Songs to the Siren

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No Curse



Recorded for the Shaking Through project, this song was written around the time of the 2017 Waxatchee LP “Out in the Storm”.

Like most Waxahatchee songs, it combines simple chords with sweet melody, but in this case a slicker-than-usual production elevates it above the norm.


Like I Used To

Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen

20th May 2021🇺🇸

It’s time to get up-to-date and look at a few of 2021’s offerings. Two of the highlights this year have each been collabs between two groups/artists that I already love.

Kicking us off with this mini-series is Like I Used To, a charming piece of alt-Country from singer-songwriters Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen.


Wide Awake

Deep Sea Diver

19th February 2016 (LP)🇺🇸

There are relatively few music artists who, when they are interviewed, or they write an article, can be guaranteed to say something smart, interesting, and entertaining.

I’m thinking of the likes of Michael Stipe, or Kristin Hersh.

And also Jessica Dobson, the singer/songwriter fronting Deep Sea Diver.



The Amps

30th October 1995 (LP)🇺🇸

The Breeders started as a side-project, and the Pacer LP was made as a side-project from that once the Breeders became a full-time thing. Although featuring a different name and line-up, these are still Kim Deal songs sung by Kim Deal, and I consider it to be, in effect, my favourite Breeders record.


Bath White EP

50 Foot Wave

27th May 2016🇺🇸

I mentioned before that Throwing Muses is my favourite band, but when I reach for Kristin Hersh’s records these days, this EP is usually my first port of call. This is the first in a series of articles covering “side projects”.


Safari EP

The Breeders

6th April 1992🇺🇸 🇬🇧

The Safari EP marks the transition from the raw Albini-produced early Breeders material, such as their début LP Pod and the more polished (and commercially successful) follow-up The Last Splash.


Me & Magdalena

The Monkees

20th May 2016 (single), 27th May 2016 (LP)🇺🇸

This is another great track from the year of many gems, 2016. That year marked the 50th Anniversary of the formation of The Monkees, and a project was put together to make a new record by the three surviving members. This is its highlight track.



School of Seven Bells

12th February 2016 (LP)🇺🇸

The fourth and final LP from School of Seven Bells was completed without main songwriter Benjamin Curtis, who sadly died young in 2013. But it’s a fine record, and the opening track, Ablaze, is a highlight from 2016 - a year of many highlights.


Sweet Jane

Lou Reed

February 1974🇺🇸

This isn’t the first version of Sweet Jane, of course. It’s not even a typical version by Reed solo, or as part of The Velvent Underground. But it is really quite stunning. What really makes this, though, is the intro penned by Steve Hunter - and Hunter’s band, which subsequently went on to back Alice Cooper.


Our Lips Are Sealed

The Go-Go’s

12th June 1981 (single), 8th July 1981 (LP)🇺🇸

This song was co-written by Jane Wiedlin, rhythm guitarist of The Go-Go’s, and Terry Hall - who was in the process of breaking up from The Specials - and forming Fun Boy Three.


Buy Nothing Day

The Go! Team

24th January 2011 (single), 31st January 2011 (LP)🇬🇧 🇺🇸

Following Lime Habit by Poliça, here’s another act that (often? always? not sure...) features two drummers live - The Go! Team. This was the lead single from their third LP Rolling Blackouts, with guest vocals from Bethany Cosentino.


Lime Habit


13th November 2015 (single), 4th March 2016🇺🇸

If one uses the release date of the album, rather than the pre-release single, this track counts as being from the golden year of 2016 - for me the finest year of releases since 2004. It’s distinctively Poliça, but without the prominent autotune effects that controversially featured in earlier releases.


Chains Changed EP

Throwing Muses

January 1987🇺🇸

This EP came out soon after the untitled Throwing Muses début album, and by that time I’m already thinking that they could be, for me, The Best Band In The World. Ever.

They retain that status to this day.


My Baby’s Taking Me Home


14th October 2002🇺🇸

Few acts have gone through as many musical re-inventions as Sparks. This is from one of those changes of direction, 2002’s Lil’ Beethoven LP.


Paper Thin

She Makes War (feat. Tanya Donelly)

8th April 2016 (LP)🇬🇧 🇺🇸

This track comes from 2016, the wonderful year where my annual “best-of” mix tape was one of the greatest I can remember. Paper Thin is by Laura Kidd, who was then using the She Makes War project name, and features Tanya Donelly on BVs.


Jesus of Suburbia

Green Day

21st September 2004 (LP), 25th October 2005 (single)🇺🇸

The first in a trio of “big songs” - long, relatively complex songs that sound like they were the product of putting together separate pieces into one. Jesus Of Suburbia was made exactly that way.


Film Burn

Yppah (feat. Anomie Belle)

11th February 2012🇺🇸

The third in a trio of songs by a pair of my favourite artists of recent years. Following Salt Spring by Anomie Belle, and Gumball Machine Weekend by Yppah, this track sees them working together on Film Burn, one of several collaborations between the pair on the 2012 Yppah record Eighty One.


Gumball Machine Weekend


18th May 2009🇺🇸

The second in a trio of songs by a pair of my favourite artists of recent years. Following Salt Spring by Anomie Belle, we have Gumball Machine Weekend by Yppah, from his 2009 LP “They Know What Ghost Know”.


Salt Spring

Anomie Belle

26th August 2016🇺🇸

This is the first in a trio of songs by a pair of my favourite artists of recent years. First up is singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Anomie Belle, with Salt Spring from her 2016 LP Flux.


E-Bow The Letter


August 1996 (single), 9th September 1996 (LP)🇺🇸

This is the song that actually triggered the idea of doing a songs blog. I declared on Twitter (back when that was a thing) that this is a song that I felt I could never truly tire of, and that inspired the idea of a “Songs I’ll Never Tire Of” blog. The crap blog name held me back from actually starting something, but eventually I got around to it, renamed it, and here we are.

This tune was released after R.E.M.’s popularity peak, but to me it still stands out as the highlight track from a pretty-decent catalogue.


The Gift

The Velvet Underground

30th January 1968🇺🇸 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

The first of two “spoken word” songs, this is the tale of Waldo Jeffers, who misses his girlfriend Marsha after she returns home when school ends. He decides to post himself in a box to see her.

It doesn’t end well for Waldo. “That schmuck.”


Heart of Glass


January 1979 (single), 23rd September 1978 (LP)🇺🇸

Another landmark record in terms of production, this is one of those records that still sounds amazing over 40 years on. Like the previous song on this blog, it has a hook whereby the time signature sometimes changes. Golden Brown adds an extra beat here and there, but Heart of Glass skips a beat. Reportedly the result of an editing accident which was kept when it sounded great, the result is an iconic “middle 8” section which sounds wrong when repeated in normal time in an extended version.


Interstate 5

The Wedding Present

15th November 2004 (single), 14th February 2005 (LP)🇬🇧 🇺🇸

Another one from the golden year of 2004, this is another of my all-time favourites. The Wedding Present at this point wasn’t a reformed original line-up, but a renamed and refocussed version of Cinerama.



Throwing Muses

15th June 1987🇺🇸

This is the point at which I introduce you to my all-time favourite band. Some of their finest stuff isn’t that easily accessible - but this is the song I’d use to introduce a new listener. It’s distinctively different to anything else you’ve heard, yet it’s not weird enough to scare people off.


7 O’Clock News/Silent Night

Simon and Garfunkel

10th October 1966🇺🇸

This version of the early-19th Century Christmas carol is mixed with a simulated news bulletin based on events of 3rd August 1966.

No mention, sadly, of England’s World Cup win only five days previous.



Le Tigre

25th October 1999🇺🇸

An absolute banger from Le Tigre, a punky electronic three-piece featuring Kathleen Hanna, formerly of the legendary Bikini Kill.


Number One Song in Heaven


23rd March 1979 (single), ? March 1979 (LP)🇺🇸

After a period as a guitar-based rock band that saw Sparks earn considerable commercial success, they teamed up with Giorgio Moroder to execute a complete change of direction. As it turns out, there would be several more such big changes throughout the band’s career - which is still going strong.


Planet of Sound


28th May 1991 (single), 3rd September 1991 (LP)🇺🇸

The first single from the fourth (and last until the band later reformed) Pixies album, this is the tale of an alien who picks up transmissions from Earth.

They head over to find the source, the “planet of sound”.


Into U

Richard X ft Jarvis Cocker

23rd August 2003🇬🇧 🇺🇸

A song by producer Richard X featuring a vocal from Jarvis Cocker and a sample from Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You creates something even greater than the sum of its parts.




15th August 1995🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 🇬🇧 🇺🇸

The opening track of the début album, and literally within 5 seconds it presents a hook so strong, I’m smitten for life with this song.

The “hook” is just a gap. Yet, to me, this is simply the greatest intro of all.