On Wednesday October the 19th Music Like Dirt will be joining forces with Oxfam for a charity gig featuring some of my favourite music of recent years.  Its all part of the Oxjam festival which sees hundreds of gigs across the country to raise money for Oxfam’s work.

Check Oxjam’s website to find a gig near you, or even better buy a ticket for my night from We Got Tickets for the very reasonable price of £6.
I am both honoured and excited by the artists who’ve agreed to play but as a first time gig organiser frankly I’m terrified no one will turn up!

There’ll be more details on the blog in the next few days but first I thought I’d give a mention to a concert being put on by one of the bands who are playing, long time MLD favourites, The Melting Ice Caps.

Ice Caps head honcho David Shah describes SPECKS IN THE SKY as a night of stratospherically dreamy music (but without the night bus, or a stratospheric ticket price).  It’s taking place at The Willmington Arm’s in Clarkenwell on September the 29th – at 4 quid its at least worth a gander at their Facebook page.


Keeping it in the family Shah himself will be performing, not with The Melting Ice Caps but his other group, The Soft Close-Ups.
They’re an art-pop duo who veer (beautifully, of course) from the acoustic to the electronic.

You can grab their album, ‘In Retrospect‘, for free (they also accept money) here: http://corporaterecords.co.uk/artists/The+Soft+Close-Ups/

Fireworks” in particular is a delight, with such sparse production that there’s little but a burbling 80’s synth to accompany David’s plaintive voice.  It’s even more special when coupled with a simple but very effective video.

“A delectably knowing way with lounge pop” said God Is In The TV

The Soft Close-Ups – “Fireworks” by calmfarm


I’ve not had a chance to listen to Owen’s music yet but David assures me of his brilliance and canny ability to wring magic out of piano, ukulele and cello.  My list of lazy comparisons includes Joan As Police Woman and Rufus Wainwright template. He rarely plays live and usually releases his music through playful stunts – copies of his last EP were hidden in secret locations for fans to hunt for.

Have a listen at www.owenduff.co.uk or watch his lovely Joanna Newsome cover below (He also sacrilegiously covers Whitney’s “I wanna dance with somebody”)


HK60s’ debut album, ‘My Fantoms’, comprises delicious vintage sounds, perfectly judged melodies and drifting melancholia. They wouldn’t be at all out of place in the esteemed company of Stereolab, Broadcast and Saint Etienne.

…heart-melting beauty…” – Sean O’Hagan, The High Llamas

Stream the album for free at http://propersongs.net/label/2011/02/hong-kong-in-the-60s/

You Can Take A Heart But You Cannot Make It Beat by Hong Kong In The 60s


Jessica Spencer and co make glorious, hazy, psychedelic pop. Many of the studio recordings are laden with sumptuous 60s-ish orchestral touches that recall the Carpenters or even the Mamas & the Papas, while other tracks would do Kate Bush proud.

Dream-pop collective The Hall Of Mirrors are probably South London’s best kept secret.” – Shindig Magazine

A selection of songs are streamable on the band’s site, and there’s always always a track for free download there too – at the moment it’s “Love Child“.