Archive for the ‘Alternative & Indie’ Category

Bram Tchaikovsky – Girl Of My Dreams (1979)

June 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Couldn’t resist the segue from Pyotr to Bram ….

A powerpop classic and one of my favourite songs when I was 15. Peter Bramall was originally a member of The Motors and then left to forge a new career by forming Bram Tchaikovsky to a largely indifferent world.

Released as a single, “Girl of my Dreams” was taken from the Strange Man, Changed Man which appeared on the wonderful Radar Records label (home of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe around that time).

Perfect pop music!

The Grubby Mitts – To A Friend’s House (2011)

June 2, 2016 Leave a comment

One of my great pleasures in life is receiving my monthly copy of The Wire Magazine. It’s a bit esoteric and, to be frank, a lot of the “experimental” music they cover is unmitigated tosh.

Nonetheless, three or four times a year, the magazine comes with a free CD and the “Wire Tapper” series now stretches past 40 volumes …. I do try and listen to these all the way through but they can be a bit of an endurance test. Occasionally, however, you hear something that makes you pause and really sit up. This track is one such example.

To A Friend’s House” by The Grubby Mitts appeared on Wire Tapper 37 early in 2015. While this was the first official CD release of the track, it actually dates back on vinyl to 2011. Whatever its provenance, this is an intriguing and beguiling track – for me, a blend of classic English folk with the lo-fi, indie-pop nous of the bands on New Zealand’s peerless Flying Nun Records label. It turns out that The Grubby Mitts are from Bedford in the UK; only 20 miles from where I type this missive … guys, can I have a beer for plugging you?

A bit of accordion, a spot of bass and some multi-layered spoken vocals adds up to considerably more than the sum of its parts.

Give it a go!


Mogwai – Helps Both Ways (Madden Version) (1999)

May 31, 2016 Leave a comment

Tonight, I am mostly feeling like a bit of a tart. For the first time (in a crude attempt to go viral), I have posted in response to a “request”. Now to be fair, the request is from an old chum but, still, I feel a bit dirty.

Specifically, said chum was observing that there was no Mogwai on this blog.

This I now put right …

However, inevitably, I have to be awkward …

So, here is Mogwai with their classic “Helps Both Ways” …. but this time with the original sample featuring John Madden’s NFL commentary that was removed from the Come On Die Young LP for copyright reasons. This is the definitive version!

The Chills – Double Summer (1992)

May 26, 2016 1 comment

I was re-listening to some of the late Prince‘s back catalogue (considerably better than I appreciated at the time!) when a stray Facebook ad revealed that one of New Zealand’s finest bands, The Chills, would shortly be touring the UK.

A few seconds of googling revealed they will be in Leeds on 6th June. By a remarkable coincidence, so will I – what were the chances of that?

Now, normally, if I stay overnight in Leeds, I try and take my two eldest daughters out for a slap up meal which they usually sign up to at the drop of a hat. This time, I’m offering to throw in The Chills gig as well as the aforementioned slap up meal. So far, many hours have passed and they haven’t replied. I suspect they will be “washing their hair” or somesuch.

No matter, it’s a package deal; you can’t have one without the other (mental note – could we eat after the gig to avoid a major “time inconsistency” problem …)

Either way, I will be there and I hope they (The Chills) play this song, “Double Summer”, which was the single from their 1992 LP Soft Bomb.

I’ve previously posted a very early Chills track, here and, like that, “Double Summer” is a classic Flying Nun Records slice of indie pop heaven. However, by 1992, the Dunedin sound is now garnished with a hint of the Stone Roses at the peak of their baggy powers.

The guitar solo from 1:48 is a thing of some beauty.

Pop perfection.




Calexico – Deep Down (2006)

May 23, 2016 Leave a comment

As I have been working my way through the 34 CDs of Herbie Hancock’s Columbia LP collection, I’ve also been keeping myself honest by listening to every Cabaret Voltaire LP since 1978 (no one can ever accuse me of not earning my blogging stripes).

During the Cabs marathon, I thought I’d move (alphabetically) ahead and work my way through the Calexico back catalogue (with the idea that I’d find some crap I could sell!)

Sadly, the Calexico back catalogue has many things going for it and none more so than this …

Taken from the band’s “Garden Ruin” LP of 2006, this is the stand out track and is a (yet another) classic slice of US indie rock.

If you can find a way of going beyond Youtube’s volume limits, do it!





Yo La Tengo – Our Way To Fall (2000)

May 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Insomnia is something I’ve suffered from for a number of years. The frustration of not being able to sleep simply exacerbating the problem!

However, occasionally, the experience of insomnia is not all negative. A couple of months ago, unable to sleep, I switched the radio on hoping to catch the 5am news. Inevitably, at that time on the Radio 4 frequency, the BBC World Service is broadcasting. I have no idea what the programme was but this song was playing over the ending credits – in seconds I was transfixed; a perfect record.

The following day, helped by the BBC iPlayer app, I tracked this down and was surprised, delighted and appalled to find out it was by Yo La Tengo.

Surprised and delighted because Yo La Tengo have always been one of my favourite bands of the 1990s. Appalled, because I’ve missed 16 years of listening to this perfect slice of alt-rock, pop, perfection!

The LP version then a live take from Dallas in 2013 …




Sonny and the Sunsets – Green Blood (2013)

February 26, 2016 Leave a comment

Having a great birthday working my way through my mountain of unheard CDs after a slap up lunch with Sarah and a couple of the youngsters that almost left me in “food coma” territory.

Anyway, I was listening to the Rough Trade Shops End of the Road 10th Anniversary compilation (which, to be fair had been pretty humdrum for most of its length) when, suddenly, this track leapt out of the speakers!

An immediate classic of US lo-fi, the song has echoes of the Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman, Camper Van Beethoven, the New Bad Things and some of the timeless New Zealand bands on Flying Nun Records .. a winning combination!

“Green Blood” is the final track on Sonny and the Sunsets 2013 LP Antenna to the Afterworld. Apparently, the composer, a Mr Sonny Smith, based the songs on some paranormal experiences he had ….

And a nice video as well – the perfect way to end a great day!


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