Monday, 31 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Muse - 'A New Kind Of Kick'

Muse's "Halloween Special", a cover of an old track by The Cramps. Happy halloween folks. 


REWIND: Gene - 'Fighting Fit'

This classic, life-affirming single from Gene was number 22 in the UK singles chart exactly 20 years ago this week. 


The Vault: The Beatles - 'From Me To You'

From 1963, The Beatles' first UK number 1 single. 


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Airbourne - 'Get Back Up'

Infectious hard rock with heavy AC/DC influences. From the Australian band's new album 'Breakin' Outta Hell'.


REWIND: Toni Braxton - 'Un-Break My Heart' (Frankie Knuckles Classic Radio Mix)

More from 1996. House legend Frankie Knuckles turned his ballad by RnB singer Toni Braxton into a club hit. The single went to number 4 in the UK singles chart 20 years ago this week. Another one I used to play a lot during my days as a very young club DJ. 


The Vault: Primal Scream - 'Deep Hit Of Morning Sun'

Opening track and one of the highlights from the mighty Primal Scream's 2002 album 'Evil Heat'.


Friday, 28 October 2016

Track Of The Day: The Living End - 'Further Away'

From the Australian trio's superb recent album Shift, one of 2016's finest rock records.


REWIND: Reef - 'Place Your Hands'

More from 1996. This classic rock anthem from Reef was number 6 in the UK singles charts exactly 20 years ago this week. It can be found on the British band's second album 'Glow'.


The Vault: K7 - 'Come Baby Come'

A naggingly infectious one-hit-wonder track by American rapper K7, from his debut album Swing Batta Swing. The song peaked at number 3 in the UK singles chart in January 1994. 


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Run The Jewels - 'Talk To Me'

The awesome hip hop duo Run The Jewels are back with a thunderous new track, brimming with suspense and contention. The track is available as a free download HERE from the Adult Swim Singles Program 2016, a series of digital single releases from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Oddly, Cartoon Network played a big role in the existence of Run The Jewels, after CN network executive Jason DeMarco introduced New York-based Killer Mike to the Atlanta-based El-P. Afterwards, El-P produced Killer Mike's 'R.A.P. Music' album, and Killer Mike returned the favour by appearing on the El-P track 'Cancer 4 Cure'. The two rappers soon toured together, leading to the formation of RTJ. The greatest hip hop act of this era? Very possibly.

Following on from 2012's 'RTJ1' and 2013's 'RTJ2', the release date for their third full-length effort 'RTJ3' is set to be announced soon, and with the release of the excellent 'Talk To Me', that announcement shouldn't be far off...


REWIND: Faithless - 'Insomnia' (Monster Mix)

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 26 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE.

Here's a legendary dance track that catapulted London-based Faithless into the upper reaches of the mainstream. I'd be VERY surprised if any of you were unaware of this massive floorfiller. One memory of this song involves me and my childish school classmates laughing at the line about "making mad love on the heath, tearing off tights with my teeth". The band formed in 1995, and consisted of vocalist Maxi Jazz, producer Rollo (real name Rowland Constantine O'Malley Armstrong), and the multi-talented Sister Bliss, who constructed most of the music herself electronically, also adding piano, violin, saxophone and bass guitar. The trio were also joined by songwriter Jamie Catto and bassist Aubrey Nunn, who was also a member of indie band Heavy Stereo, who were led by future Oasis/Beady Eye man Gem Archer.

Faithless released their debut single 'Salva Mea' in 1995, which reached number 9 in the UK singles chart. It was followed the same year by the classic 'Insomnia', which reached number 27 upon its initial release. The song became a massive hit in clubs, and after its popularity grew, 'Insomnia' was re-released in October 1996, reaching number 3 in the UK singles charts. 
It features Maxi Jazz singing from the viewpoint of an insomniac while he struggles to sleep. The subject matter was one that many dance music enthusiasts could relate to, since use of ecstasy and other stimulants were common in club/rave culture, with insomnia being a common side effect. The original version of the track can be found on the band's 1995 debut album 'Reverence'. 

Faithless went on to release five studio albums (all of which either went Gold or Platinum in the UK), plus a number of compilations and remix albums, before splitting in 2011. Sister Bliss is also a prolific club DJ and remixer, while Maxi Jazz has also been involved in the world of motor racing and formed a new band Maxi Jazz and the E-Type Boys in 2015. As well as remixing and producing for other artists, Rollo founded the record label Cheeky Records in 1991, and co-wrote Felix's 1992 hit 'Don't You Want Me'. As well as releasing tracks under his own name, he has also been a member of dance acts such as Dusted, High On Love, Mr V, Huff and Puff, Our Tribe, The OT Quartet and Stoned Love. Rollo is also the brother of the singer Dido. Jamie Catto left Faithless in 1999 and formed 1 Giant Leap, who collaborated with a massive and diverse range of artists and vocalists. Aubrey Nunn has also worked with the likes of Tim Booth, Santana, R. Kelly and many others, while also working as an A and R man, a producer, and as a teacher in Thailand.

After breaking up in 2011, Faithless got back together only a few years later in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band.



The Vault: Pennywise - 'Fuck Authority'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press 'play' and enjoy. 

Here's a track that I used to blast at top volume and shut to at the top of my lungs during my "punk phase" during 2003-2009. The raging 'Fuck Authority' was taken from American punk combo Pennywise's 2001 album 'Land Of The Free?'. A review on Allmusic opined that "Pennywise themselves are calling Land of the Free? 'a wake-up call,' aimed at the slumbering masses of America — an attempt to shake people out of their lethargy, and prod them into thinking about the world." Protest music at its very best.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Track Of The Day: The Hound On The Mountain - 'Salamander Propaganda'


A superb new track from 'Cernunnos', the debut EP from The Hound On The Mountain, aka singer/songwriter Jordan Whatley. I first discovered Whatley back in 2011 when I attended a gig at The Pilot, a pub just down the road from where I used to live in the village of Bowerhill, a part of my old hometown Melksham in Wiltshire. I was there to see my friend Paul 'Bean' Walton, who makes up part of the superb Melksham ska/metal/dub/punk/fusion outfit Hell Death Fury. On this occasion Bean was playing a solo set accompanied by his ukelele, and was second on the bill. When I walked into the pub I was surprised to hear someone singing a brave acapella version of 'The English Curse' by Frank Turner, who I was a big fan of at the time. This voice turned out to be that of Whatley, who also played a number of acoustic covers as well as a few of his own songs. 

Ever since that night in 2011, Whatley has gone from strength to strength, writing more of his own material and playing gigs in record shops, pubs and other venues. In those five years he expanded his musical tastes, listening to a wide range of music old and new and absorbing many different influences. In 2013 he released an indie/folk flavoured mini album, 'The Shadowed Planet' under his own name. Read my review of that HERE. In the three years since, he tired of playing acoustic covers and developed a love of electronica and psychedelica, two styles that led to the creation of 'Cernunnos', an EP bursting with fantasy-based lyrics, prog-rock sounds and dark atmospheres. It's his first release as The Hound On the Mountain. 


Whatley describes the EP as "years of folk oppression being set free into a rock album. I've been listening to so much weird stuff over the last year and after hearing so many sounds, I just wanted to put that into music and create something i would be proud of. I centred it all around a forest theme: dark and atmospheric in places, but with songs that at the same time can propel you into a catchy chorus. It kinda ties in the two aspects of music I love. Think Talking Heads catchiness meets the dark atmosphere of Esben and the Witch."

While the opening hybrid of 'The Forest' suggests a fuzz-heavy Sonic Youth and Hawkwind hybrid, 'Ghosts Of Your Past' is one of his earlier songs, built on his original folk influences, and coming across like the Levellers-meets-'OK Computer'-era Radiohead. Displaying his range of influences, the catchy 'Tin Can' is cosmic indie glam punk with shades of Britpop and Aladdin Sane-era Bowie. The claustrophobic 'Porcelain Trees' is a bleak moment that absorbs the heaving drone-rock of fellow Melksham group Thought Forms, while also sounding a bit like Joy Division and The Horrors forming a supergroup.


The EP's closing track is the brief, snappy and rather bonkers lo-fi fireball 'Salamader Propaganda', which "came about with a riff I was toying about with. I love the idea of a having a track on an album that is short and which I could keep coming back to in a live setting like, almost a hook to be repeated between songs. The lyrics are completely based around the idea of a giant salamander destroying a town, a bit like the old Godzilla in Tokyo idea."

'Cernunnos' is available now in digital formats, with full-band live shows planned soon. The Hound On The Mountain can be found on Facebook HERE.


REWIND: Cast - 'Flying'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 25 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE

Here's another one that always reminds me of the dark autumn evenings in 1996, and the exciting Britpop boom coming to an end. Fronted by ex La's man John Power, Cast were probably one of the most underrated guitar bands of the mid 90s, and people often forget that their 1995 debut album 'All Change' was Polydor Records' fastest-selling debut album of all time, shifting over a million copies. The breathtaking non-album single 'Flying' was one of Britpop's most magical moments and a snapshot of Cast at their peak. All the nostalgic memories of the era are impossible to forget while hearing it, and it's one of those songs that has grown even more powerful as the years have gone on. An underrated classic of the times. The single reached number 4 in the UK singles charts. 

A few years ago I reviewed Cast's entire back catalogue when they released deluxe editions of their first four albums. Read that review HERE. Recently, the band have been working on their fifth studio LP, and released the brilliant new track 'Do That', which you can read about and listen to HERE.

The Vault: The Flaming Lips - 'Race For The Prize'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press 'play' and enjoy. 

Here's another track that reminds me of autumn nights. I presume that it's because I bought the Flaming Lips album that featured this track in the autumn of 1999. One of my favourite songs from the late 90's, the glorious 'Race For The Prize' was released as a single in 1999, and went to number 39 in the UK singles chart. It was taken from the classic album 'The Soft Bulletin', released the same year. The album was released to massive critical acclaim, and was a departure from their previous alternative rock sound, venturing into marvellously rich symphonic arrangements and melodic dream-pop sounds.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Track Of The Day: HiFi Sean ft. Jean Honeymoon - 'Monday Morning Sunshine'

It's safe to say that nobody expected a former singer from a Scottish indie band to produce one of the most essential dance albums of recent times. But that is exactly what Sean Dickson has done. Yes, THAT same Sean Dickson of Soup Dragons fame, who was last spotted in the early 2000s leading his imaginative and massively underrated outfit The High Fidelity.

In his latest marvellous act of reinvention, Sean has been a house DJ for the last decade or so, and now returns in his new incarnation with a fantastic record that soundtracks and reflects the many changes this artist has been though over his life. For a while now Dickson has been promising a new album that embraces his skills as a DJ and producer while still maintaining those skills as a songwriter and arranger that made The Soup Dragons and The High Fidelity so intriguing and enjoyable. "Its not a million miles away from The High Fidelity" says Sean, "lots of string sections and omnichords, but throwing into the mix myself as an electronic DJ". Released via Plastique Recordings, the appropriately titled 'Ft.' finds Sean teaming up with an incredible and diverse array of guests, including Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, who grew up with Sean in the Scottish town of Bellshill and played with him in pre-BMX Bandits outfit The Pretty Flowers in the 80s. Other tracks feature funk bass icon Bootsy Collins, dance legend Billie Ray Martin, much-loved vocalist David McAlmont, house diva Crystal Waters, the unique Fred Schneider of the B-52'sYoko OnoSoft Cell keyboardist Dave Ball, and the late Alan Vega, whose haunting 'A Kiss Before Dying' was one of the final songs he recorded. This wonderfully eclectic album also features this blissful moment of sparkly euphoria fronted by Scottish-Thai nu jazz vocalist Jean Honeymoon. 'Ft.' is available now in various formats.


REWIND: Duke - 'So In Love With You' (Full Intention 7" Mix)

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 26 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE

I knew absolutely nothing about Duke, except for that he released this brilliant single in 1996. It went to number 22 in the UK singles chart exactly 20 years ago this week. Again, it's another one I used to play a lot during my days as a very young club DJ when I used to take to the decks at a club in Corsham that my dad used to manage in the mid 90s. While the original version of 'So In Love With You' has more of a funk twist, this red hot deep house remix by Full Intention is the one that has the impact. Singer, songwriter and producer Duke was born Mark Carson Adams and hailed from Newcastle. After being a member of punk band Catch 22 and the frontman of One Hand One Heart, he released one album 'The Ten Commandments Of Love' in 1995, and brought out eight singles, plus two compilation albums. He has also written and recorded with the legendary Bobby Womack. Full Intention are an English house music duo made up of Michael Gray and Jon Pearn. They are prolific remixers and have released many records under various different aliases.





The Vault: Kraftwerk - 'Neon Lights'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press play and enjoy.

I think I first became aware of Kraftwerk via various interviews with Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, who used to give entertaining, inspiring and educational quotes to the music press while others seemed hugely complacent in comparison. But it was my school friend Jason B who introduced me properly to the music of this group via a recorded C90 cassette of 'The Man Machine' with 'Computer World' on the other side. Released in 1978, 'The Man Machine' is still my favourite album from the German techno pioneers, and one of the greatest records of all time. From it, here is the sublime 'Neon Lights', which has the original German title of "Neonlicht"...



Friday, 21 October 2016

Track Of The Day: David Bowie - 'Killing A Little Time'

Despite him being my ultimate hero, it's difficult for me to write about David Bowie, especially now. Why? Because I feel like none of my words could ever do the man's extraordinary music justice. The immortal icon's final studio album 'Blackstar' was released just 2 days before his death earlier this year, and now we have a few additional parting gifts from the master of innovation. At the same time as recording 'Blackstar', Bowie was also working on the musical 'Lazarus', which as well as an array of classic tracks from his unmatchable career, also features three brand new, unreleased songs. I found these tracks online a few days ago and had been desperate to listen to them. But I couldn't bring myself to do it because I knew it was the end; the last time we'd ever hear anything new from him

These tracks were recorded at the same time as the 'Blackstar' sessions, and of all of them, the dark, raging, snake-like 'Killing Just A Little Time' is the one that knocked me out instantly. Packing together jazz, breakbeat rhythms and dub sounds, the term "raging against the dying of the light" has never seemed more apt. Since these are the first Bowie songs that haven't been heard until after his death, it's impossible to listen without hearing the sound of a creatively invigorated master grasping onto life by the throat and using the time he has left to astonish the world one last time. Like many of the man's incredible songs, this one is almost impossible to sum up in words and does the sort of things that only a song written by Bowie could.


"This symphony, this rage in me, I've got a handful of songs to sing, to sting your soul, to fuck you over, this furious reign..."

The 'Lazarus' soundtrack album is out now on CD, vinyl and in digital formats.


REWIND: Suede - 'The Beautiful Ones'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 25 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE.

Last month (September 2016) marked 20 years since the mighty Suede released their 1996 masterpiece 'Coming Up'. It was the first Suede album I ever bought, even though I had previously purchased a cassette copy of the 'We Are The Pigs' single. Suede were the band that kickstarted the whole Britpop phenomenon, and yet by 1996 they found themselves overshadowed by the massive commercial success of Blur and Oasis. On 'Coming Up', the band weren't afraid to bring out the big melodies and infectious pop choruses. Their previous album 'Dog Man Star' was a dark, cold record that was seen as a commercial failure at the time. At the time, frontman Brett Anderson said: "I think the next album will be quite simple, actually. I'd really like to write a straightforward pop album. Just ten hits." 

Despite being the first album since the departure of guitarist Bernard Butler, his replacement Richard Oakes immediately proved himself to be a great addition to the group, and 'Coming Up' was the album that introduced Suede to a worldwide audience, in places such as Europe, Canada and Asia. The album went to number 1 in the UK charts, and sold over a million copies. It also spawned FIVE Top 10 hit singles, and the magnificent, anthemic headrush of 'The Beautiful Ones' went to number 8 in the UK charts exactly 20 years ago this week. It's one of those songs from my youth that I will always associate with a certain time and place, the time was the autumn of 1996 and the place was (oddly) a petrol station shop near my old house in Melksham. Not sure why I associate the song with that place, perhaps it had been playing on the radio in the car just before we went into the shop. I might have even just purchased the cassette single earlier that day. Whatever the reason, it's definitely there somewhere in my subconscious musical memory...

Random bit of trivia: this song was once covered on a children's show called Cachureos, on Chilean television, an was adapted to "Los Ancianos" (The Older Ones).

A special 20th anniversary deluxe edition of 'Coming Up' is available now, complete with all the excellent B sides from the singles.


The Vault: The Jam - 'The Eton Rifles'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press play and enjoy.

Today's entry is a classic from The Jam that I'm featuring because fate seemed to be telling me to do so. Why? Because the last three times I've listened to Absolute Radio, this very same song has been playing. And what a fine song it is too. With a destructive Conservative government screwing the UK over once again, 'The Eton Rifles' is a statement just as powerful as it was all those decades ago. It was the only single to be released from the album Setting Sons, and was the band's first top ten hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at Number 3 in 1979.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Moby and The Void Pacific Choir - 'Are You Lost In The World Like Me'

Like most other people, I discovered Moby when he released his mega-selling 1999 album 'Play'. Those casual observers who haven't heard anything from him since are going to be in for a shock when they hear his furious new album 'These Systems Are Failing'. It is the first material from his new project The Void Pacific Choir. Rather than ambient atmospheres and samples from old blues tracks, the vegan techno legend has returned to the sound of his cult classic 'Animal Rights', the 1996 LP where he re-embraced his love for hardcore punk. 'These Systems Are Failing' rages against the many wrongs of this world, targeting politics, war, environmental destruction and the unsustainable sources of energy that mankind continues to depend on. The video to the striking 'Are You Lost In The World Like Me' paints a grim picture of 21st century life, where social interaction is increasingly eroded by dependence on social media and technology.

And like 'Animal Rights', 'These Systems Are Failing' failed to make much of a commercial impact, missing out on the UK album chart completely. Or in this case, the album chart has missed out on Moby. The album is available now on CD and digital, with a vinyl edition due out on November 18.


REWIND: Future Sound Of London - 'My Kingdom'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (20 - 25 October 1996) featured a varied mixture of the great and not so great. We'll focus only on the great ones. See the full chart rundown from that week HERE.

Despite lots of mistaken critics saying that Britpop made people's tastes completely unadventurous, the indie scene of the mid 90s led me to a much more diverse selection of music than I would've experience if I just listened to pop, dance and hip hop. It was a few years ago that I heard that Noel Gallagher would be making a collaborative album with psychedelic duo Amorphous Androgynous, who I realised were also known as Future Sound Of London. It was very soon after that I found a CD copy of FSOL's 1996 album 'Dead Cities' for only £1 in a charity shop, and eventually found time to listen to the album last year. The record combines breakbeats, ambient moods and dark, dystopian sounds to brilliant effect, and the awesome 'My Kingdom' was the album's lead single. The CD single format features the song extended into four different parts, in a theme-and-variation style. 'My Kingdom' reached number 13 in the UK singles chart.


The Vault: Nightbreed - 'A Pack Of Wolves'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press 'play' and enjoy.

Today's track comes from the years between 2003 and 2009 when I mostly listened to punk rock and little else. This track from Nightbreed is one that I heard on the old Radio 1 punk show The Lock Up, odd considering that this is a drum n bass track. The frantic, buzzing 'A Pack Of Wolves' was released in 2004.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Green Day - 'Still Breathing'

The band who played the biggest part in bringing punk rock back to the mainstream are back. Green Day were last seen four years ago, when they released  not one or two but a trio of new albums. I can't help but think that if they picked the best of those tracks and slimmed it down to a single album, it could have been their finest moment. Four years later and they've returned with a superb new album entitled 'Revolution Radio', which went to Number 1 in the UK album charts. It marks a return to the band's more straight-forward ideas, and the first album since frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's stint in rehab a few years back. Maybe it was the drink, drugs and ego caused by massive success that fuelled the triple albums and the flawed concept LPs that have characterised the band over the last 12 years.

RW/FF reviewed the album, writing that "It's not just a case of going back-to-basics, it's a rediscovery of where their strengths lie, a reigniting of their fire, and symbolic of a group who have survived the dark days and re-emerged stronger than ever. There's the rebellious spirit, the boundless energy, the party tunes, the big melodies, and the benefits of experience and wisdom that enable the punk veterans to look back on youth with hindsight, showing that their insurgent streak is not only fully intact, but bolder and deeper with age. Like the flaming ghettoblaster on the iconic front cover, Green Day are well and truly on fire." Read the rest of that review HERE. From the LP, the stunning 'Still Breathing' is an inspiring statement of survival; battle-worn, bruised and stronger after pulling through it all.


REWIND: Booth And The Bad Angel - 'I Believe'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that graced the charts in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

Booth And The Bad Angel was a project that saw Tim Booth of the legendary Manchester band James join forces with American film score composer Angelo Badalamenti. Their self-titled 1996 album also featured ex-Suede man Bernard Butler on guitar. After a number of live performances, Butler apparently offered Booth the chance to form a new band with him, but the singer declined, opting to spend his time recording new material with James instead. The majestic, strident 'I Believe' reached number 25 in the UK singles chart.


The Vault: Mercury Rev - 'Holes'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press 'play' and enjoy.

Since it's October and the nights are getting darker earlier, I've decided to feature a few of the songs that remind me of autumn. This one reminds me of my evenings in 1998, from a masterpiece of an album by Mercury Rev. Due to the amount of acclaim the critics were giving it, I didn't think it lived up to the hype at first, but the beautiful 'Deserters Songs' was an album that grew on me over the years. From it is this stunning opening track. 'Deserter's Songs' was the New York band's fourth full-length effort, and was released in September 1998. It went to number 27 in the UK album charts and earned the band a gold disc.



Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Soccer96 - 'Megadrive Lamborghini'

I first heard this superb duo a couple of years back when they released their self-titled debut album, and now they emerge with their second full-length effort. Made up of drummer Betamax and analogue synth wizard Danalogue, and as well as operating as Soccer96, the two of them also make up two thirds of Mercury Prize-nominated trio The Comet Is Coming. Released on Slowfoot Records, the superb 'As Above So Below' defies categorisation, mashing up techno, hip hop, funk, house and jazz to create a stratospheric melting pot of sound. Some tracks were composed and created at warehouse parties, while others were discovered on tapes from all-night recording sessions that the duo forgot even happened. One of my favourite albums of the year. From it comes this wonderful helping of blissed-out, glitchy stargazing hip hop where percussion clatters and synth notes glare like the rays of a million suns.

'As Above So Below' is available now on CD, digital and vinyl.
 

REWIND: B.B.E. - 'Seven Days And One Week'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that graced the charts in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The mid 90s were an amazing time for dance music, and it all happened just at the right time for me, since I was a very young club DJ, taking to the decks every weekend at a club that my dad managed. This dream-trance classic is still one of my favourite floorfillers of all time, and hasn't aged a bit. B.B.E. were active from 1996 until 2003, and consisted of of Italian record producers Bruno Sanchioni and Bruno Quartier, and French producer Emmanuel Top. 'Seven Days And One Week' can be found on the group's only album 'Games', which only managed number 60 in the UK album charts. This legendary dance hit fared much better, reaching number 3 in the UK, and earning the group a silver disc. As well as the singles released from 'Games', B.B.E. released four more non-album singles in the early 2000s, including one interestingly titled 'Seven Days And Four Years'.


The Vault: Ultravox - 'All Stood Still'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press 'play' and enjoy.

Today's entry is this infectious 1981 single, taken from the album 'Vienna', which was the first Ultravox LP to feature Midge Ure on vocals. Released after the album's classic title track, the pumping 'All Stood Still' went to number 8 in the UK singles chart. It was the group's second Top 10 hit.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Paul Draper - 'Friends Make The Worst Enemies'

As the frontman and the creative force of Mansun, Paul Draper's songs earned his underrated but much-loved band a number of Top 40 hits, and three acclaimed albums. Following a long silence that lasted twelve years, Draper returned this year with his debut solo release EP One, which went straight to number 1 in the UK vinyl charts. Fans will be pleased to hear that a second four track EP is being prepared for release on Kscope Records.

Bringing to mind a bolstered take on the darker, melancholic moods of the 3rd Mansun album 'Little Kix', the lead track 'Friends Make The Worst Enemies' is packed with the sort of epic drama and intriguing melodic brilliance that fans will welcome with open arms. The lyrics seem to be shaped by Draper's experiences in the music industry, where the deceit and backstabbing he suffered during the Mansun years forced him into a self-imposed exile for over a decade. Now, the reinvigorated songwriter has turned the tables and used these experiences to his advantage, roaring back into action with conviction and vengeful intent.

'Friends Make The Worst Enemies' was co-written by Catherine AD aka The Anchoress, whose debut album 'Confessions Of A Romance Novelist' was co-written and co-produced by Draper. He produced EP Two himself at his London studio The Kitchen. His debut solo album is due for release in spring 2017 when he will play his first solo live dates, something Mansun fans have only been able to dream of. As well 'Friends Make The Worst Enemies', the EP will also feature 'Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid', 'Don’t You Wait, It Might Never Come' and an acoustic version of the lead track. It's released on November 25 and will be available as a CD digipack, limited heavyweight clear vinyl, and in digital formats. RW/FF was lucky enough to speak to Paul a few years ago, where he talked about Mansun, The Anchoress and his plans for the future. Read that HERE.


REWIND: The Boo Radleys - 'C'mon Kids'

Time once again to rewind back exactly 20 years ago for more of the wonderful music that entered the charts this week in 1996. If you weren't around or were too young to remember the mid 90s, consider this a lesson of enlightenment. If you (like me) were lucky enough to experience it all first time around, then these posts make a fine nostalgic blast from the blast. 

The Top 10 in the UK singles chart from 20 years ago this week (13 October 1996 - 19 October 1996) features a few great songs (B.B.E, Babybird, The Chemical Brothers) as well as some awful ones (Mark Morrison, Boyzone's atrocious Bee Gee's cover 'Words'). See the full chart rundown from that week HERE. This guitar-heavy single from The Boo Radleys was a new entry at number 18.

Despite the band releasing the incredible and majorly underrated album 'Kingsize' a couple of years later, 'C'Mon Kids' turned out to be their final UK Top 20 hit single. Like many others, I first heard of this band via their joyous 1995 hit 'Wake Up Boo', and thanks to radio and TV not giving their subsequent material the exposure it deserved, I didn't hear any more new music from the group until the 1998 single 'Free Huey'. After 'Wake Up Boo' and its parent album 'Wake Up' proved to be the band's breakthrough, 'C'Mon Kids' was seen as a deliberately difficult departure from the previous record. However, frontman Sice stated a few years later that "We didn't want to scare away the hit-kids, we wanted to take them with us to somewhere that we'd not been before. All we wanted to do was make a different type of album than Wake Up... All we wanted to do was try something new - to keep ourselves fresh and interested. We were very surprised to find that it was seen as a deliberate attempt to scare away newly created fans. That would have been an extremely foolish thing to do."


The album went to number 20 in the UK album charts.


The Vault: David Bowie - 'She's Got Medals'

Time for another edition of a brand new feature. While Track Of The Day brings you new music and Rewind takes you back 20 years, The Vault deals in amazing songs from random points in musical history. RW/FF will keep these posts short and sweet, with only a small bit of basic info. All you have to do is press play and enjoy.

I will make absolutely no apologies for featuring David Bowie on this site every week. If anybody deserves to have such a large presence here, then it's the greatest musical icon of all-time. If you "don't see what all the fuss is about", then I'll say what I say to anyone who doesn't see the magic in his music: each one of his albums was completely different to the previous one, and even if you have to dig deep, you'll undoubtedly find something you'll like. Today I'm going to go right back to the start of the Starman's career for my favourite track from his self-titled debut album, released in 1967. 

Bowie’s debut LP displayed something of an identity crisis. His manager Ken Pitt was keen to mould him into a Tommy Steele-esque all round entertainer, but the songs also mixed the theatrical style of Anthony Newley with psychedelica and the 60′s pop sounds of The Kinks. But more interestingly, the album contains brief hints of topics that were to become familiar Bowie subjects in years to come, and my choice pick ‘She’s Got Medals’ addresses gender bending. Despite its quaint charm, the album isn't considered by a lot of people as a “proper” Bowie record, but over the years it has grown on me in a big way.

A few years ago I put together an epic six-part compilation featuring some of my favourite Bowie moments. Listen to that in full HERE. When the much-missed icon returned with 'The Next Day' in 2013, I wrote an article called 'What Bowie Means To Me', which can be read HERE


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Track Of The Day: Beth Orton - 'Wave'

Here's a track from someone who I've not heard from in quite a few years. However this brilliant new track has put Beth Orton firmly back on my radar. Orton's sixth studio album 'Kidsticks' was released back in May of this year, and brings her trademark folktronica sound into new territories. While many of her records have gradually strayed away from electronic sounds and more towards acoustic instrumentation, the beautiful 'Wave' combines an inviting rhythm with lovely synth sounds.

Scott Ramage at God Is In The TV reviewed her recent album, writing that "it’s the freshest Orton has sounded in years... at its core, it’s an electronic pop album that doesn’t hold any major surprises. But it’s far from pedestrian – rather, it feels like a return to form. Today’s cutting-edge is tomorrow’s retro: Orton’s safeness is timeless." Read the rest of that review HERE.