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 ....