I recall turning 27 and recounting how that was the same age as so many other artists who passed away. Brian Jones (the original drummer of The Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain. Even Amy Winehouse who, born in 1983, was younger than me at her time of death — yet they all seemed so much older than me at the time of their passing, so much older even now, looking back. That brings me to today’s artist: Broadcast.
Lead singer Trish Keenan passed away from pneumonia in January of 2011 at the age of 42. That’s my current age, and in this instance, it almost seems like the opposite is true. She was 42?!? I could have sworn she was in her mid to late 30s… or even 27.
Today I’m looking at the band’s 2022 release Maida Vale Sessions.
Let’s start with an unboxing.
A Vinyl Unboxing of Maida Vale Sessions
I love the cover. It’s unique and captures some of the band’s ahead-of-its-time style. In a sense, it’s like the duotone you’d see on a Blue Note jazz record, but much more artsy.
The cover, the back, the labels — they’re all quite cohesive and piece together a solid physical release. I love that, as I’ve noted many times before here and on my YouTube Channel. Speaking of, you can dig into my coverage and watch the unboxing below:
Broadcast’s four Maida Vale Sessions
Maida Vale is home to some of the BBC’s recording and broadcast studios, in particular some relating to radio. That said, Maida Vale Sessions consists of four live performances Broadcast recorded between 1996 and 2003 at the famed studios in West London. It was released out of the UK on Warp Records on March 18, 2022.
- Tracks 1-4 are from a Peel Session recorded October 6, 1996.
- Tracks 5-8 are from an Evening Session recorded March 1, 1997.
- Tracks 9-12 are from a Peel Session recorded February 9, 2000.
- Tracks 13-16 are from a Peel Session recorded August 19, 2003.
In many, if not most or even all cases, this is the first some of the sessions have been made available. Within these 16 songs include alternate or different versions of songs that were off Broadcast’s albums, and a few rarities including the exclusive “Forget Every Time” which was never re-recorded, and a cover of Nico’s “Sixty Forty.”
Sessions are not like live albums, which can have quite the range of quality, from near studio production to seeming like it was recorded on a cassette from the audience. On the other hand, sessions are like a live, in-studio performance, and sometimes the lines between studio and session are so blurred you can’t tell the difference.
And when you can’t, that’s where they shine. Especially if the song has been tweaked since its original release, or predates the studio recording.
With the clout of John Peel and his Peel Sessions, you thankfully get the latter here, which means the quality is pristine and professional, and the alternate versions and slight variations of songs stand toe to toe with their studio counterparts.
Maida Vale Sessions Features Broadcast Favorites
Fan favorites, which are also tracks I love, include “Come On Let’s Go,” “Echo’s Answer,” and “Long Was the Year” off the band’s 2000 LP The Noise Made By People.
Personal favorites include “The Note [Message From Home]” and “Forget Every Time.” That last one is among my favorites from the album, and it’s a true rarity given they never re-recorded it. But it was the former that initially hooked me into Broadcast’s music, far too long after their dissolusion:
I recall reading somewhere that the enigma of Broadcast is that they end up in this surreal other-worldly place between being haunted and haunting. And nowhere is that more obvious than on the two rarities “Forget Every Time” and “Sixty Forty.”
Let’s take a step back. Maida Vale Sessions covers the years the band was most active in the studio — their 2000 debut LP The Noise Made by People, 2003’s Haha Sound, and 2005’s Tender Buttons. If you’re new to Broadcast, this provides a truly solid touchpoint to their scope of work. For longtime fans, this includes a variety of alternates, an exclusive, and a rare cover.
Is it worth it? I’d give that a resounding Hell Yes.
Get Broadcast on Vinyl
Broadcast is better on vinyl. Here are my recommendations for your collection: