A brand new crop of sessions will be here on the firstday of each month, replacing the ones before them. mr. obscure can be contacted via his old pal and cowering slave stuart Jones, at email@example.com
The Adverts were an English punk band who formed in 1976 and broke up in late 1979. They were one of the first punk bands to enjoy chart success in the UK, and their line-up included Gaye Advert, whom The Virgin Encyclopedia of 70s Music called the "first female punk star". The band was formed in 1976 by T.V. Smith and Gaye.They were both from
Bideford, a small coastal town in Devon, and were later married. After relocating to London the two young punks recruited guitarist Howard Pickup and drummer Laurie Driver, and the Adverts were born. The Roxy, London's first live punk venue, played a crucial role in the their early career. They were one of the pioneering bands who played at the club during its first 100 days and played at the club nine times between January and April 1977. In January, after their first gig supporting Generation X, they impressed Michael Dempsey so much that he became their manager. Their second gig supporting Slaughter & the Dogs was recorded, and their anthem "Bored Teenagers" was included on the UK Top 30 album The Roxy London WC2. In February, shortly after the group's third gig supporting The Damned, they signed a recording contract with Stiff Records. In March, they supported The Jam at the Roxy. In April their debut single, "One Chord Wonders", was released. The Adverts were a prolific live act. Their first nationwide tour was with Stiff label-mates the Damned. The tour poster read, "The Adverts know one chord, the Damned know three. See all four at…" Later they would support Iggy Pop on tour, as well as conducting their own headlining tours in Britain, Ireland and Europe. In August, the band released the first of their two UK Top 40 hit singles. Lyrically, "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" was a controversial song based on the wishes of Gary Gilmore, an American murderer, that his eyes be donated to medical science after his execution. Sounds described it as "the sickest and cleverest record to come out of the new wave". Years later, it was included in Mojo magazine’s list of the best punk rock singles of all time. After the tabloid-fuelled controversy surrounding the single, and an appearance on Top of the Pops, the Adverts became big news. Observers focused
on frontman T.V. Smith and bassist Gaye Advert. Reviewers noted T.V. Smith's song-writing ability. He was said to have "captured the spirit of the times few contemporaries could match". Another reviewer described Smith as the band’s "raging heart, spitting out the failsafe succession of songs which still delineate punk’s hopes, aspirations and, ultimately, regrets." In contrast, Gaye Advert's reputation was more fleeting. She was "one of Punk’s first female icons". Her "photogenic" looks, "panda-eye make-up and omnipresent leather jacket defined the face of female punkdom until well into the next decade". The band’s follow-up single, "Safety in Numbers", did not chart. A fourth single, "No Time To Be 21", scraped into the UK Top 40. A month later, their debut album
Crossing The Red Sea was released, and has become one of the most highly regarded albums of the punk era, with Dave Thompson calling it "a devastating debut, one of the finest albums not only of the punk era, but of the 1970s as a whole", Trouser Press calling it "the equal of the first Sex Pistols or Clash LP, a hasty statement that captures an exciting time", and several other writers including it in lists of all-time greatest albums. Despite releasing some more well-regarded singles, the Adverts were not able to maintain the momentum and their career stalled after the release of their second album. The band members at the time were also threatened with lawsuits by former members Rod Latter and Howard Pickup, who objected to the band continuing to use the Adverts
name without them. They split up shortly after the accidental death by electrocution of their manager, Michael Dempsey. Their last gig was at Slough College on 27 October 1979. After the split, T.V. Smith continued with Tim Cross as T.V. Smith's Explorers, then Cheap, and finally from the 1990s to date performing as a solo artist. In regard to their legacy, critic and author Dave Thompson argues that "nobody would make music like the Adverts and nobody ever has. In terms of lyric, delivery, commitment and courage, they were, and they remain, the finest British group of the late 1970s". Former members now deceased include Tim Cross (died 9 July 2012), and Howard Pickup (died 11 July 1997). here's the last of four sessions they recorded for Peel, committed to tape on 16/10/1979.
The Au Pairs were a British post-punk band formed in Birmingham in 1978 and in existence until 1983. They released two studio albums and three singles. Their songs were said to have "contempt for the cliches of contemporary sexual politics" and their music has been compared to the
Gang of Four and the Young Marble Giants. They were led by Lesley Woods, who was once described as "one of the most striking women in British rock". Their first album Playing with a Different Sex is considered a post-punk classic with strong, sarcastic songs like "It's Obvious" and
"We're So Cool" taking a dry look at gender relations. Other songs, such as "Armagh" with its refrain, "we don't torture" criticized the British government's treatment of Irish Republican prisoners in the then ongoing Troubles in Northern Ireland, which caused some controversy at the time.
The group performed in 1980 for the concert film Urgh! A Music War. The second album, Sense and Sensuality (1982), showed an even greater influence of jazz, soul, funk and disco on the band's sound, but was less well received. They broke up in 1983, just before they were about to go into the studio to record an album with producer Steve Lillywhite. Woods formed an all woman band called the Darlings in the late 1980s but then left the music industry. She now works as a lawyer in London. Guitarist Paul Foad remains an active musician, playing with Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes, a Jamaican jazz band, and teaching guitar in and around Birmingham. He's also published a guitar technique book, co-written with Stuart Ritchie, titled The Caged Guitarist (2000). Bass player Jane Munro works as an alternative therapist (aromatherapy, reflexology and Indian head massage) in Birmingham.
Pete Hammond also remains an active musician and teaches percussion in Birmingham. here's the third of four peel sessions, taped on 21/01/1981.
Blue are a Scottish pop rock band formed in Glasgow in 1973. Fronted by ex-Marmalade guitarist Hughie Nicholson, they signed to RSO Records and released their eponymous debut album the same year. Nicholson was a member of Marmalade between 1971 and 1973, writing fifteen songs to fulfill their Decca contract, including the hits "Cousin Norman", "Back On the Road", and the awesome "Radancer" before he left to form Blue. He wrote the majority of Blue's material. in the 60's he had been a member of another Scottish rock outfit, The Poets. Blue's debut single "Little Jody" failed to chart. It was recorded before Jimmy McCulloch joined the band. They then added another guitarist, Robert 'Smiggy' Smith before recording and issuing their second album, Life in the Navy. This revised line-up did not last for long, following a dispute with RSO only MacMillan and Nicholson remained. The duo then added Charlie Smith (drums) and David Nicholson (bass) and it was this line-up that signed to Elton John's Rocket Record Company and scored a US chart entry and UK Top 40 hit with "Gonna Capture Your Heart". It was their debut release from the Another Night Time Flight album which was produced by Elton John and Clive Franks. Blue released
two other singles from the album, which both failed. They released one other album for Rocket, Fools' Party (1979) before parting company and relocating to Los Angeles, California. They spent three years compiling new material and playing local clubs. Unsuccessful in securing a contract with their new material they returned to the UK in 1983 shortly before releasing the single "Don't Wanna Make You Cry" on the Zuma label (1982). Nicholson issued "Love You Made a Fool of Me" in 1984, and whilst continuing to record with MacMillan also wrote and produced four singles with Gary Numan on lead vocals: "Radio Heart", "London Times"
and "All Across the Nation" which were released under the name Radio Heart in 1987, and "Like a Refugee (I Won't Cry)" released under the name Da Da Dang in 1994. The first two releases entered the UK chart. In 2003, the remaining personnel Hugh and David Nicholson plus Ian MacMillan took the then high flying boy band Blue to court. It was a high profile High Court case over the use of the band's name. But the 1970s band heard the judge opine that "it is not difficult to distinguish between the present day pop group, and the original users of the group's title". They subsequently came to an agreement that they could continue to share the name. johnny peel was a bit of a fan, giving them no less than seven sessions. here's the sixth, albeit with one track missing - sorry. (if you have it, please send it to me attached to an email) also, i had a lot of trouble sorting out the title to one of the tracks....it's either called "Charlie Black Arrow" or "Since i met you". the session was preserved on 09/11/1976.
Bolt Thrower are a British death metal band from Coventry, England. They formed in 1986 and released their first album with Vinyl Solution in 1988. The band then shifted to a new record label, Earache Records, soon becoming one of the best selling bands on that label. Their current label is Metal Blade Records. They've had a succession of members and have toured Europe, the United States and Australia and have released eight studio albums (the last in 2005), three EPs, one live album, two compilation albums and two demos. The band is currently on hiatus due to the death of drummer Martin Kearns in September 2015. there were three peel sessions: this is the first, put down on 03/01/1988.
The Locust are a group from San Diego, California, known for their mix of grindcore speed and aggression. Originally (1994) a powerviolence band with a strong tendency towards synth-based passages, they have more recently stripped down much of their past sound but retained the heavy distortion, synthesizers and vocals. About the band's aesthetic, singer/bassist Justin Pearson has said, "I wanted to change the way people perceive music, or maybe just destroy it in general." The music is complex, dynamic and fast-paced, often featuring abrupt and inconsistent time-signature changes. These erratic elements are, according to guitarist Bobby Bray, "a reflection of perhaps how our brains have to function in order to be able to do anything in the Western societies we live in." Costumed in skin-tight, full body nylon suits they have at times come across to first-time viewers as a bit frightening (apparently). The band's lyrics range from stream-of-consciousness poetry to satirical portrayals of mainstream ideas of sexuality to political commentary and critiques of religion. here's the first of their two peel sessions, immortalised on 19/08/2001.
American alternative rockers The Pixies formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. The original lineup comprised Black Francis (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), Kim Deal (bass, backing vocals) and David Lovering (drums). The band disbanded acrimoniously in 1993, but reunited in 2004. Deal left in 2013 and was replaced
briefly by Kim Shattuck before Paz Lenchantin joined for the band's 2014 tour. Lenchantin was inducted as an official member in 2016. The Pixies' music contains elements including psychedelia, noise pop, hard rock, surf pop, and surf rock. Black Francis is the primary songwriter and singer; his lyrics cover offbeat subjects such as extraterrestrials, surrealism, incest, and biblical violence. They achieved modest popularity in their home country, but were more successful in the UK, mainland Europe and Israel. Their jarring pop sound influenced many bands. Their popularity grew in the years following their break-up, leading to sold-out world tours following their reunion in 2004. In June 2013, they released their first new material in almost 10 years. loyal fan john peel gave them five sessions. this is the debut outing, taped on 03/05/1988.
The Ruts are an English reggae-influenced punk rock band notable for the 1979 UK Top 10 hit "Babylon's Burning", and an earlier single "In a Rut", which was not a hit but was highly regarded. On 16 September 1977, The Ruts made their live debut, playing three songs during a break in a set by Mr Softy at The Target in Northolt, Middlesex. The Ruts' first single, "In a Rut" was finally released on People Unite in January 1979, having been recorded on 24 April 1978. In June, their debut single for Virgin Records, "Babylon's Burning," became a hit, reaching number 7 in the UK Singles Chart, prompting an appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops. By 1980 singer Malcolm Owen was suffering from a heroin addiction. A UK tour was arranged but a number of dates had to be cancelled due to Owen's condition. What turned out to be the last gig with Malcolm took place at Plymouth Polytechnic on 26th February 1980. With a US tour lined up, the band began work on their second album. Having been forced to cancel a number of UK tour dates, the other three members fired their frontman over his drug addiction, shortly after completing work on their (superb) next single. After negotiations, Owen briefly rejoined the band. Malcolm Owen was found dead in the bathroom of his parents' house in Hayes, from a heroin overdose on 14 July 1980 at the age of 26. On 22nd August 1980 the sixth and final single was released, "West One (Shine on Me)". Co-produced by the band themselves as they were "starting to get pissed off with the music business" the song featured brass and segued into a dub remix. The B-side was "The Crack", a lighthearted mini-pastiche of their debut album, recorded in a number of musical styles. Virgin issued a second album later in 1980, a compilation of singles, demos and live tracks entitled Grin & Bear It. The band continued as Ruts D.C. (D.C. standing for the Italian term da capo, meaning "back to the beginning") in a different musical vein. They released two albums, Animal Now (May 1981 on Virgin) and Rhythm Collision (July 1982 on Bohemian Records), the latter in collaboration with renowned dub producer Mad Professor. However, the group split in 1983. here's the second of their four Peel sessions, taped on 14/05/1979.
The list of band names below is purely for illustrative purposes - I don't pretend to have sessions by all these people - but I do have a frightening amount of them.