Category Archives: Music

Le Mystere De Voix Bulgares

I haven’t posted any Voix Bulgares for a while. And I do love them so! Their harmonies, their crazy interval leaping. The way the major sections break out like sunshine through clouds.

My parents always say they sound Indian but the truth is they sound Indo-European, which is hardly surprising considering they way language and culture ebbs and flows across Asia and Europe (or, as I call it, West Asia). The rhythmic bit at the end sounds so Indian my Dad always starts clapping along, bless him.

This next track is probably my favourite ever female lead vocal:

If I ever find a woman who loves this music as much as I do, I will propose. If they get it. If it makes their soul ache like mine does.

And now, I can’t leave this without the closest Brit equivalent I’ve ever heard:

4AD label-mates to Voix Bulgares, This Mortal Coil (which was basically a 4AD supergroup). Of course, SCOTTISH.

And now we’re back to TMC, we’re in firm goth territory and possible soundtrack music for your upcoming spoopy Halloween.

We Love The Monkees

And I thought I’d be okay, that it’d be a standard-issue ‘origin/clip/weren’t they great’ cheesy doc. In some ways it is. But the last part of the show, where they show the post-Monkees careers and then talk about Davy passing away… man, that killed me.

I think it’s because I don’t remember a time not knowing The Monkees. I was a little kid when I first saw re-runs and I didn’t actually realise it wasn’t real. I thought that they were just a band!

Then, when I was a teen, I was embarrassed for liking them because they were officially uncool. It was only when I’d grown out of teenage conformity that I went mental on Nesmith and tracked down everything of his on original vinyl.

So many of my songs are Monkees / Nesmith rip-offs it’s incredible people haven’t said it before. I mostly get ‘sounds like Depeche Mode’ which is fair enough as I rip them off too. But, c’mon, I nicked the descending chord intro lick from Listen To Band exactly. And the melody line from As We Go Alongwas a… heavy inspiration *cough* to the first White Town song. And I nicked the bassline from Circle Sky pretty much note for note.

If you’re into music, I think everyone has an artist or band who they’ve grown up with, who will always be there and has become something more than art in their lives, they’re more like family.

For me, that’s what The Monkees are. Yeah, I love a lot of other ‘60s bands as well, Beatles, Stones, loads of Merseybeat and Stax and Motown. But because of that wild TV show, I kind of felt like I had four crazy older brothers who were immeasurably cool and handsome and talented.

I wish I’d seen them play live.

Head – Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?

Yet another clip from Head and also some groundbreaking visuals for 1968. I particularly love the solarised and coloured sequences where they freeze-frame it on beat with the guitar break. I have tried so many times to rip-off the style of this sequence and never managed it yet: the editing is exquisite.

It’s also a wonderful history of how people danced back then. There are obviously professional dancers heavily featured but some of the party crowd look more casual and are just going for it. I love the bit where Davy shimmys across to the cute girl doing classic ‘60s arm moves / fingerclicks.

Finally, it’s another beautiful Monkees song that I can’t find anything to dislike about. The arrangement, the production, the lyrics ~ it’s perfect. Listen to that bassline from Lance Wakely … the way it interweaves with the electric guitar countermelody / lead break and the chunky, overdriven guitar chords is sublime. And the breaks where it shifts into ¾ but never loses pace: amazing. I always play this song to anyone I hear saying the Monkees didn’t write their songs, particularly as it’s a Tork song and he’s so often overlooked. As far as I can research, Tork plays all the guitar on this track. Can you imagine anyone from a current boyband doing something similar?

I need to watch Head again.

Actually, who are we kidding, I need to watch Head every day.

White Town – I Wanna Be Your Ex

Yaaaay! Above you can see my NEW SINGLE!

It’s called ‘I Wanna Be Your Ex’ and it’s now available for download from

iTunes US
iTunes UK

The song is, as ever, about more than one thing. A lot of it is about my frustration with conventional relationships, both sexual and non-sexual and how annoyed I am by the compartmentalisation of feelings expected therein.

It’s also about kissing. And the memory of wrapping one particular person up in a big fluffy towel as she stood naked, wet and beautiful.

Hope you enjoy it! 😀

Indietracks 2014

Indietracks Peeps 19

Indietracks 2014 was this weekend and, even though I’m straight edge, I’m still recovering from the mad swirl of it all. Firstly, it was DAMN HOT. GODDAMMNNN HOT. I honestly thought I’d pass out at some points in the shed! A contrast to last year’s downpours.

Indietracks Peeps 37

Then there was the bewildering array of music:  too many bands to see! I’ve given up on trying to see bands in the Church now, so I wrote off that stage. But that still left the train shed and outdoor stages as well as surprise jams in the merch tent. As well as the actual music, there was the core Indietracks activity: bumping into people who you haven’t seen since last year’s Indietracks. :-)

Spearmint 6

The first band I saw were Spearmint. AND THEY WERE BRILLIANT. I’ve never seen them before and so it’s the first time I’ve heard songs I’ve known for years rocked out live. Apparently, they don’t get asked to gig much which is a fucking shame ~ sort it out, indiepop promoters!

The Chills 1

The same with The Chills, never managed to see them live way back when and then, boom, they’re on stage in front of me! I loved the old tracks but I also loved the tracks from the new album. Really, this kind of songwriting genius is rare nowadays. The only thing the set missed is ‘Rain’ which is my fave Chills song and simply one of the best indie songs ever.


I missed the start of ONSIND because of pesky travel shenanigans but the end was brilliant: passionate punk with an actual heart and soul. I hear so much (pop) punk which is utterly meaningless, just some nonsense about invented heartbreak and boohoo my emo life. ONSIND are the antithesis of that drivel.

Joanna Gruesome 5

Joanna Gruesome surmounted some pedal-based killjoyness to play a blazing set, full of excellent shouty bits and wonderfully floaty twee bits. I missed them last year because they were on the Church stage so I’m so glad I caught them this time round. They also had this feller guesting on stage:

Joanna Gruesome 9

That’s right DEAN FUCKING WAREHAM. Who’s actual set afterwards I had to miss because of more transport-based bullshit. ARGH. So annoyed.

The Hidden Cameras 2

Closing the festival on Sunday evening were The Hidden Cameras. Their half-naked stage gear went down very well with a frankly over-randy audience (YOU KNOW WHO I’M TALKING ABOUT) and their set was stuffed full of crowdpleasers. I loved their show, it was warm and human and full of life, humour and strange little hooty bits.

The Hidden Cameras 3

The only criticism I can make is that there wasn’t enough from the wonderful new album, I really wanted to hear ‘Gay Goth Scene’ live, it’s so beautiful. Also, even though they did an encore, the set was still too short. They have too many anthems we need to hear! :-)

My memories of Indietracks 2014 will be of all the friendly peeps I met, old and new, the frankly overwhelming number of brilliant bands (too many to see them all!) and the whole vibe of the event. Indietrack 2014 was a like the best house party ever! But in a field! With bands! And owls!

(Click here for more Indietracks pics!)

Hit The Deck 2014

Woohoo! Hit The Deck was, once again, lovely fun! I went with my mate Emma:

We caught mostly the same bands but split up for a few – the worst thing about HTD is that there are always gig clashes! BOO!

The first band I saw was Hands Like Houses. Very poppy and confident, the Aussies played a great little set.

Next up were The Charm The Fury who turned out to be my second-favourite band of the whole day. From the first note to the end, they played with passion and energy, owning the room and getting the crowd properly moshing. But more than that, I’d never heard their stuff before and I loved the songs, they’re just so chock-full of killer riffs.

I missed most of Vukovi‘s set due to clashes but caught the end which was soooo much fun! They had a fucking whale of a time and so we did too. Wish I’d got to see a bit more!

Bastions were ferocious and intimate, a weird mixture but they carried it off. There’s something about their music, it’s obviously still rock but there’s something that’s very intensely quiet in the heart of all the glorious noise.

Dead Harts looked pure metal but sounded pure hardcore, slamming away through a set that seemed woefully short. I could have done with at least another two or three songs. They have a glowering presence that crackles and is as seductive as it is unhinged.

Next up were The Front Bottoms who I was so chuffed to be seeing after their album made it into my top albums of 2013. Live, TFB are confessional and transgressional: I love songwriting in which the protagonist is not a hero but an honest, fallible dickhead like, y’know, real human beings are. They got a huge reaction from the crowd and all around me kids were singing their fucking hearts out, completely lost in the lyrics. As they should be!

Now, that isn’t the last band of the day but I’ll save that for the next post… 😀

Separated At Birth?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, may I present ‘Nichts Geht Verloren’ from the awesome 2006 album ‘Die Tiere Sind Unruhig’ by Kante:

And now, ladies and gentleman, may I present ‘Skin & Leather’ from the equally awesome 2014 album ‘Age’ by The Hidden Cameras:

Sooo… Joel moves to Berlin and then ends up releasing this?


Now, I need to see a joint Kante / Hidden Cameras show where they perform a twenty minute version of this with all the strings and crazy percussion and some lions and shit.

The Hidden Cameras

If you haven’t bought The Hidden Cameras‘ new album ‘Age’ yet, you’re missing out on some sublime indiepop. Joel remains one of my favourite songwriters, eleven years after I first fell in love with ‘Music Is My Boyfriend.’

Check out the vid for ‘Gay Goth Scene.’

‘Your Woman’ On Popular / Freaky Trigger

Egosurfing around Tumblr, I found this in-depth discussion of ‘Your Woman.’

I see quite a bit written about me and that tune so it was lovely to read so many comments that were on the ball and cogent. Even the ones that are a bit factually wrong are internally consistent, a rare thing compared to the average YouTube burbling.

Have a look if you’re fascinated by the minutiae of ’90s music and net culture.

Ah, USENET, I miss you…