Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Radio Podrophenia: Piley and I LIVE on the wireless tonight.

In fact Piley and will be live and beaming Radio Podrophenia to an interweb radio near you every Tuesday evening - until someone pulls the plug.

Tune into S6 radio between 9 and 10, via the listen live link, to hear Piley and the other one doing some On Air Podrophonic nonsense - and for the full reveal of which theme is threading the tracks together this week. These two tunes may appear on my playlist...but any guesses what the mystery musical motif may be?

If you're not out and about tonight, perhaps point your ears in our general direction to listen in, or maybe even pitch us a message on the S6 web page?


Ella Fitzgerald - I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Friday, May 27, 2011

Podrophenia 16 - Holidays

Have you ever stayed at the the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel? I'm semi-obsessed with a hotel that boasts it's been 'proudly disappointing travellers  for forty years' with 'levels of comfort comparable to a minimum-security prison'

Following on from the recent run of extended weekends, and in the spirit of bank holiday Monday - Piley and I set up camp with a podcast that's a bumper holiday special featuring look-a-likes (Reg Varney, Catweazle, Luton Airport), sound-a-likes (Midge Mouse, Hartley/Manuel waiter).

Taking a break from the usual suspects we cue up ten never-appeared-before acts and artists - who touch on: shining on, sunglasses, cruises, seasiders and angry aeroplanes. And two tunes that include this rock and roll call of heavy hitters. Steve Marriot, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, John Paul Jones, Chas Hodges, Klaus Voorman.

Natter wise it's an international buffet of holiday horror stories, dodgy menus and Asbo Grannies., with perhaps the finest ad' ever featured in the history of Podrophenia.

So, book early and grab your boarding pass below..

Pssst - keep 'em peeled for the breaking news section midway in as exciting new developments are unfolding in the world of Podrophonics.

Oh and you can grab the out-takes and extras here

Podrophenia 16 - Holidays

Or via iTunes if you prefer

Jamie Reid Holidays panel - lifted from this...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bongo a Go-Go

Back in Feb, I had a nip along to catch The Bongolian and Big Boss Man live over Highbury way. A full tilt, roof-raiser of a gig, with groovy doings so hot, hard and heavy it was near impossible to leave. Having had The Bongolian's new album Bongo's for Beatniks doing the loop for the last week or so, I can see entirely why I missed the midnight train to Chalkwell.

Blasting off with front end so fast, furious and high firing that it speeds from the speakers like a greyhound out of a trap, literally not missing breath or beat between the first two tunes and scene-setting for an almost unrelenting racy pace. Clattering carnival percussion and New Avengers bass lines bounce about under a bubbling spectrum of the thickest synth sounds. A pulsing patch-panel of oscillation and phase that seems to have been grabbed and grafted from the Starsky and Hutch titles or the same sound gallery visited by Billy Preston, Jean-Jacques Perrey and the BBC Radiophonic workshop.

Taking a comfort break away from the swish-hipped fruggery, The Bongolian's Dream and The Ballad of Lily Kensington are The Persuaders holidaying on the riveria with Harry Palmer.While the Quinn Martin epilogue that is Tortoise Walk is a Scaramanga anthem engineered for the scale of a Pinewood sound stage. A stomping finale so fruity and fat-backed it's almost 3D.

But here's the clincher: the beats are so bulked up, the tempo so hot-wired and the full-fat frug-outs so hot footed, our two tots - who now listen almost exclusively to Tinchy Striker, Tiny Tempest and the ear-grinding, electro-swirl that is Dubstomp or somesuch - actually ask for this album by name.

From The Bongolian's collection of synth grooves for speed freaks - distilling it down to a single track is a tough call, but one that's a thumbnail summary of all Bongo's For Beatnicks dragster boogaloo is about is ....

Moscow Queen

Moscow Queen - The Bongolian by Blow Up Records

Or you can taste test the album here

'Bongos For Beatniks' Medley - The Bongolian by Blow Up Records

The Bonglian at The Garage February 4th..

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guest Blogger: Dial H for Heroine - Hazel O'Connor

Picture from the always excellent Like Punk Never Happened

Continuing with the theme of 80s favourites - Suzy Norman revisits and reviews Hazel O'Connor's career. You can scroll through a roll call of other inspirational women over at Suzy's blog: Heroine Addict.

As a kid, Toyah and Hazel O'Connor were my role models.

In my defence, there are reasons why I sometimes conflated the two in my young brain: Both Toyah and O'Connor were ex-art students and singers with a commercially diluted punk bent and both were influenced by Bowie.

With hindsight we know Toyah's presence on our screens has been longer lasting - having enjoyed better luck than O'Connor; Toyah has enjoyed a successful stage career (the highlight being to star alongside Laurence Olivier).

But O'Connor has the edge as a recording artist.

A big break in the form of a lead part in Breaking Glass (1981) propelled O'Connor to almost instant stardom – but only for a while. In fact, O'Connor was set against Toyah for a role in the film. Toyah wasn't selected, and after some internal rearranging, O'Connor was chosen to be the lead. Toyah -  already established as a result of appearing in Jubilee and Quadrophenia, wasn't the appropriate choice for a rock star on the rise.

It was O'Connor's time to shine.

The film charts a young punk star, Kate's rise to fame and ponders the theme of fortune being a poisoned chalice. Kate - a young woman coming up against a formidable and manipulative record industry – was a plot that was to strangely mirror O'Connor's own career.

As a result of her uncommonly brutal and protracted disputes with her record company Albion, O'Connor didn't fully have the chance to develop artistically. Her legal grievances escalated over the years, and as they did so - in an age-conscious world, she grew older and less marketable.

The tedium of legal dealings, invariably and understandably, ate into her creative fervour. And this is a shame because we'll never know how good she could have become.

In short, O'Connor signed in haste with Albion and repented at leisure.

She was persecuted. Signing her record contract when stressed and upset, she made a wrong move that was to have diminishing consequences. Having first taken legal advice (and she was sternly told the contract wasn't worth the paper it was written on) - nonetheless poverty and a subsequent low moment,  meant she signed along the dotted line.

In the ensuing years, what happened to O'Connor would have been enough to send anyone bitter. Whatever she earned was greedily taken back from her. Her label justified their behaviour by saying money should be clawed back to cover recording and touring expenses. This meant O'Connor worked extremely hard – almost to breaking point, and was left with nothing:

'I haven't got any money still. I'm not going to have any money for years, if ever. There were times when I thought if I wasn't naturally strong I might have done myself in...At one point I had writs arriving every week. Such bastards! How dare they treat me like this.'
O'Connor 1985

Will You is one of the best tracks of 1981 - which is praise indeed, because it was a particularly strong year for music. In a short space of time, and musically at least, she eclipsed Toyah. She was capable of innovation - producing lasting songs that were richer and texturally denser than Toyah's forgettable ditties.

But on the back of most of her singles - industry crimes against her aside - it remains questionable whether she had the raw talent to go the distance. She did though, have have moments of undoubted accomplishment.

On balance, Will You is partly a stand-out song from her short career because it's unlike most of her others. It is very good indeed.

Will You has more than a smudge of Patti Smith to the vocals. As with If Only, this Patti Smith emulation is a credulous style choice, and perhaps she could have further developed this tonal quality. That would have been a worthwhile direction for her to pursue. But just how good she could have been – or not - we shall not know.

Here's Will You and If Only – her two best tracks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dear Diary:1980 - May

Phew! May is a month of high jumps and runarounds. Literally

Spooky doings on the 14th when a cracked and phantom voice started summoning me (by name) from the record player 'are you there' - 'come in'. Dark arts that had me bolting from the bedroom a'Scooby Doo style. Worra relief then. when, mystery solved! It turned out be a ham radio fan that had somehow beamed and broadcast himself from my speakers, trying to tap up a fellow enthusiast - one of the 'Spud' family across the street.

Sleeping in the park - not in anyway likely to be the soundest of nights snooze is it. Factor in being charged and chased by a local gang of older skinheads known as the Ant Hill Mob ( named after the Wacky Races mobsters - not for crime connections, more the bonehead-count they could cram into a single Cortina). Bolting off again to grab a few shattered hours in the back of garage forecourt 'Self Drive' transit van. No wonder Sunday was spent sleeping. And behold! Budgie spin-off series Charlie Endell Esq..

All that and,  a first shave, switching from DM's to Monkey boots (J J Burnell influence there) and local busybody 'Boing' poking his beak in.

Chart-wise it's just the Subs Teenage, but items bagged being: The Damned's debut album, and,  for the first time, dipping an indie toe outside Top 75 with two Crass albums and one single..

UK Subs - Teenage

Crass - Bloody Revolutions

Would you believe it -  the exact chart I flunked on my 'which year' Pop Master Q..

Top 75 singles

Top 75 albums

The full Persons Unknown foldout - incredible. And all hand drawn

Friday, May 13, 2011

Woodwork Class

Whipping along with the speed of a seafront breeze, Southend's David Woodcock maintains the sort of sprightly, high-firing work rate you rarely find amongst contemporary singer/songwriters. One minty new tune gets posted on Soundcloud every week for free download. Aside from the weekly freebies, live-wise he's a consistent performer - slotting in solo shows,  pitching up with his signature tinkles, tickles and vocals ad-hoc at local shindigs or as the keyboard component of Southend legends The Seasiders.

Yet, on top of this bookings-busting schedule David has still found time to write and release a new album Splinters – rendered and recorded in his bathroom and the local pub (The Railway). It's a self-assembled construction, built around a rolling repertory of duets, team-ups and co-writes, pulling in players and contributors from Southend's bubbling and buoyant music scene: Dave Dulake, Fi Jacobs and Kelly Buckley (supplying lead vocals on Gentlemen To Lech}

Splinters songbook of choppy time changes, melancholy sketches and uptempo tear-ups has the loose-limbed vibe of a late-hours lock in. Something like eavesdropping on an end of evening session (with pint mugs on the piano) - while Ronnie Lane, Jarvis Cocker and Graham Coxon go heads together on boozy, crowd rousing choruses of heartbreak and hometowns. All clicked and captured with a Ray Davies take on everyday detail - topped off with the production touch of a new wave knees up.

If you're in town this weekend - get yourself to Denmark St to catch Dave in action with The Seasiders at their first Blow Up show...

David Woodcock and The Splinters - Open Secret

David Woodcock and The Splinters - Gentlemen To Lech

Recommended reading

David Woodcock on Zinng, Myspace, Twitter and Facebook
The Seasiders on Myspace

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pop Quiz: The Golden Hour with Simon Bates

Hello bloggers and browers. Simes here, you may remember my resonant rumbles and mahogany tones from features like...

The BBFC intro's on clunky old VHS tapes., The Golden Hour, Our Tune *reaches for a large onion and a box of mansize Kleenex* Look loves, can't hang around I've got a show going over on Smoove and a couple of voice overs to crack off during the ad' breaks - but while I'm here how about a quicky game of The Golden Hour...

This timeless poppet of a tune could come from almost any era - sixties or seventies, nineties or naughties. Of course it can only be one of them... But - which, was the year

Factory - Gone

You could do the Googledoodledoo - but you'd only be cheating yourselves/

So, please post your answers to PO box 247, Portishead, Bristol in the comments box

Yer actual Ken Bruce boombox as won by me last Bank Holiday Monday

Friday, May 6, 2011

Guest Blogger: Frying tonight with Fufu Stew

In 2008 Soul Chef, Vince from Fufu Stew rocked the PM blog to it's roots and boots with a thunderous mix of new wave nuggets (kindly re-upped here). Well, now just a shade over 3 years later, Vince is back and brought with him a sizzling griddle of wallopers and winners mixed from a recipe of garage, soul 'n' pysch.

You can taste test two of the included tunes at the bottom and tuck into the full fat menu below. A soul salute and tip of the chef's titfer is due to Vince for serving up this magnificently funky buffet.

Hello, kiddies.

My pal Mr. Mondo is good for giving me an outlet to play records too. It's been several years since we've shared mixes, but when he passed another invite for me to do a guest mix, I just couldn't pass it up... and because this wonderful blog is the epitome of freeform, I got the gumption to pull out these often underplayed gems from the corners of my crates and serve 'em up this way. I'm still a rookie when it comes to digging for the old rock and roll. I try to find garage 45's, psych and all the rest when digging in the field, but I usually come up with slim pickin's. I suppose that I don't put too much effort into it because the stuff I've heard on comps and from other blogs is about as easy to find as a hen's tooth. This mix represents some of the good stuff I was lucky to find, some of which were featured on Fufu Stew No. 9. All original grade 45's were used with the exception of the Portable Flower Factory track, which is a 7" played at 33.3 rpm... Minor restoration was performed on the records that were just a bit too hammered. Enjoy :)

Fufu Stew Goes Mondo... Again!

01 Come On Down To My Boat-Every Mother's Son (MGM)
02 Lose Your Money-The Moody Blues (London)
03 The Rub A Dub-The Fifth Estate (Jubilee)
04 Little Girl-Syndicate Of Sound (Bell)
05 Call Me Lightning-The Who (Decca)
06 From Home-The Troggs (Fontana)*
07 Shape Of Things To Come-Max Frost & The Troopers (Tower)
08 Fire-Five By Five (Paula)*
09 Gloria-Them (Parrot)
10 Let It All Hang Out-The Hombres (Verve Forecast)*
11 Soul Drippins-The Mauds (Mercury)
12 Runaway Child Running Wild-The 44th Street Portable Flower Factory
13 Groovy Motions-The Fireballs (Atco)
14 Shoeshine Boy-The Lemon Pipers (Buddah)
15 Pictures Of Matchstick Men-The Status Quo (Cadet Concept)
16 The Real Thing Pt. 1-Russell Morris (Diamond)*
17 The Real Thing Pt. 2-Russell Morris (Diamond)*
18 Psychotic Reaction-The Count Five (Double Shot)
19 Smokes-? And The Mysterians (Cameo)*
20 Hide And Seek-The Sheep (Boom)
21 Apricot Brandy-Rhinoceros (Elektra)
22 From Way Out To Way Under-The Shadows Of Knight (Team)
23 Beggar Man-Southwest F.O.B (Hip)
24 I Put A Spell On You-The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (Track)
25 Hot Smoke And Sassafrass-The Bubble Puppy (International Artists)

Thanks again and again Mr. Mondo, it's always a pleasure. Til next time kids, have fun(k) and as always, please be safe.

Peace and blessings.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marx Brothers and Sisters

Dig the New Breed R & B. That's Reds and Blues citizens, as Thee Faction return for round two in their War of Position

Following in the boot steps of red-blooded, blue-collared rock and prolers: MC5, the Feelgoods and The Ramones. The Factioneers kick out the jams going hammer and tongs on the attack through medium of supercharged blues, marching through eleven new tunes with the drilled efficiency of cartoon ants - come to steal Tom (Cameron) and Jerry's (Clegg) picnic - liberating it for the masses

It's the rawest, rockingest, revolutionary rhetoric heard on record since the New York Dolls draped themselves in hammers, sickles and red patent leather.

As track 6 says - do your bit! Get involved, lend The Guild a left ear and vote for change through your record collection

Vive Le Faction and Up The Workers

Join The Party


As a bonus you can tune in to Thee Faction newie 366 right here