I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

Light the fuse on the shoes

Shall we have some Flipron? They’ve just brought out a new album, “Firework Shoes”, so we should, shouldn’t we?

I have been a big fan of Flipron since Rat Scabies played me some of the demo tracks they recorded at The Arch, his studio under Kew Bridge in London, way back in, oh, I guess it must around 1998, and I am amazed more people haven’t cottoned on to what a good band they are. Maybe “Firework Shoes” will do the trick. It’s produced by Rat and has Neville Staples, ex-The Specials and The Fun Boy Three, on a tune called “The Comet Returns”, which sounds like the theme music for “The Magnificent Seven” given the 2-Tone treatment. Ride ’em, rude boy.

Elsewhere, there’s all the musical weirdosity I’ve come to expect from Flipron. There’s psychedelic honky-tonk and fairground rock ‘n’ roll and kaleidoscopic avant-jazz and neo-bubblegum blues. There’s so much colour you’d think they were sponsored by Dulux. There are lots of darkly twisted tales and esoteric musings too, with frontman Jesse Budd out-Tim Burtoning even Tim Burton. “Available for weddings, trials and beheadings / Sporting occasions, autopsies, immolations / We’re low-life seeking elevation,” he sings at one point.

Anyway, we were going to have some Flipron, right? So if you would kindly press the little orange button below, we can listen to “The Big Red Button Must Never Ever Ever Be Pressed”. Lovely.

Flipron photos by John Coles

Won’t get spooled again

If you bought the NME during the 1980s, you’ll no doubt remember some of the compilation tapes given away free with the paper throughout the decade. I’ve got a tall and wobbly stack of NME tapes sitting on a shelf somewhere, but I haven’t heard any of them for yonks – not least because I don’t own a tape player these days. So I am very pleased to have discovered Press Play And Record, a website with digital rips of many of these superb compilations.

“C86” is perhaps the best known NME tape, its title briefly giving a new name to the jangly guitar music it featured (The Wedding Present, The Mighty Lemon Drops and The Shop Assistants, to name just a few), but my favourite has long been the wildly eclectic “C81”. The highlights include Cabaret Voltaire, The Specials and Robert Wyatt. It’s brilliant to hear the NME‘s jazz, blues and R&B collections again too, especially “Stompin’ At The Savoy”, a neck-jerking assortment of belters and honkers which first appeared on Savoy Records back in the 1940s.

The NME tapes were compiled by journalist Roy Carr, who’s never really got the credit he deserves for these spooled delights. Roy began writing for NME in the late 1960s and put together tapes and later CDs for all the IPC Media music magazines – Melody MakerMuzikVox and Uncut as well as the NME – for around 30 years.

High heels, low lifes, perky popsters

I’ve been playing this video a lot since I stumbled across it last week. It’s a song called “Who Cares Anyway” by London electropop duo High Heels And Low Lifes, and this is indie music in the true sense of the phrase. They don’t have a label or a producer or a manager or any of that. They are doing everything themselves. For now, at least. The girl is Bekki Finnigan, the guy is Mista Mee, and “Who Cares Anyway” is about every girl/boy relationship there’s ever been. It has some neat lines – “It’s the crazy things you do / Creating new issues / When all I want is some new shoes / And may I add, handbags” – and it makes me think of The Specials’ “I Can’t Stand It”, on which Terry Hall and Rhoda Dakar declared their undying irritation with each other. Not that it sounds even remotely like The Specials, you understand.

High Heels And Low Lifes are planning to put out an album shortly. Having had a sneak preview of a few tracks, I’d say it was shaping up nicely. While I suspect their perky pop tunes and London twangs and Mista Mee’s cartoon-ish character will annoy the fuck out of the beard-stroking serious music brigade, that’s just another reason why I really like them.