Get dropped in the middle of a long form conversation with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types.
Episode 494: Anika
Her music career wasn’t an accident, exactly. But it’s safe to say that Anika didn’t see it coming. A music journalist by trade, the singer assumed she was signing up for a guest vocalist gig on what ultimately became her self-titled debut. Largely comprised of covers, the LP featured a smattering of originals, cowritten with electronic rock band, Beak. After being handpicked by Portishead to perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties in London, Anika went on to form the group Exploded View in Mexico City. This year, she returned for Change – her sophomore solo album and first under her own name in 11 years.
Episode 493: Lou Mathews and Jim Gavin
“If a book is good,” Lou Mathews explains, “it will find an audience.” Finding a publisher, on the other hand, is often a different question altogether. “A writer writes” is perhaps a more appropriate adage for the author and educator who has thus far had two of his seven novels published. Luck, timing and connections are every bit as important in publishing. And thankfully, in the case of Shaky Town, the latter finally paid off. Last year, the book finally saw publication courtesy of newly-minted publisher, Tiger Van Books, which arrives with the following manifesto, “We believe in books. Our business model is failure. We plan to lose money and fold quickly. Join us.” A labor of love founded by Lodge 49 creator – and Mathews’ former student – Jim Gavin, Tiger Van aims to put good things into the world, financial windfall be damned.
Episode 492: Bonnie Bloomgarden (of Death Valley Girls)
There’s no lingering doubt after an hour-long conversation that Bonnie Bloomgarden believes in the power of music. And not in any abstract sense, mind. This stuff is transformative manifestations, filtered through almost ritualistic commutations of the spirit. But for many, such notions are understandably secondary to the power of rock. And by that measure, Under the Spell of Joy is a routing success. The Death Valley Girls’ latest delivers the joy it promises in a wonderfully fresh garage rock package couched with gang chants that provide the spell aspect of the equation. It’s feel good music without the self-help trappings at a time when we can use it the most.
Episode 491: Taylor Hanson (of Hanson)
In 2022, Hanson will celebrate 30 years as a band. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for any group, let alone one whose members ranged from age six to 11. The group was propelled to success in its earliest days on the strength of its 1997’s Middle of Nowhere, a multi-platinum debut. Hanson’s seventh’s studio release, Against the World, arrived earlier this month. At first glance, the title is downright confrontational, though Taylor Hanson explains that the name is intended to reflect a kind of underdog status adopted by the group. It’s a strange notion, for band that has seen such high highs, but intervening years have forced the group to forge its own path in the often difficult to navigate world of the music business.
Episode 490: Merry Clayton
In 2021, Merry Clayton returned with a vengeance. In her solo first album in 27, years the singer once again poured her heart out on record. Beautiful Scars bears the mark of a musician who has suffered tremendous loss, but remains defiantly joyous and hopeful. Her voice remains confident and unmistakable, singing a title track that references, in part, a 2014 car crash that result in the loss of both of her legs. It also marks a post-humous return for her husband, Curtis Amy, whose sax part from her original recording of “A Song For You” 50 years prior reemerges on a rerecording. As she notes, our interview was recorded on what would have been his 92nd birthday. It was Amy who answered a phone call in the middle of the night that found Clayton recording what may be her best-known performance, dueting alongside Mick Jagger on the Stones classic, “Gimme Shelter.” But that’s just one moment in a 58-year singing career that’s among popular music’s most legendary.
Episode 489: Tillie Walden
Released over the summer, Alone in Space offers brilliant glimpses in the process and work of a powerhouse cartoonist. The collection offers works from her teenage years and the classroom prompts that catalyzed her early works, include a Windsor McCay homage that would prove foundational her developing style. Walden’s books range from 2017’s deeply personal Spinning to 2018’s sci-fi meditation, On a Sunbeam. Most recently, she’s been working on Clementine, a coming-of-age zombie book set in Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead universe.
A wide array of guests well interviewed
I like fiction, graphic and otherwise. I like music. I like thoughtful conversations about a wide array of topics. But I LOVE long guitar and keyboard intros. FIVE STARS FOR RIYL! HO HO HO!
This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.
This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.
This is my favorite podcast.