Who was Ivor Cutler? A Glaswegian transplant living in London, creating surreal and playful music and poetry, sometimes accompanying himself on harmonium, from 1959 until his death in 2006. [BBC obit | Guardian obit | Telegraph obit ] By then, he'd also appeared on the John Peel Show more times than any other artist (not counting The Fall). [ A piece on him from the BBC's "In Search of the Great English Eccentric" | BBC piece and a Guardian piece on a biopic play about Ivor's life and times, The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler • National Theatre of Scotland's website for the play ]
Bury St Edmunds is a small, polite market town in rural eastern England. Better known for its ruined abbey, beer, sugar beet, and being the sort of place Margaret Thatcher ought to keep a tea shop, in 2002 local resident John Peel declared its music scene "the new Seattle". Yeah. How did THAT turn out?
Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was a dangerous place to be in the late 1970s. With bombs, shootings, British Army Patrols, riots on the streets, and The Ramones and New York Dolls on the turntable, the most punk thing 5 Catholic lads could do was to sing upbeat songs about adolescent lust, girls, getting nowhere with said girls, and the general struggles of being young. In the bleeding heart of The Troubles, The Undertones escaped by dreaming of a life more ordinary. [more inside]
In the 1980s, there were twee bands, and then there was Trixie's Big Red Motorbike. Formed in Shanklin, Isle of Wight in 1981, TBRM were brother and sister Mark & Mel Litten, sometimes assisted by Jim Bycroft on sax and Jane Fish (of The Marine Girls — whose most famous alumna you would have heard if you were alive in the 90s [previously]) on backing vocals. Their sound, lofi, their artwork handmade. Their first single was sent to John Peel [passim], who proclaimed they'd “wipe the floor with the competition” and had them in for two sessions. [more inside]
A user on Soundcloud has posted 458 full John Peel shows. The shows range from 2004 BBC episodes all the way back to several 1967 Radio London shows. Some of the shows playlists can be found on the John Peel wiki as well. John Peel has, of course, been mentioned on the blue before.
If you only have three minutes to spend on this post, listen to this song. The Yummy Fur was an unfairly obscure Scottish art-rock group active from 1992-1999. The group is best known for having two band members who currently comprise half of Franz Ferdinand, but that says little about the Yummy Fur proper. The group has a low-fi, angular, sound with mostly-spoken lyrics - the most familiar analogue might be the verses from Pavement's "Stereo" [more inside]
They were a couple of blokes from a small city in in England who started out messing around with instruments. Paul played the guitar and drums, and Phil the saxophone, but both were interested in electronic music by the likes of Kraftwerk. Phil also liked hip-hop, and Paul got into acid house in the late 1980s. One afternoon, Paul slapped together a happy little song based on a sample from a now-forgotten instrumental cover version of some pop hit, and called the little ditty Chime. Even before it was pressed on vinyl, DJs were asking for it, and Orbital was born. [more inside]
John Peel's Record Collection "Online interactive digital museum" The Space has begun the mammoth task of digitising DJ John Peel's record collection. Now, nearly 8 years after his death, the first 100 albums under the letter A are ready, with a new letter to be released every week. With bonus content such as photos, Peel Sessions and samples of radio shows (Spotify may be required for some audio), it's a fascinating look inside the great man's never-ending enthusiasm for music.
Bryan Hollon, better known by his musical handle Boom Bip, is probably recognized for two drastically different sounds: abstract hip-hop from his early Mush Records days, and his Mercury Prize-nominated Neon Neon collaboration with Gruff Rhys. Add to that a new inspiration: black magic from the turn of the 19th century. What does that sound like? Let Boom Bip walk you through his new album, Zig Zaj. Step behind the deep red velvet curtains for a peek at the history of Boom Bip. [more inside]
The Wipers were a tight and catchy post-punk band founded in Portland in 1977. Today they're best known for covers by The Vivian Girls and Nirvana (Return of the Rat, and esp. D7 - studio, live 1 2 3 4). But the originals are pretty interesting too. John Peel said of their first album "Is It Real": " 'It is one of punk's great albums by perhaps the most unappreciated band of all time'." [more inside]
The Futility of Flogging Music "I was pondering the other day whether I actually have a field of expertise. I thought for ages, and couldn't come up with anything, and then in a blinding flash I realised, with a slight sense of despondency, what it might be: being in bands that people have never heard of." Actually you may have heard of Rhodri Marsden if you're caught the current Scritti Politti line-up in action, if you've ever followed the broadcasts of the late DJ John Peel, or if you've read Rhodri's technology column in UK newspaper the Independent. This week, in a speech to the Oxford Geek Night, Marsden shared his caustic yet heartfelt observations on DIY music from the early 90s through to the digital age, sighing "I can think of nothing more soul destroying" than social networking and quoting post-punk icon of Pere Ubu as saying musicians should "screw the audience".
John Peel's Successors Named. Begining on February 1st, John Peel's week night show will be succeeded by OneMusic, three shows hosted by three DJs. The three chosen to fill those gigantic boots? Huw Stephens, Ras Kwame, and Rob da Bank. Good luck gents.
Legendary radio DJ John Peel dies of heart attack at 65. Peel's contribution to modern music and culture was "immeasurable".
It's the final Orbital gig, about half-an-hour into this John Peel show. RealAudio. Maybe you want Real Alternative?
White Stripes capture their 'Elephant'? World famous radio DJ John Peel has been told to stop playing songs from the new White Stripes album, 'Elephant'. Apparently, he was 'interfering with the global marketing strategy by continuing to play the record'. A scheme which involves giving people who aren't fans of the band copies of the album five months before it comes out. The result? It's on Kazaa already, and DJs who love the band can't play the record. There's also some mp3s ( <- note that a link to one there) of Peel talking about the ban.