heard on the wire

This really ragged notion that you’ll return

M1 sunset

It sounds so cinematic: from Saturday I’m going on my first road trip, taking in seven destinations in seven days. Of course, were it a road trip on arrow-straight roads stretching to the horizon, amid tumbleweed and motels, tuned to WKPR, that’s exactly what it would be. But it’s not, it’s motorway service stations and the occasional glimpse of corrugated steel, roads dug into cuttings, dormitory towns; it’s a road trip around England. It’s a beautiful country, but its beauty can rarely be seen from the motorway network.

However one thing is certain, whether it’s WKPR, the dismal miasma of daytime BBC, or a magnificentally stocked iPod, road trips require music. And what better music than that which punctuates each destination, starting with London.

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Blue the colour you can’t stand


Are we in the midst of a renaissance in French music? First two Grenoble bands, Decibelles then EinZweiDreiVier!, rocked this blog, now from the other side of the country come Trunks.

Describing their sound as pretty noise-rock and haïkus, Trunks are a five-piece from Rennes, if memory serves, the beautiful capital of Brittany.

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Noch ein bier


Shouty hardcore bands don’t often appear on these pages and it’s fair to say that the same would probably have been true of EinsZweiDrieVier had they not decided to work with fellow Grenoblois, Decibelles.

Yes, contrary to what their name suggests, the band come from Grenoble in the foothills of the French Alps, where they recorded a three tracks for a mini-LP to which Decibelles added three of their own. The ’Belles also added their voices to this, the best of the three 1234 tracks. The result is less hardcore and more hard-pop, if there’s such a thing.

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Let’s hear it for that beautiful note

Helen Love Atomic

Teenagers today prefer to watch their music, The Guardian reported last year, after a survey revealed that American teens preferred to listen to music on YouTube than on any other media.

It’s difficult for anyone raised in the pre-Internet age—when having a tactile, palpable relationship to music personalised it—to understand. Even now, when “owning” a record can amount to nothing more than propriety over a string of ones and zeroes, there is still that sense of having something. By contrast watching a song on YouTube seems so ephemeral, so disposable, soulless.

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B is for…


…two of the bands closest to my heart, Ballboy and Belle and Sebastian, the products of a Scottish music scene who avoided the deadening impact of 1990s “Britpop” to produce some of the most perfect music of the past 20 years.

Ballboy and the brilliant songwriting of Gordon McIntyre hail from Edinburgh, while Stuart Murdoch’s Bell and Sebastian formed in Scotland’s other great city, Glasgow. Meanwhile Snow Patrol were beginning to do their thing in Dundee en route to stadium concerts and international commercial success—as I’ve said before, there really is no justice.

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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.