heard on the wire

Benfica still went through


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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Quotes as jokes and coke

Grace Kelly

I have to temper my expectations when a new Pains of Being Pure at Heart record is in the offing.

It’s a requirement born of experience. Back in 2011 I couldn’t have been more excited about an LP than I was about the band’s follow-up to their self-titled 2009 debut.

Because while the debut had been impressive enough, 2010 saw the band release not only the two best singles of the year, in the process scattering the dust that had settled on my fantasy desert island disc selection.

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You poor, broken, mixed-up mess of a heart

Brussels heart

The centre of Brussels, defined by the ridiculous roads that trace the route of the old city walls, is often described as the pentagon, though thankfully not the kind that remotely drops bombs on Pakistani schoolchildren. But the shape also echoes that of the human heart and while no-one would describe Brussels as the city of love, it’s a poor broken mixed up mess of a city that I love, and if one day I have to leave it will break my heart.

Coincidentally, several of the records I’ve been listening too recently make reference to that most metaphorical of human organs. Given that love is the overwhelmingly most popular subject of the pop song, that’s scarcely a surprise. But sometimes it’s nice to enjoy life without surprises—it is good for the heart, after all.

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It’s getting louder every day


Maybe it’s the seven years I lived in Brixton and maybe it’s a cliche, but there’s nothing like a bit of reggae at ear splitting volume on a hot summer’s day.

This fits the bill perfectly, though strictly speaking it isn’t reggae but its electronically inclined, hip hop-influenced offspring, ragga.

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