Friday, November 10, 2006

In House #1743: PJ Harvey's Peel Sessions; New Jarvis Cocker

The influential BBC Radio DJ John Peel passed away unexpectedly just over two years ago, leaving an impressive legacy of musical discoveries and live sessions. Over the years, scores of musicians championed by Peel, David Bowie to Calexico, The Pixies to Laura Cantrell, stopped by to record one of the famous Peel Sessions, many more than once. Such is the case with PJ Harvey, who played Peel's show several times, five of which are collected on the new The Peel Sessions, 1991-2004, recently made available for the first time. The set captures performances from Harvey's early years consisting of material from her 1992 debut Dry, up to her contribution to the John Peel tribute that took place in December of 2004. Also included is an unlikely take on "Wang Dang Doodle," a song by bluesman Willie Dixon taken from her 1993 appearance on the show.

Also today, music from the first proper solo release from former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, Jarvis, out next week in the U.K. on Rough Trade. As you may recall, Pulp was a band that somehow managed to survive more than a decade of toiling in relative obscurity before rising to star status in the mid 1990's on the strength of His n' Hers (1994) and Different Class (1995). Cocker's solo outing finds him in somewhat un-Pulp-like territory, though it's hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes it so. While his dark-humored wit is in tow, his vocals are tempered some and he often comes across sounding more like a disciple of Ray Davies than the cockney smart-aleck that fronted so much of Pulp's material. "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time," was originally written for Nancy Sinatra, but instead kicks things off here with aplomb. "Black Magic," meanwhile, is not a exactly a cover, but the sampling of a Tommy James & the Shondells vocal line brings one to thinking of crimson & clover. Jarvis is a welcome return from one of the more interesting and underappreciated musicians around.

In House #1743.

Airdate: 11/10/06
Focus: PJ Harvey's The Peel Sessions, 1991-2004, plus new music from Jarvis Cocker, Albert Hammond Jr., Spoon, and new reissues from The Pretenders and The Cure.

PJ Harvey, from The Peel Sessions, 1991-2004: "Sheela-Na-Gig" (MP3)

Jarvis Cocker, from Jarvis: "Black Magic" (MP3)


In House PODCAST #205


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