Monthly Archives: January 2012

21st January 2012 (R.I.P. Etta James)

Etta James – At last

What a tragic life and what an amazing voice; Etta James sadly passed away yesterday. She was an enigmic and troubled genius. Her voice is classic and iconic, when I think of an archetypal soul singer it is her’s that comes my mind’s ear.

This is so wonderful; ephermeral yet powerful with some great strings thrown in. A perfect soul track. 



Asia* – Heat of the moment (GPF)

This is cheesy but enjoyable. It has a wonderful 80’s feel; the big chorus, big hair, white shoes and ‘special effects’ in the video. I heard it this week on my travels and it made me smile. I hope it does the same for you. 


*Artist #374

Octo Octa* – Memories (NAT)

I don’t much about this guy(s), or in fact anything at all really other than I like this track very much. It is hypnotic and urgent. I heard it on Tom Ravenscroft’s 6music show a couple of weeks ago and the loop has stuck been in my brain ever since.
*Artist #373

18th January 2012

Marvin Gaye – Mercy, Mercy me (the ecology)

Short post today, feeling a bit harried this week.

This is taken from the sublime What’s going on? album. It came on the radio on my way home and reminded me of just how fantastic it is. Well played radio 2.

Random fact about Marvin – he added the “e” to the end of his birth name not because of any homophobia but because he wanted to emulate his hero the late, great Sam Cooke.




Joy Denalane featuring Lupe Fiasco – Change


I first came across German singer Joy Denalane when she featured on remixes of two favourite hip hop tunes, Common – Go and Raekwon – Heaven and Hell. She has a great voice.

This is an irresistible burst of positivity, which is welcome in what is turning out to be a challenging week for me.


Paul Simon – The cool, cool river

This is taken from The Rhythm of the Saints, probably the album that influenced my musical taste most in 2011. It opened my eyes to world music which was quite a revelatory awakening.

I really like the contrast in the song between the hushed, almost dreamlike opening and the dramatic, exhorting finish that the song builds to. 

And these streets, quiet as a sleeping army, send their battered dreams to heaven, to heaven, for the mother’s resless son… 


Liquid Liquid* – Cavern (Rory McDermott guest post)

99 Records and New Wave

Post-punk, new wave, no-wave, punk-funk, dance-rock….Turgid. Immediately conjures the image of a ‘Flock of Seagulls’ posturing in a shit club in Bristol.

Now rewind, imagine a warehouse party; walls adorned with projected videos, pimpled young art graduates called Eno and Byrne in awkward discussion over tones of this new sound which combines the vibrancy of 70’s disco with punkish grunge and the naivety of new technology. This loosely defines the ‘scene’ that was developing within the confines of New-York Tri-State area in the early 80’s.

99 (nine nine) Records are one of many independent basement run labels of the day. Its output however was particularly driven by heavy funk baselines and chiming guitar riffs. I first came across the label on hearing Cavern by Liquid Liquid. (Incidentally this song led to the financial ruin of the label following a lengthy copyright battle involving a Grandmaster flash sample-see White Lines).

ESG, a band formed by the Scroggins sisters (I know!), had youth, rhythm and pop sensibility in abundance. Singles such as Dance and Moody sound much like New Order’s 3 minute wet dream. Bush Tetris another 99 staple continued the theme of percussive grooves.

This scene played out in clubs like the Ritz, Mudd and CBGB and despite being well documented by a host of artists/photographers at the time remains largely unrecognised now. Its substance is clearly evident in today’s raft of indie/electronic rock bands.

UK exports into the genre were largely by-passed here but big NYC floorfillers namely APB’s – Shoot you Down and Medium Medium – So hungry so angry.

Of course like everything else it eventually consumed itself and we were left with a pile of excrement, namely ‘no-wave’. Avoid at all costs anything that describes itself as ‘sonic experimentation’!


*Artist #372


Richard Ashcroft* – Music is power

I just spent a very enjoyable and contrasting evening. It started with a cocktail in the very swanky Savoy Hotel with my sister, who was in town celebrating her birthday. I finished it with a very convivial evening in the slightly gritty surrounds of Brixton, having an excellent dinner at French and Grace in the ever enjoyable Brixton Village.

I heard this playing in a bar this week and was reminded how good it is. Richard Ashcroft is a beast! I will have to get round to posting some of The Verve before long.


*Artist #371

13th January 2012

Phil Collins* – Easy Lover (GPF)

Another Friday, another guilty pleasure. There is something completely naff about Phil Collins but at the same time utterly irresistible.
*Artist #370

12th January 2012

Dark City Sisters* – Sekusile (NAT)

I heard these guys on 6music this week. I think they are South African and I have listened to this track endlessly since. It is so uplifiting, pure and joyous. What more could I can ask from a song?
*Artist #369