Friday, 6 November 2015

Courtney Barnett - Solo Show at Slow Boat Records

Courtney Barnett onstage at Slow Boat
Having recently made the move from the UK to New Zealand and just this last week to Wellington, I’m now in the process of familiarising myself with the local music scene (amongst countless other things in my new hometown). Whilst this can often be a hard process to start in a new city, especially when you’re no longer energetic enough go to every gig you see advertised, I’ve found local record shops to be the key. There are countless books, blog posts and documentaries that attest to the fact that if you’re lucky enough to be in a city with a great local record store, then it can be a brilliant resource for discovering what’s going on musically. For me, in Wellington, Slow Boat Records would appear to be that store.

Slow Boat isn’t a well kept secret by any means, in fact it’s somewhat of a New Zealand institution. The longest running independent record store in the country, it’s a favourite spot for serious music nerds, casual fans and visiting musicians alike and boasts a pretty amazing selection of records from all over the world. So it makes perfect sense that Slow Boat is where I saw my first proper gig in New Zealand, a lunchtime, in-store, solo show by Courtney Barnett ahead of her sold out show at Bodega that evening. 

Based in Melbourne, Barnett is a critically acclaimed indie rock musician whose debut album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit”, is a masterpiece of noisey, loose and most importantly clever, alternative rock. The songs on this record, though very well constructed, can at times seem like they’re almost on the verge of collapse due to the energetic but amiable looseness of Barnett’s performance. But it’s always seemed to me that the band dynamic and sound is pretty vital to the music on this record. Her great performances of songs like the wry, dissatisfied “Pedestrian At Best” on various US TV shows did everything to convince me of how good a musician and lyricist Barnett is but also reinforced the notion that these were “band” songs.

So needless to say I was intrigued as to what this solo set would be like as I and about 150 other people crowded amongst the racks at Slow Boat. Right from the start I was struck by how funny Barnett’s lyrics are. As much as I’d admired her storytelling abilities when listening to the record, there was something about seeing these songs performed live that made me and others in the crowd laugh out loud. Lines like “The paramedic thinks I'm clever ‘cause i play guitar / I think she’s clever ‘cause she stops people dying” - taken from “Avant Gardner” - delivered in Barnett’s deadpan, pretenceless style are so simple and true that it's hard not to find them funny. There is also an emotional honesty to these songs that seems somewhat effortless. The melancholy “Depreston” moves almost seamlessly from a story about house hunting to pondering the life of a woman who’s house is being sold after her death. Somehow it captures perfectly the mix of intrigue, sadness and frustration that those situations can create but without ever feeling forced or overwrought. Barnett was in a genial mood, chatting with crowd, telling funny stories about the origins of her songs and, when she became distracted by it halfway through her rendition of “Dead Fox”, pausing to marvel at a poster advertising an old Bob Dylan and Patti Smith show. When she’d finished and left the stage, the store’s manager returned to thank her and lead the crowd in singing happy birthday to Barnett, who had turned 28 a day or two ago. 

It's safe to say that at no point during the show did I feel the absence of a band. These songs can carry their own weight and are just as effective if they’re played with a full band or by one woman with a telecaster. The fact remains that they are clever and well written and the loose, noisey sound on the record, is just one way they can be performed. Perhaps it’s the definitive way but it’s not by any means the only one.

Courtney Barnett's album “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” is available now on iTunes.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Universal Truths And How Records Don't Owe Me Anything

I’ve written about Mark Kozelek’s songwriting before. I have expressed my doubts over the direction his writing has taken in recent years and I have to admit that at his Union Chapel show in 2013, I was ready to write off his next album completely. But, as it turned out, “Benji” was a good record. It was in keeping with the nylon string guitar and spiel of events style of songwriting that Kozelek has insisted upon for the last few years, but in songs such as “Carrisa” some of the emotional depth that had been missing from his more recent tracks had been restored. There were feelings being expressed rather than just a long list of events. It offered me some hope that maybe Kozelek had found sturdier ground in this new song writing territory. I had hopes that this might lead to more considered lyrics or even a move towards his earlier, more traditional style of writing.

With the release of “Universal Truths” however, my confidence is again shaken. Not only is the album another string of events record, which many reviewers are comparing to pages of a diary put to words, but Kozelek seems to have given up on the performance of the songs as well. Throughout the record his vocals are near indecipherable. The opening track even has sections where double tracked vocals are out of time with each other so it sounds like there are several people trying to drown everyone else out. The fact that this record was written and produced within a year of “Benji”, a year where Kozelek has been busy making a fool of himself and arguing with anyone and everyone, shows. All in all, I’m not impressed and it seems that I’m not alone. I enjoyed “Benji”, I enjoyed the joint album he did with The Album Leaf and if he was to produce material of that quality, I would be ok with that. But what do I really want? Honestly, I want a return to the days of “Carry Me Ohio” or even the later day murder-ballad beauty of “You Missed My Heart”. That’s what I’d really like to hear. 
But that’s my problem. Because I paid nothing for this album. I haven’t stolen it from a download site, I didn’t get an advance copy. I don’t own a copy of it at all. But it’s free to listen to on the Sun Kil Moon website. So in listening to this album, I have really lost nothing except the time it took, which I gave up freely. To my mind, when I’m in a situation like this, I can’t be angry at the artist. Yes, he has made a record that does not live up to my expectations of him, but what does that matter? Ultimately if he is happy with this record and is willing to make it available to people to listen to for free ahead of release, then he has fulfilled every criteria he needs to in order to make an album and make it available for purchase. This is one of the great advantages of being a music fan in the internet age. You get to try before you buy. 

In the years before the internet, putting out an album that may or may not be what is expected was a serious risk for both band and label. There was a lot at stake. You had to invest serious money into getting physical copies pressed, distributed and marketed. Then people had to part with their hard earned money to buy them. Putting out an album like “Universal Truths” just a few decades ago would have been a big gamble. There would be a backlash, as there is now. But when people are asked to pay for a record, without hearing it first, as you were back then, does that not then mean that the artist needs to live up to at least some of the expectation? There is no denying that creative freedom and artistic control are important and an artist should be allowed to produce work they feel is truthful to their ideas. But when you are asking people to pay money to purchase that work, for all intents and purposes, on good faith, should you not take the audience into account? I think so. I also think that now that that good faith agreement has been removed from the equation, due to the changes in music consumption caused by the internet, artists have less of a responsibility to cater to the audience with their recordings. Also, because music is so readily available for nothing, smaller artists and even not so small ones are making less money from recorded music all the time. So, if we’re not going to pay people for their work, don’t we at least owe them their creative freedom? How can we demand product for free and then be upset that it’s not what we want, especially when there is so much else out there?

So does all this mean “music was better before the internet because you had to try harder”? No, I don’t think so. Music hasn’t got worse; it’s just become less valuable, because it’s more readily available and far cheaper. Music is a subjective thing. Its worth as art is fluid and all dependent on who is listening. There are still great bands and artists making great music and there always will be. But music is now much easier to produce and distribute. If you have access to the internet, you have a way in which to create and distribute your own music. Without all the risks involved, without the costs and the obstacles, making and distributing music has become an open field that artists have rightly taken advantage of.

We now live in a world where, if you don’t particularly like one album, there will probably be 2 or 3 that came out in the last week that you will love. This is why good music criticism is more important now than ever. Because there is so much out there that you need someone you trust to guide you. To tell you which albums you might like if you liked, this one. But that could be a whole conversation on it’s own. I think it’s great that pretty much every taste is catered to with such great ease now. But that ease does come with a price.

One of the paradoxes of the internet is that it gives people the freedom to express themselves in a multitude of ways but it also invites apathy through attainability. The fact that music is so easily attainable does mean that when you find a record you love, the victory is a little less sweet because you didn’t need to fight so hard. You didn’t have to know a guy who told you what obscure rock magazine to read to see what albums were coming out that month, save up for the album or even go to a record store to buy it. You just had to go on spotify and type a word or two. Or click a link. And that’s amazing. But it does mean that the onus is now on you to build that connection. You have to really pay attention to the music you love, invest your time in it. Make it mean something to you.

Of course you can have opinions on records. In fact, you should, because music doesn’t mean much if it stirs no emotions in you at all. But no artist owes you anything in this day and age where his or her music can be heard for little to nothing. I’m never going to love “Universal Truths”, but I’ll find other records this year that I love, and still don’t have to pay for. As long as Mark Kozelek is happy with the record then it’s really achieved its purpose. He’s the one that put in the work making it. All I had to do was listen for an hour, for free.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Rodriguez Live At The Albert Hall - 27/05/2015

I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my life. Like nearly every music lover my age, I’ve spent half my life going to see bands play from the smallest bars to the biggest arenas. I’ve seen hot, new up and coming bands, acts at the apex of their careers and well established musicians that started playing decades before I was born. Rodriguez at the Albert Hall was not one that I will easily forget, but perhaps not for the reasons you may expect.  

The Sixto Rodriguez story is a good one. If you haven't seen it, the academy award winning documentary “Searching For Sugarman” is well worth your time. A little known singer songwriter from Detroit, his two albums, released in the early 70's, were commercial flops in the US, despite his obvious talent and the faith of his producers and record labels. His music career went nowhere and he settled into a life of manual labour and factory work.

Unbeknownst to him, he had become a huge success in South Africa. Despite the limited availability of his albums for some time, he had developed a huge following amongst the growing counter culture during the era of apartheid, becoming more well known and loved than both Elvis and the Rolling Stones. But he was nowhere to be found. With no knowledge of the success and adoration awaiting him in South Africa, Rodriguez never toured or recorded after 1973. It seemed to his fans that he had just vanished and rumours of an on stage suicide were rife. Eventually, in the late 1990's a couple of intrepid fans tracked him down and contacted him, eventually arranging a concert in South Africa and re-igniting Rodriguez's musical career. The film disregards some aspects of the story, notably the fact that he had toured Australia in 1981 and still had a following there, but it’s an undeniably interesting tale that’s made all the better by being told through an engaging film. So, since the 1990’s his career has been growing steadily, his two albums were reissued in 2009 and with the release of “Searching For Sugarman” in 2012, his notoriety skyrocketed. Now at the age of 72 Rodriguez is now playing sold out shows around the world, including two nights at the Royal Albert Hall.

I had heard Rodriguez’s records when the film was released and I enjoyed them. Both albums are the kind of tuneful, clever psychedelic pop that was a big part of my childhood. I could hear echoes of Love’s “Forever Changes” in the arrangements and hints of Dylan in the lyrics but with an original voice that kept it engaging. I didn’t quite see what had resonated so strongly with the people of South Africa but I’m a white man in London in 2015, far removed from the political and social climate of that time and place. Overall though I enjoyed his music enough that when the opportunity presented itself, I went to see him play.

I must have missed something. I’m sure of it. Whether the crowd at the show had all come from South Africa or I was just not paying proper attention to either the records or the documentary, I’m not sure. Whatever it was, the level of adoration and excitement for Rodriguez was beyond anything I’d seen before. First of all, the Albert Hall, which for those of you that are unfamiliar is a huge, prestigious, victorian concert hall in London, was packed to the rafters with fans. Who from what I could see, were predominantly white, older men, occasionally with their wives or kids in tow. Then there was a standing ovation for Rodriguez before he even got on stage. A good two minutes before. When he did finally come on stage, shuffling and supported by two of his daughters, there was even more applause, followed by near constant declarations of affection from audience members. This kind of unfettered love is rare to see at any performance but for a man who released two albums four decades ago and who most of these people have only been aware of for three years, It seems almost impossible. But, again, I thought to myself “I’ve just not picked up on something. I’m sure once he get’s going, I’ll get it.”

Rodriguez on stage at the Royal Albert Hall
My main thought about Rodriguez throughout the set was how frail he looked. His walk was a slow shuffle and he leant on a table placed next to him for support as he drank from two cups of tea between songs. At 72 he’s not a young guy but when I think of other performers around his age, Springsteen, Neil Young, Ray Davies all of who still have tonnes of energy, it’s a little jarring. That said, he played his guitar with gusto. A frenetic and complex strumming that, whilst not always audible, still looked like he knew what he was doing. His vocals on the other hand were often mumbled and slightly off key, sometimes lost behind the backing band. But the crowd loved it, roaring with appreciation at the end of each song and continuing to shout about how much they loved him as he conferred with his band between numbers.

For a man who has been praised for his song-writing and compared favourably to the great writers of his generation, Rodriguez seemed determined to cram as many covers into his set as he could. “La Bamba”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Somebody To Love” and others were all wheeled out, sometimes it seemed even to the surprise of the backing band who I could see pulling confused faces and occasionally shrugging to each other. As is sometimes the case with older artists, it was the band that was doing the heavy lifting. The rhythm section were tight and energetic and quite frankly I would pay good money to watch the lead guitarist jam out on stage any night of the week. Though they were able to cope with the curve balls they were being thrown, each song seemed to follow a distinct pattern. Rodriguez would start playing, the band would join in and halfway through the song, there would be an extended guitar solo that lasted for the rest of the number. After a while, the band would signal to each other and the drummer would make it very obvious that the song was coming to an end. I’m not sure how rehearsed or planned this was, but it seemed clear who was leading who. 

I’ve seen shows in a similar vein to this before. Brian Wilson is a great example. A revered, older songwriter plays his hits to an audience of devoted fans whilst the majority of the work is done by a tight group of much younger musicians. And to my mind, there is nothing wrong with that set up. It affords some people the chance to relive their youth for a couple of hours and for younger audience members to get a glimpse of musicians that have inspired countless others and made a huge impact on our cultural world. With artists like Brian Wilson, I completely understand the draw and I completely understand why they have such devoted fans. What perplexes me about Rodriguez, is that he has managed to garner the same love and appreciation from a UK audience in what is essentially a very short career and I don’t quite understand why. Both of his albums are great, but there are only 2 of them and they’re 40 years old now. To my mind, for an audience to respond with such adoration as they did to this show, there either needs to be a large, well known body of work to draw from (Brian Wilson again serves as an example) or a performance that dispels all doubt (ever seen Springsteen play a 3 hour show?), neither of which were present here. I don’t wish to come off as cynical or mean spirited, Rodriguez deserves success and recognition for his work and his story, but I saw and heard little to support the fervor of his fans. But in the end, being able to instil that kind of devotion in people is something to be admired, even if I’m not sure I see it myself.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Field Recording: Horse, Carriage & Bus - Kensington Church Street

One of the odd parts of working in one of the richest and most well to do areas of London is that you occasionally see things on the street that you rarely see anywhere else in the city. Royal motorcades to and from Kensington palace, billionaires leaving their mansions on the UK's most expensive street and police armed with machine guns to name but a few. 

There's also a lot of horses. I'm not really sure why, but there seems to be more horses in Kensington than any where else in central London. In fact just the other day I saw a carriage being pulled by two horses weaving it's way through rush hour traffic on Kensington Church Street complete with two well dressed coachmen. It looked transplanted from a century gone by where that kind of transport was common place. If it had been in a film or TV show I would have called it a rather lazy British stereotype. I pulled out my phone but instead of taking a photo I made a recording of the horses as they passed a bus that had just pulled up.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Field Recording: A Glitch On The DLR

DLR map
Public transport in London is a fact of life. Unless you are one of the chosen few who can walk to work or drive, you will end up on public transport at least once a week. being confined to a small space for a long period of time on a regular basis will, unsurprisingly, become rather monotonous. I've spoken before on this blog about how I try to lighten up the 2 hours of each day I spend on the tube by listening to podcasts.

That said, every so often, something a bit strange happens that catches you off guard. Whether it's people in fancy dress, passengers exhibiting bizarre behavior or just something disgusting, public transport in London does throw you the occasional surprise. A few months ago I was on my way into work on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway), when I noticed that the automated PA announcements that tell you which station is next on the line had a weird delay effect. The result was a series of announcements that were pretty hard to decipher and for some strange reason, slightly unnerving. Because of these strange sounding announcements, passengers, some of whom see each other every day and never so much as acknowledge each others existence, we're smiling at each other and laughing slightly confusedly at what was going on. As I was standing next to one of the PA speakers, I pulled out my iPhone and began to record the announcements. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Tefifon

One of my favourite things about audio technology is the vast amount of strange, obscure formats and machines that exist in the world. For every innovation that changed the way people listened to music, the CD for example, there were a handful of lesser know ones that never quite made it (hands up who still owns a Minidisc player?).

The Tefifon is a little known audio format from 1950's Germany and utilises a thin, flexible vinyl strip to store music. It's coiled up inside a plastic cartridge much like an old 8-track tape would be. Techmoan, a youtube user with a wonderful channel full of interesting and informative tech reviews (I really recommend his HI-FI videos playlist), got hold of a Tefifon and has produced a detailed and pretty fascinating deconstruction of the machine.
 Whilst the machine can hardly be called groundbreaking and the audio quality isn't going to give vinyl a run for it's money, it's beautifully designed and the artwork on the cartridge sleeves is fantastic. It's a wonderful artifact and a clever idea, but I never want to hear that version of "Tutti Frutti" again.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Scott Carrier's Home Of The Brave

If you've spent much time listening to This American Life, the wonderful weekly radio show and podcast from Chicago Public Media, then there is a good chance you have heard a story by Peabody award winner, Scott Carrier.

For me, what sets Carrier's stories apart form the other segment producers, writers and reporters on This American Life is his strangeness. His slow, careful way of talking and his high pitched voice make his segments on the show seem somewhat tense. Enhancing that feeling is the fact that his pieces are often quite personal in nature and punctuated with details of what seems like a uneasy life. For example, his latest appearance on the show, in the episode "Good Guys", he talks about his wife leaving him after an episode where he tore the walls out of the house with out warning.

But it's exactly this intensity and personal detail in his work that I find so compelling. Along with the slight uncomfortable feeling of hearing such details broadcast publicly, Carrier's humanity is really what shines through in all of his work, albeit in a slightly strange, other-worldly way. You feel that he really cares about the subjects he's talking about and the people he's talking too. There's a dry humor to his work as well. Often I feel, listening to his stories and his delivery, that I get some of the jokes in the work but not all of them. That some of the jokes are maybe just for Scott. Part of what keeps me listening is the hope that I maybe, later, understand a few more of them.

That's why his new podcast, and the first show dedicated solely to Carrier's work, Home Of The Brave is so interesting to listen to. Carrier is a man who at various stages in his life has always carried a tape recorder with him and each episode contains some of those recordings together with some narrative context. Whether it's a conversation with an old friend, interviews with people about the end of the world or a compilation of various fascinating recordings from around his neighborhood, the show invariably makes for compelling listening. Carrier has a great skill for capturing people on tape. His recordings are so evocative and well assembled that you get an almost complete sense of who the people he's talking to are. People seem compelled to talk to him and open up in a way they wouldn't to most men with a microphone.

The website for the show is almost a perfect visual representation of the show. Simple and spare on details, but containing all you need to get a perfect sense of what's going on. Carrier's, frankly brilliant, photographs accompany a simple audio player for each episode of the show. A perfect example of the dry humor I mentioned earlier is the promotional video on the "about" page. It's one minute and nineteen seconds of Carrier and his dog in the car, listening and occasionally barking along to "Television Man" by Talking Heads. That's it.

Augi Bear from Scott Carrier on Vimeo.

Home Of The Brave is the work of a man who has very thoughtfully and skillfully recorded and presented his interest in the world and people around him. The show is full of quirks and idiosyncrasies, but so is the world and so are people, so in that way, it's a perfect representation.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Between The Ears With Dan Carey
Dan Carey is a record producer, songwriter, audio experimenter of the highest order and previous guest on the Speaks Louder Than Words podcast.

Whilst we were talking for the podcast, Dan told me about a recent BBC Radio 3 documentary he had been a part of that focused on a tape recorder he had recently purchased. The machine came with a box of tapes, made in the 1950's and 60's which seemed to be of a group of friends in London. Alan Dein, the documentary's producer set about tracking down the machine's previous owner to talk about the recordings.

It's a story about found recordings, the intrigue that makes them so compelling and how a seemingly disconnected series of recordings can prove to be a document of an interesting story.

You can here the show in full here.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Field Recording: The Royal Mile

This recording was made outside of St Giles Cathedral on a recent trip to Edinburgh. My wife had ducked into one of the shops nearby and I was stood outside taking photos. As I took one of the cathedral, a busker further down the street began playing the bagpipes, something that occurs regularly in the more touristy areas of Scotland.

Perhaps it's the natural reverb from the large stone buildings and cobbled streets that gives this recording an eerie and atmospheric feel and makes the pipes seem somewhat distant and removed from the street noise but there was a certain quality in the atmosphere at that moment that inspired me to pull out my iPhone and record a voice memo.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Podcast: Jeff Middleton

As a British person, Country music is pretty much a mystery to me. I know what it is, I know where it comes from and I have a rough idea of what it sounds like. I enjoy classic country music, I listen to artists like Caitlin Rose and Steve Earle but I know that a lot of the Country I love is either considered alternative or from a by-gone era. From what I can tell, that's only the tip of the iceberg. What about the country music that dominates radio stations in the southern United States? I know so little about that side of Country music, yet it is it's own, separate, multi-billion dollar industry.

I was lucky enough to get to talk to Nashville songwriter and guitarist for The Dirt Drifters, Jeff Middleton. In between songwriting sessions on a recent UK trip Jeff, very graciously and with great patience answered my questions about Country music, Nashville and his own adventures in songwriting.

You can download the podcast for free on iTunes and you can follow Jeff on twitter.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Pitch, A Podcast For Music Nerds & Non-Music Nerds

I've found recently that my time spent with headphones on, has become increasingly spent listening to podcasts instead of music. I have a job where music and listening to music, sometimes the same track several times in a row, is a big part of what I do. At my desk I am constantly listening to music of all kinds on many different formats for many different reasons.

But I've found that when I'm heading off for my day in the office or I'm finished and going home, I prefer not to listen to music. My ears won't appreciate the subtitles of jazz or withstand the volume of hard rock or navigate the new textures of electronica. I need something identifiable, relatable but engaging enough so that I don't fall asleep on my 1 hour commute. So I turn to podcasts.

Like all aspects of media, the internet has thrown the doors wide open for unsupervised and unregulated production of audio programming. One of the top rated podcasts available and a personal favourite of mine, Marc Maron's WTF, is produced independently in his garage. Podcasts also allow you to listen to great, professionally made radio shows from far flung lands. American public radio productions like this American Life and the audible delight that is Radiolab have found huge new global audiences as podcasts. There are podcasts on almost every subject you can think of and probably a few on subjects you would rather not think about. Of course there are plenty on music.

One of my favourites is the independently produced Pitch. No other podcast out there captures my enjoyment of the geeky minutia that surrounds music as well as Pitch does. It's a podcast for music lovers who like stories and story lovers who enjoy music. Presented and created by Alex Kapelman and Whitney Jones, Pitch is different from other music shows in that it's not an interview show (like some podcasts) or a new music programme as much as it is a series of short audio documentaries.

Each episode takes on a small but interesting aspect of music. Whether it's the rise of Karaoke, the story of a song about a drummer in a 60's band or the strange laws around dancing in New York, Kapelman and Jones tell each tale with a level of interest that is usually only reserved for the obsessed, but in a way that even those with just a casual interest in these subjects will find enjoyable. My personal favourite is episode 3, “Rock The Longbox”. Not just because it goes into detail about the most (justifiably) maligned type of record packaging there is but because it's a story about how music, specifically R.E.M's “Out Of Time”, can make big changes in the world at large.

The podcast also has a wonderful newsletter too, discussing the most talked about music stories of each week and shining a light on some of the more important and perhaps not as widely covered stories that affect music listeners and the industry itself.

As someone who is often ridiculed, in a  good-natured way, for his music nerd tendencies, I have to say that I find Pitch's tone and content comforting. It's nice to know that small, sometimes almost unnoticeable parts of music lore and knowledge can be used to create relatable and interesting stories. That the minutia of it all can be used to do what music essentially does, build a strong, meaningful connection to the outside world.

You can get Pitch here on iTunes and follow them on twitter here.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Podcast: Dan Carey

Dan's Studio (via Speedy Wunderground's Facebook page)
A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend a morning in Dan Carey's studio in London. A veritable Aladdin's cave of music making, the main room is filled with guitars, synthesisers and recording gear, a big neon sign advertising his Speedy Wunderground record label hangs on one wall. Although the room is somewhat chaotic, you get the sense that it's perfectly set up for Dan to work in and that he knows where everything is. He's in his element amongst all the cables and switches

Dan Carey has written for or produced (or both) big, chart topping acts like Kylie Minogue, Franz Ferdinand, Lilly Allen and Sia as well as less well known, but equally as lauded artists such as Kate Tempest (with whom he is currently working on a new album), Emiliana Torrini, Toy and Chairlift. The Chairlift album (2012's "Something") was a record I was particularly interested in talking about as it's one of my favourite albums of the last few years and a potential candidate for a later entry on Some Call It Noise.

You can download the podcast for free from iTunes or stream it via soundcloud.