Appreciation Everything In The World EP

Introducing Rachel McClean

… who played cello on my new recordEverything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky. You can hear her work all over ‘Fingernails’ (she also played on several tracks on my first EP Let’s Build An Airport) and we’ve even played live together a few times.

Rachel is a brilliantly inventive songwriter in her own right. She’s a mainstay of the First Tuesday Songwriters Group and you can often catch her on FAWM and live with Felix MB.

Check out her songs on Soundcloud and give her a like on Facebook.

My EP is available on Bandcamp (check out the ‘25% off’ digital bundle) iTunesAmazon UKAmazon USSpotifyCD Baby, Soundcloud and Google Play.


Appreciation: KS Rhoads – Hiyayayayayaya

The verses of KS Rhoads‘ incredible track Hiyayayayayaya seem to have been created from the ‘Build A Title’ game from the Doug Loves Movies podcast (let me know if it has an older origin). It was expertly transcribed, nay deciphered, on Jen Cox’s tumbler


Call me Ishmael | Al Pacino | Nobility & Sympathy | Theo Huxtable | Below the belt | Belt Buckle | Buckle Under Pressure | Pressure Point | Point Break and Johnny Utah | you taw a puddy [tat] | cat’s in the cradle | cradle to the grave | grave danger | Danger Mouse | Mousing around | Around the Way Girl | Girl, you know it’s true | True Romance | Romancing the Stone | Stone Cold Steve [Austin] | Steve McQueen | Queen Elizabeth | Bethlehem | Hem a skirt | Skirt the issue | Issue a verdict | Dick VanDyke | Ike & Tina | Tina Turner | Turner & Hooch | Hoochie-koochie mama | Mama was rolling [stone] | Rock the Cas-bah | Bar Mitzvah | Fuggetaboutit | It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady [sings] | Lady & the Tramp | Trampoline | Lean On Me | Mika Su[shi] | Siouxsie & the Banshees | she’s a cap? | Capitalize | Liza Minnelli | Nellie Furtado | Do-Re-Mi | Me Tarzan, You Jane | Jane’s Addiction | Dictionary | Areola | Hola, Como Esta? | Taj Mahal | Halter top | Top Gun | Gunnar Nelson | Nelson Mandela | Delaware | Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? | Go-go Gadget! | Jitterbug | Bugsy Malone | I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. | A Rebel Yell | Yellow Submarine | Marine Biology | Jesus Christ Almighty


Who’s been sleeping in, in my bed
The guillotine gonna come and get your head
Take what you need and leave the rest
But the big bird borrows from the little bird’s nest


Mighty Mouse | Mouseketeers | Tears For Fear[s] | Fear and Loathing in Las [Vegas] | Loss of blood | Blood sugar | Sugar Ray | Ray Charles | Charles Manson | Manson Family | Family Matter | Matter of fact | Factory farms | Farms cattle | Cattle call | Cauliflower | Flower power | Power to the people | The People vs. Larry Flynt | Flint, Michigan | Michigan J Frog | Frog Leg | Leggo my Eggo | Go Tell it on the Mountain | Mountain lion | Lionel Ritchie | Richie Sambora | Bora-Bora | Bore a hole | Hole in the wall | Walter Matthau | Thou shall not kill | Kilogram | Gram Parsons | Arsonist | Hysterectomy | Meter maid | Made in China | China doll | Dollywood | Would a woodchuck | woodchuck could chuck wood could chuck | Chuck Berry | Bury my Heart at Wounded [Knee] | Wounded soldier | Jury duty | Duty free | Freaks come out at night | Knights of the Round Table | Table Tennis | Tennis elbow | Botox | Toxicology report | Puerto Vallarta | artificial insemination | Nation under God Indivisible | Invisibility | Tina Fey | Fay Dunaway | Wade in the water | Water-chilled | Children | Ren & Stimpy | P’s & Q’s | Use Your Illusion | Illusionist | Istanbul | Bulletboys | Boise, Idaho | Hotel | Tel Aviv | Viva Las Vegas


I got my 1-wood | Woodrow Wilson | Wilson Phillip[s] | Phillip Morris | Morris the Cat | Catnip | Nip and Tuck | Tucker The Man and his Dreams played by Jeff Bridges | Bridges of Madison Count[y] | Count of Monte Cristo | Toe the line | Line of fire | Fire in the hole | Holy water | What are we to do | Do the right thing | Things that make you go hmmmm… | Humphrey Bogart | Garth Brooks | Brooks and Dunn | Dunlop tennis balls | Balls of steel | Steal third base | Base makeup | Make up for lost time | Time Travel | Travellers check | Check the mail | Mail order bride | Bridal showers | showers bring may [flowers] | Mayweather | Whether or not | [ready] or not here I come | Come Together | Together we are one | 1-2-3, a-b-c | See Spot Run | Run DMC | See Dick and Jane | Janie’s Got a Gun

Preview Hiyayayayayaya or get a free sampler from Noisetrade


Cleft – My New Favourite Band

Here’s two tracks from my latest band crush Cleft a two piece turbo-prog/math rock band from Manchester. What I dislike about them is that they were splitting up even as I ‘discovered’ them. What I like about them is the huge sound they get out of two instruments, the odd time signatures, the clever, nuanced arrangements (reminiscent of System Of A Down), the funky Rage Against The Machine type riffs and the wit and humour contained in their music. Here’s Frankenstein (live) from their last record Wrong and Trapdoor (a studio version) from their first Whale-Bone.

Appreciation Composing Soundtracks

John Powell: Bourne To Compose

I’ve loved John Powell‘s film scoring ever since I saw The Bourne Supremacy. On the DVD bonus feature John talks about the way he used the piano/strings vs the dhols (drums) to communicate the two conflicting emotions of loss and revenge inside Jason Bourne’s head as he contemplates the death of his girlfriend (started around 1:20).

John has a great sense of humour, very dry and self-effacing (or ‘British’) that makes him an inspirational communicator. In this interview and masterclass he focuses on how he works with choirs and vocal groups

Here’s a short interview on How To Train Your Dragon 2

And a roundtable with Marco Beltrami, Danny Elfman, Trent Reznor and Hans Zimmer.


My New Favourite Band…

…is Mucca Pazza. They are a punk rock marching band that doesn’t really march, but do use amplifiers built into their hats (when they’re not playing in someone’s office).

Their compositions are really original and creative and since seeing this video I have bought all four of their albums.

… that’s Gary Kalar is playing an electric 4-string mandolin shaped like a mini Gibson Firebird. And he’s playing it with a slide!!!!!

Here’s some links

Free download of the audio of this tiny desk concert
Free download Radio Show from Free Music Archive
Website  Facebook  Bandcamp


Appreciation Great Guitarists

King Of The Blues

I like almost every style of music in the world but I only love a few artist in each genre that really connect with me. In the blues those artists would be Sonny Boy Williamson (I and II), Howling Wolf, Robben Ford and B.B. King.

Sadly B.B. died today at the age of 89. He was an incredible singer and guitar player with perfect phrasing and a master of string bending. I remember being amazed at hearing a live recording of him singing How Blue Can You Get – when he got to the bridge “I gave you seven children and now you want to give them back” women in the audience screamed! (and you thought that started with the Beatles).

My Favourite songs are The Thrill Is Gone (which has a classy turnaround chord change), Help The Poor and How Blue Can You Get.

My favourite albums are Live At The Regal and Live In Cook County Jail.

And if you’re in the UK, BBC iTunes has a few free documentaries to stream Sounding Out (1972) and Arena (1985).

B.B. had a playful sense of humour (as demonstrated in the song below) – oh and he was a master of the ‘guitar face’…

Appreciation Nottingham Sounds

The Return Of Scorzilla The Gorilla

I’ll take a moment to speak about Scorzayzee  I don’t write enough about the music that really moves me because I want to do it justice and never find enough time to gather my thoughts. So this will be short but don’t let that fool you. I love this album – Aeon: Peace To The Puzzle. (Stream it on Spotify or buy it on Amazon).

Scorz has walked a hard road the last few years battling drugs, mental illness, media backlash. What I love about this album is the blend of spirituality, humour and honesty. A lot of artists are afraid to look stupid or weak. Others fear exposing their spiritual beliefs to potential ridicule. Others want to hide their embarrassing beginnings and create a myth of the perfectly formed artist suddenly appearing. But Scorz breaks all these taboos and sometimes on the same track.

It’s hard to do this album (and artist) justice but this double album – 28 tracks – is well worth your time and your money. I’ll say it again – Aeon: Peace To The Puzzle. Stream it on Spotify or buy it on Amazon).


Appreciation: ks Rhoads – Orphaned

I think ks Rhoads is a great arranger and I love the way he manages to create such hooky wordless chorus melodies on tracks like Orphaned and Wilderness. But he’s also a lyricist who is able to conjure up rich imagery with just a few words.

I float in a basket
A coyote alone
Get born into a union
But you die on your own
A bear on the iceberg
Is burning in the sun
What if go behind the curtain
And see no one?

Are we orphaned?

Got lost on a planet
We don’t understand
What started in the water
Is stranded on the sand
They live in the shadows
And they lie about the sun
I satellite the black hole
Between the brilliant and Babylon

Are we orphaned?

Get a free sampler including Orphaned


David Bazan Takes First Bass

I really appreciate the way David Bazan reinterprets some of his older songs here. There’s not many guitarist who would switch to bass

More Bazan stuff here

Appreciation Songwriting

Serious Like Weird Al (pt.3)

In previous posts I’ve started to build a case for why I think Weird Al Yankovic is one of the greatest lyricists of the present day, pointing out the way he fashions a completely new song while sticking closely to the original rhyme scheme and meter. This is a very restrictive way to work. But that’s not all. In some songs he does all of the above despite the lyrics being a complete summary of a film storyline.

Here’s a few examples from his parody of American PieThe Saga Begins (aka Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.

A long, long time ago
In a galaxy far away
Naboo was under an attack

here’s the chorus;

So bye-bye, Miss American Pie.
Drove my Chevy to the levee, But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.”

Oh my, my, this here Anakin guy
May be Vader someday later – now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye
Sayin’ “Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.”

The last verse almost completely retains the original rhymes and concludes

And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

And the Jedi I admire most
Met up with Darth Maul and now he’s toast
Well, I’m still here and he’s a ghost
I guess I’ll train this boy

Al performed the same feat with the first Spiderman film – Ode To A Superhero set to the tune of Piano Man by Billy Joel

Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, were all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

Sling us a web, you’re the Spider-Man
Sling us a web tonight
‘Cause we’re all in the mood for a hero now
And there’s evil doers to fight

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And hes talkin’ with Davy, who’s still in the navy
And probably will be for life

Now Norman’s a billionaire scientist
Who never had time for his son
But then something went screwy and before you knew he
Was trying to kill everyone

As well as the numerous echos (It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday/It’s a pretty sad day at the funeral and Now John at the bar/ Now Harry the rich kid) he goes beyond merely relaying the plot, adding wry commentary on the film itself…

And he’s ridin’ around on that glider thing
And he’s throwin’ that weird pumpkin bomb
Yes, he’s wearin’ that dumb Power Rangers mask
But he’s scarier without it on.

The Saga Begins is on Running With Scissors and Ultimate Collection DVD AND Weird Al Live DVD. Ode To A Superhero is on Poodle Hat.

Related Posts: Serious Like Weird Al

Part 1 (White & Nerdy & rewriting)
Part 2 (Jerry Springer/One Week)
Part 3 (The Saga Begins/American Pie & Ode To A Superhero/Piano Man)
Part 4 (Bob & palindromes)