The Tinned PIlchards

For a brief period in the 1980’s one band exploded onto the scene like a comet hitting the planet, only to disappear as quickly as they appeared. That band was The Tinned Pilchards, since written out of the history of popular culture and a mystery to most, their untold story is one of corporate big business destroying what they can’t control through fear that the ancient monolith that was their business model was under direct attack.

There is very little media still in existence, having been deleted or destroyed as a result of multiple injunctions and court cases, but we have managed to obtain rare recordings and footage as well as tracking down one of the members who was willing to talk, well, he didn’t know he was being recorded and we transcribed the recording, which is almost the same thing.

It all began with what they thought was their big break, after weeks of toiling on the local bedroom scene their first official release, ‘Fast’, was picked up by national radio DJ Bob Harris who played the track once, really late at night when very few people were listening. Such was his interest in the song he insisted that it opened the next edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test, however, the band weren’t available to perform so in good old OGWT fashion an old animation was played with the track. No official copies of this broadcast still exist, however, these were the days of video recorders and we have obtained a private tape that you can view now, for the first time since that original broadcast:

An instant classic, I’m sure everyone would agree, but this is where the problems began. Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagan saw the show and was incensed, insisting that the chords used where clearly Steely Dan chords and that whoever was playing them was butchering them by not playing ‘Square’ enough. This was the first lawsuit, there were more to come.

The single itself had been independently released as a 7″ and 12″ with the flip side an almost unlistenable experimental track by keyboardist Peter Bushnell titled ‘Ooh Yes Very Good’. Although all the vinyl copies of the single were destroyed (although it is rumoured that one copy still exists which, if found, could be worth tens of pounds ) some rare footage of a live performance has recently emerged, which we can share with you now, although we recommend not bothering.

Renowned journalist and Media entrepreneur Ella Bushnell (not a relation) tracked down the bands multi-instrumentalist Verian Thomas and had a chat, secretly recording the conversation using one of those new-fangled digital recorders, this is what’s said:

When you played with Dad Pete and Dave in The Tinned Pilchards, what were your inspirations when forming/making music with the band? 

I’d been in bands since school, playing guitar or bass, but moved away in 1983, when I was 16, and lost touch with most of the people from those days so the Pilchards were, to some degree, a way of staying in touch and a social thing. I don’t recall us ever discussing playing in front of an audience other than one of us suggesting a tour of people’s living rooms once, which I probably would have done if any of us actually had the organisational skills to set it up. 

The music that we made was restricted by the capabilities of the individual band members such as Dave (who insisted on being called Dwayne Mustard) stealing most of his lyrics from other people’s songs and Pete playing Steely Dan inspired keyboard chords whenever possible. Despite this we did manage to put together an OK body of work over a period of several years but were limited to some degree by the technology we had available to us to record the songs. We used my Fostex 4 Track, which used cassette tapes, and if we needed more than 4 tracks then it was necessary to merge two tracks together thereby leaving a spare track. Every time we did this the degradation in sound quality was pretty evident. I think our aim was to get together for a day, write and record an entire song and then we all felt it to have been a pretty productive and worthwhile day. It was rare that we didn’t manage that.

There was a very broad range of musical inspirations that each person brought to the band and we ended up sounding nothing like any of them, which is probably a good thing. At the time I was in a 4AD phase, which continues to this day to a degree, and was listening to The Cocteau TwinsThis Mortal CoilDead Can Dance, that sort of thing, as well as The Sisters of MercyThe Cure and Xmal Deutschland, a closet Goth if truth be told, but still listening to and influenced by the music that I grew up with, which was in the Prog Rock musical spectrum, such as GenesisPink Floyd and Yes, or Rock from Led ZeppelinBlack Sabbath and the like. At the same time Dave and Pete would talk about the bands they were listening to and I would investigate those as well, bands like The Blue Nile, China Crisis, Prefab Sprout, but I think the initial desire to write and record was born a few years earlier, in 1983, with the release of Soul Mining by The The. At the time I was told that it was one guy, Matt Johnson, who basically recorded the whole thing in his bedroom on rudimentary equipment, sent off demos and got a deal. There was a point where I thought I could also do that. The story about The The turned out to not be true, but that didn’t really matter.

After your song was played on the Old Grey Whistle Test, how did you feel about everything that happened afterwards?

What do you mean by everything?

Well, the court cases, accusations of plagiarism, your vilification in the music press, that sort of thing.

I was fine about it, if you want to know more about that stuff speak to Dave, or bloody Dwayne or whatever he’s calling himself nowadays. Probably Stong or Peter Gobriel.

At this point he left without saying goodbye

The previously mentioned lawsuits came thick and fast as it became increasingly clear that several elements of other peoples songs had been ‘borrowed’. While the appropriation of Steely Dan chords case didn’t get anywhere it lasted long enough for the initial buzz about the band to dissipate. Even if they could have bounced back from that they faced more hurdles over the lyrics to the songs they had recorded for a proposed album release.

During the plagiarism trials, The Old Bailey judge found in favour of the 63 plaintiffs in all cases stating “That this trial only took 12 minutes is indicative of how bloody obviously the lyrics have been stolen from other songs”. Lyricist and Singer David Bushnell has always maintained his innocence, which is ridiculous as he really did quite obviously steal from Sting, Steely Dan and other sources.

After this the band collapsed, they made no money from that initial release and any future earnings they may make were already sequestered by the court, their only hope was a completely original song, so there was no chance of a comeback although they did return to the studio one more time but none of the recordings ever surfaced.

While researching this article we were approached by a man who called himself only Lionel and claimed to have been the recording engineer at those lost sessions, we didn’t believe him of course, he seemed rather shady, but having heard the tape it was undeniably The Pilchards, for the price of his bus fare home he provided us with the unmixed demo tape of the one song that survived from the session. We feel we overpaid, however, here is that never before heard song.

And so, The Tinned Pilchards, a band that had, momentarily at least, the whole world at their feet faded into complete obscurity and having written this I now feel, perhaps, that they should have stayed there.

Albums of the Year 2019

27 – Lambchop – This (Is what I wanted to tell you)

I’m always excited at the release of a Lambchop album particulalry having seen them live a few years ago. More recently there are elements of electronic music creeping in but I’m ok with that as, while sometimes it can be a wrench when a band moves in a new direction, the other option, which is basically releasing the same album over and over again, is a surefire path to obscurity.

26 – Lana Del Ray – Norman Fucking Rockwell

I’ve never had an issue with Lana Del Ray despite the fangirl worship that grew up around her early on, it really mens nothing to me, she has put some really good songs out and this album is particularly accomplished. It has quite rightly appeared very high, if not on top, of mny critics year end lists. Give it a whirl.

25- Drahla – Useless Coordinates

I very much stumbled upon this album, picked up in a charity shop. I had never heard of them but I put it on in the car and am now having trouble understanding how it ended up on a charity shop. My gain I suppose. As a reference point, perhaps think Sonic Youth.

24- Cigarettes After Sex – Cry

I received this as part of my Rough Trade subscription, I’d heard of them but paid no attention, and the one that arrived in the post was a nice grey vinyl so that was good. What I do know is that ‘Pitchfork’ did not think highly of this release: His second record, Cry, is a 41-minute dream about Penthouse pets and women in silken underthings, filtered through chiaroscuro and top-shelf whiskey. There is a universe where this raciness could conceivably offer a reprieve from indie rock’s occasional prudishness. Unfortunately, Gonzalez’s candor about his desire comes off as lifeless and borderline asinine.

Fair enough but I don’t think I listen quite as intently, they are atmospheric dream pop songs and they sound quite nice.

23 – Bat For Lashes – Lost Girl

Natasha Khan (for it is she who is Bat for Lashes) moved to L.A and set to thinking about classic ‘80s kids films. Films such as The Lost Boys, Never Ending Story, The Goonies, The Flight Of The Navigator, Labyrinth and The Karate Kid. I’m sure you know the sort of thing, the young ‘uns were always right and also the heroes, any sense of reality was unimportant and cynicism had no place in this world. In this mindset Khan wrote a screenplay, however, the soundtrack took over and resulted in this album. I also received a copy of this from Rough Trade.

22 – KOKOKO! – Fongola

Another Rough Trade record that arrived sight unseen in the post. Shortly after receiving it I saw them live and it was a fun set.

21 – DIIV – Deceiver

You will never guess how I got my hands on this record, oh, you did, yes, Rough Trade again, this one a sort of smoky orange coloured vinyl. So if we need to give a reference point for DIIV, think Shoegaze, so Slowdive, Ride, that sort of thing.

20 – Eluvium – Piano Works

I’ve liked Eluvium for a long time now so when I saw this in the record shop I bought it immediately. My copy is 3 × Vinyl, LP, Limited Edition in Iridescent Mother Of Pearl and it was quite pricey. The album is just piano and begins with a song about children’s piano lessons, and culminates with an etude driven by the struggle to hold onto innocence and imagination as adulthood settles in.

19 – Lamb – The Secret of Letting Go

This is not their best album, but I love Lamb (both the band and with mint sauce and gravy) so there are multiple reference points for me, however, for somebody hearing this having never heard them before I’m not sure they would rate it as highly as I do, not when compared to earlier releases such as ‘What Sound’ which is my favourite release of theirs. Don’t be mistaken though, this IS a very good album.

18 – The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

A great album this from the Raconteurs that I need to find more time to listen to as I’m pretty confident repeated listens would send it higher up this list. It has been 10 years since their last record and they have returned with a riff heavy rock and roll record that seems designed more for the turntable than streaming.

17 – Henryk Górecki – Beth Gibbons, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Krzysztof Penderecki – Symphony No. 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs) Op. 36

I have had this music for 20 years and love it, sure, it’s in Polish and I have no idea what they words are but that doesn’t matter. To see that a piece of music that I already adored was to be sung by a singer that I also adored was a lovely surprise. Beth Gibbons (of Portishead in case you hadn’t realised) really does turn in a fantastic performance as does the orchestra.

16 – Pip Blom – Boat

Rough Trade again! Coloured vinyl again! Yeah, I know, but I compile these more recent lists based, as much as possible, on what I own and I own this so here it is. Never heard of them again before it arrived and was pleasantly suprised, as I so often am with the albums Rough Trade send, they rarely send anything that I don’t appreciate. On this, their debut album, the Dutch quartet undercut their perky, grunge-lite melodies with just the right amount of pop-fuzz aggression.

15 – Nérija – Blume

Erm, well, I think i may have got this from Rough Trade as well, I’m losing track, or maybe I bought it at the record shop, no matter. Anyway, I wrote about this here

14 – Little Simz – Gray Area

One of the few albums on this list I don’t own but I’ve streamed it a lot and like it a lot. I may at some point pick up a copy. I thought she would take the Mercury Prize with this album but she didn’t.

13 – Nick Cave – Ghosteen

This is the first record from Cave written entirely following the death of his son and it is very much a meditation on grief, so not particularly cheery, but artistically it is a wonderful and fascinating album.

12 – Swans – Leaving Meaning

Described in a youtube comment as ‘Post-apocalyptic nuclear Hawaiian beach scene’, I can go with that. It’s difficult to explain Swans to anybody who hasn’t heard Swans, it is sort of monolithic experimental rock but you just have to sit down and actually listen to it, it’s the only way.

11 – Ólafur Arnalds – re:member

I bought this on RSD 19, Alternative Artwork Series – One of five alternative covers of “Re:member” LP, plus 7′ String Quartets Vinyl. Packaged together in an outside PVC wrap.
Limited edition of 800 copies (all variants). Unknown number of copies for each variant. I’m not buying the other 4 variants, that would be silly. If you don’t know of him, he is an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and producer from Mosfellsbær, Iceland. He mixes strings and piano with loops and beats, or you could just have a listen.

10 – Cinematic Orchestra – To Believe

12 years after their last release comes To Believe, a collection of seemingly delicate songs built around the meaning of belief. On closer listen things are not as delicate as they seem and with this album they have, perhaps, realised their potential and produced something genuinely beautiful.

9 – 65Daysofstatic – replicr, 2019

Well I’m a big fan of 65Daysofstatic and tried to get to see them last year, but failed as the only gig I could get too involved buying a 3 day festival ticket and there was nobody else I wanted to see. For reference, think Post/Math rock, or think nothing at all and let the sound fill up the spaces in your head.

8 – Death and Vanila – Are you a dreamer?

I have pretty much everything they have released so it is no surprise that this album appears here. I previously wrote about it here

7 – The Comet Is Coming – Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery

I played The Comet is Coming on my occasional and little listened to Radio Show having stumbled across a track and have now ended up buying almost everything they have released. I like electronic music, I like jazz, I like rock, they have thrown it all in a blender and I really rather like it.

6 – Thom Yorke – Anima

This is an album focused on anxiety and dystopia but somehow manages to be more upbeat than his previous solo releases. I got the orange vinyl copy and it is all really rather nice. This album, more than the previous two solo releases, will appeal to fans of Radiohead as it is more aligned with that feel and sound.

5 – The Comet is Coming – Afterlife

Here they are again, for all the same reasons as previously mentioned. It’s not my fault they released two albums in the same year.

4 – Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

A surprising inclusion some may think, however, popularity does not always mean generic crap that appeals to the masses. There are some great songs on this album and the whole aesthetic is pretty appealing. Perhaps she reached the pinnacle of her recorded output on day one, we will have to wait and see, but this is a fantastic debut.

3 – Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising

In my view an extraordinary record that at first put me in mind of Karen Carpenter but repeated listens gave it an identity of its own. This is a beautifully crafted album, her fourth, and best. The songs have a grace to them that speaks of an older time that sometimes feels lost, but is reclaimed in these songs.

2 – Aurora – A Different Kind Of Human – Step 2

This record was in the SALE bin at the record store and I bought it on just a hunch, it looked interesting. Turns out it was, in fact it’s a bloody great album and I have since become a fan of Aurora (even the song she contributed to Frozen II). She wrote music for herself as early as age 9. When she was 16 her song Puppets was (without her consent) uploaded to a streaming website. It became popular and was noticed by a management company and subsequently officially published under her real name. Soon afterwards she signed to Decca and started releasing her music under her stage name AURORA. Her actual name is Aurora Aksnes. I recommend delving into her work, it’s very rewarding.

1 – FKA Twigs – Magdalene 

This album, in my view, is not only the best of 2019 but also one of the best of the decade. Again, I have everything she has released, but this album is the pinnacle of her recorded output. My disappointment in the Brit Awards was further deepened when Mabel (Who I have nothing against) won over Twigs, for me it was a no contest, Twigs was miles ahead of the other nominees. My view is that Twigs is an artist who produces deeply meaningful music combined with dance interpretations, videos and artwork that defy genres. She is quite brilliant.

If you fail to be moved by the performance of Cellophane above, then you are dead inside.

Best Albums of 2010

Here we are again with one of those best of lists that I do, they take ages, very few people read them and still I don’t care, it has become an obsession to try and complete every year I can. Why? No idea. I started this one months ago so it’s probabaly wrong by now.

50 – Interpol – Interpol

I haven’t listened to this album until now so it may move up over time as I did really like their debut ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’ which I discovered via a mix CD that I was sent, it had the track PDA on it. The band took a break for several years but returned recently with anew album so I’ll have to give that a listen as well.

49 – Anaïs Mitchell – Hadestown

I know literally nothing about this artist or album so I had to go and have a look and a listen as it appears in several best of lists for 2010. Hadestown is the fourth album by Vermont-based Anaïs Mitchell. The concept album follows a variation on the Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus must embark on a quest to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld, so that’s me sold on it as I love that sort of thing. Several of the songs feature singers other than Mitchell, including Justin Vernon (better known as lead vocalist and guitarist of Wisconsin-based band Bon Iver), Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, and Tanya, Petra and Rachel Haden (referred to in the track listing as ‘The Haden Triplets’).

48 – Yeasayer – Odd Blood

This is another album that appeared in a lot of end of year lists and I do remember giving it a listen at the time, I liked it well enough, but I still don’t understand what about it made it be top 10 for some people.

47 – Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

This was not on my radar at all in 2010 so another first listen for me. I’m a fan of desire trails as a thing, so it’s nice to see a song with that as a title. In June 2010, Deerhunter took a short break from touring to record Halcyon Digest. Initial news of the album became public when music industry firm, Milk Money, posted a message on their Twitter account that the band had been mixing the new record with Ben Allen (who also worked on Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion and Fall Be Kind EP.)

46 – Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

Full disclosure, I love Charlotte Gainsbroug, so I am somewhat incapapble of not saying nice things, although this album doesn’t deserve bad words being said about it so I feel safe in saying that this is a very good album. she is, of course, the daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg but having appeared in 40 or 50 movies and released several albums I think she is well out from under the shadow of her parents now.

45 – Gil Scott-Heron – I’m New Here

I know the earlier releases pretty well but didn’t pick up on this when it was released, which is ok as I get to listen to it now and maybe, being a little older, appreciate it more than I would have even only 9 years ago. That I now feel the need to pick up a copy for myself is testament to how good the album is. I was touched by opener ‘On Coming From a Broken Home (pt 1)’ and suprised by ‘Me And The Devil’, and on it went until I reached the end of the album without realising where the time had gone.

44 – Forest Swords – Dagger Paths

Technically an E.P. but I like Forest Swords, and I make the rules, so here it is, alos it was re-released with extra tracks and became an album later, sort of. I first stumbled upon this when making a spotify playlist, just listening to random tracks and adding them if I liked them. I then bought the last album, ‘Compassion’, which you will find in Albums Of The Year 2017 at number 5.

43 – Beach House – Teen Dream

Something that very rarely happes is my good lady wife reccomending a band to me, which she did about 6 weeks ago, and it was Beach House. I’d never heard of them and this irks me somewhat that she had the gall to recommend something to me I didn’t know. Hmph! It was a live performance and despite trying hard, on a point of priciple, not to like it, I did like it, damn.

42 – Midlake – The Courage of Others

I have not given this album the chance it deserves, the reason for this is that I really liked their debut ‘Banman & Silvercork’ so that this isn’t that sort of dissapointed me, which is, of course, ridiculous, but I bought the record, played it once and I don’t think I have played it again. Until today. It’s much better than I remembered.

41 – Gorillaz – The Fall

I got my copy of this on Record Store Day as it had only ever been a limited release. The entire album was recorded on Damon Albarn’s iPad over the course of 32 days during the North American leg of the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour in October 2010 and mixed in England by Stephen Sedgwick. 

40 – Envy – Recitation

There is something particular about the music of Envy that I would not normally listen to, because I don’t understand it, and that is hardcore shouting which are what I imagine having your vocal chords ripped out by a rabid dog sounds like. In this one instance I don’t mind it at all though. Envy are a Japanese screamo band formed in Tokyo, in 1992 apparently, who would have thought I’d be listening to Screamo, it’s a strange world.

39 – Prins Thomas – Prins Thomas

I don’t know much about Prins Thomas, other than that I bought a triple album of his really cheaply and liked it, so that’s why he is here. I gave this a listen, I also like this, so there we are.

38 – The Fall – Your Future Our Clutter

I found a copy of this in a used record store and, typically of The Fall, it’s all rather inconsistent, but in a good way. It is their 27th studio album, of which I only have 4, and was considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of the year, although who really cares what critics think?

37 – Yann Tiersen – Dust Lane

Tiersen is known principally as the multi-instrumentalist composer of the charming soundtracks to the movies Amélie, The Dreamlife of Angels, Good Bye Lenin! et al, though he has released a quintet of solo albums which have gone somewhat under the radar (his last outing, 2005’s Les Retrouvailles, featured vocal cameos from Cocteau Twin Elizabeth Fraser and Jane Birkin, among others).

36 – The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards

Not my faviourite Jack White project to be honest but there is still plenty here to enjoy. Interestingly, to me at least, The album was streamed on the band’s website, via continuous vinyl playback, for a period of 24 hours from April 30 to May 1.

35 – Hammock – Chasing After Shadows… Living with the Ghosts

Hammock are an American two-member ambient/post-rock band from Nashville, Tennessee who create atmospheric music by combining orchestral arrangements with electronic beats, piano and droning guitar. I bought an album of theirs, Oblivion Hymns, back in 2013 and loved it. I don’t have a copy of this one but having listened to it again I feel it should be in my wantlist.

34 – Ólöf Arnalds – Innundir Skinni

Innundir skinni is Icelandic musician Ólöf Arnalds second album. The album was produced by Sigur Rós band member Kjartan Sveinsson, who also worked with Arnalds on her debut album. Skúli Sverrisson, Davið Þór Jónsson, Björk and Shahzad Ismaily all contributed to the album.

33 – Stereolab – Not Music

This is the tenth studio album by Stereolab, released on 16 November 2010 by Duophonic Records. It is a collection of unreleased material recorded at the same time as their previous album Chemical Chords (2008). I’ve only ever heard Stereolab track here and there, on compilations or occasionally the radio, but I’ve always liked what I’ve heard and keep meaning to explore them further.

32 – Suuns – Zeroes QC

As a fan of Suuns I’m disappointed I don’t have this album as yet, but it is on the WANT list. The band are Canadian, from Montreal to be specific and have an interesting sound, it is sort of indie rock informed by Krautrock and shoegaze with a pinch of oddness added in for flavour.

31 – Bonobo – Black Sands

When I first started buying vinyl records again after a long hiatus, this was one of the first 10 or so I bought. This is the fourth studio album, released on 29 March 2010. The cover features a photograph taken of Derwentwater, in northern England. The tower in the background is located in Castlerigg (Fun Fact: Coordinates: 54°35′29.95″N 3°7′3.43″W). As of January 20th 2017 it has sold 72,756 copies in UK, to be honest I thought it would be more.

30 – Ólafur Arnalds – …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness

You may know Ólafur Arnalds as the guy who did the music for the TV series Broadchurch, and some other TV and film scores, but he also releases music that isn’t tied in to anything else, most recently the excellent Re:member, a copy of which I bought on RSD. He was touring with Sigur Ros around this time which might be where I made the connection.

29 – Efterklang – Magic Chairs

I saw a documentary on Efterklang several years ago where they were collecting field recordings for their next album and it was fascinating, I’ve been listening to them ever since. Efterklang are Danish and have 5 or 6 albums behind them now, all of which are worth a listen.

28 – Tame Impala – Innerspeaker

I’ve honestly not been able to understand what all the fuss is around Tame Impala so I have given them a better listen, this album I like, but I know there were plenty of year end charts where this figured much higher.

27 – Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love

I love a bit of Belle & Sebastian but have to admit that this particular album completely passed me by, so I’m not very familiar with it having listened to it for the first time in the last few weeks. This will probably move up eventually as I get to know it better.

26 – Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – Kollaps Tradixionales

Ten years prior, Thee Silver Mt. Zion appeared as one of many satellite projects orbiting around Godspeed You! Black Emperor, alongside fellow offshoot acts like Fly Pan Am and 1-Speed Bike. By 2010 they had become Constellation Records’ flagship act. I think it is fair to say that they are often not an easy listen, the first track of this album is over 16 minutes long for example, which is a lot to ask if it is your first listen, and they can be quite different album to album, but I like them.

25 – Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)

It is only recently that I’ve really started listening to Erykah Badu, having tried before but not really connected with the music. I’m not sure why but I put Baduizm, her debut, in the car CD player a few weeks ago and really liked it, since then I’ve listened to several others and am left wondering why I didn’t listen to any of it before. I think her music may be an acquired taste, one which I guess I have now acquired.

24 – Grimes – Geidi Primes

The first time I heard Grimes was the track ‘Genesis’ from her third album, which I really liked, this is her 2nd album and I like it too. Claire Elise Boucher (born March 17th, 1988), better known by her stage persona and character Grimes, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, producer, artist and music video director.

23 – Massive Attack – Heligoland

I am very conflicted about this album, some days I love it and some days I find parts of it disappointing, so it is probably down to my mood on the day, although I think it better than 100th Window most days. It may be that I judge their output based on Mezzanine, which is an almost perfect album.

22 – Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky

I first stumbled across Swans in 2014 when I saw what I thought was a cool triple album titled ‘To Be Kind’ which I bought unheard and was really pleased with it, so I picked this up 6 years or so after it was released and it was a little different to what I’d already heard, but it was very interesting, not least because Devandra Banhart makes an appearance, you can hear that track below.

21 – The Black Keys – Brother

This one is pretty well known I should think and I did once have a CD copy but it disappeared somewhere a few years ago. They are an American rock band formed in Akron, Ohio, in 2001. The group consists of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums). It’s a good album.

20 Joanna Newsom – Have One on Me

I’ve been listening to Joanna Newsome since The Milk-Eyed Mender was released in 2004. There aren’t many harpists out there who are part of the ‘Indie’ scene, perhaps no others actually. I seem to recall that I was listening to Sufjan Stevens, Devendra Banhart and lots of fragile folk music at the time and Newsom was a good fit.

19 – Eluvium – Similes

Eluvium is actually just one guy, Matthew Cooper. You never know wjhat you are going to get from one album to the next as sometimes the music is absolutely bare bones and others is very complex and orchestral, perhaps this is one of the reasons I like it so much.

18 – Tricky – Mixed Race

As a long time fan of Tricky I could not possibly leave this release out but even if I wasn’t this album has plenty of tracks that are well worth multiple listens. I’ve been listening to his music since he appeared on the first Massive Attack album and there have been some ups and downs but this one is on the upward curve.

17 – Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can

Rightly or wrongly, I always get the sense that Laura Marling is somewhat under appreciated. She is a wonderful songwriter, composer and performer and this album should have, in my opinion, been huge. It did get to #4 in the UK album charts but is only certified silver, which is for sales of sixty thousand or more. Look into her albums, she’s great.

16 – John Grant – Queen of Denmark

This wouldn’t have been in the list at all if I hadn’t seen him live last summer at the Blue Dot festival, he was really very good and when I got home I caught up on all his releases. He’s a funny guy.

15 – Max Richter – Infra

I’m also a big fan of Max Richter and have several of his albums in my collection which range from electronic to full on classical. This one sits in the electronic section for the most part and as I do delight in ambient sounds it fits the bill perfectly for me.

14 – Jónsi – Go

The first solo outing from Sigur Ros singer Jonsi and it’s exactly what one might have hopd for from it, a slightly more pop orientated version of the band with his distinct vocal style and obscure language very much still intact.

13 – Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Another band where I was late to the party. I picked this album up on CD from a charity shop for 50 pence and it spent several long journeys spinning on repeat in the car as I drove back and forth to work.

12 – Everything Everything – Man Alive

Another charity shop CD, although the band had been recommended to me previously so it was quite a nice surprise to find it for 50p. It has a sort of 70’s Prog feel about it that I like and I went on to get a few more of theirs after this, which are all good.

11 – 65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway

I am a fan so it is little surprise that this appears here. It’s post rock sort of, maybe math rock at times, so if you like instrumental music then they are well worth giving a listen. It gets pretty heavy at times but there’s a lot of light and shade.

10 – Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

I do love the sound of Gorillaz and yes, this is their second appearance. This is definitely the better of the two albums overall. Damon Albarn went down a path that I would never have expected having seen him fronting Blur right from the start and I like where he’s gone.

9 – Four Tet – There Is Love in You

This is the 5th album from Four Tet, which is one guy, Kieran Hebdan, who produces electronic music and does a lot of remixes for people. I have several albums of his having first become aware of his music from the album ‘Rounds’. Apparently he was in a banfd called Fridge but I don’t think i’ve listened to them.

8 – Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid

Another 50 pence charity shop pick up, what an incredibly talented individual she is. A singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, and producer. This is a beast of an album.

7 – Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

After the albums Michigan and Illinois, both of which are magnificent, I and most other people were expecting another U.S state themed album, and this wasn’t it. As a result I ignored it for a little while but eventually picked up and am glad I did.

6 – LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

Another album I pretty much ignored when it was released and another charity shop CD. The earlier ‘The Sound Of Silver’ is probabaly a better album but this one isn’t far off.

5 – The National – High Violet

I think the BBC summed up this album very well: ‘Its charms are subtle, its grip soft and easily shrugged by those who choose to pay it only passing attention. Live with it a while, though, and High Violet rewards patience with songs that colour one’s waking existence, becoming vivid night-time narratives when curtains are drawn.‘ It took me several listens but it was worth it.

4 – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

It’s on Warp records, which is usually a good sign, and it has Thom Yorke on it, always a good sign. It is a sort of Electronica album that’s touched with a sense of jazz and it really is a triumph.

3 – Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The guy is not the most likeable charecter for most, but his musical output is pretty much undeniable, he is very good at what he does.

2 – Robyn – Body Talk

Rated very highly by most critics and completely ignored by me for 10 years, which in some ways is a good thing and I got to it eventually. I would say that under normal circumstances this is not my sort of thing at all, but it is so well writted, produced and generally crafted that it is pop perfection. I can’t help liking it.

1 – M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\

In my view M.I.A is a genius, completly unique in what she does in the same way Bjork is. Now I do appreciate that the music might be polarising as it is not catering in a generic way to as wide an audience as possible, but that’s one of the many reasons I like it. Interstingly it received only moderate ratings from critics, averaging out at 68%, some even calling the album a rambling mess, they were all wrong, and that’s that.

Self Isolation Thing I Did

Mission 781 Speakers

I don’t really use Facebook much but I was on there on Saturday and something from the ‘Local Sales’ thing was in my feed. I clicked on it and there were a pair of speakers for sale 2 miles from my house, at a reasonable price. I’ve been thinking about getting new speakers for some time now and this seemed an ideal opportunity to finally get some. Here they are:

They sound great!

POTW 9 (9/01/20)

POTW 8 (02/01/20)

1959 is almost complete

I now have 28 of the 30 albums from my list. The final two are proving irksome, one due to cost and the other due to availability, but I’ll get there eventually.

POTW 7 (26/12/19)

POTW 6 (19/12/19)

POTW 5 (12/12/19)

POTW (5/12/19)

The Police – Songs Ranked!

I made another list. It has been a difficult list to make for almost every position, except 68 & 69 as both songs have long been in my head as the worst The Police had ever done. They really shouldn’t have allowed Andy Summers anywhere near solo song writing duties. So it’s a Police list of pretty much every song they ever did and like all lists, the order would probabaly change hour by hour but having put them in order I had to stop moving them about at some point and the list below is where they ended up.

I have a bias for the first two albums, which I did mention in a previous post which you can go and read if you like.

And here is the list:

NumberSong TitleTime
69Be My Girl – Sally03:05
67I Burn For You04:49
66Flexible Strategies03:43
65A Kind Of Loving02:03
63A Sermon02:32
62Once Upon A Daydream03:31
61Someone To Talk To03:08
60How Stupid Mr. Bates02:41
59O My God04:02
58Does Everyone Stare03:46
57On Any Other Day02:57
55Rehumanize Yourself03:10
54One World (Not Three)04:46
53Synchronicity I03:22
51Murder By Numbers04:36
50The Other Way Of Stopping03:23
49Too Much Information03:42
48No Time This Time03:20
47Canary In A Coalmine02:26
46Low Life03:45
45Behind My Camel02:54
44Miss Gradenko02:00
43Tea In The Sahara04:13
42Walking In Your Footsteps03:36
41De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da04:09
40Bombs Away03:06
39Hungry For You (J’aurais Toujours Faim De Toi)02:52
38Man In A Suitcase02:19
37Shadows In The Rain05:02
36Visions Of The Night03:05
35Born In The 50’s03:44
32Reggatta De Blanc03:06
31Nothing Achieving01:56
30Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic04:20
29When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around03:36
27It’s Alright For You03:13
26Hole In My Life04:54
24Don’t Stand So Close To Me04:03
23Voices Inside My Head03:52
22Next To You02:52
21Truth Hits Everybody02:54
19Synchronicity II05:03
18Secret Journey03:33
17Every Breath You Take04:14
16Wrapped Around Your Finger05:13
15Spirits In The Material World02:59
14King Of Pain04:59
13Driven To Tears03:20
12Dead End Job03:35
10Demolition Man05:57
9Bring On The Night04:15
8Masoko Tanga05:43
7So Lonely04:51
6Message In A Bottle04:50
5Invisible Sun03:43
3The Bed’s Too Big Without You04:25
2Walking On The Moon05:02
1Can’t Stand Losing You03:01

I’m sure most people wouldn’t agree with the order of this list, but don’t worry, neither do I. Here are some favourite tracks for you to enjoy.

POTW (28/11/19)

Charity Shop Adventures – This is ridiculous

The last time I posted about charity shop purchases was August 17th 2019, which is roughly 3 months ago. I just checked and since that time I have picked up another 324 CD’s, which in itself is ok, except I don’t really have anywhere to put them. I’ve been looking for some shelving units to buy but they are either ridiculously expensive or extremely poor quality, none of them can store the quantity I need them to, like this:

These hold 84 CD’s so I need at least 18 of them (That;s £575, and I probably don’t have the wall space to put them up or the desire to drill 50 or so holes in the wall)

There are lots that will hold around 1000 but all of them have negative reviews of some sort, although several positive as well. Like the one below (£160), recesses at the end of each shelf where 6 CD spines can’t be seen, which doesn’t worry me that much, but negative reviews around assembly instructions being sadly lacking put me off a little. This one holds 1060, although 120 of them can’t be seen because of the recesses.

I’d like to custom build something that would perfectly fit the space and accomodate everything, however, I am shit at DIY so that’s a non starter.

Would this put you off buying something?

Yeah, me too. I’m going to have to have a think and figure something out.

POTW 2 (20/11/2019)

2:54 – 2.54

I saw this album on CD in a charity shop and picked it up as part of a 3 for £1 deal. I was intrigued by the complete lack of information, I wasn’t sure if 2:54 was the band name or the album name, turns out it was both.

they are an alternative rock band from London comprising sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow. In mid-2010 they formed 2:54. The bands name stands for two minutes fifty-four seconds into their favorite Melvins track, “A History of Bad Men”. This makes no sense to me at all but names have to come from somewhere I guess.

They first came to public attention in 2010 after putting one of their demos online. Their debut single, “On a Wire”, was released in 2011. The sisters were joined for live shows in 2011 by bassist Joel Porter and drummer Alex Robins. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 2012.

The line up following are: Collette Thurlow on guitar and vocals, Hanna Thurlow on guitar, Alex Porter on bass and Alex Robins on drums.

On the way back from town I popped the CD in the car stereo and was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. It has a lot of the elements that I like in Indie rock and was far more accomplished than I’d been expecting. I was reminded of bands like Ride, Curve, Lush and others from that musical arena. It was the song above, ‘Scarlet’ that I probably liked most on first listen, so if you haven’t already, press play and try it for yourself.

The track ‘You’re Early’ has strong hints of Garbage I think, mostly in the vocal delivery at times:

They must have had a reasonable promotional budget behind them back in 2012 when the album was released as there are several videos accompanying the album, well, at least 4:


You’re Early
Easy Undercover
A Salute

For me, the album is great value at 33 British pennies and a copy can be aquired for about £3 on Discogs Marketplace

Record Shops – Hong Kong

I’ll was in Hong Kong for just under a week in July so I had a look to see what record shops there were to visit. Part of the reason for putting it here was so I would be able to find it and refer to it while I am there.

I did that, tried to find two of them, they didn’t appear to exist anymore and I gave up, it was very dissapointing, although I stil had a very nice time.

Hong Kong Island:

Classic Shop: Room 201, Won Hing Building, 74 – 78 Stanley Street, Central. Tel: 2541 7733. Email:

Collectables: 1/F, Hong Kong City Hall Low Block, 5 Edinburgh Place, Central. Tel: 2559 9562. Email: Website:

Walls of Sound: 3F, 38 Cochrane Street, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: 2805 1584


The Beat Records: G/F, 53 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 2780 0956. Email:

Old Sound Collection: 13/F Sino Centre, 582-592 Nathan Road. Tel: 2359 9826

Paul’s Records: Flat D, 5/F, Wai Hong Building, 239 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Tel: 9841 7136

Shun Cheong Record Showroom: Room 801, Wing Lung Bank Centre, 636 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 2332 6397. Email: Website:

White Noise Records: 1/F, 720 Shanghai Street, Prince Edwards, Kowloon. Tel: 2591 0499.

Zoo Records: Shop 325, 3/F President Commercial Centre, 608 Nathan Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: 23092911. Email: Website:

Back To Music: 1F, 45 Main Street, Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island, Hong Kong

POTW 1 (Playlist of the Week)

Playlist of the Week, it’s a playlist, weekly. There’s not much more to say about it than that.

Stina Nordenstam

I went to the local rubbish tip last week and had a quick look through the stack of CD’s they have there that people were going to throw away as landfill. Amongst the Westlife, Boyzone and Robbie Williams CD’s, which are going where they belong, was ‘The World is Saved’ by Stina Nordenstam, which was a delightful surprise and a bargain at £0.50p

Ive been listening to Nordenstam since around 1998 when I heard a cover version of ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince. I was rather taken by the fragility of her voice and various tracks by her ended up on several mix CD’s that I used to listen to in the car (before MP3 playlists).

She was born in Stockholm and, as a child was greatly influenced by her father’s classical and jazz music collection. Early comparisons were made with artists like Rickie Lee Jones and Björk. Her early albums, ‘Memories of a Color’ and ‘And She Closed Her Eyes’ were jazz-influenced with elements of alternative rock. 1997’s ‘Dynamite’ began a more experimental path—most of the album was filled with distorted guitars and unusual beats. A 1998 cover album, ‘People Are Strange’, followed in the same vein. In 2001 Nordenstam went with a more pop-influenced sound on ‘This Is Stina Nordenstam’, and features guest vocals from Brett Anderson. Nordenstam’s 2004 album ‘The World Is Saved’ continued the path set on This Is…, but presents a more realised sound and acknowledges her earlier jazz influences.

‘The World Is Saved’ is her last album release, 15 years ago in 2004, so I’ve no idea what she is up to now. The last thing she seemes to have been invloved in musically was back in 2007 with David Sylvian’s band ‘Nine Horses’.

The voice that Nordenstam uses on her official releases is a voice she chooses to reveal as, though it may seem juvenile at first, and tentative, it is quite deliberate, she is more than capable of much more than she allows the listener to hear but she uses her voice to help tell the story of the words she is singing, with long pauses at times that can be quite unnerving.

This is Stina Nordenstam is the first of her albums I bought, but it was both the Purple Rain cover and that of The Doors – People are Strange, that first brought her to my attention. Nordenstam doesn’t do many interviews and often disguises herself with wigs and suchlike and this has had a twofold effect, on the one hand she has to a degree, protected her anonominity, and on the other, it has restricted her success. From what little I do know of her, I suspect she would be just fine with that

The choice of cover versions on People Are Strange is an intersting one, here are the tracks:


1Sailing – The Sutherland Brothers / Rod Stewart3:14
2I Dream Of Jeannie – Theme3:56
3Love Hurts – Everly Brothers  0:32
4Lonesome Road – Traditional2:04
5Bird On A Wire – Leonard Cohen3:41
6Purple Rain – Prince3:48
7Swallow Strings – Stina Nordenstam1:08
8Like A Swallow – Traditional2:44
9Reason To Believe – Tim Hardin4:10
10I Came So Far For Beauty – Leonard Cohen4:01
11Come To Me – Stina Nordenstam3:28
12People Are Strange –The Doors3:35

All of her albums are available on popular streaming sites so go and discover if anything you’ve heard here appeals to you in any way.

To finish, there is a video available of a young Nordenstam not being typically Nordenstam from 1989, before her first album was released, here it is, the girl can sing.