heard on the wire

It started out with just an innocent kiss


If you’re going to ape a musical style of yesteryear, at least do it well. So John Peel remarked in defence of New Zealand rockers, The Datsuns, but it may equally apply to Summer Twins, whose affection for the music of the ’50s and ’60s shines through their latest EP, Forget Me.

Sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown write and record what they describe as dream pop and rock ’n’ roll songs with a touch of California sun. There isn’t much of that around at the moment, which makes this music all the more precious.

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All the stars were shining bright

Delicious Vinyl

Being a cutting-edge music blog pored over by Svengalis on every continent*, it usually behoves me to bring you the very best contemporary sounds, mixed with an occasional glimpse into rock ’n’ pop’s glorious past. Some of those Svengalis are quite young, you know.

In that spirit of public service, this week’s listening has leant towards the years preceding this one, largely because I discovered handfuls of recordings gathering dust in a folder on my desktop and not sparkling in iTunes, as they are now.

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I know this much is true


Perambulate, a good friend said, when I lamented a lack of loquaciousness, though not an absence of alliteration, in the preparation of this post.

Not a bad suggestion, as it happens, since perambulate is exactly what I do when I write these posts, strolling around the sonar landscape in search of enrichments to the musical lexicon.

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Everybody’s crazy, what’s your excuse?

Veronica Klaus 4 - SF Center Soiree 8

There has been an overabundance of US bands on the blog of late and Something about the name suggested that Veronica Falls were another. In fact, coming from London they’re very much an English ensemble, comprising Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare on vocals and guitar, Marion Herbain on bass and Patrick Doyle banging the drums.

According to Wikipedia, they came to prominence with the release of their self-titled debut album in 2011. The album reached the heady heights of number 150 in the the UK album chart, which fact gives a new meaning to the word prominence.

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I saw two shooting stars last night

Satellite Dishes

Such is my love for the debut LP by Spain’s When Nalda Became Punk that I’m taking the unprecedented step of blogging a third track from A Farewell to Youth.

The band started as plain Nalda, formed by singer and guitarist Elena Sestelo, but Became Punk with the release of a mini-LP, Time to Meet Your Family, in 2010. Nalda then became two when Elena was joined by Roberto Cibeira.

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Words can never truly explain

I can hardly believe that I haven’t mentioned The School before now. Quite probably the best sound to come out of Wales since Helen Love, The School hail from Cardiff and make 60s-tinged pop designed to put a smile on your face and a tap in your toes.

They burst onto the playground of pop in 2008 with one of the year’s very best records, the Let it Slip EP. An LP, Loveless Unbeliever, followed in 2010.

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You just can’t believe the joy I did receive

A “covers album” comes in one of two forms, neither of which has made much of an impression on the listening public. The first is the generally dreadful and impeccably misnamed “tribute”, which generally comprises 20-or-so bands of which you’ve never heard performing terrible versions of much-loved songs. The Smiths, the Clash and Joy Division, among others, have all suffered this disrespectful fate.

The second form, however, can excite and delight. For some, the covers LP, is an entertaining diversion, for others it’s a raison d’être, but given a good artist armed with a decent record collection the result can be terrific, though I took some convincing.

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Remember the lesson of Take That

In my previous musical musing, I dismissed a swathe of musical royalty whose undoubted accomplishments sit uncomfortably in my ears. Now I’m turning my attention to artists cherished by many but which I generally scorn or at best tolerate: Abba, ELO, the Scissor Sisters and Take That.

My response to hearing these four ranges from irritation to outright hostility, but as is usually the case in our dialectical world, things are never that simple. Each, in their own small way, has something to offer even the most belligerent.

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I want to be in a band when I get to heaven

A recent discussion on Twitter today about the relative merits, or otherwise, of The Verve and Radiohead led me to thinking about other critically or commercially acclaimed bands whose appeal is entirely lost on me.

The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, The Who, David Bowie and Pink Floyd, to mention just a few, excite me about as much as a ready meal. It’s not that I don’t think they’re great artists — clearly they are — I just don’t like them.

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Last chance to turn around

Museum Liner

During a trip to Appenzell in 2009 I took four photos of Museum Liner, the elegant building that houses the art collection of the late Carl August Liner. Designed by Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer and completed in 1998, the museum stands in marked contrast to the painted wooden houses that comprise the heart of this beautiful town at the foot of the Swiss Alps.

Of the four, the least popular — if the number of views is a reliable indicator — is this one, taken as I turned back for one last look. But popularity be damned; it’s one of a handful of personal favourites among the 1,632 photos that I’ve posted, to date, on Flickr.

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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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