Sunday, December 04, 2011

Plentycast #31

a.k.a The "Hinch" Cast...

Well, what goes on on tour normally stays on tour but this is a wee bit different. We found ourselves down in London to see Superchunk at the Scala in Kings Cross and were able to catch up with our pal Iain H, who if you don't know already, used to play in Sawyer with John and now plays in Part Chimp.

Iain very graciously put us up for the second night we were down and so we took the opportunity to record a 'cast with him. Iain picked the songs and we had a chat about them, such is the raison d'etre of this thing we do. I hope you've got a spare 138 (!) minutes to listen as there's some fine, fine choices (and fine, fine chat) on display.

Thanks again to Iain for doing this, it was a lot of fun and I hope that comes across.

Tracklisting -

1. The Saints - This Perfect Day
2. The Afghan Whigs - Retarded
3. Rainbow - A Light In The Dark
4. Tar - Teetering
5. Helms Alee - Rogue's Yarn
6. Pink Fairies - Do It
7. Cat Power - Wild Is The Wind
8. Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Theme de Yoyo
9. True Widow - Night Witches
10. Jogger - Gorilla Meat
11. Laura Viers - July Flame
12. Kogumaza - Bells
13. American Football - I'll See You When We're Both Not So Emotional
14. Slayer - Dissident Aggressor
15. Judee Sill - The Kiss (demo)
16. Kyuss - Spaceship Landing
17. Versus - Double Suicide

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Plentycast #30

a.k.a Here's One For The Teenagers...

We're nothing if not on the ball and hip to all the latest musical trends at PC Towers and so we present to you a special podcast of our favourite Creation / Sub Pop /Pacific North West tunes. There is nothing here beyond 1996 so if you're looking for something up-to-date then I'm afraid you're in the wrong place! However, if these songs are new to you then you're in the right place!

This 'cast was inspired by recent TV watching and book reading and cooked up over a Mosque Kitchen curry one Friday night so you have BBC4 to thank for showing the Creation Records doc, the Pearl Jam doc and No Nirvana repeat and me for reading Mark Yarm's Seattle music scene tome Everybody Loves Our Town. It's a whopping 1hr 53mins long so pull up a comfy chair and put the kettle on!

We'll return to our usual fare at a later date. Oh wait, this is quite like our usual fare...


Tracklisting -

1. Temple Of The Dog - Hunger Strike
2. Sugar - Tilted
3. The House Of Love - Destroy The Heart
4. Mudhoney - You Make Me Die
5. Ride - Perfect Time
6. My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise
7. Pond - Young Splendor
8. Screaming Trees - Dollar Bill
9. Slowdive - Slowdive
10. Swervedriver - Son Of Mustang Ford
11. The Afghan Whigs - Sister Brother
12. Tad - Behemoth
13. Soundgarden - Burden In My Hand
14. The Boo Radleys - Paradise

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Plentyside #29

Photo: Jenny Stevens

...a.k.a. The Fence (and others) cast...

And so we decamp to Cellardyke in the East Neuk of Fife for a special edition of the podcast. We're joined by a myriad of characters along the way at the kitchen table (and thanks to Jen, Thom, Sarah, Kelly and Lynsey for chipping in along the way) but the main guest is Andy Cleary of Club Smart Patrol in London.

The main reason for this special show is the Fence Records Hott Loggz all-day gig that we were all attending so I thought it would be good to do a Fence themed podcast. Andy chose all of the songs we played and did a fine, fine job, there's 7 Fence, or Fence-affiliated acts and 3 songs off recent LPs that are tickling his fancy at this particular time.

Stay tuned too for 25 Things You Didn't Know About Zooey Deschanel and a list of our order from the Anstruther Fish Bar...

Hey ho, let's go...

Tracklisting -

1. HMS Ginafore – Gregory's Girl

2. UNPOC – Avignon

3. Real Estate – Out Of Tune

4. Lone Pigeon – Seawalk

5. The Pictish Trail – All I Own

6. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – No One Is (As I Are Be)

7. James Yorkston – Someplace Simple

8. King Creosote – The Someone Else

9. Grouper – Alien Observer

10. Lone Pigeon – Boats

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Plentycast #28

It's lucky we don't broadcast this live as you would have heard a couple of snafu's in this latest programme. Yes, let's speak into the microphone when the switch on the microphone is in the "off" position. That makes sense doesn't it...?

So, history is edited out, it's as if it never happened and we move on with nobody getting hurt. I think this edition is the perfect mix of loud, quiet and everything in between and it flows quite nicely. Us being us, we got distracted a couple of times and ended up digressing off the subject but hey where's the fun in sticking to the topic?

Well, we got to grips with the technology in the end and I hope the songs speak for themselves. Not quite the amount of new stuff as in the previous show but as John's fond of saying from time to time "a song could be new to somebody somewhere".

Let's do this thing...

Tracklisting -

1. Ligament - Theme From Ligament
2. David Dondero - South Of The South
3. Elizabeth Cotten - Freight Train
4. American Music Club - Nightwatchman
5. Dinosaur Jr - Severed Lips
6. Torche - Across The Shields
7. Entombed - Eyemaster
8. High On Fire - Speedwolf
9. Ian Humberstone - House On The Hill
10. Lee Hazlewood - Cold Hard Times
11. Rob St John - Sargasso Sea
12. eagleowl - Sorry I Spoke

Friday, October 14, 2011

Plentycast #27

Ah, the perils of technology listeners...

We first tried to record this on Monday night (the 10th) but we had a total 'mare with the mic so all the vocal bits sounded like the production of Carcass's Reek Of Putrefaction LP (i.e. not good). That meant a re-record as I didn't want to put something out that sounded pretty bad so we come to tonight instead. The mic issue was resolved, we used a new bit of software that meant we could record it totally live (instead of in a cut & paste stylee as before) so that cut down a lot on editing and post-production so here we are publishing the podcast on the same night it was recorded! Riches indeed...

Including FIVE songs from 2011! A feat that may never be repeated in all likelihood! Unprecedented scenes at PS Towers this evening. Jocky got so excited that he nearly left his council flat in Smeaton to have a game of arrows. Nearly...

On you go...

Tracklisting -

1. Done Lying Down - Just A Misdemeanor
2. Nirvana - Aneurysm
3. Bert Jansch - It Don't Bother Me
4. Yo La Tengo - Needle Of Death
5. R.E.M. - Country Feedback
6. Wild Flag - Racehorse
7. Fotheringay - The Sea
8. Emily Scott - I Saw You
9. Oxes - Crunchy Zest
10. The Jesus Lizard - Nub
11. Helms Alee - Pretty As Pie
12. Wolves In The Throne Room - Subterranean Initiation

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plentycast #26

And so we're back after an unplanned break (mainly due to me not being well and not really having the energy to put everything into a podcast). I'm still not feeling 100% so the majority of the songs are John's choices but you have to say that he's come up trumps with what we have for you this time around. Mind you, any chance we have of including a Withered Hand song or a Superchunk song is going to be taken! They are good 'uns as well so that doesn't hurt!

Apologies once more for coughing a lot (an annoying consequence of this was me missing a couple of weekend festivals I was looking forward to and which probably would have been featured on this particular edition of PC). Such is the life of an old man...

Aye, the nights are fair drawing in...

Tracklisting -

1. Bedhead - More Than Ever
2. Silverfish - Fat Painted Carcass
3. Lemonheads - Mallo Cup
4. Withered Hand - No Cigarettes
5. Joy Division - Failures
6. Cranes - Inescapable
7. Eggs - Roll Away The Stone
8. Syd Barrett - No Good Trying
9. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Taste The Floor
10. Ian Dury - Plaistow Patricia
11. Smog - Cold Blooded Old Times
12. Stereolab - Super-Electric
13. Superchunk - The First Part

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Plentycast #25

And so we reach a quarter century! Riches indeed.

We celebrate it by swearing a lot. You can take the boys out of Fife etc... So yes, podcast #25 features some words that you may find objectionable but it also contains some songs that you may find quite palatable. I hope it's obvious that it's the music which is the star of these podcasts, we try and put together playlists that flow quite nicely and feature songs that are complementary - you just have to put up with us two talking pish in between them!

So, listen on for hipsters and Eska, choruses that end too soon, Ian Svenonius and Kevin Rowland and the curious tale of John Stanier's trousers...

Away you go!

Tracklisting -

1. The Flaming Lips - Watching The Planets
2. Eska - Aristotle
3. The Grifters - She Blows Blasts Of Static
4. Loop - Afterglow
5. Madness - One Better Day
6. Shudder To Think - X-French Tee Shirt
7. Sea Birds - Clipper Ships
8. Shelagh McDonald - Stargazer
9. Nation of Ulysses - Diptheria
10. The New Year - Gasoline
11. Lady North - It's All About Gettin' That Claude Monet

Monday, August 15, 2011

Plentycast #24

Well, we return to our previously advertised schedule with a range of songs from 1956 right up to the present day. As I say at the start of the show, pretty much everything we do is with a nod in the direction of the much missed John Peel so I hope he'd approve of playing one of his favourite acts along with a track from one of his sessions. Because of him, I always refer to records as "LPs" and if there's a slight inflection in my voice then that's the effect he's had on me. Here's to you sir. And here's to our podcast #24 -

Hit it!

Tracklisting -

1. Lonnie Donegan - Frankie And Johnny
2. The Japanese War Effort - Summer Sun Skateboard
3. Rocket From The Crypt - My Arrow's Aim
4. Judee Sill - There's A Rugged Road
5. Sebadoh - Not Too Amused
6. Owls - Anyone Can Have A Good Time
7. New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Working For Him
8. Part Chimp - Dark Entries
9. Rodan - Gauge
10. Neko Case - Deep Red Bells

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Plentycast #23 (Part 2)

a.k.a. Good Songs by Crap Bands part 2...

I told you there was more! This is part 2 of our little homage to John's Good Songs by Crap Bands feature in Clipper fanzine. I know you're gazing at the tracklisting and thinking R.E.M??? However, if you listen to the podcast then the context is there and we like nothing more than providing a little context to the proceedings!

I have to say that these two podcasts have been up there in terms of the most enjoyable to do. As I said in part 1, there's no such thing as guilty pleasures just songs you like, songs you don't and songs you haven't heard and I can't help having a wee smile to myself listening back to the music we chose. There's just some really good songs in these two podcasts and I hope the spirit in which the venture was intended is reflected.

Hit it!

Tracklisting -

1. The Osmonds - Crazy Horses
2. Coldplay - Clocks
3. Supergrass - Sun Hits The Sky
4. Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way
5. Idlewild - You Held The World In Your Arms
6. Mother Love Bone - Stardog Champion
7. R.E.M. - Hairshirt
8. Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman
9. Kimya Dawson - I Like Giants
10. Urge Overkill - Sister Havana
11. Radiohead - Idioteque
12. Belle And Sebastian - Lazy Line Painter Jane

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plentycast #23 (Part 1)

a.k.a. Good Songs by Crap Bands (Part 1)...

So yes, the impetus behind these two special podcasts was John's articles in Clipper fanzine on some aforementioned good songs by crap bands. Those were articles that always stuck with me and it became pretty apparent that such a feature had legs...

Here we are then a few years down the line. It's amazing how many good songs by crap bands there are out there. We found 24, there are many, many more that you can choose from and we found that they came pretty easily, some might say too easily... Part 1 of 2 then, the rationale is pretty simple - we're not being ironic, we're not being arch, we're not being controversial (although a couple of choices might raise an eyebrow) - it's just songs we like by bands we don't!

Part 2 to follow shortly so on we go...

Tracklisting -

1. Calexico - All The Pretty Horses
2. Danzig - Mother
3. Alice In Chains - Would?
4. Kitchens Of Distinction - Now It's Time To Say Goodbye
5. The Wonder Stuff - Mission Drive
6. Inspiral Carpets - I Want You
7. Megadeth - Peace Sells
8. Teenage Fanclub - Everything Flows
9. U2 - October
10. Red House Painters - 24
11. The Wedding Present - Go Out And Get 'Em Boy!
12. Wings - Live And Let Die

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plentycast #22

Another podcast, another senior moment. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was the full Lambchop band I saw in Edinburgh a few years back when of course it was just five of them (cheekily billed as The Lambchop Quartet!) but it was an honest mistake to make and my Kerouacian ideals mean that it stays in!

However, you have about an hour and a half to navigate before you get to my brain freeze and what a navigation it is. There's some absolutely splendid songs on the show this time around and in unprecedented scenes we have four (FOUR!) songs from 2011 on the podcast. It doesn't get any better than that... Much... Or something...

Click on!

Tracklisting -

1. Motörhead - Killed By Death
2. Archers Of Loaf - Backwash
3. Copy Haho - Accent Changed
4. Braid - What A Wonderful Puddle
5. Kristin Hersh - Me And My Charms
6. Idaho - Reminder
7. Juno - Leave A Clean Camp And A Dead Fire
8. Bellini - Save The Greyhounds
9. David Crosby - Laughing
10. Things In Herds - Nothing Is Lost
11. Enablers - Rue Girardon
12. United Fruit - Go Away, Don't Leave Me Alone
13. Lambchop - The New Cobweb Summer

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Plentycast #21

And so it came to pass that the sudden, unexpected re-apprearance of that bright, heat-giving thing in the sky, coupled with the just cooked tea warmth in my flat led to us getting a bit more of those little beads of sweat on our brows as we began recording. Because of that, I had to open a window so you'll hear some hustle and bustle from the street outside but I imagine that won't temper your enjoyment all that much...

Is it summer at last? Will it last? Who knows. What I do know is that you've happened across another hour and half of quality tuneage with our usual banter in between them. This time around we introduce the "Good Songs by Shite Bands" feature and give a wee nod to the birthday of a good friend of ours. Phew, need to get the air in again in here! Two days in a row, unparalleled riches indeed...

Anyway, click on!

Tracklisting -

1. Fucked Up - I Was There
2. Eska - From Springboard To Highdive
3. The Night Marchers - Jump In The Fire
4. Obits - New August
5. Blur - You're So Great
6. China Drum - Biscuit Barrel (acoustic)
7. Gastr Del Sol - Eight Corners
8. Nova Mob - Admiral Of The Sea
9. Neil Young - Revolution Blues
10. The 255s - Caffeine
11. The Weakerthans - Plea From A Cat Named Virtute
12. The Sky At Night - Recreation
13. June Of 44 - Sharks & Sailors

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Plentycast #20

We've reached the dizzy heights of podcast #20 then. Riches indeed...

In this edition we introduce a new element to the proceedings, namely us playing both sides of a 7" record over the course of the programme. This stemmed from the request we received to play the Palace Brothers song "Ohio River Boat Song" and thinking that the B-side is pretty damn good as well so why don't we play that too? So we did!

If you'd like to suggest a 7" to play in future shows then by all means do so and it would be nice to hear from you (and not just about this, get in touch via the Facebook page or on Twitter @plentycast). I've got an idea for the next in the series but we'd be delighted to receive suggestions from the listening hordes out there.

There's some cricket chat as well, but don't let that put you off.


Tracklisting -

1. Queen - Seven Seas Of Rhye
2. Palace Brothers - Ohio River Boat Song
3. Rob St. John - Your Phantom Limb
4. The Sea And Cake - The World Is Against You
5. Thirty Pounds Of Bone - Crack Shandy In The Harbour
6. Throwing Muses - Fish
7. Bettie Serveert - Tom Boy
8. Fred Neil - The Dolphins
9. Minutemen - Corona
10. Siouxsie And The Banshees - Love In A Void
11. Pedro The Lion - Bad Things To Such Good People
12. Palace Brothers - Drinking Woman
13. Sunny Day Real Estate - Seven
14. Yo La Tengo - Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Plentycast #19

And we're back...

Aye, we had a wee bit of a "spring break" so that explains the short gap in transmissions, there were a few reasons in play but sometimes it's good to step back a bit and come back refreshed. As we did. With caramel logs...

So, it's the usual script. Myself and John play some songs that we like and then we talk about them. There was a few "events" that had taken place in between the last show and this so those proved good talking points - we cover the likes of ATP, the Fence Records Homegame and John's trip to see Rush in Glasgow. It's 1 hour 41 minutes this time around so best put the kettle on. And repeat...

Jocky knows what you should do...

Tracklisting -

1. Julie Doiron - The Wrong Guy
2. Animal Collective - My Girls
3. Rush - Beneath, Between & Behind
4. The United States Of America - Cloud Song
5. Jack Rose - Hart Crane's Old Boyfriends
6. A.C. Temple - Come Sunrise
7. Low - Majesty/Magic
8. James Yorkston - I Awoke
9. The Replacements - Color Me Impressed
10. Stapleton - International Departures
11. The Scottish Enlightenment - The First Will Be Last
12. Polvo - Taste Of Your Mind
13. Tsunami - Water's Edge
14. Fugazi - Smallpox Champion

Monday, April 18, 2011

Plentycast #18

aka The Impromptu Birthday Cast...

Aye, it was my (Chris's) birthday on Thursday past, I had a relatively quiet day off work and had a few drinks and went to see Lone Pigeon and The Pictish Trail in Leith at night. John was otherwise engaged on Thursday but we agreed to meet up for a couple of libations, finances meant that said libations were in the flat. John suggested we do a podcast, he then suggested we do a podcast for my birthday along the lines of one we did for his and since that seemed like a good idea to me that's exactly what we did...

However, it didn't give me much time to think of songs to play but I think I came up with an OK selection. It is a 90s indie rock heavy playlist, but that's my thing so that's what we're going for. There are probably a few glaring omissions (and I can think of a few off the top of my head) but such is the way of these things. John did the announcing and I did the rest and I hope you like what we came up with. In a recurring theme, it turned into another two-parter...

Hit it says Jocky...

Plentycast #18 (Pt.1) by Plentyside on Mixcloud

Plentycast #18 (Pt.2) by Plentyside on Mixcloud

Part 1 Tracklisting -
1. AC/DC - It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll)
2. Pavement - Summer Babe (Winter Version)
3. The Delgados - Thirteen Gliding Principles
4. Mudhoney - Good Enough
5. The Afghan Whigs - Debonair
6. Tunng - Woodcat
7. dEUS - Suds & Soda
8. Metallica - For Whom The Bell Tolls
9. Sebadoh - Skull

Part 2 Tracklisting -

1. Helmet - Unsung
2. Buffalo Tom - I'm Allowed
3. Joanna Newsom - Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie
4. Dirty Three - Everything's Fucked
5. Girls Against Boys - Bulletproof Cupid
6. Versus - Angels Rush In
7. Urusei Yatsura - Kernel
8. Yo La Tengo - Deeper Into Movies
9. Superchunk - Throwing Things

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plentycast #17

What is it somebody once said? April is the cruellest month? Well, it's my birthday this month so I don't want that being particularly cruel and we have some cracking gigs to look forward to the rest of the way (examples of which may well end up being on a future playlist). Speaking of playlists, Velocity Girl was a late addition to the proceedings taking it up to 15 tracks, which may well be the optimum size for this particular podcast given that we ramble on a bit and always near the 90 minute mark. However, I'll always make an exception for Velocity Girl and it's great to hear this song again (and it fits in just perfectly in my opinion).

So yes, the usual mix of the old and the new. We even manage to play three new songs in a row! Wonders will never cease. Just you wait for the 1970s classic rock special! Actually come to think of it, that might happen at one point. What fun...

Jocky sez click...

Tracklisting -

1. 18th Dye - Play w/You
2. Bitch Magnet - Americruiser
3. Seam - Shame
4. Velocity Girl - Audrey's Eyes
5. The Douglas Firs - I Will Kill Again
6. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Running On Fumes
7. Bill Callahan - Drover
8. Kyuss - Odyssey
9. The Spinanes - Jad Fair Drives Women Wild
10. Half Japanese - U.S. Teens Are Spoiled Bums
11. Marnie Stern - For Ash
12. Seaweed - Bill
13. American Music Club - Myopic Books
14. Tim Buckley - Buzzin' Fly
15. Alasdair Roberts - The Cruel War

Monday, April 11, 2011

Plentycast on Facebook

For no particular reason at all, I've went and created a Facebook page for the podcast. If you are so inclined and would like to "like" this then please make your way to the following link -

Also, you can click on the link at the side of the page under "Plenty Social". There are links there to my own Twitter account along with the podcast Twitter account.

Next podcast recording is tonight (Monday 11 April), check back in a couple of days when it should be posted.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plentycast #16

When we were putting together the playlist for this particular show one thing did stand out - there were a good few long songs on there. So, we added some more and decided to split the show into two (just to get round the 100mb upload limit). As it turns out, there was some epic chat moments and we've ended up with two 70+ minute shows! Hey ho...

There's also a bit towards the end of part one where John talks about his time in Sawyer, which I had hoped to do at some point in proceedings so I hope you find that interesting. Further to that, this is probably the only place where you're likely to hear Wishbone Ash, The Feminine Complex and Fucked Up within the same hour of music. Whether that leads to the listenership reaching double figures is another matter though...

On you go...

Part 1 Tracklisting -

1. Labradford - S
2. Josh T Pearson - Country Dumb
3. RM Hubbert - TipsyTapsy
4. Engine 88 - Fragment
5. Karp - Forget The Minions
6. Throwing Muses - Lazy Eye
7. Thin Lizzy - The Rocker
8. Sawyer - 20etc (Original)
9. Sawyer - The Counties

Part 2 Tracklisting -

1. Pisces - Sam
2. Fucked Up - The Other Shoe
3. Jandek - Nancy Sings
4. The One Ensemble Of Daniel Padden - Shambles
5. The Feminine Complex - Six O'Clock In The Morning
6. Low - Especially Me
7. Wishbone Ash - The King Will Come
8. In Decades Decline - Duneideann
9. Slint - Good Morning, Captain

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Plentycast #15

It's going to be summer soon isn't it? Isn't it? Certainly doesn't feel like it at the moment. We recorded the latest show as the skies over Edinburgh emptied for most of the day and the temperature plummeted in addition. It was a night where I should have been through at the fitba in Fife but took the night off from it for various reasons so there's a wee bit of chat about that in there. Plus the odd inflammatory comment about Dunfermline Athletic FC...

Listening back I realised I didn't introduce proceedings properly, such is the way when you go straight into the first song so I'll remedy that now. Don't press play quite yet, just imagine me saying this...

Hello everybody and welcome to podcast number 15. It's Tuesday 15 March (or at least it was when we recorded it) and it's officially fucking wet and baltic. Here's the first song...



Tracklisting -

1. Guided By Voices - Game Of Pricks
2. Come - Off To One Side
3. Mary Hampton - Island
4. Lida Husik - To Virginia
5. Richard Youngs - Life On The Stream
6. Six Organs Of Admittance - Hold But Let Go
7. Big Business - Start Your Digging
8. Grant Hart - 2541
9. Hüsker Dü - The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill
10. Kath Bloom & Loren MazzaCane Connors - Come Here My Sweetest One
11. Fairport Convention - Meet On The Ledge
12. Trembling Bells - Darling
13. The USA Is A Monster - Poison Plant
14. AC/DC - Ride On

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Plentycast #14

As I say at the start of the latest show, I can't believe that it's March already. I mean, it feels like only yesterday I was at the Sonic Youth gig in London, and that was the end of December! Time has flown, and our podcasts are flowing nicely too.

This one has a little bit of something for everybody. Well, maybe not everybody as not all of my choices met with John's approval but that's OK as a little bit of diversion from time to time is quite healthy. I think we did a bit better on the forgetful front, having a playlist in front of me certainly focused the mind a bit more - there was an issue with the microphone at one point so a bit of our chat is cobbled together, apologies for that, I hope it didn't disrupt the feel of it too much.


Plentycast #14 by Plentyside on Mixcloud

Tracklisting -

1. Screaming Trees - Nearly Lost You
2. Yuck - Get Away
3. Times New Viking - No Time, No Hope
4. Huggy Bear - Her Jazz
5. Lungfish - Nation Saving Song
6. Melody Dog - Futuristic Lover
7. Heavenly - C Is The Heavenly Option
8. Conquering Animal Sound - Bear
9. Thirty Pounds Of Bone - Uyeasound
10. Gary Higgins - Windy Child
11. The Twilight Singers - On The Corner
12. Led Zeppelin - Gallows Pole
13. Fursaxa - Trobairitz
14. Lift To Experience - Waiting To Hit

Monday, February 28, 2011

Interview - Rob St John

Words: Chris Hynd
Photo: P. St John

I hope he doesn't mind me saying this but we in Edinburgh miss Rob St John and so his visits up here are always something to look forward to and cherish. His two EPs and evocative live performances left a lot of good memories and as he headed down to Oxford for academic (and now professional) life it was with a bittersweet realisation that appearances back in the city would become quite rare. So it was with great delight (to me anyway!) that Rob would be playing not one, but two times in the space of a few days earlier this month - supporting Ryan Francesconi and headlining the second Ides of Toad gig put on by Matthew Young of the Song, By Toad label and blog. Rob very kindly took time out from his busy schedule while he was in the city to answer some questions I sent to him.

You’re back up in Scotland to play a couple of shows – how do you find coming back up to play now that you’ve been away? i.e. is there anything you miss from your time in Edinburgh or anything you don’t!

Edinburgh will always be very important to me, there’s a very special community of interesting people approaching music in an inspiring way, and I plan to come back in the next year or two. As a place it seeps into most things I write, butting up against the dark Lancashire moors in some imagined mental terrain.

Everyone involved in the LP recording and live set in Edinburgh - Neil Pennycook (Meursault, Withered Hand), Ian Humberstone (Tissø Lake) Tom Western, Malcolm Benzie and Bart Owl (eagleowl), Rob Waters (The Great Bear), Tom Bauchop (UNPOC), Louise Martin, Owen Williams (Pineapple Chunks, Randan Discotheque et al) - has their own main going concerns. We brace and buckle each other’s projects, cross-pollinating ideas and support networks as we go. This project wouldn’t be the same without them.

Following on from that, how is Oxford for a musician such as yourself? I have no knowledge about it as a place for bands so I’m interested to hear what it’s like. Do you play many shows down there or is there a similar thriving musical community such as the one in Scotland? Obviously, it’s like comparing apples and oranges but it would be good to get your perspective now that you’ve been there a while.

This is related to the previous question (and you might have already answered it !) but you were involved in a recording with The Braindead Collective that was released in December. How did that collaboration come about and what was it like recording with them? Would you like to work more with them in the future?

It’s certainly different. Despite being there for the best part of 18 months, I’ve yet to find anything comparable to the Scottish DIY community. But perhaps that’s just through a lack of effort, or luck. For all that any scene or community may intend to be open and approachable, the fact that it’s small in scale and niche in taste, aesthetic or ethos means that it may simply be difficult to find for anybody aspiring to get involved. Relating back to Edinburgh, I suppose this is where (unfounded, in my opinion) accusations of nepotism within the DIY scene stem from.

That said, Braindead Collective are a likeminded, shifting bunch of talented improvisers based loosely in London and Oxford around Seb Reynolds. Recording "The Whites of their Eyes" was a great process - set up in a medieval city centre Oxford church with banks of amps, organs and percussion in a frozen winter weekend and improv over a freshly formed song. We’re playing a collaborative set opening for A Hawk and a Hacksaw in April, and will keep working together, for sure.

I’m currently taking this experience of moving cities and using it as the basis of a fanzine which documents how best to start DIY promotion. A screenprinted and letterpressed document, it’ll collate advice and anecdotes from a bunch of promoters who’re willing to share their hard-won wisdom. Something cheap to sell on merch tables to inspire a new raft of people forging creative communities with a DIY approach.

I believe we can expect a full length LP from you soon! Can you tell us how that’s going, i.e. what the recording process is/was like, the people involved and who plays on the record and what they bring to the process. It’s coming out on Song, By Toad Records – did Matthew approach you with a view to releasing it or did you always see SBT as a good home for you.

We recorded for two days with Neil in a shutter-drawn Victorian living room in north Edinburgh under the weak kaleidoscopic light of an ailing mirror ball like some slow film, and powered on by bananas and strong coffee. It’s a record of events, strung together by creaks and drones. Songs for daybreak and for evening gloam.

Matthew is very enthusiastic, organised, supportive and tolerant of my whims of creative control and artistic vagaries, and is keen to put the record out on vinyl, which is fantastic. We work well together.

Your music has evolved over the time I’ve seen you play from quieter, acoustic songs with harmoniums and the like to you using an electric guitar and having a more heavier and, dare I say it, doomier feel! What led to the change in sound and was it something that came naturally to you? Has your writing process changed in that you’re writing specifically for songs that are designed to be played on the electric rather than the acoustic guitar?

The LP is swathed in skittering drums and bells, harmonium, saw, organ, fiddle and group singing. I was thinking about how group singing has almost exclusively become professionalised and institutionalised in Britain, resulting in the widespread loss of the tradition of communities singing together simply for fun, storytelling or togetherness. Regardless of communal harmony or skill, there’s something liberating about the shared purpose of group singing – something like a football chant without the daft puns (largely) or wavering moral compass.

Similarly, I’m fascinated by the idea of rough music (or ran-tanning) - where a chorus of villagers would ostracise a criminal or wrongdoer with a loud, primal chant and the clatter of saucepans, drums and cymbals. Bill Drummond’s 17 project , where a rotating cast of 17 amateur singers were assembled to sing compositions based on ideas such as the tones and harmonies made by the machinery of a rusting, whirring old Land Rover driven from Hull to Liverpool , is also inspiring. That rediscovery of remaining a happy amateur and emphasising something crafted and communal, rather than necessarily forged from high art, is an idea that resonates (hmm…) with me.

That said, all the players on the record are excellent musicians, well versed in tolerating my oscillating and improvised recording ideas. Held together on some tightrope of other’s talent tapering into waveringly tuneful slips of songs. The recording is the document of the time, the room, the line-up and the available instruments. The live show is constantly changing; hopefully remaining fresh and interesting for all involved, audience and performers alike. The live performance is where I think the true nature of a song is formed and continually redefined.

Played live, songs mutate: becoming louder, quieter, faster, slower, heavier, sparser. I think when you begin to hone and over-practice a set of songs you run the risk of reducing meaningful lyrics or melodies into slick anonymous products, asking to be watered-down and endlessly recited.

The songs are largely in some invented altered guitar tuning or other. You become that happy amateur again when forced to play your hand in an unfamiliar tuning, inadvertently rediscovering the love of the Cs, Gs and Fs you shun as an aspirational learner set on forging something original. Happy accidents as simple phrases played on new or unfamiliar instrument sound exciting and fully formed. Once when touring with Woodpigeon I left a guitar tuned in this way in a musician’s B&B in Manchester, only to return a week later to find the owners had fallen for the tuning and were eager to find out what it was. Guiltily I quickly retuned to standard, for fear of discovery. Tunings can do strange things to a man.

I’ve been listening to a lot of dense, dark, droney music lately, which has most likely influenced the record. A course of Grouper, Lichens, Richard Skelton, Swans, Earth and Ben Frost, punctuated by the crystalline, improvised clarity of Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou’s piano playing, and the songs of Phil Elverum, Ben Wetherill, Karen Dalton and Elizabeth Cotten. That said, when recording, Owen and I took to communicating with each other in code: this song should sound like a frozen waterfall slowly melting; this one should sound as if Low were from a Northumberland pit village. How this cryptic daftness carries through I have no idea.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the process of field recording, and working on a soundtrack documenting a short walk along the River Thames between Oxford and the tiny, mediaeval Binsey Church. When played back, the wheezing, faltering phantom hymnal of the harmonium recorded in the thick churchyard gloom sounds almost identical sonically to some of the distortions made by the wind whirring into my cheap dictaphone whilst field recording. Inadvertent coincidences like this really inspired the shifting, somnambulant aural fog that clouds this record.

Finally, what are your hopes and plans for the year? Obviously the release of the LP will be uppermost in your mind so is it a case of promoting that and playing shows around the country?

I’m very proud of the record, and all who’ve contributed and been involved. I’ll hopefully be able to get to play out a bit more this year. Perhaps a wee bit further afield than before. The second LP is almost written, and will be recorded in the summer. Pablo Clark (My Kappa Roots, Milk) and I will make a (long overdue) homage to "Bert and John" in the near future, a project formulated six years ago in tiny Edinburgh flats as we traded our fledgling, whispered tunes, and argued over who should be "Bert" and who should be "John". I’m also working on a bunch of soundtrack, film and writing projects, exploring ideas of place, memory, landscape and sound. And the fanzine. Sleep is taking a wee bit of a back seat at the moment.

It sounds as if there's a lot going on creatively with Rob at the moment and I know a lot of people will be looking forward to what he comes up with. Personally speaking, the prospect of a record with Pablo Clark is something I can't wait to hear, but that's only one part of the future. Exciting times ahead, always moving, never complacent. It's something that we could all do well to heed as we go forward ourselves.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interview - Edinburgh Man

Words: Chris Hynd

Well, where were we on the interview front? It's only been since 2008 after all...

The first one back is with Jonny Dobson, the genial host of the Edinburgh Man podcast. I first came across Jonny's podcast last summer when my friend Gordon joined him for a couple of shows over the Edinburgh Fringe period. Although the more indiepop songs on his playlists are not quite to my taste, I do like the mix of indie rock, lo-fi and shoegaze that he also plays so I've found myself keeping a half hour free every week to tune in. Jonny was kind enough to agree to do the interview and took the time to give full answers to my questions.

The Edinburgh Man podcast has been going for around a year now (correct me if I'm wrong!). Can I start by asking what was the inspiration to you to do a podcast in the first place? Did it take a while to get into the swing of things (e.g. I look back on my first couple and cringe, do you feel the same?) or was it something that came naturally to you?

Yep, it's a year this week! I'd been meaning to do a podcast for years, actually years and years, ever since I started listening to podcasts in about 2004/2005, but it's something I never really got around to doing. The actual rather lame impetus was that I got a new MacBook that had a pretty decent inbuilt microphone, plus it came with GarageBand. I also spent a while trawling websites like Music Alley to try and find music to play. After a few days of looking around I had enough tracks for something like five shows, so I just sat down and recorded the first one.

I'm not sure if I've ever really got into the swing of things, and I certainly don't listen to old episodes. Once it's gone, I'm onto the next. The first few aren't available on the podcast feed anymore, but that's more to do with laziness after I changed the server, rather than anything else. Since about episode ten I've tried to do them "live" after GarageBand crapped out on me once and I had to re-record the show. It's much more fun to record them live, so from then on I think I got a lot more comfortable with it. Despite the fact it has probably increased the number of mistakes I make!

The music you play is either “podsafe”, i.e. released under Creative Commons licensing or free downloads that bands have made available to everyone. Was it a conscious decision to do this or wasn’t the PRS-affiliated Mixcloud up and running then and so you had to go down that route and not risk getting into bother playing copyrighted songs?

I think Mixcloud kicked off a few months after I started, or at least that was when I became aware of it. In general I don't listen to much music on major labels, and a lot of my favourite larger independent labels, such as Kill Rock Stars, Polyvinyl, and obviously Sub Pop, openly encourage podcasters to play the tracks they make available on their site. What I also found from that first few days of researching music for those initial shows was that there is so much exciting Creative Commons music out there. I have to admit, a few years ago I'd been put off by so called "podsafe" podcasts because I thought the music they played was, by and large, bland major label wannabe music, rather than anything interesting or innovating. But when I really started digging around for myself, I found so much music that really excited me. Music that I wanted to share.

I also knew that I wanted to join the Association of Music Podcasting. I'm not entirely sure why, maybe I just thought it would be good to be able to tap into the experience and knowledge of guys who have been doing this for years (some from the dawn of podcasting!). The membership criteria is that your podcast must only play podsafe music, so that pretty much clinched it.

Following on from that, is it difficult to source podsafe songs or is it quite rewarding to do a bit more research and digging about and unearth some gems that might not have been so widely known about? What has been your favourite find – someone like Entertainment for the Braindead for instance, for which I have to say thanks for introducing me to!

That EFTB album was the one that really got me too. It's a wonderful album, certainly one of my favourites of 2010. I love the Dressed Like Wolves album, and there are a couple of great EPs by Wisdom Tooth, both of which I first heard through - a great website for free lo-fi and DIY music.

To be honest, yes, it's a lot of work! I easily spend much more time researching the music than recording the show. But it's so rewarding. I have an insatiable appetite for new music, and finding something new and interesting is just so exciting. I also don't want the show to be the same music that you hear featured in lots of other podcasts, but by the same token I'm conscious of slipping in a couple of tracks into each show that might be familiar to listeners. I think that's something John Peel used to say about playing music - play something that people want to listen to, and then play something that you think they should listen to.

After a few months I started reaching out to bands and artists, and asking them if I could play their music on the show. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to do this. I think the first band was the Go Away Birds (Catherine Ireton from God Help The Girl and Michael John McCarthy from Zoey van Goey) after I saw them at a wonderful acoustic flat gig. It was very exciting, if only because Michael John instantly got the reference to The Fall in the name the podcast! Since then, if I want to play a track on the show, but it's not necessarily released under Creative Commons I just get it touch and ask. Some of these are unsigned bands whose EPs I stumble across on Bandcamp, while others, such as A Sunny Day In Glasgow are quite a bit more well known, but no-one has knocked me back yet!

I'm totally indebted to the people who have let me play their music on the show, bands like The Last Battle, Kid Canaveral, Schwervon!, and many, many more besides. Without them it'd just be me talking rubbish for thirty minutes, and I wouldn't want to wish that on anyone.

One thing I think about a lot with my podcasts is the mix between older and newer music. Do you think a podcast should exclusively feature newer material or do you share a friend of mine’s view that any song could be new to somebody, no matter when it was released?

I try and play new music for the most part, but it's a balance. I do like playing old stuff and as your friend says, it's always new to someone! In fact, I've often received email feedback from listeners who have specifically been introduced to older bands through the show, which is pretty cool. I do like slipping in some old stuff. A few weeks ago I had an itch to scratch, and played some Bratmobile from the early 90s because they're a band I don't think enough people know about. And I do play the odd Beat Happening track, because you can never have enough Beat Happening!

Is half an hour / approx. 6 songs the perfect length for the type of show you do in that it’s a weekly show and people may be pressed for time throughout the week to listen to a longer show? I’ve seen that you now upload an extended version of the show to Mixcloud with a couple of extra tracks of non-podsafe material – is that something you’re going to continue with?

I reckon so. My favourite podcasts have always been about half an hour to forty five minutes in length. Perhaps that's because my commute has always been about that long, or perhaps it's just my attention span.

I think podcasting is a very different from medium from radio, and the format of the shows needs to reflect that. Radio shows are generally on in the background while you're doing something else, but I think a podcast is a more engaging experience. You've chosen to listen to it, so you're concentrating a bit more, and when you're concentrating more, especially when it's mostly music that is new to you, you don't want a longer show. Two hours is fine for a radio show, but way too long for a podcast. I've yet to be convinced that sixty minutes isn't too long either, although admittedly some of my favourite podcasts, such as Jon Hillcock's New Noise podcast or obviously the wonderful This American Life are about that length.

I'm not sure about the mixcloud versions. They are an experiment that may or may not continue. Certainly the download versions get many hundreds times more listens than the mixcloud ones. We shall see. I know that you use mixcloud for your podcast, but until they sort out a mobile version of their site, or a mobile app, it doesn't really fit in with how I listen to podcasts.

Your site hosts your podcast but do you have any plans to branch out into more of a music blog, e.g. interviewing and reviewing bands or are you happy with the site as it is right now. Also, I really enjoyed the shows you did over the summer at the Edinburgh Fringe, are there any plans to do more of these, not just about the Fringe but around other events?

I'm not really a blogger. I feel like a bit of an imposter when there are so many great Scottish music blogs around, and all I really use mine for is posting a link to a new podcast! I reckon I'll just stick to doing the show. So many people can write blogs better than I ever could do.

The Fringe recordings with Gordon were good fun. It was great to record the show outside, in the sun (sometimes) and with a beer (most times). I also met some really nice people as a result of those shows, like comedian Dave Hill, and the wonderfully talented Charlyne Yi. Depending on work commitments, maybe we'll do some more Fringe shows this year.

Finally, what other podcasts do you listen to and recommend to others? And, do you think more and more podcasts will spring up in the future as people will listen to the ones out there and think “I could do that too!”?

There has always been a healthy churn of podcasts, which I think keeps the medium fresh. There are always people saying "I could do that too", because that's exactly what I thought one day when listening to Song, By Toad (no disrespect to Matthew!). I really enjoy Song, By Toad and Glasgow Podcart; and further afield, Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident and This American Life. Those are my main ones. I also subscribe to The Sounds in My Head, and while he doesn't always play music I'd normally listen to, I enjoy Peter Clitheroe's wonderfully titled Suffolk 'n' Cool, for enthusiastic chat and an interesting variety of music.

My favourite podcast is sadly one that was a victim of that podcast churn. If any podcast really put the seed into my mind of doing this it was the long defunct Dailysonic. Unfortunately you can no longer download this great magazine show from NYC, but I've got most of the episodes still in my iTunes library and dip in now and again. They did some innovating things like customised feeds that dynamically changed the show content based on your preferences, something that even now no-one else is really doing. But at the core it was an interesting and entertaining show written and presented by creative people. A great example of how podcasting is quite unlike any other broadcasting medium out there.

Indeed. Thanks again to Jonny for doing the interview. His podcast is uploaded every Thursday night and can be found at -

You also can follow him on Twitter - @edinburgh_man.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Plentycast #13b

As indicated in the previous post, we had far too many songs for a regular podcast and we felt that because they were of sufficient quality then trimming down 2 shows worth into 1 would prove quite difficult. We recorded this one right after the finishing the last one so I suppose this is more of a "part 2" (or "#13b" as I'm calling it) than a brand new show. I appear to be even more forgetful than I am in #13a, why it took me a long few seconds to remember Isobel Campbell's at one point name is anybody's guess. I'm leaning towards old age...

Also, the first of the interviews I have lined up is ready to go. It's with Jonny Dobson, the host of the Edinburgh Man podcast and will appear on the site this coming week.

Clickety click...

Tracklisting -

1. Wilco - She's A Jar
2. The Pastels - The Viaduct
3. Nina Nastasia - Outlaster
4. David Dondero - Motion Picture Song
5. Rod Stewart - Gasoline Alley
6. Miracle Legion - You're The One Lee
7. Billy Bragg - The Passion
8. Shirley And Dolly Collins - Are You Going To Leave Me?
9. Mark Lanegan - Woe
10. Peter Broderick - Guilt's Tune
11. Rachel's - First Self-Portrait Series
12. Vashti Bunyan - Here Before
13. Meursault - Weather
14. Iron And Wine - Passing Afternoon
15. My Kappa Roots - The Dour Festival