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88 minutes | Jul 26, 2021
Episode 181 - Gnossienne no. 1 - 6 by Erik Satie
Whilst any meaningful distinction between what is “high” and what is “low” are is surely a conversation born out of complete nonsense (who gets to decide this things? Why do such individuals fall into these categories? etc), what we can say is that we are very much out of our wheelhouse on this episode. That’s right. We’re going classical. We’re going Erik Satie. Look, classical musical analysis is really not our forte but we give it a damn good go on this episode (with proper credit applied where necessary). As some of Christopher’s favourite pieces of music Gnossienne is something he’d been itching to do for a wee while. There’s a good chance you’ve heard at least some of numbers 1 to 3 in a film at some point over the years. Indeed, just like at Satie’s IMDb entry to see how many films his music has appeared in. It’s a lot. Anyway, Erik Satie was a bit mad. We won’t spoil it for you by talking about it here - really, you need to listen to get the full measure of his strangeness - but what is often agreed upon is that he’s the father of ambient music. We talk about that, and so much more, in this week’s show. Is he unsung though? You decide.
103 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
Episode 180 - The Double Album Mixtape (Disc 2)
In case you missed it, last week we discussed the history of the double album. We spoke about how the double album was born, how it paved the way for more conceptual records, some of the big hitters, some of the worst ones, triple albums, quadruple albums…just any and all things related to the very concept of the double album. We also created three loose categories that we think all double albums fall into. If you missed it, you can find the episode here. This week, we’ve each picked what we think are excellent examples of the double album and decided to chat about why they’re not just great records, but whey they’re great double albums. As is usual for the format of our mixtape episodes, we’ve relaxed the rules a little on what constitutes as “unsung”. Chris went for perhaps one of the most well known, and well loved, double albums ever, in the form of The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Weaver plumped for Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter by Joni Mitchell, because we don’t really think there’s a way we can do Joni Mitchell on a regular show given how massive she is. And Mark went for the influential alt rock/emo classic Zen Arcade by Husker Du. Both three very different examples of the double album, we think. Some are conceptual. Some are just long ass albums. Whatever the case, we stand by our choices. But which do you think should be the first ever double album to go into our discography? Use the Twitter poll below to decide.
88 minutes | Jul 12, 2021
Episode 179 - The Unsung History of the Double Album (Disc 1)
The dreaded double album. In the eyes of some, it’s an aberration. A sure sign of a band with too much ego/money/time and not enough tunes to make it really work. Well, join us this week as we talk all things double album. The double album dates back to the last 50s, with Ella Fitzgerald first releasing a double LP set with her 1956 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook. Yet many will claim that Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan is the first true example of a double album in popular culture because it was the first double LP set that contained original songs. Whatever the case, the double album truly began to blossom into the 70s, when many bands started to take advantage of the double LP format to create sprawling works that no single LP could contain. Different variations on the format followed - the triple album, the Sesquialbum, the quadruple album, the box set to name them - but as time went by, and the physical format gave way to streaming, it seems that double albums are no longer the statement they once were. On this episode we’ll cover the history of the double album, talk about some highlights, discuss some of our favourites as well as some good (and bad) examples of the genre. Next week, we talk about the three albums we’ve picked as the best examples of the format.
85 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
Episode 178 - Demanufacture by Fear Factory (Side B)
Before we dive into Demanufacture properly, this week we take some time talking about Fear Factor’s albums from Archetype until this year’s Aggression Continuum up and friends, to say it’s a mixed bag would be an understatement. If you missed last week’s episode, listen here. Largely this is down to interpersonal issues between the band, with Digimortal being the last time the “classic” lineup of Fear Factory would ever spend time in the studio together. There’s some good stuff lying around these later day albums, and we do call out some of the interesting tracks, but your mileage may indeed vary with some of this. Then to wrap things up, we talk about Demanufacture itself. It’s an interesting chat, and it goes in a couple of surprising directions too, as we discuss the larger concept at play on the record, Dave explains why he has so much love for the album and all three of the lads give us their final thoughts on the album and the band. Also, the nexus is a doozy as we have to link Baby Hitler to the band. Which is a lot easier than you might imagine (but not because the band are racist or anything). Is Demanufacture an unsung classic? Is it more influential than Obsolete? Is it the band’s finest moment? You decide. Vote now.
67 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
Episode 177 - Demanufacture by Fear Factory (Side A)
A mainstay of 90s and early 00s metal, Fear Factory are a band whose influence has been felt keenly on both nu metal and industrial metal alike. Their second album, Demanufacture is, Weaver argues, a hugely important record on metal music in general, so this week we take a tour of the band’s history and more. Despite having been a band for over 30 years at this point, Fear Factory have only released ten albums. In fact, their latest one came out only a week ago (at the time of writing). We didn’t plan that - truthfully, Dave was completely unaware that they had a new record coming until he decided we were doing this album - but it’s turned out quite well for us. 30 odd years is a long time for a band to exist, which is probably why they’ve long portions of that time either not being Fear Factory, or being at each other’s throats. Indeed, whilst the latest release features co-founder Burton C. Bell, he’s no longer actually in the band. It might feel like a strange thing to mention, but the interpersonal relationships between band members but it’s actually one of the defining features of this band. It’s something we talk about at length in this episode. We also discuss cyber metal, industrial metal and Mark also gives his thoughts on why he more closely associates the band with groove metal, despite (and including) the industrial elements. We also talk about their first four albums, and indeed mention the thematic trilogy that links Demanufacture, Obsolote and Digimortal. All in all, it’s a jam packed episode. We hope you enjoy. Vote next week!
79 minutes | Jun 21, 2021
Episode 176 - The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox
If you’ve any interest in underground hip hop then this album is probably familiar to you. Widely hailed as one of the most important hip hop albums of all time, The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox a real lightening in a bottle moment for Vast Aire and Vordul Mega. And now, having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, it seems a good a time as any to explore why. Having formed simply by dint of knowing each other through the New York battle rap scene and hanging out at El-P’s flat/studio, Cannibal Ox came together somewhat at the behest of El-P. What transpired was two years of hard graft on their first (of only two) album together, created as they sat around thinking about rhymes and creating music with producer El-P. The skills of Vast and Vordul really shouldn’t be underestimated. Having clearly honed their craft through years of spitting rhymes in ciphers on the streets, their lyrical dexterity and outrageous vocal partnership is clearly a highlight of this album. That’s alongside El-P’s production. This was the first thing he’d ever worked on outside of the work he’d done with his old group Company Flow, and it’s a tour de force. Together with Can Ox, they paint a paranoid, dystopian, Philip K Dick inspired vision of Harlem, Brooklyn and New York City as a whole. Despite being hailed a classic, to date it has only sold just over 100,000 copies. Which is clearly fucking insane. That alone means it fulfils our criteria as an unsung classic, but like so many other artists we’ve covered on this podcast, Can Ox are real artist’s artists. So we ask you, is it worth of a place in our discography? You decide, as ever.
86 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Episode 175 - This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank by Adebisi Shank
One of the ultimate aims of this podcast is to introduce lesser known bands to a new audience, which is why we’re all pretty chuffed to be doing This is the Third Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank by Adebisi Shank. Hailing from Wexford in Ireland, Adebisi Shank were a band for about 8 years, and in that time released three albums and one EP. Throughout their life, they were able to release music on some cool labels (Big Scary Monsters, Richter Collective, Sargent House) and tour a whole bunch with great bands. Their music is often classed as “math rock” and whilst they occasionally took issue with that, it’s probably the closest genre to place these guys in. For a three piece, they made a tremendous racket, and made, we think, some of the craziest, catchiest pseudo-instrumental math rock that you can possibly imagine. Indeed, this, their final album, is their true zenith. It combines all the math rock time signature instrumental madness with a real sense of joyful abandon, coupled with ridiculous guitar and bass tones, awesome drum sounds and some appropriate robotic vocals. Most of all though, this album is just pure fun. Like, really really fun. It’s quite over the top in places but it all works. It’s carefree. Exuberant, even. In this episode we talk about that at length. We also talk about the rest of the band’s catalogue and why they never once fall into the self serious overplayed nonsense that a lot of math rock falls into. More folk need to listen to this band and we think it absolutely is an unsung classic. Agree? Disagree? Vote below.
92 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Episode 174 - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture by Brainiac w/ Ferruccio Quercetti
Our good friend Ferruccio Quercetti returns this week, nominating Brainiac’s third and final album, Hissing Prigs in Static Couture. Over the course of their five year career, Brainiac recorded three albums and two EPs as well as a bunch of singles. They’re widely recognised as being one of the most influential post punk/noise rock/experimental rock bands of all time. So much so in fact that a documentary about them was released in 2019. Titled Transmissions After Zero it’s a pretty candid look at the life of the band, from their beginnings until their eventual disbandment after the death of front man Tim Taylor in 1997. Loads of folk in that documentary talk about how influential this band were, and if you google their name you’ll find many more besides. On this episode, we talk about all of their albums, the influence of the band and of course, Ferro puts forward his case as to why Hissing Prigs deserves a place in our discography. Vote below.
88 minutes | May 31, 2021
In Session 5 - Andy Falkous from mclusky, Future of the Left and Christian Fitness (Side B)
Interview time part 2! In case you missed it, here is part one, where we discuss Andy’s career in mclusky and Future of the Left. In this episode we asked Andy to pick three albums he thinks are unsung classics: Jarcrew - Breakdance Euphoria Kids (which you will find version of on Spotify simply titled Jarcrew) The God Machine - Scenes from the Second Storey New Kingdom - Paradise Don’t Come Cheap Three very different albums that Andy picked for different reasons, as we go into at length on the episode. From friends and future band mates, to tortured alt-metal and all the way through to psychedelic hip hop, there’s not a huge amount that really link these albums at first blush, but that’s part of the intrigue! All in, we spent about 3 and a half hours recording with Andy for these two episodes. It was a long but lovely evening, and we’re very appreciative of him and his time. Normality returns next week as we invite friend of the pod Ferruccio Quercetti on to talk about Hissing Prigs in Static Couture by Brainiac.
89 minutes | May 24, 2021
In Session 5 - Andy Falkous from mclusky, Future of the Left and Christian Fitness (Side A)
Interview time! It’s been a wee while since we did one of those so we got one of our favourite musicians, and general lovely bloke, Andy Falkous from mclusky, Future of the Left and Christian Fitness on to have a good ol’ yammer. In part one we chat about IKEA furniture, tiny cans of Diet Coke, why you shouldn’t put beer in the fridge and many other things. Including his musical career thus far. Which we talk about at length and it’s bloody lovely. We touch on just about every part of his career here. We go in depth about mclusky and what it was like. Then we touch on FOTL and some of the tunes that he feels have gone under appreciated in his canon of cracking tunes. All told, Andy is great banter and we cover way, way more than what I’ve just written here. If you’re a fan of any of his music, this is essential listening. If you’re a general Unsung fan, you’ll also love this. Go forth, listeners, and have a bloody good time.
85 minutes | May 17, 2021
Episode 173 - Nite Flights by The Walker Brothers (Side B)
In case you missed it, we discussed The Walker Brothers’ career, and some of Scott Walker’s, in part one, which you can listen to here. This week we dive into the period where Scott gets weird. From 1984’s Climate of Hunter onwards, Scott begins his transformation from 60s pop poster boy to avant-garde legends. He only followed Nite Flights with another 4 albums, but the impact of his work from this period until the end of his life is absolutely massive. We go into this in quite a lot of detail, spending a fair amount of time talking about The Drift and Bish Bosch before we circle right back around to the reason we’re gathered here: Nite Flights. Scott Walker’s four songs on this album are hailed as groundbreaking, and their influence is, well, we said it before, huge. In many ways though, Scott Walker is unsung. He may be influential but he’s always been an outsider. Many of the acts that love his music have gone on to be truly huge. Is Nite Flights the best representation of this underappreciated artist? Or should we come back and discuss one of his later albums? You decide.
48 minutes | May 10, 2021
Episode 172 - Nite Flights by The Walker Brothers (Side A)
You know how it goes by now folks: artists with big catalogues get two parters, and Scott Walker is no exception here. Weaver has chosen Nite Flights by The Walker Brothers this week, but with a particular focus on the Scott Walker songs on the album, which necessities a deep dive into his catalogue. And what a catalogue it is. It’s so large in fact, that we only get as far as the 1980s. Indeed, this week sees us mostly talk about The Walker Brothers themselves and some of Scott’s early solo stuff. Of course, like his “brothers”, his solo career begins, musically, not too far away from The Walker Brothers’ sound, but with the influence of Jacques Brel very apparent in his lyrics early on, each subsequent album from Scott to Scott 4 peels back the curtain a little as he lets the darkness encroach on his sound more and more. It’s important context because this period in his career would end with Nite Flights, and whilst we will be discussing that album next week, it also sets the stage for his music to get even stranger from the 80s onwards. A fascinating artist, really. He began as a crooner and 60s pop singer, music swathed in strings and Wall of Sound production. But it ended…well if you know, you know. And if you don’t, you’ll find out next week.
89 minutes | May 3, 2021
Episode 171 - The Supergroup Mixtape (Side B)
Last week we chatted about a bunch of different supergroups and devised 5 categories that we felt all neatly fell into. If you missed it, catch up by listening here. It occurred to us soon after recording this episode (well, it occurred to Chris, really) that perhaps there should be a 6th category for supergroups that are side projects. Ones that are not ongoing, regular projects for their members. All three of the album’s we’ve chosen could probably fall into this category too. We’ll leave that discussion for another time as we feel that perhaps side projects, and the very concept of them, deserve an episode in their own right. Anyway, this week we talk about the three albums we’ve chosen. Are these our favourite albums by supergroups? Not completely, but they are albums we enjoy. Chris picked The Director’s Cut by Tomahawk, whilst Mark picked Take a Break by Me FIrst and the Gimme Gimmes, and Dave picked NOLA by Down. We can’t help but play to type, it seems. We got through each band’s discography a little on this episode too, although we don’t dive too deep on them. Our albums do of course fall into more than one of the categories outlined in the previous episode but that’s ok! We also have regular guest Vicki Henry making a brief appearance to chat about Queens of the Stone Age too! Next week, Scott Walker and The Walker Brothers…
78 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Episode 170 - The Supergroup Mixtape (Side A)
170 goddamn episodes. Jeez. Y’know, we’ve actually had a chat about supergroups on this podcast before. Twice, in fact. But we’ve had to cut it out of the episode because the discussion just went on for far too long. Which surely meant that we’d need to do an episode on supergroups just to do the topic justice. Or two episodes, as it happens. In part one Chris lays out his five supergroup categories, and we place some of our favourite supergroups in those buckets. It ranges from “Just a band” to “unicorns” and everything in between, including hangovers and desperation. It’s a very handy list, and many bands crossover into more than one category. Including some of our own picks (which we’ll get to next week). We also talk about some good supergroups, some not so good supergroups, in what is essentially just a massive list of bands we like. We also missed a TON, so please don’t take this list as exhaustive and we’re sorry if we missed your favourite ones out. Next week, we talk about the three albums we’ve chosen. You’ll need to listen to the episode to find out what they are though. Not going to give it away that easily. Also shout out to friend of the pod Ferrucio for giving us his brief take on supergroups. He will return. Soon…
83 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
Episode 169 - Dumb Flesh by Blanck Mass w/ Vicki Henry
Friend of the pod and very nice chap Benjamin John Power used to make music as part of a duo under the name of Fuck Buttons. However, since 2010 he’s been banging out some solo stuff under the moniker Blanck Mass and boy howdy is it some goooooood shit. In order to dismiss accusations of nepotism, and with Dave away moving house this week, we asked our other good friend of the pod Vicki Henry to pick an album. This was her choice. Naturally we could not decline. Our second ever interview was with Ben, and you can find all three parts of that chat here, here and here. As a result we don’t talk much about influences and such like as he more than covers that in his interview. In this episode we talk about Ben’s career as Blanck Mass, chat a little about his past in Fuck Buttons and then go through each of his albums to decide if his second album Dumb Flesh is indeed the most unsung. What transpires as a delightful conversation about the unsettling, often strange atmosphere in his music, and we also highlight the superb attention to detail in both the production and songwriting across his entire catalogue. Granted, after All Pigs Must Die, this marks two weeks on the bounce where we’ve did intense, malevolent music but hey, it’s our party and we’ll make everyone feel regularly ill at ease if we want to. Is Dumb Flesh worthy of a place in our discography? You decide.
73 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
Episode 168 - Nothing Violates This Nature by All Pigs Must Die
Slightly, eh, dodgy name aside, there are few bands as relentlessly heavy as All Pigs Must Die. Their second album Nothing Violates This Nature really encapsulates all of the things this band do best - combining every single kind of metal subgenre you can image with layers of d-beats and hardcore breakdowns in one massive, intense, screamy cocktail. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, they’re basically a supergroup made up of members from various well known Boston/Massachusetts bands. Chief among them is drummer Ben Koller, well known not only for being the dynamo behind Coverge’s feral, emotive sonic assault, but also man of many bands himself, drumming for Mutoid Man, Killer Be Killed and many other projects. The band are rounded out by Kevin Baker, the vocalist for influential 00s hardcore act The Hope Conspiracy, and Matt Woods and Adam Wentworth from the doom band Bloodhorse. More recently they’ve been joined by Brian Izzi on guitar too, from the death and roll/crust punk band Trap Them. The ethos behind this band is fairly straight forward - do it fast, do it heavy, do it intensely. They’re very much a “mood” band in that regard, namely that you’re unlikely to want to sit through an entire album if you’re feeling chipper, but if you’re having a rotten day then this guys might just be your jam. Also suitable for perhaps if you want to bench press 1 million pounds or run to the other side of the country. Suffice to say, they’re full on. They come from great stock, and they write almost all of their music remotely, which probably accounts for the formula. Anyway, they’ve only released three albums and this, Mark contests, is the best example of what they do best - grind all day. Is it worth of a place in our discography though? That’s up to you.
96 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
Episode 167 - The Crossing by Big Country (Side B)
Now it’s time to get down to the meaty business of talking about Big Country’s debut album The Crossing. As well as the rest of their back catalogue. We go into a lot of detail on their 80s and some of their 90s stuff too, and it’s interesting to see how this band, and Adamson as a writer, evolved over this period. There’s also a lot of discussion on just what makes this band’s first three albums so good. Each of these first three albums show a distinctly different side of the band, from the post-punk riot of The Crossing to the darker, more emotive Steeltown and then the more upbeat and big guitar rock of The Seer. This period in the band’s history is truly their defining moment, and despite everything that’s been said about them, they were hugely popular for a good reason - they were fantastic players and songwriters. As per, there’s a little more Scottish history in here too, because that’s a big part of the band and, apparently, a bit part of the three of us too, which is weird and only something we realised as we were recording this. The late 80s and beyond a true mixed bag as things go, but in our minds there’s no denying how vital this band were in their heyday and now. The real question is, despite having sold lots of copies and making the band real popular, can we class The Crossing as an unsung classic? As ever, it’s your call. Vote below.
53 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Episode 166 - The Crossing by Big Country (Side A)
When was the last time we did a Scottish band on this show? Too bloody long, if you ask us! This week Chris redresses the balance by humbly submitting The Crossing, the debut album by the Kingdom of Fife’s very own Big Country. This turned into a very nice two parter, so instead of getting one MAHOOSIVE deluge of Big Country, we thought it best to split the difference. This week we talk about the history of the band, Stuart Adamson himself, the band’s origins, their BDE (that’s Big Dad Energy, you filthy minded so and so) and, eh, a fair amount of Scottish fucking history too as both Mark and Chris (mostly Mark) toss out some facts and theories. And in case you want to look it up, it’s spelled Caledonian Antisyzygy. Yes, it is a real thing. Look it up. You won’t be surprised. We don’t really cover the band’s music a whole lot in this episode. Rather, we thought it important to give you, dear listener, some context about the band, where they came from, what they sang about and actually just how big a deal they were in the 80s. Their hey day is long gone, and yes, they are still a band, but these guys were proper rockstars back in the day. Next week we’ll go through the band’s discography and cover all the bases. Including the BDE they have, and talk about some incredible, and some not so incredible, tunes. Enjoy!
87 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
Episode 165 - Come Away with ESG by ESG
ESG are without a doubt one of the most unsung bands we’ve covered on this podcast. You may never have heard of them, but you have definitely heard them. Particularly if you like hip hop, dance or house music. There’s an absolute ton of literature devoted to sampling in music, including the ethics of it and the affect it has had on many artists. We won’t go into that here, but suffice to say some of the most well known beats in hip hop coming from this band’s first EP and their first album Come Away with ESG. Dave brings this to the table with the full weight of that in mind, leaving both Chris and Mark shocked at the sheer influence this album has had on people even though the band are little known. Not only did they have a massive impact on sample culture, but their sound inspired any number of post-punk and indie bands, including everything from Gang of Four to LCD Soundsystem and beyond. This band of four black women from the South Bronx originally began as a group that simply wanted to turn the vibe you get from a James Brown bass and drum breakdown into full songs. They largely achieve this, weaving spares funk in alongside snippets of Motown and of course post punk. On this episode we go deep on the band’s back catalogue and discuss the importance of this album, their career afterwards and exactly where they’re at today. You decide: Come Away with ESG by ESG – is this truly unsung?
90 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Episode 164 - Jersey's Best Dancers by Lifetime w/ Anna Goldthorp
There’s a bunch of bands from the late 90s punk and emo scene that are hugely influential. Of them though, one could argue that Lifetime are the least well known. Which is odd given that many huge bands are on record as stating that they were directly influenced by this album in particular. Everyone from Saves the Day to Fall Out Boy, Thursday and Taking Back Sunday have all voiced their appreciation for this album over the years. Which until we did this episode, was news to Mark as he had always thought of them as more of a melodic hardcore band. This week we dive into the band’s rather short back catalogue. We talk about their beginnings, their break up, their reunion ten years later and their subsequent silence after releasing a “comeback” album in 2007. Resident punker Anna Goldthorp joins us this week to give her take on this album too, so we get a variety of opinions on here also. Jersey’s Best Dancers came out in 1997, which was an important year for emo as a whole, so we take some time to dig into this and talk about the other bands that were floating around the emo scene at the same time. Mark also gives us a potted history of Lifetime guitars Dan Yemin, his influence, the bands he formed after Lifetime and the way he helped shape an entirely new genre of hardcore on the back of Lifetime, Kid Dynamite and Paint in Black. But as ever folks, you have to decide the key thing here: is this an unsung classic? You decide. Vote below.
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