BEAT CITY 62 – Shiva Is A Punk Rocker (Sleeve Notes)

Download Beat City 62 here


Nervous Twitch’s sound is a heady mix of punk from the 70s, Britpop from the 90s and the girl group sound of the 60s.

Not quite sure if this is about the former La’s bassist and Cast frontman John Power

You can pre-order the new album here

This track “Somebody Else” was a single for the band in 2014 – definite 60s girl group sound to this, kind of if the Shangri-Las had been allowed to let rip and make the records they secretly wanted to, with fuzzed up guitars.

WHITE REAPER “I Don’t Think She Cares”

Punky records with a good organ line or two will always get a hearing on Beat City!

From the album White Reaper Does It Again which came out on Polyvinyl Records last year.

Here’s the vid to another track from the album “Make Me Wanna Die” which features Death, who has a Union Jack on his bedroom wall.

Typical bloody Americans, the baddie ALWAYS has to be British.

BABYFATHER “Meditation”

This is a new track from Babyfather, one of the aliases of Dean Blunt. Co-produced with Arca this is Meditation.

Dean Blunt has a history of unconventional release methods, from premiering his music on an illegal Russian torrent sites to Ciroc Boyz, his book of receipts.

The latest movement from the enigmatic artist’s camp is no different: Blunt is selling a toy Mini Cooper on eBay, branded with the Foxtons logo and with some weed packed in the back for good measure.

It’ll cost you £250, and tucked away in the photos is an advert for Cubitt, an artist-led organisation that Blunt is involved in.

WRAY “Shiva”

From the brand new album “Hypatia” out this week that was Wray with “Shiva”.

There’s elements of shoegaze in there but also a refreshingly hard-edged garagey sound.

They have some live dates coming up throughout the U S of A, as well as a showcase at the prestigious South By South West festerval in Austin Texas later in the year.

They played a gig recently with a symphony orchestra – bands usually wait until four albums in to do this but it seems to have been a triumph.

LIZZO “Humanize”

Lizzo with one of the more laid back tracks from her excellent album “Big GRRRRL Small World”.

From her debut album “Lizzobangers” this is Bus Passes & Happy Meals.

THE CORAL “Chasing The Tail Of A Dream”

2016 sees the welcome return of The Coral after getting the solo albums and side projects out of the way with their first new album since 2010’s Butterfly House. The album is called Distance Between and the first track from it to be is Chasing The Tail Of A Dream.

Sounding like it would be very much at home on Beat City’s ‘older sister’ show ‘Retro Beat 66’

I say “sister show” but its the disreputable kind of older sister who drinks a bit too much and is often seen in the company of unsuitable men.

LAURA MVULA “Overcome”

Two and a half years after her breakthrough album “Sing To The Moon” we’ve got some new music from Laura Mvula.

While she’s been “between albums”, among other things she’s made an excellent programme for BBC 4 “Nina Simone and Me” which I think may have fallen off the iPlayer now but you can watch on Youtube.

ALLUSONDRUGS “Magic College”

Allusondrugs with a single from last year called Magic College.

The band are heading out on their biggest tour to date – the Scuzz UK Throwdown Tour, 16 dates co-headlining with a couple of other excellent punk bands Press To Meco and Max Raptor.

You can see them in Birmingham,Glasgow,Aberdeen,Dundee,Carlisle,Edinburgh,Newcastle,Manchester Deaf Instutite, Derby, Tunbridge Wells forum (as far as I know the only venue on the toilet circuit that is actually a converted public toilet – true story) Milton Keynes, Norwich, Southampton Joiners (blimey I’ve started so I’ll finish), Bath,Cardiff and finishing at the Borderline in London, so no excuses for not getting along if you can – support great live music.

Full list of venues and dates


In The Grass’ is the first release from North/West London born artist Connie Constance.

In 2015 a friend introduced Connie to UK musician Blue Daisy, their friendship was instant and Blue swiftly became her producer and mentor.

Together they set about carving a uniquely tripped-out sound.

At just 20 years of age, Connie’s aura surpasses the time she’s been on this planet.

She wanted to create music for her generation that breathes escapism from the cuts and bruises of young British life, penning lyrics on buses and trains. Her style owes as much to Pete Doherty’s old school off key dialogue as Erykah Badu’s freestyle soul.

You can get the EP on Bandcamp as well as the track featured in the show “Answer” which came out at the back end of 2015.

BEAR’S DEN “Agape”

Sal’s first Indietastic Classic selection for this year is from Bear’s Den’s 2014 “Islands” album.

Also from the album is the tragically beautiful “Elysium”.

SEA PINKS “I Don’t Feel Like Giving In”

The opening track from Sea Pinks’ album Soft Days

You can get the album from bandcamp, which I’d recommend – its a superb grower of a record.


As far as final hits in yer lifetime go, Elvis Presley had Way Down, John Lennon had Imagine and Johnny Cash had Hurt. I’d say Bowie wins by a canter with that one.

Among the tributes to Bowie – and I’m certain there will be plenty more to come – Bruce Springsteen played “Rebel Rebel” in Pittsburgh on the first night of his 2016 tour.

Bruce messes up the introductory riff big time but so what? Heart’s in the right place!


Also known as “Untitled 2” this track was premiered by Kendrick on the Jimmy Fallon chat show a week or so ago.

Also, Kendrick put this video out on New Year’s Eve – entitled “God Is Gangsta” (and ain’t THAT the truth!) it mixes tracks from the “To Pimp A Butterfly” album which, by the way, everyone should own.


The Black Feathers are an award winning duo from Gloucestershire in England.

The perfectly paired voices of Sian Chandler and Ray Hughes intertwine effortlessly to create a genre-defying sound, combining elements of folk, roots, americana, and southern rock. The duo have been touring all over the UK for the past 2 years, winning over new fans of all ages everywhere they go.

This is the loved-up video for “Strangers We Meet” from their 2014 EP.

We’ll be doing a one-off David Bowie special so look out for that but the next show proper will be available to download or stream from next Sunday and will feature among others Max Raptor, Mechanimal, Hinds and (fingers crossed) Fat White Family.

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Thank you. Come Again.

BEAT CITY 61 “feat. David Cameron” – SLEEVE NOTES

Listen or download the first Beat City show of 2016 here

MEILYR JONES “How To Recognise A Work Of Art” (from the forthcoming album “2013”)

Meilyr Jones is a pretty unique talent. He formed Radio Luxembourg while still at school, that band morphing into the Race Horses. Collaborations include Gruff Rhys, Stealing Sheep and Euros Childs.

But frankly all of that, fine though it is, pales into insignificance next to his solo work. “How To Recognise A Work Of Art” hits you firmly in the sonic solar plexus with its Motown beat set behind those oddly ethereal vocals.

Check out his recent session for Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music before it disappears from the site – as well as a great version of “Work Of Art” it also includes “Strange Emotional” and “Featured Artist”, both from the new album, confusingly titled “2013” since that’s when the songs were written.

HINDS “Warts” (from the album “Leave Me Alone”)

I’m scratching my head to think of too many Spanish bands that have made any sort of a splash in the English-speaking indie world.

Hinds hail from Madrid. They’ve gained attention over the last couple of years for their carefree, jangly guitar sound and their infectiously upbeat live shows.

Their debut album “Leave Me Alone”, however, shows a more multifaceted music – there’s a more downbeat approach to songs like “Warts” and the last single “Garden” which to my mind is a smart move – you don’t want to be TOO cheerful to sell records to indie / emo kids.

From the accompanying press release :

“These songs try to represent the 12 faces of love we’ve experienced.“

“It’s funny ’cause we thought this album would be all party and cheerfulness, but – SURPRISE – it’s not!!!!! haha. Feelings are more balanced, like in life. So suddenly we had a more sober – or even sad – album than we expected. Please don’t think we’ve turned into depressive people or something, we’ve always been humans, it’s just we’re now showing it to you.”

Fair enough, I’d say.

NOVELIST “Street Politician”

Kojo Kankam, aka Novelist, co-founded The Square grime crew (whose members have appeared on the Beat City podcast before) but left in late 2015 to push on with his solo career.
Artistically this looks like a very smart move indeed. December saw the release of the “David Cameron riddim” (lost in the pre-Xmas rush, a theme throughout these sleeve notes incidentally!)

and now Novelist has dropped the absolute killer track “Street Politician”, which actually samples our dear leader Mr Cam.

The best thing I’ve heard all year by some distance – why aren’t more people making records like this? It deserve to be a massive hit but I can’t see it getting too much airplay despite not having any bad words on it.

(see the final entry in the show for a further example of protest in current music, also featuring David Cameron)

SUMMER TWINS “Ouija” (from the album “Limbo”)

Summer Twins are sisters Chelsea (guitar, vocals) and Justine Brown (drums, vocals). They write dreamy rock ‘n roll songs with a touch of California sun. Born and raised in Riverside, Ca, they formed Summer Twins in 2008, with a focus on singing pop harmonies atop garage rock inspired by the ’50s and ’60s. Summer Twins play live with Michael Rey Villavicencio on bass and Andy Moran on guitar.

Their debut album “Limbo” came out in October 2015 – here’s another track from it.

LIZZO “My Skin” (from the album ….. “Big GRRRL Small World”)

Lizzo has this to say about this track :

“This is a summoning of bodies: all shapes, sizes and shades to unite in their pride, and wear their skin like the gift it is”

Check out Check out the rest of Lizzo’s thoughts on the track “My Skin” – they’re well worth a read.

VILLAGERS – “Memoirs” (from the album “Where Have You Been All My Life?”)

The new Villagers album is a collection of new recordings of songs from the last few albums. Always a potentially dodgy exercise but they really come through, not least on this superb, moody reading of a ‘Memoir’, which Conor O’Brien wrote for Charlotte Gainsbourg; it can be found on her 2011 album Stage Whisper, but has never before been recorded by Villagers until now. Here’s the Gainsbourg version.

Looking forward to seeing them perform the new arrangements on their forthcoming tour of Europe. See you dahn the front!

COUSIN STIZZ “Dirty Bands” (from the album “Suffolk County”)

Brilliant 13-track mixtape from Boston’s Cousin Stizz, making serious waves further afield. Not a dodgy track on it – check out this one for size.

BEATY HEART “FLORA” (from the forthcoming album)

Here in Beat City we took Peckham popsters Beaty Heart’s debut album “Mixed Blessings” right to the core of our (beaty) hearts.

It contained some wonderful summery beats into an indie wrapper with some really messed-up lyrics sung with a jaunty bounce that made it easy to forget the often very dark subject matter.

The lead track for the second album has just been given the accolade of Huw Stephens’ single of the week on Radio One, which is excellent news 8=)

The album is produced by David Wrench, who has worked with Caribou, Jungle and FKA Twigs. Presumably the band are aiming for a wider audience, which is no bad thing, just as long as they don’t lose their quirkiness along the way – basically David, make it less Jungle and more FKA Twigs / Caribou, would you? Just play “Lekka Freakout” loud if you feel its all getting a bit too commercial. Ta.


Mechanimal is an industrial audio-visual unit hailing from Athens, Greece, led by Giannis Papaioannou as main producer, songwriter and keyboardist, solely responsible for the direction of the band.

Mechanimal’s musical language can be interpreted through a wide range of genres, featuring male and female vocals on mechanical repetitive beats, shoegazing guitar drones and pulsating sequencers.

Their first album, simply titled “Mechanimal”, was released in 2012 by Inner Ear featuting Freddie Faulkenberry on vocals and Tassos Nikogiannis on guitars. On stage, Mechanimal employed video visual elements created by Angelica Vrettou.

Their second album, titled “Secret Science”, was released in 2014 by Inner Ear featuring the same vocalist and Kostas Matiatos on guitars.

For the recordings of their third album Giannis Papaioannou assembled a new line-up featuring both past guitarists, but female vocals by Eleni Tzavara. This third album, symbolically entitled by the acronym “Delta Pi Delta” will include 10 tracks and will be released by Inner Ear at the beginning of 2016.

The touring band for the new album features a revolving line-up (with Eleni Tzavara on vocals, Tassos Nikogiannis on guitars, Giannis Papaioannou on keyboards, Antonis Charalambidis on drums), that often rearranges songs to fit in this new live setting which is always accompanied by the video fragments projected on stage by Angelica Vrettou.

This is also from “Delta Pi Delta”:

SEA PINKS Ordinary Daze (from the album “Soft Days”)

Sea Pinks have been around for a while, starting out as the one-man project of singer/guitarist Neil Brogan, who made three bedroom albums on which he played everything himself before expanding the line-up for 2014’s “Dreaming Tracks” to the classic indie band lineup of guitar,bass,drums and – erm – cello (anyone remember the Grammatics? No? Just me, then)

“Soft Days” sees them stripped down to a three-piece and I think Brogan has achieved his aim for “a tighter, more cohesive record”.

Definitely their best record yet.

You can buy the album on Bandcamp – the band gets more money that way – heck, you can get the VINYL for thirteen quid.

This is the opening track from the album if you need further convincing:

BEAR GHOST “Funkle Phil”

From Phoenix Arizona, Bear Ghost beg the question on this single “How much Queen is too much Queen?”

Bear Ghost know the answer, as the Darkness did before them, is to go for it “full Freddy”.

If that was all there was to this band, though, they’d quickly become tired (as the Darkness did) but that is certainly not the case. Check out Necromancin’ Dancin’, available from bandcamp on a pay what you like, its superb.

Listen to “Necromancin’ Dancin’ here

ENNIO MORRICONE “Overture” (from “The Hateful Eight” soundtrack)

We’re not huge fans of Tarantino movies post-Jackie Brown here in Beat City, but each to their own.

On the matter of music, however, you can generally trust Quentin, and he’s surpassed himself by persuading legendary film music composer Ennio Morricone to write the score for “The Hateful Eight” (in fact as I write this I’ve just seen that he’s won the Golden Globe for best score. He has to be a good bet for the Oscar next month, surely? .
Unbelievably he wasn’t even nominated until 1979 and has only ever received an honorary one, in 2007, which I’ve always thought was a bit of a “whoops, sorry, we missed you out all those times, you’re going to die soon, have an award”.

It would be a fitting and well-deserved end to a great career if he were to win now.

This is one of Morricone’s best known themes:

LIZZO “Betcha” (from the album “Big GRRRL Small World”)

A more typical track from Lizzo’s excellent album which sneaked out at the end of 2015.

STEVE MASON “Planet Sizes” (from the forthcoming album “Meet The Humans”)

Inspired by his relocation from the London city to the Brighton sea, Planet Sizes is taken from his new album, Meet The Humans, which is out on Double Six on 26 February. While its uncluttered leading track gradually unfurls into a celestial acoustic melody, the rest of the album sees the songwriter experiment with dance, pop, folk, dub and deep house influences. Following his “double political concept album” Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time and his debut solo album, Boys Outside, a collection of songs that wrestle with the end of a relationship and his subsequent breakdown, this third album was recorded with Elbow keyboardist and producer Craig Potter, and is a move towards a more simple ethic. It is “an album where each song is a separate entity, where there is no great narrative running through it,” he says.

There’s an excellent animated video accompanying the track, directed by Anna Ginsburg

SQUEEZE “Cradle To The Grave” (live on the Andrew Marr show)

Protest music’s seemingly gone out of fashion, a subject I keep meaning to write about at greater length.

There don’t seem to be too many younger rock bands making any sort of stand, which seems strange at a time when you may reasonably expect a bit more dissent.

On Sunday, seventies popsters Squeeze closed the Andrew Marr political show on BBC1 with their catchy theme to Danny Baker’s sitcom “Cradle To Grave” .

Prime Minister David Cameron was a guest on the show and singer Glen Tilbrook changed the words of the last verse into a pointed attack on his government, with him sitting three feet away on live television.

It may not bring any governments down, but its a start.

“I grew up in council housing
Part of what made Britain great
There are some here who are hell-bent
On the destruction of the Welfare State”

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this piece and listening to the podcast.

Beat City #63 will be available to download on Sunday 17th January 2015, with the sleeve notes following the next day.

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Thank you. Come again.