Wednesday, 31 December 2008

White Lies - From The Stars

With the album To Lose My Life only around the corner, White Lies have treated us to a New Year treat with a free album track, From The Stars. I've heard a couple of the other songs off the album other than the singles and I'm pleased to say they don't disappoint. I was worried they might sound a bit samey but this is something new from one of the most hyped new bands.

MP3: From The Stars - White Lies

Happy New Year - Tunes

Not sure this counts as a tune but as you count down to the New Year, why not do it to the sound of Big Ben?

MP3: Big Ben at midnight

and of course you then need a good sing-song (or a bad one in this case, Auld Lang Syne kicks in at the end)

MP3: What Are You Doing New Years Eve? - Mary Margaret O'Hara

Happy New Year

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

I Love De Cake, CAKE, CAKE, CAKE! My favourite things!

I've mentioned before how much I like adverts and a recent, decent is the Skoda advert where they make a car out of cake. Don't go to the youtube site and read the comments about what a waste of food it is. What did they want them to do with it? Ship it to Africa? See further down for the "baking of" and the song sung by Lorrie Morgan (I think the one on the advert is by Julie Andrews but don't hold me to that).

Try the "baking of"

MP3: My Favorite Things - Lorrie Morgan

Monday, 29 December 2008

This Isn't Just Any Ordinary Advert...

Ever wondered what track Marks and Spencer use for their adverts? If you're one of the many (cough) people who read this outside the UK then probably not but for those of you a bit more local here it is. I stumbled across it the other day when I was looking through my music collection to make my Dad a compilation CD.

MP3: Albatross - Fleetwood Mac

Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Pigeon Detectives: Lets Go Out Tonight

A great freebie landed in my inbox at Christmas, "It was previouslyonly available as a vinyl b-side to Everybody Wants Me. The track was recorded during the sessions for Emergency at MonnowValley studios with Stephen Street.".

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Ting Tings - Shut Up And Let It Snow

Following on from Glasvegas, a few days back the Ting Tings were giving away Shut Up and Let It Snow via Radio 1. It's written by Dave Vitty (Comedy Dave) who is on the Chris Moyles Show hence the refence to hitting Chris with a snow ball, although that was dropped in by the Ting Tings themselves.

MP3: Shut Up and Let It Snow - The Ting Tings

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Glasvegas - Stay Another Day

Glasvegas have already released a bonus Christmas CD to accompany their album and now they've covered East 17 with their version Stay Another Day. Radio 1 are giving it away for free.

MP3: Stay Another Day - Glasvegas

Monday, 22 December 2008

Indie Christmas - all I want is a new Low

Last year I spent ages searching other people's blogs for a Christmas song I hadn't heard before that I could add to one of my Chritsmas compilations. Well top of the tree had to be Just Like Christmas by Low. In fact I don't think it will be long before it appears in a Christmas ad in the UK. Good work Low whoever you are. If anyone has any tips for other good indie Christmas tracks let me know.

MP3: Just Like Christmas - Low

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas On YouTube: An Irn Bru Christmas

Irn Bru have made many excellent adverts over the years and this is no exception. It's Irn Bru's take on the Snowman, enjoy. Oh for those from other countries who don't have it, Barr's Irn Bru is made in Scotland from girders.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Christmas On YouTube: Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear

This is the best YouTube version I could find of this song that didn't scare me with pictures of men in women's underwear. This is a classic by Bob Rivers that I remember Simon Mayo playing every Christmas. The best Christmas parody? I think so.

MP3: Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear - Bob Rivers

Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas On YouTube: Dominic The Donkey

Why this makes me and everyone in our print room at work laugh I don't know but it does. The question you should be asking yourself is Why does Santa need a donkey? because the reindeer cannot climb the hills of Italy. Obviously.

MP3: Dominic The Donkey

Christmas Soundtrack: The Santa Clause

Well I watched The Santa Clause last night (again). I think it's an underrated Christmas film. If you've not seen it I definitely recommend it, even if it does steel most of its soundtrack off Home Alone. In fact the song posted below is taken from the Home Alone soundtrack as I couldn't be bothered to find The Santa Cause version.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Christmas Soundtrack: Love Actually

I feel I have to tell you all how much I dislike Keira Knightley, I'm sure it's quite irrational but I can't stand the woman. I think it's partly her voice, partly her smile and also that she's not a proper woman. I'd take the curvy Martine McCutcheon over her any day, not that I'd get the chance. Anyway, I do like Love Actually, I know it's a girly film but at Christmas it has the right mix of humur and feel good fact that's needed on these cold nights.

Bill Nighy is a lucky man, he has the two best lines of the film. One when he's being interviewed on radio about Britany Spears and one when he's on TV with Ant or Deck. I would quote them here but it's Bill Nighy's timing that makes them so great.

Incidentally I read in Richard Smith's book, You Can Get Arrested For That, that the American's love us Brit's saying "actually" so if you want to be like Colin in the film and pull a fit American gal then head for the states and say actually a lot.

MP3: Christmas Is All Around - Billy Mack

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas Soundtrack: Scrooged

I can never decide which is my favourite Christmas film, sometimes it's Elf and a lot of the time it's Scrooged. Bill Murray is great in it and, as all good Christmas films should, it gives you a warm glow inside at the end.

MP3: Put A Little Love In Your Heart - Annie Lennox & Al Green

The above link doesn't seem to be working at the moment, if you've searched high and low for the song let me know and I'll send it you.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Soundtrack: Home Alone

The king of the '80s, John Hughes, starts the '90s with a bang with this great, comic adventure. It includes everything a kid dreams about when he's little, defending your house, making battle plans, tree houses, eating what you want and, erm, using aftershave.

This track is the main theme song that runs throughout the film, composed by the great composer John Williams (it must have been Hans Zimmer's turn to have the week off).

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas Soundtrack - About A Boy (?!)

OK, some of you may have been behind me when I claimed that Gremlins is a Christmas films, some of you may even be behind me if I said Die Hard was a Christmas film (it is set at Christmas after all) however how many of you consider About A Boy a Christmas film? None of you? Good. I don't either but the soundtrack does have an original Christmas song on it. Let me explain, the film is based around Hugh Grant's charachter who does nothing all day as he lives off the proceeds from his Dad's Christmas song, Donna & Blitzen. Don't bother correcting me if I've got those facts wrong, it's really not worth it. Anyway, the song is actually written by Badly Drawn Boy not Hugh's father, well unless BDB is actually his father, maybe that's why he goes under a pseudonym! Wow, a What's Wrong With the Mainstream exclusive! BDB is Hugh Grant's Dad! Cool.

MP3: Donna & Blitzen - Badly Drawn Boy

Oh and the BBC and ITV obviously agree with me. ITV2 had the film on the other day and BBC are using the Badly Drawn Boy track as their Christmas theme.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Christmas Soundtrack - Gremlins

Gremlins IS a Christmas film, it's taken me a few years to convince my wife but it is definitely a Christmas film. It has a brilliant opening track, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love. It's taken from the excellent A Christmas Gift For You by Phil Spector and it's definitely worth buying if you spot it, you can pick it up from most good (and some bad) retailers for about £5. It includes probably the best version of Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes, oh and don't be fooled by iTunes their "Spectorettes" are nothing to do with the original version.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Christmas Soundtrack - Elf

If there is one thing we love in our house it's Christmas. As soon as December 1st arrives we're straight out to get our real tree and it's up with the decorations. Then it's weekends full of Christmas shopping with family as they all visit to enjoy our Christmas wonderland. We even plan out our choice of films and high on the list is always Elf. It is such as light hearted, wonderful Christmas film with my favourite line "I like smiling, smiling's my favourite"

This track is taken from the scene where he is hit by a taxi, sorry if I've spoiled the film for you if you've not seen it before. A real jingle bells, piano tinkling version of the classic.

MP3: Sleigh Ride - Ferrante and Teicher

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bristol Scene: Dr Meaker

What happens if you blend Massive Attack’s progressive beats with Amy Winehouse’s soulful sounds?
You’d get latest musical creation coming out of Bristol, Dr Meaker

Well that's what there press release says, I feel Dr Meaker has more of a reggae influence than anything else but, thanks to their promoters you should be able to listen to his music on the player below.

How do I know Dr Meaker? Well I don't, I know the gentleman who deals with promotion via texts and emails.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Bristol Scene: ElektroOrganik

Elektroorganik are Dave Fellows (left) and Dean Gardner (right) and they produce soulful, funky, house music (my description not theirs). Again, not the kind of music that gets great coverage on my blog. They've recently kitted out their own studio and are going from strength to strength.

"Over the past year they’ve had releases on Queep, Double Shock Recordings and their latest track "Revolutions" on Duffnote, featuring a host of soulful remixes. "Revolutions" is the 4th ElektroOrganik release to feature the musical talents of Christian Fontana, a singer/songwriter from London who regularly teams up with the boys to deliver their unique sound. Revolutions also appears on Ministry of Sound’s Stereo Sushi Volume 11 compilation. Recognition of their work has been proved through remixes by the likes of Richard Earnshaw, Danny Jones, Roberto De Carlo, MIAR, Tim Richards and Tom Belton." - taken from their MySpace site.

How do I know ElektroOrganik? I'm friends with Dean through a friend of my wife's.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bristol Scene: Chikinki

As the bands get better the link between myself and them becomes more tenuous but more of that later. Chikinki are a great band who are currently holed up in Germany where I believe they are having some success. They are a quality guitar band with an electronic mix, well that's the best way I can describe them anyway. I saw them play in Bristol a few years back and their extrovert front man is at sharp contrast to his shy guitarist but it makes for a great mix. I definitely recommend Assassinator 13 which is off their debut album, Lick Your Ticket which is a lyric from that song. Below is an acoustic version of Ether Radio, also from their first album, which was used on a Saab advert.
How do I know Chikinki? Well I don't directly, my wife's boss is the brother of the guitarist Ed. So we buy their singles and albums to support them but to be honest that's not a hardship as they're a great band - even the guy in Virgin (as it was then) was complimenting my choice when I bought the first album.

Visit their web site at or their Myspace site

Monday, 8 December 2008

Bristol Scene: Call The Doctor

Following on from Laid Blak, we now have Call The Doctor. A very new, unsigned band who I have just managed to get my mits on a few of their demos. The band includes former front man for The Vigin Stages, Rob Hallworth who is now concentrating more on writing and only adds backing vocals and guitar to lead singer Rachel Aberhart. Rachel's vocals are really strong and judging by the pictures she looks a great lead singer.

Sadly I can't bring you a picture of the band as a whole but these pics are taken from their MySpace site. Below is a demo from the band and also a demo from The Virgin Stages limited edition demo CD. They played at The Louisiana don't you know. Visit Call The Doctor's MySpace site.

MP3: 4 Leafed Clover (demo) - Call The Doctor.

MP3: To Never Know - The Virgin Stages

How do I know Call The Doctor? My wife is a former house mate of Rob's (and two of the other band members of The Virgin Stages).

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Bristol Scene: Laid Blak

When reading other people's blogs I get a bit envious, there's music journalists, people setting up labels and friends of bands. I'm just a music fan writing about music I like / have heard. Or am I? When I started to think about it I know more people involved with making music than I originally thought. Soooo I thought I'd write about the people I do know and point you in their direction.

Laid Blak

"Laid Blak takes it's inspiration from city street life. From people, from history, from the good and bad in everyone, from humour, from heavy weight musicians through the years, from the blak and the white, from harmony and from the fight.

Whether your thin or fat or white or black, don't worry about that, just let your body rock nonstop." (Joe Peng - Lead Vocalist)

"Laid Blak represent 'good vibes' street music. The central influences come from Reggae, from RnB, from Hip Hop and Soul. The music has been described as 'Street Soul'. It is Bristol Music, where JA meets UK. As a group of musicians and vocalists we have been brought up on Marley, Studio One, Stevie Wonder, Carnival Music, Marvin Gaye, Gospel and church we just mash it all up and see what comes out......" - take from their MySpace site.

As you can read above their music isn't the usual kind of music that appears on this blog but I recommend trying the track below, it's a two minute taster, if you like it they're on iTunes.

MP3: Red (sampler) - Laid Blak

Or get a full length free mashup by DJ Bunjy


How do I know them? I play football with Bar, their guitarist, or as I know him, the Maradona of the Downs.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Best of '08: Best Album Goes To...

... The Courteeners - St. Jude

Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to find out that my favourite album of 2008 is The Courteeners' St. Jude album. So much music gets over hyped on the internet and when you only have a few songs to go on it is difficult to know whether the album will be any good when it finally comes out. This album didn't disappoint, in fact I had to take it out of my car to stop me over playing it.

The album starts off strongly and doesn't stop. The album's upbeat, has guts and puts you in a good mood when you listen to it. Opening on Aftershow you can't help but shouting "thin" as Liam describes his ex's new bloke as "only average looking and a little bit too... THIN".

Then there is a run of three absolutely fantastic songs, Cavorting, Bide Your Time and What Took You So Long? Over the next eight songs the band take you through relationships with lovers, music and so called friends. A great modern day album, if you haven't bought it yet I definitely recommend you do.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Best of '08: Best Freebie - The Charlatans

By far and away the best freebie of '08 has to be The Charlatans "You Cross My Path" album. It can be risky giving away hours of work, thousands of pounds spent in the recording studio and blood, sweat and tears no doubt. However it has made me a fan again of The Charlatans and don't feel too sorry for them, they released a BBC sessions album shortly after to take advantage of any new fans as well as those ever so loyal fans. The album is no longer available free on XFM's web site I am told so if you've not got it yet I recommend buying it.

I've posted one song from this album already (This Is The End), I'm not sure which is my favourite but Bad Days always sticks in my head after I've listened to it.

MP3: Bad Days - The Charlatans

I would say the only freebie that can even come close is White Lies giving away Unfinished Business. Such a good track to give away, it certainly worked with me, I can't wait for the album.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Best of '08: Most Played Album - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) by Cloud Cult

I was first made aware of Cloud Cult back in February by All Things Go and slowly over time I grew to like the song Zack had posted. I then searched out a few other songs by Cloud Cult and then in September, yes it took that long, I bought the album. My wife and I haven't stopped listening to it since. It is such a beautiful album, it is such a shame that their music is the reflection of tragedy. The lead singer and partner lost their child back in 2002 and speak of their grief in their songs. This, the final song on the album is written as if it is their son saying goodbye (that's my interpretation). A friend of mine recently lost his son and it always makes me think of him and hope he's OK. Sorry if that's just depressed everyone.

MP3: Love You All - Cloud Cult

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Best of '08: Best Parody - Somerset Boy

My Best of '08 continues with my favourite parody of '08. Now you have to remember that for the past four and half years I have been working in Somerset and it's unique, in a good way. Most of the money is from the land and so you get this real mix of small town people and farmers. The local boy racers drive Landrover Defenders and Bristol (45 miles from Taunton) is considered a real day out. This parody by Chris Moyles and Dave Vitty hits it right on the head.

Thanks again to for this.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Best of '08: Live Band - The Courteeners

This is the first of my "Best of '08" tracks that I hope to drag out for several posts. Instead of listing a whole load of tracks or albums that are my favourites of '08 I thought I'd pick categories. First up is the Live Band of '08.
For me there has to be only one, I've seen the Courteeners twice and they were fantastic both times. The first time I saw them on the Thekla we had to move back from the front as the bass was making my wife sick, always a good sign! The second time I saw them at Bier Keller in Bristol and I took two friends who hadn't heard of them before. They came out saying what an amazing gig it was and immediately purchased the album so it's not just me.
I thought I'd already posted this track but it was only my last playlist before I started What's Wrong With The Mainstream. This is What Took You So Long? like at the Thekla and at the end they go in to Tomorrow by James, another favourite of mine.
If you are a fan of The Courteeners I can recommend Snorting and Cavorting forum run by Darren. Thanks Darren.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Missing Link - THE ANSWER!

For the past 6 days I have been posting songs with a common link but what was it? If you don't want to know the answer look away now! The answer is that all the songs were released as a single but not on an album/LP. Some of the songs were (disgracefully) shoehorned on to an album already out and yes, some of them were released as an EP but it was only supposed to be a bit of fun, wasn't it?

If you want to make a playlist out of these songs you could also add Breathe (a little deeper) by Blamless (on my Cooling Towers playlist) and Acrylic by The Courteeners although as that track was on the album either as a secret track or on a second CD I wasn't sure if it counted. Also didn't the Zutons release an album and then add a track afterwards? I seem to remember Schonberg getting it as a Christmas present from a relative and it had the new cover but the old CD inside...