heard on the wire

Fast rough factory trade


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


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


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


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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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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Listen close


This is what attitude sounds like.

Estrons have been variously described as riotous, socio-political and fearlessly outspoken,. All of which adds up to something that’s definitely worth listening to.

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A girl called Joyce


Hey Joyce
Rock and Roll never gave you a voice
It’s never given you so much as a lament
So I went to the store
And I bought a guitar
To bestow this accolade on you
Just you
Not Sally, Carrie Anne or Peggy Sue
I’m going to spend my next half day with a girl called Joyce
Going to possibly stop at Tebay with a girl called Joyce

Rock and roll hadn’t given her a voice. It has now.

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Happiness is a discount store


I have to declare an interest. Joe Cook, the songwriter and singer from the Prague-based but very English Latimer House sent me a copy of the band’s second LP.

But there’s no hint of a favour returned in my decision, easily made, to mention it here. There’s so much to admire in the record — and that’s before we even get to the lush orange vinyl and beautiful packaging that speaks of a band that cares.

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Initial impressions


I listened to the debut Impulsive Hearts LP several times before deciding to buy. I’m not sure why it took me so long to make a decision, since it’s clearly worth a place in anyone’s music collection.

It also took two attempts to write this post. That may just be coincidence. This version is better.

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The Wind-Up Birds // Straightforward Skies

Wind-Up Birds // The Right

What can we say about the Wind-Up Birds? They’re from Leeds; they don’t really sound like anyone else; and they’ve been making consistently good records since 2010.

The Right picks up where 2014’s fab Poor Music LP left off. In other words it confirms the band as one of music’s brightest, most original talents.

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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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