Enter, Joy Room


The crowd sparks and fires, rising as one to the beat. The people at the periphery wheel away with childish exuberance before lunging back towards the centre, so that it looks synchronised, pre-ordained almost, like a firework going off. Up on stage, Ned is slouched low over his kit, the machine-gun fire of drumsticks eventually proving too much for the snare, which topples and rolls away from his despairing reach. Jasper’s bass weaves through the spaces between the violent, pop-tinged thrusts of Luca’s guitar like mortar between bricks. Up front, George is up on his toes, whirling like a prizefighter before a bout, dancing back and forth across that thin line between self-assurance and arrogance. It’s chaotic, up on surface, but Joy Room don’t stop.

It’s quiet outside the Green Door Store – a robust, compact little venue tucked away under the railway station, its brickwork stained almost grey by age and industrial-strength smog – but not for long. We’re sat at a broken picnic table, ashtray overflowing with dog-ends, half-drunk G&Ts leaking from plastic cups, when Joy Room bound over to meet us. These four old school friends from London are obviously comfortable in each other’s company. Their conversation is rowdy, inflated by alcohol and high spirits, laughter bursting from the sides like steam from an old locomotive. However, as we settle down to chat, beneath the veneer of wayward mayhem, we meet a group who are polite and friendly, grateful and humble in the face of the attention they receive and more than willing to discuss the inner-workings of a band on the rise.

Starting 18 months ago, from the ashes of George and Luca’s previous band, they stole Jasper from another group and started searching for a drummer:

George: We just wanted to get some songs together… We tried Ned out and we were like… He’s the best because he just had this kinda groove.

Luca: I got an old reel-to-reel tape player that my Dad gave me and we recorded to it… and it sounded so sick.

This rough, lo-fi sound is the most distinctive element of Joy Room’s early work, including their compelling catchy first single Late At Night that got them attention from BBC Introducing:

Jasper: It was funny how Late At Night came out… just us and our instruments, this kinda basement garage vibe, loadsa amps everywhere and we just smashed it out in a day.

Is this their song-writing process, helter-skelter and rough? Is their sound purposefully unsophisticated?

George: Me and Luca smack ’em up and then we smash ‘em around like a pinball machine.

Ned: Then the band come together and it’s formed.

George: I have to believe in the lyrics but other than that, it’s the musical idea that’s best that wins.

The belief in the lyrics is important. During the live set there are brief interludes where George tells us the stories that lie behind their songs. There is a naked honesty to these tales that are at the heart of the band’s relationship with the audience. These everyday recollections are also our own and this gives their music a cathartic edge:

George: Yeah, the lyrics are fun but just straight up. If I don’t really believe that, if I’m not like, this has happened to me then… I have to know that I’ve gone through it… Every lyric that I’ve written, Luca has been there beside me as I was having a beer, thinking about or crying about it, whatever it’s been. We’ve been through everything we’re singing about, you know.

This story-telling urge implies a deeper well of artistic ambition than is initially obvious. As they themselves admit, the early material wears its influences on its sleeve. There is a dash of The Strokes, a sprinkle of the Queens of The Stone Age and a fair scattering of the Kings of Leon. But, how do they grow beyond this?

Luca: We’ve slowed down our songs a bit because Jasper’s got this amazing slinky bass style and recently we’ve been finding a way to really play into his strengths.

Ned: It’s still got the older style feel but we’re breaking into something else.

Jasper: We’re still experimenting with everything, you know.

Luca: I never wanna feel comfortable, I always wanna move.

So what does this mean in terms of recording? How will they take this ambition and put it onto record?

Luca: We’ve had a bit of a weird experience with a few producers where we’d go in and record these tracks and, just like, nothing come of it.

George: Recording is so important… You can record a song and it doesn’t come off as cool, but it’s a cool song. You can record a song that’s not very cool but comes off as so cool because of the recording. It’s about getting that balance and we’re trying to figure out how to do that for ourselves.

Luca: You meet producers… A lot of them don’t keep up with the moment and they can make it all a bit naff. Like ‘Yeah, I can do The Strokes sound. You like The Strokes? I’ll do that.’ And then you’ll come out and it’ll sound like The Strokes but, it’s confused, we want it to sound like us.

This is the essence of Joy Room. There is a wide-eyed, raucousness to their approach which can hide the utter belief in their ability and the ambition not just to be another band but to be the band:

George: We hold ourselves up to our idols and our idols are really good musicians. So we always try to be the best musicians we can be and that sometimes is fucking hard for us and quite a stressful, rocky road cause we’re pushing ourselves.

Luca: It’s about having a unique feeling. Like, if I have a select emotion and attribute that with a band then I would like to be someone’s select emotion… I want to be like that kinda of band.

George: We’re checking off influences. We’re starting to get through the Kings of Leon and The Strokes. I mean, at the very end of the spectrum, we’ve got a long way to get there, there’s like Radiohead, David Bowie and Prince. If you can end up there, you’re killing it.

And with that, Joy Room bounce away, seemingly without a care in the world. They may not have outgrown their influences yet. They may roll into town shouting along to Ophelia by The Band like students on their way to a festival. They may burn the night away dancing to Faithless, Orbital and Underworld only sleeping to the first stirring of sunlight. But, their energy is infectious, stretching out to encompass passers-by who come to share their love and their anecdotes of all things Joy Room. And this energy, allied with a tireless musicality and serious ambition, marks them as group we should expect big things from.









Introducing The Family Chain

We’ve all seen bands where the band are too cool to say anything, or too cool to give a shit about anything, and I hate that. I just want to be a band that shows that we fucking want to do this.

It’s Friday evening and the street heaves and sways with anticipation. Loosely formed groups of friends and co-workers coagulate around the benches, conversation and laughter rising above the constant growl of background traffic as alcohol acts as a release valve to inhibition.

About a month ago, a stranger in a bar recommended a song called One Born Every Minute by The Family Chain, their only song it seemed, and we liked it, a lot. Intrigued, we asked if they’d be willing to chat to us over a friendly beverage.

The band were formed last year by 3 close friends – George (Vocals/Guitar), Andrew (Bass/Backing Vocals) and Sam (Guitar) – an old idea finally coming to fruition, but only finalised their line-up in February when they met Ollie (Drums), through a mixture of good luck and hard work. With the band being so new, we start by discussing how they find writing songs together and whether this leads to conflict. Does George who “writes the essence of the songsfeel put out?

George: At first, I was like this is my baby what are you doing to it? But, actually, I’ve found the best songs come through accepting others ideas and giving it a go. Because at the end of it, if it doesn’t work you’ll drop it. You wouldn’t persevere with something if it sounds shit.

Ollie: Like, it’s almost as if we’ve hit a different approach collaborating together, a different energy, I suppose.

It’s this creativity that has been the impetus for the songs The Family Chain are currently recording and plan to release alongside “some secret stuff” in early autumn. They openly admit that their set has changed dramatically and that their sound has broadened so that, while they maintain the same fundamental style, One Born Every Minute “seems like a million years ago”.

For newer fans, like us here at Quiff, this leads to a question about what you can expect when you see The Family Chain, live. While the band see clear progress in their studio work it’s when they speak about performing that they really come to life:

George: Live is where it’s more intense and there’s more feeling. I’m still learning how to put feeling and intensity into recordings, as well. Live is more vulnerable and we don’t always know what is going to happen.

Ollie: Live, when you see and hear it for what it actually organically is, it becomes 3D. We’ve definitely got a more intense approach to playing live than when we’re recording.

The band’s passion for live music is clear. On stage, it’s revealed through the intensity of their performance, which is reflected in the audience’s reaction.

George: When we’re playing, when you look at people’s faces the median reaction is confusion. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s me. I basically perform like I’m about to piss myself… After every set I’m convinced I’m gonna have some sort of breakdown because I’ve just gone too overboard. But I wouldn’t do it any other way, whether they’re freaked out or not… I want people to know that I mean it.

Ollie: I think energy does that, though. The more energy we put into it, the more energy the audience feel. You have more chance of someone coming out of that gig and wanting to discuss that with other people.

The importance of this intensity is to make a connection with the audience, to make them feel a part of The Family Chain and it means leaving nothing on the stage. This intensity, though, doesn’t transfer into ambition. That’s not to say that The Family Chain aren’t driven. Like most musicians they’d love to do what they love, full-time, for money – this is not shocking. It’s just that they want any success to be organic. It’s about focusing on their music and audience:

Ollie: A decent, strong fanbase that actually appreciates the music and then whatever that leads to from there, then great… as long as we’ve got that fanbase, and people come and see the concerts and enjoy the music.

George: My dream situation would be that we’ve got a really dedicated group of people who have gone past the confusion and actually really like the band. I’ve been doing bands for 10 years and it’s all I’m gonna do. I’m gonna be 70 and making little, shitty albums in my shed whilst my grandkids slam on the door for more biscuits. Even if in 2 years we had no deal, no management, no anything, but we had people who really loved our music, then I’d be happy.

In an age, where bands are only a few 100 likes away from stardom or 30 mediocre seconds away from being shuffled out of rotation, The Family Chain are a surprisingly old-fashioned band. They believe in not being too cool to say what you mean, in giving a shit, in spilling sweat to make a connection with people and that, through organic growth, success can be achieved. Perhaps, they’re naïve, perhaps they just measure success differently.

George: When we did that show… there was these 3 kids who came up afterwards who were from the same route as me. ‘Man we see you get on the 270 bus, every day.’ Likes and stuff, it does have a big impact but, at the same time, I’d much rather make a human connection with someone.

An evening with Spy From Moscow

“So if that’s Ireland”, his fingers trace the shape of the glass, “and there’s Dublin, and there’s Belfast, then I’m from just here, in the North, but on the border.” Declan Feenan, better known as Spy From Moscow, leans across the table and gathers the half-full pint in his hand, his smile already on the edge of laughter.

Much of our conversation with Declan is like this. He’s enthusiastic, warm and completely lacking in any kind of pretention.

We meet downstairs at The Hope & Ruin – the lower part of one of Brighton’s famous music venues, with its broken-down, higgledy-piggledy furniture and band posters pegged to washing lines strung haphazardly across the windows – to discuss all things Spy From Moscow.

“I studied English, just a generic McDonald’s degree, and then I came to London to start a band and ended up writing plays.. and just personal circumstances, I ended up, one day, just deciding I’m gonna do music again… collaborating with other musicians has been more of a thing for me the last few years than sitting in a room with a blank page.. I will get back to it.”

You get the sense from Declan that, while working alone is something he enjoys, currently he finds greater satisfaction in the collaborative process. Either way, beneath the laid-back demeanour, is someone compelled to make art. Lately, he has been working hard on his new single and video, The Priests of London Fields, which is due out in the autumn, and the city clearly has a grip on his heart.

“I landed in London to stay for 6 months and then it was 12 years later. Fell in love with it, fell out of love. Fell in love.. so I’ve stayed ever since.. don’t know if you’ve ever been to London Fields in Hackney? You should go, on a Saturday it’s an interesting place.”

I wonder whether his writing background has an impact on how he approaches music.

“When I listen to music I don’t think about lyrics, I just think about the music.. I’m really keen on capturing atmosphere in a lyric rather than a message. So it’s not what does it means, it’s how does it feel.. I kinda write androgynous lyrics.”

Declan is just back from a European tour and I ask him whether he struggles to balance his music with his day job (working for a housing charity in London).  “It’s quite easy” he responds, shrugging his shoulders. “You’ve gotta have the skills to pay the bills.”




Upstairs, The Hope & Ruin is a dark and dingy sweatbox, stripped of all excess and hungry for music. It has fantastic sound, and as Declan’s guitar roars into life, reverberating across the room, there is a rugged intimacy between artist and audience.

Tonight is a stripped back show for Spy from Moscow, so it’s just Declan with a guitar and a bunch of pedals cracking out some fucking songs – as he would put it. For 45 minutes, he is imperious, the fragile, raw beauty of his voice punctuated by surging, angry guitar noise. There is a necessary intensity to his music which is only accentuated by the location.

He’s a restless, mesmeric force, always trying to get closer to the sound he hears in his head. This isn’t about the size of the band – though he admits he’d like to have the resources to do something superbig”, but about how it feels.

 “I’m more about capturing atmosphere and a feeling than telling somebody how to vote. I think that’s a wasted journey as a musician.. There’s an emotional landscape that you can explore.”

You can buy the Little War EP by Spy From Moscow here.

And he’ll be in Brighton playing at The Gladstone on 6th July. 



Down The Rabbit Hole, Part 1

quiff2The weekend is a broken ornament, a beautiful twisted relic lying fractured on the floor, glistening in the early summer sun. I stagger as I lean down to pick through the myriad pieces – the rabbit hole; the headphone dancers; the Strang man; the sunken wreck; the land time forgot; the synthetic dream; the funfair; and the rolling stone – because I’m bewitched.

It’s early Friday evening when we stumble into the Alice in Wonderland bar, the rush of alcohol washing us down the rabbit hole and out onto the street with an awkward step. Our guides await us, a stylish mess standing in that graceful, honest way that only the young and reckless can manage, like rocks sliding down a deserted hillside.

It’s a warm evening, the air fragrant with the hypnotic scent of freshly bloomed flowers and freshly smoked marijuana. People throng around us, a clash of festivals – music and theatre – belching forth an eclectic brand of modern madness. A congregation mill around us, giant lanyards strung around their necks so that they resemble oversized children with a day pass to the theme park. A man on stilts tiptoes between them making regular, ovoid laps, his head bouncing back and forth like a jack in the box, his smile a sea of teeth. A band of brave dancers tear through the centre, headphones pinned to their ears as they swagger and sway to a song no one else can hear. Our senses buckle but hold and we are transported.

The shop, built to hold 15, already holds 50 and as the band gather behind a hastily assembled stack of speakers, more push through until we are a mass of heat and sweat and spilt lager barely a hand’s width away from the men from Madrid. The drummer, yellow cape cascading down his back, counts a beat, the guitar roars into life and we explode, a spiralling corkscrew of expectant energy. At the heart of it, one of our guides conducts the chaos, bouncing and buffeting but immovable, the room pivoting around him. The Parrots adore us as much as we adore them, their crazed brand of 60’s punk-pop psychedelia is a deafening roar overwhelming and empowering us all.

20 minutes pass as if time were racing against itself and, suddenly, we stand briefly alone and forlorn until a DJ presses the needle to a 7 inch. Beguiled, we consider asking him for the name of the song, instead reaching for our phones and then, Shazam! We are away again.

We drop anchor at a crowded bar, a swell of distracted chatter obstructing any path to the bar. In the far corner a fairly decent band are broadly ignored. Someone needs to take charge of this menagerie before momentum is lost. We need a Strang man. He emerges from the side, skinny and wilful, powering his way to the front, and we follow in his wake. There is a restless buzz to Kane Strang’s music, his artful 90’s DIY pop a mask worn to obscure the doubts and fears that are strewn within his lyrics.

Outside, we cast the stragglers onto a passing truck as it pauses to recruit. In the gathering night, glowsticks twist leaving an echo of colour in the air, bass thumps through our bodies and many are drawn away to a brighter, noisier future.

We stagger and smoke, somnambulant as we await the call. Sound reverberates from the depths, a forgotten wind whispering and whistling in the distance, the press of a single ivory rising above the quiet cacophony as if from a long forgotten piano in the bar of some sunken wreck. Our guides return to lead us by the hand, plunging downward towards the seductive melancholy until we are submerged, happy to never to return.

Matt Maltese’s vocals are dark and heady. His lyrics, visceral and harsh. His music, warm like the barrel of a fired gun. He is where we end part one.

Cobbled Together


There is a great line in Julian Barne’s The Sense of An Ending, “History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” In life we narrate our personal history to new friends and share it with old friends.

I tell you this because two days ago I was explaining someone about the first time that I saw Pavement, at V Festival some 22 years ago. At the time, I was young and uneducated in the ways of music and I only went to the festival to see Blur headline. I have particularly strong memories of this day as I went to the festival by myself taking a coach and spending the day wandering around with 50,000 strangers, alone but happy. It was my first, real musical odyssey.

I’d heard one Pavement song (the sly, cutting ramble of Shady Lane which I had picked up on promo from a record fare) beforehand and was aware that Graham Coxon liked them so went to see what it was all about. They played in the summer sun and, unsurprisingly in hindsight, were considerably better than Space who came on afterwards.

Except that, that verifiable sources tell me this is not true. The V festival that I went to was actually two years later, which means I wasn’t young and uneducated in the ways of music. In fact, I’d already spent a year haunting the DJ booths at university,  chasing new music and wanting to know everything about everything played in a now all-too familiar way.

Pavement wouldn’t have been a mystery to me. By this point Brighten The Corners adorned my CD collection like a badge of alternative slacker honour. It also means that there’s absolutely no way Space were at that music festival (thankfully) and it’s unlikely that it was my first musical odyssey, it’s just the one that I unclearly remember.

Still, it’s important to me because I fell in love with Pavement that day. Their loose idle, waywardness hiding a subtle brilliance in both song structure and lyrical wit. They lolled around the stage being magnificent and became the first band that I truly wanted to be in. I’d see them twice again after that but this was the moment.

So I’m blessed that tonight a number of excellent bands are gathering in Brighton to  pay homage to Pavement. If you’re  in the vicinity you should come down and check out Can Shaker Pi, Fur and The Geisha Girls. This is bound to be an evening of thrills, spills and serious musical joy.

In the meantime, join the discussion on the Skewed Quiff Facebook page where we’ll be sharing our top 3 Pavement tracks and talking to some of the bands about their favourite tracks.



Those Sudden Nights

It had been a week of sleepless nights, and now in the brief respite of day, the glorious early spring sun has left the world saturated and overexposed. Colours shudder and linger, the passing landscape a haze of lines behind a cloudy, childhood cordial of sky. My thoughts crackle and pop like dry wood on an open fire, splintering in a thousand directions before collapsing in an ashy mess.

Somewhere down the road a cherry picker has died and I’m stuck in snaking, growling backlog of impatience. A trickle of sweat rolls inexorably and itchily down my spine and my hand shakes as it raises the cigarette, warm and tarry and harsh, to my mouth. My fingers flicker over the buttons of the car stereo, incessantly seeking distraction.

Middle Kid are the latest in a fine stream of Australian bands finding global recognition. Never Start is the quiet roar of repressed anger, of not knowing why, of knowing that you’re gonna pick a fight because you need to pick a fight. It’s wild and messy and an utter joy. I scream along to it, much to the amusement of the surrounding pack.

Sacred Paws are a two piece London/Glasgow reggae/riot grrl hybrid who have just released their debut album on Mogwai’s Rock Action label. They are jittering pulse, all poise on the surface, wayward and wild underneath. I sway like a broken stalk in the breeze.

We stutter forward and Hamburg’s Sick Hyenas fill the void with a wall of surf that crashes over my body shaking loose the fillings in my teeth, bending muscle and bone to it’s will. I’m home again, my home away from home: Saturday night’s pressed up to the edge of a stage the world washed away by the flood of noise.

All of these songs (and lots of marvellous other ones appear) on this month’s Skewed Quiff:






Treading carefully

The problem with life – because there’s only one problem with life, obviously – is that you constantly want to embrace new things, to be mesmerised by the wonder of something new and vibrant and beautiful but that you often don’t notice what you’ve lost along the way.

Taking music as an example (and Quiff is as bad as most for this) new music is too available to us now. We can get it when we want it and can organise and arrange it as we want it. Artists no longer need traditional means to get their work to you and this means there is a profundity of music out there. There is a bygone era where you had to go a shop and buy a record if you wanted to listen to it, now it’s a few clicks away and – if you’ll excuse the extended metaphor – the shelves are infinitely long and wide and fully stocked with every type of music you could imagine.

This is a wonderous thing, I truly fucking love it, but along the way the ease of access and sheer volume of choice has meant that we have stopped listening to albums anywhere near as much as we used to. Albums should be the high point of a musicians output. Months, years even, put aside to the creation of a singular object. All that heart poured into a perfectly formed hour. Getting an album right is hard, much harder than writing one great song, but the reward for both performer and listener is so much greater.

At this point some of you’re thinking either a) fuck, this is a long and fairly inane introduction or b) fuck, this is hypocritical for a blog that puts out a compilation of 40 odd tracks a month all by different artists, sourced almost wholly from the Internet. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were thinking both.

So, by way of explanation, this blog came about because earlier this week someone asked me what albums I’d been listening to and I didn’t have much to say. As a result, I decided to list some of my favourite LPs of the year so far so that you can indulge yourself in something special:

Laura Marling – Semper Femina

Marling’s six album may be my favourite yet. This is an artist at the height of her powers, musically and lyrically.


Jay Som – Everybody Works

A record of endearingly anxious and frazzled bedroom rock that twists and twirls through different styles. It’s frankly lovely.

Tinariwen – Elhan

Masterful, driving desert blues crossed with American folk. I struggle to see how anyone couldn’t love this.

Patch & The Giant – All that We Had We Stole

London based folk excellence from Patch. Recorded with care and love this is the album that captures their live sound and should catapult them towards stardom. Instead, they’ll probably just end up with a Radio 2 folk award nomination.

Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s gone

I’ve banged on enough about Loyle in the past but this is a great record. Refusing to bow to the huge pressure to make a bunch of ‘bangers’ and hit the radio 1 playlist hard, Loyle has done what he does and made an intimate, funny and warm album. More like this please.

Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness

I’ve saved room for a little bit of bleak in here. There is heartbreak and wisdom writ large across this record.

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

Priests debut album is so cool and considered it hurts. Sometimes a band just knows what it’s doing.


From Here: English Folk Recordings (Compilation)

A while back a few people decided it would be wise to wander around the UK getting a bunch of folk artists to record a song from their local area. It was wise.


Michael Chapman – Fully Qualified Survivor (reissue)

Imagine that it’s 1970 and Bowie and Jansch decide to make a record together. Imagine that it’s actually great. This has just had a vinyl reissue and is a necessity for your collection.


Many of these tracks either appear on this month’s new Quiff or last the two months. All of those can be checked out here:

Give them  a listen and then get down to your local record shop and buy some lovely, lovely albums.

Something From The Weekend

Friday night is fuelled by release. Release from work, release from pressure, release from the everyday irritations that add up to being responsible. We are in the pub for a truly English end of week, an intoxicating blend of overpriced drinks, empty stomachs and sexual tension descending on us like an invisible mist, whispering through our skin, driving us to frenzy like a plot device in some mid-budget horror movie.

Conversations happen in brief, random bursts, individuals and groups colliding with each other before spinning away, a shower of flames and debris left in their wake. The carefully preserved mask of social niceties cracks and frays. There is emotion here, love and joy and anger and fear, too much emotion. So, we pack away what we see and hear and do tonight, an unwritten pact that let’s us embrace the wild nothing. Only God Knows what happened.

Saturday is bathed in glorious sunshine and we nestle under trees, the sunlight dappling across our skin, the breeze crisp and sharp through our hair. We form a chain, a factory line of alcoholic intent, each person with their designated ingredient, lime, mint, sugar, soda water or rum. We consume slowly but methodically and as the light descends we rise and play.

Under the glow of paper lanterns, half a dozen people serenade a dashing hero, the rhythmic pulse of guitar battling with a tinny speaker lost somewhere on the ground. Some gather in the corners, plotting and planning and promising a series of events that will most probably never happen. Others sit cynically aloof, both actor and audience in this little play. Philosophy, culture and politics flirt with inanity and a quiet joy settles across the fallen paper cups and picnic blankets.  There is chaos here, as before, but it’s benign, gentle almost.  We whirl and cartwheel and cavort only standing still long enough for a photograph.

Sunday feels like a mistake, as if someone else has commandeered our bodies and then left us to pick up the pieces. The world smells of fresh vomit and stale bodies and tiredness kicks like an angry mule. I spend an unnecessary amount of time wondering whether I’m empty or worthless, as if there should be a winner, as if a decisive vote one way or the other would at least give me a path to follow.

Fortunately, I’m rescued by a call to arms, an overly ambitious walk and the warmth of dear friends. We continue as we left off, cocktails in hand, quietly, happily watching the weekend collapse. The sky drifts from blue to grey, the sea mist rolling across the streets, the heat dissipating within minutes. We sit and shiver and smile, cigarettes glowing in the darkness, a comfortable silence embracing us. It could be the apocalypse. To my addled mind it feels like the apocalypse. We should be miserable, but no one is.

All of these tracks will be appearing on the new Skewed Quiff, which should be with you this week. In the interim there’s loads of fantastic music here.

Saving private Ryan

Many a moon ago, I had a friend who, within the social group, was surreptitiously known as Private Ryan. The mention of this nickname was usually accompanied by raised eyebrows and quiet chuckles. Ironic nicknames are of course a staple of an Englishman’s diet – see Little John for a good example of this exceedingly high-brow humour – and this was no different. Ryan’s love life was a ever-revolving shit-show of infatuation, impetuousness, irritation and implosion played out in front of our increasingly agitated gaze.

Being young, I had this conceit that I would solve this problem. Not only that, but that I would solve it by writing a song entitled Saving Private Ryan (I’ve mentioned before that I like a pun, right?). I even, at one point, wrote some lyrics about how the reasons we get together with a person are always greater than the petty recriminations of late night conversations. The lyrics were about as good as that sentence so you’ll be amazed to hear that the idea never came to fruition – and not just because I couldn’t get the rights for the song title.

Time slid by in that haphazard, jolting way that it does and I’d long since forgotten about Private Ryan until I heard the opening track from this month’s Quiff. Jon Parks is an American artist who seems to have decided that Canada is much more his thing. He writes pensive, florescent pop songs with a stylistic nod towards Neil Hannon or John Grant though without the biting satire that marks their work. If they are a main meal, Parks is the indulgent dessert.

I Don’t Wanna Fight Anymore is a rare breed. It seemingly only has one idea but it’s an idea so good that if your ears had arms they’d cuddle you:

If you like this then you should check out all of the Mercy EP, Park’s first new material for a decade.

Even if you don’t like this then you should still listen to the first half of this month’s Quiff which is jam-packed with awesome:

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