Emma-Jean is a trumpeter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and techie who runs her own label. She’s had five releases since 2016. We discuss “Say Something” (and listen at the end to “Spectre” from Yellow (2021), “Open – Remix feat. Blu” (a 2020 single), and “Um” from Um Yang (2020). Intro: “Baro Bop” from Walrus (2016). For more see emmajeanthackray.com.
Melvin has played bass on over 200 albums since 1980 in the worlds of jazz, rock, and hip-hop, and has numerous songwriting credits, playing with Defunkt, Arto Lindsay, Henry Rollins, Bernie Worrell, Vernon Reid, etc.
We discuss his solo tune featuring Kokayi “Get Some” from 4+1 Equals 5 for May 25 (2021), the title track from The Terror End Of Beauty (2018) by his trio Harriet Tubman, and “Howard Beach Memoirs” by Power Tools (with Bill Frisell and Ronald Shannon Jackson) from Strange Meeting (1987). We end by listening to “Canto por Odudua” by Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity from Ancients Speak (2009) Intro: “Melvin’s Tune” from Defunkt (1980). More at music.melvin-gibbs.com.
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Chris started in the Scottish electronic band Finitribe in the early ’80s and then moved to Chicago in 1988, doing stints in Revolting Cocks, Ministry, Pigface, et al, before embarking on a 23-album solo career.
We discuss “A Phantom Marriage” from The Birthday Poems (2021) feat. Monica Queen, the title track from Bloodhounds (2018), “De Testimony” by Finitribe from Let the Tribe Grow (1986), plus we listen to “God Gets Religion” by Cocksure from Operation C.O.C.K.S.U.R.E. (2020). Intro: “Stowaway” from Whiplash Boychild (1991). For more see chrisconnelly.com and thebirthdaypoems.com.
Steve has written over 1000 songs across 17 Church albums starting in 1980, 13 solo albums and numerous collaborations. His style is theatrical and psychedelic, and his lyrics aim for “maximum ambiguity.”
We discuss “Love Song Yet to Be Named” from The Hall of Counterfeits (2021) and some tunes by The Church: “Another Century” from man woman life death infinity (2017) and “Is this Where You Live?” from Of Skins and Heart (1981). Intro: “Under the Milky Way” from Starfish (1988). We conclude with the title track from Steve’s solo album Sydney Rococo (2018). More at thechurchband.net and thetimebeing.com.
Glen led smooth alt rock legends Toad the Wet Sprocket from ’88 to ’97 through six albums, has released 7 often folky solo albums (and 3 more Toad albums since their reunion) since then plus various side projects.
We discuss “Old Habits Die Hard” by Toad (a 2020 single), “Leaving Oldtown” from Swallowed by the New (2016), and “One Wind Blows” from Toad’s Bread and Circus (1988). We end with the title track from the 2021 Toad album Starting Now. Intro: “All I Want” from fear (1991). For more see glenphillips.com and toadthewetsprocket.com.
Cathal started in Ireland in 1980 with Microdisney, and after five albums with then broke that up to form Fatima Mansions in 1988. After seven albums with them, he started a solo career and has now after a decade-long hiatus (during which he released a few collaborations) has come back with his sixth solo release Song of Co-Acklan. We discuss “Unrealtime” and (in closing) hear the title track from that album, plus “Denial Of The Right To Dream” from The Sky’s Awful Blue (2002) and “Valley of the Dead Cars” by The Fatima Mansions from Against Nature (1989). Intro/outro: “Town to Town” by Microdisney from Crooked Mile (1987). For more, see cathalcoughlan.com.
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Josh released three albums and some EPs in the 90s with his brothers as the Chicago-area punk band Smoking Popes, then became a Christian and released an album and a half as Duvall, then reformed the Smoking Popes to release three more albums since 2008. He’s also released some religious material as a solo artist, and his new album is composed of live covers of classic songs and reworkings of his own material.
We discuss “Need You Around,” originally from Born to Quit (1995) and re-arranged for The Hideout Sessions (2021). We then turn to the Popes’ “Amanda My Love” from Into the Agony (2018) and Duvall’s “Taking Me Home” from Volume & Density (2003), and we conclude with another new recording, “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers/Hart). Intro: “Megan” from Destination Failure (1997). More at smokingpopesmusic.com.
Rod released his first album “Solo” in 1975, played in some bands, but after losing on Star Search, turned to soundtrack work, emerging only in 2018 with three straight albums of acoustic singer-songwriter and instrumental material.
We discuss “My Father Was a Quiet Man” (and listen to “Whiskey & Pie”) from Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore (2021), “How to Forget” from The Man I’m Supposed to Be (2018), and “Working the Mill” and “Battle in Laketown” from The Hobbit Official Soundtrack (2003). Intro: “Driving to Dan’s” from Rage Original Game Soundtrack (2011). For more, see rodabernethy.com.
David played in perhaps the most revered line-up of King Crimson at the end of its original run from ’72-’74. He released his first “solo” album (as Low Flying Aircraft) in ’87, then eight more under his own name plus several collaborations.
We discuss “Predator” by Cross and Jackson from Another Day (2018), “The Pool” by The David Cross Band from Sign of the Crow (2016), and “Awful Love” from Closer than Skin (2005). We conclude with the title track from Crossover by David Cross and Peter Banks (2020). Intro: “Exiles” by King Crimson from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973). For more, see davidcrossband.com.
Steve was in one of Minneapolis’ first big punk bands, The Suicide Commandos, but after one album in 1977, he soon left for New York City and eventually hit it relatively big with two records on IRS as Beat Rodeo, with a solo career continuing the country-rock style beginning in 1992 through nine albums.
We discuss “The Way I Treated You” (and listen to “Goodbye Nicolina,” featuring The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris) from Everywhere You’ve Been (2021), “Try Again” by The Suicide Commandos from their reunion album Time Bomb (2017), and the title track from Steve’s first solo record East River Blues (1992). Intro: “Just Friends” from Staying Out Late w/ the Beat Rodeo (1984).
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Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss “Headdress” by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), “The Nomad’s Home” from Coward (2009), and “Fives & Sixes” from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to “Imperfect Ten” by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: “You Are My Face” by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff Tweedy. More at nelscline.com.
Jay is best known as sideman for Drive-By Truckers since 2008 but has written songs for Athens bands like The Possibilities and Nutria since the 90s and has three solo releases.
We discuss the title track (and listen at the end to “I Wanna Hold You”) from Back to the Hive (2021), “&#%&#!” and “Shenorock Lane” from The Bitter Suite (2015), and “Turning Me On” from Mess of Happiness (2012). Intro: “Tough to Let Go” by Drive-By Truckers from The New OK (2020). For more see jaygonzalez.com.
Dennis fronted the Baltimore punk band Ebenezer and The Bludgeons in the late 70s, and after some transitional projects moved to L.A. where his ’60s-ish guitar pop band The Jigsaw Seen released nine albums from 1989-2015.
We discuss “Museum Piece” (and listen to “Shadow on a Tall Tree” at the end) from his debut solo album, The Book Of Strongman (2020); “Idiots with Guitars” from Old Man Reverb (2014); and the title track from My Name Is Tom (1991). Intro: “Jim Is the Devil” (a 1989 single). For more, visit dennisdavisonmusic.com.
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After joining Jellyfish in 1993 just before its demise, Eric’s big break came when he was asked to sing for Slash’s Snakepit. He then returned to Roger Manning from Jellyfish for an album as Imperial Drag, worked as sideman (e.g. for Alice Cooper) and studio guy and had two releases as Sextus. He’s now back with Roger in The Lickerish Quartet, which released two EPs.
We discuss “The Dream That Took Me Over” by The Lickerish Quartet from Threesome, Vol. 2 (2021), “Wishing You Well” by Sextus from Stranger Than Fiction (2008), and “Boy or a Girl” from Imperial Drag (1996). End song: “What Do You Want from Me?” from The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003). Intro: “Beggars & Hangers-On” by Slash’s Snakepit from It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995). More at thelickerishquartet.com.
Folky, soul-singing Rebecca has had six releases since 2007. We discuss “Mama” from her solo EP, Songs for Cleaning Women, Pt. 1 (2020), “No One Knows Me” by Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen from Speaking of Witches (2019), “Gave Me” by rego off of From the Royal Arcade (2009), and “Cruel” from Lay These Weapons Down (2016). Intro: “Call My Mother” from Tolono (2014). See rebeccaregoandthetrainmen.com.
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Robert co-fronted the Australian-born post-punk band The Go-Betweens through nine albums in the ’80s and ’00s with Grant McLennan before the latter’s death in 2006 and has also released seven solo albums.
We discuss “No Fame” from Inferno (2019), “Here Comes a City” by The Go-Betweens from Oceans Apart (2005), and “On My Block” by The Go-Betweens from Before Hollywood (1983). We conclude by listening to “Let Me Imagine You” from Songs to Play (2015). Intro: “Clouds” by The Go-Betweens from 16 Lovers Lane (1988).
Larry has appeared on 20+ albums since co-founding Magraw Gap in 1990 and then becoming bandleader on ’97. He’s known for his lightning flat picking and has more recently added a good dose of social commentary and fundamental questioning to his songwriting.
We discuss “Mars’ Cry” (and listen to “Try”) from American Dream (2020), “Crocodile Man” from One (2019), and “Diamond Break” from Backwoods (2009). Intro: The title track to The Sound (1999). For more, see larrykeel.com.
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Don started the NY-based Life in a Blender in the late 80s and has put out ten albums of tunes with off-kilter lyrics and increasingly elaborate arrangements. We discuss “The Ocean is a Black and Rolling Tongue” (and listen at the end to “Soul Deliverer”) from Satsuma (2020), “Falmouth” from We Already Have Birds That Sing (2014), and “Chicken Dance” from Two Legs Bad (1997). Intro: “Mounds of Flesh” from Welcome to the Jelly Days (1988). For more see lifeinablender.net.
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Recycling a great music discussion featuring a past NEM guest from Mark’s other entertainment podcast for the New Year!
Plenty of songs try to tell stories, but do the pop song format and narrative really mix? Rod Picott joins Pretty Much Pop to talk about classics by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like “Leader of the Pack” and “The Pina Colada Song, borderline cases like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and more. How does this form relate to theater, videos, and commercials?
Join the office party, where Mark holds mini conversations on philosophy, art, and life with all PEL and PMP co-hosts, plus Ken Stringfellow, Jenny Hansen, and the members of Mark Lint’s Dry Folk, whose 12 tunes are presented in succession with nary a partridge in sight. Will these 12 spirits turn you (or Mark) from errant ways? BYOB!
Markus began composing as a teen, “found his tribe” in getting connected to King Crimson’s Robert Fripp in the early 90s, and has put out 40+ solo and collaborative albums of experimental music since 2000, including work in Stick Men with Crimson’s Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto.
We discuss “Swoonage” from Truce (2020), “Boon” by Marcus Reuter and the Matangi Quartet from String Quartet No. 1 ‘Heartland’ (2019), and “11-11” by Tuner (Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter) from POLE (2007), and end by listening to “The Cult of Bibbiboo” by centrozoon from The Divine Beast (2001). Intro: “Condition IV” from Falling for Ascension (2017). More at .
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Brian’s been writing music and music journalism since the late ’60s, has produced artists like Taj Mahal, Lucinda Williams, and Ollabelle, and has released three solo albums and an EP since 2008.
We discuss “Killing The Dead” (and discuss “Wrong Birthday”) from Winter Clothes (2020, written with now-deceased Ollabelle guitarist Jimi Zhivago), discuss “And She Said” from The Opposite of Time (2016), and “The Promise” from All Fires The Fire (2008). Intro: “The Book of Sleep” by OK Savant, recorded live at CBGBs in 1990. For more, see briancullman.com.
Mark got signed as a teen in 1966, left to play theatrical prog jazz in Indiana during college, had a spell in a “no wave” band in New York, and finally settled down in the ’80s as an in demand producer and collaborator in New Orleans, working with groups like R.E.M., Flat Duo Jets, and John Scofield. He’s only finished two solo albums but has a ton of archive recordings being released soon, and now plays guitar in a cajun band.
We discuss “Pissoffgod.com” from Psalms of Vengeance (2009), “Ash Wednesday and Lent” by Ed Sanders (music by Mark Bingham) from Poems for New Orleans (2007), “That’s Why” by Social Climbers from their self-titled album (1981), and then listen to “Blood Moon” by Michot’s Melody Makers from Cosmic Cajuns from Saturn (2020). Intro: “Flies R All Around Me” by Screaming Gypsy Bandits from Back to Doghead (1970).
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Peter started The Apartments in Australia in the late ’70s and has been its only consistent member. After releasing his first full album in 1985 and being featured on a John Hughes soundtrack, he released four lush, moody albums in the ’90s but then retired when family tragedy struck until the late ’00s; he’s had four releases since 2011.
We discuss “What’s Beauty to Do?” and “Where You Used to Be” from In And Out Of The Light (2020), then “Sunset Hotel” from Fete Foraine (1996), and finally listen to “Looking for Another Town” from No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal (2015). Intro: “Help” from the Return of the Hypnotist EP (1979). More at theapartments-music.com.
Jazz multi-instrumentalist Edward Larry Gordon Jr. became Laraaji around the same time he started releasing meditative zither music in the late 70s and was then discovered by Brian Eno, who produced our intro, “The Dance No. 1” from Ambient 3: Day of Radiance (1980). Laraaji has since had around 40 releases of largely improvised music.
We discuss “Hold on to the Vision” (and hear “Shenandoah”) from Sun Piano (2020), the single edit of “Introspection” from Bring On the Sun (2017), and “All of a Sudden,” a 1986 vocal tune released on Vision Songs, Vol. 1 (2017). More at laraaji.blogspot.com.
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Jon started playing trumpet with composers like Terry Riley and La Monte Young in the late 60s, has since guested with Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Ani DiFranco, Ry Cooder, et al, and has released 18 solo albums since 1977.
We discuss “Unknown Wish” from Seeing Through Sound: Pentimento Volume 2 (2020), “Manga Scene” from Listening to Pictures: Pentimento Volume 1 (2018), “Toucan Ocean” from Vernal Equinox (1977), and listen to the title track from Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street (2009). Intro: “Chemistry” by Jon Hassell/Brian Eno from Fourth World Music I: Possible Musics (1980). For more see jonhassell.com.
On the publication of his memoir, Remain in Love, Chris and your host Mark Linsenmayer discuss “Psycho Killer” and “Warning Signs” by Talking Heads from Talking Heads ’77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), plus “Bamboo Town” and “Who Feelin’ It?” by Tom Tom Club from Close to the Bone (1983) and The Good the Bad and the Funky (2000). We conclude with the title track to Tom Tom Club’s Downtown Rockers (2012). Plus, Tina Weymouth jumps in at one point! For more see tomtomclub.com.
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Ward has issued about ten releases of lyric-driven, stylish pop since 2003. We discuss the title track from Leonard at the Audit (2020), “Titans” from Diminish (2018), and the title track from Pulling Out (2008). Intro: “Sabbath” from Ward White Is the Matador (2014). End: “Bubble and Squeak,” also from the new album. For info see wardwhite.net.
Mark led Grand Funk Railroad through 13 albums in the 70s and early 80s and has had around eight solo releases.
We discuss “Nadean” from For the People (2006), “Not Yet” from Some Kind of Wonderful (1991), and the title track of Born to Die by Grand Funk Railroad. End song: “Take You Out.” Intro: “I’m Your Captain” from GFR’s Closer to Home (1979). For more see markfarner.com.
Your host dissects the collaborative chemistry with guitarist Matt Ackerman as the two front men of the band New People (2006-2013).
We discuss “Down So Low” (intro: “Love Is the Problem”) from The Easy Thing (2008), “Manager” from Impossible Things (2011), and “Local” and “At the Time” from Might Get It Right (2013), plus “We Who Have Escaped” (later in 2013, released on Songs from the Partially Examined Life). Intro: “Love Is the Problem” also from The Easy Thing. For more, see newpeopleband.com and marklint.bandcamp.com.
Roger rose to fame as keyboardist/songwriter for Jellyfish in the early ’90s, then formed Imperial Drag, The Moog Cookbook, TV Eyes, backed Beck, and finally released two albums under his own name starting in 2006. He’s recently released a solo EP and one with The Likerish Quartet that reunites him with some other members of Jellyfish.
We discuss “Lighthouse Spaceship” by The Lickerish Quartet from Threesome, Vol. 1 (2020), “The Turnstile at Heaven’s Gate” from Catnip Dynamite (2008), “Time to Time” by Malibu (a solo techno project) from Robo-Sapiens (2007), and listen to “Operator” from his solo Glamping EP (2018). Intro: “The King is Half-Undressed” by Jellyfish from Bellybutton (1990). For more, see thelickerishquartet.com and rogerarranging.com.
KatieJane gained fame fronting British grunge band Daisy Chainsaw, left after their first full album but resumed the project under the name Queenadreena for four albums in the ’00s, then partnered with Chris Whittingham in 2007 to live on a boat and play as the stripped-down Ruby Throat for four albums. That band has now become loud again and been re-christened Liar, Flower.
We discuss “My Brain is Lit Like an Airport” and hear the title track from Geiger Counter (2020), then look back to “Hu’u” by Ruby Throat from Baby Darling Taporo (2017) and “Lesions In The Brain” by Lalleshwari (a one-off solo moniker) from Lullabies in a Glass Wilderness (2007). Intro: “Love Your Money” from Daisy Chainsaw from Eleventeen (1992). For more, see katiejanegarside.com.
We discuss his new solo single “Empty Arena” and two Ides of March tunes, “Friends Like You” from Play On (2019) feat. Mindi Abair and “L.A. Goodbye,” recorded in 1992 but originally from Common Bond (1971). End song: “The Spirit of Chicago,” a 1992 recording released on Ideology: Version 11.0. For more, see jimpeterik.com.
Victor started as a singer/songwriter, drummed with the Femmes for five albums in the ’80s, and has since recorded six solo releases and five more with NINETEEN THIRTEEN, plus other collaborations, jazz jamming, and work in the theater.
We discuss “Invisible Shadows” from Tranceaphone (2020), “Carry Me” from Victor DeLorenzo (2013), “Arco, Pizzicato” by Nineteen Thirteen from The Dream (2016), and listen to “Audrey” from Pancake Day (1996). Intro/outro: “World Without Mercy” by Violent Femmes from The Blind Leading the Naked (1985). More at victordelorenzo.weebly.com.
Alev started in Germany with her metal band “Alev” in the early ’00s and has released three atmospheric, idea-filled solo albums since 2009 plus several soundtracks and collaborations.
We discuss “The Chair” (and at the end listen to “Cigarettes & Blow”) from 3 (2019), plus the title track from Two-Headed Girl (2016), “Flowers of Love” from Storytelling Piano Playing Fräulein (2009), and “In this Mouth” by Anoushka Shankar feat Alev Lenz from Love Letters (2020). Intro: “Fall Into Me” from the Black Mirror Soundtrack (2016). For more, visit alevlenz.com.
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Rick played bass on 15 albums with Steeleye Span between 1971 and 2016 and had released five solo albums since 1996 (plus another with his then-wife Maddy Prior). We discuss “Race Against Time” from Perfect Blue (2018) and two Steeleye tunes: “Cromwell’s Skull” from Dodgy Bastards (2016) and “Samain” from They Called Her Babylon (2004). We conclude by listening to “Bachelor’s…
Jack fronted Wang Chung for five albums in the ’80s, left the limelight to produce, and got a jazz combo going by 2000 which he’s released five albums with, reformed Wang Chung, and only now is having a debut solo release, the double album Primitif.
We discuss “Whitstable Beach” from that album, “Class War and Sex War” by Jack Hues and the Quartet from A Thesis on the Ballad (2015), and “Brahms Blues” by The-Quartet from Illuminated. (2006) We conclude by listening to “To Live and Die in L.A.” by Wang Chung from Ochesography (2019).
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K.C. has created seven releases of confessional folk (sometimes gospel, sometimes country) since 2000. We discuss “No More Living Small” and listen to “You Couldn’t Stay” from her 2020 self-titled album, then talk about “Broken Things” from Orchid (2010) and “Find My Way Home” from Teeth-Marks on My Tongue (2004). Intro: “Emily” from Times Like These (2000). For more see kcclifford.com.
Steve started fronting Cockney Rebel in the early ’70s and has released a dozen albums of of narrative-driven, tuneful songs.
We discuss “Compared with You (Your Eyes Don’t Seem to Age)” and listen to “Only You,” his two originals from his new solo album Uncovered (2020) then look back to “Faith & Virtue” from Stranger Comes to Town (2010) and Cockney Rebel’s “Bed in the Corner”/”Sling It” from The Psychomodo (1974). Intro: “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)” by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel from The Best Years of Our Lives (1975). Learn more at steveharley.com.
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Chris fronted Gunbunnies in the early ’90s and was then a member of Skeleton Key, but he’s best known for being half of the production team Elegant Too. Since 2014 he’s released two solo albums.
We discuss two songs from 2012’s New Store No. 2, the title track and “Most of What I Know I Learned from Women.” We then talk about Elegant Too’s work with They Might Be Giants (feat. Doughty) on “Mr. Xcitement” from Mink Car (2001) and also working with St. Vincent on the Bob’s Burgers tune “Bad Girls” (2013). We conclude with Chris’s “Imaginary Man” from Arkansas Summer (2016). Intro: “Stranded” by Gunbunnies from Paw Paw Patch (1990). Outro: Elegant Too’s theme for ESPN’s 30 for 30. For more see maxwellsongs.com and elegatnttoo.com.
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Matt released 4 albums and got on a major label with Trip Shakespeare in the late ’80s, released a solo album in ’98, ran bands with fellow Tripper John Munson for three albums over many subsequent years, ad has now released his first album as Matt Wilson & His Orchestra, When I Was a Writer.
We discuss “Decent Guy” and listen to the title track from that album and look back to “Dreams” by Twilight Hours from Stereo Night (2009) and “Sun Is Coming” from his solo album Burnt, White, and Blue (1998). Intro/outo: “Toolmaster of Brainard” by Trip Shakespeare from Are You Shakespearienced (1989). For more see minneapolismatt.com.
Chris has played guitar for Snarky Puppy since it started in 2004, has led rock bands and explored acoustic guitar duets. We discuss “M-Theory” by FORQ from Four (2019), the title track to Western Theatre by Matt Read and Chris McQueen (2019), and “Coven” by Snarky Puppy from Immigrance (2019), and end with “Strut” by Foe Destroyer from their self-titled album (2013).
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Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke and artist/singer Danielle de Picciotto have released seven albums of often instrumental, always experimental music together since 2011, the last four as hackedepicciotto.
We discuss “The Banishing” and “Third From the Sun” from The Current (2019) and “Propehcy” from Menetekel (2017), plus intro music is “Let There Be Joy” from Joy (2018). We conclude by listening to “Survivors” from Danielle’s solo album Deliverance (2019). For more, see hackedepicciotto.de.
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Julie joined the Adrian Belew Power Trio in 2006 and released two solo albums starting in 2010. She then joined another bassist, Marco Machera for four albums, the last three as Echotest. Why two basses? Because Julie uses tech to change the sound of her bass to allow her to cover an orchestra’s worth of parts.
We discuss “Ladies’ Legs at the Temperature Hotel” and “No, You Are Dead/The Gate of Light” by Echotest from Daughter of Ocean (2019), plus “Pi” from her solo album Terroir (2012), and listen to “Supercell” by Echotest from From Two Balconies (2017). Intro/Outro: “Mela” from Julie Slick (2010). For more, see julieslick.com.
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Michaela has released four albums of carefully styled, lyrically rich country since 2011. From her latest, Desert Dove (2019), we discuss the title track, plus you’ll hear “By Our Design” as the intro and “Somebody New” as the closer. We also discuss “Worrying Mind” from Bright Lights and the Fame (2016) and “Is This What Mama Meant” from Ease My Mind (2014). For more, see michaelaanne.com.
The Monochrome Set has under the leadership of Bid released 15 albums of eccentric British pop since 1980, and he’s had another nine as Scartlet’s Well. His songs often employ a ’60s dance vibe, literary lyrics, and a try-anything approach to arrangements.
We discuss “Eux Tous” from Fabula Mendax (2019), “Walking with the Beast” from Dante’s Casino (1990), “Adeste Fidelis” from Love Zombies (1980), and conclude listening to the title track of Spaces Everywhere (2015). Intro: “Eine Symphonie Des Grauens” (a 1979 single). For more, see themonochromeset.co.uk.
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Do you just embrace the pure sound of music or does context matter to you, i.e. the artist’s intentions and body of work?
Ken Stringfellow (Posies, R.E.M., Big Star), previous NEM guest for #39, joins Mark plus Erica Spyres and Brian Hirt for a special podcast-crossover episode to talk about what grabs us about music, it it gets to your ears, singers vs. songwriters, the concept “genius,” and how this attitude towards music translates to our intake of other media (e.g. favorite film directors).
Also, check out Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast.
Radney started as a Nashville songwriter and performed in the 80s with Foster & Lloyd. has released about a dozen albums since ’91 that increasingly break away from country music standards into something more personal.
We discuss two recordings from For You to See the Stars (2017) that have accompanying short stories (written when he literally lost his voice): “Sycamore Creek” and “Raining on Sunday,” plus “Nobody Wins” from Del Rio , TX 1959 (1992). End song: “Godspeed (Dulce Sueños).” Intro: “Crazy Over You” by Foster & Lloyd from their eponymous album (1987).
In The Church, he was half of a world-famous twin guitar machine for 30 years starting in 1980 but has also released seven solo albums and been in several other bands, most notably releasing four albums with his old friend Dare Mason as Noctorum.
We discuss two 2019 Noctorum tracks, “The Moon Drips” from Afterlife and “Dancing with Death” from The Afterdeath EP, plus “You Whisper” from his solo album Art Attack (1988). We conclude by listening to “Forget the Radio” from his solo album Hanging Out in Heaven (2000). Intro: “Spark” by The Church from Starfish (1988). For more see martywillson-piper.com.
Joe has played alongside B.B. King, Ron Wood, and even back to Hendrix, Hooker, and Monk. As a solo artist he’s put out around two dozen albums since 1986. He’s a blues man but mixes in gospel, soul, rock, and many other styles.
We discuss the title track of Hellfire (2012), “Keep the Faith” from Hornet’s Nest (2013), the title track from The Gift (1988), and listen to “Soldier for Jesus” from Viva Las Vegas Live (2019). Intro: “Don’t Play Games” from Cold Is the Night (1986). For more, see joelouiswalker.com.
Guy has been a highly sought-after British producer/keyboardist since the early ’90s and is just now releasing his debut album, Stet. We discuss “Mono No Aware” and “Dorian” from that album and “Unravel” from Björk’s Homogenic (1997). End song: “Let’s Go” by Frou Frou from Details (2002). Intro: “Crazy,” co-written with Seal from his debut album (1991).
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Ace bassist Mike started with punk legends MINUTEMEN in the early ’80s, broke into the majors with fireHOSE going into the 90s, and was so beloved by the alternative music scene that his first solo album in ’94 was star-studded, with Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl in the supporting tour. Mike has released three concept albums over the years and has collaborated on dozes of projects as well as backing Iggy Pop in the reformed Stooges.
We discuss “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs” by Minutemen from What Makes a Man Start Fires (1983), “The Boilerman” from Contemplating the Engine Room (1997), the first, second, and last sections from Hyphenated-Man (2011), and “I Got Marty Feldman Eyes” from the Big Walnuts Yonder self-titled album (2017). We conclude by listening to “Yeah, We’re Gonna Learn to Fall” by Jumpstarted Plowhards from Round One (2019) featuring Todd Congelliere. Intro: “Walking the Cow” by fireHOSE from Flyin’ the Flannel (1991). For more, visit mikewatt.com.
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Barry started in ’77 playing keys with XTC and after two albums started his own band Shriekback in ’81, with whom he’s had 14 releases plus some solo albums. He’s known for inventive soundscapes placed over solid grooves and philosophical lyrics delivered in a low chant.
We discuss three Shriekback tunes: “Such, Such Are the Joys” from Why Anything? Why This? (2018), “Amaryllis in the Sprawl” from Glory Bumps (2007), and “Stimulate the Beaded Hamster”/”Pond Life” from Naked Apes and Pond Life (2000). We conclude by listening to a solo tune, “Virgin of the Ladder” by Barry Andrews from Contaminated Pop (2019). Intro: “Nemesis” from Oil & Gold (1985). For more, see shriekback.com.
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John founded the Brooklyn space-rock cooperative Oneida in the mid 90s and has put out 13 albums with them plus four as his solo project Man Forever and several others as collaborations or as Kid Millions.
We discuss two tracks by Man Forever from Play What They Want (2017): “You Were Never Here” and “Twin Torches” (feat. Laurie Anderson), then Oneida’s “All in Due Time” from Romance (2018), and listen to “Nine Years of Facing a Wall” by Fox Millions Duo from Biting Through (2019). Intro: “Sheets of Easter” by Oneida from Each One Teach One (2002). For more, see johnwilliamcolpitts.com.
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Wayne started in the late 70s, was on the first Dead or Alive Album, made his name as guitarist for The Sisters of Mercy’s first full album, then led The Mission UK from 1986 through 11 albums plus two solo albums and some collaborations.
We discuss “Wither on the Vine” from Songs of Candlelight & Razorblades (2014), then two Mission songs: “Phantom Pain” from Another Fall from Grace (2016) and “Tower of Strength” from Children (1987). We conclude by listening to a 2016 solo single “My Love Will Protect You.” Intro/outro: “Marian” by Sisters of Mercy from First and Last and Always (1985). For more, visit themissionuk.com.
Dave was the original guitarist for Yo La Tengo in the mid ’80s and left to lead The Schramms for six albums plus two solo albums while being an in-demand guitarist supporting artists like Freedy Johnston, Richard Buckner, Kate Jacobs and Chris Stamey.
We discuss three Schramms songs, “Faith is a Dusty Word” from Omnidirectional (2019), “I’ll Believe” from 100 Questions (2000), and “Wild Innocence” from Dizzy Spell (1996), and conclude by listening to another Omnidirectional tune, “The Day When.” Intro: “The Way Some People Die” from Walk to Delphi (1989). For more info, see theschramms.com.
The Residents were formed in 1969 and have released around 50 albums of theatrical, experimental music with humor and humanity. They’re great to freak people out with. The band is anonymous; Homer is the head of their management arm, The Cryptic Corporation.
We discuss “Good Vibes” from Intruders (2019), with music by Eric Feldman who replaced long-time Residents composer Hardy Fox upon his retirement in 2015 (and his death in 2018); “Blue Rosebuds,” both the original Duck Stab (1978) version and the live Shadowland (2014) versions; “Kiss of Flesh” from God in Three Persons (1988); and we conclude by listening to “If Only” from the new Hardy Fox tribute album “The Godfather of Odd.” Intro: “Fire (Santa Dog)” (1972) and outro: “The Simple Song” from Commercial Album (1980). For more, visit residents.com.
Alison was studying classical music when she joined Jason Narducy in 1994 in a duet that grew into two Verbow albums. She’s since recorded four solo cello albums and been a guest musician on over 100 albums, playing with Bob Mould, Superchunk, Anthrax, Broken Social Scene, etc.
We discuss “Become Zero” and “Vanished Star” from Become Zero (2016), then “Beautiful Friends” from Arriving Angels (2013) and listen to “For My Father” by Jarboe/Helen Money (2015). Intro: “New History” by Verbow from White Out (2000); closing music from “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing” from In Tune (2009). For more, see helenmoney.com.
Dan fronted Arizona cow-punk band Green on Red from 1979 to 1992, releasing seven albums and three EPs, and has since released four solo albums and some collaborations, growing increasingly literary, with two of his recent albums accompanied by novels.
We discuss two tracks from The Unfortunate Demise of Marlowe Billings (2018): “A Killer Now” and “Sky Harbor,” plus “La Passionaria” from Can o’ Worms (1995). We conclude by listening to “Who Knows” by The Slummers from Love of the Amateur (2010). Intro/outro: “Sixteen Ways” by Green on Red from Gas, Food, Lodging (1985). More at marlowebillings.com.
Elizabeth got her start in the psych-punk band Meowtain in Olympia, WA, emerged as Globelamp in 2011 with an EP, was briefly a touring member of Foxygen, and has put out three albums since 2014.
We discuss “Everything’s a Spiral” and listen to “Black Tar” from Romantic Cancer (2018), “Controversial/Confrontational” from The Orange Glow (2015), and “Warrior” from Star Dust (2014). Intro: “Hex” from Meowtain (2012). For more, see facebook.com/globelamp.
Phil founded New Zealand’s Split Enz with Tim Finn in 1972, recorded a seminal punk single with Suburban Reptiles, had an Australian #1 hit with The Swingers, then moved to solo and soundtrack work until 2006, since which he’s recorded five thickly textured solo albums including extensive one-man-band work.
We discuss the title track from Flightless Bird (2019), “Kite Flying Day” from Play It Strange (2014), and “Lamplight” by Schnell Fenster from The Sound of Trees (1988). We conclude by listening to “No One’s Best Man” from Novelty Act (2016). Intro/outro: “Sweet Dreams” by Split Enz from Second Thoughts (1976).
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Danny drummed with Chicago from its founding in 1967 through 1990 and wrote several songs for the band during the mid-late ’70s, often with David “Hawk” Wolinski.
We discuss “Little One” (and our intro music, “Take Me Back to Chicago”) from Chicago XI (1977), “Street Player” from Chicago 13 (1979), and “Devil’s Sweet” from Chicago VII (1974). End song: “The Real World” by California Transit Authority from Sacred Ground (2013). For more, see dannyseraphine.com.
Andrew has put out nine albums and a few EPs of piano-and-vocal-based pop using various band names since he was in high school in the late ’90s.
We discuss two of his Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness tracks: “Blue Vacation” from Upside Down Flowers (2018) and “Synesthesia” from The Pop Underground EP, then “Me and the Moon” by Something Corporate from North (2003), and conclude by listening to “Swim” by Jack’s Passenger from The Glass Passenger (2008). Opening music: “I Woke Up in a Car” by Something Corporate from Leaving through the Window (2002). For more, see andrewmcmahon.com.
Stevie has been recording pop tunes and/or wild experiments nearly continually since the late 60s, with hundreds of albums, many of them compilations of home recordings.
We discuss “Pop Music” and “Take Back” from Afterlife (2019) and “The House Is Not in Order” by R. Stevie Moore and Alan Jenkins and the Kettering Vampires from The Embodiment of Progressive Ideals (2018) and conclude by listening to “I H8 Ppl” by R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner from Make It Be (2017). Bonus songs: “Pervert” from World War 4 (2016) and (at the end) “Goodbye, Piano” from Phonography (1976). Intro: “I Like to Stay Home” from Glad Music (1986). For more, see rsteviemoore.com.
Ian has released ten studio albums and three EPs since 1993, starting as an Austin guitar hero and evolving into an eclectic, subtle Seattle songwriter who teaches songwriting courses.
We discuss “1000 Blackbirds” from Toronto (2018), the title track from Strange Days (2017), and “Abilene” from Luminaria (2004). End song: “Sad Affair” from El Sonido Nuevo (2011). Intro: “Satisfied” from Ian Moore (1993). For more, see ianmoore.com.
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Peter started in hardcore punk and used the blues to add depth for his band the Chrome Cranks, which released four studio albums and a live album in the mid-1990s then another in 2012. Since then he’s been a music journalist and author, writing about the Ramones, the Band, and others, with occasional musical projects. We discuss his new single “Bomb Train Blues” (2018) with the band Young Skulls, Chrome Cranks tracks “Dark Room” from Chrome Cranks (1994), and “Rubber Rat” from Ain’t No Lies in Blood (2012). We conclude by listening to “Purge 4” from Purges by Peter Aaron and Brian Chase (2016). Intro/outro: “Hot Blonde Cocktail” by the Chrome Cranks from Love in Exile (1997). For more, see peteraaron.org.
Steve started producing tracks for dance clubs in 2007, changing his style in 2013 to slow down, carve out space for spontaneous performance, and develop “audio alchemy” over a few EPs and two recent albums.
We discuss “Equinosis” from the Mercurial EP (2018), “Superluminal Sound” from his Soul Science album (2016), and the title track from his Wanderlust EP (2013). We conclude by listening to “Origins” by Hedflux and Alex Delfont from Kin (2018). Opening/closing: “Music Is My Weapon” (2007). For more, see hedflux.com.
Portland-based singer-songwriter Rachel has released 10 albums of off-kilter, usually piano-based, lyric-heavy indie rock since the mid ’00s.
We discuss “Maker” and “God” (plus the intro “Gyre”) from Run Tiny Human (2018), “Taxidermy” from World so Sweet (2011), and “Ormolu” from Ormolu (2006), and also listen to “We’ll Have A” from Falimy (2014). For more, see racheltaylorbrown.com.
Sam has released sixteen albums of catchy, textured pop music since 1983.
We discuss “I Want to Be You” and “Tears in the Ground” from World on Sticks (2018), “How to Dream” from Fan Dance (2001), and conclude by listening to “When I’m Alone” from Push Any Button (2013). Intro: “Baby I Can’t Please You” from Martinis and Bikinis (1994). For more, visit samphillips.com.
After starting in the ’80s with the Trolls and the Bastards of Execution, Dusty has released six albums as a solo artist since 1997.
We discuss a new, unreleased song “Pardon My Love,” then “Man in the Mirror” from Gliding Toward Oblivion (2018) and “High Flyin’ Bird” by GIANTfingers from around 2003. We conclude by listening to “(Art at) the Speed of Life” by the Dusty Diamonds from 1994. Intro/outro: “Karma” from dust! (2000).
Lincoln established the Seattle-based singer/songwriter vehicle Red Jacket Mine in 2003, made three albums and an EP with them, and in 2017 released his first solo album, the jazzy, live-in-studio Trembling Frames.
We examine “Desperate Tormentors” and hear “How To Escape” and a bit of “Memory Up and Die” from that album, and discuss Red Jacket Mine: “Apricot Moon” from Lovers Lookout (2009) and “Jesus’s House” from Hello, Old Cloud (2008). For more, see lincolnbarrmusic.com.
Chris rose to fame on keys for Arizona’s country punks Green on Red from ’81–’87, and has since then been fronted 12 albums while doing session keyboard work.
We discuss “Pale Blonde Hell” by Chris Cacavas and Junkyard Love from Pale Blonde Hell (1994), “Do Me No Favors” from Anonymous (1997), and “Don’t Think Twice” from Bumbling Home from the Star (2002). We listen to “I Won’t Feel Well” from Love’s Been Re-Discontinued (2013). Opening music: the title track from Green on Red’s Gravity Talks. For more, see chris-cacavas.com.
Seth Swirsky was a highly successful staff songwriter for over 20 years, and has put out three solo albums and three albums as The Red Button since 2004. He’s a huge Beatles fan and has released a Beatles documentary Beatles Stories and has multiple books about psychology and baseball.
We discuss his heavily covered and sound-tracked tune “Love Is a Beautiful Thing”; you’ll hear the version by Al Green from Don’t Look Back (1993), then “Matchbook Cover” from Seth’s album Watercolor Day (2010) and “Picture” by The Red Button from As Far as Yesterday Goes (2011). The end suite is “Shine/Circles and Squares/Go” from his album Circles and Squares (2016). Intro music is from the title track to Instant Pleasure (2004). For more, see seth.com.
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John is an amazing guitarist who started in the late-’60s British blues boom, had his first compositions set to tape with Darryl Way’s Wolf in the early ’70s, then joined the latter line-ups of jazz-prog legends Soft Machine (replacing Alan Holdsworth) in the late ’70s. He’s collaborated with luminaries like violinist Stéphane Grappelli, guitar great John Williams, and Andy Summers from The Police, and released eight solo albums prior to teaming up with former members of Soft Machine for another six albums.
We discuss “One Glove” by Soft Machine from Hidden Details (2018), his rendition of Rodgers and Hart’s “My Romance” from I Didn’t Know (2004), and “Venerable Bede” from Ash (1994). We conclude by listening to “Blue Breeze” by John Etheridge and Vimala Rowe from Out of the Sky (2015). Intro/outro from “Huffin'” by Soft Machine from Alive and Well: Recorded in Paris (1978). For more, visit john-etheridge.com and softmachine.org.
Laura Davis-Chanin of the Phi Fic podcast drummed in the late ’70s NYC punk band The Student Teachers and has written about it in The Girl in the Back: A Female Drummer’s Life with Bowie, Blondie, and the ’70s Rock Scene (2018).
We discuss the book and listen to songs from Invitation To… The Student Teachers (2013): “Looks,” “Christmas Weather,” plus as an intro, “Channel 13.” Laura also co-wrote lyrics to two Blondie songs: we hear some of “Angels in the Balcony” from Autoamerican (1980) plus “Slow Motion” from Eat to the Beat (1979).
Christopher Millar played for about two decades with first-generation British punk band The Damned starting in 1976, and has now released his debut solo album, P.H.D. (Prison, Hospital, Debt).
We discuss “Dazy Bones” and “Rat’s Opus” from that 2018 album, then look back to The Damned’s “History of the World (Part One)” from The Black Album (1980), then end by listening to Rat’s cover of the Kraftwerk classic “Autobahn” with The Germans from Do Not Fuck With the Germans (2003). Intro/outro: “Love Song” by The Damned from Machine Gun Etiquette (1979). For more, visit ratscabies.com.
Byron is an in-demand session/touring bassist whose main band since 2004 has been NYC’s Ollabelle. We talk about “Losing You” and “Gypsy Wind” from his debut solo album, Disappearing Man (2018), plus “Gone Today” by Ollabelle from Riverside Battle Songs (2007), and finish with”Horizontal Man” by Lost Leaders from their 2014 eponymous album. Intro: “Heaven’s Pearls” by Levon Helm from Electric Dirt (2009). For more, visit byronisaacs.com.
Lindsay has released four albums and an EP of depressed alternative rock under the band name Gretchen’s Wheel since 2015, providing a modern model of accessible yet professional DIY recording.
We focus on Black Box Theory, covering “Untethered,” “Tatyana,” and “Plans,” plus “Save the Day” from Sad Scientist (2017). Intro: “Total Loss” from Fragile State (2015). For more, visit gretchenswheel.com.
Nashville singer/songwriter/fiction-writer Rod laid sheet rock for years before releasing his first album in 2001; he has now released ten albums of vivid Americana.
We focus on his new double album Out Past the Wires, discussing “Take Home Pay” and “Date of Grace” (with intro/outro from “Be My Bonnie”), then look back to “Rust Belt Fields” from Welding Burns (2011) and finally listen to “You’re Not Missing Anything” from Hang Your Hopes on a Crooked Nail (2014). More at rodpicott.com.
Prateek was named artist of the year for 2016 by MTV India, and has been releasing tasteful, lyrics-focused songs about relationships in English and Hindi since 2011.
We focus on his 2015 album Tokens and Charms: “Go,” “Oh Love,” and “Flames,” plus the 2017 single “Tum Jab Pas,” and the title track from his brand new EP cold/mess. Intro/outro: “Raat Raazi” (2013). For more, visit prateekkuhad.com.
Tara has long been building her heavy metal guitar skills, but has only recently gone public, building a huge social media following and now releasing Evil Enough, an album featuring musicians who’ve played with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc.
We discuss “Antidote” and “Banished from My Kingdom,” and close with “Unbreakable.” Opening music: “Gui-Tara Rises.” Hear more at taralynch.com.
Shawn started as a ’60s folk singer, went to England to cavort with the greats of classic rock, and emerged in the ’70s with ten albums of eclectic, progressive music with shamanic lyrics delivered with a twang.
We discuss “Woman” from Second Contribution (1971), “A Christmas Song” from Faces (1972) and “Mr. President” from Furthermore (1974), then play two songs from his new album, Continuance: “C’mon Round” and “Bach to the Fusion.” Opening music: “I’m a Loner (I’m a Drifter)” from I’m a Loner (1964). For more, see shawnphillips.com.
Phil was a core member of Roxy Music through the ’70s and early ’80s, has released 10+ solo albums since 1975 and many collaborations—appearing on around 80 albums in total—with an experimental yet tasteful guitar that’s sometimes mistaken for a keyboard or something else.
We discuss “No Church in the Wild” from The Sound of Blue (2015), which is a cover of the song by Jay Z and Kanye West based around a sample from Phil’s song “K-Scope” from the album of that name (1970). We then talk about “Wish You Well” from 6:00pm (2004) and the title track from Diamond Head (1975). Finally we listen to “Magdalena” from Live in Japan (2017). Intro music: “Over You” by Roxy Music from Flesh & Blood (1980).
For more, visit manzanera.com.
Nick has released 22 albums as The Bevis Frond since 1986, alternating jangle-pop with psychedelia and power-guitar rock… pretty much anything ’60s-flavored.
We discuss “Longships” from Example 22 (2015), “Opthalmic Microdots” from White Numbers (2013), and “Coming Round” from London Stone (1992). We conclude by listening to “Portobello Man” from Valedictory Songs (2000). Intro: “He’d Be a Diamond” from New River Head (1991). Hear more at bevisfrond.bandcamp.com.
As bassist/co-frontman for XTC, he released around 14 albums between 1978–2000, and for the first time since, he has a new release, the Great Aspirations EP now under the name TC&I.
We discuss “Scatter Me” and “Kenny” from this 2017 release, plus “Say It” an 2002 XTC song, and conclude by listening to “Where Did the Ordinary People Go?” the final 2005 XTC single. Intro music: “Making Plans for Nigel” from Drums and Wires (1979). For more, see facebook.com/tcandimusic.
David J. Haskins gained fame with Bauhaus in the late ’70s/early ’80s, gained more fame with Love and Rockets, and has since 1983 released around ten albums plus several EPs and other collaborations.
We discuss “The Auteur (Redux / Reprise)” a 2018 single (featuring Rose McGowan and Emily Jane White), “Vaudeville Ghost Light” from Carpe Noctem (2016), credited to M.C. Nightshade and the Theatre Bizarre Orchestra, and “Eulogy for Jeff Buckley” from Not Long for This World (2011). End song: “The Day the David Bowie Died” from Vagabond Songs (2017). Opening song: “No New Tale to Tell” by Love and Rockets from Earth, Sun, Moon (1987). For more, see davidjonline.com.
Sarah has recorded five solo albums since 1997, starting with traditional folk songs, sometimes guitar instrumentals, and now focusing on originals that mix British and American folk in a style influenced by Joni Mitchell, among others. She has lately pared back her songwriting to ensure that every note counts.
We discuss the title track and “The Silence above Us” from If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous (2018) and “Hardwick’s Lofty Towers” from The Plum Tree and the Rose (2012). Closing song: “Yellowstone” from Walking into White (2015). Opening instrumental: “The Day of Wrath, That Day,” also from the new album. For more, see sarahmcquaid.com.
Aaron was born into show business, staring young in L.A. in the early ’00s with All Hours, then went solo, moved to New York, became an actor, and has now released his first album in seven years, Wry Observer.
We discuss the title track from that album plus “Brooklyn at Dawn” (the intro music is from that too: “The Last to Die in Battle”). Then we look back to “Box Office Stud” by All Hours (2004) and finish by listening to “Bright Lights” from the album Aaron David Gleason (2010). Learn more at aarondavidgleason.com.
Amy has recorded nine albums of emotionally stark but often artistically decorated original folk music, punctuated by cover tunes like the opening music here, Townes Van Zandt’s “Buckskin Stallion Blues,” which appeared in the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
We discuss “Mouth to Mouth” from The Autopilot Knows You Best (2000), “The Nightjar’s Blues” from The Cimarron Banks (2010), and “Natural Arc” from Songs for Creeps (2006), which also contains our closer, “I’m A-Gone Down to the Greenfields.” Visit amyannelle.bandcamp.com.
On NEM#15, Craig introduced us to his songwriting style: How a hardcore aesthetic informs even his most syntho creations, and how whimsicality and beauty can coexist harmoniously. Craig has since then released the Adult Desire album, and returns to talk to us about the song “Safe Home/Fadeland” and about the Adult Desire 360 VR application. Intro: “Amnesian Wedding March.” Outro: “I Was a Soldier.” Visit craigwedren.com.
Billy now does press for many of his idols, but began as a drummer in music school and started Ant-Bee in the late ’80s, as a Zappa-esque improv live act and as a Beach Boys–psychedelic solo recording effort. He’s released four albums, increasingly featuring his clients.
We discuss two tracks from Electronic Church Muzik (2011): “Flutter-Bye, Butter-Flye” (feat. Michael Bruce) and “The Language of the Body” (feat. poetry by Gong’s Daevid Allen and layering on parts by Zappa alums). We then look back to two tracks from With My Favorite “Vegetables” & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994): “The Girl with the Stars in Her Hair” and a Beach Boys cover, “Do You Like Worms?” Opening/closing music: “Eating Chocolate Cake (In the Bath)” from Pure Electric Honey (1990). For more info, see ant-bee.com and glassonyonpr.com.
RHEMA as a six-piece band produced an album called Voyage of the Rock Aliens that accompanied their appearance in the film of that name. The band then broke up, but songwriters Marc and Jeffrey continued to work together on various projects, and have finally now produced a proper album as RHEMA called Shine, drawing on their ’80s roots but incorporating modern electronic music textures.
We discuss “Rebel Flame” and “The World Is So Small” and listen to “Life in Front of You” from that new album, and discuss one old song, “Combine Man,” specifically a 2009 Marc Jackson remix. Intro: “21st Century.” For more information, see rhemaband.com.
Arrica has released five albums and three EPs of floaty, poetic, California rock since 2006.
We discuss “Whole Lotta Lows” and “X-Ray Eyes” from Low as the Moon (2017) and “When the Clouds Hang This Low” from Let Alone Sea (2011). We conclude by listening to “On and On” by Dear County from Low Country (2016). Intro music: “Sail Away” from Antebellum (2010). For more, visit arricarose.com.
Jherek started off as bassist in the late ’90s for the Seattle art rock bands The Dead Science and Parenthetical Girls, and has released about five solo albums (and other things) since 2006, the last two being full-on orchestral works.
We discuss the title track from Cistern (2016), “The Nest” featuring Mirah from Composed (2012), and “Blackstar,” featuring Anna Calvi, from a David Bowie tribute with Amanda Palmer called Strung Out in Heaven (2016). We conclude by listening to “Eyes” feat. David Byrne, also from Composed. Opening/closing music: “Automatism” from Cistern. For more info, see jherekbischoff.com.
Mike fronts a hard-working Madison power trio in the glam rock vein that’s put out 7 albums and 7 EPs since 2000. He also runs (and records a new song every week for) a podcast about the occult.
We discuss “Sulfur” from The Wilderness of Almost Was and Never Were (2017), “Saturday Night Gospel” from Dangerous Times (2014), and “Prozac Girl” from Loser of the Year (2003). We conclude by listening to “We Are the Darkness” from The Slingshot Effect (2011). Opening music: “Stardust (Acoustic)” from Arthuriana (2013).
To celebrate year #2, previous guests return: Bradley (see #32) talks “Duet” from Take Out the Poison, Jeff (see #5) presents “Still Life with Broken Heart” from Emotional Terrorism, and Steve (see #6) discusses “Wind of Change” from A Tribute to the Bee Gees ’66 to ’78. Finally, hear Tyler Hislop (see #24) about his “Wounds and Nihilism (Feat. Mark Lint).” Opening music: “Dawning on Me” by Mark Lint.
Anthony was the original guitarist and a key songwriter in Genesis from ’67–’70, released some prog rock albums in the ’70s, then shifted largely to a mix of acoustic guitar pieces and synth soundscapes, often for soundtracks.
We discuss “Nocturne” from Seventh Heaven (2012, with Andrew Skeet), “From the Jaws of Death – Touching the Face of God” from Wildlife (recorded 1999) and “Magdalen” from Sides (1979). We then listen to “Sanctuary” from Private Parts & Pieces VIII: New England (1992). Opening music: “F# Demo (The Musical Box, Instrumental)” from 1970. End music: “Mystery Train III” from Private Parts & Pieces XI: City of Dreams (2012). For more information, see anthonyphillips.co.uk.
Richard garnered early fame as drummer for ’60s New Jersey garage band The Doughboys and has put out 11 albums, largely as a one-man band, since 1988.
We discuss the title tracks from Incognito (2017) and Cornerstone (1998) and “Agnostic’s Prayer” from Tiers and Other Stories (2011). End song: “And Then” from Incognito. Intro: “Falling Away” from Hey Man! (1990).
Learn more at richardxheyman.com.
Alejandro started as a punk guitarist for the The Nuns, moved to Austin in the ’80s and became a songwriter with True Believers. He has since put out 14+ solo albums of story-driven, lyrically intense, stylistically varied Texas rock.
We’ll be discussing “Beauty and the Buzz” from Burn Something Beautiful (2016), “Sally Was a Cop” from Big Station (2012), and “Pissed Off 2AM” from With These Hands (1996). End song: “Velvet Guitar” from A Man Under the Influence (2001). Opening: “Hard Road” from True Believers (1986). More at alejandroescovedo.com.
Annie fronted British symphonic rock band Renaissance for nine albums starting in 1971, but only in the late ’80s became a lyricist. She’s now released eight studio albums and two new Renaissance albums.
We discuss “Blessing in Disguise,” the title track from her 1994 album; “Grandine il Vento”, the title track from Renaissance’s 2013 album, and “Precious One” from Annie’s The Dawn of Ananda (2000). End song: “Symphony of Light,” also from Grandine il Vento.
Opening music: “Introlise” from Annie in Wonderland (1977) and Renaissance’s “Northern Lights” from A Song for All Seasons (1978). More at anniehaslam.com.
John gained semi-fame playing guitar with pop-punk Chicago-area legends Screeching Weasel starting in 1986, but became a band-leader/songwriter with eclectic-acoustic Even in Blackouts in 2002, featuring singer Liz Eldredge. He’s also an author, playwright, and juggler.
We discuss “Rapture in the Third Person” and “Motives Misunderstood in the Key of C” from EIB’s Thresholds from the Basement (2009) and “1,000 Stories” from The Fall of the House of Even (2006). End song: The new, otherwise unreleased EIB track “Reason” (rough mix). Intro music: “Talk to Me Summer” by Screeching Weasel from Anthem for a New Tomorrow (1993). Learn more at johnjugheadpierson.com.
Richard F. Walker has released 20+ albums, usually with his London space-rock band Amp. We discuss “Just Get It (Why Don’t You)” and “Les Ombres Sur la Lune” from Q Factors (A Mixtape) (2017) and “Tomorrow” from Stenorette (1988), and listen to “Levil Devil” from US (2005). Opening music is from Transmissions (part 1) (2005), and closing music is from “Mort Irritées” from AMP Studio’s Uncertainty Principles (2016). More at ampbase.net.
Frank has led punk band The Mr. T Experience in the Bay Area since 1985, and has also released three successful music-related books for teens since 2006.
We discuss “Down With the Universe” from King Dork Approximately (2016), “Big, Strange, Beautiful Hammer” from Yesterday Rules (2004), and “More Than Toast” from Our Bodies Our Selves (1993). We conclude by listening to “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend,” a 2014 single by Dr. Frank & the Bye-Bye Blackbirds. Opening/closing music: “Danny Partridge” from Everybody’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion (1986). Learn more at frankportman.com.
Don has composed and played jazz since the ’50s, was a Frank Zappa sideman through his classic ’60s albums and beyond, and has since released 20+ albums, scored 20 films, and has performed with numerous artists including John Lennon, Lou Rawls, and Nat King Cole. He has also been called “the father of modern synthesis” for his work in electronic music.
We discuss “Winds of Change” (3rd movement, 2001), “Palmer Park” (1975), and “Analog Heaven #7” (1975). End song: “Piano Solo” from TriAngular Bent (2016). Opening/closing music: “King Kong” from Uncle Meat by the Mothers of Invention (1969).
Kaki is a guitar virtuoso who has recorded eight albums and three EPs of largely instrumental work since 2003.
We discuss “Close Your Eyes & You’ll Burst into Flame,” from Everybody Loves You (2003), “Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be a Bad Person?” from Dreaming of Revenge (2008) (intro music: “Pull Me Out Alive” from that album), and “Trying to Speak II” (feat. Ethel), from The Neck Is a Bridge to the Body (2015). End song: “Cargo Cult” from Glow (2012).
For more info visit kakiking.com.
David has recorded seven albums since 2000. Usually one wants to avoid the term “Beatlesque,” but David is a Beatles freak who once recorded his performances all 209 Beatles songs over 209 days.
We discuss “Time to Go” from David Brookings and the Average Lookings (2016), “Dead Battery” from Chorus Verses the Bridge (2005), and the title track from Obsessed (2007). We conclude by listening to “If I Don’t Make It Back” from The Maze (2013). Opening music: “You’re Right, It Went So Wrong” from the current album.
Kim is a poet, archivist, and New York City tour guide. We discuss his album plum plum featuring “The Dream Band”: his producer friend Don Fleming, Joe Bouchard (Blue Öyster Cult), Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and NEM guest Gary Lucas. We discuss “Circle’s Gotta Go” and “Arizona Burning,” and conclude with “Claudine.” We also discuss “I Comb My Hair with My Hand” by Jad Fair and the Shapir-O’Rama from We Are the Rage (1996). Intro: “East Side Story” by When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water from Bill Kennedy’s Showtime (1993). Follow Kim on Facebook.
Britain’s Wishbone Ash started in 1969 and has released 25+ albums, with guitarist/singer Andy the sole member left from the original band.
We discuss “American Century” from Blue Horizon (2014), “Master of Disguise” from Bare Bones (1999), and “Roads of Day to Day” (1970, released on First Light, 2007). End song: “In Crisis” from The Power of Eternity (2007). Intro music: “Blowin’ Free” from Argus (1972). Visit wishboneash.com for more.
Californian-turned-British singer-songwriter Anton has released over 25 albums since 1993, generally moving from alterna-guitar-pop to colorful-pychedelic, but remaining tuneful.
We discuss “High Noon” and (and listen to “Swindon”) from Magic Act (2016), “Dust Beneath My Wings” by Three Minute Tease (2011) and its subsequent incarnations, and the title track from In the Village of the Apple Sun (2006). Intro: “King of Missouri” (2002). Learn more at antonbarbeau.com.
Scott established himself fronting Seattle’s Young Fresh Fellows starting in 1981, then around 1994 joined R.E.M. as a recording/touring member and started The Minus 5 with R.E.M.’s Peter Buck.
We discuss The Minus 5’s “In the Ground” from Dungeon Golds (2015), “All the Time” from their Old Liquidator (1995), and “Weymer Never Dies” from their Of Monkees and Men (2016). We conclude by listening to “Another Ten Reasons” by Young Fresh Fellows from Tiempo de Lujo (2012). Intro music: “Two Lives” from their Topsy Turvy (1985). For more information, see minus5.com and youngfreshfellows.net.
Most famous for her ’90s Boston grunge band Come, Thalia has since 2001 put out six albums and some EPs, with a stripped-down yet not acoustic sound that makes good use of her low, smoky voice and tasteful electric guitar, often accompanied by viola and/or piano with prominent drums.
We discuss “Northwest Branch” by The Thalia Zedek Band from Eve (2016); opening music is “Afloat,” also from that album. We then cover “Desanctified (Full Circle)” from Been Here and Gone (2001) and “Hell is in Hello” from Trust Not Those in Whom Without Some Touch of Madness (2004). End song: “Regatta” from the self-titled debut album (2016) by a collaboration called E.
Learn more at thaliazedek.bandcamp.com and Thalia’s Facebook page. Hear bonus audio for this episode by supporting NEM at patreon.com/nakedlyexaminedmusic or through a a PEL podcast network membership.
After stints with The Three O’Clock and Jellyfish, Jason co-fronted The Grays and then worked solo, also playing with Beck, Aimee Mann, Paul McCartney, etc. and acting as one-man-backing-band/producer for other artists.
Songs: “Sincero Amore” and (ending with) “Horror Show” from Make It Be (2017) with R. Stevie Moore, “The Lie in Me” from All Quiet on the Noise Floor (2009), and “Both Belong,” by The Grays from Ro Sham Bo (1994). We conclude by listening to “Horror Show,” also from Make It Be. Opening music: “I Live” from Jason Falkner Presents Author Unknown (1996). For more, see jasonfalkner.com.
Chandler was a comedian in the ’70s, launched a rock group in the ’80s, and has released dozens of albums, fronting multiple bands at a time.
We discuss “The Strongman of North America” by The Chandler Travis Philharmonic from Waving Kissyhead Vol. 2 & 1 (2017), “The Crutch of Music” by the Catbirds from Catbirds Say Yeah (2012), and “Fluffy” by the Philharmonic from Llama Rhymes (2003). We conclude by listening to another Kissyhead track, “By the Way.” Opening music: “Long As You Have Somebody Else” by The Incredible Casuals from That’s That (1987). For more, see chandlertravis.com.
Steve released six studio albums with Genesis between 1971 and 1977 and twenty-five solo albums that feature his virtuosic guitar and the spirit of ’70s prog rock. He now works with producer/keyboardist Roger King to create dense, cinematic soundscapes.
We discuss “In the Skeleton Gallery” (and listen to “Anything but Love”) from The Night Siren (2017), “Love Song to a Vampire” from Wolflight (2014), and “Omega Metallicus” from Darktown (1999). Opening/closing music: Steve’s solo from “Firth of Fifth” from Genesis’s Selling England by the Pound (1973). More at hackettsongs.com.
Lys is a Connecticut singer/guitarist with an eccentric country twang who’s put out two albums, plus EPs and other stuff since 2003. We discuss “M.K.” from the I’m a Boy EP and also get to hear “Nothing to It” and a bit of the title track from that EP. We also address “Silver” from Winged Victory (2013), and “When I Was a Tiger Lily” from Three Songs (2006). Opening music: “Little Wren” from Lys Guillorn (2003). More at lysguillorn.com.
Starting with the Dream Syndicate in the early ’80s in L.A. and then going solo in 1990, Steve has released over 35 albums of lyrically driven rock.
We discuss “Resolution” from Northern Aggression (2010), “Punching Holes in the Sky” from Crossing Dragon Bridge (2008), and “There Will Come a Day” from Here Come the Miracles (2001). We wrap up with “I’m Not Listening,” a 2007 recording released on Sketches in Spain (2013). Opening music: “Tell Me When It’s Over” by Dream Syndicate from The Days of Wine and Roses (1982). Learn more at stevewynn.net.
Karla has put out four albums since 2006 with the Corner Laughers, a Bay Area band that has been categorized as “twee” given Karla’s ukulele, sparkly Brit-pop ornamentation, and similarly colorful lyrics.
We discuss “Queen of the Meadow” from Matilda Effect (2015), the Nov. 2016 single “Don’t Hush, Darling,” and “Grasshopper Clock” from Poppy Seeds (2012). We also listen to “Fairytale Tourist” from Matilda Effect, and the opening/closing music is from that album’s “Midsommar.” Learn more at cornerlaughers.com.
Glenn’s albums with the Feelies since 1980 have a unique sound, due to his insistence that production is part of the composing process.
We discuss “Been Replaced” and “Gone Gone Gone,” from The Feelies’ new album Here Before, then “Larmaie” from Glenn’s instrumental solo album Incidental Hum (2015). We conclude by listening to “Should Be Gone” by the Feelies from Here Before (2011). Intro music: “The High Road” by the Feelies from The Good Earth (1986). Outro music: “Like Yesterday” by Wake Ooloo from Stop the Ride (1996). Learn more at thefeeliesweb.com.
Clive is the guy who dreamt up the melodies and initial motifs for “The Promise” and other songs for When in Rome in the late ’80s, and after leaving the business for a while, the continued use of that one big song (most notably for the Napoleon Dynamite closing sequence) enabled his return to touring and recording.
We discuss two songs from his solo album Independence (2013), “Fall” and “Just Another Love Song,” and then look back to the 1988 self-titled When in Rome album for “Something Goin’ On.” We close by listening to a 2016 single performed with his fellow WIR frontman Andrew Mann, “Lost (Driving All Night).” The intro/outro music is of course “The Promise.” Hear more Clive at soundcloud.com/clive-farrington1.
Since 1988, Ken has put out several sparkly/grungy albums with The Posies, more under his own name and in various collaborations, played in the revived version of Big Star and in the touring band for R.E.M., and much more. He’s a busy guy!
We discuss “The Sound of Clouds” by the Posies from Solid States (2016), “Shittalkers!” and “Jesus Was an Only Child” from his solo album Danzig in the Moonlight (2012), and “Turn My Back on the Sun” from Big Star’s In Space (2005).
We close by listening to “Whatever Hell” by Holly and Ken from The Record (2015). Opening/closing music: “Solar Sister” by The Posies from Frosting on the Beater (1993).
Hear more at kenstringfellow.com.
Jonathan played in the ’80s with Camper van Beethoven and has since put out 40+ solo albums, sometimes with songs, sometimes guitar improvisations, or instrumental music for dance or film.
We discuss his lengthy art-rock songs with political content: “Sleep for a Hundred Years” and the title track from Superfluity (2017), then look back to “Civil Disobedience” from Edgy not Artsy (2003). End song: “Hey You (I Know You Know Me)” from All Attractions (2012). Opening music: “Auspicious Circles” from Site (2008). Closing music: “Still Wishing to Course” from Camper Van Beethoven (1986).
Learn more at jonathansegel.com.
Nik had some huge hits in the ’80s (e.g., “Wouldn’t It Be Good”) and has been described by Elton John as “the best songwriter of a generation.”
We discuss “These Tears” from his most recent album EI8HT (2012), “Lost” from You’ve Got to Laugh (2006), and the acoustic re-recording of 1984’s “The Riddle” for No Frills (2010). Closing song: “Men United” (2016), written for Prostate Cancer UK’s A Gift for Men United.
For more, visit nikkershaw.net.
Robbie has recorded 12 solo albums of crafty-lyric, country-folk music since 1996, including the new, Grammy-nominated Upland Stories. We discuss “America is a Hard Religion” and “Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals” from that album, then look back to “Where There’s a Road” from Georgia Hard (2005) and conclude with “I Told Her Lies” from South Mouth (1997). Opening/closing music: “Hamilton County Breakdown” a 1989 live recording released on The Very Best of Robbie Fulks. Learn more at robbiefulks.com.
The singer/guitarist shifted gears many times through Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets (which shifted from acoustic to electric to electronica), and has since put out five distinctive solo albums.
We discuss, from the collection Freedom I Love (2017), the title track and “Indie Boys”; and then “Christian Says” from Stripped (2014). End song: “Flame On” from the Hog Fever soundtrack (2016). Intro music: “So Alive” from Love and Rockets. Learn more at www.danielashmusic.com.
Todd held down the beat and wrote some songs for Grand Rapids, MI’s Molly in the ’90s through 2003, then wrote more songs and sang a bit for Dutch Henry for about ten years, then pushed forward to sing and write all the songs for his projects The Star Darts and now Cartorson.
Featuring Cartorson’s “The Last Time” and “Hearts on the Highway” from the new Richfield Skyline EP, “Say It” from Shooting Star Darts (2014) and “44 Days” by Dutch Henry from All That Space (2007). Opening music: Molly’s “Another Day of Regrets” from The Finger (2002). Learn more at toddlongmusic.com.
Asif led Canadian band MIR from 1998 to 2008, and has since recorded with real instruments for commercials and films, and released a one-man-band Police-influenced album Synesthesia in 2013.
We discuss the title track and “Electrical” from that album, also MIR’s “A Day in Your Life” from 7 Directions (2004). We conclude by listening to “The Chosen One” from MIR’s A Soldier’s Carol Christmas EP (2008). Intro music: “No Taxidermy,” produced for Empire Theaters.
Bradley fronts the Bay Area band, The Bye-Bye Blackbirds, which inhabits the niche of Byrds-influenced “power pop” even though Bradley really doesn’t like that term. We discuss the band’s 2016 boogie single “Let Your Hair Fall Down,” the country ballad “Hats” from Fixed Hearts (2011), and a pre-Blackbirds song eventually recorded for Fixed Hearts, “Elizabeth Park.”
End song: “All in Light” from We Need the Rain (2013); opening music: “The Ghosts Are Alright” from Houses & Homes (2008). Visit byebyeblackbirds.com.
Michael has played on 500+ recordings; he was the house bassist for the Windham Hill label in the ’80s and has put out seven solo albums. He expands what electric bass can do by using many tunings, even retuning on the fly using a custom-built system, using his bass as a percussion instrument, and sometimes playing multiple basses at once.
We discuss “Excuse Me, Mr. Manring” from Soliloquy(2005), and “My Three Moons” and “The Enormous Room,” both from Thonk (1994). The opening music is “Thunder Tactics” from Unusual Weather (1986), and we wrap up with “Unclear, Inarticulate Things” by Attention Deficit from Idiot King (2001).
Learn more at manthing.com.
Seven-time Grammy winning drummer Paul Wertico and his multi-talented cohort David Cain are two-thirds of Wertico, Cain and Gray, an improvisational, “impressionistic” jazz trio who have released five albums since 2013.
We discuss six tracks from Short Cuts: 40 Improvisations (2016) and “Where Brush Meets Flow (Go Van Gogh)” from Sound Portraits (2013). Intro music: “Destroy the Box” from Organic Architecture (2014).
Hear and see more at werticocainandgray.com.
Jason fattens out his eclectic guitar pieces by writing string and horn parts, and The Jason Seed Stringtet includes members of the Chicago Symphony sawing away furiously. Hear more at jasonseedmusic.com.
We’ll discuss “Ishtar,” a Bulgarian/Latin-inflected piece from In the Gallery (2013), “Any Night Now” a more traditional chamber jazz number from 2015, and “Mammoth” from the Jason Seed Exlier Ensemble’s album 3 (2008). We’ll wrap up by listening to “Pinch” from the Stringtet’s The Escapist (2010). Intro music: “Invocation” from In the Gallery.
Jill was part of a 3-woman vocal band in the ’80s called The Life is Grand Band, and then in 1995 released Songs About Sex & Depression, and only in 2015 unveiled her long-awaited study of the dark psychology of fairy tales, A Handmade Life.
We focus on this most recent project, discussing “Letters from Murdertown” and “Eyes of Fire,” and playing at the end “Walking on Glass.” Our third discussion song goes back to the previous album with “Everything Makes Me Cry.” Opening music is The Life Is Grand Band’s “Harry’s Song” from Feel Like Makin’ Art (1989).
Peter’s violin was a key part of Steeleye Span’s updating of traditional folk songs from 1971–2013. His original songs were among the group’s most heartfelt. We talk about being creative with traditional music, authenticity, and finally getting the hang of songwriting late in his career.
We discuss “We Shall Wear Midnight” from Steeleye Span’s Wintersmith (2013 with Terry Pratchett), “Bows of London” from Gigspanner’s Layers of Ages (2015), and “From a Lullaby Kiss” (2014 solo). End song: “Who Told the Butcher” from Bedlam Born (2000 Steeleye); intro: “The Butterfly” from Lipreading the Poet (2008 Gigspanner).
This orchestral tubist and pop songwriter has composed fun new additions to the solo tuba repertoire and classically influenced piano-vocal songs.
We discuss “Mendota” and “Love for My Own” and listen to “Disco Tubas” from Dare to Entertain (2015), and also discuss some of his “Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra.” More at patdoty.com.
Bill was the original drummer for Yes, a default member of King Crimson, and briefly played with Genesis and the late ’70s supergroup U.K., but most of his output has been with his own jazz-inflected Earthworks and Bruford, as rock proved too confining for his rhythmic and tonal creativity.
We discuss King Crimson’s “One more Red Nightmare” from Red (1974), “Thistledown” from If Summer Had Its Ghosts by Bill Bruford, Eddie Gomez and Ralph Towner (1992), and “The 16 Kingdoms of the 5 Barbarians” from Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song by Bill Bruford/Michiel Borstlap (2004). We also hear “Hell’s Bells” and the title track of One of a Kind by Bruford (1979), plus “Five Per Cent for Nothing” from Fragile (1972) by Yes.
Tyler (editor of this podcast!) can rap endlessly, and has filled up ten albums with his machine-gun musings on life and politics. A great intro to indie hip-hop for the ignorant (like me)!
Songs: “Negative Space,” “Long Way Down,” and “Ciphers” (feat Grimm) from Long Way Down (2015), and “Kids of the Earth” from Quest for Meaning (2008).
Hear more at soundcloud.com/sacrifice.
Sean writes music for video games. He uses five computers, with massively realistic orchestra sounds, and he performs every part with a breath controller for expression.
We discuss “Beyond the Desert” (from Empires Apart), “Mega Adventure Time” (from Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Game for Gear VR), and “Celestial Light” (from Stellar Wanderer).
We conclude by listening to a non-video-game tune, “Salve Regina” featuring Fr. Gabriel. Opening music is “Dr. Evil’s Lair of Doom.”
Jon has been a key member of art collective The Mekons since 1977, injecting country/folk/reggae/etc. influences into a seminal punk band to create an inimitable melange that has put out 19 albums, plus he puts out solo albums and is involved with many side projects including the country-punk Waco Brothers.
We discuss “Lil’ Ray O’ Light” from his solo album Here Be Monsters (2014) and two Mekons songs: “This Funeral Is for the Wrong Corpse” recorded in 1991 and released on I Have Been to Heaven and Back: Hen’s Teeth and Other Lost Fragments of Un-Popular Culture, Volume 1 in 1999, and “Cockermouth” from Natural (2007).
We conclude by listening to the title track from the 2016 Waco Brothers album Going Down in History. Intro/outro music is from “Mephis Egypt” from The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll (1989).
Trey is master of a many-stringed type of guitar that you play by tapping with both hands at the same time. His mentor was Robert Fripp, with whom he played in the seminal progressive rock band King Crimson. He has also released over a dozen exploratory solo albums. Learn more at treygunn.com.
We talked about “Kuma” from his solo album The Third Star (1996), “Level Five” from King Crimson’s The Power to Believe, and “God’s Monkey” from the David Sylvian/Robert Fripp album The First Day (1993).
We conclude by listening to Trey’s current touring group The Security Project, as they play the Peter Gabriel classic “No Self Control” from Live 1 (2016). Beginning and end music is from Trey’s Live and Hugo House EP (2015).
Dave is a consummate craftsman in the acoustic singer-songwriter vein, but with the added bonus that he’s an amazing guitar player, who for 15 years or so has acted as sideman for ’70s Brit-legend Al Stewart, i.e., filling in the entirety of the musical palette apart from Al’s singing and strumming. And Dave has a philosophy Ph.D., and put that to use in crafting his most recent album Spinoza’s Dream (2016), where each song reflects a particular philosopher.
We talk about the title track from that album, plus two songs from Step Up (2011): “Sheila Won’t Be Coming Home” (a duet with Al Stewart) and “Descartes in Amsterdam” (originally written and recorded in 1997). We finish by listening to “All Good” from the new album. The opening music is Dave’s instrumental version of Al’s hit “Year of the Cat” from Wordless Rhymes (2005).
Learn more at davenachmanoff.com.
Chad’s 2015 album Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are has received heaps of nice reviews, with its carefully crafted, groove-oriented soundscapes and cinematic lyrics. We discuss “Afrikaner Barista” and “Steven & Tiwonge,” and then go back to Beauty Pill’s first release with “The Idiot Heart” from the Cigarette Girl from the Future EP (2001).
We close by listening to “The Prize,” a cover of an Arto Lindsay song. The opening music is “A Good Day” by Chad’s previous band, Smart Went Crazy, from Con Art (1997). Learn more at www.beautypill.com.
Jill is a big personality, rivaling Elvis Costello in the creation of acerbic, stylistically varied singer-songwriter material, and shes been putting out tuneful, story-laden albums since 1990. Visit jillsobule.com.
We discuss “Jetpack” from Underdog Victorious (2004) and get to meet her frequent co-writer Robin Eaton, “Empty Glass” (co-written with Elise Thoron) from The California Years (2009), and “Pilar (Things Here Are Different)” from Things Here Are Different (1990). Finally, we hear a new recording of her political manifesto “America Back.” The intro/outro music is “Supermodel” from her 1995 self-titled album.
Carrie fronted Seattle grunge favorite Hammerbox in the early ’90s, then moved to the more poppy guitar rock band Goodness for the latter part of the decade, and released three solo albums in the ’00s. The overall movement is from harsh exuberance to quiet reflectivity, and Carrie’s role evolved with her starting off as new newbie to rock bands singing over already-composed music and ending up in a much more controlling position, as she experiments with different musicians to get deep textures.
We discuss “No” from Hammerbox’s Numb (1993), “Cozy” from Goodness’s Anthem (1998), and “Reflection” from her solo album Home (2000). We also listen to “Coat of Arms” from the Rockfords’ self-titled 2000 album (a band that features members of Goodness as well as Mike McCready from Pearl Jam), and the opening music is Hammerbox’s single “When 3 is 2,” also from No.
Narada started as a fusion drummer in the ’70s (with Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, etc.) then released numerous solo albums and produced and wrote for artists like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, and many more. He believes in working fast: creating a mood and getting the most out of it.
We discuss “Freedom” (written by Richie Havens) from Evolution (2015), “I Shoulda Loved Ya” from The Dance of Life (1979), and the title track from Garden of Love Light (1976). We also listen to “Billionaire on Soul Street,” also from Evolution. The opening music is from “Freeway of Love” which Narada wrote and produced for Aretha Franklin, and the outro music is from “How Will I Know?” which Narada produced and wrote the verses to for Whitey Houston.
Learn more about Narada at naradamichaelwalden.com.
Craig led Shudder to Think from 1986 to 1998 and has since had a solo career and done soundtrack work. Shudder to Think was a band that started as part of Washington DC’s “hardcore” scene, but challenged musical conventions to try to achieve U2-level success with Captain-Beefheart-level weirdness (they failed). We discuss their song “Pebbles” from Get Your Goat (1992), then go post-Shudder to “Show Down” by Craig’s short-lived pop-dance band, Craig Wedren & Baby. Then we talk about working on assignment on “I Am the Wolf, You Are the Moon,” for Wet, Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. We also listen to “Heaven Sent” from Crag’s album Wand (2011).
The opening music is “X-French Tee Shirt” from Pony Express Record (1994) and the closing music is the theme from The State. Learn more at craigwedren.com.
After serving a stint with the Flaming Lips, Jonathan has been putting out albums with Mercury Rev since 1991. Over time, their music has shifted from noisy alternative rock to symphonic, soundtrack pop songs… still psychedelic, but now with an unapologetically Disneyesque influence, with the magic of nature swirling out through harp glissandos and french horns, all standing behind a simple, stark melody delivered by Jonathan’s high, Neil-Youngesque voice, which sings of nature and things more abstract.
We discuss “Autumn’s in the Air” from The Light In You (2015), “Holes” from Deserter’s Songs (1998), and “Empire State (Son House in Excelsis)” from See You on the Other Side (1995). We also listen to “Central Park East” also from the new album and intro music is “Car Wash Hair” from Yerself Is Steam (1991).
Learn more about Mercury Rev at mercuryrev.com.
Beth fronted Clear Blue Betty from 2000–2007, then in 2009 became a solo artist, co-founding Madison’s Girl’s Rock camp and letting music consume all of her professional life. She’s a classic singer-songwriter whose mission is to help others unlock their creative rockery.
We talk about “Wrong Side of Gone” from the Beth Kille Band’s 2015 EP Stark Raving Songbird, “Dead Man in a Dream” from Dust (2012), and “Through the Walls” from the EP of that name by Clear Blue Betty (2007). Plus, “Little Bit Drunk” from Beth Kille’s Ready(2010). The intro music is “Go Back” from Clear Blue Betty’s Never Been a Rebel (2004).
Phil is the long-time string arranger for Tori Amos and has done a heap more production, arrangement, and keyboard work. He has a very deliberate production style, carefully crafting a very natural-sounding theatrical background using both cutting-edge and very old tools.
We talk about “Cross the Channel” from the Brik & Shenale EP (2012), Phil’s arrangement and production of “Stars that Speak” by Willie Deville from Pistola (2008), and “Pornokiss” from a project Phil initiated called The Royal Macadamians from their album Experiments in Terror (1990).
We also listen to a brand-new Shenale instrumental “Gautama in Love.” The opening music is from “Yes, Anastasia” by Tori Amos from Under the Pink (1994). Learn more about Phil at johnphilipshenale.com.
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Bob leads the Madison, WI band The Getaway Drivers; he shares the vocal duties with his wife Shiela Shigley. Though Bob has displayed a lot of affection toward old-timey, world-weary music since starting off his major songwriting efforts around 2000 at the ripe age of 28ish, The Getaway Drivers’ new album Bellatopia is a conscious attempt to break with that, though Bob still likes telling stories informed by nostalgia for a long-gone past.
We discuss “Suburban Summer Shine” and “Signs” from the new album, as well as “Stuck” from the Bob Manor 2005 album Ghosts of Yesterday. We end by listening to “Stay” from The Getaway Drivers (2006). The opening/end music is from “A Call Out” from the new album.
In 1986 Nick van Eede released a song (“I Just Died in Your Arms”) that will be played long after we are all dead. But he’s got a lot more going on than that, and on his new album (still under the moniker “Cutting Crew”) he’s recorded his best songs from the last decade without regard for continuity with the sound that made him famous.
We discuss “Reach for the Sky” from The Scattering (1989), “Berlin in Winter” from Add to Favourites, “Frigid as England” from Compus Mentus (1992), and wrap up by listening to “Looking for a Friend,” also from the new album. Learn more at cuttingcrew.biz.
Roderick Wolgamott Romero founded and fronted the Seattle 90s space rock band Sky Cries Mary. So how does a poet get a band? Is a poet’s process different from a typical lyricist’s?
We discuss “Gliding” from Taking the Stage Live: 1997–2005 (2011), “December Snow” from Roderick’s in-progress project One Point Moment Still (featuring Romanian techno duo We’d), and “Queen of Slug Theater” from Moonbathing on Sleeping Leaves (1997).
We also listen to “You Are” from Sky Cries Mary’s final studio album, Small Town (2007), and the opening/closing music is “Walla Walla” from A Return to the Inner Experience (1993).
Tim describes himself as not a singer, but a writer with a band, and he shouted at the front of Too Much Joy in the late’ 80s–’90s and has since recorded as Wonderlick while working as a big dog in the digital music industry with Google, Rhapsody, and now Freeform.
We discuss “King of Beers” from Cereal Killers (1991), “Donner Lake” from Wonderlick (2002), “Just Like a Man” from Mutiny (1992), and also listen to “Extraordinary People” from Wonderlick’s Super (2015). Read Tim’s words at tbquirk.com, and toomuchjoy.com.
Gary is a guitar virtuoso who’s put out more than 30 albums, typically by writing guitar instrumentals that then get a melody and words added by a singer/songwriter, the most famous of these being Jeff Buckley (Gary wrote a book about it!), but also Joan Osborne, and he started out playing with Captain Beefheart.
We discuss “Will O’ the Wisp” (a new instrumental), “Overture” (with singer Jann Klose), and “The Wall” (from his album of Chinese pop The Edge Of Heaven. We also listen to “The Kid” (with Peter Hammill), and talk about working with all these singers, working intimately with your instrument, and putting out music that is experimental yet accessible. Learn more at garylucas.com.
Steve is a one-man band, overdubbing his compositions both in jazz (steel drum!) and pop/rock (featuring his unique and sometimes disco-high voice). He’s also drummed and/or fronted bands (including one in college with your host Mark). The common thread through all of this is a love of his craft: a dedication to creation in the studio, whether or not anyone hears the result.
We discuss “P.I.” from his last original full pop album to date, Acoustinaut (2002); his jazz number “Perseverence” from the 2013 EP Where You Going with That?; and “Darkness” from his full-band album BAMF! (1997). Plus we hear the 2012 single “Warren Zombie Apocalypse.” Get Steve’s music at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/StevePetrinko.
Jeff was the voice of JudyBats until ’94, and is now Heiskell. He sings with character, or characters, always articulate, overly introspective, with intimacy issues. We discuss his current status as happy, self-funded, free-styled, hands-off yet obsessive compulsive solo artist and his high-pressure, compromise-filled time on a major label that led him to quit music altogether for a while.
Songs covered: “Firefiles” and “Just Can’t Say” from Heiskell’s Arriving (2015) and “What We Lose” from the JudyBats’ Full-Empty (1994). Plus we listen to “Our Story” from Down in the Shacks Where the Satellite Dishes Grow (1992). Learn more at heiskellmusic.com.
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Gareth Mitchell is a post-rock academic, an innovative guitarist who now uses recorded splices of treated guitar (among other things) made into loops to meticulously construct electronic music, as on his upcoming album, 72. We dive deep into his tracks “Circle” and “Decay” from this album and get a taste of his dreaming singer/songwriter material with “Sovereign” from Spectre (2012). We also debut the track “Granulations.”
Gareth is as thoughtful an artist as you could possibly want to talk to, and really gives us some great insight into his unique approaches to composition. Learn more at garethmitchell.info.
Bonus audio from this discussion and preview access to the new album are available by signing up to support this podcast (a $5 donation).
Kevin Godley is a multi-media master, having directed many of the coolest music videos you’ve ever seen. But before that, he was half of Godley & Creme and 1/4 of 10cc, singing, drumming, and mostly coming up with ideas, ideas, and more ideas. Today he runs Whole World Band, a platform for collaborative video creation, and recently released his iBook autobiography Spacecake, but he still performs on occasion, and for the first time produced some solo music as part of his soundtrack to the audioplay Hog Fever.
We first discuss his song from that project, “Confessions” (2015), then “Punchbag” from the Godley & Creme album L (1978), “Barry’s Shoes” from GG06 (2006), and finally play “Lost Weekend” (feat. Sarah Vaughan) from Consequences (1977).
Fritz maintains a cool, direct front-man persona even while engaging in self-help, snarling social commentary, and referencing classic literature. He aims to write simple, repetitive songs that catch you and hit you and make you their dog. He’s been out there since the ’80s, moving around the country from band to band, but consistently delivering the goods.
We discuss “Spray Job” (The Bishops, 1994), “Try Something New” (Punchy, 2001), and “When I Say Jump” (Crown Vic, 2013), and also play “I’m on a Leash” (Crown Vic, 2008). Learn more about Fritz at fritzbeermusic.com.
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Welcome to Nakedly Examined Music, an offshoot of “The Partially Examined Life” focusing on the head and heart of songwriting. The front man of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven joins Mark Linsenmayer to discuss his songs: “All Her Favorite Fruit,” “I Sold the Arabs the Moon,” and “Take the Skinheads Bowling.” Plus “Almond Grove.” Learn more at davidlowerymusic.com.