Posts Tagged ‘Indie’

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – French Press (2017)

April 28, 2017 Leave a comment

One of the records of the year so far! Classic Australian jangle pop released on the legendary Sub Pop records label. Heard it on a CD sampler from Uncut magazine 45 minutes ago and it qualified immediately to be elevated to the pantheon of thebestmusicofalltime!

The, ahem, official video and then a live version from the USA!


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!

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 – Tom Courtenay (1995)

August 11, 2015 Leave a comment

With the summer holidays well underway, I inevitably find myself catching up on a few classics of the British cinema from the first three decades after the second world war. This evening, I watched Darling starring the wonderful Julie Christie who plays a gorgeous but shallow airhead whose inability to settle down and find happiness results in a series of boyfriends, husbands, etc. Taking in a BBC journalist and culminating with an Italian prince (where she becomes Princess Diana …), there are great scenes of London, Paris and Capri as Christie fails to find any meaning in life. A great performance for which she won an Oscar.

Now, admittedly, Tom Courtenay isn’t actually in this film but the song “Tom Courtenay” by Yo La Tengo is an all time favourite of mine and does open with the line “Julie Christie, the rumours are true” and continues thus …

Julie Christie, the rumours are true
As the pages turn, my eyes are glued
To the movie star and his sordid life
Mr. X and his old-suffering wife
I spent so much time dreaming about Eleanor Bron
In my room with the curtains drawn
See her in the arms of Paul
Say it, I can say no more
As the music swells somehow stronger from adversity
Our hero finds his inner peace
So now I’m looking for a lucky charm
With a needle hanging out of its arm

As time goes by I know it’s gonna happen
I know it’s going away
Gonna take its toll, gonna take its toll
Gonna take my time
And I’m thinking about the way things are
And I’m thinking about the way things were
Thinking about Eleanor Bron
And I’m thinking about a lucky charm
And I’m thinking about the needle
Oh, I’m thinking about the needle
And I’m thinking about…

A well deserved entry into the bestmusicofalltime! First the track, then the video from the single and finally a gorgeous acoustic version.

Arab Strap – New Birds (1998)

January 22, 2015 Leave a comment

An exquisite record.

In six minutes, Aidan Moffat applies a lyrical scalpel to expose the dilemma between temptation and loyalty; infidelity and fidelity ….

Spoiler alert – loyalty wins …. beautifully. It must be the right outcome.

She says she’s been going out with him now for about two and a half years, but they don’t live together so he’d never find out. And you think about chasing her about school when you were wee and lying in your bed and listening to love songs and pretending they were about you. And the first time you asked her out she said no but one night you went to a wedding and when you came back to the pub she’s changed her mind and you went out. You remember the way she swung her arms when she held your hand but you can’t remember how she kissed and now you’ve got the chance to find out.

But you have to remember there’s this other kiss. She’s at home, wondering where you are and what you’re doing. And you work hard on this kiss and you know it inside out, it’s as much yours as it is hers,And it took a long time to get right, it took months of practice and months of embarassment but now you’ve got it perfected and you’ve been looking forward to that kiss all week.

The original album track and then a slightly inebriated version from T in the Park ’98 and, finally, live in Tokyo on their final tour in 2006! A perfect record.

Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle – Gustavo (2013)

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

I think this is an astounding record.

The best of 2013 in my view.

A detailed meditation on the fall-out from employing an illegal Mexican immigrant to refurbish a house in the USA.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is rock’n’roll in the 21st century ……

The sparsest of drumbeats, occasional keyboard stabs and a lilting, spoken, vocal that extracts profundity from the mundane.

Oh, yes.

All the lyrics are posted below but I particularly like the lines:

But I hung up and I said I’m sorry
But I hung up and I felt uneasy
I hung up and my heart was heavy
I hung up and my back was aching

A perfect record, here’s the Youtube link then scroll down for the lyrics.

I wrote a check and I bought an old house
I got a TV and a worn-out couch
Hired a guy named Gustavo and his friends
To fix it up from the foundation
Oh god, those motherfuckers drove me nuts
With their electrical saws and mariachi music
But they really stepped it up man
And put their backs into it
But they lived pretty far away
They wanted to stay for a couple of months
‘Til the work got done and I said sure
Made ‘em a key and got ‘em a microwave

Gustavo was an illegal immigrant
He took the money that I gave him
And he went and spent it on strippers and casinos
And every once in a while with them I’d go
It gets boring out in the mountains, you know
Chopping wood, falling asleep to the TV snow
Making ground beef tacos
On the top of a potbellied stove
Eating noodles from a Styrofoam cup
Waiting for a ride that never shows up
Walking into town, browsing the windows
Looking at rifles, looking at ammo
At night when everything’s closed
In my wet boots, in my winter clothes

One night they were headed for Tahoe
They asked me along but I said fuck no
‘Cause I was tired and my money was tight
And they just laughed and said alright
And on the way back they got stopped
By a redneck sunnyside highway cop
Gustavo was drunk and had an ounce of pot
And spent the night on a jailhouse cot
They deported him back to Mexico
He called me collect from a Tijuana pay phone
Asking man, could you wire me money?
2500 for a border coyote
He needed work and he missed his family
But I hung up and I said I’m sorry
But I hung up and I felt uneasy
I hung up and my heart was heavy
I hung up and my back was aching
Picking up the work they’d left in front of me
The demoed walls and the pulled up floors
The busted up cabinets and the broken drawers
The kitchen sink was laying in the backyard
And I looked down and my hands were trembling
And I looked up and my roof was leaking

Now I still sleep on my beat-up old couch
In the living room of my unfinished house
I got a licensed contractor
But he quit cause his wife was dying of cancer
But what the hell, I’m just here trying to find answers
To find peace of mind, to get a piece of the rock
A place to put my mental clock
And my old guitars and gently rock
Back and forth in my front porch chair
Without a worry, without a care
I’m doing alright but I’m still not there

My house ain’t done, but it’s alright
Floors ain’t level, but I ain’t some suburban
Who cares about bathroom tiles
Straight lines and building codes and Chinese wind chimes
My house ain’t done, but it’s fine
Come out here from time to time
In December for the snow
And in July to watch the roses
My gardener asks had I seen Gustavo?
I just laughed and I said fuck no
Not since that night he left
His hair combed back, headed for Tahoe
My girlfriend asked had I heard from that guy from Mexico?
I said you mean Gustavo?
And I just laughed and I said no
Not since he called from the Tijuana pay phone
Really I don’t give much thought to Gustavo
I love to go out to the mountains, though
And in the fall, feel the breeze blow
And in the winter, watch the falling snow
And in the spring, love the rainbows
And in the summer smell the roses
White and red and yellow


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