Like a note from a friend in exile or a stone in your shoe, depending on your tastes, Luke Haines is back with ‘Setting The Dogs On The Post Punk Postman’. If nothing else, certainly a contender for title of the year. Always prolific, he seems to be relishing the enforced solitude of late, after last year’s ‘Beat Poetry For Survivalists’.


This is another strong set of songs, if anything even more satisfying. After only a few plays, I’m enjoying replaying it. As ever, it is unlikely to win him new fans, but I doubt that he cares either way . Which is exactly as it should be for any artist. As Luke has said before, art itself has no actual value, so just satisfy yourself (I paraphrase). Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.


You may already be familiar with ‘Ex-Stasi Spy’ and it’s video. The album/cd cover has brief explanations for each song, in an oblique way. “A comedy caper in a Trabant set in 1983”. It matters little, just enjoy some time in Luke’s world. The raucous “U-Boat, Baby” follows. Is this really “the second part of a trilogy…”? Only Luke knows.


‘Never Going Back To Liverpool’ tries to patch up some differences with the past. Complete with Beatley backing vocals, it makes me think of the only time I played a gig there. Didn’t go well.

‘When I Owned The Scarecrow’ has a vibe from ‘Rock And Roll Animals’, with the now expected recorders. Or maybe it’s a synth? No sign of ‘recorders’ on the notes. I think about these things too much.


‘Ivor On The Bus’ is a lovely tribute to Mr Cutler, a previous neighbour of Luke’s. Julian Barratt adds narration to ‘Yes, Mr Pumpkin’, appropriately, ‘Two Japanese Freaks Talking About Nixon And Mao’ possibly sounds exactly like you would hope. ‘I Just Want To Be Buried’ is a “singular entendre poem”, and as such is a righteous celebration of lust.


‘Andrea Dworkin’s Knees’ recalls a possibly accurate brief encounter with the writer, ‘Landscape Gardening’ is “a surgical procedure disguised as a song”, gently addictive, while the title track ends on a pleasingly sinister note. Essentially, no one else writes like Luke Haines. If you know, you know. And, in that case, you will buy this.


*Tuesdays, 2-4pm GMT, you can listen to Luke on Boogaloo Radio. It’s righteous stuff.


Author: Martin Chamarette


Here’s an unexpected collaboration. After buying one of Luke Haines’ paintings online of Lou Reed, Peter Buck made contact and some form of musical bond was formed. Life can be wonderfully strange. So, here we are, in the unique mind of Luke Haines. I’d be interested to know the level of Buck’s contribution, not that I doubt it, rather, this sounds like pure Haines subject matter and style.


While every album is different, you know it’s him. This is partly the voice and presence, but also the choice of subjects. So, a not exactly concept-album, which references; the rocket scientist and occultist, Jack Parsons, who came to a spectacular end; post-apocalypse radio which only plays Donovan; Bigfoot; the Enfield Haunting and Andy Warhol.


For better or worse, my review is in the form of my list of notes for each song. As a tribute, and because, frankly, if you don’t know Luke Haines yet, it’s probably too late. So…


‘Jack Parsons’; rocket science/occultist, Crowley/Thelemite, recorders, L. Ron Hubbard, dreamy melody, interview segments remind me of B.A.D.


‘Apocalypse Beach’; post-apocalypse Donovan only radio station, Leach/beach, acoustic strum.


‘Last Of The Legendary Bigfoot Hunters’; tabla intro, fuzz guitar, groovy, “cover me in feathers, like dead Liberace”.


‘Beat Poetry For The Survivalist’; homemade transistor wireless, lists, “heavy Zen and a record by KISS”.


‘Witch Tariff’; Enfield Hauntings, “all the bad cats know where it’s at”, ouija contact Johnny Ray, Billy Fury, “if you wanna be a legend you gotta break a few legs”.


‘Andy Warhol Was Not Kind’; glam beat, “we come in peace from Finsbury Park”.


‘French Man Glam Gang’; sleazy, electro-glam pulse, la discotheque, like Human League Glitter cover.


‘Ugly Dude Blues’; as it says, harmonica, RECORDER!,


‘Bobby’s Wild Years’; Cramps intro, angular/Ants verse, “everyone’s a genius in varying degrees”.


‘Rock N Roll Ambulance’; “hey, hey, hey”, get on board the rock n roll hearse, “our last hit-the closest to a hook that we’re ever gonna get”.


I can say this; if you don’t like recorders, don’t buy this album! But, if you’ve ever bought a Luke Haines album, you should buy this one. Righteous.

Buy ‘Beat Poetry For Survivalists’ Here


Author: Martin Chamarette


Whether you’re familiar with The Auteurs or his vast body of solo material, Luke Haines is certainly a challenge to categorise. The 90s enfant terrible/arsehole (according to his two autobiographies, ‘Bad Vibes’ and ‘Post Everything’); an accidental pop star with Black Box Recorder; a more laid back broadcaster on his current Tuesday slot on Boogaloo Radio, spinning ‘righteous’ tunes.


One thing’s for sure, though; he commits fully to his own peculiar vision. With tonight being a rare live performance, promising ‘After Murder Park’ and ‘Baader Meinhof’ in full, it’s pleasing to find The 100 Club full. In black, velvet jacket, fedora and violet shirt, he takes to the stage with a rhythm section apparently poached from Gaz Coombes. And it needs to be a fine rhythm section when undertaking the grooves of ‘Baader Meinhof’. As a trio, shorn of the tablas, the album as a live spectacle is sleazier, Haines clearly relishing a return to electric guitar. “The feedback I don’t mind, but I’ve gotta be slightly in tune”. For what is, essentially, a cult album to a fictional film, there are a lot of people here who know all the words. ‘Meet Me At The Airport’ and ‘There’s Gonna Be An Accident’ are stand-out songs tonight.


And so, to The Auteurs’ darkest moment. For me, ‘After Murder Park’ is the album that ‘Dog, Man, Star’ threatened to be; bleak, haunting and beautiful. I love them both, but when heard live, these songs have the edge. The only major change being when Haines forgets the running order, so ‘Married To A Lazy Lover’ is a song late. But, what a song. The three-piece brings out the garage rock elements of some songs; obviously, minus the cello, it’s going to sound different. And it highlights what a strong set of songs these are.


Haines is in a jovial mood, recounting how Steve Albini disliked ‘Land Lovers’; “it sounds like The Police!”. He introduces ‘Unsolved Child Murder’ as akin to if Bowie were playing ‘Low’, and was announcing the “hit single”. As Haines has said before, to make music expecting success would be to miss the point. He is rightly proud of these songs.


Obligatory encore time brings ‘Lou Reed, Lou Reed’ and ‘Cerne Abbas Man’ from ‘New York In The 70s’, before a clattering run through ‘Lenny Valentino’. Given that it’s about five years since Haines’ last electric gig, he may not be in a rush to return, but I hope it’s reminded him of how good it can feel. Righteous indeed.

Author: Martin Chamarette