Thursday, May 26, 2016

Oxford rocks

Given where the podcast is recorded and especially in light of our Music Cities series, it was only a matter of time before we dedicated an episode of Sounding Bored to Oxford - and here it is. In the company of Ronan Munro - the man who gave Radiohead their very first interview and who has been championing local bands as editor of Curfew and then Nightshift for the last 25 years - we discussed how such a small city has been able to punch significantly above its weight and identified some of the key figures in the scene.

Naturally we also took the opportunity to mention what makes it thrive today - from record stores (Truck), venues (the Bullingdon, the Wheatsheaf, the Cellar) and festivals (Truck, Common People, the Nightshift Punt) to promoters (Future Perfect, Smash Disco) and of course acts (including Maiians, Rainbow Reservoir, The August List, These Are Our Demands, Lucy Leave, The Beckoning Fair Ones, Esther Joy Lane and Cameron AG).

Given the general theme of the episode, it was equally inevitable that our featured album would be A Moon Shaped Pool. While it's fair to say that we weren't all rabidly enthusiastic about Radiohead's ninth LP, we were undoubtedly keener on it than the Quietus' Mike Diver. His complaint that it lacks the intensity of their late-90s/early-00s golden era probably has some merit, but then it's a different kind of album to OK Computer.

I disagree that it's the sound of a band "chasing their own tail, blissfully unaware of the requirement to pay anyone else the slightest mind"; that is certainly true of King Of Limbs, but A Moon Shaped Pool is far more generous to the listener, if nevertheless not exactly instantly accessible by most people's standards.

Neither do I think the album has a "'B-sides and Rarities' feel to it"; if you were unaware of the long history of some of the songs ('True Love Waits' in particular, which dates back to the mid-90s and The Bends), as Rob admitted he was on the podcast, then that thought probably wouldn't occur. In any case, as I suggested myself, I'd prefer to see those long gestation periods as evidence of a band obsessed with quality control, carefully nurturing a good idea (or ideas) and improving upon it until ready for release.

No comments: