C86 Show - Indie Pop
Mega City Four special with Danny Brown in conversation

Mega City Four special with Danny Brown in conversation

August 29, 2019

Mega City Four special with Danny Brown in conversation - talking about life in the band & much much more - with David Eastaugh 

Mega City Four were an English indie rock band formed in Farnborough, Hampshire, who obtained popularity throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. Mega City Four consisted of guitarist and vocalist Wiz, his brother and rhythm guitarist Danny Brown, bassist Gerry Bryant and drummer Chris Jones. According to Uncut magazine, the group "earned a reputation across the globe as an exciting live band".

Wiz and Bryant were in a band together at school called 'Stallion', who performed two shows together. One of the shows took place at Cove Secondary School (where "Stallion will come for you" stickers were handed out in an attempt to bolster the bands following) and the show was concluded when the school cut the power. Wiz, seeking more independence to write his own music, decided he wanted to form a new band with Bryant and Danny Brown, named 'Capricorn', after the brothers' shared the star sign.

Capricorn formed in June 1982. They consisted of drummer Martin Steib, vocalist and guitarist Wiz, rhythm guitarist Danny and bassist Gerry. The band had a personal fallout in regards to musical direction and dissolved in 1986. A four-track demo was recorded in 1982, and they released one demo, titled 'The Good News Tape' in 1985.

The trio of Gerry, Danny and Wiz maintained closeness and enlisted Chris Jones (who drummed in local band Exit East) to join their new group. The new name, initially suggested by Steib in the Capricorn era, was decided as Mega City Four. The group were officially formed in 1987 and the band's career started with performing gigs around their local town of Farnborough before making their vinyl debut in September 1987 with "Miles Apart"/"Running In Darkness"[2]. The single led to a round of gigs with fellow punk-influenced bands like Senseless Things and Snuff.

"Miles Apart" and "Running" were reissued (separately) in 1988 on the independent label Decoy, along with the more melodic "Distant Relatives" and "Less Than Senseless". A healthy following latched on to them quickly, and by 1988 the group were performing to packed audiences on a regular basis. Continuing on their local success, the band would eventually release their 1989 debut album, Tranzophobia.

The band continued to tour extensively in the UK, Europe and North America, working with bands including Les Thugs, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machineand Doughboys, amongst many others. The band's second studio album, Who Cares Wins, was released in 1990. Extensive touring across Europe began again, with the band performing in the Reading Festival that year. Who Cares Wins was followed by a compilation album of their early 7" singles, called Terribly Sorry Bob (1991). The band subsequently moved to a major record label to record two further studio albums, Sebastopol Rd. (1992) (recorded by Jessica Corcoran at London's Greenhouse Recording Studios) and Magic Bullets (1993).

This album produced the singles Wallflower and Iron Sky, which both placed 69 and 48 in the music charts respectively. After falling out with their record label, they moved to Fire Records to record their final studio album, Soulscraper (1996). In addition to their studio albums, the band also released a live album, a Peel Sessions disc, and a number of singles. The British music journalist, Martin Roach, wrote a biography of the band, "Mega City Four: Tall Stories and Creepy Crawlies", published in 1993.

The Red Guitars with Lou Duffy-Howard

The Red Guitars with Lou Duffy-Howard

August 27, 2019

The Red Guitars special with Lou Duffy-Howard in conversation.

 

The Red Guitars were an English indie rock band active from 1982 to 1986. Based in Hull, the Red Guitars' first single "Good Technology" was a minor hit, selling 60,000 copies. Their singles "Marimba Jive" and "Be With Me" both reached number one on the UK Indie Chart.

Jerry Kidd (born Jeremy Kidd, vocals) and Hallam Lewis (guitarist) met in 1979 at a Community Arts programme in Hull. The two formed the short-lived project, Carnage in Poland. After several line-up changes, including the addition of Mark Douglas, the band changed their name to the Czechs, billing themselves as 'eastern European reggae'. After more line-up changes, including the departure of Douglas, the Czechs abandoned their name and reggae sound, becoming the Red Guitars.

Playing a mixture of punk, blues, electrified folk and African rhythms, the Red Guitars built a small but loyal national following, playing mostly benefit shows for left-wing causes.[citation needed]

In 1982, the band recorded their first single "Good Technology". In keeping with the band's anti-corporate ideology, the Red Guitars released the single on their own record label, Self Drive Records, selling 60,000 copies.[citation needed] The video to "Good Technology" was broadcast on the cult 1980s Channel 4 music TV show The Tube, as part of the show's Hull music special.

Constant touring to support follow-up singles "Fact", "Steeltown" (The John Peel Session version of which also featured on the Four Your Ears Only EP – an aural collection which included Luddites, Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry and Party Day) and "Marimba Jive",[3] added to the daily pressures of running a record label resulted in internal pressures in the Red Guitars, culminating in the departure of Kidd in 1984, two months after the release of debut album Slow to Fade. The band continued on without Kidd for a further two years, bringing on Robert Holmes for vocals, but failed to achieve the previous critical or commercial success, although "Be With Me" also reached the top spot on the UK Indie Chart in May 1985.

The Red Guitars disbanded in 1986 after their appearance at the Pukkelpop festival near Hasselt, Belgium. Two of the ex-band members, Hallam Lewis and Lou Howard, formed another group, The Planet Wilson. They were joined by Grant Ardis (drums and ancillaries). Howard was still on bass and Lewis on guitar and vocals. In 1988 they released the album In the Best of All Possible Worlds (on Virgin Records) and in 1989 they released the album Not Drowning but Waving (on Records of Achievement). Jerry Kidd released a solo single "Petals and Ashes (a song for Emma Goldman)" in 1985 (on Self Drive Records), after leaving the Red Guitars: it had a mix of "Crocodile Tears" on the b-side. Lewis went on to run a recording studio in Hull. Holmes released a solo album in 1989, entitled Age of Swing, and has released a series of recordings since 2015 on YouTube under the title "Robert Holmes Channel Two"

Jeanette Leech - Fearless: The Making of Post-Rock

Jeanette Leech - Fearless: The Making of Post-Rock

August 26, 2019

Jeanette Leech is a writer, researcher, DJ, and music historian who contributes regularly to magazines including Folk Roots and Shindig! Jeanette Leech is talking about her latest book, 'Fearless: The Making of Post Rock', with David Eastaugh  

In 1994, the music critic Simon Reynolds coined a new term: post-rock. It was an attempt to give a narrative to music that used the tools of rock but did something utterly different with it, broadening its scope by fusing elements of punk, dub, electronic music, minimalism, and more into something wholly new. Post-rock is an anti-genre, impossible to fence in. Elevating texture over riff and ambiance over traditional rock hierarchies, its exponents used ideas of space and deconstruction to create music of enormous power. From Slint to Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tortoise to Fridge, Mogwai to Sigur Ros, the pioneers of post-rock are unified by an open-minded ambition that has proven hugely influential on everything from mainstream rock records to Hollywood soundtracks and beyond. 'The doors were blown open for me on everything, says Kieran Hebden (Fridge/Four Tet). 'I didn t think in terms of genre almost ever again. Drawing on dozens of new interviews and packed full of stories never before told, FEARLESS explores how the strands of post-rock entwined, frayed, and created one of the most diverse bodies of music ever to huddle under one name.

The Black Watch special with John Andrew Fredrick

The Black Watch special with John Andrew Fredrick

August 19, 2019

The Black Watch special with John Andrew Fredrick in conversation with David Eastaugh

The Black Watch is an American independent rock band from Santa Barbara, California, United States, whose only constant member has been singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter, John Andrew FredrickThrough their twenty years in the recording industry, the group has affiliated with at least eight different record labels.

Fredrick formed the band in 1987 after earning his Ph.D. in English from University of California, Santa Barbara. After recording St. Valentine and releasing it on eskimo, Fredrick's own label, violinist J'Anna Jacoby joined the group and the two of them formed the nucleus of the band until she left the group in 2003.

The Black Watch has recorded and toured consistently throughout its history except for a brief period in 1997 when the band broke up. During this hiatus, Fredrick wrote The King of Good Intentions, a semi-autobiographical novel about an indie rock band. The band recorded a CD of the same title intended as a companion piece to the novel.

In 2008, guitarist and singer Steven Schayer (formerly of the New Zealand band The Chills) joined, and Fredrick published another book of fiction, The Knucklehead Chronicles.

In 2013, The band released The End of When on Pop Culture Press Records.

Blyth Power special with Joseph Porter

Blyth Power special with Joseph Porter

August 12, 2019

Blyth Power special with Joseph Porter in conversation

Blyth Power are a British rock band formed in 1983 by singer and drummer Joseph Porter, formerly of Zounds and The Mob. Blyth Power's music shows strong influences from punk rock and folk music, and the band members have described their sound as a cross between The Clash, Steeleye Span and The Rubettes.

Established in 1983 and named after a railway locomotive, the one constant in an ever-shifting lineup has been drummer, vocalist, and songwriter Joseph Porter (real name Gary James Hatcher, born 21 February 1962 in Templecombe, Somerset). The band's lyrics often deal with episodes from history, ranging from the Trojan War to the Cod War — as well as aspects of English culture such as cricket, village life and trains. Porter is an avowed trainspotter, and in August 1998 the band appeared on the LWT television programme Holy Smoke! in a slot in which musicians discussed their individual religions — with trainspotting cited as his religion.

Since 1993, Blyth Power recordings have been released on their own label, Downwarde Spiral. Since 2000 they have cut back on their touring schedule due to various personal commitments, but they have organised an annual mini-festival, the Blyth Power Ashes. The festival takes place in August of each year, and combines live music with a cricket match featuring band members and their associates. From 2011 the event moved to The Plough, in Farcet Fen near Peterborough due to its ever-increasing popularity. From 2015 The Ashes takes place at The Hunters Inn in Longdon, near Tewkesbury.

Joseph Porter has also been involved with various side-projects, such as doing solo guitarist/vocalist performances and collaborating in two other bands, Red Wedding and Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

Nirvana special with Danny Goldberg

Nirvana special with Danny Goldberg

August 6, 2019

Danny Goldberg - Nirvana manager from 1990 to 1994 - talking about life in music, Kurt Cobain & much more PLUS his new book 'Serving The Servant - Remembering Kurt Cobain.'

 

Holly Lerski special

Holly Lerski special

August 4, 2019

Holly Lerski talking about her life in music

Holly Lerski formed Angelou with guitarist Jo Baker in 1996. They recorded their first demo in the winter of that year, which included a cover of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah". Inspired by Jeff Buckley's version, Lerski had been a fan of Buckley's, corresponding with the artist. Local Norwich label Haven Records heard the demo and signed Angelou in the beginning of 1997, scheduling the release of the Hallelujah EP to coincide with a UK summer tour supporting Eddi Reader and Boo Hewerdine. 'Hallelujah' came out a week after Jeff Buckley's untimely death, ending the year on novelist Nick Hornby's 'Best of 97' compilation.

In 1998 Angelou released their first album 'Automiracles'. Now including drummer Phil Di Palma, the album was written by Lerski, and recorded in 10 days by producer Calum MacColl. The album featured guest vocals from Eddi Reader and Boo Hewerdine and received comparisons to The Sundays' debut 'Reading, Writing and Arithmetic'.

Their second album 'While You Were Sleeping', released in 2000, received further acclaim and established Lerski as one of the new crop of up and coming female folk artists. Written and produced by Lerski, and recorded in studio down-time, the album finished with a moving tribute to Jeff Buckley. Lerski went on to contribute this to the Buckley documentary 'Amazing Grace'.

In 2001 Spanish label El Diablo released an Angelou compilation called Midnight Witcheries. Now joined by new drummer Cath Evans and bassist Anne Richardson, this record allowed the band to be heard for the first time throughout Europe. They completed 2 extensive tours of Spain, appearing on national TV and radio. They also went on to release a further EP and 2 videos.

On hearing of their success abroad, UK music independent giant Sanctuary Records offered Lerski a recording and publishing agreement and at the end of 2001 Lerski finally signed a major deal. Angelou were soon off on the road again, this time as a duo touring Scandinavia and Europe with blues legend John Hiatt & The Goners.

On their return from Europe the band went into rehearsals for the third album, staying in a wooden hunting lodge in Derbyshire. Recorded both in Denmark and Manchester throughout 2002, 'Life Is Beautiful' was a much poppier record. It was finally released in 2003 under Lerski's own name. With the launch of the album came lives dates with The Cranberries, Jason Mraz and Josh Rouse, and support from BBC Radio 2 and most notably Wake Up To Wogan producer Paul Walters. There was also news that Lerski's song 'My Love' would be featured in a Hollywood film. It looked like the bands hard work had finally paid off, however it was not to be. In 2004 after disagreements with Sanctuary over lack of promotion for the record, Lerski was forced to leave the label and her songs behind.

In the summer of 2004, tired of the music industry and following a break up, Lerski relocated to Manchester where she began to write new material with the intention of releasing on her own imprint Laundry Label. 'Greetings From N.Y.' was Laundry's first release. Featuring on the cover a hand written postcard to Lerski from Jeff Buckley, 'Greetings' was a 'best of' CD showcasing Lerski and the band's music to date. BBC Radio 2's Wake Up To Wogan once again championed the record and 'More Than A Storm' featured weekly on his show. Starbucks at the time was also featuring tracks from 'Life Is Beautiful' on their in-store compilation.

By 2006, following the news that Sanctuary had been bought out by Universal Music Group, Lerski returned to Norwich to begin a new chapter.

The Stupids special with Tommy Stupid

The Stupids special with Tommy Stupid

August 3, 2019

The Stupids special with Tommy Stupids or Tom Withers in conversation 

 

Formed in Ipswich, England in the mid 1980s, The Stupids released four albums and six EPs, and recorded three sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show in the 1980s, and toured the United States (with Ludichrist) and Australia (the Hard-Ons) as well as Europe, the United Kingdom, and, most recently, Japan.

The band have featured on various CD re-issues, compilation albums (e.g. Sounds and the U.S. skate magazine, Thrasher), collector singles, and BBC session releases released by Strange Fruit.

A live video tape, Drive-In Hit Movie, was released shortly after the band broke up in 1989.

Heather Nova special & in conversation

Heather Nova special & in conversation

August 2, 2019

Heather Nova in conversation

After graduating from RISD, Nova moved to London, a place she called home for twelve years (she already had British citizenship due to her Bermudian origins). In 1990, she released her first recording, Heather Frith, an EP; she had not yet changed her name. The new name debuted in 1993 with her second EP entitled Spirit In You and her first full album, the critically acclaimed Glow Stars, produced by Felix Tod, after being discovered by Big Cat label manager Steven Abbott. The success of the album led her to record and release her first live album Blow the same year.

In 1994, she released Oyster, her breakout album that was produced by Youth and Felix Tod and began almost two years of touring. Another live album, Live From The Milky Way, was released in 1995. Siren, the follow-up to Oyster because of the hit single "London Rain", was released in 1998, after which she joined Sarah McLachlan and others on the North American Lilith Fair, a music festival with only female performers.[citation needed] After the release of Siren and a world tour to promote the record, Nova took a break while various television show and film soundtracks licensed some of her songs and her record company (Sony Records/The WORK Group) released various singles from the album, which received only moderate play on America's MTV2, Europe's MTV and Canada's MuchMusic and on mainstream radio, although she was popular on college radio. Also during this time, she recorded a version of the often covered traditional song "Gloomy Sunday", for the German WWII feature film drama Ein Lied Von Liebe Und Tod (released under the international title, Gloomy Sunday). In 2000, Nova released yet another live album entitled Wonderlust.

Over the years, Nova has written and recorded over 120 songs. With the release of South (2001), she returned to the international spotlight with an appearance on the soundtrack of the John Cusack movie Serendipity. She also appeared on the soundtrack to the Sean Penn film, I Am Sam and sung on The Crow: City of Angels. A collaboration with Swedish indiepop band Eskobar, for a song called "Someone New", led to its music video being played primarily on America's MTV. Storm, Nova's fifth studio album, recorded with Mercury Rev as her backing band, was released in late 2003 on her own Saltwater label, went top 5 in Germany, followed by a tour during which Nova became pregnant. She quickly followed the birth of her son with her next record Redbird, released in 2005, again Top 10 in Germany.

In December 2005, Nova released Together As One, an EP supporting the Bermuda Sloop Foundation which operates the Bermuda sloop Spirit of Bermuda. In 2002, she self-published The Sorrowjoy, a 72-page book of her poetry and drawings. An album of the same name was unofficially released in March 2006, which featured Nova reading the poems from her book set to ambient music. She also collaborated with the German trance artist ATB on tracks like "Love Will Find You", "Feel You Like A River" and the international hit "Renegade". In 2008, she released an album called The Jasmine Flower, a solar powered acoustic album recorded in Bermuda, before touring as an acoustic tour.

In late 2010 she embarked on another European tour promoting her The Jasmine Flower album. On this tour, she played four unreleased songs ("Save A Little Piece Of Tomorrow", "Everything Changes", "Burning To Love", and "Turn The Compass Round") that are included on her most recent album, 300 Days At SeaProduced by Felix Tod.. This full-band album was released on May 27, 2011. In late 2014, she began work on her most recent project, a new studio album called "The Way it Feels" which was released to critical acclaim in May 2015. Her new album, Pearl, will be released in Spring 2019.