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

Friday, October 2, 2009

Funky Friday - All Girl Action

You've probably seen these pistol packing mamas cracking skulls, flipping kicks or lassoing the truth out of some rat-grey gump. But, did you know these three killer queens also had a secret musical identity..

Caroline Munro (pictured above) Bond Girl, scream queen and B movie pinup - can also be spotted in this Manikin cigars ad' and duetting with Gary Numan on Pump Me Up - I say!!

Caroline Munro - This Sporting Life

After our 'school's out' bell had rung, I'd hoof home, like a wide-eyed loon hoping to catch any glimpse of ITV'sTara King era Avengers repeats*sighs*

Linda Thorson - Here I Am

I almost went for the Wonder Woman theme, but it had to be Diana Prince Linda Carter giving The (Detroit) Spinners - Rubberband Man a bounce.

And there's a great, great thread on the TV crushes on The Word website here if you fancy putting your hormones into hijinx.