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On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of musicians who both suffer from the effects of LSD—that’s lead singer disease—Stuart Murdoch and Ramesh Srivastava.
Ramesh was and is now again the lead singer and chief creative force behind the Austin, Texas band Voxtrot, which burned bright but maybe too quick in the early 2000s. They released a series of rapturously received EPs and one LP that were beloved by fans of deeply British institutions like Sarah Records and The Smiths. But the band had split by 2010, and Ramesh went on to release a pair of solo albums that didn’t quite have the impact his band did. For a while, he was content to leave Voxtrot in the past, but gathering material for two reissues gave him the spark to get thing going again. The next few months will see the release of both Early Music—which gathers the band’s beloved EPs—and Cut from the Stone, which features rarities and B-sides. And then, like some unstoppable force of nature, Voxtrot will tour the U.S. again. Dates can be found at voxtrot.net. And in case you’re not familiar, here’s a great Voxtrot song called “The Start of Something.”
Do you hear a bit of Belle and Sebastian in that song? They’re a pretty clear influence on Voxtrot, and Srivastava met Stuart Murdoch while living in Glasgow in his younger days—you’ll hear about their meet-cute in this conversation. Belle and Sebastian, of course, have had an incredible career over the past quarter century or so. They started life as a school project for Murdoch, a shy young man whose feelings spilled out into his gentle songs in a way that seemed then—and now—to be almost magical. Over the years, Belle and Sebastian developed from a sort of bedroom-pop project to a massive pop machine, while never losing that spirit of playfulness and sincerity that Murdoch has always projected. The band recently released their ninth studio album, called A Bit of Previous. The title is a bit tricky in that it seems to reference the good old days but also Murdoch’s longtime interest in Buddhism, which he explored in greater depth during the pandemic.
In this conversation, you’ll actually hear a bit about how both Ramesh and Stuart approach spirituality, both Christianity and Buddhism. You’ll hear how being a “gay brown person” pushed Ramesh away from religion for a long time. They talk about the aforementioned “lead singer disease,” and how that affects everyday life. And we get to hear about a young Stuart Murdoch making his way to the London flat of one of his musical heroes, but then deciding not to actually knock on his door. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Ramesh Srivastava and Stuart Murdoch for chatting. If you like what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite social channels and check out talkhouse.com for lots of great written pieces, too. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time.
(Photo Credit: left, Hollie Fernando; right, Daniel Everett Patrick; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)