Friday, 11 July 2014

From Inside The Pod Revisited #1

For a couple of years, I ran a blog called From Inside The Pod. It never conquered the world or anything, but it was fun for a little while. Webbie and Deadboy were followers, a few others wandered by and downloaded my offerings.

My offerings were in fact a series of 'podcasts': a continuous mix of 10 songs lasting approx 30 mins rather amateurly strung together using a bit of audio freeware. Some had themes, many were just things I wanted people to hear. All but one of them contained at least one track by a Welsh act. 

Responses were mixed. People seemed to love the cover version ones, but couldn't have cared less about most of the others. I eventually crashed the pod when I had a bit of a strop over the lack of hits I was getting (hmmm, sound familiar...?) I lost  some of the stuff I created, such as the banner graphic at the top of the page which I always really liked. Luckily though, I did save some stuff - like the posts themselves.

Anyway, what I thought was, during the quiet summer period I'd repost a few of my fave podcasts along with the essays and sleevenotes that accompanied them. Yeah, lazy I know, but if JC can get away with republishing old articles I reckon I stand a chance!! If you like them, I might even post one of the 'unreleased' ones I made but never posted due to me throwing my toys out the pram and shutting the site down.

So... without further ado, here's one that proved quite popular; it was published in the autimn of 2010 and contains a couple of songs I've featured in depth on this here site that are well worth hearing again. And again...

pod 06: Appetite for Distraction
(first published 19 September 2010)

I really should be writing my final course essay. It involves analysing the lyrics of Another Girl Another Planet by The Only Ones and identifying its language creativity and potential literary merits. Instead, I get distracted thinking about records that everyone should have in their collection by law. Another Girl... is most certainly one of them. It is quite simply the greatest pop song ever written. 'Doolittle' by the Pixies is another. Buffalo Tom's Velvet Roof and, of course, the Beatles' 'White Album' are also mandatory.

Quite why this train of thought should lead me into creating a new podcast is unclear, especially as it has nothing whatsoever to do with my reverie. But I don't worry about the whys and wherefores of such things, the fact it exists is enough for me. Enjoy it, and let me know which record (track or album) you would make it a criminal offence to be without.

1. Sibrydion Femme Mental (2009, Campfire Classics)
One of Wales' best kept secrets. Sibrydion's third album, from which this track is taken, is just fabulous (or fab'las as they say in these parts). Yeah, they may have more than just a passing resemblance to Welsh pop's torchbearers the Super Furry Animals, but you know what? Who cares! I'm going through a banjo-lovin' phase at the mo so this one gets a big thumbs up.

2. Robert Wyatt Shipbuilding (1982, single)
Oh, here's another of the records you must own by law. Elvis Costello's lyrics were about the Falklands War and the paradox of the new optimism of the former shipbuilding heartlands in the north of England, where vessels were built for battle, and the cynical twist of those sending off their husbands and sons to fight and die in those same ships. When delivered by Robert Wyatt, who once fought tooth and nail against BBC producers to perform on Top of the Pops in his wheelchair (and won!), the song becomes one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful to ever grace our undeserving ears.

3. Hell's Kitchen Nice (2006, Doctor's Oven)
One of the oddest, yet strangely endearing new blues bands around comes from the heart of the Mississippi Delta, in... oh hang on... they're from Geneva, Switzerland. Curiouser and curiouser. Beyond that, and the fact they have two dead good albums, I know practically nothing about Hell's Kitchen. Perhaps that's best...

4. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs A Different Drum (2006, Under The Covers Vol. 1)
What a pairing! One of America's most underrated songwriters and a former Bangle (who still looks absolutely stunning, by the way...) have released two albums of cover versions, one of songs from the 60s (from which this Linda Ronstadt hit is taken) and one of 70s classics.  Awaiting volume 3 with great eagerness.
(2014 update: last year, volume 3 materialised. Guess what decade it covered...)

5. The Kinks Holloway Jail (1971, Muswell Hillbillies)
My favourite Kinks album saw the band in a transitional phase. While Ray Davies' heart was still very much in London, his lyrics had shifted from fond reminiscence to disillusionment, and the music took on an air of the Deep South. Sure enough, the Kinks' future was in America.

6. Jah Division Dub Will Tear Us Apart (2004, single)
From the global hotbed of dub reggae - that's, erm, Slovakia in this case - come Jah Division, one man's mission to dub up anything that's there to dub. Strange stuff, sure, but isn't it more bizarre how it just seems to work?

7. Snuff I Think We're Alone Now (1989, Snuffsaidbutgorblimeyguvstonemeifhedidntthrowawobbler-chachachachachachachachachachachayouregoinghomeinacosmicambience)
Another cover. Snuff are masters of brilliant, often hilarious covers, including the theme tunes to 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads' and 'Match of the Day', and the Shake 'n' Vac and Bran Flakes adverts. And of course, the utterly amazing title of their debut album remains one of the greatest of all time!

8. Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood  Jackson (1968, Nancy & Lee)
As a heterosexual male who is completely comfortable with his sexuality, I have no problems admitting to enjoying a bit of camp now and again. Nancy and Lee fit the bill right now, this charming cover of Johnny Cash's duet with June Carter being one of their finest moments.

9. Cults Most Wanted (2010, Cults 7")
A brand new band who are being bigged up all over the Internet on numerous blogs, despite having released just a couple of singles. Little appears to be known about them, but their influences clearly lie in the pop and soul sounds of the sixties. This seems to fit really nicely next to Nancy and Lee, don't you think?

10. Broken Social Scene Art House Director (2010, Forgiveness Rock Record)
One of my top albums of the year so far is the fourth offering from this supersized Canadian collective. Their last album was one of my favourite CDs for the car when it came out and this one is not far from that exhalted status.

Download it here. Link expired. Will consider re-upping by request...

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