heard on the wire

Succumb to the beat surrender

Beat Surrender

There was a time, when the CD single was pre-eminent, that any Tom, Dick, Melanie or Christina only had to cough into a microphone and the resultant recording would go straight into the charts at number one.

The result of initially clever then formulaic manipulation of radio airplay and release dates stripped the number one position of all the allure it had held when I was a kid. When Top of the Pops ruled, records didn’t go straight in at the top of the charts; the number one position was hard earned after weeks of steady sales accumulation. Number one meant something, even if the records that reached that peak were usually of questionable merit.

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There’s no explanation…

Simple and Sure

…but there is a new Pains of Being Pure at Heart LP, which, as regular readers will know, can only make me ridiculously excited.

It all started with this, the first single from the record, and a video that keeps on ‘giffing’.

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I’ve got a socialism of the heart

Billy Bragg Hammersmith

What is it with people who pay upwards of £20 for a ticket and then talk all the way through a gig?

At the recent and otherwise fantastic Billy Bragg show at the Hammersmith Odeon, I had to be restrained by SuziRovers to prevent me having several unaffectionate words with serial offenders regarding their selfishness, bad manners and bare-faced twattishness.

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We’ll live in holes and disused shafts


There aren’t many bands capable of discarding a song as good as this.

That Joy Division could discard this song and for it only to surface on a post mortem release might have been seen as an oversight, had they not also overlooked at least half a dozen other songs that other bands would give up an entire back catalogue for.

Ice Age was recorded in late 1979 but with a sound more reminiscent of the band’s early days, it missed the cut when they released their second LP, the monumental Closer, the following year.

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Sleeping like a weeping willow


Hospitality is the act or service of welcoming, receiving, hosting or entertaining guests, which is what I feel we do here at smithsocksimon.net, by providing a comfortable seat for the rich and rewarding audio journey that awaits.

Today’s journey has little rhyme or reason, save that the first six songs below all come from LPs released in 2014. It’s been a quiet year, music-wise, on this blog. Either there’s not so much exciting new music out there or it’s not finding it’s way onto the smithsockstereo. It’s a worrying scenario, one that ciould lead to overlong wallowing in musical nostalgia, which must be avoided at all costs, lest I end up subscribing to Mojo, nodding in agreement when I read Q Magazine’s review pages and turning to The Guardian to find out which “albums” I should be buying this week.

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This is confusion, am I confusing you?


We were a bit more transatlantic than the Fred Perry and Adidas brigade. We never asked to become part of the Britpop club, all that Cool Britannia shit: Noel Gallagher shaking hands with Tony Blair. I thought: “It’s not meant to be cosy!”

I was going to write a long post about Britpop, but the musical equivalent of Blair really isn’t that interesting. So, in a nutshell, Britpop was either wonderful or dreadful; take your pick.

Will Hodgkinson in The Times recalls a time when he listened to “songs that rejected the alienation of alternative rock for a celebration of the everyday”.

“Britpop, with its songs about getting nicked for smoking a joint and dressing in ill-fitting clothes was for and about people like me,” he says. “Kitsch, irony, disco dancing, kitchen-sink observation and beery hedonism.”

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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.