heard on the wire

A festive fifty — part four

Music per se is ephemeral, it exists as a unique or, in the case of contemporary pop music, standardised collection of sound waves. Ten years ago and before, that wasn’t really a problem, as everything was embedded in some form of constant, soild object, be it a record, CD or tape. We could touch and feel _and _hear “our” music.

For almost everyone under 30, to pick an arbitrary age-point, this is an alien concept. Music is ethereal, it’s no more ours than the air. This rarely presents a problem; if you have bandwidth you have more music at your fingertips than you could ever possibly listen to. It’s overdose and you become reliant on computers to generate playlists and recommendations, which ironically seem to trap you in a walled garden defined by genre and “people who also liked…”.

But what happens when the music disappears, when an artist or record label suddenly decides that that it no longer wants to or is no longer able to make a track available, for reasons perhaps of copyright, licensing, exclusivity or sheer bloodymindedness? What happens to music that is no longer your music. Schrödinger’s music?

Port Sulphur is a project of former Nectarine No.9 frontman and record label owner Douglas MacIntyre. Bringing together various Scottish musicians from Postcard–post-punk period, it has released a handful of singles, the best of which is, you may have guessed, no longer available. It features Orange Juice’s James Kirk and The Bluebells’ Ken McCluskey and sounds terrific. Thankfully someone’s bootlegged it to YouTube.

Port Sulphur // Orient Express

I’m not quite sure what to make of this track, save to say that it’s by a long way the standout offering on its host EP.

“Slowcoaching is the project of Melbourne musician, Dean Valentino, who is really bad at writing bios,” it says here. I could say much the same about this link.

Slowcoaching // Pillars of Salt

When I downloaded this next EP, Sea Blite were definitely two words. They now appear to be one. Maybe it’s a Spice Girls compliment.

Seablite // Pretend

This is a cover of Demi Lovato’s Cool for the Summer, which just goes to show that even the most bog-standard chart fodder has something going for it.

Colour Me Wednesday // Queer for the Summer

It’s for Us // Red Light

The naysayers can said nay, but Hull’s tenure as UK City of Culture was a resounding success. Highlights included the Adult Teeth Recording Company’s release of a compilation that included this wonderful tune.

The Holy Orders // Reset

I don’t watch a lot of videos, but if I dod and I awarded a prize for my favourite, this might have won.

Herlights // Road to the Stars

And if you liked that, you’ll love The Vault of the Atomic Space Age. You’ll probably also love this.

Mega Emotion // Sick Burn

That’s a contender for single of the year. This is demo of the year and a perfect way to end this selection.

Baby Arms // A Sign [demo]

»A festive fifty — part one
»A festive fifty — part two
»A festive fifty — part three


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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.