ATM: Zervas & Pepper – Abstract Heart

Profile photo of Vulpes Vulpes Vulpes Vulpes / Blog1 Comment

First world worry: I’ve just taken delivery of the fine “Abstract Heart” from Zervas & Pepper, which is as fine an album as I’ve heard all year. My question is this: my copy comes in a cardboard digipack – both sides of which are open ended. The right hand side has the CD tucked inside in a neat little inner sleeve, while the left hand side is completely empty. It feels like there should be a lyric booklet in there, which would be a really great thing to have, particularly for this album.

Pray tell; who else’s got a copy, and does yours have a booklet insert of any kind?… Read more

Serendipitous Hits

Profile photo of Tiggerlion Tiggerlion / Blog29 Comments

In 1981, Kraftwerk were on a high. They had won friends and influenced people with their electronic sound, including David Bowie, and were revered. They had upgraded their sound. Computer World was sleek and smooth and, frankly, gorgeous. In a market packed with records paying homage to them, records like Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, Ultravox’s Vienna, Spandau Ballet’s Chant No. 1, Depeche Mode’s Just Can’t Get Enough, Duran Duran’s Girls On Film, The Human League’s Love Action, Imagination’s Body Talk and, even, Laurie Anderson’s O Superman, they pitched their new single, Computer Love. It is a warm, gentle love song that sounded more modern, more futuristic and, yet, more human than any of the competition at the time. All those great singles seemed amateurish in comparison. No doubt, quietly confident of a smash, they sat back ready to light their cigar.

It stalled at number 36.

Then, some DJs noticed the B side, The Model, an old song from a three year old album, which was a long time in the Pop world of 1981. The record company decided to re-release the single but, this time, as a double A side. Kraftwerk objected. After all, The Model is jerky and primitive compared to Computer Love.… Read more

Locust’s Consecutive Compendium of Scandinavian Culture – Å, Ä, Ö and other strange Viking Runes!

Profile photo of Kaisfatdad Kaisfatdad / Blog15 Comments

In a recent private communication to me, that Viking Queen of Vasastaden, Locust, expressed her concern that Scandinavia was being frozen out. Our very own Greta Garbo of Gamla Stan suggested to me that as the Afterword has been working their way through the alphabet in Salwarpe’s excellent Consecutive Compendium of Culture, it seemed only fair that there should be a thread on the Nordic letters that do not exist in English. I tried to reason with her of course. A thread on Ö, Å and Ä etc would be so enormously popular, it might even break the internet. But the Robyn of Rågsved persuaded me. So here it is.

Before we go any further, one thing I should point out is that these are separate letters, not letters with an accent. Each has its own dictionary entry. The English Q is not O with a line through it Neither is Ö, for example, simply o with two dots.

And they are important letters. Without them the Swedes would have no beer (öl), the Danes would have no love (kærlighed) and the Norwegians would have no dreams (drøm). And none of us would have any IKEA furniture,

There are five AWers living in Sweden to contribute.… Read more

Where can I get a refund ?

Profile photo of LordTed LordTed / Blog26 Comments

I’ve seen Sandi Thom a few times in concert. With a band, ie drummer, bass, keyboards, guitarist, plus her. She’s always done a decent show, mainstream bluesy rock well played, presumably influenced by her now ex partner Joe Bonamassa, with a few ballads thrown in. So when we bought tickets for her 2015 tour that’s what we were expecting. But, on taking our seats at The Stables last Saturday night, its clear there’s no band, just a chair and 2 acoustic guitars on stage. To summarise what then followed :
Heavily pregnant Sandi sits, babbles incessantly about her pregnancy, new husband and dog, who are apparently with her at the venue, her relocation from LA to Essex, endlessly tunes her guitar between every single song, and tunelessly strums 3 chords ( D, G and A from what I could tell) along to her- admittedly expressive – voice singing a selection of songs new and old. She does say that due to her pregnancy she can’t be ‘rocking, bouncing around, diving into the audience’ so there’s no band, just a ‘stripped back, chilled vibe’ . Er, excuse me, fair enough but this wasn’t advertised as such, this isn’t the show we bought tickets for, so my question remains – where do I get a refund ?… Read more

A night in with Joy of Living: a Tribute to Ewan MacColl

Profile photo of retropath2 retropath2 / Nights In6 Comments


What does it sound like?:

Absolutely bloody marvellous is how it sounds! Irrespective of the grumpy old sod he seems to have been, issuing rules about how ‘folk’ music should sound and be presented, he wrote some absolute corkers, and I don’t just mean the obvious one(s), ‘First Time Ever etc’ and ‘Dirty Old Town’, and, indeed, this alerted my ears to a huge body of work with which I was unfamiliar, largely put off by his portrayed persona. Curated, I believe, by his son, Neill, currently David Gray’s right hand man, this brings together as many of the great and good of, what, anglicana(?), to perform and interpret 2 discs worth of material. Catnip to me, and to many here too, the roll call is impressive, as I will show with the track listings below. Astonishingly, if I count grandson, Jamie, in his dayjob as a Bombay Bicycle Clubber, I have albums by each and every of the performers here, and would commend any of them in their own right. Even more astonishingly, many haven’t sounded this good for years and this could almost stand in it’s own right as a sampler of who is currently who. (Struggling to think who is missing, I could only think of RT and June Tabor as absent candidates.) High spots abound: Paul Buchanan, Blue Nile-man, has never sounded so good, blending Johnny Cash and Mike Scott, Jarvis Cocker whispers in his way with a hint of Bowie doing Brecht/Weill, Paul Brady sounds, well, frankly, like he did before he ditched trad.arr.… Read more

The Big Big Train is delayed…..

Profile photo of Chrisf Chrisf / Blog2 Comments

I guess its inevitable at this time of year with all those leaves on the line and that snow you supposedly have, but the Big Big Train release of their Real World studios performance “Stone and Steel” has been delayed. Will now be released in March, but will include some tracks from their Kings Place gigs in August.

As a consolidation they have posted another video from the King’s Place gigs – Judas Unrepentant, which should be attached below…..

Podcast bizness

Profile photo of DogFacedBoy DogFacedBoy / Blog21 Comments

So we hope you have been enjoying the new podcasts after our brief hiatus due to a cross between life getting in the way and frustration to the total lack of indifference feedback received. Someone complained recently about feeling down after not getting much response to a post it took them 2 mins to write. Try spending an evening recording and then the best part of a day editing it only for people to be too lazy to give you a thumbs up or even a “Yeah, good” post.

Pearls before fuckin’ swine, you black balling bastards

*lies down and does his breathing*

only joshing, I love you all.

So last year as the snow was falling and auld acquaintances were being forgotten we had an open line to The Massive and anyone who wanted could join in and tell us about their year, what they listened to, or whatever was on their mind. So we thought we’d do it again this year. So at some point in December we’ll have a podcast session at a time when as much of the world’s population can take part. So if you wanna join in then keep em peeled

Also my fellow Whovians may be excited that my pal Rachel Talalay has directed this year’s finale (starting this Saturday with ‘Heaven Sent’ and concluding the following week with ‘Hell Bent’) and has consented to joining us in the pod again.… Read more

The small victories, the trinkets and medallions, they keep me thinking that someday I might beat you but i’ll just keep my mouth shut

Profile photo of DogFacedBoy DogFacedBoy / Blog9 Comments

I’ll never forget my first group therapy session.

It was exactly how I expected except maybe posher. There was a proper wood fire and comfy chairs rather than flaky lino, moulded plastic and the faint whiff of disinfectant. I was lucky enough to be in a BUPA clinic rather than the 9 month wait (at the very least) for any sort of NHS treatment.

A South African woman handed a framed photo which circulated the room as she told her story, the picture was of a young baby and of course it was now dead. The trauma of “cot death”, the subsequent police investigation, the small town gossip and rumour mill was relayed to us with great courage. Leaving me to only conclude, “what the fuck am I doing here?”

I can’t remember how the question came up but I was asked how I would know when I was “better”, what was it that I wanted to be able to do or experience that would mean I had succeeded in freeing myself from the clutches of anxiety and crippling self doubt.

After some thought I replied that when I was in my early teens, being close enough to London that it cost £5-6 for a travelcard to spend the whole day on the buses and tubes, at the weekends my friends and I would go into the big city, often pockets full of money and return with plastic bags full of records.… Read more

Star Trek Quiz

Profile photo of Beany Beany / Blog33 Comments

Just for fun. Can you name the rock star who plays the Antedean dignitary in the photo? That’s him on the right in the purple doodad. I expect a correct answer by the time I awake in the morning. No cheating or googling and have a cup of tea ready. Thank you.

StarTrekRead more

Bellend of the week

Profile photo of gasman gasman / Blog110 Comments

Buying a coffee in London, man with beard and manbag also orders a coffee
Then asks me to move so he can pay on the chip and pin holder..


I can be frustrated by people paying for a bag or crisps or a banana with a card – Am I being overly harsh with this utter tosser?

Does anyone apart from me think there are things that should only ever be paid for with cash?… Read more

What the hell have I been doing?

Profile photo of Baron Counterpane Baron Counterpane / Blog33 Comments

The Guardian releases a list of its 350 highest rated albums from 2014 so far and how many do I own?

I’d been really looking forward to the obligatory new-albums-of-the-year thread hereabouts because for the first time in years I’ve actually bought some, more than one, plural. Just hoping for a little validation that I wasn’t the only one to rate Blackbirds by Gretchen Peters, PM by Case Hardin, Another Man’s Ground by the Young’Uns or Songs of Labour and Love by the Teacups.

Now I wonder what the hell I’ve been doing all year. What kind of loser has none of the top 350 albums of the year? more

How Music Got Free

Profile photo of Kid Dynamite Kid Dynamite / Reads12 Comments


Author:Stephen Witt

It’s hardly news that the last fifteen years or so have seen massive technologically driven change in the music industry. There’s a narrative that everyone knows, but under that there is a much deeper story that has remained largely untold until now.

The book follows three main strands. There’s the story of the German research team who invented the mp3, and their difficulties in launching it amid format wars and arguments over standards. There’s Doug Morris, the powerful record company executive who gets the internet completely wrong but then monetizes the hell out of it at the eleventh hour, and then there’s Dell Glover. Glover’s is the story you probably don’t know. He worked at a CD pressing plant in North Carolina, and was also an early adopting computer geek. Through him, we discover a darknet of exclusive topsites, warez and organised piracy. Glover embraced this scene with open arms, and was soon smuggling prerelease discs out of his factory and uploading them. His team was responsible for leaking 20,000 albums over a decade, and kept one step ahead of the FBI for almost as long. And yet Glover is an engaging character who you can’t hep rooting for just a little bit, stupid tattoos and all.… Read more

Cooking with C***s

Profile photo of garyjohn garyjohn / Blog24 Comments

You might think every possible combination of cooking show has been done. And you’d be nearly right. However, Australian TV has managed to invent a new sub genre which must rate as the most offensive, bourgeois and – ultimately – shit – of them all.
‘Kitchen Cabinet’, a truly horribly twee name, features Annabel Crabb, an undeniably sexy, slimmer Nigella visiting the homes of various Aussie politicians: all totally informal of course but don’t worry they’ll be doing the cooking, relieved to have a couple of hours to unwind after a hectic time driving the nation, imprisoning asylum seekers and wearing horribly cheap suits.
You can tell it’s an informal visit because all the men – it’s nearly always men- have eschewed the obligatory ugly tie for standard off duty pollies clobber – tieless dress shirt with the top button undone. You rascal, just don’t care do ya?
The idea behind the show is -presumably – to show politicians in their less strident, didactic moments. Family men, ordinary geezers, people like you and me, assuming you and me are cunts.
Really, what’s the point in this? Politicians are everyday people? Lots of cunts are.
I can’t imagine what this show does for anyone except the ratbags themselves and the fact it’s on ABC – The National Broadcaster – only adds to the disgrace.… Read more

Giving up on Elvis

Profile photo of eddie g eddie g / Blog8 Comments

I made it to page three hundred of ‘Unfaithful Music…’ but then I got bored. Dec obviously finds his subject fascinating but I came to the inescapable conclusion that the best writer in The Attractions was Bruce Thomas. His recent book ‘Rough Notes’ was self-published and was never accorded the same level of publicity as Elvis’s overblown tome but it’s a hoot from start to finish and hugely readable. He wrote it all himself too…… Read more

The Song Machine

Profile photo of ganglesprocket ganglesprocket / Reads2 Comments


Author:John Seabrook

Why does every pop tune sound the same these days? That’s the question answered in this, rather brilliant book about the music industry these days. John Seabrook takes us into the world in which people like Denniz POP, Max Martin, Clive Davis, Clive Calder et al reign supreme and their artists, who include Ace Of Base, The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Rhianna, Katy Perry and others are actually the supporting acts. This book is basically a business and economics book about pop. Basically, thanks to streaming and piracy, the industry needs hits more now than it did in the past. However in the past while those hits could support an alternative to the mainstream, now they cannot. Which means it’s a depressing read for those of us who like their music weird. However on the other hand it’s a bracing stuff for those of us interested in music as an industry or a business. I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t like Katy Perry or Rhianna how they became big is undeniably fascinating.

Length of Read:Medium

Might appeal to people who enjoyed…

Any memoir by a manager or a label head. People who dig cheesy pop.… Read more

Lou Reed

Profile photo of dai dai / Blog8 Comments

Complete c*nt or not?

I am a huge fan and never kidded myself that he was anything but an arsehole especially when it came to members of the musical press (and members of his former band).

Just heard the latest podcast from our friends at The Word. Biographer Howard Sounes talked about Lou for about 45 mins, not too much new info, but he claimed that Lou was always an alcoholic, never stopped boozong and that caused his death from liver disease, rather than the historical abuse in the 60s and 70s.

I know Sounes possibly does not have the best reputation, but this bothered me somewhat. Lou claimed to be completely clean since the eighties, was always sipping on water and eating raw veg or something in interviews. So that was all just a lie? Also would explain a lot of his behaviour towards other members of the human race I suppose.… Read more