The podcast where we get behind people's music, to understand what inspires and drives musicians the world over.
The podcast where we get behind people's music, to understand what inspires and drives musicians the world over.
Episode 43: Chris Weinhardt (pt. 3 and 4)
And so the time has come - we are into the final two parts of the Chris Weinhardt marathon. (Except it has four parts, not 26 miles of audio, so that doesn't really work as a description, but you get what I mean.)
It's been a long journey from lip-syncing, to autotune, to Led Zeppelin, to The Smurfs. Yup, The Smurfs. In the final two parts of the interview - combined here into one 30-minute episode - the Weinhardt weirdness does not let up.
Dishing the Durst
For whatever reason, Limp Bizkit (specifically the antics of Fred Durst) turn up a lot on BPM Pod. But so far the stories have been urban legend, with no one really knowing the guy personally.
Until Chris Weinhardt comes along - the damn hero has met the guy. Yes, the actual Fred Durst. It's quite a claim to fame.
In this episode, we talk about that meeting backstage (which sounds like a terrible family reunion, quite frankly) and what it meant for the music of Weinhardt.
Is the album format dead?
The first topic we tackle in this episode is the album format. There are a bunch of artists still putting out wonderful albums which take you on a journey, but it's an exception rather than a rule.
Today the single is king (the Kingle? Bad joke.) Albums usually flow, but not in an adventurous, journey sense. Instead, they represent a compilation of previous bi-monthly released three-minute singles. Gone are the long cuts, the middle-album jams, and the little secret tracks.
But is this really a bad thing? Has the album died at all? We discuss.
What a country
Final topic we talk about is country music - because we were a few beers down at this point, so why the hell not?
Country music isn't necessarily reflected in the music of Weinhardt, but Chris loves it all the same. We exchange views on the topic and discuss some of the country artists we like today. (Not Ryan Adams, though he does get a mention, albeit in a disdainful way. Prick.)
Revisit the previous parts
Listen below if you missed the previous parts of the interview with Chris Weinhardt. And, of course, don't forget to check him out. There's a new single out too called 'Sunset Rails' which is also below.
Sunset Rails - Weinhardt
Parts 1 and 2
Episode 42: Chris Weinhardt pt.2
A while back, before the whole coronavirus thing, I went drinking with long-time podcast regular, Chris Weinhardt. As expected, we talked for quite a while about a long list of random topics.
Was it all good? No. Not at all. But some of it was, in between pizza, regular toilet breaks, beer resupplies, and a hell of a lot of podcast mistakes.
Still our wide ranging conversation was fun and enlightening, as I am sure you will agree.
So here's part two of our chat. In this part, we discuss the use of autotune in live performances and if it makes you less of a singer. Plus, we discuss what our first music purchase was, the first music videos that we fell in love with, and the first album we bought.
Check out part 1 here.
Coming up on BPM Pod
We'll be looking at parts 3 and 4 with Chris Weinhardt, plus we'll be hearing from one of my favourite music producers in the entire world, Hans Annellsson. Also Berlin-based singer-songwriter Alex Spencer swings by.
The Pulse reviews: Jason Isbell, Haim, Perfume Genius, Fiona Apple
Hello and welcome to this episode of BPM Pod, the podcast where we get behind people's music.
I hope you're doing well out there in these strange times and am glad you're taking the time to listen to the podcast. Thanks for your continued support, love and dedication. Remember if you want to get in touch with me here at BPM Pod, you can do so via the social channels, so definitely check those out. And I'd like to know what music you've enjoyed recently too so, if you want to submit a quick 30 second clip of you reviewing some music you've encountered recently – good or bad – then head over to the Facebook page at BPM Pod and drop me a message.
So for now, it's time for another episode of The Pulse here on BPM Pod, where I look at some of the music I've recently encountered – some new, some old, some finished, some not.
On this episode, I look at new music from Haim, Perfume Genius, and Fiona Apple. But first, I want to turn my attention to one of my favourite singer-songwriters today, and someone we've heard a bit of before on this podcast, and that is Jason Isbell with his album Reunions.
Jason Isbell – Reunions
The fourth album from American alt-country soft-rock blues-rock singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, accompanied here by The 400 Unit. Follows The Nashville Sound – a great album – from 2017.
Now I read somewhere that Isbell thinks Reunions is his strongest work yet and that set me up for expecting a lot, so do keep that in mind. But overall, Reunions for me was good, not great.
On the plus side, the sound here is different and has a lot more resemblance to a well produced Jackson Browne album, or offcuts of Dire Straits. There's a lot of overdubbing and layering here with some dreamlike effects, stereo landscapes and so on.
In terms of the songwriting, it's largely strong, with stand out tracks such as Overseas, Be Afraid and Only Children really stealing the show. A couple for me fall by the wayside, including St Peter's Autograph, Running With Our Eyes Closed, and controversially What've I Done To Help – a track which people seem to love for the Bill Withers slash Walk on the Wild Side blend, but is a track I think is overly long, repetitive and quite weak lyrically.
There are excellent performances from the band members, as always. Dave Cobb does brilliantly with the production too. But unlike his previous releases – Southeastern and Something more than free particularly – there's something in Reunions which brings distance and unrelatability. It's not somehow as touching or heartfelt, even though individual elements are excellent, whereas his other releases demand repeat listens to understand all of the emotions underneath.
So I overall like the direction Isbell has taken with this album, particularly in terms of the new sounds he has created, but for me it is not his best. Still a very worthy addition to his catalogue, and I recommend fans buy it, and newcomers give it a listen at least.
women in Music Part 3
Now this is not strictly a review, as the album has now been delayed until June sometime, due to the current nonsense in the world. But with that said, I want to talk about it because the first handful of tracks from the upcoming album really point to something special.
Now I have been a Haim fan for a long time, even when I had people saying they were poppy Fleetwood Mac rip-offs. To me they've always had some kind of sense of humour and gravitas about them, as well as a tonne of talent. And while I still don't fully understand or hear the influences that Haim tout so often – such as Destiny's Child, TLC and so on – I do get the pop sensibilities that they evoke.
The tracks that are out there so far are Summer Girl, Now I'm In It, Hallelujah, The Steps, I Know Alone, and Don't Wanna. So there's almost half the album out there right now.
Episode 40: Weinhardt catch up (part 1)
It was way back in episode two - the first 'proper' episode' - where I met Chris Weinhardt, somewhere distant and dark on the outskirts of Berlin. (Okay, Wildau isn't that bad, but it is a little far away. Listen to episode 2 here.)
I was nervous. Despite experience in the radio broadcasting field, it has been a while since I ran the show, doing the interviewing, editing, uploading and so on. I felt the pressure.
Chris? Well he couldn't have been more relaxed or accommodating, offering to collect me from the train station, offering to get me food and drink, and being welcoming and warm to this weird British guy who, with no podcasting experience, wanted to talk to him about music.
Almost two years later, Chris and I are still in touch, albeit not as often as we should be, and our musical journey has taken some wonderful turns. It was with this in mind that Chris asked me to come round for a beer so we could talk more generally about music, the next steps for Weinhardt, and how the adventure looked in 2020.
And then came coronavirus
After recording this episode over beer and pizza back in February 2020, Chris and I had planned to meet again on a more regular basis to transform elements of BPM Pod into a two-man show. We'd talk absolute crap, review music, review gigs and so on - a bit like the Kermode and Mayo Film Review, if you know that.
And then everything stopped.
Within a matter of weeks the restrictions came in. People freaked out, bought far too much toilet paper, and prepared for the end of the world. In my own little bubble, I was freaking out too, especially as my wife and I were having (and did have, I am glad to say) a baby in April.
It all became a bit much and the podcast took a backseat.
The thing is though: Chris and I talked for hours back in the Spring and a lot of it was good. We had such a flowing, different chemistry that it felt odd to simply abandon the episode. At the same time, the conversation was so rambling and weird (thanks alcohol) that it felt strange to put it out as one episode.
Better late than never
So to relive the pre-coronavirus days, to hear the absolute nonsense Chris and I talked about, I'll be releasing all parts of the chat Chris and I had over the coming weeks, starting with part one.
Each part is around 10-20 mins, discussing a bunch of different topics from Fred Durst, to country music, to backing tracks and if you should be able to use them in live performances.
It's nonsensical, it's all a bit stupid, but it's exactly what we need in these trying times. So check out parts one and two above, and stay tuned for more to come.
Reviews: King Buffalo, Heavy Heavy, Gyoza
Inspired by the excellent YouTube movie review channel YMS (thanks for all your great work, Adam) I've decided to transform the regular 'The Pulse' feature into a kind of quickie review segment.
This month, I turn my attention to three absolutely awesome releases, all in the stoner-rock heavy-metal field, as I review the latest releases from King Buffalo, Heavy Heavy and Gyoza. Don't miss it.
Episode 38 - My top 10 Jason Isbell songs
"Have you heard Jason Isbell?" said my record producer, Thomas. I sheepishly said no, trying to hide how I may just have missed someone I should know about. He could tell.
"Oh don't worry - I don't think that many people have heard of him. But you should hear his stuff. I'll start you off with Southeastern."
And there we sat, in Thomas's vinyl-stacked basement studio, and listened to the album all the way through. We did not talk, we did not offer opinions, we sat silently and absorbed what we heard.
I have been hooked ever since.
Isbell's catalogue, while relatively short, is crammed with stunning stories of love, loss, hope, fears and occasionally political standpoints. The former guitarist for the Drive-By Truckers - another band I absolutely adore - Isbell is today one of the most in-demand songwriters out there, having most recently broken more into the mainstream with his contribution to A Star is Born.
Ahead of new album Reunions from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, I thought I'd give you what are, in my opinion, the top 10 best Jason Isbell songs to date.
Do you agree, disagree, or perhaps you've never heard of Jason Isbell and you want to offer your thoughts on this introduction to him?
Listen to the podcast, read the list below, and let me know.
On the next episode
We'll be going back to a friend of the podcast, Chris Weinhardt, for a dose of pre-lockdown musical fun. Plus we'll have an episode coming soon with singer-songwriter Alex Spencer so stay tuned.