Liberal Conspiracy: Volkswagen retrofit help diesel vehicles and the environment

by Jenna Smith

Volkswagen will begin offering a retrofitted misfueling guard and fuel change filter to all ’09-’12 diesel models. The retrofit is a response to fuel pump and fuel contamination issues reported by American diesel drivers.

Upon inspection, the presence of gasoline in diesel tanks proved to be the issue. Though the culprit is human error and not an engineering gaff, Volkwagen’s response is to dummyproof American fuel tanks.

While American commuters once regarded diesel engines as odorous fuel dinosaurs, diesel models enjoy improving popularity ratings in recent years. Newer models challenge the image of diesel trucks coughing coal black smoke up and down highways. New diesel passenger vehicles burn cleanly and efficiently. Wearing the same body styling as gasoline models, diesel cars are nearly indiscernible from their gas-thirsty cousins on the road. Recently car buyers have taken a closer look at diesels as a fuel efficient option in response to high gasoline prices.

Americans’s unfamiliarity with the diesel pump, however, created questions about Volkswagen’s diesel line. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports of Volkswagen diesel vehicles stalling, sometimes in the middle of the highway. At least 160 complaints were registered with the NHTSA, including many by Volkswagen itself. The majority of vehicles in question were found to have excessive gasoline in their diesel tank as a result of misfueling. The retrofit seeks to prevent ignorance from damaging further Volkswagens.

Diesels may be a curiosity to Americans, but they continue to grow in popularity in overseas.The European market is nearly 50% diesel, where diesel represents a scant 3% of American sales. Still, more car manufacturers look to bring their diesel models stateside in the coming years. The enviable range and mileage of diesel vehicles is attractive to drivers looking to cut costs at the pump. Manufacturers also look to diesel options to improve their average mpg to meet new government requirements.

While diesel engines offer savings on fuel, many Americans still find that the savings does not outpace more expensive diesel car payments, engine repair, and increased insurance rates. Interested diesel buyers should research and cost compare to make certain that the fuel savings correlates to money in the bank. AAA’s fuel cost calculator allows drivers to estimate fuel costs by car model and trip distance. Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. offers helpful tips about insurance and auto claims.

Diesel enthusiasts trumpet extended benefits like improved resale value and long lasting engines. It is not uncommon for well-maintained diesels to last up to 250,000 miles. Enthusiasts also point to amenities like increased towing capacity as well as a little extra pep in the pedal. Diesel engines are slightly noisier than their gasoline counterparts, but modern models run much more quietly than their predecessors.

With many fuel efficient models including electrics, biodiesel, and hybrids showing up on car lots, it remains to be seen if diesel vehicles will gain traction with American buyers. Negative reports of engines stalling and fuel pump failures do not inspire buyer’s confidence. Even if the failures stem from misuse, Volkswagen’s effort to prevent future failures and stalls helps to regain consumer confidence.

Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article

via Guest Liberal Conspiracy

Rocksucker: Review: Tricky – False Idols


As everyone knows by now, Tricky’s 1995 solo debut Maxinquaye is an absolutely phenomenal record, not just one of trip-hop’s defining albums but the decade’s as a whole. This has since been followed by a series of varying degrees of diminished returns, so it was with more than a little suspicion that Rocksucker greeted his assertion that tenth LP False Idols is superior.

It bears comparison insomuch as a) it’s as smoked-out and slow-grooving as you might expect from a Tricky record, and b) he lurks in the shadows for the first few tracks, as he did behind the sultry voice of Martina Topley-Bird all those years ago, before finally allowing his inimitable flow to take centre stage on “My Funny Valentine”.

His voice seems to have descended from sensual throatiness into a menacing husk and, whether by dint of lyrical content or its musical surroundings, it just doesn’t register as imperiously as it once did. Thinking on, Tricky might have done better to indulge himself more rather than slalom in and out of a procession of guest vocalists – Francesca Belmonte, Fifi Rong, Nneka and Peter Silberman of The Antlers – each of whom do little wrong but equally little to illuminate the predictable tide of dark intensity, loping beats, ominous tribal percussion and throbbing/driving bass.

“Bonnie & Clyde” is not a cover of the Serge Gainsbourg classic but a fairly innocuous, Tricky-by-numbers shagging soundtrack, perfunctorily fulfilling its purpose without ever really making it clear why it was necessary for it to be made. “Parenthesis” is pretty good courtesy of Silberman’s ghostly vocal – indeed, the song is a reworking of The Antlers’ “Parentheses” (plural) – and a sudden interjection of dirty sludge guitar to meet the clacking groove head on. Dig the Maxinquaye-esque monotone string tension, too.

“Nothing’s changed / I still feel the same” sings Belmonte on “Nothing’s Changed”, in what feels a bit like a justification for using the same old formular. Some dolorous heaves of cello here elevate it slightly beyond the humdrum, and the sweet, twinkly “Chinese Interlude” brings about the first real shift in atmosphere some fifteen tracks in. Tricky continues to chip in with some worthwhile moments on False Idols, but the permanent class struggles to break out from the confines of temporary form.

Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!

a quaila quailhalf a quail

False Idols is out now on False Idols.

You can buy False Idols on iTunes or on Amazon.

For more information, please visit the official Tricky website.

Review: Tricky – False Idols appeared first on Rocksucker. Visit Rocksucker for more music news, reviews and interviews.

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God Is In The TV: Club Radio Free Europe presents: Instrumenti, BrainStorm – The Boogaloo, Highgate, London on 16th May 2013

Latvia didn’t make it to the 2013 Eurovision final but, thanks to Club Radio Free Europe, their kaleidoscopic sound sent trembles through the Boogaloo in London. Both Instrumenti and BrainStorm – Or to Latvians Prãta Vētra – are household names in Latvia, with various chart hits and sold-out stadium tours, but most Brits are unlikely to have ever heard of them.

For many of the Latvian’s attending, this was probably a good thing: the opportunity to see two of their country’s biggest bands in a relatively small pub must have been a once in a lifetime experience. For us, it was an eye-opener.

Instrumenti kicked off the night with their refreshingly melodic and broody electronica. Shipsi leads on synths with a swooping falsetto vocal, whilst Reynsi manages to pound tight drums, backing sing and operate a laptop – an impressive feat. Both dressed down, their appearance was unexpectedly tame in comparison to YouTube clips of their ‘TRU’ tour we’d seen.

For a two-piece band, Instrumenti have an adventurously grand sound akin to Muse. Bubbling arpeggios against abrupt keys and choppy drums, yet never pulling focus from Shispi’s dreamy high-pitched tones or the delicate harmonies from Reynsi or their vocoder accompaniment. Even when they’re bit-crushing beats or over-distorting vocals, there is still something simplistic and twee about it.

Since coming third in 2000’s Eurovision, BrainStorm have released six English albums, six in Latvian and two in Russian, and had every intention of charming the roof off the Boogaloo. Their endearing front-man Renārs is energetic, pulling fists and gesturing his palms out to an adoring crowd.

BrainStorm are rockier than expected, with funky basslines, 80’s toned crystal synths and dramatic guitar licks. The audience shush loud talkers and lead the quieter songs, chanting the words before Renārs begins. It did start to feel like we were the only ones not singing along, but only because we didn’t speak the language: if we did we would’ve joined in eagerly. A strong sense and pride and unity flooded the venue and Renārs was clearly humbled by everyone’s participation.

That sense of unity is part of Club Radio Free Europe’s ethos, and is our lasting impression of the night, especially considering how much of an outsider we were. In many ways CRFE and Eurovision are similar, highlighting different cultures and sounds to bring people on our continent together. However, CRFE is a unique opportunity to be thrown in the deep end and comes without naff politics and overdramatics. The Latvians knew how to rock the CRFE and we’re sure whichever country gets showcased next will do too. Now you just have to see it for yourself.


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Liberal Conspiracy: #occupyGezi: Why a prominent Istanbul park has turned into a warzone

Police staged an early morning raid on protesters who resist against the demolition of Gezi Park in the heart of Istanbul for a shopping mall to be built.

What started with around a 100 protesters has turned into a spectacle of tens of thousands over recent days.

People camped out in the park, sang songs, read books, danced.

But yesterday, the police used a Mass Incident Intervention Vehicle (TOMA) to disperse the demonstrators and turned the surrounding of the park a warzone.


The protesters have released this statement



If you’re looking for photos from #occupygezi, try these For quotes try Leyla Besktas: on Facebook, or via Twitter.

Pictures copyright © Tolga Sezgin / NarPhotos

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God Is In The TV: Audio Antihero label releases compilation for Rape Crisis charity


Always happy to accommodate and spread the word for the so-called ‘specialist in commercial suicide’ Audio Antihero label, GIITTV are pleased to feature their latest project, a compilation of alternative rock acolytes, gathered together to do their bit for the Rape Crisis charity.

Featuring an abundance of artful, rambunctious, whimsical, poetical and ‘avant-far’ musical treats this generous spread of 31-tracks (yes, that’s right 31 top tunes for the meagre starting price of 4 quid! Though we’d encourage you heathens to give more!!) is filled to the rafters with talent. Harboured under the Regal Vs Steamboat moniker we have both the full roster of Antihero brethren and some congruous affiliated souls from further afield; including the Flying KitesBenjamin ShawJack HayterBroken ShoulderDarren Hayman (HERE)  and David Cronenberg’s Wife (that’s the band not the director’s Mrs.)

To be honest the charity label doesn’t necessarily equal quality, but in this case the Antihero team assemble a golden dawn of at least interesting if not ethereal delights: from Elizabethan folk shoegaze to industrial anguish and echo beach meets La Bamba effete pop.

Here’s the full spec and details –

“REGAL VS STEAMBOAT” is a charity double album for Rape Crisis England, Wales & Scotland from Audio Antihero Records to raise money to help them and their centers continue with their essential support for rape survivors.

This 31-track charity compilation features kindhearted artists like Jeffrey Lewis, Darren Hayman (Hefner), Internet Forever, Ace Bushy Striptease, Bored Nothing and much of the Audio Antihero roster including Benjamin Shaw, Fighting Kites, Jack Hayter, Paul Hawkins & The Awkward Silences and many more.

The album will be available for download from Audio Antihero’s Bandcamp for a minimum donation of £3.99 with all money going to Rape Crisis England & Wales and Rape Crisis Scotland.

Over 400,000 a women are sexual abused a year in the UK, most of us will know someone who has suffered rape or sexual abuse. This compilation is meant to be enjoyed and even has a silly pro-wrestling theme but this charity work is essential. Please enjoy and please help.

Any help you could offer in spreading the word about this album and cause would be very much appreciated. The plan is to raise as much money for the charity as possible…while sharing as much beautiful and noisy music as we possibly can.

This is Audio Antihero’s third annual charity compilation, after 2011’s well received “Bob Hope would.” album for the Japan relief effort and 2012’s ”Some. Alternate. Universe” for The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. It also follows other fundraisers for The Haiti Hospital Appeal, British Heart Foundation, The Pink Ribbon Foundation, New York and Shelter.

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God Is In The TV: Virgin Records – 40 Years of Disruptions

May 25th saw the 40th anniversary of Virgin Records debut (and breakthrough) album release Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. Considered largely an unmarketable and confusing bedroom project by many record labels, the album went on to become a remarkable worldwide smash after Richard Branson decided to take a chance on the then-unknown bedroom composer Oldfield. Selling upwards of fifteen million copies, the album skyrocketed the Virgin Empire to success and in doing so, paved the way for a record label with many stories to tell and unique contributions to the history of modern music.

From its early days showcasing progressive rock and Krautrock acts, Virgin Records showed a knack for taking seemingly “unmarketable” acts and turning them into huge successes. The perfect example is – of course – the Sex Pistols, being picked up in 1977 after already having been dropped by two record labels and releasing their era-defining Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. But their contribution to the New Wave and Punk era was also shown in their marketing of acts such as XTC, The Human League, Magazine, Public Image Ltd and The Ruts, again finding success with outsiders such as Boy George and Culture Club. One of the first UK labels to pick up on urban sounds and Hip Hop, it spawned more success in the early 90s with Soul II Soul and Massive Attack’s seminal Blue Lines – another debut album plucked from the streets and into everyday public consciousness. Later in the 90s it oversaw the biggest British pop band of the decade in The Spice Girls and era-defining records such at The Verve’s Urban Hymns, as well as spearheading the rise of dance music as a major marketable force through acts such as Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers.

The label celebrates its 40 years in the business with a series of events in London over the summer and into the autumn. Entitled “40 Years of Disruptions” the centrepiece will be a series of gigs at Camden’s KOKO in October, with Virgin Records artists and special guests from the past and present.

Also coinciding with this will be an exhibition on the label and its history at a yet-undisclosed venue on Mornington Crescent, an art-book edited by Adrian Thrills, a documentary film in association with Leopold Films and a series of compilation CDs highlighting some of the artists past and present who have helped to build the legacy of Virgin Records over the past four decades.

Further information will be announced in due course, along with dates for shows and exhibitions.

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Liberal Conspiracy: Is this what forced Tory MP Patrick Mercer to resign?

The lobbying scandal has just claimed another victim.

Patrick Mercer MP resigns over lobbying scandal, reports the Telegraph.

The Telegraph and the BBC’s Panorama have been investigating the former shadow minister over a major lobbying scandal and is poised to publish a series of revelations about Mr Mercer tomorrow.

Lobby hacks on Twitter today have been saying that Mercer has been stung by reporters posing as lobbyists on behalf of the country of Fiji, to set up an All-party parliamentary group.

It turns out Patrick Mercer MP has been asking questions in the House of Commons regarding Fiji.

According to TheyWorkForYou:

1) On 16th May Patrick Mercer MP wrote to ask:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

(1) what discussions his Department has had with the government of Fiji about that country’s human rights record;

(2) what discussions his Department has had with the government of Fiji about the status of Fiji within the Commonwealth;

(3) what discussions his Department has had with the government of Fiji about the effects on Fiji of its suspension from the Commonwealth;

(4) what his policy is on the readmission of Fiji to the Commonwealth; and if he will make a statement.

2) On 20th May Patrick Mercer MP wrote to ask:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the UK’s investment in public transport in Fiji; and if he will make a statement.

In adition, he also raised Early Day Motions.

An EDM on 26th March stated (ht @steveplrose):

That this House recognises that the government of Fiji is making all reasonable efforts to restore democracy; believes that in the light of ongoing hardship being endured by its businesses, there is no justification for Fiji’s continued suspension from the Commonwealth; and, therefore, urges the Government to arrange a ministerial visit in order to help prepare for and assist its readmission.

Oh dear…

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God Is In The TV: RW/FF With Ben P Scott #19

This week: Liam Gallagher lets himself down. Badly. I talk more about The Fall‘s recent gig in Bristol and check out new albums from Black Reindeer, Miles Kane and Queens Of The Stone Age. As well as that, there’s fantastic new music from Hookworms, Frankie And The Heartstrings, Laura Marling, No Thee No Ess, Midimúm, Tim Burgess and Crocodiles. In the “rewind” part of the column, I remember June 1995 and how radio stations used to be back then…

So as I mentioned in last week’s column, I had a great night in the company of Mark E Smith and The Fall in Bristol. The uncompromising brilliance of Smith’s unique vocal style is backed with the tight, insistent hooks repeated by the four other members, who are all in good form. It’s a short set that finishes almost dead on time for the 11pm curfew, and Smith seemed to be offstage throughout a lot of it, and yet no-one seems to be complaining. But one thing’s for sure, every Fall gig you go to will be nothing like the last one. Like the band’s biggest fan John Peel once famously said: “always different, always the same” (cliche alert!!!). Read my full review of the gig HERE

Liam Gallagher has announced that Beady Eye will be performing on hideous televised karaoke contest The X Factor. There’s two sides to this. It’s sad, desperate and degrading. But then again (sadly) the only way “average” people will have a chance of actually hearing some real music on prime time telly is for a proper band to reduce themselves to appearing alongside some of the world’s most talentless people. Liam says “you can’t argue it’s a huge audience”… an audience who have been brainwashed into accepting any old crap they hear. is that a good thing for Beady Eye? By going on that vile show they may very well lose a lot of the audience they already have.

Of course BE have been less successful than Oasis. But at least so far they’ve done things their way. I’d rather fail and stay true to my principles rather than sell out, fail even more and look like a total dick. That’s what will happen, you watch… But I’m not about to start slagging off the band because of this unfortunate choice, which was probably suggested to them by their label Sony. Maybe their label threatened to drop them if they didn’t agree to do it. Whatever happens, there’s nothing that will change the fact that the band’s new album ‘BE’ is actually sounding rather brilliant after just one listen. Some BIG standout tracks on there for sure…

Queens Of The Stone Age
release their new album ‘Like Clockwork’ next week. I’ve had a listen to it, and it’s sounding pretty brutal. Even the guest spots from Elton John and Jake Shears seem to fit in perfectly. 
Miles Kane‘s second album ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is also out next week. ‘Better Than That’ is one of the most ecstatic songs you’ll ever hear, the sound of a young man absolutely high on life and truly buzzing. It also bears an uncanny resemblance to Elvis Costello’s ‘Pump It Up’. Listen to a stream of the album HERE and listen to a live version of ‘Better Than That’ below.

Ex Babybird man Stephen Jones is someone who features in this coluymn quite often. Mainly because he won’t stop releasing Black Reindeer albums, the latest of which appeared online earlier this week. The 6th BR record is titled ‘Just For Today History Is Wrong’, and its 11 tracks offer more atmospheric beauty and twisted emotions. Jones says: “Get a baseball bat, smash out every light in the house and put your second head on, THIS IS A GODDAMN VERY HAPPY ALBUM… A “happy to be alive” album. T
his is also an album you don’t need eyes for – just ears. But make sure no one else can get hold of and share or peek a snatch or de-personalise. Because it’s personal and personally i fucking love this album.” Nope, I don’t have a clue what he’s on about either… Listen below to the lovely ‘Not Every Album Needs A Happy Song But If You Have One… It Helps’ and purchase the full album HERE.

No Thee No Ess is a collaboration between two established figures in the South Wales arts and music scene – Andy Fung (Dererro, Cymbient) and Paul Battenbough (King of Despair). ‘Spring Dawn Glow’ is the band’s fourth album and is released on June 17 through Folkwit records, who say: “It’s a wonderfully complex and engaging album with great songs, in places expansive and densely layered, elsewhere simple and melodic and awash with intensely catchy tunes.” ‘Collapsing Realities’ is the first single from ‘Spring Dawn Glow’ and can be heard below. 

played a storming session last night on Marc Riley‘s BBC 6Music show. Following on from the debut album ‘Pearl Mystic’, the Leeds-based five piece have released 750 limited edition copies of their fantastic new single ‘Radio Tokyo’ on the Too Pure Singles Club. Go HERE to buy a vinyl copy, or get a digital one for £2 from their Bandcamp page HERE

Frankie And The Heartstrings return with their second album ‘The Days Run Away’, produced by legendary guitarist Bernard Butler. It’s their first since 2008′s debut ‘Hunger’. According to the group: “For various reasons this record was recorded, half in in the North East, half in London. Bernard Butler was the sixth member of the band on this occasion. We lived and breathed this record for over a year…” Listen to the album in full HERE, and check out the single ‘Nothing Our Way’ below…

Some of you may be familiar with Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess‘s 2012 solo album ‘Oh No I Love You’. A few weeks ago Record Store Day saw the release of a remixed version of the LP, entitled ‘Oh No I Love You More’, and now the album gets a full release, via Tim’s own OGenesis label. The original songs were co-written with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, but soon the tracks ”took on their own lease of life and before long enough remixes and alternative versions of the songs were gathered in from Tim’s friends – enough for a whole album”. You can buy a signed copy of ‘Oh No I Love You More’ HERE, and listen HERE via Spotify. My favourite track from it must be Django Django‘s superb rethink of ‘Anytime Minutes’, but personally I think the LP should have included Prince Fatty‘s brilliant dub reworking of ‘The Economy II’, which you can listen to below via SoundCloud.

Here are a few more new tracks I’ve been enjoying lately…

Laura Marling – I Was A Master Hunter

Crocodiles – Cockroach
Midimúm – Junk Beach

The RW/FF Compilation is a mixtape I do every now and again, featuring music that’s been the subject of recent columns. The RW/FF Compilation #6 features Deej Dhariwal, Primal Scream, The Fall, Savages, Queens Of The Stone Age, Editors, Dingus Khan, Gary McClure, These New Puritans, GDLLF, Mugstar, Electric Eye, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Daft Punk, Delta Mainline, Gaz Coombes, Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs and more. You can listen to it in full HERE.

June 1995 was memorable, as was the rest of the year. As is sometimes the case now with manufactured boy bands, when a group became a pop phenomenon, publishers would see an opportunity to cash in by releasing “unofficial” magazines featuring stories and lots of posters. In a short space of time, Blur had come a long way and by this point had become a household name after their triumphant night at that year’s Brit Awards. I was still buying Smash Hits, which at this point was featuring more of Blur, Oasis and a growing number of other guitar bands. Because of the pull out posters that came inside the magazine, my bedroom walls were covered with Blur and Oasis, as well as a few Chelsea football posters. At the time all I knew was classic music from the past and the chart hits of the day, so Smash Hits didn’t seem like it was missing anything. It featured people I liked and people I didn’t like. I remember wishing that guitar music would become big enough to take over the magazine and banish all those rubbish boy bands from its pages. It wouldn’t be too long before that came close to actually happening.

As the summer holidays were approaching, we were entering the last few months at primary school, and to mark the occasion the class and our teachers went camping in the Wiltshire countryside for a week. It also happened to be the week of my 11th birthday. The clearest memories I have of this included bringing a Blur magazine on the trip and reading it a lot. I remember me and my mate (and tent partner) Mark putting on some “hair gel” in an attempt to look smart for the evening, only to find that it was some sort of weird gel shampoo. And since someone as legendary as John Peel can write about shitting his pants on a bus in his autobiography, then I can also admit to a toilet-related accident of my own that happened during a long walk back from Stonehenge. I have recently uncovered some photos from this trip, taken back in 1995. As soon as I’ve figured out how to work my scanner, those will appear in a future column maybe. I also found photos taken on my brother’s birthday party that marked my debut as a DJ.

Although I wasn’t keen on some of the boring releases from older AOR artists and the squeaky clean boy bands who had formed in the wake of Take That, there wasn’t a lot of music I disliked back then. As a kid growing up in the mid 90′s, I would hear all sorts of different stuff on the radio, and although the overall selection would be limited, there were enough different genres played to give the mainstream radio stations a sense of variety. I say “mainstream” stations as if there were any other choices back then. There weren’t.

In the UK during the 90′s there were a lot less radio stations around than there are today, so because there were no specialist stations where people could hear their preferred type of music, everyone had to listen to the same thing, meaning that the main stations had to cater for everyone. This meant that as well as the main pop hits, they’d also have to pick a number of indie, dance and other tracks. In fact most people would listen to Radio 1 or their local commercial station (ours was Wiltshire’s GWR FM). There were no specialist stations apart from Classic Gold (which played hits from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s), Classic FM (which played classical) and the dance orientated Galaxy 101. Radio 2 was seen as old, uncool and out of touch, as were the local BBC stations. All the other stations were all on MW or LW frequencies, which meant poor sound quality. So by default most people listened to Radio 1 or their local station. Everyone from different walks of life would all be tuned into the same thing. It was something that couldn’t happen in 2013: lots of different types of music being played in the same place, with lots of different people listening. The closest thing you could get to one nation under a groove.

With Britpop rising, daytime radio would allow a limited number of indie songs on the air, and because those songs were the only indie tracks being played regularly, the indie fans would focus on those songs more than they would have if the whole playlist was made up of that style. They stood out. Plus the fact indie music was played on mainstream radio meant that the neutrals had a chance to hear it alongside everything else and it even meant that some pop fans were converted to indie. I would easily describe my 11 year old self as a neutral listener who would listen to all genres, but I had definitely become more of an indie and dance fan, although I hadn’t yet developed a distaste for cheesy pop music. I was lucky to have grown up during a time where everyone was hearing and buying such a diverse range of music. It enabled me to sample everything that was on offer and make my decisions as to what I liked the most. If I’d been unlucky enough to grow up in the current decade, I’d have no chance of hearing indie within the mainstream.

Because my tastes were varied and the musical climate was too, the DJ sets I did at the club my Dad managed always delivered a good mixture of stuff. A few examples from around about June ’95-ish… Rednex – ‘Cotton Eye Joe’, N-Trance – ‘Set You Free’, Paul Weller – ‘The Changingman’, Perfecto Allstarz – ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Pig Bag’, McAlmont And Butler – ‘Yes’, Alex Party – ‘Don’t Give Me Your Life’, Edwyn Collins – ‘A Girl Like You’, The Bucketheads – ‘The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)’, The Boo Radleys – ‘Wake Up Boo’, Strike – ‘U Sure Do’, Grace – ‘Not Over Yet’, Oasis – ‘Some Might Say’…

OK, Rednex were ridiculously shit, but at least they weren’t dull. Nowadays rather than exciting variety, what’s classed as the “mainstream” is mostly boring homogenised nonsense that all sounds the same. In fact there isn’t really a mainstream anymore, certainly not one that represents the many different sections of listeners that make up this country. Everyone likes to stick to their own thing and hear more of it, rather than having to put up with stuff they don’t like while waiting for something good to come on. Indie fans listen to the indie stations, commercial pop fans listen to what are now commercial pop stations, and so on.

We’re not all tuned into the same thing and experiencing each other’s music anymore. In the 90′s it was a shared experience and most of the nation was the audience. Today, it feels like we all live in our own little worlds when it comes to music. Britpop was to be the last time that the nation would unite and sing together in harmony… What a fantastic time to be a kid.

Next time: I remember the glorious 1995 summer of Britpop…


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God Is In The TV: The National – Trouble Will Find Me (4AD)

For whatever reason, I seemed to be about the only person who couldn’t connect with The National’s last album, High Violet. So it is with delight that I can announce that I have well and truly fallen in love with Trouble Will Find Me.

In fact, you know you’re onto a good thing with an album when you want to play the album again before you’ve even finished it. I’ve got a whole heap of albums to work through, and this album tempts me : ‘they can wait another day. Enjoy me again.’

‘Demons’ is the first track from the album to do the rounds, but it’s one of many excellent tracks on here, like the opener ‘I Should Live In Salt’ and ‘Fireproof.’ The whole album is sublime, and in fact, I knew I was falling for it when I kept trying to find negatives to balance the review…To hell with it. Superb, sublime and even when it’s melancholy, it’s not drag-you-down depressing.

So, a major thumbs-up from me. Go and check it out.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Trouble Will Find Me was released by 4AD on May 20.

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God Is In The TV: Dark Dark Horse – Centuries (Function Record)

Atmospheric electronica with a frail human heart. When recently asked to describe the Dark Dark Horse sound, this is what Jamie Ward had said. And he should know, forming as he does one half of the studio incarnation of this band. He composed the music that would eventually find its way etched deep into the grooves of Centuries, it having first gone through a period of transition and development with his fellow sonic architect James Stafford.

Both men had risen out of a tough Leicestershire leftfield musical scene – Ward having Tired Irie, Kyte and Maybeshewill and Stafford kids in cars on their respective CVs – and together they began to construct the ambient electronic sound that would eventually become Dark Dark Horse. Now more than two years after it had first appeared on the Japanese record label Rallye, their debut album Centuries is officially released in this country courtesy of those good people at Function Records.

When the words atmospheric and electronica are juxtaposed together, tired comparisons with anyone and everyone from Sigur Rós and Stars of the Lid to Brian Eno and Boards of Canada are seen as virtually inevitable. It would seem that nothing can be seen or heard as being original anymore. But despite being faced with such obstacles, Dark Dark Horse has produced a strong body of work that manages to emerge out of the pigeon-hole of influence and derivation with quiet confidence and a strong sense of its own identity.

Centuries’ ten songs merge together across the landscape of its duration, with the sparse keys and textured electronic rhythms its heartbeat and Stafford’s mournful croon the leitmotif. The music ebbs and flows, quickens and slows down, as it makes its abstract journey from beginning to end. There is a serenity and calm belief shot right through this record no more so than on the quiet euphoria of The Sound of Muscles That Have Frozen Cold and the dramatic cinematic sweep of Mercury, Nevada.  Shadows and light may be Centuries’ itinerant travelling companions, but its hope is eternal.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Centuries was released on Function Records on 27th May 2013

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via Simon Godley God Is In The TV