heard on the wire

How it feels

kickstand-band

I love the tags on Bandcamp. If ever anything further muddied the cloudy waters of genre, it is they.

Take, for instance, the Kickstand Band, who describe themselves as “rock garage garage pop indie pop indie rock power pop powerpop surf surf pop Detroit”.

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I’m a 50-year-old man

cricket-scores

I’m a fifty year old man
And I like it
I’m a fifty year old man
What’re you gonna do about it?

It’s my birthday and I’ll listen to the Fall if I want to.

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Top sound

hernani

As a rule of thumb, it’s generally wise to avoid bands that court publicity. Those are the bands for whom style is a substitute for substance, bands who co-ordinate their outfits, grow carefully trimmed beards and pose in stairwells.

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If I Were the President

hillary-clinton

Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

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Lost in a love story

pep

It’s a simple idea, perfectly executed.

Take three songs you like and re-record them. If you’re New York trio Pep, that means giving them sixties-tinged pop twist that sounds at the same time retro and oh-so-up-to-date.

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Fast rough factory trade

hitsvilleuk

I used to hate this; now I love it.

Featuring Ellen Foley on vocals, this was the second single from Sandinista, the Clash’s fourth LP.

Actor and singer Foley was at the time in a relationship with the Clash’s Mick Jones. The breakdown of that relationship was the subject of the band’s biggest hit, Should I Stay or Should I Go.

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Savoir faire

favourite-sky

Love ’em or loathe ’em, there’s no doubt that Coldplay have cast an immense shadow ever since the radio-friendly, Radiohead-light sound of Yellow launched middle-aged angst music into the mainstream.

A generation of white male rockers has tweaked the Chris Martin blueprint to great commercial effect and at times critical acclaim. Perhaps the greatest of these is Elbow, who eclipsed their mentors by claiming the Mercury Music Prize in 2008. Coldplay have been nominated three times for the award that almost serves as a litmus test for “grown-up” music.

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Sound unheard

bragg-and-henry

During a conversation at a recent work night out, I suggested that there are some records you’ll buy “sight unseen”, or should that be “sound unheard”.

These are the records from artists you implicitly trust no to squander their talent on sprawling, coke-fuelled triple albums. It’s a trust earnt over many years, bought with a succession of LPs and singles that never once truly disappointed.

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Light deferred

Passage

Out of Somerville, Massachusetts, Strange Passage have delivered one of the best records of the year.

Taken from their debut EP, Shine and Scatter, this is everything a modern record should be, full of spark and surprises. And there are musical references here that will have you, like me, wracking your brains.

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Fifteen

edouard

This is probably the coolest record I’ve heard this year.

Records I Like describes it as minimal synth-pop coupled with a fair share of Gothic undertones, recommended for fans of Factory Benelux and Les Disques du Crépuscule.

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.