with Peter Green
Taste with Rory Gallagher - I had to leave before the end to get the last train and you could still hear them nearly all the way to Victoria Station they were so loud.
The Byrds - brilliant - they did a 3 hour long version of 8 Miles High (well it felt like 3 hours )
Tangerine Dream in Manchester Cathedral - I was bored witless and freezing cold
Soft Machine - I enjoyed it then but I'm not sure I would now
The Rolling Stones at Belle Vue (I got pushed out of the ticket queue for their Free Trade Hall gig by Hells Angels)
Humble Pie - Steve Marriot had such a great soulful voice
Jethro Tull - I seem to remember the gig started at midnight - I don't recall much else about it. I don't think I enjoyed it much.
MC5 at the Clitheroe Festival - I went to it twice and also saw Barclay James Harvest, Stackridge, Bridget St. John and The Third Ear Band.

When I was on a 6th form geography field trip in Torbay I went to see the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and as he sung something along the lines of "and your brain leaves you body" someone dressed as a giant brain wobbled across the stage and at the climax of the show they "poured" Arthur into a giant syringe ....

A mate at art college asked if we'd like to go and see his brother, a drummer, in a punk band. They were on at a gay club in Manchester called The Ranch next door to Foo Foo Lammar's. They were called Buzzcocks and had a slightly odd looking little singer called Howard. They only managed about 20 or 30 minutes of their set before Foo Foo came through from next door and told them they had to stop as the noise was interfering with his act.