Friday 5 December 2008

you need a little jump of electrical shockers....

Earworms of the Week

Short and to the point this week, I reckon.

> "Levi Stubbs' Tears" - Billy Bragg

A true Billy Bragg classic, and I'm not sure this could have been written by anyone else in the world. Just check out that opening line:

"With the money from her accident she bought herself a mobile home"

By his own admission, he's not much of a singer, but the sense of pathos he manages to generate here is amazing. Not a happy song, but one that raises the hairs on the back of my neck almost every time I hear it. And he played it at Rock City the other day, too.

> "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - Joseph Spence

I've been avoiding Christmas songs like the plague, but I did dig out my playlist from last year and gave it a listen this morning. This has to be my favourite Chistmas song ever. In theory it's a song that you know, but it is performed here in the style of some kind of drunken muppet (as in Jim Henson muppet). It's shamblingly incoherent and utterly apparent that the singer doesn't know any of the words bar a working grasp of some of the chorus. It shouldn't work, but it's absolutely brilliant. Apparently Joseph Spence is something of a legend in his native Bahamas - if all his stuff is like this, then frankly I'm not surprised.

> "Sacre Coeur" - Tina Dico

Dico was pretty good at the thinly attended gig at the Rescue Rooms last night. This was my favourite song on the night, and it's a classic Dico song: a tale of loneliness and heartbreak sung in that beautiful, crystal clear voice of hers. As I say below, it's very much in the Joni Mitchell school, but none the worse for that.

> "Gloria" - Patti Smith

I've seen Van Morrison do this, but he has absolutely nothing on this storming version from "Horses".

Altogether now.... G.L.O.R.I.A.... Glooooooooria.... G.L.O.R.I.A


> "Let's Talk About it" - White Denim

Watching burly Will Chamberlain hammering seven bells out of his drumkit at the NIA the other day made me think what a good drummer he has become (given that he learnt the instrument to join the band with his college roomate, Chris Martin, in the first place). Of all the drummers that I have seen performing live recently though, Joshua Block from White Denim is by far and away the best. He's so good, that when the band play, the other two members of the band play side-on to the audience and facing their drummer, as he takes the lead and sets the pace for all of their improvisational work. Unlike some drummers, he manages to make do with a tiny little drumkit, so small that it almost looks like a toy.... but he still manages to make one hell of a noise with it. Watching him play is a veritable joy to behold.

> "Fugitive Motel" - Elbow

After listening to "The Seldom Seen Kid" an awful lot over the last few months, and to "The Loneliness of the Tower Crane Driver" in particular, I've been inspired to move back to some of Elbow's older and less well regarded work. This song in particular has been haunting me. Lyrically, the sentiment of being far away from the one you love is very much echoed in "mirrorball" on the current album, but I actually think that they've done it better here. It's so evocative. And, of course, it's a beautifully textured song. I just wish they'd play it live.

> "Lovers in Japan" - Coldplay

I've said more than enough about Coldplay this week, but.....The highlight of their show at the NIA. The phosphorescent bits of paper raining down from the ceiling and the accompanying video footage were great, but actually the song itself was more than good enough to have stood up on it's own two feet. It sounds good on the record, but it really stood out live.

> "Clash City Rockers" - The Clash

Not the track one side one on the Clash's debut album that I was looking for (that would be "Janie Jones")... but the 1979 US version of the album starts with this. It's a bloody good song, innit? But I think I've rambled on about the Clash here enough recently as well, eh? (although I might add that iTunes have refunded me for their poor labelling....).

So. I'm off to London this weekend to meet up with an old friend and to spend a bit of quality time with my wife. Have a good weekend y'all and stay classy....


  1. Ah, Joseph Spence's Sandy Gall Is Coming To Town. Never fails to bring out... something in people, that. As usual I'm spending much of this festive period trying to introduce it to more people, this year in tandem with the 1983 Minder Christmas single (and yes, it was written and sung by Dennis Waterman):

  2. I like to put Clash City Rockers as the final hidden track on mix cds. You just can't hear that song often enough.