Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Monday, 31 March 2014

Close Your Eyes And Think Of This

Someone must have thought that sticking The Who on a bus with a baby elephant and a couple of leggy models was a good way to promote a single. And on reflection, I think it probably is.

This is an absolutely blistering slice of 1967 psychedelic mod pop- Moon's drumming and Townshend's skyscraping, backwards/forwards and feedback driven guitar. And those harmonies. They, and anyone in 1967 for that matter, were never any better than this. Armenia City In The Sky was written by friend of the band John 'Speedy' Keen and the open song from their concept album The Who Sell Out- an album no record collection should be without, even if all those radio jingles get a bit wearying.

Armenia City In The Sky

Sunday, 30 March 2014

All The Leaves Are Brown

This is a genuine 60s classic. I'm not as a rule a fan of four part harmonies but with this here song, I am. It nails happy-sad too. The clip somehow is all the better for the fact that the video and audio are out of sync.

And for no reason other than it was in the side bar...

Actually, that's far from the only reason.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


A band called Alberteen got in touch the other day, a three piece playing rhythm and noir. I like them. They've had some good press coverage and 6 Music plays. Alberteen have a filmic sound, with interesting guitar riffs and lyrics. Soundtracky but bandy too (shit description alert). This song, A Girl And A Gun, pays homage to Jean Paul Belmondo and his description of all one needs to make a film.

Their website is here.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 142

Or Vendredi nuit est la nuit rockabilly.

French legend Johnny Hallyday live in 2012 in Bruxelles. Pay particular attention to the guitarist and the kilted drummer playing standing up. Yup.

We're off out tonight, Mrs Swiss and I. Date night, to, y'know, keep it fresh.

La Horse

I can't let this week's festival of Frenchness go by without some Serge Gainsbourg. This is a funky instrumental from the soundtrack to a film (La Horse) from 1970, with a banjo breakdown. Zut alors.

La Horse

Thursday, 27 March 2014


What's Bagging Area in French? L'area de bagging? Nope, zone d'ensachage apparently.
O level French, 1986, grade E. I do try with the language when we cross the Channel in the summer but I suspect I'll never pass as a Frenchman once I open my mouth.

The French theme continues with Francoise Hardy, Mrs Jacques Dutronc and all round good oeuf. Which reminds me... why does a Frenchman only eat one egg for breakfast?

Because un oeuf is un oeuf.
Merci beaucoup.

Francois Hardy was courted by both Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan, both of whom she towered over. This was a 1967 hit. J'adore.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Grumbling Fur

A sort of throbbing, glacial electronic thing with vocals from Grumbling Fur, reminding me of the early 1980s for some reason. It's on Thrill Jockey who are usually pretty reliable and it's a free download.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Psyche Rock

More from France.

Picture: Renee Perle in 1930, actress, model, muse and kiss-curl pioneer.

Music: composer Pierre Henry wrote Psyche Rock in 1967, a riot of synths, fuzzy guitars and the old 1-4-5 chord progression.

Psyche Rock

Monday, 24 March 2014

Et Moi

Super sharp Jacques Dutronc and his equally sharp and beautiful girlfriend Francois Hardy looking pretty pleased themselves. And why not?

Dutronc's 1966 hit Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi is a bit of a classic, mod drumming and fuzz guitar. It was also the first time French pop was taken seriously, breaking away from chanson. The lyrics satirise mid 60s social consciousness-

Sept cent millions de chinois/Et moi, et moi, et moi ("Seven hundred million Chinese people/And then there's me")

Co-writer Jacques Lanzmann said the song is about 'complete selfishness... all the terrible things that go on a stone's throw away, that touch us but do not prevent us from enjoying the evening's barbeque'. The song is a blast and a must for any compilation cd or playlist of 'songs in a language other than English'.

Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Puts Up The Closed Sign Does The Man In The Corner Shop

Man In The Corner Shop was on side two of The Jam's 1980 album Sound Affects although I should think I heard it first on Snap! The lyrics had a deep impact on me, possibly the first time I kind of understood that pop songs could be about something important. Paul Weller's 'Marxism for beginners in three minutes' still affect me today, even though I know them off by heart.

Puts up the closed sign does the man in the corner shop 
Serves his last and says goodbye to him 
He knows it is a hard life 
But it's nice to be your own boss really 
Walks off home does the last customer 
He is jealous of the man in the corner shop 
He is sick of working at the factory 
Says it must be nice to be your own boss (really) 
Sells cigars to the boss from the factory 
He is jealous is the man in the corner shop 
He is sick of struggling so hard 
He says "It must be nice to own a factory" 
Go to church do the people from the area 
All shapes and classes sit and pray together 
For here they are all one 
For God created all men equal

Man In The Corner Shop

It's a song that stands out musically on Sound Affects, with a chiming intro, 60s chords and middle eight, and powerful finish. I listened to the full album the other day. I'm not sure it's a 'great album', more a collection of songs recorded at the same time. Many of them are good but too similar in tone,Weller moving on from All Mod Cons and trying to absorb Gang Of Four's clipped guitars, while the rhythm section stretch out a bit. That's Entertainment and Start! are both career defining. There's some experimental pop-art. But Man In The Corner Shop (and That's Entertainment as well) seem to be the moral and human heart of the record.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Radio On

Andrew Weatherall was back for another outing at BBC 6 Mix last night with the usual two hour journey through time, space and sound. It's on the iPlayer and someone has uploaded to Soundcloud (with d/l).

The tracklist includes the second song from that double A side with Friendly Fires, a song he's produced from the forthcoming Pete Molinari album, and a sackful of records by people I've never heard of until now- Grumbling Fur, 6:6, Afet Serenay, Secret Boyfriend, Mano Le Tough, Jex Opolis, Tristesse Contemporaine and an Asphodells remix for She Said. Start your googling engines now.

Number two child is at a sleepover tonight. Number one tends to go to bed earlyish and without his hearing aid and cochlear implant in isn't woken by noise. A virtually childfree Saturday night with the stereo turned up awaits.

Before Your Eyes

A Friendly Fires and The Ashodells collaboration, done in Weatherall's east London bunker complex, is out on 12" at the end of the month. One of the two songs is here, seven minutes plus of hissy, melodic krauty bliss (mixed on one of Conny Plank's old desks apparently, studio trivia fans). The guitars and synths in the closing two minutes could quite happily play away forever.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 141

Ronnie Ray recorded Mean Mama Blues in 1960, just a bit too late really. It's a tale of a man whose woman has gone, walked out in the middle of the night, left a letter he can't read due to the tears in his eyes, his friends warned him and he didn't listen. Heck, she didn't even close the door.

It's been a long and somewhat hectic week and I shall be requiring a drink or two. You're welcome to join me.

Mean Mama Blues


Hollie Cook's debut album was one of my favourites from 2011 and she has a new one ready to release in May (fan funded via pledges). This song has appeared ahead of it. A lolloping Prince Fatty reggae beat, some lovely strings and a sultry Lover's Rock vocal from Hollie. Perfect timing too- today is the spring equinox, this is an early taste of summer.

From the dub version of her first lp...

Sugarwater Dub

Thursday, 20 March 2014

They Put Up The Posters Saying We Earn More Than You

Working for the clampdown. Get along, get along...

Weatherall Down Under

There's a new (well, from the end of January actually) Andrew Weatherall show for your enjoyment at Mixcloud. The Mixcloud page has a bewildering array of embed options but seemingly none that will embed it into blogger. Or I'm an idiot, which is possible. Recorded for Australian outfit 2SER's Static show it's got two hours of left field goodness and chat, plus two new songs by the man himself which may be coming out as part of  a new Weatherall album and/or on his vinyl only Bird Scarer label. The first, The Lies We Tell In The Daylight (About The Things We Do In The Dark), has a dirty fuzz bass, reverb-heavy male/female vocals and a bluesy Gun Club vibe. The second, If I Stand Up (The World Will Spin Away) is post punk bass and vox with a solitary, lost and wandering trumpet. In between there are, amongst others, The Liminanas, The Honeycombs, Anthony Newley, Big Carrot, Cedric Congo and Mad Professor, Girls Names and Ian McCulloch.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mick, Paul, Frank And Diplo

Judging by the comments here and elsewhere on the net a lot of people have enjoyed the Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Diplo and Frank Ocean collaboration I posted a link to last week. To my mind it's one of the best new songs I've heard this year and according to interviews there are four other songs they've been working on which could be released. So you might enjoy the clip here, with some studio footage and interview snippets with Mick, Paul and Diplo. Frank is absent.

Tony, Scott And Gary

The Grim Reaper has taken his toll recently and while the rush to Tweet/blog/post about celebrity deaths is a bit odd sometimes I thought I should pay tribute to three men who've all affected me at one time or another.

Tony Benn has been the subject of many words, now that he's died all complimentary, many spoken by people who wouldn't have had much good to say about him in his heyday- but that's politics. I saw him speak in the late 80s, the best political orator I've had the pleasure to listen to. He was a constant champion of the left. I've read some of his diaries and can recommend them thoroughly. He was pipe smoker of the year at least once.

Scott Asheton was the drummer of The Stooges and if you listen to Funhouse or the first album you'll know why he was such a crucial part of their neanderthal sound. He had a stroke a few years ago and tried to continue with Iggy and the reformed Stooges. He died at the weekend.

TV Eye (Take 1)

Gary Burger was the lead singer of mid-60s proto-punks The Monks, surely one of the most bizarre bands ever- a group of US G.I.'s with tonsures and robes, stationed in Germany, playing organ led garage rock, freaking out the flower children with songs of hate.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


I did a mix for a new website called Cooking Up A Quiet Storm. There are a whole bunch of top notch mixes there, some by people familiar to these pages and the blogs over on the right hand side of your computer screen. If you like mine, or anyone else's, there are two things you could do- leave a comment there, and maybe also volunteer to do a mix yourself. I'm sure Mark would appreciate it.

My mix looks like this...

My Bloody Valentine - Don't Ask Why/Warpaint - Love Is To Die/Public Service Broadcasting - Everest/Big Audio Dynamite - V Thirteen/Toy - Dead and Gone (Andrew Weatherall Remix)/Brian Eno - Another Green World (The Blue Realm mix)/The Orb v Lisa Stansfield - Time To Make You Mine/The Asphodells - Beglammered/Kolsh- Der Alte/Glass Candy - Warm In The Winter

Monday, 17 March 2014

Hazy Lazy Hologram

More lesser known early 90s, north-west based, dance influenced rock for your Monday morning. Dr Phibes And The House Of Wax Equations were a three piece who played regularly on the north Wales, Cheshire, Liverpool and Manchester circuit and recorded several decent 12" singles, eps, two albums and a Peel Session as well I think. Led by dreadlocked singer/guitarist Howard King they cooked up psychedelic dancey rock, beefier and less arty, less angular than yesterday's New FADs but were possibly perceived as just a tad too crusty, too festival to be real Madchester contenders. A shame.

Hazy Lazy Hologram

There's a shocking post-script to today's blog- Howard King was convicted of hacking his mother to death in 1997 and is serving an indeterminate sentence for murder.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

It Just Grows

If everyone who has left a comment below a New Fads song on Youtube or elsewhere saying how great they were had bought their records they'd surely have been millionaires. Fondly remembered, under-rated and a belting live band. The singer Andy Spearpoint's wife/partner was a teacher at the school in Failsworth I did my first teaching practice in, back in 1993. We bumped into them in a Rusholme curry house once. I prevented myself from bumbling about what a good band they were. Which they really were.

Big was a hit on the indie chart and has busy percussion, some lovely off-centre horns, choppy guitar, a massive bassline and Andy's cut-and-paste lyrics seemingly delivered from elsewhere. Indie-dance you can actually dance to if you're so inclined.


Saturday, 15 March 2014


I like a good re-edit- not any old re-edit you understand but a good re-edit. A few years ago Pilooski was the re-edit king, taking something old, not too widely known, running it through the software in his laptop and giving a new lease of life. Some re-edits are pretty lazy, just adding a beefed up drum track but when they're done well they're good fun. Pilooski's re-edit of Frankie Valli's 1967 song Beggin' was given a proper release beyond the world of bootlegs and mp3s. It still brings a smile to my face when I hear it.

Beggin' (Pilooski Edit)

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 140

Johnny Burnette may have ended the 1950s with a somewhat tame, underwhelming pop career but the records he made as one third of the Johnny Burnette Rock 'n' Roll Trio are legendary rockabilly. Like this one. It may sound like generic rockabilly now but it's got all the ingredients- rhythm, menace, razor sharp guitar, minimal and repetitive words.

Johnny Burnette died in August 1964. His unlit fishing boat was hit by a pleasure cruiser on a lake in California. He was thrown off and drowned.

Tear It Up

Teardrop Avenue

I seem to have been writing shorter and shorter blogposts recently- I just don't have much time to write at length or the headspace to think, get inspiration or get the input I need. And no input, no output, right?

I don't post much soul either. There are people who do a far better and more knowledgeable job of soul than I can. This played on the way home from work last night and sounded perfect- I'm pretty sure it came from Drew originally and I hope he won't mind me re-presenting it here. Bette Boothe from 1964. Vinyl copies around the £40 mark. You'll love it.

Teardrop Avenue

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Forty Days Of Rain

In a move guaranteed to cheer the heart of certain Scottish bloggers and many more besides, Roddy Frame has a new album out shortly and it is preceded by this song which I hope isn't tempting fate weather-wise. It's just turned nice. The album, Seven Dials, is out in May.

If you want a chuckle, do a Google image search for Roddy Frame. He can write a tune, he can play guitar... he's had some iffy pictures taken over the years.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Your Sky All Hung With Jewels

Back to the Bunnymen thing that's been going around here with Nouvelle Vague's cover version of the Killing Moon from 2006. While they strip much of the drama out of the song and make it all sleepy, the addition of an accordion and a French accent are generally a good thing.

The Killing Moon

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Mick Jones and Paul Simonon re-appear here, courtesy of a well known plimsoll manufacturer (hard to get too po-faced and uppity about this piece of 'advertorial synergy', we've all owned a pair of Converse haven't we? Cue a string of comments by people saying no). Half of The Clash along with producer Diplo and Frank Ocean and the West Los Angeles Children's Choir for the Three Artists, One Song project. Dodgy arithmetic but the song, Hero, is really rather good with a lovely fade in. Free download.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Up In Heaven

This is an often overlooked Clash song, an album track from an album with more than it's fair share of album tracks (Sandinista). Up In Heaven (Not Only Here) is a Mick Jones rocker with a taut guitar riff and tales of life (and Mick's own childhood) in London's tower blocks where 'the wives hate their husbands, the husbands don't care' and the water pipes make banging noises, as do the neighbours.

Trellick Tower is a monolithic piece of 60s concrete brutalism that looms large in Clash myth and BAD psychogeography.

Up In Heaven (Not Only Here)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Everybody's Got Their Own Good Reason Why Their Favourite Season Is Their Favourite Season

I can't imagine many people think that Echo And The Bunnymen's 'grey album', the last by the full line up, is their best album but it's got it's moments and two songs that are top notch- The Game and Lips Like Sugar. The band played both live on the telly at some point circa 1988. Lips Like Sugar is really good, the band clicking and stretching the song out. The Game is interesting- there's nothing wrong with Will, Les, Pete and the keyboard player. Ian McCulloch, possibly under the influence of something or other, keeps deciding to switch key and sing lines high, low or somewhere else entirely.

The video for The Game, shot on tour in Brazil, is dead 1980s. Pay special attention to Les' shorts.

For Lips Like Sugar Anton Corbijn uses black and white, the Liverpool waterfront and some moody miming footage, shadows and leather, to good effect. With some giant lips and later on retro sci-fi.

Lips Like Sugar (12" Version)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Night Before You Came

Last July I posted the video for a dance track by Paresse and remixed by Craig Bratley, a proper belter with sci-fi techy-synths and hissy drums. Then I went on holiday and forgot all about it.

Last night this one turned up, a different version with a huge disco bassline, three fingered synth riff to the fore, massive electronic tom toms and chopped up vocals.

Friday, 7 March 2014

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 139

Tonight's rockabilly is a raw and rough two minute single from Gar Bacon; fantastic primitive backing and a paint stripping voice. It sounds like it has come from another world- which in a way (USA, 1957), it has.


But that's not all- if you type Gar Bacon into a popular search engine in a bid to find more information about Gar, what the search engine responds with is 'Did you mean gay bacon?'

Gay bacon are strips of rainbow coloured gummy candy covered in sugar. They have their own Tumblr and memes and t-shirts and whatnot. Alternatively, according to Urban Dictionary gay bacon means this. Kids eh?

Sergeant Will

From million selling teenagers yesterday to obscure side projects from middle aged post-punk guitarists today- Bagging Area has been on very random shuffle over the last couple of weeks. Is this good or bad?

 Will Sergeant has had several solo projects over the last three decades, in between Bunnymen activities and occasionally needing some space from Ian McCulloch perhaps. This was a  fairly rare and unknown 12" from 2000 called Theme For GRIND. Will had a Grind album in 1982 which I've never heard but assume it's related. On the 12" Will was remixed by Weatherall and Tenniswood as two Lone Swordsmen. As with many TLS remixes from this time it's long, stoned-ish and abstract, minimal and machanical.

Theme For GRIND No. 2 (Reground by Two Lone Swordsmen)

Echo and the Bunnymen are playing The Ritz soon. Quite tempted.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Oh Lorde

We've reached a point recently where if we go out in the car as a family I have to share the car stereo with my daughter, ET, aged 10. I get to choose the music on the way there, her on the way back, or vice versa. This sometimes leads to my routes being more circuitous and her's much more direct. The other day on her leg of the journey my music was playing when we pulled out of the multi-storey carpark and a few minutes later she cottoned on and asked for her turn. 'After this song' I said, knowing it was a seventeen minute and two seconds long Orb remix. One-nil to Dad.

Her in-car cd collection is made up of three Now That's What I Call Music! compilations (numbers 84, 86 and 88 I think. I don't know why it's just the even numbered ones). On the current one there are three good tunes, which over two discs and nearly forty songs is a low hit rate (for me,  not her- she likes 1D, Lawson, The Vamps etc). Now! 86 had a handful of good ones that helped soundtrack last summer's jaunt to France. The previous one had nothing on it that didn't want make me to want to cut my ears off.

To get to the point, I have actually discovered a new song from Now! 88 that I love. I may be late to the party here, but Lorde's Royals is stupendously good. In fact, seeing as it's had over forty seven million views on Youtube and has been number one around the world I am clearly very late to this party. The song is terrific, with a minimal backing track- just simple drums, some finger snaps and bass- and Lorde's wonderful voice, and lyrics about not being like the others, rejecting gaudy material goods, how she 'craves a different kind of buzz'. You can call her Queen Bee. It's stripped down, dramatic and moody, slinky too, a bit like The Xx with a more distinctive vocalist possibly. Lorde is a teenage New Zealander and seems to be outrageously talented. You probably know this already but it was a bit of a revelation to me.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Molly's Lips

It would be easy to be dismissive of The Vaselines and their shambolic, out of tune songs with tuppence-ha'penny production. But the song has got bags of charm and stays just the right side of twee.

Molly's Lips

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Slash The Seats

A David Holmes remix of Monkey Mafia from back in 1995 when this big beat/trip hop thing was all the rage, Manchester City looked like they'd never, ever win a trophy and people smoked in pubs and restaurants. Actually, although this is dated in parts I think it's worn quite well.

Blow The Whole Joint Up (Let's Slash The Beats David Holmes Remix)

Monday, 3 March 2014


Poor old Ronnie Lane- fell out with Steve Marriott and lost The Small Faces, lost out to Rod Stewart in The Faces (who he felt ran off with his band), spent all his money on an ill fated circus-style tour of the UK in the 70s, fell ill to MS, died too young. And yet he remains one of those true figures in British music, underappreciated and little known, with a few classic songs to his names (The Poacher is perfection). This is one of those solo songs, with fiddles and acoustic guitars, down-at-home gypsy style.


Sunday, 2 March 2014


Random Velvet Underground cover versions? We got 'em. And lovely lickle ickle bickle cute kittens too.

What Goes On? (Orbient Mix)

Lovekittens were a 'baggy' band I know next to nothing about and the internet doesn't give much up either other than the names of four blokes on Discogs and another 12" single. The Orb remixed them- there are several different ones, this one is seven minutes long. This is a blissful way to start Sunday.

I loathe the word 'baggy' when used to describe bands circa '89-'92. No one I knew ever used the word, only music journalists and Damon Albarn.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Saturday Night Live

The wedding disco should be getting fired up around now. The kids have been packed off home with grandparents. Mr and Mrs Swiss are free to drink and dance for the next, ooh, four hours. Chin chin.

This is Sean Johnston in winning form and in the mix for Saturday night. A quite brilliant mix.
Free download too.

This Is A Woman's World

Pop fact- Drew of Across The Kitchen Table was almost in this issue of The Face. But that's not solely why we're here today. Cover star Neneh Cherry has a new record out on Monday and it's had some pretty positive reviews and sounds interesting. In 1996 she had several hits including a global smash Youssou N'Dour and this excellent string laden, trip hop song.


Woman was Neneh's response to James Brown's It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World and had Bernard Butler fresh from Suede on guitar. At the end of the 80s she'd had her first taste of pop stardom with the Raw Like Sushi album- superior Ladbroke Grove pop-rap... 'and all that you need is the air that you breathe'

And to those of us of a certain age she'll always be the woman doing the Buffalo Stance on Top Of The Pops, seven months pregnant.