Tuesday 31 March 2020

Hot 100 #14

Thank you to C for suggesting this week's band... 14 Iced Bears. She says...

I couldn't tell you any of their songs any more unfortunately, although have vivid memories of ordering in their singles for some devoted indie fans at the time of their release and (in my head at least) being very disparaging about their chosen name. Now I think it's rather lovely!

Indeed. And here's what they sound like...

14 Iced Bears - Come Get Me

Brian added:

I would like to back up C and proclaim that the 14 Iced Bears were awesome. Unfortunately, their sleeves were nothing to write home about. Perhaps the cover for The Importance Of Being Frank EP would suffice for art.

I'm not sure what that is above, Brian, but it was the one with the clearest 14 I could find.

Another relatively quiet week on the countdown, compared to the excesses of 16 and 17, although we're all just girding our loins in preparation for the Top Ten.

Here's what you had for me this wee, starting with Martin, who's still smarting from forgetting two Gene tracks last week...

The White Stripes - Red Death at 6.14 

...is all I have for this week. Unless I've missed something else by one of my most beloved bands...

Next up is Alyson...

Hats off to you Rol for putting this together as my brain is incapable of concentrating on anything at the moment. Yes, my choices above not really my thing, but fitted the brief.

From the same source I have just found something called:

Tomski - 14 Hours To Save The Earth

This is an open letter
From you and me together
Tomorrow's in our hands now
Find the words that matter
Say them out loud
And make it better somehow

Looking down from up on the moon
It's a tiny blue marble
Who would've thought the ground we stand on
Could be so fragile
This is a love song to the Earth

You're no ordinary world
A diamond in the universe
Heaven's poetry to us
Keep it safe, keep it safe, keep it safe
Cause it's our world, it's our world

Interesting, as dance remakes of Welcome To The Pleasuredome go. The lyrics you quote don't appear to come from that track though, Alyson. They come from Love Song To The Earth by Sean Paul, featuring Natasha Bedingfield & Paul "anything to stay cred" McCartney. As C remarks, it's apt to the current world situation... but doesn't have any 14s in it, I'm afraid.

Time for Jim in Dubai, who also found it tough this week...

Television Personalities - 14th Floor

Rigid Digit, meanwhile, is waiting for an Ocado delivery slot so he found plenty this week...

Aphex Twin - Avril 14th

I can honestly say that's the best thing I've ever heard from Aphex Twin.

Peter Gabriel - 14 Black Paintings

Palma Violets - 14

Rufus Wainwright - 14th Street

Beck - 14 Rivers, 14 Floods

Those last two are definitely worth a click. I'll let you get back to your virtual queue now, RD... because I bet you're still stuck in it, 7 days after you left that xomment.

Lynchie appeared equally stuck for inspiration this week...

I couldn't think of any songs with 14 in the title but then I discovered... 

Tiny Tim - Fourteen

...on which is voice sounds nothing like it did on "Tiptoe Through The Tulips". It's a pretty deep voice which led me to believe it might be an imposter.

The lyrics kick off with:

Fourteen girls in baggy pyjamas
What if I'd gone to the south Bahamas

...and just get weirder.

I'm only guessing here, but I don't think that's the same Tiny Tim. But thank you anyway.

Thankfully, the Swede is here to restore us to sanity...

Soft Machine - Fourteen Hour Dream

Don Bailey - Fourteen Stories Down

That is one top suicide ballad, Swede. Thank you for that.

Back to C for one final moment of inspiration...

I can't believe I didn't think of this before but having indulged in '60s psychedelia in a big way in the '80s I really should have remembered... 

The Syn - 14 Hour Technicolour Dream

And, last but not least, Brian...

Kind of quiet on the 14 front. I'll add...

Nick Lowe - 14 Days 

...from The Impossible Bird. I think this is his best album, and that's saying something. 

I seem to remember there was some discussion about this over at your place recently, Brian. I'd still always plump for Jesus of Cool, but those later albums are pretty special.

OK, time to scrape the dregs from my own hard-drive...

Manic Street Preachers - 1404

Sylvain Sylvain - 14th Street Beat

Revenge - 14K

Ralph McTell - England 1914

Scott Walker + Sunn O - Herod 2014

Counting Crows - 1492

Drive-By Truckers - Feb 14

Love - Number 14

Mull Historical Society - 14 Year Old Boy

Midland - Fourteen Gears

All of which brings us to this week's winner... and to be honest with you, I pretty much thought that Rigid Digit had walked away with it. I was all set to crown this the champion...

Guns n Roses - 14 Years

...until a final scour through the library shook out this little gem. Frankly, I'm ashamed to say I'd forgotten it... and a number of my regulars will probably share that same shame.

Take it away, Billy...

Unlucky for all of us, next week is 13. Not that we need any more bad luck at the moment. Suggestions, please...

Sunday 29 March 2020

Saturday Snapshots #129 - The Answers

I thought I'd get a Doctor to prescribe the answers this week, and this was the first one I could find. We could all use a good doctor right about now...

10. A town like Tokyo.

A town = Alpha Ville.

Tokyo is a BIG town IN JAPAN.

Alphaville - Big In Japan

9. I am Mark Pox. Press here.

" I am Mark Pox" is an anagram.

Maxïmo Park - Apply Some Pressure

8. Where we're all heading... next to the snowball factory.

The Icicle Works - Shit Creek

Some guitars in there which will certainly blow away the cobwebs.

7. Ricky says hello... to God.... one Christmassy dawn?

Rick Nelson said Hello, Mary Lou.

Mary Lou Lord - Some Jingle Jangle Morning

6. Itinerant dance arsonists.

The Trammps - Disco Inferno

5. So What, Pretty Boy? On yer...

Pink sang So What. 

Pretty Boy Floyd.

On yer bike.

Pink Floyd - Bike

4. Amp from Southern L.A., anytime, any place.

Marshall amp.

Crenshaw is in Southern L.A.

Marshall Crenshaw - Someday, Somewhere

3. Be aware: snot materialises!

"Snot materialises" is our anagram of the month.

Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know

2. I'd like a fraternity smack collection, please.

A fraternity is a brotherhood.

A smack on the lips is a kiss.

The Brotherhood of Man - Save All Your Kisses For Me

I loved that when I was a kid.

"Even though you're only three."

1. Valuation of William Cody Simpson's hometown.

William Cody was Buffalo Bill.

The Simpson's hometown is Springfield.

A valuation tells you what something is worth.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away!

Will Saturday Snapshots be back next week?

Who knows?

Saturday 28 March 2020

Saturday Snapshots #129

Mrs. Robinson? You trying to seduce me with your... Snapshots? Shame on you.

We're back. Hope we're all still here, and well. Ten clues, ten songs, ten singers. Go!

10. A town like Tokyo.

9. I am Mark Pox. Press here.

8. Where we're all heading... next to the snowball factory.

7. Ricky says hello... to God.... one Christmassy dawn?

6. Itinerant dance arsonists.

5. So What, Pretty Boy? On yer...

4. Amp from Southern L.A., anytime, any place.

3. Be aware: snot materialises!

2. I'd like a fraternity smack collection, please.

1. Valuation of William Cody Simpson's hometown.

Answers tomorrow. Until then, remember: Qantas never crash.

Friday 27 March 2020

Positive Songs For Negative Times #6: Be Safe

I keep trying to write about what's going on, but where do you start? And how do you say something that isn't being said ten times over by everyone else?

At the end of our first week of what my 6 year old son calls "doing the coronavirus", we're prisoners in our own home, trying to balance two full time jobs, childcare, homeschooling, and wondering when our food will run out or the internet will go down.

It's not been a good week, but at least the sun's been out and I've been able to spend time outside with my boy on a mostly deserted playing field near our house, tossing a ball to each other, trying to stay calm. (Hey, we're still allowed to go out once a day, for exercise.)

That picture above of a couple out together at night... it seems like another world.

I've been watching the latest series of The Trip with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, but I can't get into it because I keep thinking: this isn't our world anymore. Sitting around chatting in crowded restaurants, strolling down a foreign harbour at dusk surrounded by others, being out in the world, laughing, free...

Is that all gone now? Did we take it too much for granted? 

Today's song isn't as positive as the ones that preceded it in this series, but it is The Cribs' finest moment...

One of those fucking, awful black days
When nothing is pleasing and everything that happens
Is an excuse for anger

An outlet for emotions stockpiled, an arsenal, an armor
These are the days when I hate the world
Hate the rich, hate the happy
Hate the complacent, the TV watchers
Beer drinkers, the satisfied ones

Because I know I can be all of those little hateful things
And then I hate myself for realizing that
There's no preventative, directive or safe approach for living
We each know our own fate 

And the title, at least, is apt.

Be safe.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Positive Songs For Negative Times #5: We'll Make It, I Swear...

Now I know that most of you won't have much time for Mr. By Jovi, but I ask you to listen again to this song today, without prejudice, and accept that maybe it's just what we need right now. In the same way how you can sometimes hear a song in a movie soundtrack, one you've never much cared for, and appreciate it in a different way under that context.

Oh, we've got to hold on, ready or not
You live for the fight when it's all that you've got
Woah, we're half way there
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Woah, livin' on a prayer

Although maybe don't take my hand, y'know, social distancing an all that.


Context is everything...

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Hot 100 #15

A quieter week on the countdown than last week, thankfully, and the only band I could find with 15 in the name was the one above. I'm guessing they're Spanish, but beyond that.... no idea. Here's a tune from them anyway...

Grupo 15 - El Ole

Let's start with Lynchie, who straight away grabbed two of the most obvious choices. First this...

The Cure - 10:15 Saturday Night (The Peel session version!)

That's a pretty good version. Not heard that before. Here's the original to contrast...

The Cure - 10:15 Saturday Night

And then this...

The Who - 5.15 (Outta my brain on the train!)

Not surprised to find both Martin & C seconding those.

Martin carried on with these...

The Fall - 15 Ways (To Leave Your Man) 

The Beta Band - Number 15

ABC - 15 Storey Halo

David Bowie - 5.15 The Angels Have Gone

Hang on, Martin... Brian's got something to say about that one...

TVC 15. 'Nuff said.

David Bowie - TVC15

Although Brian did then self-correct...

Was just singing this to myself in bed this morning. "ONE-FIVE!" Boy, is my face red.

Apologies for the interruption, Martin. You carry on...

Taylor Swift - Fifteen 

Barry Manilow - Fifteen Minutes

...Christ, I'd better stop there...

Good decision. I'm not sure you can top the Bazzer Boogie.

Although I'm rather surprised you didn't suggest this one, Martin... considering it's one of your favourite bands, before they changed their name.

Sp!n - Fifteen Minutes

And even more surprised, you forgot this one...

Gene - Her Fifteen Years

Over to Jim in Dubai...

Tougher than I thought this week, here's all I have...

Wire - The 15th

Evripidis and his Tragedies - Fifteen Again

Standard Fare - Fifteen

That's cool. Thank you, Jim.

Over to Rigid Digit, who also nominated The Who and The Cure...

Radiohead - 15 Step

The Guess Who - 8:15

Inspiral Carpets - 8:15 From Manchester (the theme to a 90s Saturday Morning kids show - it's actually a re-recording of Find Out Why. But it does evoke a memory of late teenage/early 20s hangovers.)

Alyson was up next, with two very fine... if distinctly un-Alyson... suggestions...

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow 

Levellers - 15 Years

Finally this week, it's Swiss Adam...

To what's above I can add...

Ride - Fifteen minutes


Beat The Devil - Three fifteen 

Fairly obscure that one.

So obscure, I couldn't find it online. I did find this though...

Beat The Devil - Plea Bargain

OK, so what did I have left over...?

Kirsty MacColl - Fifteen Minutes

John Prine & Lee Ann Womack - 15 Years Ago

Patterson Hood - Fifteen Days (Leaving Time Again)

Johnny Boy - 15 Minutes

Depeche Mode - Little 15

Gilbert O'Sullivan - 15 Times

The Ataris - 1*15*96

Elvis Costello - 15 Petals

Ocean Colour Scene - The Clock Struck 15 Hours Ago

Supergrass - Prophet 15

The Human Beinz - April 15th

Elbow - The Delayed 3:15

Johnny Lloyd - Next Episode Starts In 15 Seconds

Rilo Kiley - 15

Which is Jenny Lewis at her best...

He was deep like a graveyard, wired like T.V.
And how could he have known
That she'd be down for almost anything

But she was only, only, only 15
My, oh my, you pretty thing

It's about that time
For us to meet
Does your daddy have a shotgun?

Oh, wait... I've forgotten to pick a winner, haven't I? Tough one this week as I don't have a clear favourite, although the two that got the most votes are clearly leading the field.

You can choose your own favourite, but for me... although in most matches, Roger Daltrey would defeat Robert Smith... in this one, Bob just edges it. Maybe it's because this song reminds me so much of Saturday nights in my 20s... although I don't remember ever sitting in the kitchen sink.



Monday 23 March 2020

My Top Ten Kenny Rogers Songs

Being that I was brought up (musically, at least) by Terry Wogan, Kenny Rogers was an ever-present figure in my childhood. By the time I became properly aware of him, his best years were over. In the late 70s, he switched from hard-bitten country storytelling to schmaltzy silver-bearded fox. It was a financially astute move, but creatively his early years are where it's at, particularly his time with The First Edition.

Here's ten of his best... the Top Five are, for my money, indisputable.

10. Making Music For Money

We'll start with the ironic one, bearing in mind what I said above...

My agent he just called me
And told me what I should be
If I would make my music for money
Instead of making music for me

He said that people only buy the love songs.
Rock and roll is not too long
He said son you got to be commerical
If you want to turn the people on.

And I said turning on the people
Now that's a beautiful place to be
But if I spend my time makin' memorable rhyme
Well who's gonna turn on me?

I said I know that this may sound funny
But money don't mean nothin' to me
I won't make my music for money, no
I'm gonna make my music for me

To be fair, this was a Jimmy Buffet song first... and I guess Jimmy practice what he preached.

9. Lady

Kenny, on the other hand, starting making multi-million selling songs like this... which I have a shameless fondness for, despite its shovelfuls of schmaltz. Terry played this one quite a bit.

8. Elvira

This, on the other hand, is more like it. With the First Edition, it gleefully rhymes the titular lady with "my heart's on fire-a"... and then throws in some giddy ups and hi ho silvers for good measure.

Sam likes this one.

7. Reuben James

Tackling Southern racism and professing love for the "no-account, sharecropping coloured man"... the First Edition had no fear.

6. Islands In The Stream 

With Dolly, obviously. Maybe this one's been ruined for you by bad karaoke and Rob Brydon. If not... it's a peerless country ballad, written by the Bee Gees... originally for Marvin Gaye! That's some pedigree.

5. Lucille

Adultery and sorrow-drowning writ large...

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times
But this time your hurting won't heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille

4. Coward of the County

A complete revenge Western in a 4 minute pop song.

You could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door...

They even made a movie out of it!

3. The Gambler

You've got to know when to hold them
Know when to fold them

I guess if ever there was a time to fold them, Kenny, it's right now.

2. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town

You've painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The shadows on the wall tell me the sun is going down
Oh Ruby, don't take your love to town

Heartbreak in a can.

1. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

Because The Dude abides.

And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler, he broke even
But in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Saturday Snapshots #128 - The Answers

Sad to hear of the passing of Kenny Rogers yesterday. If I get chance, I'd like to run a Top Ten Kenny Songs... although they will probably be the obvious ones. Always had a lot of time for Kenny. I guess he knew when to fold them...

Here's yesterday's answers...

10. Sadder than a rug cutting Walrus.

Sad = blue. The Walrus (of Love) was Barry White. Cutting a rug is dancing.

Barry Blue - Do You Wanna Dance?

9. Once upon a time... the end. Peanut ballads.

Once upon a time... the end... that's cutting a long story short.

Peanut ballads is my anagram of the year!

Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short

8. Martin Luther ♡ $6,000,000 Man.

Martin Luther King adores The Bionic Man.

King Adora - Bionic

Don't worry if you don't remember them. They weren't that good. Although the NME thought they were the second coming for about a week.

7. Read Butler's smoking pal his rights and pour on the paraffin.

Butler's smoking pal is Lambert.

Your get read your Miranda Rights.

Miranda Lambert - Kerosene

6. Panic in the green streets leaves me wanting.

Panic In Detroit.

Emerald green.

Detroit Emeralds - Feel The Need In Me

5. Related to #1; wants to get to Homebase.

#1 is... explained below. Getting to home base is slang for going all the way.

Sly Fox - Let's Go All The Way

4. Small openings for ordinary ladies.

The Slits - Typical Girls

3. Albert's brother, perhaps, without his cereal, catches 40 winks.

Albert Hall's brother?

Without his (John) Oates.

Daryl Hall - Dreamtime

2. Yo, Dad, Sir... accept your fate.

"Yo, Dad, Sir" is an anagram.

Doris Day - Que Sera Sera

1. Pressured by Blur? Can't handle it? Call for an ancient French trickster.

Blur sang about Pressure On Julian.

Can't cope?

The ancient French trickster is Reynard The Fox.

Stay safe and well till next Saturday.

Saturday 21 March 2020

Saturday Snapshots #128

Oops. Almost didn't have a Saturday Snapshots this week. I've had a backlog for ages that I've been working through, but I didn't realise I'd exhausted that last Saturday. But in this age of social distancing, I couldn't leave you without a little Saturday morning diversion... so I stayed up late on Friday to bring you these.

Remember... the answers are out there!

10. Sadder than a rug cutting Walrus.

9. Once upon a time... the end. Peanut ballads.

8. Martin Luther ♡ $6,000,000 Man.

7. Read Butler's smoking pal his rights and pour on the paraffin.

6. Panic in the green streets leaves me wanting.

5. Related to #1; wants to get to Homebase.

4. Small openings for ordinary ladies.

3. Albert's brother, perhaps, without his cereal, catches 40 winks.

2. Yo, Dad, Sir... accept your fate.

1. Pressured by Blur? Can't handle it? Call for an ancient French trickster.

This could be a case for Mulder & Scully! Let's see if they've solved them all tomorrow morning...

Friday 20 March 2020

Positive Songs For Negative Times #4: Tomorrow

I see you falling
How long to go before you hit the ground?

Along with many other people, I'll be working from home from Monday. I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can do this because the same decision that sent all the children home from school sent me home from college. I know many parents will be struggling right now to know how they'll be able to balance work with childcare, so I have to count my blessings. Still...

This is one of the most positive songs I know. Chaos magic, do your thing...

Gotta keep faith that your path will change
Gotta keep faith that your luck will change tomorrow

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