October 30, 2009

American Hardcore = Sausage Party

The first time I saw the film American Hardcore all I could think was where were all the girls?

There were women in the scene and yet the movie had practically left them out completely. Even more interesting to me was when I mentioned this to male friends who also saw the film I was amazed at how none of them picked up on this at all. I then realized they didn't notice because women were often pushed to the sidelines by this male dominated scene so why would a community who placed such little importance on women suddenly pay attention now. To put it simply, they wouldn't

A friend recently posted a link to a college thesis called "Not Just Boys' Fun" - The Gendered Experience of American Hardcore by Siri Brockmeier and as the title suggests, it investigates just that. It is a long but interesting read and hopefully something that will be be expanded upon more deeply in book form at a later date.

The paper brought back many memories for me as well as got my gears turning in regards to how I felt about hardcore and why I preferred other music scenes. In high school and my early twenties the second and third generation of hardcore was in full swing. I liked some of the music, had friends who liked the music, and on record it was something we all shared as a group of friends in spaces where I never felt lesser for my gender. The problem was shows. The minute this music was being produced from a group of people standing on a stage, I felt as if the scene turned on me. I went from being an equal outside of a venue to a lesser being pushed to the back of the room, turning into a coat rack or key holder for the male friends I had gone to the show with as they opted to join the pit. I tried fighting my way to the front of shows but not only were there rarely any other girls in sight, you became a target for others meaning boys in the crowd got their kicks by punishing me or other girls for crashing their sausage party. They used violent dancing techniques that bordered on boxing to push you out of their world. I felt like a stain that a group of men around me wanted to remove which was incredibly disconcerting besides the fact that being threatened with violence is terrifying, especially when it is done in mass.

I eventually got fed up with this behavior and decided risking my body's safety wasn't worth trying to get closer to the stage. Besides if men weren't trying to oust me, the flipside was being blatantly man handled and molested. In a crowd it would be nearly impossible to pinpoint who was doing what to you... so suddenly a hand would grope a part of my body and it was done quickly enough that I couldn't guess who had done it. Once again, it didn't matter how much I liked the music, no assault to my body was worth it.

Eventually I pretty much gave up on hardcore. I know when I am not welcomed and what was also interesting was the lack of bonding between women who did go to these shows and their varied attitudes about what their role was in the scene. Some bought into terrible stereotypes of being clingers and groupies while others tried to practically become boys themselves. Many women felt, and this to me is still one of the most insulting aspects, that there were certain places women didn't belong within that scene and what that really meant is that they had bought into the rules of the scene produced by these sexist men. They believed women belonged in the back or on the sideline and most of all , should be excluded from the stage itself. There were almost no women playing in these bands which ultimately fueled me to go elsewhere. It isn't that I needed a female role model on the stage but why in the world would I want to support a scene that didn't welcome any woman who chose to do so?

The band I eventually joined as a singer was not what I would call hardcore although I suppose post-hardcore and emo is a sub genre. I often dealt with the same sexist stupidity that stemmed from that scene and played many a show where men (and sometimes women) would walk out because they saw a girl on the stage. The assumption was that I would suck, be weak, and couldn't offer the kind of angry release they were looking for.

Numerous times when we walked into a venue I was asked whose girlfriend I was, it never occurred to them that I could actually be in the band. I hate to say that you get used to it, but I did. Instead of being angry about it I chose to take the higher road and correct them and then just carry on.

I have never spent a minute thinking, shit I am girl, how am I going to tackle this day. If I didn't feel like an environment wasn't female friendly or inspirational to me, I left it. Instead of dwelling on feeling like an outsider or being excluded, I opened my own doors. I took it upon myself to satisfy what I felt like I was missing. If I was disappointed with the lack of women playing music in my scene then the only way to combat that truly was to become one. Judgement be damned.

I get it, not everyone is meant to be in a band and placed in a spotlight but creating a voice in a place where I before that point had none was more important to me. Since I didn't have a female hero or role model in that scene I would become my own. I didn't want to hold jackets forever. I didn't deserve to punched in the head for wanting to be in the front row while a band played. In the end could be more empowering than becoming your own hero?

Maybe the boys needed their brotherhood but I learned something much more valuable, I just needed me.

PS: Not to be a jerk but I would like to correct a false statement in the thesis. It is not Ian MacKaye on the cover of that first Minor Threat record, it is in fact his brother Alec.

October 29, 2009

October 29th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : The Cramps

Music for misfits. Rock and roll as it was meant to be: dangerous, sexy, fun, wild, and over the top.

The Cramps personified the very American idea of what R&R meant by mashing up all of their influences which wasn't just old rockabilly, R+B, and instrumentals from the 50s and 60s; it included a love for kitsch, B-Movies, horror flicks, pin up culture...the best of the underbelly in America. Weirdos had a reigning king and queen for more than three decades and Lux and Ivy were their names. (The founding members of the Cramps)

There couldn't be a more fitting band to pick for the Halloween Cause & Effect show and lucky for us, Cramps fans have bonded together to help create file upon file of the songs Lux and Ivy mentioned as admiring in interviews. Uber Cramps fan Kogar the Swinging Ape compiled them all in one place and more incredibly is willing to share these gems. A friend passed along the link to all these songs which are posted here on the WFMU blog.

Lux passed away of February of this year quite unexpectedly and I have been itching to do a show dedicated to the band ever since. Some bands shy away from talking about the artist and songs that influenced them but not The Cramps. Tonight I can't wait to share with you two hours of music that helped shape them as musicians. Lux and Ivy were serious record collecting fanatics so I am thrilled to be able to play a few of their favorites -all themed around Halloween.

Listen in from 7PM to 9PM tonight at 97.3 on your dial in RVA or stream us live at www.wrir.org

October 28, 2009

Vinyl People

Vinyl Mini-Documentary.

I was happy to see Billy Miller of Norton Records represented. His table at this years WFMU Record Fair was as busy and bountiful as ever.

Vinyl People from Howard Silver on Vimeo.

By the way, if yo have never been to the WFMU Record Fair, it is a pilgrimage. It was described to me by a first timer this year as "overwhelming". I am proud to have supported it and watched it grow from the Elks Lodge in Hoboken, to a crowded church basement, all the way to the cavernous space it now occupies.

This is a shot of one side of the room. The scale of this yearly event is impressive and daunting.

October 22, 2009

Tour of Moby's studio and gear collection.

Moby explains his love of vintage drum machines, and gives a tour of his collection of analog gear. There is beauty in circuitry.

Click HERE for video.

October 22, 2009: Cause and Effect : Os Mutantes

Before I get into this week's show...

We are in the middle of WRIR's Fall Fund Drive and what I want to do is take a minute to explain why our radio show, like so many of the shows at the station are truly one of a kind and hopefully a special treat to your ears each week.

Community radio is important because it represents the area it resides in while mirroring the community that surrounds it at the same time. On a musical level we put a ridiculous amount of effort into each show so musically it is as interesting as it is accurate.

Every week Alex and I pick an artist our group to highlight on our show and then the mad rush to educate ourselves begins. We read hours of articles and interviews about the artist and build our set list from the information we learn. Whenever possible we also reach out directly to bands and labels, friends of the artist, to make the two hours about the group are as truly reflective of their musical history as possible.

One aspect I don't think people realize is the music you hear each week does not come from a massive library at the radio station, it comes from our own personal collections or often from friends, fellow listener's, or the artist themselves! Our set lists are very personal yet reflect the community we are a part of so in many ways, it isn't just our show, it is a community effort.

We understand that because each show is so different from the next, you may not love them all but we are still opening doors to styles of music, whole genres some people may not be familiar with so if we aren't wowing you one week, maybe the next one will blow your mind. I know both Alex and I discover new music we love every day because of the show and keep learning every week as well.

Tonight we will be focusing on one of the founding bands of the Tropicalia movement Os Mutantes who came from Brazil in the late '60s. Incredibly this genre of music sounds as modern as ever and continues to inspire and influence new artists all the time. Like so many powerful movements in music it was youth based and a reaction against the environment around them, a military dictatorship that was oppressing and censoring artists. Often called the Beatles of Brazil, the Os Mutantes were not only exploring the parameters of pop music by blending several kinds of styles but they were also leading a revolution of new against the old ways; a creative cultural cycle we see over and over again.

Tonight from 7pm to 9PM we will be playing both well known and lesser known Tropicalia artists as well as dabbling in the genres that they grew out of, Samba and Bossa Nova. We will then introduce a list modern day artists whose music claim to be inspired by Os Mutantes and who are carrying on their unusual mash up of traditional Brazilian music with rock, pop, and psych.

Our set will include : The Beatles, Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben, Beck, David Byrne, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Hendrix, Nirvana, and lot's of surprises along the way.

If you appreciate and enjoy the one of a kind programming WRIR brings you each week like our show, please make a donation. There are lots of great premiums, we have special items just for our show tonight, AND if you come by the station in person to make a donation, we feed you! We welcome visitors to swing by and check out the station. After all this is your station too!

97.3 on the dial in RVA and www.wrir.org to stream live.

October 20, 2009

October 19, 2009

BBQ + Records + Free Frozen Pops = Territory BBQ & Records

Take that Kuma's Corner - there is a now rock and chow combo out there, this time in Los Angeles. In short this is a BBQ joint that has an adjoining record store and its called Territory. Fuck yes.

The shocker was discovering that an acquaintance is one of the two men who spearheaded this genius idea; Tony who used to run (still runs?) the label Tee Pee Records along side Curtis who was the singer in the band Bad Wizard.

And yeah, they offer free frozen pops on top of the magic combo of Southern eats and records.

October 16, 2009

Daniel Johnston iPhone Game

"Now available at http://www.hihowareyougame.com and at the App Store. The game features a psychedelic universe filled with dynamic physics-driven gameplay, surreal enemies and challenging puzzles featuring Daniel Johnstons fascinating music and art. The first ever toon-shaded 3D puzzle platformer for the "Now available at http://www.hihowareyougame.com and at the App Store. The game features a psychedelic universe filled with dynamic physics-driven gameplay, surreal enemies and challenging puzzles featuring Daniel Johnstons fascinating music and art. The first ever toon-shaded 3D puzzle platformer for the iPhone and iPod Touch. "

October 15, 2009

October 15th, 2009 : Cause & Effect : Interpol

The more sarcastic among you are probably thinking "great - two hours of Joy Division" but in our choice of picking Interpol for our radio show this week we will also have a chance to explore the world of dark wave and post punk...another first for the show this year. So put on your best dark suit (or dress), light a few candles, and tune in to WRIR from 7PM to 9PM tonight.

Besides playing the genre of music Interpol is a child of we will also be playing bands within their peer group too. To be more specific you will hear Chameleons, Section 25, Dead Can Dance, Crispy Ambulance, The Sound, Film School, The National, and lots of other rock bands that play in the shadows.

If you live in RVA tune in on your FM dial at 97.3 or stream us live at www.wrir.org.

October 14, 2009

My Next DJ Event

Cherry Bomb will be spinning records in between bands. Lots of lady rock will be spun at this event; from the legends of GRRRL rock to the more obscure girl bands spanning multiple decades and countries.

Where: Gallery 5 in RVA
When: This Friday 10/16/2009
Cost - $7

Doors are are at 7PM

Review : Mirrors : Something That Would Never Do

Artist: Mirrors:
Title: Something That Would Never Do
Hometown: Cleveland, OH in the 70s
Label: Violent Times
Street Date: Out now / limited to 800 LPs
RIYL: Garage bands who really like the Velvets and the occasional kooky noises on guitar that sound like a space gun
The Hits: Taking one might make this a stoner worthy listen
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Light

I don't why I do this.

It might be the obsessive record collector in me who sees that a reissue LP is limited to x number (no less only on wax) and magically it ends up in my shopping cart only to arrive on my door step weeks later. This is just enough time for me to forget what the hell it is so when I play it and it doesn't exactly wow me, I have to look on line again to remind myself what I was thinking.

This time I am talking about the Mirrors "Something That Would Never Do" limited to 800 copies and is a collection of material from a Cleveland, OH band that was around in the late 70s. The thing I have to wonder about myself is I am not a huge Velvet Underground fan and this groups' number one influence appears to be the Velvets so now I need to look back at the Aquarius records write up to see how they described the record to the point where I decided I needed to own it. Here is what they say about the record:

" A killer vinyl sort-of best of from these legendary Cleveland punk rock new wave misfits. The Mirrors were only active for about three years in the mid seventies, in the about-to-be-obscenely-fertile Cleveland punk rock scene, breaking up just as Cleveland was poised to unleash a barrage of snotty punky new wave mayhem on an unsuspecting public in the form of the Dead Boys, Rocket From The Tombs, The Electric Eels, the Pagans, Pere Ubu and more! Think early punk rock mixed with a little Velvet Underground. Awesome stuff."

Apparently this is already sold out at many stores so the record collectors have voted this LP as a must own but my ears are disappointed. I appreciate that the Mirrors fall among the time line of pre-punk and imagine them resting well next to Red Krayola on a mixtape but beyond the rare factor of these recordings, the music lacks the hook filled or dynamic quality of the bands listed among their peer group. It has its garagey far-out interesting moments but after three listens in a row I think this record is still going into my sell pile.

(I actually put it out in the bins at the record store yesterday and it sold within a few hours so it's I might be alone in not loving this record)

October 13, 2009

A Punk Legend Dies : Brendan Mullen

Brendan Mullen, who opened the punk basement venue called The Masque in Hollywood, CA died this week at the age of 6o from a stroke. This club helped to launch the career of bands like The Germs and in his later year as a post punk club owner he went on to write many books including one I actually just finished reading this past weekend called We Got The Neutron Bomb : The Untold Story of LA Punk.

Review : A Place To Bury Strangers : Exploding Head

Artist: A Place To Bury Strangers

Title: Exploding Head

Hometown: NYC

Label: Mute

Street Date: Out Now

RIYL: Top 10 records of 2009

The Hits: 1, 5, 7, 10

Richter Magnitude Rating Scale : Great.1

I get jealous sometimes when I meet someone who hasn’t heard a record that for me is an absolute classic. I am talking the kind of record that changed your life, has lived with you as if it was a partner for so long that you can’t recall when you first met, only that it was love at first site and ever since. I would kill to relive the first time I heard that record but impossible is impossible.

I feel this way about many records, Spacemen 3, MBV, The Telescopes, Jesus and Mary Chain, Loop, New Order, The Swirlies...the list goes on. But these are all bands whose records I know as if I made them myself. We have slept together, traveled the world together, worked together, DJed together, and so on. There are few surprises left in them but that is okay, I love them none the less. I will never grow bored of these legendary releases BUT like any normal human, I crave to meet and befriend a new record that give me goose bumps like these other records once did early on in our relationship.

The problem is finding a new record to live up to the high standards the artists that have come before them. My ears have heard a lot of music in my 37 years so the truth is there are fewer records in the world that wow me from the first listen and it really and truly sucks. As a music fanatic this is a very depressing reality but 2009 has been a kind year. There have been several records that have rekindled that lost loving feeling.

I am madly in love with Exploding Head” by A Place to Bury Strangers.

It is loud, hypnotic, throbbing, and has guitars bursting with all the fuzz and static that drew me to the first round of shoegaze / chainsaw guitar bands from the late 80s and early 90s. In addition to the sonic tidal wave that washes over every song there is the ever important part two to winning my heart and that is buried melodic vocals...melodies where you wouldn’t expect them... true beauty among the chaos of all that wonderful noise.

I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am to have a new record that explodes out of my speakers and strikes me ears in the same exact fashion as some my most beloved records of all time. Far and few between A Place to Bury Strangers is a welcomed addition to my list of favorite bands who have mastered distortion and taken it to ungodly thunderous proportions with just the right of amount of tension and release through the vocals.

All hail the mighty effect pedal and the wall of sound that these men have harnessed to the point of awe inspiring. Rock lives and it is louder than ever.

October 12, 2009

Dickie Peterson of Blue Cheer RIP

Terribly sad news, the bass player / singer of legendary early heavy metal / stoner rock band Blue Cheer passed away early this AM of liver cancer in Germany. He was only 61 years old. Another reason to curse cancer.

Death Cab + Jawbox

NPR does a cool thing called Project Song where they pick a musician who in turn picks another musician they have never worked with but would like to and then video records them over the span of the just two days they have to write and record it. Chris Walla (Death Cab) picked J Robbins (Jawbox) and the final outcome is quite a wonderful song called Mercury.

You can watch the whole creative process here.

October 9, 2009

Why I Miss NY/ NJ Reason #187 : Trashmen + Rocky

This email came to me this week from a friend ....forgive my laziness for the cut and paste but there is all sorts of cool information for those who care about quality rock AKA The Trashmen and Roky Erickson...YES!!!!!!

...The surf is rising and The Trashmen's debut New York area shows are coming right up! Do not miss what might be your only opportunity to see one of the greatest bands in the history of rock'n'roll right here, right now! And to make things even better, The Neanderthals and The Hi-Risers will be joining them for both shows.

And if that wasn't good enough already...the good folks at Sundazed Records who have done such a fabulous job with their Trashmen releases have been kind enough to press up a special limited edition live EP that will be handed out for free to attendees of these shows! The cuts include "Goofy Foot" and "Yellow Jacket" from the stupendous "Bird Call" box set (neither available on vinyl before) and never released anywhere versions of "I Call Your Name" and "Wild Thing"!
The shows also coincide with the WFMU Record Fair, so if you are not from the immediate area this would a great time to say, "Let's Go Trippin'"!

Friday Oct. 23rd Southpaw 125 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY spsounds.com
Tickets here: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=1756154

Saturday Oct. 24th Maxwell's 1039 Washington St., Hoboken, NJ maxwellsnj.com
Tickets here:

And what about Roky Erickson, you ask? We are pleased to announce that we have just confirmed Roky for New Year's Eve at Maxwell's! He has a splendid new band and alongside his current live faves, has added such Top Ten hits as "Don't Slander Me" and "Reverberation" to the set. This will be a fabulous way to end the old year and begin the new. Tickets go on-sale Friday at noon via Ticketweb and will also be available at Tunes in Hoboken and Other Music in Manhattan. And if you don't have the incredible 13th Floor Elevators box set, The Sign Of The 3 Eyed Men, what are you waiting for?


October 8, 2009

Thursday, Oct 8 : Cause & Effect : Serge Gainsbourg

We have been doing our radio show Cause & Effect now for 10 months and if there is one thing I have learned thus far, there is a core group of older artists, perhaps 50 at most, who seem to have a heavy influence on just about every major new(ish) artist. These are the musicians who have inspired a whole new generation and Serge Gainsbourg (French) is certainly a name that appears time and time again. For yet another twist in the show I thought it might be a nice change to work in reverse and explore who inspired such a legendary / groundbreaking songwriter as well as show examples of his work and the artists who have claimed to be greatly affect by Serge's style. A style that began in the shadow of more traditional French Chansons in the late 50's, moved into ye-ye pop, and then skyrocketed into a million directions from orchestrated ballads to jazz, samba, rock, dub and reggae.

Often sighted as an equally important part to his music was his lyrical style which were almost always seeped in sexuality. He was a master at twisting words playfully to have double meanings, occasionally to the point of offensive by conservative standards and then crossing the line later in life when he dared to write and perform a song with his now also famous daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg called Lemon Incest (AKA Lemon Zest) who was 12 at the time they recorded the sexy duet and shot a video where they in fact share a bed.

Controversies aside he was also a visual icon on many other levels, always seen with a cigarette and drink in hand, well dressed, and has recorded music with some of the sexiest women of the last 100 years like Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birken (married her when she was 21 and he was 40) to name just two.

That being said tonight on Cause & Effect we will be playing many of the songs Serge has written than others have performed over the years as well as the artists who inspired and shaped him as an artist. Undeniably sexy, expect to hear two hours of music best listened to with the lights down low, a drink in hand, and perhaps a little company of the one on one kind.

Listen to us on the dial in RVA at 97.3 FM or stream us at www.wrir.org from 7PM to 9PM

This evening our set will include : Dutronc, Blonde Redhead, Luna, France Gall, Beck,Francois Hardy, Brel, Beirut, Arcade Fire, Bardot, and more.

October 7, 2009

Signer : Next We Bring You Into the Fire

Artist: Signer
Title: Next We Bring You Into the Fire
Hometown: Wellington, New Zealand
Label: Carpark
Street Date: Out Now
RIYL: One of the best electronic records of the year, Arthur Russell had he gone shoegaze
The Hits: All 36 minutes although I love the opening track "Nord All Black Keys" deeply
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Major

Once upon a time it was bands like M83 who took me on an electro Eno-esque journey into the center of a storm of dreamy electronic lullabies that swirled around my head in dizzying beauty. But then M83 headed down a miserable path of rehashing 80’s new wave pop synth songs that I wouldn’t waste a quarter on from a gumball machine.

There has been a lull in my record collection for lush electronic soundscapes ever since. I have waited patiently for an electronic record to fill that void, an artist that could tactfully marry intricate and weighty layered sounds with delicate vocal melodies and thankfully Signer has created Next We Bring You Into the Fire. (His third release)

I don’t throw around words like masterpiece very often but I am placing this award around upon this release and applaud the man (Bevan Smith of New Zealand) who has blended both shoegaze and electronica in a way that is both haunting and gorgeous… and by no means a copycat production of Loveless or name your favorite Caribou / Manitoba record here.

It is so rare these days to have an entire record capture no less hold my attention from the first song to the last but my ears can’t wait to see where each song is going to take me next. Not only from to song to song but within each song the listener is led down an unpredictable dimly lit psychedelic path that makes me think of the tunnel boat ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).

Bevan’s moody choice of instrumentation and beats doesn’t make me fear the dark, it reminds me that every now that hidden in the dark (think Kid A) can be a gorgeous sonic blanket of miraculous calm that will wrap around you and offer a blissful escape from all those failed Kevin Shields followers that have come before Signer’s Next We Bring you Into the Fire.

PS: He is on tour RIGHT NOW and for you locals, touring / playing with another favorite band of mine ...the Ruby Suns, at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC this Friday opening for the Dodos.

October 6, 2009

Holy Crap

I am pretty sure that if a band member pissed on me mid set that I wouldn't finish playing the song. I don't know what I am more in awe of, a mid show wiz or the band member who keeps on rocking.

No wonder Jay Reatard's band quit. Geesh

October 1, 2009

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,

You must first invent the universe.

October 1, 2009, Cause & Effect : Wilco

It has been a bonkers week for me this so no fancy post today about tonight's radio show. All you need to know are the facts:

Tonight from 7PM to 9PM on WRIR Cause & Effect have chosen Wilco and not only will be focusing on their discography and the many off shoots to the band but also tracing their musical roots. Per the norm we will also toss in bands from their peer group as well.

You can listen to us on the dial at 97.3 FM in RVA or stream us live anywhere in the world at www.wrir.og.