Saturday, November 07, 2009

And that was Bagpipe Whisky with their Asparagus Puppy EP

Like most people my age I suspect, I seem lately to have got in real rut musically. I own thousands of albums and cds and mp3s but I tend to find myself putting on the same dozen or so albums over and over again. Bit of Antony and the Johnsons, bit of Bowie, maybe a track or two by Frightened Rabbit, the Eels or a compilation of my favourite tracks. Rarely anything new.

And it used to be so different.

Back in 1984, lying in bed in the dark, listening to John Peel discussing the latest Liverpool game in between tracks, writing down band names on pieces of paper (is Bogshed one word or two? where the hell can I buy Retard Picnic by the Stupids? Are I, Ludicrous more like the Fall or Half Man Half Biscuit?) or borrowing albums from our mate Dave, who had effortlessly cooler music taste than anyone else I knew ('you'll like this', shoving a copy of 'Y' by The Pop Group in my hand before we headed to the pub. He was right).

But now it's 2009, and I don't seem to have the time any more. Plus DJs are all about wacky catchphrases, irritating jingles and comedy sidekicks. So I hear far less new music than I used to.

Until last night, when I downloaded a podcast by an iPal, Ned, who likes Iris and wrote a nice story which almost made it into the Panda Book of Horror. Plus he seemed to have good music taste, which is handy.

(I've always been a bit wary of podcasts, incidentally. Just an excuse for spods to talk at interminable length about how much they fancy David Tennant, or for fans of Radio 4 to pretend that theirs is the only kind of radio that matters. As dull and pointless as Craig Burley, frankly.)

To cut to the chase - since I'm supposed to be taking Matt and Cameron round to Spar to buy gogos - Ned's podcast was brilliant. It lasts an hour and 8 minutes and I'd stuck it on the mp3 player for when I was walking the dog, thinking I'd give it ten minutes then switch to the new Twilight Sad album.

By the time Ned signed off, the dog was knackered and I was soaking after an 80 minute walkin the rain, but it was well worth it. Someone doing radio in a normal speaking voice, interspersing the music with brief chat about what was going on round them ('it's pissing down' Ned pointed out at one point - at least he was indoors!) but crucially remembering that the show was primarily about the music, not the chat.

Of course it helped that the music was worth listening to. Not all my cup of tea but some great stuff (for those interested, I was particularly taken with the first track, a cover of Blue Midnight by a band called Grand Erector and by an extended drone by a Norwegian guy) and always interesting. Plus a good little interview with James from the mighty Twilight Sad (whose new album is worth a listen btw).

It's obviously a work in progress - the segues during the interview into Twlight Sad tracks were a little too abrupt, and I've never been a fan of little clips of songs as played during the recommended Five Tracks section, but other than that it was all spot on.

I mean how can you not love any DJ who says, in a conversational tone, 'That was Bagpipe Whisky with "Men Bason" from the "Asparagus Puppy" EP"*?

And not a comedy sidekick in sight...

* As a former member of bands called My Dog Eats Spiders and The Creepy Fish, I do appreciate a mental band name...

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