Wednesday 27 March 2024

Never Ending Mixtape part 89


How are ya?

Welcome to part 89 of my Never Ending Mixtape. We jump from 3,761 songs to 3,821. 

You can access the Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify by CLICKING HERE or searching for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape.

Play from the start, the middle, the end or hit shuffle. Dig in and enjoy.

Here is a little preview of what has been added over the last month or so.

Recent discoveries

Somewhere by Johnny Marr

You Took A Trip by Ike and Tina Turner

One Track Mind by Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers

Anything by Adrianne Lenker (blogged on HERE)

New music

Hollowed Out by Ducks Ltd

4316 by Isobel Campbell

We're Going To Make It In A Man's World by Camera Obscura

Common Blue by Warpaint

Old favourites

The Private Psychedelic Reel by The Chemical Brothers

I Try by Macy Gray

Broken Stones by Paul Weller

Song #3 by Marvin Gaye

Monday 25 March 2024

In The Jingle Jangle Jungle


The Brian Jonestown Massacre were (and still are) notorious for their prolific drug consumption, which, coupled with leader Anton Newcombe's fierce temper, often led to members falling out and fighting on stage, or even quitting the band mid-gig.

Dig!, the 2004 documentary, beautifully captures their creative energy, DIY punk ethic and insatiable appetite for drugs. Now, we get to dig (pun intended) a little deeper into the early years (the first 10) thanks to tambourine player Joel Gion's autobiography In The Jingle Jangle Jungle.

Gion is an almost mythical legend of the American independent, alternative and psychedelic scene. Labelled the 'American Bez' by some, he stood with Anton through it all the weirdness, the fights, the fuzziness, the facial hair and even when he walked away, he turned and came back.

In The Jingle Jangle Jungle captures the madness of forming, performing and storming (I don't think you could ever say 'norming') in and within The Brian Jonestown Massacre. 

Gion comes across as a loveable (and knowledgable) music fan who literally stumbled across the band he was looking for and was invited to join. Did he fall in with the right crowd or the wrong crowd?

Well, that is for you to decide. Regardless of your thoughts, it's quite the ride!

Gion seems to wander aimlessly through this phase of his life with no particular ambitions or aims, tossing his beloved record shop job aside to take drugs, party and play tambourine in the band. Before long he is staying in a warehouse, manufacturing LSD sheets and delivering drugs across San Francisco. 

On more than one occasion Gion becomes as broke as you can get; starving for food and craving for drugs. His beautiful soul, cool vibes and chaotic lifestyle means that he always has a floor or sofa to crash on. Most of the time.

Joel wears his beloved Beatle boots down to the extent that they are hollow. He scrapes the remains of drugs off floors and he beautifully (and very often hilariously) captures BJM adventures around the country. The band also, miraculously, scrape by; financially, physically and mentally, driven (whether they like it or not) by the relentless creative energy burning within Anton Newcombe.

Gion's faith in Anton is heartwarming. He recognises the fine line between madness and genius and sticks with Anton when everyone else leaves him. Of course, Gion might not really have had an option. What else was he going to do? 

Burn outs and fall outs are inevitable when you hurtle through life at 100mph. At one stage, Gion escapes to family, but when he returns he is immediately sucked back into the BJM rocket ship and becomes co-pilot. 

At times, the rocket ship is probably on auto pilot, but that is all part of the (not so harmless) fun. That BJM survived and went on to thrive is a remarkable tale. Gion's writing style takes you right into the heart of the journey - his vivid descriptions place you there, his humour gets you through it. 

It was a joy to attend Joel's reading at Monorail at the end of February, his voice accompanied me as I tore through this book night after night. Highly recommended.

Order directly from White Rabbit Books 

Thursday 21 March 2024

Kerr Mercer at King Tuts

Word of mouth is still the best form of publicity. Word is slowly, but surely and steadily, spreading through the Glasgow and Scottish music scene about young singer-songwriter Kerr Mercer.

I first caught Kerr back in October 2023 when he opened Tenement Trail on a wet and stormy Saturday afternoon. Those of us that were in Saint Luke's early enough were treated to a warm welcome as Mercer played a short set of songs he had been writing and recording.

Still only 17, Kerr is at ease playing both piano and guitar and he has a deep, rich and soulful voice that tugs on heart strings, sends tingles down spines and causes jaws to drop. 

Following the Tenement Trail set, Kerr then picked up a some excellent support slots, including shows with both McFly and Callum Beattie at the Barrowland Ballroom towards the end of the year.

Kerr then kicked off 2024 by playing a sold out headline gig in the intimate and immensely cool setting of The Poetry Club. Attending felt like being let in on a secret. His 9-song set was cool, calm and confident. Mercer was funny while speaking with the crowd, wearing a broad smile as friends sang-along to a couple of songs. Guess I Flew To Close To The Sun was a personal highlight for me. 

Momentum has continued to build, with more support slots, including dates with The Snuts at the Barrowland in the lead up to a sold-out show at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, the legendary Glasgow venue that has been such an important step in so many careers.

Ahead of the build up, Kerr also announced that he would be playing TRNSMT in the summer - he has a lot going on, even before he has released a single.

Support at King Tuts was a young female singer-songwriter called Abbie Gordon, backed by her friend on acoustic/electric guitar. I could imagine some of her songs drenched in reverb and backed by strings. Gritty at times, more melodic at others, she has a lovely voice.

Kerr Mercer came on stage just after 9pm to a huge reception from the crowd packed into Tuts. I immediately recognised set opener Jealous from the Poetry Club. Mercer started with his deep soulful voice for the verse and then soared effortlessly into a flowing chorus. It was the first of many songs that I could imagine being a single and hearing it on the radio.

Carry Me Home was another. Mercer leaves a lot of space in this song, which, at times, has an almost gospel feel to it. Rich in soul and feeling. With only Mercer's electric piano and voice, it packed a punch and could become a real favourite of mine. 

With no music released online, I'm still getting to know (or guessing) Kerr's song titles. Happy to Hurt was another song that leapt out at me. The recognition from the Poetry Club assisted by the excellent King Tuts sound system.

Kerr's confidence was highlighted when he said he would play a brand new song, Lyla, that he had written only the week before. There was a funny and beautiful moment when he forgot the first line and had to go back to his piano. Thankfully his manager got the demo on his phone and let him hear it, so we could get a song literally hot off the press.

Mercer joked of playing slow ballads and then even sadder slower ballads, but everyone was under his spell. There is a warmth in the melancholy. The lyrics, voice and melodies connected with people. The falls or little drops and pauses followed by soaring rises can be breathtaking, while Kerr's whole down-to-earth manner made us all feel part of a very special evening.

With no music released, Kerr played Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran and encouraged people to sing-a-long if they knew the words. A number of people did and his performance with just piano and vocals was stunning. I wasn't aware of this song and after listening to it today, I was pretty amazed at the way Kerr transformed it. Lyrically, it is a beautiful song, but Mercer added some soul. 

Back to Kerr's own growing collection of songs though! Someone to Miss has a chorus that goes on and on, dropping, then coming back in with extra force. Her aches in all the right ways and the aforementioned Guess I Flew To Close To The Sun was stunning. 

Kerr was able to leave his piano and guitar to the side for closer One In A Million as he was joined by his friend on acoustic guitar. It was another gem, the perfect way to end a show which perfectly encapsulated Mercer's phenomenal talent as a songwriter and performer.

Kerr announced his next headline show during his set. He plays the beautiful Saint Luke's on Tuesday 1st October. Look out for this young talent, he is going places ... fast!

Friday 15 March 2024

Bill Ryder-Jones at Room 2 Glasgow

Bill Ryder-Jones rode into Glasgow for his show at Room 2 on a wave of positive reviews and declarations of love for his new album lechyd Da.

I caught Bill playing a rare solo show at Broadcast in Glasgow around this time last year. It was an extremely intimate show with probably no more than 50 people there. Bill was taking some new songs out on the road to test them out. I loved the show at the time, but I appreciate it all the more now, knowing I was part of an audience that were included on Bill's journey to releasing the wonderful lechyd Da.

Tuesday night was my first time in Room 2, a venue tucked away in Central Glasgow in Nelson Mandela Place. Entrance is via a lane and then a narrow corridor down to a basement. As with any basement venue in Glasgow, there are issues with viewing the performance. Room 2 is definitely more suited to club nights as a low ceiling and several metre wide pillars had fans in the sold out show jostling for position. 

Thankfully, after getting some beers in, we skirted right back round the room to the entrance and positioned ourselves side stage for an excellent view. Sadly, Lizzie Reid, who was due to support last night, had to pull out unwell. I have yet to catch Reid live and hope to rectify that at some stage this year.

What can you say about Bill Ryder-Jones?

Bill and his band (a 7-piece, including Jones) came onstage to a huge roar. Glasgow has fallen big time for his talent and the quality of lechyd Da has only strengthened the bond.

I Hold Something In My Hand opened proceedings, Ryder-Jones whispered vocals, the changes in tempo, the flourishes, the flows ... beautiful. If some people in the crowd were struggling to see the show, then there were no complaints about the sound.

Nathaniel Laurence, who also plays with Michael Head, was on lead guitar. The band also included drums, cello, bass, keyboards and slide guitar. Bill switched between acoustic and electric, his in-ear monitors seemed to really help him with his gorgeous hushed and whispered vocals.

After opening with a trilogy of songs from lechyd Da, Bill dipped back to 2013's A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart for Part 2, Hanging Song, Anthony & Owen and Wild Swans. The latter contains a gorgeous lazy guitar solo before everything collides together again to create a beautiful racket. The chiming guitar sound is delighful. One of my favourite Ryder-Jones songs.

Don't tell me that it's over
It's not over, til I say it's over 

From Wild Swans to Wild Roses, the band were in full flight, Bill looked happy and there were widespread smiles through the crowd.

Daniel could bring a tear to a glass eye, while a super tender Seabirds was utterly sublime. At this point it was just Bill and his acoustic guitar onstage. We were all in the zone. Spellbound. 

There was a moment when the bar staff were emptying glasses, but Bill just nodded towards them and smiled. Nothing was going to break this spell, this moment he was creating.

I don't care what you're running from
I would follow you

This was special. The band returned from their break with Bill introducing them all fondly. The magic continued with I Know That It's Like This (Baby), the tender opening song on lechyd Da, Bill was almost kissing his microphone as he sang so beautifully that it was like a lullaby. 

Nothing To Be Done was epic. It's like  distant cousin of Mercury Rev's Deserters Songs. Psychedelic soul and bliss. The band got into a groove and we all got lost in the music. Bill poured his heart out - I just don't see myself getting past this one. On record, there is a children's choir singing along with Ryder-Jones at times. It really tugs on the heart-strings! 

With a 10-minute curfew warning, we were into Two To Birkenhead, to the particular delight of the guy in front of me. There was a real zip to the intro and the band gelled with ease.

Did I mention Mercury Rev? This Can't Go On closed the show; piano, strings, Ryder-Jones giving himself some encouragement to get himself together, recognising that this can't go on. The song is the centre-point of lechyd Da; psychedelic and pure emotion. It's gorgeous and somehow simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming. 

Lets hope Bill returns to Glasgow later in the year. 

Monday 11 March 2024

I Hold Something In My Hand

Trust me #67
I Hold Something In My Hand by Bill Ryder-Jones

I have attempted to write a blog on Bill Ryder-Jones lechyd Da album a number of times. I start, stop, I delete, try again and then accept that I cannot put my love and appreciation for this sublime album into words. In short, I think it is a masterpiece.

"It's been incredible making this album. Despite all the life stuff that's happened, it has brought me immense happiness. I've always rallied against it when people ask if making a record is cathartic but I'd have to admit that this one really was." Bill Ryder Jones

Released on 12th January, after only a couple of listens, I found myself messaging friends to say that the album of 2024 was already out in the world. Two months on, I still feel that way. I took a 2-week break from the album and when I returned to it, I found even more across the 13-songs. 

The cover of Bill Ryder-Jones lechyd Da

lechyd Da is 48-minutes long, but time will stop when you listen. Ryder-Jones goes deep, pouring his heart and soul out over soaring and tender strings and soulful horns and conjuring words, melodies and feelings that tug hard on my heart strings. 

I love the full album and I might try to write a full blog on it at some point in the future. But ahead of Bill visiting Glasgow's Room 2 tomorrow night, I thought I would focus on one of my favourite songs - I Hold Something In My Hand. Surely I can start and finish a blog on one song ... right?

Well, it was difficult to choose only one! I'll write another one on This Can't Go On another time!

There is a beautiful gentleness to I Hold Something In My Hand. The way Bill brushes and picks at his acoustic guitar as he sings of his need for, and addiction to, drugs;

I hold something in my hand

Feeling sick but better

We belong together

Ryder-Jones is caught - recognising his addiction, questioning should it mean that much to me? The playing and production is utterly sublime and the song goes really dreamy after Bill sings;

Better sick than feeling

What's the sense in feelings?

I could just drown them out

There is a beautiful instrumental section and then mournful horns are introduced at just the right time for the closing mantra.

Now I can't be caught without

So Jase can you sort me out?

Jase can you sort me out?

I can't be caught without

Can you feel that? The horns, the strings and Bill? Sheer heartfelt emotion, honesty, rawness and beauty. Soul. I Hold Something In My Hand is 3 minutes and 5 seconds of intimacy and openness, of admission, guilt and recognition. Genius songwriting, production and arrangement.

Official video

I Hold Something In My Hand is added to my Trust Me playlist; search for Everything Flows - Trust Me on Spotify or CLICK HERE 

Check below for all previous blogs in my Trust Me series.

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by Love Affair
27. Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke
28. Teenage Kicks by The Undertones
29. Shaky Ground by Sneeze
29. Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells
30. I Can Feel Your Love by Felice Taylor
31. The State We're In by The Chemical Brothers w/ Beth Orton
32. Sunshine After The Rain by Ellie Greenwich
33. Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem
34. Mondo 77 by Looper
35. Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton
36. Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats
37. How High by The Charlatans
38. I Can't Let Go by Evie Sands
39. Pop Song 89 by R.E.M.
40. Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
41. There She Goes by The Las
42. We're Going To Be Friends by White Stripes
43. Autumn Sweater by Yo La Tengo
44. Sister Rena by Lomond Campbell
45. Revolution by The Beatles
46. Lazarus by The Boo Radleys
47. Wrote For Luck by Happy Mondays
48. American Trilogy by The Delgados
49. Loser by Beck 
50. Silent Sigh by Badly Drawn Boy
51. Comedy by Shack
52. Take The Skinheads Bowling by Camper Van Beethoven
53. Freakscene by Dinosaur Jr
54. Thank You For Being You by The Pastels
55. I Think I'm In Love by Spiritualized
56. Chestnut Mare by The Byrds
57. Cannonball by The Breeders
58. Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan
59. You Make Me Weak At The Knees by Electrelane
60. Lucky by Radiohead
61. Strange Currencies by R.E.M.
61. I Am The Cosmos by Chris Bell
62. Like A Ship (Without A Sail) by Pastor TL Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir
63. Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations
64. Made of Stone by The Stone Roses
65. Tonight In Belfast by Orbital, David Holmes, DJ Helen and Mike Garry
66. Anything by Adrianne Lenker

Thursday 7 March 2024

Girls & Boys

30-years ago 
Girls & Boys by Blur

Release date - 7th March 1994

Britpop exploded in the spring of 1994 and went technicolour with the release of Blur's Girls & Boys. This single well and truly put the POP in Britpop, reaching number 5 in the charts and catapulting Blur to new heights.

Never mind song titles like Metal Mickey or Animal Nitrate, this was pop in its purest form. Girls who want boys, who want girls ... that's been the case since the dawn of time and even The Beatles hadn't captured this in such a bold way. 

Girls & Boys is almost ridiculously catchy. The synth riff, disco beat, funky (Duran Duran - according to Alex James) bass and Damon Albarn singing about love in the nineties, is paranoid (I always thought it was it's paradise).

Albarn wrote the song after holidaying in Magaluf with his girlfriend Justine Frishmann from Elastica. He couldn't believe the way girls and boys would just meet up in pubs & clubs to get off with each other.

On sunny beaches

Take your chances 

Looking for ...

It's easy to look back at the nineties through rose-tinted glasses (and believe me ... I do!) but it's easy to forget that Labour didn't come to power until May 1997, in the dying embers of Britpop. Albarn beautifully captures some of the challenges faced by the youth of the day in a line that is almost thrown away at the start of the second verse;

Avoiding all work

Cause there's none available

The song is just two verses and that incredibly catchy chorus that is repeated joyfully again and again and again. But just to give you something else to sing to, Albarn throws in an extra little hook while Graham Coxon pushes a phaser effect on his guitar and cranks it up. 

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Girls & Boys is energetic, contagious pop music, this was the Britpop klaxon sounding loud and clear. If Suede kicked down the door then Blur were the first to steam through.

Official video

Live on The Word

Pet Shop Boys remix

Monday 4 March 2024

I Fought The Law

Cover version of the month #96
The Clash cover The Bobby Fuller Four / The Crickets

As is often the case when delving into the history of songs, I have uncovered information I wasn't previously aware of when researching The Clash covering The Bobby Fuller Four's I Fought The Law.

It turns out that the song was originally written in 1958 by Sonny Curtis who then joined The Crickets in 1959, taking the place of the legendary Buddy Holly following his death in the tragic aeroplane crash in February of that year. In 1971, Don McLean released the classic American Pie where he repeatedly refers to the crash as the day the music died. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson (AKA The Big Bopper) all lost their lives alongside pilot Roger Peterson.

I Fought The Law was released on the 1960 album In Style With The Crickets, also appearing as the b-side to 1961 single A Sweet Love.

Coming in at 2-minutes 15 seconds, this is the classic 3 chord trick of G, C and D ... making it absolutely perfect for The Clash in 1979. Each verse is one line followed by the hook (the title), followed by a middle eight where the hook is hammered home again. As a result, the song really just feels like it's the chorus (with slightly different lines at the start) that is sung throughout.

Chiming guitar, (almost) primitive beats and a vocal that is front and centre singing of love lost - possibly as the result of a robbery, judging from lyrics spread throughout the song; breakin' rocks in the hot sun / robbin' people with a zip gun / I needed money 'cause I had none.

The Bobby Fuller Four reached the top 10 with their cover version which was released as a single in 1965. I always thought this was the original. The Fuller Four don't stray far from The Crickets original, the beat is maybe a little more prominent in the mix while there is, ironically, more than a little bit of Buddy Holly in the vocals.

Over a decade (1978) down the line, The Clash heard The Bobby Fuller Four version of the song on a jukebox in San Francisco. This prompted them to record the song for The Cost Of Living EP, released in May 1979. 

The Clash's eponymous debut album, released in 1977, never had an official release in America. It was only available as an import, until it was eventually released in 1979 with an extensively different tracklisting - including I Fought The Law. CBS deemed that the original album wasn't radio friendly enough, so they replaced a whopping 4 songs! 

Of course many punk bands had an ear for melody, hooks and pop and that shines through in The Clash's version of I Fought The Law. The song really does fit them like a glove. Strummer and co add on an extra 30-seconds, giving time for a big intro before Strummer comes in sounding super cool, backed up by his mates on the hook.

I left my baby and it feels so bad

I guess my race is run 

She's the best girl that I ever had

I fought the law and the law won

I fought the law and the law won

The Clash version has an extra (punk) zip to it. Despite the extended intro, they still hit the guitar solo before The Crickets and Fuller versions! Handclaps are added after that, there is time for another guitar solo and the band break things down for the outro. All in all it sounds like they are having glorious fun as they romp through the song.

All three versions of I Fought The Law are added to my Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions playlist on Spotify which also features all of the songs (originals and covers) below. Search for the title or CLICK HERE

Previous covers of the month blogs

13. Hurt
39. ABBA-esque
40. Jumpin' Jack Flash
64. Lola
82. Drop
87. Indian Rope Man + bonus Strawberry Fields Forever + This Wheels On Fire
92. Valerie