Socially Distant Spins with Mark J Smith, Heard Not Herd

Today’s Socially Distant Spins features Mark J Smith, founder of Heard Not Herd – one of the top music blogs in Scotland. The site focuses on all the best new music from upcoming bands and musicians all across the country. From single / album reviews, gig reviews and interviews, the blog covers a wide range of features perfect for keeping up-to-date with the local talent.

Have a read below to find out what 5 albums have been helping Mark through the lockdown…

Album 1: “Cake” by Trashcan SInatras (called The Trash Can Sinatras at the time)

Favourite Track – “Obscurity Knocks”

Why did it make the list? Massive album for me from 1990, a then unknown band, I caught the end of this song at the close of the Philip Schofield Show on Radio 1 when I tuned in for the Top 40 one Sunday night and have never looked back.  I loved the jangly semi acoustic, tunes that just seemed to be a breath of fresh air into my record collection.  I saw them for the 1st time in 2018 at Oran Mor and I was nearly greetin’ lol.

Best line – “Oh I like your poetry, but I hate your poems”

Album 2: “Eat To The Beat” by Blondie

Favourite Track – “Union City Blue”

Why did it make the list? Debbie Harry is my icon, and this album is 41 years old and still stands the test of time, her vocal on this track is subtle yet powerful.  Most folk would go with obvious Blondie like Heart Of Glass or Atomic, but I always looked at albums as a whole, and the b-sides.  Some bands have made horrific mistakes in their singles choices, but Blondie always had full album quality to pick and choose from.

Best line – “Arrive… climb up four flights to the orange side

Album 3: Hipsway” by Hipsway

Favourite Track – “Ask The Lord”

Why did it make the list? I had this on cassette in the 80’s, along with almost everyone in Scotland, it became a staple, must-have album.  Their track “Tinder” from this album was used in a McEwans Lager advert campaign which switched a lot of people on to them.   ATL used to get played in the clubs and it has an awesome sweeping keyboard “riff” that had folk spinning or highland flinging around the dance floor, hilarious

Best line“Your black money pays for suffering I don’t need it”

Album 4: “The Seldom Seen Kid – Live At Abbey Road” by Elbow

Favourite Track – “The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver”

I love the relaxing yet emotional quality that Elbow have.  I saw this performance on TV years before it was available on CD and it still gives me goosebumps 12 years on.  Guy Garvey could sit in an armchair and belt out a tune, but this LP has added orchestra and choir which just makes it take off.  Amazing

Best line“I must have been working the ropes when your hand slipped from mine”

Album 5: “Cowboys & Africans” by Cafolla

Favourite Track – “Dumb Animals”

Why did it make the list? This is a more recent album from 2019, but it is such a rich mix of soul, funk, pop, rnb that it’s impossible to get bored with, you never know what you’re going to get on first listen, but after a few plays it flows and you can be chillin’ then stompin’  then dancing around across the whole set.  I love great musicianship and it’s here in abundance, and it’s Scottish, which is always a bonus.

Best line“Given the gift of all these emotions, blessed with thoughts and endless emotions, we can love and express through art, we’d stick to that if we were really that smart”


MARK J SMITH – @markybone


TWITTER: @Heardnotherd1

INSTA: @heardnotherd

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