Thursday, 26 July 2012


Radio One broadcast highlights of what was presumably an uncharacteristic loud performance from Adam Green and Kimya Dawson to accommodate the big stage and large festival crowd. The duo were the opening act on the main stage on the first day of the festival and performed a 30 minute set, having been added to the bill at the request of fellow New Yorkers The Strokes.

As far as UK fans were concerned, the band seemed to appear out of nowhere upon the release of their lone lo-fi self-titled album which had the critics raving and an audience craving. Despite the success of these live appearances, this would turn out to be the band's only UK tour, the pair going their separarte ways for individual solo stardom soon after.

Songs : What Went Wrong, D2 Boyfriend, On Top, Nothing Came Out, and perhaps with chilling irony, NYC Is Like A Graveyard - barely two weeks later the MPs home town would be coming to terms with the 9/11 tragedy.

Friday, 20 July 2012


At the risk of this blog turning into a necrophiliacs website specialising in deceased musicians, this month marks the 13th anniversary since the sad and premature passing of Mark Sandman.

Here is an excellent sound quality recording of a fantastic live set from what became Morphine's final hometown show. Barely a month later, Mr. Sandman collapsed and died from a heart attack whilst performing on stage at a festival in Italy aged just 46.

Includes rare track Skeletons plus songs from across their first four albums. Track 15 (French Fries w/Pepper) is missing - the file wouldn't copy from the disc for some reason. I will add the track later if I can resolve the problem.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Beta Band - The Breezblock 2/3/1998

Only two more years and it will be the tenth anniversary of The Beta Band's lump in throat-inducing demise. Assuming the satan's frisbee format hasn't met the same fate as the News Of The World and white dog poo, I'm fantasising that 2014 will see multiple cd reissues of their original albums, with out-takes aplenty, of which this session would be worthy of inclusion. 

Broadcast two days after I first witnessed the band live for the very first time at The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth. I was lucky enough to track down a copy of the Champion Versions 12" from Tempest (RIP) in Brum, after hearing the session version of Dry The Rain on Steve Lamacq's show. Other than that, I knew little about them. The Patty Patty Sound EP had yet to be released, but Inner Meet Me had been on heavy rotation on Mary Anne Hobbs show for some time. (There seemed to be a trend around this period where record companies would send promotion copies of impending singles for broadcast several weeks in advance.) Curiously, John Peel never championed them.

If you never saw The Beta Band's early live shows, this is the closest you will get. Starting off with Circus Song (basically samples of fairground music accompanied by the group bashing out percussive rhythms on anything to hand), the band then easing in to a completely unrecognisable version (to it's later studio counterpart) of Dr. Baker, followed by She's The One and The House Song, both far superior live than the Patty versions, all interspersed with amusing sketches from their Old Jock Radio pals.

Single MP3 file.

As a bonus here's their second session for Mary Anne Hobbs. Strictly speaking, not a conventional session as such, more an exercise in on the spot songcraft. Listeners were invited to supply their own "soundscapes" over the phone. The band then had 90 minutes to fashion the telecommed samples into something vaguely resembling a song. Not sure how regular a feature this was, but I dimly recall Roni Size also taking up the mantle.

Recorded live on air on 9/6/1999

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tomorrow - Top Gear Sessions 1967-68

Time to take up the lotus position, fashion a necklace out of tulip petals, and travel with the mind to the future sounds of yesteryear.
 As is so often the case, these precious tracks were either salvaged from BBC transcription discs or mystery fans who just happened to leave the tape recorder on while experiencing beautiful colours courtesy of the cosmic sugar cube. The Beeb's then policy was to wipe existing tapes so they could be reused, thus saving the law abiding licence payer's hard earned dosh.

The recordings from the first session, plus Blow Up from the second received official release in the form of bonus tracks on a nineties cd reissue of the group's lone eponymous album. Apart from a very limited vinyl repressing a couple of years ago that replicated the album's original eleven track running order, this classic has not been commercially available since. The other three songs from the second session have never been made commercially available.
1st 21/9/1967
Real Life Permanent Dream
 Colonel Brown
Three Jolly Little Dwarfs

2nd 31/1/1968
The Blow Up
Strawberry Fields Forever
Now Your Time Has Come
The Incredible Journey Of Timothy Chase


I always have mixed emotions whenever I listen to this session. Peel was then occupying the 8-10pm slot and I was supposed to be working the late shift on the evening this was broadcast. Sadly, upon arrival at work we were informed that a colleague on the other shift had collapsed and died of a heart attack on the shop floor. Naturally, operations were suspended and all staff sent home.

I'd not heard of Aerial M until I saw them the previous January in Brighton, playing to a large, disinterested and noisy crowd impatient for the on stage arrival of headliners Stereolab. 

A month later I caught them again in the more intimate and appreciative surroundings of the Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, supporting Mogwai, and was impressed enough to purchase the vinyl edition of their only album and the Vivea tour cd from the merchandise stall.

During what turned out to be their only UK tour, the group found time to call in at Maida Vale studios to tape what I think is their finest recorded moment(s) - a more accurate representation of their live performances that the records didn't capture.

After a couple of limited 7" singles on Domino and an album of remixes, the band quietly went their separate ways, former Slint guitarist David Pajo returning in 2000 under the guise of Papa M.  

1. Safeless   2. Vivea   3. Skrag Theme.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Although LP releases are sporadic to say the least, the TVPs back catalogue is, at times, a confusing array of limited edition singles on a variety of labels,  reissues of early 7"'s with different sleeves and/or b sides, songs on flexi discs given away with little known fanzines, lost tracks on long deleted tribute albums etc etc.

While the TVPs discography may contain more rarities collections than actual albums, there are many songs that have slipped the proverbial net and remain uncompiled. Here's a personal ten track  collection of stray tracks that, to my knowledge, have not been commercially available since their initial releases.

1. Geoffrey Ingram (single version)
2. Biff Bang Pow!
3. Baby's Turning Blue
4. Apples And Oranges
5. I Still Believe In Magic
6. Respectable
7. I Was A Mod Before You Was A Mod (Easy Mix)
8. She Lives For The Moment
9. None Of This Will Matter When You're Dead
10. She Always Makes A Drama Out Of Everything 


1. Three Wishes b side 1982
2. Communication Blur fanzine flexi disc 1982
3. demo 1987.  B side to A Sense Of Belonging reissue 7" on Overground,1994
4. Beyond The Wild Wood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett LP1987
5-6 Caff Corporation 7" 1989
7-9 Overground 7"/cds 1996
10 unreleased song live Cologne 1996


Here's a cd that seems to have even eluded the attentions of the online Beefheart bible that is The Radar Station.

With a plethora of dubious releases commonly found in what remains of record retailing outlets - including Son Of Dustsucker, a pointless reissue of Dustsucker of what was supposedly the Captain's own master tapes of the now (finally) officially released 1976 Bat Chain Puller sessions, but sounding more like an nth generation cassette casually copied and cast down the decades - it's nice to find something new and previously unheard amongst the exhaustively bootlegged archive.

Here we have thirteen versions of seven songs - basic tracks, alternate takes, and what sounds like rough mixes of the finished backing tracks - from Beefheart's last studio album proper. As you'll have gathered from the title, Van Vliet is nowhere to be found on here. But fans who are familiar with the Decals and Shiny Beast instrumental out-takes sets will no doubt savour Gary Lucas, Cliff Martinez, Rick Snyder and Jeff Moris Teper beavering away to attain the perfect take in accordance with Don's strict specifications.

I purchased this cd off ebay earlier this year. The disc states made in Japan with the copyright date MCMXCIV, which by my reckoning (ok, I googled it) is 1994. The cover is a facsimile of the original album sleeve. No label or catalogue number, but seems to be a professionally manufactured cd, not a cd-r.

    Track list:

1. The Host, The Ghost The Most Holy-O (2:25)
2. Ice Cream For Crow (5:35)
3. Cardboard Cutout Sundown (2:38)
4. Witch Doctor Life (2:43)
5. The Past Sure Is Tense (3:05)
6. Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat (4:48)
7. Semi-Multicoloured Caucasian (6:02)
8. Witch Doctor Life #2 (2:38)
9. Ice Cream For Crow #2 (4:43)
10. Semi-Multicoloured Caucasioan #2 (5:08)
11. The Past Sure Is Tense #2 (3:28)
12. Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat #2 (4:54)
13. Witch Doctor Life #3 (2:43)

Recorded at Warner Bros. Recording Studios, North Hollywood, California June-July 1982.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Radio broadcast from John Peel's show of Tortoise at the third ATP festival which the band curated. Only 40 minutes in total, so presumably not the complete performance. I only saw Tortoise live once, in Brighton early 1998 when they were touring the UK to promote the then new TNT album, and the encore was longer than the main show itself!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


If anyone has any more Higgs Boson jokes, please leave them in the comments box below.

Meanwhile, here's a live set from Tim de Laughter and extended adopted family on their first UK tour.

Broadcast on the Radio 1 Evening Session, then hosted by Steve Lamacq, back in the days when Radio 1 was still worth listening to (i.e. Peelie was still with us), so admittedly it's not the complete performance.

Single file.


Here's a band so obscure they've even managed to elude the all seeing eye that is Wikipedia.

Often linked with Trixies Big Red Motorbike, not only because they were considered to be mining similiar musical territory, but through a number of unusual coincidences: both groups were duos inhabiting small islands off the UK's southern coast (in Twa Toots case the Isle of Sheppey); both groups rarely played live (if at all); both groups emerged at around the same time to record sessions for John Peel after sending him demo tapes; both groups faded back into the obscurity from whence they came soon after.

But unlike Trixies, Twa Toots were known to emerge from their bedrooms on more than one occasion to record their songs in proper studios on the mainland.

The group - Sarah Brown (vocals, guitar, bass, piano), Phillipa Richmond (guitar, vocals) - recorded their debut (and only) Peel session in 1983, augmented by Will Cassell (drums) and Sarah's dad Frank on trombone. But it wasn't until the latter part of 1986 that this seven track mini lp quietly slipped out on the Crystal Clear label (Cat. No. CC103) in a pressing of just 250 copies.

Long before the Stone Roses adopted a similiar ploy, it would be followed up five years later by a single, Don't Send Me Flowers, on the Rootin' Tootin label, which in turn would be followed up in 1996 by a 15 track compilation album of the same name (featuring mostly previously unreleased material) on the Accident label (who also simultaneously released a Trixie's comp - more coincidences).

Four of the songs on this lp were not included on the Accident album. The title track and It's A Lovely Day (both recorded for the 1983 Peel session) were eschewed in favour of alternate demo versions. Shoe Bop and Bewitched have, to my knowledge, never been commercially available since this release. 

Side One
1. Please Don't Play A Rainy Night In Georgia  2. Johnny Oliver  3. Bewitched!  4. Julia's Garden.

Side Two
1. Shoe-Bop  2. It's A Lovely Day  3. Hurts So Bad.

Friday, 6 July 2012


The Higgs Boson walks into a church. The priest says, 'Sorry, we don't allow Higgs Boson's in here.'
The Higgs Boson replies, 'But without me, how can you have mass?'

Short 20 minute set from Lawrence and his hot dog street-smart cohorts at Hammersmith Apollo, supporting Belle & Sebastian.

Trixie's Red Motorbike - Peel Sessions 1982-83

2012 has seen several unexpected reformations of obscure, short lived indie groups from the eighties. Perhaps most surprisingly, this brother and sister duo from the Isle Of Wight, who only ever emreged from the family home to record two Peel sessions, are gearing up for a world tour, including dates in the USA, Japan, Germany and Scotland.

There's a new compilation, 'All Day Long In Bliss', being released, containing one or two songs not on the 1995 Accident compilation.

Hopefully one day the Peel sessions will finally get an official release. Their second - and arguably their finest recorded work - crops up on the net quite a lot. Other than Pledge, I've never seen the first session posted anywhere. Unfortunately, my version is missing 'Treetops'.

 A Splash Of Red   
You Took Him Away From Me 
  Invisible Boyfriend
That's The End Of That
One Nation Under A Brolly
Norman And Narcissus
White Horses

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