Friday, October 2, 2009

17 Seconds Records: a label to watch out for ...

Hello my beauties,

yes, yes ... quite a while since I last found the time to post a little something here on Sexyloser and I hope you will forgive me. It was not just pure laziness, let me tell you, no, in fact only the parents of you will be able to imagine how hard it is to find a few minutes of spare time for yourself when there is a baby in the house. But I won't complain, never!

Okay, I recently got a note from mighty Ed, who does the fantastic 17 Seconds - blog. 17 Seconds always has been an inspiration for me (along with J.C.'s The Vinyl Villain), therefore I won't hesitate to tell you some news which some of you might already know, but I'm sure there are others who don't. So listen up:

Quite some time ago - in addition to the 17 Seconds - blog - Ed has launched a record label, 17 Seconds Records. He works with some fabulous artists, and I want to draw your attention to two of them today:

X-Lion Tamer come from Edinburgh and those of you who can define exactly what the sound they make reminds me of will win a night out with me on my expenses (drinking only, no sex).

I listened to a few of their tunes over and over and I can't make my mind up. But perhaps it's all new and I'm totally wrong when trying to compare it to something I might have heard before. Then again they must have their influences, right? But whatever those might be, the stuff they make is rather brilliant. Listen to this, for example, see what you make out of it and note that X-Lion Tamer's first EP 'Neon Hearts' is out now in the UK.

They also do a great version of Galaxie 500's 'Tugboat', but because I don't want to destroy any 17 Seconds Records marketing strategies here, I won't post it. Get hold of it by yourself and buy the record, people! If you are unsure where it might be available, get in touch with Ed at, okay? Here's X-Lion Tamer's myspace - site for even more information.

Secondly we have Chris Bradley, who basically is one fifth of Aberfeldy. Here's his myspace - site. Ed send three of his tunes over to me to listen to and I would have loved to post 'Bored Little Rosie', because it simply is outstanding. But as it is available as a download single, I won't do it, so instead here's a different one, wonderful as well:

Last year Chris Bradley released his debut album 'Voices', which 17 Seconds Records will be re-issuing in 2010. His new album, tentatively titled 'Go On, My Son' will be released in November.

Well, I hope I made you curious enough to check out more from these artists, friends.

Let me tell you what you think, ey?



Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Harder They Come ....

Hello my beauties,

coincidentally I've been listening to some old Ska/Rocksteady tunes recently which had 'Rude Boy' in the title, so I thought to myself: well, there must be more in your collection ... and this is what I came up with ... for your enjoyment! So straighten your tie, put on your pork pie hat and dance to this:
1) Anhrefn - 'Edrych Ar Y Rude Boys' (mp3): from a split LP they had with another band, the name of which escaped me. Taken from a cassette tape (as you will be able to tell from the noise in the background) of John Peel's Music on BFBS back in 1989. A neat version of the Ruts' favourite ... that's if you speak Welsh ... which I don't do alas.

2) The Clarendonians - 'Rudie Bam Bam' (mp3): one of the many many great originals from Jamaica, this time from 1966, and again ripped from a cassette, I'm afraid. But despite of the (rather poor) sound quality it is a gem, that's for sure!

3) The Clarendonians - 'Rude Boy Gone A Jail' (mp3): and here's another one by them, also from 1966 ...

4) The Clash - 'Rudie Can't Fail' (mp3): a total classic from the only band that matters and therefore of course it has to be included here: from 'London Calling' from 1979.

5) Ted, Leo & The Pharmacists - 'Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone' (mp3): something more contemporary now, from 2003 in fact. From the band's 'Hearts Of Oak' - album.

6) The Rudies - 'Give Peace A Chance' (mp3): again taken from a cassette, but I think the vinyl pressing was been rather appallingly off centre - and scratchy - in the first place. Lots of surface noise, but again it is too good to be neglected just because of the sound quality. From 1969.

7) Rudi - 'Big Time' (mp3): filed next to The Rudies ... which shows that my finding system, such as it is, is somewhat in line. I mean, had I found The Beatles next to The Rudies, it would have been a bit of a surprise, right? Anyway: again a total classic, from 1978.

8) The Ruts - 'Staring At The Rude Boys' (mp3): from their 'Grin And Bear It' - LP from 1980.

9) The Scofflaws - 'Rudy's Back' (mp3): from their 1991 debut - LP. Third Wave Ska from the States ... and why not?

10) The Spanish Tonians - 'Rudie Gets Plenty' (mp3): again recorded in '66/'67 in Jamaica. I can't tell you how much I love the tunes from this era: indispensable stuff indeed!!

11) The Specials - 'A Message To You Rudy' (mp3): yeah, I know you have all been waiting for this to come: from 1979 and from one of the best albums in the history of recorded music!

12) Desmond Dekker & The Aces - 'Rudy Got Soul' (mp3): from 1966 ... which shows that good old Desmond did other neat things besides 'The Israelites' ...

13) Laurel Aitken - 'Rudi Got Married' (mp3): played that before, but it simply has to be included in this post: my personal favourite here ... they lyrics are hard to beat, I'd say! From a 1980 Peel Session.

14) Laurel Aitken & The Loafers - 'Rudi Got Married' (live) (mp3): and because I like this tune up to no degree, here it is again in a different version: recorded live together with The Loafers! I don't know exactly when this was done, but I assume it must have been in the late 80's.

15) Dandy Livingstone - 'Rudy, A Message To You' (mp3): from 1967 ... which shows you, kids, that The Specials do brilliant cover versions, but the originals should always be heard as well!

16) The Fabulous Rudies - '99 Luftballons' (mp3): again a cover version, and I don't know if you know the original, which was a hit for Nena, a German singer/band in the 80's. This though is from 2006.

Phew .... do your feet hurt by now?! If so, my mission is accomplished!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Think I Need Help ....

Hello dearest friends,

another shameless theft (here) from the mighty Vinyl Villain, you might think, but let me tell you that this is not true, no! The idea cropped up several months ago, but I never got around to post it here until today:

Back in 1989 or 1990 (perhaps even 1991, but I don't think so) I got a cassette tape from a friend of mine, Iris, and it has been a much treasured item ever since. Full of good songs, a few weak ones as well, but all in all I always liked coming back to it from time to time. The problem with the tape is that most of the songs are unknown to me (Iris didn't include any information whatsoever (women, ey?!) and I hope she burns in hell for this!!). Now, I have always been desperate to figure out whom they might be by, so that I can get my hands on a decent vinyl/CD copy (or, to be honest, find them as high quality mp3's somewhere for illegal download) one of these days.

I assume most of you will laugh out loud, because you know these tunes by heart and can immediately identify them as Top 10 Hits everybody can sing along to .... but I can't alas. Therefore any hints from your side in the comment section, dearest friends, are highly appreciated.

Along with the songs below you get a little bit of rather cheesy 80's dancefloor stuff on said tape, not the thing one would want to hear today, certainly not me. But also there's some early Nick Cave on it, very early Young Marble Giants and Beautiful South's 'Song For Whoever' (not a particular favourite of mine, but so what?), all of that along with The Sugarcubes' 'Birthday' and old Ian Dury - stuff. A strange combination, but wonderful!

Below are the tunes I like best, but I haven't got the slightest idea who sings them and/or what they're titled. Do you?
Iris1 (mp3) - I have absolutely no idea at all who this might be ....
Iris2 (mp3) - sounds pretty much like Jonathan Richman, I always thought ....
Iris3 (mp3) - again: not the slightest idea ....
Iris4 (mp3) - as above ...
Iris5 (mp3) - ... again.
Iris6 (mp3) - I'm willing to have small bet that those are The Violent Femmes ...
Iris7 (mp3) - cuts off before the end, but I hope someone can identify it nevertheless.

Thanks very much indeed for your help, folks! Highly appreciated, as I said.


And now for something completely different:

I noticed in the last two weeks that every - and I mean every - blog I frequently visit has featured a Michael Jackson - tribute in one form or another. Although I never gave a toss about Jackson (never liked his music nor his dancing nonsense nor his childish giggling all the freakin' time he was on the telly .... actually I always thought he was a complete twerp), Sexyloser will of course follow the common herd and post a little something as well, a neat tune I have always been fond of:

Negativland - 'Michael Jackson' (mp3) [from 'Escape From Noise', 1987]

See you soon, friends. I promise to post more frequently from now on .... that's if Little Loser allows me to do so .....

Have fun,


Monday, May 25, 2009

Dearest friends (and, of course, followers),

is this site dead?, you may have wondered in the recent past. The truth of the matter is 'no', but only the lucky ones of you who can call themselves 'parents' will be able to understand that one's free time (and this includes weekends. Especially weekends, in fact) reduces itself to zero as soon as there is a baby in the house. Which is the case in Sexyloserland for three months now, therefore I can only apologise to you for the lack of posts. But the struggle continues as far as I'm concerned and hopefully I will find myself in a position soon where Little Loser allows me to take care of you all more often. Time alone can tell when this might possibly be though ...

Either way, enough of that. The only time when I can listen to music these days is on me way to work in the car in the morning (and on me way back in the afternoon obviously). Well, this morning I drove along, the sun was shining, and - as it happens rather often - I heard a specific tune which immediately made me think of another tune. Sometimes this is because of similar lyrics, sometimes because the two tracks were released in the same year, sometimes because I bought the two records together when they came out. I'm sure you know what I'm trying to talk about here, if not, here's what happened this morning:
I was listening to this:

The Detroit Cobras (aka Goddesses)

The Detroit Cobras - 'Last Night' (mp3). A great 2003 cover of the Strokes' tune, featured before on this site, but that's no excuse not to play it again.

I was humming along to it when suddenly all this 'Last Night' - stuff in the lyrics brought another line to mind: "Last Night There Were Skinheads On My Lawn", which, I'm sure you know, is included in the very fantastic 'Take The Skinheads Bowling' by Camper Van Beethoven. Now, only last week I heard a brilliant version of this by The Manic Street Preachers, which was new to me until Jim from Quick Before It Melts submitted it for the 'Skin' - episode of the Contrast Podcast. Great tune, Jim, thanks for having chosen it. So here it is to you all, from 1996, The Manic Street Preachers' version of 'Take The Skinheads Bowling' (mp3).

Manic Street Preachers (whom I normally don't like very much, I must admit)

The opening line in it goes "Every Day I Get Up And Pray To Jah", which made me think of another gem, something I hadn't heard for quite some time:

The Natural-Ites & The Realistics' 'Picture On The Wall' (mp3), one of the many tunes from Jamaica which praise Jah. From 1983, and a real belter for sure if you're into Jamaican stuff!

couldn't find any Natural-Ites - pictures, so instead you'll get me, captured in sunny Montego Bay, Jamaica, circa 1990.

Well, thinking of Jamaican music - more of Ska than of Reggae - another great artist came to my mind: the wonderful Laurel Aitken (okay, I know he moved to England rather early in his career, but what the heck: he's from Jamaica and the story in the song I thought of clearly 'plays' in Jamaica): 'Rudi Got Married' (mp3). This is the version he did for a Peel - session back in 1980.

Laurel Aitken (another God, as far as I'm concerned)

Which made me think of another gentleman who got in trouble (in one form or another) with the police: the guy Cock Sparrer sing about in 'Riot Squad' (mp3).

Cock Sparrer

Now, this tune from 1983 was recently chosen by the mighty FiL from the mighty PogoAGoGo, again for the Contrast Podcast. It's good throughout and I must admit I seem to have forgotten over the years. So thanks, FiL, for giving me a reminder: I can't get it out of my head and listen to it frequently these days.

This is also true for the next tune and believe it or not: I have Cock Sparrer on a CD in the car together with The Indelicates' 'We Hate The Kids' (mp3) from 2006 and those two are the fucking best songs I've heard in all of 2009 ... so far. Repeat function is a very good invention indeed, I learned!

The Indelicates: a mighty band!

Now, if you listen more or less closely to The Indelicates' lyrics, you'll hear them moan about "Fat Men Who Once Met The MC5", which, strangely enough, made me think not of a song by The MC5, but of a T-Shirt one of The Pooh Sticks (Hue?) wears on the front cover of their 1988 self-titled mini album, the T-Shirt reading 'MC5 Back In The USA'.

The Pooh Sticks ... from years ago!

So, to close this tale of my complicated thought structures, here come The Pooh Sticks and 'Heroes And Villains' (mp3).

btw: this tune of course made me think of my mate JC aka The Vinyl Villain. But that's a different story. Visit his site here nevertheless, friends, your life will no longer be the same. Always a place to enjoy, but especially his offers for May and (early) June are outstanding!

Would be nice to know if someone found something intersting amongst the tunes above. So leave comments, okay?



Friday, April 3, 2009

It's Paul Haig - Day today ...

.... because J.C. - aka The Vinyl Villain - tells us so. You may wonder - and rightly so - what this may possibly mean .... so just have a look here and here and you'll understand it all.

Also you may wonder who this Paul Haig might be. Well, I must admit, I don't know a single tune he has written on his own and this might be true for a lot of you. But Paul Haig was the singer with the fabulous Josef K. ... and if this name doesn't ring a bell with you, then get a life, kids!

Josef K. released their stuff on the legendary Postcard label and they were highly influential for numerous bands of the post punk and indie era and they - and Paul - still deserve some attention these days. Especially these days perhaps.

So lean back whilst you read the below essay by James Nice from 2001. It sums it all up pretty neatly, I would think. And - in order - to put you in the right mood beforehand, here's a little gem from yesteryear for you to enjoy:

Josef K. - 'Crazy To Exist' (mp3)

For two brief years at the dawn of the 1980s Josef K gave the
Postcard label its sharpest cutting edge. Although outlived - and
outsold - by labelmates Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, Josef K's
flame burned brightest, while their influence has touched bands
as diverse as Propaganda and the Wedding Present. Yet just as
interesting are the subsequent solo careers of all four members,
which include stints with Orange Juice, Aztec Camera and 4AD
outfit the Happy Family. Not to mention the undervalued body of
solo work produced by enigmatic frontman Paul Haig.


Inspired by the heady punk summer of 1977, and later Pere Ubu and
the New York art-punk sounds of the Velvet Underground and
Television, Josef K came together in Edinburgh in mid-1978 as TV
Art. Initially a three-piece, guitarists Paul Haig and Malcolm
Ross and drummer Ron Torrance were briefly joined by bassist Gary
McCormack, later to find fame of another kind with the Exploited.
After David Weddell took over on bass early in 1979 the group
began gigging locally, joining a thriving Edinburgh scene which
also included the Associates, the Visitors, TV21, Fire Engines,
the Scars and Another Pretty Face.

At this point, Haig and Ross shared lead vocals, both apparently
being strongly reminiscent of Lou Reed. It therefore came as no
great surprise that their covers included the Velvet's Sweet Jane
and I'm Waiting for the Man, as well as Be My Wife (Bowie),
Psycho Killer (Talking Heads) and Marquee Moon (Television).

Summer 1979 saw TV Art change their name to Josef K, a reflection
of Haig's then-current fascination with Czech writer Franz Kafka.
Like another influence, avant punks Subway Sect, the group took
to sporting sharp monochrome suits - from Oxfam. Josef K also
recorded their first eight-song studio demo tape with the
intention of landing a deal with a credible label such as Radar
or Rough Trade, though these embryonic songs failed to elicit
much interest.

Of this formative period, Malcolm Ross would later comment:

Josef K was like a gang. We would all hang out together. We
didn't like talking to promoters and such. It was
snobbishness to an extent. We just thought that they
weren't in the gang or on the same wavelength. I suppose we
were quite puritanical. We didn't like sexism or
laddishness... It was modernist. I was quite interested in
the original mod movement, and that was one of the
influences in wearing suits. Again, it was a reaction to
the whole dirty, long-haired thing that punk reacted to,
but punk wasn't too far off it either. Punks were just as
dirty. I didn't like that - I wanted some kind of dignity.
We were forward looking.

None of us had ever played in groups prior to punk so it
gave us clean slate. Whereas you could tell the bands who
had, because they would chuck in rock guitar cliches here,
there and everywhere. We never did. Paul and I were always
striving to be, if not experimental, at least not cliched.


Meanwhile, a chance encounter with Steven Daly, drummer with
Glasgow band Orange Juice, lead to a loose alliance between the
two bands, who began playing out together, alternating headline
status on one another's home turf. After Daly set up his own
label, Absolute, Chance Meeting by Josef K became its first (and
last) release. Both sides were lifted straight from the earlier
demo, and although initial sales were modest on release in
November 1979, BBC radio airplay from John Peel afforded the band
a degree of national exposure.

Edwyn Collins and Alan Horne, singer and manager respectively of
Orange Juice, subsequently set up Postcard Records, to which
Josef K duly signed. Arty and camp, Postcard stood in stark
contrast to the colourless majority of independent labels of the
'cold wave' era. The second Josef K single, Radio Drill Time, was
recorded in April 1980 during a shared session with Orange Juice,
who cut Blue Boy. The flipside, Crazy To Exist, is credited as
'live', but was in truth recorded in a cottage in Fife. As well
as doubling up on studio time, both records also appeared in the
same sleeve, a double-sided wraparound affair, many of which were
arduously hand-coloured.

Radio Drill Time found favour with the rock weeklies, who now
ventured north to check out 'the Sound Of Young Scotland', a
phrase appropriated by Horne from Motown. In consequence Josef
K played their London debut in October, and one month later
released It's Kinda Funny. Easily their most relaxed and
reflective single, Funny earned them the kind of hyperbolic
reviews that in time came to weigh increasingly heavily on the
group. Interestingly, the song would also prove the most durable
oldie in Haig's solo live set.


November 1980 also saw the band record their debut album, Sorry
For Laughing, a record which (until its appearance on CD in 1990)
quickly joined the pantheon of Great Lost Albums. Twelve tracks
were cut, test pressings made, and a deluxe silver sleeve proofed
- yet at the eleventh hour the release was cancelled. Over the
years an astonishing stock of rumour has attached to the record,
while even at the time no little hype surrounded its
cancellation. Horne claimed that the twelve-song set was too
well-produced (!), while rumours abounded of several thousand
finished copies being destroyed.

Later, the band would claim that the mix was unsatisfactory (as
in too bass-heavy and clean), and that it failed to represent
their blistering live sound. Certainly, most of the songs were
already old, and the album gave little indication of what the
group proved capable of delivering just nine months later with
the Only Fun In Town. Yet while many subsequently judged Sorry
For Laughing a more listener-friendly set than its successor,
it's an inferior piece of art. And collectors are warned against
paying hundreds of pounds for test pressings, it being rumoured
that rather more than the usual handful were pressed, with the
express object of producing saleable rarities.

Thus Sorry For Laughing would gather dust in a vault for a
decade. Ever uncompromising, Josef K were already displaying a
marked disdain for careerist notions, even going so far as to
boast of making only one or two albums before splitting in a
blaze of glory.


In December 1980 Orange Juice and Josef K travelled to Brussels
at the invitation of Les Disques du Crepuscule for a New Year's
Eve concert at Plan K. The date also featured Brussels p-funk
enigma Marine, a jazz band and silent films. Manager Allan
Campbell recalls:

The concert was invaded by a group of inebriated punks, one
of whom threw a plate of food in Edwyn Collins' face when
he was onstage. The OJ singer retaliated with a kick. By
the time Josef K appeared feelings in the crowd were
running high. A fight broke out in front of the stage and
the group had to stop playing while the promoters attempted
to sort things out.

Indeed, at a distance of twenty years, it is easy to overlook the
fact that Josef K considered themselves a live rather than a
studio band. Allan Campbell again:

Since their early live shows with the likes of Echo and the
Bunnymen, the Cure, Magazine and the Clash (where they were
heckled for being 'mods'), they were now becoming
formidable live performers. In concert was the place to
truly experience Ross and Haig's sensational guitar work.
Ross' lead playing in particular was inspiring. Fiery,
committed and ringing, it was a key element in the group's
sound. Onstage was where Josef K made most sense.

It was becoming increasingly apparent that Josef K weren't
the serious young men that they first appeared to be. A
penchant for psychedelic shirts, the occasional kaftan and
liquid light projection was their tongue-in-cheek way of
repudiating their monochromatic image. Because Haig refused
to talk to the audiences (part of their anti-showbusiness
stance; neither would they play encores or sign autographs)
he would tape song introductions and play them over the PA.

Later, he and Ross would expand this to include their own
versions of some old Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis routines -
"Did you take a bath this morning?" / "Why? Is there one

During the first visit to Brussels Josef K also re-recorded the
track Sorry For Laughing for single release. When Crepuscule
released the record in April 1981 it was rightly hailed as the
group's strongest offering to date, and established the
definitive Josef K style of circular rhythms paired with incisive
guitar angles. Indeed, the song became so highly regarded that
German sophisticates Propaganda later covered it (albeit blandly)
on their acclaimed ZTT album A Secret Wish.


Horne, upset that the groups' best single yet was to appear on
another label, pressed Josef K into re-recording Chance Meeting
for Postcard, thus triggering a frantic six-month burst of
activity. In March, several songs from the scrapped debut album
were donated to the BBC as a fake John Peel radio session, while
in April the band crossed to Brussels again to play several more
shows, and to record their debut album a second time. Chance
Meeting, released in June, was far superior to the Absolute
version eighteen months earlier and, complete with added brass,
saw Josef K beginning to sound like a bona fide pop band.

This overt commercial edge, together with a distinct funkiness,
was further developed that same month by their one proper Peel
session. Bearing in mind that these four songs were to prove
Josef K's last recordings together, their excellence makes the
demise of the group all the more heartbreaking. Heaven Sent and
Missionary were the new songs, two fine slices of looping punk-
funk, the latter heavily influenced by Life in Reverse, a single
by Brussels band Marine released on Crepuscule in April. However
the biggest surprise came with a charming Alice Cooper cover -
Applebush - sung by Ross's wife, Susan Buckley.


Although expectations for the 'debut' album were now running
high, it met with mixed reaction upon release in July. Although
praised in Melody Maker, The Only Fun in Town was roundly slated
by Sounds, while Paul Morley, writing in the NME, bemoaned: artificial paradise totally bungled. Fun is not much
at all chasing itself in dizzying circles. Somewhere
between the chunky echo beat and the wound down punk bleat,
through a large door and down a shady lane, in the hands of
a world famous producer, lies smart and shirty and
splenetic. The Josef K Sound that would present their songs
with class.

The precarious balance between reality and reverie is lost,
lost, lost, the reduced production degenerates rather than
glorifies the escapist desires and poetic fancy. Fun is
subdued not sublime: an errant substitute for what could
have been... Singer Paul Haig is brilliant. He acts rich -
as the group should do, as the production should be - but
he alone cannot stop Fun being scruffy. I am appalled. Will
there be a third time? Can they forget their past? Is
what's lost all? Josef K have cheapened themselves and
cheated the world: not bad for a first LP.

Barely half an hour long, comprising many familiar songs from
singles, and blessed with a hyper-bright production that belied
the six day schedule in a Belgian eight-track studio, TOFIT
arrived as a shock indeed to anyone expecting Josef K to turn in
the brand of sophisticated pop subterfuge that, say, the
Associates would produce a year later with Sulk. Haig now
reflects that:

I think we committed commercial suicide. When we were
mixing the album, we wanted it to sound like a live
concert, because we were so into playing live. I purposely
mixed down my own vocals. God knows why. I regret that.

Nonetheless TOFIT remains a dazzling record, featuring ten left-
handed pop nuggets of undeniable genius, and while very much the
uncompromising 'punk' album both band and Horne had long
promised, it effortlessly topped the alternative charts for
several weeks. The album also stands as the only album that the
original Postcard label ever got around to releasing.


By way of promotion Josef K set out on a lengthy UK tour during
July and August, with boy wonders Aztec Camera in support. The
last London show, at the Venue, is preserved on the 'Crazy to
Exist' CD. However, the final Scottish date at Glasgow Maestro's
would prove their last. The exact reasons behind the split -
principally Haig's decision - remain obscure, although it would
appear that a combination of too-great expectations, small
incomes, Haig's dislike of touring and unspecified disagreements
over future direction were primarily to blame. Rather fancifully,
Alan Horne saw fit to blame the NME. Whatever the cause, one of
the Great White Hopes of the decade had self-destructed after
just one album, thus fulfilling their own brash prophecy.

Interviewed by Johnny Waller in Sounds early the following year,
Haig confessed:

I was pretty depressed for a week because it was the end of
an era, but after that I was really happy that we'd split,
because I could get on with everything I wanted to do. I
don't listen to any of those records now. It's all gone.
Nothing from that period interests me, except maybe Sorry
for Laughing. We didn't really get on all that well towards
the end. We didn't have anything in common, so there were
no jokes, no happy feeling. It was just down to doing a
job. Josef K weren't that famous anyway. We've split up, so
what? Everybody changes.

More tellingly, the singer revealed:

I've lost alot of the ideals I had in Josef K. About not
wanting to be commercially successful, suffering for your
art and all that. Not that I wasn't sincere about it at the
time... But I got sick of it. I want to be signed to a
major and make a great record that will get radio airplay
and be a big hit, then make my own money from that. I don't
mind being manipulated to a certain extent in order to get
what I want, but in time I want to control everything.

It's an ideal which Haig, perhaps to his detriment, has never
strayed. But before going on to examine the subsequent careers
of all four members, it is worth jumping forward in time and
covering the many posthumous Josef K releases.


First came Crepuscule's 'Farewell Single' in 1982, combining
Missionary (from the Peel session) with two instrumental takes
on the Angle (from TOFIT). Former manager Allan Campbell (who
also oversaw Haig's solo career until 1984) then took charge of
the back catalogue via his Supreme International Editions label,
issuing an ep featuring Heaven Sent (Peel again) as the lead
track, and a compilation album, Young and Stupid. The track
selection of the latter - undertaken by the band themselves -
left a little to be desired, presenting neither an accurate
overview of their career, or a complete collection of wallet-
withering single sides which had rapidly become pricey New Wave
rarities. Fortunately, in 1990 LTM collected every
Josef K song ever committed to vinyl (together with demo tracks,
the Peel session and the shelved album) onto two remastered
compact discs.

In Japan, the LTM CD releases were split into three, with the
addition of a 'Rare Live' set identical to the first 12 tracks
on the live album eventually released worldwide by LTM in 2000.
German label Marina released a fine 'greatest hits' set titled
Endless Soul on CD in 1998 (with great sleevenotes by Allan
Campbell), while the following year Creation offshoot RevOla
reissued the LTM CD coupling of Sorry For Laughing and The Only
Fun In Town.

In the years immediately following their Josef K would spawn a
legion of imitators, a perhaps questionable legacy given that
their influence was chiefly mirrored in the shambling C86-stable.
The direct covers and tributes number just three: Sorry For
Laughing (Propaganda), It's Kinda Funny (the Confettis), and a
heartfelt adieu from the June Brides, titled Josef's Dead.


Back in 1981, none of the former group members wasted any time
in exploring new avenues, although singer and chief songwriter
Paul Haig would maintain the highest profile. With Postcard
disintegrating amidst the JK split and Orange Juice signing to
Polydor, Haig quickly released two interim singles on Edinburgh
independent Rational, run by manager Allan Campbell.

The first of these, Soon, was a collaboration with fellow
Edinburgh musician Steven Harrison (formerly of Metropak), while
the second single saw Haig guesting on a what was in effect a
vanity record by artist Sebastian Horsley. Exploring territory
first charted by Heaven 17 in their BEF guise, both singles
appeared under the generic name Rhythm Of Life Organisation
(RoL), an imprimatur Haig has retained ever since for everything
from production work to his backing band. Such anonymity also
suited his avowed dislike of publicity; indeed Haig has never
once released a record with his own hardly wretched face on the
front cover.

Also via Rational, Haig released a bizarre cassette-only set of
home-recorded electronica titled Drama, featuring Kafka texts set
to music as well as an odd take on Forever Drone. With just 700
copies manufactured, collectors will be hard put to track down
a copy today, though it should be added that this minor curiosity
is hardly a must-have.

Haig subsequently teamed up with Crepuscule to release future
product, and in January 1982 made solo live debuts in Edinburgh
(Valentinos) and London (the Venue). According to the NME's Dave
Hill, for the latter show:

Rhythm of Life remained a mystery... Initially they seem
like an artful re-arrangement of the Iggy-Oakey ice-box
delivery, and the Bogart mail order catalogue, into a
perfect cliche of the same. But how straight are their
faces? I don't know, but Haig projects with the efficiency
of a sly android, blonde, doleful and besuited, spooning
each painstaking tune with an immaculate croon. All is calm
and self-contained... Since Josef K split Haig has pursued
several lines, yet the cool execution of this show is
undeniable, elegant and curvaceous.

The following month Rhythm of Life took part in Crepuscule's
first trans-European package tour, Dialogue North-South, also
featuring Durutti Column, the Names, Marine, Richard Jobson,
Antena and Tuxedomoon. Eschewing a live drummer in favour of a
rhythm box, RoL gained plaudits for their versatile, snappy brand
of funk minimalism, and five excerpts from these shows can be
found on Crepuscule's souvenir compilation (TWI 082). Since two
of the songs (Stories and Glory) were never subsequently re-
recorded, it's an album well worth seeking out, although
completists are warned that the CD version omits the rather
shambolic rendition of Shining Hour present on the vinyl and
cassette. The CD liner notes also reprint much of an excellent
on-the-spot report written by the late Johnny Waller, reprinted
from his piece in Sounds (April 3 1982).


Haig elected to move to Brussels in March, and there embarked on
an intensive recording schedule at Little Big One studio. This
resulted in two self-produced singles, Running Away and Justice,
although the latter was destined to be shelved. However, after
just four months Haig tired of continental living and returned
to Edinburgh. Running Away, a charming cover of the Sly Stone
classic, appeared in May on Crepuscule subsidiary Operation
Twilight and topped the independent charts in the UK, its success
unhampered by the Raincoats' decision to release their own
version of the same song simultaneously.

The excellent follow-up single, Justice, was cancelled after
Crepuscule signed a licensing deal with Island. 7" test pressings
on Crepuscule (TWI 100) nevertheless exist, as does a separate
12" release on Crepuscule/Interference featuring two mixes of the
song Blue For You, although this seems to have been intended as
a DJ record more than a proper commercial release.

While in Brussels Haig also recorded the infamous Swing in '82
set, partly at the instigation of Crepuscule kingpin Michel
Duval. Originally intended for release as a 10' ep, Swing saw
Haig tackling six big band numbers Sinatra-style. While Vic
Godard fans no doubt found much to admire, others loathe it with
rare passion. The anti-faction now includes Haig himself,
although back in 1982 he had this to say to Masterbag magazine:

After listening to lots of Frank Sinatra records I became
aware of these fantastic old songs. I think the music and
the lyrics are absolutely incredible - especially the
lyrics. You just don't hear lyrics like them nowadays.
They're just so emotional. It was a big challenge to try
and sing them. The 'swing' side starts with The Song is
You, then All of You and Let's Face the Music and dance.
The 'dream' side is Love Me Tender, The Way You Look
Tonight and Send in the Clowns. I think the first side is
around 1938, with songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin,
people like that. The second side is slightly more modern.

The basic instrumentation on side one is just drums, double
bass and piano, with the addition of string synthesiser on
side two. We had to try about three sets of musicians
before we found these old session musicians that had been
playing jazz all their lives. The piano player must have
been 70 years old! The drummer was quite young, in his mid
twenties, so it was quite a challenge for him to keep pace
with these brilliant jazz musicians, as it was for me too.
I'm sure they thought it was a joke. I remember I turned up
at the studio the morning they arrived. They said, 'Are you
the singer? The producer?' They looked at each other in

It could either be slammed or it could be looked upon as
something brilliant. I tend to think that in England it's
going to be laughed at, but I don't think that's justified
because the musicianship is really, really good on it. If
anyone slags it off then it must be for some other reason,
but they can't fault the playing.

In fact this record too was shelved, and not released by
Crepuscule until 1985, with five tracks only , Haig having
finally vetoed the inclusion of Send in the Clowns.


Thanks to the Island licensing deal Haig recorded his first album
in New York at the end of 1982, with the late Alex Sadkin
producing. Featuring a host of crack sessioneers (including
Bernie Worrell, Anton Fier and Jack Waldman), his new direction -
a brand of polished dance/electro - seemed a million miles away
from the abrasive edge of Josef K. Indeed Haig was already
disowning his past with a vengeance, informing the NME that JK
was a 'cockroach' he wanted squashed, although in fact songs such
as Adoration and Heaven Sent had begun life with that band. Yet
fine though songs such as Justice, Adoration and Stolen Love
were, Haig's solo debut played very much as a producer's record,
and in surrendering a measure of artistic control Haig lost
something of his identity. And, it cannot have helped that Sadkin
was then heavily involved with the odious Thompson Twins, whose
Tom Bailey also guested on the album.

The first single release on Island was Heaven Sent, a drastic
club refit of the earlier JK number. Despite Island's best
marketing efforts, however, it stalled at 74, and failed to
provide Haig with the hit many had confidently predicted. The
Rhythm Of Life album appeared in October 1983 and was accompanied
by a short seven date UK tour. Haig's touring group included
Malcolm Ross on guitar, together with bassist David McClymont
(also fresh from Orange Juice), drummer James Locke and former
Associate Alan Rankine. However, although the album sold
respectably Haig found himself caught between two commercial
stools. Plainly ahead of his time, Haig had perhaps moved too far
too fast, his polished pop alienating many Josef K fans not yet
ready to trade their raincoats for a sharp Italian two-piece and
a place in line outside Studio 54. Reviewing the album in NME,
Chris Bohn lamented the fate of an artist:

...dropped somewhere mid-Atlantic and left to drown in
liquid demi-disco. Though four percussionists are credited
the record has no forward momentum. It sort of slithers
across the dancefloor. Worse, Haig has tailored his
songwriting to serve a form he only imagines is there.
Cutesy couplets are left in mid air, grappling after non-
existent rhythm hooks... More than a name producer and an
NY studio he needs sympathetic musicians to bring out the
character of his songs.

Simple bad luck seems to have prevented all three singles
providing the solid hits which might have allowed Haig to cross
over to a new, wider audience. Inexplicably Island failed even
to release the album - or the singles - in the US, a market in
which they might have performed well. Although the slick New York
Remix mini album was belatedly issued in America in 1984
(appearing on Crepuscule in Europe), it was a textbook example
of too little too late. In 1990 Haig recalled of this difficult

The main thing was that I didn't want to be the centre of
it all. The initial idea was just to keep working with
different people under the name Rhythm of Life. It was more
of a big joke. It all went a bit funny when I signed to
Island, but before there were quite a few things in the
pipeline. But Island wanted a pop image to sell... and they
didn't get one.


Already relations with Island had become strained. Incoming MD
Dave Robinson showed little enthusiasm for Haig's music, while
an overly candid Sounds interview and an abortive appearance on
a childrens' television show (Hold Tight) to promote Never Give
Up soured relations further. When Haig recorded a new single, Big
Blue World, in December, Island chose to cancel it just a
fortnight before its scheduled release. Fortunately, Crepuscule
continued to release Haig product in Europe, so that the delayed
record - with a sublime cover of Suicide's road classic Ghost
Rider on the flipside - arrived in the UK on import. Both sides
of the single featured the same group that Haig had formed to
promote the album live.

In 1984 Haig joined forces with several celebrated electro peers,
recording The Only Truth in collaboration with Bernard Sumner and
Donald Johnson (of New Order and A Certain Ratio respectively),
and The Executioner with Cabaret Voltaire. November saw the
completion of a new album, this time recorded in London with
Rankine co-producing. Unfortunately the failure of The Only Truth
as a single lead to Island severing the Crepuscule connection,
and so the untitled second album (co-produced by Alan Rankine)
was shelved. For the record, the tracklist ran as follows: Love
Eternal/Shining Hour/One Lifetime Away/Fear and Dancing/All Our
Love/Trust/Love and War/Big Blue World/The Only Truth.
Nevertheless all but the ballad All My Love were subsequently
released, with this (inferior) early version of Love Eternal even
appearing as a single over two years later.


Rather than release the shelved set on Crepuscule, it was decided
to combine half the album with new songs recorded throughout
1985. Haig launched his fightback later in the year with a
powerful single, Heaven Help You Now, and the excellent album
Warp Of Pure Fun. Again produced with Alan Rankine, it was a less
one-dimensional set than its predecessor, focusing on the songs
and arrangements (and live drums) rather than programmed rhythm
tracks, though without entirely abandoning club appeal. In the
UK Warp appeared on another short-lived Crepuscule offshoot,
Operation Afterglow, but while the album fared comparatively well
as an independent release, Afterglow failed to propel it into the
national chart.

Unhappy with limited sales, Haig left Crepuscule to seek another
major deal. After demos recorded for EMI came to nothing, Haig
spent most of 1986 writing new material, surviving on PRS
royalties from his Crepuscule back catalogue. He also found time
to embark on a fruitful partnership with another Associate, Billy
Mackenzie, the result being low key dates in Glasgow (May) and
Edinburgh (September), which mixed their own greatest hits with
covers such as Running Away and Yoko Ono's Walking On Thin Ice.
Later the pair united to perform Amazing Grace on a Scots
Hogmanay television programme, and each donated a song to the
other's forthcoming album. Chained would prove a highlight on the
next Haig album, although Mackenzie's version of Reach The Top
remains unreleased (as does Haig's) after the Associates' patchy
Glamour Chase set was shelved by WEA. Following Mackenzie's
untimely death in 1997 an entire album of Haig/Mackenzie
material, Memory Palace appeared on CD in 1999. Much warm light
on the pair's firm friendship is cast by Tom Doyle's admirable
biography, Glamour Chase, published by Bloomsbury in 1998.

Haig returned - albeit briefly - to Crepuscule in September 1987
to record several tracks, though the only new record to emerge
was the fine Torchomatic single, complete with spy theme and a
home-recorded instrumental cycle on the flipside. The European
Sun compilation album followed, including most of the shelved
Island album not included on Warp plus several rare b-sides, and
the unreleased Cabaret Voltaire collaboration from 1984. An
expanded CD version was licensed to German imprint Interphon.


Early in 1988 Haig financed the recording of a new album himself,
once more produced with Alan Rankine. Virgin offshoot Circa
purchased the tapes in August, but chose not to release the
album, titled Chain, until May the following year. Neither Chain
nor the lead single, Something Good, broke commercially, and to
some the album came as a disappointment, with strong material in
places undermined by underdeveloped arrangements. Sales were
scarcely assisted by Haig's refusal to undertake any lengthy
tours, and with much of his following was in Europe and Japan,
many fans were not even aware that a new record was available.
Nevertheless, a showcase at the ICA in London on May 18th saw
Haig and his band in fine and powerful form.

Following Drama, Swing In '82 and the Mackenzie pairing, 1988's
off the wall project came in the form of the Dub Organiser
single, a club cut recorded in collaboration with Allan Campbell
and released as a one-off on Manchester indie label Play Hard.

Unperturbed by Chain's modest commercial showing, Circa financed
the recording of a new album, produced in New York by dance gurus
Mantronix and Lil' Louis, and also by the Chimes, whose drummer
James Locke had been a periodic Haig collaborator since 1981. The
album marked a timely return to the dance orientation of Rhythm
of Life five years earlier, as suggested by its title, Right on
Line. But after the fine I Believe in You single failed to build
on a measure of club success, Circa delayed releasing the album
until a reworked Flight X (featuring rapper The Voice Of Reason)
broke. When two versions of this track stalled early in 1991 the
album was shelved. Unlike the loss of the second Island album
this was a genuine disaster, since Right on Line largely
comprised pin-sharp original material, together with another
wayward Suicide cover, this time the lush ballad Surrender.


With the RoL album in limbo, Haig released an instrumental set
of imaginary film themes through Les Temps Modernes, who had
previously issued the Josef K back catalogue on CD. Cinematique
appeared in September 1991 to glowing reviews, and comprised
three distinct suites, being City of Fun (accomplished noir
jazz), Lagondola (new age, almost) and Flashback (electronica).
In 1993 the Right on Line album finally emerged as Coincidence
vs Fate on the ever-accommodating Crepuscule label, albeit with
two weaker tracks relegated to the flipside of the accompanying
single (Surrender) and three new tracks added. After a two year
delay its state of the art production style might have sounded
a tad dated in places, but not fatally so, and in this writer's
opinion RoL/Coincidence... may yet prove to be the best Paul Haig
album to date.

Despite warm reviews neither Cinematique nor Coincidence vs Fate
sold in great numbers, due in part to low-key press and
distribution, and to Haig's ongoing reluctance to submit to self-
promotion. By his own admission:

I just don't like playing live much. Maybe once every two
years. It's a situation I can't handle. Up on stage it's
very strange. It just seems an awkward situation to be in.
You're on stage and there's all these people looking up at
you. I can't help laughing at the thought of it. I just
want to do it as little as possible. Other people love it.
It only depends on what kind of person you are, if your ego
can cope with it. Weird, eh? (Deadbeat, 1984)

With me it's quite simple. I just do my own thing and don't
compromise for anybody. If you can do this and still
succeed, that's perfect. New Order manage it - perverse and
breaking all the rules - they just make records that sell.
I hope I can fit in in my own way. There might be a place
for people who have some sort of background, who have
substance as opposed to being just another manufactured
act. But apart from that I don't see where I would fit. I
couldn't really define the sound. I don't think it's like
anybody else. (Melody Maker, 1989)

It's just music and records. That's the main thing for me.
I find the rest of it completely alien and uncomfortable.
I'll just have to retire quite soon. Not retire from making
music, just from all this [promo] kind of stuff I just find
it more and more ridiculous. Ideally I'd like to be
involved in the background, and still make music but not to
have to be seen or anything like that. I guess film music
is the obvious area for that kind of thing. Or weird
experimental records. (The Scotsman, 1990)

All of which is a great shame, since Haig remains one of
Britain's finest songwriters, and it seems a tad premature to
label him a Scott Walker for the new millennium. In 1999 Paul
Haig unveiled a new label, RoL, with the release of several
archive Billy McKenzie collections, and an excellent second
volume of the Cinematique series.


Returning to the Josef K split back in 1981, Malcolm Ross and
Davy Weddell quickly became involved in the Happy Family, a band
based around quixotic singer/songwriter Nick Currie. Currie had
handed Ross a rough tape at JK's final show in Edinburgh, and
soon after Ross and Weddell helped him record a studio demo with
which he hoped to land a deal. Since Ross had already joined
Orange Juice, his involvement with the Happy Family remained
strictly casual. Nevertheless Fiction were sufficiently impressed
to offer the group two Scottish support slots with the Cure in
December, after which 4AD signed them for a one-off single.

Although the Happy Family was strictly a Nick Currie vehicle,
Much of the publicity attendant to the release of Innermost
Thoughts in April 1982 focused on the presence of 'former Josef
K bass player' David Weddell. After drummer Ian Stoddart fell ill
Ron Torrance stepped in to replace him, while yet another Josef
K connection came via guitarist Paul Mason, previously a JK
roadie. With the addition of keyboards, the group proceeded to
record The Man On Your Street as a five piece, producing a fine
(if rather mannered) literary concept album, which should
nonetheless please any Josef K fan on a musical level - even if
many found Currie's convoluted lyrics and outre obsessions a
little hard to swallow.

Despite some fine songwriting, the JK connection drew unenviable
comparisons, and the album was neither a critical nor a
commercial success. Indeed, even 4AD's cultish following steered
clear, although a remastered CD would in time appear. After a
third and final concert in Glasgow (with Jah Wobble) in December
1982 the group split, apathy and disinterest seemingly the cause
rather than musical differences. Currie returned to university,
and after graduating reinvented himself as Momus, going on to
record a string of acclaimed (sort of) albums for El, Creation
and other labels, and achieving semi-stardom in Japan.

In 1984 Les Temps Modernes released ten 4AD demos on cassette
only, together with a booklet featuring Happy Family ephemera and
texts. One of these tracks, March In Turin, also appeared on
LTM's Heures Sans Soleil compilation album a year later. Finally,
completists may wish to invest in early copies of the third Momus
album Tender Pervert (Creation), the initial run of which
contained a free 7" featuring a song recorded for the 4AD album
but left unused, The Poison Boyfriend.

Prior to joining the Happy Family, Ron Torrance had briefly
joined Edinburgh band Boots For Dancing, although without playing
on any of their records. After the demise of the Happy Family
Weddell played with a variety of bands, including Lip Machine and
the High Bees (with Malcolm Ross), before teaming up with
Torrance again in 1985 as Heyday. Fronted by Steven Harrison (who
had earlier cut an RoL single with Paul Haig), Heyday recorded
an ep for Crepuscule, produced by - surprise! - Haig and Rankine.
For reasons unknown the three tracks remained unreleased until
Tel Quel Records licensed them as part of a Steven Harrison mini
album in 1987. By then, however, Heyday had come and gone. The
Heyday track Sad and Blue also appeared on a Crepuscule
compilation, The Rough with the Smooth, in 1986, albeit credited
to Harrison alone.


Following the demise of Josef K guitarist Malcolm Ross become
something of a gun for hire, and just one week after the split
was announced accepted an invitation to join Orange Juice. Since
OJ had already recorded their debut album You Can't Hide Your
Love Forever Ross did not contribute, but did complete the
accompanying tour, and remained on board when the original band
fragmented early the following year. The Ross/Collins/Manyika/
McClymont line-up then hit commercial paydirt with the hit single
Rip It Up in February 1983, which climbed to Number 8. Sadly,
Orange Juice were unable to consolidate on this success, with no
less than nine of their singles stalling between 75 and 41
between 1981 and 1984. Ross contributed several songs during his
stay with the band and stuck around until late 1983, but
eventually quit after clashes with Edwyn Collins over the Texas
Fever album.

Ross immediately hooked up with mercurial Roddy Frame in Aztec
Camera as second guitarist, joining in time to record and tour
the Knife album. Ross's role in Aztec Camera was strictly as a
session player, and with their work over the group disbanded,
Frame only later re-emerging with the Love album in 1987. Ross
then guested on the second Blancmange album, Believe You Me, and
also appeared with the duo live.

In 1985 Ross embarked on the High Bees project with wife Susan
Buckley on vocals. However, after a handful of live concerts and
a lone single, She's Killing Time, on Supreme International in
October, the project faded. Since then Ross has guested with Paul
Haig, former Moodist Dave Graney, and - with Weddell - backed
Nick Currie/Momus live. After completing a music degree, Ross
released two distinguished solo albums on chic German label
Marina, Low Shot (1995) and Happy Boy (1998). A third set is
currently being readied for release.

Josef K manager Allan Campbell, incidently, is now an established
BBC television producer, with Film 2000 among his many credits.
While it seems highly unlikely that his erstwhile charges will
regroup, the band's rich legacy - and any future records that
individual members release - will continue to inspire for many
years to come.

What a great day for the Scottish, isn't it? And I don't even understand a single word they say half of the time ....

Either way: enjoy you very own Paul Haig - Day today, friends .... and stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some Of The Best There Ever Has Been: '1990'

Hello party people,

for a starter: apologies for the recent lack of posts on this site, but Little Loser heavily demands attention all the freakin' time! He either sleeps or shits, but inbetween he wants us to play with him without any break at all .... and of course we are more than happy to do so. This of course means that I rarely find the time to make up my mind in order to post some more clever stuff on Sexyloser. Nevertheless I stole myself away, so please find my favourite tunes from 1990:

Sloppy Seconds - 'I Don't Want To Be A Homosexual' (mp3). Sloppy Seconds is a Ramones-influenced punk band from Indianapolis that started in the mid-1980s. With such underground hits as "Come Back, Traci" (a tribute to an underaged Traci Lords), "I Want 'em Dead", and "So Fucked Up", the band prefers to sing about TV shows, comic books, alcohol, being fat, and getting drunk. They have been quoted as being proud to be fat, drunk, and stupid. Their name is the slang term for when a man has intercourse with another person who already has received another man's semen in the relevant orifice.

I stole that from Wikipedia, I must admit, but I like it very much ... being fat, drunk and stupid myself at times. Can't tell much about the explanation of the name though ... at least I hope I can't .... certainly not knowingly ... but you never know, ey? Jesus!!! Aaaanyway: the track above was released on a 7" on Toxic Shock Records from the USA back in 1990. And very fine it is, to be sure.

Let me point out, please, that I have no prejudices whatsoever against homosexuals: it's just not my cup of tea, that's all.

The Pixies - 'Monkey Gone To Heaven' (mp3). Not the original version of this classic tune from 1988 for you folks, but one recorded for the BBC - Mark Goodier show on August 18, 1990, first transmitted August 20, 1990. Not very much different to the original, you might argue - and you would be right - but I like it very much .... and I hope you do so as well. One of a whole bunch of Pixies' tunes on a compilation on Elektra, issued in 1998 and taken from various BBC - sessions the band did over the years.

If you ever - like I did - wondered what this "man is five, devil is six ..." - stuff in the lyrics might possibly be all about, here's some more or less helpful explanation from Black Francis himself: "It's a reference from what I understand to be Hebrew numerology, and I don't know a lot about it or any of it really. I just remember someone telling me of the supposed fact that in the Hebrew language, especially in the Bible, you can find lots of references to man in the 5th and Satan in the 6th and God in the 7th. [...] I didn't go to the library and figure it out"

Peter & The Test Tube Babies - 'Love In The First Degree' (mp3). And yessssss, friends, finally Sexyloser goes Stock/Aitken/Waterman ... well: quite. As you might imagine, Peter and his Test Tube Babies give the 1987 Bananarama tune a good kick in the ass, which makes it become one of my faves from 1990. Taken from an album on Rebel Records called 'The $hit Factory'.

The Lemonheads - 'Different Drum' (mp3). I like it when they do cover versions and this is a very fine example: originally performed by Linda Ronstadt, albeit written by Michael Nesmith (out of The Monkees). It appears on a 12" EP called 'Favorite Spanish Dishes' (mine is calamary in a garlic/tomato sauce by the way: dunno if this is typically Spanish though, but I used to eat it frequently when being in Spain .... but I digress, sorry), released on Atlantic Records in the June of 1990 ...

The Bridewell Taxis - 'Honesty' (mp3). This is the third single from Leeds' Bridewell Taxis: I have always loved them, each of the three records ('Just Good Friends' ('89), 'Give In' ('90) plus the one above) is purely awesome and I recommend to buy them all as soon as you possibly can! A 12" on Stolen Records ... from 1990, as you might already have gathered.

That's it for today, dearest friends .... as usual I sincerely do hope you liked what I chose: leave comments, please, to tell me whether this was the case or not!

Have fun and enjoy,


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Little Loser's Lottery: Pt. 1

Dearest friends and followers,

some of you might already know about it, others may not: a few weeks ago Mrs. Loser and me finally managed to adopt our son (who was delivered to us on February 19th). Little man is six months old today and he is - you may well believe me - a bundle of joy, there is no other way to desribe it. But also, as you might imagine, he needs to be watched all the freaking time and when he finally decides to sleep, Mrs. Loser and me do the same within a second. Nights are short and days are long, but I won't complain! Nevertheless this means that I rarely find the time to work on this site these days and I hope you forgive me for that, friends!
Either way: yesterday I dragged him upstairs to the room where my records are and forced him to do his first Little Loser's Lottery: the first record/CD on the shelf he pointed at with his cute little fingers I pulled out in order to play to you. Although he grinned foolishly all the time, I think he did a pretty admirable job and showed excellent taste ... as you might be able to confirm after having listened to this:

[1] from the LP - shelf: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: 'Tender Prey'. On Mute Records from 1988 and I had a hard time whether to play to you 'Watching Alice' or 'Slowly Goes The Night'. Well, I decided to go for the latter, so here's for you: 'Slowly Goes The Night' (mp3).
[2] from the Singles - shelf: The Levellers - 'The Julie E.P.' A four-track 7" in clear vinyl (always nice, but sound-quality-wise rather disturbing, I always think). I chose their version of The Clash's 'English Civil War' (mp3), one of the songs on the B-Side. The record is from 1994, on China Records.

[3] from the Compilations - shelf: 'One Pound 99'. Now, this is a 1985 Beggar's Banquet compilation with rather a fair amount of goodies on it. Not easy to choose which one to play (Love & Rockets' 'Haunted When The Minutes Drag' is as good as Hank Wangford's 'Never Wear Mascara (When You Love A Married Man)' ... I went for this one: The Ramones - 'Bonzo Goes To Bitburg' (mp3).

[4] from the 12" - shelf: Here my very own private expert picked the Inspiral Carpets' 1989 Peel Session - 12", again on coloured vinyl. I chose 'Directing Traffic' (mp3).

[5] from the CD - shelf: A very useful thing this is and I picked it up years ago in a bargain-bin for a few cents: a 4-track-CD called 'Classic Tracks', I have no idea what label it is on, but it seems to be one in a series of CD's that bring together some quite astonishing tracks ... tracks that the editors regard as being 'classic' in one form or another. On it you'll find Nicky Thomas, John Holt, Ken Boothe and - my pick - the fantastic 'Hurt So Good' (mp3) by Susan Cadogan. A real corker in mono, friends ..... and one of my favourite songs ever!

Well, I hope Little Loser found tunes for you all to enjoy. For me he did his job perfectly well and I hope to be able to convince him to pick more records in due course!

Have fun,


Finn Daniel: 'Settle'

Dearest friends,

I must apologise that it took me nearly one month to present this little gem to you. Back in February I received an email from a Finn Daniel of Leamington Spa of all places, who - very politely - asked whether I would mind to post one of his songs on Sexyloser. Well, Finn, as I wrote to you earlier on: I'm more than pleased to do so, because the song is a clear winner in my books.

The tune is taken from Finn's debut release, an EP called 'Settle', released on his own label, Stickman Records.

I strongly recommend that you visit Finn's site if you have a minute, because as well as more information about him it offers more great tunes to listen to. Of course you also can get hold of the EP on the site, the adress is

Also I pursuaded Finn to contribute to the next 'Musicians Introduce Their Own Songs' - episode on the Contrast Podcast and I have no idea what song he might possibly choose. Either way I'm convinced that it'll be as good as the one posted above: so look out for it, folks!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Giant Paw: debut CD release

Hello friends,

another mail came in, this time from a London-based band called Giant Paw. They release their debut CD called 'The Stars Are Ours' on March 2nd 2009 and they were nice enough to send me an advance copy along with a handwritten letter in which they say that they would be happy if I'd play a track on Sexyloser. And so I shall, of course:

Giant Paw - 'Skin Of Your Teeth' (mp3)

To be absolutely frank to you: the above track really is okay for me, although I'm not entirely convinced by the rest of the CD. Then again: I'm an old fashioned git who is most probably stuck in the Eighties or even Seventies musically. So Giant Paw might well be The Next Big Thing ... and I'm just too stupid to have recognised it. I would suggest: get hold of a copy on March 2nd, listen to it and judge for yourself. The press release letter accompanying the record quotes the likes of Pink Floyd and The Flaming Lips as bands Giant Paw might be compared to. This always is a dangerous thing to do, in my eyes, but there you are ...

'The Stars Are Ours' will be released on Feral Electronics and it was mixed by the legendary Kramer. And you know what: this fact alone should convince you to spend some of your money on Giant Paw, people!

All the best,


For Mr. Suave: The Nirvana Devils

Hello my beauties,

a comment came in from a Mr. Suave to 'My Peel Tapes Pt. 30', in which I played a track by the wonderful Nirvana Devils. Mr. Suave wanted to know more about the band, but alas I can't tell you pretty much about them, Mr. Suave. But - unlike you - I also have the follow-up 7" to their brilliant debut ('Some Foreign Shore'):

The Nirvana Devils - 'Secret Agent Girl' (mp3)

Also on Exile Records from Germany, also released in 1985, and - believe it or not - even the back of the cover basically looks the same as the one of 'Some Foreign Shore' .... with all the necessary or unnecessary information on it.

The tunes itself are equally good in my eyes, therefore: enjoy, Mr. Suave ... and the rest of you as well, of course!


Monday, February 16, 2009

My Peel Tapes - Part 30

Okay dear friends,

thanks for your patience: you've managed to go with me through half a life of music, provided by the great John Peel. This is the final edition of 'My Peel Tapes' and again I sincerely hope that in it you will find something you like:
(328) Juniper Moon - 'Volveras' (mp3). "Young Spanish band - all their members are in their teens! - debut with a wild combination of blistering guitar raids, hyperspeed drumming and soft female vocals. Pure teenage energy, as convincing and impressive as their live sets. Vigorous pop pills, short-lengthed but super abundant in catching energy, teenage self-confidence and hyper-vitamined guitars.": that's what their label - Elefant Records from sunny Madrid, Spain, had to say about this 7" from 1999. I suppose I like it so much because I don't understand any single word they sing .... my Spanish is, as is my French, best described as weak: I mean, I can order a beer or to, but that's about it ... then again: do you need to have more knowledge of a language than that?!

(329) New Order - 'Brutal' (mp3). Watch out, Leonardo DiCaprio - fans worldwide: this is from the soundtrack of the film 'The Beach', not one of my personal favourites, I must admit (although I think good ole' Leo is rather a smart actor at times (albeit not in this particular film) and not one of the best soundtracks, that's for sure. This tune is not bad though, not because it's by New Order, it's just not bad, that's all. Available on a 2000 CD from Rhino/WEA.
(330) Subway Sect - 'Nobody's Scared' (mp3). On March, 23 in 1978, Subway Sect released their debut single, "Nobody's Scared". It was backed by "Dontsplitit". They released two singles under the Subway Sect name without an album. They later changed their name to Vic Godard & The Subway Sect. The Bristol, England punk band disbanded in 1981. Vic Godard has recently re-formed the band. I heard one of the new songs: not bad at all, people, not bad at all!

(331) Hefner - 'Twisting Mary's Arm' (mp3). Darren Hayman says: "'Twisting Mary's Arm' is a very old song that dates back to one of mine and Ant's old bands; 'Big Boys Toys', with changed lyrics. The song isn't about anything, just a nonsensical collection of words. It was the song we used to finish ninety percent of the shows with. Sometimes I felt funny singing those lyrics to a crowd though, it sounded like I was being very ungrateful.". I took it from their wonderful 'Boxing Hefner' - LP on Too Pure Records, released in 2000.

(332) Positively Testcard - 'Twist With The Morning Stars' (mp3). A South London band who play Kwela, an upbeat, whistle-led style originating in South Africa in the 1950s. Here's their homepage where you'll find the song above on their 2000 CD 'Gas Up My Hotrod Stoker, The Kwela Groove Frenzy's Hit Town' ... a wonderful title, but alas I always found the CD to be a bit too expensive, considering that I have to add p&p into Germany. Perhaps one of these days I'll get hold of it anywhere else, who know. But I'm sure it's a gem ...

(333) The Undertones - 'Jimmy Jimmy' (mp3). Once again, a classic power-pop- tune from yesteryear, and again: why not? Their third single, on Sire Records, from 1979. Simply wonderful!

(334) Smog - 'Dress Sexy At My Funeral' (mp3). An outstanding track from a somewhat disappointing album, I must say, 'Dongs Of Sevotion' (Drag City Records, 2000). Perhaps this is because it's a double-album, and there are not many very good double-albums around, I think, in fact 'London Calling' is the only one which comes to mind right now where all of the songs are just perfect (by the way: your search for 'London Calling' in Smog - discographies will turn out to be in vain, younger readers, it was by a band called 'The Clash'). Either way: Smog basically was Bill Callahan on his own and as far as I know he now releases records under this name.

(335) Elastica - 'Da Da Da' (mp3). Originally done by German outfit Trio back in 1982 - and I remember very well how outraged older people over here were when this was released and frequently shown on the telly ... they thought it was the end of German culture - you can find it on their album 'The Menace' on Deceptive/Atlantic from 2000.

(336) Grandaddy - 'Everything Beautiful Is Far Away' (mp3). From 1998, a CD-single on Big Cat Records ... and what a marvellous little tune this is, friends!! A little bit more on Grandaddy: here.

(337) Brassy - 'No Competition' (mp3). A British band, but with an American singer, Muffin Spencer, who, by the way, is the sister of Jon Spencer out of the wonderful Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion. Their biography once read: "Brassy are Elastica sharing a sloppy wet kiss with the Beasties." And you know what? This is not far from the truth! 'No Competition' is on Brassy's debut LP on Wiija, 'Got It Made' (2001).

(338) ESG - 'Moody' (mp3). This, I once read, is supposed to be the most-sampled track in the history of recorded music. Whether this is true or not, I obviously can't tell. But it's a neat tune, taken from a very good band-compilation, a double LP actually, called 'A South Bronx Story', it was released on Universal Records in 2000. 'Moody' itself though is from 1982. More on E.S.G.: here.

(339) Clinic - 'Distortions' (mp3). Another fine track from a another fine album, their first full-length release: 'Internal Wrangler' (Domino Records 2000). Not as good as the fantastic 'The Return Of Evil Bill' ... and perhaps not even comparable, but still worthwile downloading ... so do it now while you can!

(340) Silicon Teens - 'Memphis Tennessee' (mp3). I'm pretty sure that quite a lot of you out there will say, 'now, this is the fucking best song in the whole episode' ... and you may even be right! If you never heard this before, please please please have a listen, boys and girls! Silicon Teens basically were no other than Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records (more about this: here) and they/he released an album back in 1980 (on Sire) called 'Music For Parties'. Great stuff altogether, but this version of the Chuck Berry - tune is simply outstanding!

(341) Cay - 'Resurrexit' (mp3). A CD-single on Org Records from 2000, and another brilliant one as well. Some little discussion about the merits of Cay here ... personally I know nothing about them at all. But the tune is a winner, that's for sure!

(342) Ballboy - 'Essential Wear For Future Trips To Space' (mp3). Well, over the years Ballboy have become one of my favourite bands. Clever lyrics, great tunes ... what more can you possibly ask for? This is the first tune of theirs I heard John Peel play and I was fascinated by them from this point onwards. I think it was released as a single, but you'll also find it on the -highly recommended - full-length CD 'Club Anthems' (SL Records, 2001).

(343) Ladytron - 'Another Breakfast With You' (mp3). Again from a compilation, and again from a fine one as well. Of course not all of the 15 tracks are perfect, but most of them are close to it, I would say. 'We Love You ... So Love Us Too' was released by We Love You Records as a CD in 2001. I'm pretty sure it has become one of those items that you will more or less find rather easily in the bargain bins of your local record shop. If this turn out to be the case: do spend a quid or two for it, it's worth having!

(344) The Outcasts - 'Just Another Teenage Rebel' (mp3). Something from Belfast for you now for a change .... a total classic from November 1978, the band's second 7" on Good Vibrations. Good to hear this gem again, isn't it?

(345) Schneider TM - 'The Light 3000' (mp3). Well, as you might already have gathered, I'm not much of an expert when it comes to more contemporary music, therefore I can only tell you that I think this was first released on a 12" called 'Binokular' on City Slang Records in 2000. What I know for sure though is that it's a cover of a Smiths - favourite, 'There's A Light That Never Goes Out' ... also a great song, always on top when people are asked about their favourite Smiths - release. I prefer their older stuff though, but I digress ....

(346) The New Pornographers - 'Letter From An Occupant' (mp3). A CD-single on Matador (from 2000), also included on their 'Mass Romantic' - CD. More on the band: here.

(347) Mary Monday & Her Bitches - 'I Gave My Punk Jacket To Ricky' (mp3). Again, a little classic: from the USA, a 7" on Malicious Records, released in 1977. As it is so often the case with those great bands from yesteryear (those which didn't put out that many record), you are practically unable to ascertain any information about them in the internet at all. Alas Mary Monday & Her Bitches are no exception, so there's nothing I can tell you about them.

(348) The Beat - 'Ranking Full Stop' (mp3). From one of the great albums of all time, 'Just Can't Stop It', released on IRS in 1982, this is the last song I ever got to hear on John Peel's Music on BFBS.

Although BFBS officials still claim that Peel recorded his shows for them 'until his death', the truth is somewhat different: he used to record those shows at home, they were sent to BFBS in London and then broadcasted worldwide. It took Peel a few weeks to find out that the shows he had recorded just weren't broadcasted any longer and only upon request BFBS told him that they wouldn't want him to be on the air no more ..... after some 30 (!) years of working for them!

Back in 2000 there was no thought of internet radio or whatsoever, nor were any possibilities to listen to his BBC shows in Germany on the radio. So I had to rely on the music papers, which turned out not be very useful. In the end - I must admit - I gave up on new music: there was no John Peel to point me to it, you see.

On 26 October 2004 I was honeymooning in Jamaica. Me and Mrs. Loser hired a roofless Suzuki Jeep, rather an old car without any special equipment, you see, in order to drive from Negril to Port Antonio. The car's aerial was nothing more than a piece of crooked wire and the only station we could receive was - curiously enough - the BBC World Service. The reception was far away from being superb, as you might imagine, but they played The Cure and The Undertones and Joy Division all the time, so I had a great time driving along in the sun.

But in all of my life I will never forget the moment - we were approaching the suburbs of Kingston - when suddenly an announcement came up that Peel had died whilst being on holiday in Peru. I had to stop the car and even these days Mrs. Loser tells me that she never had seen an expression on my face like this again. I mean, I only met Peel about seven or eight times in my life and yes, I once stayed at his home for three days back in 1984, which means I never got to know him very well, but nevertheless he always has been like a father to me, as well with what he had to say on his BFBS show as with what he wrote in his little letters he'd send to me in all these years. Honestly, since his death, I think not a single day has passed on which I didn't think of him with the deepest respect possible.

The following was recorded by the BBC's answering machine on October 24th, 2004.

Miss you, John. Thanks for all the music, mate.