Thursday, 5 December 2013

Festive Record of the Week

I Hate Christmas
Three Litre

OK. Yes... I DID choose this last year as well. Probably will again next year too. But its one of my festive faves, hasn't been heard enough and is very worthy of a place on the nations's endless Christmas playlist we get assaulted with from the end of October each year in the shops...


Don't be fooled by the title, it's not quite as throwaway as it at first appears to be...

But I won't spoil it too much for you; you have a listen and see what you think for yourselves.

This is one of my all time festive favourites. It combines melancholy, humbug, longing, hopes, dreams, a wry smile here and there along with all the trimmings of sleigh-bells, church-bells and a choir. Yet it starts so simply with that acoustic intro that gets stung by that chiming electric guitar after the first line.

Very merry stuff. And don't you get me started on New Year!

You can buy this on CD at amazon...
Or on eBay...

Find out more about Three Litre...
Drowned in Sound review of this single...
A review of their gig with The Darkness...
Velocity Recordings Three Litre page...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Record of the Week

Little Jody
by Blue

This was something that, once heard, I tried to track down and buy for what seemed like ages...

And it still remains one of my all time favourite tracks of all time. The guitar work is just sublime: the sound from it is deep, dirty and basic. Beautiful. Add to that a simple, succinct song structure of near-perfect proportions -- not too short and not too long -- and you have a potential classic on your hands.

John Peel thought so when he reviewed it in Sounds and made it his Record of the Week. And RSO Records probably thought so too. And why not? The band were formed and fronted by ex-Marmalade hit-writer Hughie Nicholson and, it has to be said 'Little Jody' should have been another top-ten certainty.

But we all know by now that it wasn't and remains one of life's great mystery's.

I did manage to get hold of this record: I found the debut album 'Blue' in a rack of a record shop the year following release. It remains one of my favourite and most played albums to this day (it's on the iPhone as we speak!)

Peel loved them more than just voting this record of the week as records show the band recorded a number of sessions for his Radio 1 programmes in the seventies.

Buy the album at amazon...

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Record of the Week

It All Feels Right
by Washed Out

It certainly does all feel right when listening to this track from the brand and spanking new Washed Out LP 'Paracosm'.

We here at NotJust Towers are fans of Ernest Green, the man behind Washed Out, and he hasn't let us down with his new release. Its warmly familiar to Washed Out fans' ears, an aural delight with so many textures and layers of sound that are both uplifting and calming. Great music while you work.

There are reminders here and there of the Faming Lips... but that's no bad thing at all. This all builds solidly on the debut 'Within and Without'

And the rest of the new albums's pretty good too!

Download the album from iTunes...
Get the new album at amazon...

Monday, 22 July 2013

Record of the Week

Big Blue Moon
by Ben Onono

Well, its the weather for it and have been listening to several Café del Mar collections. And on Vol. 18 is this gem of a slice of balmy, evening sun.

I find myself breaking into 'Big blue moon...' when making coffee, washing-up, feeding the birds in the garden. Its so delightful, catchy, melodic, soulful, enchanting...

Starts off with that Satie-esque intro and then that lovely, silky vocal. A great find. A great song and piece of music.

Download the album featuring this track from iTunes...
Download Café del Mar vol. 18 featuring this track from iTunes...

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Record of the Week

The Magic Words!
by Dave Dark & the Sharks

This weeks Record of the Week marries some of my favourite music with one of my favourite films: the sounds of Dave Dark & the Sharks with the comedy genius of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in the original and brilliant 'Bedazzled'.

Take a look on any modern device here at NotJust Towers and the aforementioned Mr Dark and his Sharks feature strongly in playlist scores and the CD of the album this is taken from - The Gazebo Effect - is permanently inserted in the CD player of our lovely little Peugeot.

This track is incredibly entertaining: fun, clever, hypnotic, electronic sampling genius. "It's not going to hurt, is it?" enquires Moore. "Not a bit" replies Peter Cooks' devil. And it doesn't. Quite the opposite.

Download the album from Amazon...
Download the album from iTunes...
Buy the DVD of Bedazzled at Amazon...

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Record of the Week

Hang on to Yourself
by David Bowie

While listening to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Startdust & the Spiders From Mars the other day I was struck by the bass guitar on this track. Maybe it was because somewhere towards the front-end of my memory is the recent and sad news of the passing of Trevor Bolder.

And it is his stellar work that gives this track such an edge and extra dimension. Listen to it drive the song along and provide harmony to the main melody. Its more than just plodding bass work to assist the rhythm, although it does that too, giving you something to furiously shake your head to. And listen to it ascend the scales behind Ronson's mini solos.

Frantically fantastic and sounding as good today as it ever did. I don't think I've done his work justice. Rest in peace Trevor.

Buy the CD or vinyl from Amazon...
Download from Amazon...
Download from iTunes...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Record of the Week

by Broken Glass Heroes

This really IS the Record of the Week or month here at NotJust Towers. Frantic web searching was employed following the second episode of ITV's new-ish comedy 'Off Their Rockers' to find out more about the song used over the closing title.

And this is it. Belgian duo Broken Glass Heroes's 2010 single 'Delphonic'.

It's a lovely piece of short, simple, sweet, downtempo-esque, lazy guitar driven music paradise. The soft vocal harmonies overlay it all with a tinge of sadness yet a realisation and acceptance of life and time's continual march.

Lovely stuff.

Buy the album on CD from Amazon...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Record of the Week

by Choir of Young Believers

We, along with many others I am sure, were introduced to this band courtesy of someone's brilliant decision to use their 'Hollow Talk' as the theme tune to Danish crime-thriller The Bridge and seen in the UK on BBC4.

Didn't take us here at NotJust Towers long to add a copy of the album it was from to the collection. And as excellent as the aforementioned track it all was --and is -- too. Another one of those records that is able to take multiple plays. So, when the follow up to 'This Is For The Whites In Your Eyes' made an appearance that too was obtained.

And if '...Whites...' was extremely enjoyable then 'Rhine Gold' was just... stunning. Some of the bass on here is just breathtaking, the sounds haunting, edgy yet with a downtempo, chill-esque enough feel for them to be great work accompaniment.

This track is one of those in which that bass guitar stars, but listen to the piano in there too.

I do hope you like this. A band worthy of a much wider audience (aren't they all?)... but really, they are.

The record company don't want any of us to embed this video in a blog so follow the links to listen. Hope you enjoy it...

Buy on the CD from Amazon...
Download now from iTunes...

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Record of the Week

Stroh 80
by Casual Sex

The Only Way is Essex crowd attempted an 80s theme-night at a roller-skate park recently but we go back a bit further with this weeks' Record of the Week.

Some people say Bowie, some say Roxie. Let me tell you there is nothing wrong with sounding like either. This record gives a hint of some of those early seventies guitar driven affairs, but it has its head firmly in the 21st century via a definite taste of Pulp thrown in for good measure.

But don't let that, or the bands name (hopefully a tribute to Ken and Duane Bishops famous duo Raw Sex?), put you off having a listen.

Buy on 7" vinyl from Amazon...
Download now from iTunes...

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Giving the gold away… (Rail)

I have just read the news that air-sea rescue services in the UK have been contracted out. Apart from the apparent lunacy of sub-contracting yet another service, this news is accompanied by the revelation that the said contract has been awarded to an American company.

Further details reveal that the new helicopters to be used during the contract will be built in the UK (in Yoevil), but the ownership is in the USA, so, any profits will go to America.

And it's yet another example of the UK governments constant short-termist policies. And when I say government I don't just mean Mr Cameron's lot. No, I include Brown, Blair and Major in the indictment. Thatcher knew what she was doing when she destroyed British industry, the rest of those that followed that I have just mentioned have either not been clever enough, visionary enough or only interested in their 5 year terms to not worry too much about the state of British industry in years to come.

Also, it has to be said and in fairness to those mentioned earlier I suppose, that for a while it did seem that there was something in the notion that Britain would be able to earn a bob or two by maintaining service industries.

Trouble is, an awful lot of those have gone abroad to the lowest bidder... Sorry, highest bidder!

And now it's air-sea rescue. With the armed services being pared back to the barest of bones, they are no longer in any fit state to afford new helicopters or assign staff to fly them, so it's all being privatised.

The American thing really grates with this correspondent. There's nothing left in UK now. Trains are built and bought from Spain, Germany, Japan and USA. Rail operators are Dutch and German. Our motor manufacturers are owned by Germans and Indians.

All the money, all the profit is going out of the country. Can any one in government please explain to me how we are ever again going to make any money here in the UK?

Don't know if any of you ever watch Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portilo? It really is a very good TV program and takes us into some of Britains past. A past where whole towns and cities grew and prospered by manufacturing goods that were exported around the world.

We now live in an age where those same goods are imported. It's a sad truth, but Britain doesn't work anymore because it can't. And awarding yet more contracts overseas does not improve that situation at all.

BBC News: Bristow Group to take over UK search and rescue from RAF...

Friday, 22 March 2013

Record of the Week

Caught Wheel
by Your Twenties

Sometimes there are those tracks your hear, are very impressed, entranced and that tune stays with you -- in your head and heart -- from that moment forward. Well, this is one such tune.

The Marc Riley played this bands' 'Billionaires' earlier in the week and, while a worthy contender for RoTW all it did was remind me of this offering and I now can't stop playing it on the turntable of my mind.

It has all the indie charm you need and the video just sums-up the whole affair. It doesn't go on too long and, when its finished it needs a repeat play so you can hear that chorus again and this time join in.

Another track that would get six stars if iTunes allowed it.

Download now from Amazon...
Download now from iTunes...

Friday, 15 March 2013

Record of the Week

The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
by David Bowie

Now, I was going to choose another track from the long-awaited or surprise return (depending on your view) album from Bowie, but this is the one that has wormed its way into my head and that I find myself playing over in my mind.

And now I've seen the video, I'm glad this is my choice as its quite an impressive and engaging little movie, don't you think?

As for the track, well, along with the rest of the LP its very assured... (c'mon -- this IS David Bowie I hear you cry!) but it is! A beautifully crafted piece of rock, pop & roll with catchy hooks and delightful refrains.

The viewing of the video now makes sense of the hint at 'Theres A Ghost In My House' being in there as well. Clever stuff used in a smart way.

A great track from a wonderful album that's been on repeat play most of the week on one device or another here at NotJust Towers.

Buy the CD from Amazon...
Download now from iTunes...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Record of the Week

Midnight in Moscow
by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen

On hearing the sad news of the passing of Kenny Ball today, our dear notjustmum played this as a tribute. We both remarked that this was a sound we grew up with and, as they were regular guests on the Morcambe & Wise shows on BBC tv, a sight very familiar to us.

My dad was a trad jazz man... Chris Barber in particular... but Kenny Ball would do and he was a regular on the radio and telly throughout the 60s and well into the 70s.

A hit for Kenny and the boys in 1961, but sounding as fresh today as it ever did. A great foot-tapping, dance inducing tune guaranteed to put a smile on your face and will have you singing or whistling it all day long.

Buy Greatest Hits CD from Amazon...
Download now from iTunes...
Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen web site...

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Record of the Week

To Be In Your Eyes
by The Church

I played this last week and can't get it out of my head... so, Record of the Week it is.

Having said that, this is probably... maybe... one of my desert island discs. Perhaps. It is just so beautiful: simple in its construction; short and to the point; sound held-back to allow the heartfelt poetry of the lyrics to carry their lament. And when it's finished you just want to play it again. And again.

It all starts with that wonderful intro, that - when the bass guitar comes-in - almost sounds like a tribute to Ace's 'How Long'. And why not?

The middle-eight provides an uplifting moment that there is some hope for the writer that his longing might be fulfilled... only to be '...waiting, contemplating...'

Definitely in my The Church top ten and would carry 11-stars in my iTunes playlist.

Buy the CD from Amazon...
Download now from iTunes...
To Be In Your Eyes lyrics...
The Church official web site...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Record of the Week

Falling In Love Again
by Techno Twins

I mentioned them in the last weeks' Record of the Week, so only fair they get top billing this time around!

The Techno Twins were, essentially, husband and wife duo Steve Fairnie and Bev Sage. And this little gem should have been a massive, massive hit and sounds as fresh and wonderful today as it did back in 1981.

And this isn't the first time this track has been chosen as a Record of the Week. Oh no. You see, it managed to pick up a fair bit of airplay when released, including being the chosen disc of one Dave Lee Travis (if we're still allowed to mention him) on his Saturday morning show on Radio 1 (if memory serves me correctly).

Anyway, a great version of the classic song by an act that went on to perform under many guises and were always at the edge. Their stage shows were wonderful affairs and I feel privileged to have seen more than one of them.

Download the single from Amazon...
Techno Twins Wikidpedia page...
Steve Fairnie/Techno's web site...

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Record of the Week

Que Sera
by Wax Tailor

With thanks to our Libby for sending a link last weekend of this.

Wonderful stuff... and love all those clips. Some sound familiar and the kind of thing the Bill Nelson would use... but slightly differently. Can you hear Ronnie Regan in there in his B-movie heyday? Think I can. Also sounds like just the kind of thing the Techno Twins would've been putting out had they been around today.

To my shame, this week is the first time I've heard it despite the fact it came out back in 2006(?). Seems the lad Wax is doing quite well at the moment and selling out shows in America as we speak.

Can't find an official video for this as a single so you'll have to put up with a live version. Hope you enjoy this very clever, very entertaining and very catchy piece of music.

Download the single from Amazon...
Visit the Wax Tailor web site...

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Record of the Week

by Cornershop

I first heard and became entranced by this when originally released as a single back in 2004 and Rob da Bank played it to us all.

Featuring the vocals of 'unknown' Lancashire-based housewife Bubbley Kaur, it finally appeared on the bands 2011 album 'Cornershop & The Double 'O' Groove Of'.

I find it just so mesmerising and can play it on repeat for a long time each and every time. Listen to that enchanting and groovy guitar sound... Hope you like it too.

Download the single from iTunes...
Buy the CD from Cornershop...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Going Underground – Rail

The Underground Railway in London is 150 years old and, like most things railway, it was operating in London before anywhere else in the world.

Britain gave railways to the world. It led the way in design and practice. It exported locomotives, rolling stock, ticket machines, systems, ideas... it exported the whole concept. And now, in 2013... we import all of that back again. Seems silly, absurd and a little foolish.

What this highlights is the sad fact that the trains we use today in the UK are, increasingly, made in Germany, Japan, Spain and the US. The trains are operated by companies based in Holland (Greater Anglia) and Germany (DB Schenker freight). Yet, here we were, 150 years ago, building the the first ever underground railway and all the locomotives, all the coaches, ticket machines, escalators... you name it. It was probably Made in England, if not Great Britain.

Still, sit back and enjoy the pictures and marvel at the craftsmanship displayed in those lovingly restored coaches... and, maybe, visit a heritage railway near you and see something similar at first-hand. We still have the skills in this country to be able to design and build these things, but, for some reason, our Government (Labour, Tory or Coalition) feels the need to go cheapest rather than keep it here... also the need to spread things around Europe. Why? Europe doesn't spread it around here

Its more than a shame. Its annoying and its disasterous. So many could be employed furnishing and servicing an industry that provides a vital service and one that is, by all accounts, increasing in passenger numbers (note I said passenger and not customer).

Metropolitan Railway No. 1

Here are some links for enjoying this Underground celebration:
BBC News Report of Celebration Run...
BBC Slideshow of Celebrations...
And why not visit the home of the old Metropolitan loco...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Record of the Week

Negative Earth
by Barclay James Harvest

I first came across this track, and this band, courtesy of a flexi-disc given away free with Sounds. Sounds was a great music paper: better than both NME or Melody Maker but sadly no longer with us.

Anyway, this flexi-disc, which was a Polydor promotion, featured this track by the band some in the press dubbed the 'Poor Man's Moody Blues'. Was never sure about that, but found from this moment on that for me they hit a certain spot.

After all these years, this particular track is still a stand-out. I didn't know it then but the album its taken from - Everyone Is Everybody Else - was their first on Polydor after several years on EMI, where they even gave their name to the Harvest Record label (if you believe some legends)... but their thunder was stolen by label-mates Pink Floyd, who became the stellar act on that roster.

The production here is very clean. The playing heavy, in a soft and considered way, adds to the haunting nature of the song. It is certainly a great trailer for the album which, if you try to listen to, won't disappoint either.

As time has gone by, this is one those that would get added to an extended desert island selection. And if anyone is doing market research on that 1974 flexi-disc, well, it worked as I went out and bought the album!

Get it from iTunes...
Buy the CD on Amazon...
Band History and info...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Record of the Week

Yoro Diallo
by: Egyptian Hip Hop

Was between this tune and something else but this had invaded my dream space and I awoke whistling it so...

With a sound reminiscent of Fripp and friends in 80s-era King Crimson, Manchester outfit Egyptian Hip Hop deliver some mesmeric music. I can't find out too much about it, but does anyone know if its an ode to an African musician?

Anyway, I like this a lot and thought you might too.

Download now from iTunes...
Buy the album at Amazon...
Follow the band on Soundcloud...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Record of the Week

White Noise
Milk & Biscuits

First ROTW of the 2013 and it's something that I think has that quintessential, English Indie-ness to it.

The vocals, the pastoral, summer Sunday drums and rhythm, a bit of music-box, flute(?). Lovely and delightful. And all finished off with something a bit different but still in keeping with the rest of the song.

Download now from iTunes...
Talk to the band on Twitter...