BPM Pod
Episode 36 - Top 10 Jackson Browne songs

Episode 36 - Top 10 Jackson Browne songs

March 29, 2020

Jackson Browne is, without question, my favourite musical artist of all time. Perhaps someone else will come along one day and take the crown, but I don't see it happening any time soon.

Browne is, to me, one of the most sensitive, soulful, poetic songwriters of all time. Sure you've got Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Gordon Lightfoot and so on, but none of them - despite similar styles - really capture the beauty, sorrow and confusion this life holds.

A wonderful storyteller, pianist and guitarist, Jackson Browne is my biggest musical inspiration and certainly my most listened to artist.

Does this mean everything he touches is golden? Not at all. There have been some dreadful albums along the way, including Hold Out, Lawyers in Love, and Lives in the Balance.

But in an attempt to showcase just how brilliant Browne is, I've compiled what I consider the best Jackson Browne songs out there.

If you like what you hear, definitely check out anything from his discography, though I would recommend Late for the Sky first, and possibly For Everyman and Jackson Browne shortly afterwards. Once that's under your belt, I'm Alive wouldn't be a bad bet.

For solo acoustic fans, check out either his Vol.1 or Vol.2 solo acoustic stuff. Really haunting renditions of some superb songs.

Browne is still making music today - most recently with his album Standing in the Breach - and tours relatively consistently. Right now, Browne has the dreaded coronavirus, which has somewhat paused his musical progress. Still, he released his latest single A Little Soon to Say in March 2020, ahead of his upcoming album Downhill From Everywhere which is slated for release in October 2020. (I also mentioned this in the most recent Pulse blog.)

Check out my top 10 and let me know what you think.

Interview: Orange Utan

Interview: Orange Utan

March 19, 2020

Go on, say Orange Utan. Oran-gee Uu-tarn. Orang-Utan. Orrrr-angje Uo-tan. Like many of the great mysteries of the world, we may never, ever know how to properly say this mystical name. (And that doesn't go for us only, but the band too.)

Yet Orange Utan know this causes confusion. They know it's interesting. And, in properly refreshing self-referential humour, they don't care.

The thing that stuck out to me about the band (I spoke with bassist Soren, and drummer Christian, but I assume the other two are the same) is how relaxed they are. There's no bullshit, no fakery, no nonsense. They're honest, open, and certainly having a wonderful time.

Orange Utan are part prog-rock, part punk, part thrash, part stoner rock - it's pretty tough to describe, but certainly worth checking it out. Given the wide range of genres in their music, there's a wide range of topics to touch upon to see how the band got to this point. From talking about the happiness they feel on stage, to the musical ambitions of the band going forward, we had a delightful, long chat touching on far more than what is in this episode. (Some of it got political; we cut that out.)

With two albums down, Orange Utan are still going strong, recording their third album and currently touring (coronavirus fuckery pending) in Spring 2020. Certainly a band to watch and track in the coming months and years.

To find out more about the band, click here to go to their website.

PLUS: You might hear a bit of a different intro song on this episode. Clever listeners will know it is Warren Zevon's 'Splendid Isolation'. Kind of apt given the virus situation. (I hope the joke is well received and royalties aren't claimed.)

Interview: Lucas Castillo

Interview: Lucas Castillo

March 3, 2020

Nights out, singalongs, soulful chats, and a damn lot of fun - Lucas Castillo and I have had a pretty decent run through it all. And, finally, he made his way around to BPM Pod.

The thing is: podcasts with friends sometimes become a bit dull. You have so many inside jokes, so many nearby references, and so much history, that you can easily abandon the listener.

Not with Lucas Castillo. A pro musician, with the ability to critically self-reflect on his journey, we talked through the night about mental health, being away from family, musical ambitions, and much, much more.

There's nothing I can say that can really capture the warmth, humour and appreciation captured in the podcast up top. Thanks to Lucas for appearing on the show, and for all the good times at Laksmi bar and beyond.

To find out more about Lucas Castillo, go to Facebook or search on le Instagram. (You'll also find him at Laksmi Bar quite a bit.)

 

Interview: Tidal Wave

Interview: Tidal Wave

February 14, 2020

The problem with Limp Bizkit is that they're misunderstood. Are they cool? No. Do they make good music? Meh, not really. Are they relevant? Good lord no.

But are they fun? Yes.

See I've always seen Limp Bizkit as a weird 90s/00s remnant of angry white-guy rap-rock. I'm not necessarily advocating a comeback of the genre, themes, or style, but I have always had a soft spot for their music somehow. I was pretty unsure as to why, until I met Dean Schweitzer of Tidal Wave.

"It's because it's fun. It's just '1, 2, 3, 4' and now we're going to jump, or shout, or whatever the fuck we want to do," says Dean.

"I like that fun element. It's not clever or cool. It's just fun."

I think Dean is right, and the fun element is certainly something he too puts into his music. Alongside an absolute bucket load of heart, soul, and ragged rock riffs, of course.

Check out the new song for proof (if you needed any).

Fight Song by TIDALWAVE

From reliving the nineties to musing on today's scene

Tidal Wave - fronted and run by Dean - is primarily a studio project. Different musicians form, and have formed, the band in every country Dean has lived.

It brings new flavours to old material, and it is a fun way to prevent the complications of committing to a permanent band, but when the only constant is one member and their vision, it takes a lot of drive and mental strength to keep reinventing again and again.

And that's a lot of what we talk about in this episode: maintaining a healthy mind, heart, and soul. What do you do when the music just isn't coming? How do you stay motivated and focused to keep pushing? And when do you give yourself a break for the success you've achieved?

In this podcast, you'll hear all of these topics, and more (Limp Bizkit included). You'll come away feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and with a new found understanding of how hard it is to keep chasing something you love.

Speaking with Dean was an absolute pleasure. Tidal Wave is a superb project, with some cracking tunes out there. Thanks to Dean for taking the time to talk, and for being such a welcoming, open host.

For more information on Tidal Wave, go to Bandcamp, or their website .

Interview: Forest Island + Warren Zevon top 10

Interview: Forest Island + Warren Zevon top 10

February 5, 2020

'So how do you best describe your music?' That's a pretty tough question for any musical artist but, for Forest Island, it gets pretty complicated. They combine effects, guitar, cello, and vocals into a sublime, swirling ambient mix.

But how did it get to this point, what are the inspirations, and what are the hopes for the future? Find out in this short and sweet podcast, capturing all of this and more.

Also in the episode: Warren Zevon top 10 songs

It would have been Warren Zevon's 73rd birthday in January 2020 - not a particularly significant one for most people. For me though, Warren Zevon is one of the absolute greatest singer-songwriters of all time.

Sure, he was a pretty damn horrible guy, with a terrible temper, and a string of violent misdemeanors to his name. They cannot, and should not, be downplayed. Read I'll Sleep When I'm Dead for an in-depth look at the dirty times.

Zevon though was responsible for an enviable body of work, part nonsense, part fun, part sardonic, and part sensitive like nothing else before it.

So to mark the belated birthday of Warren Zevon, I put together my personal top 10 list of Warren Zevon songs.

Whether you're a seasoned Zevon fan, or an absolute newbie, give it a listen and I am sure you'll learn something.

It was pretty damn tough to narrow down the list, but here are some honourable mentions:

  • Don't Let Us Get Sick
  • Gridlock
  • Reconsider Me
  • The French Inhaler
  • Splendid Isolation
  • Dirty Life and Times
  • I'll Sleep When I'm Dead
  • Detox Mansion
  • Accidentally Like a Martyr
  • Frank and Jesse James
  • Disorder in the House
  • Werewolves of London
  • Hasten Down the Wind

On the next episode

Next time, we look at nu-metal, heavy rock band Tidal Wave. Stay tuned for that, and check out Tidal Wave already here on their website.

Interview: David Adams from The Acoustic Guitar Project

Interview: David Adams from The Acoustic Guitar Project

January 22, 2020

One guitar. One week. One song. It's a pretty simple concept, but it's the creative simplicity of The Acoustic Guitar Project which partly owes to its success.

But behind the concept itself is tireless work from the volunteers helping The Acoustic Guitar Project spread across the globe. To date, there are over 700 songs recorded - so that's 700 people, from all walks of life, from all musical backgrounds, who have submitted songs for everyone to hear, for free.

The idea behind the concept came from David Adams, a self-confessed habitual artist who, in his own words, "just wanted to start something cool" in the beginning. And that he has done.

In this episode, recorded between Berlin and New York, we talk about The Acoustic Guitar Project, where it all started, and where it's heading in the future.

To find out more about The Acoustic Guitar Project, click here.

Also this week

There's been the latest edition of The Pulse, which takes a look at new music from Tame Impala, Danko Jones, The Big Moon, and Justin Bieber. Yes, Bieber (it ain't pretty).

On the next episode, we'll journey back to Berlin to catch up with the cool singer-songwriter duo Forest Island. Stay tuned for that.

Episode 30 - Catch up and review on 2019

Episode 30 - Catch up and review on 2019

December 11, 2019

And so, we end 2019. We've had 30 episodes of BPM Pod to date, each one of them telling their own unique story, but it has to come to a close for 2019.

In 2020, we've got loads of new content lined up, including musicians from across the world, not just Berlin. For now though, we catch up with two artists we featured just over a year ago - Chris Weinhardt and Molly's Peck. 

Interview: Ella Fuchs (Ella & Nik)

Interview: Ella Fuchs (Ella & Nik)

November 13, 2019

Softly spoken, sensitive, and soulful - that's not only the way to describe Ella Fuchs as a guest, but also her music too.

Originally from Berlin, Germany, Ella still strolls the streets, spreading her guitar-driven melodies of love and loss. With early beginnings in a somewhat musical family, Ella soon discovered that music is not only a good personal outlet for problems, but a way to connect with people, to have fun, and to tell a story.

One-half of the duo Ella & Nik, Ella and I talk about how to get started in music, the competitiveness of the scene, and who the music (of anyone) is actually for.

Also in the episode

Not much else this time, due to illness (trying to save my voice). But I am playing live on 20 Nov 2019 - tickets available here.

Also, I quickly ran through some of our upcoming episodes with Tidal Wave, Forest Island, and the Acoustic Guitar Project (certainly worth checking out in advance).

Interview: Grizzly Bird

Interview: Grizzly Bird

November 3, 2019

'Grizzly Bird? You sure it's not Grizzly Bear?' That was my initial thought when Hans got in touch to talk about his musical adventure with the band. I mentioned it to him off-air.

"Well at least I don't have to live by the Han Solo pun anymore," says Hans, referencing his previous artist name. But has much changed beyond the name?

"I would not say so, but that is intentional. Grizzly Bird still reflects this kind of folk, rock, pop sentiment, with some experimentation thrown in too."

The music of Grizzly Bird is hard to pin down (so much so that the latest press writer declared it 'multi-genre', which is either genius or lazy from the professional writer). But despite its genre blending, it is not hard to access, thanks to smooth storytelling, angelic vocals, and a wonderfully, wide sound combining drums with violins, horns, guitars, and more. 

In this episode, Hans and I talk about musical ambitions, the difficulty of promoting music today, and how animals can teach us a thing or two about the world. 

Also in this episode

I've been consuming music at a rather alarming rate recently (no, toilet listening is not on the agenda) so have so many recommendations. 

Jim James' new album was different, and alright, but in this episode I focus on two recent stunners: You Deserve Love by White Reaper, and Remind Me Tomorrow by Sharon Van Etten. (Yes, I know I am late to the party on the latter.)

Interview: Heavy Heavy

Interview: Heavy Heavy

October 20, 2019

Heavy heavy - has there been a better band name on the podcast? It's clear, short, memorable, and a bit of a laugh. "We were thinking of a name, and our music is heavy, but not black metal heavy, but heavy kind of heavy. So the name Heavy Heavy just stuck," explains Chance Blair, lead singer and bassist.

And that was the first thing that struck me about the band: their complete non-bullshit approach. Chance, Linus and Val formed Heavy Heavy simply to play, to experiment, and to have fun.

"Sure, some kind of fame with it is great, but I just want to get out there and play," says Chance. "It's about spreading our music and having a great time."

Seeing the band live, you can tell they're all in it for the thrill. They're tight, composed, yet loose and chilled. It's a fine balance for some fine music.

How to describe Heavy Heavy's music? Well if you're into King Buffalo, All Them Witches, Queens of the Stone Age and such, you're certainly in the right vein - see, it's heavy, even heavy heavy, but not 'holy shit, what the fuck is this crap?' heavy.

A brilliant bunch, with a fantastic setup, and a killer acoustic recording at the end to boot, there is nothing more I can say about Heavy Heavy which they can't tell you themselves. So head west towards home, and let the episode play.