Archives for May 2009

Heavenly Bodies

Stuart Bailie | 23:10 UK time, Sunday, 31 May 2009

I've referenced the Heavenly record label a few times now. Based in London, it has given us releases by The Manic Street Preachers, Doves, St Etienne, Flowered Up, Beth Orton, The Rockingbirds, The Magic Numbers, Edwyn Collins and more. Their Sunday night bash at the Albany Pub was the stuff of legend and it was at the Heavenly Social where the Chemical Brothers set out their majestic stall.

Led by Jeff and Martin, the Heavenly motto comes from a Loving Spoonful song, 'Do You Believe In Magic' and that's essentially been the steer for around 20 years. They've done book publishing, they've run a gallery, an acoustic night and a PR service that's handled Primal Scream, Happy Mondays and more. It's been an education to have run with the firm on occasions and a recent night out with them in London at a Soft Pack gig was par for the course.

Their current energies are wrapped up in a venture called 'Caught By The River'.sometimes it's a website about fishing, but it's also a book, a lifestyle and the dynamic of old rockers making sense of their middle age. I heartily approve.

Playlist 29.05.09

Stuart Bailie | 23:36 UK time, Saturday, 30 May 2009

God Help The Girl is a new project from Stuart Murdoch, the chief writer from Belle And Sebastian. The album has a kind of narrative, a story of love, pop cuture and thwarted fun. If you are familiar with the guy's work, you'll maybe expect a deal of '60s socio-realism. Think Sheila Delaney and Rita Tushingham and those prized icons of Morrissey world. There's a bonus vocal from Neil Hannon and an orchstral version of the Murdoch cutie, 'Frog In My Throat', so we really can't complain.

Playlist 29.05.09
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight

David Bowie - Sound And Vision (EMI)
Conor Oberst - Nikorette (Wichita)
God Help The Girl - Musician Please Take Heed (Rough Trade)
Panama Kings - Golden Recruit (Broken Sound)
The Amazing Pilots - Autumn (white)
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks (Warp)
Panama Kings - Young Blood -(We Collect)
Mitty Collier - I Had a Talk With My Man (Chess)
God Help The Girl - Frog In My Throat (Rough Trade)
Stephen Stills - Love The One You're With (Rhino)
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead (Columbia)
Sister Sledge - Thinking Of You (WEA)
Ane Brun - Don't Leave (Determine)

Wilco - Outta Mind Outta Sight (Reprise)
Kings Of Leon - Notion (Columbia)
Bob Dylan - Forgetful Heart (Columbia)
Tim Buckley - Nighthawkin (Warner)
New York Dolls - Lonely So Long (Atco)
Manic Street Preachers -Motorcycle Emptiness (Epic)
Walter Becker - Downtown Canon (Sonic 360)
God Help The Girl - I'll Have To Dance With Cassie (Rough Trade)
M Ward - Rave On (4ad)
Ash - The Return Of White Rabbit (Atomic Heart)
Manic Street Preachers - Facing Page: Top Left (Columbia)
Charlie Patton - I'm Goin' Home (Yazoo)
Michael McDonald - Ya Mo Be There (Rhino)
Golden Silvers - Arrows Of Eros (XL)

Where There's A Will...

Stuart Bailie | 12:06 UK time, Friday, 29 May 2009

I'm thinking of a Shapespeare-themed radio programme some Friday night. No special reason - just a primer for getting some top music on board. So I contacted Reggie Chamberlain King, the cultural attaché of the Friday Late Show. And sure enough, he confirmed the hunch and added to my small list with some rich suggestions.

I don't think he's heard 'To Be Or Not To Be' by BA Robertson and I suspect he may not be keen. Last night I dug out Michael Nyman's soundtrack to Prospero's books, and it's madder than I remember. It's hopefully a chance t sneak in 'Desdemona' by Marc Bolan, And 'Shakespears Sister' by The Smiths. But we absolutely have to draw the line at 'Juliet' by Dire Straits. Standards are standards, y'know.

Any other thoughts? And does anyone have the soundtrack to the essentially bonkers Catch My Soul?

Macbeth - John Cale
Richard III - Supergrass
What A Piece Of Work Is Man - from Hair
Here In Heaven - Sparks
Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Cole Porter
Ophelia - The Band
King Lear's Blues - John Simon
King Lear & his Three Daughters - Ewan McColl
Exit Music (For A Film) - Radiohead
Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow) - The Birthday Party
The Soundtrack to the Forbidden Planet - Louis & Bebe Barron
Never Stop - Echo & the Bunnymen
True Love Never Runs Smooth - Gene Pitney, written by Burt Bacharach
Romeo Is Bleeding - Tom Waits
I Am The Walrus - The Beatles
Milkman Of Human Kindness - Billy Bragg
Anything from Such Sweet Thunder
Romeo Had Juliette - Lou Reed
Fall Fathom Five - Stone Roses
Friends, Romans & Countrymen - The Corner Laughers
Something Wicked (This Way Comes) - Siouxsie & The Banshees
Salad Days - Young Marble Giants
Hubble Bubble (Toil & Trouble) - Manfred Mann
All That Glitters Isn't Gold - Martha & The Vandellas
What Is A Youth? - Nino Rota
As You Like It - Adam Faith
Titus - Split Enz
If Music Be The Food Of Love - Samantha Fox
Shakespeare's (Way With) Words - One True Voice
Shall I Compare Thee To a Summer's Day - Bryan Ferry
When In Disgrace With Fortune And Men's Eyes - Rufus Wainwright
A wide selection of Elvis Costello
A number of Divine Comedy Tracks
Louis Louis - The Kingsmen

On The Roadie

Stuart Bailie | 23:51 UK time, Thursday, 28 May 2009

This is the year of the grunt work, as the bands with ambition and verve get in their vans and take it to the people. It's been the saving of General Fiasco and it's the reason why And So I Watch You From Afar are losing tread on their tyres. The process is taking Cashier No 9 to Glastonbury and it's leading The Vals on a series of German missions. Somewhere ahead of them all is The Answer, who have kept an entire Pirelli factory on overtime since 2001.

There's little glamour in the practice Just ask the Fiasco, who have trimmed their budget to £250 per day. That's travel, accommodation, food, per diems and a two man crew. The bottle of Remy Martin will have to wait for the day when fine Cognac is enshrined on the backstage rider.

To celebrate all this enterprise, I'll be talking to some of the active agents on my radio show. This Friday it will be the Panama Kings, back from Brighton and London and promoting the most excellent single, 'Golden Recruit'. The following week it will be time for The Vals, who are also upping the expectations and never knowingly idle.

The Soft Pack Bulletin

Stuart Bailie | 22:46 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I was talking to an old compadre, Steve Lamacq the other night. We met by chance at the 100 Club on Oxford Street, a place that's doused in the capital's rock and roll history. I guess we were hoping that the oncoming act, The Soft Pack, might have added a little bit to the narrative.

softpack2.jpgFrom San Diego, they originally traded as The Muslims, which probably wasn't the best idea. But a good few people were concentrating on the music and Lamacq was making favourable comparisions to Jonathan Richman The Only Ones and even Eater. Bless him. It was never gonna live up to all that, but they gave it their best in a contrary way, and some of the songs transcended the gunky PA system and the errant discipline.

There was some juice left in the night so I took a steer around the corner to a basement bar in Charing Cross Road where Joe Lindsay was getting refreshed with a pal on the verge of marriage. Salutations were shouted and a doggedly mad bloke kept skipping from the bar to the toilets, only to reappear in the costume of another kitsch character. We would have laughed at anything by then, but his Nana Mouskouri impression was actually rather poor.

Playlist 22.05.09

Stuart Bailie | 22:58 UK time, Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Faces were about as fallabout as you could get without actually falling over. Sustained on Pimms, hairspray and other heinous substances, they held the afterhow party during the show and made albums that barely stretched over 30 minutes. But still I remember them fondly, in the days when Rod Strewart was an amiable rake and Ronnie Wood could play behind the beat with squiffy aplomb.

faces2.jpgA new compilation on the Rhino label captures most of the studio fun from 'Nod's As Good As A Wink', 'Ooh La La' and some other stuff. Ronnie Lane is represented by 'Debris'. 'Glad And Sorry' and some other tunes while I had forgotten how funky and joyous they were on 'You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything'.

Playlist 22.05.09

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight

The Faces - You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything (Rhino)
Madness - Clerkenwell Polka (Lucky Seven)
Christina Courtin - Foreign Country (Nonesuch)
Al Green - Just For Me (Blue Note)
Fleet Foxes - Your Protector (Bella Union)
Chris Isaak - We Let Her Down (Reprise)
Devotchka - Head Honcho (Anti)
Brenda Kennedy - Song For Teeteen (Lonely Street Discs)
Madness - The Liberty Of Norton Folgate (Lucky Seven)
A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Delivrance (Leaf)
Bluetones - Slight Return (Universal)
Aswad - City Lock (Rhythm Riders)

Gwen McCrae - Funky Sensation (WEA)
Animal Collective - Summertime Clothes (Domino)
Lou Reed - There Is No Time (Sire)
Manic Street Preachers - Marlon JD (Sony)
Ry Cooder - Goin To Brownsville (Reprise)
Doves - Compulsion (Heavenly)
Wah - Come Back (WEA)
The Low Anthem - The Horizon Is A Beltway (Bella Union)
The Lemonheads- Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye (cv)
Geraint Watkins - We've Only Just Begun (Gold Top)
The Faces - Glad And Sorry (Rhino)
Sam Isaac - Sideways
Regina Spektor - Laughing With (Warner)
Dubstar - Stars (Universal)
Cortney Tidwell - Watusii (City Slang)

Tucker's Luck

Stuart Bailie | 16:22 UK time, Saturday, 23 May 2009

It was all going off in east London the other night. The streets of Hoxton were party to the Stab & Dagger festival, causing the many bars and clubs to find succour in new music. And it was at the Queen Of Hoxton on Curtain Road that I saw the Japanese artist Tucker in amazing effect. He was playing cool jazz and classical, punk rock and plenty of hip hop. When the decks weren't being manipulated, we would play an old Fender Precision bass, or he'd jab at the clunky keyboard called an Electone. You'd suppose that Tucker had been influenced by the Mo' Wax sound and it's no surprise to find out that he's mates with Money Mark.

Near the end of the night, he sprays the keyboard with lighter fluid and sets the instrument on fire, before he perfects a handstand on top. Everyone is smiling. 'He mangles the 'Sesame Street' theme, just for the child-like joy of it all.

genki200.jpgThe event is called 100% Genki and it also showcases the melodic beats of De De Mouse and the rumble of 80Kids, who rampage like CSS in a funk-fuzz manner. We finish with Riddim Saunter, fond fans of ska music and who play 'Big Yellow Taxi' in the style of Rancid.

There are some familiar faces involved in this, such as Jason Mayall from the Smash corporation, who deliver the Fuji Rock festival, plus my new mates from the Strummerville organisation. Sushi is being served, the Samurai FM DJs are here somewhere and Japanese beer is on the house. A happy one.

The Hand of History

Stuart Bailie | 18:51 UK time, Friday, 22 May 2009

Yesterday I spent a few happy hours at the British Music Experience. It's installed at the O2 in London and it effectively corrals a load of music memorabilia from over 50 years of musical verve. There was Cliff and Joe Brown, Lonnie Donegan and Chris Barber from way back. There were Beatles artefacts and some vintage clobber from Keef and Mick. I enjoyed the punk exhibits but the real thrill was standing in front of old Bowie costumes, from the eras of Ziggy, Scarey Monsters, and the signature blue suit from the cover of 'Dave Live'. I swooned.

britpop.jpgThen there was the Britpop cabinet, showing pieces from Suede and Elastica and naturally, Blur and Oasis. And right in the middle was an NME cover from August 1995, signalling the start of the Britpop war. I remember that moment so well, as the editorial team had gathered around the screen in the art room, mocking up an old boxing poster. It was a team effort and we ran with the energy of it all for at lest a year. The idea has partly been mine, as I had spent a train ride to Wolverhampton a few weeks earlier, en route to a Heavy Stero gig. A mob from Creation Records was there, and they spent the whole journey talking up the battle between 'Roll With It' and 'Country House'. It was a huge deal to them all, and the journalistic radar was twitching like mad.

Noel Gallagher has never forgotten that moment, and he still harbours a grudge. Secretly though, he must realise that it turned a decent little group into a national talking point,.

Playlist 15.05.09

Stuart Bailie | 22:35 UK time, Sunday, 17 May 2009

It's great to hear that Julie Feeney is back on the case and making more music of distinction. Her debut album '13 Songs' was heavily featured on the show and she even travelled up for a very fine session in Studio 8.

juliefeeney.jpgShe deserved to win the first ever Choice Music Prize in Ireland and it seemed for a bit that she would be accompanied on the rest of her trip by the major record company, the name manager and all the rest. But after a few false starts, it seems that Julie is still a free agent, making music that is outside of the normal market, but still wholely into the art and the soul of it all.

Playlist 15.05.09

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM

Fridays, ten - midnight

Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie (EMI)
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks (Warp)
Bob Dylan - Jolene (Columbia)
The Turtles - It Ain't Me Babe (FloEdCo)
Manic Street Preachers - This Joke Sport Severed (Columbia)
Julie Feeney - Love Is A Tricky Thing (Mittens)
Staff Benda Bili - Sala Keba (Crammed Discs)
Regina Spektor - Laughing With (Warner)
Manic Street Preachers - Facing Page: Top Left (Columbia)
Brigitte Bardot - Harley Davidson (Philips)
State Broadcasters- Archaeological Dig (Electric Honey)
Bob Marley - Talking Blues (Island)
Leela James - Long Tome Coming (Warner)
Clarence Frogman Henry - Ain't Got No Home (See For Miles)

The Small Faces - Hey Girl (Castle)
Sparrow And The Workshop - Devil Song (Distiller)
The Turtles - Story Of Rock And Roll (FloEdCo)
The Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound (Sideonedummy)
Sam Phillips - Where The Colours Don't Go (Virgin)
Staff BenadBili - Mwanda (Crammed Discs)
Bill Callaghan - Too Many Birds (Drag City)
Jimmy Reed - Take Out Some Insurance (Tomato)
Bob Dylan - My Wife's Home Town (Columbia)
Grizzly Bear - Southern Point (Warp)
Curtis Mayfield - So In Love (MCI)
Manic Street Preachers - William's Last Words (Columbia)

Never Mind The Balalaikas

Stuart Bailie | 22:21 UK time, Saturday, 16 May 2009

Albania, I do not like your Eurovision antics. Diminutive breakdancers and a bloke in all-covering turquoise lycra. It was kinda pervy, but not in a funny way. Even Graham Norton struggled to find the mirth in it. Actually, the event has knocked Norton into a sulky commentary that does not suit him. There's only so much you can say about the Shakira knock-offs and the endless Cossack dancing. This is not supposed it entertain me, but I'm struggling to get even a bit irate. I could maybe live with Denmark and the German thing with the Cab Calloway routine was almost alright. If it hadn't come through the Ricky Martin filter. Anyway, a refreshing drink beckons....

Rock Docs & Doc Martins

Stuart Bailie | 18:26 UK time, Thursday, 14 May 2009

This Friday at 9.15 pm, I would encourage you to select BBC4 and to watch 'So Hard To Beat'. It's a two part history of music from Norn Iron, from Them to Snow Patrol, by way of Eric Bell, The Undertones, Ash, even those briefly popular names like Baltimora and D:Ream. Tolerance, please, they all served in their day.


It was a BBC NI production that's now being broadcast nationally. Yours truly provides the voice, the interviews and the script. It was a year or so of fun, intensity plus some difficult transactions with a famous singer or two. We met Tim Wheeler on top of a freezing high rise in Manhattan and interviewed Ali McMordie by the banks of the Hudson. Terri Hooley fulminated and Billy Harrison gave us an insight into the like and times of Them. It's our collective story. I hope it works over the network. I think it might.

Richey Revisited

Stuart Bailie | 08:56 UK time, Tuesday, 12 May 2009

I spent a fair amount of time with Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers. We conversed in London and Los Angeles, in the Blue Mountains of Wales and in sundry festival enclosures. Our last meeting was shortly after his departure from the Priory in 1994. That Christmas, I watched him onstage at the Astoria on Charing Cross Road, pretty and almost entirely vacant. A few months later and he carried off the most absorbing vanishing act in popular music.

manics.jpgAs you know, the Manics have put together a new album, based on Richey's last creative writings. I'm listening to 'Journal For Plague Lovers' at the moment and I'm reassured that it sounds barbed and belligerent. It doesn't ask you to find it attractive, while the production of Steve Albini sustains the edge.

The lyrics are only starting to register, but I expect them to be intelligent and artfully distressed. His scything style was informed by the great philosophers, the doomed authors and the UK tabloid press. It was James' job to make these work as performance pieces, and he's clearly not lost the knack of the rock and roll hieroglyph.

Making sense of this will be the work of student dissertations for a few decades to come.

Playlist 08.05.09

Stuart Bailie | 22:56 UK time, Monday, 11 May 2009

As promised, on Friday night we themed an hour around the idea of hard times, economic blues and living (just enough) for the city. My studio sidekick for the special was Reggie Chamberlain King, who brought a learned dimension to the programme. It was a useful opportunity to play music from Hank and Bessie, Tom Waits and Champion Doug Veitch. Reggie brought Aaron Copeland to our playlists for the first time, and ideally not the last.

And hopefully, a few people will have been prompted to check out the BBC Raw Money web pages, which may obviate the social alarm of hearing Gwen Guthrie and 'Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent'. You gotta have a J.O.B if you wanna be with she...

Playlist 08.05.09

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight

(first hour - themed programme - BBC Raw Money)

Stevie Wonder - Living For The City (Motown)
Champion Doug Veitch - Banks Of Marble (Bongo)
Bessie Smith - Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out
Hank Williams - My Bucket's Got A Hole It (MCA)
Aaron Copeland - Fanfare For The Common Man (Sony)
Tom Waits - Brother Can You Spare A Dime (Elektra)
Clarence Carter - Patches (Warner)
Randy Newman - Mr President (Have Pity On The Working Man (Warner)
Jr Brown - Don't Sell The Farm (Demon)
The Carter Family - No Depression In Heaven (Proper)
The Kinks - Dead End Street (Sanctuary)
Gwen Guthrie - Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent (Universal)

(Second hour)
The Faces - Oh La La (Warner)
Doves - Kingdom Of Rust (Heavenly)
The Lemonheads - I Just Can't Take It Anymore (CV)
Mel Wiggins - My Brother's Keeper (white)
The Low Anthem - To Ohio (Bella Union)
Madness - NW5 (Lucky Seven)
Shirley Lee - Dissolving Time (Missing Page)
Aretha Franklin - I Dreamed A Dream (Universal)
The Low Anthem - Charlie Darwin (Bella Union)
New York Dolls - Temptation To Exist (Rhino)
Doves - 10.03 (Heavenly)
William Fitzsimmons - It's Not True (Nam)
Super Furry Animals - The Very Best Of Neil Diamond (Rough Trade)

Talking Talk Radio Blues

Stuart Bailie | 07:53 UK time, Thursday, 7 May 2009

talkradio2.jpgBy the time you read this, the final show for Talk Radio should have sold out. You probably know that the play was originally delivered by Eric Bogosian, made into a fine move and has now been staged in Belfast during the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. The central character, a scowling misanthropist who smokes like a lab dog and deals with a host of irritating callers, is played by my Radio Ulster colleague, Joe Lindsay.

The play came out of a previous period of economic and social doledrums, but the sentiments ring true again. The airwaves are pursued by reactionaries and weirdoes. The youth are fixated by dumb ideas, psychos lurk in parking lots and even the nicest liberals are riven by prejudice. The final monologue, barked out by Joe with righteous ire, was an intensely lovely thing to hear.

From Leela With Love

Stuart Bailie | 08:13 UK time, Tuesday, 5 May 2009

leela.jpgMy fave tune of the moment is 'Miss You' by Leela James. It's a version of the Rolling Stones track from 1978 - at the height of their Studio 54, disco-trash connection. The original was always the coolest, but Leela finds an extra ounce of desperation and pain in the words.

She's from Los Angeles, she sings like a proper diva, in the tradition of Millie Jackson and Angie Stone. On the current album, 'Let's Do It Again', she keeps the emotions raw and transforms 'I Wanna Know What Love Is' into something billowing and potent.

Playlist 01.05.09

Stuart Bailie | 12:27 UK time, Monday, 4 May 2009

The Cathedral Quarter is currently jumping - thanks to the Festival Of Fools and the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival. The cobbled streets are pounded by fire-eaters, fez-wearing buffoons, rockers, rollers, chancers and poets. On Saturday I watched the Lost Brothers at the Black Box. They feature at least one member of The Basement from Omagh, and they write songs that are doused in melody and emotional worth.

damonalbarn.jpgI've also seen a fair amount of the Panama Kings, most recently at a secret party near Shaftsbury Square, a night that was apparently left out of some heinous Fellini film. Also recommended is the Lawrence Watson photo exhibition at the University of Ulster on York St. Lawrence is an old compardre from the NME. He has documented the glory years of hip hop, the arrival of Blur and Britpop, the return of Paul Weller and the resplendent strangeness of Tom Waits.

Playlist 01.05.09

BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM
Fridays, ten - midnight

Bobby Bland - Turn On Your Lovelight (EMI)
Noisettes - Never Forget You (Mercury)
Bob Dylan - If You Ever Go To Houston (Columbia)
Maria Taylor - Cartoons And Forever Plans (Nettwerk)
Jason Lyttle - Brand New Sun (Anti)
Leela James -Miss You (Shanachie)
Rolling Stones - Emotional Rescue (EMI)
Richard Swift - Atlantic Ocean (Secretly Canadian)
Geraint Watkins - East To Say Bon Temps Rouler (Gold Top)
Dr Isaiah Ross - Dr Ross' Boogie (Chess)
Josh Tillman - Steel On Steel (Bella Union)
Joe Strummer - Coma Girl (Hellcat)
And So I Watch You From Afar - The Voiceless (Smalltown America)

Matthew Sweet, Susanna Hoff - It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Evangeline)
Bob Dylan - Beyond Here Lies Nothin' (Columbia)
Jason Lyttle - It's The Weekend (Anti)
Fotheringay - The Sea (Island)
The Decemberists - Isn't It A Lovely Night (Rough Trade)
Sugar Pie Desato - Do I Make Myself Clear (Chess)
The Lost Brothers - Fallen (Bird Dog)
Del McCoury, Doc Watson, Mac Wiseman - I Wonder Where You Are Tonight (Sugar Hill)
Low Anthem - The Horizon Is A Beltway (Bella Union)
The Gladiators - Re-Arrange (Soul Jazz)
Jack Penate - Be The One (XL)
Leela James- Let's Do It Again (Shanachie)
Van Morrison - Old Old Woodstock (Polydor)
And So I Watch You From Afar - These Riots (Smalltown America)

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