heard on the wire

Shoot ’em in the back now

Harry Styles Ramones t-shirt

I harbour too many irrational prejudices. Really, why do vegetarians, tattoos, comfortable shoes, unpolished shoes, men in hoodies, comic books (as opposed to comics), ill-fitting jeans and DSLRs in the hands of amateurs annoy me so much?

The presence of any of them neither inconveniences me nor otherwise diminishes the quality of my life, but still…

I’m learning to control my pique and hide my distaste, but it’s not easy. And it’s most difficult when I see a Ramones t-shirt.

The t-shirts first appeared in 1996, after the band split. It was quickly taken up as an early noughties favourite for those intent on reviving the grimy punk days of 70s New York.

The Ramones t-shirt is now worn by those in search of something that signposts their authenticity (see: several members of One Direction) or—worse—their children. Pint-sized t-shirt tributes to rock ’n’ roll rebels are not funny and they’re not clever.¹

There’s a part of me that wants to go up to each and every one of them (or their parents) and ask, “So what’s your favourite Ramones album?”, in the manner of a hotel receptionist quizzing Alan Partridge.

Of course, you could easily argue that once you’ve heard one Ramones song you’ve heard them all, that the LPs are largely redundant. You’d be wrong; you can never get enough of four-chord punk rock ’n’ roll.

For all those Ramones t-shirt wearers—it started here.

The Ramones :: Blitzkrieg Bop ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3


Unsurprisingly, I’ve been unable to find a picture of Emma Pollock wearing a Ramones t-shirt (though I did find one of her sporting some table football!). The singer, songwriter and physicist released her first solo LP, Watching the Fireworks, in 2007, two years after the demise of the Delgados, the band in which she was one half of a formidable singing and songwriting partnership. She’s not too bad on her own, either.

Emma Pollock :: The Optimist ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3


Occasionally I come to post a record thinking that I must have mentioned the artist before. Take the Kiara Elles, for instance. How could I not have posted something from their fantastic 2010 LP, Slide Over? Such oversights need to be corrected.

I love the electronic post punk stylings on this track.

The Kiara Elles :: Sunday ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3


Sadly, Slide Over proved to be the only long player from the Leeds band, who split shortly after the record was released.

Allo Darlin’ also released their debut LP in 2010, but that wasn’t to be their last, nor is this their first appearance here. It is, however, the first time a track from that self-titled debut has featured.

Allo Darlin’ :: Silver Dollars

A new LP from the London-based foursome is imminent; as, it seems, is a new LP from the Fall. Burning World has been posting recent live recordings of new material, which is as good an indication as any of that Mark E Smith and co. are working on the band’s 31st long player. Like the Ramones, we know entirely what to expect, yet it’ll still sound different from anything they’ve done before.

So, until number 31 comes along, here’s a track from number 29, 2011’s Ersatz GB. Remarkably, this was the first time that the band had recorded three consecutive LPs with the same line-up. Mark mustn’t have noticed.

The Fall :: Cosmos 7 ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3


Make sense of that; and, for that matter, of this.

Nick Cave was a long way from his current status as a darling of the “mature” music press when he was fronting the Birthday Party, whose second LP, Junkyard, is a breathless, demonic, fearsome, “blood-soaked cabaret exorcism”.

The Birthday Party :: 6″ Gold Blade ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3


Of course, I’m not the only one with irrational—and occasionally rational—prejudices. After all, who wouldn’t want to lock up, “an assortment of scriptwriters, novelists and playwrights who own Agas but don’t know how to use them”?

Half Man Half Biscuit :: Breaking News ⬇ [iTunes]

Audio MP3

Photo: Harry Styles wearing Ramones t-shirt; some rights reserved.

¹ How cool is your t-shirt?

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