John Peel died ten years ago today and I reckon that I must have listened to a good few thousand of his radio shows between 1976 and 2004. In fact, I have a big black bin liner in my cupboard filled with old cassette tapes that mostly consist of sessions and other tracks from these shows although not the one where I recorded parts of his first ever Festive Fifty, which is apparently much sought after, a kind of holy grail for Peel obsessives. That would likely have been taped over within weeks of broadcast. Maybe days.
My musical tastes were largely sculpted by listening to Peelie during those years. I first heard Subway Sect on Peel, first heard Joy Division, The Smiths, Pulp, My Bloody Valentine and Boards of Canada there too – and Melt Banana, Napalm Death and The Cuban Boys, who Peel adored but who I never remotely understood the appeal of. That, though, was somehow part of the fun.
In the age of podcasts, Mixcloud sets, Spotify and everything else that’s out there, discovering exciting new music – and older music I’d previously been unaware of – has certainly become more complicated for me since his death.
Helpfully Louder Than War have just updated their own Ultimate Guide on where to find New Music in a Post-Peel World (which I made a very small contribution to) and it’s full of interesting suggestions. I’m intending myself to investigate some of them today.
Sometimes nowadays I come across new acts very randomly. A few hours ago a Canadian band* got in touch via email, I listened to their new single, liked it and visited their Facebook page where they recommended another band, who have a self-titled album out at the moment on Transgressive in Britain.
I originally guessed that this band might just be Scottish, as for some reason I can’t figure out, the first thing you see on their official website at the moment is a photo of 70s Edinburgh folkies, Silly Wizard with the message: ‘silly wizard, ahead of their era’ but no, Alvvays (pronounced Always) are Canadians too, albeit the singer’s called Molly Rankin and Kerri MacLellan is the name of the keyboard player so I’m guessing there’s plenty of Scots in their ancestry.
Dreamy, timeless indie pop with shades of Camera Obscura and The Sundays (two big Peel favourites) this is Alvvays with Archie, Marry Me:
Surely Archie would be mad not to.
The band are currently touring and play the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds tonight.
Also from the musically fertile city of Toronto are BB Guns, who I came across last year when Tess Parks recommended them to me during my interview with her. This is the ‘sparkling’ lead track from their Bang EP:
BB Guns will be supporting Dum Dum Girls on Saturday night at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. Should be fun.
* Christian Punk Band in case you’re wondering, who’s name I think is slightly misleading.