Historically speaking the classic iPod era from 2001 until 2007 passed in the blink of an eye. And yet it still pioneered a new kind of listening experience that managed to change music forever and provide the soundtrack to our lives like never before. Of course, that golden age is long gone now, iPod production ceasing in September 2014 just as streaming services became the premium audio format, a rather soulless tool that will never match the pure, unadulterated joy to be found in loading up an iPod with your own personal arsenal of songs and albums, secret pleasures, canonical favourites and mysterious obscurities.
Thankfully in my case it doesn’t have to, not yet anyway, because my bruised and battered sixth generation classic is still going strong, the music within as important and precious as ever. In fact, it could even be said that if Green Inc online came out of anywhere, it came out of the iPod, my constant companion over the past fifteen years or so. Currently containing over 26,000 songs, with room to spare for a couple of thousand more, my only regret is that the pressures of everyday life dictate that I’m never going to have enough free time to listen to them all. Consequently, hiding within the invisible digital depths of my little black box is a whole load of stuff that rarely come to the surface, if ever.
In this Green Inc iPod Archive I will be documenting at least some of it on playlists dedicated to thirty songs by thirty artists from one letter of the alphabet, songs that are not just a mass of audio coding data but a road map detailing the countless scenes, movements and genius misfits of modern music culture. One things for sure, pop, rock, glam, soul, funk, disco, reggae, electro, hip hop, techno, acid, punk, industrial, indie, electronica and the kitchen sink, all musical life is going to be in here somewhere!
A CERTAIN RATIO ‘Do The Du’ (The Graveyard & The Ballroom Cassette February 1980)
- One of the first of the jittery, post punk groups trying to fulfill the white boy, drunk on funk dream.
A.R. KANE ‘Baby Milk Snatcher’ (69 LP July 1988)
- Ethereal, hugely influential, experimentalists twisting indie into new shapes in the vacuum of the mid to late eighties.
ABYSSINIANS ‘Satta Amassagana’ (Single A Side 1976)
- Uplifting reggae anthem with sweet, sweet harmonies and a deep hypnotic groove defining the roots variation of spiritual singing.
ACTION BRONSON ‘Easy Rider (Dirty)’ (Download August 2014)
- Freaky, prog-a-like ode to shallow pleasures by my favourite bearded, fat boy, Albanian, New Yorker.
ADAM & THE ANTS ‘Cleopatra’ (Dirk Wears White Sox LP October 1979)
- Early, X Rated ‘Ant music for sex people’ as opposed to Adam’s favoured pantomime version of a year later. God love him!
ADMIRAL BAILEY ‘Politician’ (Single A Side 1986)
- Genre busting, digital dancehall update of Larry Marshall’s 1969 riddim ‘Throw Me Corn’.
ADRIANO CELENTANO ‘Prisencolinensinainciusol’ [Alex Party Remix] (Single B Side 1995 Original Release 1973)
- Italian disco from the early seventies reconstructed by the Visnadi brothers.
ADVANCE BASE ‘I Had A Good Father & Mother’ (The World Is In A Bad Fix…. EP June 2013)
- Owen Ashworth digs up the ghost of hard timey, early 20th century America on his cover of a song by Texan street preacher Washington Phillips.
THE ADVISORY CIRCLE ‘Civil Defence Is Common Sense’ (Other Channels LP March 2008)
- Public information announcements and a banally beautiful electronic melody conjure up a quietly terrifying, 1971 suburban nightmare of Midwich church coffee mornings, strangely strange children's TV and impending nuclear war.
AESOP ROCK ‘No Regrets’ (Labor Days LP September 2001)
- Poignant, childlike fairytale about a girl called Lucy with an underlying ‘live your dream’ message for us all.
THE AFGHAN WHIGS ‘Rebirth Of The Cool’ (Uptown Avondale EP October 1992)
- A funkier than ‘Fools Gold’ hidden track from an EP of soul covers and Greg Dulli’s swingin’est song.
AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE ‘The Best Way’ (Voodoo Of The Godsent LP March 2011)
- African Head Charge continue to plough their unique sonic furrow through the outer limits of experimental dub via table tennis percussion, wibbly wobbly electronics and Frank Bruno vocals.
AGE OF CHANCE ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Noise?’ (Single A Side May 1987)
- An ahead of their time, cycle top wearing, indie band from Leeds embracing the future instead of the past.
AIR Feat. Beth Hirsch ‘All I Need’ (Moon Safari LP January 1998)
- Top thirty hit downloaded after hearing it wafting over the in store audio at my local Co-Op, which generally is not a good thing.
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE ‘Summertime Clothes’ (Merriweather Post Pavilion LP January 2009)
- The kind of album on which any song could be someone's favourite. This is mine.
ANNE BRIGGS ‘Tangled Man’ (The Time Has Come LP March 1971)
- A favourite of my late father, ‘Tangled Man’ is a time travelling tardis shrouded in the myths and legends of olde Albion.
ANTHONY B ‘Fire Pon Rome’ (Real Revolutionary LP July 1996)
- Following a long absence dancehall reappeared on my radar with Anthony B’s righteous return to reggaes traditional pastime of pope-bashing.
APACHE INDIAN ‘Arranged Marriage’ (No Reservations LP January 1993)
- A young, British Asian chatting in a torrent of English, Punjabi and Jamaican patois, Apache Indian was one of the more interesting cross cultural manifestations in an era overrun by a plethora of ridiculous sub and micro genres.
APHEX TWIN ‘To Cure A Weakling Child’ (Richard D James Album November 1996)
- The prolific, mad professor continuing to blur the lines between dance music, ambient and the avant-garde.
AQUALUNG ‘Strange And Beautiful’ (Aqualung LP September 2002)
- Strange, beautiful and an unexpected chart hit too.
ARMANDO ‘Don’t Take It’ [Thomas Edit] (Single A Side November 2007 Recorded 1988)
- Posthumous release from the late, great, Chicago, acid king.
ART BRUT ‘My Little Brother’ (Modern Art/My Little Brother EP December 2004)
- Refreshingly sloppy, three chord wonder tune while Eddie Argos paints the perfect picture of musical awakening
ARTIFACTS ‘C’mon Wit Da Git Down’ (Between A Rock And A….. LP September 1994)
- The flawless flow and head bobbing rhythm of one of the East Coasts most deeply buried hip hop gems.
ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION ‘New Way, New Life’ (Community Music LP March 2000)
- Rabble rousing, state of the nation, punkyreggaebhangrarap.
THE ASSOCIATES ‘Q Quarters’ (Single A Side June 1981)
- Bend the knee to the vocal genius of Lord William MacArther Mackenzie of Stobswell.
ATMOSPHERE ‘In Her Music Box’ (When Life Gives You Lemons LP April 2008)
- Purposely subdued story of a little girl being raised by the gangsta rap blasting from her father’s car radio.
AU PAIRS ‘We’re So Cool’ (Playing With A Different Sex LP April 1981)
- Gloriously jagged, politico post punk from a time when that kind of thing really was cool.
AUGUSTUS PABLO & THE UPSETTERS ‘Vibrate Onn’ (A/B Side 1977)
- Essential Lee Perry produced deep space dub released simultaneously on separate releases as both the main feature and the flip.
THE AUTEURS ‘The Rubettes’ (The Rubettes EP June 1999)
- While Britpop looked to the sixties, belligerent cynic Luke Haines turned to his seventies childhood, writing this sarky, nostalgia song about The Rubettes, a manufactured group typical of the kind of star-studded shams who made punk inevitable.
THE AVALANCHES ‘Electricity’ (Since I Left You LP April 2001)
- Not just a nostalgic cut’n’paste job of micro samples from history, but a song and album about the evocative power of music and how the merest fragment from another time and place can fire the imagination.