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Saturday, October 23rd, 2021  

Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Oct 06, 2021

British punk duo Sleaford Mods (singer, Jason Williamson and producer, Andrew Fearne) are the guests on the latest episode of Under the Radar Podcast. They released their pandemic-inspired album Spare Ribs earlier this year. It is their third UK Top 10, following on from their career-spanning retrospective All That Glue and 2019’s Eton Alive.

Williamson joins us on the podcast to discuss their 11th studio album, which features women’s voices for the first time and memories from his childhood. Lyrically, the rants are richer, more poetic, and in parts intimate, stripping it of the machismo that his image might brandish to the casual listener. Here, Williamson sheds light on his shifting perspective, beyond just shouting about the world outside to ruminating on parts of his interior life that might have been locked away previously.

The 51-year-old opens up about his early life and growing up on a council estate in Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace of Grantham, Lincolnshire. The rocky road from wannabe indie rocker in his early 20s at the height of Britpop, to the disillusioned 40 year old who witnessed the despair around him and told it like it was—profanities and all. Williamson had long given up being on the radio or having any kind of career in music by that stage. But that yearning to express himself—to make sense of the rage, pain and boredom that he tried to numb with drugs and alcohol—that never went away.

“I think what got me through all those periods was drugs and alcohol. It would be a lifeline out of the tedium of you know—low paid employment,” says Williamson who has since embraced sobriety.

Spare Ribs’ title was inspired by the pandemic, as Williamson explained in a previous press release: “The idea of the amount of people that died from the first wave of coronavirus; human lives are always expendable to the elites…. We’re in a constant state of being spare ribs.”

Previously Sleadord Mods shared Spare Ribs’ first single, “Mork N Mindy,” via a video for it. The song and video featured Billy Nomates. They also performed the song on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “Mork N Mindy” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, “Shortcummings,” via a video for it (the song’s title referenced Dominic Cummings, the former Chief Advisor to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson). Then they shared one last pre-release single from it, “Nudge It,” via a video for the track. Both the song and video feature Amy Taylor of Australian punks Amyl and the Sniffers. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Taylor’s part was clearly filmed separately, likely in Australia. Eddie the Wheel directed the video. “Nudge It” was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Xiu Xiu, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 4 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 5 featured London Grammar. Season 2, episode 6 featured Lucy Dacus. Season 2, episode 7 featured Adrian Younge.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Adrian Younge

Adrian Younge – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Aug 20, 2021

Adrian Younge—multi-hyphenate artist, DJ, composer, and co-founder of the Jazz Is Dead label—is our guest on the latest episode of Under the Radar Podcast.

Younge released his album The American Negro, on Jazz Is Dead earlier this year. As provocative as its title sounds, Younge attempts to break down concepts of racism and deliver a worthwhile history lesson with this powerful mix of jazz, soul, and spoken word.

Together with his label co-founder, Ali Shaheed Mohammad, the duo have been prolific over the pandemic. They’ve released several sessions recorded at Younge’s all-analogue Los Angeles studio Linear Labs, with jazz luminaries such as composer Roy Ayers, saxophonist Gary Bartz, and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jackson—whose most significant work is with activist poet, Gil Scott-Heron on “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Younge’s reverence for the elders of jazz and soul is evident in the podcast as he discusses his work with William Hart of The Delfonics, the legendary Philly Soul trio from the ’60s known for hits such as “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind” and “La-La Means I Love You.” He describes his relationship as an attempt to “give them their flowers while they’re still here.”

An avid crate-digger, Younge reveals his tips for how to spot rare albums from their cover art. And he explains why he went from sampling breaks to making the kind of classic sounding albums that he loved—that other hip-hop producers might then sample.

Younge and Muhammad also perform as The Midnight Hour and in 2018 have released an album featuring a diverse slate of collaborators. Younge and Muhammad previously composed the music for the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage and are currently scoring Queen Latifah’s Equalizer and Power Book III: Raising Kanan.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Xiu Xiu, Sleaford Mods, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 4 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 5 featured London Grammar. Season 2, episode 6 featured Lucy Dacus.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Lucy Dacus

Lucy Dacus – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Under the Radar Podcast

Jul 16, 2021

Lucy Dacus is the latest guest on the Under the Radar Podcast, discussing her new album, Home Video, which came out a couple of weeks ago on Matador.

Dacus gets personal on Home Video. Old VHS tapes her father recorded of her while she was growing up, plus her childhood and teenage journals served as source materials for her songwriting. On the podcast she discusses that unlike her sophomore album Historian, which was very intentional, Home Video was more of a surprise that “just came to her.”

Many of the moments she sings about—such as her accompanying a close friend to see her abusive father (“Thumbs”), the Slayer-loving first boyfriend she’d met at one of the many Bible Summer camps she’d attended (“VBS”), and a romantic dalliance with a much older person (“Partner in Crime”)—are all based on real life events. Dacus reveals how she writes all the time but is careful with what songs she puts out there. And which ones she had to reach out to friends first, before she released the album.

Please write to celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com if you would like to share your thoughts on this episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, Xiu Xiu, Sleaford Mods, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 3 featured James Yorkston. Season 2, episode 4 featured London Grammar.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Home Video includes “Thumbs,” a new song she shared in March that was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. When the album was announced Dacus shared its second single, “Hot & Heavy,” which also made our Songs of the Week list. Then she performed “Hot & Heavy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performing it with her backing band from the stage of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, in her native Richmond. Dacus’ mother used to play piano for musicals at the theater, musicals Dacus would sometimes appear in as a child. Then she shared another song from it, “VBS,” via an animated video for the single which was about going to vacation bible school and was also one of our Songs of the Week. Then she shared its next single “Brando,” which is about a friend Dacus had in high school who was obsessed with old films. “Brando” once again made our Songs of the Week list. Then she was the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where she performed “Brando” from the Theatre Gym of the Virginia Repertory Theatre, in her native Richmond.

Home Video was recorded at Trace Horse Studio in Nashville with the aid of Jacob Blizard, Collin Pastore, and Jake Finch. Shawn Everett mixed the album and Bob Ludwig mastered it. Two songs feature her boygenius bandmates Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. Dacus’ regular touring band is Jacob Blizard (guitar), Dominic Angelella (bass), Ricardo Lagomasino (drums), and Sarah Goldstone (keys, background vocals).

Pick up our current print issue to read our Protest Issue interview with Dacus.

Read our interview with Dacus and boygenius.

Read our 2018 interview with Dacus on Historian.

Read our 2016 Artist Survey interview with Lucy Dacus.

By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

London Grammar

London Grammar – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Podcast

Jul 09, 2021

Hannah Reid of London Grammar is the latest guest on the Under the Radar Podcast, discussing the British electronic trio’s recent album, California Soil.

After more than a decade of experiencing music industry misogyny and constant micro-aggressions—that were starting to chip away at her confidence and had larger consequences on her health—Reid is speaking out.

In 2014, after the release of their critically acclaimed debut, If You Wait, Reid made the headlines for missing a flight to Australia. Later that year, their U.S. tour was postponed to the following year. In the lead up to their second album Truth is a Beautiful Thing, she was coming to terms with her diagnosis of fibromyalgia—a chronic pain condition that largely affects women. Reid gives us some insight into what was going on behind the scenes with their meteoric rise and the pressure they all felt with the unrelenting touring schedule.

This is a bonus episode of sorts and regular listeners of the podcast will notice a slight difference in the format.

We also have an additional mini-episode, titled “Why Do Artists Struggle,” where therapist, musician, and composer Lily Sloane discusses our recent James Yorkston episode. Sloane, who hosted and produced the podcast A Therapist Walks Into a Bar, shares her thoughts on the relationship between art and mental health, and what struck her about Yorkston’s struggle with depression.

A new Under the Radar episode is released every month, followed by a shorter episode that acts as a companion piece and discusses the making of the earlier episode. Listeners will get a chance to listen to tape that might not have made the earlier cut and other behind-the-scenes morsels.

There will be opportunities in future episodes to invite fans on the mini episodes. You can also write in to the show at celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com to share your thoughts. And we might read them out.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, Xiu Xiu, Sleaford Mods, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. Season 2, episode 3 featured James Yorkston.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

James Yorkston

James Yorkston – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Podcast

Jun 17, 2021

Scottish singer/songwriter James Yorkston is our next guest on the Under the Radar Podcast. He discusses his childhood in Kingsbarns, Scotland, how he got signed to Domino Records, and some of the recurring themes in his music—of loss, mental health, and his disdain for organized religion.

Earlier this year, Yorkston released his 10th studio album, The Wide, Wide River, as James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra. After two decades of releasing music with friends in his various bands—The Athletes, Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, and collaborations with The Fence Collective—on this album he plays with a collective of Swedish musicians, most of whom he hadn’t met prior to the recordings.

Yorkston had organized the recordings with Swedish musician and producer Karl-Jonas Winqvist after an invitation to play at Winqvist’s club in Stockholm, in 2019. Yorkston explained: “I had met Karl-Jonas a few times, but none of the others, except Cecilia Osterholm, who sourced me my first nyckelharpa. But I’d only met her once before, outside a gig in Stockholm, when she gave me the nyckelharpa in question. My motivation recording that way was just to shake it and see what happened.”

The experiment paid off lending the improvised songs a lightness of touch that suited the gravity of its lyrics.

A new Under the Radar episode is released every month, followed by a shorter 10-15min episode that acts as a companion piece. It discusses the making of the earlier episode. Listeners will get a chance to listen to tape that might not have made the earlier cut and other behind-the-scenes morsels. There will be opportunities in future episodes to invite fans on the mini episodes. You can also write in to the show at celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com to share your thoughts. And we might read them out.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, Xiu Xiu, Sleaford Mods, London Grammar, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based). By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of Our Podcast

Jun 09, 2021

Happy Pride Month!

Celebrate by having a listen to Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, featured in the latest episode of the Under the Radar Podcast. She discusses coming out publically as queer for her 2020-released album, Temple, and how she is finally coming to terms with the internalized racism and homophobia she experienced growing up.

In the lead up to 2020’s Presidential election, Nguyen partnered with PIVOT and re-released her documentary Nobody Dies, to help raise awareness among Vietnamese Americans to get out their vote. The short film directed by filmmaker Todd Krolcyzk had aired originally on PBS in 2017.

Nguyen had written a personal essay, that was presented as a preface to the film’s re-release on the internet. She wrote: “I have not tried hard to promote or share this film and my unease with it has plagued me. I have found in my rewatching that I am always either giving too much or too little. In some instances, I am telling a part of my life I am not sure I was ready to tell.”

In the episode, Nguyen talks further about this discomfort that can come along with a career in music.

Last month, in line with AAPI Heritage Month, our mini episode featured tape that didn’t make it to the Emmy the Great (Emma-Lee Moss) episode. In it, Moss discusses her song “Heart Sutra”—which takes its name from the sacred Sanskrit text. Moss reveals how while working on her album April, she would listen to Faye Wong sing her version of the Heart Sutra repeatedly.

Wong was the heroine in Wong Kar Wai’s award winning film Chungking Express. Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins collaborated with her in the ’90s, writing two songs for her 1996 Chinese album.

Our guest on the episode is writer Jenny Liao, discussing how she’s been finding comfort watching Wong Kar Wai films and lately listening to Emmy the Great songs to reconnect with her mother tongue.

Share your thoughts about any episode by writing us an Apple Podcast review or email: celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com. You might also be invited as a guest on our mini-episode.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, James Yorkston, Sleaford Mods, London Grammar, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great.

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based). By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Emmy the Great

Emmy the Great – Listen to Our Interview in the New Episode of the Under the Radar Podcast

May 13, 2021

British singer/songwriter Emmy the Great is our second guest on Season 2 of the Under the Radar Podcast. Born in Hong Kong to a Chinese mother and English father, Emmy the Great is the moniker of Emma-Lee Moss, who is also a writer, journalist, and sound designer for film, television, and podcasts. In this episode Moss discusses her childhood in Hong Kong, moving back to England, and her search for belonging—at the intersection of East and West—through her music.

With April, her most recent album, she attempts to tackle this penultimate question of identity and belonging with songs in English and Cantonese. While her first two albums, First Love (2009) and Virtue (2011), were taken with very English concepts such as Albion and the poetry of William Blake, here, her themes are Eastern preoccupations—with health and their connection to our internal organs in “Your Hallucinations.” To the moon goddess in “Chang E”—who in Chinese folklore was banished there with her rabbit companion. Buzz Aldrin had famously remarked, “Ok we’ll look out for the Bunny girl” during the historic 1969 moon landings. You also hear instruments such as the gamelan (traditional, Indonesian percussions) and the bamboo organ (a giant, church organ that has it’s own annual festival in the Philippines).

April was written four years ago in New York, after a British Council residency to China and a trip back to Hong Kong. Having felt that she had transcended her life in the small, former British colony, Moss was surprised that after her trip she felt the pull to return there. As soon as the album was recorded, Moss moved to Hong Kong. She made a life there with her partner and then became a mother. In 2019, after pro-democracy protests broke out, followed by the Chinese government crackdown, they made the difficult decision to leave.

The songs and sounds in this episode are from a time before. It transports us to postcard-perfect destinations that aren’t as easy to access as a result of political upheavals and/or the pandemic. And while questions of Asian identity are particularly pertinent during AAPI Heritage month, the notions of belonging explored are pretty universal. To celebrate AAPI, we will also drop a bonus episode later this month featuring Thao Nguyen of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.

A new Under the Radar episode is released on the second Thursday of every month. And two weeks later a shorter 10-15min episode will act as a companion piece and discuss the making of the earlier episode. Listeners will get a chance to listen to tape that might not have made the earlier cut and other behind-the-scenes morsels. There will be opportunities in future episodes to invite fans on the mini episodes. You can also write in to the show at celine.teoblockey@undertheradarmag.com to share your thoughts. And we might read them out.

Follow us on Apple Podcasts and rate the show. You can also listen to us on Spotify and podcast apps such as Podchaser.

Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, James Yorkston, Sleaford Mods, London Grammar, and more.

Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips).

On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based). By Celine Teo-Blockey

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

The Anchoress

Under the Radar Presents: “Why Not Both” Podcast Featuring The Anchoress

Mar 11, 2021

Every week, in partnership with Why Not Both podcast, we’ll be presenting new podcast episodes that explore how multiple passions inform the inspiring lives of musicians, writers, actors, and creatives.

Catherine Davies aka The Anchoress worked at the BBC for exactly one day before quitting and accepting funding for her masters and PhD in literature and queer theory. It was a bold choice and one that paid off, as her academic pursuits paved the way for her brilliant albums and production work with fellow artists, as well as her role as a touring member of Simple Minds. As an artist and a scholar, Davies champions the idea of “magpie-ing” which she defines as taking the shiniest bits from the world around you and shaping them into your own craft. Given the gorgeous constellation of work she has produced, it seems as though she may be onto something…

For updates, be sure to follow Why Not Both on Instagram and Twitter. For previous episodes, including Buzzy Lee, Icona Pop, and Mxmtoon, get clicking on our streaming options or join us on YouTube.

For more from The Anchoress, head to her Instagram and Twitter. Her new album The Art of Losing is out this Friday.

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Support Under the Radar on Patreon.

Support Why Not Both on Patreon.