Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lou Reed - A Paper Gravestone

It’s 2:35pm on Tuesday 29th October and I’m going to guess a Lou Reed filled NME is being hurried together as we speak. Lou Reed died on the 27th and the offices of every music magazine and blog have been in overdrive ever since. The final piece will hit the stands either tomorrow as planned or possibly next week (if they are going the whole hog and making it a special!). I envisage an edition crammed full of tiny paragraphs and regurgitated stories about the Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick links as well as talk of “the dark side of the summer of love” and the “grisly underbelly of subterranean New York City in the sixties” and will no doubt have a plethora of ‘todays stars’ giving their 2 cents about their own personal favourite tracks.

None of course will be so bold as to choose well known classic solo-era hits or Velvet Underground songs such as ‘Venus In Furs’ or ‘I’m Waiting for The Man’ or dare I say ‘Walk on The Wild Side’ (number 16 with a bullet) as by doing this the individual would risk letting his cool mask slip and give the reader the impression that as the rhythm guitarist for such a hotly tipped band of the moment that they didn’t have an unshakeable encyclopaedic knowledge of the whole history of music at their disposal.

I will guess that tracks such as ‘Billy’, ‘She’s My Best Friend’ , ‘Trouble with Classicists’ as well as the whole mess of ‘Metal Machine Music’ will be trotted out like they were putting together a Motown compilation and those left to choose great, great songs such as ‘Sweet Jane’, ‘Who Loves The Sun?’, ‘Heroin’ or ‘White Light/White Heat’ will instead chose the versions from live albums like ‘Live at Max’s Kansas City’.

When did it all become so complicated?

R.I.P Lou.

Monday, 28 October 2013


R.I.P Lou Reed

1942 - 2013

Songwriter, Guitarist, Singer, Poet, Artist

Wednesday, 23 October 2013



I understand why ‘The Queen is Dead’ made number 1 spot in the NME’s ‘THE 500 greatest albums of all time’ List, I really do. Morrissey autobiography has just been released and they are pushing some well financed publicity behind it. It’s the book of the moment for most and everyone is digging out The Smiths back catalogues as their own personal soundtrack as they flick through each page. I get it. I understand. I just cannot agree at all.

I can picture the hoards of screaming hipsters pointing their bony fingers at me with howls of “go home old man” and 9-10 times they would be right and entitled to do so, but when a magazine like NME includes the line '...of all time' then you are (whether you like it or not) including every generation in the argument. The list is a joke. It has been compiled from multiple people clearly within the NME office and it’s obvious to most which people have chosen which. Random Jazz and Easy Listening albums are crowbarred next to indie titles released last week before being pipped to the post by the standard selection of classic rock LPs and follow up albums best forgotten by formally great artists (in an attempt to show the reader how in depth their music knowledge goes).

Some of the choices are laughable (Big Black’s ‘Atomizer’ clearly punts Elvis’s debut, The Clash’s ‘Combat Rock’ and even The Killers ‘Hot Fuss’ out the park right? The latter which gets lorded about as some kind of game changer and modern day classic of the past 10 years within the pages of the same magazine but today only scrapes in at number 495 now…oh those fickle fuckers eh?

The most annoying choices are those that are just included to give the impression that the writer has such a massive and varied record collection that they honestly prefer albums such as the extremely half arsed and 2 star at best ‘Holland’ by The Beach Boys over Brian Wilson’s own ‘SMiLE’, or the totally out of place random Billie Holiday inclusion ‘Lady In Satin’ which tends to pop up in these lists not because of it’s material or finished production but because of it’s penultimate release status before she finally popped her clogs. The list reads like 5 people just sat down and named every album they could think of and then randomly made a list of them. The top 10 are exactly as you’d expect from such a list. Especially as even NME realise to NOT put The Strokes debut ‘This is It’ anywhere out of the TOP 5 would result in their TOPSHOP gold card being shredded in front of them.


The Beatles managed to get 2 albums ('The White Album' & 'Revolver') in the top 20 although it was touch and go against such classics as PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’ and Public Enemy’s ‘It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ snapping at their Chelsea booted heels. Those Glastonbury Headliners The Rolling Stones clearly need to learn a trick or two from My Bloody Valentine as the latters ‘Loveless’ puts the poor old Stones into their place and is clearly much greater than their own magnum opus ‘Exile on Main Street’ (which isn’t as good as ‘Parklife’ either…I’m amazed they lasted 50 years with those kind of stats.

There are some howlers and “whothefuckarethey?”’ options in there as well (Boards of Canada…anyone?) Although the main bug bear is the ones that make you grab your head and scream to the heavens “how the hell can Kraftwerk’s ‘The Man Machine’ be better than Bob Dylan's ‘Blonde on Blonde’, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ and ‘Bringing it All Back Home’??? .

As it says in The Bible “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one and most of em’ stink” . The people responsible for this ridiculous attempt and eclecticism need flogging and worst of all for them…ignoring.


TOP 20

20. Ok Computer - Radiohead
19. Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
18. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
17. It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
16. Closer - Joy Division
15. Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
14. Low - David Bowie
13. Funeral - Arcade Fire
12. Horses - Patti Smith
11. Nevermind - Nirvana
10. Definitely Maybe - Oasis
09. The White Album - The Beatles
08. Doolittle - Pixies
07. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
06. Different Class - Pulp
05. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground
04. This is It - The Strokes
03. Hunky Dory - David Bowie
02. Revolver - The Beatles
01. The Queen is Dead - The Smiths

The 500 GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME is available at all good newsagents now!
(on a totally unrelated note Tesco's toilet paper is ALSO on sale)

Monday, 21 October 2013


On the eve of their newest release ‘Beautiful Ugly’ (out on Two Sisters Records); IC1S took the stage at Bethnal Green’s uber trendy Sebright Arms to give their fans an eyeball to eyeball intimate performance to both promote the single as well as thanking their fans for their continuing support in 2013.

This year has been a big year for the group as they’ve successfully juggled recording their upcoming debut album as well as releasing 3 singles, 1 EP and performing multiple gigs, acoustic sets and line up changes. The gig was also a ideal chance to see the band in a smaller venue before they embark on their upcoming promotional Japanese tour and support slot gigs with The Family Rain at the end of the year.

The set was familiar sticking to fan favourites such as ‘Levitate’, ‘Not Perfect’, ‘Growing Up, Going Down’, ‘Beautiful Ugly’, ‘Whack Jack’ and a new song ‘I’m At It Again’ which showed that the IC1S sound is evolving and growing as they move forward as a band. This was the first time I’d seen new bassist, backing vocalist and former sMALL FAVOURS frontman Leon Dee since his inclusion within the group and I believe that his input can only be beneficial as his own playing style and vocal harmonies bring a new level of sophistication to the music which on occasion felt limited in these areas in the past. IC1S look primed and ready to go out of the trap and hit the music scene hard in 2014. Catch em’ while you can.


1. Levitate
2. Not Perfect
3. Billy Silk
4. I’m At It Again (new song)
5. Beautiful Ugly
6. Growing Up, Going Down
7. Never Together
8. Whack Jack


9. Never The Now

'Beautiful Ugly' is now available via Two Sisters Records via their site, amazon and iTUNES.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I'll give you a months notice...

In light of the recent news that Daniel Maiden-Wood (drums,bass & backing vocals) for Anna Calvi has decided to leave the group on the eve of Calvi’s 2nd album ‘One Breath’ being released, my thoughts have turned to other musicians who have decided to leave groups on the verge of international stardom and instead deciding to work on ‘other projects’ or revert back to playing with unknown musicians in Camden pubs for a fiver each. The limelight and 24/7 stardom isn’t for everyone but achieving your dreams and ambitions only to walk away when it’s in touching distance is another all together. Good luck on your journey young lion you played a blinder!

Here are some others.

Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor replaced the soon to be deceased guitarist Brian Jones in The Rolling Stones in 1969 and was there during the height of their fame and album successes playing and contributing greatly on albums such as ‘Let It Bleed’, ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Exile on Main St.’, ‘Goats Head Soup’ and finally ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll’ before deciding to pack up his Les Paul and walk out without a real explanation to the rest of the group (to be replaced by Ronnie Wood). It has been questioned since that he wasn’t given proper (if any) writing credits on some of the groups tracks and that this was the main reason to him leaving while he has mentioned since that during this period for the group drugs were far too much a problem and temptation for him and the only way he felt he could survive and not lose his family and everything he’d worked hard for since his teens in the process would be to cut all ties and move away all together.

Taylor re-joined the group on their 2013 tour and their Glastonbury headline set.

Noel Redding

It was no secret that when Noel Redding auditioned for the newly forming Jimi Hendrix Experience he thought he was trying out for the guitar spot within the band as he proclaimed he was “the best guitarist in Kent!”. Anyone who has heard the group or the guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix will know this was a failed dream before he had even plugged in as it would be comparable to turning up with your football boots on and asking to replace Cristiano Ronaldo as a striker because you “always scored at school at lunchtime 5-a-side”. Redding was given the roll of bassist in the group and the anger and resentment seemed to grow as the group succeeded further and further and the spotlight was aimed directly at Hendrix. Redding finally left the group in 1969 after forming his own group Fat Mattress (with very little success) and was replaced by Billy Cox.

Noel Redding died in 2003

Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs AND Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan

“Who leaves a group like Oasis when they don’t have to?” These were the words leader and Chief Noel Gallagher spoke after tendering the resignations from guitarist and bassist. Both had been with the group from the very start and had performed worldwide and recorded on some of the biggest selling British albums of all time including 'Definitely Maybe','Whats the Story? (Morning Glory)' and 'Be Here Now'. But it wasn’t enough it seems. Talk of flying inflated egos, drink and drug abuse within the group and just overall tiredness from the grind of being in the biggest group of their generation took it’s toll and both decided enough was enough and packed up and left in 1999 before the bands 4th album ‘Standing on The Shoulder of Giants’ was released. The albums subsequently were successful and critically well received although the heart of the group seemed to flicker and the group finally broke up after numerous drummer changes in 2009. For some the band was at it’s best when the line up looked just like the audience they played to. By the time the group folded their no longer looked like Manchester lads living their teenage dreams but a fully fledged Rock N Roll machine with matching stylised haircuts and mod clothing lines. The first 3 albums they looked like the chancers they were and the fans loved them all the better for it.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton started his professional career as the moody guitarist for the blues band The Yardbirds in 1963 and his ‘legend’ of the fastest gun in town was created during this period. Un satisfied with the musical direction the group was heading in with their more pop orientated material such as the hit single ‘For Your Love’ Clapton left the group to join John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in 1965 (he was replaced by Jeff Beck).

After the success of the Bluesbreakers ‘Beano’ album on which he played he left once again in 1966 to create Cream with bassist Jack Bruce and Drummer Ginger Baker. He later broke the group up in 1968 to create Blind Faith who lasted a single album before folding in 1969. He finally went solo. Eric Clapton the Kevin Keegan of musicians, great guitarist with one foot out the door at all times.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The grandaddy of line ups and members jumping ship. Currently the only surviving member from the start is founder, songwriter, producer, lead vocalist and guitarist Anton Newcombe. There have been over 30 other members to come and go since the group was formed in the early 1990's.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

David Bowie TOP 100 Books...

Want to read like Bowie? No this isn't the latest effort from Maroon 5 but in fact the actual list of books that the Thin White Duke David Bowie has released to the internet...

Time to dust of the those library cards and expand your minds.

David Bowie's Top 100 Must Read Books:

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby, 2008

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2007

The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard, 2007

Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage, 2007

Fingersmith, Sarah Waters, 2002

The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, 2001

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler, 1997

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes, 1997

The Insult, Rupert Thomson, 1996

Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon, 1995

The Bird Artist, Howard Norman, 1994

Kafka Was The Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard, 1993

Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C. Danto, 1992

Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia, 1990

David Bomberg, Richard Cork, 1988

Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter Guralnick, 1986

The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin, 1986

Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd, 1985

Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey, 1984

Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter, 1984

Money, Martin Amis, 1984

White Noise, Don DeLillo, 1984

Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes, 1984

The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White, 1984

A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, 1980

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980

Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester, 1980

Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler, 1980

Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess, 1980

Raw (a ‘graphix magazine’) 1980-91

Viz (magazine) 1979 –

The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, 1979

Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz, 1978

In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan, 1978

Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed. Malcolm Cowley, 1977

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes, 1976

Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders, 1975

Mystery Train, Greil Marcus, 1975

Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara, 1974

Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich, 1972

In Bluebeard’s Castle : Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner, 1971

Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky, 1971

The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillete, 1970

The Quest For Christa T, Christa Wolf, 1968

Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn, 1968

The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov, 1967

Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg, 1967

Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr. , 1966

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1965

City of Night, John Rechy, 1965

Herzog, Saul Bellow, 1964

Puckoon, Spike Milligan, 1963

The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford, 1963

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, Yukio Mishima, 1963

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin, 1963

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, 1962

Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell, 1962

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, 1961

Private Eye (magazine) 1961 –

On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding, 1961

Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage, 1961

Strange People, Frank Edwards, 1961

The Divided Self, R. D. Laing, 1960

All The Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd,1960

Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse, 1959

The Leopard, Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, 1958

On The Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957

The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard, 1957

Room at the Top, John Braine, 1957

A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno, 1956

The Outsider, Colin Wilson, 1956

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955

Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, 1949

The Street, Ann Petry, 1946

Black Boy, Richard Wright, 1945