Listen Up: A John Blek & The Rats playlist

King rat takes control of the jukebox...

With less than two weeks before the first The G-Man Presents... show of 2013, John Blek & The Rats master craftsman John O'Connor - who plays a solo show in Cork's Plugd Records on Friday, February 8th - weaves together a specially-chosen playlist for our ears only. John himself walks us through his ten tune selection.

Townes Van Zandt - 'Tecumseh Valley'
I moved into a new house recently and my new house mate had a Townes Van Zandt compilation box set. I've been giving it some time of late and this is one of my favourites.

The Rolling Stones - 'Dead Flowers'
I get a hard time off the rest of the band for singing this one as often as I do. Picked this one mostly because I enjoy playing it. It has a nice structure and I haven't heard a bad version of it yet. John McCauley, Townes Van Zandt and Caitlin Rose have all done their own take on it.

Caitlin Rose - 'Shanghai Cigarettes'
A song that youtube suggested I listen to after having been in Shanghai. I gave it a listen: loved it. Then checked out Caitlin's myspace to find she was playing some German shows at the same time I would be there. I got in touch about opening up for her in Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. Had a great time and made some great friends.

Justin Townes Earle - 'Harlem River Blues'
Found JTE through Dave Murphy the pedal steel player in the Rats. A great songwriter and really interesting character. This particular song is a really nice gospel number.

Bob Dylan - 'The Times They are A-Changing'
This song is perpetually relevant.

The Felice Brothers - 'Wonderful Life'
These guys get a lot of air time in the van. A really boozy and rousing rendition could be heard on any given night while we're away playing shows.

Two Gallants - 'Steady Rollin''
Probably my favourite 2 piece band. Dirty grungy country. Great travis picking on this song and really dark sentiment. It's been one of my favourites for year. Saw them in Cork a few years back and was blown away.

Cold War Kids - 'Vacation in Chicago'
I was in Amsterdam 6 years ago and Cold War Kids happened to be playing in the Paradiso (my favourite venue ever) with Elvis Perkins and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Such an anarchic live show. Amazing guitar tone, great drummer and brilliant lyrics and vocals.

Faces On Film - 'Waiting for Ga'
Faces on Film are from Boston. It's pretty much just one guy, Mike Fiore. They release independently as far as I know. Saw them at a gig in a place called TT the Bears in Boston when I was over a few summers ago. Really interesting songwriter, really nice guitar tones. I went up to the singer after and gave him a dollar bill with my email on it and told him to get in touch if he was ever coming over. He never did.

Deer Tick - 'These Old Shoes'
An ex-girlfriend left a CD in my car a while back and this song was on it. As far as I know it's not written by Deertick (Ed. actually written by Chris Paddock) but it got me into listening to their music. I like the way they do things. Drunk and loud.

Stream John's playlist in full by clicking play below:

John Blek & The Rats are set to release their full length d├ębut Leave Your Love at the Door in Spring 2013. Before that, the alt-county sextet converge on the U.K. for one last tour before the record's release.

U.K. tour dates:
February 13th - The Porter Cellar Bar, Bath
February 14th - The Beehive, Swindon
February 15th - Stag and Hounds, Bristol
February 16th - Dublin Castle, London
February 17th - Prince Albert, Brighton
February 18th- Four Bars, Cardiff

For more on John Blek & The Rats visit:

- John O'Connor and Seamus Fogarty play Plugd Records (Cork) Friday, 8th February
- For official event page click here
- For past editions of 'Listen Up' click here
- To listen to the playlist on Spotify click here

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