Songs You May Have Missed #721

Tenpole Tudor: “Swords of a Thousand Men” (1981)

“Messy and infectious” is how Allmusic describes the drunken singalong clatter of British punk band Tenpole Tudor, the less angry and much more fun contemporaries of the Sex Pistols.

Maybe they couldn’t sing. They certainly couldn’t fight with swords.

But they did create a raucous good time. Hoorah, hoorah, hooray yeah!

Deep in the castle and back from the wars
Back with my baby and the fire burned tall
“Hoorah”, went the men down below
All outside was the rain and snow

Hear their shouts, hear their roar
They’ve probably all had a barrel or much, much more
Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, yeah
Over the hill with the swords of a thousand men

We had to meet the enemy a mile away
Thunder in the air and the skies turned gray
Assemblin’ the knights and their swords were sharp
There was hope in our English hearts

Hear our roar, hear our sound
We’re gonna fight until we have won this town
Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, yeah
Over the hill with the swords of a thousand men

The knights come along at the end of the day
Some were half-alive and some had run away

Hear our triumph, in our roar
We’re gonna drink a barrel or much, much more
Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, yeah
Over the hill with the swords of a thousand men

Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, yeah
Hoorah, hoorah, hoorah, yeah, yeah…

Songs You May Have Missed #720

Courtney Barnett: “Here’s the Thing” (2021)

Oh, this confounding Courtney!

Her debut was a blast, a gust of fresh air that appeared to augur the arrival of a new rock artist that actually mattered–the way Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True or Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill seemed to do.

And of course, there being a dearth of rock artists that mattered in the 2010’s, it was likely inevitable Barnett’s first album was hailed as an instant classic.

And it probably is.

In fact, that album’s unfettered, shoot-from-the-hip lyrical feel and punkish energy sounds perhaps better with each passing year of what passes for mainstream pop.

But on Barnett’s two most recent releases the energy is muted, the focus doesn’t seem as sharp, and mid-tempo songs dominate–as if Courtney settled a bit prematurely into “long-term artist” status.


The thing is, despite the last couple albums falling short of the standard set by her debut, each of them has produced one extraordinary, idiosyncratic song. A song that doesn’t just feel like it came from some other album, but from some other artist.

In 2018 it was the excellent “Need a Little Time”. And this time it’s the beautiful, reflective, semi-psychedelic-sounding “Here’s the Thing”. It truly takes things to another plane.

Whether she has another album in her that’s as great as her first isn’t at issue. When she can produce songs like this one, you can’t ignore Courtney Barnett.

That’s the thing.

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Songs You May Have Missed #719

The Silver Seas: “The Best Things in Life” (2010)

As the additional links below attest, we think pretty highly of songwriter Daniel Tashian and Silver Seas.

The guy has a knack for what Guardian writer Michael Hann describes as “melody-heavy songs, suffused with delicious melancholy”.

Yep, nailed it.

I’d only add that the arrangements and styles cover a broad spectrum, from the country-tinged to the early rock ‘n roll-influenced to the jazz-inflected and, on “The Best Things in Life”, something approximating power pop.

If any of that sounds appealing, do yourself a service and explore the band further via the links that follow.

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Songs You May Have Missed #718

Maddy Prior: “Gutter Geese” (1978)

From Maddy Prior’s 1978 Ian Anderson-produced solo album Woman in the Wings comes this cheery Britfolk-flavoured ditty.

And yes, that’s Ian Anderson taking the flute solo here, making the instrumental bit sound very much like a Songs From the Wood-era Jethro Tull outtake–and that’s a good thing indeed.

If Maddy’s distinctive voice and Olde English folk sound appeal to you but you’ve never heard Steeleye Span, the links below will turn the key to a whole new world for you.

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Songs You May Have Missed #717

ABBA: “Just a Notion” (2021)

ABBA are back with their first studio album in 40 years.

“Just a Notion” features vocals originally recorded in 1978 with a new backing track, drums and guitars.

Co-writer Björn Ulvaeus, who couldn’t recall why the tune was originally left off the band’s Voulez-Vous LP, says ‘Just a Notion’ is a ridiculously happy song and hopefully, it will cheer you up in these dark times!”

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Songs You May Have Missed #716

Nektar: “Lonely Roads” (1973)

In 1973 underrated English prog rockers Nektar produced what many consider to be their masterwork, Remember the Future.

Comprised of two album-side length epics, it was suited to FM rock radio, but difficult to shoehorn onto AM–think Tales from Topographic Oceans.

The forlorn, atmospheric “Lonely Roads”, an excerpt from the album’s second side, was used as a radio promo, and it nicely shows off the guitar textures, vocals and songwriting of one Roye Albrighton, the band’s creative beacon.

Side one of RTF is highly recommended.

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Songs You May Have Missed #715

Saint Motel: “Sisters” (2019)

The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack shows off the variety of flavors of ear candy the ambitious Los Angeles indie pop band produces.

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Songs You May Have Missed #714

The Merrymakers: “Saltwater Drinks” (1997)

Joyous, effervescent and melodic power pop from Sweden.

There are a bunch of songs on the Merrymakers’ Bubblegun LP that would likely have been hits in the era of the music that inspired them.

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Songs You May Have Missed #713

Durand Jones & The Indications: “Love Will Work it Out” (2021)

Durand Jones and company seem to have dug through the dustier crates of vinyl for the inspiration to create the soulful symphony that is 2021’s Private Space.

The mix of vocals between Jones and falsetto (and drummer) Aaron Frazer, along with cool vibes by Joel Ross create a magical retro sound that calls to mind Earth, Wind & Fire’s jazzier moments, with a sprinkling of Philly soul and maybe a touch of Bobby Caldwell.

While the tyrics touch on topical issues such as the pandemic and racial tensions, the message of this soul-soothing song is a hopeful one.

Songs You May Have Missed #712

Los Manolos: “Amigos Para Siempre” (1992)

Los Manolos are ten friends from Barcelona whose airplane wing shirt collars make them a risk to go airborne while performing, Or walking briskly.

Their mirror shades, Elvis sideburns, neon suits and bell-bottoms certainly lend them a distinctive…uh, flare.

And their music, like their look, isn’t for everybody. But if you happen to like rumba with a rock attitude, they could be the life of your next partido.

“Amigos Para Siempre”, whose music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, may sound familiar. It was written for Sarah Brightman and Spanish tenor José Carreras to sing at the closing ceremony of the the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games.

Los Manolos themselves also performed at those same ’92 closing ceremonies.

This version of “Amigos” reached number 3 in the Spanish charts.

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