Saturday, 7 October 2017


Following the success of Josh Homme’s rendition of Julia Donaldson’s Zog on the CBeebies channel, the BBC have booked a succession of other desert rockers to read bedtime stories.

However, the ambitious scheme has already run into various setbacks as it turns out that most desert rockers do not possess the same level of professionalism as the hardworking and charismatic singer from Queens Of The Stone Age.

For example, Homme’s ex-bandmate Nick Oliveri was forced to cancel his intended recital of Where The Wild Things Are after proving wilder than any of the wild characters from Maurice Sendak’s classic tale by driving naked down the Pacific Coast highway with a kidnapped radio promoter in his car boot while firing an unlicensed assault rifle at the sky.

The starkers bassist’s intended replacement, Scott Wino of Saint Vitus, informed BBC staff that he was venturing into the Californian desert to research his performance of an extract from Louis Sachar’s Holes but was last spotted in a confused haze, circling around and around the same cactus while muttering prayers to Helios God of the Sun.

Perhaps the most farcical booking to date comes in the form of the stoner trio Sleep who, having being asked to narrate a picture book together, are thought to have confused what is meant by a “joint” reading. An inside source said that the band has been holed up in the same BBC broom cupboard for the last 18 months with marijuana smoke seeping constantly out of the crack under the door. “Having said that,” added the source, “it’s nothing compared to the scenes of degradation that defined the Andi Peters era.”

At the time of writing, Sleep’s story is still intended for broadcast although producers have voiced concern that the band’s hour-long meditation on Each Peach Pear Plum is never going to squeeze into its proposed 10-minute broadcast slot.

Friday, 28 July 2017


Contemporary journalism has been widely criticised for eschewing traditional investigative practices, nuanced politico-social commentary and specialist arts criticism in favour of desperate and nihilistic click-hungry ranking. Ranking members of the Kardashian family. Ranking singles by Ranking Roger. Ranking yourself into apathetic numbness as the world around us slowly burns.

Here at Spinal Bap we are not above such unashamed rankery and seeing as Arcade Fire have a new cassette tape out or something and they’ve appealed to complete rankers since day one, we thought we might as well rank all their albums.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the order we came up with!

In first place we have the first Arcade Fire album, obviously. Released in 2004, Funeral offered everything from a semi-tragic back-story to a post-Godspeed propensity for additional viola players. The album earned an unprecedented nine-point-infinity rating from Pitchfork even though it contained nothing that Hope Of The States hadn’t already nailed. Still, there’s no denying this was their first album.

Neon Bible
Arcade Fire’s difficult second album was difficult for the band to make and even more difficult to be excited about unless you happened to work in the offices of Pitchfork. It had that song about cars on it and, y’know, that other one, the other one about the cars. It was better than what was to follow, however, and anyone who disagrees has clearly lost their bag of spherical rolling toys.

The Suburbs
Arcade Fire’s difficult third album is also third in the respect that it is their third best. Not to be confused with a competition from the pages of an upper-class Victorian periodical, Win Butler is the frontman of Arcade Fire. Win described The Suburbs as a cross between Depeche Mode and Neil Young even though neither of those artists peaked with their debut album. Pitchfork were euphoric once more, comparing the record to The Clash’s Sandinista!, Bruce Springsteen’s catch-all genius and The Earth by a supreme being known to some humans as “God”.

If their third-released and third-best album was a little on the long side, Arcade Fire’s difficult fourth album was a never-ending road trip down the dull freeway of Win Butler’s self-indulgence. Across two discs produced by the confidence man who pretended to split up LCD Soundsystem, Reflektor explored dance-rock, art-rock and dub reggae, but mainly dance-rock. New Order remained untroubled. Pitchfork remained in thrall, enjoying the results as much as oxygen, orgasms or cake.

Everything Now
Everything? No. Not with a title track that sounds exactly like Dan Gillespie-Sells from The Feeling covering ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ in an ABBA wig with a panpipe breakdown. Arcade Fire’s difficult follow-up to their difficult fourth album was marketed in an even more patronising fashion than Radiohead’s previous six promotional campaigns combined. The actual music, which they’d spent less time on, was so bad that even Pitchfork scored it lower than the third Kaiser Chiefs LP.

Monday, 10 July 2017


Nostalgic fans who are only interested in Neil Young’s boring old material will be thrilled to learn than the cantankerous Canadian will finally release one of his long-lost albums on July 14. Hitchhiker was originally recorded in 1976 but the material was binned when Young became distracted with other projects such as cocaine.

Young isn’t the only musician with an album or twelve tucked away at the back of his audio pantry. Here are six more records that have yet to see the light of day that it would literally be worth injecting your own grandmother with a lethal dose of diamorphine to hear.

Green Day - Cigarettes And Valentines And The Same Three Chords
The Californian trio abandoned this album when its master tapes were stolen by a benevolent Robin Hood figure hoping to spare the masses from yet more Green Day. Instead, Billy Bobby Thornton and co. dusted themselves off and wrote the bloated concept album American American. But what would that original album have sounded like? Pop-punk, obviously. Working titles included ‘Oi Oi’, ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’, ‘Boohoo Ballad’, ‘Spank Spank’ and ‘Mickey The Mohawk’s Tragic Tale Of Social Security Woe (Woe, Woe, Woah)’.

U2 - Trilogy
According to Bono’s water-polo partner George W. Bush, U2 have at least three albums worth of unreleased material which ranges from bombastic arena rock to acoustic arena rock. I’m not surprised because one of them once slipped down the back of Bono’s sofa only to find its way into my iTunes library and now I can’t delete it without the webcam taking my picture without permission and automatically adding my name to a secret government list of known atheists.

Donald J. Trump - The Art Of Making A Really Really Great Album Like A True Champ
Much like Jesus, little is known about Donald Trump’s teenage years other than he was almost certainly a precocious tool. One theory is that the young Donald spent much of that time working on an ambitious space-prog concept album inspired by Orson Welles, golden shiny things and several books he hasn’t read. It is thought that Trump abandoned his musical aspirations when it finally dawned on him that he could not operate any grown-up instruments with such tiny hands. He then decided to focus on his second dream of becoming America’s least qualified human.

Billy Joel - Everything Since 1993
In a reversal of the hideous portrait in Dorian Gray’s attic, the songs Billy Joel records in his secluded basement are as sprightly and vibrant as the work of his youth while, externally speaking, Joel slowly transforms into a pink fleshy egg. In concert, Joel’s piano has to be secured to the stage floor with extra reinforced bolts to prevent it from being sucked into the air by the force of an entire arena crowd gasping in unison at this upsetting reminder of mortal decline.

Gary Barlow - Eyebrow Of The Tiger
At the nadir of his portly wilderness years, Gary Barlow recorded an entire concept album dedicated to his own right eyebrow. Tracks included ‘Back For Eyebrow’, ‘Everything Eyebrows’, ‘A Million Eyebrows’, ‘How Deep Is Your Eyebrow’, ‘It Only Takes An Eyebrow’, ‘I Will Eviscerate Robbie Williams And Feed His Gunky Entrails To That Prickhole Max Beesley’ and ‘Relight My Eyebrow’. Gary Barlow’s right eyebrow was so touched by the gesture that it has remained raised in erotic stimulation ever since.

Noel Gallagher, John Zorn and Autechre - Vol. 1: Definitely Quabungzizz-X
A couple of years ago, word got out that the ex-Oasis songwriter had recorded a whole album in collaboration with the avant-garde composer John Zorn and groundbreaking electronic duo Autechre. Regrettably, Gallagher shelved the project when he suddenly remembered that it could jeopardise his long-cultivated reputation as Britain’s dullest musician.

Saturday, 8 April 2017


Most of the time the phrase “Easter egg” will make you think of stuffing your insatiably greedy face with Lindt rabbits while intravenously injecting the gunk from a Cadbury’s Creme Egg directly into your bloodstream. However, in the world of video games, films and software, “Easter egg” doesn’t have anything to do with the resurrection of Christ. It basically means hidden messages or secret quirks, like when pressing up-down-left-right-left-right-start-up-up-up-down-up-down-up-poweroff-start-pause-pause during Level Three of Desert Strike for the Sega Megadrive would reveal a bonus cut scene in which defenceless Iraqi hostages were murdered in cold blood by Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe.

There are plenty of them in music too, including secret songs, backwards voices and loads of other rubbish. Here are five of the best Easter eggs in music. Please don’t tell us your own favourites in the comments below.

The Beatles - Her Majesty
Not listed on the original sleeve, this track was never intended for inclusion on Abbey Road given that it is essentially Paul McCartney’s confession to having an unhealthy sexual obsession with Elizabeth II. In recent years, the ex-Beatle has taken stalking to new extremes by following the queen wherever she goes while encouraging strangers to continuously repeat the “na na na” bit from ‘Hey Jude’ in an unending, maddening loop until she finally agrees to wed him.

Nirvana - Endless Nameless Pointless Celebrities
When Nirvana’s Nevermind was released in 1991, listeners were shocked to discover that if they waited long enough for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ to end then they’d be bombarded by 12 more tracks of self-pitying grunge pop. Similarly, listeners who waited long enough for Nirvana to end were subsequently bombarded by Dave Grohl’s own horrifying Easter egg which he named The Foo Fighters.

Tool - 10,000 Days
If you play all the tracks on Tool’s 2006 album 10,000 Days at the same time while simultaneously holding separate sleeves of the LP up to windows on opposite sides of the room, then a hologram of lead singer Maynard James Keenan (pictured above) will appear and gleefully announce that there will be eight Pucifer records, another A Perfect Circle reformation and three more appearances of Halley’s Comet before the next Tool album arrives, you patient maggots.

Desert Sessions - Shepherd’s Pie
Absent from some copies of the album, this piss-around track was reputedly inspired by the delicious shepherd’s pie that PJ Harvey (pictured above) cooked for Josh Homme, Twiggy Ramirez, Chris Goss and other rockin’ rockers as they recorded together in the Californian desert. I wish PJ Harvey would cook some shepherd’s pie for me. Why does PJ Harvey never cook shephard’s pie for me? God I’m lonely.

Radiohead - 0 to 10
OK Computer and In Rainbows both have ten letters in their title. The latter was released a decade after OK Computer, on October 10th. The band made it available for download on ten servers. When touring the album, Radiohead’s support slots were given to Tenpole Tudor, The Three Tenors and Ten Inch Nails. What’s the significance of the number ten? Create a playlist that alternates the tracks of OK Computer with those of In Rainbows, and you end up with one massive seamless Radiohead album. Unfortunately though, it’s still a Radiohead album which is 10 million per cent less enjoyable than Jason Donovan’s seminal debut record Ten Good Reasons.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Following the success of their atmospheric movie soundtracks, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have been hired to provide the backing music to the forthcoming series of the BBC’s toughest cookery competition.

In what looks to be the biggest shake-up of the show’s ambience since it was rebranded MasterChef Goes Large and then quickly re-rebranded back to MasterChef again, its producers felt that Cave and Ellis’ gothic soundscapes could bring a sense of drama and class to the format which has recently suffered from an over-reliance on thumping house music to embellish the acts of dicing up carrots and deconstructing a fish pie.

A statement from their management said that both musicians are huge fans of the show, even though Cave’s own diet is limited strictly to snakeskin soup, washed down with the crimson blood of virgins.

MasterChef co-presenter Gregg Wallace was also deeply involved in the recording process, advising, guiding and critiquing the composers despite possessing zero musical ability of his own. Producers felt that by shouting “you’ve got three minutes” at Cave and Ellis as they approached the desired running time, Wallace made a valuable contribution in his own special way.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


Christine & The Stephen Kings - Beep Beep Yeah
Manufactured in a factory built on top of an ancient Indian gas station, it was only a matter of time before this automobile named “Christine” developed a mind of its own and went on a bloodthirsty rampage. The spooky car honked its horn, screeched its wheels, tried as best it could to learn some very complex choreography and mercilessly ran over anyone who stood in the way of its ambition to transgress the limitations of its metallic chassis and blossom into a precocious French pop star.

David Bowie - Blackstar
As David Bowie shuffled off this mortal coil he left a parting gift to us in the form of Blackstar, widely recognised as his greatest accomplishment since 1998’s Mechanical Animals. As it turned out, Blackstar was the gift that kept on giving, especially in its vinyl format. As investigative fans soon discovered, if you leave the gatefold sleeve in the sun, the “black star” image transforms into a glowing constellation. Not only that, when exposed to a blacklight, the cover’s colour changes to fluorescent blue. Finally, if you reflect lava-lamp light off one side of the record at a specific angle while standing on one leg, humming like Noel Fielding in a leotard and juggling pineapples using telekinesis, then a projection appears on the ceiling declaring: “Cease dicking around with this tawdry old LP jacket, go out in the fresh air and start living a little, yeah? Love David xx”

Francis Drake - Sea Views
At a whopping 20 tracks long, Francis Drake’s fourth full length felt longer than circumnavigating the globe in a creaky galleon. Essentially it was yet another album of Renaissance bangerz about how dreadfully tough it is being Francis Drake, covering the usual subject matter of scurvy, tobacco, mutineers, Spanish treasure, lethal dysentery and the mixed messages he’s been getting at Queen Elizabeth’s pool parties.

Iggy Pop - Post Homme Depression
The greatest trick Josh Homme ever pulled was convincing the world he was a hip rockin’ dude as cool as a cryogenic Fonze. In reality, the man is a curse. A malevolent scourge of all that is musical. A hex put on our planet to ruin, diminish or destroy any artist he touches, like an MOR King Midas. Screaming Trees never managed another album after touring with Homme. Alex Turner hasn’t written a single relatable lyric or nifty riff since Homme began co-producing The Arctic Monkeys. And the less said about The Eagles Of Death Metal the better. Then came the turn of Iggy Pop. It takes a special sort of genius to make the most wildly badass, permanently half-naked feral frontman of all time sound like a pampered bloodhound crooning over a discarded Thin Lizzy demo reel, but Josh Homme managed it all right. For that, he should be applauded. Then promptly exiled back to the desert to think about what he’s done.

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It And It Also Means That I Can Just Talk Uninterrupted Which Suits Me Fine Because As You Can Tell From The Length Of This Album Title I Am The Most Important Man On The Planet
Sounds more like 1985 to me. Specifically INXS, Simple Minds and all those prats who enjoy a good yacht.

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
Did you know that if you book a group of avant-garde musicians into a single recording studio, they all start their period concept albums at the same time? Jenny Hval’s LP wasn’t just about menstruation of course. It also explored gender politics, capitalism, madness, failure, infatuation, love, loneliness, art, identity and vampires. Sadly, after the first appearance of the P word most male listeners went immediately pink in the face, stared into the distance pretending not to hear and hoping the conversation would swiftly return to the masculine merits of the latest Radiohead video.

Biffy Clyro - Ellipses

Craig David - Following Meh Intuition
2016 had its fair share of disasters, from America electing its first furiously illiterate tangerine president to the UK referendum on whether there should be a 12.5% hike in the price of Marmite (in the end, the “Marmexiters” triumphed, leaving many “Remarmiters” feeling distraught, hopeless and drastically less yeasty). It was a good year for R&B, however, especially thanks to the pioneering work coming out of the US. Rather than getting too bogged down in BeyoncĂ©’s black power break-up record, Frank Ocean’s jazzy weed jams or The Weeknd’s subversive cocaine pop, here in the UK we welcomed the return of Craaaaaig David. He had a hit single in collaboration with Notorious Big Daddy, his album debuted and number one and he won best male at the ceaselessly credible MOBO awards. Like everything else that happened in this year, Craig David’s comeback showed us that British culture is only ever truly interested in getting a re-rewind.

Billy Corgan - Siddhartha
Let’s be honest, this release was way better than David Bowie, Radiohead, Frank Ocean, Savages, Swans, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, The Avalanches, Bat For Lashes, Bon Iver, Angel Olsen, Leonard Cohen, Shirley Collins, Michael Kiwanuka, Kendrick Lamar and Suede all put together. A five-vinyl box set recording of Corgan’s solo ambient synthesizer jam inspired by Hermann Hesse and retailing at a mere $375? What’s not to like?

Remember, this is the guy who released an album for free on the internet before most of his contemporaries had even signed up for a Hotmail account, hooked up with Courtney Love, fell out with Courtney Love, got back together with Courtney Love, wrote some songs with Courtney Love, posed on the cover of a magazine for cat lovers, thinks that words such as “Smashing Pumpkins” and “Zwan” are serviceable band names, once made an acoustic-based pop-goth album while addicted to amphetamines, went viral simply by sitting on a rollercoaster looking a like a sad child, founded his own pro-wrestling company, was appointed Senior Producer of another pro-wrestling company only to fall out with them and start suing them a few months later, believes that swine flu was a part of a government conspiracy and runs his own tea shop called Madame ZuZu’s.

At last year’s Glastonbury Festival, Kanye West claimed to be the “greatest living rock star on the planet”. Yeezy remains light years behind the pure batshit genius that is William Patrick Corgan.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Some album covers are just iconic, like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon or that Guns N’ Roses one with the spaghetti. The sleeve is a visual representation of the record, so artists are usually picky about what graces the cover. Often it’s a moody picture of the musicians themselves or a pretentious piece of artwork. But sometimes the band chooses a random photograph of some other idiot.

So whatever happened to the stars of these iconic covers? You’ll be amazed that the biological ageing process has taken its toll on the physical appearance of these human beings!

Ah, the year 1999. Dawson’s Creek was still cool, Christina Aguilera released ‘Genie In A Bottle’ and Oliver Reed failed to complete filming Gladiator due to a fatal drinking binge with some Royal Navy sailors. It was also the year of Blink-182’s puerile masterpiece Enema Of The State and who can forget that cover with the hot nurse snapping on a rubber glove? But what does she look like today?

The years have not been kind.

David Fox threatened to sue Placebo for the inclusion of his image on their debut album. He claims he was bullied at school for appearing on the cover but it could’ve been worse. The New Radicals, Stereophonics and Texas all had albums out in 1999. Imagine the stick you’d get for being on the front of one of those atrocities. Performance And Cocktails would get your head flushed down the toilet at the very least.

Who would’ve thought that the little boy on Placebo’s debut was as susceptible to aging as you, me and every person who ever lived? Here he is today, his skin ravaged by time, the lines on his face like craters on the surface of a distant planet with hardly a glimmer of hope in those dead, dead eyes. The decaying fool.

Everyone smoked in the 1980s, as accurately depicted in the period drama Mad Men which I reckon was set then or thereabouts. Even the babies smoked. Well at least the coolest babies did, like the one on the front of Van Halen’s 1984.

It was based on a photograph of four-year-old Carter Helm. And get this, that baby is no longer a baby but has since grown and matured and sleepwalked through life just like we all do and one day he will die, just like we all will die, probably from lung cancer or some other merciless disease.

This could be the most iconic album cover ever, but at the time photographer Kirk Weddle didn’t have a clue who Nirvana were or what a success the band and their album would become, the shortsighted fool.

So what’s that baby up to today? Psychologically scarred by being plunged into a swimming pool against his will and forced to swim after a dollar bill by a bunch of selfish rock stars, Spencer Elden thereafter associated money, power and fame with water and thus spent most of his life submerged in baths, pools and tides. The effect has prematurely aged him, turning him into this wrinkly freak.