Fascinating Things : Issue 74

Time is escaping me at a rapid rate due to lots of other workloads,  with no time for considered prose. So this time it’s  just a series of videos and soundclouds  of things that I reckon you should wrap your ears around. They are  out now or due soon. Plus there’s  a list of current favourite listens at the end of the post showing what’s on rotation on the I-Pod at the moment….and a bit of shameless self-publication at the bottom. Enjoy!


CHORE – THE HITCHHIKER (Ontario, Canada)


PAPA M – BLOOM (Louisville, USA)







  • Fistula – The Shape Of Doom To Cumm )))
  • Loser Life – …And I Am Going To Live This Way , Things Will Never Change, I Want The World, My Hell, Life Number Two, Burning Fields/Hard To Please (complete back catalogue being released)
  • Chore – The Coastaline Fire
  • Papa M -Highway Songs
  • Donny McCaslin – Beyond Now
  • Chads Tree – Crossing Off The Miles
  • Harry Howard and the NDE – Sleepless Girls
  • The Stress of Leisure – Achievement
  • Kristin Hersh – Wyatt at the Coyote Palace
  • Moss Skellington- The Lump
  • The Get – The Private Men EP
  • Miles Davis – Freedom Jazz Dance
  • The Triffids – Born Sandy Devotional

AND SOME GIGS COMING UP (which is why I have been otherwise engaged)






Album Of The Year?

Yes it’s that time again……and with it being a very busy year I thought i’d better prepare the long-list early on…..so in no particular order the candidates for this years “Best Of…..” not jazz albums… I’ll whittle it down to a top ten in due course, and I may well include some other ones I have missed and some things in the pipeline which look like they make the list.

There are a couple of very strong front-runners at the moment and after that it all gets a bit difficult…………

  • The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty
  • Niche – Heading East
  • Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence
  • Dilly Dally – Sore
  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times
  • Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek
  • The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run
  • Moff Skellington – Scribnalls
  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Think
  • Robert Forster – Songs To Play
  • Bouquet of Dead Crows – Of The Night
  • Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Oceans Roar
  • Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit
  • Corrections House – Know How To Carry A Wip
  • Esmerine – Lost Voices
  • Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain
  • Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue
  • Liberez – All Tense Now Lax
  • Vienna Ditto – Circle
  • JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum
  • Ken Mode – Success
  • Dead to Dying World – Litany
  • Myrkur – M
  • The Creeping Ivies – Your New Favourite Garage Band
  • Ought – Sun Coming Down
  • Big Brave – Au De La
  • The Happy Fallen – Lost and Found
  • Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva
  • Alif – Aynama -Rtama
  • Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine  (Expanded)
  • ZX+ Don’t Drink The Water
  • Author & Punisher -Melk En Honing
  • Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1
  • Flies On You – Etcetera
  • Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
  • The Go-Betweens – G stands for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (yes I know it’s a box set but it’s too good to ignore)
  • Moff Skellington – The Corduroy Bridge
  • The Fall – Sub Lingual Tablet
  • Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch
  • Anna Von Hauswolff – The Miraculous

Fascinating Things : Issue 17

Montréal chamber rock ensemble Esmerine return with the new full-length album “Lost Voices”, described as  “the most dynamic and incendiary record of the group’s career”, following its highly-acclaimed and Juno award-winning 2013 release Dalmak. Led by co-founders Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on various mallet instruments and Rebecca Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Saltland) on cello, Esmerine also includes drummer/percussionist Jamie Thompson (The Unicorns, Islands, Little Scream) and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson.

Lost Voices is the result of multiple recording sessions led by Vid Cousins (Kid Koala, Amon Tobin, Colin Stetson) and was mixed/produced by Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes) at his Breakglass Studio in Montréal. The album features several tracks that are hands down among the band’s most rocking, making newfound use of electric guitars (courtesy a variety of guest players) alongside the group’s nucleus of marimba, strings and percussion. Expanding from Dalmak’s core quartet, Esmerine also welcomes bassist Jeremi Roy (who began touring with the group in 2013) as an official member; his contrabass work adds potent low-end to the heavier and more muscular jams on the new album. Lost Voices is equally notable for the appearance of GY!BE/Silver Mt. Zion violinist Sophie Trudeau as a featured guest.


It is released on Constellation on October 16th, here is a link to a  taster with the track Neighbourhoods Rise


With only a few weeks to go until Helen’s debut LP “The Original Faces” is released, the band have shared a second teaser from the album in the form of ‘Violet’. ‘Violet’ perfectly captures the dreamy pop-rock essence of Helen, with Harris’ airy vocals dancing atop the fuzzy guitar textures and rhythmic bass tones.

Helen is a pop group from Oregon. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).

Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely. The Original Faces was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins. The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

The Original Faces will be released 4th September via kranky.

I don’t normally post jazz related things in this part of the blog but Dave Douglas‘ new one “High Risk” contains sufficient elements of improvised music to warrant a look. It’s been out a month now, and it will be a strong front runner for my jazz album of the year. The band is Dave on trumpet with DJ producer Shigeto, bassist Jonathan Maron, and drummer Mark Guilianah, The video below, of the excellent “Tied Together”, contains a great tune which marries Dave’s warm tones with some fascinating electronica from Shigeto and a great rhythm section performance. Note the use of echo on the trumpet in places to great effect. Nils Petter Molvaer has been doing similar for years so it’s not exactly ground-breaking (despite some critics getting a little tipsy about it) but Dave always brings something new to the table and that’s certainly true of this album.

Excellent work by Tony Thornborough here below in capturing the excellent Flies On You live at The Crescent in Salford. As I have posted. at length, previously Tony and Steve Nicholson are putting on some great nights at the venue and Jim Watts has to be best sound man in the conurbation at the moment.

PPNW Records have announced the release of “13 O’CLOCK”, a limited-edition compilation album that you CAN’T download from iTunes! Lovingly compiled by the Atlanta-based company, it stand for Post Punk New Wave Records, “13 O’Clock” revives the spirit of 80’s DIY, a sound & aesthetic which can still be heard today in Franz Ferdinand, The Horrors, The Bravery, Ladytron and many more…

Featuring exciting previously unreleased tracks from 80’s cult favourites Uur Daughters Wedding (recorded live!), European hit makers B-Movie and French electro-punk pioneers Metal Urbain, the album also features the post-punk classic “Agent Orange” by Ski Patrol (w/Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman) and the EPIC track “Galapagos” by European music collective Family Fodder (full tracklisting below).

The label has taken the bold move of not making the album available on iTunes, and is available exclusively as a limited-edition CD (500 copies only!) via the PPNW Records website.





Giles, Grey, Lorimer, Hunter and Bremner

Flies On You
6 March 2015


There is an altogether angrier and louder start to their second album with fearsome scabrous vocal and guitar from Andy and Doug of Flies on You from the get go,  and it might have you thinking that the band are bringing more the same,  however nothing could be further from the truth. This new one is a package of many different parts.

Those of you who hang around these pages, or indeed listen to my podcasts, will be aware of the fuss that has been made about these chaps. For those not aware of Flies on You they describe themselves as a “DIY Leeds Post Punk Duo” with the emphasis on the DIY part and an insistence on an independent focus and approach. They have built a reputation with limited live appearances, which is to be remedied soon, and some heavy promotion via community/local radio together with  other domestic and international radio play and press reviews both on and offline, plus specific appearances on BBC Radio 6 Music and radio shows in the United States. In successive years, Flies On You tracks have featured in the end-of-year “Festive Fifty”, voted for by the listeners of Dandelion Radio, the station whose mission is to perpetuate the legacy of John Peel.


They are Andrew Watkins and Doug Aikman. Andy and Doug formed Flies On You in 2011, intent on playing enthusiastically demented punk-rock, but soon found their post-punk and electronic influences creeping in and affecting things. They released their debut album, “Nothing To Write Home About” in September 2012. 2013 saw the releases of the “Session EP” (originally recorded as a session for Mark Whitby’s Show on Dandelion Radio) and “Josephine Remix EP”, 10 re-interpretations of an audience favourite, which I contributed a track to.

So what we have here is 15 tracks – two of which have had preview exposure (Katie Hopkins In Human Form and Can You Smell That Burning Noise) – varying from the brittle edges of anarcho-punk (Hangdog), via post-punk pop (People Like Pete) , french pop (Ugly Cousins) through dub reggae stylings (Roofspace), spoken word sections (Thank You St Francis)  to full-on punk ranting.  The variety is more obvious than with the first album, the songs are generally however just as short, in that they are perfect little nuggets of compressed musical energy bursting with ideas both lyrical and musical – “Our Little Secret” being  case in point with its varying elements and mix of chiming guitar and terrace vocalising.


There’s a quirky “only from the North” feel to this, but with nods towards more southerly things like The Soft Boys, XTC and an On-U sound dynamic.  The excellent “Method Actor” and “Swine Hero” sound like a hyperactive version of Wire, if they had been brought up in Headingly and gone to Leeds College of Art. The collective experience of the two protagonists is distilled into a heady mix, the polemic is strong in parts, Action Stations being the most obvious, but couched in subversive pop melodies which aid in delivering some serious messages in a unique way. The album feels like the great Leeds team from the 1970/1 season – the culture and flair of Giles, Grey and Lorimer mixed with the venom of Charlton, Bremner, and Hunter et al.

All in all an excellent second full length well worthy of your attention.

Forthcoming gigs:

28/03/15 Leeds Brudenell Social Club, supporting BRIX & THE EXTRICATED (ex of The Fall)

17/04/15 Preston New Continental Club, supporting EDWARD TUDOR-POLE

25/04/15 Oldham Bank Top Tavern, in the company of several other bands for JEFF-FEST






Kiss This Noise

What a glorious Monday with brand new vids from some of my fave rockin’ teen combos…..

First AAAK with a single release of the very memorable “Sweet Sweet Kiss”……

and then the return of Flies On You with the astringent post punkery of “Can You Smell That Burning Noise” (from the highly anticipated new album “etcetera”)

and to conclude a little bit of Staggs mischief……






Furiouser and Furiouser………


Smart Husband Resonator Set


5th April 2014


In which a selection of like-minded individuals explore the wonderful world of STAGGS and re-interpret previously released work. For those of you not in the loop STAGGS are MT Scott, The Riddler,  and  Kitsy Chaos.

First up we have the City of Leeds saviours of post-punk – otherwise known as the delightfully wondrous Flies On You –  who transform “Furious Staggs” from the Weird Kids EP  into a manic John Barry-esque experience – albeit John Barry lodged behind a drum machine in an all-night dance party – compelling stuff indeed. I was reminded of “The Persuaders” “The Champions” or “The Protectors” or some other 70s TV show where men wore sharp suits,  women wore exquisitely tailored french gowns, they drove Lamborghini’s and were heading to an early grave due to the huge numbers of Capstan Full Strength they smoked. A scabrous sample of Mr Scott’s voice sits uneasily over the zither like Barry twangs as percussive multiplicity proceeds over mutterings and chitterings. Brilliant.

Next up is Bedroom Legends which is/are Ubertino du (or da  or de –  depending on which quarter of the moon it is)  Casale  (see my Room on the Floor Podcasts for more of his work) and Richard E Stuart  – who take “Staggs Are Nice” and blend in some Jam and William Blake to create a sultry rhythmic confection which hangs between glitchy feathery stuff, more howling from Mr Scott, and resonating synth screams, bubbling basses, constrained sweeps, and other contrapuntal naughtiness. Sexy.

Mave Mills (he of Chumbawamba fame) alters “Ron Was Cool” via a “Sailor’s Knot Mix”  from Weird Kids into a Morricone-esque spaghetti western tumble – the first part of which takes us into a cloud of airy pads which morph into a tasteful vocodering of the original melody. Further, and very clever, transformation of the vocal parts layer through to a gentle percussion section where distant guitar sounds propel a slight melody. A lush and delicious realisation.

DJ Capt Mainwaring (who may happen to be Michael T. Scott of STAGGS) takes the 13th Hour (from Mother Natures Bastard Sons)  and translates it into a “Houston Funeral Mix”. A punchy bass with the original shuffle rhythm dictates the pace as “found sounds”, which transforms the Syd Barrett-like Englishness of the original into something transatlantic and offers a Texan perspective, as a lonely trumpet plays the last post, before offering a little Gallic intervention from the source. The organic development of this track is exceptional, as bit by bit new elements are introduced.  Fascinating.

This is marvellous stuff – the original tunes are pretty damn good in their own right, these re-interpretations are best described as both fun and stunning in respect of invention and delivery.

Around 18 minutes of amazing music, apparently it’s only going to cost you 79p….. so rather than buy that Curly Wurly that’s staring at you from the end of the check out desk at Morrison’s why not invest in this?

I shall be playing the before and after versions on Aural Delights over the next three weeks – the variation and original  of “Ron Was Cool” have already been featured here

No doubt you will be able to purchase is from the STAGGS bandcamp page.





Boney Mmmmmmm!!!

Flies On You

Session EP


April 1st 2013

It will not have escaped your notice, if you have been listening to Tony Thornborough or Stephen Doyles radio shows, or indeed my podcasts, that Flies On You are a duo from Leeds who delivered an excellent album last year called “Nothing to Write Home About”  . All three of us agreed both unilaterally and whilst sharing a Vimto in a local hostlery,  that it was one of the best albums of the year. Their follow up cover of Altered Images “Dead Pop Stars” was also lauded and applauded by those who know good music when they hear it.


How nice then to receive a message from Andrew Watkins from the band with a link to a new EP.

Of course, we were not alone in our  praise of their output, and in the autumn of last year Mark Whitby of  Dandelion Radio said the album was both  “a corker” and that the duo “eschew any temptation to fit themselves easily into a hole in favour of following their obsessions wherever they take them. It’s this that gives the album its eclectic power and brilliance.”

Mark subsequently invited the duo to record a “session” to be featured in his March 2013 show.  So in February 2013 they recorded  four songs –  three being re-worked versions of songs from the album, the other a totally new number composed almost on the spot.  So you get new versions of  “Shipmanesque”, “Josephine” and “Spain” plus new track “Fencing”.

Revisiting tracks can sometimes be a fraught business but it’s safe to say that FOY have managed to refresh and reinforce the quality of the originals. “Josephine” with Watkins’ “Hanley/Burnel” insistent  bass sound and Aikmans’ chiming guitar intro lulls you into a false sense of security before Doug launches balefully into a rant of mammoth proportions with some memorable words around a variety of subjects – most notably a “skinhead revival”.  “Shipmanesque” gets a bit (only a little bit mind you) doom metal in the vocal department over a clash of guitars which recalls something from early 80s Tuxedomoon – very speedy and moreish. “Spain” with the feature bass sound and angry ranting is slightly shorter than a bit more intense than the album version. Indeed overall the world weary/laconic feel of the album versions has moved into a more focused and somewhat more intemperate zone. And of course the language has been toned down somewhat for radio play.

The new song is a speedy motorik electro-punk beast of a thing with some excellent deadpan observations on life, love, relationships, household appliances, garden furniture and sweeteners. There is something Blackwell-esque in the duo’s commentary on modern day tropes and fads.

A rather impressive release from Andrew and Doug – I hear on the grapevine that a live band is being assembled for gigging purposes and I do hope they can head west up the M62 to see us in Greater Manchesterville.

One of your pounds will be required to acquire said artefact and I suggest that would be money well spent.

WEBSITE: www.fliesonyou.co.uk

Aural Delights Radio Show – 17th October 2012

You can listen to it here

And this is what I played……

1 Curry Quiche Social Barrier Thing Demo
2 The Cornelius Crane Don’t Blame This Heart of Mine E.P. Too
3 Damn Vandals This Amazing Done for Desire
4 Eugene Twist If There’s Love Where I’m Going The Boy Who Had Everything
5 Devilman 93 Devilman
6 Curry Quiche Phonaphobia Demo
7 Flies On You The Last Pop Song Nothing To Write Home About
8 Lola Dutronic L’Amour Est Bleu Everyone’s a star
9 Man Kerosene Winos, Rhinos and Lunatics
10 Me and My Friends Green Back Dollar Breath A Level Head
11 Moff Skellington Said Naughty Norman Gravy On A Plate of Food
12 Journal-Keepers Still Here Demo
13 Curry Quiche Love Went with the rest Demo
14 Peter Hammill Red Shift The Peel Session