Did You Know The Perfect Life? Did You Get Too Much Of It?

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Nobody’s Listening. No.63. 20.2.17.

Nobody’s Listening Facebook Page.

Hullo. Well, after my reach out to you all last week with the offer of appearing on the webs most ignored blog, I was inundated with replies. In fact, the grand sum of bot all responses filled my inbox. Not to worry, I’m used to these things falling flat on their arse. I can only assume You’re more than happy with the selections that spew forth from my humongous napper, so I’ll keep on trucking solo for now eh?

Of course, when I say solo I mean aided by our top pop picker Paul D’Cruz and his pick of the week. At least I can rely on my very good friend, bandmate and the keyboard player for ‘Rich Gypsy’ the UK’s eighth placed choice for a song for Europe in 1982.

Ok then, I want you, to show me the way..

Track 1. Hey Spaceman! by Tracy Bryant.

Bryant was just ten years old when his father took him to his first gig, the legendary Chuck Berry. This early exposure to Rock’n’Roll’s finest had a lasting impression on the young L.A musician and his influence is palpable, not least in the classic approach he takes to making records. This single from last year is both lo-fi and deftly produced at the same time, attributes Charles Edward Anderson would wholly approve of.

Track 2. Maybe This Song by Bruce Haack.

A welcome and long overdue return to the playlist for electronic music pioneer Bruce Haack next. This comes from an LP recorded in 1971 under the pseudonym ‘Jackpine Savage’ and has more in common with the psychedelic children’s music that Haack developed in the sixties than the Musique Concrete he explored in later works. It’s tremendous fun, with its simple message backed by pleasing bleeps and squelches. You’re sure to have a soppy grin on your kipper come the ‘shave and a haircut’ climax.

Track 3. Evocation by Anna von Hausswolff.

Our cover star this week is Swedish singer and organist Anna Michaela Ebba Electra von Hausswolff. With a style much akin to her exotic moniker, she has crafted 4 superb records in as many years. This particular track is the second single release from the latest of those albums. Full of drones and crashes, it’s all underpinned by Anna’s wonderful voice, an instrument which she utilises perfectly as it glides across the piece with the still grace of a swan on a crystal clear lake.

Track 4. Dulux Super 3 (instrumental) by Mike Sammes.

Sammes was a British vocal arranger and musician who led The Mike Sammes Singers, a male vocal group who appeared on some of the biggest hits of the sixties. Their easy tones can be heard backing Helen Shapiro, Tom Jones and Zinglebert Bumbledack as well as the fab four, lending their close harmonies to ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Goodnight’ and the much maligned choral backing on ‘Let It Be’. This track is from one of many forays into ‘Jingle Work’ and was unearthed by the inimitable Jonny Trunk for the compilation LP ‘Music For Biscuits’. Perversely for a choral group, it’s an instrumental.

Track 5. Alone In Kyoto by Air.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

This week, our favourite (and only, tch!) contributor has selected a track from the Gallic duo’s third LP, 2004’s ‘Talkie Walkie’. Also featured on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost In Translation’, it’s Air by numbers. Twenty first century easy listening with a soft, haunting melody and samples of waves lapping a far eastern shore, it’s the definition of studied elegance.

Track 6. Ain’t It Funky Now (Parts 1 and 2) by James Brown.

I’m currently engrossed in Ben Ratliff’s excellent book ‘Every Song Ever’, a study in how to make sense of the listening experience of today. In a world where music from all eras is instantly available at the swipe of a finger, Ratliff suggests there are common themes which link disparate genres. This playlist and blog was founded on that very premise. Truly anything goes. We hop from time to place and back again as exploration leads to broadened horizons. This 1969 James Brown single was released over two sides and is marked out in the first chapter of Ratliff’s tome as an example of how repetition can lead to an expansion of an idea, the first steps of a long journey. Who better to lead you there than the Godfather of Soul himself?

Track 7. Ten Per Cent – Walter Gibbons Sunshine Sound Acetate Edit by Double Exposure, Walter Gibbons.

Speaking of Godfathers… This next track was the first commercially available 12″ when released in 1976. Its A-side has a remix by DJ Walter Gibbons, a massive influence on later Jocks such as Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan. His work on this platter has been described as a ‘Blueprint for house’. A dancefloor stormer, this is disco at its peak.

Track 8. I’m A Dreamer by Josephine Foster.

Josephine Foster is a singer-songwriter from Colorado who has been active since 2000, releasing 14 LP’s in one guise or another. This is the title track from her 2013 album and is a soft, lilting song with some stellar piano complimenting Foster’s languid guitar and voice, all backed by brushed drums and woozy harmonica. Evoking images of still, warm nights, its Americana tinged strokes are only missing some chirping crickets. Beautiful.

Track 9. Isn’t It A Pity – Demo Version by George Harrison.

This song was originally offered for inclusion on three Beatles LP’s, Revolver, Sgt Pepper and Let It Be with L/M rejecting it each time. It wasn’t until Harrison released his post wackers break up solo album, 1971’s ‘All Things Must Pass’, that it finally found a home. It has since become one of the quiet ones’ most popular pieces of work and sits perfectly with the rest of that double LP’s themes of friendship, loss and salvation. Here, I’ve gone for the demo version recorded in 1969 for the ‘Get Back’ sessions. Stripped of Spector’s (excellent btw) bombast, this take features just George and guitar. There’s an innocence here, not least in the McCartney-esque ‘Doo-Doo-Dooing’ he employs in lieu of a lead guitar and strings. May I also suggest you seek out Nina Simone’s 11 minute interpretation from 1972, a stunning performance from the doctor.

Track 10. Gotta Travel On by Timi Yuro.

Soul slowie closer time and this week it’s a 45 from ’63 recorded by one of the first exponents of ‘Blue Eyed Soul’, Timi Yuro. Dubbed ‘The Little Girl With The Big Voice’, Yuro recorded with Johnny Ray, toured with Frank Sinatra and was produced by Quincy Jones. She also made some poor decisions, rejecting the suggestion of Burt Bacharach to record his song ‘What The World Needs Now’, a classic she could have easily made her own.

That’s it for another week. I trust you enjoyed. If you did, tell your friends, tell the world! If you didn’t, keep yer big gob buttoned or I’ll send D’Cruz round for you and he’s dead hard. I mean Kung Fu hard. Seriously.

See you in seven days for more of the same.

Until then, stop, stop, stop all the dancing, give me time to breathe.

Andrew Orley.

 

 

Nothing Is Quite Like It Seems When You’re Living Your Life In A Dream.

 

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Nobody’s Listening. No.62. 13.2.17.

Nobody’s Listening Facebook Page.

Hullo. February is well under way now. Won’t be long until Spring bursts forth with all its new beginnings and positivity. Speaking of new beginnings, I issued a clarion call on the dedicated facebook page (link up there) to anyone who would like to submit a track and a bit of blather to the playlist. The offer still stands, if you want a piece of the action just drop me a line with your track choice and a paragraph or two and I’ll squeeze it onto a forthcoming playlist. Anything goes, so get going!

My very good friend, bandmate and designer of the logo for long forgotten supermarket chain ‘Fine Fare’ Paul D’Cruz is still very much part of our well worn furniture. This week he’s gone for a track which is accompanied a video one could describe as ‘rum’.

Ok, help me make it through the night..

Track 1. Funky Funky Way of Makin’ Love by The Soul Brothers Six.

And what better way to make it through than with this slab of seventies soul. The original Soul Brothers were just that, the five Armstrong siblings starting out as The Soul Brothers Five before John Ellison, best known for writing the song ‘Some Kind of Wonderful.’ joined prompting a name-change. By the time this 1972 single was released only Ellison remained, the original Armstrong brothers leaving after being unceremoniously dropped by Atlantic records.

Track 2. 32 Bit Chip by Prince Jammy.

Our next selection comes from a member of dub’s royal family, Lloyd James (aka Prince Jammy, aka King Jammy) who began his career as an apprentice mixer under the late great King Tubby before striking out on his own as one of the leaders of eighties dancehall. This track comes from his 1986 LP ‘Computerised Dub’, an album choc full of ruff digital rhythms.

Track 3. Easy by Son Lux.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

This week, our number one selecter has gone all dark and that. This track taken from the 2013 LP ‘Lanterns’ is an ode to self destruction delivered with sufficient post rock dread but also has touches of lightness alluded to in the tracks title. As mentioned above, the video is a bit on the saucy side so heads up if you’ve any chilblains or nosey bosses peering over your shoulder.

Track 4. Opening by Bruce Langhorne.

Folk Musician Langhorne was prominent on the Greenwich village scene and worked as a session guitarist with a veritable who’s who of the famed folk revival movement. He was also the inspiration for Dylan’s classic ‘Mr Tambourine Man’, christened so as he used to play a large Turkish frame drum in performances and recordings. Langhorne also performed on the record providing the electric guitar counter melody as well as lead on ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’, ‘Outlaw Blues’, ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’ and ‘Maggie’s Farm’. This track comes from the score he provided for Peter Fonda’s 1971 western ‘The Hired Hand’ and combines sitar, fiddle, and banjo to wonderfully atmospheric effect.

Track 5. Abandoned Mansion by Dr.Dog.

I believe this is the third outing on the playlist for this weeks cover stars and it certainly won’t be the last, their nine LP’s to date are bursting with hidden treasures that deserve to be widely shared. This is the title track from the latest of those nine albums released unexpectedly in November just gone and it’s as good a place as any to start your Dr.Dog journey. I envy your exploration into a back catalogue brimming with superb autumnal, folk-influenced rock. No vid unfortunately..

Track 6. Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin’ by Esmé Patterson.

I’d like to convince you that this playlist has some kind of flow to it, that I take the time to choose tracks that seamlessly melt into one another with themes and thought. If I was trying to be clever about it I’d say that this next selection was picked out especially to compliment the previous track, a female country perspective on a common theme of love gone wrong. In reality, it’s more a case of throwing ten tunes together simply because I like how they sound, and that’s it. It’s a happy accident that this lovely song fits so well with the Dr.Dog track that preceded it. You can’t say I’m not honest.

Track 7. I Want A Break Thru by The Hykkers.

Another of our frequent visits to the soundway lable next. This is from Nigerian psychsters The Hykkers, a band who were Lagos’ answer to the fab four before civil war ripped their country apart in the late sixties. When the hostilities ceased, they returned to their homeland a changed band, politically charged and entrenched in the Afrobeat sound. This is the b-side to their 1972 single ‘Deiyo Deiyo (Akpunlunwobi)’.

Track 8. Dickie Betts by Dean Ween Group.

Michael ‘Mickey’ Melchiondo Jr., better known as Dean Ween, is half of the experimental duo Ween and this is the lead track from his side project’s debut LP released last year. An instrumental jam that owes a massive debt to The Allman Brothers, it’s tremendous fun and tailor made for driving should you want to pretend you’re Jeremy Clarkson for five minutes.

Track 9. All We Have Broken Shines by Brightblack Morning Light.

This gorgeous slice of Freak folk comes from this now defunct Alabaman duo’s sophomore LP released in 2006. The video I’ve selected is fan made and although it’s quite a simple concept, captures the essence of the song perfectly.

Track 10. Am I Blue by Dinah Washington.

We go way back for this weeks Soul slowie closer. This track was featured on Ms. Washington’s 1954 LP ‘After Hours with Miss ‘D” and is her interpretation of a song written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke in 1929. Both Eddie Cochrane and Cher have also released versions but their takes don’t come close to the Queen of the Blues.

That’s yer lot for this week. Don’t forget that open invitation to get involved with NL. Above all else it lightens my load a little. It’s hard work coming up with new sounds and twisting my limited vocabulary every week you know. Help a brother out!

Sithee next week where no doubt I’ll have to do this whole bloody business on my own again. As usual. Cuh.

Until then, don’t leave me this way.

Andrew Orley.

Meet Me Sometime In The Loneliness Of The Night So I Can Tell You The Condition Of My Heart.

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Nobody’s Listening. No.61. 6.2.17.

Nobody’s Listening Facebook Page.

Hullo. We all still here? The planet hasn’t reached Armageddon yet? Good.

Last weekend on the dedicated facebook page (linky up the top there) I made the frankly ridiculous claim that this weeks NL would be the best ever. Of course, I was very, very drunk. As I write these words, sober, and from an uncomfortable hotel bed in Wandsworth Town at 5 am on a Tuesday morning, that statement seems a tad ambitious. It’s a good one, but the best ever? I’ll let you be the judge.

Paulo has certainly contributed to the excellence of this weeks list with a beaut. So good in fact, that my very good friend, bandmate and subject of a restraining order from the actor who played Mr Bennett, the caretaker from ‘Take Hart’, is kicking off this weeks proceedings.

So then, as the musician from ancient Greece said to the infant pugilist, come on baby fight my lyre..

 

Track 1. I & Thou by The Daredevil Christoper Wright.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

We begin gently with PPOTW. This is a lovely piece of harmony driven latter day folk from Wisconsin. The Daredevil Christopher Wright unites brothers Jon and Jason Sunde with the percussion and vocals of friend Jesse Edgington and their sound immediately draws comparison with another trio from the late sixties. CS&N are all over this track which is the opener from their 2012 sophomore LP ‘The Nature Of Things’.

Track 2. Don’t You Know by Jan Hammer Group.

The first four tracks on this weeks list are all fairly chilled, probably testament to the copious amount of bourbon consumed whilst compiling it. Our next selection marks the second appearance of ‘probably best known for Miami Vice, but oh, there’s so much more to know’, Mr Jan Hammer. This comes from his 1977 LP ‘Melodies’ and is a wonderfully laid back piece of vocal electronica which predates blissed out Balearica by a good ten years. Grab a glass of something long and cool and imagine you’re doing that watching the sun go down thing that everyone does in Ibiza.

Track 3. It’s Gonna Be Easy by Doug Sahm.

Former leader of sixties band Sir Douglas Quintet who had a hit with ‘She’s About a Mover’, Sahm released his debut solo LP in 1973 from which this slice of tex-mex country comes. The album was made with the help and contributions of some famous faces in the shape of Bob Dylan, Dr. John, David Bromberg and Flaco Jiménez.

Track 4. A Long Time, A Long Way To Go by Todd Rundgren.

Rounding off our laid back start this week is a true musical genius. Todd Rundgren has been making music for an astonishing fifty years now beginning with Nazz, the garage band he formed in 1967. This piano-led track is taken from his second LP, 1971’s ‘Runt-The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren’ the album which preceded his most successful work to date, the double album and bonafide classic ‘Something/Anything’.

Track 5. Famous Last Words by Har Mar Superstar.

Ok, it’s time to pick up the pace with a track which featured on ‘Best Summer Ever’ Har Mar’s sixth long player which was released last year. Produced by Julian Casablancas, HMS conceived the album as a fictitious greatest hits from 1950-1985 with each song harking back to production values of the given time. This stormer is supposedly from the eighties and as the title suggests, was inspired by the final utterances of various celebrities. Over to the erstwhile Sean Tillmann to explain..
“I got the idea from researching the last words of a bunch of interesting people, and it’s really interesting to see what certain people would say. All the lyrics are pulled from real last words that people said right before they went, like Truman Capote just said “mama” over and over again before he died, and Steve Jobs said “wow” over and over. I like Eugene O’Neill, his last words before he died were something like, “Born in this hotel room, goddammit, I’m dying in this hotel room.”

Track 6. Aankhen Meri Maikhana by Asha Bhosle.

Immortalised by Cornershop, Asha Bhosle is officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history. Her long and distinguished sixty year career as a Bollywood playback singer has led to to the recording of over 12,000 songs and she’s still going strong today at the ripe age of 83. This is just a toe dip in that vast ocean, a track from the 1970 film ‘Sawan Bhadon’. It’s typically batshit crazy with genres mashed up to bits, and just check out those drums at the beginning, marvellous!

Track 7. Fritzy Baby by Birds ‘N Brass.

During the easy listening resurgence in the mid to late nineties, tracks like this would be standard after club fare. There’s something comforting about the lounge sound and it certainly went someway to easing and soothing a frazzled, post night out mind. The brainchild of Keith Roberts, Birds ‘N Brass derived their unique sound from conventional brass, guitar, etc and fused this with the wonderful voice of Barbara Moore. This comes from the first of two albums under the B’N’B banner released on none more seventies lable, Rediffusion and contains some unexpected bursts of psych guitar.

Track 8. Blue Hawaiian by Pavement.

A warm return to the playlist from Malkmus and the lads next. This time around the selection comes from their fourth LP, 1996’s ‘Brighten The Corners’. Much like the Beatles, Pavement albums are constantly fighting in my head to be a current favourite. One month it’s Abbey Road, the next I’m in a Hard Day’s Night frame of mind. BTC is currently in my significantly large headspace and this has been an earworm for a long time now, a more than welcome guest. Special mention most go to Mark Ibold’s understated bass.

Track 9. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares by Tangerine Dream.

I’m by no means a Tangerine Dream aficionado, they are an act I have enjoyed whenever I’ve caught them in passing but I’ve never really dug deep into their work. This track warrants inclusion merely because it was featured on Stuart Maconie’s excellent Freakzone programme a couple of weeks ago (8-10 PM Sundays, Six Music). I was in bed when it was played and didn’t quite make it to the end of the track as its slow, phased Mellotron gently placed me in the arms of Morpheus. I added it for inclusion the next day and gave it a second airing on a rain sodden M1 Sunday night just gone. Fortunately, this time around I managed to stay alert for the duration. It’s certainly prompted me to further investigate their back catalogue.

Track 10. Charms Of The Arms Of My Love by Alice Clark.

Our soul slowie closer this week comes from another returnee to the playlist. I’d be more than happy to feature every single track from Ms Clark’s 1972 self titled album, a record which frequently receives heavy late night rotation in the Orley household. Give it a go next time you’re feeling tired and emotional. Her voice can take you places man, it really can.

There you go then. The best NL ever? It’s certainly up there. Why not join us next week to see if it can be equalled or maybe even topped? Same time, same place in seven of your Earth days.

Until then, keep on runnin’.

Andrew Orley.

Passing Slowly Through The Town. My Feet, They Can Not Touch The Ground.

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Nobody’s Listening. No.60. 30.1.17.

Nobody’s Listening Facebook Page.

Hullo. You look nice today. Had your hair done? It suits you. Welcome once again to Nobody’s Listening now in it’s sixtieth edition. Sixty! That means you’ve had nigh on 1200 top pop picks forced into your earholes since I started this folly. No need for thanks, I live to give.

We’ve got just under an hour of groovetastic goodness for your pleasure this week. Including, of course, Paulo’s Pick Of The Week. My very good friend, bandmate and heir to the Covonia cough syrup empire has this week selected some latter day prog from Chicago. And it’s ace.

So, here comes the nice..

Track 1. Kitsch by Barry Ryan.

Kicking us off this week is ‘Eloise’ man Barry Ryan. Along with his twin brother Paul, this Leeds born lad notched a fair few top fifty hits in the mid sixties until stress took its toll on Paul and he stepped back to concentrate on writing, leaving the limelight to his brother. Barry struck gold with the aforementioned Eloise which reached number 2 on both sides of the Atlantic. Keen to replicate it’s success, Paul continued to roll out virtual carbon copies of the melodramatic hit for his sibling to sing, including this overlooked beaut from 1970.

Track 2. I Can’t Get Satisfied by The Telmo Fernández Trio.

This modern day jazz act is made up of guitarist Fernández who leads the trio alongside drummer Jose Luis Gómez and ex-pat British organist Phil Wilkinson. Here, we find them in party mood with handclaps behind the chanted title all held together by Fernández’ guitar riff which allows Wilkinson to mooch about his keyboard, providing some funky rolls.

Track 3. Curry Courier Career by Monobody.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

So here we are with the latter day prog I alluded to in the introduction. Actually, this has more in common with jazz fusion acts such as Weather Report albeit with an experimental approach (and an extra bassist to make up for no Jaco Pastorius!). Delightfully wonky, the obvious passion for their craft is plain to see in the excellent live rendition below. Another quality find from the Wortley warrior. Keep on gifting us with these superb picks PDC!

Track 4. Singing Saw by Kevin Morby.

Cover star time with Texan and former bassist for noise-folk group Woods Kevin Morby. This is the title track from his third solo LP released last spring. Beginning with a looped guitar and Morby’s relaxed vocal it grows into a different beast as the song progresses with female backing, electric licks and a nagging piano before coming full circle. This is modern day folk which, while never afraid of looking back, is firmly rooted in the now. The album is definitely worthy of your attention too, check out the stunning ‘Dorothy’, a fuzzy, fizzing poppy ode to his guitar.

Track 5. High Castle Rock by Chris Forsyth And The Solar Motel Band.

We remain contemporary for track No.5 however this next band takes its cues from classic seventies guitar rock. A ten minute instrumental which comes across as a perfectly executed jam session. With obvious nods to Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’ this piece, taken from their sophomore LP released last year, finds leader Forsyth and guitarist Nick Mellevoi locked in an axe duel which ascends to marvellous, giddy heights. The video below is a live performance from last June and whilst they don’t appear to be the most visually exciting of acts (could do with some trippy lighting if you ask me) the mastery of their instruments is mightily impressive.

Track 6. We Dug A Hole by Kathryn Williams.

Like many, Kathyrn first came to my attention when her second LP ‘Little Black Numbers’ gained a Mercury Music Prize nomination way back in 2000. I was immediately struck by her gentle vocal style and delicate guitar particularly on this, the first track on the LP. She has gone on to enjoy a fruitful career, releasing a further nine albums and perpetually on the road. Particular praise must go to 2008’s gorgeous ‘Two’ on which she collaborates with Neill MacColl. Seek.

Track 7. Mozamba by the Afro Soul-Tet.

Next up is an all too short latin-soul-jazz number with some groovalicious Nigerian and Afro-Cuban polyrhythms. The band actually hailed from L.A. and were previously known as The Afro Latin Blues Quintet +1 before changing their name and releasing the test album ‘Afrodesia’. The platter only had a limited press of between 500 and 1000 LPs and with no release date listed on the record, official hazy opinion puts the date range between 1968-71.

Track 8. Watermelon Sugar by Helvetia.

We travel up the West coast to Seattle for our next track. Taken from their 2007 LP ‘The Acrobats’ this is a delightfully rambling piece of gentle noise core with a delicious guitar hook and shuffling drum beat throughout. Easy going and poppy, it still has some off the wall effects to keep you on your toes.

Track 9. Still Waters by Breakbot.

Breakbot is the alias of French producer and DJ Thibaut Jean-Marie Michel Berland and this is the title track from his second album released last year. This eighties influenced piece of euro-dancepop has echoes of Whitney Houston’s superb, (yes, I said superb, wannafightabout it?) ‘How Will I Know?’ in it’s main melody line but that’s not the only thing to love here. From the vocoder robot voice to the programmed beats and synth breaks. Close your eyes and you’re transported to a time when we had an oppressive Tory government, there was a bumbling fool in the Whitehouse who had no idea what he was doing and money was king. The good old days, eh folks?

Track 10. You Can Make It If You Try by Yvonne Fair.

Soul slowie closer time and this week we have Yvonne Fair with a b-side from 1966 with backing from James Brown and his band. Probably best known for her mid Seventies chart hit, ‘It Should Have Been Me’, Ms Fair was a protege of the godfather of soul recording five singles under his tutelage. One of those 45’s, 1962’s ‘I Found You’ was later re-worked into Brown’s evergreen hit, ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’.

Well alright then. That wraps things up for another week. Hope you enjoyed yourself. I did.

I’ll be back here in seven days time with more of the same and something different.

Until then, keep the car running.

Andrew Orley.

‘Cause We’re Always In Small Circles And Everyone Thinks We’re Trouble.

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Nobody’s Listening. No.59. 23.1.17.

Hullo. Welcome back to your weekly portion of pop picks. I trust you’re well and the winter weather isn’t biting too fiercely. Thanks to everyone for their kind shares on Facebook last week, it’s nice to know you’re happy to spread the Nobody’s Listening Love. Keep doing that voodoo that you do so well.

Our facebook page has also seen some smashing member posts recently. Why not join in the fun by adding yourself, or indeed any like minded souls. You can join up Here.

My very good friend, bandmate and bridesmaid to Su Pollard, Paul D’Cruz is here once again. His pick of the week this time around is no stranger to the playlist although his previous appearance was as a solo act way back when.

Shall we get going then? Ok. Here, my dear…

Track 1. Love Letters by Metronomy.

We’re straight off the bat with our cover stars this week and the title track from their fourth LP released in 2014. Metronomy are my type of band, willfully experimental but also unafraid to flirt with the sugary side of pop. This particular track falls in the latter category and with its day-glo Michel Gondry directed video below the saccharine levels are close to causing tooth decay. Intelligent but catchy as a catchers mitt, it remains for me the best thing they’ve done to date.

Track 2. Daddy Don’t Know About Sugar Bear by Marva Whitney.

We welcome back an artist who has previously appeared on the playlist next, Soul Sister #1, Marva Whitney. Probably most famous for ‘It’s My Thing (You Can’t Tell Me Who to Sock It To),’ a response to The Isley Brothers’ hit ‘It’s Your Thing’, Marva had a long career as a highly regarded singer of raw power releasing cracking, brassy 45’s such as this single released in 1972. Just listen to that opening wail, a trick she picked up from her former gaffer, Mr James Brown.

Track 3. Finistère by The Lilac Time.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

Stephen Duffy is also no stranger to the playlist, his superb mid eighties solo effort ‘Icing On The Cake’ made an appearance on Nobody’s Listening back in the early days. Here, Paul has gone for a track from Duffy’s underappreciated baroque pop band The Lilac Time. Taken from their fourth Lp ‘Astronauts’ released during their brief time on Creation records in 1990. I recall it was about this time they played The Town Hall in Hartlepool, one of precious few acts that have made the stop in my North east hometown. To my shame, I didn’t go, probably contributing to the reluctance of bands to play these poorly attended outposts.

Track 4. Home In The Morning by The Smoking Trees.

Some modern day psych pop for you next with this 2015 single release from LA based duo The Smoking Trees. One half of the band, Sir Psych, describes the track thus. ‘Its a song about the comparison of life between a 20 year period. The youthfulness of night is reflected back through the years until today, which shows how life leads you into a totally different outcome from where you started from.’ Quite. All I know is that it’s a catchy, reverb swamped track that puts a spring in your step from the off before breezily going about its business two minutes later.

Track 5. Little by Little by Radiohead.

When ‘King Of Limbs’ dropped back in 2011, it was greeted with the usual chorus of ‘Why don’t they write proper songs anymore?’ which has followed every release since 1997’s ‘OK Computer’ with tedious inevitability. For me, the band have grown with every release and the syncopated rhythms of their eighth LP were another step in another direction. This is a standout track from that album and below is a superb live rendition which bolsters my opinion that they are the most important British band of the past 25 years, ‘proper songs’ or not.

Track 6. You Won’t See Me by The Clarendonians.

It’s been a while since we had a Wackers cover so let’s put that right with a take on one of McCartney’s best from 1966’s ‘Rubber Soul’. The original marked a gear change from Macca’s usual cheery love songs and was penned as a response to his then squeeze Jane Asher who he had recently fallen out with. This version from Jamaican ska band The Clarendonians was released the following year, the b-side to their single ‘The Jerk’ and it’s an absolute peach.

Track 7. Angel by Nice As Fuck.

It was a lovely surprise when this brand new supergroup announced their existence last year. Featuring the next Mrs Orley, Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley and Jenny Lewis fame along with Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Forster and The Like’s Tennessee Thomas, they quietly dropped their debut LP last summer. With just a drum and bass backing, Ms Lewis lends her always welcome tones to this track which has a lot of warmth despite its sparse arrangement. Now, if she would just return my calls..

Track 8. California’s Callin’ Ya by The Explorers Club.

No prizes for guessing who this South Carolina collective are influenced by. Over the three LP’s they’ve released thus far the spectre of one Brian Wilson looms large. This track comes from the third of those albums, last years ‘Together’ and could easily be mistaken for a long lost Beach Boys classic. As it is, it’s wholly original and so much more than a pastiche. Its production has a polished feel which elicits comparisons with overlooked latter day BB releases of the seventies such as ‘Good Timin”.

Track 9. Le Paradis Pour Toi by Gillian Hills.

Gillian Hills was born in Cairo in 1944 to adventurer Denis Hills and Dunia Leśmian, daughter of Polish symbolist poet Bolesław Leśmian. After spending some time living in France she signed with the French Barclay record label and released a clutch of singles in the early sixties including this light piece of Gallic pop. She also had an acting career appearing in seminal sixties films ‘Beat Girl’ and ‘Blow Up’ before retiring from ‘the biz’ in the early seventies.

Track 10. Lovin’ On Borrowed Time by Anitta Mitchell.

This weeks soul slowie closer is by an artist I have no information on whatsoever so I’ll just let this organ led slice of heartbreak speak for itself. I will however mention the superb guitar line which runs just underneath, ploughing it’s own furrow but never dominating proceedings. Just superb.

And that’s us done for another week. Don’t forget to keep spreading the good word. It’s really appreciated and it warms my heart when I see that other people are digging what I’m doing.

We’ll be in this very spot at the same time next Friday with another ten tunes of distinction.

Until then, take it easy my brother Charlie.

Andrew Orley.

I Feel the Rainfall Of Another Planet, Another Planet.

 

kiki

Nobody’s Listening. No.58. 16.1.17.

Hullo.  Well, it seems the new truncated version of Nobody’s Listening is going down quite well. I realise the old twenty track NL may have been a bit of a mouthful for the casual listener, having said that, you’re under no obligation to listen to the complete list. As I’ve said time and again, if one person takes away one new sound from each weeks selections then it’s job done as far as I’m concerned.

What have we got in store for you this week then? Well let me tell you, ten more tracks of genre hopping goodness, that’s what. If ten pop picks isn’t quite enough for you, don’t forget you can get an extra track a day not featured on the playlist by visiting our face book page Here. You can also add your own recommendations free from ridicule or judgement. We’re a nice bunch over there.

My very good friend, bandmate and prolific contributor to the Mills and Boon romantic novels Paul D’Cruz is here with us. His selection this week is a band that I’ve been a fan of since their early days. I’ll regale you with stories later.

Ok, Shall we do the hustle?

Track 1. Time Has Come Today by The Chambers Brothers.

We kick things off with this trippy behemoth. I’ve recently had my sizeable nose in Rob Chapman’s excellent book ‘Psychedelia and Other Colours’, a weighty tome which explores the influence of mind altering substances on music and culture. This song is singled out for particular praise and with good reason, it is a landmark track of that era. Recorded in 1966 and released the following year, it is one of the earliest examples of psych rock with it’s fuzz guitars, extensive use of reverb and fades and persistent cow bell throughout, it must have blown a fair few minds on the Haight-Ashbury scene. Director Hal Ashby used the complete eleven minute version for the closing scene of his 1978 Vietnam movie ‘Coming Home’ and it has been covered by various acts from The Ramones to Bootsy Collins.

Track 2. Saturday-Sunday by Doug Tuttle.

Taken from ‘It Calls On Us’, Tuttle’s sophomore LP from last year, this is a track of two halves. The first three minutes is a throwback to the sixties/seventies country-folk he does so well with acoustic guitars backed by organs and the odd electronic effect. It then kicks into an instrumental jam for the second half which has an almost McCartney does Krautrock feel to it. Lovely, floaty stuff which is easy to get lost in.

Track 3. Sunday Morning by Flo Morrissey And Matthew E. White.

And so, from Saturday-Sunday we head into Sunday morning. This thing isn’t just thrown together you know. Ok. It is. I must admit I was sceptical when I read that NL favourite Matthew E White had teamed up with BRIT school folk-popper Flo Morrissey to cover this Velvet underground stone cold classic, but I was more than pleasantly surprised when I heard the results. White has upped the tempo a few notches and added some sunshine into proceedings with Beach Boys-esque backing vocals and an infectious guitar line just underneath the mix while Morrissey’s vocal fits the arrangement perfectly, bereft as it is of Nico’s famous detachment. I actually think Lou Reed would have given it his approval.

Track 4. Move Me Baby by Gwen McCrae.

Perhaps best known as the wife of George ‘Rock Your Baby’ McCrae, Gwen had her own slice of success with a billboard top ten hit, ‘Rockin’ Chair’ in 1975. The LP which followed (also titled ‘Rockin’ Chair’) included this early example of Disco. With a strong, soulful vocal, this is a dancefloor funker that can move the most stubborn of feet towards the glitter ball.

Track 5. Wanderlust by Wild Beasts.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

I first chanced upon Wild Beasts ten years or so ago when I paid a visit to the smoke to watch a friends band. The support act that night shuffled onto the small Camden pub stage and I was immediately gobsmacked by the soaring falsetto of the lead singer which was backed by angular guitars and shifting time signatures. Turns out they were a Leeds based band who were beginning to make waves with their wonderfully wobbly debut single ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’. On returning to Yorkshire I managed to catch them a number of times on home turf and quickly went about promoting them to all and sundry. With the release of their stunning debut LP ‘Limbo Panto’ and the equally great follow up ‘Two Dancers’, Wild Beasts went on to critical and commercial success, headlining festivals and becoming Indie darlings in the process. I’ve only taken a passing interest since then, but whenever they release a new record my ears prick up and recall the time they first heard that new sound. Here, Paul goes for the lead single from their fourth album, 2014’s ‘Present Tense’.

Track 6. Obá, La Vem Ela by Jorge Ben Jor.

Jorge is one of Brazil’s most famous sons, his blend of bossa, samba and funk selling millions in his home country. This particular track is lifted from his 1970 LP ‘Força Bruta’ and is a typical example of his oeuvre, slinky, funky, string laden, cuica smothered class in a glass.

Track 7. Baby I Don’t Care by Kiki Dee.

This weeks cover star is undoubtedly best known for her duet with Captain Fantastic, the 1976 chart topper ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, the first number one record I can recall being aware of. Previous to this, the Bradford born lass was a blue eyed soul singer of some calibre singing backing vocals for Dusty and becoming the first British white female artist to sign to Motown. This particular track is the b-side from her fourth single ‘(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am’ released on Fontana in 1964. The below clip was recorded for a German thriller series made four years later, check out the gadgie on tambourine.

Track 8. Souvenir Shop Rock by Savoy Motel.

These Nashville based glam revivalists surfaced last year with their assured self titled debut LP. This is the first track on the record and sets their stall out from the off. It’s a stomper with synth brass stabs and some superb guitar heroics firmly rooted in the decade that dullard commentators say taste forgot. Personally, I say it’s the decade taste was moulded, refined and never really bettered. As you can tell from the below video, they wear their influences proudly on their bri-nylon sleeves.

Track 9. Total Immersion by TVAM.

Speaking of the seventies, and I will at great length, given the opportunity, this next act takes his cues from another of the many movements of that most eclectic decade. Krautrock is the genre of choice here with all the elements you would expect. Motorik drums, check. Neu-inspired guitars, check. Atmospheric swirling synths, check and mate. Wigan based producer Joe Oxley is the sole member of TVAM and he unleashed this superb instrumental in late November gone, although to these ears it could have easily been recorded and released approximately forty years previously.

Track 10. Teardrops On Your Letter by Hank Ballard And The Midnighters.

Track ten and as usual we reach soul slowie closer time. This weeks pick is a 1959 single from one of the progenitors of rock n roll, Hank Ballard. Although this piano led heartbreaker had moderate success, it is the b-side which is the more famous of the platter. Penned by Ballard himself, the song would resurface two years later providing the planet with a new dance craze and Chubby Checker with a career.

There you go then, ten more of the best. Hope you enjoyed at least one of them if not all, and why shouldn’t you? We only select the choicest cuts for your delectation so get them all into you. Go on, fill your boots.

Regarding boots, these ones were made for walking.

Until next week, hold on tight to your dreams.

Andrew Orley.

 

 

When We Were In Love, I Was An Eagle And You Were A Dove.

laura_marling

Nobody’s Listening. No.57. 9.1.17.

Hullo. Missed me? Thought not. Either way here I am, back again with Issue 57 of Nobody’s Listening. I trust you all had a pleasant winter break and are now settled in to 2017 like it’s always been thus.

Exciting news for all readers inside! Don’t worry, we’re not about to amalgamate with Buster like all your favourite childhood comics seemed to do..

As it’s becoming a bit of a stretch to juggle work and family commitments along with sourcing twenty tracks and writing 2000 words about them, I’ve made the decision to reduce the playlist by fifty percent. Welcome to your new improved, super streamlined ten track Nobody’s Listening! I suspect many of you found twenty tracks a week a bit much to stomach anyway.

Fret not! The boy wonder Paul D’Cruz is still here. This week my very good friend, bandmate and proud owner of the worlds oldest chinchilla has plumped for a seventeen minute epic which nudges our truncated playlist towards the hour mark meaning you’re still getting plenty of bang for your buck…

So, without any further ado, let’s make this precious..

Track 1. Be So Glad by Jaimeo Brown Transcendence.

We begin our first supersonic soaraway slimmed down selection with a track released last year by Jazz artist Jaimeo Brown. This piece is built around a sample of a 1959 recording of inmates at Mississippi’s Parchman Farm Prison juxtaposed with drum and bass progressive jazz. Special mention must go to Saxophonist JD Allen whose tenor kicks in at 2m 25s and provides some of the transcendence alluded to in the collectives moniker.

Track 2. Good Moon by Michael Nau.

Gentle acoustic gorgeousness is the order of the day here. Former frontman of bands Page France and Cotton Jones (who’ve featured previously on NL), Marylands Michael Nau decided to go it alone and released his solo debut LP last year which includes this beautifully warm song. I’ve provided a live performance which features just Nau and his guitar below but if you can, please take the time to listen to the full recorded version which has some wonderful electric noodling and understated strings. Not that the live vid isn’t special, cos it is. Just get them both in yer lugs, alright?

Track 3. Soothing by Laura Marling.

This weeks cover star has received quite heavy airplay on six music with the next track over the past few weeks and it hasn’t suffered the usual over exposure fatigue. It suits this time of year perfectly and has soundtracked quite a few drives with the low winter sun streaming through stripped branches. I must say, the below video (directed by Marling herself) was a bit of an eye opener and not how I interpreted the song at all. Still, it’s her vision and I’m not going to argue with it.

Track 4. Lam San Disco by The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band.

DJ team Maft Sai and Chris Menist are best known for reviving the pop music of Thailand from the 60s and 70s, compiling two excellent sets for NL favourite the Soundway label. The second ‘Sound Of Siam’ release concentrated on the pulsating molam music from the north-east of the country which prompted the duo to update the style with a brand new band. Chris Menist takes on percussion, along with two impressive instrumentalists, Kammao Perdtanon playing the traditional phin lute and the veteran Sawai Kaewsombat on the khaen, a large harmonica type instrument constructed from bamboo pipe. Add some seventies disco bass and you’ve got Thai party time.

Track 5. Old Love (Let’s Try It Again) by Mary Wells.

Our first four tracks this week have all been released in the past twelve months. Let’s make our first foray into oldies territory with this 1962 Motown b-side from Mary Wells. The song also showed up on Martha And The Vandellas debut LP and made a further appearance in the late sixties for The Four Tops, but for me this is the best take, Wells’ voice more suited to the subject matter of rekindling an extinguished flame.

Track 6. Intervals by Bitchin Bajas.

****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****

Paul’s choice this week is Chicago drone band Bitchin Bajas and a track from their 2013 ‘Krausened EP’. As I mentioned up the top there this is a seventeen minute game of two halves, the first part consisting of a looped series of notes before the beats kick in around the seven and a half minute mark. We’re then treated to some superb Max Tundra-esque knob twiddling which sees us through until the abrupt denouement.

Track 7. Golden Gaze by Ian Brown.

Taken from his second solo LP ‘Golden Greats’ which was released shortly after his infamous incarceration for ‘air rage’ in 1999, here we find King Monkey in fine form. From the fabulously wonky guitar which bookends the track to the brutal synth stabs that underpin the bulk of the song, this is probably my favourite thing he’s ever done outside of the roses. In fact, most of his solo output is very strong indeed. Should he decide to stop milking the reunion cash cow I’m quite certain he’ll continue to pack out live shows with his own back catalogue. For now though, I’m happy to continue enjoying a couple of gloriously nostalgic hours in the summer with him and his three mates and me and my best mate.

Track 8. Steady State by Teenage Fanclub.

Speaking of a couple of glorious hours in the summer, I was delighted to hear that the Deer Shed Festival have finally secured the Fannies as Friday night headliners for this years bash in Baldersby park. I shall be front and centre with a bellyfull of ale when they take to the stage in July. Here they are with a lovely cut from their eleventh and latest LP, last years ‘Here’ which is tailor made for a balmy summer evening but is equally apt for a cold January night.

Track 9. Mirage (Part One) by Digitalism.

The German electronic duo released their third LP last May and this is part one of two tracks which take the albums title. A brooding synth piece which has elements of Daft Punk who the band cite as a major influence. As I’ve mentioned many times before, this type of music lends itself to nighttime driving incredibly well. Hit your nearest autobahn and crank it up!

Track 10. Someday (You’ll Want Me) by Smiley Lewis.

Despite the decision to halve the amount of tracks featured, you’ll be pleased to know our regular soul slowie closer slot remains as a weekly fixture. This week I’ve gone for Overton Amos Lemons aka Smiley Lewis with his slow rocking version of Jimmie Rodgers’ 1944 standard which has been covered by countless acts from Gene Autry to Sonny And Cher to Ken Dodd and beyond.

Alright then. It’s nice to be back, albeit in a shortened format. I hope this new direction doesn’t disappoint anyone, but it really was becoming difficult to find the time to compile and collate twenty tracks every week. I’m sure you’ll agree something is better than nothing!

Don’t forget, you still get a daily dose courtesy of yours truly at the Nobody’s Listening facebook page Here, so you’re never going to be short changed music wise.

I’ll be back next week with another ten quality selections.

Until then, float, float on.

Andrew Orley.