heard on the wire

I want to know what this is all about

Spoke School vinyl

The split single is an interesting phenomenon.

The compilation LP I understand — carefully curated, it’s an excellent way to introduce the curious to a plethora of top tunes — but the compilation single is an oddity.

It begs too many questions. Which is the A-side?, for instance. How do I tag it in iTunes? Where do I file it in my obsessively alphabetised record collection?

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Slam dance the cosmopolis

Airline

Some bands go on and on, churning out record after record, selling millions, flying the world in private jets, filling stadiums. Others go quietly about their business, putting smiles on the faces of the few lucky enough to hear their music. These aren’t the bands you’ll hear on daytime radio—you’re lucky to hear them on nighttime radio these days—and who’ll never to get to join Jools for the jam sketch.

They may leave a substantial legacy, like the recently retired Ace Bushy Striptease, or they may just leave a handful of songs that can only leave us thinking what might have been.

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I’m lost in a world of digital sound

Pronit

Metal music, in all its multifarious incarnations, is a strange beast, lurching from the unlistenable to the uninhabitable, from the incoherent to the, well, even more incoherent.

And it’s not something that bothers me too often; there’s only so much a tattoo-free, short-haired, undenimmed 40–something-year-old man can listen to. Then something like this comes along.

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The birds fly a lot better than we do

Dandelions

Since it began broadcasting in 2006, the estimable Dandelion Radio has been the home of the “official” Festive Fifty, the annual listeners’ chart that John Peel started in 1976.

That first chart was compiled from listeners’ favourite records of all time and, with Led Zeppelin at number one, stands as a pre-punk anomaly. Henceforth the top spot would be shared by the Sex Pistols and Joy Division until 1982, when Peel retired the all-time list and introduced an annual chart. The ’82, ’83 and ’84 versions are perhaps the finest end-of-year countdowns ever compiled, reflecting a time when Peel truly was shaping the musical landscape. Later, 90s charts tended more to the dull and predictable, to the extent that Peel threatened to abandon the rundown altogether, not least because he was still totting up the votes by hand. But it survived, the last Peel 50 being chosen and broadcast in the wake of his untimely death in 2004.

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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.