Archive for the ‘Alternative & Indie’ Category

Mary Margaret O’Hara – When You Know Why You’re Happy (1988)

April 2, 2018 Leave a comment

Canadian singer songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara only released one LP: 1988’s wonderful Miss America.

The gestation of this album was troubled to say the least with Virgin Records never being happy with the recording process or the finished result. Remarkably, in a world where every album ever made seems to have been re-issued many times over, Miss America was only once re-issued after its 1988 release and that in the mid 1990s.

This is my favourite track on the LP which sees the occasionally erratic MMO stripping the music back to its very basics – the bass provides a metronomic and understated pulse, the percussion shuffles quietly, and, over the top, the vocals duel with stripped back electric guitar to achieve pop perfection!

The original from the LP then a great live version from the telly.


Peter Perrett – Man of Extremes (2017)

March 24, 2018 Leave a comment

The third coming of Peter Perrett. Back in the day, The Only Ones recorded one of the greatest records of all time, “Another Girl, Another Planet” – previously posted here. Then, in 1996, the now solo Peter Perrett released the superb Cultured Palate EP featuring the astounding “Baby Don’t Talk” (previously posted here).

15 years later, Peter P’s How The West Was Won is pretty much the album of 2017 and “Man of Extremes” is just one of many tracks that could have qualified for elevation to thebestmusicofalltime. Byrds-like descending chord progressions with that trademark laconic drawl over the top of it. Peter, perfect.

Looking forward to the next (re)incarnation in 2032!

The Fall – Bill Is Dead (1990)

January 24, 2018 Leave a comment
Last week after “Dynasty”
I had crows feet under my eyes
Paid two days for getting high
Got pasted in a bar
I hope I’ve got the number
These are finest times of my life
This is the greatest time of my life
This is the greatest time of my life
These are the biggest times of my life
But just lately seeing you
I rise a.m. off pink sheets
I am renewed
I am aglow
Red brick and green is the streets
You dressed today as if for riding school
Your legs are so cool
Came twice
You thrice
These are the greatest times of my life

Mark is Dead.

Retired hurt, never dismissed.



Father John Misty – So I’m Growing Old On Magic Mountain (2017)

January 7, 2018 Leave a comment

My song of the year and one of the best things I’ve heard in ages.

Ex Fleet Foxes, Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) in cahoots with Gavin Bryars among others.

Monumentally beautiful. An ode to mortality.

That was the last New Year I’ll ever see ….

The wine has all been emptied

The smoke has cleared

As people file back to the valley

On the last night of life’s party

These days the years thin ’til I can’t remember

Just what it feels like to be young forever


The LP version and then a simply wonderful live studio version from Austin City Limits.


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We Know Who U R (2012)

October 19, 2017 Leave a comment

You can never get too much of Nick Cave. I’ve previously posted a stone cold classic here.

The random number generator on the iPod turned this up the other night and it’s a showstopper.

The most minimal of drum patterns keeps the beat, an understated keyboard motif mutters away in the background and a stately, understated bassline knits the whole thing together. All this enables Mr Cave’s vocals to take centre stage:

And we know who you are
And we know where you live
And we know there’s no need to forgive

Perfect pop music.

Wah! – The Story of the Blues (1982)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Can’t believe I hadn’t posted this before!

Pete Wylie was a “member” of the “crucial three” in Liverpool in the late 1970s. Also present were Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes) and Duke McCool AKA Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen.

Pete Wylie recorded under a variety of names: Wah! Heat; Wah!; The Mighty Wah! Shambeko! Say Wah!, etc. There’s a theme there I feel.

The early Wah! singles will definitely need inclusion on this blog – “Better Scream”, “Seven Minutes To Midnight”, “Don’t Step On The Cracks”, etc.

However, this was their one moment in the commercial spotlight – and what a moment. The seven inch version, “Part 1” was the Top Of The Pops pleaser; Part 2 “Talking Blues” is a 3 minute polemic that explains the philosophy underpinning Wah! and much of early 80s anti-Thatcherite indie music – it”s stirring stuff!

The 7 inch single and then the 8+ minute magnum opus

The Afghan Whigs – Algiers (2014)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Morocco to Algeria …

The Afghan Whigs are one of my favourite bands of all time making great records for 25 years or so (they are still responsible for the definitive reading of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”!)

Taken from their 2014 LP Do To The Beast, “Algiers” is right up there with the best records they’ve ever made. A “Be My Baby” intro, a wall of guitar noise, a pummelling bass, pounding drums and Greg Dulli’s punk/soulman vocals soaring over the top. What’s not to like?

Dream your sins away

Sin your dreams away

The official video and then a stunning live version in the studio at KCRW.

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