Paolo Casa - Hi Vi

Paolo Casa's record America Giovane No. 3, from which 'Hi Vi' is taken, exists solely on collectors websites. The classification of the music varies from 'Library Music' to 'Theme Music' to Funk. Very little other information is available, but for the fact that it's from Italy and was released on Italian label Otter Records. The music speaks for itself though, really blissful and dated funk music.

Label: Otter Records
Year: n/a
Genre: Funk, Electronica, Soundtrack

Mahmoud Ahmed - Be Leselese Qu'al

This fantastic rare track by Mahmoud Ahmed doesn't sound unlike much of the 'hypnagogic pop' of recent years - the reverberated guitar, the handclaps, the horns... of course, Ahmed came first and the influence of such Ethiopian musicians upon modern Western acts is undeniable: Ariel Pink, for example, covered Yeshimebet Dubale's 'I Remember A Man' on his 2010 track 'Reminiscences'. That being said, there's nothing more rich and authentic than the original, and what Western acts miss in particular are the beautifully distinctive vocals! Mahmoud Ahmed - and Roha Band, who appear on many Ahmed songs including this one - are icons both in Ethiopia and internationally. And understandably so.

Label: n/a
Year: 198?
Genre: Ethiopian Pop, Jazz

Resonance FM 18/12/13 (Kiran Leonard)

Wednesday's show saw a special pre-recorded session from Kiran Leonard, in which he premiered two new songs; 'Southport' and 'Abductor'. As well as this exciting session, I span tracks from Japan, Ethiopia and 1950s USA!

Dig That Treasure (18/12/13)
Mayumi Kojima - Me & My Monkey On The Moon
Kiran Leonard - Southport
Hirut Bekele - Esu New Messelegne
Kiran Leonard - Abductor
Patience & Prudence - Tonight You Belong To Me

Resonance FM 11/12/13 (Sean O'Hagan)

On Wednesday night I hosted a special live session from Sean O'Hagan of The High Llamas! This was particularly exciting, as the Llamas are a favourite of mine. Sean read an extract of his upcoming play Here Come The Rattling Trees and performed one of the production's songs for only the second time (to an audience, that is). He also played Talahomi Way track 'Ring of Gold'.

Dig That Treasure (11/12/13)
Alan Parker - My World
Sean O'Hagan - Here Come The Rattling Trees (extract)
Sean O'Hagan - Ring of Gold
Ewnet Yet Legegnesh - Instrumental

Dr Nico & l'African Fiesta Sukisa - Marie Nella

Dr Nico & l'African Fiesta Sukisa were a soukous band from Congo led by guitar marvel Nico Kasanda. This song, Marie Nella, is a dreamy and yearning piece, equipped with finger-picked guitars and sweetly sung vocals.

Label: African / Sonodisc
Year: 197-?
Genre: Soukous, Jazz

Aventuras De Kirlian - En Francia

While The Pastels and Talulah Gosh led the UK twee scene in the 1980s, Aventuras De Kirlian were doing something similar in sunny Spain. Although they've since faded into obscurity, the Spaniards were highly influential in their time and famed for their short and tight pop songs. 'En Francia' is the quintessential Aventuras song: a minimal guitar/bass/drums jam, short and sweet and god-damn catchy.

Label: DRO
Year: 1989
Genre: Indie Pop, Twee

The Bran Flakes - I Have A Friend

The Bran Flakes are a collage group led by Otis Fodder and Mildred Pitt. Using samples sourced everywhere from well known popular songs to novelty videos, they create tongue-in-cheek collage pieces that often evolve into richly melodic pop songs of their own. This track, I Have A Friend, heavily samples a television show presented by Fred Rogers called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, in particular an episode about a short-necked giraffe... The result is an awkwardly sweet ditty about friendship and young love.

Label: Illegal Art
Year: 2009
Genre: Pop, Collage, Avant-Garde, Novelty

Resonance FM 4/12/13

Wednesday evening saw Dig That Treasure return to the airwaves with a bang! The show opened with the wonderfully brusque Oakland Highball by Kiran Leonard and ended with some beautifully low-key French-language Japanese dream-pop, but not before making stops off at Senegal, Ethiopia and San Francisco. Listen to the episode below!

Dig That Treasure (4/12/13)
Kiran Leonard - Oakland Highball
Mor Thiam - Ayo Ayo Nene
Woubeshet Feseha - 'Track One'
Coconut - Congratulation
Coconut - Hold Your Bunny
Tamao Koike - Automne Dans Un Mirior

Hirut Bekele - Essu Lij Yene Newu

Melodically this reminds me of Kennedy Mengesha but the vocals prove otherwise! This great track by Hirut Bekele is jaunty and upbeat, with great interplay between the Amharic vocals and horn section. Not for the first time have I struggled to gain information about an Ethiopian artist - I can't find any record label, date of release or album for this song!

Label: n/a
Year: ?
Genre: Ethiopian Pop, Jazz

The Mighty Sparrow - Sparrow Dead

A song to make even those most sour smile. The Mighty Sparrow is a calypso singer from Trinidad, where he is something of a national treasure. This track disguises lyrics in which Sparrow investigates his own death with sunburst brass and a ridiculously tight percussion section. This recording of the song was produced by Van Dyke Parks, American composer and connoisseur of the musics of Trinidad and Tobago.

Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1974
Genre: Calypso

Guest Post: Kiran Leonard presents Once Was Enough Mix

Introducing a guest mix from Kiran Leonard: songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, beat-maker and college student (he's 18). This is a relentlessly raucous collection of tracks spliced with audio samples, beginning in grand fashion and ending on a relatively hushed note, via the wacky world of Nervous Norvus, the noise of Half Japanese and Harry Pussy, and the avant-garde poetry of The Shadow Ring.

Kiran Leonard presents...
Once Was Enough Mix:

Alice Coltrane - Eternal Spiritual
Nmperign/Jason Lescalleet - Metal Gloves
Nervous Norvus - Stoneage Woo
Half Japanese - No More Beatle Mania
The Van Pelt - Yamato (Where People Really Die)
Susana Baca - Negra Presuntuosa
Cassetteboy - CV Mosq And More Except For CV Mosq
The Shadow Ring - I Am A Lighthouse
Primitive Calculators - Glitter Kids
Dreamers Cloth - The Coconut Pearl 4
Harry Pussy - Nazi USA
Mark Mcguire - Staying Home From School
Pedestrian Deposit - You Can't Help Me
Sufjan Stevens - The Mistress Witch From McClure (Or The Mind That Knows Itself)

Mayumi Kojima - Me And My Monkey On The Moon

Again, language barriers prevent me finding out more about an artist! This time it's Mayumi Kojima (or あの娘の彼), a Shibuya-kei musician from Japan. This track, an eccentric jazz scat, is one of just a few on the album (a collection of singles and rarities) with an English title. Despite the clear jazz, psychedelia and bossa nova influences, this is a song that exists completely in a world of its own.

Label: Pony Canyon
Year: 2000
Genre: Jazz, Pop, Shibuya-kei

Vyatcheslav Mescherin's Orchestra - Bear Cub

At the weekend I checked out a really interesting documentary about Russian lounge music called Tim Key's Easy USSR. It featured some fascinating early electronica including this track by Vyatcheslav Mescherin's Orchestra, called 'Bear Cub'. This wacky piece of music, a space-age (Yuri Gagarin was a fan) stew of synthesizers, organ and vibraphone, was unsurprisingly used in elevators and waiting rooms.

Label: Legkie 
Year: ?
Genre: Lounge, Electronica, Easy-Listening, Space Age Pop

Guest Post: Jerkcurb presents Palm Tree Tuxedo: Indoor Fountain Feelings Mix

Jerkcurb is Jacob Read; songwriter, illustrator and obsessive music fan. I'll let him explain the rest...

Jerkcurb presents...
Palm Tree Tuxedo: Indoor Fountain Feelings Mix:

The best I could sum it up was 'palm tree tuxedo'. Loosely, its some kind of niche bridge between easily listening muzak and outsider music, early/contemporary electronic, loungey mall vibe stuff. I did the illustration for it based on an old 60s mall postcard set I found, on the back it said "with controlled temperature, its always springtime here". First of all, its amazing they even made postcards for shopping malls, and secondly the idea of the 'eternity of spring' I found very interesting, its like soo utopic that its almost dystopic. I guess thats kind of the way the mix turns out, amidst all the optimistic chilled out stuff there's some really weird shit in there, lots of desperation. I hope you enjoy!

Jerry Paper - Is This It?
The Reels - This Guy's in love
Eco Virtual - Smog
Jerry Paper - Fuzzy Logic
Arthur Lyman - Aloha Oe
Mark Isham - Something Nice for my Dog
Snoretex - Synthesist
John Maus - Don't Be a Body / That Night
Tonstartssbandht - Hymn Eola
Zonotope - Sorry I was a Jerk
Shuggie Otis - Pling!
Ruth White - Evening Harmony
Neil Innes - Them

Illustration by Jacob Read.

Three-Weeks-Old Lovesick Puppy - Empty Park

Despite having an easy-to-find webpage, a combination of language barriers and lack of media attention means that Japanese quintet Three-Weeks-Old Lovesick Puppy are one hard nut to crack. This track, one of a few songs actually available online, comes across as a gleeful J-Pop tribute to 90s Britain, where bands like Stereolab, The Pastels and The High Llamas combined influences as diverse as jazz, sunshine pop, soul and art rock. The song is driven by a mesmerising bass line, on top of which organ, woodwind and typically chirpy Japanese vocal parts lay.

Label: ?
Year: 2007
Genre: J-Pop, Indie Pop, Jazz

Niwat Charoenmit - Prom Likit

Performed by Niwat Charoenmit (or นิวัติ เจริญมิตร) this stunning piece of music is used in the wedding scene of Thai western film Tears Of The Black Tiger. The vocals are reserved and yet emotive and are accompanied by the most serene of string parts, making this piece equally hopeful and sorrowful. My knowledge of Thai music fails me here and I long to know more about the instruments used, but for the time being I can simply appreciate the piece for what it is - a gorgeous wedding song.

Label: Bec-Tero Entertainment
Year: 2000
Genre: Jazz, T-Pop, Soundtrack

Pastor T.L. Barrett & the Youth For Christ Choir - Nobody Knows

Pastor T.L. Barrett was a Chicago pastor who made powerful celebratory music in the late 60s and early 70s. Assisted by his 'Youth For Christ Choir', he released a record of striking religious music and this cut, 'Nobody Knows', is a looping and suspenseful piece that treads upon the darkest side of glory.

Label: Mt. Zion/Light In The Attic (reissue)
Year: 1971/2010 (reissue)
Genre: Soul, Gospel, Religious

Kennedy Mengesha & Yeshimebet Dubale - Liyish

On my first ever Dig That Treasure radio show, I played a track by Ethiopian oldies singer Yeshimebet Dubale. Something about her distinctive vocals and choice of instrumentation really drew me to her and luckily for me, I stumbled upon her again when browsing fellow Ethiopian Kennedy Mengesha's catalogue. In this song, Mengesha's vocals perfectly compliment Dubale's, over an instrumental that is not unlike that of the latter's 'I Remember A Man'. This is a fantastic slice of Ethiopian pop, a mesmerising duet between two of the most idiosyncratic voices I've ever come across.

Label: n/a
Year: ?
Genre: Ethiopian Pop, Jazz

Guest Post: Adrian Knight presents Intimate Friends Mix

Responsible for some of my favourite music this year, Adrian Knight is a shapeshifting composer whose oeuvre includes music for stage, minimal jazz and this year's Steely-Dan-meets-Ariel-Pink Cocktail Culture. For this guest post, Adrian has compiled a selection of his favourite Soul and R&B tracks from 1957-1990, including early Prince and 80s-era John Cale alongside Motown classics like Tina Turner and Eddie Kendricks.

Adrian Knight presents...
Intimate Friends Mix:

Johnny Dupont - Ebb And Tide
Eddie Kendricks - Intimate friends
Barbara Lewis - Hello Stranger
Don Cherry - I Look For A Love
Johnnie And Joe - My Baby's Gone On, On
Don Cherry - Big Bad Wolf
Diana Ross - Let's Go Up
Tina Turner - Typical Male
John Cale - Villa Albani
Gloria Jones - Bring On the Love (Why Can't We Be Friends Again?)
Prince - In Love
Four Tops - Still Water

Mor Thiam - Ayo Ayo Nene

This horn-led piece is from Senegal, an area of Africa I'm now intrigued to find more about. Mor Thiam (father of popstar Akon) is a multi-instrumentalist of Dogon ethnicity, whose use of instruments such as the tamar and djembe is clear in the track's heavily-percussive elements.

Label: Rite Record Productions
Year: 1973
Genre: Traditional Senegalese, Afrobeat, Jazz

Tamao Koike - Automne Dans Un Miroir

[Edit: the song has been completely removed from Youtube! However, you can download a zip file of multiple Koike songs here]

A combination of obscurity and Japanese language barriers make Tamao Koike (or 小池玉緒) an elusive character online. This song, a slice of Francophile synth-pop, was supposedly written by Yellow Magic Orchestra, associates of Koike. With shades of Jane Birkin or a young Charlotte Gainsbourg, this track is utterly gorgeous and unique in its approach.

Label: Yen Records
Year: 1983
Genre: Synth Pop, Dream Pop, Yé-yé

Guest Post: Ed Askew presents Tracks From My Shelf Mix

It is contributions like this that evolve my love for this site - Ed Askew is the massively talented and prolific singer-songwriter, whose career began in 1968 with the release of cult-record Ask The Unicorn. His music is an enchanting stew of folk, psych-pop and jazz; often melancholy, often gleeful. In this exclusive mix, Ed has selected six songs from his record collection: from Margaret Leng Tan's interpretation of John Cage's 'Suit For Toy Piano' to Do Make Say Think's folk-slanted post-rock. Along the way are cuts from celebrated Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell, former-choir boy Liam O'Kane, Harry Partch (who built all of his own instruments) and the renowned ensemble the Kronos Quartet. 

Ed Askew presents...
Tracks From My Shelf Mix:

Margaret Leng Tan - Suite For A Toy Piano 1948
Baden Powell - Berimbau
Liam O'Kane - Politeness Is Free
Harry Partch - Chorus Of Shadows
Kronos Quartet - Cold War Suite from How It Happens
Do Make Say Think - A Tender History In Rust

Many thanks to Ed.

Resonance FM 16/10/13

Wednesday night saw the last in the first series of Dig That Treasure on Resonance FM. 'Series' is used loosely here, and I'll be back in six weeks or so with a new run of episodes. In the meantime, you can catch up on the latest show, in which I played songs from soundtracks, buskers and Iran...

Dig That Treasure (16/10/13)
Shelley Duvall - He Needs Me
Marzieh - Mayzadeh
Neway Debebe - Yitikimt Abeba
The Motifs - Tell Me More
The Motifs - Night Sky
The Space Lady - Synthesize Me

Doug Tielli - A Dream That I Am

Having missed his flight home to his native Toronto, Doug Tielli spent a couple of months living at the base of his label, Tin Angel Records. This song - from his recent record Keresley - combines the folk of rural England and the blue-eyed soul of the US, producing a gorgeous stroll through spirit and beauty.

Label: Tin Angel Records
Year: 2013
Genre: Folk, Soul, Jazz, Chamber Pop

Alemayehu Eshete - Ayalqem Tedengo

Not untypical of Ethiopian music, Ayalquem Tedengo is a song with undeniable charm: an uplifting groove coloured by dancehall pianos, guitar licks and utterly loveable vocals - towards the end, Alemayehu Eshete laughs his way through the final "ay ay ay..." A wonderful cover version by French band Akalé Wubé is available here.

Label: n/a
Year: 1969-74
Genre: Ethiopian Jazz, Afro-Pop

Mutual Benefit - Advanced Falconry

Mutual Benefit is the musical project of Jordan Lee, master craftsman of exquisitely rich electronica-stroked folk. This new cut, 'Advanced Falconry', provides the perfect transition from summer to autumn, with delicate finger-picking, sun-soaked strings and warm vocals.

Label: self-released
Year: 2013
Genre: Folktronica, Folk, Experimental

The Space Lady - Synthesize Me

The most haunting music comes from the most unexpected places. The Space Lady is Susan Deitrich, a street performer based in Colorado, loosely classified as an 'outsider musician'. Her music holds a mystic quality, enhanced by both her cosmic themed aesthetic and her commitment: having performed for over thirty years, her casiotone-based music has become truly timeless and out of this world. 'Synthesize Me' is the embodiment of this - a fragile trip through time and space, asking us to "synthesize me, hypnotise me, humanise me".

Label: n/a / Night School Records (reissue)
Year: 2013 (reissue)
Genre: Synth-Pop, Outsider, Experimental

Brian & Brenda Russell - Think About You

Brian & Brenda Russell were a married couple who made cheesy soul-pop that perfectly captured a certain sound of the 70s. Brenda went on to work with Tina Turner and Diana Ross, and Brian went on to work with Steely Dan and Coldplay. And yet, their records as a couple went strangely unnoticed.

Label: The Rocket Recording Company
Year: 1977
Genre: Pop, Soul

The Pastels - Love, It's Getting Better

The Pastels are nothing short of legendary, putting out numerous albums since 1981, collaborating with Tenniscoats, Jarvis Cocker and Teenage Fanclub and gaining fans in Nirvana among others. Easily one of my favourite bands, their sound is ever-developing and always startlingly fresh. This cut, however, takes a step back in time. A cover of a track by Northern Soul outfit The Groove, this was the fragile (yet somewhat soulful) b-side to The Pastels' 1995 single 'Worlds of Possibility'. Katrina Mitchell's strained vocals are beautiful and sit wonderfully atop the loose instrumental.

Label: Domino
Year: 1995
Genre: Indie Pop, Northern Soul, Twee

Resonance FM 9/10/13

Wednesday saw Dig That Treasure number six on Resonance FM. I span music from Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria, as well as a Private Press obscurity and a new-wave rarity! It is available to hear below, along with the tracklist.

Dig That Treasure (9/10/13)
Mag & The Suspects - Thousands Dead
Eddie Callahan - Shake Your Woogie
Dear John Love Emma - When Our Love Moves So Quietly
Dear John Love Emma - Music For a Flood
Alemayehu Eshete - Ayalqem Tedengo
William Onyeabor - Fantastic Man

Eddie Callahan - Shake Your Woogie

Back in August the wonderful South African experimentalist Hleger curated a mix of Private Press music for Dig That Treasure. One of the artists featured there was Eddie Callahan, an American 'outsider' musician who made breezy West Coast pop. 'Shake Your Woogie' is a cut from his 1976 LP False Ego, a little slice of boogie-woogie, reminiscent of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and other psych-pop weirdos.

Label: Ocean Records
Year: 1976
Genre: Psychedelia, Pop, Private Press, Boogie Woogie

Resonance FM 2/10/13

For yesterday's Resonance show I was joined by the marvellous Huw Oliver as a co-host. Huw played songs from Cambodia and Martinique, whilst I played a 70s soul rarity and - of course - an Ethiopian track among others. I ended the show with a song very special to the blog, for one very clear reason. Listen below...

Dig That Treasure (25/9/13) tracklisting:
The Sylvers - I'll Never Be Ashamed
Muluken Melesse - Lakilign
Graves - Pine Cone
Barel Coppet et Mister Lof - Jeunesse Vauclin
Dengue Fever - Tiger Phone Card
Cryptacize - Dig That Treasure

Guest Post: Trixie's Big Red Motorbike present Marine Girls and Grab Grab The Haddock

It is with great honour that I present this guest post written by Mark Litten, brains behind one of my all-time favourite bands, Trixie's Big Red Motorbike. Originally active between 1981-85 and reformed in 2012, Trixie's were one of the most intriguing, playful and melodically exciting bands of not only the 'twee'/'C86' scene, but of the 80s itself. I could write for days about this band - in fact I may one day write an essay of my own. But for now, I shall allow Mark to present two of his favourite bands from the 'C86' era. 

Mark Litten (Trixie's Big Red Motorbike) presents...
Marine Girls and Grab Grab The Haddock:

I want to write something about a very special but overlooked band from the early eighties. Grab Grab The Haddock seemed to have discovered the blueprint for the 'C86' sound well before the NME worked out what was happening in the DIY indie world. Who were these people? Read on... you might get a surprise!

Marine Girls were perhaps the single most important influence on what was to become known as "indiepop". Gina Hartman, Tracey Thorn, Jane Fox and her sister Alice came up with a unique melodic and minimalist sound based on prominent vocals, jangly guitars, tuneful basslines and hand-held percussion. Their first album "Beach Party" from 1981 is now recognised as one of the cornerstones of the genre. Marine Girls disbanded in 1983, due to musical differences. According to Alice, Tracey wanted to write songs for estate agents, while Jane wanted to throw ping-pong balls onto a xylophone.

All was not lost for their fans, however. In 1984 Jane got together with Lester Noel (later of Beats International fame), and with Alice on vocals, Grab Grab The Haddock were born. With Steve Galloway on second guitar, a drummer (Michelle?) and friends playing various other instruments, their sound was now fully fleshed-out indiepop.

Speaking in 1996, Jane said; "It was a hugely different experience to playing with the Marine Girls, and actually, playing live with Grab Grab The Haddock could be tremendous fun".


P.S. It was between the Marine Girls split and GGTH that Jane recorded with my band, on a single and a John Peel session. For contractual reasons she is credited as Jane Fish!

Trixie's Big Red Motorbike -

Resonance FM 25/9/13

Episode number four featured music from Ghana, Ethiopia and the Isle Of Wight. The continuity of playing an Ethiopian track each week is one that I hope to maintain - although the stream of last night's show actually cuts out the Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù piece and instead plays two and a half minutes of the previous show!

Dig That Treasure (25/9/13) tracklisting:
Jib Kidder - Windowdipper
J.A. Adofo & City Boys International - Enfa Odo Ndi Agoro
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - Norman & Narcissus
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike - Fairytales
James Rabbit - George Gershwin
Robbie Basho - Orphan's Lament
Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù - Mother's Love

J.A. Adofo & City Boys International - Enfa Odo Ndi Agoro

Following my recent obsession with Ethiopian music, I decided to explore the music of another African country: Ghana. 'Enfa Odo Ndi Agoro' is a joyous groove with jittery guitars, sunny synthesisers and a horn section. Incredibly rare and with very little detail online, this is a rhythmic and optimistic highlife track to be treasured - and a fine introduction to the music of Ghana, too!

Label: n/a
Year: early-80s
Genre: Highlife, Pop

Ephrem Tamiru - Aynua

There is something incredibly rich and deft about Ethiopian music, especially that of the 1970s and 80s. The distinctive sound is packed with vibrant guitar, stunning grooves and polyrhythms, and most strikingly the harmonious vocal style. Ephrem Tamiru's 'Aynua' is just that. From 1977 - when the rather contrary punk movement was picking up speed in the West - 'Aynua' is a joyous jam, epitomising everything that was just so right about Ethiopian music of the time!

Label: n/a
Year: 1977
Genre: Jazz, African Folk

Resonance FM 18/9/13

Last night was the third episode of Dig That Treasure on Resonance FM. Music included tracks from diverse regions such as Romania, Iceland and - of course - Ethiopia. There were also newer tracks from The Derevolutions and Cooltombs, as well as an Arthur Russell side-project and a 70s family movie soundtrack.

Dig That Treasure (18/9/13) tracklisting:
Bad News Bears in Breaking Training OST - Life Is Looking Good
The Derevolutions - Yell It Out!
Dinosaur L - No, Thank You
Cooltombs - Feel It In Your Bones

Björk - Musastiginn

Ephrem Tamiru - Aynua
Aurelian Andreescu - Oameni

Guest Post: Steppe People present Second Summer Mix

In this exciting guest mix, Eric Carlson - guitarist and singer of Steppe People - has curated a collection of punk, psychedelic and experimental tracks, from the likes of Pere Ubu, Steaming Coils and Null & Void. The mix acts as both an upbeat post-summer collection, but also as a reflection on the influences of the band.

Steppe People present...
Second Summer Mix:

Side A
Suburban Lawns - "Janitor"
Pere Ubu - "Breath"
Steaming Coils - "Singing Notice"
Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians - "Egyptian Cream (Live)"
Exile - "Kiss You All Over"
Side B
Dwight Twilley Band - "Could Be Love"
Green On Red - "Illustrated Crawling"
Cheap Trick - "On Top of The World"
Null & Void - "The Motorcycle Song"
Black Flag - "Spray Paint"
The Business - "Out in the Cold"
The Beach Boys - "Mama Says"

Profile: KEEL HER

Brighton's KEEL HER has an overwhelmingly large back catalogue for someone aged just twenty. Tracks range from angsty punk and sugary indie pop to cosmic electronica experiments, eventually accumulating in a full-length record to be released later this year. She's collaborated with DIY-god R. Stevie Moore, released records on the beloved labels Art Is Hard and Gnar Tapes and is slowly but surely building herself up as an iconic pop princess (except more Kim Deal than Britney).

Label: Art Is Hard/Gnar Tapes
Genre: Punk, Twee Pop, Electronica

Resonance FM 11/9/13

Last night was my second show on Resonance FM. I played music from Japan, Turkey and - of course - Ethiopia, as well as covers of Bobby Hebb and David Bowie classics. There was also a piece from the late great Steve Martland, as well as a duo of songs from current singer-songwriter Rosielou.

Dig That Treasure (11/9/13) tracklisting:
Timur Selçuk - Trafik
Maher Shalal Hash Baz - A Mere Form
Steve Martland - Principia
Aster Aweke - Segno
Rosielou - Tangerine
Rosielou - Blostma
Traffique - Sunny
Langley Schools Music Project - Space Oddity

Timur Selçuk - Trafik

I opened up last night's Resonance FM show with this glorious piece - a conceptual reinterpretation of a traffic jam. It's a whistle-led groove, held together by a funk bassline and victorious horn stabs, something that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Zappas' Hot Rats. Having known very little about Turkish music, this has made me want to dig a lot deeper!

Label: Balet Plak
Year: 1974
Genre: Classical, Jazz, Progressive Rock

Tonetta - Drugs Drugs Drugs

Since his wife left him in the 1980s, Tonetta has made intense sugar rush rock songs at home in Toronto. Now in his 60s and despite his reclusive lifestyle and utterly alienating persona, Tonetta's brand of coarse fuzz-pop has propelled him to 'internet sensation' status. He's gathered comparisons with Gary War and Ariel Pink, and been the star of articles on The Quietus and The Guardian and yet, somehow, he's remained a YouTube obscurity.

Label: Black Tent Press
Year: unknown
Genre: Experimental, Pop

Aster Aweke - Segno

Occasionally something unexpected completely blows you away. Most recently for me, it's the ecstatically shapeshifting horn-led introduction of Aster Aweke's 'Segno'. The following four and a half minutes have much to live up to, but manage to expand into a warm East-meets-West-hybrid groove. Aweke's vocals and the track's rhythmic hyperactivity are characteristic of Ethiopian music, but the production and instrumentation - electric piano, saxophone - are distinctive of glossy 80s synth-pop.

Label: Columbia
Year: 1989
Genre: African Folk, Synth-Pop, Afro-Pop

Superstar & Star - I Ain't Missing You

Superstar & Star is enough reason to start a blog like this. Trinidadian native Neville Lawrence embodies the DIY pop star; his wondrous synth-pop is suitably lo-fidelity, and his own personal brand shines through in his Caribbean accent and unique dress sense - including a shining space-age suit in the video for 'I Ain't Missing You'. He's found admirers in a younger generation of bedroom stars (Aldous R.H. and Kindness to name a couple) and as rumour has it, he's shared stages with Tupac and Snoop Dogg.

Label: self-released
Year: 1999
Genre: Synth-Pop, Soul, Experimental

Profile: Drew Price's Bermuda Triangle

Drew Price's Bermuda Triangle is a project I've been keeping an eye on for years now. His early releases - Cat In The Rain and Seven Deadly - were rickety experiments in bedroom pop but his sound has since developed into a more polished work. The Alabama student's music is mysterious, noisy but also excitingly fresh, channeling noise pop, electronica and a whole host of other influences into an inventive stew of pop.

Label: Happenin' Records
Genre: Noise Pop, Electronica, Alternative Rock

Resonance FM 4/9/13

Wednesday night was host to my radio debut, a 30 minute Dig That Treasure! show on Resonance FM. My speech delivery is nervy and there are mistakes, but I played some great tracks. Catch me next Wednesday at 19:30 on Resonance FM 104.4, or over at

Dig That Treasure (4/9/13) tracklisting:
Mort Garson - Swingin' Spathiphyllums
Yeshimebet Dubale - I Remember A Man
The Honeymoon Killers - Route Nationale 7
iji - Unimpressed By Mountains
Julian Lynch - Harmonium
Julian Lynch - Es's
Belle Du Soir - Quantum Leap
Bezunesh Bekele - Sintun Ayehu Bante

Belle Du Soir - Quantum Leap

This is a rare cut from Belle Du Soir, a mysterious Australian band who released only one EP - on the label M Squared in 1981. The 7" is a "twisted pop release", recorded on a 4-track and encapsulating the spirit of 1980s DIY recording. It's clumsy and playful, sweet and dark.

Label: M Squared
Year: 1981
Genre: New-Wave, Twee Pop, Post-Punk

Guest Post: Hleger presents The Private Press Mix

Hleger is a South African musician whose experiments have taken him to every corner of alternative music, from drone to folk, psychedelia to bedroom pop. His diverse influences are spearheaded by DIY pop idols R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink, yet here he goes one further by exploring the world of 1960s Private Press music; the artists who recorded by themselves, for themselves!

Stuart Kets (Hleger) presents...
The Private Press Mix:

Eddie Callahan - "Santa Cruz Mountians"
D.R. Hooker - "Weather Girl"
Circuit Rider - "Just for Today"
Sister Irene O' Connor - "Fire"
Ted Lucas - "It's So Easy When You Know What You're Doing"
Dave Bixby - "Drug Song"
Ted Lucas - "It Is Nice To Be Stoned"

Tueurs de la Lune de Miel - Route Nationale 7

Although Tueurs De La Lune De Miel (The Honeymoon Killers) were beloved in their native Belgium, the band went unfairly unnoticed in the Anglosphere. The French-speaking sextet explored new-wave, jazz and rockabilly, although here, a more straightforward route was taken: covering Charles Trenet's memorable Route Nationale 7. The song was quirky and inventive, comparable to the Flying Lizards and arguably paving way for acts like Stereo Total in the 1990s.

Label: Crammed Discs
Year: 1981
Genre: New Wave, Chanson

Guest Post: Half-Gifts presents Craig Safan & John Joyce - Life Is Looking Good

Introducing the first ever Dig That Treasure guest post! Half-Gifts is a zine and blog run by the viciously talented Jude Noel and here, Noel abandons his roots in shoegaze and dream pop and writes about the unlikely earworm 'Life Is Looking Good' from 1977 family comedy Breaking Training.

Half-Gifts presents...
Craig Safan & John Joyce - Life Is Looking Good

The songs most likely to get stuck in your head seem to come from the most unlikely places, and no source seems less likely to produce pop gold than Breaking Training, the 1977 sequel to baseball-themed family comedy The Bad News Bears. Living up to its optimistic title, the Motown-Influenced song 'Life Is Looking Good' gives the film’s turning point some extra kick, transitioning seamlessly from the 1812 Overture as the film’s titular baseball team pulls onto the interstate, headed for the Astrodome. In fact, the song’s chorus borrows its melody from the Tchaikovsky classic. Songwriter Craig Safan is able to capture the spirit of the seventies perfectly. Its grainy, disco sound meshes perfectly with the long hair and carefree attitude of the decade.
- Jude Noel, Half-Gifts.

Label: n/a
Year: 1977
Genre: Baroque Pop, Disco, Soundtrack

Profile: /please/

Bristol teenager Ellen Davies broke the punk mould of Art Is Hard Records earlier in 2013 when she released e . p, a collection of warm and delicate songs drawing influence from Kate Bush, Julia Holter and Carissa's Wierd. Opening track Calliope's dark optimism leads into the piano-driven near-ballad Absolutely, decorated with acoustic guitar and processed percussion. Stand out track Chevron offers a whirring electric guitar, while closing track Gestalt ends the collection abruptly and mysteriously. Above is a cut from Art Is Hard's Biweekly 5" Pizza Club, a beautiful reinterpretation of Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'.

Label: Art Is Hard/Sewage Tapes
Genre: Dream Pop, Electronica

Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou - Mother's Love

Given its incredibly rich musical history, Ethiopia's relative obscurity on a worldwide scale is unfortunate. Nevertheless, Éthiopiques - a compilation series unmasking Ethiopian composition - is leading the movement to change this. This particular piece, 'Mother's Love', is from Éthiopiques 21. Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou's composition is an intricate, delicate and balmy piano piece, understandably regarded as a lullabye by some.

Label: Éthiopiques (Reissue)
Year: 1963 (Original) 2006 (Reissue)
Genre: Jazz, African Folk

Careful - It's Funny

Almost a year on from its original release date, Careful's 'It's Funny' still carries the same spine-tingling effect it did on initial listen. Upon the urgent and distorted bass, rattling acoustic guitar and wandering organ sit craftily autotuned vocals. Yet here the oft-criticised vocal effect is used passionately, grabbing the essence of Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart and emphasising Eric Lindley's cries of "I fake kissing you... I think hardly of when your father died." Written, 'It's Funny's ingredients are inapposite - yet, in product they produce a touching, frail and frighteningly beautiful piece of music.

Label: Circle Into Square
Year: 2012
Genre: Folktronica, Avant-Garde, Pop

Profile: Kiran Leonard

Pretty daunting that Kiran Leonard is 17 years old. His copious virtuosity has already amounted to several albums and projects, including the nauseating DeerGrips, a 25-minute progressive-rock ode to the apocalypse and most recently - and arguably most accessibly - a double album that channels baroque pop and psychedelia. Difficult, then, to say what the accomplished 'Kiran Leonard' as a portrait actually sounds like, but try Frank Zappa, Zach Hill and Randy Newman for a start.

Label: Hand of Glory
Genre: Avant-Garde, Pop, Jazz

The Sylvers - I'll Never Be Ashamed Again

Strange, if you will, that a Capitol-signed chart-topping act can be considered a 'lost treasure'. And yet, this 10-man family band faded into obscurity in the mid-80s, dwarfed by the success of the Jackson 5 or even Tavares. This song is a perfect three minute sugar rush, equipped with tight harmonies and dated falsetto.

Label: MGM Records
Year: 1971
Genre: Soul, Disco, R&B

Dinosaur L - #2 (No, Thank You)

A short and sweet treasure from Arthur Russell's first 'studio album'; perhaps a crazed and dazed foreshadowing of his later experiments in both classical music and disco. Here, Russell's erratic instrumentation is peppered with calls of "I said NO, thank you!" - quite a difference to his later, gently-sung love songs.

Label: Sleeping Bag Records
Year: 1981/2
Genre: Avant-Garde, Jazz, Post-Disco

Cassida Pax - Her

Ricardo Stacey provides a perfectly chilling contrast on 'Her'; the bright, upbeat instrumental is stained by sinister lyrics of corruption and pornography. Shimmering guitars and a persistent drum machine play host to darkly murmured vocals, and clocking in at just under two minutes the track's moreish melodies lure the listener in over and over again, creating a trance of c86-influenced dream pop.

Label: Memory No.36 Recordings
Year: 2012
Genre: Indie Pop, Shoegaze, Dream Pop

The Stranglers - My Young Dreams

The Stranglers at their rawest. This beautifully honest 1974 demo, driven by a despairing arpeggiated piano, laid the foundations for one of the most successful punk/new-wave acts of the 1970s and 80s. Co-written by Hans Wärmling and later reinvented unflatteringly as a synth-pop ballad, this track is truly a lost gem.

Label: demo
Year: 1974
Genre: Punk, New Wave