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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!



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.



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.

Oirigins Are Not The Only Fruit

12 Feb
12 February is Darwin Day

12 February is Darwin Day

Darwin Day

Today is Darwin Day – also his birthday. It’s been celebrated since his death on 19.4.1882.
The memorial celebrations were kept pretty much a family affair until his wife – Emma, died in 1896.

In 1909 a load of scientists and upper crust from some 167 countries all over the world got together in Cambridge, GB to honour and dispute Darwin’s contributions. From then the 12th February 1909 saw the 100th anniversary of Darwin, and also the 50th anniversary of Darwin’s ‘The Origins Of The Species’, which was by now – since its first publishing in 1859, being raved about by the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Museum of Natural History.
Although Creationists don’t recognise biological evolution as such – Darwin’s findings remain generally undisputed by scientists, who continue to explore our ever-changing animal world.

Here Pearl Jam puts it succinctly with ‘Do The Evolution‘ from the album ‘Yield‘ (1998) – later their Greatest Hits (2004).

Playlist: A Plethora Of Perfection

8 Feb
Maximo Park

Maximo Park

I’m in love! Maxïmo Parks’ ‘Too Much Information‘ has seduced me to the max. The album with its 19 songs – every one a pearl,  is just the best. It’s laced with the presence of The Smiths – better said; Johnny Marr in particular on Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry, Wire, Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, Joy Divison, Human League, Nick Cave – to name but a few of the artists that can be heard in spirit. With the beautiful, effortless northern voice of Paul Smith, Too Much Information is something for everyone and very radio friendly without it being exactly mainstream. Buy the album – it’s really worth it!

Sliding up nicely as a run along to Maxïmo Park is anything by ‘The War On Drugs‘. Founded by Granduciel  and Kurt Vile in 2005 –  three years later the  band released their debut album (Wagonwheel Blues) shortly after which Kurt Vile left to concentrate on his solo career. The second album – Slave Ambient received critical acclaim in 2011- the third due out this year the single Red Eyes is here to hear. Must Buy!

Another too good not to mention is ‘Extra Curricular‘  Robin Hood – (produced by Lack Of Afro), along with ‘Wax’; We Can’t All Be Heros‘ – also produced by the same massively talented afore-mentioned British multi-instrumentalist, producer, remixer and DJ. Adam Gibbons (‘Lack Of Afro‘).

This weekends playlist goes out to who ever likes an eclectic mix – Enjoy!

Maxïmo Park: Leave This Island

Wire: Kidney Bingos

The Human League: Being Boiled

Liaisons dangereuses: Los niños del parque

Ian Dury: Wake Up And Make Love With Me

Ryan Adams: Lucky Now

Willie Nelson: Just Breathe

Extra Curricular(Lack Of Afro):  Robin Hood

Wax (Lack Of Afro)We Can’t All Be Heros 

Lack of Afro –  feat. Jack Tyson-Charles: Recipe for Love 

The War On Drugs: Red Eyes

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo


Happy Birthday To The ‘Pope of Dope’

5 Feb

William S. Burroughs (5.2.1914 – 2.8.1997)


He’s hard to condense in tribute as there was so much going on with the man … but my naivety prevails and I’ll go ahead anyway. Because love him or hate him, he was a one of the purest of human beings who lived every atom of his life – wretched and stapled with genius.
“In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen.”  William Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs was born on this day in 1914. His family, of wealthy means stemmed from St. Louis, Missouri and his upbringing was modeled on the conservative bearings of his family’s background of the time. Throughout his puberty, ambivalence to his own sexuality – he states, was a product of his repressed upbringing. He kept journals relating to the erotic attachment he’d had to another boy at boarding school – he later destroyed the journals. Throughout his life he was sexually and romantically involved with both men and women.
He went on to study English at Havard University, afterwards attended medical school in Vienna. After his move to New York in 1943 he befriended Alan Ginsberg and Jack Karouac – all three were at the helm of the ‘Beat Generation’, fiercely opposing the dominant values of their society. He also met Joan Vollmer Adams in 1944 with whom he lived with and had a child together (Billy Burroughs, who died prior to his father in 1981, after fighting the symptoms of alcohol addiction). Vollmer was  accidentally killed by Burroughs when he shot her during a drunken game of ‘William Tell’ in Mexico 1951.
This event was said to have marked his writing from then on. Stated to have said “I’m forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death,”  – that he also quoted the poet Edwin Arlington Robinson: “There are mistakes too monstrous for remorse.”
Burroughs opened up his own can of worms, spooning them into his writings – drugs, his own addiction – his torment with addiction, the grotesque and pornographic underbelly of society labelled the ingredient on the can. His third and probably best known novel ‘Naked Lunch’ (1959) was his first non linear work of which David Cronenberg directed the film of the book in 1991.

William Burroughs  influenced many musicians. His cutting of texts inspired by the artist and close companion Bryan Gysin went on to inspire the work of David Bowie. Patti Smith cited him as having influenced her becoming an artist, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Kurt Cobain, Joy Division, Thom Yorke and many more have also had their 10 peneth to say on Burroughs. He’s depicted on the cover of The Beatles ‘Sargeant Peppers…’ Album (2. row next to Marilyn Monroe) and the band Steely Dan is named after a dildo in Naked Lunch.

Burroughs last entry in his book ‘Last Words’ before he died were: ” Love, the most natural painkiller what there is.”

So with that rather long lead, here are a couple of birthday songs for Mr William Seward Burroughs.

The SleepCoat League Presents:

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