Songs to the Siren

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How Not To Drown

Chvrches ft. Robert Smith

Single (2nd June 2021), LP (due 27th August 2021)

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This is my second 2021 collab offering - like the previous one, this features two very different voices that combine so well.

Here, Chvrches work with Robert Smith of The Cure to produce a track that is greater than the sum of its parts - even though its parts are great alone.

This is definitely one of my favourite tracks of the year so far.


Like I Used To

Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen

20th May 2021


Itโ€™s time to get up-to-date and look at a few of 2021โ€™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.


Open Up

Leftfield Lydon

1st November 1993 (single), 30th January 1995 (LP)


Although it was clearly John Lydonโ€™s time (as Johnny Rotten) in the Sex Pistols that made him famous, his career as Public Image Ltd would ultimately provide a more enduring body of work.

Lydon also had successful collaborations during this time, and itโ€™s 1993โ€™s Open Up, with Leftfield, that I want to look at here.


Pump Up The Volume


3rd August 1987


Shortly after sample-heavy Hot Doggie by Colourbox appeared on the 4AD Compilation โ€œLonely Is An Eyesoreโ€, the label released a collaborative single between Colourbox and label-mates AR Kane as a Double A-Side. The result was less of a collaboration than intended. One side was nearly all AR Kane, the other side was nearly all Colourbox. It was the latter side that got the airplay, and that took the song to the top of the UK Charts.



Terry Hall

12 September 1994 (LP), November 1994 (single)


Another one from Terry Hall, and another collaboration. This time itโ€™s with Ian Broudie, who released his version as the title track from The Lightning Seeds April 1992 LP โ€œSenseโ€.

Hall collaborated with Broudie on a few tracks on that album, and sang BVs on this track. A few years later, Hall recorded his own version for his solo LP โ€œHomeโ€ - produced by Broudie. This take is pretty similar to Broudieโ€™s - with enough difference that I can definitely say that, although I love them both, I prefer this one.


Paper Thin

She Makes War (feat. Tanya Donelly)

8th April 2016 (LP)

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This track comes from 2016, the wonderful year where my annual โ€œbest-ofโ€ 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.



Death in Vegas

13th September 1999 (LP), 24th April 2000 (Single)

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This is the first of three songs featuring Scottish singer Dot Allison.

Here she features on vocals (and co-writing) on Dirge, the opening track from The Contino Sessions, a classic album by Death In Vegas.


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.