Friday, 30 December 2016

DECEMBER PLAYLIST


1.  Little Nicky Soul – ‘I Wanted To Tell You’ (1964)
Handclapping, shuffling, gospel-soul dancer on the obscure and short-lived Shee Records out of New York. Little Nicky was Nichalous Faircorth and the song – with great supporting vocals – was, it’s believed, his only single. If you’re only gonna cut one record, make it a good in.

2.  Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles – ‘All Or Nothing’ (1965)
Newly signed to Atlantic Records and Patti, Cindy Birdsong, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash rewarded the label with a number 68 pop hit. By rights it should have climbed higher as not only was it their best release to date it’s everything you’d want from a sultry and dramatic girl group 45.

3.  The Sweet Three – ‘That’s The Way It Is (When A Girl’s In Love)’ (1966)
Another girl group beauty, this one written and produced by still-to-come Philadelphian legend Leon Huff. Nice flugelhorn intro and a gorgeous record from beginning to end.

4.  Pharoah Sanders – ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ (1969)
Judging by the squawking terror that occupies a chunk of this sprawling 33-minute epic from Karma not everything went as smoothly as the Master may have wished.

5.  Eldridge Holmes – ‘Pop, Popcorn Children’ (1969)
The fourth volume of Soul Jazz Records’ New Orleans Funk shows no sign of dwindling returns. There’s enough in the opening track to keep an old-school hip-hopper in breaks and samples for a month.

6.  Jimmy Smith – ‘Recession or Depression’ (1971)
A vocal track with sweeping strings from the Hammond maestro, sounding for all the world like he’s written the soundtrack to a Blaxploitation movie before such a thing was even in vogue: recession, depression, unemployment, inflation, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, trying to make ends meet. An unexpected moment in Smith’s catalogue.

7.  Senseless Things – ‘Everybody’s Gone’ (1991)
Twickenham’s Pop Kids have reunited for what’s billed as a one-off show next March in Shepherd’s Bush. Saw them many times in the early 90s and revisiting their stuff now I’m reminded why. Great live band with short, fast, pogoing-punk belters with an ear for a good melody. Now all we need are for The Revs to be added to the bill.

8.  The Prime Movers – ‘Don’t Want You Now’ (1991)
Much, I’m sure, to Graham Day’s irritation his time in The Prisoners will always overshadow his other work. Listening back to the second Prime Movers album, Earth Church, it must rank alongside the best things he’s done and ‘Don’t Want You Now’ encapsulates the mean, rock and roll fuck-offness of the Mr Day we know and love.

9.  Peter Doherty – ‘She Is Far’ (2016)
It’s a pity there’s so much baggage with Doherty as it’s possible to produce some quality records out of him. New album Hamburg Demonstrations hits a high percentage of satisfying tracks. ‘Flags of The Old Regime’ is stunning and if Dexys had cut the evocative ‘She Is Far’ you’d never hear the end of it. 

10.  RW Hedges – ‘Wild Eskimo Kiss’ (2016)
They don’t make records like this anymore. Only they do. A magical, almost Orbisonesque, seasonal offering from RW Hedges ahead of a new album next year. Lovely. Listen here.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

MAVIS STAPLES: KENNEDY CENTER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT HONOR


The exceptional Mavis Staples was the recipient this month of a lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center Honors gala at the White House.

"The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the spectacular talents of artists whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society," according to Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

"Reflecting on the powerful commitments these artists have made to their crafts as well as the cultural contributions they have made over the course of their illustrious careers is a humbling experience," added Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.

Look at this speech given by President Barack Obama; everything about it is wonderful. Brings a lump to the throat. Fully deserved Mavis. Congratulations.


Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR


I don’t usually go in for end of year lists but here, in no order other than the one they appear above (which was arranged with the design in mind rather than anything else), are my nine favourite albums of 2016.

William Bell – This Is Where I Live
French Boutik – French Pop
The Lucid Dream – Compulsion Songs
The Monkees – Good Times
Daniel Romano – Mosey
The Senior Service – The Girl In The Glass Case
The See No Evils – Inner Voices
The Junipers – Red Bouquet Fair
Teenage Fanclub - Here

Saturday, 24 December 2016

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM US


Right, can't hang about, gotta give Brigitte her presents. Have a good one people and thanks for dropping by. See ya on the other side.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

SUBBACULTURE - ISSUE FIVE


It’s been a while coming but the latest issue of Mark Hynds’s Subbaculture has been worth the wait. As always, it’s intelligently written, thought-provoking, inspiring and imaginatively designed. Although Subbaculture’s remit is a multitude of street styles it’s the enduring Mod one which takes centre-stage.

There’s a two-part Routes Out Of The Mod Revival feature: one taking the paisley path, the other heading down the strict purist road as captured through the lens of Paul Hallam; author Jason Brummell gives an interesting insight into the world of independent publishing; Peter Jachimiak takes a look at the British art scene of the 50s and 60 with one eye on their sartorial get-up; and the film version of Absolute Beginners is given a reappraisal (so much so I’m going to have to watch it again as my opinion may have changed since I, as a know-all teenager wrapped up in the Colin MacInnes novel, dismissed it as inauthentic 80s rubbish when I saw it for the only time in 1986).

The case for 1980 being music crowning glory is food for thought; there’s an extract from Mr. Brummell’s forthcoming novel; and, although it feels a little tacked-on, Jeff Hately from the band Wolfesbane offers his thoughts from a metal/punk point of view.

Best mag out there. They won't be around long so look sharp, get yours here. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

UNSUNG: BOBBY 'BLUE' BLAND (2016)


Broadcast on 7 December 2016 in the USA as part of the Unsung series, this 35-minute documentary takes an affectionate look at the life and career of Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and needs no further sales pitch from me. Enjoy.

Watch here: Unsung.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

FUSION CHRISTMAS CRACKER – SUNDAY 18 DECEMBER


Join three unwise men – Mick, Doc and I – this Sunday for the Fusion Christmas Cracker. We’re offering up an hour of party poppers to have a drink and dance to. There’ll only be one or two Christmas related songs, the rest just great old soul, beat, R&B, Mod, whatnot singalongs; Czechoslovakian psychedelic B-sides must wait for our own individual shows.

So, grab a bottle of Baileys and tune into Fusion in time for an 8.30pm start. And, while on the subject, can I say thanks to everybody who tunes into Fusion on Sundays (not only the ones I have a paw it) - it's much appreciated. Spread the word. Ho ho ho.  

NOW AVAILABLE TO CATCH-UP AT: Fusion Showreel

Sunday, 11 December 2016

THESE ANIMAL MEN and S*M*A*S*H: FLAWED IS BEAUTIFUL (2016)


Looking back at his time in These Animal Men, Julian Hewings – then trading under the inviting-ridicule nickname, Hooligan – claims the band decided early on their venture wasn’t to become a business or a career but would be an “artistic moment to express our defence of rock and roll and the ordinary kid”. There might be some revisionism going on there but there’s no denying his assertion that they “were doomed but we just fucking went out and blazed it.”

Flawed Is Beautiful is a film by Adam Foley and tells the story of These Animal Men and S*M*A*S*H; two bands the weekly music press dubbed leaders of 1994’s genre-of-the-moment, New Wave of the New Wave. Ultimately NWOTNW didn’t leave much of an impression but it did – for good or bad – do much of the spadework for Brit Pop to flourish the following year. Through archive footage and interviews with band members, journalists and music biz people two quite separate stories emerge.

These Animal Men wanted to exist in a world where rock ‘n’ roll was king. Three minute blasts of adrenaline-driven  pop, dressing up, wearing eyeliner, dying your hair, making a noise, star-jumping on stage, pulling poses practiced in the mirror in front of an audience, getting under people’s skin, taking cheap drugs and having huge heaps of fun; where being in a band was the best possible thing one could wish for and being on Top of the Pops the ultimate achievement. They did it. They lived it and revelled in it. “If someone was gonna do something it had to be someone ordinary, and pathetic, and snidey, and a bit of a prick. And that was me,” says Hewings, his pride obvious. Hewings/Hooligan is the star of this film with his interview segments capturing all that is wonderful about being in a band, balanced with an underlying appreciation of the ridiculousness and transitory nature of the beast.

They courted controversy from the start which is always a double-edged sword; gets attention but invites suspicion which is inevitably impossible to shake. If the lyrics, title and spelling of debut single ‘Speeed King’ weren’t enough, they somehow managed to persuade Virgin Records to throw in a These Animal Men branded (empty) wrap of speed with each copy and have a sleeve depicting a huge bowl of (fake) amphetamines with four straws. And if that wasn’t enough, attempt to play live in schools around the country, with obvious results. To this day, it is a constant source of embarrassment and anxiety for bassist Patrick Murray but sums up the band in one episode.

While These Animal Men had a swashbuckling attitude, blurring punk rock with modish glamour (incidentally, ‘This Is The Sound of Youth’ is the best Mod Revival sounding record ever made, amalgamating Secret Affair and The Chords into something greater than the sum of its parts) and an endless stream of quotable soundbites looking and sounding like a bunch of cut-price Richey Manics, S*M*A*S*H were darker, angrier and grubbier. The Men had style but arguably S*M*A*S*H had more substance. Drummer Rob Hague comes across as a salt of the earth kinda geezer but their story involves suicide and smack addiction, political benefit gigs, awkward punctuation, singles called ‘LadyLoveYourCunt’ and ‘(I Want To) Kill Somebody’ with lyrics about murdering members of the tory government and a video showing John Major having his cock bitten off. That last achievement is without doubt impressive but which band would you sooner have been in? Very little about their tale sounds like much fun.

Flawed But Beautiful is a labour of love for Adam Foley and even if you’re unfamiliar with the bands – or not particular a fan of either – a terrific film capturing dreams, youthful spirit, energy, excitement and white-hot rock and roll. It didn't last long but they did it. More should try it.

Flawed Is Beautiful is out now on DVD.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

LES DARLINGS - "LE TOURBILLON" (2016)

Just to keep things ticking along, here are our European comrades, Les Darlings, with a swirling dollop of garage goodness. Out now on Lust Records.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

NOVEMBER PLAYLIST


1.  Tommy Collins – ‘All Of The Monkeys Ain’t In The Zoo’ (1957)
No they’re not. There are cheating conmen and shysters all around, as ol’ Bakersfield boy Collins knew.

2.  Willie Bobo – ‘Fried Neckbones and Some Homefries’ (1966)
The Latin percussionist’s haunting yet rather beautiful and tasty groove.

3.  The Tages – ‘The Man You’ll Be Looking For’ (1966)
This Swedish beat combo open a new two-disc compilation Svenska Shakers: R&B Crunchers, Mod Grooves, Freakbeat and Psych-Pop from Sweden 1964-1968. At least three of those descriptions apply here.

4.  Tyner McCoy – ‘Four By Five’ (1967)
From The Real McCoy, the pianist’s first album after leaving John Coltrane’s quartet, this – fact fans – is played at around 280 beats per minute. I’ve not tried counting but can vouch this is pretty damn fast.

5.  Alice Coltrane – “Galaxy In Satchidananda” (1972)
Ms Coltrane’s brand of deep spiritualism as demonstrated on World Galaxy isn’t for everyone as I was reminded on Sunday morning when Mrs Monkey rose from her bed to enquire “What the fucking hell are you listening to?”

6.  Curtis Mayfield – ‘Pusherman (Alternate mix with horns)’ (1972)
I’m not fussed where folk buy their music, as long as they buy it, but was weird nipping into Sainsbury’s to buy their 2LP Special Edition orange vinyl edition of Superfly. Over double the original length with various additional versions, instrumental cuts, demos and radio spots it had to be done. This alternate mix with added strings and horns is the pick of the bunch.

7.  Mose Allison – ‘Your Mind Is On Vacation’ (1976)
“If silence was golden, you couldn’t raise a dime”. On 15 November, at the age of 89, and only four years after retiring, Mose fell silent. For a neat tribute and a top ten picks see my comrade Bill Luther’s Anorak Thing blog.

8.  Jesus & Mary Chain – ‘God Help Me’ (1994)
The type of gently stoned, campfire gospel, Spiritualized and Primal Scream also deal in, done here by the Reid brothers with Shane MacGowan taking the lead vocal. Holy.

9.  Frankie & the Witch Fingers – ‘Rise’ (2016)
Their Heavy Roller album is aptly named but this souped-up, supercharged, blues-harp wailing, skin pounding, barnstorming rocker recalls the Moving Sidewalks garage classic ‘99th Floor’.

10.  William Bell – ‘Poison In The Well’ (2016)
William Bell’s second London visit of the year saw another superb performance, this time at the Barbican Centre, showcasing his latest Stax LP, This Is Where I Live, and a host of his soul classics. Shaking Bell’s hand and sharing a few words after the gig was an unexpected bonus and a magical experience. Legend.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

POPTIMISM: THE BRONCO BULLFROG INTERVIEW (2016)


Bronco Bullfrog, Crossfire, London, October 2016 (Mike, Andy & Louis)
I last interviewed Bronco Bullfrog in 1999 for Shindig! magazine ahead of their first ever London gig, at the Nice Club situated off Tower Bridge. In the finished article, I described them as “purveyors of the finest, classiest, most gorgeous pop gems”. Why use one adjective when you can you three? They went on to record four albums before splitting five years after our chat.

Their debut, Bronco Bullfrog, remains to my mind one of the best albums of that period. Chief songwriter Andy Morten’s attention to the details of everyday lives would be unmatched by his peers, if he had any. A few years ago the band quietly reconvened and have since issued four singles and played the occasional show. The most recent being the Crossfire allnighter in London last month. 

Watching them I marvelled, once again, at not only their stunning songs – full of classic pop hooks and three-part harmonies – but what a powerful live band they are. The songs blasted from stage crushed their recorded counterparts to dust, making them sound like cheap demos. It was a very well chosen set too, as if distance has allowed them to reflect and cherrypick their greatest moments. Early favourites from the first two LPs ‘Can’t Find My Own Way’, ‘One Day With Melody Love’, ‘History’, Get To Know You’, ‘Jigsaw Mind’ and more nestled flawlessly with recent singles ‘Marmalade’ and ‘Never Been To California’. The Move and Pete Ham/Badfinger covers being glorious bonus balls. It was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve seen all year and spent the set and days after wondering how they escaped the attention of just about everyone, then and now.

I rolled back the years with Andy Morten for the New Untouchables’ NUTSMAG to wonder that aloud.

For those new to Bronco Bullfrog, can you give us a quick account of who, how, when and why the band started?
1996. 20 years ago – Jesus. Mike and I had been in The Nerve and Louis had been in The Beatpack, Immediates, Morticians and probably others. He was in garage bands when he was about 10. These bands were playing the same ’60s / mod circuit in London and slowly got to know each other; dogs sniffing each other’s arses, so to speak. I joined Louis’ post-Immediates band Vibraphone sometime around 1990 but left after we were involved in a motorway accident after a gig in Spain. In ’96 all three of us found ourselves at a loose end and decided to try our luck together with something a little different. The garage / psych / mod approach had been mined pretty deep and we’d all started listening to a wider palette of music; country-rock, folk, powerpop, sunshine-pop. The aim was to absorb all of these influences into one cohesive whole while retaining our roots as Who / Kinks / Small Faces-worshipping fanboys. There were no rules at the beginning: if we liked the sound of it, it was in.

The band took their name from Barney Platts-Mills’ 1969 film, and your debut LP included ‘Del Quant’, based on the main character. What was it that captured your imagination about that film?
We’d all discovered the film around the time the band was starting out and I suspect, like many bands, needed a name for a poster in a hurry. It was to hand and it stuck. I had no idea there was a Spanish Oi! label with the same name. We watched the film endlessly and used to run off copies of my third-generation VHS, taped off Channel 4 in the ’80s, for our mates. When we were writing that first flurry of songs, it loomed large in our world and that’s where the lyrics to ‘Del Quant’ came from. Louis and I wrote it in the kitchen in the house we were sharing in Fosse Road South, Leicester. ‘Down Angel Lane’ is also named after a street in Stratford that appears in the film.

Your debut album, Bronco Bullfrog, came out in 1998 on the small independent Twist label. In the preceding few years swathes of bands with even the slightest 60s echo were signed to big labels and had money pumped into them. Bronco Bullfrog had far more depth, imagination and superior songs (I’m allowed to say this, you can agree….) but got overlooked. Why do you think this was and was it a source of irritation?
We’ve talked about this a lot over the years (and over the beers) and we’re still not sure. Laziness? Nonchalance? Ignorance probably. When we started there was very little awareness of a lot of the stuff that most bands seem to crave from day one: we had no desire to get signed up or play at certain cool gigs or support Supergrass or whatever. We’d come up through provincial bands where playing to 40 people on a Saturday night was kind of enough. We weren’t chasing any kind of success or acceptance; we were literally doing our own thing. It all felt very insular; us against the world, getting stoned and buying obscure pop and psych records from Leicester market and writing these little songs.

You enjoyed a greater appreciation in other parts of Europe than in the UK. What were the differences at home and abroad and why do you think that was?
Again, we’ve asked lots people, particularly in Spain, where we’ve achieved a modicum of success, about this as we have no idea. The over-riding impression we’ve been give is that they like the songs primarily, and secondarily the way we try and put them across – with gusto and without fear of failure! Perhaps our tendency to “over-write” songs – to keep adding more musicality, more chord changes and structural elements – singled us out somewhat. I wasn’t hearing a lot of bands playing songs as naively adventurous as ‘Greenacre Hill’ and ‘7:38’ around that time. Still don’t actually. I guess the balance of downbeat, often melancholic lyrics in a spunky, super-pop framework isn’t that common either.

Some of the songs, particularly early on, appear very autobiographical and personal. What emotions do they provoke in you now?
Like I said earlier, this was 20 years ago – we were young men writing about the travails that young men go through: break-ups, breakdowns, high times, low times, girls, films, pubs and cake. Life was easier then – we didn’t have responsibilities like we do now. 

What I hadn’t done before (as primary songwriter) was to write about myself and my emotions and those of my friends and the world around me. The Nerve was resolutely a psychedelic rock band; the lyrics were, for the most part, meaningless. The wah-wah and the Hammond were more important. It was only when people started telling me how much the words to ‘Paper Mask’ or ‘Sweet Tooth’ meant to them that I started to consider that there might be some emotional depth to what we were doing. Then we’d get on stage and try and be The Who in 1968 and any subtlety went straight out the window.

How self-critical are you of your albums?
All three of us are incredibly self-critical of Bronco Bullfrog’s recordings – I can’t bear to listen to anything other than the first album and a couple of tracks from each of the others. They were all recorded cheaply, quickly and honestly – which is the way we wanted it – but that method can result in some rather, er, candid performances. We weren’t confident in the studio and would continually swop instruments if the other guy could do it better. That spirit was lost as time passed. And the red light syndrome always defeated us.

Which three songs would you pick to give the best representation of Bronco Bullfrog and why?
Tricky. The first batch will always remain the most resonant as they represent a snapshot of our lives and our friendship at that time; precious, life-affirming memories. After that we tried our hand at all sorts of things but ended up gravitating towards a fairly regulation powerpop / power-trio format and some of that variety was sacrificed. Stylistically, a selection that I like would be ‘Paper Mask’ for its emotional heft, ‘Sweet Tooth’ for its blind pop optimism - poptimism? - and something like ‘Down Angel Lane’, ‘History’ or ‘One Day With Melody Love’ for almost capturing the essence of all those ’60s 45s we adore: punch, power, melody and dynamics. And mistakes.

After years away Bronco Bullfrog have reformed in a very gentle manner, releasing a series of stand-alone 7 inch singles and the occasional gig. Tell us about those. What prompted the three of you getting back in the studio?
I guess we needed some time apart after the band split up in 2004; some growing up had to be done. I’m not saying any of us have grown up but we’re all best mates again now and that’s by far the best thing that’s come out of this reunion.

The singles were a natural by-product of getting back together and not wanting to go straight back on stage; we were more interested in writing and recording a bunch of new songs in as informal and low-key a manner as we could manage. We went to State Recorders when it was in Folkestone, then when it moved to St Leonard’s, as we’d known Mole and Marty since their Mystreated days and liked the rough and ready sound they were busy patenting. I emailed a few labels and lo and behold. We’ve done four 45s on four labels so far.
The four Bronco Bullfrog 45s: 2012-2015
So many bands reform years down the line. People have mixed views about this, what’s your take? What makes a successful reunion, both from the point of view of a musician and a fan?
I can only speak from my own experience, which is that the whole time we were out of action we were still getting requests to go and play in Spain, Germany and Italy. After a while we realised that people remembered us and maybe we should give it a shot. We did a couple of warm-up gigs late last year to quell the nerves, then headed back to Spain in December and dived in at the deep end at Purple Weekend. We’ve done two tours over there since then and, while we’ve undoubtedly become less ragged, we’ve also realised that playing those songs for 90 minutes when you’re 47 is knackering.

What can we expect from Bronco Bullfrog in the future? More gigs? Singles? An album?
We haven’t recorded anything for 18 months as we were preparing our sea legs for the Spanish shows. We’re all in other bands too and have assorted jobs and families that require our attention. The plan, however tentative, is to record an album and another single early next year. We’ll probably do it ourselves, in our time and space, on a couple of old four-tracks so (a) it sounds more like the old records we dig and (b) you can’t hear the mistakes so well.

Finally, your 2013 single for State Records included ‘Never Been To California’ (my favourite track of the new BB-era). For someone whose songs have so often included Californian sunshine pop in their grooves, please tell me this isn’t true!
Sorry Mark, it is true. Neither Louis, Mike nor myself have been to the US of A so I thought I’d write a song about it and we’d try and make it sound like a Californian sunshine-pop band. Obviously we failed but that’s what Bronco Bullfrog has always been about really: creating something interesting and exciting by failing!
The Way We Were


This interviewed was conducted for, and first appeared on, Nutsmag - the on-line home of The New Untouchables - 21st Century Modernist and Sixties Underground Music Culture. Check 'em out for tons of events around Europe.

THE FINAL PUSH: THE SANDINISTA! FEMALE RAGE ISSUE


Back in 2013 I reported on the launch of a new underground literary fanzine, PUSH. Three and a half years, twenty-three issues, two Best Of PUSH books, the emergence of a raft of exciting writers, a host of literary events, and the giving away of cupboardfuls of nick-knacks and pop culture memorabilia during editor Joe England’s legendary raffles later, the mag is folding.

When PUSH appeared, it took its inspiration from the tiny independent press network, especially Blackheath Books, and since establishing itself as leaders in the field has paved the way for the likes of Paper & Ink and Hand Job to do a similar thing. None though, with respect, has had the bite of the England’s collections of prose, poetry and art.

Neither burning out or fading away, the final Sandinista! issue, is full of incandescent rage from an all-female cast. Some of the pieces make for extremely uncomfortable reading, and this from a series that has never shied away from confrontation or ugly truths. As Joe says, “I love this issue, and really cannot see where I could take the fanzine forwards from here.” I’ve huge respect for people leaving things at the top so credit to Joe, not only for collating a tremendous amount of work but for being a key conduit in bringing like-minded folk – writers and readers – together and giving them a platform. A push, if you will.

A third Best Of PUSH will appear soon, published, once again, by East London Press. The final issue of PUSH can be obtained from Joe here.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

MONKEY'S WANDERING WIRELESS SHOW - SUNDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2016


Fusion only broadcasts for one hour every week but that hour is one of the highlights of the week. Every Sunday a motley crew of music loving freaks hang out, play records, drink and have some fun. Listeners either submit a playlist for head lunatic Mick to deliver or have a stab at presenting themselves.

This week I’m honoured to been entrusted to fill the hot seat in Fusion’s rickety old studio for the latest instalment of Monkey’s Wandering Wireless Show. There’ll be roughly 60 minutes of tunes spanning the 60 years between 1956 and 2016: soul, R&B, beat, things with guitars, songs ya know and some you might not, with the odd surprise thrown in here and there.

If you sign up to hosting site Mixlr you’ll be able to join in the chat with the Fusion family (they don’t bite, properly house-trained) as the show goes on, or simply hit the link below in time for 8.30pm and listen in. Bring some booze and enjoy.


Now available to listen at your leisure on the Fusion Showreel here: MWWS Showreel

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

THE PRIMITIVES at BROADCAST, GLASGOW


The Primitives began a trio of weekend gigs on Friday with a rollicking show at Glasgow’s Broadcast. Helped by the intimate venue, the low ceiling, the strobe lighting, the rumbustious nature of the Prims material and it being their first gig for a while this felt like the scales of pop and punk tipped more towards the latter than usual. They’ve always walked that pop-punk path with style – every review since 1987 has included bubblegum and buzz saws, Ramones and Ronettes (see what I mean?) – and continue to do so.

They’ve now been an ongoing concern in their second flush of extended youth longer than their initial burst of activity and the two eras seamlessly coexist. Oldies but goldies ‘Sick Of It’, ‘Spacehead’, ‘Really Stupid’, ‘Dreamwalk Baby’ and, of course, ‘Crash’ – tucked away mid-set – in no way overshadow ‘Lose That Reason’, ‘Hidden in The Shadows’, ‘Rattle My Cage’ and ‘Dandelion Seeds’ which already sound like modern classics.

Over twenty songs fly past in a giddying rush. With the band working on new material there'll soon be additional songs to add to their crown on pop gems, and few wear anything as well as the Primitives.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

FRENCH BOUTIK at the 100 CLUB, LONDON


I like French Boutik. I like how the title of their album, Front Pop, references forward-thinking popular culture and the Front Populaire movement of the 1930s where an alliance of French workers fought for basic rights.  That combination of toe tapping melodies and socio-political comment informs their music, not that I can understand it as I don’t speak French but that’s not the point, is it comrades?

I like how French Boutik sing in French - it’s authentic and natural – rather than a second tongue, it strikes me as uncompromising and, frankly, the right thing to do, unlike so many others. Be yourself, be true.

I like that French Boutik are Mods and my sort of Mods. Mods who look good, dress well, know what’s what and don’t make me flinch from the term. They make Mod appear like a cool thing, which it always should but seldom does these days. They are the only current band I can think of who do Mod well. They aren’t a clich├ęd Mod band or, if you prefer, band of Mods.

I like how French Boutik’s music has undercurrents of soul and jazz but doesn’t actually sound like either. There’s a 60s grasp of strong melodies, elements of 70s new wave fleck their songs, as does 90s Britpop, and sandwiched between is a clean 80s sheen which, probably unintentionally but not unpleasantly, recall early Everything But The Girl, and Swing Out Sister (no bad thing at all, in case there’s any doubt, Kaleidoscope World is a splendid LP) plus the first couple of Style Council albums.

I like how French Boutik look happy on stage at the 100 Club, relishing the moment, and the way they shoot each other looks and smile knowingly when they’ve just nailed a part of a tune. I like how as a support act they make their set feel like the headline slot. People who’ve come specially to see them and those who’ve never heard of them before are in unison: they’re an enjoyable band. They drink red wine on stage.

I like how French Boutik are spilt along gender lines and have a girl on drums who hardly breaks into a sweat. Horses sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies gently glow, as my Granpop always used to say.

I like that the vinyl edition of French Boutik’s LP comes with an inner sleeve with lyrics and even a double-sided colour poster. Posters are proper pop group material. It’s a proper pop record.

I like French Boutik. I like them a lot.

Front Pop by French Boutik is out now on LP and CD.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

OCTOBER PLAYLIST


1.  Bobby Adams – ‘Sixteen Years In The Making’ (1963)
Bobby, with a voice like the man of the mountains, sings about his delight of girl’s 16th birthday; a girl he met at the age of two, then four, then eight. Enjoy this big beat mover then call the cops.

2.  Satan’s Breed – ‘Laugh Myself To The Grave’ (1966)
Give a group of Rhode Island kids a cheap organ, a few other instruments and some Animals records, lock them in the garage and wait for the results. Boom!

3.  The Deadly Ones – ‘It’s Monster Surfing Time’ (1964)
The title gives most of this track away. Taut and twangy instrumental with a few hungry monster noises over the top. Stay outta the water kids.

4.  Clara Ward – ‘Hang Your Tears Out To Dry’ (1966)
Primarily a gospel singer of the highest order, Clara rarely ventured into the secular side of the house but Hang Your Tears Out To Dry on Verve is a spectacular exception. A couple of standards, some full blown jazz-soul stompers, some folky-gospel and best-version-ever covers of ‘This Ole House’ and ‘Help’. Not easy to find but what an album.

5.  Betty Harris – ’12 Red Roses’ (1966)
From the new Soul Jazz Records collection, The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul. Although Betty was only ever flown in to New Orleans for recordings, Allen Toussaint’s production and local musicians including the Meters give it that unmistakable gumbo-funk sound.

6.  Them – ‘What’s A Matter Baby’ (1967)
Them’s first post-Van Morrison LP, Now and Them, understandable lacks a bit of direction but the bouncy blue-eyed soul treatment on the Timi Yuro/Small Faces classic works here.

7.  Cilla Black – ‘Help Me Jesus’ (1973)
Now, I’m nothing if not a fair man and while I may usually prefer the sound of a burning zoo to a Cilla record I’ve got to admit liking this. Bittersweet Symphony intro, big sustained guitar chords, tickling piano and ace backing vocals all contribute to an out of the floor gospel soul dancer. If someone else had sung lead it’d be perfect, as it is it’s still pretty damn good. I’m off for a lie down in a dark room to recover from the shock. Nurse!

8.  Lloyd Cole & the Commotions – ‘Charlotte Street’ (1985)
Lloyd Cole at Islington’s Union Chapel this month was magnificent. Playing two sets – one solo and one accompanied by his son on second guitar – he treated the congregation to “the Lloyd Cole Songbook 1983-1996”. Lloyd’s voice was better than I’d ever appreciated, he was warm, funny, self-depreciating and armed with a stunning catalogue of songs from the Commotions period and the first phase of his (neglected by many) solo career. Rattlesnakes remains one of the finest albums ever made in my book, not a note or phrase wasted, so it was a thrill to hear three-quarters of it including a couple of my absolute favourites, ‘2CV’ and ‘Charlotte Street’.

9.  Hooton Tennis Club – ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’ (2016)
I flagged up their ‘Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair’ last year and now off Big Box Of Chocolates comes another toe-tapping Scouse half-60s beat/half-90s indie winner.

10. French Boutik – ‘Le Mac’ (2016)
I’ve no idea what Paris-based French Boutik are singing about most of the time but I like the way they sing it and the cut of their jib. Debut LP Front Pop - bursting with bright melodies and a magpie approach to picking influences be it 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s – is highly recommended. ‘Le Mac’ rips along at a lick with careering guitars and hurtling organ in hot pursuit while singer Gabriela Giacoman is too cool to rush. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

THE HALLOWEEN SHOW on FUSION - SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER 2016


There will be some frankly terrifying noises emanating from the wireless this Sunday as three of Fusion’s most hideous voices join together to present the shockingly imaginatively titled Halloween Show.

Mildew Mick, Degenerate Dr Gonzo and I shall be blowing the cobwebs off some creepy and crawly musical chestnuts for your hairy ears. If you listened to our ‘Party 7’ show last year, you’ll kind of know what to expect (the worst…): tracks leaning a bit more towards the classics and a spot of light tomfoolery. It’ll be fun, honest, and I promise there’ll be no Monster Mash.

As always, Fusion cranks into action at 8.30pm on the dot for an hour. Tune in in plenty of time my ghoulish comrades.

UPDATE: In case ya missed it here's the link to catch-up mixlr.com/fusion-on-air/showreel/the-halloween-show/ Show about 1hr 20mins as we got a bit carried away so overrun the usual hour slot!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

THE LOVELY EGGS live at the LEXINGTON


The Lovely Eggs, The Lexington, 26 October 2016. Photo by Darren Brooker
Midway through the Lovely Eggs’ set, as they finish ‘People Are Twats’, two audience members hold up pre-printed signs reading I Can’t Believe I’m Missing Bake Off For This. Although in jest it’s a handy – if slightly confused – reminder of ‘them’: the outside world, the 15 million people watching three people make cakes fit for the Royal Family, the twats if you will, and ‘us’: the 200 people squeezed into a far-too-small upstairs London pub venue watching a Lancastrian couple thrash out shouty philosophies and observations on a battered drum kit and grungy sounding guitar.

After expressing incredulity that anyone would watch such a thing, Holly Egg reveals her and David Egg are big fans of Channel 4’s Hunted, a show in which contestants drop out of everyday society to go underground and escape the surveillance and monitoring of The State. Sticking it to The Man. It makes sense, the Lovely Eggs do things their own way. Fiercely independent, for years now they’ve put out their own records, organised their own tours, it’s their own DIY world. “This is our life,” Holly says with a mixture of quiet pride, ridiculousness and a hint of what-else-would-we-do?

Luckily we are free to enter the world of the Lovely Eggs and the best way is always via their gigs where they make the most sense. Some of their whimsical nature of yore has been replaced by a harder edged, heavier sound over the last few years but they’ve racked up such a formidable collection of singles their set is beginning to feel like a greatest hits. The latest 45, the wibbly-wobbly, suitably disorienting ‘Drug Braggin’’ opens proceedings, swiftly followed by one of the best and most harmonious, ‘Food’. New song ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’ is a frustrated blast of angry punk rock; and ‘Fuck It’ encapsulates the Eggs’ well-considered design for a happy and contented life. “Some people spend thousands going to Thailand to discover that, you can have that advice for free”.

A large part of what makes the Lovely Eggs so endearing is their humour and between-song revelations. We hear about the tribulations of taking a small child on tour (it’s their son, they explain, not a random three-year old); their capacity for cans of beer (not too impressive, although the previous point a factor here); thoughts on developing a drinks holster to negate the inconvenience of having to bend down to pick up a beer; and how to make onion rings pissed as a fart at 5am.

Although every song rapturously received the atmosphere is oddly subdued between numbers. Maybe a sign of respect and attention, not wanting to chat through a gig is commendable in my book, but the audience come to life more during ‘Allergies’ when DJ Richard Merrett, positioned above the stage with Idle Fret’s Darren Brooker, claps along in time through the song’s opening pause. “That sounds really good,” notices Holly, who stops the song to ask everyone to follow his lead. They do and it works wonderfully well. London, you started it…

If the Lovely Eggs had only made 2011’s ‘Don’t Look At Me (I Don’t Like It)’ they’d still be immortal for giving us the sheer bloody poetry of washing-line teeth, dressing-gown noses, dog-dirt eyes, wheel-chair hearts, red-wine smiles and the genius of sausage-roll thumbs.

They depart. No phony encore. If you aren’t too busy watching the telly or making cakes and want a cheery and beery night out, hunt down the Lovely Eggs. 
Many thanks to Darren Brooker (@IdleFret) for the ace photos

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

BEAT SCENE - ISSUE 83


On the sleepy teatime quiz show Pointless last Friday one question was something like “Who in 1957 was author of characters Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty?” Of a survey of one hundred people, two correctly identified Jack Kerouac. My immediate response was to deride the great British public for their lack of knowledge of On The Road, yet after some consideration every 50th person recognising the central characters of a 60 year old American novel was a decent result and those conducting the survey possibly struck lucky to hit that many.

Jack Kerouac naturally enough features in the latest issue of Beat Scene. The design might not have changed in over twenty years but neither has editor Kevin Ring’s passion for all things beat related as he draws together new articles, published transcripts and news and reviews of the latest happenings. I’m excited to read of the publication of Kerouac’s original unexpurgated text of Maggie Cassidy and the article by Kurt Hemmer identifying the Beat Generation’s influence on Morrissey threw up a number of interesting associations. How have I never seen that photo of James Dean up a tree before?

Other pieces include Lawrence Ferlinghetti recalling ‘Howl’, Kenneth Patchen’s Poetry and Jazz days, saxophonist Steve Lacy discussing Brion Gysin, and William Burroughs is central to a number of inclusions.

Available from www.beatscene.net/ priced £5.50 or via subscription.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

LUKE HAINES at the ROSE & CROWN, WALTHAMSTOW


Should Luke Haines ever appear on one of those game or reality shows – and I’d dearly love to see him on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here covering in rat shit fetching firewood with Una Stubbs – he’d be introduced as “Best known as lead singer of 90s indie band The Auteurs and member of Black Box Recorder who had a hit in 2000 with The Facts of Life”. For me though Haines is the author of two fabulously bitchy autobiographical books, Bad Vibes: Britpop and My Part in its Downfall and Post Everything, both of which I read earlier this year and was instantly a fan after having never taken much notice of his work. Haines possesses a well-developed skill in tearing to shreds anyone who crosses his path and a fondness for occupying the position of perennial outsider with an enormous sense of righteousness. Written from the viewpoint of the time with no attempt to balance with hindsight or maturity, both books are funny as fuck. You need to read them, not least for the Glenn Hoddle lolly stick episode...

I remembered The Auteurs – I saw them support Suede at the 100 Club in the early days of both bands – but not any of their music so it was with trepidation and some reluctance I finally approached them. Haines talks such a good game I didn’t want to spoil his version of events. How much stuff from the mid-90s is going to sound great to fresh ears this late in the game? The Auteurs did. Almost the classic albums he claimed, certainly the first three and the fourth isn’t bad at all. Lacerating rock and roll, sharply penned, unusual subject matter. And what with Haines being an obnoxious shit-stirrer with self-destructive tendencies I don’t know why I missed out on them.  A combination, more than likely, of bad clothes, worse hair, a punchable face and the band not looking in any shape or form like a gang. Bad crime that. They were no Spitfire, man. Oh, and one of them played the cello for Christsakes. I, like almost everyone else, backed the Suede horse. It was one thing to merrily mince around the indie-disco shaking all your money in time, quite another to rejoice in an unsolved child murder or a light aircraft on fire.

Last Friday, Haines’ new album, Smash The System, was released. On Saturday, following a talk back in the summer at the Walthamstow Rock & Roll Book Club, he returned to the ‘Stow to promote it. Not that he mentioned it nor were there any copies to be bought. No hard sell here. Strolling on to the low stage, glass of red wine in hand, he sat on a stool, picked up an acoustic guitar, played songs, cracked gags and wore, quite literally, a pair of Rock ‘n’ Roll shades. “Rock” in white paint on the right lens, “Roll” on the left. Looked good but impossible to see shit through so donated to one quick-handed punter after the first song, the album’s rolling title track, which urged us to smash the system, listen to the Velvet Underground and expressed admiration for the Monkees. “Davy Jones sings… Peter Tork sings… Mickey Dolenz sings…” Poor old Mike Nesmith left off the list for treating the Monkees too seriously. “Imagine being in the Monkees and not understanding the Monkees”. This light-hearted knockabout routine become a frequent occurrence.

‘Ritual Magick’ was a macabre tale of putting menstrual blood on the roses to make the garden grow (unusual song themes, remember?) and the odd folksy theme continued with ‘The Incredible String Band’, a kazoo accompanied ditty about “an unholy act, they sang like a couple of weasels trapped in a sack” which made me chuckle as that’s precisely why I find those Scottish folkniks unlistenable. Haines though, the contrary sod, “loved them”. ‘Bomber Jacket’ a creepily evocative account of being outside growing up in the late 70s straddled comedy and menace as did ‘Are You Mad?’ also referencing that period (or early 80s) with references to Eric Bristow and Bobby George. 

Outside the new record there were some Auteurs songs including ‘Child Brides’, ‘New French Girlfriend’, ‘Lenny Valentino’ and ‘Show Girl’ and although I can’t profess to yet being fully up to speed on all the solo albums Haines knocks out seemingly cheaply from his front room (I’m trying), ‘Lou Reed, Lou Reed’ and ‘Leeds United’ were instantly recognisable as were two tracks from his concept album about 70s wrestlers: ‘Haystack’s In Heaven (Parts 1-3)’ “Shirley Crabtree in heaven, Les Kellett in heaven, Pat Roach in heaven, Dickie Davies in heaven, grapple fans in heaven, all the old ladies in heaven…” and ‘Saturday Afternoon’ with Haines masterful at blending innocence with the darkest horribleness, entertainment with terror. His half-spoken, breathy husk make a “liver sausage” sound like the most terrifying object on earth. His sinister delivery akin to a hostage taker ringing up and giving directions where to drop the money before your loved one chokes to death on a meat based sandwich.

Luke Haines likes to give the impression of a scary man (see his Twitter feed) and he can rub people up the wrong way (I was talking to a couple of NME journalists from the 90s recently and the air would've made a sailor blush when his name came up) but isn’t that what rock and roll is supposed to be about? Smash the system, listen to the Velvet Underground, reflect on our pop-culture heritage, wind people up and, most of all, have fun. Luke Haines is a lot of fun. Sorry Luke.

Smash The System by Luke Haines is out now on Cherry Red Records.
Bad Vibes and Post Everything are published by Windmill.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

"COMPULSION SONGS IS GOING TO BE A CLASSIC WITH PEOPLE IN TIME". THE LUCID DREAM INTERVIEW


The Lucid Dream, The Lexington, London, September 2016
Formed in Carlisle, Cumbria in 2008, The Lucid Dream have just released their third album, the magnificent Compulsion Songs. Monkey Picks caught them at the Lexington in London the day before release and is still slightly in awe with what it witnessed. It’s been a pleasure to watch them develop and progress over the years from being initially attracted by their (then) Mary Chain sound to the unstoppable dubby, psych rock, Krautrock juggernaut they’ve become. One of the most innovative bands around at the moment their live shows are phenomenal; managing to harness raw power, imagination and hypnotic grooves to move the body and the mind.

The Lucid Dream are Mark Emmerson (vocals, guitars, synths, melodica), Wayne Jefferson (guitars, synths), Mike Denton (bass) and Luke Anderson (drums, percussion). Mark kindly spared some time to chat about the album, being a genuinely independent band from Carlisle, psychedelia and the albums that influenced Compulsion Songs.

Let’s start with the new album, Compulsion Songs. Did you have an idea in mind, leading off the previous album, or was it ‘let’s just see what comes out’?
I think it's a natural progression from the second album, The Lucid Dream. I look back at our debut, Songs of Lies and Deceit, which took four long years to complete and think it is a band finding their identity whilst borrowing heavily; let’s be honest, the Spacemen 3 debut was very like that. These last two albums I think have put us in a class of our own, and it is no secret many share that opinion. No band are covering the genres in one release that we are. Compulsion Songs is going to be a classic with people in time, I can sense it.

Was it pieced together over an extended period or done during one concentrated period of recording?
Surprisingly this album was very simple and constructed from a recording/mixing view. After recording 'Bad Texan' for a single in November 2015 we knew we should strike while the iron was hot, and recorded the album over February-June 2016. We spent five days recording it at Whitewood Studios, Liverpool, with Rob Whiteley and the way of working was that I had all the songs ready, we literally spent a day rehearsing each - the joys of being in a band who are shit-hot and know each other perfectly - and then off to the studio to record it a few days later.

What's your recording process like?
Everything was very structured really, and we laid the guide takes down second or third attempt. 'I'm A Star In My Own Right' - the morning I showed the guys the song, we then played it a couple of times in the room, and literally were grinning at each other thinking 'that's it!'. Fourth time we ever played that song together was the album take. Only 'Epitaph' required a lot of work in the rehearsal room, which is no surprise given it's 11 minutes long. We recorded '21st Century' and most of 'Nadir' on a Friday afternoon, 12 hours later we were in Barcelona to play. A productive weekend to say the least. Also, I knew with family commitments, I became a father for the first time last October, that we couldn't afford in time terms to ponder on mixes endlessly. I also knew from obsessively mixing the last album that you soon lose perspective and love for the album for a short while too.

All your releases have been via your own Holy Are You Recordings. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working this way?
Self-releasing for us has been amazing. The advantage is that we take full ownership/proceeds from the sales. A huge shout-out has to go to Guy Sirman at Southern Record Distribution. Without him/them we would not be able to put the albums out. We are now in a position where we can put a record out without having to pay upfront for it, and then see it distributed in the best possible manner. The downside is that we can only have a certain reach whilst being DIY. We employ our own PR in UK but we deserve to be getting full releases throughout the world with thorough PR campaigns.

How does it affect sales?
We are punching way above our weight self-releasing. This album has been one of the top sellers at the independents, and I have been told that had we have went through the corporate route that we would probably be charting top 50 this week, and very likely top 10 on the vinyl chart. No word of a lie, when we put an album up for pre-order our inbox is flooded. We had 100 direct copies of this new album and they sold out in a couple of hours. The figures at the likes of Piccadilly and Norman have been abnormally high.

Music, like the majority of work in the creative arts, appears to have become marginalized these days. Is being in a band like yours financially difficult to sustain, particularly with touring?
We do well in that respect, which I guess stems from self-releasing. We pay for absolutely everything - recording, mastering, PR, art etc. The only thing we don't directly pay for are the manufacturing costs. We always do well out of albums though as they sell very well for our level and touring does well for us too. We aren't a band to be careless in the studio so studio costs really are minimal. We can get a song-a-day recorded, easy.

Do you think some have an issue with you bringing out your releases? Certainly if you self-publish books people’s attitude is often it must be a bit crap if no ‘real’ publisher will touch it.
I think the people mainly to be culprits of that are the bigger label/agent arseholes and pretentious websites. Let's be honest, a self-released band from Carlisle isn't marketable but the proof is out there to see that we have a very intelligent, non-judgemental, comparatively large fanbase. We aren't a band to suffer fools gladly, and the message to all those judging us without listening is 'fuck you'.

The reviews for Compulsion Songs have been uniformly positive but I remember Shindig! magazine giving you a bit of a hard time in the early days. How do you react to criticism?
Shindig! were pretty critical a few years back. The first time was when 'Heartbreak Girl' was released in 2011, and the writer in question accused us of jumping on the psych bandwagon. The irony of that statement was that we had been this for four years at that point and 'Heartbreak Girl' isn't remotely psychedelic, or claims to be. The other time was when we played Liverpool Psych Fest in 2013. We drew one of the biggest, most receptive crowds of the weekend. The writer claimed the crowd were bored or something like that. My simple reply to that - how did our crowds go the following two years? A rhetorical question.

What about your geography? I think you’ve said if you weren’t from Carlisle and was from a “trendier” big city you’d receive more coverage. With communication easier these days via social media and whatnot does where you’re from make any difference?
The problem is that people can't take you seriously in certain areas if you're from a northern 'uncool' city like Carlisle. It is ridiculous and unfortunately is an issue that will never go away. There’s a kind of geographical discrimination that happens in the industry. Also, coming from Carlisle means that you need to work extra hard to get recognition. There's no 'scene' here, people aren't going to be passing your disc around to promoters, writers etc. Once we started in 2008 we went out and played shows in the northern cities, lost a lot of money in the process but made an impact. Every show somebody would be saying 'we've not seen a band as good as you in years' and word-of-mouth developed. If you're from Leeds, you're half-good and play a gig at the local pub you've got the NME and shite like that on speed-dial. Thankfully, in Carlisle that's not a possibility and you've got to work extra hard to get out there; the nearest city is an hour away. We can genuinely say we've never had any 'label interest' ever, not that we care. When we recorded our last album in Liverpool majors were sending scouts up on a weekly basis to look at signing bands who had played a handful of gigs. Says it all.
Mark Emmerson, The Lucid Dream
Let's talk about labels, ‘psych’ in particular. Handy shorthand for journalists or restrictive pigeonhole for musicians?
In fairness, we are a band that's hard to pin down. We're dabbling in psych, dub, garage rock, krautrock. I guess all have 'psychedelic' elements so appreciate we have to accept that as a pigeonhole. To me bands like The Flaming Lips at present, a band who are genuinely weird, do the unexpected and are unhinged are psychedelic, but psychedelic to most appears to be 'has flanger/delay/reverb pedal, haircut and leathers.' To us it means experimental, challenging music. And fuck the leathers and get the shit hats off, get some Adidas, Lacoste, Fred Perry and Paul and Shark on you posers!

How would you describe your music?
Experimental but also in touch with classic pop music. The thing that makes us stand out is that musically we are on fire, but we also know what a great song entails.

What do you want to achieve with the Lucid Dream that you’ve not done so far?
We often have this conversation, and we've achieved more than we ever expected. Initial ambitions were to get a release on vinyl, play outside of Carlisle – honestly! - and have a top time. We've done all those, but also had a lot of records out, played 20 countries and done a few 6 Music sessions, to name a few. The present to-do list for me would be topped by a Maida Vale session and a couple of USA/Americas shows.

What would be a measure of ‘success’?
Has somebody said you have changed their life? If so, that's all. We have been lucky enough to have that acclaim several times. Even things like a fan having 'You & I' as their first dance at their wedding, it doesn't get much better than that.

Further listening. The Lucid Dream’s guide to the five main records to help shape Compulsion Songs:
Neu! – ‘75 (Brain, 1975)
"This is the album that got the ball rolling with this album. Tracks like 'Nadir' and 'Epitaph' are based around that whole motorik beat. You could play those patterns for days and not get bored of it. Love this album. Changed everything. "
Jah Wobble - The Legend Lives On… Jah Wobble In ‘Betrayal’ (Virgin, 1980)
"One of the main components for the dub influences on this album. Jah Wobble is a perfect example of an Englishman who took on board the genius music from Jamaica and inspired it as his own. Something we are tapping into. Check out 'Tales from Outer Space.'"
Singers and Players - War of Words (99 Records, 1981)
"Adrian Sherwood produced dub/and more. Amazing album, all very sparse but proves less is more. Some excellent 'toasting' on this album. We were going to have somebody toast on this album but shelved the idea. Maybe next time!"
Joy Division – Closer (Factory, 1980)
"One of the greatest albums ever. Ian Curtis lyrically on this album was such an inspiration. Dark, dark music, but the impact is second to none. Ian was an example of what you could do with a limited range. One of the all-time heroes. The synths and drum/bass patterns on this album were imperative for forming 'Epitaph' and 'Bad Texan'. 'A Means To An End' has that dance element that 'Bad Texan' does."
Primal Scream – XTRMNTR (Creation, 2000)
Aggressive, confrontational, experimental rock 'n' roll. Everything The Lucid Dream are about live is "in that sentence, and without this album we wouldn't be. See '21st Century' or the last section of 'Epitaph' for reference."

 Follow The Lucid Dream on Twitter or Facebook. Get Compulsion Songs from Holy Are You.