heard on the wire

Pretending that I’ve got a clue

Lucky Soul

And so it was that in response to a Facebook meme I posted a list of the 12 LPs that have had the most influence on me, both personally and musically. And it was like looking in a mirror, for all was male and white.

So, I thought, what if the list weren’t male and white (for I like to use the subjunctive). And so I sat down with my MacBook Pro and my text editor of choice (iA Writer, since you didn’t ask) and…. Well the first few records came easily. The rest not so. This puzzled me till I realised that most of the black, female music I like is soul music, a “genre” that has always leant itself to the single rather than the long player.

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How bad are English musicians?

Wasting_away_and_wonderingWhat better way could there be to celebrate St Valentine’s Day than with a trip to a Sunderland record shop to see The School.

The Cardiff band has inherited the title of the world’s finest Dusty-tinged soul pop band from Lucky Soul and they cemented their claim with their third LP, Wasting Away and Wondering.

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Drop the hammers, drop the guns


I start my new career as a teacher very soon. That’s probably the scariest sentence I’ve ever written. A long holiday is coming to end, some 15 weeks after I completed my training, qualified-teacher-status recommendation in hand.

I’ve blogged. Suzi and I have been to the beach, many times. I may have drunk a little too much from time to time. We’ve decorated the spare bedroom. I’ve even managed to find my way around the NatWest website, so no one can say I haven’t achieved anything.

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I don’t know my elbow from my arse


It’s been almost 30 years since I last went into an English school classroom. From September I’ll be training to do it everyday, which means this blog may move from irregular to hiatus.

So while I still have both the time and the energy, what better subject could there be for a post than school itself, a recurring topic in the rock ’n’ pop canon, whether it’s Pink Floyd proving, however ironically, that a little education goes a long way or Alice Cooper tediously banging on about blowing school to pieces?

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Like a panther on the prowl

Cafe Loveless Motel

Let’s Be Loveless is not a guide for living but four people who make pop songs displaying their admiration for shoegaze, Britpop and garage rock.

Like The Ferns, I’m in You, The Hundred in the Hands and Hospitality, all of whom have featured here before, they’re from Brooklyn, which must be some place for any music fan to be at the moment.

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He couldn’t believe that everyone in the world liked their songs


Apologies for the absence of posts recently, it’s been rather busy at SmithSockTowers. In lieu of some hot contemporary tunes, here are some videos I like.

First up, the ever-wonderful Helen Love and a five-star single from 1997.

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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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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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