Now That’s What Specs ‘n’ Rugs Calls Music!

After six months of reviewing new single releases, I’ve decided to put together a compilation playlist of recommended tracks that I’ve enjoyed listening to. Fifteen tracks of pure listening pleasure awaits you…

  1. Mr Tillman – Father John Misty
  2. Over And Over And Over – Jack White
  3. Quiet, The Winter Harbour – Mazzy Star
  4. Aspects – Paul Weller
  5. Humility – Gorillaz
  6. I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain – Chemical Brothers & Beth Orton
  7. Gold Rush – Death Cab For Cutie
  8. I’m Your Man – Spiritualized
  9. Deep Pockets – Gaz Coombes
  10. Premonition – Eels
  11. Baby I Love You – Ryan Adams
  12. Higher – Lily Allen
  13. No Regrets – Louis York ft The Shindellas
  14. She’s Kerosene – The Interrupters
  15. I Catch You – Lokki

I hope you give these another listen, and see why I’ve picked them.


Juke Box Jury – 23/04/18

Well, I think last week was a Juke Box Jury first – two of the five tracks debuted in the Top 100! Florence & The Machine came in at No 81, and Zayn entered at No 20. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Calvin Harris/Dua Lipa track from the week before hit the top of the pops. OMG right?! That makes two of my tips to hit the top. Holy Crap!

On with the show, though. And the first of this week’s tracks is from Ariana Grande, and it’s called ‘No Tears Left To Cry’. The only artist I know named after a size of coffee, she was thrown into the wider consciousness in the worst possible way after the Manchester Arena bombing. I imagine this will be played in the bedrooms of 12 to 18 year olds non-stop, and maybe even in bedrooms of people old enough to drink. It’s not the worst song I’ve subjected myself to for Juke Box Jury, which is saying a lot. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s not shit. And, therefore, I hereby declare this a HIT.


The second track of the week is ‘Just Dumb Enough To Try’ by Father John Misty. One of two tracks released from his forthcoming album ‘God’s Favourite Customer’ (which I have already pre-ordered, naturellement), I couldn’t resist featuring my favourite artist, could I? Musically, there are similarities with the material from his previous album, ‘Pure Comedy’, but lyrically he has returned to the familiar ground of emotions with a left-field approach. You will probably call me biased, but it’s fucking excellent. Chart-wise, it probably won’t do much, but who sodding cares, for me it’s a monster HIT.


Onto the third track of the week, ‘Quiet, The Winter Harbour’ is from Mazzy Star, who have, according to Google been going since 1989. I have heard the name somewhere before, I can’t think where though, which is annoying me somewhat. However, there is something about this track… It’s very melancholic, and slightly haunting. It’s actually quite good. Not in a break-the-charts way, but that probably isn’t the aim. So, it will be a MISS, but one I’ll enjoy listening to.


The fourth of this week’s tracks is ‘Submarine’ by Island Club. I don’t know what to say about this. I don’t know why the hell it’s called ‘Submarine’. It’s quite catchy, in it’s own way. It won’t trouble the charts, I don’t think, so that makes it a MISS.


And that brings me to the final track of the week. ‘It’s Not Just Me’ is by Let’s Eat Grandma. Perhaps I shouldn’t pick tracks to review based on the artist name in the future. Let’s Eat Grandma is the name chosen by two girls with no discernible connection to the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood. It’s a bit ‘clubby’ which puts it at a disadvantage from the off. If there’s enough of a following, it could have the legs to trouble the chart, but I’m going to hedge my bets and say MAYBE.


And so, that brings me to the classic chart hit of the week. On this day in 1981, Welsh Elvis tribute act, Shakin Steven’s was at Number Three, and on the way down the charts having peaked at Number One. Good ol’ Shaky!! Some wag on Youtube set the song to clips from the Tom Hanks movie ‘The Money Pit’!

Juke Box Jury – 26/02/18

Another Monday, another Juke Box Jury. After only one of the five tracks troubled the charts – Muse came in at number 76, here are five more tracks for me to pull apart and leave the bones for the vultures circling above.

First up is the best artist currently active in the world. ‘Mr Tillman’ is the new track from Father John Misty. Clearly inspired by too many hotel receptions and moaning customers, this is a jaunty number that bears a little resemblance to his most recent album, being mostly piano-led, but without the philosophical and sociological lyrics. Personally, it’s a big, monster HIT.


The second track is a potential Eurovision entry for Finland. I kid you not. ‘Queens’ is by the heavily-vowelled Saara Aalto. She’s got more ‘A’s’ than a surly teenager. It screams out Eurovision. And there’s no guarantee it will even make it to the competition. If it doesn’t, then blame the Finns. Will it make an impression on the British charts? Probably not, but I think I’ll sit on the fence and say MAYBE.


The next track is ‘Like I Do’ by David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Brooks. It’s one of those unnecessary ‘collaborations’ and, to be frank, it’s fucking awful. It’s one of those that you have to be completely out of your tree in a club, trying to cop off with some bird you’ve been giving the eye all night. You step on to the dance floor and hope you have the moves to tempt her away from her mates. You catch a glimpse of yourself dancing and gurning like a prick and then, in a flash the song finishes. Then you try and listen to the song when sober and ask yourself what in God’s name compelled you?! Having said that, it’ll probably be a HIT. More’s the pity.


The penultimate track up before my discerning ears is ‘Lullaby’ by Sigala and Paloma Faith. Now, the Official Chart website considered this a ‘highlight’ of the week’s releases. It’s so music-by-numbers it’s not true. Thumping beat? Check. Synthesised melody? Check. Repetitive lyrics? Check. Tagged on a fairly well-known artist with a minimal contribution? Check. I was ecstatic when the damned thing was over. I fear the masses will lap this dross up, so, reluctantly, it’s going to be a HIT.


And finally, ‘Nothing To Regret’ by Robinson. We’ll see about that, shall we? Ok, so it’s not the worst track of the week. That’s all I can really say in it’s favour. I’m already regretting listening to it, and there’s another 40 seconds left of the damned song. I know what she’s trying to do, she’s trying to use the repetitive chorus to try and get into people’s heads. I sincerely hope it fails. MISS.


And that’s the end of this week’s new releases. Now for some classic chart entry fun. A new entry in February 1963, Cliff Richard and the Shadows were clearly in an optimistic mood with ‘Summer Holiday’!

The Specs’N’Rugs 2017 Album Top 5

It’s the time of year when the annual lists are compiled, be it best song, best album, best book, best film. You name it, there will be a ‘Top 5’ of it. So, rather than be left behind, I’m going to join in the fun with my Top 5 albums of the year.

As You WereIn fifth place, because after one play, I can only manage to listen to two tracks more than once, it’s Liam Gallagher with ‘As You Were’. The stand out tracks for me are ‘For What It’s Worth’ and ‘Wall Of Glass’. The rest are just meh.


Kicking Up The DustIn fourth place, the latest release by Cast. ‘Kicking Up The Dust’ was a long time in waiting – I made my purchase via the Pledgemusic website sometime last year – but worth the wait when it arrived at the end of April. I received a signed copy (as did every purchaser) and it’s had regular play ever since. Stand out tracks for me are ‘Do That’, ‘Paper Chains’ and ‘Baby Blue Eyes’.


Crack UpIn third place, purely due to the need to listen carefully, and sometimes I’m not in the mood to listen carefully, is the long awaited Fleet Foxes third album, ‘Crack Up’. Six years after the release of it’s predecessor, this album is a step forward in musicality, songcraft and song titles that are difficult to remember! My favourite tracks are ‘Naiads, Cassadies’, ‘Third of May/Odaigahara’ and ‘Fools Errand’.


Who Built The MoonIn second place, with it’s boombastic sound, is ‘Who Built The Moon?’ by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Only released at the end of November, it has come close to the top spot in my countdown, but not quite achieving the pinnacle. Which is not to say that this lacks anything – in another year, it would be at the top – on the contrary, tracks like ‘Holy Mountain’, ‘Fort Knox’ and ‘The Man Who Built The Moon’ are absolutely amazing played obscenely loud.


Pure Comedy 2And the best album of 2017 as far as I’m concerned, is by far and away ‘Pure Comedy’ by Father John Misty. Seriously, how amazing is this album? Melodically and lyrically streets ahead of anything not in my top five, I seriously struggle to pick out favourites, but in order to continue the pattern of this post, I’ll try to. ‘Total Entertainment Forever’, ‘Ballad Of The Dying Man’ and probably ‘The Memo’ are just three of the albums outstanding tracks. And to top it all off, I saw him perform these songs live in November. Oh yes I did!!



The Saturday Shuffle – Week 10

Well, stone me if it isn’t Saturday again already! Since the last post, I’ve turned 37, and today is my first wedding anniversary. And now on with the shuffling…

  1. Driftwood – Travis. One of their singles from the successful second album, ‘The Man Who’. If I’m honest, I preferred the first album…
  2. I Went To The Store One Day – Father John Misty. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve been raving about this guy since last year. Josh Tillman’s post-Fleet Foxes alter-ego, Father John Misty has soul, style and panache. Plus he writes some pretty awesome tunes. This is the album closer of ‘I Love You Honey Bear’ and it’s melancholic and beautiful.
  3. Familiar Love – William Shatner. You’re probably thinking ‘What the fuck?!’ But bear with me, even though it’s spoken word, it’s done brilliantly. His delivery suits the song, and it’s like he’s regaling you with stories from his life, albeit to a backing track.
  4. Empire – Kasabian. The title track and single from the second album. It’s a foot stomping, sing-along anthem type song. Probably still one of their best songs to-date.
  5. Jump Into The Fire – Harry Nillson. Another foot-stomping, head-nodding beast of a tune to finish. Brought to my attention thanks to the iconic ‘Goodfellas’, this featured in the film – if you’ve seen it, it’s the section of the film “Sunday May 11th” – Henry Hill’s manic day that starts with a line of coke and finishes in police custody.

There’s your five for today. A pretty eclectic collection if you ask me! Until next time…

Albums You Should Own – Part 13

It’s been a while since I visited this ‘Albums You Should Own’ series, and that’s because I’ve been busy with other stuff like depression and what have you. Also, there hasn’t really been an album I deem worthy of the title. Until now. On April 7th 2017 the most anticipated record of the year, maybe even my life was released after months of teasing and occasional track releases…

Pure Comedy – Father John Misty

Where to start?! The title track, ‘Pure Comedy’ begins the journey of life almost, with the Pure Comedyopening lines addressing the absurdity of children being born incomplete as it were, and having to rely on your parents and society to school you in life. The only problem is, humanity doesn’t really have a clue. They’re busy ‘finding goons they elected to rule them’ and ‘building fortunes poisoning their offspring’.

From here, the album follows the concept that humanity has turned to ‘Entertainment’ as an escape from the world, but somewhere along the line, we’ve confused this entertainment for reality and this is a really bad state of affairs. But it’s all done with lush arrangements, beautiful melodies and on-point lyrics. As with all his material, Father John Misty has the ability to get his message across in a way you can’t help but love.

The entire album is a dream, but if I had to pick out a few tracks for particular praise, then I would have to say ‘Total Entertainment Forever’ for it’s upbeat feel and instant catchiness; ‘Ballad of the Dying Man’ because I’ve loved it since I first heard it sometime in January or February; and ‘Leaving L.A.’ which is a thirteen minute marathon of reflection on his life and career, which he handles with remarkable style and a little bit of humour too – “I’m beginning to begin to see the end, Of how it all goes down between me and them, Some 10-verse chorus-less diatribe, Plays as they all jump ship, “I used to like this guy, This new shit really kinda makes me wanna die.”

One thing’s for certain, I don’t see myself ‘jumping ship’ anytime soon while he is producing heavenly bodies of work such as this.

Song Title Short Story #5

The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment – Father John Misty

I’ve always been drawn to strong, confident women. A woman who can put me in my place, and have me begging for more always gets my attention. It’s a challenge, if you like – let’s see if I can tame her. And that’s how I saw Meg. She was bolshy, demanding and always had to be right. I was in awe the moment I saw her holding court in the bar with her friends. She was the centre of attention, the leader of the pack. Everyone around her hung on every word she spouted from her vibrant red lips. She waved her wine glass around like a conductors baton.

As I sat at the bar and eavesdropped, it became clear that she was full of shit, and full of her own self-importance. I cringed at every utterance, her speech littered with malapropisms that nobody dared to pick her up on. But she was so damned gorgeous, even I could let it pass. About three bourbons later, I plucked up the courage to accost her as she waited at the bar. I must have turned on the charm, because at the end of the night, we were back at her apartment, her friends in tow, extending the fun.

As the rest of the group lay about drunkenly talking, Meg took me into her room. We stood by the bed, and I fumbled at her blouse, the buttons feeling miniscule between my confused fingers and thumbs. I persevered, because I knew I wouldn’t get another chance, and finally we were naked. I remembered I had a little wrap of Speed, and offered Meg some. She grinned and we both indulged before a frantic bout of sex ensued.

I woke to find myself alone, and the sun starting to rise. The apartment was silent, so I tiptoed to the bathroom, only to find Meg in the bath with one of the guys who had been in her group. I tried to back out graciously, but was called back. They were both relaxed, and Meg told me to sit on the edge of the bath. I sat awkwardly as Meg and her friend talked nonsense, before breaking into song. Singing ‘Silent Night’ in the height of summer felt bizarre, but I was joining in by the end to create a perfect three part harmony. Then the bullshit kicked in, as Meg tried to convince us she was as good as the Jazz singer, Sarah Vaughan. I rolled my eyes and left them to it.

Soon, it was mid-morning. Meg’s friends had left, and there was just me and her alone together. I was ready for leaving, but she asked me to stay a while longer. Before I knew it, we were naked again and she was whispering in my ear that she got turned on when a man put his hands around her throat. I obliged, and felt the urge to tighten my grip.