I know that, today, everyone in the world and probably a few cosmonauts on the space station will be posting songs like this to mark the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day.  Nevertheless, I appear to have fallen victim to the same mass mania, so here’s a song.

The Dropkick Murphys were my youth and young manhood.  For a good eight years, I saw them three or four times a year, anytime they came within about five hours’ drive of the town where I lived (and they did that often, because for a while, one of their pipers was a local boy).  My best mate joined their street team, so I unofficially joined as well, running up and down Whyte Avenue postering for their gigs; I’d stand at the edge of the pit at every show, or try to go unnoticed at the back of the room if it was a no-minors gig and I wasn’t eighteen yet; I’d go backstage afterward and have things shoved into my hands, posters and stickers and albums and the occasional beer I didn’t want; I’d wait outside Red’s, where they always used to play, at midnight in the middle of winter, half freezing to death while I waited for a rare night bus to come by and get me partway home.  After a while, they used to recognize us and wave from the stage.  We’d buy them pints and risk our lives in the pit to pass them up onto the stage (and the action in the pit at their gigs was pretty impressive; most of my badge-of-honour kicks to the head were earned at Dropkick Murphys shows).

They didn’t play this song much that I remember though I started going to a lot of their gigs at about the same time as Sing Loud, Sing Proud! was released.  Still, it’s always been one that held meaning for me, and, well, here you are, anyway.


Haçienda All-Nighter!

About a month from now, FAC 51 The Haçienda are doing their traditional Good Friday party (and it’s going to be amazing - if you’re lucky enough to be able to go, stop reading this post and get tickets to that instead!).

But if, like us, you’re too far away or too poor to be there, you might want to come down to the Festival of the Twenty-Eighth Summer and check out our party!  We’ll be running a Haçienda-themed all-nighter – about fourteen straight hours of punk, post-punk, house, dance, Madchester and electronic music for your eardrums.

So yeah!  April 18th into 19th, that’s where we’ll be, and we’ll be doing the thing properly; we’re already putting together playlists and sourcing tracks and making plans and we’ve got over a month until we’re on the air.  So if you feel like tuning in at any point, or making requests, or just dropping by to hang out, we’d love to see you there!

(Side note: as usual, if you want to be sure you’re tagged in all-nighter updates, just click “like” on this post or drop me an ask anytime and I’ll make sure you get the latest.)

Tags: DJing

Last night, Giles and I went to the Tibet House benefit concert and well, this is Iggy Pop singing “Love Will Tear Us Apart” with New Order.

(He also sang two other songs with them and I’ll be honest, I wanted to show you guys their collaborative version of “Transmission” because it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, but I’m afraid I couldn’t find any decent-quality footage of it.

Another incredible thing of which I have no footage was Mike Garry’s spoken-word poem, “Saint Anthony,” about Tony Wilson, which was set to a unique arrangement of New Order’s “Your Silent Face.”)

Anyway, it was an amazing gig – not just New Order and Iggy Pop, but Patti Smith, Mike Garry, Philip Glass, The National, Sufjan Stevens (apparently; we missed the beginning of the show because it took us five hours to get to Carnegie Hall), and loads more.

I find it really interesting, though, which names have currency with the general public.  As the four of us (we were with Christina and another friend) were trying to find our way to the stage door to get into the gig, dozens of scalpers outside on the streets waved tickets in our faces and shouted, “You wanna go to see New Order?  New Order tickets!  I got yer tickets to New Order!”  It’s fascinating that New Order are the band they thought would gain them the most interest from buyers particularly given that Philip Glass was technically the headliner (such as it were), Iggy Pop and Patti Smith have both been around longer, and only three-fifths of New Order were even at the show, playing a total of four songs.

Anyway, rambling aside – nine hours of road-tripping, three modes of transportation, three state lines, and three hours of sleep later, it was a pretty great night all told.


Sometimes I forget that most of the people who made the music I love are old enough to remember being children, sitting clustered around a black-and-white television set with rabbit-ear aerials, watching the Space Race play out in real-time.  I forget that they were old enough to see the Kennedy assassination, but young enough not to know what it was they were seeing.  I forget that they were old enough to understand the significance of the moon landing, but young enough to believe that they might one day walk on its surface as well.  I forget that this music bridges decades across a changing world, but the Inspiral Carpets remind me.


Do you lot know about the Manchester District Music Archive?  It’s a free, user-edited online archive of articles, pictures, sounds, videos, and anything you can think of from Manchester’s incredibly rich musical history.  Photographs predominate, obviously, but there’s everything from T-shirts to tape reels in here, a recording of as many scraps of Manchester-that-was as we can scrape together, the next best thing to being able to swear you were there.

It isn’t just the website, either.  There are special online exhibitions (at the moment, one about post-punk fanzines, one about Moss Side and Hulme, and one about queer culture), physical exhibits (for instance, Giles and I went to see “Defining Me,” the one that just finished its run at the Lowry Museum), events (such as concerts, DJ sets, lectures), and more.

Come and check it out!  Do you have anything you can add?  Join in and make a contribution.  Just want to learn as much as you possibly can?  Sign up and start exploring.

The MDMA is awesome, and the more people there are out there that know about it and want to be a part of it, the better.  Why not you?


Sometimes, it just has to be said.

John Cooper Clarke is a self-styled “punk poet” from Manchester.  His work is made up of about equal parts beat, punk, stand-up comedy, and the clever retorts you always wish you could come up with in the heat of the moment and yet never can.  I think he may be my favourite poet of all time.

Be warned, though; don’t listen to this (or any of his work) if you don’t like profanity, disenchantment or controversial themes.  If you do, he’s a bloody genius.


eiphel asked: It wouldn't be at all hard - I'm sure it's already been done - to make a music player that used some random noise (in the mathematical sense) to generate some, uh... random noise (in the literal sense) on the playback of a track. It wouldn't even take much more to algorithmically generate cracks and hisses and pops based on peaks and troughs and decibel level in the music. You could even store data on how often the track is played and increase the noise level on heavily played tracks.

If you wanted to make a digital track sound like it was being played on vinyl, you could, but it would involve a lot more than just the addition of random noise to change the sound appropriately.  (Of course, bear in mind that I’m just being a sort of reverse audiophile here and that the average person probably wouldn’t care at all, but here, have some random thoughts nonetheless.)

Beware; below the cut there be much technical rambling about sound.

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The network of influence between musicians is so intertwined and complicated that it’s practically impossible to nail down to specifics.  It might be possible to pick out one or two influences on a given song or album, or trace the rise and fall of various influences throughout a band’s career (see: The Jam), but in general, it’s a fairly complex web of events and inspirations and it’s hard to isolate a single driving force, other than their own, in any artist’s work.

That said, Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem has never made a secret of The Clash’s influence on his music.  He’s talked about it in interviews, participated in Strummerville events, and even made it pretty much inescapable in his song, “I’da Called You Woody, Joe.”

If you listen, though, you begin to realize that it isn’t necessarily The Clash in exclusivity that inspire him, but the musicianship of Joe Strummer.  (You’ll note, along with innumerable Clash references, the line in the aforementioned song that goes, “And a girl on the excitement gang,” calling back to Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros’ “Coma Girl.”)

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is to offer the following two songs up to you, not just because they’re both really good, but also because I’ve been thinking about influences and inspirations and perhaps you can hear a little of that from one song to the other here.

This is Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros’ “Long Shadow.”

And this is The Gaslight Anthem’s “The Navesink Banks.”


Anonymous asked: Five bands/musicians you wish you saw live, but now cannot for whatever reason. This can include previous lineups of still-playing bands.

Because I am pathologically incapable of choosing just five of anything, I’m afraid I have corrupted your question into “five shows you wish you’d seen live,” rather than five bands or musicians.  Even so, I’ve left out dozens of artists I wanted to include, but at least I’ve managed to cheat my way into a few extra bands as openers.  (Note that these are not in any particular order, and that one band’s opening for another doesn’t mean I want to see the headliner more than the openers.

Behind a cut, because, as usual, this got rather longer than expected.

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Tags: Music

Twenty-five years ago today, New Order’s Technique album was released. As a result, both Technique and I have a birthday today, which means I have an excuse to post this, my favourite song off the album. I love the sound (though I’ve got to confess that I love the 7” mix even more) and I love the lyrics and this couplet, in particular, always made a strange sort of sense to me:

The picture you see is no portrait of me
It’s too real to be shown to someone I don’t know

In any event, happy birthday to Technique and all that.