Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rock Around the Clock

What are you doing New Years Eve?

Cork-popping, good-footing, leg-shaking, shindigging? If so I'm sure you've got your tunes sorted. If not, allow me to lively up you night with a full five hours worth of New Year's Eve floor-fillers and foot-stompers. Mixing new tunes and old acquaintances into a punch bowl of funky covers, soul shakers, new wave nuggets, theme tunes, rock 'n' rollers and rip roarers where anything and everything goes from Primal Scream to Peggy Lee, Sammy Davies to Sly Stone, Bo Diddley to Belle and Sebastian.

Fill your boots with bangers, bankers and belters below..

Rock Around the Clock 1
Sparkly, bubbly ice-breakers to soundtrack the to-ing and fro-ing

Rock Around the Clock 2
Tunes to warm up the room

Rock Around the Clock 3
Tunes to lively up your legs

Rock Around the Clock 4
Rocking the roof right off..

HAPPY NEW YEAR and see you in the sci-fi sounding 2010!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Clocking Off For Christmas...

View from our upstairs window last Friday..

Well that's almost it from me for this decade..Happy Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Mele Kaliki Maka to everyone who's chipped in with contributions, comments, recommendations or link ups. And a discreet nod to those stealthy footed silent types who read but never write..

I say almost, as I'll be back on the 31st. Having been asked to do the tunes for a New Year's shinding, I've rattled up a roll call of 'bangers', 'bankers' and rootin' tootin' tunes - running to a total four CDs worth. Tune in New Year's Eve and you can grab the full set for a limited period only...

So that'll be me blogging off, logging off and leaving you with two tunes used in the last poddy - The Ventures (soundtracked our cracker test) and Big Tiny Little (the piano madness used to close the 'cast). So until then, have yourselves a swinging little Christmas playmates and go easy on the scoops and stodge..

Big Tiny Little - Tiny's Christmas Medley

The Ventures - Jingle Bell Rock

If you haven't checked it out yet, you must get your snow-boots over to Fades In Slowly, where Adam has created a 'bloggers of the world unite' selection box in the style of Peely's festive 50 with between tune links from St John of Peel...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Podrophenia 7 - Christmas Podding

Artwork by Paul Oddsock

Following in the tradition of festive specials Piley and I bring you a bumper edition for the Christmas Podrophenia : 10 tinsel tunes, 8 celebrity messages (can you spot them all) and 2 special guests as Marmite Boy and Coops join us for a sleigh ride through cyberspace..

Brian Setzer, Sufjan Stevens, Shonen Knife and Barbara Streisand are a few of the tunes hand-picked for the playlist. While in other news there's a cracker consumer test, possibly the most miserable Christmas song ever, retromania with Burley aftershave, Ronco adverts and Avon Boosters. A Wood Watch update and find out which one of us has, ermm, 'fiddler's fingers' ~ I say!

It's perhaps rowdier than our usual poddies as assorted other halves, 2 Mini-Mondo's and 1 Tiny Piley add some background clatter to the goings on ..

Serving suggestion - play it while you're writing or delivering cards, wrapping prezzies, enjoying a glass of egg nog (what is egg nog?) or trimming the tree. Whatever you're doing fill your boots and raise a glass ~ or is it fill a glass and raise your boots? ~ for Christmas.

Podrophenia 7 - Christmas Podding

Or via iTunes (should be up later today)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Breaking A Birthday Rule....

For the first time - EVER. I'm lumbered with working on my birthday. I never work birthdays - it's just not done is it? And, really, shouldn't they be public holidays anyway?

Historically it's booked off and I'll indulge in one full day of lazing and loafing broken only by a trip to Wah Hing for a lunchtime special (L3 - sweet and sour chicken with rice). But, due to some annual leave confusement, I'm here in the office. Ho hum.

Hopefully I'll be able to swing a late(ish) start, an early(ish) finish and an extended trip to Orbital or Gosh comics with spot of Denmark Street window shopping in between.

So what do we do for tunes? Perhaps a few about someone I share birthdays and barnets with...

The Sonics - Roll Over Beethoven

Walter Murphy - A Fifth Of Beethoven

Friday, December 11, 2009

Funky Friday - The Hardest Working Man In Snow Business

It's a Pop Quiz - I can guarantee - guarantee, you won't unmask the secret Santa performing the opener from today's sackful of goodies. Although, in all fairness he's mainly famous in the States. Full marks to Coops for putting this slice of fleet-footed festive funkery on my 'sleighdar'. Santa's Got A Brand New Bag is a cracker that shimmies and shakes likes James Brown on ice..

So what else is on the Christmas list today? The Godfather Christmas of Soul shaking a festive leg with Shrek and Boogaloo Santa busting full bearded moves.

? - Sock It To Me Santa

Brat - Funky Christmas

J.D. McDonald - Boogaloo Santa Claus

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Countdown To Christmas - Ho, Ho, Ho-down

The spirit of the season and a Christmas tingle finally took hold over the weekend. Fired by a medley of : the New York Dolls tinsel, glam and glitter at Friday's gig - how loud? Choco Girl popping by with homemade cards and crocheted tree trims. Piley, Coops and Marmite dropping round to record the Christmas podcast. A trip to my favourite pub decked out in festive finery and a rewatch of Scrooged starring NY Doll David Johansen as the cab-driving, stogie-chewing Ghost of Christmas past. All lit by a low-lying golden December sunlight.

All of which means it’s time to unwrap some winter warmers and set the yule blog ablaze by way of a blugrass shinding on Christmas Time's A Comin, and a ragtime tear-up on the jolliest, jauntiest version of Here Comes Santa Claus

The Grascals - Christmas Time's A Comin'

Big Tiny Little - Here Comes Santa Claus

Oh and the newly remastered It's A Wonderful Life has been bought and tucked away for a closer-to-Christmas treat..

Friday, December 4, 2009

Funky Friday - These Are A Few Of My Favourite (Soul) Things...

As featured in Kill Bill

You may remember a while back we posted Keith Mansfield's 'Lola' sound-a-like Soul Thing on the blog. It's a track that's popped, shuffled and randomised it's way into becoming one of my most played tunes of the year. Which, is why when Adam from Fades In Slowly kindly invited me to find five tunes for his Festive Fifty - Soul Thing was a shoo-in.

Digging deeper into variants of Soul Thing becomes a cat's cradle of endless editions: orchestral, strings, stereo and mono madness. However, I won't slump your shoulders with every available flavour - but, guide you to selection of covers, reworks and highlights..

James Royal's Vocal version! With lyrics n'everything

James Royal - House of Jack

Tony Newman's Hammond fired hip-shaker

Tony Newman - Soul Thing

Keith Mansfield retitled versh. Refitted with funkmungous breaks and brass

Keith Mansfield - Funky Fanfare

And the theme to 'The Queen Street Gang'? No, me neither

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There's No Business, Like Seventies Show Business

Had a visit to the local 'Unseen 1963' exhibition recently, possibly the most historically-boggling photography collection I've ever seen. Piley's got all the info on it, but in essence, 'Unseen 1963' is over fifty candid, posed and offstage shots of sixties Pop Stars snapped at Southend's Odeon cinema. A mixture of dead-legends and heavy-hitters including The Beatles, the Stones, Cliff, Bo Diddley, Roy Orbison, the Everlys and The Kinks all caught backstage or meeting and greeting local competition winners in our very own Southend cinema .

One of the faces, I recognized was Samantha Jones. Originally one of The Veronons Girls, a group orbiting in shadow of The Beatles early career. Samantha eventually went solo, becoming something of a hit with the Lowlanders in Belgium, the Netherlands and winning the Knokke-Heist music festival. During the seventies she settled into the showbiz circuit of clubs, cruises and occasional TV appearances.

So what does she sound like? Well there's two sides of Samantha on offer today

A cheeky hotpants, Bakers Boy hat and suede boots sounding slinky piece of pop-funk. The sort of tune you'd get during a disco scene in Please Sir

Samantha Jones - Today Without You

And a belting evening-dress and show-closer 'Handbags and Gladrags' type soul ballad

Samantha Jones - Do I Still Figure In Your Life

Morecambe & Wise

Wheeltappers & Shunters (it's well worth watching this clip to the close, for the 'all together now' sing-a-long of Show Me The Way To Go Home)

That's Samantha, sat on Macca's lap..

Friday, November 27, 2009

Funky Friday - The Damned United and Tamla Motöwn

I don't know how I ended up deleting this post for an entire afternoon but I did. Anyway -back now

I won't get on my when-will-The-Damned-get-the-respect-they're-due soapbox yet (although I've been meaning to since I started this blog). But instead, would ask that you put any prejudice, previous dislikes or received wisdom along the lines of 'Class Clowns of Punk' to one side and lend an impartial ear to a few tunes.

If you've only time for one track today, make it Stranger On The Town, a song I literally obsessed over after moving from my childhood town to somewhere I knew nobody. It's simpatico but celebratory tone hit the target at the time, and had me manhandling who-knows-how-many college mates into the nearest record shop to buy the accompanying album Strawberries (a work of depth, genius and yours for a fiver). So, then...

Stranger On The Town - which, sees The Damned going The Doors meet Motown backed by Stax style horns (and you must check out the hammond freakout at starting at 4:50).

Nobody But Me - The Damned in disguise as Naz Nomad and the Nightmares (there's a thread waiting to happen: Secret Bands) as part of the eighties psych-revival.

And Finally a 1966 appearance from Lemmy (on guitar not bass) with his first band The Rocking Vicars and a Shel Tamy produced B-side

The Damned - Stranger On The Town

Naz Nomad and the Nightmares - Nobody But Me

The Rocking Vicars - I Don't Need Your Kind

Motör town - the classic 'head line up covering Holland-Dozier-Holland

PS - in case you're wondering what all the hi-deaf and decibels are about on a Friday! - It's inspired by seeing Motorhead, The Damned and Girlschool live in Southend on Tuesday..

Monday, November 23, 2009

Podrophenia 6 ~ Try This For Size

Who is she and what is her connection to My Life Story? Find out in Podrophenia...

The latest podcast from Piley and I comes fitted around the theme of sizes and sees us squeeze in ten tunes tailored for all types: Fatboy Slim, Little Barrie, One Inch Rock and Big Ten Inch.

There's all the usual natterings and banter touching on ~ celebs spotted in unlikely locations, a Wood Watch update, Cynthia Plaster Caster novelty merchandise, Little Big Man and Piley's parallel world of light entertainers..

And We've got our first competition! Two copies of Big Boss Man's Full English Beat Breakfast to be won..

Podrophenia 6 Sizes

The audio embed has gone pop - but why not download via iTunes above

Or via iTunes if you prefer..

Friday, November 20, 2009

Funky Friday - Cocktails With the Jet Set

We've got a guest blog-spot today! So grab your boarding passes, pack your dancing trousers and prepare to be both shaken and stirred as Cocktails from Cocktails and Records takes us on a world tour of pan-continental funk and groovy global warmers….

Hello folks and thanks to Mr Mondo for letting me take over his fabulously Funky Friday! spot this week.

Winter may be seeping through the doors and windows, and summer holidays a distant memory, but not this Funky Friday!. For today, I'm taking you on a trip around the dance floors of some of the worlds sunnier climes. And as an added twist, we've got a time machine and we’re going back to the 70s. So come on, climb aboard - lets go!

First up we're in India. It's 1971 and Bollywood's favourite playback singer, Asha Bhosle, is belting out 'Dum Maro Dum', a classic track about er... pot-smoking (and if you don’t believe me check out this link..

'Dum Maro Dum' - Asha Bhosle (from the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna)

Next we're off over to Thailand for some groovy and distinctly Thai flavoured dance floor funk by Bualuang OST.

'Singto' (Thai for 'Lion') - Bualuang OST]

And finally, after a trip across the Indian Ocean, we're in Nigeria in 1978 where William Onyeabor is putting the worlds to rights in this 8-minute long Afro-funk wig-out.

'Better Change Your Mind' - William Onyeabor

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tronik Tagging and Blog Meetings

Had a hook-up with Miss Ally and the boy Tronik last week for the Carnaby Street Christmas switcheroo - which, unfortunately, was all a bit Austin Powers in places and had poor ol' Eddie Pillar press-ganged into playlisting sixties hits instead of his usual purist tunes - meaning more time was spent in the pub than at the parade "What a shame" they chorused.

Banter about a possible blog-meet has been buzzing around the blogs since, with the idea of a pre-Christmas/post-new year snifter. So if you're based in London/South East/prepared-to-travel-further and fancy a Bloggers of the World Unite scoop or two, drop me a line at

Oh, and I've been tagged by Chocolate Girl, with the rules that...

1. You have to post a song that makes you happy.
2. You can tag as many people as you want, there is no limit.
3. Say at least one thing about each blog you tag, that will make them smile, something nice about their blog that makes you smile when you read it!

1 - I'm posting my brother's latest single (and vid' which he produced too) - available here, .

Tronik Youth - Disko Suks On Beatport

and wouldn't this Tronik tee make a perfect Christmas stocking-filler.

2/3 - I'm tagging Piley, as we haven't had one of his peachy pop treats for a while, and I'm keen to see what randomness (or Podrophenia outtakes) lurk in the crates.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Funky Friday the 13th - In Case of Emergency...

Like park keepers, comb-overs, weigh-your-own-cereal shops and Sunday morning car mechanics Public information films seem to have been left in the Land That Time Forgot. Perhaps I'm just not there when they air, as PIFs were the last piece of the programming puzzle, scrunched into some scheduling oddspot. Typically lunchtime and closedown, or used to glue up gaps in the listings.

Classic PIFs are pin-sharp snapshots of their time reflecting fashions, fads, interior/graphic design and date-stamped health and safety concerns: Polystyrene ceiling tiles, seat belts, Rabies

So whatever you're up to this Friday the thirteenth - get in the swim, look left and right before crossing the road, and follow the country code or it could go...

The Creation - Biff Bang Pow

The Alan Bown Set - Emergency 999

G. Davis & R. Tyler - Hold On Help Is On The Way

Billy Blunders - son of Mr and Mrs Blunders, possibly the neighbours from hell. Watch the ol' charmer in action at 00:26

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

So what's new on the Big Boss Menu? Full English Beat Breakfast, that's what. An all you can eat buffet of gut-busting beats, full fat fruggery, hot footed floor-fillers and continental flavours from the Latin vibes of Full Brazilian to the Riveria cool of Black Eye and C'est Moi's . FEBB is an urelenting rush of concorde riffing, jazz percussion and neatly-trousered, swish-hipped shakedowns, served spry, crisp 'n dry from the deep funk fryer.

But, more than this, it's almost a soundtrack for tomorrow's world where sci-fi goes spy-fi and the Men from U.N.C.L.E boogie down with Booker T on Beat Breakfast, while Clown Face comes across like George Clinton jamming with George Jetson.

If retro-futurist flavours and finery tickle your taste buds you really must have a munch on Big Boss Man's Full English Beat Breakfast. It's an album that's been sizzling away on my stereo since being released, and, being the cheeky blogger I am, thought I'd fire a few questions BBM's way.

How would you describe Full English Beat Breakfast and the Big Boss Man sound to anyone who hasn't heard the band.
The Big Boss Man’s sound is a cauldron mix of a Bongo-Hammond-Fuzz-Boogaloo Party in Timothy Leary’s head.

The new album has an inter-continental flavour and a menu of Latino tempos, Euro-vintage synth shufflers and sci-fi meets spy-fi. Was there a masterplan of varying the vibes - and how do you write, as a band or does someone bring in a riff or fully formed track.
No master plan, but we do have many influences the world over; 60’s Funk, ye-ye, Psyche, cool movies, anything groovy! Some of the tracks on 'Full English Beat Breakfast' are written by Nass on his own, some with Trev, and some with Trev and the Hawk. For a few tracks we had a band party – filled the place with grog and set up the 8-track recorder.

I read there were scenes of Big Bossmania in Russia - what's the story
The first time we went to Russia, to Moscow, we were invited by Art Troitsky – the Russian John Peel. Then more recently we did a mini-tour of Tinkoff Brewery/music venues which was mental, the kids had never heard our sort of Hammond-groovyness so it freaked them out. We had to take quite a few internal flights on very historic aeroplanes – which was not for the faint hearted!

Fantasy jam band. If you could jam with anyone (dead or alive), who would you choose and why.
Here’s who we want in our fantasy jam band and crew:
Jimmy McGriff & James Brown (playing avant-garde)at the Hammond Organ,
Ray Barreto : Congas
Buddy Miles: Drums, Bernard Purdey: Drums
Tito Puente: Timbales
James Jameson: Bass
Jimmy Smith: Vocals
Cissy Houston and The Sweet Inspirations: Backing Vocals
Lee Perry: Sound
G Fawkes: Lighting
Billy Idol: Tour Bus Driver
Bob Marley: Catering
Pussy-Cat Dolls: Roadies
Bez: Runner
G Haystacks + B Daddy : Security
Peter Grant : Management
Shakira: General Assistance

Any favourite fry-up cafes, and are you a brown or red sauce person
Sauce: both+ English mustard
Cafes: Tasty Shop – Bristol, Tasty Plate-Newbury, Tasties – St. Paul’s,

Vampyros Twist is a cracker - have BBM ever considered covering an entire soundtrack and which would you choose : The Italian Job, Vampyros Lesbos, Get Carter or something else of your choice..
Vampiros Lesbos would be good, but we have been working on our own film 'Get the Vampiros Italian Lesbos Job'

Have you ever DJ'd and what are your banker tracks
We all DJ a bit (except Des)
Hawk: Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
Nass: Any Meatloaf or All About my Girl – Jimmy McGriff
Trev: Charge! –Dreams Band

Are you purist about equipment - is vintage best, and have you bagged any ebay bargains, or own a cherished or collectable piece of gear.
Hawk – I just cover everything in Leopard skin to hide any disgrace.
Nass: Hammond D100, Yamaha L45, Farfisa Compact Duo, Wurlitzer EP200
(electric piano) Hofner Clavinet, Korg Mono-polly, Yamaha CS15, Leslie 122, Roland 101,
Rhodes 73, Elka Rotary cabinet X 2, Leslie 147, + 825, I could go on!

The band have played at Blow Up's new location 4 Denmark St - where you aware of the venues Rock pedigree - (formerly Regent Sound Studios where the Stones, Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder recorded)
We rocked out the last time we played there, maybe it was the spirit of Hendrix jamming with Lil’ Stevie and the Stones that took us over

Where and when can we expect to see BBM on tour and any plans for Southend dates...
We play Camden Zoo on 13th Nov, Mr Wolf’s in Bristol on 21st Nov, Maybe New Years eve in Moscow (to be confirmed) then in February we tour France and March 1 to 14th we tour Spain. Paul from Blow Up was thinking about having a new Club night in Southend, so hopefully we’ll make it there next year if not before.

And how about a taste test of Full English Beat Breakfast?

Big Boss Man - Clown Face

Full English Beat Breakfast is available from Blow Up Records or for download via Amazon or iTunes

Big Boss Man Official Website

Big Boss Man on Myspace

Friday, November 6, 2009

Come On Baby, Light My Bonfire

Did you have a favourite firework? I'm wobbling between the Roman Candle and Traffic Light. Not the Catherine Wheel though, which for all it's hi-propulsion promise, typically stopped-started, spluttered about-a-bit at random angles, eventually fizzling out for a flat tyre finale.

And What's your preference for bonfire fun?

The organised outdoor event, with it's inevitable delays (concerned silhouettes with tabards and torches, a'pointing and a'poking), that oohing-aahing collective of cold feet, dayglo do-dahs, and mob-scale shuffling and shivering. Soundtracked, God forbid, by the local radio OB unit counting down to blast off.

Or, an ad hoc back garden affair? Although home based high jinks with high explosives has the potential to end in a blackened bugle or fingers flying freestyle over the fence with match still clenched between thumb and forefinger.

Whatever you're doing, wrap up warm and why not try these three regroovings of a popular classic.

Erma Franklin - Light My Fire

Mae West - Light My Fire

Spanky Wilson - Light My Fire

The Shirley Bassey version can be grabbed over at Ally's place.

And you must, must, must have a peep at the UK Firework Museum site..with it's virtual box of seventies explosives here

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Here's One I Made Earlier

I don't usually post home made tunes, in fact I've only tried it once before. But, given last minute glimmers of gold and green leaves can still be glimpsed before all fades to grey, and this autumn inspired acoustic tune popped into play on my Creative Zen last week, it seems appropriate to give it an airing.

Should you choose to lend an ear, a couple of things to point out on the playing: It's a very rough sketch of an idea, recorded about four years ago using one guitar.

The guitar is tuned to DADGAD. A tuning popularised by Davey Graham

It's a first or second take recording, so prepare for clunkiness in places

Typically I tend to play too fast, so it's a shade speedier than it needs to be

For a full bodied recording, the following would need to be added
Second guitar (12 string see above), acoustic bass, some sort of soft shuffle rhythm and a lead acoustic for the skippity riff.

Country Acoustic

Friday, October 30, 2009

Freaky Friday - Podroscreamia

A grab-bag of ghoulish goodies feature in the Halloween Podcast from Piley and I. Local tales of terror from chilling urban myths to Essex hauntings, Southend werewolves to estuary based vampirism (did you know Dracula was an Essex boy – yes really!) Along with some recommended reads, fright night viewing and a playlist summoning up Nina Simone, Donovan, The King and a mystery band in their pre-glam period .

Oh and after being truly spooked by an electrical failure (two
actually, I’ve found out since) thanks to that Eno/Byrne track, I forgot to credit Alma Cogan's Snakes and Snails, a Love Potion Number 9 meets Fortune Teller type stomper.

So draw the curtains, light the candles, form a circle and grab hands to make contact with our late night whisperings

Repeat after me... 'It’s only a podcast! It’s only a podcast!'

Podrophenia 5 - Halloween Special

Or on evil iTunes

Don't forget ghouls and gals last year's Halloween Mondo Mania Mix can be grabbed here

Variants cards are available at the Cobwebbed Room
or see the full set here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


One autumnal number I'd been hoping to place in last Sunday's Autumn Falls mix was Humble Pie's Wrist Job. An oddly titled outtake from As Safe As Yesterday Is. A performance rumbling along on a slow-shifting tidal swell of heavy Hammond, roof-raising gospel vocals and one runaway bass, all of which come crashing together in heady perfection between 3:00 and 3:30

As much as I love the track, it's just too, well, potent and powerful to sit alongside the soft footfall required for last Sunday's mix.

Humble Pie - Wrist Job

However, a Wrist Job-lite can be traced back to a track from Steve Marriot's previous band The Small Faces, where it had an instrumental run out under the title of The Pig's Trotters.

The Small Faces - The Pig's Trotters

Oh, and the tweety-bird samples bookending Autumn Falls come from this and this.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy Sunday - Autumn Falls

Did you put your clocks back - and what are your plans for that extra hour? If you've nothing doing, lend an ear to one last blast of autumn colour by way of this homemade seasonal stew. A soft, smoky mellow blend harvested from autumnal acoustics, outtakes, alt.takes, oddities and obscurities. You could cosy up around a crackling fireside with a glass of something fruity to suit the tone of the tunes. Or perhaps stow it away red squirrel style for a splash of russet colur to brighten up the grey-day gloom of a bleak mid winter.

Autumn Falls

PS - the track list is in the comms to avoid being blog-whacked

PPS - In case you've missed them, the other seasonal Sunday sessions can be collected here : Winter, Spring and Summer

Friday, October 23, 2009

Freaky Friday - Lift Up Your Skirt And Fly

It's a Pop Quiz - 'lift up your skirt and fly' is the last line of single, banned by the BBC for this saucy sounding statement (although in reality, it was actually reference to witches). But who were the band that recorded it, and the soon-to-be glammer wot wrote it?

We've had Wolfmen doing dark duets, tales of terror, spiders, snakes (and a Halloween podcast Podroscreamia is on it's way), but today as move nearer to All Hallows' Eve, and those final witching hours it's time to bubble and boil a couple of numbers in the cauldron for today's Freak Friday..

The master blaster himself Tom Jones lung-busting, head-shrinking and doing the voodoo and gumbo a-go-go with...

The Witch Queen Of New Orleans

Sharon Tandy goes Snow White's Wicked Queen meets Hammer Glamour - backed by last week's Tick Tockers Les Fleur De Lys on..

Daughter Of The Sun

Guitar geek alert - watch out for the axe at 1:18 Tele body/Strat neck?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Like the Cocteau Twins at Christmas

That's what The Wolfmen's new single Jackie, Is It My Birthday? sounds like to me.

A swirling dervish of ghostly notes, Marco's guitars arpeggiating like the midnight chimes of church bells and snowfalls of slow-shifting synth washes swaddling Sinéad O'Connor and Chris Constantinou as they waltz-in-black through this dark duet like ghost-dancers at the Overlook Hotel.

But don't just take my word for it, have a blast below. The 2 min's(half of the single) you'll hear is ripped from my own copy of Jackie - but you can get your own copy on 7 inch , CD or digital download

And don't you think Jackie would make a perfect Christmas single? A fresh airing and alternative to the overplayed Pogues, that Wham song or some one-shot winner from a TV 'talent' show

Friday, October 16, 2009

Freaky Friday - T is for.....

Tales From The Crypt - if you've never seen an Amicus anthology horror 'Tales' is the place to dip in. All the codes and conventions of a classic Amicus production(seventies contemporary styling, a repertory of British screen icons) are in place over the five portmanteau set pieces - Joan Collins and the psycho Santa, Ian Hendry doing the loop of terror and Peter Cushing at his most ghostly. A few years after it's release, late night TV repeats of Tales From The Crypt were discussed in mythical whispers at school, and the fearless few who stayed up watch them were instantly awarded the heavyweight status of Playground Legend..

Tell us you're fave TV Thrillers, fright-night films recommended reads, scariest kids shows, urban myths or other spooky doings - Piley and I are recording the Podrophenia Halloween Special next week so any ghostly gubbins pass it on here -

Tick Tock - Les Fleurs De Lys
A pre-Zep Jimmy Page was involved with session work and production duties for LFDL, and seems to have refitted Tick Tock's riff for this Zep ztomper

Tarot - Andrew Bown
A delightfully sunny slice of polite psych pop

T is also for - try a peep at these

Bitter Andrew's always excellent autumn almanac.
The Halloween Countdown

Blogger-my-neighour Coops new venture...recreate your favourite cover art - Sleevie Wonders

Monday, October 12, 2009

Podrophenia 4 - Rock 'n' Roll Animals

The fourth Podrophenia is uncaged today with 'animals' being the theme. Sixty minutes of music and muddling where Piley and I release a few pet sounds - birds, cats, elephants and monkeys into the wild.

We've also got two special guest appearances with animal related tracks from..

Mr Martin Gordon - ex Sparks, Jet and Radio Stars, who introduces us to Elephantasy from his latest album Time Gentlemen Please

And Mr Chris Constantinou from The Wolfmen, who release their minty new single today Jackie, Is It My Birthday (a duet with Sinéad O'Connor). But for Podrophenia Chris gives us an exclusive blast of The Wolfmen's next single Cat Green Eyes

Amongst our usual rabbit and jabber , you'll hear which rocker we think looks like a crow crossbred with a chimney brush, celebs spotted in unlikely places, low-level rock 'n' roll memorials and rasher related randomness (the patron saint of bacon?) .

Podrophenia 4

Whoops - the stream is broken - but why not grab from iTunes above..

Or via iTunes if you prefer

Oh, and see if you can spot my Beatle themed theme technique behind the animals I've selected - the answer's here if you've given up..

No it's not Azlan from Narnia, Parsley The Lion, or even Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion!
It's Hamish Stuart from the Average White Band!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Freaky Friday - I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes

Not my carpet or spider - but my hand

Throughout October Funky Friday will be seasonally adjusted to Freaky Friday. The tracks and tunes will feature all the usual foot-stomping and leg-shaking shenanigans, but with an added splash of fright-night flavouring until the beckoning bony finger of Halloween finally touches upon us.

Think of today's theme as a prelude for the fourth Piley and Mondo podcast(with you next week)..

I've no fear of the snake, but spiders - yikes alive! Will literally, have me both legs in air the 'Lords-a-leaping' style. And apparently the last two summers (one wet/one dry) have provided the perfect breeding conditions for the little scuttlers *gulps*

Tony Joe White - Stud-Spider

A saucy, plodding slice of Southern Soul meets Gumbo-Funk from the writer of Rainy Night In Georgia and Polk Salad Annie

Al Wilson - The Snake
A classic Northen Soul nugget first heard by me on this Ronco comp (although it actually had this tracklisting)

The Mondo Metal Years - I don't what's scarier the mullet or the Motley Crue tee

And a trick amongst the treats..

Jim Stafford - Spiders and Snakes

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So Let Me Introduce To You

The online democracy that is the internet may have caused the retail music industry to come unglued, but the same levelling effect has created a perfect platform for home recordists and local have-a-go heroes. One of these is Markus Reeves, based in Leicester but with Southend connections, he's active on the buoyant open mic and local festival circuit, and has just released a free 5 track 'analogue only' EP 59 Steps.

59 Steps has it's references, roots and sound shaped by Weller, Strummer and Neil Young on Skyline and Crosswind , but shades them with shadowy small hours close-mic moments of Nick Cave and Johnny Cash on I Know and 59 Steps .

So going back to the beginning - was there an act or artist that made pick up and play - and do you remember the first track you cracked.

Paul Weller without a doubt, I spent my school days listening to The Jam and via that got into The Who, The Faces, 80's mod scene, northern soul, Motown, Stax - the list is endless! But really it was Weller's 'magpie' approach (as some of his critics are happy to point out) that was a musical tipping point for me. The first song of his I worked out was Liza Radley on the B side of START! A beautiful, beautiful song.

Can you/do you still play any of your earliest songs

Funny you should ask that, as I've just rearranged a song called What I'm Thinking,that I wrote at college about fifteen years ago and played live for the first time last week. I'm not bothered about looking back at what I've done. To me it's a totally organic process.. songs NEVER stop evolving and when an artist keeps a song the same for years it's liable to lose it's magic live.

What are the ideas and inspiration behind the 59 Steps EP
It's a very disparate set actually. Some songs are just stories and others are written from stuff that's caught my imagination. Skyline was written at the Summer Sundae Festival- about people being together for one common purpose, that feeling of the common good wraps around you from skyline to skyline.. In my case it was a music festival, but equally it could be a party or demo or even the poll tax riots. The rest range from travelling murderers to getting stood up in the pouring rain, to a rant about consumerism.

Markus Reeves - Skyline

You've gone for strictly analogue recording why is that? - are there any other self enforced rules: no more than 'x 'amount of takes or tracks
Cool question, tape has a quality of sound that I just love, digital recording has its place but it all too often its VERY sterile. I have no problem with surface noise, amp hum or even slightly distorted recordings, I've always been attracted to Lo-Fi because as john peel said "life has surface noise". As far as takes go, I don't hang on every syllable of a take, I'm very very untrained as a singer, so every time I play a songs it comes out slightly different, after two or three takes I'm usually happy with one of them - three seems to be my magic number as it goes.

Why a 5 track EP rather than an album, is there much material left in the tanks

I'm just impatient. Plenty.

The packing is a great touch literally - how did you come up with the 'wrap' design
Someone reintroduced me to Origami earlier this year (thank you, you know who you are) and I came up with this little wrap for the CDs. It's just six folds of an A4 sheet, the great thing is, if you download the full EP package with artwork, then you've everything to make up the exact same physical copies I give away at gigs. Which is one thing I miss about downloading

The internet seems to have caused the downfall of the retail music industry, but has it had the reverse effect for the live/grass-roots music scene

The days of mega-stars are numbered now. I think, more and more music is internet, DIY and as generations mature, the shift to 'found artists' will grow. Personally I love the fact that the emphasis on 'product' has died, I'll give as much away as I can afford, so people can get to my gigs and have a great time as they knowg the songs already. It's never going to be a totally level playing field, there will always be money to pump into publicity for the 'plastic pop stars' but the grass roots and local scenes have really really flourished.

You've been playing festivals and open mic nights do you have to adjust the set for indoor/outdoor performances - and what would the ideal/dream venue be
I have some much quieter songs that just don't get played that often because of noisy venues or lack of a soundcheck, so I tend to play the more shouty tunes as a safety net. However The Musician pub in Leicester is a fantastic place to play the quieter stuff. Ideal venue?
100 Club
End of.

You're doing a Lennon night this Friday - what can we expect to see in the set
Really looking forward to that one, it's his birthday with five acts doing thirty minute sets, I'll be banging out 'Working Class Hero' and maybe a slow version of 'Revolution' mixed in with some of my own tunes, and maybe a reworking of a Jam track 'Away From The Numbers' from in the city. It's at The Shed, Leicester on October 9th with proceeds going to the Donor Foundation

Recorded exclusively for this blog
Markus Reeves - Working Class Hero

Are there any plans for hook ups with other local musicians - either performing, writing or producing
I've got plans for a three piece maybe next year, playing louder stuff ( getting my Jam/Weller head on ) but before that I'm looking to work with a songwriter called Bethia Mitchell who has the most amazing
voice I've heard for a long time, doing quite dark twin accoustic/harmony type stuff. I'm amazed at the depth of female singer songwriters in Leicester at the moment, there are probably four or five I'd love to work with such as Nancy Dawkins, Matti, Paula Driver the list goes on ...

What's the story behind the sample closing 59 Steps
It's just a found clip - the song is about self imposed isolation and failed redemption, told in the first person by a convict knowing he won't ever stop whatever grisly thing he does. The clip on the end is about a guy who went beserk on a Greyhound bus and actually hacked a fellow passengers head off with a bowie knife. There's no connection to the song other than it seemed apt, I just had this mad 45 second chord section at the end that needed filling and that fitted perfectly.

Markus Reeves - 59 Steps

Yikes your gig bag's on fire - what piece of kit do you save first
Can't live without my Shubb capo, as for guitars well the trusty 1976 S. Yari accoustic, I'd risk an awful lot to save that baby ... they don't come like that very often.

Finally - any hints or tips for home recorders or starter guitarists
On the recording front, spend as much as you can afford on a good mike, then don't get hung up on the tech side, spend time getting levels right. Just forget the tape/disk is running and do your thing. If you're playing with one eye on the desk you ain't gonna play naturally. If you're thinking of getting out and playing live and don't know where to start try finding out about local open mike nights, it's such a brilliant way to get 'stage miles' in and learn what it's all about.

1 - tune up before you get onstage (basic ,but nerves will get the better of your ears under those lights trust me)

2 - print off your song lyrics (in bold) and take them with you, again nerves play with even the best memory

3 - enjoy! Most of these type of nights the crowd is on YOUR side.

The 59 Steps EP is downloadable with Origami cover art - right here

You can see more Markus on Youtube

And get all the dates details and previews on Myspace or Facebook