Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Wishing you all a very happy new year, my sweet little pussycats. Just keep doing the grind in 2014 ok? Cheers!

Andre Williams - Sweet Little Pussycat

Monday, December 30, 2013

Someone Has Been Smoking

"So I walked downstairs where I could clearly hear a band was steaming, they had hair to their feet and electrical beat and one of them was screaming..." A remarkable Dylan persiflage - or so it seems to me - from mr. Clark, the late ex-Byrd whose recently unearthed White Light demos caused many a jaw to drop around here.

Gene Clark - Please Mr. Freud

Friday, December 27, 2013

Never Off The Air

Bill and Earl Bolick were a country brother team made in heaven. Listen in today, folks, for it's the microphone of Jesus!

The Blue Sky Boys - Radio Station S.A.V.E.D.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mic Masters

"Sounds good like you know it should..." Presenting a sizzling ten pack of the sharpest toasters from the island riding some of the hardest riddims of the roots era. If this won't get you through the festive season I honestly don't know what will, my irie brethren.

U Roy - The Same Song
King Stitt - Fire Corner
Trinity - Three Piece Suit
Jah Stitch - Greedy Girl
Big Youth - Cool Breeze
Tappa Zukie - Pick Up The Rockers
Dennis Alcapone - Shades Of Hudson
I Roy - Sidewalk Killer
Dillinger - Nebuchadnezzar
Prince Far I - Heavy Manners

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Queen Takes Knight Pawn

Haven't heard a lot of hiphop this year to be honest, but this stark, minimalist mother caught my fancy alright. "I bear arms, now I'm in the pond catching salmon..."

Ka - Peace Akhi

Friday, December 20, 2013

Six Times Thirteen

I know you've been waiting for this: FTSOTS presents the cream of the 2013 crop. Six is the magic number, and eyes scan the path ahead. Here goes.

1. Bill Callahan - Dream River
2. Bonnie Prince Billy - Bonnie Prince Billy
3. Hiss Golden Messenger - Haw
4. Matthew E. White - Outer Face
5. Wooden Shjips - Back To Land
6. Golden Gunn - Golden Gunn

Golden Gunn - Let Me Shine (Deathhouse)

Bubblin' undah: Howe Gelb, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Willis Earl Beal, Bingo Trappers, Yo La Tengo, Bombino, Jonathan Wilson, Mark Kozelek & Desertshore, Israel Nash Gripka, and Arbouretum. New old stuff: Neil Young's Live At The Cellar Door, Gene Clarke's Here Tonight, Townes Van Zandt's Sunshine Boy, and Lee Perry's Roaring Lion. Not a bad year, I give you that. Did I miss something? Lemme know. The door is always open for you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

N For Night

All excited, as we're off to Groningen rock city to see Fred & Toody of Dead Moon fame perform at the Vera club tonight, and unplugged at that. "Never going home..."

Dead Moon - Dead Moon Night

And while we're at it, here's a couple of other bands Fred 'Deep Soul' Cole played in over the years. Dude's been going since 1964... History lesson starts now.

Deep Soul Cole - Poverty Shack
The Weeds - It's Your Time
The Lollipop Shoppe - Don't Close The Door On Me
Zipper - Bullets
The Rats - Burnside
Pierced Arrows - Let It Rain

Monday, December 16, 2013

And Still Stand By Me

An answer song of sorts to Tammy Wynette's immortal Stand By Your Man, and boy is it a good 'un. Conway swears he's trying to 'love only her, play with the kids and watch tv...' but deep down he knows he's just plain lying to himself. D.i.v.o.r.c.e. is just around the corner, old buddy.

Conway Twitty - How Much More Can She Stand

Saturday, December 14, 2013

From Golden Hill

This fascinating series of slowly but surely improving That's The Way run-throughs shows that hanging out in the pastoral Welsh cottage of Bron-Yr-Aur sure brought out the best in the Zep fraternity. Dog yelping? Priceless. 'Cause that's the way it ought to be...

Led Zeppelin - That's The Way (outtake)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What You Shall Reap

Rejoice Jah people, for once more the sublime folks over at Pressure Sounds have managed to dig up some hitherto unreleased material from the Lee Perry vaults. Roaring Lion, subtitled 16 Untamed Black Art Masters & Dub Plates, is yet another wonderful showcase of the genius they call Scratch. Rarities galore, featuring Junior Byles, Augustus Pablo, Jah Lion, and the Fantels, an ensemble I had never even heard of before. Their Stand And Look shimmers just right.

The Fantels - Stand And Look

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Listen Listen

"Je suis le voyageur du temps, je vous connais depuis longtemps..." As she did earlier with the Fairports  - remember how Dylan's If You Gotta Go, Go Now became Si Tu Dois Partir? - my fave British female vocalist of all time goes French on us. And that's très bon.

Sandy Denny - Ecoute, Ecoute

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back For A Taste

"The craving will nearly drive you insane..." Got two amazing anti-smack soul scorchers from the early seventies for ya today. Steal, borrow, beg!

Sam Dees - Signed, Miss Heroin
James Brown - King Heroin

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free And Clean

I never minded the mariachi elements on Pancho & Lefty, but to hear that immortal epic without any bells and whistles sure is a treat. Which goes for the majority of tracks on Sunshine Boy actually. One of the reissues of the year for sure.

Townes Van Zandt - Pancho & Lefty (alt. mix)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sharp As A Razor

Just got the sad sad news that reggae singer Junior Murvin, of Police And Thieves fame, has passed away. Miss him, my brethren. I take it you're familiar with both that masterpiece and the punky reggae party cover by the Clash. So instead here are two interesting takes on the same riddim featuring Mr. Murvin's trademark falsetto, which never ceases to amaze.

Junior Murvin - Philistines On The Land
Junior Murvin - Bad Weed

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sweet Creature

Lush dreampop from Church foreman Steve Kilbey. "I'm as empty as a shell can ever be..." That's a whole lot of zen, my good people.

Steve Kilbey - Shell

Friday, November 29, 2013

Whole Of The Law

Prince Buster's goofiest, you ask? Just might be this little old gem... It's ska time, folks!

Prince Buster - It's Burke's Law

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It Pours

An exquisite moodpiece from 1966. Save it for a rainy day, and visit the esteemed Aquarium Drunkard to see what mr. Walker (76 years of age as we speak) is up to now.

Peter Walker - Rainy Day Raga

Monday, November 25, 2013

Above Us Now

"On top of a column, above the sand, out in the desert sun..." The Fairports having a go at Neil's Cinnamon Girl in Fugazi's basement? Nope, it's only Arbouretum. Their driving Renouncer riffs on Saint Simeon Stylites, a cool and rather unusual subject for a rock song. Simeon traveled into the Syrian desert long ago to live on a small platform on top of a column for 36 years, attempting to become closer to god. "I drink the wind around me..."

Arbouretum - Renouncer

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Not Of This Earth

In the mood for some more flamenco puro? That's muy bien, chicos. Genuine Spanish six pack for your listening pleasure coming up pronto. Got tickets to see Pansequito next February by the way, with Diego Amaya on guitar. ¡Vamonos!

Enrique Morente con Sabicas - No Soy De Esta Tierra
Pepe De Utrera - Carcelero Si Me Muero
El Chaquetón - Si Sientes Sonar Campanas
Terremoto De Jerez - En La Puerta Con Tu Madre
Pansequito - Ciudad Dos Veces Bendita
Manolo Sanlúcar - Maletilla

Thursday, November 21, 2013

826 Skills

You Be My Heart? Why not. Because what we're talking about here is a benefit album for 826, a cool non profit organisation dedicated to fostering writing skills in under-resourced children. Big plus: you can't go wrong with a roster of indie greats including Mark Kozelek, Horse Feathers, Fruit Bats, and Bowerbirds... Out early December; you know what to do. And here are the Bats, sounding rather Dylanesque this time.

Fruit Bats - Christen My Ship (deleted by request of clueless people, sorry...)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Carry Her Home

"I like it slow and sweet..." Matthew E. White's recent five track mini album digs even deeper than his surprisingly good Big Inner debut. The bearded one arranges things like a horny Van Dyke Parks from Dixie here (check them lush strings, swoon as the female choir goes way out there), and croons like an only slightly paler version of Al Green. Yet another spacebomb, folks.

Matthew E. White - Eyes Like The Rest

Sunday, November 17, 2013

In The Air

High time for the blues of Spain, with the spotlight on the late great guitar player Moraíto Chico, who shines por bulerías here. The one they call El Torta is equally passionate on vocals.

Moraíto - Musica En El Aire

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I & I Soul

The first outing of the velvet-voiced mr. Moses was the wonderfully titled I Man A Grasshopper, recorded by Scratch at his famous Black Ark headquarters. Note the rocky guitar work, especially near the end: take a bow, Mikey Murray.

Pablo Moses - I Man A Grasshopper

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Welcome To The Desert

"Living on Tucson time..." Giant Sand mastermind Howe Gelb's been at it again. The man who gave us the wonderful Alegrías with his band of authentic Córdoba gypsies two years ago, the man with the whispery voice like a hot desert wind, now poses as a Coincidentalist. On the ultra-relaxed opener Vortexas he shares vocal duties with the one and only Bonnie Prince Billy. Beauty!

Howe Gelb - Vortexas

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shjip Comes In

The Shjips may have moved away from their safe Golden Gate Bridge environs to the wilds of Portland in Oregon, but the song remains the same. Psychedelica the now way, and that's exactly how we like it. Their brand new Back To Land will end up on many end-of-year-lists for sure. Get on board, people.

Wooden Shjips - In The Roses

Friday, November 8, 2013

Steal Away My Mind

Been awhile since we featured the late great in these pages, so here goes. Live in a small band setting this time, with Danny 'Ruester' Rowland on guitar and Owen Cody on fiddle. As Townes had broken his arm, he couldn't play, just sing. Recorded back in '78 in Mariah's Coffeehouse, East Lansing, Michigan. Packet of Marlboro lights not included.

Townes Van Zandt - Buckskin Stallion Blues
Townes Van Zandt - White Freightliner Blues

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Steady Shock

Ready for a razorsharp rocksteady instrumental? Good, 'cause here's Lyn Taitt, that gifted guitarist who more or less invented the style of rocksteady, the remarkably slower follow-up to ska. Incidentally, Taitt was born on the island of Trinidad, not Jamaica. His Rock A Shock was originally released on the legendary Joe Gibbs' Amalgamated label back in '67. Cool tune or what?

Lyn Taitt & The Jets - Rock A Shock

Sunday, November 3, 2013

From Doom Town

Just in case there's no Wipers in your record collection, let me point you to the nicely priced box set pictured above. Contains the first 3 classic albums of Portland, Oregons post-punk pride - Is This Real?, Youth Of America, and Over The Edge - plus assorted bonus tracks, remastered and annotated by Wipers mastermind Greg Sage himself. Trademark bandana not included alas, but one can't have it all I guess. Sample a track from each album below, but don't take too long.

Wipers - D-7
Wipers - Taking Too Long
Wipers - Doom Town

Friday, November 1, 2013

Now You Go

Pastora Pavón, better known as La Niña De Los Peines, was one of the greatest female flamenco voices ever, so it's beyond me why I haven't featured her here before. But better late than never, vale?

Niña De Los Peines - Ahora Te Vas Y Me Dejas

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Take Me Home

Toots and his mighty Maytals reggaefy a John Denver country classic, and West Virginia becomes West Jamaica just like that... Funky? You betcha.

Toots & The Maytals - Country Road

Sunday, October 27, 2013

On Borrowed Time

Sad sad news: just found out Lou Reed has passed away. He was 71, and a true pioneer of rock 'n' roll. Miss him.

The Velvet Underground - Sad Song

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fight Hard

In anticipation of today's edition of El Clásico, here's a double helping of soul scorchers. Regular readers will probably know whose side I'm on by now, but just in case: ¡Visca el Barça! Yes Milton, we're gonna make it alright...

Gene Allison - You Can Make It If You Try
Little Milton - We're Gonna Make It

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For My Sins

Listen up, you disciples of Fahey, Kottke et al. The always classy Tompkins Square label just released Jesus I'm A Sinner - that's right - by young steel-string picker Daniel Bachman. So what would Jesus do? Exactly. Buy this record, you sinners.

Daniel Bachman - Jesus I'm A Sinner

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

White House Lawn

Crosby, Nash, & Wilson? You bet. Lush sounds from Laurel Canyon, anno domini 2013. Let heaven and earth collide.

Jonathan Wilson - Cecil Taylor

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cabras De La Montaña

You'll have to do without me for a week, as I'm off to the city of cities to celebrate my umpteenth birthday in style. Noticed just in time the Mountain Goats will be playing Sala Apolo there this Saturday, so that was a no-brainer of course. Tickets in the bag. Been a fan of John Darnielle's work more or less since he started out, but I saw him perform only once so far, back in '95 at the legendary lofi festival Fast Forward in Nijmegen, Holland. From that gig, here's a rare outing of Going To Palestine.

Mountain Goats - Going To Palestine (live Nijmegen '95)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oak Ash And Thorn

Mystical weirdness from the one and only String band. "I baked sweet pastries for the Queen of Spain, I hid my alchemy beneath the stone of lies, burned at the post my boiling brain made craters of my eyes..." They just don't write 'em quite like this anymore.

Incredible String Band - Vishangro

Friday, October 11, 2013

Special Indeed

A floorfiller of the highest order, thanks to the latest treasure trove in the always amazing Soundway catalogue. Understated afro-funk from Kenya; I just can't get enough.

The Rift Valley Brothers - Tiga Kurira

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Never Lost Together

Never a dull moment with mr. Oldham. This time around our bonnie prince recorded a breathtaking, acoustic solo album without a title which - and here it comes - he distributed in person to just one record store, in his native city of Louisville, Kentucky. Cool, huh? No idea if this will ever be released on a broader scale, so you just have to try and track down a copy (vinyl and cassette only) somewhere I guess. Happy hunting!

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Triumph Of Will

Monday, October 7, 2013

No Car At All

A joyful reggae take on that funky track first made famous by its originator, soul singer William DeVaughn, and much later revived in grand triphop stylee by Massive Attack. "Diamond in the back, sunroof top, diggin' the scene with a gangsta lean..." Take over, mr. Carless...

Donovan Carlos - Be Thankful

Want more? I see where you're coming from. Here's the original, the triphop, and yet another reggae version. Be thankful please.

William DeVaughn - Be Thankful For What You've Got
Massive Attack - Be Thankful For What You Got
Bunny Clarke - Be Thankful

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Take What You Can Get

Finally gonna see Tunng tonite, so I'm cool. Fell head over heels in love with these adventurous British freakfolkers the moment their first album came out, been following them ever since, but somehow they've always escaped me live. "All the talkers lose their breath..." I'm ready. Some rare tracks, you ask? But of course.

Tunng - Shove It
Tunng - No Man Can Find The War
Tunng - Robin

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Come Sit

Upon the grass, I mean. And I shall come and sit beside you. Presenting a green green six pack, in remembrance of yet another summer gone by.

Robert Wyatt - Grass
Versus - Blade Of Grass
Jayhawks - Tomorrow The Green Grass
The Bachs - Tables Of Grass Fields
Caretakers Of Deception - Cuttin' Grass
The Red Crayola - Vile Vile Grass

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

West Again

Paging all you Americana lovers out there: don't miss Israel Nash Gripka's new Rain Plans. Boy can play. Less of a Stones/Creedence influence this time around, and more of a Neil vibe, but that's cool too of course. Gripka's got an extensive European tour coming up; try to catch him if you can. Oh, and here's the inspired title track for ya.

Israel Nash Gripka - Rain Plans

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yeah Hup

Best Aussie punk band? The answer to that question will always be a toss-up between the Saints and these guys. "There's gonna be a new race, kids are gonna start it up..." Cool concept or what?

Radio Birdman - New Race

Friday, September 27, 2013

El Salvador

If you're even remotely interested in reggae music, pick up Lloyd Bradley's indispensable book Bass Culture. Guy knows what he's talking about. Here's he is on Lee Perry's dub masterpiece Super Ape for instance: "...a jungle of a soundscape so thick you need a machete to hack through the undergrowth, while the vines and creepers continually swing back and hit you in the face. Like nothing else at the time, it shows how far roots reggae could have gone, as it explores roots both thematically as well as musically, Rastafari, righteousness and repatriation from a perspective so skewed it comes back into line as the absolutely spiritual. This man is the Salvador Dalí of dub."

Scratch & The Upsetters - Croaking Lizard

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bill & Gil

Some more jazz? Why not. Gil plays Monk, featuring Johnny Coles on trumpet. Now that's a warm bath alright. Meanwhile, his namesake Bill sure knows what to do with a Gershwin standard.

Gil Evans - Straight No Chaser
Bill Evans - My Man's Gone Now

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lucky Strike

Calling all reggae lovers to hail the relatively new King Spinna label, which is more or less a successor to the legendary, much lamented Blood & Fire imprint. Its latest output is a sparkling sampler of rare roots tracks supervised by the one and only Bunny 'Striker' Lee. Here's an example in fine style, by underrated vocalist Cornell Campbell. And in case your Jamaican patois is a bit rusty, let mr. Lee explain what a ginegog is exactly: "See di man dah a ginegog, that mean seh like you are the champion, that you inna the t'ing longtime. Some a ginegog, some a hooligan..." Seen?

Cornell Campbell - Gorgon A The Ginegog

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Givin' Praise

"Well... the only words I said today are beer and thank you..." A delicious country-style taster of the new Bill Callahan album is what's in store this Saturday. That mr. Smog just keeps getting better and better I tell you. And you? You never had it so good. Beer. Thank you. Cheers.

Bill Callahan - The Sing

Thursday, September 19, 2013

In Bloom

I tend to regard Jeff Koons as a bit of a charlatan actually, but contemplating his flowering puppy in the Basque city of Bilbao is something I can recommend to any art lover with a sense of humour. Not so cuddly aside: shortly before Puppy was to be inaugurated in 1997 by the Spanish royal couple, three ETA members, disguised as gardeners, were discovered carrying flowerpots containing remote controlled grenades. They shot and killed a police officer when trying to flee the scene.

Thee Headcoats - Shouldn't Happen To A Dog

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Now's The Time

I'm back, and the clock says jazz. Dig it?

Dexter Gordon - Three O'Clock In The Morning
Lester Young & Harry Edison - One O'Clock Jump

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Seem To Be Lonely

"Just call my name and say that I'm your lover man..." Got a two pack of exquisite lonely lovers from the Island for you today. Two entirely different songs mind, but the message remains the same. Meanwhile, I'll be away for a week, but I guess this duo will keep you plenty satisfied 'til my return. Laster sortu!

The Sensations - Lonely Lover
Gregory Isaacs - Lonely Lover