I was asked to be a judge at the Battle of the Bands in Naxxar this weekend. However, the organizers hadn't planned my travel expenses into their budget and so I had to decline the invitation. So, here's a little note for anyone in Malta planning to invite me for anything like that in the future: I live in Scarborough, which is a tiny seaside town in North Yorkshire, England. There's a 155+ minute train journey from here to Manchester Airport, which is where I usually take planes to Malta. A round trip train+air journey costs between £150 - £350, depending on the time of the year.
With that out of the way, I now turn my attention to this week's podcast. Since last week's was number 40 in the series this week's in number 41. That's just the way these things work. I like it when things happen automatically. It feels natural; probably because nature is behind automation anyway.
Three out of the four tracks on this week's podcast appear by virtue of my interaction with podcast listeners, who include bloggers, online acquaintances, and musicians. The first track comes from someone who I had never heard of before I discovered his page on MySpace. He goes by the name of Muttley, just like the dastardly dog in The Wacky Races. Apparently his single Mean Summer was played "extensively" on some radio stations in Malta a few months ago. Last July he even released a debut album entitled Paid to Fall. I know I can't be a trailblazer all the time, so I open this week's podcast with Muttley's Mean Summer.
I think Muttley's music deserves to be on my list of nominations for you to pick your favourite released from 2006. The same goes for a Christian Rock band called Salt. I'm sure they have lots of fans from the religious services at Gattard House in Blata l-Bajda. Salt's music reminds me that contemporary Christian Rock can be quite good. As Rachel Jordan explains in one episode of The Simpsons, it's just like regular rock if you replace the word "Jesus" for "baby" in the lyrics. Salt's song is called Q&A and I'm glad Kenneth got me in touch with this band via email. I hope to hear more from them in the coming months and years.
I've taken requests for songs on my podcast several times, but I've never really used the show to wish anyone a happy birthday. Well, there's a first time for everything. Victoria (or Lady VAM, I should say) celebrated her birthday a couple of days ago. She mentioned how much she likes The Characters, particularly their song Down By The Water from the 1995 album The Truth. And so, more as a birthday present of sorts than anything else, it appears on this week's podcast.
I really enjoy getting emails from Maltese musicians. Someone who writes to me from time to time is Ray "il-Baħri" Schembri. A few days ago he wrote to tell me that his band Subculture is now a trio and Simone is no longer the singer. Their second album, A Lifetime of Disappointment, was released just a few weeks ago and it's on the list of nominations for the top releases in 2006, of course. One of my favourite tracks on this album is Anybody. This is the gentler (read: more interesting) side of subculture. Anyone who attended their gig with Riotous Future at Naasha this weekend knows what Subculture sounds like as a trio. Something tells me we'll be getting a new recording from them in 2007.
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