Pretty Much Pop #107: Cult Bands and Cultish Fans

Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Tim Quirk of Too Much Joy, Aaron David Gleason, and Chris Sunami to talk about what makes a cult band. We touch on artists like Tom Waits, Velvet Underground, Big Star, XTC, and The Cure.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop or by subscribing via Apple Podcasts to the Mark Lintertainment Channel.

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NEM#152: Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) Builds His Capacity

Glen led smooth alt rock legends Toad the Wet Sprocket from ’88 to ’97 through six albums, has released 7 often folky solo albums (and 3 more Toad albums since their reunion) since then plus various side projects.

We discuss “Old Habits Die Hard” by Toad (a 2020 single), “Leaving Oldtown” from Swallowed by the New (2016), and “One Wind Blows” from Toad’s Bread and Circus (1988). We end with the title track from the 2021 Toad album Starting Now. Intro: “All I Want” from fear (1991). For more see glenphillips.com and toadthewetsprocket.com.

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Pretty Much Pop #99: The Music of Your Youth w/ Jon Lamoreaux (The Hustle podcast)

To what degree to our childhood favorites persist into adulthood? Are we doomed to love the songs of our generation best? What causes the generation gap in musical tastes?

Mark, Erica, Brian, plus Jon, the host of The Hustle Podcast share their nostalgia and discuss “guilty pleasures,” the different pre-critical stages at which songs burrow themselves into our brains, aging pop stars, film soundtracks, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

NEM#151: Cathal Coughlan (Fatima Mansions, Microdisney): Pyschogeographic Tales

Cathal started in Ireland in 1980 with Microdisney, and after five albums with then broke that up to form Fatima Mansions in 1988. After seven albums with them, he started a solo career and has now after a decade-long hiatus (during which he released a few collaborations) has come back with his sixth solo release Song of Co-Acklan. We discuss “Unrealtime” and (in closing) hear the title track from that album, plus “Denial Of The Right To Dream” from The Sky’s Awful Blue (2002) and “Valley of the Dead Cars” by The Fatima Mansions from Against Nature (1989). Intro/outro: “Town to Town” by Microdisney from Crooked Mile (1987). For more, see cathalcoughlan.com.

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NEM#150: Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes): Punk + 40s Melodies (+ Occasional Jesus)

Josh released three albums and some EPs in the 90s with his brothers as the Chicago-area punk band Smoking Popes, then became a Christian and released an album and a half as Duvall, then reformed the Smoking Popes to release three more albums since 2008. He’s also released some religious material as a solo artist, and his new album is composed of live covers of classic songs and reworkings of his own material.

We discuss “Need You Around,” originally from Born to Quit (1995) and re-arranged for The Hideout Sessions (2021). We then turn to the Popes’ “Amanda My Love” from Into the Agony (2018) and Duvall’s “Taking Me Home” from Volume & Density (2003), and we conclude with another new recording, “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers/Hart). Intro: “Megan” from Destination Failure (1997). More at smokingpopesmusic.com.

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NEM#149: Rod Abernethy’s Return to Acoustic (from Video Game Soundtracks)

Rod released his first album “Solo” in 1975, played in some bands, but after losing on Star Search, turned to soundtrack work, emerging only in 2018 with three straight albums of acoustic singer-songwriter and instrumental material.

We discuss “My Father Was a Quiet Man” (and listen to “Whiskey & Pie”) from Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore (2021), “How to Forget” from The Man I’m Supposed to Be (2018), and “Working the Mill” and “Battle in Laketown” from The Hobbit Official Soundtrack (2003). Intro: “Driving to Dan’s” from Rage Original Game Soundtrack (2011). For more, see rodabernethy.com.

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NEM#148: David Cross (ex-King Crimson): Electric Violin Dinosaur Battles

David played in perhaps the most revered line-up of King Crimson at the end of its original run from ’72-’74. He released his first “solo” album (as Low Flying Aircraft) in ’87, then eight more under his own name plus several collaborations.

We discuss “Predator” by Cross and Jackson from Another Day (2018), “The Pool” by The David Cross Band from Sign of the Crow (2016), and “Awful Love” from Closer than Skin (2005). We conclude with the title track from Crossover by David Cross and Peter Banks (2020). Intro: “Exiles” by King Crimson from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973). For more, see davidcrossband.com.

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NEM#147: Steve Almaas: From Punk to the Rodeo

Steve was in one of Minneapolis’ first big punk bands, The Suicide Commandos, but after one album in 1977, he soon left for New York City and eventually hit it relatively big with two records on IRS as Beat Rodeo, with a solo career continuing the country-rock style beginning in 1992 through nine albums.

We discuss “The Way I Treated You” (and listen to “Goodbye Nicolina,” featuring The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris) from Everywhere You’ve Been (2021), “Try Again” by The Suicide Commandos from their reunion album Time Bomb (2017), and the title track from Steve’s first solo record East River Blues (1992). Intro: “Just Friends” from Staying Out Late w/ the Beat Rodeo (1984). 

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NEM#146: Nels Cline Writes Jazz Fusion (And Plays Guitar for Wilco)

Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss “Headdress” by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), “The Nomad’s Home” from Coward (2009), and “Fives & Sixes” from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to “Imperfect Ten” by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: “You Are My Face” by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff Tweedy. More at nelscline.com.

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NEM#145: Jay Gonzalez: Concise but Colorful

Jay is best known as sideman for Drive-By Truckers since 2008 but has written songs for Athens bands like The Possibilities and Nutria since the 90s and has three solo releases.

We discuss the title track (and listen at the end to “I Wanna Hold You”) from Back to the Hive (2021), “&#%&#!” and “Shenorock Lane” from The Bitter Suite (2015), and “Turning Me On” from Mess of Happiness (2012). Intro: “Tough to Let Go” by Drive-By Truckers from The New OK (2020). For more see jaygonzalez.com.

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NEM#144: Dennis Davison (The Jigsaw Seen): How Much Is Enough?

Dennis fronted the Baltimore punk band Ebenezer and The Bludgeons in the late 70s, and after some transitional projects moved to L.A. where his ’60s-ish guitar pop band The Jigsaw Seen released nine albums from 1989-2015.

We discuss “Museum Piece” (and listen to “Shadow on a Tall Tree” at the end) from his debut solo album, The Book Of Strongman (2020); “Idiots with Guitars” from Old Man Reverb (2014); and the title track from My Name Is Tom (1991). Intro: “Jim Is the Devil” (a 1989 single). For more, visit dennisdavisonmusic.com.

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Pretty Much Pop #84: Musician Memoirs w/ Laura Davis-Chanin

Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest memoir author Laura talk about the appeal of this type of book whose production has exploded in recent years. We each read a book, covering Elvis Costello, Carrie Brownstein, Ozzy Osbourne, and Debby Harry respectively. How are these better than a film depiction or documentary biography?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

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NEM#143: In Search of Eric Dover (Imperial Drag, Slash’s Snakepit, etc.)

After joining Jellyfish in 1993 just before its demise, Eric’s big break came when he was asked to sing for Slash’s Snakepit. He then returned to Roger Manning from Jellyfish for an album as Imperial Drag, worked as sideman (e.g. for Alice Cooper) and studio guy and had two releases as Sextus. He’s now back with Roger in The Lickerish Quartet, which released two EPs.

We discuss “The Dream That Took Me Over” by The Lickerish Quartet from Threesome, Vol. 2 (2021), “Wishing You Well” by Sextus from Stranger Than Fiction (2008), and “Boy or a Girl” from Imperial Drag (1996). End song: “What Do You Want from Me?” from The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003). Intro: “Beggars & Hangers-On” by Slash’s Snakepit from It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995). More at thelickerishquartet.com.

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NEM#142: Rebecca Rego: This Is Your Life!

Folky, soul-singing Rebecca has had six releases since 2007. We discuss “Mama” from her solo EP, Songs for Cleaning Women, Pt. 1 (2020), “No One Knows Me” by Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen from Speaking of Witches (2019), “Gave Me” by rego off of From the Royal Arcade (2009), and “Cruel” from Lay These Weapons Down (2016). Intro: “Call My Mother” from Tolono (2014). See rebeccaregoandthetrainmen.com.

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NEM#141: Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens) Looks Back Novelistically

Robert co-fronted the Australian-born post-punk band The Go-Betweens through nine albums in the ’80s and ’00s with Grant McLennan before the latter’s death in 2006 and has also released seven solo albums.

We discuss “No Fame” from Inferno (2019), “Here Comes a City” by The Go-Betweens from Oceans Apart (2005), and “On My Block” by The Go-Betweens from Before Hollywood (1983). We conclude by listening to “Let Me Imagine You” from Songs to Play (2015). Intro: “Clouds” by The Go-Betweens from 16 Lovers Lane (1988).

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NEM#140: Larry Keel: Hillbilly Shredder to Singer-Songwriter

Larry has appeared on 20+ albums since co-founding Magraw Gap in 1990 and then becoming bandleader on ’97. He’s known for his lightning flat picking and has more recently added a good dose of social commentary and fundamental questioning to his songwriting.

We discuss “Mars’ Cry” (and listen to “Try”) from American Dream (2020), “Crocodile Man” from One (2019), and “Diamond Break” from Backwoods (2009). Intro: The title track to The Sound (1999). For more, see larrykeel.com.

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NEM#139: Don Rauf’s Life In A Blender

Don started the NY-based Life in a Blender in the late 80s and has put out ten albums of tunes with off-kilter lyrics and increasingly elaborate arrangements. We discuss “The Ocean is a Black and Rolling Tongue” (and listen at the end to “Soul Deliverer”) from Satsuma (2020), “Falmouth” from We Already Have Birds That Sing (2014), and “Chicken Dance” from Two Legs Bad (1997). Intro: “Mounds of Flesh” from Welcome to the Jelly Days (1988). For more see lifeinablender.net.

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NEM-Pretty Much Pop Crossover: Story Songs w/ Rod Picott

Recycling a great music discussion featuring a past NEM guest from Mark’s other entertainment podcast for the New Year!

Plenty of songs try to tell stories, but do the pop song format and narrative really mix? Rod Picott joins Pretty Much Pop to talk about classics by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, formative nightmares like “Leader of the Pack” and “The Pina Colada Song, borderline cases like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and more. How does this form relate to theater, videos, and commercials?

Subscribe directly to Pretty Much Pop at prettymuchpop.com. Get bonus discussion at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

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NEM#138: Markus Reuter: Composer or Tap Guitar Hero?

Markus began composing as a teen, “found his tribe” in getting connected to King Crimson’s Robert Fripp in the early 90s, and has put out 40+ solo and collaborative albums of experimental music since 2000, including work in Stick Men with Crimson’s Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto.

We discuss “Swoonage” from Truce (2020), “Boon” by Marcus Reuter and the Matangi Quartet from String Quartet No. 1 ‘Heartland’ (2019), and “11-11” by Tuner (Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter) from POLE (2007), and end by listening to “The Cult of Bibbiboo” by centrozoon from The Divine Beast (2001). Intro: “Condition IV” from Falling for Ascension (2017). More at .

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