Five Years Later: the Xtra Mile Single Sessions 10 Year Boxset and 8 Classics From the Xtra Mile Back Catalogue
*yeah yeah some of these might actually be six years old in 2018 but actually it doesn’t really matter because they’re ALL great alright?
It’s actually been five years since the release of the Xtra Mile Single Sessions 7” Vinyl Boxset which celebrated ten years of Xtra Mile - you can still pick up a few of these here - and was a continuation of the original Single Session 7”s that included early releases by Frank Turner, Reuben and Dartz!.
The boxset featured nine songs from eight of our roster past and present. The tracklisting goes likes this:
Xtra Mile Single Sessions 5
Side X - Chris T-T & the Hoodrats ‘The Bear’
Side T - To Kill A King ‘Rays’
Xtra Mile Single Sessions 6
Side R - Larry and His Flask ‘The Battle For Clear Sight’
Side A - Beans on Toast ‘Deadline’
Xtra Mile Single Sessions 7
Side M - Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun ‘Wilderness of a Wild Youth’
Side I - Crazy Arm ‘Remembrance’
Xtra Mile Single Sessions 8
Side L - Mongol Horde ‘How the Communists Ruined Christmas (demo)’
Side E - Jamie Lenman ‘Fizzy Blood / Pretty Please’
Most of these songs came from or ended up on albums ins some form or another around that time, hence celebrating these eight classics. Read more on the important LPs below, but you should also pick up this piece of 7” Xtra Mile history too.
Beans on Toast
Five years on, this was five albums in for Beans on Toast and he’d plied the template as far as it could be. Some of his underrated bests are here from ‘Things’, the lovely tribute to Bristol’s amazing Big Jeff ‘Who is Big Jeff?’ and the anti-prophetic ‘Can’t Get a Gig at Glastonbury’. Beans was about to augment his sound, but these songs are still part of the long-running drunk folk tales he’s still telling.
The Southern Wild
Crazy Arm’s third album was a turning point which saw them strip away the hell-raising thrash that disguised the haunting and beautiful folk roots their music was built on. The Southern Wild raises just as much reason to rebel with their political passion stoked by the acoustic arrangements. The distortion isn’t missed as the wonderful harmonies come to the fore throughout.
Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun
Not for nothing is this a beloved album among Xta Mile fans, but it may have slipped the later devotees. Jim Lockey’s exquisite songwriting found ferocious voice on this, the band’s second album and their last. What a swansong though! ‘England’s Dead’ and ‘Wishing Well’ are among the glorious dark pop being written upon all of our hearts by Jim Lockey and his not-very-merry men.
Larry and His Flask
By the Lamplight
Larry and His Flask already had a reputation for the best live show around, so it made sense that their follow up to the 2011 EP Hobo’s Lament would showcase their pace, frenetic and finessed. Their musicianship was on full display and the energy crossed from speakers to room, no matter how many people are present. Though 2018’s This Remedy is their best songwriting, this is still a great intro.
We all knew that Jamie Lenman would do something special for his first solo experience, but no one expected it to be a double album comprising a schism of the two sides Jamie had previously shown. One half is molten metal; screaming and relentless riffery that raise the heckles and hairs. Then on the other side, a complete embracing of purest pop, swing, jazz and even a capella patter song. Incredible.
Frank Turner always has the inner fire to put on the best shows you’ve ever been a part of, but the acidic spite and full-throated screaming on the self-titled Möngöl Hörde album took a lot of fans aback. Of course it’s utterly brilliant, with Ben Dawson’s stupendous drums and Matt Nasir’s innovative baritone guitar, this trio kicks the shit out of every target they get their tongues and limbs around.
Chris T-T may have quit after 20 years writing and playing, but his songs will live on for alll of us here at Xtra Mile. Truly, Chris is and was an extremely underrated talent. The Bear is him sharing the stage with friends and band The Hoodrats. His most compelling, cohesive work, the album, the elegaic ‘Tunguska’ lives alongside the churning title track and the staccato punch of ‘Jesus Christ’. An essential LP.
To Kill A King
Cannibals With Cutlery
It’s To Kill A King’s debut album and you know you want it (or already have it and love it). A great starting point for a band with a bright future, this has some of their most beloved indie hits including ‘Rays’ and ‘Cold Skin’. This was a re-release after their initial run, Xtra Mile seeing the promise in the quintet’s songwriting. They would leave us with a second, self-titled, album and a Shakespeare-named EP.