The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records is a radio series on BBC written and narrated by Stuart Maconie. Each episode focuses on one particular pop song and tells the story of the song as well as what social trends it mirrored, for instance the episode on Telstar by The Tornadoes focuses on the technological progress, especially in space travel and music, and the story of songwriter and record producer Joe Meek. 25 episodes have been broadcast, including ones on Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers and 21st Century Britain, Cornershop's Brimful of Asha and the British-Asian experience , and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime and sex. There are 25 more to come. There is also a blog and profiles of the songs already discussed. [Previously on MeFi]
Ever had one of those nights that made you think about giving up drinking? Lucy Spraggan says it leads her to Beer Fear. (DLYT) [more inside]
In the wake of their grunge-y breakout hit "Creep" and the success of sophomore record The Bends, Thom Yorke and the rest of Radiohead were under pressure to deliver once more. So they shut themselves away inside the echoing halls of a secluded 16th century manor and got to work. What emerged from that crumbling Elizabethan castle fifteen years ago today was a shockingly ambitious masterpiece of progressive rock, a visionary concept album that explored the "fridge buzz" of modernity -- alienation, social disconnection, existential dread, the impersonal hum of technology -- through a mosaic of challenging, innovative, eerily beautiful music unlike anything else at the time. Tentatively called Ones and Zeroes, then Your Home May Be at Risk If You Do Not Keep Up Payments, the band finally settled on OK Computer, an appropriately enigmatic title for this acclaimed harbinger of millennial angst. For more, you can watch the retrospective OK Computer: A Classic Album Under Review for a track-by-track rundown, or the unsettling documentary Meeting People is Easy for a look at how the album's whirlwind tour nearly gave Yorke a nervous breakdown. Or look inside for more details and cool interpretations of all the tracks -- including an upcoming MeFi Music Challenge! [more inside]
Music! - A 1968 documentary by the National Music Council of Great Britain, featuring folk singing, The Beatles, and even early electronic music produced by tape splicing. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.
The Works of Swede Mason: "Jeremy Clarkson," "Get in the Back of the Van," "Jungle All The Way," "Bill Wyman's Metal Detector," "Put the Lotion in the Basket, *" "Got The Sucka," "The Gobshite, *" "Squashed Thingy," "Spare Me The Madness," and the pair of tracks based on Neighbors deaths "Coffee And Croissants" and "Todd....Dead." [more inside]
BBC Introducing is an excellent way to keep tabs on what's fresh in the British popular music scene without having to live in a rainsoaked armpit. There are four podcasts for you to download, the flagship Best of Unsigned Podcast, Homegrown Mix with Ras Kwame, Scotland Introducing and BBC Radio Northampton's Weekender. All feature bands that are either unsigned or just recently signed and the music ranges from hip hop to punk rock to what sounds awfully like the soundtrack for a NES game with half-hearted chanting over it. This is an excellent resource whether you're casual searcher for new songs or the kind of anorak who knows which British indie band was first to use an 808.
The Orchestra: A User's Manual is one element of 'The Sound Exchange' by the Philharmonia Orchestra. It was conceived and written by Andrew Hugill who has also developed this online Random Round [flash] based on the work of Percy Grainger.
Raves not dead! The British subculture the government tried so hard to kill is alive and well in Cornwall and Essex.
Scott Walker has, after an 11 year break, released a new album (Statesiders will have to wait until the 23rd). If it's anything like his previous release, Tilt, I'll be more than pleased. He is also to be the subject of an upcoming documentary. [related]
Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail. Best known as the drummer for 1970s punk band The Damned, Rat Scabies grew up with a father interested in the mysteries of the French town of Rennes-le-Château, which may or may not contain the Holy Grail and in the enigmatic priest Berenger Sauniere. Conspiracy theories surrounding the town first popped up in the 1970s book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and gained a certain amount of infamy in recent years from The DaVinci Code. Upon striking up a friendship with his neighbor, journalist Christopher Dawes, Scabies discovered common interests in conspiracy theories and all things paranormal and a shared hatred of the DaVinci Code. Now the pair wrote a book about their alcohol-sodden quest for the Holy Grail that asks the question: What happens when an ex-punk rocker goes looking for the Holy Grail?
160 million people watched the gloriously kitsch Eurovision Song Contest this year. The UK's entry [Real] scored an astonishing nul points (i.e. none of the other 25 countries thought the British song was in the top 10 competitors). The singers blame the country's worst ever result on sabotage. What do you think?
"At the Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality we have been committed to time travel based research since 2005." Sure, it's probably just a poker-faced art project by the electronic Writing Research ensemble, but isn't it nicer to think of it as the life's work of the late Rosalind Brodsky (1970-2058), artist, musician, and Martian real estate agent?