Joan As Police Woman: Let It Be You

2 Sep

Joan as Police Woman Bogen F, Zürich 2014

YES! JAPW will be releasing her new album ‘Let It Be You’, with multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, arranger, composer and producer; Benjamin Lazar Davis, this Autumn with tour dates to-boot.

LIBY will be releasd worldwide on 21st October. You can buy special editions via her website as pre order:  Gatefold Vinyl LP with CD and Poster + signed, coloured vinyl 7 inch single
Gatefold CD with poster insert + signed coloured vinyl 7 inch single.

The Tour dates below are taken from the JAPW website and I can’t recommend highly enough to buy all of her work and plan your own tour of all her dates…

I’m a bit of a fan.


14th – Glasgow, Art School
15th – Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
16th – Manchester, Gorilla
17th – Hebden Bridge, Trades Club
18th – Brighton, The Haunt
19th – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
20th – Bristol, Thekla
21st – London, Heaven
23rd – Vienna, Wiener Konzerthaus
25th – Rome, Monk Club
26th – Bologna, Locomotiv Club
27th – Milan, Magnolia
28th – Zurich, Bogen F
30th – Utrecht, Tivoli


1st – Paris, FLOW
2nd – Brussels, Ancienne Belgique
4th – Berlin, Heimathaffen
5th – Hamburg, Gruenspan
6th – Aarhus, Voxhall
7th – Copenhagen West, Pumpehuset

Here’s like a twin-set Video of what’s on offer on the new album – on the surface it’s electro-heavy layered pop, which I can imagine will get a lot of radio play, but there’s still the DNA which is unmistakably JAPW. Great stuff!



Puts Marie – Winterthur Music Festival

21 Aug


Puts Marie: Winterthur Festival August 2016

Puts Marie: Winterthur Festival August 2016

The Swiss band Puts Marie who have been together in one formation or another since the 90’s, played a hypnotic set and held the audience despite the pouring rain in Winterthur on Saturday 20 August.
The name comes from the name of a cleaning product no less. They’re not easy to pigeon-hole their music genre so I won’t even try, but If you’ve an eclectic taste in music you’ll love them. Nick Cave, Friends of Dean Martinez, the Beastie Boys and The Velvet Underground all thrown into a pot of bubbling hot chanson bouillon, kind of sum them up for me.

Max Usata has a spellbinding and at moments eerie stage presence. He sings with a ‘sufferin succotash’ English accent, which doesn’t easily allow to understand the text he sings, but it doesn’t detract from the charm and musical adeptness of the band.

Masoch‘ their latest album (2015) is grandiose. Maybe the title is somehow connected to the Austrian author; Leopold von Sacher Masoch, who wrote ‘Venus In Furs’ – which in turn would maybe be a nod at The Velvet Underground – who knows …  but whatever the origins you should definitely buy it and see them live. You might not feel any cleaner but you’ll definitely be hooked.






Scaffold Your Cause

18 Aug



‘Scaffold’ was written by Martin Bezzola and myself in 2013.
It grew from a piece of music Martin Bezzola ( wrote and from there it transformed over time to what it is now.
The video was filmed by Kate Sweeney ( at the beach in Blythe in northern England on a very warm, sunny day. Expecting rolling clouds and rough seas, the weather was uncharacteristically the opposite.

If you happen to like the song and you would like to buy it, that isn’t possible to be honest. But you could share it and donate any pennies, rappen, centime – however small the amount to the the people who are helping refugees out of their own pocket and time at ‘Schwizerchruez’. Or even just check them out and decide for yourself.

With the above link you’ll find out everything about the organisation – and how to donate, there’s a lot of the website in English. Film reportage (also partly in english) can be also found here via Swiss TV about how Schwizerchuez are helping out with the refugees in Greece – which is beyond crisis and is still unfortunately a bitter and an ever growing seriously bad situation for all. It’s not about tying a yellow ribbon or bad conscience or good-doing, their help is just necessary.



Memories of David Bowie – We All Have Them

11 Jan


I spent many weekends at my grandmothers house where my uncle also lived at the time. The brother of my then recently deceased mother had
an amazing record collection that I would only recognize as such much later on. Among his collection was the Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ with the famous ‘Andy Warhols Factory’ designed zipper cover, the ‘Live and More’ Album by Donna Summer – Grandma wouldn’t allow that one to
be played – she found it too riske for an 11 year olds ears. Then there
was the album ‘Pin Ups’. Released in 1973, the album was David Bowie’s 7th and it was my first encounter with his music. I was fascinated by everything about it. The cover itself was enough to send me into raptures – it’s still exotic and beautiful. The blue background, the portrait of two figures; David Bowie with 60’s model Twiggy- along with the pop art-bauhaus-esque font exquisitely juxtaposed. The photograph had been taken by Twiggy’s manager Justin de Villeneuve for an issue of Paris
Vogue but on Bowie’s request, was used for the ‘Pin Ups’ album cover.

Alone in my Grandmas very 70’s interior dining room I would dress up in my mothers self made skirted dresses, stick ‘Pin Ups’ on the deck and dance for hours in front of the mirror to Bowies cover album – ‘Rosalyn’ was my favorite. I didn’t know the originators of all the work on the
album at the time but with his own spin- and his distinctive voice on these great songs, I belonged to him and his future music belonged to me.

So many people are saddened and now mourn the death of David Bowie, myself very much included. I didn’t know him personally but his music made me feel like I did – he was for me the embodiment of creativity and
I looked up to him. I feel like I’ve lost a friend who throughout my life
was there for me, influenced me and was there through my every high and every low. I’ll sorely miss him.

David Bowie (David Robert Jones) * 8.01.1947 – 10.01.2016

Rest in peace.

Pin Ups
Here Comes The Night
I Wish You Would
See Emily Play
Everything’s Alright
I Can’t Explain
Friday On My Mind
Don’t Bring Me Down
Shapes Of Things
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
Where Have All The Good Times Gone
Growin’ Up
Port Of Amsterdam

David Bowie – The Midnight Special 

Easter Playlist 2015

5 Apr


Keeping it short, I couldn’t resist choosing Herb Alpert’s ‘Rise’ as a topically tongue-in-cheek kick off to this years Easter playlist. It’s one of the more trimmed versions of the song – the Album track is 7’40” and co-written by Alpert’s nephew – Randy Badazz Alpert and Andy Armer. The song was recorded in 1979, along with the video and is the epitome of 70’s America with Herb Alpert’s wife Lani Hall adding a ‘grandma-skip’ and a few scantily clad dancers on a beach.

1. Herb Alpert ‘Rise’

Cecil Campbell aka Prince Buster, known as one of the major influences of the ska and rocksteady history during the 60’s and 70’s, is better known for his songs ‘Al Capone’ and ‘One Step Beyond’ which were later recorded by Madness in 1979.

2.  Prince Buster  ’30 Pieces of Silver’

3. The Bee Gees ‘Stayin Alive’

4. The Stranglers ‘Hanging Around’

5. Sparks ‘Number 1 Song All Over Heaven’

The Faith No More version of The Commadores ‘Easy’ isn’t superior to the original from my point of view but at the 1’54”  mark – it’s the funniest.

6. Faith No More ‘Easy’ (Like A Sunday Morning)

Jessica Rabbit with ‘Why Don’t You Do Right’ from the film ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ – would be perfect for Easter, but Lil Greens original version of the song wins hands down. Written by Kansas Joe McCoy for Lil Green, they recorded it in 1941. McCoy took a song called ‘The Weed Smoker’s Dream’ by The Harlem Hamfats, worked his magic and voilà!

7.  Lil Green ‘ Why Don’t You Do Right’

8. The Manhattans ‘Let’s Just Kiss and Say Goodbye’



Aloha! Alternative Easter Playlist

18 Apr



The urge for flight when under attack is a natural human instinct so I’m taking my natural human instinct and pouring into the fantasy of running away to Hawaii over Easter. Why Hawaii? Well first of all I’ve never been, the music’s just pure magic and the biggest plus of all is that it has reputedly one of the lowest pollen count due to its geographical position. Millions, myself included – especially this year, are suffering under the attack of high levels of carbon dioxide in the air which in turn forces pollen production. So for just a short intermezzo – after taking the quality of life way too much for granted before I could hardly breathe, I’m going to indulge in my fantasy and take you off to Hawaii this Easter. Until the inevitable – of someone inventing spacey futuristic head-gear with integrated Ventolin that will become synonymous with the present ‘device’ generation, make a buck with it online and ignore the earths departure.


1. Keola Beamer – Kalena Kai from his album Wooden Boat



2. Hawaii On The Rocks-George Auld and His Hula-Gans


3. He’eia – Gabby Pahinui and The Sons of Hawaii


4. Sonny Chillingworth – Hi’ilawe from his album Sonny Solo


5. Ka Mele Oku’u Puuwai


6. Hawaiian Skies – The Descendants Soundtrack (Jeff Peterson)


7. kauai beauty – gabby pahinui


8. Aloha ‘Oe – Queen Lili`uokalani (1838–1917)


9. Vintage Hawaiian Film – Circa 1913 – Waikiki Honolulu surfing 


10. Hawaii Sang Me to Sleep





Lost In Music … Transdisciplinary Speaking

21 Mar
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau

After talking to a friend last night, I started thinking about Brad Meldhau – i’ll come to him in a bit. My friend is professionally involved with students of  ‘MA in Transdisciplinary Studies‘ or in the epistemological sense; the theory of knowledge from within the arts. It seems that a lot of classically trained musicians take the course – putting it simply; to further their research of experimentation, define and break out of the frames of their chosen passion and merge it with other disciplines and environments at an intellectual level. To cut a long conversation short, we meandered  to the subject of the definition of what makes a good musician and that’s when I started thinking about Mr. Mehldau.

He’s the one who composed that eerie Eyes Wide Shut soundtrack. He plays a weird kind of jazz – mixing his music as seamlessly as a sea’s hazy horizon merging with the sky. He throws it all his vast talent and musical knowledge together in cover versions like The Verves’ ‘Bittersweet Symphony‘, Nirvanas’ ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit‘,  Bill Monroe’s ‘Waltz for J.B.’ , Radioheads’ ‘Exit Music‘ and Massive Attacks ‘Teardrop‘, the list goes on. He perfectly demonstrates that music is flowing – not a rigid form that always has to be pigeon-holed. He’s educated in classical music, is a jazz pianist – but has eclectic influences. When you watch him in action he gets lost in what he’s doing like a classical composer serenading admirers at court, but instead of the 18th Century garb, Brad Mehldau dons a Grateful Dead T-shirt and tattoos.

Although you could argue that there isn’t a shimmer of relevance between the start of this post and the end of it. I like to think that this is also how transdisciplines can be connected; a honed free-fall of thought, connecting loosely to form something new or different.

Give it up for a man who can do all this with two hands and still find time drop a bit of the Les Dawson-esque into his tunes. Sorry to any jazz connoisseurs – I am but a heathen. Here he is giving a full nine yards  (55 minutes and 25 seconds) at the Vienne Festival.

International Women’s Day

8 Mar

One hundred and three years ago in 1911, the first International Women’s Day was recognised in European countries – Germany, Austria and Denmark among others. In 1975 the UN officially recognised its observance and today it is a national holiday in 27 countries.

This year, (2014) the official global theme is ‘Inspiring Change’. The importance of equality for all women is the focus of this years events – not purely as a fundamental human right (the Charter of the United Nations, signed in San Francisco in 1945, was the first international agreement) but also to enable progress. UN secretary General, Ban Ki-moon states; “The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.”

“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth.  Companies with more women leaders perform better.  Peace agreements that include women are more durable.  Parliaments
with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, antidiscrimination and child support.”  Ban Ki-moon

Women in ‘The Industry’
In 1975 Helen Reddy’s number 1 hit song ‘I am Woman’ was claimed by the UN as their theme. But what’s going on for women in the music industry now?

British artist Charlotte Church delivered her infamous Peel Lecture in 2013 debating the status of women in a music industry which is male dominated, and the consequent perception we have on main-stream women artists. She does have a point about Rihanna’s and Miley’s positions as role models to the more impressionable – but although the numbers are few, there are role models – influent, strong women standing firmly on and behind the stage. Women musicians who, by the omnipresence of ‘hits and clicks’ as a means of success, are granted a certain autonomy to do it their way.

This is not to say that sexism and inequality don’t exist, a controversial case from Japan is a good example. The members of the Japanese girl group AKB48 are prohibited by contract of engaging in any romantic or sexual relations. When one of the members of AKB48, 20-year-old Minami Minegishi, shaved her head and made a tearful confession and apology for having a boyfriend on YouTube, it caused a stir. The troupe of 80 plus young women, are a part of a hit churning song and dance group who perform on a daily basis and work in shifts at the groups own theatre. They are patronised to appear virginal and ‘available’ to the male audience. Record producer and AKB48 creator Professor Yasushi Akimoto is behind the record sales of over US$200million.

Women in Radio
Back in Europe, we can listen to women between the hours of 7pm and 7am (on 7th – 8th March) on BBC Radio 1. The station will be hosting its tribute to International Women’s Day (IWD) which is a obviously a very good thing, but as Jane Martinson (The Guardian) puts it; “Were they not allowed out during the day?”

Statistics given by Sound Women and Creative Skillset show that:

  • 1 in 5 solo voices on the radio is female
  • That figure is 1 in 8 during peak-time breakfast and drive hours
  • In co-hosted show, you are nearly 10 times as likely to hear 2+ male presenters as you are to hear 2+ female presenters
  • Solo women are more likely to be on air at weekends than during the week.

Finishing off my rant with a musical tone I leave you with today’s playlist for International Women. Some of the links will have to be checked out directly over YouTube. Enjoy!

1. Beth Ditto: Open Heart Surgery

2. Gaby Moreno: Ave Que Emigra

3. Dessa: Fighting Fish

4. Courtney Barnett: Anonymous Club

5. Lilly Allen: Hard Out Here

6. Angel Olsen: Forgiven/Forgotten

7. Julia Weldon: You Never Know

8. Annie Lennox, Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams

9. Beyoncé: Run The World (Girls)

10. Helen Reddy: I Am Woman


International Mother Language

23 Feb

Friday (21.2.14) saw the 14th year observance of ‘International Mother Language‘. UNESCO announced in 1999 that a day should be observed worldwide with focus on linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The United Nations Assembly also recognised this day and deemed 2008 the ‘International Year of Languages‘.

Awareness stems from the demonstrations of 1952, when students from Dhaka University, Jagannath University and the Dhaka Medical College all demonstrated in the capital Dhaka (in the present day Bangladesh) for the recognition of their mother tongue, Bengali, to be one of the two national languages of then Pakistan. The students were shot and killed by police near the capitals’ High Court.

The A, B, C Of It

‘Mother language’, is taken verbatim from the romance languages and is more commonly known by the terms ‘mother tongue’ or ‘native tongue’. In linguistics however it is known as an ancestral language or ‘protolanguage’ of which there is no documentation but from which modern languages have evolved.
As someone who lives in a country where communicating in a second language is not quite second nature, it’s a welcome occasion – I often find speaking in a second language difficult and I can find myself in some pretty hot water from time to time with misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Perhaps many a battle could be quelled if we took more time and interest in understanding at least the ‘A,B,C’ of one another’s mother tongue.

Here are three personal favourites, sung in Spanish, Arabic and French. 

1.The first from the Nomadic artist Lhasa De Sela with Por Eso Me Quedo (That’s Why I’m Staying). Lhasa died way too early, at the age of 37 of breast cancer in 2010. 

2. Yasmine Hamdan with Khalas (All right-then)
Born in Beirut in 1976, the stunning Hamdan travelled – due to the Civil War, between Beirut, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Greece together with her family, she sings in Arabic, is an accomplished artist and actor, she also appears cameo in Jim Jarmusch’ film; Only Lovers Left Alive singing ‘Hal’ with her bandSoapkills‘. Amazing!

3. Les Rita Mitsouko with Y’a De L’Haine (There Is Hate)
Catherine Ringer and Frédéric Chichin formed the band in 1980 and remained a duo until Chichin died due to cancer in 2007, aged 53. The french couple were adept in melting different music styles from Jazz to Hip Hop to form an innovative style of their own.

The Feast Of Valentine

14 Feb

Today is the day of red roses on demand, cheap and nasty cuddly toys with red glittery hearts, with sentiments of love stuck to them with cheap glue are sold by the bucket – I’m no cynic, but this short prelude’s a bit more interesting.

Saint Valentine

He is the Patron Saint of ; 1. betrothed couples, 2. against fainting, 3. bee keepers, 4.happy marriages, 5. love and not to forget plague and epilepsy – it’s all in there.
The feast of St. Valentine on 14th February was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I. But who exactly was Valentine. There are many legends and twists to history  but I’m going with the Nuremberg Chronicle  (Die Schedelsche Weltchronik) issue about the Roman Priest who was imprisoned for secretly marrying young people in the christian church. The emperor of the time – Claudius I, banned young people getting married – unmarried soldiers fought much better than married ones – as they worried too much about dying and leaving wife and child to suffer- hence not giving their all to Claudius’ need on the battle field.

After being caught for his shenanigans, Valentine was imprisoned by Claudius and tortured – he managed to heal a blind girl while all this was going on until his debated time of death (between 269 – 273). Another story pertains to Valentine being the  former bishop of Terni and while under house arrest of Judge Asterius – they began talking about faith and Valentine managed to heal Asterius’ blind daughter – like in the roman priest story. Valentine the Bishop of Terni came also to a sticky end in a similar way of that of Valentine the roman priest story.

‘Courtly Love’ – not Courtney Love

Valetines Day is alleged to have been in a more romantic association since the high middle ages  with the term “courtly love” – it was first popularized 1883 in the writing of Bruno Paulin Gaston Paris – who studied roman philology. Only in higher circles of society did ‘the idolizer’ accept the independence of his mistress (normally beig married to someone else) and tried to make himself worthy of her by acting bravely and honorably and by doing whatever deeds she might desire, subjecting himself to a series of ordeals to prove to her his love and commitment. Sexual satisfaction, Paris said, may not have been a goal or even end result, but the love was not entirely  platonic either. Hmm.
The term “courtly love” was taken on and widely accepted. In 1936  C.S Lewis wrote The Allegory of Love cemented “courtly love” was a “love of higher specialized sort” whose characteristics are humility and courtesy.

Enough said. Heres the weekend playlist devoted to love – starting with who other than Donna Summer with  Love To Love. Enjoy!

Outcast – Happy Valentines Day

The Bee Gees – Inside Out covered by Feist
Glen Hansard – Lover don’t Leave Me Waiting
Burt Baccarach/Herb Alpert –  This Guys In Love With You
Nick Cave –  Babe You Turn Me On
Joan Armatrading – Love And Affection
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On
Neil Young – When You Dance You Can Really Love
Neko Case – This Tornado Loves You
John Martyn – Couldn’t love you more
Cher’s cover of Shirley Bassey’s – The Way of Love
Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love
The SleepCoat League Presents:

An endless stream of nothing by zartosht kuipers.

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