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!
CABARET VOLTAIRE ‘Do Right’ (Micro-Phonies LP October 1984)
- A selection of muscular, genre-defying, electronic dance music, Micro-Phonies was influenced as much by the grim paranoia of life in Thatcher’s Britain and the rapid mutation of what was known as industrial, as by avant funk and the electro coming out of New York.
CAN ‘Mother Sky’ (Cannibalism LP October 1978)
- Can were a ludicrously ahead of their time bunch of bearded, pre-punk, German hippies, Cannibalism a compilation of their greatest moments, ‘Mother Sky’ arguably the greatest of those moments.
CARBON SILICON ‘Why Do Men Fight?’ (The Last Post LP February 2007)
- While no one under fifty is ever likely to bother with Carbon Silicon, by continuing to push positive, progressive issues, making their songs available online for free and continuing to believe that music hasn't lost its meaning, Mick Jones and Tony James embrace the wisdom of their years and succeed in summoning up something of the spirit of ’77.
CARTER THE UNSTOPPABLE SEX MACHINE ‘Bloodsport For All’ (30 Something LP February 1991)
- A socially conscious, south London, DIY duo, Jim Bob and Fruitbat were unlikely top forty pop stars who produced a brilliant, drum machine driven, power pop racket with punk rock electric guitar, yet have been written out of the history of modern music culture because of their refusal to fit into the official Madchester/grunge/Britpop narrative of the early nineties.
CASHIER NO. 9 ‘Oh Pity’ (To The Death Of Fun LP June 2011)
- Bright and breezy affectionate pop that quite literally shimmers with joy.
CASINO VERSUS JAPAN ‘It’s Very Sunny’ (Go Hawaii LP January 2000)
- Stick on some headphones, shut your eyes, and let Casino Versus Japan transport you to a different time and a place that isn’t as far away as it seems.
CATATONIA ‘New Mercurial Heights’ (For Tinkerbell EP September 1993)
- Notable if only for the purity, grace and emotion in Cerys Matthews voice.
CHAPTERHOUSE ‘Love Forever’ (Blood Music LP September 1993)
- Chapterhouse’s brave embrace of dance music not only lost them a drummer it lost them their conservative fanbase too, although the emphatically rhythmic, slightly techno shoegaze of ‘Love Forever’ sounds mighty fine to me.
CHARLES B & ADONIS ‘Lack Of Love‘ (Single A Side June 1988)
- Early, Chicago, Acid House walking the tightrope between cheesy disco, punchy house and a bubbling 303.
CHRIS & COSEY ‘October (Love Song) (Single A Side October 1983)
- Throbbing Gristle sidekicks escape the suffocating ego of Genesis P. Orridge to create an unexpectedly warm and lovely, electro pop classic.
THE CLASH ‘Bankrobber’ (Single A Side August 1980)
- Rarely heard, stand-alone single with The Clash at their most openly defiant and musically undefinable.
COLDCUT x ON-U SOUND ‘Divide And Rule’ (Outside The Echo Chamber LP May 2017)
- Stellar, apocalyptic dub from two of the most legendary names in British indie culture with the even more legendary Lee Perry and his trademark philosophising thrown in for good measure.
COLOURBOX ‘Looks Like We’re Shy One Horse’ (Single B Side April 1986)
- An experimental excursion into Marlboro country dub littered with lines from half-forgotten Westerns from brothers Martyn and Steve Young (the M and S of M/A/R/R/S), who within a year would be sketching the blueprint for the seminal ‘Pump Up The Volume’.
COMMANDER TOM ‘Are Am Eye’ (Single A Side 1995)
- Exhilarating, precision tooled, German techno trance.
COMMON ‘Sum Shit I Wrote’ (Resurrection LP October 1994)
- Creating words and rhymes reflecting his own self instead of the life on the streets clichés trotted out by the dumb majority, 22 year old Lonnie Lynn Jr. mixed the personal with the political on his remarkable second album, pushing the boundaries of hip hop with a fresh look at the world he inhabited and the music business.
CONGO NATTY ‘Revolution’ (Jungle Revolution LP June 2013)
- ‘Hear these words and strengthen yourself’ never sounded so apt.
THE COOL GREENHOUSE ‘Cardboard Man’ (Crap Cardboard Pet EP July 2019)
- Operating on the principles of repetition, irony and repetition and especially fond of Mark E. Smith, Tom Greenhouse’s enigmatic bedroom project serves up a double helping of minimalism and a pile of obtuse lyrics.
CORNERSHOP ‘England’s Dreaming’ (Lock, Stock & Double Barrel EP May 1993)
- Released in 1993 during the dying days of the Tory Reich with Britpop yet to emerge, Lock, Stock & Double Barrel was littered with a diverse mish mash of cultural references, ‘England’s Dreaming’ a gloriously messy national anthem of fuzz and dustbin lid drums that sounds not unlike a Trumpton version of the Pistols.
COWBOYS INTERNATIONAL ‘Thrash’ (Single A Side September 1979)
- File alongside Orchestral Manouvre In The Dark’s ‘Electricity’.
THE CRAMPS ‘I Can’t Hardly Stand It’ (Single B Side July 1980)
- Welcome to Lux’n’Ivy’s hermetically sealed world of primordial rock’n’roll, psychedelics, trash aesthetics, dark deviant delights and a wonderfully puerile sense of humour.
CRISTINA ‘Is That All There Is?’ (Single A Side June 1980)
- No Wave singer Cristina, aka lingerie model Cristina Monet-Palaci, was a Franco-American, Harvard drop-out when she recorded her witty, sardonic remake of the Peggy Lee standard ‘Is That All There Is?’. In fact, so cynical was it that legendary songwriters Leiber and Stoller won an injunction that prevented its reissue until 2004.
CUB ‘Little Star‘ (Betti-Cola LP October 1993)
- Endearingly ramshackle, awkward reminder of the free spirited enthusiasm missing from today’s crop of commodified, indie pop upstarts.
CULTURE ‘Iron Sharpening Iron’ (Harder Than The Rest LP July 1978)
- Rougher and tougher than the remarkable Two Sevens Clash, one of the great reggae albums of the seventies, but still loaded with real soul and Cultures inspirational ‘sunshine hymns’.
CUNNINLYNGUISTS ‘Lynguistics’ (Will Rap For Food LP October 2001)
- Underground hip hop that functioned as an alternative to the mainstream without going on and on about it ad infinitum, Cunninlynguists preferring to serve up a stellar musical work of lighthearted goofiness, more weighty subject matter and crafty beats, the suitably strange ‘Lynguistics’ based around a string sample that is oddly familiar albeit impossible to pin down.
THE CURE ‘Lullaby’ [Remix] (Single A Side April 1989)
- Robert Smith’s creepy, monster-under-the-bed nightmare that somehow became The Cure’s biggest hit.
CURRENT 93 FEAT. MARC ALMOND ‘Idumea’ (Black Ships Ate The Sky LP May 2006)
- Late period gem from avant-garde master David Tibet following four decades of musical asceticism, mysticism and intellectualism, Marc Almond opening his most accessible album with an intriguing yet faithful adaption of Charles Wesley 18th century hymn.
CUT COPY ‘Out There On The Ice’ (In Ghost Colours LP March 2008)
- Although they like to Identify as electro-fied, groove led exponents of modern indie, in truth Australians Cut Copy tend to stick with the tried and trusted pop formulas of yesteryear, ‘Out There On The Ice’ pure mid-eighties from pulsating synth pop beginning to deliberately arty ending.
CYBOTRON ‘Alleys Of Your Mind’ (Single A Side March 1981)
- A game changing, haunting evocation of modern paranoia that sounds eerily prescient today.
CYMANDE ‘Brothers On The Slide’ (Promised Heights LP 1974)
- Long revered, early, by-way-of the West Indies, early British funk when such a thing was virtually non-existent.
CYPRESS HILL ‘I Wanna Get High’ (Black Sunday LP July 1993)
- Cypress Hill’s slow, sultry, smoke stacked style made them the hip hop group of choice amongst middle class, white boy, stoner types. Hearing the admittedly extraordinary ‘I Wanna Get High’ for the first time in decades it’s not hard to understand why.