Songs They Never Play On The Radio

Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Arthur Russell

Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Arthur Russell

It’s questionable now that you would in actuality never hear this Arthur Russell song on the radio. Not so long ago many an eyebrow would have been raised at the notion that you might, but in the time since I first knowingly heard him on 2008’s superlative Optimo (Espacio) mix Sleepwalk (never mind his death in 1992) his popularity seems to have grown exponentially. The song on the Optimo mix was ‘This Is How We Walk On The Moon’, and even on that strange, nocturnal, hypnagogic record (a record that I would happily call one of my favourites) it stood out as particularly otherworldly

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Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Dadamah

Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Dadamah

...aaaaand we’re back. And with the least conventional Songs They Never Play on the Radio yet, at that. Like many bands from the NZ ‘scene’ teetering on the fringes of the famous (yet still inadequately documented) Flying Nun, there isn’t much information on Dadamah, even in the sometimes seemingly comprehensive expanse of the internet. 

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Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Fall of Saigon

Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Fall of Saigon

So, after a bit of a break, another Song They Never Play on the Radio. This may be the most obscure entry yet, although there is some competition - a band formed in Montpellier that only released one EP on Atem in 1983 (although further tracks appeared on a CD compilation in 2011). Only six songs long, Untitled (as it's titled, or, er, not) is a fleeting but absorbing listen. 

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Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Magazine

Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Magazine

Over the last couple of years, Magazine’s debut Real Life has gradually crept from the fringes of my consciousness to become one of my favourite albums. I’ve owned it for three or four years (or maybe even longer) but other than ever-brilliant Shot By Both Sides, early listens failed to pierce my heart, mind or sou

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Songs They Never Play on the Radio: The Happy Family

In 1981, a young Nicholas Currie handed a home-recorded demo cassette to Malcolm Ross at what would transpire to be Josef K's final Edinburgh gig. Ross was impressed enough to put a band together with Currie including Davy Weddell from Ross's former group. Ronnie Torrance, also late of Josef K, would eventually join on drums and so, although Ross left to join Orange Juice prior to any official recordings, comparisons to the Postcard band were and are inevitable. Their solitary album The Man on Your Street is a bit of a lost classic and the song above marks the point where the album really takes off. There's no denying the scratch and shuffle of Josef K is present, but there's a brightness of tone that renders The Happy Family somewhat less gloomy, despite a rather grand 'plot' centring around the son of an evangelical detergent salesman and the daughter of a fascist dictator set in Switzerland and the north of Italy. It wasn't to last long in any case and the band would split up shortly after 'in a spirit of apathy and aversion to the force of habit'.

Currie recommenced his university studies and would later transform into Momus. He will release a second collaborative album with former Orange Juice bass player David McClymont in the next few weeks and will also perform at Neu Reekie at Summerhall on 28 February.

Songs They Never Play on the Radio (broadcast #2): 'Love In a Guillotine' - The Delmontes

Formed in Edinburgh in 1979, The Delmontes only released two singles through Rational Records before splitting up three years later. The band boasted a sound that consciously  looked at the past (Nuggets-style garage rock, 60s psychedelia) and yet also was rooted in the more restrained minimalism of some of their contemporaries (The Teardrop Explodes, Young Marble Giants),  The songs are surprisingly infectious; vocalist Julie Hepburn's lyrics are darkly intelligent. The Delmontes were briefly signed to WEA before they disbanded - they never got their due. Drummer Bernice Simpson went on to join The Pastels.                                                                                                                                         

Fortunately, the ever- wonderful LTM has managed to put together a comprehensive compilation, Carousel, which contains many gems like Love In Guillotine, Tous Le Soirs and Don't Cry Your Tears. Go buy. Now.

 

Songs They Never Play on the Radio (broadcast #1): ‘Red Planes (’81 Demo)’ – Weekend

So, a new regular Blasted feature for the New Year. As you might gather from the (possibly occasionally inaccurate) name, we will be endeavouring to bring you obscure (or at least obscure versions) of songs that we stumble across. The name of course comes from James Young’s rather excellent snapshot of six years in the life of the ever-inimitable chanteuse Nico.

 

The first pick isn’t entirely a coincidence. Firstly, because it was a track discovered on the week that we conceived of this new feature, and secondly because it bears a passing resemblance to what could’ve been a lost (possibly slightly more upbeat) outtake from one of Christa Päffgen’s John Cale-produced albums.

 

The song we’ve chosen for this inaugural bulletin is by Welsh band Weekend. No, not that Weekend, the other one. Fronted by former Young Marble Giants singer Alison Statton, Weekend were a shinier affair than the minimalist, monochromatic and mesmerising abstractions of YMGs and definitely weren’t as special or, as…well…good. Not by a long chalk. Presumably recorded in the direct aftermath of Statton’s former band’s breakup, this is a strange piece of music, swirls of ambient strings hypnotising over a minimal and (actually very YMGs-like) electronic beat, Statton’s vocals deeper than normal and bordering on Nico-esque.

 

Credit for our discovery has to go to the continually intriguing Mr Kiran Sande of Blackest Ever Black, one of the most consistently interesting and exciting record labels in the world. His excellent mix (of which there are many) in which we found this song was Dream Theory in Haltemprice