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A View From The Stage Q&A – Beth Arzy

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We love music, we love the people who love music and naturally we love the people that make music.

So what about those people that make music? What sort of people are they? They like music as well, right? What were they into as kids? Was it the same sort of music we were into?  What are they listening to now? What songs did they wish they had written?

We wanted to discover the “music fan” inside these artists, so we decided to find out using a similar format to our Meet The Community feature. By firing a series of short questions at a selected indie artist we wanted to get a bit of an insight into what makes them tick musically.

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In this edition – Beth Arzy

“TOTAL heartwrenchery”

Those were the first words that Beth Arzy ever uttered to us. It was around this time last year and it was in response to a comment we’d made about the Mark Hollis vocals on Talk Talk’s “I Believe In You”. Ever since then we’ve rather enjoyed the company of Beth Arzy in our social media interactive world.

Of course we knew all about Beth before then. She has a HR file like everyone else, although in the case of artists we refer to it as a rap sheet. Beth’s rap sheet looks something like this:-

  • Sarah Records recording artist-  GUILTY
  • Appearance on Buffy The Vampire Slayer soundtrack alongside The Breeders, Dandy Warhols & Laika  – GUILTY
  • Member of Trembling Blue Stars, Charlie Big Time, Occasional Keepers – GUILTY
  • Essential follow on Soundcloud – GUILTY
  • Currently rocking our musical world in The Luxembourg Signal – GUILTY

We should also point out that our resident Sarah Records bingo caller has yet to call out numbers 93 or 97, so expect to see more of Beth in our social media world in the foreseeable future.

Considering the above and that Beth has been a big supporter of EIO40, she seemed a natural choice as the subject of our inaugural A View From The Stage Q&A.

So let’s see what Beth had to say for herself. We should clarify though that the footy season hadn’t actually started at the time of the interview (this will make sense at some point)

1) Where did you grow up?

I was born in Los Angeles but bounced between Florida and California so grew up between the two. When I moved back to California (Palm Desert) after 7-8 years in Southern Florida, I had a pretty fancy Southern accent. It’s sadly gone now and alternates between L.A. and Croydon. Croydon if I’m really angry.

2) What posters did you have on your bedroom wall as a teenager?

Early teens would have been Duran Duran and Nik Kershaw, mid to late teens was The Jesus & Mary Chain, Skinny Puppy, The Ocean Blue, The Telescopes, Primal Scream, Pale Saints, The Pastels, Trashcan Sinatras, Loop, The Wonderstuff, The Smiths, Bauhaus and more Mary Chain.

A few years ago, my mother proclaimed at a family dinner that I “loved Guns and Roses” and had a “massive poster” on my wall in high school. After nearly choking on pizza I got to the bottom of the memory failure. She confused my JAMC “Blues from a Gun” with “Guns & Roses”. Easily done I suppose.

3) What was the first record you bought?

I was given sympathy pocket money when I had my braces put on and I remember going to the record shop in the Tampa Bay Center and buying 3 singles: Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton, Sail On by The Commodores and Modern Love by David Bowie. I still have the Bowie 45 hanging on my wall, sans cover.

4) What moment made you want to become a singer/artist/musician?

Sadly I’m none of those things, but as a child, watching and listening to The Monkees as well as The Bugaloos and The Wombles made me want to give it a shot, or at least hang out with people who are… Musicians, not Wombles, though that would be cool.

5) How much did you get paid for your first gig?

My memory is so shite. I seriously can’t remember. Probably nothing. It would have been a battle of the bands thing at the high school I went to, and the prize was a demo recording session (in some dude’s garage) or, a gig at The Huntington Beach Library. My memories might be Replicant implants but I think that one was with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I think the lead singer dropped trou. I remember seeing a willy anyway. Again, might be a false memory or a very bad dream.

6) Do you have a particularly memorable gig you performed at?

Most of the early ones were non-events at cafes but Trembling Blue Stars playing with The Ocean Blue was pretty freaking special. I’d seen them so many times and love them to bits so to see them there in the audience as we played was about as special as it gets.

Mind you, Indietracks festival recently was pretty freaking memorable; for all the best reasons. The Luxembourg Signal are all great friends and it was an honour to sing Johnny’s amazing songs in such a cool place. There were owls, and pizza, and trains, and we played on the indoor stage which I think was where they used to store the trains. Such a great experience and the feedback has been so amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a gig as much as indietracks. I’m welling up over here…

Beth Arzy Photo 1

7) Who would you most like to perform with on stage?

Well, I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to perform as a guest with The 49 Americans as well as The Dentists so I’ll say, Jim Reid. Not as The Jesus & Mary Chain as I don’t want to contaminate that stew, but maybe if he did a solo something. That so isn’t going to happen though as I met him backstage recently at a Mary Chain gig and I had one hell of a whitey. I think I ran.

8) What is the best venue you have played at?

Indietracks with The Luxembourg Signal, no contest, but Fritz’s Corner in Stockholm (with Trembling Blue Stars) would be a close second.

9) What song would you most like to have written (not your own)?

Anything by The Dentists (nothing can come close to those songs man), or anything by The Jam. Maybe Weightlifting or Send for Henny by The Trashcan Sinatras; total corkers. I don’t write my own stuff anymore anyway; it’s not safe, nothing is sacred. People release your stuff and do whatever the hell they want to your lyrics and vocals without even asking. It’s safer to just sing great songs that other people write for me!

10) If you weren’t a singer/artist/musician what would have been?

A personal assistant; oh, wait….

11) What are you listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?

My favourite current band from The UK is called Treasures of Mexico, which is Mark Matthews from The Dentists, along with Bob from The Dentists and Russ from Secret Affair. The album (Holding Pattern) is available as a download on Shelflife and is just total great pop. We (The Luxembourg Signal), have some amazing label mates on Shelflife and if you’ve not heard The Fireworks, check them out too!

I’ve become a bit obsessed with the Medway scene lately and also love Words Beginning With X (another Mark Matthews band with Dave Read from The Claim on lead vocals and Russ Baxter from Secret Affair on drums) as well as Bob Collins and The Full Nelson (Bob from The Dentists), Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society, The Galileo 7 (him from The Prisoners), Theatre Royal, The Sine Waves (ex- Dentists drummer) These Guilty Men (another ex-Dentists drummer), & The Love Family.

The Treasures Of Mexico – Stars

12) What are you up to at the moment?

Coming down from a great min-tour with The Luxembourg Signal (who are working on new songs at the moment) and counting down the days until football season kicks off again!! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!

The Luxembourg Signal – Distant Drive

Photos by Leah Zeis

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Thank you to Beth Arzy for taking part in our Q&A and for providing an enjoyable insight into her musical world. And remember. If you don’t want to bring out the Croydon in Beth…don’t make her angry.

You can find out more about Beth at the following:

http://www.ghostfinder.co.uk/
http://facebook.com/beth.arzy
http://soundcloud.com/betharzy
https://twitter.com/BethArzy

If you want to check out The Luxembourg Signal then we would suggest a visit to their site which includes some listening materials. A visit to the Shelflife Records website also recommended

http://www.theluxembourgsignal.com
http://www.shelflife.com

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So who’s gonna be next then?

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Something New Review – The Train Set “Never California”

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Remember when Esther (@myrtleleaf) reviewed Dot Dash? So adept was she at the job that we had no hesitation in calling on her services when the next opportunity for a review arose.

Although not strictly “new” we let Esther loose on The Train Set’s recently re-issued collection of EPs and unreleased tracks.

By way of background The Train Set are from Crewe  (no need to elaborate on the etymology clearly) and were signed to Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam & Happy Mondays manager Nathan McGough’s Play Hard Records in the late 1980s releasing 2 EPs. They are Clive (Camel) Jones, Andy (Booty), Mark (Shiggy) Shaw, Adam Halford & Dave Hassell.

Here is what Esther had to say about the The Train Set’s “Never California” album

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For a band that released a couple of EPs and singles in the late 80s, the Train Set’s songs are as fresh-sounding as any good music released today. So it could have been a fairly new band whose music I was hearing for the first time.

I say this because it was only last summer that I discovered this band through a song (Sink Or Swim) posted on Twitter which immediately caught my ear (thank you Richard Weir @Rich_W27). I found very little info on them except for some videos on You Tube and an interview on the Cloudberry Records blog site. So I was thrilled to discover that the excellent Firestation Records was releasing a compilation of their music this summer!

Every song is uniquely written, straying from the typical song structure. It is upbeat guitar pop, fine keyboards balanced by great bass lines and steady but varying drum stylings within their songs, but with an underlying melancholy in the lyrics.

One of the darkest lyrics about an abusive relationship is in the haunting Hold On. Their big single, She’s Gone – the song that back in 1988 made NME’s single of the week – is a jaunty song with a train drum beat (there is such a thing) that contains the memorable lyric ‘the music goes on and on and ON and on’ and an outro that fades in a wild tangle of guitar. Stop Stalling (Sob Stories), one of the strongest songs, should have been a single. Clive sings in a crooning voice loosely carrying the melody up and down beautifully, and has a great driving beat in the chorus.

Throughout these songs there are brief interludes of finely crafted music that carry you away from the song before Clive’s voice reels you back in, as in the majestic Untouchable, about a stormy relationship. There are lots of strings, with an ending containing a hint of piano and acoustic guitar. On All Blown Over (The Recall), the opening bars make me think of the Bunnymen’s album Ocean Rain. The song ends with another beautiful stretch of piano.

This song is contrasted with the cleverly re-titled The Recall (All Blown Over), the same song perfectly re-imagined in a stark post-punk style. That’s All introduces congos and horns, and again I hear some Echo and the Bunnymen in Clive’s cries and even some Doors in the ensuing guitar solo following the quieter moments during the middle of the song.

Sink Or Swim is infectious and upbeat with gorgeous guitar and should have been at the top of the charts in 1988, it could easily be today. Harped On sounds like the Smiths’ Rusholme Ruffians, with added fiddle and a great refrain at the end. Yet another possible single.

The band’s influence of the emerging Madchester scene is reflected in the upbeat songs Gets Me Down, Beautiful Monster, Tell Us All, and they showed no signs of stopping in crafting their songs.

‘Never California’ is a collection of their EPs and unreleased songs, but with all strong tracks, this may as well be a greatest hits release. The generous stretches of music must have come off great at their gigs, something I hope new fans will get a chance to experience.

Let’s hope that the Train Set have more steam left in them for new music. I couldn’t resist the pun!

Esther (@myrtleleaf)


 Where to find The Train Set:

http://www.thetrainset.co.uk/
Twitter: @theTrainSet
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTrainSet
Never California from Rough Trade: http://www.roughtrade.com/albums/94938
Never California from Firestation Records: http://www.firestation-records.de/CAT/fst121-thetrainset-nevercalifornia.html

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Thank you to Esther for a another wonderful review.

Watch out for further reviews, whether it’s re-issues or new releases. If you would like to review something yourself, you know where to find us.

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Great Lost Indie Bands #2- Sweet Jesus

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In this regular feature hosted by Simon Smith (@HertfordSoul) we will be re-discovering some of our long lost indie favourites who didn’t quite make the grade and have since disappeared off many people’s radars.

We’ll be featuring one Great Lost Indie Band each time and, in true indie style, we’ll be following the ‘Who? Why?’ Where? format (copyright Jesus Jones). ‘Who are they?’, Why are they a Great Lost Indie Band?’ ‘Where are they now?

Of course there are only so many bands a middle aged indie kid can muster so, once Simon has posted a few of his own chosen long lost gems, he’ll be opening this feature up to the rest of the Everything Indie Over 40 community to share theirs.

In this edition, Simon turns his attention to….

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Great Lost Indie Bands #2 – SWEET JESUS

Who are they?

Sweet Jesus were a 4 piece indie band from Birmingham, consisting of Ben, Roy, Gavin (Dave prior to him) & Paul. They released 4 singles between 1991 and 1992 but unfortunately an album never appeared. Like Formula One before them, their name has now been stolen by a hardcore punk band from New England, far from the shoegazer style of the original band.

I first discovered Sweet Jesus on a cassette that came free with an Indie fanzine (which I can’t remember the name of). The song ‘Albino Ballerina’ was included on there and I instantly loved it. Not that long after I went to my first Reading Festival (1992) and they really impressed me live. I thought this could be the start of a beautiful musical friendship but unfortunately they wouldn’t be around for much longer.

Why are they a Great Lost Indie Band?

Just listen to ‘Albino Ballerina’ (YouTube clip below) and you’ll see for yourself, it’s a great tune. Ben’s vocals remind me a bit of one of my current favourites, Gengahr, but a lot more shoegazey, of course.

Unfortunately, even though they were tipped as “ones to watch” in the music press in the early 90s, the demise of Rough Trade Records also saw the band call it a day.

Before they did, however, they appeared on MTV’s 120 Minutes which in those days was great exposure for up and coming indie bands.

Where are they now?

Each of the members went on to form various bands after Sweet Jesus – Venus, Groupie and, more recently, Butterfly Fan the Inferno – but nothing hooked me like when I first heard them on that fanzine tape. I just wish I still had it, the only other band I remember on there were the excellent Magic Faraway Tree Band with the song “I love life”. Another Great Lost Indie Band to add to the list…

Anyway, here’s ‘Albino Ballerina’, enjoy…


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Failed Rock Star in awful early 90s grunge band, Prehistoric Wife, failed blogger with dad blog ‘musodad’ and collaborative music blog ‘Session Bloggers’, Simon went solo in 2013 with the release of his own music blog ‘Hertford Soul’.

With over 6 months without a post, Simon was recently plucked from obscurity by the lovely people at EIO40 with a chance to resurrect his music blogging career. Many have likened the transfer to the risk Brendan Rodgers took in signing Mario Balotelli but Simon sees himself as more of a Rickie Lambert-type blogger. Erm, hang on a minute…

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What great lost indie band will Simon be tracking down next?

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First Track On First Album – New FADS

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In this regular feature we celebrate that all important opening track on a debut album, because for some it may have been the first song they ever heard from that artist.

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In this issue will our resident feature curator John Hartley be partial to a bit of this after casting his fishes eyes over……

Artist: New Fast Automatic Daffodils
Album: Pigeonhole
Year: 1990
Track: Get Better 

As is quite often the case, the support band is a mere periphery to the main act, and it was exactly the case in summer 1989 when this young, eager and enthusiastic James fan sighed his way through the set by up-and-coming-Manchester-band New Fast Automatic Daffodils. I quite wanted to love them, but their angular, sparse sound, heavy in bass and percussion didn’t really work for me. So I left my interest there.

Two years later I could be found scouring the racks of Fenham Library’s cassette collection in Newcastle, borrowing ‘Body Exit Mind’ alongside a much-renewed and never-completed hardback copy of ‘War and Peace’. Here was an album that made sense to me, and I listened to it considerably. A further two years on and my friend and bandmate introduced me to a promotional copy of ‘Love It All’; in some parts better, in others inferior to its predecessor.

To this date, however, I have never given ‘Pigeonhole’, the debut album by New Fast Automatic Daffodils, much attention. I borrowed a copy from my brother-in-law and didn’t listen to it. I found it on Spotify and didn’t listen to it. Maybe it’s the cover artwork, which so often persuades me to listen rather than the other way round, or maybe it’s the recollection of the heat-induced impatience before the James gig. Who knows?

Opening track ‘Get Better’ is pretty much what we would come to love and expect from New FADS, as they would come to be known. It starts off sounding like warped vinyl, which would have fooled me if I wasn’t listening digitally. A pulsating rhythm punctuated by the band’s trademark percussion leads us into the flat-vowelled vocal delivery of Andy Spearpoint before an angry guitar riff announces its arrival. There really isn’t anything in this opening track that justifies my earlier dismissiveness. The album made the UK Top 50, which is a creditable achievement, especially given the tendency of the music press to lump the band in with the ‘Madchester scene’ when their sound and style couldn’t have been much further away.

As first track on a first album, ‘Get Better’ certainly marks a clear statement of intent; the sound and style of this changes little over the course of the band’s three albums. If you like this, then definitely explore their later works. Me, I’m exploring backwards now!


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed

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What first track on whose first album will John Hartley review next time?

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Hello, Love – Getting Married With The Broken Family Band

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Indie Encounters is a regular feature for guest contributors to recollect a memorable indie moment, whether it’s meeting a band, a special gig or even the moment that indie music entered their lives.

In this feature David Bruce @davidkbruce recounts the day he got The Broken Family Band to……..actually we won’t spoil it for you. Find out out for yourself

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Firstly, some background.

The much missed Broken Family Band (Steven Adams, Jay Williams, Gav Johnson, Micky Roman) gently rocked their way straight outta Cambridge in the early 00’s releasing a series of utterly brilliant but criminally overlooked albums on Track And Field.

I first became aware of them via a track (the wondrous Devil InThe Details) from their debut album on the Rough Trade Country 1 comp. I snaffled up said album, Cold Water Songs, and was hooked. Singing lines such as “moles with beaks instead of eyes” and “don’t leave that woman unattended, I might get stuck in for myself”, I mean, what’s not to love? The career peak ‘Welcome Home, Loser’ followed in 2005 (sample lyric “you’re a sick, satanic lady, you’re full of hate and I just love that”), then ‘Balls’, the album that almost (but not quite) broke them by including ‘It’s All Over’, the perfect song to soundtrack sporting failure.

After seeing them a couple of times in Cambridge and Leeds, upon the release of ‘Hello, Love’ in 2007, they announced a tour taking in Newcastle Academy. Brilliant. And so it was, on a chilly October evening, my girlfriend and I rocked up to the Academy to see a rollicking, hit-laden set by the lads. So far, so ordinary.

After the gig, there’s a “rawk” night in the main room of the Academy so in the absence of anywhere else to go, we continue getting drunk to the strains of Metallica, Foo Fighters and Jane’s Addiction. Clearly a popular idea as out the corner of my inebriated eye, I spot the Broken Family Band doing exactly the same thing.

Now I have to tell you at this point, that for some time I had been pondering popping the question to my girlfriend and thinking of the best way to do it…..an idea forms in my drunken mind…..why don’t I get them to do it for me!!! She’ll bloody love this!!!

So, over I stagger…..

“Alright, lads?”

“Er, yeah, alright?”

“Just been to the gig, great stuff”

“Er, cheers”

“Anyhow, see her over there?”

“Er……yeah?”

“Well that’s my girlfriend, any chance you can ask her to marry me?”

“…………..”

So after an in-band squabble over who was going to do the deed, up steps our hero Steven Adams, who trudges across to my girlfriend, no doubt wondering “how did I get into this shit?”

“Alright?”

“Hi”

“See that fella over there?”

“Yeah”

“Says he wants to marry you”

“Does he call this a proposal? At least do it properly and get down on one knee”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake………..”

And lo, our hero did indeed get down on one knee, she said yes and the rest is history.

We bumped into them again outside and had a chat. Gav gave us a used bus ticket as a wedding present. We asked them to play at our wedding. They changed the subject.

As a postscript, I mailed them once the wedding plans were sorted for them to suggest a song to walk down the aisle to. They suggested ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe. An interesting choice. We went with Cursed Sleep by Bonnie Prince Billy.

My wife and I went to see them again at the Cluny just before they split. We walked past them outside. They didn’t speak. Their work was done.

David Bruce


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Thank you to David for sharing that special indie moment. If you would like to contribute to this feature and share your indie moments please email us at indieover40@gmail.com or DM us on Twitter

We are waiting in anticipation

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Great Lost Indie Bands #1 – Formula One

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In this regular feature hosted by Simon Smith (@HertfordSoul) we will be re-discovering some of our long lost indie favourites who didn’t quite make the grade and have since disappeared off many people’s radars.

We’ll be featuring one Great Lost Indie Band each time and, in true indie style, we’ll be following the ‘Who? Why?’ Where? format (copyright Jesus Jones). ‘Who are they?’, Why are they a Great Lost Indie Band?’ ‘Where are they now?

Of course there are only so many bands a middle aged indie kid can muster so, once Simon posted a few of his own chosen long lost gems, he’ll be opening this feature up to the rest of the Everything Indie Over 40 community to share theirs.

In this edition, Simon turns his attention to….

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Great Lost Indie Bands #1 – FORMULA ONE

Who are they?

Formula One were a 5 piece indie band from Preston who released a number of singles and an album between 1996 and 2000. Oh and they’re not to be confused with a Seattle skate punk band of the same name, in fact, you couldn’t get two bands who were more different. Saying that, they both formed and split up around the same time – coincidence?!

In the mid 90s, due to the lack of that very handy thing we call ‘the internet’, you had to rely on other methods in which to discover new bands. A lot of the bands I fell in love with I would have found through reading about them in the music press, seeing them on the ITV Chart Show, The Beat or Snub TV or hearing them on John Peel or Gary Crowley’s show on GLR on a Sunday afternoon. Formula One were different though, as soon as I heard that Martin Carr and Tim Brown from The Boo Radleys were producing one of their singles that was it, I had to get involved.

Why are they a Great Lost Indie Band?

They had great tunes, melodic and catchy. One music magazine said they were like ‘The Fall playing Krautrock’. Unfortunately they arrived just at the wrong time, at the tail end of Britpop, a scene that they just wouldn’t have fitted into. Then all everyone wanted to hear was ‘OK Computer’ and ‘Urban Hymns’ and if I ever see them again I’ll have to apologise as I was one of them.

But, it was good while it lasted. I remember seeing them at The Hacienda before it closed down, they were bloody nice people and I had a really good chat with them after the gig. I used to send them Christmas cards and write to them (I liken it to tweeting band members nowadays). In return they used to sign their singles for me (see the photo my singles collection of theirs below, Siggy is my nickname by the way).

I once asked them in a letter what time they were playing the Reading Festival and gave them my mum and dad’s number (it would have been during my Uni summer holiday) and the lead singer Lee phoned me up to tell me! Bands would never do that nowadays, would they?! You’re lucky if they tweet you back. Saying that they probably get loads of tweets – Formula One may have only had one saddo who wrote to them.

Formula One single collection

Where are they now?

Being such a ‘lost band’ it has been really difficult finding much info about them online.

Dave Chambers, the drummer, was in Cornershop and a band called Pastel Collision (anyone know anything about them? They could feature in a future Great Lost Indie Band post if so) before he joined Formula One and it sounds like he went on to form The Wandering Step, another local Preston band, when he left.

As for the remaining members, another Dave, Lee, Kerrie (who was also in Pastel Collision) and Emma, I’m struggling to find anything on them, they are well and truly ‘lost’. It’s a shame as they were all brilliant musicians who were different to anything else out there at the time. I’d love to know where they ended up.

Check them out if you get the chance, their back catalogue is on www.discogs.com if you want to take a punt. Like I said, there’s not much about them online. I did find a recording of one of their singles though, ‘Aqua Manera’ and a YouTube link is below. This is one of the songs produced by Martin and Tim Boo and once you hear the ‘Lazarus’-style Spanish trumpets you’ll see what influence they had on it.


 

Anyway, best be off, I need to see what this Pastel Collision band are all about. Until next time…

UPDATE FROM SIMON 

The Formula One post I wrote made it’s way over to Canada recently and was picked up by Lee Nicholson, the former lead singer of the band. We had a chat over email and he’s managed to fill in a few gaps of what happened to the rest of the band since Formula One stopped playing together – in Lee’s own words “Formula One never officially disbanded, it just kind of fizzled out”.

They recruited a sixth member of the band (Miles) and him, Lee, Kerrie and Dave the guitarist moved to Brighton, formed the band Domestic4 and released an album and two EPs. More information on these releases can be found here :

http://www.discogs.com/artist/1572356-Domestic-4

Even though they have now all gone their separate ways, they all still keep in touch but, since moving across the pond, Lee has been working on a solo project called Electrohome and here is a link to some of his songs :

https://electrohomemusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-way-we-were-and-are

It’s great and I highly recommend you have a listen.

I feel my job now is to get the original line-up back over here to reform for a 20th Anniversary gig – you never know…”.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Failed Rock Star in awful early 90s grunge band, Prehistoric Wife, failed blogger with dad blog ‘musodad’ and collaborative music blog ‘Session Bloggers’, Simon went solo in 2013 with the release of his own music blog ‘Hertford Soul’.

With over 6 months without a post, Simon was recently plucked from obscurity by the lovely people at EIO40 with a chance to resurrect his music blogging career. Many have likened the transfer to the risk Brendan Rodgers took in signing Mario Balotelli but Simon sees himself as more of a Rickie Lambert-type blogger. Erm, hang on a minute…

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What great lost indie band will Simon be tracking down next? 

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Meet The Community – Dalliance68

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

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In this edition – Dalliance68

Dalliance68 image

 

 

 

 

Shoplifters of the world unite, for today we shall be meeting that man with the Filofax and endless collection of gig tickets. On twitter we know him as @Dalliance68 and every morning we await with anticipation the appearance of that infamous James R Reid photo of Elvis crashing onto our Twitter feed. Discovering what gig ticket or gig memory Dalliance68 may share that day has become bit of a breakfast time ritual. Something to enjoy while we have our cornflakes and a lovely cup of rosey lee.

We are absolutely convinced that Dalliance68 has been to a gig on every calendar day of a year and we are determined to test this theory. You mark our words! As for that infamous Filofax full of carefully recorded gig attendances. Dalliance68 has restored credibility to a much maligned relic of the 1980s. For that the world should rejoice.

So without further ado, let’s meet Dalliance68

1) Where did you grow up?

Harrow in North West London. A fairly unremarkable place.

2) What first got you into “indie” music?

It was December 1983. There I was in my bedroom watching my portable black and white TV. I was doing what would now be called ‘channel hopping’ which was then tuning in the TV via a dial on the front (youngsters ask your parents). As I did so I came across The Old Grey Whistle Test showing a Smiths gig from Derby. I was transfixed.

What was this? Who were these people? A singer waving flowers singing in a way that I’d never heard before, words and phrases that immediately distanced this band from everything else I’d heard up until then.  A guitarist that just looked like the coolest bloke I’d ever seen playing guitar lines that were mesmerizing. A crowd going berserk, throwing flowers and jumping over the stage. It’s been mentioned since by a number of people but I couldn’t reference the sound, it was new exciting and the most incredible music I’d ever heard. I never looked back; it was indie music and nothing else from that moment on.

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?

Well, my first ever vinyl purchase was Elvis Costello’s ‘Oliver’s Army’ which I suppose is a bit indie. Otherwise I think it was probably ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’

4) What was your favourite record shop?

I have fond memories of Our Price in Harrow, this is where I used to turn up mid-morning on the date of Smiths singles releases. After a while I knew when the brown boxes of singles would be delivered, I’d then approach the counter probably wearing a Smiths t-shirt and cardigan and ask for whichever single was being released that day. As the assistant went to look for it I’d tell them it was in the brown box, I’d then get a pristine copy prior to any price stickers being added. Then home where I’d listen to it constantly for hours on end.

I also liked HMV in Oxford Street where I’d rush to in order to secure The Wedding Present’s Hit Parade singles.

5) What music magazines did you read?

It was NME and Melody Maker with occasional Sounds purchases. I had a couple of letters published in the NME. One asked whether I was the only person in the country who didn’t like ‘OK Computer’. Apparently I was. The second letter was one pointing out how Paul Heaton was beginning to resemble Ron Dixon of Brookside fame. I wasn’t the only one to spot it however, they printed my letter second and then berated me for not being first telling me I was going to “die in a pool of whisky piss” Charming.

6) What was your first “indie” gig?

My first ‘indie’ gig was my first ever gig. March 21st 1986 Red Wedge at Hammersmith Odeon. The line-up was Lorna G, Blow Monkeys (it gets better), Communards, Billy Bragg and The Style Council. A great night which not only turned me into a big Billy Bragg fan it opened my mind to left wing politics and inspired me to play the guitar. I’ve still got the programme.

7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?

This was a difficult one.  I’ll plump for the indiest line up I’ve ever experienced. Reading Festival in August  1990. The line-up that day was Psychic TV, Wire, The Young Gods, Ride, Billy Bragg, Buzzcocks, The Wedding Present and Inspiral Carpets. The headliners were fantastic, the highlight being the marching band that came on during ‘She Comes in the Fall’. Mooooo!!!

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?

This is making my head hurt…….
The Smiths ‘The Queen is Dead’ for its sheer perfection
My Bloody Valentine ‘Loveless’ because there’s nothing like it
The Fall – I Am Kurious Oranj
I’ll have to move on quickly before I realise I haven’t included Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, R.E.M, Inspiral Carpets etc etc etc

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?

Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit. Genius

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?

‘Dalliance’ by The Wedding Present. The perfect mix of quiet and loud. It also conjures up memories of throwing myself round various venues in London


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A huge thank you to Dalliance68 for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into his indie-ness.

You could be next.

 

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The Indie CV – Jez and Andy Williams

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It is unusual for someone to spend their whole working life at the same organisation and that can pretty much be said for band members and artists. In this regular feature Rob Morgan (@durutti74) maps out the career chronologically of a selected band member.

In this edition Rob compiles the CV for Jez and Andy Williams

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Jez and Andy Williams

Born: 18th February 1970, Manchester

Jeremy and Andrew, as their birth certificate names them,  are twin brothers and grew up very close and very interested in music, Jez learning the guitar and Andy the drums. During their education at Wilmslow High School they met Jimi Goodwin, a bass player, and the trio played in many local bands during the mid eighties, at that time a particularly fertile musical scene in Manchester.

1987 – Metro Trinity

Jez became guitarist with Metro Trinity, a little known Manchester band who issued one single on their own Cafeteria label. A four song twelve inch EP titled “Die Young”, it was a typically post C86 indie record, lots of jangle and strum. Easily the best song was “Michael Furey”, a mid tempo strum of nicely layered guitars easily comparable to the Railway Children or a less frantic Bodines. Andy joined his brother in Metro Trinity after the EP was released, and the band recorded one more song, “Stupid Friends”, which was issued on a flexi with Debris fanzine later in 1987 alongside “Garage Full Of Flowers”, the debut recording by the Inspiral Carpets which was already referencing the Stone Roses’ “Garage Flower”. But Metro Trinity folded around 1988, just as the Williams twins met up with Goodwin again at the Hacienda.


1991 – 1996 Sub Sub

Influenced by their nights at the home of acid house, Goodwin and the Williams twins ditched their conventional instruments and started to create dance music. They were soon signed to Rob’s Records, run by Rob Gretton, who also became their manager. After a little underground success with their debut “Space Face”, their third single “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)”, credited to Sub Sub ft Melanie Williams, was a huge success, Melanie’s soulful vocal over the funky seventies disco groove was highly infectious and the single reached number 3 in the UK charts, and garnered a performance on Top Of The Pops.


Sub Sub would not reach such heights again, but continued to issue singles during the mid 90s, and an album “Full Fathom Five” (it’s a Shakespeare reference, Roses fans). They were well regarded by their peers too, recording singles with Tricky and Bernard Sumner as guest vocalists. However their studio was destroyed by a fire on the Williams twins’ birthday and they took the chance to rethink their direction and motivation.

1998 to 2010 – Doves

Goodwin and the Williams twins decided to return to their electric instruments, Goodwin on bass, Jez on guitar and Andy on drums, naming themselves Doves. Still managed by Gretton, Doves started attracting attention with their debut single “The Cedar Room”, released in 1998. Mark Radcliffe played it often on his afternoon Radio One show and it’s mesmerising slow trudge of glacial guitars and a soaring chorus made Doves a band to watch.


A few more singles led to a deal with Heavenly Records and their debut album “Lost Souls” was issued in 2000. Admittedly Goodwin was their lead singer but both Williams brothers were given lead vocals on each album as a measure of democracy. Indeed the album’s lead single “Here It Comes” contrasts verses sung by Andy with Goodwin’s chorus.


The heart of the album was the song which kicked off side two (in old money). “Melody Calls” was again sung by Andy and describes how music can express thoughts which are hard to speak, the second verse is perfect:

“The words don’t come so easy
She can’t say what’s inside
The sounds they do speak for me
The sounds remain forever
Stays with her till morning time”


“Lost Souls” is an album full of heart, rising like a phoenix from the tragedy of the Sub Sub studio fire, defiant and ready to battle again. The LP was dedicated to the memory of Rob Gretton who had passed away during the recording of the album. It was well received and nominated for a Mercury prize for album of the year and “Catch the sun” became a surprise hit single too.

2002 saw the return of Doves, first issuing the single “There Goes The Fear”, an eight minute monster of a song culminating in a Brazillian percussion carnival, and “The Last Broadcast” LP. While “There Goes The Fear”, “Pounding” and the gorgeous “Caught By The River” all charted well, the album allowed the Williams twins to shine too. “M62 Song”, sung by Andy, sounds like it was recorded on a Walkman beside the titular motorways (and Andy sounds oddly like James Roberts of the Sea Urchins and Delta here). On the other hand, Jez gets the opening song “Words”, a powerful statement of intent over driving drums and circling guitar arpeggios, while Jez sings of resilience and self belief, an absolutely cracking album opener.


Doves’ third album “Some Cities” was released in 2005 and again was highly anticipated, the thumping lead single “Black and White Town” was another success but if anything the album suffered from sounding slightly too similar to their previous work in places. Again each Williams twin sang a song, Andy’s “Shadows of Salford” sounded like ‘M62 Song” on piano, but Jez’s “The Storm” was an orchestrated beauty, slow and gorgeous, which in places sounds like a Bond theme. The best song on the album was the closer “Ambition”, recorded live in a church – they were making a video there and were taken by the acoustics. There’s something of the feel of Bark Psychosis in that song.


Maybe Doves knew they were repeating themselves because when they returned in 2009 with their fourth album “Kingdom Of Rust” their music felt familiar yet refreshed, and the electronic elements on songs such as opener “Jetstream” made a difference. That song, sung by Andy, pulsed like Kraftwerk taking “Trans Europe Express” to an airport and was an early album highlight alongside the title track.


Later in the album Andy had another lead vocal on “Compulsion”, where the strangely funky rhythm pattern sounds like A Certain Ratio throwing Chic down the stairs (in a nice way). “Kingdom Of Rust” was a great return to form but after a tour and a greatest hits album, Doves went on hiatus in 2010.

2014 onwards – Black Rivers

Jez and Andy began working on new material outside of Doves from 2012 onwards and started releasing songs and performing live from 2014 under the band name Black Rivers. Their debut album was issued in 2015 and takes in some wider influences than Doves, there’s hints of 60s psychedelia on opener “Diamond Days” while “The Ship” is a second cousin to Portishead’s “The Rip”.


 

Andy and Jez share vocal duties equally and it sounds enough like Doves for most fans to find something familiar in it, especially those characteristic guitar arpeggios of Jez’s on “Voyager 1”. Black Rivers are touring this summer (blimey, they’re playing the Trades Hall in Hebden Bridge, clearly a hotbed of indie in Yorkshire) and should be worth seeing if you have the time.

It seems like the Williams twins still have plenty of great music in them to add to their considerable legacy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589).

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

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Whose CV will Rob be writing next?

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Something New Review – Dot Dash “Earthquakes & Tidal Waves”

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When the opportunity arose to review the latest offering from Washington DC post punk outfit Dot Dash we knew straight away that this would be a perfect opportunity to sub-contract the task to a guest contributor. Dot Dash featured in our interactive world earlier in the year when their album Half-Remembered Dream was nominated as best album of 2013 in our #30yearsofindiealbums event.

Their sponsor on that day was Esther (@Myrtleleaf) and so it was to California that we headed (virtually) to ask if a she would be up for the task at hand. Not only were we delighted that Esther agreed to do the review but that she targeted the whole album rather than just the Raincoats single that was due for release.

So here is what Esther had to say about Dot Dash’s album “Earthquakes & Tidal Waves”

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Dot Dash’s fourth album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, was released in March by Canadian indie label The Beautiful Music, run by music taste-maker Wally Salem, through whom I first discovered Dot Dash’s music on Twitter a couple of years ago.

Their songs are 2 to 3-minute blasts of a combination of power pop and post-punk pop, catchy melodies, and memorable clever lyrics. I love singer Terry Banks’ vocals that don’t compete with the music’s energy. (I don’t care for loud or indiscernible vocals, which can make or break a band for me!) Comparisons have been made to The Jam, Replacements and Husker Du, to name a few, and it’s the great production that gives their music a fresh sound (it IS famed producer Mitch Easter at the helm, after all).

The opening track Winter Of Discontent previews what’s in store for the album: generally mid-paced tempos, roaring yet melodic guitars, prominent drums, and lots of ooohs. Outstanding from start to finish, its hooks will continue to buzz in your head long after you’ve heard it. Here I’ll highlight a few favorites:

Rainclouds is an infectious song that showcases Terry’s vocal range. From the low almost gritty voice in its opening verse recalling a lost Jesus and Mary Chain song, to the soaring high vocals near the end of the song. Also, who can spot the Raspeberries’ Go All The Way opening riff? Oh so subtle, but I hear it.

Dot Dash – Rainclouds

Tatters is a beautiful song but you wouldn’t know it by the somber lyrics. There’s the memorable lyric in the chorus ‘It doesn’t matter illusions get shattered along the way, and everything’s in tatters anyway’, lots of jangly guitar and a nice key change as well.

Closing out the album is the mellow but musically cinematic Sleep, Sleep. There’s more clever and somber wordplay. The highlight for me is the beautiful bassline and dreamy keyboard solo–interlude might better describe it–in the middle of the song. Then there’s a break, more oooohs and the song finishes as quietly as it started. All this anchored with understated but effective cymbal rolls throughout. Just beautiful. Easily one of my favorite songs of theirs.

As much as I raved over this album when it came out this year, I have to remember it was their prior release in 2013, Half-Remembered Dream, that was one of my most listened to albums of that year, proving to me again how consistently good their music is. Do your ears a favor and check that one out (and remaining back catalog!) as well.

Where to find Dot Dash:

https://dotdashdc.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/DotDashDC
http://facebook.com/dotdashdc
http://thebeautifulmusic.com/

If you order through the label’s website, Wally will throw in a few goodies as well, as he loves to share good music, and one of the reasons he has one of the best indie pop labels around.

Esther (@myrtleleaf)

Dot Dash image

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Thank you to Esther for a wonderful review. 

EIO40 is not solely concerned with nostalgia. We are eager to support new music as well as up and coming artists. So watch out for further reviews of newer stuff and of course if you would like to review something yourself, you know where to find us.

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The Indie Top Ten Songs With Profanities In The Title

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In this regular feature we ask the Everything Indie Over 40 social media community to help us compile a top ten list of a chosen topic. Our resident curator John Hartley (@JohnyNocash) then ponders, disects and finally presents.

In this edition:-

The Indie Top Ten Songs With Profanities In The Title

“Truth is, I used to think it mattered. I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks. Not compared to how people matter”.

So speaks the legendary British actor Pete Postlethwaite in the film ‘Brassed Off’. And he is right, of course. But sometimes we need the music to help us make the people matter, or to take our minds off the fact that sometimes it would appear that people do not matter. More importantly, however, the above quote demonstrates possibly the finest use of my favourite swear word ever. It’s even better than that album title by The Sex Pistols.

You, dear contributors, of course have different preferences; for swear words, for song titles, for bands. A quite impressive 51 different suggestions, no less, which makes compiling this Top 10 even trickier. You buggers.

1. Flux Of Pink Indians – “Mind Fuckers Fucking Minds”

The prize for the most profanities included in the title is awarded to the @mixless – nominated Flux of Pink Indians. If you were that way inclined you could even afford yourself a childish snigger at the fact that the band name itself includes a word that sounds like it might be rude. However, ‘The Fucking Cunts Treat Us Like Pricks’ is a remarkable title that surely everybody can relate to in some shape or form. Unfortunately, the title is not a song in itself so cannot count. Fortunately, ‘Mind Fuckers Fucking Minds’ is a song, and it can be found on that album, here:


2. Julian Cope “All The Blowing Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die They Were Suckers)”

In the current climate of religion-induced violence (and yes, I know it’s been going on for centuries, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s about to vanish) it seems appropriate that Julian Cope’s ‘All The Blowing Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise The Minute They Die They Were Suckers)’ should be included. Nominated by @051Omski this particular track wins the award for longest title amongst the contenders.


3. Future Of The Left “Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop”

The most-nominated song in the list is a seven-way tie, so I am going to take the casting votes and go with the suggestion made by both @lucyandamysdad and @charlie_clown. Future of the Left released a track entitled ‘Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop’; quite a brave title, as personally I would have named it Robocop 2, so credit for making it through three films before being reduced to swearing, folks.


4. The Sugarcubes “Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow”

It often appears to be the case that the use of profanity within a song is for shock purposes. Many of our modern day profanities derive from old English terminology for functional activities. Only two of the suggestions actually used the language within this context. Only one of these makes it into the Top 10, however: step forward @Billychief for the nomination of The Sugarcubes. True enough, many of Einaar’s vocal contributions were sufficient to reduce many a listener to swearing but Bjork’s voice generally wins over. Such is the case with ‘Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow’ from their debut album.


5. Belle and Sebastian  ‘Fuck This Shit’

However, sometimes the joy of the profanity is the simplicity and ease with which it shocks. When the chosen word is used by a band normally viewed as soft, gentle, twee even, that shock can only be magnified. Take Belle and Sebastian, for example: a band often associated with daydreaming, picking flowers in the park, going for a nice walk in the countryside and so on. I was quite shocked when hearing them complain about the referee giving them “fuck all” in ‘Another Sunny Day’, so you can imagine how far my jaw dropped when they named a song ‘Fuck This Shit’. Thanks @Wimon for reminding us:


6. Stereolab “You Little Shits”

The swear word can be used to create offence, to insult, to provoke. However, I reckon it works best when there simply are no other words left in the dictionary to express the unfolding situation. Just picture the scene, as I am sure that – like myself – @BeardedSteven has pictured it: it’s bin night, a grimy, grey London towerblock estate, and the air is heavy with drizzle. Stereolab’s Tim Gane has just sent his singer down four flights of stairs (the lift is broken) to put the last few lettuce leaves into the organic waste bin. As she approaches, Laeitita Sadier sees a gaggle of youths scarper from the bins, and on arriving finds that one of them has only gone and put a plastic bottle into the organic waste bin. Exasperation is an understatement, and ‘You Little Shits’ are the only words she can muster…


7. Nirvana “Territorial Pissings”

The joy of the EIO40 community is that everyone has very different tastes which sometimes overlap, like a massive Venn Diagram. However, those of you with gentler dispositions might choose to approach @mkip_68 with caution, given the number of suggestions offered by this particular member of our community (ie more than anyone else). The best-titled of these nominations is ‘Territorial Pissings’ by little known Seattle band Nirvana. They were tipped for big things at one stage, you know. Maybe their mums took offence at their song titling?


8. Blammo! “Wanky Wayne”

So many vulgarities, so many songs, yet some words are clearly more popular than others. Credit must go to @rojoyblancowizs for finding a song with a profanity in the title that nobody else used. (Or at least chose; what you do in your spare time is none of my business… ). This particular term must have been the bane of folk named similarly to the song’s subject; it has certainly been the bane of supporters of my football team (a Wanderers) and my county (Lancashire). Credit must be also due to finding the most obscure song within those suggested. So obscure in fact that intensive research on the internet failed to locate any record of it.

Notwithstanding that I’m taking @rojoyblancowizs word for it’s existence, because that’s the sort of trusting person I am. However, if anyone out there can enlighten us to Blammo!’s ‘Wanky Wayne’ please point us in the right direction so we can share this with you all.

9. Half Man Half Biscuit “The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman”

I had the pleasure of attending a Babybird gig in the early part of this decade. Not averse to the odd rant or two, Stephen Jones on this occasion decided to rail against radio networks. Taking umbrage at their complete ignorance of his featuring-Johnny-Depp single ‘Unloveable’, Jones bemoaned the lack of radio play his music was getting because “without radio, you’re fucked”. He then proceeded to announce the next song of the evening, the band’s next single: ‘Bastard’. Nobody suggested that particular song, but another of my favourite bands Half Man Half Biscuit were nominated twice, including ‘The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman’ as offered by @timh0bbs


10. Pixies “Oh My Golly!”

Sometimes, however, not even the most vulgar of words suffice to capture the very essence of anger, frustration, exasperation, rage, rebellion and so on. It is at times like these we must scour deep into our souls, flick the pages of our Oxford English Dictionary and pull out the only words left to capture the rawest of emotion. Step forward @Dalliance68, a community member who must have done this several times before, for that surely can be the only reason behind his Pixies nomination ‘Oh My Golly’


So there ends the Everything Indie Over 40 Top 10 songs with profanities in their titles. Thanks to the many, many other community members who offered suggestions for which there was insufficient space. Now go and wash your collective mouths out with soap and water.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free, at brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com

Listen out on Facebook & Twitter for further Indie Top Ten themes. We need your help.

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