heard on the wire

You poor, broken, mixed-up mess of a heart

Brussels heart

The centre of Brussels, defined by the ridiculous roads that trace the route of the old city walls, is often described as the pentagon, though thankfully not the kind that remotely drops bombs on Pakistani schoolchildren. But the shape also echoes that of the human heart and while no-one would describe Brussels as the city of love, it’s a poor broken mixed up mess of a city that I love, and if one day I have to leave it will break my heart.

Coincidentally, several of the records I’ve been listening too recently make reference to that most metaphorical of human organs. Given that love is the overwhelmingly most popular subject of the pop song, that’s scarcely a surprise. But sometimes it’s nice to enjoy life without surprises—it is good for the heart, after all.

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One, two, three o’clock

And then there was one. Which, as you all know, is the most important number in the history of rock ’n’ pop music.

Reaching number one is considered to be the apogee of musical achievement, confirming, as if confirmation were needed, that Mariah Carey stands at the high altar of the pop pantheon.

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Moderns, you should stay home


The world’s finest music festival takes place this weekend and as usual I won’t be there to see smithsocksimon faves such as When Nalda Became Punk, Camera Obscura, Alpaca Sports and Helen Love.

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I know this much is true


Perambulate, a good friend said, when I lamented a lack of loquaciousness, though not an absence of alliteration, in the preparation of this post.

Not a bad suggestion, as it happens, since perambulate is exactly what I do when I write these posts, strolling around the sonar landscape in search of enrichments to the musical lexicon.

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Don’t tell your Mum

Preston Bus Station

It’s a joyful slice of perfect electro pop from Wales’s finest and it’s the best record I’ve heard this year.

A heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of teenage love, it’s everything a 45 should be.

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It’s getting louder every day


Maybe it’s the seven years I lived in Brixton and maybe it’s a cliche, but there’s nothing like a bit of reggae at ear splitting volume on a hot summer’s day.

This fits the bill perfectly, though strictly speaking it isn’t reggae but its electronically inclined, hip hop-influenced offspring, ragga.

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I believe in life and I believe in love


There are three things that people learning English find more difficult than anything else, for which they deserve the utmost sympathy.

The first is knowing when to use the simple past tense — I wrote those words moments ago — and the present perfect — I’ve just written these words, which is a skill even the Americans have yet to master. The second is phrasal verbs, those unique constructions that take two words to make a verb that often has little or no relation to its formative lexicography and often contain confusing, unrelated and sometimes contrary meanings that are impossible to precisely define: for example, stand by, which, roughly speaking, can mean to wait or to support; or take on, to employ someone or to challenge them.

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A is for…

Kings of the Wild Frontier

Adam and the Ants, who, for a brief period in the early 80s, were the biggest band in Britain. With his admiral’s jacket, white stripe the man known to his mother as Stuart Goddard became the most recognisable face in pop, while the aboriginal rhythms and whooping singalongs made him the the most bankable.

That the band ever achieved the success it did was something of a surprise, since their early recordings, while gaining the band a cult following, gave little indication of what was to come, especially as the lacklustre debut single, Young Parisians, is best forgotten.

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Everybody’s crazy, what’s your excuse?

Veronica Klaus 4 - SF Center Soiree 8

There has been an overabundance of US bands on the blog of late and Something about the name suggested that Veronica Falls were another. In fact, coming from London they’re very much an English ensemble, comprising Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare on vocals and guitar, Marion Herbain on bass and Patrick Doyle banging the drums.

According to Wikipedia, they came to prominence with the release of their self-titled debut album in 2011. The album reached the heady heights of number 150 in the the UK album chart, which fact gives a new meaning to the word prominence.

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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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