The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 179


Number 179 – Leading lights from the ‘doss wave’ scene

Middle Name Period – Egyptian Hip Hop (2010)

Recommended by Ed

When doss wave was invented by the NME in 2009 TV programmes likes ‘Skins’ were massively popular.  Doss wave sort of came out of era.  It basically revolved around tragically young and trendy kids who formed bands but could barely bothered about it.  It was lazy, scratchy music and for a very short while it looked to conquer the world (or bits of it at least).

Manchester’s Egyptian Hip Hop were, back in 2009, the poster boys for the scene.  They were all under 18, had interesting haircuts, unique fashion sense and their early demos featured music that was scuzzy and bored sounding (like a remake of Beck’s ‘Odelay’ basically).  Their songs were called things like ‘Rad Pitt’ and it was for a time a little bit refreshing (interestingly a few years later, two bands emerged from ‘doss wave’, they were called Rad Stewart and Day Ravies – I kid you not).

Then Egyptian Hip Hop actually released some music.  Their debut EP ‘Some Reptiles Grew Wings’ came out in 2010 and about six minutes after it landed the only sound you could hear was the sound of annoyed NME journalists franticly trying to invent a new scene in which to pigeonhole it.  This was because Egyptian Hip Hop had made a record that pitched itself in the gap between The Rapture and Mogwai.

Also In Contention: SYH – which is taken from the bands debut album ‘Good Don’t Sleep’

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 180


Number 180 – One of indie rocks brightest hopes…

French Press – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (2017)

Recommended by Badger

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are on the cusp of greatness.  They are one of the few guitar bands that have emerged in recent years that have seemingly been draped in deserved universal acclaim.  In recent weeks they have had favourable reviews from the likes of us, The Guardian and JC. I mean what more reason can you need to be listening to them, easily the three most influential music pages in existence.

They play a unabashedly nostalgic brand of indie rock that sounds like the best bits of Talking Heads, The Strokes (when they were amazing) and the Go-Betweens and whilst that is nothing remarkably new, it’s been years since they have been combined quite so impressively and that my friends, is what is making people sit up and taken notice.

‘French Press’ was the lead off track from the bands second EP also called ‘The French Press Ep’ and it just brims with excitement.  It is based upon a conversation between brothers on opposite sides of the world.  Their words revolving around a wall of guitars (that jangle) and drums (that lash and crash).  It is effortlessly poppy, but with just that hint of edginess, (there is perhaps a wiff of Television style punk..?) and the fuzzy feedback on the guitars is just brilliant.

Also in Contention: Mainland

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 181

eat lights

Number 181 – Like Kraftwerk with guitars….

Modular Living – Eat Lights Become Lights (2013)

Recommended by SWC

Ok, let’s talk about ironing.  I love a bit of an iron.  Most Sunday nights if you popped round to SWC towers you would find me in the conservatory surrounded by a mound of clothes and a fuzz of steam.

Usually I switch a radio on and just lose myself to whatever is playing for some reason I find the feel of a freshly steamed collar quite rewarding.  One particular night I was listening to The Freakzone on BBC 6 Music. A music show that is described as playing ‘the weird, the wonderful and all that’s in between’.  It is hosted by Stuart Maconie, the man who once convinced the world that David Bowie invented the game Connect 4.

It was on The Freakzone that I first heard ‘Modular Living’ by Eat Lights Become Lights.  For those in the dark, ‘Modular Living’ is (nearly) six minutes of sheer musical brilliance.  It starts with this twinkling little organ vibrating away and this kind of siren thing chirping in every ten seconds or so.  A sound that wouldn’t  be out of place on Spiritualized or Chemical Brothers records.  Then after a minute the drums burst in and the bass gets faster and the keyboards speed up.  It is mesmering.  Yet the best is yet to come.  Remember that siren-y noise I mentioned.  Well at around three minutes that comes back and you realise it’s not a siren by a flute or some sort of electronic flute thing (very similar to the one you hear on the ‘Private Psychedelic Reel’) and that just twirls away like a Morris Dancer on acid as everything else just wraps itself around it and just when you think it might gone on for ever.  It just stops.

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 182


Number 182 – Worm meet ear…..=

Honey – Swim Deep (2012 and 2013)

Recommended by SWC

Ah.  If this came out when I was 15, Swim Deep would have been for about six months, my favourite band. It is your archetypical indie pop anthem.  It has the guitars, it has the well produced video, it has catchy clever chorus with its line that can be sung loudly at the top of your voices….Oh ok if you insist

“Don’t just dream in your sleep, its just lazy”.

Which is obviously very clever, so clever that the singer in Swim Deep tells us this fact every seventeen seconds or so.  Personally I think the double use of the word ‘just’ in the same sentence, is erm, just as lazy.  Anyway, ‘Honey’ is a tremendous three minutes or so of indie pop.  It is one of those songs that is comfortable with having a big bold singalong chorus.  A track designed to be played on both Radio One breakfast shows and Evening Session radio shows.  It is the dictionary definition of the word ‘Ear Worm’.

Swim Deep themselves were part of the short lived (or quickly forgotten about) B-Town movement.  Basically indie bands from Birmingham that look and sound quite similar.  Which is why Swim Deep never quite reached the giddy heights that perhaps ‘Honey’ suggested that they could, they sound like a load of bands that never quite got there.  Bands who produced brilliant singles, but decidedly average albums.

Also In contention: She Changes The Weather




Ed-ucate Me – Week Four – The Stand In


“Oh Ed, you are a treasure” says Miss Turncastle with a smile and a flick of her hair. Miss Turncastle is the head of English and Drama at the school and frankly, gents, I would agree to pretty much whatever she asked me to do.  Flicking the hair is a sign of attraction, isn’t it?

I am a treasure because I have just agreed to cover Dinah’s drama class for the rest of the term.  Apparently Dinah’s husband reversed his car over Dinah’s feet this morning and she two broken feet and can’t walk.

I know nothing about drama, but on Thursdays mornings between 1100 and 1230 I have something called ‘downtime’.  Time where teachers can lesson plan, mark essays, read the paper etc, time which I tend to surf the internet and listen to music.  Now I will be teaching a bunch of year eights how to act like trees blowing in the wind.

Carolina Drama (Acoustic) – The Raconteurs

I tell Miss Turncastle that I may not be that good at teaching children at things like pretending to be trees and she laughs, (laughing at my jokes, that’s another sign, right?) and tells me that there will be none of that.  The Year Eight group are all currently competing individually for the Public Speaking Trophy.

Basically each of the Year Eights have to prepare a talk that lasts no more than 8 minutes on any subject that they like.  The rest of the class are given a marking sheet which they grade their classmates accordingly – however the teachers marks over ride all of them, to stop rubbish talks by popular kids winning.  Makes sense, If I’m going to pretend to be Simon Cowell for a term then I need to be front and centre.  Oh, they can bring props to help them with them their talk, as long as they can fit them on a table.   The Top five from each class group (so twenty five children) will then go through to the final, (where they must talk about a new topic).  The final is held in the big hall with microphones, parents and the whole year group, afternoon classes are cancelled to accommodate it.  It’s a big thing apparently.

public speaking

Little Talks – Of Monster and Men

1100am arrives and I amble into the drama room a few minutes before the class starts.  The class troop in and settle down and I introduce myself, I tell them what has happened to Dinah (or Mrs Stubbs as they know her as) and that I would be taking this class until Easter, there is some laughter.  They seem a nice bunch, I ask who is due to speak first today and a small hand is raised.  It is a girl called Zoe.

She does a talk on snow about how it brings communities together and makes things look pretty.  It is a good talk, relatively entertaining.  She wears gloves and a hat when she does the talk and has a snowman that lights up.  People generally think it quite good.  She gets quite high marks.

Enter Milo.  Milo thinks he is cool.  His talk is on magic.  He thinks he is Paul Daniels, although admittedly his jokes are better.  He does tricks and at the end he literally makes some fluffy rabbit sponges disappear in front of people’s eyes, children clap wildly at the end.  The magic is good, but the talk is dull and halfway through I remind myself that I am out of teabags.

God Show Me Magic – Super Furry Animals

But if Milo was bad, pity poor Fleur.  Fleur looks likes one Milo’s fluffy rabbits that has been caught in the headlights of a passing bus. I can barely hear her talk on, wait for it,

Olly Murs.

She has wrapped an Olly Murs scarf around her and spends the whole time holding one of his CDs (A CD in this day and age!) like her life depends on it. There is a ripple of applause when she finishes.  It feels like she has been talking for ever.

Next up is Victoria and she spends ages setting up – there are pictures and rosettes and a load of horsey stuff.  She is obviously talking about her pet pony ‘Snowdrop’.  She’s had him since she was five, she jumps at gymkhanas, Snowdrop attacked the postman one day blah blah blah.  It’s a good talk, it’s boring but good, rather like watching Switzerland play football or listening to Genesis before Collins took over on vocals. I sigh, probably too loudly, I fear for Victoria, she will a member of the Tory Party within five years, guaranteed.  I mark her down, knowing I’ll be right.

Leisure Pony – Pond

Last up is Jamal.  I hadn’t noticed Jamal at all.  He shuffles up to the front.  He has one prop.  It is a photo of a man leaning against what looks like a phone box smoking a cigarette. Jamal coughs before he starts and his voice croaks.  It doesn’t look good for Jamal.

“This is a picture of my uncle Khawija standing on the street outside his carpet factory. Half an hour after this picture was taken he was killed by Islamic fundamentalists.  They shot him dead as he walked to his church to pray.  He is the reason that my family and I fled Somalia and now live here in England”.

Woah, beat that Milo and Victoria, with your silly tricks and your pony.  There is a hush in the room as Jamal continues, talking brilliantly, passionately, poignantly about the struggles of his family.  He tells us that his aunty is still in a detention centre somewhere and that nine members of his family have been murdered in the last ten years.  He tells us about all the beautiful things that he misses about his home town, things and people that he will never see again.  He talks about people’s attitude and their tolerance.  His time flies by and when he finishes, he says just these words.

“Thank You, my friends, for your tolerance and support.”

People are in tears, I’m pretty close to be honest.  Miss Turncastle appears from somewhere behind me and hugs him (how long had she been there?) Jamal gets envious looks from just about every male in the room.

I sit there gobstruck.  Here is a boy that has been in the UK for four years, got himself to grammar school when English is his second language, and he has just spoken more eloquently, more reasonably about immigration and asylum than literally anyone else that I have ever heard speak on the subject. Children are amazing sometimes.

I write the following words on his marking sheet.

“Flawless. Give the boy the cup.”

Childhood Memories

Cover Me – Number 13


California Uber Alles – Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

Originally by The Dead Kennedys

Also covered by Chumbawamba (which I haven’t heard) and The Delgados (likewise)

The original is of course kind of amazing.  A cheeky punky affair which takes aim at the then Californian Governor Jerry Brown, which allegedly likens him to some of the nasty guys from the Third Reich. It draws references to William Shakespeare and George Orwell and is full of military style drums mixed with surf rock guitars and manic vocals.

The cover version by Michael Franti’s Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy is more of an updated version than a cove version per se.  They changed the lyrics to make reference to California’s Republican Governor at time, one Peter Wilson and make it as different to the original that they can, although they do sample the original, which makes this the only cover version in this rundown to actual feature the original within it.  By this there is a distinct laid back hip hop groove running through it and it is far more appealing to the ear.

Oh The Delgados version of this in on their Peel Sessions Album, which I am sure someone will be happy to share…

Television Drug of the Nation

Famous and Dandy

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 183


Number 183 – Another one who features more than once in this list…

Broad Daylight – Alison Crutchfield (2017)

Recommended by SWC

Alison Crutchfield spent most of this decade in a band called Swearin’.  Then in the later part of the decade, the band split and Crutchfield went solo (only to reform later in 2018).  Swearin’ made punky rock that sounded ferocious and angry.  I expected her solo album ‘Tourist In this Town’ to sound a lot like that.

What it actually sounds like is nothing like that.  The (punky) guitars were swapped for synths, swirls and bleeps.  The anger is still there though, as most of the record explores a heartache that is all too obvious.

The first minute or so of ‘Broad Daylight’ starts acapella. It is a bold but effective start.  A voice, coming out of the ether accompanied by nothing other than another voice gently oohing and some very soft instruments. That on its own gets the old goosebumps going, especially when she sings about ‘love being unquestionable’ but then the drums and synths crash in and your heart melts away.  It is breathtakingly lovely.

Also In Contention

Mile Away – Also taken from ‘Tourist In This Town’, which obviously is well worth checking out.

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 184

charly bliss

Number 184 – The musical equivalent of an Alicia Silverstone movie….

Percolator – Charly Bliss (2017)

Recommended by SWC

That’s no bad thing you know, the Alicia Silverstone thing.  Her movies in the mid nineties were mostly brilliant.  You can skirt over the Batman one if you like.  The rest were excellent.  Anyway, where was I?

Oh yes.

Charly Bliss are from New York and owe their sound almost exclusively to the slackerside of 90s indie rock.  They make no secret of it and their love of bands like Veruca Salt.  They make unashamedly bubblegum pop that shrugs its shoulders at the idea of a song longer than three minutes in length.

‘Percolator’ was the second single to be released from the album – it opens like all brilliant singles should with around 30 seconds of screaming guitars and rumbling bass, which I know, is not very bubblegum pop, bear with me.  Those thirty seconds sound like The Strokes. You’ll see where the bubblegum comes in when their singer Eva Hendicks starts singing.  She goes from squeals to sugary coos with ease as she tells you about getaway cars and her boyfriend being a bit of a wrong ‘un.

All sorts of excellent.

Also in Contention

Ruby which is also taken from the bands debut album ‘Guppy’ which comes highly recommended around these parts.

The TSOBO Top 200 Songs of the Decade – Number 185


Number 185 – One of at least three songs in this rundown about gardening…

 Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists (2011)

 Recommended by Badger

Before ‘Don’t Carry It All’ the Decemberists were in danger of collapsing under the strain of their fifth album ‘The Hazards of Love’.  That was a 17 track experimental concept album that edged worryingly close to prog rock.  It was a difficult listen even for the bands most dedicated fans.   Very few people listened to all of it.

For their sixth album, singer Colin Meloy had an idea.  He moved the band to the middle of nowhere (Or Oregon as the Americans call it) and decided to record the album inside a massive barn on a farm. The aim of this was to try and reacquaint themselves with what they loved about music.  The result was ‘The King Is Dead’.  An album that despite what the title suggests is not influenced by English indie of the early eighties.  It is an album full of simple, brilliantly melodic Americana which is as far away from prog rock as it can get.

‘Don’t Carry It All’ was the opening track, and it features Peter Buck from REM on the mandolin and a lady called Gillian Welch on backing vocals.  It is wonderful little folk rocker which Meloy wrote about his exploits in the cut throat world of gardening.  I kid you not.

Also in Contention

Make You Better – Taken from 2015’s ‘What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World’

The TSOBO Top 200 tracks of the Decade – Number 186


Number 186 – The best song about Bangor, since, well ever…

Queens Parade – Swimming Tapes (2017)

Recommended by SWC

There used to be a brilliant amusement arcade near the end of the Central Parade in a small seaside town of Herne Bay.  It was called Neptunes.  It had a sort of underwater theme and it was full of machines that you could put pennies in and win a load more.  I used to fill those machines with copper coins and nearly always I’d come out with the same amount as when I went in.  Next door there was a small café that sold brilliant cakes and toffee that was so hard you needed a hammer to break it.  I used to go there regularly with my grandparents in the early to mid eighties.

A few weeks ago I revisited Herne Bay with my own family and we took a wander along the promenade and I was amazed at how much the seafront had changed.  All of the little businesses were gone and it was filled with flats.  A lot of the old grand Georgian houses were still there, many were care homes now and not hotels and then we came across Neptunes.  It was all boarded up and looked an absolute mess and the site was depressing and for some reason I felt that my childhood memories were being tarnished by this awful site.

Why am I telling you this?  Well it would appear Swimming Tapes sort of felt the same.  ‘Queens Parade’ is a similar seafront promenade, in the bands hometown of Bangor. It is a place that they grew up and the songs talks about playing arcade machines and generally larking about.  Now the street in largely one big car park.

Also in contention