heard on the wire

Here be dragons

As puns go it’s pretty dreadful.

As records go, this is pretty good. Echoes of Allo Darlin’ — and how we need those right now.

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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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We are the great unwashed

Rotterdam

I’ve just time for a few words before Suzi and I head south for a week in the Netherlands.

It will be our third visit in the last 15 months to a country that seems to get so much right where this country lamentably fails, whether it’s urban architecture, transport policy or producing technically competent footballers. They even like cricket.

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I’m not used up, not yet

Diner

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that over the past 12 months I’ve struggled to find music that has truly astonished me. But then, looking back, that’s been the case for a few years now. Maybe I’m just getting weary; hopefully it’s merely a lull.

Nonetheless, I’d be mistaken if I thought that the past 12 months have largely been forgettable. There has still been much to love, whether soaring post-rock from Motherwell, revived, perky 90s pop from Brighton, or vegan-fuelled indie from just down the road in County Durham.

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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.

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Benfica still went through

Eusebio

There are worse ways of spending a Saturday than drinking beer in the sun with best friends. Especially when that takes place at a free music festival taking place in some of Newcastle’s best pubs, culminating in an underneath-the-arches performance by Martha.

Durham’s finest’s new LP, Counting Strong, is unquestionably one of the year’s best records and just happens to contain the track top of my Sisyphean list of songs that need to be blogged sometime soon.

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Everybody ready? Let’s go 1, 2, 3!

Lithium 3

This song means something
Every song means something

According to a Latin adage, everything that comes in threes is perfect. Two’s company, three’s a crowd, according to anyone trying to get rid of unwanted company.

All of which is little help when we assess the part that the number three has played in the history of rock ’n’ pop. Unlike one and two, it plays no part in the soundcheck and while most music fans can name a favourite chart topper or runner-up, few recall a beloved hit parade bronze medalist.

And rare is the drummer who counts one, two, three before launching into the next song. Unless four is “Go!”. Ado has three letters and without further of it…

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You don’t have to be Prince if you want to dance

Peel Warhol

I talked in my last post about BBC Radio 2’s poll to find the most popular number two records ever. Although their selection was restricted to the popular chart and thus based on the crudest of metrics, it wasn’t without merit. The rundown of 40 tracks chosen from a shortlist of 100 would make a listenable compilation, albeit with finger poised over the skip button.

But what of the best number two records of all time, the ones chosen by the discerning listener? I am, of course, referring to the legendary (ie. relatively obscure) festive fifty, the chart that John Peel compiled every year from 1982 to 2003, the chart based on listeners’ selections of the best three records of the year.

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Live: the 2014 Socks

Smithsocksimon brings you its alternative to the annual celebration of dosh that is the Brit Awards.

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I must confess you always were the best

Ketchups decorations

Decoration are a Leeds- and London-based outfit who first came to John Peel’s attention 10 years ago and to mine shortly afterwards. They remain the only band I know whose bass player’s day job saw him working with one of my brothers, which I learnt while travelling to a brewery.

They recorded a Peel session and the following year saw the release of the band’s debut LP, Don’t Disappoint Us Now, which is full of great tunes and thoughtful lyrics.

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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.