Point of No Return
This week marks the first full year of regular podcasts from the MaltaMedia Online Network. Following a short test phase, in August 2006, we presented the world's first podcast series in Maltese. That series on 9/11 from a Maltese perspective is being reissued for the 5th anniversary, so I'll probably blog about it again at some point in the coming days. (Now where did I hear that before?) I know I sometimes say that sort of thing and never get to it, but I promise to do my best this time.
I can't believe how significant blogging and podcasting have become in my life. Through my blog I continue to reconnect with people I haven't seen in many years and meet new ones I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. My podcasts have given my work in broadcasting a second life and the Mużika Mod Ieħor series provides me with just the thing I need to keep abreast of the alternative music scene in Malta.
This week's podcast is a little shorter than usual because I'm still very busy finishing my Franklin Furnace book and getting ready for a couple of DRM-related gigs in London, among other things. It opens with Faceless, a track from Norm Rejection's 0002 album from 2000. I played this band's excellent Malta Not For Sale on my podcast last January, but I thought I'd give them another spin since they've just launched a MySpace page, even though the band doesn't really play together anymore. Good move!
In playing this track I thought it apt to plug MMON's recently launched new cartoon by Martin Attard. This is because Martin's cartoon series is called Faceless. This is his first experience doing a cartoon series and in the few weeks that it's been around Faceless is already showing great potential. I, for one, am looking forward to more with every week that passes.
Back on MySpace I recently came across a new duo called Chasing Pandora. They have a very interesting sound, which I've never heard attempted by Maltese musicians before. Actually I think Melissa and Keith are from Gozo. Anyway, they have two demo tracks from their upcoming EP on their MySpace page and I must say that I'm really looking forward to hearing more from Chasing Pandora. You can hear Divine on this week's podcast. Its that kind of song that grows on you with every listen. Haunting and totally addictive. More please!
I'm always touched when podcast listeners or blog readers get in touch with me about whatever it is they're up to. One recent communication came from Andrew Micallef who plays guitar with the Żiżża Ensemble. I had heard of them through Chalee's Soapbox (that's a blog from Charles Cassar who now plays bass with Fire, who have just released their debut CD) and a couple of other sources. Andrew was not only kind enough to send me a recording of the Żiżża Ensemble called Bonnie & Clyde, which you can hear on this week's podcast, but also wrote a very flattering blog entry about my podcasts on his MySpace pages. While this Żiżża made at Tone Studios in B'Kara in 2004 is quite good, I get the impression that they're even more entertaining live. Perhaps I say this because I like watching saxophonist Ruth Abela play live, as I did at The I-Skandal CD launch at Naasha's last May.
Speaking of The I-Skandal, I recently wondered what happened to Subculture, the punk band whose original line-up featured I-Skandal singer JP iż-Żgħiru, who is also the motor mind behind Reciprocal Records. [note to self: time to play another I-Skandal song on your podcast!] Subculture have a new line-up featuring Woody Aki on bass and singer Simone Nero, along with guitarist Ray il-Baħri and his old mate Ray il-Ħamiemu on drums, who replaces Steve Lombardo Attard. They will be releasing their second album, entitled A Life of Disappointment at Rebelfest on 1 September. The two Rays' other band X-Vandals, will also be playing at this Rebelfest at the Buskett Roadhouse, where they will launch their debut CD. More about that in next week's podcast, which will most probably feature a track by X-Vandals. Meanwhile, Ħamiemu is also involved in a Beatles tribute band with Paletti, and brother Mark and Aldo Spiteri. They will be playing a gig at San Pawl Hotel, St. Pauls's Bay (open air terrace) on Thursday, 7th September. Just goes to show that there's really something for everyone in the Maltese music scene. Right?
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