Flowers & Straight Lines

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Two for Tuesday Red

This week, two tracks released last year from acts who have both been described as post-punk.

Firstly a new DIY video from For Malcontents Only favourites, Dot Dash, shot in the centre of their hometown, Washington D.C. The track is taken from their Earthquakes & Tidal Waves album, released on the always interesting Ontario indie label The Beautiful Music – who, incidentally, have just put together a ten track compilation of the band, consisting of demos, live tracks and a cover version, which comes free with any CD purchase of the album bought on the label’s website.

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves was produced by Mitch Easter, a man whose CV includes working with early R.E.M., Dinosaur Jr. and Ride, and this latest Dot Dash album is perhaps their best yet, although in Britain, the band generally remain frustratingly under the radar.

I hear that they will be going back into the studio with Easter again later this year, so hopefully their next effort might just be the one to garner Dot Dash the media attention they undoubtedly deserve.

This is Flowers, which you can download free of charge from the group’s Bandcamp page.

London trio Shopping have been on the go since 2012 and they didn’t take long to put out an album, Consumer Complaints, on their own MÏLK label.

Consisting of by Rachel Aggs on guitar, Billy Easter on bass and drummer Andrew Milk, Shopping have also supported ESG and Gang of Four and have been labelled, what do ya know, the ‘bastard child of ESG and Gang of Four’ by Bearded magazine.

They released a second LP, Why Choose, last October on FatCat (the home also of C. Duncan and Honeyblood) and from it, this is Straight Lines, which as you can see contains some nudity – so if, like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, you have a problem with this kind of thing and feel it may offend then don’t click on the video.* Normal, intelligent people, though, are in for a treat and I especially like the jittery guitar sound, which  ear-wormed its way into my head the instant I first heard it.

Shopping will be playing some live dates in England and Wales during March and April. For more on the band:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/weareshopping
Twitter: @SH0PP1NG

* In case you missed it, Rouhani recently visited Rome’s Capitoline Museum along with Italian PM Matteo Renzi. Several nude statues were hidden, according to the BBC: ‘to avoid offending the Iranian president’.

Well done to the demonstrators outside who protested against Iran’s grotesque human rights record.

Wire & A Band Called Dot Dash (The Sequel)


A few months ago while I was just about to start work on a post on Wire’s Three Girl Rhumba for my 7×7:77 series, I was contacted by a Washington DC band who’d taken their name from another Wire track, Dot Dash. Well, coincidences happen, don’t they?

The band got in touch again last week, asking me if I would like to share a track from their Half Remembered Dream album on the blog.

The email arrived just as I was thinking of a new post that would include a couple of tracks that hadn’t made my 30 Favourite Tracks of the Year list but which maybe should have.

And the tracks that I’d been thinking of posting?

One I’ll feature in my next post after this; the other, again by coincidence, was Wire’s very fine Re-Invent Your Second Wheel from their tenth album Change Becomes Us.


With a sonic palette that straddles power-pop, post-punk and indie rock, Half Remembered Dream was one of my favourite albums of 2013, an impressively lean collection of ten immaculately crafted nuggets that seldom nudge past the three minute mark. The album is rich with hooks, punchy riffs, bristling basslines and plaintive melodies and it’s a mystery to me why it didn’t make far more Best of the Year lists.

Here’s Shopworn Excuse available as a free download from Bandcamp.

And this is The Past Is Another Country from their second album, Winter Garden Light, released in 2012 by The Beautiful Music:

And finally, some more live Wire from thirty five years ago when they appeared on the long running German TV music show Rockpalast. No, not the track Dot Dash but instead the hypnotic French Film Blurred from 1978’s Chairs Missing:


Indie Cindy, Stroh 80 & San Francisco (The Best of 2013)

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On the last day of the year and in no particular order, thirty of my favourite new tracks released during 2013, at least I think they’re all from 2013, along with ten of the very best compilations, reissues, live albums or soundtracks and five books.


My Bloody Valentine: Nothing Is
Arcade Fire: Reflektor
David Bowie: Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Tess Parks: Somedays
The Sexual Objects: Feels With Me
Primal Scream: 2013
Vic Godard & Subway Sect: Caught in Midstream
Jagwar Ma: Come Save Me
Dot Dash: Hands of Time
Pixies: Indie Cindy

Steve Mason: Fight Them Back
Daft Punk: Giorgio Moroder
Cat Power: Bully
The Pastels: Kicking Leaves
Boards of Canada: Reach For The Dead
PiL: This PiL
Iggy and The Stooges: The Departed
Lloyd Cole: Women’s Studies
Edwyn Collins: Forsooth
Casual Sex: Stroh 80

Franz Ferdinand: Love Illumination
The Fall: Loadstones
Brazos: How The Ranks Was Won
Prefab Sprout: The Best Jewel Thief In The World
Paul Haig: Daemon
Low: Just Make It Stop
Anna Calvi: Eliza
Book Group: Victory Lap
James King and The Lonewolves: Pretty Blue Eyes
Foxygen: San Francisco


The Clash: Sound System
Simple Minds: Celebrate
VA – Punk 45. Kill the Hippies! Kill Yourself!
Belle and Sebastian: The Third Eye Centre
The Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat – 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
XTC: Nonsuch
The Boys: Alternative Chartbusters
Jazzateers: Rough 46
TV Smith: Acoustic Sessions, Volume 1
Jon Hopkins/VA: How I Live Now (OST)

The Written Word

Morrissey: Autobiography
Alan McGee: Creation Stories
Nina Antonia: 13 Knots
Sheila Rock: Punk +
Harry Papadopoulos: What Presence!


Three Girl Rhumba & A Band Called Dot Dash


7x7 1977

Wire: Three Girl Rhumba (Pink Flag)

Think of a number, divide it by two / something is nothing, nothing is nothing.

OK, another new series – and, yeah, the blog has went a little series crazy in the past week or so, hasn’t it?

7×7:1977, you won’t be surprised to discover, will consist of 49 tracks from 1977 and with Wire about to start a tour in less than a week’s time that will take in Turkey, Israel, Finland, Poland and America, I thought I’d kick things off with the third track on their debut album.

‘Pink Flag is very much about the climate of the time: about 1977, about punk rock’, Wire’s singer/guitarist Colin Newman reflected in Wilson Neate’s book Pink Flag (33 1/3). ‘But it’s not a punk record. It’s about giving punk a good kicking using the tools of punk. It was very much about not being like the Sex Pistols or the Clash – or another rock band.’

Three Girl Rhumba is my favourite track on Pink Flag and contains the one Wire guitar riff that everyone knows – even though they might well know it from Elastica’s Connection.

For over three decades I had no idea what had inspired Three Girl Rhumba: like many other Wire compositions the title sounded like an impenetrable crossword clue and the lyrics made little sense to me but then, again through Neate’s book on the album (which I’d definitely recommend), I finally discovered it was apparently a love song.

As Newman explained: ‘There were three girls and there really was a choice and I ended up with the one who was ‘the impossible’: there was one I kind of wanted to be with, but it wasn’t going to happen; there was another who wanted to be with me, and I didn’t want to be with her and then suddenly Annette entered the picture. She was so impressive and amazing and I succeeded. It was like pulling off the impossible.’


Over the years the influence of Wire has continued to manifest itself, from the aforementioned Elastica, Blur and Menswe@r – who Allmusic claimed sounded ‘more like Wire than Elastica, only funnier, even if it may be unintentional’ – through Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads and across the Atlantic to LCD Soundsystem and Liars.

Dot Dash, a Washington D.C.quartet, borrowed their name from Wire’s third single but few Wireisms were discernable on their first two albums, spark>flame>ember>ash (2011) and Winter Garden Light (2012).

The band got in touch with the blog to send me their new video for A Light in The Distance, a song from their recently released (third) album Half-Remembered Dream and I’m very glad they did.

Available now on Canadian indie label, The Beautiful Music, the album is crammed full of melodic but dynamic gems and could feature in a number of end of year best-of lists, including my own. I’ve only had the chance to listen to Half-Remembered Dream a couple of times so far but I’m already convinced it’s one of the finest American albums of 2013.

Louder Than War agree and have just declared them ‘your next favourite riff sodden but also tune filled band’ and here is that video of the guys performing a short sharp slice of Buzzcocks meet Hüsker Dü noisy pop:


And here’s a free download for A Light in The Distance (via Bandcamp).

Dot Dash Half-Remembered Dream

Half-Remembered Dream is available to buy as a download via Bandcamp, iTunes, eMusic, Amazon and from The Beautiful Music.

For more on Dot Dash: Facebook