Episode 30 - Indie Football Classics

Before 'World In Motion' became the theme of England's Italian Summer of 1990 there had been very limited crossover between alternative music and football. The odd track, such as Love on The Terraces by Serious Drinking and Kicker Conspiracy by the Fall, yes, and of course the insanely brilliant All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit by Half Man Half Biscuit. But nothing sustained. The two camps regarded each other with the same levels of suspicion as the White Walkers and The King's Watch; The Aesthetes versus The Hearties.

But by the end of the '80s tectonic plates were shifting in both the English football scene and within indie music. As the long dreadful winter of hooliganism, megalomaniac chairmen and disregard for the supporter yielded to a tentative spring of fanzines, terrace humour and a megalomaniac Premier League, music went through its own transformation. The Second Summer of Love validated a new generation of blissed out youths to sport that funny yellow smiley badge, tripping from the nightclub to the terrace (there were still terraces then), unselfconsciously singing "Arrivederci, it's one on one".

This isn't just about England though. The episode starts with the magnificent panegyric in praise of Cameroon's Roger Milla by Pepe Kalle. Deeper into the programme we get to hear the samba rhythms of Brazil in Umbabarauma by Jorge Ben, and there is a splendid ska track by the Jamaican group Ska-J, Te Gusta El Futbol.

write this as England stand on the brink of their first semi-final in 28 years. Meanwhile their government is doing its level best to sabotage all the feelings of goodwill a young, vibrant, multi-cultural squad of players under a progressive and hugely likable manager has produced. For all I know I'll never see England achieve as much again. So good luck, you muddle-headed nation, and may your creative folk save you from your politicians, who can't see past feathering their own nest to the genius that lies within the best in football and the best in music.

Hot dogs and seat for Mr. Hogg!
Aaaaaannnnddd his grotty spawn! 

Tracklist:-

Roger Milla, Pepe Kalle

Theme from Sparta FC, The Fall

The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme, Colourbox 

The Ballad of Paul Tierney, Lonely Tourist 

All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit, HMHB 

Love on the terraces, Serious Drinking 

Te Gusta El Futbol, Ska-J 

Strachan, The Hitchers

I don’t want to play football, Belle and Sebastian

Kicker Conspiracy, The Fall

God’s footballer, Billy Bragg

Umbabarauma, Jorge Ben

World In Motion, New Order

 

Episode 29 - The World Cup of Football

Welcome to the World Cup of Football!

One of the things I love about the World Cup - and there are many, though time zones aren't one of them - is the opportunity to lift the head above the parapet and see what's happening around the world.

So, here's a collection of artistes we haven't heard on the show before, curated from the participating nations in the 2018 World Cup. I've tried to cover as many points around the globe as is feasible within the constraints of an hour's programme, but there'll be gnashing of teeth in Saudi Arabia, Peru, Spain, Egypt, Colombia and many other countries. What can I say? Sos.

A very diverse collection, as you might expect, from the post-punk of early 80s Denmark via the warm rhythms of Senegal and Nigeria to the contemporary chamber music of South Korea and all points in between. Well, some points in between.

I hope it finds favour. Setlist:- 

Brazil - Let’s make love and listen to death from above, CSS

Belgium - Is it always binary, Soulwax

Japan - Woo Hoo, The 5 6 7 8s

Nigeria - Samba, King Sunny Ade 

Sweden - You can’t hurry love, The Concretes

Russia - Ariadna, Kedr Livanskiy

Iceland - Birthday, The Sugarcubes

Senegal - New Africa, Youssou N’Dour

France - 1982, Francois and the Atlas Mountains

South Korea - The longing of the yawning divide, Park Jiha

Germany - Isi, Neu!

Australia - Keep on lying, Tame Impala

Denmark - Marble Station, Sort Sol

Episode 28 - Slowcore

I have a feeling this is going to be least popular episode. Ever.

Which is a shame. I accept that hardly anyone listens to Slowcore these days. Or Sadcore, as it was occasionally known. So much so that I was utterly unable to find one of my very favourite tracks on MP3: God's Green Earth by Idaho. There's a slightly warped version on Youtube (soundwise, not in a kinky way), which I'd urge you to dig out.

It's not even as if it was especially popular when it was at its 'height'. 1992-3. It operated in that interstice of time between grunge and BritPop (or whatever was the mid-90s thing in other countries). People had become jaded with squally guitars from young men in torn lumberjack shirts and trip-hop had come and mostly gone. Things had yet to turn full-on fun-retro Union Jack. As often though, that made for stimulating music, rather like the diverse mid-70s pre-punk scene. Narrativeless, all types of odd forms flourished.

One of which was Slowcore. Bleak lyrics, downbeat melodies, slower tempos. Often, but not always, minimalist arrangements. Galaxie 500 and American Music Club were the godfathers of the scene, but both usually played at more or less normal speed. Cortez the Killer by Neil Young is a significant ancestor. This episode starts with Blue Thunder - the shape of slow things to come.

I was in the audience for gigs by quite a few of these artists. Sparklehorse was so quiet I could only really hear people's conversations nearby. And because Mark Linkous appeared in a wheelchair, he was invisible to most of the audience. A gig you couldn't see or hear that was also really slow. Two days later I came down with a form of chronic fatigue that bugged me off and on for the next year. Happy memories!

I saw Codeine and you could tell they were coming to the end of the road. Playing in a London basement club to me and a handful of others, one of whom shouted his B-side request after each song.

But there was always Mogwai. And I saw them recently in a majestically powerful performance, and chuckled at their reverence for slow core and Slint in particular. You can't always tell where things will end up. Britpop was a musical dead end, in the end, while Slowcore lit a path forward in its own awkward, gloomy, unheralded way. I hope you enjoy the episode. As much as that's possible.

Tracklist:-

Blue thunder, Galaxie 500

Tom, Codeine

Immune, Low

Breadcrumb Trail, Slint

Mistress, Red House Painters 

Take me somewhere nice, Mogwai

A tribute to, The For Carnation

Tears are in your eyes, Yo La Tengo

I see a darkness, Bonne Prince Billy

Morning paper, Smog

It’s a wonderful life, Sparklehorse