Good cover choice for 6 Music

A few years ago, I encountered Jo Good hosting a report from some summer festival or other on one of the MTV channels. Her clear passion for the music combined with an intelligent and, most enjoyably, surreal sense of humour left its mark on me and I duly noted the name and resolved to keep an eye and ear out for her in the future. Her barely disguised ridiculing of some of the cheesier soft-porn offerings found in the dance music countdown, The Galaxy Chart, which it turned out she also hosted, was a refreshing alternative from the customary ‘that was… this is…. aren’t they both amazing?’ style of MTV presenting.

jp jo 6music

Some time later, Good turned up at Xfm, having previously been networked around numerous commercial stations doing a live music programme sponsored by one of the big mobile phone companies. This struck me as a remarkably good fit, although her stint there didn’t last all that long in the end. As the playlist got ever more strict and depressingly predictable, it seemed that Xfm was determined to dispatch, or drive out, most of the decent on air talent and Jo’s show was shown the door.

Last year, she then popped up on her ‘local’ commercial station, Key 103, doing weekend lates, playing NOW albums on shuffle. But then, in a stroke of genius, the 6 Music chiefs opted to use Jo for some cover on the station and a perfect match was uncovered. With sufficient musical freedom to influence and shape the sound of the programmes and a core playlist of splendid stuff, it meant that you weren’t only listening for the bits between the songs. Whereas many DJs are criticised for not caring about the music or for not communicating honestly with their audience, Jo sounds like an intelligent, articulate, fanatical consumer of music who is simply speaking to like minded people and loving every second of it. Her approach to her shows on 6 Music so far has been hugely endearing, her genuine love of the station and its audience so audibly clear for all listening. She’s back on the station from tomorrow (Sunday 14th March) for six days solid, 10am-1pm, firstly filling the slot freshly vacated by Jon Richardson and then as part of a week of cover for Lauren Laverne. I suspect she’ll do the remaining couple of Sundays before Cerys starts in April, but I don’t know for certain. In light of recent news about the station, it seems a little odd to describe Jo Good as a rising star at 6 Music, but the controllers would do well to ensure that we get to hear more of her in the future. If you can have a listen at some point this week, I really recommend you give her show a go. Last time she was on, Jo caused me to buy the Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve remix of Midlake’s ‘Roscoe’ and an album by Margo Guryan, entitled Take A Picture’ and both are well worth a listen. In that sense, she fits in perfectly with the culture of the very best shows on 6 Music – Gideon Coe, Steve Lamacq, Marc Riley, the Freak Zone – in that she’s a trustworthy voice in the wilderness of discovering music that’s new to you. Exactly what the BBC should do, no?

Quick Link for readers of The Guardian’s Website

If you’re clicking through to the site today from The Guardian’s website, as it seems many of you are, the 6 Music article to which they refer can be found quickly by clicking on the image below. Naturally, I’d be more than a little chuffed if you had a read of some of the other articles posted here, which include interviews with Gaz and Danny from Supergrass and up and coming indie act Tom Williams & The Boat and a countdown of Just Played’s 40 albums from The Noughties.

6music Link

(More frequent, if less well thought out, comments available by following Just Played on Twitter)

A Week With… 11. Supergrass – In It For The Money

JP aww 11

It’s not actually that difficult to spot why this record didn’t turn Supergrass into one of the nation’s biggest bands. Not because it’s not great, because it is, but because it’s a curious beast. Off the back of the out and out fun of ‘I Should Coco’, ‘In It For The Money’ was a textured, meticulously structured headfuck for plenty of young green people with nice, clean teeth. As ‘G-Song’ roars and flails its way to its conclusion towards the end of side 1, it’s hard to align the sound with the band responsible for ‘Alright’ and ‘Mansize Rooster’. The trick, I’m willing to suggest, is to use ‘Lenny’ as your reference point from the debut and then it starts to make a little more sense. That one, joyously noisy, cleverer than it seems, burst of incendiary indie explosives contains enough hints that this band were not only seriously capable, but also ridiculously astute in their building of sound.

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In It For The Money’ is a wonderfully warm record, with noodly keyboards, twiddly bass parts and soaring guitar riffs that never go stale. It occurred to me this week that I hadn’t dusted down the vinyl of this one since upgrading the stylus a few months back, and once I’d picked it out again, it wasn’t going back in a hurry. The drifting drums and improvised guitar sounds across the end of ‘Sun Hits The Sky’ are amongst my favourite moments in indie-pop history. It’s a euphoric celebration of sound tacked on to an astoundingly tight chart smash. It probably shouldn’t be there, but that’s probably why it works so well. Sometimes you desperately want a bit more of your favourite songs and on occasions like this, it seems like a bloody good idea.

Going Out’, which appeared as a single almost a year ahead of the rest of the album, is a blistering start to side 2, somehow managing to combine a thin piano sound, swirling organ part and thundering guitars into an attacking force will leave you breathless. I never appreciated just how great this song was when it came out as a single. The bold, brassy sounds had a shade of Britpop about them and, forgive me for this, it felt a bit like it was trying too hard to fit in. I was staggeringly wide of the mark, but it took me a while to change my opinion. No such prevarication with the song that follows it, ‘It’s Not Me’, which is a track that should be used to demonstrate the sonic capabilities of shit-hot headphones. It’s a quite brilliantly arranged stereo soundscape which gently tickles every little corner of your ears, leaving me genuinely awestruck by the power of music.

All of this and I’ve not even mentioned two of the album’s vastly different but equally sublime singles. ‘Richard III’ prefaced the album and only served to emphasise the change in direction from ‘I Should Coco’. Short, sharp and bloody loud, it took a bit of getting used to and I remember thinking that it jarred a little alongside your average daytime fare on Radio 1 when it first appeared. Thirteen years later, it was clearly the perfect way to signal a notable gearshift ahead of the album proper as it took the core idea of a naggingly familiar melody, an ever-present tactic on the debut, and bulked out the sound without ever seeming bloated.

That this record is thirteen years old is actually quite staggering. While it no longer feels like a recent release, it doesn’t feel like something that belongs in the Nineties Museum along with Loaded, Menswear and TFI Friday. Indeed, ‘In It For The Money’ is the one Supergrass outing that can lay claim to being truly timeless. If you told me it was an early Seventies overlooked gem, I could believe it. ‘Diamond Hoo Ha’ is the closest they’ve come to putting out a sub-standard record, and even that has its redeeming features, but ‘In It For The Money’ ensures a very, very high watermark. Those who read the interview with Gaz and Danny on this blog a couple of weeks ago will remember the former’s comments about the forthcoming Supergrass album. “There are some amazing songs on there, songs that I can imagine playing in a vast stadium somewhere. I’m really, really pleased. This record began life as a sort of free for all; we were swapping around our instruments, keeping things fresh and spontaneous. It’s like our little ‘White Album’. It’s just been tightened up week after week in terms of making it into a record that’s really powerful. It’s not as rock and roll as ‘Diamond Hoo Ha’. I think it’s just a psychedelic record. ‘In It For The Money’ was quite a psychedelic record, and I think this is probably our most psychedelic record for a good few years. It’s hard to say exactly but it’s sounding wicked.” If it is even half as good as the album to which it has been compared, then I will be more than content. Here’s hoping.