Music Challenge: Day 30/2016

A song I’ve heard from someone else, that I like


It seems appropriate to finish this blogathon with a tribute to someone who brought some musical richness in to my life.

So there’s this girl.

She’s a talented muso.


Currently lives in the US.

She has been in a bunch of bands, including, but not limited to, 16 Millimetre, and the quite brilliant The Good China.

Before she recently moved to the US, she used to do an annual mixtape (mixCD to be more accurate) which she would send to her friends around the world.

Each mixCD contained slightly left-field, quirky, indie music.

The 2007 mixCD contains this track.

Which I love.

It’s slightly left-field, quirky, indie…

And quite brilliant.

This is Soko.

And every time I hear this track, I thank that Australian girl.

Music Challenge: Day 28/2016

My favourite song from the last decade


I had a few possibles lined up for this one, but then my iPod threw me a curve.

A few nights ago we did a gig.

We went to a gig, not took part in a gig.

And then today, while I was reading some new templates (with my iPod on shuffle), this track popped up.

So yeah, today, at around 5.15pm, this is my favourite song from the last decade.

And that gig?

It was this band!

And they were aces!

Music Challenge: Day 27/2016

A song to Listen to at the End of a Tough Day


Oh dude.

I’ve had a tough tough, rough, lumpy and bumpy day.

Not the commute part (either end), because I’m lucky to have a brand spanking new car to do the trip in, and I’m still learning how to use all the onboard toys.

No, not because of the commutage.

It was the actual day itself.

There was the sleepless bit around 2.45am.

There were the hurt words and acrimoniousness (yep, that’s a proper word and everything) that just fall between two people who have had a seriously painful discussion, hurt words that arrived before getting in to bed and went right through to leaving the house.

Then there was the actual day at work itself.

It was a full-on day of the busy.

And then home, where I’ve been rendering and re-rendering a film I’ve edited, in to a variety of video formats; looking for the right screen resolution for the screen that it will be featured on tomorrow evening.

And, to sprinkle a little edgy toughness on top, it’s been a Monday.

With all the extra tiredness and worn-outness that a typical Monday brings, after a weekend of being a different kind of busy.

I just want to pull on my favourite ear-muff headphones, and shut the world out, and lose myself in a visually-negative world, where the warm embrace of music wraps me up, and tells me that everything is going to be alright in a few minutes.

Einar Stray and the track Arrows. That does this, on a day like today.

And The Boxer by Editors.

But this evening’s ‘wash away the day’ goodness starts with The National and Fake Empire.

I hope you had a good day.

Music Challenge: Day 26/2016

A song I would give to my offspring


There are so many possibilities, for this one.

But after a lot of mental umming and ahing, and not getting much inspiration from anything around me (because the title is a broad brushstroke), there was, really, only one choice.

I have spent so much of my time in darkened rooms, with headphones turned up so loud, that in the quiet sections, the needle/vinyl hiss could be plainly heard.

So much time listening to an album that changed the musical game.

So much time listening to this one track.

Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’ll admit.

But it wasn’t just a game-changer for the musical world, it was a game-changer for my world.

Music Challenge: Day 25/2016

A song from my childhood


A lot to choose from.

And yet an easy choice.

Like many of my generation, it all used to be about Thursday night.

Not so much for the comedy sets, the bad miming, the substance-fuelled over-acting, the bad punning from the DJs, or the hilariously out-of-step-with-the-youth dancing from Pam’s People.

Top of the Pops was, for me, about the sounds.

Bands that I would talk to my mates about the next day, in school.

I was learning to play brass at the time, so anything with a good brass riff was immediately something I would fasten my ears on.

And one day, this happened:

Music Challenge: Day 24/2016

A song that I wish I could play on an instrument


I had this.

In the bin. Back of the net. Over the moon. Sick as a parrot.

I had this track from the first time I set eyes on this list.

And then, this morning, I had a butcher’s look at Dave’s entry for today and I saw my own choice on his list.

Well yes, that’s really excellent, and we should celebrate that two great minds really do think alike, and all that.

But how dare he?

How very dare he?

Classical Gas by Mason Williams is mine!

Mine I tell you, all mine!

Except it isn’t, obv.

It’s ours.

It belongs to everyone, because it is a truly exceptional piece of music and musicianship.

But, exceptional though it is, if you listen to it here (or over at Dave’s place) you won’t want to listen to it again over there (or over here), obv.

So I went gunning around the inside of my head for another piece that I wished I could play.

The immediate and obvious contender was Dire Straits, Private Investigation, but I’ve already listed that track in another category.

So what about another piece of brilliant fretwork from Mark Knopfler? The live version of Going Home/Local Hero?

Oh, yes, how I wish I could play that!

But then there’s the JS Bach-inspired Toccata by Al Marconi to consider?

Well, my friend, I’ve been mulling these two track over all day, and all evening.

And I was still unable to choose between them.

So I flipped a coin (in my head).

And it came down tails.

(by the way, Bill Forsyth’s film Local Hero is a lovely watch. If you haven’t seen it, you really should, no surprise the film won him a very deserved BAFTA)

But that Al Marconi track is such a tight third place, it’s almost joint second.

Music Challenge: Day 23/2016

A song that I can play on an instrument


I can play (really badly) the rhythm guitar parts of most of Pink Floyd’s back-catalogue.

I generally lack the creative imagination to do my own thing with the work of Wright, Waters, Gilmour, and Mason.

Besides, why would I want to muck about with something that’s too good to muck about with?

But there is a song that I can play; a song that I put my own distinctive style on.

I play it on my Gibson SG.

I run the guitar through my Thunderbird amp, where I introduce some reverb, some echo, and quite a lot of co-channel distortion.

I slow the tempo – keeping it in 4/4 time, but slowing the tempo by almost 1/3rd.

Fuzzed up, slowed down, and with a huge amount of reverb and quite a lot of distortion, my version of ‘Knights In White Satin’ is fun to play (even if it isn’t quite as much fun for anyone else to listen to).

Here’s the original. Use your imagination.

Music Challenge: Day 22/2016

A song that makes me laugh


Yeah, I got one, but it wasn’t intended as a smileathon record.

In the early summer of 2011, a Belgian-Australian singer-songwriter called Gotye released an unremarkable composition called Somebody That I Used to Know.

The song took itself far too seriously, but it was adequately performed by Gotye, and exceedingly amusingly accompanied by an above-average backing singer called Kimbra.

I heard it a few times throughout that summer, but quickly went off the self-involved lyrics.

And then one day a cover version/remix dropped into my inbox.

The first time I pressed the play button I knew I had the antidote to the tediously average original.

Right from the massively overblown drum’n’bass riffs ripping thgrough the over-edited post-production, I couldn’t stop giggling like a child.

As unmemorable and self-obsessed as the original is, this version is the ultimate parody.

The wheels start coming off at 41s but hold out for the giggles at 1m25s and the wonderfully amusing drop at 1m52s.

Music Challenge: Day 21/2016

A song that I want played at my funeral


Wow, this is easy.

We (Sam and I) actually once discussed, and made a mental list, of what we’d like played at our funerals.

I’ve changed my mind about eighteen times since.

There are so many, and they range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

And I have a taste for the ridiculous.

The walk-in would probably be the Test Match Special theme, just as it was for my mate, fellow motorcyclist and former colleague Grant Burke.

There would have to be something beautifully (and typically) anthemic from Embrace, such as I Can’t Come Down. Or One Last Lovesong by The Beautiful South.

But my overwhelming desire is to imagine the few people who would turn up to my funeral, singing, so quietly, along with this cover version:

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by Noel Gallagher