Claps, Clicks & Whistles #17

Something pretty bloody wonderful to kick off your weekend.

The Pipettes seem to have ground to a halt, but the¬†three band members involved with their short fifteen minutes of fame¬†have moved on to other projects, with varying degrees of success: Rose Elinor Dougall is a solo artist but also performs in Mark Ronson’s band; Rebecca Stephens seems to flit between recording under the name Electric Blue and Projectionists, whilst Gwenno Saunders has toured playing¬†keyboards for some¬†chap called Elton John, whoever he is, and in 2014 released the simply stunning Welsh language album Y Dydd Olaf, which if you’ve never heard I can heartily recommend, even if, like me, you don’t understand a ruddy word she’s sing.

The Pipettes had a distinct look (predominantly polka dot skirts which would make Strawberry Switchblade green with envy) and some corking tunes, not least this, from 2006, their biggest – okay, their only – UK hit.¬†Given how simply loveable this is, it’s a real shame that their time¬†in the spotlight was criminally brief:


 The Pipettes РPull Shapes

If you’re heading out tonight, I heartily recommend that you incorporate this into your¬† getting ready routine.

More soon.


I Think I’m In L.U.V.

It’s not often I post new(ish) music here, but having got hold of a copy of Catholic Action’s “In¬† Memory Of” album, I simply had to share it with you.

Mostly, because I’m really surprised that, as far as I can see, none of my blogging peers seem to have picked up on them as yet, which is even more surprising given that Catholic Action are¬†from Glasgow, the spiritual home of the music blogger.

They caught my eye when reading a review of them which mentioned the album had been produced by Chris McCrory, who had worked with Breakfast Muff. Not a name that would ever have piqued my interest (other than for the smutty possibility of Muff gags) had a record by them not been nominated by Stevie from Charity Chic Music back on The Chain (remember that..?) #42 (where, of course, I exhausted all of the smutty possibilities of Muff gags), but it’s a single I really liked, so I figured I’d investigate this lot.

A quick search of YouTube (I’m so modern) led me to conclude they were worth investing in, and having given the album a couple of spins, I genuinely think I love them.

I’ve not quite worked out who they remind me of, all I can say is there’s a lot of indie influences in there (I think I hear Weezer on “Breakfast“) but¬†the only ones I’ve definitely nailed¬†so far are¬†Franz Ferdinand and Belle and Sebastian, which, given they all hail from the same area,¬†may just be lazy thinking on my part.

You can definitely hear the FF’s influence on this, their debut single and the album’s opening track¬†(NB – as usual, on the rare event of me posting new music, I’m not giving you an mp3. If you like this, go and buy it.). Give your ears a treat and give this a darn good listening to:

And, from 2016, and which stretches my assertion that their a new band to its knicker-elastic-twanging limit, here’s their eulogy to one Ms Ora:

See? Told you so. Chuffing ace.

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles

And so my Christmas break begins. No work till next Thursday, and today I’m travelling up to spend the next few days with my folks.

So, although they no longer live in the same village as I grew up, this seems appropriate:


Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home for the Holidays

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #16

Blimey, has it been over a month since I wrote one of these? Blame The Chain (which I think we can safely say is now a fortnightly occurrence, by the way).

So I’ll keep this brief.

I love The Go-Go’s. I’ve listened to this track several times, trying to work out if that noise – you’ll know it when you hear it – is a foot-stomp or a hand clap, or a combination of the two. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably several hand claps layered on to each other.

Have a listen for yourselves:


The Go-Go’s – Head Over Heels

That came out in 1984, shortly before the band split (for the first time), and comes from the Martin Rushent produced ‘Talk Show’ album. It’s by far the best thing on there.

But back in 1981, they released this, which definitely features some hand claps, and which is, without doubt, one of my favourite singles of all time (which you can tell, because I think this is probably the third time I’ve found an excuse to post it):


The Go-Go’s – Our Lips Are Sealed

Still sounds as great today as it did way back when.

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #15

I’ve been umming and ahhing for a while about whether to post this tune here or in my even more infrequent series on how to do a cover version.

See, as I’ve mentioned before, I think if you’re going to do a cover version, you may as well try and do something interesting with it, and that certainly applies to this cover version, so maybe it belongs over there.

But then, it’s so hot dang finger clicking good,¬†it belongs here too.

Aww, who cares? Here it is:


TV On The Radio – Mr Grieves

For the uninitiated, that’s a cover of a Pixies song. Not just any old song, mind. The song which contains the lyric which gave them the title of¬†their simply massive album “Doolittle”:


Pixies – Mr Grieves

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #14

A few months ago, I made a bad joke about featuring a record by whistler-in-chief Roger Whittaker on these pages, only to be rather taken aback by several requests to actually post something by him.

Well, there’s some more obvious songs by more obvious whistlers to post before I get to¬†Our Rog.

Like this lot for example:


Whistling Jack Smith – I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman

That song managed to reach the giddy heights of #5 in the UK charts back in 1967. The true identity of the actual Whistling Jack Smith has remained something of a mystery; the whistler here is believed to be John O’Neill, a trumpeter and singer with the Mike Sammes Singers, who are known to have performed on the recording.

However, just like when Black Box hired Katrin Quinol, a French Caribbean model, to become the face of their 1989 smasheroo “Ride on Time” rather then just admit they had sampled Loleatta Holloway’s¬†single “Love Sensation”, or like when that girl mimed at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing¬†Olympics, or every record that Milli Vanilli were ever involved in: when it came to performing on Top of the Pops, actor Coby Wells was used to mime the whistling, and later toured as the public face of Whistling Jack Smith.

Coby Wells’ real name was Billy Moeller, who was the brother of Tommy Moeller. You know Tommy Moeller, right? Lead vocalist, guitarist, and pianist¬†with Unit 4 + 2..? Yes, that Tommy Moeller.

Here’s their most famous moment:


Unit 4 + 2 – Concrete and Clay

Many of you will know that Dexys Midnight Runners front man Kevin Rowland¬†released an album of controversial cover versions which contained that song. Actually, it wasn’t so much the cover versions which were¬†controversial, more the covers of the album, “My Beauty” and the singles which were released from it:


Kevin Rowland – Concrete and Clay

(“Pssst! Kevin!! Kevin!! You didn’t tuck yourself in properly when you came out of the Gents!”)

So controversial was his choice of clothing, that the audience pelted him with bottles of…erm…liquid when he appeared on stage at the Reading Festival to perform tracks from the album¬†back in 1999. But they did the same to Meatloaf and Bonnie Tyler back in 1988, so he was really just carrying on a rock ‘n’ roll tradition.

And speaking of dubious cover versions, let it not be forgotten that “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” itself got worked over in 1977:


The Wurzels – Farmer Bill’s Cowman

And yes, the Quality Control desk is closed tonight.

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #13

Staying in the world of soundtracks again this week, and a movie I watched a couple of months ago on Netflix called “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore”. You can see right off what attracted me to it, can’t you?

Here’s the plot synopsis as it appears on IMDb:

“When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.”

“Burglarized” isn’t really a word we use over here in the UK. We prefer to use “burgled”. “Burglarized”¬†sounds like it’s a euphemism for something unpleasantly non-consensual, doesn’t it?

I should point out that “I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore” is a black comedy, and stars Melanie Lynsky (I spent the whole film trying to work out where I knew her from, and then found out afterwards she’s in Peter Jackson’s 1994 movie “Heavenly Creatures”, which I loved when it came out) and Elijah Woods, who has some kind of connection with Jackson too, apparently.

It’s a decent enough film – not great enough to have me rushing to my laptop to recommend it to you all, but good enough to while a couple of hours away watching.

Oh, and the soundtrack’s not bad too, and it did have me scurrying off to track down a song or two from it,¬†including this fine slice of doo-woppery:


Judy & The Affections – Dum, Dum, De Dip

Finding out information about Judy & The Affections has proved somewhat difficult; Judy (or Judi as she appears on some records) is Judy Placido, and I stumbled across a rather charming forum where the band were being discussed.

One contributor proffers:

“According to Sal at the record show, Judi is from St Clair Shores and may still live there. She only sang on the two records that he knew of”

…only to be corrected a few posts later with this:

“Actually, 4 records. Judi and the other group members opted to pursue boyfriends instead of singing careers. Except me, the youngest at 13-4, and too young for boys!!!! For me, being a member of the singing group was a way to go to places that I would be too young to get into. It was a legitimate night out. We recorded in 1963-4.”

That from¬†one Jo Placido. (And while we’re at it: put that in your pipe and smoke it,¬†Sal from The Record Show! And your show has a rubbish, all too literal, name!)

Similarly, someone posted this song on YouTube back in 2009, one of those things where they wanted to share the record and made a video made up of lots of images of 1950s/1960s life and culture to accompany it. In 2014, this appears in the Comments section:

“I am flattered that you used my song in your Youtube video. Love the pictures too.”

– Judith Placido

Which is all rather lovely, that members of a band who had less than their fifteen minutes of fame back in the day can find out, years later, that their records have been discovered by a whole new wave of music fans. Such is the beauty of the internet.

So Bloggers of the world take note: one day, somebody that you write about may just Google the old band they used to be in and be led to your blog….

Can I just say what exceptionally nice chaps I’m sure the individual members of Blue are really….?

More soon.