Musical End of Year Awards – Hanging Stars, Juniore & the Asteroid No. 4

I shouldn’t really do this, as there are just so many opinions on music; but here I go anyway.

The scene now is worse than ever, and until the “charts” are based back on sales, rather than streams, with the accompanying corrupt marketing campaigns, and utterly corrupt algorithms that the major streamers use, we’re fucked.

But here I go. . .

Album of the Year – The Hanging Stars; Hollow Heart

The Hanging Stars, once again put out a very listenable, neo-psych, country, pedal steel heavy masterpiece; probably their best yet. Thoroughly modern, thoroughly retro. As John Peel said years ago about The Fall, “always different, always the same”.

Single of the Year:

A tie! Between that horribly, irritating TUI advert song, that was in my head all year, and is undoubtedly older than 2022; Juniore, Ah bad d’accord

And the always listenable Asteroid No. 4, and their change of scene, into a female-based synth pop sound, with Set Your Sights:



Kelvingrove Bandstand Concerts this Summer, Glasgow

Once again, the adage about something being on your doorstep, that you don’t even know about.

Kelvingrove Park Bandstand, West End, Glasgow

Had a walk on the weekend around the West End of Glasgow, and after hearing some music coming from the park, had another walk on the Sunday, and came across the above concert series; and they even had a drinks van from West Brewery in Glasgow!

I have to admit, I didn’t know a thing about this, and thoroughly enjoyed the hour I was there, listening to brass bands, one from the University of Glasgow.

Glasgow University Brass Band Ensemble, Glasgow

I would say that at least the powers that be, who run Glasgow, are attempting to have something for everybody here. This was a very friendly, family-oriented event – more please.

It also it is good, to see this once, run-down venue, being used more and more these days, particularly with their summer series concerts (rock, pop, etc) taking place here the last few years.

Very pleasant.


The Mela, Glasgow, Scotland – Last Weekend

Once again, or at least for the first time since 2019, the Mela was on, that celebrates south Asian culture here in Scotland, and it was packed!

Fabric / Clothes shops at the Mela

We were only there for about 90 minutes, but as usual, there was a good vibe and multiple music tents – I believe there was even a ceilidh going on, as well as live music. I happened to see an experimental jazz, Asian fusion brigade. The leader, even said hello to his Ma and Da there!

Music Bandstand

There were even charities and self-help groups, complete in their stalls, handing out information and soliciting donations. One, the Vision Again Foundation, looked at the vital need for eye operations in the 3rd World, that can be done for as little as £20 in order to restore sight; I’ve already donated.

More shots of the Mela

Well worth a visit again, in the oncoming year.

As I left, there were more stalls, and even a “wall”, where one could write opinions on a variety of current affairs.


Christmas Albums – Frank Sinatra – “The Classic Christmas Album” – 1948, 1957, 1963, etc

This seems to me, to be one of the go to albums, though will have to listen to again as it was with Spotify, and was a combination of several of FS’s CDs.

A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra – 1957

Some were from the 50s / 60s (he did make an album with Bing Crosby in 1963 with a Christmas theme), which is in my opinion when he did his best stuff ever; swing, collaborations with Nelson Riddle and Quincy Jones, but others seemed to me, to be from his early period, where the arrangements were a wee bit schlocky and had a post-war naivete to them. I believe it is his Christmas Album, from 1948, “Christmas Songs by Sinatra”.

Though it must be said, that something as good as his interpretation of Mel Torme’s, The Christmas Song, is irresistible.


Christmas Albums – Willie Nelson – “The Classic Christmas Album” – 2012

Did a search for this on Spotify, and this showed up; pure class, and his phrasing is spot on as well.


Some are “sophisticated” and some are just plain, old Willie with a guitar.

Personal faves were Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and just like REO Speedwagon yesterday, he for some reason includes Blue Christmas – and nails it!

Willie being Willie

The final entry, What a Wonderful World, is here for some reason? Though I’ve never understood why. It was released in September 1967 originally (by Louis Armstrong), but somehow actually fits here.



Christmas Albums – REO Speedwagon – “Not So Silent Night . . . Christmas with REO Speedwagon” – 2009

Why not do this, listen to a different Christmas album each day of this Yuletide season?

REO’s Christmas album – 2009

And why not start with some of the more obscure ones, as the above certainly is. In addition, it is actually the last album (to date?) from the boys from Champagne, Illinois.

The album, including bonus tracks, has 18 tracks on it, and should really be listened to, to be believed! At times, I literally didn’t know that Kevin Cronin was still in the band and singing; his once bright voice is simply gone, but then again, they all must be pushing 180 years of age, so give then an A+ for effort.

The problem, and hopefully will not rear its ugly head in the coming weeks, is that there is nothing really “REO” about the album, and is distinctly regular at times. Though an original, the downbeat, adult contemporary, “I Believe in Santa Claus”, by Cronin and Hall, is a very passable new song.

C’mon lads, you are a very talented group of musicians, and some of the arrangements should have been more diverse and unique. Though at the end, God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen and Blue Christmas make the album very enjoyable at times.



REM – First Hit, Last Hit

Interesting, I literally didn’t know that REM were still having chart records, well into the 21st century (having given up on them mainly after the New Adventures in Hi-Fi album, though I still knew that they were going strong’ish).

Though they may have been bought primarily by their fanbase, a top 40 record (particularly back then), was STILL a hit record.  I do remember them occasionally playing this on the radio, but almost as an afterthought, as in “Yes, we know you have fans and your big, but. . . “

Their first was back in 1987, with the seminal The One I Love, a #16 in 1987:

Whilst there last, number 32 in total!, was Wanderlust, which hit #27 in 2005.

A staggering career.


Music of the Month – Inspiral Carpets

Still remember these lads from Manchester at Reading Festival all those years ago, complete with a marching band (majorette led!), during their finale with Biggest Mountain, a delightful slow number, ending in a sweet rift to finish. Where initially I wasn’t sure if their sound was big enough – it was! They completely filled the farm with a huge, organ led blast.

They to me, combined the early rave / Madchester sound, with an early Britpop feel, largely due their Farfisa organ sound, played by the man, himself – Clint Boon. What a sound!

They always had both a hip, poppy beat, at the same time as having a downbeat or cynicism with the lyrics, though I still have no idea who wrote them, perhaps their always so serious / miserable lead singer, Tom Hingley.

I always felt that it was these two’s band, as in reality, they were much older (I thought) than the others, with them being in their 30s, when they suddenly packed it in – after something like 15 Top 50s in four or five years, with 4 albums being in the Top 20 (2 in the Top 5).

But for the few years, they were not ever out of the charts, and also ALWAYS had their very own keyboard / organ sound, and fashion sense; with them selling trillions of white, long sleeve t-shirts, with the “Cool as F*ck” logos.

Whilst annoyed they quit so soon, it’s my one hope that other bands would do this, as let’s be honest, who really gives a shit about a band after their first several albums.

Equally, they gave me one of my lasting “gig” memories, when after some drunk pelted Boon’s organs with a pint (at a university in Glasgow), Hingley stated; Who threw that? Who FOOKING threw that!, and with the help of their drummer (I believe) both went after the dick / culprit on the dance floor, to give him a doing. Classic!

One of their best:


Musings for ’21, Music of the year for ’20

With the lockdown still around, I plan on putting more travel from the past on here fairly soon. Trips ranged from the USA to Hong Kong and China, but first, my choices for last year’s music.

It was as usual, a dreadful year in mainstream music, so hence my top faves are probably not the highest hits on Spotify, et al. 

Albums of the year:

1) Escape: Expanded Edition, Moon Duo

This trippy, gothicy, new age, type of psychedelic drone, just grows and grows on you.  Superb to put on in the background, and just go in and through the waves of sounds.

2) Shore, Fleet Foxes

They returned, with a standard that their earlier stuff would approve of.  “Nice”, and flowing, like a big log fire staring out at the forest.

3) Northern Songs, Asteroid #4

Contains my single of the year, the title track, and combines those sixties jangles, with a devotion to a minimal shoe-gazing, that only improves after a few listens.

Single of the Year:

Northern Songs, Asteroid #4

Here’s to 2021 and hopefully a better year.


Back and still safe . . .

Time flies, naturally, and everyone knows what’s been going down the last half-year, but finally, the blog is now on a schedule to come out of its hibernation. 

We collected a monstrous amount of future blog posts, be it, travel, consumerism, wit, film and music.  Who knows, maybe it will be updated every week or even every day!

To start off, my Single of the Year so far, Northern Song,  from the neo-psychers, the Asteroid #4.  And puhleeze don’t tell me it sounds like The Byrds.  It’s better!