Radio Shoplifters - TONIGHT!

Hey. While you're all partying tonight, me and my compendre Jon Claude will be sweating it out in a radio studio in Salford. That's right, we're on the wireless! For those of you in the Manchester area, tune into 97.7 at 2am for 2 hours of the best remixes of 2007, or alternatively you can listen online at XFM here.

In the meantime, here's a quick mix I knocked up earlier. Play it while you're getting ready to go out tonight. I'll do a proper one in the new year.

MP3 Grammar - Happy New Fear (Mixtape)

Bonus MP3! Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver (Paul Epworth Phones Remix)

The Dirty Dozen with Mick Collins: Part 3

Here's Micks latest pick, and a seminal piece of techno it is too:

"I had just come back home after a few weeks of visiting relatives, and I was hanging out with my friends. Jerome's brother Kenny came up and started talking about this record he'd heard the night before that sounded like a black version of Kraftwerk. Their sister Stephanie wandered over and started talking about how she'd heard it in a club over the weekend. That was sunday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, as I was walking to the local supermarket, I passed a record shop that specialised in Reggae, the only shop of its kind in the state. Today, in place of the usual heavy rocking Yard grooves, he was playing a record that sounded like...well yes, like a black version of Kraftwerk. I walked in and said 'That record you're playing? I'd like a copy, please.' It was one dollar fifty. I had two dollars. The proprietor said 'Mi only 'ave t'ree copies, mon.' I plunked down the money and took one home.

By wednesday afternoon, word was out about this record by 'the black Kraftwerk'. By friday, every copy in town had been bought.

This record barely made a ripple on local radio upon its initial release, but the effects are still reverberating across the years, around the world. 'Alleys Of Your Mind' by Cybotron is the first Detroit Techno record.

It never gets old to me. Playing it now, I still get the goosepimply feeling I got standing in the hot sun in front of that reggae shop, listening to it and realising that somehow, the world was never going to be the same. I remember walking home with the record and thinking 'Something is happening here...Brothers have taken over the machines; we got it now...'

Equal parts Teutonic space rock and Detroit ghetto buttslam, 'Alleys Of Your Mind' heralded a New Day, and one that began right here in my Hometown. This planet ain't been the same since. We Rock: Hell Yeah we do.

It's unclear how many original 7-inch copies were pressed: estimates vary from 750 to as few as 150. I once had a guy in London offer me the record's weight in gold for my copy. He was deadly serious: "You weigh it when you get home," he told me, "and I'll give you that many ounces of pure South African gold, mate". Most people who own a copy tend to not say so too loud; this is Detroit, after all. House producer Moodymann, who keeps his copy framed and hanging on his living room wall, once told me "Man, they could take every piece of gear in this HOUSE and I wouldn't cry too much, but if they touch THIS record? I will shoot every motherfucker IN TOWN if that's what it takes to get it back." I couldn't agree more."

MP3 Cybotron - Alleys of your mind

Keeping an eye out in 2008.

Glancing around in both the printed press and online world, a number of folk are offering up their tips for 2008. Here's my 4 tips for 2008. Yes, there's only 4, but they're goodies.

1) Foals

Not much to really say about these guys, as you're bound to have heard of them. Still, of all the hotly tipped NME bands, I'm really looking forward to their debut album. There's not many indie bands that follow an afrobeat template to their song construction, yet Foals manage it and make it sound cool and relevant all at the same time. The new Radiohead? Don't curse them with that.

MP3 Foals - Balloons

2) Disco

Hmmm, Disco, it's had a grand old 2007. In fact, it's enjoyed a renaissance similar to what Electro did in 2005, y'know, before everyone decided it was the shit. So, if disco does start to crossover into mainstream thinking in 2008, who better to lead the way than DFA's Hercules and Love Affair? They've an album out in 2008, a single featuring Antony of "and the Johnsons" fame and have remixed Goldfrapps newie. Whatever you think of the genre, 2008 is going to very kind to them.

MP3 Hercules and Love Affair - Blind

3) 2 piece boy/girl bands

Watch out Jack and Meg, there's some new kids on yer turf. Brightonians Blood Red Shoes deserve to be fucking massive in 2008, simply because they play grungey scuzzed-out punk rock and I love grungey skuzzed-out punk rock. Their forthcoming debut album should be ace following their singles over the last couple of years. Manchesters very own Ting Tings WILL BE FUCKING HUGE IN 2008 BECAUSE EVERYONE LOVES THEM. I like them too.

MP3 Blood Red Shoes - Try harder

MP3 The Ting Tings - That's not my name

4) Music Blogs

If you think it's been hard keeping up to date with all the new music blogs that have sprung up in 2007, wait until 2008, there'll be so many new ones your head won't only just spin, but bump, grind and gyrate at the goodness being written about and ultimately given away. And for anyone thinking about starting a music blog - post sensibly kids.

MP3 The Hype Machine

Post 500: The Greatest Hits.

I don't make as big a deal about events associated with this blog as I should. Since starting in March 2006, I've seen a number of new blogs arrive, loads sadly close, and I've made a load of new friends too. I've ignored such events as the blogs Birthday and 100,000th visit, but I feel the 500th post is a significant event, if anything because it shows I can stick with something rather than getting bored and moving on.

Instead of putting together a quirky list of songs with the number 500 in the title, I decided to consult Google Analytics to see which songs people are searching for the most when they reach this blog. A lot of what I could see is from 2007, though there are a couple of surprises. Anyway, enough waffling: Here's Black Country Grammars Greatest Hits.

MP3 Bloc Party - The Prayer

MP3 Lily Allen - Cheryl Tweedy

MP3 Kleerup feat. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat

MP3 LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends

MP3 Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill

MP3 Hercules and Love Affair - Classique #2

MP3 Blood Red Shoes - ADHD

MP3 Kanye West (Feat Dwele) - Flashing Lights

MP3 Curtis Mayfield - Move on Up (Long Version)

MP3 Behaviour (Feat Andrea Revel) - Clap! Shake! Jump!

Here's to 500 more - Thanks for reading!


Hey, is the Christmas thing over already? I've not been able to listen to my usual quantity of tunes, so apologies for the lack of new shit. Here's a Supermayer remix of Rufus Wainwright anyway. And yes, you did read that right.

MP3 Rufus Wainwright - Tiergarten (Supermayer Remix)

Albums of the Year 2008: #1

#1 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

While it leaked at the tail end of 2006 and soundtracked much of last Christmas and New Years celebrations, "Sound of Silver" is still my cast iron favourite album of the year. I never expected that they could top their debut, yet "Sound of Silver" continues the blueprint set out in their early singles, and truly brings a dance music sensibility to triumph over the durr-durr-durr crap we've had to put up with this year (I'm looking at you Boyz Noise and Digitalism). Sure, this album is at the top of many a best of, but there's a reason for that: It's that good. Go get it.

MP3 LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: The Nearly Men (And Women)

Others that nearly made it (and in no particular order)...

Liars - Liars
Feist - The Reminder
The Field - From Here we go Sublime
The Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil
Cobblestone Jazz - 23 Seconds
Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures
Jay-Z - American Gangster
!!! - Myth Takes
Dizzee Rascal - Maths and English
Fabric 36: James Murphy and Pat Mahoney
Kathy Diamond - That's Miss Diamond to You
Kanye West - Graduation
Matthew Dear - Asa Breed
The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
Battles - Mirrored
Chaz Jankel - My Occupation

There's too many to post up a track for every one, so here's a Christmas tune instead

MP3 The Ventures - Jingle Bell Rock

Albums of the Year 2008: #2

#2 MIA - Kala

Taking second place in the list is another sophomore effort, this time for the first lady of Grimey-Baltimore-dubclash, MIA. Taking the better themes from her debut and padding them out into a full blow album, MIA takes many of the more challenging sounds from the last 25 years, and blends them together to create a platter of pop sounds. While often uncompromising, which could be the albums commercial undoing, "Kala" brings together the sounds of Asia, South America and West London and trumps Girls Aloud to pop album of the year.

MP3 MIA - Come Around / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #3

#3 Dinosaur Jr - Beyond

I'm too young for Dinosaur Jr, and there's not many hip bands I can say that about. Sure, I was into grunge, but my love of the genre started just after the Pixies ended, and Dinosaur Jr just never appeared on my radar. I was so wrong. "Beyond" appeared in the first half of the year, and I took it on recommendation from a mate. It absolutely blew me away with it's effortless, effervescent sound, and rudimentary yet thoughtful lyrics about life, love and age. If there's one Dinosaur Jr album that you own, make damn sure it's this one.

MP3 Dinosaur Jr - Back to your heart / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #4

#4 Radiohead - In Rainbows

I sooooo wanted to hate this. Seriously. I've often thought that Radiohead are unnecssarily pompous, and I've struggled in certain cases to see why people love them so much. With their zeitgeist-catching download-only release, I really wanted them to be exposed as self indulgent, and while "In Rainbows" succeeds in that, it's also the best album they've released since "Kid A". Exploring similar themes to Thom Yorke's "Eraser" last year, "In Rainbows" pushes the sound of the band further than they every have before, yet with an accessibility old fans can relate to and a great jump on point for the new or lapsed.

MP3 Radiohead - All I Need / Zshare

Albums of the Year 2008: #5

#5 Roisin Murphy - Overpowered

I first listened to this album one Sunday morning, in bed, nursing a hangover and bruised ego. I hated it and moved on, completely erasing it's existence from my brain. It was only when someone from work expressed complete shock at my summisation that I decided to go back and give it another try. And I couldn't have been more wrong. "Overpowered" is a masterclass in making a modern pop record that can transcend musical snobbery and appeal to both the Radio 1 and 6music demographic. Should anyone not find their ass shaking or foot tapping to the likes of "Dear Miami", "Let me know" or the title track, they really need to put both hands on each side of their heads and check to see if their ears are still present. I did, and it was a humbling experience.

MP3 Roisin Murphy - Dear Miami / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #6

#6 Burial - Untrue

I really wasn't sure about this record when I first heard it. Admittedly, my curiosity was stoked by all the hype, yet when I actually listened to it, I found the whole thing a little too sparse for my liking. Over time my opinion has changed, and it's become an album I've listened to over and over, an album that's never bored me, and an album that I've found more interesting and enveloping on every listen. It's another one of those that will feature high in many a best of list, and for good reason, and I suspect we have an early favourite for the Mercury Prize 2008. Get yourself down the bookies.

MP3 Burial - Archangel / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #7

#7 The National - Boxer

You would really have to be the most soul-less individual in the world to not feel something when the opener to this album, "Fake Empire", starts it's chord sequence - it really is one of the most emotive tracks of the year. The rest of the album follows in the same vein, which makes you wonder why the National have gone critically unrecognised for their efforts for so long. A record for a long Sunday afternoon, after the hangover TV has finished and while you're waiting for a chicken to roast with a bottle of wine.

MP3 The National - Fake Empire / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #8

#8 After Dark - Italians Do it Better (Compilation)

I had a feeling from the beginning of the year that Disco would re-emerge, and the Italo stylings of New York label "Italians Do it Better" has certainly proven that. This compilation from the middle of the year features their hotly tipped signees Glass Candy and the Chromatics, and a sumptuous remix of Indeeps classic "Last night a DJ saved my life" by Mirage. If you like this, check out "Night Drive" by the Chromatics and "Beatbox" by Glass Candy. Essential.

MP3 Chromatics - In the City (12 inch Version) / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #9

#9 Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days 100 Nights

I've a real strong feeling this album will explode next year, especially if you're a fan of Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson, and find yourself impatient for their next release. This album takes what they do, throw it in a time machine back to 1973 (when samplers weren't invented and white people didn't make funk) and let it grow organically, and with no interruption from greedy A&R's. "100 Days 100 Nights" is a great fun soul album, with massive hooks and mighty chorus'. If you have even a passing interest in funk, this is something you really should be listening to.

MP3 Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - 100 Days 100 Nights / ZShare

Albums of the Year 2008: #10

Like last year, I'd originally planned to do a "top 100 of everything" this year, which would round up my favourite songs, albums, gigs, movies and everything else in one easy to follow post. It proved pretty tough, so I've had to scale down somewhat. So over the next week (interspliced with other things), here's my favourite albums of 2007. Enjoy.

#10 The Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams

Yeah, I know, this isn't TECHNICALLY from 2007. But, in my defense, I didn't hear it when it was released last year, and Modular have re-released it this year, so it qualifies for my countdown. Some of you might wonder why it's included, and in case you think it's because of Erland Oye's involvement then please think again. It's just a great evening indie record, with no pretense or ambition, just great mid-tempo indie-rock. Don't try to work out to it, or dance to it, just sit down and enjoy it, because when you do in that setting, you won't have a bad word to say. Great stuff.

MP3 The Whitest Boy Alive - Golden Cage / ZShare

Twas the week before Christmas...

And all was a bit quiet. I know I know, I've not posted for a bit, but I've been a little busy with all this Christmas stuff. Not that I've been doing anything Christmassy of course, it's all just fallen into the festive category. You'll be pleased to know however that I've pulled my finger out and put together my end of year top 10's, which is something of an achievement considering I didn't manage anything last year. I hope you're all liking the Dirtbombs picks too, we're really lucky to have someone like Mike contributing. Anyway, enough waffle, here's a tune a rather like at the moment by chirpy Scousers the Wombats.

MP3 The Wombats - Moving to New York

The Dirty Dozen with Mick Collins: Part 2

Here's part 2 in Mick's selection - a fucking belter it is too.

#2 "Scorpio" - Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band

"You folks can wibble on all you like about the 'Amen Break', and how it changed the course of British History, and opened up new vistas in electronic dance music and all that, but I've never cared for Drum 'n' Bass all that much. I mean, I flipped like everybody else the first time I heard 4 Hero, but I never thought it was anything to base a *club night* around...

D&B is fine as an intellectual construct, but it's never been very big here in Detroit, mainly because there's not enough *butt* in it for us. We like a Big Strong Beat up in here, and D&B, with all its jittery, skittery high BPMs, just doesn't have what it takes to move us. Now 'Scorpio', on the other hand, is the very thing: After about a minute and a half of some damn funky guitar choogle, the rhythm section ('Pistol' Pete Allen, Bongo Brown, and Jack Ashford a.k.a. Tambourine Avatar), basically the Almighty Funk Brothers of Motown Records fame, open up on THE MIGHTIEST GODDAMN DRUMBREAK IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. The 'Amen' break has got NOTHING on 'Scorpio'. NOTHING. This record is GUARANTEED to get Detroiters on the floor. And by the time bassist Bob Babbit starts his solo, You Will Know Us By Our Gyrating Asses."

MP3 Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band - Scorpio

The Dirty Dozen with Mick Collins: Part 1

Here's the first of Mick's roundups of the 12 best Detroit tunes ever. Enjoy

#1 'Money' - Barrett Strong

"This record contains everything that makes Rock 'n' Roll worth listening to: Gospel-based singing, manic drum-pounding, call-and-response vocals, buzzsaw guitar, and God's Own Tambourine. There were other R&B songs without horns by the time 'Money' was released, but there was nothing before (or since) to equal this tambourine-blasted Rock 'n' Roll frenzy. The sound of this record is just perfect: very few records in my knowledge leap out of the grooves and GRAB you the way this one does, and then clubs you over the head when the rest of the band kicks in. If your head isn't bobbing by the time Barrett Strong starts singing, then 'alive' is not a word I would use to describe you.

My family played through two copies of this record when I was a kid; I still own copy #3, although I have since gotten two copies of my own.

Very few 45s actually manage to capture Godhead within their grooves, and this record is practically BURSTING with the raw electricity held in it. On quiet nights, I can hear it softly sizzling and crackling in its velvet case upon the mantle. Almost certainly my pick for Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Song Ever. Ever."

MP3 Barrett Strong - Money (That's what I want)


I've not heard it yet, but everyones favourite Welsh band have a new album out, which apparently is "fucking great" and "I should be listening to it". Hmm. I wasn't too impressed with the first single (I can't even remember what it was), though the newy "The Gift that keeps giving" is all over the radio at the moment, and at a quite apt time of year given the title. It's got a nice mellow 70's vibe, yet you get the overwhelming feeling that Children in Need and Comic Relief will use it as a bed for all their future appeal videos, to remind us all that every pound we pledge will continue to make lives better. Yuk. Good tune though.

MP3 Super Furry Animals - The Gift that keeps giving

The Dirty Dozen with Mick Collins: Part 0.

A few months ago, a surprising email dropped into my inbox from Mick Collins of the Dirtbombs. Days prior I had posted up a tune from "Ultraglide in Black", and I was kind of expecting him to ask me to remove it. Quite to the contrary, Mick claimed he was a fan of this blog, and I could leave the track up until "the sun burned out".

It also transpires that he's a bloody nice bloke too. For anyone that was a fan of the White Stripes in their earlier Detroit days, the Dirtbombs became essential listening, and I ended up preferring them to Jack and Meg.

In the run up to and over the holiday period, Mick has agreed to give me his top 12 Detroit tunes ever. With the motor city having such a rich musical history, I reckon we're all in for a bit of a treat. In the meantime to whet your appetite, here's something off the new Dirtbombs record due in the first half of 2008.

MP3 The Dirtbombs - Wreck my Flow

Damn Supermarkets

I was in my local Somerfield the other day when I heard this tune for the first time in ages. I've not been able to get it out of my head since. I've not gone soppy, but this is a classic bit of modern soul. Grab it now if you haven't got it already.

MP3 Alicia Keys - If I ain't got you

Vote for the Black Country!

As some of you know, I'm actually from an area in the Middle of the UK called the Black Country, yet I currently reside in Manchester in the North West. While I don't get back to my hometown very often, I know where I'm from, and I still carry a slight Midlands twinge to my accent, despite not having lived there for 10 years.

The National Lottery are offering a £50 million grant to 1 of 4 locations in the UK, to put towards Urban regeneration and other such things. Word has reached me that the Black Country is one of those locations, so I figured it's only appropriate to ask all of you if you would be able to log in and vote for my home town. At the end of the day, if you have no allegiance to the other 3, then what's stopping you?? Click here for more info and a documentary featuring Toyal Wilcox. Oh yes.

Here's something from one of the Midlands more famous residents anyway.

MP3 Led Zeppelin - Kashmir / Mirror


I saw Justice the other night, and they were fucking amazing. I know I've rallied against Durr Durr noise for a while now but I'm willing to put that aside when it comes to recognising actual brilliance. Justice were supporting CSS, but seeing as I couldn't really give a shit about the headliners it was all about the support act. I won't bother trying to review the gig, but all I can say is that you need to see them play live as soon as you possibly can. Gig of the year.

MP3 Justice - D.A.N.C.E (Stewart Price Remix)


This is great, I've just heard it on the radio. If you don't like grunge/Dino Jr, then you won't like it. But if you do, you will. More here.

MP3 Pedro the Lion - When they really get to know you they will run


That's it, finito. On Friday, for the last time ever, Get Girl Kill Baddies Save Planet will be at the Roadhouse. It's been a rollercoaster ride since our first gig in February, but now seems the right time to go out with a bang. So, for the first party of the Christmas season, everyone really should be coming along to shake their backsides to Parisian remix master Pilooski. You won't have been able to escape his edit of Frankie Valli's "Beggin'" this summer, and we couldn't hope for a better DJ to see us out than this fella. Email me for some cheap guestlist action, or click here to buy a ticket.

MP3 Frankie Valli - Beggin' (Pilooski Re-edit)

MP3 Von Sudenfed - The Rhinohead (Pilooski Remix)


Hey there. Blogger has been doing some strange things over the last 5 days or so, making it very difficult for me to log in. While this does save you from a poorly constructed rant, it does mean you're not getting some of the absolute quality that's coming through my inbox at the moment. Here's a few bits and hopefully there will be a more meaningful post from me later.

MP3 Gusto - Discos Revenge

MP3 Weezer - Island in the Sun

MP3 Out Hud - It's for you (Rub n Tug's Panarava mix)

I don't know who you are, but give me back the band I used to like.

The new Hot Chip single, Ready for the Floor, sucks. I don't know how else to put it, as there will now be a legion of hipsters baying for my Black Country blood. It's a pop song, which is fine as I love pop, but it's still shit. This is the sound of a band that write a track for Kylie, who rejects it, and then they chuck it on their own album anyway. If the pop princess doesn't like the pop song you write for her, then it's a good idea to forget the pop song altogether, no?

MP3 Hot Chip - Ready for the Floor /

Music posted up here is for evaluation only, and only online for a limited time. If you're an artist, band or label that would like something removed, please get in touch. Otherwise, enjoy the blog!

About me

  • I'm jonthebeef
  • From Manchester, North West, United Kingdom

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    A Little Black Country Grammar

      Ahr - Yes
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