Official music page and soapbox of Matt Snell

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Bang & Jangle Radio Hour, Season 3, Episode 12: Rockabilly!

Maddox Brothers and Rose
I love rockabilly. I love that I can hoedown and tug my suspenders to the rhythms of old, and still get the force of rock and roll. Here's the playlist from last night, and not a weak link in it if you ask me:

Delmore Brothers - Freight Train Boogie
Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys - Ida Red Likes the Boogie
Tennessee Ernie Ford - Shotgun Boogie
Maddox Brothers and Rose - Gotta Go Get My Baby
Elvis Presley - Mystery Train
Carl Perkins - Honey Don't
Malcolm Yelvington - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
Billy Lee Riley - Baby Please Don't Go
Roy Orbison - The Clown
Eddie Cochran - Nervous Breakdown
Johnny Burnette - Train Kept a-Rollin'
Gene Vincent - Lotta Lovin'
Wanda Jackson - Funnel of Love
Petunia and the Vipers - Gitterbug
Bloodshot Bill - After Dark
The Lohrwoods - Barley and Grape Rag
The Million Dollar Quartet - I Shall Not Be Moved

Apologies to fans of the eighties rockabilly revival - I'm sure there's great stuff to be heard, but with the hour long format I was forced to pass it over. At least we had time for some shitkicking contemporary stuff. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go try and figure out that hybrid picking thing Scotty Moore makes sound so easy...

The Bang & Jangle Radio Hour airs Mondays 9:00-10:00 p.m. on Trent Radio, 92.7 in Peterborough, or online at

Season 3, Episode 12

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Bang & Jangle Radio Hour, Season 3, Episode 11: The Devil

What with all the holy music that's been featured on the show,  the devil on my shoulder insisted I do this episode. And I'm glad I did - there's been some fine music made in the devil's honour. Strap on your goat skins and douse yourself in hen's blood, here comes the playlist:

Robert Johnson - Me and the Devil Blues
Bessie Smith - Devil's Gonna Get You
Brownie McGhee - Dealing with the Devil
Bill and Belle Reed - The Old Lady and the Devil
Hobart Smith - The Devil's Dream
Sheesham and Lotus - We All Go to Heaven When the Devil Goes Blind
Raymond Scott - Devil Drums
Chuck Berry - Down Bound Train
Tom Waits - Way Down in the Hole
Daniel Johnston - Devil Town
Timber Timbre - Devil's Dress
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs - Devil Do
The Scarring Party - Devil Knows Where
Jerry Goldsmith - Ave Satani
Les Baxter - Devil Cult
Beat Circus - Hell Gate
Chris DeBurgh - Spanish Train

As I write this, I realize I should've waited until Episode 13 to use this theme for maximum spookiness. Ah well - if you weren't spooked last night, chances are you're an inveterate sinner. Tune in next week for your chance to repent!

The Bang & Jangle Radio Hour airs Mondays 9:00-10:00 p.m. on Trent Radio, 92.7 in Peterborough, or online at

Season 3, Episode 11

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Bang & Jangle Radio Hour, Season 3, Episode 10: Spring

Spring has sprung, I can feel it. Even if it there's another month of freezing rain, winter's back is broken. Last night on the show we celebrated with a set of tunes that ranged from the classic to the comfortably corny:

Fats Waller - Spring Cleaning
Adelaide Hall - I Get Along without You Very Well
Ella Fitzgerald - I Got the Spring Fever Blues
The Pogues - Dirty Old Town
Nina Simone - Another Spring
Tom Waits - you Can Never Hold Back Spring
Daydream - The Lovin' Spoonful
Spring Fever - Elvis Presley
The Magnetic Fields - Love Goes Home to Paris in the Spring
Peter Tosh - Here Comes the Sun
Springtime in the Rockies - Tiny Tim and Brave Combo
When It's Springtime in Alaska - Johnny Horton
Blues in the Springtime - Rex and Noelene Franklin
Spring Is Here - Count Basie
Joy Spring - Clifford Brown
When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin' Along - Clusone 3
Springtime on the Range - Sons of the Pioneers

And there you have it, that should carry you into summer nicely. If it doesn't, take a long hard look at that puppy drinking out of a daffodil I posted for you...

The Bang & Jangle Radio Hour airs Mondays 9:00-10:00 p.m. on Trent Radio, 92.7 in Peterborough, or online at

Season 3, Episode 10

Thursday 8 March 2012

Film Review: The Secret World of Arrietty

This probably isn't the first place you'd think to come if you were on the lookout for a good kids' movie, but I just saw a great one I think would resonate even with my jaded, world-weary readership. The Secret World of Arrietty is the latest out of Japan's Studio Ghibli (released in 2010 but only now filtering down to Peterborough), and it's as fine and sensitive a movie as any they've ever made.

Although this one isn't directed by Hayao Miyazaki, the genius behind Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, he wrote and planned this piece before handing it on to Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who has very carefully maintained the spirit of a Studio Ghibli film. If you haven't seen any of those yet, the studio is famous for making beautifully animated movies with a moral complexity unusual for the genre. They seldom feature irredeemably evil villains, the pacing is slow and measured, and the animation is mainly hand-drawn.

All of which was strangely highlighted by my experience before Arrietty even started. Galaxy Cinemas in Peterborough shows good movies at the rate of about one per year; the rest of the time, it shows filthy crap that will imperil your everlasting soul. One time I walked past and counted six superhero movies showing simultaneously. But a Studio Ghibli movie on the big screen is a big deal, so I went with my girlfriend and my dad.

As soon as the previews started, I was embarrassed to have brought everyone to a kids' movie and began to entertain thoughts of apocalypse. The previews were for the kind of movies that only a culture in serious and speedy decline could ever make. In fact, it seemed to be picking up speed with every frame. The ads were spastic, noisy, morally bankrupt, and highly corrosive to the developing mind. The Lorax boasted an environmental message, but I doubted neon unicycle chases and Danny DeVito would raise the consciousness of its viewers. Brave is Pixar Animation Studio's reaction to the criticism their movies lack female protagonists, but the Braveheart references and impetuous I-will-not-marry-him! conceit seemed pretty warmed over. Mirror Mirror sank to lower depths, a kung fu retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves starring Julia Roberts.

Just as I was about to put out my eyes, a little girl in the front row, too young to control her urges, screamed out "This sucks!" She got a huge laugh from the audience, which I interpreted as collective relief. It reminded us that today's children are not ravenous consumers whose appetites can only be briefly sated by this kind of convulsive spectacle. As far as I could tell, that's an idea entertained only by a few insane rich people in Hollywood. Mercifully, The Secret World of Arrietty began.

The Studio Ghibli logo is a two-tone drawing of a forest spirit, in stark contrast to the Disney castle, which is now rendered in 3D with exploding fireworks. The movie's opening shots are of the ordinary natural world, exquisitely framed. A little boy drives with his aunt to the cottage where he will be staying. She asks him to wait in the car while she goes up the drive. The pacing immediately feels far more human.

I'll let you see it for yourself, but suffice to say that the movie exudes a wisdom that few kids' movies have. I like the way it excites the imagination using ordinary household settings. I like the way even when it is moralizing, as when the title character Arrietty and the boy argue, it is clear how their philosophies relate to their life experiences. I think the way it, like nearly all Ghibli films, portrays gender roles is far more genuine than the pseudofeminism pushed by the movies mentioned earlier, because Arrietty's equality is not determined exclusively by the fact she can swordfight and shoot a bow and arrow good as any prince. I think the frugality and resourcefulness displayed by Arrietty's family sends a more persuasive and positive ecological message than a CGI-Seuss extravaganza.

Here's an interesting anecdote: Miyazaki's first film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, was originally released in North America as Warriors of the Wind. The film was heavily edited, excising its environmental message. The main character Nausicaa's name, a reference to Homer's Odyssey, was changed to Princess Zandra. The poster featured several male characters not actually in the film. Studio Ghibli was understandably disgusted, so when Harvey Weinstein suggested cutting Princess Mononoke to make it more marketable to Americans, a producer a sent him a katana with the simple message "no cuts."

If that's story is true, it's one of the greatest bits of movie lore I've heard. Without it, Princess Mononoke might never have survived the trip across the ocean, where it would eventually permeate my subconscious and work its way into every conversation about animation I've ever had. I might never have gone to see the movie I'm writing about now, which I enjoyed almost as much. I realize I haven't really told you what Arrietty is about, but the short answer is its based on the 1952 novel by Mary Norton, about a family of tiny people who live under the floorboards. I've never read the book, but I might now. I'd also gladly watch The Secret World of Arrietty again, and I recommend it to you, too.

Japanese poster
North American Poster

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Bang & Jangle Radio Hour, Season 3, Episode 9: Old Blind So-and-So

Rev. Gary Davis and dancer
You know the cliche - blues musicians have crazy names. Calling yourself "Old Blind" whathaveyou is the first step to bluesy authenticity. But have you sat down and actually listened to the musicians who started it all? If you haven't, do it now. Here's a list of the blind African-American musicians who started the trend:

Blind Willie McTell - Atlanta Strut
Blind Lemon Jefferson - Hot Dogs
Blind Blake - Hot Potatoes
Blind Boy Fuller - Truckin' My Blues Away
Blind Willie Johnson - Can't Nobody Hide from God
Blind Gary Davis - You Got to Go Down
Blind John Davis - No Mail Today
The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi - Will My Jesus Be Waiting
The Blind Boys of Alabama - This May Be the Last Time
Blind Snooks Eaglin - Possum Up a Simmon Tree
Blind Roosevelt Graves - Hittin' the Bottle
Pink Anderson and Simeon "Blind Simmie" Dooley - Gonna Tip Out Tonight
Blind Willie Davis - Rock of Ages
Blind Joe Taggart - The Storm Is Passing Over
Sonny Terry - Old Lost John

Like I said on the show, Reverend Gary Davis and Snooks Eaglin didn't always use the blind in front of their names, but some sources use it so it counts. Sonny Terry never took the word on, but he still made it on the show because his whoop is immortal.

The Bang & Jangle Radio Hour airs Mondays 9:00-10:00 p.m. on Trent Radio, 92.7 in Peterborough, or online at

Season 3, Episode 9