Thursday 20 June 2024

The List #5: Fake Tans & Styrofoam

More random stuff that I've been listening to and feel I ought to write about...

Bilk are from Chelmsford. The lead singer's nasal Essex accent remind me of Jonny Itch from The King Blues, if you remember them. They have a similarly in-your-face 21st century punk style, but they're not as political. They mostly just sing about girls, having fights, and taking the wrong drugs. Oh, and a little bit of social commentary...

I spend too much time, getting too deep
I'm laying in this single bed, but I can't sleep
There must be more to life than tinder swipes
And posting shit on Instagram for meaningless likes
Where I'm from there's teen mum's sipping booze
Whilst the babies takes twos from her B&H Blues
The boys are in gangs
The girls push prams
To spend all their money on some shitty fake tans

Since he produced the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? in the year 2000, T-Bone Burnett has become a legend of the Americana scene. He also put Robert Plant together with Alyson Krauss, and going further back in time was a huge factor in the success of Counting Crows, Los Lobos and Gillian Welch. 

Before all that though, he played played drums on this...

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Paralysed

...don't ask...

...and he played guitar on Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. After that, in 1976, he joined with two other stragglers from that tour to form The Alpha Band. They released three albums which iffypedia tells me were "particularly notable for their intelligent cultural critique". Which might be why I've getting into their songs, although I've no idea what this one is about...

I'm not sure whether they still publish the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or whether it's just been replaced by the aforementioned iffy website, but if they do, and you manage to snag yourself a copy, I imagine you'll find a picture of New Yorker Joanna Sternberg under the entry for either "lo-fi" or "bedroom recording studio"... 

The Tyla Gang were on Stiff Records in the 1970s, which is how I came across them on a Stiff compilation I've been working my way through. Lead singer & songwriter Sean Tyla was also the driving force behind Ducks Deluxe. Here's their song about Styrofoam, which I wasn't surprised to discover was the only song about Styrofoam in my collection, although I do have an album by these guys...

The Styrofoam Winos - Stuck In A Museum

I don't know why, but I was compelled to investigate if anybody else had ever written a song about this particular brand of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam, and I was rather horrified to discover this...

Daniel Powter - Styrofoam which point I went back to the Tyla Gang for succour.

Finally for today, Richard Hawley has a new record out. He's one of those artists whose work I'll buy without having to listen to it first, because he's never let me down. Nothing's changed there...


  1. I like that Bilk track, though I fear I may tire of it if I listen to it too much. Whereas I could probably leave the Richard Hawley track on repeat all day.

    1. Yeah, too much of the Bilk-bloke's voice would get on my nerves too. Small doses.

  2. After a few hours of head-scratching I have remembered where the line "styrofoam ice buckets full of ice" comes from:

    1. Far be it from me to question Loudon, but a styrofoam ice bucket seems impractical for so many reasons.


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