Sunday, 3 January 2010

Playlist: January 2010

Those of you listening in to today's show might have guessed I was responsible for the playlist as well as operating the sound desk today. No, that's not me - or Rachel - in the picture, it's Lex from the Ben and Lex Show (alternative Thursdays 20.00-22.00); it's not even the current studio setup, but it gives you an idea of what's happening behind the scenes.

1. 'Working Man's Blues Number 2' by Bob Dylan off Modern Times

Fulfilling my pledge to you the listener to play a Bob Dylan track every show whether Rachel likes it or not I got him in early again this month. Why 'boots and shoes'? A bluesman had two pairs of footwear, one for stage and one for the street. See also 'suit and clothes'. Why 'Number 2'? Because Merle Haggard got their first, although there are few similarities in the songs beyond title and theme.

2. 'Hope There's Someone' by Antony and the Johnsons off 'I'm a Bird Now'

When I first heard that voice - singing in Lou Reed's band, alongside a practitioner of Tai Chi performing Tai Chi - I almost fell off my chair.

3. 'The Blower's Daughter' by Damien Rice off 'The Story of O'

Another spine tingler. With two great writers - Alice and Peter Oswald - being interviewed on the programme, we didn't want the music to get in the way, but we also wanted to give everyone some breathing space to consider what they'd just heard - the listener - or what was to be discussed next - in the studio. This was the theme song to the movie 'Closer', hence the video footage.

4. 'Sea Song' by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset off 'The Bairns'

Written by Robert Wyatt, but sung by The Unthanks (they changed their name on the release of their latest album), the youtube video I've linked to appears to have been shot by a dwarf in the front row looking up at a very high stage; it's nice to see a gig from that perspective, I normally suffer people poking me in the back asking me if I wouldn't mind unscrewing my head.

5. 'Heroes and Villains' by Brian Wilson off 'Smile'

Hearing Peter Oswald discuss the similarities between the human voice and the trumpet, I rummaged in my bag for a trumpet led track and came up short. There is trumpet in this track somewhere - Brian Wilson's recreation of the 'Smile' album forty years after its abandonment - but there's also the kitchen sink and sand box. If you've not seen the live show, I recommend the Royal Festival Hall video.

6. 'House of Cards' by Radiohead off 'In Rainbows'

I like to tell anyone who's prepared to listen that 'In Rainbows' is the best album released last decade, and that's from someone who rarely plays another Radiohead album, although their 1997 Glastonbury headlining appearance is also a special memory. You should seek out the CD of outtakes that was included only with the deluxe version of this record by whatever means necessary - it's an essential companion piece of similar quality to the album itself.

7. 'A Minor Place' by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy off 'I See a Darkness'

Also covered by The Unthanks - we don't just throw CDs into a bag and haul them out at random you know - the equally fine title track of this album was recorded by Johnny Cash and would be the perfect accompaniment to the credits of the forthcoming 'The Road' movie we previewed today. I trust in Nick Cave and Warren Ellis to come up with something similarly bleak and haunting.

8. 'White Socks/Flip Flops' by Super Furry Animals off 'Dark Days/Light Years'

The Phonic FM studio is so hot, we wear flip flops, Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts to present every show - but never white socks. Modern pop psychedelia at it's finest.

9. 'To Ohio' by 'The Low Anthem' off 'Oh my God, Charlie Darwin'

The best debut of 2009? I think so, not that they've got much competition on my shelves.

Was that all we played? Don't ask me, I'm only the janitor. There are probably CDs all over the studio floor again, waiting for those Blah Blah Blah buggers to come back to collect them.

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