Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Sunday: an awesome day on 6Music

Back in my school days this is how it used to be: 7pm every weeknight tune into the Evening Session on Radio 1 and listen to three hours of the best new releases and alternative classics. Then at 10pm the absolute god that was John Peel took over the airwaves for his usual 2 hours of wonderfully diverse records from many genres, eras and places. And sometimes I'd feel compelled to listen to The Breezeblock at midnight, which was a treasure chest of odd electronica and the more creative side of dance music.

2010: if you're a young person wanting to hear the best in new and old music, Radio 1 is useless. We all know that. So where do you turn?

If you don't know the answer to this question then let me introduce you to what is reported to be the most listened to of the BBC's digital radio stations.... BBC6Music

This Sunday after a nice lay in, my 6Music day began with Cerys Matthews, former singer with Catatonia (whose 1998 album 'International Velvet' I re-purchased last year) whose radio show provides a lovely start to my Sunday, especially this Sunday.... because thanks to Cerys I have now discovered The Decemberists through their awesome track 'Calamity Song' which I heard first on this show, leading me to seek out their new album (more about that soon). The thing that sets 6Music apart from other stations is the DJs REALLY do know their stuff, and they're certainly more than qualified to identify what's great, unlike Chris Moyles or Zane Lowe or any of the morons you'll hear on Radio 1 these days (have any of them even been responsible for playing great music let alone making it?)

So over to a man definitely responsible for some awesome tunes: Guy Garvey of Elbow. 6Music is known for broadcasting some excellent documentaries and this one was no exception, with Guy taking a look into not just the legendary music of Manchester but also its industry, culture, art and even the weather. After this fascinating glimpse into Northern life, next on 6Music was Huey Morgan, who like Cerys and Guy is also a member of a band who feature in my record collection, the Fun Lovin' Criminals. And on a Sunday, Huey's show is a blast: great music from all different ages and Mr Morgan's enjoyable presenting style: chilled, laid back but always entertaining. And through Huey's show this week I was overjoyed to hear my first taste of The Milk with their awesome track 'Danger', quite possibly the best Soul music that has been made for many many years. Cheers Mr Morgan.

And following Huey is 6Music's Sunday centrepiece, the increasingly brilliant show from Jarvis Cocker. This show is well and truly essential listening, with Jarvis playing fascinating music old, new, obscure and classic. And not just music, the show often addresses film, art, literature and many many other aspects of culture and history. THIS is what Sundays were made for.

7pm every Sunday is time for The Freak Zone, hosted by Stuart Maconie and home to radio's most mind bending oddities, followed by the 6Mix, and this week we had Gang Of Four playing a mixture of their influences and their favourite records. Awesome. Except that the fucking BBC iPlayer decided to crash during the first 20 minutes of the show, and after great frustration at trying to get it working again I just watched some telly instead and tuned back into 6 a few hours later when it was time for Guy Garvey's Finest Hour. Yes, him from Elbow again, this time with his excellent weekly show, which provides the perfect end to the weekend. I don't quite know how to sum Guy's show up in words, but not since John Peel has a DJ sounded so intimate with his audience, and the music is often mind blowing, as well as eclectic, which was demonstrated when I realised how fantastic Glenn Miller's 'Moonlight Serenade' is, and how stunning the chord changes are in Mama Cass's 'Dream A Little Dream Of Me', two songs a world apart from much of the other records Guy played that night.

And of that isn't enough you can stay tuned into the early hours of Monday morning to hear Don Letts followed by BBC Introducing with Tom Robinson, where you can hear all sorts of fine new bands and artists.

So there we go, that's Sundays sorted.... tune in for yourselves and prepare to be converted.

FM radio is dead... welcome to the incredible world of 6Music.

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