Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Here's the rain themed mix I've been threatening for a while...

It's just over an hour long and as usual it's an unholy mess of musical styles and it contains 3 versions of one song, but I think it hangs together. See what you think.

(Let me know if you want a track list)

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Three favourite albums of 2010 ...

Again, I'm not saying "the best of ..." just my favourites.
First off is the obvious one - it seems to be somewhere in most of the Top 20 / 50 / 100 lists I've seen - but that's probably just because it's so good. 
High Violet by The National
Matt Beringer's baritone voice just sends me and the album is peppered with gorgeous tunes to show it off at its best.
Here's "Little Faith" - any song with the lyric "we'll play nuns versus priests until somebody cries" is OK by me:

Next up is the Roky Erickson and Okkervil River collaboration "True Love Cast Out All Evil" that I've already gone on about on here. It's remained one of my favourites of the year. Here's Goodbye Sweet Dreams:

Micah P Hinson and the Pioneer Sabateurs
Last time I went to see Micah he played  a lot of stuff from this album - just him and an acoustic guitar - and it demonstrated how strong the songs are. That said, What makes this album really special for me is the arrangements - strings, occasional off-kilter percussion and growling feedback guitar or echo laden bottle-neck make a great backdrop for his pained voice. At the gig he said that the album cover had caused a bit of a fuss - in the US people wanted to know why the woman had no clothes on and in the UK they wanted to know why she had a gun ....

Here's "Watchers, Tell Us Of The Night"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Whole Bunch of Christmas Tunes

I know it's late but I've been drinking beer and whisky and cooking (without cutting myself!), I've uploaded some christmas tunes -  a bit different from the normal stuff - you can download the whole lot zipped up here -

This is they:

Child's Christmas In Wales - John Cale
Honky Tonk Christmas - Dale Watson
In the Bleak Midwinter - The Pipettes
Just Like Christmas - Low
Stone Soul Christmas - Binky Griptite
Little Drummer Boy - The Dandy Warhols
The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
Frosty the Snowman - Leon Redbone
Jingle Bells (Dan The Automator Remix) - Dean Martin
I Hate Christmas - Sesame Street
Lucky Too - Bob Neuwirth
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Reverend Horton Heat
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix) - Kay Starr
Joy To The World (Mocean Worker Remix) - Cathedral Brass
So Much Wine - The Handsome Family
The Christmas Orphan - John Shuttleworth
There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight - The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Baby, It's Cold Outside (Mulato Beat Remix) - Louis Armstrong, Velma Middleton
Christmas at the Zoo - The Flaming Lips
Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (And Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree) - Butterbeans & Susie
Winter Wonderland - Moog Cookbook
All I Want For Christmas - Spike Jones & his City Slickers
Don't Shoot Me Santa - The Killers
Please Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas) - Alan Jackson
We Dress Up Like Snowmen - The Wave Pictures
La Fille Du Pere Noel - Jacques Dutronc
Christmas in Vegas - Dale Watson

Sunday, December 19, 2010


A new discovery for me in 2010 was Matthew Houck who trades under the name Phosphorescent. I think my mate Lee over at Speakers Push Air turned me on to It's Hard To Be Humble (When You're From Alabama) when he visited us on his trek North. And then I heard I Don't Care If There's Cursing on Marc Riley's Radio 6 show.
This year's Album is called "Here's To Taking It Easy" and apparently it's his 5th - so how I've missed him 'til now I don't know. There's just too much music out there - I can't keep up!

A Couple of Christmas Crackers

When you hear Low's Just Like Christmas being used for BBC2's Christmas ad, it makes you think that maybe you aren't quite as out of step with the rest of the world as you thought you were, (until you see the declaration of the winner of "Strictly Come Dancing" makes headlines in the broadsheets that is).
Anyway, here's a couple of slightly less well known seasonal songs, maybe they'll get used on Radio 4 trailers next year ....

There's No Lights On The Christmas Tree Mother, They're Burning Big Louie Tonight

We Dress Up Like Snowmen

More from 2010

A few of my old favourite artists have released new stuff this year:

For The Ghosts Within
Robert Wyatt brought out an album that mixes jazz standards and some new material. Wyatt's distinctive voice is accompanied by some beautiful string arrangements and Gilad Atzmon's alto sax and clarinet.
I'm sharing his version of What A Wonderful World here - it closes the album and is almost throw away in its simplicity so perhaps isn't the best way to represent the album, but it seemed right for the time of the year. Where Are They Now on the other hand has German rapping and its electronic swing beat reminds me of some of the Verve remix albums or the music from Belleville Rendezvous.

Invariable Heartache
Cortney Tidwell leads somewhat of a double life musically, producing some great shoe-gazy dance numbers (check out Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up and Watusii) and , as you'd expect from someone Nashville born and bred, some nice country tinged songs. Kurt Wagner's band Lambchop definitely lean towards the country side of things and have produced some sublime music over the years. Together, calling themselves "Kort", they have produced an album of country tunes from the 60s and 70s, emphasising, in their words, the songs' "the beauty and simplicity".
This is probably the most up-beat track from the album - Picking Wild Mountain Berries - but it's all good.

Long Live The Duke & The King
The Felice Brothers were one of my discoveries at the Primavera festival in Barcelona a few years ago and it was Simone Felice's showmanship that really made their live performance something special. His side project, The Duke & The King, seems to have taken over and the Felice Brothers are no more. This is the band's second album and they've really settled in to their stride. It's a great tumbling mix of country, soul, folk and 60s style rock with gorgeous C S N & Y style harmonies. Hard to pick a single track but here's Shaky with its great opening lines "Baghdad she's a mean old town / I get the feeling she don't want me around".

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not the best of 2010

I'm not going to follow the music blogging herd and do a "Best Of 2010" list.
I did think I'd share some of my favourite stuff from 2010 though. Not a "Best of ..." by any means just a collection of music I've enjoyed over the past 12 months. In no particular order.

I'll kick off with the second Grinderman album, imaginatively called Grinderman 2. The single with the video below came out before the album and it's just brilliantly bonkers - you just knew the album was going to be good:

There's a great version called "Super Heathen Child" with Robert Fripp on guitar that's well worth seeking out. Having said all that I think my favourite track from the album is Palaces Of Montezuma

More later ....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Catalan style rabbit casserole

(I find recipes really difficult to write so I hope this works OK - let me know if you spot any mistakes or have any suggestions for improvements)


1 rabbit, jointed
seasoned flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot scrubbed, topped and tailed and roughly jobbed
1 stick of celery scrubbed and roughly chopped
1 smoked cooking chorizo chopped into 1 or 2cm chunks
1 small glass of fino sherry or glass of white wine
4 tomatoes skinned and quartered
about half a dozen juniper berries bashed about a bit
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
Olive oil for frying.


Dredge the rabbit pieces in the flour.
Gently fry the chorizo in a heavy casserole until the orange juice starts to run from it, remove from the pan and set aside and then fry the rabbit pieces until they brown and remove them from the pan and put with the chorizo.
Add a little more oil if needed and fry the vegetables, apart from the tomatoes, until they start to brown scraping the flour residue from the bottom of the pan as you go.
Add the wine/sherry to the pan, give it a good stir and then put the meat back in the pan with all the other ingredients. Add some water so everything is covered and season as necessary - the chorizo will add a salty, smoky taste so don't over do the salt.
Put it in a low oven about 150 C for 2 or 3 hours, preferably while you go down to the pub.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bon Voyage ...

... the piano has been drinking

*the image is a still from a short animated film by Jeff Desom

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bon Voyage 15

A beautiful David Crosby song from the Paul Kantner/Jefferson Starship album "Blows Against The Empire"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bon Voyage 14

One of those wonderful over the top "whole opera in a single song" tunes. Maybe not what you should listen to as you drive aboard the ferry ....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bon Voyage 13

A bit of empyrean modern prog rock for you today

I'm trying out the Yahoo media player. S'cool isn't it?

Bon Voyage 11 & 12

Two tracks today - well the first is more of sound effect (courtesy of Polly Harvey).
Anyway, first one to see the sea gets sixpence!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bon Voyage 6

Roll bus roll, take me off
A rolled sweatshirt makes the window soft
If I fall asleep, don’t wake me up.
Roll bus roll, take me up...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bon Voyage 5

"I Scare Myself" - the proper, original version by Dan Hicks. Perfect for driving.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bon Voyage 4

Driving through Northern England the soundtrack has to include a brass band. A brass band playing a KLF tune ....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bon Voyage 3

I think I've packed everything but I've got this nagging doubt ...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bon Voyage

Over the summer I put together a playlist for my son Loz to listen to as he drove from the North of England to France. I thought I'd share it on here one tune a day (when I remember).
So here we are waking up early in the morning to start the journey with John Martyn ...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's a Mystery ...

This is a mix I did for a competition over at the DJHistory forum - it didn't get anywhere with all those house bunnies and disco divas but I was quite pleased with it so I thought I'd share it here. It's loosely based on the "Watch Out For That Bat!" mix that's also on here, so some of the tracks are the same - and some aren't ...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sun Sea and Sand

Hot on the heels of "Brasso" here's another mix. It's longer than usual - I'd have problems squeezing it on to a C90.
It would be a jolly seasonal selection of tunes apart from the fact that the sea bit involves a ship wreck or two.
I'll maybe post a track list later.

The image is a "mashup" by  Beau Bo D'Or - John Hassall's Jolly Fisherman, from the famous poster advertising the joys of Skegness, joining the dancers of Jack Vettriano's The Singing Butler. Click on it to download the mix as an .mp3.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Brassed up

Does what is says on the tin. A selection of tunes with brass bits in.
No. There's no Peter Skellern. It veers a bit close to Radio 2 territory as it is.

(click on the pic to download .mp3)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rocky returns

There's a new Roky Erickson album out - 14 years after his last. He's backed by Okkervil River and it's produced by their main man Will Sheff. And it's great!
The production incorporates "found-sound and archival recordings culled from Erickson's home videos and recordings made in the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane", where Erickson spent several years in the early 70s. These hissy snatches of birdsong and bits of conversation add a real atmosphere to the album.

Here's the title track on Youtube -

... and here's another track from the album for you to listen to -

Roky Erickson & Okkervil River - Goodbye Sweet Dreams

Erickson has been plagued by mental illness for decades - his life was chronicled in the excellent 2005 documentary You're Gonna Miss Me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Holy Fuck ...

... have a new album out called "Latin". Sounding great on the first couple of listens - possibly slightly less "full on" than their last album - it's still got the great driving rhythms and it still has the excitement generated by the feeling that the whole thing may fall to bits at any minute. But it has kind of floaty bits too.

This is the official vid of the track Latin America -

If you pre order 'Latin'  from my favourite record store Rough Trade you will also receive a bonus cd called 'Ghost' with four extra tracks.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jónsi – go

Jónsi of Sigur Rós has a solo album out next week. It's called "Go" and you can read about it and order "special" and "limited" editions of it here .
I reckon if you like Sigur Rós you'll enjoy this.

You can pre-order it on vinyl from Amazon

Here's a track from the album to download -

Boy Lilikoi.mp3

Or you can stream a preview of the whole album from NPR Music

Friday, March 19, 2010

Watch Out For That Bat!

A shortish "mix tape" for you (it'd very nearly fill both sides of a C60).
Thanks to Cosmic Jane for help and inspiration with this one.

I'll bung up a track list later if anyone asks for one.

Watch out for that bat!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pantha du Prince ...

... has a lovely new single out featuring Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear out of off of Animal Collective) ...

And there's a Four Tet remix available for free download

The single is available as a 12" from Rough Trade and has remixes by Efdemin and Lawrence as well as Four Tet - I've ordered my copy even though I still don't have anything to play vinyl on ....


Caribou were one of those bands I stumbled across at a festival (Primavera) and was completely blown away. I just couldn't stop grinning. I saw them again at Greenman and they were just as as impressive. I've played their Andorra album to death.
So now I'm ridiculously excited I've got tickets to see them at the Deaf Institute in Manchester on April 19th - the day before their new album, Swim, is released in the UK.
I've just download Odessa, the first single off the album from here and have played it 3 times back to back - let's hope the rest of the album is as good.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm the man, the very fat man ...

... that waters the workers beer.
I heard this on Desert Island Disks the other day and was reminded how much I like it.
Early dance music....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spanish Orange and Almond cake

I first saw the recipe for this delicious Spanish cake in a Claudia Roden book. I was reminded of it when I saw a variation in one of the Sunday papers. This recipe is based on the latter version but adapted so a bit more work is done by the food processor and there's one less bowl to wash up.


3 medium oranges
6 eggs, separated
225g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
A handful of flaked almonds

METHOD: Place the clean, whole and unpeeled oranges in a large pan of boiling water making sure they are covered and bring back to the boil. Simmer for 1½ hours adding more water when necessary. Drain the oranges and leave to cool (I've hastened the process by putting them outside in this freezing weather we've been having recently). When they're cool cut into quarters and discard any big pips or big bits of pith. Put them in a food processor and whiz the lot, including the peel.. Add the egg yolks and sugar to the oranges and give them another blitz until they are well mixed. Then put in the almonds and give it another quick mix. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks in a large bowl and then fold in the orange and almond mixture.
Pour into a 23cm (9in) cake tin (I've been using one of those silicon ones I got cheap in TK Maxx), scatter the flaked almonds over the top and bake for about an hour at 180C/Gas 4, until firm to the touch (cover with a loose sheet of foil if it looks like it's starting to go too brown). Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve. It's great served as a pudding while it's still warm with a blob of plain yoghurt or fromage fraise. Or as a cake, when it's cold,. with a cup of strong black coffee.